Daily Archives: January 26, 2018

The GOP war on law enforcement and the rule of law to obstruct justice

The Republican Party has abdicated its constitutional duties and patriotic loyalty to country, and instead has sworn fealty to an egomaniacal authoritarian madman who is the titular head of their party. GOP members of Congress are complicit in a conspiracy to cover-up and to aid and abet obstruction of justice by the Trump administration. They are accessories to a crime.

The Washington Post editorializes today, GOP leaders’ complicity grows as their members undermine the rule of law:

A FOREIGN power interfered in the 2016 presidential election. U.S. law enforcement is trying to get to the bottom of that story. Congress should be doing everything possible to make sure the investigation can take place. Instead, to protect the president of their party, who may or may not be complicit, Republican leaders in Congress are allowing and encouraging the baseless slander of the investigators.

It is a new low for the leadership, and one that could do lasting harm to the nation.

Cravenness in the Republican leaders’ response to Donald Trump is nothing new. During the presidential campaign, few stood up to his nativism and ugly ethnic slurs. Since he became president, even fewer have stood by their previous commitments to U.S. leadership abroad and fiscal responsibility at home. As he has trampled long-established norms, such as releasing annual tax returns, we’ve heard not a peep from the Article I branch.

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#AZLeg Passes Landmark, Bipartisan Opioid Bill

There were a lot of conversations going on in advance of the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act.

January 25, 2018 was one of the most dramatic days at the Arizona Legislature, since I was elected.

Not only did we have ~75 Luchadores visiting their Legislators and five extremely aggressive anti-immigrant, pro-Trump protesters heckling them, we also had the big vote on the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act (SB1001).

We have been working on SB1001/HB2001 for weeks. Unlike much of what we do in the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act was a truly bipartisan effort. The governor even gave the Democrats the bill language in advance and asked for our input. The Republicans included us in the bill development process because they needed our votes and because didn’t want us to blow it up on the floor with our speechifying, as we did with the stingy TANF and teacher raises in 2017.

As someone who worked in public health and nicotine addiction treatment for years, I was proud to serve on the Democratic Caucus team that reviewed the bill and offered suggestions for revision. It was very heartening that they included several Democratic ideas in this bill. Four of my suggestions were included: offering treatment instead of jail during an overdose situation, AKA the 911 Good Samaritan bill (HB2101), which has been proposed by Democrats for four years in a row; providing funds to counties for life-saving NARCAN kits (HB2201); providing a non-commercial treatment referral service; and offering treatment in a brief intervention after an overdose scare (when your doctor says, “You didn’t die this time. Maybe you should quit!”). The Democrats also suggested including the Angel Initiative (where addicts can drop off their drugs and ask for treatment, without fear of arrest) and $10 million for drug addiction treatment services for people not on AHCCCS (Medicaid) or private insurance.

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Donald Trump tried to fire the Special Counsel last June – testify about that under oath

On Wednesday, in an impromptu press conference that was in defiance of the “Church Lady” in the White House, chief of staff Gen. John Kelly, Trump bristles under some of his orderly chief of staff’s restrictions, President Trump “proceeded to field a rush of questions on the Russia investigation with answers that rattled his lawyers and senior aides and left Kelly dealing with the fallout.”

Trump Says He Is Willing to Speak Under Oath to Mueller:

President Trump said on Wednesday that he was willing and eager to be interviewed by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, insisting that he has done nothing wrong.

“I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Mr. Trump said of talking to Mr. Mueller, answering months of speculation over whether he was willing to submit to questions from the special counsel[.]

“I would love to do that — I’d like to do it as soon as possible,” the president told reporters on Wednesday of the prospect of being interviewed by Mr. Mueller, adding that his lawyers have told him it would be “about two to three weeks” until it takes place. Almost as an afterthought, he added, any such interview would be “subject to my lawyers, and all of that.”

Yeah, that was a big caveat. Let the lawyer walk back begin:

Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer leading the response to the investigation, said Mr. Trump was speaking hurriedly and intended only to say that he was willing to meet.

“He’s ready to meet with them, but he’ll be guided by the advice of his personal counsel,” Mr. Cobb said. He said the arrangements were being worked out between Mr. Mueller’s team and the president’s personal lawyers.

[T]here are no discussions about Mr. Trump speaking before a grand jury, which is how prosecutors speak to witnesses under oath. Interviews with agents and prosecutors are not conducted under oath, but lying to the F.B.I. is a felony.

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Donald Trump Jr. transcript of testimony to be released, his dissembling and lies to be revealed

What would have been the big development of the day in the Russia investigation got buried by late breaking news in the evening.

The Washington Post reports, Senate panel to release interviews with Trump Jr., others involved in meeting with Russian lawyer:

The Senate Judiciary Committee intends to release transcripts of its interviews with President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., and others who participated in a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer allegedly promising damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that the committee would disclose “all witness interviews that we have done related to that meeting,” making them available to the public “for everyone to see.” The committee’s interviews, which were conducted behind closed doors, are complete, he added.

Grassley said the transcripts must be redacted first. It was not immediately clear when that process will be complete. Two of the five transcripts still require legal vetting as well, he said. When asked whether public testimony from these witnesses has been ruled out now, the senator said, “I wouldn’t say anything’s off table, but (it’s) not likely.”

Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) said Thursday she was “delighted” by Grassley’s intentions.

The committee spoke with Trump Jr. in September, and in the last several months has also interviewed other participants in the Trump Tower meeting, including music promoter Rob Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, U.S.-based Russian real estate employee Ike Kaveladze and Anatoli Samochornov, the translator for Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who answered the committee’s questions in writing.

Oddly, “The panel never spoke with President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, or with his former campaign manager Paul Manafort. Both also attended the Trump Tower meeting.”

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