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Tag: House of Representatives

Mueller’s Secret Grand Jury Materials Sought in Impeachment Trials

Special counsel Robert Mueller. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Much of evidence collected during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has remained secret, but that could change as the impeachment inquiry continues.

On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit is expected to consider whether the grand-jury materials from the investigation should be released to the House Judiciary Committee.

The three-member panel is set to consider a lower-court’s ruling that called for the release of evidence that the House Committee says is critical to determining whether President Trump should be impeached, The Washington Post reports.

The Justice Department argues the redacted materials cited in the Mueller report should not be released because the impeachment proceeding are not “judicial.”

House lawyers argued in court filings that the material is important to “aid the House in determining whether the President committed impeachable offenses, including attempted obstruction of the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election and solicitation of Ukrainian interference in the 2020 Presidential election.”

Comey: How a Trump Presidency Shows the Constitutional System is Working

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey sees a silver lining in a Trump presidency.

“I think our country is being stress-tested now. And I actually believe our current president has illuminated things for us that we were taking for granted,” Comey told University of Chicago law students Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune first reported.

“I think he is accomplishing, without intending to, a shrinking of the presidency, which I think is … closer to the design of the founders, and the energizing of the Congress and the courts that hasn’t happened in a couple of decades,” Comey said.

The former FBI director said over the weekend that he supports the impeachment inquiry, saying, “If the news accounts are accurate, the president engaged in a shocking abuse of power.”

While Comey didn’t mention the impeachment at the University of Chicago, he said truth is the “touchstone” of American values.

“I see good things happening as a result of what he’s doing,” Comes said. “I see people say we have a constitutional crisis. No. I don’t think so. I see the design working. It’s a nerve-wracking stress, but I see it working.”

Comey Says House ‘Has No Choice’ But to Move Forward with Impeachment Inquiry of Trump

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey, who joked that he’d move to New Zealand if Trump was re-elected, said the House of Representatives “has no choice but to pursue an impeachment inquiry.”

Comey blasted Trump’s call with Ukraine during a wide-ranging interview at the bipartisan Politicon political convention in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday.

If he were still in charge of the FBI, Comey said he “might” launch a criminal investigation into whether Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president constituted a quid pro quo.

“If the news accounts are accurate, the president engaged in a shocking abuse of power,” Comey said.

But, he said, he wants to “withhold judgment” on impeachment until “we have a chance as a country to see public testimony to get the transparency we deserve.”

During the interview, Comey said he believes America is held together by a “set of values.” When asked if he’d still believe that if Trump was re-elected, Comey joked, “From my new home in New Zealand, I will still believe in America.”

House Democrats: Trump’s Administration Turns Blind Eye to White Nationalism

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Democrats are questioning why Trump’s administration “is failing to address white supremacist, extremist violence” as domestic terrorism is on the rise.

Consider this: All race-based domestic terrorism in 2018 was committed by alleged white supremacists. When the Department of Homeland Security wanted to increase its focus on domestic terrorism, the White House intervened and rejected the idea.

So alarmed by the surge in white supremacist violence, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress in July that “a majority of domestic terrorism cases are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

So why does it appear Trump’s administration is not taking the threat seriously?

In a letter to the leadership of the FBI and Homeland Security, 65 House Democrats said white supremacy must be met with a “vigorous, systemic and coordinated response.”

“We are concerned that the Trump administration is jeopardizing our national security by failing to take domestic terrorism seriously,” the letter reads. “In particular, this administration is failing to address white supremacist extremist violence, the leading cause of domestic terrorism.”

The letter adds, “It is unacceptable that political interference from the White House should prevent domestic terrorism from receiving the elevated level of focus it deserves, especially following recent, high profile terrorist attacks.”

Former FBI Director Comey Slams Republicans, Fox News After Congressional Hearing

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey walked out of his closed-door testimony to the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee and slammed House Republicans and Fox News.

“At some point, someone has to stand up and in the face of fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth,” Comey, a longtime Republican, said. “I find it frustrating to be here answering questions about things that are far less important than the values this country is built upon.”

Comey also said the failure of House Republicans to defend the FBI from Trump’s drumbeat of criticism is “to their everlasting shame.”

“Their silence is shameful,” Comey said. “Someday, they gotta explain to their grandchildren what they did today.”

During the closed-door session, Comey said he was barraged with questions about Hillary Clinton’s email server and Christopher Steele’s dossier.

Since Democrats are taking over the House in January, Monday was likely their last time to control hearings involving Comey.

Trump’s decision to fire Comey in May 2017 was quickly followed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointing  special counsel Robert Mueller.

Ex-FBI Director Comey Reaches Deal to Meet Privately with GOP-Controlled House Committee

Former FBI Director James Comey on ABC’s 20/20.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey has made a deal with Republicans to testify privately before the House Judiciary Committee after threatening to block a subpoena to appear.

The deal comes after Comey’s attorney, David Kelley, contested a House subpoena on the grounds that it was equivalent to “dragging (Comey) into a dark alley” and asked, “What its the purpose of keeping it out of the public eye?” according to the USA Today

In a deal with House Republicans, Comey agreed to testify as long as a transcript of the interview is released within 24 hours and that the former FBI boss can speak publicly about the testimony.

Comey, who was fired by President Trump in April 2017, said he was primarily concerned that Republicans would selectively use the testimony to try to discredit the Robert Mueller investigation.

The House committee is expected to ask Comey about the FBI’s decision to drop the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and his involvement in the probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

“Grateful for a fair hearing from judge,” Comey tweeted on Sunday. “Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.” 

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.