Bannon Refuses To Answer Questions Before Congress — Faces Subpoenas and Potential Contempt Sanctions [UPDATED]

Screen_Shot_2016-08-18_at_9.57.02_AMSteve Bannon is now under subpoena by both House investigators and the Special Counsel after he refused to answer questions before Congress. Following a problematic pattern of current and former Administration figures, Bannon reportedly did not invoke executive privilege (which must be asserted by the White House) but refused to answer questions about his work on the transition team and White House.  There is no basis for such a broad assertion of executive privilege and, unless Bannon changes course, he could be looking at contempt sanctions down the road.  Despite his refusal to cooperate with the committee, he has reached a deal to speak with the Special Counsel investigators outside of a grand jury.

Update: The White House is now asserting that there were prior discussions with the Committee and the Committee violated the agreement on scope.  Notably however the agreement was to discuss only matters from the campaign and not the transition or White House periods. That would be an astonishingly limited scope for the Committee staff to agree to given the material events after the campaign, including the time periods covered by statements made by Bannon in the Wolff book.

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The Clinton Cash: The Uranium One Indictment And The Lingering Questions Over Influence Peddling

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Clinton_Foundation_logoBelow is my column in the Hill Newspaper on the recent major indictment handed down in the Uranium One scandal.  As I have stated in the media, the indictment does not alter my skepticism over the likelihood of any criminal charges against Clinton. However, it does reaffirm lingering questions over the many millions of dollars pocketed by the Clintons personally or given to their Foundation  I think that there is little question about this money being given with the hopes of influencing the Clintons, and particularly Hillary Clinton.  The only question is whether it succeeded. For that, we would need an independent and full investigation.

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Muggles Move To Lift Criminal Sanctions Against Witches and Wizards In Canada

John_William_Waterhouse_-_The_Crystal_Balldownload-1It appears that muggles in Canada are finally lifting the criminal sanction against all of the witches and wizards who have been hiding in Canadian counterparts to the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley.  Our neighbors are moving to rescind Section 365 of Canada’s criminal code, which made it  crime to pretend to practice witchcraft, sorcery and fortune telling.  Soon the streets of Canadian cities will be full of muggles and magicfolk alike.

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Seattle Sugary Drink Tax Take Effect: $10.34 Tax On $15.99 Purchase

download-8.jpgI have previously discussed my opposition to sugary drink bans or prohibitive taxation schemes in Chicago and New York.  While Cook County reluctantly yielded to public opinion and court decisions recently, Seattle has gone forward with a ridiculous tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on sugary drinks. This paternalistic law is designed to make such drinks economically undrinkable or at least unpalatable for citizens who do not share the views of the majority on beverages and health.  The result is that a large box of 35 bottles of Gatorade at Costco with a list price of $15.99 is now taxed at $10.34.  So almost $10.50 of the $26.50 price is taxes.

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Harvard Sororities Defy Ban On Single-Gender Groups

220px-Harvard_Wreath_Logo_1.svgWe have previously discussed the crackdown at Harvard on single gender clubs and associations (even groups off campus). Last year, Harvard established penalties for students who refuse to yield to the rule against belonging to single-gender organizations, including barring students from serving on campus leadership positions.  This includes Greek organizations.  Now, women are objecting that they are being penalized and denied their “right to choose.”  Notably, however, the protesting sororities did not question the barring of males but rather having such rules apply to women.

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TSA Questions Texas Tech Fan For Using “Finger-Gun” Salute With Another Fan At Airport

220px-gesture_thumb_up_then_down_forefinger_out_like_gun1240px-tsa_-_logoTexas Tech fans are known for their finger-gun salutes and “Wreck’em slogan.”  It appears however that the TSA training does not include such common displays.  When Diana Durkin recently returned to the University, she spotted another fan in line at the airport security for William P. Hobby airport in Houston and gave him the Texas Tech salute.  She was immediately pulled out of the line by alarmed TSA personnel but after being delayed and questioned, she was allowed (this time) to leave with only a warning.

 

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