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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 51)

Facing a Trump Stonewall, Democrats Struggle for Options to Compel Cooperation

WASHINGTON — House Democrats, infuriated by President Trump’s stonewalling, are struggling to mount a more aggressive campaign to compel him to cooperate with their investigations — a push that could include a threat to jail officials, garnish their wages and perhaps even impeach the president.

With Mr. Trump throwing up roadblocks on practically a daily basis — he moved on Wednesday to keep the unredacted version of the special counsel’s report out of lawmakers’ hands — Democrats and their leaders are feeling a new urgency to assert their power as a coequal branch of government.

Some who previously urged caution are now saying impeachment may be inevitable.

“If the facts lead us to that objective, so be it,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, told reporters on Wednesday. He said Democratic leaders and the chairmen of six committees are coordinating on what he hopes will be a “holistic” strategy to paint a picture for the public of “perhaps the greatest cover-up of any president in American history.”

Among the options they are considering is to bundle contempt citations for multiple Trump administration officials into one overarching package that could be referred to the Federal District Court here, in much the way Congress looked to the courts to compel President Richard M. Nixon to turn over tape recordings of his Oval Office conversations. Nixon’s refusal to do so prompted impeachment proceedings.

Democrats are studying that history with an eye toward Article 3 of the Watergate Articles of Impeachment, which accused Nixon of violating his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws by refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, said Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, a member of the Democratic leadership.

“I don’t think we’re there yet,” Mr. Cicilline said. “But people are mindful of that.”

The Judiciary Committee’s vote on Wednesday to recommend holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress effectively started a more confrontational strategy than its initial effort, which was to use a series of hearings to shine a light on the president’s misdeeds. The full House must still vote on the contempt resolution, and when that vote will take place is unclear.

But Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a former constitutional law professor, said Democrats are energized by the confrontation.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152623059_1f42b9a7-8208-4d01-ba16-d708b4fcc722-articleLarge Facing a Trump Stonewall, Democrats Struggle for Options to Compel Cooperation United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Pelosi, Nancy Law and Legislation impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democratic Party

“We get the narrative from our leadership that we all got elected on health care and the economy and all of that,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, “but we also got elected to impose checks and balances on a president who is unchecked and unbalanced.”CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“This has had a cathartic effect on the Democrats because we have finally been able to find a way to fight back at the obstructionism,” said Mr. Raskin, a Judiciary Committee member. “My grandfather used to say that duck hunting is a lot of fun until the ducks start firing back. We’re starting to fire back.”

But unless the courts move to enforce the contempt resolution, it will have no teeth, and court action takes time. When Barack Obama was president, House Republicans held Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress for his failure to provide documents and information related to the so-called Fast and Furious gun trafficking program. But it had little immediate effect.

When George W. Bush was president, the House voted to hold his chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten, and the White House counsel, Harriet E. Miers, in contempt for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into the mass firings of federal prosecutors. Ms. Miers eventually agreed to testify — but by that time, Mr. Obama was president.

Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and a chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she would not be willing to wait that long. “This is a really dangerous and unpredecented set of actions that the president is taking,” she said.

Ms. Jayapal said Democrats’ decision on whether to begin formal impeachment hearings would become clearer after they have three more “data points”: whether they get the special counsel’s report, unredacted; whether Donald F. McGahn II, the former White House counsel, testifies (Mr. Trump is trying to block him from doing so); and whether the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, testifies.

“There’s a few more pieces that we still need to see,” she said.

The conversations, and Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee vote, reflect a sharp escalation of the tensions between Democrats and the White House since the release of the Mueller report. The report found no evidence that Mr. Trump had coordinated or conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 elections. But it did list at least 10 ways in which Mr. Trump may have obstructed the Mueller inquiry.

After the report’s release, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other top Democrats urged caution on impeachment. Instead, they promised a series of hearings so Americans could judge the evidence that Mr. Mueller had gathered for themselves, and then decide whether the facts warranted impeachment.

Ms. Pelosi said that proceeding would have to be bipartisan.

But with Mr. Trump trying to keep Congress from gathering the facts, the mood in the caucus has shifted, many Democrats say.

“We get the narrative from our leadership that we all got elected on health care and the economy and all of that,” said Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, “but we also got elected to impose checks and balances on a president who is unchecked and unbalanced.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats have urged caution on impeachment.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

Representative Jackie Speier, Democrat of California, who is a close ally of Ms. Pelosi’s, added, “I think there is a growing frustration among my constituents that we need to do something.” Ms. Speier expressed a growing sentiment that Democratic voters want to see concrete actions in response to Mr. Trump’s unapologetic stonewalling.

Party leaders are exploring all of their legal and procedural options. Some, including Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and also a close ally of Ms. Pelosi’s, threatened this week to withhold the salaries of federal employees who fail to appear before a House committee.

Mr. Cummings also said Democrats should consider “inherent contempt” — the congressional power, last used in the 1930s, to jail officials who defy subpoenas. Mr. Connolly, who leads an oversight subcommittee, agreed.

“We should be putting people in jail,” Mr. Connolly said.

With liberal Democrats — including presidential candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — calling for impeachment, House Democrats are feeling intense pressure from the left to move more aggressively.

“We can’t have mealy-mouthed language about more facts have to come in,” said Adam Green, a founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal advocacy group. “We’re past that stage. People want accountability.”

But Democratic leaders recognize that their ability to force cooperation is limited if Mr. Trump is determined to flout historical convention and cannot be shamed into compliance. They fully expect their clash with Mr. Trump to be settled by the courts — and likely by the Supreme Court.

One case is moving through the legal system already: Mr. Trump has sued Mr. Cummings and the oversight panel to quash a subpoena for 10 years of his financial records. Oral arguments are scheduled for next week.

During a closed-door meeting on Tuesday morning with Democrats, Ms. Pelosi said Mr. Trump was “self-impeaching” — a phrase later echoed by Representative Ann McLane Kuster, Democrat of New Hampshire, who said she meant that in defying Congress, Mr. Trump was making the case for his own impeachment.

“He’s taking actions that demonstrate he is not fit for office,” Ms. Kuster said. “The American people are watching that in plain sight.”

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

Trump Faces Pressure From N.Y. Lawmakers Over Tax Returns and Pardons

[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]

Taking aim at President Trump, New York lawmakers voted on Wednesday to create a pathway for congressional committees to obtain the president’s state tax returns, potentially opening another avenue to shake loose information that he has long concealed.

The bill, passed by the Democrat-controlled State Senate, does not explicitly mention Mr. Trump, but there was little question that he was the focus: Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, bucking a common practice of presidents for the past four decades.

The significance of the bill’s passage was underscored by a New York Times investigation published on Tuesday that disclosed that Mr. Trump had reported more than $1 billion in core business losses from 1985 and 1994, according to tax information obtained by The Times.

The Times found that in some years, Mr. Trump appeared to have lost more money than any other single taxpayer — a far cry from the president’s cultivated image as a self-made billionaire and master deal maker.

Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses

May 7, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00trump-ice-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v6 Trump Faces Pressure From N.Y. Lawmakers Over Tax Returns and Pardons Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Taxation New York State Manafort, Paul J Law and Legislation Kaminsky, Todd D (1978- ) Hoylman, Brad M

The findings drew angry denunciation from Mr. Trump, who said in a pair of Twitter posts on Wednesday that showing “losses for tax purposes” was considered a “sport” among real estate developers like himself.

“Real estate developers in the 1980s & 1990s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases,” the president wrote, adding, “You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes … almost all real estate developers did.”

Mr. Trump then called The Times’s account “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

Neither Mr. Trump nor the White House offered any comment on the New York Senate bill that passed 39 to 21, along almost straight party lines, with Democrats delivering the votes to secure its passage.

Senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the tax return bill, said the Senate’s action was a direct result of Mr. Trump’s refusal to make his federal returns public, as well as a decision by the Treasury Department on Monday to defy an order from House Democrats to do so.

“If they won’t do it,” Mr. Hoylman said, “New York can.”

A tax return from New York could contain much of the same financial information as a federal return. If it becomes law, the bill would authorize the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return requested by a leader of one of three congressional committees — the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation — for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.”

Mr. Hoylman has stressed that the bill would simply expand on current sharing of state tax information with federal officials, saying the “state tax department routinely supplies tax filing information to the I.R.S.”

Earlier this week, the Treasury Department announced it would not release the tax returns despite a formal request from House Democrats, kicking off a legal battle that will likely go to the Supreme Court.

Indeed, the new details about the president’s steep financial losses disclosed in The Times on Tuesday provided the fullest picture yet of his taxes, and could fuel House Democrats in their fight to get his federal tax returns. They also provided ample material to mock Mr. Trump’s oft-repeated claims of financial prowess.

“Trump was perhaps the worst businessman in the world,” said Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat of New Jersey and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “His entire campaign was a lie. He didn’t pay taxes for years and lost over $1 billion — how is that possible? How did he keep getting more money and where on earth was it all going? We need to know now.”

Mr. Pascrell insisted that the I.R.S. comply with his committee’s request. “We now have another part of the truth,” he said. “We need a lot more.”

During a weekly meeting with reporters on Wednesday, the House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, said the new details bolstered the Democrats’ demand for Mr. Trump’s tax returns. He dismissed Mr. Trump’s longtime excuse that he was unable to release them because they were under audit.

“Presumably any time they get a piece of paper from Donald Trump, they put it under audit,” he said.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said that the revelations in The Times’s report were not of interest to the average voter. “What people are going to vote on is their economic well-being, not Trump’s economic well-being in the ’80s and ’90s,” Mr. Graham told reporters in Washington. “He’s been great for the economy. So people are going to judge Trump based on their tax return, not his.”

In New York, the Senate also passed another bill aimed at Mr. Trump that would exempt New York’s so-called double jeopardy law from cases involving presidential pardons. If signed into law, it would allow state prosecutors to pursue charges against any aide to Mr. Trump who may be pardoned — a proposal initially floated by Eric T. Schneiderman, the former state attorney general of New York.

The sponsor of that bill, Senator Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Island and a former prosecutor, said the legislation would address “wanton threats of the use of the pardon power.”

The bills are expected to be discussed on Monday by the State Assembly, also led by Democrats, and are considered likely to pass there as well.

Mr. Hoylman and Mr. Kaminsky denied any partisan agenda, casting it instead as an attempt to help Congress fulfill its constitutional oversight duties. “As we fight this battle with Washington, we know that New York is in a unique role,” Mr. Hoylman said.

The state’s three-term Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, has also said he would support the bills.

Republicans in Albany were irate with both bills, calling them “bills of attainder,” a legislative act that singles out a person or a group for punishment without trial, and a blatantly political act in a deeply blue state.

“You may be aiming for the president, but there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage,” said Senator Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican. “Today it’s the president, tomorrow it’s the rest of us.”

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Vivian Wang contributed reporting.

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

Trump Faces Pressure From N.Y. Lawmakers Over Tax Returns and Pardons

[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]

Taking aim at President Trump, New York lawmakers voted on Wednesday to create a pathway for congressional committees to obtain the president’s state tax returns, potentially opening another avenue to shake loose information that he has long concealed.

The bill, passed by the Democrat-controlled State Senate, does not explicitly mention Mr. Trump, but there was little question that he was the focus: Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, bucking a common practice of presidents for the past four decades.

The significance of the bill’s passage was underscored by a New York Times investigation published on Tuesday that disclosed that Mr. Trump had reported more than $1 billion in core business losses from 1985 and 1994, according to tax information obtained by The Times.

The Times found that in some years, Mr. Trump appeared to have lost more money than any other single taxpayer — a far cry from the president’s cultivated image as a self-made billionaire and master deal maker.

Decade in the Red: Trump Tax Figures Show Over $1 Billion in Business Losses

May 7, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 00trump-ice-threeByTwoSmallAt2X-v6 Trump Faces Pressure From N.Y. Lawmakers Over Tax Returns and Pardons Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Taxation New York State Manafort, Paul J Law and Legislation Kaminsky, Todd D (1978- ) Hoylman, Brad M

The findings drew angry denunciation from Mr. Trump, who said in a pair of Twitter posts on Wednesday that showing “losses for tax purposes” was considered a “sport” among real estate developers like himself.

“Real estate developers in the 1980s & 1990s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation which would, if one was actively building, show losses and tax losses in almost all cases,” the president wrote, adding, “You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes … almost all real estate developers did.”

Mr. Trump then called The Times’s account “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

Neither Mr. Trump nor the White House offered any comment on the New York Senate bill that passed 39 to 21, along almost straight party lines, with Democrats delivering the votes to secure its passage.

Senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the tax return bill, said the Senate’s action was a direct result of Mr. Trump’s refusal to make his federal returns public, as well as a decision by the Treasury Department on Monday to defy an order from House Democrats to do so.

“If they won’t do it,” Mr. Hoylman said, “New York can.”

A tax return from New York could contain much of the same financial information as a federal return. If it becomes law, the bill would authorize the commissioner of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance to release any state tax return requested by a leader of one of three congressional committees — the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation — for any “specified and legitimate legislative purpose.”

Mr. Hoylman has stressed that the bill would simply expand on current sharing of state tax information with federal officials, saying the “state tax department routinely supplies tax filing information to the I.R.S.”

Earlier this week, the Treasury Department announced it would not release the tax returns despite a formal request from House Democrats, kicking off a legal battle that will likely go to the Supreme Court.

Indeed, the new details about the president’s steep financial losses disclosed in The Times on Tuesday provided the fullest picture yet of his taxes, and could fuel House Democrats in their fight to get his federal tax returns. They also provided ample material to mock Mr. Trump’s oft-repeated claims of financial prowess.

“Trump was perhaps the worst businessman in the world,” said Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat of New Jersey and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “His entire campaign was a lie. He didn’t pay taxes for years and lost over $1 billion — how is that possible? How did he keep getting more money and where on earth was it all going? We need to know now.”

Mr. Pascrell insisted that the I.R.S. comply with his committee’s request. “We now have another part of the truth,” he said. “We need a lot more.”

During a weekly meeting with reporters on Wednesday, the House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, said the new details bolstered the Democrats’ demand for Mr. Trump’s tax returns. He dismissed Mr. Trump’s longtime excuse that he was unable to release them because they were under audit.

“Presumably any time they get a piece of paper from Donald Trump, they put it under audit,” he said.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said that the revelations in The Times’s report were not of interest to the average voter. “What people are going to vote on is their economic well-being, not Trump’s economic well-being in the ’80s and ’90s,” Mr. Graham told reporters in Washington. “He’s been great for the economy. So people are going to judge Trump based on their tax return, not his.”

In New York, the Senate also passed another bill aimed at Mr. Trump that would exempt New York’s so-called double jeopardy law from cases involving presidential pardons. If signed into law, it would allow state prosecutors to pursue charges against any aide to Mr. Trump who may be pardoned — a proposal initially floated by Eric T. Schneiderman, the former state attorney general of New York.

The sponsor of that bill, Senator Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Island and a former prosecutor, said the legislation would address “wanton threats of the use of the pardon power.”

The bills are expected to be discussed on Monday by the State Assembly, also led by Democrats, and are considered likely to pass there as well.

Mr. Hoylman and Mr. Kaminsky denied any partisan agenda, casting it instead as an attempt to help Congress fulfill its constitutional oversight duties. “As we fight this battle with Washington, we know that New York is in a unique role,” Mr. Hoylman said.

The state’s three-term Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, has also said he would support the bills.

Republicans in Albany were irate with both bills, calling them “bills of attainder,” a legislative act that singles out a person or a group for punishment without trial, and a blatantly political act in a deeply blue state.

“You may be aiming for the president, but there’s going to be a lot of collateral damage,” said Senator Andrew Lanza, a Staten Island Republican. “Today it’s the president, tomorrow it’s the rest of us.”

Sheryl Stolberg and Vivian Wang contributed reporting.

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

Donald Trump Jr. Is Subpoenaed to Testify to Senate Panel on Russia Contacts

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, who met with Russians in June 2016 after being promised political dirt about Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the committee’s decision.

The Republican-led committee is particularly interested in the younger Mr. Trump’s account of the events surrounding that meeting — as well as his role in his father’s efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow — and comparing the testimony to his previous answers to Senate investigators in 2017.

Donald Trump Jr. is the first of President Trump’s children to be subpoenaed in the continuing congressional investigations into Russia’s 2016 election interference, and the move is likely to intensify the ire of a president who has spent more than two years railing against the Russia inquiries.

Mr. Trump is a scion of President Trump’s global business empire and was one of his father’s close advisers during the election.

A lawyer for the younger Mr. Trump declined to comment.

The June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting was the main focus of investigators’ questions during Senate Judiciary Committee testimony the following year. Investigators were particularly interested in what — if anything — Mr. Trump told his father about what had transpired. Repeatedly, he told them that he said nothing to President Trump — either before the meeting or after.

“I wouldn’t have wasted his time with it,” he said.

But Michael D. Cohen, the president’s longtime lawyer, recalled being in a meeting at Trump Tower when Donald Trump Jr. told his father about a planned meeting “to obtain adverse information about Clinton,” according to the report by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, citing Mr. Cohen’s testimony.

“From the tenor of the conversation, Cohen believed that Trump Jr. had previously discussed the meeting with his father, although Cohen was not involved in any such conversation,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote.

The special counsel considered bringing charges against some of the participants in that meeting but ran up against questions about whether they knew the meeting might violate federal bans on foreign contributions to elections, the report said.

“On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful,” the report stated.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-document-promo-1555353284901-articleLarge-v8 Donald Trump Jr. Is Subpoenaed to Testify to Senate Panel on Russia Contacts United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Senate Committee on the Judiciary Senate Committee on Intelligence Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Cohen, Michael D (1966- )

Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index

The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The younger Mr. Trump’s congressional testimony in 2017 came two months after The New York Times revealed that he had set up a meeting at Trump Tower during the campaign with Russians after he was told they had damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. The information, he was told, was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“If it’s what you say I love it,” he responded at the time.

When The Times first revealed the existence of the Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump Jr. did not acknowledge that it had been set up to obtain damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. In a public statement, he said that the primary topic of the meeting was a program for American families to adopt Russian children that Moscow had ended years ago in response to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

His story changed several times. Eventually, he acknowledged that top campaign advisers had been eager for the Russian dirt on Mrs. Clinton and were disappointed that they did not get what the Russians had promised. Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, two top campaign aides, also attended the meeting.

Donald Trump Jr. also told Senate investigators in 2017 that he was only “peripherally aware” of his father’s efforts to build a Trump Tower Moscow in 2015 and 2016, in the midst of his campaign for president.

But Mr. Cohen said that he had told the younger Mr. Trump and his sister Ivanka Trump about the project “approximately” 10 times.

Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the extent of the Trump Tower Moscow project. He is now serving a three-year prison sentence.

Despite years of scrutiny by prosecutors and congressional investigators into his role on the 2016 campaign, the younger Mr. Trump has remained a fixture on the rally circuit and one of the most forceful defenders of his father’s presidency.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, two days after Mr. Cohen’s damning congressional testimony, he said the first two years of the Trump administration have been a “promises made, promises kept agenda.”

“He’s showing the world that when he says he’s going to do something, he means business,” he told an enthusiastic crowd.

And he had a piece of advice for the Department of Justice about the Mueller report, which had not been released.

“Put it all out there,” he said. “Don’t redact anything.”

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

Donald Trump Jr. Is Subpoenaed to Testify to Senate Panel on Russia Contacts

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, who met with Russians in June 2016 after being promised political dirt about Hillary Clinton, according to people familiar with the committee’s decision.

The Republican-led committee is particularly interested in the younger Mr. Trump’s account of the events surrounding that meeting — as well as his role in his father’s efforts to build a skyscraper in Moscow — and comparing the testimony to his previous answers to Senate investigators in 2017.

Donald Trump Jr. is the first of President Trump’s children to be subpoenaed in the continuing congressional investigations into Russia’s 2016 election interference, and the move is likely to intensify the ire of a president who has spent more than two years railing against the Russia inquiries.

Mr. Trump is a scion of President Trump’s global business empire and was one of his father’s close advisers during the election.

A lawyer for the younger Mr. Trump declined to comment.

The June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting was the main focus of investigators’ questions during Senate Judiciary Committee testimony the following year. Investigators were particularly interested in what — if anything — Mr. Trump told his father about what had transpired. Repeatedly, he told them that he said nothing to President Trump — either before the meeting or after.

“I wouldn’t have wasted his time with it,” he said.

But Michael D. Cohen, the president’s longtime lawyer, recalled being in a meeting at Trump Tower when Donald Trump Jr. told his father about a planned meeting “to obtain adverse information about Clinton,” according to the report by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, citing Mr. Cohen’s testimony.

“From the tenor of the conversation, Cohen believed that Trump Jr. had previously discussed the meeting with his father, although Cohen was not involved in any such conversation,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote.

The special counsel considered bringing charges against some of the participants in that meeting but ran up against questions about whether they knew the meeting might violate federal bans on foreign contributions to elections, the report said.

“On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful,” the report stated.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-document-promo-1555353284901-articleLarge-v8 Donald Trump Jr. Is Subpoenaed to Testify to Senate Panel on Russia Contacts United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Senate Committee on the Judiciary Senate Committee on Intelligence Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Cohen, Michael D (1966- )

Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index

The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The younger Mr. Trump’s congressional testimony in 2017 came two months after The New York Times revealed that he had set up a meeting at Trump Tower during the campaign with Russians after he was told they had damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. The information, he was told, was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“If it’s what you say I love it,” he responded at the time.

When The Times first revealed the existence of the Trump Tower meeting, Donald Trump Jr. did not acknowledge that it had been set up to obtain damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. In a public statement, he said that the primary topic of the meeting was a program for American families to adopt Russian children that Moscow had ended years ago in response to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration.

His story changed several times. Eventually, he acknowledged that top campaign advisers had been eager for the Russian dirt on Mrs. Clinton and were disappointed that they did not get what the Russians had promised. Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, two top campaign aides, also attended the meeting.

Donald Trump Jr. also told Senate investigators in 2017 that he was only “peripherally aware” of his father’s efforts to build a Trump Tower Moscow in 2015 and 2016, in the midst of his campaign for president.

But Mr. Cohen said that he had told the younger Mr. Trump and his sister Ivanka Trump about the project “approximately” 10 times.

Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the extent of the Trump Tower Moscow project. He is now serving a three-year prison sentence.

Despite years of scrutiny by prosecutors and congressional investigators into his role on the 2016 campaign, the younger Mr. Trump has remained a fixture on the rally circuit and one of the most forceful defenders of his father’s presidency.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, two days after Mr. Cohen’s damning congressional testimony, he said the first two years of the Trump administration have been a “promises made, promises kept agenda.”

“He’s showing the world that when he says he’s going to do something, he means business,” he told an enthusiastic crowd.

And he had a piece of advice for the Department of Justice about the Mueller report, which had not been released.

“Put it all out there,” he said. “Don’t redact anything.”

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

G.M. in Talks to Sell Lordstown Factory to Maker of Electric Vehicles

General Motors is aiming to sell a recently shuttered car factory in Ohio to a maker of electric trucks, news that President Trump touted on Twitter on Wednesday.

G.M. said in a statement that it was in discussions to sell the plant in Lordstown to a new business partly owned by the electric-truck maker, the Workhorse Group, and headed by that company’s founder and former chief executive. Workhorse would use the plant to produce electric pickup trucks.

G.M. said the deal had the potential to bring “significant” production and assembly jobs to the plant. The number, however, would likely be far fewer than the 1,200 who previously worked there given Workhorse’s size and output.

“We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone,” said Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chairwoman and chief executive, said in the statement. “Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”

Workhorse, a small company based near Cincinnati, makes battery-powered pickup trucks, delivery vans, drones and aircraft. Steve Burns, who founded Workhorse and stepped down as chief executive in February, will lead the business entity that acquires the Lordstown plant.

Hours before G.M. issued its statement, Mr. Trump hailed the news on Twitter.

“GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO! Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter, referring to the United Automobile Workers union.

The president added that General Motors planned to invest $700 million elsewhere in Ohio, a figure later confirmed by G.M. The company said the investment would come in three cities — Toledo, Parma and Moraine — creating about 450 manufacturing jobs.

Westlake Legal Group 04mag-gmworkers-slide-X9HJ-articleLarge-v3 G.M. in Talks to Sell Lordstown Factory to Maker of Electric Vehicles Workhorse Group Trump, Donald J Lordstown (Ohio) Layoffs and Job Reductions General Motors Factories and Manufacturing Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Automobiles

What Happens to a Factory Town When the Factory Shuts Down?

For more than 50 years, life in Lordstown, Ohio, revolved around the G.M. plant at the edge of town. In March, the plant ceased production. This is what their crisis looks like.

Mr. Trump has criticized the automaker for stopping production the Lordstown plant. In March, he demanded that G.M. reopen the factory or sell it “to a company who will open it up fast!”

During the 2016 election campaign, Mr. Trump promised to increase automotive jobs in the United States. Ohio, a state he carried, has been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

In halting the Lordstown plant’s output of the Chevrolet Cruze — G.M. said the factory had been “unallocated” — the company eliminated 1,200 jobs. Some 450 workers had been transferred to other G.M. factories as of last month. Sales of the Cruze have dwindled over the last few years as consumers gravitated away from small cars in favor of trucks and sport utility vehicles. Fiat Chrysler stopped making midsize sedans and small cars in response to trend. G.M. and Ford are making similar changes.

G.M. said it was discussing its Lordstown plans with the U.A.W. The union on Wednesday called on the company to resume operations at the Ohio plant. “General Motors should assign a product to the Lordstown facility and continue operating it,” Terry Dittes, the union’s vice president, said in a statement.

G.M. and the U.A.W. are scheduled to start talks on a new labor contract in July. Automakers have in the past agreed to plant commitments in exchange for cost reductions from the union.

Workhorse is a small company, employing 98 full-time employees and reporting just $364,000 in revenue in the first quarter, according to recent financial reports. The company was founded in 1998 to take over production of delivery vans that G.M. had dropped from its lineup. Workhorse was acquired by Navistar in 2005 and began producing electric vans. Navistar later sold Workhorse to AMP Holding, which changed its name to Workhorse Group after the acquisition.

The company’s customers include UPS and FedEx, and it has several thousand orders for its electric trucks. It is hoping to win a contract to supply delivery vehicles to the United States Postal Service.

But Workhorse has struggled financially while preparing to increase production. In January it borrowed $35 million from a hedge fund, Marathon Asset Management.

Its stock was up about 90 percent on Wednesday afternoon.

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Trump Is Pushing Democrats to the Brink. Look at Elijah Cummings.

WASHINGTON — Even after President Trump sued him last month to keep his business records secret, Representative Elijah E. Cummings kept his cool and urged Congress to move slowly on impeachment. But with Mr. Trump manning a full-scale blockade of Democrats’ access to documents and witnesses, the ordinarily careful Democrat is, like the rest of his caucus, growing impatient.

“It sounds like he’s asking us to impeach him,” Mr. Cummings, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and a top lieutenant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in an interview last week. Ticking off all the ways Mr. Trump is stonewalling Congress, he added, “He puts us in a position where we at least have to look at it.”

Mr. Cummings’s remarks, which have been echoed by Ms. Pelosi, represent a significant shift for top Democrats, who have been trying to maneuver carefully around the impeachment issue. But with Mr. Trump standing in the way of their investigations — on Wednesday he asserted executive privilege over the unredacted version of the special counsel’s report and on Tuesday he tried to block the former White House counsel from handing over documents — their strategy of holding impeachment-like hearings without declaring a formal impeachment process is looking like a dead end.

The frustration is showing.

Mr. Cummings called the White House effort to block multiple lines of inquiry “far worse than Watergate.” He sees a “constitutional crisis” that even the founding fathers did not envision when they created the system of checks and balances that has kept American democracy intact.

“They put up strong guardrails, saying, ‘O.K., this will keep America on course. It will not allow us to deviate from our democratic values,’” Mr. Cummings said. “But the one thing they did not anticipate was that we would have an administration that came in and threw away the guardrails.”

With Mr. Trump vowing to fight “all the subpoenas,” Democrats appear to be struggling to come up with a strategy to enforce them. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on whether to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide Democrats an unredacted version of the report by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152969244_30e795e6-7e17-42e0-9321-696a4b585b32-articleLarge Trump Is Pushing Democrats to the Brink. Look at Elijah Cummings. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J impeachment House of Representatives House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Democratic Party Cummings, Elijah E

Mr. Cummings and Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio and the oversight panel’s top Republican, last month during a meeting in Washington.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

If the resolution passes, it would be the first time Democrats have moved to punish a Trump administration official for blocking a congressional inquiry. Mr. Cummings said party leaders would “look at all the tools that we have in our toolbox — even inherent contempt” — a reference to the congressional power, last used in the 1930s, to jail uncooperative witnesses.

Would he exercise that authority against Mr. Trump?

“I didn’t say that. I said we were studying,” Mr. Cummings snapped. “Don’t put words in my mouth.”

As chairman of the oversight panel, Mr. Cummings has sweeping power to investigate Mr. Trump and his administration, and just about anything else he finds compelling or of societal interest. In decades past, the panel has often operated in a bipartisan way. In 2005, for instance, it investigated the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.

Its current inquiries run mostly along partisan lines. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the committee’s top Republican, accuses Mr. Cummings and his fellow Democrats of being “much more focused on going after the president than they are with trying to work with Republicans.”

In addition to policy matters like the high cost of prescription drugs and military suicides, Mr. Cummings is looking at whether Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary, was truthful in explaining why he added a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Mr. Cummings is also examining the accusations of a whistle-blower who has told the committee that senior Trump administration officials granted security clearances to at least 25 individuals whose applications had been denied by career employees for “disqualifying issues.”

But the move that really rankled Mr. Trump was Mr. Cummings’s decision to subpoena 10 years of the president’s financial records. The president is seeking to quash the subpoena; oral arguments are scheduled for next week in Federal District Court here.

Mr. Cummings with a supporter after winning a Democratic primary race in 1996 in Maryland.CreditMaureen Keating/CQ Roll Call, via Getty Images

At 68, Mr. Cummings is in his 13th term serving as a representative for Maryland. He can often be found in the Speaker’s Lobby outside the House chamber, fielding reporters’ questions or quietly reading in the motorized wheelchair that he has been using after a series of health problems, including a knee infection that landed him in the hospital last year for several months.

A son of South Carolina sharecroppers who moved to Baltimore and later became preachers, Mr. Cummings last grabbed the national spotlight in 2015, when he took to the streets, bullhorn in hand, to plead for calm after riots erupted in his neighborhood after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died in police custody. (Mr. Cummings had delivered a eulogy.)

He is a spiritual man, which comes through in the speeches he delivers in his booming baritone voice. When the president’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, testified before his committee in February, Mr. Cummings’s closing statement brought the room to a hush. “We have got to get back to normal!” he cried.

“He tells us all that this is the fight of our lives,” said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland. “He has a sense of destiny about this moment.”

That sense may stem from his health challenges; when he was in the hospital for two months in 2017 after complications from a heart valve replacement, Mr. Cummings was convinced, he said, that he was “living on borrowed time.” He likes to tell the story of how one day, when he was in so much pain he thought he might faint, a hospital worker turned up at his bedside, saying the Lord had sent her to deliver a message: “I’m just trying to get your attention. I’m not done with you.”

In the Capitol, Mr. Cummings tends to reserve his voice for occasions that warrant it. He is not a fixture on the Sunday talk shows and is careful never to criticize Mr. Trump in personal terms. He prides himself on his friendship with Republicans, including Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.CreditJustin T. Gellerson for The New York Times

“He is not a bomb thrower, he’s not a shrill person, he is smart as hell and he is thorough and careful,” said Norman J. Ornstein, an expert on Congress at the American Enterprise Institute.

Republicans have generally held him in high regard, though that may be changing. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who led the committee before retiring in 2017, calls Mr. Cummings “a good man with a big heart.” But he and Mr. Jordan both accused Mr. Cummings of overreaching, and of using his committee to run a partisan fishing expedition into Mr. Trump’s activities before he became president.

“I think he’s got a lot of external pressures from Speaker Pelosi and others to maybe do some things he wouldn’t naturally do himself,” Mr. Chaffetz said.

The request for financial records grew out of the hearing with Mr. Cohen, who reported to federal prison on Monday to begin serving his sentence for crimes including lying to Congress and arranging hush money payments on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Mr. Cohen called the president a “con man” and a “cheat” who had intentionally misrepresented his assets and liabilities. Republicans say Mr. Cohen perjured himself.

“Ten years of business records based on Michael Cohen’s testimony?” Mr. Jordan asked. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Mr. Cummings said the committee has every right to the records to investigate “various conflicts of interest” and whether Mr. Trump has used the presidency to advance his business interests.

“If there’s nothing,” he said, “there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

But more than that, he said, there is a principle to uphold: “One thing I do know is that this issue of being blocked, with regard to access to personnel and access to information, it is a struggle that we cannot afford to lose.”

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Trump Defends $1.17 Billion in Losses as Just for ‘Tax Purposes’

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-trumptax-facebookJumbo Trump Defends $1.17 Billion in Losses as Just for ‘Tax Purposes’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Tax Returns Taxation tax evasion Internal Revenue Service Federal Taxes (US)

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Wednesday defended the more than $1 billion he reported in business losses between 1985 and 1994, a previously undisclosed amount revealed in a New York Times investigation, as a best practice that other real estate developers had also used.

Yet even as he tried to explain in a pair of Twitter posts that showing “losses for tax purposes” was considered a “sport” among real estate developers like himself, the president also said The Times’s account was “a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job!”

[Read The Times’s investigation here.]

It was not immediately clear what specifically in The Times investigation Mr. Trump disputed.

The article reported the staggering figure of $1.17 billion in losses between 1985 and 1994, an amount calculated from 10 years of his tax information obtained by The Times. It also raised questions about the image that Mr. Trump presented of himself, and whether he is a tarnished, not triumphant, businessman. In some years, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than any other single taxpayer among an I.R.S. sampling of high earners. Mr. Trump has portrayed himself as a self-made billionaire and master deal maker.

The new details about the president’s steep financial losses provide the fullest picture yet of his taxes. And his defense of the losses that he reported in the 1980s and 1990s will fuel House Democrats in their fight to get his tax returns for the past six years.

Mr. Trump has refused to release his tax returns, bucking a common practice of presidential candidates for the past four decades. Earlier this week, the Treasury Department announced it would not release the tax returns despite a formal request from House Democrats, kicking off a legal battle that will likely go to the Supreme Court.

Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said the revelations about Mr. Trump’s losses were shocking.

“Trump was perhaps the worst businessman in the world,” said Mr. Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has broad authority to ask for the tax returns of any taxpayer. “His entire campaign was a lie. He didn’t pay taxes for years and lost over $1 billion — how is that possible? How did he keep getting more money and where on earth was it all going? We need to know now.”

Mr. Pascrell insisted that the I.R.S. comply with his committee’s request. “We now have another part of the truth,” he said. “We need a lot more.”

During a weekly meeting with reporters on Wednesday, the House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, said the new details bolstered Democrats’ demand for Mr. Trump’s tax returns. He dismissed Mr. Trump’s longtime excuse that he was unable to release them because they were under audit.

“Presumably any time they get a piece of paper from Donald Trump, they put it under audit,” he said.

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The Subpoena and Contempt Fight Between Trump and Congress, Explained

Updated May 8, 2019

WASHINGTON — President Trump invoked executive privilege for the first time in his presidency on Wednesday to justify shielding the full Mueller report from Congress, even as the House Judiciary Committee considered whether to recommend holding Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt for defying its subpoena for the document.

The clash brings to a head the first of a series of fights over the scope and limits of Congress’s power to obtain information that the president wants to keep secret from lawmakers. More are coming: Mr. Trump has

has vowed to resist “all” subpoenas issued by House Democrats in their oversight investigations. And Mr. Trump has sued his banks and the House Oversight Committee to block subpoenas for his financial records held by his accountants and financial firms.

The strategy of unabashedly stonewalling Democrats’ oversight investigations raises the question of what lawmakers can do about it — and whether, even if they ultimately prevail, the court fight will take so long that the Trump team will run out the clock before the next election.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution gives Congress broad authority to investigate matters of national interest as it considers what laws to pass.

That power “includes surveys of defects in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling the Congress to remedy them,” justices have written. “It comprehends probes into departments of the federal government to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste.”

This oversight role, courts have said, includes the power to issue subpoenas compelling people and organizations to turn over documents or testify, even if they do not want to comply.

They can vote to hold someone who defies a subpoena in contempt of Congress. First, the committee that issued the subpoena would vote to recommend that step — the move the Judiciary Committee was considering on Wednesday — and then the full House of Representatives would vote on whether to do so. Just one chamber can do this, so it does not matter that Republicans control the Senate.

On paper, defying a congressional subpoena for testimony or documents is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by one to 12 months in jail. But in practice, this law is generally toothless in disputes between Congress and the executive branch. Invoking prosecutorial discretion, the Justice Department can decline to charge an official who defies a subpoena at the president’s direction.

In theory, yes, but this is outdated. Historically, Congress has exercised “inherent contempt” authority to detain recalcitrant witnesses until the end of its session. But Congress has not tried to use that authority since 1935.

Congress lacks any prison for holding someone in long-term detention, and trying to use its limited security forces to arrest an executive branch official could provoke a dangerous standoff. While some lawmakers have talked about instead imposing a fine, there is no precedent for that, according to the Congressional Research Service, and it is not clear how the House could enforce that penalty.

Congress could ask a federal judge to enforce its subpoena — and declare witnesses who defy any judicial order to provide the information to Congress in contempt of court. If the Justice Department declines to prosecute someone for contempt of court, judges can appoint special prosecutors to bring the case instead. Still, Mr. Trump could pre-emptively pardon such defendants.

No. For one thing, the Supreme Court has said there must be a link between the information and a legitimate task of Congress, like weighing whether a new law is needed. Lawmakers cannot use their subpoena power and expose private affairs simply to aggrandize investigators or punish a target.

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Read the Mueller Report: Searchable Document and Index

The findings from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, are now available to the public. The redacted report details his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

In seeking Mr. Trump’s financial records, Congress has said it is studying whether legal reforms are needed to curb the potential problem of clandestine foreign influence on the American political process. Mr. Trump’s lawyers maintain that Democrats are just looking for dirt.

Even if lawmakers are conducting a legitimate investigation, it is not a crime to defy a subpoena if there is a legal basis to do so. For example, it is not a crime to refuse to answer questions under one’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Mr. Barr has argued that the law prohibits him from showing secret grand-jury information gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to lawmakers, citing federal rules of criminal procedure that generally restrict sharing such data with outsiders absent a court order. Mr. Barr has also declined to ask the federal judge supervising that grand jury, Judge Beryl A. Howell, for an order permitting him to share that information with Congress.

Yes, and the House may soon ask Judge Howell to issue an order permitting its members access to grand-jury information from the special counsel investigation. It is not clear whether Mr. Barr would then direct the Justice Department to remain neutral, or instead to oppose the request — and, if Judge Howell agrees to issue such an order, file an appeal of that ruling.

Whether anyone is in a position to appeal such an order is important because the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently issued a ruling that put forward a narrow view of when courts may let outsiders to see grand jury information. Judge Howell, a former Senate Judiciary Committee staff lawyer, may be more inclined to find that Congress has a right to access such material.

A valid assertion of executive privilege by the president can also provide a basis to lawfully defy a subpoena, so Mr. Trump’s invocation of it gives Mr. Barr an argument and a shield as the matter moves toward a likely court fight.

The Supreme Court has ruled that presidents have the authority keep secret certain internal communications, including discussions with aides about how to carry out their constitutional duties. The lines are murky between where Congress’s power stops and the president’s begins, in part because such disputes are usually resolved through compromises rather than definitive rulings.

Notably, judges have said they want to see the two branches engage in good-faith negotiations to find a compromise that accommodates the constitutional needs of each, so Mr. Trump’s overt stonewalling may undermine the executive branch’s position when some of these disputes get into court.

But in the exchange of letters between the Trump administration and the Judiciary Committee leading up to Wednesday’s vote and invocation, the executive branch argued that it was trying to make accommodations in good faith about the Mueller report, so it was Congress that was being unreasonable.

The Trump administration had offered to let a small number of congressional leaders read a less-redacted version of the report that would permit them to see information related to, for example, ongoing investigations and cases, although not the grand-jury material.

But the Justice Department insisted that they sign nondisclosure agreements and take no notes away with them, so they would not be able to discuss what they saw even with other members of the Judiciary Committee. Democrats said that offer was insufficient.

Even when executive privilege might provide a legal basis to defy a subpoena, courts have ruled that presidents can lose that shield in circumstances where the privilege was waived by sharing that previously confidential information with outsiders.

For example, in 1997, an appeals court ruled that the Clinton administration waived the privilege over documents that it permitted a personal lawyer for an executive branch official to see. And in 2016, a Federal District Court judge ruled that the Obama administration had waived the privilege over documents that were described and quoted in a public inspector general report.

Those precedents could pose a challenge for the Trump administration to keep Congress from receiving documents related to the special counsel investigation, or to keep it from subpoenaing testimony from Mr. Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, a witness in several potential obstruction-of-justice episodes detailed in the portions of Mr. Mueller’s report that Mr. Barr made public.

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See Which Witnesses the Mueller Report Relied on Most

A partially redacted report of the special counsel’s findings released on Thursday cited interviews with 43 individuals at least 10 times.

It could take months or years if Mr. Trump is determined to put up a fight over such issues for every subpoena, appealing any losses all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Nuclear Deal Traps E.U. Between Iran and U.S.

BRUSSELS — As the divide widens between the United States and Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal, the European Union finds itself trapped between them, with no easy or quick way to respond to its dilemma.

President Trump pulled out of the deal, which the European Union championed and which three key European allies of the United States — Britain, Germany and France — all continue to support. The United States has reinstated punishing sanctions intended to disrupt Iranian oil exports and trade.

The Europeans have been trying, without much success, to come up with a way to compensate for the American sanctions and protect trade with Iran, mollifying Tehran and salvaging the agreement’s limits on the Iranian nuclear program.

But on Wednesday, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would scale back some of its commitments to the deal. In a carefully calibrated speech, he said Iran would retain its enriched uranium and heavy water rather than selling them to other nations while remaining, for now, within the limits prescribed in the nuclear deal.

But Mr. Rouhani warned that Iran could resume high-level uranium enrichment if the remaining signatories — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — did not make good, in the next 60 days, on promises to shield its oil and banking sectors from American penalties. He also hinted that Iran could do less to block migrants and drugs from entering Europe.

There was little immediate response from European leaders to Mr. Rouhani’s statement on Wednesday. But they have sharply criticized American actions, which many consider aimed at overthrowing the Iranian government, despite denials from Washington.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_146317929_db04d721-85f5-4b0c-94ec-d635acd06216-articleLarge Nuclear Deal Traps E.U. Between Iran and U.S. United States International Relations Trump, Donald J Rouhani, Hassan Nuclear Weapons Iran European Union Europe Embargoes and Sanctions

An Iranian offshore oil platform. Mr. Rouhani said Iran could resume high-level uranium enrichment if its oil and banking sectors were not protected.CreditAli Mohammedi/Bloomberg

The Europeans have been working on a limited way around American sanctions that would allow European companies to do a kind of barter trade with Iran without using the dollar or ordinary banks. Set up by Germany, Britain and France, the mechanism, called Instex, or “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges,” is in its initial stages, and relied on Iran setting up a similar system, which happened only at the end of April.

But so far even Instex has only been seen as a way to trade in items not covered by American sanctions, including medical goods, food and humanitarian aid. And there is no indication that European companies, which do far more trade with the United States than with Iran, will want to use Instex and risk being punished somehow by Washington.

“Instex was never thought of as economically efficient,” said Pierre Vimont, the former executive secretary-general of the European External Action Service, the European Union’s foreign affairs and defense agency. “It was always considered a political answer to underline to Iran that we, like Russia and China, are still committed to the nuclear deal.”

At the same time, the Europeans have been trying to negotiate with both Washington and Tehran on how to restrain Iran’s non-nuclear and anti-Israel activities, like its ballistic missile program and support for terrorism and for regional actors like the Syrian government, Hezbollah and Hamas. It is the nuclear deal’s failure to have covered these other activities that Mr. Trump has said made it “the worst” in history.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suddenly postponed meetings with top German leaders on Tuesday to fly to Iraq to respond to what he said were increased but unspecified dangers to Americans there from Iran’s forces and allies. But some Europeans wondered why he could not have seen the German chancellor and foreign minister, Angela Merkel and Heiko Maas, before rushing to Baghdad for a few hours before traveling to London.

Colin Kahl, writing in Foreign Policy, suggested that the Trump Administration is seeking military confrontation with Iran and even heading toward war. Mr. Kahl, who was national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, highlighted a statement from John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, that Washington would deploy a carrier strike group along with a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf, “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

The United States, Mr. Bolton continued, “is not seeking war with the Iranian regime” but is “fully prepared to respond to any attack.” Mr. Kahl called that a provocation to Iran.

Iranians shopping in Tehran.The Europeans have been working on a way around American sanctions.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

Russia, less dependent on the American banking system and under its own set of sanctions from Washington, has promised to keep trading with Iran, as has China, which has been Iran’s main buyer of oil. But it is not clear how significant that trade is or how far China will want to test Washington while engaged in sensitive trade talks.

Nor is it clear how Europeans will be able to protect the Iranian banking system or its oil trade, especially now that Washington, as of May 1, has canceled waivers that permitted some countries to buy Iranian oil.

That move was sharply criticized by the European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in a statement on Saturday, which also noted that Iran continued to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal.

In Paris, France’s defense minister, Florence Parly, said on Wednesday that France wanted to keep the nuclear deal alive but warned Iran that it could face more sanctions if it did not honor its part of the deal. “Today nothing would be worse than Iran, itself, leaving this agreement,” she told BFM TV.

The Latvian foreign minister, Edgars Rinkevics, said on Twitter that Iran’s decision “will negatively impact global and regional security,” and that as a signatory to the deal, the “European Union must discuss this development and respond adequately.”

Though not on the official agenda, Iran is likely to be discussed at a European Union summit meeting tomorrow in Sibiu, Romania, a session devoted to the union’s future.

But the Europeans are divided, with some countries unwilling to confront President Trump on an issue “that is such a priority for the U.S. administration,” Mr. Vimont said.

It’s not clear that Europe can respond sufficiently in any case. “What kind of initiative is there to get out of this?” Mr. Vimont asked. “I don’t see one.”

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