The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will honor retired "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno with its Mark Twain humor prize at a gala in Washington on October 19, it said Wednesday. Leno, 64, who stepped down from the long-running NBC show in February…
After four years of watching Donald Trump run roughshod over the government, Congressional Democrats are preparing a package of reforms that put roadblocks in front of any future president who wants to use the Trump playbook to do what they want.
Using a combination of executive orders and telling subordinates to proceed with his wishes while dragging disputes through the courts, Trump created daily chaos during his one term and Democrats are willing to rein even a member of their own party in the Oval Office to avoid a repeat.
According to Charlie Savage at the New York Times, "House Democrats are planning to introduce a package of proposed new limits on executive power on Tuesday, beginning a post-Trump push to strengthen checks on the presidency that they hope will compare to the overhauls that followed the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War."
One reform that stands out would be efforts to limit future presidents from issuing pardons after Trump handed them out left and right to allies who were accused of breaking the law or could have potentially been witnesses against him in his ensuing legal problems.
"The legislation would make it harder for presidents to offer or bestow pardons in situations that raise suspicion of corruption, refuse to respond to oversight subpoenas, spend or secretly freeze funds contrary to congressional appropriations, and fire inspectors general or retaliate against whistle-blowers, among many other changes," Savage wrote before adding Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca) said he expects the package to be voted upon sometime "this fall."
The report goes on to note that some Republicans -- including Congressional allies of the former president -- may balk at the changes.
"Supporters [of the package] noted that Republican senators previously supported significant components of the bill, like requiring the Justice Department to turn over logs of contacts with White House officials and constraining a president's ability to declare a national emergency and spend money in ways Congress did not approve," Savage reported.
Another hot topic addressed in the bill would be to prevent presidents from using the office of the presidency for personal profit while in office.
"One section, for instance, proposes to strengthen the Constitution's ban on presidents taking "emoluments," or payments, by declaring in statute that the anti-corruption prohibition extends to commercial transactions and making it easier to enforce that rule," the report states, adding, "Mr. Trump's refusal to divest from his hotels and resorts raised the question of whether lobbying groups and foreign governments that began paying for numerous rooms at Trump properties — and sometimes did not even use them — were trying to purchase his favor."
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Head of anti-LGBTQ group worked with Trump on secret scheme to try to get Pence to overturn election: CNN
The head of a once well-known anti-LGBTQ organization that spent countless millions in dark money to try to block the advancement of same-sex marriage worked with then-President Donald Trump and his legal team on a secret scheme to try to get Vice President Mike Pence to subvert the U.S. Constitution and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
John Eastman (photo, next to Rudy Giuliani), who until January 13 was a tenured professor of law and dean at the Chapman University School of Law in California, advanced a six-point plan detailing the steps he wanted Pence to take on January 6.
Eastman, who is the chairman of NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, "tried to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence that he could overturn the election results on January 6 when Congress counted the Electoral College votes by throwing out electors from seven states, according to the new book 'Peril' from Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa," CNN reports.
"You really need to listen to John. He's a respected constitutional scholar. Hear him out," Trump told Pence during a January 4 meeting with Eastman in the Oval Office, according to "Peril."
In addition to directing that Pence would falsely claim that the seven states had competing electors, Eastman suggested Pence make all these moves without warning.
"The main thing here is that Pence should do this without asking for permission -- either from a vote of the joint session or from the Court," Eastman wrote. "The fact is that the Constitution assigns this power to the Vice President as the ultimate arbiter. We should take all of our actions with that in mind."
Pence disagreed with Eastman's legal claims and did not enact the secret scheme.
Eastman spoke at the January 6 "Save America" rally that many claim Trump used to incite the insurrection.
One week later he "abruptly" resigned from Chapman University "amid criticism of his role in stoking the violent attack," and "calls for his firing," Law.com reported at the time.
During an appearance this Monday on the "SmartLess" podcast, historian and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns said that conditions in the U.S. are just as dire as they were during the Depression, World War II, and before the Civil War.
"It's really serious. There are three great crises before this: the Civil War, the Depression, and World War II. This is equal to it," he said when asked about the course the U.S. is on.
Burns quoted former President Abraham Lincoln, who in an 1838 speech to a group in Springfield, Illinois, said that the only way for America to be destroyed would be for its own citizens to be the culprits.
"From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men, we will live forever or die by suicide," Lincoln said.
According to Burns, America is "looking right down the muzzle of that gun."
Listen to the full podcast below:
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