Trump attacks Rep. Amash as a ‘loser’ and ‘lightweight’ after the Republican calls for impeachment

President Donald Trump responded to a Republican House member’s call for impeachment on Sunday, calling the lawmaker a “loser” who seeks to make headlines. 

On Saturday, Rep. Justin Amash said in a tweet that Attorney General Barr “deliberately misrepresented” the report from special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian election interference, which he said showed that Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct.”

The Michigan Republican said he made that statement “only after having read Mueller’s redacted report carefully and completely.” 

Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he was “never a fan” of Amash, whom he called “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy.” 

“Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!” he tweeted.

During an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., agreed that Amash made his statement because he “wants to have attention.”

“Now, you’ve got to understand Justin Amash,” McCarthy said. “He votes more with Nancy Pelosi, than he ever votes with me. It’s a question whether he’s even in our Republican conference as a whole. What he wants is attention in this process.” 

The president said he did not believe Amash had actually read Mueller’s report. He claimed the report was “strong on NO COLLUSION” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin and “ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION.” At the same time, he slammed the report as “biased” because it was “‘composed’ of 18 Angry Dems who hated Trump.”

But Mueller’s report explicitly said that the investigation looked into 10 potentially obstructive acts and the evidence did not clear the president. Rather, it said, “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and punted that decision to the attorney general. Barr and then-deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ultimately decided not to bring charges against the president. 

The Mueller report also found that Russia interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” with “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton” and a hacking operation that sought to uncover information damaging to Clinton. 

The report concluded “the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts,” but it did not find “that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” 

Because the report did not find evidence of a conspiracy, Barr has argued the president could not have obstructed justice because there was no crime to cover up in the first place. Trump made a similar argument on Sunday. 

“Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side?” he asked, referring to his belief that the investigation was a politically-motivated attack. 

Many legal experts have disputed the assertion that obstruction requires an “underlying crime.” And Amash said he believed Mueller’s report showed that Trump’s acts had “all the elements of obstruction of justice, and undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence.” 

Amash also argued that impeachment “does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct.” 

Many congressional Democrats, including many presidential candidates, have agreed with Amash’s call to begin impeachment proceedings. But the party’s leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has yet to back such a move

Pelosi has said impeachment would be too “divisive” for the nation without greater bipartisan support. And, so far, Amash has been the only Republican member of Congress to back impeachment. 

On Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that Amash “showed more courage than any other Republican” in Congress, but didn’t change the fact that there were “no signs” that impeachment could “even be potentially successful in the Senate.” 

[USA Today]

Trump says campaign was ‘conclusively spied on,’ calls it ‘treason’

President Trump on Friday asserted that his 2016 campaign had been “conclusively spied on” by the Obama administration while calling the charge akin to “treason” and demanding jail time for those behind it.

In a tweet, the president said “nothing like this has ever happened” while calling for prison sentences.

“A really bad situation. TREASON means long jail sentences, and this was TREASON!” he continued.

The president’s tweet comes days after Attorney General William Barrannounced the appointment of a U.S. attorney to review the decisions that led to the establishment of an investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russian election interference.

The attorney general infuriated many Democrats on Capitol Hill earlier this year when he asserted that “spying” on the Trump campaign had occurred in 2016, while declining to take a position on its legality. His choice of language has earned rebukes from former members of the Justice Department including former FBI chief James Comey.

Barr told The Wall Street Journal and Fox News in interviews published Friday that he had received insufficient answers from Justice Department personnel about the reasons why an investigation had been launched into the Trump campaign in the first place.

“Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” Barr told the Journal on Friday. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”

“I’ve been trying to get answers to the questions and I’ve found that a lot of the answers have been inadequate and some of the explanations I’ve gotten don’t hang together, in a sense I have more questions today than when I first started,” Barr added in his interview with Fox.

“People have to find out what the government was doing during that period. If we’re worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale.”

[The Hill]

Barr names Connecticut prosecutor to investigate Russia probe’s origins

Attorney General William Barr has reportedly assigned a federal prosecutor in Connecticut to examine the origins of the investigation into Russia’s election interference and alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow. 

The New York Times, citing two people familiar with the matter, reported on Monday night that John H. Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, had been tapped by Barr to look into the probe’s inception. The newspaper reported the inquiry is the third publicly known investigation focused on the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of the Trump campaign. 

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz is reviewing how investigators used wiretap applications and informants as well as whether political bias motivated decisionmaking. 

John W. Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, is also examining aspects of the investigation. 

A spokesman for Durham’s office and the DOJ declined a request for comment from the Times. The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Durham was nominated by Trump in 2017 and has served as a lawyer within the Justice Department for nearly 40 years, according to the Times. He has a history of performing special investigations. 

Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey assigned Durham to conduct a probe of the CIA in 2008 over the agency destroying videotapes that showed terrorism suspects being tortured. 

Bloomberg News reported in April that Barr had formed a team to review the actions of the Justice Department and FBI leading up to the Russia investigation. He told Congress around that time that he was “reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016.”

He also testified before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that he believed “spying” took place. 

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” he said. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week that he wouldn’t use “spying” to describe lawful investigative activities taken up by the FBI. 

Durham’s new assignment comes just weeks after the Justice Department released special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report, which detailed the findings of his 22-month investigation into President Trump

Mueller’s investigation did not uncover evidence to conclude that a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow took place. But the report noted that Mueller could not come to a conclusive determination with regard to whether the president obstructed justice. 

[The Hill]

Trump Attacks FBI Director Chris Wray While Railing Against Investigations: ‘No Leadership’

President Donald Trump attacked FBI chief Chris Wray on Sunday night as he railed against his political enemies in an extensive tweetstorm.

About a day after wailing on former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Trump slammed Democrats and “the Fake News media” in a free-wheeling online tantrum. At one point, Trump amplified a quote from Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, who slammed Wray by saying “The FBI has no leadership. The Director is protecting the same gang…..that tried to overthrow the President through an illegal coup.”

Trump and Wray (who was appointed by the president) have contradicted each other numerous times on key matters surrounding the investigations of Russian activity during the 2016 election. Most recently, Wray drew headlines after disagreeing with Attorney General Bill Barr‘s characterization for whether the Trump 2016 campaign was spied on.

[Mediaite]

Trump: ‘Mueller should not testify’

President Donald Trump said on Sunday that Robert Mueller “should not testify” before Congress, hours after a Democratic lawmaker confirmed that the House Judiciary Committee was still seeking to schedule a hearing with the special counsel for later this month.

“Bob Mueller should not testify. No redos for the Dems!” the president wrote on Twitter, after excoriating Mueller’s 22-month investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election in a previous post.

“After spending more than $35,000,000 over a two year period, interviewing 500 people, using 18 Trump Hating Angry Democrats & 49 FBI Agents — all culminating in a more than 400 page Report showing NO COLLUSION — why would the Democrats in Congress now need Robert Mueller to testify,” Trumptweeted.

“Are they looking for a redo because they hated seeing the strong NO COLLUSION conclusion? There was no crime, except on the other side (incredibly not covered in the Report), and NO OBSTRUCTION,” the president added.

Attorney General William Barr previously told Congress that he has no objection to Mueller, who is a Justice Department employee, testifying before lawmakers. Peter Carr, the special counsel’s spokesman, declined to comment on the president’s tweet.

Earlier Sunday, a Judiciary Committee member, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), told “Fox News Sunday” that Mueller was tentatively scheduled to testify on May 15, but he later walked back that remark on social media.

“Just to clarify: we are aiming to bring Mueller in on the 15th, but nothing has been agreed to yet,” Cicilline wrote online. “That’s the date the Committee has proposed, and we hope the Special Counsel will agree to it. Sorry for the confusion.”

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has said the committee is eyeing May 15 for Mueller to testify. The committee did not immediately respond to Cicilline’s comments.

The White House, Cicilline said in the Fox interview, has indicated it would not interfere with Mueller’s attempt to testify and “we hope that won’t change.”

As recently as last month, the request for Mueller to appear before the House Judiciary Committee was bipartisan; the panel’s top Republican, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, wrote to Nadler in April encouraging him to invite the special counsel to testify.

Trump’s tweet — if interpreted by the attorney general as a direct order to stifle Mueller’s testimony — could set up the most consequential legal question related to the special counsel’s probe: whether executive privilege can be used to stop an executive branch employee from testifying about an investigation into the president.

The president’s post also aggravates a partisan fight over Mueller’s findings that was already under way Sunday morning when Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) criticized the special counsel for not revealing sooner that he had not found that the Trump campaign and the Kremlin criminally conspired to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

“It couldn’t have taken Bob Mueller that long to find that out,” King told a New York radio show. “The reports we get are that they knew a year ago there was no collusion. Well, didn’t he have an obligation to tell the president of the United States that? To let the world know?”

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, later tweeted a news report on King’s comments, adding: “More evidence that Mueller probe was part of a political plan,ie., insurance policy, to remove or hurt ⁦@realDonaldTrump⁩. They failed because people wouldn’t lie.”

It is possible that Mueller could also appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, after Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked him in a letter Friday whether he “would like to provide testimony regarding any misrepresentation” by Barr concerning an exchange he had with the attorney general about the special counsel’s report.

Barr already faces a torrent of criticism from congressional Democrats after his testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. At that hearing, he was grilled by lawmakers about a letter he received from Mueller that expressed disagreement with the way the Justice Department handled the release of the special counsel’s report.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday accused Barr of committing a crime by lying to Congress about similar concerns by Mueller’s investigators, and Nadler on Friday threatened to hold Barr in contempt of Congress if he did not grant access to Mueller’s unredacted report and its underlying documents by Monday morning.

The scrutiny of Barr is likely to intensify in the coming days, as Democratic lawmakers await a potential response from the attorney general to the president’s tweet.

The issue of executive privilege has featured prominently in debates concerning Mueller’s report since the special counsel concluded his investigation in mid-March and submitted his findings to the attorney general later that month.

Trump waived the privilege during the probe, allowing former White House counsel Don McGahn and other figures in his administration to cooperate with Mueller’s team of federal prosecutors. But it is now unclear whether the president will try to assert the power to block those officials from publicly testifying.

Asked on Wednesday whether he had any objections to McGahn appearing before Congress, Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee that McGahn was “a close adviser to the president” and remarked: “We haven’t waived executive privilege.”

Trump said Thursday that he did not want McGahn to testify.

“Congress shouldn‘t be looking anymore,” the president told Fox News. “This is all. It‘s done.”

[Politico]

Trump retweets Jerry Falwell Jr. suggesting his term should be extended by two years

President Trump on Sunday retweeted a post from Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. that said Trump’s first term should be extended by two years as payback “for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup.”

Falwell, an avid and vocal supporter of Trump, was alluding to the recently completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election that special counsel Robert Mueller conducted.

“After the best week ever for @realDonaldTrump – no obstruction, no collusion, NYT admits @BarackObama did spy on his campaign, & the economy is soaring. I now support reparations-Trump should have 2 yrs added to his 1st term as pay back for time stolen by this corrupt failed coup,” Falwell tweeted.

Trump followed up the retweet with tweets of his own alleging two years of his presidency were “stollen” that “we will never be able to get back.”

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1125149867347718144?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Trump’s retweet came after he slammed Democrats seeking to have Mueller testify about the report.

The president said Mueller shouldn’t testify because the report found that neither Trump nor his campaign conspired to collude with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election.

Trump’s retweet Sunday saying his term should be extended by two years comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is worried Trump may not accept the results of the 2020 election if Democrats do not beat him by a wide margin.

[The Hill]

Trump Calls FBI and Justice Department Officials ‘Scum’

During a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, President Donald Trump called FBI and Justice Department officials “scum.”

“We’re taking on the failed political establishment and restoring government of, by and for the people,” Trump said. “It’s the people, or you’re the people. You won the election.”

Then turning to talk of his own intelligence officials he said this: “And if you look at what’s happened with the scum that’s leaving the very top of government, people that others used to say, oh, that’s one — these were dirty cops. These were dirty players.”

He continued on: “You take a look at what’s going on, there’s 21 of ‘em already. And I’m not even doing — they’re just leaving because they got caught like nobody ever got caught.”

The crowd cheered.

“And in the truest sense of the word, what we are doing now is draining the swamp,” the president continued on to louder cheers. “That’s true.”

The crowd then chanted “Drain the Swamp!”

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump: Investigations Against Me Were a ‘Coup’ to ‘Overthrow the United States Government’

Throughout his interview with Sean Hannity on Thursday night, President Donald Trump raved that Robert Mueller‘s probe and the investigations into him were nothing less than an attempted “coup” to depose his administration.

As Trump lashed out at his various political foes and spoke to Hannity about his 2016 opponent who has been vanquished for about 2.5 years now, he said the counterintelligence investigations into his campaign’s possible Russian collusion was a scandal “far bigger than Watergate.”

T”his was a coup. This was an attempted overthrow of the United States government,” Trump said. “This was an overthrow and it’s a disgraceful thing…I think it’s possibly the biggest scandal in political history in this country.”

Trump continued by referring to the FBI and intelligence figures who’ve spoken against him as “sick people.”

[Mediaite]

Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court

President Trump on Wednesday said that he would attempt to challenge impeachment in the Supreme Court if Democrats carried out such proceedings, though it’s unclear the high court would hear such a case.

“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. I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump tweeted.

“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,” he continued.

The president accused Democrats, Hillary Clinton and “dirty cops” of being guilty of criminal activity.

“We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!” Trump concluded.

The House holds the power to carry out impeachment proceedings, while the Senate is responsible for whether to convict the individual in question. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, currently John Roberts, would preside over the Senate trial.

There is little precedent to support the idea of the Supreme Court weighing in on the merits of impeachment, as a sitting president has not previously challenged impeachment proceedings in the high court.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1993 case of federal Judge Walter Nixon that whether the Senate properly conducted an impeachment trial was a political question, and therefore nonjusticiable.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, rejected the possibility of Trump taking an impeachment to the Supreme Court.

“Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate, where [Chief Justice] Roberts would preside over Trump’s Impeachment Trial,” tweeted Tribe, an outspoken critic of the president.

The president has been fixated in recent days on pushing back against the specter of impeachment proceedings, while maintaining that he is “not even a little bit” concerned about the possibility of removal from office.

Democratic leaders have largely said they don’t yet support starting the impeachment process, but remained open to the possibility in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s full report.

In the partly redacted document, investigators did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, but did not exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. 

Investigators instead detailed 10 episodes they reviewed for potential obstruction by the president, with Mueller saying that Congress has the authority to conduct potential obstruction probes.

Talk of whether to carry out impeachment hearings has split Democrats, and discussions have intensified in the aftermath of Mueller’s report.

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down to in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. “But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”

House Democrats have launched a flurry of investigations into the president, seeking to review his finances, potential abuse of power and corruption within the administration.Trump later asserted in a pair of tweets that he had been cooperative with the Mueller investigation, and suggested Congress should focus on legislation instead of seeking additional information from the White House as part of its own probes. “Millions of pages of documents were given to the Mueller Angry Dems, plus I allowed everyone to testify, including W.H. counsel. I didn’t have to do this, but now they want more,” Trump tweeted. “Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

[The Hill]

Trump Tweets Mueller Report Is ‘Total Bullshit’ After Saying It Was ‘COMPLETE EXONERATION!’

It’s the day after the actual Mueller Report dropped—albeit with redactions from Attorney General William Barr, who has been exposed as the president’s pet toad. We now know The Barr Letter three weeks ago was comically skewed to the point that the attorney general’s position is untenable. He so misrepresented the contents of the actual report, in a blatant attempt to manipulate public opinion about its findings, that he can no longer reasonably lead a Justice Department that is nominally independent from the White House. He’s supposed to be the nation’s top law-enforcement officer. If he wants to serve as the president’s personal lawyer, he should resign and start spending some more time with Rudy Giuliani.

If you’re interested in a further reminder that Barr’s initial letter—and his behavior over the last three weeks that crescendoed with yesterday’s reprehensible press conference—was an orchestrated scam, look no further than the president it was meant to protect. Donald Trump has always been one to say the quiet parts out loud, and now that Robert Mueller’s actual findings are public, our fearless leader has decided to sweat them just as publicly. You may remember that, after The Barr Letter, Trump embarked on a victory lap in which he declared Mueller had TOTALLY EXONERATED! him. Based on his stylings Friday morning on the Tweet Machine, something done changed.

He never finished the tweet thread. Maybe he had to attend to the actual affairs of state. Or Hannity called. Anyway, “Crazy Mueller Report” seems like one of the more Low Energy branding exercises rolled out by President Business Deals. His heart’s not in it, probably because he is palpably terrified.

There’s also that nice reminder that the president doesn’t trust anyone, especially a lawyer, who takes notes—a sure sign that his business dealings before he took office were Totally Above-Board. To be clear, one of the core guiding principles for the President of the United States is that you should never leave a paper trail. You know, like a mobster. What do you expect from a guy of whom former FBI Director Andrew McCabe said, “It has occurred to me on a number of occasions that, you know, Donald Trump and I know some of the same people,” referring to some of the people McCabe came to “know” in his time at the FBI’s New York bureau, where he spent a decade investigating Russian organized crime.

But the real peach is towards the end there: “some of which are total bullshit & only given to make the other person look good (or me to look bad).”So, if we’re keeping score here, The Mueller Report went from a COMPLETE EXONERATION! to TOTAL BULLSHIT! in a little over three weeks. Or, alternately, it underwent this transfiguration from the time it was being totally misrepresented by William Barr to the time we actually got to see it. Even now, Trump seems to be trying to say it’s both at the same time: The good parts for me are true. The bad parts are fake. Needless to say, nothing in the report has been proven false. In fact, it corroborates the vast majority of mainstream reporting on Russia, all of which Trump screamed was Fake News.

These people are relentlessly truthless, a pack of liars who have no shame in any context. The Goldfish Brain approach to political reporting that’s all too common will not work here. You can’t just look at what they said today. Whenever White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks and the media relays her message, it should come with the disclaimer that she has a proven record of fabricating entire conversations from the White House podium to justify the president firing the FBI director leading an investigation into him. The fabricator’s kryptonite is history and context. The president is trying to lie his way to the end of each day, and he’s hoping you’re not taking notes. Take notes.

[Esquire]

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