The Pronk Pops Show 1369, December 5, 2019, Story 1: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Green-lights Impeachment of President Trump — I Don’t Hate Nobody — Don’t Mess With Me — In Your Guts You Know She Is Nuts —  Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now — Video Story 2: Creepy, Sleepy, Dopey Joey Biden Lacks Temperament To Be President — Attacks Senior Citizen Voter — Videos

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Abraham Lincoln Bot – fool the people

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Story 1: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Green-lights Impeachment of President Trump — I Don’t Hate Nobody — Don’t Mess With Me — In Your Guts You Know She Is Nuts —  Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now — Videos

Ingraham: All the Democrats’ lies

Tucker: Some questions Pelosi will have to answer

Judge Jeanine calls out ‘Trump-hating’ Democrats

Pelosi’s impeachment politics ‘will blow up in her face’: Ken Buck

Rep. Biggs pushes back on Pelosi’s impeachment announcement

BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi Asks For Articles of Impeachment for President Donald Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Articles of Impeachment

Pelosi Says ‘Don’t Mess With Me’ Over Trump Hate Question

Pelosi: Impeachment has absolutely nothing to do with politics

Kennedy: ‘Laug hable’ impeachment is not about politics

McFadden & Whitehead – Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now 1979 (remastered audio)

Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
There’s been so many things that’s held us down
But now it looks like things are finally comin’ around
I know we’ve got, a long long way to go
And where we’ll end up, I don’t know
But we won’t let nothin’ hold us back
We’re putting our selves together
We’re polishing up our act!
If you felt we’ve been held down before
I know you’ll refuse to be held down anymore!
Don’t you let nothing, nothing
Stand in your way!
I want ya’ll to listen, listen
To every word I say, every word I say!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
I know you know someone that has a negative vow
And if you’re trying to make it they only push you aside
They really don’t have, no where to go
Ask them where they’re going, they don’t know
But we won’t let nothin’ hold us back
We’re gonna put our selves together
We’re gonna polish up our act!
And if you’ve ever been held down before
I know you’ll refuse to be held down anymore!
Don’t you let nothing, nothing
Stand in your way!
I want ya’ll to listen, listen
To every word I say, every word I say!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’re on the move!
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now!
We’ve got the groove!
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jerry Allen Cohen / Gene Mcfadden / John Whitehead
Ain’t No Stoppin Us Now lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Royalty Network

‘Don’t mess with me’: Moment nail-spitting Nancy Pelosi ERUPTS when reporter asks if she hates Donald Trump after she ordered Democrats to write formal articles of impeachment

  • Pelosi said she is instructing committees to proceed with impeachment articles against the president: ‘Our democracy is what is at stake’
  • When a reporter asked her, ‘Do you hate the president?’ she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn’t ‘hate’ anyone
  • Pelosi said she prays for the president but Trump tweeted that he doesn’t believe her 
  • Democrats are hurrying to compete their work by the end of the year; speaker didn’t say when she might call a vote 
  • Democrats are debating whether to include an article on obstruction of justice as laid out in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller
  • Politicians are split along party lines on whether Trump committed an impeachable offense when he asked Ukraine president to investigate Joe Biden 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi erupted Thursday at a reporter who asked if she hates President Donald Trump. Pelosi had two hours earlier publicly told House Democrats to draft articles of impeachment to try to remove the president from office.

‘Do you hate the president, Madam Speaker?’ asked James Rosen, a longtime correspondent for Fox News who is now with Sinclair Broadcasting.

Pelosi, typically even-tempered, abandoned her measured speaking and became visibly angry.

‘I pray for the president all the time,’ she shot back. ‘So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.’

Trump wasted little time in escalating the feud with the Democrat who wants him ousted from power.

‘Nancy Pelosi just had a nervous fit. … She says she “prays for the President.” I don’t believe her, not even close,’ he wrote in a tweet.

‘She hates that we will soon have 182 great new judges and sooo much more. Stock Market and employment records,’ he added, before sniping about her hometown San Francisco’s chronic homelessness problem.

The California Democrat had said before storming off the stage that hatred ‘has nothing to do with’ her crusade to impeach Trump.

When reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 'Do you hate the president?' she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn't 'hate' anyone: 'Don't mess with me when it comes to words like that!'

When reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, ‘Do you hate the president?’ she became unusually angry and insisted she doesn’t ‘hate’ anyone: ‘Don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that!’

Pelosi erupted in response to a question from Sinclair Broadcasting reporter James Rosen (center-right, arm raised), who asked whether she hates Trump

Pelosi erupted in response to a question from Sinclair Broadcasting reporter James Rosen (center-right, arm raised), who asked whether she hates Trump

Pelosisaid she prays for Trump, and he tweeted that he doesn't believe it: 'Not even close'

Pelosisaid she prays for Trump, and he tweeted that he doesn’t believe it: ‘Not even close’

Pelosi insisted she hates no one, and that she often prays for the president

Pelosi insisted she hates no one, and that she often prays for the president

Pelosi confirms House to draft impeachment charges against Trump

‘Let me say this: I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers, of which we’re very proud. I think he’s in denial about the climate crisis,’ she said.

But ‘take it up in the election,’ Pelosi continued. ‘This is about the Constitution of the United States and the fact that leads to the president’s violation of his oath of office. And as a Catholic, I resent your using the word “hate” in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone.’

Pelosi’s decision to fast-track impeachment articles, the congressional equivalent of criminal charges against Trump, sets up an almost certainly successful House vote likely trial in the Senate, with implications for not only the Trump presidency but control of Congress.

‘Our democracy is what is at stake,’ the longtime liberal lawmaker told reporters in a formal statement outside her ornate balcony on the second floor of the Capitol. ‘Today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.’

She did not specify which articles of impeachment she favored—an issue of intense debate within her caucus—or how quickly she might call a vote, another fraught question.

The speaker also left no doubt where she personally comes down on the matter, after spending many months initially resisting a push to impeach.

‘The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,’ she said in her televised statement, speaking in somber tones in a measured voice.

‘His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution it’s separation of powers,’ she intoned – ‘three coequal branches, each a check and balance on the other.’

Trump quickly attacked the move on Twitter, warning Democrats were impeaching him over ‘NOTHING.’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she has instructed House committees to draw up impeachment articles against President Trump

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she has instructed House committees to draw up impeachment articles against President Trump

President Trump countered on Twitter that Democrats were impeaching him over 'NOTHING'

President Trump countered on Twitter that Democrats were impeaching him over ‘NOTHING’

He said their actions would lower the bar and be 'used routinely to attack future Presidents'

He said their actions would lower the bar and be ‘used routinely to attack future Presidents’

‘Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,’ Trump retorted on Twitter.

She also appeared to suggest the potential for a sweeping set of impeachment articles – by accusing Trump of corruption in the 2016 election alongside his more recent moves. The House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry dealt primarily with Trump’s actions as recently as this fall and summer dealing with Ukraine.

‘The president leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit,’ Pelosi said.

What we do know on impeachment after Pelosi’s speech (and what we don’t)

WHAT WE KNOW 

Democratic committees will draft articles of impeachment for president Trump.

Pelosi used plural language, implying the House Intelligence Committee would continue to be involved, although Judiciary is the place such action would occur.

The committee must hold formal public hearings where articles would be voted on by members.

If those articles are ordered reported in Committee, House leaders would then bring them quickly to the House floor for a vote.

There would be public debate before such a vote, and each member’s vote will be recorded.

Then, the matter will go to the Senate, where Senate leaders have said a trial will occur.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW 

Pelosi didn’t say what the impeachment articles would be.

She didn’t say whether obstruction of justice – alleged in the Mueller report – would be included.

Obstruction of Congress is another possibility.

Lawmakers are considering various abuse of power related articles.

She did not say when committees would act.

She didn’t say when the goal would be to have the House vote – or if year’s end is the official goal.

She did not speak on the likelihood of passage, although she would be unlikely to proceed without knowing the outcome.

Pelosi did not reveal who House impeachment managers will be. They are charged with arguing the case in the Senate.

The terms of the Senate trial are fluid. Witnesses are called, but it is unclear if the White House will follow through on Trump’s call to bring forward Pelosi, Adam Schiff, and the Bidens as witnesses.

The timing is also unknown. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked out time in January – but Democratic presidential primaries start in early February.

‘The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections,’ she continued. ‘His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”‘

‘Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our founders,  and a heart full of love for America, today I am asking our chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.’

She thanked committee chairs and members ‘for their somber approach’ to deal with actions the president made ‘necessary.’

The Catholic lawmaker invoked Declaration of Independence signers’ reliance on Divine Provenance.

She said Democrats were ‘prayerful’ and will proceed in a manner ‘worthy of our oath of office.’

There is much Pelosi did not say about a way forward – including what precise articles she wants the House Judiciary to draw up. The House intelligence committee, which began the probe under Pelosi ally Adam Schiff, has said it will continue its inquiry.

Seeking to bring her comments above the partisan mud fest that the two initial public hearings have become, Pelosi quoted a long list of Founders in her comments: James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason and and Constitution signer Gouverneur Morris.

‘The founders feared the return of the monarchy in America,’ Pelosi said, in terms that compared Trump to a corrupt tyrant and a king. In particular, she said, they feared one who ‘might betray his trust to for powers,’ she said.

Pelosi, who for months resisted the drive that began among members of her party’s liberal wing, has since jumped aboard, setting up a House Intelligence impeachment inquiry and Wednesday Judiciary Committee hearing.

Minutes before Pelosi was to announce her plans, President Trump weighed in with his own suggestion that Democrats hurry up their House effort to bring on a trial.

‘The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair …trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,’ Trump wrote.

‘We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is,’ he said, laying out plans that lawmakers and his legal team might or might not go along with. ‘I was elected to ‘Clean the Swamp,’ and that’s what I am doing!’ he added.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale used similar language in his own statement.

‘We are less than a year away from Election Day 2020 and Democrats can’t possibly explain to the American people why they want to take the decision of who should be president out of the hands of voters,’ he wrote.

‘But impeaching the President has always been their goal, so they should just get on with it so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and expose The Swamp for what it is. Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Schiff, and Hunter Biden should testify, and then we can get back to the business of our country.’

Do US a favor: Trump said he was asking Ukraine to help 'our Country' by investigating Joe Biden and the 2016 elections

Do US a favor: Trump said he was asking Ukraine to help ‘our Country’ by investigating Joe Biden and the 2016 elections

He called on Democrats to apologize to the American people

He called on Democrats to apologize to the American people

'Our democracy is what is at stake,' the longtime California lawmaker said

She spoke in the corridor outside the Speaker's balcony in the Capitol before a bank of American flags

The president is focused on making the case against impeachment in the Senate, the White House signaled Wednesday as House Democrats continue to plow toward recommending impeachment to the upper chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who holds considerable sway over how impeachment will go in his chamber, said on the Floor Thursday: ‘For weeks now, Republicans have beeen asking Democrats to take off their impeachment blinders and let Congress legislate for the American people.’ He said ‘Democrats literally obsess over impeachment.’

Today, he said, ‘the Speaker gave a speech on national television to push forward her rushed and partisan impeachment. Not one word, not one word on the outstanding legislation the American people actually need. Nothing on USMCA or the NDAA or funding for our armed forces. All impeachment, all the time, said McConnell, who served in the Senate during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, whom he accused at the time of a ‘persistent pattern and practice of obstruction of justice.’

White House director of legislative affairs Eric Ueland, a longtime former Senate aide, said Trump ‘wants his case made fully in the Senate.’

‘In this instance, we believe very strongly — given the fatally flawed process in the House — that if they were to elect against our better advice [and] send over impeachment to the Senate, that we need witnesses as part of our trial and a full defense of the president on the facts,’ Ueland told reporters, gesturing toward the Senate chamber, according to The Washington Post.

Ueland, along with White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, met with GOP senators on Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee conducted its first public hearing.

President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a meeting in New York on September 25, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly

Pelosi's statement was carried on multiple platforms

Pelosi’s statement was carried on multiple platforms

Ueland signaled that the White House was focused on the likely Senate trial where he feels they will be able to make a fair defense.

While speaking with reporters at the White House Monday, the president’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should testify because he is a fact witness in the impeachment inquiry.

She even said if Schiff testified under oath Wednesday before the Judiciary Committee she would show up on Capitol Hill.

Republicans have also asserted that Hunter Biden should appear to testify – since his business dealings in Ukraine are also at the center of the president’s actions that led to the impeachment inquiry.

Trump’s missive came a day after key White House advisors lunched with Senate Republicans to plot strategy on how to handle impeachment in the Senate.

Trump’s push for speedy House Democratic action, if sincere, would put him on the same page as Democratic leaders, who have been fearful of dragging out impeachment long into the new year. They fear it could interfere with their party’s message of working on kitchen table issues like health care and prescription drug costs.

To date, Pelosi has refrained from sweeping pronouncements on process, preferring to let House committees and investigations go forward at their own pace, at least publicly.

‘Are you ready?’ she asked her colleagues Wednesday during a closed-door meeting, earning yells of approval from fellow Democrats, the Washington Post reported.

She has yet to give lawmakers a firm timeline for what comes next – although all indications are that Democrats are rushing to complete impeachment by the end of the year.

That would provide barely enough time for Judiciary to consider and vote on articles of impeachment, setting up a House vote. That could bring a Senate trial early next year.

For that to happen, though Democrats must reach some decisions among themselves over how expansive a set of impeachment articles they want to craft.

The House Intelligence Committee kept its public hearings to Trump’ and his administration and emissaries’ conduct – and its 300-page report dealt with alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Some Democrats are pushing the party to incorporate Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and other actions by Trump as articles of impeachment.

Democrats say no decision has been made at this point on the specific charges. They could include abuse of power, bribery, obstruction of Congress and obstruction of justice.

More centrist and moderate Democrats prefer to stick with the Ukraine matter as a simpler narrative that Americans understand. As complex as the Ukraine affair has become, it has the virtue of being a more contained set of circumstances.

Obstruction of justice could encompass Trump’s conduct allegedly trying to shut down the Mueller probe, his interactions with former White House counsel Don McGahn, payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, and a variety of ancillary issues.

Either way, Democrats could begin drafting articles of impeachment in a matter of days, with a Judiciary Committee vote next week.

The full House could vote by Christmas. Then the matter would move to the Senate for a trial in 2020.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff,

Robert Mueller, Former Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice

Democrats are debating whether to include an article on obstruction of justice as laid out in the report by special counsel Robert Mueller.  House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff,left, is leading the impeachment hearings

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019

On Wednesday, three leading legal scholars testified that President Donald Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine investigate Democratic rivals are grounds for impeachment.

The legal opinions bolster the Democrats’ case as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes sure they’re prepared for that momentous next step.

A fourth expert called by Republicans at the Judiciary Committee warned against rushing the process, arguing it would be the shortest of impeachment proceedings, with the ‘thinnest’ record of evidence in modern times, setting a worrisome standard.

Meeting behind closed doors ahead of the initial Judiciary hearing to consider potential articles of impeachment, Pelosi asked House Democrats a simple question: ‘Are you ready?’

The answer was a resounding yes.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined at left by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., makes his opening statements on Wednesday

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined at left by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., makes his opening statements on Wednesday

Though no date has been set, the Democrats are charging toward a Christmastime vote on removing the 45th president. It’s a starkly partisan undertaking, a situation Pelosi hoped to avoid but now seems inevitable.

Trump is alleged to have abused the power of his office by putting personal political gain over national security interests, engaging in bribery by withholding $400 million in military aid Congress had approved for Ukraine; and then obstructing Congress by stonewalling the investigation.

Across the Capitol on Wednesday, the polarizing political divide over impeachment, only the fourth such inquiry in the nation´s history, was on display.

At the Judiciary hearing Democrats sided with the scholars who said Trump´s actions reached the Constitution´s threshold of ‘bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Republicans pointed to the lone professor they were allowed to invite, who said impeachment was not warranted.

Democrats in the House say the inquiry is a duty. Republican representatives say it’s a sham. And quietly senators of both parties conferred on Wednesday, preparing for an eventual Trump trial.

‘Never before, in the history of the republic, have we been forced to consider the conduct of a president who appears to have solicited personal, political favors from a foreign government,’ said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., as he gaveled open the landmark House hearing.

Nadler said Trump’s phone call seeking a ‘favor’ from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy wasn’t the first time he had sought foreign help to influence an American election, noting Russian interference in 2016. He warned against inaction with a new campaign underway.

‘We cannot wait for the election,’ he said. ‘ If we do not act to hold him in check, now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.’

Trump, attending a NATO meeting in London called the hearing a ‘joke’ and doubted many people would watch because it’s ‘boring.’

Once an outsider to the GOP, Trump now has Republicans’ unwavering support. They joined in his name-calling the Judiciary proceedings a ‘disgrace’ and unfair, the dredging up of unfounded allegations as part of an effort to undo the 2016 election and remove him from office.

‘You just don’t like the guy,’ said Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel. Trump rewarded some of his allies with politically valuable presidential tweets as the daylong hearing dragged into the evening.

Despite the intent of America’s Founding Fathers to create a durable system of legal checks and balances, impeachment is an admittedly political exercise. Thus Pelosi asked her still-new majority if they were willing to press onward, aware of still-uncertain electoral risks.

At the Democrats’ private morning meeting, support for the impeachment effort was vigorous, though voting to remove Trump could come hard for some lawmakers in regions where the president has substantial backing.

The Democratic lawmakers also delivered a standing ovation to Rep. Adam Schiff, whose 300-page Intelligence Committee report cataloged potential grounds for impeachment, overwhelmingly indicating they want to continue to press the inquiry rather than slow its advance or call a halt for fear of political costs in next year’s congressional elections. The meeting was described by people familiar with it, who were unauthorized to discuss it by name and were granted anonymity.

Meanwhile, Trump’s team fanned out across the Capitol with Vice President Mike Pence meeting with House Republicans and White House officials conferring with Senate Republicans to prepare for what could be the first presidential impeachment trial in a generation.

From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley

 

From left, Constitutional law experts, Harvard Law School professor Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School professor Pamela Karlan, University of North Carolina Law School professor Michael Gerhardt and George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who has declined for now to participate in the House proceedings, relayed Trump’s hope that the impeachment effort can be stopped in the House and there will be no need for a Senate trial, which seems unlikely.

White House officials and others said Trump is eager to have his say. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, ‘He feels like he has had no opportunity to tell his side of the story.’

Trump lambastes the impeachment probe daily and proclaims his innocence of any wrongdoing at length, but he has declined to testify before House hearings or answer questions in writing.

At the heart of the inquiry is his July 25 phone call asking Ukraine to investigate rival Democrats including Joe Biden. Trump at the time was withholding $400 million in military aid from the ally, which faced an aggressive Russia on its border.

At Wednesday’s session, three legal experts called by Democrats said impeachment was merited.

Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor, said he considered it clear that the president’s conduct met the definition of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina law professor, ‘If what we’re talking about is not impeachable … then nothing is impeachable.’

Pamela Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor and former Obama administration Justice Department official, drew criticism for mentioning Trump’s teenage son, Barron, in a wordplay, violating an unwritten but firm Washington rule against dragging first family’s children into politics.

The only Republican witness, Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, dissented from the other legal experts. He said the Democrats were bringing a ‘slipshod impeachment’ case against the president, but he didn’t excuse Trump’s behavior.

‘It is not wrong because President Trump is right,’ Turley said. ‘A case for impeachment could be made, but it cannot be made on this record.’

New telephone records released with the House report deepened Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s known involvement in what investigators call the ‘scheme.’

Asked about that, Trump told reporters he doesn’t know why Giuliani was calling the White House Office of Management and Budget, which was withholding the military aid to Ukraine.

‘You have to ask him,’ Trump said. ‘Sounds like something that’s not so complicated. … No big deal.’

Based on two months of investigation sparked by a still-anonymous government whistleblower’s complaint, the Intelligence Committee’s Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report found that Trump ‘sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security.’ When Congress began investigating, it says, Trump obstructed the investigation like no other president in history.

Republicans defended the president in a 123-page rebuttal claiming Trump never intended to pressure Ukraine when he asked for investigations of Biden and his son.

Democrats once hoped to sway Republicans to consider Trump’s removal, but they are now facing an ever-hardening partisan split over the swift-moving proceedings that are dividing Congress and the country.

Trump says he was telling Ukraine’s president to help the COUNTRY when he asked him to ‘do us a favor’ by investigating Joe Biden

Donald Trump‘s efforts to push the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden weren’t done for his own benefit, but for the nation’s the president said online after returning to the U.S. from a trip to London.

Trump offered the latest defense of his ‘perfect’ phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky about two hours after returning home from a trip that had the president clashing with European leaders just as the House Judiciary Committee held its first impeachment hearing on his fate.

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

Trump explained his position in two long tweets.  ‘When I said, in my phone call to the President of Ukraine, ‘I would like you to do US a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’ With the word ‘us’ I am referring to the United States, our Country,’ he wrote.

‘I then went on to say that … ‘I would like to have the Attorney General (of the United States) call you or your people…..’ This, based on what I have seen, is their big point – and it is no point at a all (except for a big win for me!).’

Trump concluded: ‘The Democrats should apologize to the American people!’

Trump’s July 25th phone call has become the center of a Democratic impeachment push. In it, he asked Zelensky to investigate Biden and contact Barr, who in addition to guiding the release of the Mueller report has named a federal prosecutor to probe alleged FBI misconduct in the Russia probe.

After Zelensky mentions anti-tank missiles he wants to fend off Russia, Trump says ‘I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it.’

He then mentions a conspiracy theory about the Democratic 2016 election server and the Crowdstrike security firm asks Zelensky to ‘get to the bottom of it.’ He then mentions a ‘very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine.’ He said it was ‘very important’ that Zelensky do it.

He also asks Zelensky to contact his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, brings up Hunter Biden’s son, and calls the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine ‘bad news.’

Trump’s defense of his call came as a trio of legal scholars called by Democrats blasted his conduct as a clear breach of the Constitution.

They all argued for impeachment in their opening statements before the panel.

‘I just want to stress, that if this – if what we’re talking about is not impeachable, than nothing is impeachable,’ said Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.

‘This is precisely the misconduct that the framers created a constitution – including impeachment – to protect against,’ he said. ‘If Congress concludes that they’re going to give a pass to the president here… every other president will say, ‘Ok, then I can do the same thing.’

Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan told lawmakers the most ‘chilling’ line in testimony she reviewed came from ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland who said he had never heard that the Ukrainians needed to go through with the investigations, just announce them publicly.

‘This was about injuring someone who the president thinks of as a particularly hard opponent,’ she said in reference to Joe Biden.

Karlan said of the Founders: ‘The very idea that a president might seek the aid of a foreign government in his reelection campaign would have horrified them. But based on the evidentiary record, that is what President Trump has done,’ she said.

But the Republican witness, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, said he did not think there was any way Trump’s conduct rose to the level of impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s full press statement on articles of impeachment on President Trump

Good morning.

Let us begin where our Founders began in 1776: ‘When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…’

With those words, our Founders courageously began our Declaration of Independence from an oppressive monarch, for, among other grievances, the King’s refusal to follow rightfully-passed laws.

In the course of today’s events, it becomes necessary for us to address, among other grievances, the President’s failure to faithfully execute the law.

When crafting the Constitution, the Founders feared the return of a monarchy in America. And, having just fought a war of independence, they specifically feared the prospect of a king president corrupted by foreign influence.

During the Constitutional Convention, James Madison – the architect of the Constitution – warned that a President might ‘betray his trust to foreign powers… which might prove fatal to the republic.’

Another Founder, Gouverneur Morris, feared that a president ‘may be bribed by a greater interest to betray his trust.’ He emphasized that, ‘This Magistrate is not the King…The people are the King.’

They therefore created a constitutional remedy to protect against a dangerous or corrupt leader: impeachment.

Unless the Constitution contained an impeachment provision, one Founder warned, a president might ‘spare no efforts or means whatever to get himself re-elected.’

Similarly, George Mason insisted that a president who ‘procured his appointment in the first instance’ through improper and corrupt acts might ‘repeat his guilt’ and return to power.

During the debate over impeachment at the Constitutional Convention, George Mason asked: ‘Shall any man be above justice? Shall that man be above it who can commit the most extensive injustice?’

In his great wisdom, he knew that injustice committed by the President erodes the rule of law – the very idea that – of fair justice, which is the bedrock of our democracy.

And if we allow a president to be above the law, we do so surely at the peril of our republic.

In America, no one is above the law.

Over the past few weeks, through the Intelligence Committee working with the Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees, the American people have heard the testimony of truly patriotic career public servants, distinguished diplomats and decorated war heroes: some of the President’s own appointees.

The facts are uncontested: the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit at the expense of our national security, by withholding military aid and a crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival.

Yesterday, the Judiciary Committee – at the Judiciary Committee, the American people heard testimony from leading American constitutional scholars who illuminated, without a doubt, that the President’s actions are a profound violation of the public trust.

The President’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution – especially when he says and acts upon the belief, ‘Article II says, I can do whatever I want.’

No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution: a separation of powers, three co-equal branches, each a check and balance on the other; ‘a Republic, if we can keep it,’ said Benjamin Franklin.

Our Democracy is what is at stake. The President leaves us no choice but to act, because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit.

The President has engaged in abuse of power undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.

His actions are in defiance of the vision of our Founders and the oath of office that he takes ‘to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’

Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today, I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.

I commend our Committee Chairs and our Members for their somber approach to actions which I wish the President had not made necessary.

In signing the Declaration of Independence, our Founders invoked a firm reliance on divine providence.

Democrats too are prayerful.

And we will proceed in a manner worthy of our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, so help us God.

Thank you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7759555/Speaker-Nancy-Pelosi-reveal-latest-play-break-neck-impeachment-strategy.html

Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.


In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


Georgia

Button Gwinnett

Lyman Hall

George Walton

 

North Carolina

William Hooper

Joseph Hewes

John Penn

 

South Carolina

Edward Rutledge

Thomas Heyward, Jr.

Thomas Lynch, Jr.

Arthur Middleton

 

Massachusetts

John Hancock

Maryland

Samuel Chase

William Paca

Thomas Stone

Charles Carroll of Carrollton

 

Virginia

George Wythe

Richard Henry Lee

Thomas Jefferson

Benjamin Harrison

Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Carter Braxton

 

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris

Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Franklin

John Morton

George Clymer

James Smith

George Taylor

James Wilson

George Ross

Delaware

Caesar Rodney

George Read

Thomas McKean

 

New York

William Floyd

Philip Livingston

Francis Lewis

Lewis Morris

 

New Jersey

Richard Stockton

John Witherspoon

Francis Hopkinson

John Hart

Abraham Clark

 

New Hampshire

Josiah Bartlett

William Whipple

 

Massachusetts

Samuel Adams

John Adams

Robert Treat Paine

Elbridge Gerry

 

Rhode Island

Stephen Hopkins

William Ellery

 

Connecticut

Roger Sherman

Samuel Huntington

William Williams

Oliver Wolcott

 

New Hampshire

Matthew Thornton

 

Democrats say Trump impeachment charges must come swiftly

yesterday

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TAKING ON BIDEN: Man CONFRONTS Joe Biden Over Hunter Biden Controversy

Hannity: Joe Biden goes off on unhinged rant

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The Pronk Pops Show 1359, November 14, 2019, Story 1: Story 1:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Accuses President Trump of Bribery — Equating Quid Pro Quo Phrase With Bribery — Have Not Made A Decision to Impeach — Utter Nonsense — Foreign Aid and Military Security Assistance Always Has Conditions — This Is Not Evidence of Bribery But A Quid Pro Quo — Joe Biden’s Iconic Quid Pro Quo: Fire Ukraine Prosecutor and Ukraine Will Get United States Aid and Loan Guarantees — Done Deal — Was This Bribery? — Videos

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Story 1: Story 1:  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Accuses President Trump of Bribery — Equating Quid Pro Quo Phrase With Bribery — Have Not Made A Decision to Impeach — Utter Nonsense — Foreign Aid and Military Security Assistance Always Has Conditions — This Is Not Evidence of Bribery But A Quid Pro Quo — Joe Biden’s Iconic Quid Pro Quo: Fire Ukraine Prosecutor and Ukraine Will Get United States Aid and Loan Guarantees — Done Deal — Was This Bribery? —  Videos

See the source image

Iconic Quid Pro Quo As Well As A Bribe

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

President Trump questions Former VP Joe Biden’s ties to Ukraine

#QUIDPROJOE: THE BIDEN VIDEO IS THE GOLD STANDARD OF QUID PRO QUO?

Trump explodes at Reuters reporter asking about Ukraine

Democrats move from ‘quid pro quo’ to ‘bribery’

Quid pro quo, explained

Impeachment Take Two: Bribery, Not Quid Pro Quo

Gidley: Pelosi is turning American judicial system upside down

Nancy Pelosi accuses Trump of bribery

Pelosi: Impeachment Hearing Found ‘Evidence of Bribery’ by Trump

‘That’s Bribery’: Speaker Pelosi Says Trump Committed Bribery, An Impeachable Offense | MSNBC

‘That’s Bribery’: Speaker Pelosi Says Trump Committed Bribery, An Impeachable Offense |

PBS NewsHour West Live Episode, Nov. 14, 2019

The Trump administration’s shifting message on quid pro quo

Clip: Biden on the Obama Administration’s Response to Russia

Foreign Affairs Issue Launch With Joe Biden

Ukraine: Black Sea region strategically important for NATO, says Stoltenberg

Russia returns seized Ukrainian naval ships | DW News

Why this American is on the frontlines of Ukraine’s long war

Fear of war in Ukraine – Power struggle for the Sea of Asov | DW Documentary

Ukraine: its Donbass conflict

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

DNC CORRUPTION: What’s on the hacked Democrat server in Ukraine?

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

Bribery is the offer or acceptance of anything of value in exchange for influence on a government/public official or employee. In general, bribes can take the form of gifts or payments of money in exchange for favorable treatment, such as awards of government contracts. Other forms of bribes may include property, various goods, privileges, services and favors.

Bribery: An Overview

Bribes are always intended to influence or alter the action of various individuals and go hand in hand with both political and public corruption. No written agreement is necessary to prove this crime, but a prosecutor generally must show corrupt intent. In most situations, both the person offering the bribe and the person accepting can be charged.

Another crime often associated (and sometimes confused) with bribery is extortion. The difference is that bribing someone involves offering a positive reward for compliance, whereas extortion uses threats of violence or other negative acts in exchange for compliance.

Elements of a Bribery Charge

At the most fundamental level, charges of bribery need only to prove that an agreement for the exchange of something of value (political influence, for example) for a sum of money or something else of value. While a written agreement isn’t required, prosecutors must be able to prove that an agreement was actually made. For example, a taped phone call between a politician and the party offering the bribe may be sufficient evidence. Similarly, a police body cam video of a driver handing the officer cash before being let go would suffice.

The federal government, however, has very specific elements that it uses to prosecute cases of bribery against federal employees. These include the following:

  1. The individual being bribed is a “public official,” which includes rank-and-file federal employees on up to elected officials;
  2. A “thing of value” has been offered, whether it’s tangible (such as cash) or intangible (such as the promise of influence or official support);
  3. There’s an “official act” that may be influenced by a bribe (such as pending legislation that may have a direct impact on the party offering the bribe);
  4. The public official has the authority or power to commit the official act (for instance, the official is a senator who is voting on a particular piece of legislation);
  5. There must be the establishment of intent on the part of the bribing party to get a desired result (the intent to sway the vote by handing over an envelope full of cash); and
  6. The prosecution must establish a causal connection between the payment and the act meaning there must be more than just a suspicious coincidence.

Examples of Bribery

Bribery can happen in many different spheres of influence. In the sporting world, for example, one boxer might offer another a payoff to “throw” (deliberately lose) an important fight. Or a gambler may offer to pay a basketball player to “shave” points off the score so a team loses by more points.

In the corporate arena, a company could bribe employees of a rival company for recruitment services. It’s important to note that even when public officials are involved, a bribe doesn’t need to be harmful to the public interest in order to be illegal. Depending on the jurisdiction, a conviction can result in a fine and/or prison time.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in 1977 makes it unlawful for a United States citizen, as well as certain foreign issuers of securities, to pay a foreign official in order to obtain business with any person. In 1998 a provision to the Act was added which applies to any foreign firms or foreign-born persons who take any act in furtherance of a corrupt payment while in the United States.

Let an Attorney Help You Defend Against Bribery Charges

An alleged act of bribing someone could result in charges in a wide variety of courts, and the evidence or statements that come out in one court might be used against you in another. As such, an organized and forward-looking strategy for defense should be developed. Contact a qualified, local criminal defense attorney today to learn more

https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/bribery.html

Why the Democratic pivot from quid pro quo to ‘bribery’ is a bust

 

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Republicans have repeatedly refused to say whether it was appropriate for President Trump to ask foreign governments to investigate his political rival. (JM Rieger/The
Washington Post)

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The core of the impeachment question has always rested on a quid pro quo: Did President Trump threaten to withhold congressionally approved aid to a foreign government to harm his domestic political foe? Instead, the Democrats attempted to shift their rhetoric to christen the crime as “bribery,” and the pivot bombed fantastically.

For starters, the term “quid pro quo” is the more accurate shorthand for the allegation involved, but, more importantly, that’s the exact term that Trump used to deny such an arrangement, according to besieged Ambassador Gordon Sondland. It’s the term that Trump and his entire team have spent weeks using in their public denials, even as the evidence belies them, and it’s the term the public has on alert.

Impeachment proceedings require ample public support to result in removal from office and at least modest backing to not entirely backfire on the prosecuting party. In the constant chaos of the Trump era, the difficulty of capturing the public’s attention is only surpassed by keeping it. Given the immediate spike in public support for impeachment after the release of the July 25 call transcript between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spurred debate over a quid pro quo, clearly the term stuck, at least more than any point of two years of Mueller mania.

But the Democrats decided to rebrand to “bribery,” and Tuesday’s open-door impeachment testimony illustrated just how much the pivot weakened their case.

The term “quid pro quo” arises 16 times in the transcript of Sondland’s closed-door testimony and 20 times in Ambassador William Taylor’s. “Bribery” does not appear in one. Republicans leveraged this to their advantage.

Witnesses are called to provide objective testimony, not their legal analysis, and even if the central allegation did fit the definition of bribery (it doesn’t really, though), it wouldn’t undermine the Democrats’ argument if witnesses didn’t brand the allegation as such. But Ratcliffe’s stunt was politically effective, and Democrats still need to gain public support if they want their proceedings to go down as more than an embarrassing footnote in history. Furthermore, the public won’t remain patient for long, and if they lose the “quid pro quo” question, they’ve lost those who they’re trying to win over with their legalese.

Keep “bribery,” and lose the narrative, Dems.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/why-the-democratic-pivot-from-quid-pro-quo-to-bribery-is-a-bust

Story 2: Hiding Democrat and George Soros Real Conspiracies in Ukraine and United States From American People — The Phony Whisle-Blower Must Be Compelled To Testify In Public –Videos —

UPDATED November 19, 2019

UKRAINE SCANDAL: Trump, the ‘Deep State,’ and how the Democrats STOLE our government

NEW Ukraine Whistleblower: GEORGE SOROS wanted Shokin gone, Joe Biden and Chalupa Corrupt

Oct 16, 2019

Glenn recaps part of his interview with a NEW Ukraine whistleblower, Andrii Telizhenko. He was an adviser to the former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin (who was trying to investigate Burisma, where Hunter Biden was on the board). The Obama administration — including Joe Biden — said for years that Shokin was corrupt, but Telizhenko says the opposite. He says that a George Soros funded NGO wanted Shokin GONE, and Joe Biden put the pressure on until he was fired. And, Telizhenko says, diplomats at the Ukrainian embassy were told to cooperate with DNC researcher Alexandra Chalupa, because they believed it would bring them favor once Hillary Clinton was elected president.

ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT? Does the Deep State exist, and is Ukraine its proof?

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

WATCH: All the key moments from Day 1 of the Trump impeachment hearings in less than

15 minutes

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

“As one falls, two more will take their place.” Democracy does die in darkness and is being strangled in secret, back-door arrangements. In the third part of Glenn’s special series on the REAL Ukraine scandal, the team’s research exposes a much bigger story of what Democrats were doing in Ukraine. Disturbing details and explosive documents reveal how the Obama Deep State allowed the theft of a country and has set the stage for devastating consequences in our democracy today. Glenn explains how it’s all happening under the nose of the president and, more importantly, without the approval of the American people.

How the Obama State Dept. funded Soros group’s activities

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT: Devin Nunes Opening Statement

WATCH: George Kent’s full opening statement on first day of Trump impeachment hearings

George Kent: Smears Against Yovanovitch Promoted By Rudy Giuliani | NBC News

Devin Nunes begins Republican questioning of Taylor and Kent

WATCH: Bill Taylor’s full opening statement on first day of Trump impeachment hearings

Republican counsel Steve Castor’s full questioning of George Kent and Bill Taylor

What William Taylor and George Kent shared during public impeachment hearings

WATCH: Rep. John Ratcliffe’s full questioning of Bill Taylor | Trump impeachment hearings

JIM JORDAN FIRED UP: During President Trump Impeachment Hearing

UKRAINE SCANDAL: Trump, the Deep State, and how the Democrats STOLE our Government

UKRAINE, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: Jim Jordan vs. William Taylor is a “FIASCO” says BILL O’REILLY

Glenn Beck Presents: The Democrats’ Hydra

“As one falls, two more will take their place.” Democracy does die in darkness and is being strangled in secret, back-door arrangements. In the third part of Glenn’s special series on the REAL Ukraine scandal, the team’s research exposes a much bigger story of what Democrats were doing in Ukraine. Disturbing details and explosive documents reveal how the Obama Deep State allowed the theft of a country and has set the stage for devastating consequences in our democracy today. Glenn explains how it’s all happening under the nose of the president and, more importantly, without the approval of the American people.

Tucker: Democrats have no actual plan for impeachment

Rand Paul: No law stops me from saying whistleblower’s name

Image result for eric ciaramella

Bill O’Reilly on the Identity of the Whistleblower

Alleged Whistleblower Named

EXPOSED: Glaring Issues in the Whistleblower Complaint I America with Eric Bolling

USA: Whistleblower is an ‘Obama person’ and ‘should be revealed’ – Trump

Eric Ciaramella: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

 

ric Ciaramella is a CIA analyst and former National Security Council staffer who has served in both the Obama and Trump administrations as a career intelligence officer. Senator Rand Paul tweeted a link to an article by Real Clear Investigations that named Ciaramella as possibly being the whistleblower who came forward with concerns about President Donald Trump’s interactions with the president of Ukraine, leading to an official impeachment inquiry.

Ciaramella was named on social media in early October and by Real Clear Investigations on October 30, after weeks of speculation about his identity. According to the conservative-leaning Real Clear Investigations, Ciaramella’s name has been an open secret in Washington D.C. His name has since been spread by conservative pundits and websites, including the Washington Examiner and The Federalist. Senator Paul called for the whistleblower to be subpoenaed to testify under oath. Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz also shared a link to the RCI article on Twitter.

Ciaramella’s name appears in the transcript of a closed-door Congressional session as part of the impeachment inquiry. The transcript of the October 22 deposition of Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, was released by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on November 6. Attorney Steve Castor, a lawyer for Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee asked Taylor about the whistleblower complaint. During the questioning, Castor asked, “Does a person by the name of Eric Ciaramella ring a bell for you?” Taylor responded, “It doesn’t.” Castor then asked Taylor if, to his knowledge, he had ever had communication with Ciaramella. Taylor responded, “Correct.”

Ciaramella could not be reached for comment by Heavy. The whistleblower’s attorneys issued a statement saying they neither confirm nor deny Ciarmella is the whistleblower. Ciaramella’s father told Real Clear Investigations he doubts his son is the whistleblower, saying, “He didn’t have that kind of access to that kind of information. He’s just a guy going to work every day.”

The whistleblower’s attorneys and Democrats have fought to keep his identity concealed, while Trump and his Republican allies have called for him to be identified publicly, saying he should be questioned about why he came forward and possible political bias because of his background. The existence of whistleblower complaint regarding Trump’s conduct with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was first revealed in September.

After Real Clear Investigation’s report, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose nationally syndicated show reaches millions of listeners, named Ciaramella on air.

While Fox News has banned its hosts and contributors from mentioning Ciaramella’s name, according to CNN, one of the network’s guests, syndicated radio host Lars Larson, said the name during a segment on November 7 on “Outnumbered Overtime” with Harris Faulkner. She did not respond or mention his use of Ciaramella’s name.

Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj, the attorneys who are representing the whistleblower, issued a statement about Ciaramella being identified as possibly being their client, “Our client is legally entitled to anonymity. Disclosure of the name of any person who may be suspected to be the whistleblower places that individual and their family in great physical danger. Any physical harm the individual and/or their family suffers as a result of disclosure means that the individuals and publications reporting such names will be personally liable for that harm. Such behavior is at the pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

According to the Washington Examiner, Ciaramella is currently detailed by the CIA to the National Intelligence Committee, where he works as a deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia. He reports to Trump’s acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire. He likely works closely with Alexander Vindman, the impeachment inquiry witness who is now Ukraine director for the NSC, Ciaramella’s former role.

A former Trump official told the Examiner, “It is close to a mathematical certainty that (Vindman and the whistleblower) know one another and that (the whistleblower) is being used to provide analytical support to the National Security Council on the topics of Russia and Ukraine. And that is where they would have crossed paths. They would know who one another are.” Another former Trump official said Vindman and Ciaramella both spent time at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine during the Obama administration. And they have both been working on Ukraine issues for several years.

Vindman said during his Congressional deposition, “I want the committee to know I am not the whistleblower who brought this issue to the CIA and the committee’s attention. … I do not know who the whistleblower is, and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.” Vindman testified that he listened in on the July 25 call at question in the impeachment inquiry and was concerned. ““I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” he testified.

Here’s what you need to know about Eric Ciaramella:


1. Ciaramella Is a Ukraine Expert for the CIA Whose Background Matches Details About the Whistleblower Previously Reported by The New York Times

Senator Rand Paul

@RandPaul

It is being reported that the whistleblower was Joe Biden’s point man on Ukraine. It is imperative the whistleblower is subpoenaed and asked under oath about Hunter Biden and corruption. https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2019/10/30/whistleblower_exposed_close_to_biden_brennan_dnc_oppo_researcher_120996.html 

The Beltway’s ‘Whistleblower’ Furor Obsesses Over One Name | RealClearInvestigations

By Paul Sperry, RealClearInvestigationsOctober 30, 2019, 4:21 PM Eastern For a town that leaks like a sieve, Washington has done an astonishingly effective job keeping from the American public the…

realclearinvestigations.com

32.8K people are talking about this
Eric Ciaramella, 33, is a Ukraine expert and his background matches the biographical details reported by The New York Times and other media outlets about the whistleblower. According to The Times, the whistleblower is a CIA officer who was detailed to work at the White House before returning to the CIA. The Times wrote, “His complaint suggested he was an analyst by training and made clear he was steeped in details of American foreign policy toward Europe, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of Ukrainian politics and at least some knowledge of the law.”

The whistleblower raised concerns that Trump had asked Zelensky during a July 2019 phone call to investigate former Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump is accused of forcing a quid pro quo in which aid to Ukraine would only be released if an investigation was launched.

Yamiche Alcindor

@Yamiche

New statement from the whistleblower’s attorneys: “We neither confirm nor deny the identity of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower. Our client is legally entitled to anonymity.” Adds that revealing identity is the “pinnacle of irresponsibility and is intentionally reckless.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

In September, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment, a redacted version of the whistleblower’s complaint and a summary of Trump’s call with Zelensky were made public. The complaint revealed that the whistleblower was not on the call, but learned of concerning information from others with direct knowledge about it.

In the weeks since, several current and former State Department and other government officials have testified behind closed doors before House committees, with many providing verification of the whistleblower’s claims, according to multiple reports. Sources told Real Clear Investigations that Ciaramella’s name has been mentioned as the whistleblower during the closed-door testimony.

Ciaramella has worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years and was assigned to the White House during the end of the Obama administration. He worked closely with Biden in his role as an expert on Ukraine. Ciaramella also has ties to Sean Misko, a former NSC co-worker who now works for Representative Adam Schiff and the Intelligence Committee. According to The New York Times, the whistleblower first went to a CIA lawyer and then to an unnamed Schiff aide before filing the whistleblower complaint. The aide told the whistleblower to follow the formal process, but conveyed some of the information he learned from him to Schiff, without revealing his name, The Times reported.

“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” said Patrick Boland, a spokesman for Schiff, told The Times.

The whistleblower’s ties to Democrats, including Biden, Schiff, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of Intelligence James Clapper and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, have created controversy, with Trump and Republicans using his past work with them in an attempt to discredit him. Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told a local radio station in his home state of Texas that many in Washington D.C. knew the whistleblower’s identity, calling him a “staunch Democrat,” and former “point person on Ukraine,” who never called out corruption in the Eastern European country.

Ciaramella has been in the crosshairs of Republicans previously, after some on the far right tied him to the Obama-associated “deep state” in 2017, accusing him of undermining Trump while he was working in the White House.

Mark S. Zaid

@MarkSZaidEsq

I can confirm this fundraising effort for the by @wbaidlaw is completely legit.

We would appreciate any and all support US citizens can give. https://twitter.com/wbaidlaw/status/1177035961357807617 

Whistleblower Aid@wbaidlaw

We are working with anonymous intelligence officer whistleblower’s legal team to raise money for their defense — please give now, tax-deductible:http://www.HelpTheWhistleblower.org https://gofundme.com/f/support-anonymous-intelligence-official 

View image on Twitter
The whistleblower’s attorneys have received more than $220,000 in donations to a GoFundMe campaign set up by the group Whistleblower Aid in support of his attorneys, Mark Zaid and Andrew Bakaj.

“A U.S. intelligence officer who filed an urgent report of government misconduct needs your help. This brave individual took an oath to protect and defend our Constitution. We’re working with the whistleblower and launched a crowdfunding effort to support the whistleblower’s lawyers,” the GoFundMe states. “These whistleblowers took great personal risks, not for politics or personal gain, but to defend our democracy. We need to have their backs.”

The GoFundMe adds, “If we raise more than we need, Whistleblower Aid will use the money to help more brave whistleblowers stand up to executive overreach.”


2. Eric Ciaramella Grew Up in Connecticut, Studied at Yale & Harvard & Worked at the World Bank

eric ciaramella

Eric Ciaramella.

After high school, Ciaramella attended Yale University, graduating in 2008 as a Russian and East European studies major. In 2007, he was awarded a grant by the Yale Macmillan Center for European Union Studies to “research on the perceptions of the EU among rural Italian residents.”

While at Yale, Ciaramella, who speaks Russian, Ukrainian and Arabic, led a protest over the departure of an Arabic department professor, according to the Yale Daily News. The student newspaper wrote, “Students convened outside Silliman at 9 a.m., all dressed in white to symbolize their future goal of bridging the gap between the United States and the Middle East through the use of the Arab language, said Eric Ciaramella ’08, one of the students who led the protest.”

Ciaramella also studied at Harvard University, focusing on Russia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, according to the school’s website. He received a grant in 2009 for research on “Language in the Public Sphere in Three Post-Soviet Capital Cities,” Tbilisi, Georgia; Yerevan, Armenia; Baku, Azerbaijan. Ciaramella was additionally a corresponding author for Harvard’s Department of Linguistics and wrote a paper in 2015 titled, “Structural ambiguity in the Georgian verbal noun.”

Ciaramella worked at the World Bank after college, according to a 2011 publication by the international financial institution. In the World Bank report, “Russia: Reshaping Economic Geography,” published in June 2011, Ciaramella is listed in the acknowledgments for making “important contributions” to the research. On a now-deleted Linkedin profile, he described himself as being a “Consultant, Poverty Reduction/Economic Management” at World Bank. Ciaramella also deleted his Facebook profile page and does not appear to have any other social media.

Inspector General Michael Atkinson wrote, “Further although the ICIG’s preliminary reviewed identified some indicia of bias of an arguable political bias on the part of the complainant in favor of a rival political candidate, such evidence did not change my determination that the complaint relating to the urgent concern ‘appears credible’ particularly given the other information the ICIG obtained during its preliminary review.”

Mark Zaid, an attorney for the whistleblower tweeted in response to the story, “We won’t comment on identifying info but if true, give me a break! Bias? Seriously? Most (people) are.” Another attorney for the whistleblower, Andrew Bakaj, told CNN that the whistleblower had “contact with presidential candidates from both parties in their roles as elected officials — not as candidates,” and said the whistleblower “has never worked for or advised a political candidate, campaign or party.


3. Ciaramella Was Detailed to the National Security Council at the White House in 2015 After Joining the CIA as an Analyst Focusing on Ukraine & Russia

susan rice

GettySusan Rice.

Eric Ciaramella joined the Central Intelligence Agency at some point during President Obama’s second term. According to reports by The Washington Post and The New York Times about the whistleblower, prior to Ciaramella being named, and online records, Ciaramella was detailed to the White House to serve as a Ukraine expert with the National Security Council in 2015. He worked under National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The NSC is made up of analysts and staffers from various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, who are detailed to the White House for a period of time, before eventually returning to their parent agencies.

During his time with the National Security Council, Ciaramella also worked with then-Vice President Biden, who was working closely on Ukraine issues at the end of Obama’s time in office. Ciaramella is also listed as a guest at a 2016 luncheon to honor the prime minister of Italy, along with Biden.

In November 2015, Ciaramella is named as one of the officials who attended a White House meeting with Ukrainian religious leaders, along with his boss, Charles Kupchan. The Ukrainian religious leaders delivered a letter appealing to President Obama for aid for their country. Ciaramella is listed as the “NSC Director for Ukraine.” That position is now held by Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the impeachment inquiry, who listened to the call between President Trump and President Zelensky.

Ciaramella also has ties to former Democratic National Committee operative and opposition researcher Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American who has been targeted by some conservatives as being behind an effort to accuse the Trump campaign of Russian collusion. Chalupa, then with the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee, was also in attendance at the November 2015 meeting with Ukrainian religious leaders, according to public records.

While Republicans have accused Chalupa of being a leader of a conspiracy to bring down Trump with false accusations of collusion with Russia, Democrats have said Chalupa was among the first to bring forward credible information about wrongdoing by Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign and say she has been smeared because of that.


4. Ciaramella Remained at the NSC During the Earlier Months of the Trump Administration & an Email Ciaramella Sent While He Was Still Assigned to NSC Was Cited in the Mueller Report

Katie McMaster, HR McMaster wife, Kathleen Trotter McMaster

GettyNational Security Adviser H. R. McMaster speaks during a briefing at the White House on May 16, 2017.

Eric Ciaramella did not leave the National Security Council at the end of the Obama administration. He remained in place during the first few months of the Trump White House. The NSC staff was at a barebones level at the time after the resignation of Lt. General Michael Flynn, who had been Trump’s first National Security Adviser. Ciaramella worked on Eastern European issues along with another Obama administration holdover, Fiona Hill.

When Lt. General H.R. McMaster was named Trump’s new national security adviser, Ciaramella served as McMaster’s personal aide. In the summer of 2017, Ciaramella returned to the CIA, where he is still an active employee.

An email sent by Ciaramella while he was still assigned to the NSC was cited as a footnote in Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump investigation. The email was titled “(5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.),” but details of the email are not included in the redacted report.

Officials who worked with Ciaramella told Foreign Policy he is known for his professionalism and taking a nonpartisan stance, telling Foreign Policy he is a “seasoned pro” and “one of the best that the civil service has.” His former boss, Charles Kupchan, told Foreign Policy, Ciaramella is one of the, “worker bees of the federal government. They want to serve the nation, and they care deeply about the issues they’re working on.”

Kupchan said Ciaramella was brought in to work on Ukraine, but, “He did such an impressive job, I asked him to help share the burden on the counter-ISIL portfolio.”

Trump administration officials also praised Ciaramella, telling Foreign Policy,”“H.R. thought he did a good job. Everybody was happy with his performance. He wouldn’t have been there if he weren’t trusted.”


5. Ciaramella Was the Target of Trump Supporters in 2017 When He Was Accused of Leaking to the Media Because of His Ties to Susan Rice & the Obama Administration

Susan Rice Eric Ciaramella

President Obama and Ambassador Susan Rice pictured together in November 2015.

Ciaramella is no stranger to drawing the ire of Trump supporters. He was named by the far-right as a supposed member of the “deep state” in 2017 and was the subject of baseless accusations accusing him of leaking information to the media, simply because of his ties to former members of the Obama administration, including ex-National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who has often been accused of trying to undermine Trump.

His ties to Rice, Brennan, Clapper and Obama made him an easy target for the right. He was accused of leaking information to the media about Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, without any evidence.

Ciaramella was also accused of being a major leaker while working with McMaster. Several far-right personalities waged an open war on social media and on pro-Trump websites against McMaster during his time as national security adviser, constantly claiming he was undermining Trump and had too many former Obama aides on his team. McMaster also worked with Abigail Grace and Sean Misko, both also Obama holdovers. Grace and Misko are now aides to Rep. Schiff. McMaster’s staffers were frequently accused of being behind leaks of embarrassing details about Trump’s calls to foreign leaders. None of those accusations were ever proven.

According to a March 2019 article in Politico:

Trump political appointees were believed to frequently talk to journalists who worked for conservative media outlets. For months, those outlets published names of career Civil and Foreign Service officers in the NSC and other government agencies whose loyalties they deemed suspect. Career staffers who had joined the U.S. government many years, sometimes decades, earlier were suddenly cast as Obama loyalists determined to derail Trump’s agenda as part of a “deep state.” The people targeted included a State Department civil servant of Iranian descent who’d joined the government under the George W. Bush administration; a highly respected Foreign Service officer who dealt with Israeli issues; and an NSC staffer who dealt with European and Russian issues. The latter, Eric Ciaramella, reportedly left the NSC after receiving death threats.

Ciaramella was outed in a Medium article by the far-right figure Mike Cernovich in June 2017, claiming that the former Obama aide wanted to “sabotage” Trump. Foreign Policy wrote in 2017, “The piece described Eric Ciaramella as ‘pro-Ukraine and anti-Russia’ and alleged, with no evidence, that he was possibly responsible for high-level leaks. Cernovich wrote, “Nothing in his résumé indicates that Ciaramella will put America First. His entire life arc indicates he will sabotage Trump and leak information to the press whenever possible.”

The response to the piece included online threats of violence against Ciaramella, which contributed to his decision to leave his job at the National Security Council a few weeks early, according to two sources familiar with the situation.”

Charles Kupchan, who was the senior director for European Affairs on the NSC, was Ciaramella’s boss for two years during the Obama administration. Kupchan, a key Obama adviser, told Foreign Policy the alt-right led an “unprecedented” attack on civil servants, calling the “systematic hostility” against the “deep state” as “misplaced” and “dangerous.”

As speculation about whether Eric Ciaramella is the whistleblower spreads online and in conservative media and circles, elected Republican officials are calling for his identity to be revealed.

“Well, as far as that particular person, regardless of whether or not he’s a whistleblower, he apparently worked for [former CIA Director John] Brennan. He worked for H.R. McMaster. He worked for Biden. He was tasked to the National Security Council on Ukraine,” Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert told the Washington Examiner. “And, gee, sounds like he’s got bigger problems than being a whistleblower, regardless of whether he is or not.”

Gohmert mentioned Ciaramella’s name, out of the blue, during an open House hearing on unrelated issues on October 22.

Gohmert Questions Ukraine’s Former Minister of Finance in House Natural Resources CommitteeCongressman Louie Gohmert (TX01) questioned Ms. Natalie Jaresko, Executive Director of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, in a House Natural Resources hearing. He inquired about her previous position as Ukraine’s Minister of Finance from December 2014 until April 2016 and how she acquired her new position.2019-10-22T17:10:01.000Z

Gohmert was questioning Natalie Jaresko, who is the executive director of a fiscal board that oversees Puerto Rico’s debt, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing. Jaresko was previously Ukraine’s finance minister. Gohmert asked Jaresko, if, in her previous role, she was, aware of “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dispatching Olga Bielkova or any other Ukrainian official to the U.S. in order to conduct an influence campaign on the 2016 election here in the United States?” He then asked, “Are you aware of Ukrainian parliamentarian Bielkova’s April 12 meetings with Liz Zentos and Eric Ciaramella of the Obama National Security Council?”

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows told reporters, “I can’t tell you what happens in the depositions, but I can tell you there’s one person in one’s group of staff members who know who the whistleblower is and that is Adam Schiff, and so you need to ask him whether this guy is the real deal.”

Senator Rand Paul tweeted, “It is being reported that the whistleblower was Joe Biden’s point man on Ukraine. It is imperative the whistleblower is subpoenaed and asked under oath about Hunter Biden and corruption.”

Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and the former chief of staff for the National Security Council, told Real Clear Investigations, “Everyone knows who he is. CNN knows. The Washington Post knows. The New York Times knows. Congress knows. The White House knows. Even the president knows who he is. They’re hiding him. They’re hiding him because of his political bias.”

Democrats have sought to keep the name concealed and have criticized efforts by Republicans to name the whistleblower. Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, of Rhode Island, tweeted, “If you spent part of today Tweeting the name of a person you think is the whistleblower, you probably need to re-evaluate your life.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters it would be “unpatriotic” to reveal the whistleblower’s identity:

The Hill

@thehill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Outing the whistleblower is an unpatriotic action. They shouldn’t even go near that.”

Embedded video

Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor turned CNN legal analyst, tweeted, “Today Trump’s allies spread the name of a man they believe is the whistleblower. Some call for his prosecution. They’re ruining the life of a public servant who may not be the right guy. Plus there’s no evidence he did anything wrong. This is so desperate and irresponsible.”

Eric Ciaramella: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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The Pronk Pops Show 1347, October 29, 2019, Story 1: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman Testifies on Trump Call To Ukraine on July 25, 2019 — Wanted Edits That Do Not Change Substance of Conversation — Big Nothing — Not Vindman’s Job — Videos — Story 2: Democrat New Procedures Resolution on Impeachment Inquiry of Trump — Losing American People With Single Party Behind Closed Doors Star Chamber Kangaroo Court — Fundamentally Unfair and Lacks Due Process — Videos — Story 3: Imperial Presidency of Donald J. Trump — Beyond The Rule of Law — Videos —

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President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a 'sham,' adding: 'Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call'

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Story 1: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman Testifies on Trump Call To Ukraine on July 25 — Wanted Edits That Do Not Change Substance of Conversation — Big Nothing — Commander in Chief Trump — Stay Out of Politics Vandman The President Did Nothing Wrong — No Evidence of Any Wrongdoing — Videos —

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A GOOD AMERICAN

Mr. President—Listen to Bill Binney. Russiagate is a Worse Hoax than You Thought

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The Final Report: Watergate (National Geographic)

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The Watergate Scandal in 7 Minutes

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Watergate Hearings: Patrick J. Buchanan (Sep 26 1973)

Army official claims several edits left out of Trump-Ukraine call transcript

The national security official who testified Tuesday before House lawmakers in the Trump impeachment probe revealed how key words and phrases were omitted from the transcript of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president, a report said.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, also told lawmakers that his bid to completely restore the omissions failed, three people familiar with his testimony told the New York Times.

But some of the decorated Army officer’s edits were in fact amended, he said Tuesday.

It’s unclear why the two edits were never made and Vindman didn’t testify about a motive, but the Times notes the omissions don’t alter lawmakers’ interpretation of the call.

The two exclusions regarded Trump’s contention of the presence of a tape with former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukraine corruption — and a mention by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky of the company whose board Hunter Biden sat on, Burisma Holdings.

The Biden video reference is reflected in a third ellipsis present in the call’s transcript when the president is speaking, Vindman told investigators.

The president, the Times reports, was likely referring to Biden’s January 2018 remarks about his effort to get Ukraine to oust its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin.

It’s possible Vindman’s two transcript edits weren’t made since the document was placed into a secure server, preventing further corrections, the report said.

The transcript wasn’t derived from a recording, but instead from note-takers listening in and voice recognition software.

During hours of questioning Tuesday, Vindman also said he “did not think it was proper”for Trump to ask Zelensky to investigate his Democratic political foe.

https://nypost.com/2019/10/29/army-official-claims-several-edits-left-out-of-trump-ukraine-call-transcript/

 

Colonel testifies he raised concerns about Ukraine, Trump

By LISA MASCARO, MARY CLARE JALONICK and COLLEEN LONG

Defying White House orders, an Army officer serving with President Donald Trump’s National Security Council testified to impeachment investigators Tuesday that he twice raised concerns over the administration’s push to have Ukraine investigate Democrats and Joe Biden.

Alexander Vindman, a lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and later as a diplomat, is the first official to testify who acwith new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He reported his concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel, he said in his prepared remarks.

His arrival in military blue, with medals , created a striking image at the Capitol as the impeachment inquiry reached deeper into the White House.

“I was concerned by the call,” Vindman said, according to his testimony obtained by The Associated Press. “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.”

Vindman, a 20-year military officer, added to the mounting evidence from other witnesses — diplomats, defense and former administration officials — who are corroborating the initial whistleblower’s complaint against Trump and providing new details ahead of a House vote in the impeachment inquiry.

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“Every person has put it in higher resolution,” said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., during a break in the daylong session.

“That’s the story: There’s not like a new headline out of all of these,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J. “Every single witness, from their own advantage point, has corroborated the central facts of the story we’ve heard.”

The inquiry is looking into Trump’s call, in which he asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” — to investigate Democrats — that the Democrats say was a quid pro quo for military aid and could be an impeachable offense.

With the administration directing staff not to appear, Vindman was the first current White House official to testify before the impeachment panels. He was issued a subpoena to appear.

Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to denounce the probe as a “sham,” adding: “Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER!”

Vindman, who arrived in the United States as a 3-year-old from the former Soviet Union, said that it was his “sacred duty” to defend the United States.

Some Trump allies, looking for ways to discredit Vindman, questioned the colonel’s loyalties because he was born in the region. But the line of attack was rejected by some Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, who said it was “shameful” to criticize his patriotism.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah called the slams on Vindman “absurd, disgusting and way off the mark. This is a decorated American soldier and he should be given the respect that his service to our country demands.”

The testimony came the day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House would vote on a resolution to set rules for public hearings and a possible vote on articles of impeachment.

Thursday’s vote would be the first on the impeachment inquiry and aims to nullify complaints from Trump and his allies that the process is illegitimate and unfair.

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said the resolution merely “confirms that House Democrats’ impeachment has been an illegitimate sham from the start as it lacked any proper authorization by a House vote,”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he and other GOP lawmakers will review the resolution to see if it passes a “smell test” of fairness to Trump.

The session Tuesday grew contentious at times as House Republicans continued trying to unmask the still-anonymous whistleblower and call him or her to testify. Vindman said he is not the whistleblower and does not know who it is.

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio acknowledged Republicans were trying to get Vindman to provide the names of others he spoke to after the July 25 phone call, in an effort to decide whom to call to testify. “He wouldn’t,” Jordan said.

In his prepared remarks, Vindman testified that in spring of this year he became aware of “outside influencers” promoting a “false narrative of Ukraine” that undermined U.S. efforts, a reference in particular to Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

He first reported his concerns after a July 10 meeting in which U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland stressed the importance of having Ukraine investigate the 2016 election as well as Burisma, a company linked to the family of Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Vindman says he told Sondland that “his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push.”

That differs from the account of Sondland, a wealthy businessman who donated $1 million to Trump inauguration and testified before the impeachment investigators that no one from the NSC “ever expressed any concerns.” Sondland also testified that he did not realize any connection between Biden and Burisma.

For the call between Trump and Zelenskiy, Vindman said he listened in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and Vice President Mike Pence’s office. He said he again reported his concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel.

He wrote, “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security.”

Vindman served as the director for European affairs and a Ukraine expert under Fiona Hill, a former official who testified earlier in the impeachment probe. Hill worked for former national security adviser John Bolton.

He told investigators that Ukraine, in trying to become a vibrant democracy integrated with the West, is a bulwark against overt Russian aggression.

Vindman attended Zelenskiy’s inauguration with a delegation led by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and he and Hill were both part of a Ukraine briefing with Sondland that others have testified irritated Bolton at the White House.

“I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics,” wrote Vindman, who was wounded in Iraq and awarded a Purple Heart.

“For over twenty years as an active duty United States military officer and diplomat, I have served this country in a nonpartisan manner, and have done so with the utmost respect and professionalism for both Republican and Democratic administrations,” he wrote.

https://apnews.com/c45cb728edf84d96adf9a88e98979c51

‘Our mother died so we came here’: How Ken Burns doc filmed 10-year-old Alexander Vindman six years after he arrived from the Soviet Union in 1985 – as his allegiance to America is questioned

  • A 1985 documentary featuring Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as a 10-year-old boy from the former Soviet Union has been unearthed by the Washington Post
  • A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burn’s documentary The Statue of Liberty shows Vindman and his twin brother shortly after arriving to the U.S. 
  • ‘Our mother died, so we went to Italy,’ one of the Vindman boys says, ‘And then we came here’
  • Vindman testified the White House omitted key words and phrases from the transcript of Trump’s call with President Zelensky of Ukraine
  • Vindman, who is a Purple Heart holder and  National Security Council official, has been questioned on his allegiance to the U.S. by pro-Trump pundits 
  • Director Ken Burns tweeted Tuesday, ‘I remember the Vindman boys fondly. Theirs is the story of America at its best’ 

Decades before the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman testified about what he heard in Trump’s controversial phone call with the Ukrainian president, he appeared as a 10-year-old boy in a documentary about immigrants in America.

A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’ Academy-Award nominated 1985 documentary The Statue of Liberty has been unearthed by the Washington Post and features a 10-year-old Vindman with his twin brother, Yevgeny.

The boys are seen sitting on a bench in Brighton Beach, New York, when one tells the camera they’re from Russia and the other says they’re from Kyiv, now the capital of Ukraine.

‘Our mother died, so we went to Italy,’ one of the Vindman boys says, ‘And then we came here.’

This comes as Vindman – a Purple Heart veteran and White House official – is being questioned over his allegiance to the U.S. in the wake of his testimony about the call.

UNUMKenBurns@UNUMKenBurns

As @pbump of @washingtonpost unearthed today, Army Lt. Col. Vindman, who is testifying before Congress today, was featured as a young boy in the @KenBurns Academy Award-nominated doc “The Statue of Liberty” in 1985.

Watch the full clip on UNUM here: https://to.pbs.org/2Ns6HJQ 

 

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A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns' documentary The Statue of Liberty shows Vindman and his twin brother shortly after arriving to the U.S.

A clip from acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns’ documentary The Statue of Liberty shows Vindman and his twin brother shortly after arriving to the U.S.

Vindman testified the White House omitted key words and phrases from the transcript of Trump's call with President Zelensky of Ukraine

Director Ken Burns tweeted Tuesday the Vindmans' story is 'America at its best'

Director Ken Burns tweeted Tuesday, ‘I remember the Vindman boys fondly. Theirs is the story of America at its best.’

The Vindmans were three years old when they arrived from the former Soviet Union to the U.S. and have since dedicated their lives to serving America, with Vindman declaring in his opening statement Tuesday that it is his ‘sacred duty’ to defend the United States.

'Our mother died, so we went to Italy,' one of the Vindman boys says in the documentary, 'And then we came here'

‘Our mother died, so we went to Italy,’ one of the Vindman boys says in the documentary, ‘And then we came here’

According to the Washington Post, both Alexander and Yevgeny Vindman ended up working for the White House under President Trump, served in the U.S. Army, and now work for the National Security Council.

But that hasn’t stopped right wing political pundits from questioning Vindman’s loyalty to the U.S. as he now appears to be a new threat to President Trump.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show Tuesday night, suggesting he is un-American.

‘Here we have a U.S. national security official who is advising Ukraine while working inside the White House, apparently against the president’s interests, and usually they spoke in English,’ Ingraham said. ‘Isn’t that kind of an interesting angle on the story?’

Her guest John Yo, who worked in the George W. Bush administration went as far as to call it ‘astounding’ and ‘espionage’.

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a ‘sham,’ adding: ‘Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call. Just READ THE CALL TRANSCRIPT AND THE IMPEACHMENT HOAX IS OVER!’

Fox and Friends’ host Brian Kilmeade painted Vindman as a Ukraine sympathizer. ‘We also know he was born in the Soviet Union, immigrated with his family, young. He tends to feel simpatico with the Ukraine,’ he said.

CNN commentator Sean Duffy suggested Vindman has an ‘affinity’ for Ukraine, saying: ‘He speaks Ukrainian. He came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.’

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a 'sham,' adding: 'Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call'

President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to denounce the probe as a ‘sham,’ adding: ‘Why are people that I never even heard of testifying about the call’

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show Tuesday night, labeling him un-American

Fox News host Laura Ingraham attacked Vindman on her show Tuesday night, labeling him un-American

Vindman insists Zelensky specifically mentioned Burisma Holdings, telling investigators he tried to have the White House's transcript changed to include the missing reference

Vindman insists Zelensky specifically mentioned Burisma Holdings, telling investigators he tried to have the White House’s transcript changed to include the missing reference

Vindman was the first current White House official to testify before the impeachment panels, after being issued a subpoena.

He said in his opening statement: ‘My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night.

‘He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American Dream.

‘I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.’

He went on to tell House impeachment investigators that the White House transcript of the July call between Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words or phrases that he tried, but failed, to restore.

Dressed in his dark blue Army uniform with military medals displayed proudly across his chest, Vindman didn’t suggest a motive behind the editing process during his more than 10-hour testimony Tuesday, though his claims will likely prompt investigators to further scrutinize how officials handed the call

Dressed in his dark blue Army uniform with military medals displayed proudly across his chest, Vindman didn’t suggest a motive behind the editing process during his more than 10-hour testimony Tuesday, though his claims will likely prompt investigators to further scrutinize how officials handed the call

Such omissions, Vindman said, included Trump’s proclamation that there were recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukrainian corruption, and the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, directly mentioning the energy company who employed Hunter Biden to its board, Burisma Holdings

Such omissions, Vindman said, included Trump’s proclamation that there were recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden discussing Ukrainian corruption, and the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, directly mentioning the energy company who employed Hunter Biden to its board, Burisma Holdings

The omissions, Vindman said, included Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky mentioning by name the energy company that once employed Hunter Biden to its board, Burisma Holdings.

‘He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue,’ the White House’s transcript quotes Zelensky saying.

However, Vindman insists Zelensky specifically mentioned Burisma, telling investigators he tried to have the White House’s transcript changed to include the missing reference but the amendment was never made.

The rough transcript also contains ellipses in three instances where Trump is talking, which again Vindman says he tried to amend. He told investigators the third set of ellipses relates to Trump speaking about alleged recordings of former Vice President Joe Biden boasting about illegal Ukraine funding.

Vindman, who was listening in on the call from the White House Situation Room along with other members of Vice President Pence’s staff, said he was so ‘concerned by the call’ — and the idea the president’s request could be seen as ‘a partisan play’ that could ‘undermine U.S. national security’ — that he reported it to the NSC’s lead counsel.

‘I was concerned by the call,’ Vindman said. ‘I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.’

REFUGEE WITH A BRILLIANT MILITARY CAREER: LT. COL VINDMAN’S COMBAT SERVICE

Army Lt. Col Alexander Vindman has a long military career as an infantry officer who has seen combat and diplomatic service.

Born in Ukraine, his mother died before he was three and his father took his older brother, his twin Eugene and his grandmother to the U.S. to escape persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union. They settled in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York, an area known as Little Odessa.

He and his twin featured in the Ken Burns documentary, America, in a picture emblematic of the immigrant dream. 

Alexander Vindman joined the Army in 1998, after graduating from the State University of New York, and was commissioned the next year from Cornell University.

After basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia, he was deployed first to South Korea as a junior infantry and anti-armor officer.

He saw combat in 2003 and was wounded, gaining the purple star. Other foreign deployments include to Germany and he has a series of medals for his service.

Fluent in Ukrainian and Russian, he has a degree from Harvard in Eastern European Studies and since 2008 has held diplomatic posts for the Army.

Here is what his Army Service Uniform shows about what he has achieved. 

On the left of his uniform he wears awards given to him as an individual: 

Top row of ribbons: Purple Heart, awarded in 2003 after being wounded in an IED attack in Iraq. 

Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf. For distinguishing himself in non-combat operations; awarded twice.

Second row: Meritorious Service Medal – given to officers ranked major and above for outstanding service; can be awarded for combat but unknown if Vindland’s was. 

Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaves – for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service; Vindland has been awarded it four times.

 Army Achievement Medal with oak leaf – for meritorious service as a junior officer. Awarded twice.

Third row: National Defense Service Medal – for honorable service since September 11, 2001.

Global War On Terror Expeditionary Medal – given for being deployed to Iraq.

Global War On Terror Service Medal – given for support duty to combat operations in Iraq or Afghanistan, or both. 

Fourth row: Korean Defense Service Medal – for serving in Korea as an infantry officer in 2000. Army Service Ribbon – for completing training as an officer. Army Overseas Service Ribbon – for having served abroad.

Below (left): Ranger tab –  meaning he completed the tough 61-day Ranger School course in small-unit infantry fighting.

Below (right): Parachutist wings: Is qualified to go into action in airborne operations.

Badge of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Vindman works for the Joint Chiefs in the National Security Council.

On the right of his uniform, Vindman wears decorations awarded to units he has served in:

First row of ribbons: Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Equivalent to the Defense Superior Service Medal for an individual.

Second row of ribbons (from left): Valorous Unit Award. Equivalent to the Silver Star for an individual. 

Navy Unit Commendation – suggests that he was attached to a Navy unit during his career. 

Unknown. 

Commander in Chief

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States….

ARTICLE II, SECTION 2, CLAUSE 1

Teacher’s Companion Lesson (PDF)

Few constitutional issues have been so consistently and heatedly debated by legal scholars and politicians in recent years as the distribution of war powers between Congress and the President. As a matter of history and policy, it is generally accepted that the executive takes the lead in the actual conduct of war. After all, a single, energetic actor is better able to prosecute war successfully than a committee; the enemy will not wait for deliberation and consensus. At the same time, the Founders plainly intended to establish congressional checks on the executive’s war power. Between these guideposts is a question of considerable importance: Does the Constitution require the President to obtain specific authorization from Congress before initiating hostilities?

Article II, Section 1, Clause 1, vests the entirety of the “executive Power” in a single person, the President of the United States. By contrast, under Article I Congress enjoys only those legislative powers “herein granted.” Scholars generally agree that this vesting of executive power confers upon the President broad authority to engage in foreign relations, including war, except in those areas in which the Constitution places authority in Congress. The debate, then, is over the extent of Congress’s constitutional authority to check the President in matters of war.

Article II, Section 2, expressly designates the President as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Presidential power advocates argue that this provision confers substantive constitutional power upon the executive branch to engage military forces in hostilities. The executives throughout British history as well as in the colonial governments and several of the states prior to the Constitution generally enjoyed such power. In contrast, the Articles of Confederation did not provide for a separate executive branch and thus gave “the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war” to Congress.

The presumption of presidential initiative in war established by these two provisions of Article II appears to be bolstered by other constitutional provisions. Article I, Section 10, Clause 3, expressly prohibits states from “engag[ing] in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay” unless they have obtained the “Consent of Congress.” By contrast, no such limitation on engagement in war by the President can be found in Article II. Although Article II expressly authorizes the President to engage in other foreign relations powers (such as the making of treaties and the appointment of ambassadors) only with the consent of Congress, it imposes no such check with respect to the use of military force.

The lack of an express consent requirement for executive initiation of hostilities is particularly meaningful in light of preconstitutional American practice. America’s earliest years were haunted by fear of executive tyranny, following the recent experience of living under British rule, and that fear was reflected in several of the legal charters preceding the United States Constitution. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States could not “engage in any war” absent the consent of nine states. The constitution of South Carolina expressly provided that the state’s executive could neither “commence war” nor “conclude peace” without legislative approval. Other states limited executive war power differently through a variety of structural limitations, such as frequent election, term limits, and selection of the executive by the legislature. In one extreme example, Pennsylvania replaced its single governor with a twelve-person executive council. Problems arising out of weak executive authority soon brought about a reversal in the trend, however. New York established a strong executive, vested with the authority of commander in chief and free of term limits or consent requirements, and Massachusetts and New Hampshire soon followed suit. The text of the Constitution suggests a continuation of, rather than a departure from, this newer trend of enhancing executive authority.

Any power to initiate hostilities would be useless, of course, without the resources necessary to engage in hostilities. Under our Constitution, the power to provide those resources is unequivocally vested with Congress. Under Article I, it is Congress, not the President, that has the power to “lay and collect Taxes” and to “borrow Money,” to make “Appropriations” and “provide for the common Defence,” to “raise and support Armies” and “provide and maintain a Navy,” and to “call[] forth the Militia.” Thus the President may be Commander in Chief, but he has nothing to command except what Congress may provide. As a result of Congress’s authority over the purse, the President is unable as a practical (if not constitutional) matter to engage in hostilities without Congress.

Based on these provisions of the Constitution, some originalist scholars have concluded that Congress’s war power is limited to its control over funding and its power to impeach executive officers. They contend that the President is constitutionally empowered to engage in hostilities with whatever resources Congress has made available to the executive.

Advocates of stronger congressional war power, by contrast, contend that Congress not only has the power to deprive the executive of military resources, but also to control the President’s authority to initiate hostilities. They typically locate the textual hook for their argument in Article I, Section 8, which vests the powers to “declare War” and to “grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal” in Congress, not the President. Congressionalists argue that these two powers exhaust the entire range of possible hostilities and that their vesting in Congress must mean that the President cannot initiate hostilities without prior congressional authorization.

Presidentialists contend that the power to “declare War” is only a power to alter international legal relationships. In their view, placing the power to declare war in Congress does not affect the President’s domestic constitutional authority to engage in hostilities. Notably, Article I provides that states may not, “without the Consent of Congress,…engage in War,” and Article III defines treason as “levyingWar” against the United States—suggesting that the power to “declare War” is a lesser power that does not include the ability to control the actual initiation and conduct of war. Presidentialists also argue that the Marque and Reprisal Clause vests Congress only with the power to authorize private citizens to engage in hostilities for private, commercial gain.

A final textual clue should be noted. Congressionalists generally contend that, although the President may not initiate hostilities, the Declaration of War Clause leaves the President with the authority as Commander in Chief to repel invasions without prior congressional approval. According to his own notes of the Constitutional Convention, James Madison successfully moved to replace the phrase “make” war with “declare” war, “leaving to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks.” Congressionalists read this power to repel attacks as exhaustive, rather than merely illustrative, of presidential authority. On the other hand, Article I expressly provides that states generally may not engage in war without congressional consent “unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay”; there is no such language, by contrast, governing the President. In addition, Article I vests authority with Congress to “call[] forth the Militia to…suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”

In summary, the argument for executive initiative rests on the background understanding that the vesting of “executive Power” and the “Commander in Chief” designation together constitute a substantive grant of authority to the President to conduct military operations. The argument also rests on the absence of explicit provision for congressional incursion into that power, other than through its express powers over funding and impeachment. Under this view, the contrary position—that congressional consent is required before the initiation of hostilities—suffers from a lack of strong textual support.

Accordingly, congressionalist scholars frequently turn to other authorities. First, they cite statements from various Founders, both before and after the Framing period, in support of broader congressional power. For example, they frequently quote James Wilson, who had urged limits on presidential power during the Constitutional Convention, and who argued during the Pennsylvania ratifying convention that “[t]his system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated against it. It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress; for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large: this declaration must be made with the concurrence of the House of Representatives: from this circumstance we may draw a certain conclusion that nothing but our national interest can draw us into a war.”

Presidentialists respond that Wilson’s statement must be placed in context. They claim that Wilson was simply responding to concerns that exercise of the treaty power alone could start a war. They further note that nowhere in Wilson’s reference to declarations of war did he ever deny the President’s authority to initiate hostilities without a declaration.

Presidentialists also focus attention on the ratification debates in the battleground state of Virginia, where Anti-Federalists launched a feverish campaign against, among other things, excessive executive power to wage war. Notably, the Federalist effort to ease concerns rested largely on congressional control of the purse—not the Declaration of War Clause. Presidentialists also cite James Madison’s statement that “the sword is in the hands of the British King. The purse in the hands of the Parliament. It is so in America, as far as any analogy can exist.”

Congressionalists and presidentialists also disagree about the proper interpretation of numerous post-ratification statements by Founders and later prominent American figures, as well as early American practice under the Constitution. For example, congressionalists cite the limited, defensive-oriented approach taken by President Thomas Jefferson during the Tripolitan War (1801–1805) and by others in the nation’s earliest hostilities. Presidentialists respond by noting Alexander Hamilton’s sharp criticisms of Jefferson as well as the broader theory of presidential power urged by Jefferson himself when he was Secretary of State. More generally, presidentialists note that, out of only five declarations of war in our nation’s history, the first did not take place until the War of 1812. Presidentialists also contend that early Congresses exerted significant control over hostilities not by refusing to exercise its powers under the Declaration of War Clause, but by denying the President a large, peacetime, standing military force through its control of the purse. In their view, early references to presidential subservience to Congress merely reflected Congress’s ability to deny funding to presidential initiatives, and little else. Finally, presidentialists generally criticize the usefulness of post-ratification statements as little more than the self-interested assertions of politicians caught in the heat of partisan conflict, and not as good faith endeavors to ascertain original meaning.

The modern debate over the allocation of war powers between Congress and the President was triggered largely by the establishment of a large United States peacetime military force in the wake of World War II.

United States intervention in Korea in 1950 began with congressional support but without a formal declaration of war. When the war stalemated, executive power was challenged. President Harry S. Truman responded by claiming independent constitutional authority to commit troops without congressional authorization. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon undertook military operations of breathtaking breadth in Vietnam, armed with only the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Congressional criticism of that protracted campaign led not only to funding restrictions, but also to the 1973 enactment of the War Powers Resolution, over President Nixon’s veto. The Resolution substantially limits the President’s ability to engage U.S. forces in hostilities for more than sixty days, absent a declaration of war or specific congressional authorization, and requires the President to consult with Congress about military deployments.

The War Powers Resolution has proven largely impotent in practice. President James Earl Carter did not consult with Congress before attempting to rescue Iranian hostages. President Ronald Reagan refused formal compliance (instead claiming “consistency”) with the terms of the Resolution when he deployed American military forces in Lebanon, Grenada, Libya, and the Persian Gulf. Before Desert Storm, President George H.W. Bush publicly declared that he had constitutional power to initiate war unilaterally. Congress responded by authorizing him to use force. President William Jefferson Clinton followed these precedents in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, the Middle East, and Kosovo.

Members of Congress have periodically filed suit to enforce the War Powers Resolution and the congressionalist interpretation of the Declaration of War Clause, but courts have generally avoided ruling on the merits by dismissing such cases on a variety of procedural grounds. In Campbell v. Clinton (2000), for example, the D.C. Circuit unanimously dismissed a congressional challenge to President Clinton’s airstrikes campaign in the former Yugoslavia, albeit under a panoply of competing theories arising out of the legislative standing, mootness, and political question doctrines. In O’Connor v. United States (2003), the court dismissed a challenge to President George W. Bush’s intention behind the war in Iraq because it posed a nonjusticiable political question and “there are no judicially discoverable standards that would permit a court to determine whether the intentions of the President in prosecuting a war are proper.”

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John Yoo

Executive Order 12333

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Executive Order 12333 was signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 4, 1981.

Executive Order 12333, signed on December 4, 1981 by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, was an Executive Order intended to extend powers and responsibilities of U.S. intelligence agencies and direct the leaders of U.S. federal agencies to co-operate fully with CIA requests for information.[1] This executive order was titled United States Intelligence Activities.

It was amended by Executive Order 13355: Strengthened Management of the Intelligence Community, on August 27, 2004. On July 30, 2008, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13470[2] amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).[3][4]

Part 1[edit]

“Goals, Direction, Duties and Responsibilities with Respect to the National Intelligence Effort” lays out roles for various intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy, State, and Treasury.

Part 2[edit]

“Conduct of Intelligence Activities” provides guidelines for actions of intelligence agencies.

Collection of Information[edit]

Part 2.3 permits collection, retention and dissemination of the following types of information along with several others.

(c) Information obtained in the course of a lawful foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, international narcotics or international terrorism investigation

. . .

(i) Incidentally obtained information that may indicate involvement in activities that may violate federal, state, local or foreign laws[1]

Proscription on assassination[edit]

Part 2.11 of this executive order reiterates a proscription on US intelligence agencies sponsoring or carrying out an assassination. It reads:[5]

No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.

Previously, EO 11905 (Gerald Ford) had banned political assassinations and EO 12036 (Jimmy Carter) had further banned indirect U.S. involvement in assassinations.[6] As early as 1998, this proscription against assassination was reinterpreted, and relaxed, for targets who are classified by the United States as connected to terrorism.[7][8]

Impact[edit]

Executive Order 12333 has been regarded by the American intelligence community as a fundamental document authorizing the expansion of data collection activities.[9] The document has been employed by the National Security Agency as legal authorization for its collection of unencrypted information flowing through the data centers of internet communications giants Google and Yahoo!.[9]

In July 2014 chairman David Medine and two other members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government oversight agency, indicated a desire to review Executive Order 12333 in the near future, according to a report by journalist Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian.[9]

In July 2014, former State Department official John Tye published an editorial in The Washington Post, citing his prior access to classified material on intelligence-gathering activities under Executive Order 12333, and arguing that the order represented a significant threat to Americans’ privacy and civil liberties.[10]

In the movie Get Smart, Agent 23 tells Maxwell Smart,”assassinations are prohibited by Executive Order 1-2-333.”

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Jump up to:a b Ronald Reagan, “Executive Order 12333—United States Intelligence Activities,” US Federal Register, Dec. 4, 1981.
  2. ^ “Executive Order 13470”. Fas.org. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  3. ^ “Bush Orders Intelligence Overhaul”, by Associated Press, July 31, 2008
  4. ^ Executive Order: Further Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence ActivitiesWhite House, July 31, 2008
  5. ^ “Executive Orders”. Archives.gov. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  6. ^ CRS Report for Congress Assassination Ban and E.O. 12333: A Brief Summary January 4, 2002
  7. ^ Walter Pincus (February 15, 1998). “Saddam Hussein’s Death Is a Goal, Says Ex-CIA Chief”The Washington Post. p. A36. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  8. ^ Barton Gellman (October 21, 2001). “CIA Weighs ‘Targeted Killing’ Missions: Administration Believes Restraints Do Not Bar Singling Out Individual Terrorists”The Washington Post. p. A01. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved December 30, 2008.
  9. Jump up to:a b c Spencer Ackerman, “NSA Reformers Dismayed after Privacy Board Vindicates Surveillance Dragnet: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Endorses Agency’s So-called ‘702’ Powers, Plus Backdoor Searches of Americans’ Information”, ‘The Guardian (London), July 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (August 20, 2014). “Meet John Tye: the kinder, gentler, and by-the-book whistleblower”Ars Technica.

Further reading[edit]

Full text

External links[edit]

Story 2: Democrat New Procedures Resolution on Impeachment Inquiry of Trump — Losing American People — Videos

Rep. Doug Collins calls upcoming Trump impeachment vote a ‘sham’

Rep. Jim Jordan: House impeachment vote won’t change anything

Mike DeBonis

House Democrats unveiled new procedures for the impeachment inquiry of President Trump on Tuesday, responding to Republican demands for due process by setting out rules for future public hearings delving into whether Trump should be removed from office.

The resolution backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hands the lead role to the House Intelligence Committee and its chairman, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who would have broad latitude to organize extended questioning of potential public witnesses. Two other committees that have so far participated in the closed-door investigation into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine — Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform — would not be permitted to directly participate in the open proceedings under the legislation.

It also sets out for the first time the ability of House Republicans to make their own requests for testimony and documents, though those requests will be subject to a vote of the Democratic-majority committee — a practice that matches the minority powers in the 1998 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure Thursday, according to Democratic aides who were not authorized to comment publicly. The House Rules Committee will debate and potentially amend the measure at a panel meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Tuesday the resolution “outlines the next steps in this inquiry, including establishing the procedure for public-facing hearings conducted by the Intelligence Committee and the process for transferring evidence to the Judiciary Committee once they are completed.”

“The president’s Republican allies in Congress have tried to hide the president’s conduct, but the American people will now see the facts firsthand,” he said.

Speaking ahead of the resolution’s release Tuesday, House Republican leaders blasted the Democratic tactics, arguing that the impeachment process was fatally flawed from the beginning and cannot be redeemed with the adoption of new procedures.

“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). “Due process starts from the beginning.”

By confining the public hearings to the Intelligence Committee and excluding the other two panels that have participated in the closed-door interviews, Democrats are in effect sidelining several of the GOP’s most aggressive and outspoken defenders of Trump. They include Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Mark Meadows (N.C.), who serve on the Oversight panel, as well as Rep. Lee Zeldin (N.Y.) of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who have led the public pushback to the Democratic impeachment effort in the House.

Jordan said Tuesday that Democrats were “trying to put a ribbon on an already terrible process.”

“It’s complete garbage,” he said. “They can’t undo what they’ve done thus far. All the abuse of due process, all of the unfairness — they can try to dress it up, have a fancy resolution on the floor. But it does nothing. It’s still a sham process.”

Pelosi announced plans to vote on the resolution in a letter to Democratic members Monday, and, according to three House aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions, she kept a tight leash on the process of drafting the measure — excluding the rank and file and even other Democratic leaders.

Addressing reporters Tuesday morning, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said he had not yet scheduled a vote on the resolution — contradicting Pelosi, who pledged to hold one this week.

“I have not read it yet; the members have not read it yet,” Hoyer said, showing some frustration at a meeting with reporters. “We’re going to have to consider whether or not it’s ready to go on Thursday. I hope that is the case.”

Committee Chairman Adam Schiff(D-Calif.) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct. 8.© Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post Committee Chairman Adam Schiff(D-Calif.) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Oct. 8.The resolution was released hours later, and Democrats quickly fell in line — including some of those who might be sidelined by Pelosi’s decision to have Schiff and the Intelligence Committee take the lead.

“Nobody is looking for their five minutes of glory,” said Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary and Oversight panels. “We’re looking for an impeachment process that has serious integrity.”

Besides setting out procedures for public hearings in the Intelligence Committee, the resolution would also authorize that panel and four other committees investigating Trump to publicly release interview transcripts and transfer their investigative materials to the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to draft articles of impeachment based on the other panels’ findings.

The Judiciary Committee would also have the power to hold public hearings under similar procedures to those given to the Intelligence Committee.

Under the resolution, both panels could engage in extended questioning of witnesses in rounds of up to 45 minutes, alternating between the two parties, before beginning the traditional five-minute rounds extended to panel members under existing rules. Both lawmakers and staff would be authorized to question witnesses.

Republicans have raised questions about Trump’s right to be personally represented by attorneys during the impeachment proceedings, noting that Clinton had lawyers present during the House’s consideration of articles in 1998. Responding to those concerns, the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued a three-page summary of procedural safeguards for the president.

They include the right of the president or his counsel to recommend additional testimony or evidence for the committee’s review, to attend all hearings and question any witnesses who testify, and generally to respond to the allegations against him “orally or in writing as shall be determined by the chair.”

But Democrats included a significant caveat: Should Trump “unlawfully refuse” to comply with subpoenas issued by the investigating committees, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) would “have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies” — including the denial of Trump’s requests to call or question witnesses.

Democratic leaders have been careful not to characterize the measure as authorizing the impeachment inquiry, something they say has been underway already for weeks without a House vote.

“We have an inquiry looking at whether articles of impeachment are justified by the facts,” Hoyer said. “We’ve been doing that. We are doing it. We’re going to continue to do it. This is about process as to when we move to out of the investigatory phase, which we’ve been in, into a phase where we have public hearings. That’s what it is. No more. No less.”

Several Democrats said Tuesday they believed the vote would undermine Republicans, who for weeks have raised objections to the process Democrats have undertaken and have called for a formal vote on launching impeachment proceedings.

“The message this week is going to be: You asked for it, you got it,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.).

Several members who attended a caucus meeting held at the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday morning said they were ready to vote to formalize the next step in the impeachment investigation — including some in swing districts where the vote could be a political liability.

“I have no qualms about taking a vote,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a freshman running in a district Trump won by seven points in 2016. “We’ve been clearly in an impeachment inquiry, and laying out the plans for the next step, I think, is a helpful thing to do for the American people to understand the parameters of the public hearings.”

Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), a veteran lawmaker whose district voted for Trump by five points, also said he planned to support the measure: “We fully support a thorough investigation, and we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing.”

But at least one Democrat has said he planned to vote no, citing the upcoming presidential election.

“It’s not that I’m friends with the president. It’s not that I believe he should be protected. I don’t mind if he’s investigated,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.). “But what’s going to happen in my mind, it’s going to happen here in the House; it will go over to the Senate, and then he will believe that he has been exonerated. He will still be the president, and he will still be the candidate — a candidate who has been exonerated by the Senate.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/democrats-unveil-procedures-for-trumps-impeachment-inquiry-rebutting-gop-attacks/ar-AAJy7it

Story 3: Imperial Presidency of Donald J. Trump — Beyond The Rule of Law — Videos

See the source image

What is IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY? What does IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY mean? IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY meaning

Is expanding presidential power inherently bad for democracy?

The imperial presidency in the age of Trump | LIVE STREAM

Andrew Jackson: The First Imperial President

 

Trump Attorneys Assert Immunity From Broad Sweep of Law

Legal filings and lawyers’ statements show attempt to put president beyond legal reach while in office

President Trump and his attorneys argue he is outside the purview of lawsuits, judicial orders, criminal investigations and congressional probes. PHOTO: JIM BOURG/REUTERS

WASHINGTON—Over his nearly three years in office, lawyers representing President Trump have made numerous legal arguments that, taken as a whole, would give the president sweeping immunity—even if he were to commit murder.

An extensive review of correspondence, court documents, legal opinions and public statements from lawyers representing Mr. Trump shows the president’s attorneys have consistently pushed to put him beyond the reach of any other institution in federal, state or local government—immune to civil lawsuits, judicial orders, criminal investigations or congressional probes.

Those arguments have become even more aggressive as Mr. Trump faces numerous legal threats, including a possible impeachment in Congress, a New York state prosecutor who has subpoenaed his tax records as part of a criminal probe and a welter of civil lawsuits.

One lawyer for the president recently even suggested that Mr. Trump could shoot someone on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and not be investigated by local authorities, echoing a statement the president made during his 2016 campaign in which he said he wouldn’t lose any voters over such an action.

A longstanding Justice Department legal opinion says a president can’t be federally prosecuted while in office, but says nothing about being investigated, and in any case doesn’t apply to state and local efforts to enforce their own laws. Mr. Trump’s lawyers say he is beyond any such actions.

“This administration has articulated a view of presidential power in which the president is above the law,” said Erica Newland, who served in the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel during both the Obama and Trump administrations.

PRESIDENTIAL POWER

Some positions that lawyers representing Mr. Trump, the White House or the Department of Justice have argued since January 2017 in court or in other legal documents:

Lawyers representing the president either in his personal or institutional capacity have argued that law enforcement can’t investigate the president at all; that he can shut down investigations into himself or his associates; and that obstruction-of-justice laws don’t apply to the president. (Nobody argues that presidents aren’t subject to all laws once they are out of office.)

At the same time, since Democrats took over Congress in January, Mr. Trump’s government and personal lawyers have fought numerous legal battles over congressional oversight—arguing that close aides don’t have to testify even if subpoenaed, that all congressional investigations must serve a “legislative purpose,” that cabinet secretaries can disobey subpoenas and that a congressional impeachment inquiry is invalid.

Further, they have argued that federal courts can’t transmit evidence of presidential wrongdoing obtained by a grand jury to Congress for possible consideration of impeachment. In some instances, Trump administration attorneys have contended that courts have no right to stop the president from taking official actions.

Some of the claims are contradictory: Mr. Trump’s personal attorneys have argued he can be held accountable only by Congress, while his White House lawyers fought efforts to hold him accountable in Congress.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Should the president be able to end Justice Department investigations into himself? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.

The White House, the Justice Department and an attorney representing Mr. Trump personally didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

To some extent, Mr. Trump’s lawyers are just doing their job: taking aggressive, legal positions in the best interests of the client, and hoping for the best. Lawyers for previous presidents have made similarly aggressive claims about powers and immunities to defend the president personally or the long-term authority of the office.

But scholars of presidential power say what is different about the Trump administration is its unwillingness to acknowledge the legitimacy and interests of other institutions.

“Mr. Trump has taken the position that the [Constitution’s] Article II powers of the president give him absolute authority. What makes his case different is that he is not even recognizing the legitimacy of countervailing powers” such as Congress, said Mark Rozell, a dean at George Mason University. “He is deeming them as politically motivated and not legitimate in their inquiries and therefore to be obstructed at every turn.”

Executive Privilege: What Are the Limits?

Executive Privilege: What Are the Limits?
Executive privilege refers to the president’s right to keep certain things confidential. But how far can it be stretched? WSJ’s Shelby Holliday looks at past uses of executive privilege and explains how it could factor into the impeachment inquiry. Photo: Getty

The issue gets even more complicated in investigations like impeachment because overlapping legal teams are defending the president in both his capacity as an individual and his capacity as the president.

Government lawyers are supposed to defend the president’s institutional powers—not his or her personal interests.

The Justice Department, the White House counsel and Mr. Trump’s personal legal team are defending the president on a cornucopia of lawsuits around the country.

John Yoo, a former Bush administration official known for supporting expansive presidential power, said many of the most extreme legal positions taken by the Trump lawyers have come from his personal attorneys trying to defend him by invoking the powers of the presidency, while those taken by the government’s lawyers are in line with previous practices.

“When it comes to where he’s making the arguments on behalf of the office of the presidency, in his official capacity, I think he’s gone just as far as other presidents have,” Mr. Yoo said. “In the areas where the president has been defending himself as an individual rather than the office, he has made arguments that have gone beyond what past presidents have set out.”

Mr. Yoo added: “I think that Trump has been under unprecedented assault—constitutionally, legally—from his critics too. I can see why his lawyers are bringing out these arguments which are usually reserved for times of real crisis.”

Mr. Trump isn’t the first to provoke a legal showdown over his powers and immunities. But rarely did the attorneys representing other presidents deny that other institutions also had legitimate interests.

Richard Nixon sparked a major legal battle over his refusal to turn over tapes of Oval Office conversations to prosecutors and Congress. But he also offered numerous compromises, such as turning over transcripts, because he and his attorneys recognized that Congress and prosecutors had legitimate interests in accessing the materials as part of their inquiries.

During a yearslong independent counsel investigation and later impeachment, President Bill Clinton also fought legal battles over his privileges and immunities, but frequently argued before courts that they needed to balance the interests of the presidency against those of Congress or law enforcement. Mr. Clinton, for instance, agreed to testify before a grand jury in exchange for independent prosecutor Ken Starr dropping a subpoena.

President George W. Bush fought back against a congressional investigation to keep his top aides from testifying about the firing of federal prosecutors for what critics said were political reasons, but allowed voluntary interviews and turned over documents to Congress.

Few of those legal positions have ever been blessed by courts.

Earlier this month, Justice Department lawyers argued that a court couldn’t give Congress evidence that was gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller if it was obtained using a grand jury—going so far as to say that a federal judge was wrong in 1974 to give Congress materials from the grand jury investigating the Watergate break-in.

“Wow, OK,” U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell said in response to that argument. “The department is taking extraordinary positions in this case.”

She ruled against the Justice Department last week, writing that her decision was motivated in part by the White House’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators.

The administration said Monday it would appeal.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-attorneys-assert-immunity-from-broad-sweep-of-law-11572346801

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1341, October 15, 2019, Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos — Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos — Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos

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Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos —

Senator Mitch McConnell: Democrats Are ‘Throwing Fairness And Precedent To The Wind’ | NBC News

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

Trump was ‘absolutely right’ to take troops out of Syria: Rand Paul

Democrats, Republicans unite on Trump’s decision on Syria

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout

 

Mitch McConnell rebukes Donald Trump over Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held Syria, saying troop pullout gives Iran a chance to reach Israel’s doorstep and contending worthwhile intervention does NOT make the U.S. world’s policeman

  • McConnell once again expressed his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria  
  • Said the door is ‘wide open’ for resurgence of ISIS
  • Said policy could put Iran on Israel’s ‘door-step’
  • Said standing up for U.S. interests does not make nation the ‘evil empire’
  • Trump has repeatedly complained the nation should not be world’s policeman 
  • At the same time, he blasted House Democrats on impeachment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly confronted President Trump‘s complaint that U.S. troop deployment’s make it the ‘world’s policeman’ and expressed his ‘grave concern’ about Trump’s policy moves in Syria.

McConnell issued the rebuke without directly blaming President Trump for the latest calamity in the region – although he said Trump’s policy threatens to put Iran on Israel’s door-step and fuel a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’

Following Turkey’s incursion into Syria in territory that had been controlled by U.S.-allied members of the Kurdish minority, McConnell warned that the ‘door is wide open for resurgence of the Islamic State.’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump's contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the 'world's policeman'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump’s contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the ‘world’s policeman’

In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said the situation created a power vacuum that could fuel the meddling influence of Russia, and ‘leaving northeastern Syria wide open Iran to extend reach unimpeded all the way from tehran to the door step of our friends in Israel.

He also confronted the view, espoused directly by President Trump, that the U.S. should pull out of the region rather serving as the ‘world’s policeman.’

I want to make something clear, the United States has taken the fight to Syria and Afghanistan because that is where our enemies are, that’s why we’re there. Fighting terrorists, exercising leadership and troubled regions and advancing U.S. interests around the world does not make us an evil empire or the world’s policeman,’ McConnell said.

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces

McConnell shared his 'grave concern' about the situation in Syria

McConnell shared his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted in his floor speech

McConnell had also warned of his ‘grave concern’ in a written statement Monday that did not mention Trump by name. But in his floor speech Tuesday, he included such a reference.

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted.

But even as he challenged the president on a policy that has resulted in the release of ISIS prisoners, led to attacks against key regional allies, and even led to shelling by Turkish forces toward a U.S. troop-held position, he defended the president on impeachment by attacking Democrats.

‘House Democrats are finally indulging in their impeachment obsession. Full steam ahead,’ McConnell warned. ‘I don’t think many of us were expecting to witness a clinic in terms of fairness or due process. But even by their own partisan standards, House Democrats have already found new ways to lower the bar,’ he complained.

McConnell has said he was required by Senate rules to hold a trial should the House impeach Trump.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7577029/Mitch-McConnell-rebukes-Donald-Trump-Turkish-invasion-Kurdish-held-Syria.html

Trump’s Syria Mess

He resorts to sanctions as the harm from withdrawal builds.

Syrians fleeing Turskih advance arrive to the town of Tal Tamr in north Syria, Oct. 14. PHOTO: BADERKHAN AHMAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS

What a fiasco. Foreign-policy blunders often take months or years to reveal their damaging consequences, but the harm from President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria is playing out almost in real time.

Critics said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would invade northern Syria despite Mr. Trump’s public warnings, and the Turkish strongman did. Critics said our Kurdish allies would strike a deal with Syria’s Bashar Assad to defend themselves, and the Kurds have. Critics said Islamic State prisoners held by the Kurds would be released and scatter to wage jihad again, and they are.

The mess compounded Monday when Mr. Trump authorized sanctions against several Turkish officials and agencies who are “contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” The sanctions include financial measures and barring entry to the U.S. Mr. Trump also said he’s ending trade talks with Turkey and raising steel tariffs to 50%.

Mr. Trump now finds himself back in an economic and diplomatic brawl with Turkey that he said he wanted to avoid. Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to tell Mr. Erdogan, on that famous phone call two Sundays ago, that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate a Turkish invasion against the Kurds and would use air power to stop it? Mr. Erdogan would have had to back down and continue negotiating a Syrian safe zone with the Kurds and the U.S.

Mr. Trump is also making matters worse with his unserious justifications. “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land,” he tweeted Monday. “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”

We suppose the Napoleon line was a joke, but the world is laughing at an American President. Mr. Trump was able to project an image of strength in his early days as he prosecuted the war against ISIS and used force to impose a cost on Mr. Assad for using chemical weapons. But that image has faded as he has indulged his inner Rand Paul and claims at every opportunity that the main goal of his foreign policy is to put an end to “endless wars.”

This is simple-minded isolationism, and it’s a message to the world’s rogues that a U.S. President has little interest in engaging on behalf of American allies or interests. Friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia are quietly dismayed, while Iran, Russia and Hezbollah can’t believe Mr. Trump has so glibly abandoned U.S. commitments and military partners.

By now it’s not unreasonable to conclude that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy can be distilled into two tactics—sanctions and tariffs. Mr. Trump wields them willy-nilly against friend and foe alike as substitutes for diplomacy and the credible threat of military force.

Mr. Trump won’t like to hear it, but the Syrian mess is hurting him at home too. Republicans who have stood by him through the Russia fight and more are questioning his judgment as Commander in Chief in an increasingly dangerous world. With impeachment looming, he can’t afford to alienate more friends.

Opinion: Trump's Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course

Opinion: Trump’s Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course
As Turkey advances into Syria, foreign powers will increasingly act on the belief that the American executive is both politically weak and intellectually unfocused. Image: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Imageshttps://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-syria-mess-11571095091

TRUMP’S CHAOTIC SYRIA EXIT PUTS ANTI-WAR 2020 DEMOCRATS IN A DELICATE SPOT

THE PENTAGON announced on Monday that the U.S. was pulling all of its troops out of northeastern Syria at President Donald Trump’s direction, completing a withdrawal he had started by Twitter declaration a week earlier. The move further clears the way for a full-on invasion by Turkey, whose soldiers have already been accused of executing noncombatants. In the chaos, hundreds of Islamic State detainees have reportedly escaped.

Trump defended his decision in a series of early-morning tweets on Monday. “The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!” he wrote. “Never ending wars will end!”

Trump’s abandonment of eastern Syria and the U.S. military’s Kurdish allies has put progressive Democrats — many of whom also favor withdrawing from overseas military operations — in a delicate spot. Over the past week, they have been trying to thread the needle between condemning Trump for recklessly abandoning an ally and emphasizing that withdrawing U.S. troops should be an eventual policy goal.

Trump’s decision has showcased what a worst-case scenario for expedited military withdrawal could look like, making it harder for progressive Democratic presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to press their cases against “endless wars” on the campaign trail. The question of how progressives can go about drawing down U.S. military commitments without repeating Trump’s calamitous actions would be an obvious pick for Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

So far, the Democratic candidates have been critical of Trump but light on specifics about what they would do differently. Last week, Sanders condemned Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, telling reporters that “as somebody who does not want to see American troops bogged down in countries all over the world — you don’t turn your back on allies who have fought and died alongside American troops. You just don’t do that.” But when George Stephanopoulos asked Sunday morning on ABC for Sanders to explain the difference between his and Trump’s approaches, Sanders responded simply that Trump “lies. I don’t.”

Warren’s response was similarly vague. She tweeted that “Trump recklessly betrayed our Kurdish partners” and that “we should bring our troops home, but we need to do so in a way that respects our security.”

Ro Khanna, a Democratic representative from California and co-chair of Sanders’s 2020 campaign, told The Intercept that progressives urgently need to make the case for a “doctrine of responsible withdrawal.”

“I don’t believe that withdrawal from a progressive perspective means a moral indifference to the lives of the places that we leave,” Khanna said in a phone interview. “It’s not an ‘America First’ approach that says our interests and our American lives are the only things that have moral worth. Rather, our withdrawal is based on an understanding of the limitations of American power to shape and restructure societies. It emphasizes the need for effective diplomacy and understands our moral obligations in these places.”

The U.S. should not have withdrawn troops without negotiating a deal that would have kept Turkey from invading Syria, backed by a threat to withhold future arms sales and economic assistance, Khanna told The Intercept. “We could have used all those points of leverage to get their commitment that they wouldn’t slaughter the Kurds.”

Another key difference between Trump’s approach and that of progressives is their level of trust for civil service expertise, Khanna said. “What this shows is that it’s not enough to have a president with certain instincts. Foreign policy requires great expertise. You need a progressive president who understands the importance of military restraint, but who also has the ability to put together an extraordinary foreign policy team to implement the goals that they may have.”

Far from admiring Trump’s approach to Syria, many anti-interventionists and foreign policy experts in D.C. view it as a blueprint for how not to withdraw from a conflict, according to Adam Wunische, a researcher with the Quincy Institute, a new pro-diplomacy, noninterventionist, and nonpartisan think tank.

“What we should have been doing from the very beginning is once we achieved the limited objective of destroying ISIS territory, they should have immediately begun contemplating what kind of peace or settlement could come afterwards,” Wunische told The Intercept. “To my knowledge, the U.S. is one of the only actors that can effectively talk to both the Turks and the Kurds. So they should have been trying to find an acceptable political arrangement for all the parties involved that doesn’t involve an endless, ill-defined military presence for the U.S.”

The Quincy Institute is working on a report outlining a possible plan for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan that would avoid the type of disorder on display in northeastern Syria, Wunische said, though the timing of the report remains unclear.

Throughout the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, a number of candidates have railed against “endless wars.” But in a conversation that has been defined by intricate domestic policy proposals and detailed outlines of how to structure a wealth tax, candidates have said little about the rest of the world and even less about how they would wind down overseas conflicts.

Sanders, for example, has called for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan “as expeditiously as possible.” Warren has said “it’s long past time to bring our troops home, and I would begin to do so immediately.” Joe Biden has said he would bring “American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term,” but left the door open for a “residual U.S. military presence” that would be “focused on counterterrorism operations.” When asked during a July debate whether he would withdraw from Afghanistan during the first year of his presidency, Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor and Navy Reserve veteran who spent seven months in Afghanistan, answered emphatically in the affirmative.

But aside from seeking a diplomatic solution, candidates have said very little about their policies for ending the war. And as in Syria, stakes for U.S. allies in Afghanistan are high.

A January study by the Rand Corporation found that a “precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan” would have far-reaching consequences. The legitimacy for the U.S.-backed Kabul government would plummet, the report argued, and the Taliban would extend its control and influence. People all across the country would turn to regional militias and rival warlords for basic security.

“I don’t think that anyone, whether they promise it or not, is going to get out of Afghanistan in a week,” said Wuinsche. “What we need to focus on is, what is the political solution that we think is possible, and how do we get there? That requires marshaling all of these different tools of foreign policy, not just the military.”

Kate Kizer, policy director for the D.C.-based advocacy group Win Without War, stressed that one of the most revealing differences between progressives and Trump is how they would treat a conflict’s refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. has accepted historically low numbers of refugees and closed the door on future Syrian immigrants applying for Temporary Protected Status.

“One of the cruelest parts of Trump’s policy is the fact that, in addition to fueling more bloodshed with this decision, he’s also banning any types of civilians who would be fleeing from the conflict,” Kizer said. “In a situation like Syria and even Afghanistan, there’s a way to responsibly withdraw and then there’s a way to cut and run, which is what Trump has shown he has a predilection for. But I’m not sitting here saying that any type of military withdraw will necessarily be bloodless.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/15/syria-troop-withdrawal-trump-democrats/

Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos

RUST NO ONE

Trump Suspects a Spiteful John Bolton Is Behind Some of the Ukraine Leaks

Trump fears the leaks are now coming from the people he chose to serve him—and that only increases the paranoia currently infecting the West Wing.

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

At a critical juncture in his presidency, facing a rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, Donald Trump is feeling besieged by snitches.

In recent weeks, numerous leaks have appeared in the pages of The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other major papers and news outlets detailing the president’s attempts to enlist foreign leaders to help dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and also aid Trump’s quest to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s concluded investigation. And as is his MO, the media-obsessed president has been fixated on not just the identity of the whistleblower behind the internal complaint that brought this scandal to the fore, but also on who, exactly, has been namelessly feeding intel to the press.

In the course of casual conversations with advisers and friends, President Trump has privately raised suspicions that a spiteful John Bolton, his notoriously hawkish former national security adviser, could be one of the sources behind the flood of leaks against him, three people familiar with the comments said. At one point, one of those sources recalled, Trump guessed that Bolton was behind one of the anonymous accounts that listed the former national security adviser as one of the top officials most disturbed by the Ukraine-related efforts of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who remains at the center of activities that spurred the impeachment inquiry.

“[Trump] was clearly implying [it, saying] something to the effect of, ‘Oh, gee, I wonder who the source on that could be,’” this source said, referring to the president’s speculation. Bolton, for his part, told The Daily Beast last month that allegations that he was a leaker in Trump’s midst are “flatly incorrect.”

The former national security adviser—who departed the administration last month on awfulmutually bitter terms—is working on a book about his time serving Trump, and has “a lot to dish,” one knowledgeable source noted.

Neither Bolton nor White House spokespeople provided comment for this story. Matt Schlapp, an influential conservative activist with close ties to the White House, said his assumption was that the leaks were coming from “career folks inside who hate Trump” and that the president and his campaign had “14 months of this” to come. As for Bolton, Schlapp said, “He’s smarter than that, although he does aggressively defend himself.”

Indeed, Bolton’s name surfaced Monday before House impeachment inquiry committees, when Hill reportedly testified that he told her to alert the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on an operation with legal implications, the Times reported late Monday. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to sources familiar with the testimony.

“I have not spoken to John about [his comments, as conveyed by Hill],” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Tuesday morning. “John is a longtime friend. I have no idea why John is doing this. My best guess is that he’s confused and bought into a false media narrative without bothering to call me about it.”

Regarding Bolton’s reported comment about Mulvaney being involved in this figurative Ukraine “drug deal,” the former New York City mayor insisted that “Mick wasn’t involved in this. I don’t recall having any lengthy conversation with him about this subject… I don’t recall ever having a lengthy conversation [about Ukraine] with John, either.”

Trump has felt under siege from within before, including at various flashpoints of his presidency. For instance, near the end of the Mueller probe, the president became so distrustful and resentful toward Don McGahn, his own White House counsel at the time, he started asking those close to him, “Is [Don] wearing a wire?”

But the current sense that he has been undermined by people whom he brought into his orbit has come at a critical juncture and colored some of the decisions he has made since the whistleblower complaint became public.  The president has openly declared that the whistleblower committed an act of treason. He has attempted to stop prominent advisers—including Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a man who donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration—from testifying to Congress, only to apparently fail. On Monday, Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, was on Capitol Hill, where she reportedly told lawmakers that Sondland and Giuliani circumventedthe standard national-security process on high-profile Ukraine matters. The president has struggled to add to his current legal team, and appeared to begin putting some distance between himself and Giuliani last week.

And when outside allies began to talk about constructing a war room to help with impeachment, Trump shot down the concept, in part out of a sense that he couldn’t rely on them to get the message out right. One top White House aide subsequently labeled the idea an exercise by “outside peeps trying to self-aggrandize.”

The impression left on Republicans is one of a president increasingly driven by paranoia and a desire for insularity—and not, necessarily, to his own benefit.

“There is a certain level of frustration that all the sudden the president says something, then Rudy does, and it is not always consistent. There is a frustration that not everybody knows what they should be doing. It is not that they can’t defend the president it is a frustration that they don’t know exactly how they are supposed to defend the president,” said John Brabender, a longtime GOP consultant. “From the president’s perspective, this whole thing is a witch hunt and is outrageous and, therefore, it shouldn’t even need explanation…But with that said, you can’t just be angry. You need a unified communications team.”

According to those who’ve known the president, the sense that a good chunk of the government has never fully accepted his presidency and has actively worked to undermine it has animated much of his activity over the past few weeks. And though they believe he has a point, they also wonder if it is making him functionally incapable of taking the advice of some advisers: to simply ignore impeachment and apply his attention to other facets of governance.

Trump, they add, is preternaturally incapable of ignoring press about him and lingers particularly on leaks that depict atmospherics of his inner sanctum, the West Wing, and his internal well-being.

“In my experience, what he despises is somebody writing that Donald Trump feels under siege and his emotions are this and his thinking is this,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide. “He hates people saying what he is thinking… And one of his most frequent tricks in terms of talking about himself on background [as an anonymous source] is him having the reporter say [he is] someone ‘familiar with the president’s thinking.’”

Nunberg said he had yet to see a blind quote in any recent report that would lead him to believe that Trump is cold-calling reporters. But the president is certainly working the fourth estate. Democratic aides were left shaking their heads last week when they received an email from the White House with the subject line, “Article from President Trump” and a PDF attachment of a Kimberly Strassel Wall Street Journal column.

“He’s apparently so anxious about GOP support in the Senate, he’s taken to sending WSJ columns against the House inquiry,” said a Senate source.

Still, for all of Trump’s grousing and preoccupation with who is and isn’t stabbing him in the back, loyalty has always been a one-way street for this president. Last week, after the news broke that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen tied to Giuliani, were arrested on charges of violating campaign-finance law, a reporter at the White House asked Trump if the former New York mayor was still his personal attorney. The president responded that he didn’t know.

Though the president would later tweet out his support for Giuliani over the weekend, Trump has a long track record for being loyal to and supportive of a longtime associate, friend, or staffer—up until the moment he’s not. Perhaps the quintessential example of this is that of one of the president’s former attorneys, Michael Cohen, who famously turned on Trump after becoming convinced that the president had abandoned him while he was in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors.

Asked by The Daily Beast last week if the president told him that he still had his lawyer’s back—an attorney who further earned the president’s trust by defending Trump during the Mueller investigation—Giuliani let out a big belly-laugh and responded, “There’s nothing, [no knife], in my back.”

“My back feels very comfortable right now,” he added.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-suspects-a-spiteful-john-bolton-is-behind-ukraine-leaks

Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos —

 

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Medicare For All: What Does it Actually Mean?

DEBUNKED: Medicare for All MYTHS! | Louder With Crowder

Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos —

Trump welcomes the Stanley Cup Champions to WH

President Trump Welcomes the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Champions

Trump welcomes 2019 Stanley Cup champions to White House

Trump welcomes the St. Louis Blues to the White House

WATCH: Trump hosts NHL champions St. Louis Blues at the White House

 

St. Louis Blues visit the White House after Stanley Cup win

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The Pronk Pops Show 1267, May 30, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Goes On Media Offense — Reaction To Mueller Statement — No Collusion, No Obstruction, No Redo — Mueller Was Conflicted and Never Should Have Been Appointed Special Counsel — Impeachment Is A Dirty Word — No High Crimes and Misdemeanors –Absolutely No Grounds For Impeachment — Videos — Story 2: Attorney General Barr Responds To Former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III Statement — Case Closed — No Collusion and No Obstruction — Mueller Went Beyond His Report By Calling for A Process — Impeachment — Shame on Mueller — Mueller Will Be Taking Questions on His Investigation and Team By Republicans in Senate and House — Videos — Story 3: Trump Tease on Major Statement On Border and Illegal Alien Invasion of United States — Tariffs on Mexico? — Videos

Posted on May 31, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, American History, Blogroll, Books, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Labor Economics, Law, Life, Lying, Media, Mexico, National Interest, National Security Agency, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Robert S. Mueller III, Scandals, Senate, Subversion, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Treason, United States of America | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageImage result for new tariffs on mexicoSee the source imageImage result for trump tweet on 5% tariff on Mexican goods 30 May 2019 See the source imageSee the source imageImage result for barr vs muellerSee the source imageSee the source image

 

 

Story 1: President Trump Goes On Media Offense — Reaction To Mueller Statement — No Collusion, No Obstruction, No Redo — Mueller Was Conflicted and Never Should Have Been Appointed Special Counsel — Impeachment Is A Dirty Word — No High Crimes and Misdemeanors –Absolutely No Grounds For Impeachment — Videos —

Trump reacts to Mueller’s Russia probe statement in angry tirade

Hannity: Mueller contradicted himself during statement

Gingrich: Mueller ‘didn’t have the right’ to say what he said

Dershowitz: Shame on Robert Mueller for exceeding his role

The statement by special counsel Robert Mueller in a Wednesday press conference that “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that” is worse than the statement made by then-FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. Comey declared in a July 2016 press conference that “although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

Comey was universally criticized for going beyond his responsibility to state whether there was sufficient evidence to indict Clinton. Mueller, however, did even more. He went beyond the conclusion of his report and gave a political gift to Democrats in Congress who are seeking to institute impeachment proceedings against President Trump. By implying that President Trump might have committed obstruction of justice, Mueller effectively invited Democrats to institute impeachment proceedings. Obstruction of justice is a “high crime and misdemeanor” which, under the Constitution, authorizes impeachment and removal of the president.

Until today, I have defended Mueller against the accusations that he is a partisan. I did not believe that he personally favored either the Democrats or the Republicans, or had a point of view on whether President Trump should be impeached. But I have now changed my mind. By putting his thumb, indeed his elbow, on the scale of justice in favor of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, Mueller has revealed his partisan bias. He also has distorted the critical role of a prosecutor in our justice system.

Virtually everybody agrees that, in the normal case, a prosecutor should never go beyond publicly disclosing that there is insufficient evidence to indict. No responsible prosecutor should ever suggest that the subject of his investigation might indeed be guilty even if there was insufficient evidence or other reasons not to indict. Supporters of Mueller will argue that this is not an ordinary case, that he is not an ordinary prosecutor and that President Trump is not an ordinary subject of an investigation. They are wrong. The rules should not be any different.

Remember that federal investigations by prosecutors, including special counsels, are by their very nature one-sided. They hear only evidence of guilt and not exculpatory evidence. Their witnesses are not subject to the adversarial process. There is no cross examination. The evidence is taken in secret behind the closed doors of a grand jury. For that very reason, prosecutors can only conclude whether there is sufficient evidence to commence a prosecution. They are not in a position to decide whether the subject of the investigation is guilty or is innocent of any crimes.

That determination of guilt or innocence requires a full adversarial trial with a zealous defense attorney, vigorous cross examination, exclusionary rules of evidence and other due process safeguards. Such safeguards were not present in this investigation, and so the suggestion by Mueller that Trump might well be guilty deserves no credence. His statement, so inconsistent with his long history, will be used to partisan advantage by Democrats, especially all those radicals who are seeking impeachment.

No prosecutor should ever say or do anything for the purpose of helping one party or the other. I cannot imagine a plausible reason why Mueller went beyond his report and gratuitously suggested that President Trump might be guilty, except to help Democrats in Congress and to encourage impeachment talk and action. Shame on Mueller for abusing his position of trust and for allowing himself to be used for such partisan advantage.

Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School. His new book is “The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump.” You can follow him on Twitter @AlanDersh.

https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/445983-dershowitz-shame-on-robert-mueller-for-exceeding-his-role

Story 2: Attorney General Barr Responds To Former Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III Statement — Case Closed — No Collusion and No Obstruction — Mueller Went Beyond His Report By Calling for A Process — Impeachment — Shame on Mueller — Mueller Will Be Taking Questions on His Investigation and Team By Republicans in Senate and House — Videos 

Trump slams Mueller, calls him a ‘never-Trumper’

Barr says Mueller “could’ve reached a decision” on obstruction

Barr says Obama officials did not commit treason “as a legal matter”

Barr says Justice Department and Mueller sparred over “legal analysis” in Russia report

Attorney General William Barr on caring about his reputation: “Everyone dies”

Barr interview exposes new divisions between attorney general and special counsel

Dershowitz: There should no longer be a special counsel

Mark Levin Show Audio Podcast 5/29/19 – Mark Levin Wednesday 29, May 2019

Gowdy breaks down legal implications behind Mueller remarks

Robert Mueller Spoke. And His Message Couldn’t Have Been Clearer. | Deadline | MSNBC

HIGHLIGHTS: William Barr testifies before Senate about Mueller report

FULL: Mueller Report Released Attorney General William Barr News Conference

The Mueller Report – A PBS NewsHour/FRONTLINE Special

DOJ Insider Hits ‘Naïve’ Mueller For ‘Faith’ in AG Barr | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Full Mark Warner: Attorney General Bill Barr ‘Ought To Resign’ | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Dershowitz: Shame on Mueller, doesn’t have the guts to make a decision

Mark Levin lambasts Mueller: I think he’s a coward

Trump stands by Barr after testimony

See the source image

 

Sidney Powell on Robert Mueller’s ‘poster boy for prosecutorial misconduct’

LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice

Andrew Weissmann: Five Important Facts

Barr says Mueller “could’ve reached a decision” on whether Trump obstructed justice

 

Tune in to “CBS This Morning” on Friday, May 31, for the full interview with Attorney General William Barr.

Attorney General William Barr said he believes special counsel Robert Mueller could have reached a decision on whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice, regardless of long-standing Justice Department policy that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president.

In his first network interview since being sworn in, Barr said the special counsel, who gave a rare public statement Wednesday reiterating some of the key findings in his more than 400-page report, could have concluded the president broke the law without actually charging him — or cleared him of wrongdoing.

“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” he told CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford during an exclusive interview in Anchorage, Alaska, on Thursday.

“The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity,” Barr added. “But he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained and I am not going to, you know, argue about those reasons.”

When he became aware that Mueller would not make a determination in his obstruction of justice probe — which investigated 11 instances in which Mr. Trump tried to derail the Russia investigation — Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “felt it was necessary” for them to make decision on the issue.

In a letter to Congress after Mueller submitted his report, Barr said he and Rosenstein concluded that the nearly two-year investigation did not contain sufficient evidence to establish Mr. Trump obstructed justice. 

On Wednesday, Mueller said bringing criminal charges against the president was not an option since the special counsel’s office was part of the Justice Department and bound by its policies — including a legal opinion barring the indictment of a sitting president.

Mueller also ruled out the possibility of issuing a sealed indictment or making an accusation of criminality without pursuing formal charges. If a sealed indictment became public, it could undermine the president’s ability to govern, and making an accusation without bringing charges would not give the president the chance to clear his name in court.

Mueller said the U.S. Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.” Many Democrats said the special counsel’s remarks represented a referral of his investigation to Congress, which has the power to impeach and remove a president from office.

Barr said Thursday he did not know what Mueller was “suggesting” in his statement.

“The Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress,” he added.

Asked about accusations that he has been shielding the president from scrutiny since taking office, Barr said he expected the flurry of criticism, which he noted “goes with the territory of being attorney general in a hyper-partisan period of time.”

“The Department of Justice is all about the law, and the facts and the substance,” he said. “And I’m going to make the decisions based on the law and the facts and I realize that’s in tension with the political climate we live in because people are more interested in getting their way politically.”

Mueller’s statement highlights key differences with Barr on investigation of President Trump

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on May 29 said it would be “unfair” to accuse President Trump of a crime since he could not be charged with a crime.

May 29 at 6:21 PM

Departing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III finally spoke publicly Wednesday, and his carefully chosen comments highlight the ways in which he disagrees with his boss, Attorney General William P. Barr, about the facts and the law surrounding the investigation into President Trump.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said Wednesday.

Barr had that confidence. He declared in March that while Mueller’s principal conclusions did not include a determination of whether the president had committed the crime of obstruction of justice, Barr had reviewed the evidence and concluded Trump did not break the law.

“The Special Counsel’s decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime,” Barr wrote to Congress at the time.

In his report and his public remarks, Mueller indicated he holds a different view on the question of potential presidential crimes, refusing to clear the commander in chief and alluding to Congress’s impeachment power as the constitutional arbiter.

Mueller’s remarks also made clear how heavily his office relied on a long-standing legal opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president cannot be indicted. That opinion, Mueller said Wednesday, “says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

Asked about his disagreements with Mueller, Barr has made a point of emphasizing that when the two men met privately on March 5 to discuss the findings, Mueller said he would not claim the president would have been charged with a crime if he weren’t the president.

“We specifically asked him about the OLC opinion and whether or not he was taking a position that he would have found a crime but for the existence of the OLC opinion. And he made very clear several times that that was not his position,” Barr told reporters last month.

Democrats have accused Barr of misleading lawmakers and the public on this point.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Mueller’s comments Wednesday “a direct rebuke” of the attorney general’s statements. He accused Barr of “deliberately and repeatedly” misleading the American people on the issue of the OLC opinion.

Spokesmen for Mueller and Barr said Wednesday evening that the two men’s statements about the OLC memo are not in conflict.

Since filing their 448-page report, Mueller and his team have been frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of public understanding about this point — that Justice Department policy and fairness prohibit the special counsel from reaching a decision, even secretly, on whether the president committed a crime.

“That was the Justice Department policy, and those were the principles under which we operated,” Mueller said. “From them we concluded that we would not reach a determination — one way or the other — about whether the president committed a crime. That is the office’s final position, and we will not comment on any other conclusions or hypotheticals about the president.”

Having adopted that stance, Mueller and his team also concluded it would be improper for him to say that the president would be charged with obstruction if it were not for the Justice Department policy, because saying that would also amount to a criminal accusation against Trump, according to people involved in the discussion.

Mueller’s team came to believe that making any sort of impeachment referral to Congress also would fall under the category of accusing the president of a crime, according to people familiar with their discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

For those reasons, Mueller was guarded in his comments about the findings and wants to avoid being drawn into a back-and-forth in congressional testimony that could be construed as accusing the president of a crime, these people said.

Barr and Mueller also disagreed in other telling ways.

On Wednesday, Mueller said there was “insufficient evidence” to show a conspiracy among Trump associates or Americans to aid Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

When Barr announced Mueller’s findings, he said there was “no evidence” to show any such conspiracy.

But Mueller’s appearance also sought to play down any tension between the two longtime friends over recent areas of disagreement. After the special counsel’s report was filed in March, Mueller had privately urged the attorney general to quickly release the executive summaries.

Barr refused, arguing he wanted a nearly full version of the document to be released all at once.

“We appreciate that the attorney general made the report largely public,” Mueller said Wednesday. “I do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision.”

Mueller also said no one had pressured him to avoid testifying to Congress.

“I hope and expect this to be the only time that I will speak about this matter. I am making that decision myself — no one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter,” Mueller said.

Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor, said Mueller’s statements show “a major disconnect with Barr on the issue of obstruction of justice.”

“Mueller made clear that he would have exonerated the president on obstruction if he believed the evidence warranted such a finding. Yet Barr, looking at the same evidence, came to the opposite conclusion and issued a statement that the evidence was insufficient to establish that the president committed obstruction of justice,” Mintz said.

Mueller’s appearance Wednesday seemed to put the issue squarely before Congress, while also signaling that, going forward, he would not be a willing participant in that process.

The work, Mueller said, “speaks for itself,” and he said he would not provide Congress any information beyond what lawmakers have in the report.

Trump and his team have been effective in eight weeks of shaping the findings — and his supporters declared Mueller’s statements a fresh political victory for the president.

“Today was phenomenal news. Former Director Mueller said he was going to ride off into the sunset and let his report stand,” said Jason Miller, a Trump adviser and former campaign spokesman. “For Americans who have already made their decision here, that’s very definitive. Everyone has already decided on this issue.”

Trump has repeatedly praised Barr to White House aides and friends — saying he has defended him and proved to be a “real” attorney general. Trump gave positive reviews to Barr’s congressional testimony, his news conference before the report and his public comments, White House officials said.

The president was pleased that Mueller does not want to testify, an aide said.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a New York Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said Mueller’s comments undercut Barr’s past claims.

At some point, Jeffries insisted, Mueller is “going to tell the whole story.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/muellers-statement-highlights-key-differences-with-barr-on-investigation-of-president-trump/2019/05/29/7ea33408-8243-11e9-bce7-40b4105f7ca0_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.72050afa908e

What is obstruction of justice?

Trump slams Judge Napolitano on obstruction claims

Napolitano: Mueller’s statement is not good news for Trump

10 Potential Cases of Obstruction of Justice in the Mueller Report | NowThis

Opinion | Obstruction of justice is hard to prove, even if Trump makes it look easy

Opinion | Did Trump obstruct justice? Look at the facts.

These are the 10 episodes Mueller investigated for obstruction of justice

The list includes James Comey’s firing and Trump’s changing behavior toward Michael Cohen.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report contains 10 instances where President Donald Trump potentially committed obstruction of justice. Now that the report has been released, we know what they are.

Perhaps most explosively, Mueller said in the report that Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

In a press conference ahead of the report’s release on Thursday, Attorney General William Barr pointed to 10 specific episodes Mueller investigated for obstruction. Though Barr did not disclose what they were, we now know they include Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, his attempts to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions involved in the investigation, and Trump’s call to then-White House counsel Don McGahn to direct him to get Mueller removed.

Barr also said Thursday morning that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” but that wasn’t the only factor in their decision-making. Democrats have already said they’d like to hear from Mueller himself on the report, and the debate about whether these should have amounted to a crime is likely only beginning.

Mueller’s final report on his findings of a nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election outlines two lines of inquiry: collusion and obstruction of justice. Mueller did not come to a conclusion on whether Trump committed obstruction of justice — instead, Barr and Rosenstein made the decision that the evidence was “not sufficient to establish” obstruction.

Below are those 10 episodes Mueller examined in the obstruction section. The report also includes the examination of the Trump campaign’s response to reports of Russian support for Trump. The president apparently worried after his election that reports of Russian interference might “lead the public to question the legitimacy” of his victory.

Here are the 10 instances of potential obstruction Mueller outlines in his report:

Trump asking James Comey to let Michael Flynn go

Trump’s reaction to the Russia investigation

The firing of James Comey

Mueller’s appointment and efforts to oust him

Efforts to curtail the Russia investigation

Attempts to stop the public from seeing the evidence

Trump trying to get Jeff Sessions to take back control of the investigation

Trump telling Don McGahn to deny that the president had wanted the special counsel removed

Trump’s team asking Flynn for a “heads up” on information and commending Paul Manafort for not “flipping”

The president’s changing behavior toward Michael Cohen


The news moves fast. Catch up at the end of the day: Subscribe to Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast, or sign up for our evening email newsletter, Vox Sentences.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/4/18/18484947/mueller-report-obstruction-of-justice-summary

Is Mueller Bound by OLC’s Memos on Presidential Immunity?

By Andrew Crespo

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 9:00 AM

The New York Times recently unearthed a thorough legal memo, prepared twenty years ago for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, that advances the view that a sitting president can be indicted while still in office. For those keeping score, this new memo sharpens an internal divide within the Department of Justice on this important question. Two memos authored by the Office of Legal Counsel—one in 1973, in the midst of the Nixon impeachment saga, the other in 2000, on the heels of the Clinton impeachment saga—take the view that a sitting president is immune from indictment. By contrast, two different memos—authored by the Office of Special Counselinvestigating Nixon, and the Office of Independent Counsel investigating Clinton—reach the opposite conclusion.

That these different offices have repeatedly disagreed on this central question isn’t really all that surprising. They have different institutional roles, different missions, and different cultures, all of which might impact their respective approaches to the issue. For present purposes, however, the most important practical question is whether the current special counsel, Robert Mueller, is free to exercise his own independent judgment on the immunity issue, or whether he is instead bound to follow OLC’s take. If it’s the latter, then those two OLC memos would together constitute the single greatest shield protecting President Trump from prosecution: No matter how strong the evidence against him may become, if OLC’s memos are binding then the President simply cannot be indicted until after he leaves office—by which point, it bears noting, the statute of limitations for any relevant conduct may well have expired.

But that’s only if OLC’s memos are binding.  Jack Goldsmith and Marty Lederman take the view that they “almost certainly” are. The New York Times, by contrast, has twice indicated that the issue may not be so clear cut, each time citing a piece that I wroteexpressing some early skepticism on this issue.

That skepticism may well represent a minority view, at least among those with substantial experience working with OLC—experience that Jack and Marty have, and that I do not. Still, even an outsider’s minority view merits an articulation of some of the main points in its favor.

To my mind, there are at least three such points here. First and foremost, the justifications underlying the general practice of treating OLC opinions as binding on executive branch officials do not necessarily apply to the Office of Special Counsel, which is supposed to be insulated from the influence of political appointees when assessing the president’s exposure to criminal liability.  Second, the formal regulations setting out the special counsel’s authority do not clearly compel him to follow OLC’s lead. And third, historical practice suggests that he need not do so.

Let’s take these three points in turn.

 

I. When It Comes to Presidential Immunity, the Normal Reasons for Treating OLC Memos as Binding Do Not Necessarily Apply to the Special Counsel

The notion that OLC opinions bind the Office of Special Counsel draws support from a widely held broader proposition: OLC opinions bind all executive branch officials with respect to whatever legal issues those opinions resolve. As Trevor Morrison explains, that broader proposition is not exactly beyond dispute: “the bindingness of the Attorney General’s (or, in the modern era, OLC’s) legal advice has long been uncertain,” he writes, and is the subject of “almost two hundred years of debate.” That debate, however, can largely be bracketed here. Because even if one accepts OLC’s general authority “to say what the law is” for the rest of the executive branch, it’s not clear that such authority extends to the Office of Special Counsel under the current circumstances.

To see why, just consider OLC’s own explanation for why its opinions are binding, as set out in an opinion it issued back in 1987. According to OLC, that power has two foundations: The first is the attorney general’s “statutory obligation,” delegated to OLC, “to render opinions” when he is requested to do so by one of the heads of the other executive departments regarding any “questions of law arising in the administration of their” duties. The second is the attorney general’s statutory responsibility, “except as otherwise authorized by law,” to “conduct litigation on behalf of the United States,” which “necessarily includes the exclusive and ultimate authority to determine the position of the United States on the proper interpretation” of legal issues.

What stands out most about these two asserted bases of OLC’s authority is that neither clearly supports the claim that the two OLC memos on presidential immunity bind the Office of Special Counsel. As to the first source of authority, neither of those memos was requested by the head of an executive department outside of DOJ, so the attorney general’s duty “to render opinions” to such officials simply doesn’t apply. (Indeed, it’s not altogether clear who requested that these two particular memos be written in the first place.)

That leaves the second source of authority, which by its own terms is subject to an important exception: OLC’s authority to issue binding opinions does not extend to executive branch officials who are “authorized by law” to “conduct litigation on behalf of the United States” without first getting the attorney general’s blessing for the positions they intend to take. Due in part to this exception, independent agencies within the executive branch, to quote former OLC Deputy and now-D.C. Circuit Judge Nina Pillard, are “not…presumptively bound” by OLC’s opinions. Indeed, according to OLC’s own official “Best Practices,” the Office typically won’t even “provide an opinion to an executive agency the head of which does not serve at the pleasure of the president (e.g., an agency head subjected to a ‘for cause’ removal restriction)” unless that agency first agrees to “conform its conduct” to whatever opinion OLC might provide.

The principle that independent officers are not presumptively bound to follow OLC’s opinions is important in the present context because the Office of Special Counsel bears many of the traditional hallmarks of such independence. The special counsel himself can be removed from office only for “good cause,” such as “misconduct” or “dereliction of duty.” Moreover, he has “independent authority” to conduct litigation on behalf of the United States, in the trial courts and on appeal, without being “subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official” in the Department of Justice, including the attorney general. Similarly, he has no obligation to seek preapproval from any such official prior to taking a given course of action.

To be sure, the special counsel is required to keep the attorney general apprised of significant developments in the investigation. And the attorney general does have some authority to block the special counsel from taking a “prosecutorial step” like filing an indictment. That authority, however, is quite limited: the attorney general must “give great weight to the views of the Special Counsel” on the matter, and can only overrule the special counsel if he determines “that the action is so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” Moreover, if the attorney general overrules the special counsel, he must explain that decision to Congress.

In view of these limitations, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein—the only official with any authority over Special Counsel Mueller, given Attorney General Sessions’s recusal—has made clear that, in his view, Mueller has “full independence” to conduct the pending investigation.  One can parse Rosenstein’s words. But the sentiment they express shouldn’t really be too surprising.  After all, independence from political actors is the very raison d’être for having an Office of Special Counsel in the first place. Absent such independence, criminal investigations of high-level executive branch officials, like the president, simply could not escape the inherent “conflicts and potential conflicts of interest” that would arise if they were overseen by the president’s own political appointees. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine circumstances in which improper structural biases would be more stark or more problematic than a case in which a lawyer is asked to decide whether his boss—the person who picked him for the job and who can dismiss him from it—can be sent to prison.

And yet, that is precisely the question that was put to the Office of Legal Counsel in 1973 and in 2000, as the clouds of indictment drew near to the two presidents then in office.* Crucially, however, unlike the Office of Special Counsel, the Office of Legal Counsel is not insulated from presidential control. On the contrary, as Judge Pillard observes, OLC is subject to a greater degree of political control than many other DOJ offices: not only is it headed by the President’s political appointee, but “all of the OLC deputies are politically appointed as well,” unlike, say, the Office of the Solicitor General, where “three out of the four deputies are career employees.”

As Judge Pillard goes on to observe, “a more politically led office seems less likely to make impartial, arms-length constitutional decisions.” That seems especially true when the constitutional decisions at issue are guided by “neither the text nor the history of the Constitution,” but turn instead on how one balances the president’s interests “as the sole head of the executive branch” against the broader societal interests in ensuring that no person is above the criminal law—which is precisely how OLC describes the nature of the presidential-immunity analysis.

In conducting that interest-balancing analysis, it would hardly be unusual for OLC to place special—and perhaps outsized—emphasis on the president’s side of the ledger. Indeed, to hear Yale Law School’s Bruce Ackerman tell it, OLC “almost always concludes that the president can do what he wants.” One need not endorse so broad a critique, however, to acknowledge the more basic fact that OLC not only works for the president but also tries to “facilitate the objectives of the President” where possible. On the contrary, that is precisely how OLC itself describes its role in its “Best Practices” memo.

That memo goes on to observe that, in addition to facilitating the president’s interests, OLC also typically “keeps the Office of the Counsel to the president appropriately apprised of its work.”  Imagine, however, a White House Counsel calling up the head of OLC for an update on the “Can we indict the Boss?” memo.

The very prospect that such a phone call might occur is why the Office of Special Counsel exists—to avoid such inherent conflicts of interest. And no matter how earnest or upright OLC’s attorneys may be, there is simply no avoiding the central concern: binding the Special Counsel to the judgments of the president’s political appointees, on the very question of the president’s own criminal liability, would significantly undermine the independence that the Office of Special Counsel was built to provide—and that, in the current situation, it has been promised. Given that independence, it’s simply not clear that OLC’s memos, even if generally binding on other executive branch officials, are binding on the Special Counsel here.

 

II. The Special Counsel’s Governing Regulations Do Not Clearly Compel Him to Follow OLC Opinions

Even if one thinks that the Special Counsel has no freestanding obligation to follow these two OLC memos, he is unquestionably bound by his own authorizing regulations, which require him to “comply with the rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies of the Department of Justice.” Does this regulatory text require the special counsel to follow OLC’s conclusions?

As I’ve previously noted, probably not, given that this “regulatory text seems to focus more on administrative protocols and procedures than on” the “legal analyses” that OLC produces. That textual argument, moreover, grows only stronger once the special counsel regulations are read in the context of their adjacent regulatory provisions, which define the authority of all of the other component offices of the Department of Justice. As those other regulations make clear, there are a host of offices in the Department—ranging from the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Administration, to the Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, to the aptly named Office of Legal Policy—that are expressly authorized to promulgate “rules,” “regulations,” “procedures,” or “policies” for the Department, and thus to bind the special counsel.

The Office of Legal Counsel, however, is conspicuously not granted such authority. Rather, according to OLC’s authorizing regulation, its central charge is to render “opinions and legal advice to the various agencies of the government.” Indeed, the sole mention of “policies,” “rules,” “regulations,” or “procedures” in OLC’s authorizing regulation is telling. A seemingly peripheral paragraph in OLC’s mandate tasks the Office with “consulting with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics regarding the development of policies, rules, regulations, procedures and forms” necessary to implement the rather mundane provisions of “section 402 of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.” That narrow statutory provision, however, has nothing to do with OLC’s core opinion-writing duties, let alone with establishing departmental policy concerning immunity from prosecution.** 

In short, while departmental regulations repeatedly and expressly grant other offices within DOJ the power to promulgate “rules, regulations, procedures, and policies” on a wide range of issues—and thus to bind the Office of Special Counsel on those issues—OLC is simply not granted any such authority, except with respect to an unrelated administrative function not relevant here.

 

IIIHistorical Practice Supports Allowing the Special Counsel to Assess the Presidential-Immunity Issue for Himself

Perhaps in recognition of the points raised above, the only other special prosecutors who have ever investigated a sitting president for criminal misconduct both performed their own independent assessments of the presidential-immunity issue, without simply taking OLC’s opinions as binding authority. Neither of those special prosecutors was subject to the exact same regulatory authorization that establishes Mueller’s office. But they were subject to similar provisions defining the scope of their authority.  Specifically, the regulation governing Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski said that he was “subject to the administrative regulations and policies of the Department of Justice.” And the statute establishing Kenneth Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel similarly required him to “comply with the written or other established policies of the Department of Justice respecting enforcement of the criminal laws,” unless doing so “would be inconsistent with the purposes” of the statute.

And yet, notwithstanding these express commands, Jaworski and Starr both sought their own independent analyses of the presidential-immunity question, clearly indicating that they did not consider themselves bound by OLC’s prior conclusions. Indeed, the Starr memo twice acknowledged that the “Office of Independent Counsel is, in general, required to follow Department of Justice regulations governing other federal prosecutors,” an obligation that the memo did not treat as at all inconsistent with its ultimate conclusion, contra OLC, that the president can be indicted. And the Jaworski memo went so far as to expressly acknowledge OLC’s contrary view, before proceeding to reject it.

In short, both of Mueller’s predecessors were bound to follow DOJ policy, but neither considered himself bound by OLC’s memos concerning presidential immunity. Mueller is governed by a different set of regulations, which have scant independent history of their own. And the fact that his predecessors took a close, independent look at the presidential-immunity question does not conclusively determine what Mueller’s obligations are today. But it does offer some persuasive evidence as to the course he is permitted to take.

*          *          *

In sum, unique features of the specific OLC memos at issue here may well cut against the claim that Mueller is bound by them, and neither the regulatory text nor the history of the special counsel’s office requires a contrary conclusion.

And if that all still feels strange, let me close by offering a hypothetical twist to the ongoing Russia investigation that will hopefully make this all feel a bit more concrete. Imagine that, a few months from now, as indictment chatter builds, a newly installed attorney general (Jeff Sessions’ replacement) issues a formal “Opinion of the Attorney General” that opens with the following statement:

Upon careful review of the Constitution’s text, history, and structure, it is the opinion of this Office and of the Department of Justice that close family relatives of the President of the United States—including his spouse, his children, and his children’s spouses—are immune from criminal prosecution for so long as the President is in office.  Moreover, it is the opinion of this office that a President can never be prosecuted, whether during his term of office or thereafter, for any conduct related either to his seeking the presidency or to the performance of his official acts while President.  44. Op. Att’y Gen. 1 (2018)

I may be wrong, but I suspect that were a future attorney general to issue such an opinion, in the midst of the Mueller investigation, he or she would be met with fierce opposition—including, perhaps, from some who now contend that Mueller is bound to follow “the formal opinions of the Attorney General” as articulated by OLC.  Note, however, that the substantive merits of this hypothetical opinion are not exactly absurd.  Prosecuting the President’s children, after all, would surely “interfere with the President’s ability to carry out his constitutionally assigned functions,” perhaps even more so than prosecuting the President himself.  (I’ve represented over 120 people accused of crimes, and most had parents who would have quickly opted to take their child’s place.)  Similarly, the notion that the Constitution might bar a prosecution premised on the President’s official acts or his campaign activities has already been raised by some legal scholars.

To be sure, the attorney general opinion suggested above would certainly draw criticism on the merits. But still, I suspect a significant portion of any potential backlash would stem from the fact that the opinion was issued by the President’s own political appointee—and that even though it articulates principles of general applicability, it has a practical effect much like an anticipatory pardon, shorn of the political complications that an actual pardon would entail.

Of course, like most law professor hypotheticals, this one is in some sense an exaggeration—or at least so one hopes. But it serves to illustrate the central point: The existing OLC memos on presidential immunity, like the hypothetical one above, also function to some degree as de facto anticipatory pardons of potential criminal activity committed by a president, especially given the serious practical challenges that arise when a prosecution is delayed for too long. And the existing OLC memos, like the hypothetical one above, were also crafted by presidential appointees, at the behest of presidents facing genuine prospects of indictment—not by the special counsels whose entire purpose is to insulate presidential charging decisions from precisely such political influence.

Perhaps the current special counsel, exercising the independent judgment that his predecessors embraced, would conclude that OLC is right and that a sitting president is in fact immune from indictment. There is a big and important difference, however, between agreeing with such a view and being forced to adopt it even if you think it’s wrong. The whole point of having a special counsel is to benefit from his independent judgment on precisely this sort of issue.


* It bears noting that the timing of OLC’s two immunity memos is somewhat curious.  According to the “Best Practices” memos written by the heads of OLC under two different administrations, “OLC generally avoids opining on questions likely to arise in pending or imminent litigation involving the United States as a party.” As Nelson Lundexplains, that practice reflects the reality that “OLC does not serve as the mouthpiece for the Solicitor General or the litigating divisions” of the Department of Justice, which “will often defend” or advance a proposition in court “even if OLC would have advised against it.”  When the ball is in the litigating divisions’ court, in other words, OLC typically defers to their authority to articulate the position of the United States.  And when the litigation at issue is a potential criminal prosecution of the president of the United States, the relevant “litigating division” is the Office of Special Counsel.

Yet, in an apparent deviation from its articulated best practices, OLC issued the presidential-immunity memos in the thick of two separate pending cases. Indeed, the first memo actually contradicted the litigating position that Special Counsel Jaworski soon articulated on behalf of the United States to the Supreme Court. And the second opinion was prepared as the Office of Independent Counsel was considering a draft indictment of President Clinton, in a process that had also already generated litigation. The fact that OLC may have deviated from its ordinary best practices to issue these memos—thereby perhaps usurping the special counsels’ rightful authority to articulate the government’s litigating position—may be yet another reason not to treat the memos as binding. [Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post suggested that the Special Counsel’s Reply Brief in United States v. Nixon was filed in July of 1973. The brief was filed in July of 1974.]

** Coincidentally, a separate section of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 established the now-defunct Office of Independent Counsel, the predecessor to the Office of Special Counsel currently established by 28 C.F.R. §600 and occupied by Mueller.  OLC’s regulations, however, do not assign it any responsibilities with respect to “policies, rules, regulations, or procedures” connected to that now-expired office, which was created by Section 601 of the Ethics in Government Act, not the Section 402 that is referenced in OLC’s authorizing regulation.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/mueller-bound-olcs-memos-presidential-immunity

Andrew Weissmann

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Andrew Weissmann
Born c. 1958 (age 60–61)
Education Princeton University (BA)
Columbia University (JD)
Signature
Andrewweissmansignature.png

Andrew Weissmann (born c. 1958) is an American attorney. Since 2015 he has been the chief of the criminal fraud section of the U.S. Department of Justice. In June 2017 he was appointed to a management role on the 2017 special counsel team headed by Robert Mueller. To assume that position, Weissmann took a leave from his DOJ post.[1]s

Education

Weissmann has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. Following a Fulbright scholarship to the University of Geneva, he attended and graduated from Columbia Law School. He then clerked for Judge Eugene Nickerson in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.[2]

Career

From 1991 to 2002, Weissmann worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. While there he tried more than 25 cases involving members of the GenoveseColombo and Gambino crime families.[1] He led the prosecution team in the Vincent Gigante case, in which Gigante was convicted.[3]

From 2002 to 2005, Weissmann was deputy director and then director of the task force investigating the Enron scandal.[1] His work resulted in the prosecution of more than 30 people for crimes including perjury, fraud, and obstruction including three of Enron’s top executives, Andrew FastowKenneth Lay. and Jeffrey Skilling. In a follow-up case in U.S. District Court, Weissmann also was successful at arguing that auditing firm Arthur Andersen LLP had covered up for Enron. In that case, which resulted in the destruction of Andersen, he convinced the district judge to instruct the jury that they could convict the firm regardless of whether its employees knew they were violating the law.[3] That ruling was later unanimously overturned by the Supreme Court in Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States, in which the court held that “the jury instructions failed to convey the requisite consciousness of wrongdoing.”[3]

In 2005 Weissmann worked as special counsel under Mueller at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, then went into private practice at Jenner & Block in New York. In 2011 he returned to the FBI, serving as General Counsel under Mueller.[4] Since 2015 he has headed the criminal fraud section at DOJ. Weissmann has taught at NYU School of LawFordham Law School, and Brooklyn Law School.[2]

On June 19, 2017, Weissmann joined Special Counsel Mueller’s team in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[5][6]. He was said to be “the architect of the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.” A news report in March 2019 said he would soon leave the Justice Department to become a faculty member at New York University and to work on public service projects.[7]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Darren Samuelsohn. Everything we know about the Mueller probe so farPolitico, June 6, 2017.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Press release: Andrew Weissmann Selected as Chief of Criminal Division’s Fraud Section”U.S. Department of Justice. January 9, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  3. Jump up to:a b c Willman, David (February 19, 2018). “Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann has a reputation for hard-charging tactics — and sometimes going too far”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Tom Schoenberg. Trump-Russia: senior US justice official Andrew Weissmann joining investigationSydney Morning Herald, June 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Karen Freifeld. Mueller team lawyer brings witness-flipping expertise to Trump probes Reuters. June 19, 2017
  6. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt (October 31, 2017). “Andrew Weissmann, Mueller’s Legal Pit Bull”The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  7. ^ Carrie Johnson. Top Mueller Prosecutor Stepping DownMorning Edition, NPR, March 14, 2019.

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Office of Legal Counsel

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The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is an office in the United States Department of Justice that assists the Attorney General‘s position as legal adviser to the President and all executive branch agencies.

Contents

History

The Office of Legal Counsel was created in 1934 by an act of US Congress, as part of a larger reorganization of executive branch administrative agencies. It was first headed by an assistant solicitor general. In 1951, Attorney General J. Howard McGrath made it a division led by an assistant attorney, and named it the Executive Adjudications Division. This name was changed to Office of Legal Counsel in an administrative order by Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr., issued April 3, 1953.[1]

Responsibilities

The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) assists the Attorney General of the United States in their function as legal adviser to the President and all the executive branch agencies, hence the appellation “the president’s law firm.”[2] OLC drafts legal opinions of the Attorney General and also provides its own written opinions and oral advice in response to requests from the Counsel to the President, the various agencies of the executive branch, and offices within the Department of Justice. Such requests typically deal with legal issues of particular complexity and importance or about which two or more agencies are in disagreement. The Office also is responsible for providing legal advice to the executive branch on all constitutional questions and reviewing pending legislation for constitutionality.

Usually all executive orders and proclamations proposed to be issued by the President are reviewed by OLC for form and legality, as are various other matters that require the President’s formal approval. In addition to serving as, in effect, outside counsel for the other agencies of the executive branch, OLC also functions as general counsel for the Department of Justice itself. It reviews all proposed orders of the Attorney General and all regulations requiring the Attorney General’s approval.

According to press accounts, OLC has historically acted as a referee within the executive branch and its legal opinions have generally been given deference among the agencies and departments.[3]

Controversies

Trump Administration

During the Trump Administration, questions have been raised about OLC’s capacity for exercising sound, apolitical legal judgment.[4] The Trump OLC has never publicly reached an outcome that has dissatisfied Attorney General Jeff Sessions or President Trump. Multiple executive orders that OLC has approved for lawfulness have, however, been invalidated by federal courts. For example, in November of 2017, a federal judge permanently enjoined Executive Order 13768, which stated that “sanctuary jurisdictions” including “sanctuary cities” who refused to comply with immigration enforcement measures would not be “eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes” by the U.S. Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security.[5]

OLC also approved as lawful President Trump’s travel ban (“Travel Ban 1”) on January 27, 2017.[4] OLC put its imprimatur on an executive order that prohibited all refugees, immigrants, non-immigrants (travelers, students, patients coming for surgery, etc.), and green card holders from certain Muslim-majority countries from setting foot on U.S. soil.[6] Gannon worked with Rosemary Hart and Scott Stewart of OLC, as well as with John Bash of the White House Counsel’s Office, on the Order.[7] In emails, Stewart referred to the draft order as the “immigration EO about terrorists.”[7] Emails also indicate that OLC intended to approve the Order notwithstanding potential concerns about its lawfulness, with Hart writing in an email a few hours before the Order was signed, “We of course are in a crunch time and we don’t know what sort of leeway we have to be making changes.”[7] On January 30, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates announced that the Department of Justice would not defend the Order in Court. She was fired that evening.[8] She has since testified that OLC did not notify her of the existence of the draft travel ban before it was issued.[9]

Notwithstanding OLC’s conclusion that the Order was lawful, Travel Ban 1 was never endorsed by a single federal court. After a federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked Travel Ban 1 from continuing in effect, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision, President Trump withdrew the Order and signed a new executive order, Travel Ban 2, which OLC also approved as lawful.[8] President Trump described Travel Ban 2 as a “watered down” version of the first Travel Ban Order, writing on Twitter that “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”[10] Federal district court judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked Travel Ban 2 from going into effect, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Maryland judge’s determination.[11]

On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a third travel ban executive order, Travel Ban 3, which OLC also approved as lawful. The Supreme Court, in Hawaii v. Trump, ultimately held that under the appropriate standard of review, the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that challengers to Travel Ban 3 were likely to succeed on the merits of their constitutional claim.[12] Justice Kennedy, who provided the fifth vote for that conclusion, authored a concurrence which indicated that while he believed that judicial review of the travel ban was circumscribed by the “foreign affairs power of the Executive,” executive branch lawyers had an independent obligation to ensure that the President was not violating constitutional rights, an obligation they had not fulfilled. Justice Kennedy wrote that while there are “numerous instances in which the statements and actions of Government officials are not subject to judicial scrutiny or intervention,” the “Constitution and the rights it proclaims and protects” are not “confined to those spheres in which the Judiciary can correct or even comment upon what those officials say or do.” Indeed, it is “an urgent necessity that officials adhere to these constitutional guarantees and mandates in all their actions, even in the sphere of foreign affairs.” And “the very fact that an official may have broad discretion, discretion free from judicial scrutiny, makes it all the more imperative for him or her to adhere to the Constitution and to its meaning and its promise.”

Obama Administration

In the first two years of the Obama Administration, OLC at least twice reached an outcome with Administration officials disagreed. In June 2011, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage revealed that President Obama took the unusual step of overruling the Office of Legal Counsel’s advice with respect to the legality of military action in Libya. OLC’s written opinions have historically been considered binding on the executive branch, unless they are overturned by the Attorney General or President.[13] In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder overturned an unpublished OLC opinion that had concluded that a D.C. voting rights bill pending in Congress was unconstitutional.[14]

George W. Bush Administration

During President George W. Bush’s first term in office, OLC Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo drafted, and Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee signed, a set of legal memoranda that became known as the “torture memos.” These memos advised the CIA and the Department of Defense that the President may lawfully authorize the use of enhanced interrogation techniques widely regarded as torture, including: mental and physical torment and coercion such as prolonged sleep deprivation, binding in stress positions, and waterboarding.

In May 2005, during President George W. Bush’s second term, a set of similar torture memos were approved by Steven G. Bradbury, who served as acting head of OLC from February 2005 through the remainder of President Bush’s second term. Bradbury was first officially nominated on June 23, 2005, and then repeatedly re-nominated because of Senate inaction.[15] His position became a point of political friction between the Republican President and the Democratic-controlled 110th Congress, when Democrats contended that Bradbury was in the position illegally, while Republicans argued that Democrats were using his nomination to score political points.[16][17][18] An opinion issued by the Government Accountability Office concluded that his status was not a violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.[19]

List of Assistant Attorneys General in charge of OLC

Name Years served Appointed by Notes
Angus D. MacLean 1933–1935 Franklin D. Roosevelt [20]
Golden W. Bell 1935–1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Charles Fahy 1940–1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Oscar S. Cox 1942–1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Hugh B. Cox 1943–1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harold W. Judson 1945–1946 Franklin D. Roosevelt
George T. Washington 1946–1949 Harry Truman
Abraham J. Harris 1950–1951 Harry Truman
Joseph C. Duggan 1951–1952 Harry Truman
J. Lee Rankin 1953–1956 Dwight Eisenhower Became Solicitor General in 1956.
W. Wilson White 1957 Dwight Eisenhower After a short tenure, selected to be first head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Malcolm R. Wilkey 1958–1959 Dwight Eisenhower
Robert Kramer 1959–1961 Dwight Eisenhower
Nicholas Katzenbach 1961–1962 John F. Kennedy
Norbert A. Schlei 1962–1966 John F. Kennedy
Frank H. Wozencraft 1966–1969 Lyndon Johnson
William H. Rehnquist 1969–1971 Richard Nixon Later nominated and confirmed as Associate, and subsequent Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ralph E. Erickson 1971–1972 Richard Nixon
Roger C. Cramton 1972–1973 Richard Nixon
Antonin Scalia 1974–1977 Gerald Ford Later nominated and confirmed as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
John M. Harmon 1977–1981 Jimmy Carter [21]
Theodore B. Olson 1981–1984 Ronald Reagan Later became U.S. Solicitor General.
Charles J. Cooper 1985–1988 Ronald Reagan
Douglas Kmiec 1988–1989 Ronald Reagan Later U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta during the “Arab Spring” uprisings.
William P. Barr 1989–1990 George H. W. Bush 77th and 85th (current) Attorney General.
Michael Luttig 1990–1991 George H. W. Bush
Timothy Flanigan 1991–1992 George H. W. Bush
Walter Dellinger 1993–1994 Bill Clinton Later became acting U.S. Solicitor General.
Beth Nolan 1995 acting [22] Served as acting Assistant AG, OLC, while Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Nominated to become Assistant AG, OLC, but Senate did not vote on the nomination. Became White House Counsel in 1996.
Dawn Johnsen 1996–1998 acting
Randolph D. Moss 1998–2001 Bill Clinton Served as acting AAG from 1998 to 2000; nominated November 9, 1999; Recess-appointed August 3, 2000; confirmed by United States Senate December 15, 2000
Jay S. Bybee 2001 – March 2003 George W. Bush In charge when the OLC issued the Bybee memo and other Torture memos; appointed as a federal judge; started March 21, 2003
Jack Goldsmith October 2003 – June 2004 George W. Bush Later Professor at Harvard Law School and author of The Terror Presidency (2007)
Daniel Levin 2004–2005 acting
Steven G. Bradbury 2005–2009 acting Served as acting AAG 2005–2007 (nominated June 23, 2005; nomination approved by Senate Judiciary Committee but never voted on by full Senate), continued to function as senior appointed official in charge of OLC until January 20, 2009.
David J. Barron 2009–2010 acting Professor at Harvard Law School and served as Acting AAG from January 2009 to July 2010.
Jonathan G. Cedarbaum 2010–2011 acting Served as acting AAG, July–November 2010; continued to function as senior appointed official in charge of OLC until the end of January 2011.
Caroline D. Krass 2011 acting Senior appointed official leading OLC since the end of January 2011 until June 2011, when Virginia A. Seitz was confirmed.
Virginia A. Seitz 2011–2013 Barack Obama Confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote on June 28, 2011. Resigned effective December 20, 2013.[23]
Karl R. Thompson 2014–2017 acting Appointed Principal Deputy AAG on March 24, 2014.[24]
Curtis E. Gannon 2017 acting Appointed Principal Deputy AAG on January 20, 2017.[25]
Steven Engel 2017–present Donald Trump

Only one woman, Obama-appointee Virginia Seitz, has served as the confirmed head of OLC.

Current Political Appointees at the Office of Legal Counsel

Current political appointees at the Office of Legal Counsel include:[26]

  • Steven Engel, Assistant Attorney General
  • Curtis Gannon, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
  • Henry Whitaker, Deputy Assistant Attorney General
  • Sarah M. Harris, Deputy Assistant Attorney General
  • Liam Hardy, Deputy Assistant Attorney General

References

  1. ^ Huston, Luther A. (1967). The Department of Justice. New York: Frederick A. Praeger.
  2. ^ The President’s Law Firm,” Slate, January 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Klaidman, Daniel; Stuart Taylor Jr.Evan Thomas (2006-02-06). “Palace Revolt”Newsweek. p. 34. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  4. Jump up to:ab “From the Travel Ban to Family Separations: Malevolence, Incompetence, Carelessness”Lawfare. 2018-07-03. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  5. ^ CNN, Jeremy Diamond and Euan McKirdy,. “Judge issues blow against Trump’s sanctuary city order”CNN. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  6. ^ “Justice Department releases letter approving travel ban”POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  7. Jump up to:abc “FOIA Response from DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel”.
  8. Jump up to:ab CNN, Steve Almasy and Darran Simon,. “A timeline of President Trump’s travel bans”CNN. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  9. ^ “Trump White House kept travel ban secret from its first attorney general”mcclatchydc. Retrieved 2018-08-19.
  10. ^ “Trump slams Justice Department for ‘watered down’ travel ban”POLITICO. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  11. ^ “Timeline of the Muslim Ban”ACLU of Washington. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  12. ^ “Hawaii v. Trump, No. 17-965”(PDF).
  13. ^ Charlie Savage (June 17, 2011). “2 Top Lawyers Lost to Obama in Libya War Policy Debate”The New York Times.
  14. ^ Johnson, Carrie (2009-04-01). “Some in Justice Department See D.C. Vote in House as Unconstitutional”ISSN0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  15. ^ Presidential Nominations database, via THOMAS (accessed January 24, 2009).
  16. ^ Ackerman, Spencer (October 19, 2007). “Who Is Steve Bradbury?”Talking Points Memo.
  17. ^ Kiel, Paul (February 6, 2008). “White House Insists on Confirmation of Torture Memo Author”Talking Points Memo. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  18. ^ “Webb opens, closes vacant Senate session”. CNN. December 26, 2007.
  19. ^ Kepplinger, Gary L. (2008-06-13). “Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998-Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice”Government Accountability Office. Retrieved 2017-06-01.
  20. ^ Register, Department of Justice and the Courts of the United StatesUnited States Government Printing Office (1972–1976), p. 131. “Office of Legal Counsel (Formerly Office of Assistant Solicitor General and Executive Adjudications Division,” list of officeholders through 1973.
  21. ^ John M. Harmon bioArchived 2008-12-07 at the Wayback Machine, Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody.
  22. ^ “Nolan to Become 1st Female White House Counsel”Los Angeles Times. August 20, 1999. Retrieved August 2, 2009.
  23. ^http://www.nationallawjournal.com/legaltimes/id=1393242763976
  24. ^ http://www.justice.gov/olc/meet-leadership
  25. ^ “Meet the Leadership”justice.gov. United States Department of Justice. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  26. ^ Benson, Brett (2017). Federal Yellow Book: Winter 2018.

External links

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

Story 3: Trump Tease on Major Statement On Border and Illegal Alien Invasion of United States — Tariffs on Mexico? — Videos

See the source image

Trump says US will impose tariffs on Mexican goods

Sarah Sanders weighs in on Trump’s tariff hike on Mexico

President Trump says he’ll put tariffs on all goods from Mexico

Mexico won’t be able to withstand Trump’s tariffs: Brandon Judd

Trump teases ‘big league statement’ on immigration at US-Mexico border

President Trump announces new immigration proposal 02:01

President Donald Trump teased on Thursday that he has a “major statement” forthcoming on illegal immigration into the United States from the southern border.

“It will be a statement having to do with the border and having to do with people illegally coming over the border and it will be my biggest statement so far on the border,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trump declined to provide more details about his announcement but said he is not closing the southern border to immigration.
“I’m not closing the border, I’m doing something else,” Trump said.
The President said his announcement is expected either Thursday or Friday.
“This is a big league statement. We are going to do something very dramatic on the border because people are coming into our country,” Trump said.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, traveling in Guatemala, said Thursday morning he has spoken with Trump but did not say anything about a possible announcement.
“In all honestly I was late because the President of the United States wanted an update on my trip — our partnership with Guatemala. So I just got off the phone with him. He’s very happy to hear about our efforts with the government some of the initial successes operationally, announced yesterday. But it’s going to be a whole of the US government effort and whole of Guatemala government and society to work on these challenges together.”
Trump has promised a wall on the US-Mexico border and espoused hardline rhetoric against illegal immigration since the days of his presidential campaign.
Two weeks ago from the White House Rose Garden, Trump pitched a broad immigration proposal to reform border security and legal immigration, but the plan landed with a thud and limited congressional interest.
The President’s push for a border wall has been met with resistance from congressional Democrats, and led to the longest shutdown in US history earlier this year when Trump sought $5.7 billion in funding for his border wall.
Congress instead passed a spending package that provides $1.375 billion for approximately 55 miles of new barriers in the Rio Grande Valley sector, with restrictions on where the structures can be mounted and the types of materials used.
On Tuesday, US Customs and Border Protection awarded a contract to build three new miles of wall on federal land in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, allowing the agency to start construction where no barriers existed before.
Trump’s tease to a border announcement comes the morning after Robert Mueller spoke for the first time about the Russia investigation since he was appointed special counsel.

Trump tariff threats alarm Mexico growers, economist

Tomato exporter Sergio Esquer Peiro spent much of Friday in hastily called meetings with other stunned growers, trying to evaluate the potential fallout of U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to slap coercive tariffs on all imports from Mexico.

The sudden announcement caught observers on both sides of the border by surprise and prompted President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to dispatch his top diplomat to Washington for talks seeking to head off the proposed tariffs.

Obrador said Mexico won’t panic over the threatened hike, but economists and those whose livelihoods depend on the trade relationship worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year worry that stiff duties could have dramatic, negative consequences and potentially spark a trade war between the neighboring countries.

Already, Esquer and other exporters were having to contend with a 17.56% tariff on tomatoes imposed after Washington announced in March it was ending a longstanding agreement over alleged Mexican dumping of the fruit. If the new duties do take effect, Esquer is looking at another 5% being slapped on his products — potentially increasing to 25% in subsequent months — unless Mexico does more to stop illegal migration through its territory by a June 10 deadline per Trump’s demand.

“Right now more than anything there is a reaction of disbelief with everything that is going on,” Esquer, who’s been sending tomatoes and other crops to the United States for 60 years, told The Associated Press by phone during a break in the meetings.

“It also goes against the spirit there is between both countries, the agreements we have, the bilateral trade we have, which is very successful,” Esquer continued. “On the other hand, we’ll have to wait for the reaction of U.S. exporters to Mexico, because they are also going to see their exports threatened if Mexico launches some kind of mirror policy.”

From berries and automobiles to machinery and household appliances, all of Mexico’s exports stand to be hit with the tariffs. Avocado growers in Michoacan, electronics factory workers in Tamaulipas, across the border from Texas, auto parts exporters, all would feel the pinch.

Esquer, who does business from the tomato-growing northwestern state of Sinaloa, said it’s not just businessmen who stand to lose, since Mexico’s estimated 700 tomato exporters are responsible for directly generating some 450,000 jobs. According to Mexico’s Agriculture Department, last year some $2 billion in tomatoes were exported to the United States, second only to tequila and ahead of avocados.

The threat also throws into question the future of the USMCA trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, hammered out in months of contentious negotiations as a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, one of the Trump administration’s most touted achievements.

Trump’s threat came the same day Mexico announced it would begin the process of ratifying the USMCA and less than two weeks after it successfully negotiated the lifting of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs that had been a roadblock to final approval for the trade deal.

“It would really have a terrible impact on our producers and our exporters,” said Kenneth Smith Ramos, who led then-President Enrique Peña Nieto’s delegation to USMCA talks and is now an international trade consultant at Mexico City-based AGON.

“And it would hurt U.S. producers as well because they rely a lot on Mexican inputs for their production,” he added. “So it would reduce their competitiveness and force them to raise prices, which would ultimately of course hit consumers.”

That means people like Chuck Sholtis, CEO of El Paso, Texas-based Plastic Molding Technology Inc., which employs 100 people. Most of its business involves plastic injection molding for automotive, electronics and business products for maquiladoras, factories in Mexico that are run by foreign companies. Sholtis said his company has already suffered from U.S. steel tariffs on China that increased the costs of their tools, and it’s also been hit by slowdowns at ports of entry

Sholtis said the United States has found a niche in high-tech specialized manufacturing that’s part of a global supply chain. He fears that if more tariffs like this are implemented, or if the USMCA doesn’t take effect, the United States will lose its edge in manufacturing. He’s also worried about possible recession in Mexico and the United States.

“It’s illogical,” Sholtis said, “Tariffs go against one of the stated goals of the administration: to help manufacturing and thereby create high-skilled manufacturing jobs.”

The economic impact for Mexico was swift, with the peso down more than 3% against the U.S. dollar Friday. U.S. stocks likewise tumbled on Wall Street.

Initial macroeconomic projections from economists were also chilling.

Analyst Alfredo Coutiño of Moody’s Analytics said Mexican exports to the U.S. totaled $358 billion last year, or 80% of all goods the country sold overseas. Over the course of a year, he said, a 5% tariff would represent about $18 billion in damage or 1.5% of Mexico’s GDP, while a 25% tariff would amount to $90 billion or 7.3% of GDP.

Banco Base estimated that a 5% tariff could knock 2.85 percentage points off growth of Mexico’s exports, but said a weaker peso would help compensate.

Such tariffs would “likely push Mexico into a recession,” as well as disrupt regional supply chains and hurt investor confidence, Oxford Economics economist Gregory Daco wrote in a report.

Coutiño said Mexico could impose retaliatory penalties, sparking a tariff war.

A second, “less aggressive but potentially more effective” option would be to allow the peso to depreciate to the point where the tariffs would be neutralized, he added.

Via Twitter, Trump argued that “Mexico has taken advantage of the United States for decades. Because of the Dems, our Immigration Laws are BAD. Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the U.S., have for decades, they can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done.”

Mexico already has implemented policies and actions to discourage irregular migration.

Last month, it raided the latest caravan of mostly Central American migrants traveling through the southern state of Chiapas, arresting hundreds and effectively breaking it up. There have been no significant caravans since then, with many migrants saying they now fear to travel in large groups.

Mexico also has deported thousands of migrants and frustrated thousands more with seemingly endless waits for permits that would allow them to travel legally through the country.

But sealing its porous southern border with Guatemala is probably impossible because Mexico lacks sufficient infrastructure to completely patrol a frontier that includes a river passing through dense jungle.

“We are carrying out our responsibility in immigration policy,” López Obrador said Friday morning, while making no promises of new action to stem the flow of mostly Central American immigrants transiting Mexico to reach the U.S. border.

“We have to help so that they don’t enter the United States illegally, but we also have to do it respecting human rights,” said López Obrador. “Nothing authoritarian. They’re human beings.”

López Obrador espouses a longer-term, holistic approach focused on improving security, development and economic opportunity in the migrants’ countries of origin, especially Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

For now López Obrador is betting on diplomacy and dialogue.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced talks would take place next Wednesday in Washington with him and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leading their respective nations’ delegations.

“There is a disposition for dialogue,” Ebrard tweeted. “We will be firm and we will defend the dignity of Mexico.”

In Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, 21-year-old Jennifer del Carmen Pérez Hernández, said she moved there three years ago because she couldn’t find work in her home state of Veracruz, on the Gulf coast.

Pérez said when she first arrived she was told that if Trump were elected, staff cuts might be possible. She’s kept her job operates an upholstery machine specialized for cars so far, but the tariff threat gives her new cause for concern.

“I’ve worked in sewing the three years that I’ve been in Juarez. It’s what I know,” Pérez said. “If there are cuts and I have to find work elsewhere, I would start at zero.”

___

Associated Press writers Christopher Sherman and Peter Orsi reported from Mexico City, and Cedar Attanasio contributed from Ciudad Juarez.

https://apnews.com/6aca0c83523d411ca78d9c6e9ca50ab4

Damian Paletta and Nick Miroff, Josh Dawsey

President Trump on Thursday said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods entering from Mexico unless it stopped the flow of illegal immigration to the United States, a dramatic escalation of his border threats that could have sweeping implications for both economies.

The White House plans to begin levying the import penalties on June 10 and ratchet the penalties higher if the migrant flow isn’t halted. Trump said he would remove the tariffs only if all illegal migration across the border ceased, though other White House officials said they would be looking only for Mexico to take major action.

After the 5 percent tariffs are imposed on June 10, the White House said it would increase the penalties to 10 percent on July 1 and then an additional 5 percent on the first day of each month for three months. The tariffs would stay at 25 percent “until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory,” a statement by the president said.

 

The economic consequences of Trump’s new plan could be swift and severe. Tariffs are paid by companies that import products, so U.S. firms would pay the import penalties and then likely pass some costs along to consumers. Mexico exported $346.5 billion in goods to the United States last year, from vehicles to fruits and vegetables. And many manufactured items cross the border several times as they are being assembled.

White House officials did not immediately explain how driving up the cost of Mexican goods might stem the flow of migrants. If the tariffs damaged the Mexican economy, more of its citizens would try to cross the border to find work in the United States, experts said.

“Mexico is our friend and neighbor, a partner in trade and security,” said Glenn Hamer, chief executive of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The president’s announcement is baffling and, if carried out, will be terribly damaging.”

Mexico vowed a response that could pitch the Trump administration into a full-scale trade war with one of its largest trading partners. This comes just days after the White House and China imposed stiff penalties on each other’s exports.

At a news conference, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Jesús Seade, said the threatened tariffs would be “disastrous” and added that Mexico would respond “strongly.”

In a letter sent Thursday evening, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador addressed Trump in harsh terms, a marked change from the diplomatic posture he has tried to adopt since being elected last July. “President Trump, social problems can’t be resolved through taxes or coercive measures,” López Obrador wrote.

He said he would send his foreign minister to Washington on Friday “to arrive at an agreement that benefits both nations.”

But even as López Obrador suggested that there was a diplomatic solution, he unloaded on Trump for his administration’s immigration policy.

“How did a country of fraternity for all the migrants in the world become, from night to dawn, a ghetto, a closed space,” where migrants are stigmatized and mistreated, López Obrador wrote. He went on: “The statue of liberty is not an empty symbol.”

Trump has often tried to use tariffs and other import penalties as a way to pressure countries into changing behavior, but he has not yet done it on such a scale. In addition, he wrongly has said the cost of tariffs are shouldered by the countries that he targets.

Even some White House officials were caught off guard by the announcement, though planning within the West Wing escalated on Thursday afternoon. Vice President Pence was in Canada on Thursday, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about ratifying an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico, but it’s unclear if Trump’s newest tariff threat could upend those discussions.

White House officials believe Trump has powers under a 1977 law to impose tariffs on all imports from certain countries if he cites a “national emergency.” And several months ago, Trump declared a national emergency along the Mexico border because of a surge in migrants crossing into the United States.

But the 1977 law has never been used to impose tariffs in this way before, and Trump’s new actions could face legal challenges because of the scope of companies that would be impacted.

The new tariff threat combines two of Trump’s favorite issues — immigration and trade — and comes as he has struggled to score victories on either one.

A central element of Trump’s campaign was his assertion that the United States was being “invaded” by people across the Mexico border, a sentiment that resonated with many supporters. He has tried to rework trade rules and build a wall to stop the flow of migrants, but so far his efforts have failed to stem the surge of people crossing the border. Crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, driven by Central American migrants seeking asylum, have peaked to their highest level in more than a decade.

One senior White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said there is broad support across the administration to push Mexico further by using tariffs to force action. Other aides, however, tried to talk Trump out of the idea, arguing that the threat would scare global markets and undermine passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which was just sent to Congress on Thursday by the White House. The trade deal aims to curb the type of tariffs Trump is now threatening to impose on Mexico.

“Trade policy and border security are separate issues,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement. “This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent. Following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA, a central campaign pledge of President Trump’s and what could be a big victory for the country.”

a view of a city with a mountain in the background: A view of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, on May 20. About 7,000 migrants are waiting to enter the United States via El Paso.© Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images A view of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua State, on May 20. About 7,000 migrants are waiting to enter the United States via El Paso.The president teased his plans on Thursday morning, telling reporters outside the White House that he was preparing a “big-league statement” about the border surge, without going into detail.

“We are going to do something very dramatic on the border because people are coming into our country,” Trump said.

On Wednesday, more than 1,000 Central Americans crossed into the El Paso area to surrender to U.S. authorities, the largest group of migrants that U.S. border agents have taken into custody at a single time. Trump tweeted a video of the apprehension late Thursday, declaring that “Democrats need to stand by our incredible Border Patrol and finally fix the loopholes at our Border!”

Deportations by Mexican authorities have increased threefold compared with the same period last year, according to the latest statistics, but the vast majority of Central American migrants appear to be successful at evading arrest en route to the U.S. border.

López Obrador campaigned last year on a promise to decriminalize migration and told audiences it was not Mexico’s job to assist the United States with the “dirty work” of deportations.

Trump has backed down on previous threats aimed at Mexico. He abandoned his oft-repeated campaign promise to make that country pay for a border wall. Trump is now using the powers of his national emergency to redirect U.S. taxpayer funds for the construction of replacement fences and barriers along the border.

In late March, Trump said he would immediately shut down the entire border if the Mexican government didn’t take more steps to prevent the flow of migrants, only to announce a week later that he would delay any action for a year. White House officials had spent days frantically trying to design how such a shutdown would be implemented.

The draft trade agreement sent to Congress on Thursday would, if ratified, replace the 1994 NAFTA deal. The draft allows Trump to send a final agreement in 30 days, a timeline intended to pressure House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who along with other Democrats wants changes to the agreement before any vote.

The top imports from Mexico include vehicles, electrical machinery, machinery, mineral ­fuels, and optical and medical instruments, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The United States also imports a large amount of agricultural products from Mexico.

March 2019 report from the Congressional Research Service said that the 1977 International Emergency Economic Powers Act had never been used before “to place tariffs on imported products from a specific country” but that it could be interpreted as giving the White House that power.

Along the Mexico border, U.S. agents have detained more than 100,000 migrants for each of the past two months, and the numbers in May are expected to be the highest yet.

In recent months, smuggling organizations have been moving large numbers of migrants from southern Mexico using “express buses” that reach the U.S. border in a matter of days. The buses make few stops and have lowered the costs for migration, making the journey faster, easier and cheaper for would-be customers.

U.S. officials say corrupt Mexican officials are allowing the ­buses to pass through highway checkpoints and in other cases facilitating their travel to the border by providing security escorts.

Mexican officials have said they’re doing everything they can to regulate the migration surge, and they provide police escorts in some cases to prevent criminal organizations from kidnapping and extorting families traveling with small children.

A Mexican official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic negotiations, said trade-related talks with U.S. officials have remained “positive,” and noted that López Obrador was also preparing to send the trade deal to lawmakers for approval. The official declined to say whether the White House has conditioned the deal on a migration crackdown by Mexican authorities.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-says-us-to-impose-5-percent-tariff-on-all-mexican-imports-beginning-june-10-in-dramatic-escalation-of-border-clash/ar-AAC9Mz2

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The Pronk Pops Show 1218, March 1, 2019, Story 1: Dirt Desperate Democrats Put Trump Impeachment Talk On Hold After Cohen Testimony — No Credible Evidence Against Trump — Reality — Videos — Story 2: Socialist Democrats Wanting To Save The Planet From Climate Change — American People Simply Do Not Believe Man Is The Primary Cause Of Climate Change — Computer Climate Models Cannot Predict Temperatures Decades Into The Future! — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

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