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Supreme Court decision on Trump’s taxes handed Democratic lawmakers a powerful new weapon: law professor

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According to a law professor writing for Politico, Donald Trump earned a small victory this past week when the Supreme Court did not allow Congress to have his tax returns that prosecutors in New York will receive, but it did set a precedent for more Congressional power over the president that can be used in further conflicts.

In her column for Politico, Kimberly Wehle of the University of Baltimore School of Law, wrote that “Congress emerged with more clarity about its oversight powers, and how to enforce them, than it had before the Supreme Court weighed in,” in its 7/2 decision.

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Writing that, “Trump’s breathtaking plea for absolute presidential immunity, if accepted, would have fractured the Constitution’s system of separated powers,” Wehle said when the court rebuffed Trump it created an opening for Congress.

“The Supreme Court hasn’t had to wade into this kind of mess until now because every president before Trump struck deals with the coordinate legislative branch of government,” she explained. “Because there was no precedent in Mazars, the Court had to make up some law. Which it did. The Chief Justice unveiled a multi-part test to guide lower courts faced with subpoenas for information bearing on sitting presidents. In particular, the Court sent the matter back to the lower court with directions that it consider whether the subpoenas have a significant legislative purpose that is supported by sufficiently ‘detailed and substantial’ evidence; whether Congress can reasonably get the information from other sources; whether the subpoenas are ‘no broader than reasonably necessary to support Congress’s legislative objective’; and whether the third parties’ compliance with the subpoenas would somehow burden the president.”

That, she notes, could mean that “congressional subpoenas to [accounting firm] Mazars and Trump’s banks, as drafted, may well pass this test,” she continued before adding that Congress would likely “figure out a way to satisfy the Court’s new standard.”

Noting that the Supreme Court “made very clear” that Congress has subpoena power, the professor wrote that, in the recent decision, “the majority did not erect an especially high bar for congressional subpoenas seeking information about presidents’ finances.”

Adding that the Supreme Court “might impose a standard that required courts to probe the subjective motives behind congressional subpoenas implicating the president,” Wehle conceded, “Had the Court erected a test that forced lower courts to climb into the minds of individual or collective members of Congress and tease apart valid and invalid motives, it would have effectively insulated presidents from congressional subpoena powers because subjective state-of-mind standards are extremely difficult to satisfy.”

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According to law professor, the ground has now shifted with the latest decision, as she used the recent impeachment trial as an example.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Mazars USA is best viewed in tandem with the Republican Senate majority’s acquittal of Trump for obstruction of Congress” she elaborated. “Trump’s lawyers successfully argued that the president can totally flout any requests for information from Congress to the Executive Branch with impunity, leaving American voters and their representatives without the basic information needed for oversight. Congress gave that power away, with nothing gained in return. The Supreme Court just handed it back.”

You can read more here.

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2020 Election

Facebook removes network of fake accounts that posed as Trump supporters

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Facebook said Thursday it took down accounts running a deceptive campaign out of Romania pretending to be Americans supporting US President Donald Trump ahead of the coming election.

The leading online social network removed 35 Facebook accounts, three pages, and 88 Instagram accounts as part of an ongoing fight against "coordinated inauthentic behavior," according to security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher.

"The people behind this network used fake accounts to pose as Americans, amplify and comment on their own content, and manage pages including some posing as President Trump fan pages," Gleicher said.

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2020 Election

Brace yourself for months of lawlessness — ‘Election Night’ likely will not end until 2021

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There’s nothing wrong with treating American politics like a sport as long as everyone involved in the competition is playing the same sport by the same rules. There’s nothing wrong as long as both sides agree the rules are legitimate, both commit to obeying them and both accept the consequences when they break them.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

But there is a problem with treating American politics like a sport when one side is playing soccer and the other is playing football while neither can agree to the rules, because one side won’t commit to obeying them. There is something wrong when one side not only refuses to accept the consequences of rule-breaking but sets out to undermine the idea of rules altogether. In that case, treating politics like a sport, as the Washington press corps habitually does, isn’t helpful. It’s harmful. Even dangerous.

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2020 Election

‘Deranged’ Trump pummeled for lying that ‘practicing Catholic’ Joe Biden will ‘hurt God’

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President Donald Trump used a supposedly non-political event Thursday afternoon to attack his Democratic opponent with a lie, saying former Vice President Joe Biden will "hurt God" if elected.

In the strange pronouncement on the tarmac in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump falsely claimed that Biden will "take away your guns. Destroy your Second Amendment. No religion. No anything. Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy."

A completely deranged Trump claims Joe Biden will "hurt God" if elected president pic.twitter.com/cJ8fbghmAm

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