Intelligence/Judiciary Impeachment Investigation: Trump Obstruction; Abuse of Power; Whistleblower(s)
Lewandowski seems too eager to testify, so I'm not sure he's going to do any favors to the impeachment process. Probably comfortable lying.
Any chance he'll risk a no-show?
I guess this is as good a place as any to ask. It's hard for me to keep track but aren't House Committees going to court to force some of these people to comply with their subpoena. And, if so, and the court rules they have to appear, what happens when Barr tells them (again) not to bother?
Hubs (and me) at the Rockabilly Fest
Funny you should ask:Slim Cognito wrote: ↑Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:45 pmI guess this is as good a place as any to ask. It's hard for me to keep track but aren't House Committees going to court to force some of these people to comply with their subpoena. And, if so, and the court rules they have to appear, what happens when Barr tells them (again) not to bother?
Law & Crime:
DOJ Claims Congress Can’t Use Federal Court to Enforce Subpoena for Trump’s Tax Returns:
Attorneys for the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday submitted a motion to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia requesting that the court dismiss House Democrats’ lawsuit aimed at President Donald Trump’s tax returns.
In the motion, the attorneys claimed that House Democrats are constitutionally prohibited from “conscripting” the federal judiciary to enforce subpoenas issued for the president’s tax documents unless the Executive Branch agrees to allow the matter to be adjudicated through the court.
“[T]he Committee’s attempt to enlist the Judiciary on its side of this inter-branch dispute goes beyond well-established limits on Article III jurisdiction, presenting ‘fundamental separation of powers concerns relating to the restricted role of the Article III courts in our constitutional system of government,’” the government said.
The argument essentially posits that the Constitution’s separation of powers prevent federal courts from being used in a political dispute between two co-equal branches of government.
“There is no constitutional or statutory basis for a Committee of the House of Representatives to take on the role of enforcing its subpoenas in the Federal courts where the Executive Branch has decided not to do so,” DOJ attorneys wrote. “If Congress is dissatisfied with the Executive Branch’s response to its subpoena, its recourse is the constitutionally mandated accommodation process and legislative tools assigned by the Constitution, not the deployment of lawyers wielding the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.”
Professor Orin Kerr, who teaches at the University of California, Berkley School of Law seemed to find the DOJ’s argument incompatible with the separation of powers doctrine.
“The Trump Administration’s view of separation of powers: The Executive Branch has all of the power, and the House is separated from it,” he tweeted in response to the motion.
x6 x2 x4 x2
Is this the right thread? I'm so confused...
The House Intelligence Commitee is accusing Michael Flynn of failing to comply with its subpoena - and Schiff says in letter that the committee "now commands" Flynn to appear for a hearing on Sept. 25. The panel wants records by Sept. 18.
Nadler says Corey Lewandowski hearing is scheduled for Sept. 17; former WH aides Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn also have been subpoenaed to attend that hearing
Adam Schiff lashes Michael Flynn for refusing to cooperate
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has refused to cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee’s demand for testimony and documents, Chairman Adam Schiff wrote in a letter released Monday.
“Notwithstanding repeated efforts by committee staff to engage with your counsel and accommodate your adjournment requests, you have, to date, failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena or cooperate with the committee’s efforts to secure your compliance,” Schiff wrote in the letter to Flynn, which demands that the retired Army lieutenant general appear for testimony on Sept. 25.
Schiff said Flynn’s new counsel, Sidney Powell, “exhibit[ed] a troubling degree of unprofessionalism” in conversations with committee staffers, outlining a series of interactions between Powell and Schiff’s aides.
According to Schiff, Powell “refused to accept service” of the subpoena issued by the panel in June. Schiff indicated that Powell repeatedly sought deadline extensions for Flynn’s cooperation before ultimately ignoring phone calls attempting to arrange Flynn’s testimony for late July, just ahead of Congress’ six-week summer recess.
Schiff also said Powell told the committee that Flynn would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and would not answer any questions other than confirming his name.
That would be extra special frosting on the cakeCan @KamalaHarris come over and do the questioning?
Matthew Miller added,
https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2019 ... ssion=true
The nation's top intelligence official is illegally withholding a whistleblower complaint, possibly to protect President Donald Trump or senior White House officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff alleged Friday.
Schiff issued a subpoena for the complaint, accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of taking extraordinary steps to withhold the complaint from Congress, even after the intel community's inspector general characterized the complaint as credible and of "urgent concern."
“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [inspector general] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never," Schiff said in a statement. "This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct."
Schiff indicated that he learned the matter involved "potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community," raising the specter that it is "being withheld to protect the President or other Administration officials." In addition, Schiff slammed Maguire for consulting the Justice Department about the whistleblower complaint "even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review, appeal, reverse, or countermand in any way the [inspector general's] independent determination, let alone to involve another entity within the Executive Branch."
"The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in a letter to Maguire on Friday.
Intelligence.house.gov - (Press Release)
Adding:Chairman Schiff Issues Subpoena for Whistleblower Complaint Being Unlawfully Withheld by Acting DNI from Intelligence Committees
Washington, September 13, 2019
Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a subpoena to the Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire to compel the production of a whistleblower complaint that the Intelligence Community Inspector General’s (IC IG) determined to be credible and a matter of “urgent concern,” as well as the IC IG’s determination and all records pertaining to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) involvement in this matter, including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors such as the White House. The Acting DNI was required by statute to submit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committees more than 10 days – but he refuses to do so.
Prior to issuing the subpoena, the Committee learned that the complaint involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community and the ODNI refused to rule out that the underlying conduct relates to an area of active investigation by the Committee, raising serious concerns that the whistleblower complaint is being withheld to protect the President or other Administration officials. Absent compliance with the subpoena, the Committee plans to require Acting Director Maguire to appear before the Committee in an open hearing on Thursday, September 19, 2019.
Chairman Schiff stated:
“A month ago, a whistleblower within the intelligence community lawfully filed a complaint regarding a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law, or deficiency within the responsibility or authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community found that complaint not only credible, but urgent. More than ten days since the Director was obligated to transmit the complaint to the intelligence committees, the Committee has still not received the disclosure from the Director, in violation of the law.
“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the IC IG determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never. This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct.
“After Watergate exposed significant intelligence abuses, a critical bargain was struck: in exchange for the Intelligence Community’s willingness to reveal closely guarded national security secrets, the congressional intelligence committees and leadership promised to handle that information responsibly. It was also of vital importance that intelligence officials have a lawful and protected means of bringing misconduct to the attention of Congress and the public. By withholding a credible whistleblower complaint that potentially deals with executive branch wrongdoing, the DNI is in violation of the applicable statute and has made itself a party to the concealment of potentially serious misconduct.”
The Committee learned that the DNI was withholding from the Committee an authorized and protected whistleblower disclosure involving an “urgent concern,” which is defined by law as “a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law or Executive order, or deficiency relating to the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity within the responsibility and authority of the Director of National Intelligence involving classified information.”
On September 9, 2019, the IC IG transmitted a letter to the Committee notifying it of the existence of a whistleblower complaint. The following day, on September 10, 2019, Chairman Schiff requested the full and unredacted whistleblower complaint, the IC IG determination related to the complaint, and all records pertaining to the ODNI’s involvement in this matter, including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors including the White House. As noted in Schiff’s letter to Acting DNI Maguire:
“We do not know whether this decision to withhold the disclosure was made only by you, or whether it involved interference by other parties, including the White House. The Committee’s recent experience has heightened concern of improper White House efforts to influence your office and the Intelligence Community. The failure to transmit to the Committee an urgent and credible whistleblower complaint, as required by law, raises the prospect that an urgent matter of a serious nature is being purposefully concealed by the Committee.”
On September 13, 2019, the Committee received a letter from the ODNI declining the Chairman’s request and stating that the DNI, contrary to an unambiguous statutory command, is withholding the complaint from the Committee because, in part, it involves confidentially and potentially privileged communications by persons outside the Intelligence Community.
In Schiff’s September 13, 2019 letter to the DNI accompanying the subpoena, Schiff writes:
“… in violation of the statute’s explicit command, and in a stark break with the unbroken practice of previous Directors of National Intelligence, you have refused to transmit to the Committee the whistleblower disclosure, along with the IC IG’s determination that the information in the disclosure represents a credible urgent concern—even after the Committee’s formal request on September 10, 2019. So far as the Committee is aware, this marks the first time a Director of National Intelligence has ever sought to overrule the IC IG and conceal from Congress a whistleblower complaint—in this case, one the IC IG has already determined to be a credible urgent concern. You have also refused, in further contravention of the statute, to provide the whistleblower with required direction, through the IC IG, on how to contact the Committee directly in a secure manner.
“As Acting Director of National Intelligence, you have neither the legal authority nor the discretion to overrule a determination by the IC IG. Moreover, you do not possess the authority to withhold from the Committee a whistleblower disclosure from within the Intelligence Community that is intended for Congress.
“Your office has attempted to justify doing so based on a radical distortion of the statute that completely subverts the letter and spirit of the law, as well as arrogates to the Director of National Intelligence authority and discretion he does not possess. Under the statute, the Director serves as a conduit to transmit the complaint to the congressional intelligence committee with any comments the Director considers appropriate and consistent with proper security practices.
“Even though the disclosure was made by an individual within the Intelligence Community through lawful channels, you have improperly withheld that disclosure on the basis that, in your view, the complaint concerns conduct by someone outside of the Intelligence Community and because the complaint involves confidential and potentially privileged communications. In a further departure from the statute, your office consulted the Department of Justice about the complaint, even though the statute does not provide you discretion to review, appeal, reverse, or countermand in any way the IC IG’s independent determination, let alone to involve another entity within the Executive Branch in the handling of a whistleblower complaint. Your office, moreover, has refused to affirm or deny that officials or lawyers at the White House have been involved in your decision to withhold the complaint from the Committee. You have also refused to rule out to me that the urgent concern, and underlying conduct, relates to an area of active investigation by the Committee.
“The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials. This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible “serious or flagrant” misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law.
“Accordingly, due to the urgency of the matter and the unlawful decision by your office to withhold from the Committee an Intelligence Community individual’s credible “urgent concern” whistleblower disclosure, the Committee hereby issues the attached subpoena compelling you to transmit immediately to the Committee the disclosure, in complete and unaltered form, as well as to produce other related materials.”
Schiff’s letter to the Acting DNI on September 10, 2019 can be found here. Schiff’s letter to the Acting DNI accompanying the subpoena on September 13, 2019 can be found here.
Associated Press: House committee subpoenas acting intelligence director
Mother Jones - Kevin Drum: Director of National Intelligence Tells Congress to Fuck Off
House Democrats pursue Sessions for testimony in impeachment probe of Trump
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are negotiating for Jeff Sessions’s testimony in their impeachment investigation of President Trump, an appearance they hope could bolster their inquiry given the former attorney general’s rocky relationship with Trump.
Congressional aides on the panel reached out to Charles J. Cooper, an attorney for Sessions, during the summer, according to officials familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely describe private talks. Cooper told committee staff that Sessions — whom Trump never forgave for recusing himself from overseeing the special counsel probe — would need a subpoena to testify.
“I have made clear that Attorney General Sessions will not appear except under compulsion of a congressional subpoena,” Cooper said in a phone interview this week.
The panel in mid-July approved a series of compulsory measures for Trump associates and former officials, including Sessions, who appears as a critical witness in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. The former attorney general is a key player in episodes of potential obstruction of justice investigated by the special counsel.
A subpoena for Sessions has not yet been issued. The committee did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
They need to get shooting off these Supeonas ASAP. There is nothing to be gained by waiting around.
The difference between the Middle Ages, and the Age of the Internet, is that in the Middle Ages no-one thought the Earth was flat.
Since Maguire is following EGOTUS’s lead by ignoring Congress, is the next step via the courts? I’m afraid this will end up with another 5 - 4 decision by SCOTUS eventually, and We the People will lose again.
"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept."
No matter where you go, there you are!
If anyone spots what time the hearing starts tomorrow, please post here. I took the day off, and trying to plan errands around it
Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn will not be showing up tomorrow, per WH orders, says CNN.
Nadler slams White House for blocking testimonies and limiting Lewandowski
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler slammed the White House Monday for blocking 2 former aides from testifying before the committee and placing "unprecedented limitations" on former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski ahead of his appearance Tuesday.
Why it matters: The House Judiciary Committee is trying to step up investigations in order to determine whether to recommend Trump’s impeachment for obstruction of justice and abuse of power.
— Nadler statement sent to news outlets including Axios"This is a shocking and dangerous assertion of executive privilege and absolute immunity. The President would have us believe that he can willfully engage in criminal activity and prevent witnesses from testifying before Congress — even if they did not actually work for him or his administration.
"If he were to prevail in this cover-up while the Judiciary Committee is considering whether to recommend articles of impeachment, he would upend the separation of powers as envisioned by our founders.
"No one is above the law. The House Judiciary Committee will continue our investigation of the President’s crimes, corruption and cover-up and get to the truth for the American people."
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Nothing will change. The courts will render a decision too late to matter.
"There's no play here. There's no angle. There's no champagne room. I'm not a miracle worker, I'm a janitor. The math on this is simple; the smaller the mess, the easier it is for me to clean up." -Michael Clayton
That sounds like overreach and obstruction of Justice to me.
The difference between the Middle Ages, and the Age of the Internet, is that in the Middle Ages no-one thought the Earth was flat.
Adding:Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say
The whistleblower complaint that has triggered a tense showdown between the U.S. intelligence community and Congress involves President Trump’s communications with a foreign leader, according to two former U.S. officials familiar with the matter.
Trump’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted an official in the U.S. intelligence community to file a formal whistleblower complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
It was not immediately clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with or what he pledged to deliver, but his direct involvement in the matter has not been previously disclosed. It raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information and may further strain his relationship with U.S. spy agencies. One former official said the communication was a phone call. ...
Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that ordinarily requires notification of congressional oversight committees.
But acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers, touching off a legal and political dispute that has spilled into public and prompted speculation that the spy chief is improperly protecting the president.
The dispute is expected to escalate Thursday when Atkinson is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee in a classified session closed to the public. The hearing is the latest move by committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) to compel U.S. intelligence officials to disclose the full details of the whistleblower complaint to Congress.
Maguire has agreed to testify before the committee next week, according to a statement by Schiff. He declined to comment for this story.
The inspector general “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” Schiff said in the statement released Wednesday evening. “The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress.”
ABC News: Top intelligence official to brief Congress on whistleblower complaint
Mother Jones - Kevin Drum: Whistleblower: Trump Is a National Security Threat
Adding:Whistleblower Complaint Being Suppressed by Trump or Someone ‘Close’ to Him, Schiff Says
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says the inspector general’s complaint is being held from Congress under the direction of either President Trump or someone in his camp.
Following a closed-door briefing with the intelligence community’s inspector general on Thursday, members of Congress told reporters that they learned no substantive details about a whistleblower’s complaint that reportedly involves President Donald Trump making a “promise” to an unknown foreign leader—but were told that the complaint’s subject “relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI’s responsibilities to the American people.”
Only minutes after that briefing’s conclusion, The New York Times reported that Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, told members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the complaint related to “multiple acts,” far beyond the scope of a single alleged conversation with a foreign leader.
But specifics of the complaint—and even public confirmation that it concerns actions by the president—are still being withheld from Congress, committee members said.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told reporters after the briefing that he believes the details of the complaint—which would normally be shared with Congress—are being suppressed, either by President Trump himself or someone “close” to him and “above the pay grade” of acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire.
“I don’t think this is a problem of the law,” Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said. “The problem lies elsewhere. And we’re determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is, to make sure that the national security is protected and to make sure that this whistle-blower is protected.”
Associated Press: Intelligence watchdog refuses to tell Congress about whistleblower’s complaint
Pelosi Statement on Whistleblower Complaint
SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 PRESS RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after reports of a whistleblower complaint filed by a member of the Intelligence Community, which is being withheld from Congress in violation of federal law:
“Reports of a reliable whistleblower complaint regarding the President’s communications with a foreign leader raise grave, urgent concerns for our national security. We must be sure that the President and his Administration are conducting our national security and foreign policy in the best interest of the American people, not the President’s personal interest.
“The Director of National Intelligence Inspector General, who was appointed by President Trump, has said that the complaint is both of ‘urgent concern and credible,’ and its disclosure ‘relates to one of the most significant and important of the Director of National Intelligence’s responsibilities to the American people.’
“The Administration’s blocking of Acting DNI Joseph Maguire from providing Congress with the whistleblower complaint violates the federal statute, which unequivocally states that the DNI ‘shall’ provide Congress this information. If the President has done what has been alleged, then he is stepping into a dangerous minefield with serious repercussions for his Administration and our democracy. The President and Acting DNI’s stonewalling must end immediately, and the whistleblower must be provided with every protection guaranteed by the law to defend the integrity of our government and ensure accountability and trust.
"Chairman Adam Schiff and the Intelligence Committee are to be commended for their strong leadership to ensure Congress is provided all the information so that we can fulfill our responsibility to protect the American people and our national security. We will continue to follow the facts and explore every possible option to ensure the American people get the truth. We would hope that Republicans would join us in supporting the Constitution.”