Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

Adam Schock Legal Shocker

March 8, 2019

Adam Schock Legal Shocker

Adam Schock, the disgraced former GOP congressman, fraudster, and ticket scalper indicted on 24 felony counts, reached a sweetheart deal with Federal prosecuters in Chicago on Wednesday without actually pleading guilty. He agreed to pay a $25,000 FEC fine, will repay his campaign committees $67,956, and fork over unpaid 2010–2015 taxes and taxes on the $42,375 he made by scalping sports tickets. Mr. Schock has already repaid Congress $40,000 for redecorating his House office as Downton Abbey and $88,000 in phony mileage expense claims. In the “deferred prosecution” arrangement, if Aaron Schock doesn’t re-offend for six months, charges will be dropped and his criminal record wiped clean. He won’t rule out another run for public office.

It did not go unnoticed that Mr. Schock, the Prince of Peoria, avoided jail time, while another former Illinois Congrssman, Jesse Jackson Jr., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for misusing campaign funds.

More:

“Ex-congressman Aaron Schock strikes deal to avert prosecution,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

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Matt Whitaker: 5 Minute Man

February 11, 2019

Matt Whitaker: 5 Minute Man

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, the temp employee Donald Trump installed as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee last week. He had agreed to answer five minutes of questions from each committee member, but what he did was run out the clock. Instead of answering a question from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D, NY-10), Mr. Whitaker replied “Mr. Chairman, I see that your five minutes is up.”

Running out the clock is really Acting AG Whitaker’s only job right now. William Barr is expected to be confirmed as a real Attorney General this week. If not, Mr. Whitaker may be subpoenaed to a second House Judiciary Committee meeting.

After the hearing Matt Whitaker celebrated by heading straight to Disney Land the new Department of Justice headquarters, the Trump Hotel.

More:

“Matthew Whitaker’s five minutes are up,” Dana Milbank, Washington Post

“The most powerful moment of the Whitaker hearing had nothing to do with Mueller,” Aaron Rupar, Vox

“Matthew Whitaker Apparently Only Owns One Tie,” Joe Patrice, Above the Law

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Trump Prepares National Emergency Declaration

January 30, 2019

Trump Prepares National Emergency Declaration

After temporarily freeing the 800,000 hostages and temporarily reopening the federal government after six weeks of shutdown, President Donald Trump is said to be preparing a Declaration of National Emergency in case Congress doesn’t give him $5.7 billion for his border wall by Valentine’s Day. He’ll declare an emergency because of the grave threat of invasion by savage caravans of duct-tape-wielding rapists at the US-Mexico border. Funding for the wall will come from Mexico Trump’s daddy Deutsche Bank Russian oligarchs the loose change under the Pentagon‘s couch cushions, and money slated for 50 disaster relief projects including some in Texas and Florida, states that voted for Trump in 2016. The man is a political genius.

More:

“Legal and practical hurdles would await Trump emergency declaration,” Wesley Morgan, Politico

“A ‘National Emergency’ Is Not An Option To Save Trump From Failure,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“The US border situation isn’t a national emergency, Pentagon officials tell Congress,” Heather Timmons, Quartz

Updates:

“‘I want him to declare an emergency’: Eric Trump urges his father to use executive power to build a border wall,” Timothy Bella, Washington Post

“Trump: ‘Good Chance’ I’ll Declare National Emergency for Border Wall,” Daily Beast

“Trump teases national emergency declaration could come during SOTU,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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It’s On! State of the Union, February 5th.

January 29, 2019

It's On! State of the Union, February 5th.

After yanking the rug out from under Donald Trump’s January 2019 State of the Union address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the president to harangue a joint session of Congress on February 5th and he accepted.

Attention new members of Congress: each of you may invite one guest to observe the State of the Union from the visitors’ balcony. One of you must invite Stephanie Clifford, a Republican and a working Mom also known as Stormy Daniels. She even knows the guy who’ll be talking.

Related:

“Democrats tap Georgia’s Stacey Abrams to deliver the response to Trump’s State of the Union address,” Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

“The State of the Union is … perhaps outdated?” Jason Dick, Roll Call

Updates:

“Undocumented Immigrant Who Worked for Trump Will Attend His State of the Union,” Matt Stevens, New York Times

“Capitol Police announce street closures, restrictions for State of the Union address,” Michael Burke, The Hill

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Trump Administration Lost Thousands More Migrant Children

January 22, 2019

Trump Administration Lost Thousands More Migrant Children

A report from the DHS Office of the Inspector General finds that an unknown number of children, possibly thousands, were separated from parents at the US-Mexico border before the May 2018 “Zero Tolerance” family separation policy was announced, but weren’t been included in official government tallies of separated families. The kids in the OIG report were placed in foster care but haven’t been reunited with their parents because the Trump Administration lost them. A court ordered migrant family reunification in June 2018.

NBC found a draft of a December 2017 memo indicating that DHS and DOJ were planning the family separations well before Sessions’ “Zero Tolerance” announcement. That’s troubling for DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who told the House Judiciary Committee, in sworn testimony on December 2018, “We’ve never had a policy for family separation.” Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has called on the FBI to open a perjury investigation of Secretary Neilsen.

More:

“Thousands more migrant children separated under Trump than previously known,” Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian

Related:

“Trump’s health secretary refuses Democrats’ request to testify on separated kids,” Dan Diamond, Politico

Updates:

“Mexico won’t accept minors awaiting US asylum claims,” Associated Press

“No one at this child separation hearing knows how many children are still separated,” Kathryn Krawczyk, The Week

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DC Shut Down? The GOP Does Davos.

January 15, 2019

DC Shut Down? The GOP Does Davos.

The president has shut down the U.S. government by refusing to authorize federal spending, but presidential aides and cabinet officials are spending $3-4 million and change to go to the World Economic Forum at Davos, kind of a Coachella for billionaires and financial heavies at a resort in the Swiss Alps.  Administration figures scheduled to attend include: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

U.S. officials at Davos will have a significant weight lifted from their shoulders at this year’s WEF. Unlike last year, President Donald Trump will not attend. Swiss protesters must be crestfallen.

More:

“Trump’s team is still running up bills for Davos during the government shutdown,” Justin Rohrlich and Heather Timmons, Quartz

“Davos, other Swiss ski resorts warned of high avalanche danger,” Xinhua

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Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

January 9, 2019

Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

President-for-now Donald Trump put in a prime-time Oval Office appearance on Tuesday in a futile effort to explain away his federal government shutdown, which locked-out 800,000 federal employees and denied services to millions of U.S. taxpayers. Stephen Miller’s sulfurous script was dark with fear-mongering, untruths, and racism, but the delivery by Mr. Trump, a former Reality TV personality, was unconvincing, even though the tale followed many of his long-time personal falsehoods. In a jaw-dropping display of audacity, Mr. Trump claimed he wanted to stop a humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border, a crisis he exacerbated by refusing entrance to asylum seekers and separating children from their families.

Fact-checkers and bookmakers are still busy counting up the president’s counterfactual assertions.

More:

“Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.” Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

“Trump Gets Instant Fact-Check From Fox News’ Shepard Smith After Oval Office Speech,” Matt Wilstein, Daily Beast

“The cascade of false claims as Trump makes his case for a crisis on the US-Mexico border,” Marshall Cohen, Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, David Shortell and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

“Trump Appeals for Wall, Citing Misleading Statistics of Crisis and Crime Along Border,” Peter Baker, New York Times

“The U.S. Doesn’t Have a Border Crisis. Trump’s Campaign Does.” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“The real crisis is that Trump has no idea what he’s doing,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox

“Gamblers Made $270,000 Betting That Trump Would Lie a Bunch in His Address,” River Donaghey, Vice

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The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

December 20, 2018

The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

This week New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that she is euthanizing the rogue Donald J. Trump Foundation. The so-called nonprofit outfit was directly run by Donald Trump and three of his spawn. Rather than engaging in charitable actives,said the AG, there was a“shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation—including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” This included funding Trump Senior’s election campaign, promoting his businesses, paying off his legal obligations.

As Charles Blow observes, “How can a family that can’t run a charity run a country?”

More:

“Trump’s Crooked Foundation Dissolves, But Investigation Continues,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Clinton Foundation exec mocks Trump Foundation closing amid legal trouble
BY Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

“What the Collapse of the Trump Foundation Tells Us About Donald Trump,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Trump lashes out at New York attorney general who sued his foundation,” David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Trump Foundation dissolves, but Trump abuses and pursuit of personal gain live on,” Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen, USA Today

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GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

December 19, 2018

GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Former American University grad student Maria Butina pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation, and seeking to influence U.S. conservative politicians through the National Rifle Association. It’s a salacious spy story of sex, guns, money, and the National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s packed with oligarchs, Republicans, lobbyists, Treasury officials and Kremlin connections, a saga spanning the globe from Siberia to South Dakota.

Ms. Butina, deemed a flight risk, has been imprisoned since her indictment in July. We hope she’s been able to continue with her Tai Chi in jail. There are indications she will be testifying before a federal grand jury sometime soon.

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

November 13, 2018

Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

After firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump appointed right-wing political hack Matthew Whitaker, a man the president doesn’t know (except when he does) as acting attorney general. There are a few issues with Mr. Whitaker’s appointment, chief among them the fact that it’s against the law. The Constitution, Which Donald Trump swore to defend, requires principal federal cabinet officers to be confirmed by the senate, and Matt Whitaker wasn’t. His appointment was illegal. Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband says so. So does Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano.

But there’s more. As acting AG, Matt Whitaker oversees the Mueller investigation, and he is already on record criticizing it, suggesting he would choke off Mueller’s funding. Mr. Whitaker has also opined that judges should be Christian, and the courts are an inferior branch of government, an interesting stance for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

And Matt Whitaker has some distinctly unchristian episodes in his past. He was on the board of World Patent Marketing, which paid a judgment of $25,987,192 to the FTC for defrauding inventors. Mr. Whitaker used his reputation as a former federal prosecutor to threaten inventors who complained. A perfect AG pick for a president with fraud judgments of his own.

More:

“Acting attorney general reportedly interviewed to be a ‘legal attack dog’ for Trump against Mueller,” Bonnie Kristian, The Week

“Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“Whitaker abandoned taxpayer-funded project in Iowa in 2016,” Ryan J. Foley and David Pitt, Associated Press

“Who Is Matt Whitaker And Why Is He Illegally Pretending To Be The Attorney General?” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“Trump pick Whitaker rose through ranks as partisan targeting Democrats,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation,”Neal Katyal, Washington Post

“A Quick Primer on the Legality of Appointing Matthew Whitaker as ‘Acting’ Attorney General, and Whitaker’s Power to Influence the Russia Investigation,” Marty Lederman, Just Security

Update:

“Whitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General Faces Court Challenge,” Charlie Savage, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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