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    • Top Obama White House Lawyer Made False Statements To DOJ About Manafort-Related Work

      By Chuck Ross - The Justice Department is alleging that the former Obama White House general counsel made ‘false and misleading’ statements regarding consulting work done for Ukraine. Greg Craig was lead partner for the law firm Skadden Arps on its Ukraine work, which was done in partnership with Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.  Skadden Arps agreed Thursday to settle with the Justice Department by registering as a foreign agent of Ukraine and paying a $4.6 million fine. Craig’s fate remains uncertain. The former general counsel for President Obama made “false and misleading statements” to the Justice Department regarding work he did for the Ukrainian government that has come under scrutiny in the special counsel’s probe. Greg Craig’s alleged false statements were revealed in a settlement announced Thursday by the Justice Department. The agency announced it was settling with Craig’s former firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which worked with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on behalf of Ukraine beginning in 2012. Skadden Arps agreed to register retroactively with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of Ukraine and to pay a $4.6 million fine, the same amount that the firm was paid for its consulting work. Craig, who left Skadden Arps in April 2018, is not identified by name in the Justice Department announcement, but he has previously been identified as the lead Skadden Arps partner who worked on its Ukraine account. Other clues from the Justice Department settlement point to Craig as the lead partner referenced in case. As part of the settlement, Skadden Arps acknowledged that it acted on behalf of the Ukrainian government “by contributing to a public relations campaign directed at select members of the U.S. news media in 2012.” Craig and others at Skadden Arps helped promote a report that raised questions about Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who was seen as a foe to Viktor Yanukovych, who served as prime minister through 2014. The Justice Department says that it contacted Skadden Arps in 2012 and 2013 about registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) after the law firm released a report that defended Tymoshenko’s imprisonment. But the firm ended up not registering under FARA based on false assurances provided by Skadden Arps’ partner. “A partner then at Skadden made false and misleading statements to the FARA [Foreign Agents Registration Act] Unit, which led it to conclude in 2013 that the firm was not obligated to register under FARA,” the Justice Department said. “The facts, when uncovered, showed that Skadden was indeed required to register in 2012, and, under the Agreement, it will do so retroactively.” The Skadden Arps media outreach centered mostly on a report about Tymoshenko that was finalized in December 2012. According to the Justice Department, the Skadden Arps lead partner, seemingly Craig, contacted a major national newspaper on Dec. 12, 2012, to provide a preview of the report as well as a quotation. The news outlet appears to be The New York Times, which quoted Craig in an article laying out Skadden Arps’ report regarding Tymoshenko. The Skadden Arps report determined that some of Tymoshenko’s legal rights were violated during her trial in Ukraine. But it ultimately sided against Tymoshenko and with Yanukovych’s administration. Craig, who contacted the newspaper, is quoted in the article, saying that “We leave to others the question of whether this prosecution was politically motivated.” “Our assignment was to look at the evidence in the record and determine whether the trial was fair.” According to the Justice Department, the Skadden Arps partner provided misleading statements about the dissemination of the Tymoshenko report and the interactions with the media. “In both written and oral responses to the FARA Unit between February 6, 2013, and October 11, 2013, Skadden, in reliance on the lead partner, made false and misleading statements including, among other things, that Skadden provided a copy of the Report only in response to requests from the media and spoke to the media to correct misinformation about the report that the media was already reporting,” the Justice Department said. The agency also asserted that the Skadden Arps’ partner’s “pre-release outreach” to the journalist “was consistent with Ukraine’s media strategy for the Report.” That strategy involved “leaking the Report prior to its official release so as to ‘effectively set the agenda for subsequent coverage,’” according to the DOJ. It is unclear whether Craig faces any legal jeopardy in the case or whether he concurs with the Skadden Arps settlement. The government’s agreement with Skadden Arps explicitly states that the settlement does not protect “current or former partners” from criminal liability. CNN reported on Sept. 15, 2018, that the Justice Department was weighing charges against Craig, who left the Obama White House on Jan. 3, 2010. An attorney for Craig responded, “no comment” to an inquiry by TheDCNF. The settlement closes one chapter of the ongoing saga over the Ukraine lobbying effort. Two other lobbying firms, the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, are also reportedly the subject of an investigation into the Ukraine work. Manafort has pleaded guilty in the special counsel’s investigation to working as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine. He was convicted on Aug. 21, 2018, for money laundering and fraud related to money he made on the Ukrainian consulting gig. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] Top Obama White House Lawyer Made False Statements To DOJ About Manafort-Related Work is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • Maxine Waters Finds Her First Target As House Financial Services Committee Chair

      By Jason Hopkins - In her first major policy speech since taking the reins of a powerful House committee, California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters announced that she will be targeting acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. “The time for accountability for his actions is about to begin,” Waters said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, Waters has taken the gavel of the House Financial Services Committee. A longtime critic of the Trump administration, Waters vowed to hold hearings involving other White House officials, and also plans to target the banking industry. The California Democrat has taken issue with Mulvaney’s tenure as the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency he led from November 2017 to December 2018. Waters suggested he tried to dismantle the CFPB by rolling back fair housing safeguards and protections for consumers. “It is a new day in Congress and for the Financial Services Committee,” she said, adding that her committee will push legislation that seeks to undo the rollbacks. Waters is just one of a number of new Democratic committee leaders who plan to vehemently target the Trump administration for the next two years. House Democrats are expected to hold several dozen investigations, with Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff announcing that every committee will focus on investigating the White House. Like other newly-empowered Democratic chairmen, Waters will enjoy subpoena power, but will not be able to unilaterally reform legislation while the GOP still controls the Senate and the White House. There is no love lost between Waters and President Donald Trump. The California Democrat has established herself as one of the president’s harshest critics and a fervent purveyor of Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. While speaking at an event hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus in 2017, she “guaranteed” that the president was “in collusion with the Russians to undermine our democracy.” Trump has responded in kind with attacks against the lawmaker’s intelligence. He called Waters “a very low IQ individual” while headlining at campaign rally in March 2018 and has made similar statements on Twitter. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] Maxine Waters Finds Her First Target As House Financial Services Committee Chair is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • Hasher Jallal Taheb Arrested For Alleged Plan To Blow Up The White House

      By Henry Rodgers - A man was arrested after federal agents discovered his alleged plan to blow up the White House Wednesday night in Cumming, Georgia. The suspect, Hasher Jallal Taheb, was charged with intent to destroy by fire or explosives a building owned by the U.S., according to CBS 46. Federal agents had reportedly received an anonymous tip in March 2018 and had been monitoring his movements since. One of the agents also saw a hand-drawn diagram of the ground floor of the West Wing of the White House in a Dec. 7 operation. According to the local news station, the tipster told authorities that Taheb was “radicalized, changed his name, and made plans to travel abroad.” (This article will be updated as more information becomes available.) Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] Hasher Jallal Taheb Arrested For Alleged Plan To Blow Up The White House is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

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    • Federal Judge Orders Removal Of Citizenship Question From 2020 Census

      By Kevin Daley - A federal judge in New York barred the Trump administration from including a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire. The decision appears to have significant implications for a related matter the Supreme Court is poised to decide in the spring. “The attempts by the Trump administration to mandate a question about citizenship were not rooted in a desire to strengthen the census process and would only undermine our immigrant communities,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. “Inciting fear in our residents is not only immoral, but also ill-conceived.” The Constitution mandates a census every ten years to apportion seats in the House of Representatives among the states. Population is also used as a basis for rewarding federal aid. A coalition of Democratic cities, states, and interest groups challenged the addition of a citizenship question to the census questionnaire in April 2018, warning it would discourage minority participation. An incomplete survey of minority populations, the plaintiffs feared, would result in diminished federal funds and congressional representation for urban areas. The plaintiffs charged that the addition of the citizenship question violated the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a federal law establishing protocols for the issuance of regulations. In his Tuesday decision, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman accepted the plaintiffs’ APA claims while rejecting their constitutional arguments. “[Ross] failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices — a veritable smorgasbord of classic, clear-cut APA violations,” Furman wrote. Elsewhere in the decision, Furman said Ross was not truthful about his motives for adding a citizenship question. Though the secretary initially said publicly that the question was added at the request of the Department of Justice, subsequent evidence showed Ross discussed the matter with White House aides far earlier than initially understood. “Finally, and perhaps most egregiously, the evidence is clear that Secretary Ross’s rationale was pretextual — that is, that the real reason for his decision was something other than the sole reason he put forward in his memorandum,” Furman wrote. Former President Barack Obama elevated Furman to the federal bench in 2012. The plaintiffs sought a deposition from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a previous phase of the litigation. The Department of Commerce oversees the Census Bureau, and Ross himself authorized the addition of the citizenship question. Though Furman authorized the Ross deposition, the Supreme Court intervened to stop it in October 2018. Shortly thereafter in November 2018, the high court agreed to decide what evidence Furman could rely upon when making his decision. When plaintiffs challenge agency action in court, the agency itself generally turns over the body of documents and evidence it relied upon to make its decision. Those writings are called the administrative record. In most cases of this nature, the court will make its decision based only on the administrative record. However, Furman allowed the plaintiffs to gather evidence beyond the administrative record to challenge the citizenship question. The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether that decision was correct. The Justice Department may appeal Furman’s decision. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected] Federal Judge Orders Removal Of Citizenship Question From 2020 Census is original content from Conservative Daily News - Where Americans go for news, current events and commentary they can trust - Conservative News Website for U.S. News, Political Cartoons and more. View the original full article

      in Political Conservative News

    • Federal Judge Issues National Injunction, Stops Trump's New Religious Exemption Rules on Birth Control

      A Philadelphia federal judge has issued an injunction to stop the Trump administration’s rules which would broaden religious exemptions for the birth control mandate in health insurance plans, from going into effect on Monday. View the full article

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