By Robert A. Vella

The House Judiciary Committee is currently hearing testimony from lawyers in its process to file formal impeachment charges against President Trump as early as this week.  The Department of Justice’s Inspector General released an anticipated report today which refuted Trump’s contrived claim that the FBI conspired to smear him as colluding with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  The report, which Attorney General William Barr (who heads the DOJ) is contesting, dealt another blow to Trump’s attempt to shift blame for foreign interference in that election from Russia (which did help Trump win) to Ukraine (which did not try to help Hillary Clinton).  The U.S. Supreme Court issued several rulings this morning.  Trump is defending Saudi Arabia after several of its citizens were involved in a deadly terrorist attack at a Florida military base last Friday.  A NATO conference in Denmark has been cancelled after the Trump administration objected to a speaker who has been highly critical of the U.S. president.  A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is the basis for a new report on how the U.S. government consistently lied about the Afghanistan War over the course of three U.S. administrations.  Russia has been banned for four years of international sporting events, including the upcoming Olympics, for doping violations.

Impeachment update

From:  Impeachment Hearing Updates: Trump Actions Pose ‘Clear And Present Danger’ To Fair Elections, Democrat Charges

In what amounted to the opening argument in the effort to impeach President Trump, the lawyer for Judiciary Democrats told the committee that the president’s actions were “so brazen” that there was no question that he had abused his power to advance his own political interests over those of the nation.

“The evidence is overwhelming,” said Barry H. Berke, the lawyer, repeating the phrase to emphasize the point to counter in advance Republican arguments that the impeachment inquiry has been rushed and inadequate. The facts assembled in recent weeks were “uncontradicted” and “cannot be disputed,” he added, as he played video clips from witnesses who testified last month before the House Intelligence Committee.

Another Democratic lawyer, Daniel S. Goldman, the counsel for the House Intelligence Committee that gathered the evidence being presented on Monday, said that Mr. Trump continues to try to distort next year’s election with false allegations, pointing to his weekend tweet saying that Rudolph W. Giuliani, his personal lawyer, would make a report to the Justice Department about Democrats.

DOJ report refutes conspiracy theory

From:  Internal Justice watchdog finds that Russia probe was justified, not biased against Trump

WASHINGTON — The FBI mishandled parts of its application to monitor a Trump campaign aide as it was probing possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, but the overall investigation was justified, according to a long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s watchdog that rebuts the president’s depiction of a politically biased plot against him.

The report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the FBI and the Justice Department launched their investigation into the 2016 campaign not for political reasons, but because of evidence the Russian government was using cutouts to reach out to the Trump campaign as part of its efforts to influence the election.

Horowitz found that political bias did not taint the actions of former FBI leaders who have frequently been the subject of presidential attacks on Twitter, including former Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok.

From:  FBI wiretap of Trump campaign aide was riddled with errors, but Russia probe was legally justified, IG report finds

The voluminous report, released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, identified 17 separate inaccuracies across three surveillance applications, effectively inflating the justification for its monitoring of foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

Horowitz, nevertheless, concluded that there was legal justification for the overall inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and that there was no “documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations.”


Attorney General William Barr, however, disagreed with the inspector general’s base finding that the investigation was justified.

SCOTUS rulings

From:  Supreme Court leaves in place Kentucky abortion restriction

WASHINGTON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky restriction requiring doctors to show and describe ultrasound images to women seeking an abortion, turning away a challenge arguing that the measure violates the free speech rights of physicians.

The justices declined without comment to hear an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of a lower court ruling that upheld the law after a federal judge previously had struck it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The Supreme Court has a 5-4 conservative majority and is closely divided on abortion rights.

From:  U.S. Supreme Court rejects Arizona opioid case against Purdue, Sackler family

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned away a novel case by Arizona seeking to recover billions of dollars that the state has said that members of the Sackler family – owners of Purdue Pharma LP – funneled out of the OxyContin maker before the company filed for bankruptcy in September.

The justices declined to take the rare step of allowing Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich to pursue a case directly with the Supreme Court on the role the drugmaker played in the U.S. opioid epidemic that has killed tens of thousands of Americans annually in recent years.

The lawsuit accused eight Sackler family members of funneling $4 billion out of Purdue from 2008 to 2016 despite being aware that the company faced massive potential liabilities over its marketing of opioid medications.

From:  U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to Berkeley cell phone law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a free speech challenge brought by a trade group against regulation issued by the California city of Berkeley that requires cell phone retailers to tell customers of certain radiation risks.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects inmate’s bid for sex reassignment surgery

Trump defends Saudis

From:  Trump’s defense of Saudis grows more isolated after deadly shooting on military base

After a Saudi gunman killed three people at a naval base in Pensacola, Fla., some of President Trump’s Republican allies took to the airwaves to condemn the attack as an act of terrorism, call for a halt to the training program that admitted the shooter and sharply press the Saudi government to cooperate in the investigation.

Trump did none of that. Instead, he used his appearances before television cameras — and his Twitter account — to repeatedly offer cover for the Saudis, conveying Riyadh’s condolences with more fervor than he used in relaying his personal feelings about the shooting.

More news

NATO Conference Is Canceled After U.S. Ambassador Barred a Trump Critic

Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan

Russia banned four years by WADA from international sports in latest punishment for doping violations

10 thoughts on “Impeachment update, DOJ report refutes conspiracy theory, SCOTUS rulings, Trump defends Saudis

  1. SCOTUS needs to now be called, “The Supreme Rubber Stamp Court of the GOP.” The worse is yet to come from these right-wing shit-bags. And Billy Barr is a despicable, slimy piece of festering shit. I wish he’d get disbarred.

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