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Obama’s ‘Most Likely Candidate’ To Replace Scalia? Loretta Lynch, According To Top SCOTUS Analyst

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Attorney General Loretta Lynch May Be Obama’s Top Choice – And Best Prospect For Getting Confirmed

In a normal world where Republicans were not dedicated to blocking every move of a Black president, it would be easy for Barack Obama to choose a progressive replacement for the now vacant seat formerly held by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but this is not a normal world.

The Senate Majority Leader has vowed to not even take up any nominee President Obama puts forth – something stunningly without precedent. The U.S. Constitution mandates the President choose a nominee, and the Senate shall offer “advice and consent” on that nominee:

“…he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States…”

Meanwhile, in today’s world, President Obama must choose a nominee who would easily get confirmed, and a nominee who will not give the GOP any reason to automatically disqualify them.

That nominee must also be someone who would cause outrage if the Republicans in the Senate stick to their vows of not allowing Obama to fulfill his constitutional duty.

Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog, the top authority on all things related to the Supreme Court, says Attorney General Loretta Lynch is the most likely candidate for President Obama to choose. Unfortunately, he also says he believes “Republicans will eventually permit the nomination to proceed on the merits and reject it on party lines.” In other words, given the GOP majority in the Senate, she will not be confirmed.

Goldstein stresses, contrary to the GOP’s fictitious claim, “there is no genuine precedent for refusing to act on a Supreme Court nomination because of an impending presidential election.”

He goes on to state, “Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who is fifty-six, is a very serious possibility.  She is known and admired within the administration.”

And Goldstein believes that Lynch’s very recent vetting “for attorney general also makes it practical for the president to nominate her in relatively short order.”  

There is some imperative to move quickly, because each passing week strengthens the intuitive appeal of the Republican argument that it is too close to the election to confirm the nominee. Conversely, a nomination that is announced quickly allows Democrats to press the bumper sticker point that Republicans would leave the Supreme Court unable to resolve many close cases for essentially “a year.”

He concludes, “I think the administration would relish the prospect of Republicans either refusing to give Lynch a vote or seeming to treat her unfairly in the confirmation process. Either eventuality would motivate both black and women voters.”

It’s going to be a battle of epic proportions.

 

Image by The White House via Flickr
Hat tip: NBC News

 

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‘Something’s Fishy Here’: Trump’s Latest $175 Million Bond Filings Questioned by Experts

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Attorneys for Donald Trump waited until less than two hours before midnight Monday to file revisions to the ex-president’s $175 million bond for the judgment in his civil fraud case after New York State Attorney General Letitia James questioned the validity of his first bond. Legal experts are now questioning details of the new bond filings. Some suggest a portion of the $175 million might also currently be in use to secure other debts or obligations.

After Trump was found liable for manipulation of his net worth in the civil business fraud case and ordered to pay a $354.9 million penalty plus interest, he was required to post bond to ensure the people of the State of New York would receive $454.2 million if his appeal is unsuccessful.

“The judge said that the former president’s ‘complete lack of contrition’ bordered on pathological,” The New York Times reported two months ago.

Trump’s attorneys later declared it impossible for him to come up with a bond of that amount, and an appeals court drastically reduced the required bond amount to $175 million.

READ MORE: ‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

After 10 PM Monday night, ahead of the midnight deadline, attorneys for Donald Trump in court filings said the $175 million bond is secured, and is tied to a Trump account at Charles Schwab that has over $175 million in cash, CNN reports. The filing states the California company securing the bond, Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC),  has administrative access to it and can pay out the $175 million if needed.

Trump’s attorneys “asked the judge to set aside the attorney general’s challenge to the bond and award him costs and fees.”

Professor of law Andrew Weissmann, a frequent MSNBC legal analyst and former Dept. of Justice official, is raising questions.

“Something’s fishy here,” he wrote late Monday night. “If Trump has $175M free and clear, why not just directly post it and not pay a fee for a surety bond? And the agreement does not give Knight a lien on the account as collateral and seems to afford Trump a two-day window to dissipate the account.”

A screenshot of a portion of the filing, posted by MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin, states, “Schwab, as custodian of the account, has acknowledged KSIC’s right to exercise control over the account within two business days of receiving notice from KSIC of KSIC’s intent to activate the control.”

Attorney and journalist Seth Abramson in a series of posts on social media claimed, “so this is looking very bad for Donald Trump. He says in his Monday night filing that the Schwab account has $175.3 million *in total*, so *if* Axos Bank is depending on that same account for a (semi-)liquid $100M in collateral on another loan, this bond filing is DOA.”

After asking, “Is Trump double-dipping?” Abramson posted more details.

NCRM has not verified those claims.

Attorney Lupe B. Luppen adds, “it took about ten seconds from opening the account security agreement to find a significant drafting error, which makes the signature page look like it belongs to a different agreement (DJT Jr’s attestation identifies the wrong secured party—a Chubb co.).”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Late Monday night on MSNBC Weissmann “expressed incredulity,” as Mediaite reported, saying of Trump and his bond: “It is just so remarkable. This is somebody who has been found by two juries to have defamed somebody, who has been found to have sexually assaulted somebody – the company of which has been found criminally liable for a decade-long tax conspiracy, criminally, and has been found to have committed fraud, has to post a bond of $175 million, is on trial starting today for a criminal case involving 34 felonies.”

“And he can’t find a frigging company that is registered in New York? Meaning, that they are licensed to do business here, which it appears they are not, and that has the wherewithal to pay the money because remember, the whole point is that you either have to put up the money now or you have to find a bond company that is sufficiently liquid that the plaintiff can look to that bond company if at the end of the day the judgment is affirmed.”

Attorney General Letitia James earlier had alleged KSIC, the company that secured the bond, was not registered to do so in New York. Experts questioned the language of that filing, claiming it did not require the company that secured the bond to actually pay out $175 million should Trump lose his appeal and be ordered to pay the full amount.

Calling it a “bizarre contract,” earlier this month The Daily Beast reported, “the legal document from Knight Specialty Insurance Company doesn’t actually promise it will pay the money if the former president loses his $464 million bank fraud case on appeal. Instead, it says Trump will pay, negating the whole point of an insurance company guarantee.”

READ MORE: ‘Not a Good Start’: Judge Slams Trump’s ‘Offensive’ Recusal Claims as a ‘Loose End’

 

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‘Your Client Is a Criminal Defendant’: Judge Denies Trump Request to Skip Trial for SCOTUS

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Barely hours after New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan gave Donald Trump the same set of rules requiring him to appear in court as all other criminal defendants, the ex-president’s attorney requested his client be allowed to skip trial next Thursday to attend the U.S. Supreme Court arguments on his immunity claim.

“If you do not show up there will be an arrest,” Judge Merchan had told Trump Monday at the start of his criminal trial, according to MSNBC’s Jesse Rodriguez. Trump is facing 34 felony charges for falsification of business records related to his alleged attempts to cover up hush money payments in an effort to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.

Judge Merchan had read from the same rules that apply to all defendants, but right at the end of day one of trial Trump attorney Todd Blanche made his request.

MSNBC’s Lisa Rubin reports, “after the potential jurors are gone, the fireworks start after Blanche asks Merchan to allow Trump to attend the SCOTUS argument on presidential immunity next Thursday, 4/25.”

READ MORE: ‘What Will Happen in the Situation Room?’: Trump Appearing to Sleep in Court Fuels Concerns

“The Manhattan DA’s office opposes the request, saying they have accommodated Trump enough,” MSNBC’s Katie Phang adds, citing Rubin’s reporting.

Judge Merchan “acknowledges a Supreme Court argument is a ‘big deal,’ but says that the jury’s time is a big deal too. Blanche says they don’t think they should be here at all, suggesting that the trial never should have been scheduled during campaign season.”

“That comment appeared to trigger Merchan, who asked, voice dripping with incredulity, ‘You don’t think you should be here at all?'” Rubin writes.

“He then softly asks Blanche to move along from that objection, on which he has already ruled. Merchan then got stern, ruling that Trump is not required to be at SCOTUS but is required, by law, to attend his criminal trial here.”

“Your client is a criminal defendant in New York. He is required to be here. He is not required to be in the Supreme Court. I will see him here next week,” Judge Merchan told Blanche, CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane reported.

That was not the only request Trump’s attorneys made to have their client excused from the criminal proceedings.

Lawfare managing editor Tyler McBrien reports, “Blanche says that the campaign has taken pains to schedule events on Wednesdays and asks Merchan if Trump be excused from any hearings that take place on Wednesdays, when the jury is in recess. Merchan says he will take this into consideration.”

READ MORE: ‘Scared to Death’: GOP Ex-Congressman Brings Hammer Down on ‘Weak’ Trump

Blanche also asked Judge Merchan to allow Trump to skip trial to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation. While the judge has yet to rule, Trump told reporters at the end of day one of trial, “it looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation.”

The judge told Trump, “I cannot rule on those dates at this time.”

But Trump told reporters, “It looks like the judge isn’t going to allow me to escape this scam, it’s a scam trial.”

Watch below or at this link
.

 

 

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‘What Will Happen in the Situation Room?’: Trump Appearing to Sleep in Court Fuels Concerns

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Donald Trump’s apparent sleeping in court on day one of his criminal trial for alleged business fraud related to a cover-up of “hush money” election interference has critics concerned.

While initial reactions to the news largely mocked him as “Sleepy Don,” or “Drowsy Don,” political and legal experts are wondering if the 77-year old ex-president would be able to stay awake during times of crisis, when an alert president would be critical to the nation’s security.

The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman, the longtime “Trump whisperer,” reported the ex-president “seemed alternately irritated and exhausted Monday morning,” “appeared to nod off a few times, his mouth going slack and his head drooping onto his chest.” She added the ex-president’s attorney “passed him notes for several minutes before Mr. Trump appeared to jolt awake and notice them.”

READ MORE: ‘Staged Photo Op’ of Trump With Black Chick-fil-A Patrons Was ‘True Retail Politics’ Says Fox News

Haberman followed up her Times article with a CNN appearance detailing more of what she saw. The Guardian‘s Victoria Bekiempis, MSNBC’s Katie Phang, and others also reported Trump was seen nodding off.

Critics raised concerns that question Trump’s ability to perform the duties of President.

“If Trump is too old and weak to stay awake at his own criminal trial, what do you think will happen in the Situation Room?” asked former senior advisor to President Barack Obama Dan Pfeiffer.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch invoked Hillary Clinton’s famous “3 AM phone call” ad from the 2008 campaign, and wrote:

“2008: Which candidate can handle the 3 a.m. phone call?

2024: Which candidate can handle the 3 p.m. phone call?”

Several also noted that Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State, testified for 11 hours on live television before a congressional committee and did not fall asleep. Some also noted that President Joe Biden sat for a five-hour deposition with Special Consul Robert Hur and did not fall asleep.

READ MORE: ‘Not a Good Start’: Judge Slams Trump’s ‘Offensive’ Recusal Claims as a ‘Loose End’

Calling it “simply incredible,” professor of law, MSNBC/NBC News legal contributor and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance asked, “If he can’t keep his eyes open when his own liberty is at stake, why would Americans have confidence he’s capable of focus when our country’s interests require sound presidential leadership?”

MSNBC contributor Brian Tyler Cohen commented, “To be clear, ‘Sleepy Joe’ is awake and criss-crossing the country, while Trump is literally asleep at his own criminal trial.”

Former journalist Jennifer Schultz observed, “Moment of truth for all the legacy media outlets who hyped the Biden age stories. Now we have actual evidence of the other candidate falling asleep at a critical time.”

 

Image via Shutterstock

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