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Tag: house judiciary committee

Here’s What House Democrats Can Do Next After Panel Approved Contempt for Barr

AG William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee approved a contempt resolution Wednesday after Attorney General William Barr refused to disclose Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report, but that’s only the first step.

What options do Democrats have left?

The committee on Wednesday essentially recommended that the full House hold Bar in contempt of Congress, and that seems more likely as Democrats grow frustrated with the attorney general’s continued insistence that he will not disclose the unredacted report. President Trump also invoked executive privilege over the report.

If the full House approves the contempt resolution and the records still aren’t turned over, Democrats could then ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia or the Justice Department to charge Barr for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. They also could ask a court to enforce the subpoena, or they have the authority to call on their sergeant at arms to arrest Barr.

The House and Senate have the authority to seek jail time for people who violate congressional orders, but that hasn’t happened in nearly a century, The Atlantic reports. Then again, these aren’t ordinary times.

“Its day in the sun is coming,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told the Atlantic.

“This is not some peripheral schoolyard skirmish,” Raskin added. “This goes right to the heart of our ability to do our work as Congress of the United States.”

If Democrats don’t seek to hold Barr accountable, they could begin impeachment hearings, but that option is becoming less likely.

Whatever the case, Democrats made the first step Wednesday. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

House Committee Sets Contempt Hearing for AG Barr

Attorney General William Barr testified before Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to turn over special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report by Monday’s deadline.

But first, committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has agreed to meet with Justice Department officials to “negotiate” the report’s release, Axios reports.

In a letter to Nadler on Monday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd reminded Nadler that he and the committee have been offered to look at an “even-less-redacted version” of the report.

Barr failed to meet the committee’s demands to turn over the full report Monday, and he also did not appear at a hearing last week focused on the Mueller report.

“Although the Committee has attempted to engage in accommodations with Attorney General Barr for several months, it can no longer afford to delay, and must resort to contempt proceedings,” the contempt resolution reads.

House Committee Chairman Warns Barr He Can’t Set Terms for Hearing on Mueller Report

AG William Barr testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee fired back at Attorney General William Bar for trying to change the proposed format of his testimony on the Russia investigation this week.

“The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told CNN on Sunday.

Barr warned committee Democrats that he may not testify to the committee on Thursday unless the format changes.

In addition to allowing five minutes of questioning for each member of the committee, Nadler proposed a second round of questions for both sides to each question Barr for 30 minutes.

Barr has opposed the additional round of questioning, CNN first reported.

The most contentious issue involves the Mueller report and Barr’s four-page summary of it, which Democrats and some others have criticized as one-sided.

Barr also is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. The committee’s chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Barr must answer questions about the four-page summary and how it measures up to the full report.

“Well, he gave a four-page summary. Does the report support his summary? Does the report actually indicate there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians?” Graham said during a “Face the Nation” interview Sunday on CBS.

Ex-FBI Chief Comey Tries to Block Subpoena to Appear Before House Committee

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey is trying to block a subpoena to appear before the Republican-led House of Representatives on Monday, saying the motive behind the private interview was political.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Comey, who was fired by Trump in April 2017, earlier this month to answer questions about the FBI in 2016, including why the bureau did not recommend an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private computer, Time reports.   

Last week, Comey said he would testify in a public hearing, but not a closed-door meeting.

Corey’s attorneys are asking a judge to dismiss the subpoena and delay his appearance before the House committee, which has been repeatedly accused of derailing an objective investigation.

Congressional Republicans: New Evidence Shows Clinton Probe Was Rigged

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Key congressional Republicans reviewing the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email server said they found evidence that the bureau’s top officials protected the former secretary of state from criminal charges.

Those Republicans say they have received written evidence and other information that reveal some FBI investigators believed Clinton broke some laws when she and her top aides used an insecure private email server to transmit classified information, the Hill reports

During a closed-door briefing on Dec. 21, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the House Judiciary Committee that he discovered the investigation and the decision on whether to file charges belonged to a small group in Washington D.C.’s headquarters, not the field office leaders who typically handle the outcome of  federal probes.

Among the evidence are FBI documents that indicate the voluminous amounts of classified information that was passed through Clinton’s insecure server amount to crime. Investigators also said a key witness admitted making false statements, which is a crime identical to the ones filed against some of Trump’s former campaign officials.

Some committee Republicans said the new discoveries suggest the top levels of the FBI protected Clinton from prosecution.

“This was an effort to pre-bake the cake, pre-bake the outcome,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a House Judiciary Committee member who attended the McCabe briefing before the holidays. “Hillary Clinton obviously benefited from people taking actions to ensure she wasn’t held accountable.”

Trump’s Deputy AG: No Good Reason to Fire Mueller

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a powerful rebuke to Donald Trump and Republicans, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified Wednesday that he saw no good reason to fire special counsel Robert Mueller from his investigation into possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia.

Republicans grilled Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, following recent revelations that two FBI officials on Mueller’s team were mocking the president in text messages.

Rosenstein defended Mueller, saying he is properly overseeing the investigation and has taken action when confronted with allegations of bias on the special counsel team.

“I know what he is doing,” Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee. “I am not aware of any impropriety.”

Rosenstein added that he would not comply with Trump if the president ordered him to fire Mueller, unless there was “good cause” for his removal.

“As I’ve explained previously, I would follow the regulation: If there was good cause, I would act,” Rosenstein said. “If there were no good cause, I would not.”

3 Takeaways from Sessions’ Testimony about Trump-Russia Contacts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before Congress about contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, said his hazy memory is to blame for any inconsistent responses he has given to Congress about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russians.

Here are highlights of his testimony:

1. Sessions now remembers attending a March 2016 meeting with George Papadopoulos.

Under Oath in October, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no recollection of contacts between the Trump campaign and Kremlin-tied Russians.

But when he heard about the arrest of Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos this month, Sessions said he suddenly remembered the aide proposing a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Frankly, I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports,” Sessions told the committee, adding that he believes he advised Papadopuolos to scrap a Trump-Putin meeting. 

2. Sessions dismissed accusations that he committed perjury.

“In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory,” Sessions testified. “But I will not accept, and reject, accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

Sessions’ failure to recall key facts about ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials drew heavy criticism.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., listed numerous times Sessions said insisted “I do not recall” while testifying before Congress in the past.

Sessions said the “chaos” of running a presidential campaign makes it easy to forget details about certain events.

“All of you have been in a campaign, but most of you have not participated in a presidential campaign,” Sessions said.

3. Sessions shocked many Republicans when he refused to promise the appointment of a new special counsel to investigation Hillary Clinton and her foundation.

Sessions said there was “not enough basis” to appoint a special counsel, prompting a heated exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who asked what it would take to make the appointment.

“You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are, and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires.”

Jordan said it “looks like” there was enough evidence for a special counsel, pointing to allegations that Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Convention funded the salacious dossier that outlines Trump’s ties with Russia.

Sessions responded: “I would say ‘looks like’ is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.”

Sessions to Face Tough Questions Today about Russia Communicating with Trump Team

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

How much did Attorney General Jeff Sessions know about Donald Trump’s campaign aides communicating with Russia?

Sessions, who has provided shifting, sometimes contradictory answers to questions about Russia’s connection to the Trump Campaign, will testify Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee amid discoveries that suggest he knew more than he let on.

The committee plans to ask the former Alabama senator about his involvement and conversations about Trump aides traveling to Russia or trying to set up a meeting with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin

According to testify from former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, it appears Sessions did know about contacts between Russia and Trump campaign officials.

The committee’s 17 Democrats wrote in a letter that Sessions’ statements include “inconsistencies” that need to be hashed out during today’s testimony.