Support democratic ideals? The yeas are 361 the nays are 63, the resolution passes

Historian and American hero Heather Cox Richardson:

Today, as we learned of more atrocities by Russian troops in Ukraine, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution that called on the U.S. government to uphold the founding democratic principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): “individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.” Since those values “face external threats from authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China and internal threats from proponents of illiberalism,” and since NATO countries have called for a recommitment to the founding values of the alliance, the resolution supports the establishment of a Center for Democratic Resilience within NATO headquarters. The resolution reaffirmed the House’s “unequivocal support” for NATO.

The resolution was introduced by Gerry Connolly (D-VA), who sits on both the Foreign Affairs and Government Oversight Committees, and had 35 other cosponsors from both parties. The vote in favor was bipartisan, with 219 Democrats and 142 Republicans voting yes. After all, what’s there to oppose in a nod to democratic values and diplomacy, when Ukraine is locked in a deadly battle to defend itself against an invasion and brutal occupation by Russian forces directed by authoritarian Russian president Vladimir Putin?

Sixty-three Republicans—those who tend to support former president Trump—voted against the resolution.

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/april-5-2022?r=74gv9&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email

Profile in Courage

Cowardly sidekick takes a break from licking his master’s boots to state the obvious, only thirteen months too late.

I suppose this also qualifies as “legitimate political discourse.”

Trump-enabler Pence, pious, orthodox homophobe, famed champion of so-called Gay Conversion Therapy (subsidized by Indiana taxpayers), ought to enroll in Ambitious Sycophant Conversion Therapy. Both therapies are no doubt equally effective.

The truth is one thing, and essential, but outgassing from a costive asshole, it takes on a disgusting aspect.

The man is a kind of genius

Fani Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, has asked a judge to let her convene a special grand jury, one dedicated solely to deciding whether Donald Trump violated the Georgia criminal statute against interfering with election results by attempting to enlist state officials to change certified election results. You can hear the entire phone call between Trump and Raffensperger, and their lawyers, as Trump tenaciously badgers Raffensperger with ten different appeals for those stinkin’ 11,780 vote he needed, “one more than we had”.

It’s online, you can hear the whole coversation right now, from the horse’s mouth, judge for yourself how innocent or guilty he was in that eighteenth call to change the election results on Georgia. To me, he checked every box, violated that venerable old Georgia law every which way. I can’t conjure a single nonfrivolous legal defense for the former president. This special grand jury will allow DA Willis to move forward with criminal charges after they’ve heard all the evidence.

So here’s the genius, himself, truly one of a kind, you gotta give it to the vuggin’ guy.

Intent?

All my years as a lawyer still do not allow me to understand how a person’s willfully delusional belief can insulate him from having the clear intent that his actions continually demonstrated. First, a bit of context from today’s Washington Post.

Jennifer Rubin, in an op-ed in today’s Washington Post, chose Merrick Garland as the “distinguished pol of the week” for his long-belated speech about following the facts and the law and prosecuting everyone involved in the insurrection that culminated in the riot at the Capitol on January 6th. Rubin, a lawyer by training and, in my opinion, an astute political analyst, was encouraged by Garland’s newly announced determination to follow the facts and the law and hold everyone accountable for the insurrectionist riot (we can now officially call it that, after DOJ charged a bunch of militia leaders with seditious conspiracy), whether they stormed the Capitol on January 6 or not. Her op ed was written to encourage us to be encouraged too. If you believe Garland’s resolve, and trust his ability to get investigations and prosecutions done, and irreversible convictions, before the short window of two party democracy closes, you should be encouraged.

A top headline on the front page of the same Washington Post reads: Justice Dept’s January 6 conspiracy probe doesn’t seem to directly pursue Trump. The article details the lack of DOJ investigation into Trump, his inner circle at the very end, including anyone who was in the Willard Hotel Command Center on January 6. Pleader of the Fifth Amendment John Eastman, author of the legal memo on how Pence could brazen it out on January 6th, using a crackpot 12th Amendment legal theory, to keep the Biden election result in doubt and throw the election to the Republican (for purposes of an electoral tie only) House, was never contacted by DOJ. Neither was disgraced former NYC police commissioner and convicted felon Bernard Kerik (imprisoned in the same new jail complex that until his conviction bore his name — pardoned by Trumpie) who told the Post he had “no DOJ contact”. Neither was Rudy, Sloppy Steve, American Eichmann Jeffery Clark, Mark Meadows. Mike “Good guy” Flynn or anyone else involved in the Trump dead-enders’ hydra-headed plan to overturn a US presidential election based on repeated allegations of massive voter fraud by Black urban voters.

We read that the DOJ has not contacted Brad Raffensberger, whose recorded call with Trump. released publicly more than a year ago, has the desperate former president ticking off every offense and sub-offense in the Georgia criminal law about attempting to corruptly influence an election outcome. Between the lines we find ourselves reading “what the fucking fuck?”

Perhaps most concerning is this fucking trope, which recurs in the article and, as I wrote up top, I have no idea how to understand, even after three years in law school and practicing law for a decade.

How is this different than Alan Dershowitz’s demented argument at one of Trumpie’s impeachments that if the president sincerely believed he was acting in the best interests of the nation, even if he was incorrect in his belief, as when he asked the new Ukrainian president to announce a fake fraud investigation to smear his political opponent (on the grounds that it was best for his country that he alone be left in place to fix it) that he could not have committed a misdemeanor, let alone a high crime? It is a close variation on the classic Nuremberg defense: if the Fuhrer commanded me to do it, and his word is law, and I was bound by an oath to obey, how was I to know he was an insane, mass murdering maniac ordering me to commit massive war crimes, let alone crimes against humanity, when I merely did what I to this day believe was my lawful duty?

Intent can be established by showing a pattern of behavior that demonstrates it. Trump intended to stay in office, no matter what. His intent was clear and every act he undertook, before and after the 2020 election, was in furtherance of what he intended to do. He continued to do these things after being shown he was mistaken in his belief that the election had been stolen by bipartisan fraud. He fired and replaced any official who served at his pleasure who told him the truth about the election he still refuses to concede he lost.

He was told, unequivocally, by his loyal gunsel Bill Barr, by Barr’s successor who refused to participate in a plan to enlist the DOJ in the fraudulent claim of voter fraud, by Pat Cippolone, his White House Counsel, by HSA cyber specialist Chris Krebs [1], by Raffensberger, by many others loyal to him, that there had been no evidence of massive, or even appreciable, voter fraud found. This was confirmed by numerous recounts and “audits” in every swing state Trump lost. It was reaffirmed when every lawsuit brought to challenge the election results was thrown out of court for failure to make a legal case.

Are we to believe that if Trump argues that he genuinely believed these people all lied to him, that the recounts and audits were all wrong, that the courts acted out of mere spite and irrational hatred of him, and that his lie was actually the truth, that he lacked the intent, and the premeditation, to commit the crimes he seems to have committed (hard to explain events otherwise, unless you get all of your information only from FOX, OANN, Newmax or Breitbart)? Seems to me the claim might be useful as part of an insanity defense, but how does it show a hard to overcome lack of intent on Trumpie’s part?

Hard to keep the top of my skull from blowing off my head, sometimes. We are living in times so interesting they make the old Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times” really pop.

[1]

Trump fired Krebs, Trump’s Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security, immediately after Krebs publicly stated that the 2020 election had been the most secure election on record. Evidence of the Orange Polyp’s Intent? Nah…

The incriminating info has long been public…

Frustrating that Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice, scrupulous about avoiding the appearance of political motivation, has been so reluctant to even investigate anti-democratic criminal activity we all saw play out in front of us, that we see playing out in front of us now as our democracy hangs by a thread, amid the threat of further, better-organized mob violence.

The belatedly formed House Select Committee on January 6 is doing an excellent job investigating and laying out the case, as two teams of impeachment managers also did, clearly setting out a case that could have been proved beyond doubt by testimony and other evidence withheld, for the benefit of Mr. Trump who never, ever obstructed justice. Of course, the impeachment trials were pure politics, the foreman of the jury pledging to work closely with the defense team to acquit each time. The outcome would have been far different in a court of law. Now it’s Garland’s moment to step up. Step up, my man.

Garland famously followed Barr’s lead when he appealed the judge’s decision not to let the Department of Justice stand in for Trump as defendant in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit, on Barr’s ridiculous theory that the president calling someone who accused him of rape a fucking liar he wouldn’t fuck with Mike Pence’s dick was acting in the scope of his “official duties”. It’s true that the DOJ leaped into action to try to challenge the Texas anti-abortion law that cleverly circumvents court review (DOJ appeal dismissed by Supreme Court) and to protect parents at school board meetings (quickly weaponized by the GOP as Garland’s partisan war against people giving totally legal Nazi salutes to show their hatred of commie school boards who hate our freedom) but, Jesus Christ.

Bending over backward to appear impartial and apolitical, the Biden DOJ let Don McGahn finally testify behind closed doors about what he told Mueller (Trump asked him to fire Mueller, then, when McGahn refused, asked him to write a memo stating they’d never discussed firing Mueller– you know, as one does while not corruptly abusing one’s power…) not under oath (the honor system again), after the court belatedly found McGahn’s defiance of a subpoena under Barr’s ridiculous blanket protective privilege claim not supported by law. You can read the transcript of McGahn’s boring, two year-delayed interview, but nobody else ever did, I won’t even bother you with a link. (OK, fine, click this one link to transcript halfway down, above graphic.) A cold, legalistic transcript is nothing like damning testimony, delivered under oath, with skilled cross-examination, on live TV.

Equally tellingly, the Biden administration has done nothing to combat Trump’s favorite tactic of weaponizing court delay until the underlying issue becomes moot. No inter-branch dispute court has been created, no changes to the judicial docket in DC have been made, let alone the assignment of special judges for expedited rulings on urgent matters of national security, things that can currently be tied up indefinitely by unscrupulous litigants employing toothless appeals to waste additional months or years. Oh, well.

As for the detailed information that is already out there, here’s a bit from the November 6, 2021 New York Times, all undisputed (except by a compulsively litigious serial liar with millions in donated legal funds) and supported by sworn testimony and documentary evidence:

WASHINGTON — Even by the standards of President Donald J. Trump, it was an extraordinary Oval Office showdown. On the agenda was Mr. Trump’s desire to install a loyalist as acting attorney general to carry out his demands for more aggressive investigations into his baseless claims of election fraud.

On the other side during that meeting on the evening of Jan. 3 were the top leaders of the Justice Department, who warned Mr. Trump that they and other senior officials would resign en masse if he followed through. They received immediate support from another key participant: Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel. According to others at the meeting, Mr. Cipollone indicated that he and his top deputy, Patrick F. Philbin, would also step down if Mr. Trump acted on his plan.

Mr. Trump’s proposed plan, Mr. Cipollone argued, would be a “murder-suicide pact,” one participant recalled. Only near the end of the nearly three-hour meeting did Mr. Trump relent and agree to drop his threat.

Mr. Cipollone’s stand that night is among the new details contained in a lengthy interim report prepared by the Senate Judiciary Committee about Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure the Justice Department to do his bidding in the chaotic final weeks of his presiden

The report draws on documents, emails and testimony from three top Justice Department officials, including the acting attorney general for Mr. Trump’s last month in office, Jeffrey A. Rosen; the acting deputy attorney general, Richard P. Donoghue, and Byung J. Pak, who until early January was U.S. attorney in Atlanta. It provides the most complete account yet of Mr. Trump’s efforts to push the department to validate election fraud claims that had been disproved by the F.B.I. and state investigators.

The interim report, released on Thursday, describes how Justice Department officials scrambled to stave off the pressure during a period when Mr. Trump was getting advice about blocking certification of the election from a lawyer he had first seen on television, and the president’s actions were so unsettling that his top general and the House speaker discussed the nuclear chain of command . . .

. . . Republicans have sought for months to downplay reports of Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign, arguing that he simply cast a wide net for legal advice and correctly concluded that it would be a mistake to replace Mr. Rosen with Mr. Clark. Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, echoed those sentiments on Thursday with the release of a report by committee Republicans, which called Mr. Trump’s actions “consistent with his responsibilities as president to faithfully execute the law and oversee the Executive Branch.”

But Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Pak — all Republicans — testified that Mr. Trump was not seeking their legal advice, but strong-arming them to violate their oaths of office, undermine the results of the election and subvert the Constitution.

The report is not the Senate Judiciary Committee’s final word on the pressure campaign.

Link to article

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, echoed those sentiments on Thursday with the release of a report by committee Republicans, which called Mr. Trump’s actions “consistent with his responsibilities as president to faithfully execute the law and oversee the Executive Branch.”

Of course, they did. Merrick?

As for Barr:

The report recommended that the Justice Department tighten procedures concerning when it can take certain overt steps in election-related fraud investigations. As attorney general, the report said, Mr. Barr weakened the department’s decades-long strict policy of not taking investigative steps in fraud cases until after an election is certified, a measure that is meant to keep the fact of a federal investigation from impacting the election outcome.

The Senate panel found that Mr. Barr personally demanded that the department investigate voter fraud allegations, even if other authorities had looked into them and not found evidence of wrongdoing. These allegations included a claim by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer and a prime force behind the unfounded election fraud allegations, that he had a tape that showed Democratic poll workers kicking their Republican counterparts from a polling station and fraudulently adding votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr. into the count.

Fucking bagpipe playing bastard.

Merrick?