This is Bad – Now Trump’s DOJ Wants Arpaio Conviction Erased

Although disgraced Arizona former sheriff Joe Arpaio was gifted a with a questionable and completely unwarranted pardon from the crook in the White House, it still isn’t enough to satisfy any of the racists in Trump’s administration. The sad truth is that Trump pardoning Arpaio prematurely signaled that the rule of law took another blow from dirty Don. Now Trump’s racist attorney general is wading in to completely erase Arpaio’s conviction in a blow to a federal Judge, the rule of law and the judicial system.

It was announced yesterday (Monday) that since Trump’s good friend Joe Arpaio demands his conviction on criminal contempt of court be dismissed, Trump’s Justice Department duly filed an amicus brief telling a federal Judge to “give Sheriff Joe” what he wants. Obviously the DOJ didn’t put it in quite those words, but they did, however, reiterate Arpaio’s claim that a pardon from Trump means he was never found guilty and never convicted; Arpaio wants his name cleared of any wrongdoing and Trump’s DOJ agrees. This is a really bad sign going forward.

Shortly after Trump pardoned Arpaio, the former sheriff told the federal Judge he wants the conviction “tossed” as if nothing ever happened and he wasn’t in contempt of court for over five years. Trump’s DOJ filed an amicus brief with the federal court agreeing with Arpaio that he should be declared innocent.

The disgraced Arpaio’s lawyers have argued that even though he will never face justice or be sentenced, the poor former sheriff  has no legal path to be declared innocent. According to Arpaio, that questionable pardon renders his case “resolved” in the eyes of the law, so his conviction must be thrown out and his “good name” cleared of any wrongdoing. He says that presidential pardon “nullifies the guilty verdict in the case.

Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton canceled an October 5th sentencing date after the ill-advised pardon and set an October 4th date for both prosecutors and defense lawyers to file briefs on why she should, or should not, do what Arpaio demands and pretend he never broke the law.

Although the DOJ has no business wading into the case, they are acutely interested in seeing that Arpaio gets his criminal record wiped clean; it is a slap in the face to a Federal Judge from Trump’s Department of Justice. The DOJ brief states:

A pardon issued before entry of final judgment moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that result from the guilty verdict. Accordingly, the [Trump] government agrees [with Arpaio] that the Court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot.”

It is as if nothing ever happened. And as if Arpaio’s flagrant flouting the law, and disregarding the constitutionality of a federal court’s authority, is now legal in Trump’s America; but only if the convicted criminal is an anti-immigrant racist and close Trump ally and supporter.

That pardon has elicited legal challenges and there should be a robust stand against Trump’s actions; if for no other reason than Trump failed to follow his own Department of Justice’s protocol and rules for granting a “presidential pardon.” Of course those rules and procedures are not the grounds an activist group, Protect Democracy, is claiming to “thwart Trump’s violations of legal norms,” but it is a path they may want to investigate.

The group of lawyers sent a letter to Raymond N. Hulser and John Dixon Keller of the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department, arguing that the pardon goes beyond constitutional limits. In their letter to the DOJ, the Protect Democracy lawyers claim Trump cannot “obviate the court’s powers to enforce its orders when the constitutional rights of others are at stake.” They added:

The president [Trump] can’t use the pardon power to immunize lawless officials from consequences for violating people’s constitutional rights. After repeatedly belittling and undermining judges verbally and on Twitter, now President Trump is escalating his attack on the courts into concrete actions. His pardon and celebration of Joe Arpaio for ignoring a [federal] judicial order is a threat to our democracy and every citizen’s rights, and should not be allowed to stand.”

There is another little matter that should be addressed and it is Trump’s blatant disregard for the long-established process of gaining a presidential pardon; Trump violated each and every one of them.

Just a sampling of the procedures Trump ignored was the requirement that the convicted party files a petition with the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Department of Justice. According to the DOJ website, Arpaio is required to complete a pardon petition that “must be completed fully and accurately and notarized in order to be considered.” That process, like the U.S. Constitution means nothing to Trump.

The DOJ instructs all petitioners that a presidential pardon:

Is ordinarily a sign of forgiveness and is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or release from confinement. A pardon is not a sign of vindication and does not connote or establish innocence. For that reason, when considering the merits of a pardon petition, pardon officials take into account the petitioner’s acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement for the offense. (Author bold)

Obviously, Arpaio continues claiming, like his racist hero Trump, that he did nothing wrong because he is “above the law” and was “just doing his job” in violating a federal court order for over five years. And he just said yesterday it was a “job” he would never stop doing or apologize for. In fact, he made the same claim in 2011 when the Court ordered him to cease and desist and he has reiterated that claim without pause as he continued violating the federal court’s order.  In fact, in the court’s guilty finding in July the Judge noted that:

The Defendant broadcast to the world and to his subordinates that he would and they should continue ‘what he had always been doing.’”

Arpaio, like Trump, believes he is exempt from following court orders like every other American citizen has to on pain of a conviction for “criminal contempt of court;” which is what Arpaio was found guilty of.

It is also noteworthy that Arpaio never “accepted responsibility for the crime” he certainly committed or established good conduct for a significant period of time “after conviction.” Because in violating the DOJ’s own rules, Trump just pardoned Arpaio barely three weeks after he was found guilty and convicted of a federal crime. Trump was so eager to sate his alt-right Nazis lust for “justice” for a fellow racist, that he didn’t wait for Arpaio to be sentenced and now he wants the conviction and guilty finding erased; to clear “former” sheriff Joe’s good name.

There are rumors that Arpaio is going to challenge one of Trump’s Republican “enemies,” Jeff Flake, for his Arizona Senate seat and he needs his criminal record wiped clean. It is not out of the realm of possibility that Trump is using the federal government agency to aid his racist ally’s electoral chances; Trump’s DOJ stepping in to pressure a federal court fits with any number of dirty tricks Trump will use to game the system.

It was bad enough that Trump pardoned Arpaio without going through the proper pardon process, but the DOJ butting in to pressure a federal Judge portends the “official” end of the rule of law in America.

It is not a stretch to imagine that Trump will issue a blanket pardon for all of his co-conspirators even before they face charges, particularly after he announced publicly that he “has complete pardon power;” a signal to his corrupt players that no matter what crimes they committed, they will never face justice. This should concern every American because there is every indication that no-one in Trump’s corrupt administration will ever face justice; including the dirty crook in the Oval Office.

DOJ Demands Data of 1.3 Million Anti-Trump Website Visitors

If America was not in perpetual crisis mode with an avowed racist and know-nothing tyrant in the White House, and a complicit Republican Congress praising his every act, Americans may be outraged over a huge atrocity being committed in Trump’s name.

Americans are as notorious for protecting their privacy as they are exercising their constitutional rights of free speech and protesting their grievances to the government and they consider those constitutional rights as sacrosanct. However, that is irrelevant to the Trump administration that has little use for the Constitution.

In yet another attempt to silence dissent and opposition like a third-rate nation’s dictator, Trump’s Department of Justice is attempting to illegally gather private digital data of Americans who protested and opposed Trump’s ascension to the White House.

When Americans disgusted that Trump was indeed going to be inaugurated, they did the only thing possible to publicly show their mass revulsion; protest a monumental American atrocity. Now it has been revealed that Trump, through his lackey running the Justice Department, is attempting to gather digital data on over 1.3 million Americans because they visited a website dedicated to organizing a protest to Trump’s inauguration.

A Los Angeles-based web hosting provider, DreamHost, is challenging a Department of Justice search warrant demand for “any and all records, files and other information on a website that was used to organize protests against President Trump on Inauguration Day.” The Justice Department demand is, and damn well should be, “stirring alarm” among privacy and civil liberties advocates as well as the 1.3 million Americans who visited an anti-Trump website.

The Trump DOJ demands to know when people visited the site, what related webpages they looked at, as well as what kind of operating system they were using. If that’s not terrifying enough, the DOJ is also demanding all email content related to the site to identify any person, or persons, who may have corresponded with the website’s owners even if they were requesting information.

The president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, Nuala O’Connor said:

This to me on its face looks like a fishing expedition. It cannot be in this democracy that simply going to a website is [indicative] of criminal or suspicious activity.”

A law professor at American University, Jennifer Daskal, remarked that the DOJ’s lack of information about their unconstitutional effort makes it impossible to known the full scope of what the Justice Department is doing and why they are doing it. She did agree with other legal experts that the federal government’s demand for data “appears questionable.” Professor Daskal said:

It seems quite concerning and extremely over-broad — raising both First and Fourth amendment concerns. It’s targeting anyone who visited a site used to organize a protest, in a way that seriously risks chilling speech and associational rights.”

Ms. Daskal also noted that searches are supposed to be “particularized based on individualized suspicion.”

As is typically the case in America’s criminal justice system, Ms. Daskal noted that searches, and warrants to search or seize, have to be “particularized based on individualized suspicion.” Broadly demanding records and the personal digital data of over 1.3 million American citizens is not only not “particularized or individualized,” it is illegally searching and seizing private information according to the 4th Amendment. One can only presume that, like the Trump-Pence crusade to compile a federal registry of opposition and dissenting voters, this latest attempt is to construct a veritable enemy’s list for future intimidation by the Trump administration, the Republican Party, and Vladimir Putin.

Although the DOJ’s original demand for the data came within seven days of Trump’s inauguration, the hosting site DreamHost resisted on privacy right grounds. So Trump’s DOJ went to a ‘Superior Court” on July 12 for a search warrant; no federal court would issue such a warrant. The DOJ told the Court that they had probable cause to believe that DreamHost has “property, namely stored electronic communications including but not limited to digital files, records, messages, and photographs” that could be used as evidence against the D.C. anti-Trump protestors on Inauguration Day.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) are joining DreamHost in its fight against the DOJ’s warrant. The CCIA president and CEO, Ed Black, said yesterday that:

The U.S. government itself has criticized countries that target political dissent with criminal process. We would urge DOJ to consider the consequences of such requests both in terms of emboldening countries like China and in the message this sends to democratic allies.

The wholly unconstitutional issue is finally bringing public scrutiny on Sessions acting on Trump’s behalf to use the DOJ to silence dissent and opposition. That is the spot-on assessment of Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL) who called for Sessions to drop the issue. Mr. Deutch said:

When the government attempts to seize personal information, including email and physical addresses, for more than a million Americans who visited a website, it shows that the president is willing to use his Justice Department and the machinery of government to go after his political opponents.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano, no real friend of demonstrators or protestors was on Fox News and even he said there are “very serious constitutional problems” with the DOJ’s demand and search warrant. In fact, Napolitano is certain the DOJ was forced to go to a county’s superior court to get the warrant because “no federal judge would sign it.”

This search warrant that the government got has a lot of us scratching our heads. There is not [a] criminal investigation, there is no evidence that the ID of these people is going to produce evidence of a crime, and these things are absolutely required before a search warrant can be granted. 

Could you imagine if [former attorney general] Eric Holder did this to find out who the protesters against Barack Obama were? I dare say there would be a different reaction than what we are seeing today. … There should be an uproar over this.”

The case is not the first instance of the government asking tech companies for details on Trump dissidents. Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) actually attempted to pressure Twitter to reveal information to identify account holders whose messages on the social media platform that were critical of Trump. The DHS ultimately withdrew the request and it isn’t clear if it was because they would be deluged with millions of anti-Trump accounts or if the unconstitutionality of the ‘request’ became too evident.

Lawyers for the hosting site, DreamHost, seem to believe the entire issue is meant to frighten Americans into “self-censorship” out of fear of the Trump administration’s prying eyes and retribution. DreamHost’s general counsel, Chris Ghazarian said:

It’s going to chill speech. Potentially, people will stop visiting these types of websites at the risk of their information being turned over to DOJ. Companies should not be worried about untargeted mass collections of user data that we store on our servers under warrants like this.

And, American citizens should not have to be worried about their personal data, digital or otherwise, being monitored or targeted for who knows what kind of harassment, simply because they oppose the fascist in the White House. This is the kind of atrocity the American government used to condemn in nations ruled by tyrannical dictators notorious for seeking out and terrorizing the opposition and dissenting voices. That it started happening here only seven days after Trump’s inauguration protests speaks volumes to how quickly America fell victim to a tyrannical dictator who is using the Justice Department to go after his critics.

Jeff Sessions’ Task Force On Marijuana Tells Him to Back Off

Anyone remotely familiar with the appeal to men with low self-esteem of religion as a means to control other humans should recognize what drives a nasty lying piece of work like Trump’s “beleaguered” attorney general J. Beauregard Sessions. It seems that except for the criminals and perjury-prone cretins in the Trump administration, Sessions has been desperate to send people to jail. But instead of pursuing the easy targets like the Trump’s, Kushner, Pence, and himself, Sessions wants to prosecute and imprison journalists for doing their jobs, protestors exercising their Constitutional rights, and Americans who legally use marijuana; whether for the weed’s well-documented medicinal properties or recreational enjoyment.

For a person who has invested a fair amount of time researching the benefits of cannabis as an alternative to enriching the pharmaceutical industry, it is beyond comprehension that any half-intelligent human being wants to imprison marijuana users, no matter their reason for partaking. Sessions has been on a crusade since he lied to the Senate to earn confirmation as attorney general to find some connection between a non-existent rise in extreme violent crime and marijuana use, whether for medicine or recreation.

Sessions, a perjurer who has zero comprehension of what he’s talking about, has assailed marijuana as dangerous as heroin and regularly blames its use for spikes in extreme violence. Those patently false assertions are what he’s used in promising to change existing pot policy to throw a lot of innocent people in prison since he took office six months ago. This is a curious departure from “state’s rights” Sessions who has bristled at the idea of federal courts striking down Republican state’s laws that violate various Constitutional amendments guaranteeing equality to all Americans. State’s rights are only valid, in Sessions’ mind, if they foster discrimination or subvert Americans’ right to vote.

Early in his tenure at the Department of Justice, Session hand-picked a task force consisting of law enforcement, prosecutors, and religious conservatives to develop a reason to attack legal marijuana use and throw some Americans in prison and stomp on the 10th Amendment in the process. The big problem for Sessions was revealed accidentally late this week when the Associated Press got access to portions of a recommendation report from his “Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.” In February when he convened the public safety task force, Sessions lied and said “We’re seeing real violence around that [decriminalization]. Experts are telling me there’s more violence around marijuana decriminalization than anyone knows.”

Sessions didn’t want the report released for public consumption and he didn’t have any comment when the non-recommendation report was revealed, and there is a damn good reason. Beauregard “bible” Sessions didn’t want the results of the “task force” released because the cops and prosecutors fundamentally said there are no recommendations; or reasons to follow through on any of Sessions’ anti-pot plans.  The short conclusion was the cops and prosecutors “don’t think anything should change.”

According to the task force’s report, the cops and prosecutors believe that the federal government’s Justice Department has more important work to do than hunt down pot-users and throw them in jail. They argued that Sessions should leave the Obama-era “hands-off” approach to states with legalized weed in place whether legalization is for recreational or medicinal use.  Of course Sessions doesn’t have to heed the task force’s recommendation, but at least now he can’t lie and claim his “hand-picked” task force pushed him to pursue pot to stop violent crime; a claim that is absurd on its face and not factual whatsoever.

As noted in the AP report, the nature of the “wait and see” of the task force’s recommendations signals just how difficult it would be to change course on decriminalized marijuana. Although there are some in law enforcement that might support a tougher approach, in March there was a bipartisan group of senators who “urged” Sessions to uphold the existing marijuana policy and leave the states alone. There is also a group of congressional representatives and senators who are actively seeking ways to not only protect legalized marijuana use, but to help promote the industry and help it succeed and prosper.

According to a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by members of the task force, the “vague recommendations were likely intentional to reflect the understanding that shutting down the entire pot industry is neither palatable nor possible.”  John Hudak said:

If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails.”

Sessions’ threats to embark on a federal crackdown crusade have united liberals and conservatives to oppose his plan to attack pot use and legalization. Humanitarians oppose the Sessions’ war on pot because of the “human costs of a failed war on drugs,” and conservatives see it as a states’ rights issue and none of the federal government’s business. In fact, many members of Congress and decriminalization advocates were fearful that the task force would give Sessions the green light to dismantle what has become a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar industry that is helping fund schools, healthcare, educational programs and particularly law enforcement.

The director of conservative outreach at the Marijuana Policy Project, Don Murphy, joined decriminalization advocates in celebrating the task force’s recommendation to “butt out.” Mr. Murphy said in a statement:

The task force’s recommendations reflect the fact that the Dept. of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses. In states that have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, these businesses are creating jobs, generating revenue, protecting consumers, and making their communities safer. The vast majority of Americans want the federal government to let states determine their own marijuana policies. We hope the attorney general is paying attention and maintains the current policy of non-interference.

It remains to be seen if Sessions is paying attention, but if that is a problem he has, there was just a long-term study released that revealed that cannabis use is a means of controlling people’s problems paying attention if they suffer from ADHD or HDD. And, since Sessions has a severe memory problem and couldn’t remember how many secret meetings he had with Russian agents helping Trump’s campaign, a different study revealed that chronic pot use does, in fact, help people with memory loss issues. Beauregard should smoke a couple of bowls a day, lose that stupid bible, regain his memory and increase his attention span; America would be better served and he might stop being such a monumental evangelical dick.

The United States Is Run By A Criminal Organization

Once upon a time America was renowned as “a nation of laws.”  Most Americans comprehend that no matter if they like or dislike certain laws, they are in place to protect the general population and the security of the federal government. Republicans generally cannot comport laws because they prevent their wealthy donors from fleecing the population and destroying the environment, among many other atrocities. But over the past year or so, Republicans have not only violated laws regularly, they have broken other laws to cover their criminality with no expectation of ever being brought to justice, with good reason.

A couple of days ago Howard Dean said what a few Americans already know after six months of the Trump administration; “A criminal enterprise is running the country now.” Mr. Dean said the people will never get the truth out of Trump and he is spot on; pathological liars never tell the truth. However, it is not just Trump who is a criminal liar, it is the entire Republican Party and they are just as culpable as Trump for violating an increasing number of laws; the least of which is collusion to conceal crimes against the people and the United States.

Mr. Dean said of Trump:

He doesn’t tell the truth. Everybody knows he doesn’t tell the truth. Even his supporters know he doesn’t tell the truth. But they like him anyway. I think at this point, Trump is Trump. He’s going to lie. He’s going to do all these things he does. And the real savior for democracy is going to be Robert Mueller. He’s going to find out what the truth is.

Whether or not Special Counsel Robert Mueller can “save democracy” and prosecute the criminals is highly doubtful, although he likely will find out what the truth is. The hurdle for Mueller is the criminal posing as the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the Republicans in Congress that are going to great lengths to protect their powerful criminal organization.

It is a depressing prospect, but Americans have to face facts that with a Justice Department under sway of a criminal, and a criminal Congress complicit in covering up the administration and its own criminal activities, the chances of holding any of the felons to account is slim to none. It is just what happens when criminals have total control over every part of America’s government and criminal justice system.

It is getting to the point that Americans have to come to grips with the reality that everyone in the Trump administration is corrupt, and that the GOP is fine with a criminal administration running the country as long as they are entrenched in the organization. The latest sign that Republicans support their crime boss and his lieutenants was no outrage over a slew of revelations that most, if not all, of Trump’s cabinet and inner circle committed felony perjury on federal national security forms. Yesterday, the nation’s top law enforcement official, bible-thumper Jeff Sessions, finally acquiesced to a federal court order and handed over documents that were fully redacted.

Sessions, like Trump’s son, his son-in-law, and several insiders deliberately omitted meeting with foreign players on their Standard Form 86 (SF86); the federal document required to obtain a national security clearance. Reports are that Kushner omitted over 100 meetings with foreigners leading him to revise the original SF86 three times. Sessions had resisted a freedom of information act request (FOIAR) to hand over a copy of his SF86 that he lied on and prompted a federal judge to order him to produce the document. Session did finally release the form a day after the Judge’s deadline, but he may as well have not turned over any document  at all; the form he did release was completely redacted.

Of course Sessions handed over a veritable blank document; the FOIR was to determine if he lied on the SF 86 about “all communications Sessions has had with any official of the Russian government.” Remember, then-attorney general designee Sessions committed felony perjury in front of the United States Senate during his confirmation hearing to be the nation’s top law enforcement official. A crime the Republican Congress pretended never happened; but why should they make an exception for just one of Trump’s criminal lieutenants. In total there were five of Trump’s cabinet nominees who committed perjury under oath. And even after their crimes were exposed Republicans in Congress pretended perjury wasn’t really a crime; just an inconvenient and persistent memory lapse.

As Heather ‘Digby’ Parton explained in a Salon article, Republicans were well aware of Russia’s hacking and criminal aid to Trump beginning in late 2015. According to Reuters, the Republican leaders in Congress, the so-called Gang of Eight, not only benefitted from Russian interference in the election like Trump, they never said a word about a foreign adversary committing cyber warfare against the United States and there is a sick reason why. Congressional Republicans used information gleaned from that “Russian cyber warfare attack” in some Republicans’ 2016 campaigns for Congress. Any common American caught receiving stolen property would be summarily arrested and tried in a court of law, but in Trump’s criminal enterprise Republicans are above the law.

Ms. Parton also noted that during a conversation between Republican congressional leaders, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told a “roomful of Republican leaders” that he knew Trump and another Republican was being paid by Vladimir Putin; a story confirmed by the Washington Post. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan quickly shepherded the assembled Republicans away from the media’s prying ears and pretended nothing was wrong; making him as much a criminal as any other Trump administration culprit.

As Howard Dean said, Special Counsel Robert Mueller will get to the truth in due time, but there is a monumental issue over whether he has any prosecutorial power whatsoever. That task normally falls to the Department of Justice and the nation’s top law enforcement official; in this instance it is bible-toting criminal liar Jeff Sessions. And the Republican Congress is not going to do anything because they are just as guilty for covering up certain cases of felony perjury and being aware and beneficiaries of Russia’s attack on America’s democracy.

America is still a nation of laws, but with a criminal enterprise (entire Republican movement) running the country, those laws only apply to regular Americans. The people shouldn’t get too excited at the weekly revelations that yet another Trump administration criminal was exposed, or think that there is any law enforcement or prosecutorial agency willing to stop the criminals. Because although America is a nation of laws with a robust criminal justice system, the criminals are running more than the government, they run the criminal justice system like they run Congress and the White House.

h/t HeatherDigbyParton/Salon

Journalists and Protestors Mourn the Death of the Constitution

It is getting to the point that any American who believes they have rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution had better come to grips with the tragic fact that Donald Trump’s election victory put their constitutionally protected personal freedoms at risk. It is beyond refute that as part of the conservative movement, Republicans have demonstrated time and again that they despise any part of the Constitution that ensures American citizens certain “unalienable rights,” and chief among those most hated by the party’s standard bearer Trump are a free press and the people’s right to peaceably protest.

No-one conscious should be surprised that Trump spent the entirety of the presidential campaign demeaning the press and peaceable protests; he idolizes and heaps praise on the worst and most authoritarian tyrants on the planet. It is hard to determine if Trump hates protestors more than journalists, but he has had little reservation calling for both protestors’ and journalists’ arrests and imprisonment for doing what American citizens believe is their Constitutional right; gather peaceably and do the job they’re paid to do. A bevy of Republican states have legislation pending to criminalize the former and journalists can expect a similar fate if Trump gets his way. This is the new America – Trump’s America – and the way Trump intends to make it great.

The reason these two rights are becoming extinct is because on two occasions within a week a journalist was attacked by a Republican politician and then rewarded with a seat in the House of Representatives, and a gang of foreign thugs attacked and injured peaceable protestors and were rewarded with no arrests. This is the new America – this is Trump’s America –  and it’s the kind of America Trump and his acolytes consider great.

The big story late in the week was a Republican House candidate physically assaulting a reporter for the Guardian without being arrested on the spot; because the county sheriff was a contributor to the bully’s candidacy. One can surmise that the sheriff also contributed to Trump’s campaign. And, like Trump, the Montana Republican lied through his teeth that a reporter attacked him first prompting a “self-defense” claim by the man who said he was “sick of this [journalist’s questions]” as he punched the reporter.

The incident was witnessed and reported on as a completely valid story by a team from Fox News who were “stunned” at the assault on a reporter. It may be one of the only times the GOP’s official party network was not reporting “fake news.” And in what is becoming a troubling trend,  like five of Trump’s lying cabinet appointees who committed perjury under oath before the Senate, Montana’s Republican voters rewarded the candidate with an election victory; likely to send a message to Trump to keep up the good work demonizing the media.

There was another bunch of “brutal attacks” last week, but this time it was peaceful protestors who were assaulted, punched, kicked, choked, and slammed to the ground by a foreign authoritarian’s henchmen; all while American police officers stood by observing American citizens being criminally assaulted by a gang of foreigners – some of them carrying firearms. This too is the new America, Trump’s America, and it’s what Trump meant when he promised to “make America great again;” even though for 238 years journalists and peaceful protestors were protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment.

The New York Times displayed and analyzed a multitude of videos and photographs of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security detail and Turkish police viciously attacking American citizens for exercising their constitutional right to protest. What the videos and images show are 24 agents of a foreign government who outnumbered protestors two to one leaving their official vehicles to charge into a group of American citizens and attack them; likely what they do as a matter of course in Turkey.

It is plain to see, as the NYT notes, the video and still images leave little doubt that the foreign head of state’s “security guards” attacked peaceful protestors in clear view of the police; not one of the foreigners was charged with a crime. And, there is no doubt the foreign thugs attacking Americans were “members of the [Turkish] president’s security detail and Turkish policeaccording to Turkey’s state-owned news wire, Anadolu Agency; the videos the NYT analyzed were provided by the Turkish news agency people who filmed the assaults.

The incident start when three men left their official vehicles and charged at the protesters. One man knocked two women protestors to the ground, and another man repeatedly punched Lucy Usoyan, a protester, as she lay on the ground. One of the attackers actually acknowledged that he participating in kicking one woman thrown to the ground because,  “I wasn’t paying attention. I thought it was a man. I would never kick a woman.” One of the attacker’s accomplices said that by joining three other men in kicking the woman on the ground, the attacker was just defending himself from female protester he said was a “terrorist.” Interestingly, one Republican has proposed legislation equating peaceable protestors to terrorists; a “slightly” watered-down bill is still in committee.

But regardless the Turkish men’s mendacious remarks and pathetically false excuses of combating terrorists, the man did kick an American woman exercising her constitutional right; his excuse that he “thought it was a man” doesn’t justify his actions no matter that the police and Turkey’s president watched as the thugs attacked American citizens.

One of the Turkish guards grabbed and choked 26 year old Ceren Borazan prior to throwing her on the ground. The foreign agent slammed the American citizen, a young woman, to the ground for exercising her Constitutional right to protest as he was saying “You are dead.” Ms. Borazan told New York Times that, “I felt so awful. As a woman, as an American. Right now I don’t even feel safe here.”

Another woman who was thrown to the ground and kicked repeatedly by several men sustained a concussion leading a doctor to authorize six weeks off from work to recover. The woman said  “I’m glad I’m alive.”

Although the State Department allegedly condemned the episode, and some American lawmakers have called for the foreign agents to be prosecuted, it is likely they will never experience even a minute in the American criminal justice system; this is the new America – this is Trump’s America – and it is what Trump meant when he pledged to make America great again. Great like Nazi Germany, Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt and Russia; all 21st Century nations where journalists and protestors have no Constitution go protect their “unalienable rights” as human beings.

Top House Democrats Want Sessions Punished For Breaking Federal Law

In spite of the current administration’s endemic corruption, and congressional Republicans complicit involvement in covering up, or at least ignoring, blatant corruption and criminal acts, it was surprising there was little outrage after it was revealed the Attorney General committed perjury before the Senate. Even for corrupt Republicans, it seemed impossible they would do or say nothing about the nation’s top lawman committing a federal felony with impunity, but apparently there really is a perverted sense of honor among Republican criminals. Now, because Jeff Sessions was able to commit a federal felony and then get rewarded with a cabinet level position, he broke the law again. But Democrats are finally taking the criminal Sessions’ actions seriously and calling for his discipline at the least, and by rights summary termination.

The day following Trump’s obstruction of justice in firing James Comey, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) labeled Sessions’ role in the criminal obstruction of justice endeavor a “blatant disregard for the pledge he made in his recusal letter.” Remember, proud evangelical Sessions had to recuse himself from “any investigations” related to the Russian interference in the 2016 election because he violated the Ninth Commandment (he lied) about his contacts with Russians during the campaign. Wyden’s point, and it is beyond refute, is that Sessions violated that “public recusal” when, as attorney general, he played an integral role in firing the FBI Director overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the election; thus Senator Wyden’s remark that Sessions displayed “blatant disregard for the pledge he made in his recusal letter.

On Friday, two House Democrats went farther than just talking about Sessions’ violations and rightly asserted that indeed, in violating two very public recusal pledges, the Attorney General broke the law. The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was joined by the highest ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers (D-Mich.) in issuing a letter to the Department of Justice demanding disciplinary action for Sessions’ federal violations.

In their letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, senior House Democrats Conyers and Cummings not only informed Rosenstein that Sessions broke another federal law, they demanded to know what kind of discipline the Deputy Attorney General was going to impose on the nation’s top law enforcement official. They wrote in part:

We are writing to request your assistance in addressing the crisis of confidence created by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he participated directly in the decision to fire FBI Director James Comey despite the fact that he previously recused himself from any actions involving the investigations of the Trump and Clinton presidential campaigns.

It appears that the Attorney General’s actions recommending that Trump fire Director Comey may have contradicted his sworn testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing, breached the public recusal he made before the American people, and violated the law enacted by Congress to prevent conflicts of interest at the Department of Justice.

Federal law sets forth as a penalty for recusal violations removal from office, and the Attorney General’s violation in this case appears to be particularly grave. Since you are the acting Attorney General in this particular matter, we call on you to explain the measures that now may be required to mete out appropriate discipline in this case.” (author bold)

The issues leading to Sessions committing another federal crime are his blatant violation of two separate recusal promises related to the 2016 presidential campaign. First, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions promised to recuse himself from any investigation involving Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because of the several derogatory statements he made about her while he was actively campaigning for the Trump.

Second, Sessions succumbed to public and Democratic pressure on March 2 after it was revealed he committed perjury under oath in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee when he could no longer conceal that he lied that he had no contacts with Russia’s ambassador. But instead of resigning from Trump’s Cabinet, or being charged with perjury, removed from office, and prosecuted, Sessions simply recused himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.

The two House Democrats’ letter to Rosenstein, also complicit in aiding Trump’s obstruction of justice in Mr. Comey’s dismissal, asserted that Sessions broke the law by violating his recusal promises in several ways.

First, the Democrats point out that in his May 9 letter to Trump recommending Comey’s immediate termination, Sessions specifically agreed with the assessment by Rosenstein that Comey mishandled the “investigation into Clinton’s emails.”

That was a direct contradiction to Sessions’ first recusal promise and it is a contradiction widely publicized and in writing. And, in Representative Conyers and Cummings’ letter they particularly cited a report in Reuters that Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Trump met with and asked the then-FBI Director Comey to give them a preview of his testimony into the “Clinton email investigation” when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3; another violation of Sessions’ stated recusal.

As far as Jeff Sessions’ very public recusal regarding the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election on Trump’s behalf, the House Democrats specifically made note of “multiple press reports that stated that Mr. Comey’s dismissal in which Sessions was a direct participant was directly related to the FBI’s ongoing Russia investigation.” That particular contention, that Comey was fired because of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference, was confirmed by Trump himself in a nationally-televised interview with NBC’s Lester Holt; an interview in which Trump all but admitted to obstructing justice.

According to Representatives Conyers and Cummings, Jeff Sessions’ actions merit some serious disciplinary action, including termination. As the Democrats proffered, Sessions certainly broke a federal law “barring Justice Department officials from participating in any investigation that presents a conflict of interest.” And, as if to punctuate their assertion that Sessions is guilty, Conyers and Cummings demanded that Rosenstein answer questions about Sessions’ conduct leading up to his violating two recusal promises.

Those questions include whether Sessions took the time or proper step of consulting with ethics officials regarding his involvement in matters relating to Comey’s firing, and whether Sessions had taken part in any discussions about the Clinton email or Russia investigations; something his meeting with, and letter to, Trump would inform that he certainly did.

The chance that the Deputy Attorney General will be any more law abiding or honest than Sessions or Trump seems slim to non-existent. This is especially true if he joined Trump and Sessions in asking the FBI Director to reveal in advance what his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee would entail. In fact, once one realizes that this entire affair is being run by corrupt and criminal Republicans from the Oval Office to the House to the Senate to the Department of Justice, there is little hope whatsoever that justice will ever be served. If Jeff Sessions was able to blatantly commit perjury under oath before the Senate with impunity and then be rewarded with a cabinet position, no Republican alive is going to hold him accountable for breaking another federal law.

Trump Must Be Impeached For Obstructing Justice In Comey Firing

 

People of color might disagree with the idea that justice is blind in the same fashion that highly-connected rich people disagree with the concept that no man is above the law. Regardless that the justice system does not always seem equitable, the fact still remains that the law applies to all Americans equally. That being the case, there is a federal law that Donald Trump violated by all accounts and it is not only reason enough for him to be impeached and thrown out of office, once he is out of office he can and should be indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if convicted by a jury, he should go straight to a federal penitentiary to serve out his sentence with his tiny little hands bound to keep him off of social media.

When Trump fired James Comey because “I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,’” he sent a signal that he was attempting to pervert the course of justice. In America the term is “obstructing justice” and according to the Cornell University Law School definition:

Obstruction of justice is defined in the omnibus clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, which provides that ‘whoever . . . . corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be (guilty of an offense).'”

Cornell goes on to explain that “a person obstructs justice when they have a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding. For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, they must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but the person must know (1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and (2) there must be a nexus between the defendant’s endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the defendant must have knowledge of this nexus.”

The Ohio State Bar Association’s legal definition of obstruction of justice is a tad simpler than Cornell University’s:  “Obstruction consists of any attempt to hinder the discovery, apprehension, conviction or punishment of anyone who has committed a crime.”

What all of this means to regular Americans is that it is a crime and an impeachable offense to act with the “specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial or congressional proceeding, or a proceeding before a federal agency (such as an investigation). The proceeding must be pending at the time of the conduct and the defendant must know it.”

Now, there is no doubt whatsoever that Trump’s firing of the FBI Director meets the standards to be charged with obstruction as a federal crime because his specific intent was interfering with the investigation he damn sure knows is “actually pending,” according to his own admission. And, he has knowledge there is a nexus (link, connection) between his firing Comey and the proceeding; in this case “the proceeding” is an active FBI investigation into the Trump and his connection to Russia.

Regardless of needing to meet the legal definition of obstructing the course of justice, it’s not as if there has to be an investigation into whether or not Trump terminated James Comey as FBI Director to “pervert the cause of justice;” because on two separate occasions he admitted that was his intent.

After he fired Mr. Comey and during a nationally broadcast interview with Lester Holt on NBC’s Nightly News program, Trump brushed aside his administration’s public excuses for the firing and blatantly confessed his purpose in removing Comey. He was defiant in saying:

I was going to fire Comey. When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.’”

But some Trump supporters might say he was just being Trump, acting like a “badass boss;” that excuse might be even be believable if not for the night before the firing. Before officially dismissing the man leading the investigation into collusion between the Trump, his campaign, and Russia,  Trump used his preferred media outlet, Twitter to say:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

The very next day Trump then took matters into his own hand and likely believed he put an end to the taxpayer-funded “Russia-Trump collusion story” by firing Mr. Comey. Regardless whether the investigation continues going forward or not, Trump’s action was an attempt to obstruct justice and no small number of legal experts, political pundits, and politicians agree.

This action on Trump’s part is a very serious breach of the law and a sign that he is emulating authoritarian monsters like Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, Philippine president Manuel Duterte and Adolf Hitler (sod off Godwin). Of course Trump hasn’t yet had Mr. Comey assassinated on the street like the above mentioned dictators, but he did attempt to obstruct justice and according to Article II, sec. 4 of the Constitution, he must be removed from office for what qualifies as “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Former President Gerald Ford once said that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment.” And, it is important to note that “the Supreme Court has held that matters of impeachment pose political questions unsuitable for judicial review;” the conservative High Court can’t interfere and save Trump. (author bold)

Although there is no black-and-white definition of what an impeachable offense entails any more than what is regarded as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” there is a consensus among legal experts most Americans would heartily agree with. For example, “conduct that violates the public trust, including serious abuses of governmental powers” would be regarded as high crimes and misdemeanors by anyone not related to Donald Trump. However, in this case those standards are reinforced with conduct that is otherwise criminally prosecutable making the case for impeachment much stronger.

Look, it is important to note that in the case of the attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon, he was accused of “obstructing the due administration of justice” for just attempting to interfere with an investigation by the FBI.

It was exactly the same situation with Bill Clinton’s impeachment; the two articles of impeachment were “grounded in allegations he had impeded the administration of justice by making false statements.” The only reasons for making false statements was to obstruct the “administration of justice.”

In both cases, articles of impeachment were drawn up for either “impeding the administration of justice” or “obstructing the due administration of justice” by “attempting to interfere with an FBI investigation.” There is no possible scenario where any sane human being would not consider Trump’s actions as anything other than “obstructing the due administration of justice by attempting to interfere with an FBI investigation.”

It seems that since Trump moved into the White House on day one there were myriad “possible” reasons to impeach him and throw him out of office whether it was using the office of the presidency to make money off taxpayers or colluding with Russia; but this is a different story. By any measure Trump himself revealed the only reason he fired the FBI Director was to subvert the course of justice and put an end to the investigation into his collusion with a hostile foreign power. If he sincerely felt Comey had lost confidence of his underlings due to a perception he mishandled the bogus Clinton email case, or didn’t handle it according to Trump, he could have fired him on day one of his administration; but of course he didn’t – he waited until the FBI was closing in on his collusion with Russia.

There is every reason to believe that Trump conspired to obstruct justice to cover his acts of treason in colluding with Russia. And if Republicans weren’t traitors to the Constitution they would impeach the criminal and throw him out of the White House; right into the waiting arms of federal prosecutors to try him for the federal crime of obstruction of justice and send him to prison.

America Is In a Constitutional Crisis And Its Democracy Is In Jeopardy

 

If Americans are paying attention, and they certainly should be, to the state of their government it is jarringly apparent that in Trump’s administration the criminals are running the justice system. It only makes sense because a pack of criminals are running the White House and there is every reason to believe a fair number of criminals are running both houses of Congress. No matter how one appraises the current and rapidly developing decline of American democracy, Trump is responsible for throwing the nation into a constructional crisis.

Were that not the case, that America’s government is compromised on various accounts, Trump would not have terminated Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James B. Comey to stop the investigation into the Trump-Russian attack on America’s democracy. As noted in a New York Times opinion piece:

It’s now clear that Trump’s Justice Department has no independence. Both Sessions, and Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, are acting like Trump enforcers. And now the F.B.I. is compromised [or is going to be compromised] as well.”

A conservative columnist at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, explained why Trump firing Mr. Comey is not only a reason for a very robust and thorough independent investigation, but why Trump can be impeached. Ms. Rubin wrote:

Using one law enforcement body (or set of individuals) to stop another from investigating presidential wrongdoing was the nub of Watergate and the ensuing impeachment proceedings. We do not know whether that is what is at issue here, but Congress has no alternative but to determine why the president acted and why he acted now. That should entail questioning under oath of any persons aware of or involved in the firing process and ultimately an accounting by the president of his own actions.”

It is important to recall that Trump praised Comey just prior to the election and has kept him at his post without issue for nearly four months since his inauguration. According to several reports, what appeared to set Trump off first was Comey’s Senate testimony that he was “mildly nauseous” at the thought of swaying the election to Trump. There are also plenty of credible reports that Mr. Comey was fired for requesting more funding from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to more effectively conduct the investigation into collusion between the Trump cabal and Russia.

It is noteworthy that Rosenstein is in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation at the DOJ because Jeff Sessions was “pressured” to recuse himself over his own undisclosed contact with the Russians during Trump’s campaign; a fact he lied about under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. That act of perjury is the reason he should be prosecuted and sent to federal prison for five years instead of colluding with Trump to stop the FBI’s investigation.

The question, then, is why did Sessions as Attorney General appeal to Trump to fire Comey for investigating Russian collusion when he is out of the loop on Russian grounds? The White House public statement announcing Comey’s termination plainly puts Sessions in the center of the criminal endeavor. It said, in part:

President Trump acted on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Any sane person can’t possibly believe that Comey’s termination had anything whatsoever to do with the FBI’s handling of the bogus Clinton email affair. One cannot possibly believe it was anything other than Trump’s despotic attempt to put a criminal conspirator in charge of the FBI’s investigation who will join the thugs in the Justice Department, obey Trump’s dictates, and halt the investigation.

As no small number of pundits and commenters have opined, Trump’s action is “a premeditated and terrifying attack on the American system of government” and “ushers in a constitutional crisis.”

Here’s the thing, Trump, Sessions and Rosenstein can claim whatever lie they think the public will believe, but their claims are still lies. Yes, it’s true Americans can be incredibly dense and painfully so, but no-one is as stupid as Trump believes they are. Remember, as late as Monday, Trump took to his press outlet, Twitter, to call for the end of the FBI’s investigation into his administrations collusion with Russia. Trump tweeted:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

Within a day, Trump did what a criminal tyrant would do and attempted to put an end to the Trump-Russia collusion story unilaterally, with a little aid from the criminals leading the DOJ. Mr. Comey’s firing was not about emails, or that he wasn’t doing his job. He was terminated because he was doing his job without Trump’s direction and wanted to go deeper; that likely sealed his fate and prompted Trump to do what a tyrannical dictator would do – fire the man investigating him.

Trump was already livid that Comey publicly humiliated him when he summarily dismissed Trump’s paranoid claim that President Obama wire tapped him as “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.” Then Trump seethed that Comey told the Senate he “mildly” felt like throwing up at the idea his actions swayed the general election results. But what likely frightened the life out of Trump was Comey’s request for more funding for the Trump-Russia collusion investigation; a request that certainly means the investigation is not only widening but producing an abundance of evidence.

Now that it looks like Trump will find a sympathetic sycophant to do his bidding at the FBI and deliver the predetermined outcome Trump wants and close the investigation, Congress’ duty to democracy is to reassure the people that Trump is not above the law. That necessitates a robust independent investigation “completely free of Trump’s oversight” and without interference from Trump’s criminal conspirators at the Department of Justice. America’s democracy is in jeopardy and it is in a constitutional crisis, and save a few brave members of Congress it is increasingly apparent that Republicans have little interest in saving the Union from their hero in the White House or themselves.

Threat of Treason Charges Already Looming Over Trump Presidency

 

 

One of the most laughable claims throughout the past year-and-a-half’s brutal presidential campaign was dirty Donald Trump’s claim that his intent in running was to “make America great again.” It was an absurd campaign slogan because not only was America already “great” because a fascist like Trump was never allowed to get close to the halls of power, but because Donald Trump exists to promote his own greatness; the bankruptcy king has never had any interest in American greatness. Donald Trump has been accused, and rightly so, of being a bully, a corrupt business operator, a swindler, a brutish thug, a pathological liar, and a devotee of both Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler.

Now, a former assistant Secretary of State has strongly intimated that Donald Trump is on a direct path to be charged with treason, making him an official honest-to-dog traitor to America.

In an opinion column for the Boston Globe, former assistant Secretary of State and international human rights expert John Shattuck posited that “a specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump.” According to Mr. Shattuck, if Trump does not “welcome a thorough investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election,” it raises serious questions that make him defenseless against “charges of treason.” Mr. Shattuck wrote,

A specter of treason hovers over Donald Trump. He has brought it on himself by dismissing a bipartisan call for an investigation of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee as a ‘ridiculous’ political attack on the legitimacy of his election as president.”

What Trump says is ridiculous is what seventeen separate American intelligence agencies unanimously concluded was Russia waging cyber warfare against the United States to impact the presidential election. In fact, the lead agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), concluded that Vladimir Putin intended to influence the election in favor of his hand-puppet Trump. Like many political commenters have, Shattuck reminded readers that after the election, the current director of the National Security Agency and commander of the United States Cyber Command, Admiral Michael Rogers stated,

This [Russian espionage] was not something that was done casually, this was not something that was done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”

Late last week, an American senior intelligence official revealed that there is substantial evidence that Trump’s co-conspirator Vladimir Putin personally authorized and directed the attack on America; something Trump blows off as “ridiculous.” Shattuck asks why Trump is publicly rejecting the seventeen intelligence agency assessments and particularly; why he is criticizing “the bipartisan proposal for a congressional investigation?” An honest and patriotic American would exhibit the strongest possible interest in leading a concerted national effort against a hostile foreign power’s attack on the core of American democracy, but despicable Don is no more patriotic to America than he is honest.

The Globe article gave four reasons Trump is trying desperately to portray the intelligence community as incompetent, politically-motivated, corrupt and untrustworthy, but only one stands out as the most credible in a conspiracy to commit and then cover up treason. Shattuck writes that Trump “may be seeking to cover up evidence of involvement or prior knowledge by members of his campaign team or himself in the Russian cyberattack.”

One would argue that Trump IS seeking to keep his and his team’s collusion with the Russians out of the public eye; an act that makes him guilty of treason and misprision of treason. As a reminder, any American guilty of “misprision of treasonaccording to 18 U.S. Code § 2382 is a person “having knowledge of the commission of any treason [who] conceals and does not disclose.” Treason, according to the US Code and the United States Constitution is committed by a person “owing allegiance to the United States who . . . adheres to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort.”

It doesn’t take a very bright mind to conclude that by denigrating or trying to prevent an investigation of the Russian attack on America, dastardly Donnie is giving aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States. It is a crime that is greatly enhanced if Trump’s bullying of the intelligence community and criticism of a congressional investigation are ploys to cover up his own, or his staff’s involvement in or prior knowledge of the attack.

There is more than sufficient evidence that Trump and his inner circle have had close ties to Putin and the Kremlin prior to, during, and after the Russian attack on America. Whether it was Trump and Putin operative Paul Manafort, National Security Advisor designate Michael Flynn palling around with Putin and appearing as a commentator for Russian state television, or Trump’s son boasting that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia;” there is a definite close connection between Putin and “the Trump.”

In fact, after the election, the Russians knew Americans would stay rolled over even after being attacked and boasted that yes; there were communications between the Kremlin and the Trump. Two days after the election the Russian deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabokov, was quoted by the New York Times and Washington Post saying, “there were contacts” between Moscow and the Trump campaign during the election campaign, and that members of the campaign staff “were staying in touch with Russian representatives” after the election.

Of course one doesn’t need a Senate Select Committee to connect the Trump-Russia dots, or to comprehend that in nominating a close friend of Putin and director of a Russian oil company as secretary of state, dirty Donald is giving aid and comfort to the enemy; the Constitution’s definition of treason.

There is little doubt, at least in this author’s mind, that Donald Trump is going to move the proverbial “Heaven and Earth” to obstruct any investigation whether it is from Congress or not. Forget the idea of the Department of Justice investigating Trump; that federal agency is under the aegis of the executive branch and vulnerable to a Trump tantrum.

The only hope for a defense of America is that Republicans in the Senate, and possibly some in the “alt-right House, will put patriotism before party and take appropriate action in the face of an attack on America. If they fail to investigate the Trump Russia connection as vigorously as they have investigated the Democrats they targeted, then they are not only un-American, it likely means they have “knowledge of the commission of any treason” and by “not disclosing” the extent of the attack are, by legal definition, themselves guilty of misprision of treason.