A congressman demanded Capitol Police arrest and deport the 'Dreamers' invited to the State of the Union

paul gosar

  • A Republican Congressman said he asked Capitol Police to arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants attending Tuesday’s State of the Union address as guests.
  • Many of the immigrants attending are already protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but it’s possible some are not.

Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, said Tuesday he asked Capitol Police and the Attorney General to arrest and deport any unauthorized immigrants attending President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.

A representative wrote on Gosar’s Twitter account that the congressman had asked the authorities to “consider checking identification” of all attendees and arrest anyone using fraudulent social security numbers and identification.

“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress,” Gosar said. “Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”

Dozens of Democrats and at least one Republican have invited young unauthorized immigrants, often called “Dreamers,” to the event as guests — a jab at Trump, who is terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects them from deportation.

But it’s unclear whether Gosar’s threats have any weight.

The Dreamers attending the event likely still hold valid identification, social security numbers, and DACA protections that shield them from deportation for the time being.

It is possible that some Democrats may have invited unauthorized immigrants who are not DACA recipients, aides who helped organize the event told The Washington Post.

Beyond that, the Capitol Police has no authority to enforce federal immigration law. Capitol Police did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Lawmakers quickly began condemning Gosar’s tweets Tuesday afternoon.

“What’s wrong with you?” Rep. Joe Crowley, a New York Democrat, said on Twitter.

“This is why we can’t have nice things…” Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, added.

SEE ALSO: Trump is dead-set on ending ‘chain migration’ in the immigration deal — here’s what it is

DON’T MISS: Trump’s radical push to scale back legal immigration is becoming a key flashpoint in Congress

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The biggest risks facing the world in 2018

Source link

[WATCH] 'Criminal Minds' Sneak Peek: Prentiss Is Placed on Administrative Leave – BuddyTV (blog)

Even though there is definitely some concern about Prentiss being placed on administrative leave, the team still has a case to deal with in Criminal Minds season 13 episode 14. “Miasma” sees the BAU investigate after the New Orleans P.D. finds a mass grave inside a vandalized above-ground crypt in a local cemetery.

Criminal Minds Recap: JJ Receives Shocking News from Assistant Director Barnes>>>



Watch the promo for Criminal Minds episode “Miasma”:

[embedded content]

Check out a sneak peek of the case:

[embedded content]

In New Orleans, the police uncovered a mass grave with 10 bodies, buried and burned in a vandalized crypt. The bodies are believed to have been placed there in the last few weeks; the tomb was off-limits due to maintenance. All the bodies were drained of blood. Are they looking at ritualistic killings?

CBS Sets Criminal Minds Season 13 Finale Date>>>

Find out why JJ’s being made the active head of the BAU:

[embedded content]

Though JJ wants to know why Prentiss is being placed on administrative leave, Barnes instead asks why she thinks she wasn’t chosen to be unit chief after Hotch left. Prentiss was a natural choice and she has the seniority, JJ says.

This month marks the one-year anniversary of Reid’s arrest in Mexico, and when something like that happens, the standard operating procedure is to initiate an internal audit. Barnes has been asked to go over the BAU’s caseload to make sure they’re following protocol. As team leader, Prentiss has to give a full account of the BAU’s actions, and that’s why, effective immediately, JJ is the acting head of the BAU.

Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.

(Image/videos courtesy of CBS)

whichcriminalminds.jpg

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

'America needs you': James Comey sends a heartfelt message to Andrew McCabe and other FBI officials

James Comey

  • Former FBI director James Comey gave a message of support to former deputy director Andrew McCabe on Monday night.
  • McCabe stepped down from his post earlier in the day amid reports of an internal investigation and mounting criticism against the FBI.

Former FBI director James Comey gave a message of support to deputy director Andrew McCabe, following his resignation earlier on Monday.

“Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on,” Comey said in a tweet. “He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well.

“I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI,” Comey continued. “America needs you.”

McCabe’s resignation comes amid a new report that FBI director Christopher Wray had informed him of an upcoming inspector general report on the department’s handling of an investigation into then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The FBI has been criticized by President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers for allegedly being politically biased against Trump in its investigations.

Wray reportedly suggested that McCabe move to a different job within the department, a move that would have been interpreted as a demotion, according to a former law enforcement official. But instead of taking the offer, McCabe, who was eligible to retire in a few weeks, stepped down.

McCabe’s decision comes amid a flurry of reports on the Trump administration’s displeasure with the FBI and the US Justice Department amid the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. Wray reportedly threatened to resign after being pressured by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire McCabe.

On Monday, it was also reported that Trump vented to McCabe and mocked his wife, a failed Democratic Senate candidate in Virginia, during a phone call immediately after the president fired Comey.

SEE ALSO: Trump reportedly turned on his acting FBI director and mocked his wife in a phone call right after he fired James Comey

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A Georgetown professor explains how Martin Luther King Jr. ‘has been severely whitewashed’

Source link

'SNL' addressed the controversy surrounding the Aziz Ansari sexual misconduct allegation in a darkly funny skit

SNL Aziz Ansari

  • “SNL” addressed the Aziz Ansari sexual misconduct allegation and the surrounding controversy in the form of an uncomfortable dinner party conversation. 
  • A woman accused Ansari of sexual misconduct in a story with Babe.net earlier this month, but many criticized aspects of the story’s reporting, including a New York Times op-ed that defended Ansari. 
  • The darkly funny sketch satirizes the difficulty of discussing the subject.

 

“Saturday Night Live” tackled the tricky conversation surrounding the recent Aziz Ansari sexual misconduct allegation in a darkly funny sketch of a dinner party conversation.

In the sketch, when cast member Heidi Gardner asks the table if anyone has read a New York Times op-ed about Ansari, it elicits a series of uncomfortable responses that satirize the difficulty of discussing the topic. 

Earlier this month, an anonymous woman accused Ansari of sexual misconduct in a story with Babe.net. The woman, a 23-year-old photographer, told Babe that after an encounter with Ansari she “felt violated,” and described it as “sexual assault.” Ansari said in a statement that from his point of view all indications were that the encounter was “completely consensual.”

Many criticized aspects of the reporting of the story, including a New York Times op-ed that defended Ansari explicitly, and the piece sparked the first substantive and mainstream public debate of the topic since the #MeToo movement gained prominence.

In the sketch, the restaurant darkens and ominous horror music plays as the topic of Ansari comes up. Then the cast members proceed to make hesitant remarks on the subject, before another interrupts to keep them from going too far. 

While I applaud the movement …” Kenan Thompson begins to discuss the #MeToo movement, to which Gardner quickly warns him, “Watch it.” 

Watch the sketch below:

SEE ALSO: A woman’s account of feeling sexually ‘violated’ by comedian Aziz Ansari has sparked the first big debate around the #MeToo movement

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

Source link

Criminal Minds Exclusive: Linda Barnes Returns to Cause Trouble … – TV Guide

Uh oh, trouble is brewing at the FBI and it looks like J.J. (A.J. Cook) is going to get the first taste of it on Criminal Minds.

In our exclusive clip of this week’s episode, J.J. is tapped for a meeting with Assistant Director Linda Barnes (Kim Rhodes) to discuss a covert operation J.J. was part of a few years ago. Why the trip down memory lane? J.J. suspects it’s part of Barnes’ campaign to become director of the bureau.

If the name Linda Barnes raises the hairs on the back of your neck, they should. As J.J. finds out while she’s stressing about the meeting, Barnes was instrumental in disbanding the Beyond Bordersteam, so she’s a destructive force to be reckoned with. Simmons (Daniel Henney) definitely doesn’t think anything good can come from this meeting, so how much should J.J. be worried?

Criminal Minds airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS.

(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS).

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

The war to confirm Trump's judicial nominees is heating up again

Dianne Feinstein

  • The brewing war over President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees turned hot again.
  • This time, it involves the “blue slip” process and a Wisconsin judicial nominee.

The Senate battle over the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees turned hot again this week as Democrats went after Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, accusing him of going back on his word for how he would handle the “blue slip” process.

It was the latest dust-up in what’s been a lengthy — and mostly under-the-radar — fight to get Trump’s judges on the federal bench.

On Wednesday, Grassley held a hearing for Michael Brennan, a Wisconsin lawyer nominated to a vacancy on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Brennan received a “blue slip” from Republican Sen. Ron Johnson but not from Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

The blue slip is a century-old Senate tradition that allows senators to give or withhold their blessing for a judicial nominee from their state. The process provides the party that does not control the White House with leverage over a good number of the president’s nominations.

The process is intended to provide a more bipartisan consensus on judges who will serve in or represent a senator’s home state when the president is of the opposition party, encouraging communication between the White House and home-state senators before a nomination. But the opposition party has sometimes used the blue-slip process to stonewall nominations and prevent the president from naming judges in their states.

Late last year, Grassley said he would no longer require both home-state senator blue slips to be returned for circuit court nominees in order for the nominee to receive a hearing before the committee, which had been the precedent. However, Democrats pointed to Grassley saying he would still honor the old system if a home-state senator was not properly consulted by the White House ahead of a nomination.

“Senator Joe Biden, when he was Judiciary Committee chairman, articulated a sensible policy with respect to the blue slip,” Grassley said in his November 2017 speech outlining the new blue-slip policy. “He said that a negative blue slip will be ‘a significant factor’ for the Committee to weigh but that ‘it will not preclude consideration of a nominee’ unless the administration failed to consult with the senator. I intend to follow this practice for negative and unreturned blue slips. This practice is consistent with the vast majority of the blue slip’s history.”

In this instance, Baldwin insists she was not properly consulted, but Grassley advanced the nomination anyway.

A Judiciary Committee spokesman said Grassley met with Baldwin last week to discuss her concerns, adding that Baldwin “was adequately consulted before” Brennan’s nomination.

“So there is no reason to further delay committee consideration,” spokesman Taylor Foy said in statement to Roll Call.

Baldwin denied any “meaningful consultation” took place.

‘I find it really very hard, and particularly for a woman senator who has tried so hard … for her view to be rebuffed in this manner’

In Wisconsin, Johnson and Baldwin established in 2013 a bipartisan judicial nomination commission by which possible nominees are considered. Brennan did go through the commission, but Baldwin said it did not support his nomination, which the White House made in August. Additionally, the White House interviewed Brennan in March, before the commission began reviewing him.

“The president showed a complete disregard for a process that has served our state well for decades,” Baldwin said in a Monday statement. “I am extremely troubled that the president took this partisan approach that disrespects our Wisconsin process.”

Baldwin added that Grassley “should not show the same disrespect by breaking with 30 years of precedent and eliminating the blue slip process for this nomination.”

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, criticized Grassley as well.

“Mr. Chairman, I find it really very hard, and particularly for a woman senator who has tried so hard, who has worked with her state commission, for her view to be rebuffed in this manner,” she said in remarks ahead of the hearing.

Feinstein added that Baldwin “appears grievously injured by this.”

“She has worked with, what I understand, is a very fine screening commission with Sen. Johnson in the state, and is deeply concerned that this action has been taken,” she said. “I recognize the majority party has a great deal of power. Their voice is dispositive. But the Senate, unlike the House, has preserved strong rights for those in the minority, and the blue slip has been one of these traditions. It appears this is no longer the case.”

Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond professor and expert on judicial nominations, told Business Insider in an email that this “situation is very different” from Grassley having considered past nominees who lacked at least one blue slip because of how Baldwin was not properly consulted.

“The nominee did not secure the requisite votes to be recommended to the White House” by the Wisconsin commission, “but the White House nominated him anyway.”

“Grassley said that he was making an exception for circuit nominees, but that lacks persuasiveness as a matter of historical practice and slips can be even more important for circuits as all senators treat these vacancies as more important than district ones,” he continued. “[Democratic] senators like Feinstein, [Chris] Coons and [Sheldon] Whitehouse strongly argued that Grassley’s move was unfair to Baldwin and to the process in the future because it will be difficult to restore the tradition once it is eroded.”

SEE ALSO: The first shots were just fired in the Senate’s brewing judiciary war

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The biggest risks facing the world in 2018

Source link

'Criminal Minds' Recap: JJ Receives Shocking News from Assistant Director Barnes – BuddyTV (blog)

Yes, there’s a case in this episode of Criminal Minds. But if you can bring yourself to care about it after the final shocking minute, that’s impressive. From the time before the team even gets the case to after it’s over, JJ’s worried that an e-mail from Assistant Director Barnes requesting a meeting could lead to history repeating and her having to leave the team. But there’s no way she — or anyone — can predict what Linda wants.  

Yes, “Cure” does feature a case, one in which an UnSub is killing businessmen and leaving his manifesto in cryptograms in their mouths, but it’s not as complicated as it seems at first.

Casting Bits: Drake Hogestyn to Guest Star on Criminal Minds>>>

JJ Has Nothing to Worry About with Prentiss in Charge … Right?

The last time JJ got an e-mail like she does from Barnes, she was taken off the team, so it’s understandable that she’s concerned. And while Reid may try to reassure her that Prentiss won’t let that happen, JJ reminds him that Hotch couldn’t protect her.

It doesn’t help that Barnes was the one responsible for decommissioning Simmons’ old unit, and he can’t offer up any comforting words for JJ. Prentiss does after the case is over, assuring JJ that she shouldn’t be worried, “not as long as I’m charge.”

Uh, about that, Prentiss. When JJ goes upstairs for the meeting, Barnes greets her by telling her that effective immediately, Prentiss is on administrative leave pending review and JJ is the acting unit chief for the BAU. Wait, what?!  

What’s the UnSub Telling Them?

A man in a ski mask kills a financial manager, using his blood to draw the symbol of the Greek god Asclepius, historically used to symbolize the arts of healing and medicine. The UnSub stages his body to face the symbol, suggesting that it’s directly connected to him.

In case the fact that the UnSub signed his dirty work isn’t enough to suggest that he’s just getting started, he then calls 911, using a voice-changer, and declares, “We are Asclepius. We have begun the bloodletting. You will fear us, for you are the disease and we are the cure.”

Did this “Asclepius” — “we” suggests a group — target Andrew because of what his job symbolized, an evil specter of Wall Street? Did the UnSub(s) suffer a financial misfortune?

The UnSub only tied up Andrew’s co-worker, but she can’t tell them anything about him since he never spoke. Though she tells them of a teenage son of a client who sent a threatening e-mail, the kid has an alibi.

After the ME shows them Andrew’s stab wounds, Simmons identifies the murder weapon as a karambit, a close-combat weapon popular in Southeast Asia. That weapon is consistent with tactical gear, suggesting a possible background in the military or law enforcement. The ME’s assistant then finds a piece of paper in the victim’s mouth.

The UnSub left a cryptogram, and once Garcia cracks it, they read what “Asclepius” declares to be his — yes, they are only looking for one UnSub, someone who wants to feel superior to others — “manifesto.” He proclaims himself the “cure” of the “disease” that he labels the men in law, finance and religion to be.

The UnSub strikes again, killing a CEO of an aerospace engineering company as he reaches his car and staging his body like Andrew’s. The security camera on the parking lot went down an hour before the murder, suggesting that the UnSub was familiar with the property. He can’t leave anything to chance or he wouldn’t have time to stage the scenes. He has to have a list of targets.

When the cipher that worked on the first cryptogram doesn’t work on the second, the team wonders if his motivation is to assert power over law enforcement. Rossi notes the language in the first cryptogram; they’re emotionally confused words and somewhat sexualized as well. Are the victims surrogates of an unfaithful significant other? Will his cryptograms tell them his real target?

Quiz: Which Special Agent TV Hunk Would You Date?>>>

Family Drama

The UnSub tries to strike again, catching up to a man he watched leave his house in the morning when he returns that night, but the man’s girlfriend catches him and calls 911. The UnSub looks at her before running off, and they now have a survivor: Scott Taveras, a family court judge. That doesn’t fit with the victimology. And as soon as his son asks if they’ve caught the guy responsible yet, it’s clear why. There’s just something about him the moment he walks into the room. He’s the UnSub, and the team has missed something.

In the second cryptogram, the UnSub writes about the third corpse marking the beginning of the end. That means that the UnSub killed someone else, but that homicide wasn’t connected to the others. Why? That’s because there was no symbol or cryptogram left with Marcus, a family services director at the court where Scott presides — or so the police thought. Reid finds the cryptogram, on a folded sheet of paper with the symbol drawn on the front, with the mail he had collected before his death.

Scott and his wife are separated but, as they learn from his girlfriend, not divorced so that it wouldn’t get complicated for Julia and her health insurance after she was diagnosed with cancer. (She’s in remission now.)

That’s where the words “disease” and “cure” came from for the UnSub, and once Reid and Garcia crack the real first cryptogram, it reads like a teenager’s revenge fantasy. He thought he could outsmart law enforcement and have his true victim lost in the body count. Scott’s son, Raphael, fits the profile. He had disciplinary problems, had a brief stint in the Army and was dishonorably discharged. He’s not as comfortable with his dad’s new relationship as the rest of the family are.

Unfortunately, Raphael makes his move and kidnaps Elena as she’s leaving the hospital before the team can stop him. They then find him, unconscious, in the trunk of the car, with Elena nowhere to be found. He tries to play the victim, but JJ knows she can crack his cover, thanks to her covert work. The only problem? It works, but as they all realize after Raphael reveals just how much he hates his father, it’s too late. He wanted Elena’s blood on Scott’s hands. All they can do is recover her body.

Did anyone see that ending coming with JJ and Barnes? And after that, did you care about the case at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

whichcriminalminds.jpg

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

3 potential problems for an obstruction of justice case against Trump – Vox

Special counsel Robert Mueller seems to be zeroing in on the question of whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.

But not all experts agree that the public evidence alone is enough to make clear he has a strong case.

“This is not yet the type of case we’d ordinarily see an [obstruction of justice] indictment come out of,” Laurie Levenson, a former prosecutor and law professor at Loyola University, told me.

Levenson emphasizes that we don’t know the full of extent of what Mueller might have. If we limit ourselves to what’s publicly known, though, she said: “It’s troubling conduct that warrants an investigation. But whether it’s clear enough on its face, I don’t know.”

That’s in contrast to other experts, who’ve been arguing that what we know already is enough to put Trump in serious legal jeopardy.

“If Trump exercises his power — even his lawful power — with a corrupt motive of interfering with an investigation, that’s obstruction,” Lisa Kern Griffin, an expert on criminal law at Duke University, recently told my colleague Zack Beauchamp. “The attempt is sufficient, and it seems to be a matter of public record already.”

Experts who disagree believe that Mueller would likely need much more damning evidence to justify making an obstruction case — through either an indictment or an impeachment referral — against Trump. They tend to make some combination of these three arguments:

1) The uniqueness of the president’s role creates a whole host of legal, constitutional, and political obstacles here.

2) Trump’s allegedly obstructive conduct doesn’t quite match the two presidential precedents we have here. The obstruction of justice impeachment articles Presidents Nixon and Clinton faced accused them of destroying or withholding evidence and telling witnesses to lie under oath.

3) Finally, Trump’s possible motive is more difficult to prove than many are acknowledging with the evidence we have so far. That’s because he can still make the case that rather than acting to cover up crimes, he acted because he genuinely believes the Russia investigation is “fake news” and that he did nothing wrong.

Again, it is of course possible that Mueller has, or will obtain, stronger evidence. “We don’t know what we don’t know,” Levenson said. But, she continued, “I don’t think they’re likely to ask the grand jury for charges [against Trump] unless they have a bulletproof case.”

Back in December, Trump lawyer John Dowd claimed that it was impossible for Trump to be guilty of obstruction of justice, simply because he’s the president — an assertion that was roundly derided by legal experts.

Those I interviewed thought it was quite a stretch to assert that the president can’t obstruct justice. Still, they said there are several elements of the president’s unique position that could complicate efforts to make an obstruction case against him.

For one, as president, Trump is “in charge of the administration of justice. He is the top executive officer, and law enforcement is an executive function,” Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University, told me. The president is also the boss of the attorney general and FBI director and has the power to fire them.

And while the norms of recent decades have dictated that Justice should operate with a measure of independence from the president, it’s far from clear that those norms have the force of law. “Presidents used to be much more involved in matters that would directly affect them in ways that we would consider unethical today,” Kontorovich said. “Recent norms are just that: norms.”

As an example: Is it on its face illegal for the president to recommend the FBI be lenient toward an associate under investigation, as Trump allegedly did for Flynn? Kontorovich argues that it wouldn’t be — even if Trump knew Flynn was guilty. “No laws are enforced 100 percent. Lots of people commit crimes; lots of prosecutors know about them and decide not to charge those crimes,” he says. “Executive discretion and prioritization are part of the justice system.” And Trump is at the top of the justice system.

Other experts disagree. Jens David Ohlin, vice dean and law professor at Cornell University, told me that just because the president has a certain power, that “doesn’t mean that he can’t exercise that power corruptly.” As an example, he said that firing an employee “to interfere with an ongoing investigation” would be “an offense against the administration of justice.”

Still, there’s an even bigger problem: It’s not clear if prosecutors even can indict a sitting president. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has long taken the position that they can’t. Some legal experts argue otherwise, and the matter has never been tested in court. Still, this means that any indictment of Trump would be legally dubious and enormously controversial — likely involving a Supreme Court battle.

For that reason, many observers have long thought that if Mueller and his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, conclude Trump committed illegal acts, they’ll likely submit a report on their conclusions to Congress — putting the ball in their court and letting them decide whether they think censure or impeachment is justified.

This would skirt the legal difficulties of relying on the federal obstruction of justice statute, because impeachment isn’t a legal process at all — it’s a political one. Yet in other ways, this would make Mueller’s task harder. The Republican-controlled Congress has an obvious partisan incentive to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on any accusation that’s less than rock-solid (and probably even some that are rock-solid).

So if Mueller’s endgame is going to Congress, he could well feel pressured to clear a higher bar, in terms of both evidence and precedent, than he might for an ordinary indictment.

There are just two precedents for impeaching a president over obstruction of justice that he can rely on: Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Though Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, the House Judiciary Committee started the process by approving two impeachment articles against him, one of which focused on obstruction of justice. Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, but the Senate acquitted him. Both were accused of, among other things:

  • Urging witnesses to outright lie under oath to investigators
  • Concealing evidence from investigators, or destroying evidence
  • Trying to buy potential witnesses’ silence (in Clinton’s case, through job assistance)

If Trump was accused of anything like that, Kontorovich says, an obstruction case against him would be far stronger: “Destroying evidence is not part of the prosecutorial duty, nor is suborning witnesses to perjure themselves.” Either, he said, would be outright trying to get “a false outcome” in a law enforcement proceeding — and couldn’t be excused as trying to advise the Justice Department on how to do its job.

But so far, there’s no clear evidence Trump did any of those things. The potential obstruction case against the president, to the best of our knowledge, focuses instead on:

  • Various inappropriate-sounding behind-the-scenes requests Trump made to law enforcement officials about the Flynn investigation
  • FBI Director James Comey’s firing
  • And perhaps the misleading public statement about his son Don Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer that the president reportedly helped craft

This conduct doesn’t exactly match the witness-tampering and evidence-tampering allegations that formed the core of past obstruction of justice impeachment articles, which seemed on its face illegal.

“There’s a difference if he did those things: paying off witnesses, telling them to lie, hiding witnesses,” Levenson said. “Then I think you have a very clear case. It’s a less clear case when he’s sort of saying [to law enforcement officials], ‘here are my thoughts.’”

Griffin, for one, argues that Trump’s actions aren’t so different. “Associates of Nixon engaged in illegal acts to further Nixon’s interests, and Nixon then pursued a course of conduct designed to impede the investigation into those acts,” she told me. For Trump, she said, there’s “similar evidence of corrupt intent to obstruct an investigation.”

Still, it does seem that an obstruction case against Trump would be far easier for Mueller to make, both legally and politically, if evidence of tampering with witnesses or evidence emerged.

If Mueller were to be stuck with the evidence we already know of in trying to make an obstruction case, then, much would hinge on whether the special counsel could prove Trump’s motive was corrupt.

“Trump’s actions, tweets, and other public statements suggest that he had a corrupt motive to impede the Russia investigation in order to protect himself and his associates,” Griffin said.

Yet Trump’s line on the Russia probe — both in public and, to the best of our knowledge, in private — is quite different. He asserts that he thinks he’s done nothing wrong. His criticisms of the investigation, he said, are that he thinks it’s a “witch hunt” being used by his political and bureaucratic opponents to hurt his presidency.

Naturally, his claims here should be viewed with a good deal of skepticism. But that doesn’t mean there’s sufficient evidence to disprove them.

For instance, last May, Trump did contradict his aides’ story in a television interview, when he admitted the Russia probe was on his mind when he fired Comey. On its face, you might think that’s clear evidence of a corrupt motive.

But what the president specifically asserted went through his mind before the firing was that the Russia probe was a “made-up story” being used to benefit Democrats politically. That is, it’s consistent with a defense that Trump believed he did nothing wrong.

A further complication is that Comey has admitted he really did privately tell Trump that he wasn’t personally under investigation in the Russia probe. Trump can therefore claim he fired the FBI director out of aggravation with his public comments about an investigation he genuinely believed — and had privately been told — wasn’t about him.

As for Trump’s leniency request for Flynn, Kontorovich said, “People say that he did it because he was afraid of further prosecution and thought Flynn would flip on him. But that’s conjectural.”

Now, Griffin cites the fact that Trump asked others to leave the room before talking to Comey about Flynn as evidence of his corrupt intent. And that’s not all.

“He initially attempted to justify Director Comey’s dismissal by referencing the Clinton investigation,” she said. “And he later told Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting that he had terminated Director Comey to relieve pressure on his administration.”

Levenson holds out another possibility: “Donald Trump might be one of the few people who could get away with saying, ‘I was just clueless.’”

If the skeptics are right, Mueller probably needs substantially more — and more damning — evidence than we currently know of to justify an obstruction of justice finding.

But again, Mueller has held his cards remarkably close to the vest throughout this investigation. He’s reportedly interviewed a plethora of administration officials — White House aides, intelligence officials, and law enforcement officials — on the topic of potential obstruction of justice. We don’t know the full extent of what he’s learned.

Then there’s Michael Flynn’s cooperation, which could be crucial. We have no idea what Flynn has told Mueller since he agreed to a plea deal nearly two months ago. But now, per the Post, Mueller seems keenly interested in questioning Trump about Flynn-related events. Perhaps Flynn knows more about why Trump may have been so keen to urge the FBI to back off from him, and told Mueller what he knows.

There was also an intriguing report from Michael Isikoff last year that, after Flynn was fired and while he was under investigation, the former national security adviser told friends that he’d gotten “a message from the president to stay strong.” We don’t know what, exactly, that message entailed — and whether it perhaps may have amounted to witness tampering. But Flynn knows.

Another possibility, Levenson suggested, is that this has really been just a prelude to Trump’s expected interview with Mueller’s team. “Put aside obstruction. The easiest charge in the world, much easier than obstruction, is false statements,” she said. “So this next step — taking Donald Trump’s statements — is going to be very important.”

Finally, Mueller could also bolster an obstruction finding’s legal and political fortunes if he finds evidence of an underlying crime — especially evidence connecting Trump to Russian interference in the 2016 election. If it happened, this would provide stronger evidence of Trump’s corrupt intent — that he was acting to cover up criminal acts — as well as making the whole investigation tougher to dismiss politically.

In the end, whether Mueller pursues charges or a report to Congress, he’s surely well aware that doing either against a sitting president would be a monumental act. He and Rosenstein will be under enormous pressure to ensure their recommendations are firmly grounded in law and precedent, or they’d reap the political whirlwind. A thin case wouldn’t fly. The question is really whether they can make an unimpeachable one.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Trump reportedly ordered Robert Mueller fired the month after he was appointed special counsel over the Russia investigation

Don McGahn

  • President Donald Trump reportedly ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to be fired, one month after dismissing FBI director James Comey.
  • White House counsel Don McGahn refused to direct the Justice Department to fire Mueller, and instead, threatened to resign.
  • Mueller is reportedly aware of the incident.

President Donald Trump reportedly ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to be fired, one month after he was appointed, following FBI director James Comey’s dismissal, according to four sources who were briefed on the incident, the New York Times reported Thursday.

The White House counsel reportedly balked at the notion and refused to direct the Justice Department to fire Mueller, and Trump was said to have eventually backed down from the decision, according to The Times.

White House counsel Don McGahn also reportedly threatened to resign after the request, arguing that Mueller’s firing would bring about consequences for the Trump administration.

Following The Times’s story, sources in a Washington Post report confirmed the incident; however, noted that McGahn did not directly threaten Trump with his resignation.

Mueller is reportedly aware of the incident after interviewing current and former senior White House officials, The Times continued.

Trump reportedly floated what he viewed as conflicts of interest behind his attempt to fire Mueller, according to The Times, including a dispute over fees that led Mueller to cancel his membership at the Trump National Golf Course in 2011. Mueller’s spokesman previously challenged that account, saying there was no dispute between the golf course and Mueller, according to The Washington Post.

Trump argued that Mueller would be biased in the Russia case because of his ties to WilmerHale, a law firm that represented Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. his son-in-law. Trump also expressed concern that Mueller, who was in the running to reprise his role as FBI director after Comey was fired, was not chosen for the job.

Trump and other senior White House officials, including counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, previously denied having discussed the possibility of firing Mueller.

Mueller is deep into an investigation of possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, and whether Trump obstructed justice as the investigation picked up steam in 2017.

Mueller’s team has interviewed several key members of Trump’s administration, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former chief of staff Reince Priebus; and has also charged Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his business partner and deputy campaign manager, Richard Gates.

On Wednesday, Trump appeared to be open to the possibility of testifying under oath to Mueller: “I am looking forward to it, actually,” Trump said.

SEE ALSO: A ‘red line’ the president ‘cannot cross’: Trump may be boxed in over his desire to fire Robert Mueller

DON’T MISS: Trump reportedly used similar tactics to get inside the head of another FBI official after he fired James Comey

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The biggest risks facing the world in 2018

Source link

[WATCH] 'Criminal Minds' Sneak Peek: Should JJ Be Worried About … – BuddyTV (blog)

The BAU investigates a series of D.C. homicides where cryptic messages are found inside the victim’s mouths in Criminal Minds season 13 episode 13. Also, should one of the team members be worried when Assistant Director Linda Barnes requests a meeting in “Cure”?

Criminal Minds Recap: A Man’s Need to Protect His Family Transforms Him into a Killer>>>

Watch the promo for “Cure”:

[embedded content]

Check out a sneak peek of the case:

[embedded content]

“For you are the disease and we are the cure,” the UnSub — or UnSubs, given the use of “we” — proclaims in a 911 call. Are they looking at a domestic terrorist group? An anarchist activist group, like Anonymous, only more violent?

The first goal of a terrorist group is to instill fear, but why did this group start by spilling the blood of Andrew Hirota? Nothing stands out about him in terms of victimology except for his job. Was he targeted because he symbolized some evil specter of Wall Street for the group?

Casting Bits: Drake Hogestyn to Guest Star on Criminal Minds>>>

Find out why an email has JJ distracted:

[embedded content]

JJ’s attention is on an email from Assistant Director Barnes requesting they meet when Reid approaches her at her desk. Is it about her covert work with the Defense Department? That’s what Barnes said, JJ says, but the last time she got an email like that from a person like Barnes, she was taken off the team. That can’t be what’s going on here (right?), so what does Barnes want?

Criminal Minds season 13 airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Criminal Minds Facebook page.

(Image/videos courtesy of CBS)

whichcriminalminds.jpg

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link