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Clarence Thomas

Experts Shred Thomas Patron For Stonewalling Senate Judiciary Committee

Attorneys representing billionaire Nazi memorabilia collector Harlan Crow sent an electronic letter to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday declaring that "Congress does not have the constitutional power to impose ethics rules and standards on the Supreme Court," prompting a flurry of reactions by experts and lawmakers.

Probing the suspected corrupt relationship between Crow and Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Crow's counsel wrote, "would exceed Congress's Article I authority and violate basic separation of powers principles. That precludes the Committee from pursuing an investigation in support of such legislation."

Crow's lawyers argued that "separately, the Committee has not identified a valid legislative purpose for its investigation and is not authorized to conduct an ethics investigation of a Supreme Court Justice," adding that "the Committee's stated purpose of crafting new ethics guidelines for the Supreme Court is inconsistent with its actions and the circumstances in which this investigation was launched, all of which suggest that the Committee is targeting Justice Thomas for special and unwarranted opprobrium."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) shredded those claims.

"Harlan Crow believes the secrecy of his lavish gifts to Justice Thomas is more important than the reputation of the highest court of law in this land," Durbin said in a statement, per Mediaite. "He is wrong."

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-California) called the memo "dumb. Congress has the authority to investigate the Executive Branch. Of course Congress has the authority to investigate the Judicial Branch. Also, what is Harlan Crow hiding from the American people?" he wondered.

Those responses were far from unique.

"It was Justice Thomas's decades-long improper financial relationship with billionaire benefactor Harlan Crow that sparked the Supreme Court corruption crisis, which has now reached a fever pitch. It’s no surprise that Crow continues to operate as though he and Thomas exist above the law — but they don't, and they must be held accountable,” watchdog group Accountable.US President Kyle Herrig said as noted by Raw Story. "Chief Justice [John] Roberts has deflected his responsibility to clean up his Court, forcing Congress to step in. Whether by Roberts or Congress, we need urgent reform to restore credibility and integrity to our Court."

Citizens for Ethics in Washington tweeted along with a May 1 editorial on the matter that "if you don't think there's a connection between Harlan Crow and Clarence Thomas's friendship, and the kinds of decisions Clarence Thomas has been making from the Supreme Court bench...well, then we have some news for you."

MeidasTouch: "Harlan Crow is not on the Supreme Court — but it's understandable why he might think he is due to his apparent corrupt influence on right-wing Supreme Court justices."

OkeyMor Taking a stand for justice with receipts: "Harlan Crow's lawyers need to re-read Article III of the US Constitution. Appointment to the bench is not a lifetime appointment but is contingent upon continued good behavior of the justices. It is up to Congress to define good behavior aka Code of Conduct."

Melanie D'Arrigo: "I feel like we're pretty close to learning that Harlan Crow gives Clarence Thomas an allowance."

Badd Company: "Dear Harlan Crow: The Executive Branch is equal to the other 2 Branches. They are also separate Branches of government. You say that Congress has no authority to investigate the SCOTUS but yet that same Congress is investigating the White House. Is it just the cake you want, or are you eating it too!"

Judd Legum: "I wasn't aware that HARLAN CROW was a MEMBER OF THE SUPREME COURT!"

The Lincoln Project: "No Labels doesn't mind right-wing racist dog whistles. No Labels megadonor and Clarence Thomas subsidizer/BFF Harlan Crow collects & proudly displays Nazi memorabilia, including Hitler's teapot and table linens. They dismiss it as nothing but 'noise.'"

Barbara Malmet: "Harlan Crow's word is garbage like his garden of evil."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

GOP Leadership Silent Over Gosar's Video Of AOC Murder

GOP Leadership Silent Over Gosar's Video Of AOC Murder

A day after Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted a graphic anime video showing him scaling rooftops to slaughter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and threaten President Joe Biden, the far-right congressman has faced no repercussions, despite calls for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to punish him and for social media channels to delete his accounts.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Democrats Blast McCarthy’s Obstruction Of Jan. 6 Investigation

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Legal experts and Democratic lawmakers are criticizing a statement issued on Twitter Tuesday night by the official account of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy threatened retribution against telecommunication companies that comply with requests for phone records from the House select committee probing the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The bipartisan committee on Monday asked telecommunication companies to preserve phone records from a number of Donald Trump-supporting GOP House members who spoke at the "Stop the Steal" rally that whipped up Trump supporters with lies about voter fraud before they marched to the Capitol on January 6 and rioted. It asked them to preserve records for Trump and his family members as well.

In the statement, McCarthy claimed, "If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States. If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law."

Elie Honig, a CNN legal analyst, tweeted in response to McCarthy's statement, "This is nonsense. A subpoena is not 'strong-arming' and there's no violation of federal law when companies comply."

"McCarthy's threat against telecom companies who lawfully produce documents is shocking," Norm Eisen, an ethics lawyer and fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. "It's like a gangster saying, 'Gee, nice telecom company you've got here. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.'"

MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner echoed those sentiments.

Kirschner tweeted, "And this is precisely what happens when our law enforcement authorities refuse to TIMELY hold criminal politicians accountable. It encourages further crime — like McCarthy criminally obstructing a congressional proceeding. Hey DOJ - start enforcing the d@mn law!"

Democratic lawmakers criticized McCarthy's threats as well.

"The House republican leader is openly calling on companies to obstruct justice to stop a probe of the January 6 attack on the Capitol," Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey tweeted. "Obstruction of justice is a felony."

Rep. Ted Lieu of California tweeted, "18 U.S. Code § 1505: 'Whoever…by any threatening letter or communication…endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede…the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any…investigation is being had by either House…Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned… .'"

McCarthy wasn't the only GOP lawmaker to threaten telecommunication companies.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, one of the lawmakers whose phone records the committee is seeking, said during a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's show, "These telecommunications companies, if they go along with this, they will be shut down. And that's a promise."

The bipartisan committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack said in response to McCarthy's threat, "The committee's efforts won't be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation."

McCarthy has been against the House committee since Democrats in the House announced they were forming it. They resorted to the select committee structure to probe the attack after House Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan independent outside body to investigate the insurrection.

This is not the first threat McCarthy has made regarding the committee.

In July, McCarthy threatened to punish any GOP lawmaker who accepted a spot on the committee from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) ignored McCarthy's threat and accepted Pelosi's invitation to serve.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Matt Gaetz

Gaetz Vows He’s ‘Absolutely Not Resigning’ Despite GOP Pressure

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

As the scandal around Rep. Matt Gaetz grows, the Florida Republican Congressman is trying to push back, with a former staffer holding a press event during which he admits he has no evidence that Gaetz is innocent -- and Gaetz himself publishing an op-ed in a right wing media outlet promising to not resign.

"I am absolutely not resigning," Gaetz says in the Washington Examiner, insisting the calls for him to call it quits are hypocritical and pushback because he "decided to take on the most powerful institutions in the Beltway."

He insists he's not guilty of a few very specific allegations: "I have never, ever paid for sex. And second, I, as an adult man, have not slept with a 17-year-old."

And in very typical MAGA mode, Gaetz told his supporters, "They aren't coming for me — they are coming for you. I'm just in the way."

Meanwhile, in a curious twist, Republican leadership has announced they will call for Gaetz to resign, but only if he's indicted, and they won't wait for Democrats to demand he step down, MSNBC's Kyle Griffin says, citing Punchbowl News.Democrats are putting pressure on Gaetz and the Republican leadership.

"If in fact these allegations are true, of course being removed from the Judiciary Committee is the least that could be done," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters late last week, the AP reports, noting that "Pelosi's comments fell short of the swift removal from the Judiciary Committee sought by at least one Democratic lawmaker."

The Speaker added: "From what we've heard so far, this would be a matter for the Ethics Committee."

And Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California last week tweeted to House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, "You don't seem to get it. If it's true Rep Matt Gaetz engaged in sex trafficking, he needs to resign and be prosecuted. In the meantime, you can't have Gaetz sitting on the Congressional Committee that has oversight over the Department that is investigating him."