Sohn: Trump and his 'best people' are the real 'Deep State'

Sohn: Trump and his 'best people' are the real 'Deep State'

March 24th, 2019 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks at the Lima Army Tank Plant last week in Lima, Ohio. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Photo by Evan Vucci

No, Mr. President, it's not just liberal judges who keep blocking your agenda.

And, no, it's not the so-called "Deep State" FBI that keeps hoaxing up Russian ties with everyone you know.

Nor will the end and final disclosure of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe stop your legal troubles.

Sorry, Mr. President, but the finger you want to point as you increasingly rant about your many problems needs to be twisted around squarely to your own face.

Let's get specific:

* Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration at least 63 times over the past two years, according to a recent Washington Post review. That's "an extraordinary record of legal defeat that has stymied large parts of the president's agenda on the environment, immigration and other matters," the Post noted, adding, "In case after case, judges have rebuked Trump officials for failing to follow the most basic rules" in laws that govern how to change policy, "including providing legitimate explanations supported by facts and, where required, public input."

Two-thirds of those cases — some settled and some still working through higher courts — accuse the Trump administration of violating the Administrative Procedure Act, a nearly 73-year-old law that forms the primary bulwark against arbitrary rule, according to The Post. The normal "win rate" for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, according to analysts and studies. But as of mid-January, a database maintained by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law found Trump's win rate at about 6 percent.

Trump also likes to say that the 9th Judicial Circuit is against him, but most of the rulings against his administration — 34 — were from other circuits all over the country, while 29 were from the 9th Circuit.

As for the "liberal" judges — 37 were appointed by a Democrat, and 17 were appointed by a Republican.

The cases themselves also were diverse: 17 were environmental, 13 were about immigration, eight were on health care, seven were about sanctuary cities, five were on the transgender military ban, four were about DACA, three centered on the U.S. Census citizenship question and six were labeled miscellaneous.

* What of the so-called "Deep State" and Russia connections?

Gosh, where to start — except to say that the Deep State couldn't have been imaginative enough to make up all the craziness of Russian election hacking, stealing emails, WikiLeaks' postings, Russian social media manipulation, the Trump Tower dirt-on-Hillary meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, Trump's part in concocting a false narrative about that meeting, repeated contacts (far more than just Michael Flynn's) with Russians about lifting sanctions, efforts to arrange "back channel" meetings with Russian and other foreign leaders, and a beautiful red-haired woman alleged to be a spy infiltrating the National Rifle Association in an organized effort to open up unofficial lines of communication between Russians and Americans in the NRA and the Republican Party.

All told, Trump and more than a dozen of his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks, or their intermediaries, during the campaign and transition, according to a review of indictments and public accounts made by The New York Times. Google The Times' fascinating and telling pictorial list headlined last week: "The Mueller Report Is Highly Anticipated. Here's What We Already Know."

* Yet Mueller's probe has been just one of many looking at Trump and everything he touches.

The Justice Department is making deep dives into the Trump Organization's role in hush money payments, as well as the Trump inaugural committee's finances. Congressional committees are probing everything from Trump's taxes to how Trump's son-in-law and daughter got security clearances. And, like Mueller, they're looking for potential obstruction of justice.

State investigators are looking into Trump's foundation, business financing and New York state taxes.

Meanwhile, several high-profile lawsuits against the president are threatening to bring out new damaging information. In particular, a defamation suit by a former "The Apprentice" contestant could result in Trump's deposition under oath about sexual assault accusations. Another, filed by the attorneys general for Maryland and Washington, D.C., questions whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause by profiting from foreign dignitaries courting his favor and at the same time giving his business (and specifically his Washington hotel) unfair advantage over other hotels or convention centers. A third lawsuit recently filed in New York comes from Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer. It's over money — $1.9 million. Cohen claims the Trump Organization breached a contract by halting payment of his legal fees last year. Just think what else might come out in that case.

Look in the mirror, Mr. President. This is your doing and that of your "best people." No one else.

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