Posts tagged with "US Constitution"

Lawsuit: Trump and Giuliani conspired to violate KKK Act by inciting insurrection

February 17, 2021

On Tuesday, Febraury 16, ABC News reported that Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Missouri), the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is suing former President Donald Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for conspiring to incite the Capitol riots in January.

According to Raw Story, the complaint reads as follows: “The Defendants each intended to prevent, and ultimately delayed, members of Congress from discharging their duty commanded by the United States Constitution to approve the results of the Electoral College in order to elect the next President and Vice President of the United States,” said the complaint. “Pursuing a purpose shared by Defendants Trump and Giuliani as well as Defendant Proud Boys, Defendant Oath Keepers played a leadership role of the riotous crowd and provided military-style assistance sufficient to overcome any Capitol Police resistance.”

The unusual lawsuit relies on novel legal reasoning under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which prohibits efforts to “prevent any person from discharging their duties by force, intimidation, or threat.” It would be the first time this law is used as a penalty against a former president, if the suit is successful—although he is being sued as a private citizen rather than in his official capacity.

“With the benefit of not having to prove criminal allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, the civil lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of Thompson in his personal capacity by the NAACP and civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, sought unspecified compensatory and punitive damages,” said the report. “The lawsuit is suing Trump in his personal capacity, alleging that he acted outside the scope of his office when inciting the rioters.”

Trump appeared at a rally immediately before the rioters stormed the Capitol, telling the demonstrators to “fight like hell.” Giuliani further said that America should have “trial by combat” over the election results, Raw Story reports.

The former president’s role in inciting the riot, and his refusal to call off his supporters once the violence began, was the core issue in his second impeachment trial—which ended in acquittal but saw a record number of senators cross over to vote against a president of their own party.

Research contact: @RawStory

Trump to Pence: Nice career, shame if something happened to it

January 6, 2021

At his rally on the eve of the Georgia runoff election, President Donald Trump took out his frustration on his now familiar comfort piñatas—Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, the U.S. Supreme Court, and RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) of all stripes—as he struggled to cope with his loss in the 2020 election, The Daily Beast reports.

But on the stage on Monday night in Dalton, Georgia, he added a new one: Vice President Mike Pence.

 “I hope Mike Pence comes through for us,” said Trump, in front of a cheering throng of supporters. “If he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”

The ostensible purpose of Trump’s trip to Georgia was to boost the chances of Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) and David Perdue (R-Georgia) as they fight to hold their Senate seats—and the GOP’s Senate majority—in Tuesday’s run-off election; and not to issue a veiled threat to the vice president to somehow block the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Wednesday in the Senate.

But it was just one moment out of many during a lengthy speech in which the outgoing president delivered his perfunctory lines supporting the GOP senators, but buried them within winding tirades in which he surfaced new lies and old conspiracies about the 2020 election. The focus, as ever, was on him and the election that just passed, not on the pair of GOP senators facing a hugely consequential election that looms on Tuesday, The Daily Beast noted.

The president used his perch in Dalton—possibly his last major political rally before leaving office—to solidify his list of enemies in front of his most dedicated supporters. After openly encouraging a primary challenge to Kemp, his former ally who has declined to overthrow Georgia’s election results, at a rally last month, Trump vowed on Monday to personally campaign against Kemp when he faces re-election next year.

“I’ll be here in about a year and a half campaigning against your governor,” said Trump. “I guarantee that.”

The nation’s high court was also booed and jeered at the rally, for not entertaining Team Trump’s failed legal effort to overturn the 2020 election. “I’m not happy with the Supreme Court,” complained Trump. “They’re not stepping up to the plate.”

The president also hinted at some future targets of his ire—some of whom were sitting in the crowd. On two occasions, Trump expressed his frustration that Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has been campaigning for Loeffler and Perdue in Georgia and was in Dalton, did not sign on to a doomed effort from GOP senators to block Biden’s Electoral College victory. On Monday, Lee circulated a letter among senators opposing that effort.

“I’m a little angry at you today,” Trump to Lee from the stage.

Pence is said to be struggling between his loyalties to the U.S. Constitution and to the current U.S. president. Sources say that the vice president plans to leave town immediately after he leaves the hill on Wednesday.

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Democrats unveil bill creating panel to gauge president’s ‘capacity’ to lead

October 11, 2020

On Friday, October 9, House Democrats unveiled legislation that would create a panel tasked with gauging President Donald Trump’s mental and physical fitness to perform his job—and potentially, with removing the POTUS from office in a case of decided debility, The Hill reports.

Indeed, Under Amendment 25, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution, the Congress may remove the president under the following circumstances: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The commission would be permanent, applying to future administrations, but it’s a clear shot at President Trump, whose reaction to his treatments for the coronavirus has raised questions about his mental acuity.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), whom The Hill characterizes as “a sharp critics of the president,” has fueled those questions in the days since Trump returned to the White House after three nights in the hospital. She has floated the idea that Trump’s drug regimen—which includes a steroid linked to mood swings—might be affecting his decision-making.

“The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now,” the Speaker told Bloomberg News on Thursday.

The Democrats’ legislation invokes the 25th Amendment, which empowers Congress to create “a body” which, working with the vice president, can remove a president deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Sponsored by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), a former professor of constitutional law, the bill would create a 17-member panel charged with judging the president’s fitness —and empowered to remove that figure when deficiencies are determined. In such a case, the vice president would take over.

“This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters,” Pelosi told reporters Friday. “But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”

The proposal has no chance of being enacted, with Congress on recess and the Senate and White House currently controlled by Republicans. Indeed, GOP leaders have already dismissed it as a political stunt. 

But the bill marks another effort by Democratic leaders to energize their base ahead of the November 3 elections, while feeding accusations that Trump—already under fire for his fitful response to the coronavirus pandemic—has become increasingly erratic under treatment for his own case of COVID-19.

Research contact: @thehill

Trump retracts decision to host G-7 at Doral resort after GOP kicks up a fuss

October 22, 2019

Following bashing by his own party, President Donald Trump announced abruptly Saturday night that he would no longer host next year’s Group of Seven (G-7) Summit at the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida, The Washington Post reported.

However, he was unrepentant about scheduling a major diplomatic event at one of his properties—refusing to acknowledge that the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits the president from accepting payments from foreign governments.

“I don’t think you people, with this phony Emoluments Clause—and by the way, I would say that it’s cost anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, The Hill said.

The decision to bring the world leaders to his resort —and to require them, as well as their staffs and the media covering the summit, to pay the Trump Organization for their stays—was an unprecedented one in modern American politics, the Post noted: The president awarded a huge contract to himself. The White House promoted Doral as the single best venue in the United States to host the G-7 summit in June, and the meeting would have brought thousands of guests in the offseason to a resort that is struggling financially.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended Trump’s selection of Doral, explaining that Trump still thinks of himself as working in the “hospitality business” even though he is president.

“He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback,” Mulvaney told anchor Chris Wallace on  Fox News Sunday.  “At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business, and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, the best visit that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing it at Doral.”

Now, Trump said, he and his administration will search for a new location. In a tweet, he attributed the concession to “Irrational Hostility” from Democrats as well as the media, although the revolt among Republicans may well have been the trigger.

Research contact: @washingtonpost