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Saying that U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III was fed up with Mueller’s team of lawyers is understatement. Judge Ellis rebuked them, saying “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort. You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead you to Mr. Trump and an impeachment, or whatever.”

That wasn’t the only bombshell coming from Judge Ellis’s courtroom. Later in the hearing, “where Manafort’s team fought to dismiss an 18-count indictment on tax and bank fraud-related charges, took a confrontational turn as it was revealed that at least some of the information in the investigation derived from an earlier Justice Department probe, in the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia.”

The special counsel argues that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein granted them broad authority in his May 2, 2017 letter appointing Mueller to this investigation. But after the revelation that the team is using information from the earlier DOJ probe, Ellis said that information did not “arise” out of the special counsel probe, and therefore may not be within the scope of that investigation. “We don’t want anyone with unfettered power,” he said.

That’s definitely pushing the envelope. Saying that Judge Ellis wasn’t amused is understatement. Things got more interesting when Judge Ellis asked for the unredacted “scope letter”:

The judge also gave the government two weeks to hand over the unredacted “scope memo” or provide an explanation why not after prosecutors were reluctant to do so, claiming it has material that doesn’t pertain to Manafort. “I’ll be the judge of that,” Ellis said.

If Judge Ellis rules that Mueller doesn’t have the authority to prosecute Manafort, that doesn’t mean Manafort is off the hook. It simply cripples Mueller’s investigation, both from a political and legal standpoint. From a political standpoint, Mueller will have been exposed as overstepping his authority. Also politically, it’ll cast doubt on Rod Rosenstein’s letter authorizing the special counsel investigation. If Judge Ellis rules that the Rosenstein letter amounts to a blank check, Judge Ellis has the authority to limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation.

This wasn’t a good day for the prosecutors or Mueller. It doesn’t end things but it gives the Trump administration and legal team the ammunition to attack Mueller’s propriety with regards to this investigation.

If you aren’t outraged after reading Taylor Nachtigal’s article, then you aren’t human. Nachtigal’s article starts by saying “A Rochester man received a 365-day jail sentence, to be served as work release, for sexually assaulting a woman in 2015. A jury convicted Darren Phillip Williams, 50, of third-degree criminal sexual conduct-force or coercion, a felony, on April 10 in Olmsted County District Court. Williams was acquitted of a second charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. In addition to the jail sentence, Williams received a 48-month prison sentence, stayed for 15 years, according to court documents. He’ll be required to register as a predatory offender and complete a sex offender program.”

According to Nachtigal’s reporting, this isn’t a he-said/she-said case. According to the article, “Williams allowed authorities to search his apartment, and to take a comforter and towels from the home. He also consented to a DNA swab. In August 2015, results from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reportedly found Williams’ DNA on swabs from the woman’s genitals and body.”

That’s bad enough but that isn’t why I’m upset. This is why I’m upset:

In addition to the jail sentence, Williams received a 48-month prison sentence, stayed for 15 years, according to court documents. He’ll be required to register as a predatory offender and complete a sex offender program.

Williams’ conviction is now official. They found the convict’s DNA “on the victim’s genitals.” How can the court sentence this criminal to a year in jail, then essentially give him 15 years of probation? Sexual predators like Williams deserve to be locked up for a couple of decades, if not longer.

Yesterday, I wrote that the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled against Rebecca Otto, Minnesota’s State Auditor. Otto filed a lawsuit that was doomed from the start. That was obvious from the start. That’s why the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against her. Now we’re finding out more about the lawsuit.

In writing the majority opinion for the Court, “Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said that the state Constitution does not lay out the state auditor’s duties. Rather, she wrote, the Constitution specifically leaves it up to the Legislature to define duties of constitutional offices such as the auditor. Thus, the 2015 bill did not violate the Constitution. The ruling also explains that another state office, which no longer exists, originally audited county finances.” Further, “50 counties notified Otto’s office they would not sign contracts with her office for it to conduct audits” after the 2015 law passed.

That had to sting Otto. That’s because in 2016, “the auditor’s office charged $84,000 for an annual audit, while Becker County paid just $31,000 in 2012 for an audit done by Hoffman Dale and Swenson Governmental Audit Services of Thief River Falls.” That’s more than $2,500,000 in lost revenues for Otto per year.

Back in January, 2018, she said “Fighting for this constitutional office is the right thing to do. But as you witnessed today, it’s complex.” Actually, Mrs. Otto, the justices thought it was pretty straightforward. (I’m not a legal scholar but I’m betting that justices rarely rule unanimously on complex lawsuits.)

Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, might have the best understanding of what’s happened:

“It seems to me,” Nash said, “that [Otto] is using the taxpayer dollars to create an issue for her to campaign with for governor.”

If that’s what was happening, her strategy failed. Furthermore, if that was her strategy, she should be politically crucified. If that’s true, then a ton of the taxpayers’ money was wasted for that mission. If this was her Hail Mary attempt at winning the DFL endorsement, then Mrs. Otto made a major miscalculation.

What’s amazing is Otto’s misunderstanding of Minnesota’s Constitution. Mrs. Otto either doesn’t understand Minnesota’s Constitution or she, like other DFL politicians, was willing to throw Minnesota’s Constitution under the proverbial bus for political gain.

My question in the aftermath is this: are there any patriots left in the DFL whose respect for the Constitution is steadfast? I haven’t found any lately.

Todd Purdum’s article has a dishonest title. It’s called “How conservatives learned to hate the FBI.” That’s dishonest and then some.

The honest headline would be “Why conservatives hate corruption.” Democrats, starting with Adam Schiff and Leader Pelosi and other Democrat spinmeisters, have insisted that Republicans hate the FBI and the DOJ. Without question, Republicans hate the things the FBI and DOJ did in obtaining authorization to surveil Carter Page. Without question, Republicans are disgusted with the things that Andrew McCabe did in hiding from the FISA Court the things that should’ve been revealed to the FISA Court.

Since there isn’t an advocate for the ‘defendant’ at a FISA hearing, what’s required is for people representing the government to paint an honest, full and comprehensive picture of their materials that inform them that a person needs further investigation, aka probable cause. Democrats at the FBI painted a dishonest portrait to the FISA Court. Specifically, they didn’t tell the FISA Court judge that they wouldn’t have filed for a surveillance warrant without relying on the salacious details enshrined in the infamous Trump Dossier.

It’s difficult to picture the FISA Court granting a surveillance warrant on the Trump campaign had the Court known that the FBI relied on trash compiled by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. In light of this information, it’s difficult to read the opening paragraph of Purdum’s article:

The aggressive Republican attacks on the FBI are the latest sign, if one were needed, that President Donald Trump has upended the longstanding norms of Washington, as he and his allies in Congress seek to undermine the one institution of government that conservatives have typically seen as a bastion of integrity and law-and-order.

Republicans are rightly upset that the FBI isn’t the impartial organization it once was. Alan Dershowitz exposes the problems in this interview:

Thus far, what has the public seen that suggests that the FBI upper management is honest? They didn’t tell the FISA Court who paid for the compiling of the Trump Dossier. At minimum, that’s disturbing. At maximum, that’s disqualifying.

Finally, I’d challenge Democrats to cite examples of Republicans criticizing rank-and-file FBI agents. Democrats can’t do that because it hasn’t happened. Republicans have criticized the suits running the FBI. Most importantly, they’ve criticized the suits because they’re bitter partisans who didn’t tell FISA judges the whole truth. That can’t happen.

My conservative friends, it’s time to be honest about a few things. It’s time we admitted that the first 6 months of the Trump administration were stressful, sometimes heartbreaking times. When Sen. McCain gave the thumbs-down to eliminating Obamacare, Republicans’ spirits were pretty low. It’s also time we admitted that the past 6 months have improved significantly. The highlight of the first 6 months was confirming Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The past 6 months, though, have been just as consequential to the judiciary.

Since confirming Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the Senate has confirmed 12 highly qualified judges to the appellate courts, the most confirmations in the first year of a president’s term in office since our republic was established. To steal a slightly modified version of Joe Biden’s phrase, it’s a big deal to change the direction of the federal judiciary for a generation or more. Hold that thought, though.

Next, picture Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The thought of a Senate Majority Leader Schumer should frighten conservatives who care about the court more than a Speaker Pelosi. Seriously. Pelosi can’t pass anything that can’t be undone the minute Republicans retake control, most likely in 2020. Sen. Schumer, though, can halt the confirmation of great conservative judges in a heartbeat. Judges like Gorsuch, Willett and others would be flushed down the toilet in a heartbeat because Sen. Schumer would demand ‘consensus’ judges. That’s liberalspeak for liberal judges in the mold of David Souter.

That’s just one thing that should get Republicans fired up. Another thing that should get us fired up is undoing more of the Obama legacy. I don’t have to be the world’s greatest salesperson to convince Republicans that Obamacare and Dodd-Frank were disastrous pieces of legislation. In order to kill those bills outright, we need the House and Senate under GOP control.

Thus far, the MSM has insisted that there’s a blue wave building. I haven’t bought into that, though I agree that there’s an enthusiasm gap favoring Democrats right now. The good news is that Republicans can make that disappear in a heartbeat if they get inspired to turn out and vote for a new wave of GOP senators, congressmen, state legislators and governors. Picture this guy getting sworn in as Minnesota’s next governor:

Whether you support him or not, there’s no disputing that, as a conservative, I’d rather have him as governor as opposed to having her as our next governor:

Making Minnesota great is totally possible. Making America great is possible, too. Now’s the time to realize just how much we’ve accomplished in DC thanks to one-party rule. Now’s the time to realize how much more we could’ve accomplished in St. Paul if we’d had a Republican to go along with Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

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The MSM have constantly criticized President Trump, mostly for his tweets but also for his lack of legislative accomplishments. Yesterday, the House and Senate passed the most sweeping tax policy changes in a generation. (Because of a couple provisions that ran afoul of the Senate’s parliamentarian, the Senate had to make a couple changes to the bill before voting on final passage. Because the 2 bills aren’t perfectly aligned, the House will vote this morning on the bill the Senate passed last night.) Once the identical bill is passed in both the House and Senate, it will be sent to the White House for President Trump’s signature.

This article is the first of its kind in the MSM, which has been all-criticism-all-the-time until now. Let’s get started with the things Axios reports President Trump has gotten right. First, Axios reports that “The tax bill passed with almost unanimous Republican support, before the end of the year, and in keeping with mostly mainstream conservative orthodoxy. Trump won a bigger corporate tax break than either Bush ever got, and will sign the most consequential new tax law in 30 years.”

Without question, this is a signature issue that’s worth trumpeting to the world. The economy is already going strong. It’s about to get stronger. While the Berniecrats advocate for stifling tax rate hikes and slow economic growth, President Trump and the Republicans are pushing policies that have consumer confidence soaring, 401(k)s growing, small business enthusiasm increasing and big corporations returning to the United States. It won’t take long for people to notice that their lives just got better. This is another major accomplishment:

Trump has followed through on eviscerating regulations, many of them imposed by Obama. He has revoked 67, and delayed or derailed more than 1,500 others.

This has helped spur economic growth. It’s the single-biggest reason why the economy is robustly growing thus far. All the time that the MSM highlighted that Trump didn’t have any major legislative accomplishments, President Trump worked with Congress to eliminate tons of counterproductive regulations. That’s the single-biggest reason why economic growth took off when he took over from President Obama.

This is the biggest accomplishment for full-spectrum conservatives:

Trump has tilted the court rightward in lasting ways. Justice Neil Gorsuch was a substantial, conservative addition to the Supreme Court. And it wasn’t a one-off: The dozen new U.S. Circuit Court judges he has named is the most during a president’s first year in office in more than a century.

It’s impossible to overstate this accomplishment. President Trump worked with the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society to pull together a ton of highly qualified judicial nominees. In his first year alone, he’s got conservatives thrilled with his nominees. (Noteworthy: For all those criticizing Mitch McConnell, his understanding of Senate procedures and bold decisions have contributed mightily to this accomplishment.)

Before wrapping up this post, I highly recommend you watch the first 2+ minutes of this video:

Isn’t it fun watching Gutfeld stick the shiv into liberals, then giving it a sharp twist?

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The notion of moderation and reasonableness within the Democratic Party died this afternoon when 48 Democrats and independents voted against cloture to proceed to a final vote on Judge Don Willett. Less than a week ago, the American Bar Association, aka the ABA, gave Judge Willett a “Fully Qualified” rating, their highest rating.

That means so-called Democrat moderates Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly, Jon Tester, Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, Bill Nelson and Bob Casey voted to prevent a fully qualified judge from getting a seat on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Despite these Democrats’ immoderation, Willett will be confirmed. When he is, he will be part of a record class of judicial confirmations in a president’s first year. As good as that is, what’s most impressive is the quality of these judges.

If ‘moderate’ Democrats vote the same way on every Trump-appointed judge as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, where’s proof that the term moderate is anything more than an election ploy? It’s like the term Blue Dog Democrat. It sounds nice but they’re only Blue Dogs until Nancy Pelosi needs them to vote like Keith Ellison.

Republicans should hammer these Democrats for voting against this fully qualified judge:

They voted in lockstep against this highly qualified justice, too:

Judge Timothy Kelly sided with President Trump in the lawsuit brought by Leandra English in her quest to be the Acting Director of the CFPB.

According to the article, “A U.S. District Court judge in Washington on Tuesday handed a big victory to President Donald Trump, ruling in favor of the administration in its bid to install White House budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Judge Timothy Kelly denied a request by Leandra English, who was named last week as acting director by outgoing CFPB chief Richard Cordray, for a temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney from taking the post. Kelly said there was not a substantial likelihood that the case would succeed on its merits. ‘The administration applauds the Court’s decision,’ White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement. ‘It’s time for the Democrats to stop enabling this brazen political stunt by a rogue employee and allow Acting Director Mulvaney to continue the Bureau’s smooth transition into an agency that truly serves to help consumers.'”

Later in the article, Deepak Gupta, English’s lawyer, said that he’d “have to consult with his client about the next steps. These could either involve seeking a preliminary injunction or requesting a ruling on a permanent injunction, either of which could be appealed to a higher court.”

Based on Judge Kelly’s ruling, Gupta can appeal to his heart’s content but it likely won’t matter. Kelly said “there was not a substantial likelihood that the case would succeed on its merits.” The sky-is-falling-alarmists are already out in force:

It’s BS that the fines levied against the banks went to the people who suffered. That money went into the US Treasury. Sen. Mike Lee didn’t mince words in talking about his opinion of the CFPB:

Don’t be surprised if the CFPB is abolished by the US Supreme Court in the next 3-5 years. It’s just waiting for a lawsuit to be filed questioning its constitutionality.

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This week, I failed to write a Thanksgiving Day post. Consider this my belated Thanksgiving Day post. Mostly, I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful for politicians, too, partially because they do some of the dumbest things imaginable. Thanks to this article, I’ve gained a new appreciation for a pair of U.S. senators. Specifically, I appreciate Sen. Grassley, (R-IA), and Sen. Reid, (D-NV).

Before he retired, Harry Reid eliminated the filibuster. President Trump is thanking him all the way to the Supreme Court to the appeals courts. Sen. Grassley took away the Democrats’ hidden filibuster ‘tool’, aka “the blue slip courtesy.”

The article states the “growing rift between [President Trump] and Republican Senators John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker alone has made headlines for months.” Those stories have buried something much more important. According to the article, “that story ignores a bigger and longer-lasting development in the federal judiciary. That brings us first to naming the Republican gift giver: Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa. The longtime member of Congress has big time clout as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And Grassley has just used that clout to eliminate one of the final hurdles in the already furious pace of Trump administration judicial appointments to the federal bench.”

The article continues:

Late last week, Grassley decided not to honor a Senate tradition of holding up hearings for judicial nominees who aren’t cleared by their own home state senators. That tradition is known as the “blue slip courtesy” born out of time before nationwide communication technology when a given state’s senators had access to much more information about nominees than their colleagues from the rest of the country. Grassley correctly noted that Democrats were now trying to use the blue slips tradition to replace the filibuster, and he’s having none of that. As recently as last month, the Democrats and much of the news media’s punditry were expecting Grassley, who is no fan of the president, to keep the blue slip tradition in place. But Grassley gave Trump this very special gift instead.

And that brings us to the Democrat who provided the initial generous source of President Trump’s solid triumph: Former Senate Majority Leader, and Democrat, Harry Reid. Reid is a major reason this good fortune has befallen President Trump because Reid was the one who killed the filibuster rule for judicial nominees in 2013. And when he killed it, it was gone for good.

This is why all this matters:

Consider that as of November 3rd, 13 Trump nominees to the courts have been confirmed this year. The big name is Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, but we also have eight new federal appeals court judges, and four new U.S. district court judges. President Trump has now already surpassed the last four presidents’ records for first-year judicial confirmations. And he’s even tied President Ronald Reagan number of appeals court confirmations in year one.

But this isn’t just about sheer numbers, it’s about ideology too. While President Trump and conservatives have diverged in matters of policy several times over the past year, the judicial nomination process is decidedly not one of them. The nominees sent to the Senate from the White House are more conservative and even younger than what we saw during President George W. Bush’s two terms in office.

This wouldn’t be possible if not for Harry Reid’s short-sighted decision to eliminate the filibuster. Thanks Harry. I finally found something that he’s responsible for that I’m thankful for.

Sen. Dave Senjem isn’t happy with the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling that Gov. Dayton was within his rights to veto the Legislature’s funding. That’s why he’s proposing putting a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot.

Because the legislature decides whether constitutional amendments are allowed on the ballot, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have a say in the matter. Further, this should frighten rural DFL legislators. Republicans should highlight the fact that this constitutional amendment is required because a) Gov. Dayton vetoed the funding and b)the Supreme Court got their ruling badly wrong. The first vote taken by the House will be to override Gov. Dayton’s line-item veto of the Legislature’s funding. If DFL legislators vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, they’ll be tarred and feathered and it’ll be deserved.

Sen. Senjem made a good point when he said “We’re not co-equal anymore because I believe the precedent has been set that yes, it’s OK for a governor to veto legislative appropriations, and there are no consequences, and I think that puts the Legislature in almost a subservient position.”

The Supreme Court got this wrong. Thanks to that ruling, the legislature has 2 terrible choices. Either they can cave to the governor’s demands or they can stop representing their constituents. Actually, there’s a third option. That third option is to spend down the money appropriated for the operation of the Legislative Auditor’s Office and the Revisor of Statutes’ office.

Spending down the money that’s supposed to run the OLA is terrible because they’re the state equivalent of the IG at the federal level. Should we shut down the office that caught April Todd-Malmlov mismanaging MNsure? Should we shut down the office that caught Ted Mondale and Michelle Kelm-Helgen using luxury suites at U.S. Bank Stadium to entertain friends, political allies and family?

It’s time to put this constitutional amendment on the ballot. It’s time to shame these Supreme Court justices for getting the decision wrong.