Hurricane Maria, on a similar path to the devastating Hurricane Irma just over a week ago, has now strengthened to a deadly Category 4 before its projected landfall on many of the same Caribbean islands still reeling from Irma. But Maria is hardly the only storm swirling right now in the Atlantic and the Pacific (including Jose, Norma, Lee and Otis!).
Then, while Republicans and so-called "conservatives" last week pretended to be furious about the suggestion that Trump was working out an agreement with Democrats to protect some 800,000 kids of undocumented immigrants — previously protected by DACA until Trump reversed it — from deportation, in exchange for non-Border Wall border security, it turns out they're not all that angry after all. Evidence to support that argument — along with the GOP's stated intention to balloon the national debt with massive new tax cuts and military spending — underscores, yet again, that Republicans, like their President, have no real ideology, other than saying and doing what they believe is necessary to stay in power.
Yes, even anti-immigration zealot Rep. Steve King (R-IA) who claimed, after the deal between Dems and Trump was made public last week, that Trump's base was "blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair," said over the weekend that he was "gonna stick with President Trump".
Speaking of a lack of "convictions" (pun intended there), we're then joined by former Asst. US Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON, now a blogger and professor of law at George Washington University, to explain the ongoing corruption trial of sitting US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Given the recent constraints the US Supreme Court has placed on charges of bribery and public corruption by officials (see SCOTUS' dismissal last year of the guilty convictions against Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the limits on quid pro quo political bribery detailed by Citizens United and related rulings), can prosecutors successfully make charges stick against Menendez, who is charged with a number of felony counts relating to taking a huge amount of "gifts" from a physician friend, allegedly in exchange for "official acts" by the Senator.
"It's basically an exchange for these luxury trips, and jet trips, and pretty large political donations over the years, that Senator Menendez was working on these various things on Dr. Melgen's behalf," according to federal prosecutors, explains Eliason. "What the government has to prove is that there was a corrupt link between the two, that it was because of the gifts that the Senator was doing this. "Eliason, who headed up the Public Corruption/Government Fraud section at the US Attorney's District of Columbia office for many years, walks us through the legal weeds of the case, which has received shockingly little attention in the corporate media, as storms — both political and climatic — have sucked up a lot of press attention in recent weeks.
And, though the investigation into Menendez was begun under Obama (on the heels of a completely fake news story, published by a Rightwing "news" outlet), are there any lessons we may take from this prosecution as it relates to potential charges being investigated against Team Trump? As it turns out, there are, as the always-insightful Eliason details today.
Finally, Trump's Homeland Security Advisor H.R. McMaster claimed over the weekend that Trump might be willing to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, but only if the there were better terms for the US Our own Desi Doyen has a thought or two in response to that claim.
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