Trump’s Nixonian Response To The Russia Investigation: ‘L’etat c’est moi’ (‘I am the state’)

President Trump's attorneys have put forward a shockingly expansive view of the powers of the President.

The New York Times is reporting that lawyers for President Trump are arguing that the President cannot obstruct justice:

President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.

In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

Mr. Trump’s lawyers fear that if he answers questions, either voluntarily or in front of a grand jury, he risks exposing himself to accusations of lying to investigators, a potential crime or impeachable offense.

Mr. Trump’s broad interpretation of executive authority is novel and is likely to be tested if a court battle ensues over whether he could be ordered to answer questions. It is unclear how that fight, should the case reach that point, would play out. A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment.

“We don’t know what the law is on the intersection between the obstruction statutes and the president exercising his constitutional power to supervise an investigation in the Justice Department,” said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who oversaw the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during the Bush administration. “It’s an open question.”

Hand-delivered to the special counsel’s office in January and written by two of the president’s lawyers at the time, John M. Dowd and Jay A. Sekulow, the letter offers a rare glimpse into one side of the high-stakes negotiations over a presidential interview.

(…)

Mr. Trump’s defense is a wide-ranging interpretation of presidential power. In saying he has the authority to end a law enforcement inquiry or pardon people, his lawyers ambiguously left open the possibility that they were referring only to the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, which he is accused of pressuring the F.B.I. to drop — or perhaps the one Mr. Mueller is pursuing into Mr. Trump himself as well.

Mr. Dowd and Mr. Sekulow outlined 16 areas they said the special counsel was scrutinizing as part of the obstruction investigation, including the firings of Mr. Comey and of Mr. Flynn, and the president’s reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation.

Over the past year, the president’s lawyers have mostly cooperated with the inquiry in an effort to end it more quickly. Mr. Trump’s lawyers say he deserves credit for that willingness, citing his waiver of executive privilege to allow some of his advisers to speak with Mr. Mueller.

“We cannot emphasize enough that regardless of the fact that the executive privilege clearly applies to his senior staff, in the interest of complete transparency, the president has allowed — in fact, has directed — the voluntary production of clearly protected documents,” his lawyers wrote.

(…)

“Ensuring that the office remains sacred and above the fray of shifting political winds and gamesmanship is of critical importance,” they wrote.

They argued that the president holds a special position in the government and is busy running the country, making it difficult for him to prepare and sit for an interview. They said that because of those demands on Mr. Trump’s time, the special counsel’s office should have to clear a higher bar to get him to talk. Mr. Mueller, the president’s attorneys argued, needs to prove that the president is the only person who can give him the information he seeks and that he has exhausted all other avenues for getting it.

“The president’s prime function as the chief executive ought not be hampered by requests for interview,” they wrote. “Having him testify demeans the office of the president before the world.”

They also contended that nothing Mr. Trump did violated obstruction-of-justice statutes, making both a technical parsing of what one such law covers and a broad constitutional argument that Congress cannot infringe on how he exercises his power to supervise the executive branch. Because of the authority the Constitution gives him, it is impossible for him to obstruct justice by shutting down a case or firing a subordinate, no matter his motivation, they said.

“Every action that the president took was taken with full constitutional authority pursuant to Article II of the United States Constitution,” they wrote of the part of the Constitution that created the executive branch. “As such, these actions cannot constitute obstruction, whether viewed separately or even as a totality.”

As a preliminary matter, it’s worth noting two things. First of all, this letter was apparently sent to Mueller in January of this year as part of the negotiations surrounding the question of whether or not the President would submit to an interview with Mueller and other members of the investigation team. While that interview has not been scheduled, and may never be scheduled, it’s also apparent that the Trump legal team has utterly failed if the point of the letter was to intimidate Mueller in some way. Second, the entire argument regarding the argument that the President cannot commit obstruction of justice is undercut by the fact that it is primarily based on an outdated statute, and that it fails to mention that Congress passed a broader law in 2002 which expands the definition of obstruction to include obstruction of proceedings that have not started. Additionally, the Times article cites Samuel W. Buell, a Duke Law School professor who was one of the lead prosecutors in the Enron case. As the article notes, Buell points out that the actual issue was whether the President had obstructed, or is obstructing, a potential investigation by a grand jury investigation or criminal trial. In that sense, it’s unclear why they are basing their argument on the wrong statute.

The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus points out just how radical the President’s lawyers argument is:

As Daniel Hemer and Eric Posner write in the California Law Review, “No one thinks that . . . the president should be able to commit a crime and then call off the investigation of it. What if he murdered his valet?”

That is a fanciful hypothetical, but the more reality-based one also underscores the extreme nature of the Trump lawyers’ claim. “It is obvious enough that it would be wrong for the president to order spurious investigations of his political opponents in order to harass them,” Hemel and Posner write. “But it would seem to follow that the president should not call off investigations of his political aides and allies (and of himself) in order to protect them (and himself) from legal jeopardy. If he could, then he or his aides could engage in criminal activity in order to harass their political opponents — as the Watergate burglary, a spy operation against the Democratic National Committee, illustrates — without fear of legal liability.”

Indeed, during Watergate, the articles of impeachment against Nixon included the charge that he obstructed justice by “interfering or endeavouring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees.”

At any time and for any reason. The context was Comey, but the implications are chilling: that Trump asserts the right to terminate the Russia probe altogether. Or the investigation into his lawyer Michael Cohen.

This is a scary vision of the power entrusted to any president, but especially this one.

And Harry Litman, who has worked in the Justice Department and now practices law and teaches, points out that the President’s attorneys are arguing that he is, effectively, a King:

The president believes he is above the law. That’s the takeaway from the confidential 20-page memo sent by President Trump’s lawyers to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, published over the weekend by The Times. And it’s the same sentiment that Rudy Giuliani expressed on Sunday when he suggested that Mr. Trump has the power to pardon himself.

The central claim of the legal memorandum is that it is impossible for the president to illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling. That’s because, as president, Mr. Trump has the constitutional power to terminate the inquiry or pardon his way out of it. Therefore — and this is the key and indefensible point — he cannot obstruct justice by exercising this authority “no matter his motivation.”

This understanding of presidential power is radical and absolutist. It is also unsound and almost certain to be sharply rejected should it ever be proffered in court.

The memo itself, which you can read in full at The New York Times is really quite extraordinary in the extent to which it attempts to push ideas such as Presidential authority and autonomy and Executive Privilege far beyond the extent which any previous President has ever done. At 20-odd pages, it’s rather long and detailed, but in its essential points, it argues that Presidential authority, especially in the administration of justice, is so overarching that it’s impossible for a sitting President to “obstruct” a Federal inquiry even when it involves his campaign, his Administration, or himself. While this is close to the argument that President Nixon made during the showdown with Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski over whether or not Nixon could be compelled to produce the Oval Office tapes of his conversations with top aides regarding the investigation into the break-in at DNC Headquarters at the Watergate Complex or any of the other actions that the Nixon Administration may have taken. As President, they argue, the President has the absolute authority to order any investigation closed and, therefore, any effort he makes in that regard can never be considered to be obstruction of justice. That argument was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon, of course, and the President was forced to turn over the tapes. Within less than two weeks after that, President Nixon ended up resigning rather than face impeachment and certain conviction by the Senate. Under this theory, of course, President Trump could not only order Special Counsel Mueller be dismissed but that the entire Russia investigation should be shut down.

As one pundit put it on Twitter, this letter makes clear that we’ve officially entered the “I never broke the law. I AM the law” phase of the Russia investigation. The whole thing reminds one of perhaps the most infamous exchange between former President Nixon and British journalist David Frost during Frost’s interview of Nixon in 1977;

FROST: The wave of dissent, occasionally violent, which followed in the wake of the Cambodian incursion, prompted President Nixon to demand better intelligence about the people who were opposing him. To this end, the Deputy White House Counsel, Tom Huston, arranged a series of meetings with representatives of the CIA, the FBI, and other police and intelligence agencies.

These meetings produced a plan, the Huston Plan, which advocated the systematic use of wiretappings, burglaries, or so-called black bag jobs, mail openings and infiltration against antiwar groups and others. Some of these activities, as Huston emphasized to Nixon, were clearly illegal. Nevertheless, the president approved the plan. Five days later, after opposition from J. Edgar Hoover, the plan was withdrawn, but the president’s approval was later to be listed in the Articles of Impeachment as an alleged abuse of presidential power.

FROST: So what in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

FROST: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

Nixon’s response, of course, was limited to Frost’s hypothetical question regarding national security matters, or matters that the President believed to be within the ambit of national security. The Trump legal memorandum goes beyond that and essentially argues that the President has an authority that is so complete that, arguably, it is more all-encompassing than even the view that British law held regarding the authority of the Monarchy at the time of the American Revolution. That authority, of course, had been limited significantly by the Magna Carta in 1215 and was limited even further over intervening centuries until the United Kingdom got to the point where it is today wherein the Monarch is effectively little more than a figurehead. Instead, the view of the Presidency that’s presented in this memorandum is more akin to the absolute monarchy represented by the Russian Czar’s or by King Louis XIV of France when he uttered the phrase ‘L’etat c’est moi‘ (‘I am the state’). It is a view of the Presidency that, arguably, even Nixon himself would not have asserted notwithstanding his actions, and it is a view of the Presidency that is utterly incompatible with American law, the Constitution, or the English Common Law on which the two were based. If it is allowed to stand, it would be an open invitation for future Presidents to push the envelope even further into areas

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Law and the Courts, Politicians, Russia Investigation, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al Ameda says:

    All I can say is … res ipsa loquitur
    Bring it.

    If Democrats are not yet motivated to turnout and vote, early and often, then I do not want to hear any more puerile bullsh** like, ‘they all do it’ or ‘both sides do it,’ or ‘the parties are the same.’

    ReplyReply



    20



    0
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Boy, I can’t wait for all the caterwauling from Republicans when they here that President Clinton’s legal team think she can do anything she wants and nobody can do anything to stop her.

    ReplyReply



    11



    0
  3. MarkedMan says:

    Off topic: Melania is going to appear for the first time in 25 days but no press will be present. Who else suspects she is recovering from “black-eye-itis”?

    ReplyReply



    5



    6
  4. Tony W says:

    Meanwhile, another distraction while Trump does real damage to our institutions, environment and foreign relations.

    We have to find a way to stop chasing these squirrels by dignifying Trump’s brain spasms with Serious Analysis.

    ReplyReply



    4



    0
  5. Kylopod says:

    Let’s recall that Rudy Giuliani once made the very Nixonian remark, “Until the war is over, anything’s legal.”

    He said this in 2016 while defending Trump’s proposal to steal Iraqi oil. But it gives a good sense of his contempt for the rule of law.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-rudy-giuliani-gen-john-allen-secretary/story?id=41998671

    ReplyReply



    9



    0
  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    All of this just seems like the typical rantings of a completely innocent man.
    Not.
    In other news…

    Pruitt had aide do numerous personal tasks, including a hunt for a used Trump hotel mattress

    The pee tape is real…I’m a peeleiver.

    ReplyReply



    5



    0
  7. Joe says:

    As you note, Doug, since this letter was delivered back in January, there has been no indication that it has impacted Mueller’s actions. As a practicing lawyer, I am familiar with receiving legal assertions from opposing counsel that I just look at, laugh at, and say, yeah, tell it to the judge.

    I wonder (hope) there is some level of outrageous assertion that even Congressional Republicans would say that a president actually pursuing such a legal position (not just writing a letter about it) should be impeached because that approach to governing is a high crime or misdemeanor. Impeachment, as a political solution, does not require an absolute crime, but only a showing that a president or a presidency is a danger to the Republic.

    As exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Donald J. Trump.

    ReplyReply



    5



    0
  8. gVOR08 says:

    Arguing about the legalities is fine, and this could keep the courts busy for years. But the bottom line is that if Mueller subpoenas Trump, Trump can simply not show up. As I believe Doug has pointed out, there are no Constitution Police.

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  9. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    More likely facial plastic surgery. After three weeks, the swelling and bruising would be largely gone, and the incisions would be sufficiently healed to be hidden by hair or make-up.

    ReplyReply



    6



    1
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: There are however US Federal Marshalls, among their duties is enforcing federal subpoenas I do believe. Not sure how that would work out.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  11. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I expect it would work out badly. Best case, Secret Service preventing access. Worst case, firefight. The President* can order up the 82nd Airborne as back up for the SS.

    ReplyReply



    0



    1
  12. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    If Mueller issues a subpoena for Trump, Trump will move to quash it on the basis of these legal theories, and I suspect it would get pulled into the larger question of Trump’s rights (or absence of rights) to ignore it. I also expect that question would move a little faster through the courts than an average case – think of the timing of the travel ban decisions.

    Depending on how shrill Trump’s defense was and how much the public or Congress would have come to know about the substance of Mueller’s investigation, I think even Trump’s pursuit of the position could push even a Republican Congress toward impeachment. Specifically, if there is a general understanding that Mueller has Trump in a corner and Trump is just trying to play out the clock, I think even this Congress steps up.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  13. de stijl says:

    They have a bad hand and are playing the option available. Profoundly dangerous, perfectly understandable.

    The fact that this argument is being laid out at all is a sign that Mueller has all the goods and the Trump team know it. The facts are going to come out and it will play out disastrously because Trump will go scorched earth guaranteed.

    This is going to make Bush v Gore look like a procedural squabble about a school board race.

    ReplyReply



    3



    0
  14. MarkedMan says:

    I think we are focusing too much on the direct repercussions of Trump refusing to respond to a subpoena. If Trump orders soldiers into, say Iran, will some of them refuse on the grounds that Trump, by refusing to respond to lawful orders, has diminished his authority? I’m not arguing for legitimacy of such a claim, but rather am just wondering whether some will act on it.

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  15. de stijl says:

    @MarkedMan:

    She is part of a covert infiltration to disable NoKo artillery pieces pointed at Seoul. She has pluck, moxie, a Slovenian passport, a Mission: Impossible face mask, and the love of a good man. She avoids hand-holding because DNA scanners might cotton to that.

    Melania makes Liam Neeson look that guy from Grandma’s Boy with the race car bed.

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  16. Andy says:

    Well, what Trump’s lawyers think he can do is likely very different from what he can actually do. And event the best lawyering can’t protect a President from political reality, as Nixon learned the hard way.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  17. michael reynolds says:

    If I didn’t care about the country or the world I’d be enjoying all this. If I’d made a list of every snarky, snide and cynical remark I’ve made about ‘conservatives’ I’d have Bingo! right now. This week I’m validated in my long-held belief that ‘conservatives’ who allegedly believe in small government were just authoritarians waiting to be exposed. I’m used to thinking I’m right, and I’m used to be right a fair amount of the time, but this is nuts.

    ReplyReply



    11



    1
  18. michael reynolds says:

    @CSK:

    Yep. Face lift. The fate of the trophy wife married to a pig.

    ReplyReply



    6



    0
  19. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Trump, by refusing to respond to lawful orders, has diminished his authority?

    First rule of Trumpian politics: You are not him. You are not going to get away with the same crap he does solely because you are not Donald Trump. His Teflon is *not* transferable so beware, they love *him* and not replaceable you.

    Roseanne Barr is the latest Trumpkin to get burned for failing to learn this lesson. Yiannopoulos, Manafort, Flynn, Scaramucci, Cohen, etc – all of them learned the hard way that joining the cult doesn’t transfer the Leader’s charismatic and ability to be excused for any sin. The average solider that tries to invoke Trump’s behavior to justify their own is asking for a trip to the brig. Trump can ruin the authority and respect due to the CiC but there’s no way in hell the military will allow it as reason for insubordination.

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Why does anyone here give a rat’s a$$ about whether Melania has gotten a face job? Isn’t there something better, more important to fuss about?

    ReplyReply



    6



    0
  21. inhumans99 says:

    I am not sure if someone has already pointed it out in the comments but even Guiliani admits that if President Trump does something like pardoning himself that it would lead to impeachment. You know what, I believe him.

    Not related to this story….I just want to point out that you should know that you have taken things too far when you are in a deep red state like Kansas and they gasp at your antics (google Kris Kobach replica machine gun)…but this story may yet get its own column at OTB.

    ReplyReply



    4



    0
  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe:

    I wonder (hope) there is some level of outrageous assertion that even Congressional Republicans would say that a president actually pursuing such a legal position (not just writing a letter about it) should be impeached because that approach to governing is a high crime or misdemeanor.

    There is a saying we used to use in the business I was in years ago–If you wish in one hand and s[p]it into the other, which hand fills up first shouldn’t surprise you.

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    ” …if there is a general understanding that Mueller has Trump in a corner and Trump is just trying to play out the clock, I think even this Congress steps up.”

    I’m not so sure. This isn’t your father’s Republican Party. It isn’t even the one that I supported back when I was young.

    ReplyReply



    3



    0
  24. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I prefer my M:I scenario. A face-lift or a pre-divorce separation is boring.

    Covert infiltration Melania is way bad-assier. If only I’d inserted Diet Dr. Pepper’s lil’ Sweet as the mission controller. I’d be printing money like Mnuchin’s wife.

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  25. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m sporting my Indestructible tour Rancid tee today cuz the world needs more Rancid.

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  26. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: FWIW, I couldn’t care less about any body work Melania, the Donald or anyone else has. I was unaware that was a rumor when I made my comment. Quite frankly, I don’t know whether it speaks worse of me or Trump that when the First Lady disappears from public view for almost 4 weeks I combined it with the increasing reports of his screaming rages and immediately my mind went to him slapping her around, leaving her with visible bruises to heal.

    But your larger point is correct. I don’t have anything but speculation to draw that conclusion, which makes it just nasty gossip. I was wrong to let it go from my head to the keyboard.

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  27. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: I agree it would be foolish. And an even more germane example is the soldier who refused a lawful order because Obama was a secret Kenyan and therefore not a legitimate president. I’m not sure if that guy is out of military prison yet. So, to repeat, I’m not condoning it and think it’s stupid to act on such an impulse. But people do all kinds of stupid things and I’m wondering if this will become a thing. Like eating Tide Pods.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  28. MarkedMan says:

    Outside the Beltway has some pretty good circumstantial evidence that Trump’s ad hoc, no-other-Americans-present meeting with Putin at the Summit last year involved the two of them synchronizing the adoption cover story we now know to be lies. That would be a home run for collusion but of course the Trumpoids and Republicans will fall all over themselves to excuse it.

    ReplyReply



    2



    1
  29. Kathy says:

    I think that if the Cheeto really tries to hold himself to be above the law, then the Supreme Court should be very eager to show him he is not.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    the Supreme Court should be very eager to show him he is not

    Which is why it would be a constitutional crisis. What happens if the Supreme Court says he must respond to a subpoena and he just says “No”? The Supremes have no enforcement power.

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  31. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    In normal times, I’d tell you such a thing would get a president impeached and removed in record time.

    In these times…

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  32. Guarneri says:

    I’ll leave the constitutionality to those trained in constitutional law.

    I have a different question – what’s the point of the assertion?

    As for the commentators. Thanks for the usual outrage of the day drivel. I just wish I had the blood pressure meds concession.

    ReplyReply



    1



    7
  33. Warren Weber says:

    Here’s a rather interesting article that discusses how an indicted president could pardon themselves, and it would be perfectly legal. It’s from October 2016, and couched in the context of “Secretary Clinton” becoming “President Clinton.” https://lawandcrime.com/opinion/if-hillary-is-indicted-president-clinton-could-pardon-herself-and-congress-might-be-helpless/

    As pretty much everyone has acknowledged, an “impeachable offense” is whatever the hell the House says it is, and as a lot of people said a lot here during the previous administration, go ahead and try to impeach the president if you’re that upset. Don’t think you have the votes? Well, as Obama himself said, “elections have consequences.”

    Another observer (and law professor) has noted that the very same law that makes it illegal to lie to the FBI, even when not under oath, also makes it illegal to lie to the president. So if Comey or Mueller have, at any point in this whole sorry mess, told Trump things that were not precisely 100% accurate, then they can be charged as well.

    BTW, Eric Holder was back in the news. How remarkable that it’s largely escaped notice that he was the first Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress — for both civil and criminal grounds — for stonewalling Congressional subpoenas. And he was not prosecuted because President Obama chose to exercise “executive privilege” and directed prosecutors to not touch the case.

    That’s the same President Obama who actually went to the Supreme Court to argue that he, the president, had the authority do decide when Congress is in recess, not Congress itself.

    I welcome Obama’s supporters in their return to the “law and order” side of arguments. You’re a bit late, but better late than never.

    ReplyReply



    2



    6
  34. Daryl’s other brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    I just wish I had the blood pressure meds concession.

    A little BP issue is nothing, compared to being someone who so willingly abandons their principles.

    ReplyReply



    3



    1
  35. An Interested Party says:

    As for the commentators. Thanks for the usual outrage of the day drivel. I just wish I had the blood pressure meds concession.

    Oh that’s rich coming from someone who would have gone completely apoplectic if Obama had tried this bullshit…

    ReplyReply



    5



    0
  36. Warren Weber says:

    @An Interested Party: No, Obama didn’t try this BS. He tried different BS. Like using Executive Privilege to spare Eric Holder from Contempt of Congress charges. Or insisting that he, not Congress, had the power to decide when Congress was in recess. Or that having NATO’s approval was more important than having Congress’ approval to wage war in Libya.

    Shall I go on?

    Obama boasted of the power of his “pen and phone” in creating his legacy. How’s that working out, now that Trump has that pen and phone?

    ReplyReply



    1



    5
  37. Joe says:

    And you, Warren Weber, would happily grant Trump his command of the absolute unlimited use of both the pen and the phone – far in excess of Obama’s exercise of either over which you complained bitterly as overreach – because that proves Obama wrong how?

    ReplyReply



    3



    0
  38. michael reynolds says:

    Mueller is having Manafort’s bail revoked for witness tampering.

    The ‘Special Master’ in the Michael Cohen case has given Mueller 99.5% of everything so far.

    The Trumpaloons can go on lying and pretending and fantasizing, but Trump is in very big trouble. Even if they can’t get him while he’s in office, they’ll get him after. I’ve been saying his best plan was 1) Pardon 2) Resign 3) Flee. But I suspect it’s too late now – the documentary evidence isn’t going to disappear. And as Maddow pointed out tonight, there are the charges against the 13 Russians. Is Trump going to pardon 13 Russians? Mueller can use those Russians to follow their narratives all the way through.

    Trump can pardon everyone else but then they can all be compelled to testify. And the strong consensus is that he can’t pardon himself. He’ll need Pence to pardon him after he resigns, pull a Nixon/Ford, which Pence will, but then the states and the civil trials come after Trump. Shoulda taken my advice long before this. Pardon, resign, flee. This isn’t going to end well for Trump.

    ReplyReply



    5



    0
  39. Warren Weber says:

    @Joe: So far, Trump’s mainly limited his “pen and phone” to undoing Obama’s pen and phone. With the DACA situation, he actually refused to keep up Obama’s “pen and phone” policy and threw the ball back in Congress’ court — where it belongs.

    Trump’s also, through perfectly legal and acceptable means, repealed 22 regulations for each new one passed, and I’m not just happy, but ecstatic about that. He’s also yanked the Education Department’s “Dear Colleague” letter about Title IX that unleashed legions of kangaroo courts on campuses.

    Were you one of those who totally wigged out when Trump kept the promise made by Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem? Just asking for a friend…

    ReplyReply



    0



    3
  40. Warren Weber says:

    @michael reynolds: Just wondering — does it help, being an award-winning fabulist, when you have to reconcile your Trump conspiracy theories with the reality that it was Hillary that actually paid foreign agents to collude with Russian agents to fabricate lies about Trump in hopes of swaying the election? Anyone who could square that circle DESERVES some kind of award for fiction.

    ReplyReply



    1



    4
  41. michael reynolds says:

    @Warren Weber:
    Oh good, another cult member.

    ReplyReply



    3



    1
  42. An Interested Party says:

    Shall I go on?

    So why didn’t a Republican Congress impeach him? Perhaps they were afraid of him…

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  43. Warren Weber says:

    @michael reynolds: Did Hillary, through cutouts, hire a foreign national to engage in opposition research on Trump in Russia? It’s a thoroughly-established fact. Hillary’s campaign, along with the DNC (which she controlled), hired Perkins Coie for opposition research, but illegally listed it as “legal fees.” Perkins Coie then hired Fusion GPS, who hired former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to get dirt on Trump from Russia. Steele was banned from entering Russia, but had numerous contacts in Russia — who all had ties to Putin and were required to report to Putin any contact with foreign nationals like Steele.

    Fusion GPS had less than ten employees. One of their employees was a Russia expert who just happened to also be the wife of a high-ranking FBI official, one Bruce Ohr. Ohr was required to report his wife’s income to the FBI, but somehow forgot to file that paperwork.

    Conspiracy theory? “Cultist?” All of that is thoroughly documented, backwards and forwards. What requires real delusion is pretending it doesn’t exist.

    ReplyReply



    2



    4
  44. Warren Weber says:

    @An Interested Party: Alternately, after seeing how screwing up the Clinton impeachment backfired so spectacularly, they chose to simply duck down and ride out Obama until he was term-limited out of office. Or they were just cowards.

    There are quite a few Democrats in the House who are passionate enough to already be demanding Trump’s impeachment. What’s their excuse for being all talk and no action?

    ReplyReply



    2



    4
  45. Ben Wolf says:

    @al Ameda: Democrats have been complicit in turning American presidents into elected quasi-dictators. They just voted not only to put Heinricha Himmler in charge of the CIA, they voted to grant Trump broad powers to surveil Americand without oversight.

    Voting any old blue won’t do, particularly given the current leadership in the form of Schumer and Pelosi is statist and reactionary.

    ReplyReply



    2



    0
  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Warren Weber: Ah, a Breitbart fabulist….

    You are obviously not someone who worries about the danger when the President of the US is a geezer with no self-control, addled thinking, access to incredible power and backed up by a terrified Republican Party.

    ReplyReply



    3



    1
  47. An Interested Party says:

    What’s their excuse for being all talk and no action?

    Well, I’m sure that has something to do with the fact that they are in the minority and don’t control the House…

    ReplyReply



    1



    0
  48. Pylon says:

    Trump: “When you do something as president, it can’t be illegal”.

    Trump: “Obama illegally put a spy in my campaign”.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  49. Just nutha... says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Drew has principles? News to me.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  50. Tony W says:

    @CSK:

    More likely facial plastic surgery.

    Geez – I’d think one more surgery and her eyes will touch her ears.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0
  51. CSK says:

    @Tony W:

    Or, as I’ve said, on the sides of her face.

    ReplyReply



    0



    0

Speak Your Mind

*