Oh, they have them already? Ahead of the game!
Over the course of the Trump administration, a running theme has been that it's very hard to find real lawyers willing to represent America's Shittiest Client. He lies to them, he doesn't pay them, he doesn't do what they say, and as we saw yesterday in the courtroom of DC District Court Judge Amit Mehta, they have to make the silliest arguments, the kind that would have gotten them laughed out of their law school classrooms. But a few real lawyers have signed up for the task, and pretty much every one of those real lawyers has ended up doing untold damage to their professional reputations in the process.
We'd feel sorry for them, but that's not how our heart works.
On that note, some of those lawyers might just get to be the latest invitees to the House Democrats' subpoena party, because some of those lawyers may have, knowingly or not, helped Trump commit crimes just a tiny, as anybody in his orbit is apparently expected to do.
Welcome to checks and balances, motherfuckers!
Last week, we told you about a hearing that was to happen today, the first major court test in the war between Congress and the Trump administration over whether Congress is actually a co-equal branch of government that's allowed to do things. It was regarding the lawsuit Trump and his company filed against their own accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP, to keep it from complying with Elijah Cummings and the House Oversight Committee's lawful subpoena of Trump financial records and tax records. It's a legitimate subpoena, not least because Congress absolutely 100 percent has the power to conduct investigations and oversight, and also because this specifically goes to the question of whether the president has committed crimes, has unlawfully benefitted from his office, and that little nagging question of whether he is under the influence of a FUCKING HOSTILE FOREIGN POWER.
The DC district court judge on the case, Amit Mehta, had signaled that he was already done with this shit, would hear the case on a fast-tracked schedule, and that he would be ready to rule at the end of the hearing today. Ultimately, he decided not to do that, but assured all parties that he wasn't going to dilly-dally either. Let's pencil his ruling in for next week, maybe?
The hearing was LIT, y'all. Trump's lawyers had argued in a filing yesterday that please, your honor, let's not fast-track this lawsuit, because -- we are not kidding -- they've just had a lot going on and couldn't possibly be ready to argue this case today. The judge heard that request and responded with judge words that read to our layman's ear like "LOL!"
Once they were off, you almost had to feel sorry for Trump's attorneys, because really, what the fuck were they going to say? But don't feel sorry for long, because they're the dinguses who agreed to represent President BrainStupid in the first place.
2019 is weird AF!
Why is the NRA spending upwards of a million dollars per month on legal fees? How the hell did they manage to shell out $97,787 every single day of the first quarter of 2019? How come the new NRA president Carolyn Meadows was very concerned about it last April, but now says it's all fine? And are these assholes really going to make us switch to #TeamOliverNorth?
Just kidding, of course not. We hate all of them!
When last we left our intrepid band of gunhumpers, then-president North and a cabal of board members had attempted a coup against Wayne LaPierre, alleging wild spending by the NRA CEO. Yesterday the Wall Street Journal produced letters from longtime NRA PR company Ackerman McQueen (AMc) that purported to show hundred of thousand of dollars in expenses hidden in the advertiser's own books. North has also alleged massive overpayment of legal fees to the NRA's lawyers at Brewer Attorneys and Counselors. Throw into the mix a lawsuit by the NRA to force AMc to turn over details of its payments to North and you've got yourself a fucktussle with absolutely no good guys. Which is very on brand for the death stick lobby!
But who can ever tell?
Right now, there is an anti-abortion bill floating in the Alabama Senate that, like the one that recently passed in Ohio, does not include exceptions for rape and incest and which would outlaw all abortions except for those meant to save the mother's life.
That, apparently, is making even a few anti-choice Republicans cringe a little. So today, they will vote on whether or not to add those exceptions to the bill before it goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Rep. Del Marsh (R), the president of the state Senate, said he hopes the exceptions will be added because although he'd love to see Roe overturned, he's not "real comfortable" with the idea of forcing a woman to have her rapist's baby.
Rep. Cam Marsh is not too comfortable with it either, noting that he would not want to force his own daughter to carry a baby from rape.
"The question is, are we going to be the state that says this is okay?" he said. "Even if this is just a legal strategy, I also have a 16-year-old daughter. Would I want her to carry a baby from a rape?
"That's where my stomachache comes in," he said. "That's where folks feel real sick about this."
Gee, it sure is too bad about that stomach ache. It's also too bad he cannot figure a way to extend that empathy to anyone who does not want to be forced to give birth. Because I just have a feeling that if his daughter were to get pregnant from consensual sex, he still might not actually be too keen on her having a baby at 16. He probably has great big hopes for her life that he would not like to see derailed by an unwanted teen pregnancy. Just like lots of people have for their lives and their children's lives.
There is good news for Rep. Marsh, though—he's probably got enough money to spirit his own daughter out of state to get an abortion if she needed one, just like rich people did in the "good old days." Abortion has always been safe and legal for those who can afford it.
The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Terri Collins (R), says she totally gets why some people might want to have exceptions for rape and incest, but says that because the whole point of her bill is to get it to the Supreme Court so that they can overturn Roe v. Wade, this is the way it has to be. It's a legal strategy!
"It has to be 100 percent a person at conception," Collins said.
Collins said she would support states making their own decisions about exceptions. And she herself agrees "that rape and incest could be an exception in state law.
"But what I'm trying to do here is get this case in front of the Supreme Court so Roe v. Wade can be overturned."
Wow, what a truly gross person. Though at least she's consistent.
As horrifying as it is to force a rape victim to have their rapist's baby, it is just as horrifying to force anyone to to have a baby they don't want to have, period. The reason why "rape and incest" exceptions exist is not because the people who believe in them are more reasonable or moderate or slightly more empathetic than their "no exceptions" counterparts, but because they really don't care so much about the fetuses as they do about forcing women who have recreational sex to "face the consequences" of their actions. They see rape victims who did not want to have sex as "innocent" and those who did want to have sex as "guilty" and, well, "if you do the crime, you do the time."
As usual, the ACLU is planning to sue if the bill passes.
"It shows how extreme and how emboldened the people who are pushing these laws feel now," [ACLU senior staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas] said. "Before, they knew they couldn't get away with it. Now they think they can."
The ACLU, she said, is preparing to sue if the Alabama measure passes — with or without exceptions.
"At the end of the day, an all-out abortion ban, whether it's at six weeks or before, is blatantly unconstitutional whether those exceptions exist or not," Kolbi-Molinas said.
Unfortunately for us all, that's probably not going to be the case for too long. Conservatives on the Supreme Court showed this week, in their decision on the case of Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, that they are willing to overturn court precedent if they happen to not like the way a case was decided in the first place—principle of stare decisis be damned.
Oh well, at least some Republicans are feeling mildly glum about it. Sort of.
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TFW your Glock 9 is clean, but your 990 is DIRTY.
These gun nuts do not play nice! In the run-up to the NRA's April 29 board meeting, then-president Oliver North teamed up with the gunhumpers' longtime advertising company Ackerman McQueen (AMc) to attempt a putsch. They threatened to release damaging info about the NRA's finances if Wayne LaPierre didn't quitfire himself immediately as CEO. Except Wayne called Ollie's bluff, the board stuck by him even after AMc pulled the trigger and sent them the dirt, and Ollie was immediately replaced with Carolyn Meadows, Your Confederate Granny.
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
We focus today on House Minority Leader and second most ineptly dangerous McCarthy, behind "Anti-Vax" Jenny, Kevin McCarthy. Appearing on CBS's "Face The Nation" with Margaret Brennan, McCarthy first tried to make a case for why Donald Trump Jr. should not have been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee:
BRENNAN: But, leader, let's-- let's talk about one of the things that we laid out there in the open, which is this decision to ask Donald Trump Jr. to come back to answer questions related to previous answers he had given to the Senate Intelligence Committee. You've said it's time to move on. But, if Congress hasn't finished its own investigation, how can you say that?
MCCARTHY: But, they have-- they have finished the investigation.
BRENNAN: The Senate Intelligence Committee hasn't finished its work.
MCCARTHY: But think about why the Senate is doing this. Donald Trump Jr. has spent 27 hours already testifying. They're requesting him back based upon something that Cohen has said, when he is in jail for lying to Congress. But Cohen was talking about a meeting he wasn't even at. So that is why I believe we should move on. And if the Senate hasn't finished--
McCarthy seems to be confused as to why Cohen LIED to Congress. He lied on behalf of "Individual One" who was clearly identified as Donald Trump by the Southern District of New York. The lies were specifically about a deal for Trump Tower Moscow continuing while he was running for president and Russia was escalating election sabotage in 2016. So the insistence of McCarthy and others in the GOP on using Cohen's lying as a way to exonerate Trump is woefully misguided. Of course this should not be very surprising for McCarthy:
Learn up, it's gonna be a thing!
Is Rudy Giuliani drinking that Just for Men hair dye? What is going on with Grandpa America's Mayor's hair? And what nonsense is he dogwhistling through his lockjaw now?
I've decided I'm not going to go to the Ukraine. I'm not going to go because I've decided I'm walking into a group of people who are enemies of the president. In some cases enemies of the United States. In one case, an already convicted person who has been found to be involved in assisting with the 2016 election.
JFC, he's really putting all his chips on the PAUL MANAFORT WUZ FRAMED argument. An American jury sent Paul Manafort to jail for bringing in millions of untaxed dollars from Ukrainian oligarchs, but somehow it is no fair for Ukrainians to publicize Manafort's grift. Ipso facto hocus pocus, the Mueller investigation was illegal? Plus, also, somethingsomething Joe Biden. Clearly we picked the wrong day to quit snorting Poligrip. Unlike Rudy Giuliani!
Okay, let's see if we can derpsplain it all together, since this Ukrainium One lie isn't going away.
Federal judge Amit Mehta is fast-tracking one of Trump's frivolous lawsuits.
If you watched Rachel Maddow's TV program Thursday night, you saw that Donald Trump's plan to DELAY DELAY DELAY the inevitable disclosures of his financial records (probably crimes) and his taxes (probably some more crimes) mayyyyyyy have hit the tiniest of snags. As we all know, Trump's response to subpoenas sent to his accounting firm and his banks has been to SUE THE ACCOUNTING FIRM and SUE THE BANK, to prevent them from complying with lawful, "friendly" subpoenas from Congress. ("Friendly" subpoenas are the kind where you seem willing to comply with a request from Congress, but it's just better for all parties involved if Congress officially subpoenas it, so you can say to your clients, "We are so sorry, but Congress twisted our arm!") In the case of the subpoena sent to his accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP, Trump also sued Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight Committee, who sent the subpoena, because sure why not.
As Wonkette's Five Dollar Feminist has explained, these Trump lawsuits are some LOL dumb shit, not least because they pretend we and the federal bench are all idiots who don't understand that Congress is supposed to be doing oversight of the Executive branch and has the inherent power to conduct investigations, a principle that's been affirmed by the Supreme Court multiple times. We know Trump has been packing the courts, but unfortunately for him, even rightwing judges have been to law school, and there are some legal arguments too stupid even for them. So in the case of "The Law Says You Have To Give Congress Your Taxes If They Ask" vs. "YOU'RE NOT MY REAL DAD," Trump is unlikely to prevail. (Yes, even at the Supreme Court!) But if the purpose of these suits is to DELAY DELAY DELAY, then Trump might have a shot at gumming up the gears and getting these things trapped in the court system until kingdom come.
Or maybe he doesn't! There's some funny news about the lawsuit he filed against Mazars, which might end up affecting what happens with the other dumb lawsuit Trump filed. The judge assigned to the case has decided to fast-track it, and it's all going to go down next Tuesday. UH OH PISKETTI-OH, Donald Trump, that was not your plan, was it?
He's gonna make 'em an offer they can't refuse.
Third verse, same as the first. Little bit louder, and a little bit worse. Or in Donald Trump's case, a whole lot louder, and so, so much worse. Rudy Giuliani has once again rung up his pal Ken Vogel at the New York Times to announce that he is concocting a bullshit scandal out of thin air to damage Donald Trump's political rivals. If the paper wants to get in on the ground floor of this one, Rudy can arrange a front row seat for the low-low price of simply printing this Ukrainium One nonsense as if it might actually be true.
Perhaps we are too hard on the Times. Without their particular brand of access journalism, would we get Rudy unfiltered shouting, "HEY EVERYONE, I'M GOING TO UKRAINE TO LEAN ON THE GOVERNMENT TO GIN UP A SCANDAL AGAINST MY CLIENT'S POLITICAL RIVALS"?
Shit your dad says.
Kellyanne, it's time to get your game face on, girl! President Sundown Syndrome just held a press conference to brag about Mueller's conclusion that the president committed "essentially no obstruction." (Not actually Mueller's conclusion, as he rather famously didn't make one.) "Essentially no obstruction" is an odd turn of phrase, so we fully expect to see Mrs. Conway on all the programs splaining that there is a five-count minimum for an obstruction of justice prosecution, and anyone who says otherwise is FAKE NEWS.
No collusion, and essentially no obstruction. Of course a lot of people say, "How can you obstruct when there was no crime? When there was no collusion, how can you possibly obstruct?"
Looks like Junior's getting a second time in the barrel.
Don Junior, COME ON DOWN! The Senate Intel Committee enjoyed your first performance so much, they're demanding an encore. Guess they can't resist that Divorced Dad Back in the Game beard. Who can, really? But please, no dick pics -- save that shit for Kimmy, bro.
Yesterday Axios got the scoop that SSCI has been negotiating for weeks to have the president's son return for further testimony before the Committee. CNN reports that Deej is handling it with his usual aplomb.
A source close to Trump Jr. said in a statement Wednesday that when Trump Jr. testified in 2017, there was an agreement "that he would only have to come in and testify a single time as long as he was willing to stay for as long as they'd like, which Don did."
"Don continues to cooperate by producing documents and is willing to answer written questions, but no lawyer would ever agree to allow their client to participate in what is an obvious PR stunt from a so-called 'Republican' senator too cowardly to stand up to his boss Mark Warner and the rest of the resistance Democrats on the committee," the source said.
Hasn't he given you people enough?
We got us a real live constitutional crisis!
Time to fire up that shredder, kids! Poppy Trump has invoked executive privilege over the entire Mueller Report, so now we have to delete poor Evan's eight-million-word liveblog. DOH! Bill Barr followed through on his threat to ground the House and send it to bed without its 448-page bedtime story if Chairman Jerry Nadler proceeded this morning with a Judiciary Committee vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. Which he did. Yesterday, Barr was willing to show a whole 12 of the 41 members of the Committee a less-redacted report, as long as they promised never to talk about it with anyone on the House Intel Committee. But now that is ILLEGAL because the entirety of the report -- including the 90 percent that has already been published unredacted -- is covered under a warm, fluffy blanket of privilege.
And Georgia's new ban is literally insane too!
As of yesterday, six states—Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, North Dakota, and now Georgia—have banned abortion. We could say they've passed "Heartbeat Bills," but that's just a cutesy term for what they actually are. These bills ban abortion before most people even know they're pregnant, and therefore they are abortion bans.
And they are already claiming victims.
Last week, police in Ohio arrested 26-year-old Juan Leon-Gomez after they found the 11-year-old girl he'd raped hiding in a closet at his residence. He's being held on a bond of one million dollars and he's also being charged with "obstructing official business and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a child."
That may be putting things a little lightly, because the 11-year-old girl he raped is pregnant.
THAT'S NOT HOW ANY OF THIS WORKS.
Good Morning! Welcome to another day in Trump's America, where NONE OF THIS MAKES ANY SENSE! The White House and Congress are entering a period of trench warfare, which should last to ... let's say January 20, 2021, conservatively speaking. Attorney General Bill Barr is reporting for duty, Sir, and he's ready to fuck shit up!
Yesterday, former White House counsel Don McGahn's lawyer Bill Burck told the House Judiciary Committee that his client is ever so sorry, but he's going to have to bail on that document subpoena after current White House Counsel Pat Cipollone ordered him to zip it:
As you will appreciate, Mr. McGahn, as a former Assistant to the President and the most senior attorney for the President in his official capacity, continues to owe certain duties and obligations to the President which he is not free to disregard. Here, the Committee seeks to compel Mr. McGahn to produce White House documents the Executive Branch has directed that he not produce. Where co-equal branches of government are making contradictory demands on Mr. McGahn concerning the same set of documents, the appropriate response for Mr. McGahn is to maintain the status quo unless and until the Committee and the Executive Branch can reach an accommodation.
In fact, committee chairman Jerry Nadler did not appreciate being told that McGahn was going to ignore his subpoena just because the White House mumbled some shit about presidential privacy. Then Pat Cipollone sent a snitty letter to Nadler instructing him to address any future document requests to the White House, since "The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under longstanding constitutional principles, because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege."
How did that one go over? Not well.
The White House spent two years refusing to answer questions by airily alluding to executive privilege, safe in the knowledge that the GOP would never call their bluff. Because executive privilege is a narrow exception to disclosure requirements which has to be affirmatively invoked, and there is a legal standard by which to challenge it. Which is exactly why the White House was desperate to avoid a formal invocation of the privilege they'd have to actually defend, rather than spreading it like a fluffy, amorphous blanket over all their sins.
Must be the Law of the Sea.
As expected, Steven Mnuchin ended the day Monday by inviting Congress to conduct oversight of his wrinkly, white ass. In a five-paragraph letter, Mnuchin informed the House Ways and Means Committee that the Justice Department has discovered this one weird trick to make unwanted congressional document demands disappear. They haven't actually told him the trick yet -- Bill Barr will whisper those magic words in his ear "as soon as practicable" -- but in the meantime, ummm, Alla Kazam, Alla Kazoo, Fuck You and MAGA, No Tax Returns For You!
More or less.
In reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, I have determined that the Committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, and pursuant to section 6103, the Department [of Treasury] is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.
Remember when 'conservatives' hated 'frivolous lawsuits'?
First Melania Trump sued the Daily Mail and a host of tiny bloggers for reporting the existence of a book that claimed she'd been an escort. (The Daily Mail settled; the bloggers ate varying degrees of shit.) Then Devin Nunes sued (but never served!) Twitter and his cow lover for the torts of "mockery" and "mean names." And now youngest ever certified securities frauder Jacob Wohl and lobbyist Jack Burkman are threatening to sue the Daily Beast for pointing out that, oh, they MIGHT HAVE induced a young man to falsely accuse gay Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg of raping him.
Is it wrong to falsely accuse someone of rape? Or is it wrong to interview the supposed accuser and type up his words claiming Burkman and Wohl had promised him a "lavish lifestyle," MAYBE falsely imprisoned him, and then (he alleges!) put out the false statement in his name?
According to Burkman and Wohl, it is the latter. And they're going to (threaten to) make the Daily Beast pony up, at least for legal fees, since they will never ever ever win an actual "libel and defamation" (yes, AND) suit on the merits.
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