The Guardrails Have Failed

  
Via:  john-russell  •  4 months ago  •  10 comments

The Guardrails Have Failed
By Thursday night, all the dangerous shortcomings of the slow-going approach had reasserted themselves. And they suggest not that the normal oversight process will be sufficient to protect the rule of law, but that the institutional guardrails surrounding the rule of law are faltering all at once, and more aggressively than at any time since Trump won the presidency.

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The Guardrails Have Failed | Crooked Media



7-9 minutes







For all it lacks in urgency, the rote approach House Democrats have taken to investigating President Trump appeared at least briefly this week to be overwhelming him. Trump abruptly threatened to harm the public interest on Wednesday unless Democrats ceased their inquiries, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attributed his meltdown to the fact that her efforts are dragging his finances slowly into the public light.

There is some truth to her assessment . Two federal judges this week upheld subpoenas Democrats have issued to Trump’s accountants and lenders seeking his financial information. New York State passed legislation that will allow Congress to obtain his state tax returns. The House intelligence committee just secured access to counterintelligence findings of the Russia investigation—which may include financial information. And the Washington Post revealed that the government’s tax lawyers believe the IRS will ultimately have to turn six years of Trump’s tax returns over to Congress.

House Democrats aren’t checking Trump as aggressively as they could, but Pelosi pointed to these developments as evidence that even proceeding with caution, the gravitational pull of the legislative and judicial processes will inevitably pry Trump’s most closely held secrets loose, and into the public domain.

Her vindication was short-lived.

By Thursday night, all the dangerous shortcomings of the slow-going approach had reasserted themselves. And they suggest not that the normal oversight process will be sufficient to protect the rule of law, but that the institutional guardrails surrounding the rule of law are faltering all at once, and more aggressively than at any time since Trump won the presidency.

The most alarming news came in an announcement from the White House press secretary that Trump had granted Attorney General William Barr the unilateral authority to declassify any information about the Russia investigators that he wants— including, reportedly, their sources in Russia . The breach here is stunning, and would normally generate a rebellion within the intelligence community, whose leaders are expected to be fiercely jealous guardians of their agencies’ sources, methods, and other equities. It has instead generated no pushback.

Barr’s new powers are even more alarming because of what kind of man we know he is. He has repeatedly abused his existing powers to help Trump and threaten Democrats politically, through the selective release information designed to mislead the public. We should expect him to use this new power to frame Trump’s political enemies, most of whom will be legally obligated not to defend themselves.

This wouldn’t be such a troubling risk were other institutional counterweights holding up well. But the national media has thus far proven to be an easy mark for Barr, and has shown little indication that it will treat his pronouncements with the extreme skepticism they deserve. Democrats in Congress could also neutralize this threat. Certain congressional leaders are entitled to view all the intelligence Barr is about to receive, and are immunized by the Constitution to disclose all of it. This would be a drastic step, but more than justified, both to protect Trump’s targets from selective smearing or prosecution, and to prevent the Trump administration from deploying the findings of the intelligence services for partisan political advantage. But nothing Democrats have done since Trump came to power suggests they have the fortitude to do something so extraordinary, and they will likely bind themselves to norms Trump and Barr have gleefully jettisoned.

By not acting more aggressively, House Democrats created an incentive for Trump and others to run roughshod over them. On Thursday, the  Washington Post  noticed the bottom-feeders of the online right circulating footage of Nancy Pelosi that had been doctored to make her appear drunk. By Thursday night, Republicans, including Trump and his servants on Fox News, were engaged in a coordinated effort to spread similarly doctored disinformation, confident that social media companies would not step in to remove the footage—at least not before millions of people had seen it—and that House Democrats would not move with any urgency to shame these companies. Just as they did three years ago, every institutional leader who has been beseeched to take the threat to democracy more seriously has taken false solace in the polls, which for now show Trump losing to every leading Democratic presidential primary contender. What could go wrong?

For a time, the growing number of anxious Democrats who support impeachment hoped that dramatic public testimony from Special Counsel Robert Mueller would galvanize the public and the party to their side, allowing Democrats to seize narrative control over the Russia investigation, and the broader question of public corruption, back from Trump. Thursday night, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler acknowledged that this is unlikely to happen.

According to Nadler, Mueller is reluctant to testify publicly, and has only agreed to testify in closed session, after which Nadler would be allowed to release a transcript of the proceedings—another multi-hundred page document almost nobody in the country will read. It’s unclear whether Nadler has agreed to these terms, but the approach Democrats have settled upon strips him of almost all of his leverage. Nadler can threaten to subpoena Mueller, but Mueller remains a DOJ employee, and is thus bound by constraints Barr might place on his his testimony. Once he’s a private citizen again, those constraints would be lifted, but Mueller can simply hold on to his appointment until Nadler agrees to his conditions.

It’s been two months since Mueller completed his report, and in working desperately to keep Congress off the path to impeachment, Nadler has managed to secure testimony from zero witnesses about it. (By contrast, former FBI Director James Comey appeared on Capitol Hill to testify two days after he concluded the Clinton-email investigation.) Nadler could have subpoenaed other Mueller investigators who have moved on to private life, he could have opened an impeachment inquiry, which would give him a forceful legal argument that he’s entitled to all the testimony and documentation he needs to determine whether the House should recommend Trump be removed from office. Democrats have decided instead to seek piecemeal rulings from courts that won’t actually yield any disclosures at least until Trump has exhausted his appeals.

Impeachment advocates worried all along that the Democrats’ dithering and self-doubt would create a number of perverse consequences: that the public would interpret their irresolution as a sign that Trump’s presidency is not a crisis; that Trump himself would fill the void of inaction with propaganda and defamation and selective prosecution, exacerbating public confusion, when the truth is actually quite simple. These fears are all rapidly materializing, and the fact that the Democratic approach is failing has yet to dawn on anyone who has the power to change course.





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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    4 months ago

I would subpoena some of Mueller's assistant prosecutors who are very familiar with the facts of the Muller report and have them publicly testify and see if that shakes Mueller loose.  They need some forward movement though to keep Trump from bamboozling every day. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 months ago

do you believe there are secret facts Mueller didn't include in his 400 page report?

the desperation and refusal to deal with reality on display by democrats here is just sad.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.1  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    4 months ago

Personally, I think it is a bad case of buyers' remorse. The left put all their eggs in the Great Mueller's basket, and he didn't deliver what they wanted. So obviously it is a problem NOW for them!

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.1.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    4 months ago

Reality is Trump is a crook, liar, con man, misogynist, idiot and buffoon.  He doesnt deserve to be president for 6 more minutes let alone 6 more years. 

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
2  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    4 months ago

Democrats have been demanding transparency and declassification. Adam Schiff has demanded transparency but now he's opposed? Why the change of heart?

If you are going to pitch fake news to America and demand transparency, don't complain when the transparency exposes your lies and corruption.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @2    4 months ago

No one with a half a brain thinks that the "investigation" Barr is running will produce the truth. He may reveal intelligence agency sources and put peoples lives in danger just to placate the moron who is his boss. 

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
2.1.1  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  JohnRussell @2.1    4 months ago
put peoples lives in danger

the only lives in danger are those belonging to treasonous pricks...

there is very little sleep in DC

the guard rails worked.  they knocked the wheels off the dems clown car

cheers :)

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
3  Thrawn 31    4 months ago

Our government is fucked. Trump is normalizing this kind of shit and every president form here on out will do the same. Congress will continue to give more and more power to the presidency out of partisan loyalty and the judicial will continue to be morphed into a branch of the executive. Political expediency wins out over what is right every single time. We have been on this road for awhile, Trump has just taken the process into overdrive. I have no confidence my kids will die in a democratic republic.

 
 
 
The Magic Eight Ball
3.1  The Magic Eight Ball  replied to  Thrawn 31 @3    4 months ago

but fabricating evidence to take down a sitting president did not bother you a bit huh?

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
4  Colour Me Free    4 months ago
Barr’s new powers are even more alarming because of what kind of man we know he is. He has repeatedly abused his existing powers to help Trump and threaten Democrats politically, through the selective release information designed to mislead the public. We should expect him to use this new power to frame Trump’s political enemies, most of whom will be legally obligated not to defend themselves.

Be afraid, be very afraid .. the sky is falling!  I love a good 'conspiracy' but this simply jumps the shark in a major way.

through the selective release information designed to mislead the public.

Let us recap how this all works .. a special counsel report is written to the Attorney General, the Attorney General then decides what information [if any] is released to the public .. in a case of no indictment, my research says that the report may never be made public - once again a decision of the Attorney General

Justice Department regulations for special counsels say that the attorney general must be given “a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special counsel.” They also say the attorney general may make public reports about the special counsel’s work.
Beyond that, the regulations require only that the attorney general provide the Senate and House Judiciary panels with a description and explanation of any instances when the special counsel was prevented from taking certain actions.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-16/barr-could-block-mueller-report-release-but-at-risk-of-backlash

I hope the source is acceptable to all ...… article is an interesting read .. albeit it is dated..

Mueller felt that he could not indict a seated president .. that being said, it did not prevent him from declaring that based on his research/investigation he found that the president had obstructed justice .. he was simply unable to indict him for it.  Mueller did not do that, he made no conclusion .. just provided 'examples' of how obstructive behavior might be interpreted ….

The nation is so divided .. accusation and speculation appear to be seen as fact these days - the opinion in the media sets the narrative and is subject to 'interpretation'....?

Peace...

 
 
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