Category Archives: Law

Any thing to do with Law

New Puerto Rican Governor pushes for Statehood to a wary GOP Congress…

The effort has little chance of success since adding a 51st State that would most assuredly vote Democratic isn’t what the Republican majority Congress would want to have…

Add an economy in deep trouble and the two things are giant roadblocks in the way of Congressional action…

The Commonwealth wants to have a non-binding vote on the issue, but the Dept. of Justice must approve the wording of the vote and they have NOT moved on the request….

The Justice Department must approve ballot language for the vote on whether to keep Puerto Rico’s political status, which at first only included two options: statehood or independence.

[ Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo] Rosselló, joined by the commonwealth’s nonvoting member of Congress Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez, and Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, told reporters and congressional staff assembled on Capitol Hill that the ballot would be consistent with language the Justice Department had required.

“This is a mandate that Congress did,” Gonzalez said, referring to a broader 2014 government funding law passed by Congress that provides $2.5 million for a referendum.

While the bill didn’t actually mandate a vote, it did require the Justice Department to certify language at least 45 days before ballots were cast and allowed that some of the money could also be used for educational materials if Puerto Rico opted for the referendum.

Even if the Justice Department were to approve ballot language, Congress has shown little interest in adding a new state. Republicans worry that Puerto Rico would consistently send Democrats to the House and Senate. And the commonwealth would bring the baggage of a massive debt crisis and sky-high unemployment….

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US Senate Democratic anti-Trump hardliners…

Politico names 6 Democratic ‘Hell No’ US Senators thats seem to be in the running to possibly run for the 2020 Democratic nomination by swinging against Donald Trump’s picks for his administration ….

Among Senate Democrats’ broad opposition to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, six stand out in having voted against nearly all of his nominees — and each senator just happens to be a potential Trump challenger in 2020.

The Democrats’ latest hell-no caucus includes Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, according to a POLITICO analysis of votes on 35 Trump nominees confirmed this year.

With the Senate having taken up virtually no major legislation as it nears its sixth month in session, these votes offer the best clue to who are positioning themselves as leaders of a party eager to take the fight to Trump.

How the hell-no caucus voted

Among Senate Democrats, Gillibrand has taken the most aggressive stance toward Trump’s nominees, only voting for only a single one — though other potential 2020 contenders weren’t far behind.

% OF DEMS
WHO VOTED AGAINST
THE NOMINEE
GILLIBRAND
(D-NY)
WARREN
(D-MA)
BOOKER
(D-NJ)
HARRIS
(D-CA)
SANDERS
(I-VT)
MERKLEY
(D-OR)
# OF TRUMP NOMINEES THE HELL-NO CAUCUS BACKED 1 2 3 3 3 6
 The hell-no Democrats brush off suggestions that future political prospects play into their decision to resist even lower-level Trump picks, including Rod Rosenstein as the second-ranking official at the Justice Department and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad as U.S. ambassador to China.
But all six senators are often on the party’s short lists to challenge Trump in 2020, and they’ve all cemented their following among the liberal grass roots by mounting such a fierce opposition to his nominees….

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Note….

My money iOS on Cory Booker right now…

Bernie Sanders is NOT a Democrat even if he hangs with them…

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Mueller’s FBI probing the President’s son-in-law’s contacts ….

…drip..Drip….DRIP….

It reaches closer and CLOSER…..

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple U.S. officials told NBC News.

Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him.

The FBI’s scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau’s sprawling counterintelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but in the Trump family circle. The Washington Post first reported last week that a senior White House official close to Trump was a “person of interest,” but did not name the person. The term “person of interest” has no legal meaning.

Image: Jared Kushner and Donald Trump
Jared Kushner departs the White House with President Donald Trump on March 15. Win McNamee / Getty Images

The officials said Kushner is in a different category from former Trump aides Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, who are formally considered subjects of the investigation. Records of both Manafort and Flynn have been demanded by grand jury subpoenas, NBC News has reported.

It is not known whether Kushner has received any records requests from federal investigators.

Also unclear is what precisely about Kushner’s activities has drawn the FBI’s interest as it investigates whether Trump associates coordinated with the Russian campaign to interfere in the election. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is now leading the probe as a special counsel….

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Breaking…Federal Appeals Court Keeps Trump Muslin Ban 2.0 on HOLD…

Trump KEEPS striking out on this attempted  action…

President Donald Trump’s executive order barring U.S. entry from six mostly Muslim countries was put on continued hold by a federal appeals court Thursday.

The Richmond, Virginia-based panel said Trump’s prior calls for a ”Muslim ban” could be considered in weighing the legality of the March 6 executive order.

A forerunner of the executive order incited chaos and condemnation when it was rolled out without warning in January. Federal courts soon blocked its enforcement, prompting a re-do. Subsequent controversies have distracted from Trump’s agenda, some by his own doing, including his firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau’s investigation into potential campaign ties to Russia.

Thursday’s ruling is the first of two federal appeals court decisions expected to decide whether the revised travel ban, dubbed, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is lawful. An appeals panel in Seattle heard argument on May 15. A contradictory ruling would virtually ensure review by the U.S. Supreme Court….

Bloomberg…..

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The Senate gets nervous about Trump’s possible going back to war in the Middle East…

The Generals running Trump’s Defense side have presented a more muscular America in the Middle East…

That would be a ramping up of American men and women going BACK to Iraq, Afghanistan and other place’s like Africa…

Lawmakers aren’t happy to give a President who doesn’t sweat the details unlimited power in military action and will try to set some limits on his actions until comes to them…(And cost the country Billions)

Such votes tend have HUGE political ramifications for US Senators futures….

As President Donald Trump increasingly flexes the might of the military he now controls, the Senate is reviving efforts to claw back some of that authority from the White House.

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) are joining forces to reintroduce an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against the Islamic State and other terror groups, aiming to assert more congressional power over the post-9/11 war on terror. Elsewhere in the Capitol, Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are unveiling legislation Thursday that would halt some of the arms sales to Saudi Arabia in what Trump’s White House has touted as a $110 billion deal.

The bipartisan efforts aren’t new. Flake and Kaine pushed for an AUMF debate two years ago after President Barack Obama sent lawmakers his own draft of military authorization amid the conflict in Syria. And last fall, Paul forced a vote on a separate arms sale to the Saudis in Obama’s final months in office.

But the renewed efforts show real appetite among Democrats and Republicans to rein in some of the new president’s authority on matters of war, which came into focus with Trump’s missile strikes in Syria last month after a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens, including children.

Trump earned broad praise for the strikes from Capitol Hill, but lawmakers also warned against escalating military action abroad without first getting the approval of Congress. The White House has operated under war resolutions passed by Congress in 2001 and 2002….

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to list several Russian contacts on his security clearance form…

Is the nation’s Attorney General gonna be answering questions from former Attorney General Mueller’s guys doing the Russian’s connections probe?…

Image result for sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose on security clearance forms that he met twice last year with Russia’s ambassador, CNN reported Wednesday.

The form, the SF-86, asks applicants to disclose any contacts with a foreign government or its representatives over the past seven years.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told CNN that an FBI employee who was helping Sessions complete the form advised him that he did not have to disclose meetings with foreign ambassadors that took place during his time in the Senate.

She said Sessions listed a year’s worth of meetings with foreign officials on the form.

CNN notes that federal officials do not have to list meetings that were part of foreign conferences attended while conducting government business — though Sessions’ meetings with Sergey Kislyak do not appear to fall under that exemption. …

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image…washingtonpost.com

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House Healthcare Bill would knock 23 Million Americans out of coverage…

The Congressional Budget Office is out with it’s study of the final House  ‘Repeal’ bill…

It ain’t pretty…

Health-care legislation adopted by House Republicans earlier this month would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured by 2026 than under current law, the Congressional Budget Office projected Wednesday — only a million fewer than the estimate for the House’s previous bill.

The nonpartisan agency’s finding, which drew immediate fire from Democrats, patient advocates, health industry officials and some business groups, is likely to complicate Republicans’ push to pass a companion bill in the Senate.

The new score, which reflects last-minute revisions that Republicans made to win over several conservative lawmakers and a handful of moderates, calculates that the American Health Care Act would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion between 2017 and 2026. That represents a smaller reduction than the $150 billion CBO estimated in late March, largely because House leaders provided more money in their final bill to offset costs for consumers with expensive medical conditions and included language that could translate to greater federal spending on health insurance subsidies.

As GOP senators quickly distanced themselves from the updated numbers, what became apparent is the difficult balancing act congressional leaders face as they seek to rewrite large portions of the Affordable Care Act. Some senators are eager to soften portions of the House bill, including cuts to entitlement programs and provisions that would allow insurers in individual states to offer fewer benefits in their health plans or to charge consumers with costly medical conditions higher premiums….

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GOP Candidate in Montana race said to have ‘body-slammed’ reporter…Police Called…

The House Special Election is tomorrow….

Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana’s special congressional election, was accused Wednesday night of assaulting a reporter for the Guardian who had been trying to ask him a question. Gianforte, who is seen as the slight favorite in an election that ends Thursday, left what was supposed to be a final campaign rally, at his Bozeman headquarters, without giving a speech.

The Gallatin County sheriff’s office said Wednesday evening that it was “currently investigating allegations of an assault involving Greg Gianforte.”

In an audio recording published by the Guardian, Ben Jacobs can be heard asking Gianforte to respond to the fresh Congressional Budget Office score of the American Health Care Act, a bill Gianforte has said he was glad to see the House of Representatives approve. According to Alexis Levinson, a reporter for BuzzFeed, Jacobs had followed the candidate into a room where a camera was set up for an interview, before the event began.

“We’ll talk to you about that later,” Gianforte says in the audio.

“Yeah, but there’s not going to be time,” says Jacobs. “I’m just curious about it right now.”

After Gianforte tells Jacobs to direct the question to his spokesman, Shane Scanlon, there is the sound of an altercation, and Gianforte begins to scream.

“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte says. “The last guy that came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs says.

“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte says.

“You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs says.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte says….

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Republicans will ignore Trump’s Budget Plan…

Presidential budget outlines never make thru Congress in one piece , but the throw down that Trump’s won’t is being broadcasted pretty fast…

The kind of cuts Trump has presented simply won’t fly…(Congress went its own way on the 2017 stop-gap budget …)

The media is highlighting those cuts , which combined with the healthcare cuts would put Republicans out of business in Congress in 2018/2020…..

Republican leaders in Congress say they will go their own way on spending and largely ignore the budget President Trump sent to Congress on Tuesday, underlining a divide between the White House and his congressional allies on spending issues.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) downplayed the significance of setting Trump’s budget aside as he told reporters that he will soon begin negotiations with Democrats on the top-line numbers for discretionary spending bills.

Asked about Trump’s budget, McConnell said it’s traditional for Congress to discard much of a president’s blueprint.

“We’ll be taking into account what the president is recommending, but it will not be determinative in every respect,” he said. “I didn’t engage in a ringing endorsement of President [George W.] Bush’s budgets either.”

Others in the Senate GOP conference immediately distanced themselves from Trump’s budget.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said the plan cuts “too close to the bone,” while Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) called it “anti-Nevada,” citing cuts to “important public lands programs.”

Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has previously warned that not much more can be cut from discretionary spending accounts, which cover popular programs such as medical research at the National Institutes of Health.

Trump’s proposed cuts to Medicaid were making some Republicans nervous….

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Republicans ARE worried….

They SHOULD be….

Republican leaders are coming to the bleak conclusion they will end summer and begin the fall with no major policy accomplishments. Privately, they realize it’s political malpractice to blow at least the the first nine of months of all Republican rule, but also realize there’s little they can do to avoid the dismal outcome.
In fact, they see the next four months as MORE troublesome than the first four. They’re facing terrible budget choices and headlines, the painful effort to re-work the health care Rubik’s Cube in the House (presuming it makes it out of the Senate), a series of special-election scares (or losses) — all with scandal-mania as the backdrop.

One of the key insights I picked up at last week’s SALT hedge-fund conference in Vegas (tough duty) was that nobody thought health care reform would happen, and most were very skeptical that Trump and Republicans could get their acts together enough to pass tax reform this year.

Asked about both onstage, Jeb Bush said a flat “no” to health care and a very unconvincing “maybe” to tax reform. The masters of the universe had more colorful words in private — they’re deeply pessimistic about health care.

A source close to the Republican congressional leadership emails a vivid snapshot of the party’s feng shui:

We are walking into an autumn of discontent because they won’t have any legislative accomplishment when they come back from the August recess. … Their biggest problem is that the reconciliation instructions will expire at the end of September. …

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Trump hires his own lawyer….

With his efforts to shut down the investigation swirling around his campaign and the Russians not working…

He signs up a lawyer to look after HIS interests…

President Trump has retained the services of a trusted lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and suspected Russian interference in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the decision.

Kasowitz, who has known Trump for decades, has represented Trump in numerous cases, including on his divorce records, real estate transactions and allegations of fraud at Trump University. He is a partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman in New York.

With the appointment last week of a special counsel to probe alleged Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the stakes have been raised considerably for the Republican president and his associates. Trump has repeatedly denied that he did anything improper and has said that he has been told he is not under investigation.

The White House had no immediate comment on Kasowitz’s hiring. Those who confirmed the decision spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the move….

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100 years ago, Americans viewed Catholics the way they see Muslims now…

History regularly repeats itself…

Can we learn from it?

About a century ago, millions of Americans feared that members of a religious group was amassing an arsenal of weapons for a secret, preplanned takeover of the United States.

The feared religious group wasn’t Muslims. It was, as Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce wrote in a great piece in 2015, Catholics:

Hatred had become big business in southwestern Missouri, and its name was the Menace, a weekly anti-Catholic newspaper whose headlines screamed to readers around the nation about predatory priests, women enslaved in convents and a dangerous Roman Catholic plot to take over America.…

America’s deep and widespread skepticism of Catholics is a faint memory in today’s post-Sept. 11 world. But as some conservative politicians call for limits on Muslim immigration and raise questions about whether Muslims are more loyal to Islamic law than American law, the story of Aurora’s long-ago newspaper is a reminder of a long history of American religious intolerance.

Today, there are calls for federal surveillance of mosques in the name of preventing terrorist attacks; a century ago, it was state laws that allowed the warrantless search of convents and churches in search of supposedly trapped women and purported secret Catholic weapons caches.

This may seem absurd today, but there was a real fear among Protestant Americans back then that Catholics were planning to take over the country….

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The Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program could be up in the air…

Some of us are  in the program for loans we have to help our kids…

It’s not bad enough that the company handling the loans are playing games…

Now we find that the Government under Trump and the Republicans COULD try screw hundreds of thousands  of people out of a program they THOUGHT they had?

The program has been shrouded in some uncertainty for months.

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Education is planning to propose ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

The article was based on budget documents obtained by the Post. A public version of the department’s budget is expected to be released next week. Congress would have to approve the department’s proposed changes for them to take effect.

It’s unclear whether the Trump administration may propose ending the program for future graduates, or end it for those who have already applied and made qualifying payments.

The Department of Education did not respond to CNNMoney’s requests for comment, and “had no immediate comment” for the Washington Post.

“It would be absolutely detrimental to those of us who have planned our lives around this program. It would be the equivalent of pulling the rug out from under us,” said Daniel J. Crooks III, a government attorney who is expecting loan forgiveness from the public service program in six years….

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Trump efforts to shut down the Russian Connection probe was wider than thought….

The Washington Post is out with a piece that details a wide coordinated effort by the Trump Admin to get FBI Director to call off his investigation of their contacts with the Russian’s during the campaign….

Trump personally asked his Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency head to help him get FBI Director Comey to stop his probing…

All of this before Trump DIRECTLY went on a fired Comey for continuing….

By the way?

A recent poll has the number at around 60% of Americans wanting the Trump campaign / Russian connection investigation to CONTINUE….

THE BIG IDEA: James Comey was not alone. Even Donald Trump’s own pick for director of national intelligence, former Republican Sen. Dan Coats, refused to comply with a request by the president to push back against the FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.

Trump also reached out to Adm. Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency. He pressed both men to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election. Each saw the president’s entreaty as inappropriate.

The Post’s Adam Entous and Ellen Nakashima broke this latest bombshell last night: “Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation. A senior intelligence official said Trump’s goal was to ‘muddy the waters’ about the scope of the FBI probe … Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.‘The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,’ a former senior intelligence official said of the request to Coats.”

This new scoop is hugely significant because it suggests a concerted, multi-front effort by the president and top White House staff to rein in an FBI investigation in the months before Trump fired Comey. You really should read Adam and Ellen’s full story, but here are three important nuggets….

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The Senate is in No Rush on their Obamacare rewrite bill….

Meaning that the Affordable Healthcare Law will continue in effect and the political ‘hot potato’ will be left on the side for a long while…

The Senate GOP’s progress on Obamacare repeal has been hard to decipher so far, with lots of public assurances that negotiations are continuing but few tangible results.

The process, which Republicans claim began even before the House passed its repeal bill, has been notable for what it’s been missing. It’s unclear, publicly at least, who is leading the effort, the direction they’re taking and whether there’s even agreement on how far the Senate will stray from the deeply unpopular House proposal, which guts Medicaid while scaling back the Affordable Care Act’s widely-liked consumer protections.

The Senate GOP’s 13-member working group initially unveiled to iron out an approach that could bring 51 votes was quickly met with ugly headlines about the lack of women, while rival groups have popped up among the members left out of the original task force. GOP leaders have since stressed that all Republicans are invited to participate in the talks, which happen twice or thrice weekly in Capitol, behind closed doors.

In the meantime, trial balloon after trial balloon has been floated with anonymous leaks, only to be immediately popped by other Republicans, who sometimes are only hearing of alleged proposals directly from the press….

While GOP Senators swear their not adhering to any specific timetable, some deadlines do in fact exist. To stay on track to pass both Obamacare repeal and tax cut legislation this year, the Senate will likely need to wrap up their health care talks this summer. More pressing, however, is insurers’ filing deadlines for their 2018 plans. Insurers would like to see more certainty on what the marketplace will look like, including what will happen to key ACA subsidies Republicans have previously attacked….

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Ya Gets’ what ya vote for?…Donald Trump…Open Thread for May 22, 2017….

It’s been 122 days since Donald Trump moved into America’s White House….

I have written President Trump about 3 times here at the PDog in those 122 days….

I have written a LOT about Donald Trump’s bumbling in these past months….

I wrote a LOT about how Trump wasn’t qualified to be President and I think I got THAT Right….

But millions of people out there in America voted FOR Donald J. Trump ….Less than voted for Hillary Clinton by about THREE MILLON….

That’s the  way things work in America…. You CAN win the election if you get votes in certain places even if you get less overall….Trump surprised MOST of us and won the Presidency by less than 100,000 votes out of 140 MILLION or so ….

Turns out the people who voted FOR Trump believed him when he said the whole US Government was ‘rigged’….

Now that Trump IS the Government?

Things haven’t changed from the campaign….

He say’s crazy things that often make NO sense…

Even his party members in the House and Senate decided that THEY would draft an 2017 budget that had few of Trump campaign things in it….

Trump said he’s make sure NO one lost their Healthcare coverage….But that’s isn’t what is coming out of the GOP House with Trump’s Budget wishes….DEEP cuts is what he’s looking for…

Trump ranted about how Hillary Clinton couldn’t be trusted?

But Trump is out there GIVING the countries secrets away to the Russians IN THE White House….

It has got so bad with him countermining his staff in public  (Trump continues to be Trump) that we now wait for the next morning to get Trump’s REAL feelings on anything…

No Wall…

No Muslim Ban….

But we STILL can count on Trump to keep trying to stop HIS government people from investigating his buddies getting cozy with the Russians…Its gotten to Trump telling the Russians he’s trying to bury the probe HIS government is making against His  former and present campaign staff buddies….

For Now?

Trump STILL has a LOT of people happy that he’s in the White House even if he’s hard on offering up cuts for their benefits and hasn’t followed thru on getting them jobs…

Around 40% of Americans, according to polls, actually think Donald Trump is doing a Good Job….But…..

The other 60% of us didn’t vote for the guy ….

We’re NOT Happy….

We didn’t vote for this…..

We’re living with what the ‘other guys’ voted for….

It’s a Democracy , Right?

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