Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Last Call For Two Murders And Five To Ten

Yesterday I talked about the murder of Joshua Brown, the witness whose testimony against ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger in the murder trial of Botham Jean was key to her conviction.

Brown ended up mysteriously dead in the parking lot outside his apartment building Friday night just days after Guyger was sentenced, and now Dallas police have a lead in the killing.

And by "lead" I mean the cops just happened to find a bunch of drugs in Brown's apartment and the suspects are from out of state.

Dallas police officials on Tuesday said at a news conference at Dallas Police headquarters that they have three suspects in connection with the shooting death of Joshua Brown. 
All three suspects came from Alexandria, La., to purchase drugs from Brown, police said. One suspect is in custody, and warrants have been issued for two other suspects. 
Brown was fatally shot Friday at an apartment complex on Cedar Springs Road.
Assistant chief Avery Moore identified the suspects as Thaddeous Charles Green, 22, Jacquerious Mitchell, 20, and Michael Diaz Mitchell, 32. Jacquerious Mitchell is in custody at Parkland hospital, Moore said. 
The announcement came as pressure increased from community leaders for an independent investigation into Brown's case. Brown was a witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, which ended last week in her conviction. The timing of Brown's death raised public speculation about whether the shooting was tied to his testimony. 
Moore gave condolences to the Brown family and said the department was working "diligently" to get the two suspects who are at-large. Moore then addressed the conspiracy theories and said they "simply are not true." 
Without pointing to specific statements, he issued a warning to community leaders. 
"I encourage those leaders to be mindful of their actions moving forward because their words have jeopardized the integrity of the city of Dallas as well as the Dallas Police Department," he said.

It's an open-and-shut case, you see. Three black suspects and a dead black man in a drug deal gone wrong.  Or, you'd better see, or else the Dallas cops will make you see.

According to police, the three suspects were in the same car when they arrived at Brown's apartment complex on Friday night. Green got out of the car and had an argument with Brown that escalated. Jacquerious Mitchell told police when he got out of the car, Brown shot him first. 
Jacquerious Mitchell told police he heard two more gunshots that Green fired as he lay inside the vehicle. 
Green took Brown's backpack and gun, police said. Michael Mitchell was the driver and dropped off Green at an unknown location. Michael Mitchell then dropped off Jacquerious, who is his nephew, at the hospital.

So according to the cops and the witness who was shot, Brown is not only a drug dealer but an attempted murderer.  Surely this means Amber Guyger is due some leniency on appeal, right?  Maybe that conviction gets overturned?

Surely a scared black kid found with a bullet in him around the same time as Brown's death wouldn't be pressured into making a statement like this in order to cooperate with the cops, right?

And surely, the Dallas PD wouldn't be lying about a dead black witness who helped to convict a cop, right?

Police said when they searched Brown's apartment, they confiscated 12 pounds of marijuana, 143 grams of THC cartridges and $4,000 in cash.

Pretty open and shut case, right?  The information that Brown was a notorious drug dealer never came up in the Guyger trial, a drug dealer who was fearing for his life from three guys from Louisiana, one who jumped at the chance to testify against a cop, and was pushing 12 pounds of weed at the time, but hey, I'm sure that was an oversight.


The Reach To Impeach, Con't

The Trump regime today made it clear what their strategy is going forward: obstruction of justice and daring Nancy Pelosi to do anything about it.

The White House all but declared war on the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, intervening for the first time to block the testimony of a key witness as President Trump signaled his administration would try to starve investigators of more witnesses and documents. 
The decision to block Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, from speaking with investigators for three House committees came just hours before he was to appear on Capitol Hill, provoking an immediate conflict with potentially profound consequences for the inquiry and for the president himself. 
Mr. Trump, defiant as investigators dig further into his efforts to pressure Ukraine to find dirt on his political rivals, declared the inquiry illegitimate in a signal that he plans to stonewall Congress, an act that could itself build the case for charging him in an impeachment proceeding with obstruction. 
“I would love to send Ambassador Sondland, a really good man and great American, to testify,” Mr. Trump wrote on TwitterTuesday morning around the time Mr. Sondland was to appear, “but unfortunately he would be testifying before a totally compromised kangaroo court, where Republican’s rights have been taken away.”

Trump openly tweeting that the decision to block Sondland came from himself here.  Again, open obstruction of justice, with a dare to do anything about it.

House Democrats quickly said they would regard the president’s stance as amounting to obstruction. Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the administration’s refusal to allow Mr. Sondland to appear was “strong evidence” of “obstruction of the constitutional functions of Congress, a coequal branch of government.” 
Mr. Schiff told reporters that the State Department was also withholding text messages Mr. Sondland had sent on a private device that were “deeply relevant” to the inquiry. 
“The American people have the right to know if the president is acting in their interests, in the nation’s interests with an eye toward our national security, and not in his narrow personal, political interests,” Mr. Schiff told reporters. “By preventing us from hearing from this witness and obtaining these documents, the president and secretary of state are taking actions that prevent us from getting the facts needed to protect the nation’s security.” 
In a statement, Mr. Schiff and the chairmen of the two other committees leading the investigation said they would promptly issue a subpoena for Mr. Sondland’s testimony and documents. 
The decision to block Mr. Sondland from being interviewed was delivered at the last minute, after the ambassador had already flown to Washington from Europe, and lawmakers had returned from a two-week recess to observe the questioning.

From Trump's cynical, purely transactional viewpoint, it's a good strategy considering that additional impeachment charges won't matter as long as Mitch McConnell is there to simply dismiss the charges in a Senate trial.  The White House is selling the impeachment proceedings as "illegitimate if not illegal" on FOX State TV, and they've reached the point where additional testimony against Trump would be more damaging in the long run than covering it up.

From the Democratic side, this is the rubicon being crossed.  House Democrats have to decide what to do at this point because no further cooperation of any kind will be coming from the executive branch or its agencies.  A lengthy court battle during an election year could allow Trump to run out the clock, because at some point Nancy Pelosi is going to have to make the decision to go forward with articles of impeachment or shelve them.

So far, her response has literally been a sternly-worded letter

Now, having said that, Senate Republicans no doubt want those articles as soon as possible so that Mitch and 50 other GOP senators can vote to dismiss the charges as I said, calling them illegitimate.  Plenty of people say Pelosi's response must be drawing up and voting on articles now.  I think that's playing directly into McConnell's hands.

Dismissing the articles as soon as they are sent to the Senate is their best-case scenario if they feel they can get away with it, and McConnell has enough GOP senators to do that right now, especially if they use the "illegitimate" argument as a fig leaf.  The outcry would be massive, but then it becomes taking the matter to SCOTUS and hoping for a 5-4 ruling or better that confirms the Senate can make its own rules regarding a Senate impeachment trial.

And it all ends with a whimper.  That's still where I see all of this going.  We don't even get a Senate trial.

But for Pelosi and the Democrats, the longer things go forward now with Trump's obvious cover-up happening in real time, the worse the numbers get for him.  If support flags enough though, and multiple GOP senators say there has to be a rigorous trial, that starts leading down the path of Trump's removal.  The polls say half the country now wants Trump impeached by the House and removed by the Senate.

So, she has to thread the needle. She has to wait until the cry to remove Trump becomes overwhelming, and this obvious obstruction move will go a long way towards getting us to a maximum for removal.  But if Pelosi times things badly, this all blows up and Trump gets away, possibly to a second term.  We'll see how Dems respond, particularly to witnesses.  Inherent contempt for Sondland, for instance, won't help that much.  Inherent contempt for Mike Pompeo on the other hand, well...

Dems have come this far.  I trust they have the guts to finish it, because they have to or we lose the republic.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

Yesterday I talked about how Energy Secretary Rick Perry apparently was trying to get two Giuliani associates on the board of Ukraine's biggest natural gas company.  Those two associates are now at the center of the latest fight between House Democrats at the Trump regime, with the two men, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, having lawyered up in record time and saying they will not comply with any House Democratic requests for documents or depositions.

Two South Florida businessman who peddled supposedly explosive information from Ukraine about corruption involving Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton will not comply with a request for documents and depositions from three House committees overseeing an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman will not respond to a Monday deadline for documents and do not plan to appear for depositions scheduled for Thursday and Friday, their attorney John Dowd told the Miami Herald.

“No response planned,” Dowd, who helped defend Trump during part of the recently concluded Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, said in email.

Democrats working on the burgeoning impeachment inquiry said Parnas and Fruman’s decision to ignore a request issued last Monday will lead to subpoenas, which would compel them to testify and provide documents or face criminal charges

At this point, with a former White House lawyer representing the pair, the odds of the two of them having a letter that says "Attorney General Barr advised us not to talk" claiming executive privilege and refusing the subpoenas is pretty high, and I don't expect House Democrats to have the balls to do anything about it.  Certainly they're not going to bother to refer them to the DoJ for criminal prosecution, they won't lift a finger.  Besides, the White House has to protect them.

“While we have engaged with counsels for these witnesses, they have so far refused to agree to testify or turn over relevant documents. If they continue to fail to comply, they will be served with subpoenas in short order,” an official working on the impeachment inquiry said.

Dowd sent the House Intelligence Committee an email on Oct. 3 detailing his objections to the request for documents and depositions. In the email, which was released on Monday, Dowd said getting up to speed on Parnas and Fruman’s legal situation “will take some time” and that their discussions with Giuliani regarding Trump would be covered by “attorney-client, attorney work and other privileges.” Dowd began representing Parnas and Fruman last week.

He also called the request for documents “overly broad and unduly burdensome,” saying he has reached the “inescapable conclusion that the Democratic Committee members’ intent is to harass, intimidate and embarrass my clients.”

Parnas told the Miami Herald last month that Ukraine’s government has access to information on alleged wrongdoing by Joe Biden and his son Hunter and other U.S. officials overseas — but that the U.S. government proved indifferent to receiving it through official channels. Parnas said his and Fruman’s friendship with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was their avenue to get the information into the Trump administration’s hands.

“I got certain information and I thought it was my duty to hand it over,” he told the Miami Herald on September 26

So of course any subpoena by House Democrats would be part of the plot to "protect Joe Biden".  Hell, I'm betting Parnas in particular will be considered a "whistleblower" by the end of the week.

Giuliani himself won't comply either, it looks like.

Congressional Democrats asked Parnass and Fruman for documents on Sept. 30. They also subpoenaed Giuliani that same day for documents. Giuliani told The Daily Beast he has not decided whether or not to comply.

"I have a real question about whether I should recognize their legitimacy,” he said. “I think they are totally illegitimate... I’m going to go in front of a committee with a chairman who is a liar.”

Going on offense against congressional investigators is a central part of the strategy that Trump’s allies are using to defend him. Chairman Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee has become their top foe. And the president himself has also lambasted the California Democrat, calling him “Shifty Schiff.”

“I haven't made up my mind,” Giuliani continued, “but one of the issues is, do you acknowledge an illicit committee?”

Democrats aren't going to get a word out of any of these crooks as this mobster lawyer stuff drags on, unless they start using some muscle.


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