Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Last Call For Warren (No) Peace

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is apologizing for claiming Native American heritage tonight, but it's probably not going to stop Trump from calling her "Pocahontas".

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Tuesday that she was sorry that she identified herself as a Native American for almost two decades, reflecting her ongoing struggle to quiet a controversy that continues to haunt her as she prepares to formally announce a presidential bid.

Her comments more fully explain the regret she expressed last week to the chief of the Cherokee Nation, the first time she’s said she was sorry for claiming American Indian heritage.

The private apology was earlier reported as focusing more narrowly on a DNA test she took to demonstrate her purported heritage, a move that prompted a ferocious backlash even from many allies. Warren will be vying to lead a party that has become far more mindful of nonwhite voters and their objections to misuse of their culture.

“I can’t go back,” Warren said in an interview with The Washington Post. “But I am sorry for furthering confusion on tribal sovereignty and tribal citizenship and harm that resulted.”

Warren has been trying for the past year to get past the lingering controversy over her past assertion that she is Native American.

In addition to the DNA test, she released employment documents over the summer to show she didn’t use ethnicity to further her career. And in a speech a year ago she addressed her decision to call herself a Native American, though she didn’t offer the apology that some wanted at the time.

But as Warren undergoes increased scrutiny as a presidential candidate, additional documents could surface to keep the issue alive.

Using an open records request during a general inquiry, for example, The Post obtained Warren’s registration card for the State Bar of Texas, providing a previously undisclosed example of Warren identifying as an “American Indian.
Warren filled out the card by hand in neat blue ink and signed it. Dated April 1986, it is the first document to surface showing Warren making the claim in her own handwriting. Her office didn’t dispute its authenticity. 

Unfortunately, if Warren benefited from her claim of heritage, I'm going to have to say that the apology isn't going to be enough for most voters.  She's a great senator and Massachusetts is pretty happy with her, but I don't see her presidential prospects going much further after tonight, which is a shame because I'd think she'd make a pretty decent President.

We'll see where this ends up, but you can bet the oppo research teams are in overdrive tonight.

A Taxing Strategy

Team Trump is fighting tooth, nail, and orange tan to keep Democrats from using subpoena power on Trump's tax returns, making me believe very much that somewhere in that mess is the end of his regime.

The new House Democratic majority is widely expected to test one of Donald Trump’s ultimate red lines by demanding the president’s personal tax returns — and the Trump administration has been gearing up for months to fight back hard.

Trump's Treasury Department is readying plans to drag the expected Democratic request for Trump’s past tax filings, which he has closely guarded, into a quagmire of arcane legal arguments.

At the same time, officials intend to publicly cast the request as a nakedly partisan exercise. The two-pronged scheme was developed by a handful of top political appointees and lawyers inside the department — with the ultimate goal of keeping the president’s past returns private, according to four people familiar with the administration’s approach.

The strategy will hinge on an argument that politically motivated Democrats will inevitably leak Trump’s tax information — a felony in and of itself — if the IRS hands over the documents. So because Democrats can’t be trusted to keep the documents private, they shouldn’t get them in the first place, officials will insist. Treasury officials have been waiting since early January for a top Democrat to make the request.

The battle between Treasury and the Democrats could plunge the country into yet another norm-breaking moment for the Trump presidency — with the fight stretching on for months and well into the 2020 campaign

“What happens if the Treasury secretary just doesn’t answer or sends back a note saying we refuse to do what you are saying?” said George Yin, a former chief of staff on the House Joint Committee on Taxation, one of the three congressional committees involved in major tax issues on Capitol Hill. “To my knowledge, that has never happened. … We are essentially in uncharted territory if he refuses.” 
A Treasury Department spokeswoman would only say: “Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin will review any request with the Treasury General Counsel for legality.”

And refuse Mnuchin shall.

There's every reason to believe that this is a two-pronged attack, that the Trump regime will stonewall Democrats for as long as they can, and that the regime will nakedly threaten prison time for anyone involved in publishing any leaks about the return.

We'll see what happens, but don't plan on finding out anything soon.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

It's very possible that the Trump regime will continue to interfere with the Mueller probe and even bury Mueller's final report, but there is no saving Donald Trump from the state investigation that is zeroing in on his Russian money laundering using his 2016 inaugural committee as a slush fund.

Escalating one of the investigations into President Trump’s inaugural committee, federal prosecutors ordered on Monday that its officials turn over documents about donors, finances and activities, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The subpoena seeks documents related to all of the committee’s donors and guests; any benefits handed out, including tickets and photo opportunities with the president; federal disclosure filings; vendors; contracts; and more, one of the people said.

The new requests expand an investigation prosecutors opened late last year amid a flurry of scrutiny of the inaugural committee. And they showed that the investigations surrounding Mr. Trump, once centered on potential ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential election, have spread far beyond the special counsel’s office to include virtually all aspects of his adult life: his business, his campaign, his inauguration and his presidency.

In the subpoena, investigators also showed interest in whether any foreigners illegally donated to the committee, as well as whether committee staff members knew that such donations were illegal, asking for documents laying out legal requirements for donations. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds.
Prosecutors also requested all documents related to vendors and contractors with the inaugural committee, which raised a record $107 million and spent lavishly.

People familiar with the subpoena said prosecutors are interested in potential money laundering as well as election fraud, though it is possible that the prosecutors do not suspect the inaugural committee of such violations. The prosecutors cited those crimes in the subpoena simply as justification for their demand for documents, the people said.

Only one individual was named as part of the subpoena’s demand for documents: Imaad Zuberi, a former fund-raiser for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who was seeking inroads with Mr. Trump, and whose company, Avenue Ventures, gave $900,000 to the inaugural committee. The subpoena also seeks documents related to his company.

A spokesman, Steve Rabinowitz, said Mr. Zuberi was unaware of having been named in the subpoena, and noted that he gave “generously and directly” to the inaugural committee, along with many others who donated more.

Another entity that the subpoena seeks documents on is Stripe, which created technology to help process credit card transactions. According to published reports, the company counts Josh Kushner, the brother of Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, among its investors. Josh Kushner is not named in the subpoena, and a spokesman for him declined to comment.

A spokesman for the inaugural committee said it was still reviewing the subpoena and intended to cooperate with the investigation. A spokesman for the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment. ABC first reported that a subpoena was in the works.

Prosecutors have pursued the possibility that the inaugural committee made false statements to the Federal Election Commission, according to people familiar with the matter. It can be a crime to knowingly make false or fraudulent statements to a federal agency.

There's an extremely good chance that Russian nationals donated to Trump's inaugural committee in payment for services to be rendered to Putin and his oligarchs, and Trump pocketed much of the payoff, and this is just the tip of the iceberg: there's the Mueller probe, the NY state investigation into the Trump Organization, and now the Southern District of New York federal case against Trump's inaugural committee.

All three investigations are deep into grand jury indictments.  When they are all unsealed, this administration is going to be crushed.

Stay tuned.


Related Posts with Thumbnails