Cicilline, a member of the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee, appeared on MSNBC and offered his reaction that the White House is instructing McGahn to refuse to comply with a subpoena to appear on Capitol Hill and the assurance from the Department of Justice that McGahn has “immunity” which does not legally require him to testify before Congress, something Cicilline believed was “legally incorrect.”
“Let me be clear; if Don McGahn doesn’t testify, it is time to open an impeachment inquiry,” Cicilline said. “The president has engaged in an ongoing effort to impede our ability to find the truth, to collect evidence, to do our work, and this is preventing us really from ultimately finding the facts and doing our work in terms of oversight.
“And I think we have now seen a pattern where the White House’s continuing effort to impede our search for the truth. No one is above the law, including the president of the United States and we expect Mr. McGahn to come before the committee and testify.”
The Democratic congressman added that lawmakers are left “with no other choice” so that they can “actually get the information we need to make an informed judgment.”
This declaration from Cicilline was welcomed by his freshman colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, who has been vocal with her calls to impeach President Trump.
“Let’s do this @davidcicilline!” Tlaib tweeted, adding “#TimeToImpeach.”
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A Washington, D.C.-based federal judge has sided with House Oversight Committee Democrats seeking to enforce their subpoena of Trump accounting firm Mazars USA, in a major ruling that breathes new life into Democrats’ ongoing efforts to probe the president’s financial dealings.
The subpoena seeks access to a slew of Trump financial documents dating back to 2011, including personal records and records of various affiliated business and entities. Democrats pursued the subpoena after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that the president routinely and improperly altered financial statements.
Barack Obama-appointed judge Amit P. Mehta’s 41-page opinion began by comparing President Trump’s concerns over congressional overreach to those of President James Buchanan, asserting that Trump “has taken up the fight of his predecessor.”
And Mehta acknowledged that he was “well aware that this case involves records concerning the private and business affairs of the President of the United States,” dating back to well before he declared his candidacy.
But, Mehta said, Democrats’ subpoena fell within well-established congressional investigative and oversight powers. He said he would not stay his ruling pending appeal.
“It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct—past or present—even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry,” Mehta wrote.
The judge added: “Courts have grappled for more than a century with the question of the scope of Congress’s investigative power. The binding principle that emerges from these judicial decisions is that courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out that purpose.”
The president’s legal team, in a filing earlier this month, had asked the judge to prohibit Mazars from “enforcing or complying” with the subpoena, issued April 15.
Trump’s lawyers had argued the subpoena to Mazars “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose,” and is an “unconstitutional attempt to exercise ‘the powers of law enforcement.’”
Trump’s lawyers also noted that the House Oversight Committee, led by Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is leading several Trump-focused investigations.
“Chairman Cummings flat-out admitted that he wanted to ‘investigate whether the President may have engaged in illegal conduct before and during his tenure in office’ and ‘review whether he has accurately reported his finances to the Office of Government Ethics and other federal entities,’” Trump’s lawyers wrote in the filing.
The Trump team filing came after Cummings’ committee issued several subpoenas for Mazars Accounting in an effort to obtain financial documents and audits prepared for Trump and his businesses over the last decade.
Cummings also sought independent auditor’s reports, annual statements and other documents related to Trump’s finances spanning from 2011 to 2018.
At the time, Mazars said it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”
Fox News’ Bill Mears, Edward Lawrence, Brooke Singman, and Kristin Brown contributed to this report
Source: Fox News Politics
Kayleigh McEnany has slammed former Vice President Joe Biden for taking credit for the rebound experienced by the American economy.
During a recent campaign stop, Biden argued that President Trump “inherited” the economic environment set forth by himself and President Obama, “just like he inherited everything else in his life.” McEnany argued during an interview with “America’s Newsroom” on Monday morning the president changed many policies that hindered American economic growth under the Obama administration.
“President Trump reversed the disastrous Obama economy,” McEnany, national press secretary for President Trump’s re-election campaign, said, before turning her attention to Biden.
“Joe Biden is an empty suit who hasn’t been asked a single hard question.”
“President Trump has reversed every metric. I understand [Biden] wants to take claim for the Trump economy but, factually speaking, he can’t.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg also commented on the economy during a town hall with Fox News on Sunday evening, and proposed a “reasonable wealth tax to make sure people are giving back when they become enormously wealthy.”
McEnany claimed Buttigieg’s suggestion to increase taxes is another example of “tax and spend socialists” in the Democratic party.
“We believe in giving the American people more of their money as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did,” she said.
“So if you like your money, vote for President Trump. If you want to give it to Pete Buttigieg and the socialists who want to do the Green New Deal, by all means, do that. It won’t be a good scenario for your paycheck and bottom line,” she continued.
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President Trump went on the attack Monday against The New York Times in response to a report saying many banks did not want to do business with him, calling the story “fake news” and predicting the paper’s eventual demise.
The article itself focused on allegations that transactions made by entities controlled by Trump and Jared Kushner through Deutsche Bank raised flags, but that the bank did not fully investigate them. It also said that other banks would not deal with Trump. The president zeroed in on that section in his Twitter rebuke.
“The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me,” Trump said in the first of a series of tweets. “WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money.”
He also wrote, “Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks. But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”
The Times article, which was published on Sunday, cited former Deutsche Bank employees who recalled that several transactions made by Trump-controlled entities triggered alerts about possible suspicious activity. The story also noted that real estate developers often engaged in cash transactions that resulted in such alerts, despite banks later finding no improper activity.
The Times reported that Deutsche Bank was the only institution that dealt with Trump at the time. The president said on Twitter that he didn’t need other banks and that Deutsche Bank “was very good and highly professional to deal with – and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere.”
The former employees told the Times that Deutsche Bank would ignore reports of suspicious activity and were lax in their anti-money laundering enforcement. A bank spokesperson pushed back, telling the Times, “At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious.” One of the former employees claimed she was fired after speaking out about the bank’s operations. The spokesperson said this was “categorically false.”
A representative from the Trump Organization told the Times that they had “no knowledge of any ‘flagged’ transactions with Deutsche Bank.”
Trump is currently involved in a lawsuit originally filed against Deutsche Bank and Capitol One, in an attempt to block them from turning over documents sought by Democrat-led House committees that issued subpoenas to the financial institutions. Those committees are now battling with the president and his family in court over whether the subpoenas are enforceable.
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Alice Marie Johnson spent over 20 years in prison before being released almost a year ago and becoming the face of prison reform.
The great-grandmother, once sentenced to a lifetime behind bars for non-violent drug charges, found herself shortly after her release in the House Chambers listening to President Trump deliver the State of the Union address.
In an exclusive interview with Ainsley Earhardt that aired on Fox News this Sunday, Johnson said that her faith in God got her through her long prison stretch and gave her hope that one day she would get her freedom back.
“I knew that God was going to get me out. So many things he promised me he was constantly doing things — it might seem like small things, but I’d pray for something, and it would materialize. God was speaking to my heart, If I can take care of the small things, trust me with the big thing,” Johnson said.
Johnson, 63, was arrested in 1993 and convicted of drug conspiracy and money laundering in 1996, Mic reported.
A series of life-altering events led to her involvement with cocaine dealers. Johnson never dealt herself but found herself acting as an intermediary on occasion.
“I should have had some time in prison. I’m not saying that I was not guilty of committing a crime. I’m saying that the time did not fit the crime. The first thing that people say is if you do the crime, you should do the time. But my answer to that is that time should be fair and just based on the crime and not just rubber stamped,” Johnson told Earhardt.
On Johnson’s behalf, reality television star Kim Kardashian West met with Trump at the White House.
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the president’s son-in-law and daughter, also advocated for Johnson.
Earhardt asked Johnson what she would like to say to the president.
“I hope that you’re proud of the things that I’ve been able to accomplish, and I hope that to you will continue to be proud of the things that I will do for this nation, for other people to change the trajectory of how we look at prisoners, how we look at people. Thank you for seeing me as another human being and giving me a second chance in life,” Johnson said.
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“I will not let Iran have nuclear weapons,” he told Fox News host Steve Hilton in an interview on Sunday. His comments reaffirmed the administration’s resolve in suppressing Iranian nuclear proliferation even as it faced provocations from the regime and threats to U.S. assets in the Middle East.
Trump, during the interview, continued opposing military intervention — something that separated him from others in the 2016 campaign — but indicated Iranian nuclear development would constitute an urgent exception.
“I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons — you just can’t let that happen,” he said.
While speaking with Hilton, he recounted the costs of war which he said he wanted to avoid.
“With all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes — you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly — by far most importantly,” he said.
Trump has urged Iranians to come to the table even as they appeared to continue retaliating over higher sanctions — a devastating form of pressure that started with Trump’s decision to exit the Obama-era nuclear deal.
“I ended the Iran Nuclear Deal, and actually, I must tell you — I had no idea it was going to be as strong as it was. It totally — the country is devastated from the standpoint of the economy,” he told Hilton.
While the president stood by that decision, he faced renewed criticism from Democrats over that 2018 exit. Many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have pledged to re-enter the deal.
One of those was Mayor Pete Buttigieg who, on Thursday, reportedly leveled some harsh criticism of the president’s Iran strategy. Trump caught headlines for appearing to toy with Buttigieg’s name — pronouncing it as “boot edge edge.”
He did the same during his interview with Hilton but seemed to support Buttigieg’s relationship with his same-sex partner and defend his relatively ambitious plan to run for president from a mayoral seat.
“You know, it’s sort of interesting because he’s running for the president of the United States as a mayor. But you could say that I ran for president of the United States, and I was never in politics before, right? But I had a good life, and I had a successful life,” he said.
Trump wasn’t so diplomatic towards frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, whose administration crafted the deal, derided Trump in 2018 for erasing “years” of progress with Iran. He will likely make Iran an even bigger issue as the 2020 elections neared.
But Trump had his own arguments to raise over Biden’s approach to foreign nations — in particular, on China. Biden provoked criticism when, amid Trump’s heightened rhetoric surrounding the nation, he downplayed its competitive threat.
“He says China’s not a competitor of ours,” Trump said of Biden. “China is a massive competitor of ours. They want to take over the world. OK? They have China 2020 — you know they have 2025,” he added.
Later in his comments, he indicated that Biden saw China differently due to his family’s controversial connections with the nation’s government. “But with Biden, he says they’re not a competitor. Then they take a lot of money from China,” he said after agreeing that those connections should be investigated.
Biden has criticized Trump’s approach to trade with China, which he indicated would hurt the U.S. economy. Trump, during his interview, defended the tariffs — claiming “China’s totally getting killed” — and suggested the economy was a boon to his electoral prospects.
“I have tremendous poll numbers now. You see that. I mean my poll numbers are great because the economy is so good. And I actually do a lot about the economy. I don’t get credit for that, you know,” he said.
Source: Fox News Politics
President Trump fired a social media broadside at the Iranian regime Sunday afternoon, vowing that war between Washington and Tehran would result in “the official end of Iran” before warning, “[n]ever threaten the United States again!”
Trump tweeted hours after a rocket landed less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, the first such attack since September. An Iraqi military spokesman told reporters the rocket appeared to have been fired from east Baghdad, which is home to several Iran-backed Shiite militias.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have risen in recent weeks after the Trump administration ordered warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter threatened attacks against U.S. interests by Iran or Iranian-backed forces.
The U.S. also ordered nonessential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad told Iraqi intelligence that the United States had been picking up intelligence that Iran is threatening American interests in the Middle East. Two Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that Pompeo had offered no details of the alleged threat.
Trump appeared to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration. Asked on Thursday if the U.S. might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, “I hope not.”
The U.S. Navy said Sunday it had conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with the aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the region to counter the unspecified threat from Iran. The Navy said the exercises and training were conducted Friday and Saturday with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps, highlighting U.S. “lethality and agility to respond to threat,” as well as to deter conflict and preserve U.S. strategic interests.
The USS Abraham Lincoln has yet to reach the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil traded at sea passes.
On the Iranian side, the head of the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, was quoted Sunday as saying Iran is not looking for war. But he said the U.S. is going to fail in the near future “because they are frustrated and hopeless” and are looking for a way out of the current escalation. His comments, given to other Guard commanders, were carried by Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency.
Also Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs told reporters that the kingdom “does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests.”
Adel al-Jubeir spoke a week after four oil tankers— two of them Saudi— were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. The Saudis have blamed the pipeline attack on Iran, accusing Tehran of arming the rebel Houthis, with which a Saudi-led coalition has been at war in Yemen since 2015. Iran denies arming or training the rebels, who control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa.
“We want peace and stability in the region, but we won’t stand with our hands bound as the Iranians continuously attack. Iran has to understand that,” al-Jubeir said. “The ball is in Iran’s court.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, meanwhile, has called for a meeting of Arab heads of state on May 30 in Mecca to discuss the latest developments, including the oil pipeline attack. The state-run Saudi news agency reported Sunday that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss regional developments. There was no immediate statement by the State Department about the call.
An English-language Saudi newspaper close to the palace recently published an editorial calling for surgical U.S. airstrikes in retaliation for Iran’s alleged involvement in targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure.
The current tensions are rooted in Trump’s decision last year to withdraw the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and impose wide-reaching sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports that are crucial to its economy.
Iran has said it would resume enriching uranium at higher levels if a new nuclear deal is not reached by July 7. That would potentially bring it closer to being able to develop a nuclear weapon, something Iran insists it has never sought.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg thinks it’s nice that President Trump is cool with his marriage to another man, but what really interests him is how the Trump administration handles LGBT policies.
“That’s nice,” Buttigieg said during an interview on NPR. “I’m more interested in policies that affect LGBTQ people.”
“What somebody says in an interview is one thing. How they govern is another,” Buttigieg said. “So much attention is given to whatever remarkably outrageous and vicious and insulting thing that the president said.”
The South Bend, Ind. mayor added that the “the expectations are so low that he made” headlines “by saying something that wasn’t viciously insulting.”
Trump said last week that he thought it was “great” seeing Buttigieg campaign alongside his husband Chasten, and added that he had “no problem with it whatsoever.”
“I think it’s absolutely fine. I do,” Trump said during an interview of Fox News’ “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” that is set to be aired Sunday. “I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with. I have no problem with it whatsoever. I think it’s good.”
During his 2016 campaign, Trump suggested he’d appoint conservative justices to overturn a Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. But he called the issue “settled” shortly after his election.
Buttigieg married his husband Chasten Glezman, a teacher, in 2018. The two met shortly after Buttigieg came out in 2015.
Buttigieg is scheduled to appear at a town hall hosted by Fox News in Claremont, New Hampshire, a one-time mill community along the Vermont border.
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Talk of impeaching President Trump has not waned since the release of the Mueller report last month, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle weighing in on the issue.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., became the first Republican to publicly accuse Trump of engaging in “impeachable conduct” stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s lengthy investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election – earning the little-known congressman praise from Democrats, derision from Republican leadership in the House, and a mixed response from other lawmakers.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., praised Amash during an interview on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday and said that the Michigan congressman “showed more courage than any other Republican in the House or the Senate.”
Schiff, a fierce critic of Trump and his administration’s policies, said that there are many other members of Congress who feel the “administration is acting in a lawless fashion.”
“If we conclude that there is no other way to do our jobs,” Schiff said on the idea of impeachment. “Then we may get there.”
Schiff’s comments run contrary to that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who has mostly voiced her opposition to the idea of introducing articles of impeachment against Trump. The House Speaker, however, did say last week that Democrats could use these powers in creative ways to get what they want.
Pelosi said that even if they don’t actually impeach Trump, House committees could use impeachment as an excuse to subpoena documents that they otherwise might not be able to get. The Trump administration has argued that congressional demands for documents have not had a required legislative purpose, and Pelosi believes this would work around that requirement.
“One of the purposes that the Constitution spells out for investigation is impeachment,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. “And so you can say, and the courts would respect if you said, we need this information to carry out our oversight responsibilities, and among them is impeachment. It doesn’t mean you’re going on an impeachment path, but it means if you had that information, you might.”
One member of Congress who was not a fan of Amash’s comments on impeachment was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who claimed that his colleague was just seeking attention when he made his comment.
“This is exactly what he wants, he wants to have attention,” McCarthy said on “Sunday Morning Futures.” “You’ve got to understand Justin Amash. He’s been in Congress quite some time. I think he’s asked one question in all the committees that he’s been in. He votes more with Nancy Pelosi than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, offered a more nuanced appraisal of Amash’s comment, saying on Sunday that he thinks the congressman was “courageous” for speaking against party line, but adding that he doesn’t agree with Amash’s argument.
“I respect him. I think it’s a courageous statement,” the Utah Republican continued. “But I believe that to make a case for obstruction of justice, you just don’t have the elements that are evidenced in this document.”
Amash tweeted: “Contrary to [Attorney General William] Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment,” Amash tweeted, referencing Attorney General William Barr.
Amash stated earlier this year that he was considering running against Trump in 2020 as a third-party candidate.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.
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“They are going to have to make a decision. Either they are going to have to really tighten their belt and keep tightening, because it’s going to get worse,” Petraeus said on ABC’s “This Week.” “There are going to be further screws tightening down in maximum pressure campaign and try to grit their teeth and get to November 2020 in hopes that their desired outcome emerges.”
He added: “They’re going to have to be very careful not to overplay their hand and result in some kind of response that is quite punitive.”
The Trump administration recently sent an aircraft carrier and other military resources to the Persian Gulf region, and withdrew nonessential personnel from Iraq, raising alarm among Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill over the possibility of a confrontation with Iran.
Trump in recent days has downplayed any potential for conflict. But questions remain about what prompted the actions, and many lawmakers have demanded more information.
Much of the tension between Tehran and Washington stems from reports of bombings and attacks across the region that have been linked to Iranian-backed terror groups and also the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear accord with Iran just over a year ago.
Trump pulled out of the agreement, which he has criticized as “the worst deal in history.” He said the accord should have restrained Iran’s ballistic missile program and curbed what his administration considers Tehran’s hostile activities in the region.
The administration reimposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the agreement.
Iran retaliated by threatening to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers fail to negotiate new terms for its 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has stopped its sale of excess uranium and heavy water as a first step — something required under the deal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics