Mueller has concluded his investigation and turned in his report to AG Bill Barr. Nothing is known about except this: there are no more indictments to hand down.
Conservatives are ecstatic and progressives not, except . . . well, the smarter ones on both sides know that the end of the Mueller investigation is not the end of the scandal. We don’t know, for example, if there was evidence of collusion — just not enough to prosecute — or what. Mueller, unlike Comey when looking into Hillary, is not going before the press to explain what he knows.
The Justice Department has notified Congress and Barr told the press that he may notify Congress of the inquiry’s “principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.” The only problem: Barr has full discretion about how much of the report to reveal publicly.
By the Washington Post’s tally, the special counsel’s investigation has resulted in criminal charges against 34 individuals. That number includes four campaign officials and advisers: former Chairman Paul Manafort, Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates, adviser George Papadopoulos, and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone. It also includes the president’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former personal attorney Michael Cohen. The vast majority of the rest of the indictees are Russian nationals, many of them directly tied to the DNC computer hackings and distribution of propaganda during the 2016 election.
The central mission of the special counsel investigation was to discover if any members of the Trump campaign – including, most importantly, Trump himself – conspired with Russia to meddle in the election. None of the Americans charged by Mueller are accused of that. Still, while Mueller appears to be done with his probe, Congress will likely continue its own investigations based off his findings—whether or not Barr provides enough details to Congress.
Barr should release the full report. Both parties appear to support this. Last week, the House voted unanimously on a nonbinding resolution to make the entire document—and supporting materials—public. The real test will be whether reflexively pliant GOP lawmakers have to defy any presidential grumblings. We’ll find out soon enough.
One thing to remember: the Mueller report is not a legal document. It is an investigative document with some legal, and some political, ramifications.
And there is no realm of public life in which we insist on using absolute legal standards in order to make non-legal judgments. And we couldn’t even if we wanted to, because legal standards vary widely. To wit: Different legal proceedings impose different burdens of proof. There’s a reason that in courts sometimes the law requires “substantial evidence,” sometimes “reasonable belief,” and sometimes belief “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
As the public surveys the Mueller report, we are not bound to use legal procedures to come to our conclusions about Donald Trump. If the origins of the investigation were, in fact, improper—and yet the investigation reveals substantial wrongdoing, the public is not required to overlook this wrongdoing just because a court of law might be required to do so.
Spoiler: The court of public opinion isn’t a real court.
Important actions today from @USTreasury; the maritime industry must do more to stop North Korea’s illicit shipping practices. Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion. https://t.co/AVnOPrWbH6
It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!
Initial sense I'm getting is this tweet caught some administration officials off guard. Bolton and administration officials made it clear that the Treasury sanctions announced yesterday should be viewed as a continuation of the ongoing pressure campaign, not as an escalation. https://t.co/bVQvddWbBf
America’s approach to North Korea under the Trump administration is as schizophrenic and confusing as Trump’s tweet. One minute there are sanctions and the next minute they are gone and nobody knows what the hell is going on.
I guess if you can con the President into thinking you like him (not hard to do), he will let you get away with anything.
Two observations: 1) This is why past presidents established process in the White House, so that actions lined up with goals. When no policy process you get chaos and reversals. 2) China and Russia just got green light to undercut existing sanctions, since there are no penalties. https://t.co/aOXM15bHsW
Trump claims he has nothing to hide — so why is he going to such great lengths to make sure no one ever finds out what he discussed with Putin?
The White House on Thursday rejected a request from House Democrats to turn over documents pertaining to Trump’s conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, arguing that such communication is off-limits to Congress, and therefore to the public as well.
In a letter sent to Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Adam Schiff (D-CA), White House counsel Pat Cipollone cited executive authority as his rationale for refusing to divulge any information about Trump’s talks with foreign leaders, including Putin.
But the White House didn’t just reject this specific document request — it also laid out an argument claiming that any presidential communication related to the “conduct of foreign affairs” is not subject to congressional oversight, and that no one can compel the White House to release any information pertaining to such communication.
“The President must be free to engage in discussions with foreign leaders without fear that those communications will be disclosed and used as fodder for partisan political purposes,” Cipollone writes. “And foreign leaders must be assured of this as well.”
Of course, what he didn’t say is that the rationale for the document requests is not to obtain information for “partisan political purposes,” but to ensure that Trump did not make any promises or give away any state secrets that could affect foreign relations or imperil national security.
Engel, Cummings, and Schiff — the chairs of the Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Reform, and Intelligence committees, respectively — sent the requests to both the White House and State Department in early March seeking documents and transcripts from interviews with senior aides and advisers related to an inquiry into Trump’s communications with Putin.
The request came after a January report in the Washington Post revealed that Trump had withheld details of his talks with Putin from top officials in his administration, including confiscating notes from an interpreter who was present during one of the meetings.
According to the Post, there is a lack of detailed records for at least five of Trump’s face-to-face meetings with Putin.
A short time later it was revealed that Trump had also quietly met with Putin at last year’s G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, without a translator or anyone from his administration present during the exchange. Beforehand, the White House had denied that any such meeting would take place.
In a statement responding to Thursday’s White House letter, Reps. Cummings, Engel, and Schiff said the refusal to comply with the document request “continues a troubling pattern by the Trump Administration of rejecting legitimate and necessary congressional oversight with no regard for precedent or the constitution.”
Despite the White House’s claim that there is no precedent for turning over such documents, the lawmakers cited examples of previous presidential administration’s complying with similar records requests, adding, “President Trump’s decision to break with this precedent raises the question of what he has to hide.”
“We will be consulting on appropriate next steps. Congress has a constitutional duty to conduct oversight and investigate these matters, and we will fulfill that responsibility,” the lawmakers wrote.
For someone who claims that he has nothing to hide, Trump sure is going to great lengths to make sure no one ever finds out what he discussed with Putin — now or in the future.
“In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country,” said Ardern.
The ban on the sale of the weapons came into effect at 3pm on Thursday – the time of the press conference announcing the ban – with the prime minister warning that “all sales should now cease” of the weapons.
Ardern also directed officials to develop a gun buyback scheme for those who already own such weapons. She said “fair and reasonable compensation” would be paid.
The reason that the ban had immediate effect was to avoid stockpiling.
So it was indeed (just proven in court papers) “last in his class” (Annapolis) John McCain that sent the Fake Dossier to the FBI and Media hoping to have it printed BEFORE the Election. He & the Dems, working together, failed (as usual). Even the Fake News refused this garbage!
As the lurid disputes dominated cable news for several more hours, it was unclear whether Trump had any strategy in mind. Some people close to Trump speculated that he might be consciously trying to remake the news environment — creating a bizarre spectacle to displace criticism of his tepid response to the massacre of dozens of Muslims in New Zealand, the timing of the administration’s decision to ground Boeing’s 737 Max jets, and frenzied anticipation around the expected release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report.
But the saga has left even White House aides accustomed to a president who bucks convention feeling uncomfortable. While the controversies may have pushed aside some bad news, they also trampled on Trump’s Wednesday visit to an army tank manufacturing plant in swing state Ohio.
“For the most part, most people internally don’t want to touch this with a 10-foot pole,” said one former senior White House official. A current senior White House official said White House aides are making an effort “not to discuss it in polite company.” Another current White House official bemoaned the tawdry distraction. “It does not appear to be a great use of our time to talk about George Conway or dead John McCain. … Why are we doing this?”
The Conway stuff may be more explainable, since Conway is alive (unlike McCain) and clearly baiting Trump. And Trump takes the bait, making it news.
The Conway and McCain feuds nonetheless revealed a handful of truths about the president and his White House, starting with the president’s hair-trigger sensitivity over accusations of mental instability. After the author Michael Wolff raised questions about Trump’s mental health in a 2018 book, the president lashed out — despite warnings that he was only inflating Wolff’s book sales — and insisted that he was a “stable genius.” Those who know him say these barbs are a point of particular sensitivity, and his dispute with Conway appears to have originated from the attorney’s recent suggestions that Trump is mentally ill.
After tweeting images from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the text medical professionals use to diagnose mental illness — listing the characteristic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Conway charged that Trump is “unfit and incompetent for the esteemed office you temporarily hold.”
“I don’t think that Trump is laughing at that,” said Jack O’Donnell, a former Trump casino executive who has become a critic of the president. “He takes that stuff pretty personally.”
1. John McCain was a war hero.
2. John McCain is no longer around to answer smears and attacks.
3. It is therefore repugnant for Donald Trump to smear him, continuously and maliciously.
By the way, Trump saying he had to approve McCain’s funeral arrangements?
According to the Washington National Cathedral, this is false: "Only a state funeral for a former president involves consultation with government officials. No funeral at the Cathedral requires the approval of the president or any other government official.” https://t.co/x4llFGpwWQ
For Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers, the practice of charging to upgrade a standard plane can be lucrative. Top airlines around the world must pay handsomely to have the jets they order fitted with customized add-ons.
Sometimes these optional features involve aesthetics or comfort, like premium seating, fancy lighting or extra bathrooms. But other features involve communication, navigation or safety systems, and are more fundamental to the plane’s operations.
This is insanity. How come no government regulator ever stepped in and said, “This is crazy???”
But at least someone is looking into the crashes besides the NTSB.
The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, lending its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation agents, according to people familiar with the matter.
The federal grand jury investigation, based in Washington, D.C., is looking into the certification process that approved the safety of the new Boeing plane, two of which have crashed since October.
The FBI’s Seattle field office lies in proximity to Boeing’s 737 manufacturing plant in Renton, as well as nearby offices of Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials involved in the certification of the plane.
The investigation, which is being overseen by the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division and carried out by the Transportation Department’s Inspector General, began in response to information obtained after a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Oct. 29, killing 189 people, Bloomberg reported earlier this week, citing an unnamed source.
It has widened since then, The Associated Press reported this week, with the grand jury issuing a subpoena on March 11 for information from someone involved in the plane’s development, one day after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 near Addis Ababa that killed 157 people.
The FBI’s support role was described by people on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the investigation.
The investigation has revealed a range of events related to Russian interference and the 2016 election.
After more than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about contacts between associates of Donald J. Trump and Russia, we already know a lot about the work done by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Here are the main findings and lines of inquiry and the people involved in each.
Russian Hacking and WikiLeaks. As part of a complex effort to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton, Donald J. Trump’s 2016 rival, Russia’s top military intelligence service hacked the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the private email account of the chairman of the Clinton campaign and released tens of thousands of stolen emails through WikiLeaks to the public, according to an indictment filed by Mr. Mueller. Only the Russians have been charged.
Trump Tower Moscow. Mr. Trump and other Trump Organization executives were involved in discussions throughout the 2016 campaign to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. During the campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly denied having any business interests in Russia, but has since admitted that discussions took place.
Several people close to Mr. Trump engaged in discussions about deals to give Russia relief from economic sanctions. Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, had repeated conversations with a Russian business associate about a plan to end a guerilla war between Russia and Ukraine that might have led to sanctions relief. Michael D. Cohen, the president’s longtime personal lawyer, delivered a sealed proposal to Mr. Flynn’s White House office for the same purpose. And Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser, spoke with the Russian ambassador about sanctions (court documents show that Mr. Trump’s presidential transition team knew about these callsand coached Mr. Flynn on how to respond).
Mr. Trump’s public and private attacks on investigations have exposed him to accusations of obstruction of justice. These include efforts to pressure the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, to end the bureau’s investigation into Mr. Flynn, firing Mr. Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and attempting to fire Mr. Mueller.
Other Charges: Mr. Manafort and his longtime business associate, Rick Gates, were convicted of fraud and other crimes related to their work for pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians before joining the Trump campaign. Mr. Manafort and a Russian associate were also charged with witness tampering. Several others, not shown here, have been charged in spin-off investigations.
Michael D. Cohen: Mr. Trump’s former lawyer pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about negotiations to develop a Trump Tower in Moscow during the campaign. He has also been sentenced to prison in a different investigation related to hush-money payments he made on behalf of Mr. Trump.
Paul Manafort: A longtime Republican consultant and lobbyist, Mr. Manafort served on the Trump campaign from March until August 2016, including three months as chairman. He was convicted of financial fraud and conspiracy stemming from consulting work he did in earlier years in Ukraine on behalf of pro-Russian political figures. He also had multiple contacts during the campaign with a Russian associate believed to have ties to Russian intelligence and shared private Trump campaign polling data with him. Mr. Manafort lied to the special counsel’s office after pledging to cooperate with its inquiry, a judge found.
Rick Gates: Mr. Gates, a deputy campaign chairman, was Paul Manafort’s longtime right-hand man in Ukraine. He agreed to cooperate with the special counsel inquiry after pleading guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators.
George Papadopoulos:A former Trump campaign adviser who had multiple contacts with Russians and repeatedly told campaign officials about them. He pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts.
Twenty-eight others — including 26 Russians — have also been charged.
Alex van der Zwaan: A lawyer who worked with Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates and who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about conversations he had with Mr. Gates over work they did together for a pro-Russin Ukrainian political party.
Konstantin V. Kilimnik: A longtime Russian business associate of Paul Manafort who had multiple contacts with Mr. Manafort while he was the Trump campaign chairman and who received private Trump campaign polling data. He was charged with conspiring with Mr. Manafort to obstruct justice by trying to shape the accounts of prospective witnesses in Mr. Manafort’s case.
Twelve Russian intelligence officers: Charged with hacking the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the private email account of the chairman of the Clinton campaign and then releasing tens of thousands of stolen emails through WikiLeaks to the public.
Ivanka Trump: Michael D. Cohen said he briefed Ms. Trump and Donald Trump Jr. on the Moscow Trump Tower project during the campaign. She was also contacted by a Russian woman whose husband offered to help her father develop a separate real estate project in Moscow.
Jared Kushner: As a senior campaign official, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law attended the Trump Tower Russia meeting. He was also told that a campaign aide had been approached about setting up a back-channel meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, and that Donald Trump Jr. received a private message from WikiLeaks. As a senior transition adviser, Mr. Kushner met at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador and discussed setting up a way to communicate with Moscow during the transition. He also met with a Russian banker close to Mr. Putin in an attempt to establish a direct line of communication to the Russian president.
Hope Hicks: A fixture of Mr. Trump’s inner circle throughout the campaign and in the White House, Ms. Hicks was involved in the drafting of a false statement in response to questions about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr.
Stephen K. Bannon: Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman and chief White House strategist emailed Roger J. Stone Jr. in October 2016 for insight into WikiLeaks’s plans to publish documents that could damage the Clinton campaign.
Jeff Sessions: Weeks after he was confirmed as attorney general, the former senator recused himself from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the election after revelations that he had failed to report encounters with the Russian ambassador during the campaign.
Stephen Miller: As a top adviser to the president, Mr. Miller helped draft a letter, which was never sent, that explained why the president wanted to fire James B. Comey. During the campaign, Mr. Miller was among top campaign officials whom George Papadopoulos told about his Russian contacts.
Sam Clovis: Mr. Clovis was among the Trump campaign officials whom George Papadopoulos told about his contacts with Russians.
J. D. Gordon: Mr. Gordon met briefly with the Russian ambassadorduring the Republican National Convention. He also had contacts with Maria Butina and was among the Trump campaign officials who knew that Carter Page would be traveling to Russia in July 2016.
Kellyanne Conway: Ms. Conway was among the high-level campaign officials who were told by Donald Trump Jr. that WikiLeaks had contacted him.
Thomas P. Bossert: A senior transition official and former deputy national security adviser who was aware of conversations about sanctions that occurred during the transition between Michael T. Flynn and the Russian ambassador.
K.T. McFarland: A senior transition official and former deputy national security adviser who was aware of conversations about sanctions that occurred during the transition between Michael T. Flynn and the Russian ambassador.
Reince Priebus: A senior transition official and former White House chief of staff, Mr. Priebus was forwarded an email exchangeduring the transition that said Michael T. Flynn was discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador. In a December 2017 meeting in the West Wing, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Priebus how his interview had gone with the special counsel’s investigators and whether they had been “nice.”
Mark Corallo: A former spokesman for Mr. Trump’s legal team who told Mr. Mueller about a conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks in which, he said, Ms. Hicks said that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting “will never get out.”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: Ms. Sanders, the White House press secretary, initially said the president “certainly didn’t dictate” the false statement issued by Donald Trump Jr. about the Trump Tower Russia meeting.
Jay Sekulow: Mr. Trump’s private lawyer initially said the president was not involved in a false statement about the Trump Tower Russia meeting. Separately, Mr. Cohen has alleged that Mr. Trump’s lawyers, including Mr. Sekulow, helped with Mr. Cohen’s false testimony to Congress about a proposed Trump Tower project in Moscow.
These Russians or Russian intermediaries are also of interest.
Aras Agalarov: A Russian real estate developer who co-hosted the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with Mr. Trump in Moscow. He set the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting in motion after being told by a Russian government official that Russia wanted to share damaging information about Mrs. Clinton with the Trump campaign.
Maria Butina: A Russian who admitted to being involved in an organized effort to open up unofficial lines of communication between Russians and Americans in the N.R.A. and the Republican Party. She posed for a photo with Donald Trump Jr. at a 2016 dinner hosted by the N.R.A. in Louisville, Ky.
Andrii V. Artemenko: A pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker who pushed a plan to end a guerilla war between Russia and Ukraine that might have led to sanctions relief. Mr. Cohen and Mr. Sater were also involved.
Alexander Torshin: A former Russian government official close to Mr. Putin who made contact with the Trump campaign and appears to have been behind efforts to use an N.R.A. meeting to arrange back-channel communications between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin.
Ivan Timofeev: A Russian who said he had connections to Russia’s foreign ministry and who had repeated contacts with George Papadopoulos about setting up a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan: The crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates who convened a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles that brought together a Russian investor close to Mr. Putin and Erik D. Prince.
Erik D. Prince: The founder of Blackwater and an informal Trump adviser who arranged a meeting in August 2016 between Donald Trump Jr., George Nader and Joel Zamel. He also attended a meeting in the Seychelles that was convened by the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates. He is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Mr. Trump’s education secretary.
George Nader: A Lebanese-American businessman who told Donald Trump Jr. that the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. wanted to help his father win the election. He is cooperating with the special counsel.
Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration at least 63 times over the past two years, an extraordinary record of legal defeat that has stymied large parts of the president’s agenda on the environment, immigration and other matters.
In case after case, judges have rebuked Trump officials for failing to follow the most basic rules of governance for shifting policy, including providing legitimate explanations supported by facts and, where required, public input.
Many of the cases are in early stages and subject to reversal. For example, the Supreme Court permitted a version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from certain predominantly Muslim nations to take effect after lower-court judges blocked the travel ban as discriminatory.
But regardless of whether the administration ultimately prevails, the rulings so far paint a remarkable portrait of a government rushing to implement far-reaching changes in policy without regard for long-standing rules against arbitrary and capricious behavior.
“What they have consistently been doing is short-circuiting the process,” said Georgetown Law School’s William W. Buzbee, an expert on administrative law who has studied Trump’s record. In the regulatory cases, Buzbee said, “they don’t even come close” to explaining their actions, “making it very easy for the courts to reject them because they’re not doing their homework.”
Trump has blamed his losses on “Obama judges” in the West Coast states that make up the 9th Circuit. While 29 setbacks have come from 9th Circuit judges, the trend is national, with 34 originating elsewhere, particularly in the District of Columbia Circuit, according to a count by The Washington Post.
Democratic appointees, many of them tapped by presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, are responsible for 45 decisions. Republican appointees dating back to President Ronald Reagan issued the other rulings. Magistrate judges, who are not appointed by presidents, made three of the decisions.
On major issues on which multiple judges have ruled, there has been little disagreement among them, no matter where the judges are located or who appointed them.
Four judges, for instance, have rejected the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has protected from deportation nearly 700,000 people brought to the United States as children. All four judges said essentially the same thing: that the government’s stated reason for ending DACA — that it was unlawful — was “virtually unexplained,” as U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, an appointee of President George W. Bush in Washington, said in an April opinion. A second explanation — that DACA creates a “litigation risk” — was derided by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in California as mere “spin.”
Three judges have invalidated the attempt to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census, the latestbeing U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco on March 6. All rejected as unbelievable Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s explanation that the move was intended to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
This is funny, but also disturbing in the sense that some are actually taking it seriously.
Yesterday, Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) sued a fictional cow for $250 million.
In addition to the anonymous Twitter account “Devin Nunes’ Cow,” Nunes is suingthe “Devin Nunes’ Mom” Twitter account, a political operative named Liz Mair, and Twitter itself.
Nunes, a close ally of President Trump, says in his complaint that he endured what “no human being should ever have to bear and suffer in their whole life.” He said it caused him to win reelection last November by a narrower margin than in the past and distracted him from running the House investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.
Among other things, Nunes, from Tulare, cited a variety of tweets that used crude humor to accuse him of criminal behavior, including soliciting prostitutes.
Most politicians and celebrities today face similar parody accounts. Many just ignore them, though a few play along. A Twitter account called @Betosblog lampoons Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rouke. Parody accounts of President Trump have hundreds of thousands of followers.
The @DevinNunesMom account was suspended by Twitter after his actual mother, Toni Dian Nunes, complained.
But if Nunes hoped his lawsuit would intimidate his trollers into silence, the move may have backfired.
Devin Nunes' cow (@DevinCow) now has more followers on Twitter than @DevinNunes. The account, which Nunes sued this week, is approaching 400,000 followers. A couple days ago it had about 1,200 followers.
Why did these tweets wound Nunes so deeply? The accounts’ jibes resemble much of the political commentary on Twitter—including the president’s. Nunes’s real grievance appears to be with Twitter itself. “Twitter represents that it enforces its Terms and Rules equally and that it does not discriminate against conservatives who wish to use its ‘public square,’” he told the court. “This is not true. This is a lie. Twitter actively censors and shadow-bans conservatives, such as Plaintiff, thereby eliminating his voice while amplifying the voices of his Democratic detractors.”
Twitter has denied that it uses shadow banning—making a user’s posts visible to themselves but invisible to others—but that hasn’t stopped Republican lawmakers, including Trump, from making the claim as part of a broader narrative that Silicon Valley is censoring conservative voices.
Nunes’s claim for damages also doesn’t hold up. He says that Twitter bears legal responsibility for any defamatory posts made on its platform. In reality, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act generally shields websites from civil liability related to third-party content on their platforms. Nunes himself should be pretty familiar with this: As Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown pointed out, he and his colleagues have been working to change Section 230 for this exact reason.
Nunes adopts a patriotic mien when it comes to the broader free speech issues at stake. “Access to Twitter is essential for meaningful participation in modern-day American Democracy,” he told the court. “A candidate without Twitter is a losing candidate. The ability to use Twitter is a vital part of modern citizenship. A presence on Twitter is essential for an individual to run for office or engage in any level of political organizing in modern America. This is because Twitter is not merely a website: it is the modern town square.”
This paean to civic speech might be more convincing if Nunes didn’t ask the court to force Twitter to “reveal the names and contact information” behind four of the pseudonymous accounts. What’s more, he also wants the court to “permanently enjoin and order Twitter” to suspend Mair and the other accounts. Twitter is a vital part of modern American citizenship, Nunes says, and he wants the government to strip people of access to it for being mean to him.
Speaking of twitter, Trump continues unabated with tweets goaded by his critics (George Conway, the media) and by what he sees on Fox News and his Twitter feed (TSA patdown of a kid).
It is embarrassing.
For what it is worth, Trump’s statement that George Conway “didn’t get the job he wanted” is a proven lie, and Conway leaked the letter saying he TURNED DOWN the job.
I don’t think they reveal much — except perhaps the fact that the FBI was investigating President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer for nearly a year before agents raided his home and office. Since July 2017 in fact — far longer than had previously been known.
Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said the release of the search warrant “furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress.”
The search warrants used in the raid of Michael Cohen's office, hotel room and home last year have been released, albeit redacted. There's…. a lot of pages pic.twitter.com/rnQucYaEA2
If I recall correctly, the false statement to a bank charge Cohen pleaded to involved him overstating the strength of his financial position — this alleges he was understating it, claiming he was poorer than he was pic.twitter.com/0RHaFMe6Wq
The fact of Cohen's eventual indictment by Mueller made this obvious, but this states explicitly that the special counsel office's had only handed off parts of their investigation into Cohen, not the totality pic.twitter.com/D37FbTfOaY
Curious redaction here. This section deals with money Cohen received via Essential Consultants. Elsewhere, it's fully disclosed that he received cash form Novartis, etc. But here, it references 'foreign sources' but seems to hide their identity pic.twitter.com/mdYu49Wooy
Beginning at 8 am, Donald Trump put up no fewer than 30 tweets on Sunday. A total of 50 for the entire weekend. Busy guy! Here are the subjects that are obsessing him at the moment:
Saturday Night Live making fun of him too much.
The Steele dossier and the whole Russia witch hunt (7 tweets).
St. Patrick’s Day (2 tweets).
Fox New taking Judge Jeanine Pirro off the air because she suggested that someone who wears a hijab might not support the Constitution. Trump is pis-s-s-s-s-ed about this. He put up nine tweets related to the Judge Jeanine affair, including four that basically called Fox News a bunch of pussies for giving in to the left-wing hate mob.
The border (3 tweets).
The immense popularity of Donald J. Trump (3 tweets).
The Lordstown auto plant (2 tweets).
The Democrats effort to steal the 2016 election.
Make America Great Again!
It’s worth noting that two of Trump’s tweets were actually retweets of Jack Posobiec, a lunatic conspiracy theorist who helped promote the pizzagate fable among many, many others.
Anyway, this is what’s on Trump’s mind as of March 17, 2019. I’m sure we all feel safe with him at the helm.
Trump’s rants usually occur shortly before serious bad news is about to drop: Trump’s favored strategy when facing a media crisis is to counterpunch, often in advance, as hard as he can in order to intimidate, distract and control the narrative. There can be little doubt that Trump feels the walls closing in around him and is worried he has few allies left.
You read Trump’s anguished tweet about Saturday Night Live and the late night hosts all making fun of him and what’s clear is that underneath all his bluster, rage & hatred there is a sad, lost little boy desperate for the love and approval he never ever got.
One day after 28-year-old white supremacist Brenton Tarrant killed 49 people in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated that her country’s “gun laws will change.”
Attorney General David Parker took those statements further, announcing at a vigil at Auckland’s Aotea Square on Saturday that New Zealand will ban semi-automatic rifles.
These statements were praised by gun control advocates in the United States, who have seen lawmakers in Washington fail to enact gun reform time and time again after mass shootings.
This week in what was perhaps his most authoritarian act to date, Trump issued his first veto after the House and Senate voted to block his emergency declaration. The veto followed Trump’s declaration of a national emergency after Congress refused to fund his wall, which was unprecedented. Taken together, Trump irreverently thumbed his nose at the separations of power.
Trump also continued his record pace of appointments to the judicial branch, this week with the aid of newly installed ally Sen. Lindsey Graham as Judiciary Committee Chair. Graham discarded a century old norm of allowing in-state senators to submit a “blue slip” to oppose nominations, allowing Trump to appoint two judges to the 9th Circuit Court.
In New Zealand, 49 people were murdered while worshipping at two mosques in Christchurch in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence.” In his manifesto, the killer parroted several Trump terms, and wrote he saw Trump as a symbol “of renewed white identity and common purpose.” Trump tried to distance himself and the uprise of white nationalism from blame for the massacre.
This week Paul Manafort got his second sentence, and as Trump continued to hint at a pardon, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance filed separate charges, out of the purview of a Trump pardon. New York Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into Trump’s financing for projects, and subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, raising Trump’s ire. Several Congressional investigations also progressed this week, as the country awaits the findings of the Mueller probe.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer said they were prepared to block Trump’s demand, writing in a joint statement: “The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.”
On Sunday, Fox News said in a statement, “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Representative Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
An FAA spokesperson said complaints were filed directly to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which serves as a neutral third party, adding, “thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues.”
Trump then again quoted Fox News, tweeting: “New evidence that the Obama era team of the FBI, DOJ & CIA were working together” to spy on and “take out” Trump, adding, “Peter Strzok’s testimony is devastating.”
Donald Trump didn’t just lose any old Senate vote on Thursday. He didn’t even just lose a vote on his signature issue. When 12 Republicans voted to block Trump’s national emergency declaration, they did so despite Trump’s personal lobbying and insistence that the vote was about Donald Trump. The Washington Post reports that, in calls to Republican senators, “the president spoke of the battle almost exclusively in personal terms — telling them they would be voting against him while brushing aside constitutional concerns over his attempt to reroute billions of federal dollars for a border wall.”
And it didn’t work on a dozen Republicans. The threats, the me-me-me, fizzled into what will be Trump’s first veto in more than two years.
In fact, the me-me-me approach may have hurt Trump’s effort. Republicans asked for information to put them on solid ground in opposing the resolution, and the White House did not provide it. The Defense Department didn’t tell senators what military construction projects would be cut. Mike Pence was Trump’s key negotiator with Congress, but he apparently wasn’t empowered to make a meaningful deal.
So Trump has notified the networks that he will speak from the Oval Office at 3:30 today, where he will veto the not-an-emergency congressional resolution. It then goes back to the House for an override vote. Lawmakers don’t have enough votes to override the veto, but passage of the resolution in the Senate after it passed the House last month is nevertheless an embarrassing blow to Trump delivered by his own party over the President’s top campaign pledge of a wall at the US-Mexico border.
Trump expected to veto bill today to halt his national emergency. Would then return bill to CapHill. Would go to the House because that’s where the bill originated. House lacks the votes to override. Override attempt slated for March 26. Will be about 40 votes shy
As members of Congress head back to their states and districts for a week prior to a vote to override the veto, they might recall that they solemnly swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” not the president of their party or a border wall.
If Trump vetoes Congress’s rejection of his faux emergency to build his vanity wall and Congress (read:GOP) doesn’t OVERRIDE HIS VETO, when history is written about how dictatorship came to American democracy, this will be the opening chapter! https://t.co/oPW5U2e4OT
UPDATE: 3:40pm — No sign of an Oval Office address but Trump had an open-to-press meeting with reporters:
Per pool: Trump called the terror attack a “horrible, horrible thing” and said he called the PM to convey US “sorrow,” then turned to “crimes of all kinds coming through our southern border.” He added, “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is.”
Q: Do you see rising white nationalism? Pres Trump: “I don't really, I think it’s a small group of people.” Reminder: Multiple experts and organizations have said over and over again that there is a rise in what nationalism and white extremism. Some argue Trump is adding to that.