Democrats on the House Intel Committee are firming up their plans to make criminal referrals for any witnesses that perjured themselves in the Russia probe https://t.co/LjC9CiadKF
— Andy Kroll (@AndyKroll) March 16, 2018
I for one will be interested in hearing what Cheryl or Adam have to say about these various stories, but here’s some quick hits to start the weekend:
… Members of Congress are granted no special power to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department. Anyone can make one. But a referral by lawmakers would draw public notice and perhaps extra attention in Mueller’s office…
Committee Democrats have no specific timeline for issuing referrals, Schiff notes. Because Republicans did not force many witnesses to turn over banking, phone, and other records that might support or contradict their claims, he says, “we can’t tell who is telling the truth in many cases.”
But new reports that contradict the truthfulness of witnesses testimony could result in referrals down the road. “As additional things come to light, if there are reports of witnesses saying things that are inconsistent with what has been said to the committee, that list could grow,” Schiff says.
Democrats say they remain open to Republicans joining them in referrals to Mueller, though Republicans would likely oppose such efforts. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a senior committee member, dismissed Democrats’ potential efforts to refer witnesses for prosecution: “Those guys just keep trying.”
NEW: House Republicans are privately frustrated that the rollout of their “NO COLLUSION” Russia report was overshadowed by a decision to dissent from the IC’s key finding: that Russia wanted @realDonaldTrump to win the election.https://t.co/eYpuhE2i7q
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 15, 2018
…The muddled messaging was the subject of a closed-door meeting of committee Republicans on Wednesday. According to three sources briefed on the discussion, a frustrated Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) raised pointed concerns about why critiquing intelligence agencies was even mentioned at Monday’s rollout. The finding, after all, won’t be included in the committee’s official Russia report — it will be the subject of a second report issued later in the spring. But the decision to link it to the committee’s Russia findings scrambled the release.
Speaker Paul Ryan’s office also felt compelled to intervene as Republicans offered increasingly scattershot responses in interviews, with some more eager to criticize the agencies than others.
Ryan’s aides convened a meeting with members of the Intelligence Committee’s communications staff on Tuesday, according to two sources familiar with the gathering. The message: Make sure your bosses stick to facts about the intelligence agencies’ findings — and stay focused on the broader point that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and must be stopped from doing it again.
Ryan’s office declined to comment on the meeting…
NEW: DOJ says it's reviewing the Carter Page FISA application to see what parts can be made public. Before now, the gov't has "never, in any litigation civil or criminal, processed FISA applications for release to the public." pic.twitter.com/PlBk6qsBTO
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) March 16, 2018
And on the “Trump Family Crime Cartel” beat…
Real estate developer Felix Sater tells @ChrisCuomo he previously went to Russia to advance business interests at the same time as Trump’s kids, contradicting Trump team explanations. “The president asked me to be in Russia at the same time as them to look after them.”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 16, 2018
Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten said it was just a coincidence that all were there at the same time. https://t.co/RQIlQ22gdH
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 16, 2018
Finally, Eric Garland has an intriguing essay-in-short-bursts up on Twitter, but then Eric Garland is reputed to get ahead of his thesis sometimes, so I would definitely want a ruling from Adam or Cheryl or another expert on that one!