Category Archives: Courts

Team Trump to attack Justice Department investigators, explore pardons

As I posted yesterday, the Trump administration is seeking to discredit anyone in the chain of investigators investigating the Trump campaign and his financial connections to Russia in order to provide grist to the conservative media entertainment complex to wage a propaganda campaign against Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators, for the purpose of laying the groundwork for Trump’s eventual move to a “Saturday Night Massacre” and finding someone at the Justice Department to “Bork” (fire) Robert Mueller.

Trump is also working on a “get out of jail free” card by having his lawyers explore the parameters of his issuing a presidential pardon to his ne’er-do-well family of grifters and con men, and more importantly, to himself.

If Trump is as innocent as he claims, he would be cooperating with Congress and the Justice Department to resolve this matter as quickly as possible to clear his name. He would not be going to war with his own Department of Justice. Trump is plainly behaving as a man who has something to hide.

The Washington Post reports, Trump team seeks to control, block Mueller’s Russia investigation:

Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

One adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’ ” a close adviser said.

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‘Trumpcare’ failure, and more to follow

Well resisters, last night two unlikely Tea-Publicans, Mike Lee (UT) and Jerry Moran (KS), announced their opposition to evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell’s abominable Senate bill to repeal and replace “Obamacare” with  a mean-spirited “Trumpcare.” Health Care Overhaul Collapses as Two Republican Senators Defect:

Two more Republican senators declared on Monday night that they would oppose the Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing, for now, a seven-year-old promise to overturn President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

The announcement by the senators, Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas, left their leaders at least two votes short of the number needed to begin debate on their bill to dismantle the health law. Two other Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine, had already said they would not support a procedural step to begin debate.

With four solid votes against the bill, Republican leaders now have two options.

They can try to rewrite it in a way that can secure 50 Republican votes, a seeming impossibility at this point, given the complaints by the defecting senators. Or they can work with Democrats on a narrower measure to fix the flaws in the Affordable Care Act that both parties acknowledge.

WRONG! Tea-Publicans will do what they always do: retaliate out of spite and vindictiveness, and continue to sabotage “Obamacare”:

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, conceded Monday night that “the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful.” He outlined plans to vote now on a measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, with it taking effect later. That has almost no chance to pass, however, since it could leave millions without insurance and leave insurance markets in turmoil.

A “clean” repeal effort was rejected in January for a “repeal and replace” plan because Tea-Publicans did not have the votes for a clean repeal then; it is far less likely they have the votes now. (Of course, our Rep. Martha McSally is at the ready to lead the GOP over the insanity cliff with her battle cry of “Let’s get this fucking thing done!“)

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Trial begins in challenge to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce bill to deny your constitutional right to citizen initiative (Updated)

Yesterday I posted about the signature gathering efforts for the referendums currently circulating out there challenging onerous changes to Arizona’s citizen initiative process passed by our lawless Tea-Publican legislature to effectively render the citizen initiative process impossible unless financed by big corporate dollars, i.e., the Arizona Chambers of Commerce, the evil bastards behind these bills to take away your constitutional rights as a citizen of Arizona.

One petition is from Grassroots Citizens Concerned (R-01-2018), and two other petitions are from Voters of Arizona (R-03-2018 and R-04-2018). These are grassroots efforts, and I have not heard from either group how their signature gathering is going to date. They have an August 8 deadline to file.

UPDATE: The Arizona Capitol Times now reports Campaign to overturn citizen initiative restriction dead:

Foes of new restrictions on the ability of people to propose their own laws have suspended their effort to used paid circulators to gather signatures to quash the law.
Campaign manager Joe Yuhas said this afternoon that all the financial resources of Voters of Arizona are being funneled into convincing a judge that one of the changes violates the state constitution. What that means, he said, is no cash for anything else.

Yuhas said that, strictly speaking, the political campaign to refer — and overturn — what the legislature did is not over. He said volunteers continue to try to get the 75,321 valid signatures on each of two separate petitions.

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Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission is on hold pending a court ruling on privacy

The New York Times reports that three lawsuits have already been filed against Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission. 3 Lawsuits Filed Against White House Panel on Voter Fraud:

[T]he White House panel investigating claims of voter fraud and other irregularities was hit with a salvo of lawsuits on Monday that accused it of violating federal privacy laws and illegally operating in secret.

Three lawsuits, filed separately by civil rights groups, underscored the depth of opposition by the Trump administration’s critics to the panel, the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, even before it formally meets. The commission’s official mandate is to look at flaws in federal voting systems and practices that could encourage fraud and undermine public confidence in elections.

But advocacy groups and many Democratic leaders have called it a Potemkin exercise intended to validate President Trump’s groundless claim that millions of illegal ballots cost him a popular-vote victory in November. The true goal, they say, is to lay the groundwork for Congress to place strict qualifications on registering and voting that would primarily suppress opposition to Republican candidates for office.

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The ‘Flynn factor’ to Trump-Putin campaign collusion

Michael Flynn is at the center of the Trump-Putin campaign investigations by the FBI, the Special Counsel, and congressional committees.

Earlier this year his lawyer publicly asked for an immunity deal for Flynn to “tell his story,” and there has been widespread speculation that Michael Flynn has turned on Donald Trump and is now cooperating with the FBI on Russia investigation. This has not yet been confirmed.

Keep this possibility in mind, however, with the Wall Street Journal’s breaking news story on the first direct evidence of collusion between Russian hackers and Michael Flynn, a senior advisor to the Trump campaign, through a GOP intermediary. GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn (sorry, pay wall article).

Steve Benen provides the details from the WSJ report. Collusion questions grow louder in Trump, Russia scandal:

As Donald Trump’s Russia scandal has evolved, one of the key questions is whether the Republican presidential campaign cooperated in some way with our adversary’s attack on the American election. It is, of course, a matter of ongoing investigation . . . this line of inquiry took an important turn with this Wall Street Journal article.

Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.

In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.

So, what we have here is a Republican operative, Peter Smith, who assembled a team in the hopes of obtaining Hillary Clinton’s emails. Smith and his team reached out to people they believed to be Russian hackers, affiliated with Russia’s government, because Smith and his cohorts thought these hackers may have stolen the materials.

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Senate ‘Obamacare’ repeal is delayed, evil alternatives are proposed (updated)

The original plan of evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell was to have the Senate pass its version of “Trumpcare” by Friday and then go home for the July 4th recess.

As Robert Burns said, “The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!

McConnell wasn’t giving up. McConnell is trying to revise the Senate health-care bill by Friday: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to send a revised version of his health-care bill to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as Friday as he continues to push for a vote before Congress’s August recess.

Oooh, missed it by that much! No GOP deal on health care expected this week as Senate leaves town:

Senate Republicans cautioned Thursday not to expect a final agreement on health care reform bill by Friday, despite a push by GOP leaders and the White House to get by then a framework of a deal that can pass the chamber.

“We’ve made good progress, and we’ll keep working,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has spearheaded talks over the contentious bill that he was forced to pull off the floor earlier this week, acknowledging a deal remains elusive.

Republican leadership aides told CNN intra-party negotiations over the complex bill are still generating new proposals that are regularly being sent to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office for analysis and that process would continue over the weeklong July 4 recess.

A deal cannot be finalized until that CBO scoring takes place and the Senate parliamentarian reviews the language to ensure it fits the strict reconciliation rules being used to pass the bill without the threat of a filibuster.

Aides to McConnell insist the Kentucky Republican never imposed a hard Friday deadline for an agreement. Bullshit! You failed, Dude!

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