Skip to comments.Dems race to protect Mueller probe
Posted on 11/10/2018 9:31:57 AM PST by yesthatjallen
House Democrats are racing to protect the special counsel Robert Muellers Russia probe, and theyre not waiting until they assume the majority to do so.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) organized an emergency conference call on Thursday between rank-and-file Democrats and the top members on investigative committees to discuss President Trumps decision to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and to replace him with an official who has repeatedly criticized the Mueller probe.
On the call, Democrats contemplated their next steps, and Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.) warned members they are facing a crisis moment.
After the call, Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, announced on CNN that Democrats may insist on including protections for the Russia probe in the next government funding bill, though such a demand could trigger a shutdown fight if they follow through.
We can urge and we will that the bill I introduced that would protect the independence of the special counsel, saying he can only be dismissed for [due] cause ... We can insist that that be a condition of passage of the remaining legislation to fund the government, Nadler said.
Calls for the GOP to hold emergency hearings and demands for the acting attorney general to recuse himself have so far gone unanswered, underscoring a harsh reality for Democrats: they are still in the minority for another two months and have little power.
Still, their efforts send a clear signal that Democrats are gearing up to make the issue a top investigative priority starting in January.
In an interview with The Hill, Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), the Democrat likely to lead the House Intelligence Committee during the next Congress, is already signaling an interest in interviewing Sessions about his firing.
On this particular question of what led up to his firing or what information he may have in terms of obstruction to justice, I think that will be of interest to not only our committee but the Judiciary Committee and others as well, Schiff said.
Democrats are vowing to conduct rigorous oversight and hold the administration accountable, something they say the GOP failed to do.
We have watched the Republican Majority abdicate its role of providing a check to abuses of power, and we must start holding people accountable for their actions, a Judiciary Committee spokesman told The Hill in a statement when asked about Trumps firing of Sessions.
Trump has repeatedly bashed Muellers probe as a witch hunt, and his appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general has renewed fears that he wants to quash the investigation.
Trump has denied this, and called a question Friday about whether he wanted to rein in the probe a stupid question.
Whitaker has spoken of curbing funding for Muellers probe until it cant move forward, among other criticisms.
Whitakers appointment represents a scenario Democrats have warned about: that Trump could replace Sessions, and by extension Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing the matter, with someone more intent in hindering it.
Democrats are scrambling for answers.
There is growing chatter about trying to attach language to a must-pass spending bill that would protect the investigation by giving the special counsel an expedited review of their firing. Under that scenario, if a court determines that a firing wasn't for good cause, the special counsel would be reinstated.
Government funding for several agencies runs dry on Dec. 7.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed a similar Mueller protection bill earlier this year, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to bring the legislation to a vote, stating that it is not necessary. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has echoed a similar message.
Pelosi brought up the idea of attaching Mueller protections to a government funding package during an interview with CNN on Thursday night.
Leader Schumer and I, early on, had called upon our leadership counterparts to include [on] our appropriations bill legislation that would say that the counsel cannot be fired without due cause, Pelosi said.
McConnell on Friday repeated his opposition to such legislation, which he said was unnecessary.
Democrats also sent a flurry of letters this week to Whitaker and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) demanding the preservation of critical documents and seeking answers about Sessions firing. They want to know how the shakeup at the highest level of the Justice Department will impact the special counsels investigation.
They are also increasingly interested in examining the circumstances surrounding Trumps appointment of Whitaker, who the president recently denied knowing personally.
We can do several things, Nadler said on CNN. We have already sent letters to a lot of people in the Justice Department demanding preservation of all relevant documents. Destruction of those documents would be a crime after that notice.
Across the Capitol, some Senate Democrats are considering suing the administration over Whittakers appointment, though an aide warned that they are still researching the idea.
We are actively thinking about what a possible legal challenge would look like in this case, said one Democratic aide. I would flag this is definitely still in the beginning stages.
While Democrats warn it is possible Whitaker could order the probe to prematurely come to a close now in his new supervisory position, it is also possible that Mueller is in the process of wrapping up his investigation a move that may come before House Democrats assume power.
Recent reports signal that the probe may be close to concluding. CNN reported this week that the special counsel is starting to work on the teams final report based on the investigations findings, a move that comes as the president is reportedly reviewing the written answers he plans to submit to the special counsel.
But even if the probe wraps up soon, Democrats who are itching to use their subpoena powers to investigate the Trump administration next year are promising to keep the issue in the spotlight. They are planning to examine the matter through holding congressional hearings, demanding relevant records and seeking witness testimonies including possibly hauling in Sessions.
We certainly need to know whether the acting attorney general, however long he is in that position, was forced to commit to refuse recusal, said Schiff, who was spotted ducking in and out of the Democratic cloakroom off the House floor on Thursday, even though Congress is not in session.
We also need to make sure that none of the information presented to the attorney general about the investigation was shared with the president, he said in remarks suggesting that Whitaker could leak information to Trump.
He's going to let him stay on the job and embarrass himself.
BTW, wasn't Rosenstein supposed to resign within 48 hours 4 or 5 days ago?
Dims and the RINOs who love them.
I think some RINOs are also looking to do that.
This is the funny thing. Trump hasn’t done anything to stop it. Why would he?
It doesn’t matter. I think this amounts to Pelosi signaling that she has already done something to prevent Trump’s agenda from moving forward. All they have to do is say, “Trump was going to fire Mueller, and we stopped him.” It doesn’t matter if it was true.
Yes, that would be at least Susan Collins.
Trump isnt going to fire Mueller.
Rumors of Rosenstein’s resignation were mentioned for Friday. But perhaps it’s Jeff Sessions’ week. Joe DiGenova doesn’t see much time ahead for Rod and he’s pretty tuned into the thinking of the highest circles.
This is now bigger than Rod Rosenstein. It’s the objectives in unveiling the massive conspiracy of crimes against the Constitution and Americans.
There’s going to be a brutal rollout. What the next piece will be I don’t know. It could be a document released, the DOJ IG Report on FISA Abuse or what have you.
But it’s going down. You can tell by the panic among the Dems.
How far into a discussion can you get, as a member of Congress, sworn to uphold the Constitution, before you realize that you are talking about a separation of powers issue? Tying the hands of the executive to make personnel decisions within the executive branch? How would they react to Trump signing an executive order preventing the Senate from firing one of its employees?
For a bunch of people who want to tear power out of Trump’s hands, he sure has control over them.
So unconstitutional. Separation of powers. Congress can’t prevent President from firing a Federal employee. Mueller isn’t even cabinet level and was never confirmed by the Senate.
Even if they attach this legislation to something else, Trump will say he can’t sign because it’s unconstituonal.
So now, with this precedent Trump can’t fire the WH cook?
It is very interesting how the liberals from their street thugs to elites in Congress and across America are suddenly defending Sessions as a great AG.
Oh screw this nonsense.
Im so sick of this Russia crap. People who voted for Trump were not influenced by Russians. Unlike stupid liberals, we are not influenced by ridiculous propaganda. We are all still with very much with Trump. This Russia BS is just plain idiocy. Yet it continues as the rat blatant crimes go unanswered.
Democrats the party of millions of illegals and violent Antifa thugs can piss up a rope before I listen to them about “corruption”.
They are running cities and states proclaiming illegality as a virtue!
What doesn’t make sense is why Trump would wait until after the election to declassify the FISA reports or drop any bombshells, since this might have helped the Gop hold onto more House seats.
This is easy. Just release a report the same day following the trail of dossier evidence and payments leading back to Hillary.
Mueller waited until the Dems controlled the house. Now Trump can at least be impeached and lesson the black mark on clinton’s legacy.
It may not make sense at the moment and it may not have made sense over the past six months, but I would suggest a larger motive/chess move is why....and I say that without claiming I even know what it is; at least enough to explain it.
I *will* say that releasing those records “early” was not without significant risk.
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