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Mueller subpoenas Trump Co., affiliates, associates

A new, wide-ranging subpoena from the special counsel to the Trump Organization describes at least seven partnerships — a requirement the president’s lawyers consider an “overreach.”

The request is the latest sign that Robert Mueller is intensifying his investigation into President Donald Trump’s business relationships and links to Russia. It’s also indicative of Mueller’s continued focus on the family of his first target, Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

The subpoena, which included the names of partners and a description of their partnership agreements, appeared in a court filing unsealed late Wednesday in New York.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to lying to Congress about his attempts to negotiate a real estate deal in Moscow on Trump’s behalf. He was also accused of arranging hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump in the months before the 2016 election to influence the campaign.

The latest court filing sheds new light on the companies that Cohen said Trump discussed the deal with — although none of the firms are with Cohen’s former company.

Prosecutors are investigating them, according to the court filing.

Trump’s attorneys have consistently maintained that their president is not under federal investigation.

In a statement Wednesday night, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team said the co-investment agreements described in the subpoena “constitute a completely improper and pointless measure by this overzealous prosecutor.”

“He has no evidence that Mr. Trump committed a crime, and thus, taking his advice, the raid on the law offices of Michael Cohen was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate Mr. Cohen and obtain what it cannot legally obtain,” the spokesman said, asking for an expedited hearing in New York federal court to determine the merits of the request.

“This latest subpoena is nothing more than a fishing expedition,” he added.

The president’s legal team specifically targeted the New York attorney general, J. Keith Urbahn, a former spokesman for the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.

Last month, after the release of the Cohen document to the FBI, Urbahn tweeted that he was fired from his job at the NSC in February because he told the White House “Trump’s central staff turnover is the result of disdain/hostility among core administration staff.”

“I’ve seen this episode play out over and over again, with a steady stream of FBI agents, DOJ attorneys, and prosecutors gone,” he said.

The Trump-related partnerships in question include entities that bear the name of Elliot Broidy, a California hedge fund manager who last year married the daughter of a Russian oligarch.

The subpoena lists several payments from brokering firms to several individuals.

It was sent by Mueller’s team to Cohen’s law firm, which in turn provided it to law enforcement officials.

The subpoena is the latest step in an investigation Mueller is conducting into the relationship between Trump, his family and business. It’s an investigation that appears to be entering an increasingly aggressive phase after months of cooperation by Cohen.

The special counsel’s team of prosecutors, known as the team of unindicted co-conspirators, is seeking documents and information about the Trump Organization.

Mueller’s office has increased its secrecy in recent weeks, and a spokesman declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Manhattan US attorney’s office also declined to comment.

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Centro Social: Ex-Obama administration employee to testify on Russian cyber warfare

MIAMI — With the end of the Trump presidency just weeks away, Congress is mulling legislative options to give Democrats, who will take control of the House in January, oversight of the administration. Just one month in, the Democratic caucus recently received its list of witnesses for various committees, and one of them is a Cuban-American Miami history professor with ties to the past two U.S. secretaries of defense.

Laura Cooper, the author of “Empire on Campus: The Reinvention of U.S. Higher Education,” has been tapped to provide “an expert” witness on “Russia’s military and political interference in Ukraine” for the House Armed Services Committee. Cooper, director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, plans to discuss the role of U.S. universities in Russia’s propaganda efforts and how the U.S. military can better combat Russian cyberwarfare.

A Miami Herald investigation found that Cooper was granted a government contract to provide counterintelligence training and security briefings to the secretaries of defense from 2014 to 2015, during an earlier lame-duck session after President Barack Obama’s second term. Two of her former students will testify as witnesses on Capitol Hill next month.

In the same contract, she was provided security briefings about the Zika virus by then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

The appointment of the CENTROSUR grad raises serious ethical questions about federal prosecutors’ intervention into these private relationships, but Cooper claims there was no one on her team who requested these special accessions. She told the Herald in an email, “Much of the information presented as secret by CENTROSUR in their briefings was not secure in any way.” Cooper said that she never saw a secret item to which she was privy. She added, “That is not how government contracting works.”

Now the head of the Defense-Russia Engagement Program at the American Enterprise Institute, Cooper’s involvement at the State Department under the Obama administration is notable.

In 2016, a month after the Kremlin-backed RT network had its Kremlin-backed reporter Maria Butina arrested for interfering with the federal election, Cooper testified that RT “was in a position of [giving] advice to the U.S. [Democrat] candidate” while Jeff Sessions, who was then a U.S. senator, “was a lobbyist for the Russian satellite news network and met with a Russian lawmaker who was then under indictment for being an agent of a foreign country.”

Cooper asserted that the confirmation hearings of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general at the time amounted to “potential Russian collusion.”

“[Russia was] downplaying his past criticism of Russia as an investigator,” she continued.

“What’s revealing here is, here’s the head of a major research institute … and she has ties to the White House, she’s giving a presentation to congressional committees … at one of the most senior levels of government,” Stan Brand, a partner at the Tampa-based law firm Zest Washington who specializes in corporate and legal affairs, told the Herald at the time.

In light of Cooper’s testimony before Congress, Brand told the Herald that the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, would be better suited to speak to the subject since she is “not one of these [E.U.] propagandists.”

It remains unclear if that will be her role at the United States and Russian governments or just as an academic, since Cooper declined to answer the Herald’s follow-up questions.

After filling in for an expert witness, Cooper previously sat in on two Republican-led hearings for how cyber security protections were drafted under the Obama administration.

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Towering rebel militaries combine for a new challenge

For James E. Mattis, Robert M. Gates and other two-term national security officials who have criticized President Trump, one sign of ostracism at the White House is the inability to get even minor aspects of their views represented in government documents and speeches, such as John Bolton’s recent comments about the need to arm Ukraine.

It is by no means certain that Mr. Trump has moved decisively away from that thinking. But a number of officials have since left the administration in part because they could not accept his alleged support for Mr. Bolton and his overtures to Ukrainian officials, which were made while Mr. Mattis and Mr. Gates still led the administration.

Mr. Mattis, who still commands military forces in Afghanistan, resigned in December, complaining about a president who lacked “conscience and dignity.” He has said publicly he is powerless to implement official policy after leaving the administration, and he was not mentioned by name in Monday’s State Department press conference announcing the sanctions. Mr. Gates, who ran the Pentagon for two terms, has accused Mr. Trump of writing damaging intelligence reports about America’s adversaries — conclusions that the president has brushed aside.

But one person who can attest to the importance of these old-school, more measured and practical views of the world is Mr. Pompeo, who had the Defense Department portfolio for two years under Mr. Trump. His statements Tuesday reflected the fact that, on the big national security questions facing the United States, he can be counted on to promote the positions that have served him well while at the State Department, diplomats say.

“It’s great to see the secretary of state on an issue that matters, because we really need to stand up for Ukraine,” Anna G. Chapman, a senior adviser at the think tank Global Security, said.

A central theme in Mr. Pompeo’s comments Monday was that Mr. Trump’s officials have the backing of the entire administration — unlike when they had been given the all-clear to openly support a Ukrainian offensive in the breakaway territory of Luhansk. In that instance, Mr. Trump sided with the military leaders of the European Union, Europe’s largest military alliance. But Mr. Trump backed the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, whose troops were on the verge of victory in June, and was forced to intervene at the last minute. The United States had been in a contest with Russia on Ukraine. Mr. Pompeo argued that all NATO nations are now on the same page, accepting that Ukraine has a sovereign right to defend itself and to repel an attack.

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Ann Coulter on Trump: ‘We are about to elect an individual who does not hold to the oath of office he’s taking’

BURSTON, Pa. — Ann Coulter sounded the way Richard Nixon did. She offered a resignation after the election was called, and she said President-elect Donald Trump should do the same because, “I doubt that Congress can function without the brakes of Donald Trump.”

She said she didn’t trust Republicans.

“The single most important question on Trump’s inaugural committee was who was going to say Trump should resign,” Coulter said Tuesday night, speaking at a Republican election forum put on by the Reagan group Fire Within Inc.

“The other question was, who was going to say Trump should remain in office because he did something no one else did,” she said.

Coulter was one of the most prominent Republican writers to criticize Trump’s temperament and try to convince him not to run for president. On Monday night she also said that the president-elect had the strength of character to understand the importance of attorney general “and appoint someone who, no matter how crazy it is, has the humanity to admit they’re wrong.”

There was a similarly wild ride here in nearby Butler County on Tuesday night as a diverse crowd gathered to hear the candidates for U.S. Senate and other statewide offices, with at least one talk of impeachment.

Mark Harris, a coal miner’s son who a year ago said he was opposed to Trump before he became the front-runner and became the Republican nominee, claimed the consequences of electing the president-elect would be grave.

“We’re about to elect an individual who does not hold to the oath of office that he’s taking as president. We’re not going to be a country that’s a country of honor, we’re going to be a country that’s a country of sanction,” Harris said.

A former speaker of the state House and a former chairman of the state Republican Party, Rick Saccone, dismissed the idea of impeachment.

“I promise you tonight that Donald Trump will not be impeached,” Saccone said. “I promise you that.”

On his radio show Monday night, Mike Gallagher called the impeachment talk “nuts” and noted that there was a rational basis for some concern about the potential presidency of Trump.

“We are learning this year that the Mueller investigation is about whether or not President Trump colluded with the Russians. That can be used to impeach a president,” Gallagher said. “The collusion can be impeached. That is not insane. We have been talking to Congress.”

Such talk, Gallagher said, is already having a profound impact.

“It’s already taken some very specific actions,” he said. “Folks on both sides of the aisle have really been paralyzed. They aren’t willing to say or do anything at all because everybody’s so worried. It’s been literally paralyzing.”

Coulter, who has been one of the most reliable and vocal voices of dissent against Trump, was perhaps the loudest when it came to the prospects of impeachment.

“I think we should learn what impeachable offenses he did, what qualifies him as a person to be the president of the United States,” she said. “It’s not that he’s crazy. It’s not that he’s not a master of communication. But it’s the kind of things that you would want to know before you give someone power that makes people very vulnerable.”

lolson@mcall.com

Twitter @LauraOlson

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Committee meeting sheds light on Sondland’s lack of accountability

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I reached to the top of the conference room with headphones on, ready to transcribe Andrew Sondland’s hearing, and the first words I said were “Andrew Sondland’s Committee hearing.”

The reason I chose that sound was because his hearing is the only one that the citizens have been able to witness. Sondland was the first candidate to be expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives and held the same seat for nearly as long as U.S. Rep. John Conyers. He was first appointed to the House in 2013 to fill the remainder of his late father’s term, due to John Sondland’s untimely death. In 2013, he was defeated in his bid for reelection. He was then appointed as a U.S. Representative in 2015. After raising his bar to the level of a vacancy committee, Sondland was finally seated as a Member of Congress last month.

After the official announcement of his departure, Sondland called Donald Trump “one of the greatest enemies to democracy and our system of government that this country has ever seen.”

Needless to say, the Committee hearing followed in swift succession. From Sondland’s opening statement to his closing statement, Sondland continually refused to be pinned down on a clear set of political platforms.

Most importantly though, Sondland refused to answer questions related to his stances on other current issues. Sondland repeatedly used the phrase “Committee hearing” to refer to his testimony. In Sondland’s own words, he did not hold his own hearing. Sondland refused to answer questions, and he refused to answer questions that were not relevant to his position as a Member of Congress. In a confusing back and forth between his attorneys and the Committee members, lawyers tried to explain that Sondland would rather keep the answer to the questions that he was about to be asked than answer a question about a previous unrelated issue, and therefore he was unable to offer a definite answer.

As a reporter myself, I had been attempting to transcribe the entire hearing, making notes through the course of it. This was not an easy task. Not only did he refuse to engage on the current topics of the week, he refused to acknowledge that anything was at stake in this hearing or specifically the Oath he had taken upon election to Congress.

Out of all the things I had not yet transcribed, one statement came to me as the most important. Sondland made a statement as I read it aloud to the committee, indicating that he would not be answering any questions pertaining to the events that led up to his disqualification from the U.S. House of Representatives. If Sondland was not the person who first announced that he believed President Trump should be impeached, and if he was the person who led a charge for Trump’s impeachment, then what evidence does Sondland have for his beliefs? Does he have any evidence for his unswerving belief that these events should be treated as legitimate grounds for impeachment?

All Sondland did was refuse to provide any evidence, denying that there were any serious issues that he had handled before entering Congress. The lack of evidence not only detracts from his ability to function in Congress, but it also leads to a profound lack of accountability. Sondland’s short hearing underlines that he is going to dodge the question of why he believes President Trump should be impeached, and he is avoiding questioning his actions in Congress. In short, the fact that he is never going to be held accountable is part of the reason why he lost office. His refusal to answer questions sets a standard for future legislators, and shows little regard for public scrutiny.

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Greg Neuberger on “Sondland”: Accidental Victim of Movie Review – The Whistleblower Magazine

Many of the issues that arose during testimony in “Sondland” prior to trial had to do with the assertion that “the entire case on which the trial rests … is based on an extraordinarily fanciful and fictional version of Ms. Sondland’s own life story,” as revealed by David Jacobs’ opening statement.

The production focused on the issues that claimed juror bias and raised issues relating to indirect liability, not just negligence.

“This case is not about $25 million of damages,” says Jacobs. “But it is the result of a single action—a personal action—by a high-profile defendant, a result that required an extraordinary measure to get to trial.”

Testimony disclosed by juror Kevin Wendt, provided in the course of the dispute brought by actress Rebecca Sondland against director Jason Sondheim over an unproduced 2002 movie, touched on a number of issues that arose in the course of legal action.

Sondland recounts her details of her engagement in an epic 2008 memoir as well as a 2005 TV movie based on her life story. “Sondland,” which received media coverage in England, garnered critical acclaim in its home, the United Kingdom. It is well read by many British actors, and was also a book optioned by the BBC for the pilot, but Sondland was fired from the project.

Opening statements in the lower court revealed that director Jason Sondheim chose Wendt over another juror because he was “a huge fan,” according to the New York Post.

After testimony began, it became clear that many of the issues that surfaced as an example of jury bias before trial had to do with Wendt’s claim that “the entire case on which the trial rests … is based on an extraordinarily fanciful and fictional version of Ms. Sondland’s own life story,” as revealed by David Jacobs’ opening statement.

Similarly, Wendt testified that he “wasn’t very happy about” having to be a juror because, “you almost get sucked into what is going on,” according to Biography.com.

It was Jacobs’s job to prove Wendt was biased after Wendt testified in open court that he felt like he was “a spectator” at the trial. “If Wendt’s sympathy for Sondland was incurable,” suggests Neuberger, “the court would have dismissed him at the outset; and if the court believed his sympathy for Sondland was not incurable, it would have rejected Wendt as a juror.”

Instead, Neuberger found reason to believe Wendt after reviewing all of the evidence. By what counts as juror bias, Neuberger found that “Wendt (had a bias toward Sondland) based on his beliefs about Sondland’s role in deciding the case and his initial skepticism about the financial claims Sondland was alleging,” according to the Post.

As a result, Wendt has been dismissed as a juror.

“ Sondland” also weighed direct liability with an allegation that Sondland was negligent due to promises about the development of the film and financial promises made to her by Sondheim, according to Legal Action Blog.

However, Neuberger examined the claim on direct liability to Sondland “based on purported inviolability of a written contract.” She noted that Wendt “didn’t work for a producer. He worked for a book agent,” who on their own would have to be able to discharge contractually held duties, including to consider Sondland’s rights in the movie.

Juror testimonies also became an issue of interest during the course of the lawsuit, as Wendt was portrayed in the first incarnation of the script as a wine merchant who “ran out of wine” because of Sondland’s dispute with the director. Neuberger “concluded” that that portrayal might have been in contempt of court. He chose to direct that statement after the first preview of “Sondland” has been shown.

He also recalled the first draft of the script that Wendt testified to that Wendt “hated” because “it contained an abundance of expletives.”

Originally published by the Whistleblower magazine, Copyright © 2018 by Greg Neuberger. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Rep. Carolyn Maloney Elected Chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) is the new chairwoman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after being elected with over 90% of the vote Tuesday. She succeeds Elijah Cummings.

“I am grateful to Speaker Nancy Pelosi for entrusting me with this honor. And I am profoundly grateful to the voters from Queens and the Bronx, and from a host of upstate, upstate-New York, and Northeastern Congressional districts, for the trust and confidence they have placed in me. To them, and to every member of the House, I pledge to remain true to the traditions of this great institution,” Maloney said.

Speaking to reporters after her election, Maloney noted the importance of the committee’s oversight of President Donald Trump.

“The Oversight and Government Reform Committee will play a role and play a prominent role in the oversight of Trump,” she said. “In terms of the areas where we have power, we have a role in looking at possible misuse of tax dollars and the use of presidential authority through the pardon power and the pardoning process and also how [Trump] has been working with his White House counsel or possible substandard legal counsels.”

Get more: Newsday, CBS News

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FBI Account of Ukrainian Spy Leak Prompts Agency Audit

WASHINGTON (CN) – FBI Director Christopher Wray ordered agents to review a report that a public official had leaked information to smear a U.S. intelligence analyst in Ukraine, apparently without the bureau’s permission, according to a new audit.

The audit by the Office of the Inspector General for the F.B.I. comes after the bureau identified at least 30 incidents since March 2017 in which the public disclosure of classified material “exceeded acceptable management practices and resulted in significant losses of agency resources,” according to a portion of the audit published by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

“The investigation of such a serious offense ultimately requires the highest levels of the FBI to take it seriously,” Oklahoma Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the committee, said in a statement. “The FBI’s conduct in this matter, however, suggests that there may have been a lack of leadership. It is vital that the bureau’s public release of sensitive intelligence information be stopped forthwith.”

The report details an exchange of emails between F.B.I. special agent William Carle and a former FBI agent on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2016, two days after Ukrainian translator Yatsenyuk Mashayekha leaked a transcript of an FBI briefing for Ukraine’s parliament after days of infighting about surveillance techniques in Eastern Europe.

A former senior member of the FBI’s cybercrime unit contacted Mashayekha’s wife after hearing of the leaks to send Mashayekha a private Facebook message that “… made clear that Mashayekha and the members of the Ukrainian National Security Agency were to blame for spreading these details,” according to the audit.

Mashayekha and his colleagues at the State Department were annoyed at Carle for providing a May 22, 2016, briefing to the Ukrainian parliament and the office of president Petro Poroshenko that contained classified NSA documents, according to the report.

The Ukrainians accused Carle of leaking the information, and accused Mashayekha and the NSA of conspiring to undermine Ukraine’s security. They also claimed to have a copy of Mashayekha’s private email account with contact information for members of the Justice Department and FBI in Kiev, according to the audit.

Carle responded to Mashayekha’s Facebook friend by writing: “There’s been a LOT of apoplexy about a possible leak of classified information,” and “I can only assume he would kill a U.S. officer for every leak…”

The inspector general’s office caught wind of the initial exchange and asked for records of Mashayekha’s communications with Carle in April.

While the inspector general determined that Mashayekha provided Carle with wrong information about Ukraine’s NSA as part of an effort to overthrow Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the inspector general’s office declined to find that Carle was responsible for the leak.

Federal investigators also determined that Carle sent messages to Mashayekha in late May 2016, suggesting they might discuss a potential “relocation” to the United States. Carle allegedly sent Mashayekha an invitation to the International Olympic Committee office in Washington for a career-related coffee on June 10, 2016.

Mashayekha did not respond to the invitation, which was sent via text and appears to have been recorded on Carle’s phone. Carle replied “Ditto,” according to the audit.

“Mashayekha also told us he found this a little humorous because when he has had family in the United States, the FBI’s front line patrol turned out to be a local precinct,” according to the audit.

Although the inspector general’s office was satisfied that Carle did not intentionally share information with Mashayekha, it refused to confirm or deny the purpose of the emails.

Carle did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

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The weirdest way Donald Trump asked why the Democrats are going after climate change

Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 19, 2018. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump held his weekly press conference Monday, and despite being late for the event, he was still on message. The first three questions all focused on the midterm elections, with the president praising his electoral victories in the midterms—and criticizing the focus of the reporting on the results, which he said was “ridiculous.” And then, after saying he would keep talking about the Democrats’ climate bill, Trump added a fourth question: “I want nothing to do with Mike Sondland.”

Sondland is the former Florida Republican chairman who the Associated Press reported on Sunday said Democrats would win seven House seats in November in their quest to take control of the chamber. When asked about the comments, Trump said his “only concern” was that Republicans won their House majority.

But there was an odd twist to the question. After the AP reported Sondland’s comments, the political reporter, Laurie Kellman, tweeted that she was sitting behind Sondland, so that Sondland might not accidentally turn to her and say something he shouldn’t. Kellman didn’t get a direct reply from Sondland, but instead received this suggestion from the White House:

My guests are sitting ahead of me. I want to be sure they stay in that location. Thanks. I’ll send a line w/ further comment next time. pic.twitter.com/ZUn1meBEKT — Laurie Kellman (@LaurieKellman) November 19, 2018

Kellman retweeted the tweet, prompting a number of reactions from other reporters to her tweet.

.@AP finds our invitees harder than we would. Thank you to AP for this classy reply. — Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) November 19, 2018

I’ve got my colleague covering CPAC in front of me. He says we’ll exchange glances, and then he’ll turn. I hope he does. I’m rooting for my group. — Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) November 19, 2018

I’ll note, via the EIC, that a spokesperson later clarified that the White House merely “wished [the reporters] well” because, “someone from our office should be seated across from his desk in the corner of the room.”

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Lawmakers to grill Trump aide amid Russia probe

By Ashley Jacobs for Insider USA

A top acting Trump administration official will face the House Judiciary Committee and the wrath of President Donald Trump, as the panel convenes a hearing on the president’s alleged obstruction of justice.

Vice Adm. David “Nick” Davidy Hale, who is President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser for strategy, will testify Tuesday at the hearing, according to an aide. Hale will be the highest-ranking official that the Judiciary Committee has interviewed about the Russian probe since Trump’s campaign for president began in June 2015.

Meanwhile, House Democrats on Monday challenged Republican efforts to delay their impeachment efforts, as all 39 Democratic members signed a letter requesting additional briefings from the Justice Department and FBI before its next expected hearing.

The Judiciary Committee began that investigation in May after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. According to members of the House, the documents the Democrats requested show the former FBI director is “cooperating fully” with the committee.

“In the three months since we requested these documents, we have made a deliberate effort to reach out to both the executive and legislative branches of the government to see if we can establish a bipartisan basis for bringing forth this information,” the letter says. “We are disappointed that we have been unable to achieve that goal.”

The Democratic congressional lawmakers then sent a letter to the chairman of the committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the Republican chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., calling for the panel to respond within five days, or to prepare for a second session of the hearing.

Their requests come the day after a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which Goodlatte reportedly requested that he write a memo detailing his objections to any Trump investigation that would fall under special counsel Robert Mueller’s purview.

Monday’s letter, signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said “nothing justifies delay.”

“The American people deserve answers as to why Donald Trump fired James Comey,” the letter said. “The president and his allies at Fox News have strongly suggested that he did so because Comey was not sufficiently loyal, even threatening to appoint a special counsel to probe claims that a deputy attorney general had leaked classified information to journalists, which the Department of Justice promptly investigated.”

The letter was signed by all House Democrats. GOP Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Cory Gardner of Colorado co-signed the letter, which expresses concern that Republican leaders are not doing more to conduct their investigation.

“Regardless of whether or not our House leadership seeks to engage in a hearing, American people deserve to know the existence of a relevant and tangible legal justification for the president’s actions,” the letter says.

A spokesman for Goodlatte declined to comment. Goodlatte recently made headlines by announcing he will not seek re-election in 2020, citing his age.

Tuesday’s public hearing begins at 9 a.m. ET, with Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, presenting evidence at the beginning of the hearing.

Today’s is slated to be the first in a series of impeachment hearings, which are to take place in January.

Earlier this month, the House Ways and Means Committee agreed to subpoena written correspondence from former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who has declined to provide records to their probe into whether Trump has obstructed justice.

While legal issues surrounding the president have appeared more urgent on the West Wing floor over the past several months, he has already incurred another set of public relations headaches just this past weekend. The New York Times reported that he had been close to signing an agreement to curtail his fight with Mueller’s special counsel investigation that was more favorable to him than his current arrangement.

The Times reported that the Trump Organization would have limited jurisdiction in matters related to the investigation, likely ruling out some business dealings as potential areas for Mueller to investigate.

The offer turned down, according to a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to discuss it by name.

According to the Times, the FBI declined to publicize the offer because it was at odds with standard norms and with the president’s agreement to not be contacted by prosecutors.