The Sovereign District Of New York

Trump can’t run the Mueller playbook on New York feds

Even as speculation mounts that special counsel Robert Mueller might be winding down his investigation, a parallel threat to President Donald Trump only seems to be growing within his own Justice Department: the Southern District of New York.

Manhattan-based federal prosecutors can challenge Trump in ways Mueller can’t. They have jurisdiction over the president’s political operation and businesses — subjects that aren’t protected by executive privilege, a tool Trump is considering invoking to block portions of Mueller’s report. From a PR perspective, Trump has been unable to run the same playbook on SDNY that he’s used to erode conservatives’ faith in Mueller, the former George W. Bush-appointed FBI director. Legal circles are also buzzing over whether SDNY might buck DOJ guidance and seek to indict a sitting president.

The threat was highlighted when SDNY prosecutors ordered officials from Trump’s inaugural committee to hand over donor and financial records. It was the latest aggressive move from an office that has launched investigations into the president’s company, former lawyer and campaign finance practices. New York prosecutors have even implicated Trump in a crime.

Add it all up and the result is a spate of hard-to-stymie, legally perilous probes that appears on track to drag on well into Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign. SDNY stands poised to carry on Mueller’s efforts whenever the special counsel’s office closes shop, and it’s likely to draw even more attention if freshly confirmed Attorney General William Barr — who now oversees the Russia probe as DOJ head — clamps down on the public release of Mueller’s findings.

“When you combine their experience with the traditional independence of the southern district and the reputation it has, this is like another Mueller investigation going on,” said Nick Akerman, a former SDNY assistant attorney who also worked on the Watergate prosecution team.

The New York federal prosecutors are far from finished. They’re still seeking interviews with Trump Organization executives, according to a source with knowledge of the probe. And Trump’s inaugural committee confirmed earlier this month that it had received a wide-ranging subpoena from SDNY for documents as part of a probe into how the group raised and doled out a record $107 million. Investigators are looking at everything from potential mail and wire fraud to illegal foreign contributions and money laundering.

“This is why I’ve been saying for months that the Southern District of New York investigation presents a much more serious threat to the administration, potentially, than what Bob Mueller is doing,” Chris Christie, a former New Jersey governor and former federal prosecutor, told ABC News earlier this month.

SDNY poses an potent threat because the office has accumulated a perfect storm of witnesses who have guided Trump throughout his career, from his businesses to his meteoric rise in presidential politics up through his inauguration to the White House.

The list of cooperators includes Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s longtime chief financial officer; David Pecker, the CEO of the National Enquirer’s parent company who has admitted to working with Trump for years to kill incriminating media stories; and Rick Gates, who served as Trump campaign deputy and then de facto leader of the inaugural committee. Gates pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe to lying to the FBI last February but his sentencing has been delayed while he cooperates in “several ongoing investigations,” according to a filing last month from the special counsel’s office.

Then there’s Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer who is scheduled to begin serving a three-year prison sentence next month. Christie called Cohen a “tour guide” for SDNY investigators into the president’s orbit.

Alumni from the office have said SDNY’s investigative powers and independent streak are so robust that — depending on what it finds on Trump — the office could skirt DOJ legal protocol dating to Watergate that holds a sitting president can’t be indicted.

“I’m thoroughly convinced the SDNY will make its own evaluation. They will not say that’s a department policy,” said Jon Sale, a former SDNY and Watergate prosecutor who is close with Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. “They’re obviously looking at the president and I wouldn’t rule out that they could decide you can indict a sitting president.”

Trump’s attack-Mueller playbook can’t be replicated in New York. For starters, the bounds of what SDNY is looking at don’t deal with Trump’s tenure in the White House, meaning any push back on executive privilege grounds won’t fly. Trump’s lawyers have said they’ve resisted Mueller’s attempts to get the president to answer questions about potential obstruction of justice matters dealing with his time in the Oval Office. And they continue to signal the president’s team should be allowed to review the special counsel’s finished report to ensure it doesn’t violate the president’s rights.

Well, Bottomless Pinocchio is already an Unindicted Co-conspirator to Election Law Violations and Bank Fraud in the SDNY.


First of all, John Oliver is back!

To do whatever it is that he does. Yay!

Second, I don’t know whether John feels it as keenly as I do, but I really hate repeating myself.

Unfortunately people keep being stupid.

Brexit III: The Sequel To Brexit II: Invasion of the Intergalactic Space Lords


When You Quit Your Life To Become A Professional Gamer.

The Breakfast Club (Progress)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ is first published; Jefferson Davis is sworn in as President of the Confederate States of America; ‘Chicago Seven’ defendants in court; Dale Earnhardt, Senior dies.

how to get prednisone from online pharmacy

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.

Shirley Chisholm

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Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

best price free levitra David Leonhardt: New York Did Us All a Favor by Standing Up to Amazon

Imagine that a bunch of children are sitting around a table when a seemingly beneficent adult walks into the room carrying a plate of cupcakes. The kids burst out in excitement — until they notice a problem: There are fewer cupcakes than children.

At this point, the adult announces some ground rules. To receive a cupcake, the children will have to compete with one another. The adult will accept cash or other objects of value. Praise for the adult’s kindness would also be welcome.

The kids immediately start saying nice things and digging into their pockets. But then one child has second thoughts. She quiets the room and tells the adult he’s being a bully. He is bigger, stronger and richer than the kids, she says. He shouldn’t make them grovel for cupcakes. The adult replies: “Fine. No cupcake for you.”

If she were your child, how would you feel: proud that she took a stand, or disappointed that she didn’t act in her own best interests? Cupcakes, after all, are pretty tasty.

Last week, New York became that disobedient child. The city damaged its own interests, or at least its short-term interests, for the sake of principle. Enough New Yorkers raised enough of a ruckus about the nearly $3 billion in tax breaks that the city and state were bestowing on Amazon that Amazon finally had enough. On Thursday, it announced that it would no longer be bringing 25,000 jobs to Queens. No cupcake for New York.

Yes, I know: Jobs are not cupcakes. Jobs help people build middle-class lives, which are in too short supply these days. So pretend that the adult in my story offered a Kindle instead of a cupcake. Or a college scholarship. It shouldn’t change your view of the girl’s rebellion.

clomid work drug test Robert Reich: Dictator Trump

A president who claims he has an absolute right to declare a national emergency and spend government funds that Congress has explicitly refused to appropriate for the ends he seeks, is assuming the role of a dictator.

A president who shuts down government in order to get his way on a controversial issue, such as building a wall along the border with Mexico, and offers to reopen it as a concession when and if his opponents give in, is treating the government of the United States as a bargaining chip. This, too, is the behavior of a dictator.

As is spouting lies over what Trump terms an “undeniable crisis” at the southern U.S. border, which is in fact no crisis at all.

Donald Trump is violating the Constitution. He is negating our system of government based on the rule of law. He is violating a president’s core responsibility to protect American democracy.

But the threat to American democracy is not just from Trump’s dictatorial moves. And real threat to American sovereignty is not coming from Trump’s fantasized hordes seeking to cross the Mexican border.

It is coming from a foreign government intent on undermining our democracy by propagating lies, turning Americans against each other, and electing a puppet president.

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Rant of the Week: Bill Maher – The Republicans Are the Problem

In his editorial New Rule, Bill disputes the notion that both political parties are to blame for the mess we’re in.

Captain Planet

Ok, that one’s a little obscure. In addition to his many other accomplishments Don Cheadle was the star of the eponymous Captain Planent on Funny or Die, the funny part of which was that he was nothing like the hero of the Saturday moring children’s cartoon of the same name. I used it for a Cartnoon at one point.

Not all SNLs are good or funny and it’s too bad for Don because he is both funny and good and he was in almost every sketch. I blame the writers. Michael Che is hogging all the good lines for himself.


School Daze

The Chapel Of Love

Hell’s Kitchen

Stone Cold Killahz

Saturday Night’s Alright

Going to the Dogs

Sunset Boulevard

Oh, you want news.


La Vie d’Adèle – I Follow Rivers

Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Sunflower – Post Malone and Swae Lee

The Breakfast Club (Sometimes there’s a theme)

lasix causes ed Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for February 17th

Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer gets life in prison; House lawmakers pick a president; Garry Kasparov beats IBM’s Deep Blue at chess; NBA star Michael Jordan born; The Eagles release their greatest hits.

Breakfast Tune ‘Prison Wall Blues’ GUS CANNON (1930) Banjo Blues Legend

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

‘Venezuela’: Media’s One-Word Rebuttal to the Threat of Socialism
Alan MacLeod / FAIR Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
How the Media Uses Venezuela’s Poverty to Demonize Leftist Leaders (TruthDig)

Socialism—whatever that means—is in vogue right now. A recent Gallup poll (8/13/18) found that a majority of millennials view socialism favorably, preferring it to capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States, while new leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policies of higher taxes on the wealthy, free healthcare and public college tuition are highly popular—even among Republican voters (, 1/23/19).

Alarmed by the growing threat of progressive policies at home, the establishment has found a one-word weapon to deploy against the rising tide: Venezuela. The trick is to attack any political figure or movement even remotely on the left by claiming they wish to turn the country into a “socialist wasteland” (Fox News, 2/2/19) run by a corrupt dictatorship, leaving its people hungry and devastated.

Leading the charge have been Fox News and other conservative outlets. One Fox opinion piece (1/25/19) claimed that Americans should be “absolutely disgusted” by the “fraud” of Bernie Sanders and Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as they “continue to promote a system that is causing mass starvation and the collapse of a country,” warning that is exactly what their failed socialist policies would bring to the US. (Back in the real world, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez identify as socialists, Warren is a self-described capitalist, and Booker is noted for his ties to Wall Street, whose support for his presidential bid he has reportedly been soliciting.) A second Fox News article (1/27/19) continues in the same vein, warning that, “At the heart of Venezuela’s collapse is a laundry list of socialist policies that have decimated its economy.”

More supposedly centrist publications have continued this line of attack. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens (1/25/19) argued: “Venezuela is a socialist catastrophe. In the age of AOC, the lesson must be learned again”—namely, that “socialism never works,” as “20 years of socialism” has led to “the ruin of a nation.” The Miami Herald (2/1/19) cast shame on Sanders and AOC for arguing for socialism in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it, describing the left’s refusal to back self-appointed president Juan Guaidó, someone whom less than 20 percent of Venezuelans had even heard of, let alone voted for, as “morally repugnant.”

This useful weapon to be used against the left can only be sustained by withholding a great number of key facts—chief among them, the US role in Venezuela’s devastation. US sanctions, according to the Venezuelan opposition’s economics czar, are responsible for a halving of the country’s oil output (, 12/17/18). The UN Human Rights Council has formally condemned the US and discussed reparations to be paid, with one UN special rapporteur describing Trump’s sanctions as a possible “crime against humanity” (London Independent, 1/26/19). This has not been reported by any the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or any other national US “resistance” news outlet, which have been only too quick to support Trump’s regime change plans (, 1/25/19).

Likewise, the local US-backed opposition’s role in the economic crisis is barely mentioned. The opposition, which controls much of the country’s food supply, has officially accepted responsibility for conducting an “economic war” by withholding food and other key goods.

… -more-

Something to think about over coffee prozac

El Chapo Says He Is Victim of Phony Witch Hunt

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In his first interview since being found guilty on all counts in his U.S. trial, the Mexican drug lord Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán called himself the victim of a “phony witch hunt.”

The former cartel leader made his blistering comments in a phone call to the television program “Fox & Friends,” whose hosts appeared surprised that he had somehow gained access to a phone and was able to get through to them.

“It was a phony witch hunt,” El Chapo said, of his trial. “It was a phony, rigged witch hunt, and the charges against me were fake news and a disgrace.”

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview EditionPondering the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Headsca:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL); Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH); California Attorney General Xavier Becerra; and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

The roundtable guests are: ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd; TIME National Political Correspondent Molly Ball; Washington Examiner Chief Congressional Correspondent Susan Ferrechio; and Vice News Washington Bureau Chief Shawna Thomas.

Face the Nation: Host Margaret Brennan’s guests are: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE); former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; and Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX).

Her panel guests are: Rachael Bade, The Washington Post; David Nakamura, The Washington Post; Leslie Sanchez, a CBS News contributor; and Eugene Scott, The Washington Post.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI); Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC); and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH); ans Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

His panel guests are: Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI); otherwise unemployable former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); Conservative commentator Linda Chavez; and Rep. Anthony Brown (R-MD).

Another Rose Garden Meltdown

Comemntary on yesterday’s long expected development is basically divided into 2 main threads.

First is- ZOMG! Unindicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio could win given this Supreme Court! He really can’t because it not just the broad challenges on Constitutionality which are true and precedented, but also the thousands of small lawsuits by Landowners many of whom would just as soon shoot any Government agent who trespasses on their property and have the arsenals to do it. It will kill Republican electoral chances with their most ardent voters and donors. There will be a lot of internal pushback from the Pentagon too because they hate it when you take away their monies, and from those fearful of a Democrat taking away the aforementioned arsenals.

The second focuses on how unhinged and weak Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio looked and the damage he has done to any argument that there is an “Emergency” at the Southern Border except for the Humanitarian one Unidicted Co-conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio created himself with his Racist policies.

That second line of argument is really the focus of this piece by Spencer Ackerman, a real nice guy and who’s mother I had a chance to sit next to (well, one seat away- TMC was actually next to her) at a presentation by Jeremy Scahill that he moderated. As I recall it was the one for Dirty Wars and Scahill’s introduction to the Q&A was horrifying.

Not that Ackerman doesn’t cover the first thread, I’ll try and elide the boring bits.

Trump Just Put His Own National Emergency Declaration in Legal Jeopardy
Spencer Ackerman and Scott Bixby, Daily Beast

Although President Trump has threatened for weeks to declare a national emergency to build a border wall, his announcement of that emergency on Friday exposed a lack of even basic planning for an act that crosses a constitutional Rubicon.

Officials at the major U.S. agencies that will implement the declaration were unable to identify how it will operate in practice. Legislators overseeing those agencies said they had been told nothing. And legal observers were stunned that Trump himself made an admission likely to set the federal courts on a path to reckoning with their credibility—if not the integrity of the constitutional system itself.

“I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster,” Trump said about a declaration with the potential to redefine the relationship between the presidency and Congress.

That admission, said Liza Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, could dramatically complicate the Trump administration’s standing once the emergency declaration ends up in the courts.

“If the courts are being asked to review whether or not there’s a real emergency here, and the president is on record saying, essentially, ‘No,’ that’s pretty significant,” said Goitein. “Even a court inclined to be deferential will have to take note of this admission.

In his Rose Garden address, the president said that illegal crossings across an unguarded border were increasing, with coyotes smuggling duct-taped women and girls being sold into sexual slavery, along with massive amounts of fentanyl. But non-government experts in the field told The Daily Beast that the president’s statistics appear to come out of the clear blue sky and government sources refused to provide data that would underpin Trump’s assertions.

“Not even the most conservative organizations on immigration policy have ever come close to calculating an estimate that high and to date the White House has shown no source for their estimates,” said Meg Wiehe, deputy director of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. “All of the research I have seen has clearly shown that the number of undocumented immigrants has been steadily falling each year.”

The president’s own answers on the sources of his data were not illuminating either.

“I get my numbers from a lot of sources, like Homeland Security primarily, and the numbers that I have from Homeland Security are a disaster,” Trump said.

Those sources, according to those who work in the field, are either bad at their math or don’t exist.

“The president has a history of throwing around numbers that even the most extreme hard liners have a hard time defending,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, director of immigration research at the Fiscal Policy Institute. “Researchers have now had decades—more time than anyone ever imagined—to estimate how many undocumented immigrants there are in the United States. The very broad consensus is that the number today is around 11 million.”

Requests for clarification made to the Department of Homeland Security, whose own reports directly contradict each of the president’s assertions, were not answered. The Department of Justice, which oversees the Drug Enforcement Agency, referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security. And the White House did not return a request for the sources of the president’s statistics.

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), the chairman of the HASC subcommittee on readiness, told The Daily Beast that the projects that could be affected stretch from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina—both of which sustained damage during the recent hurricane season—to Travis Air Force Base in California, which was awaiting a new hangar to house the planes that are coming online. Garamendi said removing money from the drug interdiction program was particularly concerning.

“Almost all of the drugs go through the Central American countries now. Pulling money out of that is just the height of, I’ll just say ignorance, to say nothing of hubris,” he said. “If you are building a wall to stop the drug trade, wouldn’t you want to stop it in Colombia and Central America before it ever gets to the shores of America or to the border.”

“What are they thinking?” he said, then quickly concluded, “Well, they’re not.”

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Calif.), who chairs the armed services committee, called Trump’s declaration “appalling” and said that Trump’s Rose Garden line about military construction not “seem[ing] too important to me” showed disrespect to the military.

“It is clear that there is no national emergency—only a manufactured crisis—and there has been no attempt to explain how the wall has anything to do with supporting U.S. military needs, as the law intends,” Smith said Friday. “From the beginning, President Trump’s obsession over a border wall has been based on misguided anti-immigrant fervor, not U.S. national security. The American people are utterly opposed to this gimmick, and President Trump should be ashamed of himself.”

A more notable conversion came from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has for weeks urged the president to avoid putting congressional Republicans in the position of defending an emergency declaration, which many conservatives view as a dangerous overreach of executive power and a bad precedent to set for the likelihood of a future Democratic president. But when President Trump threatened to start another politically disastrous shutdown over funding for the border wall, it was McConnell himself who announced that a deal had been made and that he would support an emergency declaration.

Previously, Trump had teased the possibility of declaring a national emergency for weeks, while saying it was his “absolute right” to make such a proclamation.

That too could complicate his current legal standing. Goitein told The Daily Beast that using the possibility of a declaration of emergency as a negotiating tactic “turns the entire purpose of emergency powers on its head,” and could backfire in court.

“The purpose of emergency powers is to give the president added flexibility when Congress doesn’t have time to act,” Goitein said. “The president not getting his way is not a national emergency.”

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt


What To Cook

Pan-Roasted Steak with Crispy Broccoli

It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s totally repurposable. Making extra steak tonight means a stress-free dinner tomorrow

Lemony Salmon and Spiced Chickpeas

Everything’s better in bowl form, and this salmon dish flavored with a garlicky za’atar dressing is no exception.

Cheesy Kale and Mushroom Strata

It’s an effortless one-pan meal if you have a cast-iron skillet, but if you don’t, just cook the kale mixture in a stainless-steel one, then bake the strata in a 13×9″ baking dish.

Radicchio with Creamy Tahini and Salted Sesame Seeds

This tahini dressing recipe goes especially well with bitter greens but can also be paired with sweeter lettuces such as Little Gem or romaine.

Hot Cocoa Cake

It’s a versatile cake that can be eaten in the morning or as an afternoon snack, and also makes a great dessert after dinner.

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