Quantcast
Connect with us

Any normal president could find some defense attorneys who aren’t clowns and grifters

Published

on

- Commentary

Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Donald Trump’s penchant for telling reporters about his crimes doesn’t leave his legal defense team a lot to work with. In the first week of his Senate trial, they’ve pounded the desk and rended their garments over how mean their Democrats opponents are toward their client. But the worst is yet to come–WaPo reports that during the next phase of the proceedings, Trump’s legal team will offer “a scorched-earth defense of President Trump in the impeachment trial, mounting a politically charged case aimed more at swaying American voters than GOP senators — and damaging Trump’s possible 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.”

ADVERTISEMENT

One thing they haven’t done is attempt to defend Trump’s conduct, and you really can’t blame them. But one does have to wonder whether more competent attorneys might be able to come up with a minimally plausible defense, or at least not embarrass themselves.

Trump does have a couple of boring white-shoe lawyers on his team, but the… “colorful characters” he’s tapped to represent him have so far been front and center.

Jay Sekulow is not only infamous for filing an endless stream of dubious litigation but, according to The Guardian, is also quite the grifter in his own right.

ADVERTISEMENT

[In 2009, Sekulow] approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.

Telemarketers for the nonprofit, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case), were instructed in contracts signed by Sekulow to urge people who pleaded poverty or said they were out of work to dig deep for a “sacrificial gift”.

“I can certainly understand how that would make it difficult for you to share a gift like that right now,” they told retirees who said they were on fixed incomes and had “no extra money” – before asking if they could spare “even $20 within the next three weeks”.

In addition to using tens of millions of dollars in donations to pay Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his brother, his sister-in-law, his niece and nephew and their firms, Case has also been used to provide a series of unusual loans and property deals to the Sekulow family.

Sekulow provided some comedy relief this week when Democratic Rep. Val Demings mentioned “FOIA lawsuits” and he went on a rant about how indecorous it was to demean “lawyer lawsuits” on the floor of the Senate.

Then there’s Pam Bondi, the former Florida AG who dropped an inquiry into Trump’s fraudulent “university” in 2013 after “personally soliciting” a $25,000 campaign donation from the then-reality TV star (who paid her off out of his fraudulent charity).

ADVERTISEMENT

And former Clinton persecutor prosecutor Ken Starr, who defended Jeffrey Epstein, was fired from his gig as Baylor University president after a scandal over his administration’s handling of sexual assault complaints, and later admitted that he had held a fundraiser for a football player who had been accused of rape.

And of course there’s Alan Dershowitz, whose arguments today are diametrically opposed from the positions he took back when a Democrat was being impeached and who not only joined Starr in defending Epstein but is also accused of participating in his sexual exploitation of young girls.

ADVERTISEMENT

What a crew. Any other president would shun them, but they’re probably the perfect people to be defending this one.

ADVERTISEMENT

*****

After claiming that no US servicemen were hurt in the missile strike that Iran launched against American bases in Iraq in retaliation for the Suleimani assassination, Trump said that the traumatic brain injuries we now know many of them suffered were just “headaches” and “not very serious.” The nation’s leading veterans’ group is not happy.

*****

Huffington Post: “The president’s Miami golf resort that puts money into his pocket more than doubled its room rates just before the White House announced his Thursday visit ― possibly increasing taxpayer costs for staff who must travel there in advance.”

Trump has spent one-third of his presidency staying at his own cheesy luxury properties.

Politico also took a deep dive this week into how “Donald Trump has accomplished something no president before him has done: fusing his private business interests with America’s highest public office.”

ADVERTISEMENT

*****

At The Bulwark, Tim Miller writes that our government is doing this to justify one of the regime’s endless stream of lies:

Omar Ameen is an Iraqi-American refugee currently housed in a maximum security cell an hour up the road from me in Sacramento. The United States government contends that Ameen is an ISIS commander who infiltrated the refugee stream coming out of the Middle East. He awaits a hearing next week that could result in his extradition back to a certain death in Iraq.

And yet all of the evidence indicates Ameen is not, in fact, an ISIS commander, but instead an innocent man who fled the sectarian violence and bloodshed that we contributed to in his home country in order to live out what was once considered the American dream with his family here.

*****

New York Times: “The Trump administration on Thursday finalized a rule to strip away environmental protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater, handing a victory to farmers, fossil fuel producers and real estate developers.”

It’s also a gift to golf clubs and their owners.

ADVERTISEMENT

*****

In related news, House Dems “are asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to explain a drop in the number of hazardous waste sites that the agency cleaned up last year,” according to The Hill. “Figures show that the agency had the highest number of unfunded construction projects at major hazardous waste sites of the last 15 years.”

*****

This, via Politico, is a stealthy way of cutting federal programs…

The Trump administration is finalizing a plan to let states convert a chunk of Medicaid funding to block grants, even as officials remain divided over how to sell the controversial change to the safety net health program.

*****

Speaking of safety nets…

ADVERTISEMENT

*****

According to NPR, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a detention facility in California that its own watchdog says is a mismanaged Hellhole, but despite knowing about a host of serious problems since at least 2017, the agency “decided at the end of 2019 to renew and expand a contract” to keep the facility open.

*****

ICE’s sister agency, Customs and Border Protection (CPB), has funneled millions of taxpayer dollars into a sponsorship of the Professional Bull Riders association that amounts to a thinly-concealed propaganda operation.

USA Today reported this week that several of the sport’s biggest stars chased suspected unauthorized immigrants on horseback during a PR stunt at the border last July.

ADVERTISEMENT

*****

Speaking of the rule of law, a district court blasted the regime this week for simply ignoring one of its rulings.

Law.com:

A federal appeals court had scathing words for the Justice Department after it ignored a remand order and called the panel’s original order incorrect…

“We have never before encountered defiance of a remand order, and we hope never to see it again,” [Judge Frank] Easterbrook wrote. “Members of the board must count themselves lucky that Baez-Sanchez has not asked us to hold them in contempt, with all the consequences that possibility entails. The Board seemed to think that we had issued an advisory opinion, and that faced with a conflict between our views and those of the Attorney General it should follow the latter.”

ADVERTISEMENT

*****

Tangentially related:

*****

Saudis Tried to Kidnap Me on U.S. Soil, Regime Critic Says

Saudi Arabia murdered a journalist and hacked Jeff Bezos. Trump sent them U.S. troops

ADVERTISEMENT

A Law Required The US’s Top Intelligence Official To Turn Over A Report On Jamal Khashoggi’s Killing. He Blew The Deadline.

Trump sold nuclear tech to Saudis in secret after Khashoggi killing

*****

Your government’s priorities, in a nutshell…

Very pro-life of them.

*****

This week, we leave you with a couple of reading recommendations.

The Guardian ran an exposé of The Base, a violent neo-Nazi terror organization, and also unearthed the identity of the group’s shadowy leader, who may or may not be a federal agent.

And at Mother Jones, Ari Berman explains the Trump regime’s new “stealth” effort to use this year’s Census to “preserve white electoral power.”


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ron DeSantis warned of COVID exposure after attending Florida sheriffs meeting where 5 tested positive: report

Published

on

Top Republican officials in Florida were notified by state health officials of potential exposure to COVID-19 after a Florida Sheriffs Association meeting last week which had five attendees subsequently test positive, FOX 13 reported Monday.

"The July 27 meeting at a Bonita Springs hotel brought together 60 people from across the state, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Corrections Secretary Mark Inch, incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls and sheriffs from various parts of Florida," the station reported.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Virginia mayor faces calls to resign after claiming Joe Biden had picked Aunt Jemima for VP

Published

on

On Monday, WTOP reported that Barry Presgraves, the mayor of Luray, Virginia, faces calls to resign following his post on social media that "Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick."

"Mayor Barry Presgraves has been in office since 2008, but earlier announced he would not seek reelection in 2020. A lifelong town resident, he had previously served on the town council," reported Neal Augenstein. "A screenshot, purportedly from Presgraves’ personal Facebook page, was shared with WTOP but was not online Monday."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

MSNBC’s ‘demotion’ of ‘feckless’ Chuck Todd celebrated: ‘Hurray! More Nicolle, less Chuck’

Published

on

MSNBC host Chuck Todd was moved to an earlier timeslot where his show, "Meet the Press Daily," will likely earn lower ratings. Meanwhile, Nicolle Wallace seems to have been promoted to a two-hour timeslot leading into primetime.

Wallace, who has extensive experience in Washington, previously served in George W. Bush's White House until abandoning the GOP as the era of Trump came to power.

Todd has made several missteps where he's been unwilling to press GOP leaders who lie openly and obviously on camera.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image