I hadn’t heard this point yet.
Giuliani associate wants to testify that Nunes aides hid Ukraine meetings on Biden dirt from Schiff
The lawyer for an indicted business associate of Rudy Giuliani said his client is prepared to testify under oath that aides to Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, scrapped a trip to Ukraine this year when they realized it would mean notifying Democratic Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff.
Lev Parnas would tell Congress that the purpose of the planned trip was to interview two Ukrainian prosecutors who claim to have evidence that could help President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, Parnas’ attorney, Joseph Bondy, told CNBC. Nunes is one of Trump’s most outspoken defenders in Congress. Giuliani is one of the president’s personal lawyers.
But when Nunes’ staff realized that going to Ukraine themselves would mean alerting Schiff to their plans, they instead asked Parnas to set up the meetings for them over phone and Skype, which he did, according to Bondy.
Double posting!!! @Pet_Proletariat…
More details (still to be confirmed) that some of Nunes’ team were in fact in touch with Ukrainians this year, in March in search of dirt on Joe Biden’s son but used Skype in lieu of travelling there so that Chair Schiff would not have to be notified.
Lev Parnas, a business associate of Rudy Giuliani, wants to testify to Congress that aides to Rep. Devin Nunes called off a trip to Ukraine this year when they realized they would be required to notify Democratic committee chairman Adam Schiff.
The purpose of the trip was to interview two Ukrainian prosecutors who claim to have evidence that could help President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, according to Parnas’ lawyer.
- Parnas also alleges that Nunes, a leading Trump ally, himself traveled to Vienna last year to interview a potential source of political dirt on Joe Biden.
For more than a year, Parnas has also worked closely with Giuliani to dig up dirt on Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine in advance of the 2020 presidential election, according to Bondy. During that time, Trump and his allies in Congress have pushed unfounded claims that Biden intervened in a Ukrainian criminal investigation, and that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The Nunes team’s scrapped trip to Ukraine has not been previously reported, nor have the meetings that Bondy said his client arranged in place of the overseas trip. The meetings took place in late March, and Derek Harvey, a senior investigator for Nunes, represented the congressman, according to Bondy. One of the meetings was with Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky, and it was held over Skype, Parnas would tell Congress. The second, Bondy said, was a phone call Parnas arranged for Harvey with a deputy in Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s office, Konstantin Kulik.
Both Kulik and Kholodnytsky have repeatedly claimed they witnessed corruption by Democratic operatives in Ukraine during the 2016 election. Neither official has produced evidence to support his account. A Nunes spokesman did not respond to several requests for comment about what Parnas would reveal to Congress.
The Bad Arguments That Trump Didn’t Commit Bribery
In this article they dig into the common law meaning of bribery vs the modern federal statute and more! I’ve been looking for quality reading on this very subject. Why didn’t I think to check Lawfare?
This understanding of bribery has persisted since the Founding. For example, in 1868, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, relying on Founding-era treatises and English common law, held that “any attempt to influence an officer in his official conduct, whether in the executive, legislative, or judicial department of the government, by the offer of a reward or pecuniary consideration, is an indictable common law misdemeanor”—specifically, the common law offense of bribery. State v. Ellis , 33 N.J.L. 102, 104 (Sup. Ct. 1868). And in 1896, the Maine Supreme Court observed that “[b]ribery at common law is the crime of offering any undue reward or remuneration to any public officer or other person intrusted with a public duty, with a view to influence his behavior in the discharge of his duty. The taking as well as the offering or receiving of such reward constitutes the crime, when done with a corrupt intent.” State v. Miles , 36 A. 70, 72 (1896).
And while the definition of bribery under the Impeachment Clause is not reliant on federal statutory law, there, too, the solicitation and offering of a bribe is bribery. As a federal appeals court explained, the statute “is violated even though the official offered a bribe is not corrupted, or the object of the bribe could not be attained, or it could make no difference if after the act were done it turned out that there had been actually no occasion to seek to influence any official conduct.” In other words, as many criminal law experts pointed out when Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham suggested that attempted bribery did not rise to the level of impeachability, the modern crime of bribery includes attempted bribery.
The anticipated ruling on McGahn testimony is today.
Impeachment inquiry live updates: Court ruling on McGahn testimony expected; more transcripts could be released
A federal judge has said she will rule by the end of the day on whether former White House counsel Donald McGahn must testify before Congress. House investigators could release transcripts of two more witnesses deposed behind closed doors. And the House Intelligence Committee is pulling together a report on what was gleaned from public testimony to send to the Judiciary Committee ahead of the drafting of articles of impeachment.
Democrats are seeking to build a case that Trump leveraged military assistance and an Oval Office meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in exchange for investigations of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden and a debunked theory alleging Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
●White House review turns up emails showing extensive effort to justify Trump’s decision to block Ukraine military aid.
●House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) says Democrats will press forward despite lack of testimony from key impeachment witnesses.
●Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) denies allegationhe met with top Ukrainian prosecutor about Bidens.
FBI and US District Attorney (in NY) subpoenas documents from Giuliani & Associates which may lead to indictments on money laundering, campaign finance malfeasance, Obstruction of Justice and a whole host of crimes linked to Ex Major Rudy Giuliani and thereby T.
Subpoenas issued to people with ties to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates indicate a broad federal investigation into possible money laundering, obstruction of justice and campaign-finance violations, and suggest that prosecutors are looking closely at the work of Mr. Giuliani himself, according to people familiar with the matter.
In recent weeks, prosecutors have sent subpoenas and other requests to potential witnesses seeking records and information related to Mr. Giuliani and two of his associates, according to the people. The investigation, led by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has already led to campa ign-finance charges against the associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.
The subpoenas offer the clearest indication yet that federal prosecutors are examining Mr. Giuliani’s consulting work. Among the entities named in the subpoenas are Giuliani Partners, a security-consulting firm founded by Mr. Giuliani in 2002 that had multiple foreign clients, including a city in Ukraine. The subpoenas also sought information on a company co-founded by Mr. Parnas that paid Mr. Giuliani for business and legal advice.
Mr. Giuliani said in an interview that he hadn’t been contacted by prosecutors and has denied wrongdoing.
Subpoenas described to The Wall Street Journal listed more than a half dozen potential charges under consideration: obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, along with mail fraud and wire fraud.
Rudy and the company he keeps, which are a couple of Russian Oligarchs who help fund the deals, and they all share lawyers. See everyone trying to deny that those relationships were a big nothing.
Busses are being driven and people are being thrown under them…
VIENNA — They were two Ukrainian oligarchs with American legal problems. One had been indicted on federal bribery charges. The other was embroiled in a vast banking scandal and was reported to be under investigation by the F.B.I.
And they had one more thing in common: Both had been singled out by Rudolph W. Giuliani and pressed to assist in his wide-ranging hunt for information damaging to one of President Trump’s leading political rivals, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
That effort culminated in the July 25 phone call between the American and Ukrainian presidents that has taken Mr. Trump to the brink of impeachment and inexorably brought Mr. Giuliani’s Ukrainian shadow campaign into the light.
In public hearings over the last two weeks, American diplomats and national-security officials have laid out in detail how Mr. Trump, at the instigation and with the help of Mr. Giuliani, conditioned nearly $400 million in direly needed military aid on Ukraine’s announcing investigations into Mr. Biden and his son, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
But interviews with the two Ukrainian oligarchs — Dmitry Firtash and Ihor Kolomoisky — as well as with several other people with knowledge of Mr. Giuliani’s dealings, point to a new dimension in his exertions on behalf of his client, Mr. Trump. Taken together, they depict a strategy clearly aimed at leveraging information from politically powerful but legally vulnerable foreign citizens.
In the case of Mr. Firtash, an energy tycoon with deep ties to the Kremlin who is facing extradition to the United States on bribery and racketeering charges, one of Mr. Giuliani’s associates has described offering the oligarch help with his Justice Department problems — if Mr. Firtash hired two lawyers who were close to President Trump and were already working with Mr. Giuliani on his dirt-digging mission. Mr. Firtash said the offer was made in late June when he met with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both Soviet-born businessmen involved in Mr. Giuliani’s Ukraine pursuit.
Mr. Parnas’s lawyer, Joseph A. Bondy, confirmed that account and added that his client had met with Mr. Firtash at Mr. Giuliani’s direction and encouraged the oligarch to help in the hunt for compromising information “as part of any potential resolution to his extradition matter.”
In the interview, Mr. Firtash said he had no information about the Bidens and had not financed the search for it. “Without my will and desire,” he said, “I was sucked into this internal U.S. fight.” But to help his legal case, he said, he had paid his new lawyers $1.2 million to date, with a portion set aside as something of a referral fee for Mr. Parnas.
And in late August, Ms. Toensing and Mr. diGenova did as promised: They went to the Justice Department and pleaded Mr. Firtash’s case with the attorney general, William P. Barr.
In an interview, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that he had sought information helpful to Mr. Trump from a member of Mr. Firtash’s original legal team. But, Mr. Giuliani said, “the only thing he could give me was what I already had, hearsay.” Asked if he had then directed his associates to meet with Mr. Firtash, Mr. Giuliani initially said, “I don’t think I can comment,” but later said, “I did not tell Parnas to do anything with Firtash.”
He added, though, that there would be nothing improper about seeking information about the Bidens from the oligarchs. “Where do you think you get information about crime?” he said.
Federal Judge Rules That McGahn Must Testify, Delivering Blow To White House
A federal judge in Washington has ruled that former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify to House impeachment investigators, despite orders from the Trump administration that he not cooperate with Congress.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson clears the way for McGahn’s testimony sought by House Democrats in exploring Trump’s possible obstruction of justice related to the Russia probe.
Jackson declared in her 118-page ruling that “no one is above the law.”
She added: “However busy or essential a presidential aide might be, and whatever their proximity to sensitive domestic and national-security projects, the President does not have the power to excuse him or her from taking an action that the law requires.”
The ruling could have implications for other key witnesses, such as former national security adviser John Bolton who has refused to testify until a federal court weighs in on the conflict between Congress and the White House.
The Trump administration is expected to appeal, which could delay McGahn’s testimony to House investigators.
White House lawyers have said McGahn is among a small cadre of current and former senior administration officials who cannot be forced to testify about matters related to the president since it risks revealing information that is protected under executive privilege. At a hearing last month, a Justice Department attorney said McGahn and other former top White House aides are shielded by “absolute immunity.”
Yet Jackson was deeply skeptical about this argument, citing the challenge of enforcing it in light of the high rate of turnover among Oval Office aides. She suggested at the hearing that the legislature would be impeded in carrying out its basic oversight power if lawmakers could not call witnesses as part of an investigation into the president. She called the Trump administration’s position that top aides are immune from testifying before Congress “peculiar.”
In her ruling on Monday, Jackson said Office of Legal Counsel opinion from the White House, which Trump administration lawyers cited in defense of its “absolute immunity” argument, are not legally binding.
“Thus—to be crystal clear—what is at issue in this case is solely whether senior level presidential aides, such as McGahn, are legally required to respond to a subpoena that a committee of Congress has issued, by appearing before the committee for testimony despite any presidential directive prohibiting such a response,” Jackson wrote. “McGahn ‘must appear before the Committee to provide testimony, and invoke executive privilege where appropriate.’”
McGahn was seen as the star witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. He told Mueller’s investigators that Trump had ordered him to fire Mueller. McGahn told investigators that a day after the revelation broke in the press, Trump asked him to write a letter denying that the president had wanted Mueller fired.
“Each time he was approached, McGahn responded that he would not refute the press accounts because they were accurate in reporting on the President’s effort to have the Special Counsel removed,” according to Mueller’s findings.
McGahn said he would rather quit than fire Mueller. McGahn stepped down as White House counsel in October 2018.
As court battles wage on over witnesses, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., says lawmakers are now writing a report summarizing key findings about Trump’s alleged pressure campaign with Ukraine.
In a letter on Monday to House lawmakers, Schiff said the witnesses over the past six weeks have presented “overwhelming, unchallenged, and damning” evidence that Trump abused his office by using military assistance approved by Congress in order to push Ukrainian authorities to open up politically beneficial investigations.
“Over the course of our inquiry, we have uncovered a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest,” Schiff wrote.
Schiff said he expects to deliver the report to the Judiciary Committee shortly after Congress returns from Thanksgiving break.
From there, the Judiciary committee can draft articles of impeachment.
Schiff said investigators are still open to additional hearings and witness questioning, but lawmakers would not allow what he called the White House’s stonewalling of witnesses slow down the process.
Investigators hoped to hear from Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Bolton, but since the White House prevented them from appearing, House investigators will now consider the Trump’s administration’s blocking the witnesses a type of obstruction that “demonstrates consciousness of guilt on the part of the President.”
Earlier on Monday, Trump tweeted that “support for impeachment is dropping like a rock.” The president has repeatedly slammed the impeachment inquiry as a “phony” and “sham” process that lacks evidence and is politically motivated.
Judge Rules: McGahn Must Testify
Posting in Impeachment thread since this may impact whether or not Bolton testifies.
A federal judge decided Monday that President Donald Trump’s former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify to the House of Representatives in its impeachment probe.
“However busy or essential a presidential aide might be, and whatever their proximity to sensitive domestic and national-security projects, the President does not have the power to excuse him or her from taking an action that the law requires,” Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote.
The ruling is a blow to Trump and White House efforts to block parts of the impeachment inquiry. It could encourage resistant witnesses from the administration to testify and could bolster any case House Democrats make to impeach the President for obstructing its proceedings or obstructing justice.
This is a controversial topic within the Democratic party. Ultimately, I’ll back whatever Pelosi and the party leadership decides. However, given my druthers, I’m with these folks.
Even if the House committees write articles of impeachment focused solely on the 2019 Ukraine scandal, I hope they will also forge ahead with two related investigations:
The first time Trump allegedly bribed Ukraine back in 2017 – when all the signs point to him handing U.S. missiles to Ukraine in exchange for them ceasing cooperation in the investigation of Paul Manafort.
These two additional investigations organically grow out of the current one, since if the allegations prove true (and there is plenty of probable cause here), it would establish a pattern of Trump abusing his power to bribe and extort foreign governments for his own personal gain.
These House investigations would not need to hold up the impeachment process in the Senate. They could be going on in the House even while the Senate is deliberating on whatever impeachment articles the House delivered to them. The House could then simply produce a report of their findings or they could decide to proceed with a new impeachment process. There’s no law against a President being impeached multiple times.
Judge Jackson’s Ruling on Don McGahn
Perhaps some movement from John Bolton, now that the McGahn verdict is here.
Trolls…or those kids again, are entering the twittersphere to jam things up…
I was not sure if all public persons have a blue verified check mark next to their name…
I don’t think that’s a real account. I reported it as a fake account to see the report.
Any other 80’s kids have “trust but verify” embedded into their brains? What is that? Reagan? Bush?
Update: not a real account
Reagan speak…and another reference to Russia.
The phrase " Trust but verify " was made famous by Ronald Reagan in December 1987 after the signing of the INF Treaty with Mikhail Gorbachev Source for Trust But Verify
Yup…must do that.
Supreme Court blocks House committee from immediately reviewing Trump’s financial records
Supreme Court blocks subpoena for Trump financial records
The ruling blocks a House subpoena directing Trump’s accounting firm to turn over financial documents, giving the president a temporary legal victory.
The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a House committee from immediately reviewing President Trump’s financial records, after the president’s lawyers agreed to an expedited review of a lower-court ruling granting access.
The court’s action signals that, even as Congress considers impeaching Trump, the court will undertake a more complete consideration of the legal powers of Congress and state prosecutors to investigate the president while he is in office.
The court instructed Trump’s lawyers to file a petition by Dec. 5 stating why the court should accept the case for full briefing and oral argument. If the petition is eventually denied, the lower-court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case probably will be heard this term, with a decision before the court adjourns at the end of June.
Lower courts have also sided with a New York district attorney seeking access to much of the same financial information for a grand jury investigation. The New York decision already was on hold, and did not require immediate Supreme Court action.
“This is a significant separation-of-powers clash between the president and Congress,” Trump’s personal lawyer William S. Consovoy said in a filing with the court in the case involving the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
He said Trump is “prepared to proceed on any schedule that the court deems appropriate.”
The House on Thursday told the Supreme Court that review was not necessary. It said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s decision saying the House committee was entitled to the information is straightforward and based upon Supreme Court precedent.
“The committee is investigating whether senior government officials, including the president, are acting in the country’s best interest and not in their own financial interest, whether federal agencies are operating free from financial conflicts and with accurate information, and whether any legislative reforms are needed to ensure that these fundamental principles are respected,” House General Counsel Douglas N. Letter told the justices in a filing Thursday.
He added: “Each day of delay harms Congress by depriving it of important information it needs to carry out its constitutional responsibilities.”
The subpoenas issued by the congressional committee and separately by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. are directed to the president’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA. It has said it will comply with the eventual court order, so turning over the records would not require any action on the president’s part.
The subpoena from the House committee was issued in April, before that body took up a formal impeachment inquiry. But Letter said impeachment proceedings underscore the need for the court to move quickly.
Consovoy said the Supreme Court should not let such an “unprecedented” subpoena move forward without its explicit consideration and approval.
“Whether the committee was engaging in prohibited law enforcement, whether it was investigating in an area where it can pass constitutional legislation, and whether it had statutory authority are all important issues over which there is a serious legal dispute,” he wrote.
In October, a panel of the D.C. Circuit issued a 2-to-1 ruling that traced the long history of courts upholding Congress’s investigative authority.
“We conclude that in issuing the challenged subpoena, the committee was engaged in a ‘legitimate legislative investigation,’ rather than an impermissible law-enforcement inquiry,” wrote Judge David S. Tatel, who was joined by Judge Patricia A. Millett. Both were nominated to the bench by Democratic presidents.
“It is not at all suspicious that the committee would focus an investigation into presidential financial disclosures on the accuracy and sufficiency of the sitting president’s filings. That the committee began its inquiry at a logical starting point betrays no hidden law-enforcement purpose.”
Tatel said the court did not need to decide whether Congress can subpoena a sitting president because the order was directed at the accounting firm — not Trump.
In her dissent, Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump nominee, said if the House wants to investigate possible wrongdoing by the president, it should do so by invoking its constitutional impeachment powers — not through legislative oversight. (The House subsequently opened an impeachment inquiry but focused on Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, not financial impropriety.)
The majority said Rao’s view laid out in her dissent would “reorder the very structure of the Constitution” and “enfeeble the legislative branch.”
“The dissent cites nothing in the Constitution or case law — and there is nothing — that compels Congress to abandon its legislative role at the first scent of potential illegality and confine itself exclusively to the impeachment process. Nor does anything in the dissent’s lengthy recitation of historical examples dictate that result,” Tatel wrote.
Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Disclosure of Trump’s Financial Records
The court set a brisk briefing schedule in the case, which concerns a subpoena from a House committee.
The Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that required President Trump’s accounting firm to turn over financial records to a House committee.
The court’s brief order gave no reasons, and there were no noted dissents.
The court’s stay was in one sense routine, maintaining the status quo while the court decides whether to hear Mr. Trump’s appeal in the case. But it also suggested, given that it takes five votes to grant a stay, that the court viewed the legal questions presented by the case as substantial enough to warrant further consideration.
The court set a speedy briefing schedule, requiring Mr. Trump to file his petition seeking review by Dec. 5. The court could announce whether it will hear the case in the coming weeks and, if it does, issue a decision by June.
A Supreme Court ruling in the case could yield a major decision on the balance of power between Congress and the executive branch and on the role of the court in enforcing the separation of powers.
The justices are likely to consider the case alongside a similar one concerning a subpoena from Manhattan prosecutors to Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, seeking eight years of business and personal tax returns. That case is further along at the Supreme Court, as Mr. Trump has already filed a petition seeking review and the prosecutors have filed a brief urging the court to deny review.
In both cases, Mr. Trump sued to stop Mazars from complying with subpoenas for his financial records. Federal appeals courts ruled against Mr. Trump in both cases.
Monday’s stay order concerned a subpoena that the House Oversight and Reform Committee issued in April after it learned that Mr. Trump’s ethics disclosure forms did not list a debt for hush-money payments made in the run-up to the 2016 election. Mr. Trump and his company reimbursed the president’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, for payments to the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied the relationship.
Mr. Cohen also told the committee that Mr. Trump had inflated and deflated descriptions of his assets on financial statements to obtain loans and reduce his taxes.
Mr. Trump’s lawyers argued that the subpoena was improper because the committee lacked a legitimate legislative purpose for seeking the information. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected that argument.
In the Supreme Court, lawyers for the committee argued that its investigation was driven by its legislative and oversight responsibilities. They added that the “rapidly advancing impeachment inquiry also makes it particularly important that Congress not be deprived of the information sought by the subpoena.”
On Nov. 18, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. entered a temporary “administrative stay” in the case. The new stay order was issued by the full court.
The case from New York concerns a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat, for eight years of Mr. Trump’s personal and business tax returns in connection with the hush-money payments.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, ruled this month against Mr. Trump. The court, in a focused ruling, said state prosecutors may require third parties to turn over a sitting president’s financial records for use in a grand jury investigation.
The New York case involves more ambitious legal arguments. Mr. Trump’s lawyers, in a petition seeking review of the Second Circuit’s decision, said he was immune from criminal investigation while he remained in office.
The curious lack of explanation or dissents is something to note.
Rep. Quigley shares a number of interesting graphics…
Even as overall numbers on impeachment and presidential approval hold steady, the poll suggests a growing gender gap, with women increasingly negative in their assessment of Trump. There is now a 20-point difference between men and women on Trump’s overall approval rating (52% of men approve vs. 32% of women), the fifth time the divide has been that large in CNN’s polling during Trump’s presidency.
And the poll marks the first time that more than 60% of women have said they backed impeaching Trump and removing him from office (61% say so now, compared with 56% in October and 51% in May), even as a majority of men remain opposed to impeachment (53% oppose it).