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Congressional Oversight 2020 - election edition


(David Bythewood) #85

She got it right.


House panel votes to give all members access to classified intel on foreign ‘disinformation’ campaign

The House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday voted to allow all House members to view classified intelligence that Democratic leaders provided to the FBI warning about a foreign “disinformation” campaign targeting the 2020 presidential election.

Last week, Democratic congressional leaders sent FBI Director Chris Wray a letter urging an FBI briefing to all lawmakers about the foreign interference efforts. Sources told CNN the Democrats’ classified addendum included concerns about a Russian-linked “disinformation” campaign to target former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, including that information from entities with ties to Russia was being provided to Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, who is leading an investigation into Biden.

Democrats have not publicly explained the material they shared with the FBI. The Intelligence Committee voted behind closed doors to make the classified addendum available to any House member who requests it. The vote was along party lines, with Republicans opposed, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

(David Bythewood) #87

So, as usual, the GOP voted against any form of intelligence.


Watch: Heads of Facebook, Amazon, Apple & Google Testify on Antitrust Law

The heads of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook testified on antitrust law before a House Judiciary subcommittee.

Note: This is happening on the periphery of today’s Trump news, I’m including it because it’s the first hearing of its kind and the way tech has influenced our culture I find it to whole heartedly relevant to all politics, including the Trump Administration.


This is sooo hard to watch, all the lying and double-speak and dumbassery, both testifiers and GOP questioners. These men sitting here completely unfazed by any difficult questions b/c they have unshakeable confidence they will continue to get away with whatever they want.

HOWEVER. It is almost worth it just to see Reps Demmings and Jayapal DRAGGGGGG these motherfuckers like lionesses with bloody pieces of prey. :raised_hands:


Engel subpoenas State Dept. for Biden documents given to Senate Republicans

Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, subpoenaed the State Department on Friday demanding copies of documents that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already provided to Senate Republicans investigating Joe Biden.

Engel indicated he subpoenaed the documents because the department had ignored his initial request to share copies of any material being provided to the Senate. Democrats view the Senate GOP investigation, led by Sen. Ron Johnson’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, as an effort to smear Biden on false corruption allegations related to his diplomacy in Ukraine.

“After trying to stonewall virtually every oversight effort by the Foreign Affairs Committee in the last two years, Mr. Pompeo is more than happy to help Senate Republicans advance their conspiracy theories about the Bidens,” Engel said in a statement. “I want to see the full record of what the department has sent to the Senate and I want the American people to see it too.”

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Engel has threatened to subpoena for the documents since May, when Johnson’s probe began ramping up.



This isn’t Congressional oversight but related.

D.A. Is Investigating Trump and His Company Over Fraud, Filing Suggests

The Manhattan district attorney’s office suggested on Monday that it has been investigating President Trump and his company for possible bank and insurance fraud, a significantly broader inquiry than the prosecutors have acknowledged in the past.

The office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., made the disclosure in a new federal court filing arguing Mr. Trump should have to comply with its subpoena seeking eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns. Mr. Trump has asked a judge to declare the subpoena invalid.

The prosecutors did not directly identify the focus of their inquiry but said that “undisputed” news reports last year about Mr. Trump’s business practices make it clear that the office had a legal basis for the subpoena.

The reports, including investigations into the president’s wealth and an article on the congressional testimony of his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, said that the president may have illegally inflated his net worth and the value of his properties to lenders and insurers. Lawyers for Mr. Trump have said he did nothing wrong.


A Manhattan prosecutor trying to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns told a judge Monday that he was justified in demanding them, citing public reports of “extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization.”

Trump’s lawyers last month said the grand jury subpoena for the tax returns was issued in bad faith and amounted to harassment of the president.

Manhattan District Attorney District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. is seeking eight years of the Republican president’s personal and corporate tax records, but has disclosed little about what prompted him to request the records, other than part of the investigation is related to payoffs made to women to keep them quiet about alleged affairs with Trump.

In a court filing Monday, though, attorneys for Vance said Trump’s arguments that the subpoena was too broad stemmed from “the false premise” that the probe was limited to so-called “hush-money” payments.

“This Court is already aware that this assertion is fatally undermined by undisputed information in the public record,” Vance’s lawyers wrote.

They said public reporting demonstrates that at the time the subpoena was issues “there were public allegations of possible criminal activity at Plaintiff’s New York County-based Trump Organization dating back over a decade.”

These reports describe transactions involving individual and corporate actors based in New York County, but whose conduct at times extended beyond New York’s borders. This possible criminal activity occurred within the applicable statutes of limitations, particularly if the transactions involved a continuing pattern of conduct,” the lawyers said.

The lawyers urged Judge Victor Marrero to swiftly reject Trump’s arguments, saying the baseless claims were threatening the investigation. Marrero, who ruled against Trump last year, has scheduled arguments to be fully submitted by mid-August.

Every day that goes by is another day Plaintiff effectively achieves the ‘temporary absolute immunity’ that was rejected by this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court,” Vance’s lawyers said. “Every such day also increases the prospect of a loss of evidence or the expiration of limitations periods — the precise concerns that the Supreme Court observed justified its rejection of Plaintiff’s immunity claim in the first place.

The Supreme Court last month rejected claims by Trump’s lawyers that the president could not be criminally investigated while he was in office.


New FBI Documents From Mueller’s Russia Investigation Reveal What Witnesses Said About Trump

BuzzFeed News filed a public records lawsuit to get the documents Robert Mueller used to write his report. Today, we are publishing the ninth installment of what witnesses in the investigation told Mueller’s team.




Cross-posting :pray: I read a tweet about it but didn’t follow up yesterday and then forgot this happened.


Watch: Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 2


  1. The Honorable Sally Q. Yates
    Former Deputy Attorney General Of The United States
    Atlanta , GA


Sen Johnson (R-Wis)and Sen Grassley (R- Iowa) push back on the Democratic quotient of the Gang of Eight saying these two are not pushing to distribute disinformation regarding Biden and son Hunter. At stake here is the intelligence known to the Gang of Eight the multiple attempts of Russia, China etc to interfere with the 2020 election.

Two top Republican senators denied on Wednesday that they are pushing Russian disinformation, responding directly to charges from Democratic congressional leaders who have demanded additional public disclosures about the Kremlin’s interference in the 2020 presidential election.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who are spearheading investigations targeting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter, maintained that they have “neither sought out, relied upon, nor publicly released anything that could even remotely be considered disinformation.”

“It is certainly our goal to eradicate foreign influence from our elections,” Johnson and Grassley wrote in a letter responding to the Democrats. “But your use of this issue to knowingly and recklessly promote false narratives for political purposes is completely contrary to that goal.”

Their letter was addressed to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.), and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

The four lawmakers make up the Democratic half of the Gang of Eight, the group of congressional and intelligence committee leaders who are privy to top-secret intelligence. Representatives for the Democrats did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Last month, the group demanded a briefing for all members of Congress focused on foreign interference in the 2020 election, based on their assertions that lawmakers are being targeted by those meddling efforts. They have also urged the Trump administration to publicly reveal additional information about the nature of the foreign-influence campaign. Intelligence officials told House lawmakers last week that the Russians are seeking to boost President Donald Trump in the 2020 campaign.

The public version of the letter was vague about those threats, but POLITICO reported that the classified addendum to the letter specifically names Johnson’s investigation as vehicle for “laundering” a foreign influence campaign aimed at denigrating Biden.

POLITICO also reported that the addendum states that a Ukrainian lawmaker, Andrii Derkach, sent information about Biden to Johnson, Grassley and other Trump allies who have pushed similar corruption claims against the Bidens. The senators have denied receiving such informational packets from Derkach, a Ukrainian lawmaker linked to the Kremlin who has long attempted to tar Biden.

Johnson and Grassley confirmed in the letter that the addendum does, in fact, mention the Biden investigation and the Derkach packets. They also said they did not receive access to the classified addendum until “late last week.”



From Marcy Wheeler - - Analyzes back and forth between Judiciary committee members…each of the R’s berating ex Deputy AG Sally Yates, to get in their points about 7 incorrect Fisa applications, Bruce Orr, Christopher Steele and how Gen Flynn was only pushing T’s agenda when talking to Kislyak.

Adding this



Last Senate Intelligence report has been adopted as the final report…after it has been declassified. Wonder what it will look like…it was the report which Former Intel Co-head Sen Burr
signed off on.

Seldin Reporter for VOA

he Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday voted to adopt its fifth and final report on Russia’e election interference efforts in 2016, with committee leaders vowing to keep working towards releasing a declassified version of the report to the public.

The fifth report, the product of a years-long bipartisan investigation by the committee, covers counterintelligence findings, and was recently returned to the committee following a declassification review by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.




Appeals court rules against Trump, says House can sue to enforce McGahn subpoena

A federal appeals court on Friday upheld the House’s subpoena of former White House counsel Don McGahn, ruling that Congress has the right to enforce its subpoenas in court.

The 7-2 decision from the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses an earlier ruling from a three-judge panel that declared that congressional subpoenas were essentially unenforceable.

"The Constitution charges Congress with certain responsibilities, including to legislate, to conduct oversight of the federal government, and, when necessary, to impeach and remove a President or other Executive Branch official from office," Judge Judith Rogers wrote in the majority opinion. "Possession of relevant information is an essential precondition to the effective discharge of all of those duties."

(David Bythewood) #103

One again they make no pretense to shutting down any real transparency.

Pompeo rejects Congress’ subpoenas for IG, Biden probe info

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday rejected congressional subpoenas issued for him and for the State Department to provide information and testimony to lawmakers about two politically charged developments. The refusals set the stage for an escalation in the confrontation between the State Department and the Democratic-controlled House ahead of November’s elections.

In letters sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Pompeo and the State Department’s acting legislative affairs chief said they had no intention of complying with the subpoenas. They said the subpoenas were politically motivated, without merit, and unnecessary as the information and testimony could be otherwise obtained. The letters were obtained by The Associated Press shortly after they were sent to Capitol Hill.

While congressional subpoenas are legally binding, the Trump administration through various Cabinet agencies has repeatedly refused to comply with House demands with little consequence. There was no immediate response to the letters from the committee, although the panel later announced it was seeking testimony from another official in an unrelated matter.

In one letter, Pompeo said committee chairman, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, was out of line in issuing the subpoenas, which he said were “outrageous” and ignored the State Department’s good faith efforts to answer questions about the firing of the department’s inspector general and the provision of Ukraine-related documents to Republican-controlled Senate committees.

Engel had issued the subpoenas on July 31 and Aug. 3, complaining that Pompeo and the State Department were “stonewalling” repeated requests for information on both matters.

The first subpoena demanded that the State Department turn over to Engel’s committee copies of thousands of pages of documents he said the department had given to the Senate regarding former Vice President Joe Biden as well as his son, Hunter, for his work for a gas company in Ukraine while his father was vice president.

It also asked for internal department emails about responding to Congress. It said Pompeo had delivered more than 16,000 pages of records to the Senate but refused to send the same materials to the Democrat-led House.

In response, the State Department’s acting head of legislative affairs, Ryan Kaldahl, said the agency was not obliged to provide the documents to any committee not conducting its own investigation into the matter. He suggested that Engel’s committee seek copies from its Senate counterparts.

Kaldahl also said the committee had not shown that its demand was for a legitimate legislative purpose and suggested that it was entirely partisan. “The department is unable to consider whether any accommodation is possible in response to the committee’s requests unless the committee explains in detail its legislative purpose,” he wrote.

The second subpoena demanded the testimony of four senior State Department officials about the firing in May of department Inspector General Stephen Linick, which Democrats have alleged came in retaliation for probes the watchdog was conducting into Pompeo. Pompeo has denied knowledge of any investigation into his own conduct.

In rejecting that subpoena, Pompeo said in a letter to Engel that most of the officials in question, including the Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao and others, were prepared to be interviewed voluntarily and repeated that offer.

“Mr. Bulatao and the other requested witnesses will appear and unambiguously refute your baseless accusations and provide full transparency before the elected representatives of the American people,” Pompeo wrote.

“Furthermore, let me express how outrageous it is for you to suggest that the depart,ent is ‘stonewalling’ any investigation into the president’s replacing of Steve Linick,” he wrote, citing at least four offers for Bulatao and others to appear before the committee.

Congressional aides have said those offers were unacceptable because they were contingent on dropping other avenues of inquiry.

Shortly after the letters were sent, Engel announced he was seeking testimony in an unrelated matter from the U.S. ambassador to Britain, Robert “Woody” Johnson on Sept. 30. Johnson is alleged to have tried to weigh in with British officials to move the British Open golf tournament to one of Trump’s resorts and also is accused of inappropriate racist and sexist behavior.

This is not the first time Pompeo has rebuffed a House subpoena. He did not comply with a subpoena to provide documents during the House’s impeachment inquiry into Trump ast year, and several other Trump administration officials refused to testify in that probe.

The administration’s record of complying with subpoenas is poor and has left congressional Democrats flustered with little recourse except in the courts.

The House Judiciary Committee sued former White House Counsel Donald McGahn for his refusal to testify about former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report in April 2019, and that case has been tied up in courts. On Friday, an appeals court said that the committee can make the claim in court, reversing an earlier court decision.

While the decision was good news for the committee, the matter won’t be resolved any time soon. One of the dissenting judges in that case noted that the House session ends Jan. 3, and “the chances that the committee hears McGahn’s testimony anytime soon are vanishingly slim.”


:pushpin: Re-upping this Profile on Pompeo from the New Yorker. He’s a Koch brothers candidate, who has very limited experience in public service, who once derided Trump in 2016 as, “an authoritarian President who ignored our Constitution.” American soldiers “don’t swear an allegiance to President Trump or any other President,” in a comparison to Obama.

In Washington, Pompeo found a way onto the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the critical panel for the business interests of his Kansas patrons. He appointed a former Koch lawyer as his chief of staff and acquired a reputation as a fierce defender of the Kochs. “Stop Harassing the Koch Brothers” was the title of an op-ed that he wrote in 2012, in which he dismissed attacks on them as “evidence of a truly Nixonian approach to politics.” Two years later, he called the Kochs “great men.” His loyalty was rewarded: according to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016 he received more campaign funds from the Kochs’ network than any other candidate in the country.