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The White House left a secret subtext in the Nunes memo that they could later use to undermine Congress

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The White House included a portion meant to undermine Congressional oversight when releasing the House Intelligence Committee’s controversial memo alleging abuses at the FBI and Justice Department.

“Public release of classified information by unilateral action of the Legislative Branch is extremely rare and raises significant separation of powers concerns,” White House counsel Don McGahn wrote in the cover letter addressed to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) when declassifying the memo last Friday.

As Slate reported, this portion “buried” within McGahn’s cover letter acts as a means to undermine Congress’ ability to release information without the president, and suggests “the House or Senate’s release of classified information to the public may happen only at the sufferance of the executive branch.”

Slate’s Daniel Schuman broke McGahn’s argument into four assertions: that the executive branch “has primacy on national security matters” and is tasked with providing classified information to Congress, that “Congress’ power to release classified information is somehow weak” and that the White House can override Congress when releasing classified information like the contents of Nunes’ memo.

“This is a misreading of the law and a misunderstanding of Congress’ role as a co-equal branch of government with oversight powers over the executive,” Schuman wrote.

“When read together, these assertions could be viewed as an attempt to pre-empt further releases of information by Congress, either by claiming such efforts are not legitimate (or somehow are unconstitutional) or by refusing to provide information demanded by Congress,” he continued. “These assertions are flat out wrong.”

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Schuman went on to argue that Congress and the executive branch “share responsibility on national security matters.” Congress’ power to release classified information separate from the White House was protected after Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), then the chairman of the Senate Public Works Committee, made a single-man motion to read the Pentagon Papers on the Senate floor in 1971. When he and his staff were tried before a grand jury for releasing that information, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 that they were protected by the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution.

Read Schuman’s entire analysis of McGahn’s “sneaky legal ploy” via Slate.

 

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Trump’s ‘no collusion’ lie is finally falling apart — but will Americans actually notice?

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Although the Mueller Report has been in the public domain for nearly two months, there’s still a ton of confusion and disinformation around it. The confusion is specifically due to two things: Very few voters have actually read it, and Donald Trump is delighted to exploit that fact. It doesn’t help that Robert Mueller has been more than a little cryptic about his findings — refusing to answer questions or to appear for congressional testimony to clear the air.

Consequently, the president and his Red Hat loyalists continue to repeat the “NO COLLUSION!' lie with very little push-back. The all-caps falsehood gains momentum every time Trump repeats it. Likewise, Bill Barr’s March 24 letter and his subsequent public remarks erroneously confirmed Trump’s lie before anyone, including Congress, was allowed to actually read the report.

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Trump calls himself a rock star as he tries to drum up interest in his Orlando rally: ‘Going to be wild!’

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President Donald Trump compared himself to a rock star ahead of his campaign kickoff rally in Orlando, where hundreds of supporters camped out a day ahead of the Florida event.

Supporters waited in line more than 40 hours before Tuesday night's rally at the Amway Center, and the president claimed that showed he was as popular as musicians who pack arenas for rock concerts.

"The Fake News doesn’t report it," Trump tweeted, "but Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now! People have never seen anything like it (unless you play a guitar). Going to be wild - See you later!"

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Republican lawmakers ask judge to destroy smoking gun documents proving GOP’s white supremacy

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Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.

"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."

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