So long as there is a prospect for the issuance of a pardon by a Vice President once he/she becomes President, or the expiration of the statute of limitations while a President remains in office, the indictment of a sitting President may be the "only" constitutional means for ensuring "Equal Justice Under Law".
That conclusion, of course, is at odds with the official U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) position that a sitting President cannot be indicted until after he/she leaves office. The DoJ's position is based upon the December 10, 2000 Opinion issued by the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), citing an earlier OLC opinion that "the institution of criminal proceedings 'would interfere with the President's unique official duties, most of which cannot be performed by anyone else.'"
But that position is flawed and is being challenged by a number of legal scholars, including Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a preeminent constitutional expert, whose famous former students include Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and President Barack Obama.
In a December 10 Boston Globe op-ed and during a subsequent appearance on MSNBC's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell (see video below), Tribe noted that the long-controversial OLC opinion lacks the force of a judicial precedent and is at odds with the legal accountability required of all federal officers, including the President...
On today's BradCast, Bernie Sanders meets with President Obama, who endorses Hillary Clinton; A look at recent convention battles and whether they suggest Sanders should drop out before the DNC's July convention; And we receive comment from Los Angeles County's chief election official on the seemingly alarming number of Provisional Ballots handed out to voters on Tuesday in the nation's largest voting jurisdiction.
First up, some breaking news from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which has now upheld the Constitutionality of restrictions on concealed carry weapons. Then, Bernie Sanders meets with President Obama at the White House, vows to work with Hillary Clinton to defeat Trump, but promises once again to continue his fight through next week's primary in D.C. and all the way through the Democratic National Convention in July. And President Obama finally endorses Hillary Clinton.
Earlier this week at Talking Points Memo, Judis, who acknowledges "Clinton has a lot of weaknesses", nonetheless argued that Sanders should get out after California and endorse Clinton no matter who ended up winning the primary here. "What concerned me was that the Sanders people would take a win in California as a reason to really go fight it out at the convention, and I thought that that would be a terrible mistake for the party and for the country, because of what I've seen happen at those kind of conventions," he tells me today. "It's in the interest of people who are Democrats, liberals who are queasy about Donald Trump becoming our next President, to do what they can to help her. And having a big convention battle will not help her." He offers much more on today's show.
Finally today, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan offers us response to concerns about the seemingly huge number of Provisional Ballots cast during Tuesday's primary. As we reported in detail on yesterday's BradCast (which included a bonus second hour of callers from across Southern California, both voters and poll workers alike, describing problems at the polling place on Tuesday), voters cast some 240,000 provisionals in L.A. County alone. Between those and the still-untallied Vote-by-Mail ballots, there still more than half a million untallied ballots in the County.
But, following yesterday's program and my query to Logan about the large number of provisionals, he conceded the number does appear "high, but not disproportionately so, compared to other major elections and given the Primary-specific elements everyone was dealing with." Today, as he had promised, he sent more details with provisional ballot numbers from recent comparable elections in 2008 and 2012, which he believes supports the case that the numbers from Tuesday aren't as disturbing as they may seem at first glance.
Logan also responds to concerns about the many reports we've been receiving and reporting on since Tuesday regarding voters being told they had requested a Vote-by-Mail ballot when they attempted to vote at the polling place, even though the voters say they had made no such request. He explains that he's found a number of such voters had registered online and --- either accidentally or due to poor "design of the original online registration application" --- had selected the box that would have made them a Permanent Vote-by-Mail "without intention or understanding". He adds, however, "that is speculative" at the moment, as more investigation and counting of those ballots moves forward. He has told me that L.A. County generally is able to verify and include about 85 to 90 percent of provisional ballots in their final certified results.
His complete response, and a few thoughts of my own in regard to this latest mess --- and so many before it --- now serving to mar confidence in the results of another important election, on today's BradCast...
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