Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence; Barr Investigation

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#951

Post by Addie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:42 pm

Vox
House Democrats are already trying to protect the Mueller investigation

Incoming leaders asked top Trump officials to preserve documents related to the special counsel’s probe and Sessions’s resignation.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the president’s request on Wednesday — and Democrats immediately moved to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Democrats sent at least nine letters to Trump administration officials — including new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker — requesting that the White House, Justice Department, and other agencies preserve “all materials related to any investigations by the Special Counsel’s office” and to Sessions’s departure.

Incoming House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD), and incoming House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) — along with Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — all signed the letters.

“Preservation of records is critical to ensure that we are able to do our work without interference or delay,” they wrote, adding that they’ll be investigating Sessions’s departure.

The Democrats addressed these letters to a wide swath of Trump officials — not all of whom are obviously connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. They include:
FBI Director Chris Wray
White House counsel Pat Cipollone
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
CIA Director Gina Haspel
Deputy US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Robert Khuzami
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig
The letters are simply asking these officials to save records, but it lays the foundation for future document requests that House Democrats can pursue when the new majority arrives in January. Democrats in charge of committees will be able to launch investigations that are backed by the power to subpoena records or in-person testimony.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#952

Post by Addie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:44 pm

Cross posting

I have no idea what this means. I just saw it at DU. FWIW
#BREAKING: CNN and CBS news crews outside the federal courthouse in DC where Rosentein’s attorney just made an appearance.
Update:

H/T NotaPerson
WaPo: Roger Stone associate challenges Mueller’s special counsel appointment

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#953

Post by Addie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:06 pm

Political Wire
Schiff Wants to Interview Jeff Sessions

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who is likely to lead the House Intelligence Committee during the next Congress, told The Hill he’s interested in interviewing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions about the circumstances of his firing.

Said Schiff: “On this particular question of what led up to his firing or what information he may have in terms of obstruction to justice, I think that will be of interest to not only our committee but the Judiciary Committee and others as well.”
Adding:
USA Today: Court presses DOJ on how Trump's ouster of Sessions could affect Mueller probe

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#954

Post by Addie » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:30 am

ABC News
'We could subpoena Mueller' if the administration restricts Russia investigation: Incoming House Judiciary chairman

The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said that if the Trump administration restricts Robert Mueller or refuses to release a final report from the investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election, that the committee could wield its subpoena power.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week that, "We could subpoena the final report. We could subpoena Mueller and ask him in front of the committee and ask him 'what was in your final report?'"

Nadler is the current ranking member and incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after his party won control of the chamber in Tuesday's midterm elections. The committee is responsible for oversight of the federal courts as well as federal law enforcement and the Department of Justice. The committee is also the first body to consider articles of impeachment in the House of Representatives.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#955

Post by Addie » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:00 pm

WaPo OpEd - Tim Weiner
Can Trump stop the FBI? Ask the 4 presidents who tried.

Facts can’t be fired, even if the commander in chief only faces them as a regular citizen. ...


But short of sending tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue and blowing the J. Edgar Hoover Building to smithereens, Trump cannot stop the FBI. No commander in chief ever has, not before Hoover died 46 years ago, and certainly not since.

The 21st-century FBI, for all its flaws, has escaped the darkness of Hoover’s shadow, a legacy of warrantless wiretapping and vengeful attacks against the director’s enemies. It is in great part the creation of Mueller, who ran it from 2001 to 2013. It is decidedly not a political tool to be manipulated by presidents. It is as independent as a hog on ice — once launched, it has a mind of its own. I’ve been convinced of this while working on a five-hour documentary about how the FBI has confronted presidents who violated their oath of office. (“Enemies ” debuts Nov. 18 on Showtime.) The FBI has faced down five commanders in chief who threatened to run the ship of state aground: in the Watergate scandal, in the Iran-contra imbroglio, in the Monica Lewinsky affair, in the matter of post-9/11 spying on Americans and in its criminal investigation of the Trump team. Its record isn’t perfect, but it has by and large upheld the rule of law.

In no case was a president able to disrupt or derail an FBI investigation. In every case, the bureau preserved evidence, pursued facts and persevered. The truth is that the FBI has the power to say no to presidents, but presidents can’t easily say no to the FBI.

Presidents have been caught bending and even breaking the bounds set by their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. The bureau can check them with its immense investigative force, which gives it the ability to execute subpoenas and seize records inside the West Wing, to reveal the deepest secrets and expose the boldest lies: “I’m not a crook.” “We did not — repeat, did not — trade weapons or anything else for hostages.” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman. ” The FBI proved these presidential statements false.

The FBI can’t thwart Trump’s long train of abuses against the Constitution, common sense and common decency. But in time — since neither can Trump cavalierly counteract the momentum of the evidence accumulating against him and his close confidants — it may establish that he is a common crook.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#956

Post by Addie » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:02 am

CNN: Graham says he 'totally' will investigate the FBI's handling of Russia and Clinton probes

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#957

Post by Addie » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:11 pm

The Hill
Top House Oversight Dem says he will do ‘anything and everything’ to make Mueller’s findings public

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said Sunday that he will do "anything and everything" to make the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation available to the public.

"I would do anything and everything in my power to have the findings presented to not only to the Congress but to the people of the United States. I think it’s very important," Cummings said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Cummings, who will likely be the next chairman of the panel, also pointed to the results of this month's midterms — in which the Democrats regained the majority in the House — as evidence that the public wants "accountability."

“In this last election, what the public has said is they want accountability and they want transparency. And they have paid for an investigation by one of our greatest public servants, Mr. Mueller," he said. ...

Cummings on Sunday also called on acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Moscow.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#958

Post by Danraft » Sun Nov 18, 2018 8:33 pm

hmmm.
It would really warm my smile maker if I started hearing phrases turned back around at this administration.

"The people have given Congress a mandate to oversee and investigate this president and we must listen"

Because, doncha know, if one wins by a "red headed eyebrow hair", then those that opposed should suffer and/or one can use the same "the people gave a mandate" line for 20 different unrelated issues even those that are purely just serve party (not public) interest.
( I'm pretty sure it's eyebrow hair)
The Mercury Project

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#959

Post by RTH10260 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 5:32 am

► Show Spoiler

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#960

Post by Addie » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:20 am

New York Mag - Ed Kilgore
Trump Asked the White House Counsel to Sic DOJ on His Enemies

It is exceptionally well-known that the president is either impressively ignorant of, or entirely indifferent towards, all sorts of basic protocols and procedures aimed at keeping federal law enforcement officials on the up-and-up and out of politics. He never, for example, cared a whit about the regulation that led Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign in which he was intimately involved. And he’s made it clear on multiple occasions that he believes the FBI and the Department of Justice should be loyal to his own self rather than to some abstract notion of “the law.”

A new report from the New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman shows Trump thinking of Justice Department officials as political police whom he can sic on his enemies. And he figured he’d could order the White House Counsel to deploy them for that express purpose ...

There are two shocking things about this revelation. The first, as Dara Lind explains, is pretty obvious:
Presidentially directed indictments against specific individuals would be a massive breach of the independence of the Justice Department; the general expectation that prosecutors are supposed to issue indictments based on an examination of the evidence at hand; and the democratic norm against prosecuting political opponents for political acts.
Trump probably doesn’t care about any of that. But he should care about the fact that Robert Mueller could add these incidents to the list of ways in which Trump has sought to obstruct justice in his handling of the FBI and the Justice Department. The new story also casts new light on why McGahn (who has also cooperated “extensively” with Mueller’s investigation) and Trump both seemed eager to end their relationship the minute Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed.
Adding:
Talking Points Memo: NYT: Trump Asked McGahn About Ordering DOJ Prosecutions Of Clinton, Comey

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#961

Post by Addie » Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:26 am

New York Times
Trump Wanted to Order Justice Dept. to Prosecute Comey and Clinton

WASHINGTON — President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump read Mr. McGahn’s memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump about the issue. He has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#962

Post by Addie » Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:41 pm

The Hill
Comey shares news of House GOP subpoena: 'Happy Thanksgiving'

Former FBI Director James Comey revealed Thursday that he has received a subpoena from House Republicans to testify on Capitol Hill, but said he would refuse to do so unless it is a public hearing.

“Happy Thanksgiving. Got a subpoena from House Republicans. I’m still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions. But I will resist a 'closed door' thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion," Comey tweeted.

"Let’s have a hearing and invite everyone to see,” he added. ...

“It is unfortunate that the outgoing Majority is resorting to these tactics," Nadler said in a statement Friday.

"Months ago, Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch both indicated their willingness to answer the Chairman’s questions voluntarily. My understanding is that the Republicans have had no contact with either the Director or the Attorney General since," he added, stating that the subpoenas are "coming out of the blue."
Adding:
Politico: House Republicans subpoena Comey, Lynch for closed-door testimony

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#963

Post by Kendra » Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:44 pm

Why are they so dead set on a closed door hearing?

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#964

Post by Dan1100 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:51 pm

Kendra wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:44 pm
Why are they so dead set on a closed door hearing?
I think Comey hit the nail on the head, so they can selectively leak it to create the appearance of corruption that is not actually true. It gives them the flexibility to leak it in dribs and drabs whenever they need to slander the "deep state."
"Devin Nunes is having a cow over this."

-George Takei

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#965

Post by Kendra » Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:54 pm

Dan1100 wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:51 pm
Kendra wrote:
Thu Nov 22, 2018 12:44 pm
Why are they so dead set on a closed door hearing?
I think Comey hit the nail on the head, so they can selectively leak it to create the appearance of corruption that is not actually true. It gives them the flexibility to leak it in dribs and drabs whenever they need to slander the "deep state."
I suspect as much. Look what Nunes and pals did with the FISA warrant and the dossier. Kind of dumb, since they're thisclose to losing control.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#966

Post by Addie » Fri Nov 23, 2018 11:31 am

The Atlantic
Mueller and a Blue House Could Bring Down Trump ...

Congressional Republicans understand the power of public testimony. Representative Kevin McCarthy let slip in 2015 that he believed the Benghazi hearings made Hillary Clinton “untrustable.” Imagine what Democrats could do with hearings into the Trump campaign’s alleged Russian connections, where the prima facie case for misconduct seems significantly stronger.

Of course, the initiation of a full-scale public investigation alongside the Mueller team’s is not without risks. Members of both the Watergate and Iran-Contra special-counsel teams reported difficulties in coordinating their efforts with Congress’s. Prosecutors labor under strict secrecy to limit the premature release of evidence and avoid influencing public opinion. Congress endeavors to do just the opposite. Democrats in the House will have to tame their eagerness to haul crucial witnesses up to Capitol Hill at the risk of tainting Mueller’s work.

If Congress and Mueller can cooperate, though, both stand to gain from parallel investigations. As the Watergate Special Prosecution Force put it in its final report, “In the end, the continuation of public hearings through the summer of 1973 … brought to public attention testimony relating to alleged White House involvement in the Watergate cover-up and other crimes and thereby helped create for the Special Prosecutor’s investigation a base of public and congressional support.”

Whatever risks the Mueller investigation does pose for the president, history suggests that they will be magnified by a Democrat-controlled House. Although the Watergate Special Prosecution Force never indicted Nixon, its findings were transmitted to the House via a grand-jury report that provided much of the basis for the Judiciary Committee’s articles of impeachment.

In one respect, Trump’s position may now be even more precarious than Nixon’s. As former White House Counsel John Dean recalls, Nixon “was forced to quit not because he had lost his support on Capitol Hill, but because he had lost his support at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” leaving him defenseless against Congress. Leaks from inside the White House suggest that Trump already does not enjoy the unqualified confidence of officials in his own administration.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#967

Post by Addie » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:49 am

The Hill
Ex-CIA chief tears into Trump: Mueller’s name will be revered in US history, yours will be scorned

Former CIA director John Brennan on Tuesday slammed President Trump after Trump attacked special counsel Robert Mueller, writing in a tweet that Mueller's name "will be revered" in history while the president's "will be scorned."

Brennan added that Trump reminds him of how other "corrupt authoritarian leaders" have acted before being "deposed."

"Your feelings of inferiority, insecurity, vulnerability, and culpability are loud & clear. You remind me of how many corrupt authoritarian leaders abroad behaved before they were deposed. Bob Mueller’s name will be revered in the annals of U.S. history; your name will be scorned," he tweeted. ...

Earlier Tuesday, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Mueller, calling him "a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue" and claiming that he is doing "tremendous damage" to the criminal justice system in the U.S. Trump also tweeted the "phony witch hunt continues," referencing Mueller's probe.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#968

Post by Addie » Tue Nov 27, 2018 8:09 pm

The American Prospect - Robert Reich: Trump's Assault on the Rule of Law

Can America stand up to this wannabe dictator?

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#969

Post by Addie » Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:01 pm

The Hill
Mueller protection bill blocked in Senate

Legislation protecting special counsel Robert Mueller was blocked on Wednesday for a second time in the past month.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), joined by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), tried to get consent to schedule the long-stalled legislation for a vote.

But GOP Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) objected.

Under the upper chamber's rules, senators can go to the floor to request a vote or passage of any bill or nomination. But any one senator can block their requests.

The floor drama comes after Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Republican leadership was measuring support for the bill to try resolve a standoff with Flake, who is voting against judicial nominees until they get a vote.
Adding:
USA Today: Senate again blocks Senate bill that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller
Mother Jones - David Corn: Here’s Evidence of Collusion: Trump’s Lawyer Discussed Business Deal With Putin’s Office

Michael Cohen pleads guilty to lying to Congress and reveals that Trump’s company hooked up with Moscow.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#970

Post by Volkonski » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:22 pm

ABC News

Verified account

@ABC
7m7 minutes ago
More
NEW: Former FBI Director James Comey files federal challenge to House GOP subpoena. https://abcn.ws/2Rt8D5X
Image“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#971

Post by Addie » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:20 pm

Newsweek
Russia Investigation: Donald Trump Warned by British MI6 That Declassifying Documents Would Undermine Intelligence

British intelligence agency MI6 is secretly pressuring President Donald Trump to avoid publishing classified information related to the Russia investigation and a surveillance warrant for his former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, according to reports.

On Wednesday, Trump threatened to declassify documents related to the Justice Department’s probe into Russian election interference, claiming that doing so would undermine the efforts of incoming House Democrats to investigate him. He also plans to release information about a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that allowed federal investigators to wiretap Page, who has suspected ties to Russia.

The U.K. has warned Trump that declassifying this information would sabotage intelligence collection efforts, according to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. The revelation raises questions about whether the British were involved in the FBI's investigation into possible collaboration between Trump's campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

That investigation began secretly in July 2016, around the same time as the Republican National Convention. It is now being led by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team and has resulted in numerous indictments of both Russians and former Trump associates.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#972

Post by tek » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:09 am

Addie wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:20 pm
The U.K. has warned Trump that declassifying this information would sabotage intelligence collection efforts
To Trump that's a plus.
There's no way back
from there to here

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#973

Post by fierceredpanda » Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:37 am

Under any previous administration, Republican or Democrat, even the hint that POTUS was contemplating declassifying highly sensitive intelligence for his own personal political benefit would have been sufficient to commence impeachment proceedings.

So of course Trump is going to do it.
"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

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#974

Post by Kendra » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:50 am

Argh! I lost track of the link, but I saw somewhere that there's a hearing scheduled later today re: Comey and public vs. private testimony.

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Re: Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence

#975

Post by Kendra » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:52 am

tek wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:09 am
Addie wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:20 pm
The U.K. has warned Trump that declassifying this information would sabotage intelligence collection efforts
To Trump that's a plus.
To use a Trump term, if he does that, can the other governments "punch back" and release all the :shit: they likely have on Trump?

Just kidding, but a girl can :daydream:

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