Then We Have “Executive Privilege”

WE heard the term many many times during Watergate and now with this hearing thing in full swing we are hearing it again……but what is “executive privilege”?  What do they mean?

Let’s go to the definition….

The Constitution does not specifically enumerate the president’s right to executive privilege; rather, the concept has evolved over the years as presidents have claimed it. As the courts have ruled on these claims, their decisions have refined the notion of executive privilege and have clarified the instances in which it can be invoked. The courts have ruled that it is implicit in the constitutional Separation of Powers, which assigns discrete powers and rights to the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. In reality, however, the three branches enjoy not separate but shared powers, and thus are occasionally in conflict. When the president’s wish to keep certain information confidential causes such a conflict, the president might claim the right of executive privilege.

The term executive privilege emerged in the 1950s, but presidents since George Washington have claimed the right to withhold information from Congress and the courts. The issue first arose in 1792, when a congressional committee requested information from Washington regarding a disastrous expedition of General Arthur St. Clair against American Indian tribes along the Ohio River, which resulted in the loss of an entire division of the U.S. Army. Washington, concerned about how to respond to this request and about the legal precedent his actions would set, called a cabinet meeting. Although no official record was kept of the proceedings, Thomas Jefferson described the deliberations in his diary. The participants, Jefferson wrote, concluded that Congress had the right to request information from the president and that the president “ought to communicate such papers as the public good would permit & ought to refuse those the disclosure of which would injure the public.” In the case at hand, they agreed that “there was not a paper which might not be properly produced,” so Washington provided all the documents that Congress had requested. This event, though notable as the first recorded deliberation concerning executive privilege, did not carry precedential value until after 1957, when Jefferson’s notes were discovered. In 1958, Attorney General William P. Rogers cited Jefferson’s remarks as precedent for an absolute presidential privilege. Legal scholar Raoul Berger declaimed Rogers’s arguments as “at best self serving assertions by one of the claimants in a constitutional boundary dispute.” Instead, Berger argued, Washington’s willingness to turn over the requested documents shows his recognition of Congress’s right to such materials.

In subsequent incidents, however, Washington and his successors did choose to withhold requested information from Congress, citing various reasons. In 1794, for example, the Senate requested from Washington the correspondence of Gouverneur Morris, the U.S. ambassador to France, who was suspected of aiding the French aristocrats against the revolutionaries despite the United States’ official stance of neutrality. Washington provided the letters, but he censored them first, acting on the advice of officials such as Attorney General William Bradford, who said that the president should “communicate to the Senate such parts of the said correspondence as upon examination he shall deem safe and proper to disclose: withholding all such, as any circumstances, may render improper to be communicated.” The following year, Washington refused to provide the House with information relating to Ambassador John Jay’s negotiation of a treaty with Great Britain, arguing that the House had no constitutional right to participate in the treaty making process and so had no right to request materials associated with it.

A short history of the situation and its use and legality……

You now more than you did before you read this piece……you are welcome!

Believe me we will be hearing this term a lot in the coming months and now you can write on the phenom with a bit more knowledge….

“Covfefe”–Closing Thought–13Jun17

“Covfefe” Returns!

Awhile back Trump Tweeted the term and the media went batcrap crazy….and yes I wrote about it….read for yourself…….

Source: “Covfefe” – In Saner Thought

It has returned……there is a move to make his Tweets part of the official record…..

First, covfefe made it into the Urban Dictionary. Now it could make it into the Presidential Records Act. Taking inspiration from White House spokesman Sean Spicer—who last week described Trump’s tweets as “official statements by the president”—Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley on Monday introduced the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement (COVFEFE) Act, which would add “social media” materials to those preserved as official statements under the Presidential Records Act, reports Reuters. If passed, it would require the National Archives to preserve tweets from Trump’s official and personal accounts. The act would also bar Trump from deleting tweets, reports the Hill.

The COVFEFE Act isn’t meant as a dig at Trump, at least not entirely. It addresses “a legitimate issue,” per NPR, since the Presidential Records Act was crafted in 1978, before social media could’ve been imagined. “Tweets are powerful, and the president must be held accountable for every post,” says Quigley, who previously introduced the Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness (MAR-A-LAGO) Act. “If the president is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.” The White House has yet to comment. (Here’s Spicer’s take on covfefe.)

I think that it is a stellar idea…..put all this in the presidential record or the Congressional record….it will make future research so much easier…..all other communications are on record….why not Twitter?

Time for me to put IST to bad…..I will go enjoy a nice Paella with a superb Spanish white wine, albarino….see ya tomorrow my friends.  chuq

Let The Praise Begin

Have you ever witnessed an event that you know was painfully superficial?

Yesterday was one of those events…..the cabinet fawning over the president was disgusting and sickening…..and a “cheese-eaters” paradise.

A scene out of some egotistic autocratic theater…..I could cite a historical equivalent but few would appreciate it….so straight to the report….

“We’ve achieved tremendous success,” President Trump declared at his first formal Cabinet meeting on Monday, and he certainly wasn’t the only one praising his administration: Asked by Trump to introduce themselves, the group took it in turns to flatter the president before reporters were ushered from the White House’s Cabinet Room, the Guardian reports. Chief of staff Reince Priebus was among the most effusive, saying, “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people,” reports the Telegraph. “It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as vice president,” said Mike Pence. “The president is keeping his word to the American people.”

“Never has there been a president, with few exceptions, the case of FDR—he had a major Depression to handle—who’s passed more legislation, who’s done more things than what we’ve done,” Trump said, claiming to have delivered on campaign promises at “record-setting pace,” NBC reports. Some Cabinet members gave brief updates on the work of their departments, while others stuck to praise. “Mr. President, what an incredible honor it is to lead the Department of Health and Human Services at this time under your leadership,” said Tom Price. The tone of the meeting was mocked by Trump critics including Chuck Schumer, who tweeted a mock video in which aides showered him with compliments, Reuters reports.

This was a shameless show of egotism……it is pathetic that this man needs to have his ego massaged on a regular basis…..illustrates the quality of the people that he surrounds himself….cowards and spineless slugs.

I can see why most of the cabinet did not serve in the military….they are cowards!

Blueprint For A Banana Republic

Back in March, which seems like a lifetime ago, Pres. Trump released his fist budget…..and it was a doozey….but instead of sounding like a plan it reads more like the ideas of a banana republic.

President Trump has released a budget blueprint outlining increased military spending and cuts across other agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. Congress will still have to draft a formal budget, but the plan released Thursday by the White House indicates the president’s priorities. Read the full document below. Read more about the specific proposals and their implications here.

But if you do not like others analysis of the budget then take the time a read the damn thing for yourself and see what is being done to this country.

Source: Full Text Of President Trump’s 2018 Budget Blueprint : NPR

If you read and are capable of understanding what you have read then you will see that this budget is turning our country into a banana republic style military dictatorship….and if you remember any history at all then you will recall that this will lead to NOTHING good.

A combination of spending cuts that will escalate domestic poverty while simultaneously increasing investments in militarism.

The Trump administration has officially unveiled its proposed budget to “Make America Great Again,” and by all accounts it’s a total flop. Most news outlets are ignoring the greater implications of what is proposed in the budget itself—the society America would become if the Trump budget became official.

Source: Trump’s Budget Is a Blueprint for a Banana Republic-Style Military Dictatorship | Alternet

The only saving grace is that this budget seems to have very little support from either side of the aisle.  It may well be dead before it arrives…..

We can hope that calmer more reasonable minds will prevail…..but I am not holding my breath.

Finally, Comey Speaks

Okay the big day has come and gone….the only part we mere mortals will get is the public hearing the rest will be behind closed doors…..

So far I have read a couple dozen analysis of the hearing and most did bot watch or listen to the thing at all…..they hated Comey from the start and they let that hate cloud everything they do….but I have come to expect that from the Right…they will write little unless it is negative and hateful.

My opinion…..Comey was composed and straight forward in his answers…GOP members were the typical grandstanding and sniping…partisan BS…the only GOPer that impressed me was the chairman Sen. Burr…he was professional and statesman-like…McCain seemed like he was in a drug haze and made little sense…..the Dems were well the Dems….only Angus and Warner actually had anything intelligent to ask…….the rest was just throwing crap at the wall……both sides git their grandstanding in for the folks back home…..

I am sure that there are some out there that saw it completely different because…..well…..because they are just partisan and will like nothing said as an answer (and that is as polite as I am going to be)…

So there is much that needs to be said about this hearing so I will break it down…..

The highly anticipated testimony of James Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee is underway, and he’s being grilled on his private conversations with President Trump. The former FBI chief’s opening statement was released in advance, and in it he talks about how Trump asked him for loyalty and suggested that he ease off the investigation of Michael Flynn. (“He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”) But did Trump cross the line into obstruction of justice? (At least one analysis thinks not, based on the opening statement.) That’s part of what senators will be trying to figure out. Outlets such as CNN are providing live coverage. Some standout lines:

  • ‘Lies’: After his firing, Comey says “the administration chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying the organization was in disarray, that it was being poorly led, that the workforce had lost faith in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”
  • Key question: GOP Sen. Richard Burr, the committee chair, asked Comey if Trump asked him to stop the Russia investigation. Comey’s response: “Not to my understanding, no,” per the Guardian.
  • Key quote: “I don’t think it’s for me to say whether Trump obstructed justice,” Comey said to Burr.
  • Why the detailed notes? “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting,” Comey said of Trump, when asked why he began chronicling their meetings.
  • A distinction: GOP Sen. James Risch, referring to Trump’s request on the Flynn investigation: “He did not direct you to let it go. He did not order you to let it go. He said ‘I hope.'” Comey’s takeaway: “I took it as a direction. He’s the president of the United States, with me alone, saying, ‘I hope this.’ I took it as this is what he wants me to do.”
  • No Trump inquiry: “While you were director, the president of the United States was not under investigation, is that a fair statement?” Risch asked. “That is correct.” replied Comey.
  • Tapes: Comey told Sen. Dianne Feinstein that he’d seen Trump’s tweet about possible tapes of their conversations. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” he said.
  • Russian hacking: “There should be no fuzz on this whatsoever,” said Comey. “The Russians interfered in our election in the 2016 election cycle … and that’s about as unfake as you can get.”
  • Date night: Comey said he had to break a date with with his wife to dine with Trump, who had personally called to issue the invitation. “In retrospect, I love spending time with my wife, I wish I had been there that night.”  (He will pay for this later, LOL)
  • Just ‘a matter’: Comey said he felt “queasy” when Loretta Lynch, attorney general under President Obama, suggested altered language about the FBI’s inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email. “I wanted to know, was she going to authorize us to confirm we had an investigation. And she said: ‘Yes, but don’t call it that. Call it a matter.’” He did so when announcing it.
  • Memos: He said he has turned over all his Trump memos to special counsel Robert Mueller.
  • Leak: Comey admitted asking a friend to leak his Trump memo to the press.

But if you do not like my breakdown of the hearing then you can go and read the full text of the hearing and make up your own analysis…..

A transcript of Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Source: Full text: James Comey testimony transcript on Trump and Russia – POLITICO

After all is said and done nothing has really changed…..if you dislike Trump then you still dislike Trump and if you are a Trump boot licker then you are still licking those boots.

Now behind closed doors may be a different story….but we may never know…..

James Comey’s Prepared Statement

Before I turn IST over to the USS Liberty…….

Today is the big day…..the Congressional Hearing…..if you will be watching then prepare yourself with a quick read of Comey’s opening statement….

The remarks were published on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s website. In those seven pages, Comey detailed his interactions with President Donald Trump on several occasions.

Source: Read James Comey’s prepared statement before Thursday’s Senate hearing | PBS NewsHour


Impeachment: How-To Manual

This is FYI… please all you ass backward thinking supporters just watch the vid and keep your insulting bullshit to yourselves.

Let’s say the unthinkable was about to happen….I am talking about the “I” word thing…….

To keep it simple, especially for Trump supporters, I have posted a couple of vids explaining the situation…..and how it will work.

That one is about 7 minutes long but if that is too much to muddle through….there is a more condensed one……of about 2 minutes that should hold the attention of Trump supporters for I realize their attention span is a bit limited.

Keep in mind that even if Trump is impeached he may not necessarily leave the office.

So don’t get your panties in a wad you Right wingers….you may be striking out for NO reason.

Have fun…learn something……

This should be the last post on this subject for awhile……any more and it will be speculation….I will leave that to the knuckle draggers.