A strange exchange erupted between the U.S. House counsel and a federal judge appointed by Donald Trump Friday over the subpoenaed documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and the convened grand jury.
Trump has demanded none of his staff or appointees comply with Congressional subpoenas on impeachment and refuse to give documents requested by the committees. Understandably, the House took the case to court, appearing before Trump appointee Judge Neomi Rao.
Republicans have complained that Democrats are not following the procedure by holding an impeachment vote before the case can move through the courts to subpoena first-hand witnesses that Trump has blocked. Yet, Trump’s judge asked Congress why they were coming to the Judicial branch when they had other avenues of getting Trump to comply with the subpoenas.
The last available option to Congress, House General Counsel Doug Letter said, would be to dispatch the Sergeant at Arms to march into the Justice Department with guns blazing.
Letter: “That’s stunning. That’s just stunning. If this court rules that the House is entitled to this material, the Attorney General is going to say — no?”
Judge Rao: “I’m asking a hypothetical.”
Letter: “I guess what we would do is we would use the main remedy that the House has had from the beginning. We’ll send the Sergeant at Arms over to the Justice Department. I cannot imagine that anybody at the Justice Department is going to interfere with him doing his duty as an officer to the House. And he will pick up the grand jury materials, and he will bring them to the House.”
Judge Rao: “So you do have some methods of self-help that don’t require this court to intervein?”
Letter: “Absolutely. We can send the Sergeant at Arms, and he can go have a gun battle with –”
Judge Rao: “Why not avail yourself of that remedy?”
Letter: “The reason is obvious.”
Judge Rao: “Why is it obvious?”
“When was the last time that was done?” another voice can be heard asking but isn’t identified.
Letter: “That’s why — again, this was discussed in the first case — that’s why we don’t do that anymore. We don’t have the Sergeant at Arms go out and arrest people and have a gun battle with Mr. Barr’s FBI security detail. Instead, we go to court.”
Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner was in the courtroom for the exchange and explained that it isn’t often that discussion of two branches of government facing off in a gun battle is considered “light-hearted.”
“I don’t think it was intended to be serious, and it was really down in the weeds of a legal issue,” he explained. “If the court decided that these grand jury materials from the Mueller case can be sort of unsealed and available, that’s different from the court ordering the Department of Justice to turn them over. They seem like a difference without a distinction, but they are different things. So, I do think that Mr. Letter was surprised by the question because you have to believe if a federal appellate court orders that, ‘Yes, the House is entitled to these Mueller materials,’ then naturally the Department of Justice headed up by Bill Barr will simply turn them over.”
Kirschner said that given what Barr has done in the past, he’s not sure “it wasn’t actually a question with some consequences.”
Listen to the audio of the court discussion and the analysis by MSNBC in the video below:
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‘Getting Our Clocks Cleaned’: Former Adviser Admits Trump’s Candidates All Got ‘Slaughtered’
The morning after another one of Donald Trump’s high-profile hand-picked candidates lost — this time in a Georgia run-off for a U.S. Senate seat — a former adviser to the ex-president admitted the Republican Party can’t handle any more losses by following Trump’s lead because they are getting “slaughtered.”
Sitting in on a “CNN This Morning” panel, GOP campaign adviser David Urban also said Trump and the Republican party’s aversion to mail-in voting is a primary reason “we’re getting our clocks cleaned.”
Speaking with hosts Poppy Harlow and Don Lemon, Urban explained, “It was the president of the United States saying don’t vote by mail, you can’t trust it. Now Republicans are getting their clocks cleaned in early voting, right? We are getting destroyed by mail-in and early voting.”
“Listen, as you guys know, when you vote by mail you can see the votes come in, if you vote incorrectly you can cure it, you can see who didn’t turn out,” he elaborated. “Democrats have built an incredible machine that can do this, who’s come out, didn’t come out. Republicans wait until election day to vote, so the former president got that completely wrong and we need to really focus on this.”
Continuing in that vein he added, “John Avlon, the hour before this said as long as trump wraps up about 35% of the party, you can’t look across that board and say we did well. Trump can’t wake up this morning and say I did okay — he lost everywhere; my home state in Pennsylvania, we got drubbed. So candidates matter, and candidate quality matters.”
“America sorry you’re waking up to this, but Donald Trump is still the dominant force in the Republican Party, this morning, tomorrow morning, and he’s most likely the nominee and stands as a fact to be the next president again,” he added. “Donald Trump stands a very good chance of being president of the United States despite the Walker loss, the senate candidates going down because they’re the ride-or-die Trumpers with him until the end.”
Image via Shutterstock
Raphael Warnock Beats Trump-Backed Herschel Walker – Democrats Increase Senate Majority
Millions of Americans in Georgia voted to re-elect Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock and send him back to Washington D.C., NBC News projects. It is a clear mandate for the policies enacted by the Biden administration and a strong rebuke for the flailing former president, Donald Trump.
Senator Warnock faced a challenge from a Texas Republican who claimed to live in the Peach State, Trump-backed former NFL star Herschel Walker.
The New York Times, confirming Warnock is the projected winner, reports a huge number of Georgians, more than 3.3 million, voted in the runoff election.
An admitted Texas resident, Walker’s long list of hypocritical claims and actions, falsehoods, lies, and troubling business and tax dealings were only outweighed by the women who accused him of violent behavior, pressuring them and paying for them to get abortions, and revelations he had not one child but four, including a son he almost never sees.
Warnock, who is also the Senior Pastor at the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, out-raised and out-campaigned Walker, especially in the last week.
Herschel Walker appeared at only two events this weekend, Politico reported, “a tailgate in Atlanta before a University of Georgia football game on Saturday, where he did not speak, and a Sunday rally in Loganville, where his stump speech touched on everything from complaints about pronouns and critical race theory to funding law enforcement.”
With 51 votes in the Senate, Democrats will not be forced into a power-sharing agreement with Republicans as they were two years ago. President Biden will be able to nominate and have confirmed even more judges, an area he has excelled. And Democrats will have full committee majorities, giving them power to issue subpoenas in investigations.
The Washington Post on Tuesday noted that Democrats having 51 votes is “an insurance policy against the unthinkable — the possibility that vacancies or party switches could flip the majority. That has happened before, most recently in 2001. The reason that it hasn’t happened more often is mostly because the Senate isn’t usually this closely divided. But vacancies and seat flips do happen — a lot. In fact, since World War II, about 70 percent of Congresses have featured some kind of shift in partisan balance of the Senate between elections.”
The unthinkable includes the possibility that a Democratic Senator in a state headed by a Republican governor could resign or die, allowing a Republican to be installed in their place. As The Post notes, there are 11 cases currently where that could happen.
Warnock unseated a GOP Senator in a 2020 special election, making this his first full elected six-year term.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain notes President Biden “becomes the first President since FDR 1934 to see every Senator in his party re-elected (who was seeking re-election.)”
Watch: McConnell Refuses to Say He Will Not Support Trump for President Even After ‘Terminate the Constitution’ Demand
Even after Donald Trump called for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution this weekend and demanded he be put back into office or be given a do-over national presidential election, Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is refusing to say he will not support the ex-president’s current run for the White House.
McConnell kicked off his weekly press conference Tuesday by mildly criticizing Trump, although not mentioning him by name.
“First, let me just say that anyone seeking the presidency who thinks that the Constitution could somehow be suspended or not followed, it seems to me would have a very hard time being sworn in as president of United States,” McConnell told reporters.
But when asked if he “categorically” would refuse to support Trump – personally or in his role as Senate Republican Minority Leader – McConnell refused to go that far.
“This is the second week in a row you’ve come out to begin your press conference criticizing Donald Trump,” a reporter off-camera said. “Can you say categorically that you do not support him if he were the Republican nominee?”
McConnell could not.
“What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in, to the presidency, if you’re not willing to uphold the Constitution. That’s what I said, and I just said it again,” McConnell stated.
“How about your personal support?” the reporter shot back.
McConnell ignored the question.
During the 2016 campaign Trump also made clear he did not feel beholden to upholding the Constitution, so it’s unclear why McConnell would suggest he could not be sworn in again should he be elected in 2024.
In fact, Trump’s concerning remarks surrounding the Constitution in 2016 led Brown University political science professor Corey Brettschneider to pen a piece for Politico: “Trump vs. the Constitution: A Guide.”
“It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution. But it’s unclear if he understands it,” it begins.
McConnell is not only the second longest serving leader of a party’s caucus in the Senate, nor his he just the Senate Republican Minority Leader.
He wields massive power and influence via his ties to a Super PAC.
According to CNN, the Senate Leadership Fund is “a super PAC affiliated with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.”
This year alone, the Senate Leadership Fund has spent nearly $300 million to elect Republicans to the U.S. Senate. In 2020 it spent over $475 million.
Many have seen their ads, which are almost entirely, according to Open Secrets, against Democrats, not for Republicans.
Watch McConnell below or at this link.
Question: Can you say categorically that you will not support Trump if he were the Republican nominee?
McConnell: What I’m saying is it would be pretty hard to be sworn in to the presidency if you’re not willing to uphold the constitution pic.twitter.com/KOcHOUtpnc
— Acyn (@Acyn) December 6, 2022
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