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Category Archives: Congress

Justice Department Threatens Investigation of Investigation (of Investigation)

POGO: “The fight between the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and the Department of Justice continues to build, but there’s a new twist: A top DOJ official has reportedly promised to request lawyers for the House of Representatives investigate the Committee’s staff for unspecified misconduct. CNN reported Tuesday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has promised to “request that the House general counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct” when Rosenstein returns from a foreign trip this week. Can he do that? He can ask, but it’s a pointless exercise, says Mort Rosenberg, one of the leading experts on Congressional procedure and oversight authorities, and a fellow with The Constitution Project at the Project On Government Oversight. “I don’t quite fathom what Rosenstein is suggesting,” Rosenberg wrote in response to an inquiry. “I hardly think the House General Counsel would conduct an investigation” at the request of Rosenstein, Rosenberg said. The House Office of General Counsel has no responsibility to oversee the conduct of House staff or members, Rosenberg explained. It is the chamber’s legal advocate and adviser. It is more likely to defend the House against charges of misconduct than it is to make them. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has pressed Rosenstein for months for information from the Russia investigation, and had issued a subpoena for certain sensitive documents DOJ had declined to produce. The standoff led to remarkable briefings last month, coordinated by the White House, between DOJ officials, senior Congressional Republicans, and top Congressional intelligence oversight members, in which highly classified information from the investigation was to be shared…”

Trump’s unofficial ‘filing system’ – tearing up WH documents requiring preservation

Politico: “…Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records. But White House aides realized early on that they were unable to stop Trump from ripping up paper after he was done with… Continue Reading

Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out?

Via EveryCRSReport.com – Social Security: What Would Happen If the Trust Funds Ran Out? June 11, 2018: “Social Security’s receipts and expenditures are accounted for through two federal trust funds: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Under their intermediate assumptions and under current law,… Continue Reading

DOJ IG report – no proof FBI officials’ Trump criticism impacted probes

The New York Times – Justice Dept. Says Comey Was Insubordinate in Clinton Inquiry: “The former F.B.I. director James B. Comey was “insubordinate” in his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election [see also: NYT Op Ed – Why Trump Is Wrong on the Comey Report and James Comey: This Report… Continue Reading

Facebook delivers 500 pages of answers to Congress about Cambridge Analytica

Washington Post: “…Facebook pledged to continue refining its privacy practices and investigating its entanglement with Cambridge Analytica in nearly 500 pages of new information supplied to Congress and published Monday (See also TechCrunch as a non pay-walled source) – though the social giant sidestepped some of lawmakers’ most critical queries. Much as it did during… Continue Reading

FBI Director Nominations, 1973-2017

Via EveryCRSReport – FBI Director Nominations, 1973-2017, May 29, 2018: “The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The statutory basis for the present nomination and confirmation process was developed in 1968 and 1976, and has been used since… Continue Reading

Here Are 18 Things You Might Not Have Realized Facebook Tracks About You

BuzzFeed: “When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in April in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he said he’d have his team follow up on questions he couldn’t answer in full during the hearing. On Monday, Congress released a massive document with written answers to those questions. These responses were a good… Continue Reading

Lessig – Congress’ Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguide

Lawrence Lessig – Wired [Lawrence Lessig (@lessig) is the Roy L. Furman professor of law and leadership at Harvard University and founder of Equal Citizens. He was lead counsel in Eldred v. Ashcroft (2002)]: “Almost exactly 20 years ago, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which extended the term of existing copyrights… Continue Reading

Decision tree – How the Mueller Investigation Could Play Out for Trump

The New York Times: “Of all the questions hanging over the special counsel investigation, one stands out: How will President Trump fare in the end? An indictment is one possibility that has grown increasingly unlikely. The office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has told the president’s lawyers that it plans to abide… Continue Reading

The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.

The New York Times – The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A. – “The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show. Under… Continue Reading

Google’s Search-Ranking Manipulation Is Affecting Elections

GOOD: “As the 2018 midterm elections approach in the U.S., Google’s power to influence undecided voters remains overshadowed by Facebook’s personal data crisis. Facebook has “taken it on the chin” for its role in the 2016 presidential election, and organizations like the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and the Russian troll farm known as the… Continue Reading

How The New York Times Uses Software To Recognize Members of Congress

Times Open: “Even if you’ve covered Congress for The New York Times for a decade, it can be hard to recognize which member you’ve just spoken with. There are 535 members, and with special elections every few months, members cycle in and out relatively frequently. So when former Congressional Correspondent Jennifer Steinhauer tweeted “Shazam, but… Continue Reading