By Robert A. Vella
There’s a lot of news to cover today, so I’ll include excerpts for only some of the articles while providing links to the others. First off, Don McGahn was a no-show today for his congressional testimony. A federal court upheld a congressional subpoena for Donald Trump’s financial records which prompted an appeal by the president. Infighting has broken out among the Democratic Party leadership in the House of Representatives over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to begin impeachment proceedings. The EPA is continuing to push Trump’s agenda to conceal vital information regarding the effects of fossil fuels. An internal probe has discovered improper use of email communications by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. After fellow Republicans attacked him, House Freedom Caucus co-founder and Tea Party stalwart Justin Amash is doubling-down on his calls for Trump’s impeachment. In the Senate, Republicans are privately expressing concern about the Mueller report findings which documented obstructions of justice by the president. Some of Michael Cohen’s private testimony before House committees has been publicly released. A Fox News host secretly asked Trump to pardon U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes. New reports have been released warning of Census Bureau vulnerability to Russian hacking, and ongoing attempts by Russia to spread discord and violence in the U.S. population. In the deep red states which have been passing strict abortion laws recently, maternal mortality rates and overall public health are very poor while some public prosecutors say they will refuse to prosecute such crimes. There’s a new update on the journalist who was raided after he published a confidential San Francisco police report on the suspicious death of a public defender. And, finally, what you need to know about the important European parliamentary elections this week.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives committee that would handle any impeachment of President Donald Trump briefly convened and then adjourned a hearing on Tuesday with another empty chair at the witness table, as former White House counsel Don McGahn did not show up to testify.
In a further escalation of a constitutional struggle between Trump and Congress over its power to investigate him, the White House on Monday told McGahn, who left his post in October, to disregard a subpoena from the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee to appear at the hearing.
“When this committee issues a subpoena, even to a senior presidential adviser, the witness must show up. Our subpoenas are not optional,” committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said at the beginning of the hearing.
President Trump’s attorneys on Tuesday appealed a federal judge’s order upholding a subpoena for Trump’s financial records.
The lawyers said in a court filing that they were asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review “all aspects” of District Judge Amit Mehta’s order in favor of the subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Reform Committee to the president’s accounting firm, Mazars.
Mehta, an Obama appointee, had rejected the president’s legal arguments opposing the subpoena, finding that House Democrats had “facially valid legislative purposes” in requesting the documents and that “it is not for the court to question whether the Committee’s actions are truly motivated by political considerations.”
House Democratic leaders sparred internally on Monday over whether to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her allies rejecting the call to move forward for now, according to multiple sources.
Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) — all members of the Democratic leadership — pushed to begin impeachment proceedings during a leadership meeting in Pelosi’s office, said the sources. Pelosi and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) — one of her key allies and a member of leadership herself — rejected their calls, saying Democrats’ message is being drowned out by the fight over possibly impeaching Trump.
And in a Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) stood up and demanded Trump’s impeachment. Pelosi then countered, “This is not about politics, it’s about what’s best for the American people,” said a member who attended the meeting.
WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency plans to change the way it calculates the health risks of air pollution, a shift that would make it easier to roll back a key climate change rule because it would result in far fewer predicted deaths from pollution, according to five people with knowledge of the agency’s plans.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has sometimes used her personal email accounts for government business and has not always properly saved the messages, according to an internal investigation released Monday.
The agency’s Office of Inspector General, which was investigating at the request of House Democrats, said it searched the department’s email system and found a “limited” number of messages to or from DeVos’ personal accounts. In total, it said there were “fewer than 100” emails linked to four personal accounts.
The other stories: