Friday, December 13, 2019

Last Call For A Supreme Delay

The US Supreme Court will take up the Trump tax cases, but won't hear the cases for another three months, and isn't expected to rule on them until late June.

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether President Trump may shield disclosure of his financial information from congressional committees and a New York prosecutor, raising the prospect of a landmark election-year ruling on a president’s immunity from investigation while he is in office.

Trump asked the court to accept the cases, and they will be heard in March, with a ruling before the court’s session ends in late June. It means that whatever the outcome of Trump’s separate impeachment proceedings, the controversies over investigations into Trump’s conduct will continue into the heart of the presidential election campaign.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and three Democratic-led congressional committees have won lower-court decisions granting them access to a broad range of Trump’s financial records relating to him personally, his family and his businesses. The court on Friday said it would consider all three cases.

Unlike other modern presidents and presidential candidates, Trump has not released his tax returns. He and his personal lawyers have mounted a vigorous effort to keep that information private and defeat attempts to obtain the records from financial institutions and his accounting firm.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court granted review of the President’s three pending cases,” said Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Trump, in a statement released Friday. “These cases raise significant constitutional issues.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to get involved represents a historic moment that will test the justices and the Constitution’s separation-of-powers design. It is the first time the president’s personal conduct has come before the court, and marks a new phase in the investigations that have dogged his presidency.

The delay means that yes, the ruling will come as the 2020 general election contest begins to heat up.  It also means though that regardless of the ruling, it won't settle the question of House subpoenas of executive branch personnel in time to help the impeachment process.

If the worst-case scenario happens and Mitch McConnell simply holds a vote to acquit Trump on both articles without allowing any witnesses to be called or evidence to be presented, then America as we know it is no longer a Constitutional republic, but an autocracy.

And should the Roberts Court then rule in Trump's favor, well...

The Reach To Impeach, Con't

As the House Judiciary Committee has approved both articles of impeachment ahead of next week's full floor vote, as I noted this morning in StupidiNews, Mitch McConnell is now openly saying the "Senate trial" will be coordinated with White House lawyers, the equivalent of a jury foreman saying he's openly working with the defense team.  There should be open outrage from Democrats at this point, and there's nothing.  Greg Sargent:

Many have sharply criticized McConnell for telegraphing that the trial will be gamed in advance to assure Trump’s acquittal and to make it as politically painless as possible.

That’s true, but it’s worse than this. Note that Hannity treated this not just as utterly unremarkable, but as how things ought to be.

It’s not. As Laurence Tribe and Joshua Matz write, the framers designated the Senate for impeachment trials to create an “extraordinary court” composed of “the nation’s leading statesmen,” one up to the gravity of weighing “great offenses against the people.” The Senate would not be prone to factional pressure (senators have six-year terms) and would be independent of the president.

But you cannot watch this McConnell interview without coming away convinced that he is trying to reassure the faction known as Trump and GOP voters that the Senate trial will be conducted in full accordance with Trump’s wishes and needs.

“I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers,” McConnell said. “I’m going to coordinate with the president’s lawyers.” And: “There’s no chance the president will be removed from office.”

It has been reported that McConnell wants a quick, un-circus-like trial, whereas Trump wants it to be weaponized against potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden. Here McConnell is plainly trying to put the Fox News audience at ease: The GOP Senate’s interests are 100 percent joined with Trump’s.

We knew this was going to happen, because McConnell is just as corrupt as Trump is, maybe even more so.

The important point here, however, is that this nonsense is necessary to reverse-justify McConnell’s naked corruption of the process. In the disinformation bubble that is Hannity’s show, millions of Trump and GOP voters are now reassured that McConnell will shape the trial entirely in sync with Trump’s political needs, and that Democrats have rendered it the correct and justified thing to do.

This interview belongs in a time capsule. It will benefit future generations who study the impeachment and all-but-certain acquittal of Trump, and the degree to which Trump’s defenders corrupted our discourse and political system to make that outcome possible.

It's depressing as hell, and completely true.  There's no effort to hide the corruption anymore.   It's being done out in the open, and America no longer cares.  Trump made that clear at the White House today:

"I'll do whatever I want" has absolutely been the motto of Donald Trump.

Nobody will stop him on his way to autocracy.  And nothing makes me think there will be any outcome in November 2020 that will be free or fair as a result.

The Great Debate Debate

Donald Trump has bandied this about before, but here we are 11 months before the election and he's already vowing to skip the 2020 debates next fall.

President Trump is discussing with his advisers the possibility of sitting out the general election debates in 2020 because of his misgivings about the commission that oversees them, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Mr. Trump has told advisers that he does not trust the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit entity that sponsors the debates, the two people said.

Less of a concern for Mr. Trump than who will emerge as the Democratic nominee is which media personality will be chosen as the debate moderator, according to people in contact with him.

At a state-of-the-race campaign briefing in Arlington, Va., the president’s advisers declined to comment on what their plan was for the debates. One senior adviser to the president seemed to wince at the question, and said it was not something advisers were prepared to discuss until next year.

In the 2016 general election debates, Mr. Trump repeatedly complained about being at a disadvantage to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. And the post-debate polls showed Mr. Trump had good reason to be concerned: Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton were essentially tied in the polls going into the first debate, but she received a bump after each of the three face-to-face matchups.

A Gallup poll conducted after the third debate, for instance, found that 60 percent of viewers thought Ms. Clinton did a better job, while 31 percent chose Mr. Trump.

After his performance in one of the debates was panned, Mr. Trump blamed a “defective mic” and questioned whether it was done “on purpose” to put him at a disadvantage. It turned out that a technical malfunction had indeed affected the volume of his voice during that debate, in September 2016.
That acknowledgment by the commission, however, never mollified Mr. Trump.

His 2016 debate team — led primarily at that time by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor — also clashed with the commission over where to seat a group of women who had accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

The Trump campaign invited the women as surprise guests to the second debate in St. Louis. Mr. Trump wanted them seated in his V.I.P. box, where Mr. Clinton would have to walk past them; they would also have been in her line of site from the stage. In the end, the campaign had to stand down after the commission threatened to call security and have the women removed.

Former Clinton aides said they expected Mr. Trump to participate in at least one 2020 debate, despite the president’s hints that he would refuse. “Not doing any would not be strategically smart,” said Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton adviser, who predicted that “he’ll bluff that he won’t do any with the goal of only having to do one.”

He wants the media and the Democratic candidate to come crawling to him for a debate, and they will oblige him.  It will be awful and ugly and Trump will declare victory no matter what, but there will be at least one debate.

And if he doesn't get his way, the Trump campaign will schedule their racist rallies to counter anything that may be broadcast.  Worse, I wholly expect our media to openly ask if we even need debates in 2020 for anything anymore because they are boooooooooring.

Mostly it's because Trump's increasing dementia makes a debate super risky for him.  His team is  already trying to get out of it.

They know.


Related Posts with Thumbnails