Day 825: Transparency.
1/ Trump: “We’re fighting all the subpoenas” by House Democrats. “Subpoenas are ridiculous,” Trump said, claiming “I have been the most transparent president and administration in the history of our country by far.” House Democratic leaders have issued dozens of requests for information or cooperation from Trump, his administration and his associates. Trump has blocked his administration from cooperating with requests for his tax returns, information about White House security clearances, the 2020 census, and more. (CNBC / Politico / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Trump will oppose requests for current and former White House aides to testify to Congress, saying there is “no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan – obviously very partisan.” White House lawyers plan to assert executive privilege over testimony by Trump administration witnesses called by the House to try and block their congressional testimony. Trump confusingly tweeted “I didn’t call [the reporter at] the Washington Post, he called me (Returned his call)!” (Washington Post)
- Trump’s recent tweets and public statements are potentially exposing him to new charges of witness intimidation, obstruction of justice and impeding a congressional investigation, according to Democrats and legal experts. (Politico)
3/ The White House is trying to block a subpoena by the House Judiciary Committee to former White House counsel Don McGahn for testimony about the Mueller report. McGahn was mentioned more than 150 times in Mueller’s report, telling investigators about how Trump pressured him to have Mueller fired and then urged McGahn to publicly deny the episode. The subpoena set a May 7th deadline for documents and a May 21st deadline for McGahn to testify before the committee. Jerry Nadler called the White House’s effort to block the subpoena “one more act of obstruction by an administration desperate to prevent the public from talking about the president’s behavior.” Trump has reportedly told advisers that McGahn was disloyal to him, in part because of McGahn’s notes from meetings were cited in Mueller’s report. (Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / New York Times)
4/ The Justice Department refused to comply with a congressional subpoena for a Trump administration official to testify about the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating the addition of the citizenship question despite evidence that it could lead to millions of people being undercounted. John Gore’s refusal to appear before the committee is at the direction of Attorney General William Barr. Gore is the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division. (CNN / Washington Post)
- Trump defended the addition of the citizenship question on the 2020 census, saying “the American people deserve to know who is in this country.” The Commerce Department, however, has repeatedly claimed the question would be added as part of an effort to better protect voting rights. (Politico)
5/ Trump, claiming he “DID NOTHING WRONG,” plans to “head to the U.S. Supreme Court” if Democrats “ever tried to Impeach.” The Supreme Court, however, ruled unanimously in 1993 that authority for impeachment resides in Congress and “nowhere else.” According to the Constitution, the House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.” (Bloomberg / Politico / Washington Post)
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney instructed aides not to mention Russian election interference in the 2020 election in front of Trump, calling it not “a great subject” that should be kept below his level.” Mulvaney reportedly “made it clear” to aides that Trump still compares discussions about Russian election meddling with “questions about the legitimacy of his victory.” (New York Times)
Mulvaney claimed he doesn’t remember telling staffers not to mention election security to Trump. “I don’t recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting,” Mulvaney said in a statement. (Politico)
The Justice Department contradicted Jared Kushner’s characterization that Russia’s influence campaign in the U.S. was limited to “buying some Facebook ads and trying to sow dissent.” The filing describes how the actions of Russian spy Maria Butina contained all the markings of a sophisticated intelligence operation. The filing also argues that it doesn’t take a master spy for such an operation to have a significant impact. (Politico)
Deutsche Bank is providing financial records to New York state’s attorney general following a subpoena for documents related to loans made to Trump and the Trump Organization. The bank is turning over emails and loan documents related to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, the Trump National Doral Miami, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, and the unsuccessful effort to buy the Buffalo Bills. The New York attorney general’s office opened the investigation following Michael Cohen’s testimony to Congress that Trump had inflated his assets. (CNN)
Cohen claimed he wasn’t actually guilty of some crimes he pleaded guilty to, saying “there is no tax evasion […] it’s a lie.” Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of evading personal income taxes and one count of understating his debt and expenses in an application for a home-equity line of credit. Cohen begins a three-year prison term on May 6th. (Wall Street Journal)
Trump contradicted the Defense Department, claiming that Mexican troops “probably” drew guns on U.S. soldiers at the border as a “diversionary tactic for drug smugglers.” The U.S. military, however, said the incident “was an honest mistake by the Mexican soldiers,” because U.S. soldiers “were south of the border fence,” but “north of the actual border.” (Washington Post)
Twitter suspended more than 5,000 pro-Trump bot accounts for “platform manipulation.” The accounts were connected to a network that is focused on denouncing the Mueller report as a “hoax.” They were also connected to other accounts that have been used to spread pro-Saudi messaging on the platform. An investigation into the network is ongoing but it’s still unclear who is behind the campaign. (Ars Technica)
Trump accused Twitter of deliberately tampering with his followers during a private meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. According to a person with direct knowledge of the conversation, Dorsey explained that follower counts fluctuate as the company enforced policies and removed fraudulent spam accounts. (Washington Post)
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