Dems expect rocky days ahead as Congress returns

As Congress returns, two major issues now confront them, impeachment and the threat of war, following a U.S. strike that killed an Iranian general. Congressional Democrats say they expect “rocky days’ahead.” (Jan. 3)

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House Democrats: Acosta resigning is ‘right thing’

Congressional Democrats are applauding the decision of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to resign over the handling of the Jeffrey Epstein plea deal in 2008. (July 12)

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What Congress Can Do When A President Ignores Its Subpoenas (HBO)

Tensions between the White House and Congressional Democrats hit a new high yesterday, after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the IRS would not turn over Donald Trump’s tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who requested them last month.

A 1924 law requires the IRS to obey the request, but Mnuchin said he was turning it down because it wasn’t being made a legitimate legislative purpose.

This isn’t a one-off. Instead, it’s part of a bigger pattern of Trump rejecting congressional oversight of all kinds. Today, for instance, the White House said it had instructed former White House counsel Don McGahn to ignore a congressional subpoena for documents related to the Mueller Report. And in just the past week, Attorney General William Barr refused to show up to testify at the House Judiciary Committee in a dispute over who would get to question him, and ignored a subpoena requiring him to turn over the full, unredacted Mueller Report.

Congressional Democrats are fulminating in response. But the tools they have to compel the president to cooperate with their investigations are, in practice, pretty limited. They can:

1) Vote for contempt-of-Congress charges against Trump officials who ignore subpoenas. Criminal contempt charges can result in jail time. But the catch is that any such charge has to be referred to a US Attorney for prosecution. And since US Attorneys work for Trump’s Justice Department, there’s almost no chance that those charges will ever be prosecuted.

2) File suit against the administration in court, which could result in a court order requiring the administration to obey the subpoena. But that process is a long and drawn-out one, and there’s no guarantee, in the end, that the administration would even follow the court order.

3) Take the direct route, and order the sergeant-at-arms to arrest recalcitrant Trump officials. This sounds bizarre, but the Supreme Court has held that Congress has the authority to use its own police to enforce its dictates. The problem is that the last time Congress did this was back in 1935, and trying to arrest someone like the Secretary of the Treasury would leave the Democrats in completely uncharted waters.

Which means what we’re likely to get is what we’ve been getting: Democrats complaining and Trump stonewalling.

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AP Top Stories May 7 A

Here’s the latest for Tuesday May 7th: Mnuchin refuses to hand Trump taxes to Congressional Democrats; China sending top official to US trade talks; Suspect arrested in shooting death of Mississippi police officer; Myanmar frees two jailed journalists.

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Democrats vow to fight Trump on investigations

The head of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Maxine Waters, says Congressional Democrats are prepared to fight President Donald Trump “tooth and nail” to gain access to information her and other House committees have requested. (April 30)

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Trump’s nat’l emergency sparks divide in Congress

Congressional Democrats say they’ll use “every tool” at their disposal to oppose President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration. While many Republicans are falling in line behind Trump’s decision, others remain opposed. (Feb. 15)

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Dems press Trump on shutdown, offer no new plan

(9 Jan 2019) Congressional Democrats say they’ll head to the White House with the plan to reopen the government, the same one they’ve been presenting. They’re asking President Donald Trump to accept a bipartisan bill to fund border security without the wall. (Jan. 9)

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Democrat says he plans to seek Trump tax returns

(7 Nov 2018) U.S. Rep. Richard Neal says he wants Congressional Democrats to use their newfound majority in the House to press President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (Nov. 7)

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Dems Aim to Keep Immigrant Families Together

Congressional Democrats unveiled a bill Wednesday aimed at keeping immigrant families together. This comes after the Trump administration zero-tolerance policy has separated children from their parents at the border. (June 20)

Dems: IG Report Shows Comey Probe Helped Trump

Congressional Democrats say the Justice Department’s Inspector General report on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton emails shows that the probe led by then FBI-Director James Comey benefited Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. (June 14)

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US House Veterans Slam Trump Tweets on Syria

Congressional Democrats who served in the U.S. Armed Forces are calling on President Trump to stop using Twitter to announce national security decisions, particularly in Syria. (April 13)

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Dems: Republicans Must Let Mueller Complete Work

Congressional Democrats gathered on Friday to call on President Donald Trump and the Republican leadership to let ‘the facts’ come to light in the Robert Mueller-led investigation. (Dec. 21)

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CrossTalk: ‘Impeachmentitis’

There has always been a sense of inevitability that Congressional Democrats would attempt to impeach and remove Donald Trump from the presidency. Well, it is happening. At this point, it is unlikely this endeavour will succeed. But this isn’t stopping the “never Trumpers.”
CrossTalking with Gina Loudon, Josh Bernstein, and Robert Barnes.

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