Wednesday, June 28, 2017

CONYERS: Floor Statement on H.R. 1215, the so-called “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017”


H.R. 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017,” will do little to protect Americans’ access to safe and affordable health care.  Instead, it will deny victims of medical malpractice and defective medical products the opportunity to be fully compensated for their injuries and to hold wrongdoers accountable.

This legislation imposes various restrictions on lawsuits against health care providers concerning their provision of health care goods or services that would apply regardless of the merits of a case, the misconduct at issue, or the severity of the victim’s injury. 

There are so many problems with this bill that I would need 5 hours to discuss them all, but here are just a few.

To begin with, H.R. 1215 deeply intrudes on state sovereignty.

In particular, H.R. 1215 preempts state law governing joint and several liability, the availability of damages, the ability to introduce evidence of collateral source benefits, attorneys’ fees, and periodic payments of future damages. 

Members should not be fooled by assertions that the bill preserves state law. In fact, the rule of construction contained in the bill expressly states that it preempts state law except in very limited circumstances where state law is more favorable to defendants. 

And a number of so-called “state flexibility” provisions simply reinforce one-way preemption where the bill mostly supersedes state laws that are more favorable to victims, while leaving intact State laws that are more favorable to defendants.

In truth, H.R. 1215 does nothing to address the fundamental concerns about states’ rights previously raised by Members on both sides of the aisle.  In fact, just yesterday the House Liberty Caucus, a group of conservative libertarian members, registered their strong opposition to this bill stating that it “unconstitutionally voids state laws governing health care lawsuits.”

Further yet, this bill would cause real harm by severely limiting the ability of victims to be made whole.


For instance, the bill’s $250,000 aggregate limit for noneconomic damages -- an amount established more than 40 years ago pursuant to a California statute -- would have a particularly adverse impact on women, children, the poor, and other vulnerable members of society.

These groups are more likely to receive noneconomic damages in health care cases because they are less able to establish lost wages and other economic losses. 



Women, for example, are often paid at a lower rate than men, even for the same job, and are also more likely to suffer noneconomic loss, such as disfigurement or loss of fertility.

Imposing a severe limit on noneconomic damages, therefore, hurts them disproportionately.

Finally, this bill is particularly harmful for veterans, members of the military, and their families.  Because the bill preempts state tort law in any health care related lawsuit that includes any coverage provided by a federal health program, all cases arising from substandard care received in a Veterans Administration facility or a military hospital would be subject to the bill’s restrictions.

As a diverse coalition of veterans organizations noted in their letter of opposition, H.R. 1215 would limit the ability of veterans and military families to “hold health care providers, drug manufacturers and medical products providers accountable for pain and suffering, and death that result from substandard care, preventable medical errors, and defective drugs and devices.” 

For these and many other reasons, I urge my colleagues to oppose H.R. 1215 and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

CONYERS & GOODLATTE Renew Call For Surveillance Data And Information On Methodology


Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)  today sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to renew their call for the number of U.S. persons included in Section 702 collections. The members also called for statistics on the methodologies used in developing the project as well as information on the resources that would need to be diverted in order to complete the project.

On April 7, 2017Ranking Member Conyers and Chairman Goodlatte wrote to Director Coats to request a public estimate of the number of communications involving U.S. persons incidentally swept up under FISA Section 702.  On June 7, 2017, in testimony before the Senate, Director Coats stated that the production of that estimate would be “infeasible.” 

FISA Section 702, which targets the communications of non-U.S. persons outside of the United States in order to protect national security, reportedly contributes to more than a quarter of all National Security Agency surveillance and has been used on multiple occasions to detect and prevent horrific terrorist plots against our country. Although Congress designed this authority to target non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, it is clear that Section 702 surveillance programs can and do incidentally collect information about U.S. persons when U.S. persons communicate with the foreign targets of Section 702 surveillance.
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CONYERS & LOFGREN Statement On SCOTUS Decision To Take Up Trump Muslim & Refugee Ban


Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Subcommittee on Immigration Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) today released the following joint statement after the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would take up Trump’s Muslim and Refugee ban: 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today’s Supreme Court decision recognizes a central constitutional defect in Donald Trump’s Muslim and Refugee Ban—the damage it inflicts on the interests of U.S. citizens and institutions. As the opinion notes, the ban serves to separate citizens from their foreign national family members, American universities from their students, and U.S. employers from their workers.  By leaving in place the lower courts’ block on the Trump Administration’s attempts to bar foreign nationals with U.S. ties from entering the country, the Court underscores the ban’s unconstitutionality and adverse impact on America as a whole.

“At the same time, the Court’s opinion fails to reflect other key ways in which the ban violates our Constitution. Most important, by allowing the Trump Administration to bar the entry into the United States of certain travelers from Muslim-majority countries and refugees without U.S. ties, the Court ignored the Order’s fundamentally discriminatory intent and effect.  Candidate Trump campaigned on a Muslim ban; the Supreme Court should have realized this Order fulfilled that pledge.

“We are deeply disappointed in this portion of the Court’s decision, which will enable the Trump Administration to disrupt and upend the lives of many thousands of innocent people.  Making matters worse, the ban will weaken the U.S. economy and undermine our relationships with key partners abroad in the fight against terror.

“We therefore urge our Republican colleagues to join Democrats in supporting H.R. 1503, the Statute of Liberty Values Act 2.0 (SOLVe 2.0). This bill would nullify in full the Muslim and Refugee ban—which, as reflected in today’s Supreme Court decision, is unconstitutional at its core—ending its harmful consequences for our national values, economy, and security.”

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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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