While on CNN, Senator Romney was asked about whether he agreed with Rep. Amash’s view that President Trump engaged in impeachable behavior. Romney said that he does not agree with Amash, but noted that Amash’s statement was “courageous”.
Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan finished reading the Mueller report and let the world know what he thought of it. In a series of tweets, Amash made it clear that he believe AG Barr misled the public on the Mueller report and that Trump engaged in impeachable conduct. Amash is one of the only Republicans in Congress to suggest that Trump should be impeached.
While he was cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was in touch with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who was publicly criticizing the special counsel probe, as Flynn encouraged him to do.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff said Thursday that his panel would vote on “enforcement action” against Attorney General William Barr or the Justice Department next week, another escalation in the standoff between Congress and President Trump’s administration over documents and testimony.
A federal judge has ordered portions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be unredacted and made public in the criminal case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. It is the first time a federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to make public portions of the report the agency had kept secret.
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered the text of a voice mail between Michael Flynn and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak be made public. “The defendant informed the government of multiple instances, both before and after his guilty plea, where either he or his attorneys received communications from persons connected to the Administration or Congress that could have affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” the filings stated.
While Attorney General William Barr has indicated that he has no objection to Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifying before a House panel, Mueller’s appearance is in limbo due to discussions on whether the White House’s assertion of executive privilege would limit his testimony. The privilege claim could prevent him from discussing details involving President Trump and his advisers beyond what is in the redacted report. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is weighing the issues.
Remember former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn? According to newly unredacted court papers filed on Thursday, Flynn told investigators that people linked to the Trump administration and Congress reached out to him in an effort to obstruct the Russia probe. He even provided a voicemail recording of one such communication to the special counsel’s office. WOW.
More than 20 House Democrats are planning a grueling 12-hour-long public reading of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation in its entirety. “The Mueller report was a mandate from the Department of Justice that there be an investigation into these very troubling aspects about what was happening in our government,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon. “So you know, it may be inconvenient, it may be time-consuming, but it’s what we have to do.”
A week after the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold him in contempt over subpoenas related to the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr took an opportunity to joke about it. He approached House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at an event, shook her hand, and said loudly, “Madam Speaker, did you bring your handcuffs?” Pelosi smiled and said the House sergeant-at-arms was present at the ceremony should an arrest be necessary. The attorney general chuckled and walked away.
“If Trump’s boasts about sexual assault, praise of neo-Nazis, attacks on prisoners of war, and attempts to throw millions of Americans off of health insurance didn’t persuade these people that they should remove him from office through conventional means, why would impeachment proceedings convince them that Democrats should expel Trump through extraordinary ones? After all, the whole saga would inevitably end with the Senate awarding Trump ‘total exoneration,’ thereby signaling to these low-information Americans that the whole impeachment thing had been a partisan crusade.”
“On the whole [Robert Mueller] had a very objective investigation, and he confirmed that there are no traces whatsoever of collusion between Russia and the incumbent administration, which we said was absolutely fake,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Sochi on Tuesday. Well thank goodness Putin is happy.
“In addition to harming the effectiveness of the FBI, Barr’s complicity in Trump’s tactics may also have a chilling effect. By advancing the ‘investigate the investigators’ mantra, Barr may cause the FBI to flinch next time it perceives a threat from powerful people within the government. He is incentivizing the FBI to sit idly by in the face of national security threats. The risk is that under Barr’s leadership, the FBI’s new motto might become ‘he who does nothing does nothing wrong.'”
Donald Trump Jr. and the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal on Tuesday for the president’s eldest son to sit for a private interview with senators in the coming weeks that will be limited in time, an accord that should cool a heated intraparty standoff.
It turns out Trump wasn’t the only White House official to engage with the FBI as it investigated Russia’s role in the presidential election. A day after Trump asked for Comey’s loyalty in April 2017, then-White House strategist Steve Bannon asked two top FBI officials to put their “differences” with Trump’s administration behind them.
Lindsey Graham suggested Don Jr. should ignore a subpoena from his Republican colleague in the Senate and “call it a day.” Experts are suggesting that the move is likely to cause a mini civil war within the Republican party, at the very least behind closed doors.
Attorney General William Barr assigned a federal prosecutor to examine the origins of the Russia investigation. John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, was reportedly tapped to look into how the probe—which culminated in the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report—started in the first place.
White House officials asked at least twice in the past month for former White House counsel Don McGahn to say publicly that he never believed the president obstructed justice. The White House made one of the requests to McGahn’s lawyer before the Mueller report was released publicly but after the Justice Department gave a copy to Donald Trump’s lawyers to read.
“Pelosi is a sharp and pragmatic woman, and her evident belief that impeachment carries strategic risks for Democrats should be taken seriously. But it is incoherent to argue that Trump constitutes an existential threat to the Constitution, and that Congress should wait to use the Constitution’s primary defense against such a threat. Democratic fear of divisiveness — even as Republicans gleefully embrace it — is leading to unilateral political disarmament.”
James Baker was the FBI’s top lawyer when the Russia probe began in 2016. While speaking on the origins of the Russia investigation, Baker went to great lengths to debunk wild theories propagated by Trump and his base. Baker says that the investigation began off of a tip on George Papadopoulos and not the “Steele Dossier”.
While Democrats originally hoped that Robert Mueller would testify before the House Judiciary Committee on May 15th, Chairman Nadler says that Mueller will not be testifying next week. Nadler continued on to say that they expect to hear from Mueller soon and will use a subpoena if necessary.
“In the weeks since the redacted report came out, several developments may have affected voters’ thinking. At least voters outside the Fox News bubble know that far from exonerating Trump, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III found substantial evidence of obstruction of justice. Hundreds upon hundreds of prosecutors have weighed in, affirming they would have brought charges if not for the Office of Legal Counsel memo. And Attorney General William P. Barr has performed dreadfully at a pair of hearings, evading and double-talking his way around the actual findings in the report.”
The subpoena for Trump Jr.’s testimony marks an escalation of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian election interference. The panel’s investigation, led by Republican Senator Richard Burr, has been running for more than two years, and the committee has interviewed many of the same witnesses who spoke to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Don Jr. has three options: dare the committee to hold him in contempt, take the Fifth in writing, or compromise and answer written questions (the most likely scenario).
James Comey said the Mueller Report contains enough evidence to prove Donald Trump obstructed justice—and that there’s “no doubt” he would have been charged if he wasn’t president. “The president is not above the law and I don’t accept the notion that because the president is the head of the Executive Branch, he can’t ever obstruct justice in connection with Executive Branch activities,” Comey added.
Hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Donald Trump of sending the country into a “constitutional crisis,” she faced calls from progressive Democrats to take immediate steps toward impeachment of the president. “I believe impeachment is the solution to a constitutional crisis,” said Rep. Al Green, who joined Rep. Rashida Tlaib and progressive activists at a pro-impeachment event outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been extremely cautious about impeachment, and wisely so, since that’s how most Americans feel, at least for now. But declaring that the country is facing a “constitutional crisis,” she portrayed herself Thursday as the protector of the Constitution, Congress, and the country as the standoff with President Trump continues. Pelosi has to convince Americans, and her own caucus, that the fight is more about checks and balances than partisan politics.
The unredacted Mueller report has become quite the hot commodity. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has given the U.S. attorneys handling the Roger Stone case until Monday to provide her with portions of the Mueller report that deal with Stone “and/or ‘the dissemination of hacked materials'” that were leaked during the 2016 presidential campaign to the detriment of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
On Thursday, Donald Trump appeared to change his mind…again. In a surprise 45-minute news conference, he said he would leave it to Attorney General William Barr to decide whether Robert Mueller should testify before Congress. He also expressed surprise and dismay over his son’s subpoena, saying, “My son was totally exonerated by Mueller.” Well, not exactly. But when questioned whether Donald Trump Jr. would appear, the president said, “We’ll see what happens.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a subpoena on behalf of his panel to Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday evening. The committee is demanding Mueller’s full unredacted report, the underlying evidence, and all counterintelligence and foreign intelligence materials generated in the course of the investigation.
“For a report that is supposed to entirely exonerate Trump, he and his minions are going to extreme lengths to conceal its complete contents, to prevent the attorney general from testifying, and even to try to keep Mueller from testifying. If he did not obstruct justice before, he certainly is obstructing Congress now. The House should exercise all of its powers to end Trump’s autocratic spasm. Our democracy is at stake.”
The House Judiciary Committee voted 24-16 to hold AG Barr in contempt of Congress. The vote will now proceed to the House floor for a vote.
Donald Trump asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report today, marking perhaps his most brazen move to date to block oversight and obstruct justice. Why he feels the need to conceal the contents of a report that he claims fully “exonerates” him remains unknown.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said that contempt proceedings against Attorney General Bill Barr are still set for Wednesday “at the moment.” Members of the committee are also expected to raised the prospect of Barr’ s impeachment as a result of their investigation relating to the Mueller probe.
“Russia seeks to disrupt our elections again in 2020, with hacking and social media attacks and techniques unknown. Yet McConnell has the chutzpah to pronounce it ‘case closed’ — when he has been the leading obstacle to defending the U.S. election system against cyberattack by the Russians. Intelligence experts have been beating the drums to build defenses against a repeat of 2016. Every step of the way, McConnell has resisted. Perhaps he figures that because Putin helped his guy in 2016, he’ll do the same again in 2020?”
The Department of Justice says it will ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege over the Mueller report if the House Judiciary Committee goes through with its threat to vote on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt. Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the committee would proceed with the contempt citation as planned.
One of Donald Trump’s supporters’ favorite things about him is his willingness to battle their enemies, including the media, “elites,” and, of course, Democrats. So House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to strengthen Trump’s power over his base by giving him the fight of his life — impeachment.
“The spectacle of Attorney General William Barr defying a call to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on the particulars of the Mueller report…has shaken our heretofore solid faith in the strength of America’s system of government. What’s more, President Trump has thrown down a gauntlet in front of Congress on a much broader scale, indicating that he will seek to prevent all current White House aides and all former aides and Cabinet members from obeying even subpoenas to testify before the people’s elected representatives. Without a system of checks and balances among the three co-equal branches of our government…our democracy would be dealt a staggering blow.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors didn’t want former FBI Director James Comey’s memos released because they feared that Donald Trump and other witnesses could change their stories after reading Comey’s version of events, according to an argument they made in a January 2018 sealed court hearing. The transcript says that Mueller’s office was primarily concerned with Trump’s behavior in the obstruction of justice investigation.
Andrew Miller, a Roger Stone associate who is refusing to comply with a subpoena which requires him to appear before Special Counsel Mueller’s grand jury, wants the Supreme Court to look at his case. He is currently being held in “civil contempt”, but would like the Supreme Court to look at the constitutionality of Robert Mueller’s appointment so that he can avoid consequences for his refusal to appear before the grand jury.