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June 11th, 2019
As usual, more politically charged legal matters making the headlines — Let’s dive in!
DOJ’s newfound cooperation
On Monday, the Justice Department agreed to provide the House Judiciary Committee with “key evidence” in the Mueller report related to possible obstruction of justice committed by President Trump. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) canceled the planned contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Bill Barr “in a sign of the newfound cooperation.” Barr is not off the hook, though, as Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-M.D.), who leads the Committee on Oversight and Reform, scheduled a Committee vote for Wednesday to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with subpoenas related to the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
House Judiciary Hearing
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee held a public hearing focused on the misconduct and potential obstruction of justice laid out in Volume II of the Mueller report. The hearing featured John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, as well as former U.S. Attorneys. According to news analysis by the Washington Post, “The hearing underscored the problems Democrats face in trying to draw attention to Mueller’s findings as Trump repeatedly blocks his former White House aides from testifying and cooperating with requests for documents.”
Mystery company’s subpoena fight
On Friday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the government to unseal grand jury documents related to prosecutors’ battle with an anonymous foreign-owned company. U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell subsequently released some redacted court records on Friday, but kept the company’s identity under seal as it is pertinent to an ongoing investigation initiated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and passed off to federal prosecutors in D.C. This mysterious legal battle stretches back to July 2018, when Mueller’s grand jury subpoenaed the company. The company had defied the subpoena, accumulating a daily fine of $50,000 until February, when it provided 1,000 pages of documents to the Special Counsel’s Office.
- The House Intelligence Committee will hold an open hearing on Wednesday that focuses on the counterintelligence findings documented in Volume I of the Mueller report.
- In response to a lawsuit from CNN, U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington, D.C. held that the FBI must un-redact more portions of memos written by former FBI Director James Comey about his conversations with President Trump.
- In his June 3 testimony before the House Oversight Committee, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach refused to discuss “the substance of any conversations he had with the president or senior White House advisers” about adding the controversial citizenship question to the 2020 Census. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told the Committee that Kobach’s conversations with Trump and other White House officials “fall squarely within the scope of executive privilege.”
- The White House blocked a State Department intelligence agency from submitting written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee that details “possibly catastrophic” consequences of human-caused climate change. The 12-page document was obtained by the Washington Post.
- Chairman Nadler has reportedly been pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry for President Trump, arguing in a closed-door meeting that it would centralize the investigations for Trump. In meetings with senior Democrats, Pelosi allegedly said: “I don’t want to see [Trump] impeached, I want to see him in prison.”
- Following his two-hour testimony before a grand jury, former Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller turned over all text messages he exchanged with Stone from October 2016 to March 2017, as well as information related to Stone’s activities at the Republican National Convention in 2016.
“Trump Lawyer’s Message Was a Clue for Mueller, Who Set It Aside,” The New York Times, 6/9/2019
“People Are Trying to Figure Out William Barr. He’s Busy Stockpiling Power,” The New York Times, 6/9/2019
“FBI agent: Russian official tried to arrange Trump-Putin call for day after inauguration,” Politico, 6/6/09
“States Prepare to Launch Investigations Into Tech Giants,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/10/2019
“Justice Ginsburg warns of more 5-4 decisions ahead,” ABC News, 6/8/2019
“Democrats Learned the Wrong Lesson From Clinton’s Impeachment,” The Atlantic, 6/6/2019
Adrienne Cobb & the CAFE team
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