House Democrats Want To Make It Illegal For Trump To Accept Foreign Election Help

President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that he would happily collude with foreign governments to help him win the 2020 election. Now, House Democrats are preparing legislation that would make that illegal.

It is already illegal under existing campaign finance law for a U.S. political campaign to accept anything of value from a foreign national or foreign government. This new bill, if passed, would ensure that the transfer of political information from a foreign government to a campaign counts as a “thing of value.”

The new legislation is part of a push by House Democrats to respond to the allegations in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that the president welcomed election support from the Russian government during the 2016 campaign and then may have obstructed justice to block the investigation. Democrats will also reintroduce the Duty to Report Act, which requires political campaigns to report offers of political information from foreign governments to the FBI.

Trump told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday that he would take information on his political opponents from a foreign government and would not report it to the FBI.

“If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘We have information on your opponent’ ― oh, I think I’d want to hear it,” Trump said.

“I don’t think in my whole life I’ve ever called the FBI. In my whole life. You don’t call the FBI. You throw somebody out of your office, you do whatever you do,” Trump added. “Oh, give me a break ― life doesn’t work that way.”

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son and a campaign adviser, was offered a meeting with a Russian lawyer working on behalf of the “Crown prosecutor of Russia.” The offer promised “high level and sensitive information” that “would incriminate” his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is planning a legislative and litigation response to the Mueller report.



Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is planning a legislative and litigation response to the Mueller report.

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. said in accepting the meeting.

In the end, the lawyer provided no significant information to the Trump campaign, according to the Mueller report. The person who set up the meeting, British publicist Rob Goldstone, says he inflated the importance of the information (“high level and sensitive information”) in order to get Trump Jr.’s attention.

It still remains illegal to solicit or accept anything of value to a political campaign from a foreign national or government. “It seems obvious that ‘I love it’ constitutes solicitation in this instance,” Rick Hasen, a University of California, Irvine election law professor, argued in Slate.

Yet Mueller declined to prosecute Trump Jr. for his solicitation or receipt of information provided by the foreign national, who may or may not have been working on behalf of the Russian government.

Trump Jr. refused to be interviewed by the special counsel’s office, which deprived Mueller of knowing whether he committed a “knowing and willful” violation of campaign finance law, which is necessary for the prosecution of such laws. Mueller also insisted that he could not determine a value for the information provided and therefore could not properly determine if it met the threshold for an illegal “thing of value.” Mueller also raised First Amendment concerns ― which legal scholars have called dubious ― that prosecuting this one case could provoke threats to free speech.

The new law to be proposed by House Democrats is specifically designed to plug the main hole that prevented Mueller from charging Trump Jr. ― that he could not determine the value of the offered information. The legislation will state that any knowing and willful solicitation or receipt of information, no matter the value, would be illegal.

Trump Defends Saying He Would Accept Foreign Dirt About A Rival

Trump cited his recent state visit to the United Kingdom and meetings with the royal family as an example of how he talks with foreign governments “every day,” saying he met with “the Prince of Whales” ― referring to Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales ― and others. (He deleted the tweet and fixed the spelling about 30 minutes later.)

“Should I immediately call the FBI about these calls and meetings? How ridiculous!” Trump tweeted.



He went on to call out Democrats, again accusing them of spying on his 2016 campaign.

Trump’s tweets followed backlash over his comments to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos a day earlier about potentially accepting information from a foreign entity like China or Russia on a 2020 rival. Trump said he would take foreign information on an opponent and, if “there was something wrong,” report it, instead of just alerting the FBI.

“It’s not an interference,” the president said. “They have the information! I think I’d take it.”

“If I thought there was something wrong, I’d go maybe to the FBI, if I thought there was something wrong,” he continued. “But when somebody comes up with oppo research … ‘Oh, let’s call the FBI.’ The FBI doesn’t have enough agents to take care of it.”

Trump continues to dismiss former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Mueller’s investigation did not charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiring with Russian operatives to sway the election in Trump’s favor. The investigation did lead to indictments for dozens of people, including some senior members of the Trump campaign.

Dozens Of Memphis Cops Injured In Unrest At Scene Of Fatal Police Shooting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Armed officers and an angry crowd faced off late Wednesday night after reports that at least one man was fatally shot by authorities in a working-class north Memphis neighborhood.

Memphis police said people in the crowd threw rocks and bricks, with 25 officers suffering minor mostly minor injuries. Officers cordoned off several blocks near the scene. By 11 p.m., officers had used tear gas and most of the crowd dispersed, police director Michael Rallings said at a Thursday morning at a news conference. Three people were arrested.

Police in Memphis brace against a crowd who took to the streets to protest after U.S. Marshals allegedly shot and killed a ma



Police in Memphis brace against a crowd who took to the streets to protest after U.S. Marshals allegedly shot and killed a man early Wednesday evening. Authorities said some of the protesters threw rocks and bricks.

Officers on horseback patrolled the area, and lines of police cars with flashing blue lights were parked along the street. An ambulance could be seen at the outer edge of the scene. A helicopter flew overhead as police cars trickled away.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said its agents were on the scene of a shooting involving a regional anti-crime task force. TBI spokeswoman Keli McAlister said early Thursday that the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force went to a Frayser home to look for a suspect with felony warrants. Marshals saw the man get into a vehicle and then proceed to ram police vehicles several times before exiting with a weapon, McAlister said. Police then opened fire, killing the man who died at the scene. McAlister did not say how many marshals fired or how many times the man was shot.

Memphis police said none of its officers was involved in the shooting.

The shooting victim was identified by a local official as Brandon Webber. He was reportedly shot several times in his family&



The shooting victim was identified by a local official as Brandon Webber. He was reportedly shot several times in his family’s front yard.

One local official identified the victim as Brandon Webber and said he was shot several times in his family’s front yard. Family members confirmed to the Daily Memphian that 21-year-old Weber died.

In identifying Webber on Twitter early Thursday, Shelby County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer said “Every life lost should matter…every single one. How many times will this be ok? It cannot continue to be.”

Rallings implored residents to wait until the TBI finishes its investigation before spreading possible misinformation about the shooting. “I need everyone to stay calm,” he said. “While police have been supportive of past protests,” Rallings added, “we will not allow any acts of violence.”

Dozens of protesters clashed with police, throwing stones and tree limbs until police forces broke up the demonstration with



Dozens of protesters clashed with police, throwing stones and tree limbs until police forces broke up the demonstration with tear gas.

Passion Anderson, a 34-year old student, brought her 13-year-old son to the scene early Thursday. She grew up in Memphis and recently moved back to the Frayser neighborhood, a mostly low- to middle-income area with modest single-family homes and apartments. She said she worried about her son’s safety every day in Memphis which struggles with crime and gang activity.

“I just want him to see this, know what’s going on, to be conscious,” she said. “I fear for him all the time.”

2 Oil Tankers Reportedly Attacked In Gulf Of Oman

DUBAI, June 13 (Reuters) – Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman and the crews have been evacuated, shipping firms and industry sources said on Thursday, a month after a similar incident in which four tankers in the region were struck.

The Bahrain-based U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls following “reported attacks.” The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of the Royal Navy, said it was investigating.

Details of the incident were not immediately clear, but one operator said it suspected its ship had been hit by a torpedo. Another shipping firm said its vessel was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.



Oil prices surged by 4% after the report that has stoked tensions in the region that have already been heightened by attacks last month on Gulf oil assets amid a dispute between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Gulf of Oman lies at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway through which a fifth of global oil consumption passes from Middle East producers.

There was no immediate confirmation from authorities in Oman or the United Arab Emirates, in whose territorial waters four tankers were hit last month. An investigation said limpet mines were used. U.S. and Saudi officials blamed Iran for the May attack, a charge Tehran has denied.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have said the attacks on oil assets in the Gulf posed a risk to global oil supplies and regional security.

CREWS EVACUATED

On Thursday Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line while on passage from Saudi Arabia to Singapore.

“The ship is safely afloat,” it said in a statement.

Taiwan’s CPC said tanker Front Altair, carrying 75,000 tonnes of Naptha was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” around 0400GMT. The vessel, owned by Norway’s Frontline, had loaded naphtha, a petrochemical feedstock, from Ruwais in the UAE, according to trade sources and shipping date on Refinitiv Eikon.

Frontline said its vessel was on fire in the Gulf of Oman.

Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data showed the Front Altair, an Aframax vessel, was in waters between Oman and Iran, carrying its naphtha cargo for delivery in Taiwan this month.

The sources said crews from both vessels, which they had said had been struck in international waters, had been safely evacuated.

One shipping broker said there had been an explosion “suspected from an outside attack” that may have involved a magnetic mine on the Kokuka.

“All crew safely abandoned the vessel and was picked up by Vessel Coastal Ace. Kokuka Courageous is adrift without any crew on board,” the source said.

Another source said the Front Altair reported a fire caused by a “surface attack” and that the crew had been picked up by nearby vessel Hyundai Dubai.

Trump’s Lawyers Are Practically Daring Congress To Impeach Him

Donald Trump’s lawyers are all but daring Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president’s alleged crimes.

On May 20, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta knocked down the dubious argument made by Trump’s lawyers that Congress has no “legitimate legislative purpose” to obtain the president’s financial records, which have been subpoenaed by the Oversight and Reform Committee. Mehta ruled that Congress has broad investigatory powers that should not solely be limited to impeachment.

“It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry,” Mehta wrote.

In their brief filed Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging a congressional subpoena for financial records held by Trump’s accounting firm, the president’s lawyers argued that the court should not consider the inherent “non-legislative powers” of Congress ― impeachment ― if it is not actively going down that path. The brief goes on to cite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) repeated denials that the House is engaged in impeachment proceedings for the president.

Trump’s lawyers also argued that Mehta had no right to invoke the impeachment power in ruling for Congress, when the Oversight and Reform Committee did not mention impeachment in its brief before Mehta or in its subpoena for the documents. In doing so, the president’s lawyers are directly arguing that Congress would have more authority if they were to subpoena for documents as part of an impeachment inquiry. “[T]he Constitution also grants Congress non-legislative powers,” the brief states, adding, “And the House and Senate can, respectively, impeach and try impeachments.”

House Democrats are currently embroiled in an internal battle about whether to launch an impeachment inquiry. Around 60 House members have called for an inquiry, but Democratic leadership has deflected by arguing that they should focus on passing legislation (which will go nowhere in the Senate) while getting to the bottom of Trump’s corruption through the ordinary investigative process.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is trying to tamp down calls to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump wit



Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is trying to tamp down calls to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump within her caucus.

“If you open an impeachment inquiry, do you get more information?” Pelosi said during a CNN interview on Tuesday. “You still end up in the court.”

Absent impeachment, Congress’ subpoena of the president’s financial records from his accounting firm Mazars USA LLP should be held invalid as the Oversight and Reform Committee has no legitimate legislative reason to obtain them, Trump’s lawyers continue to argue, as they did before losing in district court.

The committee has provided numerous legislative reasons to subpoena Trump’s financial records in its legal briefs. Specifically, the committee says it is pursuing the records to determine if the president lied on his mandatory annual financial disclosure reports and whether any legislation is necessary to fix any loopholes or provide more transparency on presidential finances. The committee passed the For The People Act in 2019 to expand disclosure requirements and provide statutory support for the Foreign Emoluments Clause in the Constitution.

Trump’s lawyers, however, argue that these legislative purposes should be discarded because, according to them, they are unconstitutional. In fact, the president’s lawyers say the already existing presidential financial disclosure laws are unconstitutional.

The president lost using these arguments before Mehta and also in a separate district court case regarding a subpoena for the president’s bank records.

“[T]here can be little doubt that Congress’s interest in the accuracy of the President’s financial disclosures falls within the legislative sphere,” Mehta wrote.

These cases appear headed to the Supreme Court and Trump’s appeal brief contains a Trumpian appeal to the personal interest of the justices there.

It argues that justices should be concerned about Congress subpoenaing their personal financial records if they allow the subpoena for Trump’s financial information to stand. That’s because the justices are already covered by congressionally enacted financial disclosure laws. Additionally, the House-passed For The People Act contains provisions extending judicial ethics codes to the Supreme Court.

“[R]eplace ‘President’ with ‘Justices’ and [Mehta’s ruling] would, without question, authorize a congressional subpoena for the Justices’ accounting records— even for many years before they joined the Court,” Trump’s lawyers argue.

Trump wants to make sure that when the Supreme Court considers his personal financial records, they think of their own, too.