By Robert A. Vella
Yesterday, former White House counsel John Dean testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the parallels between the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon and the current scandals involving President Trump. Also, the House Rules Committee approved a resolution allowing individual committees to pursue subpoena enforcement actions in court against Trump officials who are refusing to comply. The resolution will be voted on by the full House today, and it provides Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler an insurance policy against Attorney General William Barr reneging on the compromise the two political opponents agreed to over the weekend. Tomorrow, chairman Elijah Cummings will hold a contempt of Congress vote in his House Oversight Committee against Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for non-compliance of subpoenas regarding the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The leadership alliance headed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is getting shaky over the issue of impeachment. As time goes on and Trump’s abuses of power continue unabated, Pelosi’s rationale for moderation is becoming less tenable. A former National Security Agency (NSA) director cited the Mueller report as a warning for continued interference of America’s elections by hostile foreign interests. A company partly owned by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has received millions of dollars from secret foreign investors. There’s more news on the Mexico tariffs story. Alabama passed a castration law and is at the forefront of social conservatives’ assault on America’s separation of church and state.
Former White House counsel John Dean acknowledged at the start of Monday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing that he wasn’t there as a “fact witness.” Instead, he noted in his opening statement several ways in which he sees the report of former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III echoing Watergate.
Dean didn’t run through each of those verbally during his testimony, but his written statement lays his case out in detail.
The most obvious parallel Dean noted involved himself: It concerns the role of the White House counsel. Just as he was the most significant witness against Richard M. Nixon, former White House counsel Donald McGahn has emerged as the most significant witness in the Mueller investigation. McGahn didn’t technically flip on Trump, as Dean did when he pleaded guilty in Watergate, but as Dean pointed out, “McGahn is the only witness that the special counsel expressly labels as reliable, calling McGahn ‘a credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House.’ “
Related story, from: Ex-NSA director says Mueller report highlights risks of foreign interference
Former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mike Rogers says the full report by special counsel Robert Mueller shows just how important it is for the government to be laser-focused on stopping interference in its elections by foreign governments.
“That should be totally unacceptable, totally unallowable, and we ought to be focused on what are we going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Because it’s not going to go away,” Rogers said in a wide-ranging interview with The Hill.
A real estate company part-owned by Jared Kushner has received $90m in foreign funding from an opaque offshore vehicle since he entered the White House as a senior adviser to his father-in-law Donald Trump.
Investment has flowed from overseas to the company, Cadre, while Kushner works as an international envoy for the US, according to corporate filings and interviews. The money came through a vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven that guarantees corporate secrecy.
Nadler’s insurance policy
The House will vote Tuesday on a resolution allowing the House Judiciary Committee — and other House panels in the future — to enforce its subpoenas in the courts, though House Democrats aren’t yet holding those who have defied subpoenas in contempt of Congress.
The vote comes a day after House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced he had struck a deal with the Justice Department to provide some documents from the Mueller report to the Judiciary Committee.
The resolution includes language authorizing the Judiciary panel to go to court to force Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with their subpoenas, but Monday’s agreement means that Nadler won’t take any court action against Barr — at least for now.
Cummings’ contempt vote
The House Oversight and Reform Committee will vote on Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas.
Committee chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said last week he would schedule the contempt votes after both of the officials’ agencies did not hand over subpoenaed documents relating to the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Pelosi’s shaky alliance
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, two longtime allies, are clashing over whether to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump — a sign of how toxic the split over Trump has become for House Democrats.
Nadler has twice urged Pelosi in private to open a formal impeachment inquiry, but the speaker, backed by the majority of her leadership team and her caucus, has maintained that impeaching the president would backfire on Democrats without meaningful Republican support. And there is no sign that Trump’s GOP firewall is cracking.