Jared Kushner and Donald Trump to get 200 Freedom Of Information Act requests from impeachment campaign

U.S. trump impeachment FOIA Freedom of Information Act tom steyer Donald Trump Jared Kushner Ivanka Trump A campaign aimed at getting President Donald Trump impeached plans to file more than 200 public records request on him and his son-in-law Jared Kushner’s business dealings in an attempt to shed light on conflicts of interest. Related: Trump Impeachment Campaign Will Tour the U.S. to Pressure Democrats and Republicans to Remove President The requests demanding records of Trump and Kushner’s business interactions with government agencies and administration members’ expenditures will be filed on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Day on March 16, the “Need to Impeach” campaign announced on Thursday. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now Campaign founder and major Democratic donor Tom Steyer hired a team of two lawyers and three researchers to file the requests on the birthday of former President James Madison, a Founding Father and advocate for government transparency. “This president entered office with more conflicts of interest than any other in history and it seems like the more you know the facts about one thing, the more you learn that you don’t know about something else,” the campaign’s lead strategist Kevin Mack told Newsweek. “Every day, things break that sound worse than the day before.” Mack cited a CNN report on Wednesday that Department of Defense employees charged the government nearly $140,000 at Trump brand properties in the first eight months of his presidency. “So we’re subpoenaing every single federal agency to see how much money they’ve spent on Trump-owned properties,” Mack said. The FOIA requests will include any emails with federal business conducted through private accounts. “Every single person across the country has a right to know if Donald Trump’s private business dealings are intertwined with the federal government Continue Reading

The Donald Trump Impeachment Clock Is Ticking

The “Doomsday Clock,” which members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board have maintained since 1947 as a measure of “how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making,” moved 30 seconds closer to midnight in the week after Donald Trump was inaugurated as president. “It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms,” the scientists warned. “Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way.” Citizens of the United States cannot address all the threats posed by all the errant leaders of all the countries on a planet that has plenty of problems. But they do have a duty to be on alert to threats posed by elected and appointed officials who fail to recognize their responsibilities, who act irrationally, or who disregard the rule of law. That duty has Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, talking about an impeachment clock. After President Trump fired FBI director James Comey, Pocan to post a watch face with Trump’s picture on his Twitter feed with the message: “Trump firing Comey reminds me of the doomsday clock, but maybe we should start an impeachment one.” Pocan suggests that the president’s firing of Comey has “moved us an hour closer to midnight.” This is not the first time that the first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has spoken about the importance of the impeachment power that is outlined in the Constitution. That power is both formal and informal. Explaining that the threat of impeachment could put pressure on the Trump White House to respect the rule of law, Pocan argued on a conference call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that constitutional remedies must be “on the table as an option, especially if, indeed, there Continue Reading

KING: Calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment grow louder, minute by minute

Time is broken. In 2017, I swear a week now feels like a year. The calendar says we're just about 120 days in to Trump's presidency, but that seems impossibly short for the levels of foolishness we've had to face in that time. Maybe we should count by the hours? We're 2,880 hours in. That feels more like it. Better yet, maybe thinking of his presidency in terms of minutes makes more sense. Trump has actually been President for 172,800 minutes. That feels like a much more accurate description of how long he's been office. Every minute is painful. Really though — just seven days ago I said that the best thing Democrats could do was to focus on local organizing and that we should pretty much forget about any chances of Trump being impeached. I've changed my mind. In this past week, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, then trotted out a host of aides to say that it had nothing to do with the FBI investigation into his ties with Russia. Then, speaking to NBC's Lester Holt, Trump said that right before he fired Comey, he thought of how the Russia investigation was fake news — basically confirming our worst fears and making his entire staff look like fools. The day after firing Comey, Trump met with both Henry Kissinger and a Russian delegation. In Trump's meeting with the Russian ambassador, the White House barred American media from attending — but a photographer with Russia's official news agency was present. We later learned, through a New York Times report, that Trump foolishly divulged classified Israeli secrets to the Russians — which set off an international storm of intelligence agencies wondering if they could tell the White House anything at all with Trump in office. Not to be outdone, it was then reported that Trump, in a Feb. 14 meeting, reportedly asked Comey to drop his investigation into National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Associates close to Comey revealed to the New York Times that Comey wrote copious Continue Reading

Is President Donald Trump really acting ‘Nixonian’ in James Comey firing?

In the furor that followed President Donald Trump's surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, many Democrats and members of the media have dubbed Trump's action as "Nixonian," referring to the 37th president who was doomed by the Watergate scandal.But some political experts and veterans of Richard Nixon's administration take issue with the characterization.The embattled Nixon, like Trump a Republican, ultimately resigned as president effective Aug. 9, 1974. Several Arizonans played key roles in the national drama, most notably Richard Kleindienst, who quit as U.S. attorney general on April 30, 1973, and U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and House Minority Leader John Rhodes, who on Aug. 7, 1974, delivered to Nixon the grim news that he faced all-but-certain impeachment, conviction and removal from office. Trump sacked Comey amid the FBI's investigation of possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during last year's presidential election in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton. Russian hackers are believed to have stolen emails from her campaign chairman and the Democratic National Committee and then published the private correspondence via the WikiLeaks website.Most of the recent comparisons between Trump and Nixon have focused on the "Saturday Night Massacre" of Oct. 20, 1973, in which Nixon demanded that Elliot Richardson, who had replaced Kleindienst as attorney general, fire Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. Both Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, both refused to carry out the president's order and instead resigned. Robert Bork, who as U.S. solicitor general was next in line, did fire Cox."Here's what's similar: These two presidents are the only two who ever fired an investigator looking into their potential misdeeds," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "Other things? Not at all."The Watergate scandal, which grew from Continue Reading

Sen. John McCain now calling President Donald Trump’s scandals ‘Watergate size’

Sen. John McCain turned up the rhetoric on embattled President Donald Trump on Tuesday night, saying the building scandals that have put his White House in turmoil are now "Watergate size and scale."McCain, R-Ariz., made the comments, which were first reported by the news website The Daily Beast, at a dinner in Washington, D.C., in which he accepted the International Republican Institute's Freedom Award."I think we’ve seen this movie before. I think it appears at a point where it’s of Watergate size and scale. ... The shoes continue to drop, and every couple days there’s a new aspect,” McCain was quoted as saying by the Daily Beast.In the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, President Richard Nixon resigned from office when it became clear that he was facing impeachment and removal from office.Two top Arizonan Republicans of the era — Sen. Barry Goldwater and House Minority Leader John Rhodes — delivered the grim news to Nixon in August 1974.McCain, who has had a long-running public feud with Trump, for months has been calling for Congress to create a select committee to investigate Russian meddling in last year's presidential election.For a week, Trump has been under severe criticism for his May 9 firing of FBI Director James Comey amid an FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians during the 2016 race.On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Comey had documented in a memo a Trump suggestion that he back off a probe of Michael Flynn, Trump's controversial former national security adviser who had links to Russia."I hope you can let this go,” Trump allegedly told Comey in February, according to the Times. The White House has denied the account, but the report has renewed allegations of abuse of power and possibly even obstruction of justice from the president's critics.The latest twist came after the Washington Post reported Monday that Trump divulged extremely sensitive Continue Reading

Impeachment: Donald Trump’s worst nightmare?

WASHINGTON — Well, that didn't take long.Less than four months into Donald Trump's presidency, members of Congress are tossing around the word "impeachment." The British tabloids gush headlines such as, "Will he be impeached?" Bookies there put the odds at 33%.It's a term — and a process — with a rich and ignominious history.Two presidents have been impeached, and neither was convicted. A third resigned in disgrace rather than face near-certain conviction. Only eight people have been impeached in the House and convicted in the Senate — all federal judges.The process is spelled out in the Constitution: Article II, Section 4 specifies that "the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."But what other crimes are impeachable offenses was left for Congress to sort out. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for abuse of power, President Bill Clinton 130 years later for perjury and obstruction of justice. Both were acquitted in the Senate.President Richard Nixon resigned on Aug. 8, 1974, after three articles of impeachment were drafted charging him with obstruction of justice, abuse of power and contempt of Congress. He later was pardoned by his successor, President Gerald Ford.When he served in the House, Ford famously declared that "an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.”The allegations swirling around President Trump — from contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign and sharing classified information with them once in office, to asking FBI Director James Comey to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn — could provide the seeds for formal charges in the future.Or not: Jonathan Turley, Continue Reading

Did Donald Trump Jr. break any laws by seeking damaging information from Russia on Hillary Clinton?

WASHINGTON – Emails released by Donald Trump Jr. Tuesday show he was excited about the possibility of the Russian government providing him with damaging information about Hillary Clinton during last year's presidential campaign."If it's what you say I love it,” the president’s eldest son wrote to an intermediary eager to set up a meeting where Trump Jr. was promised information that would "incriminate" Clinton.  Related: But is that evidence of any crime?Here’s a look at some of the legal issues that could be in play, based on what we know now. Maybe.There’s a lot more to learn from the ongoing investigations by a special counsel and congressional committees, which are whether Trump associates colluded with Russia. The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a campaign of cyberattacks and fake news to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump.“I don’t think we’re at the end. We’re at the beginning,” said Ron Hosko, a former chief of the FBI's criminal division, of the latest bombshell revelation. “It gives Bob Mueller, who has fairly wide latitude, plenty of potential questions to ask and to probe.” Mueller, a former FBI director, is the special counsel overseeing the Justice Department's Russia investigation. However, while collusion has been the hot topic in Washington for the last several months of investigations, that's not the only thing that can could potentially get Trump Jr. in hot water, experts sayLegal analysts said Trump Jr. may have breached campaign finance laws that forbid foreign contributions — even in-kind contributions. "A meeting with a foreign national known to have ties to a sensitive foreign regime raises a host of legal issues, including under campaign finance law because what is being offered is potentially an illegal foreign in-kind Continue Reading

THEMAL: Who is the real Donald Trump?

"Who is the real Donald Trump" is an issue that USA Today last week put to psychiatrists and politicians. It is a question that has become ever more troubling in my mind after the frightening Charlottesville event.Is it the president who condemns racism while at the same time refusing to condemn marchers for white power? Is it the scripted Trump who assures the country that it will unite but does not admit his own equivocation?Those white supremacists, racists, neo-Nazis, fascists, Klansmen and Confederates claim they marched in Charlottesville in defense of the statue of Robert E. Lee. The statue was a mere excuse to openly flaunt their un-American philosophy. Other voices: Deep social studies teaching can help heal our social divides Jason Levine: My Hard Knocks' Jameis Winston dilemma They were emboldened to rally, carry torches and even Nazi flags, and to display weapons, in a message of hate that used to be largely confined to websites.Where was effective White House leadership and healing? This column reflects some of my mental debates since that fraught August weekend.My first point: Pres. Trump was not wrong to state that there was violence on both sides, that armed marchers were met by club-swinging counter-demonstrators. First counterpoint: What was morally wrong for Trump was to equate the agitators with their opposition. How can he say, "I think there is blame on both sides…You had some very bad people in that group. You also had some very fine people on both sides.”Hate is never fine.Second question: How should Americans resist racist demonstrators and the organizations that spout hate messages and who think the president supports them?Some anti-Trump demonstrators think violence the answer, but all they are doing is to give a bad name to the much greater numbers of peaceful marchers.Second response: The answer should not be the antifas and their allies, whose agenda goes well beyond resisting white power. They are Continue Reading

Donald Trump Jr. bags pheasants with Rep. Steve King on opening day in northwest Iowa

AKRON, Ia. — Game birds were flushed, shotguns were fired and frisky dogs were busy retrieving their prey Saturday as Donald Trump Jr. joined a group of outdoorsmen for the opening day of Iowa's pheasant hunting season.Amid crisp October temperatures that dipped below freezing Saturday morning along the Iowa-South Dakota border, the president's son hunted with U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Kiron, and about 30 others clad in blaze orange at the Hole N' the Wall Lodge near Akron in northwest Iowa's Plymouth County. Reporters who observed Trump Jr. from a short distance saw a pheasant emerge in flight near him in a field of tall grass. He pivoted toward the bird, fired his single-barrel shotgun, and feathers flew as the bird dropped to the ground. Trump Jr. wasn't available to talk with the media afterward, but he reportedly shot at least three or four other pheasants earlier in the morning."He is a very, very good shot," remarked King. "It was a beautiful, clear day in Iowa, and the sky was so full of feathers that one could be convinced that the angels were having pillow fights."By midday Saturday, the group of hunters had bagged a total of 95 rooster pheasants after spending a few hours climbing up and down through some hilly land in the preserve that offered ideal habitat for game birds.Trump Jr., 39, a businessman and former reality TV personality who is known for his love of the outdoors, arrived at the 1,000-acre privately owned retreat Friday night and was scheduled to stay through Sunday morning. He was among an estimated 50,000 hunters who dotted Iowa's countryside Saturday. State natural resources officials said they expect the 2017 pheasant hunting season will be a repeat of last year, when  Iowa hunters harvested about 250,000 roosters.King annually hosts a pheasant hunt and a campaign Continue Reading

5 questions — and answers — about Donald Trump and conflicts of interest

WASHINGTON — Federal laws that bar government employees from having conflicts of interest between their financial holdings and government duties generally don’t apply to the president or vice president.For decades, however, presidents have organized their finances to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. In most cases, they have established blind trusts run by independent trustees to oversee parts or all of their holdings.In President-elect Donald Trump’s case, he's made it clear that he does not plan to relinquish ownership of his vast real-estate and branding empire, as recommended by ethics watchdogs.Instead, he will transfer management responsibilities to two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, along with corporate executives. He says "no new deals will be done" during his tenure in office."Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my businesses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the presidency," Trump said in a series of tweets Monday night.No. Presidents have to disclose many of their assets and debts in broad ranges to the Office of Government Ethics, but there’s no requirement that they sell off their assets before taking office.Other executive branch officials — from cancer researchers to Cabinet secretaries — must recuse themselves from deciding matters in which they have conflicts, set up blind trusts or divest holdings that clash with their official duties.For instance, Henry Paulson, the former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, sold nearly $500 million in stock to comply with conflict-of-interest rules when he was named Treasury secretary in 2006. In 2013, President Obama’s billionaire Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker agreed to sell her shares in more than 120 companies, public records show.Trump's Cabinet picks, which range from billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for Commerce to ExxonMobil CEO Rex Continue Reading