SonofMar wrote:If the timetable is right, the Mueller report should be done next coming August/September or so. It will be intriguing how Trump responds to this, and what this will ripple into not just the election, but the structure of the House and everything since it appears that Flynn will give names beyond Trump. What a weird time to be alive, I swear.
Plus, still not loving the structure that could replace him.
JerrodDRagon wrote:If this is really true, wonder what this will do for the next election and current terms for Trump
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing- ... t-with-the
Raging Light wrote:Is Trump Above the Law
Isaac Chotiner: I saw your comment that the president cannot obstruct justice—
Alan Dershowitz: No no no no no. Of course the president can obstruct justice. Nixon obstructed justice. President Clinton was charged with obstructing justice. A president can’t obstruct justice by simply exercising his constitutional authority. That is: A president can’t obstruct justice by pardoning. A president can’t obstruct justice by firing somebody he’s authorized to fire. If a president bribes or takes a bribe, or if a president, as Nixon did, pays hush money, or tells his subordinates to lie to the FBI, or destroys evidence, of course he can be charged with obstruction of justice, but he can’t be charged with obstruction of justice simply by exercising his constitutional authority. That would be a clear violation of the separation of powers, to punish a president for exercising Article II authority.
If the president can basically fire anybody he wants in the government, or he can fire many, many, many people, then it seems like at a certain point then, if those are the people investigating him for one of the things you’re putting forward, your argument seems to dissolve and become a distinction without a difference, no?
No, it’s a big difference, because he can be impeached for that. He can be impeached for firing people. The criteria for impeachment is much looser than the criteria for being charged with a crime. And impeachment doesn’t violate the separation of powers. It’s part of our system of checks and balances.
Raging Light wrote:BuffArms wrote:post
Trump firing Comey isn't the issue here. If it can be proven that Trump tried to stop an ongoing investigation that counts as obstruction of justice.
And you should use red text if you want to highlight something. People that use the Bright forum theme can't see that text clearly.
BuffArms wrote:No its not. Its entirely in his right to stop any investigation being carried out by an agency that is part of the executive branch of Government. The executive branch gets to control the investigations of the executive branch. It is the President's right if he wished to toss out the AG and directly manage the DoJ. Pick and choose which cases they prosecute. Which every administration has pretty much done, like Obama doing targeted prosecutions of illegal immigrants instead of widespread, they all broke that law, but he as the executive got to control who they investigated, who they prosecuted. The DoJ the FBI, its not a separate entity. It is part of the executive branch by design.
Trump has the constitutional right to fire everyone at the FBI if he wished, stop any investigation. The check on that is Impeachment.
Good tip on the highlighting, set this to dark so long ago I forgot it had another theme.
Why the Justice Department operates free of White House sway
Eric Tucker, LA Times
November 24, 2016
The revelation that President-elect Donald Trump does not intend to seek a new investigation into Hillary Clinton was startling not only because it seemed to reverse a campaign pledge.
It also suggested that Trump thinks that that's his decision to make, reflecting an apparent lack of regard for the cherished independence of the Justice Department, which is responsible for conducting investigations without the influence or opinion of the White House.
Trump on Tuesday told reporters and editors of the New York Times that "I don't want to hurt the Clintons; I really don't," despite having said during the campaign that he'd seek a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton and that she'd be in jail if he were elected.
Some questions and answers about how the White House and Justice Department interact — and how the system actually works:
Do presidents oversee investigations of the Justice Department?
Long-standing protocol dictates that the FBI and Justice Department operate free of political influence or meddling from the White House. That's one reason that the FBI director serves a 10-year term and does not turn over the reins as presidential administrations come and go. It also means that presidents are not supposed to supervise, initiate or stop law enforcement investigations.
White House officials and Justice Department lawyers aren't even meant to talk with each other about ongoing criminal investigations or civil enforcement actions, though there is some leeway granted for matters of national security.
A 2007 Justice Department memorandum says the department will advise the White House of criminal or civil enforcement matters "only where it is important for the performance of the president's duties and where appropriate from a law enforcement perspective."
"This limitation recognizes the president's ability to perform his constitutional obligation to 'take care that the laws be faithfully executed' while ensuring that there is public confidence that the laws of the United States are administered and enforced in an impartial manner," the memo states.
Why is that so important?
Justice Department officials have long considered it imperative that their investigations not be politicized or tainted by suspicions of interference by the White House or other elected leaders.
Any hint of political meddling could undermine public faith in the legitimacy of an investigation. It could raise the prospect that a person is being investigated, or is being spared from investigation, on the whims of political considerations rather than evidence of guilt or innocence.
Past episodes that have blurred the line between politics and the administration of justice have been fairly disastrous for the government.
During the Watergate scandal, for instance, President Nixon refused to turn over White House audiotapes to Archibald Cox, a special prosecutor investigating the matter. Atty. Gen. Elliot Richardson and Deputy Atty. Gen. William Ruckelshaus both resigned rather than follow Nixon's order to fire Cox. Cox was then fired at Nixon's request by then-Solicitor Gen. Robert Bork, an episode that became known as the Saturday Night Massacre.
In 2007, Alberto Gonzales resigned as attorney general in the wake of the dismissal of several U.S. attorneys, who serve at the president's pleasure. Some of the fired attorneys said they felt pressured to investigate Democrats before elections, though Gonzales said they were dismissed based on their performance records.
Does that mean presidents have never weighed in publicly on ongoing matters?
The White House has typically balked at questions about the status of Justice Department investigations. But officials, including the president, haven't always strictly abided by that firewall.
President Obama caused a stir in 2014 when he appeared to prejudge an ongoing FBI investigation into the Internal Revenue Service by telling Fox News that there was "not even a smidgeon of corruption."
Obama also said in 2012 that there was "no evidence" that his CIA director David H. Petraeus caused harm to national security through his affair with his biographer. The FBI later concluded that he had given the woman, Paula Broadwell, classified information, and Petraeus pleaded guilty.
Obama told CBS' "60 Minutes" in October 2015 that Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of State was a mistake but didn't endanger national security — an eyebrow-raising statement given that the FBI's investigation was still underway and law enforcement officials at the time had made no such public characterization.
Conversely, Justice Department and FBI officials are expected under their own protocol to avoid taking public investigative action in the run-up to an election for fear of being seen as influencing the outcome.
That's one reason department officials frowned on FBI Director James Comey's disclosure to Congress, less than two weeks before the election, that the FBI would review emails it had recently found that it thought might be connected to the Clinton email case. He announced the conclusion of that review two days before the election with no charges being brought.
Raging Light wrote:The President doesn't dictate the inner workings of the FBI. He cannot order any FBI investigation to stop. The only thing he can do is fire the FBI Director and appoint a new one. He cannot fire anyone else in the FBI. Furthermore, the President cannot just thow out the office of Attorney General and run the DoJ like a dictator. The office of Attorney General was put in place by the Judiciary Act of 1789. Congress would have to repeal it for that to happen.
Former intelligence officials told NBC News that President Trump would technically have the authority to order an end to the investigation, given that the intelligence agencies report directly to him. But it would be politically disastrous for him to do so, they said.
Once Trump takes the reins of power, however, he has the authority to stop all executive branch investigations.
It is a commonplace to laud “the independence of law enforcement,” but the truth is that independence goes only so far. The president is the chief executive of the federal government, and the Constitution vests all executive power in him. Everyone else who works in the executive branch is a subordinate, delegated to exercise the president’s power at the president’s pleasure. (The sole exception is the vice president — but let’s not get sidetracked.) The president is the superior of the attorney general, who in turn is the superior of the FBI director — the FBI is a component of the Justice Department. In sum, the FBI director works for and answers to the president.
Yes, we want our law enforcement to be as independent as practicable. To have the rule of law, on which a free society depends, the public must be convinced that the justice system’s results are legitimate. Our law-enforcement officials therefore strive for independence in order to demonstrate that their decisions are fair and just, not driven by political considerations. But this aspiration is not an absolute.
The FBI director is not an independent actor. The president is in charge, and must, for example, set enforcement priorities that the FBI is obliged to follow. A prudent president will not interfere in law-enforcement decisions. But that is because doing so would be counterproductive and politically damaging. It would not be unlawful. As some have observed in the ongoing debate, the Constitution creates no Federal Bureau of Investigation, much less an FBI director. Indeed, there was not even a Department of Justice for nearly the first century of constitutional governance, and the FBI did not exist until 1935 (succeeding the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation, which had been created in 1908).
In theory, the president could carry out federal law-enforcement functions without an FBI director. It thus cannot be doubted that a president has constitutional authority to order the FBI to drop a criminal investigation. If a president has a constitutional power, Congress cannot remove it by statute — a law that purported to make the FBI director independent of presidential supervision would be invalid. Well, Congress may not do by indirection what it is forbidden to do directly: It can (and has) enacted obstruction statutes, but they may not be construed to forbid the president to instruct the FBI director to close an investigation.
BuffArms wrote:Yes he can. You are confusing executive branch policy for law. Its not. He can order it to stop, and if they dont follow the order he can fire them and replace them with someone who will. He could even close the FBI. The LA Times piece goes into what has been standard practice for about the last century. But standard practice is not law. And in fact no law can be made that would strip the President of this ability. As its an article II power under the Constitution. Separation of Powers means the legislature cannot touch it, nor the Judiciary. It would take a constitutional amendment to strip the power of the President to control an agency that is part of the executive branch.
And if you go back a year you will find even the most liberal news outlets agreed with this, as its fairly undeniable the constitution gave the executive branch these powers, and the executive branch is run by the President. Which is why the DoJ changes priorities with every administration, why all the major positions at the DoJ, Homeland, the FBI... are picked by the President.
Raging Light wrote:
The Executive Branch must enforce the laws passed by Congress. The Office Of Attorney General was created by a law and cannot be wiped out at will by the President. The Constitution explicitly states that the President can appoint the heads of executive departments. It doesn't say anything about the departments themselves, nor the people in them. And if any of this were to be challenged, the courts would interpret the constitution and rule on that interpretation.
1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.