According to a former Department of Justice inspector general, Donald Trump is likely to continue to bypass the DOJ for advice on any more pardons as he prepares to leave office, instead relying on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, conspiracy-minded attorney Sidney Powell and other “legal misfits” for guidance.
And that includes whether the president should take the bold and unprecedented step of self-pardoning.
In a Guardian examination of what to expect from acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who took over the DOJ after former AG Bill Barr stepped down last Wednesday, former Justice Department officials expressed fears about what the president might pressure Rosen to do during the president’s final days.
According to Guardian’s Peter Rosen, “Former justice department officials say they are worried Trump will lean on Barr’s less experienced successor, the acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, to push policies which Trump has suggested he backs, including naming special counsels to investigate President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and using the DoJ to investigate Trump’s baseless charges of widespread election fraud.”
In an interview with former prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig, who worked under Ken Starr on the Bill Clinton investigations, prior to Barr’s leaving the president indicated he wanted an AG who would act on his whims and there are now concerns that Rosen may be deluged by Trump with demands.
“There are many things we might expect Trump to order the department to do in the waning days of his presidency,” Rosenzweig explained. “Most likely, is the appointment of a special counsel to probe Hunter Biden. Another is a new Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion, reversing the Nixon-era decision that presidential self-pardons are illegal.”
Former DOJ Inspector General Michael Bromwich agreed, stating, “I don’t think we can fully imagine the range of inappropriate actions Rosen could be asked to undertake. Unlike Barr, Rosen is an unknown and enigmatic figure to the outside world, with no reputation outside the narrow circle of people he has worked with. I doubt that he wants his legacy to be kowtowing to the whims of a president who has taken leave of his senses.”
However, Bromwich added that it is apparent the president has been skipping over asking the DOJ for pardon advice — based on his controversial pardons over the past week — and may seek the counsel of the attorneys who have spearheading his attacks on the 2020 presidential election results.
“I don’t think an OLC opinion on the issue of self-pardon would be worth the exercise for anyone. If it were to conclude that a self-pardon is constitutional, it would be dismissed as a coerced opinion and would further degrade the reputation of OLC,” Bromwich explained before suggesting, “I doubt whether he [Trump] will feel the need to obtain such an opinion. He will choose instead to rely on the legal advice of Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and the rest of the legal misfits he has surrounded himself with.”
Bromwich also had some advice for new AG Rosen if he has concerns about leaving his temporary new job with his reputation intact.
“If I were Rosen, I would change my phone number and go on an extended vacation,” Bromwich advised. “If that’s not possible, he should make it clear that he won’t do anything that violates his oath to the constitution, or his fundamental sense of right and wrong.”
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Watch: Trump Announces He Will Use the Courts to Stop States From Counting Ballots Past Election Day
President Donald Trump has just announced he will use the federal courts – which he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have packed with hundreds of far right wing extremist judges over the past four years – to block states from counting ballots past Election Day.
On Tuesday, Trump hinted as he often does, his intention – suggesting, falsely, that counting ballots after Election Day is illegal.
“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on Nov. 3, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate, and I don’t believe that’s by our laws.” — Trump (In fact tallying all the ballots is consistent with the law.) pic.twitter.com/Dlj7DCiCT1
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 27, 2020
Vox journalist Aaron Rupar at the time noted, “I don’t know whether he’ll succeed, but it’s very clear that Trump is going to try to prevent states from tallying votes after Election Day.
He just made clear he will.
“We’ll see what happens at the end of the day,” on Election Day, Trump said Wednesday afternoon, according to CQ Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski. “Hopefully it won’t go longer than that. Hopefully the few states remaining that want to take a lot of time after November 3rd to count ballots, that won’t be allowed by the various courts.”
Heres the video:
Pres. Trump says “hopefully” states counting ballots after Nov. 3 “won’t be allowed by the various courts…Hopefully that won’t be happening.”
— ABC News (@ABC) October 28, 2020
The “various courts,” include the U.S. Supreme Court, which weeks ago Trump made clear had to have nine Justices so it could decide the election in his favor. He got his wish in record time, with Justice Barrett’s Monday night confirmation and swearing in.
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 24, 2020
Top Senate Republican: Plan Is ‘to Move to Immediately Acquit on Friday Night’ if No Witnesses Are Called
U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), the third most-powerful Republican Senator, says the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump could be over by Friday. Barrasso, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, Wednesday afternoon said that it appears no witnesses will be called, which means there would be nothing left for Senators to do except vote on whether or not to convict and remove Donald John Trump as President of the United States.
Reuters reports Barrasso “told reporters on Wednesday that Republicans seemed to have the ‘momentum’ to move to end the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump by Friday, without calling witnesses.”
The NY Daily News reports Barrasso says the “momentum is clearly in the direction of moving too final judgement on Friday. We still have a couple members who said they want to listen to answers to questions, but that’s where the momentum is in the caucus right now.”
NBC News adds that Barrasso says the “plan would be to move to immediately acquit on Friday night if in fact the Senate votes against calling additional witnesses.”
Barrasso could also be doing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bidding, trying to squelch the tremendous momentum among the American people who do want witnesses to be called. Polls show 75% of the public thinks witnesses should testify before Senators vote.
Image: Official White House Photograph by Shealah Craighead via Flickr
Lawmaker Says He’s the Victim of ‘Social Media Lynching’ After Audio Leaks of Him Laughing About Executing Gays
One of several reasons Hill is refusing to apologize, he says, is because not apologizing “emboldens my base.”
Tea Party Republican State Rep. Mike Hill is refusing to apologize – and he’s now on the attack, claiming he’s the victim of a “social media lynching.” Hill was caught on tape laughing after a constituent asked if it would be possible to pass a law to execute gay people, because the Bible calls for it.
“Absurd to ask me to apologize for a statement that I did not make and that no one took seriously. This is a social media lynching!” Rep. Hill insisted in a tweet Saturday.
And while Rep. Hill did not make the initial offensive remarks, he did laugh, and did not tell attendees at the Women for Responsible Legislation meeting – held at Pensacola’s taxpayer-funded city hall no less – that even joking about executing someone is unacceptable.
Hill did chime in at the time, too, noting that killing gay people is called for “in the Old Testament.”
Rep. Hill also lashed out at Democratic State Rep. Carlos Smith over the weekend, calling him a “liar,” while falsely insisting he “did not laugh at or discuss legislation to execute anyone.”
You are a liar. I did not laugh at or discuss legislation to execute anyone. How absurd! You are many things, but truthful is not one of them. https://t.co/Pmf6LdM0vB
— Mike Hill (@MikeHillfl) June 1, 2019
And again, Hill tried to play the victim, accusing a local Florida news outlet of “despicable” “social media lynching.”
Your social media lynching is despicable. I never laughed at a joke about killing gays, and you know it. Your trash media has a history of attacking me. https://t.co/IMM5ghNwe3
— Mike Hill (@MikeHillfl) June 1, 2019
But as the Miami New Times reports, one reason Hill is refusing to apologize is because his base eats this stuff up.
“It simply emboldens my base,” he told talk radio host Burnie Thompson. “Just like when the fake news attacks Trump and his followers come out, I got all kinds of responses today, Burnie. It’s encouraging and strengthening, people saying, ‘Mike, don’t back down, don’t apologize, you didn’t do anything wrong. You stand strong with your convictions, that’s why we like you.'”
Image via Facebook
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