Tonight’s News Dump

Trump’s legal team is looking for ways to discredit Mueller’s investigation. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post released stories with that theme. The WaPo story has more juicy detail:

Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.

Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,” a close adviser said.

Just checking to make sure of all the legal ramifications in the same way Trump has been so careful throughout his career.

The lawyers are also looking for conflicts of interest. From Trump’s interview with the New York Times yesterday, I think he doesn’t understand what conflict of interest is. He seems to think that it means conflicts with HIS interests. Perhaps his lawyers understand the term.

194 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    He’s nothing if not consistent…

  2. 2
    lollipopguild says:

    Trump does not understand anything!

  3. 3
    Garbo says:

    Looks like he can pardon himself for any crimes, even without a conviction, except the high crimes and misdemeanors covered by impeachment.

  4. 4
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Once again, the most interesting part of the story may be the sources. It looks like the Trump team got their story out to both newspapers, since the stories are so similar. The stuff about Trump thinking about pardons probably came from elsewhere, though, because as several of our jackals noted on the previous thread, those thoughts might not occur to someone who wasn’t worried about breaches of the law.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    It still isn’t Friday!

  6. 6

    I love the clarification at the end of the snippet, lol.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority

    He’s just curious, the same way a four year old is just curious about what happens if he flushes various things down the toilet. He’s in no way going to test this to see if his questions were answered correctly.

  8. 8
    Gvg says:

    Oh. Yes I think you are right about what he thinks conflict of interest is. I couldn’t understand what he thought he was talking about, but that’s not new with him. I didn’t try very hard anymore.
    I hate the overload of stupid in the news now. It’s not just him. The voters found every babbling idiot and elected them all.

  9. 9
    lollipopguild says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Wendys day and Thors day are the new Friday.

  10. 10
    Gravenstone says:

    Buckle up, ladies and gents! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

  11. 11
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Donald doesn’t realize that the law only goes so far to protect you when you shit on it constantly.

  12. 12
    oldster says:

    Okay, tomorrow I am going to phone my Trump-loving congressman and ask him to publicly commit to impeachment if Trump uses his pardon in any connection with Mueller’s investigation.

    This shit is just getting out of hand, and we need to set some boundaries in stone before the general corruption makes last week’s outrage into this week’s ho hum.

    Never before has one man done so much to define deviancy down.

  13. 13
    Roger Moore says:

    @Garbo:
    He can pardon himself only of federal crimes. State crimes, not so much.

  14. 14
    Hawes says:

    Been saying this since he fired Comey. The presidential pardon power is nearly limitless.

  15. 15
    anon says:

    Trump hasn’t been curious about anything in the constitution … except somehow the pardon power. Right.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Garbo: Federal crimes only. Presidential pardon power doesn’t extend to state level criminal activity.

  17. 17
    Aleta says:

    His definition of unfair is ‘causing him to lose the advantage.’

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It is, however, a day that ends in day!

  19. 19
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.

    😆😆😆😆😆😆😆

  20. 20
    Turgidson says:

    Thanks to detestable ambulatory pile of bat guano Newt Gingrich, Hair Furor thinks “conflict of interest” means “might prefer to vote for Democrats”

  21. 21
    Percysowner says:

    This was totally expected. Sadly, the Republicans in Congress will let him get away with it.

  22. 22
    Turgidson says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: mueller is a pro, so the tax returns won’t leak, but I’m glad someone other than Trump and his goons will get to see them.

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    So I went to see my surgeon today, hoping for good news. Didn’t get it. Does the absence of good news constitute bad news? Dunno. But “not much happening there, come back in a month” when you can’t do much of anything active is certainly depressing. If anybody’s morbidly interested, here’s what it looks like. If you say to yourself “gee, I didn’t think an arm bone should have those random chunks with big spaces between them” you’d be clinically correct, although not in fancy surgeon language.

    This is turning out to be a fucking nightmare.

  24. 24
    tomtofa says:

    He’s just asking for a friend…

  25. 25
    MomSense says:

    And even more breaking news. Investigation into Trump campaign taking a criminal turn according to Maddow.

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Shoot. I was really hoping for better news as I’m sure you were as well.

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Hmmm….

  28. 28

    @Turgidson: god, just what the hell is IN those things?

  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Turgidson: As someone who spends parts of every working day worrying about data security, I am impressed by the IRS.

  30. 30
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MomSense: You have no idea.

  31. 31
    Gravenstone says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Man, those tax returns must be the fucking Rosetta Stone. Thinking it’s more animal cunning than native intelligence that keeps Trump so focused on protecting them.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MomSense: Yep. NBC’s/MSNBC’s Ken Dilanian reported early this evening that Mueller has started to get his hands on the financials.

  33. 33
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    So once Trump pardons someone, they lose their 5th Amendment rights?

    They can then be forced to testify. Can they then be charged with perjury when they inevitably lie?

    If so, does the perjury conviction require a separate pardon, or does one pardon excuse all sins.

    If so, could a pardoned person then commit any Federal crime and get away with it?

    I’ve got to say that our Constitutional Monarchy is looking better every day.

  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: They must think we are beyond stupid. It’s TOTALLY in the context of I can’t wait to pardon myself.

    “This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,” a close adviser said.

  35. 35
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.

    Make it so, Number One

  36. 36
    jc says:

    This is a big part of why a raving egomaniac like Trump is attracted to the power of the presidency — because he can abuse that power in so many tempting ways. Just run roughshod over the laws and norms, and then make up some bullshit justification to pardon those who were sufficiently loyal to him. His base voters really are as dumb as a box of rocks.

  37. 37
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Are pre-emptive pardons a thing?

  38. 38
    Patricia Kayden says:

    During the President Obama years, there was zero talk of pardoning members of his administration. Alas, we have fallen so far (and it’s only six months into this horror).

    I’m learning something new via Trump since I didn’t think it was possible for one to pardon oneself.

  39. 39

    @WaterGirl:

    They must think we are beyond stupid

    46% of us voted for him…

  40. 40

    @Gin & Tonic: That sounds unbelievably frustrating. OTOH, do what the doc says. In the long run, that works better.

  41. 41
    rikyrah says:

    Mueller has begun asking for tax returns , says NYT. Beginning first with Manafort.

  42. 42
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Tax returns – that was my favorite part of the article, after the part where they say he’s totally not interested in the pardons so he can pardon himself.

  43. 43
    gbbalto says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Sorry to hear/see that. Did surgeon have any ideas why the bone isn’t knitting?

  44. 44
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Must be frustrating to have gotten away with sleaziness for decades only to win the highest office and now have one’s dirt about to be exposed. Sad!

  45. 45
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: That’s shitty news. I assume you are doing all the things you can to help, eating a lot of protein, taking the thing that help bones knit together, etc?

  46. 46
    Garbo says:

    So we have to hope the breadcrumb trail that Preet Bahrara laid down leads to a conviction once T is out of office?

  47. 47
    NYCMT says:

    There are a bunch of federal obstruction of justice statutes, but the relevant ones are 18 USC 1505, 18 USC 1512, and 18 USC 371.

  48. 48
    rikyrah says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Man, those tax returns must be the fucking Rosetta Stone

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA

  49. 49
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Alas, we have fallen so far (and it’s only six months into this horror).

    We haven’t fallen. These are the same people now as they were then. They were always this bad. They’re empowered now; That’s the difference

  50. 50
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    So once Trump pardons someone, they lose their 5th Amendment rights?

    They can then be forced to testify. Can they then be charged with perjury when they inevitably lie?

    IANAL, and perhaps some of our legal eagles can make this clearer. If a person is pardoned for a crime, they no longer can incrminate themselves with respect to that crime. It’s not the same as losing 5th A rights, just becomes irrelevant. Any time someone lies under oath, they can be charged with perjury. But that has to be proved.

    If so, does the perjury conviction require a separate pardon, or does one pardon excuse all sins.

    I think that each crime has to be pardoned, but that can be fairly broadly drawn, to include a related group of crimes committed together.

    If so, could a pardoned person then commit any Federal crime and get away with it?

    Pardons are retroactive only.

  51. 51
    Jeffro says:

    @oldster:

    Never before has one man done so much to define deviancy down.

    He’s deteriorating faster than he can lower his own standards!

    (h/t Anne Lamott, who heard it in recovery)

  52. 52
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @rikyrah: Maybe that will be the last straw for Trump because he sure as hell doesn’t want to let us see those precious tax returns.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Apparently one of the smarter rats has exited the foundering sea craft…

  55. 55
    Adam L Silverman says:

    But wait, there’s more!

  56. 56
    WaterGirl says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Trump got more than he bargained for when he was handed the presidency by the electoral college.

    edit: the law of unforeseen consequences.

  57. 57
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Consistently awful. His regime just keeps getting worse.

  58. 58
    Jeffro says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    46% of us voted for him…

    46% of 2016 voters voted for him, and certainly not any part of “us”

  59. 59
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @rikyrah: This is, of course, how Elliot Ness got Al Capone.

  60. 60
    Yarrow says:

    Last week I called Congressman Al Green’s office to thank him for being a co-sponsor to filing the first Article of Impeachment. The young woman who answered the phone was SO appreciative that I called. I told her I thought he’d done a brave thing, I supported it and wanted his office to know that. I am not a constituent, but she took down my zip code anyway. Maybe they’re keeping a log of calls. In May when he called for Trump’s impeachment he got death threats. I got the impression that they’d had to field a lot of very unpleasant calls and she was very appreciative to have a supportive person on the other end of the phone.

    The other co-sponsor was Congressman Brad Sherman. I’m sure his office would appreciate a supportive call as well. Maybe I’ll do that as a nice chaser after the unpleasantness of calling my Senators tomorrow.

  61. 61
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @gbbalto: The body is mysterious. Especially to orthopedic surgeons. They’re good with their tools and hardware, not so good with biological processes. Seriously.

    The primary factor is the fact that this bone was in about a million pieces when I got there. Simple fractures heal well; complicated ones take time. It’s really all about blood supply to the bone. If it still looks this way in another two months they’ll get concerned.

    I think I’m going to schedule a second opinion at a fancy hospital in NYC.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Basically, yes.

  63. 63
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Who will most. definitely. squeal to save himself.

    Won’t some enterprising reporter ask the president* how he feels about the possibility of Mike Flynn and/or Paul Manafort actively working with the special counsel after cutting their own deals?

  64. 64
    MattF says:

    There’s a well-known story about a Maryland politician– when accused of a conflict of interest, he protested that the matter in question didn’t conflict with any of his interests. Once upon a time, that was regarded as a joke.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: It is going to be interesting.

  66. 66
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    From the WaPo article:

    Currently, the discussions of pardoning authority by Trump’s legal team is purely theoretical, according to two people familiar with the ongoing conversations. But if Trump pardoned himself in the face of the ongoing Mueller investigation, it would set off a legal and political firestorm, first around the question of whether a president can use the constitutional pardon power in that way.

    “This is a fiercely debated but unresolved legal question,” said Brian C. Kalt, a constitutional law expert at Michigan State University who has written extensively on the question.

    The power to pardon is granted to the president in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which gives the commander in chief the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” That means pardon authority extends to federal criminal prosecution but not to state level or impeachment inquiries.

    No president has sought to pardon himself, so no courts have reviewed it. Although Kalt says the weight of the law argues against a president pardoning himself, he says the question is open and predicts such an action would move through the courts all the way to the Supreme Court.

    “There is no predicting what would happen,” said Kalt, author of the book, “Constitutional Cliffhangers: A Legal Guide for Presidents and Their Enemies.” It includes chapters on the ongoing debate over whether presidents can be prosecuted while in office and on whether a president can issue a pardon to himself.

    I’m sure Trump would be willing to try.

  67. 67
    mike in dc says:

    I think the precise parameters of the clause “except in cases of impeachment” has never been put to the test:
    1. Can the President pardon someone who could or would otherwise implicate them in an impeachable offense?
    2. Does the use of the pardon power in such instances constitute obstruction?
    3. Can post-pardon charges be brought against defendants who perjure themselves or refuse to cooperate?

    .

  68. 68
  69. 69
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  70. 70
    BBA says:

    Andrew Johnson infamously pardoned every single Southern traitor with a single order. There’s apparently no limit to the power.

  71. 71
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  72. 72
    Yarrow says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    The power to pardon is granted to the president in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which gives the commander in chief the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” That means pardon authority extends to federal criminal prosecution but not to state level or impeachment inquiries.

    As I said in my comment above, Al Green and Brad Sherman have introduced an article of impeachment. I wonder if that is enough to stop him from pardoning himself in this case? Or does the person in question actually have to be impeached?

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’m sure he’d be willing to make the argument that “the United States” doesn’t just mean the Federal government, but the actual states as well so that he can’t be prosecuted by Schneiderman in NY.

  74. 74
    MomSense says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Unfortunately I have a good idea of what you are going through. I had a long, orthopedic ordeal. Had to learn to walk again. It was a nightmare. Go to the best orthopedic surgeon you can, preferably a fancy, teaching hospital. That’s how I finally got the right treatment.

  75. 75
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    The president shouldn’t be allowed to pardon themselves. End of story.

  76. 76
    Yarrow says:

    Another legal opinion:

    Don't try this at home, @realDonaldTrump, because the U.S. Constitution's structure RULES OUT self-pardon: https://t.co/myqeDfiGtl— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) July 8, 2017

  77. 77
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The GOP Congress would let him do it, too.

    They’re all traitors. Every last one.

  78. 78
    MattF says:

    Broadly speaking, the pardoning power belongs to the head of state. So, in the US system, where the President is a combination of chief executive and head of state, that power belongs to the President. It’s like a Royal Prerogative, and it’s hard to see where the limits would be.

  79. 79
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I’m sorry!

  80. 80
    Yarrow says:

    And more on the presidential self-pardon, this time about Nixon:

    Going thru OLC ops of pardon power, came across this one from 1974: Can the President pardon himself (OLC's A: No) https://t.co/u6EyRbQpow— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 11, 2017

    Is dated four days before he resigned. Never knew he asked. But there you go.— Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) July 11, 2017

  81. 81
    PVDMichael says:

    I watch Rasmussen polls (a conservative-friendlier pollster) just to get outside my liberal bubble.

    They publish an Approval index (those who strongly approve Trump – those who strongly disapprove). And it has hits its all time low at negative 23.

  82. 82
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Did Lawrence O’Donnell just say that the president’s pardon power only applies to federal law? Is that true? Does NY AG Schneiderman have Robert Mueller’s phone number?

  83. 83
    jl says:

    ‘ Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

    “This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,” a close adviser said. ‘

    Trump surely wore his tie extra long that day, so people wouldn’t see the panic pee stain seeping through.

  84. 84
    Jeffro says:

    No president has ever decided to pardon himself, including Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who all faced special prosecutors investigating their conduct. Self-pardoning would have been seen as a clear-cut admission of guilt, not to mention an outrage against the constitutional order. Further, if the pardons were challenged and invalidated, presidents would have the worst of both worlds — they would be open to prosecution, and their guilt would be widely believed.

    I’m starting to believe he really IS going to “die in prison”…

  85. 85
    kindness says:

    If Trump were to just write pardons for everyone before they get charged with anything I bet the current GOP would act like it was no big and try to carry on with even more authoritarian rule. That isn’t such a stretch to consider.

    But what about liberals & Democrats? What would they do? What would we do?

  86. 86
    lamh36 says:

    @EricHolder 3m3 minutes ago
    More
    There is NO basis to question the integrity of Mueller or those serving with him in the special counsel’s office. And no conflicts either

    @EricHolder 2m2 minutes ago
    More
    Trump cannot define or constrain Mueller investigation. If he tries to do so this creates issues of constitutional and criminal dimension.

  87. 87
    Mike in DC says:

    I still think that SCOTUS would look askance at a pardon issued to prevent a defendant from testifying against him regarding impeachable conduct. I think the Founders would have seen that as a perversion of the pardon power.

  88. 88
    Yarrow says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Sorry your healing isn’t going as fast as hoped. Would one of those oxygen chambers help with the blood supply? I have a relative who had cancer and they had her go once a week to sit in one to help her recover faster. I don’t know if that might apply to orthopedic issues, but maybe something to look into?

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yarrow: OLC’s opinions essentially have force of law for the executive branch. Which is why there’s a push on to have them issue a directory. Because right now you have all these OLC rulings that have the force of law/are de facto law and they are largely secret.

  90. 90
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: It is correct.

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Yarrow:

    Brad Sherman is my current House rep. Why, yes, I am in the very darkest blue part of California — how did you guess?

    This area is so blue that even old white guys hate Trump’s guts and aren’t shy about saying it in public.

  92. 92
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That’s what all the BJ attorneys have been saying, also.

  93. 93
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MattF: Spiro T. Agnew?

  94. 94
    WTF says:

    Trump is toast.
    The innocent rarely need to rely on pardons.
    His first mistake, which will prove fatal

    He forgot the old adage “Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel.”

  95. 95
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Newt Gingrich has specifically proposed that the President could issue military orders to commit war crimes in tandem with a preemptive pardon for the crimes, to make sure they get done. He proposes this not as a cautionary tale but because he thinks it’s a great idea.

  96. 96
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m sure [Trump] would be willing to make the argument that “the United States” doesn’t just mean the Federal government, but the actual states as well so that he can’t be prosecuted by Schneiderman in NY.

    When, over the past year, I noted that Trumpov would be leaving “claw marks on the Oval Office doorframe” (and similar remarks)…I actually meant that literally as opposed to metaphorically.

    But now I mean it metaphorically too. (Yeah, that’s the ticket! /Joe Isuzu) He really is going to run down every possible way to not going down in Hindenburg-level flaming disaster, regardless of the damage to his family, businesses, party, and of course the country.

    It’s almost like someone ought to tell him at this point his best option is to liquidate what he can, and catch a plane to Moscow. That is just about his best outcome at this point…

  97. 97
    Wayne says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Maybe you already know about this, but perhaps of interest — shock wave treatments similar to those used for kidney stones seem to be useful for bone non-unions. You could search PubMed for “ESWT” and “nonunion” for more info. I do research on ultrasound and kidney stones, but have seen this use of shock waves presented at conferences. There seems to be some real effect attributable to shocks.

  98. 98
    WaterGirl says:

    @lamh36: Warning shot over the bow from the former Attorney General of the United States

    I like it!

    And he’s speaking the only language Trump understands. Doing this would be a very bad idea and will come back and bite you in the ass. His lawyers will certainly take note. Will Trump listen?

  99. 99
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  100. 100
    Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne: Al Green’s district may be blue, but he’s in a red state and got plenty of death threats and other hate speech directed at him (he’s an African American man, so nooses and so forth). I wanted to offer my support because I think he did the right thing and it was a brave move. It was nice to hear them so appreciative. If someone wants to make an intern’s day, calling Al Green’s office to thank him might do it.

  101. 101
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: What is OLC?

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I would argue that the history of the pardoning power of a head of state does not support preemptive pardons.

  103. 103
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @WaterGirl: I read that and immediately imagined Ron Howard’s narrator voice.

  104. 104
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    https://www.justsecurity.org/43253/office-legal-counsel-secret-law/

    In theory, it’s the province of the judiciary to say what the law is, but in practice this task often falls to the Office of Legal Counsel. This is because many important questions relating to the scope of executive power never come before the courts. It’s the executive branch that has the last word, and within the executive branch, it’s the OLC. When questions arise about what the government has the power to do, it’s often the OLC that answers them. When agencies have disagreements about the law, it’s the OLC that resolves them.

    Because they have the force of law within the executive branch, and because they often address topics of real consequence, the OLC’s opinions are frequently the subject of litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Usually this litigation arises under the provisions of FOIA that require federal agencies to respond to requests for records. Someone learns of the existence of an OLC opinion, requests it, and then sues to enforce the request when the OLC fails to respond, or when it claims the opinion is privileged. Occasionally this kind of litigation results in important disclosures, but there’s something disturbingly backwards, and even undemocratic, about a system that allows the government to conceal and withhold opinions that have the force of law unless and until someone requests them.

    Much more at the link.

  105. 105
    gene108 says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Best wishes in a speedier recovery.

  106. 106
    danielx says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Your point would be what, again?

  107. 107
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: The Office of Legal Counsel. Here’s a good rundown:
    https://www.justsecurity.org/43253/office-legal-counsel-secret-law/

  108. 108
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @WaterGirl: Office of Legal Counsel. The White House lawyers, who work for the government and the people. Trump tends to think they are his personal attorneys.

  109. 109
    WaterGirl says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I read your comment and this popped into my head:

    These are not the droids you’re looking for.

  110. 110
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He’s nothing if not consistent

    Yes. Trump loves to counter punch, he hates backing down, and especially detests having his personal, corporate and family finances exposed in any way.

    And anyone with half a brain should have seen that Trump believes that he can use the office of the president as his personal fiefdom. “The government, c’est moi.”

    If a constitutional crisis is coming, it’s all on Trump, and on the idiots in the GOP who believed that Trump could ever be controlled.

  111. 111
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Imagine if that guy had somehow become president pre-1970.

  112. 112
    WaterGirl says:

    @Brachiator:

    If a constitutional crisis is coming

    IF???

  113. 113
  114. 114
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    A pardon requires an admission of guilt. Should he do this, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not, Congress is then compelled to impeach – becuase he’s admitting he did this. They don’t even need to investigate – just vote.

    Further, if there’s any financial wrongdoing, then he’s still fucked because NYAG Schneiderman will tear him apart for violating NY financial laws.

  115. 115
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks. The man is frightening. Quite possibly the most ego-centric being on the face of the earth.

  116. 116
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @MattF: sheeeeeeeeeit.

  117. 117
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @danielx: News dumps are generally a Friday thing.

  118. 118
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    So, yeah, once again, good job America! You really nailed it!

  119. 119
    WTF says:

    Interesting history of the origin of that phrase, murky, as is often the case.

    Never argue with someone who buys ink by the barrel
    Just a drive-by. Waves to all.

  120. 120
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @👩🏽‍🔬 Martin: And now it’s nailing us.

  121. 121
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: Coming? It was implicit the day he took the oath and refused to properly divest and was in violation of the emoluments clause. It became explicit the day he told Lester Holt on video without prompting that he fired Director Comey to stop the CI and criminal investigations examining Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  122. 122
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Because they have the force of law within the executive branch, and because they often address topics of real consequence, the OLC’s opinions are frequently the subject of litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Usually this litigation arises under the provisions of FOIA that require federal agencies to respond to requests for records. Someone learns of the existence of an OLC opinion, requests it, and then sues to enforce the request when the OLC fails to respond, or when it claims the opinion is privileged. Occasionally this kind of litigation results in important disclosures, but there’s something disturbingly backwards, and even undemocratic, about a system that allows the government to conceal and withhold opinions that have the force of law unless and until someone requests them.

    On Tuesday morning in Washington DC, a federal district court will hear argument in a case that presents the question whether the OLC has an obligation to publish an index of its final written opinions, and to consider those opinions individually for possible release, even in the absence of any FOIA request.

    Thanks for this. I think the OLC should be forced to publish their rulings.

  123. 123
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’ll just leave this here:

  124. 124
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You get a news dump! And you get a news dump! And you get a news dump!!!

  125. 125
    hovercraft says:

    Yeesh, a person can’t even go out for a nice Indian dinner without coming home to the Tangerine Turd trying to pardon himself and his evil spawn!
    WTF?

    I haven’t read the thread yet, but is he delusional enough to think that he could pardon everyone and just carry on?

  126. 126
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: If you read the linked article it is all about the ongoing Federal lawsuit to force OLC to create a registry, publish it, and keep it regularly updated.

  127. 127
    mai naem mobile says:

    Maybe Dolt 46 was talking to Vlad about seeking asylum in Russia . Maybe that’s why he didn’t want the American translator.

  128. 128
    danielx says:

    @Jeffro:

    Self-pardoning would have been seen as a clear-cut admission of guilt, not to mention an outrage against the constitutional order.

    Welllll…he’s already in violation of the emoluments clause and nobody seems particularly interested*. Outrages against the constitutional order are not a real concept to Trump – he views the federal government as an acquisition by the Trump Organization and federal employees as his employees, in which case they are supposed to be loyal to him**, as opposed to an oath to some piece of parchment. The outrage, to him, is that they aren’t loyal to him personally.

    *Compare and contrast Republican reaction if President Clinton had done – hell, anything – that Trump has done in violation of political and constitutional norms. Apoplectic ain’t in it.

    **Applying most particularly to law enforcement agencies, especially federal ones.

  129. 129
    Percysowner says:

    @Jeffro: Except, since he’s still President, he’d take our nuclear codes with him AND I’m not sure he can legally be kept from getting new ones. I do suspect that if that happened, the military would come up with SOMETHING to stop him, but it would be dicey. Putin probably never aimed so high as to get our entire nuclear defense system under his control, but he might get it as a bonus.

  130. 130
    Adam L Silverman says:

    This is interesting. And even semi related to the actual topic of the post.

  131. 131
    Yarrow says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not this week! And since tomorrow’s Friday, on the heels of this week, imagine what the Friday news dump might be….

  132. 132
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Newt Gingrich is as much responsible for our degraded comity as anyone alive. His death needs to be prolonged and painful.

  133. 133
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Will Trump listen?

    Donald tried to hire some expensive legal talent in New York and got no thanks from them. Why? Because he doesn’t listen, and he doesn’t pay.

  134. 134
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Percysowner: No, just no.

  135. 135
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mai naem mobile: The saddest thing is that Mrs Abe speaks fluent English. She spent two hours pretending to not speak English so she didn’t have to talk to the President.

  136. 136
    Busybody says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Many years ago,I had a friend who broke her leg and the bone would not heal. Finally,she started resistance training with it and it healed in a matter of months. Bones respond to resistance not to weight training but pushing against them. Just a suggestion.

  137. 137
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @WTF:
    He thought he could stifle the media by making it easier to sue them into submission

  138. 138
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I did and support that wholeheartedly

  139. 139
    Brachiator says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    . .Coming? It was implicit the day he took the oath and refused to properly divest and was in violation of the emoluments clause.

    Understatement on my part. In previous posts, I have suggested that Trump may irreparably damage American democracy. The Republicans have backed Trump as he violated the norms of prior traditions (not revealing his tax returns) and stretching law to the breaking point. Worse, his supporters not only don’t care, they applaud him for doing it. Currently, many of his supporters truly believe that the Russian related investigations are nothing more than an attempt to bring Trump down. In a Guardian article, one Trump supporter even said that Russian involvement was acceptable because it kept Hillary Clinton out of the presidency.

  140. 140
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @👩🏽‍🔬 Martin:

    A pardon requires an admission of guilt.

    Ford’s didn’t.

  141. 141
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Ugh!

    ETA:

    Trump’s plans to appoint Scaramucci came as a surprise to Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who found out after the plans had already been made.

  142. 142
    Doug R says:

    @rikyrah: Can’t find the NYT story but the Denver Post has Mueller said to expand probe to Trump business transactions :)

  143. 143
    mai naem mobile says:

    @Adam L Silverman: that is hilarious. I think I would do that if I was seated next to him. ‘Non Parlez Anglais’ ‘Nicht sprechen English’ ‘No habla ingles’!!!

  144. 144
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    God, I hope not. “Trumpism” is just corrupt xenophobic authoritarianism, plain and fucking simple

  145. 145
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Brachiator: Yep, I read that article this morning. It is very disturbing on multiple levels.

  146. 146
    BBA says:

    @👩🏽‍🔬 Martin: “Compelled” to impeach? This Congress wouldn’t impeach Trump if he admitted to giving Putin the entire nuclear arsenal plus oil rights to Alaska in exchange for destroying the pee tape. (Which Putin wouldn’t do, of course.)

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Brachiator:

    I have suggested that Trump may irreparably damage American democracy.

    Nothing is irreparable as long as the Republic continues to exist and the Constitution still applies. When we see martial law established and elections canceled without revolt, then we can talk about irreparable damage.

  148. 148
  149. 149
    mai naem mobile says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Don’t forget Turtle Mitch . Newt definitely started it though.

  150. 150
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @mai naem mobile: Given that he hosted her and her husband at Mar a Lago for an entire weekend, she apparently did it for that entire visit.

  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Acceptance of a pardon is admission of guilt.

  152. 152
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @BBA:
    Hint: that’s the point when you violently overthrow the (GOP) Congress and Trump

  153. 153
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jeffro: Your text block mentions George H. W. Bush facing a special prosecutor. I don’t remember this at all.

  154. 154
    Jeffro says:

    @danielx: you are preaching to the choir here

  155. 155
    Jeffro says:

    @opiejeanne: it is directly from the post article but I believe the author meant George W. Bush done George HW Bush

  156. 156
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Nobody is going to cancel elections–Putin has elections. They just have to be arranged so that the winner is always a foregone conclusion, and, eventually, so that no serious opposition contender even dares to run. That can be a gradual process.

  157. 157
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: @Jeffro: It was George HW Bush (41). It was Lawrence Walsh who was the Iran-Contra special prosecutor.
    http://www.politico.com/magazi.....bit-113858

  158. 158
    Trentrunner says:

    Major Garrett (CBS) is reporting that Marc Kasowitz is out as POTUS attorney.

  159. 159
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jeffro: I thought of that but I don’t remember a special prosecutor for W either. My memory is crap, though, so that may be the problem here.

  160. 160
    Keith P. says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Scaramucci will do the fandango tonight!

  161. 161
    randy khan says:

    @Percysowner:

    So the nuclear codes thing. Adam or somebody else may know more (and correct me), but my understanding is that it’s not that the President *has* the codes, but that the President has access to the person who has the codes and can order them to be used. In the scenario in which a President high tails it to Moscow (and I can’t believe I’m writing about this), it’s hard to believe that a lot of different things that would prevent the President from using the codes wouldn’t happen, starting with the VP invoking the 25th Amendment, but also including a very fast impeachment and conviction. (Yes, even with the current Congress.) Also, I would guess that the Pentagon would decide that perhaps new codes are required and with no good way to get them to the President, that would make the old codes obsolete. (My working assumption, actually, is that there are backup codes ready to go at all times, and that they’re changed regularly in any event, just as basic security measures.)

  162. 162
    Florida Frog says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I am so sorry G&T. Can your surgeon offer anything you can do to stimulate new bone growth. I’ll hold you in the light in hopes of better news.

  163. 163
    opiejeanne says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yes, Reagan is mentioned in the article but not Poppy Bush, unless I’ve missed it.

  164. 164
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Okay. Where are we now? I’ve worked in election admin. I doubt like fuck that votes were changed. I do think that voter suppression took place. I doubt the machines were messed with, but I think the voting population was.

  165. 165
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Trentrunner: That’s two down in one night! Here you go:

  166. 166
    BBA says:

    @randy khan: also, wasn’t the code itself “00000000” for a number of decades, because Curtis LeMay didn’t think a lost code should stand in our way when we decide to nuke the commies? I read something like that a while ago.

  167. 167
    lollipopguild says:

    @randy khan: I think you are 100% correct and the second it became obvious that trump was fleeing the country a lot of things that he had control of would stop working.

  168. 168
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: Bush 41 inherited the investigation when he became President.

  169. 169
    randy khan says:

    @Trentrunner:

    I’ve seen the reports that the spokesperson for Kasowitz is out. I wonder if this is some mangling of that story. If not, it’s a big deal – Kasowitz has been Trump’s lawyer forever.

  170. 170
  171. 171
    Jay Noble says:

    “In a controversial executive action, President Gerald Ford pardons his disgraced predecessor Richard M. Nixon for any crimes he may have committed or participated in while in office.” from This Day in History site

    So we have precedent for the last six-months of shenanigans of the Trump Gang, to be pardoned before they are charged with anything. Not to much of a stretch to back date even that. :-(

    The trick will be just how many crimes they cover in one pardon.

  172. 172
    frosty says:

    @MattF: Baltimore, to be precise. One of my all time favorite quotes.

    “Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest? How does this conflict with my interest?” That remark, made in the early ’70s by Baltimore tavern owner and state Senator Joseph J. Staszak when questioned about a bill he was pushing to benefit tavern owners, is now legendary in the State House hallways.

  173. 173
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: Nope, he’s out:

  174. 174
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BBA: If you know fuck-all about the system, you may want to shut up. Dipshit.

  175. 175
    Brachiator says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    .Nothing is irreparable as long as the Republic continues to exist and the Constitution still applies.

    The Constitution is just an old piece of paper if neither elected politicians nor the people believe in it, respect it, and apply it.

    I’ve heard people say that it is understandable that Trump is ignorant of law and policy because he spent his life becoming a successful businessman, and that the Democrats and the media should get out of his way and leave him alone and let him make America great again. Trump eats this stuff and encourages it. The only question is how much further will the Republicans allow Trump to push the limits of power.

  176. 176
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  178. 178
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Brachiator: You seem to be inclined toward a pessimistic view. I won’t accept that.

  179. 179
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @randy khan: De nada.

  180. 180
    hovercraft says:

    @Jay Noble:
    I was listening with half an ear, but someone said earlier on msnbc that For carried a copy of a Supreme Court decision on his person for the rest of his life after the WH, stating that by accepting a pardon, you are admitting guilt, and Ford was therefore pissed that he never got credit for getting Nixon to admit his guilt.

  181. 181
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Nice graphic.

    Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science with special interests in the history of nuclear weapons, did a deep dive into the question of whether the Secretary of Defense is an essential part of the decision chain. His finding, which agrees with Bruce Blair’s claim and that graphic, is that the President alone can launch the missiles. I would say that the first step in the graphic, conferring with the top brass, is optional. Wellerstein explains here, with links to two previous posts in which he considers the evidence.

    Wellerstein, and I think Blair as well (Blair has been one of the missileers who would be part of the chain), believes that nobody in the chain would disobey the order. But I’ll cite Vasily Arkhipov, second-in-command of a Soviet submarine equipped with nuclear torpedoes during the Cuban Missile Crisis, who voted against using those torpedoes.

    It’s a different time now, and I tend to be an optimist. So I think/hope that people in the command chain have been considering the mental state of this president and what they would do. I would, but I’ve always been the kind of person who is not suited to the military command structure.

  182. 182
    hitchhiker says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    46% of people who voted … that’s about a quarter of us.

  183. 183
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: The flotilla commander that saved the world! I did a post on him here last year.

  184. 184
    Vhh says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Prof Lawrence Tribe of Harvard says it is not possible. So did the WH legal counsel furing Watergate.

  185. 185
    celticdragonchick says:

    Hey Adam :)

  186. 186
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith P.:

    Two minds with but a single thought. 😂

  187. 187
    MisterForkbeard says:

    This thread seems mostly dead, but there’s a good blog post up by Josh Marshall at TPM. Not sure if the link would block this comment from posting, but it’s currently his top ed-blog item.

    Short version: Trump’s position here is that the law does not and cannot apply to him. Mueller may only investigate Trump so far as Trump allows, and failing that Trump will pardon himself and anyone in his immediate circle. The end result is twofold:

    1. Trump is hiding major, major wrongdoing. Probably something that could be snuffed out at least partially in his tax returns if Mueller started following the crumbs, since that’s apparently the thing Trump is most appalled about.

    2. If this goes the way Trump wants it to and the Republicans don’t impeach him, we’re effectively looking at the end of America as a democracy. Elites won’t just have major advantages with the law, they’ll be actively immune – especially at the presidential level a candidate will break any law he likes so long as it isn’t discovered until after the election.

  188. 188
    Mike in DC says:

    If Trump goes worst case scenario–pardon everyone, fire Mueller, lift sanctions unilaterally — and the GOP led Congress does nothing, it leads to a rather stark choice. We can have a Republican party, or a republic, but not both.

  189. 189

    @Omnes Omnibus: In Trump’s America, everyday is ‘Take Out the Trash Day’.

  190. 190
    celticdragonchick says:

    @MisterForkbeard:

    I agree. The endgame is Trump is impeached or The Republic becomes The Empire, pretty much.

  191. 191
    Just one more canuck says:

    @Adam L Silverman: maybe Melania should try that

  192. 192
    TenguPhule says:

    @celticdragonchick: Cue the Imperial March.

  193. 193
    GHayduke says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Yup. Something not right there.

    As an aside, after running 1200 miles this year (goal of 2017 miles) 2 50k races, and a marathon, I am sidelined by iliopsoas tendonitis, a labral tear of my left hip, and associated arthritis. Learning to rock climb now! Woot!

  194. 194
    Jay Noble says:

    @hovercraft: I like that!

Comments are closed.