Category Archives: Courts

Trump nominates former AG William Barr for Attorney General

Earlier this week, More than 400 former DOJ officials call on Trump to replace Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General in a signed statement, which was first published by BuzzFeed News on Tuesday.

In a separate letter, Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee expressed similar concerns about Matthew Whitaker, whose appointment is unconstitutional and illegal anf being challenged in court.

The New York Times editorialized today that Matthew Whitaker should not have been acting attorney general even for a day. It is time the Senate demanded a reasonable replacement. The still-unanswered questions surrounding Matthew Whitaker.

From your lips to Trump’s ears.

This morning President Trump created a bright shiny object to distract from the Mueller sentencing memorandums expected to be filed later today by nominating William Barr for Attorney General. Barr previously served as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush. Trump Will Nominate William P. Barr as Attorney General:

President Trump on Friday said he intended to nominate William P. Barr, who served as attorney general during the first Bush administration from 1991 to 1993, to return as head of the Justice Department.

“He was my first choice since Day 1,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he walked from the White House to a helicopter for a trip to Kansas City, Mo. [An obvious lie.]

Mr. Trump’s focus on Mr. Barr, who supports a strong vision of executive powers, had emerged over the past week following the ouster last month of Jeff Sessions as attorney general and the turbulent reception that greeted his installation of Matthew G. Whitaker as the acting attorney general.

Barr is as much a right-wing partisan as Matthew Whitaker, which is why Trump picked him. (Barr can be confirmed by a GOP majority Senate, while Whitaker, whose unethical past is under investigation by the FBI, could not).

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Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature loses in court again

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has blocked efforts by Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled Legislature to create new exceptions to laws that require disclosure of campaign finance spending. Ruling restores expanded oversight by Clean Elections Commission over campaign finances:

In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge David Palmer said a 2017 measure unconstitutionally conflicts with a 1998 voter-approved law designed to reduce the influence of money on politics.

Wednesday’s decision most immediately limits the ability of political parties to spend unlimited dollars on behalf of their candidates without disclosing the expenditures. It also voids some exemptions that lawmakers created in campaign finance laws, like allowing people to pay the legal fees of candidates without it counting against the legal limit of how much financial help they can provide.

But attorney Jim Barton, who represented those challenging the 2017 law, said the most significant part of the ruling is it restores the right of the voter-created Citizens Clean Elections Commission to police and enforce campaign finance laws against all candidates and their donors, not just those who are running with public financing.

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Discovery in Emoluments Clause case to be resisted by the Grifter-in-Chief

Grifter-in-Chief Donald Trump’s lawyers made a desperate last-minute bid over the weekend to block the discovery process in the Emoluments Clause case filed by the Attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia.  U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte rejected their arguments.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia have wasted no time in seeking discovery. Maryland and District of Columbia Seek Business Records Related to Trump Hotel:

The State of Maryland and the District of Columbia began issuing subpoenas on Tuesday for records related to President Trump’s hotel in Washington, seeking evidence of conflicts of interest that violate the Constitution’s anti-corruption provision.

See Subpoena For Documents (.pdf) to U.S. Department of Commerce (for payments made to Trump International Hotel, etc.), and Subpoena For Documents (.pdf) to DJT Holdings, LLC (for financial records from as many as 13 of President Trump’s private entities, including all state and federal business income tax returns, etc.) Production of documents is due on January 3, 2019.

The subpoenaed documents could lead to depositions with Trump Organization officials.

Their demands for a vast array of documents, including tax records related to the president’s business, are certain to run headlong into a legal challenge by the administration. The Justice Department is expected to contest rulings by a federal judge who allowed the litigation to go forward, and the case appears bound for the Supreme Court.

The governments of Maryland and the District of Columbia are claiming that Mr. Trump is violating the emoluments clauses of the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign leaders or state officials who patronize the Trump International Hotel, which is on Pennsylvania Avenue just blocks from the White House. They are seeking documents from about a dozen entities connected to Mr. Trump’s business, including the trust in which he placed assets when he became president, as well as from numerous other entities.

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Michael Flynn sentencing memorandum indicates that the Special Counsel is far from done

The media waited with bated breath in high anticipation of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for Michael Flynn, hoping that it would lay out a more complete narrative of his case, as the indictments previously filed have done.

The media was disappointed by the Sentencing Memorandum (.pdf) and heavily redacted Addendum (.pdf). This is because Michael Flynn is a cooperating witness in at least three criminal investigations that are ongoing, and the Special Counsel must maintain this information as confidential. The non-public sentencing memorandum is filed under seal.

Andrew Prokop at Vox.com analyses, 4 takeaways from Mueller’s sentencing memo for Michael Flynn:

[T]here’s a lot in the text itself and between the redacted lines in the documents, amounting to four key takeaways.

First off, Mueller is quite happy with Flynn’s cooperation — happy enough to recommend that he serve no prison time. (This is a notable contrast to the positively scathing memo Mueller’s team wrote about George Papadopoulos, in which they said he did not provide “substantial assistance” and complained that he talked to the press.)

Second, Flynn is cooperating in not one but three different investigations — Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, a separate criminal probe, and a third investigation of some kind. But most of the details of these other probes are redacted, including even the type of the third investigation.

Third, the cooperation Flynn provided to Mueller’s probe specifically appears to break down into two main areas. One focused on contacts between the Trump transition team and Russia, but we don’t know what the other one is yet.

Finally, the many redactions indicate that there’s still a whole lot going on behind the scenes that Mueller doesn’t yet want the public to know about.

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Face It: Republican Leaders do not believe in Democracy

It should be apparent to most political observers that the Party of Lincoln is dead at the local. state, and federal levels. It has been replaced by a Party (called Trumpist) that rejects everything democracy and republics profess to be about.

This did not start with Donald Trump. This evolution has been proceeding since 1965 when ex Dixiecrats in the Democratic Party forged ties in corporate interests in the Republican and foreign policy hawks that produced the Reagan Presidency, the Gingrich House, and the George W. Bush Administration.

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