Category Archives: Courts

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Trump-Putin campaign investigation

The Wall Street Journal is the first to report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has recently impaneled a grand jury in the Trump-Putin campaign investigation (separate from the Gen. Michael Flynn grand jury) indicating that the investigation has entered a new phase. Special Counsel Robert Mueller Impanels Washington Grand Jury in Russia Probe (pay firewall article):

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to people familiar with the matter.

The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, signals that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry will likely continue for months.

The Washington Post picks up the Journal’s report, Special Counsel Mueller using grand jury in federal court in Washington as part of Russia investigation:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller began using a grand jury in federal court in Washington several weeks ago as part of his probe into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, according to two people familiar with the investigation.

The development is a sign that investigators continue to aggressively gather evidence in the case.

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States can intervene to prevent GOP subterfuge on ‘Obamacare’ cost sharing reduction subsidies

There is a status report due to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals later this month in the case of House v. Price (née House v. Burwell), a bizarre lawsuit that could still blow up the ACA insurance markets:

House v. Price offers a back door to undoing Obamacare’s exchanges.

To destabilize the ACA insurance markets, all the administration would have to do is dismiss its appeal and stop fighting the case. At that point, the district court’s injunction — its order to stop making the illegal cost-reimbursement payments —would spring into effect.

Faced with enormous financial losses, many insurers would flee the market. Recall that the Affordable Care Act would still require insurers to cut their low-income enrollees a break — it’s just that insurers wouldn’t get reimbursed. The only way to make the numbers work would be to jack up premiums on everyone. In that scenario, the Urban Institute estimates that premiums would rise, on average, by $1,040, and that hundreds of thousands of people would lose coverage.

On Tuesday, the court permitted a coalition of state attorneys general to intervene in the lawsuit to prevent this GOP subterfuge between president Trump and the Tea-Publican Congress to sabotage “Obamacare.” Court ruling could help keep Obamacare subsidies:

A federal appeals court issued a ruling Tuesday that could help preserve a key subsidy that benefits health insurers and millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act. The ruling could make it more difficult for the White House to carry out recent threats by President Trump to cut off the payments, giving legal standing to a new set of the payments’ ­defenders.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that a coalition of 16 state attorneys general, all of whom want to preserve the subsidies, may intervene in the appeal of a lawsuit over the fate of cost-sharing subsidies — payments the government makes to insurers on behalf of about 7 million low-income Americans who receive breaks on their health plans’ deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

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The rehabilitation of Martha McSally as a mythical moderate Republican begins

Oh, this is rich. Rep. Martha McSally, who rallied House GOP members to pass House Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act in the House with the battle cry of “Let’s get this fucking thing done!”, has now joined a bipartisan House group to stabilize “Obamacare.”

This is like the arsonist who burns your house to the ground and then pretends to be a hero by rescuing you from the fire she set. And the GOP-friendly media in Arizona is playing along with McSally’s attempt to rehabilitate her image by again pretending that McSally is a mythical moderate Republican when she votes with Donald Trump’s agenda nearly 100% of the time.

The Arizona Republic reports, With GOP health-care efforts in tatters, 3 Arizona lawmakers want a bipartisan fix:

[T]hree Arizona members of Congress have joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers trying to shore up a portion of the nation’s insurance system.

A proposal released Monday by the 43-member Problem Solvers Caucus would effectively guarantee insurance subsidies for the individual markets and exempt more businesses from mandated health coverage.

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally helped craft the bipartisan plan for the Republicans as a way to help stabilize the individual markets, which face a deadline next month for setting premium levels even as President Donald Trump has suggested he may withhold subsidies to them.

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Justice finally comes for crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio

The wheels of justice turn slowly, and it often comes too late, but justice finally came for “America’s most corrupt sheriff” crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio on Monday. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio found guilty of criminal contempt of court:

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s own words were the linchpin in the case against him, his quotes cited more than 20 times in a federal judge’s ruling that found him guilty of criminal contempt of court.

In a verdict filed Monday morning, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said evidence demonstrated Arpaio’s “flagrant disregard” for another federal judge’s order that halted his signature immigration round-ups.

The sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5. Arpaio, 85, faces up to six months in confinement, a sentence equivalent to that of a misdemeanor.

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John McCain casts the decisive vote to kill GOP ‘Obamacare’ repeal; now comes more GOP sabotage

When a politician does the right thing, a rare occurrence these days, I will give them the credit and respect they deserve.

In a totally unexpected move early this morning, Senator John McCain in the end did the right thing, joining two GOP women stalwarts, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, to defeat evil GOP bastard Mitch McConnell’s ultimate act of legislative malpractice to repeal “Obamacare.”

Thank you Senator McCain. After all the calls and emails to the senator’s office that you all have made over the past several weeks, today I would urge you to do the same to offer a word of thanks to the senator. And do the same for Sens. Collins and Murkowski.

The New York Times reports, Senate Rejects Health Law Repeal, With McCain Casting the Decisive ‘No’ Vote:

The Senate in the early hours of Friday morning rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Barack Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump.

Senator John McCain of Arizona, who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it.

The 49-to-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has nurtured his reputation as a master tactician and spent the last three months trying to devise a repeal bill that could win support from members of his caucus.

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Federal judge gives Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission the go ahead

A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for President Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission to proceed in gathering personal data on the nation’s voters. The 35 page order and opinion is HERE (.pdf).

The New York Times reports, Judge Clears Way for Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel to Collect Data:

[Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission], which was created after the president falsely claimed that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in 2016, has come under siege from many organizations that have filed lawsuits accusing the commission of violating federal privacy laws. The judge’s decision on Monday delivered a setback to the opposition, which has objected to the commission’s expansive request for the personal and public data about the country’s 200 million voters.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, which filed the suit, sought to stop the commission from acquiring the voter data, claiming that the panel should have conducted a privacy impact assessment before asking states for the personal information. But the judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Federal District Court, said the panel did not qualify as a federal agency, so it was not required to conduct and publish a privacy assessment.

So this is a narrow ruling based on a statutory technicality, not a sweeping endorsement of the commission.

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