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Dems to Kavanaugh: If we lose, you must recuse … on Mueller

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Senate Democrats signaled yesterday that Brett Kavanaugh should prepare for the kitchen-sink treatment with a ridiculous demand for a recusal. Earlier, some Democrats had seized on an article written by Kavanaugh arguing that Congress should pass a law to grant limited immunity from prosecutors to sitting presidents, thanks to lessons learned from Kavanaugh’s time on Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation. Now, at least two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee say they will demand that Kavanaugh pledge to recuse himself from all matters connection to Robert Mueller’s investigation:

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday they intend to ask Brett Kavanaugh to step aside from any future cases involving Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Donald Trump if he’s confirmed to the Supreme Court.

The recusal requests stem in large part from a 2009 law review article that Kavanaugh wrote suggesting that Congress take up legislation “exempting a president — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation.” Given that the Supreme Court ultimately could rule on several high-profile issues related to the special counsel’s investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia, Democrats will press Kavanaugh to commit to stepping aside.

“I don’t think he should be on the court, and you can be sure that me and my colleagues on the Democratic side are going to be asking if he will recuse himself, should he be confirmed,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), considered a potential Trump challenger in 2020, told reporters.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), another member of the Judiciary panel, agreed that Kavanaugh should recuse himself from any cases “that involve President Trump’s personal financial dealings or the special counsel.”

Chuck Schumer went even further, accusing Kavanaugh of being the candidate Trump though “would best protect him from the Mueller investigation.” There are only two problems with this argument: Kavanaugh didn’t argue that the courts had any role in the question, and there is no conflict of interest.

Let’s start with the law-review article from 2009, written long after the Starr investigation wrapped up and the impeachment of Bill Clinton took place. Kavanaugh noted that the impeachment actually got prompted by a civil lawsuit rather than a criminal investigation, and called into question whether presidents should be subject to the potential for legal harassment. In the absence of statute to the contrary, the courts correctly allowed Paula Jones’ lawsuit to proceed, Kavanaugh argued. But, Kavanaugh continued, that should have prompted Congress to act:

With that in mind, it would be appropriate for Congress to enact a statute providing that any personal civil suits against presidents, like certain members of the military, be deferred while the President is in office. The result the Supreme Court reached in Clinton v. Jones — that presidents are not constitutionally entitled to deferral of civil suits — may well have been entirely correct; that is beyond the scope of this inquiry. But the Court in Jones stated that Congress is free to provide a temporary deferral of civil suits while the President is in office. Congress may be wise to do so, just as it has done for certain members of the military. Deferral would allow the President to focus on the vital duties he was elected to perform.

Congress should consider doing the same, moreover, with respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President. In particular, Congress might consider a law exempting a President — while in office — from criminal prosecution and investigation, including from questioning by criminal prosecutors or defense counsel. Criminal investigations targeted at or revolving around a President are inevitably politicized by both their supporters and critics. As I have written before, ‘no Attorney General or special counsel will have the necessary credibility to avoid the inevitable charges that he is politically motivated — whether in favor of the President or against him, depending on the individual leading the investigation and its results.’ The indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas. Such an outcome would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.

Democrats want to argue that this indicates that a Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would shut down a special counsel prosecution, but that’s not what Kavanaugh wrote. He instead argued that Congress should provide that immunity, and that absent such action, the courts would have to allow those lawsuits and prosecutions to proceed. It’s a deliberate misreading for which the Washington Post fact-checking team awards two Pinocchios, bordering on three:

Noah Feldman, a Harvard Law School professor, wrote that Kavanaugh might be saying “the president can be investigated and maybe even indicted unless Congress passes a law saying he can’t.” (Emphasis ours.)

Feldman wrote that “from a legal and constitutional perspective, Kavanaugh wasn’t saying that the courts should find that the president shouldn’t be investigated or indicted.” “To the contrary,” he wrote. “He was saying that Congress should pass a law ensuring that result, because without it, the president was open to being investigated — and maybe even indicted.” …

Kavanaugh’s articles from 1998 and 2009 are no smoking-gun evidence that he would vote to dismiss an indictment against Trump, should one ever be filed. Although he clearly believes it’s a bad idea to indict a sitting president, Kavanaugh never states his view whether the Constitution allows it. In fact, he says Congress should pass legislation to ensure the president is immune from civil and criminal proceedings while in office. As Feldman writes, Kavanaugh’s 2009 article can be read as a signal that he might uphold a presidential indictment unless Congress changes the law.

We don’t mean to split hairs by analyzing whether Kavanaugh believes something “can’t” or “shouldn’t” happen, but in the legal arena, this distinction matters. Kavanaugh’s stated views on this question don’t go as far as Fallon, Maloney and Ocasio-Cortez claimed. Their tweets merit Two Pinocchios, although we considered giving Three. To say Kavanaugh is Trump’s “get-out-of-jail free card” is an extreme distortion of what he’s written.

 With that in mind, let’s turn to the bad case of Recusal Fever that afflicts Senate Democrats. Judicial recusals are rare, especially at the Supreme Court, and always involve a specific and clear conflict of interest. Elena Kagan had to recuse herself from several cases in her first couple of years because of her work on them as a member of the Obama administration. Cases in which a justice has a financial interest could trigger a recusal. In all cases involving Supreme Court justices, it’s up to the individual justice as to whether a conflict of interest rises to the level of recusal as balanced against the interest of the American public in having all nine justices working on the important issues that reach that court.

None of that applies to Kavanaugh in this instance. He has done no work on the Mueller investigation, nor did he do any work for Donald Trump either before, during, or after the campaign. Democrats are ginning up a connection to Mueller in an attempt to smear Kavanaugh, in part by deliberately distorting Kavanaugh’s advice to Congress on the potential for limited presidential immunity, six years before Trump ever decided to run for office.

The only recusals needed here are those by Booker, Blumenthal, Schumer, and anyone else who peddles this noxious nonsense.

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Report: White House aides expecting Whitaker to “rein in” Mueller’s final report on Russiagate, block any Trump subpoena

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There’s not even a pretense that he’s in this role for any reason other than protecting Trump from Mueller, is there?

In fact, this NYT story claims that the White House’s first contact with him in July 2017 was to discuss “joining the president’s team as a legal attack dog against the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.” No wonder he ended up at the top of the DOJ. From the beginning Trump seems to have conceived of the position of Attorney General as head of his de facto legal defense team. Once Sessions declared that he wouldn’t play that part by recusing himself from Russiagate, his usefulness to Trump was over.

It’s funny that the White House thinks there’s some way to muzzle Mueller at this point, though, especially with the opposition party set to take over the House in eight weeks.

People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.

White House aides and other people close to Mr. Trump anticipate that Mr. Whitaker will rein in any report summarizing Mr. Mueller’s investigation and will not allow the president to be subpoenaed.

He knew exactly how to appeal to the president: “By October of last year, Mr. Whitaker was telling people that he was working as a political commentator on CNN in order to get the attention of Mr. Trump, said John Q. Barrett, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law who met Mr. Whitaker during a television appearance last June.” His cable-news gig was a job tryout in the administration, chock full of soundbites that were skeptical of Mueller, not coincidentally. It worked like a charm.

That being so, it’s impossible to take the report floating around today that Whitaker won’t try to cut the special counsel’s budget as a sign that he plans a hands-off approach to the investigation. He came to Trump’s attention for his willingness to criticize Mueller, ultimately landing a role as Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff and now as acting Attorney General. After all that, how does this wild journey end with Whitaker standing aside and letting Russiagate proceed to the end unimpeded? It would be an even bigger betrayal of Trump’s expectations than Sessions’s recusal was.

But if the plan is for him to bottle up Mueller’s final report — which is submitted to the Attorney General, remember, and remains within the Attorney General’s discretion to releas — that’s not going to work. My pal Karl knows why:

On Earth 2, where Republicans retained control of the House, *maybe* Mueller would have maintained a sphinx-like silence after submitting his final report to acting AG Whitaker. The media would have begged for interviews but Mueller and his deputies have been a vault to this point (publicly, at least). On Earth, however, Mueller will be called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, both in open and closed sessions. His core findings will leak. The actual report itself might leak, whether from anti-Trumpers at the DOJ or from House Democrats who’ve finagled a copy somehow. Having Whitaker try to formally suppress the release when the public is an uproar about seeing the contents would achieve nothing except underlining how deeply shady the Trump-Whitaker arrangement appears. It’d be smarter to have him release the report and then set Trump’s spin doctors to work making the case that, if anything, the contents largely/partially/somewhat vindicate the president. Why would they want to suppress something that makes him look good?

Whitaker blocking a subpoena of Trump from Mueller would backfire for all the same reasons. It would reek of cronyism; Democrats would expose it; it would inflame the public more than the subpoena itself would; and thus there are more politically astute ways to deal with it. Trump could go to court and try to have the subpoena defeated there, or he could state upfront that he’d assert his Fifth Amendment privilege if called to testify and therefore Mueller needn’t bother. “How could I submit to questioning in a witch hunt?” he’d say. “I’d be validating this garbage process!” All of his fans will side with him and any political hit he’d take among non-fans will fade by 2020, especially if Mueller’s final report doesn’t directly accuse him of anything.

I don’t think Whitaker will do anything to Mueller while in office. Even if he wants to, the bad headlines he’s generating for Trump likely mean they’ll push him out and propose a permanent nominee sooner rather than later. One more tidbit on Whitaker and his relationship with Sessions, this time from CNN:

In recent months, with his relationship with the President at a new low, Sessions skipped several so-called principals meetings that he was slated to attend as a key member of the Cabinet. A source close to Sessions says that neither the attorney general nor Trump thought it was a good idea for Sessions to be at the White House, so he sent surrogates. Whitaker was one of them.

But Sessions did not realize Whitaker was having conversations with the White House about his future until the news broke in late September about Rosenstein

Whitaker and Sessions didn’t have a prior relationship before Sessions — at the urging of the White House — accepted Whitaker as his chief of staff. Sessions interviewed him and the two grew to have a good working relationship. Sessions liked him, but even if he didn’t, the plan was already hatched for him to take the role, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Let me get this straight. Whitaker spends months on CNN in 2017 criticizing Mueller; then, coincidentally, the White House pushes him on Sessions as his new right-hand man; and not until September did Sessions have an inkling that maybe Whitaker had been working against him? Trump probably wanted him as Sessions’s chief of staff to begin with so that he could serve as the White House’s eyes and ears on Russiagate inside the DOJ. Plus, having Whitaker as a DOJ employee made it easy to satisfy the Vacancies Reform Act in the event of a vacancy at the top of the Department. Remember, under the statute the only way to bypass Senate confirmation for a temporary appointee to a position like AG is to choose someone within the upper ranks of the same agency where the vacancy opened up. That is, if Trump wanted a handpicked (temporary) successor to Sessions and didn’t want to worry about the Senate, he needed that person installed in a top job at the DOJ first. And whaddaya know? Whitaker was appointed chief of staff to Sessions last year. Trump’s probably quietly been eyeing him for this moment for many months. You would think he’d have asked to someone to research Whitaker for any political vulnerabilities during that time, but oh well.

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MUSLIMS Storm Jewish Kristallnacht Remembrance Vigil in London – Start Screaming About Killing Jews (VIDEO)

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On November 7th a vigil was held by pro-Israel activists in London on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. A few dozen activists with Israel Advocacy Movement gathered there ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria.

But the vigil was shut down when angry Muslims stormed in screaming about killing Jews.

The Muslims were screaming about the Khaybar, a historic event mentioned in the Koran when Muslims slaughtered hundreds of Jews in the seventh century.

The Jewish group decided at that point to call off their vigil.
They appeared to be outnumbered about 4 to 1 by the Muslims.

JTA reported:

A vigil held by pro-Israel activists in London for Jews murdered in Arab countries was dispersed after men shouted in Arabic about killing Jews.

The event by the Israel Advocacy Movement was held Wednesday on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, which is known for its culture of free speech and passionate street preachers championing various causes.

A few dozen people holding Israeli flags and candles gathered there ahead of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria, to highlight the suffering and slaying around the same time of many hundreds of Jews who were killed and wounded in pogroms across the Arab world.

Joseph Cohen, an Israel Advocacy Movement activist, filmed the event as about 20 men drowned his talk shouting “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”

The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Some of the men shouted about “Palestine,” surrounding the pro-Jewish activists and shoving them.

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Ignored ICE detainer causes release of illegal alien who goes on to murder 3

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Each one of these stories is tragic and they crop up all too often. Sadly, we have to keep on highlighting them because you generally won’t hear much about it from the mainstream media. This one was flagged by our colleague Timothy Meads at Townhall. Last December, Luis Rodrigo Perez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was arrested in Middlesex County, NJ on domestic violence charges. ICE issued a detainer for him, which the local officials refused to honor and Rodrigo Perez was released.

Now, as all too often happens, the story has taken a tragic turn several states away.

An illegal alien previously detained by a sanctuary city in New Jersey has been accused of killing three individuals in Missouri, but federal authorities argue that these crimes could have been prevented if better cooperation existed between immigration officials and local enforcement.

According to Fox News, “Luis Rodrigo Perez, 23, a native of Mexico, is charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding two others on Nov. 1 and fatally shooting a woman the next day.”…

“Yet again, an ICE detainer was ignored and a dangerous criminal alien was released to the streets and is now charged with killing three people,” Corey Price, the agency’s active executive director, said. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country – and three innocent people might be alive today.”

For their part, the authorities in Middlesex County are trying to blame this on ICE. They’re saying that ICE failed to issue an order which would have “authorized Middlesex County to turn over custody of Mr. Perez.” But that’s the upshot of what a detainer does. They asked Middlesex to hold him so they could pick him up. Instead, he was released and now two men and a woman are dead in Missouri.

Why is this so difficult? We’ve allowed politics to poison the system to the point where authorities in these sanctuary cities, counties and states can’t even cooperate with federal immigration authorities over someone charged with domestic violence? I thought that was one of the triggers which would qualify anyone for detention and deportation. If you’re part of the far left, you can at least make the argument that illegal aliens with zero other crimes on their rap sheet should perhaps be given a break. But that’s not the case with Perez. This isn’t the sort of person we’re supposed to be putting on a smooth pass to amnesty.

Now, instead of sending him back to Mexico, he’ll be tied up in U.S. courts (and probably prison) for decades to come. Small comfort to the families of his victims.

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