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The Justice Department issued a legal opinion Friday finding that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was right to withhold President Donald Trump’s tax returns from a House committee that subpoenaed them.

The House Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed six years of Trump’s tax returns in May, but the Treasury Department refused to provide the documents. At the time, Mnuchin said the request lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose.”

he 33-page opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argues that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., wanted to make the president’s tax returns public and because of that plan, the request was not to carry out a legitimate legislative function.

But Neal has said the law is clear the information must be released to Congress, the documents were sought to aid a committee investigation into whether the IRS is doing its job properly to audit a sitting president, and obtaining them would be a “necessary piece” of the committee’s work.

“The Chairman’s request that Treasury turn over the President’s tax returns, for the apparent purpose of making them public, amounted to an unprecedented use of the Committee’s authority and raised a serious risk of abuse,” the opinion said.

Democrats sought Trump’s tax returns under a 1924 law that directs the IRS to furnish such information when requested to the chairs of Congress’ tax-writing committees. Besides Trump, every president since Richard Nixon has made his tax returns public.

Neal said last month that he didn’t plan to hold Mnuchin in contempt, saying the committee may instead pursue a legal fight to force the Treasury Department to turn over the documents.

A spokeswoman for the House Ways and Means Committee said the legal opinion was still being reviewed and declined to comment further. Representatives for the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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L PASO, Texas (AP) — The Trump administration is facing growing complaints from migrants about severe overcrowding, meager food and other hardships at border holding centers, with some people at an encampment in El Paso being forced to sleep on the bare ground during dust storms.

The Border Network for Human Rights issued a report Friday based on dozens of testimonials of immigrants over the past month and a half, providing a snapshot of cramped conditions and prolonged stays in detention amid a record surge of migrant families coming into the U.S. from Central America.

The report comes a day after an advocate described finding a teenage mother cradling a premature baby inside a Border Patrol processing center in Texas. The advocate said the baby should have been in a hospital, not a facility where adults are kept in large fenced-in sections that critics describe as cages.

The state of human rights in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is grave and is only getting worse,” the immigrant rights group said in its report. “People are dying because of what is happening.”

Five immigrant children have died since late last year after being detained by the Border Patrol, including a flu-stricken teenager who was found dead in a facility migrants refer to as the “icebox” because of the temperatures inside.

Customs and Border Protection responded to the complaints by saying: “Allegations are not facts. If there is an issue it is best to contact CBP directly. In many cases the matter can be resolved immediately.”

The agency also cited its response to a critical inspector general’s report last month, in which it said the government is devoted to treating migrants in its custody “with the utmost dignity and respect.”

The Trump administration has blamed the worsening crisis on inaction by Congress.

Many of the complaints center on El Paso, where the inspector general found severe overcrowding inside a processing center. A cell designed for a dozen people was crammed with 76, and migrants had to stand on the toilets.

With indoor facilities overcrowded, the Border Patrol has kept some immigrants outside and in tents near a bridge in El Paso with nothing but a Mylar foil blanket. Others have been kept in an empty parking lot, where migrants huddled underneath tarps and foil blankets repurposed as shade covers against the sweltering heat.

A professor who visited two weeks ago said it resembled a “human dog pound.” The Border Patrol responded by adding additional shade structures, but migrants are still kept outside in temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

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Image credit: Joe Raedle- Getty Images

Source: The Washington Pundit

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 33 pages of records from the Department of Justice showing that former senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr in his January 2018 preparation to testify to the Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to a lawyer about “possible ethics concerns.” Bruce Ohr forwarded the email to his wife Nellie Ohr, who had been hired by Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign-Democratic National Committee vendor who compiled the anti-Trump Dossier.

Judicial Watch obtained the records through its August 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Justice Department after it failed to respond to a May 29, 2018, FOIA request  (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice(No. 1:18-cv-01854)). Judicial Watch seeks:

All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher 

Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

On January 3, 2018, Bruce Ohr emails Justice Department ethics lawyer Cynthia Shaw, advising her that the Senate and House intelligence committees had requested to interview him about investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. He notes that a number of press reports had come out about his “alleged” connections to Christopher Steele. He asks her a question that is largely redacted but seeks information about “possible ethics concerns.” He forwards this email to his wife Nellie:

Cynthia –

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this morning. As requested, here is a short description of my question:

As you may have heard, the Senate intelligence committee and House intelligence committee requested to interview me in connection with their investigations of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Shortly after receiving the Senate request, a series of stories broke in the press about my alleged connections to Chris Steele, the author of the so-called Trump dossier. [Redacted]

My question has to do with [redacted]. Are there any guidelines for [redacted] in order to satisfy any possible ethics concerns?

Shaw’s response is largely redacted:

Hi Bruce,

Can you obtain [redacted]

Thanks,

Cindy

The new documents also reveal a close relationship between Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr and DOJ Russia experts Lisa Holtyn, Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich.

On May 11, 2016, Nellie Ohr received an email invitation to attend a Hudson Institute “Kleptocracy Archive Launch.” Notably, Fusion GPS principal Glenn Simpson, listed as “a Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center” who “now works frequently on Russian corporate crime and criminal organizations,” was to be a panelist. Nellie forwarded the invitation on to top Bruce Ohr aide Lisa Holtyn and husband/wife DOJ lawyers Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich. Holtyn, Wheatley, and Nizich all worked for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which investigated Russian cartels and other Russian syndicated crime matters.

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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Well isn’t this interesting.

On Thursday afternoon Ellen Weintrab, a DEMOCRAT Chair of the Federal Election Commission posted a statement online condemning President Trump for suggesting he may accept oppo research from a foreign government.

Democrat Weintraub was appointed by George W. Bush during a recess appointment.

One more fun fact about Weintraub — she worked for the DNC-Hillary Clinton-Deep State law firm Perkins Coie prior to being elected to FEC chair.

Per the FEC:

Commissioner Weintraub took office on December 9, 2002, after receiving a recess appointment; she was renominated and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on March 18, 2003. Commissioner Petersen was nominated and confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008.

Prior to her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Weintraub was Of Counsel to Perkins Coie LLP and a member of its Political Law Group. Before joining Perkins Coie, Ms. Weintraub was Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives (the House Ethics Committee). Ms. Weintraub received her B.A., cum laude, from Yale College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Is this why Weintraub said nothing when Hillary Clinton paid for a junk Russian dossier and hid the payments by funneling the money through her law firm PERKINS COIE, worked with Ukrainians to obtain dirt on Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and reportedly had foreign intelligence agencies spy on the Trump campaign?

In October of 2017, the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed an FEC complaint alleging the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign committee violated campaign finance law because they failed to disclose the purpose and recipient of payments for the phony Steele dossier.

Is this also why the FEC is ignoring Hillary Clinton’s $84 million campaign finance scandal?

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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Albuquerque, NM – The State of New Mexico and the sanctuary city of Albuquerque have filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for releasing too many immigrants into the state’s border cities.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico on Monday, alleged that President Trump’s administration has enacted an “indiscriminate practice of releasing migrants in communities,” in violation of the federal “safe release” policy, KVIA reported.

The federal “safe release” policy was canceled in October of 2018 due to the massive wave of immigrants who flooded over the U.S. southern border from Central America.

That policy provided those seeking asylum with assistance in getting to their final destinations while they were waiting for their claims to be processed, KVIA reported.

“[The] sudden and unlawful abandonment of this policy was done without notice or opportunity for input by affected jurisdictions,” the lawsuit alleged.

The sanctuary city and the State of New Mexico has also demanded to be reimbursed for the funds it has shelled out to temporarily shelter immigrants.

The lawsuit alleges that the financial burden was caused by the federal government’s “derogation of duty to administer this country’s immigration system and claims of asylum,” KVIA reported.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham further complained that the government’s “quick release” policy is “leaving vulnerable individuals and families without assistance and burdening local governments as well as nonprofit organizations.”

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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A House Judiciary subcommittee will hold hearings on reparations next Wednesday, marking the first time in more than a decade that the House will discuss potentially compensating the descendants of slaves.

“The Case for Reparations” author Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover are reportedly set to testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and the hearing’s stated purpose will be “to examine, through open and constructive discourse, the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice,” according to a Thursday Associated Press report.

The June 19 hearing also “coincides with Juneteenth, a cultural holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved blacks in America.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who sits on the subcommittee, again introduced H.R. 40 earlier this year to create a reparations commission. Jackson Lee said her bill would create a commission “to study the impact of slavery and continuing discrimination against African-Americans, resulting directly and indirectly from slavery to segregation to the desegregation process and the present day.” She added in January that the “commission would also make recommendations concerning any form of apology and compensation to begin the long delayed process of atonement for slavery.”

“The impact of slavery and its vestiges continues to effect African Americans and indeed all Americans in communities throughout our nation,” Jackson Lee said.

“This legislation is intended to examine the institution of slavery in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present, and further recommend appropriate remedies. Since the initial introduction of this legislation, its proponents have made substantial progress in elevating the discussion of reparations and reparatory justice at the national level and joining the mainstream international debate on the issues. Though some have tried to deflect the importance of these conversations by focusing on individual monetary compensation, the real issue is whether and how this nation can come to grips with the legacy of slavery that still infects current society. Through legislation, resolutions, news, and litigation, we are moving closer to making more strides in the movement toward reparations.”

Jackson Lee argued that despite the progress of African-Americans in the private sector, education, and the government in addition to “the election of the first American President of African descent, the legacy of slavery lingers heavily in this nation.”

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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NBC has set the lineups for the first round of the 2020 Democrat presidential candidate debates. Twenty candidates raised enough campaign money to qualify for the debate stage. The field has been split into 2 groups of ten, each set to debate on a different night. The debates will take place on June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida.

Campaign officials attended a random drawing, held at NBC’s 30 Rock offices in New York, for the debate slots. The drawing was implemented in an attempt to spread out the front-runners and divide each night’s lineup between the candidates polling above and below 2%. The drawing was closed to the press.

Here are the line-ups as decided by the random drawing:

June 26: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren

June 27: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang

The DNC is still crying foul, believing the drawing was stacked despite NBC claiming it was random. They’re also being accused of creating a tiered debate structure by holding the Biden-Sanders-Harris-Buttigieg debate on Thursday night, which will likely maximize viewership over Wednesday night’s debate.

Lesser known candidates stand to gain the most from qualifying for the debate stage, irrespective of which event in which they appear. Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Gabbard, Delaney, Inslee, Bennet, de Blasio, Williamson, and Swalwell are all polling at 0% in the most recent Qunnipiac poll, so have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Each debate is set to run for two hours, giving each participant very little time to get their point across. However, if viewership comes close to the 24 million viewers who watched the Republican debates in 2015, it may be an excellent opportunity for these candidates to gain some traction with potential voters.

Five news personalities from NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, will ask questions of the 20 presidential hopefuls. They include:

  • “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt,
  • “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie,
  • “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd,
  • MSNBC prime-time host Rachel Maddow, and
  • “Noticias Telemundo” and “NBC Nightly News Saturday” anchor José Díaz-Balart

Diaz-Balart will moderate both nights of the debate.

Source: The Washington Pundit

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In big cities and small towns all across the country, Trump supporters are planning Ultimate MAGA Party (UMP) events to commemorate the anniversary of Donald Trump announcing his run for the presidency. The They are also in anticipation of President Trump announcing his run for re-election in 2020. The announcement is expected on June 18.

UMP Events are scheduled to occur on Saturday June 15, the day after President Trump’s birthday, and will be live cast in a variety of venues from 2:30-5:00 Eastern Time. Supporters can watch events live on Facebook, Tea Party Community, and American Voices. Sponsors for the event include #WalkAway Campaign, Citizens For Trump, The Black Sphere, Trump Committee of Arizona and Tea Party Community.

Anyone interested in holding their own event can find a UMP4Trump Party Kit , with suggestions for the making their event a success. Parties can be registered on the Ultimate MAGA Part website. Those interested in attending a party can find parties near them on the website’s interactive map.

UMP4Trump Map of Events

Thirty six parties are currently registered on the site.

Source: The Washington Pundit

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ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, according to Judicial Watch sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector.

The exact location where the terrorist group has established its base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Another ISIS cell to the west of Ciudad Juárez, in Puerto Palomas, targets the New Mexico towns of Columbus and Deming for easy access to the United States, the same knowledgeable sources confirm.

During the course of a joint operation last week, Mexican Army and federal law enforcement officials discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” of Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.

Law enforcement and intelligence sources report the area around Anapra is dominated by the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Cartel (“Juárez Cartel”), La Línea (the enforcement arm of the cartel) and the Barrio Azteca (a gang originally formed in the jails of El Paso). Cartel control of the Anapra area make it an extremely dangerous and hostile operating environment for Mexican Army and Federal Police operations.

According to these same sources, “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling – and working for Juárez Cartel – help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. 

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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Former national security advisor Mike Flynn has hired Dallas attorney Sidney Powell as his new counsel. Last week he announced that he had dismissed attorney Robert Kelner and the firm of Covington & Burling LLP, who have represented him since he was charged and pled guilty in 2017. He also said that he had hired someone “everyone would recognize” as his new counsel. 

Powell is a regular commentator on the Fox News and and a former federal prosecutor in Texas and Virginia. In a phone call to Powell, The Hill.TV quotes her as saying:

“I’m honored to be representing General Flynn, who I’ve long considered an American hero. The General and his family want to thank everyone across the country for their cards and contributions to his legal defense fund. He is going to continue to cooperate with the government, pursuant to his plea agreement,”  

Powell has been a vocal critic of the Mueller investigation into the bogus links between the Trump campaign and Russia. She believes that Flynn is the victim of “egregious government misconduct” and was “set-up” and spied on by the FBI. James Comey basically said so himself.

Powell had recommended that Flynn withdraw his guilty plea in mid-2017. She told The Hill on Wednesday that her client would continue to cooperate with the government as part of his plea deal.

Powell’s new book called “Licensed to Lie, Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” reveals the strong-arm tactics used by federal prosecutors and focuses specifically on the conduct of the DOJ during the Enron debaucle. 

Mainstream media outlets are describing Powell as a conspiracy theorist, because of her belief that the Mueller report is based on unsubstantiated evidence. Powell has not commented on this description.

Source: The Washington Pundit


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