Breaking News: Federal District Court Judge Gloria Navarro Dismisses All Charges in Bundy Trial With Prejudice

From Maxine Bernstein at The Oregonian:

U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro methodically listed the prosecution’s six separate violations of the Brady law, which requires turning over evidence potentially favorable to the defense. The judge further ruled that each violation was willful.

If ever there was a time when federal prosecutors needed to make sure they acted with complete integrity it was in the high-stakes Bundy case, legal observers say. The defendants already held a deep suspicion of the government and had successfully rallied followers to their cause.

Now, the question becomes whether prosecutors can pursue a new trial, and the judge’s finding of deliberate misconduct gives the Bundys a good argument to seek an outright dismissal and walk away free men, legal experts said.

In the meantime, the dissection has begun: How could prosecutors have lost sight of due process, one of the basic tenets of the legal system.

The judge’s rebuke of Nevada’s Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre, the lead, and two seasoned veteran Assistant U.S. attorneys, Daniel Schiess and Nadia Ahmed, was remarkable in and of itself.

“This is every prosecutor’s nightmare,” said Kent Robinson, a retired federal prosecutor who served six years as chief of the criminal division in Oregon’s U.S. Attorney’s Office.

When a judge makes a finding of misconduct by a prosecutor, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigates and determines if discipline is warranted, which can range from a reprimand to a suspension.

That scrutiny is underway. Ian D. Prior, deputy director of public affairs in the Justice Department, announced that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “takes this issue very seriously.”

Sessions “has personally directed that an expert in the department’s discovery obligations be deployed to examine the case and advise as to next steps,” Prior said.

Much more at the link.

JJ McNab, a journalist and scholar of domestic right wing extremism, has this preliminary analysis:

This is going to be a fluid situation. Expect the analysis to continue throughout the day before it firms up. Also, given what we know of the Bundy’s, they’re likely to overplay this – badly. They have an uncanny knack for creating the conditions for trouble, having it find them, having others get in trouble for it – several others are already serving jail terms for both the Bunkerville standoff and the Malheur standoff as well – and walking away themselves with no real legal consequences. This will embolden them, their fellow travelers, and their supporters.

Things are likely to get lively in Nevada.

Stay frosty (or warm if you’re where it is really cold).

Open thread!

Also, obligatory:






122 replies
  1. 1
    Quinerly says:

    What a fucking mess.

  2. 2
    Another Scott says:

    It’ll be interesting to see JJ’s reasoning that “she didn’t have a choice”. (I haven’t kept up with the case.)

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  3. 3
    Mike J says:

    DOJ always seem to be willing to do anything to get a conviction, even if it’s illegal. They damn near blew the Timothy McVeigh case (and probably should have). When it’s white people on trial they can’t get away with it.

  4. 4
    different-church-lady says:

    She didn’t really have a choice. The judge did the right thing.

    Explanation Spock?

  5. 5
    B.B.A. says:

    The judge is a 2010 Obama appointee, on Harry Reid’s recommendation. This is no Bircher sympathizer who buys the Bundys’ ridiculous theories. If she says the FBI and DOJ did wrong, I’m inclined to believe her.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Another Scott: @different-church-lady: I just put an update up with The Oregonian’s reporting. Apparently the prosecution made at least 6 major Brady violations. That’ll do it.

  7. 7
    RinaX says:

    @B.B.A.:

    And that’s exactly the type of judge we want in place everywhere, someone who will call prosecutors on their shit regardless of who the defendants are.

  8. 8
    dr. bloor says:

    @Another Scott: Well, if the prosecutorial misconduct is what the judge says it is, she had no choice but to dump the charges. It’s not tricky.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @B.B.A.: 6 major Brady violations.

  10. 10
    dr. bloor says:

    @B.B.A.: I’d be more interested in the prosecutorial team’s inclinations. Very difficult to inadvertently score that many own goals.

  11. 11
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Say hello to the next US Senator from Nevada.

    Christ, what an idiot. This is why when white people break the law you don’t give them special treatment.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    Also, given what we know of the Bundy’s, they’re likely to overplay this – badly.

    Yep. Good point.

  13. 13
    LAO says:

    @RinaX:

    And that’s exactly the type of judge we want in place everywhere, someone who will call prosecutors on their shit regardless of who the defendants are.

    Seconded!

  14. 14
    Mike J says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Same thing they did on McVeigh.

  15. 15
    WaterGirl says:

    Fuck.

  16. 16
    trollhattan says:

    Repeating myself from the previous thread, Zinke’s employees at Interior will be instructed to not interfere with the coming flood of armed yahoos claiming control of “their” land across the west. Too few recall the “Sagebrush Rebellion” of the Reagan-Watt era and this will be the second coming, only with moar guns and high-tech ORVs. And cattle and chainsaws and dredges and….

    Fvck.

  17. 17
    trollhattan says:

    @Bobby Thomson:
    Bundy lives on the Nevada-Utah border and I know which one has the next open senatorial seat upcoming.

  18. 18
    sharl says:

    Based on my intermittent following of JJ MacNab’s twitter feed, the prosecution team really screwed the pooch on their handling of that case, so the only thing that is kinda-sorta surprising is the “with prejudice” bit (note that IANAL, so my surprise is probably unwarranted).

    I’ve liked your graphic since I first saw it (probably here), although in honor of all those heroes who responded in the most appropriate way to the call by the Malheur occupiers for life-sustaining goodies, I think an image of dildos should be included. Whether that would render the “Snack Team 6” label invalid depends on whether there are edible dildos available on the market; I ain’t checking on that…

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dr. bloor: Interim US attorney and 2 career prosecutors.

  20. 20
    oatler. says:

    @LAO: Sorry, but Justice is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Corporation.

  21. 21
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @LAO: Third,fourth and fifthed, at least.

    The judge had absolutely no choice with this kind of bullshit. Brady violations cannot be tolerated. Protecting the innocent of necessity requires that those same rights be extended to the guilty. Judge Navarro is exactly the kind of judge we want them all to be.

    I’d like the law licenses of all those dumb motherfuckers who turned that case into a prosecutorial clusterfuck.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’ve got to take care of a few things. Try not to occupy anything important while I’m gone.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    Sigh. We’ve had this same problem in Los Angeles for years — prosecutors who score own goals in big cases because they’re so used to cheating and cutting corners.

  24. 24
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Try not to occupy anything important while I’m gone.

    See what you did dere.

  25. 25
    Mary G says:

    This is going to fuck things up way past the Bundys. It’s just what the Republicans need for their smearing of Mueller and the theory that the so-called Deep State is rigged against Twitler. Not fair but there it is.

  26. 26
    wjs says:

    This misconduct by the Feds is exactly what Trump defenders need right now.

    How many of the folks involved in thus debacle will resign?

    Great job! Medals for everyone.

  27. 27
    LAO says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: There is, from the prospective of a defense attorney, nothing worse than prosecutors that fail to take their professional obligations seriously. This makes me sick.

  28. 28
    sdhays says:

    Could this have partially been sabotage?

  29. 29
    LAO says:

    @oatler.: I deal with the Justice Department on an almost daily basis. There are “good” prosecutors and shitty prosecutors in every office. IMO, there is no great conspiracy.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    For some reason, this is reminding me of Minority Report:

    Danny Witwer: I worked homicide before federal. This is what we call an orgy of evidence. You know how many orgies I had as a homicide cop?
    Officer Fletcher: How many?
    Danny Witwer: None.

  31. 31
    LAO says:

    @sdhays: No. Just crappy law enforcement.

  32. 32
    SRW1 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’ve got to take care of a few things. Try not to occupy anything important while I’m gone.

    Can we go to the loo, though?

  33. 33
    LAO says:

    And now for some funny legal news. Milo Y’s lawyers withdrew from his lawsuit.

    UPDATE: A representative for Milo Yiannopoulos confirms that he will now be representing himself in his lawsuit against Simon & Schuster pic.twitter.com/APGJ8opQMy— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) January 8, 2018

  34. 34
    Schlemazel says:

    @LAO:
    As if your reasonable opinion is worth a shit to the wingnuts

  35. 35
    LAO says:

    @Schlemazel: Of course not. I was just hoping to be a small voice of reason here at Balloon Juice. But, in the end, it’s just one defense attorney’s opinion.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Geeze, did these idiot Feds tank this deliberately? Or are they just used to railroading minorities for selling more than an ounce or something?

  37. 37
    Schlemazel says:

    @LAO:
    That probably came off harsher then I meant it. I am deeply frustrated with the assholes and the incompetent. Not your fault.

  38. 38
    SFAW says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Try not to occupy anything important while I’m gone.

    Too late! We’ve all decided to descend on the Bethany (WV) National Hysterical Site, to protect Lily from some naked-mopping nutjob who keeps taking terminally-cute pictures of her.

  39. 39
    MikeEss says:

    …disappointing but not surprising…at this point I have little faith that justice will prevail in most trials. I expect Craven Bundy will be elected governor or senator at the rate this whole cluster has devolved…

  40. 40
    oldster says:

    Having followed McNab through the Malheur debacle, I came to respect her opinion.

    It’s all a damned shame, though. Bundy and his gang are very bad people, who will encourage more very bad people.

    How long before Trump tweets about this?

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    @LAO:

    IANAL and only know what I learned from one class in entertainment law for artists in grad school, but even I know that no publisher is contractually obligated to publish your book no matter what. They can always refuse and ask you to refund your advance if your book doesn’t meet their requirements.

  42. 42
    Immanentize says:

    Since I was a public defender in Miami decades ago, I decided that any loss for the prosecution — especially on misconduct basis — was a good thing. Period.

  43. 43
    Millard Filmore says:

    For decades the conservatives have railed against the ACLU because they get hoodlums and murderers off because of technicalities. Now the Bundy’s are set free because of technicalities. I bet they whoop it up and sing about Justice!

  44. 44
    John Revolta says:

    @LAO: Jeezus, I picked a lousy time to give up popcorn.

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @oldster: If he does tweet about it, the tweet will not be about how a Federal judge did her job, and Federal prosecutors did not, but about how pure as the driven snow the Bundy bunch is.

  46. 46
    p.a. says:

    Not a rhetorical question: how much do prosecutors- at any level- get away with misconduct because most defendants can’t afford top-drawer defense counsel?

  47. 47
    LAO says:

    @Immanentize: Hey there. I’m having a tough time with this one, because I also subscribe to your philosophy. But damn.

  48. 48
    SFAW says:

    @LAO:

    I deal with the Justice Department on an almost daily basis.

    NOW what have you done? Threatened to hijack the 7 train to Cuba?
    Held Jeffy Wilpon hostage? (Mets fans would be happy to pay your bail, if you did.)

    And I had such high hopes for you.

  49. 49
    SFAW says:

    @John Revolta:

    Jeezus, I picked a lousy time to give up popcorn.

    You can always wait until Lent for that, you know.

  50. 50
    MJS says:

    For the inevitable “deep state” nonsense this will generate, the pushback should be, “Obama appointed judge upholds the law. See, the system works” and, “Should there be similar malfeasance in the Mueller probe, it will come out at trial.”

  51. 51
    LAO says:

    @SFAW: Damn, I would love it, if the Wilpon’s could be convinced to sell. Hmm.

  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    Jezus. Well, this won’t come back to bite folks in the ass.

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Millard Filmore: The same way they dealt with “technicalities” that got Ollie North off.

  54. 54
    LAO says:

    @p.a.:

    how much do prosecutors- at any level- get away with misconduct because most defendants can’t afford top-drawer defense counsel?

    IMO, quite often.

  55. 55
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Has Trump gloated tweeted about this yet? You know he’ll put it all on Obama’s DoJ for inept prosecuting, while conveniently ignoring the fact that the judge was an Obama appointee. He’s going to be even more insufferable than usual.

    ETA: I see @oldster got there first in comment #40.

  56. 56
    The Moar You Know says:

    U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro methodically listed the prosecution’s six separate violations of the Brady law, which requires turning over evidence potentially favorable to the defense. The judge further ruled that each violation was willful.

    Well, we are done here. They walk and they should. The prosecution team that did this should go to jail.

    Especially because these idiots are going to get someone killed, and that’s on the heads of the people who fucked up and got them sprung from jail.

  57. 57
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: As Mnemosyne put it:

    prosecutors who score own goals in big cases because they’re so used to cheating and cutting corners.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @p.a.: Did the Bundy bunch have top drawer defense counsel? I thought those guys usually defended themselves.

  59. 59
    trollhattan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    Gai-ran-goddamn-tee that had Bundy been convicted he’d have gotten an Arpaio rescue from Trump. He’s a goldarn western hero, donchano.

  60. 60
    No Drought No More says:

    Swell. Now pay your back taxes, asshole, just like the rest of us would have to do if we were in your boat.

  61. 61
    ruemara says:

    @The Moar You Know: I wonder how much of that was deliberate.

  62. 62
    TexanHombre says:

    This is bad. But let’s look at it this way. I agree that the Bundy’s will use this as a pretext to be even bigger assholes. So the next time these welfare ranchers steal and destroy public property, declare them in revolt, send in the National Guard, and gun the traitors down.

  63. 63
    Cacti says:

    I have a strong suspicion that some sympathetic prosecutors may have tanked this case on purpose.

  64. 64
    Yutsano says:

    @catclub: There’s a decent stock of Mormon defence attorneys now. I have zero doubt Bundy put a call out to a bishop and things got arranged.

  65. 65
    catclub says:

    @ruemara: unlikely. the prosecutors carefully calibrate how many Brady rule violations to do in order for the judge to throw it out, rather than get a conviction based on the unfair trial.

    Overzealous combined with experience of the Judge usually giving the prosecution unfair advantage.

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Nope. It will be about how the FBI and the justice department cannot be trusted. Just like Mueller.

  67. 67
    cain says:

    @RinaX:

    This. Justice was served even if it is not the justice we wanted. The federal govt did a shitty job and violated the law.

    Can we have the same even handed justice for people of color too?

  68. 68
    hueyplong says:

    This sucks, but our side’s position has always been clear re what has to happen when the prosecutors do wrong.

    This is why we entrust Mueller’s people to dot each i and cross each t.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    We’ll have to wait and see how Fox News covers it before we know what his tweet will say. 🙄

  70. 70
    catclub says:

    read the whole article.

    Dwight Holton, a former Oregon U.S. attorney, said he believes some agents in the FBI still resist turning over information they deem too sensitive or confidential. The FBI keeps a “remarkably close hold on the counterterrorism side” of investigations, said Holton, speaking generally and not specifically about the Bundy case.

    “I think there’s still an education process going on at the Department of Justice as to what material the FBI produces and needs to be turned over,” Holton said. “The ‘turn it all over’ attitude sometimes bumps squarely into the FBI ethos around maintaining control over security matters, especially in counter-terrorism operations.”

  71. 71
    ruemara says:

    @cain: Oh, you daydreamer.

  72. 72
    catclub says:

    @cain:

    Can we have the same even handed justice for people of color too?

    as long as they have top shelf legal counsel – maybe.

  73. 73
    mai naem mobile says:

    It’s bad but knowing the Bundys they will go do some other illegal shit and get arrested again even if Dolt45 is in office.
    And, oh, please please have one of the Bundys run against Dean Heller and Tarkanian in the primary and/or run as a third party and split the GOP vote . Pretty please with a cherry on top.

  74. 74
    Kelly says:

    Well the federal DA’s completely screwed this up. I particularly hate these armed gangs that have expropriated the words “patriot” and “militia”. This is the result of evil Republicans subservient to the evil NRA that have appointed evil Republicans to the federal bench that threw out 200 years of settled Second Amendment law. These evil fuckers will kill people. The idea that people need to carry guns everywhere is cowardly bullshit. We’ll see damage to public lands as a result of this but that danger is secondary. I’m certain that folks of a few other ethnic groups would have been massacred.

  75. 75
    burnspbesq says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Their careers are over. I’ll take that for openers.

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @hueyplong: Mueller is an absolute professional. His work will be the epitome of perfection. There will be no wiggle room.

    Donald the dotard and his traitor family are going down.

  77. 77
    Immanentize says:

    @LAO: Prosecutors shouldn’t cheat. I say this about the OJ trial to all my student — maybe OJ was guilty, but it is clear the prosecutors cheated. Do I hate that slimebags like the Bundys get off, yes, but they really have no power at all. Prosecotors have real power.

  78. 78
    Mary G says:

    O/T Trump is deporting 200,000 Salvadorans who’ve been here since 2001. I hate this.

  79. 79
    Kelly says:

    Thank you to the lawyers on this thread for your explanations. This result leaves me angry and depressed but if the prosecution made the mistakes described this outcome is tragically necessary.

  80. 80
    hueyplong says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Hope and suspect you will be proved 100% correct.

  81. 81
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @LAO: Makes me sick too, having worked both tables. It’s inexcusable. And cannot be tolerated.

  82. 82
    WarMunchkin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: he’s a Republican. I don’t get this The Man Called Mueller hagiography. Republican dumbfuckery isn’t new.

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @Mary G:
    So where am I supposed to get my pupusas now? Thanks a lot, Donny!

  84. 84
    The Moar You Know says:

    I wonder how much of that was deliberate.

    @ruemara: I don’t think any of it was. My suspicion (talk to a real criminal lawyer) is that these guys are just used to stiffing the defense, but this wasn’t the usual sending some poor black kid who can’t afford a lawyer to prison for holding an ounce. They had big boy defense lawyers and half the country rooting for the accused, these guys needed to do this by the book (which they should anyway, but, y’know, they’re cops). They did not.

  85. 85
    Cckids says:

    @Cacti:

    I have a strong suspicion that some sympathetic prosecutors may have tanked this case on purpose.

    I read in comments at TPM that the lead prosecutor was trained by Sessions. Anyone see that elsewhere?

  86. 86
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @LAO: Ever is too often, and it does happen far too often. Again, this is the perspective of a single person who’s worked at both tables.

  87. 87
    The Moar You Know says:

    Mueller is an absolute professional. His work will be the epitome of perfection. There will be no wiggle room.

    @Villago Delenda Est: I agree with this 100%.

    Donald the dotard and his traitor family are going down.

    Sadly, I don’t agree with this. I think Kushner certainly will, and a bunch of the cabinet/enablers, but not Trump personally. Hope I’m wrong.

  88. 88
    Johnny Gentle (famous crooner) says:

    @Cckids: Wasn’t Ted Stevens’ conviction also tossed out due to prosecutory dumb-fuckery? The idea of the overzealous and unethical prosecutor is hardly a new one. Yes, we noticed it now because it’s a high-prifile and seemingly un-fucking-losable case, but this does happen.

  89. 89
    trollhattan says:

    @Cckids:
    There was a loooong delay between the armed standoff and the feds swooping in to arrest Cliven B at the Portland Airport (which made me very happy). One wonders what occurred during that delay, how the team was formed, what were their marching orders and from what level did they come.

    Will be interested to see the reporting on this from the Oregonian and High Country News.

  90. 90
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @The Moar You Know: I think the Meuller report will be damning, and Republicans will ignore it. The question of timing will be interesting. I think if it drops anytime between now and the mid-terms, they will hang their hat on “politicized process”.

    I think if trump is ever indicted it will be in NY state. Which raises a question, can a state AG subpoena his taxes?

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @catclub:

    Hmm. That seems like a valid concern on the part of the FBI when it comes to ongoing counterterrorism investigations, but obviously it bit them in the ass here. It’s always tricky to prosecute only one part of what prosecutors think is a larger criminal conspiracy without tipping off the rest of the conspirators, but that’s our system.

  92. 92
  93. 93
    Cckids says:

    @Johnny Gentle (famous crooner): You’re right about Ted Stevens; it was tossed for the same reason- not sharing required info with the defense.

  94. 94
  95. 95
    trollhattan says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Which raises a question, can a state AG subpoena his taxes?

    Great question. At least his state tax return should be accessible, no?

  96. 96
    El Caganer says:

    @The Moar You Know: I’m not sure if any of them will go down. If the Republicans jump on the “corrupt Justice Department” train, the whole investigation might get shut down and disappear into the wind. What NY state prosecutors would do then is anybody’s guess.

  97. 97
    Captain C says:

    @SFAW:

    Held Jeffy Wilpon hostage? (Mets fans would be happy to pay your bail, if you did.)

    If this happened, any judge or juror who was a Mets fan would not only dismiss the case with prejudice/vote not guilty, but also offer a large reward.

  98. 98
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    How the mighty have fallen. Time was when Fox got their talking points from the White House.

  99. 99
    efgoldman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The same way they dealt with “technicalities” that got Ollie North off.

    That was in the middle of Sanctus Ronaldus “coddling criminals” days, too. I’ve never forgotten how the convicted felon announced that h’d been “vindicated”.

  100. 100
    JaneSays says:

    @The Moar You Know: I don’t think Trump will ever go to prison or suffer any criminal penalties, nor do I even believe he’ll be forcibly removed from office via impeachment (I don’t think there’s any chance of getting the 67 votes they would need in the senate, even if the Democrats retake the majority in November), but I do think he will be impeached by the House after the Democratic takeover, and I do believe he’s going to be rendered almost powerless in the second half of his one and only term in office.

    He’s gone by January 20, 2021 at the latest, though it’s possible he might resign sooner (in which case we’ll be stuck with President Pence for the remainder of the term).

  101. 101
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t think Trump will ever go to prison or suffer any criminal penalties, nor do I even believe he’ll be forcibly removed from office via impeachment (I don’t think there’s any chance of getting the 67 votes they would need in the senate, even if the Democrats retake the majority in November), but I do think he will be impeached by the House after the Democratic takeover, and I do believe he’s going to be rendered almost powerless in the second half of his one and only term in office.

    He’s gone by January 20, 2021 at the latest, though it’s possible he might resign sooner (in which case we’ll be stuck with President Pence for the remainder of the term).

    @JaneSays: I rarely get to say this on this blog, which is why it’s so fun: I agree fully.

    I’d obviously like this not to be the case, but here we are. Perhaps, one day before I leave this vale of tears, we can get laws that offer remedies for tampered House/Senate/Presidential elections, laws with serious penalties and loss of appointments both executive and judicial.

  102. 102
    efgoldman says:

    @Kelly:

    Thank you to the lawyers on this thread for your explanations.

    As a non-lawyer who likes to play one in a blog, I support the Brady rule 1000%.
    But does the withheld evidence have to be material? Yes, there was surveillance; if they say so, there were snipers; what difference does it make to the laws the assholes broke?

  103. 103
    Puddinhead says:

    @Immanentize: Been a long time. How’d they cheat?

  104. 104
    trollhattan says:

    @JaneSays:
    Can’t argue with any of that, only cringe over the damage he will do given all that time until then.

  105. 105
    rikyrah says:

    Trumpism Is a Long Term Failure for Republicans. But Short Term It Could Destroy Democracy.
    by David Atkins
    January 7, 2018

    Washington Monthly alum Kevin Drum responded to my earlier piece about the imminent danger Trump poses to democracy with the following well-considered observation:

    As I mentioned the other day, I’m in non-panic mode right now. Still, there’s no question that things are getting worse. Republicans are in panic mode over the possibility that Robert Mueller is about to start plowing relentlessly through the White House like a bulldozer leveling an old shack. By the time he’s through, they’re understandably afraid there might not be much left standing.

    At the risk of being too Pollyannaish, it’s almost good news that Republicans are acting this way. It means they realize their party is in existential trouble…

    My take on this is pretty simple. For years it’s been obvious that Republicans are the party of whites and Democrats are the party of nonwhites. This worked fine for a while, but starting in the 90s it became an increasingly weighty albatross and Republicans became increasingly desperate to increase both white turnout and their share of the white vote. Fox News helped with this. Karl Rove’s focus on the “missing evangelicals” helped. Gerrymandering helped. Pack and crack helped. Photo ID laws helped. But these were just pellets in a war dominated by a disastrous decline in party ID in the Bush years that the party never recovered from…

  106. 106
    cain says:

    @ruemara:

    @cain: Oh, you daydreamer.

    Let’s smoke some dope together, happy dreams right?! :)

  107. 107
    SFAW says:

    @LAO:
    @Captain C:

    From your pixels to FSM’s ear-like noodle-y appendages.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JaneSays:

    IANAL, but I suspect that Trump will cling to his stolen office for as long as possible since most legal experts I’ve seen agree that his only remote chance of avoiding prosecution is to claim executive privilege as president.

    Whether he leaves feet-first thanks to his terrible health and eating habits is IMO a possibility but not something we can count on. Evil old assholes always hang on way longer than we think they can.

  109. 109
    Cacti says:

    @trollhattan:

    Great question. At least his state tax return should be accessible, no?

    A State AG can’t subpoena records subject to Federal privacy law, because Supremacy Clause. But his State Tax info could certainly be subpoenaed.

  110. 110
    efgoldman says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I suspect that Trump will cling to his stolen office for as long as possible

    I said months ago: There will come a point when everyone in his support system will be indicted, convicted, or resigned because rats=>ship. There will either be no-one left that he trusts, or none of them will take the jobs or they’ll all be (is such a thing possible) even less competent than the current crowd. Then his position will be untenable. He won’t admit or see it that way, but….

  111. 111
    JaneSays says:

    @trollhattan: Which is why we have to do everything in our power to not just take back the House, but the Senate as well. I have no doubt we’ll accomplish the former, but the latter is still gonna be tough with very little margin for error, even in this environment. The stakes are ginormous – the future of the entire federal judiciary is in play. If we just take the House but not the Senate, we’ll be able to kill his legislative agenda, but he’ll still be able to pack the federal courts with wingnut judges, and, God help us all, possibly even turn SCOTUS into a solid 5-4 or 6-3 wingnut majority (I’d argue they have a weak 5-4 majority now, with Kennedy decidedly right-leaning but occasionally displaying flashes of decency and common sense, particularly on LGBT equality issues).

    If we control both houses of Congress one year from now, we’ll be able to neutralize much of his power and bog him down with an avalanche of endless congressional investigations for however long we remain stuck with him before his term expires.

  112. 112
    BillCinSD says:

    The lead prosecutor is a Trump appointee, so it could also be semi-intentional to please the boss

  113. 113
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @JaneSays: I think both the House and the Senate will be a tough climb, and it’s entirely possible we won’t get either. The House polling is still agonizingly on the edge of what’s needed to get past nationwide gerrymandering; I think we’ll see a lot of cases like Virginia 2017, where there was a huge Democratic wave but it still couldn’t swing the House of Delegates (by the literally closest possible margin–losing the draw on a tied district after a disputed recount).

  114. 114
    J R in WV says:

    @cain:

    Can we have the same even handed justice for people of color too?

    SATSQ: Probably not, mostly. Or No. Or is that not simple enough for SATSQ? You will need a really good lawyer for sure.

  115. 115
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Also, Trump’s reelection is entirely possible. Trump is only as unpopular now as he was when he was elected for the first time, though granted unpopularity as President is a different animal from unpopularity as a candidate.

    (And, last I checked, his numbers are up a bit, though those polls predate the Wolff book and cover a time when most people were on Christmas break.)

  116. 116
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I tend to agree, I’ve got my fingers crossed for good candidates.

    Some good news: Ed Royce, from a Clinton +9 district in CA, just announced his retirement. Step by step, seat by seat…

  117. 117
    Citizen Alan says:

    @rikyrah:

    David Atkins is why I no longer read Washington Monthly. He was a Wilmer-humper who never had a kind word to say about Hillary throughout 2016 unto the present day. And now, he regularly posts hair-on-fire posts complaining about things Trump is doing without the slightest bit of self-awareness that none of the things he complains about would be an issue under an HCR administration.

  118. 118
    Porlock Junior says:

    @BillCinSD: In this case, does “lead prosecutor” refer to the district’s US Attorney himself? I suppose so, since his underlings probably aren’t presidential appointees, but it makes a difference, since the US Atty has a lot of influence, I’m told, over the way the office practices law.

    ETA: And if it’s one of the assistant USAtties, then who is the chief, and appointed by whom?

  119. 119
    henqiguai says:

    @SFAW (#49):

    @John Revolta:

    Jeezus, I picked a lousy time to give up popcorn.

    You can always wait until Lent for that, you know.

    Entertainingly, one year I gave up church for Lent; it stuck.

  120. 120
    Ruviana says:

    @Citizen Alan: I like Nancy and Booman. I just don’t read it on the weekend.

  121. 121
    Barry says:

    @RinaX: “And that’s exactly the type of judge we want in place everywhere, someone who will call prosecutors on their shit regardless of who the defendants are.”

    Does she? If Bundy was born a poor black man, a leftist, would she have dismissed the case?

  122. 122
    Barry says:

    @LAO: “And now for some funny legal news. Milo Y’s lawyers withdrew from his lawsuit.”

    That’s honestly too bad. I was hoping that he’d take them for a large sum of money. IMHO they hired a sh*t-stirrer to stir sh*t, hoping that they could sell the sh*t. If S&S took a large hit on this, it’d make other publishers leery of giving money to the Milos and Coulters, etc.

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