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Tag: house judiciary committee

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.

House Committee to Investigate Whether Clinton Perjured Herself

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee plans to grill FBI officials next month to determine whether Hillary Clinton committed perjury when she testified before Congress last year about her use of private e-mail servers.

The date and witness list have not yet been determined, but FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify, the USA Today reports. 

Two top Republicans sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips outlining examples that they believe show Clinton’s sworn testimony contradicted evidence gathered during the FBI’s investigation of Clinton.

“During a House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing on October 22, 2015, Secretary Clinton testified with respect to whether she sent or received emails that were marked classified at the time; whether her attorneys reviewed each of the emails on her personal email system; whether there was one or more servers that stored work-related emails during her time as secretary of state; and whether she provided all her work-related emails to the Department of State,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House oversight committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, wrote.

Clinton has claimed her testimony was truthful and consistent with public statements she made about her e-mails while he was secretary of state.

FBI Chief Says Bureau Error Locked iPhone of San Bernardino Shooter

Apple logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI conceded Tuesday that it made a mistake when trying to capture data from an iPhone belonging to one of the an Bernardino shooters.

FBI Director James Comey said the error in the early stages of the investigation made it impossible to get information from the phone, the New York Times reports.

“There was a mistake made in the 24 hours after the attack,” James B. Comey Jr., the director of the F.B.I., told lawmakers at a hearing on the government’s attempt to force Apple to help “unlock” the iPhone.

The FBI tried to reset the iCloud password, an error in judgment that locked investigators out.

The Times wrote that members of the House Judiciary Committee “seemed torn over where to draw the line” between consumer privacy and national security.

“The big question for our country is how much privacy are we going to give up in the name of security,” Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, told Mr. Comey. “And there’s no easy answer to that.”

Other lawmakers criticized Apple for refusing to help and making it difficult to open the phone.

“We’re going to create evidence-free zones?” asked Representative Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who once served as a federal prosecutor. “Am I missing something?”

“How the hell you can’t access a phone, I just find baffling,” he said.

Justice Department Squanders $100 Million on Faulty Grants to Organizations

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department wasted as much as $100 million by issuing grants to duplicate organizations or to programs that didn’t follow through on promises, the Washington Post reports, citing an inspector general report.

“There is virtually no visibility on how grant funds are actually used by the recipients,” said Michael Horowitz, the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Justice, in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday. “Unless there is an OIG audit or investigation, or the granting agency dedicates resources to collect and analyze accounting information from a recipient, the government and taxpayers are virtually in the dark regarding how grant funds were actually used.”

Among the organizations misusing the money is Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Horowitz said. “The continued listing of grant management as a top management challenge reflects the size, scope, complexity, and associated risks of mismanagement of the numerous grant programs administered by the department,” said Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “As with many other aspects of government, these grant programs are not always designed or administered as efficiently as they should be — which means that less money is actually sent to help with boots on the ground.”

FBI Director Mueller Faces Tough Questions in Final House Committee Meeting


Robert Mueller

Steve Neavling
ticklthewire.com 

FBI Director Robert Mueller is expected to undergo tough questions today as he nears the end of his 12 years at the helm, the Associated Press reports.

In what likely will be his final appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller likely will be grilled about the Boston Marathon bombings investigation, the Benghazi attacks and the recent disclosure of massive government surveillance on millions of Americans.

“Over the past few years, we have witnessed troubling national security leaks and have learned that the Obama administration seems to be bending the rules in place that protect the freedom of the press in its investigations,” the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said.

 

FBI’s Mueller Rattles Off Some Pretty Grim Statistics About the Battle Against the Mexican Drug Cartels

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

While telling Congress of the FBI’s efforts to battle the Mexican drug cartels, FBI director Robert S. Mueller III rattled off some pretty grim statistics.

Appearing Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller said:

  • Between $18 billion and $39 billion flows annually from the United States across the Southwest border to enrich the Mexican drug cartels.
  • There were over 3,000 drug-related murders in Juarez, Mexico in 2010.
  • There were over 34,600 drug-related murders in all of Mexico from December 2006 to December 2010.
  • It is estimated that 95 percent of all South American cocaine that moves from South America to the United States goes through Mexico.
  • 701,000 kilograms of marijuana were seized during the first five months of 2010 in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Mueller told the committee that the FBI is committing resources to battling the cartels.

“To address corruption on the Southwest border, we have 13 Border Corruption Task Forces with roughly 120 agents in FBI field offices in the region, and one National Border Corruption Task Force at FBI Headquarters to direct these efforts,” he said. “We have border liaison officers who work one-on-one with their law enforcement counterparts in Mexico.”