DETROIT— United Auto Workers delegates on Tuesday rejected an opportunity to codify in their constitution "equal pay for equal work" ahead of next year's negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers, and increased the salaries of International Executive Board officers. The "two-tier" system implemented during 2007 negotiations prior to the auto industry's taxpayer bailout have long been a complaint of workers. They allowed the companies to start employees hired after 2007 at lower wages and without a pension. Looking ahead, the automakers' creation of joint ventures to build electric-vehicle...
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In a column for Politico, former prosecutor Renato Mariotti maintained that Department of Justice now has a very prosecutable case against Donald Trump after FBI agents were forced to get a warrant to recover boxes of stolen highly-sensitive government documents from Mar-a-Lago last week after weeks of negotiations with the former president's lawyers.
According to Mariotti, Trump has only himself to blame for helping the Department of Justice put together a case that will stick.
With the New York Times reporting that surveillance video at the luxury Florida resort owned by Trump showed the disputed boxes of government reports were moved in and out of a room that was supposed to be secured, thereby alarming DOJ officials, the former prosecutor claimed that would be a contributing factor if investigators seek an indictment.
Writing for Politico, he asserted, "while it is possible the DOJ merely wanted to retrieve and secure the material that Trump refused to give back to the government, if they decide to press forward with charges, their case looks quite strong."
"One strategy I used as a federal prosecutor was to have agents serve targets of investigations with a notice indicating that what they were doing was breaking the law. If the target continued to violate the law after receiving the notice, we had the proof we needed," he explained. "DOJ’s repeated requests and demands to Trump and his team served the same purpose. It will be difficult for Trump to claim that he did not realize that the records he kept were national security secrets that rightfully belonged to the government, given that the government repeatedly told him so and demanded their return."
The attorney added, "Although Trump may believe that highly classified defense secrets are his own personal property, or that he could keep Top Secret documents because he informally 'declassified' them without following established procedures, it will be difficult to convince jurors that he had a legitimate reason to keep such sensitive national security information at his Florida resort."
Mariotti also pointed out that Trump has been treated with "kid gloves" by the DOJ until now, but that seems to have come to an end.
He also added that Trump's "best defense" in this case would likely blow up in his face.
"Trump’s best defense would likely be that he didn’t really know that classified material remained at Mar-a-Lago, because he relied on his aides and lawyers, who told him that they gave all the classified material back to the government. The problem for Trump is that doing so would likely waive attorney-client privilege between himself and the lawyers he is pointing the finger at, and it’s unclear whether any of them would be willing to take the fall for him," he wrote
"I would not be surprised if DOJ refuses to pursue charges, regardless of their strength, in the absence of a 'plus factor' like obstruction. But that factor might be present here, given recent reports that one of Trump’s lawyers signed a written statement falsely asserting that “all material marked as classified” had been returned to the government. That falsehood might be why an obstruction statute was included in the search warrant executed at Trump’s residence," he predicted. "That false representation creates potential liability for the lawyer, because lying to the federal government is a crime if it is done knowingly and willfully. DOJ could investigate that lawyer, who could claim that she relied on Trump’s false statements or — if she lied on her own — potentially flip on him."
"If DOJ can establish that Trump was personally behind efforts to obstruct their investigation, they very well might charge him," he concluded.
You can read more here.
Hours after the New York Times released a report that Department of Justice rushed the search at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort after seeing a surveillance video showing the boxes of stolen government documents were being moved, the former president lashed out at the FBI in a post-midnight attack
The Times report stated, "The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room. According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room."
Taking to his Truth Social account, Trump aimed multiple accusations at the FBI including "was there a 'plant?'"
He first stated, "The FBI gas (sic) a long and unrelenting history of being corrupt. Just look back to the days of J. Edgar Hoover. In the modern era, nothing has changed except that it has gotten far worse. Look at Comey, McCabe, Strzok and lover Lisa Page. Check out the brilliantly written but damning I.G. Reports. See what they were willing to do in order to get Crooked Hillary Clinton elected (they failed), and got caught!," before adding, "They spied on my campaign, pushed the FAKE Dossier, and illegally used the FISA Court."
"The Inspector General said the FBI acted with 'gross incompetence and negligence.' I was fully vindicated in the Russia, Russia, Russia SCAM, the 'No Collusion' Mueller Investigation, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and all else," he continued. "NOW THEY RAID MY HOME, ban my lawyers and, without any witnesses allowed, break the lock that they asked us to install on the storage area that we showed them early on, which held papers that they could have had months ago for the asking, and without the ridiculous political grandstanding of a “break in” to a very storied, important, and high visibility place, just before the Midterm Elections."
He concluded, "The whole World was watching as the FBI rummaged through the house, including the former First Lady’s closets (and clothing!), alone and unchecked. They even demanded that the security cameras be turned off (we refused), but there was no way of knowing if what they took was legitimate, or was there a “plant?” This was, after all, the FBI!"
When Joe Biden met last week with a "select group of scholars" for a "Socratic dialogue" about America's future, the esteemed historians compared the current crisis facing our democracy with two other historical periods: The years immediately preceding the Civil War, which broke out shortly after Abraham Lincoln's victory in the 1860 presidential election, and the years before World War II, when proto-fascist or explicitly fascist movements like those led by aviator Charles Lindbergh popped up all over the land.
This article first appeared in Salon.
Yet there is a third, and closely related, chapter of American political history worth examining at this moment: The one that occurred not immediately before the Civil War, but during that conflict. Even during the worst carnage of the worst war in American history, elections were still held — a remarkable accomplishment all on its own. One of the two major parties of that period, the Democrats, who dominated the South and were largely pro-slavery (or at best not opposed to it) were severely depleted because so many of them had joined the Confederate rebellion. The Republicans, a party that had only existed for a few years, held commanding majorities, but in a climate of intense partisan division.
It would be ludicrous to suggest that Joe Biden can ever match Lincoln's legacy. Except, perhaps, when it comes to the question of how to handle Donald Trump.
This is uncomfortably similar to the United States today. While a handful of Republicans have denounced Donald Trump's coup attempt, most are either sticking with the disgraced former president or trying to find some (nonexistent) middle ground. So Biden faces with the question of how to deal with an opposition party that seems ready to tolerate or even encourage actual violent rebellion when it loses an election.
So how did Abraham Lincoln and the Republicans of his era handle this situation? First, it's important to note that congressional elections were quite different 160 years ago at this time. For one thing, they were scheduled in a manner that might seem bizarre to modern Americans. That was especially true during the 1860 elections, which were spread out over an extended period of time that included the secession of 11 Southern states, giving the Republicans (almost exclusively a Northern party at that time) overwhelming majorities in both depleted houses of Congress. In the Senate, Republicans held a 30-11 advantage, while in the House they held 105 of the 149 seats.
For a party that had only been formed in 1854, this was an astonishing opportunity to transform America, and the Republicans seized it. Going into the following midterms, in 1862-63, Lincoln's party faced intense public backlash for the Union's inability to end the war, the intense controversy around the Emancipation Proclamation, government policies that restricted free speech and civil liberties, and a range of economic issues, including inflation and taxes. Republicans lost 22 seats in the House but managed to hold onto effective control of that body — and actually gained three seats in the Senate.
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In other words, because the Democrats both literally and figuratively relinquished power during Lincoln's presidency, the Republicans reaped political capital even during extremely adverse conditions. They spent some of that capital on the history-changing project of ending chattel slavery — the Emancipation Proclamation didn't actually do that, but it certainly started the process — and also pursued a wide range of economic programs that appear remarkably progressive, even by modern standards: Creating the Department of Agriculture, funding the transcontinental railroad, reforming monetary policy, and creating the first national parks and land-grant colleges. One policy, the Homestead Act, made millions of acres of government-held land available at very low cost. (For good measure, Lincoln made Thanksgiving into a national holiday for the first time.)
"His vision of the Union meant opportunity for all — hence homestead acreage for the many," Lincoln historian Harold Holzer told Salon about the 1862 Homestead Act during an interview last year. "It meant encouraging farming over hunting — independent farming to replace plantation aristocracies — hence [creating] the Agriculture Department."
Because the opposition party both literally and figuratively relinquished power, Lincoln and his party were granted a historic opportunity to change America — and seized it.
Just as important, most Republicans understood it was essential to hold the Confederate traitors accountable. Despite critics from moderate Republicans and Northern Democrats, Lincoln wanted to make sure that prominent Confederates would be barred from political office in the future. He was inclined to be lenient with rank-and-file rebel soldiers, while the so-called Radical Republicans favored a more punitive policy. But no one doubted there had to be consequences for people who took up arms against the government because they were unhappy about losing an election.
This brings us back to the present, and the historic passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which might not match the grandeur of Biden's original Build Back Better agenda, but still counts as the landmark achievement of his term and one of the biggest pieces of policy legislation in decades. Biden has had other achievements, as well as a number of obvious setbacks, but it would be ludicrous to suggest he comes anywhere near Lincoln's legacy. Arguably, he does face a similar problem in deciding how far to go in pursuing and prosecuting Donald Trump and supporters of the Trump insurgency. Whether or not Biden truly holds Trump and his enablers accountable is likely to determine how history views his presidency.