Mueller to testify publicly

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.

Rep Mike Quigley: Impeachment imperative

“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.”

Manafort and Hannity exchanged chummy texts

More than 50 pages of buddy-buddy text messages, sent between Fox News Host Sean Hannity and Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort in 2017 and 2018, were released Friday by a Washington, D.C., federal judge. In between affectionate banter, mainly of Hannity rather desperately trying to prove his undying support for Manafort, Manafort said he feared Special Counsel Robert Mueller would want him to “give up” Donald Trump or Jared Kushner. “I would never do that,” said Manafort.

Harry Litman: Manafort’s transfer from Rikers Island shows how corrupt the DOJ really is

“The overall turning of tables could not be more dramatic. Manafort did his best to wriggle out from under the lawful Justice Department investigation of him and the president. Now that same department is acting as his friend, as well as the president’s friend; and friends look out for one another…As long as Trump is president, Barr enjoys total dominion at the Justice Department. The department’s special treatment of Manafort illustrates why that state of affairs is so worrisome.”

Poll shows majority of Dems wants to impeach

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.”

Barbara McQuade & Joyce Vance: Congress must follow Mueller’s lead

“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.”

Jonathan Chait: U.S. national security officials still consider Trump a security risk

“Mueller has finished his work, and — save for foreign-policy bureaucrats keeping their actions secret from the president — there’s no obvious mechanism for identifying and limiting the threat of Russian leverage over him. For all we know, Trump is still being promised, or even receiving, payoffs from Russia. None of these actions would amount to crimes. They do, however, constitute a crisis — not just of national security but of national sovereignty.”

Manafort dodges Rikers Island, will stay in federal custody in New York

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been transferred to a correctional facility in New York but will remain in federal custody while he faces state fraud charges. An anonymous senior Justice Department official official says Manafort’s lawyers raised concerns about his health and safety if he was transferred to Rikers Island. They proposed he remain in federal custody and made available to state officials when needed.

Ron Fournier: Will impeachment backfire? Not if done right

“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.”

House Dems plan to call new witnesses

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.

Trump gave Stephanopoulos an earful

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos spent 30 hours with Donald Trump over two days for a 20/20 interview that aired on Sunday. No surprise, it was filled with alarmingly dictatorial statements. “There’s never been a time in the history of our country where somebody was so mistreated as I have been,” he said—a point with which the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln or the slaves he freed might disagree. “I run the country,” Trump responded, when asked if the president can obstruct justice.

Trump: ‘It doesn’t matter’ what McGahn said to Mueller

Trump is disputing former White House counsel Don McGahn’s account in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into whether the president obstructed justice during the course of the probe in Russian election interference. McGahn testified to Mueller that Trump instructed him multiple times to have the acting attorney general remove the special counsel because of perceived conflicts of interest.

Junior says ‘nothing to change’ in Senate testimony

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.

Congress raises questions left unanswered by Mueller

“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?”

Trumps looks to squash Amash

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.

Senators want answers from FBI

In a letter sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray today, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Ron Wyden asked what steps the agency took after an incident of election hacking, revealed in the Mueller report. In August of 2016, Russia targeted employees of “a voting technology company that developed software used by numerous U.S. counties to manage voter rolls, and installed malware on the company network.” VR Systems has since been confirmed as the targeted company.

Junior heads back to the Hill

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.

Jennifer Rubin: Exposing Trump’s criminality

“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.”

Dean: Six parallels between Watergate & Russiagate

No stranger to presidential scandal, John Dean, the former White House counsel whose 1973 testimony helped bring down Richard Nixon, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, as the first interview of its Mueller report hearings. He carefully laid out six parallels between the Mueller report and the Watergate investigation as it relates to obstruction of justice.

Dems are ready to legislate

Democrats are looking to pass legislation that ensures the abuses outlined in the Mueller report can’t happen again—at least not without clear legal ramifications. A package of legislation would address election security and obstruction of justice by a sitting president, prohibiting a president from interfering in a law enforcement investigation. Another likely piece of legislation, Duty to Report, would require campaign aides and entities to report foreign contacts and influence to law enforcement.

DOJ gives Congress key Mueller evidence

The Department of Justice has agreed to give the House certain materials and evidence from the Mueller probe, which were previously withheld, in exchange for the House not voting on holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for ignoring a congressional subpoena. The evidence from the Mueller probe will allow Congress to continue its investigation of Donald Trump’s possible obstruction of justice.

Laurence Tribe: Impeach Trump, but no Senate trial

“The point would not be to take old-school House impeachment leading to possible Senate removal off the table at the outset. Instead, the idea would be to build into the very design of this particular inquiry an offramp that would make bypassing the Senate an option while also nourishing the hope that a public fully educated about what this president did would make even a Senate beholden to this president and manifestly lacking in political courage willing to bite the bullet and remove him.”

Pelosi wants Trump ‘in prison’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats pushing for an impeachment effort that rather than wanting to see President Donald Trump impeached, she wanted to see him “in prison.” According to the report, Pelosi made the remark at a meeting on Tuesday night as House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler asked to be able to begin an impeachment inquiry.

David Ignatius: Britain is the club Trump resents but desperately wants to join

“The idea of an Anglo-American conspiracy that secretly runs the world is hardly new among fringe groups, left and right, but it gets an odd boost from this president. Britain is the club that Trump desperately wants to join but simultaneously resents. He’s the ‘America First’ populist who this week exalted in being received by British royalty.”

White House just keeps on obstructing

The Trump administration is continuing its obstructive behavior by instructing former White House staffers Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson not to cooperate with a congressional subpoena. They faced a deadline today to turn over documents in a House probe into potential abuse of power, public corruption, and obstruction. Both also have been subpoenaed to appear for testimony later this month, but their cooperation is now in doubt.

Paul Manafort to be sent to notorious Rikers Island

President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort will be moved from a federal prison lockup in Pennsylvania to Rikers Island later this week. Manhattan District Attorney requested the transfer after a New York grand jury charged Manafort with a number of crimes, including residential mortgage fraud and falsifying business records. The transfer could come as soon as Thursday.