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    PHOENIX (AP) — An attorney for an Arizona real estate developer who was referred to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation along with a former Trump administration Cabinet member by Democrats on a congressional committee demanded Thursday that he be allowed to publicly rebut the allegations against his client. Lanny Davis, one of the lawyers representing Arizona developer Michael Ingram, said the House Natural Resources Committee improperly accused Ingram and former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt of bribery. “I’m asking all these members, Republicans and Democrats alike, to allow me a chance to publicly rebut what I and Mr. Ingram believe are false or misleading allegations of criminal conduct,” Davis told reporters. “I would like to appear before the full committee.” Last week’s criminal referral laid out what committee Democrats said appeared to be a series of campaign contributions totaling $241,000 to Trump-associated committees by Ingram and other wealthy Arizona resident he knows. They said evidence they collected during a three-year committee investigation strongly suggested the payments were made in exchange for Bernhardt pushing an...
    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reportedly approached the House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, asking for transcripts of interviews that it can use in prosecutions, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The committee is barred by the Constitution’s separation of powers from exercising law enforcement powers. Congress can convene investigative committees, but they must have some relation to a legislative purpose, or to an impeachment purpose. The Times reported: The Justice Department has asked the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack for transcripts of interviews it is conducting behind closed doors, including some with associates of former President Donald J. Trump, according to people with knowledge of the situation. The move is further evidence of the wide-ranging nature of the department’s criminal inquiry into the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol and the role played by Mr. Trump and his allies as they sought to keep him in office after his defeat in the 2020 election. The House committee, which has no power to pursue criminal charges, has interviewed more than...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is rejecting a request from the Justice Department for access to the committee’s interviews, for now. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee’s chairman, said Tuesday that the Justice Department had made the request as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into the attack. But he said it was “premature” for the committee to share its work at this point because the panel’s probe is ongoing. The Justice Department’s request comes as prosecutors have been issuing subpoenas and seeking interviews with people who had been involved in planning events leading up to the attack on the Capitol last year. The request to the House panel — which has conducted more than 1,000 interviews so far — exemplifies the breadth of the Justice investigation into one of the largest attacks on democracy in American history. The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland have faced mounting pressure to prosecute former President Donald Trump since the Jan. 6 House committee laid out an argument for what its members...
    The House Select Committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection is debating whether a criminal referral of former President Donald Trump to the Department of Justice is the most effective path forward to ensuring that the United States never again has to endure a violent challenge to the results of a presidential election. Recent reporting, as noted by Andrew Prokop at Vox.com, suggests that some committee members "are increasingly skeptical" about whether a criminal referral would help accomplish its stated objectives of preventing a repeat of Jan. 6 and developing a total picture of what happened and why. The committee doesn't have the power to file criminal charges against anyone, but it can recommend that the Justice Department do so. The House already has approved four criminal referrals from the committee for contempt of Congress against Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro — four Trump aides who have refused to turn over some or all records to the committee. Some committee members, like Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) question the importance of a referral of Trump to the...
    The Jan. 6 committee has amassed so much evidence in the nearly 500 days since Donald Trump incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that congressional investigators are weighing a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for the twice-impeached ex-president.  Whether they ultimately issue that referral is a question that hangs heavy in the air over the probe and members are internally split on the path ahead, according to a report by The New York Times from Sunday.  Nonetheless, after some 800 interviews and extensive cooperation from those orbiting the Trump White House and campaign in the runup to Jan. 6,  the committee’s bipartisan leadership has said the evidence strongly indicates Trump illegally obstructed Congress—again—and committed fraud against the American people as he and those who sought to keep him in power worked to pull off a scheme that hinged on his lies about the outcome of the 2020 election. During an interview on CNN following the Times report, committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney, a Republican ousted from GOP leadership for her participation in the probe, brushed off the notion that division was stewing among members.  The sources in the Times said some lawmakers...
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are increasingly going public with critical statements, court filings and more to deliver a blunt message to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice. President Donald Trump and his allies likely committed crimes, they say. And it’s up to you to do something about it. “Attorney General Garland, do your job so we can do ours,” prodded Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia. “We are upholding our responsibility. The Department of Justice must do the same,” echoed Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Their rhetoric, focused this week on two contempt of Congress referrals approved by the committee, is just the latest example of the pressure campaign the lawmakers are waging. It reflects a stark reality: While they can investigate Jan. 6 and issue subpoenas to gather information, only the Justice Department can bring criminal charges. Committee members see the case they are building against Trump and his allies as a once-in-a-generation circumstance. If it’s not fully prosecuted, they say, it could set a dangerous precedent that threatens the...
    A top aide for former President Donald Trump who grew up in Northern Westchester and lived in Dutchess County could face charges from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol. Yorktown native and former Hopewell Junction resident Dan Scavino, Jr., who served as a social media director during the Trump campaign and later worked alongside him in the White House as deputy chief of staff, could face criminal contempt charges for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the committee. Related story - Yorktown Native Dan Scavino Gets Post In Donald Trump Administration The House select committee is set to meet on Monday, March 28 to determine whether Scavino and former trade and manufacturing director Peter Navarro will be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify in the hearings regarding the riot at the Capitol last year. If the committee opts to move forward, it would move to a vote by the House on whether or not Navarro and Scavino should be prosecuted by the Justice Department. Scavino had been named...
    (CNN)The House select committee investigating the US Capitol riot will consider whether to recommend that two former advisers to former President Donald Trump be held in contempt for not cooperating with their investigation and to refer them to the Justice Department for possible prosecution.On Monday, the committee will consider bringing criminal contempt referrals for Trump White House deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and Trump's onetime trade adviser Peter Navarro.Scavino was part of the first group of individuals the committee subpoenaed in September 2021 and CNN reported that as late as October, the panel had still been unable to serve Scavino with his subpoena.Navarro skipped his scheduled deposition in early March. In a statement provided to CNN at the time, Navarro claimed he did not show up for his deposition because of executive privilege issues.In its subpoena letter to Scavino, the committee said it "has reason to believe that you have information relevant to understanding important activities that led to and informed the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and relevant to former President Trump's activities and communications...
    In a day-long session Monday, Connecticut’s Joint Judiciary Committee, comprised of members of the state House and state Senate, weighed 12 bills, mostly related to criminal justice reform. Last year, the state saw a drop in overall violent crime statistics but a massive increase in robberies, shootings, and car jackings, leading to the flurry of bills that are currently on the legislative docket. Particularly, Connecticut’s legislators are concerned with the uptick in violence crimes among juveniles – specifically car jackings and shootings. One of those bills is SB 16, which addresses gun violence and juvenile crimes. The bill would make serious crimes among juveniles punishable by prison sentences in adult facilities. The pertinent section of the bill says: No child shall be released from a juvenile residential center who is alleged to have committed a serious juvenile offense except by order of a judge of the Superior Court. The court may, in its discretion, consider as an alternative to detention a suspended detention order with graduated sanctions to be imposed based on the detention risk screening for such child …...
    (CNN)The House January 6 committee's aggressive approach to seeking accountability from ex-President Donald Trump, on full display this week, may be setting up a choice for Attorney General Merrick Garland that would trigger a legal and political storm. In a torrent of legal filings, subpoenas, contempt referrals and hundreds of interviews, the panel has constructed a probe that is sweeping in scope and seems certain to bust open the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led to the worst attack on US democracy in generations.In a new gambit this week, the committee argued to a judge in a case related to the probe that Trump and a conservative lawyer were part of a "criminal conspiracy" to try to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election. The court filing sparked political intrigue over whether the former President could ultimately end up facing a jury over the insurrection. Then, in a fresh sign of its industriousness, the committee targeted Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancée of Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., with a subpoena on Thursday. Public hearings designed to expose Trump's plotting against the...
    Country music singer-songwriter and Nashvillian John Rich testified before the Tennessee House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Wednesday regarding legislation dealing with pornographic and obscene material in K-12 Tennessee schools. According to the sponsor of HB1944, Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka), alluding to the turmoil expressed across the state, the bill creates a process to deal with such materials that have found their way into classrooms and libraries. The legislation would remove the exception that exempts the K-12 system from possession of any obscene or pornographic material. The bill also creates a skeletal process, so that if a complaint is made that there is controversial material in the school system, there is assurance that books are not arbitrarily removed from a school system by using community standards and what a reasonable person would deem obscene or pornographic, a standard the Supreme Court has addressed. The final decision would rest with the local school board, who are the elected members of the community. The bill also creates a process of reporting to the state the books that are removed, and includes an enforcement mechanism...
    SACRAMENTO —  For more than a year, a seven-person California commission has been quietly spearheading a massive effort to overhaul the thicket of criminal laws that make up the state penal code. Its ideas for 2022 are ambitious, including an eventual end to the state’s controversial “three strikes” law and changes to lifetime prison sentences without the possibility of parole. “I think there are a great number of injustices,” said Michael Romano, the chairman of the state Committee on Revision of the Penal Code and a Stanford Law School lecturer. “And I think we can make our state even safer and more fair by looking at some of the details.” The committee — comprising lawmakers, criminal law scholars and former federal and state judges appointed by the governor and legislative leaders — was formed in 2020 to closely examine California’s incarceration rates and make policy recommendations to lower them. In broad terms, the advisory panel aims to provide lawmakers with ideas that move California toward more diversion and rehabilitation programs and away from the tough-on-crime policies of decades past. Members have...
    (CNN)Members of the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot are increasingly pushing the idea that they could produce evidence related to criminal activity by former President Donald Trump, but sources tell CNN the panel is still in the fact-finding stage and any potential referrals to the Justice Department would be a long way off. The prospect of criminal referrals as floated by members of the committee can therefore be seen more as a political message aimed at Trump and Attorney General Merrick Garland rather than suggesting the investigation will ultimately lead to criminal charges, sources said. "The Select Committee is gathering facts and asking questions about the violence of January 6th and its causes so we can make legislative recommendations and help ensure nothing like that day happens again," a committee aide told CNN. "The Select Committee is not conducting a law enforcement investigation, so if we uncover information that we believe could be related to criminal conduct, we will make whatever referrals are appropriate." House votes to refer Mark Meadows to Justice Department for contempt of...
    (CNN)The House is set to vote on whether former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows should be referred to the Department of Justice on criminal charges for failing to appear for a deposition with the select committee investigating the January 6 attack.The panel unanimously voted in favor of holding Meadows in contempt of Congress on Monday night, and it is now up to the full House to vote on whether it will ask the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against Trump's former chief of staff."The select committee's report referring Mr. Meadows for criminal contempt charges is clear and compelling," Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said on Tuesday. "As White House chief of staff, Mr. Meadows played a role in or was witness to key events leading up to and including the January 6th assault on the United States Capitol." Meadows issued a new statement Tuesday ahead of the full House vote saying that his client is still cooperating with the committee in some ways, but maintained he cannot be compelled to appear for questioning as...
    (CNN)The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol is using Jeffrey Clark's refusal to answer questions during a recent deposition and failure to hand over subpoenaed documents to the panel to justify its plan to refer the former top Department of Justice official for criminal contempt of Congress.The committee's report outlines why the panel believes Clark is a central figure in the run-up to the riot and accuses him of attempting to use Justice Department authority to overturn the election. The request to refer Clark for possible criminal contempt charges helps to clarify the panel's definition of cooperation from its witnesses.The full House would have to vote to hold Clark in criminal contempt of Congress, setting up a referral to the Department of Justice, which would then have to decide whether to prosecute. A decision by Clark's former department to do so would make him the second person to face a serious legal penalty for blowing off the select committee's requests.Former President Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon is currently awaiting trial for a misdemeanor criminal...
    (CNN)The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who also serves on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, said the committee will "move quickly" to refer Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff at the White House, for criminal contempt for not cooperating with its investigation."We have been moving very quickly to make these decisions and I'm confident we'll move very quickly with respect to Mr. Meadows also," California Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "But when ultimately witnesses decide, as Meadows has, that they're not even going to bother showing up, that they have that much contempt for the law, then it pretty much forces our hand, and we'll move quickly."Mark Meadows did not appear for deposition with January 6 committeeMeadows failed to appear for a deposition on Friday, setting up a potential showdown that could lead to the panel beginning a criminal referral process against him as well.Schiff also called Steve Bannon's indictment by the Department of Justice "very positive" news."I view this as an early test of whether democracy was recovering....
    (CNN)To many in Washington, the criminal contempt case against Steve Bannon appears cut and dried: The podcaster and former Trump adviser has openly spurned a congressional subpoena to testify in an investigation into the January 6 US Capitol attack, claiming to be covered by executive privilege even though he wasn't a government employee at the time. But the longer it takes for the Justice Department to make a decision on whether to prosecute Bannon, the more questions swirl around whether this was the right strategy for congressional investigators. Democratic critics, already frustrated with Attorney General Merrick Garland over other moves, have focused their impatience over the Bannon referral on Garland because he has ultimate say on whether Bannon is prosecuted. It's been more than two weeks since the House voted to refer Bannon's case to the Justice Department. Since then, Garland has said little publicly about the status of Bannon's referral, but some people close to the attorney general say his experience of being blocked from the Supreme Court by Republicans for partisan reasons means he's not unaware of the...
    Washington (CNN)Nine House Republicans broke ranks Thursday to join all Democrats in voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. While Democrats didn't need any GOP votes in order to refer the criminal contempt charge to the Justice Department, these Republicans voted in favor of doing so: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (January 6 committee member) Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington Rep. John Katko of New York Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois (January 6 committee member) Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan Now that the referral has passed the House, it heads to the Justice Department, which will ultimately decide whether to bring charges that could result in jail time or fines.Any individual who is found liable for contempt of Congress is then guilty of a crime that may result in a fine and between one and 12 months...
    The House on Thursday voted to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee, setting the stage for him to be criminally charged as Democrats up their fight for firsthand documents about former President Donald Trump’s attempt to reverse the 2020 election. The vote results in a criminal referral to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., which must now decide whether to bring charges against Bannon. It comes almost a month after the select committee first subpoenaed Bannon over his communications with Trump about their efforts to overturn the election, an insistence with which Bannon has refused to comply on the grounds of executive privilege. The 221-206 contempt vote included two Republicans voting in favor, even as GOP leadership urged its caucus to vote against it and came two days after the committee unanimously recommended holding Bannon in contempt. “Getting to the truth of what happened or placating the ego of a former president, that shouldn’t be a tough call,” said Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, the chair of...
    The House will vote Thursday afternoon to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena to testify before the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol attack. In the likely event that the House succeeds in its vote, the matter will be handed over to the Justice Department, where there is still uncertainty over whether they will move to prosecute Bannon. All 220 Democrats are expected to back the resolution holding Bannon in contempt – and there's likely to be some Republican support as well. When the commission was created back in May, 30 Republicans voted for the proposal. It's likely the same group of Republicans could move forward in voting to hold Bannon in contempt. The lone GOP members of the Select Committee are Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois – both anti-Trump Republicans. Following the House vote, the contempt resolution will be sent to Channing Phillips, the acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who will decide with other Justice officials whether to bring criminal...
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