Purple and Black
Taking Independent and Unofficial Back

Trump- Douches gonna douche

He wanted the DOJ to say the election was corrupt - and then let the Repub house overturn it state by state. Happy New Year suckers!
From the NYTimes, 8.7.21, a few more details on this topic:
Former Acting Attorney General Testifies About Trump's Efforts to Subvert Election
Jeffrey A. Rosen, who was acting attorney general during the Trump administration, has told the Justice Department watchdog and congressional investigators that one of his deputies tried to help former President Donald J. Trump subvert the results of the 2020 election, according to a person familiar with the interviews.

Mr. Rosen had a two-hour meeting on Friday with the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general and provided closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday.

The investigations were opened after a New York Times article that detailed efforts by Jeffrey Clark, the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil division, to push top leaders to falsely and publicly assert that continuing election fraud investigations cast doubt on the Electoral College results. That prompted Mr. Trump to consider ousting Mr. Rosen and installing Mr. Clark at the top of the department to carry out that plan.
And, from the link [Jeffrey Clark Was Considered Unassuming. then He Plotted With Trump. (NYTimes, 1.24.21)] in the third paragraph quoted above:
It was clear that night, though, that Mr. Clark — with his willingness to entertain conspiracy theories about voting booth hacks and election fraud — was not the establishment lawyer they thought him to be. Some senior department leaders had considered him quiet, hard-working and detail-oriented. Others said they knew nothing about him, so low was his profile. He struck neither his fans in the department nor his detractors as being part of the Trumpist faction of the party, according to interviews.

The department’s senior leaders were shocked when Mr. Clark’s machinations came to light. They have spent recent weeks debating how he came to betray Mr. Rosen, his biggest champion at the department, and what blend of ambition and conviction led him to reject the results of the election and embrace Mr. Trump’s claims, despite all evidence to the contrary, including inside the department itself.
The plot devised by Mr. Clark and Mr. Trump would have ousted Mr. Rosen and used the Justice Department to pressure lawmakers in Georgia to overturn the state’s election results. But Mr. Trump ultimately decided against firing Mr. Rosen after top department leaders pledged to resign en masse.
And, from the first article:
Mr. Rosen has spent much of the year in discussions with the Justice Department over what information he could provide to investigators, given that decision-making conversations between administration officials are usually kept confidential.

Douglas A. Collins, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said last week that the former president would not seek to bar former Justice Department officials from speaking with investigators. But Mr. Collins said he might take some undisclosed legal action if congressional investigators sought “privileged information.”

Mr. Rosen quickly scheduled interviews with congressional investigators to get as much of his version of events on the record before any players could ask the courts to block the proceedings, according to two people familiar with those discussions who are not authorized to speak about continuing investigations.

He also reached out directly to Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department’s inspector general, and pledged to cooperate with his investigation, according to a person briefed on those talks.
From the Washington Post and written by 3 people I've listened to and admire for their expertise on legal matters (mind you, I can't really judge that other than by having observed their sincerity and depth on a number of other unrelated topics): Laurence Tribe (constitutional law emeritus at Harvard Law School); Barbara McQuade, law professor at U. of Michigan Law School and former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan; Joyce Vance, former U.S. attorney in Alabama, professor at U of Alabama School of Law.
Opinion: Here's a roadmap for the Justice Department to follow in investigating Trump [8.5.21]
As evidence of Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election mounts, the time has come for the Justice Department to begin, if it hasn’t already, a criminal investigation of the former president’s dangerous course of conduct. Attorney General Merrick Garland has worked to restore the badly frayed public trust in a nonpartisan DOJ. But failing to investigate Trump just to demonstrate objectivity would itself be a political decision — and a grave mistake. If we are to maintain our democracy and respect for the rule of law, efforts to overturn a fair election simply cannot be tolerated, and Trump’s conduct must be investigated. The publicly known facts suffice to open an investigation, now. They include Trump’s demand that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger “find” 11,780 votes to declare he won that state’s election; Trump’s pressure on acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen as well as Vice President Mike Pence to advance the “big lie” that the election was stolen; the recently revealed phone call in which Trump directed Rosen to “just say the election was corrupt, [and] leave the rest to me,” and public statements by Trump and associates such as Rudolph W. Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks on Jan. 6 to incite the mob that stormed the Capitol. None of these facts alone proves a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, but together they clearly merit opening a criminal investigation, which would allow prosecutors to obtain phone and text records, emails, memos and witness testimony to determine whether Trump should be charged.
I can't copy the entire article here, so I'll just take the first sentences of paragraphs that suggest the possible charges.
One possible charge is conspiracy. It is a federal crime for individuals to agree to defraud the United States by interfering with governmental functions.
An investigation could also explore whether Trump agreed with others — Giuliani, Brooks and possibly members of his inner circle — to obstruct Congress’s function of exercising its statutory duty to certify the election results on Jan. 6. By using disinformation to sow unfounded doubt, Trump and his allies may have tried to induce members of Congress to vote against certifying the election results, creating enough chaos to throw the election to the House, where Republicans controlled a majority of state delegations.
Another plausible charge is obstruction of an official proceeding. The relevant statute makes it a crime to corruptly obstruct, influence or impede any official proceeding or attempt to do so. Agreeing with others to obstruct the Jan. 6 vote certification for a wrongful purpose and the commission of any act in furtherance of that agreement would suffice to prove a violation, putting Trump at the heart of a conspiracy, with his public statements and tweets constituting overt acts.
A related but distinct charge is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, “RICO,” which has often been used beyond its original intended target of organized crime. To prove RICO, the DOJ would need to establish that Trump was associated with an enterprise affecting interstate commerce, such as the office of the presidency, and committed at least two racketeering acts. One such act is extortion, which encompasses transmitting a threat to harm another’s reputation with intent to extract something of value. Trump’s conversations with Raffensperger, in which he suggested the secretary of state might have committed a crime and “that’s a big risk to you,” could fit that definition.
Equally fit charges for investigation include violating the federal voter fraud statute and coercing federal employees to violate the Hatch Act by working to advance his political candidacy. Trump’s well-documented efforts to pressure state officials not to certify Biden’s election could run afoul of the voter fraud law, which prohibits anyone from defrauding the residents of a state of a fair election by tabulating false ballots, although Trump might argue that he believed he had won in those states.
Likewise, Trump’s pressure on Rosen to “just say the election was corrupt” could run afoul of the Hatch Act’s criminal provision, which makes it “unlawful for any person to intimidate, threaten, command, or coerce” a federal employee to “engage in … any political activity.”
Two other potential crimes that merit investigation are inciting insurrection and seditious conspiracy. Both statutes appear to fit the facts, but the DOJ might hesitate to bring charges because of possible defenses. For instance, even though language intended and likely to incite imminent violence meets the Supreme Court’s test for unprotected speech, a court might conclude that Trump’s exhortations to the crowd do not rise to that level of incitement and are protected by the First Amendment.
The bottom line is this: Now that Trump is out of office, the DOJ’s view that sitting presidents cannot be indicted no longer shields him. Attempted coups cannot be ignored. If Garland’s Justice Department is going to restore respect for the rule of law, no one, not even a former president, can be above it. And the fear of appearing partisan cannot be allowed to supersede that fundamental precept.
Apparently, it's possible that DOJ is already investigating T----. It is DOJ practice to not discuss ongoing investigations so we can't actually know what's going on. I like hearing about the possible ways such an investigation might proceed.
Recently, I heard some pundit suggest flooding the zone with corruption was part of the trumpcamp strategy. So much corruption makes it seem ordinary. More likely, they don't know how to do anything else. For us small fry, trying to keep up is a chore. Here's some more, this time tied to Thomas J. Barrack.

From WaPo, 8.5.21: 'Opinion: Yet another indictment shows: Trump made America not great, but vulnerable'
The news that Donald Trump’s old friend, fundraiser and head of his 2016 inaugural committee, Thomas J. Barrack, has been indicted on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent and lying to the FBI may not figure large in the vast universe of post-Trump-administration corruption inquiries. But the case has interested me for a specific reason.

If you read the indictment (or material previously revealed by the House Oversight Committee), you see Barrack’s first big test as a conduit for the United Arab Emirates concerned the Trump campaign speechwriting process in May 2016. According to the indictment, Barrack sent a draft copy of a Trump energy policy speech, through a co-defendant, to a UAE official asking for feedback. Barrack received a text message with proposed language from the UAE praising the de facto ruler of the nation, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed. Later that day, according to the indictment, Barrack sent back his revised draft of the speech, including the UAE input. Barrack heard from his associate: “They loved it so much! This is great!”
Barrack has pleaded not guilty.
This pat on the back, this attaboy, from a foreign government on a major campaign speech — as with so many things in the history of Trump-era corruption — is not normal.
The indictment goes on to detail a number of more serious charges against Barrack: obtaining information about foreign policy appointments and decision-making, acting as a back channel to the campaign, and promoting UAE foreign policy views. But sharing a presidential campaign energy speech with the government of the seventh-leading oil producer in the world, and finding a receptive audience for their input within a campaign, is a signal that corruption within the Trump inner circle was not only permitted but also assumed.
A litany, naming different members of the trump administration and their corrupt behavior, follows:
Maybe, just maybe, a pattern is discernible. Manafort, of course, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy against the United States and obstructing justice (before Trump’s pardon). Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, initially admitted to lying about his foreign lobbying and about contacts with the Russian ambassador (before Trump’s pardon). Trump inaugural donor Imaad Zuberi pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and making illegal campaign contributions. Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate FARA (before Trump’s pardon). The Justice Department is investigating Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani for alleged illegal dealing with Ukraine. And Trump himself was impeached (the first time) for using his office to gain political favors from a foreign power.
When people in positions of trust cannot maintain the line between the standards of public conduct and the pursuit of private interests, that provides leverage for a foreign power. It becomes a source of American weakness.
Trump is the personification of that weakness. As president, he seemed not only unwilling but unable to draw a line between standards of expected conduct and raw personal wants. He defined the public good as his own success and gratification.
As the indictments for corruption in Trump’s inner circle continue to roll out over the next months and years, remember that the topic is not only personal venality. It is national vulnerability caused by weak and foolish men.
Here's his douchey border wall.

Floods blow gates off Trump’s border wall
And, here's his douche, Rudy and Rudy's friend, Igor Fruman, moving out of the frying pan...

From Reuters, 8.23.21:
Former Giuliani associate Fruman expected to plead guilty in campaign finance case
A former associate of Rudolph Giuliani who worked to collect damaging information about Joe Biden before he became U.S. president is expected to plead guilty in a campaign finance case, court records showed on Monday.

Igor Fruman's "change of plea," which normally signals a forthcoming guilty plea, is scheduled for Wednesday in Manhattan federal court and could increase legal pressure on Giuliani, a onetime lawyer for former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Federal prosecutors are also examining Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine, including whether he violated lobbying laws by acting as an unregistered foreign agent while working for Trump.

The Belarus-born Fruman and Ukraine-born businessman Lev Parnas face charges they concealed an illegal $325,000 donation they made to support Trump's 2020 re-election campaign, as well as lying to the Federal Election Commission.
Bob Costello, a lawyer for Giuliani, said he was not surprised at or concerned with Fruman's expected plea, and that it had no effect on Giuliani.

"None. Zero," Costello said. He added that Giuliani "wishes Mr. Fruman well."
And, here's his douche, Rudy and Rudy's friend, Igor Fruman, moving out of the frying pan...
From Reuters, 8.23.21:
Former Giuliani associate Fruman expected to plead guilty in campaign finance case
Just saw an attorney you like, Joyce Vance (I like her too) on msnbc re: Fruman. His lawyer got the trial moved to Sept 10. If he is pleading guilty it doesn't mean he will cooperate. Apparently there are some little perks to pleading guilty, but it doesn't mean you have to cooperate. Cliffhanger...
Not to be too hard on the 'trump douches': they love our veterans! Cut 'em a break!
Trump's Mar-a-Lago Buddies Tried To Get The VA To Sell Access To Veterans' Medical Records [TPM; 9.27.21]
Sub-title: A congressional investigation prompted by ProPublica's reporting found Trump's "Mar-a-Lago crowd," wealthy civilians with no U.S. government or military experience, pursued a plan to monetize veterans' medical data.

Former President Donald Trump empowered associates from his private club to pursue a plan for the Department of Veterans Affairs to monetize patient data, according to documents newly released by congressional investigators.

As ProPublica first reported in 2018, a trio based at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort weighed in on policy and personnel decisions for the federal government’s second-largest agency, despite lacking any experience in the U.S. government or military.

While previous reporting showed the trio had a hand in budgeting and contracting, their interest in turning patient data into a revenue stream was not previously known. The VA provides medical care to more than 9 million veterans at more than 1,000 facilities across the country.

“Patient data is, in my opinion, the most valuable assets [sic] the VA has,” a consultant said in a June 2017 email released Monday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee. “It can be leveraged into hundreds of millions in revenue” by selling access to major companies, he said.

The consultant, Terry Fadem, ran a private nonprofit for Bruce Moskowitz, a West Palm Beach, Florida, physician who was one of the three Trump associates given sweeping influence over the VA, known to officials as “the Mar-a-Lago crowd.”
Here's another detail from the comments following the article:


Do not patient privacy laws pertain here?
That was my first question. How does this survive the first attorney with a basic awareness of HIPAA? It doesn’t say, but my guess would be that they would “anonymize” the data, and present it only in aggregate. I put quote marks around “anonymize” because the more medical detail you get on any one patient the more you can narrow it down to a single person. This email from the late grifty Fadem says:
  1. An exchange is established (outside of the VA)…but owned and controlled by the VA, and a board as it should be a joint venture company in my way of thinking at the moment.
  2. That sells seats on the ‘data exchange’ for a million to two million a year (initially limit the number of seats available to create some urgency - like 50 seats…
  3. Then charge a use fee to the seat holders who want to make inquiries into the data base.
Also, the conclusion to the email is quite entertaining:
I am happy to discuss this and any other potential business concepts with the VA as well as get them launched…but a(sic) this point, I have already ‘donated’ enough time and energy to them and would want to move forward only under contract. https://oversight.house.gov/sites/d...gov/files/Influence_9.24.21_FINAL.pdf#page=25
Maybe this isn't the right thread for this topic, which is the vote to raise the debt ceiling... but I don't want to put it in the Biden-Harris admin thread. Maybe it deserves its very own thread, since, if the gop succeeds in shattering everything in pursuit of a talking point, and the US defaults on its debt, then we'll be talking about the repercussions these many days.

For levity, a poem:
Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse. 1912.​
Eugene Field. 1850–1895​
231. The Duel
THE GINGHAM dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
'T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t' other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I was n't there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)
The gingham dog went "bow-wow-wow!"
And the calico cat replied "mee-ow!"
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Never mind: I 'm only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, "Oh, dear! what shall we do!"
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don't fancy I exaggerate—
I got my news from the Chinese plate!)
Next morning where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

And, even the poem misses the mark because the democrats are going about business earnestly and it's the gop that has run amok.

Klobuchar on Debt Ceiling Vote: 'This Is A Time To Govern'

The gop is trying a catch-22. They won't vote to raise the debt ceiling, which is standard practice, every year, in Congress. This reluctance has nothing to do with the infrastructure bills currently being negotiated. It has to do with paying bills that are already on the books. For example, for all the spending of the trump administration.

Here's a reminder of that:
Donald Trump built a National Debt So Big (Even Before the Pandemic) That It'll Weigh Down the Economy for Years [1.14.21; Pro Publica]

Not only have the republicans refused to vote on raising the debt ceiling, they're filibustering, thereby preventing the issue from even coming up for a vote. If they didn't filibuster, the dems could vote to raise the debt ceiling on their own. It's a whole bunch of insanity and complicated enough that the scared shitless gop is willing to rain down this harm on everyone for a measly talking point when election time rolls around.

Because understanding what's going on takes scrutiny and pondering on our parts (I mean hard work... which requires time that your average voter just might not have), the gop figures that's not likely to happen. So, when the time comes to lay the blame on some government entity for the storm of misfortune they're causing, they'll roll out their messaging machine and blame it all on the dems. Brilliant! And, corrupt to the core. Mud wrestling in the very depths of the swamp. The gop owns this, but because the dems have the majority (barely), the gop will use that to create the illusion that dems blew things up.

Here's another take, which has other topics mixed in, which is confusing but I'll post it anyway because I like this guy's blog posts, generally.
Code Red [andrew tobias; 10.1.21]
There's a link that explains the origin of the debt ceiling phenomenon in that post.

Having written all that... I invite anyone to correct whatever I got wrong. I'm trying to understand this as well as I can and I'm no expert on any of it. I don't think we've brought it up yet anywhere else on p&b, so here's a start. I guess it would have been better in the 'political hodge podge' but now it's here and I don't think I can move it easily without having to redo the links.
Keeping on keeping on. Cataloguing the outrageous, so's it doesn't turn into a massive fog of lunacy.
And, a longer winded account of the same, as revealed by the House Oversight and Reform Committee:
Trump misled public about Washington hotel finances, House panel says [10.8.21;NBCNews]

The committee also said the newly obtained documents show that from 2017 through 2020, the Trump International Hotel in D.C. received about $3.7 million in payments from foreign governments, which it said raises “concerns about possible violations of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.”

Why is this important???
The Emoluments Clause is a protection against foreign influence.
This clause is meant to prevent external influence and corruption of American officers by foreign States...
However, there is some question about its applicability to elected officials.
That the phrase "Offices of Profit or Trust under the United States" applies to all appointed officials is undisputed, however there is much debate as to whether it extends to elected officials.
The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966, on the other hand, enumerates several elected positions in its definition of "employees" who may not accept any gift of more than minimal value without congressional approval. Such "employees" include the President and the Vice President, a Member of Congress, and the spouses and dependents of the same.
The above 3 quotes are from Cornell Law School website:
Emoluments Clause
The saga continues of Ted Cruz blocking nearly every nominee to the foreign service:
Opinion: America is shorthanded in foreign affairs. Thanks, Ted Cruz. [WaPo;10.10.21]

This is a troubled time around the world. The pandemic has strained many governments, closing borders and threatening economies; authoritarianism is on the march; conflicts bring misery in Yemen and Ethiopia and elsewhere. It is not a good time for the United States to be shorthanded in foreign affairs.

Yet the nation is severely short-staffed, thanks to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who has put a hold on dozens of nominations that have reached the Senate floor, including seven ambassadors and top State Department and Agency for International Development officials, by refusing to grant unanimous consent to confirm them. Nine months into the new administration, the Senate has confirmed one — you read that correctly — just one Biden nominee as a country ambassador, Ken Salazar to Mexico.... we are getting a hollowed-out Foreign Service and ambassadorial corps.
The article suggests that Cruz is reacting to Biden "waiving sanctions on the nearly complete" Nordstrom pipeline, which will "carry xported Russian gas, bypassing Ukraine, a U.S. ally." I don't know if that's really the reason Cruz is blocking these nominations. That's a far-fetched assertion. I don't particularly like the Nordstrom 2 pipeline because it makes the E.U. dependent on Russia for fuel, which doesn't seem like a great idea. But, that's not the point of this post.
The pipeline raises important issues that demand attention, but this is not the way to get it. Mr. Cruz is putting sand in the gears of government and displays an indifference to the hard work of maintaining U.S. leadership abroad. U.S. ambassadors, both political and career, serve as eyes and ears of the nation and are critical to carrying out U.S. priorities and policy. So are the assistant secretaries of state and other officials awaiting confirmation. Damaging the diplomatic capabilities of the U.S. government hardly seems like a smart way to make a point about a foreign policy issue.

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