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Lawyer who drafted Nunes memo once brutally slapped by judge with ‘order of ineptitude’

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The congressional staffer who wrote the controversial memo for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was once benchslapped by a federal judge for “ineptitude.”

Kash Patel, a top Nunes staffer and senior counsel for the House Intelligence Committee, traveled to London last summer to question the former British spy who wrote the Trump-Russia dossier.

Patel and another Nunes staffer, Doug Presely, went on the research mission without notifying the U.S. embassy or British government.

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They also failed to inform the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) or GOP Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who took over the panel’s Russia probe after Nunes stepped aside over ethics concerns.

The pair, along with intel committee staffers Damon Nelson and Andrew House, wrote most of the memo the White House and House Republicans claims exposes FBI wrongdoing and justifies ending the special counsel investigation into Russian campaign interference.

Patel was issued a rare “order of ineptitude” in 2016 by U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, who faulted the lawyer’s handling of the prosecution of Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, who was accused of trying to support ISIS.

“If the pretentious lawyers from ‘main’ justice knew what they were doing — or had the humility to ask for help from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas,” Hughes wrote, “it would not have taken three days, seven telephone calls, three voicemail messages and one snippy electronic message for them to indirectly ask the court for assistance in ordering a transcript.”

The judge told the ABA Journal that he couldn’t discuss the order because the case was still pending, but Hughes thought his benchslap was clear.

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“If the order is not self-explanatory, I failed,” Hughes said.

The judge admonished Patel from the bench after he arrived in court, shortly after a flight, without proper attire.

“You’re not a member of the trial team,” Hughes said. “It’s been going on for a month or so and you haven’t been here, have you?”

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“And where is your tie?” the judge said. “Where is your suit?”

Hughes then demanded Patel’s passport to prove he’d just arrived from an overseas flight, and he asked why he had been chosen to participate if there were other prosecutors nearby in the U.S. Attorney’s office.

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“What is the utility to me and to the people of America to have you fly down here at their expense, eat at their expense and stay at their expense when there are plenty of capable people over there, in this room plus over there?” Hughes said. “You’re just one more nonessential employee from Washington.”

“You don’t add a bit of value, do you?” the judge added.

Other lawyers said they’d never an attorney slapped so hard from the bench.

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“It is just a slap in the face, is what it is,” South Texas law professor Geoffrey Corn told the Houston Chronicle. “When you are a judge, you get the prerogative of saying what you feel and putting it in a Ruling of Ineptitude. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The Washington Post described the spectacle as “a Texas-size bollocking over proper attire, wasting taxpayer money and spying for the bureaucrats in Washington.”


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GOP leader McCarthy swats aside Fiona Hill’s national security testimony debunking his Ukraine conspiracy theory

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On Thursday, during one of the final scheduled impeachment hearings this week, National Security Council official Fiona Hill demolished President Donald Trump's conspiracy theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, meddled in the 2016 election, calling it a "fictional narrative" and noting that it originated with the Kremlin itself.

But in conversation with reporters, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) flatly disbelieved Hill's testimony, and insisted he still held onto the theory.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told me that he was not going to lose any GOP votes during impeachment.

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Nicolle Wallace breaks down the impeachment moment ‘women will be talking about for years’

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MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace on Thursday highlighted one of the key moments from the impeachment inquiry testimony from Dr. Fiona Hill.

"Often when women show anger, it’s not fully appreciated. It’s often, you know, pushed onto emotional issues perhaps, or deflected on other people," Hill testified.

Here's Fiona Hill on why she thinks Sondland misunderstood her anger — and how women's anger is often viewed, more generally: "It's not fully appreciated. It's often pushed off onto emotional issues." pic.twitter.com/AsMR3A9InI

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Mulvaney lawyer denies Mick was ‘so heavily involved’ — despite his White House briefing room confession

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Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was referenced multiple times during Dr. Fiona Hill's testimony Thursday, but Mulvaney's lawyer said he doesn't understand why.

"We have no idea why Ms. Hill believes Mr. Mulvaney was so heavily involved, especially in light of Ambassador Sondland’s contrary testimony," said Fox News reporter Chad Pergram, quoting a statement from Robert Driscoll.

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram/status/1197633921065930753

As former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance pointed out, Hill recalled during her testimony how angry she was about Sondland not briefing her. She said that after hearing his testimony Wednesday and learning he was briefing Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, Mulvaney and President Donald Trump. She then decided he was correct-they had separate missions and Sondland was on a domestic political errand.

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