Democrats on the House Oversight Committee demanded Tuesday that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney deliver information related to the Trump administration’s handling of the 2017 hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
The Democrats made the demand in a new letter sent to Mulvaney as a follow-up to one signed by every Democratic member of the committee in early May. The initial letter asked the White House to produce all communications about Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria hit, killing thousands of people and devastating the island’s infrastructure.
“The President’s public defiance of all congressional oversight not only obstructs us from fulfilling our responsibility under the Constitution to conduct credible oversight, but it also insults the memory of the Americans who lost their lives as a result of this disaster,” wrote Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the Oversight Committee, and Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), chairman of the subcommittee on environment.
Cummings Announces Hearing Next Week With Acting DHS and CBP Heads on Separation and Treatment of Immigrant Children
Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, announced that the Committee has invited Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan from U.S. Customs and Border protection (CBP) to testify on July 12, 2019, regarding troubling new revelations about the Trump Administration’s family separation policy and harsh conditions at detention centers on the border.
“The Trump Administration’s actions at the southern border are grotesque and dehumanizing,” Cummings said. “There seems to be open contempt for the rule of law and for basic human decency. The Committee needs to hear directly from the heads of these agencies as soon as possible in light of the almost daily reports of abuse and defiance. I encourage Acting Secretary McAleenan and Acting Commissioner Morgan to appear voluntarily in order to answer these critical questions.”
The hearing will cover:
Reports of unaccompanied children—many of them separated from their families—in overcrowded and filthy conditions at Clint, Texas, and other facilities;
Racist, sexist, and xenophobic Facebook posts reportedly by current and former Border Patrol agents; and
A report issued this morning by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General on “dangerous overcrowding” and “prolonged detention of children.”
Cummings first invited McAleenan and Morgan to testify last week, but neither has confirmed his attendance.
Today, Cummings also sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about reports that Border Patrol agents created a secret group to post racist, sexist, and xenophobic content relating to immigrants and Members of Congress. Cummings expressed concern that the disturbing posts may violate CBP’s Standards of Conduct as well as Facebook’s Community Standards.
Click here to read the Committee’s latest letter to the Acting DHS Secretary.
Click here to read the letter to Facebook.
Click here to read the new report from the DHS Inspector General.
I’m one of the impatient Democrats pushing to accelerate the time tables of the many investigations into Trump. However, I’m also open to reassurance from astute legal commentators like Joyce Vance who make a good argument for moving with deliberation to create as strong a case as possible. Here’s her take on this latest filing:
FIRST JUDICIAL SUBPOENAS SERVED IN FOREIGN EMOLUMENTS CLAUSE LAWSUIT
LAWSUIT BROUGHT BY BLUMENTHAL, NADLER & 213 OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Donaldson’s written answers to the House Judiciary Committee. Read here
Update: read the story here
Cross-posting this awesome story!
Will he show up this time? Guess we’ll find out tomorrow.
Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Donald Trump who was the chief negotiator for the defunct Trump Tower Moscow project, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The closed-door interview will cap a protracted back-and-forth between Sater and the panel, which has rescheduled his appearance several times since he was first slated to appear in March.
Contempt! Contempt! Contempt!
I urge everyone to pop open the pdf of Donaldson’s “answers” and just take a minute to scroll through it. You can confirm yourself that she answers not one single question of substance. Not one! She answers questions related to her work history (public knowledge). She will also say that she was or was not at certain meetings held between McGahn and others, but when asked follow up questions, she refuses to answer. Here is the phrase she uses over 200 times:
“The White House has directed that I not respond to this question because of the constitutionally-based Executive Branch confidentiality interests that are implicated.”
The phrase does NOT invoke executive privilege – it’s just a double-speak way of saying, “I refuse to answer.”
I will be extremely disappointed – wait, let me correct that – mad as hell if the House Judiciary Committee does not hold Donaldson in contempt within a week. Come on Democrats, the clock ticking. Our Democracy is being dismantled brick by brick. We need to act swiftly, with conviction, and with the force of law behind us. No more, “stern letters,” etc. Let’s drive these investigations forward and uncover the truth – we can’t do that while Trump and his minions are openly obstructing justice.
The House Judiciary Committee moved Tuesday to authorize subpoenas for two separate issues: an array of documents and testimony related to the administration’s immigration policies and to former and current Trump administration officials, including the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, as part of its probe into potential obstruction of justice.
The committee is planning a Thursday vote to authorize the subpoenas, which would ratchet up the Democrat-led panel’s investigation into possible obstruction of justice and examination of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The vote would allow Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a Democrat from New York, to issue the subpoenas at his discretion.
I will update this post after the vote.
Lawmakers admit to not reading the Mueller Report.
You know this report right here.
Cross posting, sorry guys, I have a new puppy who needs a walk everyday exactly during the prime time congressional news breaks during the day. Thanks @matt for catching all the stories.
Two Russian Investigation prosecutors are in negotiations to talk w/ House Judiciary Committee - James Quarles (had worked on Watergate) and Aaron Zebley (cybersecurity specialty)
House Democrats Seek Closed-Door Testimony of Mueller Deputies
Two former prosecutors on special counsel’s team in negotiations to testify the same day as Robert Mueller’s open hearing
Byron Tau and
July 9, 2019 6:18 pm ET
WASHINGTON—House Democrats are seeking to hear from two senior deputies to former special counsel Robert Mueller in closed-door testimony on Capitol Hill next week, the latest attempt to learn more about the Russia investigation in the face of Mr. Mueller’s vow to only discuss the facts laid out in his report.
Two former prosecutors on the special counsel’s team, James Quarles and Aaron Zebley have been in negotiations to testify behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee on the same day that Mr. Mueller would appear…
And look…DOJ wants to control their testimony…
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is seeking to discourage Robert S. Mueller III’s deputies from testifying before Congress, potentially jeopardizing an agreement for two of the former prosecutors to answer lawmakers’ questions in private next week, according to two government officials familiar with the matter.
The department told the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees last week that it was opposed to the testimony and had communicated its view to the two former members of Mr. Mueller’s team, Aaron Zebley and James L. Quarles III, according to a senior congressional official familiar with the discussions. A Justice Department official confirmed that account and said that the department had instructed both men not to appear.
It is unclear what effect the Justice Department’s intervention will have on the men’s eventual appearances, but it raises the prospect that a deal lawmakers thought they had struck last month for testimony from Mr. Mueller, the former special counsel, and the two prosecutors could still unravel.
A migrant woman whose 19-month-old daughter died weeks after being released from a U.S. detention facility gave emotional testimony at a congressional hearing Wednesday, saying her daughter died because of "neglect and mistreatment."
Yazmin Juárez, who left Guatemala with her daughter Mariee to seek asylum in the United States, spoke about her daughter’s death during a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on Wednesday afternoon. Mariee died of a viral lung infection in May of last year, her mother said, a few weeks after being released from the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We came to America, where I hoped to build a better, safer life for my daughter Mariee,” Juárez said in Spanish, sitting next to a photo of herself and her daughter. “Unfortunately, I watched my baby girl die, slowly and painfully. A few months before her second birthday, she ceased to exist.”
Watch the full hearing here
Watch just Yazmin Juárez‘s testimony here
I watched her testimony but not the entire hearing, just FYI.
Update: I wanted to include links to the original story that we previously tracked on the Immigration Thread.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a dozen new subpoenas targeting a who’s who of witnesses cited in Robert S. Mueller III’s report as Democrats sought to elevate their showdown with President Trump over episodes of possible obstruction of justice documented by the special counsel.
The panel also approved a separate group of subpoenas seeking information about the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their families at the border. And House Democratic leaders set Tuesday for a full House vote to hold Attorney General William P. Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress over their refusal to relinquish documents related to the administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Cross posting thanks
@matt I maxed out the character count in the header. I was 2,000 over the 70,000 max. I have this backed up locally. Any suggestions on how I should proceed? I could spilt it into monthly threads? Or individual committees? Or create a new companion wiki thread and leave this thread a posting thread?
Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is offering to postpone his congressional testimony by one week to give lawmakers more time to question him about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.
Mueller is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 17 in a much-anticipated public appearance since he gave a short statement following the conclusion of his nearly two-year investigation. Mueller is perhaps the one person lawmakers and the nation have been wanting to hear from the most.
His offer to appear instead on July 24 is being considered by the congressional panels, according to multiple officials familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity Friday to discuss sensitive talks.
The House voted Friday to curb President Trump’s ability to strike Iran militarily on Friday, adopting a bipartisan provision that would require the president to get Congress’s approval before authorizing military force against Tehran.
The 251-170 vote reflects lawmakers’ growing desire to take back long-ceded authority over matters of war and peace from the executive branch, a reclamation legislators contend has grown increasingly urgent amid escalating tensions with Iran. It also reflected a war weariness on both sides of the aisle after 17 years of conflict in the Middle East; 27 Republicans joined all but seven Democrats to approve it.
Last month, Mr. Trump led the United States to the brink of a retaliatory missile strike before abruptly reversing course minutes before launch. On Thursday, three Iranian boats briefly tried to block passage of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defense.
Mr. Trump said last month he believes he does not need congressional approval to strike Iran. The vote Friday amounted to a pointed and bipartisan rebuttal — led by strange ideological bedfellows, Representatives Ro Khanna, a liberal Democrat from California, and Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of Mr. Trump’s most strident Republican allies in Congress.