Showdown With the Senate Over Mike Flynn Could Start as Early as Today
Indeed, the hearings are on right now. We know Flynn is at the heart of a lot of Trump-Russia. He’s now pleading the 5th and Trump on his part everything he could to shutdown the FBI Flynn investigation including leaning on Comey to close it.
The Senate response for Flynn’s refusal to testify could come as early as today.
How can they respond?
“The committee has two leading options at its disposal to try to force Flynn to cough up the documents it has subpoenaed. It can do nothing, of course. But if it decides to act, it can — and right now, Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee are mulling both options, the senior Democratic aide says. As a useful Lawfare explainer notes, the Committee can either try to refer the matter to the U.S. Attorney for criminal action, or it can try to get the Senate, under a provision in a 1978 ethics reform law, to enlist its counsel to bring a civil action to compel release of the documents. The basic principle here is that in order for congressional oversight to be effective, its subpoena power must have real teeth.”
“The success of the first option relies on the willingness of the Justice Department to prosecute, and the latter option (a civil action brought by Senate counsel) is the more likely one, the Democratic aide tells me. And that would probably require votes first by the committee, and then by the full Senate, according to Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at George Washington University.”
Of course, the problem is this requires GOP buy in. Are they ready for that?
“The important procedural step here has typically been that the Senate by statute is authorized to direct its chamber legal counsel to seek civil enforcement of its committee subpoenas,” Binder told me this morning. “The full Senate would vote on a resolution directing its legal counsel to file suit in federal court to enforce a committee issued subpoena.”
“This would raise some political complications — and would pose a challenge to Republicans. As one legal expert explained to USA Today, the question then would be how hard the GOP-controlled Senate’s counsel will fight in civil court — which would have to decide whether the Flynn documents are protected under the Fifth Amendment — to try to get Flynn to release them. That would also raise questions about how seriously Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is taking his oversight role in carrying out the probe, and more broadly, how seriously the GOP Senate caucus is taking that role.”
“And so, the question of whether the Senate Intelligence Committee will act to try to compel Flynn to cooperate with its own subpoena is a key test of how serious Republicans are about exercising their oversight role in this increasingly hyper-sensitive area.”
It will be telling to see. Will the GOP continue to defend treason? Or will it redeem itself by taking this with the extreme seriousness it deserves.
One good sign-don’t know what it means for the above question-is a comment made by Marco Rubio.
“If President Donald Trump did indeed ask the Director of National Intelligence and the head of the National Security Agency to publicly deny the existence of evidence proving collusion between his 2016 campaign and the Russian government, as The Washington Post reported Monday, the scope of problems created would extend far beyond the Russia investigation, Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday.”
“It goes further in my mind, as a member of the intelligence committee, than just the focus on the Russia investigation,” Rubio (R-Fla.) said on CNN’s “New Day.” “I think it goes into the very nature of the intelligence community’s work and its ability to work with the executive branch and the presidency.”
“Both Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers are scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Tuesday and Rubio told CNN that “I know for a fact they are going to be asked” about Trump’s alleged request.”
No one ever went broke assuming worse with the modern GOP. But clearly some Senate GOPers are concerned though are they concerned enough to take meaningful action? Stay tuned.
Some very striking testimony from Brennan right now:
Brennan says Russians not only disliked HRC, but preferred Trump b/c of prior success "helping" get businessmen into high govt positions.
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) May 23, 2017
Brennan discusses Russian active measures, specifically mentions: Getting people on their payroll in foreign govts to carry out their agenda
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) May 23, 2017
There are a lot of people that fit that description who have worked for the Trump campaign, transition, and Administration. Flynn, Manafort, Page, Boris Epshteyn, Michael Cohen. Jared. It’s a long list.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.