House pushes back subpoena deadline for banks to allow for hearing

NEW YORK — The House of Representatives has agreed to extend the time for Deutsche Bank AG and Capital One Financial Corp. to respond to subpoenas seeking the bank records of President Donald Trump, his family and several of his companies, until seven days after a federal judge rules on the Trumps’ request to block them.

The Trumps, who sued the banks on Monday to block them from complying with the subpoenas, said in court papers that the institutions were prepared to start turning over the documents beginning May 6. The Trumps said in a filing Wednesday that they’ve agreed to a schedule that would allow for a hearing by the week of May 20.

They also said that the House of Representatives plans to file a formal request, by Friday, to join the suit.

— Bloomberg News

White House wants to end TPS for Nicaraguans; 2 lawmakers want to keep it

WASHINGTON — About 5,300 Nicaraguans in the U.S. are currently relying on a court decision to continue working and living legally in the United States after the Trump administration announced that it wants to end Nicaragua’s Temporary Protected Status.

Two Florida lawmakers are trying to end the uncertainty.

Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala introduced a bill Tuesday that would provide TPS to Nicaraguan nationals already in the U.S., a population concentrated in South Florida.

Diaz-Balart and Shalala argued that recent violence related to President Daniel Ortega’s decision to cut government benefits and human rights concerns are justification to extend a program that has been in place since 1999 and extended by presidents from both parties ever since.

“The Nicaraguan people are demanding free, fair, multiparty elections and a government free of crime and corruption that respects basic human rights and liberties,” Diaz-Balart said. “Until that happens, I strongly support the Trump administration’s demonstrations of strong solidarity with the Nicaraguan people through robust sanctions against those who corrupt Nicaragua’s democratic institutions or perpetrate human rights abuses. In addition, we also must demonstrate our solidarity with the Nicaraguan people by extending protection to those Nicaraguans who have found a safe haven in the United States.”

The legislation from Diaz-Balart and Shalala comes as the Trump administration brands Nicaragua as one of the three countries that make up the “Troika of Tyranny,” along with Venezuela and Cuba. Last month, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against Ortega’s son and vice president, along with Nicaraguan bank BanCorp, accusing them of laundering money for personal gain.

— Miami Herald

GOP resolution referring Michael Cohen to DOJ for perjury rejected

WASHINGTON — House Democrats shot down a measure from one of their GOP counterparts to refer the congressional testimony of Michael Cohen to the Justice Department for a perjury investigation.

By a 226-183 vote along party lines, the House voted to table the privileged resolution that freshman GOP Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee filed Tuesday, forcing a floor vote within the next 48 hours.

Republicans have accused Cohen, President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, of committing perjury during his testimony in February before the Oversight panel.

Cohen is set to begin a three-year prison term next week after pleading guilty in 2018 to multiple charges of financial fraud and lying to Congress about the timeline of negotiations in 2015 and 2016 for a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Since that guilty plea, Cohen has offered information on his former boss’s business and campaign practices to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York and some congressional committees.

Democrats largely view Republicans’ campaign against Cohen’s credibility as a publicity stunt to distract from and undermine his allegations that the president was involved in illegal activity.

Republicans have claimed that Cohen committed perjury when he told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform at a hearing in February, “I never asked for, nor would I accept” a pardon from Trump.

In a March letter to Oversight Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, Cohen’s lawyer wrote that Cohen meant he had never asked for a pardon from Trump when he vacated his joint-defense agreement with the president in June 2018. That’s when he decided to plead guilty to charges brought against him by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Before breaking off from that agreement, Cohen’s lawyers had approached Trump’s legal team about a potential pardon, one of Cohen’s lawyers, Lanny Davis, said after Cohen’s testimony in February.

— CQ-Roll Call