“Although you serve at the president’s pleasure, you are also charged with the impartial administration of our laws. In turn, the House Judiciary Committee is charged with holding you to that responsibility.”While it is likely that Barr won’t comply with many of these requests, Nadler may issue subpoenas directly to individuals of interest. As Democrats learned during the impeachment hearing, career officials are more likely to be forthright and honest about the Trump administration’s crimes and misdeeds.
“Congress (or one of its chambers) may hold officers in contempt, withhold appropriations, refuse to confirm the President’s nominees, harness public opinion, delay or derail the President’s legislative agenda, or impeach recalcitrant officers.”It should be mentioned that the majority does not mention the fact that during the impeachment trial Trump’s lawyers argued that Congress should pursue its subpoenas to executive branch witnesses in court.
“The court removes any incentive for the Executive Branch to engage in the negotiation process seeking accommodation, all but assures future Presidential stonewalling of Congress, and further impairs the House’s ability to perform its constitutional duties… Future presidents may direct wide-scale noncompliance with lawful congressional inquiries, secure in the knowledge that Congress can do little to enforce a subpoena dramatically undermining its ability to fulfill its constitutional obligations now and going forward.”
Though it is undisputed that the wine bar has experienced a downturn since Trump took office — his gilded hotel now attracting lobbyists, advocacy groups and diplomats who used to frequent the local business — the appeals court said no evidence suggests that the president or his hotel interfered in Cork’s business.
The lawsuit “boiled down to an assertion that businesses with famous proprietors cannot compete fairly — a proposition alien to unfair-competition law,” Griffith wrote summarizing the 2017 dismissal of the case by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon.
“It’s not a secret that we want people in positions that work with this president, not against him, and too often we have people in this government—I mean the federal government is massive, with millions of people—and there are a lot people out there taking action against this president and when we find them we will take appropriate action,” Gidley said.
“Time and time again we see in the media reports from people in the bowels of the federal government working against this president...The president's been pretty clear about the fact he wants people in this administration who want to forward his agenda. Donald Trump was the only one elected. He was the only one that the American people voted for. They didn't vote for someone at any of these other agencies, any of these other departments.” he said.
The NSA, CIA, and Pentagon have been urged by the White House not to share information about Russia and Ukraine with lawmakers, while the “Gang of Eight” senior members of Congress were bypassed leading up to at least one major intelligence operation. And intelligence community leaders have backed out of the public portion of the annual worldwide threats hearing, fearing Trump’s wrath if their assessments don’t align with his.Ukrainian officials have noticed Trump’s purge and worry that efforts to force out individuals “would in the short term leave a hollowed out U.S. office in Kyiv and space for Russia to ratchet up its aggressive political influence operations.”
“We have an enemy of the United States that is conducting information warfare against us and our executive leadership doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want the Congress to hear it, and doesn’t want the people to hear it,” said former acting DNI David Gompert, who said he was “aghast” at the hiring of Grenell. “We now have a situation where the principal objective, evidently, of this acting DNI is to ensure that information about Russian interference and Russian preference for this particular president does not get out.” (Politico)
“Russia is getting more ambitious. They are already taking an aggressive position. Putin knows what he wants and he does not need to seek approval for his actions inside Russia let alone outside of Russia,” Danylyuk said. “There are not enough people in the administration—in the U.S. administration—to focus on Ukraine and Russia issues. A lot of people left. It will not be easy to find several counterparts.
The case, June Medical Services v. Russo, pertains to a law passed in 2014 that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges to local hospitals. This requirement has proven to be unnecessary for clinics (an abortion rarely results in complications, and if one did, the patient would be admitted to a hospital regardless of the doctor’s privileges). And it’s so difficult to implement that when Texas passed a similar law, it shut down half the state’s clinics. (Buzzfeed News)Also this week, the court will hear arguments on whether Congress exceeded constitutional boundaries in 2010 when it created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Trump administration believes the independent structure of the CFPB is unconstitutional and wants the president to have more control over the agency. For instance, Trump wants to be able to fire the director at will.
While it is overwhelmingly likely that five justices will vote to uphold Louisiana’s law, there is some uncertainty about how they will do so. It is possible that the Court will overrule Roe v. Wade outright. But it is at least as likely that the Court will leave Roe nominally in place while simultaneously watering down the abortion right to such a degree that it loses meaning in red states. The Court often prefers to create the impression that it will not allow the law to swing wildly according to the justices’ whims. (Vox)
A court ruling on the President's removal power could affect a multitude of independent agencies including the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Federal Reserve Board. For more than a century, Congress has been creating such agencies within the executive branch with directors who can only be removed only "for cause." (CNN)Finally, on March 31, the high court will hear arguments in three cases involving House Democrats’ and New York state prosecutors’ attempts to obtain years of Trump’s financial records and tax returns.
“Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others. This Court often permits executions — where the risk of irreparable harm is the loss of life — to proceed, justifying many of those decisions on purported failures ‘to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner,’” she wrote. “Yet the Court’s concerns over quick decisions wither when prodded by the Government in far less compelling circumstances.”
What she really is saying is that the same justices who have no problem allowing condemned prisoners to be killed before legitimate questions about their cases can be resolved have no compunction in rushing to prematurely protect the Trump administration, and the president’s personal interests, from legitimate legal processes. In other words, Sotomayor is calling her conservative colleagues hypocrites who are willing to bend precedent in the pursuit of ideological goals. (Brennan Center)
The August 26, 2019, email from a senior career Pentagon official states that there was “no ongoing interagency review process with respect to USAI [Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative],” and states clearly: “Final decision rests with POTUS.”“Critically, the email appears to contradict the White House budget office’s stated rationale for withholding the aid,” American Oversight states. Administration officials had been instructed to tell Congress that the freeze of aid to Ukraine was necessary to allow for an “interagency process to determine the best use of such funds.” The August 26 email clearly states that no such process was in action.
“Tonight’s document release is a reminder that before they lined up parrot the president’s line on Ukraine aid, senior members of the president’s national security team unanimously disagreed with his decision to withhold aid from Ukraine,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight.An earlier email release revealed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fully coordinated with Rudy Giuliani on Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine and the ouster of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
"As you know, we have expressed repeated concern that the records you previously produced contain significant gaps," the House staffers wrote. They added that it was obvious Hyde hadn't turned everything over because his batch of materials was missing records that Congress already knows about because they were turned over by Parnas, who was on the other end of the texts.Last week, six members of Congress led by Reps. Denny Heck (WA-10) and Jim Himes (CT-04) sent a letter to World Bank Group President David Malpass requesting information about his August meeting with Zelensky in Ukraine. The lawmakers voiced concerns that the meeting could be seen as a part of Trump’s pressure campaign that resulted in his impeachment.
The lawmakers asked Malpass to disclose when he decided to visit Kyiv, whether he coordinated his trip with non-World Bank officials, the “deliverables” of the meeting, the meeting’s impact on the World Bank’s plans in Ukraine and whether they discussed Hunter Biden, Burisma or Viktor Shokin, the former Ukrainian prosecutor general who was ousted under international pressure from leaders including former Vice President Biden. (The Hill)
He remembers Nader explaining why they wanted to fund the Trump campaign. According to Khawaja, Nader said: ‘I’ve been meeting with the Trump campaign people…we have a deal with Trump: my boss, His Highness, made a deal that if we help Trump get elected, he’s going to be harsh on Iran, he’s going to take out the nuclear deal that the Obama administration made. That will cripple the Iranian economy and will sanction Iran from selling oil again. It will make it very difficult for them to compete in the oil market. That’s worth a hundred billion dollars to us. That’s the reason we cannot allow Hillary to win at any cost. She must lose.’Khawaja and Nader were charged with making false statements, obstruction, and allegedly making illegal contributions to Clinton’s campaign on behalf of an unidentified foreign official. While Nader is currently in jail, Khawaja is a fugitive in the Middle East.
Khawaja says he asked: ‘But you really think he’s going to win? I mean, this is crazy.’ And he says that Nader replied: ‘His Highness is not stupid, he will never bet on a losing horse.’ The money would come from the Saudis. The Emiratis would run the operation, using data bought from the Chinese. Khawaja says that Nader told him: ‘We have all the data already, we have 10 million US consumers’ data. And we have endless money.’ The Russians were ‘on board’ too: ‘He said, “Yes, I have met with Putin already and we have a green light from him. Because Putin is on the same page with us. He wants Hillary to lose.”’
A D.C.-based federal judge ruled Sunday that President Donald Trump's appointment of Ken Cuccinelli as acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director violated the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, a decision that suspends two policies Cuccinelli implemented while leading the agency. (Politico)
Three weeks after assuming his new role, Cuccinelli issued a memorandum announcing a revised policy for scheduling credible-fear interviews, the first step in the asylum process, according to the court ruling. Under the revised policy, the agency reduced the time allotted for asylum seekers to consult with others prior to their interviews.
Under Cuccinelli, USCIS also prohibited granting asylum seekers extensions of time to prepare for their credible-fear interviews, "except in the most extraordinary of circumstances." The asylum directives must be set aside, Moss ruled. (CNN)
Eric Trump visited a Trump property in development in Uruguay from January 8 to 9, 2019, a two-day business trip that cost taxpayers at least $80,786. CREW obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act today that add to the massive bill of Secret Service protection related to the Trump family’s management of the president’s business empire. The 2019 trip brings Eric Trump’s total up to at least $178,616 in taxpayer funds to work on development of the Trump Organization’s Punta Del Este property alone.
Mr Harvie said that the House of Representatives had heard testimony which stated: "We saw patterns of buying and selling that we thought were suggestive of money laundering" - with particular concern expressed about Mr Trump's golf courses in Scotland and Ireland."Scottish ministers can apply via the Court of Session for an unexplained wealth order, a tool designed for precisely these kinds of situations." The orders can be issued by the courts to compel their target to reveal the source of funding, and are often used to tackle suspected international money laundering.
He added: "Trump's known sources of income don't explain where the money came from for these huge cash transactions. There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that his lawfully obtained income was insufficient.”
In a letter sent on June 7, 2018, the House Ethics Committee reminded legislators that “rules specifically prohibit the use of footage of House Floor activities and committee proceedings for any partisan political purpose.”
“I think Rep. Stefanik’s use of video of the House hearing to solicit political contributions is a serious violation of that rule,” says Larry Noble, the former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission. “The rule is clear, and so is the guidance given by the House Ethics Committee.”
Donald K. Sherman, general counsel of the ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — a group that routinely opposes the Trump administration — agrees with that assessment. “House Ethics Committee guidance clearly prohibits Members from using video of committee proceedings for campaign purposes,” said Sherman, who was previously a high-ranking Senate attorney, “which Rep. Stefanik appears to have done nine times in the last six months.
The complaint says Nunes appears to be in “blatant violation of House rules,” because he would have trouble paying for all these lawsuits solely from his congressional salary of $174,000 per year. The group argues he’d only be able to pay if he received legal services for free, at a discounted rate, or based on a contingency fee, meaning the lawyer would get compensated from Nunes’ winnings if he prevails in his lawsuits.
In all of those cases, the complaint says, Nunes must disclose the legal help he is receiving by filing a legal expense fund, otherwise it would represent an illegal gift given to Nunes under congressional ethics rules. Nunes has not filed a legal expense fund with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.” Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution. No one is above the law, not even the President.Why now?
By joining a resolution to dismiss, Sen. McConnell showed his true colors. Americans have now seen what is at stake in a fair trial with witnesses & evidence, and new evidence has emerged. Every Senator will have to vote: is their loyalty is to the President or the Constitution?The day before, McConnell signed onto Sen. Josh Hawley's resolution to change Senate impeachment rules allowing for a vote to dismiss the articles of impeachment if they're not sent to Senate within 25 days of House approval.
Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study. I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify.
Because it is now clear that the Senate will not take steps to ensure that it has all the relevant information before commencing its trial of impeachment, the House should subpoena those witnesses whose testimony would determine—either way—the president’s personal culpability in the withholding of appropriated military assistance to Ukraine. There is ample reason to believe that the former national security adviser, John Bolton, can provide first-hand information on this subject. Bolton should give testimony before any transmittal of the bill of impeachment to the Senate.Constitutional scholar Heidi Kitrosser told The Washington Post:
If he and others similarly situated—that is, persons with first-hand knowledge of the president’s actions and motivations, such as the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo—refuse to honor subpoenas for their testimony, the House should immediately seek an injunction directing their testimony.
“By stating that he would testify if the Senate subpoenas him, Bolton has effectively waived any argument against testifying should the House subpoena him,” Kitrosser said. “Bolton had no plausible claim for absolute immunity from showing up to testify in the first place. But even if he previously had such a claim, there is no plausible basis on which it would apply only against a House subpoena and not against a Senate subpoena.”Benjamin Wittes suggests withholding the articles until Bolton testifies:
in the context of John Bolton's announcement yesterday that he's willing to testify if subpoenaed by the Senate, McConnell's announcement of his posture creates a strategic opening for Pelosi that she will not fail to notice. A subpoena from the Senate is not, after all, legally different from a subpoena from the House. With McConnell now publicly committed to moving forward without hearing from a witness who is willing to testify, Pelosi's control over the articles becomes highly significant.Will the House follow this advice?
Here is a card she now has in her hand. She can announce that: (1) She is not willing to hand over the articles so that McConnell can bury them without hearing from a witness who has suddenly made clear that he is, after all, available. (2) Since the Senate majority leader appears committed to a trial framework that will not hear all the available witnesses with relevant information, the House Intelligence Committee will issue the subpoena Bolton has invited instead. (3) She will hold the articles pending the completion of that testimony—and whatever litigation may be necessary to obtain it. And critically, (4) the House reserves the right to pass superseding or amended articles of impeachment in response to new information it obtains.
One could be forgiven for starting to wonder whether the courts are taking sides but doing it in a way that looks measured and restrained. The thing is: Sometimes not resolving an exigent case is a decision.
It’s been clear for some time now that the beating heart of this president’s litigation strategy is an effort to run out the clock… What’s stunning is the degree to which the courts are complicit in all this. The courts have aided and abetted the Trump legal team and Mitch McConnell by refusing to behave as if time is a factor in any of these proceedings.
Make no mistake: It is a choice to ignore a congressional subpoena, and it is a choice to claim that only a court can resolve that impasse. When that choice is taken by the president, it seems fair to ask that the courts resolve the matter with something more prompt than the “all deliberate speed” with which they allowed desegregation to drag on for years and years after Brown v. Board of Education. Sometimes, not resolving a case in time for relief of any kind is a decision. Calling it lofty institutional deliberation instead of a dodge is a play to the court of public opinion, but not a court of law.
Is President Trump already planning a re-election party at his DC hotel on election night? Maybe so, as rooms at Trump International Hotel are entirely unavailable on November 2nd and 3rd. Those dates just happen to be the day before and the night of the 2020 presidential election. And not only that: The night after the election a basic room costs $1,600, a major spike of nearly 5 times the average cost, which is around $331.
The high rate on November 4th suggests that the hotel’s unavailability on the two days before has to do with high demand: Perhaps the hotel sold out because Trumpworld insiders already booked their rooms, or a political group booked up blocks of rooms for a party. No matter what, President Trump will be making even more money than usual from his DC hotel on the nights around the 2020 presidential election.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that he had asked Manhattan’s district attorney to investigate discrepancies ProPublica and WNYC revealed last fall between what President Donald Trump’s company reported in filings to city tax officials and what it reported in loan filings. The discrepancies made his properties seem more profitable to a lender and less profitable to the city’s tax authorities.
Rep. Justin Amash: The administration didn’t present evidence to Congress regarding even one embassy. The four embassies claim seems to be totally made up. And they have never presented evidence of imminence—a necessary condition to act without congressional approval—with respect to any of this. (tweet)
Earlier Thursday, Pelosi said they purposely took this approach to ensure that the chamber could send a clear message to the president. "We are taking this path because it does not require ... a signature of the president of the United States," she said. "This is a statement of the Congress of the United States, and I will not have that statement be diminished by whether the president will veto it or not."
Since its pivotal intervention in the Syrian civil war in 2015, Russia has sought to position itself as a major player in the Middle East, establishing itself as a rare broker that is on good terms with all of the region’s feuding powers. Now Moscow has a fresh chance to solidify that reputation… [The strike] provides Putin with new opportunities to achieve two of his long-standing goals: undermining U.S. credibility and expanding Russia’s footprint across the Middle East. (Foreign Policy)Russian state media is portraying Soleimani as an ally, someone to be admired. Meanwhile, pro-Kremlin voices are saying that Trump killed Soleimani to distract from the impeachment proceedings and provide a boost in his re-election chances.
As a country that likes to portray itself as a peer to the United States, Russia benefits from being able to point to a U.S. precedent, just as it pointed to the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia to justify its invasion of Georgia in 2008. The Soleimani killing provides Moscow a potentially useful precedent should it decide, for instance, to target a Ukrainian official on some dubious pretext in the future. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Both native Facebook content and third-party links on the platform are either overwhelmingly pro-Trump or posted directly by Trump. Eight of the ten most-interacted-with posts containing the keyword “Iran” published to Facebook in the last month were posted by Trump’s personal Facebook page, according to social metrics site BuzzSumo.Disinformation allowed
Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub: “These so-called 'transparency' solutions are neither transparent nor solutions... I am not willing to bet the 2020 elections on the proposition that Facebook has solved its problems with a solution whose chief feature appears to be that it doesn't seriously impact the company's profit margins."
The New York City Bar Association has sent a letter to Congressional leaders, urging them “to commence formal inquiries into a pattern of conduct by Attorney General William P. Barr that threatens public confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice.”
The letter asserts that in several extended public statements during the past few months, Mr. Barr has disregarded “bedrock obligations for government lawyers,” including “to avoid even the appearance of partiality and impropriety, and to avoid manifesting bias, prejudice, or partisanship in the exercise of official responsibilities.” (NYC Bar)
Former federal prosecutor Joyce White Vance: "Nothing." This appropriate result still doesn't erase the unforgivable sin that AG Sessions committed by opening a criminal investigation to please the president. DOJ is not a tool for presidents to use against people they think are their enemies. (Tweet)
Trump said in June that Carroll was “totally lying,” calling the accusation “fake news.” He said they had never met, though a 1987 photo shows them and their then-spouses at a social event. Trump dismissed the picture, saying he was just “standing with my coat on in a line.”
Trump: “Saudi Arabia is paying us for [our troops]. We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank.”
With low transaction fees and no identification-verification requirements, Liberty Reserve was a magnet for hackers and other criminal types. By the time the U.S. Secret Service arrested five of the site’s masterminds in 2013, Liberty Reserve had facilitated some $6 billion in suspected money laundering transactions, according to Fox News For that reason, false advertisement will reserve a site a cozy spot on the blacklist. Unfair Terms. It irks us that this is even a thing, but some sites like to try and hide stuff in their terms and conditions that are not favorable to the players. Again, these could be in regards to anything the site offers or does. You can proxy to many sites pulling down what seems to be rather innocuous material and incorporate streamed information at the same time. I didn’t deal with the monetary side; some of the casinos used bitcoin but most used Liberty Reserve. I held accounts with Liberty Reserve prior to its seizure by the US government in 2013. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) has made it official: After its latest two day meeting, it announced its goal to devalue the dollar by 33% over the next 20 years. News and analysis on legal developments including litigation filings, case settlements, verdicts, regulation, enforcement, legislation, corporate deals, and business of law.
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