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Thread: 2020 American Political Scene

  1. #241
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    so, today Trump blamed both the intel community and Dr Fauci for telling him the virus was no big deal.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    This is a particularly stupid and spoiled child who thinks that he owns the sandlot.
    Joe, don't do that. You are fucking up one of my favorite baseball movies.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Joe, don't do that. You are fucking up one of my favorite baseball movies.
    You might say that I'm killin' you?
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    This is a particularly stupid and spoiled child who thinks that he owns the sandlot.
    I had heard Daddy bought it

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    I had heard Daddy bought it
    Yeah, we'll just be straight up: Without Fred Trump, Donald is just a mentally-stunted cockwomble.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    You might say that I'm killin' you?
    Smalls!!!
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  7. #247
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    Now and then there are these lessons in politics that can pass by many without even thinking about it. Trump practices many of them, some you would say useful to him, and then some very bad for him as though he were an idiot. Ok, he is an idiot but still.

    So I see this story on CNN that I was not going to read but decided to take a look since it mentioned "basic rule" in politics. So I read the story and it made perfect sense overall. I don't tweet, don't have the phone for it, and so would have never seen what Trump had tweeted. However, I saw the story and what did I do after reading it? I looked up Lincoln Project and the ad. Thank you CNN, and Donald, for bringing it to my attention. I even made a donation, the second this year, and the only two in my life to help send DT back down his hole. So Donald keep up the good work...

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/polit...ump/index.html

    Famed Seven Kingdoms philosopher Tywin Lannister once said this when asked about concerns regarding his leadership: "A lion does not concern itself with the opinions of the sheep."

    Simply put: The lion is a lion. He does what he wants and what he needs to do. Worrying about what his prey think about him is pointless. Their opinions are of no consequence. Thinking about them at all is a waste of the lion's time.

    The "Game of Thrones" patriarch wasn't talking about American politics, but his lesson holds true here, too. We express it with the phrase "Never punch down," meaning that there is no value in a high-profile politician going after a lesser-known opponent. All it does is elevate the opponent, which is what he or she wants anyway!

    Which brings me to the curious case of Donald Trump and the Lincoln Project.

    The former you know. He's the President of the United States.

    The latter you probably don't. The Lincoln Project was formed late last year by some of the most prominent "Never Trumpers" in the country: George Conway, the husband of senior Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, as well as Republican consultants John Weaver, Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson.

    "Over these next 11 months, our efforts will be dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line," they wrote in a New York Times op-ed announcing the group's formation.

    On Monday, the Lincoln Project released an ad entitled "Mourning in America" -- playing off the famed "Morning in America" ad by President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

    "Under the leadership of Donald Trump our country is weaker and sicker and poorer," says the ad's narrator. "If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?"

    Its message is dark, foreboding and harsh. And it's very likely that almost no one would have even seen that message had it not been for Donald Trump.

    (Asked for more information, the Lincoln Project did not provide any specifics regarding how much they spent on the commercial. But the group only had $2.5 million in the bank at the end of March, so they aren't likely spending massive sums on it.)

    Just after midnight Monday -- 12:46 a.m. ET Tuesday morning, to be precise -- Trump took to Twitter to rant about the ad and the group. Here's the full text, which took Trump four tweets:

    "A group of RINO Republicans who failed badly 12 years ago, then again 8 years ago, and then got BADLY beaten by me, a political first timer, 4 years ago, have copied (no imagination) the concept of an ad from Ronald Reagan, 'Morning in America', doing everything possible to get even for all of their many failures. You see, these loser types don't care about 252 new Federal Judges, 2 great Supreme Court Justices, a rebuilt military, a protected 2nd Amendment, biggest EVER Tax & Regulation cuts, and much more. I didn't use any of them because they don't know how to win, and their so-called Lincoln Project is a disgrace to Honest Abe. I don't know what Kellyanne did to her deranged loser of a husband, Moonface, but it must have been really bad. John Weaver lost big for Kasich (to me). Crazed Rick Wilson lost for Evan 'McMuffin' McMullin (to me). Steve Schmidt & Reed Galvin lost for John McCain, Romney's campaign manager (?) lost big to 'O,' & Jennifer Horn got thrown out of the New Hampshire Republican Party. They're all LOSERS, but Abe Lincoln, Republican, is all smiles!"

    So, yeah. But he wasn't done! Before leaving for Arizona on Tuesday morning, Trump again addressed the ad and the group, saying (in part):

    "I saw a Project, the thing called the Lincoln Project, and I would have them change their name to the 'Losers Project.' Because if you take a look -- it's (Steve) Schmidt, it's George Conway -- the guy, Kellyanne must've done a big number on him, but it's George Conway and some other people, (John) Weaver, every one of them, I either defeated or they lost by themselves. But it's a group of major losers. They're Republican losers. ... So they should not call it the Lincoln Project, it's not fair to Abraham Lincoln, a great president. They should call it the Losers Project."

    I can just imagine the folks at the Lincoln Project high-fiving when they read Trump's tweets. And dancing a jig when he talked about them -- and their ad -- before getting on Marine One.

    This is their ideal scenario. They literally don't have the money to buy this sort of publicity for their ad. Now lots of people who read Trump's tweets or saw him blasting the Lincoln Project outside the White House on Tuesday will got to their computers and look up "Lincoln Project." And watch the "Mourning in America" ad.

    It's a gigantic win for what is, in truth, a small group of prominent talking heads who were -- and Trump is right about this -- roundly crushed by him and his allies during the 2016 campaign.

    Trump's inability to ignore renegade voices within his party is a violation of the most basic of campaign rules. The more he talks about the Lincoln Project -- no matter how negatively -- the better for the group's profile and ability to raise money to oppose his reelection.

    Trump's best strategy toward dissenting voices within his own party would be to ignore them and stay silent. But that's not really a skill he possesses.

    Think Trump is letting the sheep bother him? Uh, yeah.

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Now and then there are these lessons in politics that can pass by many without even thinking about it. Trump practices many of them, some you would say useful to him, and then some very bad for him as though he were an idiot. Ok, he is an idiot but still.

    So I see this story on CNN that I was not going to read but decided to take a look since it mentioned "basic rule" in politics. So I read the story and it made perfect sense overall. I don't tweet, don't have the phone for it, and so would have never seen what Trump had tweeted. However, I saw the story and what did I do after reading it? I looked up Lincoln Project and the ad. Thank you CNN, and Donald, for bringing it to my attention. I even made a donation, the second this year, and the only two in my life to help send DT back down his hole. So Donald keep up the good work...

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/polit...ump/index.html
    Trump is too much the spoiled toddler to allow even the most minor of slights to pass by without a full-on temper tantrum.

    It always fascinates me when Trump followers proudly proclaim how much of a "fighter" he is. How he always punches back.

    Yeah, he's "fighter" all right. *rolling my eyes*
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  9. #249
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    US Supreme Court to take on Trump taxes and presidential immunity

    Washington (AFP) - Can Donald Trump refuse to turn over his tax returns and financial records to Congress and New York prosecutors? The Supreme Court takes up this politically charged question on Tuesday, and it may use the occasion to better define the limits of presidential immunity.

    The high court's nine justices, confined at home by the novel coronavirus pandemic, will question lawyers for both sides by telephone in a highly anticipated session to be broadcast live.

    The hearing, initially set for late March, is being held now to allow time for the justices to render a decision before the presidential election in November, as Trump seeks a second term.

    The former real estate magnate, who used his fortune as an argument in his 2016 election campaign, is the first president since Richard Nixon in the 1970s to refuse to release his tax returns -- prompting speculation about his true worth and his possible financial entanglements.

    "There is clearly something in these documents that the president does not want us to see," Steven Mazie, an author and educator, said during a webinar.

    Since retaking control of the House of Representatives in midterm elections in 2018, the Democratic opposition has been eager to find out just what that "something" might be.

    Several congressional committees have issued subpoenas to Trump's longtime accounting firm, Mazars, as well as to Deutsche Bank and Capital One bank, demanding Trump's financial records for the 2011-2018 period.

    Manhattan prosecutor Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, meantime made a similar demand to Mazars as part of an investigation into payments to the porn actress known as Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an alleged liaison with the billionaire.

    Trump immediately sued to block the documents' release.

    "What they are doing is not legal," he said on Twitter, adding, "the Witch Hunt continues."

    Having lost his argument in the lower courts, Trump turned to the nation's highest legal body. With two conservative Trump appointees on the nine-justice panel, the high court has taken a clear turn to the right.

    - 'To torment the president' -

    The justices will devote the first hour of Tuesday's oral arguments to the congressional subpoenas, highlighting a fierce battle over the legislature's investigative powers.

    "Unleashing each and every House committee to torment the president with legislative subpoena after legislative subpoena is a recipe for constitutional crisis," the president's lawyers said in a brief to the court.

    Yet such requests are nothing new, House lawyers responded in their own brief, citing examples involving presidents Richard Nixon, a Republican, and Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.

    "What is unprecedented," they added, "is the extraordinary breadth of the arguments that President Trump and the solicitor general make about the supposed power of a president to thwart investigations."

    The high court may be tempted to sidestep the central issue. In late April, it asked both sides to respond in writing to the question of whether the matter was political and not legal in nature. If the former is true, justices can close the file without taking a position.

    "No," both sides said on Friday, clearly hoping for resolution by the high court.

    - Murder on Fifth Avenue -

    In a second phase of Tuesday's session, the justices will take up the case involving the Manhattan prosecutor, which raises the critical question of the extent of presidential immunity before the law.

    Trump's attorneys argue that a president enjoys total immunity so long as he is in the White House.

    One Trump lawyer even argued before an appeals court that Trump could shoot someone dead on New York's Fifth Avenue and face no legal penalty -- while in office.

    "Nothing could be done?" a skeptical judge asked.

    "That is correct," the president's attorney replied.


    To Trump's legal team, the need for immunity is "particularly acute when it comes to state and local prosecutors."

    "The president must be allowed to execute his official functions without fear that a state or locality will use criminal process to register their dissatisfaction with his performance," they wrote in their brief.

    But law professors Claire Finkelstein and Richard Painter say this vision is contradicted by the record of the Supreme Court itself. The high court required Richard Nixon to turn over secret White House recordings to the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

    The two professors added in a friend-of-the-court brief that an expansive interpretation of presidential immunity poses a "grave threat to the rule of law."

    If the Supreme Court accepts the Trump team's arguments, they added, "it will fundamentally alter the basic principles of accountability on which our democracy depends."
    _________________

    Folks, let that sink in real good:

    Donald Trump believes himself immune to all law, up to and including prosecution for murder...and the issue will be decided in a matter of day or weeks.

    That's what's at stake here. The Supreme Court is about to decide if the the Constitution is still valid, as Congress has the right of oversight according to that document

    Unless of course the SCOTUS dodges the issue altogether...but even that I would assume that all of those lower court decisions would stand.

    It's a shame that surfgun kept dodging and deflecting whenever I asked his opinion on Trump's supposed immunity from the law. I would've liked to have had a Trump follower's take on it.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  10. #250
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    OP-ED: I've Seen Trump's Tax Returns and You Should, Too

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Sunday morning, elated: “So great to see our Country starting to open up again!”

    He shared that sentiment with nearly 80 million followers and attached it to a tweet from one of his golf clubs, Trump National, in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. “Game on! We are thrilled to announce the reopening of @trumpgolfla beginning Saturday May 9th!,” the club tweeted. “We look forward to welcoming you back. Book your tee time now!”

    Sometimes a tweet is just a tweet. And sometimes it’s an advertisement for your business. And sometimes, when the president of the United States promotes his business on Twitter while overseeing the federal response to a pandemic gutting the economy, it’s a financial conflict of interest.

    Is Trump pushing businesses to reopen despite ongoing perils attached to the coronavirus because it’s best for the country? Or is it because Covid-19 has battered his family’s fortunes? Or is it simply because he has the upcoming presidential election in mind? Who knows. But we are more than three years into this presidency and the same questions that have hung over Trump from the moment he launched his bid for the White House still linger: What are the contours of his personal finances and how do they inform his actions and policies?

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will help shape our understanding of some of this when it hears arguments involving efforts by Congress and a New York prosecutor to get access to Trump’s tax returns, bank documents and bookkeeping records. Trump’s lawyers and the Justice Department contend that the president shouldn’t have to comply with subpoenas — or can block his financial advisers from complying — because the requests are overly intrusive or undermine the sweeping immunity from criminal investigations he should enjoy while in office.

    Congress says it wants Trump’s tax returns so it can craft legislation modernizing federal ethics and disclosure laws and protecting the 2020 election from foreign interference. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is conducting a probe into the Trump Organization’s efforts to mask hush money paid to two women who said they had sexual encounters with Trump. He wants to explore whether Trump’s team falsified business records as part of those maneuvers.

    While the Supreme Court’s decision will likely touch on crucial Constitutional matters such as the separation of powers and the legislative branch’s ability to monitor the executive branch, the animating force guiding the court in this matter may be even more basic: whether or not any president is above the rule of law. If the court’s decision pivots off of that, then you’d do well to read George Conway’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post. “The Constitution is concerned with protecting the presidency, not the person who happens to be the president,” Conway writes. “That’s because no one in this country is above the law.”

    The Constitution also makes it clear that presidents can’t use the most powerful office in the land to line their wallets. Articles I and II forbid presidents from accepting what the 18th century called “emoluments” and what the 21st century calls “bribes” from foreign or domestic sources. The Constitution’s ban on emoluments in and of itself requires presidents to be transparent about their finances and circumspect about their business dealings.

    While federal conflict-of-interest laws dating from the Civil War era and updated in 1978 in the wake of the Watergate scandal also require presidents to disclose assets and business interests – and to have potential conflicts monitored by a federal ethics watchdog — much of the disclosure remains voluntary. Presidents remain exempt from federal conflict-of-interest statutes, so practices like placing assets in a blind trust (which Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, both of the Bushes and Bill Clinton did) or releasing personal income tax returns (which every president since Carter has done) is essentially voluntary. Financial transparency in the White House is a tradition but not a requirement.

    Trump chose to buck tradition, of course. He hasn’t released his tax returns and the trust controlling his business interests is anything but blind — it’s overseen by his two eldest sons and his longtime accountant. Litigants typically aren’t hesitant to release information or documents that reflect well on themselves, so the natural question arising from Trump’s stonewalling in the matters the Supreme Court will hear is, “What’s he hiding?”

    Trump sued me for libel in 2006 for a biography I wrote, “TrumpNation,” claiming the book unfairly and intentionally misrepresented his track record as a businessman and lowballed the size of his fortune. The suit was dismissed in 2011.

    During the course of the litigation, Trump resisted releasing his tax returns and other financial records. My lawyers got the returns, and while I can’t disclose specifics, I imagine that Trump is hesitant to release them now because they would reveal how robust his businesses actually are and shine a light on some of his foreign sources of income.

    Deutsche Bank AG, one of the firms Trump’s lawyers are trying to stifle in their arguments before the Supreme Court, also turned over documents in my case — including its own assessment of Trump’s wealth that pegged his fortune at $788 million in 2004, well below the $3 billion he told them he had at the time. Deutsche is the only major global bank to have continued doing business with Trump since the early 1990s and is conversant with his financial comings and goings since then.

    Mazars USA is Trump’s outside accounting firm. Trump’s lawyers will argue before the Supreme Court that it too shouldn’t comply with subpoena requests for documents. Mazars, which boasts a history ProPublica recently described as “colorful,” turned over documents in my litigation with Trump as well (through a predecessor company with which Mazars later merged). That trove included a financial statement Trump routinely used to substantiate his claims to fabulous wealth. The document, it turned out, was drafted without regard for standard accounting practices or other factors that might have diminished the future president’s claims.

    If all of this information from Trump’s taxes, bankers and accountants was good enough for me over a decade ago, it’s certainly good enough for Congress and the Manhattan district attorney today. It’s also good enough for the American people. If we’ve learned one thing from the Trump presidency it’s that it’s no longer enough to rely on tradition when it comes to the Oval Office and financial transparency. Financial transparency should be a requirement for all presidents going forward — and the Supreme Court would do well to help pave the way.

    This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

    Timothy L. O'Brien is a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.
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  11. #251
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    Explainer: What's at stake in Supreme Court fight over Trump financial records

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday considers three blockbuster cases concerning efforts by the Democratic-led House of Representatives and a grand jury working with a prosecutor in New York City to obtain copies of President Donald Trump's financial records.

    Unlike recent presidents, Trump has refused to disclose his tax returns and other materials that would shed light on the scope of his wealth and his family-run real estate business. The cases test the limits of presidential power in relation to Congress and state prosecutors.

    Here is a look at what is at stake in the cases.


    WHAT ARE THE THREE CASES?

    Two of the three cases concern attempts by House committees to enforce subpoenas seeking Trump's financial records from three businesses: Trump's longtime accounting firm Mazars LLP and two banks, Deutsche Bank and Capital One.

    The Supreme Court has consolidated these two cases and will hear them together in a scheduled one-hour argument.

    The other case concerns another subpoena issued to Mazars for similar information, including tax returns, but this one was issued as part of a grand jury investigation into Trump being carried out in New York City. The justices will hear a second one-hour oral argument in this case.

    Rulings are due by the end of June.

    In all three cases, lower courts in Washington and New York ruled against Trump.


    WHAT DOES THE HOUSE SUBPOENA TO MAZARS SEEK?

    The House Oversight Committee in April 2019 issued a subpoena to Mazars seeking eight years of accounting and other financial information in response to the testimony before Congress of Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer. Cohen said that Trump had inflated and deflated certain assets on financial statements between 2011 and 2013 in part to reduce his real estate taxes. The committee said it wanted to find out whether illegal actions had taken place. Cohen was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to charges including violating campaign finance law, bank fraud, tax evasion and lying to Congress.


    WHAT ABOUT THE HOUSE SUBPOENAS TO THE BANKS?

    The House Financial Services Committee has been examining possible money laundering in U.S. property deals involving Trump. In a separate investigation, the House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether Trump's dealings left him subject to the influence of foreign individuals or governments.

    The two committees issued 12-page subpoenas in April 2019 requiring Deutsche Bank to hand over the banking records of Trump, his children and his businesses. Lawmakers requested documents that identify "any financial relationship, transaction or ties" between Trump, his family members and "any foreign individual, entity or government," according to the subpoena.

    Investigators hope the records will reveal whether there are any financial links between Trump and Russia's government, sources familiar with the probe said. That would include whether any loans to Trump by Deutsche Bank were back-stopped by Russian entities - a financial arrangement that can be considered a form of insurance, the sources said.

    Senior sources within Deutsche Bank have denied any Russian connections to loans it made to Trump.

    Deutsche Bank was the only major lender to conduct business with Trump in recent years - doing so despite the fact that he defaulted on loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars the German bank made to him between 2004 and 2008.

    At the time of his January 2017 inauguration, Trump owed Deutsche Bank around $350 million, according to sources. Many of the loans were granted through Deutsche Bank's New York-based private banking division, which also lent to Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

    The Financial Services Committee also issued a subpoena to Capital One, which also had maintained a long-term relationship with Trump and has come under scrutiny for some of its business practices.


    WHAT IS AT STAKE IN THE HOUSE SUBPOENAS CASES?

    If Trump loses, the material would need to be handed over to Democratic lawmakers, most likely before the Nov. 3 election in which Trump is seeking a second four-year term. The ruling would make clear that a president, at least when it comes to information held by third parties, cannot block House subpoenas.

    Trump's lawyers have advanced several arguments, including that Congress had no authority to issue the subpoenas, a broad assertion of presidential power. No sitting president has ever had his personal records subpoenaed, they said. They also said that even if Congress could issue the subpoenas, it lacked a valid legislative reason for doing so and had not stated with sufficient detail why it needed the documents.

    If the court were to embrace Trump's broadest arguments, it would severely weaken the ability of Congress to conduct oversight of a president.


    WHAT IS THE NEW YORK PROSECUTOR INVESTIGATING?

    The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, in September 2019 sought nearly a decade of tax returns. It is part of a criminal investigation that began in 2018 into Trump and the Trump Organization, the president's family real estate business, spurred by disclosures of hush payments made to two women who said they had past sexual relationships with him. Those women are pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump and his aides have denied the relationships.


    WHAT IS AT STAKE IN THE NEW YORK CASE?

    Trump's lawyers argue that his records cannot be handed over because of his authority as president under the Constitution, contending he is immune from any criminal proceeding when in office. They have downplayed prior Supreme Court rulings regarding limits on the reach of presidential authority and point instead to Justice Department guidance that asserts that a sitting president cannot be indicted or prosecuted. In a lower court hearing, Trump's lawyers went so far as to argue that law enforcement officials would not have the power to investigate Trump even if he shot someone on New York's Fifth Avenue.

    Vance has countered that his investigation is at an early stage and that there is a risk that documents would be lost if prosecutors cannot access them now.
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  12. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    [B][SIZE=3]
    - Murder on Fifth Avenue -

    In a second phase of Tuesday's session, the justices will take up the case involving the Manhattan prosecutor, which raises the critical question of the extent of presidential immunity before the law.

    Trump's attorneys argue that a president enjoys total immunity so long as he is in the White House.

    One Trump lawyer even argued before an appeals court that Trump could shoot someone dead on New York's Fifth Avenue and face no legal penalty -- while in office.

    "Nothing could be done?" a skeptical judge asked.

    "That is correct," the president's attorney replied.


    To Trump's legal team, the need for immunity is "particularly acute when it comes to state and local prosecutors."

    "The president must be allowed to execute his official functions without fear that a state or locality will use criminal process to register their dissatisfaction with his performance," they wrote in their brief.

    But law professors Claire Finkelstein and Richard Painter say this vision is contradicted by the record of the Supreme Court itself. The high court required Richard Nixon to turn over secret White House recordings to the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.

    The two professors added in a friend-of-the-court brief that an expansive interpretation of presidential immunity poses a "grave threat to the rule of law."

    If the Supreme Court accepts the Trump team's arguments, they added, "it will fundamentally alter the basic principles of accountability on which our democracy depends."
    So let's take this immunity that he claims a little bit further. Suppose Trump decided to turn a little bit Franco or Pinochet and order a few journalists to disappear. God knows he would love to. Is he then immune for ordering their disappearance and cannot be prosecuted?

    That is pretty much what his lawyers are saying as it is only a very short step from Murder on Fifth Avenue to Murder of the Fifth Estate

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    If US law is derived from English law then the English Civil War was fought for the cause that even the King must be constrained by law and it derives not from the title, the anointment of the Church or office but from the people as it started as custom among the people (and still does in English law in England).



    Last edited by snapper; 11 May 20, at 22:57.

  14. #254
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    Trump’s attorney says president is ‘temporarily immune’ from investigation

    Trump’s private attorney, Jay Sekulow, emphasized that Trump is temporarily immune from investigation while he is in the White House and urged the court to invalidate the New York grand jury subpoena.

    If the court upholds the Manhattan district attorney’s subpoena, it “weaponizes 2,300 local district attorneys” throughout the country to “harass, distract and interfere” with a sitting president, said Sekulow, who was Trump’s lead attorney during the Senate impeachment trial.

    Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked why the president’s argument allows the grand jury to continue to investigate but not use a subpoena, its most effective, traditional device. Roberts noted the court in 1997 unanimously required President Bill Clinton to respond to a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones.

    “I would have thought the discovery in a case like Clinton v. Jones would be similarly distracting,” Roberts said.


    Sekulow said the Clinton case was a civil lawsuit in federal court, not a state criminal investigation.
    _____________

    Interesting how Trump's attorney is distinguishing between a civil lawsuit in federal court and a state criminal investigation.

    I suppose if there was a civil lawsuit in federal court against Trump, Sekulow would suddenly change his tune and claim immunity for Trump in that area as well.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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    Supreme Court Appears Likely To Reject Trump Immunity Claim

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday appeared likely to reject President Donald Trump's claim that he is immune from criminal investigation while in office. But the court seemed less clear about exactly how to handle subpoenas from Congress and the Manhattan district attorney for Trump's tax, bank and financial records.

    The court's major clash over presidential accountability could affect the 2020 presidential campaign, especially if a high court ruling leads to the release of personal financial information before Election Day.

    The justices heard arguments in two cases by telephone Tuesday that stretched into the early afternoon. The court, which includes six justices age 65 or older, has been meeting by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    There was no apparent consensus about whether to ratify lower court rulings that the subpoenas to Trump's accountant and banks are valid and should be enforced. The justices will meet by phone before the end of the week to take a preliminary vote on how those cases should come out, and decisions are expected by early summer.

    On the same day Trump’s lawyers were telling the court that the subpoenas would be a distraction that no president can afford, Trump found the time to weigh in on a long string of unrelated issues on Twitter, about Elon Musk reopening Tesla’s California plant in defiance of local authorities, the credit he deserves for governors’ strong approval ratings for their handling of the virus outbreak, the anger Asian Americans feel “at what China has done to our Country,” oil prices, interest rates, his likely opponent in the November election and his critics.

    The justices sounded particularly concerned in arguments over congressional subpoenas about whether a ruling validating the subpoenas would open the door to harassing future presidents.

    “In your view, there is really no protection against the use of congressional subpoenas for the purpose of preventing the harassment of a president,” Justice Samuel Alito said to Douglas Letter, the lawyer for the House of Representatives.

    Justice Stephen Breyer said he worried about a “future Sen. McCarthy,” a reference to the Communist-baiting Wisconsin senator from the 1950s, with subpoena power against a future president.

    But in the case involving Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s subpoena for Trump's taxes, the justices showed little interest in the broadest argument made by Jay Sekulow, Trump's lawyer, that a president can't be investigated while he holds office.

    Trump had said he would make his tax returns public but hasn't done so, unlike every other president in recent history.

    “President Trump is the first one to refuse to do that,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said early in the arguments.

    The cases resemble earlier disputes over presidents’ assertions that they were too consumed with the job of running the country to worry about lawsuits and investigations. In 1974, the justices acted unanimously in requiring President Richard Nixon to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. In 1997, another unanimous court allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to go forward against President Bill Clinton.

    In those cases, three Nixon appointees and two Clinton appointees, respectively, voted against the president who chose them for the high court. The current court has two Trump appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

    Trump's lawyers drew on law review articles Kavanaugh wrote to buttress their arguments that the president needs to be protected from investigations.

    The justice, though, seemed more interested in how to balance the competing interests at play. “And the question then boils down to, how can we both protect the House’s interest in obtaining information it needs to legislate but also protect the presidency?" Kavanaugh asked.

    Appellate courts in Washington and New York have ruled that the documents should be turned over, but those rulings have been put on hold pending a final court ruling. The appellate decisions brushed aside the president’s broad arguments, focusing on the fact that the subpoenas were addressed to third parties asking for records of Trump’s business and financial dealings as a private citizen, not as president.

    House committees want records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, as well as the Mazars USA accounting firm. Mazars also is the recipient of a subpoena from Vance.

    Two congressional committees subpoenaed the bank documents as part of their investigations into Trump and his businesses. Deutsche Bank has been one of the few banks willing to lend to Trump after a series of corporate bankruptcies and defaults starting in the early 1990s.

    Vance and the House Oversight and Reform Committee sought records from Mazars concerning Trump and his businesses based on payments that Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, arranged during the 2016 presidential race to keep two women from airing their claims of extramarital affairs with Trump.

    Trump sued to block the subpoenas. He is being represented by personal lawyers at the Supreme Court, and the Justice Department is supporting the high-court appeal.
    ____________

    Kavanaugh makes an excellent point: How to maintain the checks and balances between the two branches?

    I'm frankly stunned that the Republicans are tacitly backing Trump's claim of complete immunity while in office.
    Because sooner or later a Democrat will take office and enjoy whatever pro-Executive Branch decision comes out of this.

    They can't see 2 inches past their nose.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

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