WTF Community

Day 595

Updated 9/6/2018 12:32 PM PDT

1/ Brett Kavanaugh challenged whether Roe v. Wade was "settled law of the land" in a leaked 2003 email he wrote while serving in the George W. Bush White House. A lawyer for Bush deemed the email "committee confidential" when turning it over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which meant it could not be made public or discussed by Democrats during Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings this week. In the email, Kavanaugh wrote: "I am not sure that all legal scholars refer to Roe v. Wade as the settled law of the land at the Supreme Court level since Court can always overrule its precedent, and three current Justices on the Court would do so." Following the publication of the Kavanaugh email, two Democratic senators unilaterally released several other "committee confidential" emails. (New York Times / Washington Post)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Woodward does, indeed, “have the receipts.” Reviewers who have been given advanced copies his book have just revealed that it actually includes an image of the letter that Cohn stole from Trump’s desk in an act of administrative sabatoge.



Trump is in a snit…or rather ‘volcanic.’

It still could be someone who IS denying though.

Everyone is in search of the writer of the article, they are thinking it is someone under Dan Coats perhaps.

But John Kelly has not made a denial, although he is not appointed to made decisions on policy, just appointed to control T’s movements.

Denials List

Mike Pence - VP
Mike Pompeo – Secretary of State
Dan Coats - DNI
Kirstjen Nielsen – Homeland Sec’y
Jim Mattis – Secretary of Defense
Nick Mulvaney Office of Management and Budget
Ben Carson - Housing
Steve Mnuchin - Treasury
Robert Wilkie Dept of VA
Alex Acosta - Labor
Andrew Wheeler – Acting EPA
Sonny Purdue Agriculture
Linda McMahon SBA-
Rick Perry - Energy
Gina Haspel - CIA
Kellyanne Conway
Wilbur Ross Sec’y of Commerce
Don McGahn - WH Counsel
Nikki Haley – UN Ambassador
Elaine Chao – Transportation
John Huntsman – Ambassador to Russia
Alex Azar – Health and Human Services
Robert Lighthizer - Trade Rep
Betsy DeVos - Education


“Twitter says permanently bans Alex Jones and website Infowars” -

Just saw this go up on Reuters. Took Twitter a while, but at least it’s happening.


Sen Elizabeth Warren (MA-D) is making a move on the 25th Amendment. The difficulty with this of course would be how to get the 25th Amendment passed.

See Law Prof Laurence Tribe explain. It requires approval of majority of Cabinet, and only if 2/3 of Senate and House over rule the president and tell the prez he can not have power, even if he protests.

The remarks are bound to spark a debate within the potential 2020 field about how hard to go after Trump, with some advocating impeachment and invoking the 25th Amendment and others acting more cautious.

Warrren dismissed questions that invoking constitutional remedies would provoke a constitutional crisis.

What kind of a crisis do we have if senior officials believe that the President can’t do his job and then refuse to follow the rules that have been laid down in the Constitution?” Warren told CNN. “They can’t have it both ways. Either they think that the President is not capable of doing his job in which case they follow the rules in the Constitution, or they feel that the President is capable of doing his job, in which case they follow what the President tells them to do.”

Warren, who is running for a second Senate term in Massachusetts this year, would not say when she would ultimately decide whether she will run for the White House.

“Right now I’m running for re-election in Massachusetts in 2018,” Warren said. “I’m taking nothing for granted.”


McCabe’s firing was considered deeply partisan and vindictive on the part of the Prez because it was suggested that McCabe misspoke/lied about some facts. It happened the day before McCabe was to retire…and clearly, he was scapegoated for some greater issue - ie, the Russian Investigation.

A grand jury is interviewing witnesses.

Federal prosecutors have for months been using a grand jury to investigate former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe — an indication the probe into whether he misled officials exploring his role in a controversial media disclosure has intensified, two people familiar with the matter said.

The grand jury has summoned more than one witness, the people said, and the case is ongoing. The people declined to identify those who had been called to testify.

The presence of the grand jury shows prosecutors are treating the matter seriously, locking in the accounts of witnesses who might later have to testify at a trial. But such panels are sometimes used only as investigative tools, and it remains unclear if McCabe will ultimately be charged.

Michael Bromwich, a lawyer for McCabe, said in a statement after this story was published online that he had been confident McCabe would not be charged, absent “inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration.”

“Unfortunately, such pressure has continued, with the President targeting Mr. McCabe in numerous additional tweets,” Bromwich said. The lawyer also raised questions about the timing of the news report on the grand jury.

The investigation into McCabe is as politically charged as they come, and a decision to prosecute him — or not — will draw significant criticism either way.

McCabe — who briefly took command of the FBI after James B. Comey was fired last year — has been a frequent target of criticism from President Trump. His comments, sometimes urging McCabe be investigated, have offered significant support for McCabe’s argument that he is being treated unfairly and the examination of him is tainted by partisanship.


Until I started researching this, I didn’t realize that Oleg Deripaska is a client of Kasowitz. This could be just a coincidence, but I’m always suspicious of coincidences in Trumpland. Here’s a WaPo investigative piece from June, 2017.

Marc E. Kasowitz’s clients include Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who is close to President Vladimir Putin and has done business with Trump’s former campaign manager. Kasowitz also represents Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank, U.S. court records show.


The final vote for Kavanaugh will come down to who’s got the greater numbers. Dems have tried to fight the Judicial Committee’s (see Grassley) on documents, and what has been deemed confidential. Strong arguments have been made by many of the Dem Senators on the Judiciary Committee - Sens. Harris, Booker, Blumenthal, Durkin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Feinstein, Hirono , Coons but it may not be enough

The choice for Democrats was never about whether to fight Kavanaugh, but how far they would go in waging it. Republicans hold a 51–49 majority in the Senate and can confirm him with only their votes after having eliminated the 60-vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees to install Gorsuch last year. (That move extended a rules change for lower-court judicial nominees engineered by Democrats in 2014.)

To defeat Kavanaugh, Democrats must hold their ranks together—which include several red-state members in tough reelection campaigns—while flipping GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who support abortion rights and do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

Substantively, Democrats have targeted Kavanaugh over abortion, the ACA, and how he would vote if litigation related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump wound up before the Supreme Court. But in the lead-up to this week’s confirmation hearing, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee had focused largely on the GOP majority’s efforts to withhold documents from Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary in the Bush White House.


Not good.


NEW: President Trump will not answer questions, in person or in writing, about obstruction of justice.

That declaration from Rudy Giuliani tonight is the most definitive rejection yet of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s efforts to interview the president


You wonder if all the charade (aides/Staff/Cabinet level’s dance) can last for any great length of time.

Beginning just after dawn Thursday, more than two dozen top officials and Cabinet members raced to issue forceful statements denying they were the anonymous author of the Times op-ed. They read as public declarations of loyalty to an audience of one — the media-obsessed president, who was gratified to see the statements as aides kept him abreast.

Trump especially liked the statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a senior administration official, who like many other current and former officials interviewed for this report spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid accounts. While traveling in India, Pompeo criticized the “liberal newspaper” and described the anonymous editorial as “a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor’s word.”

The administration’s fierce pushback centered on the official’s insistence on anonymity and the Times’ decision to publish the column without the author’s name, but Trump’s aides challenged little of the column’s substance.
Senior officials have long acted to slow-walk or stymie some of the president’s ideas and directives. When he was White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus had a favored strategy, according to his colleagues — tell the president that he would execute an order, or a firing — but not until “next week.” By then, Trump often would have forgotten.

Before some lawmakers, such as Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) or Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), went golfing with Trump, White House legislative aides would prep them on helpful messages they were trying to share or “disasters they were trying to divert,” according to a former senior administration official. A current senior administration official defended the practice as “standard staff work in any White House.”


Contraceptives are not “abortion inducing drugs.”

On the third day of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he referred to contraception as “abortion-inducing drugs.”

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled against Priests for Life in 2014. When the group tried and failed to get a full court hearing the next year, Kavanaugh dissented to lay out why he would have ruled for them.

This year, the group celebrated Kavanaugh’s nomination.

We at Priests for Life have personal experience of Judge Kavanaugh’s approach to religious freedom, because he sided with us when we had to defend our religious freedom in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,” Father Frank Pavone, the organization’s national director, said in July.

“At a time when these freedoms need more defense than ever,” he went on, “we urge the Senate to conduct a swift and fair confirmation process, focused on the excellent qualifications of Judge Kavanaugh, and not on the politics of personal destruction that the Democrat Left are such experts at carrying out.”

Judge Kavanaugh was responding to a question from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday about his 2015 dissent in the Priests for Life v. HHS case. Kavanaugh had sided with the religious organization, which didn’t want to provide employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives.


Bob Woodward’s meticulous, frightening look inside the Trump White House. By Jill Abramson


It’s hard to imagine a more disturbing portrait of a president than the one Bob Woodward painted of Richard Nixon in his final days: paranoid, poisoned by power, pounding the carpet and talking to the portraits on the walls. But the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as recounted by Woodward in his new book, “Fear,” are strikingly similar and in some ways even more gut-wrenching. Then, as now, the country faced a crisis of leadership caused by a president’s fatal flaws and inability to function in the job.

Fear” is an important book, not only because it raises serious questions about the president’s basic fitness for the office but also because of who the author is. Woodward’s dogged investigative reporting led to Nixon’s resignation. He has written or co-authored 18 books, 12 of them No. 1 bestsellers; broken other major stories as a reporter and associate editor of The Washington Post; and won two Pulitzer Prizes. His work has been factually unassailable. (His judgment is certainly not perfect, and he has been self-critical about his belief, based on reporting before the Iraq War, that there were weapons of mass destruction .)


Impetuous, amoral…and many more adjectives to address T’s inability to handle his job. Sigh.

President Trump’s tweet last year that the accused West Side bike path attacker “SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY” means that Attorney General Jeff Sessions can’t make a fair, independent decision on whether to seek his execution, the accused terrorist argued in new papers Thursday.

Sayfullo Saipov is charged with killing eight people with a rented pickup truck on Oct. 31, 2017. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a frequent target of Trump’s ire — is expected to decide whether to seek Saipov’s execution in the coming weeks.

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FWIW - #FileUnderIrony

T has gotten his ‘staff’ or insiders to determine who were the leakers in the NYT’s OP Ed piece. Present were - John Kelly, KellyAnne Conway, Sarah Sanders, Jared Kushner…but the insider info of this meeting to find the leaker was leaked to the NYT.

Watching Lawrence O’Donnell “Last Word” tonight and writer David Corn (THe Nation/now Mother Jones) was talking about during the Watergate era, that the leaker, Mark Felt was the one tasked with finding the leaker.

See following tweet…w/ link to the Nation 2005 article on the insider Mark Felt, written by David Corn.

Jeffrey Cohen

Irony 2: Trump wants @nytimes leaker found. But might put leaker in charge of investigation b/c he doesn’t know who to trust. As @DavidCornDC wrote in 2005, that’s like Nixon putting Mark Felt in charge of finding Deep Throat during Watergate.


But, of course, almost immediately, Giuliani completely undermined what he just told the AP. The display software is truncating the NBC headline so here it is in full:

NBC News - Giuliani tells AP Trump won’t answer Mueller’s obstruction questions, then backtracks

President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that the president would not answer questions about obstruction of justice from the special counsel’s team, but in a subsequent interview was less definitive.

Giuliani first told The Associated Press in an interview: “That’s a no-go. That is not going to happen," and "there will be no questions at all on obstruction."

But later, when asked by NBC News, Giuliani said those questions are "not ruled in or out."

O. M. G. Can we please just have a Presidential administration that makes sense for five minutes in a row? Giuliani’s blatherings are a total waste of everyone’s time. We need a giant internet filter that totally blanks out everything he says.

An additional serving of word salad from Giuliani:

"We have said we would agree to written questions on Russia after we review questions but no further commitment on interviews. After we finish this we will assess it with no agreement to any post-presidential questions,” Giuliani told NBC News.

The president’s lawyer added that for now there’s “no commitment on obstruction which are post-presidential matters” but says the legal team will agree to talk “after the collusion/pre-presidential questions are over."

Say what now? As MSNBC’s Ali Velshi requested recently, we need an English-to-English translator here. :crazy_face:


Very impressive opening address by Senator Kamala Harris.

Sen. Kamala Harris said Tuesday that partisanship and a long-held conservative agenda drives Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's decisions. Harris said she is concerned that Kavanaugh’s loyalty will “be to the president who appointed him and not to the Constitution”


@macro FYI, I fixed your link. Great video, keep them coming!


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