A Tale Of Two Barrs: AG Nominee's Senate Hearing


Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, President Trump's nominee to return to the post, presented two starkly different images at his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 15 in Washington, DC. 

Barr, 68 (shown in a screengrab), stressed through his words and manner the appearance of an independent lawyer dedicated to public service and a "rule of law" according to relatively neutral principles on the conservative side of the political mainstream with his principles honed by his long William Barr smile fox screengrab Smallexperience and integrity.

These, nationwide cable audiences saw throughout the day, included Barr's respect and friendship for such former U.S. Justice Department colleagues as the current Special Counsel Robert Mueller III and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Barr's Republican supporters on the Senate Judiciary Committee eagerly promoted that Barr persona, which is most likely to maximize Barr's votes for confirmation. The supporters include the new chairman of the Republican-controlled committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, below right.

Barr's other persona was that of a pushy supplicant eager to butter up President Trump with dubious legal theories granting the president strong protections from federal corruption and lindsey graham judiciary chairmansimilar investigations. Those probes most notably involve Mueller's ongoing probe Russian influence helping enable Trump's 2016 presidential election victory, among other alleged misconduct or crime.

Support for that version of Barr's motives arose primarily from questions and comments by committee Democrats. Such questions came from those who cited Barr's previous written and verbal statements. The gist was that Barr sent an unsolicited memo to Trump's White House staff arguing that Mueller has been abusing his authority in unconstitutional ways.

Some have described Barr's public statements as a campaign for the post. Separately, some questioned Barr's statement to a New York Times reporter that prosecution of Hillary Clinton for a uranium deal approved by the Obama administration was more justified than the current inquiry over Mueller.

Barr would supervise Mueller if confirmed as attorney general and could fire Mueller.

So, the question remained at the end of the day: which, if either image, previews for the public how the real William Barr would act if confirmed?

The Justice Integrity Project will explore the possibilities in depth during this confirmation process. 

We begin with excerpts below on selected news stories and commentaries early this week about the nominee's confirmation process.

These columns are arranged below in reverse chronological order and are divided into two sections:

The section at top focuses on the Senate confirmation process. The section below cites recent news and opinion regarding revelations from probes of Trump, his campaign and administration by the special prosecutor and Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

Barr insisted that he would treat Mueller and the ongoing investigation fairly within the realm of law. Under pointed questioning, the nominee said that he would not fire Mueller without "good cause" and would not restrict the probe financially or in terms of limiting indictments unless there is s a compelling factual basis to do so.

Barr also stated that he would deliver to Congress and the public Mueller's report about his investigation unless he, Barr, thought there was reason to change it or keep it confidential.

Regarding another major issue for Democrats especially, Barr stated that he would consult career ethics experts at the Justice Department about whether he should recuse himself from any decisions regarding Mueller's probe. Yet Barr said that he would follow his own judgment on whether he would follow the opinion of the career ethics experts.

mazie hirono CustomDemocratic senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii (left) and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut (below at right) delivered some of the most pointed questions to the nominee and most blunt remarks about how they found his answers evasive regarding their richard blumenthal portraitconcerns.

Their key focus was about whether he would perform in an independent manner or as the kind of politically motivated personal protector of Trump that the president has said he seeks.

Some questions related to Justice Department work aside from Mueller's probe, such as private prisons, immigration, civil rights and drug enforcement.

The committee chairman, Lindsey, began the hearing with courtesies associated with Graham's first hearing as chair. But he soon launched a highly partisan denunciation of what he called rogue officials at the Justice Department. Lindsey's attacks paralleled those by Trump against perceived unfairness by FBI and other federal law enforcement. 

Summing Up

"It sounded nice what he said," Senate Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow afterward about Barr. "But there's a lot loopholes in what he said."

"He shouldn't be attorney general," Schumer continued. "I'll vote against him."

Barr is expected to win confirmation easily, however, because of the Republican 53-47 majority in the Senate.

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Related News Coverage

Feb. 7

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr’s attorney general nomination clears Senate panel. If confirmed, he would oversee Mueller probe, Matt Zapotosky​, Feb. 7, 2019. The procedural step sets the stage for William P. Barr’s confirmation vote next week before the entire Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday along party lines to advance William P. Barr’s nomination to become attorney general, a procedural step that sets the stage for his confirmation vote next week before the entire Senate.

Because Republicans control the Senate, Barr is likely to be confirmed easily — though potentially without any Democratic support. At the Judiciary Committee’s hearing richard blumenthal portraitThursday, all 10 panel Democrats voted against moving the nomination forward, while all 12 Republicans voted to advance it.

Democrats said they were particularly concerned that Barr would not specifically commit to letting the public see whatever report results from the special-counsel investigation into President Trump’s campaign.

“They paid for it,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn., right), who has co-sponsored a bill requiring the findings be released. “They deserve to see everything that’s in it.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Whitaker says he won’t testify before House panel unless Democrats drop subpoena threat, Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Barrett, Feb. 7, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee voted to give its chairman the authority to subpoena the acting attorney general, should he fail to appear or answer lawmakers’ questions.

Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker said he will not appear before Congress on Friday without assurances that he won’t be subpoenaed — giving Democrats a deadline of 6 p.m. Thursday to respond.

Whitaker’s move came shortly after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to give its chairman the authority to subpoena Whitaker’s testimony, should he not appear or answer lawmakers’ questions.

[Read the Justice Department’s letter to the House Judiciary Committee]

The confrontation highlights efforts by Democrats to assert their newfound control of the House of Representatives as a check on the Trump administration’s power, and the administration’s determination to push back against congressional investigations decried by the president. However the Whitaker subpoena standoff ends, it may set the tone for months or years more of wrangling between the White House and congressional Democrats.

Alliance for Justice, Opinion on Justice in the Trump Era, H.R. 1 and Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Yeomans, Feb. 7, 2019. Democrats are kicking off the new Congress with hearings on H.R. bill yeomans afj cropped Custom1, the For the People Act of 2019. The bill contains a blueprint for strengthening democracy through reforms in voting, campaign finance, and ethics in all three branches of government. It is massive, ambitious and long overdue. The bulk of the bill addresses access to the ballot and how to make those votes meaningful.

Buried deep in the lengthy proposal, however, there appears a longstanding proposal, discussed in excellent testimony, to subject Supreme Court justices to a code of conduct for the first time. That provision provides the occasion for a crucial examination of the health of the Supreme Court, including the challenges raised by its newest member.

Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by a Senate in which partisan fealty and a commitment to radically conservative ideology steamrolled concern about the integrity of the Court. The severely truncated process installed a nominee who was credibly accused of sexual assault. He lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about a range of other matters, from his denial that he knowingly received memos stolen from Democratic Judiciary Committee staffers to the meaning of entries in his high school yearbook. His hearing proceeded without production of 90% of his official paper trail and the FBI was not permitted to conduct a full probe of the sexual assault allegations against him. His second appearance before the committee featured angry, partisan, injudicious attacks – by the nominee. The process left a bitter aftertaste for anyone concerned about the future of the Court.

H.R. 1 offers the opportunity to put that aftertaste to work. Kavanaugh serves as the poster child for reforms to the Court’s ethics. Kavanaugh’s confirmation cemented the image of the Court as a profoundly political institution. It continued the decades-long alliance between conservative politicians and the conservative legal movement to stock courts – and particularly the Supreme Court – with judges and justices who would apply conservative legal ideology to implement a conservative political agenda.

Jan. 16

william barr senate hearing cnn screengrab jan 15 2019

ny times logoNew York Times, William Barr Vows to Let Mueller Finish Investigation, Charlie Savage, Nicholas Fandos and Katie Benner, Jan. 16, 2019 (print edition). William P. Barr (shown above in a screengrab), President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, assured senators at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that he would permit the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to complete the Russia investigation and said he was determined to resist any pressure from Mr. Trump to use law enforcement for political purposes.

Mr. Barr, whose confirmation seems virtually assured, pointed to his age and background — he served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 — as buffers to potential intrusions on the Justice Department’s traditional independence. He suggested he had no further political aspirations that might cloud his judgment, the way that future ambitions might give pause to a younger nominee, as well as the experience to fight political interference.

us senate logo“I am in a position in life where I can provide the leadership necessary to protect the independence and reputation of the department,” Mr. Barr, 68, told the Senate Judiciary Committee, adding that he would not hesitate to resign if Mr. Trump pushed him to act improperly.

“I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong — by anybody, whether it be editorial boards or Congress or the president,” Mr. Barr said. “I’m going to do what I think is right.”

jeff sessions ag oHe also pledged that he would refuse any order from Mr. Trump either to fire Mr. Mueller without good cause in violation of regulations or to rescind those rules first.

Mr. Barr’s first stint as attorney general came under President George Bush, who was known for his prudent and measured approach. If confirmed, Mr. Barr would serve under a president hardly known for self-restraint. Mr. Trump repeatedly excoriated Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general, for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, which Mr. Trump has called a “witch hunt,” and pushed him to open criminal investigations into political adversaries like Hillary Clinton.

Jan. 15

CNN, Barr: Vitally important Mueller finishes investigation, Staff report, Jan. 15, 2019. Attorney general nominee William Barr (shown above in a CNN screengrab from Jan. 15 Senate testimony) says he would allow special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his report, and that the public and Congress would be allowed to see the results.

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr fields questions on Mueller probe, independence from Trump at attorney general confirmation hearing, Matt Zapotosky, Karoun Demirjian, Devlin Barrett and Seung Min Kim, Jan. 15, 2019. William P. Barr, President Trump’s nominee to be the next attorney general, is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where senators will question him to determine whether he should lead the Justice Department.

Barr, a former attorney general, deputy attorney general and head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, unquestionably has the experience for the post. But he will likely face tough questioning on how he would remain independent from a president who attacks the Justice Department log circulardepartment constantly, and how he will treat special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian election interference.

[Trump confirms he will nominate William Barr to be attorney general]

dianne feinsteinSen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, has said she would seek to be “reassured” that Barr will treat Mueller fairly, while Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) has said Barr already has intimated he “is committed to allowing Mr. Mueller to finish.” Barr has raised questions about Mueller’s probe publicly and to Justice Department leaders.

The hearing began shortly after 9:30 a.m., and we will have live updates throughout the day here. The testimony will likely last the entire day; Graham decided that each senator will get 10 minutes to question Barr in a first round of inquiries and five in a second. Lawmakers are expected to question other witnesses on Wednesday.

Trump's Justice Nominee

washington post logowilliam barr o 1992Washington Post, William Barr, Trump’s attorney general nominee, likely to face tough questioning at confirmation hearing, Matt Zapotosky, Karoun Demirjian, Devlin Barrett and Seung Min Kim​, Jan. 15, 2019. Barr (shown in a 1992 file photo) is expected to field questions from senators on how he would remain independent from a president who attacks the Justice Department constantly, and how he will treat special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian election interference.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Will Democrats ask William Barr the right questions? Harry Litman, Jan. 15, 2019 (print edition). With the advance publication of attorney general nominee William P. Barr’s opening statement to the Judiciary Committee, the focus of his nomination hearing on Tuesday may shift from a fight about “recusal” to a fight about “transparency.”

Although some members of the committee may press Barr to recuse himself from Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during 2016, that is not a realistic possibility.

Barr and the Republicans hold the cards. With a 53 to 47 Republican majority in the Senate, Barr’s confirmation seems assured unless the nominee comes unglued or makes a major gaffe. Neither seems likely; Barr is normally unflappable — he barely ever raises his voice — and too smart and well-prepared to step in it.

So what can the Democrats hope to achieve with adroit questioning of the nominee?

First, on the matter of recusal, they can try to exact a pledge that Barr will follow the guidance at every turn of career Justice Department ethics officials. Acting-Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker promised to consult with those officials, but the promise turned out to be empty and fundamentally dishonest because Whitaker simply ignored their counsel to recuse. In his committee questionnaire, Barr similarly promised only to consult with department ethics officials. The committee can ask him to take the next step. Otherwise, Barr would begin his tenure with a slap in the face to the department he is leading if he followed Whitaker’s example.

Harry Litman teaches constitutional law at the University of California at San Diego. He was U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania from 1998 to 2001 and deputy assistant attorney general from 1993 to 1998.

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: William Barr should have been disbarred long ago, Wayne Madsen, Jan. 15, 2019 (subscription required). Donald Trump's nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, the former Attorney General under George H. W. Bush, has a sordid track record that would make him the envy of any criminal syndicate, including, obviously, the Trump administration.

WMR Editor Wayne Madsen is a syndicated columnist, author of 16 books and a former Navy intelligence officer and NSA analyst.

William Barr, President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle as Bush signs civil rights commission reauthorization act rose garden

Attorney General William Barr, center, President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle as Bush signs the Civil Rights Commission Reauthorization Act

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Says He Alone Can Do It. His Attorney General Nominee Usually Agrees, Charlie Savage, right, Jan. 15, 2019 (print edition). William P. charlie savageBarr [with Senate confirmation hearing scheduled this week] has long espoused an unfettered vision of executive power. He may soon serve a president not known for self-restraint.

The meeting of President George Bush’s cabinet on Jan. 8, 1991, was even more high-stakes than usual. Iraq had invaded Kuwait. Half a million American troops were deployed and ready to attack. But many lawmakers were demanding a vote before any war.

Rejecting mainstream constitutional views, William P. Barr, the deputy attorney general, told Mr. Bush that he wielded unfettered power to start a major land war on his own — not only without congressional permission, but even if Congress voted against it.

“Mr. President, there’s no doubt that you have the authority to launch an attack,” Mr. Barr said, as he later recalled.

Justice Department log circularUltimately, Mr. Bush was cautious about invoking that maximalist theory of executive power and asked lawmakers for support anyway — a prudent step that Mr. Barr, whom Mr. Bush soon elevated to attorney general, also recommended. Congress’s vote ensured the Persian Gulf war was lawful.

Nearly three decades later, President Trump has nominated Mr. Barr to return as attorney general. But unlike the self-restrained Mr. Bush, Mr. Trump revels in pushing limits — a temperament that, when combined with Mr. Barr’s unusually permissive understanding of presidential power, could play out very differently for the rule of law than it did last time.


House, Mueller Probes of Russian Influence,Trump

House, Mueller Probes Of Trump

Jan. 17

The Case For Impeachment

donald trump gage skidmore portrait

Donald J. Trump (Gage Skidmore photo)

atlantic logoThe Atlantic, Advocacy: The Case for Impeachment, Jeffrey Goldberg (Editor in chief, right), Jan. 17, 2018. Dear Reader : Earlier this week, I wrote to you about “Unthinkable" [subtitled "50 Moments That Define an Improbable Presidency", an Atlantic special project that catalogs jeffrey goldbergsome of the most outlandish and norm-breaking moments of Donald Trump’s first two years in the White House.

I’m writing now to tell you that we’ve decided to bring forward the release of our next cover story, “The Case for Impeachment” by Yoni Appelbaum. We’re always hesitant to release our cover stories early, but I’m motivated to do so by two events: The Trump-caused government shutdown, unmatched in length and consequence, and the debate over whether the 45th president of the United States is secretly operating on behalf of Russia.

atlantic logoThe Atlantic, Investigative Commentary: Impeach Donald Trump, Yoni Appelbaum, March 2019 Issue, Jan. 17, 2019. On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump [shown in a Gage Skidmore photo] stood on the steps of the Capitol, raised his right hand, and solemnly swore to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He has not kept that promise.

Instead, he has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us — of every race, gender, and creed — are created equal.

This is not a partisan judgment. Many of the president’s fiercest critics have emerged from within his own party. Even officials and observers who support his policies are appalled by his pronouncements, and those who have the most firsthand experience of governance are also the most alarmed by how Trump is governing.

washington post logoWashington Post, Rudy Giuliani: ‘I never said there was no collusion’ between Trump campaign and Russia, Allyson Chiu, Jan. 17, 2019. "Rudy Giuliani out-Giulianied himself tonight," CNN host Don Lemon said. Rudolph W. Giuliani claimed Wednesday night that he “never said there was no collusion” between President Trump’s campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

rudy giuliani recentIn a remarkable, at times contentious, interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the president’s lawyer (right) was accused of contradicting his own past statements about collusion as well as what Trump and his supporters have repeatedly asserted. On Twitter, Trump has used the phrase “no collusion” dozens of times, and a number of those instances were direct denials that his campaign was involved with the Russian government.

Giuliani’s shocking declarations — several of which Cuomo called out as being false — quickly sent the Internet into a tailspin as many wondered what could have prompted the former New York mayor to suddenly change course.

• The Fix Analysis: Giuliani just contradicted nearly all the Trump team’s past collusion denials

washington post logoWashington Post, The quintessential Trump campaign story: A bag of cash, Michael Cohen and a rigged online poll, Philip Bump​, Jan. 17, 2019. Here's a story of another payment (apart from the one to Stormy Daniels) that might skirt campaign finance laws.

We have, on Thursday, a story that perhaps serves as the best encapsulation to date of how the early days of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency worked, a summary that, itself, seems to explain much of what happened afterward.

washington post logoWashington Post, Constitutional concerns over Trump’s D.C. hotel lease were ignored, watchdog says, Jonathan O’Connell and David A. Fahrenthold​​, Jan. 17, 2019 (print edition). The General Services Administration failed to determine whether the lease violates the Constitution’s emoluments clauses, which bar presidents from taking payments from foreign governments or individual U.S. states, the agency's inspector general said.

Jan. 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Court filing suggests prosecutors know much more about Manafort’s actions, Spencer S. Hsu, Jan. 16, 2019 (print edition). In a heavily redacted filing, prosecutors indicated they have details not yet made public about the interactions of President Trump's former campaign chairman with a former Russian aide and others.

Prosecutors working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III have intensively scrutinized Paul Manafort’s activities after President Trump’s election — including after Manafort was criminally charged — and indicated they have extensive details not yet made public about Manafort’s interactions with former Russian aide Konstantin Kilimnik and others, a Tuesday court filing showed.

Although heavily redacted, the documents state that Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, claimed he was trying to get people appointed in the new presidential administration. The filing also states that in another Justice Department investigation, Manafort provided information that appears related to an event while he was with the campaign in August 2016.

Prosecutors also showed keen interest in a $125,000 payment made in June 2017 that Manafort characterized in three ways that were contradicted, the filing says, by his tax filings and exchanges with his tax preparer.

washington post logoWashington Post, The Russians know exactly what Putin and Trump talked about, but we may not find out for decades, Anton Troianovski, Jan. 16, 2019. The interpreters working for Soviet leaders were trained to take nearly verbatim stenographic notes, often providing more details than official American notes on the same conversations.

washington post logoWashington Post, T-Mobile announced a merger needing government approval. The next day, 9 executives had reservations at Trump’s hotel, Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold, Jan. 16, 2019. The visits highlight how countries, interest groups and companies with interests before the Trump administration have patronized the president's private businesses.

Jan. 15

djt vladimir putin 7 8 2017 wh screenshot

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion, Donald Trump: The Russia File, Editorial board, Jan. 15, 2019 (print edition). Americans deserve to know what the president and Vladimir Putin are talking about. If, beleaguered or bemused by the onrush of scandal and political antics, you’re searching for some index of just how truly not-normal American governance has become, you might consider this: Standing on the White House lawn on Monday morning, his own government shut down around him, the president of the United States was asked by reporters if he was working for Russia.

vladimir putin portrait unknownHe said that he was not. “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question, because it's a whole big fat hoax,” President Trump said.

Yet the reporters were right to ask, given Mr. Trump’s bizarre pattern of behavior toward a Russian regime that the Republican Party quite recently regarded as America’s chief rival. Indeed, it’s unnerving that more people — particularly in the leadership of the Republican Party — aren’t alarmed by Mr. Trump’s secretive communications with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and reliance on his word over the conclusions of American intelligence agencies.

Jan. 14

washington post logoWashington Post, Manafort case shows special counsel’s intense focus on Russia contacts, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Jan. 14, 2019 (print edition). The court documents serve as a reminder that President Trump’s White House bid was led for a time by a man with long-standing ties to powerful Russian figures.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump denies working for Russia, calls past FBI leaders ‘known scoundrels,’ John Wagner, Jan. 14, 2019. ​The president's comments came in response to reports that he was the subject of an FBI investigation after he fired then-Director James B. Comey.

ny times logopeter baker twitterNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Confronts the Prospect of a ‘Nonstop Political War’ for Survival, Peter Baker, right, Jan. 14, 2019 (print edition). So it has come to this: The president of the United States was asked over the weekend whether he is a Russian agent. And he refused to directly answer.

The question, which came from a friendly interviewer, not one of the “fake media” journalists he disparages, was “the most insulting thing I’ve ever been asked,” he declared. But it is a question that has hung over his presidency now for two years.

If the now 23-day government shutdown standoff between Mr. Trump and Congress has seemed ugly, it may eventually seem tame by comparison with what is to come. The border wall fight is just the preliminary skirmish in this new era of divided government. The real battle has yet to begin.

With Democrats now in charge of the House, the special counsel believed to be wrapping up his investigation, news media outlets competing for scoops and the first articles of impeachment already filed, Mr. Trump faces the prospect of an all-out political war for survival that may make the still-unresolved partial government shutdown pale by comparison.

house democrat congressional committee leaders

New House Democratic committee chairs include, from left, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters (both from California), Jerrold Nadler (NY) and Elijah Cummings (MD).

ny times logoNew York Times, Top Democrats Warn Trump Over Comments on Michael Cohen, Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman, Jan. 14, 2019 (print edition). Three newly empowered Democratic House committee chairmen, alarmed by statements over the weekend by President Trump about his former lawyer’s planned testimony before Congress, cautioned on Sunday that any effort to discourage or influence a witness’s testimony could be construed as a crime.

us house logoThe warning, a stark and unusual message from some of Congress’s most influential Democrats, underscores the increasing legal and political peril facing Mr. Trump. Democrats are beginning their own investigations of him as the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, appears to move toward a conclusion in his investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and potential obstruction of justice by Mr. Trump.

michael cohen ap file croppedIn a Fox News interview on Saturday night, Mr. Trump accused the former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen [right], of lying about him to win leniency from federal prosecutors and spoke cryptically of the existence of damaging information against Mr. Cohen’s father-in-law. Mr. Cohen, who has been sentenced to three years in prison, has accused Mr. Trump of directing him to make illegal hush payments during the campaign.

“Our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress,” the chairmen wrote. “The president should make no statement or take any action to obstruct Congress’s independent oversight and investigative efforts, including by seeking to discourage any witness from testifying in response to a duly authorized request from Congress.”

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Investigative commentary: Why is Trump so afraid of Cohen's testimony? Wayne Madsen, Jan. 14, 2019 (Subscription required). Donald Trump continues to lash out at his former lawyer and "fixer," Michael Cohen, as the February 7 public testimony by Cohen before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), draws nearer. Cohen said he wants to "give a full and credible account of the events that have transpired."

Palmer Report, Commentary: Maxine Waters slam dunks Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, Jan. 14, 2019. Donald Trump’s string of racist attacks maxine waters cnnagainst Congresswoman Maxine Waters over the past two years ended up backfiring when the Democrats won the House majority, and Waters was elevated to the Chair position of the powerful House Financial Services Committee. This means she has subpoena power over his financial scandals, and she’ll no doubt use it very soon.

For now, Waters (shown in a file photo0 is lighting up Trump over his more immediate scandals.

bill palmer report logo headerWaters posted this to Twitter about the escalating Trump-Russia treason scandal: “Americans should be shaken by what we know of Trump & Putin’s relationship & should NOT be surprised by the FBI counterintelligence investigation. Is Trump a Russian agent? If it walks like a duck & talks like a duck, then it is a duck – and the duck should be impeached. Please. No one should wonder why Manafort gave polling data to Russians. The only reason Russians wanted this info was to use it against H. Clinton in support of Trump. Why do you think Manafort w/ all his ties to Russia & Ukraine was in the campaign to begin with? Stay woke!”

Jan. 13

Washington Post, Trump kept details of meetings with Putin from senior officials in administration, Greg Miller, Jan. 13, 2019. On at least one occasion, President Trump took possession of his interpreter’s notes after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. officials said. There is no detailed record, even in classified files, of Trump’s face-to-face interactions with Putin over the past two years, the officials said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Exposed: Donald Trump’s treason is so severe, he’s been hiding the worst of it from his own people, Bill Palmer, Jan. 13, 2019. From the start, Donald Trump has been rather open and casual about his treasonous relationship with Russia. During the election, he publicly asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails, a cyber war crime. Since illegitimately taking office, he’s stood next to Putin while attacking the United States.

bill palmer report logo headerIn a stunning new bombshell from the Washington Post today, we’re learning that after Donald Trump has spoken privately with Vladimir Putin, he’s personally seized the interpreter’s notes, and ordered the interpreter not to discuss the details with anyone. It’s one thing to try to prevent such secrets from becoming public; Trump has clearly been afraid even his own complicit underlings might turn against him if they learned just how treasonous these conversations have been.

This comes just one day after the New York Times bombshell about the FBI having opened a counterintelligence investigation into Donald Trump in mid 2017. We don’t think this is a coincidence.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s wall battle could soon give way to bigger fights over Russia, impeachment, Greg Jaffe, Jan. 13, 2019. President Trump and his allies on Sunday derided recent reports that raised new questions about Trump’s interactions with Russians and their leader, Vladimir Putin.

Jan. 15-16, 2019 Senate Judiciary Committee Barr Confirmation Hearing Witness List

Witness List

Hearing before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary On “Attorney General Nomination”

Tuesday, January 15 and Wednesday January 16, 2019


The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
Former United States Senator
State of Utah

Panel I

The Honorable William P. Barr, to be Attorney General of the United States

Panel II

The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey
Former United States Attorney General
Former U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of NY
Of counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
New York, NY

Mr. Derrick Johnson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Baltimore, MD

The Honorable Larry D. Thompson
Former United States Deputy Attorney General
Partner, Finch McCrannie LLP
Atlanta, GA

The Honorable Marc Morial
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Urban League
New York, NY

Ms. Mary Kate Cary
Former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush
Anne C. Strickler Practitioner Senior Fellow
The Miller Center, University of Virginia
Washington, DC

Professor Neil J. Kinkopf
Professor of Law
Georgia State University College of Law
Atlanta, GA

Professor Jonathan Turley
J.B. and Maurice C. Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law
The George Washington University Law School
Washington, DC

Reverend Sharon Washington Risher
Ordained Pastor
Charlotte, NC

Mr. Chuck Canterbury
National President
Fraternal Order of Police
Washington, DC