On today's BradCast, it seems to be the day when we are now officially tumbling over the Constitutional Crisis cliff.
The day began with Donald Trump's Dept. of Justice issuing a letter to the House Judiciary Committee informing them that the President was formally asserting Executive Privilege to block the release to Congress of the unredacted report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as well as all of its underlying evidence, such as witness testimony, grand jury information, etc.
That, as the Committee held its scheduled session to consider a vote on a resolution [PDF] finding Trump's Attorney General turned personal fixer William Barr in contempt. The vote recommending the full House consider citing Barr came after weeks of Chairman Jerrold Nadler's repeated attempts, to no avail, to find good faith accommodation with the DoJ to release the subpoenaed Special Counsel materials. Nadler's thanks came today when the DoJ notified the Committee that, due to Trump invoking Executive Privilege, they would not be allowed to see any additional material from the Special Counsel investigation of Donald Trump's obstruction of justice and his 2016 campaign's involvement with alleged election interference by Russia. In an amusing sidebar, the White House statement today on this charged: "Faced with Chairman Nadler's blatant abuse of power...the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege."
And, as all of that was going on, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at a Washington Post event, declared cryptically that Trump's "obstruction, obstruction, obstruction" means that he is "becoming self-impeachable," whatever that might mean.
We're joined to try and make sense of all of this today --- including last night's blockbuster New York Times exposé finding Trump's tax records from 1985 through 1994 reveal that the self-proclaimed "greatest businessman of all time" personally lost more than $1 billion over that decade --- by our friend and award-winning journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hulaballoo.
Among the many questions raised and (some of them) answered today with the great "Digby"...
- Did the Times' report have anything to do with Trump's blanket use of Executive Privilege today to block a report that he had previously waived the privilege on? ("The bigger picture here," argues Parton, "is that it exposes Trump as the greatest liar and conman of all time.")
- Is Trump's legally dubious (to say the least) strategy of attempting to block any and all Congressional access to documents and witnesses really meant only to run out the clock until election season begins in earnest?
- Is there a group of non-elected Republicans who might finally step in to end this madness?
- Will the Democrats' attempt to refer a contempt citation for Barr be any more successful than the Republicans' attempt to cite Obama Attorney General Eric Holder in 2012 when, as we discuss, they made the exact same arguments against Holder that Dems are making against Barr today?
- Are the Dems moving too cautiously in their attempts to hold Trump and his Administration accountable?
- Are we any closer to an actual impeachment inquiry of the President, given (as 1998's Lindsey Graham helpfully reminds us today), the very same obstruction of Congress by a President for which Articles of Impeachment were issued against both Richard Nixon and by Graham and the Republicans against Bill Clinton?
- What the hell does Pelosi's "self-impeachable" remark actually mean?
- And should we all be concerned about what Trump might do next when things get even worse for him and his Presidency --- as his Administration continues to beat drums of war against Venezuela, Iran and other nations?
And, as if all of that isn't enough to squeeze into one very fast moving hour, as we got off the air today we received the breaking news that the GOP-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee has now subpoenaed Donald Trump, Jr., regarding his previous Congressional testimony on the Trump Tower Moscow project...as the walls appear to be tumbling down...
NOTE: I'm on the road tomorrow, so we'll be airing a BradCast Recounted for ya. Angie Coiro is in for us on Friday. And I'll be back, whether you or I like it or not, on Monday!
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)