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More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice


#246

Good reading. Thanks for following this story through tonight. So much is happening!

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(David Bythewood) #247

Any idea if this is related to Flynn or something else? There’s no context, but apparently he’s watching CNN, which he claims he never watches.

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#248

Not sure…this would have been Friday’s story, with the amount of Flynn info…so probably. Unfortunately the MN, and 21 cities has been so dire a lot of coverage on that. Haven’t watched CNN today…

However, there are rumblings about most of the protesters are coming from out of state and could be part a planned Russian influenced campaign to mess with American Politics. That is what I am seeing on Twitter re: Cnn/Russia.

Example (Maga lover)

Did you or someone post about what Joy Reid has been talking about - (MSNBC) - out of the state Rabble Rousers.


#249

ProPublica always digs into the details of corruption within the government, and this is another example of someone who works for the Treasury, Justin Muzinich under Mnunchin who is financially having a windfall due to the bailouts. Read for more details, but knowing who Mnunchin is, former investment banker and someone who profited as well from the 2008 bailout, and left many mortgage holders losing everything, it is not surprising.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have become the public faces of the $3 trillion federal coronavirus bailout. Behind the scenes, however, the Treasury’s responsibilities have fallen largely to the 42-year-old deputy secretary, Justin Muzinich.

A major beneficiary of that bailout so far: Muzinich & Co., the asset manager founded by his father where Justin served as president before joining the administration. He reported owning a stake worth at least $60 million when he entered government in 2017.

Today, Muzinich retains financial ties to the firm through an opaque transaction in which he transferred his shares in the privately held company to his father. Ethics experts say the arrangement is troubling because his father received the shares for no money up front, and it appears possible that Muzinich can simply get his stake back after leaving government.

When lockdowns crippled the economy in March, the Treasury and the Fed launched an unprecedented effort to buy up corporate debt to avert a freeze in lending at the exact moment businesses needed to borrow to keep running. That effort has succeeded, at least temporarily, with credit continuing to flow to companies over the last several weeks. This policy also allowed those who were heavily invested in corporate loans to recoup huge losses.

Muzinich & Co. has long specialized in precisely this market, managing approximately $38 billion of clients’ money, including in riskier instruments known as junk, or high-yield, bonds. Since the Fed and the Treasury’s actions in late March, the bond market has roared back. Muzinich & Co. has reversed billions in losses, according to a review of its holdings, with 28 of the 29 funds tracked by the investor research service Morningstar Direct rising in that period. The firm doesn’t publicly detail all of its holdings, so a precise figure can’t be calculated.


Untangling the Financial Relationship

When Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hired Justin Muzinich as counselor in early 2017, in many ways he was selecting a younger version of himself.


#250

Cross-posting for discussion


split this topic #251

A post was merged into an existing topic: Sideshow Rudy & Co


#252

Grassley to hold up on T’s nominees for IG replacements. Would make a bigger statement if he requested a hold on all the Judges being nominated and rammed through.

%20Grassley

https://twitter.com/ChuckGrassley/status/1268600667171586048?s=20

https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1268610983037001728?s=20

https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1268611325707591682?s=20

@emptywheel

Mind you, if Grassley put a hold on judges he’d actually get a response.

https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1268611325707591682?s=20


#253

John Kelly speaks…and defends General Mattis. Maybe Kelly would enlighten us on more stuff that happened in the WH…

https://twitter.com/kaitlancollins/status/1268601471769219072?s=20

4%20Kaitlin%20C%20Kelly

@kaitlancollins

John Kelly on Trump’s tweets claiming he fired Mattis: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation. The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

President Trump’s former chief of staff John F. Kelly defended former defense secretary Jim Mattis on Thursday over Mattis’s criticism of the president’s handling of nationwide protests. Kelly also dismissed Trump’s assertion that the president fired the retired general in 2018.

“The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, said in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused. The president tweeted a very positive tweet about Jim until he started to see on Fox News their interpretation of his letter. Then he got nasty. Jim Mattis is a honorable man.”

Mattis tendered his resignation in 2018, citing his disagreement with Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria.

On Wednesday, he released a statement criticizing Trump’s handling of protests that have erupted across the country following the killing of George Floyd in police custody last week.

Mattis accused Trump of deliberately trying to divide Americans, taking exception to his threats of military force on U.S. streets, and praising those demanding justice following death of Floyd, an African American man living in Minneapolis.

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement first published by the Atlantic. Trump later criticized Mattis in a tweet.

“Probably the only thing Barack Obama and I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about. His nickname was ‘Chaos’, which I didn’t like, & changed it to ‘Mad Dog’,” Trump tweeted. “His primary strength was not military, but rather personal public relations. I gave him a new life, things to do, and battles to win, but he seldom ‘brought home the bacon’. I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree. Glad he is gone!”


#254

Justice Dept is trying an end-run around Judge Sullivan’s testing of the Flynn case, and wants to simply drop the case. As these lawyers argue, it is another nail driving towards authoritarian rule.
Simply put…DOJ is putting the screws on not letting the Flynn information to get out.

Among all the other horrors, this is one case which AG Barr and T want very badly to go away so they can rewrite the Flynn story.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/04/trumps-authoritarianism-streets-is-being-matched-courts/

When the Justice Department moved abruptly to drop the Flynn case — after he pleaded guilty (twice) and as he was awaiting sentencing — U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan took two steps. He appointed a “friend of the court” to argue the position that the Justice Department had suddenly abandoned; and he called a hearing to scrutinize the department’s about-face.

The Justice Department told the appeals court that it should take the extraordinary step of intervening in the case — before Sullivan has ruled or even held a hearing — to stop him from doing so. “Simply put, the district court has no authority to reject the Executive’s conclusion,” the department said.

In other words: “ None of your business, Judge Sullivan.” The Justice Department wants the case dropped, and so that’s it — the case should just go away, no questions asked, before the American people learned what happened.

Remember that this is no run-of-the-mill appeal — the department is demanding emergency relief, relief that the department itself acknowledges is a “drastic and extraordinary remedy.” It’s revealing, in the midst of a pandemic and a national criminal-justice crisis, what the Trump administration sees as an emergency: a federal court hearing legal arguments and discovering the facts. All of that is not merely forbidden, the Justice Department argues — it must be stopped now , before it can take place. And that, for the Trump administration, is the emergency: a court uncovering the facts of what happened and laying them out for the public to learn.

If the goings-on at the federal courthouse seem a world away from protesters facing down rubber bullets and military helicopters, think again: This is the other side of the same coin, if less vicious in form. Courts — real courts, where every legitimate party gets to make every legitimate argument — are the last bastion against authoritarianism.


#255

Destabilize Nato…very much part of the plan. Some suggest that ‘they’ are staging a crisis…
something like what Michael McFaul is suggesting. He’s the ex-Ambassador to Russia, under Obama.

That and retaliation against Angela Merkel, and her canceling out of the G-7 due to Coronavirus she is saying, but also because T wants to bring Putin along.

https://twitter.com/McFaul/status/1268982570869338112?s=20

President Trump has directed the Pentagon to remove thousands of American troops from Germany by September, a move that would dramatically reshape the U.S. military posture in Europe and reflects growing tensions between Washington and Berlin over military spending and other security issues, U.S. government officials said Friday.

The removal order would reduce the U.S. troop presence in Germany by 9,500 from the 34,500 service members who are permanently assigned there. It would also cap at 25,000 the number of American troops in Germany at any one time. Under current practice, overall troop levels can rise to as high as 52,000 as units rotate in and out or take part in training exercises.

The Trump administration ordered the change in a memorandum signed recently by White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien, the officials said Friday.

The decision drew criticism from some former senior defense officials and lawmakers concerned that it would further weaken a key alliance and empower U.S. adversaries. Moscow is likely to welcome the open display of differences between two key North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, U.S. experts said, though Russia didn’t comment publicly on the development.

One senior U.S. official said that the administration has been discussing the move since September and that it isn’t linked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision not to attend a G-7 meeting Mr. Trump was to host in Washington at the end of June.

But the official acknowledged that it reflected the Trump administration’s long frustration with German policy, especially the nation’s level of military spending and its insistence on completing the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will channel Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea.


(David Bythewood) #256

What Congress Might Find in Trump’s Deutsche Bank Records


#257

Judge Reggie Walton is continuing the ‘conversation’ with DOJ about what parts of the Mueller Report which continue to be redacted. He’s asking for a potential 3 day discussion with some DOJ lawyers to discuss.

I don’t pretend to ever get all the legal nuances, but this continues to be more digging about what was unrevealed by the Mueller Report. Judge Walton had been asked to drop the Flynn case, and the he turned around and said he wanted more review of the case, as well as more as more explanations. Judge Walton is not giving an inch.

Also posting a Marcy Wheeler piece who does further analysis as to what it could be.

A federal judge who previously said that Attorney General William Barr “distorted” the findings of the redacted Mueller Report confirmed on Monday that he has finally read the unredacted version. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton then ordered the Department of Justice to answer his questions “regarding certain redactions of the Mueller Report” at an ex parte (one party only) hearing next month.

The much-anticipated development in the lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), BuzzFeed and BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold comes months after the judge expressed his skepticism about the DOJ’s decision-making in no uncertain terms. The pandemic, as Judge Walton noted, more than threw a wrench in the matter and continues to do so. But Judge Walton, having reviewed the full Mueller Report in his chambers, made clear that he has some questions that the DOJ cannot answer remotely:

Having reviewed the unredacted version of the Mueller Report, the Court cannot assess the merits of certain redactions without further representations from the Department. However, because the Court must discuss the substance of the redactions with the Department, and because such a discussion cannot occur remotely due to the lack of a secure connection between the Court and the Department necessary to avoid disclosure of the redacted information, and in light of Chief Judge Howell’s May 26, 2020 Order, In re: Further Extension of Postponed Court Proceedings in Standing Order 20-9 and Limiting Court Operations in Exigent Circumstances Created by the COVID-19 Pandemic, Standing Order No. 20-29 (BAH), it is hereby ORDERED that the status conference currently scheduled for June 18, 2020, is VACATED.

Judge Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered the DOJ to appear at a hearing on July 20 at 9:30 a.m. in order to “address the Court’s questions regarding certain redactions of the Mueller Report.” In a footnote, the judge said the DOJ should be prepared, “if necessary,” for a continuation of the hearing on July 21 and July 22.

Finally, Walton said he would at a later date let the DOJ know which topics the Department “should be prepared to discuss.”

Emptywheel.net Marcy Wheeler

Judge Reggie Walton Has Questions about the Non-Stone Redactions in the Mueller Report

Judge Reggie Walton appears to have questions about the non-Roger Stone redactions in the Mueller Report — but we won’t learn what they are for another six weeks or more.

I say that because of two orders he has recently issued in the BuzzFeed/EPIC FOIA lawsuit to liberate the document. Back in May, the plaintiffs pointed to a number of developments in the Roger Stone case, arguing that DOJ can no longer rely on any of the FOIA exemptions previously used to hide such information.


#258

:boom: abuse of power. says the reviewing Judge.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ex-judge appointed to review Michael Flynn case says Justice Department request to dismiss charges is 'abuse of power.’

A former federal judge blasted the U.S. Justice Department for what he called “a gross abuse of prosecutorial power” in seeking to drop its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security advisor.

Flynn “has indeed committed perjury” in his statements to a federal judge in the case “for which he deserves punishment,” ex-judge John Gleeson wrote.

Flynn has twice admitted to lying to FBI agents about his talks with a Russian diplomat before Trump’s inauguration. Attorney General William Barr is seeking to have the case dismissed.

A former federal judge on Wednesday blasted the U.S. Justice Department for what he called “a gross abuse of prosecutorial power” in seeking to drop its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security advisor.

The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” the ex-judge, John Gleeson, wrote in a scathing legal filing opposing the proposed dismissal. Trump has strongly criticized the prosecution of Flynn.

Gleeson, who was assigned by the judge in Flynn’s case to advise him on several questions, also wrote that the retired Army lieutenant general “has indeed committed perjury” in his statements to the case judge during proceedings in the case, “for which he deserves punishment.”

But Gleeson added that while federal Judge Emmet Sullivan has the power to hold Flynn in criminal contempt for perjuring himself during a plea hearing and another hearing conducted by Sullivan, the judge should “not exercise that authority.”

Rather, [Sullivan] should take Flynn’s perjury into account in sentencing him on the offense to which he has already admitted guilt,” Gleeson wrote in a filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Flynn in that same court twice admitted under oath to Sullivan that he lied to FBI agents about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States in the weeks leading up to Trump’s inauguration. He has yet to be sentenced in the case.

The Justice Department had no immediate comment on Gleeson’s court filing.

Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, in an email said that the filing was “predictable and wrong. Clearly result-driven to achieve the maximum possible punishment of an innocent man.”

Gleeson was appointed by Sullivan to provide legal arguments against the Justice Department’s highly unusual request last month that the case be dismissed.

Sullivan also asked Gleeson to address whether Flynn should be punished for committing perjury by lying to Sullivan in his guilty pleas.


(David Bythewood) #259

More on that: https://twitter.com/neal_katyal/status/1270760628182007808

Washington Post: John Gleeson amicus curiae arguments against U.S. motion to dismiss Flynn case

https://www.washingtonpost.com/context/john-gleeson-amicus-curiae-arguments-against-u-s-motion-to-dismiss-flynn-case/7e88b359-8065-42e3-914d-1dff9495052c/?tid=ss_tw


#260

https://twitter.com/benjaminwittes/status/1270773929519583238?s=19

https://twitter.com/CBHessick/status/1270769021676290050?s=19

https://twitter.com/CBHessick/status/1270769021676290050?s=19


#261

hot damn @dragonfly9 Judge Gleeson really isn’t pulling punches. My eyes went so wide so fast one of my contacts popped out :joy:

Here’s the 82 page court brief if you feel like digging in.


#262

LOL…!!! He delivered, didn’t he?

I like this line on Pg. 11…"recognizing its prerogative to assess the strength of its own case—this
contention “taxes the credulity of the credulous.”

Maddow had done a segment on Gleeson and why he was super sharp to take this on, and looks like he took down the Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort - according to Wiki Gleeson profile Wiki


#263

Just looked up more on Gleeson. He nailed John Gotti, mafia head. And his credentials are impeccable, so you wonder what the next step will be for Flynn. Hmmmm.

In his decadelong career as a prosecutor, Gleeson rose to become chief of the criminal division in the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn. His tenure was bookended by trials of Gotti, a New York mobster who rose to become boss of the Gambino crime family.

In the late 1980s, Gleeson was a junior member of a prosecution team that tried Gotti on racketeering charges, in a trial that ended in the mob boss’ acquittal. In 1992, Gleeson again tried Gotti, winning a conviction on murder, racketeering and other charges.

Gotti was sentenced to life without parole. Gleeson won aplomb in the prosecution for recruiting Salvatore Gravano, Gotti’s onetime second-in-command, to testify as a government witness. Gravano’s testimony provided a measure of vindication for the earlier trial loss, as he revealed that the Gambinos had bribed a juror in that case.

“He was always a rising star trial lawyer. He was very good in the courtroom,” said Scheindlin, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn who was nominated to the federal bench the same year as Gleeson.


(David Bythewood) #264

Liberal groups back plan to expand Supreme Court

The move comes weeks before the high court is expected to hand down opinions on several hotly contested issues.

The movement on the left to pack the Supreme Court is gaining momentum.

A group of progressive organizations is for the first time supporting the proposal to add justices to the court in hopes of weakening the conservative majority, according to a memo provided to POLITICO. The move comes weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to hand down opinions on several hotly contested issues, including President Donald Trump’s tax returns, abortion rights and the fate of “Dreamers.”

The Progressive Change Institute, Be a Hero, Friends of the Earth, Presente and 350 are among those groups that are newly joining the call, according to organizers. Take Back the Court, Demand Justice and the Sunrise Movement, which previously backed the idea, also signed onto the open letter.

“Trump and the Republicans in Congress have used aggressive tactics, including eliminating the filibuster, to pack the courts with conservative ideologues and prevent the will of the people from being heard,” said Erich Pica, president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth. “From the fight for racial justice to efforts to stop climate change and protect our clean air and water, the current configuration of the court has consistently stood in the way of progress. We simply do not have a generation’s worth of time to replace judges.”

The once-fringe idea of packing the court got a major boost during the Democratic presidential primary, when several candidates said they were open to the plan or supported it. Democrats have argued the hardball tactic is needed after Republicans blocked former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and others on the lower courts.

In the memo, the progressive organizations accused Republicans of themselves “manipulating the size of the court by refusing to consider President Obama’s nominee for an open seat (and indicating that they would leave the seat open if Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election), then promptly changing Senate rules to fill the seat with a bare majority, rather than the previously-required 60 votes, when Trump took office.”

Activists said they put together the letter in part to help Democratic voters channel their anger over conservative opinions they are expecting in the coming days. Along with adding at least two justices, the groups also recommend term limits for the Supreme Court.

Despite their recent successes, progressives are still fighting an uphill battle on the idea of packing the court. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden does not support it. At a debate last year, he said, “I would not get into court packing. We had three justices. Next time around, we lose control, they add three justices. We begin to lose any credibility the court has at all.”

In their letter, the progressive organizations argued the current court is an “affront to democracy: 15 of the last 19 Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republicans, despite the fact that Republicans have lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections. Four of the five conservatives currently on the court were appointed by Republicans who took office despite losing the popular vote.”


#265

The Appeals Courts review the request to Dismiss the Flynn case and appear skeptical. Good that they are holding firm with upholding the law.

A federal appeals court appeared skeptical Friday of Michael Flynn’s bid to force a judge to dismiss his case after the Justice Department sought to abandon the prosecution.

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit considered Flynn’s case after years of twists and turns that began in the first days of President Trump’s administration.

Last month, the Justice Department requested to dismiss its 2 1/2 year prosecution of Flynn, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. The federal district court judge presiding in the criminal case, Emmet Sullivan, has put a hold on that for now.

Instead, he’s set up a process to evaluate the government’s decision to drop the charges.

Critics have said the Justice Department’s intercession in Flynn’s case is improper, at least in part, because he is Trump’s friend.

Flynn and the Justice Department, meanwhile, have criticized Sullivan for not yet dropping the case. Flynn’s legal team took the matter to the appeals court to ask it to order Sullivan to immediately dismiss.

Dubious judges

The hearing on Friday lasted more than 90 minutes. Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, argued that Sullivan exceeded his authority by appointing an outside counsel to argue against the government and by scheduling a hearing for mid-July to address the department’s decision to drop its charges.

Powell said the government has the sole authority to make prosecutorial decisions and that Sullivan has no choice but to toss the case since the Justice Department and Flynn both want it thrown out.

The Justice Department, meanwhile, called Sullivan’s review process “intrusive” and said it would cause harm to the government to have to defend its decision publicly in a highly politicized environment.

Early this year, Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea, saying he was set up by the FBI. Transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak were recently declassified and made public. They showed that the two men did discuss sanctions against Russia—one of the issues Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about.

In its motion to drop the case, the Justice Department argued that the FBI never should have interviewed Flynn, and that any false statements Flynn might have made were not material to a legitimate investigation.

The outside counsel appointed by Sullivan, former federal judge John Gleeson, disagreed. In a sharply worded brief this week, Gleeson said the department’s stated reasons for wanting to dismiss the case are “so obviously pretextual, that they are deficient.”

He continued: "Moreover, the facts surrounding the filing of the government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse. They reveal an unconvincing effort to disguise as legitimate a decision to dismiss that is based solely on the fact that Flynn is a political ally of President Trump."