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Thu May 9, 2019, 08:30 PM

Requiem for a Nun(es)

“Walton said in court Tuesday he could ask to review the highly anticipated document in full confidentially, after the Justice Department releases a redacted version to the public and Congress on Thursday, and then subsequently give it to organizations that requested it under FOIA. That type of review would be a win for those suing for the document because it would bring in a judge to check the executive branch's decision-making on redactions.”

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/16/politics/judge-foia-doj-redactions-mueller-report/index.html



With the rapid pace of new information being placed in front of us daily, it can be hard to remember all of the important details that became public two years, one year, or even one month ago. Even the media – which I think is as good as it's been since the Watergate era – often fails to provide the recent historical context of their important breaking news stories. That's one of the things that I have long valued about this forum ….while there are not the long and detailed OP/threads we enjoyed in the days of the Plame scandal, there is still room for long-winded old folks to post such information.

I'll start by saying I value William Faulkner's works, especially “Requiem for a Nun.” It contains the wonderful quote, “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” We recall that Senator Barack Obama made use of this in “A More Perfect Union,” which I consider to be one of the greatest American speeches.

On March 1, 2017, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration had rushed to preserve evidence that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election. This was due to justifiable concerns that the Trump administration would attempt to make that evidence disappear. This is important to keep in mind, as we consider other more recent events.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/01/us/politics/obama-trump-russia-election-hacking.html

There were also efforts to keep some intelligence from the Trump administration once he took office. It wasn't hard to keep reports from Trump, who dislikes reading. However, others in the White House who can read – including family members – had access classified information, and were likely to inform Trump of issues. Because several key people were being investigated, attempts were made to keep the information secret.

Also, as shown when Trump met with the two Russians in the Oval Office soon after firing James Comey, and revealed top secret intelligence from Israel, Trump's big mouth poses problems in terms of relationships with allies. This intersects with Trump's anti-NATO positions, which are Putin-inspired. More, several of our NATO allies had red-flagged information about contacts between those in the Trump campaign and individuals in the Russian military-intelligence orbit. These came well before the Steele dosier.

Trump's knowledge of some of these issues resulted from two sources – Rep. Devon Nunes, and Senator Richard Burr – running to the White House to report everything they learned in intelligence committee meetings. It is safe to speculate that some of this information has played a role in Trump's hostility towards NATO. And it is safe to say that the intelligence community is aware of this.

Two days ago, a friend from DU asked me about Rep. Adam Schiff's saying that the House intelligence committee has not formally heard from the intelligence community in some time. This is the result of Barr and especially Nunes's big mouths. But it should not be taken as evidence that Rep. Schiff does or has not have/had access to intelligence individually. Thus, his previous statements about collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.

This may also explain much of the timing of events that are now unfolding. I respect that some Democrats (in DC and the grassroots) want to move faster, and others slowly, towards impeachment. And still others think it shouldn't happen, and we should focus on 2020 elections. One factor is the republicans in the Senate. We are all disgusted by their refusal to put country before Trump.

However, there are some positive signs. Senator Burr subpoenaing Donald Jr. is good. Better yet are the 800+ former federal prosecutors signing the letter about Trump's obstruction of justice. Many of these people are republicans. And I'd add to these something that is now happening – and we know it, although it isn't being covered in the media in any detail.

There are four Democratic House committee chairs with good reason to bring Trump to court, for his refusal to honor congressional subpoenas. One option would be to select the strongest case, and file that. Another option is to combine the cases, which might actually make for a stronger case.

There is a very good chance that case would be heard by the Senior US District Judge in the District of Columbia, Reggie Walton. Back in 2007, some on this forum were concerned when Judge Walton heard the Lewis Libby case. I said he was a good choice, because although he is a conservative republican, he believes in the rule of law. Indeed, he had a harsh sentence for Libby, which was interfered with by others, including Presidents Bush and later by Trump pardoning “Scooter.”

Judge Walton is familiar with Barr. He has known Barr since at least 1980. Therefore, he is familiar with Barr's actions including “misleading” Congress and advocating for pardons for felons. It's important to understand that Judge Walton, like Mr. Mueller, believes that public servants should be held to the highest of legal standards. He is considered to be non-political while on the bench, and believes harsh sentences deter future crime. I will speculate that he isn't a fan of felons' sentences being commuted or their being pardoned.

We also know from articles like the one quoted from and linked to at the top, that Judge Walton has serious concerns with Barr's handling of the Mueller Report. If you read that article, I think you'll agree that it would be best if he oversees the Democrats' case against the Trump administration.

Peace,
H2O Man

18 replies, 735 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Requiem for a Nun(es) (Original post)
H2O Man May 9 OP
tblue37 May 9 #1
H2O Man May 9 #2
malaise May 9 #3
H2O Man May 9 #4
coeur_de_lion May 9 #5
H2O Man May 10 #9
lunatica May 10 #18
H2O Man May 10 #10
H2O Man May 10 #11
coeur_de_lion May 10 #12
H2O Man May 10 #17
lunatica May 9 #6
lunatica May 10 #7
H2O Man May 10 #14
kentuck May 10 #8
H2O Man May 10 #15
crazytown May 10 #13
H2O Man May 10 #16

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2019, 08:49 PM

1. K&R for visibility. nt

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #1)

Thu May 9, 2019, 08:56 PM

2. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2019, 08:58 PM

3. Where there is hope

there is life - great read. Go Judge Walton.

Rec

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Response to malaise (Reply #3)

Thu May 9, 2019, 09:13 PM

4. Thanks!

There are other good judges, but I'd prefer Judge Walton. I expect we'd hear Trump call him an angry Democrat.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2019, 09:13 PM

5. Me and my endless questions

Excellent essay. But you know me, I am never satisfied and always want more. It's my Irish blood. Or maybe just morbid curiosity. Or maybe a friend had some questions she never got to ask you.

1) Can you help us understand the way politics itself needs the time to bring change to fruition? How timing is important in the process? For example, the timing of Adam Schiff's subpoena and why he waited until now to issue it.

2) Can you explain how the steps Schiff and the Democratic leadership are taking are possible because of the foundation they have built (by writing letters to the White House and to Attorney General Barr and holding hearings)?

3) To the untrained eye it appears that the Democrats are very slow in their actions against Trump’s Administration. What is their endgame? Is it just that they feel that doing it right is more important than doing it fast?

4) Nadler has declared that we are officially in a Constitutional crisis. Why did he do so now? I feel like we've been in a constitutional crisis for two years. Is the most recent obstruction by Barr what drove him to say that?

That's all I have. Should keep you busy, or maybe give you material for a new essay.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #5)

Fri May 10, 2019, 10:28 AM

9. Good questions.

I'll try to answer them one at a time, if that's okay.

Congress -- which is the House and Senate -- were created in such a way that on almost everything, the system moves slowly. There's the old saying that the House is a hot cup of tea, and the Senate is the spoon that helps to cool it. Other than national emergencies, including being attacked by a foreign power, the system moves slowly.

That raises an obvious question: sinc everyone but Trump recognizes that the US was attacked by Russia, why are things moving so slowly? We know from the Mueller Report that, at very least, the Trump campaign was aware of the Russian effort, and hoped to gain from it. The Founding Fathers were concerned about foreign influence in American politics, particularly if it involved the president. Professor Tribe's recent book on impeachment documents that this was actually the #1 reason they included impeachment of the president in the Constitution -- because even if it isn't to the point of being an actual criminal offense, such foreign influence demands removal from office.

Even in the case of Nixon, the idea that republicans were "better" about putting country before party is a myth. It wasn't until Nixon was so damaged in the public's eyes that republicans turned against him -- for they knew he would be a ball & chain on their party in the next election cycles. It wasn't because they were honest or patriotic. And today, we see that dynamic on steroids.

Keep in mind that the filthy rich, including many corporations, are doing well under Trump. As long as they are, the republicans feel safe in supporting him. This involves the concepts of the "shadow government," rather than the "deep state," a topic that I am often tempted to examine in great detail here on this forum -- althoughit would prove to be my most boring essay ever.

Thus, individuals including the Speaker and committee chairs have to rely upon the court system for justice. That sounds simple, but it's not. They have to look at previous cases, including those where the courts encourage some give-and-take from both sides. Thus, our party leaders have to show a willingness to negotiate, versus an unwillingness on the executive branch's side. Trump is foolishly assisting us in that -- hence Speaker Pelosi's wonderful statement that Trump is self-impeaching.

Chairman Schiff has the added burden of dealing with Nunes, who has proven to be without any sense of ethics. Thus, he has had to deal with more complexities than usual. And that is why he has been patient and relying on taking advantage of timing his steps.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #9)

Fri May 10, 2019, 04:58 PM

18. These should have a thread of their own



I’m including the next two answers too.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #5)

Fri May 10, 2019, 10:48 AM

10. 2 & 3

They have to move slowly, because of a number of factors ....some systematic ones described in the last answer, plus two others. The first is that as repulsive as he is, Trump has people around him that are equally willing to abuse the system, in order to capitalize upon the opportunities it provides him. And second is that the republican party has been fracturing, and the elected republicans in Congress are primarily concerned with self-preservation in the face of the mutant growth that they themselves encouraged in the Obama years.

We are in dangerous times. The wonderful quote from Lilo Abernathy comes to mind: "Civilization is a thin veil over our savage selves, easily lifted for some personal glorification." Trump is lifting that veil. Back to Nixon briefly -- when the Supreme Court was deciding the case on the tapes, Nixon was prepared to violate the court order if it was a split-decision. Luckily, it was 8-0, and he complied. Now Nixon was a thug, but Trump is far worse in so many ways. Is there any reason to believe he would comply with anything a split USSC decides? Not really. And so the Democrats are building the strongest case possible, with an eye on a decisive court ruling. We do not want to go from a constitutional crisis to a national emergency.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #5)

Fri May 10, 2019, 11:08 AM

11. He is correct.

Barr advised Trump to refuse to deal with any and all attempts by the House to subpoena testimony or documents. So there is a conflict between the executive and legislative branches of government, which will have to be settled by the judicial branch. Under normal circumstances, there is a tension between the two branches, that tend to be settled by negotiations. But the administration is not willing to negotiate in good faith, something the House can prove in the court system.

This goes beyond the Mueller investigation, of course. Trump's tax returns will document his debts to at least two foreign nations, that influence -- actually, dictate -- his foreign policy. Thus, there is the need to get access to all of that information. Trump is trying to run out th clock. So we need to have the strongest legal case possible.

There is a good chance that Rep. Nadler will decide to put it into the context of his committee holding hearings to determine if there are grounds that call for potential impeachment. From the Nixon case, we know that stonewalling per subpoenas is one of the grounds for impeachment of a president.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Fri May 10, 2019, 01:04 PM

12. good answers

and very instructive to those of us unfamiliar with the legislative/political process.

Thank you H!

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #12)

Fri May 10, 2019, 03:55 PM

17. It's always possible

that I just made that stuff up off the top of my head.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2019, 10:46 PM

6. There is so much going on behind closed doors

that it’s downright scary. How long have people like Barr had influence and power to manipulate the legal system and public opinion? The impression he gives me is of someone who is accustomed to finding loopholes and ways to circumvent legalities. He’s been playing political favors with more than one past Republican President. He has the nerve to claim he can interpret the Constitution and he makes it all up as he goes. And he’s been doing it for decades without ever really being in the public eye or being exposed. Presidents have come and gone never being touched as they bent and broke laws and he enabled them by protecting them and making it all look perfectly legal.

Why in the world would he think now will be any different? The only factor that’s different now is that he’s doing much of this in front of the public. He’s never been questioned before or made to account for enabling Presidents. Now that the public and the media and journalists are aware he runs for the hills, hiding behind Trump, refusing to comply or cooperate. In the open they can’t function. They need to keep us unaware, fooled in order to continue.

Hopefully the light of day will expose all of it.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #6)

Fri May 10, 2019, 09:17 AM

7. Kick

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Response to lunatica (Reply #6)

Fri May 10, 2019, 03:50 PM

14. Well said.

Very well said, indeed!

Barr's only consistency is that he is inconsistent. He pretends to be an "original intent" interpretator of the Constitution, but he has two glaring distinctions: first, he believes in an all-powerful executive branch, which is clearly not the founders' intent, and second, he relies upon his radical right-wing interpretation of Catholic doctrine from the distant past. Again, that was surely not original intent.

Where he does line up with some of the framers is in his belief that "democracy" is wrong, and that those he believes to be of superior ability should rule unquestioned, which is the definition of the root of the word "republic." Thus, his true nature -- hinted at in the early 1990s -- flowers in the context of the Trump administration. There is no lie he will not tell with as straight a face as his baggy jowls allow, and no principle he will not violate.

While exreme in his views, he is unfortunately not a lone example, either within the government or among those who are technically outside, but who have extreme influence. These are exactly the types of people that Erich Fromm noted that a sociopathic leader empowers. And that, even more than Trump as an individual, is most dangerous to the institutions of this country.

More, the weakest, most ignorant, and violence-prone population oftens embraces such a leader and his gang of thugs. And that is the most dangerous thing in regards to the stability of our nation's towns and cities.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 10, 2019, 09:38 AM

8. Nunes is still Nunes..

I would hesitate to share intelligence of that sort with him again.

That's probably why they are holding up the info? Or Barr has been ordered not to release any of it?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #8)

Fri May 10, 2019, 03:52 PM

15. Right.

Nunes can never be trusted, because he is a petty, cowardly excuse for a man. Yet we are reaching a point where he will no longer be of use to Trump. And he knows this ....hence, he joined with Rep. Schiff in requesting that the full Mueller Report be made available.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 10, 2019, 01:23 PM

13. Creamatorium

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Response to crazytown (Reply #13)

Fri May 10, 2019, 03:54 PM

16. I think that

the cream -- such as Adam Schiff -- are rising to the top. And the shit -- Trump, Barr, etc -- will settle to the bottom.

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