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In the past, politicians, mostly senators, have warned President Trump not to fire Robert Mueller. This morning, a legal heavyweight wrote this op-ed offering a different opinion. Michael Mukasey’s opinion isn’t coming from a politically-motivated standpoint. It’s coming from a legal standpoint.

He wrote “Recall that the investigation was begun to learn whether the Trump campaign had gotten help unlawfully from Russia. Justice Department regulations permit appointment of a special counsel only if (i) there is reason to think that a federal crime has been committed, and (ii) investigating it would present a conflict of interest for the Justice Department or there is another overriding public reason to take the investigation outside DOJ.” In other words, based on DOJ guidelines, there wasn’t a legitimate basis for launching this investigation.

Judge Mukasey continued, saying “Although Rosenstein apparently tried to correct his mistake in a new appointment memo, he has thus far refused to disclose, even to a federal judge, a complete copy of it. In other investigations supposedly implicating a president, Watergate and Whitewater come to mind, we were told what the crime was and what facts justified the investigation. Not here. Nor have any of the charges filed in the Mueller investigation disclosed the Trump campaign’s criminal acceptance or solicitation of help from the Russians. The one indictment that relates to Russian criminality charges that the Russians hacked Democratic Party computers and committed other social media abuse, but says specifically that if the Trump campaign got the benefit of it, that was ‘unwitting’ — i.e., without criminal intent.”

The harm this fishing expedition is doing is to the Intelligence Community’s reputation. The Deep Staters have tarnished the FBI’s and the DOJ’s reputations. Who knows how long it will take to repair that damage? The political heat is increasing on Mueller to wrap things up. First, it was Judge T.S. Ellis III who questioned the Mueller investigation’s scope. Now, it’s former Attorney General Michael Mukasey questioning Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of a special council.

Sprinkle in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s letter demanding production of Rosenstein’s scope memo. Combine these things and you have pressure building from people who aren’t seen as overtly partisan. That, more than anything, will hurt Mueller’s credibility.

For weeks, Rod Rosenstein has refused to turn over a document now known as the ‘Scope Memo’ to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. The explanation has been that the DOJ thought that turning it over to Nunes would be the same as turning it over to the White House.

That fight is behind the DOJ and Rosenstein. Technically, they won. They won’t have to turn it over to Chairman Nunes. Officially, Rosenstein and the DOJ lost because Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has demanded to see the memo. In his letter, Chairman Grassley wrote “This Committee likewise should be permitted to review the true nature and scope of the special counsel’s investigation. Like the Judiciary, Congress is a separate branch of government with its own constitutional duties that often require access to Executive Branch information. In this case, the interests relate to both legislative and oversight responsibilities.”

There’s no denying the memo from Grassley from a political standpoint. Rosenstein could win a fight with Chairman Nunes because the media had unjustifiably criticized him. That option doesn’t exist with Chairman Grassley because he’s one of the most decent, well-respected men in DC.

Grassley also appears interested in the timing of the Rosenstein memo. “The August Memorandum states that it addresses the special counsel’s authorization as of the date he was appointed. Why was this memorandum not drafted until August 2017?” Grassley asked.

Grassley has been a supporter of the Mueller investigation, the committee chairman noted. He has publicly warned President Trump against taking steps to shut down the investigation or fire Mueller. “As I have said numerous times, that investigation should be free to follow the facts wherever they lead without any improper outside interference. However, that does not mean that it is immune from oversight or that information about the scope of its authority under existing Department regulations should be withheld from Congress,” Grassley said.

Mueller would face a difficult fight vs. Sen. Grassley if Sen. Grassley pushed him on exceeding his authority. While some want to think this is a law enforcement matter, it’s a political battle, too. In a fight against Sen. Grassley, Rosenstein will lose if it comes to that.

The Common Sense Coalition’s amendment is pretty much a bait-and-switch con job piece of legislation. For starters, amnesty for DACA recipients is immediate. That isn’t surprising. Next, building President Trump’s wall isn’t a priority. On Pg. 51 of the amendment, we learn that $1,571,000,000,000 is appropriated to build President Trump’s wall in 2018. Further, $2,500,000,000,000 is available to be appropriated in each year starting in 2019 and going through 2027. Further, the legislative language states that “the amount specified in subsection (d) for each of fiscal years 2019-2027 shall not be available for such fiscal year unless (A) the Secretary submits to Congress, not later than 60 days before the start of such fiscal year a report setting forth a description of every planned expenditure…, (B) a description of the total number of miles of security fencing… etc.

In other words, they’re limiting the speed with which the wall can be built. Further. they’re making it possible for future Democratic administrations to kill the building of the wall.

Simply put, this bill has no chance of getting 6o votes. It doesn’t stand a chance of getting signed into law, either. Here’s a picture of most of the members of the Common Sense Coalition:

It’s worth noting that a significant percentage of these senators are either retiring or will be defeated this fall. Sen. Donnelly fits that description. Jeff Flake definitely fits that description. Joe Manchin is inching closer to fitting that description. Heidi Heitkamp definitely fits that description. Claire McCaskill and Bill Nelson fit that description. The senators from New Hampshire don’t exactly fit the description but they’re getting there. Bob Corker fits that description.

Simply put, most of the senators in the Common Sense Coalition won’t be in the Senate a year from now. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to vote. That’s their right until their replacement is sworn in, either after their retirement or their defeat. What it means, though, is that members of the Coalition don’t care about national security. They certainly aren’t interested in listening to the people. Thus far, they haven’t listened to the people.

This coalition isn’t made up of principled politicians. It’s made up of elitists who aren’t interested in listening to the people. Chuck Grassley is the senior senator from Iowa. He isn’t part of that Coalition. He’s just a politician who’s interested in doing the right thing, both for DACA recipients and for national security. He’s the chief author of a bill that’s been endorsed by President Trump. It’s the only bill that the Senate will debate that President Trump will sign or should sign. Listen to Sen. Grassley’s speech explaining why senators should vote for his legislation:

The text of Sen. Grassley’s bill, known as the Secure and Succeed Act, is significantly different than the CSC’s legislation. The biggest difference between the 2 bills is that the Grassley bill appropriates the money for the wall right away. In the section titled “Subtitle C—Border Security Enforcement Fund” the following appropriations are made:

The Secretary shall transfer, 8 from the Fund to the “U.S. Customs and Border 9 Protection—Procurement, Construction and Improvements” account, for the purpose described in 11 subsection (a)(1), $18,000,000,000, of which— 12 (A) $1,571,000,000 shall be transferred in 13 fiscal year 2018; 14 (B) $1,600,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2019; 16 (C) $1,842,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2020; (D) $2,019,000,000 shall be transferred in 19 fiscal year 2021; (E) $2,237,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2022; (F) $1,745,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2023; 177 (G) $1,746,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2024; (H) $1,776,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2025; (I) $1,746,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2026; and (J) $1,718,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2027.

Barring an act of Congress, the money for President Trump’s wall will be appropriated this year.

The Common Sense Coalition’s bill appropriates approximately $1,700,000,000,000 this year, then requires separate appropriations in the years following to build the wall. The Grassley bill appropriates the money immediately.

It’s worth noting that Democrats have the proverbial gun pointed at their heads. If Democrats don’t agree to President Trump’s conditions, DACA collapses and the recipients hold Democrats responsible. Remember this?

The chances for a repeat of that scene is high if Democrats don’t deliver.

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When it comes to political wisdom, Lindsey Graham isn’t too bright. The NYTimes is quoting Sen. Graham as saying that “The president’s going to have a vote on his concept. I don’t think it will get 60 votes. The bottom line then is: What do you do next? You can do what we’ve done for the last 35 years — blame each other. Or you can actually start fixing the broken immigration system. If you came out of this with strong border security — the president getting his wall and the Dream Act population being taken care of, most Americans would applaud.”

Sen. Graham isn’t too bright if he thinks he’s on the winning side in this fight. Americans want a DACA fix as long as it comes with the wall and an end to chain migration. Each of those issues have approval ratings of 70%. If Sen. Graham thinks that President Trump is on the losing end of that fight, he isn’t too bright.

The American people understand that bad bipartisan deals are really just bad deals. They’ve seen DC pass bipartisan deals for years while things got worse. They’re upset with elitists in both parties. They’re demanding that these elitists do something different this time. It’s a revolutionary concept but it’s worked in the past. It’s called listening to the people. Don’t tell us that the things that the American people want done in their name is complicated.

It’s only complicated trying to explain why politicians ignored the will of the people. Then it gets real complicated — for the politician. That’s their problem.

Meanwhile, politicians in the “Common Sense Coalition” who are up for election this year better prepare to get their comeuppance in November. Watch Sen. Schumer’s speech, then ask yourself whether he’s bothered to listen to the American people:

After watching that speech, I’m left wondering whether Sen. Schumer thinks the American people are simply an inconvenient afterthought. Lost in his political spin is whether the bill the Common Sense Coalition is putting together is something that the American people would reject. Also lost in Sen. Schumer’s spin is whether the Common Sense Coalition’s bill would fix anything or whether it would just be another bipartisan bill that doesn’t do what the American people expect it to do.

Thanks to President Trump’s populism and his commitment to the American people, Democrats and wayward Republicans are finding out that resisting the American people isn’t a great way to earn a living in politics. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s speech summed things up perfectly:

My Democratic colleagues have spent months demanding the Senate take up this issue. They even shut down the government, unnecessarily, I might add, in order to secure this very week of debate. But now that the time has come to make law instead of just making points, they’re stalling.

Why? Why, after months and months spent demanding that the Senate take up this issue, do they now object to even starting the debate? Because they know, no matter how long they spend in closed-door negotiations, they can’t change the fact that the president has spelled out a fair and generous framework that will be necessary to earn his signature. They cannot take ‘yes’ for an answer. So, instead of moving to fulfill their promises and address the DACA issue, they haven’t even allowed the debate to begin.

It’s clear that Sen. McConnell listened to the people. He’s kept his promise. When he kept that promise, Democrats shut down debate. That’s the indisputable fact.

If Democrats want to face the American people after shutting down the government so they could debate immigration policies, then shut down debate when Sen. McConnell scheduled a week of debate on immigration/DACA, that’s their option. They shouldn’t be surprised if the people, including DACA activists, take brickbats after them when Democrats campaign on immigration/DACA.

Finally, I’d put together ads for each of the members of the Common Sense Coalition that starts with Republicans wanting to fix DACA and border security, then transitions into a frame where the narrator asks these immigration liberals which side of their mouth they want to talk out of.

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Sen. Schumer’s second shutdown is puzzling at best. Debate was supposed to start Tuesday on immigration reform. Sen. McConnell promised unlimited debate on the topic. Before the debate began, though, Sen. Schumer used the unanimous consent rule to prevent the debate from starting. Sen. Schumer, the senator that shut down the government to force a debate on DACA 2 weeks ago, has now shut down debate on DACA.

Sen. Schumer got his nose out of joint when Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA), introduced an amendment “that would withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities that shield undocumented immigrants from federal law enforcement.” Sen. Schumer complained, saying the amendment “does absolutely nothing to address DACA, does absolutely nothing to address border security.”

Sen. McConnell agreed to a debate on immigration reform. He didn’t limit the debate to DACA. If Sen. Schumer doesn’t like that, tough. It’s time for Sen. Schumer to pull his big boy britches up. Acting like a whiny wimp because he didn’t get his way is what wimps do. If that’s the first reaction of a US senator, then it’s time to stop referring to Senate Democrats as being part of the world’s greatest deliberative body. It’s time to start thinking of them as crybabies.

Chuck Grassley’s speech puts things into proper perspective:

Why wouldn’t Sen. Schumer not welcome this debate? If he thinks that stripping funding from sanctuary cities is that unpopular, he should welcome that debate. Instead, Sen. Schumer apparently prefers protecting his vulnerable members from debating an issue that the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with.

Yet if the debate’s slow start is dispiriting for the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives could depend on its outcome, it’s not particularly surprising. “If you didn’t go into this debate realizing something like this was going to happen, you weren’t paying attention,” said Jim Manley, a veteran Senate aide who worked for Edward Kennedy and then for Harry Reid when the latter man served as majority leader. “I defy you to find worse debates in recent history than those over immigration. They are ugly, bloody debates chock-full of highly partisan social issues that seek only to divide and don’t bring anyone together.”

This isn’t about DACA recipients. It’s about Democrats playing political games. They don’t like it that President Trump and Sen. McConnell have called their bluff. Thanks to changing the dynamics of the debate, Republicans have put the Democrats in a difficult position to defend.

By opening up debate on all immigration-related matters, Sen. McConnell has put the Democrats into a position where they’ll have to debate all immigration-related issues. That’s the last thing that Sen. Schumer wants. Frankly, this should frighten vulnerable Democrats from red states.

Sen. McConnell couldn’t put Democrats in this pickle, though, without President Trump’s steadfast support:

But if the Democrats want to make a deal, it’s really up to them, because we want really tremendous border security, but we have to have Democrat support for DACA, and they are starting that process today. We didn’t want to have it in the big budget, because if we have it in the big budget, it’s going to get mixed up with all of the other things.

So now we have our military taken care of, and now we start very serious DACA talks today. And we are — I can tell you, speaking for the Republican Party, we would love to do DACA. We would love to get it done. We want border security and the other elements that you know about. Chain migration, you know about. The visa lottery, you know about. But we think there’s a good chance of getting DACA done if the Democrats are serious and they actually want to do it.

But they didn’t want tax cuts. They fought — we didn’t get one vote for massive tax cuts that have turned out to be unbelievably popular. And what came up — which was even a surprise to us — were, the big companies stepped up, and millions and millions of people have gotten tremendous bonuses. Nobody knew that was going to happen. That was a — that was just the beginning point.

The Democrats say that they want a DACA fix. If that’s true, it’s time they stepped up and provided votes to fix the problem permanently. If Democrats hide behind Sen. Schumer’s skirt, that’s their problem.

Democrats will be known for participating in Sen. Schumer’s second shutdown.

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Listening to Democrats, you’d think that Devin Nunes was the devil himself. House Democrats insist that the Nunes Memo is a political document, not an intelligence document. Rep. Schiff will have difficulty selling that story in light of the criminal referral by Sen. Grassley and Sen. Graham.

Their referral “[appears] to back up [Chairman Nunes] claims, though, in a criminal referral sent in early January to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The surveillance applications, they said, ‘relied heavily on Mr. Steele’s dossier claims.'” Sen. Grassley’s and Sen. Graham’s referral states that the application also didn’t admit that “the identities of Mr. Simpson’s ultimate clients were the Clinton campaign and the DNC.”

Mr. Schiff has spent his time telling everyone that Devin Nunes is a hyper-conservative. He’s been somewhat effective in making that stick. Convincing people that Sen. Grassley is a bitterly partisan person will be quite a bit more difficult to prove. Check out this timeline:

Now that additional credible people have stepped forward as being on the case, Counsel Mueller has to know that his work will be scrutinized. I like the thought of investigating the investigators. Nobody is beyond scrutiny.

It’s pretty apparent that David Frum’s TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) symptoms are showing. His article, titled “Conservatism Can’t Survive Donald Trump Intact,” is mostly a defense of Jennifer Rubin’s intellectually dishonest criticisms of Republicans. Still, with a title like that, it’s important to demolish the premise that Donald Trump is leaving the GOP in tatters.

It’s important to rattle through the lengthy list of positive accomplishments that President Trump, with the help of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, has helped turn into a reality. Prior to passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, getting Neil Gorsuch confirmed was the signature accomplishment. Having him sit on the Supreme Court for the next 25 years is a major accomplishment by itself. One of the things that hasn’t gotten much attention but that’s playing a major part in the Trump Boom is eliminating tons of counterproductive regulations by using the Congressional Review Act. On a slightly different front, President Trump has reigned in presidential abuse of the Antiquities Act by shrinking a bunch of national monuments, thereby returning tons of acreage to local control.

Passing tax cuts and getting Neil Gorsuch confirmed would be a pretty nice year if he got nothing else accomplished. The good news is that President Trump has gotten lots of other important things accomplished. Again, thanks to Mitch McConnell’s and Chuck Grassley’s efforts, 12 “fully qualified” conservative appellate court judges got confirmed in President Trump’s first year.

The Wall Street Journal gets it right in this article:

President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, who opened their first year in full control of Washington on rocky terms, are closing it with a flush of late legislative achievements: a sweeping tax overhaul, a long-sought repeal of a pillar of the Affordable Care Act and a surprise deal to open up Arctic drilling.

I’ve repeatedly said that the economy is finally growing at a robust pace. Consumer confidence is soaring. Unemployment is at a 17-year low and it’s about to get lower. GDP is expected to grow at 4% or higher during Q4 of 2017.

For years, the goal was for the United States to become energy independent. Thanks to rolling back a ton of Obama-era environmental regulations through the Congressional Review Act, the U.S. isn’t just energy independent. We’re on the verge of becoming energy dominant.

For years, Republicans have talked about energy independence, cutting taxes, confirming the next generation of conservative judges and getting the economy hitting on all cylinders. President Trump and Sen. McConnell worked together to get the judges approved. Then Sen. McConnell and Speaker Ryan worked with President Trump to cut taxes, get the economy humming and delivering on energy dominance.

To this conservative, I’m better than ok with that checklist of accomplishments. The start was bumpy but the finish of President Trump’s first year is pretty smooth.

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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 US Senate must abolish their tradition of giving blue slips to senators in a judicial nominee’s home state. It must happen ASAP, too. This article illustrates how this quaint tradition is getting abused.

According to the article, “Scott Cottington lives and has been working in Minnesota as a political consultant for several years. When I asked for his opinion, as an observer of politics and Minnesotan he told me on the phone, ‘This is partisanship pure and simple. If you look at what Franken did to Gorsuch, between Gorsuch and Stras, he’s being intellectually so dishonest and he’s doing it for partisan posturing purposes.'”

Let’s be honest. Al Franken is a political hatchet man. He isn’t a man of integrity. Back when he hosted a radio talk show, he got embroiled in a most unsavory scandal. According to the article, “A month ago Al Franken claimed ignorance of the transfers. ‘I didn’t know anything about this until late last week,’ he told Air America listeners on Aug. 8. The network’s brass echoed this: Air America CEO Danny Goldberg told the New York Sun this week that the ‘on-air talent’ has ‘never had any responsibility for this loan.’ This seemed plausible at the time, since no one expects the talent to be arranging finances, so in our Aug. 3 editorial on the subject, we gave Mr. Franken a pass. Regrettably, it appears we shouldn’t have. In light of documents that surfaced last week, it looks to be the case that as of November 2004, and possibly earlier, Mr. Franken knew the amount of money, the money’s origins and the dates the transfers occurred. This came to light after a settlement agreement between former and current owners of Air America, a document which details the Gloria Wise transfers, was leaked to Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney, who promptly posted the document on their Web sites. The document shows that Mr. Franken signed off on the settlement, and did so in the presence of a notary public, no less.”

This is the man that’s holding up a confirmation hearing of Justice David Stras? It’s frightening enough that he’s a US senator. It’s disgusting that he essentially holds a one-man veto power over a highly qualified jurist. It’s time for the Senate to rethink some of its traditions.

What’s the value of consulting senators from a judicial nominee’s home state? What information can they provide that isn’t already known by the Judiciary Committee? Another important question is whether blue slips are being used too frequently for purely partisan purposes. In this instance, it’s clearly being used for purely partisan purposes. This video illustrates how dishonest and mean-spirited Sen. Franken is:

At one point, Sen. Franken, the man who lied about knowing about a loan he signed off on, accuses a judicial nominee of lying. At another point, he accused the judicial nominee of letting her religious faith direct her judicial rulings:

This is why Senator Al Franken, (D-MN), asked Barrett about speaking honorariums she received from the religious-liberty nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, comparing the group to the late Cambodian leader Pol Pot. (The group was recently smeared by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group for pursuing religious-freedom cases in court.) “I question your judgment,” the former star of Stuart Saves His Family lectured the ‘mother of seven.

It’s disgusting that a liar would question a person’s judgment. Personally, I’ve questioned Sen. Franken’s character for years. It’s been proven that he’s lied about loans he’s signed off on. He’s an admitted cokehead:

He then he says that in his book, he writes “pretty frankly” about the fact that drugs were a regular part of life on the show, at least in those early years. Franken reveals how he did acid at Grateful Dead concerts and smoked dope and snorted cocaine.

But with regard to his own drug use, including of cocaine, Franken explained that he was careful to never abuse it, unlike cast mates such as Belushi, who died in 1982 of a drug overdose.

But I digress. Asking questions about a person’s religious beliefs is prohibited by the Constitution:

Since Durbin inquired in the form of a question, we can only assume that Barrett’s answer was pertinent to the confirmation. That is problematic, considering that the Constitution explicitly states that no religion, not even a belief in orthodox liberalism, should be a prerequisite for holding a federal office.

It’s apparent that the Constitution is just a set of suggestions to DC Democrats. It’s time to drain the swamp.

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