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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 98)

Court Orders F.B.I. to Fix National Security Wiretaps After Damning Report

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165689457_68b5fa1d-845f-4bda-96be-4db849961c9b-facebookJumbo Court Orders F.B.I. to Fix National Security Wiretaps After Damning Report Wiretapping and Other Eavesdropping Devices and Methods United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Surveillance of Citizens by Government Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Page, Carter Justice Department Inspectors General Horowitz, Michael E Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Collyer, Rosemary M

WASHINGTON — A secretive federal court accused the F.B.I. on Tuesday of misleading it about the factual basis for wiretapping a former Trump campaign adviser and ordered the bureau to propose changes in how investigators seek permission for some national security surveillance.

In an extraordinary public order, the presiding judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, gave the F.B.I. a Jan. 10 deadline to come up with a proposal. It was the first public response from the court to the scathing findings released last week by the Justice Department’s independent inspector general about the wiretapping of the former Trump adviser, Carter Page, as part of the Russia investigation.

“The frequency with which representations made by F.B.I. personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other F.B.I. applications is reliable,” Judge Collyer wrote.

The court “expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing,” she added.

While the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, debunked the claims by President Trump and his allies that senior F.B.I. officials were part of a political conspiracy, his investigation also exposed a litany of errors and inaccuracies by which case agents cherry-picked the evidence about Mr. Page as they sought permission to eavesdrop on his calls and emails.

The order specifies no particular reforms for the bureau’s policies for seeking permission to wiretap people under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. But it indicated that the court will weigh in on whether the F.B.I.’s proposals are sufficient.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week about the report’s findings, the chairman of the panel, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, addressed the FISA court directly, telling the judges that they needed to take steps to preserve political support for the national security surveillance system.

“The FISA system, to survive, has to be reformed,” Mr. Graham said. “To the FISA court: We’re looking to you to take corrective action. If you take corrective action, that will give us some confidence that you should stick around. If you don’t, it’s going to be hurtful to the future of the court, and I think all of us are now thinking differently about checks and balances in that regard.”

Mr. Horowitz suggested several changes. He recommended that the F.B.I. overhaul the forms used to ask the Justice Department to submit a FISA request or renewal to ensure they identify any information that cuts against suspicions about a target; surface any reasons to be skeptical about an informant whose information is included; and require agents and supervisors to reverify factual assertions repeated from prior applications when they seek renewals.

In a statement issued when the report was released, the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said he accepted Mr. Horowitz’s findings and embraced the need to make changes. He said he was ordering “concrete changes” to ensure that that FISA process was “more stringent and less susceptible to mistake or inaccuracy.”

Among the other ideas floated by reform proponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union: appointing a third party to critique the government’s cases for wiretapping people, at least in sensitive investigations, or allowing defense lawyers with security clearances to see the government’s evidence presented to the FISA court on those rare occasions when it is used to prosecute a suspect.

Mr. Horowitz has already begun an audit of other, unrelated FISA applications to see whether there is a broader pattern of problems in how the F.B.I. is portraying the evidence about suspects. Another possibility for reform is that going forward, the bureau’s general counsel could oversee recurring audits of a random sampling of FISA applications, so that case agents will always have to take into account that someone may later second-guess their work.

In his report, Mr. Horowitz scrutinized the four applications that the Justice Department submitted between October 2016 and June 2017 to wiretap Mr. Page, whom F.B.I. agents suspected might be a conduit between the Trump campaign and Russia during its covert operation to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

The review uncovered a deeply dysfunctional and flawed process riddled with inaccuracies and material omissions. Investigators highlighted facts that made Mr. Page look suspicious while failing to mention potentially exculpatory ones, and when they sought to renew the wiretap, they failed to correct earlier statements whose credibility had since come under serious question, the report found.

Justice Department lawyers who deal directly with the FISA court passed that misleading portrait onto the judges. While Mr. Horowitz’s findings placed most of the direct blame on a handful of case agents and their supervisors who worked directly with the raw evidence, his report also blamed senior officials for permitting a culture in which such actions could happen.

The report said Mr. Horowitz’s investigators had found no evidence that political bias against Mr. Trump was behind the problems — as opposed to apolitical confirmation bias, gross incompetence or negligence. But the inspector general said the explanation the F.B.I. offered — that the agents had been busy with other aspects of the Russia investigation, and the Page FISA was a minor part of those responsibilities — was unsatisfactory.

Congress enacted FISA in 1978 to regulate the government’s use of domestic surveillance for national-security investigations — those aimed at monitoring suspected spies and terrorists — as opposed to ordinary criminal cases. The law sets up a special court, made up of 11 sitting district court judges who are selected to serve staggered terms by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and decide whether the evidence shows a target is probably a foreign agent.

In 2018, government records show, the court only fully denied one of 1,080 final applications submitted under FISA to conduct electronic surveillance. However, the court also demanded unspecified modifications to 119 of those applications before approving them. There were 1,833 targets of FISA orders, including 232 Americans, that year.

National-security wiretaps are more secretive than ordinary criminal ones. When criminal wiretap orders end, their targets are usually notified that their privacy has been invaded. But the targets of FISA orders are usually not told that their phone calls and emails have been monitored, or that their homes or businesses have been searched.

And when people are prosecuted for crimes based on evidence derived from ordinary criminal wiretaps, the defendants and their lawyers are usually allowed to see what the government told judges about them to win approval for that surveillance, giving them the opportunity to argue that investigators made mistakes and the evidence should be suppressed.

But defense lawyers, even those with security clearances, are not shown FISA applications for their clients. As a result, there is no prospect of second-guessing in an adversarial court setting to keep F.B.I. agents scrupulous about how they portray the evidence when seeking to persuade FISA judges to sign off on putting a target under surveillance.

In the absence of that disciplining factor, the Justice Department and F.B.I. have developed internal procedures that are supposed to make sure that the evidence presented in FISA applications is accurate and includes any facts that might undercut the government’s case. But that system failed in the Page wiretaps, Mr. Horowitz’s report showed.

At the Senate hearing, one of the rare areas of agreement between Republicans and Democrats was the need for change to the FISA system. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who has unsuccessfully proposed legislation to tighten restrictions on national-security surveillance in the past, said he welcomed the moment.

“I hope my Republican colleagues who have been so vocal and vehement about the dangers of potential FISA abuses will join me in looking forward and reform of that court,” Mr. Blumenthal said, adding: “I hope that we can come together on a bipartisan basis to reform the FISA process.”

Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

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

Court Orders F.B.I. to Fix National Security Wiretaps After Damning Report

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165689457_68b5fa1d-845f-4bda-96be-4db849961c9b-facebookJumbo Court Orders F.B.I. to Fix National Security Wiretaps After Damning Report Wiretapping and Other Eavesdropping Devices and Methods United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Surveillance of Citizens by Government Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Page, Carter Justice Department Inspectors General Horowitz, Michael E Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Collyer, Rosemary M

WASHINGTON — A secretive federal court accused the F.B.I. on Tuesday of misleading it about the factual basis for wiretapping a former Trump campaign adviser and ordered the bureau to propose changes in how investigators seek permission for some national security surveillance.

In an extraordinary public order, the presiding judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Rosemary M. Collyer, gave the F.B.I. a Jan. 10 deadline to come up with a proposal. It was the first public response from the court to the scathing findings released last week by the Justice Department’s independent inspector general about the wiretapping of the former Trump adviser, Carter Page, as part of the Russia investigation.

“The frequency with which representations made by F.B.I. personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other F.B.I. applications is reliable,” Judge Collyer wrote.

The court “expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing,” she added.

While the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, debunked the claims by President Trump and his allies that senior F.B.I. officials were part of a political conspiracy, his investigation also exposed a litany of errors and inaccuracies by which case agents cherry-picked the evidence about Mr. Page as they sought permission to eavesdrop on his calls and emails.

The order specifies no particular reforms for the bureau’s policies for seeking permission to wiretap people under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. But it indicated that the court will weigh in on whether the F.B.I.’s proposals are sufficient.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week about the report’s findings, the chairman of the panel, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, addressed the FISA court directly, telling the judges that they needed to take steps to preserve political support for the national security surveillance system.

“The FISA system, to survive, has to be reformed,” Mr. Graham said. “To the FISA court: We’re looking to you to take corrective action. If you take corrective action, that will give us some confidence that you should stick around. If you don’t, it’s going to be hurtful to the future of the court, and I think all of us are now thinking differently about checks and balances in that regard.”

Mr. Horowitz suggested several changes. He recommended that the F.B.I. overhaul the forms used to ask the Justice Department to submit a FISA request or renewal to ensure they identify any information that cuts against suspicions about a target; surface any reasons to be skeptical about an informant whose information is included; and require agents and supervisors to reverify factual assertions repeated from prior applications when they seek renewals.

In a statement issued when the report was released, the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, said he accepted Mr. Horowitz’s findings and embraced the need to make changes. He said he was ordering “concrete changes” to ensure that that FISA process was “more stringent and less susceptible to mistake or inaccuracy.”

Among the other ideas floated by reform proponents, including the American Civil Liberties Union: appointing a third party to critique the government’s cases for wiretapping people, at least in sensitive investigations, or allowing defense lawyers with security clearances to see the government’s evidence presented to the FISA court on those rare occasions when it is used to prosecute a suspect.

Mr. Horowitz has already begun an audit of other, unrelated FISA applications to see whether there is a broader pattern of problems in how the F.B.I. is portraying the evidence about suspects. Another possibility for reform is that going forward, the bureau’s general counsel could oversee recurring audits of a random sampling of FISA applications, so that case agents will always have to take into account that someone may later second-guess their work.

In his report, Mr. Horowitz scrutinized the four applications that the Justice Department submitted between October 2016 and June 2017 to wiretap Mr. Page, whom F.B.I. agents suspected might be a conduit between the Trump campaign and Russia during its covert operation to manipulate the 2016 presidential election.

The review uncovered a deeply dysfunctional and flawed process riddled with inaccuracies and material omissions. Investigators highlighted facts that made Mr. Page look suspicious while failing to mention potentially exculpatory ones, and when they sought to renew the wiretap, they failed to correct earlier statements whose credibility had since come under serious question, the report found.

Justice Department lawyers who deal directly with the FISA court passed that misleading portrait onto the judges. While Mr. Horowitz’s findings placed most of the direct blame on a handful of case agents and their supervisors who worked directly with the raw evidence, his report also blamed senior officials for permitting a culture in which such actions could happen.

The report said Mr. Horowitz’s investigators had found no evidence that political bias against Mr. Trump was behind the problems — as opposed to apolitical confirmation bias, gross incompetence or negligence. But the inspector general said the explanation the F.B.I. offered — that the agents had been busy with other aspects of the Russia investigation, and the Page FISA was a minor part of those responsibilities — was unsatisfactory.

Congress enacted FISA in 1978 to regulate the government’s use of domestic surveillance for national-security investigations — those aimed at monitoring suspected spies and terrorists — as opposed to ordinary criminal cases. The law sets up a special court, made up of 11 sitting district court judges who are selected to serve staggered terms by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, and decide whether the evidence shows a target is probably a foreign agent.

In 2018, government records show, the court only fully denied one of 1,080 final applications submitted under FISA to conduct electronic surveillance. However, the court also demanded unspecified modifications to 119 of those applications before approving them. There were 1,833 targets of FISA orders, including 232 Americans, that year.

National-security wiretaps are more secretive than ordinary criminal ones. When criminal wiretap orders end, their targets are usually notified that their privacy has been invaded. But the targets of FISA orders are usually not told that their phone calls and emails have been monitored, or that their homes or businesses have been searched.

And when people are prosecuted for crimes based on evidence derived from ordinary criminal wiretaps, the defendants and their lawyers are usually allowed to see what the government told judges about them to win approval for that surveillance, giving them the opportunity to argue that investigators made mistakes and the evidence should be suppressed.

But defense lawyers, even those with security clearances, are not shown FISA applications for their clients. As a result, there is no prospect of second-guessing in an adversarial court setting to keep F.B.I. agents scrupulous about how they portray the evidence when seeking to persuade FISA judges to sign off on putting a target under surveillance.

In the absence of that disciplining factor, the Justice Department and F.B.I. have developed internal procedures that are supposed to make sure that the evidence presented in FISA applications is accurate and includes any facts that might undercut the government’s case. But that system failed in the Page wiretaps, Mr. Horowitz’s report showed.

At the Senate hearing, one of the rare areas of agreement between Republicans and Democrats was the need for change to the FISA system. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, who has unsuccessfully proposed legislation to tighten restrictions on national-security surveillance in the past, said he welcomed the moment.

“I hope my Republican colleagues who have been so vocal and vehement about the dangers of potential FISA abuses will join me in looking forward and reform of that court,” Mr. Blumenthal said, adding: “I hope that we can come together on a bipartisan basis to reform the FISA process.”

Adam Goldman contributed reporting.

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

Trump Denounces ‘Partisan Impeachment Crusade’ on Eve of House Vote

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday denounced what he called a “partisan impeachment crusade” being waged against him by Democrats, calling the effort to remove him an unconstitutional abuse of power and an “attempted coup” that would come back to haunt them at the ballot box next year.

“I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election,” Mr. Trump wrote in a rambling, six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent on the eve of House votes to impeach him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. “They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power.”

Mr. Trump wrote that he knew his letter would not change the outcome of Wednesday’s votes, expected to occur almost entirely on party lines, to impeach him. But he said the missive was “for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.”

The president angrily disputed both impeachment charges against him in the letter, saying he had done nothing wrong and asserting that Ms. Pelosi and her allies were using the Constitution to attack him for the successful policies he had implemented.

Westlake Legal Group trump-pelosi-letter-1576612247421-articleLarge-v2 Trump Denounces ‘Partisan Impeachment Crusade’ on Eve of House Vote Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Mulvaney, Mick McConnell, Mitch Bolton, John R

Read Trump’s Letter to Pelosi Protesting Impeachment

President Trump sent a letter on Tuesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing his “most powerful protest” against the impeachment process. The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump on Wednesday.

“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” Mr. Trump wrote.

“History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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

Trump Denounces ‘Partisan Impeachment Crusade’ on Eve of House Vote

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Tuesday denounced what he called a “partisan impeachment crusade” being waged against him by Democrats, calling the effort to remove him an unconstitutional abuse of power and an “attempted coup” that would come back to haunt them at the ballot box next year.

“I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election,” Mr. Trump wrote in a rambling, six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent on the eve of House votes to impeach him on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. “They will not soon forgive your perversion of justice and abuse of power.”

Mr. Trump wrote that he knew his letter would not change the outcome of Wednesday’s votes, expected to occur almost entirely on party lines, to impeach him. But he said the missive was “for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.”

The president angrily disputed both impeachment charges against him in the letter, saying he had done nothing wrong and asserting that Ms. Pelosi and her allies were using the Constitution to attack him for the successful policies he had implemented.

Westlake Legal Group trump-pelosi-letter-1576612247421-articleLarge-v2 Trump Denounces ‘Partisan Impeachment Crusade’ on Eve of House Vote Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Mulvaney, Mick McConnell, Mitch Bolton, John R

Read Trump’s Letter to Pelosi Protesting Impeachment

President Trump sent a letter on Tuesday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressing his “most powerful protest” against the impeachment process. The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump on Wednesday.

“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” Mr. Trump wrote.

“History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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

William Taylor, Top Diplomat in Ukraine and Key Impeachment Witness, Is Stepping Down

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-taylor-facebookJumbo William Taylor, Top Diplomat in Ukraine and Key Impeachment Witness, Is Stepping Down Ukraine Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Taylor, William B Jr impeachment

WASHINGTON — William B. Taylor Jr., the top American diplomat in Ukraine who described for Congress and the public what he saw as President Trump’s efforts to pressure Kyiv to go after a political rival, is expected to leave his post at the end of the year.

A person familiar with the planning said Mr. Taylor was leaving because his temporary appointment to Ukraine last June is set to expire. Under the Vacancies Act, political appointees in an acting position can hold office only for about 200 days.

Mr. Taylor, a longtime diplomat, was asked to come out of retirement after the former United States ambassador to Kyiv, Marie L. Yovanovitch, was ousted for resisting a shadow foreign policy campaign in Ukraine that was run by Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

But Mr. Taylor also was pulled into what he called an “irregular channel” involving some of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Mr. Taylor was one of the most senior State Department officials to openly challenge White House plans to withhold $391 million in security aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Mr. Zelensky to publicly commit to investigating Mr. Trump’s political opponents.

Doing so would be “crazy,” Mr. Taylor wrote in a Sept. 9 text to Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union. Mr. Taylor also threatened to quit if Ukrainian officials committed to an investigation of Mr. Trump’s rivals and still did not receive the $391 million in aid — what Mr. Taylor called a “nightmare” situation.

Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Zelensky, in a July 25 telephone call, to investigate two politically fraught allegations: a widely debunked conspiracy theory about Ukrainian involvement in election tampering in 2016 and about corruption at an energy company that employed the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. There is no evidence that the Bidens were involved in wrongdoing.

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

4 Times Journalists Tell Their Story of Impeachment (the One in the ’90s)

Westlake Legal Group impeach-oral-history1-facebookJumbo 4 Times Journalists Tell Their Story of Impeachment (the One in the ’90s) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry News and News Media impeachment Clinton, Bill

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, most likely making him the third president in the nation’s history to be impeached. Four of the current New York Times journalists who covered President Bill Clinton’s impeachment reminisce about that time and how it echoes in today’s coverage.

PETER BAKER, currently the chief White House correspondent: We thought it was the most partisan, most divisive era we could ever imagine. Today, that seems almost quaint.

After his re-election, President Bill Clinton had talked in his inaugural address about using his second term to become the “repairer of the breach,” quoting Isaiah, and he had told John Harris (my partner on the White House beat) and me a couple of days earlier that he wanted to “flush the poison from the atmosphere.” Instead, the breach became wider than ever before and the poisons more toxic. Little did we realize how much more so it could become.

ALISON MITCHELL, currently an assistant managing editor for The New York Times: I also remember being shocked by the intense partisanship — that Clinton’s sex life had been investigated in such detail. Then so many Republicans found their sex lives investigated by the press and opposition researchers. It felt like the two parties were practicing mutually assured destruction. It was brutal and so far from governing.

There was a breathtaking moment when, right in the middle of the House impeachment debate, the incoming speaker, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, who had also been revealed to have had an affair, called on Clinton to resign. Some Democrats on the House floor started shouting, “You resign.” And then he did. And the debate went on.

ERIC SCHMITT, currently a terrorism and national security correspondent: It accelerated what was already clearly becoming a much more partisan environment on the Hill.

MITCHELL: I was the lead congressional correspondent during impeachment. We worked in the Senate press gallery, where you sit virtually on top of each other and in earshot of competitors. It was loud and there was little privacy.

CARL HULSE, currently the chief Washington correspondent: I was the Washington bureau chief for The New York Times Regional Newspaper Group, a collection of three dozen medium-size and smaller newspapers scattered around the South, plus two in California — all of which The Times eventually sold to focus on its core business.

I was headquartered in The Times’s Washington bureau, but I spent almost all my time on Capitol Hill. My job was to report on the issues and members of Congress important to readers of those papers, and to find broader stories that could appeal to a very diverse readership.

SCHMITT: I was one of three congressional reporters for The Times — along with Alison Mitchell and Lizette Alvarez — responsible for covering the Clinton impeachment hearings in the House and then the Senate trial. Alison took the lead, but we would divvy things up so everyone got a chance to write the big story of the day or week at some point, as well as chase down story leads.

It was the early days of 24/7 cable news, so there was competitive pressure from that, in addition to the fierce competition from traditional rivals like The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and the main networks.

Abbe D. Lowell, left, the counsel for the minority, and Charles F. C. Ruff, the White House counsel, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in December 1998.Credit…Paul Hosefros/The New York Times David E. Kendall, Mr. Clinton’s personal lawyer, clasped his hands during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in December 1998.Credit…Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

BAKER: I was a White House correspondent for The Washington Post. My colleagues Susan Schmidt, Toni Locy and I wrote the story that first broke the news that Ken Starr was investigating Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice in covering up his affair with Monica Lewinsky. For the next 13 months, I covered the Starr investigation and was the lead writer on the House impeachment and Senate trial.

The days were endless. They started early, and many nights we did not finish until around midnight. We became experts in which restaurants still served until 1 a.m.

SCHMITT: During the House hearings phase, our schedule followed the hearing schedule. That meant getting into our congressional office around 8:30 or 9 a.m. and staying until 6 or 7 p.m. Once the Senate trial started, the hours were even longer, starting as early as 7 a.m. and sometimes ending around 9 p.m. — after we spent a couple of hours chasing down senators in their Capitol hideaway offices for any tips or strategy updates.

It was still very much an old-fashioned print cycle, in which we geared up for the evening print editions, went home and then started all over again in the morning. There was no social media. We barely had cellphones, which were in their infancy. I remember carrying a pager so the desk could reach me.

MITCHELL: The House vote on impeaching President Clinton took place on a Saturday, which I remember because the first deadline for our Sunday papers was at noon. This was before most news organizations were thinking about minute-by-minute digital competition. So that deadline seemed difficult.

HULSE: I recall writing multiple versions of the impeachment story on the Saturday of the House vote to highlight how a certain state delegation voted and what lawmakers were saying.

BAKER: I vividly remember the night we were about to break the first story. We were sitting in Bill Hamilton’s office (Mr. Hamilton is now The Times’s Washington editor), about a dozen reporters and editors, and what struck me was that there was no question we were going to run the story. No one blinked, even though we were about to publish allegations that the president of the United States had sex with a former White House intern and was under criminal investigation. It boggled the mind.

I remember walking home at 2 in the morning through empty, dark streets wondering what had just been unleashed. “It doesn’t seem real,” I wrote in a journal when I got home. By the next morning, “the I-word,” as people were calling impeachment, was being bandied about, starting, oddly enough, with George Stephanopoulos, who had been Clinton’s senior adviser and had since moved to ABC News. Today we run so many sensational stories with hard-to-believe facts in them that it’s difficult to convey just how extraordinary it was back then.

MITCHELL: At the time it all felt so distasteful to me. It was a different era, though. I lately have thought it would all have played extremely differently in the #MeToo era.

The Starr report was almost pornographic in its sordid detail. I actually think the detail ended up backfiring on the G.O.P. since it seemed so designed to humiliate. It also posed a challenge for The New York Times and our standards. We did refer to the semen-stained dress.

I remember the consternation caused by the Starr report. We were printing and posting it in full.

BAKER: Writing about the president’s lies and sexual adventurism did not make one popular with the Clinton White House, that’s for sure. I remember one day having a White House aide yell at me over a story he thought was wrong. He got so angry that he finally shouted, “If you don’t get that, we have nothing to talk about!” And then he stormed out of the room. The problem was we were in his office. (The story later turned out to be 100 percent accurate, by the way.)

But we had White House briefings every working day. As heated and hostile as it got, it would never have occurred to the White House in that era to shut down news briefings. It would have looked weak and gone against the notion that there was still an obligation to answer questions, or at least allow questions to be asked, no matter how uncomfortable it was.

HULSE: There is much more hostility now toward the media on the part of some lawmakers. And I don’t think lawmakers and journalists have the same deep relationships that we were able to have in the past.

BAKER: The competition was ferocious. Beyond The Times and The Post and the networks, this was the first time that Fox was really a major player, and MSNBC was trying to be one. It was the beginning of the internet era, with unconventional outlets like the Drudge Report playing a profound role in driving the story. All kinds of information was out in the public space that had never been vetted by the professional editors who used to be the filters for the American media, and we had to decide what to trust and what not to trust.

I remember once driving several hours outside Washington to meet a secret source and not being able to tell even my editors where I was going or when I would be back. Everything was super sensitive. A lot of us feared that our phones might be tapped, that we might be followed, that private investigators might be looking into us. In the end, that was probably exaggerated, but at the time it didn’t feel that way.

Mr. Starr testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in November 1998.Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Mr. Kendall questioning Mr. Starr in November 1998.Credit…Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

HULSE: I had decent access and could keep up with what was happening with impeachment while keeping local readers apprised of what their members of Congress were doing.

It was endlessly fascinating since I covered everyone from congressional leaders such as Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, a key player in impeachment and a big name from a state where we had newspapers, to lowly backbenchers most people had never heard of. And because I was focused so closely on key individuals, I got to know many of them quite well.

This paid dividends when people like Charles Canady, a relatively junior House member from central Florida, became one of the impeachment managers, along with Bill McCollum, another Republican House member from Florida.

MITCHELL: So many figures from then come to mind. Lindsey Graham was a new House member who came to prominence as one of the impeachment managers and an aggressive proponent of impeaching President Clinton. It was well before he became a senator who is omnipresent on cable television, and he seemed at the time to be almost surprised at all the attention.

BAKER: He talked a lot about the importance of the rule of law and about accountability for a president who crossed the line.

MITCHELL: Representative Henry J. Hyde, the Illinois Republican who headed the Judiciary Committee, was the lead prosecutor. He was erudite, quotable and known as an anti-abortion warrior. He saw his own reputation tarnished when it emerged that he had had an affair three decades earlier. He acknowledged it, saying, “The statute of limitations has long since passed on my youthful indiscretions.”

SCHMITT: He was a big man with a huge shock of white hair. He had a commanding presence.

MITCHELL: Representative Richard Gephardt and Senator Tom Daschle were the Democratic minority leaders who were setting strategy for defending President Clinton. Yet each seemed deeply uncomfortable with the president’s behavior and recklessness. Gephardt made a plea on the House floor: “We need to stop destroying imperfect people at the altar of an unobtainable morality.” I remember watching Daschle slumped in his chair during the Senate trial looking disgusted by it all.

HULSE: I still laugh at the late Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican and a very wily politician, invoking “Scottish law” and saying the charges against President Clinton were “not proven.” A moderate Republican who needed Democratic votes around Philadelphia to survive, Mr. Specter didn’t want to vote either guilty or not guilty for political reasons. His vote, however, was recorded as not guilty.

Lindsey Graham was a new House member who came to prominence as one of the impeachment managers.Credit…Stephen Crowley/The New York Times Representative Henry J. Hyde, the Illinois Republican who headed the Judiciary Committee, had a commanding presence.Credit…Paul Hosefros/The New York Times

BAKER: The Watergate case hovered over that moment the way the Clinton impeachment hovers over this one. The House Republicans used the word “RODINO” as the password on their computer system, after the congressman who led the House impeachment effort in 1974, Peter Rodino. At that time, a number of people who had been involved in the Nixon impeachment were still on the scene and involved in this one — including Hillary Clinton, who had been on the House Democratic staff at the time.

HULSE: I still have my impeachment ticket from the day of the vote to acquit the president. Standing room, and I was lucky to get that.

MITCHELL: I didn’t have any keepsakes of impeachment until years later when our beloved colleague Robert Pear sent me the four-volume bound set of the proceedings of the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. It was a very Robert-like gift, if you knew Robert’s fondness for the Congressional Record. I must admit I’ve never cracked the plastic wrapping. But I cherish it.

BAKER: My direct editor was a remarkable young woman named Susan Glasser, who now happens to be my wife. We met during the investigation, and date nights consisted of poring over the Starr report. I still have my original dog-eared copy of the report. We always say that our marriage is the one good thing that came out of that whole episode.


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McConnell Rejects Calling Mulvaney or Bolton for Trump’s Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-impeach-sub1-facebookJumbo McConnell Rejects Calling Mulvaney or Bolton for Trump’s Impeachment Trial Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Mulvaney, Mick McConnell, Mitch Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, on Tuesday rejected demands by Democrats to call four White House officials as witnesses during President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

On the eve of a House vote on Wednesday that is all but certain to result in Mr. Trump’s impeachment on two charges, Mr. McConnell said he would not agree to call the witnesses — all of whom have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — including Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. The White House blocked them from appearing during the House impeachment inquiry.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had insisted in a letter to Mr. McConnell that they must be heard from.

But in remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning, Mr. McConnell said there was no reason for the Senate to immediately agree to take testimony from officials who might bolster Democrats’ case against the president.

Mr. McConnell called Mr. Schumer’s demand for witnesses “a strange request at this juncture,” leaving open the possibility that the Senate could decide to call witnesses after a trial is underway. But Mr. McConnell made it clear that making that decision before the trial started was premature.

“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” he added. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”

Mr. Schumer responded moments later, saying that holding a trial without witnesses “would be an aberration” and vowing to demand votes by senators on whether to call witnesses and subpoena documents during the trial.

“I did not hear a single sentence, a single argument as to why the witnesses I suggested should not give testimony,” Mr. Schumer said of Mr. McConnell’s remarks. “Impeachment trials, like most trials, have witnesses.”

Mr. Schumer added: “Who is for a fair and open trial? Who is for hiding facts, relevant facts, immediate facts?”

Mr. McConnell’s comments came as the most politically vulnerable House Democrats in moderate districts continued to announce their support for the impeachment charges, signaling that the House vote expected on Wednesday is likely to be almost entirely along party lines.

Many of them said they were aware that the decision to support charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice against Mr. Trump could cost them support in their conservative-leaning districts.

Representative Anthony Brindisi, a freshman Democrat from upstate New York, said in a statement that he would vote for the articles of impeachment with “profound sadness.” But he said Mr. Trump needed to be held accountable for his actions.

“I will be voting not as Democrat or Republican but as an American who has been given this responsibility by the people I serve and the community I love,” Mr. Brindisi wrote in an early morning series of tweets.

Representative Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania posted a video on Twitter late Monday announcing her support for the articles, and Representatives Elaine Luria of Virginia and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey declared their support early Tuesday.

The cascade of announcements from lawmakers who had been deeply skeptical of the drive to force Mr. Trump from office was a sign of Democratic unity on the eve of the House vote.

Only one centrist Democrat, Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, intends to break with his party and vote “no” on impeachment, and he is planning to switch his affiliation to Republican to insulate himself politically.

The charges against Mr. Trump stem from his bid to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into his political rivals while withholding $391 million in military assistance from the country and delaying a White House meeting with its president. Democrats argue the conduct amounted to a corrupt attempt by the president to use the powers of his office to enlist a foreign power to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election, while Republicans assert there was nothing inappropriate in his actions.

Mr. Brindisi said in a newspaper opinion piece that he became convinced of the president’s wrongdoing after carefully reviewing the evidence collected by the House Intelligence Committee after nearly two months of testimony from national security officials and diplomats in Mr. Trump’s government.

“The fact that the president made a political request to a foreign leader of a troubled country with the intention for it to impact an American rival is beyond disappointing,” Mr. Brindisi wrote. “In fact, it is unconstitutional. I took an oath to defend the Constitution. What the president has — on national television — admitted to doing is not something I can pretend is normal behavior.”

Mr. Brindisi stressed his willingness to work with Mr. Trump on legislation, noting that the president signed into law his first bill, a measure to extend housing and transportation benefits to veterans. But he said “there is a difference between working with a president and checking that same president.

“My job is to do both,” he wrote.

In her statement, Ms. Houlahan said she would vote to impeach the president on Wednesday in order to make sure Congress did not send the message that his behavior was appropriate.

“After deep reflection, I believe this is the right thing to do for our nation and consistent with my oath of office,” she said. “I grieve for our nation. But I cannot let history mark the behavior of our president as anything other than an unacceptable violation of his oath of office. The future of our republic and of our values depend on that.”

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Rick Gates, Ex-Trump Aide and Key Witness for Mueller, Is Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-gates1-facebookJumbo Rick Gates, Ex-Trump Aide and Key Witness for Mueller, Is Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III Manafort, Paul J Gates, Richard W III (1972- ) Frauds and Swindling Craig, Gregory B

WASHINGTON — Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign aide who helped bring down two former advisers to President Trump, was sentenced on Tuesday to 45 days in jail and a $20,000 fine for his part in a criminal financial scheme and for lying to federal investigators.

Mr. Gates, 47, can serve the jail time intermittently, such as on weekends. He was also sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service. Mr. Gates had hoped to be spared a prison term in exchange for his extensive cooperation with the government after pleading guilty in February 2018.

“I greatly regret the mistakes I have made and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends,” he told Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia.

Sentencing guidelines recommended that Mr. Gates, who was a deputy campaign chairman in 2016 and went on to help manage Mr. Trump’s inauguration, serve a prison term of 46 to 57 months. But the guidelines are only advisory.

Prosecutors, who did not oppose Mr. Gates’s request for probation, strongly urged the judge to take into account what they called Mr. Gates’s “extraordinary” efforts to help investigators on a variety of fronts, including with inquiries that remain secret.

“He wholeheartedly held up his end of the bargain,” said Molly Gaston, an assistant United States attorney. She described his decision to cooperate just a few months after he was indicted as “a turning point” for the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Thomas C. Green, Mr. Gates’s lawyer, called his client’s cooperation over nearly two years “an amazing effort at redemption.”

Legal experts said the fact that prosecutors did not oppose probation sent a strong signal to Judge Jackson that the government did not want Mr. Gates to end up behind bars.

“Probation is a very generous break, but it sounds like his cooperation has been extraordinary,” said Barbara McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former federal prosecutor who observed one trial in which Mr. Gates testified for the government.

Judge Jackson noted that she has overseen two trials in which Mr. Gates provided evidence for the government.

“He came across to me as extremely candid,” she said. He accepted guilt for his own crimes without hesitation, she said, and did not embroider his testimony in an attempt to win favor with the government.

“He didn’t come across as some kind of prosecution puppet,” she said.

Securing the cooperation of Mr. Gates was considered a coup for the special counsel’s team, whose investigation bedeviled Mr. Trump for nearly two years before it ended last spring. Two key members of Mr. Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann and Greg D. Andres, attended the sentencing. Mr. Weissmann shook hands with Mr. Gates in the courtroom before the hearing began.

Mr. Green told Judge Jackson that F.B.I. agents were also in the courtroom. “I am quite certain they are here to acknowledge the genuine contributions that Mr. Gates made to their continuing investigations,” he said.

Mr. Gates testified in two major trials that sprang from Mr. Mueller’s inquiry. Ms. Gaston said his testimony was critical to the government’s case against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who is now serving a prison term of more than seven years for tax fraud, bank fraud and other crimes.

She said that Mr. Gates’s testimony also provided important context for jurors during the trial of Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime friend who is awaiting sentencing on a conviction of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Mr. Gates also testified against Gregory B. Craig, a well-known Washington lawyer who was acquitted on charges of deceiving federal authorities about his work with Mr. Manafort in Ukraine. Judge Jackson oversaw the trials of both Mr. Stone and Mr. Craig, as well as one of the two criminal cases against Mr. Manafort.

According to court filings, Mr. Gates met with F.B.I. agents and prosecutors roughly 50 times and provided information that was used in more than a dozen search warrants. His lawyer said he was interviewed for more than 500 hours.

“Gates’s cooperation has been steadfast despite the fact that the government has asked for his assistance in high-profile matters against powerful individuals in the midst of a particularly turbulent environment,” the prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

Ms. Gaston said that Mr. Gates withstood pressure from Mr. Manafort not to plead guilty, including assurances “that there would be a defense fund if Mr. Gates decided not to plead.” She also said that Mr. Gates’s wife is suffering from a serious illness, and that he is the primary caregiver for their four children.

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McConnell Rejects Calling Mulvaney or Bolton for Impeachment Trial

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-impeach-sub1-facebookJumbo McConnell Rejects Calling Mulvaney or Bolton for Impeachment Trial Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate Schumer, Charles E Mulvaney, Mick McConnell, Mitch Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, on Tuesday rejected demands by Democrats to call four White House officials as witnesses during President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

On the eve of a House vote on Wednesday that is all but certain to result in Mr. Trump’s impeachment on two charges, Mr. McConnell said he would not agree to call the witnesses — all of whom have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — including Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, and John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser. The White House blocked them from appearing during the House impeachment inquiry.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the minority leader, had insisted in a letter to Mr. McConnell that they must be heard from.

But in remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday morning, Mr. McConnell said there was no reason for the Senate to hear from officials who might bolster Democrats’ case against the president.

“It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to ‘guilty,’” Mr. McConnell said. “That would hardly be impartial justice.”

“If House Democrats’ case is this deficient, this thin, the answer is not for the judge and jury to cure it here in the Senate,” he added. “The answer is that the House should not impeach on this basis in the first place.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Rick Gates, Ex-Trump Aide and Key Witness for Mueller, to Be Sentenced

Westlake Legal Group 17dc-gates1-facebookJumbo Rick Gates, Ex-Trump Aide and Key Witness for Mueller, to Be Sentenced United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Stone, Roger J Jr Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III Manafort, Paul J Gates, Richard W III (1972- ) Frauds and Swindling Craig, Gregory B

WASHINGTON — Rick Gates, the former Trump campaign aide who helped bring down two former advisers to President Trump, was sentenced on Tuesday to 45 days in jail and a $20,000 fine for his part in a criminal financial scheme and for lying to federal investigators.

Mr. Gates, 47, can serve the jail time intermittently, such as on weekends. He was also sentenced to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service. Mr. Gates had hoped to be spared a prison term in exchange for his extensive cooperation with the government after pleading guilty in February 2018.

“I greatly regret the mistakes I have made and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends,” he told Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia.

Sentencing guidelines recommended that Mr. Gates, who was a deputy campaign chairman in 2016 and went on to help manage Mr. Trump’s inauguration, serve a prison term of 46 to 57 months. But the guidelines are only advisory.

Prosecutors, who did not oppose Mr. Gates’s request for probation, strongly urged the judge to take into account what they called Mr. Gates’s “extraordinary” efforts to help investigators on a variety of fronts, including with inquiries that remain secret.

“He wholeheartedly held up his end of the bargain,” said Molly Gaston, an assistant United States attorney. She described his decision to cooperate just a few months after he was indicted as “a turning point” for the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Thomas C. Green, Mr. Gates’s lawyer, called his client’s cooperation over nearly two years “an amazing effort at redemption.”

Legal experts said the fact that prosecutors did not oppose probation sent a strong signal to Judge Jackson that the government did not want Mr. Gates to end up behind bars.

“Probation is a very generous break, but it sounds like his cooperation has been extraordinary,” said Barbara McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former federal prosecutor who observed one trial in which Mr. Gates testified for the government.

Judge Jackson noted that she has overseen two trials in which Mr. Gates provided evidence for the government.

“He came across to me as extremely candid,” she said. He accepted guilt for his own crimes without hesitation, she said, and did not embroider his testimony in an attempt to win favor with the government.

“He didn’t come across as some kind of prosecution puppet,” she said.

Securing the cooperation of Mr. Gates was considered a coup for the special counsel’s team, whose investigation bedeviled Mr. Trump for nearly two years before it ended last spring. Two key members of Mr. Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann and Greg D. Andres, attended the sentencing. Mr. Weissmann shook hands with Mr. Gates in the courtroom before the hearing began.

Mr. Green told Judge Jackson that F.B.I. agents were also in the courtroom. “I am quite certain they are here to acknowledge the genuine contributions that Mr. Gates made to their continuing investigations,” he said.

Mr. Gates testified in two major trials that sprang from Mr. Mueller’s inquiry. Ms. Gaston said his testimony was critical to the government’s case against Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who is now serving a prison term of more than seven years for tax fraud, bank fraud and other crimes.

She said that Mr. Gates’s testimony also provided important context for jurors during the trial of Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime friend who is awaiting sentencing on a conviction of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Mr. Gates also testified against Gregory B. Craig, a well-known Washington lawyer who was acquitted on charges of deceiving federal authorities about his work with Mr. Manafort in Ukraine. Judge Jackson oversaw the trials of both Mr. Stone and Mr. Craig, as well as one of the two criminal cases against Mr. Manafort.

According to court filings, Mr. Gates met with F.B.I. agents and prosecutors roughly 50 times and provided information that was used in more than a dozen search warrants. His lawyer said he was interviewed for more than 500 hours.

“Gates’s cooperation has been steadfast despite the fact that the government has asked for his assistance in high-profile matters against powerful individuals in the midst of a particularly turbulent environment,” the prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

Ms. Gaston said that Mr. Gates withstood pressure from Mr. Manafort not to plead guilty, including assurances “that there would be a defense fund if Mr. Gates decided not to plead.” She also said that Mr. Gates’s wife is suffering from a serious illness, and that he is the primary caregiver for their four children.

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