News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Nunes Targets Sessions, Mueller Gets Some Throat Punches and Much, Much More

Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Good Monday morning.

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • The president receives his intelligence briefing

Nunes wants to hold AG Sessions in contempt of Congress

Why does the DOJ think it’s above the oversight process? It’s almost as if they are hiding something. Frustrated House Intel Committee chair Devin Nunes is prepared to take it to the next level to get his oversight documents. Two weeks ago, the committee sent AG Sessions a classified letter, which was ignored, and followed up with a subpoena, also ignored.

“On Thursday we discovered that they are not going to comply with our subpoena,” Nunes said on “Fox and Friends,” adding, “The only thing left to do is we have to move quickly to hold the attorney general of the United States in contempt and that is what I will press for this week.”

Making threats seems to be the only thing that works with these people. Yesterday, finally, the DOJ responded to Nunes: “The Department has determined that, consistent with applicable law and longstanding Executive Branch policy, it is not in a position to provide information responsive to your request regarding a specific individual,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote in the letter. “The Department and its intelligence community partners would welcome the opportunity to discuss whether there are other ways to accommodate the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s oversight inquiry.”

Developing…

Mueller investigation gets a few throat punches from the courts

Last week, Judge T.S. Ellis spanked the Mueller camp for their conduct in the Manafort case currently in the U.S. District Court of Virginia. Manafort is on trial for a slew of unrelated-to-RUSSIA-collusion charges that have nothing to do with the presidential campaign purportedly under investigation.

“If I look at the indictment, none of that information has anything to do with links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump,” he lectured Michael Dreeben, Mueller’s lawyer in the courtroom. “So I don’t see what relation this indictment has with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate.”

Ellis wanted to know about the scope of Mueller’s investigation, which certainly appears to be “whatever we have to do to get Trump.” The matter before the court has to do with a DOJ case against Manafort from 2005 that Mueller picked up to squeeze the former Trump campaign manager.

The second punch came on the RUSSIAN troll farm indictments. It seems that one of the targets of Mueller’s RUSSIA indictment has unexpectedly lawyered up and asked for some discovery documents to which the Mueller team said “nyet.”

A federal judge has rejected special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to delay the first court hearing in a criminal case charging three Russian companies and 13 Russian citizens with using social media and other means to foment strife among Americans in advance of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

It’s heartening to see the court system rein in the Mueller posse. Where are all the civil libertarians? They have been so quiet as the government leviathan steamrolls its targets because they don’t like Trump.

Village idiot Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is not worried about the recent setbacks. “I’m not sure that it’s germane, for example, for the judge to be asking how much Bob Mueller has spent on the investigation,” Schiff said. “It’s appropriate to ask about the scope of what Bob Mueller is doing, but he is well within the scope of his jurisdiction in charging Manafort and (former national security adviser Michael) Flynn and the others.”

LOGAN ACT VIOLATION ALERT

One fun thing Americans learned during the 2016 presidential campaign was about the obscure Logan Act. Former DOJ hack Sally Yates sought to investigate Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn for speaking with the RUSSIAN ambassador Kislyak during the Trump transition and the claims of Logan Act violations abounded whenever then-candidate Trump mentioned RUSSIA in a less than hostile light. Well, the media is not so interested in the Logan Act now that we’ve learned that former secretary of state and failed presidential candidate John Kerry is working in the shadows to undermine President Trump’s interest in getting out of the horrific Iran deal.

A new Boston Globe report explained that Kerry, former secretary of state, has been using contacts he developed at the State Department to meet with foreign leaders who are favorable to the Iran Deal. Kerry’s moves fly in the face of official American foreign policy, as the Trump administration has expressed desires to back out of the deal.

Even former senator and veep candidate Joe Lieberman is not down with Kerry’s shadow diplomacy. “John Kerry is not negotiating on behalf of the U.S. government — I hope everybody he’s talking to knows that,” Lieberman said. “But, in my opinion, what he’s doing is inappropriate and he shouldn’t be doing it.”

Should John Kerry be prosecuted for Logan Act violations? Tell me in the comments.

Rudy’s weekend media show

Following Rudy Giuliani’s controversial remarks on Sean Hannity’s show last week, Giuliani hit the Sunday spin circuit. The big focus was on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s payments to porn star Stormy Daniels—did Trump know or not? On Hannity, Giuliani claimed the president reimbursed Cohen for the payment, although previously the president’s camp was claiming Trump did not know about the “hush money.”

“The agreement with Michael Cohen, as far as I know, is a long-standing agreement that Michael Cohen takes care of situations like this then gets paid for them sometimes,” Giuliani said on “This Week.” “Sometimes it’s reimbursed in another way, depends on whether it’s business or personal.”

“Now this was for another purpose, to protect [Trump], to protect his family. It may have involved the campaign, doesn’t matter,” Giuliani said.

The former mayor of New York also told ABC News that Cohen might have paid off other women. George Stephanopoulos asked, “Did Michael Cohen make payments to other women for the president?” Giuliani replied, “I would think if it was necessary, yes,” but also said he had no knowledge of it. If Trump’s been paying off women for years, it will be hard to make the case that the Stormy Daniels payoff was a campaign expenditure, which is what the Trump resistance is claiming.

Can the president take the fifth on Mueller’s investigation? Rudy says yes. “They don’t have a case on collusion, they don’t have obstruction … I’m going to walk him into a prosecution for perjury like Martha Stewart did?” Giuliani said. “He’s the president of the United States. We can assert privilege other presidents [have].”

Clintonista Lanny Davis thinks Giuliani needs to be replaced because of his comments on Stormy Daniels. “I think that there’s at least an argument that by speaking publicly about a conversation with the president that he becomes a fact witness on a crucial question,” Davis said.

Related:

Who is paying this guy? Avenatti expects more hush payments to be revealed

Your daily WTF:

Woman blew up microwave at 7-Eleven with urine sample: cops

Historical picture of the day:

U.S. Marines wounded in a battle with North Vietnamese troopers mass at an evacuation point about three miles from the battle, May 7, 1968. The Marines stormed the village of Dai Do village near the DMZ several times but were pushed back by an estimated 2,000 North Vietnamese troops supported by artillery. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams)

Other morsels:

Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination as CIA director

Woman’s $18 bet on Kentucky Derby day wins $1.2 million

Delayed calorie disclosure rule takes effect for U.S. food sellers

How Buzzfeed’s ‘Data-Monster’ Leveraged User Data To Fuel Super PACs, Target Voters

NY Governor moves to protect unions from SCOTUS decision

Melania Trump to unveil formal agenda on Monday

Connecticut passes bill giving electoral votes to presidential candidate who wins popular vote

Dallas restaurant receives death threats for placing gun control message on receipts

Christian group barred from Amazon charity program, but anti-Semitic, terrorist groups allowed in

Israel’s Netanyahu Turns Up Pressure To End Iran Deal Ahead Of Trump’s Decision Deadline

McCain Regrets Choosing Sarah Palin As Running Mate In 2008

Michelle Obama Slams Female Trump Voters: ‘What Is Going On In Our Heads?’

Rosie O’Donnell Donated over the Legal Limit to Democratic Candidates

Report: Facebook accused of connecting extremists with “suggested friends” feature

Iraqi journalist who threw shoe at Bush runs for parliament

French anger mounts after Trump says Paris needs more guns

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!