Let's talk about former CIA Director John Brennan being in the clear, let's talk about Mike Pompeo cover up of the cover up and let's talk about the new development in the Don subpoena litigation. And it's a good one. Why is it a good one? You know why? Because justice matters.
Hey, all, Glenn Kershner here, so if you tune into my YouTube channel, you know that every day I try to post a video that does a moderately deep dive into some legal issue of the day, you know, eight, 10, 12 minutes trying to break it down, explain it, and then put it in the larger context of all of the all the crime and corruption and abuse that goes on inside the Trump administration.
But I feel like I'm falling behind because there's so much crime going on.
So what I want to try to do today is I want to try to do three quick headline hits on three of the stories that have been percolating in the news in the last 24 to 48 hours. So headline hit number one involves the former CIA director, John Brennan. We have just learned that he is not a target of John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Trump Russia probe. So, first of all, here's the headline we saw, I believe, yesterday from The Washington Examiner.
It said, John Brennan, not a target of prosecutors in John Durham investigation.
Now, let's do a quick recap.
So the inspector general for the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, has already done an investigation into the origins, into the opening of the Trump Russia probe. And what he concluded after a full blown deep dive investigation was that it was properly opened. It was, as we say, properly predicated, which is a fancy way to say there was enough evidence to open it. It was the right thing to do. And Michael Horowitz concluded it was not the product of politics.
Bill Barr didn't like that answer. Right, because it didn't help Donald Trump and frankly, it didn't hurt Joe Biden. So he handpicked the U.S. attorney, John Durham, and he unleashed him to do yet another investigation on the same matter. And I'm sure he is hoping John Durham will come up with a different conclusion, one that helps Donald Trump and hurts Joe Biden. So here's the reporting about John Durham's investigation, which seems to be nearing completion.
Here's the reporting from NPR.
Yesterday, Durham has been on the job for more than a year now, leading some lawyers familiar with the investigation to believe he may be close to the end. One such source told NPR that Durham has asked to interview former President Barack Obama, CIA Director John Brennan. That source said both sides are trying to iron out the details for the interview, which largely involve technical questions. The source added that Brennan has been told he is not a target of prosecutors.
OK, why is that important that the former CIA director, the CIA director at the time, the Trump Russia counterintelligence investigation was opened, is not a target? Why is that important?
Well, you have to believe that John Brennan was intimately involved in the process by which this counterintelligence investigation got open into the coordination and the contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. And if it has now been determined and decided that he's not a target of the investigation, that means he didn't commit a crime. You're a target of an investigation. I'm not going to get down into the legal weeds.
You can either be a witness or a subject or a target. A target is the person that we are actively investigating in the grand jury. And a target is defined as somebody that we have significant evidence committed, the crimes we're investigating and that we intend to indict.
John Brennan is not a target that tells me that he committed no crimes when he was involved in the decision making process to open the Trump Russia probe. In other words, he didn't do anything wrong. Now, we can't leap to that conclusion. We need to see the entirety of what John Durham finds. But this is a very important announcement, I believe, that tends to support what Inspector General Horowitz already found in his investigation, which is that the Trump Russia probe was properly opened, properly predicated and not the product of politics.
Now, you have to stay tuned because Bill Barr all but pledged that he would try to interfere in the upcoming election by timing the release of Durham's final report to coincide with the election. It is going to be an October surprise when Bill Barr was pressed by members of Congress under oath and they said, surely, Mr. Attorney General, you're not going to release this before the election. You're going to with. Hold it until after the election. He said, no, I'm not, and he all but pledged to make it an October surprise, certainly if he believes the findings help Trump and hurt Biden.
And frankly, it doesn't matter what the findings are, because Bill Barr will announce, as he did with the Mueller report, that the findings help Trump and hurt Biden. Stay tuned. That's headline story number one. OK, headline hit number two, Mike Pompeo, cover up of the cover up. And this one is staggering in the brazenness of its corruption. Mike Pompeo, of course, is the secretary of state. And it turns out he made a let's be generous and call it questionable sale of arms to Saudi Arabia to the tune of eight billion dollars, a sale that Congress was not supportive of.
And the inspector general, the watchdog for the State Department, a guy named Steve Linnik, opened an investigation into this questionable arms sale orchestrated by Mike Pompeo. So here's the first headline.
Pompeo refused to cooperate with watchdog probe into eight billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
Now, what happened as Mike Pompeo was being investigated for this questionable arms sale to Saudi Arabia, all of a sudden the inspector general gets fired, right. Here's the headline.
Fired watchdog was investigating arms sale to Saudi Arabia. And here's the rich part. When Mike Pompeo was first questioned about it, he said, well, the president it's the president's prerogative to fire any inspector general he thinks should be fired. So Mike Pompeo gave the impression that this was all up to Donald Trump and he had nothing to do with it. And then when Donald Trump was questioned by reporters, why did you fire Inspector General Steve Linnik, who is investigating Mike Pompeo, what does Donald Trump say?
I don't know. Never met the guy, but Mike Pompeo told me to fire him.
So, of course, Congress now wants to investigate in its oversight capacity what in the world Mike Pompeo is up to at the State Department.
So they issue subpoenas to State Department employees to investigate this. What happens? Well. Pompeo denies congressional subpoenas in fired IG investigation.
That, folks, is what's known as covering up the cover up when Congress wants to investigate Mike Pumphouse potential wrongdoing that was being investigated by Steve Linnik until Mike Pompeo ousted him. Mike Pompeo directs the State Department employees to refuse to comply with lawfully issued congressional subpoenas.
You know what that's called? Not just a cover up of the cover up.
It's also called obstruction of a congressional investigation. Mike Pompeii's corruption has no bottom. It is endless.
Can I just use two simple words that I've said over and over again over the course of the last couple of years, inherent contempt.
That's Congress's ability to enforce its own subpoenas.
When executive branch employees refuse to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas, Congress can lock them up and force them, compel them to testify truthfully.
Can we use it just one time?
Congress, there will obviously be more developing on this story.
Stay tuned. So third and final headline hit yesterday. The full D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals handed down an opinion in the Donnegan Subpena litigation. What they concluded was, of course, Congress can use the courts to enforce their lawfully issued congressional subpoenas. A quick recap, Don McGahn, former White House counsel Donald Trump told him to fire special Counsel Mueller during the Mueller probe. Don McGahn said no because that would look like obstructing justice.
Donald Trump said, fine, then I want you to lie to everybody and tell them I never said you should fire Special Counsel Mueller. And I want you to create a false official document saying, I never told you to fire special counsel Mueller again said, no, not doing it. Not surprisingly, Congress subpoenaed Don McGann because they wanted that information. They wanted his testimony as part of their impeachment inquiry. And Don McGahn refused to comply with a lawfully issued congressional subpoena.
So instead of Congress using its power of inherent contempt to lock him up and compel his testimony, they filed suit in court to enforce the subpoena. And we have been litigating ever since a year, year and a half later. Not the most efficient way to go about congressional oversight, I would submit.
But the courts yesterday said, of course, Congress can use the courts to enforce it. Is it's important indeed.
It's critical constitutional functions of oversight of the executive branch and of its sole power of of holding an impeachment inquiry.
Of course, Congress can use the courts to enforce its subpoenas, just as the Supreme Court a few weeks ago handed down opinions that said, of course, Donald Trump is not above the law.
No man, no woman is above the law.
Yesterday's opinion by the full D.C. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals announced no branch of government is above the law.
The executive branch is not above the law, the Constitution that requires Congress to perform oversight of the executive branch.
So it's a good decision. It's an important decision. It was a seven two vote. Nine of the appellate court judges participated. Seven of them ruled that, of course, Congress can use the courts to enforce its subpoenas to judges dissented. Now, I predict we will be going up to the Supreme Court because I'm sure that Don McGann, supported by Donald Trump and everyone else who wants to thwart justice and or run out the clock will now be appealing this up to the Supremes.
Let's hope the Supreme Court does not grant review of this one, though. I think they're likely to.
So that's it for the three headline hits today. Please stay safe, folks. And as always, I look forward to talking with you all tomorrow.