On MSNBC Saturday, former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance outlined the legal problems that the new civil suits against former President Donald Trump will create for him.
“These civil cases are a very interesting aspect of the search for accountability,” said Vance. “We’ve seen the flawed impeachment procedure, which failed to hold him accountable despite evidence. We’re looking at the criminal process and criminal investigations ongoing, too early to conclude whether that would ultimately reach former President Trump and his inner circle. These civil cases are a direct and potentially more quick route for the American people to gain the truth.”
“Representative [Eric] Swalwell’s complaint is particularly interesting because it raises claims under the Ku Klux Klan Act, which talks about interference with Congress’ performance of official duties, and files suit in his individual capacity, arguing interference and interference with his well-being and the well-being of others,” said Vance. “Only one of the claims in this complaint have to survive a motion to dismiss, an early preliminary motion that the defendants will file in order to begin the discovery process, and that’s part of the legal proceedings in the civil case where a litigant like Representative Swalwell has the ability to take depositions to ask for documents where there’s actually an obligation that the defendants respond under oath.”
“This could get interesting relatively quickly,” concluded Vance, although she added, “It’s too early, I think, to assess whether the suit has a chance of success on the merits.”
“At the end of the day you serve at the pleasure of the president,” saidformer EEOC general council David Lopez. “I think the norm that was violated was that she decided to stay. I’ve never heard of that happening before.”
Image via Shutterstock
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Republicans Planning to Force Censure Vote Against Maxine Waters – Here’s How It Could Backfire: Report
Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is set on forcing a vote in the House on his resolution to censure Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA). There’s little chance it will pass, and Democrats might be able to block it before he’s able to force a vote, but regardless it very easily could backfire against them, according to Politico.
Republicans in the House and Senate are claiming to be furious after Waters went to Minnesota to talk with Black Lives Matter protestors and told them if former police officer Derek Chauvin is not found guilty of killing George Floyd they must “stay on the street” and become “more confrontational.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is falsely claiming Waters is inciting violence, and she’s moving to expel the California Democrat, which also will not happen.
Others, like House Republican Minority Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday falsely claimed Waters was “trying to incite violence and, in fact, there is violence going on right now in Minnesota because of her actions.”
Republicans are trying to inflate Waters’ comments and use them against Democrats. The National Republican Congressional Committee “is already planning to use this vote to tie moderate Democrats to Waters, according to spokesman Michael Mcadams,” Politico reports.
Politico says if Republicans go ahead with this plan it “could also trigger Democratic action as well.”
Many House Democrats are still furious about the January 6 insurrection, and that they’re forced to work “alongside apologists to an insurrection.”
“Tensions remain high in the House after Jan. 6, with Democrats privately lamenting that they’re working alongside apologists to an insurrection. Democratic leadership has privately worked to persuade many of these frustrated members to hold back on forcing votes rebuking their GOP colleagues to try to lower the temperature in Washington. They may be less restrained after the GOP-led vote on Waters.”
Democrats could force action against some of the extremists, or resuscitate what had appeared to be an all-but-dead January 6 House Commission, something Speaker Pelosi just brought up again, as did a New York Times editorial board member.
‘Nightmare Scenario’ for Democracy: ‘Desperate’ GOP May Sink to New Depths to Fight Election Reform – With SCOTUS’s Help
While Republicans in state legislatures are proposing voter suppression bills all around the U.S., Democrats are pushing the For the People Act at the federal level — a comprehensive voting rights bill that has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but now faces a steep uphill climb in the U.S. Senate. Democrats have a narrow majority and must contend with the filibuster for most legislation. Far-right pundits have been railing against the act, known as HR1, on conservative media outlets like Fox News, Fox Business and Newsmax, and observers warn Republicans will take extreme efforts to fight any such reforms.
Beutler contemplates various scenarios and how they could affect voting rights if they come to pass. Some scenarios to consider, Beutler writes, include 82-year-old Justice Stephen Breyer’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court becoming available, Democrats losing their narrow Senate majority, and the court attacking voting reforms if Democrats somehow manage to get them passed in the Senate.
“Here’s a nightmare scenario I encourage everyone — but particularly, Breyer and Senate Democrats — to imagine having to endure,” Beutler writes. “Through illness or untimely death, Democrats’ 50-50 Senate ‘majority’ becomes a 49-50 Senate minority. They don’t retain the seat. Joe Biden loses reelection. We’re all left hoping Breyer can survive into his 90s so that the Supreme Court doesn’t swing from 6-3 to 7-2. Mitch McConnell gets Charlie Kirk fitted for a robe.”
He continues: “Now consider this less speculative nightmare scenario. Democrats let bygones be bygones, leave court reform out of their larger democracy-reform project, change the filibuster rules, pass both HR 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — and the existing Supreme Court takes a hatchet to it. We should know to expect this, because Republicans declared the For the People Act ‘unconstitutional’ sight unseen, as a kind of bat signal to their allies on the courts to make sure democracy reform can’t take effect.”
Beutler adds, “We can’t know in advance which provisions of these bills the Supreme Court would invalidate, but it’s trivially easy to step into the shoes of conservative justices and extend the same pseudo-constitutional arguments they’ve used to degrade American election law over the last decade to new reforms. Campaign-finance regulations? Well, those obviously violate the 1st Amendment. Non-partisan gerrymandering? The federal government can’t dictate that kind of thing to the states!”
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) April 16, 2021
But Democrats don’t just face dangers from the right-wing Supreme Court. Republicans controlling key state legislatures, oftened heavily gerrymandered to protect their majorities from swings in public opinion, are actively considering how to thwart efforts to make elections fairer.
Democracy Docket, in a “legislation alert” published this week, describes Texas House Bill 4507 — which has been proposed by Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives and would “essentially create a two-tiered voter registration system, in an effort to evade federal voting rights protections that could pass into law this year.”
Democracy Docket explains, “HB 4507 establishes two different registration processes: one for federal elections, which would be required to comply with national legislation such as the For the People Act — and one for state elections, which Texas Republicans claim could ignore these federal requirements. Any voter registering to vote in a federal election would not be automatically registered for local and state elections, unless they meet the much stricter and more exclusionary requirements of Texas’ election code. Instead, they would have to apply and register again separately for their local elections.”
On Twitter, attorney Marc E. Elias, founder of Democracy Docket, described HB 4507 as an example of “how desperate Republicans are to prevent all voters from participating in elections”:
As HR1/S1 moved closer to passage, this is a tactic to watch for in a number of red states. It shows how desperate Republicans are to prevent all voters from participating in elections.https://t.co/yTZ94oUuZH
— Marc E. Elias (@marceelias) April 15, 2021
After liberal Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent tweeted Beutler’s Crooked Media column, law professor and election law expert Rick Hasan noted:
There's lots that can be done in the careful drafting of these election reform measures that can bolster their constitutionality. Hopefully when there is a proposal with a serious chance of passing, election law scholars will be consulted.
— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) April 16, 2021
Image via Shutterstock
Here Is What Matt Gaetz Should Fear the Most as Feds Investigate Sex Trafficking Accusations: Ex-US Attorney
Appearing on MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance claimed the one thing that should keep Rep. Matt Gaetz (R- FL) up at night is if his close associate implicated in possible sex trafficking with him will flip on him in order to avoid a longer prison term.
According to Vance, Gaetz’s friend Joel Greenberg is facing a slew of charges that would make him amenable to prosecutors looking to indict the sitting GOP congressman.
‘”So at the moment, Joel Greenberg is charged with somewhere higher than 30 offenses, felonies right now,” host Velshi began. “What do you think is happening right now? Is this an effort to put pressure on Greenberg to provide testimony or evidence against Gaetz?”
“Right now, it looks like Greenberg is the more culpable of the two,” Vance replied. “He was involved in a great deal of conduct over a sustained period of time: false IDs, the trafficking issues, the sort of run-of-the-mill public corruption that someone at his level might engage in.”
“It is possible, though, that if he’s convicted at trial, in an effort to help himself and spend less time in prison, he might be convinced to cooperate against Gaetz and I expect that is one of the hammers prosecutors have over Gaetz’s head right now,” she added.
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