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Tag: Senate Judiciary Committee

Jared Kushner Failed to Disclose Emails about Wikileaks, Russia from 2016

Jared Kushner

Jared Kushner

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, received emails last year about Wikileaks and a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite” without disclosing the information to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Politico reports

Kushner is accused of receiving the emails last September and forwarding them to another campaign official.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, saying that other witnesses have disclosed emails from Kushner that he didn’t turn over, sent a letter to Kushner about the missing documents.

“We appreciate your voluntary cooperation with the Committee’s investigation, but the production appears to have been incomplete,” the pair wrote in a letter dated Thursday to Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell.

In a statement, Lowell said Kushner has been responsive to requests for records.

“We provided the Judiciary Committee with all relevant documents that had to do with Mr. Kushner’s calls, contacts or meetings with Russians during the campaign and transition, which was the request,” Lowell said, adding that he and Kushner had also told the committee they would be open to additional requests for information.

FBI Originally Accused Hillary Clinton of Gross Negligence in Handling of Emails

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI originally characterized Hillary Clinton as “grossly negligent” for her handling of classified information, according to an early draft by then-FBI Director James Comey.

The language, which may have been strong enough to warrant charges, was softened to indicate Clinton had been “extremely careless” when Comey announced in July 2016 that no criminal charges would be filed against Clinton, The Hill reports

Federal law makes it a crime to handle classified material with gross negligence. 

Neither the FBI nor Clinton responded to questions for comments.

The memos were disclosed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.

“There is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified information,” reads the statement, one of Comey’s earliest drafts from May 2, 2016.

For reasons that remain unclear, the draft statement was changed about a month later to conclude that Clinton’s use of an insecure personal email server was “extremely careless.”

Now the committee wants to know who made the changes and why.

“Apparently, as of May 2016, then-Director Comey and other FBI officials believed the facts fit that gross negligence standard until later edits were made,” Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to Wray in the letter demanding more information.

Bills to Prevent Trump from Firing Special Counsel Run into Legal Hurdles

Robert Mueller, via FBI

Robert Mueller, via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senators from both sides of the aisle are backing legislation to make it more difficult for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

But the New York Post reports that the legislation “ran into legal hurdles Tuesday at the Senate Judiciary Committee.” 

The issue is whether the proposals are legal.

Akhil Reed Amar, a professor at Yale Law School and a Democrat, told the committee that the legislation likely won’t pass constitutional muster.

“I must sadly report as a scholar who has studied the Constitution I believe the bills in their current forms are unwise and unconstitutional. It gives me no pleasure to say this,” said Amar, who suggested instead a new bipartisan senatorial oversight panel.

University of Texas Law School Prof. Stephen Vladeck and University of Chicago Law School Prof. Eric Posner disagreed.

“I conclude that they do not violate the principles of separation of powers and, on the contrary, advance important constitutional values,” Posner testified.

Two bills are being considered by the committee.

“Both bills were introduced when media speculation was rampant that President Trump was contemplating firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller,” said Committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “The President has said that he does not intend to fire the special counsel, and I think that he made the right decision.”

Sen. Grassley: Was Trump Warned That Manafort Was Investigated by FBI for Years?

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the FBI has been investigating Paul Manafort’s connections to Russia for years before he became Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, did anyone warn the billionaire reality TV star?

That’s what Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to know. And if there was no warning, why not?

Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is investigating Russia’s interference in the election, wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday for an explanation, CNN reports

The FBI has refused to comment so far.

“I write to inquire about whether the FBI ever provided the Trump campaign with a defensive briefing or other warning regarding attempts to infiltrate the campaign by people connected with, or compromised by, Russian intelligence,” Grassley wrote.

Senate Judiciary Committee to Subpoena 2 FBI Officials Over Comey’s Firing

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing for a showdown with the Justice Department after it prevented two senior FBI officials from testifying on Capitol Hill about President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

The Senate legal counsel plans to subpoena the senior FBI officials – Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – to force their testimony about Comey’s firing, CNN reports

The Justice Department last week said it was preventing the FBI officials from appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee because of the DOJ’s “long-standing policy regarding the confidentiality and sensitivity of information relating to pending matters.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., aren’t backing down.

“We’ve got subpoenas at the Senate counsel office,” Grassley told CNN Wednesday, referring to the Senate office that would draft the subpoenas. “When we get done there, I’m gonna have to consult with Sen. Feinstein.”

Senate Judiciary Committee to Vote Next Week on FBI Director

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Christopher Wray’s nomination to FBI director.

Committee chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said he was impressed with Trump’s pick and wanted to move swiftly.

The committee vote is scheduled for July 20.

If approved, Wray would replace James Comey, whom President Trump fired amid an investigation into Russian interference with the presidential election.

Democrats on the committee indicated they support Wray’s nomination, but it’s unclear whether they plan to delay the vote.

During his nomination hearing earlier this week, Wray pledged independence and said he would resign before succumbing to political pressure.

Trump’s FBI pick: Russia Probe Is No Witch Hunt, And Comey Is No ‘Nut Job’

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

If Donald Trump was hoping to find a loyalist or political puppet to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, the president nominated the wrong person.

Pledging he would resign before caving to political pressure, Christopher A. Wray was candid, direct and unafraid to challenge the president’s unsubstantiated attacks on the intelligence community during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice,” Wray testified. “Period. Full stop.”

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official also defended Comey and Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

To discredit the growing and evolving investigations, Trump routinely depicts intelligence officials as politically driven scrooges bent on driving him out of the White House. He’s called Comey a “nut job” and painted Mueller as an unscrupulous opportunist.

Wray defended them both.

“I have worked closely with Director Mueller in many past government services,” Wray testified. “I view him as a consummate straight-shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for.”

Wray’s firm insistence that he run the FBI without political influence appeared to convince many Democrats to support his nomination.

Senate Judiciary Committee to Probe Political Influence of FBI Investigations

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to investigate attempts to influence FBI investigations under the Trump and Obama administrations.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, called for the congressional probe to explore why President Trump really fired former FBI Director James Comey’s firing and whether anyone in Obama’s administration tried to influence the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Grassley’s call for a wide-ranging investigation comes in response to Democrats requesting to investigate whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey, Politico reports. 

“The Judiciary Committee has an obligation to fully investigate any alleged improper partisan interference in law enforcement investigations,” Grassley wrote to his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey’s removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis.”

Grassley believes an investigation into the handling of Clinton’s use of a private email service is called for after Comey testified last week that he was concerned the Justice Department “could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system.”