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Tag: house judiciary committee

Supreme Court to Consider Dispute Over Secret Grand Jury Materials from Mueller Probe

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The dispute between House Democrats and the Trump administration over releasing secret grand jury materials from Robert Mueller’s investigation will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court on Thursday said it will take up the case as the House Judiciary Committee seeks secret grand jury information, CBS News reports.

But it’s unlikely court will make a decision before the November election.

The case centers around the August 2019 release of Mueller’s report, which was heavily redacted.

The Justice Department has refused to give congressional leaders access to the grand jury documents in the case.

Democrats say they need the information to determine whether the president committed impeachable offenses.

Former Roger Stone Prosecutor to Testify about ‘Significant Pressure’ to go easy on Roger Stone

GOP trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A federal prosecutor is expected to tell lawmakers on Wednesday that he “faced political influence” to go easy on Roger Stone, a GOP trickster and longtime Trump ally who was convicted of lying to Congress during its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I have never seen political influence play a role in prosecutorial decision making, with one exception: United States v. Roger Stone,” federal prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky said in testimony prepared for Wednesday’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, NPR reports.

Zelinsky is one of two whistleblowers who are expected to testify at the hearing and one of four prosecutors who withdraw from the Stone case after the Justice Department intervened and urged the judge to impose a lighter sentence.

According to his written statement, Zelinsky said the person in charge of the U.S. attorney’s office at the time told him “that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President.'”

Zelinsky said he felt “significant pressure … to water down and in some cases outright distort the events that transpired in (Stone’s) trial and the criminal conduct that gave rise to his conviction.”

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Fix Flaws Found in FISA Court Applications

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged Wednesday to fix the flaws found in the bureau’s applications for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray addressed findings by Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to FISA Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz, however, dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable. Period,” Wray said. “They don’t reflect who the FBI is as an institution.”

Wray told lawmakers that the bureau had changed policies and procedures to clean up the process. That includes more training for FBI officials who apply for the warrants.

Saying the warrants are important to the FBI’s mission, Wray asked lawmakers to renew the FISA authorities, which are set to expire in March.

“I can assure members of this committee we need those FISA authorities,” Wray said. “We need the agility to stay ahead of the threat or we’re all going to regret it.”

FBI Director Wray to Testify before Congressional Committee about Bureau ‘Oversight’

FBI Director Christopher Wray.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray will take the hot seat Wednesday as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about flaws found in the bureau’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The hearing, which is set for 10 a.m., will examine oversight issues, including findings by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz also dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

How to Watch Mueller’s Long-Awaited Testimony Before Congress

Robert S. Mueller III testifies before Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited testimony before Congress begins Wednesday morning and includes two separate hearings.

Mueller’s first appearance begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of the House Judiciary Committee. That will be followed by another two hours before the House Intelligence Committee.

Mueller will be accompanied by Aaron Zebley, a longtime aide granted permission to assist Mueller with questions.

Most major broadcast networks will carry the hearings live. Even Fox News, despite earlier reports, will be airing the testimony. Also covering the hearings are C-SPAN, CNN, and MSNBC, both on television and online.

Mueller will be given a 30-minute break after the three-hour House Judiciary Committee meeting that begins at 8:30 a.m.

As predicted, President Trump called the hearings “a rigged Witch Hunt.”

FBI Training Academy Under Fire over ‘Disturbing’ Claims of Gender Discrimination

FBI academy, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

House Judiciary Committee leaders are requesting the Justice Department’s internal watchdog investigate the FBI’s training academy after 16 women accused the bureau of gender discrimination.

The women claimed in a lawsuit filed last month that they were disproportionately disciplined and were subjected to a male-biased review process and overt sexual discrimination at the academy in Quantico, Va.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and ranking Republican Douglas Collins, R-Ga., sent a letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, saying the allegations were “disturbing” and “require an investigation into the FBI’s training and selection practices for new agents,” The Washington Post reports.

“If true, such conduct cannot be tolerated,” the lawmakers wrote. “The selection process employed by the FBI must be free from discrimination on the basis of factors such as gender and race, and individuals hired to these important positions should reflect the diversity of our country.”

Horowitz’s office declined to comment.

According to the lawsuit, the women were discharged, but seven still work at the FBI in other capacities.

“Because of the FBI’s history of tolerating the Good Old Boy Network, the subjective evaluations by these male instructors result in female trainees being written up and subsequently dismissed at a rate significantly and disproportionately higher than their male counterparts,” the lawsuit alleges.

Here’s What House Democrats Can Do Next After Panel Approved Contempt for Barr

AG William Barr.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee approved a contempt resolution Wednesday after Attorney General William Barr refused to disclose Robert Mueller’s full, unredacted report, but that’s only the first step.

What options do Democrats have left?

The committee on Wednesday essentially recommended that the full House hold Bar in contempt of Congress, and that seems more likely as Democrats grow frustrated with the attorney general’s continued insistence that he will not disclose the unredacted report. President Trump also invoked executive privilege over the report.

If the full House approves the contempt resolution and the records still aren’t turned over, Democrats could then ask the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia or the Justice Department to charge Barr for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena. They also could ask a court to enforce the subpoena, or they have the authority to call on their sergeant at arms to arrest Barr.

The House and Senate have the authority to seek jail time for people who violate congressional orders, but that hasn’t happened in nearly a century, The Atlantic reports. Then again, these aren’t ordinary times.

“Its day in the sun is coming,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told the Atlantic.

“This is not some peripheral schoolyard skirmish,” Raskin added. “This goes right to the heart of our ability to do our work as Congress of the United States.”

If Democrats don’t seek to hold Barr accountable, they could begin impeachment hearings, but that option is becoming less likely.

Whatever the case, Democrats made the first step Wednesday. What happens next is anyone’s guess.

House Committee Sets Contempt Hearing for AG Barr

Attorney General William Barr testified before Senate committee.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to turn over special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report by Monday’s deadline.

But first, committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has agreed to meet with Justice Department officials to “negotiate” the report’s release, Axios reports.

In a letter to Nadler on Monday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd reminded Nadler that he and the committee have been offered to look at an “even-less-redacted version” of the report.

Barr failed to meet the committee’s demands to turn over the full report Monday, and he also did not appear at a hearing last week focused on the Mueller report.

“Although the Committee has attempted to engage in accommodations with Attorney General Barr for several months, it can no longer afford to delay, and must resort to contempt proceedings,” the contempt resolution reads.