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Tag: House of Representatives

How Democrats Could Save the Mueller Probe if Trump’s Administration Tries to End It

Special counsel Robert Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian meddling is at risk of being sabotaged by President Trump’s administration.

A day after the midterm elections, Trump forced Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign and replaced him with a loyalist, Matthew Whitaker, who could try to end the investigation.

Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill to protect the special counsel probe on Wednesday, and this morning Trump unleashed a series of tweets calling the probe “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LINK TO NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

But Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, still have recourse. Slate reports that Democrats could protect the investigation by creating a “Special Select Committee on Russian Election Interference” and appointing Mueller and his prosecutors as the lead investigators. 

Or Democrats could subpoena details of the investigation and hire him to complete the probe.

Democrats’ Control of the House Affords Protections to Mueller

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives is good news for special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation of Russia and President’s Trump’s campaign.

The House only need a simple majority to impeach Trump, a maneuver that political observers believe is unlikely unless Trump tries to interfere with the election or is later found guilty of committing crimes. 

Democrats have tiptoed around the issue because of the political ramifications, especially since a vote of two-thirds of the Senate is required.

Trump has hinted that he may take bold steps after the midterm elections, such as firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation.

With control of the House, Democrats also have subpoena power, which could become critical if Trump tries to interfere with the investigation.

While the House cannot issue criminal charges, it can hold public hearings and refer issues to the Justice Department for investigation.

GOP Rep. Hunter Indicted Over Lavish Personal Expenses from Campaign Funds

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, via U.S. Department of Defense.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted Tuesday on dozens of charges that allege they used campaign donations to pay for personal expenses, from family vacations and dental work to theater tickets and school tuition.

The Republican from Alpine, Calif., is accused of spending more than $250,000 in campaign funds on personal expenses between 2009 and 2016 and filing false campaign finance records to cover up the unlawful spending, the Wall Street Journal reports

House Speaker Paul Ryan stripped Hunter of his committee assignments.

“The charges against Rep. Hunter are deeply serious,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement.

Nevertheless, Hunter claimed the 60-count indictment was politically motivated.

According to the indictment, Hunter and his wife used the campaign funds for ski trips, hotel stays, European vacations, dinners and even video games.

House Committee Approves $5 Billion for Trump’s Border Wall

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s much-touted border wall is advancing to the full House of Representatives after a committee approved $5 billion in funding for the project.

The House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines, advancing the measure with a 29-22 vote.

The bill also provides a $3.7 billion increase in funding for Homeland Security, pushing the total to $51.4 billion; money for 400 new ICE agents; and $1.9 billion for cybersecurity efforts, The Hill reports

“It is outrageous that House Republicans have prioritized unnecessary funds for President Trump’s border wall and cruel immigration policies rather than fighting terrorism through substantial new investments in first responder grants or growing the economy and creating jobs through job training, making college more affordable, or research and development initiatives,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (N.Y), the top Democrat on the committee, told the Hill.
The $5 billion would finance 200 miles of a wall along the border with Mexico.

Trump has requested $25 billion to fund the wall.

“Globalization, cybersecurity, and terrorism are changing our way of life and we need to change with it. This bill fully supports our men and women on the frontline who work tirelessly to keep us safe. The bill also provides the necessary funding for critical technology and physical barriers to secure our borders,” said committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.).

House Lawmakers Reject Funding for Trump’s Revised Plan to Build New FBI Headquarters

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The long-delayed plan to build a new FBI headquarters has hit yet another snag.

House lawmakers said they aren’t comfortable funding a new headquarters until the Trump administration can justify why it scrapped a decade-long plan for a new building in the suburbs.

Trump’s plan calls for demolishing the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters in Washington D.C, and constructing a new building in its place.

“The Act does not include funding for the revised Headquarters consolidation plan released on February 12, 2018, because many questions regarding the new plan remain unanswered, including the revision of longstanding security requirements and changes to headquarters capacity in the national capital region,” lawmakers wrote of the omnibus spending bill, which funds agencies for the rest of the year, according to Federal News Radio. “Until these concerns are addressed and the appropriate authorizing Committees approve a prospectus, the Committees are reluctant to appropriate additional funds for this activities.”

The new proposal prompted the General Services Administration Inspector Carol Ochoa to open an investigation into the sudden change in plans.

The omnibus bill, however, includes $370 million for other FBI construction projects.

But on Friday morning, Trump threatened to veto the bill.

“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded,” Trump tweeted.

House Democrats: Give FBI Director Authority to Reject Security Clearance for White House Staff

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI director would have the authority to reject security clearance for White House staff it there is a national security risk under a measure introduced by a group of House Democrats.

More than 20 Democrats have expressed support for the bill, called the Security Clearance Review Act, the Hill reports

The measure is in response to serious questions raised about the security clearance of President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is accused of colluding with Russian officials to interfere with the presidential election.

Donald Trump’s refusal to hold his senior staff accountable for their deceptions on Russia have sadly made this legislation necessary,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who co-sponsored the bill. “Despite all we have learned about his secret meetings with Russians, Jared Kushner apparently continues to hold his clearance.”

Bi-Partisan Bill Seeks to Require Senate Confirmation of Secret Service Director

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A bi-partisan bill in the U.S. House of Representatives seeks to require Senate confirmation for the director of the Secret Service.

NPR reports that the bill was motivated by widespread concerns of the Secret Service’s performance this year. 

Listen to NPR report above.  

House GOP Continues to Pressure FBI Director Over Clinton Case

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Republicans aren’t backing down.

On Monday, 200 House Republicans demanded answers from FBI Director James Comey after he decided not recommend federal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified material, The Hill reports.  

The lawmakers said Comey created “ cloud over our nation’s justice system” and urged him to disclose additional details about his decision.

“No one is above the law and the American people deserve a more robust explanation for your decision to not recommend criminal charges against the former secretary,” the 204 GOP lawmakers told Comey.