Joe Biden hasn’t been endorsed by his former boss, Barack Obama, but he’s open to sweetening the deal. If elected president, Biden says he’ll consider nominating Obama to the Supreme Court.
“Biden [was] asked here in Washington, Iowa, if he would ever nominate former President Obama to serve on the Supreme Court. ‘If he’d take it, yes,’” Wall Street Journal reporter Ken Thomas wrote on Twitter.
The Trump administration just keeps presenting us with twists that, in a political satire, would be deemed far too on-the-nose.
Two associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, were arrested Wednesday and indicted for campaign finance violations, being detained just before they were about to leave the country with one-way tickets. Giuliani reportedly met with the associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, for lunch the day of their arrest.
We’re now learning more about Giuliani’s relationship with the two men, with whom he reportedly worked to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and attempt to undermine former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into 2016 election interference. The New York Timesreports a company Parnas co-founded retained Giuliani’s services last year, paying him, Parnas has told associates, “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The name of that company? Fraud Guarantee.
Fraud Guarantee is, the Times reports, a fraud prevention and mitigation company, although giving it that name when you’re allegedly going around committing campaign finance violations is perhaps not the world’s absolute best idea. In a classic Giuliani move, the Times writes Giuliani “at first seemed to acknowledge having advised Fraud Guarantee in 2018, then backtracked.”
“I can’t acknowledge it’s Fraud Guarantee, I don’t think,” Giuliani said. “I can acknowledge I gave them substantial business advice.” Giuliani also wouldn’t say to the Times he regrets working with Parnas and Fruman despite their indictment, asking, “Who else would I have turned to?” Brendan Morrow
WASHINGTON — Democrats on the House committees set to hear testimony next week from former special counsel Robert Mueller believe the hearings will help Americans understand “the gravity of the president’s misconduct,” staff members told reporters.
“It is not that that there will be a big, dramatic new revelation necessarily, we’re not expecting that,” a Democratic staffer on the Judiciary Committee said Thursday in a briefing ahead of the hearings. “What’s important is there is truly shocking evidence of criminal misconduct by the president — not once but again and again and again — that would result in any other American being criminally charged in a multiple count indictment.”
The committees are anticipating that “not everybody is reading the book (Mueller’s report) but people will watch the movie,” an aide said.
Mueller is expected to appear publicly Wednesday for three hours before the Judiciary Committee followed by roughly two hours before the House Intelligence Committee.
During his public statement in May after the report was complete, he said, “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
Trump said Friday that he wouldn’t be watching the hearings.
But both committees want to dig into Mueller’s evidence, not necessarily the conclusions — or lack thereof — laid out in his report. Democratic staffers believe the former special counsel will “lean into” the factual findings that his team made.
“Our focus is really going to be to have the special counsel talk about what the evidence is that he found, less about what the legal conclusion was, because some of the actual evidence is very concerning and has not received the attention it’s due,” an Intelligence Committee staffer said.
Mueller’s report did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its interference in the 2016 election.
On obstruction of justice, Mueller left it to Attorney General William Barr to choose whether to bring obstruction charges against the president; Barr declined to do so, he told Congress, based on the evidence presented and Department of Justice guidelines around prosecuting a sitting president.
The Mueller report makes it clear that Trump was not exonerated but it simply found insufficient criminal evidence to prosecute.
The Judiciary Committee hopes to show that if any other American had engaged in the same conduct as Trump did as detailed in the 400-plus page Mueller report, they would be charged for obstruction of justice.
Democratic lawmakers plan to highlight at least five instances they believe clearly show Trump committed a crime, the staffers said.
Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will highlight these actions by Trump as detailed in the report: Repeatedly directing his then-White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller; telling McGahn to deny that he had been ordered to fire Mueller; asking former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to deliver a message to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the investigation to exclude the president; telling Lewandowski to let Sessions know that he’s fired if he doesn’t meet with Lewandowski; and potential witness tampering with Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
“Mr. McGahn is very much on our mind as you’ll also see at the hearing,” a staffer said.
Ari Melber On Donald Trump DOJ’s New Powers: This Is Not Normal | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC
Ari Melber on Donald Trump’s new Department of Justice (DOJ) powers: ‘This is not normal’|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA||
Democrats in the House flexing oversight power against President Trump announcing new hearings on the Mueller report and a new, separate vote to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress. This action coming as Democrats debate how to punish Trump aides stonewalling investigations — even calling for arrests.
MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent, Ari Melber, breaks down President Trump’s unprecedented move strengthening Attorney General Barr’s hand in reviewing the Mueller probe. Why Barr now increasingly looks like the most powerful figure in the Trump administration;
ERIC TUCKER, MICHAEL BALSAMO AND CHAD DAY | Associated Press |
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump blasted special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday, calling him a “never Trumper” who led a biased investigation on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and failed to investigate his opponents who didn’t want Trump to be president.
Trump’s eruption came a day after Mueller pointedly rejected his repeated claims that he was cleared of obstruction of justice allegations and that the two-year inquiry was merely a “witch hunt.”
The president also offered mixed messages on Russia’s efforts to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton, first tweeting that he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected,” then minutes later, telling reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected.”
Trump said Mueller, who is a Republican, was “conflicted” and should have investigated law enforcement officials who the president claims tried to undermine him.
“Robert Mueller should have never been chosen,” Trump said, adding falsely that Mueller wanted the FBI director job, but the president told him no. “I think Mueller is a true never Trumper. He’s somebody who didn’t get a job that he wanted very badly.”
Mueller, who was appointed special counsel by Trump’s Justice Department, was previously FBI director, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush.
Speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, Trump insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Hillary Clinton as president. The special counsel’s report said Russian interference in the election helped Trump defeat Clinton,
Asked about impeachment by Congress, he called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said.