Category Archives: Courts

Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

Last Friday the Washington Post reported in cryptic language, Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say:

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

As I pointed out at the time, this left only one person who fit that description, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Sure enough, the Washington Post confirmed last night that its original report was about Jared Kushner, Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation, about the same time that NBC News reported the same. Jared Kushner Under Scrutiny in Russia Probe, Officials Say.

First, The Post:

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.

The Washington Post reported last week that a senior White House official close to the president was a significant focus of the high-stakes investigation, though it did not name Kushner.

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4th Circuit Court of Appeals will not reinstate Trump Muslim travel ban

In a continuing series of defeats before the courts for President Trump’s ill-considered Muslim travel ban, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday refused to reinstate President Trump’s revised Muslim travel ban, saying it discriminated on the basis of religion. Federal appeals court largely maintains freeze of Trump’s travel ban:

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit means the Trump administration still cannot enforce its travel order that the government says is urgently needed for national security.

In its 10 to 3 en banc decision, the Richmond-based court said the president’s broad immigration power to deny entry into the U.S. is not absolute.

“It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the president wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation,” according to the majority opinion written by Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, and joined in part by nine other judges.

The 4th Circuit declined to lift an order from a Maryland federal judge, who ruled against the travel ban in March and sided with opponents who said the ban violates the Constitution by intentionally discriminating against Muslims. The ruling leaves the injunction in place and means citizens from Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Libya can continue entering the United States.

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GOP sabotage of ‘Obamacare’ in today’s opinions

Some good opinion pieces at the New York Times today on the Tea-Publican efforts to sabotage “Obamacare” and replace it with their own dystopian vision of “Trumpcare.”

David Leonhardt writes, C.B.O. Report Reveals Trumpcare’s Fatal Flaws:

The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the House health care bill is a devastating indictment.

The new report shows that millions of Americans would lose health insurance and the quality of insurance for millions more would deteriorate. The savings from that carnage — to borrow a favorite word of President Trump’s — would pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.

And yet the immediate reaction to the C.B.O. report also shows why you should be worried that the Senate will nonetheless decide to pass a version of the House bill.

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Distraction is a tactic of the politicians who are trying to take away health insurance from people. These politicians can’t sell their proposals on the merits. That’s why both the House and, thus far, the Senate have refused to hold any hearings. They know that virtually every expert across the ideological spectrum — including groups representing doctors, nurses, hospitals, patients and senior citizens — opposes the bill.

Unable to win a debate on its merits, Republican leaders need to change the subject. They can’t let their proposals be judged on whether they improve the American health care system, because they don’t. They need to create a lower standard by which the plan will be judged.

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GOP sabotage of ‘Obamacare’: delay for 90 days during the plan filing period

I previously gave you a backgrounder on the House GOP lawsuit House v. Price (née House v. Burwell) for which the next status report to the Court is due today.

Politico reports that instead of filing the status report, the White House seeks 90-day delay in Obamacare subsidy suit:

The Trump administration and House of Representatives Monday asked a federal court for another 90-day delay in a lawsuit over Obamacare insurance subsidies, undermining the future of the health care marketplaces as insurers look for certainty from the government before committing to offer coverage next year.

“The parties continue to discuss measures that would obviate the need for judicial determination of this appeal, including potential legislative action,” the House and White House wrote to the court.

If the request is approved, the parties would have to file another update in 90 days.

“We continue to work with the Trump administration on a solution,” said AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for Speaker Paul Ryan.

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SCOTUS rejects two North Carolina districts for racial gerrymandering

The Supreme Court today ruled on the long-awaited gerrymandering case from North Carolina, Cooper v. Harris. The ruling is Here (.pdf).

Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports, Justices Reject 2 Gerrymandered North Carolina Districts, Citing Racial Bias:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down two North Carolina congressional districts, ruling that lawmakers had violated the Constitution by relying too heavily on race in drawing them.

The court rejected arguments from state lawmakers that their purpose in drawing the maps was not racial discrimination but partisan advantage.

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In their decision this week, the justices were unanimous in rejecting District 1, in the northeastern part of the state. After the 2010 census, lawmakers increased the district’s black voting-age population to 52.7 percent from 48.6 percent.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, said black voters, in coalitions with others, had been able to elect their preferred candidates even before the redistricting. Adding additional black voters to the district, she wrote, amounted to an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

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Wapo: Russia probe identifies a person of interest inside the White House

It is a classic urban legend horror scenario: A young woman who is home alone. Often she is a baby sitter. She gets a creepy phone call asking, “Have you checked the kids?” She calls the police. They trace the call and they tell her, “The calls are coming from inside the house.”

The Washington Post reports that the law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current official working inside the White House as a significant person of interest. Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with the case say:

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

C’mon, cut to the chase.  There are only a small number of suspects close advisors who have admitted publicly to having had contacts with the Russians: Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Technically, only one of them actually works inside the White House, the only one who can be said to be “close to” Donald Trump, that is “The Kush.” Trump entrusts him with everything. On January 9, 2017, Kushner was named Senior Advisor to the President.

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