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Congressional Committees: Re FBI's Independence; Barr-Durham Investigation

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 2:36 pm
by Addie
Thread title changed
Politico: Gowdy: Oversight panel won't pursue Russia, obstruction probes

Chaffetz schedules Comey hearing for next week

Mark your calendars: House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz has scheduled a hearing next Wednesday, and he's inviting former FBI Director James Comey — once he figures out his new phone number.

Officially noticed a hearing for next Wed at 9:30am ET with former FBI Dir Comey. But I still need to speak with him...evidently has a new #

11:14 AM - 17 May 2017
Oversight of the FBI’s Independence
Full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Hearing Date: May 24, 2017 9:30 am 2154

Re: House Oversight Committee: Re Comey Firing

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 2:45 pm
by Kendra
*rubs hands with glee*

Re: House Oversight Committee: Re Comey Firing

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 2:46 pm
by Addie
'It's Falling Out Of The Trees,' Former Prosecutor Says Of Obstruction Evidence ...

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has demanded memos, recordings and other materials that former director Comey may have prepared, with a deadline of next week. Lawmakers from both political parties said they want to hear Comey testify in public, an idea that Comey associates have said he favors. And then, there's the question of recent demands by ranking Democrats on the House Oversight, Judiciary and Intelligence Committees for any possible White House recordings, transcripts or notes memorializing Trump's side of the story.

There are multiple obstruction of justice statutes on the books. Central to them is the idea of intent or bad purpose, or what President Trump may have been thinking when he allegedly told Comey in February "I hope you can let this go." Comey associates said the president was referring to an ongoing investigation of Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was let go by the White House a day before the conversation.

For the record, the White House has denied the president asked Comey or anyone else "to end any investigation....The President has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations."

Re: House Oversight Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 3:09 pm
by kate520
I've never been a fan, but Comey has played this superbly. Hat's off to him.

Re: House Oversight Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 3:13 pm
by Azastan
Existence of the memos has apparently been confirmed: ... _Confirmed

Re: House Oversight Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Sun May 21, 2017 12:25 pm
by Addie
Chaffetz expects to talk with Comey tomorrow

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Sunday that he expects to speak Monday with former FBI Director James Comey, as lawmakers look into the extent to which his firing was related to an investigation of Russia's ties with President Donald Trump's associates.

In an interview on ABC's "This Week," the Utah Republican, who will step down from Congress next month, said he had not yet spoken directly with Comey. ...

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the oversight committee, said during the same program on ABC that he wants "every note that they have."

"There have been so many lies, so many contradictions," he said. "And I think documents will help us to ferret out exactly what's the truth and what's a lie. And so I'm hoping that the chairman will issue subpoenas so that we can get every document."

Re: House Oversight Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Mon May 22, 2017 7:59 pm
by Addie
Raw Story
Former FBI chief Comey postpones testimony before US House committee

Former FBI Director James Comey is delaying an appearance before the U.S. House Oversight Committee that had been planned for Wednesday, the panel’s chairman said on Monday.

In a post on Twitter, Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who will step down from his seat in Congress in June, said he had spoken with Comey who told him that before testifying in public he wanted to speak with former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating ties between Russia and the presidential election campaign of Donald Trump.

An aide to the Oversight Committee could not confirm when the hearing would be rescheduled.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:16 am
by Addie
Vanity Fair
Loretta Lynch Is Getting Dragged into Hillary’s E-mail Nightmare

The Senate is officially investigating whether the former attorney general promised to go easy on Clinton.

It’s not just Donald Trump who is under scrutiny by Congress. On Friday, reports emerged that bipartisan group of lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are also looking into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s handling of the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server, which became highly politicized in the months leading up to the 2016 election. According to ABC News, the committee is looking for details on Lynch’s communications with former Clinton campaign aide Amanda Renteria, as well as whether the F.B.I. itself ever investigated the reported communication.

The committee asked Lynch for information about an email, first reported by The New York Times, in which former D.N.C. chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz informed an official at George Soros’s Open Society Foundations that Lynch had assured the Clinton campaign that the investigation into the presidential candidate “would not go too far.” It was this e-mail, many believe, that caused former F.B.I. director James Comey to leave Lynch out of the loop before he ended the investigation, because he was afraid such a letter would compromise the integrity of the investigation.

The Times described the letter as “a document written by a Democratic operative that seemed—at least in the eyes of Mr. Comey and his aides—to raise questions about her independence.” Lynch declined to comment at the time.

The committee, made up of Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, and Senators Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, is questioning Lynch and Renteria, as well as Open Society Foundations’ Leonard Benardo and its General Counsel Gail Scovell. Their inquiry is part of the ongoing investigation on Comey’s dismissal, which Trump initially claimed was based on the former F.B.I. director’s mishandling the Clinton e-mail inquiry.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:48 pm
by Addie
Senate Judiciary Committee to hold confirmation hearing for Trump's FBI pick next week

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing next Wednesday for Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump's pick to be the next FBI director.

Wray’s confirmation hearing is almost certain to revive a number of hot-button political issues, including the FBI’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow, Trump’s dismissal of James Comey and Comey’s controversial handling last year of the Hillary Clinton email probe.

Senators also are likely to ask tough questions about Wray's ability to maintain independence from Trump.

The hearing comes as Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is raising questions about whether acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe has conflicts of interest.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:09 pm
by Sterngard Friegen
Did Wray have to sign an NDA working for Trump? Isn't that he m.o.?

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:38 pm
by Addie
CBS News
Lynch responds to investigation, denies sheltering Clinton from email probe

Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded on Thursday to an ongoing Senate Judiciary Committee probe, saying she would fully cooperate and answer questions about her alleged political interference in the FBI Clinton email investigation.

In a two-page letter replying to a June 22 inquiry from a mix of Democrats and Republicans, Lynch's lawyer Robert Raben responded to six questions stemming from an April New York Times report that a Democratic operative had "expressed confidence that Ms. Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far."

"Those communications did not take place," the statement in the letter read. ...

"Although Ms. Lynch is prepared to address any questions you have about such matters in the proper setting, the law prohibits Ms. Lynch from commenting publicly on any non-public intelligence briefings she may or may not have received as Attorney General," it read.

Among senators interested in Lynch's possible contact with Clinton officials are Sen. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, a Republican, and Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Sheldon Whitehouse, both Democrats.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 12:31 pm
by Addie
Democrats signal support for quick vote on FBI nominee Wray

Senate Republicans are pushing for a speedy vote on Christopher Wray’s confirmation to lead the FBI — and at least one powerful Democrat is willing to help.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she believes Wray should get a committee vote next week, although any senator who sits on the panel could ask that it be held over for seven days.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:01 pm
by bob
FOX: Judicial Watch clashes with DOJ over 'talking points' from Lynch-Clinton tarmac meeting:
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is clashing with the Trump Justice Department over access to “talking points” the DOJ prepared under the Obama administration to explain the controversial tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton last year.

Judicial Watch is seeking the documents as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The group complained late Wednesday that it had received “heavily redacted” emails pertaining to the department's internal preparations last year to press inquiries on the Lynch-Clinton meeting.

“It’s jaw-dropping that the Trump administration is blacking out key information about how the Obama Justice Department tried to spin Loretta Lynch’s scandalous meeting with Bill Clinton,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a written statement.

* * *

While the DOJ does not comment on ongoing litigation, a Justice Department spokesperson referred Fox News to a letter sent by the DOJ Office of Information Policy on Aug. 1, 2017 to Judicial Watch explaining their decision to maintain redacted materials.

A senior attorney wrote to Judicial Watch that “all 315 pages are appropriate for release with excisions made by pursuant to Exemptions 5 and 6 of FOIA.” The letter explains that those sections pertain to “certain inter- and intra-agency communications protected by the deliberative process privilege, and information release of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of third parties.”

A Justice spokesperson told Fox News that decisions to claim the deliberative process exemption are routine.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:58 pm
by Chilidog
So.... They really did talk about grandkids.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:25 pm
by Addie
Justice Department declines Senate request to interview FBI officials over Comey firing

(CNN)The Justice Department is preventing Senate investigators from interviewing two top FBI officials who could provide first-hand testimony over the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the latest sign that Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be investigating the circumstances around the firing, officials tell CNN.

The previously undisclosed turf war comes as the Senate judiciary committee has not yet given assurances to the special counsel's office that it could have unfettered access to the transcript of the interview it conducted last week with the President's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., saying that the full Senate must first authorize the release of the information to Mueller's team.

What appears to have irked the panel in particular is the refusal of the Justice Department to cooperate with a key part of its investigation. The leaders of the panel, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and the ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, have repeatedly asked two senior FBI officials -- Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki -- to sit down for a transcribed interview to discuss the Comey firing as part of its inquiry into any improper interference with the FBI.

But the Justice Department has declined, citing "the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III to serve" as special counsel about Russian interference in the 2016 elections and "related matters."

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:02 pm
by Addie
Key Senate panel eyes new bills to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller

(CNN) The Republican-led Senate judiciary committee now plans to take the first steps on legislation that would make it harder for President Donald Trump to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the latest sign that Trump could face a backlash from Capitol Hill if he sought to dismiss the special counsel. ...

The series of moves are the latest sign in the uptick of activity by the powerful committee, which is investigating political interference with the FBI, the firing of former FBI Director James Comey as well as any Russian-Trump campaign coordination in the 2016 elections -- something the President has dismissed as a hoax. ...

At issue are two bipartisan bills aimed at protecting the special counsel: One from Tillis and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and the other from Sens. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat. ...

At the same time, Grassley and Feinstein are trying to push the Justice Department to allow the committee to interview two senior FBI officials, James Rybicki and Carl Ghattas, both of whom could provide first-hand accounts about the firing of Comey. The Justice Department has blocked that request, citing Mueller's investigation.

Asked Thursday if he'd subpoena the FBI officials to compel their appearance, Grassley said: "We're in the process of two steps on that. One is in regard to the counsel, Senate counsel giving us the right language to use, and then I've got to talk to Sen. Feinstein about it."

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:00 am
by Addie
C-Span - Public Hearing
Senate Judiciary Committee
September 26, 2017
Special Counsels and Separation of Powers

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:42 am
by Addie
Grassley Says Bills to Block Trump From Firing Mueller Might Be Unconstitutional

Senator Chuck Grassley said Tuesday that legislation designed to prevent President Donald Trump from firing the special counsel examining possible ties between his campaign and Russia may violate the Constitution’s separation of powers.

“Both of the bills we will discuss today raise potential separation of powers concerns that I believe deserve the attention of the Committee and merit a full and respectful discussion,” said Grassley, an Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Grassley, who is holding a hearing on special counsels, said that Trump has indicated he doesn’t intend to fire Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is running the Russia probe, “and I think that he made the right decision.”

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:31 pm
by Addie
Senators say they'll protect Mueller if Trump's Russia ire heats up

Republican and Democratic senators said Tuesday they would remain vigilant to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, even as President Donald Trump has slightly lowered the temperature about his discontent over the Russia probe.

Two bills introduced in August are designed to safeguard the independent prosecutor, whose investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has roused Trump's public and private frustration. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have proposed allowing a special counsel to contest any termination after the fact, while another bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would require the Justice Department to seek judicial approval before any firing.

After a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday on the constitutionality of the two proposals, Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he doesn't "know yet" whether he's prepared to support either bill and plans to gauge the "consensus" on his panel.

The urgency of movement on the two Mueller bills appears to have waned somewhat. Trump has reportedly fumed in recent days about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Russia probe, which he has said led to Mueller's appointment, but discussions at the White House over potentially terminating the special counsel appear to have quieted.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal acknowledged in an interview that the threat that Trump would actually push for Mueller's firing has cooled a bit since August, when the president's public complaints and humiliation of Sessions led lawmakers to propose their competing bills. Trump had already fired FBI Director James Comey, who at the time was overseeing the Russia investigation.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:43 pm
by Addie
Grassley, Rosenstein huddle amid Russia probe questions

Sen. Chuck Grassley met for nearly an hour Thursday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein amid a simmering conflict between the FBI and the Grassley-led Senate Judiciary Committee over access to witnesses and documents related to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Rosenstein and Grassley both declined to discuss the substance of their meeting, which was held in Grassley’s Senate office. Grassley described it as “just our oversight communications and getting updates and stuff like that.”

As he exited his meeting with Grassley, Rosenstein twice declined to say if they discussed Grassley's efforts with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein to obtain testimony from two FBI officials who may have knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing in May by President Donald Trump. The Department of Justice declined the Judiciary Committee’s request to hear from the officials earlier this month.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any role in Congress’ probe of Comey’s firing, which is part of a broader investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Investigators in the House Senate and special counsel Robert Mueller are eyeing whether Trump’s decision to fire Comey was an effort to obstruct the FBI’s wide-ranging Russia probe.

Earlier this week, Grassley pummeled the FBI in a statement accusing the bureau of withholding information from Congress related to the Comey firing. Grassley, in particular, expressed frustration that the FBI shared details from the two people his committee has sought to interview with a separate federal agency investigating Comey’s conduct. According to Grassley, the FBI required this other agency, the Office of Special Counsel, to sign non-disclosure agreements that prohibited it from sharing sensitive details with Congress.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:53 pm
by Addie
Justice allows Senate panel to interview FBI officials on Comey firing

(CNN) The Justice Department has agreed to let the Senate judiciary committee interview two senior FBI officials who could provide firsthand accounts about the circumstances around the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, potentially resolving a weeks-long standoff that led senators to threaten issuing subpoenas, according to sources familiar with the matter Friday.

The department had initially raised concerns that potential Senate judiciary interviews of FBI officials Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki could have interfered with special counsel Bob Mueller's investigation, which is looking into the Comey firing as well as potential Russia collusion with President Donald Trump's associates in the elections.

But Senate judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley and the committee's top Democrat, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, had demanded that the two men sit down for separate transcribed interviews to assist with their panel's investigation into possible administration interference with the FBI.

After weeks of exchanges and a nearly hour-long meeting between Grassley and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, the two sides appeared to have reached a deal.

Final details are still being hammered out, the sources said, particularly the timing of the interview. Plus, the committee wants to the FBI to produce more documents before the interviews take place, according to the sources.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:25 am
by Addie
Daily Beast
Senate ‘Russia Probe’ Is Not Investigating Russia ...

Grassley’s role in the congressional probes into Russian meddling in the 2016 election has perplexed and concerned members of his own party, Republican staffers on the committee told The Daily Beast.

The probe appears to have already missed one of its own deadlines. And rather than publicly needling potential Russian meddlers, Grassley has primarily used his bully pulpit to rip an opposition-research firm and the FBI.

Nearly a year after Election Day, a host of investigators are working on probes specifically digging into how Russia meddled in the presidential election, who—if anyone—they colluded with in the U.S., and what they are still doing now. The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating, the House Intelligence Committee is investigating, and the Justice Department is investigating too, through special counsel Bob Mueller. ...

Meanwhile, a Democratic Senate aide told The Daily Beast the Judiciary Committee’s main focus is the question of whether President Trump or his aides engaged in obstruction of justice, including his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

That runs counter to the Grassley staffer’s description of the probe, as an effort primarily focused on whether the FBI was properly doing its job.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:19 pm
by Addie
Democratic senators warn Sessions they want answers on Trump conversations

Democratic senators are warning Attorney General Jeff Sessions that when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, he should detail his conversations with Donald Trump or else announce that the president is invoking executive privilege to protect those communications.

All nine Democrats on the panel sent Sessions a letter Wednesday, noting that during his June appearance at the Senate Intelligence Committee, he repeatedly declined to answer such questions, saying the president had the right to decide whether to assert executive privilege over the discussions. That kind of deferral won't fly this time, the Democrats said.

"We expect that when you appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 18th, you will have determined whether the president will invoke executive privilege as to specific topics and will be prepared to answer completely all questions in those areas on which he has not. As to the former category, we will expect you to provide the Committee with a list of issues over which the privilege has affirmatively been asserted," the lawmakers wrote in a letter organized by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment on the letter.

During his intelligence committee testimony in June, Sessions detailed his involvement in Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. But the attorney general declined to discuss his conversations with the president on that topic or about the Russia investigation.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:36 am
by Addie
Trump asks whether James Comey was truthful about Clinton probe

President Trump suggested Wednesday that former FBI director James B. Comey had intended to spare Democrat Hillary Clinton from prosecution “long before investigation was complete” into her government email practices. ...

Trump's tweets revive his feud with Comey, whom he fired in May, and the Democratic opponent he defeated last year. He has twice this week referred to Clinton as “Crooked Hillary,” his campaign trail nickname for her.

Trump said Comey had “stated under oath that he didn't do this,” in apparent reference to Comey's Senate testimony in which he said there was no criminal case to bring. In his tweet Wednesday, Trump asked, “Where is Justice Dept?” apparently inviting an investigation into the existence of the 2016 email chain.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) have said the FBI email chain shows that Comey began drafting an “exoneration statement” long before the Clinton probe ended. In September, Graham told Fox News that although he does not think Comey perjured himself, he wants Comey to return to testify.

Re: Senate Judiciary Committee: Re FBI's Independence

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:51 am
by Addie
Associated Press
Senate Committee Will Question Sessions About Private Talks With Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic senators plan to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his private communications with the president when he appears before a Senate committee Wednesday to discuss his leadership of the Justice Department.

The routine oversight hearing is Sessions’ first appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee since his January confirmation, and it comes as he has worked quickly to reshape the department with an intense focus on immigration, drugs, gangs and violent crime. He will likely face questions from lawmakers about his swift undoing of Obama-era protections for gay and transgender people and his rollback of criminal justice policies that aimed to reduce the federal prison population, among other changes he has made in nine months since taking office.

He has tried to pressure so-called sanctuary cities into cooperating with federal immigration authorities by threatening to withhold grant money, and he was the public face of the Trump administration’s decision to end a program benefiting hundreds of thousands of young people who entered the U.S. illegally as children. Senators could question him about that, as Congress seeks a legislative solution to extend the protections before recipients’ work permits expire.

But lawmakers are also expected to ask him about the investigation into Trump campaign connections to Russia, which continues to cast a shadow over his tenure. Sessions recused himself from that probe, a decision that still frustrates President Donald Trump, who subjected him to a solid week of blistering public criticism this summer. He could also be asked about any communication he’s had with the team of investigators led by Robert Mueller, the Justice Department’s special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.

It is standard operating policy for attorneys general to appear each year before the Justice Department’s congressional overseers on the House and Senate judiciary committees. Yet, in a reflection of the extent to which the Russia investigation and his own role as a campaign ally have dominated public attention, Sessions made his first appearance on Capitol Hill as attorney general before the Senate Intelligence Committee. There, he faced hours of questioning about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States and his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.