I didn’t watch the entire Stormy Daniels interview last night. I’m in PST out here in Vegas, so I just read a transcript instead of waiting the three extra hours. But the interview is over now, so there are two new words that could end up getting all of the attention to take their place.
Congress is officially on spring break, and that terrifies me. The thought of a bunch of paunchy white dudes, with Coppertone smeared on their noses, running around the beach in Speedos and hitting on co-eds just sounds too much like Trump at a celebrity golf tournament for my taste. And while my kids only got one week off for Easter, public servants making $174,000 a year take a deuce. What can I say? Life sucks, get a helmet.
But the fact that congresscritters are spending the next two weeks stuffing their fat faces with deviled eggs and chocolate bunnies raises a serious risk for the rest of us. And that risk can be summed up in two simple words, Recess Appointment.
The US Senate is officially “on recess.” Which means that if a cabinet level position, or any other position that requires Senate confirmation, sans a Supreme Court Justice occurs. those ships of state would be rudderless until the senate gets back. That’s why the constitution provides emergency relief to the President. Per Wikipedia;
The primary purpose of the recess appointment power—accorded to the president by Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution—is to provide an alternative method of appointment that would allow the filling of vacancies in order to maintain the continuity of administrative government through the temporary filling of offices during lengthy periods when the Senate was not in session.
Presidents have been known to use this little gem to sneak in nominees that they know the senate will kill. Bush Lite used it to get the ever noxious John Bolton installed as the US Ambassador to the United Nations when he knew the Senate would bounce him on his ear. And President Obama used it to install Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Protection Bureau when he knew that the GOP controlled Senate would stonewall him.
I know what you’re thinking, “So what? When the Senate gets back, they’ll just give him the Denver Boot.” Except not so much. Presidents have a funny way of forgetting to officially nominate these appointments for confirmation because;
A recess appointment must be confirmed by the Senate by the end of the next session of Congress, or the appointment expires. In current practice this means that a recess appointment must be approved by roughly the end of the next calendar year, and thus could last for almost two years.
The current session of congress will expire in January of next year when the new members are sworn in. I know what you’re thinking, “So what? When the Senate gets back, they just give the guy the Denver Boot. But Presidents have a funny way of stretching these things out by just forgetting to officially nominate the candidate for Senate approval, letting him or her ride.
This is why it’s so dangerous right now. Trump is under more and more pressure with the Russia investigation. Rosenstein won’t can Robert Mueller, and Jeff Sessions can’t. If Trump fires Jeff Sessions in the next two weeks, he can take advantage of the Senate being in recess to appoint anybody he wants. The appointment is immediate, and the new, “temporary” Attorney General’s first order of business would be to drop the hammer on Robert Mueller. And yes, it really is just that simple.
And it’s not like this hasn’t been an issue before. Cast your mind back to the holidays a scant few month ago. Rumors were running rampant that Trump was waiting for the Senate to go on their Christmas recess so that he could fire Sessions and dump Mueller. McConnell responded by allowing one rotating Senator at a time gavel the Senate into session every day, never letting it officially go “on recess.”
This would be a risky move for Trump politically. The Resistance already has contingency plane in place for use if Trump moves on Mueller, and the protests would be massive, and likely frequent. The GOP is already facing a debacle in November, and massive protests may actually force Ryan, McConnell and the GOP to finally re-institute the Special Prosecutor law and reappoint Mueller, or face a swamping in the House that it may take them too many cycles to count to recover from.
The real problem is that Trump may not care. His irrationality and impulsiveness are already the things of legend. Right now Trump is likely as pissed as hell about Stormy Daniels. Not only by her casual dismissal of his lack of attraction for her, but also about being exposed of having meekly submitted to a spanking with a rolled up magazine, like a puppy that peed on the carpet. He can’t do a damn thing about Stormy Daniels, but his ego is going to require him to do something. Firing Mueller would kill two birds with one stone, it would in his mind remove the pressure of the Russia investigation, and would also allow him to blow off his frustration with the Daniels interview. Trump is totally reactionary, and his thought process will not extend past his immediate satisfaction.
So, until and unless Michael Avenatti decided to let some pics or other salacious info leak out, best to put Stormy Daniels out of your mind for the moment. And if it’s going to happen, then it’s going to have to happen in the next two weeks, while the Senate is partying hearty. Don’t touch that dial.