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2020 American Political Scene

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  • 2020 American Political Scene

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders: ‘Can’t Think of Anything Dumber’ Than Giving Congress War Powers

    Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday that should couldn’t “think of anything dumber” than allowing Congress to authorize war, seemingly unaware that the U.S. Constitution specifically gives the legislative branch that exact power.

    Ahead of Thursday’s House vote on a war powers resolution aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s military actions against Iran, Sanders—now a Fox News contributor—appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss the president’s handling of the Iran crisis.

    “Sarah, the president yesterday said the U.S. is ready to embrace peace,” Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt said, referencing Trump’s speech on Wednesday. “He's calling for more economic sanctions on Iran’s already struggling economy. He did say that Iran is standing down, so why is the House putting up this resolution to try to limit the president's powers?”

    “You know, I can’t think of anything dumber than allowing Congress to take over our foreign policy,” Sanders huffed. “They can’t seem to manage to get much of anything done. I think the last thing we want to do is push powers into Congress’ hands and take them away from the president.”

    She went on to claim that Democrats who don’t seem to understand “that America is safer now” that former Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani is dead are “completely naive,” adding that she doesn't want to see them “take power away from President Trump and put it into their own hands.”

    “I don’t think anything could be worse for America than that,” she concluded.

    Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, meanwhile, specifically states that Congress has the power “to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water, to raise and support armies and... to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.”

    Furthermore, the War Powers Act of 1973, which Congress is looking to pass a resolution reaffirming this week, asserts that only Congress can declare war and the president needs to seek Congress’s approval in the case of sustained military action. The act was passed in the shadow of the Vietnam War in an effort to prevent other drawn-out overseas wars.

    And the shit show continues. These are the kinds of people that Trump surrounds himself with, the kind of people that defend him and his lunacy.

    He thinks that Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution is "phony" and something "nobody's ever heard of"

    She "can't think of anything dumber" than Article I, Section 8, Clause 11

    Can't wait to see what's next.
    “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

    "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig

  • #2
    Trump is ‘dangerous and incapacitated’ and urgent action must be taken, psychiatrists say in wake of Iran crisis

    A group of mental health professionals have warned Congress it must act urgently to demand Donald Trump undergo an evaluation to determine his continued fitness for office after nearly a week of heightened tensions with Iran.

    The World Mental Health Coalition made the statement a month after warning Congress that the stress of impeachment could cause Mr Trump's mental state to deteriorate to a dangerous level.

    "We have been seriously warning about this for some time. The US Congress must act immediately and forcefully without further delay," the group said in a statement obtained by The Independent shortly after the president struggled to pronounce words and sniffed repeatedly while delivering a scripted statement on the Iran crisis at the White House.

    Mr Trump, they said, is "psychologically and mentally both dangerous and incapacitated" and has a presentation that is "consistent with a person who, when his falsely inflated self-image is questioned, or when his emotional need for adulation is thwarted, lashes out in an attempt to restore his sense of potency and command over others".

    The group noted that while senior military leaders must pass yearly psychological evaluations, their commander-in-chief is exempt from such a requirement despite being "the person in most need and who is a maximum danger", and added that current tensions in the Middle East make this a "critical time", at which Americans "cannot wait any longer to deal with the dangerous situation caused by a mentally compromised person acting in erratic, reckless, impulsive, and destructive ways".

    Because Congress has the constitutional power to declare and finance wars, it must "act immediately to take any war-making powers out of his hands", they said, adding that it is "imperative that the Congress be equipped with accurate information" from those in the medical community who are qualified in "assessment and management of psychological dangers".

    "We urge Congress to consult with us for a profile, if not evaluation, and to take seriously the mental health aspects that are at play in this mentally impaired president," they said.

    While no one in the group has examined the president personally, one member, George Washington University Professor Dr John Zinner, told The Independent last month that the so-called "Goldwater Rule" which purportedly prohibits psychiatrists from diagnosing a person they have not examined is "more of a principle or a standard", which is different from a rule "because the preamble of the code of ethics of the American Psychiatric Association that establishes the basic guidelines for the ethical canons says that a psychiatrist's responsibility, first and foremost, is to his or her patients and to society and to his colleagues and himself in that order".

    The group's president, Yale University professor Dr Bandy Lee, told The Independent that Mr Trump's decision to respond to an incursion into the US embassy in Baghdad with an airstrike against Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was expected because he opted for the most extreme of the options with which he was presented.

    Dr Lee noted that more than 800 of her colleagues had signed a petition warning Congress that the stress caused by the impeachment proceedings against him "would most certainly send him into a seething rage" because Mr Trump's "fragile, falsely inflated self-image could scarcely withstand such a wound". She added that from her perspective as a physician and mental health professional, it would be “inconceivable” for someone who meets full criteria for an involuntary mental health evaluation since long ago, based on dangerousness to others and the self” to be able to retain “full command over warmaking powers and nuclear weapons”.

    "The fact that the Pentagon officials were stunned, and even considered presenting him with the assassination option, starkly reveals how little those around him understand him and how ill-equipped they are to manage him," she said. "They essentially handed him the craved match to throw into a field of gasoline".


    This man and his mental deterioration are on public display practically 24/7...but it's so much easier to convince yourself that there's nothing wrong with him. Otherwise we'd have to admit that we're in serious trouble.
    “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

    "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


    • #3
      GOP Strategist Rick Wilson Torches Republicans With Scathing Trump Loyalty Rules

      Republican strategist Rick Wilson called out members of his own party on Wednesday for their blind fealty to President Donald Trump, and gave them a list of new rules to follow to prove their devotion.

      Wilson pointed to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who on Wednesday compared Trump’s sniffle-riddled comments on the military escalation with Iran to President Ronald Reagan’s famous 1987 speech at the Berlin Wall.

      “This speech will be talked about long after his second term,” Graham said on Fox News. “This is on par with ‘tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev.’”

      Wilson said that type of over-the-top praise was part of the “Saddamification” of his party. Then, he proposed a set of new rules for Republicans to follow to show their loyalty:

      The assertion by Lindsay Graham that today’s bizarre performance by Sniffles The Clown was on par with “Tear Down This Wall” is part of the Saddamification of the GOP.

      - Never be the first guy to stop clapping when Trump speaks.

      - It is always the Year Zero; memory and consistency is the enemy of loyalty in the Trump world.

      - Your superlatives are insufficient. Praising Trump properly demands a new vocabulary of obsequiousness.

      - Your humiliation in his service will asymptotically approach infinity, with the pain and shame mounting but never reaching the sweet release of death.

      - Never tell him the truth. He is the tallest, most handsome, brilliant, and richest man in the room.

      - Even when he’s wrong (and he’s almost always wrong), race for the TV cameras to proclaim that you and everyone else was simply unable to grasp the sublime complexity of his 47-dimensional chess game.

      - If he wants to mount your spouse, let him. You let him screw your reputation, honor, dignity, principles, and political priors. Why not your wife?

      - Always give the Trump Crime Family a cut of your consulting contracts for the campaign and the RNC.

      “He will let you die in prison,” Wilson warned Republicans. “Prepare accordingly.”
      Wilson is part of a group of prominent Republicans who are working against Trump’s reelection as part of the Lincoln Project super PAC. In a recent editorial in The New York Times, Wilson joined conservative attorney George Conway and Republican strategists Steve Schmidt and John Weaver in declaring that Trumpism was “an empty faith led by a bogus prophet.”

      Empty faith? More like a malignant cult with plenty of Kool-aid to go around, and boy oh boy is it delicious!
      “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

      "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


      • #4

        must be the deep state again...


        Department of Justice inquiry into Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation has effectively concluded without producing tangible results, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

        The investigation has not formally ended and no official notice has been sent to the Justice Department or lawmakers, but the the U.S. attorney tapped in November 2017 to look into the concerns raised by President Trump and allies has largely finished his investigation, according to current and former law enforcement officials that spoke to the Post.

        The investigation started after Trump and GOP allies in Congress raised concerns over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ties to a Russian nuclear agency and the Clinton Foundation. Huber was tapped by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into the matters.

        “We didn’t expect much of it, and neither did he,” one person familiar with the matter told the Post. “And as time went on, a lot of people just forgot about it.”

        People familiar with the situation told the Post that Huber’s work was largely done by the time former special counsel Robert Mueller filed his report last spring. Those people also told the newspaper that Huber would get involved only if other cases were not being handled.

        When Matthew G. Whittaker became acting attorney general after Trump ousted Sessions in November 2018, Whittaker reportedly tried to push Huber to be more aggressive in his work, according to the Post. Huber, however, felt he had looked at all he could and there was not much more to do, sources said.

        A spokesperson for Huber referred the Post to the Justice Department, which declined to comment for the Post’s story.

        A spokesperson for the Justice Department was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Hill.
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by astralis View Post
          I wonder how Fox News and the usual pack of assholes is going to spin this.
          “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

          "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


          • #6
            Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
            I wonder how Fox News and the usual pack of assholes is going to spin this.
            They will probably bemoan the lack of a 21st century Ken Starr.
            Trust me?
            I'm an economist!


            • #7
              Stephanie Grisham: Trump's Press Secretary Who Doesn't Meet the Press

              It’s not every day that the White House press secretary is offered $200,000 to appear on camera and explain the president’s decisions — any of them — to the public.

              But as one of the most consequential weeks in President Donald Trump’s tenure draws to a close, the world beyond the Beltway is beginning to notice that Stephanie Grisham — unlike her predecessors, colleagues and boss — does not appear to relish the talking-to-the-public part of her job.

              In six months as press secretary, Grisham has held zero briefings for reporters. When she does give interviews, she prefers to leave the West Wing via a side exit and is driven to a studio, rather than walk toward the cameras outside the White House and risk encountering a journalist along the way.

              Outside of appearances on Fox News, the One America News Network and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, she rarely goes on TV. Throughout her time in the job, Trump has wondered why she does not appear on television more often, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

              The country’s pre-eminent political spokesperson is virtually unknown to the public. And as the Trump administration scrambled this week to coordinate a public explanation for the killing of an Iranian general, Grisham kept mostly out of sight. The night that Iran launched missiles into Iraq, she surfaced on Twitter — after a briefing in the Situation Room with the president and other high-level advisers — to accuse CNN of fabricating sources.

              Even those sympathetic to the Trump administration seemed befuddled. “If ever there was a time for more briefings, it was the last few days,” said Ari Fleischer, a press secretary to President George W. Bush. He added, though, that briefings had become less useful, given the hostilities between the White House and its press corps.

              Grisham’s under-the-radar style has caused consternation in Washington, where protocol is prized. Now she is facing the kind of scrutiny she has tried to avoid.

              On Friday, 13 former White House and military officials — including press secretaries from the three administrations before Trump — published a letter calling for the restoration of press briefings. “Credible men and women, standing in front of those iconic backgrounds at the White House, State Department and Pentagon, are essential to the work the United States must do in the world,” they wrote.

              In response, Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, dismissed the letter writers as “D.C. establishment swamp creatures.”

              Grisham was not cited by name. But on CNN this week, Anderson Cooper devoted a prime-time segment to why taxpayers should pay her $183,000 salary. And in a viral Twitter post, the author Don Winslow pledged to donate $100,000 to charity if Grisham agreed to answer questions from the White House press corps. The novelist Stephen King tossed another $100,000 into the pot.

              Her response was curt.

              “If you have $200,000 to play with, why not just help children because it’s a good thing to do?” Grisham, 43, said in an email to Jake Tapper of CNN.

              Grisham did take questions on Wednesday from the Sinclair anchor Eric Bolling, a former Fox News personality. She accused the media of “mourning” the death of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and shrugged off skeptics of her low-profile style.

              “People aren’t sure of me because I’m not out at the podium, I’m not fighting with them, it’s not public, I’m not giving them their ratings,” she said, adding: “I’m as accessible as I can be.”

              It was vintage Trump White House: defiant, scorched-earth and unbothered about offending the journalists she is expected to interact with day to day.

              The view inside the White House is that Grisham — who also serves as communications director for both Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump — has improved her on-camera approach.

              In her early days as press secretary, Trump joked with aides that Grisham was “a studier,” and that “she learned that from the first lady,” according to a senior administration official who heard the exchange but was not authorized to comment on it publicly.

              “When it comes to certain topics I’ve certainly left much of the Q-and-A to subject matter experts,” Grisham said in an email. “They can answer technical questions and recognize the importance of classified information, which I believe better serves both the press and the public.”

              Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, was one of several White House officials who offered statements on Friday in praise of Grisham. “Stephanie has been doing exactly what the president wants and needs her to do,” he said. “I continue to be baffled by a press corps that fails to see access to the president as preferable to access to a 20-minute briefing from a spokesperson.”

              Mulvaney added: “We had a great week from a comms perspective.”

              Unlike her predecessors, Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who had relationships with the national press corps after years in high-level politics, Grisham is a relative newcomer to the world of Washington spin.

              An aide in the Arizona House of Representatives, she joined the Trump campaign as a “wrangler,” herding and feeding reporters on the trail. At the White House, she became Melania Trump’s spokeswoman.

              Representing Donald Trump on the world stage is a different matter. Spicer and Sanders faced public scorn and savage “Saturday Night Live” imitations, not to mention the occasional ire of a president who believes he is his own best spokesman.

              Grisham was not spared such scrutiny: Reports surfaced of her two past arrests for driving under the influence. Later, she was praised for physically pushing for press access during a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, on the Korean Peninsula.

              Her allies say Grisham’s reluctance to expand her public profile is reasonable, given the way the job has evolved in the Trump era.

              “The job of the press secretary is to speak in the absence of the president,” Spicer said in an interview, noting that Trump frequently talks to journalists in informal settings like the Oval Office. “If the president is constantly engaging with the press, there’s not as much need to be out in front.”

              Still, Grisham’s lack of visibility has sparked speculation among allies of the president that she may modify or step back from her role at the conclusion of Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. She has said she has no plans to step back.

              Allies of Grisham said she spent a significant amount of her time working with individual reporters, and credited her with organizing an in-flux press shop. But some White House reporters complained that she was less accessible than her predecessors.

              Though Sanders sparred with the press corps, journalists often described her as helpful behind the scenes. Reporters helped organize a cocktail party in her honor when she took the job; after she was mocked at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2018, journalists surrounded her at a reception to offer sympathies.

              Grisham has not cultivated that level of respect, but it is not clear she seeks it, either. Inside the West Wing, she is viewed as fiercely loyal to the president and his family — and willing to channel Trump’s slashing language and laissez-faire approach to facts.

              In an op-ed in September for The Washington Examiner, Grisham singled out The Washington Post for criticism and added a litany of complaints about coverage she deemed biased. “No wonder,” she wrote, with Trumpian flourish, “the national media’s popularity sits somewhere between smallpox and the plague.”
              “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

              "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


              • #8
                A 'confused' Trump tried to take credit for the Ethiopian prime minister's Nobel Peace Prize

                At a rally in Ohio on Thursday night, President Donald Trump claimed that he deserved credit for the Nobel Peace Prize recently awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

                "I made a deal. I saved a country. And I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country. I said, 'What? Did I have something do with it?' Yeah," Trump said. "But you know, that's the way it is. As long as we know, that's all that matters."

                Trump last year offered to help negotiate an agreement between the Ethiopian prime minister and Egypt's prime minister over a dam on the Nile. But Ahmed was awarded the prestigious prize for negotiating a peace deal between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea following 20 years of bloody conflict. Trump had nothing to do with these peace negotiations. Link

                Remember folks, this sort of "confusion" isn't a clear symptom of cognitive decline or delusional's just Trump talking shit as usual, no big deal.

                Next we'll hear about when Trump accepted Japan's surrender on the USS Missouri in 1945 (a ship he built by the way), how it overshadowed his negotiating Lee's surrender at Appomattox in 1865 and his negotiations with the Hatfields and McCoys.
                “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

                "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


                • #9
                  'What's this a tour of?': Trump barely understood the significance of an iconic Pearl Harbor memorial during a private tour, new book says

                  President Donald Trump did not appear to understand the significance of the iconic Pearl Harbor memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, during a private tour of the USS Arizona Memorial, according to a new book by two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters from the Washington Post.

                  The book, "A Very Stable Genius," is an account from hundreds of hours of interviews with over 200 sources, according to the Post. Some of its details, which paint an unflattering picture of the president's knowledge of foreign affairs, were corroborated by "calendars, diary entries, internal memos and even private video recordings," The Post reported.

                  According to the Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, Trump asked his then-chief of staff, John Kelly, "Hey, John, what's this all about? What's this a tour of?"

                  "He was at times dangerously uninformed," a former senior White House official said, according to The Post.

                  Trump appeared not to grasp that this was a hallowed tribute to the more than 2,400 US service members and civilians who died in the 1941 assault, a devastating surprise attack that launched America into World War II. In November 2017, Trump visited the site for the first time and claimed he "read about, spoken about, heard about, studied [sic]."

                  "And that is going to be very exciting for me," Trump added at the time.

                  The battleship USS Arizona was attacked by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941, killing 1,177 US Navy sailors and Marines. Over half of the casualties could not be recovered from the underwater site, where the ship still remains.

                  The memorial was constructed in 1962, right above the original USS Arizona, in memory of the combined 2,341 service members and 49 civilians who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

                  Kelly is a retired four Marine Corps general and a Gold Star father. After he retired from the Marine Corps, he helmed the Department of Homeland Security before being tapped as Trump's chief of staff. Kelly eventually resigned in December 2018 and was replaced with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who is currently serving in an acting role.

                  Authors Rucker and Leonnig write that although Trump "heard the phrase 'Pearl Harbor' and appeared to understand that he was visiting the scene of a historic battle ... he did not seem to know much else," The Post reported.

                  Trump appears to be aware of some of the history, tweeting in 2016: "Does President Obama ever discuss the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor while he's in Japan? Thousands of American lives lost."

                  But subsequent tweets made by Trump and First Lady Melania in December 2017 appeared to undercut some of their knowledge. Trump, quoting President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, misquoted his predecessor's famous line, "a date which will live in infamy," and tweeted out "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day - 'A day that will live in infamy!'"

                  In a now-removed tweet from 2017, the first lady said that the Pearl Harbor attack occurred in November, one month before the actual date.

                  I can understand the First Lady not having a clue about Pearl Harbor....oh hell, I can totally understand Trump not having a clue about Pearl Harbor either.
                  This is after all the same guy that thought that there were airports during the American Revolution.

                  And the same guy who graduated from New York Military Academy. So, early-onset dementia or just a complete dumbass in general?

                  "The USS Arizona is a hero because it got sunk. I like ships that aren’t sunk"

                  ~ Donald J Trump probably
                  “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

                  "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


                  • #10
                    Trump Tried to Kill Anti-Bribery Rule He Deemed 'Unfair,' New Book Alleges

                    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump wanted to strike down a law that prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials, calling the ban “so unfair” to American companies, two Washington Post reporters recount in a new book.

                    In the spring of 2017, Trump was at a briefing with Rex Tillerson, then the secretary of state, and aides in the Oval Office. At the mention of a bribery allegation, Trump “perked up” and told Tillerson that he wanted his help in scrapping the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the authors write.

                    That law, enacted in 1977 and heavily enforced since around 2005, prohibits companies that operate in the United States from bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business. It has become a major factor in corporate decision-making about operations abroad.

                    Trump said that it was “just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” according to the book, “A Very Stable Genius,” by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig.

                    “I need you to get rid of that law,” Trump told Tillerson.

                    Tillerson explained to the president that he could not simply repeal the legislation, according to Rucker and Leonnig. He pointed out that Congress would need to be involved in any effort to strike it down.

                    Undeterred, Trump told Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser, to draft an executive action to repeal the law. Tillerson, the authors write, later caught up with Miller in the hallway, where Miller said he had some skepticism about whether that plan for unilateral executive action could work.

                    The anecdote meshes with the president’s past views of the anti-corruption law. In a 2012 CNBC appearance, he called it a horrible rule and said that “the world is laughing at us” for enforcing it.

                    The Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department began enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act more concertedly about 15 years ago. It has led to huge fines for companies, including engineering conglomerate Siemens and Brazil’s state-owned energy company, Petrobras.

                    Critics of the government’s pursuit of cases under the law have argued that regulators are reading its language too expansively, holding back business.

                    Skeptics have included Jay Clayton, the chairman of the SEC, whom Trump nominated to the position in early 2017. Clayton was an author of a 2011 paper that argued that America’s anti-bribery policies tended “to place disproportionate burdens on U.S. regulated companies in international transactions,” hurting American competitiveness.

                    Despite such criticisms and Trump’s misgivings, top administration officials have pledged to uphold the law.

                    “We will continue to strongly enforce” anti-corruption laws, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general at the time, said in a speech in April 2017. “Companies should succeed because they provide superior products and services, not because they have paid off the right people.”

                    And under the current attorney general, William Barr, who was confirmed last year, enforcement actions have continued to rapidly roll in.

                    “The past three years have shown that very little has changed,” said Joshua Roth, a lawyer specializing in these issues at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, despite early expectations that enforcement might fall off under the Trump administration. “What some of us were forecasting really didn’t materialize.”

                    The administration has made other moves that dovetail with the president’s disdain for anti-bribery laws.

                    Early in his administration, Trump signed a measure from Congress striking down a rule from the SEC that would have required oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose how much they were paying to foreign governments.

                    After that decision, Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., and former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the lawmakers who had sponsored the original legislation directing the commission to enforce that rule, wrote that Congress and the Trump administration had “abdicated American leadership in fighting corruption around the world.”

                    A Republican bill that would have permanently repealed the law underlying that energy-industry rule did not come up for a vote on the House floor before Democrats took over the chamber in January 2019.


                    Oh but Trump isn't irredeemably corrupt, no sir!
                    “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

                    "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


                    • #11
                      Congress fights back against the imperial presidency

                      WASHINGTON — For at least two decades, sitting presidents have challenged what millions of Americans learned in social studies class: that the three branches of government are coequal, and that while each branch has different powers, no branch is more powerful than any other. That is no longer the case because the White House has grown in stature so that it now towers over both Congress and the courts.

                      The imperial presidency has been a bipartisan project, enthusiastically taken up by George W. Bush but continued by Barack Obama and, most recently, Donald Trump. All three have waged war abroad with only meager congressional authority. All three have also resisted efforts by Congress to exercise oversight over domestic affairs.

                      In recent weeks, however, there have been signs — admittedly nascent — that the imperial presidency faces more intense resistance than it has in years and that Congress is intent on reclaiming some of the power it has ceded to the White House. The judiciary is fighting back too, helping Congress reassert its power.

                      The anti-imperial push is reflected in a ruling by District of Columbia District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who recently held that the White House could not grant senior officials “absolute immunity” from honoring a congressional subpoena related to the investigation into Russian electoral interference.

                      “Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote in an opinion that resounded with the Founding Fathers’ own anxieties about the limits of executive power.

                      Some of this constitutional pull-and-tug is a function of politics, with Democrats in the House of Representatives determined to check the president at every turn. Much as they might care about checks and balances, their main goal is to get rid of Trump.

                      Party politics, however, cannot account for Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah fuming about the Trump administration's inadequate explanation for the airstrike that killed an Iranian general in Iraq. Or a handful of House Republicans voting with House Democrats in endorsing a war powers resolution that would severely curtail Trump's ability to unilaterally engage in a military conflict with Iran. Ineffectual as they might turn out to be, these are nevertheless the rumblings of principle.

                      And while impeachment has been a starkly partisan affair, here too Congress has fought to maintain its prerogatives. Even as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seeks a quick trial that will exonerate Trump, reports came on Friday that Susan Collins, R-Maine, was, according to the Bangor Daily News, “working with a ‘fairly small group’ of fellow Republican senators” to ensure that the trial will include witnesses, a demand by Democrats that Republican leaders have resisted. By Monday, it was widely reported that at least three Republicans would side with Collins. If so, they and the chamber’s 47 Democrats would constitute a majority that would likely frustrate Trump’s desire to have the trial move along as briskly as an episode of “Night Court.”

                      Even some of the president’s closest supporters have grown skittish, perhaps aware that any power he accrues he will likely leave to a Democratic successor. Writing in the conservative Washington Times, former judge and Fox News mainstay Andrew Napolitano warned of the “dangers of a Trump imperial presidency.” That one of the president’s formerly closest supporters would sound such a warning amounted to a warning of its own.

                      And then there was Tucker Carlson, the primetime Fox News host who acts as an informal presidential adviser, thundering against the attack on Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a striking departure from the boosterism of colleagues like Sean Hannity. “Our leaders should explain to us how that conflict will make the United States richer and more secure,” Carlson said last week. “There are an awful lot of bad people in this world; we can’t kill them all. It’s not our job.”

                      The imperial presidency is an informal term — coined by the historian Arthur Schlesinger — to describe the insistent accumulation of power in the executive branch, and the Oval Office in particular. Power is finite and must come from somewhere. Throughout U.S. history, the growing power of the president has been paralleled by the waning power of Congress.

                      That has been especially true in times of war, when it is easiest for presidents to claim they are taking unilateral action for the sake of national security. Some date the birth of the imperial presidency to the Civil War, when Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, thus violating one of the sacrosanct principles of American government. “Lincoln the Dictator,” a 2010 scholarly article called him.

                      Richard Nixon is the most notorious imperialist in American history. Without any authority from Congress, he initiated the secret bombing of Cambodia. Displeased by $8.7 billion that Congress appropriated for various domestic programs, Nixon simply impounded the money so that it could not be spent.

                      After leaving office, Nixon offered a defense that could also serve as a justification for any number of presidential actions, from Obama’s drone warfare in the Middle East to Trump’s emergency declaration to build a border barrier in Mexico: “Well, when the president does it,” Nixon mused, “that means it is not illegal.”

                      Watergate was enough of a scare for Congress to reassert its power in the years following Nixon’s resignation. That rebalancing culminated in the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998. “The End of the Imperial Presidency,” said the headline of a New York Times op-ed by presidential historian Michael Beschloss, published just as Clinton was preparing to leave office.

                      Nine months later, airplanes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Three days after that, the House voted 420 to 1 to pass the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, which effectively gave the president power to fight terrorism wherever and however he saw fit, without seeking additional congressional approval.

                      A lone legislator, Rep. Barbara Lee of California, voted against the measure. While some criticized her for an alleged lack of patriotism, her dissent has come to be seen as a prescient stand against unchecked power. In a vindication of Lee’s original vote, last year the House voted 226 to 203 to “sunset” the AUMF.

                      That second vote was as much a rebuke of Obama as of Trump. Despite winning the Nobel Peace Prize early in his first term, Obama used his AUMF authority to launch 563 drone strikes in Africa and the greater Middle East, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians.

                      And he continued with Bush-era practices like warrantless detention of terrorism suspects. “This isn’t exactly change we can believe in,” grumbled legal adviser Harold Koh, quoted in “Kill or Capture,” a book about Obama’s tortured national security strategy by Yahoo News Editor in Chief Daniel Klaidman.

                      Obama also engaged in imperial behavior on the domestic front. For example, his administration refused to turn over White House visitor logs. When it finally did so, in the face of a legal challenge, those logs were heavily redacted.

                      With his agenda largely stymied by Congress, Obama signed momentous — and controversial — executive orders providing a path to citizenship for some children of undocumented immigrants, known as Dreamers, establishing more strict gun control measures and preparing the American economy to transition to an all-renewable energy portfolio.

                      Like every other Republican nominee, Trump promised to end Obama’s rule-by-decree. “I don't like executive orders,” he said shortly after declaring for the presidency in 2015. “That is not what the country was based on. You go, you can’t make a deal with anybody, so you sign an executive order.”

                      Since taking office, however, Trump has signed 137 executive orders, issuing them at a faster rate than Obama.

                      The executive orders are a relatively minor issue for the Democrats who have wanted to remove Trump from office ever since they retook the House in the 2018 midterm elections. Trump has branded their efforts — whether over the Russia investigation or the Ukraine pressure campaign — a politicized “witch hunt.”

                      At the same time, Trump has made things harder for himself by utterly refusing to comply with any of the Democrats’ investigations into his administration. He has claimed that Article II of the Constitution affords him “the right to do whatever I want as president.” Such hubris has inadvertently bolstered the Democrats’ case, allowing them to argue that as much as they are worried about Trump, they are even more worried about the imperial presidency he has come to epitomize.

                      “What President Trump is trying to do is a huge step toward an imperial presidency,” the Republican strategist Matthew Dowd counseled on Twitter last year. “Time for Congress to recapture authority.”

                      Congress has tried. Its most visible effort has been the impeachment inquiry, with the House endorsing two articles of impeachment against Trump. “He has laid siege to the foundation of our democracy,” said Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., as he prepared to vote for both articles.

                      And in two lawsuits now moving through District of Columbia circuit court, House Democrats are challenging Trump on his refusal to comply with any oversight of his administration. One lawsuit demands that former White House counsel Don McGahn testify before Congress; the second seeks grand jury testimony from Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian electoral interference.

                      Realistically, Democrats know that neither lawsuit is likely to be resolved in time for them to take meaningful action against Trump in his first term, but a Supreme Court decision in either could actually prove more consequential than the outcome of a Senate impeachment trial, which is all but certain to culminate in an acquittal by the Republican-controlled chamber.

                      That’s because the lawsuits strike at the heart of the imperial presidency. Arguments by administration lawyers have brought that point into stark relief. At a recent hearing, Justice Department attorneys maintained that Congress essentially has no authority at all to oversee the White House. That assertion seemed to stun the judges. “Is there no proper role for the courts?” one of them wondered.

                      Reasserting that authority is arguably more important than catching Trump in a lie about Ukraine, especially since no amount of Democratic fact finding seems likely to lead to his removal from office.

                      The killing of Soleimani came in the midst of the Ukraine impeachment inquiry and seemed only to exacerbate concerns about Trump’s refusal to allow for any executive accountability. Members of Congress had no prior notice of the planned strike; nor did the briefing they received after the fact allay concerns.

                      If anything, it made things worse. “That was insulting,” complained Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. “That was demeaning to the process ordained by the Constitution. And I find it completely unacceptable.” Lee quickly offered assurances that he remained an ardent Trump supporter. Yet he did not retract his rebuke.

                      Another rebuke came when the House passed a resolution, predicated on the War Powers Act of 1973, that would hamper Trump’s ability to conduct an expanded military campaign against Iran, which was considered a real possibility just last week but has not yet materialized. Whereas no House Republicans broke ranks on the impeachment vote, this time three of them voted with Democrats to restrain the president’s authority to wage war. And at least four GOP members are expected to vote for the resolution once it makes its way to the Senate floor.

                      Among the House dissenters was Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is among the president’s most ardent supporters on Capitol Hill. “Reclaiming Congressional power is the constitutional conservative position!” a staffer for Gaetz wrote in an email to other Republican legislators.

                      A displeased White House urged Gaetz to “reconsider his points of view.” He declined to do so.


                      The part bolded in red is the most salient point of this long article: Anything that Trump does opens the door for a Democrat to Do The Same Damn Thing.

                      Personally I think the 2nd Article of Impeachment against Trump is the most serious of the two.
                      “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

                      "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


                      • #12
                        Arizona Sen. Martha McSally calls CNN reporter 'liberal hack' in hallway dust-up

                        Arizona Sen. Martha McSally had a combative encounter with a CNN reporter on Thursday as the Senate gears up for President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

                        Manu Raju, CNN's senior congressional correspondent, approached McSally, R-Ariz., in a hallway and asked whether she would consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial.

                        "Manu, you're a liberal hack. I'm not talking to you," McSally dismissively shot back.

                        "You're not going to comment, Senator? About this?" he asked.

                        "You're a liberal hack, buddy," McSally said.

                        After Raju reported the exchange on Twitter, McSally tweeted a video of the encounter on her own Twitter account.

                        "A) you are. B) here’s the video," McSally wrote.

                        A McSally spokeswoman did not immediately respond to The Arizona Republic's request for comment about what prompted her putdown.

                        Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally to the Senate seat vacated by the 2018 death of veteran Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. She is up for election this year in what is expected to be one of the nation's most closely watched Senate races. She will likely face Democrat Mark Kelly in the general election.

                        I had thought that Martha McSally was a pretty good person, certainly being a Hog Driver earned her points in my book. Now she's just a full-blown Trumpist.

                        That reporter is literally just doing his job on behalf of the American people, "Senator". You might want to try doing the same.

                        You occupy a seat that you didn’t win, that was handed to you, after an election that you lost.

                        You’re the fucking hack, ma’am.
                        “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

                        "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


                        • #13
                          Happy 100th anniversary to the ACLU!

                          Trust me?
                          I'm an economist!


                          • #14
                            Republican Senator On Trump Soliciting Foreign Interference: Humans 'Make Mistakes'

                            Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Sunday shrugged off President Donald Trump’s requests for foreign countries to interfere in U.S. elections, stating that the president is “human” and makes mistakes from time to time.

                            ABC’s “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a series of questions about the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate.

                            “Do you think it was proper for the president to solicit foreign interference in our election?” Stephanopoulos asked Shelby, who claimed it’s “in dispute” whether Trump actually did so.

                            The House voted to impeach Trump over his efforts to get Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating former Vice President Joe Biden, a front-runner in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, as well as over his decision to block witnesses from testifying during the chamber’s impeachment inquiry.

                            Stephanopoulos pointed out that Trump has publicly called on Ukraine and China to investigate Biden. Trump also urged Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails when they were both candidates in the 2016 presidential election.

                            But Shelby said such statements were simply “political.”

                            “So it’s OK?” Stephanopoulos asked.

                            “I didn’t say it was OK,” Shelby responded. “But people make ’em ― people do things. Things happen.”

                            “Well, this is the president of the United States,” Stephanopoulos said.

                            Shelby noted that Trump is human. “He’s going to make mistakes of judgment and everything else,” he said. “They have historically ― both parties ― from the beginning of our republic.”

                            The senator added that he does not believe Trump’s actions rise “to the standard of an impeachable offense” but said he would wait to see what comes out of the Senate trial.

                            Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Weintraub reminded Americans during the House impeachment inquiry that seeking foreign interference in a U.S. election is illegal.

                            “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,” Weintraub wrote in a statement in June that she shared again on Twitter in October.

                            “Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginning of our nation,” her statement continued. “Anyone who solicits or accepts foreign assistance risks being on the wrong end of a federal investigation.”

                            The House impeachment managers delivered two articles of impeachment against Trump ― abuse of power and obstruction of Congress ― to the Senate last week. The president has denied any wrongdoing.

                            Opening arguments in the impeachment trial are expected to begin Tuesday.

                            If repeatedly asking foreign countries to interfere in our elections, and unashamedly declaring that he'd do it again is a "mistake of judgement", then what does that say about Trump's ability to judge right and wrong?

                            Also have you noticed that people who gush about Trump's "plainspoken" nature, and how he "says what he means" have had to spend the last 3+ years explaining away what he's actually said? "He was only joking". "He's always owning the libs". "That was simply a political statement"
                            “Fascism not only promotes violence but relishes it, viscerally so. It cherishes audacity, bravado and superbia, promotes charismatic leaders, demagogues and ‘strong men’, and seeks to flood or control the media.”

                            "Donald Trump and his supporters and allies are a clear and present danger to American democracy" ~ Judge J. Michael Luttig


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                              I had thought that Martha McSally was a pretty good person, certainly being a Hog Driver earned her points in my book. Now she's just a full-blown Trumpist.

                              That reporter is literally just doing his job on behalf of the American people, "Senator". You might want to try doing the same.

                              You occupy a seat that you didn’t win, that was handed to you, after an election that you lost.

                              You’re the fucking hack, ma’am.
                              Exactly. Hopefully Mark Kelly hands her her just desserts.