The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack issued a scathing statement announcing it is moving forward to obtain a formal criminal contempt of Congress charge against Steve Bannon after the far right wing political strategist refused to comply with a lawful congressional subpoena.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) accused Bannon of “hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke.”
“We reject his position entirely,” Chairman Thompson stated. “The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt.”
Bannon was required to produce documents and present himself to the committee Thursday for a deposition. He refused.
His attorney claims he is protected by Donald Trump’s executive privilege, which the former president does not have. Even if Trump had a right to claim privilege, it would not cover Bannon for several reasons, including that he was not a government employee during the time in question. (Executive privilege does not cover criminal activity, if there was any.)
“The Select Committee will use every tool at its disposal to get the information it seeks, and witnesses who try to stonewall the Select Committee will not succeed,” Thompson warned.
In his statement Thompson explained the process, which includes the Committee meeting and voting on referring Bannon for contempt. The full House would vote on the charges, and assuming passage, “it is the ‘duty’ of the United States Attorney to ‘bring the matter before the grand jury for its action.'”
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Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss – Trump Org and Ex-CFO Weisselberg Criminal Fraud and Tax Evasion Case Will Proceed
Former Trump Organization longtime Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg‘s request to dismiss his case on charges that include conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, and falsifying business records has been denied by a New York State judge. The Judge ruled Friday morning the criminal fraud and tax evasion case against Weisselberg and The Trump Organization will proceed.
“Weisselberg and the company CBS News reports. “The Trump Organization and Weisselberg accused prosecutors of targeting them ‘based on political animus’ toward former President Donald Trump.”to dismiss all 15 counts charged against them. Judge Juan Merchan dismissed one of several tax fraud counts against the Trump Organization, but allowed all others to remain,”
“Prosecutors accuse Weisselberg of a 15-year scheme to defraud federal, New York State, and New York City tax authorities of $1.76 million in ‘off-the-books’ compensation. These included $359,058 in tuition expenses for multiple family members, $196,245 for leases on his Mercedes Benz automobiles, $29,400 in unreported cash, and an unspecified amount in ad hoc personal expenses, according to his indictment,” Law & Crime adds.
Weisselberg, who was Trump’s top accountant, handled a large portion of his business interests, and was co-trustee of the trust set up when Trump became president, will have his next hearing September 12. Jury selection will begin October 24.
Weisselberg began working for Trump’s father, Fred Trump, in 1973.
Indicted ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg has walked into the Manhattan criminal courthouse. pic.twitter.com/BhbFW5dYYa
— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) August 12, 2022
FBI Agents Searched Mar-a-Lago for ‘Classified Documents Relating to Nuclear Weapons’: Report
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who executed a federal search warrant at Mar-a-Lago Monday were on the hunt for “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons,” according to an exclusive Washington Post report Thursday evening.
“Experts in classified information said the unusual search underscores deep concern among government officials about the types of information they thought could be located at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and potentially in danger of falling into to the wrong hands,” The Washington Post adds.
“If that is true, it would suggest that material residing unlawfully at Mar-a-Lago may have been classified at the highest classification level,” David Laufman, the former chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, told the Post. “If the FBI and the Department of Justice believed there were top secret materials still at Mar-a-Lago, that would lend itself to greater ‘hair-on-fire’ motivation to recover that material as quickly as possible.”
This latest development into Donald Trump’s improper and possibly unlawful handling of classified documents confirms what a former FBI special agent noted earlier this week.
“This is a nat sec/CI issue,” tweeted Asha Rangappa Tuesday morning, meaning national security and counterintelligence. Rangappa is an attorney, former FBI special agent, senior lecturer at Yale, and CNN commentator.
Also on Tuesday Rangappa tweeted: “Ask yourself: What kind of info makes its way to the WH, and specifically to the president? —> HIGH LEVEL SECRETS. PDB stuff. Defense info. These aren’t low-level diplomatic cables or overclassified State Dept. correspondence.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Watch: Merrick Garland Calls Trump’s Bluff, Strikes Back at MAGA World’s False Claims in Mar-a-Lago Raid
Attorney General Merrick Garland in an exceptionally rare public statement told the American people Thursday afternoon that he personally approved the search warrant used to enter Mar-a-Lago and confiscate the 10 to 12 cartons of federal government property, which reportedly included classified documents. He also called Donald Trump’s bluff, announcing he has asked a federal court to unseal the search warrant, which will allow the public to know what laws DOJ believes he has violated.
Noting that Donald Trump made public the raid on Mar-a-Lago and the Dept. of Justice did not, Garland cited “the substantial public interest in this matter,” in announcing his move to have the documents unsealed.
“The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search,” Garland stated. “The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening, as is his right. Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president’s counsel, who was on site during the search.”
That statement refutes the false claims made by many on the right that FBI agents refused to hand over the search warrant or inventory list.
“The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause, the property receipt is a document that federal law requires law enforcement agents to leave with the property owner,” he added, making clear that a federal judge did agree there was probably cause to execute a search.
“Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear or favor, under my watch that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing. All Americans are entitled to the even handed application of the law, to due process of the law and to the presumption of innocence.”
“I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter,” Garland announced, which was largely assumed.
Merrick Garland: “First, I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter. Second, the department does not take such a decision lightly.” pic.twitter.com/q6h0BbNBrY
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 11, 2022
Garland also responded to the growing chorus of far right wing extremists, pundits, and even and GOP lawmakers who are attacking DOJ.
“Let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants every day. They protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves. I am honored to work alongside them. This is all I can say right now.”
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