web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu

Schiff warns of Russian attack on US mainland, as Day 2 of Trump’s Senate impeachment trial concludes

Westlake Legal Group AP20022717510855 Schiff warns of Russian attack on US mainland, as Day 2 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial concludes Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc ec83e245-e017-51fa-97d7-b10ca60cba31 article

House Democrats launched into lengthy arguments that broke little ground, if any, in President Trump’s impeachment trial Wednesday — as the head impeachment manager, California Rep. Adam Schiff, suggested that Russians could attack the U.S. and insisted that removing Trump from office was necessary because the integrity of the 2020 election could not be “assured.”

Trump’s lawyers sat by, waiting their turn, as the president blasted the proceedings from afar, threatening jokingly to face off with the Democrats by coming to “sit right in the front row and stare at their corrupt faces.”

The challenge before the House managers has been clear. Democrats were given 24 hours over three days to prosecute the charges against Trump, trying to win over not just fidgety senators sitting silently in the chamber but an American public, deeply divided over the president and his impeachment in an election year.

Most senators sat at their desks throughout the day, as the rules stipulated, though some stretched their legs, standing behind the desks or against the back wall of the chamber, passing the time. Visitors watched from the galleries, one briefly interrupting in protest.

Almost immediately after Chief Justice John Roberts gaveled in Wednesday’s session, bored and weary senators started openly flouting some basic guidelines. The Associated Press reported that a Democrat in the back row leaned on his right arm, covered his eyes and stayed that way for nearly a half-hour, and some lawmakers openly snickered when Schiff said he’d speak for only 10 minutes.

“I do see the members moving and taking a break,” freshman Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., one of the House prosecutors, said mid-speech at the center podium. “I probably have another 15 minutes.”

“You just have to stretch and you just got to stand. Those chairs, they look nice, [but] they are not comfortable chairs,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said of the restlessness while Schiff spoke.

INSIDE THE CHAMBER, RESTLESS LAWMAKERS STRUGGLE TO PAY ATTENTION AS SENATE TRIAL DRAGS ON

Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, suggested at one point that military aid to Ukraine was essential so the U.S. would not have to fight Russians at home, as soldiers did in the videogame “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.”

“The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that they can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here,” Schiff said, drawing rebukes from commentators.

“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won,” he said later.

Attempting to underscore the human cost of Trump’s temporary aid holdup, Schiff asserted that the money was “designed to help Ukraine defend itself from the Kremlin’s aggression” and that “more than 15,000 Ukrainians have died fighting Russian forces and their proxies.”

Republicans erupted when Schiff made a similar argument during last year’s House impeachment probe. Trump’s lawyers were likely to fire back when it’s their turn to present arguments — in part because former President Obama provided less aid to Ukraine than the Trump administration has. Additionally, Republicans have pointed out that the temporary lack of aid has not been directly linked to any casualties, and that the U.S. cannot reasonably be held responsible for the actions of Russian-backed militants in Ukraine.

Schiff was outlining what the Democrats contended was the president’s “corrupt scheme” to abuse his presidential power and then obstruct Congress’ investigation.

He then called on senators not to be “cynical” about politics, but to draw on the intent of the nation’s Founding Fathers who provided the remedy of impeachment.

“Over the coming days, we will present to you—and to the American people—the extensive evidence collected during the House’s impeachment inquiry into the president’s abuse of power,” Schiff argued. “You will hear their testimony at the same time as the American people. That is, if you will allow it.”

The proceedings were unfolding at the start of an election year, and there have been few signs that Republicans were interested in calling more witnesses or going beyond a fast-track assessment likely to bring a quick vote on charges related to Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

SCHIFF HAMMERED FOR MISREPRESENTING “MR. Z” PARNAS EVIDENCE, AS WELL AS CLAIMING RUSSIA WILL CONTROL THE 2016 ELECTION

The trial has marked just the third time the Senate has weighed whether an American president should be removed from office. Democrats argued Trump abused his office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden while withholding crucial military aid, and also obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over documents or allow officials to testify in the House probe.

Republicans have defended Trump’s actions and cast the process as a politically motivated effort to weaken the president in the midst of his reelection campaign. Specifically, Republicans have pointed out that Ukrainian leaders said they felt no undue pressure; that the longstanding constitutional executive privilege shielded the White House from having to respond to comprehensive subpoenas; and that the Democrats’ case was based largely on hearsay.

Trump’s legal team also has argued that Democrats’ impeachment case couldn’t be as “open-and-shut” as advertised given the apparently urgent need for new evidence even after the House impeachment inquiry.

Additionally, the White House has said Trump’s suggested probe into Biden was appropriate.

new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed the public was slightly more likely to say the Senate should convict and remove Trump from office than to say it should not, 45 percent to 40 percent. But, a sizable percentage, 14 percent, said they didn’t know enough to have an opinion.

One question on which there was wide agreement: Trump should allow top aides to appear as witnesses at the trial. About 7 in 10 said so, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, according to the poll.

The strategy of more witnesses, though, seemed all but settled. Wrangling over rules for the trial stretched past midnight Tuesday night, with Republicans shooting down one-by-one Democrats’ efforts to get Trump aides including former national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to testify.

Senators are likely to repeat those rejections next week, shutting out any chance of new testimony.

WHOOPS: BIDEN CAMPAIGN CITES UKRAINIAN ACTIVIST WHO SAID HUNTER BIDEN DID ‘VERY BAD THING’ IN UKRAINE

One longshot idea to pair one of Trump’s preferred witnesses — Biden’s son Hunter — with Bolton or another whom Democrats wanted was swiftly rejected.

“That’s off the table,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters.

Trump, who was in Davos, Switzerland, attending a global economic forum, praised his legal team and suggested he would be open to his advisers testifying, though it seemed unlikely. He said “national security” concerns would stand in the way.

After the House prosecutors present their case, the president’s lawyers are set to follow with another 24 hours over three days. They are expected to take only Sunday off.

“There’s a lot of things I’d like to rebut,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said at the Capitol, “and we will rebut.”

Sekulow also said that he thought it was unlikely that Democrats would meet the threshold necessary to demonstrate the need for additional witnesses, but that the Trump team was preparing for every contingency.

Then there will be 16 hours for senators, who must sit quietly at their desks, no speeches or cellphones, to ask written questions, and another four hours for deliberations.

The impeachment trial is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election. All four senators who are presidential candidates have been off the campaign trail, seated as jurors.

Campaigning at stops in Iowa, Joe Biden also rejected having his son testify, or even appearing himself. “I want no part of that,” he said.

“People ask the question, isn’t the president going to be stronger and harder to beat if he survives this? Yes, probably. But Congress has no choice,” Biden added, saying senators must cast their votes and “live with that in history.”

Some Republicans expressed disdain for it all.

Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst spoke sarcastically about how excited she was to hear the “overwhelming evidence” the House Democrats promised against Trump. “Once we’ve heard that overwhelming evidence,” she added, raising her voice mockingly, “I don’t know that we’ll need to see additional witnesses, but let’s hear about that overwhelming evidence.”

The trial began with an apparent setback on Tuesday for Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who backed off his plans to limit each side’s arguments to two days, as the White House had preferred.

But, the GOP-led Senate ultimately approved a rules package pushing off a final decision on whether to seek additional testimony until late in the trial.

Schumer bemoaned the remaining limitations, saying Wednesday the impeachment trial “begins with a cloud hanging over it, a cloud of unfairness.”

Republicans have been eager for a swift trial. Still, Trump’s legal team passed on an opportunity to file a motion to dismiss the case on Wednesday, an acknowledgment that there were not enough Republican votes to support it.

The White House legal team, in its court filings and presentations, has not disputed Trump’s actions, but the lawyers insisted the president did nothing wrong.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Marisa Schultz, Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20022717510855 Schiff warns of Russian attack on US mainland, as Day 2 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial concludes Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc ec83e245-e017-51fa-97d7-b10ca60cba31 article   Westlake Legal Group AP20022717510855 Schiff warns of Russian attack on US mainland, as Day 2 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial concludes Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc ec83e245-e017-51fa-97d7-b10ca60cba31 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Senate continues to debate Dems’ impeachment amendments as GOP knocks them down, one by one

The Senate continued to debate Democrats’ proposed amendments concerning document and subpoena requests as the proceedings dragged on Tuesday night, as Republicans methodically continued voting them down one by one in a series of party-line votes — an early win for the White House, even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made some tweaks that were likely to assuage Democrats’ concerns over scheduling.

The chamber handed President Trump a win by voting 53-47 four times to effectively kill a series of proposals from Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to subpoena White House, State Department and Office of Management and Budget documents, as well as acting White House Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney, respectively. Fox News was told to expect three or four more amendments — including potentially similar amendments to subpoena officials such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Eventually, once Democrats’ amendments are all defeated, the Senate is expected to vote sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning on McConnell’s underlying rules resolution in order to set the ground rules for the trial.

“It’s getting late,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone said late Thursday night, adding that he “would ask respectfully” that the chamber get on with oral arguments

OOPS? BIDEN TEAM TOUTS UKRAINE ACTIVIST WHO CALLED HUNTER BIDEN’S ACTIONS ‘VERY BAD’

As Democrats’ amendments were summarily shot down, reports emerged that some Democrats were privately considering something of a compromise: calling for the testimony of Hunter Biden in exchange for the appearance of some key administration officials. Biden obtained a lucrative board role with a Ukrainian company while his father, Joe Biden, was overseeing Ukrainian policy as vice president. Trump had asked in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukraine’s president for a look into Joe Biden’s admitted pressure campaign to have Ukraine’s top prosecutor fired.

Republicans have sought to portray Trump’s push for a probe as a legitimate request given the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine, while Democrats have alleged that senior administration officials would testify that the administration withheld military aid to Ukraine in order to secure a politically motivated probe.

Meanwhile, the barrage of amendments Tuesday night put into doubt whether the senators would have time to meet in a closed session to converse — which would be a valuable opportunity, given that the senators were legally barred from having any sustenance other than water or milk at their desk all day, and could not communicate verbally with one another during the proceedings.

The restriction on cellphone possession and oral interaction led some members to pass and flash written notes to each other like students in a classroom, as Democratic House impeachment managers and the president’s legal team traded lengthy legalistic arguments.

At one point during the proceedings, former Bill Clinton press secretary and CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart wrote on Twitter that Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz could go to “prison,” noting that Cruz’s Twitter account was posting tweets during the trial. Lockhart was quickly mocked by social media users pointing out that it’s common for senators’ Twitter accounts to be run by staff, and Cruz’s representatives confirmed to Fox News that Cruz had not sneaked his phone into the chamber.

Indeed, even Cruz’s couldn’t resist poking some fun at Lockhart, writing “COME AND TAKE IT,” with an image of a cellphone.

It was a moment of levity in an otherwise emotionally charged day, with Democrats accusing the president of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and Republicans calling out what they see as a transparent partisan stunt.

“It’s a partisan impeachment they’ve delivered to your doorstep in an election year,” Cipollone thundered early in the day, pointing out that Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and others, were being pulled off the campaign trail. “Some of you should be in Iowa.”

“They’re not here to steal one election, they’re here to steal two elections,” Cipollone added.

JIM JORDAN: THE FOUR FACTS DEMS CAN’T CHANGE

Trump attorney Patrick Philbin said Democrats’ document requests were a “stunning admission” that House prosecutors, who had full rein to conduct their own impeachment inquiry, were now essentially asking the Senate “to do their job for them.”

California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, one of the House Democrats’ impeachment managers, countered in her remarks on the Senate floor that additional documents were needed to provide “clarity.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20021652259411 Senate continues to debate Dems' impeachment amendments as GOP knocks them down, one by one Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/mitch-mcconnell fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc article 27892250-a8b2-5686-926b-545a355d9361

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial quickly burst into a partisan fight Tuesday as proceedings began unfolding at the Capitol. Democrats objected strongly to rules proposed by the Republican leader for compressed arguments and a speedy trial. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

“As powerful as our evidence is,” Lofgren said, “we did not receive a single document from an executive branch agency including the White House itself.”

Lofgren specifically sought, among other materials, summary notes from an Aug. 30, 2019 meeting between Trump, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which they apparently tried to convince the president that freeing up aid money for Ukraine would be “the right thing to do.”

“It would be wrong for you senators … to be deprived of the relevant evidence,” Lofgren said.

After the 53-47 vote to table his first subpoena request for White House documents, Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced a second amendment seeking a slew of State Department documents and records. McConnell, R-Ky., quickly moved to table that amendment after two hours of debate were concluded, and it was also rejected by a 53-47 vote.

Then, Schumer tried once more, this time with an amendment to seek documents from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that were related to the suspension of Ukrainian aid. That, too, failed with a 53-47 vote and was quickly followed by the debate on the Mulvaney amendment.

The votes to table the proposed amendments were not technically an up-or-down roll call on the merits of the amendments, but instead a vote to ignore them entirely.

However, McConnell abruptly backed off some of his proposed rules for the proceedings earlier Tuesday, easing plans for a tight two-day schedule and agreeing that House evidence will be included. He acted after protests from senators, including fellow Republicans who made their concerns known in private at a GOP lunch.

TRUMP’S LEGAL TEAM GOES ON THE OFFENSIVE

Without comment, the Republican leader submitted an amended proposal after meeting behind closed doors with his fellow senators as the trial opened. The handwritten changes would add an extra day for each side’s opening arguments, instead of just two days, and stipulate that evidence from the Democratic House’s impeachment hearings would be included in the record.

A spokeswoman for Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate, said that she and others had raised concerns. Collins sees the changes as significant improvements, the spokeswoman said.

Additionally, Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman and a substantial number of other Republicans from across the party’s ideological spectrum reportedly wanted to make the changes. Some argued that the two-day limitation would have helped Democrats cast Republicans as squeezing testimony through in the dead of night.

IMPEACHMENT TRIAL RULES SEEM WRITTEN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, NOT THE SENATE, SCHUMER SAYS

The turnaround was a swift lesson as the White House’s wishes run into the reality of the Senate.

The White House wanted a session crammed into a shorter period to both expedite the trial and shift more of the proceedings into the late-night hours, according to a person familiar with the matter but unauthorized to discuss it in public.

For his part, though, President Trump appeared undeterred by the proceedings.

“READ THE TRANSCRIPTS!” the president tweeted from overseas, as he returned to his hotel at a global leaders economic conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel and Adam Shaw contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125173076001_6125174430001-vs Senate continues to debate Dems' impeachment amendments as GOP knocks them down, one by one Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/mitch-mcconnell fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc article 27892250-a8b2-5686-926b-545a355d9361   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125173076001_6125174430001-vs Senate continues to debate Dems' impeachment amendments as GOP knocks them down, one by one Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/person/mitch-mcconnell fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/chuck-schumer fox-news/person/adam-schiff fox news fnc/politics fnc article 27892250-a8b2-5686-926b-545a355d9361

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says

The Justice Department is investigating whether then-FBI Director James Comey illegally leaked secret information concerning a Russian document to The New York Times and The Washington Post, the Times reported late Thursday.

The new review, which the Times downplayed as a possibly politically motivated probe, reportedly concerned a Russian intelligence document “claiming a tacit understanding between the Clinton campaign and the [Obama] Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server,” as the Post described it in May 2017.

Dutch intelligence accessed the document on Russian computers and provided it to the FBI. Included in the document was a discussion between Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., then the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Leonard Benardo, who worked with the George Soros-founded group Open Society Foundations.

Schultz told Benardo in the document that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch would ensure Clinton was not prosecuted in the email probe.

LYNCH ACCUSES COMEY OF MISREPRESENTING KEY CLINTON PROBE CONVERSATION

The two have denied the conversation, and citing “people familiar with its contents,” the Post reported in 2017 that the document “has long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable and possibly a fake” by Russians.

Now, suspicion has fallen on Comey being one of those “persons familiar with” the document’s contents, according to the Times’ reporting.

The document played a role in Comey’s decision to unilaterally announce in the summer of 2016, without seeking Lynch’s approval, that no “reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton. Comey was worried that Russia could leak the email and undermine the investigation’s appearance of impartiality otherwise, the Times reported.

COMEY ADMITS HE WAS ‘WRONG’ ON FISA MATTERS, SURVEILLANCE OF TRUMP TEAM

Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and longtime Comey friend who helped him leak memos of private conversations with President Trump that ultimately led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s appointment, was quoted in the Times’ 2017 article describing the Russian document.

The DOJ decided last year against prosecuting Comey for leaking classified information following a referral from the department’s inspector general. The IG did find, however, that Comey had violated FBI policy in his handling of the memos, which contained the “code name and true identity” of a sensitive source.

COMEY MEMOS CONTAINED FAR MORE SECRET MATERIAL THAN PREVIOUSLY KNOWN, INCLUDING CODE NAME AND TRUE IDENTITY OF CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE

“Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official told Fox News at the time. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

Westlake Legal Group daniel20richman James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/james-comey fox news fnc/politics fnc e10f9376-1944-53c2-ad6f-44cfb5e1ceb8 article

Sources familiar with Daniel Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building.

Comey penned memos memorializing his interactions with Trump in the days leading up to his firing. He then passed those documents to Richman, who gave them to The New York Times. Comey admitted to that arrangement during congressional testimony.

After the fact, the FBI classified two of those memos as “confidential.”

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz had referred Comey for potential prosecution as part of an internal review.

COMEY HEARING: EX-FBI DIRECTOR SAYS HE LEAKED MEMO TO SPUR SPECIAL COUNSEL APPOINTMENT

But, one of the key factors leading to the DOJ declining to prosecute apparently was the fact that the two memos were labeled “confidential” after he set in motion the chain of events that led to them ending up with the press.

Trump, for his part, has called Comey corrupt repeatedly, saying his termination was justified.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Comey’s former deputy at the FBI, Andrew McCabe, has admitted he lied to investigators about his own leaks to the media.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6080296558001_6080282052001-vs James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/james-comey fox news fnc/politics fnc e10f9376-1944-53c2-ad6f-44cfb5e1ceb8 article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6080296558001_6080282052001-vs James Comey focus of FBI leak investigation, report says Gregg Re fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/james-comey fox news fnc/politics fnc e10f9376-1944-53c2-ad6f-44cfb5e1ceb8 article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI’s proposed reforms ‘insufficient’ in point-by-point rebuke

David Kris, who has been appointed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee the FBI’s proposed surveillance reforms on Wednesday alerted the court that the bureau’s proposals are “insufficient” and must be dramatically “expanded” — even declaring that FBI Director Christopher Wray needs to discuss the importance of accuracy and transparency before the FISC every time he “visits a field office in 2020.”

The unclassified findings were a stark rebuke to Wray, who had filed assurances to the FISC last week that the agency was implementing new procedures and training programs to assure that the FBI presents accurate and thorough information when it seeks secret warrants from FISC judges. At the same time, Wray acknowledged the FBI’s “unacceptable” failures as it pursued Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to surveil members of the Trump team.

Kris is a former Obama administration attorney who has previously defended the FISA process on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and in other left-wing venues, making his rebuke of Wray something of an unexpected redemptive moment for Republicans who have long called for more accountability in how the bureau obtains surveillance warrants. (“You can’t make this up!” President Trump tweeted on Sunday. “David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!”)

Wray had specifically promised to change relevant forms to “emphasize the need to err on the side of disclosure” to the FISC, to create a new “checklist” to be completed “during the drafting process” for surveillance warrants that reminds agents to include “relevant information” about the bias of sources used, and to “formalize” the role of FBI lawyers in the legal review process of surveillance warrants.

Additionally, Wray said the FBI would now require “agents and supervisors” to confirm with the Justice Department’s (DOJ) Office of Intelligence that the DOJ has been advised of relevant information. Wray further indicated that the FBI would formalize requirements to “reverify facts presented in prior FISA applications and make any necessary corrections,” as well as to make unspecified “technological improvements.”

But in a 15-page letter to FISC presiding Judge James E. Boasberg, obtained by Fox News, Kris declared that the proposed corrective actions “do not go far enough to provide the Court with the necessary assurance of accuracy, and therefore must be expanded and improved” — and he took aim at Wray himself.

“The focus on specific forms, checklists and technology, while appropriate, should not be allowed to eclipse the more basic need to improve cooperation between the FBI and DOJ attorneys,” Kris said, noting that the FBI and DOJ have historically not always worked well together.

“A key method of improving organizational culture is through improved tone at the top, particularly in a hierarchical organization such as the FBI,” Kris said, noting that Wray’s public statements on the matter, while positive, have not gone far enough. “Director Wray and other FBI leaders, as well as relevant leaders at the Department of Justice, should include discussions of compliance not only in one or two messages, but in virtually every significant communication with the workforce for the foreseeable future.”

FISC ORDERS FBI REVIEW OF PROCEDURES … BUT LEAVES OUT SPECIAL AGENT PIENTKA, A LITTLE-KNOWN KEY PLAYER IN THE FISA SCANDAL

Indeed, the FISC “should require the FBI and DOJ to document and report on the nature and extent of this communication; such a requirement to document and report communication may encourage the FBI and DOJ to conduct more of it,” he said. Every time Wray “visits a field office in 2020,” Kris wrote, he should stress the importance of accuracy in FISA applications.

Top-down culture changes require “ongoing” and sustained efforts, not simply a handful of organizational reforms, Kris emphasized.

Separately, Kris urged the FISC to hold more hearings and involve field agents in those hearings when possible, both to increase accountability and break down communication barriers. However, Kris noted that the bureau needs to be cautious when it implements major changes involving field agents, given its tarnished credibility.

“The single most significant process issue that is not addressed in the government’s submission concerns the possibility of using field agents, rather than headquarters agents, as declarants in FISA applicants,” Kris went on. “This would represent a major change in practice, with potentially profound consequences, because it would tend to shift responsibility away from FBI headquarters in particular cases.”

Such a reform, Kris said, should not be “undertaken lightly,” but the “FBI’s recent failures … are egregious enough to warrant serious consideration of significant reform.

“Even if field agents do not serve as declarants in some or all FISA applications, the court should require them in appropriate cases to sign or otherwise attest to the court directly with respect to asserted facts within their purview,” Kris said.

In addition to implementing procedures to test the effectiveness of new training modules and case studies set to be implemented by the FBI, Kris asserted that the FISC “should require the government to conduct more accuracy reviews, to expand those reviews, and to conduct a reasonable number of in-depth reviews on a periodic basis.” A statistical approach is necessary and feasible, he said, given the FBI and DOJ’s “vast resources.”

FISC SLAMS FBI, SAYS ‘FREQUENCY’ OF ERRORS AND INACCURACIES CALLS INTO QUESTION PREVIOUS FISA WARRANT APPLICATIONS

Concerning the changed forms, Kris urged the FISC to “require the government to review, reassess, and report periodically on possible improvements to FISA standards and procedures.” The bureau should also be forced to demonstrate that its new forms are “well-designed” and effective,” he said.

Overall, Kris echoed the findings of the Justice Department Inspector General (IG), noting that the FBI had “profoundly” and repeatedly “breached its obligation” to provide accurate information to the secret court “through a series of significant and serious errors and omissions” during the Russia probe.

The FISC has ordered an inquiry into the slew of FBI surveillance abuses over the past several years but has stopped short of requiring the bureau to reverify several potentially impacted warrant applications.

For example, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz found specific evidence of oversights and errors by several top FBI employees as they sought to obtain a warrant to surveil former Trump aide Carter Page under the FISA statute; an unidentified FBI supervisory special agent (SSA) mentioned in the IG report was responsible for ensuring that the bureau’s “Woods Procedures” were followed in the Page warrant application.

Westlake Legal Group Carter-Page-Getty-001 FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI's proposed reforms 'insufficient' in point-by-point rebuke Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 051ac388-8fde-5b44-9e45-f319e539f775

Former Trump advisor Carter Page was surveilled by the FBI for more than a year. The DOJ inspector general has found a slew of problems with the FBI’s handling of his warrant application, including the deliberate falsification of key evidence. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to the procedures, factual assertions need to be independently verified, and information contradicting those assertions must be presented to the court. But Horowitz found several instances in which the procedures were not followed.

Horowitz’s report leaves little doubt that the unnamed SSA is Joe Pientka — a current bureau employee.

The inspector general also noted than an unnamed “Case Agent 1” was “primarily responsible” for some of the “most significant” errors and omissions in the FISA warrant applications and renewals submitted to the FISC to extend the monitoring of Page.

Nevertheless, former FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer ordered the FBI only to identify “all other matters currently or previously before this Court that involved the participation of the FBI OGC [Office of General Counsel] attorney” mentioned in Horowitz’s report.

Additionally, Collyer ordered the FBI to “describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’ submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances” and to advise whether the attorney’s conduct “has been referred to the appropriate bar association(s) for investigation or possible disciplinary action.”

Those were apparent references to ex-FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, whom Horowitz found to have doctored an email from the CIA. The FBI reached out to the CIA and other intelligence agencies for information on Page; the CIA responded in an email by telling the FBI that Page had contacts with Russians from 2008 to 2013, but that Page had reported them to the CIA and was serving as a CIA operational contact and informant on Russian business and intelligence interests.

Clinesmith then allegedly doctored the CIA’s email about Page to make it seem as though the agency had said only that Page was not an active source. And, the FBI included Page’s contacts with Russians in the warrant application as evidence he was a foreign “agent,” without disclosing to the secret surveillance court that Page was voluntarily working with the CIA concerning those foreign contacts.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Republican calls for more accountability may not go unanswered for long. Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham announced last year that he did not “agree” with the IG’s assessment that the FBI’s probes were properly predicted, highlighting Durham’s broader criminal mandate and scope of review.

Durham is focusing on foreign actors, as well as the CIA, while Horowitz concentrated his attention on the Justice Department and FBI.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in his statement, adding that his “investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department” and “has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033949216001_6033949304001-vs FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI's proposed reforms 'insufficient' in point-by-point rebuke Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 051ac388-8fde-5b44-9e45-f319e539f775   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6033949216001_6033949304001-vs FISA court adviser, ex-Obama DOJ official, calls FBI's proposed reforms 'insufficient' in point-by-point rebuke Jake Gibson Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/news-events/russia-investigation fox news fnc/politics fnc article 051ac388-8fde-5b44-9e45-f319e539f775

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

FISA selects former Obama admin lawyer, left-wing blogger to oversee FBI’s surveillance reforms

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6115142777001_6115139242001-vs FISA selects former Obama admin lawyer, left-wing blogger to oversee FBI's surveillance reforms Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox news fnc/politics fnc c588f147-744d-5e2d-b6d0-a6d295b5ad2e article

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has stunned court-watchers by selecting David Kris — a former Obama administration lawyer who has appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and written extensively in support of the FBI’s surveillance practices on the left-wing blog Lawfare — to oversee the FBI’s implementation of reforms in the wake of a damning Department of Justice Inspector general report last year.

The development on Friday, first reported by independent journalist Mike Cernovich, has roiled Republicans who have demanded accountability at the FBI. House Intelligence Commitee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told The Daily Caller that Kris’ appointment was “shocking” and “inexplicable.”

“It’s hard to imagine a worse person the FISC could have chosen outside [James] Comey, [Andy] McCabe, or [Adam] Schiff,” Nunes said. Speaking to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, Nunes added: “It’s a ridiculous choice. The FBI lied to the FISC, and to help make sure that doesn’t happen again, the FISC chose an FBI apologist who denied and defended those lies. The FISC is setting its own credibility on fire.”

On Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes reminded anchor Maria Bartiromo that Kris had panned the now-vindicated 2018 memo produced by Nunes’ panel, which asserted a series of surveillance abuses by the FBI against former Trump aide Carter Page. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz later substantiated Nunes’ claims, noting that the FBI had falsely made numerous material representations to the FISC.

“Of all the people in the swamp … this is the guy that you come up with?” Nunes asked. “The guy that was accusing me of federal crimes? The guy that was defending the dirty cops at the FBI? … The court must be trying to abolish itself. There is long-term damage.”

President Trump then referenced Nunes’ interview with Bartiromo on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, calling Kris “highly controversial” and slamming the FISC’s decision.

FISA COURT REBUKES FBI, BUT LEAVES OUT KEY PLAYERS AT THE BUREAU, INCLUDING LITTLE-KNOWN AGENT PIENTKA

“You can’t make this up!” Trump wrote. “David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!”

Kris argued on Lawfare in March 2018 that Nunes had “tried to deceive the American people in precisely the same way that it falsely accused the FBI of deceiving the FISA Court.”

Additionally, Kris claimed that “had the FBI done in its FISA applications what Nunes did in his memo, heads would have rolled on Pennsylvania Avenue.” He asserted, “It’s disturbing that Page met that legal standard and that there was probable cause to conclude he was a Russian agent.”

“The Nunes memo was dishonest,” Kris chargred. “And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.”

Kris was a former assistant attorney general for national security who worked at the DOJ from 2009 to 2011, and served as an associate deputy attorney general under George W. Bush from 2000 to 2003. He later criticized Bush’s justifications for warrantless wiretap surveillance.

But, as the political winds changed, Kris became more of a proponent for government surveillance in other contexts. He appeared on MSNBC’s left-wing “The Rachel Maddow Show” in 2018 to offer a spirited defense of the FBI’s FISA practices.

“FISA applications are typically quite long — they’re big enough that you don’t want to drop one on your foot,” Kris told Maddow. “They contain a lot of information and detail, because the statute is quite exacting in what it requires the government to establish to get the warrant granted.”

Commenting on whether unredacting FISA materials posed a challenge to the FBI’s investigation, Kris remarked that “a lot of water [was] already under the bridge thanks to the back-and-forth precipitated” by Nunes — knocking the key House Republican for pushing to release some of the secretive documents.

Kris added: “These applications already substantially undermine the president’s narrative and that of his proxies, and it seems to me very likely that if we get below the tip of the iceberg and into the submerged parts and more is revealed, it’s going to get worse, not better. And it would potentially be dangerous to disclose additional information because some of this relates to ongoing investigations.”

On Twitter, Kris also insisted the “walls” were “closing in” on Trump — a common refrain on liberal cable news networks during the Russia probe.

Nevertheless, FISC presiding Judge James E. Boasberg, in a Friday order, said that Kris would be an “amicus curiae to assist the Court in assessing the government’s response” to its previous order demanding changes at the FBI.

In December, the FISC ordered the FBI to re-verify all previous warrant applications involving the FBI attorney who falsified evidence against Page. Fox News learned, however, that the court did not order the FBI to double-check warrant applications involving other officials who made key omissions and errors in warrant applications as the bureau sought to surveil Page.

“It’s hard to imagine a worse person the FISC could have chosen outside [James] Comey, [Andy] McCabe, or [Adam] Schiff.”

— House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

The FISC’s failure to request a comprehensive evaluation of previous submissions frustrated Republicans who have questioned whether enough is being done to deter future misconduct by the FBI. In the past, the FISC has gone so far as to prohibit some FBI agents from appearing before the court after finding impropriety.

In response to Horowitz’s recent report into FBI surveillance abuses, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the bureau “embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action.”

Also last Friday, the FBI filed a new response to the FISC’s request for more information. In the lengthy filing, Wray outlined some of the new steps the bureau planned to take in the future.

“The FBI has the utmost respect for this court, and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified by the [Justice Department inspector general],” Wray wrote.  “FISA is an indispensable tool in national security investigations, and in recognition of our duty of candor to the court and our responsibilities to the American people, the FBI is committed to working with the court and DOJ to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the FISA process.”

Wray told the FISC that the FBI would begin teaching a “case study” using Horowitz’s findings, and would ensure that the FISC was “apprised of all information in the FBI’s holdings at the time of an application that would be relevant to a determination of probable cause.”

GIULIANI ASSOCIATE ALLEGES FBI USED FISA, POSSIBLE CELLPHONE STINGRAY TO CONDUCT, HIDE SECRET SURVEILLANCE

“Critically, the FBI must also balance the implementation of these actions with its ongoing responsibility to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States, during a time of ever-present threats to our national security,” Wray went on. “The leadership of the FBI has devoted—and will continue to devote—a substantial amount of time, thought and effort to striking this balance, while paying scrupulous attention to its duty of candor to the court and maintaining the trust of the American people.”

The FBI’s response to the FISC on Friday was signed by FBI General Counsel Dana Boente — who also signed onto the discredited Page FISA applications.

Horowitz found specific evidence of oversights and errors by several top FBI employees as they sought to obtain a warrant to surveil Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). For example, an unidentified FBI supervisory special agent (SSA) mentioned in the IG report was responsible for ensuring that the bureau’s “Woods Procedures” were followed in the Page warrant application.

According to the procedures, factual assertions need to be independently verified, and information contradicting those assertions must be presented to the court. But Horowitz found several instances in which the procedures were not followed.

Horowitz’s report leaves little doubt that the unnamed SSA is Joe Pientka — a current bureau employee. Pientka briefly appeared on the FBI’s website as an “Assistant Special Agent in Charge” of the San Francisco field office late last year, according to the Internet archive Wayback Machine — although Pientka no longer appears on any FBI website. Twitter user Techno Fog first flagged the Wayback Machine’s archive of the page.

The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for clarification on Pientka’s status.

The inspector general also noted than an unnamed “Case Agent 1,” was “primarily responsible” for some of the “most significant” errors and omissions in the FISA warrant applications and renewals submitted to the FISC to extend the monitoring of Page.

Nevertheless, FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer ordered the FBI only to identify “all other matters currently or previously before this Court that involved the participation of the FBI OGC [Office of General Counsel] attorney” mentioned in Horowitz’s report.

Additionally, Collyer ordered the FBI to “describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’ submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances” and to advise whether the attorney’s conduct “has been referred to the appropriate bar association(s) for investigation or possible disciplinary action.”

Those were apparent references to ex-FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith, who Horowitz found to have doctored an email from the CIA. The FBI reached out to the CIA and other intelligence agencies for information on Page; the CIA responded in an email by telling the FBI that Page had contacts with Russians from 2008 to 2013, but that Page had reported them to the CIA and was serving as a CIA operational contact and informant on Russian business and intelligence interests.

FISC SLAMS FBI, SAYS ‘FREQUENCY’ OF ERRORS AND INACCURACIES CALLS INTO QUESTION PREVIOUS FISA WARRANT APPLICATIONS

Clinesmith then allegedly doctored the CIA’s email about Page to make it seem as though the agency had said only that Page was not an active source. And, the FBI included Page’s contacts with Russians in the warrant application as evidence he was a foreign “agent,” without disclosing to the secret surveillance court that Page was voluntarily working with the CIA concerning those foreign contacts.

Collyer has separately sought updates from the FBI concerning details in the IG report but has ordered a re-review of any other FISA applications that were previously reviewed.

However, details in the IG report reveal that the pervasiveness of apparent misconduct in the FISA process extended far beyond Clinesmith.

The unnamed “SSA 1” in the IG report was given a supervisory role on the Russia investigation team, overseeing agents and reporting directly to since-fired anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok. The special agent created the electronic sub-file to which the reports by ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele would be uploaded. According to Horowitz, these reports were used to support the probable cause in the Page FISA applications.

Then, on Sept. 23, 2016, Yahoo News published an article describing U.S. government efforts to determine whether Page was in communication with Kremlin officials. The article seemed to closely track information from one of Steele’s reports. As a result, one FBI case agent who reported to SSA 1 believed Steele was the source, according to Horowitz.

FBI AGENTS MANIPULATED FLYNN FILE, AS CLAPPER URGED ‘KILL SHOT,’ EXPLOSIVE FILING CLAIMS

SSA 1 apparently thought the same, as his notes from a meeting held on Sept. 30, 2016, said: “Control issues — reports acknowledged in Yahoo News.” When questioned by Horowitz’s office, the agent explained he was concerned — but not sure — that Steele was the Yahoo News source.

The drafts of the Page FISA application, however, tell a different story. Horowitz found that until Oct. 14, 2016, drafts state that Steele was responsible for the leak that led to the Yahoo News article. One draft specifically states that Steele “was acting on his/her own volition and has since been admonished by the FBI.”

These assertions, which could have pointed to political motivations for Steele to make his information public weeks before the 2016 presidential election, were changed to the following: Steele’s “business associate or the law firm that hired the business associate likely provided this information to the press.”

Horowitz found no facts to support this assessment.

FORMER FBI LAWYER LISA PAGE SUES FBI AND DOJ, SAYS SHE NEEDS ‘COST OF THERAPY’ REIMBURSED AFTER TRUMP MOCKED HER BIAS

On Oct. 11, 2016, Steele met with then-State Department official Jonathan Winer and Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Kavalec. Steele informed Kavalec that the overseers of a Russian cyber-hacking operation targeting the 2016 U.S. elections were paying the culprits from “the Russian Consulate in Miami.” Kavalec later met with an FBI liaison and explained to them that Russia did not have a consulate in Miami. SSA 1 was informed of Steele’s incorrect claim on Nov. 18, 2016, but the FISA court was never provided this information, according to the IG report.

Additionally, SSA 1 was aware of Page’s denials to an FBI confidential human source (CHS) that he knew Russian officials Igor Sechin and Igor Divyekin – officials that Steele alleged Page had met in Moscow in July 2016. In fact, Horowitz found that SSA 1 “knew as of October 17 that Page denied ever knowing Divyekin.”

“This inconsistency was also not noted during the Woods Procedures on the subsequent FISA renewal applications, and none of the three later FISA renewal applications included Page’s denials to the CHS,” Horowitz wrote, referring to the FBI’s practice of reverifying facts in its FISA application before seeking renewals.

7 TAKEAWAYS FROM HOROWITZ’S BOMBSHELL FISA REPORT

SSA 1 also was responsible for “confirming that the Woods File was complete and for double-checking the factual accuracy review to confirm that the file contained appropriate documentation for each of the factual assertions in the FISA application,” according to Horowitz.

But Horowitz found numerous instances “in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application targeting Carter Page were inaccurate, incomplete or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.”

In particular, the FBI misled the FISC by asserting that Steele’s prior reporting “has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings.” Horowitz’s review found there was no documentation to support this statement; SSA 1 told Horowitz they “speculated.”

SSA 1 was also aware, according to Horowitz, that Steele had relayed his information to officials at the State Department, and he had documentation showing Steele had told the team he provided the reports to his contacts at the State Department. Despite this, the FISC was informed that Steele told the FBI he “only provided this information to the business associate and the FBI.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Republican calls for more accountability may not go unanswered for long. Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham announced this month that he did not “agree” with the IG’s assessment that the FBI’s probes were properly predicted, highlighting Durham’s broader criminal mandate and scope of review.

Durham is focusing on foreign actors as well as the CIA, while Horowitz concentrated his attention on the Justice Department and FBI.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Durham said in his statement, adding that his “investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department” and “has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

Wilson Miller contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6115142777001_6115139242001-vs FISA selects former Obama admin lawyer, left-wing blogger to oversee FBI's surveillance reforms Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox news fnc/politics fnc c588f147-744d-5e2d-b6d0-a6d295b5ad2e article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6115142777001_6115139242001-vs FISA selects former Obama admin lawyer, left-wing blogger to oversee FBI's surveillance reforms Gregg Re fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox news fnc/politics fnc c588f147-744d-5e2d-b6d0-a6d295b5ad2e article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pompeo tells McConnell he won’t run for Senate, despite overtures from GOP: source

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he won’t run for Senate in 2020, a source close to McConnell told Fox News on Monday.

Pompeo has been urged by Republicans to consider a run for the open seat in Kansas to replace outgoing Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Pompeo represented in Congress from 2011 to 2017 before Trump appointed him to lead the CIA and later the State Department.

In recent days, Pompeo himself has stoked speculation that he might run, including by making numerous visits to Kansas in 2019 and creating new personal Twitter and Instagram accounts. The Wall Street Journal noted that Pompeo posted a photo of his meeting with the Kansas Farm Bureau, which holds significant power in the state.

“Leader McConnell spoke with Secretary Pompeo this afternoon where he indicated he will not be running for Senate,” the source told Fox News. “Leader McConnell believes Secretary Pompeo is doing an incredible job as Secretary of State and is exactly where the country needs him to be right now.”

Pompeo, who was born in California and moved to Kansas in the 1990s, has time to change his mind, as the filing deadline for the Kansas primary race isn’t until June. He has more than $1 million in a campaign account from his time in the House that he could use.

The development comes as Pompeo has assumed a visible role in promoting President Trump’s Iran strategy, following Trump’s decision to order the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

MCCONNELL TAKES AIM AT WARREN OVER SYMPATHETIC SOLEIMANI COMMENTS

Despite numerous overtures, Pompeo has repeatedly suggested he wants to stay in his current job.

“It’s my intention to stay and continue to serve as President Trump’s secretary of state,” Pompeo told Fox News in December, adding: “I’ve said that consistently. … I’ve watched my life take turns that one would never have expected. But it’s not something I want to do.”

Also in December, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told ABC News that Pompeo had also waved him off a possible run.

Westlake Legal Group AP19364009992229 Pompeo tells McConnell he won't run for Senate, despite overtures from GOP: source Gregg Re fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc ccc5796f-e763-57bc-ae9e-ce16278291ec article

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, left, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley deliver a statement on Iraq and Syria, at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

“I spoke with him about this two nights ago,” O’Brien said. “He said he’s not running for Senate. He said he’s staying as secretary of state.”

At the moment, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach leads the polls in the state’s GOP primary, but Pompeo would be expected to be the frontrunner should he enter the race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Pat Roberts.

Given Pompeo’s popularity in the Sunflower state – and Kobach’s past history of making controversial statements – Republican lawmakers have been rumored to be pushing the secretary of state to run for the seat. Kobach lost his bid in 2018 for Kansas governor.

“Let me put it this way: it’s certainly his decision,” Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair, told radio host Hugh Hewitt last year. “I can conceive of no one who I’d rather work with in the United States Senate from the state of Kansas than Mike Pompeo.”

Even Pompeo’s current boss, President Trump, has weighed in on a potential Senate run for the secretary of state, saying that Pompeo would “win in a landslide” if he jumped into the race.

After Trump remarked Sunday that Iranian cultural sites were fair game for the U.S. military, Pompeo said the U.S. military may well strike more Iranian leaders if the Islamic Republic retaliates. But, he tip-toed around questions about Trump’s threats concerning the cultural sites, a military action that likely would be illegal under the laws of armed conflict and the U.N. charter.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Pompeo said only that any U.S. military strikes inside Iran would be legal.

“We’ll behave inside the system,” Pompeo said. “We always have and we always will.”

Fox News’ Rich Edson and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119541673001_6119532209001-vs Pompeo tells McConnell he won't run for Senate, despite overtures from GOP: source Gregg Re fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc ccc5796f-e763-57bc-ae9e-ce16278291ec article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119541673001_6119532209001-vs Pompeo tells McConnell he won't run for Senate, despite overtures from GOP: source Gregg Re fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox news fnc/politics fnc ccc5796f-e763-57bc-ae9e-ce16278291ec article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case

Several hundred members of Congress filed “amicus,” or supporting, briefs in a closely watched upcoming Supreme Court case that could decide the future of abortion access.

The brief from 207 mostly GOPers included signatures from Sens. Mitt Romney, John Cornyn, Marco Rubio and Reps Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney. The opposing brief was signed by 197 members of Congress — a mostly Democratic group that included Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein, as well as Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler.

The mostly Republican signatories — 39 senators and 168 representatives — argued that Louisiana clinics are rife with safety violations — and that the time is ripe to reconsider the legal underpinnings of Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to an abortion. All were Republicans except Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski and Collin Peterson.

“Roe’s jurisprudence has been characterized by Delphic confusion and protean change,” the members wrote.

WHY ARE PRO-LIFE DOCTORS CASTING DOUBT ON ABORTION STUDY?

They argued that Roe claimed to establish a fundamental right to abortion — only for the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey to establish a new standard, which required that the government not impose an “undue burden” on abortion rights. Multiple incoherent exceptions and balancing tests have since been employed by the courts, according to the amicus brief.

For example, one Supreme Court case post-Casey defined a law as an “undue burden” on abortion rights if in a “large fraction of the cases in which [the law] is relevant, it will operate as a substantial obstacle” — a test later abandoned. then revived by the high court.

Meanwhile, the Democrats primarily argued that stare decisis, the principle through which existing Supreme Court cases are given deference, dictated that Roe should remain good law.

The high court will hear arguments in March on the case, which involves a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Louisiana statute is virtually identical to a Texas law that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016.

That decision came when Justice Anthony Kennedy was on the bench and before President Donald Trump’s two high court picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, joined the court.

ILLINOIS REPEALS BAN ON PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTIONS, AS PRO-LIFE GROUPS LAMENT ‘DEATH PENALTY’ FOR THE UNBORN

At least one justice is likely to find the amicus brief agreeable. Last summer, in a concurring opinion in a Supreme Court case, Justice Clarence Thomas issued a lengthy call for his colleagues to overturn “demonstrably erroneous decisions” even if they have been upheld for decades — prompting legal observers to say Thomas was laying the groundwork to overturn Roe.

Westlake Legal Group AP19294338811154 Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7329deaa-b011-543a-8937-9665d61f8682

Pro-choice activists take part in a photo call in the grounds of Stormont Parliament, Belfast, Monday Oct. 21, 2019. Abortion is set to be decriminalized and same-sex marriage legalized in Northern Ireland as of midnight, bringing its laws in line with the rest of the U.K. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

The 5th Circuit Court of appeals recently lifted an injunction issued by a lower court against the Louisiana law, but the Supreme Court quickly restored the injunction.

The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision comes as abortion has taken center stage in legal battles across the United States, with numerous states passing stricter limits on abortion.

Last August, Planned Parenthood announced that it was pulling out of the Title X federal family planning program rather than abide by a new Trump administration rule prohibiting participants from referring patients for abortions.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Shannon Bream and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096634458001_6096633199001-vs Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7329deaa-b011-543a-8937-9665d61f8682   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6096634458001_6096633199001-vs Could Roe v. Wade be overturned? Hundreds of members of Congress sign amicus brief ahead of key SCOTUS case Gregg Re fox-news/politics/judiciary/abortion fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7329deaa-b011-543a-8937-9665d61f8682

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump vows Iraq ‘will not be a Benghazi’ after Iran-backed embassy raid

Speaking to reporters just hours after dozens of Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, President Trump on Tuesday night vowed that the situation “will not be a Benghazi” — a pointed reference to the deadly 2012 embassy attack in Libya on the Obama administration’s watch, after officials at the embassy had requested enhanced security for weeks.

“It’s been handled very well,” Trump said as he walked into New Year’s Eve celebrations at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “The Marines came in. We had some great warriors come in; they did a fantastic job. They were there instantaneously, as soon as we heard. They came immediately. It’s in great shape. This will not be a Benghazi. Benghazi never should have happened. This will never, ever be a Benghazi. … As soon as we saw there was a potential for a problem, they got in.”

Trump added: “Things are in great shape. … I want to thank the Iraqi government. They really stepped up.”

“This will not be a Benghazi. Benghazi never should have happened.”

— President Trump

Iran, Trump said, “should want peace more than anybody,” and any conflict “would go very quickly.” But, Trump said he did not see such a fight materializing.

Separately, Trump told reporters he was not worried about what he called Democrats’ impeachment “hoax,” pointing out that Ukraine’s leader has said he felt no pressure from the White House to launch any political investigations. Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as “a highly overrated person” and said he would be happy to have a Senate trial, although he emphasized he didn’t really care one way or the other.

Trump defended his brief suspension of foreign aid to Ukraine this year — which Democrats have claimed was an attempt to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden — by asking why other countries did not provide anything near the level of foreign aid that the U.S. regularly provided: “Why is it always the United States? Nobody ever covers that, but I think it’s a big factor.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19365831219480 Trump vows Iraq 'will not be a Benghazi' after Iran-backed embassy raid Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc b670405f-5be0-5cb8-8163-db913ed119fc article

In this photo provided by U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, preparing to deploy from Kuwait on Tuesday. (U.S. Marine Corps photos by Sgt. Robert G. Gavaldon via AP)

The president also said he had a strong relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has signaled he might soon give Trump a Christmas present in the form of renewed missile tests.

“I hope his Christmas present is a beautiful vase,” Trump said. “Look, he likes me, I like him. We get along. He’s representing his country, I’m representing my country, we have to do what we have to do. But, he did sign a contract, he did sign an agreement talking about denuclearization.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19365714561947 Trump vows Iraq 'will not be a Benghazi' after Iran-backed embassy raid Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc b670405f-5be0-5cb8-8163-db913ed119fc article

Security forces standing guard while protesters burned property in front of the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Trump didn’t disclose his New Year’s resolution, though — saying he thought those should generally be kept private.

“Happy New Year,” Trump said. “We’re gonna have a great year.”

A U.S. official told Fox News earlier in the day that “Iraqi security forces did participate” in protecting the embassy — and Trump made clear he expected Iraq to secure U.S. personnel.

“[W]e expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!” Trump wrote in a Tuesday afternoon tweet blaming Iran. He also spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, stressing again the need to protect U.S. facilities in Iraq.

Trump explicitly warned Iran on Twitter that the country “will pay a very BIG PRICE!” after the embassy attack. “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” he wrote. “They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”

BENGHAZI TEAM MEMBER CALLS IRAQ’S RESPONSE TO EMBASSY ATTACK A ‘SLAP IN THE FACE’

Militants smashed a main door at the embassy and set fire to a reception area in one of the worst attacks on the embassy in recent years. Fox News has learned more than 100 Marines have arrived at the embassy to bolster security.

Westlake Legal Group AP19365832932755 Trump vows Iraq 'will not be a Benghazi' after Iran-backed embassy raid Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc b670405f-5be0-5cb8-8163-db913ed119fc article

The U.S. Army’s AH-64 Apache helicopter from 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 34th Combat Aviation Brigade, conducting overflights of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Khalil Jenkins, CJTF-OIR Public Affairs via AP)

Additionally, the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’s alert brigade has been issued orders to deploy rapidly to Kuwait amid the unrest in Baghdad, three U.S. defense officials told Fox News. At least 500 paratroopers already were making their way to Kuwait, Fox News was told.

The alert brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers, known as the DRB—the Deployment Ready Brigade — has been told to pack their bags for a possible deployment in the days ahead. Within that alert brigade, three rifle battalions had a certain alert sequence, 18 hours, 36 hours and 54 hours for the third. The entire brigade had a 96-hour alert window to deploy.

Some of the paratroopers already have left their base in Fort Bragg, N.C., to fly overseas in Air Force C-17 cargo planes, according to officials. The U.S. Army, as a matter of course, has kept an alert brigade of roughly 4,000 paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne for crisis response. Roughly 5,000 U.S. troops had been deployed to Iraq, among the roughly 60,000 U.S. troops deployed to the entire region. The Pentagon has added some 14,000 since May as the threat from Iran increased, officials said.

Westlake Legal Group AP19365398729782 Trump vows Iraq 'will not be a Benghazi' after Iran-backed embassy raid Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc b670405f-5be0-5cb8-8163-db913ed119fc article

Protesters smashing a window inside the U.S. embassy compound Tuesday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

U.S. CARRIES OUT AIRSTRIKES IN IRAQ AND SYRIA AFTER CONTRACTOR IS KILLED

The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman has been in the Gulf of Oman, along with a strike group armed with hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles, in addition to the dozens of strike aircraft aboard Truman.

The crowd attacked the embassy following funerals for 25 Iranian-backed fighters killed in U.S. airstrikes Sunday in Iraq and Syria – -retribution for an American defense contractor killed in Iraq Friday, according to U.S. defense officials.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A U.S. Apache helicopter gunship also flew over the embassy and dropped flares in a “show of force,” attempting to disperse the crowd.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper later confirmed additional forces were being sent, as the military released images of those forces deploying from Kuwait.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119054443001_6119063059001-vs Trump vows Iraq 'will not be a Benghazi' after Iran-backed embassy raid Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc b670405f-5be0-5cb8-8163-db913ed119fc article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6119054443001_6119063059001-vs Trump vows Iraq 'will not be a Benghazi' after Iran-backed embassy raid Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc b670405f-5be0-5cb8-8163-db913ed119fc article

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Yang unloads on Dems’ ‘obsession’ with Trump, impeachment at presidential debate

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang threw cold water on the media’s “obsession” with impeachment during Thursday night’s primary debate, telling attendees to applause that Americans become frustrated “the more we act like Donald Trump is the cause of all our problems.”

“If you turned on cable network news today, you would think [Trump’s] our president because of some combination of Russia, racism, Facebook, Hillary Clinton and emails all mixed together,” Yang said. “But Americans around the country know different.”

He added: “We have to stop being obsessed over impeachment … and focus on the problems that got Donald Trump elected.” He sounded the alarm over declining manufacturing jobs and other economic issues.

With less than seven weeks to go until Iowa’s caucuses kick off and just a day after House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump, a winnowed field of Democratic presidential contenders was on the debate stage for a sixth and final time in 2019.

Thursday night’s televised contest ahead of Christmas brought seven rivals to heavily Democratic California, the biggest prize in the primary season and home to 1 in 8 Americans.

The debate in Los Angeles could turn out to be the least-watched so far, as the holidays approach and impeachment drama dominates the news. Viewership has declined in each round though five debates, and even campaigns have grumbled that the candidates would rather be on the ground in early voting states than again taking the debate stage.

MCCONNELL HEADS BACK TO SENATE FLOOR LATE THURSDAY, SAYS DEMS BREAKING PRECEDENT, NOT SURE WHAT THEY’RE DOING

Republicans have slammed House Democrats’ plan to delay a Senate trial. Hours before the debate, Noah Feldman, the Harvard Law School professor who testified for Democrats at the impeachment inquiry earlier this month, wrote an explosive op-ed asserting that if Democrats do not forward the impeachment articles to the Senate as dictated by the Constitution, then Trump was never even impeached at all. The Constitution dictates that after impeachment by a majority in the House, a two-thirds vote is needed in the Senate to remove a president from office.

Asked why polls show that many Americans oppose impeaching and removing Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden called impeachment a “constitutional necessity,” regardless of what the numbers show.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for her part, accused Trump of corruption, without addressing the popularity of impeachment.

Westlake Legal Group AP19350683071367 Yang unloads on Dems' 'obsession' with Trump, impeachment at presidential debate Gregg Re fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article 544875ac-ccb0-525b-814e-fa41c896d3fa

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a town hall meeting, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in Keokuk, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called Trump’s actions a “global Watergate,” saying if he is really innocent, he should be encouraging his top lieutenants to testify — an argument that has rankled Republicans, who assert the importance of the presumption of innocence.

The lack of a clear front-runner in the Democratic field comes as Democrats complain that there will be a notable lack of diversity onstage compared to earlier debates. For the first time this cycle, the debate won’t feature a black or Latino candidate.

The race in California has largely mirrored national trends, with former Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Warren clustered at the top of the field, followed by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Yang and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer.

Conspicuously missing from the lineup at Loyola Marymount University on Thursday will be former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who is unable to qualify for the contests because he is not accepting campaign donations. But even if he’s not on the podium, Bloomberg has been felt in the state: He’s running a deluge of TV advertising in California to introduce himself to voters who probably know little, if anything, about him.

Bloomberg’s late entry into the contest last month highlighted the overriding issue in the contest, electability, a sign of the unease within the Democratic Party about its crop of candidates and whether any is strong enough to unseat an incumbent president. The eventual nominee will be tasked with splicing together the party’s disparate factions — a job Hillary Clinton struggled with after defeating Sanders in a long and bitter primary fight in 2016.

DEBATE IS ON: DEAL REACHED IN UNION DISPUTE THAT THREATENED TO SIDETRACK SHOWDOWN

Biden adviser Symone Sanders said to expect another robust exchange on health care. “This is an issue that is not going away and for good reason, because it is an issue that in 2018 Democrats ran on and won,” she said.

Jess O’Connell with Buttigieg’s campaign said the candidate will “be fully prepared to have an open and honest conversation about where there are contrasts between us and the other candidates. This is a really important time to start to do that. Voters need time to understand the distinctions between these candidates.” The key issues: health care and higher education.

The unsettled race has seen surges at various points by Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg, though it’s become defined by that cluster of shifting leaders, with others struggling for momentum. California Sen. Kamala Harris, once seen as among the top tier of candidates, shelved her campaign this month, citing a lack of money. And Warren has become more aggressive, especially toward Buttigieg, as she tries to recover from shifting explanations of how she’d pay for “Medicare for All” without raising taxes.

In a replay of 2016, the shifting race for the Democratic nomination has showcased the rift between the party’s liberal wing, represented in Sanders and Warren, and candidates parked in or near the political center, including Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg.

Two candidates who didn’t make the stage will still make their presence felt for debate watchers with ads reminding viewers they’re still in the race.

APPELLATE COURT DEMANDS HOUSE DEMS EXPLAIN WHETHER IMPEACHMENT VOTE RENDERS THEIR LEGAL CASE ‘MOOT’

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former Housing Secretary Julián Castro are airing television ads targeted to primary voters during the debate. Booker’s is his first television ad, and in it he says even though he’s not on the debate stage, “I’m going to win this election anyway.” It’s airing as part of a $500,000 campaign, running in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, as well as New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

A pro-Booker super PAC is also going up with an ad in Iowa highlighting positive reviews of Booker’s past debate performances.

Meanwhile, Castro is running an ad, in Iowa, in which he argues the state should no longer go first in Democrats’ nominating process because it doesn’t reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party.

Both candidates failed to hit the polling threshold to qualify for the debates and have in recent weeks become outspoken critics of what they say is a debate qualification process that favors white candidates over minorities.

Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6117152877001_6117147004001-vs Yang unloads on Dems' 'obsession' with Trump, impeachment at presidential debate Gregg Re fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article 544875ac-ccb0-525b-814e-fa41c896d3fa   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6117152877001_6117147004001-vs Yang unloads on Dems' 'obsession' with Trump, impeachment at presidential debate Gregg Re fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article 544875ac-ccb0-525b-814e-fa41c896d3fa

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Impeachment vote may have undercut Dems’ efforts to subpoena White House officials

Within minutes of the vote to impeach President Trump Wednesday night, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals demanded that House Democrats explain whether the development undercut their legal demands for testimony from White House Counsel Don McGahn and for documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

The case could have broad implications for Democrats’ efforts to obtain access to Trump administration officials and their files, as the impeachment proceedings afforded Congress greater legal authority to go to court and demand access.

In a pair of orders directed at both House Judiciary Committee Democrats and the Department of Justice, the appellate court sought arguments by Monday as to “whether the articles of impeachment render this case moot and whether expedited consideration remains necessary.”

As they barrelled towards an impeachment vote, Democrats had argued that the case needed to be heard in January. Earlier this month, House Democrats had argued to the D.C. Circuit that the materials were needed primarily for impeachment purposes.

“The Department of Justice (DOJ) takes extraordinary positions in this case,” the House Judiciary Committee said in a filing. “It does so to avoid disclosing grand-jury material needed for the House’s impeachment of President Trump and the Senate’s trial to remove him from office.”

READ THE DC CIRCUIT’S ORDER ON THE MCGHAN CASE

READ THE DC CIRCUIT’S ORDER ON THE GRAND JURY MATERIALS

Now that the impeachment proceedings have concluded in the House, the Democrats should explain whether they still seek to compel McGahn’s testimony and, if so, whether it would be “in furtherance” of an impeachment inquiry or as a matter of “legislative oversight,” the first D.C. Circuit order stated.  It was signed by George H.W. Bush appointee Karen Henderson, George W. Bush appointee Thomas Griffith, and Clinton appointee Judith Rogers.

The White House has asserted longstanding executive privileges to bar McGahn from supplying documents and testimony to House investigators, saying internal White House deliberations must remain protected. McGahn’s interview with special counsel investigators factored prominently into the section probing whether the president obstructed justice, including a claim that McGahn disobeyed Trump’s call to have him seek Mueller’s removal.

Westlake Legal Group b96dbd7a-AP18290623248582 Impeachment vote may have undercut Dems' efforts to subpoena White House officials Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 650f75aa-3232-5fd5-bf3a-39e95b4c1fac

White House counsel Don McGahn has been blocked by the White House from providing documents. The White House has cited privilege. (Associated Press)

“On June 17, 2017, the president called [White House Counsel Don] McGahn at home and directed him to call the Acting Attorney General and say that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” the report stated, referencing the Watergate scandal.

The report also revealed that when the media reported on the president’s request for McGahn to have Mueller removed, the president directed White House officials “to tell McGahn to dispute the story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the special counsel removed.”

PELOSI MOCKED FOR SHOOTING DOWN IMPEACHMENT QUESTIONS AT HEATED PRESSER

Concerning the Mueller grand jury materials, House Democrats similarly would need to explain whether they were needed as part of an impeachment probe, the appellate court said. That order was signed by Trump appointee Neomi Rao, as well as Rogers and Griffith.

Justice Department lawyers have argued that House Democrats already had sufficient evidence from Mueller’s investigation, including copies of summaries of FBI witness interviews. A small amount of information was redacted from the report available to Congress in order to protect ongoing grand jury proceedings, as required by law.

In response, Democrats could argue that they intend to launch a new impeachment inquiry — risking significant political backlash — or they could attempt to justify their subpoenas based on more limited existing legislative authority.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, has suggested that she might hold the articles of impeachment in the House, without sending them to the GOP-controlled Senate.

That arrangement might be unconstitutional and wind up in its own court battle, former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz argued in a column Thursday.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“It is difficult to imagine anything more unconstitutional, more violative of the intention of the Framers, more of a denial of basic due process and civil liberties, more unfair to the president and more likely to increase the current divisiveness among the American people,” Dershowitz wrote. “Put bluntly, it is hard to imagine a worse idea put forward by good people.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6117088056001_6117086221001-vs Impeachment vote may have undercut Dems' efforts to subpoena White House officials Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 650f75aa-3232-5fd5-bf3a-39e95b4c1fac   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6117088056001_6117086221001-vs Impeachment vote may have undercut Dems' efforts to subpoena White House officials Gregg Re fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox news fnc/politics fnc article 650f75aa-3232-5fd5-bf3a-39e95b4c1fac

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com