Well, we have arrived. The constitutional crisis is here.
One important thing to remember: this is happening because trump is guilty a.f. and has no other way to save himself. All he can do is try to ignore congress. So really, this shows that trump has NO way to save himself. This is a hail Mary that is destined to fail: an attempt to stonewall for long enough to get himself reelected so he doesn’t have to face criminal charges.
When you despair remember: this is happening because we have cornered the rat. The cracks are showing. It is becoming clearer that the emperor is wearing no clothes (don’t picture that).
In the meantime, we remain strong. Democrats are working hard to dot their “i”s and cross their “t”s so that the upcoming battles will take this lying, pathetic, moronic, sad man down for good.
Take heart. Keep fighting. We are going to save our country.
The Cracks Are Starting To Grow- I.E. the Emperor is Looking Hella Naked
To date, the cover-up has worked about as well as President Donald Trump could have hoped.
Almost four years after Trump declared his campaign for the presidency, and more than 30 months since he won that office, he has successfully kept secret almost all the things he wished to keep secret. How much debt does he owe, and to whom? How much of his income derives from people who do business with the U.S. government? How much of his income derives from foreign sources? Who are his business partners, and do any of them present ethical or national-security concerns?
Trump’s trouble is that the dike is sprouting more leaks than he has fingers with which to plug the expanding trickles. Two federal judges, one in Maryland and one in the District of Columbia, have approved lawsuits based on the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause demanding information about Trump’s revenues from foreign-government entities. Those lawsuits—one filed by congressional Democrats, the other by attorneys general for the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia—now proceed to two different appellate courts, the Fourth Circuit and the D.C. Circuit. At this rate, an emoluments case could reach the Supreme Court before the 2020 election.
The law very much favors Congress in the subpoena of Trump’s bankers. Congressional subpoena power extends to any subject on which Congress can constitutionally legislate, among other realms, as the Supreme Court has affirmed again and again.
Perhaps the Trump administration hopes that it can run out the clock on the bank subpoenas and the other matters, too. But so many clocks are ticking over so many inquiries into so many areas of potential scandal. Can they all be postponed and postponed past 2020? For a president with many guilty secrets, everything turns on the ability to insert delay after delay before ultimate legal defeat. It’s not a great plan. It’s liable to go wrong, maybe catastrophically wrong. At this point, though, it’s all he’s got.
why is he playing this game he is going to lose? Easy, he has no other choice:
Trump knows what Mueller knows. And it frightens him. https://t.co/4E95m1jaOB
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) May 6, 2019
As former prosecutor Joyce White Vance tells me, “If Trump has nothing to worry about, he’d be scheduling Mueller’s testimony himself. His concern is a red flag.”
So can he stop Mueller from testifying? “Of course there is no way Trump can stop Bob Mueller from testifying,” constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe tells me. “There is no executive privilege between them, and obviously no attorney-client privilege, and Mueller doesn’t even work for Trump.” Tribe continues, “Until he leaves [the Justice Department], he works for Barr. And Barr has no conceivable basis to stop Mueller from testifying.” In any event, Tribe explains, “Mueller is free to leave [Justice] at any time and will then be simply a private citizen.”
Trump must be frustrated. His spin works only when the facts are hidden or too complicated to unravel. Put the facts out in plain sight, have someone more credible than Trump (an open-ended category) explain what has happened and — poof! — Trump’s smokescreen, the nonsensical patter coming from Fox News hosts and the incoherent arguments from Trump’s TV lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, will vanish.
And make no mistake: According to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, voters by a substantial margin think more highly of Mueller (net +12 favorability), Democrats (-5) and even Barr (-7) than they do Trump (-10). Sixty percent say Trump is not honest or truthful about Mueller’s investigation, and by a 42-to-29-percent margin, voters already understand that the report doesn’t clear Trump. It may be wrongheaded and fruitless, but you can understand why Trump is trying every trick to shield voters from the full impact of the report. It paints a portrait of a president desperately trying to stop an inquiry into him, which is exactly what he continues to do.
Less discussed is the bigger question of why Trumpworld has embarked on this maximal resistance strategy in the first place. This perceived imperative has led to a posture that is saturated with ludicrous and disingenuous rationales for rebuffing oversight, and comically ridiculous political contortions from Republicans who are all in on the strategy.
The sum total of all the absurdity here itself underscores the original point. Why go to such enormous lengths to choke off further inquiry in a matter that has been conclusively settled in Trump’s favor?
but the threats are already starting to creeping up and this one is a big one:
The “friendly” subpoena recently served on the tax and accounting firm Mazars USA seeking client records related to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization may not have received much publicity. But of all the ongoing Trump-related investigations, this action could very well serve as the most troublesome for team Trump.
The written requests by Chairman Richard Neal, D-Massachusetts, of the House Ways and Means Committee sent to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig sought six years of Trump-related tax returns pursuant to an anti-corruption statute dating back to the Teapot Dome scandal.
The Mazars subpoena would encompass more information than the tax returns covered by IRC 6103, including financial statements, tax returns, and accounting work papers. Only tax returns in the possession of the IRS are subject to the vagaries of IRC 6103.
It should be noted that there is no accountant-client privilege equivalent to attorney-client privilege that could shield the secrecy of the financial documents maintained by Mazars for its client or that could provide a legal basis to delay compliance with the subpoena.
When Congress does, in fact, obtain the subpoenaed financial information from Mazars, it can then be released to the public via a majority vote on the Oversight Committee. Should that happen, let’s review what might be available and the relative significance of the financial documents.
Michael Cohen precipitated the subpoena to Mazars when he testified before Congress that Trump often manipulated his financial statements inflating his net worth at different times to mislead financial institutions who might lend to him and minimizing the value of his assets in order to reduce his real-estate property taxes.
and a judge is going to rule on it FAST
A federal judge will fast-track a decision on President Trump’s bid to quash a House subpoena for financial records from his accounting firm, saying he will decide the full case, not just whether to temporarily block the subpoena while the case proceeds, after a hearing Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta made his announcement Thursday in a brief notice to both sides after receiving a first round of written arguments in the case. The lawsuit was brought April 22 by Trump and several of his businesses against House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Trump’s accounting firm.
“The sole question before the court — Is the House Oversight Committee’s issuance of a subpoena to Mazars USA LLP for financial records of President Donald Trump and various associated entities a valid exercise of legislative power? — is fully briefed, and the court can discern no benefit from an additional round of legal arguments,” Mehta said.
and this is great news:
Significant news—if courts treat all of the litigation coming out of Trump’s attempts to delay on an expedited basis, that could seriously undercut his strategy. https://t.co/UaVsmePyki
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 9, 2019
and this is unlikely to be the only case that gets fast-tracked:
I hear a lot of anxiety about how litigation over subpoenas could take years. I always note that the Oval Office Tapes case, U.S. v. Nixon, took 4 months, from trial court to SCOTUS (April-July 1974). Well, here is another good sign:https://t.co/yBC5XizZOT
— Jed Shugerman (@jedshug) May 10, 2019
check out this totally innocent behavior of a man completely not worried /s:
White House officials asked at least twice in the past month for the key witness against President Trump in the Mueller report, Donald F. McGahn II, to say publicly that he never believed the president obstructed justice, according to two people briefed on the requests.
after the report was released, detailing the range of actions Mr. Trump took to try to impede the inquiry, Mr. McGahn decided to pass on putting out a statement supportive of the president. The report also revealed that Mr. Trump told aides he believed Mr. McGahn had leaked to the news media to make himself look good.
The episodes show the lengths the White House has gone around the release of the Mueller report to push back on the notion that Mr. Trump obstructed justice
Good 2020 News
With a dysfunctional fund-raising organization and disappointing battleground polling numbers, major donors aren’t stepping up. “There’s Trump fatigue,” says a longtime Republican donor
It’s going to be a hard sell. According to sources, Trump campaign officials are sounding the alarm over the president’s early fund-raising hauls. Trump’s son Don Jr. has privately warned donors that Trump only raised around $30 million in the last quarter, and pointed out that the number fell far short of the roughly $45 million Barack Obama raised in the second quarter of 2011 for his 2012 re-election bid, according to a source briefed on the conversations (A source close to Don Jr. disputed this). “They need more money, and there’s no enthusiasm. They need to amp it up,” a Trump donor told me. “Wall Street never liked Trump from the beginning. Goldman is filled with people who were Obama fund-raisers,” another Trump donor told me. In 2016, Trump raised only about $351 million. Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign took in $483 million.
Sources say the anemic fund-raising is being driven by several factors. The biggest is Trump himself. Trump’s shambolic governing style and endless tweeting are exhausting donors. “There’s Trump fatigue,” the longtime Republican donor told me. “The 2020 bumper sticker should be: ‘Same Policies, but We Promise Less Crazy.’” Then there’s Trump’s difficult re-election pathway. According to a source, some donors aren’t stepping up because Trump’s numbers in must-win states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin continue to disappoint.
Cracks are showing in the Republicans Embrace of Trump
Inbox: Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham have reintroduced the bipartisan Defending Elections against Trolls from Enemy Regimes (DETER) Act, which will prevent foreign governments from exploiting U.S. immigration laws to advance their efforts to undermine our democracy.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 6, 2019
Richard Burr faces intense pressure from Republicans to drop his subpoena of President Donald Trump’s eldest son and quickly wrap up the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe.
But despite a day facing attacks from the highest rungs of party leadership, Burr is unmoved, according to colleagues in both parties.
the senior Republican who spearheaded the call for Schiff to step down now says those disagreements are “water under the bridge.”
GOP Rep. Mike Conaway, the mild-mannered Texan who led the committee’s hotly politicized Russia probe last year, is suddenly praising Schiff for creating a newfound sense of comity on the Intelligence Committee — reflected in the committee’s bipartisan request for all of special counsel Robert Mueller’s files.
“Schiff probably deserves the lion’s share of the credit because he sets the tone as chairman,”
Conaway’s praise of Schiff comes as he and Nunes have teamed up to demand that the Justice Department turn over Mueller’s findings — including his closely guarded grand jury evidence that other Republicans have argued Congress has no business obtaining.
We Have Great Allies
Tennessee is facing another challenge of its new law that would fine and potentially jail voter registration workers who don’t follow new rules.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Campaign Legal Center and Fair Elections Center sued in federal court Thursday, representing the League of Women Voters of Tennessee and four other groups. Tennessee’s NAACP and others sued separately.
Eight former top lawyers for the House of Representatives are backing a House lawsuit seeking to block Trump from spending billions of federal funds on his border wall without any specific authorization from Congress. https://t.co/NOSdDMavb8
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 7, 2019
Democrats Are Amazing
House Democrats began making good on their campaign promise to shore up the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, passing a bill that would bar the Trump administration from granting states some waivers to the landmark health-care law.
Next week, the House will vote on a package of seven health-care bills, several of which would reverse administration actions that Democrats have described as efforts to sabotage former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.
The votes come as President Trump recently renewed his vow to repeal the 2010 law and directed the Justice Department to support a lawsuit aimed at invalidating the law entirely — including its popular protections for Americans with preexisting medical conditions.
Inbox: Today, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has issued subpoenas to Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig for six years of the President's personal and business tax returns.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 10, 2019
Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Thursday that the House could pursue contempt charges against multiple people in Donald Trump’s orbit — not just Attorney General William Barr — as Democrats look to overcome the president’s blanket effort to hobble their investigations.
Pelosi declined to provide a timeline for when the full House would vote to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for failing to provide the unredacted Mueller report, telling reporters there may be other related “issues” Democrats will want to handle simultaneously.
“When we’re ready we’ll come to the floor,” Pelosi said, a day after the House Judiciary Committee approved the contempt resoluion. “And we’ll just see because there may be some other contempt of Congress issues that we might want to deal with at the same time.”
“We’re not going to wait a few months, but I think we could wait a few weeks,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).
“Now we’re not even talking about isolated situations, we’re talking about a cumulative effect of obstruction that the administration is engaged in,” Pelosi said. “I support the path that our chairmen are on and I do believe that it will establish the case for where we go from here.”
“Because the Trump administration has decided to do a blanket denial of all subpoenas, it’s not just affecting the Judiciary Committee, it’s affecting every committee that’s trying to get information on behalf of the American people,” Lieu said.
“We’re checking with other committees to see their timeline and if they’re also reasonably close to any contempt proceedings then we might just roll it all into one floor vote,” he added. “Intel, Oversight, Financial Services have all issued subpoenas.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, whose panel issued its own subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report on Wednesday, offered similar comments.
“A lot of these issues are coming to head in the various committees,” Schiff said on MSNBC Wednesday night.
“I think it would make sense to try to consolidate at least the date when we take up these contempt resolutions, if there are multiple resolutions, so they can be adjudicated at one time and we don’t take up time every week to re-litigate this.”
Chairman Raúl Grijalva said on Friday Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee are considering issuing subpoenas to obtain information from the Interior Department that officials there have declined to provide.
Judiciary Committee's Rep. Madeleine Dean: Jail time "can't be off the table" for Trump admin officials held in contempt. @MSNBC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 11, 2019
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Friday for a probe into Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to influence investigations in Ukraine he anticipates as possibly beneficial to President Donald Trump, citing “the implications of this for United States foreign policy.”
In a letter to the committee’s Republican chairman, Murphy, D-Conn., said that he was “alarmed” after reading reports that Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, plans to travel to the country to push Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president-elect, to move ahead with investigations involving former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and probes related to special counsel Robert Mueller’sRussia investigation.
Nadler on Don McGahn: "We're expecting him to show up on the 21st, and if he doesn't, he'll be subject to contempt … he has to respect the rule of law like anybody else," Nadler said. "We will enforce our subpoena on those." https://t.co/WidWsZrSMB
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 10, 2019
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Axios’ Mike Allen Friday that the House is considering reviving its “inherent contempt” power, which would allow Congress to enforce subpoenas through coercive measures like fines.
“Much as I like the visual of [throwing people in jail], I think it’s far more practical to consider levying individual fines on the person — not the office — until they comply. You could fine someone $25,000 a day until they comply. You can do that. We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground.”
Mike Allen: "It sounds like you think Congress will get the president's tax returns this year."
Adam Schiff: "Oh, yeah."
Via CSPAN pic.twitter.com/I6MOfFBkd0
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 10, 2019
Democrats know that impeachment is a losing proposition against President Donald Trump right now.
But there’s another rationale for launching impeachment that has some Democrats reconsidering the idea — getting access to the sensitive documents and testimony that Trump’s team is withholding.
Judges have repeatedly ruled that Congress has a greater claim to sensitive government documents and personal information when it can point to an ongoing legal matter, instead of just a congressional investigation or legislative debate. And impeachment would give lawmakers that legal matter — the process is essentially a court procedure run by Congress where the House brings charges and the Senate holds the trial.
House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, Rep. Deutch and Rep. Swalwell have introduced the No President Is Above the Law Act, which would pause the statute of limitations for any federal offense committed by a sitting president, whether committed before or during the president's term.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 10, 2019
As a handful of states seek to restrict access to abortions, Vermont lawmakers are taking steps to protect abortion rights in the state.In recent months, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted controversial laws that ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks.Vermont, however, is taking a different stance. The state legislature has passed Proposal 5 to amend the state constitution to protect personal reproductive liberty and guarantee the right to an abortion.The bill started in the Senate, where it was approved 28-2 last month. The House passed it 106-38 on Tuesday. Before it can become law, the state legislature would need to pass the bill again next year, and voters would need to approve it in a 2022 referendum.
There is Plenty of Good in the World
here’s something else that has been happening: Some 400,000 people have visited a memorial to the victims of racial-terror lynchings since it opened in Montgomery, Ala., about one year ago. People in 300 counties where lynchings took place have started conversations about erecting markers or monuments in their hometowns. Maryland’s General Assembly last month created the nation’s first truth and reconciliation commission on lynching.
Equal Justice Initiative created and last year inaugurated in Montgomery the Legacy Museum, which traces the United States’ history of racial oppression from slavery through Jim Crow to mass incarceration, and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Meanwhile, four new hotels are going up near EJI’s facilities, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.
Is there something off-putting about a tourism economy rising atop this ugly history?
No, says Stevenson. What is off-putting is that for decades tourists have been coming to Alabama to fish or hunt or go to football games, to visit plantations and “ogle and ooh and aah over the slave owners’ homes,” and have not given a thought to who built those homes and under what conditions.
Maybe that is beginning to change. That would be a little bit of progress in a scary time.
Korean War veteran Stewart Breeding figured he’d spend the rest of his life alone when his wife, Jettie, died in 2016. He moved into a nursing home and was lonely.
Fast-forward to last month — his 86th birthday — when Breeding walked into Donna and Bennie Nolan’s dining room in Ashland, Ky., to find balloons, a red-white-and-blue chocolate cake and a roomful of people wishing him a happy birthday.
The Nolans are his foster family. Shortly after he moved into a care center, the couple picked him up and took him home with them as part of the Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Foster Home Program. It’s an alternative to nursing home care for veterans who cannot live independently.
The program, which started in 2008, operates in 44 states. The Nolans are among 700 foster-care providers looking after about 1,000 U.S. veterans with chronic conditions.
Worldwide annual deaths by 5-year-age-group
In the period 1950 to 1954 more than 20 million children died every year.
Since then the number of annual child deaths declined 3-fold.
And the number of older people's deaths doubled. pic.twitter.com/jTqwKmv6EV
— Max Roser (@MaxCRoser) May 2, 2019
The name “Donald” dropped 39 spots on the 2018 list of most popular baby names, which was released by the U.S. Social Security Administration on Friday.
The name moved from the 487 most popular spot in 2017, to 526 in 2018, the lowest ever ranking for “Donald” in the agency’s annual list. In total, there were 533 babies born named Donald in 2018.
The name’s popularity has been slowly declining since 1934 when it peaked as the sixth most popular name for baby boys. The name did see a popularity spike between 2016 and 2017, however, moving up from the 489 spot to 487.
Even a Broken Clock…
The president has a good idea on health care — and one that could actually pass.
President Trump urged Congress to outlaw surprise medical bills in remarks delivered from the White House on Thursday.
Instead, he urged Congress to come up with new legislation to ensure that patients no longer receive exorbitant bills from out-of-network doctors who practice at in-network facilities. There is already some bipartisan interest in tackling this problem, with the Senate leading the charge to find a solution.
“This must end,” Trump said in his remarks. “We’re going to hold insurance companies and hospitals accountable.”
he sultan of Brunei said his country would not impose the death penalty, appearing to back away from harsh punishments including death by stoning for gay sex and adultery under strict new laws that took effect last month.
Three big production companies say they will no longer shoot in Georgia because of a new law banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Producer David Simon of Blown Deadline Productions, CEO Christine Vachon of Killer Films, and Mark Duplass of Duplass Brothers Productions have all vowed to stop filming in the Peach State in the wake of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to sign the bill into law on Tuesday. “I can’t ask any female member of any film production with which I am involved to so marginalize themselves or compromise their inalienable authority over their own bodies. I must undertake production where the rights of all citizens remain intact,” tweeted Simon, the creator of The Wire and The Deuce who runs Blown Deadline. The legislation, called the “heartbeat bill,” has a few exceptions, including to save the life of the pregnant woman and in cases of rape or incest—so long as the expectant mother files a police report.
That is it for today. Take good care of yourselves and one another.
We WILL win this with hard work and dedication ❤️
I remain so lucky and proud to be in this with all of you ❤️ ✊ ❤️
Play us out Del and friends: