Steve Bannon was involved in or knew of multiple contacts between the Trump team and Russia, including during both the campaign and transition. During the administration, Bannon participated in Trump’s efforts to cover up collusion and undermine the Russia investigation, including by spreading conspiracy theories obscuring the Kremlin’s role in the attack on the 2016 election. Since leaving the White House, Bannon has become involved with several right-wing politicians and movements that have also been accused of working with Russia and Kremlin-linked actors in Europe.
Memo: Recommendations to Address Trump’s Obstruction of the Judiciary Committee’s Inquiry into Impeachment
Now that the House Judiciary Committee is actively considering articles of impeachment against the president, it faces a challenge of how to conduct that inquiry in the face of continued obstruction by the White House. The Committee is rightly going to court to obtain documents and compel critical witnesses to testify, but that process will take time to play out. However, as the Chairman himself recently noted, the Committee does not need to wait to start hearings and call witnesses. The Mueller report provides a long list of potential witnesses that cannot cite executive privilege and are physically located in the United States. These witnesses can, and should, be called before the committee without delay.
In December 2018, the Trump administration announced it would lift sanctions from three companies linked to Russian oligarch and longtime Manafort business partner Oleg Deripaska. The sanctions were originally put in place to respond to Russia’s malicious cyber activities and attempts to subvert Western democracies.
On Sunday, Trump announced he would be nominating Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as the Director of National Intelligence. Ratcliffe, who serves on both the Judiciary and Intelligence committees, proved himself to be a loyal Trump soldier during last week’s Mueller testimony.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to protect President Donald Trump and block steps to respond to Russia. Last week brought two major warnings for the country: Special Counsel Robert Mueller there would be Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election, and the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report including the shocking detail that the election systems of all 50 states had been subject to cyber attacks. Yet “Moscow Mitch” responded by blocking bipartisan bills meant to help protect future elections from foreign attacks. McConnell is leaving the door wide open for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia to interfere in 2020.
Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos learned in April 2016 that Russia had stolen Clinton-related emails and that they planned to release them anonymously to help Trump. Papadopoulos has claimed that he did not inform the Trump campaign about this. Yet, Papadopoulos told at least two foreign officials with no connection to the Trump campaign about the hack. He also sent regular updates to campaign staff about contacts with Russian officials. Trump campaign officials all claim they could “not recall” having been informed by Papadopoulos that the Russians had hacked the Clinton campaign.
During the 2016 election and while serving as a Senate Judiciary Committee staffer, Barbara Ledeen was tasked by Michael Flynn, who was tasked by Trump, to try to obtain Hillary Clinton’s personal emails. She coordinated with longtime GOP operatives Peter Smith and Erik Prince. Ledeen’s activities included liaising with intelligence sources and obtaining materials from the “dark web”. Ledeen remains a staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over aspects of the Mueller investigation.