Brooke Singman

Democrats on several top House committees launched an investigation Thursday into the massive shakeup in leadership at the Department of Homeland Security due to allegations that President Trump removed top officials for refusing to carry out his desired immigration policies.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md.; Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.; and Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Thursday seeking documents related to recent immigration-related actions by the president and White House aide Stephen Miller “to remove senior leaders throughout DHS who reportedly refused orders to violate the law.”

WHITE HOUSE DECLINES CUMMINGS’ INVITATION FOR STEPHEN MILLER TO TESTIFY ON TRUMP IMMIGRATION POLICIES

The request comes amid a staffing shake-up at the agency which began earlier this month with the resignation of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

“We are deeply concerned that the firing and forced resignation of these officials puts the security of the American people at risk,” they wrote. “We are also concerned that the President may have removed DHS officials because they refused his demands to violate federal immigration law and judicial orders.”

They added: “Moreover, we are concerned by reports that, even as he has removed the Department’s leadership, the President has sought to empower a White House aide, Stephen Miller, to ‘be in charge of handling all immigration and border affairs.’”

The letter was sent to DHS just hours after White House Counsel Pat Cipollone notified the House Oversight Committee that Miller would decline Cummings’ invitation to testify before the panel, and instead, offered cabinet secretaries and other agency officials to appear instead.

“In accordance with long-standing precedent, we respectfully decline the invitation to make Mr. Miller available for testimony before the Committee,” he wrote. “The precedent for members of the White House staff to decline invitations to testify before congressional committees has been consistently adhered to by administrations of both political parties, and is based on clearly established constitutional doctrines.”

He added: “In light of the Committee’s interest, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the Administration’s immigration policy priorities and note that many Executive Branch officials, including cabinet secretaries and other agency leaders, have testified on multiple occasions regarding the Administration’s efforts to secure the border.”

“Testimony by such Executive Branch officials with responsibilities defined by statute would be a reasonable accommodation to the Committee’s questions and legislative goals,” he wrote.

The White House’s decision comes after President Trump vowed this week to fight “all” subpoenas against the administration.

TRUMP, AGAIN, SAYS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WILL BE ‘GIVEN’ TO SANCTUARY CITIES, STATES

But the Oversight Committee did not subpoena Miller. Cummings invited Miller to testify on why he believes it is “good policy for the Trump administration to take the actions it has. Cummings noted the administration’s unofficial policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border, “transferring asylum seekers to sanctuary cities as a form of illegal retribution” against political adversaries, and “firing top Administration officials who refuse orders to violate the law.”

The invitation from Cummings came after Trump announced that illegal immigrants would be “given” to sanctuary cities, pending official decisions from the Department of Homeland Security. Also, earlier this month, Trump said that the administration has no plans to revive the controversial policy that allowed for family separations at the border.

That announcement came amid a massive shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this month, President Trump announced that Nielsen would be resigning, and replaced with former CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, who would serve as acting secretary of the agency.

Since then, McAleenan appointed John Sanders to serve as acting CBP commissioner; former head of the Transportation Security Administration David Pekoske to be his acting deputy secretary at DHS; and Patricia Cogswell as acting TSA administrator. The White House earlier this month announced that James M. Murray would become head of the U.S. Secret Service—replacing Randolph “Tex” Alles.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his 2020 candidacy official on Thursday, but even his entry into the crowded Democratic primary field isn’t enough to move former President Barack Obama off the sidelines.

Biden announced his run for president in an online video Thursday, after weeks of speculation and anticipation. After his announcement, Biden was asked why his former boss of eight years isn’t publicly backing him.

“I asked President Obama not to endorse,” Biden told Fox News on Thursday outside an Amtrak station in Delaware, adding that “whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits.”

JOE BIDEN OFFICIALLY LAUNCHES 2020 PRESIDENTIAL BID

Obama’s team released a statement praising Biden on Thursday but didn’t offer an explicit endorsement.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill said in a statement Thursday morning. “He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”

Meanwhile, sources close to the Obamas have told Fox News that the former president has made clear that he doesn’t plan on endorsing early in the primary process—if at all.

“President Obama is excited by the extraordinary and diverse talent exhibited in the growing lineup of Democratic primary candidates,” a source close to Obama told Fox News Thursday. “He believes that a robust primary in 2007 and 2008 not only made him a better general election candidate but a better president, too. And because of that, it’s unlikely that he will throw his support behind a specific candidate this early in the primary process – preferring instead to let the candidates make their cases directly to the voters.”

BIDEN 2020 ANNOUNCEMENT MET WITH QUICK ENDORSEMENTS, PUSHBACK FROM DEMOCRATS

Republicans have used the non-endorsement to attack Biden, with RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeting that Obama has “chosen *not* to endorse his right-hand man.”

But former communications director for the Democratic National Committee and former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign Mo Elleithee said he doesn’t view the decision as a snub, saying it is appropriate for Obama to remain on the sidelines.

“I think it’s pretty clear that President Obama wants to play a neutral role in the primary process, and there are a number of candidates in this field that he has a relationship with,” Elleithee, a Fox News contributor and executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, told Fox News. “I think he wants to focus more on helping set the table for a successful election for the party, rather than necessarily helping to pick the candidate.”

Elleithee said that Obama has praised a number of candidates in the race, but said “he hasn’t put out a statement like he did for Biden today for anyone else.”

“I think Biden holds a special place in Obama’s political heart, and he wanted everyone to know that, without going so far as to put his thumb on the scale one way or the other,” he said.

Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov agreed.

“It’s definitely not a snub at Biden or any reflection of how he feels about his former vice president who he is obviously very close with,” Tarlov told Fox News. “President Obama and Michelle have both made it clear that they want the Democratic process to play out, as it should.”

Despite a lack of an Obama endorsement, Biden was met with support quickly after his official announcement. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Penn. and Chris Coons, D-Del., were among the first to officially get behind his campaign.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy, Kristin Brown and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The White House said Trump adviser Stephen Miller will not accept the House Oversight Committee’s invitation to appear before the panel on the administration’s immigration policy in the latest White House move to block congressional testimony by key officials.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone penned a letter to committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., on Wednesday, notifying him of the decision. While blocking Miller from testifying, Cipollone did, however, offer cabinet secretaries and other agency officials to appear instead.

TRUMP VOWS TO FIGHT ‘ALL’ SUBPOENAS AGAINST ADMINISTRATION, CALLS DEMAND FOR MCGAHN TESTIMONY ‘RIDICULOUS’

“In accordance with long-standing precedent, we respectfully decline the invitation to make Mr. Miller available for testimony before the Committee,” he wrote. “The precedent for members of the White House staff to decline invitations to testify before congressional committees has been consistently adhered to by administrations of both political parties, and is based on clearly established constitutional doctrines.”

He added: “In light of the Committee’s interest, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the Administration’s immigration policy priorities and note that many Executive Branch officials, including cabinet secretaries and other agency leaders, have testified on multiple occasions regarding the Administration’s efforts to secure the border.”

“Testimony by such Executive Branch officials with responsibilities defined by statute would be a reasonable accommodation to the Committee’s questions and legislative goals,” he wrote.

The White House’s decision comes after President Trump vowed this week to fight “all” subpoenas against the administration.

But the Oversight Committee did not subpoena Miller. Cummings invited Miller to testify on why he believes it is “good policy for the Trump administration to take the actions it has. Cummings noted the administration’s unofficial policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border, “transferring asylum seekers to sanctuary cities as a form of illegal retribution” against political adversaries, and “firing top Administration officials who refuse orders to violate the law.”

TRUMP, AGAIN, SAYS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WILL BE ‘GIVEN’ TO SANCTUARY CITIES, STATES

The invitation from Cummings came after President Trump announced that illegal immigrants would be “given” to sanctuary cities, pending official decisions from the Department of Homeland Security. Also, earlier this month, Trump said that the administration has no plans to revive the controversial policy that allowed for family separations at the border.

That announcement came amid a massive shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this month, President Trump announced that DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would be resigning, and replaced with former CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, who would serve as acting secretary of the agency.

Since then, McAleenan appointed John Sanders to serve as acting CBP commissioner; former head of the Transportation Security Administration David Pekoske to be his acting deputy secretary at DHS; and Patricia Cogswell as acting TSA administrator. The White House earlier this month announced that James M. Murray would become head of the U.S. Secret Service—replacing Randolph “Tex” Alles.

Meanwhile, the committee is currently leading Trump-focused investigations. Cummings is leading an investigation into the controversial security clearance process for Trump administration officials, and also subpoenaing materials related to the president’s personal finances. Last week, Cummings vowed to subpoena Trump’s accountant.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump on Thursday insisted he “never” told former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying he could have done it himself, and had the “legal right to do so,” despite the special counsel’s report saying he instructed McGahn to have Mueller removed.

“As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller, even though I had the legal right to do so. If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself,” Trump tweeted early Thursday.

“Nevertheless, Mueller was NOT fired and was respectfully allowed to finish his work on what I, and many others, say was an illegal investigation (there was no crime), headed by a Trump hater who was highly conflicted, and a group of 18 VERY ANGRY Democrats. DRAIN THE SWAMP!” he continued.

The president’s tweets come following a battle between Capitol Hill and the White House related to McGahn’s testimony. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., subpoenaed McGahn to appear before his panel after he was featured prominently in Mueller’s report. The president has vowed to block that subpoena, and any others for current and former officials coming from Congress.

TRUMP VOWS TO FIGHT ‘ALL’ SUBPOENAS AGAINST ADMINISTRATION, CALLS DEMAND FOR MCGAHN TESTIMONY ‘RIDICULOUS’

Mueller’s nearly 500-page report revealed that the special counsel did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia—a conclusion Trump has touted and repeated for days.

“No collusion, no obstruction,” Trump said on Wednesday.

But despite his comments, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on the matter of whether the president obstructed justice—rather, the report revealed an array of controversial actions and requests made by the president that were examined as part of Mueller’s obstruction inquiry.

McGahn’s interview with investigators factored prominently into this section, including a claim that McGahn disobeyed Trump’s call to have him seek Mueller’s removal.

“On June 17, 2017, the president called [White House Counsel Don] McGahn at home and directed him to call the Acting Attorney General and say that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” the report stated, referencing the Watergate scandal.

The report also revealed that when the media reported of the president’s request for McGahn to have Mueller removed, the president directed White House officials “to tell McGahn to dispute the story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the special counsel removed.”

“McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening,” the report said.

The report went on to explain that two days after the initial request to McGahn, the president made another attempt to “affect the course of the Russia investigation.”

Nadler subpoenaed McGahn this week, but the White House has vowed to fight back against congressional Democrats issuing subpoenas for administration officials.

“The subpoena is ridiculous. … I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far,” Trump told reporters Wednesday. “We’re fighting all of the subpoenas…Look, these aren’t like, impartial people. They are Democrats trying to win in 2020.…They’re not going to win against me.”

TRUMP: ‘NO REASON’ TO HONOR DEMS’ ‘VERY PARTISAN’ SUBPOENAS, AS MCGAHN TESTIMONY FIGHT LOOMS

He once again declared the probe found “no collusion and they also came up with no obstruction,” adding: “I thought after two years we’d be finished with it, no—now the House goes subpoenaing. They want to know every deal I’ve ever done.”

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that the evidence found in the investigation was “not sufficient” to establish an obstruction-of-justice charge. But Mueller’s report seemingly left the decision on obstruction up to Congress—intensifying their already existing investigations into the president.

Nadler slammed the administration in response to reports that they’d fight the McGahn subpoena.

“The Committee has served a valid subpoena to Mr. McGahn. We have asked him to supply documents to the Committee by May 7 and to testify here on May 21. Our request covers the subjects described by Mr. McGahn to the Special Counsel, and described by Special Counsel Mueller to the American public in his report. As such, the moment for the White House to assert some privilege to prevent this testimony from being heard has long since passed,” he said in a statement.

Nadler added: “I suspect that President Trump and his attorneys know this to be true as a matter of law—and that this evening’s reports, if accurate, represent one more act of obstruction by an Administration desperate to prevent the public from talking about the President’s behavior. The Committee’s subpoena stands.”

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump on Wednesday vowed he would go all the way to the Supreme Court if the “partisan” Democrats try to impeach him, asserting there are “no crimes by me at all” following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

“The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

“Not only are there no “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” there are no Crimes by me at all. All of the Crimes were committed by Crooked Hillary, the Dems, the DNC and Dirty Cops – and we caught them in the act! We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!”

The president’s tweets come as congressional Democrats debate whether to initiate impeachment proceedings against him. During a conference call on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., along with her leadership team, was clear that there were no immediate plans to move forward with impeachment.

DEM LEADERS REJECT IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS

A source told Fox News that the decision was made on a call involving more than 170 Democratic members, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

“We have to save our democracy,” Pelosi said, according to sources. “This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about saving our democracy. If it is what we need to do to honor our responsibility to the Constitution—if that’s the place the facts take us, that’s the place we have to go.”

She added that they “don’t have to go to articles of impeachment to obtain the facts, the presentation of facts.”

The call came just days after Attorney General Bill Barr released Mueller’s report.

The special counsel, after a nearly two-year investigation, did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. But the report revealed an array of controversial actions and requests made by the president that were examined as part of Mueller’s investigation’s obstruction inquiry. Despite the findings, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on the matter of whether the president obstructed justice.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined that the evidence found in the investigation was “not sufficient” to establish an obstruction-of-justice charge. But Mueller’s report seemingly left the decision on obstruction up to Congress—intensifying their already existing investigations into the president.

MUELLER REPORT REVEALS CLASHES IN TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE OVER RUSSIA PROBE

Despite Pelosi’s calls to focus on their legislative agenda, several committees are leading sweeping Trump-focused probes.

Cummings’ committee is leading an investigation into the controversial security clearance process for Trump administration officials, and also subpoenaing materials related to the president’s personal finances. Last week, Cummings vowed to subpoena Trump’s accountant.

Meanwhile, Schiff’s committee is investigating the president’s foreign business dealings and Russian election meddling, maintaining that despite the results of Mueller’s probe, there is evidence of collusion.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose committee would lead impeachment proceedings, has moved to subpoena former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who, according to Mueller’s report, resisted Trump’s demands that he pursue the special counsel’s removal.

Nadler discussed the subpoena and announced that McGahn will be the first witness in a new series of public hearings based on the Mueller report and Democrats’ other related document requests. As of Tuesday, though, the White House was working to block McGahn’s testimony before the panel.

“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Nadler said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” adding his committee would “see where the facts lead us.”

The president’s tweets, though, referred to alleged misconduct on part of the FBI and Justice Department at the beginning of the Russia investigation. Barr announced that he is reviewing that conduct, after stating that he believes “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is also reviewing alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and is expected to release his findings in the coming weeks.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump on Wednesday warned Mexico after their soldiers reportedly drew guns on U.S. troops at the border last week, while also calling on America’s southern neighbor to do more to halt another north-bound migrant caravan.

“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again! We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!” he tweeted.

The president’s tweets come after several Mexican military personnel reportedly questioned U.S Army soldiers who were on patrol duty near the border in Texas. Mexican soldiers reportedly pointed their weapons at U.S. troops during the encounter. The Mexican soldiers reportedly believed that the U.S. Army soldiers were on Mexican territory.

TRUMP TELLS CHILD AT EASTER EGG ROLL:  ‘THE WALL IS BEING BUILT NOW’ 

The president of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, said over the weekend that “these things don’t just happen by accident.”

“I don’t know one Border Patrol agent that is going to accept that story that the Mexican military thought that these national guardsmen were in Mexico,” Judd said on “Fox & Friends.” “We have hundreds upon hundreds incursions by the Mexican military into the U.S., yet we have very few incursions by Border Patrol agents into Mexico.”

Trump also warned Wednesday of a “very big” caravan and threatened, once again, to close part of the southern border.

“A very big Caravan of over 20,000 people started up through Mexico. It has been reduced in size by Mexico but is still coming. Mexico must apprehend the remainder or we will be forced to close that section of the Border & call up the Military. The Coyotes & Cartels have weapons!” the president tweeted early Wednesday.

Mexican immigration authorities are attempting to detain individuals who are part of the large caravan currently migrating north. On Monday, Mexican officials said 371 people were detained, in what was their largest single raid thus far on a migrant caravan since the groups started moving through the country last year.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government is not letting migrants go wherever they please, but said that controls are for migrants’ security because human traffickers are allegedly infiltrated among the caravans.

“We don’t want for them to just have free passage, not just out of legal concerns but for questions of safety,” he said.

According to Mexican immigration authorities, Mexico has deported 11,800 migrants so far this month and is being more selective in who is given a visa, which allows a migrant to remain in the country and work.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: CONGRESS MUST ACT TO END THE CRISIS ON OUR BORDER

Trump has threatened for months to close the border if Mexico does not stop the flows of migrants, and if Congress does not act to end what he calls “loopholes” in immigration law that allow detained migrants to be released into the U.S. until a scheduled court date.

Earlier this month, Trump visited the border amid an escalating immigration crisis, lamenting that “our country is full” and warning potential migrants thinking about crossing into the U.S. that this country “can’t take you anymore.”

“Whether it’s asylum, whether it’s anything you want, its illegal immigration, can’t take you anymore. Our country is full, our area is full, the sector is full, can’t take you anymore. I’m sorry, can’t happen, so turn around—that’s the way it is,” Trump said at a roundtable in Calexico, California earlier this month.

The president has warned of a full-fledged crisis at the border for months. This week, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the total apprehensions at the border for 2019 surpassed the total apprehensions for 2018. CBP said that as of last week, Border Patrol had apprehended more than 418,000 migrants since the beginning of fiscal 2019. Along the southwest border, there have been more than 414,000 apprehensions so far this year, compared with 396,579 last fiscal year.

The border crisis comes amid a massive shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this month, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned. The president appointed then-CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to replace her as acting secretary.

McAleenan has appointed John Sanders to serve as acting CBP commissioner; former head of the Transportation Security Administration David Pekoske to be his acting deputy secretary at DHS; and Patricia Cogswell as acting TSA administrator. The White House, earlier this month, announced that James M. Murray would become head of the U.S. Secret Service—replacing Randolph “Tex” Alles.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Griff Jenkins, and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan demanded answers from committee Chairman Elijah Cummings Tuesday over the secret meetings he held with other House committee leaders related to their sweeping Trump-focused investigations.

Jordan, R-Ohio, who first raised questions about a secret Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, between Cummings, D-Md., and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., last week, further pressed the committee’s top Democrat and suggested he violated House rules.

WHITE HOUSE TELLS EX-SECURITY OFFICIAL CARL KLINE TO DEFY HOUSE SUBPOENA

“Your nonpublic MOU with Chairwoman Waters cites no specific authority allowing you to execute an MOU that could affect future investigatory actions you take as chairman on behalf of the Committee,” Jordan wrote Tuesday. “I ask again whether you could explain the authority that allows you to execute an MOU that affects potential Committee action without first obtaining approval of Committee Members.”

Jordan also outlined House rules, which authorize Cummings to “take specific, enumerated actions as chairman with respect to the Committee’s oversight and legislative business—convening hearings, initiating investigations, authorizing and issuing subpoenas, ordering depositions, and appointing task forces.”

Jordan first raised questions about the secret Cummings-Waters meeting last week. The Washington Examiner first reported that Jordan accused Democrats of coordinating in secret related to their investigations into the president while keeping Republicans in the dark. The Examiner also reported that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., was part of the secret meeting.

DEMS RAMP UP ANTI-TRUMP PROBES POST-MUELLER, DESPITE PLEDGE TO FOCUS ON AGENDA

Last week Jordan demanded answers as to why Cummings held a meeting and did not “conduct with Republican Members of the Committee or allow Members to consider and debate the terms” of the MOU before holding it.

“If you intend to continue to use the Committee’s limited resources to attack President Trump for political gain, I hope that you will at least be transparent about your actions,” Jordan wrote. “Your ability to function as a fair and unbiased finder of fact is now at grave risk. The Members of the Committee — and, more importantly, the American citizens we represent —deserve to know exactly how you are leading this Committee.”

A spokesperson for Cummings did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Jordan’s questions and Cummings’ meetings come amid sweeping Trump-focused investigations throughout the House of Representatives. Cummings’ committee is leading an investigation into the controversial security clearance process for Trump administration officials, and also subpoenaing materials related to the president’s personal finances. Last week, Cummings vowed to subpoena Trump’s accountant.

Meanwhile, Schiff’s committee is investigating the president’s foreign business dealings and Russian election meddling, maintaining that despite the results of Mueller’s probe, there is evidence of collusion.

Schiff’s panel has also weighed subpoenaing the interpreter who was present for meetings between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to obtain notes from the summits.

Waters’ committee is also probing the president, coordinating with Schiff’s committee on money-laundering inquiries. The House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., is also involved.

Schiff and Waters have together said they would run a joint investigation into Deutsche Bank—which has done extensive business dealings with the president. Last year, Schiff charged that Trump’s financial records with Deutsche Bank and Russia may reveal a “form of compromise” that “needs to be exposed.” Schiff has long maintained that there had to be some reason that the German banking giant, which he said has a “history of laundering Russian money,” was willing to work with the Trump Organization.

Source: Fox News Politics

The White House this week directed former personnel security director Carl Kline to defy a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee as part of the panel’s investigation into the controversial security clearance process for administration officials.

Kline was slated to appear before the committee for an interview on Wednesday but was told by the White House to ignore the subpoena, unless a representative from the White House counsel is permitted to attend the interview.

HOUSE OVERSIGHT WILL SUBPOENA TRUMP ACCOUNTANT

“[M]y client has been instructed not to appear tomorrow. With two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him,” Kline’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, wrote to committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., late Monday.

Driscoll attached a letter from Deputy White House Counsel to the President Michael Purpura revealing the administration’s instructions for Kline to defy his subpoena.

“This letter serves to inform you that Mick Mulvaney, Acting Chief of Staff to the President, has directed Mr. Kline not to appear on April 23, 2019,” the letter from the White House to Driscoll read. “The Department of Justice is aware of and concurs with the legal position taken by the White House that Mr. Kline does not need to appear for his deposition if no representative of this office is permitted to attend.”

HOUSE OVERSIGHT VOTES TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS ON WHITE HOUSE SECURITY CLEARANCES

Last week, the White House requested that the committee “allow a representative of the Office of Counsel to the President to attend” Kline’s interview, but the committee denied the request.

Driscoll wrote to Cummings late Monday that the decision to adhere to the White House’s demands was “not made lightly and does not come from any ill will or deliberate defiance” on his or Kline’s part.

“We wished to answer the legitimate legislative questions of this committee, but warned of an impending conflict,” Driscoll wrote, adding that they have done their “best” to avoid the issue. “It is my sincere hope that this interbranch dispute can be worked out. If so, we will promptly and eagerly arrange a time with committee staff for his voluntary appearance. Thank you for your understanding.”

Kline’s subpoena was issued as part of the committee’s investigation into security clearances issued to senior Trump administration officials, including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former White House aide Rob Porter.

The probe intensified after Tricia Newbold, an 18-year government employee who oversaw the issuance of clearances for some senior White House aides, revealed that she compiled a list of at least 25 officials who were initially denied security clearances last year, but had senior officials overrule those denials.

The allegations were detailed in a letter and memo released Monday by Cummings.

The documents, which are based on Newbold’s March 23 private committee interview, don’t identify the officials on the list but say they include “two current senior White House officials, as well as contractors and individuals” in different parts of the Executive Office of the President.

The White House’s defiance of the Kline subpoena comes after lawyers for Trump on Monday sued the committee to block subpoenas for the president’s financial records.

“We will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered,” counsel to the president Jay Sekulow said.

The Oversight Committee, earlier this month, said it would subpoena accounting firm Mazars USA LLC for Trump’s financial information. Cummings is seeking annual statements, periodic financial reports and independent auditors reports from Mazars, as well as records of communications with Trump.

In seeking the records, Cummings has cited the February testimony of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who claimed the president inflated or deflated the value of his assets when it would benefit him.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly, Alex Pappas and John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump declared Tuesday that The New York Times should “get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness” for its negative coverage of his presidency, as part of an early-morning Twitter tear against a range of media outlets.

“I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second tie, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology. On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness—they are truly the Enemy of the People!” Trump tweeted.

MSNBC’S MIKE BRZEZINSKI, CNN’S ALISYN CAMEROTA SUGGEST DEMS NEED TO DO SOMETHING AFTER MUELLER REPORT

The president also blasted Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman, whose latest op-ed says “one of our two parties”—the Republican Party—“no longer believes in American values.” The column criticizes Trump and the results of the Russia investigation, claiming the president was aware of intervention in his campaign by a “hostile foreign power” and, once in office, tried to obstruct any investigation into that fact.

“Paul Krugman of the Fake News New York Times, has lost all credibility, as has the Times itself, with his false and highly inaccurate writings on me. He is obsessed with hated, just as others are obsessed with how stupid he is. He said Market would crash, Only Record Highs!” Trump tweeted.

He added: “The Radical Left Democrats, together with their leaders in the Fake News Media, have gone totally insane! I guess that means that the Republican agenda is working. Stay tuned for more!”

The president went on to tout his administration’s impact on the economy, claiming the mainstream media ignores the positive effect his presidency has had.

DEM LEADERS REJECT IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS IN URGENT CONFERENCE CALL

“In the ‘old days’ if you were President and you had a good economy, you were basically immune from criticism. Remember, ‘It’s the economy stupid.’ Today I have, as President, perhaps the greatest economy in history… and to the Mainstream Media, it means NOTHING. But it will!” he tweeted.

The president’s Twitter rampage comes amid mounting criticism from Democrats following the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly 500-page Russia report last week. The special counsel, after a nearly two-year investigation, did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. But the report revealed an array of controversial actions and requests made by the president that were examined as part of Mueller’s investigation’s obstruction inquiry. Despite the findings, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on the matter of whether the president obstructed justice.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, Trump went after CNN’s Chris Cuomo, blasting the network for giving him a primetime show. The president also slammed MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, saying the host of “Morning Joe” has “nosedived”  and calling him “too Angry, Dumb and Sick.”

The president later added that Twitter, the social media platform itself, is playing “political games.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s hotly anticipated report not only revealed the results of his long-running Russia probe but exposed a series of clashes over the last two years within President Trump’s inner circle over the direction of the investigation and the president’s efforts to curtail it.

The report, released Thursday, showed that investigators did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russians—as Attorney General Bill Barr declared last month. But the report also depicted an array of controversial actions and requests made by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction inquiry.

MUELLER REPORT SHOWS PROBE DID NOT FIND COLLUSION EVIDENCE, REVEALS TRUMP EFFORTS TO SIDELINE KEY PLAYERS

While Mueller’s team ultimately did not reach a conclusion on whether the president’s conduct amounted to obstruction, the report recounted several incidents where top advisers resisted or defied the president’s “efforts to influence the investigation” — while saying those efforts were unsuccessful because of that defiance.

“The President’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.”

— Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. 

“Our investigation found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, including the Russian-interference and obstruction investigations,” the report said, noting that the “incidents” were often carried out “through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels.”

“These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony,” the report continued.

But the report said: “The President’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.”

RUDY GIULIANI ON THE RELEASE OF THE MUELLER REPORT: ‘THIS PRESIDENT HAS BEEN TREATED TOTALLY UNFAIRLY’

For example, the report detailed Trump’s alleged effort to have Mueller sidelined, amid reports at the time that the special counsel’s office was investigating the president for obstruction of justice. The report detailed a dramatic moment where the president’s White House counsel apparently rejected the push.

“On June 17, 2017, the president called [White House Counsel Don] McGahn at home and directed him to call the Acting Attorney General and say that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” the report stated, referencing the Watergate scandal.

The report detailed another meeting two days later between Trump and former campaign chief Corey Lewandowski, in which he “dictated a message for Lewandowski to deliver to [then-Attorney General Jeff] Sessions.”

“The message said that Sessions should publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was ‘very unfair’ to the president, the president had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to meet with the Special Counsel and ‘let [him] move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections.’”

Lewandowski, according to the report, said he understood what the president wanted Sessions to do.

“Lewandowski did not want to deliver the president’s message personally,” the report said, “so he asked senior White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver it to Sessions.”

DEMS BLAST BARR FOLLOWING MUELLER REPORT RELEASE, CALL ON SPECIAL COUNSEL TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS

Dearborn ultimately did not follow through with the task.

“Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the president’s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the president’s direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President’s multiple demands he do so,” the report said. It also noted that former FBI Director James Comey “did not end the investigation” of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, which ultimately resulted in his prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI, and that McGahn did not tell Rod Rosenstein that Mueller must be removed.

The report added that: “Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President’s aides and associates beyond those already filed.”

READ THE ROBERT MUELLER REPORT

The evidence detailed in the report related to allegations of obstruction of justice, though, was seized upon by congressional Democrats — and could be used in their sweeping Trump-related investigations.

“The President and his Attorney General expect the American people to be blind to what we can now see. This report catalogues in excruciating detail a proliferation of lies by the President to the American people, as well as his incessant and repeated efforts to encourage others to lie,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a statement.

The report looked at 10 specific episodes related to the allegations of obstruction of justice, including:

“The campaign’s response to reports about Russian support for Trump; Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn; The President’s reaction to the continuing Russia investigation; The President’s termination of Comey; The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him;  Efforts to Curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation; Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence; Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation; and Conduct toward Flynn, Manafort, [REDACTED]; conduct involving Michael Cohen.”

The special counsel wrote that they sought a voluntary interview with the president, but after more than a year of discussing the prospect of one, the president declined. The president did, though, agree to answer written questions on certain Russia-related topics. But according to the report, he “did not similarly agree to provide written answers to questions on obstruction topics or questions on events during the transition.”

Mueller’s team also said that, while they believed they had the “authority and legal justification” to do so, they decided not to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the president’s testimony.

Source: Fox News Politics


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