WTF Community

Day 824

Updated 4/23/2019 12:56 PM PDT

1/ The White House instructed a former security clearance official not to comply with a subpoena to testify before the House Oversight Committee. Carl Kline, former White House personnel security director, was responsible for the Trump administration's security clearance process. He oversaw the approval of at least 25 people for security clearances despite serious concerns raised during the vetting process. Trump's deputy counsel argued in a letter that the subpoena by the committee "unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests." Kline's attorney, meanwhile, said Kline is being forced to choose between "two masters from two equal branches of government," and that Kline intends to "follow the instructions of the one that employs him." (CNN / Axios / Daily Beast)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Can we please jail the people who are in contempt of Congress? You go to jail if you are in contempt of court.



Attorney General William Barr has received a waiver to participate in the investigation of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysian development company that has come under investigation by the FBI and DOJ for alleged money laundering.

The waiver, dated April 16, allows Barr to participate in “the investigation and litigation of the 1MDB matter in which his former law firm represents an entity involved in the matter.”

Barr was previously a lawyer for the firm Kirkland & Ellis, whose senior partner Mark Filip now represents Goldman Sachs in the 1MDB investigation.

The head of DOJ’s criminal division, Brian Benczkowski, is also a Kirkland & Ellis alum. But White House lawyer Emmet Flood issued an ethics waiver to Benczkowski in November that allowed him to participate in the 1MDB investigation.

The waiver could also give Barr a window into an investigation in the Eastern District of New York that involves the Trump Victory committee, a political action committee dedicated to re-electing Trump in 2020.

New York prosecutors are investigating whether Jho Low, a Malaysian fugitive accused of helping to steal around $4.5 billion from 1MDB, illegally donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory committee in December 2017. The prosecutors are also examining potentially illegal donations made by foreign nationals to Trump’s inaugural committee in 2017.

Low was indicted in the Eastern District of New York in October 2018 on money laundering and bribery charges.

And let’s not forget that before Benczkowski joined the DOJ, he had a job defending Russia’s Alfa Bank whose subsidiary, Amsterdam Trade Bank, is under investigation for money laundering (first reported by Reuters in 2017 and updated last month by Dutch News).



Next week is infrastructure week…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will meet with President Donald Trump next week to discuss infrastructure.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 30, at 10:30 a.m., according to a senior Democratic aide. The aide said Pelosi spoke with Trump by phone April 4 and requested the meeting.



Link courtesy of

The Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General has opened an investigation into whether six of President Trump’s appointees have violated federal ethics rules by engaging with their former employers or clients on department-related business.

The new inquiry, which the office confirmed in an April 18 letter to the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, is looking into senior Interior officials, including Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech, White House liaison Lori Mashburn, three top staffers at the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, and the department’s former energy policy adviser. The Campaign Legal Center detailed the officials’ actions in a Feb. 20 letter to the inspector general’s office, suggesting a probe is warranted.

To avoid conflicts of interest, Trump signed an executive order days after taking office that requires appointees to recuse themselves from specific matters involving their former employers and clients for two years. The complaint, which cites reports in HuffPost and the Guardian as well as extensive public records, outlines how a half-dozen political appointees at Interior continued to discuss policy matters with organizations that had employed them in the past. …

Downey Magallanes, who was a top adviser to Ryan Zinke, must also be held accountable. She engineered the directive that drastically shrunk the size of Bears Ears National Monument thus allowing BP to drill for oil there. She then abruptly quit and went to work for BP as “Senior Director, Federal Government Affairs” (aka, “Lobbyist”). This is in direct violation of the federal ethics pledge. She plundered a precious natural wonder, which had been held in trust for all Americans, in exchange for a cushy job. Details are in this previous post.

P.S. Just noticed that @matt already included this in “Notables” above. Oops – well I’ll leave it here since the excerpts may be useful. :blush:


If you’re wondering what Trump’s insane “the Mexicans drew guns on us” tweet is about:

Mexican troops accidentally found themselves questioning American soldiers on U.S. soil; global warming has dried up the Rio Grande and made it difficult to identify the border. The situation ended amicably until Trump tried to start trouble about it.

# MAGABomber Pipe bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc describes Trump rally as ‘new found drug’ Cesar Sayoc: Trump campaign rally a 'new found drug'

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Deutsche Bank has begun the process of providing financial records to New York state’s attorney general in response to a subpoena for documents related to loans made to President Donald Trump and his business, according to a person familiar with the production.

Last month, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas for records tied to funding for several Trump Organization projects.

The state’s top legal officer opened a civil probe after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress in a public hearing that Trump had inflated his assets. Cohen at that time presented copies of financial statements he said had been provided to Deutsche Bank


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