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Are Republicans keeping House Intelligence Committee unstaffed to slow Mueller investigation?

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House Republicans are refusing to name members to the House Intelligence Committee and, in the process, are effectively stalling special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal.

After pointing out that the arrest of former Trump adviser Roger Stone last week had been possible because the House Intelligence Committee provided a transcript of Stone’s testimony to the special counsel’s office, MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow explained on Friday that the committee could also provide transcripts for testimony from other current and former Trump officials. If it was revealed to Mueller that they had lied under oath, he could file criminal charges against those individuals and perhaps acquire more information about the president in the process.

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The catch, though, is that House Republicans have been slow to assign members to the committee.

“Here’s something to watch: All right, we’ve already got two people indicted for felonies for lying to House Intelligence, [Michael] Cohen and Stone,” Maddow told her viewers. “Mueller had to obtain both of their transcripts from the House Intelligence Committee before he could file those charges. Is House Intelligence sending Mueller anybody else’s transcripts? The thing to watch here is that, it turns out they actually can’t. They can’t until they have the intelligence committee up and running… and they can not do that until they have a full list of members for the intelligence committee. And so far Republicans are not naming any members for the Intelligence Committee.”

Maddow mentioned that House Republicans had already named members for 23 other committees, including less important committees like the Joint Committee on the Library, which makes it even more suspicious that a committee as significant as the Intelligence Committee has not been fully staffed yet. She also pointed out that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., would be able to send Mueller’s team the transcripts for all of the Trump-associated witnesses who appeared before them within 48 hours of when the committee became operational. Because Schiff has already said that sending these materials to Mueller would be his first order of business, it is likely that fully staffing the committee would greatly accelerate the Mueller probe.

Earlier in the program, Maddow also disclosed that a source close to Mueller’s investigation had told her team that the special counsel’s office had viewed “a number” of testimony transcripts from the Senate investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal. This further reinforced Maddow’s conclusion that important information may be available in the House transcripts.

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Stone’s arrest on Friday marked a crucial turning point for the Trump-Russia investigation, given Stone’s long and close relationship with the president. The political consultant was indicted on seven felony charges including lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee, obstructing justice and tampering with a witness. One paragraph of the indictment tellingly described how “after the July 22 release of stolen DNC emails by Organization 1 [WikiLeaks], a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 had regarding the Clinton campaign. STONE thereafter told the Trump campaign about potential future releases of damaging material by Organization 1.”


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Rep Mark Meadows has been the White House ‘sherpa’ on impeachment — and may be next chief of staff: report

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Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget who also works as the acting White House chief of staff, is struggling in his job as the impeachment inquiry moves to the public hearings phase.

"Mick Mulvaney is isolated, marginalized and growing more irrelevant to the West Wing staff he’s meant to lead during one of the most consequential moments of the Trump presidency," Politico reported.

Mulvaney is increasingly out of the loop on impeachment.

"Though the White House’s acting chief of staff is still participating in impeachment meetings and working out of the White House, the strategy is increasingly being driven by White House lawyers, legislative affairs team and top officials from the press and communications shops who spent the week setting up a rapid-response team and developing plans to push back on witnesses’ testimony in real-time," Politico reported. "It’s an awkward staff situation that mirrors so many moments of the Trump presidency: aides trying to proceed with business as usual while unusual dramas play out, and the very people expected to lead the effort instead witnessing jockeying by potential replacements."

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Republicans asked for a witness to undermine impeachment — but she wants to call their ‘bluff’

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Devin Nunes

Since Republicans have no substantive defense of President Donald Trump’s effort to extort political investigations out of the Ukrainian government, their big hope in protecting the White House from the impeachment inquiry relies on kicking up enough dirt and throwing up red herrings to distract voters and keep Republicans united.

As part of this effort, House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) proposed nine witnesses from the GOP side for the forthcoming impeachment hearings, many of whom aren’t relevant to the central questions of the inquiry.

One of those names is likely unknown the vast majority of the American public: Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa. But Politico revealed Tuesday with a new interview that Chalupa is actually willing to testify — and wants to call the Republicans’ “bluff.”

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Nikki Haley’s plan to defend Trump is accidentally backfiring — and cratering her own credibility

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Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations has launched an effort to become relevant again as she promotes her new book, and in the process, she’s dashing the hopes of those who believed she could be the reasonable Republican alternative to President Donald Trump. She’s embracing the president and casting herself as one of his brave defenders — but her effort is actually just diminishing them both.

Her big bombshell tease from the new book, “With All Due Respect,” is that former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — both chosen by Trump — approached her while she was serving as ambassador to “save the country” from the president.

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