Patterico's Pontifications

12/20/2022

Jan. 6 Committee Makes Several Criminal Referrals To DOJ

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:57 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Just a quick post here. I’m away from a computer and am using an iPhone, so…

The Jan. 6 committee concluded its work yesterday, and as expected (by some of us), several criminal referrals were made to the DOJ concerning Donald Trump and his role surrounding the events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol:

The charges include obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement, and and insurrection.

In a sweeping 160-page summary released by the committee to explain its findings, the committee labeled Trump as the “central cause” of the attack.

“That evidence has led to an overriding and straight-forward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the summary said.

“[Trump] entered into agreements, formal and informal, with several other individuals who assisted with his criminal objectives,” Raskin said during the meeting. “That said, the subcommittee does not attempt to determine all of the potential participants in this conspiracy, as our understanding of the role of many individuals may be incomplete because they refused to answer our questions.”

“We trust that the Department of Justice will be able to form a more complete picture through its investigation,” Raskin said.

Trump responded to the referral news (and Electoral Reform news) with the standard humble regret for his actions that we’ve come to expect from him… I felt that these posts best represent his delusional state of mind (they are not necessarily in chronological order) but you can read more comments by him at the link below:

The Fake charges made by the highly partisan Unselect Committee of January 6th have already been submitted, prosecuted, and tried in the form of Impeachment Hoax # 2. I WON convincingly. Double Jeopardy anyone!…

I don’t care whether they change The Electoral Count Act or not, probably better to leave it the way it is so that it can be adjusted in case of Fraud, but what I don’t like are the lies and “disinformation” put out by the Democrats and RINOS. They said the Vice President has “absolutely no choice,” it was carved in “steel,” but if he has no choice, why are they changing the law saying he has no choice?

…Simply put, it is because the Vice President did have a choice, and looking back at it now, the 2020 Voting Fraud was far greater than anyone thought possible, with even our Government, through the FBI, changing the results of the Election by millions and millions of votes.

In addition to everything else, our Government, through the FBI, RIGGED the 2020 Presidential Election!

Also, per the Jan. 6 committee, Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep Jim Jordan, Rep Scott Perry, and Rep Andy Biggs will be referred to the House Ethics Committee.

—Dana

90 Responses to “Jan. 6 Committee Makes Several Criminal Referrals To DOJ”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (1225fc)

  2. Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep Jim Jordan, Rep Scott Perry, and Rep Andy Biggs will be referred to the House Ethics Committee.

    Unless these allegations are well founded (and I wonder why these names and not others), the new Congressional leadership may retaliate.

    Personally, I think that the hyperpartisanship we see on both sides is a great danger to the country. That every tit for every tat increases the divide tels me that if nothing changes soon, the country will fracture.

    A centrist party seems more and more the way out here. It’s almost like we have two extremist “third parties” with a lock on our politics. There’s a HUGE niche that’s vacant.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  3. The GOP needs to change the focus from Trump, as much as Trump wants the focus. Perhaps an investigation of Biden’s medical condition and mental acuity, subpoenaing his medical records and the White House physician. Since he’s employed by the government and not by Biden, medical privilege, like legal privilege for the WH counsel, shouldn’t be an issue.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  4. Should all presidential candidates have to release their medical records?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  5. In keeping with the topic, though, yes, this is a good thing and I hope that the DoJ doesn’t wimp out. Charge Trump with all of it, and let him find a lawyer who doesn’t mind an ignoramus in charge of the defense.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  6. #3 & 4 should have been on another thread

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  7. “Should all presidential candidates have to release their medical records?”

    There’s probably a middle ground of a summary that preserves some privacy. Opening up so people can troll through his diagnostic data doesn’t contribute to deliberate governance. There could be a panel that reviews his personal physician’s conclusions that should suffice. Otherwise, we’re just opening the door to more gotcha. Much of what is going on with Biden is the same stuff people called on him 30 years ago….plus some more stumbles. My test is that if the old guy was a Republican, how would you like him to be treated?

    AJ_Liberty (5f05c3)

  8. Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep Jim Jordan, Rep Scott Perry, and Rep Andy Biggs will be referred to the House Ethics Committee.

    Unless these allegations are well founded (and I wonder why these names and not others), the new Congressional leadership may retaliate.

    The ethics referrals are based on the fact that the four refused to comply with the Committee’s subpoenas, so it seems pretty air tight. And retaliation is very predictable.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. Star Chamber with expected results.

    NJRob (ba8f28)

  10. > There could be a panel that reviews his personal physician’s conclusions that should suffice.

    That will no longer work. There is no longer any conceivable panel which would be trusted by both sides. Saying negative things about Biden’s health will result in many Democrats believing the panel is biased, and saying positive things about Biden’s health will result in many Republicans believing the panel is biased.

    There are now zero intermediaries *anywhere* whom both political tribes will trust for *anything*.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  11. Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep Jim Jordan, Rep Scott Perry, and Rep Andy Biggs will be referred to the House Ethics Committee.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/20/2022 @ 1:08 pm

    Unless these allegations are well founded (and I wonder why these names and not others), the new Congressional leadership may retaliate.

    The facts underlying the referrals are not in dispute. They refused to comply with subpoenas issued by the committee. Now they can claim that the committee has no authority to subpoena them, and that they cannot demand their testimony on their interactions with the president, and that the committee is biased, but the House Ethics Committee is generally set up to investigate members of Congress – and the referral would include the matters they wanted to question them about, especially Rep Scott Perry, and his proposal that Jeffrey Clark be appointed Acting Attorney General.

    I thought that the referral about a false statement was about that — it turns out it was about false electors signing something declaring they were elected/

    The United States House Committee on Ethics is the only House committee, I think, that is evenly divided between the parties.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  12. Of course before all of that, the House Ethics Committee, will have to deal with Congressman-elect George Santos, whom Kevin McCarthy needs to seat because he desperately needs his vote for Speaker. So they’ll go after him after he’s sworn in.

    George Santos seems to be a criminal, most likely from his youth. (he’s a fugitive from justice in Brazil, In 2008, when he was 19, he stole the checkbook of a man his late mother was caring for and used the checkbook to make fraudulent purchases, including a pair of shoes. Two years later, he confessed to the crime and was later charged. But he’s on the lam.)

    He lied about everything, including on his financial disclosure forms and he probably recently came into some money, either from a Ponzi scheme, an illegal political campaign contribution, or maybe (best from a legal stsndpoint) a secret homosexual lover. He doesn’t live at the address he is registered to vote from. Before he was twice evicted during the past decade for non-payment of rent, or maybe left before that could happen.

    His well paying jobs never happened; his company or companies are shells; he never graduated from Baruch College or attended New York University; he doesn’t own property except in Brazil maybe and not a lot of it; he has a GED; his charity, an animal rescue group called Friends of Pets United which he ran from 2013 to 2018, never became tax exempt and maybe never did anything except defraud people (he held a joint held at least one fund-raiser with another New Jersey animal rescue group in 2017; at which they charged $50 for entry, “But the event’s beneficiary, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, said that she never received any of the funds, with Mr. Santos only offering repeated excuses for not forwarding the money.”)

    He denies everything. (or anything)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/19/nyregion/george-santos-ny-republicans.html

    Now the thing is, this is his second campaign for Congress, but Democrats didn’t look into him until he won.

    Personally, I think that the hyperpartisanship we see on both sides is a great danger to the country. That every tit for every tat increases the divide tels me that if nothing changes soon, the country will fracture.

    A centrist party seems more and more the way out here. It’s almost like we have two extremist “third parties” with a lock on our politics. There’s a HUGE niche that’s vacant.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  13. Kevin M:

    Personally, I think that the hyperpartisanship we see on both sides is a great danger to the country. That every tit for every tat increases the divide tells me that if nothing changes soon, the country will fracture.

    The House Ethics Committee is going to fracture, so long as Kevin McCarthy needs Santos.

    A centrist party seems more and more the way out here. It’s almost like we have two extremist “third parties” with a lock on our politics. There’s a HUGE niche that’s vacant.

    What we need is the ability of candidates to run indpendently of the major parties. The parties are too strong, and as an organization, they are not pulled toward the center, unlike the case in Britain.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  14. I wouldn;t rely on anything George Santos said or let people know, or about his parent’s background.

    His other was Jewish, he says, or the New York Times reports, s Jewish but was named Fatima – and her family came from Ukraine (or what is now Ukraine) and was in Belgium during World War II – his fathers family came from Angola but he later wound up in Brazil (they speak Portuguese in both places) and is Catholic. They immigrated to the United States at some point but his mother at least returned to Brazil. He alternates between describing himself as a non-observant Jew and a Catholic (presumably non observant too)

    He also said, without giving more details, that four employees of his company were killed in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016. “But a Times review of news coverage and obituaries found that none of the 49 victims appear to have worked at the various firms named in his biography.”

    He’s been on and off with Trump:

    And while he previously boasted that he attended the Jan. 6 rally (but, he has said, not the riot) in support of Mr. Trump in Washington, he has since ducked questions about his attendance and a prior claim that he had written “a nice check for a law firm” to assist some rioters with their legal bills.

    But that’s just lying.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  15. The ethics referrals are based on the fact that the four refused to comply with the Committee’s subpoenas

    How is that unethical? Pretty sure they have a constitutional basis for not being called to account for their political actions.

    But then I view ALL “ethics” laws as sick jokes.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  16. The committee was Pelosi’s star chamber I hope McCarthy buries her and Cheney with subpoenas.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  17. Congressman-elect George Santos

    Now, wait. The argument is that there’s a limit to the lies a politician can tell? When did that happen, and has anyone told Joe Biden?

    1) Not sure what the ethics committee intends to do with this guy. Make him wear a sign saying “I am unethical”? Fining him for telling too many lies seems to be fraught with ramifications.

    2) As long as he was duly elected and he meets the Constitutional requirements, they must seat him.

    The House has the right to judge whether he is 25yo, is seven years a citizen, was an inhabitant of the state that he represents on election day, and whether his election was certified by his state.

    3) They could fail to assign him to a committee (with a majority vote), or they could censure him (also a majority vote).

    4) They cannot bar him from voting or any other privilege of an elected member of Congress, unless they can muster a 2/3rds vote to expel him. It’s been done, but not often.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  18. SF: The ethics referrals are based on the fact that the four refused to comply with the Committee’s subpoenas

    KM: How is that unethical?

    https://www.axios.com/2022/12/19/jan6-committee-ethics-kevin-mccarthy

    A partial copy of the committee’s report provided to Axios charges McCarthy and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) with violating House rules requiring members to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

    The members’ “willful failure” to comply with subpoenas “reflects discredit on Congress,” the report says, warning that letting them off could undermine the power of congressional subpoenas.

    “If left unpunished, such behavior undermines Congress’s longstanding power to investigate in support of its lawmaking authority and suggests that Members of Congress may disregard legal obligations that apply to ordinary citizens.”

    Well, they may.

    https://constitutionus.com

    Article 1, Section 6

    The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

    That’s why the refusal to comply with subpoenas was referred to the House Ethics Committee and not the Department of Justice.

    Axios also wrote:

    The committee did not refer Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who refused to comply with a subpoena but is leaving Congress in January.

    The referrals to the House Ethics Committee expire anyway on January 3, this it would have been logical to include Mo Brooks.

    I suppose any member of Congress can refer it again. But you need a majority vote (meaning at least one member of both parties in tis evenly divided committee) to do anything.

    I think they possibly also referred the underlying suspicions in some cases, but they didn’t leak that to Axios. I think everything is scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  19. whom Kevin McCarthy needs to seat because he desperately needs his vote for Speaker. So they’ll go after him after he’s sworn in.

    They have to seat him if he was elected and meets the constitutional requirements.

    If, for some reason he was not an inhabitant of New York state on Election Day, or if he has not been a US citizen for the last 7 years (or if he’s under 25) they can refuse to seat him. But they cannot impose additional qualifications other than what are in Article I, Section 2.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  20. They would have had more of a complaint, had the full House voted that they should answer the committee’s questions.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  21. As far as ethics are concerned, the late unlamented Alcee Hastings served many years in Congress after being impeached and convicted for perjury and bribery while a US district judge.

    So that’s the bar.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  22. George Santos is probably 34 years old. They’d have to expel him to get rid of him. It requires a 2/3 vote.

    Democrats are trying to push him into resigning (I suppose have the Republican Party offer him an incentive to do so)

    https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/calls-grow-for-congressman-elect-george-santos-to-resign-after-allegedly-lying-about-his-background

    There are several avenues in which an ethics investigation could take place with the House of Representatives, but none likely to affect Santos’ ability to take office next month.

    Some suggest [some of] the alleged lies could amount to crimes. [Not to mention that they could be covering up crimes] Congressman-elect Dan Goldman of Manhattan, a former federal prosecutor, is calling for an investigation into conspiracy by interfering with a federal election and filing false statements to the election commission.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  23. @18: By God, that’s weak. Conduct unbecoming. Do you know how many time Obama’s officials refused to honor GOP committee subpoenas?

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  24. But then I view ALL “ethics” laws as sick jokes.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/20/2022 @ 3:31 pm

    Speaking of “ethics”:

    Trump’s former White House ethics lawyer told Cassidy Hutchinson to give misleading testimony to January 6 committee, sources say

    The January 6 committee made a startling allegation on Monday, claiming it had evidence that a Trump-backed attorney urged a key witness to mislead the committee about details they recalled.

    Though the committee declined to identify the people, CNN has learned that Stefan Passantino, the top ethics attorney in the Trump White House, is the lawyer who allegedly advised his then-client, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, to tell the committee that she did not recall details that she did, sources familiar with the committee’s work tell CNN.

    Trump’s Save America political action committee funded Passantino and his law firm Elections LLC, including paying for his representation of Hutchinson, other sources tell CNN. The committee report notes the lawyer did not tell his client who was paying for the legal services.
    ………
    In a statement to CNN, Passantino said he didn’t advise Hutchinson to mislead the committee. “I represented Ms. Hutchinson honorably, ethically, and fully consistent with her sole interests as she communicated them to me. I believed Ms. Hutchinson was being truthful and cooperative with the Committee throughout the several interview sessions in which I represented her.”
    ………
    By Tuesday, Passantino’s professional biography had been removed from the website of a midwestern-based law firm where he was a partner – and he acknowledged in his statement he was on a leave of absence from the firm “given the distraction of this matter.” That firm, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, said on Tuesday it was not involved in the situation and Hutchinson wasn’t a client.

    Passantino said he remains a partner at Elections LLC.
    ………..

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  25. There is a long (bipartisan) history of withholding documents (and officials) from Congress.

    The main difference here is that the January 6th Committee subpoenaed sitting members of Congress, not Executive officials. It does set a precedent for Adam Schiff and other Democrats to defy Republican subpoenas.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  26. It does set a precedent for Adam Schiff and other Democrats to defy Republican subpoenas.

    1) They should.
    2) Is it common to subpoena sitting members of Congress?
    2a) If it is, did they always comply in the past?
    2b) If it isn’t, then this is a fine precedent. Pound sand.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  27. In an absolute shock to no one, the House Ways & Means committee votes to release Trump’s tax return. No doubt as a necessary part of their in-depth report on how presidential audits are conducted.

    This was an abuse of power.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  28. Representative Richard E. Neal, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, says, “This was not about being punitive. This was not about being malicious.”

    Asked further, he suggested better words were “petty” and “vindictive.”

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  29. OK, I may have made part of that up.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  30. insurrection by proxy:

    The Biden administration told the Supreme Court Tuesday that the justices should reject an emergency bid by a group of GOP-led states to keep the controversial Trump-era border restriction known as Title 42 in effect while legal challenges play out.

    But it also asked for the court to delay the ending of Title 42 until at least December 27, citing ongoing preparations for an influx of migrants and the upcoming holiday weekend.

    JF (9c685c)

  31. Is it common to subpoena sitting members of Congress?

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/20/2022 @ 5:24 pm

    How commonly are Congress members fact witnesses to an insurrection?

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  32. How commonly are Congress members fact witnesses to an insurrection?

    I missed that section of the Constitution.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  33. How long before someone starts subpoenaing tax returns from people like Musk or Gates or Buffet? Then releasing them. After all, it’s really important for Congress to know how billionaires taxes are handled.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  34. Covid runs interference for democrats. Analysis of 2022 elections shows the difference in close elections that democrats won was less then the difference between covid deaths of democrats and republicans/gop leaning independents. In california Katie Porter barely won republicans barely won congress seats because of forced vaccination In New York forced vaccinations cost democrats 4 congressional seat and made gov. close. msnbc

    asset (07ce50)

  35. Dana– you take it easy this Christmas week… you’ve put in a lot of time preparing postings as is… the Real World takes priority…

    DCSCA (fbd2b6)

  36. How long before someone starts subpoenaing tax returns from people like Musk or Gates or Buffet? Then releasing them. After all, it’s really important for Congress to know how billionaires taxes are handled.

    Or Congresscritters like the Pelosis? Or the Bush family? Howzabout the Bidens, too? Then corporate CEOs at big, bad oil companies; or the media elite running networks and cable news outlets; Hollywood celebs… etc. This ‘precedent’ is going to backfire big time- especially going after a NY real estate tycoon who made no secret of telling the world that he, like everybody else, sought to pay as little as possible- especially when the analpores in government give it away to non-citizens who don’t vote. No coincidence a meeting of the bums is happening tomorrow– Bugs Moran is lapping on Santa Joe for his $1.8 billion shakedown- no coal in his stocking. … and the Europeans smiled.

    DCSCA (fbd2b6)

  37. specially when the analpores in government give it away to non-citizens who don’t vote

    Or build train lines between Merced and Bakersfield at about a billion dollars a mile.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  38. “I missed that section of the Constitution.”

    The Supreme Court affirmed in Watkins v. United States (1957) that “[the] power of the Congress to conduct investigations is inherent in the legislative process” and that “[it] is unquestionably the duty of all citizens to cooperate with the Congress in its efforts to obtain the facts needed for intelligent legislative action. It is their unremitting obligation to respond to subpoenas, to respect the dignity of the Congress and its committees and to testify fully with respect to matters within the province of proper investigation.”

    In Anderson v. Dunn (1821), the Supreme Court of the United States held that Congress’ power to hold someone in contempt was essential to ensure that Congress was “… not exposed to every indignity and interruption that rudeness, caprice, or even conspiracy, may mediate against it.”

    Sounds like an early implied power that the framers accepted.

    AJ_Liberty (811aff)

  39. R.I.P. Franco Harris, hall of fame running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers

    Icy (7a93eb)

  40. @39. Much, much sadness…. every Steeler fan and Pittsburgher mourns… 50 years ago this very weekend, 12/23/72- Franco’s immortal ‘Immaculate Reception’ played out on television between the Steelers and Raiders– it remains a treasure family moment three generations watched that holiday weekend…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaculate_Reception

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHIXFKrrUhA

    DCSCA (7aa910)

  41. Congress has made this anti-Trumper less than happy wih its anti-Trump actions over the past few days.

    Really, it isn’t the job of the Ways and means Committee to release a private citizen’s tax returns. I know that a voluntary release of a Presidential candidate’s tax returns has become expected since Nixon, and Trump violated that tradition. Still…there will be retaliation and that genie won’t get back in the bottle anytime soon. If 2012 taught us anything, it’s that reporters don’t understand the tax laws and will misrepresent wht they see in any tax form given to them. I hope Mitt Romney did not support the release of the Trump returns. He ought to know the needless damage letting reporters loose on those things causes.

    And the ethics charges against the House members for refusing to testify before the 1-6 grand jury? Really? Since Pelosi refused to have certain members on that Committee, the refusal to testify was baked in the cake. (Partisanship does breed partisanship.) Look, if the 1-6 Committee thought certain members participated in the actual riot/insurrection, take those charges to the ethics committee and fight things out based on the insurrection. This just stinks of partisan malice and will be easily dismissed. That part of things feels like an attempt to grab a headline and, of course, discredits the entire enterprise.

    Appalled (e51ad6)

  42. Biden keeps the Covid public health emergency designation in place, we still have Covid era voting rules, but Biden says Covid era title 42 is “obsolete” and needs to go.

    And, he’s thumbs up for this:

    The massive congressional spending bill released Tuesday would bar Customs and Border Protection (CBP) funding from going toward border security as the agency sees record numbers of illegal immigrants.

    The bill states that the $1,563,143,000 in funds allocated to CBP for “Operations and Support” can’t be used “to acquire, maintain, or extend border security technology and capabilities, except for technology and capabilities to improve Border Patrol processing.” The bill was introduced in the Senate Tuesday and needs to be passed in order to avert a government shutdown.

    Former CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan called the funding restriction “f*cking insanity,” in a statement to the DCNF.

    “They finally put down in black and white what we’ve been saying for two years- they don’t care about securing our borders or stopping their deadly open border policies. Just throwing money at the crisis to get better and more effective at processing and releasing illegal aliens,” Morgan said.

    You can bust into the country, cause a state of emergency in border cities, but don’t you dare bust into the Capitol or Martha’s Vineyard.

    JF (3cbc8e)

  43. @2

    Personally, I think that the hyperpartisanship we see on both sides is a great danger to the country. That every tit for every tat increases the divide tels me that if nothing changes soon, the country will fracture.
    Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/20/2022 @ 1:08 pm

    This is where we’re heading.

    The era of Trump will be seen as a time where both wing of the partisan divides threw out concerns for precedent in their quest for power.

    I don’t see a way to put the toothpaste back in the tube here…

    whembly (d116f3)

  44. The FBI and CIA usurping the functions of government to place their thumb in the scale in 2020 has forever crossed the rubicon and destroyed our faith in our institutions. It’s a matter of time before the system collapses upon itself.

    NJRob (6fb2b2)

  45. Despite Mandate, I.R.S. Delayed Auditing Trump in Office, House Panel Finds

    The Internal Revenue Service failed to audit former President Donald J. Trump during his first two years in office despite a program that makes the auditing of sitting presidents mandatory, a House committee revealed on Tuesday after an extraordinary vote to make public six years of his tax returns.

    Mr. Trump filed returns in 2017 for the two previous tax years, but the I.R.S. began auditing those filings only in 2019 — the first on the same day in April the Ways and Means Committee requested access to his taxes and any associated audits, a report by the panel said. The I.R.S. has yet to complete those audits, it said, and the agency started auditing his filings covering his income while president only after he left office.
    ………..
    Its regulations state that “individual tax returns for the president and the vice president are subject to mandatory review.”
    ………
    The I.R.S. did not immediately comment on the matter after the disclosure late Tuesday. But Mr. Neal said that when the committee had inquired, “(Former IRS Commissioner under Trump Charles) Rettig said at different points that they were simply outgunned” and that the I.R.S. said it lacked specialists capable of assessing Mr. Trump’s filings.
    ………..
    Congress has used the law to release private taxpayer information before, but rarely.

    In 1974, a committee relied on that provision to issue a bipartisan staff report of Nixon’s tax returns, which led to the creation of the I.R.S.’s presidential audit program. It centered in part on whether he had underpaid income tax by claiming a unjustifiably large deduction for donating his prepresidential papers to the National Archives.

    And after a party-line vote in 2014, Republicans used the provision to release information about groups applying for tax-exempt status. At the time, Republicans accused the I.R.S. of targeting conservatives because it had used words like “tea party” when selecting applicants to scrutinize for political activity that would make them ineligible for tax-deductible donations. But it turned out the I.R.S. had also used words associated with liberals, like “progressive” and “occupy.”
    …………

    Congress should change the law to repeal its authority to obtain and release tax returns, and codify the authority of the IRS to audit a President’s tax returns into law.

    Rip Murdock (7b3cf0)

  46. The FBI and CIA usurping the functions of government to place their thumb in the scale in 2020 has forever crossed the rubicon ….

    The FIB & CIA actually have “functions of government” by law.

    In 2016, the FBI director made an unusual public announcement, shortly before the election, that he had reopened an investigation into the Democratic candidate for president. How strange that MAGA-land doesn’t see that as a thumb on the scale for Trump.

    MAGA’s case that the Trump administration’s FBI and CIA put their thumb “in the scale” on behalf of the Dems through social media is laughably thin and falls apart on closer examination. E.g., many of the accounts flagged were targeted at specific segments of the electorate and telling them that to vote on the Wednesday after Election Day. You might think the people who claim to care about free and fair elections would want social media companies to be made aware that such gross disinformation was being purveyed on their platforms. But MAGA’s definition of “free and fair elections” is the same as Trump’s: “We win, they lose.”

    Radegunda (bae960)

  47. How strange that MAGA-land doesn’t see that as a thumb on the scale for Trump.

    You conveniently fail to note that the same FBI director refused to prosecute HRC for an offense you and other nevertrumpers want Trump to be prosecuted for.

    And the partisan deputy director sat on the trove of new evidence, forcing the timing of the director’s action.

    JF (4a3d94)

  48. @46

    In 2016, the FBI director made an unusual public announcement, shortly before the election, that he had reopened an investigation into the Democratic candidate for president. How strange that MAGA-land doesn’t see that as a thumb on the scale for Trump.

    Radegunda (bae960) — 12/21/2022 @ 8:16 am

    Not a MAGA-head, but I’m going to quibble with you on this account.

    You’d need to take in the entire context of the events transpired then.

    1) Everyone believed Hillary was going to win, and win big. Everyone. You’d be lying if you disagree this point.

    2) In light of #1, I got the sense from legacy meeting (generally favorable towards Democrats) felt “safe enough” to report on damaging Hillary stories because, really, Donald F’n Trump?!?! knowwhatimean?

    3) There was more than enough news about Hillary’s classified handling, such that Director Comey felt he needed to publicly assert that a) The FBI did investigate and b) assert that ‘no rational prosecutor would bring actual charges’. This wasn’t to put “a thumb on the scale for Trump“, it was arguably to put “a thumb on the scale for Hillary” so that Comey could put that controversy to rest.

    Furthermore:
    You might think the people who claim to care about free and fair elections would want social media companies to be made aware that such gross disinformation was being purveyed on their platforms.
    The answer to “gross disinformation” isn’t to down-vote/suppress/censure. You combat bad information with stronger arguments and let the people make their own determinations.

    The system as understood pre-Elon Musk at Twitter seems extremely vulnerable to partisan abuses, at a minimum. At worst, it’s a system that allowed the government to censor 1st Amendment speech by proxy (Twitter).

    You should be very concerned about that.

    Can we all be level-headed that, going forward, we don’t over react too? I mean, I think we all can agree with the following:
    1) there was wide support for things like the Patriot Act post 9-11.
    2) the Patriot Act, and others, were increasingly enhanced over the years.
    3) We should revisit these statutes that empowers our domestic agencies to ensure if a) it’s still needed, b) protects civil rights and c) guardrails are in place for adequate oversights.
    4) Should we overturn the Patriot Act and the likes, how do we ensure that the government apparatuses can still “connect the dots” to preventing future 9-11 like attacks?

    whembly (d116f3)

  49. Ugh: ” legacy meeting ” should be legacy media.

    But, ya’ll got my drift, eh?

    whembly (d116f3)

  50. …and if you wanted more recent example of government seeking an end-around of 1st Amendment protections, look no further than Alex Berenson’s egregious twitter ban:
    https://alexberenson.substack.com/p/the-white-house-privately-demanded

    whembly (d116f3)

  51. The FBI and CIA usurping the functions of government to place their thumb in the scale in 2020 has forever crossed the rubicon and destroyed our faith in our institutions. It’s a matter of time before the system collapses upon itself.

    NJRob (6fb2b2) — 12/21/2022 @ 7:04 am

    Why limit it to 2020? The FBI and CIA have interfered in the functions of government for decades-Hoover’s blackmail files on politicians, assassinations of Presidents, presidential candidates, and other public figures, etc. It’s no secret that “former” CIA and FBI operatives were central to the Watergate conspiracy and break-in (once you are in the CIA or FBI, you are never out). Many current and former Members of Congress are “former” CIA officers: Will Hurd (R), Abagail Spanberger (current D), Elissa Slotkin (current D), Porter Goss (R), Bob Barr (R), etc. Brian Fitzpatrick (current R) from Pennsylvania is a “former” FBI agent.

    /sarcasm

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  52. > That every tit for every tat increases the divide tels me that if nothing changes soon, the country will fracture.

    I believe we’ve already crossed that Rubicon and the fracture is now inevitable.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  53. You conveniently fail to note that the same FBI director refused to prosecute HRC for an offense you and other nevertrumpers want Trump to be prosecuted for.

    It’s the decision of the Justice Department/US Attorney, not the FBI, as to whether to prosecute someone. Besides, Trump magnanimously announced that he wasn’t interested in prosecuting HRC, oh wait.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  54. #52

    This is just another way of saying “Civil War”. I don’t really see it. What’s the territory people would be fighting for?

    I think a second Trump administration put us at risk of California and coastal West choosing to secede. I don’t see a second Biden adminstration taking us there in a place like Texas or Florida.

    Appalled (f673fd)

  55. Sounds like an early implied power that the framers accepted.

    And yet administration officials of the opposite party often refuse to comply. I guess that Marshall missed that whole “prosecutorial discretion” thing when he was talking about the duties to comply.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  56. I think a second Trump administration put us at risk of California and coastal West choosing to secede. I don’t see a second Biden adminstration taking us there in a place like Texas or Florida.

    Appalled (f673fd) — 12/21/2022 @ 10:19 am

    LOL! I think the legality of secession was decided between 1860-1865. Ain’t gonna happen. See also Texas v. White (74 U.S. 700 (1868)):

    The Republic of Texas was admitted into the Union, as a State, on the 27th of December, 1845. By this act the new State, and the people of the new State, were invested with all the rights, and became subject to all the responsibilities and duties of the original States under the Constitution.

    From the date of admission, until 1861, the State was represented in the Congress of the United States by her senators and representatives, and her relations as a member of the Union remained unimpaired. In that year, acting upon the theory that the rights of a State under the Constitution might be renounced, and her obligations thrown off at pleasure, Texas undertook to sever the bond thus formed, and to break up her constitutional relations with the United States.
    ……..
    The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form, and character, and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
    ……..
    When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  57. Appalled — the issue is that there are no longer *any* shared sources of truth. And now that it’s possible to trivially manufacture convincing fake video, audio, and text, without mutually agreed upon arbiters of fakeness, we’re going to completely descend into utterly irreconcilable realities, where both sides have facts that they are convinced are true, and which will drive their actions, that the other side has no awareness or knowledge of, and doesn’t believe.

    The only way out of that is to build cross-community bridges and there’s no stomach for that on either side.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  58. @41: Exactly and well-put.

    I have no love for Trump and if he was hit by a bolt of lighting out of a clear blue sky, I would think it just. But one should never cheer lawlessness visited upon those one dislikes; it’s bad karma and that same lawlessness will be visited upon others, given time.

    There is no law requiring candidates or office-holders to release their tax returns. There IS a law saying that the government may not do that. It seems that there’s a loophole if a congressional committee uses some return for an investigation, but here we see that loophole being used as a pretext.

    So, what’s wrong with this?

    One, Trump deserves the equal protection of the law.
    Two, the Rule of Law is diminished a little bit more.
    Three, it will lead to retaliation.
    Four, Trump’s business associates and partners will have their information disclosed as well.
    Five, Business figures will be disinclined to run for high office. Trump is a poor example of that class, which contains a number of people eminently qualified to be President.
    Six, it will reduce the willingness of some, particularly public figures, to disclose the full details of their business arrangements in tax returns.
    Seven, Legal structures will be created to reduce transparency as the promise of confidentiality is shown to be false.

    And probably more things that we aren’t aware of.

    The argument that “Trump should have released them anyway” is contemptible. It’s the old “the end justifies the means” argument that has no sane limit, and no basis in the Rule of Law that many of these commenters pretend to care about.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  59. The FBI and CIA usurping the functions of government to place their thumb in the scale in 2020 has forever crossed the rubicon and destroyed our faith in our institutions. It’s a matter of time before the system collapses upon itself.

    The Rubicon was crossed some time earlier. Trump was nominated based on distrust of out institutions. His job was to reform them, but he, too, just broke them further. Probably why a chaos agent shouldn’t be seen as a lawgiver.

    We are headed to a bad place. It’s almost to the point where the best outcome is an Augustus.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  60. Eight, society will notice. Some people will seek legal reforms and some with sink further into the anti-Rule of Law abyss.

    People will choose which group they want to join. This is how society works. It is never smooth sailing but the last few years with Trump have been particularly bumpy.

    DRJ (676a53)

  61. … To continue the nautical theme.

    DRJ (676a53)

  62. By the way, I accept all 7 of your premises. What should be and what ultimately happens are rarely the same, but it is good to point out what should be.

    DRJ (676a53)

  63. But MAGA’s definition of “free and fair elections” is the same as Trump’s: “We win, they lose.”

    Not a lot different than Biden’s, who lied his ass off (“Trust me, I’m a centrist!”) to get elected.

    Trust in our institutions has been declining since the Clinton presidency, when perjury by the President was condoned. Each president since has, in turn, failed to correct that. Some have been less destructive than others, but all have had a part in it.

    There was a time, not long ago, when trust in government and a belief in institutions was at a nadir. We got very lucky with Ronald Reagan who ended that malaise. For a time, and even he had boots of clay in some areas, particularly race relations.

    Now we are back at a worse point, with a fractured political system, no national consensus or even identity. There is no “Reagan” on the horizon. Sure, compared to Trump we are in a land of giants, but really we only have leaders of factions, none capable of binding up the wounds.

    I think that, for the country to have a better future, we will need a legitimate centrist who is willing to rebuild institutions for a whole country, not just offer equal sops to the factions. Preferably someone who is level-headed, good in a crisis, exceptionally smart, and who understands systems and government, and has not been captured yet by the system or its factions.

    I’m sure that this person exists in this country. I ran across one once, on the afternoon of 9/11, but I think he’s gotten captured by a faction since. I’m sure there are others. BUt msot such have no desire to get involved in the sh1t show.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  64. Hillary lost the election by herself. Her poor campaign choices (especially spending lots of time in states she’d win big) and her physical collapse on camera were two huge mistakes. Her arrogant assumption that she was entitled to the job didn’t help.

    Sure, she was dishonest had had huge negatives, but Trump had his own issues there that balanced out. In the end, everyone was holding their nose at the polls.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  65. This is just another way of saying “Civil War”. I don’t really see it. What’s the territory people would be fighting for?

    Their neighborhood, if not just their block.

    I don’t think that people have the proper horror of civil war. It won’t be a simple north versus south (that was bad enough, witness Sherman’s horrific march through Georgia where nothing was left alive in a 20-mile swath) but neighbor vs neighbor.

    Think Bosnia, where neighbor killed neighbor and murder squads of the true haters roamed the villages. And we have far more guns.

    Think 50 million dead — men, women, children — as MAGA fights COMINTERN. And the result will be terrible whoever wins.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  66. I think a second Trump administration put us at risk of California and coastal West choosing to secede.

    Which would bring two problems.

    1) The national interest would compel the feds to use force to recover the west coast.

    2) The people in those states living 20 miles or more from the major cities would be very unhappy with secession, ans they are now very unhappy with their state governments. They would, at minimum, want to secede from the secession, and might use force to do that.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  67. I think the legality of secession was decided between 1860-1865. Ain’t gonna happen

    We can’t have a civil war! It says so RIGHT HERE!!!1!!

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  68. Rip:

    Newsom’s a blow-dry fool, but this is the rhetoric of secession that was going on in 2020:

    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gavin-newsom-declares-california-nation-160012001.html

    Maybe he was just mad he lost his girlfriend to Trump Jr.

    Appalled (f673fd)

  69. 65. Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/21/2022 @ 11:34 am

    witness Sherman’s horrific march through Georgia where nothing was left alive in a 20-mile swath)

    Plenty was left alive, including five year old Thomas Woodrow Wilson. (another future president present there was Benjamin Harrison) Food was destroyed, and anything the Confederate army could use.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  70. Plenty was left alive

    Not for lack of trying.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  71. 68. His wife!

    By then long divorced and she was married to somebody else for a few years in the meantime.

    Gavin Newsome lost Kimberly Ann Guilfoyle to furniture heir Eric Villency in 2006 (after a marriage of five years) She was divorced from her second marriage in 2009. She took up with Donald Trump Jr. in 2018, causing him to be divorced from his wife.

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  72. They weren’t trying to kill people

    Not even in the movie Gone with the Wind

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  73. I think a second Trump administration put us at risk of California and coastal West choosing to secede.

    Which would bring two problems.
    …….

    A third problem would be the loss of the California’s GDP: $4.2 trillion in 2021, soon to exceed Germany’s GDP of $4.3T, making California the 4th largest economy in the world.

    But California secession is fantasy.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  74. 58.

    It seems that there’s a loophole if a congressional committee uses some return for an investigation,

    The loophole is that, once the House Ways and Committee has them, they can vote to release the tax returns.

    The big takeaway is that the IRS chose not to audit Trump’s tax returns for at least the first two years he was president, although they are supposed to audit a president’s returns by law. Also Donald Trump and Melania reported having a negative income many years and his tax liability was reduced as a result to $750. (some sort of minimum tax)

    The tax returns won’t be released until Social Security numbers and bank account information and maybe information relating to third parties have been redacted/

    Sammy Finkelman (1d215a)

  75. #73

    Not so much a fantasy that Newsom didn’t hint at it a number of times in 2019-2020. A reality? Probably not — but I think the language and hints will return if Trump ever sees power again, particulary if it’s a majority vote vs electoral college situation.

    The word I used was “risk” — deliberately so. A 10% risk of secession isn’t very likely, but it is still a risk.

    Appalled (f673fd)

  76. There have been repeated attempts to place secession-type initiatives on the CA state ballot. Not outright secession, but preparation for it. Such as renaming the governor’s office the CA Presidency, or providing a mechanism for secession.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  77. Not so much a fantasy that Newsom didn’t hint at it a number of times in 2019-2020. A reality? Probably not — but I think the language and hints will return if Trump ever sees power again, particulary if it’s a majority vote vs electoral college situation.

    The word I used was “risk” — deliberately so. A 10% risk of secession isn’t very likely, but it is still a risk.

    Appalled (f673fd) — 12/21/2022 @ 1:40 pm

    ————————————————
    There have been repeated attempts to place secession-type initiatives on the CA state ballot. Not outright secession, but preparation for it. Such as renaming the governor’s office the CA Presidency, or providing a mechanism for secession.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/21/2022 @ 1:52 pm

    It is a fantasy even coming from Newsom. Any secession will not be peaceful, as there is no Constitutional mechanism to do so. I don’t know how it was determined that there was a “10% risk” of secession. The risk of secession is below zero.

    The numerous attempts to partition California have all failed to get on the ballot.

    Again, enjoy California secession (or partition) fantasy camp. Never gonna happen.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  78. People have been trying to split California even before it was admitted to the Union. Still not gonna happen.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  79. Rip:

    See 1/6/2021. the “impossible” does happen.

    Also, see 1850. Secession looked pretty impossible then, too.

    I don’t see it as things stand now. Mr. Orange is more likely to be convicted than elected. But if there is a second Trump term, look out. I can see Trump and Newsom doing the dance of the stupid into the world of the impossible.

    Appalled (f673fd)

  80. Rip:

    See 1/6/2021. the “impossible” does happen.

    Also, see 1850. Secession looked pretty impossible then, too.
    ……..

    The insurrectionists failed on 1/6/21. Had they succeeded I would agree.

    The Civil War secession also failed, at the cost of approximately 620,000 lives.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  81. Again, enjoy California secession (or partition) fantasy camp. Never gonna happen.

    Partition is very popular in parts of California. Oddly, these coincide with the places that are ruled by people who do not share their values, living in the cities.

    People talk about “civil war.” This is one place it could start.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  82. Also, see 1850. Secession looked pretty impossible then, too.

    Up until the late 1840s, nobody wanted to split the Union, south or north. But then the question came up about what to do with states and territories arising from the Mexican Cession. An amendment to a bill in Congress attempted to declare the entire Cession off-limits to slavery. It failed, but it showed how slavery might end up in the dustbin of history and many southerners began to consider secession, something they did not really want because the benefits of Union were so large. Yet the South’s entire economy rested on the backs of the slaves.

    Millard Fillmore lobbied for a new Compromise, and through his efforts the Compromise of 1850 passed, assuaging the Southern angst. For a while, until parts of it broke down. Not only did the compromise fail utterly in “Bloody Kansas” (which had its own mini civil war), but the fugitive slave law was largely ignored in the north.

    Secession was talked about again, but was going nowhere. Then Lincoln was elected despite not appearing on any southern ballot, and the hotheads prevailed.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  83. The other problem with the recent CA partitions is that they were not split on lines that solved any problems. The latest one would have become 3 smaller one-party Democrat states, hooking each rural section to an overwhelming number of city voters.

    The only was a partition plan could get approval is if it offered EVERYONE something that they want and can’t get now: a state that they were philosophically in tune with.

    Even the SF bay area, which has a lot of political clout, cannot get a number of things passed that they want, such as hard-core rent control or banning guns. But get rid of those rednecks and farmers and they have the state of their dreams. Similarly the rednecks and farmers, who right now have only rear-guard possibilities in the legislature.

    We need to be done with huge states. All of them need to be partitioned to better serve their citizens. NY, TX, IL, FL, PA, OH, GA, MI etc. 10 million tops, 5 million would be better.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  84. Parts of Washington state are trying to join Idaho.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  85. Kevin,

    I think the opposite, I think the Tiny states in the east should be consolidated- I would make Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island a single state, CT and Mass into one state and RI and Maryland into 1 state

    EPWJ (650a62)

  86. It’s far far easier to convince politicians they can have their own state to run than it is to convince them to give up that power.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  87. My takeaway from the Trump tax returns and his zero-tax years: D’oh.

    Any billionaire who pays taxes isn’t doing it right. Oh, some years they have to pay taxes (and maybe quite a lot) but for the most party the don’t actually HAVE income.

    Let’s say you have $17 billion in highly appreciated stock. You can get any line of credit you want, and credit is not taxed. Any unavoidable income (e.g. dividends) can be swallowed up by business deductions, charitable giving (appreciated stock is rather wonderful for that) or any number of tax shelter operations.

    Trump’s ability to sink income into deductible activities is enormous, and can you really prove what maintenance on 100 buildings actually cost, down to the pipe fitting? Since his entire operation is leveraged, anything that he spends comes from borrowing.

    But really it’s not much different than Bill Gates who probably hasn’t paid income taxes in years. It’s not like he gets a salary.

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  88. Let’s say you won the lottery. You got $500 million dollars. Your tax bill is maybe $180 million, leaving you $320 million. If you are smart you hire some good lawyers and investment advisors, and in two years you are paying utterly no income taxes.

    Yet you have $320 million, or maybe a lot more if your investments are any good..

    Kevin M (1ea396)

  89. Partition is very popular in parts of California. Oddly, these coincide with the places that are ruled by people who do not share their values, living in the cities.

    People talk about “civil war.” This is one place it could start.

    Kevin M (1ea396) — 12/21/2022 @ 2:39 pm

    I’ll take that bet. People talk of “civil war” but how many are really willing to engage in it?

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  90. The committee withdrew its subpoena for Donald Trump because there is no prospect of deposing him in the remaining time, a(till noon of January 3, 2023) and they’ve written their report and most of the staff has already left and they’ve basically completed what work they were going to do. And they must have legal advice that a subpoena must be serious.

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)


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