The House will vote today on a resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweets from this weekend. It is unlikely that many GOP lawmakers will vote to condemn Trump.
Kellyanne Conway is now the latest WH official to ignore a congressional subpoena. The House Oversight Committee is likely to vote soon on holding Conway in contempt of Congress.
Were you excited to hear Robert Mueller testify to Congress in a few days? Well, put that excitement on hold because it appears that his testimony will now be delayed until July 24th.
The House goes on the offensive once again. The House Judiciary Committee authorized subpoenas for more than a dozen individuals, including Jared Kushner, on issues relating to obstruction of justice and family separation.
The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday voted to subpoena White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after she did not appear voluntarily at a hearing focused on her repeated alleged violations of the Hatch Act. The White House blocked Conway from appearing for public testimony before the committee Wednesday, citing “long-standing precedent” of declining to offer presidential advisers for congressional testimony.
It took last-minute changes and a full-court press by top Democratic leaders, but the House passed with relative ease Tuesday a $4.5 billion emergency border aid package to care for thousands of migrant families and unaccompanied children detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
Getcha popcorn ready…Robert Mueller will testify before Congress on July 17 after House Democrats issued a subpoena for his appearance, a move that paves the way for a reluctant special counsel to answer questions publicly for the first time about his 22-month investigation into President Donald Trump.
The White House has blocked counselor Kellyanne Conway from testifying before a House panel about allegations by a government watchdog that she violated the Hatch Act, increasing the likelihood of another subpoena battle between the two branches of government.
“Our democracy is at its best when the American people are in a position to fully trust in their government and institutions. Throughout my career, I have fought to ensure that our elected officials are transparent and held accountable so voters can draw their own conclusions. I have never been a reactionary. I am not someone who has called for the president’s removal from day one. I believe in a thoughtful, measured approach. Opening an impeachment inquiry is the most appropriate way to ensure that Congress and the American people have a full accounting of the facts.”
Lawmakers on both sides have expressed doubts that they could advance legislation to toughen the asylum process for migrants in the next two weeks, as sought by President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence after the administration delayed a planned weekend round of deportations by ICE. Democrats want to focus on comprehensive immigration reform or measures to fund the asylum process. Republicans favor legislation to limit asylum options and build Trump’s proposed border wall.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul said yesterday that conditions in migrant detention facilities in his home state of Texas were the “worst” he’s ever seen. He added that while he would prefer to tie humanitarian aid to other border security measures, “if my choice on the minority side is to vote up or down on a compassionate, humanitarian package, that’s what I’m going to do because it’s the right thing to do.” Four toddlers were sent to the hospital last week after being held at a detention facility.
Possibly throwing Donald Trump’s Iran plans into disarray, House Democrats voted to pass a $1 trillion appropriations bill, which includes a repeal of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force — Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against AUMF in 2001, added the repeal last month. However, no Republicans voted for the bill and it appears unlikely it will get past the Senate.
The Senate voted today to block the president from using his emergency authority to complete several arms sales to Saudi Arabia. President Trump has cited rising tensions with Iran as justification for using his emergency powers to complete the deals. Both Democrats and Republicans have been troubled by Trump’s embrace of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the wake of its involvement in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Yemen’s civil war. Despite bipartisan support, the Senate votes fell short of a veto-proof majority, and Trump has already indicated he will override the legislation.
Three US Senators received a classified briefing about UFOs seen travelling at hypersonic speed by US Navy pilots, congressional and government officials told Politico. A spokesman for Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, confirmed to the outlet that the Virginia Democrat was among those present at the briefing. “If naval pilots are running into unexplained interference in the air, that’s a safety concern Senator Warner believes we need to get to the bottom of,” his spokesperson, Rachel Cohen, said in a statement.
Oh, to be a fly on the wall! Behind closed doors today, former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is answering questions from the House Judiciary Committee about her former boss’ conduct. Last night, in a letter to Chair Jerry Nadler, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone claimed Hicks is “absolutely immune” from answering questions about her time at the White House and on the Trump transition team—whatever that means. Frustrated Democrats say Hicks has not answered such questions, and White House lawyers have accompanied her to the interview purportedly to ensure that she doesn’t.
Democrats have had enough of Trump. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds that more than two-thirds of self-identified Democratic respondents believe Congress should launch impeachment proceedings. Sixty-seven percent said lawmakers should begin proceedings, while 18% disagreed, and 15% didn’t know. Asked in the same poll whether candidates should accept information on their opponents offered by a foreign government, 61% said “probably not” or “definitely not.”
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings is requesting that a Census Bureau official interview with his committee after it was revealed that she was in touch with a GOP redistricting strategist about a possible citizenship question. Cummings, in a letter Tuesday to Census Bureau chief of staff Christa Jones, requested that she hand over documents on any communications she had about a potential census citizenship question with a number of Trump officials and advisers, as well as the late Republican strategist Thomas Hofeller.
“It seems like every day brings new allegations about this administration’s conduct. The sheer volume of them can be overwhelming and make it difficult to focus. The special counsel, far from exonerating the president on criminal obstruction of justice charges, presented a compelling case that the president violated the law. It is important for Congress and the American people to understand the misconduct that occurred and how it threatened our national security so that we can fulfill our own responsibilities as citizens to make informed choices about our leaders.”
Election security legislation has been facing roadblocks for over a year in Congress, thanks (or no thanks) to Sen. Mitch McConnell, and little activity on the issue is expected in the coming months. But other branches of government have made more progress. Here are some of the steps the federal government has taken to help secure elections in the U.S., as well as some of the possible disinformation threats that could reappear in 2020.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the clock is ticking for Robert Mueller to publicly testify about his investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election. “Time is running out,” Schiff said Tuesday. “With someone like Bob Mueller, making an appeal to his patriotism and a sense of duty is the right way to go.”
McConnell has been the immovable object: He’s frustrated House Democrats by systematically blocking Senate votes so far on the lengthening list of bills they have passed, from gun control to additional protections for patients with preexisting health problems. But McConnell’s blockade faces a new challenge as the House turns to a series of bills meant to fight foreign interference in the 2020 election – bills that will be harder to portray as partisan overreach than the bills the House has passed so far.
“Unless Democrats and Republicans in Congress impeach Trump, every future president has grounds to ask foreign adversaries to launch covert operations against his or her political rivals in the United States. But impeachment would backfire on Democrats, right? Not if they do it right. The more I reflect on the Clinton impeachment, the more I realize he didn’t survive because Republicans overreached. He survived because he made sure his public-facing focus was always on the lives and concerns of voters. He compartmentalized the impeachment drama inside a team of lawyers, pollsters and communications specialists — and had them weaponize the case against him.”
Democrats investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice are eyeing a new strategy to break the president’s all-out oversight blockade: calling witnesses who never worked in the White House, including presidential confidants such as former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Other Russia probe-related figures who never served in Trump’s administration, such as Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, are also prime game.
As pressure has mounted in recent weeks on House Democrats to move more aggressively against Trump, Pelosi has demonstrated the firm grip she wields over her caucus — quashing, at least for now, the push for impeachment. It is a command that colleagues say is drawn from a deep well of respect for the political wisdom of the most powerful woman in American politics — and fear that challenging her comes with the risk of grave cost to one’s career.
“The most benign explanation is that Republicans are afraid of embarrassing Trump and incurring his wrath. The more sinister explanation is that they are secretly rooting for Russian help again in 2020. The two explanations are not, of course, incompatible. Either way, Republicans are putting partisan self-interest above the nation’s interest.”
According to the President, when Nancy Pelosi accused him of engaging in a criminal cover-up, she was making a fascist statement. Yet somehow going after the media and the country’s law enforcing institutions is fair game to Trump?
Democratic party activist and former candidate for Maine Governor Betsy Sweet is seeking her party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that is currently held by Republican Susan Collins. Sweet is first to enter a race that is likely to draw more Democrats and probably some Republicans as well.
The House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas to former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and Rick Gates, President Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman. In a statement Thursday morning, the committee said it had subpoenaed the pair for “documents and testimony” in relation to the information they provided to the Mueller Report.
“Trump is openly inviting another attack on our political system. But the Senate Majority Leader is actively making that attack more likely — and ensuring that such an assault could be more damaging — by refusing to allow the Senate to proceed on multiple election security bills that really could mitigate its impact.”
Russian operatives not only conducted a vast disinformation campaign through Twitter and Facebook, and hacked documents from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, but also tried to penetrate 21 state election-related networks. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly told his colleagues that he will not allow the Senate to vote on election security legislation this session.
“King had recruited Diamond and Silk ostensibly to help launch a new piece of legislation, the so-called Diamond and Silk Act — designed to shift funds from sanctuary cities to homeless veterans — but really King needed them to inoculate him from the whole racism thing.”
The president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., on Wednesday appeared for a second time before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which issued a subpoena for his testimony after he resisted coming voluntarily. Trump Jr. told reporters after the two-and-a-half hour closed-door session Wednesday that he did not have to correct his previous testimony and was “not at all” worried about perjury. The panel is completing its two-year investigation into Russia’s 2016 election meddling.
“Of all the questions that Mueller helped resolve, he left many critical questions unanswered — what happened to the counterintelligence investigation?,” House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff said as he opened a hearing on counterintelligence issues on Wednesday. “Were there other forms of compromise, like money laundering, left out, uninvestigated or referred to other offices? Were individuals granted security clearances that shouldn’t have them? And are there individuals still operating in the administration that leave America vulnerable?”
Donald Trump and his top allies are moving to make Justin Amash pay for standing up for the rule of law by becoming the sole Republican congressman to call for the president’s impeachment. Trump has raised the primary challenge idea with Vice President Mike Pence, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a close Trump ally who co-founded the conservative House Freedom Caucus with Amash.
The House Oversight Committee voted 24-15 to hold Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress over their refusal to comply with subpoenas. The subpoenas were related to the citizenship question which may be added to the 2020 census.
Former aide to President Trump, Hope Hicks, will testify in a closed-door session to the House Judiciary Committee. Hicks is the first Trump aide to commit to testify before Congress during Congress’ investigation of Trump’s potential obstruction of justice.
“It’s easy to watch Stewart today and think, ‘Man, we could really use him right now.’ Instead, let’s learn from him. This is how you spark change: not through blind rage or by punching down, but rather unending commitment, arguing with wit, reason and humanity. And valuing, above all else, the truth.”
Donald Trump Jr. will return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a second closed-door interview with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as part of a deal he struck with leaders last month after the panel issued a subpoena for his testimony. He is expected to spend about four hours with the committee answering a limited number of questions — including queries about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer promising incriminating information about Hillary Clinton.
The two largest voting machine vendors in the U.S., which together supply more than 80% of the nation’s voting machines, have recently made contributions to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign and joint fundraising committee. McConnell has steadfastly refused to bring any election security legislation to the Senate floor. Looks like for McConnell “money talks” in a dangerous way.
“By blocking or attempting to block Mueller’s investigation, the president was seeking to thwart an investigation into a foreign power’s interference in our election, ‘which would diminish our ability to detect and defend against future threats.’ [Former U.S. attorney Barbara McQuade] reminded the committee that in four instances (‘counts’ in an indictment), all three elements of obstruction were found.”