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The Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

Just as the first vote is completed to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in Contempt of Congress.

President Trump asserted executive privilege on Wednesday in an effort to shield hidden portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s unredacted report and the evidence he collected from Congress.

The assertion, Mr. Trump’s first use of the secrecy powers as president, came as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning to recommend the House of Representatives hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena for the same material.

“This is to advise you that the president has asserted executive privilege over the entirety of the subpoenaed materials,” a Justice Department official, Stephen E. Boyd, wrote Wednesday morning, referencing not only the Mueller report but the underlying evidence that House Democrats are seeking.

Mr. Barr released a redacted version of the special counsel’s 448-page report voluntarily last month. But Democrats say that is not good enough, and they have accused the attorney general of stonewalling a legitimate request for material they need to carry out an investigation into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by Mr. Trump.


Just for fun. I concur, this is the Michael Scott Presidency. :clap:


In the recording, provided to Observer by Arnold, Cohen lamented his time testifying before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed door hearing in March.


Last summer, Cohen resigned as the RNC’s deputy finance chairman following investigations into his business dealings led by the special counsel and New York’s Southern District. He departed the organization soon after Steve Wynn and Elliott Broidy left the RNC’s finance committee—the former over allegations of sexual misconduct, the latter following reports of an alleged payoff to a Playboy model.

“They’re attacking me as if i’m the worst human being on the planet,” continued Cohen. “But they thought I was the greatest when me, Steve Wynn, Elliott Broidy… we were raising money like it was going out of style.”


On the current RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, Cohen spoke harshly.

“Ronna Romney McDaniel, who is one of the worst human beings on the planet, she’s just a bad human being,” said Trump’s former fixer. “Don’t let that Mormon nonsense fool you. She is not a good person.”

Cohen is currently serving time in Otisville Correctional Facility for campaign finance violations, lying to Congress and other crimes.

“Michael Cohen is a proven liar. In fact, he is currently serving a prison sentence for lying,” a spokesperson for the RNC told Observer. “The truth is, Cohen barely raised a dime for the RNC. He was lazy, and untrustworthy. We hope the prison system does its job and he is able to emerge a better man.”

Yeah he did those things but who hired him? Under whose orders did he follow? Why is Cohen in prison?


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that President Trump is “becoming self-impeachable,” pointing to his efforts to fight all subpoenas from congressional investigations and prevent key aides from testifying before Congress.

“The point is that every single day, whether it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction — obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas . . . every single day, the president is making a case — he’s becoming self-impeachable, in terms of some of the things that he is doing,” Pelosi said at a Washington Post Live event.


Good primer, click link for more.

What is Congress’s subpoena power?

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution gives Congress broad authority to investigate matters of national interest as it considers what laws to pass.

That power “includes surveys of defects in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling the Congress to remedy them,” justices have written. “It comprehends probes into departments of the federal government to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste.”

This oversight role, courts have said, includes the power to issue subpoenas compelling people and organizations to turn over documents or testify, even if they do not want to comply.

What can lawmakers do if someone defies a subpoena?

They can vote to hold someone who defies a subpoena in contempt of Congress. First, the committee that issued the subpoena would vote to recommend that step — the move the Judiciary Committee was considering on Wednesday — and then the full House of Representatives would vote on whether to do so. Just one chamber can do this, so it does not matter that Republicans control the Senate.

What is the punishment for contempt of Congress?

On paper, defying a congressional subpoena for testimony or documents is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by one to 12 months in jail. But in practice, this law is generally toothless in disputes between Congress and the executive branch. Invoking prosecutorial discretion, the Justice Department can decline to charge an official who defies a subpoena at the president’s direction.

Can Congress enforce a contempt citation on its own?

In theory, yes, but this is outdated. Historically, Congress has exercised “inherent contempt” authority to detain recalcitrant witnesses until the end of its session. But Congress has not tried to use that authority since 1935.

Congress lacks any prison for holding someone in long-term detention, and trying to use its limited security forces to arrest an executive branch official could provoke a dangerous standoff. While some lawmakers have talked about instead imposing a fine, there is no precedent for that, according to the Congressional Research Service, and it is not clear how the House could enforce that penalty.

What about going to court?

Congress could ask a federal judge to enforce its subpoena — and declare witnesses who defy any judicial order to provide the information to Congress in contempt of court. If the Justice Department declines to prosecute someone for contempt of court, judges can appoint special prosecutors to bring the case instead. Still, Mr. Trump could pre-emptively pardon such defendants.

Is Congress’s subpoena power unlimited?

No. For one thing, the Supreme Court has saidthere must be a link between the information and a legitimate task of Congress, like weighing whether a new law is needed. Lawmakers cannot use their subpoena power and expose private affairs simply to aggrandize investigators or punish a target.

What are other limits on Congress’s power?

Even if lawmakers are conducting a legitimate investigation, it is not a crime to defy a subpoena if there is a legal basis to do so. For example, it is not a crime to refuse to answer questions under one’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

What about executive privilege?

A valid assertion of executive privilege by the president can also provide a basis to lawfully defy a subpoena, so Mr. Trump’s invocation of it gives Mr. Barr an argument and a shield as the matter moves toward a likely court fight.

The Supreme Court has ruled that presidents have the authority keep secret certain internal communications, including discussions with aides about how to carry out their constitutional duties. The lines are murky between where Congress’s power stops and the president’s begins, in part because such disputes are usually resolved through compromises rather than definitive rulings.

Notably, judges have said they want to see the two branches engage in good-faith negotiations to find a compromise that accommodates the constitutional needs of each, so Mr. Trump’s overt stonewalling may undermine the executive branch’s position when some of these disputes get into court.

But in the exchange of letters between the Trump administration and the Judiciary Committee leading up to Wednesday’s vote and invocation, the executive branch argued that it was trying to make accommodations in good faith about the Mueller report, so it was Congress that was being unreasonable.

The Trump administration had offered to let a small number of congressional leaders read a less-redacted version of the report that would permit them to see information related to, for example, ongoing investigations and cases, although not the grand-jury material.

But the Justice Department insisted that they sign nondisclosure agreements and take no notes away with them, so they would not be able to discuss what they saw even with other members of the Judiciary Committee. Democrats said that offer was insufficient.


Posted this news in Day 839, but should have posted it in this thread. So here’s Buzzfeed’s reporting which has some information on what happens next (sorry about the duplication):

:rotating_light: :rotating_light: :rotating_light:

The House Judiciary Committee voted 24-16 Wednesday to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt for refusing to turn over an unredacted copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report as well as Mueller’s investigative files.

The vote is the first step — the resolution will then go before the full House. If Democrats want to sue Barr and the Justice Department to enforce their subpoena, they’ll have to specifically vote to do so, regardless of the final outcome of the contempt proceedings.


Don Jr. is considering pleading the fifth?

The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. for him to return and testify again, and the committee is now at a standoff with Trump’s eldest son, according to sources familiar with the matter.

One option Trump Jr. is considering in response to the subpoena is to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights, and another is just to not appear at all, according to one source.

Discussions for Trump Jr’s testimony began several weeks ago before the Mueller report was released, the sources say. Trump Jr.'s team resisted giving testimony, in part, because the findings of the Mueller report were still not known.


I just realized a huge takeaway here. It was a Republican-controlled Senate committee that issued the subpoena to Trump Jr.!! “Senate” was right there in the headline, staring me in the face, but I guess I’ve just become so conditioned to the fact that the House has been the only chamber executing responsible oversight of this administration that I totally overlooked that key word!

The daytime news panels are all over this – and here’s Vox’s take:

Donald Trump Jr. has been subpoenaed by a congressional committee investigating the Russia scandal — but the surprising twist is that it’s a Republican-controlled committee that has made the move.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has demanded Trump Jr. return for further testimony about the Trump Tower Moscow project and other matters…

It’s an intriguing development for a few reasons. First, it’s coming from a committee in the Republican-controlled Senate, chaired by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC). Subpoenaing the president’s son is a dramatic move that we might have eventually expected from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, so it’s noteworthy that a Republican-controlled body is taking this step first.

Second, news of the move comes even though special counsel Robert Mueller has wrapped up his investigation and declined to charge Trump Jr. with any crime — but, per Axios’s report, there are “questions” about Don Jr.’s previous testimony to Senate investigators that the committee wants to clear up.

In 2017, Trump Jr. testified about Russia-related matters behind closed doors to both the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. His Intelligence Committee testimony has not been publicly released, but his Judiciary Committee testimony has been. In it, Trump Jr. claimed he knew “very little” about Michael Cohen’s efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and was only “peripherally aware” of it.

But Cohen later told a different story. The former Trump lawyer struck a plea deal in which he himself admitted lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow efforts in 2017. Cohen also testified this year that he briefed Trump family members on the project “approximately 10” times, and that those family members were Don Jr. and Ivanka (though he did not say if all 10 briefings were with Don Jr.).

So much for Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, announcing “case closed” – on the contrary, the actions of one of his own senior Republican senators are speaking louder than words: the case continues!



Yup and I believe this is the 2nd instance of bipartisan oversight this week, with Nunes and Schiff requesting the counterintelligence findings from the Special Counsel‘s office. We’re getting closer…


Schiff and Nunes subpoena everything, the unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in addition to all of the foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information collected during the investigation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena to the Justice Department on Wednesday for the unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, in addition to all of the foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information collected during the 22-month investigation.

The subpoena comes after Schiff (D-Calif.) and his Republican counterpart, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, made a rare joint request for the documents. Schiff said the Justice Department had yet to respond to the committee’s request, prompting him to issue a subpoena.


The committee’s subpoena requires the Justice Department to turn over the documents by May 15.

Schiff and Nunes penned joint letters to Barr — one on March 27 and another on April 25 — demanding the full Mueller report and its supporting materials. In the second letter, the lawmakers threatened a subpoena “absent meaningful compliance” by the end of last week.


@Pet_Proletariat – Thanks for this. These paragraphs really stood out to me.

“The department has repeatedly failed to respond, refused to schedule any testimony, and provided no documents responsive to our legitimate and duly authorized oversight activities,” Schiff said in a statement.

“The department repeatedly pays lip service to the importance of a meaningful accommodation process, but it has only responded to our efforts with silence or outright defiance,” Schiff added. “Today, we have no choice but to issue a subpoena to compel their compliance.”

In his letter to Barr informing the attorney general of the subpoena, Schiff said the Intelligence Committee required the information in order to “discharge its unique constitutional and statutory responsibilities,” including conducting oversight, examining potential national security issues and drawing up legislation to address vulnerabilities.

Yes! Schiff makes it clear that Trump cares more about his own skin than our nation’s security. The Intel Committee needs this intel – they need it to protect us – that is their purpose. Trump has done nothing to guard against foreign attacks on our elections – and when Congress actually tries to do something about it, he suppresses vital information that they need to do their job. Shameful.


Tonight Rachel Maddow reviewed a list of questions for Mueller that have been drafted by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are all excellent questions and truthfully make me wonder if Mueller really did as thorough a job as we were assuming he was. I know he was operating under constraints limiting what he could investigate, and I know some of his findings are hidden from us while 12 related investigations are ongoing, and maybe Barr pressured him to wrap up before he wanted to, but despite all these reasons to cut Mueller some slack, I still wonder if some crucial areas of investigation were passed over. And that’s all the more reason to hear his testimony and ask him these essential questions.

Here’s the complete list of questions.


Yes, these get to a lot of unknown parameters of the investigation and would answer a lot of probing questions key to finding out “what did the president know, and when did he know it.” They are so direct and so revealing and it would be great to hear back from Mueller if he was able to answer them fully.

I wonder if Barr threw down a gauntlet, so to speak and told Mueller, “under no circumstances is the President able to be indicted in office.” That alone would have curbed the investigation. Or did Mueller start off with this premise?

So many questions…and Maddow said the most important one to consider with all of these subpoenas going around, and various investigations, is that Mueller’s testimony is key to getting beneath the whys and how much the President was involved. The potential damning testimony is the thing T MOST fears, as do the R’s and they will do their best to prevent it from happening.



Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the United States is in a “constitutional crisis” and warned that House Democrats may move to hold more Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress if they continue their refusals to comply with committee subpoenas.

Speaking to reporters in the Capitol, Ms. Pelosi said she agreed with Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who said Wednesday that the nation is in a constitutional crisis after his committee recommended the House hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of the special counsel’s report, along with the report’s underlying evidence.

“The administration has decided they are not going to honor their oath of office,” she said.

Ms. Pelosi said Democrats would bring the contempt citation to the floor for a vote of the full House “when we are ready.”

Democrats have not settled on a precise date for the full House to vote to hold Mr. Barr in contempt of Congress, though Mr. Nadler said after Wednesday’s vote that he wanted a vote scheduled “rapidly.”


Thanks @matt, I totally missed this story. :woman_shrugging:t2:


President Trump said on Thursday that he would leave it up to Attorney General William P. Barr to decide whether Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, may testify before Congress on the Russia investigation.

His comments were a seeming reversal, since Mr. Trump wrote over the weekend on Twitterthat Mr. Mueller should not be allowed to appear before Congress.


In addition to declaring that we are in a “constitutional crisis:rotating_light: as posted by @Pet_Proletariat above, the Speaker of the House has indicated that Democrats may delay holding Barr in contempt for a “few weeks” while at the same time consolidating contempt charges for other individuals into a unified vote on the floor of the House.

My gut feeling is that they should move ahead swiftly and charge Barr immediately, but I also have faith in Pelosi and in Lieu and Schiff (who backed up her comments) - I just hope our Democratic leaders will act fiercely and chart the best course.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Thursday that the House could pursue contempt charges against multiple people in Donald Trump’s orbit — not just Attorney General William Barr — as Democrats look to overcome the president’s blanket effort to hobble their investigations.

Pelosi declined to provide a timeline for when the full House would vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to provide the unredacted Mueller report, telling reporters there may be other related “issues” Democrats will want to handle simultaneously.

“When we’re ready we’ll come to the floor,” Pelosi said, a day after the House Judiciary Committee approved the contempt resoluion. “And we’ll just see because there may be some other contempt of Congress issues that we might want to deal with at the same time.”

Pelosi’s comments indicate Democrats could wait weeks to take further action against Barr, while they determine whether other Cabinet officials are interfering with committee requests that range from accessing Trump’s tax returns to demanding details about the U.S. Census’ citizenship question.

"We’re not going to wait a few months, but I think we could wait a few weeks," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

Democrats have also mused about holding former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents to the Judiciary Committee connected to his testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller. And they’ve chafed at Trump’s move to have his personal attorneys try to disrupt Democratic efforts to subpoena Trump’s financial information from Deutsche Bank, Capitol One and Mazars USA.

Now we’re not even talking about isolated situations, we’re talking about a cumulative effect of obstruction that the administration is engaged in,” Pelosi said. “I support the path that our chairmen are on and I do believe that it will establish the case for where we go from here.”

Other Democrats have also talked in recent days about not moving to an immediate floor vote on Barr, saying it may be more advantageous to wait.

“Because the Trump administration has decided to do a blanket denial of all subpoenas, it’s not just affecting the Judiciary Committee, it’s affecting every committee that’s trying to get information on behalf of the American people,” Lieu said.

“We’re checking with other committees to see their timeline and if they’re also reasonably close to any contempt proceedings then we might just roll it all into one floor vote,” he added. “Intel, Oversight, Financial Services have all issued subpoenas.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, whose panel issued its own subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report on Wednesday, offered similar comments.

“A lot of these issues are coming to head in the various committees,” Schiff said on MSNBC Wednesday night.

“I think it would make sense to try to consolidate at least the date when we take up these contempt resolutions, if there are multiple resolutions, so they can be adjudicated at one time and we don’t take up time every week to re-litigate this.”

It’s that last sentence that gives me pause. Wouldn’t it actually be better to keep Trump’s acts of obstruction out there in front of the American people so they are in the headlines day after day and week after week? Will one consolidated vote really have more impact than multiple individual votes? Maybe the Democrats think the public will get “contempt fatigue,” but personally, I don’t think we will. :fist:


This is very good.

Congress and Donald Trump’s fight over his financial records is now on the fast track.

Judge Amit Mehta plans next week to weigh the major legal issues raised in President Donald Trump’s challenge of a congressional subpoena for his accounting firm’s records, according to an order issued Thursday – putting the case on an even faster track than it previously looked to be.


Republicans in the House Intel Committee are now praising Chairman Adam Schiff. I have no insight here but I don’t trust these fools. :smirk:

GOP Rep. Mike Conaway, the mild-mannered Texan who led the committee’s hotly politicized Russia probe last year, is suddenly praising Schiff for creating a newfound sense of comity on the Intelligence Committee — reflected in the committee’s bipartisan request for all of special counsel Robert Mueller’s files.

“Schiff probably deserves the lion’s share of the credit because he sets the tone as chairman,” said Conaway, adding that California Rep. Devin Nunes, the panel’s top Republican, also deserves credit for the detente.

“Let’s keep looking through the front windshield and not reprise a fight that’s behind us,” Conaway added. “The committee for the last several weeks has operated old school, and that’s a credit to leadership — Adam Schiff’s leadership as well as Devin’s.”

Conaway’s comments come as GOP leaders and top committee Republicans rail against Democrat-led investigations targeting Trump.

Conaway led the call among all committee Republicans for Schiff to resign as chairman, taking the extraordinary step of announcing the GOP push to oust Schiff during a March hearing. The resignations calls followed Attorney General William Barr’s four-page letter stating that Mueller didn’t find evidence that Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.


Make it $50k per day. :smirk: Go hard or go home. JK.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Axios’ Mike Allen Friday that the House is considering reviving its “inherent contempt” power, which would allow Congress to enforce subpoenas through coercive measures like fines.

“Much as I like the visual of [throwing people in jail], I think it’s far more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person — not the office — until they comply. You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply. You can do that. We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground.”