The release of the widely anticipated Inspector General’s Report has put to rest some long-standing questions and conspiratorial fodder surrounding the 2016 presidential election – while raising other questions.
The Inspector General’s probe into James Comey’s handling of the Clinton email and Russia investigation highlights one thing: Washington’s bureaucratic self-preservation mechanism. The report’s failure to comprehensively or cohesively make a logical narrative argument, let alone a reasonable conclusion from the facts presented, raises sincere doubts as to its intent. The 568 page report is a meandering foray into sophistry, artfully crafted to provide exoneration while sidestepping the real issues – complete dereliction of duty, disparate treatment based on political affiliation, and deviations from FBI protocol without cause.
Last week, California senator Dianne Feinstein (D) introduced legislation aimed at preventing the separation of children from their parents while attempting to cross the United States’ border with Mexico. Over 30 Democrats have signed onto the proposed bill, which would only permit the separation of children if it is “in the best interests of the child,” including instances of suspected abuse and child trafficking.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has successfully brokered a truce between a coalition of House conservatives and moderates to stave off a discharge petition on immigration. The petition, if granted, would have required a vote on a longstanding issue on the Trump Agenda – immigration. The move by Ryan allows House Republicans the opportunity to gain control of which bills will see a vote next week.
Presidential pardons have become a hot-button topic for the Trump administration recently. The power to pardon has, and always will be, a topic of intrigue for pundits and politicos. After all, since the pardon is a “checking” tool given to the President by the authority of the Constitution, it is fertile grounds for controversy and debate. Historically, pardons and commutations have been somewhat political, and occur at federal and state levels of government. While pardon power is broadly defined, the only real limits are that they must be related to criminal matters, and that presidents can not pardon impeachments.
Earlier last week, Donald Trump’s pardon of conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza led to an eruption of criticism by academics and politicians concerned with the president’s unorthodox use of pardoning power. D’Souza was convicted on felony charges of campaign finance violations in 2014, for contributing more than the $10,000 individual donation limit to a Senate campaign by funnelling money through straw donors.
Eighteen Republican members of Congress have nominated President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite outcry about the nomination, award of the Prize wouldn’t seem far-fetched, either. The Prize is awarded to people who have done “the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” It is precisely for those reasons that President Donald Trump should be considered, at the very least, a nominee.
On Thursday, a group of 18 conservative congressmen formally nominated Donald Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The nomination, pitched by some of Trump’s most ardent supporters including Marsha Blackburn (R – TN) and Evan Jenkins (R – WV), is the latest ego-boosting move for an increasingly besieged president desperate for adulation. The submission noted Trump’s tireless work to “end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region.”
Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson’s withdrawal of bid to head the Department of Veterans Affairs triggered a fresh round of partisan squabbling over the sizeable and stagnating list of Trump nominees awaiting appointment. Since his ascendance to the presidency, Trump has faced a massive uphill battle to get his nominees confirmed. It’s taken the Trump administration an average of 85 days for appointees to be confirmed — twenty days longer on average than for Barack Obama and nearly double (45 days) the time needed for appointees of George W. Bush.