Letter from Chairman Nadler to the National Archives seeking records on Justice Kavanaugh’s service in the White House dated August 6, 2019.
As early as Wednesday, Democrats are expected to file a lawsuit to enforce their subpoena for former White House counsel Donald McGahn’s testimony, sharply escalating their dispute with the White House by sending the fight over a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to court for a resolution.
The White House has continued to refuse to allow McGahn, who spent more than 30 hours with Mueller’s investigators, to testify publicly – a key demand of Democrats who are planning additional public hearings for the fall as they continue their obstruction investigation and contemplate pursuing impeachment.
And the lawsuit has been filed. Now we wait.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday filed suit to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn’s testimony, arguing that the committee needs to hear from him to determine whether it should consider articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Read the Lawsuit here
Major Wall Street banks have given congressional committees investigating President Trump thousands of pages of documents related to Russians who may have had dealings with Mr. Trump, his family or his business, people familiar with the congressional probes said. Some banks are also giving documents related to Mr. Trump’s business, the Trump Organization, to New York state investigators, people familiar with the New York investigation said.
Wall Street firms including Bank of AmericaCorp. , Citigroup Inc., Deutsche Bank AG ,JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley andWells Fargo & Co. have recently provided the documents to congressional investigators, according to people familiar with those probes. The investigators are working on a joint probe into potential foreign influence on Mr. Trump and his family by the House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. More information will likely be handed over in coming weeks as the banks continue to respond to subpoenas sent in April, the people said.
Separately, Deutsche Bank, Mr. Trump’s primary bank, has turned over emails, loan agreements and other documents related to the Trump Organization to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, in response to a civil subpoena sent earlier this year, according to people familiar with the New York investigation.
Looks like the last domino is Capitol One.
Nadler is just doing it anyways
The House Judiciary Committee is now engaged in a full-blown investigation and legal fight with the goal of deciding whether to recommend articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump by the end of the year, according to Democratic officials involved in the effort.
Recent court filings and public statements by top Democrats point to a dramatic escalation after lawmakers debated internally for months over mounting an impeachment inquiry into the President.
As additional House Democrats continue to call for the House Judiciary Committee to launch an impeachment inquiry — which more than half the caucus now supports — Democratic sources say the issue is essentially moot since what the panel is doing is basically that: investigating whether Trump should be impeached.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized U.S. treatment of migrants during a visit to Guatemala, and raised doubts about whether the Central American country could cope with a migration deal agreed with the Trump administration.
Pelosi, a Democrat, was visiting Central America on Thursday with a bipartisan congressional delegation just as the region was coming under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to do more to stop migrants reaching the United States.
Under the threat of economic sanctions, Guatemala late last month struck a deal with Trump to make the country a so-called “safe third country.” The accord will require migrants to seek asylum in Guatemala rather than in the United States.
Critics question whether Guatemala, which suffers from high levels of poverty and violence, has the resources to handle a potential surge in asylum applications.
Asked whether Guatemala would be able to handle the agreement, Pelosi told a news conference she wanted to know more about what the safe third country deal entailed, and described it as a “very difficult challenge.”
Pelosi and the congressional delegation will also travel to El Salvador and Honduras, after which they are scheduled to visit U.S. detention centers in McAllen, Texas.
Wait a minute… that’s what I’ve been saying. I think I even quoted Donald Rumsfeld last week…
To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld: In a Trumpian world, you go into impeachment proceedings with the momentum you have, not the momentum you might want.
Interesting arguments are being made. I’m sure a story is on the way… this post will be updated.
January 3, 2019
Sherman (D-Northridge) is reintroducing a measure that he first rolled out in 2017. But this year it carries more political significance: The decision of whether to act on it rests with Democrats — not Trump’s Republican allies.
Sherman’s articles of impeachment accuse Trump of obstructing justice by firing former FBI Director James B. Comey, among other wrongdoing.
“There is no reason it shouldn’t be before the Congress,” Sherman said. “Every day, Donald Trump shows that leaving the White House would be good for our country.”
There are real articles of impeachment being considered before the House Judiciary Committee right now.
Here’s a link to the language of the original resolution
Although this is not a direct investigation of Trump – it still involves him since:
A) Without a shred of evidence, Trump is claiming that the Clintons murdered Epstein to cover up crimes (he did this via a retweet and then Kellyanne Conway defended his retweet). So, yes, let’s get to the bottom of this. Was it suicide, or was it murder as the President is baselessly claiming?
B) Epstein died in a Federal prison on Barr’s watch. Barr overseas the Federal prison system. Barr was appointed by Trump.
The House Judiciary Committee on Monday launched a bipartisan investigation into the death of Jeffrey Epstein by apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail.
The big picture: In a letter to the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, Hugh Hurwitz, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) demanded answers to 23 questions — most of which concern the conditions of the facility Epstein was kept in and the circumstances of his death. Attorney General Bill Barr, who earlier announced that the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general will also be investigating Epstein’s death, said Monday that he was “appalled” by “serious irregularities” at the facility.
The full letter is included in the article.
Interesting, the Justice Department is arguing that the grand jury materials and Don McGahn’s testimony are not linked, the committee waited too long to file and accuse the House Judiciary Committee of “judge shopping”. The Justice Department appears to have very little to say about the opening of the impeachment investigation, referring to it as a “so-called” probe.
The Justice Department on Tuesday accused House Democrats of shopping for a friendly federal judge in its effort to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify about potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.
In a new court filing, the Justice Department dinged the House Judiciary Committee for “attempting to game the system” by seeking to formally link its McGahn suit to a separate effort to access former special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury evidence.
Democrats say the cases are related because they are both connected to an ongoing “impeachment investigation” that could result in an effort to recommend Trump’s ouster. And tying the cases together could help expedite them, they argued.
But the Justice Department said House Democrats undercut their own argument for haste by waiting three months to file suit against McGahn, who refused to testify after the White House claimed he was “absolutely immune” and directed him to refuse to cooperate with Congress.
“For one thing, the committee’s desire for rapid adjudication rings hollow given that the committee waited until August to file suit over former counsel McGahn’s testimony despite being formally advised of the former counsel’s absolute immunity from compelled congressional testimony on May 20, 2019,” the filing states.
“Thus, any delay is the committee’s doing at this point.”
The Justice Department said the House’s true aim was to put both cases in front of D.C.’s chief federal judge Beryl Howell, who was already considering the grand jury matter, because of the perception that the appointee of former President Barack Obama might rule favorably in their case. It’s an attempt, the department argues, to manipulate longstanding requirements that cases be randomly assigned to judges to prevent judge-shopping.
Underscoring their point, Justice Department lawyers — arguing on McGahn’s behalf — said the demand for McGahn to testify and the request for Mueller’s grand jury evidence are based on “completely different factual and legal issues” and have no basis for being linked.
“[T]he two cases could not be more different,” the attorneys argued.
The Justice Department’s filing came a day after House lawyers argued in a separate filing that two of their court cases should be linked because both “seek key evidence for the Judiciary Committee’s investigation into whether to recommend articles of impeachment … based on the same underlying obstructive acts by President Trump.”
The Justice Department did not directly address the House’s assertions that it is conducting an impeachment investigation, but the filing referred to the effort as a “so-called” probe.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel directed his aides on Tuesday to warn foreign officials that they are “facilitating” President Donald Trump’s alleged emoluments violations by spending money at properties owned by Trump’s sprawling business empire.
In a new memorandum to his staff, Engel accused Trump of violating the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution — which bars presidents from accepting funds from foreign governments — and the New York Democrat told his staff to ask foreign officials to stop spending money at Trump-owned properties.
Big picture. The gist is that because the Trump administration is stonewalling Congress, which is unprecedented BTW, it may actually change the way Congress uses the court system during a deadlock in the future possibly contributing to the further politicization of the courts.
Experts discuss this trend and the possible consequences
The consequences of the specific disputes could be significant. In the short term, they could determine whether House Democrats are able to drag information to light about Mr. Trump that could lead to his impeachment or damage his re-election prospects. And potential decisions by the higher courts could clarify the long-ambiguous line between a president’s secrecy power and Congress’s oversight authority — determining whether future presidents can systematically stonewall congressional subpoenas.
But the broader phenomenon is also significant.
As an immediate matter, the surge in litigation is a consequence of Mr. Trump’s norm-busting presidency. House Democrats are looking for additional venues through which to take him on — or, in some cases, fighting lawsuits that the president filed against Congress himself to try to block lawmakers from obtaining information about him from entities outside the federal government. But it is also bringing into clearer view how, over the past generation, Congress was already starting to go to court more often than had been the historical norm, as political compromise gave way to deadlock amid growing partisan polarization.
That trend line suggests that even if the number of congressional lawsuits declines when the next president takes office, the constitutional order could change in a way that Mr. Tiefer and other legal scholars view as dangerous. He said it is better if the two parties were able to resolve high-level policy disputes through compromise rather than through the “rigid and formalized system” of litigation, and suggested that routinely pushing those disputes into court could heighten politicization of the judiciary.
House Democrats have failed in their attempt to link the grand jury materials to the Don McGahn subpoena in the courts. The Don McGahn case will be assigned a random judge rather than the same judge as the subpoena for the grand jury information.
“[T]he House Judiciary Committee has failed to meet its burden that departure from the practice of random case assignment is warranted,” wrote Howell, an appointee of former President Barack Obama.
It’s a blow to House Democrats as they inch toward the prospect of impeachment proceedings. Earlier this week, House General Counsel Douglas Letter argued that the two cases should be paired in front of Howell because both seek evidence for a potential impeachment, and both were based on the same set of facts.
But while Howell acknowledged the “factual connections” between the McGahn and grand jury cases, she ultimately sided with the Justice Department.
“[A]t first blush, the House Judiciary Committee’s view that the related case rule applies is understandable due to these factual connections between the two cases. Nonetheless, closer examination demonstrates that these connections between the two cases are too superficial and attenuated for the instant McGahn Subpoena Case to qualify.”
Howell will consider the House’s grand jury petition because such cases are automatically referred to the chief judge.
Howell emphasized that the grand jury petition, as a legal matter, is entirely unrelated to the McGahn case. The House, she noted, intends to protect the secrecy of Mueller’s grand jury information but rely on it to form the basis of potential articles of impeachment. But in the McGahn matter, the House intends to force him to testify publicly, involving an entirely different set of legal principles.
Joining the two cases, she said, would raise the specter that the House had manipulated the process to put its cases in front of a preferred judge.
“The potential for manipulation of the ordinary rule of random assignment would be particularly acute if the House Judiciary Committee could relate any matter arising from its ongoing investigation to a single judge on this court, irrespective of the particularities of each case,” Howell wrote.
Howell also disputed the House’s contention that joining both cases would speed them up.
More from CNN
A key House committee has subpoenaed the owner of 8chan, an online message board favored by violent white nationalists including the man suspected of killing 22 people in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and the panel’s top Republican announced the subpoena Wednesday, saying that “at least three acts of deadly white supremacist extremist violence have been linked to 8chan in the last six months.”
The El Paso shooter along with the gunman accused of killing 51 worshippers at a New Zealand mosque and the man accused of terrorizing a synagogue in Poway, California, all posted hateful screeds on 8chan before committing their crimes.
Thompson and GOP Rep. Mike Rogers say it’s crucial to examine what can be done to counter the trend. The subpoena asks owner Jim Watkins to appear Sept. 5 for a deposition.
The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday issued subpoenas to former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and a former White House official as it ramps up its investigation to determine whether to impeach President Donald Trump.
The committee issued the subpoenas Thursday to Lewandowski and former White House aide Rick Dearborn, requesting they testify publicly before the committee. Both Trump aides were cited extensively in the obstruction of justice section of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
The subpoenas don’t come as a surprise — the duo was included when the committee authorized subpoenas to 12 individuals last month — but they signal the direction the committee is taking as it looks to quickly gather evidence that could lead to pursuing impeachment.
The House has not voted on a formal impeachment inquiry, but House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says his committee’s investigation constitutes “formal impeachment proceedings” and the committee has a goal of deciding whether to recommend articles of impeachment by the end of the year.
"It is clear that any other American would have been prosecuted based on the evidence Special Counsel Mueller uncovered in his report," Nadler said in a statement. “Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn were prominently featured in the Special Counsel’s description of President Trump’s efforts to obstruct justice by directing then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel, and then by ordering him to lie about it.”
So far, the committee’s subpoenas have not yielded much of value beyond dozens of objections to questions about anything that happened in the Trump administration and a pair of lawsuits to try to obtain former special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury information and testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
… it’s unclear if Lewandowski will be forthcoming about the key episodes referenced in the Mueller report that [the committee] will want to press him on, such as when the President instructed him to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the Mueller investigation and Lewandowski did not act on it.
Lewandowski testified before the House Intelligence Committee last year behind closed doors, and he did not answer questions about anything that occurred beyond the 2016 election.
At this point, it would more shocking if Lewandowski actually obeyed the subpoena and just testified. If it ends up in court, would that be a good or bad thing for his political aspirations?
The House Intelligence Committee is assisting the House Judiciary Committee in obtaining intelligence materials related to the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation into the President. According to committee rules, the House Intelligence Committee have the ability to de-classify materials and documents, which was successfully tested by Rep. Devin Nunes last year. Lawmakers are hoping the Intel committee’s involvement could temper the courts concerns about grand-jury information being exposed because of their unique ability to handle classified information.
Sources involved in the process say Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) signed off on the panel’s legal strategy and suggested approaches that would closely bind the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees together as the process unfolds. Allegations that Trump welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election while pursuing a business deal in Moscow have taken center stage for Schiff’s panel.
“In a case as unique as Trump, it is important to consider the totality of the evidence, including classified information,” said a source close to Schiff. “We’ve been working closely with the Judiciary Committee throughout this process and will continue to provide support as needed.”
Traditionally, an impeachment process has involved the public airing of allegations and evidence against a sitting president. But counterintelligence information, by its nature, is classified and cannot be publicly released or discussed — presenting lawmakers with a new challenge when making the public case for Trump’s ouster.
“The Constitution doesn’t contemplate the notion of having a classified portion of an impeachment process, and it would be political malpractice to try to pursue such a drastic remedy without fully informing the public of the complete factual record,” said Bradley Moss, a prominent national security attorney. “If articles of impeachment are pursued, the House will have to rely upon unclassified information or, as a last resort, use its own Article I authority to disclose otherwise classified information.”
Others noted that the House would have to weigh taking the extraordinary step of revealing classified information if it felt that information contained in secret files were crucial to prove their case.
The committee has the option to disclose classified information, but it has only been used once in its history: under Nunes’ leadership, when his staff drafted a memo intended to cast doubt on the origins of the investigation of Russia’s links to the Trump campaign. The process, laid out in the House rules, allows lawmakers to reveal classified information if the full House deems it in the public interest, even over the objection of the president. But in Nunes’ case, Trump, over public protests of the FBI, ultimately opted to declassify the material.
Similarly, grand-jury evidence is sensitive and kept secret by law, with few exceptions. The Intelligence Committee is well suited to handle such materials, and its involvement could alleviate concerns about grand-jury information being leaked.
“The Intelligence Committee’s ability to handle high levels of classification — that’s what they’re designed to do. And because of that, what they can do is they can sign in and sign out anyone who needs to review it. They can create a record of who looks at the material,” said Mieke Eoyang, a former subcommittee staff director for the panel, adding: “We don’t people who have a history of dealing with this at a presidential level.”
One former Judiciary Committee official said the Intelligence Committee’s involvement could assuage a court’s concern about how grand jury information would be handled.
"It’s possible, but unproven, that this collaboration may give the legal arguments more jet fuel in the courts for grand jury document access," said Julian Epstein, who was on the Democratic staff of the Judiciary Committee during the Clinton impeachment process.
The Intelligence Committee, which was created as an outgrowth of the Watergate era to police the intelligence community, was never intended as a vehicle for impeachment. The process of drafting articles of impeachment is well outside the panel’s traditional jurisdiction. But in this unique case, Schiff’s committee would review the sensitive grand-jury information related to volume one of Mueller’s report, which details Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
In addition, the panel could provide Nadler’s staff with documents and testimony gleaned as part of its own probes and its general oversight of the intelligence community. The Intelligence Committee — first under Republican leadership in 2017 and then Democratic leadership this year — conducted dozens of interviews with witnesses connected to the Mueller investigation.
The committee says that members will return for a Sept. 4 meeting to mark up three new pieces of legislation, including a bill that would ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, a bill prohibiting people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing a gun, and the House version of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposal to give grants to states that enact so-called red flag laws that allow police to seize guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
The House of Representatives has already passed two bills to strengthen background checks for gun sales — one that would expand background checks for nearly all gun sales and another that would close the “Charleston loophole,” which allows a gun sale to automatically go through if a background check is not completed within three days.
"There is more that we can and must do to address the gun violence epidemic. We will not sit idly by," said Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler in a statement. "I call on my Senate colleagues to join us in this effort by swiftly passing gun safety bills the House has already passed and also by acting on the additional bills we will be considering."
The Trump administration’s Justice Department has again taken President Donald Trump’s side in a fight between him – as a private citizen – and the US House of Representatives over subpoenas for his personal financial records.
The Justice Department argues the two banks shouldn’t have to hand over the subpoenaed information and accuses lawmakers of not taking the correct steps to seek the documents.
This is the first time the Justice Department has spoken up in this subpoena fight. Its foray into the case comes as House Democrats’ attempts heat up to get Trump’s financial records and to consider formal impeachment proceedings of the President.
On Friday, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to consider whether two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One, will have to turn over Trump’s information to House committees. Judge Jon Newman, a Jimmy Carter appointee, and Judges Debra Ann Livingston and Peter Hall, both appointed by President George W. Bush, will hear the arguments.
In its legal brief Monday, the Justice Department broadly criticizes how the House authorized the subpoenas before taking a full House vote. They also allege that House Democrats are unfairly targeting the President.
Friday will be a pivotal day in the House investigations of Trump – the judges will either side with Trump’s DoJ (and reject the subpoenas for Trump’s financial records) or they will side with the People’s House (and enforce the subpoenas). Stay tuned…