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Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Federal law enforcement authorities are actively investigating the Clinton Foundation and whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exchanged policy favors or special access for contributions to the charity, the Hill reported and CNN confirmed.

The move comes as President Trump has long called for prosecution of Clinton, his rival in the 2016 election, and GOP lawmakers since have echoed his demands for more Clinton investigations as the Russia probe of Trump and his own campaign heats up.

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A federal judge on Thursday denied a request by Fusion GPS, the private intelligence firm behind the so-called Trump dossier, to block a subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee on the firm’s bank for certain financial records.

In court filings Friday morning, Fusion GPS indicated that it planned to appeal the decision and asked the judge, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, to put Thursday’s order on hold.

Leon, in his opinion Thursday, brushed aside the concern Fusion GPS raised that the committee would leak its clients’ confidential information, and said the subpoena did not constitute a First Amendment violation, as Fusion GPS had argued.

Leon also rejected the firm’s claims that the subpoena was overly broad and that it had been issued outside of the committee’s rules.

“Because the Committee possesses the power to investigate Russian active measures directed at the 2016 Presidential election, and there is a reasonable possibility that the records requested will contain information relevant to that investigation, the Subpoena is not impermissibly broad, even if the records turn out to be unfruitful avenues of investigation,” Leon wrote.

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Read the latest editor’s brief (Prime access) on this story »

 

To hear Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach tell it, President Trump’s move to dissolve his voter fraud commission and shift its work to the Department of Homeland Security was actually an own on the libs — who effectively sued the commission into oblivion.

“The investigations will continue now, they won’t be able to stall it through litigation,” Kobach bragged to Breitbart. However the DHS itself is distancing itself from Kobach, who as vice-chair of the commission sought to continue his crusade to gin up fears of mass voter fraud, and the White House hasn’t be able to supply much information in terms of next steps.

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Read an editor’s brief (subscription required) on this story at TPM Prime »

 

An effort by conservatives to move states away from drawing districts using total population — with a lawsuit civil rights advocates said was designed to dilute the political power of minorities — seemed all but dead a year ago, after the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 against their argument.

However, should the Trump Justice Department get its way in a new push to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, it could breathe new life into the effort. The result could be that some states draw their legislative districts in ways that reduce the voting power of minority communities and boost the power of white ones

As first reported by ProPublica, the Justice Department in a letter last month asked the Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship on its questionnaire. Civil rights groups, social scientists and even Census Bureau officials themselves have said that doing so threatens to depress census participation in immigrant communities. Undercounting those populations will bring about a host of repercussions, given the various uses of census data.

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The hard-line Kansas Secretary of State who led President Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission says its work will be taken over by the Department of Homeland Security, in what he calls a “tactical shift.”

“What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats,” Kris Kobach, a champion of restrictive voting laws, told Breitbart News.

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In a surprise move, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he was dissolving the bogus voter fraud commission he created after claiming without evidence that “millions” of people voted illegally in 2016.

“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” Trump said in a statement via the White House press secretary. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

The commission had faced numerous lawsuits, including from one of its own commissioners, since its creation last May. It was vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who is known for pushing restrictive voting laws.

Civil rights groups worried that it would be use as a pretext to push for voting restrictions that would disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters, while privacy groups object to Kobach’s request for state voter roll information.

The commission met publicly only twice, in July and in September, while Democratic commissioner Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap alleged in a lawsuit that he had been cut out of its internal operations.

Read the full executive order below:

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

TERMINATION OF PRESIDENTIAL

ADVISORY COMMISSION ON ELECTION INTEGRITY

     By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

     Section 1.  Executive Order 13799 of May 11, 2017 (Establishment of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity), is hereby revoked, and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is accordingly terminated.

     Sec2.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party (other than by the United States) against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

                                DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,

    January 3, 2018.

 

 

 

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Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Justice Department, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, claiming that Mueller’s investigation had overstepped its authority.

Manafort and former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates are currently faced charges of money laundering, tax evasion and failure to disclose foreign lobbying as a part of Mueller’s probe. They have pleaded not guilty.

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A report on HealthCare.Gov enrollment released by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday showed the final number of sign-ups on the federal Obamacare exchanges to be about 100,000 fewer than the numbers released last week.

According to the final HealthCare.gov enrollment report released Thursday, 8.7 million people signed up for or re-enrolled in Obamacare plans on the federal exchanges. That number does not including enrollees in states that operate their own exchanges. CMS said it would be releasing a more detailed report on this year’s enrollment period in March that would include the data from state-based marketplaces.

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A federal judge’s evident annoyance that Rick Gates participated, via a pre-taped video statement, in a fundraiser last week did not stop the organizer of the fundraiser from taking a swing at the judge.

“The actions by this judge to curtail First Amendment free speech rights are nothing short of Stalin-esque,” GOP lobbyist Jack Burkman, who is known for inserting himself in conservative causes célèbres, said in a statement Thursday. “I stand by what I said that night and my inalienable right to be able to say it.”

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Rick Gates’ attorneys argued in a court filing Wednesday that the former Trump campaign aide’s appearance, via a pre-taped video statement, at a fundraiser for his legal defense fund last week was not a violation of a federal judge’s gag order in his criminal case.

The filing also stressed that the fundraiser’s host, Republican lobbyist Jack Burkman, was not speaking on Gates’ behalf when he criticized the prosecutors in the case. It suggested that there would be more fundraisers for Gates’ legal fees to come and that those fundraisers will require “similar sentiments of gratitude” from Gates.

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