Busting-the-Filibuster Friday

It’s been 2 Fridays since our Last Mueller Friday (March 22nd).

Where’s the damned report?

Every day we don’t see the report represents an obstruction of justice.  But then, that’s what Bill Barr was hired to do, right?   From The Guardian: Barr invited to meet DoJ officials on day he submitted memo critical of Mueller. Revealed: The attorney general, then a private lawyer, called the special counsel’s obstruction of justice inquiry into Trump ‘fatally misconceived’”

William Barr was invited to meet justice department officials last summer, on the same day he submitted an “unsolicited” memo that heavily criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice by Donald Trump.

Barr, who was a private attorney at the time, met the officials for lunch three weeks later and was then nominated to serve as Trump’s attorney general about six months later.

The revelation about the meeting, which was arranged by Steve Engel, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice, and which has not previously been publicly disclosed, raises new questions about whether the White House’s decision to hire Barr was influenced by private discussions he had about his legal views on Mueller’s investigation.

None of this surprises me. I’m sure the right. chair of the right committee–most likely oversight and Rep. Elijah Cummings–will get to the bottom of this.  Every appointment Trump makes to anything just drips of cronyism.

Today, a Federal Court of Appeals court shortened the time that a decision will be made by the judiciary.  This is via Politico and Josh Gerstein:  “Appeals court narrows path for disclosure of grand jury info in Mueller report. Court splits, 2-1, in a closely watched case that could affect the release of the special counsel’s review.”

A Federal appeals court on Friday tossed an obstacle in the way of grand jury information in special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report being released directly to the public, but the decision may not slow disclosure of that material to Congress.

The decision from a divided three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals did not directly address Mueller’s report, but involved a grand jury investigation more than six decades ago into the disappearance of a Columbia University professor and political activist, Jesús Galíndez.

In the new ruling, the panel majority concluded that federal district court judges lack the authority to order the release of typically secret grand jury material except in situations specially authorized in a federal court rule.

While there is no exception that covers cases of intense political or historical interest, courts have repeatedly held that they have “inherent authority” to make such disclosures in unusual cases.

However, the D.C. Circuit decision Friday sided with a long-standing Justice Department position that those rulings were mistaken and a formal change to the grand jury secrecy rule would be needed to give judges that power.

“We agree with the Government’s understanding of the Rule,” Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote, joined by Judge Greg Katsas. “The contrary reading … which would allow the district court to create such new exceptions as it thinks make good public policy — would render the detailed list of exceptions merely precatory and impermissibly enable the court to ‘circumvent’ or ‘disregard’ a Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure.”

The impact of the new decision in the current battle over disclosure of the Mueller report could be limited, however, because the Democrat-controlled House is already demanding the special counsel’s full submission including grand jury information.

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee passed a resolution authorizing Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to subpoena the full report and all supporting materials. Such a subpoena may be sufficient to give the House access to grand jury information under an existing exception covering material sought in connection with “judicial proceedings.”

I wanted to make sure we had a good look and discussion about the various ways that Mitch McConnell is changing the SOP of the Senate. To no one’s real surprise, the Senate did go Nuclear somewhat quietly on Wednesday on a 51-48 vote.  ABC and other media outlets covered it but not to the extent that it deserved.

The Senate has gone “nuclear,” voting 51-48 Wednesday afternoon to change its own rules and slash debate time for some nominees from 30 hours to two hours, paving the way to fast-track certain Trump picks. Republicans — led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — have long lamented what they have termed Democratic obstruction of the president’s nominations, particularly judicial nominations.

All Republicans vote for the rule change except Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Susan Collins, who voted with Democrats, and no Democrats voted with Republicans.

This is what Senator Elizabeth Warren has to say about that even though she her last vote did not reflect this discussion.  It’s something to thing on.  I really appreciate Warren’s bringing the beef to the hamburger.  It’s the women that are discussing actual policy and it’s time they all get some air time and ink.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is expected to issue the strongest indictment of the Senate filibuster of her campaign for president thus far during a speech at the National Action Network convention on Friday morning.

“Last year the Senate passed a bill that would make lynching a federal crime,” Warren will say, according to prepared remarks viewed by The Daily Beast. “Last year. In 2018. Do you know when the first bill to make lynching a federal crime was introduced? 1918. One hundred years ago. And it nearly became the law back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the Senate—by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And again. More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right.”
Warren goes on to say that the filibuster has been used in recent years “by the far right as a tool to block progress on everything.”

“I’ve only served one term in the Senate—but I’ve seen what’s happening,” she says, according to the remarks. “We all saw what they did to President Obama. I’ve watched Republicans abuse the rules when they’re out of power, then turn around and blow off the rules when they’re in power.”

Democrats running for president in 2020 have been debating Senate rules for months, as activists push for a change that would not necessitate a 60-vote supermajority to pass sought-after legislation like Medicare for All or the Green New Deal, both of which have been endorsed by a large share of the Democratic candidates currently running. But many of the same candidates, including the senators in the race, have been resistant to institutional changes. The one candidate who has affirmatively campaigned on its elimination in order to address climate change is Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. Many others, like Warren before Friday, had said they’d consider it, and she previously said “all the options are on the table.”

Schumer believes other wise. This is from CSPAN. “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell debate the GOP’s decision to make a change to rules reducing the length of post-Cloture debate time of federal district court judges and sub-Cabinet nominations from 30 hours to two hours. ” It happened on April 3rd, the day of the vote.

From Vox and Li Zhou: “Senate Republicans have officially gone “nuclear” in order to confirm more Trump judges.
It’s a win for Republicans in the short term, but Democrats could also capitalize on the change in the future.”

Senate Republicans have officially gone nuclear again this week.

Once more, they’ve changed Senate rules so they can confirm President Donald Trump’s nominees more expeditiously — a string of actions first kicked off by Democratic leader Harry Reid in 2013. It marks the third time in less than a decade that the Senate majority has used the so-called “nuclear option” — a term used for parliamentary procedure that sets a new precedent with only a simple majority of lawmaker votes.

This time, Republicans have amended Senate rules in order to further limit the amount of time lower-level nominees could be debated on the floor. Previously, if lawmakers voted to limit debate on a nominee, that back-and-forth would still be able to continue for 30 hours. Practically speaking, because there is only so much time the Senate is in session, this meant that there were a finite number of nominees that Republicans could get through — and that’s something they wanted to change.

Republicans argued that this rules change is necessary because Democrats have gone out of their way to slow-walk consideration of Trump’s nominees. Democrats, meanwhile, say that Republicans have gutted other processes, like “blue slips,” that would enable them to otherwise vocalize their concern with different nominees.

“Senate Democrats spent the first two years of the Trump administration dragging out the confirmation process to not only deny the president his team, but also to waste hours of floor time that should have been spent focusing on the American people’s priorities,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said in a statement. “This has been nothing more than obstruction for the sake of obstruction and it is outrageous.”

That assertion, however, is laughable to many Democrats, who have noted that Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s supposed outrage over the way Democrats have blocked Republican nominees is hypocritical, given the lengths he went to in order to prevent President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland from even getting considered for a Supreme Court seat.

Nancy Pelosi threw some serious shade at a reporter who evidently wasn’t aware that there is a law that says the IRS will hand over tax returns of whoever certain chairs of congress request.

Donald Trump is doing his usual hold it up routine. “All the way to the Supreme Court, Alice!!!”

And, I’m giving the last word today to my “I’m just a country lawyer” Senator who just can’t seem to keep the folksy routine sounding sane.

With that, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


20 Comments on “Busting-the-Filibuster Friday”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I hope you have a nice weekend planned! It’s raining here again but the severe stuff seems to have headed east. It’s mostly drizzling now. I hope that it sputters out soon!

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. RonStill4Hills says:

    Mitch McConnell is a disgrace. There are not other words.

    His shameless hypocrisy and misuse of parliamentary procedure to illegitimately grab power from from the other branches is outrageous on its face. In a just world Merritt Garland would get to kick his a$$ one good time.

    That he does it now in service of an infantile would be tyrant is is a clear and present danger to our democracy is truly despicable.

  4. RonStill4Hills says:

    I have thought a lot about the Biden inappropriate behavior issue.
    I wanted to be certain of exactly what my thoughts and feelings were before a made a serious comment.
    I am on record saying I believe that the Al Franken rush to judgement was grossly unfair.
    For one thing I believe that Franken absolutely “got it”, why he was in trouble and the was every reason to believe that there would never be any future bad behavior.
    So I felt like my lack of sympathy for Biden required some contemplation.
    What bothers me about Biden is illustrated in this quote:

    Dorothy Michaels: “Ron? I have a name, it’s Dorothy. It’s not Tootsie or Toots or Sweetie or Honey or Doll.”
    Ron Carlisle: “Oh, Christ.”
    Dorothy Michaels: “No, just Dorothy. Alan’s always Alan, Tom’s always Tom and John’s always John. I have a name too it’s Dorothy, capital D-O-R-O-T-H-Y.”

    That was in 1982.
    See, all that fake familiarity and so-called affection is demeaning. Even if it is not a sexual come on, it still puts the woman in the position of a kid, or a daughter or a niece or even a “friend.”
    That is NOT what they are, they are colleagues and peers and employees. It is not professional and it puts the woman in a “something less than equal” position.
    It is a dominance thing, IT IS “sexual” and it is inappropriate, and I don’t care how many times you say, “Oh, I am just an affectionate guy.”
    Stephanie Carter says she was not offended, fair enough, but imagine if Stephanie Carter were the one being sworn in and Biden was standing there with Ash Carter.
    Is there any chance in hell that the body language would have been in any way similar? Touching and rubbing and stroking?
    What if Ash Carter had a husband instead of a wife, say Steven Carter, would Biden be all over him? Unlikely.
    The one thing that touched me most on the day of the women’s march after the inauguration was the “Not One Step Back” speech.
    It was the one thing that gave me hope. We as a society have fought hard for equality, all the while fighting against the head winds of so-called hyper-sensitivity and alleged political-correctness.
    I am not willing to surrender a single step in the fight for equality. I am not willing to concede “oh you are being ridiculous.”
    So does Biden’s behavior disqualify him from the presidency? Not necessarily.
    His behavior is far less egregious than the can office holder, still no special treatment for creepy uncle Joe.
    I think it is absolutely appropriate to hold him accountable. And let’s hear what he says and see what he does.
    At this point I am not sure he “gets it.” The defense still seems to be “Oh, lighten up. This is Joey we’re talking about.”
    Woman are not props for him to play act how folksy and friendly and “authentic” he is.
    The message that he needs to receive and take on board is, “If you want to be president, going forward, keep your hands to yourself mothef****r!”

    • dakinikat says:

      I don’t think he gets it either and damn if women even are enabling him. It’s not his age, it’s not his old political style, it’s that he didn’t learn the basic kindergarten teacher shout out of “Keep your hands to yourself!” Exactly how long do we have to wait until he realizes that he’s not supposed to do that ever and he’s supposed to respect personal space? And why can’t he ever say sorry? All his so-called apologies never contain the work I’m sorry … or I really screwed up … or anything remotely like that! Totally agree with you!

    • quixote says:

      Well, methinks Biden just blew up the last hope that he might, at long last, be a reformed character.

      Making a punchline out of hugging a woman at a recent speech. “And before you say anything, I had her consent to hug her, hurty-hur-hur.”

      He doesn’t get it so totally he doesn’t even know he’s not getting it.

      • quixote says:

        I’m not even sure that Biden not committing violent assault, like say the Dump, is really that big a point in his favor.

        Women aren’t actual human beings, aren’t real people like him. So he shuts down Anita HIll and gets us Clarence Thomas. How much damage has that done to women? To men? To the whole damn country?

        And that’s just one thing. There’s his severely pro-Big Finance work against bankrupts, against credit card holders, against everybody, really, except Big Finance.

        There’s the thing I heard about recently where he gets the Ukrainian PM to fire a finance minister looking into corruption which just happens to involve his son, Hunter.

        The fact that Biden has better manners than the Dump is nice, but honestly, that’s not much.

        • bostonboomer says:

          Yes. Biden sees women as dependent creatures who need him to make their decisions for them. It’s sexism period.

    • jane says:

      What disqualifies someone for office is an inability to take responsibility or change your actions. Biden seems capable of both. Trump, not so. Most republicans, not so. Catholic priests, not so.

      • gregorypotts says:

        Biden is the walking talking pure definition of the saying: “With friends like that who needs enemies!” He is the guy that pretends to be peoples friends while simultaneously working behind the scenes to torpedo them. He isn’t a friend of women, poor people, middle class people or minorities.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

    • quixote says:

      One thing that seems like a pattern is whenever one of Dump’s testerical brain farts is headed toward damaging his portfolio, he finds something else to be stupid about in a hurry.

      I’ve been wondering about the effect of a Cain headed to the Fed on the markets. They’d have a fit.

      So I’m betting the background check won’t quite pan out and Mnuchin or somebody will come up with a Wall St.-acceptable candidate.

      We’ll see. I’m watching our future progress with considerable interest. Or maybe suppressed panic is the right term.