Posted: August 20, 2022 | Author: bostonboomer | Filed under: abortion rights, Cats, caturday, Donald Trump, Elections, FBI raids, just because | Tags: abortion in Michigan, Bill Barr, classified documents, constitutionalism, FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, Is the Constitution broken?, midterm elections, Mitch McConnell, Mueller investigation, Republican Senate candidates |
“Organ cat, prayer book, Bruges or Ghent c. 1480-1490 (Baltimore, Walters Art Museum
It has been another busy news week, and today there are some stories that follow up on recent news and others that look further back in time. As we move closer to the midterm elections, things are looking better for Democrats to keep control of the Senate. Of course the fallout continues from the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. The judge in the case released more information on the search warrant, and there could be more coming. A court has ordered the DOJ to release a memo related to the Mueller investigation that Bill Barr refused to make public. A Michigan judge made an important decision on abortion laws in the state. Finally, the NYT published a fascinating op-ed by two law professors who argue that the U.S. Constitution is “broken.”
Republican midterm woes
Bob Brigham at Raw Story: It’s Mitch McConnell’s fault ‘bumbling extremists’ are hurting the GOP: report.
On Thursday, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) seemed to admit that the Grand Old Party doesn’t have the highest quality roster of candidates.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell said. “Senate races are just different, they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
Writing in Vanity Fair, Eric Lutz reported, “He didn’t mention any of those candidates directly, but he almost certainly could have been talking about any of Donald Trump’s handpicked contenders, who earned the former president’s support seemingly for one of two reasons: He knows them from television, or they’re loyalists who have organized their campaigns almost entirely around his 2020 election lies. There’s a lot of crossover there, obviously, but the first camp includes Mehmet Oz, a former TV doctor who apparently believes raw asparagus belongs in a crudité, and Herschel Walker, the former football great whose own campaign staff reportedly regards him as a ‘pathological liar.’” [….]
“Then there’s the second camp of MAGA candidates, which includes the likes of Blake Masters, the Peter Thiel protégé who literally has the backing of some of the Internet’s most well-known white nationalists. (Masters has attempted to distance himself from this community.) One of several extremists on the ballot in Arizona, where election deniers Kari Lake and Mark Finchem are respectively running for governor and secretary of state, Masters is trailing Democrat Mark Kelly by eight points, according to a Fox News poll released this week,” Lutz reported. “None of this to say to say that these bumbling extremists can’t win; if a country is capable of electing Trump president, Georgia is certainly capable of electing a guy like Walker. But McConnell’s apparent sense that this batch of bozos might dash GOP dreams of a Senate majority may be well-founded, even if midterms tend to favor the party that doesn’t control the White House.”
There’s more at the link.
The Washington Post: ‘It’s a rip-off’: GOP spending under fire as Senate hopefuls seek rescue.
Republican Senate hopefuls are getting crushed on airwaves across the country while their national campaign fund is pulling ads and running low on cash — leading some campaign advisers to ask where all the money went and todemand an audit of the committee’s finances, according to Republican strategists involved in the discussions.
In a highly unusual move, the National Republican Senatorial Committee this week canceled bookings worth about $10 million, including in the critical states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona. A spokesman said the NRSC is not abandoning those races but prioritizing ad spots that are shared with campaigns and benefit from discounted rates. Still, the cancellations forfeit cheaper prices that came from booking early, and better budgeting could have covered both.
“The fact that they canceled these reservations was a huge problem — you can’t get them back,” said one Senate Republican strategist, who like others spokes on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. “You can’t win elections if you don’t have money to run ads.”
The NRSC’s retreat came after months of touting record fundraising, topping $173 million so far this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures. But the committee has burned through nearly all of it, with the NRSC’s cash on hand dwindling to $28.4 million by the end of June.
As of that month, the committee disclosed spending just $23 million on ads, with more than $21 million going into text messages and more than $12 million to American Express credit cardpayments, whose ultimate purpose isn’t clear from the filings. The committee also spent at least $13 million on consultants, $9 million on debt payments and more than $7.9 million renting mailing lists, campaign finance data show.
Read the rest at the WaPo.
The Mar-a-Lago search
Insider: Newly unsealed documents from the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago put Trump in even worse legal peril, experts say.
Former President Donald Trump has offered a shifting array of defenses in response to the August 8 FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which uncovered a trove of secret documents.
Among them is the claim that he declassified all of the documents while in office under the president’s sweeping powers over national secrets.
But procedural documents unsealed Thursday by federal judge Bruce Reinhart, including the cover sheet of the warrant used in the search, revealed that this defense may not be as effective as Trump hoped, legal experts say.
One implication of the new information is that even if Trump is right about the documents being declassified, he still could have broken the law, Lawrence Tribe, a Harvard constitutional law scholar, tweeted….
[The cover sheet] showed that the FBI believes that Trump may be guilty of the willful retention of national defense information, concealment or removal of government records, and obstruction of federal investigation.
Bradley P. Moss, a national security attorney, told Insider that the new documents “clarify but ultimately do not change much” of what we previously knew.
A striking detail, he said, is that the FBI believes Trump has obstructed its probe.
“Clearly, the FBI currently believes Mr. Trump not only took properly marked classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, but he kept them and resisted turning them over when confronted by the government,” Moss said.
NBC News: Trump thinks the Mar-a-Lago search will help him in 2024. Some allies aren’t so sure.
The day after federal agents searched Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump told a group of conservative lawmakers that “being president was hell,” according to three people at the meeting.
But to some he sounded ready to have the job again.
“He was not to be deterred,” said Rep. Randy Weber of Texas, one of a dozen Republican House members who met with Trump on Aug. 9. He described Trump’s state of mind in the immediate aftermath of the search as “pretty miffed, but measured.”
Everything that’s occurred since that Bedminster, New Jersey, meeting — and since federal agents seized a trove of top secret and other highly classified documents from his resort — has put Trump exactly where he and his supporters want him to be, according to people close to him. He’s in a fight, squaring off with Washington institutions and a political establishment he says are out to get him, issues he brought up in the meeting with the lawmakers and in conversations with others.
Taken together, it’s reoriented Trump’s thinking about whether he should announce a presidential campaign before or after the midterm elections, according to those who have spoken with him over the past two weeks. They said Trump feels less pressure to announce early because viable challengers who might otherwise force his hand have faded into the background. But there are other reasons to wait.
Trump is now inclined to launch his candidacy after the November elections, in part to avoid blame should an early announcement undermine the GOP’s effort to win control of Congress, said one person close to him, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk more freely.A post-midterm announcement would suit Republican leaders who’ve been urging Trump to hold off so that he doesn’t overshadow the party’s candidates.Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign and administration official, described Trump’s attitude in recent days after speaking with him, as “business as usual.”
Business as usual for Trump: the possibility of multiple criminal charges and crappy lawyers who have no clue how to defend a criminal.
Judge orders release of Bill Barr’s memo protecting Trump
The Washington Post: Court orders release of DOJ memo on Trump obstruction in Mueller probe.
A federal appeals court has ordered the release of a secret Justice Department memo discussing whether President Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The unanimous panel decision issued Friday echoes that of a lower court judge, Amy Berman Jackson, who last year accused the Justice Department of dishonesty in its justifications for keeping the memo hidden.
The panel of three judges, led by Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, said that whether or not there was “bad faith,” the government “created a misimpression” and could not stop release under the Freedom of Information Act.
The memo was written by two senior Justice Department officials for then-attorney general William P. Barr, who subsequently told Congress that there was not enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s inquiry. A redacted version was released last year but left under seal the legal and factual analysis.
Department officials argued that the document was protected because it involved internal deliberations over a prosecutorial decision. But the judges agreed with Jackson that both Mueller and Barr had clearly already concluded that a sitting president could not be charged with a crime. The discussion was over how Barr would publicly characterize the obstruction evidence Mueller had assembled, the Justice Department conceded on appeal.
A bit more from Politico: Appeals court backs ruling to release DOJ memo on Trump prosecution.
A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Justice Department must make public an internal memo senior lawyers there prepared in 2019 about whether then-President Donald Trump’s actions investigated in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia amounted to crimes prosecutors would ordinarily charge.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Justice Department failed to meet its legal burden to show that the memo from the department’s Office of Legal Counsel was part of a genuine deliberative process advising then-Attorney General William Barr on how to handle sensitive issues left unresolved when Mueller’s probe concluded in March 2019.
Trump was never charged in Mueller’s probe and the special prosecutor’s final report declined to opine on whether what he did in response to the investigation amounted to a crime.
However, some Trump opponents have called on the Attorney General Merrick Garland to reconsider the issue now that Trump is no longer president. Release of the long-sought DOJ memo could fuel those calls and draw more unwanted attention to Trump’s potential criminal liability at a time when he is besieged by a slew of other legal woes relating to his handling of classified government records, his role in inspiring many of those involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his broader efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.
Abortion in Michigan
Detroit Free Press: Michigan judge issues indefinite ban on criminalizing abortions in key Michigan counties.
A Michigan judge ruled Friday prosecutors in the state’s largest counties are barred from bringing criminal charges for months to come under a state law banning most abortions.
The decision from Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jacob Cunningham comes after two days of hearings and means every county in Michigan with an abortion clinic is at least temporarily immune from the threat of criminal prosecutions over abortion procedures.
“As currently applied, the court finds (the abortion law) is chilling and dangerous to our state’s population of childbearing people and the medical professionals who care for them,” Cunningham said.
“The harm to the body of women and people capable of pregnancy in not issuing the injunction could not be more real, clear, present and dangerous to the court.”
At times, Cunningham seemed to ridicule arguments from conservative prosecutors seeking to enforce the 1931 abortion law. He said prosecutors would suffer zero harm from not having the ability to prosecute abortion providers.
Going much further, he told these prosecutors to instead focus their efforts elsewhere.
“The court suggests county prosecutors focus their attention and resources … to investigation and prosecution of criminal sexual conduct, homicide, arson, child and elder abuse, animal cruelty and other violent and horrific crimes that we see in our society,” Cunningham said.
Is the Constitution broken?
Ryan D. Doerfler and Samuel Moyn, law professors from Harvard and Yale respectively, published this guest essay at The New York Times: The Constitution Is Broken and Should Not Be Reclaimed. You’ll need to go to the NYT link if you’re interested, because it’s very long. The main idea is that the Constitution is dated and favors conservatives; liberals need to change their thinking about “constitutionalism.”
When liberals lose in the Supreme Court — as they increasingly have over the past half-century — they usually say that the justices got the Constitution wrong. But struggling over the Constitution has proved a dead end. The real need is not to reclaim the Constitution, as many would have it, but instead to reclaim America from constitutionalism.
The idea of constitutionalism is that there needs to be some higher law that is more difficult to change than the rest of the legal order. Having a constitution is about setting more sacrosanct rules than the ones the legislature can pass day to day. Our Constitution’s guarantee of two senators to each state is an example. And ever since the American founders were forced to add a Bill of Rights to get their handiwork passed, national constitutions have been associated with some set of basic freedoms and values that transient majorities might otherwise trample.
But constitutions — especially the broken one we have now — inevitably orient us to the past and misdirect the present into a dispute over what people agreed on once upon a time, not on what the present and future demand for and from those who live now. This aids the right, which insists on sticking with what it claims to be the original meaning of the past.
Arming for war over the Constitution concedes in advance that the left must translate its politics into something consistent with the past. But liberals have been attempting to reclaim the Constitution for 50 years — with agonizingly little to show for it. It’s time for them to radically alter the basic rules of the game.
In making calls to regain ownership of our founding charter, progressives have disagreed about strategy and tactics more than about this crucial goal. Proposals to increase the number of justices, strip the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to invalidate federal law or otherwise soften the blow of judicial review frequently come together with the assurance that the problem is not the Constitution; only the Supreme Court’s hijacking of it is. And even when progressives concede that the Constitution is at the root of our situation, typically the call is for some new constitutionalism.
If that whets your appetite for me, click the link and read the rest.
Those are today’s main political stories as I see it. Maybe we’ll have some time to take a breath before more shocking news breaks. I can use a quite weekend and I wish you the same.
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Posted: March 24, 2019 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: just because | Tags: Mueller investigation |
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
It’s Persian New Year! Yesterday was National Puppy Day! I’ve been looking at all kinds of things to find some distractions but I still fell empty and wanting from my nearly 2 year relationship with Robert Mueller. I can’t help asking what does this break up mean? Is it really over? Where do we go from here?
I appear not to be alone in my search for clues and answers. So, here it is … the morning list of reads of what’s next or entering the next phase of throwing the entire Trump/Kushner family syndicate in jail and out of the White House.
!Oh, and this:
Plus, mmm this:
Continuing on ..
and, for your consideration …
Well, go read and get back to me …
JJ should be back this week. And, this is an open thread, no, really it is …
Meanwhile, here are some puppies to celebrate National Puppy Day a day late!!!
And read all about Nowruz (Persian New Year) here.
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Posted: March 15, 2019 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Donald Trump is a WHITE SUPREMACIST, Mosque shootings Christchurch, Mueller investigation, New Zealand, Robert Gates |
It’s Mueller Friday Sky Dancers!
And it’s the Ides of March! Who needs to beware today?
Let’s start with this from Reuters: “Mueller, in U.S. court filing, says multiple probes continue” and asks for a sentencing delay for Rick Gates. I imagine he’s cooperating on the Trump inauguration scam but it’s just a guess on my part.
The U.S. Special Counsel’s Office on Friday asked a court to delay sentencing for U.S. President Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, Rick Gates, amid “ongoing investigations” stemming from the Russia investigation.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller cited Gates’ continued cooperation with multiple probes and asked permission to update the judge on the case again by May 14.
“Gates continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations, and accordingly the parties do not believe it is appropriate to commence the sentencing process at this time,” Mueller’s team said in the court filing.
Gates is probably the one person who is still in the best position to spill a lot of beans in a lot of areas. He was active during and past the campaign and transition. This is from the AP via ABC News.
Gates is a central figure in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. But he is also helping federal authorities in New York who are looking into Trump’s inaugural committee as well as lobbying on behalf of foreign interests by prominent Washington insiders.
The joint filing by Mueller’s office and Gates’ attorneys comes amid signs the Russia investigation is winding down. But it’s unclear if Friday’s delay is an indication that Mueller may submit his confidential report soon or if it’s related to the status of the other investigations.
The filing asked for another 60 days to update U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on whether Gates can proceed to sentencing. The judge granted the request later Friday.
Gates pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and false statement charges related to Ukrainian lobbying and political consulting he carried out with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
Gates helped the government in obtaining a trial conviction of Manafort last year. Prosecutors have noted that he continues to provide information about Manafort’s time on the Trump campaign, though neither man has been charged with any crimes related to Russian election interference.
Still, Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, who led the Manafort case, told a federal judge earlier this year that a meeting Gates attended with Manafort in August 2016 went to the “heart” of the Russia investigation. The meeting at the Grand Havana Room cigar club in New York was with Konstantin Kilimnik, a longtime Manafort associate who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.
Prosecutors have not revealed exactly what piqued their interest in the meeting, though court papers show it involved a discussion of a possible Russia-Ukraine peace plan.
Separately, federal prosecutors in New York are investigating the Presidential Inaugural Committee, where Gates served in a senior role. Investigators are looking into whether foreigners illegally contributed to the committee, which raised $107 million for Trump’s inaugural events, and how that money was spent.
The same office is also investigating lobbying for Ukraine in which Gates was involved.
Another mass murder by white nationalist terrorists shocks the world.
Yesterday, New Zealand became a site of right wing white nationalist terror. There were mass shootings at Muslim Mosques that have taken many lives. A video from the attacks has been streaming on the internet and is said to be from an attacker.
Facebook, where a man claiming to be the attacker livestreamed footage of the shootings, removed the original video about an hour later, but by that time copies of the footage had started to circulate across other social media sites.
Facebook’s community standards explicitly ban “individuals engaged in mass murder” from having a presence on its network, and the company has deleted the account associated with the suspect. But eight hours after the attack videos were still live, obscured behind a warning that they may “show violent or graphic content” but not deleted.
Traditional news outlets have taken starkly different positions. MailOnline’s version of the story features an autoplaying clip of 18 seconds of the suspect’s livestream, showing him leaving his car, weapon in hand, cutting it as he enters the front door of Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue. There was a version of the clip autoplaying on its homepage.
The Sun took a similar approach. A spokesman for the paper told the Guardian: “We recognise that in the aftermath of horrific events such as these there will be sensitivities around reporting, and we take those responsibilities seriously.
“We have thought long and hard about how much of the easily available material currently on social media we should host on our site in order to shed light on this barbarous attack and the twisted ‘motive’ behind it. We have not published any video which depicts any act of actual violence, nor have we published or linked to the hate-filled manifesto.”
On the Mirror’s website, a longer clip of the same video led the story, showing the same footage of the attacker entering the mosque, cutting over the footage of the attack, and resuming the clip as the gunman walks back out of the building towards his car. That video was removed following inquiries from the Guardian, and the paper’s editor later apologised, saying “It is not in line with our policy relating to terrorist propaganda videos.”
A Fox News Analyst has found bottom on what not to say about an attack of this magnitude. No thoughts and prayers from the Fox propaganda lair. This is from the Daily Beast.
Fox News analyst Walid Phares called Friday’s white nationalist terrorist attackin Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 49 people and injured 40 others, “very understandable” on a “political level.” Phares said that New Zealand has now joined countries fighting terrorism “on all sides” adding, it’s very understandable what (the shooter) was trying to do on a political level, obviously it’s horrific and should be condemned completely on the action level.” Earlier in the segment, Phares called the horrific attack “pure evil, more than that it’s successful pure evil.” “Unfortunately New Zealand now has joined the community of probably 100 countries that are fighting terrorism from any side and all sides, mosques, churches have been attacked by extremists on all sides.” Phares is an author and right-wing political pundit. He worked for the Republican presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2012, and President Donald Trump in 2016.
The primary attacker has left a manifesto which can be found on The Daily Mail. The DM also shared the first person footage of the attack.
The Daily Mail’s website uploaded the Christchurch mosque attacker’s 74-page “manifesto”, allowing readers to download the entire document just hours after the massacre on Friday which left at least 49 people dead.
The Mail was one of several British news outlets which defied requests from New Zealand police on Friday not to spread the terrorist’s first-person footage, which had been repeatedly shared across social media platforms in the wake of the attack.
The latest news is that there are 49 confirmed dead. Four suspects have been arrested to include one woman.
• 49 confirmed dead in ‘terrorist’ shootings at two Christchurch mosques
• Seven died at Linwood, 41 at mosque near Hagley Park
• Four people initially arrested, including one woman
• Man, 28 due in court tomorrow charged with murder
• One of the gunmen livestreamed shooting at Al Noor Mosque in chilling 17-min video
Forty-nine people have been killed and 48 more hurt after mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques in the worst terror attack on New Zealand soil.
Nour Tavis said he was in the front row of the Al Noor Mosque in Deans Ave with his friend when the shooting started. At first they did not know what the noise was.
“Then we heard screaming … everyone panicked,” he said. “There was shooting and shooting and shooting … people were running and all of a sudden you saw them fall.”
Tavis saw someone smash a window and jump out. “It was the only way to escape,” he said. “I followed.”
As he and others ran for cover the shooting carried on inside the mosque.
The questions now start about where these folks are getting their inspirations. Here’s some speculation from WAPO’s James McAuley. The sources is the main suspect’s manifesto.
Before embarking on a deadly shooting rampage Friday targeting Muslim worshipers in Christchurch, New Zealand, the suspected gunman — a 28-year-old, self-styled “regular white man from a regular family” — posted a 74-page manifesto on Twitter.
The sprawling, angry text sheds some light on the motivation behind an attack that killed 49 Muslims during Friday prayers and wounded dozens of others. Among other things, that suspect — who Christchurch police say posted the manifesto and whom they have since charged with murder — wrote that a trip to France in 2017 convinced him that the country was under “invasion” by “nonwhites.”
“The final push was witnessing the state of French cities and towns. For many years I had been hearing and reading of the invasion of France by nonwhites, many of these rumors and stories I believed to be exaggerations, created to push a political narrative,” the suspect wrote.
“But once I arrived in France, I found the stories not only to be true, but profoundly understated,” he continued. A significant detail is that the suspect titled his manifesto “The Great Replacement,” a clear reference to the title of a 2012 book by right-wing French polemicist Renaud Camus.
In that book, Camus expounds on the “theory” that Europe’s white majority is being replaced by nonwhite North African and sub-Saharan African immigrants, many of whom are Muslim.
The “great replacement” has been a battle cry of the French far right, even after immigration arrivals into Europe fell significantly after their peak in 2015. In the words of Marion Maréchal, granddaughter of convicted Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen and a darling of the American far right, the idea perfectly corresponds to reality.
Unsurprisingly, the shooter also finds inspiration in the current occupant of the US White House. I am fully ashamed of this. This is from Salon and the keyboard of Chauncey DeVega.
Words are weapons. Those weapons can be lethal.
The president of the United States gives both permission and encouragement for public’s behavior, values and norms. This is true both in the United States and around the world. He or she is that powerful.
Earlier on Friday, a 28-year-old white man who appears to have described himself as “an actual fascist” entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, armed with assault rifles and killed at least 49 people, injuring many 20 others. New Zealand authorities also report that the attacker had placed two explosive devices on his vehicle, which apparently did not detonate.
In an especially gruesome contemporary twist, the gunman apparently streamed parts of the terror attack live on Facebook. Although that feed and other accounts apparently associated with the shooter have been taken down, the New York Times reports that both the 17-minute video and a manifesto apparently posted by the shooter have been widely disseminated on social media.
Three men and one woman have been taken into custody by New Zealand law enforcement, who have since said that one of those people is likely not involved. At this writing, reports suggest that the 28-year-old man, who by his own account was born and raised in Australia, may have been the sole shooter.
hat man appears to have posted his hate-filled manifesto online before the attack. In it, he rages against “Islamic invaders” who are “occupying European soil,” and specifically writes that he used guns to commit this massacre in order to call attention to debate about the Second Amendment in the United States. The alleged mass murderer also wrote that he had donated money to American white supremacist organizations, and quoted the “14 words” pledge often used by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
According to various reports, the alleged terrorist specifically cited President Trump as an inspiration. His online manifesto praises Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Friday’s massacre appears to be another example of what is known as “stochastic terrorism” or “scripted violence.” It is also another case study in how right-wing terrorists, with no official group affiliation, can be radicalized online
Stephen A. Crockett Jr.–writing for The Root– leaves us with this lede. “New Zealand Mosques Shooting Suspect Called Trump a ‘Symbol of White Supremacy’ and Claimed He Was Just a ‘Regular White Man’ Ensuring a ‘Future for My People’ “
The suspected gunman who killed dozens of worshippers inside two New Zealand mosques is an Australian man who reportedly posted a 74-page manifesto that called Donald Trump as a “symbol of white supremacy” before the shooting .
According to Yahoo News, the alleged killer who live-streamed the attack identified himself as Brenton Tarrant. He claimed that he was motivated by “far-right extremism he saw in the United States to carry out the attack at Al Noor Mosque.”
The shooting left 49 people dead inside two mosques. Some 41 people were killed inside Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch while several more were killed inside Linwood Masjid Mosque.
The suspect was captured and has been charged with murder. Three other people are also being held in custody, Yahoo News reports.
Someone using the username ‘Brenton Tarrant 9’ posted footage of the attack that “shows the gunman firing 205 times on men, woman and children and stopping only to reload his weapons.”
The last few years have put the worst of our country on display. It is out there inspiring the worst of humanity. Not a day goes by that I do not wonder what type of hell realm beings find inspiration in this atrocious lump of air brushed flesh. Well, we see at least one of them today. It’s at this point where you know that thoughts and prayers can never be enough.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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Posted: February 22, 2019 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Collusion, Mueller investigation, Paul Manafort, Trump Foreign Policy |
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
We’re having another one of those mega news drop days so this thread will be a bit disjointed. However,chaos whispering is the rule of day for media. It doesn’t seem to be rule of the day with the various Trump corruption, collusion, and constitution-breaking investigations plodding ever forward. Paul Manafort chose poorly in the Grail search. Even if does get to sip from the chalice of Pardons by Trump the Pretender, he’ll get the cold, dank dungeon from the State of New York.
“New York Has Prepared Paul Manafort Charges If Trump Pardons Him” is posted by Bloomberg Politics and written by Greg Farelle.
New York state prosecutors have put together a criminal case against Paul Manafort that they could file quickly if the former chairman of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign receives a presidential pardon.
New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is ready to file an array of tax and other charges against Manafort, according to two people familiar with the matter, something seen as an insurance policy should the president exercise his power to free the former aide. Skirting laws that protect defendants from being charged twice for the same offense has been one of Vance’s challenges.
Manafort was convicted of eight felonies, pleaded guilty to two more and is scheduled to be sentenced next month for those federal crimes. Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have recommended as long as 24 years, a virtual life sentence, for the 69-year-old political consultant.
The president, who has bemoaned Manafort’s treatment at the hands of Mueller, said in November that he has not ruled out a pardon. He has frequently talked of his broad pardon power, possibly extending even to himself, and acted to liberate two political allies previously.
Divvying out transgressions was an obvious strategy by those conducting the central DOJ investigations. There was an overriding concern that it was just a matter of time before a Trump administration lackey would try to shut the entire operation down. We’ve learned a lot about that since the release of Andrew McCabe’s book. Phillip Bump argues–for the Washington Post–that the Manfort report has been slowing writing itself in a series of indictments and page turns along the way. Be sure to check out his graphic on the “product’ of the Mueller probe which consists of the stack of already filed indictments and guilty pleas. It’s actually from Marcy Wheeler who has been doing a great investigative job herself.
President Trump has benefited enormously from the frog-in-hot-water nature of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into his campaign and possible overlap with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Imagine if, instead of Mueller releasing new public indictments as he went along, leveraging criminal charges to obtain more information from the targets of his probe, he instead had kept his information private. Imagine if he and his lawyers had been working in quiet for 20 months, submitting expenses to the Department of Justice and suffering the president’s tweeted ferocity.
And then, after all of that, they suddenly produced a dozen indictments and plea deals running into hundreds of pages, detailing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s illegal and questionable financial dealings, those of his deputy Rick Gates, full details of Russia’s alleged efforts to influence social media and to steal electronic information from Democratic targets and detailed a half-dozen people who admitted to lying to federal investigators.
Imagine if that had landed with a thud on the attorney general’s desk.
Yeah, but I’m still waiting for Don Jr’s turn in the handcuffs and I shall have it! I will admit that watching Roger Stone get his comeuppance is mildly thrilling. There is some speculation that a final “tell all” will happen during the next court sessions for Manafort. He is due in March for the Virginia sentencing. This is from Katelyn Polentz reporting for CNN. The sentencing memo is due today to the DC District.
It is the last major requisite court filing in Mueller’s longest running case, a sprawling prosecution of the former Trump campaign manager that led investigators to gather exhaustive information about his hidden Cypriot bank accounts, Ukrainian political efforts in Europe and the US and into Manafort’s time on the 2016 presidential campaign.
Prosecutors are set to outline all facts they believe the judge should consider at his sentencing, now set for March 13. That will likely include Manafort’s criminal business schemes, his attempt to reach out to key contacts after his arrest and the lies he told to prosecutors and a grand jury after he agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation.
Often, in filings like these, prosecutors will pull together a complete retelling of the defendant’s crimes, convictions and cooperation. Details about Manafort’s cooperation have been especially guarded by prosecutors, since his interviews are a significant part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors will also likely suggest a range the judge could give him in prison time.
The memo Friday will cover the two charges Manafort pleaded guilty to in September, conspiracy against the US and conspiracy witness tampering, which he committed after he was arrested by trying to reach out to former colleagues.
At the time of his plea, he also admitted to a litany of money laundering and foreign lobbying crimes that encompassed his work for Ukrainian politicians and other clients over several years. Co-conspirators, Manafort said, were his long-time colleagues Rick Gates, who is still cooperating with Mueller, and Konstantin Kilimnik, whom prosecutors say is connected to Russian intelligence and who is at the heart of their inquiry.
The memo will also likely cover his and Kilimnik’s alleged contact with potential witnesses in his case after Manafort’s October 2017 arrest, and his lies about his interactions with Kilimnik in 2016 and other topics.
Representative Adam Schiff–chair of the House Intel Committee–has written an “open” letter to Republicans. It’s been published by WAPO.
This is a moment of great peril for our democracy. Our country is deeply divided. Our national discourse has become coarse, indeed, poisonous. Disunity and dysfunction have paralyzed Congress.
And while our attention is focused inward, the world spins on, new authoritarian regimes are born, old rivals spread their pernicious ideologies, and the space for freedom-loving peoples begins to contract violently. At last week’s Munich Security Conference, the prevailing sentiment among our closest allies is that the United States can no longer be counted on to champion liberal democracy or defend the world order we built.
For the past two years, we have examined Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and its attempts to influence the 2018 midterms. Moscow’s effort to undermine our democracy was spectacularly successful in inflaming racial, ethnic and other divides in our society and turning American against American.
But the attack on our democracy had its limits. Russian President Vladimir Putin could not lead us to distrust our own intelligence agencies or the FBI. He could not cause us to view our own free press as an enemy of the people. He could not undermine the independence of the Justice Department or denigrate judges. Only we could do that to ourselves. Although many forces have contributed to the decline in public confidence in our institutions, one force stands out as an accelerant, like gas on a fire. And try as some of us might to avoid invoking the arsonist’s name, we must say it.
I speak, of course, of our president, Donald Trump.
Trump continues to have a devastating impact on our Country and all aspects of life and law. There is a lot of concern about what he will do in Vietnam while being tricked by the North Korean Dictator. Eliana Johnson of Politico writes this: “Trump aides worry he’ll get outfoxed in North Korea talks President Trump is excited to meet Kim Jong Un in Hanoi. Others fear he’ll give too much away.”
The push for a second summit came almost entirely from the president himself, according to current and former White House officials — but Trump remains undeterred. He has gushed about the “wonderful letters” he has received from Kim, as well as the “good rapport” he has developed with the North Korean leader and the enormous media coverage the event in Vietnam’s capital is likely to attract. Trump even bragged, in a phone call Tuesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, that he is the only person who can make progress on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, according to a person briefed on the conversation, and complained about negative news coverage he has received.
Inside the administration, concern about the upcoming summit has come from predictable skeptics, including national security adviser John Bolton, a longtime opponent of diplomacy with North Korea, but also from unexpected corners. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the man charged with leading the negotiations, has expressed frustration to allies about the lack of diplomatic progress and voiced concern that his boss will get outmaneuvered, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversations. Other top officials, such as former Defense Secretary James Mattis, simply worked to keep as much distance from the negotiations as possible.
“There is not optimism in the administration,” said Ian Bremmer, founder and president of the Eurasia Group. “Pompeo is deeply skeptical that we are going to get anything of substance on denuclearization from Kim Jong Un, and Pompeo believes the North Koreans are just playing for time.”
Jared’s busy heading off to the middle east to push through more bad policy but gee, his fortunes have suddenly taken off.
Kushner Cos., the family real-estate company of President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, said it has acquired a portfolio of rental apartments for $1.1 billion in the firm’s largest transaction in more than a decade.
The purchase comes less than a year after the company unloaded a Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue to Brookfield Asset Management Inc. in a deal that valued the property at about $1.25 billion.
The earlier transaction, in which Brookfield leased the office building for 99 years, relieved Kushner Cos. of $1.1 billion in debt due this year. That liability had been hanging over the firm and had raised questions about whether Kushner Cos. had the means to transact any large deals.
The acquisition of more than 6,000 rental apartments in Maryland and Virginia from the private-equity firm Lone Star Funds is the clearest sign yet that Kushner Cos. is re-emerging after that period of uncertainty.
The firm, headed by Jared Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, has faced increased scrutiny over potential conflicts of interest since Mr. Trump took office and Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, began working in the White House.
So that’s happening here, while this is going on in the MENA region. This is from the UK Independent. “Trump administration ‘pushing Saudi nuclear deal’ which could benefit company linked to Jared Kushner. Congressional report cites ‘abnormal acts’ in White House regarding proposal to build reactors in kingdom.”
Senior Trump administration officials pushed a project to share nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia over the objections of ethics officials, according to a congressional report, in a move that could have benefitted a company which has since provided financial relief to the family of Jared Kushner.
Citing whistleblowers within the US government, the report by the Democrat-led House oversight and reform committee alleges “abnormal acts” in the White House regarding the proposal to build dozens of nuclear reactors across the kingdom.
The committee on Tuesday opened an investigation into the allegations, which include concerns over whether White House officials in the early months of the Trump administration sought to work around national security procedures to push a Saudi deal that could have financially benefited close supporters of the US president.
According to the report, the nuclear effort was pushed by former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired in early 2017 and is awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation.
Derek Harvey, a National Security Council official brought in by Flynn, continued work on the proposal, which has remained under consideration by the Trump administration.
Susan Glasser–writing for the New Yorker– analyzes Trump’s Foreign Policy and its correlation with flattering Trump the Pretender. “Audience of One: Why Flattery Works in Trump’s Foreign Policy” is the lede.
Slavishly praising Trump in public, of course, is a signature tactic of his advisers and others who seek his favor. This week, though, Presidential flattery as a tool of foreign policy seemed particularly prominent. In Japan, a mini political uproar broke out when a newspaper reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had secretly nominated Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, at Trump’s request. (Abe, who eagerly flew to New York for a Trump Tower session only days after the 2016 election, did not deny the reports.) Among Trump’s men in Munich, the performance of Vice-President Mike Pence, who has always been an especially avid practitioner of public boss-praising, stood out. He admiringly mentioned President Trump at least thirty times in his Saturday address to the conference (far more attention, tweeters quickly pointed out, than the vice-chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, who spoke later, gave to his boss). In a separate appearance meant to honor McCain, Pence paused for applause after he uttered his usual boilerplate line, “I bring greetings from the President of the United States.” Even in a room that included a couple dozen Republican members of Congress, Graham among them, no one clapped. Not surprisingly, the video of the moment, which the Pence and Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio described to me as “self-emasculating,” went viral on Twitter, a perfect metaphor at an annual forum that has, for decades, both celebrated and ratified America’s leadership in the West.
This wasn’t just a matter of a speech that flopped, though. This latest dance of the Republicans overseas was a reminder of why the bipartisan effort to convince the rest of the world that America’s commitments are unchanged, even under its America-First President, just doesn’t work. The U.S. may be the world’s leading power, but its foreign policy has become contorted, and essentially overtaken, by the toxic court politics of Trump. There’s a reason, after all, for all that over-the-top flattery, and it’s not just that Graham and Pence are particularly brazen in their use of this political art. Telling the truth in public can have real consequences in Trumpworld, and those who surround him are under no illusions about it. Just this week, reports continued to emanate from the White House that Trump was considering firing the director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, whose sin was to have testified truthfully about the contradictions between Trump’s foreign-policy assumptions and the conclusions of Trump’s own intelligence agencies.
Contrast his standing with that of Lindsey Graham, whose public obsequiousness once again appears to have paid off. By this Thursday evening, Graham’s office was sending out a delighted press release, headlined “Graham Applauds Trump Decision to Leave Troops in Syria,” as wire services reported that the President had apparently conceded to lobbying by Graham and others, deciding to leave around two hundred troops in Syria after the April pullout. At least for now. But there was no ambiguity in Graham’s praise for the modest move. “Well done Mr. President,” his statement concluded.
But of course there’s an element of fatal self-absorption to it all. In Washington, it’s as if the city is permanently turned inward on the escalating distractions of the Trump Presidency, the investigations that threaten him, and the Democratic political contest to defeat him. Meanwhile, the rest of the world wonders what to make of a President who chides his closest allies and speaks warmly of its foes. There are real consequences to this; new survey data from the Pew Research Center found that Europeans are now more likely to trust Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader Xi Jinping than Trump in world affairs, and by a significant margin.
Well, that’s enough torture for every one today. Meanwhile, let’s wait for that sentencing memo and see what it brings!
I’d like to shout out some love to JJ whose Mom had to enter the hospital with a severe drug interaction and is hopefully doing better. We love you JJ!!!!
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Posted: December 28, 2018 | Author: dakinikat | Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: emoluments case, Mueller investigation, Scrooged, Trump Government Shutdown |
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
There’s nothing more despicable in a pol than scoring political points by wrecking the lives of public servants. The Federal Budget discussion by KKKremlin Caligula has increasingly become shows of strength based on wrecking lives. Nothing could be more true than today’s sociopathic display by Cadet Bonespurs on the government shutdown despite agreement within Congress to avoid that outcome. Trump owns this.
Today’s headlines show the abject callousness of the Sociopath-in-Chief. Via Truthout: “Trump Administration Suggests Unpaid Federal Workers Do Odd Jobs to Cover Rent.” Scoring political points from your ever shrinking base by creating stress in peoples’ lives is perhaps the most callous action by a President that only bows to pressure by despots and prefers all others just carry on. The most outrageous things recently have been his inferences that it’s workers that are democrats that have been furloughed and so, who cares? And, that most federal workers support the wall.
With the partial government shutdown expected to extend into January with no funding agreement in sight, the Trump administration suggested on Thursday that the hundreds of thousands of unpaid federal workers who have been furloughed could do odd jobs and chores for their landlords to help cover rent.
In a tweet on Thursday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)—led by Margaret Weichert, whom President Donald Trump picked to head the agency in October—offered a Word document featuring sample letters purportedly aimed at helping unpaid federal workers negotiate with landlords, mortgage companies, and creditors amid the government shutdown, which was caused by Trump’s demand for $5 billion in border wall funding.
“I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” reads the sample letter to a landlord.
Thursday that there has been no progress toward reopening the government—meaning the shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of workers without pay will continue into the new year.
“There are countless stories of families’ holidays being upended by Trump’s obstinance causing the shutdown, as so many of them live paycheck-to-paycheck. Then OPM comes through with this tone-deaf tweet telling them to check with their ‘personal attorney,’” progressive activist Jordan Uhl noted, highlighting the federal workers’ personal accounts of how they have been harmed by the lapse in government funding.
“It’s shameful,” journalist Celeste Pewter wrote of the fact that workers are being forced to “appeal to the goodwill of creditors, landlords, and mortgage companies” to get by.
Illustration by Max Burbank at The Villager
Yes, Ebeneezer Trump did not get a visitation from any spirits except those from his rumored Adderall abuse. What is the Democratic Party Strategy? This is analysis at Politico by Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan.
House Democrats — increasingly convinced they’re winning the shutdown fight with President Donald Trump — are plotting ways to reopen the government while denying the president even a penny more for his border wall when they take power Jan. 3.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants are considering several options that would refuse Trump the $5 billion he’s demanded for the wall and send hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees back to work, according to senior Democratic sources.
While the strategy is fluid, House Democrats hope to pass a funding bill shortly after members are sworn in. They believe that would put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to follow suit. And they’re confident that their political leverage will only increase the longer the shutdown lasts — a notion that some GOP leaders privately agree with.
Indeed, the specter of a lengthy shutdown could hurt Trump’s already damaged image more than it would Democrats — especially because he claimed ownership of the crisis two weeks ago. Democrats believe the shutdown battle — combined with the volatility in financial markets and special counsel Robert Mueller closing in on Trump — exacerbates the appearance of a cornered president acting out of his own political self-interest instead of the needs of the American public
I kinda got a kick out of this analysis from The Villager. This is from the pen of Max Burbank.
At this festive time of year, I find myself wondering just how certain major power players square their moral values with the widely accepted standards embodied in the Christmas classics.
Does Mitch McConnell figure Mr. Potter’s big mistake in “It’s a Wonderful Life” was not running for Senate and using raw legislative power to crush George Bailey under his boot like a Socialist roach?
Does Paul Ryan role-play King Moonracer from the Rankin/Bass version of “Rudolph,” establishing an Ayn Randian objectivist paradise on the Island of Misfit Toys, furtively pleasuring himself while imagining stripping Charlie in-the-Box and Spotted Elephant of Obamacare?
When the specter of Richard Nixon is standing right behind Trump, doing his best Marley’s Ghost imitation by rattling the chains he forged in life and moaning about how all mankind should have been his business, Trump is all, like, “Where the hell is my Diet Coke? I hadda push the button twice!”
“No, NO!” Nixon wails. “I’m Marley. You’re Scrooge! Metaphorically! Don’t you get it?”
“Not me,” says Trump. “Scrooge might have been rich, but he didn’t live rich. I got my own courses to play golf on every weekend. I get two, maybe three scoops of ice cream on the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen in a restaurant with my name in big letters on the door! I don’t need a change of heart.”
It has got be downright hard to be a Republican at Christmas. It must require a mental à la carte menu featuring choice helpings of cognitive dissonance, mental compartmentalization, deep-seated selfishness, evil, and side dish of good old American “I don’t give a crap.”
So, since he’s already basically shut down the Federal Government, he’s moving on to shutting down the Southern Border. Notice, he doesn’t seem to have a problem with those huge number of Visa-overstaying Canadians. But, he does have a problem with the Brown people seeking asylum to the south despite the huge numbers of Americans that don’t feel the border wall is a priority.
Is shutting down a 1,954 mile border even possible? If so, will we start seeing boat lifts into the Gulf South ala the old Cuban days?
This is from The Hill. And, wouldn’t that just blow up his NAFTA thingie? And just what we need, a good boat lift into Brownsville, Texas!
President Trump on Friday threatened to “close the Southern Border entirely” if Democrats do not agree to provide money to “finish” building a wall on the Mexican border.
Trump made the threat as a partial government shutdown enters its seventh day with no end in sight.
The shutdown began on Saturday after Democrats rejected demands from Trump that $5 billion be included for the wall in a measure to keep the government open.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” the president tweeted.
He also criticized past presidents and Congresses over the nation’s current immigration laws.
“Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!”
Reuters reports in its poll that more Americans blame Trump than the Dems for the current shutdown. That usually doesn’t play well in any political cycle.
More Americans blame President Donald Trump than congressional Democrats for the partial U.S. government shutdown, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, as the closure stretched into its sixth day with no end in sight.
Forty-seven percent of adults hold Trump responsible, while 33 percent blame Democrats in Congress, according to the Dec. 21-25 poll, conducted mostly after the shutdown began. Seven percent of Americans blamed congressional Republicans.
The shutdown was triggered by Trump’s demand, largely opposed by Democrats and some lawmakers from his own Republican Party, that taxpayers provide him with $5 billion to help pay for a wall that he wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border. Its total estimated cost is $23 billion.
Again, we ask in vain, “Wasn’t Mexico supposed to pay for this thing Trumplets?”. And, they want us to pay for it given the tax break that just went to the Richies and the Corps? We’re not doing a great job of living pay check to pay check here in the land of the indebted as it is. We all don’t have rich, slum lord dads and Russian oligarchs to bail us out. This is from Danielle Paquette at WAPO>
What do professors, real estate agents, farmers, business executives, computer programmers and store clerks have in common?
They’re not immune to the harsh reality of living paycheck to paycheck, according to dozens of people who responded to a Washington Post inquiry on Twitter.
They’re millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. They work in big cities and rural towns. They’ve tried to save — but rent, child care, student loans and medical bills get in the way.
National data on the paycheck-to-paycheck experience is flimsy, but a recent report from the Federal Reserve spotlights the prevalence of extra-tight budgets: Four in 10 adults say they couldn’t produce $400 in an emergency without sliding into debt or selling something, according to the 2017 figures.
The partial government shutdown, which began last Friday and is temporarily halting pay for some 800,000 federal workers, has touched off a heated discussion on Twitter about what it means to get by in the United States. (President Trump warned this closure could “last a very long time” if Congress doesn’t meet his demands for billions of dollars for a border wall.)
Even brief income lapses can spell disaster for some households.
“My husband is a Park Ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and he had to sign his furlough papers,” one woman tweeted. ”We have a 4 yr. old and a 4-month-old, and we don’t know when his next check will come. Mortgage is due, Christmas 2 days away.”
“Broke my lease to accept new fed job for which I have to attend 7 months of training in another state,” another Twitter user said. (He later deleted the tweet). “Training canceled with shutdown. Homeless. Can’t afford short(?)-term housing/have to work full-time for no pay/returning Christmas presents.”
But never fear! There’s always taxpayer money for the ‘right cause’. This is from The Rolling Stone: “Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve Party Despite Trump’s Shutdown. The president doesn’t seem to care about the 800,000 workers who won’t be receiving paychecks during the government shutdown.” Ho Ho Ho! Whose the ho?
Though Trump’s decision to shut down the government may keep him in Washington for the holidays, it won’t keep taxpayers from footing a heavy portion of the bill for Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party. As was noted by Quartz this week, government spending data shows that the Secret Service paid Grimes Events & Party Tents Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida, $54,020 on December 19th for “TENT RENTAL FOR MAL.” An employee of the company confirmed to Quartz that it is providing tents for the annual for-profit bash at Trump’s “Winter White House” in Palm Beach.
Americans chipping in to help Trump and the Palm Beach elite turn over their calendars isn’t unique to this year. The Secret Service spent just over $26,000 on an array of accessories for Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party in 2017, which was attended by both Trump and Melania. Though it’s never not going to be a conflict of interest when the president has taxpayers subsidize a for-profit party at his private club, $54,000 for tents feels especially egregious given that the government is currently running under a partial shutdown that has deprived approximately 800,000 federal workersof their paychecks.
Ever feel like we get scrooged every day? Which brings me to this.
From Dylan Scott at VOX: “Why the government shutdown is good legal news for Trump. The president’s lawyers cited the government shutdown to win a delay in the emoluments case against him.”
President Donald Trump is using the government shutdown to try to force Democrats to fund his Mexican border wall. But there is another, more personal benefit for the president that he probably won’t be mentioning anytime soon: An important appeal in the lawsuit over foreign payments to his Washington, DC, hotel and other businesses has been put on hold.
Trump is being sued by the District of Columbia and Maryland because they say he is violating the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which forbids federal officials from accepting emoluments, a term for gifts or payments for services or labor from foreign governments or US states.
The states have won several important procedural decisions, but federal attorneys have filed a number of appeals to slow them down, most notably seeking a freeze on any further discovery — like subpoenas the states might pursue to get information on foreign officials’ stays at the Trump International Hotel in DC.
Now the Justice Department lawyers representing Trump have secured a delay in the ongoing appeals. They cited — wait for it — the current government shutdown, now in its sixth day.
Grifters gotta grift. Am I right?
So, let’s look forward to the New Year’s and this news from CNN: ‘House Democrats scooping up staff, lawyers to power Trump investigations.”
The House Judiciary Committee is looking for a few good lawyers.
A recent committee job posting reviewed by CNN asked for legislative counsels with a variety of expertise: “criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, commercial and administrative law (including antitrust and bankruptcy), or oversight work.”
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee needs lawyers, too, posting jobs for “executive branch investigative counsel.”
The advertisements give a window into the Democratic recruiting that’s ramped up ahead of the party gaining subpoena power for the first time in eight years when it takes over the House in January.
While Democrats publicly talk up their interest in focusing on legislative priorities like health care and voting rights — not to mention ending the ongoing partial government shutdown — they are quietly preparing for what will likely be the largest congressional investigation of a sitting president in recent memory. Party leaders and committee chairs have spent months ironing out potential targets, from President Donald Trump’s taxes and business dealings to the conduct of current and former Cabinet members.
To handle all this investigative work, House Democrats are expected to double the number of their staffers. Though they can’t officially hire anyone until the new Congress is seated, plans are well underway, with House members saying that candidates — especially those with specific investigative skills, from money laundering to contracting — are coming from all directions.
I don’t know about Santa, but I do believe in Mueller and his lawyers. I also am pretty sure those wise men and women on the horizon are bearing gifts of Congressional subpoenas. Let’s all be merry about that!
So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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