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George Conway and Neal Katyal demolish Trump’s latest effort to claim tyrannical power

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Conservative lawyer George Conway — who happens to be married to White House counselor Kellyanne Conway — teamed up with former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal on Wednesday in an op-ed denouncing President Donald Trump’s latest claim to have tyrant-like powers.

They took issue with Trump’s response to the congressional investigation of his finances. In a new court filing this week, Trump’s lawyers submitted an argument claiming that Congress doesn’t have the authority to investigate crimes. They argued that the executive branch — which, of course, is led by Trump — is the only branch that can investigate crimes.

This argument, Katyal and Conway said, showed “contempt toward the most foundational precept of our democracy — that no person, not even the president, is above the law.”

They continued: “Congress investigates lawbreaking, and potential lawbreaking, all the time. Mobsters, fraudsters, government employees, small companies, big companies — like it or not, all types of people and businesses get subpoenaed from time to time, so that Congress can figure out whether current laws are effective, whether new laws are needed, whether sufficient governmental resources are being devoted to the task, whether more disclosure to the government or the public is required, or greater penalties, and so on.”

Trump’s lawyers argued that this claim would pose virtually no limits on Congress’s investigatory power. But indeed, Congress’s investigatory authority is vast, reined in by the fact that lawmakers are accountable to the voters.

“England’s King George III was above the law, but the founders of our republic wanted a system that would divide power and have the branches check each other,” they explained. “The idea that only the president can investigate the president is an argument for autocrats, not Americans.”

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They also noted that Trump’s lawyers seem to offer a “grudging” admission that impeachment expands Congress’s investigatory authority, but even this is “only half-right.”

“Yes, Congress could investigate Trump’s finances in an impeachment proceeding, but it can do so without launching the formal process of impeachment,” they wrote. Nevertheless, Katyal and Conway see the argument as a virtual invitation to start impeachment anyway, which was justified by the Mueller report regardless.

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Iran says new ‘mentally retarded’ Trump sanctions mean ‘permanent closure’ of diplomacy

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Iran said Tuesday that new US sanctions targeting its supreme leader meant a “permanent closure” of diplomacy, while the country’s president labelled the White House “mentally retarded” as tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing the sanctions against Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday, taking a dramatic and unprecedented step to increase pressure on Iran after Tehran’s downing of an American drone last week.

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‘Dangerous linguistic power’: A historian explains how Trump weaponizes nicknames

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Is Donald Trump the modern day Earl Long?

A three-time Louisiana governor, Long mastered the art of political ridicule seven decades ago by weaponizing nicknames. The hilarious names Long pinned on his rivals, and the rollicking stories he told about them, riveted audiences bored by puffed-up rhetoric.

While Long’s stunts may be remembered as silly hijinks, there was a sly, often deadly serious, purpose to his technique. He used it to get voters to laugh at his foes and to put them on the defensive––a place politicians never want to be. Tucked within Long’s jests were razor-sharp attacks aimed at exploiting opposition weaknesses––hidden swords inside a pea-patch cloak.

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Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

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Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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