New York Times: “Mr. Mueller’s report released last week brimmed with examples of Mr. Trump seeking to protect himself from the investigation. But his request of Mr. Sessions — and two similar ones detailed in the report — stands apart because it shows Mr. Trump trying to wield the power of law enforcement to target a political rival, a step that no president since Richard M. Nixon is known to have taken.”
“The report gave a detailed account of Mr. Trump’s bids to wield power. Nine months into office in October 2017, he reminded Mr. Sessions in a private meeting that he believed the Justice Department was failing to investigate people who truly deserved scrutiny and mentioned Mrs. Clinton’s emails.”
New York Times: “Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by hackers, to rerouting internet traffic and infiltrating power grids.”
“But in a meeting this year, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to one senior administration official, Mr. Mulvaney said it ‘wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.’”
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney issued a statement saying he didn’t recall instructing aides to keep discussions about election security off President Trump’s radar, after the New York Times reported Mulvaney said the topic “should be kept below his level,” Politico reports.
Said Mulvaney: “I don’t recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting.”
Just a day after Queen Elizabeth invited him to Buckingham Palace this summer, President Trump pushed out a baseless conspiracy theory that the British government spied on his 2016 campaign on behalf of President Obama’s administration.
The Daily Beast notes British intelligence issued a withering response: “As we have previously stated, the allegations that GCHQ was asked to conduct ‘wire tapping’ against the then President Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”
President Trump tweeted that he would challenge impeachment in the Supreme Court if Democrats moved forward. Said Trump: “The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me.” He added: “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all.”
That’s not how impeachment works, Donald. Read the Constitution. The Supreme Court plays no role and you cannot appeal your indictment by the House.
President Trump told the Washington Post that he “is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimony to congressional panels in the wake of the special counsel report, intensifying a power struggle between his administration and House Democrats.” Said Trump: “There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan.” “We’re fighting all the subpoenas.” — President Trump, speaking to reporters.
“The Trump administration is fighting House Democrats’ investigative inquiries at every turn. Some Democrats want to make them pay,” Bloomberg reports. “At a meeting of House leaders earlier this month, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler suggested fining officials personally if they deny or ignore subpoenas, according to a person who attended the meeting. Nadler’s idea, the person said, was to put teeth in his party’s numerous investigative queries, many of which Trump officials are stonewalling or simply ignoring.”
Politico: “Three dramatic clashes between White House lawyers and congressional Democrats over the past 36 hours have created an atmosphere of total war … suggesting that even modest compromise may be impossible and that protracted court fights likely are inevitable.”
Stephen Collinson: “Trump’s stonewalling White House is mounting a multi-front assault on accountability, testing the notion that a president must answer to citizens for whom he holds a public trust.”
Playbook: “The White House can’t just summarily block all document production and testimony — Congress could hold people in contempt.”
“Deutsche Bank has begun the process of providing financial records to New York state’s attorney general in response to a subpoena for documents related to loans made to President Trump and his business,” CNN reports.
“Last month, the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas for records tied to funding for several Trump Organization projects.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham called on Pete Buttigieg to “repent” for being gay. Graham called homosexuality “something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized.”
Franklin Graham must apologize for his sins in failing to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, who coincidentally said nothing about gays but a lot about healing the sick, providing for the needy, and loving, rather than hating, one another. There is also the sin of supporting anti-Christian Donald Trump.
GOP presidential candidate Bill Weld is calling on President Trump to resign from office in the wake of Robert Mueller’s investigation, calling him “a one-man crime wave,” the Boston Globe reports.
Weld, writing for The Bulwark: “How can a president function if he instinctively lies to not only the public but to his own staff? There is one essential truth that leaps from the pages of the Mueller report: No one can trust Donald Trump.”
“Michael Cohen has disavowed responsibility for some of the crimes to which he has pleaded guilty, privately contending in a recent recorded phone call that he hadn’t evaded taxes and that a criminal charge related to his home-equity line of credit was a lie,” the Wall Street Journalreports.
“As he prepares to begin a three-year prison term on May 6, Mr. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, expressed dismay during the conversation that after testifying for more than 100 hours to federal and congressional investigators about his work for Mr. Trump—including the coordination of hush-money deals with two women—he remained ‘a man all alone.’”
Said Cohen: “I lost my business… my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”
The call was secretly recorded by comedian Tom Arnold.
New York Times: “Renters hold little sway in Washington. They vote at lower rates than homeowners. They’re generally represented in Congress byhomeowners. They have no deep-pocketed lobbyists. And their problems, if anyone considers them at all, are typically waved off as problems for local government.”
“It’s striking, then, that several Democratic candidates for president are now approaching renters in a way they’ve seldom been treated before — as a voting bloc.”
Politico: “The House of Representatives has asked a federal judge to block President Trump’s plan to build a border wall using Defense Department funds. On Tuesday, House lawyers requested that U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden issue a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s plan to spend about $6 billion from military construction and counter-drug accounts to build additional barriers along the U.S-Mexico border.”
Gabriel Sherman: “Trump is lashing out at former West Wing officials whom he blames for providing the lion’s share of damaging information in Mueller’s 448-page report. The former officials Trump has vented about, sources told me, are a group known as ‘the notetakers’ that includes former White House counsel Don McGahn, McGahn’s deputy Annie Donaldson, and staff secretary Rob Porter.”
Said one former West Wing official: “The thing that pisses him off is the note-taking. Trump thinks they could have cooperated with Mueller without all the note-taking.”
“Facing a multi-front war in the post-Mueller world, President Trump is turning to litigation strategies that he long used in business — resist, delay and sue,” Axios reports.
Said one source: “Trump can run out the clock by taking a hardline position. The president thinks it’s in his political interest to keep the fight going, and make it harder for the Democrats to have a coherent message.”
President Trump tweeted that “the American people deserve to know who is in this country,” breaking with the Justice Department in its defense of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s efforts to place a citizenship question on next year’s census questionnaire, Politico reports.
“The Commerce Department, in defending its efforts to ask everyone in the country next year if they are U.S. citizens, has said the question would be inserted at the request of the Justice Department as part of an effort to better protect voting rights.”
But Trump offered his own rationale: “The American people deserve to know who is in this Country. Yesterday, the Supreme Court took up the Census Citizenship question, a really big deal. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
“Stephen Moore, President Trump’s planned nominee for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, said his opponents are ‘pulling a Kavanaugh against me’ amid new revelations about columns in the 2000s in which he made derogatory statements about women, called for former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue (R) to be impeached and made a joking reference to AIDS,” the Washington Post reports.
“Moore is also coming under scrutiny for saying in 2016 that it would be a ‘betrayal’ for Trump to pick former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) to be secretary of state. Romney now represents Utah in the Senate, which would have to approve Moore’s nomination if he is to be confirmed to the position.”