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Day 538

Updated 7/11/2018 12:03 PM PDT

1/ Trump accused Germany of being "totally controlled" and "a captive of Russia" because it pays "billions and billions of dollars a year" to Russia for energy. Germany doesn't meet its NATO spending commitments, but has started construction on a second natural gas pipeline to Russia. Germany argues that it has increased its contributions to NATO and plans to spend even more on the alliance in the coming years. A few hours later, Trump told reporters that the United States has a "tremendous relationship" with Germany. (Washington Post / NBC News / Politico)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Benczkowski just got confirmed and Democrat Sen Joe Manchin (W VA) was the one who pushed the vote to give him a win. This important position inside the DOJ all but gives T cover for his battle with what may come in terms of indictments against T.

It is EXTREMELY frustrating to see this kind of power grab happen, as well as the means to indemnify the Prez. :persevere:


Trump Jr. got an email from a publicist working for a Russian pop star named Emin Agalarov on June 3. Trump Jr. asked to speak with Agalarov before the meeting was set. The following Monday, June 6, the publicist, Rob Goldstone, worked to connect Trump Jr. and Agalarov, who was performing a concert in Moscow. Trump Jr. emailed Goldstone to thank him for his help that night; the next morning, Goldstone replied to say that he was moving forward on setting up a meeting that he believed Trump Jr. was aware of.

That series of events suggests that Trump Jr. spoke with Agalarov and that the meeting was subsequently set. But Trump Jr. was consistently cagey about whether he’d spoken with the musician. In an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity shortly after the story came out, he said that, as he recalled, “it was all basically this email coordination” — that he hadn’t been informed by Agalarov about the nature of the information he would receive. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, he made a similar assertion.

“My phone records show three very short phone calls between Emin and me between June 6th and 7th,” he read from a statement. “I do not recall speaking to Emin. It is possible that we left each other voice mail messages. I simply do not remember.”


Mr. Trump’s choice for the court, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, has expressed strong support for executive power, hostility to administrative agencies and support for gun rights and religious freedom.

Those are all conventional positions among conservative lawyers and judges. But there is one stance that sets Judge Kavanaugh apart, and it could not be more timely: his deep skepticism of the wisdom of forcing a sitting president to answer questions in criminal cases.

“I don’t know of any justice who has staked out as strong a position on presidential immunity even from questioning as Judge Kavanaugh has,” Mr. Dellinger said.

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Mr. Trump and his associates, raised the prospect of subpoenaing the president during a March meeting with his lead lawyer at the time, John Dowd. Mr. Trump’s lawyers responded that they were confident that they would prevail in a court fight over whether a sitting president could be required to comply with a subpoena.

If Mr. Mueller goes down that road, the dispute could quickly reach the Supreme Court. And if Judge Kavanaugh is on the court by then, it could thrust him into the middle of an issue he has been wrestling with for most of his adult life.


Junior’s most used answer. And his comeback for anything would be “Fake News.”

This kind of news always seems to crop up, when Putin and T will be meeting - making it look like a direct insult to T 'n co.

It was a VICE piece but one wonders on the timing.

First time posting. How the fuck do you all deal with the news? Lately I feel like every new edition of wtfjht is like a punch in the gut :cry:


I personally take a very Stoic view of the news and go from there. I also look at most things in a matrix of important vs urgent: Most things are important, but few are important and urgent. Doing so let’s you triage what hill you’re going to die on as it relates to news.


I do believe he will also be questioned on LYING to the Senate over his statements for his last nomination in - 2006? Where he never responded to a statement given during his hearing for his current position. Senator Durbin IL, I believe is the one that I am referencing here. This guy has so much paper, back and forth opinions etc that his hearing is really going to be difficult. This is why Mitch didn’t want him as Trump choice for SCOTUS… but I guess we will see… I also think as the time goes by to report more and more on his record and if he is looking as shady as he sounds he could have to decline the nomination. Of course the rest of just as bad and will do what they are expected to do via Federalist training model and the Heritage Foundation $$/people.


More weird stuff happening. What’s this all about? Is this being driven by an agenda? If so by whom and to what purpose? Is Rosenstein acting on his own or at someone’s direction? The primary reason given for bringing on so many extra lawyers for the document review process is that Kavanaugh has written a huge number of papers compared to other nominees in the past. So I’m wondering if this is being done to speed up the confirmation process or is it for some other reason? – or, as I am apt to do, am I over thinking this?

While federal prosecutors have not been tapped to help with recent nominations, including Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, “the scope of the production of executive branch documents we’ve been asked for is many, many times as large,” said Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman.

Ms. Flores added that federal prosecutors had been used to vet Supreme Court nominees in the past.

But this is the first time that the deputy attorney general has sent out such a broad request to United States attorneys offices. . . .

The production of documents could slow down a confirmation hearing that has already shaped up as a sharp partisan battle. Democratic lawmakers say they want to inspect all of Judge Kavanaugh’s documents, including his staff work and over 300 opinions he has issued on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Another shoutout to news sleuth @Himal for this.


Very interesting development…I think he is kicking some sand into the notion that this could be fast tracked, as T would want it that way. Assuming that Rosenstein knows that T is doing everything he can to thwart DOJ, (complaints and inquiries re: Peter Stzck (sp?), then Rosenstein won’t allow him to stack this pick so quickly.

There is over 10 yes of Kavanaugh’s presiding as a judge. Already some conflicting reports about whether Kavanaugh was fully truthful on his last Senate interview.

I am going on the theory that Rosenstein knows what Mueller has, and wants to push back on T’s zealous use of power.


You are my hero!

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Re-reading the reasons behind Rosenstein’s requests for over 90 Lawyers to ‘vet’ Kavanaugh…and yes, unprecedented, but there is a long record to review. Here’s what Axios is saying are some of the more controversial beliefs that we see Kavanaugh has.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has asked the offices of all 93 U.S. attorneys to each provide up to three federal prosecutors to assist the Justice Department in reviewing government records of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the New York Times reports, citing a letter it obtained.

Why it matters: The Times notes that this is an unusual move because department attorneys are not typically responsible for carrying out such a task. “The production of documents could slow down a confirmation hearing that has already shaped up as a sharp partisan battle. Democratic lawmakers say they want to inspect all of Judge Kavanaugh’s documents, including his staff work and over 300 opinions he has issued as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit,” the report notes.

What they’re saying: Former law enforcement officials told the Times that Rosenstein’s request is troubling.

“It’s flat-out wrong to have career federal prosecutors engaged in a political process like the vetting of a Supreme Court nominee. It takes them away from the mission they’re supposed to be fulfilling, which is effective criminal justice enforcement,” Christopher Hunter, a former F.B.I. agent and federal prosecutor for almost 11 years, told the publication.
But Michael Zubrensky, a former Justice Department lawyer who oversaw the agency’s Office of Legal Policy, said Kavanaugh’s long paper trail could be the reason for Rosenstein’s request.
Sarah Isgur Flores, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, told the Times that prosecutors have been used in the past to vet Supreme Court nominees. “[T]he scope of the production of executive branch documents we’ve been asked for is many, many times as large,” she said.

Rosenstein also wrote that he would need the equivalent of 100 full-time attorneys to work on the nominee’s confirmation hearing.

If confirmed, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, would rank just after Justice Clarence Thomas as the court’s second most conservative member.

Why it matters: Kavanaugh’s confirmation would shift the court for a generation, impacting decisions on topics like gun rights, health care, social issues and more. His judicial record, however, indicates that he may not be as reliably conservative as many Republicans would hope.
Health care

From Axios’ Sam Baker:

Kavanaugh’s most significant ACA-related decision was in a case about the individual mandate. He did not, contrary to what some of his critics have implied, vote to uphold the mandate."

“The second case dealt with a more far-fetched challenge: It sought to have the ACA invalidated because the Senate wrote most of it. … The Constitution’s Origination Clause says bills that raise revenues have to originate in the House, not the Senate.”

Such Senate amendments are permissible under the Clause’s text and precedent," Kavanaugh wrote. But he said an earlier ruling had upheld the law for the wrong reasons — and that his court should take another look at that decision. He lost.


From Axios’ Ben Geman:

Kavanaugh “won’t be inclined to give federal agencies wide latitude on imposing climate and environmental regulations.”
“Longtime environmental lawyer David Bookbinder tells Axios that, by his count, Kavanaugh has been involved with six climate change cases, and in five of those he took a ‘narrow’ view of EPA’s regulatory authority.”
Former Obama official Jody Freeman told Ben in an email: “I am not sure he is so different from Justice Kennedy on this score. … Can we expect decisions that cabin EPA somewhat? I think yes. I would expect a Justice Kavanaugh to make sure EPA and other agencies ‘stay in their lane’ so to speak.”

Press freedom

From Axios’ Sara Fischer:

" a constitutional conservative that some legal experts argue would likely side with conservatives in supporting corporate free speech cases."
"When it comes to libel, the Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner details a decision authored by Kavanaugh at the U.S Appeals Court for the D.C Circuit four years ago that allows litigation to be used to deter free speech."
"When it comes to net neutrality, Vice has an article explaining why Kavanaugh is a major net neutrality opponent."


From Axios’ Shanna Vavra:

Kavanaugh has stood behind warrantless government surveillance in the past, including the NSA’s surveillance operation that former NSA contractor Ed Snowden exposed in 2013."

He wrote, ‘the Government’s metadata collection program is entirely consistent with the Fourth Amendment. … In my view, that critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this program.’"

Kavanaugh also dissented on the court’s decision in 2010 about authorities placing a GPS tracker on a suspect’s car without a warrant. Kavanaugh said the suspect did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his public movements."


Per NBC, “Kavanaugh’s record of public comments and legal decisions on abortion rights is relatively thin.”

He told Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2006, on the issue of Roe v. Wade: “If confirmed to the D.C. circuit, I will follow Roe v. Wade faithfully and fully. That would be binding precedent of the court, It’s been decided by the Supreme Court.”

In October, when a pregnant undocumented teenager wanted an abortion, Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent that “the court was wrong to conclude she had the right to ‘an immediate abortion on demand.’ … He said delaying the procedure until she could be released to a U.S. sponsor would not impose an undue burden on the abortion right,” NBC reports.

Executive power

Kavanaugh has “consistently [sided] with arguments in favor of broad executive authority,” the Washington Post reports.

He has called for restructuring the government’s consumer watchdog agency so the president could remove the director and has been a leading defender of the government’s position when it comes to using military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects."

Something that could come up during his confirmation: In 2009, Kavanaugh “argued that presidents should not be distracted while in office by civil lawsuits or criminal investigations,” per The Post.


Kavanaugh “has often been skeptical of government regulations,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “And he has argued in favor of greater judicial power in reviewing the actions of administrative agencies on major questions.”

He’s “been open to using the First Amendment to strike down government regulations.”

His career on the D.C. Circuit has “been marked with dozens of votes to roll back rules and regulations,” another WSJ report states.


Politico reports that business groups were called upon by the White House on Monday “to help push his confirmation.”

The White House, in a document sent out to business groups, “wrote that Kavanaugh has overruled federal regulators 75 times on cases involving clean air, consumer protections, net neutrality and other issues,” and most recently “favored curtailing the power of independent federal regulators.”


That is OBSCENE. We complicity to support T from a guy that is NOT only not eligible for this position but is questionable with the Alfa bank business. There is big money at stack…dark money, donors known and unknown. Sure wish we could see T tax returns and how he claims $$ laundrying.

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NPR also reporting on Benczkowski, who has no prosecutorial experience.


I could not agree more on this FUCKING vote… had to say it. Really, let’s see you are a loyal ass clown with NO Federal court experience and ready to admin 600 lawyers that are… oh, yeah - you helped out at Alfa bank… so that sure does recommend moving to the front of the class. Is it possible to repeal this some how? Kind of like if they impeach ( and remove Trump) can the rest of the garbage go with him? Sheesh… SO frustrating on so many levels!


@dragonfly9 Benczkowski just got confirmed

Here’s the vote. Remember these names. May all of these Senators live in infamy for knowingly undermining the pursuit of the truth about our President.

And especially remember Susan Collins’ vote – once again, she has shown her true colors. I’m very skeptical of her overtures to the Left. On July 1 she made this commitment: “A candidate for this important position [a seat on the Supreme Court] who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me.” Considering her “yes” vote for Benczkowski, what are the odds that she will weasel out of her promise regarding a Supreme Court nominee? There is little doubt that the nominee Trump announced on July 9, Brett Kavanaugh, would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, but I can see Collins, like so many other Republicans, “having it both ways” by practicing willful ignorance. Later, if Roe v. Wade is indeed overturned with the help of a vote from Kavanaugh, she will just shrug and say, “Who’da thunk? I didn’t see that coming.”


Today’s episode from The NY Times Podcast, The Daily, covered Kavanaugh on his changing views from his time working for Kenneth Starr to impeach President Clinton to working at the Bush Whitehouse. Fascinating story.

Brett Kavanaugh’s Change of Heart

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, once made the case for impeaching a president. He now says that was a mistake. Guest: Mark Landler, a White House correspondent for The New York Times, who examines why Judge Kavanaugh’s views have shifted. For more information on today’s episode, visit

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