Judge suggests White House counsel is overriding Trump's position on Russia docs - confused? @kpolantz sorts it out: cnn.com/2020/10/16/pol…
A federal judge -- sensing the White House may be overriding the orders of President Donald Trump as he flails against the Russia investigation -- has given the Justice Department five days to explain Trump's true wishes on declassifying all Mueller investigation documents.
Trump has said in tweets and other statements that he's declassified all records relating to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails.
But the White House and Justice Department said this week those pronouncements didn't declassify the records. Officials said they never received an order from the President or from Attorney General William Barr, who could also make public more information.
"It's not the White House that declassifies information. It's the President," Judge Reggie Walton of the DC District Court in Washington said in a hearing Friday. Trump has been "unambiguous" in wanting declassification of more documents.
"Don't I need to know what the President's position is and not what White House counsel's statement is?" Judge Walton added.
CNN, BuzzFeed and the transparency group Electronic Privacy Information Center have sought access to more records and redacted text in documents from the Mueller investigation, especially following the President's tweets.
Recent Trump tweets about releasing more Russia documents prompted the hearing in the CNN, BuzzFeed and EPIC cases on Friday.
Walton said in court Friday he needed to know what the President actually wanted -- and if Trump would "retract" his public statements ordering the documents' release.
The judge asked for the White House counsel's office to confer directly with Trump and report back to court by next Wednesday, when he'll hold another court hearing.
"The American public has a right to rely on what a President says his intent is," Walton said.

Walton added he wanted to resolve whether more Mueller records could be released before Election Day.
Declassification has been a thorny issue for Trump, whose Twitter account has increasingly seized on disinformation, propaganda and conspiracy that might aid his political screeds as he faces reelection.
In a previous court fight over still-classified pages of the surveillance applications of former Trump adviser Carter Page, a judge ruled that White House statements weren't enough to make the documents declassified and accessible to the public.
The White House said the President directed the declassification of those documents, but didn't follow through.
In a spate of tweets on the night of Oct 6, Trump said, "I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax. Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!"
Trump later added, "All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago. Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country. Act!!!"
But in a sworn statement earlier this week, the Justice Department called those tweets "ambiguous Twitter statements."
(So this is the game - Trump announces something and his base gives him credit and applause for it - but he doesn't actually do it. See: healthcare. See: releasing his taxes. Etc etc etc)

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More from @LauraWalkerKC

18 Oct
US spies say the Hunter Biden email controversy shows how 'exploitable' and 'grotesquely vulnerable' Trump and Giuliani are to Russian intelligence businessinsider.com/spies-hunter-b… via @businessinsider
Federal authorities are currently investigating whether purported emails in the story featuring communications between Hunter Biden and a Burisma Holdings executive were part of a foreign influence operation.
Giuliani's access to Trump, the two men's personality traits, their eagerness to obtain dirt on the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and unwillingness to acknowledge Russian interference makes them a goldmine for foreign intelligence services, ex-spies said.
Read 21 tweets
16 Oct
Phillip Halpern: I won’t work in Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department any longer sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commen…
Halpern: After 36 years, I’m fleeing what was the U.S. Department of Justice — where I proudly served 19 different attorneys general and six different presidents.
Like many of my colleagues, I fervently hoped that Attorney General William Barr’s preemptive misrepresentation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was an honest mistake or a solitary misstep — rather than a deliberate attempt to conceal potential presidential misconduct.
Read 15 tweets
16 Oct
Great cases of "herd immunity"

Bubonic Plague a/k/a The Black Death
The Black Death was an epidemic of bubonic plague, a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that circulates among wild rodents where they live in great numbers and density.
Originating in China, the disease spread west along the trade routes across Europe and arrived on the British Isles from the English province of Gascony.

Oh, a "CHI-nahh plague". So how did it go?
Read 17 tweets
26 Sep
Federal Judge Removes Trump's Acting Director of Bureau of Land Management. Trump's game of installing "Acting" heads of agencies to bypass Senate confirmation is up. courthousenews.com/federal-judge-…
A Montana federal judge ruled Friday that Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management William Perry Pendley has been unlawfully serving in the position for over a year.
Trump has faced criticism for allowing a number of ranking administration officials to carry out official duties in an acting capacity only, and therefore without receiving any kind of official confirmation from the Senate.
Read 18 tweets
25 Sep
Some 3,500 U.S. companies sue over Trump-imposed Chinese tariffs reut.rs/3095YER
About 3,500 U.S. companies, including Tesla Inc, Ford Motor Co, Target Corp, Walgreen Co and Home Depot have sued the Trump administration in the last two weeks over the imposition of tariffs on more than $300 billion in Chinese-made goods.
The suits, filed in the U.S. Court of International Trade, name U.S. Trade Rep Lighthizer and the Customs and Border Protection agency and challenge what they call the unlawful escalation of the U.S. trade war with China through the imposition of a 3rd and 4th round of tariffs.
Read 9 tweets
25 Sep
Judge rejects DOJ attempt to scrap McCabe lawsuit, orders discovery politi.co/3cxebro via @politico
A federal judge on Thursday rejected the Justice Department's attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe alleging that he was fired in 2018 as an act of political retribution at the behest of President Donald Trump.
Judge Randy Moss ruled McCabe is entitled to discovery in his effort to prove that his removal by then-Attorney General Sessions was prompted by Trump's repeated and public desire to damage him, meaning the Trump administration's private discussions could enter the public record.
Read 13 tweets

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