1/ The Justice Department and the House Judiciary Committee are at an impasse over Attorney General William Barr's scheduled testimony. Barr is set to testify about his handling of the conclusions reached by Robert Mueller on Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee and Thursday before the House Judiciary committee. The House hearing, however, is now in doubt over a dispute about who would question Barr. Democrats want part of the questioning be conducted by the panel's Democratic and Republican staff attorneys. Justice Department officials have threatened to cancel Barr's appearance over the proposed format. House Democratic staffers, meanwhile, have threatened to subpoena the attorney general if he refuses to appear. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler added that the Justice Department seemed to be "very afraid" to have Barr answer questions from committee staff attorneys. (Washington Post / Politico / CNN / Axios)

  • Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee members called on the Justice Department's inspector general to investigate Barr's handling of the Mueller report. Democrats accused Barr of misleading the public with his four-page summary of Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election before releasing the full report. "It is unclear what statute, regulation, or policy led the Attorney General to interject his own conclusion that the President’s conduct did not amount to obstruction of justice," the Democratic senators wrote. (Politico)

  • 🔍 House Committee Investigations into Trump

  • Justice Department prosecutors are trying to block Roger Stone from reviewing unredacted portions of Mueller's report before his November trial. Stone's lawyers want review pertinent sections of the report about Stone, as well as internal memos from the special counsel's office. Sections in Mueller's report were blacked-out because they could cause "harm to an ongoing matter." (CNN)

  • Prosecutors subpoenaed Randy Credico to testify against Stone. Credico is expected to highlight Stone's efforts to connect with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election about Hillary Clinton's emails, as well as Stone's alleged attempts to intimidate Credico into repeating his version of events. (Politico)

  • A federal appeals court rejected a request to reexamine the constitutionality of Mueller's appointment. Andrew Miller's attorneys tried to stop a subpoena compelling Miller to testify before a federal grand jury about Roger Stone by citing alleged flaws in Mueller's appointment. (Politico)

2/ Trump mocked national security officials preparing for Russian interference in the 2020 election. Trump suggested that "China is the only game in town" and predicted that "other countries" would try to emulate Russia's efforts. In several meetings, Trump repeatedly told advisers that Russia didn't change a single vote in 2016 – even though his advisers never suggested that Russia did. He called Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election a "goddamn hoax" and insisted that his campaign was not "hacked." Trump's reported lack of focus on election security has made it difficult for national security officials to implement a comprehensive approach to preserving the integrity of the electoral process. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed the Trump administration for "not forcefully and adequately responding to the attack on our democracy" that Mueller describes in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. (Washington Post / Politico)

  • 📌 Day 825: 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)

  • 📌 Day 827: FBI Director Christopher Wray: Russia "poses a very significant counterintelligence threat." Earlier this week Jared Kushner downplayed Russian interference, suggesting that the Mueller investigation was more harmful to the U.S. It was also reported this week that senior White House staff have felt "it wasn't a good idea to bring up issues related to Russia in front of the President." (CNN)

3/ The House Intelligence Committee will make a criminal referral to the Justice Department about potential false testimony by Erik Prince. Chairman Adam Schiff said "the evidence strongly suggests that [Prince] misled our committee" about a meeting in the Seychelles islands nine days before Trump took office between Prince and a Russian financier close to Putin. Prince told the committee that it was a chance meeting, but the Mueller report revealed communications showing that it was planned. Prince is the founder of private military contractor Blackwater, the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and a Trump ally. (Washington Post / Axios)

  • 📌 Day 442: Robert Mueller has evidence that questions Erik Prince's congressional testimony about a chance meeting last year in the Seychelles with Kirill Dmitriev, the manager of a state-run Russian investment fund close to Putin. George Nader, a cooperating witness with limited immunity, told investigators that he facilitated and personally attended a meeting between Prince and Dmitriev days before Trump was inaugurated. The goal of the meeting was to discuss foreign policy and to establish a line of communication between the Russian government and the incoming Trump administration. Prince told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November that "I didn't fly there to meet any Russian guy," and the meeting with Dmitriev was unexpected. Prince founded the private military contractor Blackwater USA and is the brother of Betsy DeVos, who serves as Trump's secretary of education. As of late March, Mueller's team has not asked Prince to appear before the grand jury. (ABC News)

  • 📌 Day 483: Mueller's team is examining a series of meetings that took place in the Seychelles, which have been characterized as an attempt by the U.S. to set up a backchannel with Russia. A Russian plane, owned by Andrei Skoch, a Russian billionaire and deputy in the Russian State Duma, the country's legislative body, flew into the Seychelles a day prior to the 2017 meeting. (NJ.com)

4/ Trump, his family, and the Trump Organization are suing Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block their compliance with subpoenas from House Democrats seeking his financial records. Trump's attorneys argue that the subpoenas serve "no legitimate or lawful purpose" and were issued to harass Trump and "rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the President and his family." House Democrats called it a "meritless lawsuit" that was "only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible" in order to "obstruct Congress's constitutional oversight authority." The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Trump, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and the Trump Organization. Deutsche Bank and Capital One intend to begin providing documents to the House on May 6th, absent court intervention. (New York Times / Politico / Axios / CNBC / CNN)

  • 📌 Day 817: House Democrats subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for Trump's personal and financial records. Democrats also subpoenaed JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup for documents related to possible Russian money laundering. Maxine Waters said Trump's "potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern" and that the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees will "follow the facts wherever they may lead us." Deutsche Bank reportedly requested a so-called "friendly subpoena" from the committees before it would comply with their request. The Trump Organization, meanwhile, said it was looking at options to block Deutsche Bank from complying with the subpoena. (New York Times / CNN / Politico / Reuters / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 825: 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)

5/ Trump ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. In a memo sent to Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, and Barr, Trump ordered the development of new regulations to ban asylum seekers from obtaining work permits who crossed the border illegally, impose application fees for asylum seekers, limit access to additional relief, and more. There are more than 800,000 asylum cases pending, with an average wait time of almost two years. Trump ordered that the courts to settle all current asylum claims within 180 days. (Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Politico)


Notables.

  1. The Trump administration wants to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. The White House directed national security and diplomatic officials to find ways to sanction the group after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi urged Trump in a private meeting to brand the movement a terrorist organization. The designation would result in wide-ranging political and economic sanctions against the group, as well as travel restrictions on companies and individuals who interact with them. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump is consulting with his national security team and that the designation is "working its way through the internal process." (New York Times)

  2. Trump's 2020 campaign manager gave a paid speech to a room full of Romanian politicians last month. Brad Parscale's appearance doesn't break any laws as long as he doesn't do any lobbying in the U.S. on behalf of foreign clients without registering. Parscale charges $15,000 to $25,000 in speaker fees and promotes his insider's knowledge as Trump's 2016 digital media director. (Washington Post)

🎉 Good News from the Resistance: The importance of following Obama on Twitter. [Editor's note: Super excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with Marla Felcher to share her Good News from the Resistance blog with the WTF community… because we could all use some good news right now.]


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