The Roundup: May 16 – 22
We’ve been dealing with a lawless administration for two and a half years, but today Speaker Pelosi affirmed that Trump’s actions are tantamount to a cover-up. This move is a culmination of Trump’s lies and categorical defiance of oversight to prevent the truth from coming to light.
Trump’s behavior has pushed us to this inflection point:
Yesterday, Hope Hicks, Trump’s former advisor and confidante, became the latest member of the Trump team to receive a subpoena after refusing to provide Congress with documents and testimony.
This news comes a day after former White House legal counsel Don McGahn failed to appear for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee because Trump “instructed” him not too. Just to be clear, that’s witness tampering — and it’s not the first time the White House has tried this tactic (see Michael Cohen story below).
Hope Hicks and Don McGahn were with Trump from his earliest days, and have some of the best insights into his criminal behavior of anyone in Trump’s orbit. As the people who were literally in the room when acts of obstruction were taking place, Congress is more than justified in asking them to testify about what they know.
Trump is terrified of what will happen if they start to cooperate. His backlash has pushed us to an inflection point where leadership is declaring his cover-up and Democrats are increasingly eyeing impeachment proceedings.
Trump has opened Pandora’s box by lying and stonewalling — Democratic leadership is willing to up the ante against him and he’s underestimated how committed Americans are to protecting their democracy.
In this moment in history, one of the best things you can do is stay informed. Read the top stories from this past week about the ongoing fight for the truth:
NBC News: Pelosi, Trump tangle over ‘cover-up’ charge, as impeachment talk surges
Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tangled Wednesday over her claim that he had engaged in a ‘cover-up,’ as vocal support for impeachment surged in the Democratic caucus. “We do believe that it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi told reporters in the morning.
The Daily Beast: Rex Tillerson Secretly Meets With House Foreign Affairs Committee to Talk Trump
Tillerson reached out to the committee and expressed a willingness to meet, a committee aide said. In a more than six-hour meeting, he told members and staffers that the Trump administration actively avoided confronting Russia about allegations of interference in the election in an effort to develop a solid relationship with the Kremlin.
Politico: House Judiciary Committee subpoenas Hope Hicks, Annie Donaldson
House Democrats on Tuesday issued subpoenas for Hope Hicks, Trump’s former adviser and confidante, and former White House deputy counsel Annie Donaldson. The new push to compel documents and testimony from the former West Wing officials comes amid an increasingly pitched confrontation between House Democrats and the White House, which has tried to block testimony from current and former aides.
CNN: Former White House counsel Don McGahn did not attend his House hearing. The hearing happened anyway.
The House Judiciary Committee gaveled in Tuesday to an empty witness chair for the second time this month after former White House counsel Don McGahn did not appear after he was subpoenaed. McGahn’s attorney William Burck told the committee on Monday that McGahn would not appear after the White House directed him not to testify, arguing he is immune from having to appear before Congress over his role as an adviser to the President.
The Washington Post: Cohen told lawmakers Trump attorney Jay Sekulow instructed him to falsely claim Moscow project ended in January 2016
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former longtime personal attorney, told a House panel during closed-door hearings earlier this year that he had been encouraged by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow to falsely claim in a 2017 statement to Congress that negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow ended in January 2016, according to transcripts of his testimony released Monday evening.
Business Insider: Michael Cohen allegedly began exchanging hundreds of calls and texts with a Russia-linked businessman right after Trump won the 2016 election
Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime former lawyer and fixer, exchanged more than 230 phone calls and nearly 1,000 text messages with an American businessman tied to a prominent Russian oligarch after Trump won the 2016 US election. The revelation was made in a search-and-seizure warrant against Cohen that was filed in August 2017 and unsealed on Wednesday. It was first reported by Bloomberg News.
The Washington Post: Judge rules against Trump in fight over Trumps financial records
Trump on Monday lost an early round of his court fight with Democrats after a federal judge ruled the Trumps accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers seek to assert their oversight authority.
NBC News: Flynn told Mueller that people tied to Trump and Congress tried to obstruct probe
Former national security adviser Michael Flynn told investigators that people linked to the Trump administration and Congress reached out to him in an effort to interfere in the Russia probe. The court filing from special counsel Robert Mueller is believed to mark the first public acknowledgement that a person connected to Capitol Hill was suspected of engaging in an attempt to impede the investigation into Russian election interference.
Vox: Democrats’ new and untested option in their subpoena fight with Trump: fines
House Democrats are floating a new and untested option in their subpoena fight with Donald Trump: slapping a fine on administration officials who don’t comply with their requests.This is part of a process known as inherent contempt, which is Congress’s ability to arrest, jail, or fine people without court approval if they don’t comply with subpoena requests.
CNN: GOP Rep. Amash becomes first Republican to say Trump ‘engaged in impeachable conduct’
Amash’s comments recommending Congress pursue obstruction of justice charges against Trump were the first instance of a sitting Republican in Congress saying the Trump’s conduct meets the “threshold for impeachment.” Amash is a rare GOP critic of Trump and previously said Trump’s conduct in pressuring then-FBI Director James Comey could merit impeachment.
The Hill: House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash’s impeachment comments
The conservative House Freedom Caucus took an official position condemning Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-Mich.) call for impeaching Trump on Monday evening, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters.
The New York Times: Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Suspicious Activity in Trump and Kushner Accounts
Anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.