Sunday, December 20, 2020


You know the alarming news:
President Trump on Friday discussed naming Sidney Powell, who as a lawyer for his campaign team unleashed conspiracy theories about a Venezuelan plot to rig voting machines in the United States, to be a special counsel overseeing an investigation of voter fraud, according to two people briefed on the discussion.

It was unclear if Mr. Trump will move ahead with such a plan.
And the even more alarming news:
Ms. Powell’s client, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser whom the president recently pardoned, was also there....

During an appearance on the conservative Newsmax channel this week, Mr. Flynn pushed for Mr. Trump to impose martial law and deploy the military to “rerun” the election. At one point in the meeting on Friday, Mr. Trump asked about that idea.
We're told there's nothing to worry about. The ideas were rejected by Trump's aides:
Ms. Powell’s ideas were shot down by every other Trump adviser present, all of whom repeatedly pointed out that she had yet to back up her claims with proof....

The White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, repeatedly and aggressively pushed back on the ideas being proposed, which went beyond the special counsel idea, those briefed on the meeting said.
So if "the ideas being proposed ... went beyond the special counsel idea," does that mean that "those briefed on the meeting" wouldn't confirm the martial-law part of the story, but would acknowledge that something off-the-wall was discussed beyond making Sidney Powell a special counsel? Or does that mean there were even crazier ideas floated that have yet to be revelead?

A Business Insider story assures us that Trump can't really declare martial law.
The president has broad powers to suspend normal legal constraints on his authority in response to a "national emergency," such as a natural disaster or terror attack, including deploying troops within the US to subdue unrest and assist law enforcement officers.

However, Joseph Nunn, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice, in October, wrote that the legal precedents for a president imposing martial law are vague, with no clear Constitutional principles or Supreme Court rulings governing its use. He wrote that under current law, "the president lacks any authority to declare martial law."
Nunn notes that martial law can be appealed to the courts:
The Supreme Court, without actually endorsing the federal government’s power to declare martial law, has established that such declarations are subject to judicial review. At a minimum, in a state or territory that the federal government has placed under martial law, individuals who have been detained by the military may ask a federal court to order their release by petitioning for the writ of habeas corpus. A court that considers an individual’s petition can decide whether the declaration of martial law was constitutionally permissible. The reviewing court can also decide whether the military’s particular actions — such as the decision to arrest and detain the person petitioning for habeas corpus — have violated the Constitution or exceeded the powers granted by the statute (if any) that authorized martial law.
Even Jonathan Turley, usually a Trump sycophant, says that "a plan for martial law ... would quickly collapse in the courts." I'm not sure this would be the case if Trump had installed loyalists rather than Federalist Society clones on the bench, but the judges he's appointed, even though they're right-wing ideologues, seem to want to do their work within the system.

Despite Flynn’s claim that the U.S. military could be dispatched to take part in re-running the presidential election in certain states, senior military leaders say that’s not going to happen.

On Friday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in a joint statement that there “is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election.”
And now even Trump is claiming he never entertained the notion:

But it's clear that he's desperate to do something. It's clear that he won't accept a congressional ratification of the Electoral College vote on January 6. And neither will a large segment of his base. (Polls suggest that the about a third of the electorate firmly believes he was cheated.)

You might think he's just grifting, or trying to stave off legal and financial entanglements. But even if this is a grift, how can he simply leave office voluntarily on January 20 and retain the support of folks like these?

These people will conclude that Trump is a cuck if he leaves peacefully -- but he'll also look weak if he's successfully dragged out kicking and screaming.

I don't know what the way out will be. Maybe Trump will save face by declaring that he doesn't want anything more to do with Washington because it's so sick and corrupt, in effect telling us that we can't fire him because he quit. Or maybe he'll insist (preposterously) that he can force the system to reinstate him as president and force Biden out. Failing that, I think he'll make a scene right up to noon on January 20 -- and beyond. There might be a standoff. I can't believe there'll be a peaceful transition.

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