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OBSTRUCTION

Revealed: State Dept. Ordered Ukraine Ambassador to Not Testify

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The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who delivered a stunning statement just hours ago has just delivered a new one: the State Dept., at the direction of the Trump White House, ordered her to not appear or testify before Congress.

House Democrats then issued a subpoena to ensure she could testify as planned Friday morning, which she did, dropping several bombshells.

Among them, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch says President Donald Trump ordered her removed from her post. She was told to get “on the next plane” and return to Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Yovanovitch also says she believes she was recalled because she was getting in the way of plans made by the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and his associates.

“With respect to Mayor Giuliani,” Ambassador Yovanovitch said in her qwrittten statement, “I have had only minimal contacts with him—a total of three that I recall. None related to the events at issue. I do not know Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me. But individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani may well have believed that their personal financial ambitions were stymied by our anti-corruption policy in Ukraine.”

In other words, she appears to suggest they were trying to make money and she was blocking those efforts.

Yovanovitch also explains the decision-making process that led to her removal.

“I met with the Deputy Secretary of State, who informed me of the curtailment of my term. He said that the President had lost confidence in me and no longer wished me to serve as his ambassador. He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the Department had been under pressure from the President to remove me since the Summer of 2018. He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause. I departed Ukraine for good this past May.”

House Democrats have issued a statement warning the Trump administration that their continued ewfforts to obstruct may be added to the articles of impeachment.

 

Image by U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine via Flickr

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OBSTRUCTION

Mnuchin Admits Breach: White House Has Consulted With Treasury on Trump’s Tax Returns

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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Tuesday morning admitted to Congress the White House Counsel’s office has consulted with the Treasury Dept.’s legal team in an apparent effort to obstruct the House Ways and Means Committee from obtaining President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

The breach occurred before Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) formally ordered six years of Trump’s taxes, as The Washington Post reports.

The Post does not say the consultation was illegal, but the title of its article suggests it might be: “Mnuchin reveals White House lawyers consulted Treasury on Trump tax returns, despite law meant to limit political involvement.”

The Post notes the “process is designed to be walled off from White House interference, in part because of corruption that took place during the Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s.”

Meanwhile, Politico adds that Congress should not expect to see Trump’s taxes any time soon.

“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday refused to say whether he’d turn over President Donald Trump’s tax returns to Democratic lawmakers, foreshadowing a long legal fight ahead.”

RELATED: Trump Privately Asked Mcconnell to Prioritize Confirmation of Irs Counsel Over Attorney General – and Now We Know Why

Here is Sec. Mnuchin’s remarks from today’s hearing:

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POWERFUL HOUSE DEMOCRAT OFFICIALLY REQUESTS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TAX RETURNS FROM THE IRS

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Trump’s Conversations With Whitaker Lead to Increased Concerns of Obstruction

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Matthew Whitaker at the Ray Center

President Donald J. Trump has fumed to his acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, that the latter is not doing enough to stymie probes into the former’s activities. Such a move is, itself a sign of possible obstruction.

According to sources close to the administration, the President was upset that federal prosecutors have filed charges that impact him, and “lashed out” about same. These sources stopped short of saying the President attempted to get Whitaker to halt the investigations, however.

The first of these two incidents occurred after Michael Cohen, the president’s former attorney, plead guilty to lying to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project. That was on the 29th of November, shortly after Whitaker replaced Jeff Session on the 7th.

Sessions, the previous Attorney General, had recused himself from the Mueller investigation, a move that seemingly angered Trump. Whitaker, meanwhile, is viewed as a Trump loyalist who has long echoed the President’s views on the probe. Many have pushed Whitaker to recuse himself, a move he has resisted.

A week after Trump’s initial outburst with Whitaker, he again expressed his displeasure with the acting Attorney General, after prosecutors in Manhattan implicated the president in hush money payments during his 2016 presidential run.

During that outburst, the president pushed Whitaker, asking why more wasn’t done to rein in new York’s prosecutors.

Trumps willingness to use the Department of Justice to protect himself and attack his enemies has been a concern throughout his Presidency: Trump had attacked the former Attorney General many times over his inaction when it came to halting the Mueller investigation.

In 2016, many complained about a meeting in Phoenix between former President Bill Clinton and President Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, with many fearing that the former President was attempting to obstruct investigations regarding his wife, Hillary.

The current President’s actions towards his acting Attorney General may be viewed similarly, and far worse, than that meeting 2016 with the former President.

Image by The Ray Center via Flickr and a CC license

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OBSTRUCTION

Trump Makes Astonishing Claim About Mueller Investigation: ‘I Could Run It’

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President Donald Trump in an interview with Reuters Monday has just made astonishingly disturbing and ignorant claims about the Mueller investigation.

Jeff Mason, the White House Correspondent for Reuters, reports that Trump says “he has chosen not to be involved in Mueller probe but is ‘totally allowed’ to be if he wanted to.”

That’s false.

“I’ve decided to stay out,” the president told Reuters. “Now, I don’t have to stay out, as you know. I can go in and I could… do whatever, I could run it if I want.”

Let’s repeat that last part: “I could run it if I want to,” Trump said.

That’s astonishingly false and disturbing.

It’s also obstruction of justice.

“Trump says that speaking to Mueller’s investigators in Russia probe could be a perjury trap,” Reuters also reports, adding that he “declines to say whether he will do an interview with Mueller’s team.”

Here’s a clip from MSNBC discussing these developments:

 

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