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stepping it up
June 6, 2019

House Democrats have introduced a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt — and while they're at it, they're looking to make enforcing subpoenas against Trump administration officials easier.

A resolution to be voted on next week will empower committee chairs to enforce subpoenas in court and hold officials in contempt without a full House floor vote, with the hope being to "expedite" the process and "avoid repeated contempt votes on the House floor," CNN reports.

This proposal would still require committee chairs to receive approval from a bipartisan panel of House leaders, although this group is Democratically-controlled, Politico reports. The resolution says that a vote taken by this Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to authorize litigation "is the equivalent of a vote of the full House of Representatives," and Politico writes it will not only "speed up the House's ability" to respond to the White House but also give Democrats "sweeping authority" to "engage directly" with the administration in court.

This comes as the White House has repeatedly rebuffed Congress' subpoenas, with Barr not providing Democrats with a copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full, unredacted report and McGahn not providing Congress with testimony. It also comes as two more former White House officials have been instructed to ignore congressional subpoenas: Hope Hicks, former White House director of communications, and Annie Donaldson, McGahn's former chief of staff. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) argued to CNN that as a result, this move is "regrettably very necessary." Brendan Morrow

May 2, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday accused Attorney General William Barr of committing a crime.

Pelosi in a press conference said that Barr "lied to Congress" and that "nobody is above the law." She subsequently tweeted that Barr's "decision to mislead the public" was "a crime."

Pelosi had previously said in a closed-door meeting on Thursday that "we saw [Barr] commit a crime" when he testified before Congress, Politico reports. Her comment was addressed to Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), who asked Barr when he testified last month whether he was aware of reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team was unhappy with his summary of their findings. Barr said no, although it was later reported that he had by this point received a letter from Mueller complaining that Barr's summary "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance."

Barr argued while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that his previous testimony was correct because he was not aware of complaints from members of Mueller's team, and because Mueller privately told him his summary of the findings was not incorrect but that the media was misinterpreting it. Barr told Congress Mueller said this on a phone call that there are notes of, but he refused to hand these notes over, saying, "Why should you have them?"

When asked on Thursday whether Barr should go to jail for lying to Congress, Pelosi said that "there's a process here" and that the committee will "act upon how we will proceed." Crist had previously tweeted that if Barr's answer to his question wasn't honest, "there will be consequences." Brendan Morrow

March 20, 2019

President Trump has angrily tweeted about the husband of one of his advisers for two days in a row.

Trump on Wednesday tweeted that George Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, is "very jealous of his wife's success" and "angry" he wasn't given a job "he so desperately wanted." Trump also called Conway a "stone cold loser" and a "husband from hell!"

George Conway is a vocal Trump critic and has recently been suggesting the president's mental state is a serious cause for concern and likely indicative of a personality disorder. Trump had been advised to ignore Conway's tweeting, reports AP's Jonathan Lemire, but the president ignored that advice on Tuesday, lashing out at Conway by calling him a "total loser!"

This prompted Conway to speak with The Washington Post later in the day, detailing a number of interactions he's had with the president and saying Trump offered him a job at the Justice Department which he turned down. The Post also reported that Kellyanne Conway "went on a lengthy rant about her husband" at an event last month, saying "she and the president think her husband is jealous of her."

Conway responded to Trump's latest tweet on Wednesday morning by writing, "You seem determined to prove my point. Good for you! #NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder." Brendan Morrow

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