Friday, June 23, 2017

CONYERS on Medicare for All


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CONYERS: Committee Democrats To Chairman Goodlatte: House Judiciary Must Do Its Job


Washington, D.C. – Today, sixteen Democratic members of the House Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter, below, to Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to request that he schedule hearings immediately “to examine events that now extend well beyond any investigation into Russian influence—including the firing of FBI Director James Comey, allegations of obstruction of justice, and the inconsistent application of the Attorney General’s recusal from these and related matters.”

Today’s letter, led by Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), addressed each of Chairman Goodlatte and the Majority’s usual explanations for not conducting oversight of the Department of Justice.  “With our Committee on the sidelines, the situation [at the Department] grows more perilous by the day,” the Members wrote.

The letter makes reference to a CRS report, below, that documents nearly a century of precedent where congressional investigations have overlapped with ongoing investigations at the Department of Justice.

On March 10th, every Democrat on the Committee called on Chairman Goodlatte to “get moving on Trump oversight” by holding formal committee hearings on Russia’s interference with the election and related matters. 

On May 11th, Democrats on the House Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, urging him to conduct immediate hearings into the firing of James Comey. 

On May 16th, all 33 Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on the Judiciary, sent a detailed letter to their respective Republican Chairmen outlining their demand for an immediate investigation into the actions of President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and top White House aides.

The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also has jurisdiction over the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CONYERS & BLUMENTHAL Lay Out The Constitutional Case For Complelling President Trump To Obey Anti-Corruption Foreign Emoluments Clause



In the week since nearly 200 Members of Congress filed a lawsuit to compel President Trump to comply with the Constitution, public reporting has revealed new evidence of foreign benefits

No automatic alt text available.[WASHINGTON, DC] – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) held a press conference at 12:30 PM in the Capitol Visitors Center (SVC-215) to outline the Constitutional case for compelling President Trump to obtain the consent of Congress before accepting payments, benefits, or gifts from foreign states. 

Last week, nearly 200 Members of Congress filed a complaint, below, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against President Trump, whose ongoing failure to disclose his foreign business dealings violates one of the Constitution’s critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

In the week since the lawsuit was filed, public reporting has revealed that President Trump has received additional foreign benefits – including new trademarks in China– and is brokering business deals in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf while regional tensions escalate.

“We are joining in this action to prevent Donald Trump from thumbing his nose at the Constitution and the American people. The Constitution clearly states that no elected official - including the President - may receive gifts, payments, or benefits from foreign governments without disclosing them to Congress and seeking our consent,” Senator Blumenthal said. “The immense magnitude of President Trump's vast business empire is no excuse for his disregard of the Constitution and disrespect for the American people.”

“For generations,” Representative Conyers said, “presidents of both parties have complied with the Foreign Emoluments Clause by either divesting their business and financial holdings, or coming to Congress to seek approval prior to receiving any foreign government payment or other benefits. Our current President has done neither. This course of conduct is keeping Americans in the dark – leaving us to speculate if he’s acting on behalf of the American people or for his own financial benefit. Today’s legal action is designed to help lift our Nation out of this morass of conflicts and restore faith in our government, just as the founders intended.”

Because President Trump has refused to disclose his business dealings abroad, the full scope of his potential Constitutional violations is unknown. Independent reporting has shown that President Trump has received the following foreign emoluments during his presidency among others:

·         Payments from foreign governments housing their officials in rooms or hosting events at Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel after Inauguration Day;
·         Entities owned by foreign states paying rent at Trump World Tower in New York City; and

·         The Chinese government granting thirty-nine trademarks to the Trump Organization.

U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) will also attend Tuesday’s press conference. They will be joined by Elizabeth Wydra, President of the Constitutional Accountability Center, the public interest organization whose attorneys are representing Members of Congress.

U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT)
U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY)
U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA)
U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Elizabeth Wydra, President, Constitutional Accountability Center


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

CONYERS: Why I Am Suing President Trump


AMY GOODMAN: We turn right now back to Capitol Hill, which remains in shock after House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and four other people were wounded Wednesday when a gunman opened fire at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, the lawmakers practicing for a charity congressional game that will take place tonight.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We’re joined by the longest-serving member of Congress, Democrat John Conyers of Michigan. He’s served in Congress since 1965.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Conyers, welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you back with us, but on a very sad day. Right now your fellow congressman, Steve Scalise, is in critical condition as a result of this shooting. The game will go on tonight, with Republicans and Democrats standing together. But your thoughts today?

REPJOHN CONYERS: Well, I am deeply disturbed by Steve Scalise’s problems. And we are all praying for his speedy recovery and hope that this will all soon be past.
We’ve got an important commitment here, and I think it’s very important that emoluments are prevented from spoiling what should be an important consideration. The Constitution says no emoluments, gifts.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Conyers, let’s explain what it is that you’re talking about, since no one knew what the word "emoluments" was anyway. But it involves this lawsuit that you’re involved with against President Trump. You and nearly 200 congressmembers—

REPJOHN CONYERS: Exactly.

AMY GOODMAN: —from the Senate and the Congress, 196 overall, are suing President Trump, accusing him of violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting millions of dollars in payments from foreign governments to Trump’s companies while serving as U.S. president, the lawsuit alleging Trump has accepted foreign emoluments, payments, which benefit him directly, without going to Congress first to get its consent. I want to turn to Elizabeth Wydra, who is president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of you and the 195 other members of Congress. This is what she says.
ELIZABETH WYDRA: President Trump has received billions of dollars from foreign governments leasing space in his properties, placing diplomats in his hotels. He has received very valuable trademarks from foreign governments. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, the benefits that we know that he’s received from foreign governments in violation of the Constitution. So what we need to do is have a transparent process. That’s what the Constitution envisions. That’s what it requires. And we’re going into court today to make sure that the president abides by the Constitution.
AMY GOODMAN: Among the violations cited in the lawsuit, Trump accepting intellectual property rights when he was granted trademarks by the Chinese government, and accepted payments from foreign governments by leasing space in his properties and placing diplomats in his hotels—representatives of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait have all stayed at Trump International Hotel in D.C., which is located right near the White House—the lawsuit involving more congressional plaintiffs than any legal action ever taken against a president. Congressmember John Conyers, you are one of the leaders in this lawsuit. Why?

REPJOHN CONYERS: Well, because it’s simply a constitutional violation that’s pure and simple, Amy. This is something that we can’t sit by and let happen as if it doesn’t matter. It does matter. And it’s not complicated or complex or anything else. And that’s why we have so many congressmen and senators working with us on it.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Congressman Conyers, can you explain why it’s so significant that you say that Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause? Why is that so important?

REPJOHN CONYERS: Well, it says that emoluments are money, benefits or other awards that can’t be used in the legislative process. Without the Emoluments Clause, Amy, the government and the lawmakers are subject to all kinds of offers, bribes, inducements. And so it’s really a waste of the democratic process if we don’t do something about it. And so, that’s why we are. We’ve got 160 congressmen and 30 senators, as well, all joined with us.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, so far, the 196 of you—you and Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut are leading the charge here in this lawsuit—are all Democrats. Among others, the president’s spokesperson, Sean Spicer, has said that these attacks on Trump around the Emoluments Clause are all partisan. Will any Republicans be joining your ranks in this lawsuit?

REPJOHN CONYERS: We’ll find out today, because we’re inviting them to come in. We didn’t want to get in—we didn’t want to start off with a debate about what provisions should be allowed, what emphasis and how this should be written. We decided to just start with the people that we knew would join immediately. And now we’ll be working on Republicans. And we want them to come in. We hope that they—that some of them do. And I think a few of them will.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, it’s an honor to have you with us, Congressman John Conyers, representing Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, which includes Detroit, the current ranking member and former chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Thank you so much for joining us from the Capitol.

Congress v. Donald Trump Lawsuit in Violation of the Constitution’s anti-corruption Foreign Emoluments Clau... by Beverly Tran on Scribd

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

CONYERS Statement On Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting


Washington, D.C. – Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), released the following statement after a gunman opened fire this morning as Members of Congress practiced for the Congressional baseball game:

Dena of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“My thoughts and prayers are with those who were victims of the shooting this morning in Alexandria, Virginia. Our entire Congressional family is outraged at this act of violence against our Members, staff, and first responders - including our brave Capitol Police officers. I offer my full support to Rep. Scalise and all of those affected, now and in the coming days. The attack we saw this morning is an attack on all of us and our very system of government, and we need to do everything within our power to prevent such violence from occurring in the future.” 

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CONYERS: 200 members Of Congress File Complaint Against Trump In Violation Of The Foreign Emolument Clause

Dean of the U.S. House
of Resprentatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Nearly 200 Members of Congress filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against President Trump. President Trump’s ongoing failure to obtain the consent of Congress before accepting payments, benefits, or gifts from foreign states violates one of the Constitution’s critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause.
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Monday, June 12, 2017

CONYERS: Ahead Of Sessions' Testimony, House Judiciary Dems Call On Attorney General To Clarify His Role In Ongoing Russia Investigation


Washington D.C. -  Ahead of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ appearance before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week, House Judiciary Committee Democrats, led by Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), today sent a letter, below, to Attorney General Jeff Sessions requesting information on the charges made by former FBI Director James Comey last week. This is the ninth letter sent to the Department of Justice by House Judiciary Democrats related to these matters. To date, there has been no response.

In their letter, the Members wrote, “As Members of the House Judiciary Committee, we write to ask that you provide us with information relating to your knowledge concerning recent charges by Mr. Comey regarding improper conduct by the President; the veracity of your disclosure regarding meetings with Russian officials; and your compliance with the terms of your recusal.  We ask these questions to fulfill our responsibility to protect the integrity of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General, whether or not you are recused from an ongoing investigation.  If necessary, we are willing to receive any portion of your response in a classified setting.”

Today’s letter was signed by every Democratic member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, including: Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Karen Bass (D-CA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Brad Schneider (D-IL). 

Background:

The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also has jurisdiction over the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have long called on Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to join them in their oversight efforts.

On March 2nd, all House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey and former U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Channing D. Phillips, calling for an immediate criminal investigation into U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statements before Congress in regards to his communications with Russian officials.

On March 10th, every Democrat on the Committee called on Chairman Goodlatte to “get moving on Trump oversight” by holding formal committee hearings on Russia’s interference with the election and related matters. 

On March 31st, Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Hakeem Jeffries and Ted Lieu, called for Sessions to clarify his involvement with the Russia investigation, after his statements on leaks of classified information.

On May 11th, all seventeen Democrats on the House Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, urging him to conduct immediate hearings into the firing of James Comey. 

On May 12th, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein raising “grave concerns” about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ direct participation in President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey despite the fact that he previously recused himself from any actions involving the investigations of the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns.

On May 16th, all 33 Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on the Judiciary, sent a detailed letter to their respective Republican Chairmen outlining their demand for an immediate investigation into the actions of President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and top White House aides.

On May 24thConyers called on House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to investigate Sessions.
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CONYERS: Judiciary Democrats Press Ivanka Trump Brand About Conflicts Of Interest


After Vague Response to Previous Inquiry, Dems Want Real Answers

Washington, D.C. – After receiving a vague response to a previous inquiry, below, House Judiciary Committee Democrats today pressed Ivanka Trump Operations, below, for answers on their business dealings with foreign countries and Ivanka Trump’s involvement with the company. 

On May 3, 2017, every Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee sent letters to White House Counsel Donald McGahn and to Abigail Klem, president of Ivanka Trump Operations LLC, seeking information about potential conflicts of interest.  The Committee received a response from Mrs. Klem on May 17.  Describing this response as “somewhat incomplete,” today the members wrote again, below, to Mrs. Klem to request additional information.

These letters were prompted by Ms. Trump’s meetings with leaders from China and Japan and the swift, subsequent approval of valuable trademarks for her company by those foreign governments. 

Federal law prohibits the participation of any federal employee in any “decision, approval, disapproval, the rendering of advice, . . . or other particular matter” that will affect his or her own financial interests.  Although Ivanka Trump resigned from her management role with IT Operations LLC before joining the White House as an advisor to her father, she still stands to benefit financially from the expansion of her brand overseas.  Recent reporting suggests that Ms. Trump may have participated in several official meetings with representatives from countries in which her brand seeks to do business.

Today’s letter was signed by every Democratic member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, including: Representatives John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Karen Bass (D-CA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), David Cicilline (D-RI), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Brad Schneider (D-IL). 

The May 3rd letters to the WH Counsel and IT Operations are available here.

The May 17th letter from IT Operations is, below.

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Friday, June 9, 2017

CONYERS: Members of Congress Denounce Anti-Muslim Marches

"I am proud to stand against hate and will continue to call out bigotry and anti-Muslim hatred wherever we see it." said the Dean of the House of Representatives, John Conyers, Jr.

Image may contain: 9 people, people standing, suit, beard and outdoor
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, June 8, 2017, Pramila Jayapal and her colleagues, held a press conference on the U.S. Capitol Grounds; The House Triangle, to speak out against hate and Islamophobia in the United States, and denounce anti-Muslim protests planned by the far-right group ACT for America.

ACT for America is identified as an extremist, anti-Islam organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group plans to hold anti-Muslim protests in cities across the United States on Saturday, June 10.

In attendance were:

·         Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07)
·         Rep. John Conyers (MI-13)
·         Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
·         Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05)
·         Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-12)
·         Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)
·         Council on American-Islamic Relations

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

CONYERS To Intelligence Community: "Breaking Your Promise On Section 702 Is Unacceptanle

Washington, D.C. - In April and December of last year, a bipartisan group from the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to ask for “a public estimate of the number of communications or transactions involving United States persons that may be captured by Section 702 surveillance on an annual basis.”  On April 7, 2017, Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to renew that request. 

Today, in testimony before the Senate, Director Coats reversed the position of the intelligence community and announced that the production of that estimate would be “infeasible.” 

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Conyers issued the following statement in response:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The intelligence community has—for many months—expressly promised members of both parties that they would deliver this estimate to us in time to inform our debate on the reauthorization of Section 702.  As late as last August, we had discussed and approved the specific methodologies that the NSA might use to make good on their promise.

“Today, Director Coats announced that the estimate is ‘infeasible’ and will not be forthcoming.  I find that outcome unacceptable.

“Over the course of the last year, we believed we had worked past the excuses we are offered today.  The nation’s leading civil liberties organizations see no threat to privacy in this project, and have said so publicly.  The agencies demonstrated to us how they might perform this analysis without significant diversion of resources.  I am deeply disappointed in a return to these old talking points.

“Section 702 is built on trust.  It will be more difficult to find that trust as we move forward with the debate.”


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CONYERS Statement On Trump Nominating A New FBI Director

Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. today released the following statement after President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he will nominate Christopher A. Wray, the former Assistant Attorney General, to be the next Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The nation’s top law enforcement agency needs leadership and must have a confirmed director, but I am deeply concerned that the next director is being selected according to the criteria of a President, whose campaign and administration are under investigation, and who fired the prior FBI Director on the basis of his zeal in investigating these matters and refusal to swear loyalty to the President.  I look forward to meeting Mr. Wray and learning more about him, but those involved in his confirmation process should be skeptical of Trump’s selection of someone to fill this position at this time.” 

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Friday, June 2, 2017

CONYERS: Top Judiciary Democrats Warn Trump Not To Block Comey Testimony


DEMS TO WHITE HOUSE: ASSERTING PRIVILEGE TO BLOCK COMEY IS BASELESS, AND FURTHER PROOF OF OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

Washington, D.C. – In several public appearances today, White House spokesmen have refused to rule out the possibility that President Trump will invoke executive privilege in an attempt to block former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before Congress.  House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., together with the Democratic leadership of the House Committee on the Judiciary, wrote to White House Counsel Donald McGahn, below, to remind him “that any such assertion of privilege is almost certainly baseless.” 

The letter is signed by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI); House Judiciary Subcommittee Ranking Members Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), David N. Cicilline (D-RI); and House Judiciary Committee Vice Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
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CONYERS, LEAHY & LOFGREN Send Letter To Kushner Companies Asking About EB-5 VISAs And Conflicts Of Interest


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, June 1, 2017) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) on Thursday pressed the president of Kushner Companies for answers on the company’s use of EB-5 visas and its continued ties to Jared Kushner, President Trump’s top advisor and son-in-law.  At a time when Mr. Kushner is facing scrutiny over his contacts with Russian officials and his former company reportedly is facing financial trouble at its company headquarters and marquee building, there are mounting questions about Kushner Companies’ reliance on and recruitment of foreign investment through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program.  Leahy has worked for years to reform the flawed EB-5 program, and he was joined by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who have worked for years to reform the EB-5 program in the House of Representatives.

The EB-5 program has recently been under scrutiny due to documented cases of fraud and concerns that it is not serving the disadvantaged communities that it was originally intended to benefit.  In the letter, Leahy, Conyers, and Lofgren ask about Kushner Companies’ lobbying efforts and about whether Kushner Companies’ practices, and those of its U.S. and Chinese partners, comply with EB-5 program rules and U.S. securities laws.  They also demand answers about Kushner Companies’ use of its relationship to the White House to recruit foreign investors.
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

CONYERS Statement On Circuit Court Ruling To Block Trump's Muslim/Refugee Ban


Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) released the following statement after the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a block on President Donald Trump's revised Muslim and refugee ban executive order:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today, yet another court has struck down Trump's un-American Muslim and refugee ban.  Even in its so-called revised form, the courts have not closed their eyes to the undeniable truth--that the ban was intended to harm Muslims and thus is in conflict with the First Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of religion.

“The second travel ban executive order, like the first, undoubtedly targets Muslims and is unconstitutional. I’m pleased that the judicial branch has been steadfast in their commitment to upholding the constitution.”

In April 2017, Ranking Member Conyers helped lead 165 Democratic Members of Congress in filing a brief as amici curiae in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in the case of International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trumpto highlight the unlawfulness of Trump’s second travel ban executive order.

In their amicus brief, the Members wrote, “…despite the Second Order’s self-serving claims to the contrary, it delivers on President Trump’s repeated promises as a candidate to limit the entry of Muslims into the country.  In so doing, it flies in the face of one of our most deeply rooted constitutional values: that the government must not favor (or disfavor) any particular religion. As the Constitution’s text and history make clear, the Religion Clauses—both Article VI’s prohibition on the use of religious tests, and the First Amendment’s promise of “free exercise of religion” and prohibition on “laws respecting an establishment of religion”—prohibit a religious test that singles out a religion for discriminatory treatment under our immigration laws. . . . The best way to protect the security of the nation and to uphold foundational American values is to respect the Constitution’s fundamental protections and the laws passed by Congress.”


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CONYERSL Billionaires Posing As Populists Won't Support Trade Deals For Working People

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Last week, President Trump’s administration notified Congress of his intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Act, better known as NAFTA.  As someone who fought against NAFTA’s passage and who has watched unfair competition with low-wage nations tear apart his district—count me among the unimpressed. This is likely to be just another trade deal written by billionaires for the benefit of billionaires.

Donald Trump narrowly won my home state in 2016 on a simple promise: he was going to undo, or scrap the unfair trade deals that were hurting Michigan workers.  He promised this despite his past support for free trade, but regardless of his history, people believed he honestly opposed trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Regardless of Trump’s sincerity, he appeared to give voice to the angst that Michigan workers rightfully feel about the impact of NAFTA over the past 20 years. Our workers are tired of competing against Mexican workers who make pennies on the dollar. Michiganders hate that our auto trade deficit—in our largest manufacturing industry—has tripled since NAFTA was passed to over $130 billion as of 2013.

And while NAFTA isn’t the only globalized trade force driving down American wages, Michiganders feel like it was the slippery slope that led so many manufacturers to pack up and leave.  Workers in Michigan feared that Hillary Clinton would not be in their corner on trade. That was costly for her, ultimately proving fatal in the narrow loss she suffered in Michigan.

Decades of losses under NAFTA aren’t easy to fix. Our economy has become so intertwined with Mexico’s that we cannot simply end NAFTA—we have to reform it.  That requires work and that requires a new approach.  To succeed, we need real outsiders who represent working people to write our trade deals—not billionaires like Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross and Steven Mnuchin, who will always put Wall Street before Detroit.

Right now, President Trump is relying on donors, family and staff to tell him what a good deal looks like.  With the exception of his Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, who has a reputation as an independent on these matters, Trump’s people are the same ones who have fought for NAFTA and its successors to make it easier to offshore jobs, break up unions, and force workers to compete against people being paid a few dollars a day.

The reason I oppose these billionaire former CEOs writing our trade laws is simple: bargaining power.  If their workers in the United States want higher wages, a CEO can bargain them down by threatening to offshore their jobs.  If environmental agencies or activists want them to stop damaging the environment, the corporate executives call them job killers and threaten to move to a country with fewer regulations and a weaker civil society.

If we want to have fair trade, then we need to be able to enforce the restrictions that make trade fair. But that’s easier said than done.  Enforcing rules and regulations is hard at home and it only gets harder oversees. If Trump gets his way, and guts the American agencies who oversee foreign countries compliance with existing trade rules—it’s going to be nearly impossible.

So far, Trump’s done very little to encourage those who want a fair renegotiation of NAFTA.  After a campaign where he talked tough, he has done little as president to back it up.  He called China a currency manipulator repeatedly during the campaign, but now he says they are not—all while his son-in-law’s family business pitches deals to Chinese investors on their access to President Trump.

At this point in his struggling presidency, Donald Trump needs to do something to fulfill his populist promises and that isn’t unconstitutional, unwise and against American’s interests. Renegotiating NAFTA to protect American workers’ jobs—and workers abroad from exploitation—could be that act.  In order to do so, he needs to have labor unions, consumer advocates, and environmental and safety regulators leading—not advising, but leading—that effort. 

We need people who care deeply about the full implications of trade to be heard with this deal. What we don’t need is another trade deal written by big business for big business.  Unfortunately, looking at Trump’s Cabinet and the people who we know have access to him, another big business trade deal seems like exactly what he’s going to push. We must remain vigilant and prepared to hold his feet to the fire to ensure good jobs for Michigan families. 

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CONYERS: After New Sessions Russia Report, Conyers Calls For Committee Investigation Into Sessions Misstatments


Washington, D.C. - After CNN reported that the Justice Department revealed Attorney General Sessions failed to disclose his contacts with Russian officials as part of his security clearance,  Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The latest report detailing how Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again concealed his contacts with Russian officials points to a troubling pattern of behavior by the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

“In the face of an ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign's contact with the Russian government--an investigation from which Mr. Sessions is recused because of his failure to disclose similar contacts--the Attorney General’s decision to omit this information from his security clearance application demands the House Judiciary Committee’s careful review. 

“Chairman Goodlatte should immediately convene a hearing on this matter. We can no longer delay conducting oversight of the Office of the Attorney General.”

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have long called on Chairman Bob Goodlatte to join them in their oversight efforts.

On March 2nd, all House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director James Comey and former U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C., Channing D. Phillips, calling for an immediate criminal investigation into U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ statements before Congress in regards to his communications with Russian officials.

On March 10th, every Democrat on the Committee called on Chairman Goodlatte to “get moving on Trump oversight” by holding formal committee hearings on Russia’s interference with the election and related matters. 

On March 31st, Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Hakeem Jeffries and Ted Lieu, called for Sessions to clarify his involvement with the Russia investigation, after his statements on leaks of classified information.

On May 11th, all seventeen Democrats on the House Committee on the Judiciary sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, urging him to conduct immediate hearings into the firing of James Comey. 

On May 12th, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein raising “grave concerns” about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ direct participation in President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey despite the fact that he previously recused himself from any actions involving the investigations of the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns.

On May 16th, all 33 Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Committee on the Judiciary, sent a detailed letter to their respective Republican Chairmen outlining their demand for an immediate investigation into the actions of President Donald Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and top White House aides.



The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also has jurisdiction over the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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