Category: Congress

Tax Man Cometh: Trump Loses Appeal On Tax Records

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected the appeal of President Donald Trump to block a House subpoena for his tax documents. The ruling follows another loss in New York where a federal judge rejected Trump’s claim that he cannot be subject to criminal process of any kind while in office. That case has been appealed. Trump can appeal this latest ruling to the full court or to the Supreme Court or both.

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Fox: Over Half Of Voters Want Trump Impeached and Removed

Polls are showing significant increases in citizens, including Republicans, who want to see President Donald Trump impeached. One of the most unsettling polls must be the one in Fox News which has generally tracked more favorably for Trump. The most recent Fox News Poll shows a new high of 51 percent in favor of both impeachment and removal.

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White House Issues Defiant Letter Refusing To Cooperate In Impeachment Proceedings

The White House continued along its ill-considered strategy of refusing to cooperate in an impeachment inquiry. I have previously written that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made a fundamental error in not securing a vote of the House to commence an impeachment investigation. However, the letter issued by the White House counsel further undermines the case for executive privilege arguments and could reinforce obstruction allegations in any final articles of impeachment.

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Trump Tweet Undermines Privilege Claims For Barring Testimony

Today, President Trump tweeted on the decision to bar EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland from testifying since it would be in front of a “a totally compromised kangaroo court.” The problem is that any fight would be on the basis for executive privilege, not the disagreement with the Committee agenda or fairness. Executive privilege is based on protecting confidential communications and diplomatic relations. Trump seems to be saying is that he simply does not trust the Committee, which is not a ground for refusal if a subpoena is now issued.

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Trump “Trying To Find Out” Identity Of Whistleblower Despite Federal Law

In a continuing failure to respect the spirit and letter of the whistle-blower law, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was “trying to find out” the identity of the whistle-blower who accused him of using military aid to pressure a foreign government to investigate his political rival. Once again, there is no need for such a highly inappropriate effort. This is part of an impeachment inquiry, and the witness is likely to appear before Congress. However, the whistle-blower law — and good policy — protects the identity of such staff members. Trump previously had compared the whistle-blower to a spy — an accusation that was clearly threatening and improper.

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Trump Warns Of “Civil War” And Calls For Schiff To Be Questioned For Treason

This is not helping. President Donald Trump continued a tweet tirade against the impeachment investigation today, including quoting a highly controversial pastor in his warning that removal of Trump would spark a “Civil War.” Equally disturbing was Trump’s call to have the whistleblower brought to him and for Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff to be questioned for possible treason.

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Lord of War: A Senate Trial Could Be Exactly What Trump Needs

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the prospect of a Senate impeachment trial for President Donald Trump. While Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she is “heartbroken” and “prayerful” over the prospect of impeaching Trump. Whether those are crocodile or heartfelt tears, Pelosi may have to worry more about another possibility: this could be the trial that Donald Trump has long wanted, including the prospect of calling Joe Biden as his first witness.

Here is the column:

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Transcript: Trump Asks For “Favor” in Investigating The Bidens But Stops Short Of A Quid Pro Quo

The release of the transcript of the conversation of President Donald Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy falls a quid short of a pro quo but still raises troubling questions. As I have discussed on CBS and BBC, the transcript shows that Trump never expressly tied military aid to the “favor.” However, he does push his counterpart to reopen the investigation and even promises to put together a call with his private counsel Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr. However, the Justice Department has released a statement that Barr was not informed of the call by Trump and never spoke with the Ukrainians. While Republicans have called the release of the transcript as a mistake, I believe credit again should be given for the waiver of executive privilege. As with the Mueller report, the White House erred on the side of transparency and that should be noted. There remains a serious question for Congress to investigate but the transcript does not establish the quid pro quo that is practically needed for a compelling case of impeachment.

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Report: Trump Froze Military Aid Shortly Before Ukrainian Phone Call Asking For An Investigation Of Joe Biden And His Son

Calls for impeachment are rising on Capitol Hill as more details emerge from a call by President Donald Trump to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he repeatedly asked for the investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Now, reports indicate that Trump froze roughly $400 million in military aid shortly before the call. The timing could reinforce arguments of an implied or express quid pro quo arrangement. Update: Trump confirmed that he ordered the withholding of funds.

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Pelosi’s Nightmare: The Democrats Stumble Over Potentially Impeachable Offense

Below is my column in the Hill on the implications of the controversy over the call of Donald Trump to the President of the Ukraine. Trump has now admitted to asking for the investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. As predicted in this column, the Democratic leadership has struggled to dampen calls for an impeachment, including the effort of Nancy Pelosi to call for legislation on indicting a sitting president. Of course, not only do many of us believe that you can indict a sitting president, but the legislation is utterly irrelevant to question of impeachment. Not surprisingly, the pressure is building after years of claiming the desire, but not the grounds, for such an impeachment.

Here is the column:

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Biden: I “Have Never Spoken To My Son About His Overseas Business Dealings”

Joe Biden was speaking with reporters in Iowa when Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked the relevant question about the controversy over his son’s windfall business dealings while he was Vice President. Doocy asked “How many times have you spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings?” Biden’s response was the second greatest surprise from the press scrum. Biden declared “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” The greatest surprise was what followed. Nothing. The rest of the press corps let Biden walk away without a single follow up answer of how it is possible for Biden could fly to China on Air Force II with Hunter Biden and never hear that his son was about to close an over billion dollar deal with the government’s Bank of China. Nothing. I just wrote a column noting the conspicuous lack of interest in the Biden deals by the media. Biden simply attacked Trump and barked at Doocy to “Ask the right questions!” He then continued on with his campaign.

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Trump: I Cannot Be Criminally Investigated While In Office

In another extreme and dubious argument in court, President Donald Trump has gone to court against to block Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from gaining access to his tax returns. The President’s resistance to disclosing his taxes is now legendary, including differing excuses. However, this 20-page filing contains a particularly disconcerting argument that Trump cannot be criminally investigated while he is in office. It is an argument that has little support in either the text of the Constitution or cases dealing with Article II.

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Report: Trump Was Subject of Whistleblower Complaint Over Security Threat

Congress and the White House are in a standoff after the Administration refused to disclose a whistleblower complaint to the Inspector General over a national security breach — a complaint that under federal law is to be supplied to Congress. There is now a Washington Post report that the Complaint concerns a “promise” made by President Donald Trump to a foreign leader that was considered so serious that it prompted an intelligence official to file the complaint and prompted the Inspector General to declare the matter an “urgent concern.” Trump has been previously criticized for disclosing classified information, including a serious breach in a meeting with Russian officials.

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“Feel Free To Leak This”: Pelosi Blasts Judiciary Committee Over Impeachment Efforts

For over two years, I have written that the Democratic leadership had no intention to impeach Donald Trump. The problem has been that the voters gave the House back to the Democrats in part to pursue impeachment. With the House Judiciary Committee moving forward, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become more and more direct in reminding them that this is not a real effort. The most strident statements came out of a meeting yesterday with Pelosi not only blasting the Committee (and its Chair Jerry Nadler) but telling attendees “feel free to leak this.”

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Kavanaugh Impeachment Would Be Long On Politics And Short on Principle

Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent allegations published by the New York Times against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Despite the drafting of an impeachment resolution, the Democratic leadership has signaled that it has no intention of moving forward with an investigation. Instead it has been the New York Times that have been on the defensive over omissions from the column. Nevertheless, most of the Democratic candidates for president have called for Kavanaugh’s impeachment.

Here is the column:

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