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congressional oversight

Appellate Court Rules House Committee Can Subpoena Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected President Trump’s appeal to block the release of his tax returns to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The court’s decision affirmed that the Committee has the authority to subpoena the financial documents of the president and that Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, must comply by submitting the requested information. The court opinion can be found here and below.

The Ukraine Connection

House Committees Subpoena Energy Secretary Rick Perry for Documents

The chairmen of the House Committees on Oversight and Reform, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs sent a letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry compelling him to produce documents for the impeachment inquiry. The subpoena requests information related to Perry’s involvement in President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky and Perry’s other activities in Ukraine. The letter can be found here and below.

Secrecy & Leaks

Defense Intelligence Agency Employee Charged with Leaking Classified Information

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Henry Kyle Frese, a former employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, on charges of leaking top secret and secret level intelligence information to two journalists. Frese allegedly leaked information related to a foreign country’s weapons systems. The indictment can be found here and below.

fisa court

Office of the Director of National Intelligence Releases Section 702 Documents and Opinions

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released partially redacted documents related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s (FISC) authorization of the 2018 certifications under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The FISC initially approved most parts of the certification, but ruled that other aspects of the FBI protocols concerning information regarding U.S. persons were inadequate.

Election security

Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Russian Active Measures: Part Two

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a redacted report on Russian active measures campaigns in the 2016 election. This document, reportedly the second of five volumes, is titled, “Volume 2: Russia's Use of Social Media with Additional Views.” The complete document is available here and below.

The Ukraine Connection

House Committees Subpoena Department of Defense and Office of Management and Budget for Ukraine Documents

The chairmen of three House Committees— Oversight and Reform, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs—sent similar letters to subpoena documents from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought.

The Ukraine Connection

Congress Releases Ukraine-Related Text Messages

Thursday evening, the chairmen of the three House Committees—Oversight and Reform, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence—released text messages provided by Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s efforts to encourage Ukrainian officials to initiate an investigation of his possible political opponents in the 2020 presidential election.

Executive Power

Justice Department Filing in New York Trump Tax Returns Case

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) filed a statement of interest in the case involving President Trump’s challenge to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s subpoena for the partial release of Trump’s tax returns. The brief argues that the case ought to be resolved in federal as opposed to state court.

The Russia Connection

House Judiciary Committee Requests Grand Jury Materials Related to Mueller Investigation

In the D.C. District Court, the House Judiciary Committee filed a brief in support of their application for a judge to release certain grand jury materials relevant to the Russia investigation. The brief argues that the grand jury materials are critical to developing a full understanding of the events described in the Mueller Report and are particularly crucial to determine whether President Trump provided false statements to Mueller’s office in his written answers to the special counsel’s questions.

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