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Member since: Mon Nov 29, 2004, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 9,430

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Watch ACLU Legal Director David Cole Live Mon: how we will protect civil liberties under Trump

Hear a special message from ACLU National Legal Director David Cole on Monday, March 6. David is the constitutional expert who oversees the ACLU’s army of nearly 300 lawyers.

He’ll give us a preview of how we can defeat Trump’s incursions into our civil liberties, and talk about his hopes for our People Power movement. If you’re interested, sign up to say you’ll watch the stream at 1pm ET / 10am PT on Monday.

Sign up here:

NYT: Who replaces AG after recusal; can special counsel be appointed, by whom & limits of power

Jeff Sessions Has Stepped Aside on Russia. Here’s Who Could Step In.



Who replaces the attorney general after a recusal?

The deputy attorney general steps into the shoes of the attorney general to make decisions about that particular investigation. The acting deputy attorney general is Dana J. Boente, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, whom Mr. Trump temporarily elevated last month after firing Sally Q. Yates, who had been the deputy attorney general. Mr. Trump has nominated Rod J. Rosenstein, the United States attorney for Maryland, to be deputy attorney general, and he would replace Mr. Boente if confirmed.

Can a special prosecutor or an independent counsel be appointed?

No, because the law that created that type of prosecutor expired.

During the Watergate “Saturday Night Massacre,” President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of the prosecutor running the investigation into his White House. As part of the reforms afterward, Congress created a new type of prosecutor to look into high-level executive branch wrongdoing while shielded from political interference. This position was called a special prosecutor at first and later independent counsel. The law set criteria for an attorney general to request a three-judge panel to appoint such a prosecutor, who would be subject to the judges’ supervision and could not be fired by the president or his appointees.

While the Supreme Court upheld the arrangement as constitutional, critics said it permitted a prosecutor to run amok. Republicans learned to hate the arrangement during the Iran-contra investigation into the Reagan administration, and Democrats did during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigation into President Bill Clinton. When the law expired in 1999, Congress did not renew it.

Could there instead be a special counsel?

Yes, Mr. Boente could appoint one of these.

Special counsels are empowered to run an investigation with greater autonomy than a United States attorney normally enjoys. But they are still ultimately subject to the control of the attorney general — and the president — who can overrule their decisions or fire them. This position dates to 1999, when the Justice Department issued new regulations to create it after the independent counsel law expired.

The regulations say special counsels “shall not be subject to the day-to-day supervision of any official of the department” and generally decide on their own “whether and to what extent to inform or consult with the attorney general or others within the department about the conduct of his or her duties and responsibilities.”


CNN: Trump extremely angry & frustrated at senior staff, communications team over Sessions fallout

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump is extremely frustrated with his senior staff and communications team for allowing the firestorm surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions to steal his thunder in the wake of his address to Congress, sources tell CNN.

"Nobody has seen him that upset," one source said, adding the feeling was the communications team allowed the Sessions news, which the administration deemed a nonstory, to overtake the narrative.


When the President returned to the White House Thursday evening from a day trip to Virginia, there were "a lot of expletives." The source said for more than a week Trump had been lamenting that his senior staff "just keep getting in their own way."

"The President had a fantastic week advancing his agenda to lift up all Americans and keep the nation safe. His joint session speech will go down in history as one of the best," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in response to CNN's reporting.

The President is showing increasing flashes of anger over the performance of his senior staff and daily developments about Russia overshadowing his message, multiple people inside the White House and outside the administration told CNN.

Trump voiced his frustration to his inner circle in the Oval Office Friday, sources said. He feels attacked by the media, former Obama administration officials and others, and frustrated that things are not going more smoothly. The President expressed his anger at non-stop leaks undermining his administration, the sources said.


Trump is upset because he doesn't believe he is getting credit he thinks he deserves for his time office so far because of self-inflicted wounds and missteps, the source said. An informed presidential ally outside government but close to the President said Trump was really angry about having a "mini disaster" a week. The President's mood is adding to tremendous pressure inside the West Wing and aides have been seen in tears in recent days at multiple meetings.


SNL live tonight! Host Octavia Spencer. Promo videos, details here:

Who is Hosting SNL Tonight? Octavia Spencer!

After a couple of weeks off, Saturday Night Live is back and live. Hosting this week’s episode is Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer. It’s Spencer’s first time hosting and although she’s best known for her critically acclaimed dramatic roles in movies like The Help, and Hidden Figures, she isn’t a stranger to comedy. She starred in Comedy Central’s Halfway Home, and the ABC series Ugly Betty, and has had comedic guest roles in a number of television shows.

Despite having some career high moments already- Spencer has described her gig hosting SNL as one of the most exciting moments of her career, and says that America is going to be be “blown away” by what’s in store this week.

SNL has a lot of ground to cover this week. Last week’s Academy Awards Best Picture Award fiasco is likely to come up, particularly with an Oscar-winning actress hosting. There’s also Trump’s address to Congress to cover. Saturday Night Live is enjoying a ratings high this season– the highest ratings in two decades– and we’re expecting to see the show come out of the break with a bang.


Trump's evidence-free wiretap claim follows rightwing Obama 'coup' stories (Guardian)

"The unprecedented attack by a president on his predecessor, made in a series of early morning tweets, stoked speculation that Trump’s remarks were prompted by stories circulating in rightwing media, including one that claimed Obama is attempting a “silent coup” against Trump.


Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, tweeted back at Trump: “No president can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”


The issue resurfaced this week in rightwing media, which Trump and Steve Bannon, his chief strategist and former head of far right Breitbart News, are known to follow closely.

Conservative radio host Mark Levin made claims on his Thursday night show about the alleged steps taken by the Obama administration to undermine Trump’s campaign to win the White House. Levin called the effort a “silent coup” by the Obama administration and said this, rather than Trump’s Russian ties, should be the subject of a congressional investigation.

Levin’s comments were then summarised by Breitbart News, in a report that also made reference to the Fisa warrant reported by Mensch and the BBC.

On Saturday, Robert Costa, a Washington Post reporter, tweeted: “Per an official, I’ve confirmed that several people at the White House have been circulating this Breitbart story.” On Friday night and Saturday, Fox News hosts whom Trump is known to watch also remarked on the issue, with presenter Sean Hannity tweeting: “What did OBAMA know and when did he know it??”

Lots more:

Jaws Drop As Malcolm Nance Tells AM Joy Trump Acting Like He Knows He's Caught (Video)

Nance said, “If I can just touch for a moment, Joy, on the question of wiretapping. I’ve been involved in a lot of very advanced collection of operations in my world. I have no idea what Donald Trump is talking about with wiretapping. We do not even do that the way he probably thinks from The Sopranos where we’re actually running a wire and putting bugs into his office. You know this is very dangerous because the people who would be tasked in Justice. If there are any questions coming from the White House starting today, or anytime in the foreseeable future on how they actually do collections, it means they’re preparing for a cover-up, because they want to know how they’re actually getting this information. This is what happens when a target starts getting buggy because he knows that he’s caught.”

There was no need for Trump to preemptively launch a discrediting attack by claiming that Obama wiretapped him unless he knows what’s coming out soon. Trump is trying to explain away what it is about to revealed before it becomes public.

The Obama wiretapped me excuse is a partisan political ploy that is intended to keep Republicans rallied around him no matter what information comes to light.

Donald Trump isn’t rambling to distract. He is trying to get out ahead of damaging information to save his presidency.

In other words, Trump knows he’s caught, and the Saturday morning tweets were his first attempt at damage control.


Former Bush official baffled by Trump team Russia amnesia:most forgetful team in history or..."

Former Bush official baffled by Trump team amnesia: 'They're either the most forgetful team in political history or the most intimate with Russia'

When asked to explain how so many of President Trump's aides could have conveniently forgotten about meeting with Russia, Republican strategist Nicole Wallace came up empty-handed. "It's inexplicable now why so many people had so many meetings with so many Russians that they forgot about," said Wallace, the communications director under former President George W. Bush, during an appearance Friday morning on NBC's Today.

This week, it was revealed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who also served as a Trump campaign surrogate, spoke twice with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the election, as did former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and two of Trump's former national security advisers, Carter Page and J.D. Gordon.

Today host Chuck Todd pressed Wallace for an explanation, asking again if there could possibly be "one simple, great answer as to why all of this would be happening." "There is none," Wallace replied. "So many people having so many contacts and not remembering? It doesn't make sense. They're either the most forgetful team in political history or the most intimate with Russia."

Watch Wallace discuss the Trump team's "inexplicable" memory lapse below:


Rachel: FBI not cooperating w. House on Trump/Russia investigation- Interview Schiff of House Intel

The Rachel Maddow Show 3/2/17
FBI not cooperating with House on Trump Russia investigation

Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, talks with Rachel Maddow about the difficultly his committee is having getting answers out of FBI Director James Comey about the investigation into the Donald Trump campaign's ties to Russia. Duration: 6:02

Link to video:

This is very informative and explains how intel committees get classified info. They may have to subpoena FBI to get the info they need. He explains what the FBI is after (developing the facts to prosecute) and how that can conflict with what the intel committees are after - protection of national security interests - and this has to take priority over the FBI developing a case for prosecution.

Bush Reveals on Jimmy Kimmel if Comedic Impressions Ever Annoyed Him

Video Interview

President Donald Trump may famously hate Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of him on “Saturday Night Live.” But former President George W. Bush revealed to Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday that he was never bothered by comedians mimicking him.

He even had a favorite impersonator.

Bush recounted fighting with “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels over who came up with some of Will Ferrell’s catchphrases when he played the former commander-in-chief. Bush also described his first visit to the White House, which was for a date with President Richard Nixon’s daughter in 1969.


Ellen interviews Bush: "George W. Bush Warns That Putin Wont Stop Unless Someone Stands Up To Him"

Includes video but wouldn't let me paste video URL. Worth watching.

Former President George W. Bush warns that Russian leader Vladimir Putin will “push and push and push until someone stands up to him.”

Bush made the comments on “Ellen,” in response to President Donald Trump’s suggestions that the U.S. could pursue warmer relations with Russia. Last year, intelligence officials concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election with the goal of helping Trump get elected. Many in Washington, D.C., have pushed for a probe into Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

Bush warned that it’s dangerous to appease the Russian president.

“I had a contentious relationship with him and I think whoever the president is, is going to find out that Putin will push and push and push until someone stands up to him,” Bush told Ellen DeGeneres on the show broadcast Thursday.


In the wake of Trump’s repeated attacks on the press, Bush also spoke of the traditional ties that a president has with the media, calling it a “symbiotic relationship.”

“Here is what I believed when I was president, post-president – the nation needs a free and independent press. And the reason why is, is that power can be very corrupting and we need a press court to hold politicians to account, including me,” he said. “ I didn’t like it sometimes when people said things, you know, about me but you know that’s the job. I’m going to drop a big word on you – symbiotic relationship.” Being powerful, Bush said, doesn’t make anyone immune to criticism or to a corruption investigation.


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