russia-investigation

What did the president do and when did he do it?
Russia investigation outcome approaches

President Donald Trump at the Capitol on the night of his State of the Union address earlier this month. Is Trump the political equivalent of Harry Houdini? Shapiro is skeptical. (Doug Mills/The New York Times POOL PHOTO)

OPINION — Both CNN and The Washington Post ran stories Wednesday stating that Robert Mueller will deliver his secret report to the Justice Department next week or soon thereafter. While prior predictions of Mueller’s schedule have had the accuracy of a Revolutionary War blunderbuss, the latest timetable makes intuitive sense.

Mueller must be keenly aware of the errors that James Comey made with his interventions during the 2016 campaign — and March 2019 is far from the 2020 Democratic primaries, let alone the presidential election. William Barr, whose work with Mueller dates back to the late 1980s, is now installed as attorney general. And, of course, Democrats are wielding the gavels in all House committees.

Congress to subpoena full Mueller report if AG Barr withholds parts, Blumenthal says
Mueller could issue his report as early as next week, per media outlets

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has said Congress will subpoena the Mueller report if the Justice Department does not publicize it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats in Congress will subpoena the full report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III if the Justice Department only discloses certain parts of it, Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Thursday.

The Connecticut Democrat is a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is the committee’s chairman, and has subpoena power over the Justice Department.

After contentious border moves, stakes only get higher for Trump
‘The real rough water for President Trump still lies ahead,’ GOP insider says

South Koreans watch on a screen at the Seoul Railway Station on June 12, 2018, showing President Donald Trump meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images file photo)

ANALYSIS — “Stay tuned” is a common refrain from White House aides when asked about the many cliffhangers created by President Donald Trump. But remarkably, even after three topsy-turvy months that culminated Friday in a wild Rose Garden appearance, that West Wing mantra will apply doubly over the next few weeks.

Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency at the southern border to unlock Pentagon funds for his proposed border wall came wrapped in an announcement press conference during which he veered from topic to topic, undercut his own legal position, often appeared dispassionate when discussing the emergency declaration, and made more baseless claims. That matter is already embroiled in court fights, putting perhaps his biggest campaign promise in legal limbo, and has appeared to created new distance between him and some Senate Republicans.

Trump denies calling Andrew McCabe's wife a ‘loser’ as feud intensifies
Former acting FBI boss is under president’s skin ahead of Kim summit, China tariffs deadline

Then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Since fired, he is at war with President Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump is at war with Andrew McCabe, accusing the former acting FBI director of “Treason!” and accusing him of a “lie” by claiming the president once called his wife a “loser.”

Even during and after a long weekend at his South Florida resort after a chaotic mid-December to mid-February stretch, Trump was unable to ignore claims McCabe, who ordered a counterintelligence investigation into Trump and his possible coordination with Russians, is making as he peddles a new tell-all book.

House Democrats hire Obama ethics czar for oversight of Trump, DOJ
Norm Eisen will advise House Judiciary Committee as it investigates Trump and his Justice Department

Chairman Jerrold Nadler prepares to conduct the House Judiciary Committee markup of a resolution authorizing issuance of a subpoena to Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Obama administration ethics czar Norm Eisen has been hired by the House Judiciary Committee as it probes the Department of Justice and other aspects of the Trump administration and seeks to shield the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York has said that protecting the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 election, including possible ties between the Trump campaign team and Russia, is the committee’s No. 1 priority.

Through Whitaker, Trump officially declares war on House oversight
In acting AG’s letter to House Judiciary, administration indicates it will resist disclosing president’s conversations with aides

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker leaves the House chamber Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — The Trump administration on Thursday moved its first chess piece in what is expected to be a contentious match between the White House and House Democrats as the latter seek documents and testimony for their oversight investigations of the president and his Cabinet.

In a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Thursday, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would bail on his scheduled hearing on Friday unless Nadler assured him he would not file a subpoena to compel Whitaker to disclose his conversations with the president on hot-button topics or force Whitaker to invoke “executive privilege.”

Whitaker will skip House hearing if Democrats don’t pull subpoena threat
Judiciary Chairman Nadler wants to keep subpoena in his back pocket in case it’s needed

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he hopes not to have to use a subpoena to compel testimony from acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, but “Unfortunately a series of troubling events over the last few months suggest that we should be prepared.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he will bail on his scheduled testimony in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday unless Democrats assure him they will not file the subpoena they voted to authorize along party lines on Thursday.

At the heart of the disagreement — and why Democrats green-lighted the preemptive subpoena-in-reserve in the first place — is Democrats’ wariness that Whitaker will avoid answering certain questions about his communications with President Donald Trump about the special counsel investigation of Robert S. Mueller III and other hot-button issues by citing, without effectively asserting, “executive privilege.”

Whitaker hearing is first big test of Trump’s ‘executive privilege’ strategy
Acting attorney general will be first White House official to be questioned by new Congress

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is expected to get a number of questions from the House Judiciary Committee about any conversations he had with White House officials, including the president, about his role overseeing the special counsel investigation. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s testimony at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday will offer a first glimpse into how the Trump administration plans to comply with — or stall — House Democrats’ oversight inquiries.

The hearing, slated for 9:30 a.m., will put to the test the White House counsel’s strategy for invoking executive privilege on certain conversations between the president and his close advisers.

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