Trump says he would challenge impeachment in Supreme Court

President Trump on Wednesday said that he would attempt to challenge impeachment in the Supreme Court if Democrats carried out such proceedings, though it’s unclear the high court would hear such a case.

“The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn’t lay a glove on me. I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump tweeted.

“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all,” he continued.

The president accused Democrats, Hillary Clinton and “dirty cops” of being guilty of criminal activity.

“We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!” Trump concluded.

The House holds the power to carry out impeachment proceedings, while the Senate is responsible for whether to convict the individual in question. The chief justice of the Supreme Court, currently John Roberts, would preside over the Senate trial.

There is little precedent to support the idea of the Supreme Court weighing in on the merits of impeachment, as a sitting president has not previously challenged impeachment proceedings in the high court.

The Supreme Court ruled in the 1993 case of federal Judge Walter Nixon that whether the Senate properly conducted an impeachment trial was a political question, and therefore nonjusticiable.

Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, rejected the possibility of Trump taking an impeachment to the Supreme Court.

“Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate, where [Chief Justice] Roberts would preside over Trump’s Impeachment Trial,” tweeted Tribe, an outspoken critic of the president.

The president has been fixated in recent days on pushing back against the specter of impeachment proceedings, while maintaining that he is “not even a little bit” concerned about the possibility of removal from office.

Democratic leaders have largely said they don’t yet support starting the impeachment process, but remained open to the possibility in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s full report.

In the partly redacted document, investigators did not establish that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election, but did not exonerate Trump on the question of obstruction of justice. 

Investigators instead detailed 10 episodes they reviewed for potential obstruction by the president, with Mueller saying that Congress has the authority to conduct potential obstruction probes.

Talk of whether to carry out impeachment hearings has split Democrats, and discussions have intensified in the aftermath of Mueller’s report.

“I do believe that impeachment is one of the most divisive forces, paths that we could go down to in our country,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. “But if the facts, the path of fact-finding takes us there, we have no choice. But we’re not there yet.”

House Democrats have launched a flurry of investigations into the president, seeking to review his finances, potential abuse of power and corruption within the administration.Trump later asserted in a pair of tweets that he had been cooperative with the Mueller investigation, and suggested Congress should focus on legislation instead of seeking additional information from the White House as part of its own probes. “Millions of pages of documents were given to the Mueller Angry Dems, plus I allowed everyone to testify, including W.H. counsel. I didn’t have to do this, but now they want more,” Trump tweeted. “Congress has no time to legislate, they only want to continue the Witch Hunt, which I have already won. They should start looking at The Criminals who are already very well known to all. This was a Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP!”

[The Hill]

Trump, Trump Organization sue House Oversight’s Elijah Cummings to block subpoena

President Trump and the Trump Organization filed suit against House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings in federal court on Monday in an attempt to block Cummings’ subpoena of Trump’s longtime accountant, Mazars USA LLP.

The big picture: Cummings wrote last week that the subpoena — for all of Trump’s financial records — is a result of testimony from Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who claimed that the president “altered the estimated value of his assets and liabilities on financial statements.”

  • Trump’s suit claims that Cummings and House Oversight are “assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government” solely to dig up dirt ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump dismisses Cliff Sims as ‘low-level staffer,’ ‘mess;’ lawsuit threat over tell-all book

President Donald Trump is distancing himself from Cliff Sims, the former conservative blogger turned presidential adviser, just as the Alabama’s native’s tell-all book about his time in the White House is released.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump described Sims as a “low-level staffer” and “a mess.”

“A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!,” Trump tweeted.

Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Donald J. Trump for President Inc., wrote on Twitter that the campaign planned to sue Sims to violating a nondisclosure agreement.

Sims’ book, “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House,” was released Tuesday following a round of media appearances by Sims. The book details infighting and dysfunction inside the White House.

Founder of the conservative blog Yellowhammer, Sims took a leave of absence from that job in 2016 to work for the Trump presidential campaign. In 2017, he was named Assistant to the President and Assistant Communications Director for White House Message Strategy.

Sims left the White House in May amid claims of tension with other staff and reports he was moving to a new role with the Secretary of State. That appointment never occurred, however.

Sims is the latest Trump staffer to write about their time in the White House. Former aides Sean Spicer and Omarosa Manigault Newman have previously penned works.

[AL.com]

Trump: ‘Unfair’ coverage should be tested in courts

President Trump early Sunday ripped “one sided” and “unfair” media coverage, saying it should be tested in courts.

“A REAL scandal is the one sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live,” he tweeted.

“It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?”

Trump posted the tweet after NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” pondered a world in which the president was not elected in its latest cold open.

The president also knocked the sketch comedy show after its season premiere earlier this year, saying it was “just a political ad for the Dems.”

Trump often labels negative coverage “fake news” and calls the media the “enemy of the people.”

In October, he blamed what he deemed unfair media coverage for causing “great anger” in the country.

The president said in a pair of tweets following a violent week of mail bombs and a shooting that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue that the “Fake News Media” is “the true Enemy of the People.”

“There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly,” Trump wrote.

“That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony,” he added.

Trump in September repeated his suggestion that NBC’s “license” should be challenged. In a tweet, he attacked the network’s “journalistic standards” following reports that it had passed on a damning exposé about Harvey Weinstein.

“NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under intense scrutiny over their killing the Harvey Weinstein story, is now fumbling around making excuses for their probably highly unethical conduct,” the president wrote.

“I have long criticized NBC and their journalistic standards-worse than even CNN. Look at their license?” he added.

Broadcasting licenses are granted to individual stations instead of networks like NBC,  however.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai repeatedly said last year that the FCC would not revoke those licenses on the basis of a station’s content.

Satire is also protected by the First Amendment.

[The Hill]

Judge orders Stormy Daniels to reimburse Trump’s legal fees

A US judge has ordered porn actress Stormy Daniels to reimburse President Donald Trump’s legal fees after her defamation case was thrown out.

Ms Daniels, who says she had sex with Mr Trump in 2006, sued him after he mocked her claim that a stranger had threatened her to keep quiet.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered her to pay over $293,052.33 (£234,000) – roughly 75% of Mr Trump’s legal fees.

A lawyer for Mr Trump celebrated the ruling as a “total victory”.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Los Angeles Judge James Otero declined to impose the “significant additional sanctions” requested by the US president’s legal team against Ms Daniels.

Mr Trump’s attorney, Charles Harder, had earlier requested that Ms Daniels be forced to pay almost $800,000 after her lawsuit was dismissed in October.

He said on Tuesday that the penalty includes $1,000 for having filed a “meritless” case.

“The court’s order,” Mr Harder said, “along with the court’s prior order dismissing Stormy Daniels’ defamation case against the President, together constitute a total victory for the President, and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels in this case.”

Ms Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said in a tweet that the ruling “will never hold up on appeal”.

Mr Avenatti is representing Ms Daniels in another lawsuit against Mr Trump and his former attorney Michael Cohen.

The adult film actress is seeking to void a nondisclosure agreement about her alleged affair with the president.

What was the defamation case about?

Ms Daniels, real name Stephanie Clifford, said last April that she had been threatened by a man in a car park to keep quiet about the alleged affair.

She shared a sketch of the man who she claimed had threatened her and her child.

Mr Trump retweeted the image, calling it a “total con job”, and describing the image as being of a “non-existent man”.

She sued arguing that the president’s tweet was defamatory as it accused Ms Daniels of “committing a serious crime” – namely, falsely accusing a person of threatening her.

But in October, the judge ruled that Mr Trump’s tweet was protected under the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to freedom of speech.

The judge said Mr Trump’s tweet was merely a “hyperbolic statement” against a political antagonist.

After that initial court victory, Mr Trump promptly took to Twitter, saying his legal team could now “go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer”.

Who is else is involved?

Mr Trump’s former personal attorney, Mr Cohen, will be sentenced in New York on Wednesday for paying Ms Daniels $130,000 to keep the alleged liaison private.

According to prosecutors, Mr Cohen was directed to make the payment to Ms Daniels – and to another woman – by Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has acknowledged the payment was made, describing it only this week as “a simple private transaction”, though he denies having a sexual relationship with her.

Mr Cohen has admitted the payment, which was not reported to election officials, was a violation of campaign finance laws.

[BBC]

White House Tells CNN They’ll Revoke Acosta’s Press Credential Once Restraining Order Passes

CNN’s Brian Stelter reported in Sunday night’s Reliable Sources newsletter that the White House intends to revoke the Press Credential of CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta at the end of the month.

Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered, on Friday, that Acosta’s “hard pass” be returned immediately. Kelly found that Acosta’s First Amendment rights superseded the White House’s right to hold orderly press conferences.

The ruling only represented a temporary “victory” for CNN and Acosta according to Stelter’s reporting (emphasis his):

After CNN won a temporary restraining order on Friday, forcing the White House to restore his press pass for 14 days, White House officials sent Acosta a letter stating that his pass is set to be suspended again once the restraining order expires.

From the looks of the letter, the W.H. is trying to establish a paper trail that will empower the administration to boot Acosta again at the end of the month.

CNN responded with this statement on Sunday: “The White House is continuing to violate the First and 5th Amendments of the Constitution. These actions threaten all journalists and news organizations. Jim Acosta and CNN will continue to report the news about the White House and the President.”

Acosta’s press credential had been revoked, reportedly at the direction of President Donald Trump, after a contentious White House press conference in which the CNN reporter persisted in asking follow-up questions and refused to give up a microphone despite Trump’s direction.

Supporters of Trump’s banning of Acosta believe that his disruptive behavior flouted accepted standards of White House decorum, while CNN and Acosta supporters point out disruptive questions are a time-honored journalist tradition. Or put another way, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed; everything else is public relations.”

So it seems the ongoing war over First Amendment rights versus accepted standards of behavior will feature another battle, which will bring another distracting topic for cable news pundits to discuss at length. It’s almost as its a designed distraction from stories that paint the Trump administration in a less than flattering light?

UPDATE: CNN has responded by filed a status report asking for the Court to intervene. BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman reports:

[Mediaite]

Trump says those who made ‘false statements’ about Kavanaugh ‘should be held liable’

Hours after his Supreme Court pick was sworn in Saturday, President Donald Trump said on Fox News that those who made up “false” stories about Brett Kavanaugh should be penalized.

Trump, talking with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, said he hated watching the slew of sexual assault allegations grow against Kavanaugh and dubbed all the accusations “fabrications” with “not a bit of truth.”

“I think that they should be held liable,” Trump told Pirro. “You can’t go around and whether it’s making up stories or making false statements about such an important position, you can’t do that. You can destroy somebody’s life.”

Pirro started the segment by congratulating the president on Kavanaugh’s swearing-in then asked about the accusations and whether any of those who came forward or promoted “falsehoods” should suffer “consequences.” She specifically asked about allegations brought by Julie Sweatnick, who was represented by lawyer Michael Avenatti.

Swetnick alleges she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and his classmate Mark Judge to get teenage girls “inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang-raped’ in a side room or bedroom by a ‘train’ of numerous boys.”

Avenatti has been dueling with the president for months in court representing porn star Stormy Daniels, who alleges an affair with Trump and signed a hush money deal to stay quiet.

[USA Today]

Trump Personally Directed His Son Eric, Michael Cohen to Silence Stormy Daniels

A new report indicates that Donald Trump personally involved himself in the effort to enforce the nondisclosure agreement that was meant to keep Stormy Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with the president.

Wall Street Journal says that in February, Trump tried to coordinate with his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in order to bring a restraining order against Daniels and force her legal compliance with Cohen’s hush money scheme. This news comes months after Cohen implicated Trump as being directly connected to the hush money payments, which were found to be in violation of campaign finance law.

According to WSJ, Trump knew that Daniels intended to speak about their alleged liaison, so he order Cohen to work with his son Eric Trump to coordinate a legal response. The president’s son also reportedly signed a statement denying that the Trump Organization had any formal involvement in the Daniels case.

“Mr. Trump told Mr. Cohen to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, and another outside lawyer who had represented Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization in other matters,” the report states. “Eric Trump, who is running the company with his brother in Mr. Trump’s absence, then tasked a Trump Organization staff attorney in California with signing off on the arbitration paperwork.”

[Mediaite]

Trump campaign files for arbitration against Omarosa over confidentiality breach

President Trump‘s campaign has filed for arbitration against former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, alleging she violated a non-disclosure agreement by publishing a tell-all book.
A Trump campaign official said in a statement it filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association in New York City against Manigault Newman “for breach of her 2016 confidentiality agreement with the Trump Campaign.”
The legal action ramps up the feud between Trump and his former adviser, who has engaged in a days-long media tour to promote her new book “Unhinged,” in which she assails the president as a racist and an incompetent leader.
The book draws upon her time on Trumps’ 2016 campaign and in the White House.
Manigault Newman has also released secret audio recordings of Trump, White House chief of staff John Kelly and Trump associates Katrina Pierson and Lynne Patton that she says back up explosive claims in her book.
Manigault Newman, who was fired from the White House in 2017, has admitted she signed a confidentiality agreement with Trump’s 2016 campaign. She also claims she was offered $15,000 per month and a job with Trump’s reelection campaign in exchange for signing a new non-disclosure agreement that guaranteed her silence.
She did not take the offer. Her book is set to be officially released on Tuesday. 
Manigault Newman has caused a headache for the White House by making a series of explosive claims about Trump, including that he used the n-word on the set of “The Apprentice,” which the president has denied.
Trump has sought to undercut Manigault Newman’s credibility by attacking her and rebutting her claims. But by doing so, the president has drawn criticism for his scorched-earth approach.
The latest example came on Tuesday morning, when Trump called Manigault Newman, who was once the highest-ranking African-American in the White House, “that dog.”
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” Trump tweeted.

Theresa May: Trump told me to sue the EU

Donald Trump told Theresa May she should sue the EU rather than negotiate over Brexit, she has told the BBC.

The US president said on Friday at a joint news conference he had given Mrs May a suggestion – but she had found it too “brutal”.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr what it was he said, she replied: “He told me I should sue the EU – not go into negotiations.”

It came as another government member resigned over her Brexit plans.

Robert Courts said he quit as a Parliamentary Private Secretary – an unpaid Parliamentary aide – at the foreign office to “express discontent” with Mrs May’s policy before key Brexit votes on Monday.

“I had to think who I wanted to see in the mirror for the rest of my life,” he said in tweet.

He could not tell his constituents he supported Mrs May’s proposals “in their current form,” he added.

Mr Courts replaced David Cameron as the Conservative MP for Witney, Oxfordshire in 2016.

[BBC]

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