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How do you arrest the president?

How do you arrest the president?

A scene from Inauguration Day protests in Washington DC in January 2017.

Whatever else the president may have done over the years to attract the attention of law enforcement (and there’s a lot), we know this – he obstructed justice by attempting to subvert an FBI investigation. We can say that with confidence because he did in public, on Twitter, in a series of clumsy admissions. A prosecutor is actively building that case, along with perhaps others. The president’s goofy lawyers, in recognition of the apparent inevitability of an indictment, have already abandoned a hopeless defense on the facts. Instead, they’ve begun to attack the legitimacy of the law itself, a warning of the dangerous terrain ahead.

Lots of things may happen over the coming months, but one thing seems increasingly likely. For the first time in our history a president will face criminal prosecution. We are a nation of laws, but there is no settled law governing the process about to unfold.

Two legal ambiguities are likely to make a prosecution of our chief executive very dangerous. Does the Constitution permit a prosecution of a sitting president? If so, by what means can he be served or arrested?

The first question has been persuasively resolved in a brief by law professor Ronald Rotunda in 1998, though it has never been litigated. Rotunda’s position is consistent with reasoning that was taking shape in the legal community during the Watergate standoff. The Constitution contains specific, explicit, though limited immunities from prosecution for members of Congress. These measures were presumably put in place to protect the legislative branch from harassment by the Executive. No such protections for the president were included in the Constitution.

Rotunda wrote an op-ed this year explaining some potential limits on Mueller’s prosecutorial authority. Those limits are technical and political. A court might uphold those limits, but they probably wouldn’t. And it would a terrible mistake for Mueller to simply assume that such limits applied without testing them in litigation. These limits are highly unlikely to deter a prosecutor from obtaining an indictment. Federal courts would almost certainly allow a criminal prosecution of the president to proceed.

That brings us to the second, much thornier question. How do you arrest the president?

In a conventional prosecution, an indictment would be served through one of two methods, an arrest or the issuance of a summons to appear in court on a set date. White collar defendants are sometimes allowed to surrender themselves for arrest and booking through a process negotiated between US Attorneys and the defendant’s counsel. Cooperation of any kind seems unlikely in this case, so attempting a negotiated surrender makes little sense.

Arrest is a pretty dramatic move. Given the legal ambiguities and political sensitivities, it seems more likely that Mueller would seek to notify the president of an indictment via a summons, rather than arrest. But how would that summons be served on a recalcitrant president, determined to delegitimize the entire process?

A summons may be served by a federal marshal, but can also be served by anyone authorized to serve notice in federal civil cases. What happens when a federal marshal shows up at the White House or Trump Tower to serve an indictment on the president and the president refuses to admit them? Does the Secret Service let them in? If he engages in a move as simple as locking the door of a room he’s in, does someone break it down? If so, who has that authority?

Under ordinary, daily operations, the president and his staff inform the Secret Service who should be granted access to the president. However, at a formal, legal level, agents do not answer to the president. The Secret Service operates under rules laid out in federal statutes.

It is a crime for anyone to obstruct a federal officer in the commission of his duties. In principle, this applies to a Secret Service agent as much as to anyone else. Theoretically, a Secret Service agent should be expected to allow a federal marshal access to serve a summons on the president. But would they?

Picture this scenario. An indictment of the president is publicly issued. The White House is notified that marshals are coming to deliver a summons to the president. The president insists that the indictment is illegal, claiming immunity. He refuses to submit to service of a summons and instructs his Secret Service security detail to bar the marshals from the White House or Trump Tower (or whatever golf course he’s wasting time on). What happens next?

The Director of the Secret Service takes orders from the Secretary of Homeland Security. If the Secretary of Homeland Security decided to comply with the law then this first obstacle would be relatively manageable. She would issue orders for the Secret Service to let the summons be served on the president. She might even work with the prosecutor to have the Secret Service serve the summons themselves (an authority they possess).

Who heads Homeland Security? When John Kelly left Homeland Security his position was filled by an interim Secretary, Elaine Duke. Unlike many other senior officials in this administration, Duke is an ordinary, sane, career civil servant. Trump has nominated Kirstjen Nielsen as Kelly’s formal replacement, pending Senate approval. Nielsen is also serious figure, with a reputation for organization, rigor and discipline. Nielson previously held a position in the Trump White House, but her service there seems more a function of her long relationship with Kelly than of an attachment to Trump. Neither of these women seem likely to obstruct federal agents to protect Donald Trump.

If the Secretary of Homeland Security cooperates, then service of a summons should proceed smoothly. If she cites some bullshit legal objection and refuses to cooperate, then we’ll have an ugly Constitutional crisis on our hands.

Even if the Department of Homeland Security follows the law, one more potential complication lurks. At different times the president has relied on private security for himself and his family, even after assuming office. It is unclear what role these figures continue to play. If the president used them to block access by the Secret Service or marshals, it is unclear how that standoff might be resolved.

Of course, all of this could be avoided if Congress would conduct a serious investigation and move toward impeachment. If they haven’t done that already, they aren’t going to do it, even after an indictment. Republicans will normalize anything their cult leader does. They are a bigger problem than Trump himself. Congress will continue to fail to serve its Constitutional role in this mess.

One angle in this case might spare us from an open-ended political and military crisis. Trump may have some political levers to obstruct his own prosecution, but his daughter and son-in-law don’t. Like perjury and conspiracy, obstruction of justice is only as serious as the justice which was obstructed. An investigation into Trump’s effort to halt the FBI investigation will have to dig into the subject matter of that original investigation. The family has a long history of shady deals with Russian underworld figures. Those criminal financial dealings are where the collusion with Russian intelligence probably originated.

There’s a good chance that indictments start with close family members on grounds far-seedier and more damning than election meddling. These indictments would likely be issued before Mueller unveils the obstruction charges against Trump. Even with his pardon power, Trump likely couldn’t protect those close to him from the consequences of their crimes.

In other words, there’s a chance that the family might just abscond before we’re forced to solve the logistical and Constitutional puzzles around arresting the president. If they flee to safety overseas we might be spared a crisis that could erupt into a war. If they don’t leave, and Trump continues to deny the legitimacy of the legal process, then his indictment and prosecution will resolve nothing. Someone in a powerful position will, at some point, have to take decisive action to remove him from power. What that looks like is anyone’s guess, but the Constitution and our laws offer no guidance.

There is no settled, legal route to a resolution of the crisis Trump and his idiot voters have foisted on our republic. If Mueller doesn’t blink and Trump doesn’t flee, we will likely be forced to resolve this power struggle not in law, but in the realm of politics and military force. It’s a scenario that hasn’t played out on our soil since the Civil War; one with no predictable outcome.


  1. Chris, you may recall that you and I briefly discussed this issue on Twitter. I wanted to expand on an aspect that’s been very worrying to me. My major concern is that if Mueller tried to remove Trump that he (Trump) would take to Twitter and ask his followers to come defend him. His supporters are the kind of people that generally have lots of guns and believe that Trump needs to be defended at all costs. What does Mueller do then? To further complicate matters, a significant portion of the military and law enforcement would probably side with Trump as well. I know this sounds dramatic but there have been a few nights where this kept me awake. I am seriously concerned for the future of our republic, and for national unity.

    1. 1) We’ve never had the slightest problem sweeping a rioting crowd from our streets. Take a look at some images from the 60’s. Besides, riots don’t matter. They don’t change anything.

      2) Regarding the military and intelligence services, the only thing that matters is the allegiance of senior officers. That’s the only thing that ever matters in an power struggle, whether the action is happening in Congo or Cleveland. It looks like senior leadership is very hostile to Trump. They are already disobeying him openly, without consequence. Law enforcement is another matter, but cops are irrelevant if you can hold the loyalty of the military.

      3) Mueller will roll on as long as he’s in the job, regardless of the fireworks outside.

      It all comes down to the military now.

  2. Anyone can be dragged out in handcuffs. In this country, there are no kings above the law.

    Mueller, by all accounts, is very much intending to uphold that fundamental principle. Republicans, on the other hand, have already sold their souls on the subject.

    The better question is: What do you do when the party that controls the government feels it’s in their best interest to not only believe they are above prosecution, but behave as such and enforce standards as such?

  3. A paragraph I just read seems to sum up a lot about the GOP and our host’s disillusionment with it.
    “Speaking about financial bubbles, John Maynard Keynes once said “the markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” Right now, we seem to be stuck in a sort of Republican immorality bubble, and it’s already continued its surge for far longer than I would have imagined possible. But it won’t last forever. Someday the Republican Party is going to pay a price for its stunning lack of a moral compass.”

      1. We’ll be paying the price for generations. That seems to be a thing for Republicans since they soaked up the Confederate south: They screw things up, we vote them out of Congress for a few decades, we spend those decades fighting with them to undo the damage, then somehow they get control of things again to repeat the process.

  4. “ But how would that summons be served on a recalcitrant president, determined to delegitimize the entire process?”

    Mueller is smart and professional and efficient. I’d love to see a surprise summons in a public setting that gets Donny-dotard no chance to avoid it.

      1. Serious question here: When did Alan Dershowitz become a batty old coot? When I was in law school the man was a star, but over the years he’s been getting weirder and weirder. I can’t really point to a specific time when he passed beneath the threshold of credibility, but it’s clearly been a while now. Tough to watch. Reminds me of troubling moments last year watching Rudy Giuliani and wondering why his kids haven’t whisked him away to a safe, warm place.

      2. Under Dershowitz’s reasoning, it seems the only reason he calls Trump the “president” is for purely technical reasons. He’s more like a God-Emperor in his eyes, free to do whatever his whims demand so long as he can justify them under “executive authority.”

        Eliminate a military officer that he deems a threat to him? No problem!

        Tamper with presidential records that might expose wrongdoing? Hell yeah!

        Pardon anyone and everyone that could implicate him in coordinating with His Fair Russian? #LOLNothingMatters

        Really, what is it about the Trump Era that has even highly educated men like Dershowitz going out of their damn minds? Matters of white supremacy and supreme insecurities aside, is this just who these men always were deep down or is this more recent?

      3. Number one: being highly educated doesn’t automatically equate to being rational or smart. In fact, it’s rather a waste of grey matter and institutional time to turn out people who have the gift of great intelligence but abuse it so.

        The attached book review explores this very concept. I find the thesis a frightening possibility that this radical and seemingly powerful sector has the potential to change the basic tenets of democracy. The author suggests: “For some both in and out of government, the Trump presidency is a deliverance—or at least offers tantalizing promises of an audacious new conservative era in domestic and foreign policy.”

  5. As savvy and educated and smart as the Founders were, they didn’t anticipate that someone so brazenly corrupt and dishonest could get into the Presidency, and the Congress would do nothing about it.

    So, on the optimistic assumption that we manage to purge our government of the poison that is Trumpism, how do we pick up the pieces? What changes do we make to the government to strengthen the checks and balances and uphold ethical standards? One thing I’d like to see is mandatory financial disclosure (including but not limited to tax returns) from everyone who runs for a public office, from President to dog catcher. Also what rules can we impose, within the First Amendment, to penalize “News” outlets like Fox that lie so brazenly?

    1. Three things:

      1. Financial records.
      2. Physical health records.
      3. Every candidate has to pass a psychological exam, administered by team of unbiased professionals. Naturally, such a panel would be immediately gamed by the fascists, but the concept is solid. If you have to be physically healthy enough to withstand the rigors of the office, your mental health is also fair game.

      1. All this would be reasonable, but I do have reservations regarding a psychological examination. Typically, the President has gotten a yearly physical, but it is not public record. Nor can it be under HIPA. Definitely financial records should be released.

        This concept is the major reason behind my thoughts on electoral reform as mentioned earlier: To wit:
        1. Reform of electoral standards in accordance with national federal standards. This would include elimination of gerrymandering.
        2. Provide federal standards for the voting franchise. This would things such as restoring voting rights to felons, whether and what type of ID would be suitable and permissible types of voting machines and counting devices and the required standards.
        3. Presidential election by direct popular vote.
        4. Limitations on influence of money in politics.
        5. Congressional Rule reform.
        6. Limitations on the power of the small population states and rural areas. I know of no clean way of doing this, but having a 60:1 population ratio between California and Wyoming does not make for a well functioning Senate.
        7. Provide some political means of forcing a President from office, without going through the difficulty of impeachment by the House and subsequent conviction by 2/3 vote of the Senate with the concurrent stigma of being guilty of a high crime or misdemeanor. I’m still thinking about this, but it might be similar to the British Parliament having a vote of no-confidence forcing new elections. However, there would need to be checks so a Congress does not abuse this power. Perhaps requiring the President, the House and members of the next Class of Senators to stand for reelection in a special election might be considered as a check on this power.

        Personally, I believe that accomplishing the first four items would go a long way towards elimination of the dysfunction and corruption in DC. Accomplishing items 5, 6 & 7 might not be necessary, if the first four were accomplished.

      2. 1. Financial records.
        2. Physical health records.
        3. Every candidate has to pass a psychological exam, administered by team of unbiased professionals.

        IMHO (2) and (3) will not fly – and SHOULD not fly as they disenfranchise citizens and WILL be used badly

        (1) – I can see problems with this and I actually prefer the Norwegian solution

        EVERYBODY’S tax records become public documents

        So anybody can look up anybody else’s tax records

        As far as I can see “Financial Privacy” is all about ripping people off in the dark and concealing assets from people who could be entitled to a share

      3. David and Duncan.

        A couple things:

        1. I don’t see how checking to see if someone is physically and psychologically fit to run for the highest office disenfranchises anyone. But let’s be honest, only the tiniest percentage of citizens are ever positioned to be President, or run for the office. Disenfranchisement is the least of my worries.

        2. I recognize that any panel of professionals in that field would immediately be gamed like the Supreme Court. But there is a whole lot more integrity in that profession than in the legal field. I stand by my statement that we would all be better off if sociopaths were not allowed to run for office. But I accept that protecting the integrity of that panel would be the hardest thing.

      4. Hey guys, on my Item #5, Congressional Rules, I wanted to KISS. There are so many rules that need changing. The Hastert Rule would definitely be the 1st rule. There are probably at least 1001 more.

        Even eliminating the Hastert Rule might not be necessary if so many of the House Districts were not so gerrymandered and if the over reliance on the mega-donors was eliminated. We’d probably end up with far fewer extremists in the House.

      5. With the present efforts to limit voting access (VA still hasn’t finished a recount of 3 races!) and the plans to gut the Census and put in a director (from TX – a looney tunes guy) who doesn’t believe in the census, and with 2020 being a census year…what else could possibly go wrong? There are so many fires to put out that it’s difficult to focus…which, of course, is part of the plan…

        Speaking of “fires”, Congressman John Lewis held a press conference today announcing a whistleblower that can tie Trump to Russia. Here’s the letter he sent to formally request (i.e. “prod”) Trey Gowdy (of Benghazi fame) as chair of the House Oversight Committee, to enforce the subpoena to the WH for certain documents relating to the Russia investigation that were sent out long ago. Evidently, Mr. Gowdy has a problem with enforcement for anyone other than Hillary Clinton.

        For your perusal. Also, one assumes that this information is being routed to Mueller…but this public announcement is to compel docs and attempt to demonstrate how little interest House Repubicans have in investigating Trump/Russia. I believe personally that Ryan, McConnell, Pence, et al are complicit. If that makes me a conspiracy theorist, so be it. Too much smoke and not nearly enough fire burning through….and that’s not accidental.

      6. Good to have the document.

        Regarding, the Ryan, McConnell, Pence, et al, I too believe that they are complicit. Maybe not from a conspiracy viewpoint, but from the viewpoint that each has an agenda that they hope to fulfill by going along with Trump being President.
        1. Ryan is interested in pushing his crazy economic theories. In so doing he is enriching himself and he figures he might someday be President.
        2. McConnell is primarily interested in retaining the power of Majority Leader. In the meantime, he is also enriching himself. It doesn’t hurt that Elaine Chao, his wife is in the Cabinet.
        3. Pence is probably going along with all of this because he too would like to run for President. It will also allow him to further his theocratic nonsense.

        My partner’s dream is that both Trump and Pence will be forced out of office nearly simultaneously and that Pelosi would become President. I might add that the D’s take over the House in 2018. If I am really willing to go out into la-la land then that would include the Senate.

      1. Mary, buried deep in that Guardian article is one key line: “The Guardian reported in February that the bank had launched a review of Trump’s account earlier this year to gauge whether there were any connections to Russia and had not discovered anything suspicious.”

        I would suggest that if the bank itself was worried and decided there was nothing serious enough for the bank to take action, Mueller won’t find anything that will fly in the courts.

        Furthermore, my cynicism runs deep. Let’s assume that Mueller does find absolute proof that the puppet tyrant was laundering money for the Russian mob, and the puppet tyrant is in deep with the Russians, prior to the election. Do you really think that 35-40% of the population will:

        a. Believe it.
        b. Understand a complex subject like finances that complicated.
        c. Care, because he the tyrant is not a Democrat.

        If Alabamastan is on the cusp of electing a pedophile and not caring. I don’t see how a little thing like potential collusion with a foreign power to rig an election will bother a significant percentage of the population.

        More and more, I ask the question: What if Mueller uncovers absolute proof that the election was fixed, and people running the country, aka The Republican Party, don’t care?

        That is of course, that is if Mueller is not fired, which I put at better than 50% now.

    2. I enjoyed this article about a freshman Democratic MoC, Raja Krishnamoorthi, born in New Delhi, India. His optimism may be difficult to fathom but it is good to hear. But, he does touch upon Fly’s question about “how does America pick up the pieces”? With people like this. Lots and lots of them…and, more women in office.

      “Liberal democracy is fragile, constantly threatened, always in need of repair,” he said, delivering the 14th annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World at the Canadian Embassy. “But liberal democracy is also strong, because, to a greater extent than any other political form, it harbors the power of self-correction.”

    1. On the Maddow Show last night, this topic was front and center. Turns out, that it will be totally up to Mueller to plumb this well of graft. This is the case that US Attorney Preet Bhahara was assigned to when he was fired by Trump. Coincidence?

      Furthermore, since he left Justice, there has been no activity in pursuing this potential issue….despite the expectation that the fine would have generated billions….We’re looking at an administration (potus and congress and pertinent agencies – Justice) who are controlling the investigation of Russia/Trump by every means available.

    1. Google search brought up this:

      Apparently the Supreme Court already found Puerto Rico to be ‘foreign in the domestic sense’ (… K) in matters of trade. So yes, they can do it.

      Unlike the early 20th century law that the Supreme Court ruled on, any excise taxes by Puerto Rico in the House bill isn’t meant to go back to Puerto Rico, either.

      If I were a Puerto Rican right now, I’d move all of my family and friends to Florida or Texas and immediately register them to vote. Let’s see how Republicans feel losing the next two biggest states.

      1. Actually, Trump’s nemessis, Mayor Carmen Cruz, when she was on Maddow, mentioned the fact that over 100K Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida….and she stated: they will be able to vote and they will remember which party and which president screwed them over.

    2. Actually, the infamous Mayor of San Juan broke this news on the Maddow Show. It is in the form of an excise tax on all products shipped into the US. That’s some mean doing. Island on its fanny and Republicans are looking to make bucks off the little business they are able to conduct. FYI, most saline bag products are produced in PR. So – you charge PR 20% then health insurers/providers charge American patients on a pass-through basis.

      We have just begun to find out what else is in these tax cuts.

  6. In the last post I commented, “If Paul Ryan has any IQ north of 50, he’ll vote on the Senate bill on Monday and avoid conference.”

    Confirmed, Paul Ryan’s IQ is less than 50:

    I’m not trying to make predictions anymore. I don’t know what the likelihood of scenarios are or how meaningful this article is weighted against all other considerations.

    The significance I see in it isn’t that the Freedom Caucus is rattling sabers in general. They could always do so for some pet project or another. The significance I see in it is that they’re preparing to rattle sabers against specific addenda affixed by swing vote Republicans in the Senate — you know, the chamber without any fucking swing votes.

    So, last comment was, “I’m withholding judgment on its successful passage until Monday.” Monday night’s comment is, I’m withholding judgment on the tax bill’s successful passage until I hear about how real this saber rattling is, and if the Freedom Caucus decides to go nuclear on (what I will call) the swing vote provisions during conference.

  7. I thought you summed up the situation well Chris in the August 27th post “Its too late to impeach Trump”. Specifically, “Republicans at every level of government, have made one critical fact crystal-clear – our system of laws and our culture of democratic norms cannot be counted on to protect us”.

    I repeat my original fear, no matter what evidence is presented or charges filed the current congress will do nothing but wring their hands of this awful appearance of unpresidential conduct…followed by “but you know Clinton got a BJ” and we’re off to the races. The founding fathers did envision the tyranny of the majority but left a political structure that allowed for the tyranny of the minority.

    Not one of the red states except Texas would last two fiscal quarters without federal funding. It doesn’t require violence but it does require leadership.
    Lets start with language already understood “the maker states will not continue to pay to support the taker states”. We will not contribute majority tax revenues and settle for minority level representation.

      1. To my comment, I might add that applying pressure of this nature may be a means of a future progressive administration and Congress (truly progressive, not a fake conservative progressivism of Trump) forcing through the desperately needed electoral reforms that I discussed below.

    1. Nixon fought the “obstruction of justice” charge….see where he wound up? I’d love to see: Trump charged; Trump convicted; Trump put in the slammer with no golden elevators…I’d settle for Trump gone; Pence gone; and Ryan gone. Throw in a wave election at mid-terms…I’d be downright ecstatic.

      1. Of course, Nixon only agreed to step down when key people in his administration urged him to do so…..which this GOP would only consider once T has signed their tax cut bill and after they’ve plundered the social safety net. AFter that, they and theirs are set for life, and we already know they don’t give a flip for anyone else. As despised as I believe T is among most of the MoC, we’ll see if they have the backbone to stand up to T’s base and the radical right intellectual (??) movement the NY Book Review article indicates is quietly gathering strength. America is moving to a scary place where if mainstream America (whatever that is anymore) doesn’t come to its collective sense, (think mid-terms, 2018) we could be in a global warming kind of irreversible social/cultural change. Guess that’s when the robots take over…programmed by the far right…….Not a world I want to live in nor those I care about but it is not outside the realm of possibility. If Americans don’t re-take government, restore and strengthen our democratic institutional norms against forces that clearly hold a different vision of leadership for our country, that is our future. More and more I see inklings of a return to essentially the feudal era. Women and Millennials have the potential to avert this disaster but they have to become much more cohesive in their vision and efforts. Those white men we used to think would become less of a threat once they died off are being replaced by a young, nationalistic group. We are at a point in time of great cultural upheaval and I do not know how this is going to end up.

      1. Here’s what is so disgusting. For the record (again), I didn’t expect anything from T and he is in deep negative territory, but, the Repubicans? This is a pathethic affirmation of Chris’ posts about the souless, unprincipled Republican Party. Does anyone think that this GOP will do the right thing about Mueller’s findings? This will likely have to create such an outrage and public uproar that MoC will have no choice (such as they are exhibiting now with Moore, etc). Pretty despicable.

      1. “we need to understand the defense of the liberal society as a political project, one that is dependent on political resources from motivations for popular mobilization to organizational capacity to institutional counterbalances. ”

        Says it all, doesn’t it? GOTV for mid-terms is step one – it offers a chance to end at least one part of the triple crown Republicans hold in federal power.

        The only problem with defeating Trump at the polls in 2020 is that means he can continue his destruction til 2020. That’s a big price to pay and a huge risk for America.

        Then, we still will need to deal with all the nefarious folks in the GOP who have been complicit and the harmful changes they have imposed throughout our democratic institutions.

      2. Yes, a political solution is far preferable. The difficulty is that will require three more years to fully implement. However, if there is a big wave in 2018 Trump will not be able to accomplish anything legislatively and even his appointment power will be severely checked. Regardless, the President’s administrative and military powers will still be there.

        Personally, I’d like to see some systemic electoral changes to eliminate the possibility of another busted election and to get a Congress that is more representative. Some of those changes would include election of the President by popular vote, federal standards for redistricting and the electoral franchise, limiting the power of big monetary contributions and perhaps some means of balancing the power of the rural areas and states. Even lowering the bar for removal of the President from office might be considered. Additionally, Congress must revise their rules so it is not so ponderous and so that it is not so easy for the Congressional leaders to circumvent the rules. I know all this is pie-in-sky fantasy, but we have had two Presidents who did not win the popular vote in less than two decades and the Congress is totally dysfunctional with leadership routinely abusing the rules.

        Something must change or the nation will not survive. I realize this will take some time to implement, politically. Some of these changes would introduce more parliamentary aspects into our system, but that might be a good thing.

      3. Yes, the electoral process needs to be examined – carefully. I am also very interested in SCOTUS ruling on the WI case on gerrymandering.

        All of these efforts are important to the long-term survival of American’s democratic system, but there is so much daily damage being done – and much of it by the Republicans on their own – that time is of essence.

    1. That is true. Even flipping the House would change the dynamics. Flipping the Senate seems to be an extraordinarily long shot, but if Mueller’s investigation starts hitting home, then there could be a wave in excess of the 7-8% and that could be enough to even flip the Senate.

      1. It is true that a Dem majority House can’t impeach and remove Trump without 67 votes in the Senate. Given how complicit the GOP Senators have been, I wouldn’t count on their cooperation even if Mueller has an ironclad case showing Trump laundering Russian $ AND obstructing justice to cover it up. But they CAN subpoena his tax returns and other financial records. What would Donnie-dotard do then?

  8. DFC

    Let’s clarify a couple of things as we’re required to when we discuss “civil war” even casually.

    1. We can’t discuss it casually. It’s a matter that must absolutely be taken seriously.
    2. We’re in one already. it doesn’t need to be a shooting war to be real, with consequences every bit as impactful and dramatic as they’d be if we were seeing bloodshed and conquest.
    3. Fatalism isn’t our friend. The GOP relies on it from us. When we give it to them we lose.
    4. We have the high ground, and they know it. They concede that their enemies–us–own the seven mountains they require: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. We own even religion because even in their most isolated and fanatical thinking, they must accede to fact in science, finance, communications, etc.; and all of those are driven by empiricism. They cannot make reality a matter of mere belief no matter how fervently they believe. They can try. They can legislate it and adjudicate it as always, and as always they fail because in the end fact is not about belief. It’s about proof, and proof is the thing that they hate because it works for us all, not just for believers.
    5. No matter what it looks like right now, they are not winning. They are retreating. They have nothing left but a momentary power to cash out, hide their money, and build walls. Their movement can’t grow. They’re sacrificing the arguments that used to be their strengths–moral superiority, economic sobreity, freedom of thought, etc.; and admitting that their lies are big, old, and collapsing as we all watch. This is a death rattle, not a renewal.
    6. They’re repeating history in a spectacular failure of imagination. the South seceded only because their arguments were conspicuous failures and they knew they couldn’t win on the grounds of reason and logic. Their was about their right to proud cultural suicide. It’s happening again: Alabama is the GOP now.

  9. And every day, my belief that justice will only be served with a bullet creeps a little closer. But even if the puppet tyrant is removed, by whatever means, it still leaves the rest of this regime’s apparatus in place. And then someone more competent (I imagine pence is also in Mueller’s crosshairs) will be in place to continue to execute the destruction of democracy in the United States.

    Bottom line, the entire regime is in place because of an illegal, rigged election. Every act by this regime should be rolled back. But that will never happen.

      1. Chris, you may be right. But given the scenario you just painted in your post, do you see an outcome where some kind of force is not applied, by one or both sides?

        Do you really think it is in the DNA of this guy to slink away like a thief in the night where every other time he has had any threat to his power, in his entire life, he has come out swinging?

      2. DFC

        Dinsdale, Trump’s ferocity in response to threats isn’t a good thing for him and the GOP right now. He’s already saying he’s above the law. If he forces his party to agree with him, then they’re all in violation of their oaths. Not much of a future for a party that takes that position, and they know it.

      3. Many of the GOP MoC do not care about potential violation of their oaths. We already know that T does not. They have already sold their souls to the big donors, so why should a minor thing like violating an oath bother them.

  10. DFC

    No one will arrest Trump. The GOP has made it plain past every doubt that they’ll overthrow the Constitution to get what they want. There is no conscience, no fidelity to duty or to their oaths among them now. he was right: he could shoot someone on 5th and get away with it. They’d let him.

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