Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

Team Trump is in absolute panic mode over the National Archives turning over Trump regime documents to the January 6th Committee this week and are now in the "throw things at the wall to see what falls into the gears to gum them up" phase of legal battling.

If you blinked you missed it.

Former President Donald Trump filed an emergency request to a federal judge late Monday night to prevent the National Archives from sending sensitive records to Jan. 6 committee investigators by Friday. And just after midnight, Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected it, contending the request itself was legally defective and “premature.”

The unusual exchange, which happened in a span of two hours, comes as Chutkan is already considering an earlier request by Trump to prevent Congress from peering into his White House’s records about his attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Trump sued to block the National Archives from turning the records over last month, after President Joe Biden declined to assert executive privilege on his behalf. The Archives indicated it would turn the papers over to lawmakers by Friday, unless a court intervened.

Chutkan heard arguments in the suit last week and promised to rule quickly on Trump’s initial emergency request. But she seemed inclined to reject it, questioning the legal basis for a former president to claim executive privilege over records when the sitting president and Congress disagree.

The National Archives has indicated that Trump is seeking to block at least 750 pages out of an initial 1,500 unearthed in response to the Jan. 6 committee’s request for records about the former president’s effort to overturn the election. Many of those papers are culled from the files of senior Trump aides like Mark Meadows, Stephen Miller and Patrick Philbin. They also include call and visitor logs.

Trump’s attorney, Jesse Binnall, issued his second request Monday night, asking Chutkan to approve an “administrative stay” of her own ruling even before she issued it. That way, Binnall argued, Trump would have a chance to appeal her decision before the Archives began delivering hundreds of pages to congressional investigators.

Binnall also warned Chutkan that if she didn’t rule on Trump’s first request by Wednesday, he would go immediately to the appeals court and ask it to step in. He noted that Thursday is Veterans Day and that the National Archives plans to send Trump’s papers to Congress at 6 p.m. Friday.

“This case should be decided after thorough but expeditious consideration pursuant to America’s judicial review process, both before this Court and on appeal, not by a race against the clock,” Binnall wrote.

But the request baffled legal experts, who said judges have no power to preemptively block rulings they haven’t issued yet. They noted Chutkan is already moving on an urgent timeline to consider Trump’s initial request and that it was odd for the former president to threaten to go to the appeals court before seeing Chutkan’s decision
Me, I fully expect the National Archives to be blocked by an appeals court injunction this week and for the case to go before SCOTUS.  There's no way the National Archives gets the documents to the January 6th Committee without a court fight.

We'll see how it shakes out, but I expect Trump's appointed judges will eventually save Trump from himself again.

The Rent Is Too Damn High, Con't

Tons of local ordinances were voted on last week, including a rent control vote that passed overwhelmingly in St. Paul. Within a day of the vote passing, limiting rent increases in the city to 3% a year, developers called city hall to tell the city that planned new apartment units would be placed on hold indefinitely and that they would look to the outer Twin Cities suburbs to build.
Less than 24 hours after St. Paul voters approved one of the country's most stringent rent control policies, Nicolle Goodman's phone started to ring. Developers were calling to tell the city's director of planning and economic development they were placing projects on hold, putting hundreds of new housing units at risk.

"We don't want our equity goals to be at odds with our growth goals," Goodman said in a presentation to the City Council Wednesday. "The ordinance as written may actually put those goals at odds."

Voters' decision Tuesday to cap annual rent increases at 3% sent developers into a frenzy, prompting some with stakes in Minnesota's capital city to pause projects or reconsider sites for future housing.

Unlike most cities with rent control, St. Paul will not exempt new construction, which opponents argue will force lenders and developers to look outside the city for spots where they feel more confident that they will recoup investments and earn profits.

"We, like everybody else, are re-evaluating what — if any — future business activity we'll be doing in St. Paul," said Jim Stolpestad, who has worked on developments in St. Paul for 30 years as founder of Exeter, the company behind major projects like Grand Avenue's revamped retail corridor and new luxury apartments in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood.

It's a sobering prospect as major redevelopments, including the Hillcrest Golf Club and Boys Totem Town sites, enter critical planning stages. At the Highland Bridge site, where construction is well underway, Ryan Companies was scheduled to submit three building plans to the city this week — but Tony Barranco, Ryan's north region president, said Wednesday those reviews have been postponed indefinitely in light of the referendum's outcome.

Ryan Companies warned before Election Day that the rent control ordinance could prevent them from finding investors for the 760 affordable housing units the city pledged to bring to the former Ford site.

"If our banking partners won't loan us dollars to build the buildings that are planned as market rate because they can more safely lend their dollars elsewhere, we will not be able to build the market rate projects" that help subsidize affordable housing, Barranco said.

Supporters of rent control, led by a grassroots coalition that petitioned to put the ordinance on the ballot, say developers are making empty threats.

"This happens in every city where new regulations are passed … because they want to scare the city into changing the ordinance," said Tram Hoang, campaign manager for Housing Equity Now St. Paul, which led the ballot measure push

Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo, who voted for rent control, said she believes St. Paul's population and need for development will ultimately win out.

"I don't think development will stall," she said. "But there will be some kinks that need to get worked out."
I think this is the most likely outcome, but understand that the problem with affordable housing is that when you add to the supply of it, it lowers the value of existing housing.

There are people who will fight that with every fiber of their being. Not all of them are housing developers, either.

Insurrection Investigation, Con't

As expected, the House January 6th Committee has issued another round of Trump regime subpoenas, including ones for former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Trump coup memo author/lawyer John Eastman.

The House select committee investigating the deadly January 6 riot on Capitol Hill announced Monday it is issuing six additional subpoenas to top Trump campaign associates as it continues to seek testimony and documents from key witnesses in the sweeping probe. 
With this round of subpoenas, the committee is targeting top individuals from former President Trump's reelection campaign who the panel says were involved in promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen. 
The six subpoenas are going to:
  • Trump 2020 campaign manager William Stepien
  • Former senior adviser to the campaign Jason Miller
  • John Eastman, an attorney who helped craft Trump's argument that the election was stolen
  • Michael Flynn, who was involved in meeting about how the Trump campaign wanted to promote the lie that the election was stolen
  • Angela McCallum, national executive assistant to former President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign
  • Bernard Kerik, who participated in a meeting at the Willard Hotel centered around overturing election results.
All six individuals are being asked to supply the committee with documents on November 23, with depositions scheduled spanning the last week of November into mid December. 
"In the days before the January 6th attack, the former President's closest allies and advisors drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes," Select Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a statement. "The Select Committee needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all."

Thompson added: "The Select Committee expects all witnesses to cooperate with our investigation as we work to get answers for the American people, recommend changes to our laws that will strengthen our democracy, and help ensure nothing like January 6th ever happens again." 

I absolutely want to see Flynn and Kerik refuse to cooperate and end up back in the clink.

The real villain here though is John Eastman, the legal eagle behind the coup itself. Everyone else was executing Eastman's plan, which is why he's so eager to deny it.

Still, the elephant in the room remains Steve Bannon, referred for criminal prosecution for refusing to cooperate with the January 6th Committee and still a free man, with AG Merrick Garland simply saying that it's a "criminal matter".

It's criminal that Bannon isn't in a steel box right now.


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