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ANALYSIS

‘Huff and Puff’: Legal Experts Pan Trump’s ‘Desperation’ Executive Privilege Attempt to Block Jan. 6 Committee

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Legal experts are weighing in after Donald Trump released an angry statement Wednesday night following reports the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has ordered a massive trove of documents related to the insurrection, including many items about the former president, including his mental health.

“Unfortunately, this partisan exercise is being performed at the expense of long-standing legal principles of privilege,” Trump claimed in his attack. “Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of my Administration and the Patriots who worked beside me, but on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our Nation.”

That does not appear to be accurate.

“There’s a legitimate scope of executive privilege, which ensures a president gets candid, thorough advice,” says former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now an MSNBC legal analyst and professor of law. “But it doesn’t extend to covering up efforts to keep the new president from taking office. Trump’s desperation to keep info secret says it all.”

Attorney Teri Kanefield, whose legal analysis appears in numerous mainstream news publications, says: “I’d like to hear how revealing communication about an insurrection and a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally would ‘impair government functions.'”

“This doesn’t stop him from filing a lawsuit. It won’t go anywhere, but he can huff and puff,” she adds.

Kanefield also notes “the DOJ already said Trump-era officials can testify.”

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig predicts Trump will try to obstruct the Committee’s work by taking it to court:

 

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ANALYSIS

‘Clearest Case for Prosecuting’ Trump for Jan. 6 Attack Is His ‘Legal Duty to Intervene’ Says Law Professor

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Writing for Just Security this Monday, legal analyst Albert W. Alschuler says that most scholars and legal experts are missing a key path to prosecuting Donald Trump for his role in sparking the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6., namely the fact that Trump failed to intervene to stop the riot, making him an accomplice.

“Failing to prevent a crime usually does not make someone an accomplice, but it is sufficient when this person had a legal duty to intervene,” Alschuler writes. “For this reason, a railroad conductor who failed to prevent passengers from transporting bootleg liquor was himself convicted of transporting the liquor. Similarly, a parent who made no effort to stop an assault on her child was guilty of the assault herself. And a police officer who arranges to be somewhere else at the time of a robbery aids and abets the robbery. This officer can be convicted along with the robbers at the scene.”

Alschuler cites Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, where is says a president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

According to Alschuler, Trump ability to enforce the law was “unique.”

“Like other public officials, he could have sought the assistance of additional police officers or military forces, but, unlike anyone else in America, he had a less costly and probably more effective way to bring the crime to a halt: He could simply have asked his followers to stop,” he writes.

Read the full article over at Just Security.

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ANALYSIS

‘Something That’s Under Way’: Trump Aims to Use Russian Tactic to Be ‘Installed Without Winning’ in 2024 Says Yale Historian

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Former president Donald Trump and his GOP supporters are hoping to rely on a tactic that’s common in Russia to return him to the White House in 2024, according to one prominent expert on authoritarianism.

“As someone who follows contemporary Russia, there is a Russian phrase that comes to mind, which is the ‘administrative resource,'” author and Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder told MSNBC on Friday. “What the administrative resource means in Russian is that sure, you have an election, but the people who are running the election are going to determine how the election turns out. What the Republicans are going for is precisely that thing, the administrative resource.”

Snyder then explained how this mechanism works and how Trump and Republicans might apply it during the next election.

“Historically speaking, what we know about a ‘big lie’ is that because of its very scale, it’s not about truth or not truth; it’s about living in a kind of alternative reality,” Snyder added. “What we’re looking at is people who believe in or pretend to believe in this Big Lie, actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimizes their cheating. In other words, if you talk about the Big Lie now, you’re basically promising to cheat the next time around, and that’s very concerning.”

He concluded by saying that this is a clear and present danger, not merely a theoretical one.

“The scenario for 2024 for most influential people around Donald Trump, which unfortunately means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election,” Snyder said. “I don’t think it’s something that could happen. I think it’s something that’s under way, and the question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?”

Watch below.

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ANALYSIS

Legal Experts Explain DOJ’s Latest Emergency Move to Try to Get SCOTUS to Block Unconstitutional Texas Abortion Ban

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On Monday the Dept. of Justice moved one step further to try to get the U.S. Supreme Court to block Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s near-total ban on abortion, which legal experts and now the DOJ itself say is unconstitutional.

“For half a century, this Court has held that ‘a State may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,'” DOJ’s 39-page emergency filing signed by Acting Solicitor General Brian H. Fletcher reads.

DOJ is asking SCOTUS to “vacate” the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal’s stay on a lower court’s ruling injunction that effectively stopped the law, known as SB 8, from going into effect.

But perhaps the most important part, as Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, Buzzfeed’s Zoe Tillman, and others point to, is that DOJ is asking the Supreme Court to consider taking up the Texas law “this Term,” rather than using the highly-criticized shadow docket to enact its will.

Reuters’ U.S. Supreme Court reporter Lawrence Hurley notes that the “appeals court decision that allowed the law to be enforced ‘enables Texas’s ongoing nullification of this Court’s precedents and its citizens’ constitutional rights,’ the Justice Department says.”

“The Texas law ‘defies’ the Supreme Court’s abortion precedents by ‘banning abortion long before viability — indeed, before many women even realize they are pregnant,’ the filing says,” Hurley adds.

He adds:

Rewire News Group’s Senior Editor of Law & Policy, Imani Gandy adds:

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