Posts tagged with "Representative David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island)"

Democrats alarmed by Trump’s offer of pardons to those who break law to build the border wall

August 30, 2019

“If he builds it, they will come.” Just as the famous line from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams promised, President Donald Trump now believes that if he builds the wall at the border, they—his voter base—will come to the polls for him.

And he’s willing to do almost anything to accomplish his goal. Indeed, he is supposedly considering using funding originally designated for disaster aid within the United States; urging subordinates to seize land unlawfully, and offering pardons to those who get in trouble on his behalf.

The notion of pardoning those who use illegal means to build a border wall has alarmed congressional Democrats, who had been investigating potential obstruction of justice on Trump’s part as the House continues to weigh whether to launch impeachment proceedings once lawmakers return to the Capitol next month, The Washington Post reported on August 28. 

Representative David Cicilline (Rhode Island), a member of the House Democratic leadership and the House Judiciary Committee, said any suggestion that Trump would encourage subordinates to break the law by promising pardons is “appalling” and worthy of further investigation by the panel.

 “Sadly, this is just one more instance of a president who undermines the rule of law and behaves as if he’s a king and not governed by the laws of this country,” Cicilline said in an interview with the Post on Wednesday. “He is not a king, he is accountable … I think it just adds to the ongoing proceeding before the Judiciary Committee as we consider whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president.”

Trump on Wednesday denied that he had made those private assurances, first reported Tuesday evening by The Washington Post. Yet a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of the report did not deny it and said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons.

“Another totally Fake story in the Amazon Washington Post (lobbyist) which states that if my Aides broke the law to build the Wall (which is going up rapidly), I would give them a Pardon,” Trump tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “This was made up by The Washington Post only in order to demean and disparage — FAKE NEWS!” 

The wall discussions are not the first time that Trump has reportedly promised a pardon to a subordinate for doing something potentially illegal, according to the news outlet.

In April, The New York Times reported that Trump told Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan that he would pardon him if he directed his personnel to illegally deny asylum to migrants who request it at the southern border. Trump later denied doing so in a tweet, calling it “Another Fake Story.”

Cicilline said it did not matter whether Trump’s subordinates ultimately carried out his illegal directives. “It’s an abuse of the pardon power, it’s an abuse of the president’s authority, and it’s very likely illegal,” he said. “So whether anyone actually does it or not—that idea that the president of the United States, responsible for enforcing and upholding the rule of law in this country, is making a statement like that is just appalling.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Mum’s the word: Hope Hicks refuses to answer House Judiciary questions about Trump

June 20, 2019

Former Assistant to the President and Communications Director Hope Hicks has followed instructions from Donald Trump and his White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, not to cooperate with questions from the House Judiciary Committee concerning obstruction of justice by the administration in the Mueller investigation.

In conformity with a subpoena, Hicks appeared on the Hill on June 19 for a closed-door meeting with the committee, chaired by Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York).

However, Hicks—one of President Trump’s most trusted advisers until she resigned just one day after her previous testimony before the same House panel in February 2018—refused to answer questions Wednesday about her time working in the White House.

Representative David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) a member of the committee and of Democratic leadership, told reporters Wednesday that Hicks was preventing Congress from doing its oversight work.

“She has answered some and mostly she is hiding behind the facetious claim of complete immunity about anything to do with her service in the White House,” he said, according to a report by NBC News.

“The president’s lawyers are directing her not to answer any questions even as we are recounting stuff she told to the special counsel,” he added. “This will be the beginning of what I presume will be litigation.”

In a letter sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., on June 18, the night before Hicks’s scheduled testimony, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone asserted that Hicks was “absolutely immune from being compelled to testify before Congress with respect to matters occurring during her service as senior adviser to the president.”

But, NBC News reported, Nadler dismissed those claims. “I reject that assertion” regarding blanket executive privilege, he said in a response released late Tuesday night, adding that after the panel posed questions to Hicks, “we will address privilege and other objections on a question by question basis.”

According to the network news outlet, the Democrats on the panel had planned to focus their questions Wednesday on what they say are five crimes of obstruction of justice established by the Mueller Report against Trump, as well as campaign finance violations stemming from alleged election-year hush money payments.

Research contact: @NBCNews