House Judiciary Committee Passes Resolution on Impeachment Inquiry Rules

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: House Judiciary Ranking Member Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is pictured on Capitol Hill June 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

By Joshua Caplan

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a resolution which defines the scope of a potential impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The party-line 24-17 vote occurred after two hours of debate between Democrats and Republicans about the so-called inquiry’s parameters.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) tried to clear up any misconceptions as the committee approved guidelines for impeachment hearings on President Trump. Some of Nadler’s fellow Democrats — including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — have stumbled over how to explain what they’re doing.

“Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature,” Nadler said as he opened the meeting. “But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so.”

Republicans disagree with Nadler and they argue that the House has never voted to open an official inquiry. Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), the top Republican on the committee, said the committee “has become a giant Instagram filter … it’s put in there to look like something, but it’s really not.”

Collins said Democrats are trying to have it both ways.

“My colleagues know very well they don’t have the votes to authorize impeachment proceedings on the House floor, but they want to impeach the president anyway,” Collins said. “So, they are pretending to initiate impeachment.”

Impeachment has divided Democrats who control the House. Democrats on Nadler’s committee, including some of the most liberal members of the House, have been eager to move forward with the process. But moderates, mostly first-term lawmakers who handed their party the majority in the 2018 election, are concerned about the committee’s drumbeat on impeachment and the attention that comes with that continued action.

With regard to impeachment, the biggest elephant in the room is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has long opposed Congress taking the lead on ousting the president. Instead, Pelosi has insisted that committees continue their investigations into President Trump and his associates in search of possible wrongdoings. Earlier this week, the speaker dismissed concerns that Nadler’s recent maneuvers exhibit how she’s losing control over her caucus. “I think you should characterize it [the resolution] for what it is,” Pelosi told Fox News. “It’s a continuation of what we have been doing. You know, we all work together on these things”

Not only is Pelosi unwilling to move the ball forward on impeachment, but the speaker also believes the American people do not want to see lawmakers take up the matter at this time.

“The public isn’t there on impeachment. It’s your voice and constituency, but give me the leverage I need to make sure that we’re ready and it is as strong as it can be,” Pelosi said during a caucus-wide conference call last month.

“The equities we have to weigh are our responsibility to protect and defend the Constitution and to be unifying and not dividing. But if and when we act, people will know he gave us no choice,” she added.

Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter following the vote to seemingly underline the political motivations behind an impeachment inquiry and quoted Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who introduced articles of impeachment in June.

““We can’t beat him, so lets impeach him!” Democrat Rep. Al Green,” the president recounted the lawmaker proposing earlier this year.

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Pulling a Comey: How Mueller dog-whistled Democrats into impeachment of Trump

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Robert Mueller is special counsel no more, but he fired a parting shot during his televised statement that has sent Democrats into a frenzy of calls for impeaching President Donald Trump, whether by accident or by design.

At a remarkable press conference on Wednesday – at which he refused to take questions – Mueller sank the theory that Attorney General William Barr somehow misinterpreted his report, and sent a clear message to House Democrats eager to have him testify about the probe that “the report is my testimony.”

‘Case closed!’ Trump tweets nothing’s changed as resigned Mueller says charging him wasn’t an option

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Despite years of work, millions of dollars and near-unlimited powers, Mueller’s special prosecutors found zero evidence of collusion or conspiracy – and absent that underlying crime, no grounds to charge the US president with obstruction of justice, even as they wrote up 240 pages of tortured reasoning as to why they wanted to. Case closed, conspiracies put to bed, lots of people with egg on their face, time for the republic to move on, right?

Wrong!

Did you honestly expect people who have gone all in on a conspiracy theory about Russia somehow “stealing” the election from Hillary Clinton – investing not just the past three years, but their entire political and media capital into it – to give up just because there isn’t a grain of truth in it? Instead, they latched onto Mueller’s carefully weasel-worded declaration:

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That was no mere misstep, either. Mueller followed that line up with a passage about how his office did not make a determination whether Trump committed a crime because the standing policy of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) is that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Not their fault, you see, they had no choice.

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Except they did, and they had the avenue to make their claim – but chose not to, knowing that Barr would shoot it down, because he disagreed with their interpretation of obstruction laws long before he became AG. But those are details known to lawyers and honest legal analysts, not the propagandists and conspiracy-peddlers who have spent years whipping the American public into a hysteria not seen since the 1950s.

Mueller’s was a weasel statement, worthy of former FBI boss and his personal friend James Comey – who actually admitted to Congress that he hoped to force the appointment of a special counsel by leaking the memos of his meetings with Trump to the press.

It also seems to have been a dog-whistle to Democrats, who have been arguing ever since the Mueller report was published that it totally proved obstruction of justice and gave them the pretext for impeachment. A variety of party luminaries, such as House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-New York), presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), now doubled down on the claim.

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What happens next is anybody’s guess: Democrats may hope enough Republicans will break ranks to successfully impeach and convict Trump, though that’s no more likely to succeed than any of the schemes to overturn the 2016 election result so far. Or they might hope that impeachment proceedings will mobilize their voters for 2020. Either way, the opposition party and the media aligned with it are determined to keep flogging the dead horse of Russiagate, hoping it will deliver them victory.

Those who believe Mueller’s mission was to “get Trump” will no doubt be happy with the former special counsel’s last move. But Americans who hoped he would clear the air clogged by endless conspiracy theories have every right to feel disappointed.

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MUELLER BREAKS SILENCE – SPECIAL COUNSEL SURPRISE ADDRESS TO THE NATION

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By Joshua Caplan

The Department of Justice announced special counsel Robert Mueller will issue a statement on Wednesday morning regarding the “investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.”

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Mueller will speak at the Justice Department at 11 a.m. EST and will not take any questions.

It was not clear what he intended to say, but the statement comes amid demands for Mueller to testify on Capitol Hill about his findings and tension with Attorney General William Barr over the handling of his report.

Mueller’s report into Russia meddling in the 2016 election did not find that Russia and the Trump campaign coordinated to sway the presidential election. It did not reach a conclusion on whether the president had obstructed justice. Barr has said he was surprised that Mueller did not reach a conclusion, and decided with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that the evidence did not support an obstruction of justice allegation.

The attorney general is currently in Alaska for work.

According to CNBC’s Eamon Javers, the White House was told Tuesday evening that Mueller was planning on issuing a statement Wednesday.

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The development comes after negotiations about Mueller’s tentative testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on May 15th fell through.

The House panel’s chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said earlier this month that talks will continue with Mueller and the Justice Department about the testimony. The New York Democrat wouldn’t characterize those talks, though he said he expects Mueller to eventually appear, and if he won’t agree the committee will attempt to compel him.

“If necessary we’ll subpoena him and he’ll come,” Nadler said.

The negotiations over Mueller’s appearance come as Democrats are clashing with the Justice Department over access to Mueller’s full report on the Trump-Russia investigation. The Judiciary panel on recently voted to hold Barr in contempt of Congress after he defied the committee’s subpoena for an unredacted version of the report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

White House Denies House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler’s Document Request ‘political theater pre-ordained to reach a preconceived and false result’

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By Joshua Caplan

The White House said Wednesday that it is rebuffing the House Judiciary Committee’s request to hand over documents regarding topics broadly focused on 2016 Trump presidential campaign figures.

“The White House will not participate in the Committee’s ‘investigation’ that brushes aside the conclusions of the Department of Justice after a two-year-long effort in favor of political theater pre-ordained to reach a preconceived and false result,” a letter sent by White House counsel Pat Cipollone reads, according to ABC News.

Democrats launched a sweeping probe of President Trump in March, an aggressive investigation targeting eighty-one individuals and entities requesting records as part of their investigation ”into the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration.”

Cipollone wrote that Nadler’s investigation is “duplicative” of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into now-debunked collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and requested that the committee seek a more “narrow” scope.

“Congressional investigations are intended to obtain information to aid in evaluating potential legislation, not to harass political opponents or to pursue an unauthorized “do-over” of exhaustive law enforcement investigations conducted by the Department of Justice,” argued the White House general counsel.

Former Trump campaign chief Stephen K. Bannon and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are among several figures and groups that have provided documents or responses to the panel.

President Trump has previously denounced the probe, tweeting that Nadler and other Democrats “have gone stone cold CRAZY. 81 letter sent to innocent people to harass them. They won’t get ANYTHING done for our Country!”

Nadler has said that the document requests, with responses to most that were due by March 18, are a way to “begin building the public record.”

“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” the New York Democrat said upon launching the probe. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee.”

Separate congressional probes are already ongoing, including an effort announced by three other House Democrat chairmen to obtain information about private conversations between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a letter to the White House and State Department, the House intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight and Reform panels sent broad requests for details about President Trump and Putin’s private meetings by phone and in person. In addition to document requests, the committees are asking to interview interpreters who sat in on meetings, including a one-on-one session in Helsinki, Finland, last summer.

The State Department pledged to “work cooperatively with the committees.”

The AP contributed to this report. 

DEMS TO STAGE MARATHON READING OF MUELLER REPORT

Dems to Stage Marathon Reading of Mueller Report

Latest stunt in Russian collusion witch hunt soon

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Democrats plan to deliver a marathon public reading of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, staged Thursday in a House committee room.

“This report illustrates a presidency founded in opportunism, devoid of respect for public service and the rule of law,” Representative Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, vice chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee and a leader of the reading effort, said in a statement. “This administration and its enablers do not want the American people hear the contents of this report.”

More than 20 Democrats plan to take part, reading in shifts in the House Rules Committee meeting room in the Capitol, according to a notice about the planned event. The reading will start at noon Thursday on the first page, where Mueller’s report declares: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”

It will continue through the report’s two volumes, excluding the appendices and still-secret portions.

Nadler opposed contempt charges against AG Eric Holder in 2012

 

Published on May 13, 2019

While House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler spearheads the campaign against Attorney General William Barr, he opposed the same charges against former Attorney General Eric Holder back in 2012. One America’s Pearson Sharp explains how Nadler’s long-standing feud with President Trump could be playing a part in his agenda against the attorney general.

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Democrats Announce Plan to Hold William Barr in Contempt

William Barr

By Sean Moran

The Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee announced Monday a plan to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for handing over special counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted report and its underlying evidence.

The committee announced it will consider a contempt citation against Barr on Wednesday; a majority vote for the resolution by the committee would send the measure to the House for consideration later in May.

Nadler launched its own investigation into potential allegations that President Donald Trump obstructed charges based on “public corruption and other abuses of power” by Trump.

House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) slammed Democrats’ cynical move to subpoena the unredacted Mueller, contending that complying with the subpoena would break the law.

“Democrats have launched a proxy war smearing the attorney general when their anger actually lies with the president and the special counsel, who found neither conspiracy nor obstruction,” Collins said in a statement Monday.

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The Democrats’ citation reads:

Congress is therefore the only body able to hold the president to account for improper conduct in our tripartite system, and urgently requires the subpoenaed material to determine whether and how to proceed with its constitutional duty to provide checks and balances on the president and executive branch. Otherwise, the president remains insulated from legal consequences and sits above the law.

Barr skipped a House Democrat hearing last week after the attorney general objected to allowing committee lawyers to question Barr. The Democrats also want to enter a closed hearing where they could discuss redacted information in Mueller’s report.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) called Barr “chicken” for not showing up the House hearing last week and even brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to the hearing.

“Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions,” Cohen said.

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