Nel's New Day

June 30, 2020

Bittersweet News from SCOTUS, Bad for DDT

Before the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the sometimes “moderate” justice kept women’s rights on life support. His resignation left Chief Justice John Roberts in that position, one he fulfilled today in the 5-4 decision that struck down a Louisiana law created to strike down all except one clinic in the state that performs abortions. The gist of the law was the state mandate requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, almost identical to a case about Texas law SCOTUS overturned just four years ago. In that decision, a 5-4 court determined the unconstitutional law served no benefits to patients but significantly burdened their access to abortion.

Brett Kavanagh, who promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) he is pro-Roe v. Wade to get Kennedy’s position, showed he is no Kennedy: he and Justice Neil Gorsuch joined ideologues Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas against women’ reproductive rights. Roberts voted against the majority four years in his desire to keep the Texas law, and he wrote his own opinion to prove he’s still a conservative—just wanted to preserve stare decisis, deference to precedent, and not overturn a former SCOTUS ruling. Because Roberts is the swing vote for this case, opposition to abortions will be the key to future cases, permitting restriction just short of their illegality. He sets a high hurdle to keeping right: benefit is irrelevant, and decision is based on a substantial obstacle.   

Slate’s court reporter Mark Joseph Stern questions the extent of the victory of constitutional rights for pro-choice. In his analysis of the high court’s opinion, Stern maintains Roberts “marks a retreat” from the earlier case declaring the Texas law unconstitutional. Under the new ruling, a woman could be forced to wait a week for an abortion and visit the clinic hundreds of miles away three times to see anti-abortion documentaries—no medical benefit to the patient while imposing burdens. Yet the court could determine this requirement doesn’t meet the level of “a substantial obstacle.” Next year, Roberts could find a way to overturn Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) which prevents laws banning abortion before viability. As Stern wrote, “A chill wind still blows.”

Roberts is not wedded to precedence. He voted with the majority in Citizens United (2010) to overturn long-held principles of campaign finance and in Janus (2018) used the same rationale of free speech to overturn a unanimous 1977 decision allowing public sector labor unions to collect fees against the wishes of employees.

A chill wind also blows for Collins, whose vote is a major reason Kavanaugh is casting far-right votes on SCOTUS. He already voted to deport Dreamers and allow employers to fire LGBTQ people on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Collins said she believed Kavanaugh when he promised not to overturn Roe v. Wade and guaranteed he would respect precedence, “essential to maintaining public confidence. And she’s up for reelection in under five months.

While people cheered for today’s pro-choice rights decision, most of them ignored a disastrous decision in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, allowing a president to fire the director of the supposedly independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause. Again Roberts was the swing vote, this time a conservative 5-4 vote putting other independent agencies at risk. The opinion didn’t go as far as to declaring the entire agency unconstitutional which the plaintiff under CFPB investigation had requested. The law creating the agency specified the presidentially-nominated director, who must be Senate-confirmed, could be fired only “for cause,” specifying “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.” Other agencies with the “for cause” firing limitation include the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission. They may suffer the same fate in loss of independence.

The current CFPB director, financial sector defender Kathleen Kraninger, will likely stay for the next few months because agency investigations have drastically slowed down since the occupation of the Oval Office by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). She may disappear with a Democratic president, however, a loss for Wall Street’s corruption. Between its inception in 2010 and 2016, the CFPB returned $12 billion to defrauded consumers. 

In the dissent by four justices, Elena Kagan wrote the five conservatives failed to respect the high court’s role in allowing the other two government branches, Congress and executive, the decision in structuring the executive branch. She also pointed out the vote removes “independence from political pressure.” Another part of the dissent told originalist justices the constitution has nothing about separation of powers and the president’s removal authority.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who originally envisioned the agency, was more positive, cheering about a conservative SCOTUS recognizing the constitutionality of the agency “and the law that created it.”

In addition to issuing decisions today, the Supreme Court turned down two cases. One, a challenge to AG Bill Barr’s return to the federal death penalty, opens up the possibility of executions next month for the first time since 2003. It also refused to hear a case about waivers of federal laws for border wall construction that kills wildlife and destroys the environment. Lower courts have ruled the waivers don’t violate the separation of powers.

Other big news today pointed out possible cracks in DDT’s Teflon. The discovery that intelligence told DDT about Russians paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops has taken the U.S. by storm. The New York Times initially reported the information on Friday, and within three days, DDT’s stories keep changing. A few facts:

Intelligence knew as far back as January—when DDT was negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban—and briefed DDT.

The bounty has been linked to deaths of U.S. military members.

In March, DDT learned about the intelligence reports but failed to respond.

In the past few months, DDT has had several friendly phone calls with Vladimir Putin, including five hidden ones in early April after the briefing.

DDT called Putin and Russia friends of the U.S., sent humanitarian aid to Russia, and pushed the other six members of the G7 summit to taken Russia back.

On Saturday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed DDT knows nothing. Little did McEnany know, her defense of DDT depicted him as ignorant, uncaring, negligent, lazy, and incompetent. And a liar like DDT. Part of her faulty defense was for his tweeting a video advocating “white power” staying up for three hours while DDT was unavailable on the golf course. (The White House claims DDT couldn’t hear the cries for “white power.”)

This timeline shows Russian support for the Taliban, U.S. clashes with Russian mercenaries, “destabilizing [Russian] activity in Afghanistan, three U.S. Marines killed by Taliban, and discovery of $500,000 in a Taliban outpost confirming U.S. intelligence suspicions about Russia paying bounties.

Since the reporting, DDT has said, in this order: (1) he never got any briefings; (2) he hadn’t been briefed because it was bogus; and (3) he was briefed but the intelligence wasn’t credible. According to respected political columnist David Ignatius, Pentagon officials were “pounding on the door” to get DDT to do something about the Russians’ damage.

People are left to decide which of the three is right: (1) DDT knew about the Russian’s paying the Taliban to kill U.S. troops and did nothing; (2) intelligence couldn’t tell DDT because they were afraid of him or what he would tell people; or (3) DDT didn’t bother to read vital national security information. Each of the three decisions shows a completely incompetent leader of the free world. In an effort to save his skin, DDT provided Republicans a briefing about the situation today but made Democrats wait until tomorrow. The briefing should have been for both parties at the same time, but DDT wants the GOP to have a one-day advance to prepare a defense for him.

Seven years ago, DDT tweeted: 

Ignorance is inexcusable; it’s the surest way to fail. No acceptable reason exists for not being well informed.”

Yesterday he tweeted:

“Nobody briefed or told me … about the so-called attacks on our troops in Afghanistan by Russians…. Everybody is denying it & there have not been many attacks on us…..”

Because DDT cares only about the election, he’s terrified about voters’ reactions. This TV ad reflects the reaction from VoteVets.

DDT’s problems with COVID-19 aren’t over either. Its new mutations make contagion easier and correlates with far greater cases in younger people. World infections topped 10 million over the weekend (today 10,412,433) with deaths over a half million (508,228). New infections in the U.S. are still soaring—44,734 for June 29—with the total up to 2,681,811 and 128,783 deaths. Federal officials such as HHS Secretary Alex Azar went on Sunday news shows to talk about the virus’s catastrophe while saying it isn’t their problem to fix. And DDT ignores the disease.

June 28, 2020

Law Sometimes on Side of People

For the first time since the agency was created almost two decades ago, DHS has classified white supremacy a domestic terrorist threat because of recent mass shootings. The far-right may protest the decision, but white supremacists committed 39 of 50 extremist-related attacks last year. 

Mississippi lawmakers are moving toward removing the Confederate flag from the state flag, and for the first time Gov. Tate Reeves said he would sign such a bill if it reaches his desk. No other state has the Confederate symbol on its flag.

Judges not siding with Dictator Donald Trump (DDT):

For the second time, a court ruled DDT’s transfer of $2.5 billion into border wall funding illegal. Two of the three-judge 9th Circuit Court panel determined the transfer of military funds an illegal overreach of executive authority because “the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.” The lone dissenter on the panel is a DDT appointee. Mexico has paid nothing for the wall, despite DDT’s promises, and DDT has weaseled $15 billion out of U.S. funds for his pet project. When the Supreme Court lifted a lower-court injunction against the transfer, it didn’t rule on its legality. DDT got the money by declaring a national emergency but said there wasn’t any emergency; he did it for convenience. 

A federal judge in Los Angeles ordered migrant children held over 20 days released from the country’s three family detention centers by July 17 because of COVID-19. Some of the 124 children in the facilities as of June 8 tested positive for COVID-19. One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs said the children are living in “horrific conditions.”

A federal judge overruled Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos preventing students with loans from getting their stimulus money. The law paused federal payments, reset the interest rate to 0 percent, and stopped debt collection until October 1, 2020. DeVos ignored the law and kept the stimulus checks from borrowers having overdue debt. When the law stopped her in May, she demanded students receiving emergency assistance through community colleges be eligible for financial aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Her plan was to eliminate aid for “undocumented, international and DACA recipient students in addition to those with poor grades and previously defaulted student loans.” The assistance helps students with rent, child care, technology, and groceries. The judge ruled withholding these emergency funds would cause irreparable harm and injury during a global pandemic.

DDT wants police to have unlimited immunity from lawsuits, but the 4th Circuit Court vacated a lower court ruling granting five officers qualified immunity for the 2013 murder of Wayne Jones, a homeless black man with schizophrenia. Four officers shot him 22 times in two seconds, mostly in the back and buttocks, while he lay limp and unmoving after Tasing and a chokehold. Jones couldn’t understand their questions and had a small fix-blade knife. The court ruled a jury should be allowed to determine if the 22 shots killing Jones were the use of excessive force.

DDT sues people so often that it rarely hits the news. Among the thousands of lawsuits, or at least threats, are against media outlets, TV stations, authors, politicians, his sexual assault victims, other countries, states, local governments, social media, campaign manager Brad Parscale, whistleblowers, the FBI, even a 92-year-old widow in Scotland—a long list. Last week, he threatened to block his niece from publishing her book, due out a month from today, because she settled an estate dispute with a nondisclosure agreement.

A clinical psychologist, Trump may be well qualified to write Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man., described as “a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse.” DDT left the dirty work of suing to his brother Robert, who has thus far failed. A Queens County (NY) judge said his court lacked jurisdiction in the case where Robert submitted a restraining order request and suggested he take the case to another court. The judge also cited “several improprieties” in Robert’s filing, making it “fatally defective”: it is based on the official disposition of patriarch Fred Trump Sr.’s estate, wrapped up in 2001 and thus for legal purposes “nonexistent.” Robert’s lawyer said he picked Queens County because the family estate was settled there in 2011. He plans to file with the New York Supreme Court. Mary’s book is due to come out a month from today.

More lawsuits to watch:

Judge Emmet Sullivan isn’t rolling over for AG Bill Barr. When two of three judges on a DC Circuit Court panel told the district court judge to dismiss charges against Michael Flynn, Sullivan didn’t follow the order and may ask the entire circuit court to hear the case. Twice, Flynn pled guilty to lying twice to the FBI under oath about his secret conversations with the Russian ambassador during the last few months of President Obama’s second term with the promise DDT would go easy on Russia after his inauguration. In exchange for his testimony and providing information, Flynn also got out of acting as unregistered agent for Recep Erdoğan in a plot to kidnap a U.S. citizen for the Turkish president. When Barr became DDT’s personal lawyer, Flynn saw a way out and reversed his guilty plea.

In a Flynn casualty, the DOJ fired FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, at the end of May. DDT heard Fox network Lou Dobbs accuse Boente of collaborating with FBI Director Christopher Wray to block release of evidence to clear Flynn.  

DDT put Michael Pack in charge of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, responsible for the Voice of America, to turn the independent broadcaster into his own propaganda machine. Immediately after the Senate confirmed Pack, he fired the top executives and advisory boards. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the Open Technology Fund argues Pack lacked the authority to fire staff or board or board members. The suit also claims Pack violates the federal broadcasting law protecting government-funded news outlets from political interference.

Nineteen attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for overturning a rule protecting students from predatory higher education institutions and denying federal funding if their students graduated with disproportionately heavy debt loads and weakened career prospects. California is also suing DeVos for failing to implement the department’s forgiveness program for student loans. Loans were supposed to be forgiven after a decade of on-time payments while the borrower is in a public service for a decade. Between May 2018 and May 2019, however, 99 percent of the applications were rejected.

DDT may be pleased with his filing to do away with the Affordable Care Act, but voters put Democrats into the House at the thought of losing health care. He insists people will keep their preexisting conditions, but the 82-page brief and legal team say the opposite. DOJ’s argument is that Republicans who voted for the tax cuts also voted to destroy the entire ACA. The issue will be huge in the rest of the 2020 campaign because it won’t be settled before November. Almost one-half million people signed up for healthcare plans after losing their jobs through the virus.

Traumatized by the “Black Lives Matter” painted on the renamed street of the same name in front of the White House, DDT went on another rant at the same phrase painted in front of the New York Trump Tower. In a tweet, DDT lied about protesters calling for the killing of police officers, using a 2015 protest shown on Tucker Carlson’s Fox program for his claim. Twitter responded by calling DDT a “snowflake.” Volunteers painted the same slogan on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. 

The following news gets the label “good” for the hope it gives. Mark Zuckerberg promises Facebook will remove posts inciting violence or suppressing voting, even by political leaders and DDT, and label posts violating hate speech or other policies. Zuckerberg’s statement came after major companies pulled ads from Facebook to protest his inadequate action against “hateful lies and dangerous propaganda” in a “#StopHateforProfit” advertising boycott already costing him over $7 billion. The announcement was made on Twitter. A few of the participating companies

Banks are getting close to minimum capital levels because of COVID-19, and the Federal Reserve plans new restrictions for the third quarter to suspend their share buybacks and cap dividend payment at the current level. In addition, banks will be required to resubmit payout plans again this year, possibly every quarter. According to the Fed formula, Wells Fargo has the biggest risk of a dividend cut.

When “small companies” were threatened with investigation, at least 63 public corporations returned $510 million to the federal PPP program intended for struggling companies, probably about 20 percent of public companies borrowing from the program. The remaining 80 percent of public companies have kept over $900 million. The Treasury Department claims any borrower receiving less than $2 million meets “the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.” Some companies earlier refusing to return money have reversed their position.

DDT speeded up testing a tiny bit by keeping open five of the 13 federal testing sites scheduled for cancelation. All five are in Texas.

Polling for DDT is so bad Fox raised the question of whether he will drop out of the presidential race before the election. Charles Gasparino tweeted an insider “described Trumps current psyche as ‘fragile.’

Today, June 28: New COVID-19 cases of 40,540 bringing the total to 2,637,077; 128,437 deaths—or far more.

June 19, 2020

DDT Runs Afoul of Executive Orders, COVID-19

For eight years, the Republicans hated presidential executive orders–until they elected Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Their opposition to these orders stay in the GOP platform because Republicans decided to retread the 2016 platform citing their hatred of President Obama. DDT loves signing orders because he gets to look important.

Eight years, ago, President Obama signed an order for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the program allowing undocumented young adults who were brought to the United States as children to apply for protection from deportation. In 2017, DDT signed his own order ending the program, telling almost 800,000 young people they should immediately be deported. After lawsuits against the order wandered the courts for almost three years, the Supreme Court ruled, 5-4 with Chief Justice John Roberts the swing vote, against DDT’s order, calling it “arbitrary and capricious.” The decision didn’t state DDT was wrong, just that he didn’t provide sufficient justification.

The executive order was sent back to the Department of Homeland Security, and, after a day of tantrums, DDT declared the high court wanted him to rewrite the order for reissuing.  

Damon Linker wrote about the decision:

“Presidents and their appointees can’t simply do anything they want, even when the aim falls within their purview. They need to abide by the rule of law in taking action…. It’s what separates a nation governed by law from one ruled by the whims of a malicious despot and his obsequious enablers.”

BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman wrote:

“This outcome is similar to what happened in the census citizenship question case — in both cases, Roberts wrote for the majority of the court that the Trump admin could in theory do what they were trying to do, but that officials had gone about it in an unlawful way.”

Law professor Steve Vladeck commented about the ruling:

“It’s not that Chief Justice Roberts is a closet progressive. He’s not. It’s that the Trump administration is really bad at administrative law.”

Steve Benen continued with the theme of his new book, The Imposters:

“Many of the White House’s recent failures are the result of its indifference to the substance of governing.

“Earlier this week, North Korea literally blew up a diplomatic office, in part because Trump launched a risky gambit for public-relations purposes, failed to do his due diligence, never bothered to formulate a specific plan or policy, and sat helpless as his half-hearted effort failed.

“Soon after, the political world was confronted with revelations from John Bolton’s new book, in which the former White House national security advisor describes the president as, among other things, a man who doesn’t care about governing, doesn’t know how government works, and prioritizes politics over policy.

“Meanwhile, Trump’s plan to hold a risky campaign rally in Tulsa is becoming increasingly controversial in ways his political operation may not have anticipated. Those who take governing seriously care about data, evidence, and expertise — and in this case, the coronavirus data out of Oklahoma is awful and getting worse; the evidence points to an enclosed venue where the virus can spread easily and quickly, and the experts are telling anyone who’ll listen that this is a bad idea.

“But because Trump and his allies are no longer members of a governing party, and have instead become leaders of a post-policy party, these developments are sadly predictable.”

Being able to legally work and attend school in the U.S. has made DACA recipients productive. About five percent of them contribute to healthcare work during the danger of COVID-19. Over 90 percent of DACA recipients are employed, and 45 percent of them attend school. In January 2018, 87 percent of people said DACA recipients should be allowed to stay if they work or attend school.

DDT believes Roberts wants another executive order, but a new attempt on his part could address whether the original DACA order was illegal or lacking in “sound policy.” This issue was not addressed in this week’s ruling and could last another three years or more in the courts. It could also be problematic in an election year.

Since the DACA executive order, DDT has learned to write ones totally without substance while making exaggerated statements about their effects. For example, he said he was keeping meat plants open during the pandemic, but the order told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to work with OSHA to make decisions.

DDT used the same approach when he signed his “law enforcement reform” order earlier this week. He said his order banned chokeholds, except “when an officer’s life is at risk.” The order actually states chokeholds are permitted wherever law allows them.  

DDT described his order as “pretty comprehensive.” These are his “orders”:

Police brutality has occurred.

Congress will pass policing-related legislation. (Congress started working on reform before he wrote the order.)

DOJ funding will pay police departments to provide federally-approved training programs. (An example of the huge loopholes is money only for departments prohibiting the use of chokeholds “except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.”)

The HHS Secretary should encourage police departments to improve law enforcement handling of mental health crises, addiction, and homelessness. (No explanation how.)

A national database should track police misconduct.

No policies, no orders, but DDT can use his statement to veto anything from Congress with a lie that he’s already created “reform.”  He’s already demanded law enforcement officers keep their immunity and described his appreciation for police brutality. People want “law and order,” according to DDT, although “some of them don’t even know that’s what they want, but that’s what they want.”

When Barack Obama was president, DDT stated President Obama “signs executive orders because he can’t get anything done. I’ll get everybody together.” Then he moved on to complaining about the few times President Obama golfed. With his own ability to sign these orders, however, DDT holds up his signature, pointing to it like a toddler pointing out his toilet-training achievement.

DDT’s favorite part of signing orders comes from the speech he gives afterwards. In this case, he extolled the virtues of police officers, returning to the idea that the massive police brutality, even more obvious during the past three weeks, is from a few bad apples. He called school choice, which means using taxpayer funds to support religious groups, as the “civil rights statement of the year, of the decade, and probably beyond.” (Not voting rights of equality in justice—just taxpayers paying for religious instruction.)

Although DDT claimed to have met with families of nine victims of police or racially motivated killings, none was in his audience for his signing. His photo-op showed himself surrounded by male cops, only one of them black. “We have to break old patterns of failure,” DDT said. 

Meanwhile, DDT is pushing VP Mike Pence, the evangelical, to tell governors to lie to their people so they will think COVID-19 has disappeared after a backlash to his rally tomorrow. With spikes in the virus throughout over half the states, Pence told governors to tell people the virus has disappeared. DDT claims the only reason the number of cases could go up would be more testing. Dana Milbank compared this reasoning to people believing they aren’t gaining weight if they don’t weigh themselves. DDT and Pence are willing to kill hundreds of thousands to win an election.

Predictions show the U.S. COVID-19 death toll to over 200,000 by early October, up from 170,000 deaths, because of states lifting lockdowns and ignoring safety measures to prevent the virus. Florida insisted on opening the state and keeping it open, but yesterday, it was one of four states—Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas—with almost half the 33,000+ new cases for the day although they have about 20 percent of the nation’s population. Pence also lied to reporters about the new virus spike in Oklahoma, its highest one-day total since the pandemic began in the state on March 6, by calling it a “flattening” curve.

Pence also wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed about “overblown” reports of a “second wave” while DDT is “winning the fight.” A factcheck about Pence’s piece, however asserted he “overstated the amount of coronavirus-related medical equipment distributed by a Trump administration program on multiple occasions, according to public data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.” The amount of masks, shields, and other PPE was far less than Pence stated, especially the 1.5 million N95 masks instead of the 143 million Pence declared.

As both DDT and Pence call for a “celebration” to the current end of COVID-19, people need to remember their comments earlier this year before over 120,000 people died of the virus in the United States.

June 15, 2020

High Court Gives LGBTQ Victory

On the first Mondays of June, the Supreme Court releases surprises, and today’s decision is the greatest reward for LGBTQ people since the high court ruled for marriage equality almost exactly five years ago. By a 6-3 vote, employment discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity is now illegal. The ruling goes back to 1964 when segregationist southern Democrat Howard Smith (V) put the word “sex into the Civil Rights Act as a joke to make the bill fail. Instead the bill passed, giving rights to women—and now LGBTQ people.

Three cases were joined in the court appeal, two against gays and a third against a transgender woman. Two of the three plaintiffs have died, Donald Zarda in 2014 and Aimee Stephens in mid-May this year. Gerald Bostock, fired because he joined a gay softball league, has recovered from prostate cancer and will return to court in Clayton County for issues such as his job reinstatement and back payment.

AG Bill Barr and Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) fought the Supreme Court decision, claiming “the ordinary meaning of ‘sex’ is biologically male or female; it does not include sexual orientation.” In a dissent, DDT’s justice Brett Kavanaugh claimed the law is based on the “ordinary meaning,” not the literal definition. Kavanaugh had been handpicked by his predecessor, Anthony Kennedy, who voted in favor of LGBTQ rights. The ruling is in keeping with public opinion, however, even Republicans who support it by 74 percent. Over 200 major corporations filed a brief supporting the gay and transgender employees in the cases. This ruling means all 50 states cannot use LGBTQ status, or perceived status, to fire employees instead of the 21 states protecting residents from firing until the decision. Seven more states protect LGBTQ public employees.   

Most exciting about the victory is that DDT’s conservative appointment to the court, Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. The term “sex” in Title VII, the anti-discrimination law applying to workforces of 15 or more people, doesn’t use the words “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.”  Gorsuch, however, stated:

“It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

Another surprise was a vote from Chief Justice John Roberts to support the ruling after he was on the losing side when the high court voted in favor of same-gender marriage. Two years later, however, Roberts voted with five other judges to overrule the Arkansas Supreme Court in Pavan v. Smith to treat same-gender married couples the same as heterosexual couples when listing parents on birth certificates.

A question about the ruling is whether it applies to military service because DDT has banned transgender people from serving. Legal and Policy Director Peter Perkowski for the Modern Military Association of America stated:

“Make no mistake: the Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination against LGBTQ people is discrimination based on sex. That truth applies regardless of context.”

I can understand the joy people feel about today’s ruling removing LGBTQ job discrimination. Throughout our teaching careers of over 30 years, both my partner and I lived in fear we would lose our jobs. Although we never openly discussed our sexual orientation, most people were aware of our relationship. We could have been fired at any time with no justification other than our being lesbians.

The current ruling opposing LGBTQ discrimination in employment, upholding findings from lower courts identifying sexual orientation discrimination as sex discrimination, is unique because no other court has decided on the violation of a statute. Instead, they have focused on liberty, dignity, or hatred. This new decision can open the floodgates to LGBTQ lawsuits in other areas.

Last Friday, DDT finalized a rule banning sexual orientation and gender identity from being covered by the 2010 Affordable Care Act prohibiting discrimination on sex. Joshua Block, a litigator at the ACLU’s LGBT Project, tweeted:

“It’s hard to overstate how much this administration has staked its anti-LGB-and-especially-T agenda on its misreading of Title VII. It’s now an achilles heel in built into almost every terrible regulation and enforcement action for past 4 years.”

DDT’s ban on transgender people in the military is challenged in Karnoski v. Trump. Last year, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to continue while the case awaits a hearing in the 9th Circuit Court or moves to the high court. Aaron Belkin, director of an organization researching military personnel policy, stated:

“Today’s ruling makes the military, so often a successful leader in ending discrimination in American life, an outlier amidst a national consensus that arbitrary discrimination is harmful and wrong. With transgender workers protected by federal law in all other sectors, the military’s transgender ban is now even harder to defend.”

That military issue uses different legal issues from today’s decision, but Justice Samuel Alito Jr stated in his dissent the decision “may exert a gravitational pull in constitutional cases,” citing the military ban challenge.

Litigation on Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 uses the definition of the word “sex” regarding to equal treatment in education and sports. David Flugman, a civil rights litigator at law firm Selendy & Gay, said:

“That line of case law is going to immediately be bolstered by this case. I think this case will be helpful in a number of ways, and just like Title VII itself, we’ll see this decision used in a number of ways we can’t predict.”

Single-sex homeless shelters can also discriminate against transgender people, HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced today.

A victory last month for transgender people is the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from Idaho to refuse gender confirmation surgery for a transgender woman in prison. In a 7-2 decision, the high court sided with a 9th Circuit Court ruling for Adree Almo, in prison since 2012, to receive the surgery. Last year, the 5th Circuit Court ruled against a Texas inmate to get the same surgery.

Same-gender couples also scored a victory from a federal judge order to pay Social Security benefits to surviving partners of same-gender couples denied the ability to marry sooner because of state marriage bans. In Arizona, James A. Taylor, committed partner of Michael Ely, died six months after the couple was married in 2014 following the Supreme Court legalization of marriage equality. Ely was denied federal survivor benefits because they had been married only six months, and the law requires nine months for qualification. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Macdonald wrote that “reliance on an unconstitutional law” perpetuated an “unconstitutional infringement on Ely and Taylor’s fundamental right to marriage.” He ordered Social Security benefits paid to every person denied benefits because of same-gender marriage ban. For almost 25 years, Taylor worked as a jet mechanic for Bombardier in Tucson (AZ), and Ely took care of their home. Now Ely, 67, can receive the same benefits as any heterosexual surviving spouse. [Right: Ely with a photo of his husband, “Spider” Taylor.] 

More victories today came from cases the Supreme Court didn’t take today. It passed on ten challenges to federal and state gun control laws, despite the dissent of two justices, Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. Left in place are restrictions on the right to carry weapons in public in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey; Massachusetts’ ban on some semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines; a California handgun control law; and a half-century-old federal law banning interstate handgun sales. 

Wisconsin’s bid to reinstate a state law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals was put on hold while being litigated.

Although justices Thomas and Alito objected, the remaining seven judges refused DDT’s challenge of California’s so-called sanctuary law limiting local cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Left intact, the 2017 California law creates policies barring the use of state and local resources to help federal enforcement efforts.

And the next two Mondays? Decisions on subpoenas for DDT’s tax returns and financial records, continuation of the DACA program to allows immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to apply for protection, women’s right to abortions by outlawing TRAP laws, religious control of government, and the right of DDT to fire independent agency directors. Have a good week waiting!

May 11, 2020

Life Gets Worse for DDT

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) held his first press conference since April 27—two weeks ago—and it didn’t go well. He refused to answer a question from an Asian-American reporter who came to Virginia when she was two years old by telling her to ask China. When she asked why, he said she had a “nasty question.” DDT had called on another reporter but then refused to let her ask any questions. When she tried to ask a question, he whirled around and stalked out of the Rose Garden. Journalists had different reasons for this particular meltdown, based on his recent personal problems.

First, COVID-19 invaded the White House in the form of two infected people, three others in self-quarantine, and most of the staffers afraid. DDT is “annoyed” about two staff members testing positive. Yesterday, Kevin Hassett, a top DDT economic adviser, said it’s “scary to go to work” and he’d “be a lot safer” if he stayed at home. He called the White House “a small, crowded place.” Staffers are told to wear masks when they aren’t at their desks and maintain social distancing. DDT still doesn’t wear a mask.

Second, the Supreme Court hears arguments tomorrow in three cases about whether DDT is above the law, as he is proud of claiming, and cannot be investigated. In one case, the House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed DDT’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for possible fraud in hush money for Stormy Daniels and declaring assets for loans and taxes. Other subpoenas are for Capital One and Deutsche Bank about “questionable financing” of his businesses and whether “any foreign actor” (aka Russia) has “leverage” over him. The last case comes from whether, as president, he can be investigated for violating state law, also involving hush money DDT paid women with whom he had affairs. All the lower courts hearing these cases ruled that a president is not above the law, just as the Supreme Court did 46 years ago when it ruled that President Richard Nixon was required to give audio tapes to a special prosecutor. Nixon resigned 15 days later. The high court also ruled that President Bill Clinton had no immunity from lawsuits regarding events before he was elected.

Third, DDT was so traumatized by President Obama’s statements to 3,000 former staffers about the illegality of AG Bill Barr dropping the case against Michael Flynn and DDT’s incompetence in regard to the COVID-19 crisis that he rage-tweeted 52 times in one hour yesterday morning and every 7.5 minutes throughout the day. On the “leaked” tape, the former president was heard to say that DDT’s response to the pandemic was an “absolute chaotic disaster.” In his tweets, DDT fixated on the investigation into his 2016 campaign ties to Russia, calling it “Obamagate” and stating that it is “the biggest political crime in American history, by far!” He wants people “indited [sic].” DDT did squeeze in one tweet with “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY’ but wrote nothing about the at least 80,000+ people who have thus far died of the virus. The only mention of the crisis was to praise himself by tweeting, “We are getting great marks for the handling of the CoronaVirus pandemic.”

At today’s press briefing, journalist for the Washington Post Philip Rucker asked DDT what the crime is and whether the DOJ should prosecute the former president. DDT obfuscated for a while with no explanation of any crime. Rucker repeated his question, and DDT said:  

“You know what the crime is. The crime is very obvious to everybody. All you have to do is read the newspapers, except yours.”

At the press briefing, DDT also kept claiming that the U.S. has far more testing capacity than any other country. Thirty-seven other countries have tested more than the 29,255 people per million tested in the U.S.: Canada, Russia, Italy, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Israel, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, and Australia as well as many smaller countries.

Rural counties, including those in red states are seeing new COVID-19 hot zones in reopening states. Two-thirds of people in the U.S. live in counties with rates of over 100 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. The fastest growth of numbers in Midwestern and Southern states comes in smaller counties. Just 2.3 percent of newly high prevalence counties are in the Northeast. Counties voting for DDT in 2016 were more likely to see new cases in the past week.

In the press briefing, DDT repeated his lie that people “should all be able to get a test right now.” The lesser favored areas—mostly Democratic—must prioritize symptomatic people who have doctors’ prescriptions. CDC wants prioritization of hospitalized and high-risk patients. The nine million tests haven’t begun to meet the demand for testing. One-third of surveyed people feared they had the disease, but only five percent of the third could get a test. Admiral Brett Giroir, the Health and Human Services official overseeing testing efforts, said that states “aspire” to perform more than 12 million tests in the next four weeks, about 3.6 percent of people in the U.S. Yet, like DDT, he also said that people should not get tests if they have no symptoms, ignoring all the asymptomatic infections that need tracing—possibly up to 50 percent of the virus cases. According to Dr. Francis Collins, director for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Abbott ID Now machine, used to perform rapid coronavirus tests, has “about a 15% false negative rate.” That means the testing that DDT, white House staffers, and anyone near DDT and VP Mike Pence will give a false negative 15 times for every 100 tests.

DDT has avoided any mention of the unemployment rate after using it for three years to prove how successful he is. In six weeks, 33.5 million people have filed jobless claims, and the Department of Labor listed the unemployment rate at 14.7 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression. About 157 million people were employed before the health crisis, meaning 20 percent of them have lost their jobs. According to the Economic Policy Institute, those figures fall woefully short of reality. Another 4.3 percent unemployed come from those who dropped out of the labor force. If the 7.5 million workers “misclassified as ’employed, not at work’ instead of ‘temporarily unemployed’ …  were classified correctly AND all coronavirus-related job losses had shown up as unemployed, the unemployment rate would be around 23.6%.” According to the EPI, about 12.7 million people lost employer-based health insurance.

Last month, the EPI also reported that three to four people couldn’t get into the system to apply for unemployment for every ten people who succeeded. Another two per ten said that the process was too complicated to try. That means an additional 50 percent of eligible unemployed not reported. Technical failures include difficult phone verification processes, limits of applications only on specific days, wait times of six to eight hours, websites shut down for long periods, and user information issued by mail.

Even without these glitches, the number of jobs lost in April was more than double the entire number lost in what was called the “Great Recession” of 2009. Although 80 percent of people who lost their jobs think they will get them back, this belief isn’t reality. According to Bloomberg, a large number of layoffs called “temporary” a month ago are now “indefinite” or “permanent.” J. Crew and Nieman Marcus are declaring bankruptcy, and Lord & Taylor are liquidating inventory in its 38 department stores. Although small businesses may reopen, fear will keep customers to going to them. Fifty-two percent of them expect to be out of business within six months.

On Fox & Friends, DDT’s BFF and trade adviser, Peter Navarro, called the reporting of unemployment a “pity party.” He continued, “Anybody who thinks this is the Great Depression doesn’t understand either history or economics.” Then he repeated DDT’s claim of “the strongest and most beautiful economy” before the virus. Two of the “pity party” participants were DDT’s appointees, White House senior economic adviser Kevin Hassett and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. They agreed that job losses was leading the U.S. toward a similarity to the Great Depression. Mnuchin said that jobs were “probably going to get worse before they get better.”

Last week, Deutsche Bank predicted the second quarter GDP plummeting 40 percent, up from an earlier estimate of 13 percent down. It also thinks the economy will have a much slower recovery, hoping for an increase of 15 percent in the third quarter and 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter for a decline of 8 percent for 2020, rather than the prior forecast of 3.2 percent. A drop in consumer spending causing much of the 4.8 percent GDP slump in the first quarter will worsen. Goldman Sachs warned an 18 percent drop of stocks in the next three months because it’s in a “pseudo-bullish rally” right now.

Over 80,000 people—plus thousands and thousands of people not tested—have died from the deadliest disease in over a century, 26 million people have filed for unemployment this month, unemployment is over 20 percent, the stock market is the most volatile for decades, the GDP has dropped to unbelievable levels, and DDT announced at his campaign rally (that he calls a “coronavirus briefing”) that he is throwing himself a party on the Mall on the Fourth of July—despite the pandemic.

March 18, 2020

Barr Fixit Guy for Authoritarian DDT

When Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) named Bill Barr the U.S. Attorney General, he found a kindred spirit in authoritarianism. Barr hid information in the Mueller report, appointed someone to investigate the FBI for investigating DDT’s campaign, intervened in Roger J. Stone Jr’s sentencing to lower it, and picked an outside prosecutor to view the case against Michael Flynn. Barr also created a back door for DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani to deliver him “dirt” on Joe Biden and tried to bury the whistleblower complaint that initiated the impeachment inquiry. DDT was disappointed in former AG Jeff Sessions because, although a lying racist, the AG had a small core of ethical behavior. Sessions’ recusing himself from all things Russian crushed DDT, but he kept Sessions until he found the perfect fixit, his own Ray Cohn, for the former Department of Justice. The situations below are only the tip of the iceberg: with Barr as AG, justice is gone.  

Gabe Ortiz wrote the DOJ “doles out mercy and second chances to the undeserving, the rich, and the powerful, but none for the most vulnerable and for whom a decision quite literally means life or death.” In early March, Barr changed the definition of torture for asylum seekers using it as a basis for staying in the U.S. Because immigration courts are under the rule of DOJ, Barr can override decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals. He has used that right so many times immigration lawyers and judges call it abuse and a check on his judges if decisions don’t match DDT’s immigration agenda of destroying due process. Barr’s decision makes the definition of torture so narrow that every applicant is guaranteed failure. New immigration judges are hired to follow DDT’s anti-immigrant position. Their training is to follow DDT’s enforcement. Dana Leigh Marks, president emeritus of the National Association of Immigration Judges, said, “What’s happening now is that all the norms are breaking. All the wheels are coming off the car.” Barr could decide to use his personal definition of “justice” on far more people than immigrants.

Part of Barr’s job is to protect DDT, and he’s done it by dropping federal charges against two Russian shell companies as defendants in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian troll farm case. Two of the original 16 defendants accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential election are no longer involved in the trial. The case exposes a big part of Russian influence operation in the U.S., using social media to spread disinformation and exploit social divisions. Barr’s excuse to drop charges was that the companies were using the case to access information from prosecutors about the government’s sources and investigation methods.

DDT declared a commitment to “safeguarding the American consumer” days before a study shows that DOJ prosecutions of white-collar criminals fell to an all time low in January. The 359 white-collar criminals prosecuted in January represented a drop of 25 percent from five years ago. At this rate, the number of prosecutions will be half those during the Obama administration. The study was reported in early March when DDT promised to prosecute “bad actors seeking to harm and exploit honest and hardworking people through deception and other nefarious tactics.” Last month, DDT pardoned high-profile white-collar criminals such as “junk bond king” Michael Milken and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Last September, a court filing revealed that Barr is still covering up for the Saudi government part in the 9/11 terror attacks that killed almost 3,000 people. He said that the “state secrets” privilege allows him to block the release of an FBI report about the relationships between some of the 19 hijackers and Saudi government officials. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi citizens. Eight days after the attack, at least 13 relatives of Osama bin Laden, one of them a #1 on Washington’s “most wanted” list and linked to a terrorist organization, left the U.S. on a chartered flight with bodyguards and associates.  Saudi, the world’s biggest purchaser of U.S. weapons, is central to the wars for regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

Like many people, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, first nominated by Ronald Reagan, ruled that Barr’s handling of Robert Mueller’s report indicates that the DOJ cannot be trusted to redact the document. In early March, Walton determined that his court will review the redactions to guarantee that the blacked-out portions don’t improperly hide information from the public. He criticized the Barr’s letter supposedly summarizing Mueller’s conclusions before Barr made portions of the report available to Congress. Walton suggested that Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided view of the report that differed from the report itself.

“[A] review of the redacted version of the Mueller Report by the Court results in the Court’s concurrence with Special Counsel Mueller’s assessment that Attorney General Barr distorted the findings in the Mueller Report.”

Walton declared two major representations of the report by Barr. He said Mueller did not establish DDT’s involvement in the 2016 Russian election interference although Mueller found several “links” between the campaign and Russia which he said were not a criminal conspiracy. And second, Barr omitted Mueller’s determination not to make a prosecutorial decision about whether DDT obstructed justice but listed extensive analysis and evidence about DDT’s commission of the crime of obstruction. Mueller had said that Congress or a prosecutor could perhaps try for his conduct.

Walton wrote that because of discrepancies between Barr’s public representation and Mueller’s findings, Barr may have “made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary.”

Walton also wrote:

“The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report. These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility. These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr’s lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr’s credibility.”

Last October, Walton told U.S. prosecutors to either charge former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe or drop their long-running investigation into whether he lied to investigators about a media disclosure. Walton said that such a long wait undermined the DOJ’s credibility with impression that the DOJ was hounding one of DDT’s enemies. In a February hearing, Walton stated that DDT’s repeated attacks on McCabe raised concerns about the investigation’s motives:

“I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably, even if not, influencing the ultimate decision. I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue inappropriate pressure being brought to bear….

“I think as a government and as a society we’re going to pay a price at some point for this.”

McCabe wasn’t charged.

In an Atlantic article, journalist/attorney Peter M. Shane claimed that DDT is trying to put federal administrative adjudicators under his personal control. These thousands of federal employees don’t direct courtrooms but preside over trial-like disputes. Shane wrote:

“[They] preside over trial-like disputes, hear evidence and testimony, and make decisions that can deeply shape people’s lives, such as the granting of asylum and veterans benefits. These executive branch employees are administrative adjudicators.”

If DDT succeeds in dictating their rules governing how disputes with agencies are resolved, all of them must follow DDT’s whims, removing the descriptor “independent” from these agencies.

Barr is finally the subject of an ethics complaint to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) because of his allegedly prejudicial “inflammatory and disparaging” comments about the DOJ’s active probe into the FBI investigation of Russian interference into the 2016 election. An earlier ethics complaint cites a pattern of bias by Barr to protect DDT at expense of carrying out DOJ mission to “ensure fair and impartial administration of justice.” Barr’s “failure to recuse resulted in” DOJ “mishandling” the whistleblower was the subject of another complaint last week.

DDT has support from another fixit guy—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). After ignoring the 400+ House bills to rapidly push through judges and other confirmations, McConnell is personally asking older judges to retire so that he can put in highly conservative and young unqualified judges, just like the others. He said they would have to retire by early fall, a couple of months before the election, to be replaced. This from the man who blocked President Obama’s nomination for a Supreme Court justice for almost ten months.

February 20, 2020

Barr, DDT: ‘Because I Can’

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 9:05 PM
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Today, the story about the attempt of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT), with the help of his fixer AG Bill Barr, to interfere in the sentencing for Roger Stone, convicted of seven felonies including his participation in WikiLeaks release of emails favoring DDT, came to a head with Stone’s sentencing. After a federal judge lambasted Barr’s interference, she sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison, two years’ probation, $20,000 fine, and 250 hours of community service.  Suspension of these punishments until a ruling on Stone’s request for a new trial delays Stone’s serving his sentence. The judge claimed that “the truth still matters,” but Stone left court with a smirk on his face.

Barr had dropped the original request of seven to nine years sentence for Stone to one to two years, but the new prosecutor, John Crabb, said that Stone should have “a substantial period of incarceration.” Federal sentencing guidelines, followed before Stone, recommend a minimum term of almost six years. The situation became so heated that the judge held a broadcasted 12-minute telephone conference with all parties two days before the sentencing.

Facing accusations that Barr followed DDT’s orders instead of running the DOJ, Barr first said that he could not do his job because of DDT’s tweets and then leaked that he might resign. [Don’t believe it!]  Fewer than nine months before the presidential election, Barr’s call for pity resulted in accolades about his “integrity,” “dedication,” service to the “rule of law,” “transparency … without bending to political winds,” etc. from GOP senator.

Over 2,000 former DOJ officials, however, disagreed with the GOP senators, calling on Barr to resign, that he “flouted” the fundamental principle that “political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.” They also claimed that Barr’s doing DDT’s directions caused damage to the DOJ.

The independent Federal Judges Association, a national association of over 1,000 federal judges, called an emergency meeting about DDT’s and the DOJ’s intervention in politically sensitive cases, claiming that the crisis could not wait until the group’s spring conference. The meeting was postponed with no reason given after the rumor that Barr might resign.

One of Barr’s former bosses, Donald Ayer, deputy AG under George H.W. Bush and a former U.S. Attorney, wrote in an Atlantic op-ed that Barr needed to resign:

“In chilling terms, Barr’s own words make clear his long-held belief in the need for a virtually autocratic executive who is not constrained by countervailing powers within our government under the constitutional system of checks and balances. Indeed, given our national faith and trust in a rule of law no one can subvert, it is not too strong to say that Bill Barr is un-American. And now, from his perch as attorney general, he is in the midst of a root-and-branch attack on the core principles that have guided our justice system, and especially our Department of Justice, since the 1970s.”

Barr’s actions in addition to intervening in the cases of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn:

  • “Public whitewashing of Robert Mueller’s report.”
  • Accusing the FBI of “spying” on the Trump campaign.
  • Working with DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the Ukraine scandal.
  • Initiating a “second, largely redundant investigation of the FBI Russia probe.”
  • Criticizing the separation of church and state doctrine to make all U.S. institutions be Judeo-Christian.
  • Persecuting Hillary Clinton.
  • Trying to hide the Ukrainian whistleblower report in violation of the law.
  • Ordering the DOJ to block New York prosecutors using state law to demand DDT’s tax returns.
  • Concealing a 2018 federal report about white supremacists being responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism events in that year.
  • Protecting George H.W. Bush by enabling him to pardon all the conspirators of the Iran-Contra Scandal.
  • Arguing that the president is above the law, including the use of military force without congressional authorization.

Over 30 years ago, Barr deposed Panama’s leader Manuel Noreiga and kidnapped him for trial in the U.S. He claimed a DOJ legal opinion permitted his actions, obfuscated the information to satisfy members of Congress, and then convinced the House subcommittee that the material was “confidential.”

Barr also followed DDT’s bidding by trying to block an indictment of a Turkish bank, Halkbank, after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked DDT for help. DDT told Erdogan that Barr and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would take care of the bank’s problems, according to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). DDT, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Mnuchin met with Turkey’s finance minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law last April. Barr told Halkbank officials how to make a deal, but they didn’t follow through. In October, New York’s U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman charged the bank with fraud, money laundering, and sanctions offenses. Last year, former national security adviser John Bolton complained to Barr that DDT was doing personal favors for the “autocratic” leaders of Turkey and China.

After Fox commentator Andrew Napolitano said that Roger Stone should get a new trial, DDT tweeted that he might sue the “Mueller” prosecutors in Stone’s first trial. Defense lawyers demanded a new trial after DDT accused Tomeka Hart, the jury forewoman in Stone’s trial, of having “significant bias.” DDT claimed:

“If I wasn’t President, I’d be suing everyone all over the place. BUT MAYBE I STILL WILL.”

Hart’s Facebook post stated that she spoke out about the case because “[i]t pains me to see the DOJ now interfere with the hard work of the prosecutors.” In her post, Hart quoted another juror who write in an op-ed:

“We did not convict Stone based on his political beliefs or his expression of those beliefs. We did not convict him of being intemperate or acting boorishly. We convicted him of obstructing a congressional investigation, of lying in five specific ways during his sworn congressional testimony and of tampering with a witness in that investigation.”

Despite knowledge about Hart’s FB posts and her Democratic bid for Congress, Stone’s lawyers didn’t challenge her for the jury. A DOJ official anonymously reported that prosecutors, supported by Barr, opposed Stone’s request for a new trial.

DDT has now falsely declared himself the “chief law enforcement officer of the country” despite the fact that the Attorney General of the Department of Justice has that role. Perhaps, however, there’s no difference since the current AG does everything that DDT wants. If DDT could speak French, he might say, like Louis XIV, “L’état, c’est moi (The state, it is I: I myself am the nation).”

After DDT complained about the corruption in Ukraine, he pardoned or commuted the sentence of these corrupt criminals in the U.S., white men who could help him or whose supporters could help him. Recommendations came from the Fox network, celebrities, members of conservative media, wealthy donors, and political figures such as former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and DDT’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani.

*Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich tried to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat and withheld state funding from children with cancer until the hospital CEO gave him campaign donations. DDT knew Blagojevich when he was a contestant on The Apprentice. Blagojevich describes himself as a “Trumpocrat” (aka summitting to DDT’s rule). [Sentence commuted.]

*Junk bond king Michael Milken, a wealthy financier with connections to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), political donors Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), pleaded guilty to six felony counts, including securities fraud, mail fraud, and aiding in the filing of a false tax return.

*Bernard Kerik, former New York police commissioner, pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. Kerik is a frequent visitor to DDT’s Mar-a-Lago.

*Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, Jr. pleaded guilty in bribing former Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards for a riverboat casino license.

*David Safavian, a senior official in George W. Bush’s administration, obstructed a federal investigation as part of the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

*Technology executive Ariel Friedler conspired to hack into the computer systems of two competitors to improve his company’s software development and sales strategy.

*Construction company executive Paul Pogue failed to pay almost $500,000 in taxes, but his brother donated over $200,000 to the Trump Victory Committee beginning in August 2019.

Julian Assange’s lawyer claimed under oath that DDT offered Assange a pardon if he would cover-up Russia’s role in the DNC hack.

As usual, DDT’s pardons bypass the traditional DOJ process. DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Florida AG Pam Bondi, who illegally took campaign donations from DDT’s charitable foundation in exchange for dropping a lawsuit against DDT’s Trump University, are now in charge of the pardoning process. Last year the head of the DOJ pardon office quit because of DDT’s dependence on his personal connections or those of his political base for his decisions.

DDT gives pardons and commutations only to those who can personally and politically help him. People ponder if DDT is softening voters for pardons of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone, and even Rudy Giuliani as New York prosecutors edge closer to Giuliani’s relationship with two men indicted in Ukraine’s extortion. Probably not Michael Cohen, but one never knows.

February 13, 2020

Barr, DDT Destroy the ‘Rule of Law’

Tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, is the one-year anniversary of AG Bill Barr’s confirmation, and he’s used his first year to exhibit an amazingly high level of corruption. Chris Smith wrote:

“Attorney General William Barr is on a trajectory to surpass [John] Mitchell, the previous AG corruption champion [for Nixon], who was convicted of conspiracy, perjury, and obstruction of justice, and went to prison for 19 months.”

Barr was immediately charging ahead with his falsehoods and then concealment of Robert Mueller’s investigation about Russian election interference and the campaign of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) last spring. He’s still saying “no collusion” to obfuscate Mueller’s position that collusion was not addressed in the investigation because it’s not a legal term. Barr’s comments were so egregious that the normally reticent Robert Mueller refuted them.

Now Barr is working on a cover-up for his obedience to DDT’s needs by claiming that “I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” He also complained that DDT’s statements and tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors and the department that we’re doing our work with integrity.” Barr is welcome to quit his job if it’s “impossible.”

Barr’s subservience to DDT came to a head when Barr changed the prison sentence recommendation for DDT’s friend Roger Stone after DDT called the seven to nine years for seven felonies “horrible and very unfair.” Four career prosecutors quit the case, one of them resigning from DOJ, at DOJ’s new filing of three to four years. DDT then praised Barr for “taking charge” of the case. Three of the charges against Stone were obstructing Congress, witness intimidation, and lying—actions common to DDT. During the trial, Stone also posted an image an image of the judge’s name, her face, and the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head. Stone said he thought the gun sight was a “Celtic symbol.”  

On the same day that the DOJ filled a more lenient sentence request, Barr accused “progressive DAs” of having “fashioned for themselves a new role of judge-legislator-prosecutor,” that “these self-styled ‘social justice” reformers are refusing to enforce entire categories of law.” According to Barr, “these policies actually lead to greater criminality.” 

DDT also claims that he has absolute power to tell the DOJ who and how it prosecutes and called the sentencing a “horrible abberition (sic).” Not satisfied with attacking the prosecutors and the trial process, he also struck out against the judge in Stone’s case, implying she was biased:

“Is this the Judge that put Paul Manafort in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, something that not even mobster Al Capone had to endure? How did she treat Crooked Hillary Clinton? Just asking!”

Actually, it is not “the Judge” because another judge put Manafort into a VIP suite to protect him. Manafort was also found to be tampering with witnesses in his trial.  A lawsuit against Hillary Clinton connected to the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi (Libya) was dismissed after 11 hearings from the GOP-controlled House, one of them in which Clinton answered questions for almost 12 hours, could find no wrongdoing on her part. 

Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on Chief Justice John Roberts to clarify that DDT’s attacks on a judge “are unacceptable.”

Now free to do whatever he wishes after his impeachment acquittal, DDT went on a diatribe from the Oval Office:

“Where’s [James] Comey? What’s happening to [Andrew] McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa and — to Pete Strzok and Lisa Page? What’s happening with them? It was a whole setup, it was a disgrace for our country, and everyone knows it, too, everyone.”

Asked what lesson he learned from impeachment, DDT said, “That the Democrats are crooked — they’ve got a lot of crooked things going—that they’re vicious, that they shouldn’t have brought impeachment.” He also withdrew Jessie Liu’s nomination for undersecretary of the Treasury Department for terrorism and financial crimes because she oversaw cases involving DDT’s friends Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and Stone. Once nominated, she lost her job as U.S. attorney for D.C., a top position overseeing economic sanctions. Liu had expected to stay in that position until confirmation, but Barr replaced her last week with his close adviser Timothy Shea, who then overruled the prosecutors in the Stone case by requesting a more lenient sentence.

Barr has a close associate in the office handling cases about Mueller’s investigation, Russian election interference, and Flynn and Stone who are yet to be sentenced. The same office has now filed a request recommending probation for Flynn instead of up to six months in prison. The DOJ’s new filing, effusively describing Flynn’s government service, reads as if it were written by the defense instead of the prosecution. Flynn may have violated the Logan Act against private citizens’ negotiating with foreign governments without proper authority to influence their actions when he met with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak after DDT’s election while President Obama was still in office to discuss sanctions against Russia. Violation of the Logan Act is a felony, punishable by up to three years in prison. Documents show that DDT’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner also directed Flynn to contact foreign government officials and ask them to delay or vote against a UN resolution about Israel settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, in opposition to support from then President Obama and his administration favoring the resolution.

Some GOP senators who said DDT had “learned his lesson” now say that he should not speak out about pending sentences. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of the “lesson” senators, described the “chain of events”: “proceeding, a sentencing, a recommended sentence, the president weighs in and all of the sudden Justice comes back, says ‘change the deal.’” She said that “most people … would say ‘hmm, that just doesn’t look right.’ And I think they’re right.” Another “lesson” senator, Susan Collins (ME) said DDT “should not have gotten involved.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) agreed with the two women. All three senators voted against DDT’s impeachment conviction.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman, a colleague of the attacked judge on the court in Washington, warned about the consequences of DDT’s attacks. In a speech, Friedman said that DDT “seems to view the courts and the justice system as obstacles to be attacked and undermined, not as a coequal branch to be respected even when he disagrees with its decisions.” 

Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney in the Obama administration, said:

“If a president can meddle in a criminal case to help a friend, then there’s nothing that keeps him from meddling to harm someone he thinks is his enemy. That means that a president is fully above the law in the most dangerous kind of way. This is how democracies die.”

Vance doesn’t need to wait. Barr has already assigned the DOJ to “investigate” President Obama’s intelligence officials to accuse them of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis regarding Russia’s election interference in 2016. The team started with the premise that CIA director John O. Brennan was operating under a preconceived belief about Russia and tried to keep other agencies from information because they might discover he was wrong. 

Out of concern for the DOJ’s decision-making process, the New York City bar has requested “immediate investigations” in a letter to Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz and chairs and ranking minority-party members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees: Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-GA), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-SC), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The reason for investigations comes from “serious questions about whether the Department of Justice is making prosecutorial decisions based not on neutral principles but in order to protect President Trump’s supporters and friends.” The letter alleges “improper influence” because the DOJ’s change in this appears “from all external circumstances to be an instance of President Trump and Attorney General [William P.] Barr acting in concert to protect Stone from punishment.”

In an op-ed, Harry Litman, former U.S. attorney and current professor of constitutional law, wrote:

 “I have never experienced or even heard of a situation in which a career prosecutor had been ordered to withdraw a sentencing memorandum within the guidelines’ range. The original filing in the Stone case came from two career federal prosecutors and two special assistant U.S. attorneys.”

The DOJ said that changing sentencing requests is common for them, yet it couldn’t come up with an example. In an interview, Barr claimed that he told the prosecutors he was going to override the seven to nine years but they ignored him when they made the filing. It all smells: Barr says he’s overriding his own rule to follow the federal sentencing guidelines at the highest level, prosecutors don’t override the AG, and DDT doesn’t quietly sit back and let someone criticize him. It’s a cover up as protection for DDT’s friends.

DDT’s impeachment acquittal by GOP senators shredded the Constitution; now Barr and DDT are destroying the rule of law in the United States.

September 19, 2019

The Self-Appointed King Tries to Hide

Loose Lips Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) had to be reminded that he was spreading classified information when he used his signature Sharpie to proud signed the wall replacement—that he called the “new” wall—at the southern border and said:

“One thing we haven’t mentioned is technology. They’re wired so that we will know if somebody’s trying to break through….   You won’t be able to touch it. You can fry an egg on that wall.”

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, acting head of the Army Corps, couldn’t even stop him with his recommendation, “Sir, there could be some merit in not discussing that” before DDT described the steel wall’s beams as heat conductors.

Breaking just hours later was news about an intelligence community whistleblower who described a “promise” that DDT made a foreign leader that “raises new questions about the president’s handling of sensitive information.” A high authority, presumably DDT, has ordered the information kept even from congressional members who have legal access to the report. The term “new” means that the concern came after one last summer when DDT released a detailed photo of a failed Iranian launch that was possibly classified, his earlier release of highly classified information to Russian guests about a highly sensitive and valuable matter with Israel, and the discussion of North Korea ballistic missile tests in front of Mar-a-Lago guests and staff. He also refuses to give up his unsecured cellphone. Conservatives point out that presidents can declassify any information, but DDT is the first person in the Oval Office who lacks any filter on his mouth after complaining throughout his campaign about Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

DDT’s response to the news about the whistleblower was “No problem!”—that people are always listening to his conversations with a foreign leader. He also stated that he was far too smart to “say something inappropriate” in that situation and he “would only do what is right.” The news isn’t “fake,” as he claimed: the whistleblower filed a complaint, the IG’s office examined the complaint, and he considered it credible and urgent enough that he contacted the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which illegally worked with the DOJ to circumvent legal process on congressional disclosure.

After the acting DNI and IG appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) reported that the complaint came from “more than one” event although the IG refused to give any other information about the complaint. The impression from the hearing is that the DOJ (aka AG Bill Barr) and DDT are trying to cover up the situation. The acting DNI will testify in open session on September 26, and both men will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. From appearances, the DOJ (aka AG Bill Barr) and DDT are trying to cover up the situation.    

According to a source, the “promise” was made on a phone call. Reporters found conversations with three foreign leaders in the two months before the complaint filing:  Chinese President Xi Jinping (June 18), French President Emmanuel Macron (July 1), and Russian President Vladimir Putin (July 31). The call with Putin wasn’t recorded, but Russia announced it. Key events during that time of the event and coverup: Dan Coates, Director of National Intelligence, resigned (July 28); U.S. pulled out of INF treaty with Russia (August 2); John Huntsman, the Russian Ambassador, resigned (August 6); and Joseph Maguire named acting DNI (August 8). Maguire was the person who went to the DOJ and told to withhold the information.

Today the media also reported communication 18 days before the complaint was filed in August 12 between DDT and new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The readout of the call noted a focus on Ukraine’s ability to “complete investigations into corruption cases that have hampered Ukraine-US cooperation.” House Democrats were already investigating the call to check on the possibility that DDT and his attorney Rudy Giuliani were manipulating Ukraine to help DDT’s reelection campaign. Records related to efforts to blackmail the Ukrainian government into helping DDT’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, in prison for illegal lobbying and financial fraud, and finding dirt on Democratic presidential candidate through his son’s activity in Ukraine while Hunter Biden was on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma. DDT had also blocked financial aid for Ukraine that Congress had appropriated.

Giuliani has already pressured Zelensky to extend an investigation into Hunter Biden although previous inquiries had discovered no wrongdoing and advised DDT about how to deal with Zelensky. Last week, DDT released the $250 million to Ukraine after a bipartisan push.

In a letter written this week, Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson disagreed with the basis of DDT’s suppression of the whistleblower’s complaint that the situation is out of the DNI’s jurisdiction because it doesn’t concern anyone in the intelligence community and that its release would violate DDT’s “privilege.” Atkinson wrote that the DNI and the DOJ are wrong, that the “disclosure not only falls within the DNI’s jurisdiction, but relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI’s responsibilities to the American people.” He continued that denial of permission to disclose the “general subject matter” of the complaint to Congress affects “the execution of two of my most important duties and responsibilities as the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community”—his responsibility toward the whistleblower and his duties to the congressional oversight committees.

While DDT declares himself above the law in not permitting congressional members to see a whistleblower complaint, his lawyers are making the same “above the law” claim in a lawsuit against New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance. New York had subpoenaed eight years of his state tax returns per a new state law, and lawyers declared that DDT cannot be criminally investigated while he is in office. With no legal backing, they argued that sitting presidents are immune from all criminal inquiries while in the White House. It’s their enormous responsibility and unique role that removes them from any legal action, especially from local prosecutors. Any “originalist” judge or justice who believes in following the words of the Constitution would laugh in the lawyers’ faces; those words aren’t in the Constitution.

The lawyers themselves probably are aware of their arguments’ ridiculousness, but they’re working hard to delay the release of DDT’s financial records. The request for DDT’s personal and corporate tax returns came from a search into the part that he and his family played in making hush payments to two women during his presidential campaign.

DDT has filed other lawsuits to keep his tax returns private since he promised to make public after his election. These include attempts by congressional Democrats, New York lawmakers, and California in a law requiring presidential primary candidates to release tax returns before being on the ballot. A judge ruled against California today, winning legal arguments were on narrower grounds.

During the Nixon and Clinton administrations, the DOJ barred federal prosecutors from charging a sitting president with a federal crime while in office, claiming that impeachment is the process for wrongdoing. The orders, however, do not deal with state prosecutors. During his time in the Oval Office, DDT has been investigated in federal criminal inquiries by special investigator Robert Mueller. As of May 13, 2019, federal, state, and congressional authorities had at least 29 investigations into DDT’s businesses, campaign, inauguration, and presidency. In May, Mueller said that the DOJ “explicitly permits” the investigation of presidents, but they cannot be charged with federal crimes. DDT’s lawyers claim that investigations against a sitting president are also unconstitutional and called the Manhattan DA “a county prosecutor.”

According to New York law, filing a false business record can be a felony if that the filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. If Vance obtains DDT’s tax returns, they remain secret unless they are used as evidence in a criminal case.

Thus far, judges have not quashed any subpoenas for his tax returns, and today he obtained only a one-week delay.  The winners of the 2016 election are the lawyers. Being in court doesn’t seem “burdensome” for DDT because he spends a lot of time suing other people.

In another attempt to hide information from Congress, the White House refuses to reveal potentially disqualifying material in Darrell Issa’s FBI file for his director of U.S. Trade and Development Agency confirmation before the Senate. Issa has escaped convictions after his run-ins with the law. Only GOP and Democrat leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee were allowed to see the file, and Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) initially decided to schedule hearings without the agreement of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). Over Menendez’ objections, the confirmation for Marshall Billingslea for the State Department’s human rights activities leader continued despite document gaps in his file while he worked on detainee torture policies for George W. Bush. Risch had asked the White House for Issa’s FBI file but receive no response.

DDT’s game is to succeed in his corruption through declaring himself king and hiding everything.

September 16, 2019

Kavanaugh on the Hot Seat Again

One year ago, the Senate defended and confirmed Brett Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest court despite a credible witness who described his sexual assault when they were teenagers. A year later, the New York Times reported another of Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual assaults at Yale that the Senate and FBI attempted to conceal at the confirmation hearings. At the hearings, Kavanaugh denied the woman’s description of how he forced his penis into her face and tried to get her to touch it. He said, “If that had happened, that would have been the talk of campus in our freshman dorm.”

Investigation reveals that Kavanaugh’s assault was “the talk of the campus.” Long before he became a federal judge, at least seven people, including the victim’s mother and two classmates, heard about his behavior. Two FBI agents who interviewed the victim, found her “credible,” but the GOP-controlled Senate did not give them authorization to investigate.

The FBI also failed to investigate another report from a classmate, Max Stier, who “saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student.” Stier told both senators and the FBI about Kavanaugh’s behavior during the vetting process, but no one followed up, in spite of 25 possible corroborating witnesses.

These credible witnesses were in addition to the account from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford published in the Washington Post:

“[Kavanaugh] pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.”

The NYT buried the story under “news analysis” that appeared to focus on the victim not fitting into Yale. The tweet from NYT Opinion claimed “having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun.” Even the follow-up deletion and “apology” about the “poorly phrased” statement didn’t salvage the disgusting former tweet that made sexual assault seem like the new normal.

The article was abstracted comes The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation, extensively researched by the authors Robin Pogrebin, Kavanaugh’s classmate at Yale, and Kate Kelly. Among much more information, the authors point out that all Kavanaugh’s achievements, including justice on the Supreme Court, resulted from the power given him by other men, starting with his parents paying for his education in a prestigious school. In the hearing, Kavanaugh surrounded himself by female family and friends to show how much they love him.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), one of the five top contenders for Democratic presidential nomination, said: “I sat through those hearings. Brett Kavanaugh lied to the US Senate and most importantly to the American people. He was put on the court through a sham process and his place on the court is an insult to the pursuit of truth and justice. He must be impeached.”

Another candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) agreed that the confirmation process was a “sham.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) will undoubtedly face more ire from DDT for saying:

“Nothing terrifies this corrupt president more than the idea of Congress upholding the rule of law. We must open impeachment inquiries against Trump and Kavanaugh immediately. It’s our constitutional duty.”

Last fall, Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) wrote FBI Christopher Wray with a request for an “appropriate follow up” with one individual who had come to Coons with information about Kavanaugh. The letter, which identified Kavanaugh’s classmate at Yale University Max Stier, stated that “several individuals” contacted his office who had wanted to share information with federal authorities but said they had “difficulty reaching anyone who will collect their information.” DDT was in charge of the investigation’s scope and limited the number of witnesses to ten of all the people who had information about the Supreme Court justice nominee. A spokesman for Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said the senator’s staff knew nothing about Stier’s information. Friends of the woman who was the subject of Stier’s information said that she didn’t remember it happening.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) may be the senator most hurt by a vote in favor of Kavanaugh’s confirmation. In any close vote, she tends to support the GOP even if she has promised not to do so. Her vote for Kavanaugh gave him the 50 votes that he needed, and she claimed that it was after a “very thorough review.” As a Senate insider, she knew a year ago what the public is now learning, that the investigation was a sham without reasonable investigative steps. Agents interviewed none of the 12 people whose names were given to the FBI by one of the women alleging that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. The investigators, given only one week, also ignored an allegation of another drunken misbehavior. When Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) asked for openness, the other GOP senators provided cover for their nominee. Meanwhile, DDT made repeated calls for the DOJ to strike back at accusers.

Up for re-election in 2020, Collins faces angry constituents. She said she is opposed to DDT stealing money from the military for his wall but cast the deciding vote against an amendment that would stop it, taking $200 million from construction at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. She cast a vote for the tax cut benefiting the wealthy and big business with a lying excuse that it would help the poor and middle class, and she cast the deciding vote for a nominee who separated families. She also voted for three judges who refused to affirm the Supreme Court decision to desegregate public school students. Donations reflect her lack of popularity in her home state: the owners of Breitbart have donated more to her campaign in one quarter than all the money from Maine voters combined. Only 15 people have donated more than $200 to her, and the number of people donating less than that sum is small.

Over a month ago, the House Judiciary Committee requested records from the National Archives related to Brett Kavanagh while he worked for George W. Bush to understand his true position on Roe v. Wade. During his hearings for the Supreme Court and his appointment to a lower court, Kavanagh downplayed under oath his anti-abortion views, likely illegal representations and downright lies like the ones Collins believed. Republicans withheld 92 percent of these documents during the confirmation process. Already known are his lies about his knowledge regarding warrantless surveillance and torture during W’.s administration in 2006 and other information about Ken Starr’s investigation into President Bill Clinton, but these other records could show the extent of his falsehoods under oath. Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said the records are relevant because “in the coming year, the Supreme Court will again address important matters regarding civil rights, criminal justice, and immigration [and] may also review certain high-profile cases related to reproductive rights, the separation of powers, and the limits of executive authority.”

As might be expected, DDT was furious about the reporting, calling for Kavanaugh to sue people for “liable,” his term for libel. If Kavanaugh follows DDT’s directions, the discovery about his lying under oath could be extremely damaging. Using his belief that the DOJ is his fixer, DDT asked the DOJ to “rescue” Kavanaugh just as he argued that the DOJ shouldn’t bring federal charges against members of Congress to protect the GOP campaigning and directions to the DOJ to fire employees disloyal to DDT or prosecute his enemies.

The DOJ followed DDT’s directions by suing Omarosa Manigault Newman for financial disclosure violations after Omarosa had missed a disclosure report while ignoring Kavanaugh’s violations. He has never identified the “friends” who paid off his mortgage and the $60,000-$200,000 credit card debt, much of it for baseball tickets, so that he could be a “credible” nominee for the Supreme Court. The money should be counted as a financial gift to be publicly reported, and the benefactors may have cases before the Supreme Court.

Last week, AG Bill Barr started his fixing by giving an award to Kavanaugh’s fixers. The Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the second highest honor from the DOJ, was awarded last year to the prosecutor who convicted Ahmed Abu Khattala, a ringleader of the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed four people from the U.S. This year Barr gave the award to the 100 DOJ lawyers who covered up for Kavanaugh to get him onto the Supreme Court allowing the perversion of law enforcement with politics. 

Those who have forgotten how evasive and unhinged Kavanaugh appeared at his confirmation hearing can refresh their memories by watching this clip from The Rachel Maddow Show. [Visual – Kavanaugh victim]

Kavanaugh consistently lied during confirmation hears for both federal judge and Supreme Court justice. These new reports add to this record of falsehoods.

Thanks to DDT, the DOJ, and GOP senators, the U.S. Supreme Court now has two men among its nine justices who are credibly accused of sexual assault.

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