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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) |

The Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects Federal employees and applicants for employment who lawfully disclose information they reasonably believe evidences:
  •  a violation of law, rule, or regulation;
  •  gross mismanagement;
  •  a gross waste of funds;
  •  an abuse of authority;
  •  or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.  
Under the WPA, certain federal employees may not take or fail to take, or threaten to take or fail to take; any personnel action against an employee or applicant for employment because of the employee or applicant’s protected whistleblowing. See 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8).

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA)

In 2012 Congress passed the WPEA into law to strengthen protections for Federal employees who report fraud, waste, and abuse. The WPEA clarifies the scope of protected disclosures and establishes that the disclosure does not lose protection because:
  • the disclosure was made to someone, including a supervisor, who participated in the wrongdoing disclosed; 
  • the wrongdoing being reported has previously been disclosed; 
  • of the employee’s motive for reporting the wrongdoing;
  • the disclosure was made while the employee was off duty; 
  • the disclosure was made during the employee’s normal course of duty, if the employee can show that the personnel action was taken in reprisal for the disclosure; or
  • the amount of time which has passed since the occurrence of the events described in the disclosure.
  • The WPEA protects disclosures that an employee reasonably believes are evidence of censorship related to research, analysis, or technical information that causes, or will cause, a gross government waste or gross mismanagement, an abuse of authority, a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or any violation of law.  It expands the penalties imposed for violating whistleblower protections and establishes the position of Whistleblower Protection Ombudsman. 

Enhancement of Contractor Protection from Reprisal (41 U.S.C. § 4712)

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA), enacted a pilot program making it illegal for an employee of a Federal contractor, subcontractor, grantee, or subgrantee to be discharged, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against for making a protected whistleblower disclosure. In 2016, Congress amended the program to make those protections permanent.

Whistleblower Ombudsman

Pursuant to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012, the CPSC established a Whistleblower Ombudsman to educate agency employees about prohibitions on retaliation for whistleblowing, as well as employees' rights and remedies if subjected to retaliation for making a protected disclosure.
The Ombudsman is prohibited by law from acting as a Whistleblower's representative, agent, or advocate.
The CPSC Whistleblower Ombudsman can be contacted at

Office of Special Counsel

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is an independent federal agency that investigates and prosecutes prohibited personnel practices by federal agencies, including whistleblower retaliation. 
For more information on WPA and WPEA protections please visit Know Your Rights When Reporting Wrongs.

Contact Information For Whistleblowers

If you believe you have been subject to retaliation for protected whistleblowing you may contact either of the following offices:  
The Consumer Product Safety Commission Office of Inspector General:
Telephone: (301) 504-7906 or 866-230-6229
Written correspondence: Office of Inspector General
Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East-West Highway
Room 702

Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) |

Opinion | Just How Corrupt Is Bill Barr? - The New York Times

"By now you have probably read the opening of the whistle-blower complaint filed by a member of the intelligence community accusing Donald Trump of manipulating American foreign policy for political gain. But the whistle-blower’s stark, straightforward account of stupefying treachery deserves to be repeated as often as possible.

“In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. government officials that the president of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election,” the whistle-blower wrote. “This interference includes, among other things, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the president’s main domestic political rivals. The president’s personal lawyer, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well.”

Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well. The whistle-blower’s complaint was deemed credible and urgent by Michael Atkinson, Trump’s own intelligence community inspector general, but Bill Barr’s Justice Department suppressed it. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion saying that the complaint needn’t be turned over to Congress, as the whistle-blower statute instructs. When Atkinson made a criminal referral to the Justice Department, it reportedly didn’t even open an investigation. And all the time, Barr was named in the complaint that his office was covering up.

Under any conceivable ethical standard, Barr should have recused himself. But ethical standards, perhaps needless to say, mean nothing in this administration.

[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

In the Ukraine scandal, evidence of comprehensive corruption goes far beyond Trump. Former prosecutors have said that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, may have been part of a criminal conspiracy when he pressed Ukrainian officials to open an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. Vice President Mike Pence is also tied to the shakedown of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, having met with him this month to talk about “corruption” and American financial aid. When this administration complains about Ukrainian “corruption,” it almost inevitably means a failure to corruptly pursue investigations that would bolster conspiracy theories benefiting Trump.

The whistle-blower wrote that White House officials moved a word-for-word transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky from the computer system where such transcripts were typically kept into a separate system for the most highly classified information. “According to White House officials I spoke with, this was ‘not the first time’ under this administration that a presidential transcript was placed into this codeword-level system solely for the purpose of protecting politically sensitive — rather than national security sensitive — information,” the whistle-blower said.

According to Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law, any lawyers involved in hiding these transcripts might have done something illegal. “The rule is it is both unethical and a crime for a lawyer to participate in altering, destroying or concealing a document, and here the allegation is that the word-for-word transcript was moved from the place where people ordinarily would think to look for it, to a place where it would not likely be found,” said Gillers. “That’s concealing.”

Then there’s Barr’s personal involvement in the Ukraine plot. In the reconstruction of Trump’s call with Zelensky that was released by the White House, Trump repeatedly said that he wanted Ukraine’s government to work with Barr on investigating the Bidens. Barr’s office insists that the president hasn’t spoken to Barr about the subject, but given the attorney general’s record of flagrant dishonesty — including his attempts to mislead the public about the contents of the Mueller report — there’s no reason to believe him. Besides, said Representative Jamie Raskin, a former constitutional law professor who now sits on the House Judiciary Committee, “the effort to suppress the existence of the phone conversation itself is an obvious obstruction of justice.”

But Barr’s refusal to recuse creates a sort of legal cul-de-sac. It’s only the Justice Department, ultimately, that can prosecute potential federal crimes arising from this scandal. Barr’s ethical nihilism, his utter indifference to ordinary norms of professional behavior, means that he’s retaining the authority to stop investigations into crimes he may have participated in.

“The administration of justice is cornered because the ultimate executive authority for that government role includes the people whose behavior is suspect,” said Gillers.

That makes the impeachment proceedings in the House, where Barr will likely be called as a witness, the last defense against complete administration lawlessness. “Just as the president is not above the law, the attorney general is not above the law,” said Raskin. “The president’s betrayal of his oath of office and the Constitution is the primary offense here, and we need to stay focused on that, but the attorney general’s prostitution of the Department of Justice for the president’s political agenda has been necessary to the president’s schemes and he will face his own reckoning.”

I hope Raskin is right. But until that day comes, people who care about the rule of law in this country should be screaming for Barr’s recusal, even if he won’t listen. He is now wrapped up in one of the gravest scandals in American political history. Can America’s chief law enforcement officer really be allowed to decide whether to criminally investigate misdeeds he might have helped to commit or to conceal? The answer will tell us just how crooked the justice system under Trump has become."

Opinion | Just How Corrupt Is Bill Barr? - The New York Times

House Republican: President Donald Trump's Ukraine Call "Not O.K." | Not one Republican on the House Intelligence Committee defended President Trump's call with the leader of Ukraine, despite Schiff and Pelosi both saying Trump's actions amounted to a betrayal of his oath of office. Aired on 09/26/19.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

How the Impeachment Process Works - The New York Times

The Trump administration refused to share a whistleblower complaint, related to Mr. TrumpĆ¢€™s communications with UkraineĆ¢€™s president, with Congress.

"WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry in response to the dispute over Mr. Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his potential 2020 rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The rising furor has heightened interest in how the impeachment process works. Here’s what you need to know:
What is impeachment?
The Constitution permits Congress to remove presidents before their term is up if enough lawmakers vote to say that they committed “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Only two presidents have been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — and both were ultimately acquitted and completed their terms in office. Richard M. Nixon, resigned in 1974 to avoid being impeached.
What is a “high crime”?
The term “high crimes and misdemeanors” came out of the British common law tradition: it was the sort of offense that Parliament cited in removing crown officials for centuries. Essentially, it means an abuse of power by a high-level public official. This does not necessarily have to be a violation of an ordinary criminal statute.
In 1788, as supporters of the Constitution were urging states to ratify the document, Alexander Hamilton described impeachable crimes in one of the Federalist Papers as “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”
What is the process?
In both the Nixon and the Clinton cases, the House Judiciary Committee first held an investigation and recommended articles of impeachment to the full House. In theory, however, the House of Representatives could instead set up a special panel to handle the proceedings — or just hold a floor vote on such articles without any committee vetting them.
When the full House votes on articles of impeachment, if at least one gets a majority vote, the president is impeached — which is essentially the equivalent of being indicted.
Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.
The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
The findings are determined to be sufficient.
Trump remains
in office
The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.
Democrats currently
control the House.
A majority of House members vote to impeach.
Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.
Trump remains
in office
Trump is
The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.
After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.
Republicans currently
control the Senate.
Two-thirds of members present do not vote to convict.
Two-thirds of members present vote to convict.
Trump remains
in office
Trump removed
from office
Six House committees are expected to continue investigating President Trump on impeachable offenses and to send their strongest cases to the Judiciary Committee.
The findings are determined to be insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.
Trump remains
in office
The findings are determined to be sufficient.
The House holds a floor vote on one or more articles of impeachment.
Democrats currently control the House.
Less than a majority of the House votes to impeach.
A majority of House members vote to impeach.
Trump remains
in office
Trump is
The articles of impeachment move to the Senate, which then holds a trial.
After the trial, the Senate holds a vote to convict the president.
Republicans currently control the Senate.
Two-thirds of members present do not vote to convict.
Two-thirds of members present vote to convict.
Trump remains n office
Trump removed from office
Next, the proceedings move to the Senate, which is to hold a trial overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.
A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The president has defense lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury.
If at least two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed, and the vice president takes over as president. There is no appeal.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has claimed that the panel is already engaged in an impeachment investigation.
Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has claimed that the panel is already engaged in an impeachment investigation.
This has been a subject of dispute. During the Nixon and Clinton impeachment efforts, the full House voted for resolutions directing the House Judiciary Committee to open the inquiries. But it is not clear whether that step is strictly necessary, because impeachment proceedings against other officials, like a former federal judge in 1989, began at the committee level.
The House Judiciary Committee, led by Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, has claimed — including in court filings — that the panel is already engaged in an impeachment investigation. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department has argued that since there has been no House resolution, the committee is just engaged in a routine oversight proceeding.
Ms. Pelosi did not say in her announcement that she intended to bring any resolution to the floor.
Whether or not it is necessary, it has not been clear whether a resolution to formally start an impeachment inquiry would pass a House vote, although the number of Democrats who support one has recently been surging. As of late Tuesday, The New York Times counted 203 members who said they favored impeachment proceedings, 88 who said they opposed them or were undecided, and 144 who had not responded to the question.
What are the rules for a Senate trial?
There are no set rules. Rather, the Senate passes a resolution first laying out trial procedures.
“When the Senate decided what the rules were going to be for our trial, they really made them up as they went along,” Gregory B. Craig, who helped defend Mr. Clinton in his impeachment proceeding and later served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama, told The Times in 2017.
For example, Mr. Craig said, the initial rules in that case gave Republican managers four days to make a case for conviction, followed by four days for the president’s legal team to defend him. These were essentially opening statements. The Senate then decided whether to hear witnesses, and if so, whether it would be live or on videotape. Eventually, the Senate permitted each side to depose several witnesses by videotape.
The rules adopted by the Senate in the Clinton trial — including ones limiting the number of witnesses and the length of depositions — made it harder to prove a case compared with trials in federal court, said former Representative Bob Barr, Republican of Georgia who served as a House manager during the trial and is also a former United States attorney.
“Impeachment is a creature unto itself,” Mr. Barr said. “The jury in a criminal case doesn’t set the rules for a case and can’t decide what evidence they want to see and what they won’t.”
What are the standards for impeachment and removal?
The Constitution does not specify many, making impeachment and removal as much a question of political will as of legal analysis.
For example, the Constitution does not detail how lawmakers may choose to interpret what does or does not constitute impeachable “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Similarly, there is no established standard of proof that must be met.
Is the Senate obligated to hold a trial?
The Constitution clearly envisions that if the House impeaches a federal official, the next step is for the Senate to hold a trial. But there is no obvious enforcement mechanism if Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, were to simply refuse to convene one — just as he refused to permit a confirmation hearing and vote on Mr. Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2016.
Still Walter Dellinger, a Duke University law professor and a former acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration, said it is unclear whether it would be Mr. McConnell or Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. who wields the authority to convene the Senate for the purpose of considering House-passed articles of impeachment.
Either way, though, he noted that the Republican majority in the Senate could vote to immediately dismiss the case without any consideration of the evidence if it wanted.
To date, Senate Republicans have given no indication that they would break with Mr. Trump, especially in numbers sufficient to remove him from office. In their internal debate about what to do, some Democrats have argued that this political reality means that they should instead focus on trying to beat him in the 2020 election, on the theory that an acquittal in the Senate might backfire by strengthening him politically. Others have argued that impeaching him is a moral necessity to deter future presidents from acting like Mr. Trump, even if Senate Republicans are likely to keep him in office.
In that same Federalist Paper written in 1788, Mr. Hamilton wrote that the inherently political nature of impeachment proceedings would be sure to polarize the country.
Their prosecution, he wrote, “will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt."

How the Impeachment Process Works - The New York Times

Monday, September 23, 2019

Opinion | Nancy Pelosi’s Failure to Launch - The New York Times

"Elizabeth Warren on Friday evening sent out a series of tweets that, in addition to calling out Donald Trump for his criminality, rebuked Congress for enabling him. “After the Mueller report, Congress had a duty to begin impeachment,” wrote Warren. “By failing to act, Congress is complicit in Trump’s latest attempt to solicit foreign interference to aid him in U.S. elections. Do your constitutional duty and impeach the president.”
Warren was not impolitic enough to refer directly to the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, but the implicit criticism was clear. It was also well deserved. Pelosi’s calculated timidity on impeachment is emboldening Trump, demoralizing progressives, and failing the country.
The House speaker is a master legislator, and by all accounts incomparable at corralling votes. But right now, Democrats need a brawler willing to use every tool at her disposal to stop America’s descent into autocracy, and Pelosi has so far refused to rise to the occasion. As Representative Jared Huffman tweeted, “We are verging on tragic fecklessness.”
Part of Pelosi’s rationale for not impeaching after the release of the Mueller report was that such a move didn’t have majority support in the country or bipartisan support in Congress. Her allies worried that were Trump to be impeached in the House but not convicted in the Senate, he could emerge stronger than ever. Many Democrats in swing districts wanted to steer clear.
These were reasonable concerns, but inaction signaled to Trump that he would face no consequences for obstructing justice or for seeking a foreign power’s help in undermining a political opponent.
Now Trump has used the power of the presidency to do just that. We don’t yet know all the details in the whistle-blower report filed by a member of the intelligence community, which is now being kept, possibly illegally, from Congress. But there’s little question that the president tried to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden; both Trump and his ranting disgrace of a lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, have admitted as much on television.
The idea was to try to force Ukraine to provide grist for a thoroughly debunked right-wing conspiracy theory that as vice president, Biden targeted a Ukrainian prosecutor on his son’s behalf. While Trump was strong-arming the reformist Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, his administration had frozen $250 million in security aid that the country desperately needed to defend itself against Russia, which invaded in 2014. It doesn’t matter if there was an explicit quid pro quo; Zelensky knew what Trump wanted from him. Trump deployed American foreign policy to extort a vulnerable nation to help his re-election campaign.
Trump’s latest defilement of his oath of office has pushed some previously reluctant Democrats, like the House Intelligence chairman Adam Schiff, toward impeachment. Schiff reportedly coordinated his recent pro-impeachment comments with Pelosi, yet she remains resistant to moving in the same direction. One of Pelosi’s advisers told the CNBC reporter John Harwood that her impeachment calculus hasn’t changed, saying, “See any G.O.P. votes for it?” It was almost as if the adviser was trying to troll scared, desperate Democrats, rubbing their faces in the speaker’s baffling determination to give Trump’s party veto power over accountability.
The most Pelosi has done is to write that if the whistle-blower’s complaint is kept from Congress, the administration “will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation.” Given the impunity Trump has enjoyed so far, this does not seem like a threat with teeth.
Ultimately, no one can know the political consequences of impeachment in advance. I find it hard to imagine how months of televised hearings into a widely hated president’s comprehensive corruption could help him, but I can’t see the future. Perhaps impeachment in the House without removal in the Senate would allow Trump to convince some voters he’s been exonerated, though so does the failure to impeach him at all.
Polls show that impeachment doesn’t have majority support, so there’s a political risk for Democrats in trying to lead public opinion rather than follow it. But surely there’s also a risk in appearing weak and irresolute. Already, frustration with Pelosi in the Democratic base is threatening to curdle into despair. “I see the grass-roots activists who helped build the wave last year really wondering what they built that wave for,” Ezra Levin, co-founder of the progressive group Indivisible, told me.
In the end, our system offers no mechanism besides impeachment to check a president who operates like a mob boss. It’s true that Democrats will remove Trump only by beating him in 2020, but he is already cheating in that election, just as he did in 2016, and paying no price for it.
A formal impeachment process would, if nothing else, give new weight to Democratic claims when they go to court to enforce subpoenas or pry loose documents the administration is trying to hide. It would show that Democrats are serious when they say that Trump’s behavior is intolerable, and potentially allow them to seize control of the day-to-day narrative of this rancid presidency. Trump does not want to be impeached — a Monday Politico headline says, “Trump’s team is trying to stop impeachment before it starts.” It’s hard to imagine why any Democratic leader would assist them."

Opinion | Nancy Pelosi’s Failure to Launch - The New York Times

Democrats Pressure Republican Senate to Join Ukraine Inquiry - The New York Times

"This is the type of political pressure Democrats should be engaging in, but on a much wider scale.

'WASHINGTON — The top Senate Democrat on Monday called on Senate Republicans to join Democrats in demanding that the administration furnish details about explosive allegations that President Trump pressured a foreign leader to help produce damaging information on a leading political rival.
Seeking to apply political pressure to Republicans who have so far been unwilling to criticize Mr. Trump, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, warned that Republicans would be complicit in Mr. Trump’s actions if they failed to demand that the White House release a transcript of a call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, and subpoena a related whistle-blower complaint.
Doing otherwise, Mr. Schumer wrote in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, would show Republicans to be “silent and submissive, shying away from this institution’s constitutional obligation to conduct oversight.”
“This is a whistle-blower complaint that has been labeled ‘urgent’ and ‘credible’ not by Democrats, but by a senior-level Trump appointee,” Mr. Schumer wrote. “It is the Senate’s duty to take this national security matter seriously and to take action now.”
Mr. Schumer made his call as pressure was building on Democrats to move more aggressively toward impeaching Mr. Trump over the new revelations, and his administration’s refusal to disclose the whistle-blower complaint about them, as required by law.
Mr. Schumer called on Mr. McConnell and relevant Senate committee chairmen to hold hearings with the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, who has said he is not required to hand over the complaint; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and Russell Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget. He also asked for an investigation to determine why the Trump administration had temporarily withheld $250 million in military aid from Ukraine this summer, at the same time that Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer were reportedly making demands that the country investigate Joseph R. Biden Jr., the former vice president."

Democrats Pressure Republican Senate to Join Ukraine Inquiry - The New York Times

These Divers Search For Slave Shipwrecks and Discover Their Ancestors | ...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Opinion | Trump Walks a Crooked Mile - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — Everyone here is keyed up for the Big One.

The One that’s going to finally bring Donald Trump down.

As soon as the news broke Wednesday night in The Washington Post that a whistle-blower had accused the president of making some sort of nefarious “promise” during a call to a foreign leader, the hive erupted.

Democrats haven’t been able to get Trump on paying off a porn star to protect his campaign. They haven’t been able to get him on being a Russian agent. They haven’t been able to get him on obstruction of justice.

But maybe this time. Maybe this was the One where all would decide that they wanted impeachment, that the president’s behavior was so outrageous that they couldn’t imagine this sleazy business guy sitting in the Oval Office playing a tinpot dictator in a tinfoil hat for another second.

Maybe this was the One that would finally move Republicans to turn on the Grendel who is terrorizing the village and gulping down their party.

Certainly, Trump himself didn’t think so. As the capital was going into overdrive-freak-out mode Friday night trying to flesh out the whistle-blower story, the president was busy tweeting about a children’s book by a Fox News host: “Buy this Book — great for the kids!”

If House Democrats can ever get their paws on the whistle-blower, maybe they can make up for the Judiciary Committee’s performance with Corey Lewandowski this past week, which left many wondering if these hearings designed to pry Trump out of office are just making Democrats look foolish. They certainly provide an ample platform for Trump loyalists to rail against their favorite deep state foils.

When failed presidential candidate Eric Swalwell tried to get Lewandowski to read a message Trump had dictated to him, the witness nastily referred to the Democrat as “President Swalwell” and told him to read the message himself.

The internecine strains between the impeach-now Nadler crowd and the get-him-out-in-2020 Pelosi crew grew more bitter. Politico reported that in a closed-door meeting, Speaker Nancy Pelosi shocked lawmakers and aides by harshly criticizing the House Judiciary Committee staffers for propelling the impeachment effort far beyond where the Democratic caucus stands.

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“And you can feel free to leak this,” Pelosi said acidly.

In an interview with NPR, she said she hadn’t changed her mind on impeachment, but she does think Congress should pass new laws so future presidents can be indicted. She said everyone had now seen what the founding fathers could not imagine: a president blatantly abusing the Constitution he has sworn to protect.

Trump has certainly been working hard to prove Pelosi right that presidents should not ever be above the law.

By Friday night, while Trump was readying for a state dinner with his ultraconservative pal from down under, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, The Wall Street Journal and The Times were reporting that the secret whistle-blower complaint involved this: President Trump repeatedly pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine — about eight times, The Journal said — to work with Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s loony personal lawyer, to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.

Giuliani has been pushing a story about the former vice president and his son, who had ties to a Ukrainian oligarch.

After a fair bit of babbling on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show, Giuliani spit out some truth, that he asked the Ukrainians to look into the Bidens. Later he tweeted: “A President telling a Pres-elect of a well known corrupt country he better investigate corruption that affects US is doing his job.”

Crooked Donald thinks he can create a crooked Joe narrative just like he created a Crooked Hillary one. Which is it, Donald: Crooked or Sleepy?

So just consider this: Around the same time that Trump escaped the noose after Robert Mueller’s tepid testimony, sliding away from charges that he colluded with a foreign country to interfere in our election, he began arm-twisting another foreign country to interfere in our election.

“Questions have emerged,” The Times said, “about whether Mr. Trump’s push for an inquiry into the Bidens was behind a weekslong White House hold on military aid for Ukraine. The United States suspended the military aid to Ukraine in early July, according to a former American official.”

So the president is under suspicion of making like Nixon and abusing power to go after his enemies, saying it would be a shame if anything happened to that military aid that you want because you don’t dig up some dirt on the son of my political rival.

The administration kept the whistle-blower’s complaint from Congress, even though Congress has the legal authority to know what this urgent complaint is about.

Pelosi issued an acerbic statement on Friday, noting that Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, was violating the law by refusing to disclose the complaint to Congress.

“If the president has done what has been alleged, then he is stepping into a dangerous minefield with serious repercussions for his administration and our democracy,” she said.

Trump is literally acting like an international mobster. Roy Cohn would be so proud.

So is this the Big One? We don’t know because so much has come before. But if it is? Now that would be Big".

Opinion | Trump Walks a Crooked Mile - The New York Times

Friday, September 20, 2019

Bombshell Whistleblower Report: A 'Promise' By Trump? - The Day That Was...

Trump Pressed Ukraine’s Leader as Giuliani Pushed for Biden Inquiry - The New York Times

"Trump Pressed Ukraine’s Leader as Giuliani Pushed for Biden Inquiry

WASHINGTON — President Trump repeatedly pressed the Ukrainian president in a phone call to talk with his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who had been urging the government in Kiev for months to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family, according to people briefed on the call.
Mr. Trump’s request for a Ukrainian investigation of Mr. Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, is part of the secret whistle-blower complaint that is said to be about Mr. Trump and at least in part about his dealings with Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The new revelations add to new scrutiny about Mr. Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian government. He has made no secret that he wanted Kiev to investigate the Bidens, repeatedly raising it publicly.
But questions have emerged about whether Mr. Trump’s push for an inquiry into the Bidens was behind a weekslong White House hold on military aid for Ukraine. The United States suspended the military aid to Ukraine in early July, according to a former American official.
Mr. Trump did not discuss the aid in the July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, and Kiev did not learn of the suspension until August, according to people familiar with the call. The Wall Street Journal first reported details of it.
Mr. Trump dismissed earlier on Friday as a “partisan” attack the whistle-blower complaint said to involve his dealings with Ukraine amid mounting questions about his interactions with the country’s new government.
“It’s a ridiculous story. It’s a partisan whistle-blower,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, though he also acknowledged he did not know the person’s identity. “They shouldn’t even have information.”
When asked whether he had brought up Mr. Biden during the call with Mr. Zelensky, Mr. Trump waved away the question but added, “Someone ought to look into Joe Biden.”
Mr. Biden said on Friday that the allegations that he or his son did anything wrong in Ukraine are baseless.
“Not one single outlet has given any credibility to his assertion,” Mr. Biden told reporters after a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He said he had no more comment, but added: “The president should start to be president.”
The existence of the complaint, submitted by a member of the intelligence community to its inspector general, emerged late last week and exploded into the open late on Wednesday when The Washington Post reported that it concerned Mr. Trump. The administration has not shared the complaint with Congress, as is generally required by law, angering Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered a sharp warning to the Trump administration on Friday, saying in a statement that the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, was violating the law by refusing to disclose the complaint to Congress.
“If the president has done what has been alleged, then he is stepping into a dangerous minefield with serious repercussions for his administration and our democracy,” she said in a statement.
After the Ukraine link emerged in news reports late Thursday, Mr. Giuliani shed more light on it in a rambling CNN appearance, where he first denied, then admitted, to asking the government in Kiev to investigate the Bidens.
Mr. Giuliani has spearheaded a push for such an inquiry. He met with Mr. Zelensky’s emissaries this summer in hopes of encouraging his government to ramp up investigations into two matters regarding the Biden family: the question of any overlap with Mr. Biden’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine, as well as the details of his son’s involvement in a gas company there.
Mr. Giuliani has said he was acting on his own, though his comments on Thursday seemed to draw a closer connection to Mr. Trump. “A President telling a Pres-elect of a well known corrupt country he better investigate corruption that affects US is doing his job,” Mr. Giuliani wrote on Twitter shortly after his appearance on CNN asserting the same thought.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky will meet next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a senior administration official confirmed after Mr. Zelensky’s office announced the meeting on Friday.
In recent weeks, congressional aides and administration officials who work on Ukraine issues had become concerned that the White House was delaying the military assistance package for Kiev, according to people involved in an effort to free up the assistance.
Three Democratic House committee chairmen have requested the transcript of the president’s July call with Mr. Zelensky from the State Department and the White House as part of an investigation into whether Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani were misappropriating the American foreign policy apparatus for political gain.
Vice President Mike Pence, who recently met with Mr. Zelensky in Poland, denied bringing up Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to investigate Mr. Biden in their conversations, but said Mr. Trump was still making the decision on “the latest tranche of financial support.”
Mr. Trump also sought to allay concerns about his dealings with other foreign leaders. Part of the whistle-blower’s complaint deals with an unspecified commitment he made to an unnamed foreign leader, a person familiar with it has said. Mr. Trump also said on Friday that he did not know the leader in question.
“I had a great conversation with numerous people, numerous leaders, and I always look for the conversation that’s going to help the United States the most,” he said. Sitting alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, who had just arrived for a state visit, Mr. Trump called his communications with other leaders “always appropriate.”
Nicholas Fandos and Katie Rogers contributed reporting from Washington, and Lisa Lerer from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The historic moments, head-spinning developments and inside-the-White House intrigue."

Trump Pressed Ukraine’s Leader as Giuliani Pushed for Biden Inquiry - The New York Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi On Indicting A Sitting President : NPR

Pelosi is playing a nasty game with the American people. She is not as ignorant as she pretends to be. She is trying to placate the public knowing full well the law she is proposing is unconstitutional. 
"In an exclusive interview with NPR, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has not changed her mind on pursuing impeachment but is ready to change the law to restrain presidential power and make it clear that a sitting president can, in fact, be indicted.
"I do think that we will have to pass some laws that will have clarity for future presidents. [A] president should be indicted, if he's committed a wrongdoing — any president. There is nothing anyplace that says the president should not be indicted," Pelosi told All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro and NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis on Friday. "That's something cooked up by the president's lawyers. That's what that is. But so that people will feel 'OK, well, if he — if he does something wrong, [he] should be able to be indicted.' "

The California Democrat said that while it is Justice Department protocol not to pursue any charges against an incumbent — the reason former special counsel Robert Mueller said he couldn't charge President Trump with a crime no matter the outcome of his report — that should be changed.
"The Founders could never suspect that a president would be so abusive of the Constitution of the United States, that the separation of powers would be irrelevant to him and that he would continue, any president would continue, to withhold facts from the Congress, which are part of the constitutional right of inquiry," Pelosi said.
The constitutional recourse for a lawbreaking president per the Constitution is impeachment. Article II, Section 4 instructs that the president "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
But despite the growing chants among Democrats for an impeachment inquiry in the House, Pelosi has remained reluctant about recourse. She fears it could alienate swing voters ahead of next year's elections and imperil moderate Democrats who were critical to her party's taking back the House last November.
Pelosi did not shift her position on impeachment and said Congress would continue to follow "the facts and the law."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi On Indicting A Sitting President : NPR

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not. - The New York Times

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during the announcement of his nomination to the Supreme Court on July, 9, 2018.

"Deborah Ramirez had the grades to go to Yale in 1983. But she wasn’t prepared for what she’d find there.

A top student in southwestern Connecticut, she studied hard but socialized little. She was raised Catholic and had a sheltered upbringing. In the summers, she worked at Carvel dishing ice cream, commuting in the $500 car she’d bought with babysitting earnings.

At Yale, she encountered students from more worldly backgrounds. Many were affluent and had attended elite private high schools. They also had experience with drinking and sexual behavior that Ms. Ramirez — who had not intended to be intimate with a man until her wedding night — lacked.

During the winter of her freshman year, a drunken dormitory party unsettled her deeply. She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.

To Ms. Ramirez it wasn’t funny at all. It was the nadir of her first year, when she often felt insufficiently rich, experienced or savvy to mingle with her more privileged classmates.

ImageThe yearbook photo of Deborah Ramirez in The Yale Banner in 1987.

The yearbook photo of Deborah Ramirez in The Yale Banner in 1987.

“I had gone through high school, I’m the good girl, and now, in one evening, it was all ripped away,” she said in an interview earlier this year at her Boulder, Colo., home. By preying upon her in this way, she added, Mr. Kavanaugh and his friends “make it clear I’m not smart.”

Mr. Kavanaugh, now a justice on the Supreme Court, has adamantly denied her claims. Those claims became a flash point during his confirmation process last year, when he was also fighting other sexual misconduct allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who had attended a Washington-area high school near his.

Ms. Ramirez’s story would seem far less damaging to Mr. Kavanaugh’s reputation than those of Dr. Ford, who claimed that he pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth.

But while we found Dr. Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms. Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated. During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been “the talk of campus.” Our reporting suggests that it was.

At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.

We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)

Mr. Kavanaugh did not speak to us because we could not agree on terms for an interview. But he has denied Dr. Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, and declined to answer our questions about Mr. Stier’s account.

Yale in the 1980s was in the early stages of integrating more minority students into its historically privileged white male population. The college had admitted its first black student in the 1850s, but by Ms. Ramirez’s time there, people of color comprised less than a fifth of the student body. Women, who had been admitted for the first time in 1969, were still relative newcomers.

Mr. Kavanaugh fit the more traditional Yale mold. His father was a trade association executive, his mother a prosecutor and later a judge. They lived in tony Bethesda, Md., and owned a second home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As a student at a prominent Jesuit all-boys school, Georgetown Prep, Mr. Kavanaugh was surrounded by the sons of powerful Washington professionals and politicians. He was an avid sports fan and known to attend an annual teenage bacchanal called “Beach Week,” where the hookups and drinking were more important than the sand and swimming.

Ms. Ramirez grew up in a split-level ranch house in working-class Shelton, Conn., perhaps best known for producing the Wiffle ball, and didn’t drink before college. Her father, who is Puerto Rican, rose through the Southern New England Telephone Company, having started as a cable splicer. Her mother, who is French, was a medical technician.

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Before coming to Yale, Ms. Ramirez took pride in her parents’ work ethic and enjoyed simple pleasures like swimming in their aboveground pool, taking camping trips and riding behind her father on his snowmobile. She was studious, making valedictorian at her Catholic elementary school and excelling at her Catholic high school, St. Joseph.

She and her parents took out loans to pay for Yale, and she got work-study jobs on campus, serving food in the dining halls and cleaning dorm rooms before class reunions.

She tried to adapt to Yale socially, joining the cheerleading squad her freshman year, sometimes positioned at the pinnacle of the pyramid. But Ms. Ramirez learned quickly that although cheerleading was cool in high school, it didn’t carry the same cachet at Yale. People called her Debbie Cheerleader or Debbie Dining Hall or would start to say “Debbie does … ” playing on the 1978 porn movie “Debbie Does Dallas.” But Ms. Ramirez didn’t understand the reference.

“She was very innocent coming into college,” Liz Swisher, who roomed with Ms. Ramirez for three years at Yale and is now a physician in Seattle, later recalled. “I felt an obligation early in freshman year to protect her.”

There were many more unhappy memories of college. Fellow students made fun of the way she dropped consonants when she spoke, but also ribbed her for not being fluent in Spanish. They mocked her knockoff black-and-red Air Jordans. They even questioned her admission on the merits. “Is it because you’re Puerto Rican?” someone once asked her.

“My mom would have preferred me to go to a smaller college — looking back at it, she was right,” Ms. Ramirez said. At Yale, “they invite you to the game, but they never show you the rules or where the equipment is.”

It wasn’t until she got a call from a reporter and saw her account of Mr. Kavanaugh described as “sexual misconduct” in The New Yorker that Ms. Ramirez understood it as anything more than one of many painful encounters at Yale.

Ms. Ramirez also did not see herself as a victim of ethnic discrimination. The college campuses of the 1980s had yet to be galvanized by the identity and sexual politics that course through today’s cultural debates.

Years after graduating, however, she started volunteering with a nonprofit organization that assists victims of domestic violence — the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, or SPAN. She became a staff member for a time and continues to serve on its board. Gradually she embraced her Puerto Rican roots.

This awakening caused Ms. Ramirez to distance herself from the past. She fell out of touch with one Yale friend — who had asked Ms. Ramirez to be her daughter’s godmother — after the friend’s husband made fun of a book she was reading on racial identity. The husband, a Yale classmate, was one of the students she remembered being at the dorm party that difficult night.

“If I felt like a person in my life wasn’t going to embrace my journey or would somehow question it,” she said, “I just let them go.”

Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were wrenching, as he strained to defend his character after Dr. Ford’s searing testimony. Thousands of miles away, Ms. Ramirez, who was never asked to testify, also found the hearings distressing. Her efforts to backstop her recollections with friends would later be cited as evidence that her memory was unreliable or that she was trying to construct a story rather than confirm one.

Ms. Ramirez’s legal team gave the F.B.I. a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence. But the bureau — in its supplemental background investigation — interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own.

Two F.B.I. agents interviewed Ms. Ramirez, telling her that they found her “credible.” But the Republican-controlled Senate had imposed strict limits on the investigation. “‘We have to wait to get authorization to do anything else,’” Bill Pittard, one of Ms. Ramirez’s lawyers, recalled the agents saying. “It was almost a little apologetic.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island and member of the Judiciary Committee, later said, “I would view the Ramirez allegations as not having been even remotely investigated.” Other Democrats agreed.

Ultimately, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, concluded, “There is no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.” Mr. Kavanaugh was confirmed on Oct. 6, 2018, by a vote of 50-48, the closest vote for a Supreme Court justice in more than 130 years.

Still, Ms. Ramirez came to feel supported by the very Yale community from which she had once felt so alienated. More than 3,000 Yale women signed an open letter commending her “courage in coming forward.” More than 1,500 Yale men issued a similar letter two days later.

She also received a deluge of letters, emails and texts from strangers containing messages like, “We’re with you, we believe you, you are changing the world,” and “Your courage and strength has inspired me. The bravery has been contagious.”

College students wrote about how Ms. Ramirez had helped them find the words to express their own experiences. Medical students wrote about how they were now going to listen differently to victims of sexual violence. Parents wrote about having conversations with their children about how bad behavior can follow them through life. One father told Ms. Ramirez he was talking to his two sons about how their generation is obligated to be better.

Ms. Ramirez saved all of these notes in a decorative box that she keeps in her house, turning to them even now for sustenance. One person sent a poem titled “What Is Justice” that has resonated deeply with her.

“You can’t look at justice as just the confirmation vote,” she said. “There is so much good that came out of it. There is so much more good to come.”

Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not. - The New York Times