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If the Trump administration tries to hide evidence contained in the Mueller report from Congress, a top House Democrat says he may call Robert Mueller to testify.

“I think that if the Justice Department either attempts to conceal the Mueller report or the underlying evidence, then requiring Mueller to testify may very well be necessary,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters on Tuesday morning.

The comments raise the stakes as Congress continues to investigate a multitude of alleged crimescommitted by Trump, his family, and his campaign.

Whereas Mueller has been investigating for more than a year, real oversight from Congress only began in January when the Democrats took over control of the House of Representatives.

A previous sham investigation, led by Trump lackey Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), was roundly mocked as Nunes used his position to provide cover for Trump.

As a result of Nunes’ actions, Schiff re-opened the investigation in order to explore Russian interference in the 2016 election, any possible ties to Trump or the Trump campaign, Trump’s foreign financial entanglements, and possible obstruction of justice efforts by Trump.

Mueller could very well have a treasure trove of information about these topics. When Mueller finishes his investigation, he is required by law to submit a confidential report to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Unfortunately, top officials at the DOJ have been evasive as to what and how much of Mueller’s final report they will share with Congress. Their position “concerns me greatly at the moment,” Schiff told reporters. Given the lack of commitment from Trump’s administration, Schiff emphasized that he would not take calling Mueller to testify before his committee off the table.

In 2018, voters sent a clear message that Congress should fairly and vigorously investigate Trump for the litany of allegations swirling around him and those close to him. Robert Mueller’s findings are an important component of any such investigation.

Schiff’s actions show he is taking the will of voters seriously, and he will not allow the Trump administration to impede Congress’s constitutional oversight role.

 

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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

Targeting Battleground States

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Former president Donald Trump

By Rami Ayyub and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -The prosecutor for Georgia's biggest county on Thursday requested a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid her investigation into then-President Donald Trump's efforts to influence the U.S. state's 2020 election results.

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