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In the days since the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress, more and more Democratic lawmakers have opened the door to the possibility of arresting the Justice Department leader in a bid to force cooperation — despite party powerbrokers signaling opposition to such a radical step.

The committee last week voted to hold Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted Russia report and underlying materials, as President Trump asserted executive privilege to protect those same files from release.

The panel’s party-line decision sent the measure to the House floor for a final vote. If approved, the measure would be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia—who could choose not to act. House Democrats could also pursue a lawsuit.

But there’s a more drastic step that has been gaining traction among some of Barr’s fiercest critics — the possibility of dragging Barr in to testify or jailing the AG for defying the subpoena.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., was one of the first calling for the House to pursue “inherent contempt,” which would have Barr arrested by the sergeant at arms—a tactic reportedly not employed since the 1930s.

Several other lawmakers are now warming to the idea.

“We know how to arrest people around here,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told Politico. “And if we need to arrest someone, the [House] sergeant-at-arms will know how to do it. I’m not afraid of that.”

He added: “If they can arrest my constituents, we can arrest someone else who’s disobeying the law.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., also touted Congress’ “inherent authority,” which she said was “at our disposal.”

“We have a number of steps we’re looking at that we can take,” Jayapal told Politico. “People feel like we’re progressing at the appropriate pace.”

But despite rank-and-file Democrats calling for the arrest of Barr, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., seems cool to the idea. Last week, she pushed back when asked about the potential step.

“We do have a jail in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation,” she said. “And I’m not for that.”

Inherent contempt is one of three contempt options available, along with criminal contempt (under which an individual is charged with a crime) and civil judgment (leading to a civil court process).

And while inherent contempt has not been used in decades, some lawmakers suggest it’s appropriate to consider in this situation.

“There’s a reason why we don’t do it, but there’s a reason why we haven’t had to even talk about it,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., told Politico. “Because we’ve had administrations that have negotiated in good faith and tried to work for the good of the American people rather than the good of a particular incumbent.”

Last week, Cohen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Barr needs to be “locked up until he agrees to participate” and come to a hearing before the committee.

Several op-eds, including one by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, also supported such a move.

Many Democrats including Pelosi are also claiming that Barr lied to Congress.

“He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” Pelosi told reporters last month. “Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States. Not the attorney general.

Pelosi’s public comments came after she, according to Politico, told Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., during a private caucus meeting Thursday: “We saw [Barr] commit a crime when he answered your question.”

She was referring to an April 9 hearing, where Crist had asked whether Barr knew what prompted reports that prosecutors on the special counsel team were frustrated with his initial summary. Barr said he did not.

But earlier this month, The Washington Post first reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller contacted Barr, both in a letter and in a phone call, to express concerns after Barr released his four-page summary of Mueller’s findings in March. Mueller pushed Barr to release the executive summaries written by the special counsel’s office. However, according to both the Post and the Justice Department, Mueller made clear that he did not feel that Barr’s summary was inaccurate. Instead, Mueller told Barr that media coverage of the letter had “misinterpreted” the results of the probe concerning obstruction of justice.

Pelosi was also asked if Barr should go to jail for the alleged crime.

“There is a process involved here and as I said, I’ll say it again, the committee will have to come to how we will proceed,” Pelosi said.

“Speaker Pelosi’s baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible and false,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in response.

Democrats have blasted Barr for weeks over his handling of the special counsel’s report. Barr initially released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings, announcing in late March that the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Mueller did not come to a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, but Barr said the evidence was not sufficient to charge the president with such an offense.

While Democrats have criticized Barr for that swift conclusion, they have sought the completely unredacted version of the report in a bid to learn more about what information Mueller gathered regarding the obstruction probe. The report released publicly last month had redactions covering sensitive sources and methods, grand jury material, and other areas to protect the reputational interests of “peripheral players” in the investigation.

Barr and his deputies, however, have countered that they’ve made available to select members a version with minimal redactions — and Democrats have declined to look at it.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Foxnews: Calls to jail Attorney General Barr grow from Democratic ranks

President Trump threatens to send more troops to the border

Former DHS public affairs deputy assistant secretary Lauren Claffey weighs in on the crisis at the border.

President Trump responded to reports Friday that his administration proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities by not only confirming the plan but saying it remains under “strong” consideration.

Further, the president tweeted that relocating illegal immigrants to these districts should make the “Radical Left” happy.

The comments came after The Washington Post first reported that the White House proposed sending the detainees to sanctuary cities twice in the last six months. The proposal was first floated in November amid reports of a large migrant caravan from Central America making its way to the southern border. The idea was again considered in February, amid the standoff with Congress over a border wall.

The Post said the plan was shot down both times. But on Friday, Trump signaled the proposal isn’t dead.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted.

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy—so this should make them very happy!” he continued.

Trump repeated the remarks later at the White House: “We can give them an unlimited supply…let’s see if they have open arms.”

The president doubled down as Democrats fumed over the relocation idea.

“The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement Friday. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”

She added: “The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”

Pelosi’s district—San Francisco—was among the sanctuary cities the administration considered sending detainees to.

White House officials, though, stressed earlier Friday that the plan never went anywhere. A source familiar with discussions told Fox News that Democrats who advocate leniency toward illegal immigrants should work with the administration to find ways to transport those set for release, including in their states and districts.

The proposal was apparently rejected both times it came up by administration immigration agencies.

A Nov. 16 email from the White House to officials at several agencies reportedly asked whether migrants could be arrested and bused to “small-and mid-sized sanctuary cities” and other Democratic strongholds.

The proposal was intended to alleviate crowded detention centers, the White House told Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The same report said “the attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE.” An ICE official responded, noting that there were budgetary and liability issues, but also said “there are PR risks as well.”

The source familiar with the discussions argued, however, that the White House did not view this as political retribution.

“This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” the White House told The Post.

In a statement, Deputy ICE Director Matt Albence also pushed back and said he was not pressured by the White House – though indicated such a proposal was put forward.

“As the Acting Deputy I was not pressured by anyone at the White House on this issue. I was asked my opinion and provided it and my advice was heeded. The email exchange is clear and suggesting that it indicates inappropriate pressure is inaccurate,” he said.

It is unclear, at this point, whether immigration agencies would now support the proposal.

Trump has repeatedly blasted sanctuary cities, which are areas where local authorities refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies. The cities are typically run by Democrats.

The president was also hit this week with questions over the administration’s past family separation policy at the border. Trump said they have no plans to revive the policy, amid renewed speculation about whether the practice could return amid a shake-up in staffing at the Department of Homeland Security including the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Kevin McAleenan, who was serving as CBP commissioner, is replacing her as acting secretary.

Nielsen’s resignation comes amid an influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Nielsen was reportedly frustrated with the difficulty of getting other departments to help deal with the growing number of families crossing the border. But administration officials told Fox News that McAleenan best fits Trump’s requirement of being the “toughest cop” on the frontier, and that Nielsen had been viewed as resistant to some of the immigration measures pushed by the president and his aides.

By Tuesday, DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady also resigned.

And on Wednesday, Nielsen announced that ICE Acting Director Ron Vitiello would be stepping down by the end of the week.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown, Matt Leach, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Foxnews: Trump doubles down on plan to ship migrants to sanctuary cities, says ‘Radical Left’ should be happy

Cohen docs undercut claims Trump lawyers altered timeline of Moscow tower talks

Michael Cohen sued the Trump Organization in New York Supreme Court on Thursday for millions of dollars in legal fees and costs, claiming the company must pay him for “matters arising” from his work for the company — including “multiple congressional hearings” and costs related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Cohen, who is slated to report to prison to serve three years in May, worked for the organization for more than a decade as an attorney. In his suit, he claimed the company violated an agreement that it would compensate him for his work related to the organization and its officers.

“As is common practice in most corporations, the Trump Organization agreed to indemnify me for legal fees and costs incurred in connection with my employment there. When it was publicly reported that I might be cooperating with prosecutors, the Trump Organization breached its agreement and stopped paying fees and costs. My counsel contacted the Trump Organization and asked them to fulfill their obligations to me. They did not respond, so we filed this lawsuit and will pursue it vigorously,” Cohen said in a statement.

“This action arises from the Trump Organization’s failure to meet its indemnification obligations under a contractual agreement between the Trump Organization and Mr. Cohen, pursuant to which the Trump Organization agreed to indemnify Mr. Cohen and to pay attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by Mr. Cohen in connection with various matters arising from Mr. Cohen’s work with and on behalf of the Organization and its principals, directors, and officers,” Cohen’s attorneys wrote in a court filing Thursday. “These matters included multiple congressional hearings, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation, and others.”

They added that Cohen has “incurred millions of dollars in unreimbursed attorneys’ fees and costs” in addition to other amounts, which he “continues to incur … in connection with various ongoing investigations and litigation.”

The lawsuit comes as Cohen, on the heels of his explosive testimony to Congress last week, prepares to report to prison for his sentence related to bank and tax fraud charges, campaign-finance violations and more.

Cohen’s attorneys claimed that the Trump Organization initially honored its agreement through at least May of 2018. According to the court filing, by Jan. 25, 2019, Cohen’s balance of unreimbursed attorneys’ fees and other costs incurred in connection with Cohen’s work “exceeded $1.9 million.” Cohen’s attorneys said he continues to accrue legal fees and costs.

Cohen’s suit comes as he also faces scrutiny over inconsistencies in his testimony before the House Oversight Committee last week. Republicans on the committee have accused Cohen of “perjury” for a number of allegedly inaccurate statements before the panel and have referred his testimony for a Justice Department review.

Cohen began working for the Trump Organization in 2006, and was Trump’s self-described “fixer.”

As of last week, Cohen was disbarred in New York.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Foxnews: Michael Cohen sues Trump Organization for millions in legal fees

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