OA272: Impeachment, Redactions, and Russia

Today’s episode brings you a trio of stories about the changing political landscape in the wake of the release of the [REDACTED] Mueller report; namely (1) will the President be impeached (and if so, can the Senate block the impeachment), (2) will we see a full, unredacted version of the report, and (3) just how pro-Russia is this administration, anyway?

We begin with a question asked by listener Thomas S. as to whether Mitch McConnell can… well, Mitch McConnell any impeachment hearings. And while the answer may not surprise you, we think you’ll want to know why.

Then, we move on to another listener question, this one about whether the Trump campaign actually did soften language in the GOP platform related to Russia. Was that story actually “debunked?” (No.) We debunk the debunking for your edification!

After that, it’s time for a two-fer of embedded stories that bear on the question of redactions. We look briefly at McKeever v. Barr and evaluate whether that will prevent the ultimate release of the full Mueller Report as well as check in on developments in a FOIA case.

No #TTTBE this week!

Appearances
None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. You can read the Lawfareblog article that inspired Thomas S.’s question on impeachment.
  2. This is the full text of the 2016 Republican platform.
  3. Click here to read the Byron York article in the Washington Examiner that we debunk; here to read the original Washington Post article by Josh Rogin; and here to read the Politifact transcript of the Trump interview.
  4. Finally, check out McKeever v. Barr.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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OA271: Dis-Barred (?) – The Mueller Report

Today, we break down the just-released [REDACTED] Mueller report. The top-line analysis? This is much worse than we anticipated in Episode 264. This report may not be the end of the road for Trump — but it almost certainly is the end of the road for Attorney General William Barr.

That’s it! We spend nearly 90 minutes delving through the minutiae and correcting the egregious misquotations in Barr’s now-laughable “summary” of the report.

Show Notes & Links

1. You can click here to read the full Mueller report, and here for the searchable PDF.

2. We first covered Barr’s summary in Episode 264, and you can read his laughably dishonest letter again right here. Oh, and we followed up with Prof. Randall Eliason in Episode 265.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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OA270: Happy Tax Day!

Today’s episode brings you a trio of timely stories that all revolve around taxes: the Michael Avenatti indictment (for 29 courts of tax fraud), proposed legislation that some are arguing hamstrings the IRS, and (of course) the status of Congress’s efforts to get Trump’s tax returns. We also learned about very cool free online tax filing (Free File)… albeit too late to help most of you. Sorry about that.

We begin with the lawyer who will never come on our show — Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame on the back of the genius of Stormy Daniels, and whom we first debunked as a grifter just a few months later (way back in Episode 181!) Turns out he’s been arrested for tax fraud. Who could have seen that coming? (Oh yeah, everyone.)

After that, it’s time for a deep dive into HR 1957, the Taxpayer First Act of 2019. Is it really a Democratic-sponsored sellout to Turbotax, as some folks are saying? Listen and find out!

Then, it’s time to revisit the question of Trump’s taxes. Can Trump really stonewall indefinitely on his taxes? (No.) Does the law pave the way for Democrats to get his tax returns? (Yes.)

After all that, it’s time for the answer to TTTBE #122 regarding the nonexistence of official documents.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances
None! Andrew will be at the American Atheist convention in Cincinnati, Ohio this weekend, April 19-21. And if you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. For 2020: Click here to access Free File.
  2. You can read Avenatti’s indictment, and/or catch up on all his scumbaggery by re-listening to Episode 181.
  3. This is the text of H.R. 1957, this is the text of the Eighth Memoradum of Understanding between the IRS and Free File, and this is the text of 67 Fed. Red. 67247 which references the MOU.
  4. Here’s an example of an alarmist op-ed in the Washington Post, and this is the initial article from ProPublica.
  5. We first outlined how to get Trump’s tax returns back in Episode 226; that’s still the right plan. We covered Rep. Neal’s request in Episode 267. The applicable statute is 26 U.S.C. § 6013.
  6. You can read Consovoy’s totally crazy crazypants letter here.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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OA269: Julian Assange Arrested

Today’s episode breaks down the recent arrest of Julian Assange in England and what it means for Chelsea Manning (and Donald Trump!)

We begin, however, with two separate sports-related stories: the improbable success of Marcus Rademacher in the Opening Arguments March Madness pool, and the (far sadder) saga of the Trump Administration’s indefensible decision to overrule the MLB’s deal with Cuba that would have brought an end to the dangerous human trafficking of ballplayers.

After that, it’s time for our deep dive into the sealed Julian Assange indictment and his arrest in England. We also discuss at great length exactly why Chelsea Manning is apparently being held in solitary confinement in prison — even though her crime was commuted by President Obama — and whether this indictment is relevant to the Mueller investigation. Oh, and Thomas gives you something to look out for!

And if all that isn’t enough for you, well, we end, as always, with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Question #122 involving hearsay and a search for public records. As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances

None! If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

1. Marcus Rademacher’s winning entry is linked here.
2. If you want football-themed Opening Arguments, check out Episode 57 and Episode 58, which tell the tale of Donald Trump singlehandedly destroyed the USFL. 
3. Trump reportedly wanted to buy the Cubs in 2006.
4. We covered the MLB-Cuba deal in OA 237.
5. The Assange Indictment.
6. 18 U.S.C. § 1030 (computer fraud)
7. Chelsea Manning’s 4th Circuit brief can be found here.
8. And the Government’s response written by G. Zachary Terwilliger, who we covered in OA 212.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com





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OA268: Article V Conventions (w/Lawrence Lessig)

Today’s episode revisits the topic Andrew discussed briefly in Episode 252:  Article V conventions convened for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution.  Joining Andrew is Prof. Lawrence Lessig, perhaps the most vocal liberal proponent of such conventions.  Andrew, you may recall, was skeptical and concerned about the risks that such conventions could pose.

Join Thomas, Andrew, and Prof. Lessig for a special 70-minute very deep dive and see if either one changes their minds!

After that, it’s time for TTTBE #121 regarding executive orders.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances
Andrew was just a guest on Episode 464 of the Cognitive Dissonance podcast as their legal expert.  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Here are the 14 states with Democratic legislatures and governors.
  2. This is the CNN/ORC poll Andrew referenced showing consistent high support for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.  And this is the Koch Brothers-funded ALEC initiative to convene Article V conventions.
  3. Click here to read Owings v. Speed, 18 U.S. 420 (1820), the first case Andrew discussed.
  4. Andrew also discussed Dyer v. Blair, 390 F.Supp. 1291 (N.D. Ill. 1975), and both lawyers talked about Coleman v. Miller, 307 U.S. 433 (1939) as the primary case for the political question doctrine.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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OA267: Originalism and the Eighth Amendment (Bucklew v. Precythe)

Today’s breaking news episode takes an in-depth look at Bucklew v. Precythe, a recent Supreme Court decision that lays bare the “originalist” view of the Eighth Amendment.  Is it as bad as you think it is?  (Yes.)

We begin, however, with a look at Texas v. U.S. and the recent news that the Trump administration “changed its mind” and “will no longer defend” the Affordable Care Act.  What does that mean?  Listen and find out!

Then, it’s time for our deep dive into Bucklew v. Precythe, the Supreme Court’s analysis of how the 8th Amendment applies in capital punishment cases.

After that, we go back to Yodel Mountain for some updates on the congressional investigations, including the Congressional request for Trump’s tax returns and an EPIC FOIA request.

And if all that isn’t enough for you, well, we end, as always, with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Question #121 involving the constitutionality of Presidential executive orders.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances

Thomas was just a guest on the Cognitive Dissonance podcast; go check it out!  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

1. Wikipedia entry on sodium thiopental can be found here.
2. Glossip v. Gross (2015)
3. Supreme Court’s opinion in Bucklew v. Precythe (Apr. 1, 2019)
4. 8th Circuit’s opinion below in Bucklew
5. Congressional letter requesting Trump’s taxes
6. Bonus! Zuckerman amicus brief in the ACA litigation.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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OA266: Auer Deference & Florida Felons

Today’s classic, deep-dive Tuesday takes an in-depth look at two critical issues in the news:  first, the recent effort by the Republican governor and state legislature in Florida to undo the broadly popular Constitutional Amendment passed during the 2018 midterms to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences, and second, the Supreme Court’s next assault on the “administrative state,” this time, by likely ending the doctrine of Auer deference.

We begin with an update about pending oral arguments before the Supreme Court, as well as a notice that this episode was bumped from last Tuesday to make way for our emergency Barr Summary episode.

Then, it’s time for a deep-dive into Florida, the process of citizen-driven ballot initiatives, and exactly what the state legislature intends to do to undermine the will of the public.

After that, it’s time for yet another deep dive, this time into Kisor v. Schulkin, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court, in which the petitioners have asked the Court to flat-out overrule yet another well-established conservative doctrine simply on the grounds that the Federalist Society doesn’t like it.

Then, as always, it’s time for the answer to Thomas Takes The Bar Exam #120 regarding a light touch on the bus.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances
Andrew was recently a guest on Episode 19 of the Glass Box podcast discussing this same subject (but with respect to Utah).  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

  1.  In the pre-show, we discuss gerrymandering, which we last talked about in depth in Episode 251.
  2. We mentioned the Washington Post story about the DC City council overturning the $15/hr minimum wage initiative.
  3. This is the text of PCB CRJ 19-03, the Florida bill under consideration.  And here, by the way, is the link to Andrew Gillum’s voter registration initiative, Bring It Home Florida.
  4. We’ve never talked about Auer deference before, but we have discussed Chevron deference at great length, most recently in Episode 136.
  5. You can click here to read Auer v. Robbins, that 9-0 liberal decision authored by noted socialist Antonin Scalia.
  6. Finally, click here to read the underlying CAFC-Opinion in Kisor v. Schulkin.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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OA265: The Investigation is Over, But the Investigations Continue (feat. Randall Eliason)

Today’s breaking news episode contains a long interview with everyone’s favorite former prosecutor, Randall Eliason, who helps answer some nagging questions about what we do know about the Mueller Report (alongside all the things we don’t).

We begin, however, with a brief Andrew Was Right (about the Barr Summary and the news cycle!) and Wrong (about the specifics of the Assange indictment).

Then, it’s time for our main segment with Professor Eliason; you won’t want to miss it!

And if all that isn’t enough for you, well, we end, as always, with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Question #120 involving touching a very sensitive woman on the bus.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances
Andrew was recently a guest on Episode 19 of the Glass Box podcast discussing Utah referendums, and Episode 188 of God Awful Movies (reviewing “Dead Man Rising”).  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

[None]

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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OA264: The Barr Summary of the Mueller Report

Today’s emergency, late-breaking episode breaks down the Barr Summary of the Mueller Report and gives you some advance warning that the narrative on the Mueller report is about to shift very quickly in the opposite direction.  Get ahead of the story by listening today!

Due to the length of the breakdown, we don’t have our regular segments today, but we do have (as always), the answer to Thomas Takes The Bar Exam #119 regarding contracts for the sale of wheat.  Can Thomas keep his streak alive?  Listen and find out!  And, as always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances
None!  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

1. This is the Barr Summary of the Mueller Report.
2. Ken Dilanian’s tweet.
3. Glenn Greenwald’s tweet.
4. We discussed disaggregation of the investigations in Episode OA: 259.
5. Confirms the Senate Intelligence Committee report we talked about in Episode OA: 190.
6. Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya’s OPEN SDNY criminal trial as of 1/8/2019 for obstruction of justice.
7. Mueller’s NFL report is here.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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OA263: Nielsen v. Preap and Due Process Due Aliens

Today’s breaking news episode contains your guide to the hotly-debated Supreme Court decision in Nielsen v. Preap, regarding how and whether aliens can be detained without due process.  What does it all mean?  Listen and find out!

We begin, however, with a brief update on the Congressional Investigations we discussed in Episode 259 with the news that Hope Hicks will cooperate.  Listen to our past episode if you don’t realize how huge this is.

Then, we move on to some news regarding a recent order handed down by Judge Kollar-Kotelly in the District Court for the District of Columbia with respect to the trans ban.  We dive into the unique procedural issues giving rise to this order and tamp down on your enthusiasm that this may put the trans ban in jeopardy.

Then, it’s time for our main segment breaking down Nielsen v. Preap. We tell you exactly what this decision means along with the reasons why the Court reached the result it did.

But that’s not all!  After that, we have our weekly trip to Yodel Mountain with two items:  (1) an Andrew Was Right about the source of the National Enquirer‘s acquisition of compromising material about Jeff Bezos; and (2) a follow-up on the New York indictment of Paul Manafort.

And if all that isn’t enough for you, well, we end, as always, with a brand new Thomas Takes the Bar Exam Question #119 involving long-term contracts for the sale of wheat.  As always, remember to follow our Twitter feed (@Openargs) and like our Facebook Page so that you too can play along with #TTTBE!

Appearances
None!  If you’d like to have either of us as a guest on your show, drop us an email at openarguments@gmail.com.

Show Notes & Links

1. First discussed trans ban back in Episode OA: 247
2. We were assisted by Alice Ashton – trans Arabic linguist who contributed to the Advocate article located here and by Deirdre Anne Hendrick.
3. Here is a link to Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 19-004.
4. Pre Show: Hicks to cooperate. This is HUGE!
5. 1/4 – DC Cir. Reversed and vacated the injunction.
6. 1/22 – Supreme Court lifted the stays in two of those cases. We covered it the next day on Episode OA: 247.
7. Next day, on 3/8, the government filed a notice and this is the Plaintiffs’ response.
8. Here is the link DC Circuit’s Opinions issued 3/8
9. Judge Kollar-Kotelly’s 3/19 Order
10. 3/20 Gov’ts Motion to Clarify
11. Nielsen v. Preap is linked Here
12. 8 U.S.C. § 1226(a) vs. (c) – 1952
13. Demore v. Kim, 538 US 510 – Supreme Court 2003
14. Wall Street Journal article on Becker/Bezos
15. CHN article on the problems with New York’s double jeopardy.

Support us on Patreon at:  patreon.com/law

Follow us on Twitter:  @Openargs

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/openargs/

Don’t forget the OA Facebook Community!

For show-related questions, check out the Opening Arguments Wiki, which now has its own Twitter feed!  @oawiki

And email us at openarguments@gmail.com

 

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