The White House is doing whatever it takes to obstruct any investigation into a recent whistleblower complaint, but two former prosecutors have ideas for what Congress should do next.
This week it was revealed that President Donald Trump said something so concerning to a foreign leader that a senior intelligence officer filed a complaint. The officer then filed for whistleblower protections. A series of actions are outlined in the law for the next steps, but Trump and his appointed officials in the White House have worked to stymie the process the law requires.
During an MSNBC discussion Sunday, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance and former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks explained that the actions by the Trump leaders are clear violations of the law. The next step for Congress is that it’s time to go to court.
Wine-Banks explained that during Watergate she and other prosecutors were able to get expedited hearings, but in this case, that’s being blocked by Trump’s appointees.
“So, what the Democrats need to do is to focus their attention on one or two things and to really pursue those,” she suggested. “They can focus possibly on this latest episode, which, for some reason, seems to have more legs than most of the allegations against the president because this one shows that there’s a possibility that our national security is being threatened. This is an action that’s been taken by the president, not a candidate, but by the president for his own personal benefit. He’s used both his personal defense lawyer and the State Department to arrange the meetings for his personal defense lawyer. He has asked for something that is of benefit when he now well-knows that asking for foreign help is illegal. So, we need to take action.”
Wednesday, Congress will ask questions of the current acting director of national intelligence, who was legally ordered to turn over the whistleblower complaint to Congress within seven days of the inspector general opinion.
“No one, I don’t think, ever fully anticipated a president who would consider himself so firmly above the law that he wouldn’t engage in any sort of accommodation practice with Congress,” Vance began in her explanation of what Congress should do. “You know, in the past obviously presidents don’t like to be questioned, often don’t want to turn over information. So, there’s an accommodation process.”
She noted that the information could go first to the Gang of Eight, which are the top eight leaders in the House and Senate. Still, however, the Trump administration is obstructing.
“So, the House Intelligence Committee with the director of national intelligence testifying has an opportunity to ask him questions, I think, about substance perhaps in a closed setting. But in a public setting, they can ask about the process,” Vance continued. “They can ask him to clarify how does the whistle-blower process work within your area of responsibility, and what did the inspector general do here? And doesn’t the law say you’re obligated to send that to us in Congress? And why didn’t you? Why did you take it to the Justice Department? Was the White House involved? There are all of these process questions, and I think getting answers to them may be very illuminating right now.”
REVEALED: Far-right extremists are circulating plans to lock down Arizona streets if Trump is re-elected
On Saturday, The Arizona Republic reported that far-right paramilitary groups are circulating plans to lock down neighborhoods in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area in the event that President Donald Trump is re-elected, supposedly to police left-wing protesters.
"In Arizona, the head of the Prescott-area chapter of the Oath Keepers group, which recruits military and law enforcement officers, has warned residents to be prepared to protect their neighborhoods from feared extreme left-wing protesters who would be upset should President Donald Trump be re-elected," reported Richard Ruelas. "Part of that the pro-Trump group'splan involved closing streets and assigning monitors to control access, according to a planning document shared with The Republic."
Conservatives are hopping mad that their clumsy Hunter Biden smear is a flop
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
In 2016, Steve Bannon did an amazing job rolling out the Clinton Foundation nontroversy. He gave The New York Times and CNN early access to Peter Schweizer's book, Clinton Cash, and the outlets gave it mainstream credibility. Later, when the Uranium One story was thoroughly debunked, it didn't matter. The foundation remained under a pall of fuzzy suspicions.
GOP insiders give Pence little chance of ever being president after four years spent defending Trump: report
On Saturday, writing for The Washington Post, Ben Terris reported that many Republican consultants and insiders believe that Vice President Mike Pence's presidential ambitions are doomed, for several reasons.
"If you list the top 10 most likely people to have a strong shot at the nomination, maybe Mike Pence makes number nine or 10," said former Marco Rubio presidential campaign manager Terry Sullivan in the piece. "Maybe." Former Jeb Bush campaign spokesman Tim Miller agreed, saying, "I could maybe see him becoming the nominee, but president? I just don’t see it."