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Author Topic: Jeffrey’s perspective on the election?  (Read 31871 times)
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soleil
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« Reply #105 on: Jul 07, 2017, 01:05 AM »

Hi all,

Kristin, thanks for the Yogananda excerpt (a good reminder) and for the Charles Blow NY Times article. It was spot-on. It’s so important for us to not normalize Trump, which most of the media continues to do.

Unfortunately, few in the media state what is painfully obvious---this Trump character is not only a con man, a crook, a pathological liar, an ignoramus (I could go on and on), but he’s also mentally not all there. One of the few in the media who routinely do point this out---and stress the need to never normalize him---is Keith Olbermann. Here’s a link to his latest short video, entitled “Trump wanders from limo; tweets "wrestling" video - Why do we hesitate to call him mentally incompetent?”
https://twitter.com/KeithOlbermann/status/882765954928848896

The fact that Trump has taken no public steps to punish Russia for interfering in the election should not surprise anyone. Russia/Putin actually helped elect him, so of course he isn’t going to do anything to punish or stop them. He wants them to do it again in 2020.

There is plenty of reporting and intelligence gathering that shows the Russians changed the minds of voters by methods such as planting false stories on Facebook, using micro-targeted information (gleaned by sources such as Democratic voter rolls which Russians hacked into in at least 21 states), hacking into the DNC and giving the emails to Wikileaks (which several Trump surrogates predicted the release of on Fox News ahead of time), etc.

This election was stolen, not only by the Russians but by Republicans who ensured that Democratic votes  (especially those of minorities) were suppressed. After all, Hillary only lost by less than 100,000 votes across 3 states, and there was heavy voter suppression in at least one of those states.

Am hoping that over time more of the corruption and collusion allegations will come out in the open. There’s a good article in New York Magazine, written by Frank Rick, called “Just Wait. Watergate didn’t become Watergate overnight, either.” http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/frank-rich-nixon-trump-and-how-a-presidency-ends.html

Helena, thanks for that link. Really interesting.

All the best,

Soleil
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soleil
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« Reply #106 on: Jul 12, 2017, 06:05 PM »

Hi all,

There’s a part of this latest scandal involving Trump Jr. that isn’t getting much coverage. The Russian lawyer Trump Jr met with, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had been representing Prevezon, a Russian firm that the DOJ in Manhattan had a money laundering case against.

Suddenly in May, Jeff Sessions made sure the case got settled, and now we will never know which Manhattan real estate holdings were used as money laundering vehicles by the Russians. Makes you wonder if some of Donald Trump’s properties were among them. No way to know, as he uses layers and layers of shell companies to disguise ownership.

Democrats Want to Know If Trump Quashed a Russian Money Laundering Case In Return for Dirt on Hillary Clinton

Mother Jones
July 12, 2017

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/07/democrats-want-to-know-if-trump-quashed-a-russian-money-laundering-case-in-return-for-dirt-on-hillary-clinton/

The 17 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have written a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Last summer, Donald Trump, Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected attorney in an attempt to obtain information “that would incriminate Hillary.” Earlier this year, on May 12, 2017, the Department of Justice made an abrupt decision to settle a money laundering case being handled by that same attorney in the Southern District of New York. We write with some concern that the two events may be connected—and that the Department may have settled the case at a loss for the United States in order to obscure the underlying facts.

This is where the Trump-Russia thing starts to get sort of Watergate-y. The Watergate scandal started off with a burglary of DNC headquarters in Washington DC, but by the time it was over it was all about ITT, Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, interference with the CIA, 18-minute gaps, using the IRS to intimidate enemies, etc.

Donald Trump has only been in office for six months, so there’s no way he could have built up a Nixonian level bill of particulars like this yet. Still, we might discover more than just campaign collusion as leakers get busier and reporters start to take the whole thing more seriously.

In this case, Don Jr. said that he met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya because she wanted to discuss Russian adoptions. But the law banning Americans from adopting Russian babies was itself a nothingburger, a minor bit of Putin score-settling passed in retaliation for Congress passing the Magnitsky Act. When you hear “Russian adoptions,” that’s the real topic of conversation.

The Magnitsky Act is a set of sanctions designed to punish Russia for arresting and killing Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer who had uncovered a state-sanctioned scheme of tax cheating that implicated police, the judiciary, tax officials, bankers, and the Russian mafia. Over $200 million was involved, much of it laundered through overseas companies, including several who used the money to buy up high-end Manhattan real estate. One of these companies was Prevezon.

Natalia Veselnitskaya was one of Prevezon’s lawyers. Preet Bharara was the US Attorney prosecuting the case, which was not going well for Prevezon. However, Donald Trump fired Bharara in March, and two months later the Justice Department surprised everyone by abruptly settling the case for $6 million. The settlement was so meager that one of Prevezon’s US attorneys said it was “almost an admission that they shouldn’t have brought the case.”

So: was there a deal made last year? Did Trump campaign aides—or Trump himself—agree to scuttle the case against Prevezon in return for dirt on Hillary Clinton?

This might be a big stretch, nothing more than a bit of connecting-the-dots conspiracy theorizing. Alternatively, it might be the real deal. If it is, it’s the first step toward the Watergate-ization of the Trump-Russia scandal.

******************************************************************************

Russian money-laundering details remain in the dark as US settles fraud case


CNN.com
May 13, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/13/world/prevezon-settlement/index.html

New York (CNN)A major US investigation into Russian money laundering has come to an abrupt end.

The case aimed to expose how Russian mobsters allegedly stole $230 million and hid some of the cash in New York City real estate. Also sure to come up was the suspicious death of the Russian lawyer who exposed the alleged fraud, though US prosecutors weren't alleging that the defendants were behind it.

The trial was set to start on Monday, but late Friday night, federal prosecutors in New York announced they settled the case with Prevezon, the company accused of buying up "high-end commercial space and luxury apartments" with laundered money.

The abrupt conclusion has some involved in the trial wondering why this Russian investigation had been cut short.

"What most concerns me is: Has there been any political pressure applied in this?" asked Louise Shelley, an illicit finance expert who was set to testify in support of the US government on Tuesday.

Shelley — who founded George Mason University's Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center — said the alleged money launderers got off easy.

"I think they won something. There's no recognition of wrongdoing," she said.

The US Attorney's office did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

In the settlement, Prevezon and its business associates did not acknowledge any wrongdoing, and the government agreed to "release" them all from any future lawsuits in connection with this case.

The case against Prevezon was a civil matter, so the federal government's inherent goal was to recover money. That it did.

The $5.9 million settlement is three times the value of the $1.9 million in supposedly laundered money tied to funds stolen from the Russian state coffers. But it's far less than the value of Prevezon's real estate in Manhattan -- which Shelley estimates at $17 million -- that had been partially acquired with those allegedly laundered funds.

Russia's largest ever tax fraud

The alleged fraud behind the Prevezon case goes back a decade. According to US investigators, corrupt Russian government officials allegedly teamed up with a powerful Russian organized crime organization to pull off that country's largest ever tax fraud.

Russian crime rings often use identity theft to file fake tax refunds. In this case, the government says that the defendants essentially did that on a grand scale: allegedly stealing the corporate identity of Hermitage Capital Management, an investment firm in Russia. According to the complaints, the defendants then allegedly created fake losses, claimed fake tax refunds -- and made off with the stolen rubles.

Hermitage's lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, exposed the alleged fraud — and was later jailed by the very investigators he fingered in the plot. He was tortured and killed in prison, according to Russia's own Presidential Human Rights Commission. The Russian government insists that Magnitsky, age 37, died of a heart failure with no signs of violence.

The conspirators allegedly laundered the illicit cash through shell companies, luxury cars, real estate around the world, and international bank accounts.

But without a trial, the illicit money trail remains unproven to the public.

The settlement allowed both sides to still claim a victory.

Prevezon said this is proof it did nothing wrong. In a statement, the firm said: "From the outset, Prevezon and its owner Denis Katsyv have maintained their innocence and have repeatedly stated that they had no involvement in or knowledge of any fraudulent activities and never received any funds from any criminal activity."

Prevezon claimed prosecutors "brought this case without conducting any independent investigation, relying exclusively on the claims of William Browder," the head of Hermitage.

Meanwhile, American prosecutors claimed this served as a deterrent for future money launderers. "We will not allow the U.S. financial system to be used to launder the proceeds of crimes committed anywhere -- here in the U.S., in Russia, or anywhere else," acting Manhattan US Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement.

The case had initially been brought by US Attorney Preet Bharara, but he was fired by President Donald Trump in March. Bharara congratulated the prosecutors on Twitter late Friday night: "Congrats to Joon & team in Russian money laundering case (underlying fraud uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, died suspiciously in Moscow jail)."

There was one witness set to testify at the trial who had a very personal connection to the case: Jamison Firestone, whose law firm partner was Magnitsky.

On Saturday, Firestone lamented that details about the Russian government, mobsters and investors who allegedly received these funds won't be aired at trial.

"I wanted this all to come out," he told CNN on Saturday. "The embarrassing stuff exposes the Russian government's entire money laundering machine."

But Firestone said this settlement is one step closer to justice. Estonia, the UK, and the US have already adopted "Magnitsky laws" to sanction Russians connected to the fraud. This settlement is the first time a court in the West has forced someone allegedly involved in the money laundering to pay up.

"We're just going to keep doing this until we expose them all," he told CNN. "These people may escape prosecution as long as the Putin government stands, but it won't stand forever. Putin is going to die before they do, and hopefully they will die in tiny prison cells like Sergei Magnitsky did."


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Darja
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« Reply #107 on: Jul 20, 2017, 10:38 AM »

Hello Soleil,

Rad asked me to post this link for you about the Pluto in Capricorn archetype manifesting in India, as it is in so many places in the world: nationalism. This is about the Hindi 'fundamentalism' taking place now. This is a documentary produced by Al Jazerra. Rad thought you would find this really interesting because of the parallels is reflects taking place in America, and so many other countries now. Here is that link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE8p9-rtHkY

Darja

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soleil
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« Reply #108 on: Jul 21, 2017, 01:53 AM »

Hi Darja,

Please thank Rad for letting me know about that video. I really appreciate it. I had no idea that this type of Hindi nationalism/anti Muslim hatred was going on in India. It’s extremely disturbing and definitely parallels what's going on here and in so many other places around the world.

What I found especially disturbing was the level of violence they’re using (seemingly allowed by the government) and the way they’re brainwashing kids, including young girls, into this movement. And, as with Trump and his followers, all they do is spout lies and believe lies.

I hope the last person they interviewed was right, that most Indians don’t back these fundamentalists. I hope a resistance is rising up over there as well.

Thanks again to Rad.

All the best,

Soleil
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soleil
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« Reply #109 on: Jul 23, 2017, 04:07 AM »

No, Trump can’t pardon himself. The Constitution tells us so.
Wahington Post
July 21, 2017

http://wapo.st/2gQVsxJ?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.54eb818bf00d

By Laurence H. Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen July 21 at 7:58 PM

Can a president pardon himself? Four days before Richard Nixon resigned, his own Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel opined no, citing “the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case.” We agree.

The Justice Department was right that guidance could be found in the enduring principles that no one can be both the judge and the defendant in the same matter, and that no one is above the law.

The Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully subject to criminal prosecution. That provision would make no sense if the president could pardon himself.

The pardon provision of the Constitution is there to enable the president to act essentially in the role of a judge of another person’s criminal case, and to intervene on behalf of the defendant when the president determines that would be equitable. For example, the president might believe the courts made the wrong decision about someone’s guilt or about sentencing; President Barack Obama felt this way about excessive sentences for low-level drug offenses. Or the president might be impressed by the defendant’s subsequent conduct and, using powers far exceeding those of a parole board, might issue a pardon or commutation of sentence.

Other equitable considerations could also weigh in favor of leniency. A president might choose to grant a pardon before prosecution of a person when the president believes that the prosecution is not in the national interest; President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon in part for this reason.

Or a president may conclude that even if a person may have committed a crime, he was acting in good faith to protect the national interest; President George H.W. Bush pardoned former defense secretary Casper Weinberger in the Iran-contra affair in part for this reason.

In all such instances, however, the president is acting as a kind of super-judge and making a decision about someone else’s conduct, the justice of someone else’s sentence or whether it is in the national interest to prosecute someone else. He is not making a decision about himself.

Self-pardon under this rubric is impossible. The foundational case in the Anglo-American legal tradition is Thomas Bonham v. College of Physicians, commonly known as Dr. Bonham’s Case. In 1610, the Court of Common Pleas determined that the College of Physicians could not act as a court and a litigant in the same case. The college’s royal charter had given it the authority to punish individuals who practiced without a license. However, the court held that it was impermissible for the college to receive a fine that it had the power to inflict: “One cannot be Judge and attorney for any of the parties.”

The Constitution embodies this broad precept against self-dealing in its rule that congressional pay increases cannot take effect during the Congress that enacted them, in its prohibition against using official power to gain favors from foreign states and even in its provision that the chief justice, not the vice president, is to preside when the Senate conducts an impeachment trial of the president.

The Constitution’s pardon clause has its origins in the royal pardon granted by a sovereign to one of his or her subjects. We are aware of no precedent for a sovereign pardoning himself, then abdicating or being deposed but being immune from criminal process. If that were the rule, many a deposed king would have been spared instead of going to the chopping block.

We know of not a single instance of a self-pardon having been recognized as legitimate. Even the pope does not pardon himself. On March 28, 2014, in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis publicly kneeled before a priest and confessed his sins for about three minutes.

President Trump thinks he can do a lot of things just because he is president. He says that the president can act as if he has no conflicts of interest. He says that he can fire the FBI director for any reason he wants (and he admitted to the most outrageous of reasons in interviews and in discussion with the Russian ambassador). In one sense, Trump is right — he can do all of these things, although there will be legal repercussions if he does. Using official powers for corrupt purposes — such as impeding or obstructing an investigation — can constitute a crime.

But there is one thing we know that Trump cannot do — without being a first in all of human history. He cannot pardon himself.

**********************************************************************

If Trump Pardons, It Could Be a Crime

New York Times
July 21, 2017

By DANIEL HEMEL and ERIC POSNER JULY 21, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/opinion/if-trump-pardons-crime-russia.html

President Trump and his lawyers have discussed whether he could pardon his relatives and aides to undercut, or even end, the special counsel’s investigation into charges that his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election, The Washington Post reported on Thursday night.

There’s no question that with a stroke of his pen, Mr. Trump can shield his son Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and other close associates from potential prosecution. Despite the uproar that would set off, we know by now that Mr. Trump loves the grand gesture, whatever the consequences. Besides, his family is at stake.

While his authority to pardon is crystal clear, a crucial, threatening, legal ambiguity should make him think twice about using this authority.

The Constitution gives the president “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” The framers had sound reasons for bestowing that authority. As Alexander Hamilton explained, criminal law in the late 18th century was so severe that without the pardon power to soften it, “justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel.”

Consistent with the framers’ design, the Supreme Court has interpreted the president’s pardon power broadly. The president can pardon anyone for any crime at any time — even before a suspect has been charged. Congress cannot withdraw presidential pardons, and prosecutors and courts cannot ignore them.

But could a pardon be a criminal abuse of power? Some would argue that would contradict the founders’ vision of unlimited pardon authority. If a president sold pardons for cash, though, that would violate the federal bribery statute. And if a president can be prosecuted for exchanging pardons for bribes, then it follows that the broad and unreviewable nature of the pardon power does not shield the president from criminal liability for abusing it.

The Justice Department and the F.B.I. proceeded on this premise in 2001 when they opened an investigation into possible bribery charges arising out of President Bill Clinton’s pardon of the fugitive financier Marc Rich, whose former wife had donated $450,000 to Clinton’s presidential library. The investigation lasted until 2005, though no charges resulted.

Of course, bribery would not be the relevant crime. No one thinks that Donald Jr. or Jared Kushner — or anyone else involved in the Russia scandal — would pay the president for a pardon.

Yet federal obstruction statutes say that a person commits a crime when he “corruptly” impedes a court or agency proceeding. If it could be shown that President Trump pardoned his family members and close aides to cover up possible crimes, then that could be seen as acting “corruptly” and he could be charged with obstruction of justice. If, as some commentators believe, a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mr. Trump could still face prosecution after he leaves the White House.

There is strong support for the claim that the obstruction statutes apply to the president.

In 1974, when the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Richard Nixon, members on both sides of the debate acknowledged that presidential obstruction of justice was not only impeachable but also criminal. A quarter century later, the Senate split 50-50 on whether to remove President Clinton from office on obstruction charges, but senators from both parties agreed that the obstruction laws applied to the president.

There is a broad consensus that a president exercises the pardon power properly — not “corruptly” — when he grants clemency based on considerations of mercy or the public welfare. President Gerald Ford invoked both of those values when he pardoned Nixon: He said that a prosecution of the former president would be too divisive and that Nixon had suffered enough. President George H.W. Bush gestured to both values when he pardoned former Reagan administration officials for their involvement in the Iran-contra scandal.

In Trump’s case, the question would be whether he was acting out of the goodness of his heart, or covering up for his family, his associates and himself.

We expect — and hope — that prosecutors and courts would give wide latitude to a president in evaluating his pardon decisions. Only in the most egregious cases should a president face criminal liability for actions taken while in office.

While the law on this subject is unsettled, that in itself should be unsettling to the president as he considers whether to grant clemency. Not only might the pardons constitute obstruction, but the pardoned individuals might be compelled to testify against Mr. Trump without any recourse to the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, since they would no longer have any concern about incriminating themselves.

He could ensure that his family members and aides get off scot-free for any crimes they may have committed during the 2016 campaign. But by extricating those individuals from a legal predicament, he might make his own predicament worse.

**********************************************************************

Can the President Be Indicted? A Long-Hidden Legal Memo Says Yes

New York Times
July 22, 2017

By CHARLIE SAVAGE JULY 22, 2017

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/22/us/politics/can-president-be-indicted-kenneth-starr-memo.html

WASHINGTON — A newfound memo from Kenneth W. Starr’s independent counsel investigation into President Bill Clinton sheds fresh light on a constitutional puzzle that is taking on mounting significance amid the Trump-Russia inquiry: Can a sitting president be indicted?

The 56-page memo, locked in the National Archives for nearly two decades and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, amounts to the most thorough government-commissioned analysis rejecting a generally held view that presidents are immune from prosecution while in office.

“It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties,” the Starr office memo concludes. “In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.”

Mr. Starr assigned Ronald Rotunda, a prominent conservative professor of constitutional law and ethics whom Mr. Starr hired as a consultant on his legal team, to write the memo in spring 1998 after deputies advised him that they had gathered enough evidence to ask a grand jury to indict Mr. Clinton, the memo shows.

Other prosecutors working for Mr. Starr developed a draft indictment of Mr. Clinton, which The Times has also requested be made public. The National Archives has not processed that file to determine whether it is exempt from disclosure under grand-jury secrecy rules.

In 1974, the Watergate special counsel, Leon Jaworski, had also received a memo from his staff saying he could indict the president, in that instance Richard M. Nixon, while he was in office, and later made that case in a court brief. Those documents, however, explore the topic significantly less extensively than the Starr office memo.

In the end, both Mr. Jaworski and Mr. Starr let congressional impeachment proceedings play out and did not try to indict the presidents while they remained in office. Mr. Starr, who had decided he could indict Mr. Clinton, said in a recent interview that he had concluded the more prudent and appropriate course was simply referring the matter to Congress for potential impeachment.

As Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the latest inquiry, investigates the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia and whether President Trump obstructed justice, the newly unearthed Starr office memo raises the possibility that Mr. Mueller may have more options than most commentators have assumed. Here is an explanation of the debate and what the Starr office memo has to say.

Why do some argue presidents are immune?

Nothing in the Constitution or federal statutes says that sitting presidents are immune from prosecution, and no court has ruled that they have any such shield. But proponents of the theory that Mr. Trump is nevertheless immune for now from indictment cited the Constitution’s “structural principles,” in the words of a memo written in September 1973 by Robert G. Dixon Jr., then the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

This argument boils down to practicalities of governance: The stigma of being indicted and the burden of a trial would unduly interfere with a president’s ability to carry out his duties, preventing the executive branch “from accomplishing its constitutional functions” in a way that cannot “be justified by an overriding need,” Mr. Dixon wrote.

In October 1973, Mr. Nixon’s solicitor general, Robert H. Bork, submitted a court brief that similarly argued for an “inference” that the Constitution makes sitting presidents immune from indictment and trial. And in 2000, Randolph D. Moss, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel under Mr. Clinton, reviewed the Justice Department’s 1973 opinions and reaffirmed their conclusion.

What was the Starr office’s stance?

In laying out his case, Mr. Rotunda played down arguments that permitting a president to be indicted would cripple the executive branch. Instead, he placed greater emphasis on immunity issues that the Nixon — and, later, Clinton — legal teams dismissed.

Among them, he noted that the Constitution’s speech-or-debate clause explicitly grants limited immunity to lawmakers for certain actions. “If the framers of our Constitution wanted to create a special immunity for the president,” he argued, “they could have written the relevant clause.”

He also wrote that the 25th Amendment, which allows for temporary replacement of a president who has become unable to carry out the duties of the office, created a mechanism that would keep the executive branch from becoming incapacitated if the president was on trial.

And he noted that if indictments had to wait until a president’s term was up, some crimes would become untriable — such as those where the statute of limitations had run out. That could happen for crimes that do not rise to an impeachable offense, he wrote, citing the example of a president who punches an irritating heckler.

“No one would suggest that the president should be removed from office simply because of that assault,” he wrote. “Yet the president has no right to assault hecklers. If there is no recourse against the president, if he cannot be prosecuted for violating the criminal laws, he will be above the law.”

What has the Supreme Court said?

The Supreme Court has never addressed the question of whether a sitting president can be indicted and tried. But in a landmark 1997 ruling, Clinton v. Jones, it permitted a lawsuit against Mr. Clinton for unofficial actions — accusations of misconduct before he became president — to proceed while he was in office.

In his 2000 memo, Mr. Moss dismissed this ruling, emphasizing that the burdens of being a criminal defendant were greater than the burdens of being sued by a private litigant. But in the Starr office memo, Mr. Rotunda deemed the ruling far more significant for the criminal question.

“If public policy and the Constitution allow a private litigant to sue a sitting president for acts that are not part of the president’s official duties (and are outside the outer perimeter of those duties), and that is what Clinton v. Jones squarely held,” he wrote, “then one would think that an indictment is constitutional because the public interest in criminal cases is greater.”

Could Mueller go where no prosecutor has before?

Even if Mr. Mueller were to uncover sufficient evidence to indict Mr. Trump, decide that the legal arguments in the Starr office memo were correct and conclude that he wanted to ask a grand jury for an indictment while Mr. Trump is president — all big ifs — yet another uncertainty would loom: whether he must accept the Office of Legal Counsel’s analysis, even if he disagreed with it.

The Justice Department’s regulations give Mr. Mueller, as a special counsel, greater autonomy than an ordinary prosecutor, but still say he must follow its “rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies.” They also permit Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to overrule Mr. Mueller if he tries to take a step that Mr. Rosenstein deems contrary to such practices.

There is no guiding precedent about whether Office of Legal Counsel memos would fall into that category, or if a special counsel is free to reach his own legal judgments. But as Mr. Mueller’s office investigates, the ambiguity about the rules could influence calculations in the Trump camp about how much to cooperate and how much to fight, said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor turned defense lawyer.

“I would be surprised if Mueller indicted the president for the same prudential reasons that swayed Starr,” Mr. Mariotti said. “But the specter that he might do that could have an impact on things. If I were on the president’s team, I would say, ‘I don’t think it’s likely that he would, but it’s possible,’ depending on what the facts are.”
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soleil
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« Reply #110 on: Jul 23, 2017, 04:08 AM »

If it weren’t true, it would be funny:

David Letterman on Trump: “If the guy was running Dairy Queen, he'd be gone. This guy couldn't work at the Gap.”

http://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/341427-letterman-why-do-we-have-to-be-victimized-by-trump
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Deva
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« Reply #111 on: Jul 23, 2017, 10:12 AM »

Hi Soleil,

In the future, instead of posting these articles, please simply provide
the link to the articles with a short description of what the articles
are. That way we save space on our server, and also this allows for
those interested to read the article(s) in question if they so want. We
really appreciate you involvement our the message board, and, of course,
the need to expose/ point out the reality of the evil called Trump. But,
in the future, please just post the links instead of the whole of an
article(s).

Namaste,

Deva
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« Reply #112 on: Oct 07, 2017, 10:35 PM »

Hi Rad,

Thanks for the articles you post on the Environment/Culture thread. Below are links (plus excerpts) to a few short pieces on Tom Dourson, an anti-EPA, pro chemical industry toxicologist who is about to be confirmed to the number two position at EPA.

It’s very disturbing that while Trump is distracting the country with his usual disgusting, corrupt and moronic behavior, he and his team are quietly dismantling many environmental, health and safety regulations, without much coverage in the mainstream media.

By the way, don’t Republicans have children? Do they not care that Trump is likely to make sick and possibly poison their children with his actions?

Trump’s Pick for EPA Safety Chief Argued Kids Are Less Sensitive to Toxins
Sharon Lerner, The Intercept, October 3 2017
 
https://theintercept.com/2017/10/03/epa-nominee-michael-dourson-toxic-chemicals/
 
Excerpts:
 
“Michael Dourson, the toxicologist who will be the subject of a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for what many consider the second most powerful post at the Environmental Protection Agency, has been hired by industry to consult on at least 30 of the chemicals he may be responsible for reviewing if he assumes office.
 
If confirmed as director of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Dourson will be in a position to set safety levels for many of the same chemicals his company was paid to defend, including nine pesticides scheduled for scrutiny and 20 industrial compounds that may be evaluated under the recently updated chemical safety law.

With Dourson and 4 New Big Chem Nominees, Trump EPA Grows Increasingly Stacked with Industry Cronies
10/02/2017 02:09 pm ET
Linda Reinstein, Huffington Post
 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/with-dourson-and-4-new-big-chem-nominees-trump-epa_us_59d271e3e4b0f58902e5ce59

Excerpts:
 
The EPA’s offices are being filled one by one with veterans of the chemical industry who are inclined to offer friendly benefits to their old colleagues, including Michael Dourson. His research firm, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), is known for conducting industry backed studies that are widely questioned by the scientific community.
 
Senator Tom Carper, Democrat of Delaware, told the New York Times “This is the first time anyone with such clear and extensive ties to the chemical industry has been picked to regulate that industry.”
 
Just this week, ACC (American Chemistry Council) nominated four of its own folk and fellow industry scientists to serve on the EPA’s new Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals. The people who make up this advisory committee matter. They’re the “experts” whose opinions will matter when the EPA is designing — or destroying — environmental regulations, and the results of these regulations have permanent impacts.

Trump nominee from Cincinnati Michael Dourson grilled at Senate hearing: 'Corporate lackey' or good scientist?
Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY Published 4:13 p.m. ET Oct. 4, 2017
 
http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/04/trump-nominee-cincinnati-grmichael-dourson-grilled-during-confirmation-hearing-top-environmental-pos/730196001/

Excerpts:
 
In perhaps the most dramatic moment, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., choking back tears, said families in her state “are so frightened” by Dourson’s nomination because of his work, on behalf of DuPont, that seemed to downplay the risks of a possible carcinogen in the drinking water of a small upstate New York community. A few of those families were in the audience, visibly emotional as they absorbed the scene unfolding in the Senate Environment and Public Works hearing room.
 
In another tense moment, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., pressed Dourson to explain his work on behalf of Koch Industries in examining the health effects of petroleum coke on a community in Chicago. Duckworth asked him whether he agreed with EPA’s current assessment that dust from petroleum coke presents a health risk.

“Yes or no?” she asked.

“I’m not really ready to answer this question,” Dourson said.

“Then I don’t think you’re ready to work for the EPA,” Duckworth responded.


 
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« Reply #113 on: Oct 09, 2017, 08:32 AM »

Hi Soleil,   

"By the way, don’t Republicans have children? Do they not care that Trump is likely to make sick and possibly poison their children with his actions?"

***************

Most of those who call themselves Republicans now are so blinded by their own delusions that equal their sense of personal security that those delusions do not allow for actual facts to penetrate those delusions. Such actual facts are stiff armed by whatever delusions are necessary to block those facts from disturbing those delusions. This of course in reinforced by the self segregation of these people that believe the same delusions so as to prove to themselves that their delusions are in fact 'reality'.

Within this of course is the underlying stupidity of so many Americans in general. There is no other country on Earth for example in which about half of the entire population 'believes' that the Earth is less that 10,000 years old, and that humans existed at the same time as the dinosaurs.

God Bless, Rad
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« Reply #114 on: Oct 09, 2017, 01:33 PM »

Hi Rad,

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree completely. It feels like these delusions Republicans are blinded by and their corresponding unwillingness to believe facts is the product of decades of brainwashing by the right wing.

Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” is the most thorough explanation I’ve found for how the billionaires behind this brainwashing have accomplished it.

A good article that explains it in a nutshell:

Dark Money review: Nazi oil, the Koch brothers and a rightwing revolution

Charles Kaiser

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/17/dark-money-review-nazi-oil-the-koch-brothers-and-a-rightwing-revolution

Excerpts:

The AEI was one of dozens of the new thinktanks bankrolled by hundreds of millions from the Kochs and their allies. Sold to the public as quasi-scholarly organizations, their real function was to legitimize the right to pollute for oil, gas and coal companies, and to argue for ever more tax cuts for the people who created them.
 
Next, the right turned its sights on American campuses. It bankrolled a whole new approach to jurisprudence called “law and economics”, Mayer writes, giving $10m to Harvard, $7m to Yale and Chicago, and over $2m to Columbia, Cornell, Georgetown and the University of Virginia.
 
Between 2005 and 2008, the Kochs alone spent nearly $25m on organizations fighting climate reform. One study by a Drexel University professor found 140 conservative foundations had spent $558m over seven years for the same purpose.
 
“The Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and Americans for Prosperity provided speakers, talking points, press releases, transportation, and other logistical support,” Mayer writes. As the writer Thomas Frank has pointed out, the genius of this strategy was to “turn corporate self-interest into a movement among people on the streets”.
 
The last element of this multi-pronged campaign saw the direct investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in political campaigns at every level, from president to city councillor.




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« Reply #115 on: Oct 25, 2017, 10:18 AM »

Hi Soleil,

Here is an article I just found that directly connects to the nature of the consciousness of so many Americans that correlates to the underlying stupidity within them.  

How America’s charismatic Christianity helped fuel the fantasyland presidency of Trump: https://www.rawstory.com/2017/10/how-americas-charismatic-christianity-helped-fuel-the-fantasyland-presidency-of-trump/

and

The religious right has come out of the closet — and it is everything its worst critics claimed: https://www.rawstory.com/2017/10/the-religious-right-has-come-out-of-the-closet-and-it-is-everything-its-worst-critics-claimed/

God Bless, Rad


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« Reply #116 on: Oct 26, 2017, 02:00 PM »

Hi Rad,

Thanks so much for the links to those articles. Really interesting.

I agree with what Kurt Anderson theorizes. I also think that a large segment of the population is being actively brainwashed (for ideological and financial reasons by people like the Koch brothers) into believing right wing evangelical Christian ideology and into not believing in science, facts and anything rational.

Do you think this brainwashing has gotten more potent and widespread (due to things like technology and more sophisticated methods like indoctrinating students at law schools and universities, as the Kochs and others have done) or do you think that there will always be a segment of the population that is prone to being brainwashed?

It just seems the consciousness of so many in this country is going back a few evolutionary steps and unfortunately this segment (approx. 1/3rd) of the population currently seems to have all the power.

Thanks for your insight. I appreciate your perspective.

All the best,

Soleil
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« Reply #117 on: Oct 27, 2017, 08:33 AM »

Hi Soleil,

"Do you think this brainwashing has gotten more potent and widespread (due to things like technology and more sophisticated methods like indoctrinating students at law schools and universities, as the Kochs and others have done) or do you think that there will always be a segment of the population that is prone to being brainwashed?"

***********

This all comes down to 'beliefs', and what people NEED to believe, at any given moment in time relative to whatever circumstances are manifesting in the existing context of an individuals or collective reality: sub-groups within the overall group of a country or society. Whole countries operate this way as well: witness N.Korea for example, or Russia wherein almost all information sources are controlled by Putin, China and controlled information, other countries where the information is not controlled yet subgroups choose to orientate to sources of information that validates what they already are needing to believe.

This is the essence of how Putin has infiltrated many countries now with an intent to destabilize those countries by way of planting information in various forums through which individuals, and subgroups, choose to 'believe' relative to their preexisting orientation to phenomenal reality, factual reality, in which they then project those beliefs in order to interpret that factual or phenomenal reality according to whatever the preexisting orientation to the factual or phenomenal reality is.

And, of course, Putin has a natal 9th House Pluto conjunct the S.Node the squares a 12th House Venus, and squares Jupiter in the 6th: a T-square. With his natal Lucifer in the 11th in Libra conjunct his Sun and Mercury, N.Node in Aquarius in the 3rd ruled by Uranus in the 8th in Cancer, which squares his Sun, Mercury, and Lucifer, you can see his master plan of manipulating and thus controlling information that is planted in various forums, groups, sub-groups, and whole countries including his own.

The phenomena of 'brainwashing' correlates in EA to the 11th House, Aquarius, and Uranus. His Uranus conjuncts Trump's Saturn, Venus, and his natal Lucifer in Trump's 11th House. And just as Putin has eliminated all objective, Uranus, 11th House, and Aquarius,  forms in information in his own country so too is Trump trying to do the same thing by way of his spluttering assertion of 'fake news' where the 'fake news' in anything other than what he or his media allies as in Fox news, etc, say it is. This evil type of 'brainwashing' is then 'believed' in by those THAT NEED TO BELIEVE IN IT.

On of the things that JWG pointed out in the English language is that in the middle of the word BELIEF stands the word LIE.


***********

"It just seems the consciousness of so many in this country is going back a few evolutionary steps and unfortunately this segment (approx. 1/3rd) of the population currently seems to have all the power"

*************

In America that is certainly true which is why American really is not a democracy at all: the minority can control the majority through not on the Electoral College system for presidential elections, but also through the evil and perverse 'gerrymandering' of all the congressional districts in that country. Within that is the fact it's Senate has I think 100 senators, two from each state, in which every senator has equal voting rights in the senate. Yet the populations of the various states are dramatically different from state to state. So all those 'red' states who have little populations compared to say California, New York, etc, which are 'blue' states, have an equal say. Another example of how the minority can control the majority. That is not democracy relative to 'one person, one equal vote'. And, within this, congresspeople and senators are supposedly elected by the 'people' in which they are meant to vote for the people who elected them. That is of course the opposite of the actual reality of that country wherein the 'elected' representatives vote for all the special interests that paid for them to get elected in the first place which are mainly corporations. In essence this is a kind of American fascism more than any kind of actual democracy.  

God Bless, Rad
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« Reply #118 on: Oct 29, 2017, 01:04 AM »

Hi Rad,

What you wrote cuts to the heart of exactly what's happening in such a clear and accurate way---a really powerful and extremely perceptive explanation. I have not heard it better expressed. Thank you for that.

You are exactly right about your assessment of what Trump and Putin are doing and about how America is not really a democracy. I actually think the framers didn't quite get it right---they did not anticipate: having a president with this much power; having a president who is insane and mentally unhinged; and having all three branches of government controlled by the same house. There are currently no adequate checks and balances. The system is failing, and, as you said, this has become a kind of American fascism more than any kind of democracy.

Everything you said about the electoral college and gerrymandering is spot-on, and cuts to the heart of the current imbalance.

I like the reminder about what JWG pointed out---that the middle of the word belief contains the word lie. Lies are what brainwashing is all about, especially when those lies are repeated over and over and over, as the Republicans and their propaganda machines like Fox News and Breitbart are so good at doing.

Re Putin and Trump and the way they are operating, it seems as if (for lack of a better way of putting it), the bad guys are winning. From a karmic perspective, one would think that a person who commits evil on a consistent basis eventually will reap the fruits of that evil, but Trump and Putin seem to be getting away with all manner of scandals and evidence of corruption, criminal activity and abuse of power.

In Trump's case, his base and the majority of Republicans still love him, which I find UNBELIEVABLE, since to me he is one of the worst excuses of a human being to have ever walked this earth.

With souls like these, who don't seem to be highly developed, do the karmic repercussions of their actions take longer to manifest? Do you think Trump (and Putin) will have the rug pulled out from under them at some point soon or do you think they will continue to teflon their way out of everything?

Thanks again for your assessment. Really appreciate it.

All the best,

Soleil
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« Reply #119 on: Oct 31, 2017, 05:53 AM »

Hi Soleil,

"With souls like these, who don't seem to be highly developed, do the karmic repercussions of their actions take longer to manifest? Do you think Trump (and Putin) will have the rug pulled out from under them at some point soon or do you think they will continue to teflon their way out of everything?"

***********

We need to remember that once a Soul makes a contract with evil the supernatural powers gained reflect two core 'laws' of evil itself:

1. To confound the laws of nature: which  means to turn everything upside down

2. To create the opposite reality intended in any given circumstance

So the natural laws of karma, action /reaction, become confounded and turned upside down, the opposite reality created relative the the natural reactions to an action.

Yet, at least as of now, this all will right itself AT SOME POINT. The perfect example of this is Hitler. In the end he was destroyed. In the end the evil coward took his own life: forced too.

God Bless, Rad
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