OPINION: 'Will Trump ever be held accountable? The Justice Department just increased the odds.'

Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor emeritus and a professor of constitutional law emeritus at Harvard Law School wrote the Opinion, titled above, which was published yesterday in the Washington Post. As a lawyer Professor Tribe won 35 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

The following are excerpts from his Opinion:

'Donald Trump managed to evade legal accountability throughout his presidency. That might be about to change — and the newest sign comes in a brief filed by the Justice Department. It doesn’t directly address the former president, yet has ominous implications for his ability to avoid responsibility for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.'

'The Justice filing came in a lawsuit in which Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and a number of Capitol Police officers have sued Trump and others for their roles in the insurrection. One of those named in the suit, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), claimed that he is immune from personal liability under a law known as the Westfall Act, which shields federal officials acting within the scope of their' employment.

'U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta asked for the Justice Department’s position, and, in a filing Tuesday, the department resoundingly rejected Brooks’s view. This is a correct — indeed, an unavoidable — interpretation of the law. It is a view that is directly relevant to Trump’s potential liability in the Swalwell lawsuit and other pending litigation, ...'

The department first invoked Brooks’s own “defense” that his appearance at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally before the insurrection was “campaign activity,” not part of his official position: He was trying to get Trump declared the winner of the 2020 election and to promote GOP wins in 2022 and 2024. That was, the department properly concluded, political activity, not remotely covered by any immunity.

Even if Brooks’s appearance was not deemed campaign-related, the department added, he still is not entitled to immunity because he was accused of violating federal law — by definition, not part of his job. “Instigat[ing] a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol … plainly could not be within the scope of federal employment,” the brief said.

'Where does that leave Trump, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit and has also asked that it be dismissed? Not in great legal shape, in my view.'

'Tellingly, the department’s brief said, “Inciting or conspiring to foment a violent attack on the United States Congress is not within the scope of employment of a Representative — or any federal employee,” a category manifestly including the president himself.'

Here is a link to the full Opinion:



The pandemic rages on as do some of the worst governors in our country's history. In truth, it would be better to leave that judgement to Heather. Quite a number of us vented our anger yesterday concerning the madness in the country, following Annette's lead.

The madness continues. Here are links to several stories in today's New York Times. They contain information about the coronavirus, including the Delta variant, which will not ease our anxiety but provide valuable information:




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Re COVID, I received this message last night from my PhD, biogenetic researcher sister-in-law:

Covid Delta virus

When infected with the new Covid Delta virus, there is no cough, no fever.

There is a lot of joint pain, headaches, neck and upper back pain, general weakness, loss of appetite and pneumonia, this is Cubid Delta!

And of course, it is more venomous and has a higher mortality rate and sometimes asymptomatic!  Let's be more careful because of this

This strain does not live in the nasopharynx area !

Now it directly affects the lungs, meaning shorter periods of time.

Please avoid crowded places, keep a distance of 1.5 meters even in open places.  Use double masks and wash hands frequently (after coughing or sneezing).

Please no hugs and kisses, it's very dangerous right now, suppose everyone is asymptomatic.

* WAVE * is much more deadly than the first

* 19 *.  So we have to be very careful and take *all kinds of precautions.*

Do not keep this information to yourself.

Share it as much as you can, especially with your family and friends.

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McCarthy is a moron. And they say you can’t fix stupid. But Covid-19 can and is working hard on fixing stupid.

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The penny is beginning to drop here in Missouri, except for the eedjit attorney general, who wants to take over Roy Blunt's seat and has decided that suing St. Louis and Kansas City over our mask mandates is the way to gain popularity. The governor seems to have basically shut himself in the old manse and, other than suggesting that monetary incentives might be a way to go, won't lift a finger to help anyone--or harm anyone, either, since he is MIA (emergency medical help to Springfield is coming weeks late and not from the gov's office as far as I know). That is preferable to actively trying to encourage the death of non-white people by refusing to support masking and telling lies: as far as I can tell, that has been the Ghastly Obstructionist Party's rationale for lying about covid since the infection and death rates have been, until recently, super high in the populations of working poor who are drawn from non-white populations. Now that it is hitting their own whitey pals they're getting a little nervous. I am waiting to hear the Repugnicans howl because the U of Missouri system just imposed mandatory indoor mask wearing for all four campuses until at least mid-September. We are hearing from local medical experts that the infection surge is likely to peak around October.

As to the other thing, I am more and more reminded of the warning about cornering rabid dogs--or, in the midwest, rabid raccoons. The desperation of the Ghastly Overtly-fascist Party is growing. The revolting specimens who tried to invade the governor's office in Michigan have been indicted on domestic terrorism charges and so that is going to be a fun autumn entertainment event. I am hoping that the courts are lumbering toward indicting Gaetz for sex trafficking; I am hoping the Dems field a reasonable opponent to Greene in GA (she ran unopposed because of the death threats raining down on her opponents in the primary but I don't think the Dems tried to field a candidate in that district--GA folks help me out here?). I agree: the Blue wave needs to be a Blue tsunami. And that means getting the vote out despite restrictions, suing the sh*t out of legislative gerrymandering, and the like. And it is going to get ugly because the rabid dogs are scared sh*tless about what could happen. So I am not super optimistic, because most people don't have the stomach for what might be coming down the line.

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Yes. That’s it. We have laws to help guide us in our behavior towards one another and protect us from those who believe anything goes. But in times like now, when we are pushing the culture to grow and embrace even greater pluralism, fairness and equality all in keeping with the guidelines of our Constitution, there are always going to be reactions that confuse progressive growth, with dissolution, because growth represents change. For our democracy to function, it must always reflect the will of the majority of the people, operating within a fair and legal framework. Criminals often actively use the law as a means to protect themselves from the norms of law enforcement; this is why we are transfixed by the testimony of the Capitol Police Officers who were attacked on January 6. Most of us still can’t believe anyone would be so brazen to attack the Capitol, while our sworn elected representatives we’re doing their duty to certify electoral votes of the presidential election. So now, as we start shake off the excesses of an obstructionist minority party that has destroyed itself out of its willingness to say, and do anything —legal or not—-to remain powerful enough to hold back the growth and development of our democracy, we are witnessing the reckoning of the rule of law with those of them like Brooks, trump and others. This is what has to happen…and it’s happening. At the very same time, dedicated representatives of government at all levels of our society, continue to do their jobs and uphold the rule of law in keeping with our Constitution that they swore to uphold and protect. It’s amazing, truly. This is how it goes in a good and healthy democracy. Feel good about that everyone and take heart. There is a lot of important work ahead that will make our country and the world that much more just, fair and free; keep your spirits up… it’s not easy, it’s hard to do… but we’re getting there.

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The spate of state level voter-suppression laws across the country seem to qualify for scrutiny under the RICO act since these are disingenuous laws coordinated by national forces that participated in the fraud and insurrection that was Jan 6th.

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The Republican anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers in Congress put me in mind of toddlers, who stamp their feet, hold their breath, and say "You can't make me do it." Toddlers have an excuse for that behavior; these folks don't.

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Best. Line. Evah! "... shove the octopus of his different caucus interests into the string bag he’s holding ..."

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IDK how we got here, to this “Culture of Ignorance” as described by Isaac Asimov, but I am daily put in despair by the assaults of insanity at every turn. Whether it is the Big Lie believers of the ignorant cult followers of the POSer President, or the total denial of scientific facts by the ignorant elected officials (elected by equally ignorant voters) I am appalled daily by insanity that has taken over my nation.

A lot of it comes from the disdain for education in the rural South, which I have seen all my life from family members in Mississippi. But, even those who have managed to get college degrees (which I suspect by their very limited knowledge of any real facts) are pushing these insane ideas that are taken as truth by the ignorant cultists. This manifested in the mob attack on our government on January 6th and continues with Repugnant Party Big Lie supporters within our government today, who are still trying to destroy our nation.

Members of our government deny scientific facts of disease control & prevention in the face of a resurging pandemic by refusing to wear masks, the simplest effect means of preventing the spread of this airborne pathogen. This encourages the ignorant cultists to do the same on airliners and other closed spaces, endangering all around them – total insane chaos.

Then, when we got a quick vaccine that has been proven effective in preventing drawn out respiratory failure and death the ignorant cultists fight against that following the direction of elected officials (many of whom have actually been vaccinated). Not only in Washington but those of us in these Backward States like Florida have to contend with ignorant cult leaders like Gov. Ron DeathSantis who are countermanding the new Mask Mandates against the Delta Variant of COVID-19 that is filling our ICUs again with dying unvaccinated patients.

There is No Logic, No Rhyme Nor Reason for any of this except INSANITY.

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Oh my! It's 11:07 pm CDT. I've had one too many martinis to write an intelligible comment, however, my first response with regard to the Republican Waste-oids and their very desperate attempts is: HA HA HA!!!

Thank you, Heather, I will actually sleep tonight.

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As always this issue was balanced, thorough and informative.

Watching Gym Jordan/OH respond to questions about talking with the twice impeached former president January 06 was comical. He couldn’t help but dig a deeper hole for himself. His rapid-fire, nervous energy infused yapping portrayed an ‘uh oh, am I busted?’ worry. I enjoyed watching this fool tap dance on a land mine. His jig is nearly up, yay!

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Bless Chip Roy ... he must have fallen off the back of a pick-up truck ...

Back in January, he voted to accept the election results, citing the illogical flaw of rejecting the presidential results at the top of the ballot, while at the same time endorsing the vote for House members further down the ticket.

Now he's gone all stupid in wanting to close the House of Representative when his own constituents in Texas live and work and have their being in a fully open state with no Covid restrictions. In fact, Gov. Abbott and his ilk made mask mandates illegal for state agencies, including all the public universities that are about to welcome back thousands of young people to dorms and classrooms.

Delta variant? What Delta variant?

I'll be calling Chip's office in the morning, since he's my House member ....

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"To evade the lawsuit, Brooks gave an affidavit in which he and his lawyers insisted that this language was solely a campaign speech, urging voters to support Republican lawmakers in 2022 and 2024."

Congressman, we may have born at night, but it wasn't LAST night.

I'm probably getting more pleasure out of watching these guys (and gals) squirm than I should, but hey, as the Byrds sang, "It's been a long time comin'............."

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I wish everyone, including Heather, would get clear on one thing: voter suppression is a distraction.

It's VOTE NULLIFICATION that's the true threat to our democratic republic. Georgia is leading the way with their authoritarian law that allows the Republication legislature to replace members of elections boards who will be able to change the outcome of elections if they are not happy. If that law had been in place in on January 5, the Senate would be in the hands of the Republicans as the Republican-controlled elections boards would ensure that enough votes were "found" for Perdue and Loeffler to hold on to their positions.

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Why fine them if they don't wear masks? Just refuse to let them into the chamber, or eject them if they take their masks off. Isn't that part of the sergeant-at-arms' duty?

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It is my hope that the more the rethuglicans try to distract from the truth, the more the truth will come out. And, the more the likes of Gym Jordan and Moron McCarthy try to avoid testifying, the deeper they dig the whole party into the ground. Then, there's Mo Brooks, admitting he "knew something was up" so wore the vest/slept in his office, etc. You know he wasn't the only one. There have been several people on Twitter reposting a Steve Bannon podcast from 1/5 stating that all hell is going to break loose. (Sorry, don't know how to post the tweet here, but if you search Steve Bannon on Twitter, it comes up.) So many people knew what was coming. So few did anything. 😞

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