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Hullabaloo


Friday, June 29, 2018

 

A movement, not a moment

by Tom Sullivan


MoveOn Civic Action: Trump and his administration have been systematically criminalizing immigration and immigrants, from revoking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to ramping up intimidating ICE tactics.

From the Mercury News:

They gathered by the thousands for the historic Women’s Marches, demanded stricter gun control in the March for Our Lives, and took over airport terminals across the nation to protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban last year.

And on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of Americans — enraged by the separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border — will take to the streets once again to protest a controversial Trump administration policy that has caused the detention of thousands of undocumented immigrants, and call on the government to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children taken from their parents.
It's inhumane, a violation of human rights, and done with a Trumpian level of “gleeful cruelty.” ICE is hauling toddlers into court for deportation hearings:
“We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table,” said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles. “It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with these kids.”
All that's missing is a kangaroo wrangler. But the tactics mentioned above are not just Immigration and Customs Enforcement and no longer just directed at immigrants. If you missed it, Department of Homeland Security agents interrupted a CBS interview with a former ICE spokesperson and whistleblower Wednesday — at his doorstep three months after his resignation. It was a chilling moment Digby covered yesterday.

Before you head out to Lafayette Square or one of hundreds of nearest local equivalents tomorrow for the “Families Belong Together” rally, please read this email Josh Marshall received from a former federal corruption prosecutor:
I am deeply concerned that the Kennedy retirement will put the rule of law and our democratic institutions at graver risk than ever before. The President of the United States is the subject of a serious federal criminal investigation into (1) whether he conspired with a foreign adversary to help him win a narrow electoral college victory; and (2) whether he has obstructed that very investigation by, among things, firing the FBI director in charge of the investigation. The President will now be able to choose the person who, in a very real sense, may be the ultimate arbiter of whether or not he and others are ever held accountable.

Consider that the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide, for example, whether the President can pardon himself or others to protect himself, whether a sitting President can be indicted, whether a sitting President can be compelled to testify before a federal grand jury, whether the appointment of the Special Counsel somehow violated the Appointments Clause (as some conservatives absurdly assert), and whether a President can ever obstruct justice. Even beyond the Mueller investigation, the Supreme Court may be called upon to decide whether the President’s acceptance of significant foreign funds through his businesses violates the Emoluments Clause. We have no idea how Justice Kennedy would have ruled on these questions (he hasn’t exactly distinguished himself in the last two days). But we have no doubt how a Trump appointee will. Never before has the selection of a Supreme Court nominee been so thoroughly compromised by the President’s profound personal interest in appointing a judge the President can count on to protect the President. This is DEFCON 1 for the rule of law in this country.

Democrats in the Senate seem to have missed this point, or are too feeble to effectively prosecute the basic conflict of interest case. Instead, they have fallen back on the “McConnell rule” as a justification to delay a vote. Make no mistake, the treatment of Judge Garland and the theft of President Obama’s nomination power was an outrage and a terrible precedent. But Democrats should not endorse it. They should not let McConnell’s mendacity become the norm. It should stand on its own in history as the flagrant abuse of power that it was. In any event, Democrats have a much stronger case to make: no vote should be taken until after the Special Counsel has submitted a report to Congress, or closed the investigation of the President. A President under federal criminal investigation for stealing an election should not be able to nominate the person who may decide his fate. There will be a cloud over the legitimacy of this nomination unless and until the cloud of the Mueller investigation has been lifted.
This cannot be plainer. The legitimacy of the sitting president is in question, even to himself. His statements and actions since his election support that. Protecting Roe is vital, but that is not why replacing Kennedy now is out of order. Nor are Democrats' ham-fisted, "he did it first" charges against McConnell helpful. Federal judgeship appointments from the sitting president will long outlast his time in office whether he gets 8 years, a term interrupted, a prison sentence, or time served.

David Litt weighs in at Daily Beast:
Of course, it’s always possible that sometime this fall, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team will announce that results of their investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign has turned up nothing shady. Those Trump Tower meetings really were about adoption. The president’s fondness for Putin is due to bromance and not blackmail.

But it’s also quite possible that there is fire behind the smoke. Consider the following alternate scenario, one entirely plausible given what we currently know: Russian spies handed over stolen intelligence to the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign promised Russia something (an easing of sanctions, for example) in return. And Trump himself knew about it. Such findings would describe actions that fall somewhere between collusion and outright treason. It would trigger the most dire political crisis in modern American history.

If Justice Kennedy’s replacement has already been confirmed, that crisis would spread to the judiciary as well.
So consider the words of Rev. Barber. The “Families Belong Together” rallies tomorrow are part of a broader movement to defend democracy and the rule of law. Like it or not, you are part of history. Right now. As tired as you feel and as emotionally wrung out as your opponents want you to be, retreat is not an option. “Forward together, not one step back!”
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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.