Sep 4, 2019

Former Obama counsel acquitted of lying to Justice Department

Gregory Craig. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Gregory Craig, former White House counsel under Barack Obama, was acquitted by a federal jury on Wednesday of a felony charge that he deliberately misled the Justice Department about his work for the Ukrainian government in 2012.

Why it matters, per the New York Times: "The trial exposed in detail how a foreign government was able to harness Washington's industry of lawyers, lobbyist and public relations experts"

Context: The charge of concealing information and making false statements to federal authorities emerged after Craig and his then-law firm were hired to produce an independent report for the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice analyzing the trial of an opposition politician.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, "Legal work for a foreign government of the kind [Craig's firm] was hired for wouldn't necessarily trigger an obligation to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent." But prosectors argued that Craig engaged in questionable public relations efforts with U.S. media outlets and avoided the requirement to register as a foreign agent.
  • Craig was the only appointee of a Democratic administration charged because of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, the BBC reports.

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Nancy Pelosi: Congress should allow sitting presidents to be indicted

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that the Justice Department should be able to indict sitting presidents, per an exclusive NPR interview.

What she's saying: "I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he's committed a wrongdoing — any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted," Pelosi told NPR's All Things Considered.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Judge overturns guilty verdict of Michael Flynn's ex-business partner

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves court in Washington, D.C., in June. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A federal judge overturned a jury's guilty verdict Tuesday against Bijan Rafiekian, a former business associate of ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and a member of the Trump transition team, citing insufficient evidence.

Why it matters: Rafiekian's prosecution was one of 11 cases transferred by former special counsel Robert Mueller to other jurisdictions over the course of his investigation. Per the New York Times, the judge's decision "delivered a potentially fatal blow to the government’s efforts to prosecute [Rafiekian] in a case that had already suffered other setbacks."

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019

House Democrats launch probe into Giuliani efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight committees launched an investigation Monday into alleged efforts by President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to pressure the government of Ukraine into aiding the president's re-election campaign.

Background: In August, the New York Times reported that Giuliani had met with a top associate of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to push the government to investigate potential conflicts of interest involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who once served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Go deeperArrowSep 9, 2019