It’s easy to be happy when we take the House with 40 seats. It’s easy to be happy when one of those MFers is arrested. Its harder to be happy when we are playing a slow game. It FEELS like things are moving too slowly. It feels like Trump is getting away with everything. It can even feel like we are losing.
We are not. We actually had a good week.
This marathon is far from over but the coming miles look better and better for us. There is always plenty of news about all the stuff we have to worry about. Let’s take a look instead at all the reasons to be hopeful!
I want to start by presenting a bunch of info from Rick Wilson who also thinks we had a great week (and he only weighed in on Wednesday!)
He makes the argument that although this slow moving train is frustrating for us, it is actually working quite well:
Democrats who want impeachment yesterday aren’t paying attention. Between McGahn, the ruling on taxes, and Cohen, the Resistance has had a banner week.
For my Democratic friends, I know how frustrating this seems to you. This week, forward progress on a number of fronts will help move the nation into the mental and political frame where impeachment could lead to the conviction of Trump, not just what he’ll view as a wrist-slap and a campaign motivation point for his base. You cannot shame the shameless. You cannot make a man who is without a single ethical standard change the behavior that allowed him to grift his way into office and to monetize the presidency.
Why is this such a good week for us and a terrible one for trump? Well:
Democrats chomping at the bit to hold Trump to account are having a good week already, whether they know it or not. It’s so good, they’d be fools not to keep doing the things that are starting to work—the exercise of congressional power, the use of the courts to uphold the law, and the momentum building in the public mind for an accounting of Trump’s full-spectrum lawbreaking, contempt, obstruction, and corruption.
The Pelosi-Nadler strategy is starting to shift that political battlefield, and the legal landscape is breaking in their favor. The judicial branch isn’t yet a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump, Inc. Yet. Trump’s own mistakes are helping move the investigation strategy forward and are beginning to ensure that when Congress does start getting testimony and documents from the White House and Department of Justice, Trump will have painted himself into a corner he can’t tweet his way out of.
Even without impeachment proceedings on deck yet, here’s why this week is shaping up well for the Resistance.
then he goes through three reasons why it is a great week
McGahn Flirts With #ETTD
McGahn was missing from Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearings, and Chairman Jerry Nadler dropped the hammer. Trump, master of the reality TV form, made a huge mistake here. All eyes will be on McGahn now, making his inevitable appearance a must-see television moment.
so the idea is that once we get McGahn up there (and it does seem like we will eventually — see below) people are going to be paying even more attention because of this.
The second reason is
The Mehta Decision
Another area where Trump is losing bigly this week is his desire to—as always—hide his tax returns and financial records from the American people and their representatives. This is a matter of black-letter law, with almost no serious legal scholars making even the most superficial defense of the current contempt with which Secretary Steve Mnuchin and the Treasury Department are behaving.
Judge Amit Mehta made it quite clear in his 14-page ruling that the rights of Congress to conduct oversight are not founded by the moods and whims of the man-child engaged in stompy-foot time in the Oval Office or in the novel legal theories of his legal team.
And Wilson wrote this BEFORE the decision came out to fast-track the appeal.
In related good news, a new tranche of Michael Cohen’s testimony to Congress has now been released. As I’ve said from the beginning, Cohen may be a lying liar who lies, an utterly shit-tier human being, a wannabe bad guy, and an all-around dick, but he still holds many of the keys to understanding Trump’s financial kingdom. Think of him as a douchebag Rosetta Stone to Trump’s personal, sexual, legal, and financial shenanigans.
The most compelling part of these new revelations is that Cohen states under oath that Jay Sekulow, Trump’s lead attorney, requested Cohen lie under oath to Congress on the details of Trump’s real estate deal in Moscow. That Sekulow wanted this from Cohen is a monstrous tell over Trump’s terror that the details of the Russia deal will emerge more completely.
so what does all this lead Wilson to conclude?
It’s a damn good week. Trump’s strategy is flawed, his decisions are leading him deeper into the political mire. The arc of this story is moving the right direction. Keep doing the things that work, Democrats. Impeachment is the end goal, not the first step, and you’re closing in.
Wilson isn’t the only one who thinks trump is getting played. Here is another article making that point:
In addressing the rogue President directly, or speaking about him in the third person, Pelosi usually adopts a tone that is more sorrowful than angry, while firmly reminding everyone—Trump included—that Congress is a coequal branch of government that won’t be run roughshod over. It is a measured strategy that worked during the lengthy standoff over Trump’s border-wall proposal. (The White House eventually capitulated.) And Pelosi has reasons to believe it is still working, despite the pressure she is facing.
At Wednesday morning’s meeting of the entire Democratic caucus, Pelosi reiterated the arguments against going straight to impeachment, and a number of her senior colleagues, including Elijah Cummings, the head of the Oversight Committee, backed her up. No vote was taken, but the meeting “reflected where most of this caucus is at,” Dean Phillips, a freshman congressman from Minnesota, told the Washington Post. “Have faith in the courts and have faith in process, and impeachment only if absolutely necessary.” That is Pelosi’s position, of course. And, judging by what happened at the White House on Wednesday, it has Trump rattled.
and one more — this about what an error he is making by not actually making any policy moves:
Central to President Trump’s political mystique is the impression that he possesses total mastery over his political opponents. He seeks to overwhelm Democrats with fearsome claims of “treason,” threats to unleash migrants into their districts, and maximal resistance to “all” oversight. Such things elicit great roars at his rallies.
“Trump’s inexperience and volatile behavior mean he’s gotten nothing done,” Democratic pollster John Anzalone told me. “And what little he has gotten done has been for the rich and corporations, so he has become a charlatan to the middle class.”
Deals on infrastructure and trade would go a long way toward helping Trump patch up both those weaknesses. No question, Democrats would also like to get such deals. But as it is, they don’t want to settle for either on Trump’s terms. And when it comes to the raw politics here, Trump probably needs them more than Democrats do.
Legal Trains Still Coming Right For Trump
did you hear about this one?
federal judge has partially blocked President Donald Trump’s plan to fund construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The preliminary injunction issued Friday immediately halts a $1 billion transfer of Pentagon counterdrug funding to cover expansions and enhancement of border barriers.
The court order also appears to jeopardize another $1.5 billion of the $8.1 billion the administration planned to use for border construction.
and here is some more great legal news:
The administration is betting that it can drag out the coming case beyond next year’s elections. That could prove a bad strategy.
President Donald Trump’s bet that it’ll take years to resolve a coming court fight over his tax returns could be wrong.
Federal courts are already ruling quickly against Trump in his other attempts to block Congress. The Supreme Court could also be a dead end if the case doesn’t present new legal issues or divide appellate courts. That means there’s a decent chance the White House could lose the fight and be forced to hand over Trump’s tax records before the election.
That is his whole bet — his only hope — that the courts will take so long that he will be able to get reelected before all the dirt comes out. What he didn’t count on is the courts fast tracking his BS
Federal courts 2, President Trump 0.
That’s the scoreboard this week in cases in which Trump has tried for specious, frivolous reasons to prevent the House from obtaining his financial records. On Monday, Judge Amit J. Mehta ruled that Trump could not block documents from the accounting firm Mazars USA. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in the Southern District of New York slapped down Trump’s attempt to block the House from obtaining records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One.
Ramos not only denied Trump’s motion for injunctive relief but also held, “The court concludes that the plaintiffs have not raised any serious questions.” That’s lawyer-speak for “Get out of my courtroom!” Ramos blasted the entire theory that Congress lacks investigative powers or that it’s up to Trump to decide whether a proper purpose is served by the subpoena. Reports from inside the courtroom quoted Ramos as saying, “Courts have long recognized a clear public interest in maximizing Congress’s power to investigate. … Propriety of legislative motives is not a question left to the courts.”
What is even more encouraging is that Ramos emphasized the urgency of the matter and the need to proceed expeditiously so that Congress could proceed with investigations.
Trump’s back-to-back defeats accomplish several things, in addition to providing (subject to appeal) Congress with its subpoenaed documents: They increase Democratic members’ confidence that House chairmen are making progress; they strengthen the hand of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in holding back calls for impeachment; and they rattle Trump and congressional Republicans, who should have figured out by now that they are fighting a losing battle to destroy Congress’s oversight authority.
“This shows that the system is working. Trump and his allies can make all the frivolous legal arguments they want for public relations and to stall,” observes former prosecutor Mimi Rocah. “But in courts – where facts and law still matter it doesn’t work and the facts will come out.”
The appeal on this one has been fast tracked too!:
President Donald Trump’s fight to stop the release of his financial records is on the fast track for a key court decision after a three-judge appellate panel agreed Thursday to hear oral arguments later this summer.
In a two-page order, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ judges scheduled oral arguments for July 12 in the case that pits the president’s attorneys against House Democrats, who issued a subpoena to the accounting firm Mazars USA for eight years of Trump’s financial records.
and it looks like THIS investigation is far from over:
Federal prosecutors in New York are scrutinizing tens of thousands of documents relating to Donald Trump’s inauguration in a sign that the investigation into the committee’s finances is advancing.The President’s Inaugural Committee handed over the cache of documents over the course of several weeks in response to a wide-ranging subpoena seeking documents, records, and communications concerning the inaugural’s finances, vendors, and donors sent in February by the US attorney’s office with the Southern District of New York. The last set of documents was produced within the last month, people familiar with the matter said.The end of the document production indicates the investigation is moving into the next stage. Authorities are investigating whether any of the record $107 million in donations for the inaugural was misspent, used to improperly benefit certain individuals, or came from foreign donors in violation of campaign finance laws that prohibit foreign money in US elections, people familiar with the inquiry said.
Oh, and in all the hubbub over Deutsche bank, no one noticed that other records have already been turned over to congress!!
A key congressional committee has already gained access to President Donald Trump’s dealings with two major financial institutions, two sources familiar with the House probe tell NBC News, as a court ruling Wednesday promised to open the door for even more records to be handed over.
Wells Fargo and TD Bank are the two of nine institutions that have so far complied with subpoenas issued by the House Financial Services Committee demanding information about their dealings with the Trump Organization, according to the sources. The disclosures by these two banks haven’t been previously reported. Both TD Bank and Wells Fargo declined to comment for this story.
and don’t forget that this news came out this week”
New from WaPo: Michael Cohen told a House panel during closed-door hearings that he'd been instructed by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow to falsely claim in a 2017 statement to Congress that negotiations to build Trump Tower Moscow ended in January 2016.https://t.co/MbyuppmTvu
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 20, 2019
again, his goal is not to win in court but to drag this out. His arguments for these cases are garbage:
On Monday, President Donald Trump launched a long-shot effort to prevent the public from hearing live testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn — the man who, perhaps more than any other, can bring to life Trump’s most flagrant alleged acts of obstruction of justice.This is the textbook definition of obstruction of justice, and McGahn’s testimony threatens to expose this to millions of Americans across the country who haven’t read the Mueller report.The White House previously invoked executive privilege in an effort to prevent McGahn from producing documents to Congress. Now the White House — perhaps recognizing that its executive privilege invocation would likely fail on the legal merits — has changed tack and instead made an even broader claim that Congress cannot ever compel testimony from a senior adviser to the President.This is nuts. The White House is relying on a brand new memo from the Office of Legal Counsel claiming that, as an absolute matter of separation of powers and executive branch autonomy, Congress cannot force the President’s senior advisers to testify.
and THIS case will have trump all over it:
A federal appeals court has refused to block a grand jury subpoena for testimony by Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller in an investigation launched by Mueller. Miller now has seven days to appeal the decision, testify, or face jail time, WaPo reports.https://t.co/8gIIHsjeM2
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 22, 2019
Democrats are Doing A Great Job
I know trashing the Dems is in vogue right now but I don’t play that losing game. The democrats are actually working their asses off and getting lots of results.
Take a looksie:
After returning from a weeklong Memorial Day recess, Democrats envision a wave of hearings on the substance of Mueller’s report.
The Intelligence Committee is exploring potential hearings on parts of Mueller’s report that chronicled a complex Russian plot to help elect Trump. The committee may soon revisit testimony from one Mueller witness — longtime Trump associate Felix Sater — who had been slated to appear in March. Sater was the chief negotiator of the Trump Tower Moscow project, which the committee is investigating.
The Judiciary Committee, meanwhile, anticipates a renewed focus on the dozen examples of potential obstruction of justice that Mueller described in his report.
And while the battles to access witnesses and more of Mueller’s evidence will continue, members say, they also plan to enter a new phase of their investigations.
and what phase is that you ask? Oh, just this kickass one:
That phase would involve hearings in June and July featuring former prosecutors who can walk Americans through the allegations of obstruction of justice, witness intimidation and the dangling of pardons. The committee may also focus on Trump’s business entanglements and whether he’s received any unauthorized payments from foreign governments — known as emoluments.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) said he anticipates calling a bipartisan panel of prosecutors who recently signed a letter arguing that Mueller’s evidence proves Trump obstructed justice — and that Trump would have been charged if he weren’t the president.
“At some point you’re going to see a panel of federal prosecutors come in about the letter that they signed,” said Lieu, also a Judiciary Committee member. “We’ll also hold hearings on witness intimidation. We’ll hold hearings on abuse of power. Just because Mueller doesn’t come in doesn’t mean we don’t continue with these.”
Why are they planning that? Well:
It’s all part of a strategy, Democrats say, to bring the allegations off the pages of the 448-page Mueller report — which they worry few Americans will actually read — and onto Americans’ television screens.
“We can’t just impeach based on allegations in the Mueller report or proof that’s cited in the Mueller report, and then take that over to the Senate for the trial. We’ve got to compile that record meticulously,” Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.
“It may appear to be slow and coming without any immediate gratifying result. But nonetheless, that is what we must do,” Johnson acknowledged.
you know who has good things to say about this track? This guy, who has been pretty negative to the Dems recently (so his approval is good news):
This is exactly what @JRubinBlogger recommended days ago. I called her idea brilliant at the time. I’m glad it’s taking hold. I’d call this an “impeachment inquiry” to maximize its force, but whatever we call it, it’s the right way to go at this point. https://t.co/6ghrEB1f6u
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) May 24, 2019
and they haven’t given up on forcing testimony:
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday issued subpoenas to former White House officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson for documents and testimony, setting the stage for another clash with the White House over former officials appearing before Congress.
NEWS: House Judiciary Committee Chairman NADLER insisted the House should hold BARR in contempt the first week of June, when they return from Memorial Day recess, according to sources in the room.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) May 22, 2019
Oh, and this:
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is pushing to empower committee chairs to hold individuals in contempt of Congress without going to the floor for a full House vote, a move that could expedite Democrats’ ability to punish anyone who defies their subpoenas but also risk further escalating tensions between congressional Democrats and the White House.Nadler told his colleagues at a meeting Thursday that he’s looking at the change as a way to avoid clogging up the floor with contempt citations in the face of near all-out resistance to Democratic subpoenas, according to a source in the room.
and this guy works hard AND cracks us up:
Attorney General Bill Barr should resign over his conduct before Congress, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Wednesday, calling the attorney general a “personal attorney” for President Donald Trump.
The California Democrat said he hesitates to “call Bill Barr the Attorney General.”
“I think Bill Barr has all the duplicity of Rudy Giuliani without all the good looks and general likability of Rudy Guliani,” Schiff said during the Center for American Progress 2019 Ideas Conference Wednesday. “The most dangerous thing, I think, that Bill Barr has done is basically say that a president under investigation can make the investigation go away if he thinks its unfair which, by the way, means the other 14 investigations firmed up through other offices he can also make go away.”
and it turns out Dems CAN walk and chew gum at the same time:
They passed 100 bills — including health care, electoral reform, gun safety — that are sitting in the Senate, awaiting action. https://t.co/FH7uq6lcI2
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) May 23, 2019
Great Election News
Gov. Matt Bevin has the lowest approval rate in the country. He’s also a Trump ally.
The gubernatorial election in November will likely draw national attention. Trump is expected to campaign hard for Bevin, who’s been a key ally of his administration, meeting frequently with Trump officials at the White House and in his home state. Sixty-two percent of Kentucky voters voted for Trump in 2016. A loss for Bevin the year before Trump himself is up for reelection would be embarrassing for the president. For Democrats, it would be a chance to score a statewide win in a state that has generally trended Republican.
Chicago’s new mayor joins a small but growing group of black women holding elected positions.
Lightfoot’s election — and the fact that her opponent, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, was also a black woman — also hilighted a much broader trend around the country: the growing number of black women running for political office and winning.
With her inauguration, Lightfoot joins a small but growing number of black women serving as mayors in the US. According to CNN, just 4 percent of mayorships in America’s 307 largest cities are currently held by black women. When she takes the oath of office in May, Lightfoot will also join San Francisco Mayor London Breed as one of two black women mayors leading one of the 14 largest cities in America.
“A few years ago in 2014, there was just one Black woman elected and serving as a Mayor of a major city,” Kimberly Peeler-Allen, co-founder of Higher Heights for America, explained in an email to Vox. “When Lori Lightfoot is sworn into office, we will have eight Black women serving in these top roles.”
A pro-ObamaCare group on Monday announced it is launching a seven-figure advertising campaign aimed at protecting 20 House Democrats who could face tough reelections.
The ad campaign by Protect Our Care will highlight the Democrats’ work on health care and argue that Democratic lawmakers are protecting people with pre-existing conditions, an issue that helped the party win back the House in the 2018 midterm elections
early in the week we got this news:
Trump begins his reelection campaign in a deep hole as 54% of American voters say they "definitely" will not vote for him, according to Quinnipiac University.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 21, 2019
then it got even sweeter:
Monmouth poll: "Fewer than 4-in-10 registered voters (37%) say that Trump should be reelected in 2020. A majority of 60% say it is time to have someone new in the Oval Office."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 23, 2019
We Have Great Allies
New York state lawmakers passed a measure Tuesday that would allow prosecutors to pursue state charges against certain individuals even if they have received a presidential pardon, a move seen as a direct shot at President Donald Trump.
Gorsuch is not our ally, but I am happy to see that he (and even Kavanaugh) sometimes side with our side. It isn’t usually for the right reasons, but at least it shows they are thinking and are just not rubber stamps for all that is awful in the universe.
The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a Wyoming hunter charged with off-season hunting, ruling 5-4 that a 150-year-old treaty between a Native American tribe and the United States was still active and protected the man’s rights.
Neil Gorsuch, one of two justices nominated to the court by President Trump, formed the majority by splitting with conservatives and joining the court’s other four liberals — Sotomayor and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elana Kagan.
not sure who is our ally in this one, but I like the rift between the besties:
‘They’re putting more Democrats on than Republicans,’ he said, prompting the MAGA crowd to boo the network. ‘Something strange is going on at Fox, folks!’
Finally, Take a Deep Breath
if you are freaking out about Mueller only testifying behind closed doors, hold your panic. The fact that he agreed to a public opening statement just might be very clever:
He also wants to begin with an opening statement. It will be entirely in his control and can be as long as he wants. It's a smart way to do it. Congressional hearings with 5 minute angry speeches and chaotic questions are a terrible way to present information.
— Elizabeth de la Vega (@Delavegalaw) May 24, 2019
If you are freaking out about trump’s ridiculous plan to out intelligence, hold your panic there too:
just wanted to leave a thought on the collective freakout a lot of folks seem to be having about trump and Barr’s “investigation” of the Russia investigation, along with trump’s desire to jail people for treason: Calm down. I’m serious about this, just Calm Down. Breathe. Listen, we all know that trump is an immoral criminal who will cross any and every ethical boundary to try to amass power for power’s sake. We already knew this. It is not anything new. This is not the first time that trump has tried to attack the FBI. He will lose. These are seasoned professionals being threatened by a shrieking purple faced toddler. They have got this. And if trump actually tries to selectively declassify information and jail political opponents for treason? He will lose. There is a reason that Joseph McCarthy is universally taught as a major historical villain in the history textbooks. And that’s making the huge and unlikely leap that anything actually comes of this, unlike President Diapershit’s last few hundred temper tantrums, that got a lot of media attention and were then immediately forgotten. BeeD is absolutely right that “dead catting” is likely all this is. The sky isn’t falling, and trump should hope like hell for his own (already piss poor) political prospects, that this doesn’t go anywhere. He will lose the battle for public opinion, and lose badly.
That is it for today. Lots right? Keep taking care of yourselves. Take care of one another. With hard work, we WILL beat these jerks.
I am so lucky and so proud to be in this with all of you ❤️ ✊ ❤️