The White House claims top advisers have absolute immunity from testifying to Congress about their interactions with the president. Is there any legal basis for that? And does either side of the argument want a court to weigh in on this? Not really. Ken White tells us why. Former Trump campaign chair Corey Lewandowski, who testified (or rather, tried very hard to not give any answers to any questions about possible incidents of obstruction of justice) in a House Judiciary Committee hearing, never served in the White House. Does executive privilege extend to him in any way? What remedy does Congress have in this situation?
Then: one of the foreign emoluments cases is back in the news. A federal trial judge in New York threw out a suit from the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington on behalf of hotels that compete with Trump hotels in Washington DC, but a three-judge panel from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has brought it back because the New York judge had too narrow a view of standing. Standing, of course, is the issue that has tripped up the other emoluments cases.
Plus: listener questions about Andrew McCabe, the Manhattan district attorney subpoenas eight years of Trump’s tax returns, and a very specific discussion about the Department of Justice and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
It’s an impeachment *investigation*
Congress is back, so we’re got some investigation action in the committees. The House Judiciary Committee will vote this week on a resolution setting rules for an impeachment investigation into President Trump. What significance will this vote have? And if there is an impeachment inquiry, will it help Democrats get documents they are seeking? Committees are also looking into whether the Trump administration improperly pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son. And with the reports the Air Force stayed at Trump’s hotel in Scotland on a refueling stop, there’s an investigation into whether Trump violated the domestic emoluments clause. We’ve talked about the foreign emoluments clause before -- this is different, but a potential case has a lot of the same issues as the other emoluments cases.
Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig was acquitted in a federal criminal trial of lying to investigators. Paul Manafort and his lawyers are arguing a New York state case against him presents a double jeopardy issue. Michael Flynn has a dramatic day in court, and there’s more Jacob Wohl antics to discuss.
A conversation with Asha Rangappa
Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa joins Ken White for a special All The President’s Lawyers. Ken and Asha talk about what the media gets wrong (and right) about how the FBI and federal investigations work, and the wall between counterintelligence and criminal investigations done by the FBI. Plus, Ken asks Asha about the counterintelligence side of the Mueller investigation, and what her advice would be if a federal agent comes knocking.
The most commonly committed federal crime
The New York Times reports federal prosecutors are nearing a decision about whether to prosecute Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI. McCabe was fired last year (on the day he was set to retire) based on an inspector general report that found he repeatedly lacked candor in interviews with investigators looking into a leak to the Wall Street Journal. According to the IG, the leak essentially confirmed the existence of an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation just weeks before the election, and generally, the FBI does not comment on ongoing investigations. The IG report said McCabe authorized the leak but mislead several people about it, including then-FBI director James Comey. Now McCabe could be indicted for lying to federal investigators.
Does it seem like prosecutors have a good case against McCabe? What about vindictive prosecution, given that President Trump has been openly out to get him? And what about McCabe’s civil suit against the FBI for wrongful termination?
Plus: Why are Democrats fighting about seeking President Trump’s tax returns? And if it seems like President Trump has a lot fewer legal problems than a year ago, should we believe that’s the case?
When federal judges hit ‘reply all’
Fallout continues this week from Jeffrey Epstein’s death, which has now been officially ruled a suicide. Where’s his longtime confidante, Ghislaine Maxwell, who’s widely suspected of participating in a conspiracy to sex traffic girls for him? She’s been missing or at least she hasn’t been in public. Those photos of her at an In-N-Out Burger in the Valley? They appear to be fake. Josh and Ken talk about those dupes and if they were likely to have misled the Feds. Should we assume the government is looking for her in the first place? And, despite Epstein’s death, would a case against Maxwell be harder to prosecute than people think? What about the will he signed two days before he died?
Plus: accountability in the Epstein saga, an IRS analyst pleads guilty to leaking financial records to Michael Avenatti, and long suffering federal judges and what happens when they get angry and hit ‘reply all.’