The House Judiciary Committee on Friday asked a federal judge to unseal grand jury secrets related to Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, using the court filing to declare that lawmakers have already in effect launched an impeachment investigation of President Trump.
In a legal maneuver that carries significant political overtones, the committee told a judge that it needs access to the grand jury evidence collected by Mr. Mueller as special counsel — such as witness testimony — because it is “investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment” against the president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday that a decision on whether the House pursues the impeachment of President Donald Trump will be made in a “timely fashion” and denied the idea that she is trying to “run out the clock” on the issue.
Her comments came shortly before House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said at a separate press conference that his panel has already “in effect” been conducting an impeachment inquiry of the president — and said in a court filing that “articles of impeachment are under consideration as part of the Committee’s investigation, although no final determination has been made."
It helps them in court to say, we need to exercise a very prominent constitutional authority, because we believe the president may have done something impeachable. That has in the past made a difference in court hearings — in our rulings.
The other, Judy, is political. We have known Democrats for weeks have been in favor or not in favor of an impeachment inquiry. The semantics have been a problem for Democrats. Now they’re trying to wash that all away by saying, listen, we have been investigating, and now we are investigating and we are formally saying, this is an impeachment investigation.
They’re not going to take a separate vote on whether to open an investigation. They’re simply doing it.
I was wondering why there wasn’t a second vote before August recess.
Having Nancy Pelosi sign off on the Impeachment Inquiry was a big move and is just a means to an end. Dems want access to the Grand Jury testimony in Mueller’s report, need some leverage in getting McGahn’s subpoena to actually be enforced. Because of Article 1’s description, it allows Congress to get what they need if they are pursuing an Impeachment inquiry, and gives more gravitas to their getting the documents (Grand Jury, Taxes and McGahn) and helping them with their inquiry on nailing T and his illegal pursuits.
I am hearing that all along, Nancy is protecting the 30 or so centrist Dems who can not or will not vote for impeachment because it would lessen their chances of re-election for swing voters and/or Republicans who could vote for a Dem Congressional Rep and also vote for T. She is really protecting their majority it seems.
All the polling suggests that there is not the political will for impeachment, like less than 30%. Nancy is a vote counter…and with about 1/3 of her group 100 going for impeachment, the rest of Dem Congress is not for it, or simply won’t vote for it.
Pelosi met with AOC today to demonstrate that they get along like ‘family’ but do not necessarily agree with one another. They had a photo taken to falsify any notion that there is only infighting. Nancy wants the situation to be ‘play nice.’ It would be a better look than having T go after AOC as fringe, socialist etc…They are putting on a united front.
It would be great if Dems could get some more incriminating evidence of the blockbuster sort (Money laundering, Taxes showing who he owes his allegiances to…etc) So I think Pelosi feels she can only gain here by signing onto the Impeachment inquiry that Nadler wants to pursue…and keep her Dems in a position of power.
That and win 2020 on all fronts.
A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted immediately after former special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony, shows little impact on support for impeaching President Donald Trump, with a plurality of voters still opposed to beginning proceedings that could result in Trump’s removal from office.
Only 37 percent of voters say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump, according to the poll, which was conducted Thursday. More voters, 46 percent, say Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings. Sixteen percent of voters are undecided.
NADLER: I’ll repeat what we said in our court filings. We have impeachment resolutions before the committee. We are conducting investigations to determine whether we should report those impeachment resolutions to the House or direct our own and report those to the House. We’re considering those resolutions. We’ll make a determination after we get more evidence as to the president’s crimes that we had from the Mueller report and also from other things. As to his violations of the emoluments clause, failure to defend the constitution against continuing Russian attacks."
STEPHANOPOULOS: "So that is an impeachment investigation? "
NADLER: “We’re investigating whether to report – whether to approve articles of impeachment before the committee.”
What happens if the investigation runs out the clock before the next election cycle? Does anyone when they would call it?
Bombshell Report from the House Oversight Committee
Jul 29, 2019
WH, Agencies Still Refuse to Produce Documents in Committee’s Investigation
Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued a second interim staff report in the Committee’s investigation into efforts to transfer U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
Chairman Cummings issued the following statement:
“Today’s report reveals new and extensive evidence that corroborates Committee whistleblowers and exposes how corporate and foreign interests are using their unique access to advocate for the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The American people deserve to know the facts about whether the White House is willing to place the potential profits of the President’s personal friends above the national security of the American people and the universal objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.”
The Committee’s second interim report is based on more than 60,000 pages of new documents produced to the Committee in response to requests that Chairman Cummings made to a host of outside companies about their involvement with plans to transfer U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. The report states:
New documents and communications show that IP3, the private company lobbying the White House to transfer U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, repeatedly sought a $120 million investment from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is unclear if the company ultimately received the investment.
Documents show that IP3 is currently pushing the Trump Administration not to require Saudi Arabia to agree to the “Gold Standard,” which is a commitment not to use U.S. nuclear technology to make nuclear weapons. Documents show that IP3 officials repeatedly urged White House and Trump Administration officials to abandon the “Gold Standard” in any future 123 Agreement with Saudi Arabia, complaining that it would lock them out of lucrative nuclear contracts with the Saudis.
New documents show that IP3 officials have had unprecedented access to the highest levels of the Trump Administration, including meeting directly with President Trump, Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, KT McFarland, and Cabinet Secretaries Rick Perry, Steven Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, and Wilbur Ross. IP3 described the Trump Administration as “an extended team member.”
New documents show that Thomas J. Barrack, Jr.—a longtime personal friend, campaign donor, and inaugural chairman—negotiated directly with President Trump and other White House officials to seek powerful positions within the Administration—including Special Envoy to the Middle East and Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates—at the same time he was (1) promoting the interests of U.S. corporations seeking to profit from the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia; (2) advocating on behalf of foreign interests seeking to obtain this U.S. nuclear technology; and (3) taking steps for his own company, Colony NorthStar, to profit from the same proposals he was advancing with the Administration.
Officials from other companies in the nuclear industry have serious concerns about IP3 and its financial motive in pressing for the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, calling it a “boondoggle,” warning that “IP3 has a questionable reputation,” and observing, “This whole IP3 effort is still a bit strange and mysterious.” One industry executive called IP3 the “Theranos of the nuclear industry.”
The White House has completely refused to cooperate with the Committee’s investigation and has not produced a single document in response to the Committee’s requests. For the most part, the federal agencies involved have followed suit. As a result of the White House’s actions, it may be necessary for the Committee to seek compulsory process to obtain information from the White House, federal agencies, and individual Trump Administration officials.
Click here to read the second interim staff report.
Click here to read the documents released with the second interim staff report.
Click here to read the first interim staff report.
Pasadena-area Congresswoman Judy Chu issued a statement Tuesday calling for the opening of an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
“ I believe it is time for Congress to open an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The proceedings must be deliberate and transparent. We have a sacred duty as members of Congress to ensure that nobody is above the law. To do nothing given what we know is unacceptable,” Chu said.
In her statement, Chu referred to the recent appearance before Congress of Robert S. Mueller III.
“When Special Counsel Mueller testified before Congress, he reiterated clear evidence that President Trump obstructed justice and that if Trump were not the President, he would be on trial,” Chu said.
CALIFORNIA REP. JUDY CHU became the 116th House Democrat to call for impeachment – just two more would put Democrats over the 50% mark.
In other words, it’s very likely that a majority of the Democrats in the House will soon be on record as favoring an impeachment inquiry. This tipping point should reassure the remaining Democrats – they’ll feel safer coming out in favor as well. Let’s hope that support for an impeachment inquiry really starts to snowball now.
Why my committee needs the president’s tax returns
Richard E. Neal, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts’s 1st Congressional District in the House and is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
For three decades, the House of Representatives and its Ways and Means Committee have been the site of my life’s work. I never aspired to be a senator or governor or president.
Instead, I learned arcane House rules and sought a position on the Ways and Means Committee because of its tremendous potential to help my district. I have listened to my constituents on matters such as taxes, health care, international trade and Social Security, which are within the committee’s purview. Untold hours have gone into developing legislation and trying to improve, pass or defeat countless bills. That’s the job.
I’d rather hold a roundtable in Pittsfield, Mass., or cross-examine Medicare administrators than pick fights on cable news. Those arguments tend to drive people into their corners, shrinking opportunities to accomplish real results.
I’m an institutionalist. I respect Congress, for all its imperfections. As chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I am responsible for congressional oversight of the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service’s administration of the federal tax code. The tax code gives the committee chairman the power to request taxpayer information from the IRS. The committee has exercised this power at various times in the past and has never been denied by the IRS or the Treasury Department.
In early April, I requested the president’s tax returns to fulfill a legitimate congressional oversight responsibility: Our voluntary tax-compliance system hinges on the public’s faith that our tax laws are administered fairly and without favor to those in power. The president is unique: No other American has the power to sign bills into law and direct an entire branch of government. That power, and the extent to which the IRS can audit and enforce federal tax laws against a current or future president, merits closer legislative scrutiny.
My committee will consider legislation regarding the mandatory audit program to ensure these audits are conducted fairly and without undue influence from the commander in chief. And, as part of our deliberations, we must review his tax information to better understand the audit program and propose any needed changes.
The law on this is very clear: The IRS “shall furnish ” the Ways and Means Committee with the requested tax returns. Both Democrats and Republicans have made requests for taxpayer information under 6103(f)(1) of the U.S. tax code in the past. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that Congress is entitled to a presumption that its investigatory activities are legitimate, and, in this case, the legitimacy is self-evident. And yet, the administration has stonewalled Congress, ordering the IRS commissioner not to comply with the plain language of the law and setting up a pending legal clash.
I did not pick this fight, but I will not shirk it because it’s about something much bigger than tax forms. This is not an exercise in political retribution: I am not willing to trade the reputation of the Ways and Means Committee for cheap political gains.
The committee is a venerable part of U.S. history, having given the nation Social Security, Medicare, the entire tax code, all of our trade agreements, and numerous programs serving children and families. This committee financed America’s role in both world wars, and its antecedent paid for the Lewis and Clark expedition. I have no intention of squandering my chairmanship of this distinguished panel on petty or malevolent efforts to embarrass the current president.
But in this country, we take seriously the Magna Carta’s precept of the rule of law, not the law of rulers. I will fight with everything I have to reassert Congress’s constitutional mandate to serve as an equal branch of government. This country has thrived through the centuries because we have durable political institutions with a robust system of checks and balances.
Our political institutions won’t continue to function unless we guard them vigilantly, and my colleagues and I in the House majority are committed to doing so. It is the root of our oath to uphold the law.
More than half of House Democrats say they would vote to launch impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, a crucial threshold that backers said will require Speaker Nancy Pelosi to reconsider her steadfast opposition.
Though Pelosi has given no indication that even a significant majority of House Democrats embracing impeachment proceedings would shift her view, supporters of an inquiry argue that crossing the halfway mark among the caucus is a symbolic boost that could shift the political dynamic.
“The president’s repeated abuses have brought American democracy to a perilous crossroads," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who announced his support on Tuesday. “Following the guidance of the Constitution — which I have sworn to uphold — is the only way to achieve justice.”
The number of House Democrats who support impeachment proceedings passed the halfway mark — 118 out of 235 voting members now support the effort — on Thursday when Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida announced his support. Deutch was also the 23rd Democratic lawmaker to support impeachment proceedings in the days after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified to Congress, affirming publicly his damning evidence suggesting Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
The only body with the power to take action against Kavanaugh now is Congress, and, notwithstanding fierce Democratic opposition to his nomination, there’s been no effort by lawmakers to act so far. Supreme Court justices, like federal judges in the lower courts, can be impeached for misconduct, but it’s extremely rare.
A coalition of liberal legal groups and court watchdogs sent a letter to House Democrats in April urging them to take up the investigation into allegations raisedduring Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings that he participated in sexual assault when he was in high school, and, separately, how the White House and the Senate responded to those claims when they came up. No congressional committee has held hearings or publicly expressed plans to do so.
Pelosi Statement on Progress of House Investigations
AUGUST 2, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi released this statement on the progress of the House’s investigations:
“When we take the oath of office, we solemnly vow ‘to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ The Mueller report states unequivocally that Russia interfered in the 2016 election ‘in sweeping and systematic fashion.’ And the Intelligence Community informs us that Russia is working 24/7 to undermine our elections. This assault on our elections is a serious national security matter which the President chooses to ignore.
“The Mueller report and his testimony last week confirmed that the President’s campaign welcomed Russian interference in the election, and laid out ten instances of the President’s obstruction of justice. The President’s more recent attempts to prevent us from finding the facts is further evidence of obstruction of justice.
“To protect our democracy and our Constitution, Democrats in the Congress continue to legislate, investigate and litigate.
Last week, Jerry Nadler, Chair of Judiciary, took a significant step when he filed a petition to obtain the grand jury testimony underlying the Mueller report, for the House to ‘have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity — approval of articles of impeachment.’
Elijah Cummings, Chair of Oversight and Reform, is winning in court in the Mazars case, seeking the President’s financial statements and reports prepared by his accountant to determine financial conflicts, violations of the Emoluments Clause, and the truthfulness of representations contained in the President’s statutorily required financial disclosure forms;
Maxine Waters, Chair of Financial Services and Adam Schiff, Chair of Intelligence are winning in court in the Deutsche Bank case, seeking the President’s bank account records to assist with the Committees’ investigation of unsafe banking practices, including money laundering, illicit transactions and foreign investments;
Richie Neal, Chair of Ways and Means, is pursuing the President’s tax returns to assist with the ongoing investigation of the IRS’s presidential tax audit program;
Eliot Engel, Chair of Foreign Affairs, on another front, is investigating the Russia connection with hearings seeking the facts from the Trump-Putin meetings;
In addition, last week, the House voted to reiterate its oversight authority, and ratified and affirmed the subpoenas already issued by the committees and any subpoenas to come. Responding to the subpoenas gives the President an opportunity to provide information that could exonerate him. If he has nothing to hide, he should cooperate with the subpoenas.
Our litigation has been strengthened by the months of work from our six committees which are engaged in the investigations. 54 percent of House Democrats serve on these committees engaged in hearings and investigations, and I am very proud of their work.
We have sent the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act to the Senate. However, Mitch McConnell refuses to take up this legislation or any other legislation to protect our democracy. Why do the President and the Republican Leader in the Senate choose to protect Russia rather than to protect the integrity of our elections? We will continue to lead a drumbeat across the country demanding the GOP Senate act.
“The assault on our elections and our Constitution is a grave national security issue. We owe it to our Founders to sustain our system of checks and balances and our democracy. We owe it to our heroic men and women in uniform who risk their lives for freedom to defend our democracy at home. We owe it to our children to ensure that no present or future president can dishonor the oath of office without being held accountable.
“In America, no one is above the law. The President will be held accountable.”
Nadler said on MSNBC Monday that his panel could vote later this year on articles of impeachment. First, Nader said, they would pursue their fights in court to get information from the Trump administration, hoping to get court decisions by end of October or early November. Then, he promised September hearings with witnesses “who are not dependent on court proceedings.”
And he added: "If we decide to report articles of impeachment, we could get it in the late fall, later part of the year."
That calendar, however, does not take into account any appeals that could take place, which could drag out court fights beyond the fall – and it’s unclear how more time-consuming legal battles would impact Nadler’s plans.
Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Committee, sent a letter to Jim Watkins, the owner of the website 8chan, to request that he appear before the Committee to answer questions on what is being done to address the proliferation of extremist content on his platform. According to media reports, the killer who carried out the August 3rd domestic terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, posted a manifesto describing his anti-immigrant, white supremacist beliefs on 8chan.
Regrettably, this is at least the third act of white supremacist extremist violence linked to your website this year. In April, the killer who murdered one Jewish worshiper and wounded three others at a synagogue in Poway, California, appears to have posted an anti-Semitic and racist open letter on 8chan shortly before carrying out the mass shooting. In March, the killer who murdered 51 Muslim worshipers and wounded 49 more at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, appears to have posted on 8chan a 74-page manifesto outlining his racist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant beliefs, as well as a link to a Facebook livestream of the massacre.
On August 5, 2019, your network service provider, Cloudflare, called 8chan a “cesspool of hate” before suspending service. Fredrick Brennan, 8chan’s founder, called the site “a complete negative to everybody except the users that are there,” and called for 8chan to be shut down. Experts have described 8chan as a platform for amplifying extremist views, leading to the radicalization of its users.
Americans deserve to know what, if anything, you, as the owner and operator, are doing to address the proliferation of extremist content on 8chan.
To that end, the Committee on Homeland Security respectfully requests your presence to provide testimony regarding 8chan’s efforts to investigate and mitigate the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist extremist content, on your website.
Online message board 8chan’s fortunes worsened on Tuesday, as the site was once again made homeless by a technical services provider and its owner was called to testify before the U.S. Congress after 8chan was linked to the weekend mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee demanded that owner Jim Watkins, an American living in the Philippines, testify about 8chan’s efforts to address “the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist content.”
The committee’s Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson, and Mike Rogers, the committee’s ranking Republican, sent a letter tmsnrt.rs/2YuWNQ7 to Watkins asking him to appear before the committee, noting that the El Paso massacre "is at least the third act of supremacist violence linked to your website this year."
8chan was offline on Tuesday after Seattle-based Epik became the latest provider to cut ties. In a statement, Epik’s chief executive, Rob Monster, cited concerns about the site’s “inadequate enforcement and the elevated possibility of violent radicalization.”
In the heavily Hispanic city of El Paso on Saturday, a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart store. Authorities have cited a lengthy anti-immigrant manifesto, apparently posted on 8chan by the suspect, as evidence the bloodshed was racially motivated.
After the shooting, U.S. cyber security firm CloudFlare withdrew services from 8chan, prompting it to sign up with Epik on Monday. Epik’s own web infrastructure provider, Voxility, dropped it as a customer in response.
Epik still provides services to neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer and “free-speech” site Gab, as well as InfoWars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Monster told Reuters that the anonymity on 8chan differentiated it from other sites. “Nobody has a vested interest in personal accountability since you always get a new persona,” he said.
Fredrick Brennan, who created 8chan in 2013, has called for the site to be closed down. “If I could go back and not create 8chan at all, I probably would,” he told Reuters in an interview, likening it to Frankenstein’s monster.
8chan’s Watkins declined to comment, but directed Reuters to a video he posted on YouTube on Tuesday, in which he argued that the site provided a space for free speech.
“Think of 8chan as a large community of 1 million people that are now looking for a home,” said Watkins, with a shadowy likeness of American founding father Benjamin Franklin behind him.
Watkins claimed the Texas suspected shooter’s manifesto was first uploaded not to 8chan but to Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook.
A Facebook spokeswoman said the company has found “nothing that supports this theory” in an investigation ongoing since Saturday. Facebook disabled the suspected shooter’s Instagram account, which had not been active in over a year, she added.
“Think of 8chan as a large community of 1 million people that are now looking for a home,” said Watkins, with a shadowy likeness of American founding father Benjamin Franklin behind him.
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.
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.
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.
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.