HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

 

Constitutional crisis watch

by Tom Sullivan

Charles Blow declared in February "we are already trapped in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, or constitutional train wreck." Days later, Keith Whittington, a professor of politics at Princeton University, and Eric Posner, of the University of Chicago law school, told The Guardian, no, we were not there yet. That would require the "unanswered flouting of constitutional rules."

Yet with every day special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference continues, with every degree the water in the pot rises, the frog slowly realizes it is being cooked. Whether the frog is the sitting president or all of us remains to be seen.

The FBI in early April raided the office, hotel room, and home of Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in connection with the Stormy Daniels lawsuit. Trump called it "an attack on our country." Days later, Watergate affair journalist Carl Bernstein declared, "We are in a constitutional crisis." During a CNN interview, Bernstein said, "The president of the United States has made clear to those around him and to those who are closest to him in the White House and among his friends that he is determined to shut down this investigation."

After the New York Times published on Monday a long list of questions Mueller wants Trump to answer, there was confusion over its origins. The Times reported it obtained the list obtained from "a person outside Mr. Trump’s legal team." Many of the questions pertain to obstruction of justice. Trump called the leak "disgraceful," further evidence Mueller has gone off the rails. But the Washington Post now suspects the leak may have come from Trump's own attorneys.

In a tense, early March meeting with Mueller, Trump's attorneys insisted Trump had no obligation to answer questions, the Post reports:

But Mueller responded that he had another option if Trump declined: He could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury, according to four people familiar with the encounter.

Mueller’s warning — the first time he is known to have mentioned a possible subpoena to Trump’s legal team — spurred a sharp retort from John Dowd, then the president’s lead lawyer.

“This isn’t some game,” Dowd said, according to two people with knowledge of his comments. “You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States.”
Mueller subsequently provided a series of topics he wished to discuss. Citing anonymous sources, the Post reports Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow drafted those topics into the list of questions leaked to the Times.

Whether the leak was intended to help dissuade Trump from cooperating or to discredit the Mueller investigation (as Trump suggested) is unclear. But as Bernstein suggested, Trump is determined to shut down the investigation.

Trump allies in the House Freedom Caucus threaten to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to help that along. The Washington Post reported Monday it possessed leaked articles of impeachment drafted to target him. Rosenstein oversees the Mueller investigation had signed off on the Cohen raid — in a separate investigation — and stands between Trump and firing Mueller:
The document, which was obtained by The Washington Post, underscores the growing chasm between congressional Republican leaders, who have maintained for months that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III should be allowed to proceed, and rank-and-file GOP lawmakers who have repeatedly battled the Justice Department during the past year.

The draft articles, which one of its authors called a “last resort,” would be unlikely to garner significant support in Congress. But the document could serve as a provocative political weapon for conservatives in their standoff with Mueller and the Justice Department.
Rosenstein brushed away the threat:
“There are people who have been making threats, privately and publicly, against me for quite some time,” Rosenstein said at a Law Day event Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington. “I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted. We’re going to do what’s required by the rule of law.”
Someone needs to remind Trump and his associates in and out of Congress the law actually applies to them.

Case in point. NBC reported on Tuesday that in early February last year, Trump's personal bodyguard, a layer for the Trump Organization and a third man entered the office of Trump's personal physician and took/confiscated/stole his medical records on the new president. What Dr. Harold Bornstein described the incident as a "raid" took place two days after Bornstein told a reporter he had prescribed hair growth medicine for Trump for years:
In an exclusive interview in his Park Avenue office, Bornstein told NBC News that he felt "raped, frightened and sad" when Keith Schiller and another "large man" came to his office to collect the president's records on the morning of Feb. 3, 2017. At the time, Schiller, who had long worked as Trump's bodyguard, was serving as director of Oval Office operations at the White House.

"They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos," said Bornstein, who described the incident as frightening.
Plus, a violation of the patient privacy law, HIPPA, Bornstein added, as was his discussing his patient's medications with the press. Bornstein also admitted he had not written the letter he issued declaring Trump's health "astonishingly excellent." Bornstein tells NBC, "He [Trump] wrote it himself."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders brushed off the incident as "standard operating procedure." For Donald Trump, perhaps. Appearing on "All in with Chris Hayes," Jess McIntosh of Shareblue Media observed Trump has a long history with this sort of standard operating procedure:

"We have a president who is the kind of man who has goons," McIntosh told Hayes.

"There's nothing funny about him applying these absolutely Mafia-like tactics to our country," McIntosh said, adding he has a pattern of such behavior that echoes Stormy Daniels's allegation she was threatened by someone on Trump's behalf.

"We are dealing with a very thin-skinned narcissist on a hair trigger ... who has goons." Some of them, it seems, wear lapel pins that allow them to work on Capitol Hill.

Are we in a constitutional crisis yet? Do they have those in the Twilight Zone?

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.