Judge orders public transcript of calls between Flynn and Russian officials

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.

Mueller testimony: The waiting is the hardest part

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.

House Democrats plan public reading of Mueller report

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.”

Barr to Pelosi: ‘Did you bring your handcuffs?’

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.

Eric Levitz: Trump is a threat to democracy…so play nice

“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.”

Putin praises Mueller report

“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.

Barbara McQuade: Barr delivers chilling message to the FBI

“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.'”

Junior strikes deal to testify

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.

White House told McGahn to deny Trump obstructed justice

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.

Michelle Goldberg: If this is a constitutional crisis, act like it

“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.”

Jennifer Rubin: Americans may be persuadable on impeachment

“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.”

Don Jr. likely won’t comply with Senate subpoena

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).

Comey: Mueller had enough evidence to charge Trump

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.

Progressives rally for impeachment at US Capitol

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.

Pelosi’s impeachment approach is coming together

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.

Judge in Stone case demands unredacted Mueller report

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.

Mueller Time: Special counsel may testify after all

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.”

Schiff subpoenas Barr for full Mueller report

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.

Jennifer Rubin: ‘Self-impeachable’ is exactly right

“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.”

Dana Milbank: No, Mitch McConnell, it isn’t ‘case closed’

“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?”

John Patrick Grace: Our democracy is in danger

“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.”

Mueller didn’t want Comey memos released

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.

Roger Stone ally wants Supreme Court to take up his case

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.