To riff on the bard, a Muslim ban by any other name is still a political and legal problem for President Donald Trump. Trump, in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network almost immediately after signing the order, said that one of its purposes was to make it easier for Christians to enter the United States. "It seems to me the soft underbelly of the legal defense is this business about Christians, because not only is that subject to Equal Protection and Establishment Clause [questions] on its own, but it suggests that this is a Muslim ban,” said Michael Meltsner, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law.
In an agency-wide directive sent to DHS staff early Wednesday afternoon, the IG’s office wrote, “All agency personnel must preserve any document that contains information that is potentially relevant to OIG’s investigation, or that might reasonably lead to the discovery of relevant information relating to the implementation of this Executive Order. For the duration of this hold, any relevant information that is within your possession or control must be preserved in the exact form as it currently exists.”
When it comes to political pundits who claim to have inside sources, I judge them by track record. Liberal pundit Claude Taylor’s sources have recently been proven right about Donald Trump grand juries. Conservative pundit Louise Mensch’s sources have long been proven right on Trump-Russia FISA warrants. So when the two of them say they each have different inside sources telling them the same thing, I listen. And what they’re jointly saying tonight is that a sealed indictment has been delivered against Donald Trump.
A Dutch TV documentary alleges that President Donald Trump has extensive connections to Russia’s ruling oligarchs and a history of illegal racketeering.“Donald Trump’s business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges,” wrote Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet on Friday.
Donald Trump is either too clueless to understand that today’s firing of James Comey will do nothing to stop the advancement of the Russia investigation, or he’s too egomaniacal and petty to care that the firing won’t help his cause. Either way, this move won’t change anything – other than embolden those working to take him down.
Louise Mensch is among a number of bloggers offering a mix of true and inaccurate stories, forcing readers to discern for truth for themselves. And Mensch’s post was difficult to dismiss outright because she and her co-author, Claude Taylor, had earlier reported a pair of details from the investigations into Trump’s alleged links with Russia that were later confirmed by major mainstream news outlets.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation. That is the investigation that Sessions promised to stay away from. Firing the man heading the investigation — especially if Sessions knew that the reason was not the one stated in Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein's May 9 memo — is a matter "arising from the campaigns for President of the United States." Sessions may have some explanation for why he chose to participate in the firing of Comey. But the attorney general may now be in considerable legal peril.
In an interview with me this morning, Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, a persistent Trump critic, argued that this demand for loyalty, if it happened, could constitute an effort to obstruct justice, particularly when viewed in the light of the subsequent firing of Comey. “The demand for loyalty from the head of the organization investigating those around you, when you have the power to fire that person — if you wrote a novel about obstruction of justice, this would almost be too good to be true,” Tribe told me.
Trump Team and Russia jointly paid Pyotr Levashov to hack the US election. Human accounts pushing out fake memes authorized by Russia were paid, via the Kelhios botnet being operated from Trump HQ, using bitcoin and a spam payments system previously used for pornography;
President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.