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President Trump has bold plans for declassifying documents that could shine light on potential misconduct by federal officials.

During an interview Thursday evening, the president told Fox News host Sean Hannity “everything” is going to be declassified.

“Yes. Everything is going to be declassified and more, much more than what you just mentioned. It will all be declassified,” Trump said after Hannity asked if he would declassify FISA applications, Gang of Eight material, and FBI 302s, all elements of his “five buckets of information.”

Trump suggested the timing is now perfect following the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“I’m glad I waited because I thought that maybe they would obstruct if I did it early and I think I was right. So I’m glad I waited,” Trump said. “Now the attorney general can take a very strong look at whatever it is. But it will be declassified and more than what you just mentioned.”

Trump already ordered certain documents to be declassified last year that relate to the federal Russia investigation, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process for obtaining spy authority against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, and text messages from current and former officials who have been critics of Trump, including ex-FBI Director James Comey. He also directed the declassification of all FBI reports of interviews, known as “302s,” with DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who served as an unofficial backchannel between the FBI and British former spy Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Trump dossier.

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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The Justice Department issued a legal opinion Friday finding that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was right to withhold President Donald Trump’s tax returns from a House committee that subpoenaed them.

The House Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed six years of Trump’s tax returns in May, but the Treasury Department refused to provide the documents. At the time, Mnuchin said the request lacked a “legitimate legislative purpose.”

he 33-page opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel argues that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., wanted to make the president’s tax returns public and because of that plan, the request was not to carry out a legitimate legislative function.

But Neal has said the law is clear the information must be released to Congress, the documents were sought to aid a committee investigation into whether the IRS is doing its job properly to audit a sitting president, and obtaining them would be a “necessary piece” of the committee’s work.

“The Chairman’s request that Treasury turn over the President’s tax returns, for the apparent purpose of making them public, amounted to an unprecedented use of the Committee’s authority and raised a serious risk of abuse,” the opinion said.

Democrats sought Trump’s tax returns under a 1924 law that directs the IRS to furnish such information when requested to the chairs of Congress’ tax-writing committees. Besides Trump, every president since Richard Nixon has made his tax returns public.

Neal said last month that he didn’t plan to hold Mnuchin in contempt, saying the committee may instead pursue a legal fight to force the Treasury Department to turn over the documents.

A spokeswoman for the House Ways and Means Committee said the legal opinion was still being reviewed and declined to comment further. Representatives for the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Source: The Washington Pundit

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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 33 pages of records from the Department of Justice showing that former senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr in his January 2018 preparation to testify to the Senate and House intelligence committees wrote to a lawyer about “possible ethics concerns.” Bruce Ohr forwarded the email to his wife Nellie Ohr, who had been hired by Fusion GPS, the Hillary Clinton campaign-Democratic National Committee vendor who compiled the anti-Trump Dossier.

Judicial Watch obtained the records through its August 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Justice Department after it failed to respond to a May 29, 2018, FOIA request  (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice(No. 1:18-cv-01854)). Judicial Watch seeks:

All records from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce G. Ohr relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher 

Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

All records from the office of the Director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force relating to Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and/or British national Christopher Steele, including but not limited to all records of communications (including those of former Organized Crime Task Force Director Bruce Ohr) about and with Fusion GPS officials, Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele.

On January 3, 2018, Bruce Ohr emails Justice Department ethics lawyer Cynthia Shaw, advising her that the Senate and House intelligence committees had requested to interview him about investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. He notes that a number of press reports had come out about his “alleged” connections to Christopher Steele. He asks her a question that is largely redacted but seeks information about “possible ethics concerns.” He forwards this email to his wife Nellie:

Cynthia –

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me this morning. As requested, here is a short description of my question:

As you may have heard, the Senate intelligence committee and House intelligence committee requested to interview me in connection with their investigations of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Shortly after receiving the Senate request, a series of stories broke in the press about my alleged connections to Chris Steele, the author of the so-called Trump dossier. [Redacted]

My question has to do with [redacted]. Are there any guidelines for [redacted] in order to satisfy any possible ethics concerns?

Shaw’s response is largely redacted:

Hi Bruce,

Can you obtain [redacted]

Thanks,

Cindy

The new documents also reveal a close relationship between Fusion GPS employee Nellie Ohr and DOJ Russia experts Lisa Holtyn, Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich.

On May 11, 2016, Nellie Ohr received an email invitation to attend a Hudson Institute “Kleptocracy Archive Launch.” Notably, Fusion GPS principal Glenn Simpson, listed as “a Senior Fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center” who “now works frequently on Russian corporate crime and criminal organizations,” was to be a panelist. Nellie forwarded the invitation on to top Bruce Ohr aide Lisa Holtyn and husband/wife DOJ lawyers Joseph Wheatley and Ivana Nizich. Holtyn, Wheatley, and Nizich all worked for the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), which investigated Russian cartels and other Russian syndicated crime matters.

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Source: The Washington Pundit

The Justice Department published a legal opinion Friday backing up Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s decision not to turn over President Trump’s tax returns to Congress, arguing that House Democrats’ demand for the information was unconstitutional.

Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel argued in a 33-page memo that the demand, made under a law that grants the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee the power to request tax returns from the Treasury secretary, is a pretext for making Trump’s tax information public.

“Under the facts and circumstances, the Secretary of the Treasury reasonably and correctly concluded that the Committee’s asserted interest in reviewing the Internal Revenue Service’s audits of presidential returns was pretextual and that its true aim was to make the President’s tax returns public, which is not a legitimate legislative purpose,” Engel wrote.

The administration, as well as Trump’s lawyers, maintain that Congress does not have a right to review Trump’s financial information. Engel echoed arguments made by Trump’s lawyers that the request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose and that Congress does not have the right to compel members of the executive branch to hand over confidential information — despite the fact that the law congressional Democrats cited was passed in the 1920s in response to a corruption scandal, the Teapot Dome Scandal, involving a Cabinet official.

Unauthorized disclosure of tax information is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, though there may be procedural mechanisms for Congress to publish the information or conclusions of an investigation into Trump’s taxes using his returns.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., has said that his purpose for the request is to have committee staff to privately review Trump’s taxes to see if the IRS is auditing him and his businesses, as directed by an agency rule, as well as to investigate whether Trump and his businesses may have failed to pay all taxes over the last several years.

Controversy over Trump’s taxes began during the 2016 campaign, when he became the first major party presidential candidate in decades to decline to release his tax returns. Past presidents have voluntarily disclosed their tax returns as a transparency measure, including former President Richard Nixon, who gave his tax returns to a congressional committee for their own independent audit.

Neal has said he plans to sue the Treasury Department and IRS to enforce the request and a follow-up subpoena, setting up another court battle between Congress and Trump over the president’s financial information.

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Former national security advisor Mike Flynn has hired Dallas attorney Sidney Powell as his new counsel. Last week he announced that he had dismissed attorney Robert Kelner and the firm of Covington & Burling LLP, who have represented him since he was charged and pled guilty in 2017. He also said that he had hired someone “everyone would recognize” as his new counsel. 

Powell is a regular commentator on the Fox News and and a former federal prosecutor in Texas and Virginia. In a phone call to Powell, The Hill.TV quotes her as saying:

“I’m honored to be representing General Flynn, who I’ve long considered an American hero. The General and his family want to thank everyone across the country for their cards and contributions to his legal defense fund. He is going to continue to cooperate with the government, pursuant to his plea agreement,”  

Powell has been a vocal critic of the Mueller investigation into the bogus links between the Trump campaign and Russia. She believes that Flynn is the victim of “egregious government misconduct” and was “set-up” and spied on by the FBI. James Comey basically said so himself.

Powell had recommended that Flynn withdraw his guilty plea in mid-2017. She told The Hill on Wednesday that her client would continue to cooperate with the government as part of his plea deal.

Powell’s new book called “Licensed to Lie, Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice” reveals the strong-arm tactics used by federal prosecutors and focuses specifically on the conduct of the DOJ during the Enron debaucle. 

Mainstream media outlets are describing Powell as a conspiracy theorist, because of her belief that the Mueller report is based on unsubstantiated evidence. Powell has not commented on this description.

Source: The Washington Pundit

The House voted Tuesday to grant new legal powers to a key committee investigating the Trump administration, handing Democrats another tool in their battle to bore deeper into Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff says Intel panel will hold ‘series’ of hearings on Mueller report Schiff says Intel panel will hold ‘series’ of hearings on Mueller report Key House panel faces pivotal week on Trump MORE‘s report on Russia’s election meddling and potential obstruction by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTop Armed Services Republican plots push for 0B defense budget Amash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance Amash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance MORE.

The 229-191 vote broke down strictly along partisan lines with no defectors from either party, highlighting the entrenched divisions on Capitol Hill between Democrats accusing Trump of conducting a “cover-up” related to Mueller’s findings, and Republicans fighting to protect their White House ally from what they consider a political “witch hunt” heading into 2020.

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The resolution empowers the House Judiciary Committee to go before a federal court in seeking the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) compliance with subpoenas for disputed materials and witness testimony. Two figures are named explicitly in the text: Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAmash exits House Freedom Caucus in wake of Trump impeachment stance Tensions between Democrats, Justice cool for a day Tensions between Democrats, Justice cool for a day MORE, who has refused to release some parts of Mueller’s report and the underlying documents; and Don McGhan, the former White House counsel who has defied a Democratic subpoena to appear before the committee. 

But in a late-debate twist, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerWatergate figure John Dean earns laughter for responses to GOP lawmakers The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by MAPRx – Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by MAPRx – Nadler gets breakthrough deal with DOJ on Mueller docs MORE (D-N.Y.) announced Monday that he’s reached a deal with DOJ officials to access “Mueller’s most important files.” 

The surprise 11th-hour agreement has tempered some of the long-running tensions between Democrats and the administration. And leading up to the vote on Tuesday, Democratic leaders simultaneously hailed the resolution as a necessary and aggressive expansion of their constitutional oversight powers, while also suggesting they might not ever need to use it. 

“The timeline will, in part, depend on whether the DOJ continues to cooperate with our legitimate Article I powers of oversight and investigation,” said Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesSteyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Steyer group targeting 12 congressional Democrats over impeachment Trump’s border aid request stalls amid fresh obstacles MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus. 

“If they continue to cooperate with us, I would expect that we will not race to the courthouse.”

That appeasement does not extend, however, to McGahn. And Democrats are suggesting they’ll use the new legal powers provided by Tuesday’s resolution to go after the former White House counsel in the not too distant future.

“Seems to me that Mr. McGahn is in a particularly vulnerable situation as a private citizen,” Jeffries said. “He should either begin to cooperate immediately, or face the consequences.” 

The vote comes as a growing number of liberal Democrats are endorsing the launch of an impeachment inquiry targeting Trump — a move opposed by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFeehery: Pelosi’s dangerous impeachment game Feehery: Pelosi’s dangerous impeachment game Press: How ‘Nervous Nancy’ trumped Trump MORE (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats, who have political concerns about taking such a drastic step without a greater show of public support. 

“There is nothing as divisive in our country, in my view, than impeachment,” Pelosi said Tuesday during an event in Washington, delivering a familiar refrain.

At least 56 rank-and-file lawmakers are backing impeachment, according to a tally kept by The Hill, and Pelosi is under growing pressure to show that her preferred strategy of aggressive investigations is getting results. 

The language adopted by Democrats in describing Tuesday’s resolution hints at the eagerness of top Democrats to project an image of going tough on the scandal-plagued administration, even as they’re opting against even sterner legal measures at their disposal. 

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Indeed, Democratic leaders are labeling the resolution one of “civil contempt.” But the measure makes no mention of contempt. And the language is much softer than another resolution, passed through the Judiciary panel last month, to hold Barr and McGahn in criminal contempt of Congress — a step that carries steep penalties, including heavy fines and up to a year in prison. 

“We’re calling it contempt, for short, because the courts obviously would have to find the executive branch in contempt in order to, sort of, render the orders to comply,” said Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinOvernight Health Care: Biden infuriates abortion-rights groups with stance on Hyde Amendment | Trump tightens restrictions on fetal tissue research | Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump’s mental health Overnight Health Care: Biden infuriates abortion-rights groups with stance on Hyde Amendment | Trump tightens restrictions on fetal tissue research | Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump’s mental health House Democrats plan event to scrutinize Trump’s mental health MORE (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary Committee and former constitutional law professor. 

“So it’s, generally speaking, not contempt.” 

There is some disagreement among the Democrats as to why they didn’t pursue the criminal contempt resolution. Jeffries and Nadler both cited the DOJ’s recent decision to share more Mueller files as the reason they softened their position. 

“We began to see yesterday, in the face of the possibility of either a criminal contempt citation, or proceeding with inherent contempt, that they began to see things differently all of a sudden,” Jeffries said.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse Democrats pull legislation that would give lawmakers raise House Democrats pull legislation that would give lawmakers raise This week: House Democrats escalate battle over Mueller report MORE (D-Md.) suggested the decision was rooted in more practical considerations, noting the unlikelihood of DOJ attorneys prosecuting the head of the agency. 

“I understand contempt is not in the resolution — it’s essentially civil contempt —and … it authorizes the committee to go to … have the courts enforce the subpoena,” Hoyer said Tuesday. “We think that’s a much more productive route than pretending that a U.S. attorney appointed by Donald Trump is going to pursue the attorney general — his boss — for contempt.”

Separately, Democrats are still negotiating for the testimony of Mueller, who had indicated last month that he’d prefer not to appear before Congress to discuss his findings. Nadler has taken the lead on those talks, but has declined to give updates on their status.

The drawn-out timeline has frustrated a growing number of lawmakers, who want the special counsel to clarify a host of questions still lingering around his report, particularly his reason for not recommending obstruction charges against the president.

“That is the view of the overwhelming majority of the House Democratic Caucus,” Jeffries said. “Bob Mueller has a duty to the American people to bring those conclusions to light in public testimony before the United States Congress.”

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The Department of Justice announced a massive bust of 1700 suspected online child sex offenders from all over the country Tuesday. The arrests were made as part of a large and lengthy operation led by the Internet Crimes Against Children task forces.

“The task forces identified 308 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 357 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or were exploited in the production of child pornography,” DOJ released. “The 61 ICAC task forces, located in all 50 states and comprised of more than 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, led the coordinated operation known as ‘Broken Heart’ during the months of April and May 2019. During the course of the operation, the task forces investigated more than 18,500 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes targeting children and delivered more than 2,150 presentations on internet safety to over 201,000 youth and adults.”

The operation specifically targeted individuals who “produce, distribute, receive and possess child pornography, engage in online enticement of children for sexual purposes; engage in the sex trafficking of children; and travel across state lines or to foreign countries and sexually abuse children.”

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Source: The Washington Pundit

Big Tech is under the Hot Seat… Will someone make these Monopolies do the right thing? Will those cast out be let back in?

Big Tech on a rare bipartisan hot seat
Big Tech and its practices will be under a bipartisan microscope as the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will launch its investigation into the market dominance of Silicon Valley’s biggest names. It will begin with a look at the impact of the tech giants’ platforms on news content, the media and the spread of See More misinformation online. The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of tech market power stands out because it’s bipartisan and the first review by Congress of industry that dominated with generally little interference from federal regulators.

But with regulators at the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission apparently pursuing antitrust investigations of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, and several state attorneys general exploring bipartisan action of their own, the tech industry finds itself being increasingly accused of operating like monopolies. Rep. David Cicilline, D-RI, will lead Tuesday’s subcommittee hearing and vowed that the panel will broadly investigate the digital marketplace and “the dominance of large technology platforms,” with an eye toward legislative action to increase competition.

Investigators seek clues behind NYC helicopter crash
The helicopter pilot killed in Monday’s crash in New York Cityhas been identified as a former volunteer fire chief and a “dedicated, highly professional and extremely well trained firefighter,”as well as a skilled pilot. Tim McCormack died Monday after he made a “crash landing” on the roof of 787 Seventh Avenue in MidtownManhattan around 2 p.m. as rain and strong winds hammered the city, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) said. Investigators believe he was conducting “executive travel” and was headed to the “home airport in Linden, N.J.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio later told reporters that there appeared to be no connection to terrorism.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the National Transportation Safety Board was in charge of the investigation and “will determine probable cause of the incident.” McCormack had been involved in a bird strike-related emergency landing for a helicopter in 2014.

DOJ casts wide net in probe of surveillance abuses in Russia investigation
As part of its ongoing “multifaceted” and “broad” review into potential misconduct by U.S. intelligence agencies during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Justice Department revealed Monday it is also investigating the activities of several “non-governmental organizations and individuals.” In addition, the DOJ announced that the probe, let by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, was looking into the involvement of “foreign intelligence services.”

The DOJ’s announcement came as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced Monday that he plans to hit pause on efforts to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt, after reaching a deal with the Justice Department for access to evidence related to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report. Separately, John Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, testified Monday that he sees “remarkable parallels” between Watergate and the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report – at a dramatic Capitol Hill hearing that Republicans panned as a political “show.”

Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was CIA informant: Report
Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was working as a CIA informant before he was brazenly murdered in a Malaysian airport in 2017,according to a report Monday. Kim Jong Nam, the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, “met on several occasions with agency operatives,” according to the Wall Street Journal. “There was a nexus” between Kim Jong Nam and the intelligence agency,according to the Journal’s source. Little else is known about what Kim Jong Un’s older brother told the feds; however, the report did state he “was almost certainly in contact with security services of other countries, particularly China’s.”

Ortiz back in Boston
Retired Red Sox player David Ortiz landed in Boston in an air ambulance Monday night after a targeted shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo forced doctors in his home nation of the Dominican Republic to remove his gallbladder and part of his intestine. Ortiz, 43, arrived in Boston around 10:30 p.m. after the Red Sox sent a plane to transport him to Massachusetts General Hospital.

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Dems halt effort to secure pay increase for lawmakers, as contempt votes, funding drama loom.
Justin Amash gone from House Freedom Caucus after saying Trump’s conduct was ‘impeachable.’
Jonathan Morris: My decision to leave the Catholic priesthood.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
Walmart vs. Amazon: Who is ahead in battle for retail dominance?
Makan Delrahim, Ajit Pai met Friday to discuss T-Mobile-Sprint deal as DOJ decision looms.
Why Americans should get into the housing market now.

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Judicial Watch has uncovered documents revealing that Bruce Ohr received $42,520 in performance bonuses during the Trump/Russia investigation.

In fact, his bonus nearly doubled from $14,520 (received in November 2015) to $28,000 in November 2016 after Ohr served as a back channel for Christopher Steele after Steele had been fired by the FBI.

Ohr was funneling Steele’s disinformation to the DOJ and FBI during the summer and the later half of 2016, after the FBI had officially cut ties with Steele for revealing to the media that he was serving the FBI as a confidential informant.

Judicial Watch:

We have uncovered emails from Ohr showing that he remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.

The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities.

Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.

[…]

Today, we released Justice Department documents showing that Bruce Ohr received $42,520 in performance bonuses during the Trump/Russia investigation. In fact, his bonus nearly doubled from $14,520 (received in November 2015) to $28,000 in November 2016.
[…]

The documents show that on November 13, 2016, Ohr was given a performance award of $28,000. This was during the time of his deep involvement in the highly controversial Justice Department surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign. The bonus was nearly double the $14,250 performance award he was given on November 29, 2015.

Bruce Ohr was married to Nellie Ohr of Fusion GPS and was removed because of his conflict of interest and role as conduit for Fusion GPS material. The documents show that Ohr was removed from his position as Associate Deputy Attorney General on December 6, 2017. On January 7, 2018, Ohr was reassigned from his position of director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and shifted to Counselor for International Affairs in the Department of Justice Criminal Division. Ohr received a $2,600 pay increase.

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Image Credit: Ohio Star

Source: The Washington Pundit

One of special counsel Robert Mueller’s top prosecutors led the initiative to draft a three-count obstruction of justice indictment against President Trump, according to author Michael Wolff.

Siege: Trump Under Fire, which hit bookshelves Tuesday, says Andrew Weissmann, who was widely regarded as Mueller’s “pit bull,” was in charge of the effort.

Last month the Guardian first reported the draft indictment, without mentioning who was behind it, and said staff had viewed the documents. Mueller’s office quickly pushed back against the claim. “The documents that you’ve described do not exist,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.

Weissmann led the federal inquiry’s case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was sentenced to roughly seven and a half years in prison for conspiracy and fraud. He came under fire by conservatives for actions that show the potential for bias, including attending Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election night party and praising former acting Attorney General Sally Yates in an email after she refused to defend his initial travel ban. Weissmann was also one of the Justice Department officials who was informed of British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s anti-Trump dossier by former DOJ official Bruce Ohr before joining Mueller’s team.

In the book, Weissmann is introduced as a fierce counterweight to Trump. He was chief of the criminal fraud division at the Justice Department when Mueller recruited him in May 2017, and Wolff plays up his reputation. “Many believed Weissmann was the most aggressive white-collar prosecutor in the nation,” Wolff wrote.

The book says Trump “thought he knew all about Weissmann” and deemed him a “screw-up and a loser” over his prosecution of accounting firm Arthur Andersen as part of the Enron task force, which was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Wolff wrote that Trump, a businessman himself, saw the whole debacle as a “business tragedy” and that Weissmann should have been disbarred. As he has done for his political opponents, Trump came up with a mocking nickname: “Arthur Weissmann.”

But Wolff asserted the Andersen setback only made Weissmann appear to be more of a threat to Trump.

“To the degree that the Andersen case might have tainted Weissmann, it also reinforced his reputation for waging total war. For Weissmann, overreach was something of a philosophical belief: in his view, white-collar criminals were trying to beat the system, so the system had to beat them. And Donald Trump’s entire life and career were about beating the system,” Wolff wrote.

In March 2018, Wolff wrote that the Weissmann-led team laid out the indictment, which charged Trump with obstructing an investigation, tampering with a witness, and retaliating against a witness. Wolff said his reporting was “based on internal documents given to me by sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel.”

Wolff’s last book, Fire and Fury, was riddled with unsubstantiated allegations, several of which were denounced as false. His new book is already facing accusations of falsehoods, and in an interview with the New York Times the author admitted he does not check his stories with his subjects.

In response to Mueller’s spokesman denying that a draft indictment was drawn up, Wolff insisted that a memorandum was put together that supposes Trump was indicted for obstruction of justice.

“The document is a 56-page document. It assumes that the president has been indicted. It assumes that he in turn has come back and made a motion to dismiss that indictment on grounds that you can’t indict a sitting president,” Wolff said in an interview Monday evening on MSNBC. “Then this document is a response to that.”

Wolff said the document outlined what charges Trump would face and argued why a sitting president can and should be indicted. “So it’s in a way I think that missing piece of the Mueller puzzle,” Wolff said.

When asked by MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell to divulge whether his sources were in the Mueller team, Wolff would only say that these were “gold standard” sources.


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