We Resist: Day 825

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Late yesterday and earlier today by me: An Observation and Financial Freedom for Everyone and Primarily Speaking.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Robert Costa, Tom Hamburger, Josh Dawsey, and Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post: Trump Says He Is Opposed to White House Aides Testifying to Congress, Deepening Power Struggle with Hill. "[Donald] Trump on Tuesday said he is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimony to congressional panels in the wake of the special counsel report, intensifying a power struggle between his administration and House Democrats. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said that complying with congressional requests was unnecessary after the White House cooperated with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe of Russian interference and the president's own conduct in office. 'There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it's very partisan — obviously very partisan,' Trump said."

That is absolutely incorrect. And it is infuriating that the Washington Post is framing this as a "power struggle" between Trump and Congressional Democrats, which is the absolute nadir of bothsideserism bullshit.

This isn't a "power struggle." The Democrats aren't trying to seize power; they are trying to protect our democracy, which is their job. They are tasked with holding the president accountable. Trump, on the other hand, is orchestrating a subversion of our democracy and a consolidation of power in the executive branch, with the assistance of Congressional Republicans.


Alison Durkee at Vanity Fair: The White House Escalates Its Battle to Keep Don McGahn Silent. "[T]he White House is reportedly planning to use executive privilege to block [former White House counsel Don McGahn] from complying with a congressional subpoena, after McGahn's comments to special counsel Robert Mueller pointed toward potential instances of the president obstructing justice. ...[T]he move to block McGahn's testimony is part of a broader effort to thwart House Democrats from securing testimony from current and former White House aides, and comes after White House deputy counsel Michael M. Purpura instructed former personnel security director Carl Kline not to appear before Congress."

Staff at the Daily Beast: Trump: If Democrats Try to Impeach Me, I'll Take It to the Supreme Court. "In his latest tweet, strewn with misplaced capital letters, the president made clear he wouldn't go quietly. 'The Mueller Report, despite being written by Angry Democrats and Trump Haters, and with unlimited money behind it ($35,000,000), didn't lay a glove on me,' he wrote. 'I DID NOTHING WRONG. If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only ... are there no 'High Crimes and Misdemeanors,' there are no Crimes by me at all. All of the Crimes were committed by Crooked Hillary, the Dems, the DNC and Dirty Cops — and we caught them in the act! We waited for Mueller and WON, so now the Dems look to Congress as last hope!'" YIKES.

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: Trump Thinks the Supreme Court Is His Personal Goon Squad (and He May Be Right). "Trump is wrong that the Supreme Court may lawfully intervene if the House of Representatives chooses to impeach him. ...So a Supreme Court decision weighing in on whether the House properly impeached Mr. Trump would be utterly lawless. The House has the 'sole' power to decide which officials should be impeached, and the Senate has the 'sole' power to determine whether the charges brought by the House warrant removal from office. As the court held in Nixon, 'the Judiciary, and the Supreme Court in particular, were not chosen to have any role in impeachments.' The problem, however, is that this Supreme Court seems to think that that the law is optional when the Trump administration is involved."

Steve Vladeck at NBC News: Trump Tweet About Impeachment Confuses Political Conclusions with Legal Ones. "Whether Trump broke any criminal laws is therefore formally irrelevant to whether the House of Representatives has the constitutional authority to impeach him. The House certainly can impeach the president — or any other government officer — for non-criminal misconduct. The harder question is whether the House should do so. But the one point on which we all should be able to agree is that the Constitution commits resolution of that question entirely to our elected representatives in Congress — and not to the president's Twitter feed or the absence of criminal charges against him."

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: Trump Plausibly Committed Impeachable Offenses. A Leading Expert Explains How.
I spoke to [Philip Bobbitt, constitutional scholar at Columbia University and co-author of Impeachment: A Handbook] at length about the latest revelations. The upshot: Bobbitt now believes it's "plausible" that Trump committed impeachable offenses and that the House of Representatives is obligated to proceed from this premise.

...Coming from Bobbitt, this is notable, because he has long maintained that impeachment must be reserved only for the most extraordinary cases and (as his book argues) that we must approach the question of whether conduct is impeachable with extreme caution.

...In our interview, Bobbitt described the implications of all this for impeachment this way:
Mueller depicts an executive branch that is using the levers of his constitutional power in a corrupt way. It's not that a president can't determine whom to prosecute or investigate, or give advice to members of the executive to shape their testimony at legislative hearings. It's that he can't do so with the intent to frustrate the investigation of his own culpability. We certainly have ample evidence that suggests this what he was trying to do.
What's more, this obstructive conduct can be directly tied to the other element of the case against Trump: his response to Russian electoral sabotage. Importantly, Trump did not merely seek to derail an investigation into his campaign's conspiracy with that Russian sabotage — that is, into his own conduct.

Rather, Trump also sought to derail a full accounting of the Russian attack on our political system, separate and apart from whether his own campaign conspired with it. He did this because acknowledging the sabotage would detract from the greatness of his victory, which also led him to fail to marshal a serious response to the next round of interference.

Bobbitt explained the relevance of those facts to the impeachment question this way:
The real problem isn't just cooperating with the Russians, or just impeding an investigation into that cooperation. It's impeding an investigation to stop a determination of what Russia did, why, and how they did it. Because this is not over. It's going to happen again, not just in our country. In many countries.

The exposure of the country to very damaging political intelligence techniques, for the venal reason of not diminishing the status of your victory — would that be a high crime and misdemeanor? It certainly would.
In sum: Trump's obstruction to protect his own hide has also impeded investigation into Russia's subversion of the integrity of our elections — and that is an impeachable offense.


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Maria Vasilyeva at Reuters: North Korea's Kim Arrives for Summit with Russia's Putin. "North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in the Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday for a summit he is likely to use to seek support from President Vladimir Putin while Pyongyang’s nuclear talks with Washington are in limbo. ...Kim will sit down for talks with Putin on Thursday at a university campus on an island just off Vladivostok. It will be the first summit between the two leaders, and the standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear program will top the agenda, according to a Kremlin foreign policy aide."

Julia Hollingsworth at CNN: Duterte Threatens 'War' Against Canada over Trash Shipped to Philippines. "Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to 'go to war' with Canada if the country doesn't take back tons of trash a Canada-based company had shipped to Manila several years ago. 'I'll give a warning to Canada maybe next week that they better pull that (trash) out,' he said Tuesday, according to CNN Philippines. 'We'll declare war against them, we can handle them anyway.'" Just as a reminder, Trump thinks Duterte is tops.

Patrick Wintour at the Guardian: Iran Will Continue to Defy U.S. Oil Sanctions, Says Tehran. "The Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has said Tehran will continue to defy U.S. sanctions by finding buyers for its oil and warned that Washington should 'be prepared for the consequences' if it tries to stop it. ...Zarif, seen as the moderate face of Iran and speaking in New York, said Tehran would also keep the Strait of Hormuz open for oil exports. ...'It is in our interest, our vital national security interest, to keep the Persian Gulf open, to keep the Strait of Hormuz open.' He added that if the U.S. entered the Strait, they had to 'talk to those who are protecting the Strait of Hormuz, and that is (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps).' The IRGC has been designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the Trump administration."

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Staff at BBC News: Europe Wildfires: Norway Police Evacuate Hundreds in Sokndal. "Hundreds of people have had to leave their homes in Norway as emergency services try to extinguish forest fires raging in the south of the country. Some 148 homes were evacuated around the town of Sokndal, where fires have been burning since Tuesday. Police say the fires are still out of control and warn that heavy winds could help them to spread. April is very early for forest fires in Norway, and experts have warned of a dramatic increase across the continent."

Emily Holden at the Guardian: Millions More Americans Breathing Dirty Air as Planet Warms, Study Finds. "Air quality in the U.S. has been improving since the 1970s, but that progress may be backsliding and 43% of Americans are now living in places where they are breathing unsafe air, according to the American Lung Association report. As temperatures rise, wildfires are getting worse and spewing smoke across the west. And more smog, or ozone, is forming on warmer days. For the three hottest years on record, 2015 through 2017, about 141 million people lived in U.S. counties that saw unhealthy levels of particle pollution, either in a single 24-hour period or over a year, or unhealthy levels of smog."

[CN: Environmental racism; classism; food insecurity] Marlene Cimons for Nexus Media at ThinkProgress: Flint's 'Food Apartheid' Is Impeding Recovery from Water Crisis. "Community activists like Bob Brown are trying to create new hope for residents. He is among those in the Flint community working with Laura Schmit Olabisi, an associate professor of community sustainability and environmental science and policy at Michigan State University, to help residents cope with the ongoing health effects of lead poisoning. Her focus is on nutrition, trying to find ways to improve their access to healthy food. When people don't eat enough fruits and vegetables — and fail to consume nutrients like calcium and iron — the impact of heavy metals like lead in the body is exacerbated."

[CN: Rape culture] Edward McKinley at the Kansas City Star: Lobbyist's Crusade to Change Title IX in Missouri Stems from His Son's Expulsion. "After his son was accused and subsequently expelled from Washington University in St. Louis last year through the school's Title IX process, a leading Jefferson City lobbyist launched a campaign to change the law for every campus in the state. Richard McIntosh has argued to legislators that Title IX, the federal law barring sexual discrimination in education and mandating that schools set up internal systems to police sexual violence, is tilted unfairly against the accused." Fucking of course.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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