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 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019


 

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

Hullabaloo


Wednesday, January 02, 2019

 
Even if Mueller Time doesn't come soon, its still happy hour

by digby

The new Committee Chairs


We are starting off the new year with a government shutdown and a president who mercilessly attacks Democrats and U.S. allies while issuing mash notes to authoritarian tyrants like Kim Jong-un -- and would-be tyrants like Brazil's new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. One imagines that President Trump was happy to spend his holiday alone in the residence, tucked up in bed chattering to his friends on his unsecured iPhone, ordering up cheeseburgers at all hours, watching Fox and tweeting. He seems to have enjoyed his White House staycation a great deal.

Starting tomorrow it's a whole new ballgame, however. For the first time since he assumed office, Trump will faced with a powerful foe: a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Right out of the gate, they're at loggerheads over the budget. Trump continues to demand money for his silly wall while the Democrats say they will reintroduce all the bills the Republicans agreed to pass before Trump reneged on the deals under pressure from Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. Republicans will then have the choice of whether to vote for their own bills and override Trump's veto or once again be his toadies. (I know where I'm placing my bet.)

Even with a flurry of legislative activity and high drama from the White House, there's no getting around the fact that the Russia investigation is closing in and everyone is anxious to see what the special counsel Robert Mueller has uncovered. Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast published an informative overview of what we can expect from the White House in this next phase.

Woodruff's sources in Trumpworld tell her that if Mueller wants to submit a report to Congress they expect a complicated series of confrontations involving executive privilege, setting up a battle between the two branches with the judiciary refereeing the dispute. The main issue involves the extensive interviews with White House staffers that have been conducted over the past 18 months, which they claim were done within the executive branch (since Mueller is technically a Department of Justice employee) and cannot be shared with Congress or the public.

Relevant law states that the special counsel's report must first be approved by the Justice Department. Andrew McCarthy of National Review, an influential former prosecutor, told Woodruff that he believes that either Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker or likely incoming Attorney General William Barr (who has not yet been confirmed) would redact anything they deem to be privileged before turning it over to Congress.

This view is not held by everyone. Former White House counsel Bob Bauer told Woodruff that executive privilege can be waived and that Trump has already done so, both with his voluminous tweets on the subject and his own lawyers' letter to Mueller last January. Bauer said these actions leave "in tatters any belated attempt to resuscitate this claim.”

The real upshot is that the Trump team is clearly planning to run out the clock, hoping they can litigate Mueller's report for many months until they can start wringing their hands and clutching their pearls over the DOJ rule that no action can be taken in advance of an impending election. I expect they'll start counting that down in about six months.

Whether this plan works will depend upon the federal courts, which Mitch McConnell has been assiduously packing for the last two years. Of course the Supreme Court has two new justices who owe their seats to the man on whom they may sit in judgment someday soon. (And, no, they will not recuse themselves from any such cases. )

So who knows when or if we will ever see a Mueller report. But if the Trump team thinks that plan will shield their boy from impeachment they are sadly deluded. Russian infiltration and sabotage of the 2016 election and Trump's subsequent obstruction of justice are hardly the only potential high crimes and misdemeanors likely to be investigated by the new Congress.

The various sexual scandals involving payoffs to porn stars and harassment charges have nothing to do with Mueller and are certainly on the table. The Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal cases are specifically relevant since they concern campaign finance law violations. There's no executive privilege there. We can probably expect to see Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen in a big splashy hearing early in the new year. (Whether House Democrats will quiz Cohen about Russia matters probably depends upon whether Mueller gives the OK.)

Then there's the fact that Trump administration appointees have already set records for corruption in the first two years of a presidency. Chief of staff, Director of Office of Management and Budget and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, FEMA director Brock Long, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt are all accused of various levels of illegal and unethical behavior. Don't be surprised to see some of them up on Capitol Hill testifying about their various misdeeds.

As we know from the seven years of investigations into Bill Clinton's $30,000 Arkansas real estate deal a decade before he came to Washington, Trump's business is certainly fair game. The New York Times report on his family's decades-long criminal tax fraud alone forms the basis of a serious probe into all of his business dealings. There are also suspected Mafia ties, money laundering, and dozens of different forms of financial and consumer fraud. The fact that he paid $25 million to settle with former customers of Trump University after he had been elected president would have immediately resulted in an independent counsel probe back in the days of that lapsed law.

Even more salient are the various scandals surrounding the Trump Foundation and current Trump Organization dealings. Since the president didn't divest himself of his holdings and has been accepting money from virtually anyone who wants to gain access or prop up his failing empire, he's opened himself and his company up to scrutiny. Considering that the Constitution expressly forbids the acceptance of such "emoluments," a congressional inquiry is more than appropriate.

Those are just off the top of my head. There are many more possibilities, which is scandalous in itself, and Congress has a constitutional obligation to look into them. If Mueller is able to submit his report and it contains damning information, no one will be surprised if that leads to an impeachment inquiry. But it's hardly the only grounds for doing so.

Even if the Republican Senate refuses to take up the case -- as certainly seems likely -- laying out the scope of this administration's conspiracy, corruption and criminality for the American people to see may be the best chance we have of ensuring that such a person is never elected again.

.