Friday, September 07, 2018

Kavanuagh and Alfa Bank. Plus: The 25th -- and a word about Deep Throat

Mr Felt has made an interesting catch in the Kavanaugh documents...
RE: Kavanaugh docs released by @SenBooker-some names in these docs are interesting.For example,Jay Sekulow&Viet Dinh have turned-up.Both are attorneys.Jay,of course, is one of DJT's attorneys.Viet Dinh is one of Alfa Bank's attorneys.I wonder if BK stayed in touch over the yrs.
By the by: Supreme Court Justices can be impeached. Kamala Harris, who clearly has some sort of inside information, forced Kavanaugh to make a declaration which he obviously did not want to make. Lying under oath is an impeachable offense. Even if Kavanaugh gets on the court, he may not stay there.

Hour 25. Felt's Twitter feed reminds us that a "25th Amendment" maneuver requires a sympathetic House in order to be sustainable. Here are the words of the amendment -- and feel free to skim, because I shall soon offer a summary.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
If your eyes glazed over, I'll simplify.

If a majority of cabinet officers tell Congress "Yow! The prez has gone nutso!" -- then the veep takes over. However, the prez has the right to challenge. If there's a standoff -- if the cabinet and the veep say "He's nuts!" and the prez says "No, I'm not!" -- then Congress decides.

The threshold is high: To keep President Nutso from getting back into the Oval, a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate must declare: "He really is nuts. Keep him out."

Now, nothing that happens in November will result in a two-thirds anti-Trump majority in both houses of Congress. That said, I think that an invocation of the 25th might well be upheld, if only because the country will finally be tired of the continual drama, and the cabinet members will be telling their side of the story all over cable teevee.

A temporarily-ousted Very Stable Genius would be forced to convince Congress and the country that he really is very stable. Would Trump rise to that challenge? Would he say the right words?

Nah. Trump is Trump. Under stress, he'll say something bizarre.

Here's a part of the 25th amendment that I never noticed before...
...either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide...
What does that mean? Sounds to me as though Congress could empower a panel of shrinks to make the determination.

Because I habitually forecast the worst, I do not stand with those who predict a Blue Wave. But if, by some miracle, the Dems were to capture both the House and the Senate, it would become feasible for Congress to pass a law requiring the President to undergo an annual psychiatric evaluation. And even if the Reds keep the Senate (as they very likely will), it would be cute to force Republican senators to explain why the president should not undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Speaking of guys named Felt: During discussions of the Great Op-Ed Mystery, many teevee talking heads have reminded us that FBI man Mark Felt formally denied being Deep Throat. Some of us found those denials believable. In fact, we found those denials so compelling that we still question the identification of Felt as Throat. That is to say: We, the obstinate few, continue to argue that Throat was probably a composite of more than one individual.

For one thing, Felt had no way of knowing things that Throat knew. For another thing, Woodward's description (physical and otherwise) of Deep Throat bore no resemblance to Mark Felt -- but was a perfect match for James Jesus Angleton of the CIA, who really was audacious enough to pull off such a move. Woodward spoke of a secretive, gaunt chain-smoker who liked his scotch and who occasionally made literary allusions. That's not Felt; that's Angleton.

You may want to check out my earlier posts on the topic, here and here.
Comments:
A lot could happen in the four days after Article 25 gets invoked. My reading is that Pence would stay as Acting President during that period even if Trump is tweeting like a mofo, insisting he's the sanest person in the history of the world as well as the greatest, physically healthiest, and most stable. If the Pres says he's as sane as a button he resumes office UNLESS Pence plus a cabinet majority say "nope, as we said, he's crazy" WITHIN FOUR DAYS. So Pence gets four days' grace, during which presumably there are no restrictions on his exercise of presidential powers.
 
L. Patrick Gray was long rumored to have been Deep Throat though he denied it.

He fit the description by Woodward.


 
It's not saying Congress can appoint a panel of shrinks, it's saying Congress decides who counts as a member of the cabinet for twenty fifth amendment purposes. They can pass a law promoting the executive officers of other federal bodies to cabinet members, at least for these purposes.
 
25th ain't gonna happen, no republican wants to spend the rest of their life fearing doorknobs.
 
I disagree with Stephen Morgan's interpretation of the language of the 25th Amendment. I don't know if he's a lawyer, and lawyers certainly have no monopoly over saying what the laws mean, but at least we've been forced to study the framework used for that purpose. The Amendment says "either the principal officers of the executive department or of such body as Congress may by law provide". That means Congress can designate any body it wishes, including a body that exists for this purpose alone. Of course, the fact that it has not yet done so and would therefore have to pass a law for that purpose and, I assume, get the President to sign the law, or override his veto, does limit Congress's ability to do anything like that at the moment. It could happen when the Vice President is serving as President, but there's a pretty tight deadline in that situation.
 
"May by law provide" is a hard bit here. If Congress wants to empower another body than the cabinet is it restricted by existing law? Or can it enact a law to create and empower whatever body it wants? If it can empower whatever body it wants, does the body have to be in prior existence? I could imagine lawyers arguing over these three issues.

In four days the Acting President could do a lot.
 
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