Lock Her Up – Sarah Huckabee Sanders Should Go To Prison With Trump

It is a travesty there is no legal means to hold Trump and his cohorts accountable for their steady stream of blatantly mendacious statements, because it would be the quickest way to put the entire Trump administration out of the nation’s misery. It is particularly noteworthy that Trump’s liars club members are predominately evangelical Christians who violate their bible’s Ninth Commandment at about the same rate normal human beings draw breath.

That applies to the Baptist preacher’s daughter serving as Trump’s press secretary who immediately earned membership in the administration’s liars club before she was “officially” named press secretary. If lying was a crime, Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be in prison along with most of Trump’s Cabinet and the two liars at the top of the administration: Trump and Pence.  However, now it appears that one of Huckabee Sanders’s lies could result in a criminal indictment in addition to her violation of a statute in the U.S. Code; both of which could land her in jail if the Department of Justice wasn’t being run by one of Trump’s evangelical serial liars.

It isn’t clear how much of Huckabee Sanders’ lies and statements come directly from the king of the liars Trump, but regardless where they originate, she has waded into trouble twice in the past week and everyone and their dog has noticed.

The latest “federal crime” Huckabee Sanders committed was attempting to influence a private employment decision in calling for an ESPN employee to be fired for telling the truth. That’s how bad it has become in Trump’s America; an administration ‘official’ calling for a private employee to be fired for telling the truth about the liar in the White House.

According to  18 U.S. Code § 227, Huckabee Sanders committed a “federal crime” when she called for ESPN anchor Jemele Hill’s firing over an honest-to-dog truthful “Tweet” about the white supremacist Trump.  Ms. Hill tweeted on Monday that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” It is as an honest and truthful statement as claiming the Sun rises in the East; it was also a personal opinion posted on social media, but freedom of speech is not the point.

18 U.S. Code § 227 says:

Whoever, being a covered government person, with the intent to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

Huckabee Sanders certainly violated that federal statute and she rightly earned an ethics complaint filed by the Democratic Coalition whose chairman Jon Cooper said:

When Sarah Huckabee Sanders called for Jemele Hill to be fired by ESPN, she crossed the line and put herself in dubious legal territory. Even in Donald Trump’s America, there’s still such a thing as freedom of speech. For Sanders to publicly call for the dismissal of a Trump critic is bizarre and disturbing, to say the least. If anyone is to be fired, it should be her.”

She should also face federal criminal charges, and after being convicted they should, as Trump likes to repeat ad nauseam – “lock her up.” That is what the law demands and Trump claims his administration is all about “law and order;” except for him and his criminal administration. Huckabee Sanders will never face any criminal charges because the Trump administration is criminally corrupt. Besides, violating 18 U.S. Code § 227 may be the least of Huckabee Sanders problems going forward.

This week, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), explained on MSNBC that Trump’s Press Secretary likely put herself in legal jeopardy. Senator Whitehouse was referring to three comments on consecutive days about former FBI Director James Comey.  Mr. Whitehouse described three of Huckabee Sanders’ statements as “torpedoes” that appear to be an attempt by the Trump administration to influence grand juries convened by the special prosecutor Robert Mueller in the Russia probe.

Mr. Whitehouse said: “If the motivation was to poison the reputation of James Comey with the grand jurors, you have another indictment;” for attempting to obstruct justice. Of course no human being knows “for sure” what was going through Huckabee Sanders’ mind, or what her true motivation was when she telegraphed Donald Trump’s “message to the public.” But it is relatively clear that because she has no official legal standing to “prosecute from the White House press briefing room,” her repeated assertions that James Comey broke the law and should be investigated were a propaganda ploy; almost certainly incited by Trump himself.

On Monday Huckabee Sanders claimed that Comey’s firing was appropriate because “not only did he leak confidential memos, he lied during testimony to Congress.” The next day she continued the White House “prosecutor’s case” again claiming that Mr. Comey’s actions were “improper and illegal” and something the Department of Justice prosecutors should be pursuing. On the following day, she reiterated the Trump “administration’s charges” claiming that “it was pretty clean and clear” that Comey broke the law and he should be prosecuted.

Since Trump announced his candidacy last year, he has regularly called for Americans he doesn’t like to be prosecuted; not because they did anything illegal or untoward, but because he thrives on demeaning the character of his perceived enemies. His campaign made “lock her up” a rallying cry to portray Hillary Clinton as a criminal; it is a classic case of what psychologists call “projection.”

There is really only one reason Huckabee Sanders would spend three consecutive days arguing like a prosecutor to impugn James Comey’s character, and that was to influence both public opinion and the various grand juries Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is rumored to have convened. In legal terms, that certainly qualifies as attempting to obstruct justice and worthy of a federal indictment, as Senator Whitehouse explained.

Obviously, Trump’s Justice Department is not going to pursue charges against Huckabee Sanders for violating 18 U.S. Code § 227 because Sessions is too terrified of Trump and corrupt to do his job. Plus, he is a liar of the first order and is damned lucky he is not serving time for committing perjury under oath before the U.S. Senate; a federal crime worthy of five years in prison and a hefty fine.

Huckabee Sanders may not be as fortunate with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller who is a real prosecutor and is thoroughly investigating obstruction of justice charges against the Trump administration players that Huckabee Sanders became party to. But that investigation is ongoing and hopefully Mr. Mueller added Huckabee Sanders to the long list of Trump administration actors guilty of obstructing justice.

Trump’s entire administration is looking more corrupt by the minute, and it is stunning, really, that Huckabee Sanders is willing to stand in front of the media and implicate herself to protect the criminal in the Oval Office. Maybe it is because she is allegedly a good Christian and considers lying reasonable to preserve the evangelical right’s rubber stamp in the White House. However, what is considered reasonable to  a cabal of serial liars and corrupt Republicans is obstruction of justice and illegal in the eyes of the law. Huckabee Sanders deserves to be prosecuted along with her criminal cohorts in the Trump administration and the Trump liars club needs to be locked up to preserve the rule of law and what is left of America’s failing government.

Image: YouTube

Republicans Block Effort to Revoke Jared Kushner’s Security Clearance

 

It has become increasingly obvious that Republicans are about as interested in national security as they are raising taxes 90 percent on their wealthy donors. Oh sure they feigned interest in security when a Democrat was Secretary of State and used a private email server, but they pretended to be interested in a rash of issues because they weren’t in power. However, when a most senior advisor to a Republican in the White House deliberately lied and omitted over 100 contacts with foreign agents on a national security clearance form, including agents that waged cyber warfare against America, even questioning the perjury is a “political stunt.

By now most Americans have at least heard that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, lied on the first two Standard Form 86 (SF-86) security clearance documents he submitted to earn a high-level security clearance to work in a place he doesn’t belong – the White House.

Kushner was even “inclined” to “revise” a third SF-86 to add over a hundred additional contacts with foreign agents he “forgot” to mention the second time he “revised” his SF-86 clearance. Of course just meeting with foreigners isn’t an issue, but Kushner met with Russian agents actively waging “cyber warfare” against an American institution, and he lied about those meetings at least twice and still has a high security clearance; something House Republicans do not have a problem with.

However, Democrats in the House do take a dim view of committing perjury on a security clearance document and although they are virtually impotent to do anything about it, they made an effort to get a risk to national security out of the Trump administration’s decision making chain.

One amendment introduced by Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill that banned any funds from being used “to issue, renew, or maintain a security clearance for any individual in a position in the Executive Office of the President who is under a criminal investigation by a Federal law enforcement agency for aiding a foreign government.”  Jared Kushner meets that standard of “being under criminal investigation” by a Federal law enforcement agency but Republicans don’t care; that Amendment failed along a party line vote 22-30.

The second amendment sought to revoke the security clearance of any White House staffers who deliberately fail to disclose (lie about) meetings with foreign nationals (agents) or foreign nations (Russia) on the SF-86 questionnaire for national security positions. That amendment, like the first one, was defeated along a party line vote and it is telling that all Republicans are protecting yet another Trump administration actor regardless the threat they pose to national security.

Ms. Wasserman Schulz argued that both amendments were crucial to “safeguard the country’s most sensitive national security information.” Most Americans would agree and likely add that it is just as crucial to safeguard the nation from an administration that knowingly employs several national security risks; and it is a security risk by Trump Sr. to bring in corrupt actors who lie to conceal their contacts with foreign agents.

While the Democrats were attempting to protect national security, Republicans said the amendments were political maneuvers and unnecessary. Texas Republican John Culbertson said both amendments were just political stunts because national security decisions should be left up to the security professionals appointed by Donald Trump. Culbertson said:

The use of funding prohibitions to deny or remove security clearances is just simply a political stunt and unnecessary, because security clearances can already be denied or revoked because criminal conduct.”

No matter what Culbertson says, the national security “professionals” Trump appointed have already revealed they definitely are not “denying or revoking” security clearances for anyone in Trump’s administration despite that there is powerful evidence that there was “criminal conduct.”

According to SF-86 under the heading Penalties for Inaccurate or False Statements, it plainly states:

The U.S. Criminal Code (title 18, section 1001) provides that knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact is a felony which may result in fines and/or up to five (5) years imprisonment. In addition, Federal agencies generally fire, do not grant a security clearance, or disqualify individuals who have materially and deliberately falsified these forms, and this remains a part of the permanent record for future placements. Your prospects of placement or security clearance are better if you answer all questions truthfully and completely. You will have adequate opportunity to explain any information you provide on this form and to make your comment.” (author bold)

It is noteworthy that under 18 U.S.C. § 1001 a fair number of “notable Americans” have been convicted for “making false statements” including Martha Stewart, Rod Blagojevich, Scooter Libby, Bernie Madoff, and Jeffrey Skilling to name a few.  Republicans or anyone in the Trump administration can never claim that the law is archaic or obscure, or has never been enforced. It has, and it probably would be enforced today if the entire Trump administration wasn’t run by criminals like Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is not going to prosecute Kushner or make any attempt to deny his security clearance because he also “knowingly falsified and concealed a material fact” on his SF 86 and during sworn testimony before the United States Senate.

These amendments by Democrats are a continuing effort to clear out known national security risks, and felonious “advisors” from the Trump White House and it is crystal clear Republicans are now, and have been, obstructing efforts to protect critical national security secrets. No small number of Democrats have been calling for Kushner’s security clearance to be revoked, or at least suspended. This is particularly true since the revelation that he was in attendance with Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort when they met with the Russian lawyer in a clandestine meeting at Trump Tower that Kushner failed to report on his security clearance form.

That latest “revelation” is in addition to Kushner’s meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the CEO of a Russian state-run bank during the transition.  If, as Republicans claim, criminal conduct is justification for denying or revoking security clearances, and Trump’s national security team or his attorney general refuse to do their jobs, then it is left to Congress to step in – something Democrats did attempt with the two separate amendments that only failed because like Trump, Sessions, Kushner, Trump Jr., and likely the majority of the Trump administration, Republicans are criminals for covering up a federal crime. It makes them co-conspirators in criminal conduct that should send the entire lot of them to a federal penitentiary for up to five (5) years.

Image: Credo

 

Trump Obstructs Office of Government Ethics Investigation

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign corrupt Donald Trump promised his gullible supporters that he would “drain the swamp” in Washington. Instead, he turned what he claimed was a swamp into a putrid rotting cesspool of Wall Street titans and profit-driven corporate lobbyists from every industry under the Sun. It is just what a lying con man would do. And, as an aspiring fascist tyrant the Trump imagined that as president he would be immune to any investigation into his corrupt appointments from ethics agencies and watchdogs.

However, the head of the Office of Government Ethics (O.G.E.) is a man dedicated to doing his job and began ethics inquiries into Trump’s cesspool by demanding the names of every former lobbyist who was granted a waiver to work inside the White House, as well as all the federal agencies Trump inserted special interest operatives into. That inquiry by Walter M. Shaub Jr didn’t comport with Trump’s corrupt White House and they sent him a letter “asking” him to withdraw his request for copies of waivers from every federal agency Trump staffed thus far.

Although remarkable in any other era, the Trump administration challenged Mr. Shaub’s legal authority as head of the Office of Government Ethics to do his due diligence in demanding the information. Mr. Shaub’s demand for the waivers is not unwarranted or out of the ordinary because as the New York Times noted:

Federal law gives the Office of Government Ethics, which was created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, clear legal authority to issue such a “data request” to the ethics officers at federal agencies.” Those “data requests” constitute the primary means the government ethics office has to oversee compliance with federal ethics standards; not that Trump believes he or anyone in his administration has to comply with any ethics standards.

The Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) chimed in and claimed that, for its part,  complying with the Ethics investigation request requires that it “seek further legal guidance” about exactly whose ethical standards the Trump OMB has to follow. A statement claimed that “the very fact that this internal discussion was leaked implies that the data being sought is not being collected to satisfy our mutual high standard of ethics.

The Trump OMB didn’t clarify what “leaks” it was referring to, but it is inconsequential.  The O.G.E.’s mandated duty is to investigate any and all suspected ethics violations and in this case, Trump’s intent to keep waivers secret and away from the public, or ethics investigators, justifies a robust investigation.

Eighteen congressional Democrats agree this O.G.E. investigation has to go forward and they issued a “publicletter to Mr. Shaub informing him they were taking up the O.G.E. cause. The Democrats wrote in part:

If O.M.B. does not stand down from its attempt to prevent designated agency ethics officials from responding to the O.G.E. data call, we will seek the waivers directly ourselves.  The administration certainly cannot dispute that Congress has the right to this information.”

It is noteworthy to mention that Trump did, in fact, sign an executive order very early on banning lobbyists from working on “particular” government matters when there was a question of conflicts of interest with former clients. However, like everything Trump does, he “reserved his right” to issue waivers to circumvent his own executive order. And to keep his corrupt cesspool out the public eye he arranged it so any waiver “that he granted” would not automatically be made public; a practice every other president has followed religiously. Thus, Mr. Shaub as head of the O.G.E. demanded to see the waivers to ensure the public there were no conflicts.

In response to Trump’s claim the O.G.E. has no legal authority to investigate his government ethics violations, Mr. Shaub sent a “scathing” 10-page letter to Trump, every single federal agency’s ethics officer, the six members of Congress overseeing government operations and the inspectors general from “agencies government wide.”

Mr. Shaub wrote, in part, to Trump:

O.G.E. declines your request to suspend its ethics inquiry and reiterates its expectation that agencies will fully comply with its directive. Public confidence in the integrity of government decision making demands no less.”

As a man of character and conviction to ensure ethics in the people’s government, Mr. Shaub said he is not backing down from Trump. He is in the final year of his five-year term and remarked that Trump’s resistance to ethics inquiries is  “an extraordinary thing. I have never seen anything like it.”

That sentiment was shared by Marilyn L. Glynn who called the move by Trump’s White House “unprecedented and extremely troubling.” Ms. Glynn was a general counsel and acting director of the O.G.E. during the George W. Bush administration. She continued that Trump’s refusal to comply with an Ethics Office inquiry, as well as assert that the Office has no legal authority, is a dangerous move. “It challenges the very authority of the director of the agency and his ability to carry out the functions of the office.”

It is noteworthy that during Ms. Glynn’s tenure as chief of the O.G.E., she recalled how the Bush White House would intervene on her office’s behalf with a federal agency to get information that she needed. Mr. Shaub is getting precisely the opposite treatment because Trump is corrupt and his willingness to challenge the legal authority of a simple  O.G.E. request is a dead giveaway that he has something to hide; something Walter M. Shaub is well-practiced in discerning.

There is a damn good reason Shaub is demanding to see the waivers Trump allegedly issued to his special-interest swamp creatures. Trump has already installed literally dozens of former corporate and special interest lobbyists and industry lawyers to work and govern in the corrupt Trump administration. In fact, Trump has hired “industry lawyers and corporate lobbyists” at a far higher rate than any previous administration which is why he is desperate to keep the waivers, if they even exist, concealed to cover the corruption. It makes it impossible to know when officials are violating federal ethics rules and impossible to know if Trump gave the former lobbyists and corporate lawyers permission to ignore something Trump doesn’t believe in; ethics rules.

This latest signal from Trump’s administration that it fully intends to continue violating ethics rule is not unique to Trump and appears to be a Republican “thing.” Remember, one of the first acts on the first day of the new congress was House Republicans voting to abolish the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Their plan was putting ethics investigations under the purview of House Republicans who have shown they are as averse to adhering to ethics rules as their standard bearer, dirty Donald Trump.

It would seem reasonable that Republicans in the Senate might offer some “counsel” to Trump to comply with the OGE request and put the issue to rest, but they are as corrupt as Trump. Republicans in the Senate ethics committee have allowed at least five of Trump’s cabinet appointees to commit perjury under oath, a federal crime, before rewarding them with high-level Cabinet posts.

It is unclear how Trump will proceed from here, but it is crystal clear that the O.G.E. chief is not intimidated and will not fall victim to Trump’s bullying tactics. What will not be a surprise is to learn that Trump launches a flurry of angry tweets about witch hunts, persecution, leaks, and inauguration crowd size hours before firing the Office of Government Ethics director just prior to abolishing every government ethics watchdog by virtue of an executive order.