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Impeachment Inquiry into Trump 2019

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#442

:eyes: Letter from House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Cummings to SDNY Attorney Strauss dated July 19th, 2019, with regards to the Cohen case concerning the hush money payments from President Trump to various sex workers.

Chairman Cummings asking specifically if the SDNY followed the OLC policy of not indicting a sitting president. Now we wait with baited breath.


#443

As part of their strategy, Democrats plan to hone in on five areas of the Mueller report where they think the President clearly obstructed justice, including his efforts to fire the special counsel and to tamper with witnesses like his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the aides said.

Democrats also plan to press Mueller on the contacts with Russia and WikiLeaks detailed in the report, in the hopes that Mueller’s testimony can combat the President’s constant of “no collusion.”

[…]

Episodes of alleged obstruction

Democratic Judiciary Committee aides say they plan to use their testimony to connect the dots that were laid out in the volume two of the Mueller report, highlighting at least five episodes they feel could have been chargeable obstruction of justice offenses:

  • Trump’s direction to White House counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel.
  • Trump’s direction to McGahn to publicly deny that Trump had told him to fire Mueller.
  • Trump’s direction to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation to exclude the President and only focus on future campaigns
  • Trump’s followup direction to Lewandowski to tell Sessions he will fire him if he doesn’t meet with Lewandowski
  • Trump’s alleged witness tampering of Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and others, including encouraging them not to cooperate, dangling pardons and congratulating Manafort for not flipping.

House Intelligence Committee aides, meanwhile, say they plan to focus on the contacts with Russians and WikiLeaks highlighted in volume one of the report, including Trump’s knowledge of the WikiLeaks’ email dump ahead of time and the President’s touting of the stolen emails more than 100 times.

Their task is complicated by the fact that the section on Russian election interference is more complex, and some of the material is redacted, which is why that panel was pushing for a closed session with Mueller’s deputies where they could discuss classified information.

“A lot of attitudes have hardened on the subject of Trump and Russia and obstruction of justice, but nonetheless, if there’s anyone who can cast a new light on this issue, it’s the man who did the investigation and probably holds unique credibility with the public,” said House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff.

The California Democrat added: “Up until now, they’ve only had the Mueller report filtered through people like (Attorney General) Bill Barr, who misrepresented it. So it’s going to be vitally important for the public to hear from Mueller about how the Russians systematically interfered in our election, how the Trump campaign welcomed it, made use of it, and then lied about it to cover it up. That’s all very powerful.”


(David Bythewood) #444

House Democrat: Mueller testimony will help people ‘understand the gravity’ of Trump’s conduct


#445

Yes!


#446

This appears to be a good thing. I can tell that because Republicans are objecting. If they don’t want Zebley there, then he must know truths that they do not want to come out. The Republicans obstruct, obstruct, obstruct on Trump’s behalf. Not the sign of an innocent client who truly wants to get to the bottom of what happened.

All Barr can do is “object” since Zebley doesn’t work for the DOJ anymore. So screw Barr – for once, we Democrats should get our way.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s deputy Aaron Zebley is expected appear next to the special counsel as his counsel at Wednesday’s hearings on the special counsel’s report, according to a House Judiciary committee source.

Zebley will be there to advise Mueller, but the special counsel will be the only one answering the committee questions, the source said. Democrats only plan to swear in Mueller as a witness.

Mueller made the last-minute request to have his deputy sworn in for Wednesday’s blockbuster hearings before the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on the Mueller report, in case he needed to help with any questions the special counsel could not fully answer himself, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The Justice Department objected to Zebley or any others testifying alongside Mueller because it wasn’t authorized, according to a person familiar with the matter. The department’s practice generally precludes line attorneys from testifying.

But the bottom line is that Zebley and many others who were on Mueller’s staff are private citizens now, and the Justice Department cannot do much other than object.


#447

Cross-posting :pray:


#448

:newspaper: Header has been updated. Breaking news starts below. :point_down:


#449

Democrats are strengthening their court cases against Trump with this new measure. It is initially designed to bolster their subpoena power in one specific case (their attempt to obtain records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars, so they can determine if Trump lied in financial disclosures as Michael Cohen has alleged), but it will also strengthen House subpoenas in all other Trump-related investigations. :muscle:

House Democrats are preparing to pass a measure intended to strengthen their court case to access President Donald Trump’s personal financial information, a direct response to questions raised by a Trump-appointed judge during an Appeals Court hearing earlier this month.

The proposal, filed Tuesday afternoon by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), would formally declare that any committee subpoenas related to President Donald Trump, his family, current and former White House officials and the Trump Organization are presumed to have the blessing of the full House of Representatives. The Rules Committee is expected to advance the measure Tuesday night, and the House is expected to pass it on Wednesday.

“We want to make it doubly clear,” Raskin said in an interview. “Essentially, you know, it’s just making it perfectly clear that the committees are acting with the full authorities of Congress.

The measure, recommended by House counsel Doug Letter, responds to a line of questioning by Neomi Rao, a judge on the federal appeals court in Washington, who is one of three judges weighing a Democratic subpoena to access records from Trump’s personal accounting firm. During oral arguments earlier this month, Rao repeatedly wondered why the full House hadn’t voted to authorize the probe of Trump’s finances, which is being led by the House Oversight Committee.

Letter responded that the House rules explicitly authorize the committees to lead this work and that judges have no role second-guessing how the House delegates its power. But it appears he’s urging a House vote anyway to preempt Rao’s concerns.

"Whereas the validity of some of these investigations has been incorrectly challenged in Federal court on the ground that the investigations and subpoenas were not authorized by the full House … Resolved, That the House of Representatives ratifies and affirms all current and future investigations, as well as all subpoenas previously issued or to be issued in the future," the resolution reads.

Raskin’s measure will be tucked into a rule expected to be taken up by the House late Tuesday that governs pending pension legislation. It doesn’t change any House rules but attempts to clarify the House’s position amid the pushback from Rao and Trump’s personal lawyers.

A three-judge panel in the D.C. Appeals Court is weighing a Trump lawsuit to block the Oversight Committee’s subpoena to Mazars, Trump’s longtime accounting firm, for years’ worth of his financial data. It’s part of a probe into whether Trump has misrepresented his assets and liabilities, based on testimony from his former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen.


#450

Aaron Zebley, Mueller’s former chief of staff so far will be participating only in the 2nd half of the day during the House Intelligence Committee’s testimony with Mueller. Zebley will also be sworn in…this has been an ongoing question all day and now resolved. Perhaps the Judicial Committee will be able to do the same, but so far it is just the House Intelligence Committee.

Per Rachel Maddow as well.


#451

@matt I updated and expanded this thread. Please look it over and tell me what you think. Thanks :pray:


#452

FBI Director Wray Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Committee

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Judiciary regarding the committee’s oversight of the agency.

:star: Highlighted Clip:
Russia Still Intent on Interfering in Our Elections, FBI Director Warns

FBI Director Christopher Wray tells lawmakers at an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill that Russia is still intent on interfering in U.S. elections. Asked if he thought actions taken by the U.S. since 2016, including sanctions, have deterred the Russians from further interference, Director Wray says: “Until they stop, they haven’t been deterred enough.”


#453

:eyes: Letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi from Deputy Attorney General Jeffery Rosen, dated July 24th, 2019. In the letter DOJ is declining to prosecute the charge of Contempt of Congress against Attorney General Bill Barr and the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, citing executive privilege.

Read the story :point_down:


#454

Cross-posting :pray:


#455

House Democrats pushing for impeachment now face one of their most unusual enemies: August recess.

Beyond the usual month-long break at the end of summer, House leaders long ago set up a historically lengthy recess of almost 46 full days. Sometime Thursday, as the last votes are cast, lawmakers will bolt from the House and not return until Sept. 9, leaving behind a vacuum that makes it difficult to keep up the drumbeat for beginning impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Filling that void became more important after Wednesday’s testimony from Robert S. Mueller III landed without much drama. Democrats had spent weeks leading up to the much-hyped hearings promising that the former special counsel would provide electricity to his more than 400-page report on his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump tried to derail the inquiry.

“We want Bob Mueller to bring it to life,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.

Instead, the former FBI director played the part of a boring, at times halting, witness who did not want to be there.

Ouch, that’s biting!


#456

The House Oversight and Reform Committee voted on Thursday to authorize subpoenas for senior White House officials’ communications via private email accounts and messaging applications, a significant escalation in a years-long, bipartisan effort to learn more about potential violations of federal record-keeping laws.

Thursday’s vote by the Democrat-led panel came after the White House refused to turn over the messages voluntarily earlier this month — including senior adviser Jared Kushner’s WhatsApp communications with foreign officials, senior adviser Ivanka Trump’s use of a private email account to conduct official business, and former chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s use of a personal mobile device for White House business.


#457

Many Democrats long have considered Robert S. Mueller III a potential savior, as the agent of President Trump’s eventual undoing. Wednesday’s hearings on Capitol Hill probably shattered those illusions once and for all. If Democrats hope to end the Trump presidency, they will have to do so by defeating him at the ballot box in November 2020.

In reality, that has been the case for months. Still, scheduled testimony by the former special counsel before two House committees offered the possibility that he would say something that would suddenly change public perceptions and dramatically jump-start long-stalled prospects for an impeachment inquiry. That was certainly the Democrats’ goal. If anything, things could move in the opposite direction.

Regardless of the evidence of obstruction contained in Mueller’s report, impeachment is a fraught strategy for the Democrats, given public opinion and the dynamics in the Senate. After Wednesday, the prospects for impeachment appear more remote, which means it will be left to the eventual Democratic presidential nominee, with the help of the party, to develop a comprehensive case against the president, one that can win 270 electoral votes. To date, that hasn’t happened.


#458

Even after Mueller, the votes in the House have not changed in favor of impeachment.


#459

The Senate intelligence committee has released its report detailing Russia’s targeting of election systems in 2016 along with recommendations for protecting American elections from foreign interference.

The committee’s final report on election securityappeared Thursday as the 2020 presidential race gets underway in what promises to be a bitter and divisive election battle.

It also followed former Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s stark warning to lawmakers on Wednesday that Russia’s sprawling influence operation of 2016 was not a one-and-done.

“No, it wasn’t a single attempt,” Mueller said during some six hours of testimony about his Russia investigation, before two House committees. “They’re doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign.”


#460

Election security divides Congress after Mueller’s testimony

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, halted a bipartisan effort to beef up state election systems ahead of the 2018 election and on Thursday blocked Democrats from pushing forward a House-passed bill to authorize funding for the states.

McConnell said President Donald Trump’s administration has already made great strides to enhance election security, and he called the House bill “not a serious effort” coming from the same side that he said spent the past two years “hyping” Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Obviously, it’s very important that we maintain the integrity and security of our elections,” McConnell said Thursday.

The Senate already unanimously approved one bipartisan measure, which makes interference in elections a violation of immigration law. But Democrats — and some Republicans — say Congress must do more.

A report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee says the Russian government directed “extensive activity” against U.S. election systems ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The report, released Thursday, says states weren’t appropriately warned of the threat against their systems and warns many of them still have outdated voting machines.


#461

:eyes: Read the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. :point_down: