As the primary season gets going I have seen increasing stress about us winning in 2020 from all kinds of corners and I want to tell you that we are going to WIN IN 2020! We are going to get that orange, lying, hateful, stupid failed reality TV show host out of Obama’s house.
“But 2016!” You may yell. “We all thought he would lose in 2016 and he won. He is magic and we are garbage”
To which I say: Child, this is not 2016. The scars we all have from that election are not going to fade that fast. There is no way we will repeat what happened. We will fight with all we have to save our democracy. How do I know? DATA, my friend. DATA. I saw what we did in 2018. I saw what we did in every special election. I marched with us and wrote postcards and donated with this crew and, my friend, the data all point to us not messing around. We are NOT going to let this happen again. WE ARE AWESOME.
AND all that assumes that he makes it to 2020 and is the candidate. And there is a lot of reason to think he won’t. For example:
I'm often asked, "Which probe do you think will finally do Trump in?" And I'm put in mind of animations in Civil War documentaries that show the "red" army inexorably being surrounded by the "blue"—you can see it a mile off. My answer to which probe will do him in? "All of them."
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) February 19, 2019
The human body generates antibodies when it senses invasion from a harmful source. So, too, in our body politic, when a malign force such as an authoritarian executive attacks the foundation of a democracy, a healthy democracy will respond. That process of fighting a dangerous executive — President Trump — began on Friday when he declared an national emergency to justify spending that Congress had declined to authorize (a funding bill the president had signed, by the way).
The strength and diversity of antibodies fighting off Trump’s assault on democracy have been impressive.
Through the long holiday weekend, we saw hundreds of protests and rallies. We saw defenders of the president’s move grilled on television by a free and independent media while Democrats and legal experts made the case against the declaration. Anti-administration protesters gathered around the country in peaceful demonstrations, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment.
We also sixteen states band together in a lawsuit, evidence of federalism’s vitality, as well as from private groups, evidence of a robust civil society.
Congress may very well file its own lawsuit, as more than 200 Democratic lawmakers have done in contesting Trump’s receipt of emoluments.
Should Trump be denied the ability to proceed with his wall, it would be an impressive vindication of the very norms and institutions that Trump is attacking. And let’s not forget: The ultimate check remains the voters, who can send him packing in the 2020 election.
that is right, baby.
And every time he has tried to shut down the investigations into him, he and his crew have been turned down:
So far, not a single one of the myriad attacks on the array of federal probes into Trumplandia has scored with any federal judge. That says a lot to anyone willing to listen. @JoyceWhiteVance @chrislhayes @amjoyshow @KatyTurNBC @Lawrence @NicolleDWallace @amjoyshow @AriMelber https://t.co/tiR32EzY9t
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) February 17, 2019
and this national emergency BS? Not going to help him out:
A new NPR-PBS-Marist College poll was launched when Trump declared his national emergency four days ago. And the verdict isn’t a good one: The poll shows 61 percent of registered voters disapprove of Trump’s national emergency declaration, vs. 36 percent who approve of it.
The opposition spans nearly every demographic group. Of the more than 40 groups broken out by the poll, only Republicans (both men and women), Trump supporters, white evangelicals and rural voters don’t see opposition cresting 50 percent. (Rural voters, though, are split 47-47 — despite favoring Trump 61-34 in the 2016 election.)
and it won’t just be him who is dragged down:
Meanwhile, Trump’s aides have decided that this is the issue that will guarantee the president’s reelection:
President Trump and his political team plan to make his years-long quest for a border wall one of the driving themes of his reelection effort — attempting to turn his failure to build such a project into a combative sales pitch that pits him against the political establishment on immigration.
In other words, Trump will try to repeat the extraordinary success he achieved last fall, when he did everything in his power to make the midterm election about supposedly terrifying caravans of asylum seekers and the need for walls to keep them away. The result, you may recall, was an enormous victory for Democrats.
and the Democrats are on this:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will bring a resolution to terminate Trump’s national emergency proclamation for a vote on Tuesday, the first swing congressional Democrats are taking to try to block the additional border wall money the president is seeking through executive action.
and even if all the lawsuits and the congressional acts go nowhere trump still won’t have all the money he wants:
More than one-third of the money President Donald Trump wants to redirect from other federal programs to build a border barrier is likely to be unavailable from the sources he has identified.
As a result, it may be difficult for the president to circumvent Congress, even if a resolution disapproving of his “emergency” moves is never enacted.
As for the big thing on many of our minds THE MUELLER REPORT — We don’t know what Mueller’s report will show. But we do know that reports that it will be turned in next week are the BS many of us suspected:
Breaking now on @MSNBC: The Justice Department will not receive the Mueller report next week, a senior Justice Department official tells NBC’s Julia Ainsley.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 22, 2019
And we do know that there has been A LOT of obstruction making it almost impossible that the report won’t recommend some kind of action on obstruction (and no that can’t be buried. If Barr doesn’t act on something in the report he has to explain why to the House — the DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED HOUSE — why he didn’t act on it. Those recommendations can’t be buried). Here is some of the DATA that makes me confident that obstruction will be in the report:
As federal prosecutors in Manhattan gathered evidence late last year about President Trump’s role in silencing women with hush payments during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump called Matthew G. Whitaker, his newly installed attorney general, with a question. He asked whether Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, could be put in charge of the widening investigation, according to several American officials with direct knowledge of the call.
Trying to install a perceived loyalist atop a widening inquiry is a familiar tactic for Mr. Trump, who has been struggling to beat back the investigations that have consumed his presidency. His efforts have exposed him to accusations of obstruction of justice as Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, finishes his work investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
An examination by The New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained, more secretive assault by Mr. Trump on the machinery of federal law enforcement. Interviews with dozens of current and former government officials and others close to Mr. Trump, as well as a review of confidential White House documents, reveal numerous unreported episodes in a two-year drama.
this is a big deal. Don’t take my word for it:
If Donald Trump asked Whitaker to interfere in the Cohen investigation with the sdny, we've entered some brand new obstruction of justice territory.
It doesn't matter if Whitaker didn't do it. It matters that Trump asked.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) February 19, 2019
President Donald Trump‘s craving for loyalty from his top law enforcement officials and alleged efforts to topple those whom he perceives as threats could be leading him into deep trouble — and even put his presidency in peril.
They also beg a mysterious question yet again: Why, if the President insists there was no coordination between his 2016 campaign and Russia’s election meddling plot, has he taken such pains to undermine investigations into what he has branded a huge “hoax?”
yah, wonder why….. 😉
And it looks more and more like Mueller is passing on the prosecution of many of these crimes to other law enforcement branches after his investigative work is done. And that is REALLY bad news for Trump because:
For starters, they have jurisdiction over the president’s political operation and businesses — subjects that executive privilege doesn’t cover.
With the reports that Mueller’s report will be out soon, there has been a lot of hang wringing this week about what will happen if there is nothing in it that is bad for trump and his crew. To answer that, I turn to this amazing thread by law prof Jennifer Taub. Here is the first tweet which sums up the conclusion:
We Have Seen the Mueller Report –– And It’s Spectacular
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) January 26, 2019
Here is some of the intro. Its a LONG thread, but worth a read. At least check this out:
In anticipation, some pundits warn us to dial down the enthusiasm. It’ll be anti-climactic, they caution. Don’t expect a public report, some say. Ignore them. Pay attention to documents already filed. Through them, we/ve seen much of the Mueller Report. And it is spectacular.
From the first indictments through the latest, we’ve witnessed many months of colorful fireworks. By now, we’re inured to the explosions, overstimulated and worn down. But it’s not the Fourth of July when, after the finale, we can just pack up in the smoky dark and head home
No. It’s time for a real battle to begin. To prepare, let’s review where we are, what we know, and what we are still waiting for.
Has Mueller found any links or coordination between the Russian government and the individuals associated with candidate Trump? Was there coordination? Was there interference?
Yes, yes, and yes. There were links. There was coordination. There was interference in the form of lying to government investigators –– a cover up, if you will. Let’s review.
and she does review. And lay out the case that we have already seen much of the report in indictments and had hints of it elsewhere and it is DAMNING. Damn, is it damning!!
Another good summary of the collusion case THAT WE KNOW ABOUT ALREADY is set out in this article:
Court filings about Cohen, Manafort, and Stone have alleged scandalous activities during the 2016 campaign.
President Trump keeps insisting that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation has found “no collusion” between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. But a close read of what we already know about what Mueller’s been doing suggests at the very least, some very questionable things were going on during the campaign.
in recent filings, he has laid out damaging facts on three major matters that certainly seem at least collusion-adjacent.
1) The business opportunity for Trump: The Trump Organization was secretly in talks for a potentially very lucrative Moscow real estate deal during the campaign, and Russian government officials were involved. Trump and members of his family were briefed several times on the project.
2) A key figure with shady Russia connections: Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort had a history of illegal work for pro-Russian interests and was in debt to a Russian oligarch. Then, during the campaign, he allegedly handed over Trump polling data to a Russian intelligence-tied associate.
3) The hacked — and leaked — emails: Russian intelligence officers hacked leading Democrats’ emails, and WikiLeaks eventually posted many of those stolen emails publicly. Trump associates like George Papadopoulos and Roger Stone seem to have had at least some advance knowledge of this.
and then it goes into details about what is up. A lot.
There has also been a lot of worry about the possibility of the report being buried. I don’t think we are going to let that happen.
Democrats in Congress may seek to subpoena Special Counsel Robert Mueller or the results of his Russia probe if the results — expected to be submitted to the Justice Department as early as next week — aren’t publicly released.
Also, there are pathways that require reporting to congress BY LAW. And WE HOLD THE HOUSE.
When I was a 27 year old young pup at DOJ, I had the privilege of drafting the Special Counsel regulations. Took last 24 hrs to write @nytimes oped on what to expect re Mueller Report. Bottom line is if Mueller reports next week, very bad news for Trump
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) February 21, 2019
and remember, the report will not be the final word, but a road-map of some of the criminal activity around this crime family for democrats in the house:
Neal Katyal: "A concise Mueller report might act as a 'road map' to investigation" for Democrats — and "lead to further criminal investigation by other prosecutors. A short Mueller report would mark the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end." https://t.co/O2zGV4bAfa
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 22, 2019
and the states can take over some of the leg work:
News reports that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is close to completing his investigation have raised the question of whether anyone who hasn’t yet been charged with a crime won’t ever be. Mueller has brought 199 charges against 37 defendants in less than two years — including six members of President Trump’s campaign. Some key figures, though, such as Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., would appear to be off the hook: If Mueller’s work is done, then he probably will not be filing any charges against them.
But there is another possibility, which is that the end of the federal investigation into the 2016 campaign clears the path for criminal charges in multiple states. That should worry the president and the people in his circle.
indeed, NYS has already begun by making sure that Manafort can’t be pardoned out of this mess he made for himself → New York Has Prepared Paul Manafort Charges If Trump Pardons Him
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.
and there are already other investigations that are creeping up on Trump. There is this:
Inbox: On February 26, 2019 at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a full committee hearing to conduct oversight of the Trump Administration's family separation policy, "finally holding the Administration accountable for the inhumane and callous policy."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 21, 2019
In the weeks before his inauguration, top officials on President Trump’s inaugural committee repeatedly sounded alarms about the budgets submitted by several vendors, according to correspondence, committee records and draft budgets reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
Oh, and this is coming up → Michael Cohen Agrees to Testify Next Week, Setting Stage for a High-Stakes Hearing
Michael D. Cohen has agreed to testify in public next Wednesday before Congress about his work as President Trump’s personal lawyer and longtime fixer, but lawmakers said they would limit the scope of their questioning in deference to the special counsel.
What will Cohen say next week? Let’s ask his lawyer:
I asked Cohen’s attny what he’ll say? @LannyDavis responded while my cell was off: “He will pull the curtain back and we will hear true stories of Trump’s complicity in crimes, and his immoral, bigoted, and morally vacant character in specific, detailed personal anecdotes.” https://t.co/VUfJrpva8L
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) February 21, 2019
and it broke yesterday that Cohen has been pretty helpful to the Feds already:
Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, met last month with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, offering information about possible irregularities within the president’s family business and about a donor to the inaugural committee, according to people familiar with the matter.
While it was not clear whether the prosecutors found Mr. Cohen’s information credible and whether they intended to pursue it, the meeting suggests that they are interested in broader aspects of the Trump Organization, beyond their investigation into the company’s role in the hush money payments made before the 2016 election to women claiming to have had affairs with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty last summer to arranging those payments.
all this news should make us very grateful that the legal system and the law have held up under this assault: Three cheers for the rule of law
Take a look at the batch of legal cases making headlines Thursday: The North Carolina State Board of Elections’ proceedings concerning massive fraud in the state’s 9th Congressional District (deciding a new election is in order); Jussie Smollett’s arrest for allegedly faking a hate crime and filing a false police report; Roger Stone’s hearing in federal court over whether he violated a partial gag order regarding his case and the special counsel’s investigation (the judge found Stone in violation of the court order and subject to a complete gag order); and a federal judge’s finding that, as CNBC reported, “prosecutors including now-Labor Secretary Alex Acosta” violated the rights of sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein’s victims during their investigation of the once-influential financier a decade ago. “U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra slammed the government for failing to notify Epstein’s victims that it had reached a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein while leading those victims to believe that federal charges were still a possibility,” CNBC reported.
What is noteworthy in all these is not the brazenness and stupidity of the alleged wrongdoers but the precision of our legal system. If prosecutors such as Acosta misbehave, the law catches up with them. If you try to con the police, as Smollett is alleged to have done, police and prosecutors amass a mound of evidence revealing the actual course of events. If you hire someone to steal an election, there will be a public proceeding, testimony under oath and a reasoned judgment.
and don’t forget this good news from the SC→ Supreme Court limits power of states and localities to impose fines, seize property
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that the Constitution’s prohibition on excessive fines applies to state and local governments, limiting their abilities to impose financial penalties and seize property.
The decision delighted critics of civil asset forfeiture, who welcomed the ruling as a new weapon in their war against what has been labeled “policing for profit” — the practice of seizing cash, cars and other property from those convicted, or even suspected, of committing a crime.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on her second day back on the bench after undergoing cancer surgery in December, announced the court’s decision, saying the Eighth Amendment’s excessive-fines clause protects against government retribution at all levels.
“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties,” Ginsburg wrote. “Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies. . . . Even absent a political motive, fines may be employed in a measure out of accord with the penal goals of retribution and deterrence.”
this is great news for our rights AND it is great that it was unanimous AND it is great that Ginsburg was up to writing it! Woo Hoo!
That is it for today. Happy weekend everyone. So proud and lucky to be in this with all of you.