Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Last Call For Deportation Nation, Con't

In a major victory for the Trump regime's coming mass detainment and deportation strategy, the Roberts court gave the green light for permanent detainment for non-US citizens with criminal records with no due process whatsoever.

The Supreme Court held on Tuesday that the government can detain -- without a bond hearing -- immigrants with past criminal records, even if years have passed since they were released from criminal custody
The case centered on whether detention without a bond hearing must occur promptly upon an immigrant's release from criminal custody or whether it can happen months or even years later when the individual has resettled into society. The statute says simply that the detention can occur "when the alien is released" from custody. 
The court voted 5-4 in favor of the government. 
The challenge was brought by lawful permanent residents who committed a crime that could lead to their removal. 
In his opinion for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said that the immigrants in the case had argued they were "owed bond hearings" in order to argue for their release. Alito said that the law did not support their argument. 
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote separately to say that the ruling was based entirely on the language of the statute at hand. He said it would be "odd" to interpret the statute as mandating the detention of certain "non citizens" who posed a serious risk of danger of flight, but "nonetheless" allow them to remain free during their removal proceedings if the executive branch failed "to immediately detain them upon their release from criminal custody." 
"The court correctly holds that the Executive Branch's detention of the particular non citizens here remained mandatory even though the Executive Branch did not immediately detain them." 
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the dissent, and took the unusual step of reading the opinion from the bench. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. 
"It runs the gravest risk of depriving those whom the Government has detained of one of the oldest and most important of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms: the right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law."

Indefinite detainment without due process for undocumented with criminal records is important, because the next step is for the Trump regime to then say that the act of being in the country illegally constitutes a national security threat, and that opens up the legalization of mass roundups of millions of undocumented in the US to be processed and deported, while the rest are simply kept in government internment camps.

SCOTUS laying down precedent to say that due process doesn't exist for a class of people living in the country is exactly the opening that the GOP has been looking for over the last several decades.  The ultimate endgame of this of course is to then argue that if due process doesn't apply to non-citizens, then the Trump regime can revoke that citizenship.  Expand the class to include your political enemies, in other words.

And then the real nightmare begins.

That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

Turns out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein isn't leaving the Justice Department (and oversight of the Mueller probe) this month after all.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to stay on at the Justice Department "a little longer" than originally anticipated, according to a Justice official familiar with his thinking. 
Initially, he planned to leave in mid-March, but no firm date was ever set and after consulting with Attorney General William Barr, he will now stay in his position a bit longer. 
He has not given the White House his two weeks' notice. 
Rosenstein has been overseeing the Russia investigation and as CNN has reported, he has signaled to other officials that he would leave when he was satisfied that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation was either complete or close enough to completion that it was protected.

This jibes with last week's often overlooked news that while the Manafort part of the Mueller probe is winding down with Manafort's sentencing, the probe itself continues as Manafort's business partner Rick Gates continue to provide information.

Rick Gates, the longtime right-hand-man to Paul Manafort who had high-level roles on the Trump campaign and inauguration, is not yet ready for sentencing, Mueller’s team said Friday— because Gates “continues to cooperate with respect to several ongoing investigations.”

Gates struck a plea deal with Mueller’s team in February 2018 and testified against Manafort at his trial in August 2018.

What’s left tantalizingly unclear, as ever, is what’s going on with Mueller’s own investigation. For weeks, it’s been rumored in Washington that the special counsel is close to wrapping up — but no Mueller report has yet materialized.

However, Gates’s continued cooperation doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about the state of the special counsel probe because he isn’t only cooperating with Mueller.

There are at least two known investigations, beyond Mueller’s own, that Gates is believed to be cooperating with: an investigation into the Trump inauguration’s money and an investigation into lobbyists’ and lawyers’ unregistered work for Ukraine.

Since both of those investigations appear to remain active, it makes perfect sense that Gates isn’t yet ready for sentencing. Gates could also be providing assistance to other investigations we don’t know about

Rosenstein leaving was probably the biggest single sign the Meuller probe was winding down.  Now he's staying on.

We have a lot more ground to cover, it seems.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

Republicans are crowing over a new USA Today poll that shows 50% of American agree with Donald Trump's assessment that the Mueller probe is a "witch hunt".  The problem is of course the poll's methodology was misleading and biased.

President Donald Trump on Monday touted poll results that appeared to show more Americans than ever siding with his oft-repeated accusation that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe is nothing more than a “witch hunt.”

But some polling experts took issue with the phrasing of the survey question, saying it may have skewed the results.

“President Trump has called the Special Counsel´s investigation a ‘witch hunt’ and said he´s been subjected to more investigations than previous presidents because of politics. Do you agree?” the new USA Today/Suffolk University poll asked 1,000 registered voters in live telephone interviews between March 13 and 17.

The survey found that 50 percent of respondents said they agreed with the president’s view of Mueller’s probe of Russian election meddling and possible Trump campaign collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

Forty-seven percent disagreed, while 3 percent were undecided, according to the survey. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for the total sample results.

Trump, who regularly decries the nearly 2-year-old Mueller probe as a politically motivated witch hunt, was quick to highlight the results of a survey that appeared to show the public on his side.

But here's the truth:

But multiple polling experts took exception to the structure of the question.

“I’m sorry to say this question violates three basic principles of questionnaire design,” said Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates, which polls for ABC News and others.

Langer said in an email to CNBC that the question is “triple-barreled” because it asks three things within a single question: whether the probe is a witch hunt; whether Trump has been subjected to more investigations than other presidents; and whether those probes have been lodged because of politics.

“Answers to each can differ,” Langer said.

He added that asking respondents if they agree — without asking if they disagree — makes the question “unbalanced.” And agree-disagree questions in general are “fundamentally biasing, because they lack the alternative proposition,” Langer said.

“In sum, it is a very good idea, in survey questions, to ask one thing at a time, and to do so in a balanced and neutral way,” Langer said.

Since I'm a computer guy, I would have said no to the question because not all three things are correct.  Trump has been subjected to more investigations than other presidents, certainly.   But the other two are not true.  The number of people who could have said yes to any of those single three statements would be recorded as yes for all three.

In other words, the poll is useless.

Won't stop the GOP though.

Or, you know, Mueller.  But as I've said, the White House is absolutely going to try to bury the report.

White House lawyers expect to have an opportunity to review whatever version of Robert Mueller's report Attorney General Bill Barr submits to Congress before it reaches lawmakers and the public, multiple sources familiar with the matter said, setting up a potential political battle over the hotly anticipated document. 
The attorneys want the White House to have an opportunity to claim executive privilege over information drawn from documents and interviews with White House officials, the sources said. 
The White House's review of executive privilege claims are within its legal purview, but could set up a political battle over the perception President Donald Trump is trying to shield certain information from the public about an investigation that has swirled around him since the first day of his presidency. 
Justice Department lawyers could advise him against certain assertions if they don't feel it's legally defensible. If Trump does assert executive privilege, the decision could be litigated in court if it's challenged, which Democrats would almost certainly do. 
"There's always tension between what looks best politically and what represents the interests of the institution -- the office of the presidency," one source close to the White House said. "Preserving executive privilege trumps political optics." 
While Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani suggested privilege could be used to keep parts of the report from public view, the issue is up to the White House, not the President's personal attorneys.

This will get leaked, of course.

Nixon didn't stop the Pentagon Papers, guys.

Won't work here.


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