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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "investigation"

Democrats are desperate to resurrect the dead Mueller report in hearings

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The Democrats in Congress continue to fail to learn the lessons of the Trump presidency. Rule number one is no one cares about the Mueller report except for Trump’s opposition in Congress and the reporters who cover them. The American public greeted the arrival of the Mueller report with a yawn. They will do it again this week when Mueller appears before two House committees.

Congressional leadership in the House is frustrated that most Americans took a hard pass on reading the Mueller report for themselves. In order to ram it down our throats, the chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee plan to ask Robert Mueller to read aloud his findings when he appears before the committees this week. The plan is for them to ask Mueller about something on a specific page of the report. Then they will ask him to read his findings in that section of the report.

Rep. Adam Schiff acknowledged that most Americans have little free time to enjoy some leisurely reading, and certainly don’t want to spend that time reading a political report. He went on to say that his solution is to let Mueller read it to them in an interview on Face the Nation.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is expecting special counsel Robert Mueller to bring his exhaustive report “to life” during hours of testimony before Congress this week by offering the American public a compelling, televised account of alleged wrongdoing and unethical behavior by President Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign.

“Since most Americans, you know, in their busy lives haven’t had the opportunity to read that report — and it’s a pretty dry, prosecutorial work product — we want Bob Mueller to bring it to life,” Schiff said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.

The Mueller report concludes that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Democrats are holding on for dear life to the possibility of pursuing obstruction of justice charges, as well as a desire for Russian help by Team Trump. Their political life, mind you, is what they are holding on to, not the actual life of our American Constitution or justice system. We can’t trust Attorney General Bill Barr either, you know.

“It’s a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power, not reporting it but eagerly embracing it, building it into their campaign strategy, lying about it to cover up, then obstructing an investigation into foreign interference again to try to cover up,” Schiff said.

“Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself?” Schiff said, referring to Mueller, who is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in the morning and the House Intelligence Community in the afternoon.

Schiff said Mueller’s high-stakes congressional testimony, which had to be postponed from an earlier date in July, will also serve as an indispensable opportunity for the special counsel to talk about his investigation without any interjecting statements from Attorney General William Barr, who Democrats have accused of shielding the president.

On another Sunday morning show, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee used his interview on Fox News Sunday to proclaim President Trump as guilty of committing “high crimes and misdemeanors”. He, like Rep. Schiff, will ask Robert Mueller to back up his hyperbole.

“The [Mueller] report presents very substantial evidence that the president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors and we have to present — or let Mueller present those facts to the American people and then see where we go from there,” he said.

“Because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law.”

Nadler went on to disclose his plan of action in advance and to brush off any questioning that Republicans may do about the Steele dossier as just a waste of time.

“Well, we hope it won’t end up being a dud,” he replied. “And we’re going to ask specific questions about — look at page 344, paragraph two, please read it. Does that describe obstruction of justice and did you find that the president did that, for example.”

Nadler also said he isn’t worried about Republicans asking probing questions about the investigation’s origins via the Steele dossier, and claimed they’d only be wasting their time.

We won’t know if Mueller will play this game with Congressional Democrats until he appears before the committees. He agreed to appear after he said the report is finished and he has nothing else to say about it. Who knows? Maybe he’s up for a little performance art. Which brings me to what all of this conjured up in my mind Sunday morning. I watched both of the shows and all I could think about was the production put on by some Hollywood actors who, like Congressional Democrats, are desperate for America to see the impeachment of President Trump as the endgame.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, you are not alone. Most Americans ignored the Hollywood version of the Mueller report, too. The actors gave a dramatic reading of the Mueller report, putting their own emphasis on whatever words they thought sounded more ominous than the others. They used their professional training to sound as sincere and concerned as possible. As a matter of fact, their seriousness was what made it particularly entertaining for me. It’s hard to not point and laugh at these hypocrites. It was a live performance, live-streamed on a liberal website.

Some of the actors participating in this political exercise were Annette Bening, Kevin Kline, John Lithgow, Sigourney Weaver, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mark Hamill, Justin Long, Piper Perabo, Michael Shannon, and Zachary Quinto. Not exactly a swoon-worthy cast but you get the idea. The production was live-streamed by more than a million viewers but in a country of over 300 million people, that’s not exactly a big number. The executive producers were members of the Disney family.

The play was pulled together in 25 days, unlike the 18 months of the actual Mueller investigation, which found no collusion on the part of Trump’s campaign. The play was directed by Scott Ellis and executive produced by Susan Disney Lord, Abigail Disney, and Timothy Disney. Producers were David Permut, Suzi Dietz, and David Bender.

Who knew the Mueller report was a comedy? Even Vanity Fair wasn’t impressed. “Most of The Investigation played out like a classroom of bored high schoolers being asked to recite Shakespeare aloud in English class.” Yikes! Let’s see if Robert Mueller can top Hollywood’s performance this week.

The post Democrats are desperate to resurrect the dead Mueller report in hearings appeared first on Hot Air.

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State Department’s Chief of Protocol ousted, skipping G-20 with Trump

Westlake Legal Group f21c707a-a08b-4f1f-98f4-a10d063f4019 State Department’s Chief of Protocol ousted, skipping G-20 with Trump U.S. State Department The Blog Sean Lawler Office of the Inspector General investigation Chief of Protocol bad behavior

Welp. Another one bites the dust. Sean Lawler, President Trump’s chief of protocol since December 2017 is out. Assistant chief of protocol, Mary-Kate Fisher, is in. Apparently, if the president frequently asks why a person is still working in the White House, it’s time for that person to go. He was told to pack his things Monday. There is, allegedly, a State Department investigation afoot. Lawler is suspended indefinitely.

This all comes at an odd time. President Trump is flying to Osaka, Japan as I write this. He is going to the G-20 summit, an occasion where the skills of the chief of protocol are needed to make arrangements for meetings and determine the stream of visitors for President Trump, among other duties.

The protocol chief assists the president on overseas trips, and when foreign leaders visit the White House, by making introductions and briefing the president on protocol. Lawler, a fixture in the Oval office during dignitaries’ visits, served as the president’s liaison to the diplomatic corps at the State Department.

Diplomatic fine points handled by the protocol chief include helping determine where to hold meetings and in what order participants should enter a room.

No one is commenting officially about an investigation that may or may not be underway. A State Department spokeswoman would neither confirm or deny a specific investigation. It looks like this is a behavioral matter on his treatment of staff.

One of the State Department officials described what multiple others told CNN was a pattern of behavior on Lawler’s part. “In my decade of government service, I have never seen someone so unprofessional, abrasive and rude as him,” the official said. “His bad behavior was terrible, and it was obvious. I personally saw it myself, as did a good chunk of the office.

“For example, in a recent meeting — a very routine planning meeting — when he asked a question, if he didn’t like the answer, he would immediately raise his voice, get angry, start using profanity, and use the ‘F word.’

“Then, a moment later, like the flip of a switch, he’d calm himself down and it would be like nothing happened. This has happened before. Many times. And everyone would talk about it after. Their reaction was, ‘What the hell just happened? Did he just start screaming at someone younger, or a woman, or an African American, in an extremely derogatory, condescending fashion? Did he just use the ‘F word’ several times? Did that really just happen?’”

The chief of protocol position is confirmed by the Senate and Lawler has the rank of a diplomat. It isn’t a trivial position. He micro-manages the president on overseas trips and during visits from dignitaries in the White House. In the case of Lawler, this isn’t his first rodeo. He should be well aware of proper behavior.

Lawler has worked for the government for almost three decades, according to his State Department biography. He’s a U.S. Navy veteran who has served in diplomatic roles at the White House National Security Council and U.S. Cyber Command in Maryland.

Lawler’s departure is awkward in its timing but Mary-Kate Fisher and her acting deputy Cathy Fenton have the experience to lead the office of protocol without on the job training. Fenton served in the George W. Bush White House as social secretary and before that also handled social affairs‎ for Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush.

There is one unusual claim in the accusations against Lawler. Not only did he intimidate his staff but he carried a whip in the office. There are no further details on the whip but it leaves me to ponder – was it a short whip like a riding crop or was it a full-on Indiana Jones style whip? I can’t be the only one curious about that little tidbit.

NBC News reports that Lawler will submit his resignation to President Trump when he returns from his overseas trip.

The post State Department’s Chief of Protocol ousted, skipping G-20 with Trump appeared first on Hot Air.

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Bernie: No, I don’t believe Trump and Pompeo when they say that Iran attacked those oil tankers

Westlake Legal Group bs-1 Bernie: No, I don’t believe Trump and Pompeo when they say that Iran attacked those oil tankers Trump The Blog tankers Pompeo Oil Japan Iraq Iran investigation Independent gulf of tonkin corbyn Bolton Bernie Sanders

Another reminder of how strange it is that an anti-war conspiracy theory is circulating in respectable-ish wings of American politics and not only is Donald Trump not a proponent, he’s the head of the government that’s being targeted by it.

Bernie’s British counterpart, Jeremy Corbyn, also questioned Iran’s culpability in the tanker attack recently and got ripped for it by the Tory foreign secretary:

Sanders won’t be so easily shamed. He came to his MSNBC interview today armed with the proverbial receipts for his position, the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Saddam WMD fiasco, and he enjoys some unlikely support for his skepticism among top U.S. allies. In particular, the Japanese government is reluctant to spoil its friendly relations with Iran by accepting American claims that Iran bombed the tankers without further proof:

But Japanese government officials remain unconvinced, the sources said. “The U.S. explanation has not helped us go beyond speculation,” said one senior government official.

Japan has been seeking more concrete evidence through various channels, including Foreign Minister Taro Kono who is likely to have made the request during a call with his counterpart on Friday, the sources said…

If having expertise sophisticated enough to conduct the attack could be a reason to conclude that the attacker was Iran, “That would apply to the United States and Israel as well,” said a source at the Foreign Ministry.

Iraq is on their minds too:

“We can’t make any statement based on a presumption,” said the senior diplomat, adding that the U.S. government should disclose more information on the Hormuz incident.

Another government source referred to the Iraq war, which the United States initiated after intelligence analyses of Iraq falsely pointed to the country possessing weapons of mass destruction…

A former Cabinet member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party even suggested the possibility of a U.S. conspiracy behind the tanker attacks.

Angela Merkel has been more diplomatic about it, claiming that she takes the United States’s allegations about Iranian culpability “very seriously,” but she’s noncommittal too. Germany’s more worried about what remains of the nuclear deal falling apart if Iran doesn’t get some relief from U.S. sanctions soon. Siding with Trump on the tanker incident might rupture relations between Tehran and Europe, raising tensions in the Gulf further, risking a U.S.-Iran war, and possibly leading Iran to attempt a nuclear “breakout.”

As Ed noted earlier, Trump himself is attempting to find a path between his hawkish advisors on the one hand and his interest in some sort of grand bargain with Iran on the other. He’s siding with U.S. intelligence (this time) in accusing Iran of bombing the tankers — but he’s downplaying the incident, calling it “very minor,” certainly not grounds for war. That’s one thing that makes Bernie’s false-flag insinuations here ring hollow: There’s little evidence that Trump himself wants a military conflict, in which case the alleged “false flag” with the tankers is supposedly a pretext for … what, exactly? Presumably Sanders would say that he’s less concerned about Trump’s appetite for war than about Bolton’s and Pompeo’s, but Trump’s advisors haven’t led him around by the nose on foreign policy. His two summits with Kim Jong Un doubtless made his hawkish deputies’ skin crawl, but they happened anyway. CNN is reporting this afternoon, in fact, that Trump has warned his staff recently that “he isn’t interested in wading into another conflict in the Middle East” and “regime change should not be in the cards.”

To my mind, the best argument for believing that Iran really is behind the tanker attacks is how “very minor” they were. An enemy power looking to frame Iran for the bombing wouldn’t have an incentive to go small; they should have wanted to go big, making the attack as devastating as possible. The more blood and oil spilled in the explosion, the more ruthless and renegade Iran would appear. In reality, the mines that exploded on the tankers’ hulls not only didn’t do much damage, they were placed safely above the water line seemingly to ensure that the ships wouldn’t be flooded. The bombings smacked of a symbolic gesture, something calibrated to send a message without damaging the ships so heavily that a military response would be required. That’s exactly in line with Iran’s goals. They wanted to signal their impatience with U.S. sanctions and to suggest to their European friends that they might close oil commerce in the Gulf if they don’t get economic relief soon, but they didn’t want to risk a conflagration from it. So they took a couple of potshots at the tankers. Point made, no harm done. Who else in the region would have that same incentive?

The post Bernie: No, I don’t believe Trump and Pompeo when they say that Iran attacked those oil tankers appeared first on Hot Air.

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DoJ getting ready to go after Google

Westlake Legal Group GooglePlus DoJ getting ready to go after Google The Blog investigation Google Department of Justice anti-trust

Just how big has Google become? That almost seems like a silly question in 2019. The company is omnipresent. If you own an Android phone and want to ask a question, you don’t address “Siri” or “Cortana.” You say, “Okay, Google.” The name of the company has become a verb. Most of us don’t talk about doing a web search. We say, “let me Google that.” When asking for the location of a particular place, Google Maps is the go-to answer.

So have they gotten “too big” for their own good? Perhaps. The Department of Justice is opening another investigation to see if the company is in violation of anti-trust laws. And if they are, they could conceivably be broken up just like Bell Telephone was back in the day. (Associated Press)

The U.S. Justice Department is readying an investigation of Google’s business practices and whether they violate antitrust law, according to news reports.

The search giant was fined a record $2.72 billion by European regulators in 2017 for abusing its dominance of the online search market. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission made an antitrust investigation of Google but closed it in 2013 without taking action.

Now the Justice Department has undertaken an antitrust probe of the company’s search and other businesses, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Bloomberg News. They cited unnamed people familiar with the matter.

So is Google a monopoly or not? The EU clearly thinks so, having fined them billions of dollars. But let’s keep in mind that the current European Union is pretty much the epitome of Big Brother governance. We’ve seen pro and con arguments over Google’s monopolistic traits for years now. Back in 2017, Ryan Cooper, writing for The Week, made the argument that Google was most certainly a monopoly and needed to be broken up. But nearly the entirety of Cooper’s argument consisted of saying that Google’s success was unearned since they only grew massively because they were in the right place at the right time. Even if we accept this argument, to the best of my knowledge there is still no law against being lucky.

Conversely, James Pethokoukis made the argument last year that there is absolutely zero evidence that Google is a monopoly. He bases this conclusion on the belief that Google fears competition and spends “tens and hundreds of billions of dollars a year on R&D.” He also notes that there is no empirical evidence to suggest that the company’s operations are bad for consumers.

It seems to me that there are three possibilities to consider. First, does Google control infrastructure that allows them to shut out possible competition the way Bell did through owning all of the phone lines? No, they don’t. You can delete your bookmarks to Google any time you like and use Bing, Yahoo, or any other search engine you prefer.

Another question is whether or not Google is squashing the competition by preventing them from doing business. They do buy an awful lot of companies, but I’ve yet to see one market segment where they don’t have competitors available. In fact, some of their efforts have failed spectacularly. You may recall how they tried to break into the social media market by launching Google Plus. That landed with a thud and they stopped supporting the service a while back.

All that leaves us with is the possibility that Google grew so large because they simply offer a family of products that people like to use. And yes, perhaps they benefitted from a bit of luck in the beginning. But neither of those concepts are particularly nefarious.

Don’t get me wrong. Google is most certainly up to all sorts of shady things. From selling off all of your data to the highest bidder and tracking your every move, there’s plenty to complain about. They largely avoid legal problems in the United States because Google relies on the fact that most of the people in the government who are assigned to investigate them probably couldn’t tell you much more about how the internet operates beyond saying that it’s like a large series of tubes. But I’m not yet convinced that they’re operating in violation of anti-trust laws or need Uncle Sam to dismantle them.

The post DoJ getting ready to go after Google appeared first on Hot Air.

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CNN Goes Don Corleone in Headline on John Durham’s Appointment to Investigate the Trump-Russia Probe

Westlake Legal Group comey-mccabe-620x348 CNN Goes Don Corleone in Headline on John Durham’s Appointment to Investigate the Trump-Russia Probe Trump Russia Probe Politics media bias Loaded Headline john durham james comey investigation Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story FBI Don Corleone doj democrats cia bill barr

John Durham has been appointed by AG Bill Barr to investigation the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and that’s got some people up in arms.

The problem is that Durham has been so lauded on a bi-partisan basis in the past that it’s going to be difficult for Democrats to now paint him as a Trump sycophant.

That didn’t stop CNN from signaling that there’s only one outcome to his investigation that they’ll accept.

What exactly is putting his apolitical reputation on the line?

It almost sounds like CNN is threatening to destroy his reputation if he doesn’t come to the right conclusions. Make no mistake, if he finds criminal wrongdoing, that’s exactly what they’ll do. Durham will immediately become a pariah that must be discredited as a partisan.

The odd thing is that I don’t ever remember the media spinning Mueller’s investigation as a test of his apolitical reputation. Because when the investigation is into a Republican and his associates, it’s just law enforcement doing their job and don’t you dare question their motives. But when there’s an investigation into Obama officials, suddenly, it’s a test of the prosecutors apolitical reputation and he must tread carefully.

In other words, CNN is telling Durham “that’s a nice reputation you’ve got there, be a shame if anything were to happen to it.”

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The post CNN Goes Don Corleone in Headline on John Durham’s Appointment to Investigate the Trump-Russia Probe appeared first on RedState.

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New Details of Barr’s Investigation of the Investigators Shows a Wide-Ranging Probe

Westlake Legal Group james-clapper-620x465 New Details of Barr’s Investigation of the Investigators Shows a Wide-Ranging Probe Trump campaign Robert Mueller Politics john durham investigation inspector general IG Report horowitz Front Page Stories Front Page FISA Abuse Featured Story donald trump doj dni democrats cia Carter Page bill barr

Two days ago, Attorney General Bill Barr finally announced what he’d been hinting at for weeks: An investigation into the origins and handling of the Trump-Russia probe is now underway. This, of course, sent liberals into a frenzy, as they finally found an investigation that’s acceptable to criticize after spending years defending the “integrity” of the FBI and DOJ.

New details are emerging about just what this new investigation will look like and what it will encompass.

If some former officials were hoping it just stopped with the FISA warrant issues, they are gonna be disappointed.

It’s actually surprising to see that this spans multiple agencies. We may actually get a look at the CIA’s possible role in running informants against the Trump campaign. This also means that John Brennan could be right in the crosshairs.

Another thing that jumps out to me is that Bill Barr looks to be intimately involved in this. That’s good. The last thing we need is another runaway investigation with no oversight, e.g., Robert Mueller. IG Horowitz working directly with Barr and Durham points to one thing, i.e., that criminal referrals are likely. Normally the DOJ is hands off when an IG gets involved but some kind of coordination is playing out and it’s likely because the IG himself has no power to prosecute.

Durham has apparently been on the job for weeks now without public knowledge, no doubt a necessary measure given the IG report is expected to be released in a month or two.

A lot of former Obama officials should be feeling a bit more nervous right about now.

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Giuliani: On second thought, cancel my ticket to Ukraine

Westlake Legal Group giuliani-on-second-thought-cancel-my-ticket-to-ukraine Giuliani: On second thought, cancel my ticket to Ukraine Ukraine The Blog Shannon Bream Rudy Giuliani Joe Biden investigation

Westlake Legal Group bream-giuliani Giuliani: On second thought, cancel my ticket to Ukraine Ukraine The Blog Shannon Bream Rudy Giuliani Joe Biden investigation

Looks like Ukraine won’t have Rudy Giuliani to kick around next week. Is this a retreat? Not at all, Rudy Giuliani insisted. He just became concerned he was walking into a “trap,” perhaps set by “enemies of the United States” in Ukraine. That won’t end Giuliani’s interest in the investigation, even if it does end his direct participation in it.

“In order to remove any political suggestion,” the president’s personal attorney told Fox’s Shannon Bream, “I will step back and I will just watch it unfold.”

Facing withering attacks accusing him of seeking foreign assistance for President Trump’s re-election campaign, Rudolph W. Giuliani announced on Friday night that he had canceled a trip to Kiev in which he planned to push the incoming Ukrainian government to press ahead with investigations that he hoped would benefit Mr. Trump.

Mr. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, explained that he felt like he was being “set up,” and he blamed Democrats for trying to “spin” the trip.

“They say I was meddling in the election — ridiculous — but that’s their spin,” he said.

Mr. Giuliani said on Thursday that he had hoped to meet in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, with the nation’s president-elect and urge him to pursue inquiries that could yield new information about two matters of intense interest to Mr. Trump. One is the origin of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. The other is the involvement of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son in a gas company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch.

The trip raised the specter of a lawyer for Mr. Trump pressing a foreign government to pursue investigations that his allies hope could help him win re-election. And it comes after Mr. Trump has spent more than half of his term facing scrutiny about whether his 2016 campaign conspired with Ukraine’s hostile neighbor, Russia. Mr. Giuliani had planned to leave on Sunday.

If nothing else, this interview shows why Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani are so simpatico. Both of them speak in stream-of-consciousness monologues; in fact, it’s tough to call this an interview. It comes across as a lightly-interrupted rant, one that leaves Bream nearly breathless. By the time it ends, Giuliani is tossing out a suggestion about taking “executive privilege.” Bream, who at this point was attempting to bring this interview to a close, sputters, “You’re making headlines here,” as Giuliani finally finishes up.

Needless to say, whether this was a retreat or not, it’s a much smarter choice than Giuliani’s original plan to drop in on Kyiv. Regarding his belated concern about “enemies of the United States” in Ukraine, what exactly did Giuliani expect? The situation in Ukraine is extremely complicated politically and militarily, with Russia working very hard to take control of Kyiv again. That’s one reason among others that this was a crazy idea from the start, just as it was nutty for the DNC to attempt to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Donald Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton. As Bream manages to squeeze into one of Giuliani’s rare breaths, the “optics” of leveraging a foreign government to dig up dirt on the expected 2020 Democratic nominee look pretty ugly, especially in light of the last two years.

It’s not even clear what Giuliani hoped to accomplish. He told the NYT’s Kenneth Vogel that his intent was “meddling in an investigation,” not an election, “which we have a right to do.” Well, maybe, but that would still poison the investigation with power politics and make the results useless. It would also open up suspicions that the Trump administration used the US’ more formal diplomatic might to pressure Ukraine to deliver the desired investigatory results. If Giuliani returned from Ukraine carrying the smoking gun for FBI malfeasance and/or damning information on Joe Biden, just how credible would that information be?

Sometimes, it’s best to just sit back and let things unfold on their own. This is one of those times. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to mean that Giuliani can’t continue to entertain us with these monologues and give news anchors a break from preparing questions.

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Trump Tells Democrats to Pound Sand Over Requests for Testimony

Westlake Legal Group trump-tells-democrats-to-pound-sand-over-requests-for-testimony Trump Tells Democrats to Pound Sand Over Requests for Testimony Robert Mueller Pound Sand Jerry Nadler investigation Interview House Democrats Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story executive privilege donald trump Don McGahn democrats

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This isn’t going to make Jerry Nadler happy.

President Trump is done cooperating with a Democratic House that’s done everything they can to weaponize that cooperation against him. In the past, Trump has allowed many people to testify despite having the right to claim executive privilege. This was a stark departure from how Obama handled things, who routinely bucked testimony by his officials.

Instead of acting in good faith given Trump’s previous openness, Democrats are continuing to make ridiculous demands as they desperately search for some legal issue to press.

In response, Trump is now telling House Democrats to pound sand over their request to reinterview former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

President Trump told Fox News in an exclusive wide-ranging interview Thursday evening that the White House has lost patience with congressional Democrats, and forcefully dismissed their efforts to subpoena former White House counsel Don McGahn and other administration officials to testify.

“They’ve testified for many hours, all of them. I would say, it’s done,” Trump told Fox News’ Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge. “Nobody has ever done what I’ve done. I’ve given total transparency. It’s never happened before like this. They shouldn’t be looking anymore. It’s done.”

In the case of McGahn, Trump clearly has the right to claim executive privilege over their interactions given that essentially everything the Democrats are interested in is covered under that umbrella. Some partisans suggest that because Trump allowed McGahn to testify to Mueller that he’s waived that right. That doesn’t add up. Executive privilege is specifically meant to protect testimony before Congress and Trump still has the right to do that.

Regardless, there’s no doubt that Jerry Nadler will go to court to try to show otherwise. In the end, none of this will matter because the 2020 election will take place before it’s all adjudicated.

I actually think this nonsense helps Donald Trump. The longer Democrats play games while not actually impeaching, the more petty and partisan they look. He should continue to focus on the economy and stonewall their investigations with every legal mechanism at his disposal. The clowns in the Democratic House do not deserve any voluntarily cooperation at this point.

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Harris to Barr: Has anyone at the White House asked you to open an investigation on someone?

Westlake Legal Group harris-to-barr-has-anyone-at-the-white-house-asked-you-to-open-an-investigation-on-someone Harris to Barr: Has anyone at the White House asked you to open an investigation on someone? white house Trump The Blog Justice investigation Hillary Clinton harris doj department barr

Westlake Legal Group bb Harris to Barr: Has anyone at the White House asked you to open an investigation on someone? white house Trump The Blog Justice investigation Hillary Clinton harris doj department barr

Normally the answer to a question like this by the Attorney General is a simple “Of course not and I’m offended on the president’s behalf that you’d ask. The DOJ isn’t a political weapon for the White House.” Barr ends up having to resort to a Clintonism to wriggle out of it: Clearly some unnamed person (ahem) has raised the idea with him of siccing the DOJ on some other unnamed person but it seems the idea wasn’t pressed so insistently that Barr would say it amounted to a “suggestion.”

Which reminds me of Trump’s conversation with James Comey about Mike Flynn. “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go,” Trump allegedly said at the time, according to Comey. Was that a “suggestion”? Absolutely, Comey would say. Barr, clearly much more favorably disposed to Trump, might answer, “Well, he never explicitly *asked* Comey to let Flynn go.”

There’s no mystery as to whom Harris has in mind:

The Daily Beast reported in March that, less than a month after those tweets were sent, Jeff Sessions sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney in Utah asking him to review the DOJ’s handling of the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One matters. (Sessions’s office initially denied that any such letter existed.) Just a few weeks ago Trump reiterated his interest in seeing Hillary and other Obama officials linked to Russiagate investigated in an interview with Fox Business:

“So when I won, I made my opening speech, everyone’s shouting, ‘Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!’ I said, ‘No, no, no, let’s forget her. Let’s get on to the future,’” the president recalled Friday. “But they have treated me so viciously, and they have treated me so badly and we did nothing wrong — you look at the others — and all of these people you hear about, that had nothing to do with Russia, Russia collusion, nothing.”…

“I think — look, I have a lot of respect for him,” Trump said of Barr. “I’ve never known him. He’s a very, very smart, respected man. Hopefully he’ll do what’s fair. … All I can ask is what’s fair.”

The fact that he’s taken to saying stuff like this in public is nothing new. Mueller’s report notes in the obstruction section that one of the confounding problems in analyzing Trump’s “corrupt intent” is his penchant for blurting things out in front of cameras. A famous example was him admitting to Lester Holt that he fired Comey partially because of “this Russia thing.” If he’s egging on Barr to investigate Clinton and the Obama natsec team in full public view, what would a word to him about it behind closed doors amount to? (“Gee, it’d be great if Crooked was indicted!”) Barr would have his marching orders even if his only interactions with Trump involved reading his Twitter feed. Whether he chooses to follow them is up to him.

His handling of the Mueller report has made him Democrats’ hate object du jour so here’s the Q&A with Harris followed by Harris insisting that he resign. Every candidate in the Democratic field will agree with her assuming they haven’t already.

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“Disingenuous and deceptive”: Shep Smith scolds Kushner for minimizing Russia’s campaign interference

Westlake Legal Group disingenuous-and-deceptive-shep-smith-scolds-kushner-for-minimizing-russias-campaign-interference “Disingenuous and deceptive”: Shep Smith scolds Kushner for minimizing Russia’s campaign interference The Blog Shepard Smith russiagate Russia mueller Jared Kushner investigation

Westlake Legal Group ss-1 “Disingenuous and deceptive”: Shep Smith scolds Kushner for minimizing Russia’s campaign interference The Blog Shepard Smith russiagate Russia mueller Jared Kushner investigation

An extremely Shep reaction to the comments made earlier today by Kushner about Russian meddling amounting to “buying some Facebook ads.”

It’s true, Kushner came off like a jackhole by glossing over Russia’s hacking of the DNC and John Podesta. Posting dopey memes on Facebook is trivial nonsense, just as he says. Breaking into Americans’ inboxes and weaponizing the contents is not. And the angst Trump’s critics feel about Russiagate has as much to do with the cavalier attitude of Trump’s team about it as it does with what Russia actually did. The campaign didn’t collude or conspire, but notwithstanding Kushner’s lip service today about Russian activities being a “terrible thing,” it often did seem to condone what Moscow was up to. Remember Trump half-jokingly appealing to Russia on the trail to “find” Hillary’s missing emails? Trump repeatedly crowing about how much he loved Wikileaks for publicizing the Podesta emails that Russia had lifted? Trump time and again trying to cover for Putin by insisting that the hacker could have been some fat kid sitting in a basement somewhere, never mind what U.S. intelligence concluded? Rudy Giuliani was still defending the publication of hacked emails as of two days ago, comparing it to the Pentagon Papers. Team Trump palpably didn’t mind that Russia lent a hand in 2016 and there’s no reason to think they’d object to Putin lending a hand again in 2020. Anything to win.

On the other hand, knowing now what we know from the Mueller report, I can’t argue with Kushner’s conclusion that the Russiagate probe has caused more discord than Russia’s campaign activities did. I’ve seen solid arguments with polling data to support them that Comey’s last-minute letter about reopening the Emailgate investigation swayed the outcome of the race. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a convincing argument that the Wikileaks material did. Clinton led for practically the entire campaign, sizably at times during the home stretch, and then the race tightened around the time Comey sent his letter and late deciders began making up their minds. I blogged the race hour by hour and to this day I couldn’t name for you a memorable revelation from the DNC/Podesta material if asked to do so. As I recall, few commentators at the time thought Russia’s activities would matter to the outcome, and even at the end when Hillary’s lead began to shrink it was Comey’s actions that outraged the left more so than Russia’s. If Hillary’s blue wall in the midwest had held, and it almost did, I suspect Russia’s meddling would have been seen as an epic blunder by Putin, a hamhanded attempt to influence the race in marginal ways with little apparent upside and a major downside in pissing off the newly elected president.

By contrast, the Russiagate investigation has led to a two-year cottage industry of conspiracy theorizing in American media about the many ways the president of the United States might be a foreign agent, under the power of the Kremlin, working against U.S. interests at Russia’s behest. What hurt the country more, the email hackings or a widespread belief on the left that Trump is a Manchurian candidate in cahoots with Bond villain Vladimir Putin?

Here’s my question for Kushner, though: What would he have had Rod Rosenstein and Bob Mueller do? Granted, the Russiagate probe was bitterly divisive and contributed to Trump’s delegitimization among his critics. But given all the contacts between Trump officials and Russians during the campaign, given Trump’s weird apologetics for Putin and Wikileaks, given the fact that his campaign did benefit to some negligible degree from Russian interference, how could the DOJ not look into it? One of the drivers of discord over Russiagate was Trump himself, who could have clammed up about the probe secure in the knowledge that he hadn’t colluded and would be vindicated in the end but instead chose to attack the investigation daily as the product of 18 angry Democrats aiming to take him down on behalf of the Obama administration. He may wind up talking himself into impeachment proceedings in the House for obstruction of justice, which will increase the discord factor by an order of magnitude. Even now, three years later, rather than put Russiagate behind him Trump is chattering about investigating the Obama-era officials who launched the probe. He seems to think the discord around the probe can be made to work for him for once. And he intends to try.

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