Monday, June 12, 2017

Will Trump Make History As The First President To Go To Prison?


Speaking Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference in Washington, Charles Krauthammer pointed out that Trump, stumbling around like a drunk, is making poorly thought out moves that are backfiring. "Comey," he said, "handing over his notes to former Director Mueller, who is running the investigation, means that Trump is now under investigation. That's the irony-- all he was trying to do was to get the story out that he wasn't, but in pursuit of that, he created a string of events where it's likely, we don't know, he is under investigation."

A new YouGov poll (June 8-9) has Trump down at 37% approval, 52% unfavorable. Asked if they thought Trump did or did not ask James Comey to pledge loyalty to him, only 15% of Americans believe Trump's assertion that he didn't ask. (Not even Republicans believe Trump there-- only 23% said he didn't ask. Later Don-the-Con, Jr. confirmed that the discussion about loyalty his father denies ever happened, did indeed take place.) And then came the killer question: "Who do you think is more honest and trustworthy?" Overall, only 26% think Trump's more honest and trustworthy (to 46% who think Comey is). It's even more disastrous for Trump that among independent voters, only 22% think Trump is more honest and trustworthy.

Paul Ryan and other Republican leaders petrified that a massive and unstoppable anti-Trump tsunami is forming that will sweep away their House majority, are pushing an absurd proposition that Trump is merely naïve and maybe a little ignorant, but not evil, traitorous or criminal. As Greg Sargent pointed out at the Washington Post that isn't believable and doesn't reflect well on Paul Ryan and his co-conspirators in Congress.
This touchingly innocent GOP naivete requires forgetting all the ways that Trump has flouted the rules-- and shown total contempt for our institutions and democratic processes, norms and constraints-- on multiple other fronts for months. All these Republicans have witnessed the White Houses repeated attacks on the news media, which stayed deep into an effort to undermine the fundamental institutional role of the press as a check on lawmakers' excesses or corruption. They know Trump's attacks on the courts have shaded into an effort to undermine their very legitimacy at a time when they are constraining Trump's power to impose an immigration ban, which a senior Trump advisor explicitly described as a test run to demonstrate that his power "will not be questioned."

All these Republicans know that Trump's business arrangement and refusal to release his tax returns are shredding basic norms of transparency (in fact, many Republicans criticized the latter during the GOP presidential primaries, remember?) that presidential candidates in both parties held themselves to for decades. They have witnessed Trump's serial use of important diplomatic business to promote Mar-a-Lago, at an increased cost to taxpayers. All these things are about more than just concealing conflicts or enriching himself and his family. They are functions of Trump's autocratic and authoritarian tendencies-- he does things to demonstrate that he can.

Republicans, of course, have done little to nothing to check all these abuses. But this amounts to more than abdication of oversight. It represents a refusal to acknowledge what all of these things add up to-- a picture of a lawless president who does not believe that rules, norms or constraints should apply to him. In this context, the spin that Trump will behave once he "learns the rules" represents a much broader and deeper abdication of responsibility to admit to, and grapple with, the authoritarian reality in our midst. Even worse, it confirms that their complicity with these abuses will continue. With Trump likely to descend further, to unforeseen depths, we have only begun to grasp the stakes of this enabling exercise, and have no idea where the bottom lies, in the minds of Republicans, or indeed, if there is any bottom at all.
Writing for the Lawfare blog, Paul Rosenzweig, a Heritage Foundation Fellow and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security, asked-- and then answered-- "What's the worst thing that happened to Donald Trump this week?" He wrote that "It was NOT Director Comey's testimony. Rather, it must be the late Friday news that Robert Mueller has hired Michael Dreeben, on a part-time basis, to help with his investigation. Dreeben, a deputy in the Office of the Solicitor General, has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court. His specialty has, for the last 20 years, been criminal matters and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law. I once saw him argue a Supreme Court matter without a single note. In short, he is quite possibly the best criminal appellate lawyer in America (at least on the government's side). That Mueller has sought his assistance attests both to the seriousness of his effort and the depth of the intellectual bench he is building."

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Mueller brought Andrew Weissmann onto his team? Weissman, a top Justice Department official who’s been overseeing corporate fraud and foreign-bribery investigations and managed the Enron task force, is best known as the prosecutor who not only put away Enron CEO Ken Lay but also New York Mafia bosses from the Genovese, Colombo and Gambino crime families including mobster godfathers John Gotti and Vincent Gigante. That was bad news for the Mafia-like jackkass sitting in the Oval Office. After adding Dreeben last week there can no longer be any doubt that Mueller is putting together a team that all about hard-core criminal cases.

The National Law Review put it like this: "Special counsel Robert Mueller III has recruited the Justice Department’s top criminal law expert to help with his investigation of ties between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials. Deputy solicitor general Michael Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and oversees the Justice Department’s criminal appellate docket, will be assisting Mueller on a part-time basis, according to sources familiar with the arrangement... The move signals that Mueller is seeking advice on the complexities that have arisen already in the investigations, including what constitutes obstruction of justice."
"Michael Dreeben is to criminal law what Robert Mueller is to investigations,” former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said Thursday night. “Literally the very best. Yet another sign of how serious Mueller is about this matter." Now a partner at Hogan Lovells, Katyal has been a key figure in challenging President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

In 2005, Dreeben argued and lost a case for the government involving obstruction-of-justice charges against the Arthur Andersen accounting firm in the wake of the Enron scandal.

At an event marking Dreeben’s 100th Supreme Court argument in 2016, justices praised his expertise in the area of criminal law. He argued his first case at the court in 1989 against John Roberts Jr., then in private practice, and has worked in the solicitor general’s office under Republicans and Democrats ever since.

Justice Elena Kagan, who worked with Dreeben as solicitor general before joining the high court, said she felt honored "in the company of a magnificent attorney doing a magnificent job."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that when Dreeben approaches the lectern at the Supreme Court, "I know he will tell it straight."

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At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the boasting of Republicans who were certain that they had Bill Clinton nailed. How did that work out for them?

There is no chance that the Republicans will allow Trump to go to prison. As they constitute the government (especially when you count Blue Dog and New Dem DINOs), they will work it out (if necessary) so that Trump leaves office and goes into a supervised "home arrest" at Mar-a-Lago. Maybe they will require that his golf shirts be striped like a referee for easy observation.

But in no way will Trump get the Bernie Madoff treatment. Madoff's crimes were against the billionaires, who are very much in favor of the policies Trump wants put into place since they stand to gain bigly. Such service to wealth will be rewarded.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep. I, too, will not allow myself to become buffaloed into optimism.
We all know that he's guilty of a long, long list of business frauds (reflecting on his total lack of character) and that he's been guilty of violating the emoluments clause since day 1.
But we also know that the R tribe will excuse and obfuscate and ignore and lie about it for their tribe's and personal gain... or even just to ass rape them some democrats just on principle.

And we all SHOULD know, from experience, that the democraps aren't any better in this regard.

So I probably won't believe it even after it happens... which it won't. So just forget it.

The retarded orange-utang will live to be 110 and be screwing people over until the day he kicks it... and then his sons and grandkids will take over.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

prison means conviction which means indictment which means someone would have to give a flying fuck about enforcing laws and shit.

Name any leading us party that gives a flying fuck about enforcing laws, remembering that the lawbreaker named is rich.

Yeah. I couldn't think of one either.

Maybe quit with the pointless silly rhetorical questions and do pieces that can do some good.


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