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Congressional Committee Investigations into Trump 2019

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#342

The link from @Pet_Proletariat above will play the archived video from this morning’s session (Part 1).

If you want to tune into the live stream of the committee as it reconvenes to hold the vote, here’s the updated link (Part 2):


#343

:boom: :clap: :clap: :clap:

The House Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to hold both Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for not complying with subpoenas for documents related to the Trump administration’s controversial decision to add a question on U.S. citizenship to the 2020 census.

The committee passed the resolution by a vote of 24-15. Just one Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, joined Democrats in voting yes.

Cummings held off the vote until later in the day so members could review the Justice Department’s explanation of President Trump’s invocation of executive privilege. A letter from the DOJ announcing the invocation of executive privilege arrived shortly before the hearing began Wednesday morning.


#344

:clap::clap::clap:

Thanks for holding down the fort @Keaton_James ! We’re one step closer to checking this ridiculous administration.


#345

The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former deputy Trump campaign chairman Rick Gates, two of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s most important cooperators.


#346

The initial group of lawmakers includes Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and will include committee counsels. It’s the beginning of a round of visits by lawmakers to the Justice Department to see Mueller’s interview transcripts, witness notes and other potentially explosive pieces of information that Mueller used to compile his 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct the probe.


#347

Most important paragraphs:

It’s also unclear which pieces of Mueller’s evidence would be made available and which might be withheld, either under executive privilege or other restrictions. The House on Tuesday authorized the committee to sue Barr for all of Mueller’s underlying evidence, but Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has indicated he doesn’t expect to initiate that lawsuit until he determines whether the committee is privy to enough information.

“If important information is held back, then we will have no choice but to enforce our subpoena in court and consider other remedies,” Nadler said this week.

Wish I knew the answers to these questions:

  1. How will anyone viewing the material know if a document is missing?

  2. If they do know a document is missing, will they know why it is missing? Was it withheld under “executive privilege” (Trump’s doing) or for another reason and, if so, what is that reason (e.g., some reason arbitrarily made up by Barr or a legitimate reason such as national security)?

  3. Ultimately, how will the public know that Trump’s appointed Attorney General who has been acting like his personal defense lawyer has not tampered with this evidence?


#348

Missed a bunch, sorry guys I’ve had a full plate this week.


#349

:newspaper: Header has been updated. Breaking news starts below. :point_down:


#350

House Democrats are weighing legislation to scrap the executive guideline that bars the Justice Department from indicting a sitting president.

The informal rule is decades old but has come under heavy new scrutiny since Robert Mueller cited it explicitly as the reason he declined to recommend — or even consider — bringing obstruction charges against President Trump during the course of his 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

In response to the special counsel’s report, Democrats are piecing together a package of legislation focused largely on shielding elections from foreign influence, including proposals to bar candidates from accepting foreign help of any kind, while making it mandatory that campaigns alert the FBI when such offers are extended.


#351

Democrats investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice are eyeing a new strategy to break the president’s all-out oversight blockade: calling witnesses who never worked in the White House.

Key lawmakers tell POLITICO they hope to make an end run around Trump’s executive privilege assertions by expanding their circle of testimony targets to people outside government who nonetheless had starring roles in Robert Mueller’s final report. That includes presidential confidants like former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.


#352

Democrats are quietly airing concerns that battles with President Trump, including investigations of the president and his administration along with the noisy debate over impeachment, are overshadowing the party’s agenda, threatening its grip on the House in 2020.

That narrative has been fueled by Trump, who has used his Twitter feed and interviews to lambaste Democrats as the “Do Nothing Party,” when in fact they have spent the first five months of their House majority ticking through agenda items they highlighted in the midterm campaign, addressing matters including health-care prices, political corruption and background checks for gun buyers.

But voters aren’t paying much attention, party leaders are finding, leading them to redouble their messaging efforts — including by placing a target on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has blocked consideration of the Democratic bills.

In recent weeks, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has briefed fellow House leaders in private meetings about focus groups the committee commissioned in three key political battlegrounds. The upshot, according to four Democrats familiar with the findings, is that the public’s impression of the new House majority is bound up in its battles with Trump, not in its policy agenda.

That has prompted anxiety about whether the Democratic strategy to hold the House in 2020, by focusing intently on health-care costs and other kitchen-table issues, can be effective amid the president’s attacks.

“Obviously we want to get the word out about the good bills that the House is able to get passed,” said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), a DCCC vice chairman. “But it seems like there is a preoccupation with what’s happening as it relates to the White House, and so everything else sort of gets drowned out.”

image


#353

Good highlight piece for this lesser known committee and the work that they have done. :clap::clap::clap:

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is quietly amassing documents on allegations of politically motivated retaliation at the State Department. It’s looking into whether Trump has violated foreign emoluments and conflict of interest rules, and lawmakers are working to find out more about the president’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and how Trump leads American foreign policy behind the scenes — all without the fanfare associated with the other committees’ work.

The committee’s record on securing documents and witnesses isn’t flawless, mostly due to the Trump administration’s stonewalling of Democrats’ myriad inquiries targeting the president. But unlike other committees that have faced the same roadblocks, the Foreign Affairs Committee hasn’t issued a single subpoena, held an official in contempt of Congress or taken an issue to federal court to secure critical documents and witness testimony.

We’re not looking to throw bombs or pick partisan fights. We’re just looking to get facts,” said a committee aide, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the panel’s work. “The steady, painstaking approach is producing results.”

These probes don’t often grab headlines, but they’re a centerpiece of Democrats’ efforts to dig into Trump’s posture toward Russia — whether it’s downplaying the threat of Russian interference in U.S. elections, or refusing to directly criticize Putin.


#354

Hope Hicks, once a close aide and communications director for President Donald Trump, becomes on Wednesday the first member of his inner circle to testify to the congressional panel leading a probe into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Democrats who control the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee believe Hicks can provide important insights into troubling chapters of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and Trump’s efforts to interfere with the investigation.

She’s our first fact witness,” said Jamie Raskin, a Democratic lawmaker on the committee. “Having somebody talking about what happened from a personal perspective will be a dramatic debut for the committee.”


#355

More on Hope Hicks closed door interview tomorrow.

If you’ve been following along, this is the most important detail at this point👇

The transcript of Hicks’ sit-down with the committee is expected to be made public within 48 hours, an aide said.


#356

Thanks for the heads up – I was wondering when that would happen.

Since we won’t be able to see what’s actually going on during Hicks’s testimony, I think the transcript should include the following notation whenever it applies:

[Trump’s lawyer whispers in Hicks’s ear.]


#357

Nancy rules out Censure and opening an impeachment inquiry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday ruled out a congressional censure of President Trump, a move some lawmakers have suggested as a less divisive alternative to launching impeachment proceedings.

“No. I think censure is just a way out,” Pelosi told reporters. “If you’re going to go, you’ve got to go. In other words, if the goods are there, you must impeach, and censure is nice, but it is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution, should we decide that’s the way to go.”

She added that a censure of Trump would be “a day at the beach for the president, or at his golf club, or wherever he goes.”

[…]

On Wednesday, Pelosi cautioned against a scenario where Trump is impeached by the Democratic-led House only to be acquitted by the Republican-led Senate.

“I don’t think you should have an inquiry unless you’re ready to impeach,” she said. “What I believe is that when we go forward, if we go forward, it has to go deep. It can’t be the Democrats impeach in the House; the Senate, in his view, exonerates. . . . This president must be held accountable.


#358

:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

President Donald Trump’s former aide Hope Hicks refused to answer questions Wednesday about her time working in the White House as she testified behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the panel and of Democratic leadership, told reporters Wednesday that Hicks was not answering questions about working in the White House, which he said was preventing Congress from doing its oversight work.

She has answered some and mostly she is hiding behind the facetious claim of complete immunity about anything to do with her service in the White House," he said.

The president’s lawyers are directing her not to answer any questions even as we are recounting stuff she told to the special counsel," he added. “This will be the beginning of what I presume will be litigation.”


#359

:face_with_raised_eyebrow::face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Several House Judiciary Committee members exiting the closed-door interview said a White House lawyer repeatedly claimed Hicks had blanket immunity from discussing her time in the White House. They said she wouldn’t answer questions as basic as where she sat in the West Wing or whether she told the truth to Mueller.

We’re watching obstruction of justice in action,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

It’s a farce,” added Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who said Hicks at one point tried to answer a question about an episode involving former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski only to be cut off by the White House counsel.

She made clear she wouldn’t answer a single question about her time unless the White House counsel told her it was okay,” an exasperated Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said in an interview. “She couldn’t even characterize her testimony to the special counsel.”


(perry lee) #360

I don’t want to be Donny Downer here but was anybody surprised at this outcome?


(Matt Kiser) #361

Skeptical open-mindedness is usually my preferred approach for all things politics…

So, no, I’m not surprised by the outcome, but I am surprised that Hicks (and the White House) made a mockery of congressional oversight.

But also not surprised by that either.

:man_shrugging: