Lawyers for the Trump Justice Department stunned a federal judge Tuesday by arguing courts in 1974 were wrong to approve the release of Watergate documents to Congress during the impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon.
According to Politico‘s Darren Samuelsohn, Justice Department attorney Elizabeth Shapiro said during a hearing that if the Watergate case came before the court today, there would be a “different result.”
“Wow, okay,” responded U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell. “The department is taking an extraordinary position in this case.”
DEVELOPING Trump Justice Dept. asks U.S. judge to reject House Judiciary Committee request for Mueller grand jury materials, argues courts in 1974 wrongly gave Congress the Watergate grand jury 'roadmap' that led to President Nixon's impeachment.
— Spencer Hsu (@hsu_spencer) October 8, 2019
"Wow, O.K.," responded U.S. Chief District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington, D.C., sounding unpersuaded. "As I said, the department is taking an extraordinary position in this case."
— Spencer Hsu (@hsu_spencer) October 8, 2019
The exchange came during arguments on the House Judiciary Committee’s subpoena for the grand jury evidence behind former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia.
Observers on social media echoed Judge Howell’s stunned reaction to the Justice Department’s argument.
“You know you’re on the wrong side of history—and the law—when you’re arguing that Nixon turned over too many documents,” tweeted Chris Yu, fellow at the Miller Center.
Others piled on:
Literally relitigating Watergate! https://t.co/NZhYFQxKQV
— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) October 8, 2019
The DOJ has been diminished to arguing that Nixon’s impeachment inquiry was illegal in order to protect Trump. https://t.co/yxdyESuxEi
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) October 8, 2019
Shorter version: Trump admin argues in court that Nixon was treated SO unfairly. https://t.co/D3z4ZDiopb
— Susan Glasser (@sbg1) October 8, 2019
Politico reported that attorneys for the Justice Department said House Democrats “should be denied access to the Mueller grand jury materials, arguing that a congressional impeachment proceeding doesn’t meet the criteria to release them.”
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement following Tuesday’s hearing that he is “confident” in Democrats’ case.
“We are gratified at the seriousness with which the court addressed our petition for grand jury information relating to the House impeachment inquiry,” said Nadler. “We remain confident in our case and look forward to the resolution of this matter.”
Kellyanne Conway accused of violating Hatch Act at least 50 times this year — on Twitter alone
According to a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway has "surpassed 50 violations of the Hatch Act on Twitter alone this past year."
Explaining the numbers, the report states, "CREW’s report on Conway’s continued violations outlines five categories of tweets that violate the Hatch Act: attacking or mocking Democratic presidential candidates, attacking the Democratic Party, promoting President Trump's re-election, promoting the Republican Party, and attacking President Trump's political adversaries. Conway has multiple violations in each category," before noting that Twitter's Terms of Service indicates one of Trump's closest aides is in violation and should have her account suspended.
Turkey’s foreign minister bursts out laughing as he mocks Trump’s erratic tweets
Speaking to the BBC's HARDtalk this Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu scoffed at the Trump administration's threat of sanctions over his country's military operation in northeast Syria, saying that the threat is the result of erratic confused messaging that's not doing anything to help the situation.
Cavusoglu laughed and mocked Trump for his constant tweeting about various issues, including Turkey.
"Different voices, different positions are coming from the United States, because of the differences between the administration, the State Department, Pentagon, and this and that," he said.
GOP lawmaker hammers Trump for Ukraine server conspiracy theory: ‘Are we trying to exculpate Russia?’
Rep. Francis Rooney (R-OK) on Friday signaled that he was taking House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump far more seriously than many of his Republican colleagues.
During an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow, Rooney said he was very disturbed at the president's efforts to prove a debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine purportedly being behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, despite the fact that all evidence that has been uncovered points directly to Russia as the true culprit.
Harlow then asked him what he made about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) comment that "all roads" in the Ukraine scandal lead back to Russian President Vladimir Putin.