Congressional Republicans want to end investigations into the presidency of Donald Trump and the unusual circumstances surrounding his rise to power. In this case, the call to move on is being made by actual members of Congress who are undermining their institution and their authority. One day, they will regret this. They will regret it when a Democrat is next elected president and abuses his or her power. They will regret it when their grandchildren ask about their role in fostering democracy. Perhaps they will even regret it when they next look in the mirror.
McConnell’s “move along, folks, there’s nothing to see here” approach is contradicted by more than 800 former prosecutors, Republicans and Democrats, who have signed a letter saying the Mueller report provided more than enough evidence to indict Trump for obstruction of justice, were he anyone else but the president. Similarly, by refusing to provide the House Ways and Means Committee with the tax documents it has demanded, the Trump administration is in clear violation of law. The relevant statute, passed in the wake of a previous presidential scandal, is unambiguous that these documents “shall” be provided upon the request of the chairman. In backing up Trump, Republicans are essentially playing the role of accessories.
Worse, in providing cover for Trump’s refusal to provide other material, including the complete Mueller report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, the GOP is debasing the Constitution. If it weren’t enough that most Republicans countenanced Trump as he usurped Congress’ power of the purse with his border emergency declaration earlier this year, now they are ceding Congress’ oversight role and vital function as a check on presidential power.
Previous presidents might not have always agreed with decisions of Congress or the courts, but they recognized and honored the Constitution’s precept of separation of powers. They saw the genius in having three distinct branches sometimes in conflict or competition. Trump, on the other hand, treats laws and critics with contempt. There is much that the American people still need to know about Trump’s finances, particularly his relationship to Russia in the years after massive real estate losses made him radioactive to most Western banks. There is much in the Mueller report, including supporting evidence and what is behind some of those blacked-out sections, that Congress has a right to discretely examine. Now is most assuredly not the time to arbitrarily end investigations.
What Are They Afraid Of? What Are They Hiding? Let the Facts Come Out!
As the investigations into Trump proceed in this highly polarized climate, the prez & his cronies are fighting the truth from coming out every step of the way. The corrupter-in-chief apparently has some really bad stuff to hide, as revealed in these excerpts patched together from washingtonpost.com/politics/
President Trump and his allies are working to block more than 20 separate investigations by Democrats into his actions as president, his personal finances and his administration’s policies, according to a Washington Post analysis, amounting to what many experts call the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades. Trump’s noncooperation strategy has shifted from partial resistance to all-out war as he faces mounting inquiries from the Democratic-controlled House — a strategy that many legal and congressional experts fear could undermine the institutional power of Congress for years to come. All told, House Democrats say the Trump administration has failed to respond to or comply with at least 79 requests for documents or other information.
The president is blocking aides from testifying, refusing entire document requests from some committees, filing lawsuits against corporations to bar them from responding to subpoenas and asserting executive privilege to keep information about the special counsel’s Russia investigation from public view. One such case will come to a head in court on Tuesday, when a federal judge is expected to rule on whether Trump can quash a House Oversight Committee subpoena demanding financial records from his personal accounting firm. The administration also faces another subpoena deadline Friday for Trump’s tax returns following the administration’s move to refuse access to them. Trump signaled Saturday that he will continue to refuse disclosure of his tax returns because he says he is being audited by the IRS, though that would not preclude such a release.
Kerry W. Kircher, who served as House counsel for the last GOP majority, said the standoff marks “a complete breakdown and complete obstruction of Congress’s role.” “If the court signs off on this stuff, then we’ll have an imperial presidency,” Kircher said, adding: “We’ll have a presidency that will be largely unchecked.” Trump’s block-everything strategy stands in contrast to the White House approach to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, when Trump allowed his aides to speak to the special counsel and even turned over documents. Now, the White House is refusing to give an inch on investigations pertaining to the president.
The Post analysis of Democratic inquiries and other records identified more than 20 investigations directly connected to Trump, his family or the White House that have been met with partial or complete stonewalling by the administration. “I think it is unprecedented in its vehement concealment and noncompliance with basic constitutional duties,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said of the administration’s broader strategy to not respond to investigations from the Hill. “Congress has some undeniable powers under the Constitution, and one of them is oversight.”
In the past week alone, Trump and the White House blocked three major inquiries — rebuffing requests for his tax returns, refusing to turn over an unredacted version of Mueller’s final report on Russian interference and barring former White House counsel Donald McGahn from responding to a Hill subpoena. Democrats say they need to view the underlying evidence gathered over the course of nearly two years by Mueller to reach their own conclusion on whether Trump may have obstructed justice in the probe. A House committee voted Wednesday to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over the information.
Tom Campbell, a former Republican congressman and a professor at Chapman University, said that while Democrats share some of the blame in the breakdown of the system, their inquiries of Trump are justifiable. “These are perfectly legitimate oversight functions,” Campbell said. “No system works — even one as brilliantly constructed as the United States Constitution — works without good faith…. When good faith falls apart, the ability for the Constitution to work is compromised.”
A Scorecard to Help Us Keep Things Organized
This all falls under the category when there’s overwhelming evidence of crimes, it keeps investigators busy. With this much noise, finding criminal activities in multiple ways seem to be inevitable. Here’s a scorecard from the NY Times showing a long list of investigations into Trump & potential illegalities that need to be looked into, which is posted from nytimes.com/
Federal, state and congressional authorities are scrutinizing many aspects of Donald J. Trump’s life through investigations related to his businesses, campaign, inauguration and presidency. We’ll be tracking them here. According to reporting by The New York Times, there are currently at least:
10Federal Criminal Investigations8State and Local Investigations11Congressional Investigations
Federal Criminal Investigations
Federal prosecutors are pursuing more than a dozen criminal investigations that grew out of the work of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. These are the ones we know about. Select an investigation to see more.
1.Trump inaugural committee
donations and spendingSouthern District of New Yorkinauguration2.Trump inaugural committee donations /
committee chairman’s ties to Middle EastEastern District of New Yorkassociateinauguration3.Business and political dealings of top fund-raiser
for Trump’s campaign and inaugurationJustice Department’s public integrity sectionassociatecampaigninaugurationpresidency4.Possible role of Trump and others
in concealing hush money paymentsSouthern District of New Yorkbusinesscampaignpresidency5.Whether Trump’s lawyers offered
presidential pardon to CohenSouthern District of New Yorkpresidency6.Allegations of inflated insurance claimsSouthern District of New Yorkbusiness7.Pending prosecution of Roger J. Stone Jr.United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbiacampaign8.Possible lobbying violations by firms recruited
by former Trump campaign chairmanSouthern District of New York9.Pending prosecution of former Manafort associateUnited States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia10.Bank officer tied to Manafort who
sought Trump administration jobSouthern District of New York
State and Local Investigations
Authorities in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., are also examining Mr. Trump, his businesses and associates through various — mostly civil — investigations.
11.Trump Organization insurance practicesNew York Department of Financial Servicesbusiness12.Contributions to Trump inaugural committeeNew Jersey attorney generalinauguration13.Role of Trump’s children and
businesses in Trump’s inaugurationDistrict of Columbia attorney generalbusinessinauguration14.Pending criminal prosecution of Manafort
on state mortgage fraud chargesManhattan district attorneyassociate15.Allegations of misused charitable
assets, self-dealing and campaign finance
violations by the Trump FoundationNew York attorney generalbusinesscampaign16.Allegations that the Trump
Organization inflated financial assetsNew York attorney generalbusiness17.Trump family’s tax schemesNew York attorney generalbusiness18.Whether Trump and his family underpaid taxesNew York Citybusiness
In the months since Democrats took control of the House, several committees have opened inquiries that could turn up politically damaging or embarrassing material or, in the case of the obstruction investigation, lead to impeachment proceedings.
19.Potential foreign influence over
Trump by Russia or other nationsHouse Intelligence Committeebusinesscampaigninaugurationpresidency20.Possible role of Trump and others
in concealing hush money paymentsHouse Oversight and Reform Committeebusinesscampaignpresidency21.Possible obstruction of justice and abuse
of power by Trump and his administrationHouse Judiciary Committeebusinesscampaigninaugurationpresidency22.Possible abuses of the White
House security clearance processHouse Oversight and Reform Committeepresidency23.Whether Trump misrepresented his net worthHouse Oversight and Reform Committeebusiness24.Alleged use of private messaging
by White House officialsHouse Oversight and Reform Committeepresidency25.Trump’s tax returnsHouse Ways and Means Committeebusiness26.Trump’s communications with PutinHouse Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committeespresidency27.Possible money launderingHouse Intelligence and Financial Services Committeesbusiness28.Russian interference in the 2016 electionSenate Intelligence Committeecampaign
29.Proposed U.S. nuclear venture in Saudi ArabiaHouse Oversight and Reform Committeepresidency
Another Scorecard Summary
WaPo has also provided a list of active inquiries, so we have some good summaries helping us track the many areas the probes are reviewing, seen in this article from washingtonpost.
1. Tax returns
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is blocking Congress’s request for Trump’s tax returns, a demand based on a 1924 anti-corruption law. On Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) subpoenaed Mnuchin and Charles Rettig, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Democrats say they are ready to take the matter to court if need be.
2. The Mueller report
The White House asserted executive privilege over the full report issued by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Wednesday after Democrats tried to subpoena the underlying evidence in their probe of whether Trump obstructed justice. Democrats are preparing to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to honor their subpoena.
3. McGahn testimony
The White House has told former White House counsel Donald McGahn to ignore a House Judiciary Committee subpoena for documents pertaining to the Mueller investigation. McGahn was a central witness in several of 10 instances of potential obstruction identified by Mueller. He also could face being held in contempt of Congress if he refuses to appear to testify later this month.
Trump’s personal and Trump Organization attorneys are suing the House Oversight Committee and his accounting firm, Mazars, to quash a subpoena for his financial information. The lawsuit cites an 1880s precedent that has been overturned and dormant for nearly 100 years. A judge recently agreed to fast-track the proceedings and could make a ruling as early as Tuesday.
5. Deutsche Bank and Capital One
Trump’s personal attorneys and Trump Organization lawyers are suing to block his former lender and bank from handing over similar financial documents related to a congressional investigation into Russia money laundering as well as political interference in the 2016 election.
6. Trump-Putin meetings
The Trump administration declined to comply with requests for documents and communications related to Trump and President Vladimir Putin’s private discussions. The Washington Post reported that Trump tried to conceal the contents of one discussion by taking possession of his own interpreter’s notes and instructing a linguist present not to discuss what had transpired.
Trump is defending himself in two lawsuits that say his company violates the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments. Justice Department lawyers representing the president have succeeded in temporarily blocking subpoenas by the attorneys general of D.C. and Maryland for financial records and other documents related to Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel. A second lawsuit was filed by 200 congressional Democrats.
8. Trump International Hotel
The Trump administration has been slow to turn over information regarding the lease for Trump International Hotel in Washington, which rents the historic federally owned Old Post Office Pavilion. Democrats say they have only received what they called a “partial” response for documents as part of the investigation being conducted by the Transportation and Infrastructure and Oversight committees.
9. FBI building
Five House panels have demanded records involving a decision to stop the relocation of the FBI headquarters to the suburbs of Washington. Democrats believe Trump was involved in the decision to prevent the building – located across the street from the Trump International Hotel – from being replaced by a hotel that could compete for business. There has been no response from any of the agencies from which they have asked for information.
10. Hush-money payments
The House Oversight Committee sent letters in January and February demanding more information about payments made by the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to an adult-film actress who said she had an affair with Trump. The White House allowed the committee to review some documents in person, but Democrats are continuing to demand the full records.
11. Security clearances
The White House has refused to answer most of the House Oversight Committee’s questions and document demands related to its security clearance process. Trump leaned on then-Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to grant his son-in-law Jared Kushner a security clearance despite concerns from intelligence officials. Kushner was among more than 20 people whose security clearances were approved despite objections raised by national security officials, according to staffer Tricia Newbold.
12. Family separation policy
The administration has not fully responded to document requests or testimony from multiple committees on a policy that separated migrant children from their parents. The Health and Human Services Department has partially responded to House Energy and Commerce Committee demands for documents and communications related to the policy. Other committees, including Judiciary, Homeland and Oversight panels, say they are still awaiting answers.
13. Other immigration issues
The administration has not answered inquiries about a proposal to bus migrant children to sanctuary cities and the reasons for a leadership shake-up at the Department of Homeland Security. On the latter, the House Homeland Security Committee expects a response before it holds a DHS budget hearing on May 22. The House Oversight Committee is also investigating the issue.
14. National emergency declaration
The White House has ignored Judiciary Committee inquiries into the legal basis of Trump’s emergency declaration aimed at building a wall or fencing on the southern border. Trump declared the state of emergency on the border after a 35-day shutdown failed to result in a deal giving him billions for his proposed wall, which he had repeatedly promised would be paid for by Mexico.
15. Obamacare repeal
The Trump administration has refused to discuss the process by which it decided to challenge the Affordable Care Act in court, sending the committees demanding the information only a confirmation that it had received their letters.
16. Puerto Rico
The House Oversight Committee on Monday revived an investigation into the federal government’s response to Hurricane Maria by sending letters to the White House, Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The committee is asking for all documents by May 20. In the fall of 2017, the committee had made a ipartisan request for those records to DHS and FEMA. Democrats say they did not receive answers.
Barr has blocked Justice Department official John Gore from appearing for subpoenaed testimony on the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, an idea that reportedly began in the White House. Democrats have called the question unlawful and say it is aimed at depressing the number of undocumented immigrants tallied in the census.
18. Saudi nuclear transfer
The White House has refused to answer Oversight Committee questions or document requests on a proposal to transfer highly sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
19. White House use of private email
The Oversight panel has sought more information surrounding allegations that White House officials have conducted work on private email, including Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump. The White House has said it feels it has addressed the matter, but Democrats are pressing for more documents.
20. Kushner Saudi trip
The House Foreign Affairs Committee has asked for documents and information related to a February trip taken by Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, to Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. According to the committee, which has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to brief the panel on the purpose of the trip, U.S. Embassy diplomats were left out of the meetings.
He May Leave Us No Other Choice
Trump is so dramatically abridging the rule of law & gone so over the top in more than ever committing the crime of obstruction of justice, he may force impeachment upon himself:
Just a Game to Him?
The Imperial Presidency beckons as it’s putting our free democracy at risk:
Chip Off the Old Block
Taking a page out of daddy’s playbook, thinking he’s above the law may not work out so well for sonny-boy jr:
Sonny-boy has agreed to testify, but only on his narrow terms:
Still Interested in Illegally Engaging with Foreigners to Dig Up Dirt on Opponents
Before nixing the idea from the blowback, incredibly TV/PR lawyer Rudy was heading to Ukraine to seek dirt on a presidential opponent from a foreign power. Wasn’t that exactly the illegal conduct that mostly launched the Mueller investigation? Does Trump & his henchmen have any shame or even an ounce of respect for the rule of law? Historically this is classic authoritarian dictator stuff, stirring up contrived falsehoods to be used in attacking/smearing opponents not due to any real evidence, but just by the mere fact they are the opposition: