Top Democrats send letter to Barr questioning his independence
Top Democrats in both the Senate and House sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr on Thursday reiterating their demands for him to release the full, unredacted Mueller report to Congress — while also condemning him for comments he made on Wednesday suggesting that intelligence officials “spied” on the Trump campaign in 2016.
“[W]e would be remiss not to express profound concern about your comments before the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding your apparent view of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Your testimony raises questions about your independence, appears to perpetuate a partisan narrative designed to undermine the work of the Special Counsel, and serves to legitimize President Trump’s dangerous attacks on the Department of Justice and the FBI.”
I will note that this letter includes all the Democrats in the Gang of Eight as well as the chairman of the Judiciary Committee and DiFi who is on the Senate Intel Committee.
The Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Saturday set a new April 23 deadline for the Internal Revenue Service to comply with his request for six years of President Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns.
Oh, interesting tidbit here,
The issue also arises as House Republicans on another committee sent the Justice Department another criminal referral — this one for Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), two of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, sent their own referral to the Justice Department for Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who they accused of lying to the committee during testimony last month.
Criminal referrals are ill-defined requests for investigation that don’t carry any official weight with prosecutors, except in rare circumstances. Officials on various House investigative committees described the process as a loose, informal request that prosecutors typically treat as glorified press releases. They only matter, committee officials emphasized, if lawmakers have exclusive evidence to back it up — such as a confidential interview transcript or documents obtained during a congressional investigation.
Apart from this unwritten process, the House has no formal mechanism to refer anyone for criminal investigation except through a contempt proceeding, which would require a vote of the full chamber.
Three House committee chairmen are requesting documents related to the administration’s proposal to release immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities in part to retaliate against Democrats in a letter sent to the White House and Department of Homeland Security.
"These reports are alarming. Not only does the administration lack the legal authority to transfer detainees in this manner, it is shocking that the President and senior Administration officials are even considering manipulating release decisions for purely political reasons," the letter from House Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler, Elijah Cummings and Bennie Thompson states.
The lawmakers request emails between White House officials and DHS officials, communication between DHS officials, along with documents, memorandum, and other materials from between November 1, 2018, and April 15.
The Justice Department expects to release on Thursday a redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report on President Trump, his associates and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, setting the stage for further battles in Congress over the politically explosive inquiry.
Bipartisanship between Nunes and Schiff? Whatever, just get the report already…
The top two members of the House intelligence committee have said Special Counsel Robert Mueller “must” brief them on his investigation, according to a letter obtained by The Daily Beast.
The letter, signed by Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff and Republican Ranking Member Rep. Devin Nunes, was sent on March 27, shortly after Attorney General Bill Barr released a short letter summarizing Mueller’s findings. They sent it to Barr, FBI Director Chris Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The letter asked for Mueller and other senior members of his team to brief the committee on their work. It also asked for all the materials Mueller gathered during his probe: “all materials, regardless of form and classification, obtained or produced by the Special Counsel’s Office in the course of the investigation, including but not limited to any addenda or annexes to the full report, or separate intelligence or counterintelligence-related reports; scope-related materials regarding the investigation’s parameters, areas of inquiry, and subjects; investigative records and materials,” as well as raw reporting and finished analysis related to his work.
Update: here’s copy of that letter
Deutsche Bank received a subpoena Monday afternoon from the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The full scope of the subpoena could not be determined. The subpoena is seeking information about loans Deutsche Bank gave to President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.
Deutsche has about $300 million in loans extended to the Trump Organization. The German lender is one of the few large banks willing to do business with the real estate developer.
This falls into the same category…Deutsche Bank’s upcoming investigation is going to unveil more of their money laundering operations…as seen in this Guardian Article
Germany’s troubled Deutsche Bank faces fines, legal action and the possible prosecution of “senior management” because of its role in a $20bn Russian money-laundering scheme, a confidential internal report seen by the Guardian says.
The bank admits there is a high risk that regulators in the US and UK will take “significant disciplinary action” against it. Deutsche concedes that the scandal has hurt its “global brand” – and is likely to cause “client attrition”, loss of investor confidence and a decline in its market value.
Deutsche Bank was embroiled in a vast money-laundering operation, dubbed the Global Laundromat. Russian criminals with links to the Kremlin, the old KGB and its main successor, the FSB, used the scheme between 2010 and 2014 to move money into the western financial system. The cash involved could total $80bn, detectives believe.
Over two decades, Trump borrowed more than $2bn from Deutsche. In 2008, he defaulted on a $45m loan repayment and sued the bank. Its private wealth division in New York subsequently loaned Trump a further $300m – a move that bemused insiders and which has yet to be fully explained.
In recent years, the bank has had a series of bruising encounters with international regulators. Between 2011 and 2018, it paid $14.5bn in fines, with exposure to dubious Russian money a regular theme.
U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for Attorney General William Barr to hand over the full report by Mueller by May 1, saying he cannot accept a redacted version released on Thursday that “leaves most of Congress in the dark.”
“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice. The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the Special Counsel developed to make this case,” Nadler said in a statement.
The report provided extensive details on Trump’s efforts to thwart Mueller’s investigation, giving Democrats plenty of political ammunition against the Republican president but no consensus on how to use it.
The committee has yet to set an official date for Mueller to come in, but Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has indicated he wants Mueller to testify no later than May 23.
Committee officials said the Justice Department confirmed receiving Nadler’s request. Attorney General William Barr told reporters Thursday that he has no objection to Mueller testifying before Congress. Barr is scheduled to testify before the committee on May 2.
If the impeachment process begins, would all House investigations into Trump cease during the impeachment process? I recently read a post in another forum that made this claim without backing it up with any documentation. Some other people in the forum accepted it as truth. I found that disturbing because those people were basically saying “I used to be for starting the impeachment process, but now that you pointed this out, I’m against it.” Mmm… If this is a false claim, it needs to be shut down immediately.
Any legal beagles out there who can shed some light on this? If it is not true, I would like to arm myself with some documentation and return to those forums to set the record straight.
I haven’t heard that one before, good question. An impeachment investigation begins in the House Judiciary Committee but it’s a simple majority in the full house that would pass the impeachment resolution, which simply moves the proceedings to trial to the Senate. The Senate can either move forward or decline. If they move forward in the Senate, the upper house actually decides on the rules and procedures for the trial. It’s like it’s own thing.
The actual impeachment happens with a majority vote in the House. They just have call the vote in the House. I would assume any investigation still open would remain open perhaps possibly inactive due to the amount of time and energy it would take congress to pursue impeachment. The House Committees can look into anything they want, they’re a deliberative body unto themselves.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York on Monday announced that he had issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Donald McGahn seeking testimony and documents related to the committee’s investigation into potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
Yes! This is exactly what we need right now. House Democrats, more of this, please!
Republicans slammed Democrats for authorizing the subpoenas when the White House officials had expressed a willingness to cooperate with the investigation and in some cases had already provided documents.
B.S.! The Republicans are going to stall, stall, stall. We need to hit them hard and fast or the months will start slipping by. Never forget what the Republicans did during the Kavanaugh hearings and the sham “investigation” – that was their blueprint on how to pretend to cooperate while actually stonewalling and deflecting every inch of the way.
I wonder how much of a Republican ‘player’ Don McGahn is and whether he might right up front cooperate with Nadler. There was a quick blurb response from McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck lamenting the Giuliani stupidity on NBC’s Meet The Press and it seems like McGahn is willing to save his reputation at the expense of the President.
We have no choice but to attack because the Democrats say there is impeachable material here,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, declined to comment on the subpoena but pushed back on Mr. Giuliani, saying that his client stood by the accounts he gave the special counsel.
“The report speaks for itself, and no amount of obfuscation by Mr. Giuliani is going to fool anyone,” Mr. Burck said in a statement. “Don told the truth to Mueller.”
Monster update on that conference call between House Democrats discussing Impeachment. I quoted all the back and forth discussion with some context below.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers Monday that there are no plans to immediately open impeachment proceedings against President Trump, rejecting calls from several Democrats to initiate steps to try to oust the president.
In a rare Monday night conference call, the California Democrat stressed that the near-term strategy in the wake of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report is to focus on investigating the president and seeing where the inquiries lead. Members of Pelosi’s leadership team reaffirmed her cautious approach, according to four officials on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
“We have to save our democracy. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy,” Pelosi said.
But Pelosi’s message did not go over well with several Democrats, who argued that Congress has a duty to hold Trump to account with impeachment despite the political blowback Pelosi has long feared.
Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, argued that as someone with more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement, she thought the House had enough evidence to proceed.
Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) said the party has a duty to openly discuss the downside of not impeaching Trump for his actions and the precedent it could set for the future.
Even House Financial Services Chairman Maxine Waters, who last week warned that “Congress’s failure to impeach is complacency in the face of the erosion of our democracy and constitutional norms,” did not push the matter. Instead, the California Democrat, a vocal Trump critic who is probing the president’s business practices before he won the 2016 election, made a point on the call of clarifying that she is not pressuring lawmakers to join her effort.
Waters instead spoke of her latest effort to subpoena a bank that lent money to Trump despite his bankruptcies. Just minutes before the call, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) subpoenaed former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who was a central witness in Mueller’s probe into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
Nadler also spoke on the call about his own next steps in investigating Trump.
According to an official on the call, leadership tried to emphasize that impeachment is not a political decision and that they would let the chairmen do what they need to keep investigating Trump. But Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) challenged that assertion, telling leadership not to “shy away from the notion that impeachment isn’t political.”
“It is political,” he retorted.
But leadership had allies. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), the leader of the centrist New Democrat Coalition, said he was committed to ensuring Trump doesn’t get reelected but also wondered if the party would guarantee the Republican’s second term with an impeachment push.
Himes asked for impeachment data from leaders so Democrats knew where the country was on the issue. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.) agreed.
According to a recent survey, roughly 6 in 10 Democrats said Congress should begin impeachment hearings in a Washington Post-Schar School poll conducted after Attorney General William P. Barr’s initial letter to Congress about the investigation’s findings but before the release of the final report. But the same survey found the public overall leaned against impeaching Trump, with 41 percent saying Congress should begin hearings and 54 percent saying lawmakers should not.
At one point on the call, a lawmaker brought up a question about whether House Democrats could censure the president. Nadler explained how it has no legal effect but would just be a simple expression of disapproval.
Nadler said it was an option, though did not endorse it explicitly.
Should Pelosi declare “no impeachment” flat out , she probably would undercut her chairmen’s bid to sue the Trump administration for the full Mueller report, including grand jury information. To get those documents, impeachment probably would have to be on the table, lawyers say, justifying the House move to get such information.
Republicans control the Senate, and even if the Democratic-led House voted to impeach Trump, it would take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday dismissed the notion of impeachment.
“Well, look, I think it’s time to move on. This investigation was about collusion, there’s no collusion, no charges brought against the president on anything else, and I think the American people have had quite enough of it,” McConnell said when questioned during a stop in Owensboro, Ky.
I think that is the biggest kicker. Like it or not, the impeachment process can not be won…and that will leave a defeated Democratic Congress and T 'n Co harrassing the impeachment subject as Dem’s not liking the result of the Mueller Report.
I agree that Dems have to show some teeth, and get at T’s records as hard as they can. I do want to see Dems start investigation proceedings, BUT I do think Pelosi is sharp, and I think she may be looking big picture (despite what the more vocal, and very right Dems want.) Pelosi sees this impeachment quest as a loss overall. Her strategy is to keep Dems moving with more wins ahead in 2020.
Oh, it’s complicated, dang it.
I get the feeling Nancy Pelosi wants to wait for Mueller to testify because she wants his intentions for congress to be on the record. If I were Speaker of the House, I’d totally “dog walk” Trump’s various crimes and misdeeds through each committee in the House.
But that’s just me.
Kamala Harris joins, Castro and Warren in calling for impeachment but doesn’t believe it will result in removal of the President.
Democratic 2020 hopeful Kamala Harris wants the House to impeach President Donald Trump, but doesn’t necessarily expect it to be a successful effort.
“I believe Congress should take the steps towards impeachment. But I want to say this, because it doesn’t end there,” the California senator said on a CNN-hosted town hall Monday. “I’m also a realist. … I have also witnessed folks in the United States Congress, and in particular in the GOP, who have been presented with many reasons to push back against this president and they have not.”