The Pronk Pops Show 885, May 3, 2017, Breaking — Story 1: FBI Director James Comey On Decision To Speak, Conceal or No Action On Clinton Emails On Weiner Laptop — Videos — Story 2: Time For President Trump To Instruct Attorney General Sessions To Appoint Independent Special Prosecutor To Pursue The Many Clinton Crimes Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out In February 2018! — Videos — Breaking — Story 3: Will There Be A House Vote to Repeal and Replace Obamacare? Only If Republican Have The Votes! — Breaking — Republican Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 865: March 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 864: March 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 863: March 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 862: March 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 861: March 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 860: March 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 859: March 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 858: March 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 857: March 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 856: March 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 855: March 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 854: March 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 853: March 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 852: March 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 851: March 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 850: March 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 849: March 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 848: February 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 847: February 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 846: February 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 845: February 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 844: February 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 843: February 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 842: February 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 841: February 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 840: February 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 839: February 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 838: February 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 837: February 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 836: February 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 835: February 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 834: February 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 832: February 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 831: February 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 830: February 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 829: February 1, 2017

Image result for fbi director james comey May 3, 2017 Image result for cartoons branco on comey and emails on clintonImage result for cartoons branco on repeal and replace

Breaking — Story 1: FBI Director James Comey On Decision To Speak, Conceal or No Action On Clinton State Department Emails On Weiner Laptop — Videos

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Clinton blames Comey, Russia for election loss

Comey on Clinton: Concealing in my view would have been catastrophic

Comey reveals why he announced a new Clinton investigation 11 days before the election

WOW: Comey Answers WHY He Announced Hillary Clinton Email Investigation 11 Days Before Election

James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, described his decision to reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in October during questioning by Senator Dianne Feinstein at a hearing on Wednesday.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date May 3, 2017. Photo by Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

WASHINGTON — James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, sharply defended his rationale for notifying Congress about new emails related to the Hillary Clinton investigation less than two weeks before Election Day, saying Wednesday that any suggestion he affected the vote’s outcome made him “mildly nauseous.”

Mr. Comey’s comments at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing were his first public explanation for his actions, which roiled the presidential campaign in its final days and cast a harsh spotlight on the F.B.I. director.

Mr. Comey said he went public on Oct. 28 because he believed that the emails found by his agents might provide insight into Mrs. Clinton’s reasons for using a private server as secretary of state and might change the outcome of the investigation. Failing to inform Congress, Mr. Comey said, would have a required an “act of concealment.”

“Concealment, in my view, would have been catastrophic,” he said, adding later that he knew the decision would be “disastrous for me personally.”

What Mr. Comey viewed as concealing, Justice Department officials viewed simply as following the rules. The F.B.I. does not normally confirm ongoing investigations. Senior Justice Department officials urged him not to send a letter to Congress informing them that the bureau was examining the new emails.

When Mr. Comey recounted that confrontation to Congress in 2007, he was calm and confident. But in his testimony on Wednesday, he appeared more animated — even, at times, defensive — as committee members peppered him with questions. And while the hospital room showdown earned him bipartisan praise, Mr. Comey has instead gotten bipartisan criticism for his decisions in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

Unlike a House Intelligence Committee hearing in March in which Mr. Comey took the extraordinary step of confirming the existence of an investigation into Russian meddling in the election, the hearing Wednesday was supposed to be a more routine congressional oversight proceeding. But little has been routine for the F.B.I. over the past 10 months, as the dramatic moment from Mr. Comey showed.

The tone of the opening statements from both the top Republican and the top Democrat on the committee made clear that they wanted answers from Mr. Comey on a number of issues, including Mrs. Clinton’s emails, the Russia investigation, leaks to the news media and the use of wiretapping as an investigative tool.

“We need the F.B.I. to be accountable because we need the F.B.I. to effective,” said Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the chairman of the committee.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the panel, immediately pounced on Mr. Comey, saying he took an enormous gamble in sending the letter to Congress on Oct. 28 informing them that the F.B.I. was examining new Clinton-related emails without knowing how the messages might shape the Clinton investigation.

“We need to hear how the F.B.I. will regain that faith and trust,” Ms. Feinstein said. “We need straightforward answers to our questions and we want to hear how you’re going to lead the F.B.I. going forward. We never, ever want anything like this to happen again.”

She demanded to know why he treated the investigations so “dramatically different.”

Mr. Comey rejected her assertion.

He said that the F.B.I. had confirmed the existence of an investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails months after the bureau began it, and that it said no more until after it was closed. Similarly, Mr. Comey said, the F.B.I. revealed there was an investigation into Russian efforts to influence the election months after it was opened in July, and only after it had been widely reported in the media. And as in the Clinton investigation, the F.B.I. has refused to talk about what it has found.

“We’re not going to say another peep about it until we’re done,” Mr. Comey said, acknowledging that the inquiry into Russian meddling is ongoing. “And I don’t know what will be said when we’re done, but that’s the way we handled the Clinton investigation, as well.”

Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation continues to shadow him. Not even President Trump seems keen to forget the decisions the F.B.I. director made during the election. On Tuesday night, the president criticized him in a Twitter post, writing that Mr. Comey was “the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!”

Mr. Trump also played down the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russian efforts to help his campaign.

“The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election,” the president wrote on Twitter, apparently in reaction to Mrs. Clinton’s comments on Tuesday in which she heaped blame on the F.B.I. and Russian-backed hackers for her election loss. She also said Mr. Trump was unprepared for the presidency.

Mr. Comey was also pressed Wednesday about leaks to journalists and whether F.B.I. agents in New York revealed information during the election to former federal law enforcement and elected officials, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the onetime New York City mayor. Three days before Mr. Comey’s announcement in October, Mr. Giuliani, an adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, said on Fox News that the campaign had “a couple of surprises” in store.

After Mr. Comey’s letter was made public, putting Mr. Giuliani’s comments in a new light, a Trump campaign spokesman said the former mayor had been simply “having fun.” But Mr. Giuliani later undermined that assertion, saying he knew in advance that the F.B.I. had found new emails related to Mrs. Clinton. His comments reinforced suspicions that some F.B.I. agents were out to get her.

“If I find out that people were leaking information about our investigations, whether to reporters or private parties, there will be severe consequences,” Mr. Comey told the questioner, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont.

The warm reception Mr. Comey once received on Capitol Hill, where he was applauded for his efforts to keep the country safe, has cooled considerably in recent months.

Mr. Comey plunged himself into last year’s campaign when he announced at a news conference in July that the F.B.I. was closing the Clinton email investigation. Though he said he would not recommend charging Mrs. Clinton or her aides, he also criticized her for how she had handled government information.

The criticism angered Democrats. Months later, they fumed anew over Mr. Comey’s decision to send the letter to Congress — less than two weeks before Election Day — saying the F.B.I. had found more emails pertinent to the investigation. The emails turned out not to change the outcome of the investigation, but that revelation upended the election and later prompted accusations from some Clinton supporters that Mr. Comey had cost her the White House.

In March, Democrats got some satisfaction when Mr. Comey acknowledged before the House Intelligence Committee that the F.B.I. had opened an investigation over the summer into Russian meddling in the presidential election and whether any Trump associates were involved. But they also criticized Mr. Comey for not confirming the existence of that inquiry sooner.

Republicans have grilled Mr. Comey over his decision not to recommend charges in the Clinton email investigation and over a string of leaks to the news media from unnamed officials that were seen as damaging to Mr. Trump in the early days of his administration and in the weeks before the inauguration.

Mr. Comey has tried to keep a low profile since the March hearing, where he talked about the Russia investigation and dismissed Mr. Trump’s claim that he had been wiretapped by President Barack Obama.

Later that month, Mr. Comey spoke to national security experts at a dinner that members of the news media attended. His agenda then was clear.

“I’m determined not to make news,” he said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/us/politics/james-comey-fbi-senate-hearing.html?_r=0

Comey says classified Clinton emails were forwarded to Anthony Weiner

Comey on Clinton investigation: ‘I would make the same decision’

FBI Director James Comey responded, May 3, before the Senate Judiciary Committee to a question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on his announcement about re-opening the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server days before the election.(Reuters)
May 3 at 12:47 PM
Hillary Clinton emails containing classified information were forwarded to former congressman Anthony Weiner, the director of the FBI testified Wednesday as he defended his handling of politically sensitive probes surrounding the last year’s presidential race.Under questioning from the senior Democrat on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), James B. Comey revealed more details about how Clinton’s emails ended up on Weiner’s computer.Weiner, a New York Democrat, was married to a top aide to Clinton, Huma Abedin. Weiner was being investigated separately for possible inappropriate communications with a minor.

“Somehow, her emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,” Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”

Here is the opening statement from FBI Director James B. Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3. (Photo: AP/Reuters)

The two were investigated for possible mishandling of classified material, but the FBI ultimately dropped the matter without seeking charges because they could not show either of them intended to violate the law, Comey said.

“Really the central problem we had with the whole email investigation was proving people… had some sense they were doing something unlawful. That was our burden and we were unable to meet it,’’ he said.

The director defended his decision to notify Congress that he had reopened the Clinton email probe just days before the election, saying he was forced to choose between saying something or concealing what he knew — or, as he put it, “between really bad and catastrophic.’’

He added: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election.”

Comey said he has been interviewed by the Justice Department’s inspector general as part of an internal investigation into how the FBI handled the Clinton case.

“I want that inspection, I want my story told,’’ he said. “If I did something wrong, I want to hear that.’’

But he added that he still thinks he behaved appropriately and had no regrets about his decisions.

FBI Director James B. Comey described the difference between investigative journalism and what he called “intelligence porn” released by WikiLeaks, speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3 at the Capitol. (Reuters)

“Lordy, has this been painful,’’ he said. “I’ve gotten all kinds of rocks thrown at me and this has been really hard, but I think I’ve done the right thing at each turn.’’

Comey has been under intense pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to explain his decision-making, and he faced more criticism in Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The hearing was scheduled to conduct general congressional oversight of the FBI, but politically sensitive investigations quickly became the focus of lawmakers’ questions.

The chairman of the committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), opened the hearing by saying that “a cloud of doubt hangs over the FBI.” He demanded that the bureau reveal more about how it has handled the probes.

“We need to know whether there was anything improper going on between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or if these allegations are just a partisan smear campaign that manipulated our government into chasing conspiracy theories,” Grassley said.

Comey began his prepared testimony by praising the work of the FBI, citing the recent successful investigations of bomb threats against Jewish community centers, hacking networks and doctors accused of female genital mutilation.

“I love this work, I love this job, and I love it because of the mission and the people I get to work with,’’ he said.

Grassley’s first question to Comey was about leaks, asking Comey if he had ever been an anonymous source for stories about Clinton or Trump.

“Never,’’ Comey said. Asked if he had authorized someone else to speak anonymously to reporters about those cases, the director said no.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked Comey what threat Russia posed to future U.S. elections. “In my view the greatest threat of any nation on earth given their intention and their capability,’’ Comey answered, adding that while Russia did not alter vote tallies in 2016, they have tried to do so in other countries and he said U.S. officials should expect them to try to do so in future U.S. elections.One of the lessons that particularly the Russians may have drawn from this is that it works,’’ Comey said.

Democrats repeatedly pressed Comey about his decision to notify Congress just days before the election that he was reopening the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server for her work as secretary of state. Democrats are particularly upset about that decision because after the election, Comey acknowledged that the FBI had begun secretly investigating in late July whether any Trump associates might be working with Russian officials to meddle with the presidential campaign.

“It’s still very unclear — and I hope, director, that you will clear this up — why the FBI’s treatment of these two investigations was so dramatically different,” Feinstein said.

The FBI has already concluded that Russian intelligence hacked into Democratic computer systems and email accounts, stealing information that was published by WikiLeaks during the campaign.

Asked about WikiLeaks, Comey said he thought the anti-secrecy group was engaged in something more sinister than journalism.

“To my mind, it crosses a line when it moves from being trying to educate the public and instead becomes about intelligence porn, quite frankly,’’ said Comey. A “huge portion’’ of WikiLeaks’ activities “has nothing to do with legitimate news activity,’’ he said, “… but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States of America.’’

The Washington Post reported last month that the Justice Department is trying to determine if it can bring criminal charges against those working for the anti-secrecy group.

On Tuesday, Clinton said the move by Comey on Oct. 28 to tell Congress that his investigators were looking at a new batch of Clinton emails helped alter the outcome of the presidential election.

“If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president,” she said at an event in New York. Clinton said that as the candidate on the ballot, she took responsibility for the loss. But she added that she was “on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off.”

Tuesday night, Trump tweeted a fresh broadside at Comey and Clinton, saying the FBI director “was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds.” In a second tweet, he added that the “phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-director-james-comey-begins-testimony-to-congress/2017/05/03/9e3244bc-3006-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.3db1fe1a3f76

Story 2: Time For President Trump To Instruct Attorney General Session To Appoint Independent Special Prosecutor To Pursue The Many Clinton Crimes Before Statue of Limitations Runs Out In February 2018! — The Clintons are NOT Above the Law — American People Demand Justice! — Videos

Image result for Hillary Clinton interview Image result

Image result for cartoons branco on comey and emails on clinton

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If Hillary Clinton supporters are confused why she lost, watch this

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Why Hillary Clinton Thinks She Lost The 2016 Election | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

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“Shattered” tells behind-the-scenes story of Hillary Clinton’s election loss

Here’s how a special prosecutor investigating Trump and Russia would get appointed

donald trump
President Donald Trump in a meeting with business leaders.Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After revelations Wednesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the US during the 2016 campaign, lawmakers renewed calls for a special prosecutor to investigate ties between Trump associates and Russian operatives.

House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, tweeted Thursday morning “AG Sessions should clarify his testimony and recuse himself.”

Democratic senators have called repeatedly for a special prosecutor, more often called an independent or special counsel, to be appointed.

But what exactly is a special prosecutor, how does he or she get appointed, and what happens next? We broke it down.

Who appoints a special prosecutor?

Jeff Sessions

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) arrive for US President Donald Trump’s first address to a joint session of Congress on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2017.REUTERS/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool

A special counsel could be appointed by either Sessions himself or by Congress to investigate potential ties between Trump’s inner circle and Russia, said Professor William Banks, the founding director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University.

A “special counsel” is a modern day term for a “special prosecutor,” according to Banks, and any investigation would likely use the term “special counsel.” The term “special prosecutor” was used up through the 1980s, after which the laws around special prosecutors expired and were not renewed, therefore retiring the term.

Banks said there may be pressure on Sessions not to appoint a special counsel, given that he was appointed by Trump. “We would hope [Sessions] would exercise independent judgment about the efficacy of having a special counsel,” Banks told Business Insider.

Democratic lawmakers, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have requested Sessions recuse himself from any investigations multiple times, renewing the call on Thursday following news about Sessions’ meeting with the Russian ambassador. (After the latest revelations, Schumer said he should resign.) House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Thursday that “it would be easier” if Sessions recused himself.

“I think, the trust of the American people, you recuse yourself in these situations,” McCarthy said, according to Politico. “I just think for any investigation going forward, you want to make sure everybody trusts the investigation … that there’s no doubt within the investigation.”

Sessions has previously said that he would recuse himself on anything requiring him to do so, but he has asserted that he sees no need to remove himself from any Trump-Russia investigations.

The Department of Justice does have a rule that could affect Sessions’ role in a special counsel investigation:

“No DOJ employee may participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution, or who would be directly affected by the outcome.”

chuckschumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerMario Tama/Getty Images

If the attorney general recuses himself, it falls to the deputy attorney general to appoint an independent counsel, according to the Code of Federal Regulations. The appointment of a special counsel by the attorney general or deputy attorney general is “unreviewable,” according to the Center for Legal and Economic Studies.

Preliminary investigations are currently underway in the Senate and House intelligence committees, but Banks said he believes it is unlikely a special counsel would be created until those investigations conclude.

The other way to establish an independent counsel goes through Congress.

Congress could initiate the process to create a different independent counsel for investigations by passing a law, as it did in 1978, when the Ethics in Government Act was passed. The law dictated that a three-judge panel based at the US Court of Appeals in DC would appoint the counsel. The law, which was reauthorized several times until its sunset in 1999, was used more than a dozen times to initiate investigations, according to PBS Frontline. It was used most famously in the 1990s to appoint attorney Kenneth Starr to oversee investigations in to President Bill Clinton.

Such a law would have to be either signed by Trump or, in the event of a presidential veto, overridden by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. There is precedent, however, for a president to sign an independent counsel law amid scrutiny. Clinton signed a reauthorization of the 1978 law in 1994 with a number of alleged scandals brewing.

Congress could, however, launch its own investigation into the executive branch without legislation because such authority is implicit in the appropriations power, Banks said. If Congress decided to act on its own, it is much more likely that it would establish a commission or committee to investigate, rather than passing ethics legislation, Banks added.

What kinds of people are appointed to a special counsel?

Special counsels tend to be highly respected lawyers or judges. Examples, according to Banks, include: highly experienced private practice lawyers, retired judges, and former Justice Department prosecutors.

How long would a special counsel investigation take to complete?

A special counsel investigation would likely take between six to nine months, according to Banks, who said that such investigations tend to be extremely complicated by nature. With so much classified information, intelligence agency officials that need to be interviewed, and hard to obtain information, it takes a while to sort out.

What does a special counsel have access to?

A special counsel investigation would involve arranging access to classified documents. This could be achieved by either declassifying information or creating clearance to classified documents for the purpose of the investigation only. If the latter is done, it is unlikely the public would see the documents obtained.

A special counsel would also be expected to interview a vast range of people with knowledge of or connection to the investigation.

flynn trump and bannon

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House, January 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. Also pictured at right, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the case of the Trump-Russia allegations, a special counsel would look into any and all classified or declassified documents that the FBI, CIA, and various police departments and investigation groups might have the incident.

This would include human or digital intelligence, and the dossier delivered by British intelligence. Extensive interviews would be run with anyone close to the situation, including Trump’s inner circle, and anyone who had access to digital or technical related information, said Banks. The special counsel themselves would ultimately determine which evidence to use.

What happens after the special counsel investigation concludes?

What happens next depends in part on who appoints a special counsel. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would decide whether the special counsel appointed under him had enough evidence to prosecute Trump or implicated officials.

If Congress created an office for an independent or special counsel, it is likely that the counsel would refer results of the investigation to Congress, though that could change depending on the legislation passed. If Congress initiated an investigation through a commission or committee, it would fall to the attorney general to decide whether to prosecute based on the results provided.

Why are people asking for a special counsel?

Trump and his inner circle have been accused of having close ties to Russia. The White House has denied many of those accusations. Business Insider has previously reported that:

  • Trump and several associates continue to draw intense scrutiny for alleged ties to and communications with the Russian government.
  • A dossier of unverified claims alleged serious misconduct in the final months of the 2016 presidential campaign. The White House has dismissed the dossier as fiction, and most of the claims remain unverified.
  • Trump’s campaign aides were accused of having frequent contact with Russia in a report released by the New York Times.
  • A report published on Wednesday by the Washington Post said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador twice during the 2016 election.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer has argued that Trump and his aides have been sufficiently investigated already, and that no evidence of wrongdoing has been found.

Michelle Mark contributed reporting on this article.

Special prosecutor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A special prosecutor (or special counsel or independent counsel) is a lawyer appointed to investigate and possibly prosecute a specific legal case of potential wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest exists for the usual prosecuting authority. For example, the investigation of an allegation against a sitting president or attorney general might be handled by a special prosecutor rather than an ordinary prosecutor, who would otherwise be in the position of investigating their own boss. Investigations into others connected to the government but not in a position of direct authority over the prosecutor, such as cabinet secretaries or election campaigns, have also been handled by special prosecutors.

The term is not specific to the United States,[1] or to the federal government. According to Harriger, the concept originates in state law: “state courts have traditionally appointed special prosecutors when the regular government attorney was disqualified from a case, whether for incapacitation or interest.”[2] While the most prominent special prosecutors have been those appointed since the 1870s to investigate presidents and those connected to them, the term can also be used to refer to any prosecutor appointed to avoid a conflict of interest or appearance thereof. For example, because district attorneys’ offices work closely with police, some activists argue that cases of police misconduct at the state and local level should be handled by “special prosecutors”.[3]

The term special counsel as used here is distinct from the United States Office of Special Counsel, which is a permanent government agency (unlike special counsels, who are appointed for specific, temporary assignments), which protects government whistleblowers, among other things.

Terminology

The terms “special prosecutor”, “independent counsel”, and “special counsel” have the same fundamental meaning, and their use (at least at the federal level in the US) is generally differentiated by the time period to which they are being applied. The term “special prosecutor” was used throughout the Watergate era, but was replaced by the less confrontational “independent counsel” in the 1983 reauthorization of the Ethics in Government Act.[4] Those appointed under that act after 1983 are generally referred to as independent counsels. Since the independent counsel law expired in 1999, the term special counsel has generally been used. This is the term used in the current US government regulations concerning the appointment of special counsels.[5]

While the term special prosecutor is sometimes used in historical discussions of all such figures before 1983, the term special counsel appears to have been frequently used as well, including, for example, in contemporary newspaper accounts[6] describing the first presidentially appointed special counsel in 1875.

United States appointment at the federal level

History of appointments

Pre-Watergate

The first federal special prosecutor, John B. Henderson, was appointed by Ulysses Grant in 1875 to investigate the Whiskey Ring scandal. After attempting to stifle Henderson’s investigation of the president’s personal secretary, Grant fired Henderson on the basis that Henderson’s statements to a grand jury regarding Grant were impertinent.[7] Following criticism, Grant appointed a new special prosecutor, James Broadhead, to continue the investigation.

James Garfield appointed the next special prosecutor, William Cook, in 1881 to investigate the Star route scandal. Cook continued his investigation into the Chester Arthur administration. Under the Theodore Roosevelt administration, special prosecutors were appointed to investigate two scandals. In 1903, Roosevelt appointed two special prosecutors (a democrat and a republican) to investigate allegations of bribery at the Post Office department. In 1905, Roosevelt’s attorney general, Philander Knox,[8] appointed Francis Heney special prosecutor to investigate the Oregon land fraud scandal.

Calvin Coolidge appointed two special counsels, Atlee Pomerene and Owen Roberts to investigate the Teapot Dome scandal. This appointment was unique in that it was made under a special Congressional resolution, and was subject to approval in the Senate.[9]

In 1952, Harry Truman appointed Newbold Morris “special assistant to the Attorney General” to investigate the corruption at the Bureau of Internal Revenue following Congressional pressure and calls for a special prosecutor.[10]After Morris submitted a lengthy questionnaire on personal finances to be completed by all senior executive officers, he was fired by Attorney General Howard McGrath, who was in turn fired by the president. Following the appointment of a new attorney general, the investigation was continued through regular channels.

Watergate

In May 1973, Richard Nixon‘s attorney general, Elliott Richardson, appointed Archibald Cox special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate scandal after Richardson had agreed in his senate confirmation hearing to appoint a Watergate special prosecutor. As part of his investigation, in July of that year, Cox first requested and then subpoenaed the Nixon White House tapes, secret recordings Nixon had made of conversations in the Oval Office and elsewhere. The Nixon administration refused to produce the tapes citing executive privilege, and the dispute was fought in court until October. After a Court of Appeals instructed the president to comply with the special prosecutor’s subpoena, Nixon ordered the special prosecutor fired. In what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre, both the attorney general and deputy attorney general (who had both made promises regarding the special prosecutor in their senate confirmations) resigned rather than carry out the order to fire Cox. Solicitor General Robert Bork, who was third in line at the Department of Justice, then fired Cox.

Initially, the Nixon Whitehouse announced that the office of the special prosecutor had been abolished, but after public outcry Nixon instead had Bork appoint Leon Jaworski as the second Watergate special prosecutor, less than two weeks after the Saturday Night Massacre. Jaworski continued Cox’s pursuit of the White House tapes, which were ultimately released following the supreme court decision in United States v. Nixon. Jaworski resigned after just under a year as special prosecutor, about two and a half months after Nixon’s own resignation, to be replaced by his (and Cox’s) deputy, Henry Ruth Jr. Ruth in turn resigned in 1975, leaving Charles Ruff the fourth and final Watergate special prosecutor. Acting under his existing appointment as Watergate special prosecutor, Ruff conducted an unrelated investigation into whether Gerald Ford had misused campaign funds while a congressman, clearing the president of any wrongdoing.[11]

Independent counsel law

Inspired in part by Watergate, in 1978 Congress passed the Ethics in Government Act, which among other things established formal rules for the appointment of a special prosecutor. The special prosecutor provisions in the bill were temporary, but were reauthorized by Congress in 1983 and 1987, expiring five years later in 1992, then were reinstated for another five years in 1994 before expiring again in 1999. The appointment of special prosecutors under the Ethics in Government Act varied in important ways from appointments made before and since. Most notably, although the decision to appoint a special prosecutor was still made by the attorney general, the actual selection of the special prosecutor was made by a three-judge panel.[12]

Roughly twenty special prosecutors (called independent counsels after 1983) were appointed under the Ethics in Government Act and its reauthorizations[13] during each of the Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton administrations. These include significant investigations into the Iran–Contra affair and the Whitewater controversy, the latter of which ultimately led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky scandal. Numerous smaller investigations into cabinet secretaries for relatively minor offenses, such as drug use, were also carried out by special prosecutors during this period.

During the period 1992–1994 when the independent counsel provisions were not in force, Attorney General Janet Reno appointed Robert Fiske special counsel to investigate Whitewater. When the law was reauthorized in 1994, Reno invoked it to order an independent counsel be appointed to investigate Whitewater, and suggested Fiske continue in that role. Instead, Ken Starr was given the job by the three-judge panel. Starr resigned and was replaced by Robert Ray in 1999 just before the expiration of the independent counsel statute.[14] Ray formally concluded the Whitewater investigation in 2003.

Since 1999

Since the expiration of the independent counsel statute in 1999, there is no federal law governing the appointment of a special prosecutor, as was the case until 1978. With the law’s expiration in 1999, the Justice Department, under Attorney General Reno, promulgated procedural regulations governing the appointment of special counsels. These regulations were used that year by Reno to appoint John Danforth special counsel to investigate the FBI’s handling of the Waco siege.[15]

In 2003 during the George W Bush administration, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General James Comey, acting after the recusal of Attorney General John Ashcroft, to investigate the Plame affair.

Legal authority

The legal authority under which special prosecutors are appointed has changed over the years.

In the case of the Teapot Dome investigation, Congress passed a special joint resolution requiring the appointment of a special counsel for the case, and requiring confirmation of the special counsels by the Senate, similarly to a cabinet appointment.[9] This process was unique in the history of federal special prosecutors.

Special prosecutors have also been appointed under special one-time regulations issued by the attorney general. This was the case, for example, for the Watergate special prosecutors.[16]

Passed partly in response to the events of Watergate, the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 created a statutory basis for the appointment of special prosecutors, and specifically restricted the authority of the president or attorney general, for example, to fire the independent counsel once appointed. The independent counsel provisions of the law were in effect during the periods 1978–1992 and 1994–1999.

With the expiration of the independent counsel authority in 1999, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Janet Reno promulgated regulations for the future appointment of special counsels. As of 2017, these regulations remain in effect as 28 CFR section 600.[5] While the regulations place limits on the authority of the attorney general, for example to fire the special counsel once appointed, they are internal Department of Justice regulations without an underlying statutory basis. It is thus unclear whether the limits these regulations place on the attorney general would prove binding in practice.

The existence of a law or regulations specifying one process to appoint a special prosecutor does not preclude the attorney general (or acting attorney general) from using their inherent authority to appoint a special prosecutor by other means, as has happened twice. Despite the passage of the Ethics in Government Act the previous year, Paul Curran was appointed to investigate Jimmy Carter’s peanut business in 1979 under the attorney general’s inherent authority (and was selected by him rather than by a three-judge panel as under the law), ostensibly because the alleged wrongdoing preceded the passage of the act.[7] Patrick Fitzgerald’s appointment as special counsel in 2003 was specifically not made under the 28 CFR 600 regulation.[17] The special counsel regulations specify that a special counsel must be a lawyer from outside the US government, while Fitzgerald was already a federal prosecutor at the time of his appointment.

Initiating a special prosecutor investigation

The decision to appoint a special prosecutor rests with the attorney general (or acting attorney general), or, historically, with the president. Under the independent counsel statute that expired in 1999, Congress could formally request the attorney general to appointment a special prosecutor (see role of legislative and judicial branches); however the law only required the attorney general to respond in writing with a decision and reasons, and in any event it is no longer in force.[16] Similarly, under the statute, the choice of who to appoint as special prosecutor was made by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals. This is no longer the case, and the decision of who to appoint now rests entirely with the attorney general.

The current special counsel regulations specify that:[5]

The Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted and—

  • (a) That investigation or prosecution of that person or matter by a United States Attorney’s Office or litigating Division of the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances; and
  • (b) That under the circumstances, it would be in the public interest to appoint an outside Special Counsel to assume responsibility for the matter.

The attorney general sets the subject jurisdiction of the special counsel:

The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.

The choice of who to appoint is to be made by the attorney general with the following guidelines:

An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decisionmaking, and with appropriate experience to ensure both that the investigation will be conducted ably, expeditiously and thoroughly, and that investigative and prosecutorial decisions will be supported by an informed understanding of the criminal law and Department of Justice policies. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government. Special Counsels shall agree that their responsibilities as Special Counsel shall take first precedence in their professional lives, and that it may be necessary to devote their full time to the investigation, depending on its complexity and the stage of the investigation.

Terminating a special prosecutor investigation

Generally, the special prosecutor him or herself decides when an investigation will terminate, with or without formal charges being pursued. The special prosecutor typically issues a final report on their investigation at this time. The current special prosecutor regulations specify that[5] “At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel.”

Firing the special prosecutor

Three special prosecutors have been fired before they had completed their investigations. President Grant fired the special prosecutor investigating the Whiskey Ring scandal on charges of impudence against the president, but later replaced him following public pressure. President Truman’s attorney general fired Newbold Morris when Morris submitted a lengthy questionnaire to be filled out by all senior executive officers. Truman later fired the attorney general, and concluded the investigation through ordinary means. President Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox after Cox subpoenaed the White House tapes. Controversy over the propriety and legality of this last firing sparked a constitutional crisis, dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre. The firing was ruled illegal in the case of Nader v. Bork, but, as a new special prosecutor had already been appointed, the case was already moot when decided, and the decision was never appealed past the district court.[18]

The independent counsel law originally enacted in the Ethics in Government Act did not allow independent counsels appointed under the law to be removed except under specific circumstances such as wrongdoing or incapacitation. This law is no longer in effect.

The current special counsel regulations specify that:[5]

The Special Counsel may be disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the Attorney General. The Attorney General may remove a Special Counsel for misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or for other good cause, including violation of Departmental policies. The Attorney General shall inform the Special Counsel in writing of the specific reason for his or her removal.

Unlike the independent counsel law, however, the current special counsel regulations were promulgated by the Justice Department and have no underlying statutory basis. Thus their force to constrain the attorney general is uncertain.

Role of the legislative and judicial branches

The decision to appoint a special prosecutor is made by the executive branch, historically by the president or attorney general (or acting attorney general). The only exception to this was the Teapot Dome special prosecutors, whose appointment was mandated by a joint resolution of Congress.[9]

Under the independent counsel statute, majorities of either party within the House or Senate Judiciary Committee could formally request the attorney general to appoint an independent counsel on a particular matter, but the decision of whether or not to appoint the independent counsel remained with the attorney general and was not reviewable in court. If the attorney general decided not to appoint an independent counsel in response to such a request, they were only required to respond in writing with the reasons.[16] Although under the statute the attorney general made the decision of whether or not to appoint an independent counsel, the actual selection of the individual to serve in this role was made by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals.[which?][12]

Since the expiration of the independent counsel laws, as was the case before 1978, neither Congress nor the courts have any official role in the appointment of a special counsel; however Congress can use other powers to pressure an administration into appointing a special counsel. This happened, for example, in the appointment of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox; senators secured a promise from Attorney General nominee Richardson to appoint a Watergate special prosecutor as a condition of his confirmation. Congress also has independent authority to investigate the president and his or her close associates through Congressional hearings as part of its government oversight role.[16]

Constitutionality

The appointment of a special prosecutor raises inherent separation of powers questions under the US Constitution. Since the special prosecutor is a member of the executive branch, it has been argued that the special prosecutor is ultimately answerable to the president, and can therefore be fired by them. Richard Nixon, for example, argued that he could not be compelled by a subpoena issued by his own subordinate.

The constitutionality of the independent counsel law was affirmed by an 7–1 decision of the supreme court in the case of Morrison v. Olson.

Calls for a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 US election

On December 21, 2016, Democratic Congresswoman Nydia Valázquez wrote a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking Lynch to appoint a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 United States election. Such an appointment would have been unusual in that the conflict of interest to be addressed was anticipated, following the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, rather than immediate.[19]

On February 24, 2017, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa called for the appointment of a special counsel on the Real Time with Bill Maher show.

On March 2, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election following revelations that he had had meetings with the Russian ambassador while a Trump campaign surrogate, and had falsely testified otherwise in his senate confirmation hearing. The decision over whether to appoint a special counsel thus devolved to his deputy, currently Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente. In senate confirmation hearings for Rod Rosenstein to replace Boente as Deputy Attorney General, ongoing in March 2017, several Democratic senators have sought to make the confirmation conditional on Rosenstein’s agreement to appoint a special counsel. Rosenstein has declined to make such a commitment, and because Democrats are in the minority, this is unlikely to prevent his confirmation.[20]

United States appointment at the state level

Special prosecutors are appointed in state court with greater frequency than federal, and most often in cases where a conflict of interest arises or to avoid even the appearance such a conflict exists. In local state governments, special prosecutors are appointed by a judge, government official, organization, company or group of citizens to prosecute violations of law committed by one or more governmental agents and procure indictments for actions taken under color of state law.[21] Unlike in courts having federal jurisdiction, where the terms “special counsel” and “independent counsel” have a uniform definition, in state court meanings of legal terms continually vary, but with “special prosector” referencing the appointment of an attorney (supra) in contemplation of representation and prosecution of one or more government agent(s) for unlawful conduct.

References

  1. Jump up^ “South Korea prosecutor paves way for charges against Park if impeachment upheld”. Reuters. 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  2. Jump up^ Harriger, Katy (1992). The Federal Special Prosecutor in American Politics. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. p. 3. ISBN 0-7006-0535-5.
  3. Jump up^ “Policy 11: Special or Independent Prosecutors | Justice in Policing Toolkit”. http://www.justiceinpolicing.com. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  4. Jump up^ “The Office – A Brief History Of The Independent Counsel Law | Secrets Of An Independent Counsel | FRONTLINE | PBS”. http://www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e e-CFR: TITLE 28—Judicial Administration, retrieved 2017-03-14
  6. Jump up^ “THE WHISKY RING FRAUDS.; THE PROSECUTIONS IN ST. LOUIS. INDICTMENT OF GEN. BABCOCK–LETTER OF THE GRAND JURY TO THE PRESIDENT THANKING HIM FOR THE SUPPORT GIVEN THEM BY HIM–THE SPECIAL COUNSEL–MR. HENDERSON’S CASE. MR. HENDERSON’S ATTACK ON THE PRESIDENT–HE SAYS HE WAS INCORRECTLY REPORTE–THE REPORTED DISPATCH OF SENATOR MORTON.”. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b “OIC Smaltz: Speeches and Articles: Georgetown Law Journal: A View From Inside”. govinfo.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  8. Jump up^ Greenberg, Gerald (2000). Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 164–166. ISBN 0-313-30735-0.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c “A summary of the Teapot Dome scandal from the Brookings Institution”. academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  10. Jump up^ Greenberg, Gerald (2000). Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 231–233. ISBN 0-313-30735-0.
  11. Jump up^ Greenberg, Gerald (2000). Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Independent Counsel Investigations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 293–295. ISBN 0-313-30735-0.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b “The Office – What Is The Special Division? | Secrets Of An Independent Counsel | FRONTLINE | PBS”. http://www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  13. Jump up^ “The Office – Independent Counsel Investigations, 1978 To The Present | Secrets Of An Independent Counsel | FRONTLINE | PBS”. http://www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  14. Jump up^ Post, From the Washington (1999-10-17). “Starr’s Chosen Successor Draws Praise, Criticism”. Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  15. Jump up^ “09-09-99: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL JANET RENO RE: APPOINTMENT OF FORMER SENATOR JOHN DANFORTH TO HEAD WACO PROBE”. http://www.justice.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Maskell, Jack (June 20, 2013). “Independent Counsels, Special Prosecutors, Special Counsels, and the Role of Congress” (PDF).
  17. Jump up^ “December 30, 2003 Letter from Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey to Patrick J. Fitzgerald” (PDF).
  18. Jump up^ “Nader v. Bork, 366 F. Supp. 104 (D.D.C. 1973)”. Justia Law. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  19. Jump up^ “House Democrat appeals for special counsel to probe Russian hacking”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  20. Jump up^ “Grilled on Russia probe, deputy attorney general pick sidesteps Democrats’ calls for special prosecutor”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  21. Jump up^ Black’s Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004) Prosecutor.

Further reading

  • Doyle, James (1977). Not Above the Law: the battles of Watergate prosecutors Cox and Jaworski. New York: William Morrow and Company. ISBN 0-688-03192-7.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_prosecutor

Story 3: Will There Be A House Vote to Repeal and Replace Obamacare? Only If Republican Have The 216 Votes! —  Until The Twelfth of Never — Breaking — Republican Have 216+ Votes — Videos

Image result for cartoons branco repeal of obamacare

Image result for cartoons branco repeal of obamacareImage result for cartoons branco repeal of obamacare

Image result for preexisting conditions

 The Truth Behind the Affordable Care Act – Learn Liberty

Obamacare: Goals vs. Outcomes- Learn Liberty

Rand Paul Questions Tom Price on Replacing Obamacare

Molyneux and Schiff For Liberty – Discrimination and Pre-Existing Conditions in Health Insurance

The GOP Has A Pre-Existing Condition | All In | MSNBC

MSNBC: Dr Jason Johnson on Trump’s Effort to Sway GOP Votes to Repeal and Replace Obamacare 5/3/17

Republicans could vote on health care this week

King: Leave pre-existing conditions to states

Rep. Jim Jordan: Pre-Existing Conditions Covered In GOP Healthcare Bill | MTP Daily | MSNBC

White House Continues To Work To Save Healthcare Bill

Pre-existing conditions mandate threatens Republican health care bill

Sources say WH aiming for health reform vote on Wednesday

President Trump guarantees pre-existing condition coverage in new health care bill

Published on Apr 30, 2017

President Trump says the new health care bill promises coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. “We have a specific clause that guarantees,” Trump tells CBS News’ John Dickerson.

CNN graphic nails Trump for lying about preexisting conditions

Trump Again Leads Effort To Repeal Affordable Care Act

Pre-existing condition

Politics Unusual: Washington Gridlock

12th of never

“the 12th of never” is used as the date of a future occurrence that will never come to pass.

JOHNNY MATHIS The Twelfth Of Never

Twelfth of Never
You ask me how much I need you, must I explain?
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain
You ask how long I’ll love you, I’ll tell you true
Until the Twelfth of Never, I’ll still be loving you
Hold me close, never let me go
Hold me close, melt my heart like April snow
I’ll love you ’til the bluebells forget to bloom
I’ll love you ’til the clover has lost its perfume
I’ll love you ’til the poets run out of rhyme
Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a long, long time
Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a long, long time
Songwriters: Jerry Livingston / Paul Webster

ObamaCare repeal gains votes and momentum

Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) on Wednesday said they would support the GOP’s ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill with the addition of an amendment, giving the effort new momentum as GOP leaders push toward a floor vote.

The two Republicans made the announcement at the White House after meeting with President Trump.

“I think it is likely now to pass the House,” Upton said.

But Upton added he’s “not on the whip team” and can’t definitively say there are enough votes for it to pass.

Both Upton and Long dealt a setback to the health care measure earlier this week, when they came out against it because they said it failed to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

The new amendment from Upton would provide $8 billion over five years to help people with pre-existing conditions afford their premiums in states that are granted a waiver from ObamaCare’s protections.

The liberal Center for American Progress estimated on Tuesday that the high-risk pools are underfunded by much more: $200 billion over 10 years.

The GOP bill already includes $130 billion over 10 years, which was not swaying many moderates as of Tuesday.

Upton himself said on Tuesday afternoon that more money for the high-risk pools “does not do the trick,” but he appeared to have a change of heart on Wednesday.

GOP leaders are whipping aggressively in favor of the healthcare bill in hopes of holding a vote before a one-week recess.

Upton said votes in the House Rules Committee, which would set up debate of the bill on the floor, could be held as soon as Thursday.

If the House votes on the bill this week, there would not be time for a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of Upton’s changes or of an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) that won over the House Freedom Caucus.

The MacArthur amendment set off moderates’ concerns in the first place. It allows states to waive ObamaCare protections that prevent people from being charged higher premiums based on their health. If those were repealed, insurers could go back to charging exorbitant premiums to sick people, which could put coverage out of reach for many.

Supporters of the bill argue high-risk pools could fill the gap, and note that people with pre-existing conditions would still be protected if they had no gaps in coverage.

It is not immediately clear how many other moderates Upton’s changes will sway. The moderate Tuesday Group was set to meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Centrist Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Ryan Costello (R-Pa.) said Wednesday they are still opposed to the bill even after the changes.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said in a statement Wednesday he could support the bill “if House leadership will work to tighten protections for those with pre-existing conditions.”

GOP Reps. Barbara Comstock (Va.), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.), Dan Donovan (N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) are all still opposed to the bill after the changes, their respective offices told The Hill on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Rep. John Faso (N.Y.) said he is still undecided.

But in a key development for Republican leaders, the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus has indicated it will continue to back the bill with the Upton amendment as long as it contains only additional funds and no policy changes.

On conservative host Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Wednesday, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) praised Upton’s efforts, calling his amendment something that “nobody has a problem with.”

“Fred Upton identified something he thinks will make the bill better,” Ryan said. “What we’re doing is listening to our members, finding where that sweet spot of consensus is and driving there.”

Illustrating the pressure from the White House, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney called for a vote on Fox News Wednesday morning.

Mulvaney said that if he were Speaker of the House, “I’d probably go to the floor today, because it’s just that close.”

The healthcare legislation was abruptly pulled from the House floor in late March after it became clear that a planned vote would have failed.

The underlying bill also has several provisions some moderates object to, such as deep Medicaid cuts. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the overall legislation would result in 24 million more people becoming uninsured over a decade.

Democrats and some health policy experts have also raised concerns that $8 billion will not be enough to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions who would lose their insurance coverage.

But Trump is hungry for a major legislative achievement after not securing one during his first 100 days in office, and the White House is in full court press to rally support behind the healthcare plan.

After announcing he was a “no” vote, Long said Trump called him multiple times to plead for his support. “The president said, ‘Billy, we really need you, we need you, man,’” the congressman said.

Upton said he and Long went to the White House to sell Trump on their amendment. The Michigan lawmaker said during their meeting he read Trump his comments during a Bloomberg News interview in which he said the health bill “will be every bit as good on pre-existing conditions as ObamaCare.”

“I want him to keep that pledge,” Upton said. “This amendment allows that to happen.”

– Scott Wong contributed. Updated 1:18 p.m.

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/331755-obamacare-repeal-gains-votes-and-momentum

Pre-existing condition

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the term in health insurance. For medical use of the term, see Complication (medicine).

In the context of healthcare in the United States, a pre-existing condition is a medical condition that started before a person’s health insurance went into effect. Before 2014 some insurance policies would not cover expenses due to pre-existing conditions. These exclusions by the insurance industry were meant to cope with adverse selection by potential customers. Such exclusions are prohibited after January 1, 2014, by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Definitions

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center defines a pre-existing condition as a “medical condition that occurred before a program of health benefits went into effect”.[1] J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association, has stated on a Fox News Sunday interview that exclusions, based upon these conditions, function as a form of “rationing” of health care.[2]

Conditions can be broken down into two further categories, according to Lisa Smith of Investopedia:[3]

Most insurance companies use one of two definitions to identify such conditions. Under the “objective standard” definition, a pre-existing condition is any condition for which the patient has already received medical advice or treatment prior to enrollment in a new medical insurance plan. Under the broader, “prudent person” definition, a pre-existing condition is anything for which symptoms were present and a prudent person would have sought treatment.

Which definition may be used was sometimes regulated by state laws. Some states required insurance companies to use the objective standard, while others required the prudent person standard. 10 states did not specify either definition, 21 required the “prudent person” standard, and 18 required the “objective” standard.[4]

Regulation

Regulation of pre-existing condition exclusions in individual (non-group) and small group (2 to 50 employees) health insurance plans in the United States is left to individual U.S. states as a result of the McCarran–Ferguson Act of 1945 which delegated insurance regulation to the states and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) which exempted self-insured large group health insurance plans from state regulation. After most states had by the early 1990s implemented some limits on pre-existing condition exclusions by small group (2 to 50 employees) health insurance plans, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (KassebaumKennedy Act) of 1996 (HIPAA) extended some minimal limits on pre-existing condition exclusions for all group health insurance plans—including the self-insured large group health insurance plans that cover half of those with employer-provided health insurance but are exempt from state insurance regulation.[5][6][7][8][9][10]

Current federal regulation

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub.L. 111-148) enacted March 23, 2010[11]
  • Immediate reform: effective June 21, 2010 (90 days after enactment)
    • National high-risk pool for individuals with a pre-existing condition who have been uninsured for the prior 6 months
      • Premium to be set at a standard rate for a standard population
      • Premium for older individuals allowed to be up to 4 times the premium for younger individuals
      • Premium for tobacco users allowed to be up to 1.5 times the premium for non-tobacco users
  • Immediate reform: effective September 23, 2010 (6 months after enactment)
    • Group health insurance plans and new (non-grandfathered) individual health insurance plans[12]
      • Pre-existing condition exclusions prohibited for children under age 19
  • Reform delayed for 4 years: effective January 1, 2014
    • Individual and group health insurance plans
      • Pre-existing condition exclusions prohibited in all health insurance plans
      • Prohibit treating acts of domestic violence as a pre-existing condition
      • Waiting period for enrollment in new health insurance plans limited to 90 days
    • Grandfathered existing health insurance plans must prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions by January 1, 2014

Former regulation

Individual (non-group) health insurance plans[13][14]
Small group (2 to 50 employees) health insurance plans[15]
Large group (self-insured) health insurance plans
  • Maximum pre-existing condition exclusion period
    • 12 months: 50 states + DC
  • Maximum look-back period for pre-existing conditions
    • 6 months: 50 states + DC

Pre-existing condition exclusions were prohibited for HIPAA-eligible individuals (those with 18 months continuous coverage unbroken for more than 63 days and coming from a group health insurance plan).

Individual (non-group) health insurance plans could exclude maternity coverage for a pre-existing condition of pregnancy.[2]

Group health insurance plans sponsored by employers with 15 or more employees were prohibited by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 from excluding maternity coverage for a pre-existing condition of pregnancy; this prohibition was extended to all group health insurance plans by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).[2]

Practices and effects

Advocates against pre-existing condition rules argue that they cruelly deny needy people treatment. State Farm spokeswoman K.C. Eynatten has said, “We realized our position was based on gut feelings, not hard numbers… we became aware that we were part of the reason a woman and her children might not leave an abuser. They were afraid they’d lose their insurance. And we wanted no part of that.”[16] Jerry Flanagan, health-care policy director of Consumer Watchdog, has stated that “insurance companies want premiums without any risk” and go to extreme “lengths… to go to make a profit”.[17] InsureMe, an insurance quote provider website, has argued that even though health insurance is basically to protect people from very high costs of health care, the commercial health insurance system is not playing fair and are always trying to avoid risk in order to boost their profits.[18]

Some practices by some health insurance companies, such as determining domestic violence to be an excludable pre-existing condition, have been called abuses by Maria Tchijov, a Service Employees International Union new media coordinator, and by an Office of Rural Health Policy report.[16][19][20]

The rationale behind pre-existing condition clauses, according to those who defend the policies, is that they reduce the cost of health insurance coverage for those who still receive it, thus giving more people an opportunity to afford insurance in the first place.[16][21] The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that “[c]osts for those with coverage could go up because people in poor health who’d been shut out of the insurance pool would now be included… they would get medical care they could not access before.”[21] Senator Mike Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming, has voted to allow insurance companies to consider domestic violence as a pre-existing condition and supported his vote by saying that covering such people could raise insurance premiums to the point where it would preclude others from buying it. He has remarked that “If you have no insurance, it doesn’t matter what services are mandated by the state”.[16][22]

According to the California-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, other possible situations falling under pre-existing condition clauses are chronic conditions as acne, hemorrhoids, toenail fungus, allergies, tonsillitis, and bunions, hazardous occupations such as police officer, stunt person, test pilot, circus worker, and firefighter, and pregnancy and/or the intention to adopt.[17]

Commentary by lawmakers

According to a Reason.com libertarian opinion blog by Peter Suderman, the ‘Pledge to America‘ issued by the Republican Party in September 2010 stated, “Health care should be accessible for all, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses…. We will make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition.”[23] In a March 3, 2010, address, President Barack Obama said that coverage denied to those with pre-existing conditions is a serious problem that would only grow worse without major reforms.[24] In a September 2010 visit with Falls Church, Virginia, residents, Obama referred to a woman with an eye condition and a woman with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as personal examples in the audience of those benefiting from changing pre-existing condition rules.[25]

Public opinion

A Time Magazine-Abt SRBI poll in late July 2009 found that a large majority of Americans (80%) favored a requirement that insurance companies insure people even if they suffer from pre-existing conditions.[26]

In September 2009, the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking Poll report said:[27]

The public’s most unanimous and bipartisan support is saved for a proposal to have the federal government require that health insurance companies cover anyone who applies, even if he/she has a pre-existing condition. Overall, eight in ten back the proposal, including 67 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of political independents and 88 percent of Democrats.

See also

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