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Impeachment drumbeat builds on left, as House shifts probes into high gear

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Impeachment drumbeat builds on left, as House shifts probes into high gear

House Democrats’ rapidly expanding probes of President Trump and his associates have coincided with renewed calls on the left for an impeachment fight, with high-profile testimony against the president and plans for more explosive hearings only fueling a frenzy sure to reverberate into 2020.

Despite some concerns among leadership that impeachment could harm the party politically, liberal rank-and-file members and allies in the media have sounded the impeachment call anew.

DEM PROBES CAST WIDE NET WITH REQUESTS TO WIKILEAKS, NRA, PUTIN TRANSLATORS, TRUMP ORGANIZATION

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., assured protesters Wednesday she’ll introduce a resolution this month urging the Judiciary Committee to move forward with impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“This last election was a calling, I mean we saw record turnout in an election year where people wanted to elect the jury that would begin the impeachment proceedings to Donald Trump,” she said.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also went on a Twitter tear earlier this week, calling Trump “unworthy” and saying that “God will never forgive him.”

“For the faint of heart, who’ve been waiting for every ‘t’ to be crossed and every ‘I’ to be dotted, now is the time to demonstrate your patriotism. Support impeachment!” she tweeted.

The call to political arms came after ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen delivered scathing testimony against his former boss last week, and as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., announced a wide-ranging probe into almost every aspect of Trump’s administration, business ventures and family dealings. Nadler sent a slew of document requests to 81 agencies, entities and individuals on Monday, saying he will aggressively investigate “alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump.”

While Nadler is effectively leading the charge (and his committee would oversee any potential impeachment proceedings), a number of other House panels are also stepping up inquiries, including committees on intelligence, oversight and foreign affairs.

Yet as Trump blasted the efforts as a “big, fat, fishing expedition,” Nadler and others in House Democratic leadership, like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have sought to tamp down speculation that the party is setting the stage for impeachment.

“Impeachment is a divisive issue in our country,” Pelosi said last week on Capitol Hill, again underscoring the need to review any future report released from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. “Let us see what the facts are and what the law is.”

Nadler, too, said they’re still gathering the facts.

“Impeachment is a long way down the road,” he told ABC News’ “This Week.”

“We have to do the investigations to get all this,” Nadler continued. “We do not now have the evidence all sorted out and everything to do … an impeachment. Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.”

The investigations will focus on everything from the Trump Organization to WikiLeaks to the NRA. Nadler’s committee specifically requested documents from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, seeking information on any “discussions or attempts to provide or receive election information, campaign data, or campaign communications with, to, or from foreign entities or individuals in connection with the 2016 U.S. Presidential primary or general elections.”

Of the 81 entities and individuals contacted for documents, many were also asked about the $130,000 hush money payment from Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. Cohen, related to that transaction, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations and several other crimes last year.

Committees are also seeking access to State Department employees and contractors with knowledge of Trump’s communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin, including the “linguists, translators, or interpreters” who participated in or listened to the Trump-Putin meetings.

Yet Nadler and other committee chairs have walked a fine line on the impeachment question, stopping short of pursuing the issue now while suggesting the evidence against Trump is damning and leaving the door open to a change in strategy in the future.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., claimed over the weekend that there was “direct evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, while not calling for impeachment.

SCHIFF SAYS THERE IS ‘DIRECT EVIDENCE’ OF COLLUSION BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA

“That is something that we will have to await Bob Mueller’s report and the underlying evidence to determine,” Schiff said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “We will also have to look at the whole body of improper and criminal actions by the president, including those campaign finance crimes to determine whether they rise to the level of removal from office.”

Axios reported earlier this week that Democrats are pursuing a series of hearings to go after Trump, rather than impeachment. But regardless of what Democratic leadership wants, the investigations have only emboldened those banging the impeachment drum — and are widely seen as a possible prelude to more severe action.

Impeachment advocate Tom Steyer applauded Waters’ on Tuesday for her statements. “People are just catching up to you,” he tweeted.

And last week, freshman Reps. Ilham Omar, D-Minn., and Tlaib signed onto a “Pledge to Impeach” Trump. The pledge was created by a group “By the People.” The group’s spokesperson said the effort was not “an issue of Republican vs. Democrats,” but about the “flagrant abuse of presidential power from a white supremacist who is profiting off of the presidential office, abusing his powers, and undermining our democracy and our Constitution.”

Also last week, Omar said impeachment was “inevitable.”

“It also is a terrifying notion,” she said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “[Vice President] Pence is an ideologue, and the ideology he holds is more terrifying to me and my constituents…..And we have not had a full impeachment that removes the president from office… Nations struggle any time [they] overthrow a dictator, and Trump really has the markings of a dictator.”

In another sign the base is agitating for an impeachment fight, protesters calling for just that were arrested outside Pelosi’s office Wednesday.

Meanwhile, media voices on both sides of the aisle have predicted impeachment on the horizon.

“Don’t be fooled. Being a ‘long way’ from impeachment is their first step to impeaching [Trump],” National Review’s Richard Lowry tweeted.

The Atlantic has a front-page story in its latest edition making the case for impeachment.

Jeff Robbins, an attorney and opinion columnist for the Boston Herald, said Congress has a “constitutional responsibility” to carry out the impeachment process.

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“It had once seemed surreal to imagine Donald Trump indicted, arrested, tried and convicted. That is no longer the case; one now has to strain to imagine that at some point federal prosecutors will not take the mounting evidence of Trump’s criminality and do what federal prosecutors do,” Robbins wrote in his op-ed titled, “Trump impeachment a matter of when, not if.” 

Fox News’ Gregg Re and Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report. 

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Bernie Sanders’ hiring of non-American campaign advisers may violate federal election laws, complaint says

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New spokeswoman for Bernie Sanders won't be able to vote for him in 2020 -- she's an illegal immigrant

Bernie Sanders was hit a complaint this week, claiming his presidential campaign violated federal election laws by employing non-Americans in advisery positions.

A new complaint by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) notes that three members of the Sanders campaign are foreign nationals, which appears to be a violation of federal election laws that prohibit foreign interference.

NEW SPOKESWOMAN FOR BERNIE SANDERS WON’T BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR HIM IN 2020 — SHE’S AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT

Maria Belén Sisa, Sanders’ deputy national press secretary who joined the campaign last month, was among the staffers named in the complaint, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Sisa claims to be an illegal immigrant whose residency is protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for assisting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Sisa recently caused an uproar after invoking an anti-Semitic “dual allegiance” trope of Jewish Americans while defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and questioning whether American Jews, including Sanders, were loyal to the United States.

The complaint notes that Sisa not only got a salary from Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, she also contributed money to it and is now serving in “an advisory position” in the 2020 campaign – all of which are “direct and serious violations” of federal election laws.

“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations,” the complaint reads.

“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations.”

— The complaint

BERNIE SANDERS AIDE DEFENDS OMAR WITH TERM SEEN AS ANTI-SEMITIC, APOLOGIZES

According to the FEC rules, foreign nationals, who aren’t lawfully admitted permanent residents, cannot directly or indirectly participate in political campaigns. Such individuals are also barred from making political contributions.

The complaint also names two other foreign nationals on the Sanders’ 2016 campaign, immigration activists Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, who worked as the campaign’s national Latino outreach strategist and press secretary for Latino outreach, respectively.

“Due to the high profile of Cesar Vargas, Erika Andiola, and Maria Belén Sisa as leading activists in the undocumented community, there is reason to believe that respondents are ‘foreign nationals’ within the meaning of 52 U.S.C. § 301219b)(2), and in violation of 11 C.F.R. § 110.20 (i) and A.O. 2004-26, directly or indirectly participated in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2016,” the complaint continued.

“There is reason to believe, having previously employed Ms. Sisa, that Bernie 2020 is currently, and knowingly, permitting a ‘foreign national’ … to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2020.”

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The complaint calls on the FEC to investigate both the 2016 and the current presidential campaigns and take action to curb the violations.

“The Commission should determine and impose appropriate sanctions for any and all violations,” the complaint read. “Further, the Commission should enjoin respondents from any future violations and impose any necessary and appropriate remedies to ensure respondents’ future compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act.”

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Democrats vow to keep investigating Trump despite Mueller's conclusions, no new indictments

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Congressional Democrats vowed Friday to keep investigating President Trump, his family, and associates despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapping up his Russia investigation with no new indictments.

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‘There needs to be a reckoning’ for those who spread Russia collusion narrative: Mollie Hemingway

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MSNBC’s Chris Matthews livid over Mueller report: ‘How could they let Trump off the hook?’

Those who spent the last two years pushing the narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election need to be held accountable, the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway argued Friday.

Earlier in the day, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed in its report on the Russia investigation to the Department of Justice and it was announced that no new indictments would be forthcoming.

During Friday’s All-Star panel segment on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Hemingway — along with Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason — weighed in on the breaking news that reverberated throughout Washington.

MUELLER SUBMITS LONG-AWAITED RUSSIA PROBE REPORT TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Hemingway began by noting that the “Russia narrative” predates the Mueller probe, having begun circulating during the 2016 election after the creation of the infamous Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, which pushed the theory that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump was a “Russian agent.”

“We have, for the last three years … frequently [witnessed] hysteria about treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election,” Hemingway told the panel. “The fact [is] that there are no more indictments coming and the fact [is] that all of the indictments that we’ve seen thus far have been for process crimes or things unrelated to what we were told by so many people in the media was ‘treasonous collusion’ to steal the 2016 election.”

“If there is nothing there that matches what we’ve heard from the media for many years, there needs to be a reckoning and the people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government who were not critical and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable,” she added.

“The people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government … and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable.”

— Mollie Hemingway, senior editor, the Federalist

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Mason told the panel that there’s likely “some relief” in the White House, particularly from Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser. And while he insisted it was “too early” to draw major conclusions, he later added that those who attacked Mueller’s credibility throughout his investigation will have to walk back their hostility if he concludes that there was no collusion, including President Trump.

Meanwhile, Continetti suggested that the Mueller report could be the “greatest anticlimax in American history,” and that the entire investigation could be “for nothing” because it was “an investigation without a crime.” He did, however, insist that the “battle will continue” as the White House will fight Congress on transparency of the Mueller findings.

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