Category Archives: International

(Update) Draining the Trump Swamp: Democrats file Emoluments Clause lawsuit

I posted about these lawsuits the other day, Draining the Trump Swamp: Emoluments Clause lawsuits are heating up, which referenced another lawsuit yet to be filed by Democrats in Congress.

That lawsuit has now been filed. Democrats in Congress Sue Trump Over Foreign Business Dealings:

Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress filed a federal lawsuit (.pdf) on Wednesday accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from business dealings with foreign governments.

The plaintiffs — believed to be the most members of Congress to ever sue a sitting president — contend that Mr. Trump has ignored a constitutional clause that prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts, or emoluments, from foreign powers without congressional approval.

It is the third such lawsuit against Mr. Trump on the issue since he became president, part of a coordinated effort by the president’s critics to force him to reveal his business entanglements and either sell off his holdings or put them in a blind trust.

Like the previous two federal lawsuits, this one, filed in federal court in Washington, accuses Mr. Trump of illegally profiteering from his businesses in a variety of ways, including collecting payments from foreign diplomats who stay in his hotels and accepting trademark approvals from foreign governments for his company’s goods and services.

But it creates a new group of plaintiffs who claim the president’s actions have damaged them: Democratic members of the House and Senate who say they have been wrongly deprived of their constitutional right to rule on whether Mr. Trump can accept such economic benefits from foreign governments, according to Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who led the effort with Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, provides: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

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Sessions testimony: ‘a master class in dissembling’

During the testimony of our Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III yesterday before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday there was this entertaining exchange:

SEN. WYDEN: The question is, Mr. Comey said there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn’t talk about them. What are they?

SESSIONS: Why don’t you tell me! There are none, Senator Wyden. There are none. I can tell you that for absolute certainty. This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don’t appreciate it. I try to give my best and truthful answers to any committee I’ve appeared before, and it’s really — people are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest about matters, and I’ve tried to be honest.

I half expected Sessions to go all Zell Miller on Sen. Wyden: “I do declare that you have impuned my honor, sir. I demand satisfaction. I challenge you to a duel.

And it was not innuendo, it was signal intelligence of Russian communications. Comey’s Hint at Jeff Sessions-Russia Problem Was Alleged Secret Meeting at Mayflower Hotel: classified intelligence suggested an undisclosed meeting between Sessions and the Russian ambassador to the U.S. in April 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

Sessions followed the script set by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal asserting “I do not recall” more times than I could keep count (this is how a witness can avoid perjury charges). And what he did know, he refused to answer citing some ethereal executive privilege in the future that president Trump might assert, someday,  but had not asserted before his testimony.

This is becoming a thing with Trump administration officials.

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Right-wing media lays the groundwork for firing Robert Mueller

One of President Trump’s lawyers on Sunday would not rule out that the special counsel overseeing the Russia criminal investigation could get fired. President Trump lawyer won’t rule out Special Counsel Robert Mueller getting fired:

On ABC News’ “This Week,” attorney Jay Sekulow evaded a direct question about whether Trump would promise not to interfere with the probe run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

“Look, the President of the United States, as we all know, is a unitary executive,” Sekulow said.

“But the President is going to seek the advice of his counsel and inside the government as well as outside. And I’m not going to speculate on what he will or will not do.”

He added, “I can’t imagine that that issue is going to arise. But that again is an issue that the President with his advisers would discuss if there was a basis.”

Unitary executive“? We’ve heard this phrase before. The unitary executive theory “asserts that all executive authority must be in the President’s hands, without exception.” Presidential power “must be unilateral, and unchecked.” The phrase “unitary executive” is a code word for a doctrine that favors nearly unlimited executive power, from the twisted mind of Dick Cheney.

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9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously rejects Trump’s revised Muslim travel ban

Donald Trump continues to go “oh for” in the federal courts with his discriminatory Muslim travel bans.

Today a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Trump’s revised Muslim travel ban, joining the en banc Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in rejecting the revised Muslim travel ban because of unconstitutional discrimination. Read the ruling HERE (.pdf).

The San Franciso Chronicle reports, Federal appeals court in SF deals Trump another travel ban defeat:

President Trump’s second attempt to ban U.S. entry by anyone from a group of nations with overwhelmingly Muslim populations was rejected Monday by a San Francisco-based federal appeals court, which said Trump had exceeded his authority and violated a ban on discrimination based on national origin.

The 3-0 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco follows a May 24 decision by [the Fourth Circuit] appeals court in Richmond, Va., that reached the same conclusion. The Trump administration has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Note: “The justices have asked the challengers to file responses to the petition for review and the requests for stays of the lower courts’ rulings. Those responses are due on or before 3 p.m. on Monday, June 12. This is likely why the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling today.  Stay tuned.

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Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to testify on Tuesday

Programming Note: Our Confederate Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III will testify in open hearing Tuesday before Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, according to the committee’s leaders.

The hearing will be held Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified last week that the bureau had information about Sessions — before he recused himself from overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — that would have made it “problematic” for him to be involved in the probe. The former director did not elaborate in public on the nature of the information.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions requested that the committee hearing be public.

“He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee’s questions tomorrow,” Flores said.

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Support for James Comey’s version of the story

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in an interview with ABC’s This Week that Trump’s alleged effort to dissuade then-FBI director James Comey from pursuing an investigation into former national security director Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia merited an inquiry.

I think there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case,” Bharara told This Week host George Stephanopoulos, adding: “I think it’s very important for all sorts of armchair speculators in the law to be clear that no one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction.”

“It’s also true I think from based on what I see as a third party and out of government that there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction,” he said.

More importantly, Preet Bharara says he was similarly pressured by Donald Trump as former FBI Director James Comey testified under oath. Former U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara says Trump fired him after a series of ‘uncomfortable’ calls:

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for Manhattan, told an interviewer Sunday that he was fired after a series of  “uncomfortable” telephone calls that made him feel that President Trump might be trying to compromise his independence as a federal prosecutor.

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