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.