Category: Congress

Ocasio-Cortez: I Never Said Pelosi Was A Racist When Accusing Her Of Targeting Women Of Color

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has risen to prominence for promising to tell truth to power. However, this week she showed that she could spin and shill with the best of them. Previously Ocasio-Cortez accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of singling out four women of color. That would seem by definition a charge of racism. Now however she insists that Pelosi did single out women of color but was not a racist. At the same time, the “squad” is warning Pelosi not to do it again.

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Tweet Misfires: Democrats Use Obama Pictures To Illustrate Unacceptable Trump Policies

Democrats have hit hard on the narrative that President Donald Trump is taking children from parents and holding people in cages. That narrative has largely gone unchallenged in the media despite that fact that the Obama Administration had the same facilities and also separated families. Now, the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee had the ultimate tweet disaster by posting pictures of the objectionable conditions. The pictures turned out to be from the Obama Administration. They deleted the first picture after people noted the problem, but then reportedly posted an additional Obama-era picture.

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Democratic Rep Calls For The Prosecution Of People “Making Fun” Of Members Of Congress

440px-Frederica_Wilson_official_House_portraitIf Democrat Rep. Frederica Wilson wanted to deter people from “making fun” of members of Congress, she went terribly wrong.  People are heaping scorn on her call for people to be  “prosecuted” for making fun of members.  Making fun of members is speech that is clearly protected under the First Amendment. Indeed, it is a practice going back to the founding of the Republic.  Wilson (who has been long teased over her elaborate faux jewel-encrusted cowboy hats) appears to moving from making breathtaking fashion to constitutional statements. Continue reading “Democratic Rep Calls For The Prosecution Of People “Making Fun” Of Members Of Congress”

White House Orders Conway Not To Testify On Hatch Act Violations

350px-US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svgHouseofRepSealI have previously testified and written about the questionable litigation strategy of the House Democratic leadership in fighting privilege assertions, including recommending cases that it should litigate as a matter of separation of powers.  This week another conflict has arisen as the White House again invoked absolute privilege over a staffer.  The White House said it will not allow presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway to appear before a House committee looking into her repeatedly violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law that limits political activity by government workers.  The position of the White House in entirely untenable and would fail in the courts.  This is the type of case that the House should litigate with vigor.

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Biden Under Fire For Excessive Civility

Joe Biden is under fire from leading Democrats for the sin of civility. Biden made the simple observation that the Senate actually “got things done” when he was a member by maintaining “civility.” He noted that he was even able to work with such opposing figures as segregationist senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. That led to a torrent of outrage that he was ever civil with such individuals. To his credit, Biden correctly refused to apologize. He was making the point that you can oppose others without grinding the government to a standstill or just engaging in shrill and personal attacks.

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Trump Supports Flag Burning Amendment

Today President Donald Trump declared support for a new constitutional amendment to allow Congress to override the First Amendment and criminalize the burning of the American flag. The legislation for the amendment was reintroduced by Sen. Steve Daines (R- Montana) and Sen Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota). While I consider flag burning (of any country) to be deeply offensive, there is no need for such an amendment to combat the extremely few incidents of flag burning. It is certainly a popular political cause, but we should not amend the Constitution to reduce free speech, particularly given the low number of flag burnings.

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Trump Is Still Three Nixons Short Of Watergate

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent testimony by former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean. While President Trump has personally attacked Dean, I have always liked and respected him. However, I disagree with his historical analogies. Comparisons to the Nixon case are fair, but they become forced when people insist that the conduct or record is the same. There are fundamental and likely determinative distinctions. There is a valid basis for an investigation but the record does not support the extent of comparison laid out by John Dean. John often seems to rank presidents on a Nixon scale. Yet, rather than giving Trump essentially “five Nixons,” I would put it as one or two pending further investigation. In other words, the case must still be made that this is “just like Watergate.”

Here is the column:

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The Politics and Pathology of The House Litigation Addiction

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on rejection of the lawsuit by the House of Representatives against the order issued by President Donald Trump to build the wall on the Southern border under the National Emergencies Act. I had previously testified against this lawsuit as a reckless and unnecessary move by the house. It is part of a litigation strategy that is clearly driven more by political than legal calculations.

Here is the column:

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Mueller’s Mount Sinai Moment Leaves Media With A Crisis of Faith

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the press conference held by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his refusal to answer questions from the media (or any questions from Congress beyond what is written in his Report). Mueller not only demanded silence but faith from the media, which surprisingly obeyed. Few reporters noted the direct contradictions in Mueller’s brief statement or the many unanswered questions that he left in his imperious wake. Since Attorney General Bill Barr has already testified on the process and his decisions related to the Report, there was nothing preventing Mueller from answering questions about his own decisions. Instead, Mueller simply said that the media would listen and remain silent . . . and the media dutifully complied.

Here is the column:

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Will Trump Use The National Emergencies Act To Impose A Tariff On Mexico For Illegal Immigration?

Flag of Mexico

President Donald Trump declared on Thursday that he would impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods entering from Mexico unless it stopped the flow of illegal immigration to the United States. The move would set a dangerous precedent of mixing trade and immigration issues — further destabilizing the economy and isolating the United States. If this unprecedented move is based on the National Emergency Act, it would again push the law to its extremes. Yet, as I have previously written on the controversy over the wall construction, Congress unwisely gave presidents sweeping and largely unchecked authority.

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California Emergency Rooms Overwhelmed With Wait Times Averaging Five And A Half Hours

Remember when national health care was going to finally clear our emergency rooms? It has not exactly worked out that way, particularly in California. While there are clearly other benefits from national health care, the hope that people would turn to regular medical visits rather than ER visits has not materialized in California where the average wait time is five and a half hours. An astonishing 57% of patients left before seeing a doctor due to the delay — that constitutes roughly 352,000 persons leaving without fully addressing their medical conditions.

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Pelosi Reaffirms No Impeachment . . . Because Trump Wants To Be Impeached

Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference today that left far more questions than she answered . . . except for some members of the press. While CNN asked the more obvious question of why Pelosi keeps saying that Trump is committing impeachable acts but barring impeachment, the other reporters quickly moved to softball questions and the short time ran out, as did Pelosi. However, Pelosi did reaffirm that Trump should not be impeached because he wants it too much. That is consistent with those other principled stances like (1) serial killers should not be arrested if police think that they really want to be caught; (2) suicide jumpers should not be stopped if they really want to be rescued; and (3) bulimia victims should be given more food if you think that they just want you to intervene. The original question is still the operative question: if Trump is committing crimes and a cover up, as Pelosi alleges, why does it matter what Trump wants as opposed to what the Constitution says.

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Trump Administration Ignored Internal Legal Opinion In Withholding Tax Records

I recently testified in the House Judiciary Committee that the Congress must challenge the refusal of the Trump Administration to turn over certain records and to bar certain witnesses from oversight investigations. While I also disagreed with some of Congress’s actions, the Trump Administration has cannot withhold material from oversight authority on the basis of undeclared privileges or ill-defined objections. This is the case in the refusal to turn over tax records demanded by Congress. As I stated earlier, the House has made only generalized claims of a legislative purpose for such records. Nevertheless, the law clearly favors Congress in seeking such material. Notably, the Trump Administration has not claimed executive privilege but only that the Committee lacks a legislative purpose. That is not enough. Now, it appears that the Administration was warned by its own confidential Internal Revenue Service legal memorandum that it would be violating the law by withholding the records without an executive privilege claim. It ignored the legal memorandum and refused the congressional demand.

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