The NY Times has a story out today that isn’t “fresh” news so much as a spin on what was reported late Friday into Saturday.
On Friday afternoon Mick Mulvaney joined a lawsuit petitioning the federal district court to intervene in a conflict between subpoenas issued by the House and orders issued by the president. That is a classic clash between two branches of government with the law to be determined by the judiciary.
Fine, so far. That’s exactly what is needed in an environment where the president doesn’t want anyone testifying about anything except Hunter Biden’s ass in a witness chair because that is what the investigation is actually about. No one else really need testify. Pffft.
Meanwhile, Congress asserts its a valid and legal right to check the executive with oversight, and impeachment is the ultimate oversight, so of course they can subpoena a witness. A judge (or many judges, likely on appeal) will have to determine the legality of the clash, and whether U.S. v. Nixon applies in this situation. The Nixon case involved tapes, but those were also held under a claim of executive privilege.
We’re all on the same page I am sure.
But this morning the New York Times reports breathlessly that what is really happening is that Mulvaney is effectively “suing Trump.” Sort of.
To obtain such a ruling, the lawyers asked to join a lawsuit already filed by a former White House official — a lawsuit that names “the Honorable Donald J. Trump” as a defendant along with congressional leaders. The lawyers tried to finesse that by saying in the body of their motion that the defendants they really wanted to sue were the congressional leaders, but their own motion still listed Mr. Trump at the top as a defendant because that is the suit they sought to join.
This is all semantics and I really wish they wouldn’t have done it this way. Not only is it not helpful, but I have to admit it is somewhat misleading. Those who read me regularly know I love to rail against the typical left wail about the corporate press being against liberals. This summation clearly favors slanting the matter from the liberal side, and thus will be quickly forgotten, by the left that is.
Mulvaney is no more suing Trump than he is Congress. It is not even a “versus” in the normal sense. Mulvaney v. Trump is less a “versus” than it is petitioning the court to help him validate obeying his boss. Mulvaney’s attorneys aren’t going to sit back, put both orders in front of the judge and say “Pick.” They are going to argue that Congress has no power, and that the president is right to block their testimony. A “petition” is almost always simply asking the court to grant what the petitioner already wants to do.
You can just as easily flip the mirror and envision someone within the White House firmly believing that he is being unlawfully held-back from Congress, that he really wants to testify, and he is asking the court to help free him from that block. It would list the exact same defendants, and no one cares about who is the first defendant listed.
The NY Times states that Mulvaney’s move to join the petition is more significant than it really is:
That put Mr. Mulvaney at odds with some other current White House and administration officials who had simply defied the House, citing the president’s order not to cooperate with what he called an illegitimate “witch hunt.”
The NY Times says it’s indicative of a White House increasingly feeling strained by the heat applied by Democrats.
“It’s symptomatic of a White House that is more dysfunctional than ever — except now it’s not just chaos, the long knives are coming out,” said Chris Whipple, the author of “The Gatekeepers,” a history of White House chiefs of staff. “Everybody, including the White House chief, seems to be lawyering up.”
Alright, this is complete nonsense. What it means is that the formal impeachment hearings are now on, that the witnesses increasingly sense “this is real,” and rather than chaos, it is the fact that some of the WH officials want to straighten some things out.
The fact that Trump might prefer his staff to give the middle finger and duck for cover under the “witch hunt” defense is somewhat relevant generally, but not necessarily to the characterization. This petition is self-protection. It is not attributable to heat so much as process. None of it indicates any less loyalty to Trump.
In a sense.
The only unique aspect of this might be the fact that Trump doesn’t care much for laws generally and subpoenas from Congress in particular. One can envision an alternative universe where the president wants his staff to go to court and “prove” that the subpoena is unenforceable.
I don’t see how it can be interpreted any other way except for perhaps a headline grab. This is a simple example of why the left and the right argue that the media is for or against them. We have all seen the headlines in the NY Times that we on the left characterize as framed by the Right’s view. One cannot take any one story or one column and conclude “See!” Reputable papers like the NY Times or WaPo or the Wall Street Journal will all be a mix because they are run by humans attempting to find a middle. If you take one story to affirm your belief and kick out the other examples, you’ll arrive right at your confirmation bias, every single time. This also explains precisely why the Right often finds Fox News to be the only legitimate news source.
Confirmation bias. Headline grabs. Heated emotions. It all needs to be kept in check. I am nothing but some shit writer in the middle of Mississippi country side and I’m calling bullshit on the NY Times. So be it.
I can watch Fox News five minutes from now and call bull shit on whatever I happen to choose in the moment … lots of moments. Not all media is created equal, a point to also consider.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @MiciakZoom