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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: mar a lago

Why Fox News Went Nearly Silent On Trump's Embrace Of Neo-Nazis

Fox News’ near-total silence on former President Donald Trump’s meeting with Nick Fuentes and the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, points to the inroads that white nationalism and virulent antisemitism have made at the network — and the difficulty the Republican Party would have in trying to remove that faction from its coalition.

The news that Fuentes and Ye had dined with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home and resort last Tuesday triggered a stream of denunciations from civil rights groups and calls for Republicans to speak out. The friendly sitdown came in spite of a weekslong firestorm surrounding Ye’s increasingly open anti-Jewish rhetoric. Fuentes, meanwhile, is a white supremacist leader who attended the deadly 2017 Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, called for a “white uprising” to install Trump as a dictator, and has generated a lengthy list of bigoted statements, including his recent exhortation for Jews to “get the fuck out of America.”

Republican leaders are divided over whether bigots like Ye and Fuentes should be shunned and the former president condemned for meeting with them. Ultimately, this argument is a proxy fight over the question of whether the white supremacists, Proud Boys, antisemites, and other deplorables who made common cause with Trump should be ushered out of the party. Some, like former Vice President Mike Pence, have spoken out. Others have criticized Fuentes while letting Trump off the hook, like potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), or remained silent, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Fox’s propagandists have joined the side of the silent. The network devoted a mere seven minutes to the dinner from the time the story broke on Friday through the weekend, and ignored it altogether on Monday. Notably, influential prime-time hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham have not mentioned the story at all. Fox is signaling to the viewers who trust it above all other news sources that the story is not important.

Fox’s quiet acquiescence points to a quandary for the network. It would apparently be a step too far for Fox to support Trump meeting with such despicable bigots – that could threaten its relations with advertisers and cable carriers. But the network is also too tightly intertwined with that world to criticize him for it. It has a Tucker Carlson problem.

Fox personalities condemning Trump for meeting with Ye would amount to a hairpin turn for the network. They were touting Ye’s bravery just weeks ago after Ye talked up Trump in Carlson’s fawning interview with him. But as they lavished praise on the rapper, the network was keeping under wraps some of the the anti-Jewish comments West made in the same discussion. When Ye started making similarly antisemitic remarks on social media, some at Fox criticized him – though not Carlson, who pretended that outburst hadn’t happened and continued to laud him.

Fuentes’ noxious racism and antisemitism are more explicit than what is typically found on Fox, and the network would seem to face less risk in condemning him. But Carlson in particular has made his show a clearinghouse for antisemitic tropes, white nationalist talking points, and fringe-right bigots. All the while, he has denied the existence of the white supremacists who praise him for mainstreaming their worldview. How could Carlson plausibly berate Trump for meeting with a white supremacist when he’s spent years telling his viewers that white supremacists don’t exist? And how could anyone else at the network convincingly draw a line between Fuentes’ commentary and what viewers see in its 8 p.m. hour?

Fox’s problem mirrors that of the GOP. Republican leaders believe that it needs the extremists Trump ushered into the party in order to win elections. Fox hosts and executives likewise recognize that if they aim at such deplorables, they may hit their own viewers. The result is that rank and file Republicans may not hear that the meeting ever happened – and if they do, the source will be a mainstream outlet that Fox has relentlessly trained them to ignore. If Fox creates the context through which its viewers interpret news, the message it is sending is that Trump dining with bigots is not important.

The Fox mantra is to “respect the audience.” In practice, that means keeping them cosseted from information that may displease them, no matter how extreme they become or what conspiracy theories they end up believing.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Just Another Day With Anti-Semites At The Former President's House

As we all certainly know by now, Donald Trump had some guests over for dinner last week at his home, the resort/hotel/club Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump claims he had invited his good friend Ye, formerly known as Kayne West, and was surprised when a well-known white supremacist, anti-Semite and public supporter of his, Nick Fuentes showed up as well. That Trump would be having dinner a couple of weeks after he announced his campaign for the presidency in 2024 with two notorious racists and anti-Semites is perhaps less surprising than the reaction to the fact of it.

You could have heard the collective gasp from the media sphere if you were at the bottom of a coal mine in Siberia. The horror! The outrage! The whole un-thinkable-ness of it! The story was beaten to death. How could it have happened? Could Ye/Kayne West really have sashayed past the Secret Service-protected gates of Mar-a-Lago with Fuentes in tow? Reports of the dinner by “sources” say that Trump’s reaction to Fuentes was as predictable as it was yawn-inducing: “I really like this guy,” Trump told his friend Ye/Kayne West. “He gets me.”

You would have had to have been at the bottom of the aforesaid coal mine for the past six years not to know that a little fawning goes a long way with our former president.

And then came the reports of the mainstreaming of Fuentes that has gone on since he made an appearance at the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Here is our boy Nick in the company of current members of Congress Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar and right-wing babbler Michele Malkin and former Rep. Steve King at something called the “America First Political Action Conference,” (AFPAC) which advertises itself as even further to the right than the “Conservative Political Action Conference,” (CPAC). Fuentes, it was reported, led cheers of “Russia! Russia! Russia!” and “Putin! Putin! Putin!” at the gathering, because…of course he did. The next day, he was roundly denounced – in a Tweet, naturally – by soon-to-be-former Representative Liz Cheney, because…of course she did: “All Americans should renounce this garbage and reject the Putin wing of the GOP now. The silence by Republican Party leaders is deafening and enabling,” because…of course it is.

Are you beginning to pick up on the fact that there is nothing new here, folks? Just another day at Mar-a-Lago, just another moment in the continuing saga of the descent of Republicans into less a political party than a herd of Brownshirts thundering through the media-scape without raising hardly a ripple? I mean, what has to happen in this country to rouse the decent against the dastardly? An election that was nearly stolen from the American people in front of their eyes didn’t manage to do it. A violent coup against the seat of our government, the Capitol, didn’t do it. Somewhere in the vicinity of 40,000 overt lies told by our former president while in office had no discernible effect.

And now we’ve got the same former president and current candidate dining in public at his resort/hotel/club with two out-of-control and out-of-their minds anti-semites, and all we’ve heard have been squeaks and chirps from the liberal media establishment about how terrible it is, and of course dead silence from the Republican Party, with the exception of a few brave souls like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (!) who found enough backbone remaining in his normally gelatinous spine that he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Racism, anti-semitism, and denial of the Holocaust have no place in the Republican Party and are completely un-American.”

Wow, you’d go that far, Brian? That’s taking a pretty big risk isn’t it, pal, given the political climate in your own so-called party. I guess we should consider it a story when a climate-change-denying, voter suppressing flat-earther like Kemp appears to come to his senses…but noooooo! In the next breath, he made a bunch of ads for his Texas-based Senate candidate Herschel Walker, and all was right with the world once again.

But the problem here isn’t that Trump refused to denounce Fuentes once he was caught consorting with him, because of course he didn’t. The problem isn’t that the “leadership” of the Republican Party has stayed silent, because of course they have. The problem isn’t the matter of fact-ness of Trump dining with these monsters. The problem is that 80 years after the Holocaust, we are still dealing with people like this piece of scum, Nick Fuentes, who deny that it happened and get attention for their criminal lies. Holocaust denial just never goes away. The anti-semitism of “Jews will not replace us” chants at the torch-lit Charlottesville rally of buttoned-down and khaki pants-wearing white boys just never goes away. The age-old lies that Jews somehow control the world’s banks and stage-manage economic inequality to their own benefit just never goes away.

But it’s the denial of the Holocaust that is the worst of it. The systematic murder of millions of Jews and Gypsies and gay people and political opponents of Nazism and intellectuals is something that not only happened decades ago but keeps getting repeated again and again and again. Nearly an entire people, Native Americans, were massacred during this nation’s founding. Certainly that was a genocide. It is unknown how many Black Americans were lynched and murdered during slavery, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, but certainly that was a genocide as well. Nearly a million were murdered during the Rwandan massacre in 1994, another genocide. The violence and destruction and starvation in Darfur killed 400,000 in 2003, another genocide. In Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, some 200,000 Muslim civilians were systematically murdered, and nearly two million became refugees at the hands of the Serbs, yet another genocide.

And now it’s happening again in Ukraine, where thousands of civilians are thought to have been murdered by the Russian army since February of this year. They are still digging up mass graves and single graves in Kherson after the Russians were driven out recently. There won’t be an authoritative total of the murders for months, even years, but it is clear already that the killings have been planned, sanctioned, and carried out by the Russian army.

History repeats itself because it is denied and swept under the rug and is unstudied and forgotten. Donald Trump and Nick Fuentes and before them David Duke and his ilk are not just propagandists for a lie. They are facilitators of modern genocides. Lies beget murders which beget more lies which beget more murders.

As a species, we seem unable to stop the ongoing Holocaust that is humanity. But we can fight against it by teaching and learning and remembering.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this column is reprinted with permission.

Arkansas Governor Condemns Trump Meeting With Neo-Nazi Fuentes

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas admonished former President Donald Trump's Tuesday, November 22nd meeting with avowed white supremacist podcaster Nick Fuentes at Mar-a-Lago on Sunday's edition of State of the Union. Trump hosted a dinner that night at his Florida compound for disgraced rapper and possible 2024 presidential candidate Kanye West along with Fuentes to shore up support for his own White House run, which he formally declared on Tuesday, November 15th.

Host Dana Bash asked Hutchinson to comment on Trump's political schmoozing of Holocaust deniers such as Fuentes:

You personally prosecuted white supremacist groups. What's your reaction to seeing a former US president associate with someone like that?

Hutchinson:

Well I hope someday we won't have to be responding to what former President Trump has said or done. In this instance, it's important to respond. And, as you mentioned, the last time I met with a white supremacist, it was in an armed standoff. I had a bulletproof vest on. We arrested them, prosecuted them, sent them to prison. And so, no, I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that is setting an example for the country or the party to meet with an avowed racist or antisemite. And so it's very troubling, and it shouldn't happen. And we need to avoid those kinds of empowering the extremes. And when you meet with people, you empower. And that's what you have to avoid. You want to diminish their strength, not empower them. Stay away from them.

Bash noted that "Trump has released multiple statements. What he's doing is, he's denying knowing Nick Fuentes. But he's not condemning his views, let alone condemning Kanye West's history of antisemitic comments, recent history. So it's a pattern."

Hutchinson agreed:

Well, I mean, you could have accidental meetings. Things like that happen. This was not an accidental meeting. It was a setup dinner with Kanye. And so this happened. But you certainly have every occasion that the question of white supremacy or neo-Nazism, or denying the Holocaust comes up. You have got to be absolutely clear in your communication that this is not acceptable dogma, it's not acceptable conversation, it's not acceptable history, and you have to disavow it. It is as simple as that. And I'm very proud of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The former ambassador, US ambassador in the Trump Administration to Israel, has condemned this.

And so what Donald Trump did and his failure to condemn it is really the minority of the party. It's an extreme side of it. And that's what you have got to distance yourself from. And he failed to do that.

Watch below or at this link.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Trump In Legal Jeopardy As Garland Appoints Tough Special Counsel

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday named longtime federal prosecutor Jack Smith special counsel to oversee two Justice Department probes of Donald Trump and determine whether he should be indicted.

Smith will now oversee two ongoing federal investigations into Trump's involvement in the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and his storage of highly sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

Smith, who is anything but a household name, is well-known within legal circles as a "scrappy... no-nonsense, hard-charger," as former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade told MSNBC shortly after the announcement.

Smith also appears to be a veteran of navigating highly charged situations. He has overseen war crimes investigations at the International Criminal Court, led the Justice Department's public integrity unit, been appointed the first assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, and, most recently, served as a war crimes prosecutor at The Hague. In fact, Garland said Smith was flying back from that post to accept his appointment as special counsel.

McQuade took his appointment as a sign that the department's investigations into Trump have taken a serious turn.

"The one thing I find most significant," she said, "is you don't need to appoint a special counsel just to decline a case. You don't call in a Jack Smith, someone with incredible credentials, incredible reputation, pull him out of The Hague to do this work, unless you think there is a very high likelihood that one of these cases is going to result in charges. So that's my read."

McQuade's take was shared by some other legal observers. Former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Renato Mariotti tweeted, “If Merrick Garland didn’t think there was a serious possibility that Trump would be indicted, he wouldn’t have appointed a special counsel.”

Mariotti added that Garland “didn’t appoint Jack Smith to wind down these investigations.”

While some legal observers wished Garland had simply made the call himself, Smith was generally embraced as a good choice for the job. Notably, he has not been charged with recreating the work already undertaken by Justice Department prosecutors.

"Jack Smith is a solid pick," tweeted Joyce Vance White, a law school professor and MSNBC legal analyst. "His experience as specialist prosecutor for Kosovo suggests he can move into a serious, difficult ongoing investigation, run with it, & indict cases that should be indicted."

Highly regarded constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe said he could think of "no one better suited" for the job, and former member of the Mueller team Andrew Weissmann added that Smith is a "very aggressive prosecutor who represents the best of the Department."

If the Justice Department ultimately does indict Trump, it will be ugly no matter who pulls the trigger. No amount of separation between a Biden-appointed attorney general and the career prosecutor who made the call will assuage Trump supporters.

That said, there's a case to be made that by virtue of not being a political appointee, Smith will be better situated to make a decision based on the evidence alone. His appointment could also add an extra layer of transparency. If Smith recommends indicting Trump, and Garland then rejects that determination, Garland will be required to explain that decision to the public.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Did Trump Incriminate Himself In Weekend Rally Speech?

Former President Donald Trump's comments during a weekend rally about the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago may be "admissible evidence" in court, legal experts say.

Trump lashed out at the FBI during a rally in Miami on Sunday over the "very famous raid on Mar-a-Lago," which he described as "the document-hoax case."

Trump claimed the court-approved search "violated my Fourth Amendment rights" and is "something that's never been done to another president."

"No other president's ever done this," he said. "Presidents leave, they take things, they take documents, they read them. Nobody else has ever gone through this."

Trump has repeatedly falsely claimed that past presidents have "taken" documents with them after leaving office. The National Archives and Records Administration issued a statement debunking his claim last month, explaining that the National Archives took custody of all presidential records and "securely moved those records to temporary facilities" before moving them to presidential libraries. Claims that "indicate or imply that those Presidential records were in the possession of the former Presidents or their representatives, after they left office… are false and misleading," the statement said.

Legal experts said that Trump's comments may amount to an admission of illegality.

"Here's Trump apparently admitting to illegally taking top secret documents when he left the White House," the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said on Twitter.

Conservative attorney George Conway said the comments could be "admissible evidence," suggesting a drinking game for every time "he says something self-incriminating" at a rally.

"Keep talking. Keep confessing," wrote national security attorney Bradley Moss, a frequent Trump critic.

Legal experts also called out another comment from Trump during a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday.

"Every other president takes their documents. I'm the only one. I can't have a document," Trump complained during a rally in Latrobe, falsely suggesting that other presidents took and kept their documents in unsecure facilities.

"Did Trump just admit to taking top secret documents he was not supposed to have?" CREW asked on Twitter.

Conway responded to the video of Trump's comments by posting a photo of Miranda rights, which note that "you have the right to remain silent."

Trump has claimed that former President George H.W. Bush "took millions of documents to a… bowling alley/Chinese restaurant" with "no security and a broken front door" and claimed that Bill Clinton "took millions of documents from the White House to a former car dealership in Arkansas."

"All of these Trump claims are false," CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale wrote last month, citing a National Archives statement confirming that the agency "securely moved these records to temporary facilities that NARA leased from the General Services Administration near the locations of the future Presidential Libraries that former Presidents built for NARA."

"All such temporary facilities met strict archival and security standards, and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees," the agency said.

Dale added that there is "no equivalence between Trump's handling of presidential documents and those of his predecessors."

"In the others' cases, the presidential documents were in NARA's possession and stored securely and professionally," he wrote. "In Trump's case, the presidential documents found in haphazard amateur storage at Mar-a-Lago were in Trump's own possession, despite numerous attempts by both NARA and the Justice Department to get them back."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Secrets Of Iran Missiles And China Intelligence Exposed In Mar-a-Lago Documents

Every time more information appears about just what was in those documents that Donald Trump stole from the White House and illegally held at Mar-a-Lago, the worse it seems. The latest information comes from The Washington Post, which reports that, among other things, the documents Trump is trying to claim were personal property contain, in part, information about Iran’s missile program, as well as secrets involving “highly sensitive intelligence work” involving China.

What kind of case might be made that Trump has a right to documents on either subject is simple: There is none. Simply holding these documents outside a secure area represents a national security threat. Either document might also contain information that reveals U.S. sources and methods, meaning that showing these documents to anyone represents not just a threat to international stability, but a direct risk to human intelligence and a setback for intelligence research.

At the same time, Trump’s legal team is engaged in its latest exchange with federal Judge Raymond Dearie, who was Trump’s personal pick to serve as “special master” in Trump’s fight to keep these documents squirreled away in his desk drawer. A final list of concerns about a subset of the documents was due to Dearie on Thursday. The DOJ met that deadline. Trump's team did not. Instead, they claimed they need more time, and that they’d get back to Dearie on Monday. That response is not going over well with the judge.

According to the Post, the documents concerning China and Iran were among the third batch of classified documents removed from Mar-a-Lago, those that were located only after an FBI team searched both a storage room and Trump’s office. According to their description, the documents connected to China are among the most classified possible.

These documents reportedly cover special access programs, known only to the president and select cabinet members, and “detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are not informed about them.”

These are precisely the kind of programs likely to generate the highest value information, and also those which are the most sensitive to any lapse in security. Such documents don’t have to list the names of informants and other sources to make them know. Just the nature of the information revealed—details of a conversation, a piece of technical data, images, or analysis—can be enough for Chinese or Iranian officials to finger those at the other end of such programs. At best, those assets are now worthless. At worst, they are dead; possibly after being “played back” to feed false information to U.S. intelligence.

Not only are these among the most sensitive documents that could have been in Trump’s possession, they’re also the least likely to have any legitimate possible reason to be found outside a secure environment. These are not Trump’s love letters from Kim Jong-un, or even some exchange concerning Jan. 6. What possible reason could there be for Trump to be holding documents detailing the plans for Iran’s missile program? It’s not as if he did the analysis, or even that these documents will help him site his next golf resort. This is information that only has value if Trump is giving it to those who will use it to weaken the U.S.

As a side note, Russia is now negotiating to purchase Iranian missiles for use in Ukraine. They probably didn’t need Trump to give them a shopping list, but there may well be information in the classified documents which would be of value to Vladimir Putin in sizing up his purchases.

Back on the home front, Judge Dearie was very clear in setting October 20 as the day to submit any last points concerning the documents that were separated out by the FBI’s “filter team” when initially running through the information taken from Mar-a-Lago. This only amounts to 15 documents, so it shouldn’t have been a Herculean task. Even so, Trump’s legal team told Dearie on Tuesday that they were going to ignore his deadlines and get back to him next week

Today, the judge let Trump's lawyer, Jim Trusty, know that This is Not How Things Work.

ORDER: The Special Master notes Plantiff’s counsel’s letter of October 20, 2022. To the extent Plaintiff asserts that the government’s letter of the same date “is not fully accurate as to the Plaintiff's position on various documents,” any submission to the contrary by the Plaintiff is now untimely pursuant to my Order of October 7, 2022. Plaintiff may submit his position no later than the close of business today, October 21, 2022.

In other words: You’re already late. I’ll let you turn in that homework today. But that doesn’t mean you’re not already late.

It’s not as if there was some doubt about the date all this was due. Trusty (and Trump) just decided they could ignore Dearie. After all, Judge Aileen Cannon has already reset the dates for them twice. What’s one more time?

So far, Trump has gotten away with astounding actions in every aspect of this affair. But he may soon discover just what happens when you take too much rope.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Secret Court Battle Raging As Trump Tries To Suppress January 6 Testimony

The fight over how to deal with the classified documents that Donald Trump stole from the White House and hid away in Mar-a-Lago is continuing with rulings both from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and in the courtroom of “special master” Judge Raymond Dearie. In the past two days, both of those locations have handed Trump’s team of second-rate lawyers major defeats, with a stay that allows the Department of Justice to continue a criminal investigation, and a ruling that Trump’s vague claims about “declassification” are off the table.

But CNN reports that there’s another battle going on concerning executive privilege. A secret battle.

In this battle, another set of Trump attorneys is working to prevent a federal grand jury from ever hearing evidence of Trump’s actions in attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, including how Trump participated in events leading to the violence of Jan. 6. Trump has reportedly constructed a “firewall” around the conversations he had in the White House, and tearing down that wall may be the most important step in seeing Trump indicted for his attempts to overthrow the lawful government.

Before he even stepped into the Oval Office, Donald Trump was abusing the idea of executive privilege. In particular, former officials in the Trump White House have repeatedly refused to testify or produce documents under the theory that Trump might declare conversations or documents privileged, even though Trump hasn’t made any such claim. Information that had regularly been available in the past was hidden behind privilege. Officials refused to appear before committees or to make regular briefings to Congress. At one point, Trump even tried to claim executive privilege over the census.

And now Trump is continuing to insist on a kind of former executive privilege over documents and conversations he never moved to protect while in office. Trump tried to shield White House records around Jan. 6 using this retroactive executive privilege. Mark Meadows declared that post-White House orders from Trump were enough to keep him from testifying. At one point, Trump’s privilege claims were so extreme that a federal judge felt it necessary to remind Trump that “presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president.”

The scale of the secret battle being fought to keep this privilege in place isn’t clear, because most of it appears to be happening under seal. Attorneys are meeting in closed chambers, making their cases before judges in hearings that are no more than numbered entries on the docket,

A portion of this battle temporarily became visible when former Trump White House adviser Eric Herschmann was issued a grand jury subpoena in August. As Brandi Buchman reported on Monday, Herschmann is known to have warned Trump in 2021 against removing presidential records, and told him that failing to return any documents he had taken could result in “serious legal charges.” Reports centering on the subpoena suggest that the jury also wanted to talk to Herschmann about “events surrounding January 6.”

But the effort to get Herschmann to testify became entangled with the ongoing fight over privilege. Herschmann is willing to testify. However, Trump’s attorneys are in court trying to exert privilege over conversations with Herschmann—including those that took place after Trump was out of office and Herschmann was no longer employed by Trump.

Herschmann, who was known to oppose many of the efforts to overturn the 2020 election, is just one of the people that federal prosecutors would like to see testify. They’re also seeking testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and deputy White House counsel Patrick Philbin. Both Cipollone and Philbin have reportedly appeared in front of the grand jury, but only after negotiating carveouts that would prevent them from being asked about conversations with Trump.

Just as Trump’s claims to have declassified documents (while refusing to name any documents that have been declassified) resulted in pushback from Judge Dearie, Trump’s claims to have privilege without setting out topics or conversations that are specifically privileged is also resulting in frustration. As The New York Times reported last week, even Herschmann is frustrated by his inability to get clear answers.

For weeks this summer, Mr. Herschmann tried to get specific guidance from Mr. Trump’s current lawyers on how to handle questions from prosecutors that raise issues of executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.

What Herschmann got was a mixture of “perplexing answers” and advice that he “assert sweeping claims of executive privilege” that would put everything off limits, no matter the subject.

But there’s one big flaw with all of Trump’s arguments in defense of his privilege wall.

“The Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon (1974) held that executive privilege cannot be invoked at all if the purpose is to shield wrongdoing. The courts held that Nixon's purported invocation of executive privilege was illegitimate, in part, for that reason.”

Who said that? The ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation said that in 2012, when they were insisting that President Barack Obama could not use privilege to hide details of the “Fast and Furious” operation. And that was a sitting president, who was dealing with a still-in-progress international incident.

What held with Nixon certainly holds with Trump. These are criminal investigations. Trump is attempting to use a “sweeping claim of privilege” to hide all of his attempts to overturn the election and his involvement with inciting violence on Jan. 6. His “firewall” should be given all the legal consideration of a stack of preschool blocks.

But that’s not how it’s being treated. And it could be this secret fight, held under seals of a different kind of privilege, that determines whether Trump climbs onto the podium at the next GOP convention—or watches it from jail.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Trump Advisers Reported In Panic Over Renewed Pace Of Documents Probe

Behind closed doors, former President Donald Trump's advisors are reportedly expressing concerns about the pace of the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) investigation, according to a new report published by The Guardian.

The newspaper reports that the former president's advisors are beginning to panic because the DOJ's classified documents probe is moving faster than they'd anticipated.

The latest development comes just days after special master Raymond Dearie raised questions about Trump's claim that he'd declassified the documents. Dearie also put the former president and his legal team on the spot regarding his unfounded claims that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had "planted" evidence during the Mar-a-Lago search.

The Guardian's Hugo Lowell also noted that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision complicates the legal team's efforts as they attempt to slow the investigation.

Lowell writes that is one of the reasons for the mood of panic.

"The 29-page decision amounted to a sharp rebuke of the rulings by US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the case in Florida, but it also brought an end to Trump’s attempt to slow down the investigation that his advisers feared was moving perilously fast," the Guardian report states.

It adds, "Being allowed to examine the roughly 100 documents marked classified means Justice Department investigators can now resume the investigation into the most serious lines of inquiry – the willful retention of national defense information and obstruction – with the primary evidence itself."

Since Trump's legal team is not allowed to review the documents themselves, Lowell believes that may be more concerning for them.

"Trump’s goal in requesting a special master was multi-pronged from the start, according to sources familiar with the matter, and the principal – though publicly unstated – aim was to apply the brakes on the criminal investigation, after the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago took Trump’s lawyers by surprise," Lowell wrote. "A second major aim, the sources said, was to use the special master motion as a vehicle to get more insight into what documents the FBI retrieved from the property because they were initially in the dark about the extent of Trump’s, as well as their own, potential exposure."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.