The Democratic Quest for the Holy Grail – Act II

Watch closely now
You’ll observe a curious exchange of energy
Are you a figment of my imagination
Or I one of yours? A Star is Born-1976

You really have to give some credit to the Democrats, persistence isn’t their failing. The saying “when one door closes, another opens” shouldn’t apply to them, but it very well could be The Resistance’s motto. They lose one opportunity to snatch the Holy Grail, they open another door themselves. The show must go on, those Trump tax returns aren’t going to show up on their own.

After the Comey hearings, the fact that the Trump-Russia Collusion Theory story was dead in the water was apparent to even Chris Matthews. (Fox News)

This morning, several news outlets are reporting the fact that Mr. Mueller  is now investigating the President for obstruction of justice. This is thin gruel and they know it.

While Morning Joe, and CNN can continue to beat the Mueller Investigation “obstruction of justice” drum for a bit longer, they know what Democratic leadership knows:

  1. The Russia Collusion story is done. Toast. Kaput. Time to move on.
  2. Any investigation centered upon Presidential obstruction is going nowhere as well.
  3. The Russia thing has served it purpose, All Things Russia didn’t get them where they wanted to go. Its time to move on, the Holy Grail wasn’t behind Door No. 1.

What’s behind Door No. 2? Three, count em, three lawsuits against the President, all concerning the Emoluments Clause and Mr. Trump’s property holdings, particularly his new hotel in our capital. (Federalist)

The Left’s assault on the Trump administration is hydra-headed. Some of those heads are strong, and will find plenty of scandal on which to feed. Others are weak, misshapen things that will prove to be nothing but grotesque distractions.One head of the latter sort snapped at the president this week when the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington DC sued Donald Trump in federal court, claiming that his business dealings violate the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution.

This is basically the legal issue they are claiming: (NYT)

On Monday, the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed suit in federal court in Maryland, accusing Mr. Trump of putting hotels, resorts and convention centers owned or operated by their governments at a competitive disadvantage. Some legal experts have suggested that this suit may be the most likely to proceed because a state is considered a “coequal sovereign” of the president.

Not to be left out, over 200 democratic lawmakers have now filed what is basically the same lawsuit against the President. (NYT)

Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from business dealings with foreign governments. The plaintiffs — believed to be the most members of Congress to ever sue a sitting president — contend that Mr. Trump has ignored a constitutional clause that prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts, or emoluments, from foreign powers without congressional approval.

The Democrat lawmakers don’t have legal standing for that claim so they have devised another route to the Holy Grail: (NYT)

The plaintiffs — believed to be the most members of Congress to ever sue a sitting president — contend that Mr. Trump has ignored a constitutional clause that prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts, or emoluments, from foreign powers without congressional approval. But it creates a new group of plaintiffs who claim the president’s actions have damaged them: Democratic members of the House and Senate who say they have been wrongly deprived of their constitutional right to rule on whether Mr. Trump can accept such economic benefits from foreign governments, according to Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, who led the effort with Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan.“The founders ensured that federal officeholders would not decide for themselves whether particular emoluments were likely to compromise their own independence or lead them to put personal interest over national interest,” the lawsuit states. “An officeholder, in short, should not be the sole judge of his own integrity.”

Essentially, Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. John Conyers are claiming Congress has some constitutional right to define how Mr. Trump’s blind trust can manage it’s business. The claim really doesn’t make much sense. But then, making legal sense was never the issue: (NYT)

The president’s critics are clearly hoping to find a federal judge who will agree that the plaintiffs have enough standing to let a case proceed to the fact-finding stage. (Emphasis mine)

And we’re off to the races: (NYT)

Mr. Blumenthal, a former Connecticut attorney general, said the president’s companies did business in about 20 countries but were shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for Congress to carry out its constitutional duty of determining whether he was receiving illegal benefits or emoluments. “The truth is we have no clue about the president’s investors,” he said in an interview with reporters Tuesday. “How much is Russian money? What we are seeking first and foremost is disclosure,” he said. “We cannot consent to what we don’t know.” (Emphasis mine)

Always an overachiever, Sen. Blumenthal is going for the daily double; file a lawsuit and bring Russia back into the equation. You simply have to step back and take an admiring look at his chutzpah. To possess the unmitigated gall to file a lawsuit having nothing to do with Russia, yet in the same explanatory breath, tying it inextricably to Putin is just breathtaking.

Given where these lawsuits are being filed, a liberal judge might accept either of these filings and allow the plaintiffs the latitude to move into the fact-finding stage. I would expect the President to reject any ruling that would attempt to force disclosure of his personal financial documents, and to appeal any adverse ruling as far as necessary and eventually win. (Federalist)

What happens if he refuses? What if he keeps them, thumbing his nose at the court, as he would almost certainly do? Then what? If ordinary citizens violate injunctions, the court could fine or jail them. But that would not happen to the president, because Congress is the sole arbiter of his conduct in office. What Maryland and DC are asking the court to do is impossible and can only result in the court’s authority being diminished in the process. The plaintiffs surely know this already. None of these precedents or doctrines is obscure. The Washington Post calls the lawsuit “the first of its kind” and for good reason: everyone who considered such a thing before knew it would not work. Only the intense partisan derangement of recent days would lead otherwise reputable attorneys to file a suit so obviously at odds with law and precedent.

So, the bell has chimed, intermission is over, time to toss that plastic glass of nasty wine in the trash, file back into the theatre and take your seats. The curtain on Act II is about to come up, watch closely now.

About the author

Wm. P. Fitzhenry

5th generation Texan, 2nd generation reformed Presbyterian, a twin and a serial entrepreneur.

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