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Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:42 am
by Addie
Politico
Congress tries to cool partisan fever on Russia

Top Russia investigators in Congress are straining to salvage some bipartisan cooperation amid acrimony that has come to threaten the credibility of their probes.

Partisan anger has unsettled Russia inquiries by the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, but senior members of those panels say they hope to restore a sense of trust within their ranks. And Senate intelligence committee leaders are stressing their relative political unity in an increasingly hostile environment.

But despite hopeful signals from lawmakers and aides of both parties about a return to cooperation, any bipartisan spirit will be sorely tested in the coming weeks — particularly as Democrats raise the volume on concerns that Congress has not taken action to prevent new Russian meddling in the 2018 midterm elections. Some senior Democrats are also insisting that key Trump associates be called to give more testimony before Republicans wind down the probes.

Still, some key members of Congress seem determined to pull back from the brink of all-out partisan warfare over Russia.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:08 am
by Addie
Bloomberg
Bannon, Lewandowski to Testify in Russia Probe Behind Closed Doors

Stephen Bannon and Corey Lewandowski are scheduled to testify in the coming week as the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 election reaches a crescendo.

President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and former campaign manager, respectively, are part of a hectic schedule that Democrats fear is being engineered by Republicans keen to end the probe as soon as possible. Their appearances are voluntary, and they’ll meet with the panel in private, said officials from both parties familiar with the committee’s schedule. ...

Lewandowski and Bannon received letters in December asking them to testify in early January, said an official familiar with the panel’s schedule. The letter didn’t lay out specific reasons the committee wants to interview them, or the questions the panel wants to pose, but makes clear that the interviews are part of the Russia investigation, the official said.

Bannon hasn’t previously testified to any of the three congressional panels looking into Russia election meddling.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:39 pm
by Addie
Business Insider - Natasha Bertrand
Devin Nunes is under mounting pressure to release the transcript of a House Intel interview with Fusion GPS

The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat is calling on the panel's Republican majority to release the transcript of the panel's November interview with Glenn Simpson, the cofounder of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS.

“In light of the selective leaks of Mr. Simpson’s testimony and the misleading manner in which Fusion GPS’ role has been characterized, I support releasing the transcript," Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the panel's ranking member, said in a statement through his office on Monday.

"The Majority has released transcripts of Dr. Page and Mr. Prince when it suited their interests, and likewise should make an exception here," Schiff added, referring to Carter Page, an early Trump campaign aide, and Erik Prince, an informal adviser to Trump's transition team. ...

"Schiff agrees with Mr. Simpson that the transcript should be released, and has made that request of the Majority," a Democratic aide said on Monday.

But unlike Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein — who distributed the transcript of Simpson's August interview with the Senate Judiciary Committee last week without Republicans' consent — Schiff does not have the unilateral authority to release interview transcripts under committee and House rules.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:02 pm
by Addie
The Hill
Hope Hicks to meet with House Intel in Russia probe: report

White House communications director Hope Hicks will reportedly speak with the House Intelligence Committee in the panel’s probe into Russian election interference.

Hicks will meet with the committee as soon as Friday, CNN reported on Monday.

She will likely face questions about any contacts between Trump associates and Moscow and the White House's involvement in writing up a misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower during the campaign. ...

Last month, Hicks sat down with special counsel Robert Mueller for his probe into Moscow's 2016 hacking.

She will be the second current White House official known to have appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, after senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:26 pm
by Addie
Politico
Bannon refused to answer House panel's questions about time in White House

President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon refused to answer questions Tuesday from the House intelligence committee about his time in the White House, prompting panel members to subpoena him on the spot, according to a person familiar with the interview.

Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon. ...

According to the person familiar with the interview, Bannon's attorney told the committee he wouldn't discuss anything about his time in the White House or during the transition after the 2016 election. During that period, Trump allegedly sought a pledge of loyalty from then-FBI Director James Comey and later fired him.

The source said Republicans lawmakers — including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and former federal prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) — were frustrated that Bannon was not more forthcoming. Bannon did not invoke executive privilege, the source said.
Adding:
Business Insider - Natasha Bertrand: House panel subpoenas Bannon after he refuses to answer questions, citing executive privilege
Bloomberg: House Panel Subpoenas Steve Bannon
The Hill: House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:10 pm
by Volkonski


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Steve Bannon refused to answer House intel committee questions even after receiving a subpoena: GOP Rep
Shouldn't he be held in contempt of Congress and waterboarded until he testifies? ;)

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:20 am
by Slim Cognito

The Last Word‏Verified account
@TheLastWord
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"We witnessed today what I believe was the most aggressive effort by the White House thus far to obstruct our efforts to seek the truth."

@RepSwalwell reacts to Steve Bannon's refusal to answer questions at the W.H.'s direction during his 9.5-hour under-oath testimony. #LastWord
There is video but, for those who can't see twitter links, I will try to summarize. It took a long time to sort out what Bannon was willing to talk about. He said he couldn't discuss anything said during the transition, his time as Chief Strategist or anything said to a third party if it was about Trump. Bannon also said the WH prohibited him from talking about anything Trump said to him after he left the WH.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:55 am
by Addie
New York Mag
Bannon Refuses to Testify About Trump, Citing ‘Novel’ Definition of Executive Privilege ...

On Tuesday, Bannon spent ten hours in a closed-door interview with the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He was there voluntarily, but that changed when he refused to answer any questions about working in the White House, the Trump transition, or even his conversations with the president after his firing.

Representative Adam Schiff, the committee’s ranking Democrat, said Bannon’s attorney, William Burck, explained that the White House had instructed his client not to answer the committee’s questions. In a rare moment of agreement, Democrats and Republicans on the committee then issued a subpoena, which they hoped would compel Bannon to testify.

“Only Steve Bannon could unite this committee,” commented Representative Mike Quigley.

After Burck conferred with White House officials, Bannon “doubled down” on his refusal to answer the committee’s questions, according to Schiff.

“This was effectively a gag order by the White House preventing this witness from answering almost any question concerning his time in the transition or the administration,” Schiff said.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:54 pm
by Addie
CNN
House Intelligence Committee to vote on releasing Fusion transcript

Washington (CNN)The House Intelligence Committee will vote Thursday on whether to release the transcript of the panel's interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The committee has a business meeting scheduled for Thursday posted on its website, in which it plans to vote on whether to release the transcript of Simpson's interview, which was conducted behind closed doors.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:49 pm
by Addie
The Hill
WH official: House panel broke ground rules for Bannon interview

The White House believed that it had reached an agreement with the House Intelligence Committee that would limit the scope of the panel's questions for Stephen Bannon solely to his time on Trump's presidential campaign, a White House official told CNBC.

The official said the White House had met with staffers on the Intelligence panel ahead of Bannon's interview and determined that the committee would not ask Bannon about his time on Trump's presidential transition team or in the White House. Bannon served for a period as Trump's chief strategist in the White House.

But when Bannon's lawyer informed the White House during his interview Tuesday that the panel was asking about issues related to the former chief strategist's time in the White House and on the transition team, he was instructed to decline answering those questions.

"We said 'Hey, hey, pump the brakes,' " the official told CNBC. "We said to Bannon, 'Don't answer those questions because we haven't agreed to that scope under the process.' "

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:15 pm
by MsDaisy
Addie wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:49 pm
The Hill
WH official: House panel broke ground rules for Bannon interview
"
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Bannon's lawyer relayed questions to the White House, during his client's appearance before the committee, to check whether Bannon could answer certain questions.
Is that actually allowed, or is that just blatant WH intimidation?

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:19 pm
by p0rtia
For some reason, I do not believe Mr. Bannon.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:32 pm
by RTH10260
p0rtia wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:19 pm
For some reason, I do not believe Mr. Bannon.
Has he a wet dream of returning as the bestest friend ever to DJT, possibly again with WH access?

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:49 pm
by Addie
Axios
Inside the room: What Steve Bannon told Congress yesterday

Steve Bannon made one conspicuous slip up in his closed-door hearing on Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the confidential proceedings. Bannon admitted that he'd had conversations with Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and legal spokesman Mark Corallo about Don Junior's infamous meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower in June 2016.

Why it matters: The meeting — and the subsequent drafting of a misleading statement on Air Force One — has become one of the most important focal points of the Russia investigations, both on Capitol Hill and within Robert Mueller's team, because it provides the closest thing that exists to evidence that the Trump campaign was willing to entertain collusion with Russians.

Bannon immediately realized he'd slipped up and disclosed conversations he wasn't supposed to discuss, because they happened while he was chief strategist in the White House. Throughout the rest of the session, committee members — in particular Republican Trey Gowdy and Democrat Adam Schiff — hammered Bannon over the fact that he'd mentioned those conversations but refused to discuss anything else about his time in the White House. ...

Trey Gowdy, who led the Republican questioning, pressed Bannon hard on his description of Don Junior's Trump Tower meeting as "treasonous." Gowdy asked Bannon whether he would consider it treason for somebody close to him to approach Wikileaks' Julian Assange to get opposition research on Hillary Clinton. Bannon replied that such a scenario would be bad judgment. Then Gowdy produced emails from a Cambridge Analytica employee — the Trump campaign data firm closely affiliated with Bannon — boasting of just such contacts with Assange. Bannon claimed this was the first time he'd seen these emails (though they've been in the news.)

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:09 pm
by Addie
The Hill
Top Intel Dem: Lewandowski refused to answer questions in testimony

Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski refused to answer some lawmaker questions during an appearance before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, frustrating Democrats and ending a rare moment of bipartisan comity on the panel.

Lewandowski told lawmakers that he was not prepared to answer questions that related to anything after he left the Trump campaign in June 2016, according to multiple sources, but said he was willing to return at a later date.

The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), called his unwillingness to answer certain questions “completely unacceptable” and said that the committee should have subpoenaed him.

But midway through the interview, there appeared to be little Republican appetite on the committee to take that step.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:14 pm
by Kendra
What can congress do to someone who refuses to answer questions, even under subpoena?

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:25 pm
by bob
Kendra wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:14 pm
What can congress do to someone who refuses to answer questions, even under subpoena?
Contempt: Either refer to the DOJ for prosecution, or prosecute directly (in federal court).

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:29 pm
by Kendra
bob wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:25 pm
Kendra wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:14 pm
What can congress do to someone who refuses to answer questions, even under subpoena?
Contempt: Either refer to the DOJ for prosecution, or prosecute directly (in federal court).
TY Bob. :notworthy:

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:00 pm
by gupwalla
Kendra wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:14 pm
What can congress do to someone who refuses to answer questions, even under subpoena?
Congress can hold a person in contempt for obstructing its legitimate legislative and oversight duties, and the right for Congress to do so has been upheld by SCOTUS (not recently, but in the 1820s which is actually better - it's a longstanding precedent that would be hard to overturn at this point).

Congress usually turns over serious cases to the DOJ for prosecution. The Senate has a rule allowing the Senate Counsel to file a federal civil suit. Congress retains the authority to have the Sergeant at Arms haul the contemner down to the cell in the basement, but that hasn't happened since 1935.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:11 pm
by Kendra
gupwalla wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:00 pm
Kendra wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:14 pm
What can congress do to someone who refuses to answer questions, even under subpoena?
Congress can hold a person in contempt for obstructing its legitimate legislative and oversight duties, and the right for Congress to do so has been upheld by SCOTUS (not recently, but in the 1820s which is actually better - it's a longstanding precedent that would be hard to overturn at this point).

Congress usually turns over serious cases to the DOJ for prosecution. The Senate has a rule allowing the Senate Counsel to file a federal civil suit. Congress retains the authority to have the Sergeant at Arms haul the contemner down to the cell in the basement, but that hasn't happened since 1935.
:daydream: :daydream: :daydream:

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:29 am
by Addie
WaPo
Bannon interview with House intelligence panel postponed, despite subpoena

The House Intelligence Committee has postponed a planned Thursday afternoon interview with Stephen K. Bannon, a former White House adviser and architect of President Trump's campaign, after his lawyer protested the panel had not given them enough time to coordinate with the administration about what he could discuss.

The committee's deputy staff director on Thursday told Bannon's lawyer, William Burck, that the panel "is prepared to extend the return date on the subpoena" it issued for Bannon's testimony during a closed-door interview Tuesday, according to emails shared with The Washington Post. In a rare moment of bipartisanship for the panel, committee Republicans and Democrats decided to serve Bannon with a subpoena mid-interview after he refused to answer questions about the transition period, his time in the administration, and conversations he had with Trump since leaving the White House in August, arguing, through his lawyer, that the White House might seek to exert executive privilege over those matters.

In a Wednesday letter to Burck, committee members Reps. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), who is running its investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the panel's ranking Democrat, told Bannon to return Thursday at 2 p.m. to face similar questions, and "clarify" with the White House before then "the precise scope of any executive privilege claims the president may wish to invoke."

Burck wrote back to the committee Wednesday evening, telling Conaway and Schiff that they had given Bannon "plainly insufficient time" to carry out the request and that there was "no conceivable way" they could complete the discussions with the White House in time.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:36 am
by Addie
The Hill
House Intel panel votes to release testimony of co-founder of firm tied to Trump dossier

The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday morning voted unanimously to release the transcript of its seven-hour interview with Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the opposition research firm that helped assemble the controversial "Steele dossier," a source familiar with the vote told The Hill.

The vote comes on the heels of the unilateral release of the Senate Judiciary Committee's interview with Simpson by ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). House Intel Democrats have since been pushing for the release of the transcript of their interview, which took place behind closed doors in November.

President Trump slammed the release of the Judiciary transcript as "underhanded" and "possibly illegal," a claim that legal experts and lawyers dismissed as untrue. ...

The source indicated the transcripts would post on the House Intelligence Committee website later Thursday.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:11 pm
by Addie
Foreign Policy
Trump Ordered Bannon to Limit Testimony

President Donald Trump personally made the decision to curtail the testimony of former chief White House political strategist Steve Bannon before the House Intelligence Committee, according to two people with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

Trump acted to limit Bannon’s testimony based on legal advice provided by Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, who concluded that the administration might have legitimate executive privilege claims to restrict testimony by Bannon and other current and former aides to the president, according to these same sources.

But Dhillon has also concluded that Bannon and other current and former Trump administration officials do not have legitimate claims to executive privilege when it comes to providing information or testimony to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to the sources. Mueller is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Dhillon’s private and previously unreported legal advice to Trump could ultimately go against the president’s interest, however, by making it increasingly difficult for any administration official — or even a member of the president’s family who advises Trump — to refuse to provide information to Mueller.

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:19 pm
by Kendra

Re: Congressional Committees: Re 2016 Elections & Russia

Posted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:03 pm
by Addie
The Hill
House Intel Committee postpones Hope Hicks' testimony: report

White House communications director Hope Hicks’ scheduled appearance before the House Intelligence Committee has been delayed amid uncertainty she would respond to the panel’s questions, CNN reported Thursday.

Hicks was expected to testify on Friday as part of the committee’s ongoing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

However, committee members reportedly have concerns she might follow former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon in refusing to answer questions about her time in the Trump transition and administration.

A source told CNN that the delay gives investigators more time to determine what she could and could not discuss.