Category Archives: Justice

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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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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GOP election fraud in North Carolina 9th congressional district

Republicans purvey the myth of in-person voter fraud at the polls, for which there is no evidence to substantiate their conspiracy theory.

If voter fraud is going to occur, it will occur with early voting mail-in ballots. The hand-full of voters prosecuted for “double voting” in Arizona are snowbird residents who voted in their home state and also voted in Arizona. None served time.

But what happened in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district is not about voter fraud (the media really needs to stop using this term incorrectly). This is an actual case of election fraud — the stealing of an election by the GOP — through voter suppression of minority voters’ early mail-in ballots.

The Washington Post reports, North Carolina election-fraud investigation centers on operative with criminal history who worked for GOP congressional candidate:

[A] local operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless ran his command center for Republican Mark Harris in the 9th Congressional District primary this spring.

Dowless sat at a desk at the back of one of the strip’s vacant storefronts, where he oversaw a crew of workers who collected absentee ballots from voters and updated the Harris campaign on the numbers, according to Jeff Smith, who is the building’s owner and a former Dowless friend.

Smith provided his account about the primary campaign to state investigators, who are examining whether Dowless’s activities then and in the general election violated North Carolina’s election laws, which allow only individual voters or designated close relatives to mail a ballot.

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It’s Mueller Time!

Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff reports that Mueller is preparing endgame for Russia investigation:

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation, providing the clearest clues yet that the long-running probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election may be coming to its climax, potentially in the next few weeks, according to multiple sources close to the matter.

The new information about the state of Mueller’s investigation comes during a pivotal week when the special counsel’s prosecutors are planning to file memos about three of their most high profile defendants — former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

A Flynn sentencing memo is due Tuesday, and memos about Manafort and Cohen are slated for Friday. All three documents are expected to yield significant new details on what cooperation the three of them provided to the Russia investigation.

There has been much speculation that Mueller might file his memo in Manafort’s case under seal in order to prevent public disclosure of the additional crimes his office believes Manafort committed when he allegedly lied to prosecutors and broke a plea deal after agreeing to cooperate.

But Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, confirmed to Yahoo News on Monday that the Manafort memo “will be public,” although he added there could be some portions that are redacted or filed as a sealed addendum. The Manafort memo has been requested by the federal judge in his case so that prosecutors could, for the first time, spell out what matters they believe Manafort has lied to them about.

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