Tag Archives: House Judiciary Committee

Hicks turns on POTUS; more to follow, maybe

Michael Cohen once was Donald Trump’s lawyer, a man he could count on to “fix” things gone awry. He’s now one of the president’s worst nightmares.

Hope Hicks once served — albeit briefly — as communications director for the White House occupied by Donald Trump. Now she’s gone over the hill, telling congressional Democrats she wants to cooperate fully with them.

Cohen likely was motivated to turn against Trump by a prison sentence he received after pleading guilty to lying to Congress; he is set to start a three-year federal prison term soon. He might, it should be noted, get that sentenced reduced.

Hicks isn’t driven by that necessity. She has told House intelligence and judiciary committee members she lied on Trump’s behalf. She says she’s done lying.

Oh, my. It seems as if this saga has no end. There’s no bottom to this pit. It sinks lower and lower.

Whether the special counsel, Robert Mueller III, provides anything of substance in his investigation of The Russia Thing now seems almost a moot point. There might be other information coming forward from former friends, political allies and associates of the president of the United States.

Cohen, Hicks . . . who else is out there?

House doesn’t need a criminal charge to impeach, however . . .

Donald J. Trump put his cheesy side on full display at the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting today. He hugged Old Glory as he walked onto the stage before delivering a two-hour harangue filled with four-letter words and assorted demagogic statements about his foes.

OK, I say all that as a predicate for what I want to say next.

It is that Michael Cohen’s testimony this week before the House Oversight and Reform Committee opened the door to possible criminal charges being brought against the president of the United States. The president’s former lawyer/confidant dropped the names of individuals who might know a lot about Trump’s financial dealings and whether they involve possible criminality.

Why is that a big deal?

Let’s revisit an earlier inquiry into whether to impeach a president. In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Nixon on obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges related to the Watergate scandal.

I want to note that the committee did not impeach the president on the basis of any criminal charges. None had been brought. President Nixon did not break any laws before the House panel approved the articles of impeachment.

Republican lawmakers scurried to the White House and informed the president that he had no support in the Senate, where he would stand trial once the full House impeached him.

Nixon quit the presidency.

Twenty-five years later, the House of Representatives impeached President Clinton largely on the basis of a single criminal charge: perjury. The president lied to a grand jury that asked him about his relationship with the White House intern.

Donald Trump’s troubles appear to eclipse those that ensnared Clinton in an impeachment and a Senate trial (where he was acquitted). As for the Nixon impeachment inquiry, I just want to reiterate that the president was not charged with a criminal act.

This is my way of saying that Donald Trump might be wading into some mighty deep doo-doo.

No amount of flag-hugging is likely to do him any good.

Whitaker is going out with a bang

I am wondering if this thought has occurred to those critics of the nation’s acting attorney general’s performance in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.

Matthew Whitaker is a lame-duck acting AG. The president has nominated William Barr as the next permanent attorney general.

What, then, does Whitaker have to lose by stonewalling the questions from Judiciary Committee Democrats who pressed him on whether he spoke with Donald Trump about the Russia probe?

Whitaker is going to leave DOJ soon once Barr gets confirmed, which I expect the Senate to do in short order. I am wondering now if he decided to stick it in the Judiciary panel’s ear by refusing to answer simple, declarative questions.

I also am wondering if Donald Trump suggested — or perhaps ordered — Whitaker to dummy up.

Comey scores a victory

Former FBI director James Comey has given up his effort to avoid testifying before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in private, behind closed doors.

But . . . he scored an important concession from the committee in return: The panel will release to the public the full transcript of what House members ask him and Comey’s answers to the inquiries.

Comey was summoned to appear before the committee to tell members about his firing by Donald Trump and about the FBI investigation into alleged collusion with Russian government agents who attacked our electoral system. We might get to know what was said at the time and what if anything his dismissal might reveal to those of us who are concerned about whether the president obstructed justice by firing the FBI boss.

Comey’s reluctance was centered on the nature of the questions that committee members might ask and whether Republican members in particular would be overly hostile. He wanted it all done in public, in front of the nation and the world. He sued to have it his way, but then backed away when Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., agreed to release the transcripts for public scrutiny.

Comey in effect got what he wanted. The public will be allowed to see what he said, what the committee asked him and will be able to discern the nature of the inquiry.

The former FBI director said in a tweet: Grateful for a fair hearing from judge. Hard to protect my rights without being in contempt, which I don’t believe in. So will sit in the dark, but Republicans agree I’m free to talk when done and transcript released in 24 hours. This is the closest I can get to public testimony.

Hey, it’s close enough, Mr. Director. Talk to us after it’s done. We’re all ears.

Father and Son Goodlatte: miles apart

It’s often said about children and their parents that “The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Not so with Bob and Bobby Goodlatte, father and son.

Dad Goodlatte chairs the U.S. House Judiciary Committee; the Republican lawmaker serves the Roanoke Valley area of western Virginia. Son Goodlatte is a venture capitalist who lives in San Francisco.

Bobby doesn’t like the way the chairman treated former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who got fired today from the agency that employed him for many years.

Bobby Goodlatte is so angry with his dad that he has given money to the Democrat who’s running for the seat that Chairman Goodlatte is vacating at the end of the year.

Bobby wrote this via Twitter, according to Vox.com: “I’m deeply embarrassed that Peter Strzok’s career was ruined by my father’s political grandstanding. That committee hearing was a low point for Congress,” Bobby Goodlatte tweeted. “Thank you for your service sir. You are a patriot.”

Read the Vox story here.

You know, this isn’t all that uncommon. Many children of notable Americans veer far from where Mom and Dad earn their stripes.

Hey, I have a son who disagrees with me politically. I don’t hold it against him. To the best of my knowledge, he doesn’t hold my political leanings against me, either. I love him and he loves me … at least that’s what he says.

But I’m just a chump blogger.

However, that’s different from what is happening within the Family Goodlatte. Dad has been a key player in trying to get to the bottom of the “Russia thing.” The younger Goodlatte is angry over the way his father treated a career FBI agent, Stzrok.

This kind of thing happens on occasion.

As for whether the fruit has fallen far from the Goodlatte tree, it looks as though the wind carried it across our vast nation.

Hoping for a cure for Trump Fatigue

I am going to steel myself for a lengthy, winding and probably tiresome period as the media continue to report on the myriad troubles bedeviling the Donald John Trump administration.

Is there a cure out there for what looks like a case of acute Trump Fatigue?

If someone can find it, let me know … please!

Trump’s time in office is all of six weeks old now. Every single day seems to produce something of consequence. It might be relatively minor. It might be, oh, yuuuge.

The biggest event so far has been the president’s baseless, evidence-free assertion that his predecessor, Barack H. Obama, ordered a wiretap of the Trump Tower offices in New York City.

The former president has denied it. The FBI director, James Comey, has asked the Justice Department to ignore it. Now the president has called on Congress to investigate it.

It all centers on those damn Russians and whether they sought to influence the 2016 election — and whether they colluded with candidate Trump and his team as they were seeking to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Folks, this battle is just beginning and for those of us out here who have an interest in good government, public service and the once-noble craft of politics, we are heading for an ugly, raucous, tumultuous, possibly critical time in our nation’s history.

As the essay attached to this blog notes, we are entering uncharted waters as it regards the presidency of the United States.

Here it is.

So, the Trump administration begins where — as some have noted — the Nixon administration ended in August 1974. Think about this for just a moment.

The Watergate break-in occurred in June 1972. The media barely covered it at first. Then one tip led to another and two years later, the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment, a key Republican senator — Barry Goldwater — told President Nixon he didn’t have any Senate support to acquit him if the case went to trial, and then the president quit.

Trump has been in office for just a few weeks and the questions are swirling around him with increasing volume and velocity.

The president seemingly always has been keyed toward finding ways to bring attention to himself. Well, now he has the whole world watching and waiting for the next chapter to unfold in this amazing drama.

If only we can stand it.

In the meantime, I will await the miracle cure for Trump Fatigue.

Hit the road, Gov. Kitzhaber

It’s looking like lights out for Oregon’s embattled governor.

John Kitzhaber is now getting the word from top state Democrats — his own partisans — that it’s time for him to go. A growing ethics scandal involving his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, is now threatening to overwhelm his ability to govern his state — my home state.

It’s not looking good for the governor. He can’t possibly hang on.


His fiancée has been implicated in a scheme in which she funneled state business to her lobbying firm, allegedly using her connections as the state’s de facto first lady to fatten her wallet/purse.

As for Kitzhaber’s role in this, well, he is the governor and his fiancée allegedly was acting as the state’s agent.

It’s bad, man. Real bad.

As for state Democrats telling the governor it’s time for him to quit, this has a Watergate-ish ring to it.

Flash back to 1974. President Richard Nixon was in deep doo-doo over the Watergate scandal. It was revealed that he had told the FBI to back off its investigation of whether the president’s re-election committee was complicit in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office complex.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee then approved articles of impeachment against the president.

It was then that none other than Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater led a GOP delegation to the White House to inform the Republican president that he was toast, that he couldn’t be acquitted in a Senate trial. “You have to quit, Mr. President,” Goldwater said.

Nixon did resign a few days later.

History is sounding as if it’s repeating itself in the Oregon State Capitol Building.

You have to quit, Gov. Kitzhaber.