Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Last Call For A Supreme Orange Meltdown

Amazingly enough, the Supreme Court ruled today against Donald Trump and refused to block Trump's National Archive WH documents from being subpoenaed by the January 6th Committee.

The Supreme Court cleared the way Wednesday for the release of presidential records from the Trump White House to a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. 
The court's order means that more than 700 documents will be transferred to Congress that could shed light on the events leading up to the insurrection when hundreds of rioters converged on the Capitol attempting to stop certification of the 2020 presidential election results. 
Only Justice Clarence Thomas said publicly that he would have granted former President Donald Trump's request to block the document handover from the National Archives to the House select committee. No other justices made an objection public. 
The Biden White House supports releasing the records to the committee, after determining the disclosure is in the nation's best interest and declining to assert executive privilege.

The select committee is seeking more than 700 pages of disputed documents as it explores Trump's role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. That includes his appearance at a January 6 rally in which he directed followers to go to the US Capitol where lawmakers were set to certify the election results and "fight" for their county. 
The documents include activity logs, schedules, speech notes and three pages of handwritten notes from then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows -- paperwork that could reveal goings-on inside the West Wing as Trump supporters gathered in Washington and then overran the Capitol, disrupting the certification of the 2020 vote. 
Trump is also seeking to keep secret a draft proclamation honoring two police officers who died in the siege and memos and other documents about supposed election fraud and efforts to overturn Trump's loss of the presidency, the National Archives has said in court documents. 
The House committee, the White House, the National Archives and lawyers for Trump have not responded to CNN inquiries about the Supreme Court's order. 
The move effectively moots former Trump's pending appeal in the case that centered on keeping the documents secret. Lawyers for Trump say the documents are sensitive and privileged records.
Trump has effectively lost this battle and the January 6th Committee will have the documents.  What those documents will mean, I can't ultimately tell you, but the investigation will continue.

Trump's Taxing Explanation, Con't

A new court filing from NY Attorney General Tish James makes it abundantly clear that Donald Trump's adult children are targets in the ongoing state fraud investigation into the Trump Organization, and that the cooperation James is trying to compel from the Trumps is nothing even close to a "request" at this point.

New York Attorney General Letitia James disclosed new details Tuesday night about her civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business, saying the probe has uncovered evidence suggesting the company put a fraudulent value on multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.

James, who launched her probe in 2019, also said in the court filing that the former president “had ultimate authority over a wide swath of conduct by the Trump Organization" that involved fraudulent misstatements to financial institutions, the Internal Revenue Service, and other parties.

She specifically mentioned the responsibility of two of the former president’s adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.

“Since 2017, Donald Trump, Jr. has had authority over numerous financial statements containing misleading asset valuations,” James wrote in the court filing.

Ivanka Trump, a former White House adviser, “was a primary contact for the Trump Organization’s largest lender, Deutsche Bank. In connection with this work, Ms. Trump caused misleading financial statements to be submitted to Deutsche Bank and the federal government,” James wrote.

“Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit,” James said in a statement Tuesday. “The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them.”

Her office added that it "has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action."

James is conducting a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization committed fraud in reporting the value of certain properties to banks and tax authorities.

Banks and other lenders need to know the precise financial condition of loan applicants before they make loans. If a company overstates its financial condition in order to get a loan, making its finances seem rosier than they really are, that can be considered fraud. The filing says that Trump's financial statements "were generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared."

Tuesday’s filing is in response to legal efforts by the former president to quash a series of subpoenas against him, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump. James is seeking an order to compel all three to appear for sworn testimony.

The filing says there have been problems with valuations in statements that have not been explained by the Trump Organization.

In financial statements, the value of the former president’s New York City apartment in Trump Tower was based on an assertion that the space was 30,000 square feet, when documents show the apartment was 10,996 square feet, the attorney general’s office said.

Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg conceded in a deposition that that resulted in an overstatement of around $200 million, the filing stated.

James’ office also said evidence indicates the value of land donations in Los Angeles and Westchester County, New York, were overstated, resulting in several million dollars in deductions.

NBC News has reached out to the Trump Organization for comment on the allegations against the company, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump. Attorneys for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and the former president did not immediately respond to overnight requests for comment.

Not only does James have the goods, but if she doesn't get the Trump family's cooperation with these subpoenas, think are going to go very badly for not just Donald, but Junior and Ivanka as well.

This is James saying "play ball or else".

There's nothing Trump can do here, either.

The Manchin On The Hill, Con't

West Virginia Dem Sen. Joe Manchin is at this point openly daring Democrats to do anything about him blocking Biden's agenda, and that he firmly believes that he is in 100% control of the country.

Joe Manchin made clear that his party’s push to isolate him and fellow centrist Kyrsten Sinema won’t force his hand on rules changes, once again rejecting Democrats' proposed reforms to the Senate’s filibuster rules.

The West Virginia Democrat actually seems to welcome the isolation. He told reporters ahead of a Democratic Caucus meeting he would not go along with instituting a talking filibuster, which could be used to evade the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, nor would he entertain a rules change by a simple majority.

Asked about his party's priorities, Manchin said people are most worried about inflation and coronavirus right now. He added that he’d welcome a primary challenge over his filibuster position if he runs again for reelection: "I've been primaried my entire life. That would not be anything new for me.”

“The majority of my colleagues in the Democratic caucus have changed their minds. I respect that. They have a right to change their minds. I haven’t. I hope they respect that too. I’ve never changed my mind on the filibuster,” Manchin said.

Though all 50 Senate Democrats support the voting and elections bill before the Senate, the Democratic caucus is pressing forward with laying blame on Manchin and Sinema (D-Ariz.) for the party's failure to advance sweeping elections reform, thanks to their resistance to weakening the filibuster. The move carries considerable risk, given that Sinema and Manchin will be essential to any further success the party can muster this year — particularly on any resuscitation of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda.

Manchin said he doesn’t “take anything personally” as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer presses forward with a vote on weakening the filibuster. Schumer confirmed to reporters after the meeting that he would propose a talking filibuster only covering the package of bills currently in front of the Senate and dismissed Manchin and Sinema’s positions as out of step with the rest of the caucus.

“The vast majority of our caucus strongly disagree with Sens. Manchin and Sinema on rules changes. The overwhelming majority of our caucus knows that if you’re going to try to rely on Republican votes, you will get zero progress on voting rights,” Schumer said.

Schumer also would not say if he would support Manchin and Sinema in future Democratic primaries: “I'm not getting into the politics. This is a substantive, serious issue.” Sinema in particular could face a tough intra-party challenge in 2024.

The Senate Democratic caucus huddled on Tuesday evening to discuss the coming confrontation over changing chamber rules to help shore up the Voting Rights Act and enact federal election standards. During the meeting, Manchin “expressed disagreement” with the justification his party is using to change Senate rules, according to one attendee.

Under the talking filibuster proposed by Schumer, the voting and elections package would only require a simple majority to advance toward final passage, preceded by a lengthy debate. No further bills would get the same treatment; the Senate took up the election reform bill Tuesday and is expected to begin the rules debate on Wednesday.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who has been speaking to Manchin on rules changes, said Democrats have tried to come up with a proposal that's consistent with his and Sinema's positions and that they aren't worried the vote will alienate the two centrists.

"I was not a negotiator of the infrastructure bill — I was so happy they were, and I praised them for it, and I voted for it, and it's going to be great," Kaine said. "This voting bill is as important or more to many of us than the infrastructure bill. The time is nigh for a decision."


Last year, Manchin said he was open to the talking filibuster. Now he is 100% against it. And he's going to get away with blocking it, because the alternative is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and everyone knows it. Both Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats continue to give him all of the power, and until that situation changes, nothing's going to pass.

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