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Congressional Committee Investigations into Trump 2019

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#542

I’m frustrated on more than one level:
There’s frustration with how this is being reported
There’s frustration with the Democrats
There’s frustration with people who are not appalled by this administration
There’s frustration with the courts
Mostly I’m frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be an end to the madness.


#543

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to intensify its investigation of Republican President Donald Trump on Thursday, as lawmakers edged closer to deciding whether to recommend his impeachment.

The 41-member panel adopted a resolution allowing it to designate hearings as impeachment proceedings, subject witnesses to more aggressive questioning and quicken the pace of an investigation that is expanding into areas that could prove politically explosive for both Trump and Congress.

“With these new procedures, we will begin next week an aggressive series of hearings investigating allegations of corruption, obstruction and abuse of power against the president,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told reporters after the 24-17 vote.

A more aggressive probe could also increase pressure on House Democratic leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has resisted impeachment as a politically risky step for moderate Democratic freshmen from swing districts where ousting Trump is an unpopular idea.

Republicans rejected the notion that the panel was pursuing an impeachment inquiry and dismissed the resolution as a “fantasy” intended to distract from Democrats’ unwillingness to have the full House authorize a formal impeachment inquiry, as occurred during the Watergate era and the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

Republicans said Democrats lacked the votes to obtain formal House authorization and denounced Thursday’s action as a show intended to pander to Democratic voters who want Trump removed from office.

Representative Doug Collins, the panel’s top Republican, said the resolution simply reiterates powers that the committee has had all along.

“These rules are not new,” he said. “This is to make you believe something is happening, more than what’s actually happening.”


#544

CHAIRMAN NADLER STATEMENT FOR THE MARKUP OF THE RESOLUTION FOR INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURES

https://judiciary.house.gov/news/press-releases/chairman-nadler-statement-markup-resolution-investigative-procedures

Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler delivered the following opening remarks during a markup of a resolution to implement procedures for future hearings related to the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Donald Trump:

"The resolution before us represents the necessary next step in our investigation of corruption, obstruction, and abuse of power.

“This Committee has already covered the central findings of the Special Counsel’s investigation. The President’s 2016 campaign asked for and received the assistance of the Russian government. Key figures from the campaign then lied to federal investigators about it. The Special Counsel found that, at least ten times, the President took steps to interfere with the investigation. In at least five of those incidents, the Special Counsel concluded that all of the elements necessary to charge obstruction of justice had been met.

“Our investigation is not only about obstruction. Our work must also extend beyond the four corners of the Mueller Report. We have a responsibility to consider allegations of federal election crimes, self-dealing, violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, and a failure to defend our nation from future attacks by foreign adversaries.

“And, of course, this Committee and others have gone to court to secure evidence that has been withheld from Congress on indefensible legal grounds. Former White House Counsel Donald McGahn is not ‘absolutely immune’ from appearing before this Committee. We require his testimony for our obstruction investigation. But the President has vowed to ‘fight all of the subpoenas,’ and this, too, is conduct that requires a congressional response.

“As Members of Congress—and, in particular, as members of the House Judiciary Committee—we have a responsibility to investigate each of these allegations and to determine the appropriate remedy. That responsibility includes making a judgment about whether to recommend articles of impeachment.

“That judgment cannot be based on our feelings about President Trump. It should not be a personal reaction to misguided policies or personal behavior. It must be a decision based on the evidence before us, and the evidence that keeps coming in.

“Now, there has been a good amount of confusion, in the press and elsewhere, about how we should talk about this work.

“Some have said that, absent some grand moment in which we pass dramatically from ‘concerned about the President’s conduct’ to ‘actively considering articles of impeachment,’ it is hard to know exactly what the Committee is doing here.

“Others have argued that we can do none of this work without first having an authorizing vote on the House floor. But a House vote is not required by the Rules of the House or by the Constitution, and the argument ignores ample precedents in which no such votes were taken.

“There should be no doubt about our purpose. We have been open about our plans in this Committee for many months. The record is recounted in the preamble of the resolution before us now.

“On March 4, 2019, we sought information from many sources related to ‘alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump,’

“On May 8, 2019, we recommended that the House hold Attorney General Barr in contempt. As part of that recommendation, the Committee was clear that our work ‘includes whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the President.’

“On June 11, 2019, the House approved H. Res. 430, authorizing this Committee to enforce its subpoenas in court. The Committee report stated explicitly that our work includes whether to approve articles of impeachment with respect to the President.

“Pursuant to that resolution, on July 26, 2019, we asked a federal court for access to grand jury information, and we told the court that it falls to this Committee to ‘exercise . . . a constitutional power of the utmost gravity—approval of articles of impeachment.’

“On August 7, 2019, we filed suit to enforce our subpoena for Mr. McGahn. There again, we told the court that we require his testimony in order to help decide whether to recommend articles of impeachment.

“In each of these documents, we have been explicit about our intentions. This Committee is engaged in an investigation that will allow us to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment with respect to President Trump. Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature.

“But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so.

“Under the procedures outlined in this resolution, we will hold hearings that allow us to further consider the evidence against the President. At those hearings, in addition to Member questioning, we will allow staff counsel to participate for one hour, evenly divided between the Majority and the Minority. This will allow us to develop the record in ways that the five-minute rule does not always permit.

“We will also allow the President to respond to the evidence, in writing and on the record. No matter how we may disagree with him, President Trump is entitled to respond to the evidence in this way. And we will treat certain, sensitive evidence—such as grand jury information—as being received in executive session. Under these procedures, when we have finished these hearings and considered as much evidence we are able to gather, we will decide whether to refer articles of impeachment to the House floor.

“We have a constitutional, historical, and moral obligation to fully investigate these matters. Let us take the next step in that work without delay. I urge my colleagues to adopt this resolution, and I yield back.”

Read the Resolution for Investigative Procedures :point_down:


#545

House Democrats pursue Sessions for testimony in impeachment probe of Trump

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are negotiating for Jeff Sessions’s testimony in their impeachment investigation of President Trump, an appearance they hope could bolster their inquiry given the former attorney general’s rocky relationship with Trump.

Congressional aides on the panel reached out to Charles J. Cooper, an attorney for Sessions, during the summer, according to officials familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe private talks. Cooper told committee staff that Sessions — whom Trump never forgave for recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe — would need a subpoena to testify.

“I have made clear that Attorney General Sessions will not appear except under compulsion of a congressional subpoena,” Cooper said in a phone interview this week.

The panel in mid-July approved a series of compulsory measures for Trump associates and former officials, including Sessions, who appears as a critical witness in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. The former attorney general is a key player in episodes of potential obstruction of justice investigated by the special counsel.

A subpoena for Sessions has not yet been issued. The committee did not respond to a request for comment Friday.


#546

Schiff accuses top intel official of illegally withholding ‘urgent’ whistleblower complaint

The nation’s top intelligence official is illegally withholding a whistleblower complaint, possibly to protect President Donald Trump or senior White House officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged Friday.

Schiff issued a subpoena for the complaint, accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of taking extraordinary steps to withhold the complaint from Congress, even after the intel community’s inspector general characterized the complaint as credible and of “urgent concern.”

[…]

Schiff indicated that he learned the matter involved “potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community,” raising the specter that it is “being withheld to protect the President or other Administration officials.” In addition, Schiff slammed Maguire for consulting the Justice Department about the whistleblower complaint “even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review, appeal, reverse, or countermand in any way the [inspector general’s] independent determination, let alone to involve another entity within the Executive Branch.”

"The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in a letter to Maguire on Friday.

The initial whistleblower complaint was filed last month, and Schiff indicated that it was required by law to be shared with Congress nearly two weeks ago. His subpoena requires the information to be turned over by Sept. 17 or else he intends to compel Maguire to appear before Congress in a public hearing on Sept. 19.


#547

Here’s Schiff taking action to get the new Acting Director of National Intelligence Maguire to release a Whistleblower’s (of what not sure) information to Congressional Intelligence Committee.

https://intelligence.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=688

The nation’s top intelligence official is illegally withholding a whistleblower complaint, possibly to protect President Donald Trump or senior White House officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged Friday.

Schiff issued a subpoena for the complaint, accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of taking extraordinary steps to withhold the complaint from Congress, even after the intel community’s inspector general characterized the complaint as credible and of "urgent concern."

A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [inspector general] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never," Schiff said in a statement. "This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct."

It could be the Whistleblower possibly for the House Ways and Means who said that T’s tax returns were being prevented from being released and some manipulation had gone on inside to prevent this from happening…but not sure


#548

I’m not sure either. There could be two different whistleblowers. :thinking:


#549

Dang…

DOJ rules that no Congressional Committee shall see the Grand Jury testimonies collected by Mueller. Another barrier created by Justice to stymie further investigations into T’s actions.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department told a judge Friday that the House Judiciary Committee shouldn’t get access to secret grand jury material amassed during the special counsel’s Russia investigation, even as it weighs whether to pursue impeachment.

The response comes nearly two months after the committee filed a petition in federal court arguing that lawmakers need to obtain the grand jury material in order to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment.

In court papers filed in federal court in Washington, the Justice Department argued the committee hadn’t provided a sufficient explanation about how the material would help in the panel’s investigations of President Donald Trump . The government also argued that any potential impeachment proceeding in Congress wouldn’t be considered a “judicial proceeding” under law, for which the information could be disclosed.

The Justice Department also argued there is a “continuing need for secrecy” about recent grand jury proceedings because there are several investigations still underway that grew out of Mueller’s probe, according to Friday’s filing.

https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2019-09-13/justice-dept-opposes-house-request-for-mueller-materials


#550

Here’s what Marcy Wheeler, EmptyWheel is speculating about who and what this Whistleblower could be about…It is very mysterious and have seen Rep Schiff talk about it on Face The Nation this am. He is saying (paraphrasing) that the Intelligence Committee has every right to know what this is about, but that Maguire could have been stopped by only a couple of people - AG Barr, Pompeo? and T (I assume)

This is a crowdsource response to who it could be…and at the end, they are saying they did not include any links to Pompeo…

The topic: The whistleblower complaint believed to be withheld by acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire to prevent investigation.

Point of origin: Schiff accuses top intel official of illegally withholding ‘urgent’ whistleblower complaint, by Kyle Cheney, POLITICO, published 13-SEP-2019, 8:12 p.m. EDT

Note carefully this piece ended up in the news dump zone — a Friday evening after 5:00 p.m.

What could the whistleblower complaint have been about, assuming there are other related matters in the public eye? A timeline might help us piece together the topic, or it may help us prepare for anticipated hearings.

I want to point out again that one of the five drafted Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon was about unauthorized activity disclosed by a whistleblower. We may be looking at yet another impeachable offense (as if there haven’t been enough already).

Here’s what I have so far — help me fill in some blanks you think may be relevant to a possible “urgent concern” in a whistleblower complaint, the Office of Director of National Intelligence, the Intelligence Community, and the House Permanent Subcommittee on Intelligence over the last 33 months.

10-MAY-2017 — Trump met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. [UPDATE-3b]

15-MAY-2017 — Washington Post reported Trump revealed code word level classified information to Lavrov and Kislyak during Oval Office meeting. The information covered ISIL’s bomb-making capabilities and may have exposed allies’ intelligence gathering means and methods. [UPDATE-3b]

XX-MAY-2017 — Decision made to exfiltrate key Russian asset. Unclear exactly when decision made or when exfiltration occurred, only that it happened after the Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak, and before the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany. [UPDATE-3b]

7/8-JUL-2017 — Trump meets Putin at G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.[UPDATE-3b]


09-APR-2018 — John Bolton begins as National Security Adviser.

16-JUL-2018 — U.S.-Russia Summit meeting in Helsinki, Finland; Trump meets with Putin.

XX-JUL-2018 — Coats expressed opinion differing from Trump’s after Helsinki summit. Rumors began about Trump replacing Coats.


29-JAN-2019 — Coats testified before Senate Intelligence Committee; he said North Korea “is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities,” in contrast to Trump’s claims that Kim Jong-un has committed to denuclearization.

XX-FEB-2019 — Trump discussed replacements for DNI.

24-MAY-2019 — Trump issued a directive allowing Attorney General William Barr to declassify any intelligence that sparked the opening of the Russia investigation. [UPDATE-3c]

20-JUN-2019 — In retaliation for downing a U.S. drone, Trump approved strikes on Iran which were abruptly aborted. [UPDATE-4a]

24-JUL-2019 – The same day that John Ratcliffe used his time to question Robert Mueller before the Judiciary Committee to accuse Mueller of breaking DOJ regulations — CNN reported that “Ratcliffe has been under consideration for a job within the Trump administration, sources told CNN, including an intelligence or national security role.” [UPDATE-2a]

28-JUL-2019 — Coats’ departure and John Ratcliffe nominated as replacement announced by Trump via Twitter.

02-AUG-2019 — Ratcliffe withdraws from consideration. [UPDATE-2b]

08-AUG-2019 — Primary Deputy Director DNI Sue Gordon resigned effective 15-AUG-2019, without additional prior notice, as ordered. Resignation letter without handwritten note.

Copy of former PDDNI’s resignation letter with handwritten cover: ODNI_LTR_08AUG2019

12-AUG-19 — ICIG received the whistleblower compaint, via Schiff’s 10-SEP letter [UPDATE-1]

15-AUG-2019 — Coats’ last day as DNI.

26-AUG-19 — IC IG transmitted the whistleblower complaint to the Acting DNI, via Schiff’s 10-SEP letter [UPDATE-1]

30-AUG-2019 — Trump tweeted a high-resolution satellite image of Iran’s failed Safir SLV launch while claiming the U.S. was not involved. The image may have been classified and ‘insta-declassified’ by Trump.

01/02-SEP-2o19 — US Special Rep. for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalizad met with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in Kabul where the Taliban, Afghan government and the U.S. had “reached an agreement in principle” toward an eventual “total and permanent cease-fire.” [UPDATE-4a]

02-SEP-19 — Deadline for ADNI to forward the complaint to Intelligence committees of Congress passes without a referral, via Schiff’s 10-SEP letter [UPDATE-1]

03-SEP-2019 — Russian media outlet Tass reported that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister said the U.S. and Taliban “insist that Russia must be present in one capacity or another at the possible signing of the agreements that the parties are working on now.” [UPDATE-4a]

04-SEP-2019 — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to sign the agreement with the Taliban. [UPDATE-4b]

09-SEP-2019 — CNN broke story of a CIA asset extracted from Russia in 2017; followed by NYT on the 9th (and then NBC’s Ken Dilanian appears at the asset’s house…) [UPDATE-3a]

09-SEP-2019 — Trump asked for Bolton’s resignation and tweeted about it the next morning.

09-SEP-2019 — Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG) sent a letter to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, notifying it of a whistleblower complaint which it had determined to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern.”

10-SEP-2019 — Bolton tells Fox’s Brian Kilmeade by text that he quit.

10-SEP-2019 — HPSCI Rep. Adam Schiff requested the full, unredacted complaint, the IC IG’s determination about the complaint, and all documentation of ODNI’s action regarding this complaint, including correspondence with the White House.

11-SEP-2019 — Bloomberg reported Bolton pushed back Monday-Tuesday at Trump over Iran sanctions; Bolton wanted maximum pressure while Trump wanted to encourage a meeting with Iran’s Rouhani later in September. [UPDATE-4a]

12-SEP-19 — Schiff and ADNI “discussed at length” the need to protect the whistleblower from any retaliation, including if the whistleblower subsequently comes forward to the committee with his/her concerns, via Schiff’s 13-SEP letter [UPDATE-1]

13-SEP-2019 — ODNI declined the request, claiming the request as “it involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.”

13-SEP-2019 — HPSCI subpoenaed acting DNI Joseph MacGuire for materials declined by ODNI.


Future items:

17- SEP-2019 — Deadline, materials responsive to subpoena must be turned over by this date

19- SEP-2019 — Date when MacGuire will be compelled to appear before Congress in a public hearing

What a freaking mess. I have nothing here about Mike Pompeo or any other intelligence personnel or issues. The bit about Coats’ departure and Bolton’s termination stick out as well as that insta-declassified intelligence photo, but what might have been an “urgent concern”?


#551

History lesson,

A document Hillary Clinton helped write nearly a half century ago has returned from the dead to threaten the man she couldn’t vanquish in 2016.

The bizarre, only-in-D.C. twist centers on a congressional report penned by a bipartisan team of young attorneys that included Hillary before she was a Clinton and written in the throes of Watergate. Then, unlike now, not a single lawmaker had been alive the last time Congress impeached a president. They had little understanding of how to try and remove Richard Nixon from the White House. So they tapped Clinton and a team of ambitious staffers to dive into the history of impeachment, stretching back to the 14th century in England: How has impeachment been used? What were the justifications? Can we apply it to Nixon?

The resulting document became a centerpiece of the congressional push to drive the Republican president from office. But then Nixon resigned. The memo was buried.

That was just the report’s first life.

In an ironic twist, the document was resurrected in the late 1990s. Republicans gleefully used it to bolster their unsuccessful bid to oust Clinton’s now-husband, President Bill Clinton. Then it faded from public conscience — again.

Until now, that is. The 45-year-old report has become a handbook House Democratic lawmakers and aides say they are using to help determine whether they have the goods to mount a full-scale impeachment effort against President Donald Trump, the same man who three years ago upended Hillary Clinton’s bid for a return trip to the White House.

Essentially, Clinton, albeit indirectly, might get one last shot at accomplishing what she couldn’t in 2016 — defeating Donald Trump.

Click link in article to read the congressional report. :point_up:


#552

Congressman Adam Schiff claimed on Sunday that the official who sits atop the intelligence community is rejecting a subpoena to turn over a whistleblower complaint in order to protect an even higher-ranking official, possibly a top administration official or even President Trump.

"According to the director of national intelligence (DNI), the reason he’s not acting to provide it, even though the statute mandates that he do so, is because he is being instructed not to. This involved a higher authority, someone above the DNI," Schiff, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

Schiff had issued a subpoena Friday to Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI, alleging that he was unlawfully withholding the whistleblower complaint from the committee. A letter sent with the subpoena said that Maguire’s office had “improperly” cited the complaint’s “confidential and potentially privileged communications” as its reason for withholding it.

"The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in the letter. While he said he couldn’t divulge the contents of the complaint, the fact that the DNI had cited “privileged communications” means that it would involve a "pretty narrow group of people."

"So, I think it’s fair to assume this involves either the president or people around him or both," Schiff said.

Further, the complaint had been deemed “credible” by the inspector general of the intelligence community (IC IG). By Friday, more than 10 days had lapsed since Maguire was supposed to hand over the complaint.


#553

Here is the letter that Rep Schiff sent to acting Director DNI Maguire.


#554

Senator told FBI last fall of new information about Kavanaugh

A Democratic senator told the FBI last fall of new information he said was relevant to allegations made against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh — a claim that was not investigated at the time but has since become public in an upcoming book chronicling the bitter confirmation fight.

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) wrote to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Oct. 2, 2018, requesting an “appropriate follow up” with one individual who had come to Coons with information about Kavanaugh. Although the person’s name was redacted in the one-page letter, a spokesman for Coons confirmed Monday that the individual was Max Stier, a classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale University who now leads a prominent nonpartisan group in Washington.

In the letter obtained by The Washington Post, Coons said “several individuals” contacted his office who had wanted to share information with federal authorities but said they had “difficulty reaching anyone who will collect their information.”

“I cannot speak to the relevance or veracity of the information that many of these individuals seek to provide, and I have encouraged them to use the FBI tip portal or contact a regional FBI field office,” Coons wrote to Wray. But Stier, Coons said, “was one individual whom I would like to specifically refer to you for appropriate follow up.”

The FBI promptly acknowledged receiving the letter from Coons, according to his spokesman, Sean Coit. The two top senators on the Judiciary Committee at the time — Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) — were copied on Coons’s letter to the FBI.

A spokesman for Grassley, who no longer chairs the Judiciary Committee, said Monday that the senator’s staff was unaware of the specifics of the information Stier had.

“Not only were we not aware of the nature of the information referenced in the report, we had no reason to believe any separate allegation existed,” said the spokesman, Taylor Foy.

Aides said Coons wrote the letter because he wanted to get relevant information about credible allegations as quickly as possible to the FBI. When Coons wrote the letter Oct. 2, FBI officials were in the middle of conducting a new, supplemental background check on Kavanaugh — who was facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct — ahead of his confirmation vote.

Kavanaugh was confirmed Oct. 6.

Stier had also requested to remain confidential, aides said, so Coons wanted to send the information directly to the FBI so sensitive details would not become public.


#555

And while they’re at it, Congress and the FBI should also conduct a proper investigation of Kavanuagh’s shady financial shell game involving over $60,000 of baseball tickets purchased on his credit cards. The debt was suddenly paid back just before his nomination. This has a swampy stink to it and I don’t believe it was ever properly investigated – the Republican majority conveniently accepted the White House’s lame explanation.

According to financial disclosures, Kavanaugh had between $60,000 and $200,000 in debt, spread across three credit cards and a loan. (Federal rules require individuals to disclose ranges of debts, rather than specific figures, so the actual numbers are unknown.) As The Washington Post first reported, the White House has an explanation for the debts: Kavanaugh spent big on tickets to see the Washington Nationals, a team he’s known to back.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman leading the communications push for Kavanaugh’s nomination, said that Kavanaugh had purchased Nats season tickets and playoff seats for himself and a handful of friends. Each credit card had between $15,000 and $50,000 of debt, as did the personal loan. By the time of his 2017 disclosure, the debts were gone, and Shah said that Kavanaugh’s only current debt is a home mortgage.

The eye-popping figures—tens of thousands on baseball tickets!—not only show how pricey America’s pastime has become. They also spotlight Kavanaugh’s own financial situation and the bruising contours of a high-stakes confirmation fight, and they raise the question of how he paid the debt off so quickly.

The more important, and curious, question is not how Kavanaugh accrued the debts attributed to the baseball tickets, but how he paid them down. It’s strange to imagine that a man of comparatively modest means would put tens of thousands of dollars on credit cards to buy baseball tickets, but even stranger that they would have been paid off so fast. The White House says that Kavanaugh’s friends reimbursed him for the tickets, and that he no longer buys them. The fact remains that Kavanaugh suddenly cleared at least $60,000 and as much as $200,000 in mysterious debt over one year—sums large enough that senators might well want to know who the sources of the payments were.

How was the debt paid back so quickly? Maybe there’s an innocent explanation – maybe Kavanaugh sold some stock and paid it back that way. On the other hand, the resolution of this debt could be the result of some kind of nefarious pay off. I’m sure, for example, anyone vetted for a security clearance would be required to give a detailed and well documented explanation of how this debt was suddenly cleared – but evidently that kind of due diligence doesn’t apply to a Supreme Court Justice – the Republicans don’t seem to care if Kavanaugh might have been “bought” just as long as he fulfills their right wing agenda and shields Trump from impeachment.


#556

The House Judiciary Committee is too tied up with “impeaching the president” to take immediate action on a potential investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday.

"We have our hands full with impeaching the president right now and that’s going to take up our limited resources and time for a while," Nadler said on WNYC when pressed by host Brian Lehrer.


#557

My God this is pissing me off! WTF?! You mean because there’s such an abundance of corruption in the Trump administration we can’t keep up with it? They’re going to get away with their crimes because they’re overwhelming the system? For God’s sake, Nadler, staff up, rent more office space, get on with your job. We elected you to protect us against corruption and you’re caving because you’re “too busy.” What is the cost of doing your job compared with the massive damage to our country that will result if you fail to do your job? This is like a police department saying, “Sorry, we can’t investigate that bank robbery. We’re really stressed out investigating another one.”

It’s not like the fate of our nation is in the balance or anything.

:rage:


#558

The House Oversight and Reform Committee asked Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Monday to turn over documents related to communication with her family’s shipping company as the panel stepped up an investigation into whether any actions taken by Ms. Chao amount to a conflict of interest.

The request by the committee in the Democratic-controlled House relates to actions Ms. Chao has taken that potentially benefited Foremost Group, a New York-based shipping company owned by her family. Foremost has received hundreds of millions of dollars in loan commitments from a bank run by the Chinese government to help build ships that Foremost has purchased from government-owned shipyards there.

The actions by Ms. Chao — including joint public appearances since she became transportation secretary in 2017 with her father, James Chao, who founded the company, and a planned trip to China to meet with government officials there along with her father — have led House investigators to question if she is using her office to try to benefit her family’s financial interests.

“Federal regulations prohibit federal employees from using their public offices for the ‘private gain’” of friends or relatives, said the letter sent on Monday to Ms. Chao by the House investigators, who cited articles that appeared in The New York Times in June and Politico in 2018 that detailed continued ties between Ms. Chao and her family’s company. “Several reports indicate that you have used your official position to benefit Foremost Group, a shipping company owned by your father and sisters that is headquartered in New York and operates a fleet that transports materials to and from China.”


#559

The White House is asserting that two former senior White House aides have immunity from testifying and is directing former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski not to answer questions about events that occurred after President Donald Trump was elected.

The White House sent four letters to the House Judiciary Committee on Monday about the testimony of Lewandowski and former aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter, who were all subpoenaed to appear on Tuesday. The White House asserted immunity for the former White House aides not to testify and instructed Lewandowski not to answer questions about his conversations with the President where the White House could invoke executive privilege, beyond what’s already in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

"Mr. Lewandowski’s conversations with the President and with senior advisers to the President are protected from disclosure by long-settled principles protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests," wrote White House counsel Pat Cipollone, "and, as a result, the White House has directed Mr. Lewandowski not to provide information about such communications beyond the information provided in the portions of the Report that have already been disclosed to the Committee."

The House Judiciary Committee last month subpoenaed Lewandowski, Dearborn and Porter, but the White House’s letters indicate that Dearborn and Porter are unlikely to appear, while Lewandowski is unlikely to engage on the episodes detailed in the special counsel’s obstruction of justice report where he was involved.


#560

Corey Lewandowski To Testify Before House Judiciary Committee

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on possible obstruction of Robert Mueller’s investigation by the president. Corey Lewandowski, the president’s former campaign manager, is slated to testify.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 1:00pm ET

https://judiciary.house.gov/legislation/hearings/presidential-obstruction-justice-and-abuse-power


#561

Here’s what you need to know: