By Robert A. Vella
Fire And Fury author Michael Wolff’s new book Siege: Trump Under Fire asserts that Robert Mueller drafted a criminal indictment against President Trump and then decided not to pursue it. The Guardian reported that it has obtained a copy of the book (to be published next week) as well as the corroborating internal documents Wolff says were given to him by sources close to the Special Counsel’s office. If true, widespread suspicions (also expressed on this blog) of political motives in Mueller’s decision to not indict Trump would be strongly validated.
Republican congressman Peter King (NY) has denounced President Trump‘s siding with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s insulting remarks against former vice president and current Democratic Party candidate for president Joe Biden.
Yesterday, German chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “dark forces” rising up against Europe and western democracies.
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from journalists has uncovered a dramatic rise in complaints against robocalls filed at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Three news stories highlight the U.S. Supreme Court today.
Mueller’s draft indictment
The Guardian reports the first of the three counts charged the president with corruptly influencing, obstructing or impeding a pending proceeding before a department or agency. The second count is said to have charged the president with tampering with a witness, victim or informant, while the third allegedly charged Trump with retaliating against a witness.
According to Wolff, Mueller’s team drew up both the three-count indictment of Trump as well as a supporting draft memorandum of law opposing any motion from Congress or the White House.
The memo quoted by Wolff says: “The Impeachment Judgment Clause, which applies equally to all civil officers including the president … takes for granted … that an officer may be subject to indictment and prosecution before impeachment. If it did not, the clause would be creating, for civil officers, precisely the immunity the Framers rejected.”
Wolff writes that Mueller agonized for a long time over whether to charge the president before ultimately deciding he could not move to prosecute a sitting president.
Wolff’s conclusion reads: “Bob Mueller threw up his hands. Surprisingly, he found himself in agreement with the greater White House: Donald Trump was the president, and, for better or for worse, what you saw was what you got — and what the country voted for.”
Politics at water’s edge
Trump backed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s attack on the 2020 hopeful during a news conference in Tokyo on Monday.
“Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” Trump said, also calling Biden a “disaster.”
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said Monday it was “wrong” for Trump to agree with Kim.
“Politics stops at water’s edge,” he tweeted. “Never right to side with murderous dictator vs. fellow American.”
The rise of dark forces
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said “there is work to be done” in Germany to face up to the dark forces that are finding mainstream support there and in other parts of the world.
“In Germany, obviously, they always have to be seen in a certain context, in the context of our past, which means we have to be that much more vigilant than others,” she said.
Speaking exclusively to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour a day after the European elections, where nationalists failed to live up to a forecasted surge in support, Merkel said we have to face-up “to the specters of the past.”
Both the FCC and the Federal Trade Commission receive a mind-boggling number of complaints monthly from Americans who can’t stand the growing scourge of scam calls. Last year, the FCC received 232,000 complaints regarding unwanted calls like robocalls and telemarketing offers, while the FTC received more than 3.7 million robocall complaints alone. For both agencies, these complaints are the most frequent ones they receive.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request from NBC News, the FCC provided roughly 200 lightly redacted complaints — all from May 1 and with the names of the filers redacted — that highlight just how fed up Americans are with the scam calls and how badly they want the government to take action against the perpetrators.
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to a compromise on a restrictive Indiana abortion law that keeps the issue off its docket for now.
The court said a part of the law dealing with disposal of the “remains” of an abortion could go into effect. But it did not take up a part of the law stricken by lower courts that prohibited abortions because tests revealed an abnormality.
The court indicated it would wait for other courts to weigh in before taking up that issue.
WASHINGTON, May 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday preserved a Pennsylvania school district’s policy accommodating transgender students, declining to hear a challenge backed by a conservative Christian group to rules letting them use bathrooms matching their gender identity.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to consider for the second time whether a U.S. Border Patrol agent is liable for the cross-border shooting death of a 15-year-old Mexican boy.
The justices granted the case, first heard in 2017, after two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed the claim for damages against the agent, but a Ninth Circuit appeals court came to the opposite conclusion in another cross-border shooting.