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Weekend ReadsOpinions | Cornered and raging, Trump begins his coverup. Here’s how Democrats can respond.

02:06  09 november  2018
02:06  09 november  2018 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Trump calls midterm results a 'tremendous success,' as Democrats gain control of House and GOP retains Senate

Trump calls midterm results a 'tremendous success,' as Democrats gain control of House and GOP retains Senate President Trump called Tuesday’s midterm election results a “tremendous success” Tuesday night, following bruising race calls that gave Democrats control of the House for the first time in eight years, and Republicans additional seats to maintain the majority in the Senate.

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. Sign Up for the Nicholas Kristof Newsletter. Get exclusive commentary from Nicholas Kristof and be the first to read his Thursday and Sunday columns.

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section. Sign Up for the Nicholas Kristof Newsletter. Get exclusive commentary from Nicholas Kristof and be the first to read his Thursday and Sunday columns.

Opinions | Cornered and raging, Trump begins his coverup. Here’s how Democrats can respond.© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

President Trump has forced out his attorney general and replaced him with a loyalist who will now oversee special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. Speculation is rampant: Will the new acting attorney general fire Mueller? Constrain his investigation? Block Mueller’s findings from going public?

We don’t know whether Matthew Whitaker, Trump’s replacement for Jeff Sessions, will go through with these things. But here’s something we can conclude right now: Trump surely picked Whitaker, Sessions’s chief of staff, expressly to put him in the position of being able to do any and all of them.

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After a news conference that was over an hour long President Trump tweets that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has In his resignation letter, Sessio Reaching more than 95 million households worldwide, MSNBC offers a full schedule of live news coverage, political opinions and award-winning

The new House majority will restore what’ s been missing for two years: a check on the Trump administration’ s excesses.

Unlike Sessions, who recused himself from the probe, Whitaker will oversee it, whereas before, that had fallen to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. Whitaker can theoretically fire Mueller by invoking some rationale that fulfills the relevant regulations’ requirement for “cause,” or he can revoke those regulations. Or he can severely limit the scope of the investigation, or starve it of funds.

Ask yourself: What would this look like if Republicans had held the House? We would be concluding that Trump is taking steps to close down or limit the probe, or keep its findings covered up, in the full knowledge that congressional Republicans will let him get away with it. Which is why it’s a good thing that Democrats did capture the House.

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The Post' s View Opinion . Opinion Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events.

At his news conference on Wednesday in the wake of the Democratic victory, Trump raged over the investigation. He said that if House Democrats investigate his administration — an activity known as congressional oversight —  that the White House can retaliate by investigating Democrats. Trump vowed a “warlike posture.” This lays the groundwork to dramatically resist whatever Democrats do in response to Trump’s moves against the Mueller probe.

So what can Democrats do in these scenarios, once they’re in the majority? Here’s a rundown:

House Democrats can investigate the firing of Sessions. The question of whether Trump fired Sessions or whether Sessions merely resigned is critical. If Trump fired Sessions, it might not be legit that Trump replaced him with an acting attorney general (Whitaker) who didn’t require Senate confirmation (which Trump may have wanted to do to insulate the replacement from questioning from senators about his intention toward the Mueller probe). Mueller could conceivably challenge the appointment in court if Whitaker does try to shut down or severely constrain the probe.

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(CNN) Democrats took back the House by a decisive margin, while the Republicans improved their standing in the Senate, in a midterm election that -- despite its significance -- exposed the limitations of CNN commentators weigh in on the outcome and what comes next. Their opinions are their own.

The Post' s View Opinion . Opinion Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events.

Though the White House claims Sessions resigned at Trump’s “request,” it seems obvious that Trump did fire him. The Post reports that Sessions thought staying would protect “the investigation’s integrity,” which would leave the country “better served,” as its findings will be “more credible to the American public.” So House Democrats can try to investigate the circumstances leading up to Sessions’s “resignation,” to determine whether Sessions did resist it and was fired.

“The rationale would be that they were investigating to determine whether Sessions was fired as part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice,” Josh Chafetz, a professor at Cornell Law School, told me. “This could entail requests for documents and witness testimony.”

Subpoena Sessions himself. House Democrats can try to question Sessions himself, both about the circumstances surrounding his firing and, more broadly, about private meetings in which Trump raged at Sessions for failing to protect him from the investigation. Sessions would likely assert executive privilege regarding his conversations with Trump.

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President Trump cast the midterm election as a “big victory” early Wednesday, choosing to relish Republican wins in the Senate and Florida’ s governor’ s race, even as he faces an emboldened Democratic majority in the House for the first time in his presidency.

President Donald Trump forced out his attorney general on Wednesday and threatened to fight back if Democrats use their new majority in the U. S . House of Representatives to launch investigations into his administration and finances.

But Democrats have recourse. They can “haul Sessions in and make him refuse to answer questions live, on TV,” Chafetz told me. “Then, after some arguing back and forth, if Democrats decide that the assertion of privilege is improper, they can hold him in contempt.” Whether that would do much is anybody’s guess, but at least the spectacle of Sessions refusing to say whether Trump forced him out and why would be dramatized for the country.

Subpoena Mueller’s findings. Under the regulations governing the special counsel, he is to provide a “confidential” report explaining his conclusions to the person overseeing the probe — who would have been Rosenstein but now will be Whitaker. It is Whitaker who is then supposed to provide a report to the bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees, which gives him a great deal of discretion to decide how much to put in that report.

Whitaker could theoretically report little to nothing, in effect covering up what Mueller learned. “Democrats could subpoena Mueller’s findings,” Chafetz tells me. “But expect the White House to put up a fight in response to the subpoena.” Other legal experts think that if the White House defied such a subpoena, the courts would rule against them, meaning Congress would get Mueller’s findings.

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The 2018 US midterm elections are shaping up to be not just a rematch of the 2016 presidential race but a rerun, as Democrats and the media seem We’re about to find out. Nebojsa Malic. The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not

The election results are in and Democrats gained control of the House during the midterms. It will place a check and balance on President Trump ' s power and could tie up his agenda for the next couple of years. USA TODAY.

As Chafetz has written elsewhere, one key thing Democrats must think hard about is how to use such proceedings to inform the public about what’s happening, both for political and substantive reasons.

Impeach the acting attorney general. This is a far-fetched scenario, but it’s not an impossibility. As it is, Whitaker has publicly opined that Mueller has gone too far in probing Trump’s finances and has openly suggested that one option is to de-fund the investigation. On these grounds, Democrats have called for his recusal.

Here an irony kicks in. A handful of House Republicans loyal to Trump tried to impeach Rosenstein earlier this year on grounds so specious that even many Republicans, including the leadership, rejected it. It’s hard to say what circumstances might justify such a move against Whitaker, if any, but if he shuts down the Mueller probe without good cause, that might be seen as extremely serious misconduct — far more serious than what Republicans alleged against Rosenstein.

Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western University, points out that there are other forms of misconduct Whitaker could commit. Whether or not his public opinions merit recusal, he should still solicit a Justice Department ethics opinion on whether he should oversee the probe. “Rosenstein did this, and some Republicans still called for his impeachment,” Adler notes. “If Whitaker fails to take the same prudent step, it would be inexcusable.”

It seems obvious that once Democrats take over the House, we are headed for a major escalation in hostilities. Trump is already testing to see what he can get away with, so it’s good that leading Democrats just responded with a letter calling on Republicans to hold emergency hearings on Trump’s move, arguing that the appointment of Whitaker is precipitating a “constitutional crisis.” Republicans will shrug, but this suggests Democrats recognize the gravity of the moment and are organizing to respond accordingly.

Expat Americans throw midterm viewing parties.
TORONTO - American expatriates and political junkies crowded a university library, pubs and other venues across Canada on Tuesday to watch the incoming results of the crucial U.S. midterm congressional elections, viewed by a deeply polarized electorate as a referendum on President Donald Trump. At a library in Toronto, a few dozen people chatted among themselves as they watched the results — a turnout which surprised Mark Feigenbaum, chairman of Republicans Overseas Canada. "I'm astounded at how much attention this has gotten," said Feigenbaum, who fretted there might be protests at the invitation-only event, which there weren't.

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