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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 7380 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #360 on: May 09, 2017, 06:37:46 pm »

Sally Yates Masterly Removes The Smug From Ted Cruz's Face As She Schools Him On Constitutional Law

By Leslie Salzillo   

Monday May 08, 2017 ·  5:30 PM EDT

During the Russian collusion hearings on Monday, former Deputy Attorney General, then Acting Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Sally Yates, batted off Trump-supporting Republicans like flies as they desperately tried to discredit, trick and shame her. They failed, and what they did do is embarrass themselves and the country by defending Donald Trump, also known as the ridiculous  deceitful, hate-mongering  “Fake President.”

During one particular inquisition, Texas Senator Ted Cruz pompously decided to question Yates on Trump’s Muslim ban, rather than on what Yates knew about Michael Flynn, which were the main reason for the hearing. Cruz found himself messing with the wrong person, as he tried to edify Yates on Trump’s authority using a section of the INA/Immigration and Nationality Act.

Here is a video excerpt followed by the video transcript.


(Transcript Excerpt)

A minute into the video Cruz brings up Trump’s Muslim ban. This is where his usual condescending  smug side reveals its ugly self.


Ted Cruz: Okay. Let’s revisit the topic, Miss Yates, that you and Senator Cornyn were talking about. (see video below)

Sally Yates: Okay.

Ted Cruz: Um. Is it correct that the Constitution vests the authority in the President?

Sally Yates: Yes.

Ted Cruz: And if an attorney general disagrees with the policy decision of the President — a policy decision that is lawful, does the attorney general have the authority to direct the Department of Justice to defy the President’s order? 

Sally Yates: I don’t know whether the attorney general has the authority to do that or not, but I don’t think it would be a good idea — and that’s not what I did in this case.

Ted Cruz: Well, are  you familiar with 8 U.S. Code § 1182?

Sally Yates: Not off the top of my head, no.

Ted Cruz: Well, It, it is the binding statutory authority for the president’s executive order your refused to implement that led to your termination, so it certainly is a relevant and not obscure statute.

Sally Yates: MmmHmm.

Notice how Cruz gets in his dig that Yates was “terminated?” The Texas senator goes on to quote one section of the statute.


Ted Cruz: By the expressed text of the statue it says, quote:  ‘Whenever the President finds that the entry of any alien or class of aliens into the United States, would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for any period he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or class of aliens  as immigrants or non immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens, any restrictions he may deem appropriate.’ Would you agree that, that is broad statutory authorization?

Without hesitation, Yates replies with an additional provision that “trumps” (yes, she uses that word)  Cruz — basically out-lawyering him and putting him in his place for all the nation/world to see.


Sally Yates: I would, and I am familiar with that — and I’m also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says: “No person shall receive preference or be discriminated against in issuance of a visa because of race, nationality, or place of birth.” That, I believe was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And, that’s been part of the discussion with the courts in respect to the INA, is whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described.

But my concern was not an INA concern, here; it rather, was a constitutional concern.

And scene. Ted Cruz is still desperately trying to ‘find himself’ after election — but then, it’s really dark up in Trump’s ass. Here are some of the responses from Twitter during the Yates-Cruz exchange. (at article link)

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/05/08/1660176/-Watch-Sally-Yates-School-Ted-Cruz-On-Constitutional-Law
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #361 on: May 10, 2017, 04:21:22 pm »


May 10, 2017


Comey Affair Sign of a Fractured American State


Historian Gerald Horne and Paul Jay dig deeper into Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey and the forces driving great divisions in the elites, the political class and the state apparatus.




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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #362 on: May 10, 2017, 06:24:29 pm »

Sen. Franken rips excuses for Comey firing into tiny shreds

By Frank Vyan Walton   

Wednesday May 10, 2017 ·  4:28 PM EDT

Just as i wrote in detail earlier this morning Franken has a ton to say about Comey’s firing. Via Rawstory.




On Wednesday, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) took to the Senate floor to discuss Tuesday’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and the facts as we currently know them pertaining to the investigation of President Donald Trump and his associates’ connections to the Russian government.

We know that the Russians mounted a complex operation to interfere with the 2016 U.S. election. We also know, Franken said, that they did this with the intent of helping former reality TV game show host Trump, hindering Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and undermining public confidence in the election system.

“These facts have been confirmed by our intelligence agencies,” Franken said. “What we don’t yet fully understand is all the reasons why the Russians favored Donald Trump and whether members of his campaign assisted in the Russian operation to sway the election in his favor.”

These questions are the subject of an active and ongoing investigation.

“The timing of Mr. Comey’s dismissal raises questions,” Franken said, “and Mr. Trump’s decision to abruptly fire the man leading an investigation that could implicate the Trump administration should shock the conscience of every American who believes that no man or woman is above the law.”

Yeah, that. All that.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 · 6:14:07 PM EDT · Frank Vyan Walton 

Franken has done most of the work here I admit, but I appreciate being able to help his words get noticed.

My articles here — like that of so many others — is voluntary. If you appreciate this article any and all support you can offer to make more and better diaries in the future would be deeply and sincerely appreciated.  Thanks very seriously, you guys have helped so much already.

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/5/10/1660974/-Sen-Franken-rips-excuses-for-Comey-firing-into-tiny-shreds




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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #363 on: May 11, 2017, 02:44:35 pm »
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #364 on: May 11, 2017, 02:48:36 pm »
Trump is TOAST;D

On Russia, Let’s Follow the Money



You Can’t Fire the Person Investigating You



Sally Yates is an American Hero 

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #365 on: May 12, 2017, 02:27:29 pm »
Too many Michael Snyders in the general population for that to happen now. This is not Watergate, not by a long shot.


You are right that this certainly is NOT Watergate. Watergate was SMALL POTATOES compared with having ACCESS to 100 million dollars in Russian money to game a U.S. ELECTION. That's called TREASON, Eddie. Your belief that this is somehow a minor scandal compared with Watergate is, like your fascinating  ;) claim that Sessions is not in DEEP S H I T, Orwellian, to put it mildly.

Watch this video to find out why this is FAR WORSE than Watergate:


On Russia, Let’s Follow the Money



As RE continues to correctly (and I have stated for over a month) point out, Trump NEEDS to have the Russia thing go away. The reason is that he and his wrecking crew KNOW they are TREASON TOAST when it comes out.


No, I DO NOT think the whole Russian/Trump enchilada it will EVER come out. BUT the COVERUP, as in Watergate (on steroids  ) is what will SINK TRUMP, Sessions, etc. et al. This is not just my opinion.  Keith Olbermann thinks so and he is friends with a key person from the Watergate period (it's in the video if you can take the time to watch a mere 5 minutes of truth  ;D).

Eddie, you can yawn all you want about this but you will be sorry for not taking this as seriously as you should.
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #366 on: May 12, 2017, 02:30:18 pm »
No one has tried to shut down the FBI enquiry

WHAT?  Firing the Chief Investigator isn't trying to shut down the inquiry? ???  :icon_scratch:

It's just like Nixon firing Archibald Cox.

RE

Profoundly disingenuous to think that decapitating the head of the agency does not send a message, no matter how many career agents showed up for work each day.

IN a related story, MSNBC reported on Thursday President Donald Trump will not visit FBI headquarters as expected after agency officials told the White House Trump would not be greeted warmly following his firing this week of Comey. Apparently comey enjoyed broad support within the agency. So there's that.


Well said.  It is a VERY bad idea to mess with the FBI. Trump continues into fascist overreach mode, as I predicted he and his wrecking crew would do right after they stole the election last year. The FBI will soon have a new Breakfast menu item on the NEW MORNING IN AMERICA (see below).

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #367 on: May 12, 2017, 02:39:59 pm »
Too many Michael Snyders in the general population for that to happen now. This is not Watergate, not by a long shot.
Eddie, you can yawn all you want about this but you will be sorry for not taking this as seriously as you should.

The treason is currently afoot through the rotten #Trump/Russia affair is far more pernicious and dangerous than Watergate ever was. That was a wholly domestic matter. Every congressional repub that defends Trump or tries to sweep this under the rug, or who agrees with Sarah Sanders and Michelle Malkin that "it's time to move on" might as well register as a foreign agent.

I would dearly love to think that in the fullness of time, ALL these people would be going down. But in that regard, I agree with Eddie that there are "too many Michael Snyders in the general population for that to happen." There were too many confederates at the end of the Civil War to kill 'em all as well.



Somehow, I get the feeling that Eddie may have some Southern issues with your answer...

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #368 on: May 12, 2017, 06:14:03 pm »
Abbreviated pundit roundup: Comey scandal goes from bad to worse for Trump     

By Georgia Logothetis   

Friday May 12, 2017 ·  7:34 AM EDT

 368   Comments  (368 New)   

We begin today’s roundup with The New York Times editorial board and its piece on the “Trump-Russia Nexus,” a detailed accounting of Trump’s ties to Russia:



Mr. Trump and his associates can cry themselves hoarse that there is neither smoke nor fire here. But all in all, the known facts suggest an unusually extensive network of relationships with a major foreign power. Anyone who cares about the credibility of the American electoral process should want a thorough investigation of whether and how Russia interfered in the election and through whom.

Laurence Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen at USA Today have an important piece up:


If President Trump’s shockingly sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey had violated some statute or constitutional provision, our judicial branch could easily have remedied that misstep. What the president did was worse. It was a challenge to the very premises of our system of checks and balances precisely because it violated no mere letter of the law but its essential spirit. No one, not even a president, is above the law. And thus no public official, high or petty, can simply fire those our system trusts to investigate and remedy that official’s possible bribery, treason, or other disloyalty to the nation. [...]

In the end, the most important task is to credibly track down the details of the global financial entanglements that have ensnared this administration from the outset, and that have led to litigation against Trump under the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. That is likely the key to unlocking the mystery of what underlying conduct is so terrible that the Trump administration is willing to tie itself into knots and disgrace itself on the world stage to conceal its conduct.

The Economist calls on Congress to do its job:


Congress must now uphold constitutional norms. Any successor to Mr Comey nominated by the president must face the most rigorous examination of their impartiality. But that will not be enough. What is needed is either an independent commission, along the lines of the one set up to inquire into the events leading up to September 11th 2001, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations. Neither would have prosecutorial powers, but they could have substantial investigatory resources and be able to subpoena witnesses. There is no reason why prosecutions could not follow once they had reported. Principled Senate Republicans, such as Richard Burr, Ben Sasse and John McCain, are troubled by what the removal of Mr Comey portends. It is high time for them and others to put their country before their party.

Jim Hoagland at The Washington Post:

The Trump presidency now poses an existential threat to many of America’s most vital institutions. He has tried to tear down to his own tawdry level the intelligence community, the FBI, the media and the federal judiciary. (Congress has been spared only because the Republican leadership lacks the moral courage to draw Trump’s fire.) Just as he is at war with himself, Trump is at war with the nation he is supposed to lead.

I had never particularly credited the idea that Trump or his campaign operatives openly colluded with Putin’s effort to draw them into the muck of the corruption the Russian leader inhabits and seeks to spread. They could not have been that stupid, I have been telling myself. Nor could I imagine that Trump was so dependent on Russian money that he could be compromised by Moscow.

But it is hard now to find other credible explanations for the president’s serial misbehavior and shameless, reckless actions. He seems eager to provoke moral outrage that will confirm his self-image of excelling by being the worst of the bad boys.

Scott Bixby at The Daily Beast takes a look at Trump’s obsession with loyalty above all:

President Donald Trump once described himself as “like, this great loyalty freak.” But to former employees of the nation’s top law enforcement service, it’s his apparent demands for personal loyalty from the nation’s top cop that are freakish. [...]

Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI special agent, told The Daily Beast that the report is straight out of the playbooks of the authoritarian strongmen of whom Trump appears to be such a fan. “This loyalty pledge is completely out of line,” Watts said. “The FBI director is given a 10-year term for this exact reason—to prevent the nation’s top law enforcement officer from being put under undue influence based on political pressures.” If the Times report is true, Watts continued, “Trump’s loyalty pledge tactic comes straight from the worst aspects of authoritarians and mob bosses who see their rule above the rule of law.”

Jonathan Chait:

Donald Trump’s most consistent belief – even more consistent than his skepticism of international trade, which has waned on occasion – is his worship of power. He is not merely willing to do business with despots, as most presidents have been. He admires them because of, not despite, their despotism. His repeated refusal during the campaign to accept the legitimacy of the election (“rigged”), his promises to jail his opponent, and his intermingling of state power and personal profit all suggested a threat to the health of the republic. Now that threat has arrived. And if Republicans in Congress continue to cover for his actions, the damage to the health of American government may be longstanding.

Philip Allen Lacovara, former U.S. deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department who served as counsel to Watergate special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, says the Watergate comparisons are appropriate, but that the DOJ and FBI failed to do the right thing here:

Unlike their predecessors four decades earlier, Sessions and Rosenstein failed to recognize that they have a higher public duty than merely to implement the president’s will, even if Trump’s action was technically within his constitutional power. [...] After Nixon resigned, there were congratulatory comments that “the system worked.” But this assessment was overly simplistic. Now, as then, the system works only if the right people in the system do the right thing when deciding whether to roll over or to stand up.

And, on a final note, Eugene Robinson dives into what looks like a cover up:

The only way to make sense of this week’s stunning events is to conclude that there is something that President Trump desperately wants to hide. [...] If this were a criminal trial, prosecutors would allege that the president was displaying “consciousness of guilt” — that he was acting in a way no innocent person would act. Indeed, the only other president to try to head off an investigation by firing the chief investigator was Richard Nixon. [...]

I do believe in mere coincidences, up to a point. And I know that conspiracy theories usually turn out to be wrong. But I can see no explanation for Trump’s bizarre attitude toward the allegations of Russian meddling other than a desire to conceal something. [...]

If Trump wanted to end this scrutiny by firing Comey, he may have had the opposite effect. Ask yourself one question: Have you ever seen a coverup with no underlying crime? Neither have I.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/5/12/1661558/-Abbreviated-pundit-roundup-Comey-scandal-goes-from-bad-to-worse-for-Trump
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #369 on: May 12, 2017, 06:33:09 pm »
Judas, Tax Cuts and the Great Betrayal


Paul Krugman MAY 12, 2017

SNIPPET:

In some ways conservatism is returning to its roots. Much has been made of Trump’s revival of the term “America First,” the name of a movement opposed to U.S. intervention in World War II. What isn’t often mentioned is that many of the most prominent America-firsters weren’t just isolationists, they were actively sympathetic to foreign dictators; there’s a more or less straight line from Charles Lindbergh proudly wearing the medal he received from Hermann Göring to Trump’s cordial relations with Rodrigo Duterte, the literally murderous president of the Philippines.

But the more proximate issue is the transformation of the Republican Party, which bears little if any resemblance to the institution it used to be, say during the Watergate hearings of the 1970s. Back then, Republican members of Congress were citizens first, partisans second. But today’s G.O.P. is more like a radical, anti-democratic insurgency than a conventional political party.
The political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have been trying to explain this transformation for years, fighting an uphill battle against the false equivalence that still dominates punditry. As they note, the G.O.P. hasn’t just become “ideologically extreme”; it is “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

So it’s naïve to expect Republicans to join forces with Democrats to get to the bottom of the Russia scandal — even if that scandal may strike at the very roots of our national security. Today’s Republicans just don’t cooperate with Democrats, period. They’d rather work with Vladimir Putin.

In fact, some of them probably did.

Now, maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Maybe there are enough Republicans with a conscience — or, failing that, sufficiently frightened of an electoral backlash — that the attempt to kill the Russia probe will fail. One can only hope so.

But it’s time to face up to the scary reality here. Most people now realize, I think, that Donald Trump holds basic American political values in contempt. What we need to realize is that much of his party shares that contempt.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/opinion/judas-tax-cuts-and-the-great-betrayal.html


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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #370 on: May 12, 2017, 08:41:21 pm »
Former FBI Director James Comey's Remarks on Whistleblower Day 2016


Published on May 12, 2017

On August 1, 2016, leaders from four federal agencies (the FBI, the Council on Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) came together to formally acknowledge the important contributions and sacrifices made by whistleblowers. The event kicked off with these remarks from then FBI Director James Comey.

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #371 on: May 12, 2017, 10:16:07 pm »
...and the Beat Goes On...

RE


https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-own-words-add-fuel-to-questions-about-the-legality-of-firing-comey/2017/05/12/ccb4367e-3731-11e7-b412-62beef8121f7_story.html?utm_term=.fc7d7f8eb14f

Trump’s own words add fuel to questions about the legality of firing Comey


President Trump is interviewed by NBC's Lester Holt on Thursday. (Joe Gabriel/NBC via AP)

By Karen Tumulty May 12 at 6:45 PM

With his own words over the past two days, President Trump has vastly escalated the stakes and potential consequences of his decision to fire James B. Comey as FBI director, provoking questions about whether his motivations and tactics may have run afoul of the law.

  

Here's a short, hard hitting AND FUNNY "Trump is Impeachment Toast" video!  ;D

Rober Reich : With his firing of the FBI director, Trump's impeachment becomes even more likely. 

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #372 on: May 13, 2017, 02:28:00 pm »
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/comey-watergate/526443/

Five Reasons the Comey Affair Is Worse Than Watergate

A journalist who covered Nixon’s fall 45 years ago explains why the current challenge to America may be more severe—and the democratic system less capable of handling it.


Senate Watergate Committee members and staff gather around Chairman Sam Ervin Bettman / Getty

    James Fallows May 12, 2017 Politics


The tangled affair now known as Watergate began 45 years ago, before most of today’s U.S. population had even been born. (The median age of Americans is about 38, so most people in the country were born in 1979 or thereafter.) Thus for most people “Watergate” is a historical allusion—obviously negative in its implications, since it led to the only presidential resignation in American history, but probably hazy in its details.

For me, Watergate is anything but hazy. I’d left graduate school and begun my first magazine job, with The Washington Monthly, in the fall of 1972, as news of the scandal emerged. Over the next two years, until Richard Nixon’s resignation, I was living in D.C. and tracking the daily progress in clue-following and domino-toppling via stories in The Washington Post and elsewhere—and then the riveting, televised Watergate hearings that made national celebrities of politicians like Senators Howard Baker and Sam Ervin, and of White House aides like Alexander Butterfield (who revealed the existence of Nixon’s secret system for taping White House conversations) and John Dean (who as White House counsel had told Nixon, “there is a cancer on the presidency”). Anyone of conscious age in that time can probably remember the jolts to national sentiment that the near-daily revelations evoked.

So I’ve been thinking about comparisons between Watergate and the murky, fast-changing Comey-Russia-Flynn-Trump affair. As with anything involving Donald Trump, we have no idea where this will lead, what is “true,” and when the next bombshell will go off.

But based simply on what is known so far, this scandal looks worse than Watergate. Worse for and about the president. Worse for the overall national interest. Worse in what it suggests about the American democratic system’s ability to defend itself. Here is a summary of some reasons why:

* * *

The underlying offense

At some point in the coverage of every scandal you’ll hear the chestnut “It’s always the cover-up, never the crime.” This refers of course to the historical reality that scandal-bound figures make more problems by denying or lying about their misdeeds than they would if they had come clean from the start.

This saying first became really popular in the Watergate era—which is significant for what it suggests about the gravity of the underlying crime in that case. Richard Nixon’s beleaguered press secretary Ron Ziegler, a Sean Spicer–like figure of that era, oversold the point when he dismissed the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters as a “third-rate burglary.” But the worst version of what Nixon and his allies were attempting to do—namely, to find incriminating or embarrassing information about political adversaries ranging from Democratic Party Chairman Lawrence O’Brien to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg—was not as bad as what came afterward. Those later efforts included attempts to derail investigations by the FBI, the police, and various grand juries and congressional committees, which collectively amounted to obstruction of justice.

And what is alleged this time? Nothing less than attacks by an authoritarian foreign government on the fundamentals of American democracy, by interfering with an election—and doing so as part of a larger strategy that included parallel interference in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and elsewhere. At worst, such efforts might actually have changed the election results. At least, they were meant to destroy trust in democracy. Not much of this is fully understood or proven, but the potential stakes are incomparably greater than what happened during Watergate, crime and cover-up alike.

The blatancy of the interference

A climactic event of the Watergate saga, the “Saturday Night Massacre” of October 1973, is too complex to lay out in full. (More here.) Its essence was a nearly-last-gasp attempt by Nixon to prevent a special prosecutor from getting full access to the Oval Office tapes whose existence had recently become known.

But even in his stonewalling, Nixon paid lip service to the concepts of due process and check and balances. (His proffered solution was something called the “Stennis compromise,” in which the very conservative Senator John Stennis, from Mississippi, would “listen” personally to the tapes and summarize their content. As it happens, Stennis was famous for being practically deaf.) Nixon wanted to survive and win, but he wanted to act as if he was doing so while sticking to some recognizable rules.

Nothing Donald Trump has done, on the campaign trail or in office, has expressed awareness of, or respect for, established rules. Nixon’s private comments could be vile, but nothing he said in public is comparable to Trump’s dismissing James Comey as a “showboat,” or the thuggishly menacing tweet that Trump sent out today:

The nature of the president

Richard Nixon was a dark but complex figure. Of his darkness, this obituary/denunciation by Hunter S. Thompson provides a nice overview. Of his complexity, assessments from Garry Wills’s seminal Nixon Agonistes in 1970 to John Farrell’s Nixon: A Life just this spring emphasize the depth and sophistication of his political and strategic intelligence. He was paranoid, resentful, bigoted, and a crook. He was also deeply knowledgeable, strategically prescient, publicly disciplined—and in some aspects of his domestic policy strikingly “progressive” by today’s standards (for instance, his creation of the Environmental Protection Agency).

Donald Trump, by contrast—well, read the transcripts of his two most recent interviews, and weep. He is impulsive, and ignorant, and apparently beyond the reach of any control, even his own.

The resiliency of the fabric of American institutions

The Saturday Night Massacre acquired that name because of the number of people involved. When Archibald Cox, a famous Harvard Law School professor whom Congress had named the Watergate special prosecutor, rejected the “Stennis compromise” and insisted on getting the raw White House tapes himself, Nixon ordered his attorney general, Elliot Richardson, to fire Cox. Richardson—a Republican, a Boston Brahmin, a World War II hero—refused to obey the order, and resigned. The next in the chain of command was William Ruckelshaus, also a Republican, who had been the founding head of the EPA and then was Richardson’s deputy at the Justice Department. Ruckelshaus also refused to obey the order and resigned. Eventually it fell to the solicitor general, a not-yet-famous figure named Robert Bork, to carry out the order and fire Cox.

Within the space of a few hours, three senior officials—Richardson, Ruckelshaus, and Cox—had all made a choice of principle over position, and resigned or been fired rather than comply with orders they considered illegitimate. Their example shines nearly half a century later because such a choice remains so rare.

What would it take for today’s institutions to show that they are as healthy and resilient as they were even during the troubled Watergate era? History isn’t fair, and much of the burden of answering that question falls right now on one man. That is of course Rod Rosenstein, the newly confirmed deputy attorney general who, because of Jeff Sessions’s supposed recusal from the Russian-affairs investigations, is nominally in charge of them. If he wanted to be remembered as another Richardson, Ruckelshaus, or Cox, he would already have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor, or would do so today. Mr. Rosenstein, a lot depends on you.

The cravenness of party leaders

The Republicans of the Watergate era stuck with Richard Nixon as long as they could, but they acted all along as if larger principles were at stake. This I remember more clearly than any other aspect of that era, because the very first article I did for a big national magazine was a profile for Esquire, published not long after Nixon had resigned, about one of the very conservative Republicans who had finally chosen principle over party. That Republican was Charles Wiggins, a staunchly right-wing representative from Southern California who was on the House Judiciary Committee (and later became a Ninth Circuit appeals-court judge).

I followed him through the impeachment-committee hearings in 1974 as he weighed the evidence and finally decided that Nixon had lied too often and gone too far (and wrote about his journey in “The Ordeal of Mr. Wiggins”). The important point is, he was one of many congressional Republicans of that era who acted as if their responsibilities were broader than sheer party-line solidarity.

On the merits, this era’s Republican president has done far more to justify investigation than Richard Nixon did. Yet this era’s Republican senators and members of congress have, cravenly, done far less. A few have grumbled about “concerns” and so on, but they have stuck with Trump where it counts, in votes, and since Comey’s firing they have been stunning in their silence.

Today’s party lineup in the Senate is of course 52–48, in favor of the Republicans. Thus a total of three Republican senators have it within their power to change history, by insisting on an honest, independent investigation of what the Russians have been up do and how the mechanics of American democracy can best defend themselves. (To spell it out, three Republicans could join the 48 Democrats and Independents already calling for investigations, and constitute a Senate majority to empower a genuinely independent inquiry.) So far they have fallen in line with their party’s leader, Mitch McConnell, who will be known in history for favoring party above all else. 

***

I was 24 years old when I followed Charles Wiggins—and the other Republicans of that era, from Barry Goldwater and Howard Baker (and many Senate colleagues) to Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus, who finally decided to be remembered for something greater than clinging to office or toeing the party line. Somewhere a 24-year-old is watching and preparing to remember the choices our leaders are making now. Because of the current lineup of legislative and executive power, the leaders whose choices matter are all Republicans.

I hope some of their choices, soon, allow them to be remembered as positively as are the GOP’s defenders of constitutional process from the Watergate days. But as of this moment, the challenge to the American system seems more extreme than in that era, and the protective resources weaker.
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #373 on: May 13, 2017, 02:36:38 pm »
When you're Under the Gun, You take it on the Run, baby.
But I know the neighborhood
And talk is cheap when the story is good
And the tales grow taller on down the line
So I'm telling you, babe
That I don't think it's true, babe
Or even if it is keep this in mind
You take it on the run baby
If that's the way you want it baby
Then I don't want you around
I don't believe it, not for a minute
You're under the gun so you take it on the run

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/after-comey-firing-trumps-frustrations-boiled-over/2017/05/13/aa1884a4-37a3-11e7-ab03-aa29f656f13e_story.html?utm_term=.b5b011683184

After Comey firing, Trump’s frustrations boiled over

In this May 12, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks to military mothers in the East Room of the White House during Mother’s Day celebration. Four months into office, Trump has become distrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime aides, and furious that the White House’s attempts to quell the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russia investigations only seem to add more fuel. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

By Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire | AP May 13 at 2:17 AM

WASHINGTON — After four months in office, President Donald Trump has become distrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime aides, and furious that the White House’s attempts to quell the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russia investigations only seem to add more fuel.

Trump’s frustrations came to a head this week with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the probe into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia’s election meddling. Fearful that his own team would leak the decision, Trump kept key staff in the dark as he pondered the dramatic move.

Chief strategist Steve Bannon learned on television. The communications staff charged with explaining the decision to the American people had an hour’s notice.

When the White House’s defense of the move failed to meet his ever-changing expectations, Trump tried to take over himself. But he wound up creating new headaches for the White House, including with an apparent threat to Comey.

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

For a White House accustomed to bouts of chaos, Trump’s handling of Comey’s firing could have serious and long-lasting implications. Already Trump’s decision appears to have emboldened the Senate intelligence committee investigating into Russia’s election interference and the president’s associates, with lawmakers announcing a subpoena for former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey’s allies also quickly made clear they would defend him against attacks from Trump, including disputing the president’s assertion that Comey told Trump he was not personally under investigation.

Several people close to the president say his reliance on a small cadre of advisers as he mulled firing Comey reflects his broader distrust of many of his own staffers. He leans heavily on daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kusher, as well as Hope Hicks, his trusted campaign spokeswoman and Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard. Schiller was among those Trump consulted about Comey and was tapped by the president to deliver a letter informing the director of his firing.

Trump confidants say Bannon has been marginalized on major decisions, including Comey’s firing, after clashing with Kushner. And while Trump praised chief of staff Reince Priebus after the House passed a health care bill last week, associates say the president has continued to raise occasional questions about Priebus’ leadership in the West Wing.

Trump spent most of the week out of sight, a marked change from a typically jam-packed schedule that often includes multiple on-camera events per day. Even when aides moved ahead on an executive order creating a voter fraud commission — a presidential pet project that some advisers thought they had successfully shelved — Trump signed the directive in private.

More than a lack of momentum on major policy goals, Trump is said to be seething over the flood of leaks pouring out of the White House and into news reports. He’s viewed even senior advisers suspiciously, including Bannon and Priebus, when stories about internal White House drama land in the press.

A dozen White House officials and others close to Trump detailed the president’s decision-making and his mood on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations and deliberations.

After Trump decided to fire Comey, he was told by aides that Democrats would likely react positively to the news given the role many believe Comey played in Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year. When the opposite occurred, Trump grew incensed — both at Democrats and his own communications staff for not quickly lining up more Republicans to defend him on television.

Much of Trump’s ire has been focused on the communications team, all of whom were caught off guard by Comey’s ouster. He increasingly sees himself as the White House’s only effective spokesperson, according to multiple people who have spoken with him. By week’s end, he was musing about cutting back on the White House’s televised press briefings.

Two White House officials said some of Trump’s frustration centers on what he views as unfair coverage of his decisions and overly harsh criticism of press secretary Sean Spicer, as well as deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, who led much of the response to Comey’s firing. Aides said Trump does not believe his team gave contradictory stories about his decision to fire Comey, despite the fact that the White House’s explanation changed dramatically over a 48-hour period.
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The White House initially said Trump was compelled to fire Comey by a critical memo from the deputy attorney general on the director’s handling of last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email. Aides later said the president had been considering firing Comey for months, and Trump said he would have made the decision regardless of the Justice Department recommendation.

“The challenge they have is that the president sometimes moves so rapidly that they don’t get a team around that gets it organized,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Trump ally. “He’s a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line.”

Trump is mulling expanding the communications team and has eyed hiring producers from Fox News, according to one White House official.

White House officials had hoped last week’s House vote would give the president a much-needed burst of momentum and infuse new energy into efforts to fully overhaul the “Obamacare” health law and pass a massive tax reform package. Aides were also eager for Trump’s first foreign trip, a high-stakes blitz through the Middle East and Europe.

But the blowback from Comey’s firing left the White House reeling once again. Trump’s visible anger and erratic tweets prompted a reporter to ask Spicer on Friday if the president was “out of control.”

“That’s, frankly, offensive,” Spicer said.

__

Politics newsletter

The big stories and commentary shaping the day.

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Julie Bykowicz, Jill Colvin and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #374 on: May 13, 2017, 02:38:02 pm »
Trumpsky does McEnroe.  ::)

RE

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-lawyers-taxes-russia_us_5915dec7e4b0fe039b345530

Don’t Take Anything Trump’s Lawyers Say About His Tax Returns Seriously
Anything except releasing the documents falls short.
By Paul Blumenthal ,  Ben Walsh


Kevin Lamarque / Reuters


President Donald Trump’s tax lawyers issued a statement on Friday that the White House wants you to take seriously: The president has not received income or taken on any debt or equity from Russian sources over the past 10 years, “with a few exceptions.”

This is not how you construct a credible statement about someone’s finances, let alone a sitting president of the United States.

“With few exceptions” is such an obvious out that it can barely even be called a loophole ― it simply and openly invalidates the denial that precedes it.

Trump has a history of emphatically denying that he has any monetary connection to Russia. In January, he tweeted: “NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” His lawyers’ new admission of the “few exceptions” indicates this blanket denial was false. The letter written by Sherri Dillon and Willie Nelson, Trump’s tax lawyers at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, is dated March 8.

According to Dillon and Nelson, those exceptions include Russian fertilizer kingpin Dmitry Rybolovlev purchasing a South Florida mansion for $95 million in 2008; the 2013 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow, which earned $12.2 million in income; and “ordinary course sales of goods or services to Russians.” No documentary evidence was provided to prove that these are Trump’s only sources of income from Russians.

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said at a Russian real estate conference in 2008. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” And a sports writer recently reported that Eric Trump, another son of the president, said in 2014 that the family had access to $100 million from Russian banks. “Well, we don’t rely on American banks,” Eric Trump said at the time, according to the writer. “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (Eric Trump denied the quote.)

The incidental “sales of goods or services to Russians” was no small sum. Russians spent nearly $100 million to purchase condos in seven buildings licensing the Trump name in South Florida, according to Reuters. Trump received a commission on all sales in the buildings, likely somewhere between 1 percent and 4 percent. This would mean Trump received between $1 million and $4 million in income from Russian purchasers.

    This is a bizarre attempt to substitute a prepared communication for public disclosure, which is insufficient for both urgent investigation and repairing the public trust. John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation

Trump also had a long-standing financing and business relationship with a company called Bayrock. Bayrock provided the financing to build Trump Soho, which the company owned and Trump lent his name to through a licensing deal. Bayrock was founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official who was born in Kazakhstan, and Tamir Sapir, a Georgian fertilizer and oil magnate. Felix Sater ― a mob-linked double felon who stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass and was convicted for his role in a $40 million pump-and-dump stock fraud ― was a Bayrock executive.

Bayrock attempted to build Trump-branded buildings in Arizona and Florida and had offices for a time in Trump Tower. Sater was given a Trump Organization business card, which called him a “senior advisor to Donald Trump.” Sater traveled to Russia with Trump’s children looking for investment properties. Despite these numerous connections, Trump said in 2013 that if Sater “were sitting in the room right now, I wouldn’t know what he looked like.”

It’s unclear where Bayrock got the money to finance Trump Soho, because the funding trail ends with an Icelandic company called FL Group. Iceland was a common destination for laundered Russian money prior to the financial crisis, when the FL Group financed Bayrock. Allen Garten, a Trump Organization lawyer, told the Financial Times last year that he “had no reason to question” where Bayrock got its money. 

Additionally, HuffPost reported a previously unknown connection between Donald Trump Jr. and Sater through a company called Global Habitat Solutions. GHS, founded by Sater, acted as a marketing tool for a twice-defunct Trump Jr. venture called Titan Atlas, which sold building materials.

Of course, the president could provide evidence for his claims by releasing his personal tax returns and the returns for his family business, but he has refused to do so. Without producing his full tax returns, the only thing we have to reply on to substantiate Trump’s denials is Trump’s word.

And Trump has an almost unimaginable track record of telling falsehoods. The same goes for those speaking on his behalf. Without documentation for his and his lawyers’ claims, statements about where Trump’s income comes from and who his family does business with cannot be taken seriously.

Trump’s lawyers are simply doing their job: to do what their client demands, whether it is to protect him from negative publicity or from any potential legal liability. Dillon and Nelson have no duty to the American people and no obligation to the public trust to tell the truth about the president’s finances.

“This is a bizarre attempt to substitute a prepared communication for public disclosure, which is insufficient for both urgent investigation and repairing the public trust,” John Wonderlich, executive director of the pro-transparency Sunlight Foundation, told HuffPost.

“Trump also paid lawyers to vouch for his divestment and ethics plans, which were clearly insufficient,” he said.
Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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