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Indictment of Donald J. Trump, President of the United States

BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION
& EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL

THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES
                        v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

INDICTMENT FOR HIGH CRIMES & MISDEMEANORS & ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT

COMES NOW, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES,

Who have declared that all men are created equal in the eyes of the law and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and

Who have adopted a Constitution and amendments in the belief that thereby a more perfect union could exist with a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and

Who, having considered the manifest and mounting evidence of incompetence and dishonesty repeatedly demonstrated by the sitting President and his appointed officials (hereafter sometimes referred to as “Trump”),

DO HEREBY DECLARE that Trump has violated his oath office by consistently failing to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and failing to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by engaging in the acts set forth below, among many others:

  1. Knowingly violated Article I, Clause 8 of the Constitution forbidding receipt of foreign-sourced emoluments by failing to separate himself from management of, and financial rewards from, his many private business interests which he and his family regularly promote to and receive from, at least indirectly, financial benefits originating with foreign business and government interests;
  2. Repeatedly signed Executive Orders found to be blatant violations of the Constitution (a) regarding immigrants/refugees from Muslim-majority countries without evidence that they would accomplish any meaningful security purpose and (b) threatening the withholding of federal funds from Sanctuary Cities;
  3. Repeatedly signed Executive Orders designed to permit uncontrolled air and water pollution while denying the validity of scientific method and rejecting without basis in fact or reason the multiply authenticated findings of climate scientists around the world;
  4. Lied repeatedly about important matters bearing on his credibility, including, but not limited to, his claim that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in New York;
  5. Repeatedly lied about his intention to release his tax returns for public scrutiny and refused in fact to release them;
  6. Lied about his intention to appoint highly qualified people to his Cabinet, instead awarding Department Head positions to manifestly unqualified persons such as Betsy Devos at Education, Ben Carson at HUD, Scott Pruitt at EPA, Rick Perry at Energy and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as Attorney General;
  7. Attempted to undermine the independent news media by attacking professional journalists, and the media companies that employ them, as purveyors of “fake news” and labeling them as “enemies of the people;”
  8. Wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer funds on unnecessary trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where he plays golf almost every weekend and conducts serious public business in non-secure facilities;
  9. Personally visited on a frequent basis hotel/resort properties bearing his name, thereby continuing to promote his business interests and encouraging private firms to use such properties for their business and his and his family’s ultimate enrichment;
  10. Falsely claimed that Department of Justice data proves that the majority of domestic terrorist attacks after 9/11 were committed by those from abroad, thereby facilitating hostility of Americans toward Muslims and toward foreign countries with significant Muslim populations to the detriment of American foreign policy and relations with those countries and their people;
  11. Repeatedly falsely asserted responsibility for private company decisions in matters such as the price of the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Toyota investment in Kentucky;
  12. Falsely asserted that he has accomplished more in his first 100 days in office than any president in history, thereby undermining the trust of the people in the office of the president;
  13. Lied about his knowledge of the operations of WikiLeaks and repeatedly lied about his knowledge of the attempts by Russia to influence the 2016 election, including Russians collaborating with members of Trump’s campaign staff;
  14. Covertly interfered with the congressional investigations of the connections between the Trump election campaign and Russia;
  15. Misrepresented statements by political leaders, such as Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings, whom Trump claimed had said Trump “will be the greatest president in the history of this country.”
  16. Repeatedly lied about the size of attendance at his inaugural ceremony;
  17. Repeatedly misrepresented the share of the Electoral College vote he received and falsely claimed that he would have won the popular vote but for 3 million “illegal” votes cast;
  18. Demonstrated a thorough-going failure to understand history or geography, making such claims as that “Korea actually used to be a part of China;”
  19. Falsely attributed NATO’s anti-terrorism activities to his personal criticism of NATO for not fighting terrorism;
  20. Lied about the length and extent of his pre-election relationship with Steve Bannon;
  21. Demonstrated a serious lack of knowledge about international trade, falsely claiming, for example, that the trade deficit with China was more than $150 billion larger than in reality;
  22. Gave aid and comfort to authoritarian leaders around the world, including Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte;
  23. Repeatedly supported changes in law and federal policy to deprive elderly, infirm, disabled, poor and foreign-born persons of equal protection of the laws and due process of law, in violation of the Constitution of the United States.
  24. Threatened to shut down the federal government to get his way on budget cuts that will endanger the lives of Americans.

WHEREFORE, for good cause shown, proceedings for impeachment of Donald J. Trump should be commenced forthwith in accordance with the Constitutional provisions pertinent thereto, or in the alternative, removal proceedings should be commenced forthwith in accordance with Amendment 25 to the Constitution.

So it is written, so let it be done.

This Indictment and Articles of Impeachment are subject to amendment as additional facts are forthcoming.

 

Tax March DC 2017

Yesterday tens of thousands of Americans gathered in cities across the country to demand that the sitting President of the United States release his tax returns so that the country can decide for itself whether there are concerning ties to Russia, whether and where lie his continuing conflicts of interest resulting from failure to divorce himself fully from his business interests and how he and his family may benefit from changes in the federal tax code now being considered.

There are also many questions whether he has lied about his charitable giving, the scale of his earnings and others. Trump first said he would release his returns when the audits were finished. That excuse fails on multiple grounds. He signed the returns when they were filed and, as we all do, vouched for their accuracy and completeness. The audit may reveal issues with those criteria, or other failings, but the audit, which Trump could and likely would contest for years, is no excuse for withholding the returns from public scrutiny. As many of the signs at yesterday’s march stated: what is Trump hiding? T

he same question arises due to the Trump decision to withhold from public view the visitor logs to the White House. The proposed excuses for this latest example of secret government are security and privacy. The security question can easily be handled by time delaying the release or by masking names where there is a legitimate security reason for not disclosing a visitor to the White House. In an open democracy those should be few and far between. The privacy rationale is ludicrous coming from an administration that supports letting Internet providers sell the browsing records of their users.

For those interested but couldn’t attend a march personally, I have attached 116 images from the march in the District of Columbia which was massive. The photos from ground level do not fully reveal the size of the event nor, of course, the sounds.

Next up is the March for Science on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. I urge you to join this march to convey to the administration that the people of this country are not going to accept the dismantling of the environmental protections that have been put in place to protect our life-essential air, water, bio-diversity and other natural elements critical to life on the one planet on which we can live. See this site for information:  https://www.marchforscience.com/

For Whom Is the Chair of House Intelligence Committee Working?

In a report published this afternoon in USAToday, http://usat.ly/2nojfXw, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee was attributed as saying that “communications involving members of President Trump’s transition group were “incidentally collected” by U.S. intelligence officials following the November election.”

According to the report, updated from its first publication,

“Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., did not identify other transition members swept up in the surveillance, adding that he has viewed “dozens” of such intelligence reports that appeared “legal” but perhaps “inappropriate.” “What I’ve read bothers me, and I think it should bother the president himself and his team, because some of it appears to be inappropriate,” Nunes told reporters at the White House after briefing the president on the findings. [Note that the original USAToday story included this line, “”I think the president is concerned and he’d like to see these reports.”] [Note also that Sean Spicer has been reported saying that Nunes spoke to the press before informing Trump]

The chairman said the intelligence reports were not part of a criminal investigation or the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election. Rather, he said the collection was related to broader intelligence gathering activities.

….

Nunes also has rejected the president’s claims that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. And he said “none” of the newly disclosed surveillance was related to “any investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.” [emphasis added]

“Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration—details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value—were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting,” Nunes told reporters Wednesday. Nevertheless, Trump, while meeting Wednesday with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, told reporters that he felt “somewhat” vindicated by Nunes’ statements.

” I must tell, you I somewhat do,” the president said. “I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found, I somewhat do.” Before briefing the president, Nunes said he also notified House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., of the information. Nunes suggested that the information came from one or more whistleblowers. “It came through the proper channels and the proper clearances,” Nunes said. “This was information that was brought to me that I thought the president needed to see.”  He said the National Security Agency has been cooperative, but the FBI so far has not.

Nunes said the surveillance itself appeared to be legal — presumably through a warrant from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — but that the concern was what intelligence agencies did with that information. He would not rule out that senior Obama administration officials received the intelligence or that they were involved in the “unmasking” of the citizens identified in the reports. [Note that he can’t rule Obama’s officials “in” either] But he also re-stated his belief that Obama did not order the wiretapping of Trump Tower, as Trump himself has suggested in a series of March 4 tweets and subsequent public remarks.

“From what I’ve read, there seems to be some level of surveillance action — perhaps legal, but I don’t know that it’s right,” he said. Nunes said nothing he shared with the president was within the scope of the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and Trump associates. “The reports I was able to see did not have anything to do with the Russia investigation,” the congressman said. “The president needs to know that these intelligence reports are out there, and I have a duty to tell him that.”

The source of that duty is not clear. The chair of the House Intelligence Committee does not report to the President. I would think that in the midst of an on-going FBI investigation involving the President’s staff, present and former, and possibly the President himself (the investigation is in early stages), the chair would not go running to the President with every piece of information he discovers that he thinks helps exonerate the President or gives more ammunition for the thoroughly discredited claims that the former President Obama ordered electronic surveillance of Trump Tower. Moreover, Nunes concedes that the surveillance he claims to have discovered was legal. The basis for his suggestion that it was not “right” is not clear.

The first USAToday report also stated that “White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterized the Nunes’ information as “startling,” saying that it required additional investigation.” Clearly, Nunes’s disclosures have had the intended effect of bolstering the President’s team in promoting the false narrative that Trump Tower was surveilled.

This hasty action by the chair of the Intelligence Committee speaks volumes about the objectivity of the Republican-managed Committee’s involvement in the FBI investigation and is further compelling, indeed overwhelming, evidence for the need to appoint an independent prosecutor to oversee the investigation of the Trump-Russia connection.

The USAToday report goes on to quote Nunes thus: “I think the president is concerned and he’d like to see these reports.” And then this:

“The chairman said the reports and incidental collection of names were not part of a criminal investigation or the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election. Rather, he said the activities were elated [sic] to intelligence gathering.”

I am not an expert in these matters but I’m having a hard time distinguishing between these disclosures by the chair and what the Trump administration, and the chair himself, have repeatedly decried as “leaks.” Apparently, the only bad leak is one that doesn’t help the false presidential narrative. Furthermore, if the documents reviewed by the chair were indeed related to “intelligence gathering,” why did he feel it was appropriate for him to rush to the White House with the information?

Despite all this hoopla, the report states that “Nunes also rejected the president’s claims that Trump Tower had been wiretapped. But he said “none” of the newly disclosed surveillance was related to “any investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”  By disclosing this “unrelated information,” Nunes appears to have fed the President the talking points he needs to continue his discredited (by both the FBI and NSA) claim of wiretapping. Chair Nunes has, it seems to me, removed the last shred of doubt about his inability and/or unwillingness to lead a proper investigation into the President and his minions. He is too beholden to the President and way too anxious to exonerate him. What is required here is an independent leader of a serious investigation. Failing that, any ultimate exoneration by the Republican led House Intelligence Committee will be suspect.

Speed Kills – The Republican Rush to Eviscerate the Affordable Care Act

Republicans in Congress are rushing to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. No hearings have been held to receive public inputs. Why not? The Republican managers have now declared that the Congressional Budget Office “scoring” of the replacement bill is unnecessary because the CBO always “gets it wrong so who cares what it says?” That is a total reversal of previous positions taken by Republicans when objecting to federal spending under Democratic administrations. Why?

Republicans claim to care about the welfare of the people and of the country as a whole but after seven years of complaining about the ACA, they now are desperate to prevent public input into the legislation they cobbled together. Why is it always party before country with these people? Why the secrecy and the resistance to thorough and thoughtful analysis and examination of the elements of their alternative? What are they afraid of? Do they not hear the cries across the country from even their political base that =the replacement for the ACA is going to deprive millions of people of their health insurance in exchange for what …  a tax credit? If the replacement bill is so good for everyone and consistent with Trump’s campaign promises, as he routinely claims, why are Republicans afraid to give the legislation full exposure to expert analysis?

It’s not that the Republican bill is completely without redeeming elements. Trump’s desire to allow create a single national marketplace for competition among insurance companies may be sound or at least worth an in-depth examination. If so, why not let that and other elements of the legislation be fully examined on the public record? Is there a gift to the insurance companies hiding in the complex economics of this legislation?

The almost certain answer to all these questions is that the Republicans want this legislation at all costs, regardless of the very high probability, if not certainty, that it will destroy so much of the health care on which many millions rely. Taken as a whole, which is what the Republicans are insisting on, the “replace” legislation is an outrageous attack against many of our most vulnerable citizens while conferring a huge tax break for the very well off. The Republicans claim it’s all about giving people more choice and avoiding government mandates. In other words, the real-world impacts don’t matter as long as the Republican philosophy of “individual choice” is the centerpiece of the new system.

Trump promised his supporters a cheaper health insurance system that would cover all the same people as the ACA, with more choices and at lower costs. This turns out to be just another lie. In fact, the Republican alternative will not cover millions who were covered under the ACA, it will not provide meaningful choices for millions whose new Republican-approved choice will only be “no insurance” and the costs will ultimately be infinite for those with no insurance and thus no access to essential health care services.

Along the way, the Republican alternative will defund Planned Parenthood. Republicans hate PP primarily because they believe it pays for abortions. So they want to take a financial meat ax to it … again in the name of Republican philosophy. Curiously, to put it mildly, it seems not to have occurred to the congressional Republicans that their core philosophy of avoiding government intervention in the lives of Americans is being used to justify telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies, while Republican-dominated science-denying legislatures around the country obsess over which bathrooms transgender individuals use.

It is a fair conclusion that the Republican approach to health insurance is going to result in denial of critical health care to large numbers of Americans and deaths will result … deaths that could have been avoided. Yes, the Republicans are moving very fast to get rid of Obamacare and in the process are signing death warrants for many vulnerable Americans.

The President of the United States Lied … Again

President Donald J. Trump has distinguished himself in the pantheon of American presidents by his remorseless lying about dozens of important issues. His White House support team has become famous by asserting “alternative facts” and arguing that actual facts are irrelevant now – the only thing that matters is what you choose to believe. (The lies have been listed in a multitude of places so I won’t repeat all of them here.)

Thus, it comes as no particular surprise that a few days ago, Trump awoke early, thought about the fact, yes, the fact, that his administration is embroiled in a serious crisis related to lying and/or dissembling about the relationship between his election campaign and the Russian government. This is an existential crisis for the President because if the truth emerges that his campaign people, with his knowledge, worked with the Russian government to tilt the 2016 election his way, his status as President will be in the gravest jeopardy.

So, at 6:35 am on March 4, 2017, Trump tweeted that he “just found out” that “Obama had my “wires tapped” [Trump’s quotes], citing no evidence because, of course, there is none. If there were, Trump would have published it. Instead, he has demanded that Congress investigate what he already “found out.” Press Secretary Sean Spicer responded to media calls for release of confirming evidence by saying the administration will have nothing further to say until Congress ferrets out the truth about the President’s allegations. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for him, but he has chosen the bed he lies in so, no, no sympathy. And the Republican-dominated committees with jurisdiction appear to be complying by adding this issue to the Trump-Russia connection that they are, with extreme reluctance already allegedly “investigating.” They resist calls for an independent counsel to conduct the investigation because, of course, they want to investigate themselves and, surprise, “we found no evidence….”

It is tempting to say, as I and many others have said before, that Trump’s claim is another unhinged example of his erratic behavior that makes him unfit to hold office. It is that certainly, but it is also the latest example of Trump’s deflection skills. He is treating the country like a school yard where he the biggest bully. Then, just as someone is about to stand up to him, he yells “look, there’s XX, he stole the money, get him!” And the kids all chase after XX. The bully laughs and counts out the money.

Consider this. Suppose Trump had not “found out” about the wiretap but instead “found out” once again that President Obama was born in Kenya to non-U.S. parents and thus arguably all his actions as President would be null and void. Would the Congress then add that issue to the Russia-Trump investigation? Maybe they would. They likely appreciate that their “hold” on the government turns on Trump not being held accountable for lying to the American people. So they continue to do his bidding.

But that doesn’t make the lies anything but lies. Trump’s strategy earned him the presidency so he likely will continue to play the lying hand until it fails to work. If you read his infatuants’ tweets (I beg you to not expose your mind to them), you can understand how difficult it will be to deal with a president for whom the truth is simply whatever he chooses to make up.

The question for the majority of Americans is: how long will this continue before they rise up against Trump’s official supporters in Congress? Continuous, unrelenting pressure through calls, letters, postcards, demands for answers at town halls for those legislators with the courage to face their constituents, marches, demonstrations, public humiliations are essential elements of the process of making these people uncomfortable with what the President, and they, are doing. Give money to ACLU, Planned Parenthood and every other organization that has shown it will stand up against the tyranny of the Trump administration. Attend the rallies and demonstrations whose numbers are increasing almost daily.

This national disgrace and nightmare will not end until the people make it end. Go to https://www.resistancecalendar.org/ where you will find the amazing array of actions being planned. Take action.

 

Keystone Kops Meet Three Stooges – Three Weeks of Trump Administration

Those of you old enough to have seen the old film clips know that the Keystone Kops and Three Stooges comedy shtick involved a lot of bumping into each other, falling down, bopping on the head and nose pulling to what, in the case of the Stooges, were regarded as amusing sounds. In those days such things were indeed considered very funny by millions of fans.

Now we have a modern day version of the same thing playing out in the administration of Donald Trump. But it’s not funny.

The sheer incompetence of Trump’s management style is playing out for the world to see. The latest episodes have him and members of his inner circle huddled over a dinner table in the main dining room at Mar-a-Lago discussing national security and military issues arising from North Korea’s latest missile test. There are photos taken by another guest, not part of the government, showing papers, presumably highly confidential, being lit up by cell phones. The Prime Minister of Japan is at the table and part of the conversation.

While the issue certainly affects Japan and our relations with it, you would think our top government people would first want to discuss the situation among themselves before talking it over with the leader of a foreign power. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said today that all that activity just related to organizing a press conference and that Trump had been advised before the dinner about the missile launch in secure quarters. Maybe. Hard to know what to believe when everyone in Trump’s house has a different version of events, as in, for example, the conflict between Spicer and Kellyanne Conway over whether Michael Flynn was fired or resigned. More alternative facts, I suppose. Take your pick.

Trump has been in power less than one month and chaos reigns around him. The great business leader appears to be thrashing around trying to look like a tough guy who’s on top of his agenda, while the work product is mostly a bunch of Executive Orders that accomplish very little actual change and were mostly unnecessary, including, of course, that masterwork on immigration that has been soundly repudiated by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The travel ban EO appears to have been written by people with no legal degrees. One of the chief authors, Stephen Miller (Senior Advisor to the President), just finished a round of weekend interviews in which he decreed that the authority of the president may not be questioned. Mr. Miller was smart enough to graduate from Duke University, no easy feat if you’re not an athlete, but went to work in politics for the likes of Michelle Bachman. Now, at age 31, he is one of Trump’s closest advisors. With all due respect, Mr. Miller probably should have gone to law school first, or at least a graduate program involving constitutional learning.

Trump’s reliance on Miller, Stephen Bannon (Chief Strategist), Reince Preibus (Chief of Staff) and Kellyanne Conway (Counselor to the President) has produced constant chaos and gaffes at every level, an embarrassment to the United States here and abroad. In case you missed the interview, here is the exact Miller statement:

“Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become, in many cases, a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is — is — is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.

The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

Is there something about judges in Seattle we don’t know? Miller smirked when he mentioned Seattle, as if a judge from Seattle was somehow a ridiculous idea that merited no respect? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sits in four Western cities, covering nine states plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. It rejected the government’s attempt to overturn the District Court’s injunction pending further litigation. That apparently is not good enough to satisfy Mr. Miller’s concept of judicial authority either.

What exactly does Miller mean that as a result of “further actions,” the powers of the president to protect our country will not be questioned?” It sounds like a direct threat to the role of the judiciary in our tripartite system of checks and balances established by the Constitution. Maybe all he meant to say was that next time the Executive Order will be competently and narrowly written so that there is no real question of its legitimacy. Maybe. Mr. Miller should choose his words carefully. Threats to reject the authority of the judiciary as the third co-equal branch of government are more serious than Mr. Miller appears to understand. Oh, and the judge in Seattle did not say that “a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States.”

At the time of the weekend interviews Mr. Miller had ample time to read the 9th Circuit opinion rejecting the government’s request to overturn the decision of the “unelected judge in Seattle.” The court’s opinion eviscerates the government’s arguments one by one, including these findings:

“… although courts owe considerable deference to the President’s policy determinations with respect to immigration and national security, it is beyond question that the federal judiciary retains the authority to adjudicate constitutional challenges to executive action.” [Opinion Part IV]

and

“The procedural protections provided by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause are not limited to citizens. Rather, they “appl[y] to all ‘persons’ within the United States, including aliens,” regardless of “whether their presence here is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent.” Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 693 (2001). These rights also apply to certain aliens attempting to reenter the United States after travelling abroad. Landon v. Plasencia, 459 U.S. 21, 33-34 (1982).”  [Opinion Part VI]

Again, a few years in law school would have helped Mr. Miller grasp these Constitutional fundamentals. Why is the President of the United States relying on this person to speak for his administration in matters of this nature?

Just today a USA Today reported that

“review of presidential documents shows at least five cases where the version of an executive order posted on the White House website doesn’t match the official version sent to the Federal Register. The discrepancies raise further questions about how thorough the Trump administration has been in drafting some of the president’s most controversial actions.”

I won’t belabor this further. The Trump administration is led by a man who claims to be a master business leader, disciplined organizer and super-decisive “very smart” person. In today’s press briefing, Sean Spicer went out of his way to emphasize how “decisive” the President has been in all things. Yet everywhere one looks through the first three weeks of his administration, we see people bumping into each other, heads being bopped and noses yanked. This made for good comedy way back when, but it’s no way to lead a government. Despite months to prepare, all the President’s men seem to have little idea of what they are doing.

#RESIST

Republican Senators (save two) – Party Before Country

SHAME on the Republican members of the U.S. Senate who voted for Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. Ms. DeVos demonstrated at her truncated confirmation hearing and in her post-hearing written responses that she is uniquely unqualified to run the Department of Education. This callous act ranks right down there with the nomination of Sarah Palin to be Vice President. The Republican senators who voted for DeVos have dishonored themselves, the Senate and the country. There is nothing left to say, except hats off to Senators Collins and Murkowski for having the courage to do the right thing in the face of what must have been massive pressure to yield. Oh, there is one other thing to say – this will not be forgotten. SHAME!

#RESIST