Congress

The Comey endorsement

Featured image This just in! Former FBI Director James Comey endorses the takeover of Congress by Democrats — in the name of the Founding Fathers, or at least in the name of Publius. Those of us who have been following the the exploits of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies working to undermine the Trump presidency will not be greatly shocked by this. Those of us who find Comey a rich source »

Strzok testifies

Featured image Peter Strzok appeared today before a joint session of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees. The event lived up to expectations in its contentiousness. Here are a few highlights, with commentary. Immediately after the opening statements, Trey Gowdy, House Oversight Committee Chairman, asked Strzok how many people he interviewed during the first eight days of the FBI’s Russia investigation (between July 31 and Aug. 8, 2016). Strzok responded that he »

Rod Rosenstein, cult hero

Featured image More than any federal agency or department I’ve worked for, with, or against, the Justice Department resembles a cult. Its employees think they are special. They feel intense hostility towards the Department’s adversaries. They are fiercely loyal to the Department and compulsively committed to its ways of doing things. Outsiders are viewed with condescension and suspicion, if not contempt. Obviously, many DOJ employees do not buy fully into the cult, »

FIRST STEP in a jailbreak, Part Two

Featured image I’ve written before about the “Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act” (FIRST STEP). Passed by the House with overwhelming support and backed by President Trump, FIRST STEP is backdoor sentence reduction legislation. Indeed, it’s big-time sentencing reduction. Former federal prosecutor Thomas Ascik demonstrates this in an article for The Hill. He shows that most federal prisoners could serve close to 40 percent of their prison sentences »

Behind the redactions, cont’d

Featured image Kim Strassel supplements Eric Felten’s peek behind the redactions of the Strzok-Page text messages produced to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. In her Wall Wall Street Journal column “The real constitutional crisis” she also touches on several other related matters we have covered here: Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has not been allowed to question a single current or former Justice or FBI official involved in this affair [i.e., »

Speaking of scurrilous

Featured image Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is new to the job, but he is off to a great start. Like his boss, he loves America. Like his boss, he has the fighting spirit. And as a former congressman, he has taken the size of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill perhaps even better than his boss. Where does that leave Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico? Responding to a question Senator »

An “unbelievably small, limited” strike?

Featured image In 2013, when the Obama administration was trying to convince Congress to authorize an attack on Syria to enforce its “red line’ against Assad using chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” He often used the word “degrade,” rather than “destroy,” to describe the impact of the contemplated attack on Syria’s chemical weapons program. Kerry received plenty »

Trump should veto the omnibus, but not for the reasons he cites [UPDATE, he signed it]

Featured image After signaling to Congress that he supports the omnibus spending bill it was about to pass, President Trump is now threatening to veto the bill. He complains that it does nothing for the DACA population and virtually nothing to build his wall. In my view, these are not good reasons to veto the omnibus. Doing something for the DACA population should not be a priority, and certainly not to the »

Putin’s 2016 intentions

Featured image As John noted earlier this evening, the House Intelligence Committee has completed its investigation into Russia’s activities in connection with the 2016 election. The Committee says it found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. No one else has found any such evidence, either. Even anti-Trump reporters Michael Isikoff and David Corn, both friends of Glenn Simpson, have none to offer »

Beyond Keith Ellison

Featured image In his Wall Street Journal column last month, Jeryl Bier reported that Ellison and Farrakhan had a reunion of sorts in September 2013 with a follow-up meeting in Farrakhan’s hotel room when Farrakhan visited Washington in 2015. Ellison’s relationship with Farrakhan goes way back, but it turns out that Farrakhan has several fans in the Democrats’ Congressional Black Caucus as well. This long suppressed 2005 photograph of Farrakhan & Friends »

Congress unlikely to assert its constitutional role on tariffs

Featured image Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises.” At times during our history, Congress has exercised that power with a vengeance. For example, in the late 1800s, William McKinley made his legislative name writing tariff legislation. To be sure, tariffs have foreign policy implications and can even affect national security. Thus, it’s not unreasonable that the executive wants »

Congress approves spending bill

Featured image This morning at around 5:30 a.m., the House approved a budget deal that will add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, not just for the military but also for domestic programs. The vote was 240-186. The Senate had already passed the deal by a vote of 71-28 (John McCain did not vote). In both chambers, the dissenters were a mix of hard core leftists who objected to not »

Another problem with the spending deal

Featured image The editors of National Review point to a problem with the spending deal that I hadn’t considered: it may end the chance for a conservative legislative achievement in 2018. Here’s why: A two-year spending deal means Republicans probably won’t go to the trouble of passing a formal budget for 2019. That would mean no chance for a so-called reconciliation process that could allow them to enact meaningful legislation with only »

S***hole politics

Featured image Rich Lowry has an insightful post about the politics of the S***hole Controversy. He reminds us of the context in which the controversy arose: “[Lindsey] Graham brought Trump a deal with [Dick] Durbin that basically had nothing in it for immigration restrictionists.” This was bound to backfire. Graham may have believed that the warm and fuzzy signals Trump sent out during the televised conference earlier in the week were other »

Trump yearns for good old days of earmarks and getting along

Featured image In discussing President Trump’s gabfest yesterday with congressional leaders about DACA legislation, I failed to note a fascinating sidebar. Several times, Trump told the assembled legislators that earmarks should be revived because they promote good will and cooperation between Republicans and Democrats. The first time Trump said this, it produced raucous agreement. One member (I couldn’t tell who) exclaimed: “Sign me up for that.” Earmarks, of course, were the bugaboo »

Congressional Dems and Repubs chase their tails in meeting with Trump

Featured image Today, President Trump met with leaders of both parties from the Senate and House to discuss DACA legislation. The press and the cameras were there for the opening statements with the understanding they would be excused shortly thereafter. However, Trump either decided to let them stay or forgot to kick them out. (I believe he let them stay because he wanted Americans to see him conduct a meeting in “presidential” »

Who was that masked source?

Featured image Picking up from where I left off yesterday in “Jim Sciutto’s got plenty of nothing,” I want to invite readers to take a look at the Trump/Steele dossier for themselves. I have embedded it at the bottom of this post. Consider that the dossier was bought and paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign through the campaign’s general counsel at the Perkins Coie law firm, which contracted Fusion GPS, which »