House Judiciary Committee Hearing
The House Judiciary Committee called on former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign, but the former counsel refused to show up at the hearing. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the committee’s chair, said he would “enforce” a subpoena against Mr. McGahn, while Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the panel’s ranking member, accused the chair of seeking headlines rather than any truth surrounding the Mueller report. After their two opening statements, the committee voted to adjourn.
President Donald Trump’s attorneys are appealing a ruling by a federal judge ordering an accounting firm to comply with a congressional subpoena, acting fast on the one-week window until the firm turns over Trump’s personal, business and charity financial records and communications to House Democrats.
The President’s private legal team filed the notice of appeal at the DC Circuit Court of Appeals not even a day after losing their fight against the subpoena in the lower court. The deadline for the accounting firm, Mazars, to comply with the subpoena is next Monday.
Flagrant witness tampering by Trump – a combination of intimidation and bribery:
“If McGahn were to defy Trump and testify before Congress, it could endanger his own career in Republican politics and put his law firm, Jones Day, in the president’s crosshairs,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with the firm, which is deeply intertwined in Washington with the GOP.” In fact, according to a new Federal Election Commission filing itemized by ProPublica, the Republican National Committee’s top expense in April was $2 million for “legal and compliance services” to Jones Day, out of $14.3 million total spending last month.
The Justice Department is trying to stave off an “enforcement action” against Attorney General William Barr this week, making a rare offer to have the House Intelligence Committee review materials from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report if House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff agrees to back down.
Last week Schiff said that he would hold a business meeting Wednesday to take an unspecified action against the Justice Department for not providing the committee documents related to Volume I of Mueller’s report on [links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.](Schiff subpoenas Barr for counterintelligence information from Russia probe - CNNPolitics)
The Justice Department had previously offered to show all committee members a less redacted version of the Mueller report, but now says it’s continuing to review the initial tranche of 12 categories of documents Schiff wants, and will make them available “in relatively short order,” according to a letter obtained by CNN.
"The Department has already begun the process of identifying, locating and reviewing the materials potentially responsive to the categories of documents," Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote Tuesday, "a process that will not continue should the Committee take the unnecessary and unproductive step of moving to hold the Attorney General in contempt."
Don’t take the deal, Congress is entitled to everything. Hold firm.
The House Judiciary Committee said on Tuesday it had issued subpoenas for Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson for testimony and documents related to the committee’s ongoing investigation into obstruction of justice and public corruption by President Trump, his associates, and other members of the administration.
The committee had previously sent document requests to Hicks, a former communications director for Trump and Donaldson, former chief of staff of White House counsel Don McGahn, in March as part of its sweeping investigation. As of late March, Hicks had planned to turn over documents as part of that investigation.
The subpoenas set a deadline for both former Trumpworld figures to submit documents to the committee by June 4. The date for Hicks testimony has been set for June 19. Donaldson’s is set for June 24.
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was spotted entering a congressional office building on Tuesday morning for what a committee aide told The Daily Beast was a meeting with the leaders of the House Foreign Affairs committee and relevant staff about his time working in the Trump administration.
Tillerson’s appearance took place as virtually every other Trumpworld luminary has been stonewalling congressional oversight efforts. At the same time that the former Secretary of State was speaking before lawmakers, former White House counsel Don McGahn was ignoring a subpoena to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
Tillerson’s arrival at the Capitol was handled with extreme secrecy. No media advisories or press releases were sent out announcing his appearance. And he took a little noticed route into the building in order to avoid being seen by members of the media.
Tillerson had a notoriously prickly relationship with the president, reportedly calling him a “moron” in private. But he was present during critical moments of the administration, including Trump’s 2017 private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany.
Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson met with lawmakers for seven hours behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss his time in the Trump White House, a spokesman said.
Tillerson met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and staffers from the House Foreign Affairs Committee after a request from Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.).
“The discussion . . . covered a wide array of topics related to foreign affairs, the operations of the nation’s foreign policymaking apparatus and his tenure as Secretary of State,” according to a statement from the spokesman.
More on this from WaPo - what the RNC says it is paying for $2 million for over a 2 year period while the Trump group has paid over $5.6 million for a 2 yr period .- 2017 - 2019.
Absolutely does NOT pass the smell test @Keaton_James and feels like yes…
The payment to Washington law firm Jones Day was disclosed in new Federal Election Commission records Monday night, as a part of routine political committee filings made public every month.
The RNC said in a statement that the payment was a bulk billing for two years’ worth of work.
The payments went to Jones Day the same month that the House Judiciary Committee began seeking McGahn’s testimony in connection with its investigation into potential obstruction of justice by Trump. McGahn delivered key testimony on the matter that was documented in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.
On Tuesday, McGahn was a no-show at a hearing in front of the committee, which had issued a subpoena for him to testify.
Jones Day is the main legal firm for the Trump campaign, which has paid the firm $5.6 million between January 2017 and March 2019 for legal consulting.
Confidential draft IRS memo says tax returns must be given to Congress unless president invokes executive privilege
The Justice Department has agreed to hand over counterintelligence findings from the Special Counsel Office to comply with a subpoena from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff after he had schedule a vote for unspecified “enforcement action” against the Justice Department. That vote has been cancelled— speaking with reporters, Schiff said, “[This] does not obviate the need for the subpoena.” He added: “We will keep that in force until we get all the documents we are seeking.”
The House Intelligence Committee chairman said Wednesday that the Justice Department had agreed to begin honoring a subpoena for intelligence materials related to the special counsel’s investigation — a hint of easing tensions between the Trump administration and Congress.
The department could begin handing over counterintelligence and foreign intelligence related documents as soon as this week, the chairman, Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, said Wednesday morning. The action prompted him to cancel a committee meeting scheduled for later in the day at which Democrats had planned to vote on an unspecified “enforcement action” to increase pressure on the department.
Mr. Schiff’s subpoena is broad, encompassing Robert S. Mueller III’s full report, its underlying evidence and the intelligence-related materials his investigation produced. But in an effort to find an initial compromise, Mr. Schiff said he would accept documents in 12 narrower categories, though he has not specified publicly what they are.
Speaking with reporters a short time later, he said the initial compliance “does not obviate the need for the subpoena.” He added: “We will keep that in force until we get all the documents we are seeking.”
But the department has stated that it would comply in this way only if the committee did not proceed with the previously scheduled vote on its enforcement action.
“The proposal set forth above represents a good-faith effort and extraordinary accommodation of the committee’s request for information by proposing a realistic process to provide the committee with information pertaining to counterintelligence and foreign-intelligence activities related to the special counsel’s investigation,” Stephen E. Boyd, an assistant attorney general, wrote in the Tuesday letter.
The department said it was also willing to allow all members of the Intelligence Committee to view a limited redacted version of the first volume of Mr. Mueller’s report. It had previously allowed only a handful of lawmakers in both the House and Senate to see those materials.
The House Intelligence Committee is entitled to see everything. This game of “keep away” is childish and will only drag this process out.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi emerged from closed meeting of the House Democrats today on impeachment saying, "We believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States. And we believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up.” When asked if she felt pressure from democrats to open an impeachment inquiry she replied, “No” and then stated, “we don’t have division.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerged from a closed-door meeting with all House Democrats on Wednesday, iincluding a growing number pressuring her to move forward with an impeachment inquiry, saying, "We believe that no one is above the law, including the President of the United States. And we believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up."
She called it a “very productive meeting” but was apparently sticking with her previous strategy of having various Democratic-led committees conduct separate investigations, including the House Judiciary Committee led by Rep. Jerry Nadler, and then deciding later whether the politically-risky move of impeachment was warranted.
"Jerry Nadler spoke in the beginning to give us a context for all of this," she said. "It was a very positive meeting, a respectful sharing of ideas, I think a very impressive presentation by our chairs. We do believe that it is important to follow the facts…"
"We do have our legislative agenda that we are moving forward on," she said.
Despite being faced with frustrated Democrats calling for her to take a harder-line, Pelosi on Tuesday continued to try to deflect the reality that her caucus is beginning to shift toward impeachment, telling ABC News, “No,” when asked if she was under increased pressure to impeach Trump.
"We don’t have division," she told reporters.
Worth noting that before the Rose Garden briefing today - there stands a very hyper-conflated boast of what the WH says is the public’s view of NO COLLUSION.
This is all out war from the Administration to gain public appeal.
But for us…no words. Just shameful.
Trump’s comments below in his Rose Garden delivery…
Philip Rucker Retweeted Felicia Sonmez
“I don’t do cover-ups,” Trump says, making no mention of the hush money payments to a porn star and a Playmate to secure their silence about his affairs in the weeks before 2016 election
President Trump abruptly blew up a scheduled meeting with Democratic congressional leaders on Wednesday, lashing out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi for accusing him of a cover-up and declaring that he could not work with them until they stopped investigating him.
He then marched out into the Rose Garden, where reporters had been gathered, and delivered a statement bristling with anger as he demanded that Democrats “get these phony investigations over with.” He said they could not legislate and investigate at the same time. “We’re going to go down one track at a time,” he said.
The dramatic confrontation came on a day when pressure over a possible impeachment effort raised temperatures on both sides of the aisle. Ms. Pelosi arrived at the White House for a session with the president set to talk about infrastructure shortly after meeting with restive House Democrats to talk about impeachment. She emerged from that meeting with Democrats accusing Mr. Trump of a “cover-up.”
When she and Senator Chuck Schumer arrived at the White House, Mr. Trump was loaded for bear. He walked into the room, did not shake anyone’s hand or sit in his seat, according to a Democrat informed about the meeting. He said he wanted to advance legislation on infrastructure, trade and other matters, but that “Speaker Pelosi said something terrible today and accused me of a cover-up,” according to the Democrat.
After just three minutes, he left the room before anyone else could speak, the Democrat said.
More of same coverage…bullying from the President and an unwillingness to move on working the Dems, in his pursuit to shut down any inquiry into himself, his administration. Shame on him.
Trump says he refuses to work with Democrats until investigations halt
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
Updated 11:57 AM ET, Wed May 22, 2019
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump said in impromptu remarks Wednesday that he told Democrats at the White House he couldn’t work with them while they were pursuing investigations into him and his administration.
The Rose Garden speech came after an abbreviated meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who were there to discuss a bipartisan infrastructure spending package.
"I’ve said from the beginning – right from the beginning – you probably can’t go down two tracks. You can go down the investigation track or you can go down the investment track," Trump said.
He said during the meeting with Democrats that he couldn’t work with them until their investigations are over.
"I walked into the room, and I told Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, I want to do infrastructure," he said. "But you can’t do it under these circumstances."
I’m all for an impeachment inquiry but watching Nancy drive Trump this crazy is pretty fun.
She is masterful…gets his goat every time. AND reminds us of the better Presidents, the ones who acted with thoughtfulness and guided our country as opposed to this bozo.
She is, she’s playing very close to the vest. But it’s all very normal political maneuvers, she’s putting Trump on the defensive. Once he’s on the defensive, it’ll be easier to make strong offensive moves. We know she can hold the offense. She kinda turned the tide today.
Treasury Secretary Testifies on International Financial System
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on the international financial system before the House Financial Services Committee.
Watch the hearing