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By Robert A. Vella

In an anticipated ruling, a federal judge has ruled that former White House Counsel Don McGahn must obey a congressional subpoena to testify before the House of Representatives dealing another legal blow to President Trump’s obstructionist and unconstitutional claims of blanket immunity.  The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay on a House subpoena to obtain Trump’s tax returns.  Trump’s “personal lawyer” Rudy Giuliani and congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) – the lead Republican in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry – are under criminal and ethical investigation, respectively, for activities related to Trump’s illegal coercion of the Ukrainian government.  Lastly, I’ve included snapshots of Nate Silver’s 538 blog which tracks and comprehensively analyzes presidential approval and impeachment polls plus a disturbing article on the grave concern proponents have for the future of democracy in a world whirling into authoritarianism.

From:  Donald McGahn Must Testify to Congress, Judge Rules; Administration Will Appeal

WASHINGTON — The former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II must testify before House impeachment investigators about President Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Mueller inquiry, a judge ruled on Monday, saying that senior presidential aides must comply with congressional subpoenas and calling the administration’s arguments to the contrary “fiction.”

The 120-page decision by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia handed another lower-court victory to House Democrats in their fight to overcome Mr. Trump’s stonewalling.

“Presidents are not kings,” wrote Judge Jackson, adding that current and former White House officials owe their allegiance to the Constitution. “They do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”

[…]

Judge Jackson’s ruling also came on the same day that another federal judge in Washington held out the possibility that more documents about the Ukraine affair could yet see the light of day, ruling that emails between the White House and the Pentagon about the freezing of military aid to Ukraine should be released under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

From:  Supreme Court blocks House committee from immediately reviewing Trump’s financial records

The Supreme Court on Monday blocked a House committee from immediately reviewing President Trump’s financial records, after the president’s lawyers agreed to an expedited review of a lower-court ruling granting access.

The court’s action signals that, even as Congress considers impeaching Trump, the court will undertake a more complete consideration of the legal powers of Congress and state prosecutors to investigate the president while he is in office.

The court instructed Trump’s lawyers to file a petition by Dec. 5 stating why the court should accept the case for full briefing and oral argument. If the petition is eventually denied, the lower-court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case probably will be heard this term, with a decision before the court adjourns at the end of June.

From:  Federal Subpoenas Seek Information on Giuliani’s Consulting Business

In recent weeks, prosecutors have sent subpoenas and other requests to potential witnesses seeking records and information related to Mr. Giuliani and two of his associates, according to the people. The investigation, led by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has already led to campaign-finance charges against the associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman.

The subpoenas offer the clearest indication yet that federal prosecutors are examining Mr. Giuliani’s consulting work. Among the entities named in the subpoenas are Giuliani Partners, a security-consulting firm founded by Mr. Giuliani in 2002 that had multiple foreign clients, including a city in Ukraine. The subpoenas also sought information on a company co-founded by Mr. Parnas that paid Mr. Giuliani for business and legal advice.

[…]

Subpoenas described to The Wall Street Journal listed more than a half dozen potential charges under consideration: obstruction of justice, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, making false statements to the federal government, serving as an agent of a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department, donating funds from foreign nationals, making contributions in the name of another person or allowing someone else to use one’s name to make a contribution, along with mail fraud and wire fraud.

From:  The Devin Nunes-Ukraine allegations, explained

The House Intelligence Committee just finished hearing from a dozen witnesses, many of whom said President Trump’s allies were pushing unsubstantiated allegations about Joe Biden in Ukraine. Now, a Ukrainian American who worked with Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani says he wants to testify that the top Republican on the committee was helping them dig up dirt on Biden, too.

[…]

The allegation comes from Lev Parnas, a business associate of Giuliani’s. Through a lawyer, Parnas is saying he would be willing to testify under oath that Nunes was working with them to damage Biden before the 2020 election. Parnas has produced thousands of pages of documents and even video about his work with Giuliani in Ukraine. We don’t know what, if anything, these documents say about Nunes.

CNN first reported Friday night that Parnas would be willing to testify that Nunes traveled to Vienna last year to meet with former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin. CNN looked at congressional travel records and noted that Nunes traveled to Europe around that time on a taxpayer-funded trip.

From:  Democracies on the verge of a nervous breakdown

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — If there’s a word that sums up the current mood of the West’s high command, it’s this: despair.

That’s the clearest and most alarming takeaway from discussions with the assorted diplomats, military officials and security wonks who assembled this weekend for the annual Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, a clubby gathering of leading democracies.

But the conversation centered less on fears about enemy capabilities, and much more on signs of the West’s own deepening malaise: a U.S. electorate riven over a volatile president on the brink of impeachment, European leaders squabbling among themselves, and everywhere a leadership void filled increasingly by populist insurgents and radicals.

“In the past we’ve been able to focus our attention on adversaries and not had to spend a lot of time shoring up the democracies, including our own,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “We don’t have that luxury anymore. We’ve got to spend some of our time shoring up our own democracies.”

25 thoughts on “McGahn must testify, Trump subpoena stayed, Giuliani and Nunes investigated, democracy’s breakdown

  1. I’ve enjoyed your daily or every other day updates Robert on newsworthy events like what newest circus acts are dominating the White House, the Senate and Congress on Capitol Hill. I swear, it is more chaotic than real-TV shows or real-time police shows from the streets and squad cars that have become popular of late. It never ends does it? I’m not sure if that is a (revolting) testimony of what current TV/WiFi consumers engorge themselves on… or that there is just that much fat, fluff, and fast-foods coming out of the White House. 🤢😄

    Nevertheless, your posts have kept me abreast of the goings on WITHOUT having to listen live or via tapes our POTUS speak. Lol Thank you Sir for that!!! You are a life-saver! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree. I literally can’t listen to trump’s voice anymore. It started making me ill about a year and a half ago and I’ve refused to watch or listen to anything with him directly in it since. I can’t do it. Seeing his face makes me anxious, but it’s difficult to avoid at times.

      I had the same problem with Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, but at least we weren’t bombarded with Wolfowitz. Stephen Miller caused that reaction for me within days. He could portray Satan in a movie without make-up or written dialogue. He’s truly scary.

      Liked by 5 people

      • I am the EXACT same way ashift! I am literally repulsed when I hear tRump start to speak. Every single word, FIRST WORD out of his mouth SHUTS ME DOWN! I have absolutely no desire to hear ANYTHING out of his mouth, much less his pea-brain. Seeing his face/person makes my skin crawl with sheer creepy, inhuman repulsion as if I am protecting myself from a lethal disease or STD!

        Hah! Stephen Miller is indeed horrifying, agreed. My reaction for him or tRump or those similar to Howard Stern (who I’m not that appalled by), Morton Downey Jr. and Rush Limbaugh (both who make me vomit), all famous trash shock-jocks who’s sole purpose is to hyper-antagonize ONLY for the purpose of headlines. tRump is absolutely no different except in the fact that he is nowhere NEAR as intelligent as Stern, Downey Jr, and Limbaugh. 🙄

        Liked by 3 people

  2. “Presidents are not kings,” wrote Judge Jackson, adding that current and former White House officials owe their allegiance to the Constitution. “They do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control.”

    So true, and so appropriate for this “wannabe” dictator king. Believing he can ignore subpoenas and do, literally, whatever he pleases whenever he pleases is wiping his ass with the U.S. constitution and yet the knuckledraggers who still support him actually wave flags. It’s ludicrous.

    I’m sure that, among other interesting evidence of criminal wrongdoing, trump’s financial documentation contains direct or indirect evidence of financial dealings with a lot of shady people – probably Russian gangsters among them. Where else would he be receiving large sums of money to play with? Legal banks haven’t trusted him for years.

    Nunez belongs in prison along with trump, Giuliani, Barr and probably every cabinet members trump has ever hired.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I simply just don’t see a way out of this any longer. Not so much because of trump and his corrupt cronies, but the base….the cult.

    Such a combination of ignorance, bigotry, religious extremism, racism and just plain stupidity…in such astounding amounts.

    They will still be here when trump is long gone and are they teaching their young?

    Dark forces are gathering…reminds me of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings…

    Liked by 2 people

    • They were here long before Trump. They’ve always been here.

      We had institutionalized slavery, but now it’s gone.

      We fought a civil war, but we won.

      We struggled against Jim Crow, but we overcame it.

      History shows us that yes, we can.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’ll be difficult but we need to find a way to channel the destructive forces of angry, ignorant people into actions that are either constructive or at least less destructive. I think a lot of them feel inadequate, knowing they aren’t intelligent, and need to understand that that’s OK instead of getting jealous and angry. Not everyone is a Nikola Tesla or Albert Einstein. And they need to be allowed to contribute in a way they’re able.

      As it is now, the fear- and hate-mongering mudslingers in the corporate media convince them to indulge in anger and feel they are being taken advantage of by people who themselves are merely trying to survive in a jungle of hostility and dysfunction. We need to find some common ground.

      Liked by 2 people

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