CAFE Brief 04/16: Mueller Report, Deutsche Bank, Trump’s Taxes

CAFE Brief 04/16: Mueller Report, Deutsche Bank, Trump’s Taxes

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April 16th 2019

The House committees have moved forward in multiple investigations, Mueller’s cases have progressed under new management, and a redacted version of Mueller’s report is about to drop. Time to recap!

WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 16: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller listens during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill September 16, 2008 in Washington, DC. The committee asked Mueller about the FBI’s anthrax investigation, allegations of improper collection of information on reporters, the Bureau’s approach to the mortgage fraud crisis, and the expanded investigative and intelligence gathering powers resulting from the proposed Attorney General Guidelines concerning the FBI’s domestic operations. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mueller report
The New York Times reported that a redacted version of Robert Mueller’s report will be released on Thursday to both Congress and the public. Be sure to read Friday’s edition of CAFE Brief for a roundup of the best Mueller report analyses and look out for special podcast coverage on Stay Tuned and CAFE Insider. For now, check out these guides on how to read the report by Marcy Wheeler and Lawfare.

Mueller’s cases live on

In the latest sign that threads uncovered by Mueller continue to be investigated, CNN reported that federal prosecutors in Washington D.C. told the court that search warrants in Roger Stone’s case cannot be publicly released because doing so would jeopardize “a number of matters” referred to “other offices in the government for investigation.” The prosecutors invoked the same reasoning in a court filing where they argue against the Washington Post’s request to unseal unredacted court records in Paul Manafort’s case.

Stone’s trial is set to begin November 5, with a status hearing on April 30, according to Politico.

Roger Stone wants the report, too

The unsolicited memo Attorney General William Barr sent to the Justice Department last year has resurfaced in court documents filed by Roger Stone. Stone’s defense team asked the court to dismiss the obstruction of justice charge against their client because — as Barr argued — a conspiracy had to exist “before Stone could be charged with obstructing an investigation into that Russian conspiracy.”

To support the notion that no collusion occurred and, thus, prepare his defense for trial, Stone claimed that he “has a right to review” Mueller’s full report. To this end, Stone requests that the court order the release of Mueller’s report to his legal team.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller, a former associate of Roger Stone, argued in a new petition that the contempt order meant to compel his testimony before a grand jury should be dropped now that Mueller’s investigation is complete. Miller’s lawyer is asking for a rehearing of the case if the government intends to continue pursuing Miller’s testimony.

Deutsche Bank subpoenaed

Sources told The New York Times that the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank on Monday, requesting information about President Trump’s finances. Subpoenas were also issued to Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America for “records related to business the banks did with a list of suspected money launderers from Russia and other Eastern European countries.”

New tax deadline
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig setting a new deadline of April 23 to turn over President Trump’s tax returns. Earlier last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin informed the committee that the Treasury would not meet the original April 10 deadline and suggested the request was made for “political reasons.” In the latest letter, Neal writes: “It is not the proper function of the IRS, Treasury, or Justice to question or second guess the motivations of the committee.”

On Monday, The New York Times reported that Trump’s attorney, William Consovoy, sent a second letter to the Treasury urging the department not to comply with the committee’s request for the president’s tax returns. “Chairman Neal’s request is nothing more than an attempt to exercise constitutional authority that Congress does not possess,” he wrote.

Subpoena accounting firm

On Monday, CNN reported that House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings has subpoenaed 10 years of President Trump’s financial documents prepared by Mazars USA, Trump’s former accounting firm. Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings explained in a memo that Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, gave the committee financial statements prepared by Mazars that “raise[d] grave questions about whether the president has been accurate in his financial reporting.”

As first reported by Politico, on Monday President Trump’s lawyers sent a letter to Mazars urging the company not to comply with the subpoena.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 22: The Trump International Hotel is seen on March 22, 2019 in Washington, DC. Robert Mueller submitted his Russia probe report on Friday afternoon to Attorney General William Barr. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Hotel lease investigation

On Friday, the House Oversight Committee and the Subcommittee on Government Operations sent a letter to the General Services Administration (GSA) requesting documents related to the Trump Organization’s lease with the federal government for the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. The two chairmen state that the GSA has been withholding documents from the committees. They set a new deadline of April 26 to comply with their request.

The letter cites a report that states GSA lawyers “decided to ignore” constitutional issues, like violations of the Emoluments Clause, when allowing the Trump Organization to continue leasing the Old Post Office Building after Trump became president.

Mar-a-Lago breach

A Chinese woman who was arrested for sneaking into President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club last month has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of lying to investigators and accessing a restricted area. According to The Miami Herald, though Yujing Zhang was not charged with espionage, authorities continue to investigate her case as a national-security matter.

Lobbyist sentencing

Lobbyist Samuel Patten was sentenced to three years of probation, 500 hours of community service, and a fine of $5,000 for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist of Ukraine. The Washington Post reported Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a lenient sentence because Patten took responsibility for his actions and assisted prosecutors in their investigation.

What else?

  • The chairmen of three House committees sent a letter on Monday to the Department of Homeland Security and the White House requesting documents related to Trump’s proposal to transfer and release undocumented migrants into Sanctuary cities. They set a May 3rd deadline to comply.
  • Politico obtained a March 27th letter from the House Intelligence Committee to Bill Bar, Rod Rosenstein, and Chris Wray requesting a briefing from Mueller and the senior members of his team. The committee also requested “all materials, regardless of form and classification, obtained or produced by the Special Counsel’s Office in the course of the investigation.
  • Rep. Devin Nunes plans to meet privately with Attorney General Bill Barr “to push the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against officials involved in the investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia,” as reported by Politico.
  • Jonathan Karl, ABC’s Chief White House Correspondent, reported that “there is significant concern” on the president’s team about “what [former White House counsel] Don McGahn told the special counsel.”
  • The New York Times reported that former Obama White House counsel Gregory Craig was arraigned and pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges of lying to investigators and concealing information about the work he did for Ukraine alongside Paul Manafort.

Stay Informed,

Adrienne Cobb & the CAFE team

We hope you’re enjoying the CAFE Brief. Email us at [email protected] with your suggestions of articles and analysis of legal and political news. We look forward to your feedback as we continue to expand CAFE content.

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