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Democrats' Fear of Durham About to Reach Panic Level


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Just now, EltonJohnson said:

 

 

Books by Dan Bongino and Greg  Jarret

 

1 minute ago, EltonJohnson said:

 

 

I am  not ever going to  read any  link to that  POS    The Guardian  ever.    They are wholly  partisan and corrupt.   The  are  a liberal  site who  ban  people  for their views.

I guess we're done then. Keep yur fingers in yur ears.

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This article bears complete reproduction:

 

Explainer: Barr investigates the investigators of Russian meddling

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-whistleblower-barr-explaine/explainer-barr-investigates-the-investigators-of-russian-meddling-idUSKBN1WN2FN

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr has been traveling internationally to help investigate President Donald Trump’s complaints that his campaign was improperly targeted by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies during the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats and some former law-enforcement officials say he is using the Justice Department to chase unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that could benefit Trump politically and undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Mueller’s investigation found that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump, and led to criminal convictions of several former campaign aides. But Mueller concluded that he did not have enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy with Russia.

Some potential witnesses say they will not cooperate voluntarily with the Barr probe, which was announced after several congressional committees, the Justice Department’s internal watchdog and another U.S. prosecutor launched their own reviews.

That could pose problems for John Durham, the prosecutor tapped by Barr to lead the effort.

WHAT IS BEING INVESTIGATED?

Durham is examining whether U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies acted properly when they examined possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which ultimately led to Mueller’s investigation.

Trump and some of his political allies say U.S. officials launched the probe to undermine his chances of winning the White House, though they have provided no evidence.

The effort began in July 2016, when the Australian government alerted U.S. officials that a Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, had boasted to an Australian diplomat that the Russian government had material that could be damaging to Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Several months later, the FBI secured a court order to monitor Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser who had traveled to Russia.

 
 

Papadopoulos was later prosecuted by Mueller’s office and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Page has not been charged.

WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE INVESTIGATION?

Barr has reached out to foreign governments for cooperation.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Barr and Durham traveled to Rome in September to meet with Italian intelligence officials about Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese university professor who, according to Mueller’s report, had contacts with Russian intelligence officials and told Papadopoulos that Russia had potentially damaging Clinton-related emails.

Papadopoulos has claimed that Mifsud was working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and accused the Italian prime minister at the time, Matteo Renzi, of trying to undermine Trump’s 2016 campaign. Renzi said he plans to sue for defamation.

Barr has also reached out to Australia, which has pledged to cooperate. He met with security agencies and government officials in the United Kingdom in July, according to sources familiar with the matter.

People in Ukraine have also been sharing information, according to the Justice Department, but as of two weeks ago, Barr had not spoken with government officials there.

Several former Justice Department officials say Barr’s involvement is inappropriate.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment about the investigation.

Durham’s probe seems to be moving at a more deliberate pace in Washington.

While the FBI says it has been cooperating, senior figures involved in the 2016 investigation have not yet heard from Durham’s team, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Among them: former FBI general counsel James A. Baker; former CIA Director John Brennan; former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; former FBI agent Peter Strzok; and David Laufman, a former senior Justice Department official.

There are no indications that this is an actual investigation,” said Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Clapper.

Carter Page, the initial target of the surveillance, also told Reuters he had not heard from Durham’s team, but said he had been providing the Justice Department with unsolicited information. Papadopoulos declined to comment.

Other key figures may not be willing to cooperate with the investigation.

Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer whose research linking Trump to Russia helped fuel the FBI’s initial investigation, does not intend to cooperate with Durham’s probe if asked, according to a source familiar with his views.

Current and former officials at the State Department also are unwilling to participate voluntarily, according to a congressional source.

That could create a hurdle for Durham, who according to the New York Times, was not given the authority to subpoena witnesses.

HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM THE OTHER TWO INVESTIGATIONS?

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog, Inspector General Michael Horowitz, has completed a separate, related investigation. His office is going through the process of removing classified information before it releases its findings to the public.

That probe, launched in 2018, focuses on whether the FBI followed proper procedures when it asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to monitor Page, the Trump adviser, in 2016.

Separately, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017 assigned Utah’s top federal prosecutor, John Huber, to review a wide range of issues that Republicans had raised, including the FBI’s conduct during investigations related to Clinton and Trump.

Huber has ceded some portions of his probe to Durham and is waiting for Horowitz to finish his review.

(This story has been corrected to fix characterization of emails)

Additional reporting by Brad Heath and Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Dan Grebler

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At Justice Department, multiple investigations focus on Trump’s pet peeves

By Del Quentin WilberStaff Writer 
Oct. 10, 2019
1:12 PM
WASHINGTON — 

The Justice Department is mired in 2016.

Three separate Justice Department investigations are examining controversies left over from the last presidential race -- the origins of the Russia probe, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, and court-approved surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor.

Atty. Gen. William Barr is closely supervising the case that is most politically fraught, involving the start of the Russia investigation. That has raised concerns that the nation’s top law enforcement officer is chasing conspiracy theories championed by President Trump, who has repeatedly challenged U.S. intelligence and law enforcement assessments that Moscow actively sought to assist his 2016 campaign.

Current and former Justice Department officials say they are worried that Barr’s involvement has hurt morale among career prosecutors at Justice and will erode confidence in federal law enforcement.

Barr drew heavy fire from Democrats, former federal prosecutors and legal experts over his handling of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report last spring, and more recently over a whistleblower’s complaint alleging that Trump sought to prod Ukraine’s president into investigating a political rival.

“Barr is making it seem like the Justice Department can be co-opted to do the president’s personal bidding,” said Mary McCord, a former top career prosecutor who oversaw the department’s national security division under President Obama and into the first months of the Trump administration. “It looks like he is trying to ferret out some weird conspiracy theories that have been floating around but don’t seem to have any legs.”

The reinvestigation of the Russia probe “just confers a patina of political partisanship to this whole undertaking,” said David Laufman, a former Justice Department counterintelligence prosecutor who helped oversee the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of State, and the early stages of the Russia inquiry.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the investigations. The attorney general’s defenders say he is being unfairly criticized and would not allow the department to be used for partisan purposes.

 
 

“Barr is interested in making sure investigations are completed without interference,” said Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor and a friend of Barr’s. “He protected the special counsel and now he is protecting the countervailing investigations. I’m very glad Barr is at the Justice Department. He is trying to protect it.”

The outcomes of the three investigations could shape public perceptions of the independence of the Justice Department and its ability to handle politically sensitive investigations.

Depending on their findings, the probes could quiet conspiracy theories or aid Trump’s efforts to undermine Mueller’s findings on Russia’s role. The conclusions also could bolster Trump’s argument that the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is a partisan witch hunt.

The department’s inspector general, who functions as an internal watchdog, is expected to release findings shortly into the origins of the Russia investigation and how prosecutors and FBI agents obtained secret court warrants to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign advisor.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has told Congress his team interviewed more than 100 witnesses and reviewed a million records, and he has submitted a draft report to Justice Department officials to review and declassify.

The FBI suspected Page might be a Russian agent and the Justice Department convinced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2016 to approve a then-secret warrant to eavesdrop on communications by the former campaign advisor.

Judges on the court renewed the warrants three times. The final approval was issued in June 2017, six months into the Trump administration. Page has not been charged with any crimes.

Republicans and Trump allies say the Justice Department did not adequately disclose to the FISA court its reliance on information from Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who compiled a dossier in Trump in 2016 that was ultimately funded by Democrats.

 

A spokesman for Horowitz did not return emails seeking comment on the office’s investigation or when its conclusions might be released.

Former Justice Department officials said they have confidence Horowitz is conducting a nonpartisan probe. They suspect the report will fault how the Justice Department and FBI handled Steele, and how they presented his information to the court.

Barr apparently did not believe the inspector general’s investigation was sufficient. Not long after taking office in February, he tapped John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to lead a separate inquiry into the Russia investigation.

Durham, who led several high-profile investigations in his career, appears to be focusing on the work of U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies, according to Justice Department officials.

Barr, who served as attorney general and deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration, has been openly critical of Mueller’s investigation.

In 2017, before he took over the Justice Department, Barr wrote that he did not believe it had adequately examined government activities involving the Trump campaign. The next year, he wrote a memo to Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein attacking a legal theory that Mueller may have been pursuing.

After Mueller turned in his report, Barr released a four-page letter and then held an unusual news conference in which, critics said, he repeatedly mischaracterized its findings to put the president in a better light.

Mueller successfully prosecuted Trump’s campaign chairman, deputy campaign chairman, first national security advisor and a former campaign advisor on charges ranging from tax fraud to lying to investigators. He also charged 25 Russian military intelligence operatives and others on charges of stealing Democratic Party emails and sowing disinformation on social media.

 

Mueller ultimately concluded that the Trump campaign welcomed Russian help in the 2016 campaign but did not engage in a criminal conspiracy with the Kremlin.

Barr and Durham appear to be focusing, at least in part, on a complicated theory propagated by right-wing commentators who allege that U.S. intelligence agencies and foreign governments conspired to plant evidence to stymie Trump’s ascent to the White House.

They question whether a British-based Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, who helped kick-start the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the election, was secretly backed by U.S. intelligence agencies. In his report, Mueller wrote that Mifsud had “connections to Russia” and former FBI officials have described him as a Russian agent.

Mueller determined that Mifsud told a low-level Trump campaign advisor, George Papadopoulos, that Russia had dirt on Clinton. Papadopoulos subsequently told Australia’s ambassador in London that Russia was going to help the Trump campaign, and the envoy passed the information to the FBI.

The tip ended up launching a counterintelligence probe that ultimately became the Mueller investigation.

Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents, admitted in federal court that he was aware that Mifsud “had substantial connections to Russian government officials.”

Papadopoulos now says he believes Mifsud was working for Italian intelligence and had been “weaponized” by the CIA. Trump defenders have suggested Mifsud was part of a “deep state” plot targeting the presidential candidate.

In recent trips overseas, Barr pressed top British and Italian law enforcement officials to help Durham in his investigation, according to Justice Department officials. At Barr’s request, the officials said, Trump also asked Australian leaders to assist in the investigation.

The Washington Post reported that Italian intelligence officials told Barr they had not been involved in any conspiracy involving the professor, who dropped from sight two years ago.

Less is known about a long-running investigation led by John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah. Then-Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions tasked Huber in November 2017 with exploring the origins of the Russia investigation as well as questions raised by conservatives about how the FBI handled investigations of Clinton’s use of a private email server and of the Clinton Foundation.

Justice Department officials have said Durham took over Huber’s work on the Russia probe. A department spokeswoman declined to discuss aspects of Huber’s inquiry that involve Clinton.

A former top Justice Department official from the George W. Bush administration said the focus on matters related to 2016, particularly those pressed by the president and his allies, has taken a toll at the Justice Department.

“Morale is in the tank,” the former official said.

https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-10-10/multiple-justice-dept-investigations-trump-pet-peeves

 

The author(s) are forgetting this though: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/13/british-spies-first-to-spot-trump-team-links-russia

lol

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57 minutes ago, slideman said:

Three separate Justice Department investigations are examining controversies left over from the last presidential race -- the origins of the Russia probe, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, and court-approved surveillance of a former Trump campaign advisor.

Barr is coming, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. 

The first report is scheduled to be released next Friday.

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8 minutes ago, Golfboy said:

Barr is coming, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it. 

The first report is scheduled to be released next Friday.

Barr is scared out of his wits lol

Why do you think he indicted Rudy's henchmen? He is accused in the Ukraine business and scared to death of what the Brits are going to do. He's got the Australians all pissed off too.

He knows Trump is going down. The question is whether he takes Barr down with him.

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4 minutes ago, slideman said:

Barr under fire as Trump blurs lines between lawyer, Attorney-General

Sorry, under fire from whom, the people he's getting read to put in jail?

Just imagine if he called himself the President's "wing man". 

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Justice Department hasn’t interviewed key Russia probe witnesses

The DOJ’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe seems to be focusing on the intelligence community’s links with foreign sources.

For months, President Donald Trump’s allies have been raising expectations for prosecutor John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, predicting that he will uncover a deep state plot to stage a “coup” against the president.

Durham “is looking at putting people in jail,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity in July. Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said Durham is about to unleash “a pile of evidence” that will “debunk” everything House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff has proclaimed for “the last two years.”

“Stuff is going to hit the fan” when Durham is done “investigating the investigators,” said Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera. “If indictments are warranted, U.S. Attorney John Durham will be bringing them,” wrote conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt.

But in the five months since Attorney General Bill Barr tapped Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia probe, and whether any inappropriate “spying” occurred on members of the Trump campaign, he has not requested interviews with any of the FBI or DOJ employees who were directly involved in, or knew about, the opening of the Russia investigation in 2016, according to people familiar with the matter.

https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/05/justice-department-russia-probe-028545

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21 hours ago, harryramar said:

impeachment is unconstitutional saith your lord and master and you suck it up. wtf are you drinking?????

trumps lawyers are all a bunch of crooks. one is in prison, one may be headed there with some luck, and others tried to bury the evidence of trumps extortion . 

you are a silly old person.

 

 

 

 

Impeachment is constitutional unless a political party that has lost interest in the American system of law (government by the people) is rapidly changing rules and

inventing false charges for political purposes etc.

 

No basis for inquiry, no due process, democrats are trying to switch over to a full blown socialist monarchy form of law.

 

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It is transparent that you have resorted to such >>>>>>unprecedented and unconstitutional procedures<<<<<<<< because you know that a fair process would expose the lack of any basis for your inquiry. Your current effort is founded on a completely appropriate call on July 25, 2019, between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine, >>>>>>Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an “impeachment inquiry” based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call.

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Pat A. Cipollone Counsel to the President letter acquired from NYT web site by reader chongo

 

 

Dear Madam Speaker and Messrs. Chairmen:

I write on behalf of President Donald J. Trump in response to your numerous, legally unsupported demands made as part of what you have labeled — contrary to the Constitution of the United States and all past bipartisan precedent — as an “impeachment inquiry.” As you know, you have designed and implemented your inquiry in a manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process.

For example, you have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans. You have conducted your proceedings in secret. You have violated civil liberties and the separation of powers by threatening Executive Branch officials, claiming that you will seek to punish those who exercise fundamental constitutional rights and prerogatives. All of this violates the Constitution, the rule of law, and every past precedent. Never before in our history has the House of Representatives — under the control of either political party — taken the American people down the dangerous path you seem determined to pursue.

Put simply, you seek to overturn the results of the 2016 election and deprive the American people of the President they have freely chosen. Many Democrats now apparently view impeachment not only as a means to undo the democratic results of the last election, but as a strategy to influence the next election, which is barely more than a year away. As one member of Congress explained, he is "concerned that if we don't impeach the President, he will get reelected.”

Your highly partisan and unconstitutional effort threatens grave and lasting damage to our democratic institutions, to our system of free elections, and to the American people.

Interview with Rep. Al Green, MSNBC (May 5, 2019).

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 2

For his part, President Trump took the unprecedented step of providing the public transparency by declassifying and releasing the record of his call with President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. The record clearly established that the call was completely appropriate and that there is no basis for your inquiry. The fact that there was nothing wrong with the call was also powerfully confirmed by Chairman Schiff’s decision to create a false version of the call and read it to the American people at a congressional hearing, without disclosing that he was simply making it all up.

In addition, information has recently come to light that the whistleblower had contact with Chairman Schiff’s office before filing the complaint. His initial denial of such contact caused The Washington Post to conclude that Chairman Schiff“clearly made a statement that was false."

In any event, the American people understand that Chairman Schiff cannot covertly assist with the submission of a complaint, mislead the public about his involvement, read a counterfeit version of the call to the American people, and then pretend to sit in judgment as a neutral “investigator.”

For these reasons, President Trump and his Administration reject your baseless, unconstitutional efforts to overturn the democratic process. Your unprecedented actions have left the President with no choice. In order to fulfill his duties to the American people, the Constitution, the Executive Branch, and all future occupants of the Office of the Presidency, President Trump and his Administration cannot participate in your partisan and unconstitutional inquiry under these circumstances.

I. Your “Inquiry” Is Constitutionally Invalid and Violates Basic Due Process Rights and the Separation of Powers.

Your inquiry is constitutionally invalid and a violation of due process. In the history of our Nation, the House of Representatives has never attempted to launch an impeachment inquiry against the President without a majority of the House taking political accountability for that decision by voting to authorize such a dramatic constitutional step. Here, House leadership claims to have initiated the gravest inter-branch conflict contemplated under our Constitution by means of nothing more than a press conference at which the Speaker of the House simply announced an “official impeachment inquiry.”

Your contrived process is unprecedented in the

Glenn Kessler, Schiff’s False Claim His Committee Had Not Spoken to the Whistleblower, Wash. Post (Oct. 4, 2019).

Press Release, Nancy Pelosi, Pelosi Remarks Announcing Impeachment Inquiry (Sept. 24, 2019).

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 3

history of the Nation,
and lacks the necessary authorization for a valid impeachment proceeding.The Committees’ inquiry also suffers from a separate, fatal defect. Despite Speaker Pelosi’s commitment to “treat the President with fairness,” the Committees have not established any procedures affording the President even the most basic protections demanded by due process under the Constitution and by fundamental fairness. Chairman Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee has expressly acknowledged, at least when the President was a member of his own party, that “[t]he power of impeachment ... demands a rigorous level of due process,” and that in this context “due process mean ... the right to be informed of the law, of the charges against you, the right to confront the witnesses against you, to call your own witnesses, and to have the assistance of counsel."

All of these procedures have been abandoned here.

These due process rights are not a matter of discretion for the Committees to dispense with at will. To the contrary, they are constitutional requirements. The Supreme Court has recognized that due process protections apply to all congressional investigations.
Indeed, it has been recognized that the Due Process Clause applies to impeachment proceedings. And precedent for the rights to cross-examine witnesses, call witnesses, and present evidence dates back nearly 150 years.

Yet the Committees have decided to deny the President these elementary rights and protections that form the basis of the American justice system and are protected by the Constitution. No citizen — including the President — should be treated this unfairly.

Since the Founding of the Republic, under unbroken practice, the House has never undertaken the solemn responsibility of an impeachment inquiry directed at the President without first adopting a resolution authorizing a committee to begin the inquiry. The inquiries into the impeachments of Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton proceeded in multiple phases, each authorized by a separate House resolution. See, e.g., H.R. Res. 581, 105th Cong. (1998); H.R. Res. 525, 105th Cong. (1998); III Hinds’ Precedents §§ 2400-02, 2408, 24 12. And before the Judiciary Committee initiated an impeachment inquiry into President Richard Nixon, the Committee’s chairman rightfully recognized that “a[n] [inquiry] resolution has always been passed by the House” and “is a necessary step.” III Deschler’s Precedents ch. 14, § 15.2. The House thien satisfied that requirement by adopting H.R. Res. 803, 93rd Cong. (1974).

Chairman Nadler has recognized the importance of taking a vote in the House before beginning a presidential impeachment inquiry. At the outset of the Clinton impeachment inquiry — where a floor vote was held — he argued that even limiting the time for debate before that vote was improper and that “an hour debate on this momentous decision is an insult to the American people and another sign that this is not going to be fair.” 144 Cong. Rec. H10018 (daily ed. Oct. 8, 1998) (statement of Rep. Jerrold Nadler). Here, the House has dispensed with any vote and any debate at all.

Press Release, Nancy Pelosi, Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Today (Oct. 2, 2019).

Examining the Allegations of Misconduct Against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen (Part II): Hearing Before the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 114th Cong. 3 (2016) (statement of Rep. Jerrold Nadler); Background and History of Impeachment: Hearing Before the Subcommi. on the Constitution of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, 105th Cong. 17 (1998) (statement of Rep. Jerrold Nadler).

See, e.g., Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, 188 (1957); Quinn v. United States, 349 U.S. 155, 161 (1955).

See Hastings v. United States, 802 F. Supp. 490, 504 (D.D.C. 1992), vacated on other grounds by, Hastings v. United States, 988 F.2d 1280 (D.C. Cir. 1993).

See, e.g., III Hinds’ Precedents § 2445.

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 4

To comply with the Constitution’s demands, appropriate procedures would include — at a minimum — the right to see all evidence, to present evidence, to call witnesses, to have counsel present at all hearings, to cross-examine all witnesses, to make objections relating to the examination of witnesses or the admissibility of testimony and evidence, and to respond to evidence and testimony. Likewise, the Committees must provide for the disclosure of all evidence favorable to the President and all evidence bearing on the credibility of witnesses called to testify in the inquiry. The Committees’ current procedures provide none of these basic constitutional rights.

In addition, the House has not provided the Committees’ Ranking Members with the authority to issue subpoenas. The right of the minority to issue subpoenas subject to the same rules as the majority — has been the standard, bipartisan practice in all recent resolutions authorizing presidential impeachment inquiries.

The House’s failure to provide co-equal subpoena power in this case ensures that any inquiry will be nothing more than a one-sided effort by House Democrats to gather information favorable to their views and to selectively release it as only they determine, The House's utter disregard for the established procedural safeguards followed in past impeachment inquiries shows that the current proceedings are nothing more than an unconstitutional exercise in political theater.

As if denying the President basic procedural protections were not enough, the Committees have also resorted to threats and intimidation against potential Executive Branch witnesses. Threats by the Committees against Executive Branch witnesses who assert common and longstanding rights destroy the integrity of the process and brazenly violate fundamental due process. In letters to State Department employees, the Committees have ominously threatened — without any legal basis and before the Committees even issued a subpoena — that “[a]ny failure to appear” in response to a mere letter request for a deposition “shall constitute evidence of obstruction,”
Worse, the Committees have broadly threatened that if State Department officials attempt to insist upon the right for the Department to have an agency lawyer present at depositions to protect legitimate Executive Branch confidentiality interests — or apparently if they make any effort to protect those confidentiality interests at all — these officials will have their salaries withheld.

The suggestion that it would somehow be problematic for anyone to raise long- established Executive Branch confidentiality interests and privileges in response to a request for a deposition is legally unfounded. Not surprisingly, the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice has made clear on multiple occasions that employees of the Executive Branch who have been instructed not to appear or not to provide particular testimony before Congress based on privileges or immunities of the Executive Branch cannot be punished for

H.R. Res, 581, 105th Cong. (1998); H.R. Res. 803, 93rd Cong. (1974).

Letter from Eliot L. Engel, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, et al., to George P. Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State 1 (Sept. 27, 2019).

See Letter from Eliot L. Engel, Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, et al., to John J. Sullivan, Deputy Secretary of State 2-3 (Oct. 1, 2019).

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 5

following such instructions.
Current and former State Department officials are duty bound to protect the confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch, and the Office of Legal Counsel has also recognized that it is unconstitutional to exclude agency counsel from participating in congressional depositions. In addition, any attempt to withhold an official’s salary for the assertion of such interests would be unprecedented and unconstitutional.

The Committees assertions on these points amount to nothing more than strong-arın tactics designed to rush proceedings without any regard for due process and the rights of individuals and of the Executive Branch. Threats aimed at intimidating individuals who assert these basic rights are attacks on civil liberties that should profoundly concern all Americans.

II. The Invalid “Impeachment Inquiry” Plainly Seeks To Reverse the Election of 2016 and To Influence the Election of 2020.

The effort to impeach President Trump — without regard to any evidence of his actions in office — is a naked political strategy that began the day he was inaugurated, and perhaps even before.

In fact, your transparent rush to judgment, lack of democratically accountable authorization, and violation of basic rights in the current proceedings make clear the illegitimate, partisan purpose of this purported “impeachment inquiry.” The Founders, however, did not create the extraordinary mechanism of impeachment so it could be used by a political party that feared for its prospects against the sitting President in the next election. The decision as to who will be elected President in 2020 should rest with the people of the United States, exactly where the Constitution places it.

Democrats themselves used to recognize the dire implications of impeachment for the Nation. For example, in the past, Chairman Nadler has explained:

The effect of impeachment is to overturn the popular will of the voters. We must not overturn an election and remove a President from office except to defend our system of government or our constitutional liberties against a dire threat, and we must not do so without an overwhelming consensus of the American people. There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment supported by one of our major political parties and opposed by another. Such an impeachment will produce divisiveness and bitterness in our

See, e.g., Testimonial Immunity Before Congress of the Former Counsel to the President, 43 Op. O.L.C. _, *19 (May 20, 2019); Prosecution for Contempt of Congress of an Executive Branch Official Who Has Asserted a Claim of Executive Privilege, 8 Op. O.L.C. 101, 102, 140 (1984) (“The Executive, however, must be free from the threat of criminal prosecution if its right to assert executive privilege is to have any practical substance.")

Attempted Exclusion of Agency Counsel from Congressional Depositions of Agency Employees, 43 Op. O.L.C. _,*1-2 (May 23, 2019).

See President Donald J. Trump, Statement by the President on Signing the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Feb. 15, 2019); Authority of Agency Officials To Prohibit Employees From Providing Information to Congress, 28 Op. O.L.C, 79, 80 (2004).

See Matea Gold, The Campaign To Impeach President Trump Has Begun, Wash. Post (Jan. 21, 2017) (“At the moment the new commander in chief was sworn in, a campaign to build public support for his impeachment went live ....”).

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 6

politics for years to come, and will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.
Unfortunately, the President’s political opponents now seem eager to transform impeachment from an extraordinary remedy that should rarely be contemplated into a conventional political weapon to be deployed for partisan gain. These actions are a far cry from what our Founders envisioned when they vested Congress with the “important trust” of considering impeachment. Precisely because it nullifies the outcome of the democratic process, impeachment of the President is fraught with the risk of deepening divisions in the country and creating long-lasting rifts in the body politic.

Unfortunately, you are now playing out exactly the partisan rush to judgment that the Founders so strongly warned against. The American people deserve much better than this.

III. There Is No Legitimate Basis for Your “Impeachment Inquiry”; Instead, the Committees’ Actions Raise Serious Questions.

It is transparent that you have resorted to such unprecedented and unconstitutional procedures because you know that a fair process would expose the lack of any basis for your inquiry. Your current effort is founded on a completely appropriate call on July 25, 2019, between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine, Without waiting to see what was actually said on the call, a press conference was held announcing an “impeachment inquiry” based on falsehoods and misinformation about the call.
To rebut those falsehoods, and to provide transparency to the American people, President Trump secured agreement from the Government of Ukraine and took the extraordinary step of declassifying and publicly releasing the record of the call. That record clearly established that the call was completely appropriate, that the President did nothing wrong, and that there is no basis for an impeachment inquiry. At a joint press conference shortly after the call’s public release, President Zelenskyy agreed that the call was appropriate, In addition, the Department of Justice announced that officials there had reviewed the call after a referral for an alleged campaign finance law violation and found no such violation.Perhaps the best evidence that there was no wrongdoing on the call is the fact that, after the actual record of the call was released, Chairman Schiff chose to concoct a false version of the call and to read his made-up transcript to the American people at a public hearing.

This

144 Cong. Rec. HI 1786 (daily ed. Dec. 18, 1998) (statement of Rep. Jerrold Nadler).

The Federalist No. 65 (Alexander Hamilton).

See id.

Press Release, Nancy Pelosi, Pelosi Remarks Announcing Impeachment Inquiry (Sept. 24, 2019).

President Trump Meeting with Ukrainian President, C-SPAN (Sept. 25, 2019).

Statement of Kerri Kupec, Director, Office of Public Affairs, Dept. of Justice (Sept. 25, 2019) (“[T]he Department’s Criminal Division reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted.”).

See Whistleblower Disclosure: Hearing Before the H. Select Comm. on Intel., 116th Cong. (Sept. 26, 2019) (statement of Rep. Adam Schiff).

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 7

powerfully confirms there is no issue with the actual call. Otherwise, why would Chairman Schiff feel the need to make up his own version? The Chairman’s action only further undermines the public’s confidence in the fairness of any inquiry before his Committee.

The real problem, as we are now learning, is that Chairman Schiff’s office, and perhaps others — despite initial denials — were involved in advising the whistleblower before the complaint was filed. Initially, when asked on national television about interactions with the whistleblower, Chairman Schiff unequivocally stated that “[w]e have not spoken directly with the whistleblower. We would like to.”
Now, however, it has been reported that the whistleblower approached the House Intelligence Committee with information — and received guidance from the Committee — before filing a complaint with the Inspector General. As a result, The Washington Post concluded that Chairman Schiff “clearly made a statement that was false.”

Anyone who was involved in the preparation or submission of the whistleblower’s complaint cannot possibly act as a fair and impartial judge in the same matter — particularly after misleading the American people about his involvement.

All of this raises serious questions that must be investigated. However, the Committees are preventing anyone, including the minority, from looking into these critically important matters. At the very least, Chairman Schiff must immediately make available all documents relating to these issues. After all, the American people have a right to know about the Committees’ own actions with respect to these matters.

Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it. Because participating in this inquiry under the current unconstitutional posture would inflict lasting institutional harm on the Executive Branch and lasting damage to the separation of powers, you have left the President no choice. Consistent with the duties of the President of the United States, and in particular his obligation to preserve the rights of future occupants of his office, President Trump cannot permit his Administration to participate in this partisan inquiry under these circumstances.

Your recent letter to the Acting White House Chief of Staff argues that “[e]ven if an impeachment inquiry were not underway,” the Oversight Committee may seek this information

Interview with Chairman Adain Schiff, MSNBC (Sept. 17, 2019).

Julian Barnes, et al., Schiff Got Early Account of Accusations as Whistle-Blower’s Concerns Grew, N.Y. Times (Oct. 2, 2019).

Glenn Kessler, Schiff’s False Claim His Committee Had Not Spoken to the Whistleblower, Wash. Post (Oct. 4, 2019).

See Original Document

Speaker Pelosi, and Chairmen Engel, Schiff, and Cummings
    Page 8

as a matter of the established oversight process.
Respectfully, the Committees cannot have it both ways. The letter comes from the Chairmen of three different Committees, it transmits a subpoena “[p]ursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry,” it recites that the documents will “be collected as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry,” and it asserts that the documents will be “shared among the Committees, as well as with the Committee on the Judiciary as appropriate.”

The letter is in no way directed at collecting information in aid of legislation, and you simply cannot expect to rely on oversight authority to gather information for an unauthorized impeachment inquiry that conflicts with all historical precedent and rides roughshod over due process and the separation of powers. If the Committees wish to return to the regular order of oversight requests, we stand ready to engage in that process as we have in the past, in a manner consistent with well-established bipartisan constitutional protections and a respect for the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution.

For the foregoing reasons, the President cannot allow your constitutionally illegitimate proceedings to distract him and those in the Executive Branch from their work on behalf of the American people. The President has a country to lead. The American people elected him to do this job, and he remains focused on fulfilling his promises to the American people. He has important work that he must continue on their behalf, both at home and around the world, including continuing strong economic growth, extending historically low levels of unemployment, negotiating trade deals, fixing our broken immigration system, lowering prescription drug prices, and addressing mass shooting violence. We hope that, in light of the many deficiencies we have identified in your proceedings, you will abandon the current invalid efforts to pursue an impeachment inquiry and join the President in focusing on the many important goals that matter to the American people.

Sincerely,
    Pat A. Cipollone
    Counsel to the President

 

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