SCOTUS Nomination: Amy Coney Barrett’s 2nd Day Before Senate Judiciary Committee

That’s a pretty dull head, isn’t it, for what’s at stake, for the price Americans have paid for the GOP’s SCOTUS nominee?

Chris Hayes said it best:

The GOP Senate chose roll over and kiss Trump’s cyanotic slack ass instead of fighting the White House to protect Americans so that it would get the SCOTUS candidate it wanted should a seat open. Now through the GOP’s illegitimate processes they’re going to try to steal another SCOTUS seat for Amy Coney Barrett, who is far more openly bigoted than the other conservative justices.

When Sam Alito was nominated he was quizzed firmly about his association with Concerned Alumni of Princeton, during which he disavowed the conservative group’s racist and sexist perspective. He managed to skate by without the extent of his biases being fully revealed during his nomination hearings.

Coney Barrett, however, not only has a much more open history of bigotry, but she’s tried to hide it. She didn’t disclose that as a professor at Notre Dame University she gave both a lecture and a seminar in 2013 on Roe v. Wade to anti-abortion student groups.

It hasn’t helped matters that Notre Dame has eliminated any video or other digital documentation of her lecture and seminar. It doesn’t appear Coney Barrett has made any effort to recover this material, either, to bolster her own case.

She also failed to disclose her support for a 2006 newspaper ad which called for Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Her name appeared as a co-signer on a two-page anti-abortion ad, which should have been included in the disclosure forms submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee with her nomination to SCOTUS.

She may also have been hiding the fact she failed to make this same disclosure in 2017 when she was nominated as a federal judge.

Coney Barrett has also been a paid speaker five times for an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Alliance Defending Freedom seeks the recriminalization of consensual sex between same-sex partners; ADF also wants to deny transgender persons the same civil rights cis-gender persons possess.

Amy Coney Barrett is a bigot, and openly so.

Her experience as a federal employee doesn’t give us a different impression; her effort to obscure her past is ineffectual as well as deceitful.

I won’t even get into her sketchiness about privacy rights here. That she refused in 2017 to take a firm position acknowledging them suggests she has no problem with the government getting into your bedroom and anything else you consider sacrosanct.

Nor will I go very far into her absurdist believe in originalism.

Is she okay with slavery? The denial of the right to vote to women and Blacks? Does she even believe she has the right to be employed by the federal government because she’s a woman and a mother?

Her personal relationship with religious organization People of Praise and its gendered roles suggests she doesn’t subscribe to equal rights for women after all. Senators may not be able to ask her about her religious beliefs even if she openly embraces prayer as part of her professional life, but her actions and commitments answer the questions they can’t ask.

Coney Barrett is a far-right conservative who doesn’t believe all Americans have equal rights under the law, evidence of which her experience and life choices provide.

She also doesn’t believe the American public is entitled to openness and transparency because she’s withheld information not once but twice.

It’s not reasonable to expect the public to trust Coney Barrett to recuse herself from any case before SCOTUS related to Trump, especially the election and his finances because of her obvious political leanings and her lack of trustworthiness.

~ ~ ~

The Democratic congressional caucus should have done a better job of fighting this nomination before it even reached a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Adam Jentleson wrote them a roadmap published in The New York Times and it’s as if they never saw it.

I don’t know why the Democratic caucus didn’t pursue the impeachment, conviction, and removal of AG Bill Barr immediately as it would have precedent over the nomination hearings.

In July, Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee that he didn’t know about threats to Michigan’s governor; he didn’t know much about the armed protests in state capitols on April 30. He either lied about this or he failed to do his job, as the arrests of 13 domestic terrorists — two of whom participated in the April 30 armed protest in Lansing, Michigan — demonstrated there were credible threats meriting federal charges. Apart from slowing down the Senate, there’s ample reason to do this right now before another threat becomes more than chatter and field training.

Whatever wrench is available, Democrats need to throw it in the works to slow down or halt Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. She isn’t worthy of the empty seat on the Supreme Court.

96 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    Check the byline — don’t blame Marcy or bmaz for this post.

    I find Coney Barrett more creepy than any of the conservative SCOTUS nominees in my lifetime. A ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ candidate.

    • General Sternwood says:

      “Creepier than Bork” is not a description to be bestowed lightly, but in this case it is deserved.

      • tinao says:

        Despite who she is Rayne, I think the central question is can she be trusted not to keep their cheating ways up to maintain minority rule. And on that score her constant deflection matters. No, I do not trust her.

    • Chris.EL says:

      Have not seen video of judge barrett, only heard her answer question on KCBS radio. I know it’s neither here, nor there, but there is something about her tone when answering that BINGS my “doesn’t sound genuine” or “doesn’t sound honest” truth laser…

      Maybe it’s too goody two shoes, or something.

      Barrett claims she doesn’t know what Trump thinks about climate change!!!!!

      Is it useful to document the answers and impeach her when she does something that reveals she was actually lying?


      If anyone needs a happy moment, check this out:

  2. Nehoa says:

    I think that the Dems concluded that were no effective wrenches, and decided to concentrate on messaging about the threat to the ACA. That may be the wisest thing to do.
    If was advising the Dem caucus, I would recommend establishing key points under oath that can be used against her later.

    • Rayne says:

      They have difficulty multi-tasking so they went for the one approach which would benefit both their current campaigns and make things difficult for GOP senate campaigns. Some day we’ll get enough Democrats who can chew gum and walk.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Idk about this strategy. It is unlikely the SC will overturn the ACA on the current farcical challenge, and Roberts is a master manipulator of the docket for political purposes. They may take another chunk out of it, but much of it will stand. Just in time for their surrogates to point to the case and say, “See? You don’t need to pack the court”. Inevitably this talking point will be picked up by much of the MSM.

      The timing of that decision will throw up a smokescreen if the Dems pick up both chambers and Biden wins, and they do the right thing and start reforming the courts.

      Then a year later, closer to the midterms, the roberts court will further weaken the voting rights act, along with a bunch of other reactionary wet dreams.

      Dems need to be making the case that propping up counter majority rule via SC hardball is not something they will idly allow to happen.

      KH did a pretty good job & Klobuchar did well, Whitehouse had a nice interlude.

      But I think focusing on the ACA so heavily is a mistake.

      • Nehoa says:

        Another thing to keep in mind is that while the ACA hearing will be in November, the actual decision is likely to take months to resolve. If the Dems retake the Senate (and neutralize the filibuster), then they can pass legislation before the decision to make the case moot.
        Re: walk and chew gum…don’t get your hopes up.

  3. Epicurus says:

    Judge Barrett seems no creepier than Thomas, Kavanaugh, or Bork, Thomas in particular. She seems to me the female version of Pence, reeking of certitude and piety but disingenuous at every turn. I disagree with the tactics of not asking about her religious beliefs. No one knows whether she puts state or church first in Constitutional matters where both are in conflict. How can she make an unbiased decision when her core raison d’etre may be at stake? Because she says so? If she votes in favor of a church supported matter how will anyone ever know if it was truly not religiously inspired? Because she says so? Please. There should be a religious test. Are there instances where you would place your religion’s tenets first in deciding a Constitutional matter and, if so, would you recuse yourself?

    • PieIsDamnGood says:

      “Senators may not be able to ask her about her religious beliefs even if she openly embraces prayer as part of her professional life…”

      This is so infuriating. Someone with an invisible friend, that TALKS BACK, deserves to be questioned about it. But when millions of people share the same delusion we just have to accept it as normal.

      • Rayne says:

        Do you like the First Amendment? Because we’re simply recognizing this is a First Amendment issue. It’s foundational to this country.

        The bigger problem I see is that we’re asked to believe she has no opinion on Roe v. Wade when her private and professional life scream her anti-abortion position and she’s hidden part of it twice during nomination pre-clearance.

        • P J Evans says:

          Her views are definitely in need of being closely questioned. Her religious views *may* come into it, if she insists on using phrases like “sexual preference” and treating ova as full human beings while women and minorities of all kinds are second-class citizens at best. (Her views are objectionable to most people.)

        • Lulymay says:

          Canadian here, but watching these proceedings with great interest. My take, for what its worth, is that she lives in a bubble of her own creation, particularly re her interpretation as to what it means to be a “good” Christian, and that its not only Roe v Wade that rankles her lily white arse, it is any aspect of same sex relationships. I don’t think it will even take one ‘new york minute’ to deep six both of these subjects as well as the ACA which the Repugs still insist on calling Obama Care as if it was the worst swear word in the world! Good luck to all you normal folks south of our border, many of whom we developed wonderful friendships with over the many winters we enjoyed in your southern climes.

    • Rayne says:

      Thomas, Kavanaugh, Bork didn’t openly participate in hate group-sponsored events. She may seem like a female version of Pence to you but he’s not qualified for a seat on SCOTUS having only a couple years in a private law practice (nb: he’s responsible for an HIV outbreak in his state because of his own disgusting and ignorant religious beliefs shaping his policies).

      As for a religious test: no. Hello, First Amendment. Been down this route with John F. Kennedy already, for crying out loud. Only need to look at her behavior to see what she believes and what she’ll do as a justice.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Two weeks ago from Yahoo news:

        Margaret Atwood was interviewed about her writing and ACB came up, and she said that for “A Handmaid’s Tale” she had done rather extensive research.

        “Speaking to fellow author Kate Schatz as part of a program with The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz, Atwood denied that the People of Praise inspired her book.

        “It wasn’t them. It was a different one but the same idea,” she said.

        When Politico published its own deep-dive into Barrett’s religious background on Thursday, however, Atwood seemingly backtracked, saying she was not sure if People of Praise had inspired her work, and saying she could not say anything definitive without consulting her records — which are currently locked away in a University of Toronto archive that is closed because of the pandemic. “Unless I can go back into the clippings file, I hesitate to say anything specific,” Atwood told Politico in a statement.

        “Until recently, female advisers in People of Praise were called “handmaidens,” a title they retired after Atwood’s novel was popularized by [the] Hulu television series.”

        It takes a singular sort of devotion to a belief to follow the precepts of an organization so out of step with current society. To me the inability to preserve the constitution with one foot in the 18th century and one foot in the 21st century belies a dogmatic, singular dimension mind. I would like to see someone press her on the illegality of members of the public owning AK 47s since they are not mentioned in the Constitution. I have no problem with all of the 2nd amendment fanatics owning muzzle loading muskets.

        The Constitution cannot be sclerotic, it must be a living embodiment of the values of the country.

        As Emerson said:”
        “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — ‘Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.’ — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

        • P J Evans says:

          The had the sense to write a way to add amendments to the Constitution: that to me indicates that it’s not the rigid framework that the Federalist Society seems to want. Certainly the fact that amendments were added almost before the ink was dry on the signatures should mean *something* to the RWNJs selecting judges.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          PJ, I’m confident that there are layers of cognitive research not surfacing in this whole conversation. They lurk like an iceberg under this unfolding disaster.

          We are seeing an epic tragedy unfold.
          I wish that ACB had become an engineer — she could be brilliant at reading blueprints and diagrams and technical documents.

          She is an ideal tool of anyone wanting to loot the people of America and create legalistic, tightly scoped structures for serfdom.

          I am aghast at the sections of hearings that I’ve seen.
          I did not expect to be this alarmed or horrified.

          I’m weirdly amused and repulsed by the cynicism and amoral cruelty of whoever nominated an attractive blonde mother of umpteen as if to say, “See, if you criticize her, you are criticizing motherhood and Americana.” I still can’t decide whether she is clueless or complicit. I’m not sure which is worse.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        If a public office holder swearing an oath of office with her hand on a Bible and the vow “so help me God” as the last words of that oath does not constitute not a religious test for public office (which I don’t think it does, for the record), then in what way would questioning a nominee for public office about her religious beliefs constitute a religious test for public office?

        Couldn’t a U.S. Senator exercise her First Amendment right to free speech by saying something to Judge Coney Barrett like, “I’m not going to vote to confirm your appointment to The Supreme Court because of your religious beliefs,” without running afoul of the no-religious-test-for-public-office clause?

        (I am still not disagreeing with you . . . that I know of . . .)

      • Epicurus says:

        I understood the First Amendment religious test clause as the following: “But in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), the Supreme Court unanimously held that religious tests for state office-holding violate the religion clauses of the First Amendment. “[N]either a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion, “the Court declared. “[N]either can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.” I am not asking Judge Barrett to lose her religion nor am I asking about aid or non-aid. I am simply using her originalism and textualism framework. Why can’t I ask her if a Supreme Court case arises where she believes her religion’s dictates must be placed first as a personal salvation matter why wouldn’t she recuse herself because she is obviously biased (compelled is the better word) in one direction, acting on that basis would be in violation of at least one of the oaths she would take as a Justice, and in doing so prevents the full search for and application of justice?

        • bmaz says:

          That is a great question. The answer is probably known I guess, but that Barrett and her Senate support crew continue to ignore it, is pretty telling.

        • Rayne says:

          As soon as you insist a religious test is acceptable for a SCOTUS justice, you also make it acceptable in all other employment.

          Why can’t I ask [employment applicant] if a [prospective job task] arises where [applicant] believes [their] religion’s dictates must be placed first as a personal salvation matter…

          Nope. Nope. Nope.

        • Epicurus says:

          It is not a religious test. It is a Declaration of Independence and a Constitutional test. Will you be true to the oath of office that you take? Yup, yup, yup.

          For what it is worth Barrett already answered the question affirmatively in the Marquette Law Journal along with John Garvey, Pres of Catholic University below. But Garvey and Barrett turn their recusal stance on its head in her other comments. “At a 2006 graduation ceremony at Notre Dame Law School, she told her students that, “if you can keep in mind that your fundamental purpose in life is not to be a lawyer, but to know, love, and serve God, you truly will be a different kind of lawyer.” And a different kind of Supreme Court judge.

        • P J Evans says:

          If someone is barred from office because they’re atheist, that’s a religious test. One reason the Constitution allows affirmation for oaths of office is because a lot of people were Quakers and wouldn’t swear oaths – that was eliminating a religious test. AFAIK no requirement that they put their hand on *any* book exists – because, again, religious test.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      ACB is much creepier than Pence: she is much younger, infintely smarter, and more energetic. She is much more likely to ignore precedent than her reactionary colleagues on the Court, but unlikely to lose their votes because of it. She is the antithesis of RBG and proud of it.

  4. harpie says:

    I think Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI] used his time wisely. [I haven’t yet found one complete video of his commentary]
    1:11 PM · Oct 13, 2020

    Whitehouse: “This, more and more, looks like it’s not three schemes — but it’s one scheme. With the same funders selecting judges, funding campaigns for the judges, & then showing up in court in these orchestrated amicus flotillas to tell the judges what to do.” [VIDEO]
    1:15 PM · Oct 13, 2020

    Whitehouse: “The Republican party platform tells us to look at how they want judges to rule to reverse Roe, to reverse Obamacare cases, and to reverse Obergefell and take away gay marriage. That is their stated objective and plan. Why not take them at their word?” [VIDEO]

    • harpie says:
      1:18 PM · Oct 13, 2020

      Whitehouse: “Something is not right around the Court. And dark money has a lot to do with it. Special interests have a lot to do with it.” [VIDEO]

      Here’s WaPo
      1:35 p.m. Sen. Whitehouse decries ‘dark money’ scheme to install conservative justices like Barrett
      Ann Marimow

      Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) compared Barrett’s confirmation hearings to a “puppet show” with anonymous big donors pulling the strings — controlling the selection process, funding campaign ads for nominees and then paying for legal briefs filed on behalf of conservative causes. […]

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The dark money never seems to go away. One of our colleagues here keeps asking who paid almost two million on behalf of Brett Kavanaugh shortly before he was elevated to the Supremes. The big ticket items were about $100k in country club fees, outstanding credit card balances of almost a quarter million (who does that?), and an outstanding mortgage for well over a million.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Can I just reiterate: who has credit card debt of almost $250,000?!
          And if that was Kavanaugh’s credit card debt, as far as I’m aware, he could not have obtained a security clearance.
          Which, come to think of it, probably made him the *perfect* SCOTUS candidate for … whom?

        • Chris.EL says:

          Don’t know if this relates to “dark money” — it’s a site called Forensic News (.net).

          Here’s part of this story (a little old dated January 21, 2020:

          …”Forensic News logo

          Russian Government Bank Deposited $500 Million into Deutsche Bank Subsidiary as it Lent to Trump
          January 21, 2020 9:52 am
          ByScott Stedman, Robert J. DeNault, Adrienne Cobb and Jess Coleman
          A Russian government-controlled bank deposited at least half a billion dollars into the American subsidiary of Deutsche Bank around the time that the bank lent Trump his most scrutinized loans, according to exclusively obtained confidential bank records. As Trump received loans from the subsidiary, DBTCA, totaling over $360 million, Gazprombank sent $511 million in cash to DBTCA to be dispersed however the Russian bank directed.

          Additionally, DBTCA had deep liabilities to the Russian government in 2013, according to the documents acquired by Forensic News. The documents show that financial entities in Russia were owed nearly $3 billion by the subsidiary in October 2013.

          A confidential report from Deutsche Bank Trust Company (DBTC), DBTCA’s holding company, shows that in October 2013, DBTCA owed Russian government-controlled Gazprombank over €373 million, or approximately $511 million. It was DBTCA’s biggest single liability to a foreign government-controlled entity. An additional liability of €2.8 million to a Gazprombank subsidiary in Switzerland brought DBTCA’s total liability to Gazprombank to more than $515 million.

          In a statement, Deutsche Bank said that DBTCA’s relationship with Gazprombank was one in which the Russian state bank moved significant amounts of money into DBTCA as part of a “cash management” arrangement: “At no point has DBTCA ever received loans or a capital injection from Gazprombank or any other Russian bank,” a spokesman for Deutsche Bank said.

          The cash management relationship allowed Russian government rubles to be converted to U.S. dollars and deposited in their DBTCA account. Gazprombank then directed DBTCA to distribute the cash to certain entities, individuals or vendors in jurisdictions that use the U.S. dollar as currency.

          “A standard part of commercial banking needed by clients that operate internationally is the management of their cash in different currencies. Such cash balances show as liabilities on balance sheet, as that attributes the ownership of that cash to the client. Such liabilities are cash deposits, not loans,” a spokesman for the bank stressed. Deutsche Bank declined to name the entities to which Gazprombank distributed the dollars or for what purposes the Russian government wanted to convert approximately 16 billion rubles to dollars.

          The revelation that the Russian government was converting billions of rubles to dollars via the same Deutsche Bank subsidiary that lent to Donald Trump adds further intrigue to President Trump’s finances and possible counterintelligence concerns.

          The new documents show that while DBTCA incurred liabilities of more than $13 billion to other entities, a lion’s share–approximately 26% of that total–was owed to entities based in Russia specifically. The sizable amount of money owed to Russia raises questions about why the American bank was so deeply intertwined with Russian cash.

          Deutsche Bank faced prior scrutiny for a $1 billion loan (later restructured to $790 million) to VTB Bank, a bank also majority-owned by the Russian government. That loan was first issued in 2007, and the Wall Street Journal later reported Deutsche Bank executives raced to shed the remaining balance on it shortly after Trump’s election. At the time there was still about $600 million left for VTB to pay off, but the Journal reported Deutsche Bank took a loss in order to reduce its Russian exposure.

          Last month, a whistleblower named Val Broeksmit revealed to Forensic News he told the FBI that VTB underwrote the Trump loans, essentially guaranteeing a valve of money to Trump which DBTCA provided. Documents suggesting that Russian banks may have pumped $3 billion into DBTCA, which in turn handed $1 billion back to Russian bank VTB, support Broeksmit’s assertion that DBTCA was using Russian cash to finance some of its American operations.

          Broeksmit shared an extensively detailed and confidential Deutsche Bank spreadsheet, characterized as a “breach report,” with Forensic News. These kinds of reports are triggered by a bank when its liabilities are greater than its assets. Broeksmit found the breach report in a cache of documents belonging to his father, who was an executive at DBTCA and Deutsche Bank, after he committed suicide in early 2014. Examining his father’s emails and files soon after his passing, Broeksmit reviewed the breach report which covered all liabilities of DBTC, the holding company for DBTCA, according to bank documents.

          Email sent to Bill Broeksmit with the attached breach report.

          DBTCA loaned Donald Trump a significant portion of the $2.5 billion total lent to him by Deutsche Bank. The breach report provided by Broeksmit is a inside look into DBTCA’s complete financials around the time DBTCA issued several of its largest loans to Trump. In 2012, DBTCA approved a $125 million loan to purchase the Trump Doral Resort in Florida. Also in 2012, Trump took out an additional loan on his Chicago property, and in 2015, yet another DBTCA loan, this one worth $170 million, allowed Trump to purchase a 60-year lease to the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C.

          The subsidiary also had a relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the pedophile and sex trafficker who died under suspicious circumstances after his arrest in July, 2019. That relationship began in 2013, the same year Broeksmit was presented with the DBTCA breach report which documented massive liabilities to Russia.

          Gazprombank publicly admits that DBTCA is their correspondent bank in America, though the full nature of the relationship between the two banks remains murky. Based on the breach report and the correspondent banking network, it appears that DBTCA was the bank of choice for the Russian government bank for both cash management and correspondent banking.

          Banking experts suggested that Russia’s disproportionately large share of capital in DBTCA raised questions about why other banks were unwilling to manage their cash. Generally, financial experts indicated the relationship was an unusual one for the American subsidiary of a bank which demands more explanation from Deutsche Bank officials.

          As of publication, Gazprombank did not respond to requests for comment.

          The breach report was sent to Bill Broeksmit on October 18, 2013 from his colleague Joseph Rice, who was serving as Deutsche Bank’s Treasurer for the Americas Region. Rice warned Broeksmit that DBTCA had reached its MCO limit, an acronym representing the bank’s Maximum Cumulative Outflow, “again on Friday.” Rice added that this was a “continuation of the same cause that I reported to you over the weekend.”

          Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas breach report from 2013 showing large Russia debt
          Section of the Deutsche Bank Trust Company (DBTC) breach report showing a €373 million/$511 million liability to Gazprombank.

          DBTCA’s relationship with Gazprombank, wherein Gazprombank moved billions of rubles to DBTCA in order for them to exchange that to dollars, was by far its largest foreign liability to a state-owned bank; its next largest was to the National Bank of Egypt (€242 million/$331 million).

          Two Troubled Banks: Russia’s Cash Cow & Germany’s Biggest Lender
          The DBTCA breach report shows a disproportionate amount of liabilities owed to Russian financial entities. Breaking DBTCA’s liabilities down by country of origin, the documents indicate that DBTCA owed Russian entities more money than the next three countries combined.

          Most of the liabilities to Russia by the Deutsche Bank subsidiary were owed to private institutions, though at least $1 billion (at least 7.6% of DBTCA’s total liabilities) appeared to be to Russian-state controlled entities, with the majority of that to Gazprombank, VEB, and VTB. It’s unclear if other Russian banks were using DBTCA for cash management, or why they ended up on the liabilities sheet.

          Ilya Zaslavskiy, the Head of Research at the Free Russia Foundation, explained how Gazprombank has been used as a tool of the Kremlin, saying, “Gazprom and the government have control stake and have used this bank on multiple occasions for vested interests and special operations, like fake auctions of… assets or paying to Putin’s cronies for exaggerated contracts/deals.”

          Private banks, especially in authoritarian countries such as Russia, are often also tools of the state even if they aren’t directly owned by the government. In Russia, the Central Bank has frequently injected billions of dollars into private banks such as Promsvyazbank, to which DBTCA had a liability of approximately $230 million according to the breach report. The founders of Promsvyazbank have fled Russia and are currently being sought by Russian authorities for embezzlement.

          Forensic News doesn’t have paywalls and we are entirely funded by readers like you. Please consider becoming a patron today to support truly independent investigative journalism.

          Both Deutsche Bank and Gazprombank have faced a series of fines and regulatory actions after failing to stop Russian money laundering.

          In early 2017, Deutsche Bank was fined $630 million by the New York Fed for a Russian money laundering scheme that involved its Moscow, New York and London branches. An overview of the scheme, written by the Fed, including the following:

          “The ‘mirror trading’ scheme at issue here was simple and effective. Deutsche Bank Trust Company of the Americas (“DBTCA“)…was the entity through which the U.S. dollar payments flowed to the suspicious entities involved here. Operating through the securities desk at Deutsche Bank’s Moscow affiliate, certain companies that were clients of that desk routinely issued orders to purchase Russian blue chip stocks, always paying in rubles. The size of the typical order ranged in value from $2 to $3 million…Every single one of the U.S. dollar payments involved in the mirror trading and one-legged trading activity discussed above flowed through DBTCA….by virtue of this
          scheme, the counterparties were able to surreptitiously convert rubles into U.S. dollars using Deutsche Bank.”

          The mirror trading scheme occured from 2011-2015, though neither Gazprombank nor the Russian government are directly mentioned in the regulatory report. The Fed determined that, “the size of the typical order ranged in value from $2 to $3 million.”

          Two years later, an internal bank report surfaced alleging that Deutsche Bank had direct involvement in another Russian money laundering scheme where “Russian criminals with links to the Kremlin, the old KGB and its main successor, the FSB, used the scheme between 2010 and 2014 to move money into the western financial system.” A slew of other regulatory actions have been brought against Deutsche Bank for separate financial wrongdoing.

          Gazprombank has encountered its own share of money laundering problems. After the Panama Papers revealed that Gazprombank’s Switzerland division attempted to open a bank account in the name of Sergei Roldugin, a longtime friend of Vladimir Putin’s who allegedly holds wealth on behalf of the Russian President, a Swiss probe was launched. The 2018 conclusion of that probe, led by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), led to a court order which banned the Gazprombank subsidiary in Switzerland from accepting any new clients. The report concluded that, “Gazprombank Switzerland was in serious breach of its anti-money laundering due diligence requirements in the period from 2006 to 2016.”

          The American Side: DBTCA Connections to Trump & Kushner
          At the time of his inauguration, Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner and companies under their control owed Deutsche Bank a combined $659 million-$699 million according to a Forensic News analysis. The vast majority, if not all of this money was owed to DBTCA specifically:

          $364 million in loans to Donald Trump companies for properties in Chicago, Florida, and Washington, DC.
          $285 million loan to Kushner Companies.
          $5-25 million line of credit to Jared Kushner
          $5-25 million line of credit to Ivanka Trump.
          Trump and Kushner alone appear to comprise about 1.6%-1.7% of DBTCA’s entire portfolio, which has total assets of $40 billion. Kushner’s mother also has a line of credit with Deutsche Bank, worth up to $25 million.

          Two of the loans to Trump entities for the Doral resort in Florida mature in 2023, before a potential second-term would end. Trump still owes at least $55 million of those loans, with their due date approaching in 3 years. Those loans have come under previous media scrutiny, in large part due to their alleged management by Rosemary Vrablic, a private banker at DBTCA, and not Deutsche Bank’s commercial real estate division. Vrablic’s former boss at DBTCA, Tom Bowers, recently committed suicide in California.

          Deutsche Bank pushed back on connections between scrutinized DBTCA loans and separate cash management services like it provided for Gazprombank. Both areas of banking, however, occured under DBTCA.

          Testimony of bank officials like Vrablic might be essential to understanding how DBTCA justified lending to Trump, who had previously defaulted on multiple loans and declared corporate bankruptcy several times.

          The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in June on whether Trump can block Congress from receiving his Deutsche Bank records. Congress issued wide-ranging subpoenas for financial records relating to Trump entities and family members, as well as broader Deutsche Bank records regarding money laundering compliance. Those records may reveal where payments toward Trump’s loan balance originated, or whether any senior Deutsche Bank officials knew the loans were underwritten by Russian banks like VTB or Gazprombank.

          The FBI continues to investigate Deutsche Bank in a criminal money laundering probe.”


        • Nehoa says:

          If the EU leaders really wanted to be helpful, they would tear DB’s private banking records apart shred by shred and detail all of the former Soviet-republic activities they’ve handled, and whom for. Russia might cut off their natural gas though…

    • harpie says:

      Whitehouse , Sen. Warren and others released this report last week:
      1:52 PM · Oct 13, 2020

      Last week, I released a report with @SenWhitehouse and others on the orchestrated right-wing effort to capture our courts for billionaires and giant corporations. Take a look at #WhatsAtStake if Barrett tips the courts against workers and consumers.

      How the Right-Wing Capture of Our Courts Protects Corporate Power by Closing the Courthouse Door to Americans
      September 2020

      • BobCon says:

        Unchecked, they will be striking down the most uncontroversial laws. I have little doubt that they will kill a $15 minimum wage on the basis of some stupidity along the lines of interfering with employee rights to negotiate sub starvation level wages.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Lochner Era Redux. The Four Horsemen of the Supremes must be laughing in their saddles, along with Charles Koch.

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          “While we may find it aesthetically displeasing, the contract rights of these soot-covered sickly waifs shall not be abridged. We therefore find in favor of ‘Novelty Chimneysweeps for Sociopathic Billionaires LTD’, and remand to lower courts for further consideration.”

  5. P J Evans says:

    Maybe they should ask for her views on the 9th and 14th amendments. (She’s on record as saying she thinks the 14th is invalid/illegal/illegitimate – some word that means she’d prefer that it didn’t exist, even though her own rights as a person depend on it.)

  6. Bobby Gladd says:

    Scalian Textualism, a.k.a. Ouija Board Jurisprudence.

    You have to have seance communication surveys with dead Founders-era landed literate white males to determine WHICH words meant WHAT to a majority of them where relevant Framers and laymen historical documents are inadequate.

    Alao, Textualism fun fact—words and phrases found NOWHERE in the Constitution:

    – “Checks and Balances”
    – “Separation of Powers”
    – “Co-equal Branches”

    Any thoughts, Judge Barrett?

    • Nehoa says:

      ACB went to Notre Dame law school. Ranked #21 in the U.S. Not top tier, but pretty good. Top of her class. Became a law professor there not too long after.
      Why didn’t the Dems frame their questions as to what did you tell your students? Not hypothetical, but historical. Can be confirmed or refuted. Incompetent preparation.

  7. BobCon says:

    The endless media harping on Biden’s refusal to commit to enlarging the Supreme Court tells me that particular batch of pundits and reporters have sickeningly internalized right wing positions. Rules changes are for the GOP to wield and the Democrats to obey.

    The same press is going to wake up too late when Fed Soc federal judges decide not to intervene in nutjob state level defamation rulings against them. First lower courts in places like Florida and Texas will decline to step in, then Barrett, Kavanaugh, etc. will decide there is no 1A issue either.

    Only instead of the ludicrous $140 million payout that drove Gawker broke, we will see Devin Nunes win $1.4 billion from the NY Times and Ben Shapiro gets $2.4 billion from CNN.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Bob, I’ve not had time to research it much, but a quick check of the google made it appear that 9 justices were created around 1869.

      The last time Congress changed the number of Supreme Court justices was in 1869, again to meet a political end. Ulysses S. Grant was elected president in 1868 with the backing of the congressional Republicans who had hated Johnson. As a gift to Grant, Congress increased the number of justices from seven back to nine, and Grant gamely used those picks.

      Why is that significant?
      Well, I live in one of the US states that was not even in the US at the time that 9 judges were ordained on SCOTUS.
      – Colorado (1876)
      – North Dakota (1889)
      – South Dakota (1889)
      – Montana (1889)
      – Washington (1889)
      – Idaho (1890)
      – Wyoming (1890)
      – Utah (1896)
      – Oklahoma (1907)
      – New Mexico (1912)
      – Arizona (1912)
      – Alaska (1959)
      – Hawaii (1959)

      According to Wikipedia, in that year,
      — Jesse James made his first robbery,
      — the Heinz company was founded,
      — Rutgers defeated Princeton in the first intramural football game (woot, bmaz!)
      — Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the first woman to testify before Congress
      — Purdue Univ was founded
      — The “golden spike” is driven marking the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory, Utah

      So first, can I just say that this little exercise took me less than 20 minutes, and it pisses me off that any journalist or lobbyist gets a paycheck for passing along GOP talking points.

      They can probably also could figure out how to use The Google, rather than spout Federalist Society bullshit. (And no one even paid me to do it! Truly, wonders never cease…)

      Sucking up another 10 minutes of my day, because apparently journalists can’t use The Google, I discover:

      We discover that all states added after 1969, plus territories (Guam, Virgin Islands/TaxHavenLand, Puerto Rico, all were placed under ‘Courts of Appeals’ in 1891.

      Just to reiterate: 1891.
      Could a journalist read just a bit of history to get some context before they start whinging on about Biden?!!

      “Although the courts of appeals are frequently called “circuit courts”, they should not be confused with the former United States circuit courts, which were active from 1789 to 1911, during the time when long-distance transportation was much less available, and which were primarily first-level federal trial courts that moved periodically from place to place in “circuits” in order to serve the dispersed population in towns and the smaller cities that existed then. The current “courts of appeals” system was established in the Judiciary Act of 1891, also known as the Evarts Act.[4]

      It would be nice if some of the press whinging at Biden could take half an hour to *start* learning about the court system, and how it is completely out of date with the US if it has not been changed since 1891.
      To give a more informed comment would take more time than I have today, but this is a start in case some journalist happens by —

      As someone earlier noted, these journalists have so completely internalized the GOP/funder perspective that they are not even asking useful or intelligent questions. They need to up their game, because simply passing along GOP talking points is **beyond shameful** at this point.

      Okay, one more stat:

      The year after the SCOTUS was set at 9 justices, the total US population was approximately:

      Rayne, bmaz, this was time out of my day, but I am so horrified by ACB that my way of dealing with ‘rage’ was to try and get some context.
      How the press can spout Federalist Society rubbish when The Google is a keyboard away is simply stupefying. I’m livid, because there is far too much at stake for this stupidity to continue.

      Especially after Whitehouse’s explanation of yesterday.

    • Rayne says:

      The question is who is the judge — one of Trump’s flunkies? The DOJ has no business acting as the First Lady’s personal lawyer; only one of Trump’s flunkies would think otherwise.

      It’s an abuse of office yet again, on the part of both Barr and Trump.

      • BobCon says:

        Hopefully a new administration drops this, but every Republican is going to become Devin Nunes. Their judges are going to weaponize these cases.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bill Barr has that zeal and a willingness to do whatever it takes to win for his client, even if it’s illegal or an abuse of office. Melania has never been an employee of the federal government. She’s a family member of someone who is and has no independent right to have the DoJ represent her interest in a personal lawsuit.

      Barr is pinning his authority to act against Wolkoff on her supposedly having been a White House aide, apparently from January to August 2017. Hard to see how that works if she was also an independent contractor who billed the inauguration committee several million. In any case, by definition, her employment by the USG would not include any period before Trump’s inauguration.

      I assume there’s general language in the complaint tracking traditional breach of confidentiality toward an employer – the federal government. Barr is also pinning his hopes on the legality and enforceability of that unprecedented and highly controversial NDA that Trump makes everyone sign. Good luck with that, Bill.

      If Trump loses, Biden’s DoJ would almost certainly drop the suit. If not, Barr would pursue it until the court a) allows discovery, which would be a bitch, or b) has to decide on just those issues, in which case, he’ll drop it so as not to prejudice the hundreds of other NDAs Trump has forced everyone to sign. Be a shame if that was before Judge Sullivan.

        • P J Evans says:

          yes – the same one who spends her time with her parents and son, and has never explained how she got that “Einstein visa”.

      • vicks says:

        I forgot all about that episode until Barr brought it up again, with everything going on I would assume most folks that follow the show did as well. I would think shining a spotlight on it again could do more harm to Mrs. Donald’s reputation than good, and it makes me wonder if the Trump family is worried she has more recordings?
        If I recall, Ms. Wolkoff specifically stated she had been working with lawyers to be sure she was within her rights to speak publicly and was confident she was cleared.
        There was someone who spoke out against Trump that initially had a friend speak for her while she was getting her legal ducks in a row.
        Does anyone remember who that was? Was it Wolkoff?

      • Vicks says:

        “Trump Campaign Suggests Omarosa Manigault Newman Pay for $1 Million in Ad Spending
        The suggestion emerged in an arbitration case over the critical comments Ms. Manigault Newman, a former White House aide, made about President Trump in her 2018 book “Unhinged”
        Is this just another whine he will use against an possible election loss, or are they laying groundwork for more deep state bullshit?

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Shit like this and 15 hour voting lines in Georgia should be getting just as much attention as the ACA from dem leadership.

      • BobCon says:

        It’s multiple times the right wing justices have taken up challenges by Trump and simply overturned lower courts and ruled in Trump’s favor without any arguments and without any kind of explanation.

        If the norm scolds in the media were at all consistent, they would be leading their stories with this kind of right wing fake urgency as a rationale for expanding the court in order to restore it to a deliberative body. But the scolds have swallowed the GOP vision that the way the system has been skewed and the way it should work are the same thing, and it’s the Democrats’ responsibility to get out of the way.

        There’s nothing really stopping the court’s right wing from doing this kind of thing even more often and more blatantly in the future. Why should they bother hearing arguments or handing down justifications when it’s politically inexpedient? Just keep shaving down the rationale for what needs to be on the shadow docket until anything can go there.

        • P J Evans says:

          They’ve bought the lies about the country being center-right, even though all the evidence shows it’s left of center.

  8. vicks says:

    My stomach churned every time anyone brought up RBG.
    Coney-Barrett, if confirmed could easily erase two generations of hard won achievements for women’s rights.
    If her religion is so out of touch that it’s teachings conflict with fundamental rights that are spelled out in our constitution, NO senator should be cowed into to tippy-toeing around a very basic question because they may have to mention the word “religion”
    I would like Ms.Harris to ask the question.
    “Do you believe that men and women are created equal?”
    If Coney-Barett’s answer isn’t the single word “yes” I would like the follow up to be brutal.

  9. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    I happened to catch Mike Lee’s portion on local public radio and the announcers and analysts didn’t bring up the fact that he was infected with covid and not wearing a mask. Did any of the other outlets do a better job of covering the hearings with respect to the raging pandemic?

  10. harpie says:

    Amy Coney Barrett uses the offensive term ‘sexual preference’ to refer to LGBTQ people, who she falsely claims she’s never discriminated against

    […] LGBTQ-rights organizations and others quickly pointed out that the correct term is “sexual orientation” and that anti-LGBTQ activists used “preference” to suggest that gender identity and sexual orientation are choices.

    Barrett refused to say whether she agreed with the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutionally protected right.

    Later on Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono criticized Barrett’s use of the term “sexual preference” and the judge apologized, suggesting she didn’t realize it was offensive.

    Barrett also falsely claimed that she had “never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference.” She sat on the board [2017] of an Indiana private school that barred children of unmarried couples when same-sex marriage was illegal in the state, The New York Times reported. […]


    • harpie says:

      Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015),

      a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the
      1] Due Process Clause and the
      2] Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

      [Via Wendy Siegelman]
      10:55 PM · Oct 13, 2020

      I’m shaken to learn that Judge Barrett served on the Bd of Trustees of a group of private schools that barred children from attending their schools simply because their parents were unmarried. In the year 2017.
      Even beyond the disturbing anti-LGBTQ animus, children are children. To exclude any child from school because the child’s parents are not married is a cruel legacy of a bygone era.

      It is at war with basic concepts of justice and fairness that all judges must adhere to.

      I thought some principles were settled [MAYBE C-B DISAGREES?], like what the Supreme Court said in 1968:

      “We start from the premise” that children of unmarried persons “are humans, live, and have their being. They are clearly ‘persons’ within the meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.”

      “Why should [a] child be denied rights merely because of his birth out of wedlock? He certainly is subject to all the responsibilities of a citizen, including the payment of taxes and conscription under the Selective Service Act.”

      “How under our constitutional regime can he be denied correlative rights which other citizens enjoy?” – Levy v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 68 (1968)

    • harpie says:

      Here is a little more about the school C-B sat on the Board of. I’m again quoting John Garvey‘s WaPo recommendation of C-B’s nomination. [John Garvey is president of the Catholic University of America. He is a former dean of the Boston College Law School and a former president of the Association of American Law Schools.]

      I taught and worked with Amy Coney Barrett. Here’s what people get wrong about her faith.
      September 25, 2020

      […] People of Praise members participate in weekly prayer and community meetings and work for the poor in places such as Barrett’s native Louisiana. Decades ago, they started one of the best high schools in Indiana. (Full disclosure: Two of my grandsons are students there.) It has been a model of classical education for schools across the country, from Virginia to Montana. Barrett has served on the board. […]

  11. madwand says:

    Dems need to hammer health care and keep hammering it. A short story about my voting line in Ga. We had to wait outside until room became available to be inside in a line which in fact was longer than the one outside. Filled out the early voting form and showed my license, and was behind at least 40 people. It took twenty of those people until I got into the main room where the computers for identification and the computers for voting were. Most of the employees wore masks, there were stop lines, yet voters compressed. I was trying to keep my six ft, but the guy behind me was pressing me. He kept talking about how he was voting to protect the nation from defunding the police, “we got to have the police he said” So I told him how the county we were in had 400 cases of covid the first week of July and now we have almost 4000 and he told me, “don’t tell anyone” Smile. Next came the young lady who performed the identification and she immediately apologized for the delay, her computer had froze. I looked out to the voting computers and one or two of thirty or so were occupied, so the delay was at the identification point. Finally she says ok it’s unfrozed what’s your birthday which was on the early voting form so I repeated it. Finally got my card and went out and voted pretty quickly and went home. But I have to say people are voting from all stripes. I think that’s good.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      I voted in Texas on Tuesday, the first day of voting here. It took 1 hr 10 minutes from the time I joined the line until my ballot was submitted. Not bad, IMO

      The first day is the busiest day of early voting and this year was a bit busier than 2016 (we are starting a week earlier). As of October 13, between 6.7 and 8% of Texans in the 10 biggest counties had voted. There are a lot more registered voters this year and Biden has a shot at winning. Both he and Trump are running ads in Austin. Cornyn is well ahead of Hegar in the senate race, but the presidency COULD go to Biden. Keeping fingers crossed.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’m in L.A. I dropped my ballot in an official drop box Monday morning, and it was received and verified by Tuesday evening.
        (I’m sorry you’re stuck with Abbott and co.)

        • MB says:

          Hmmm…dropped my ballot off at an official dropbox (Westchester) yesterday afternoon, and as of right now, the Where’s My Ballot website indicates it still appears to be sitting in the dropbox, and not yet delivered to the P.O.

  12. David B Pittard says:

    Sen. Feinstein asked whether she agreed with Justice Scalia’s assertion that “the Constitution does not afford gay people the fundamental right to marry.” I does or does not to the same extent as is true of the right to divorce. a correlate to marriage rights in the manner in which it is addressed by the Federal constitution – the only real application of the Federal constitution directly touching on divorce is “The U.S. Supreme Court, in Williams v. North Carolina (1942), ruled that other states had to recognize these divorces, under the “full faith and credit” clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    Of course the camel’s nose is under the tent if any state recognizes same sex marriage (or for that matter, polygamous marriages or “one-man, one woman” marriages). [Polygamous marriages should perhaps be allowed as an alternative to the death penalty, however. Just kidding.]

    From the perspective of the Constitution, none of these are “afforded protection” nor denied protection. One can agree with J. Scalia’s narrow comment but it is uninformative. Bad question. Better would be one which touches on the imposition of religious doctrine by the State on individuals, which is the real basis for laws concerning both divorce and marriage. But from an originalist/textualist perspective, how people choose to associate with others is not the business of the federal government. Property rights, obligations and rights concerning children, etc., may be, and enforcement of contracts in regard to associations may be. But whether same sex marriage is a right afforded by the Constitution is wrong-headed; it is not denied by the Constitution.

    The application of “full faith and credit” and then the equality of citizens to law (a same-sex married couple moving to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage would have to recognize those permitted by the original state and then could not logically deny the same to their own citizens) inelucrtably snarls free association concepts with religious doctrine imposed by a state. There is only one way to solve this knotty problem: Cut through it like the Gordian knot by prohibiting the states from attempting to limit free association rights of individuals, the concept of marriage being left to the individuals. And the sword, for that purpose, is the Constitution, whether interpreted through an Originalist lens or not.

    • P J Evans says:

      How about the 9th amendment? “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
      And the 10th? “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

      • Epicurus says:

        Intent and truth, so very hard to find. Some people would visit the oracle at Delphi. Some would use eye of newt. The Wicked Witch of the west used long fingernails, flying monkeys, and blood of some kind. Some people read the entrails of dead birds, some a ouija board. The Houston Astros and Boston red Sox stole signals. Laurence Olivier used dental tools on Dustin Hoffman. Originalists/textualists commune with the dead in a sort of pope-like experience. Clarence Thomas has special access through his wife Ginni. It’s 2020 and still going strong!

      • P J Evans says:

        And write with a dip pen and a bottle of ink. (I won’t require a quill pen. But a Speedball C-6 is a workable substitute.)

  13. foggycoast says:

    IANAL and many of you folks are but i think the Dems are falling into the “i can’t comment” stonewalling. afaic this should be treated like a job interview. she won’t comment on legal issues so they should ask personal questions just like in a job interview. they don’t have to be about religion which is verboten but they could certainly ask her personal views on abortion, homosexuality, etc. she can’t fall back on the “cant comment” argument because she has repeatedly said she can put her personal beliefs aside in her role as judge. it’s not that different than going after Kavanaugh for boofing and raping.

    it’s ludicrous to suggest the personal experience and beliefs to not play a role in judging. otherwise we might as well just have robot judges.

  14. Eureka says:

    Of all there is to criticize — and there is plenty — I was most disturbed by C-B’s* “cocoon” comment about her daughter (perhaps also her son) being shielded from racism prior to the Floyd killing. That whole story was rife with tells about her blindness to a lot of life’s truths. Those of us who know better know better…

    *thank you _harpie_ for this abbreviation, in lieu of the RBG (moniker and esteem)-hijacking one.

    • P J Evans says:

      It also says a lot about how much control she has (or thinks she has) over what they see and hear. (Most kids don’t tell their parents everything after about the age of 11, and may actively hide things.)

  15. Jenny says:

    Interesting to witness the fawning over Barrett by the GOP, especially the men. They praised her motherhood but support taking children from their mothers at the border by the Trump administration.

    Jane Mayer wrote: Dark Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires Hidden Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, certainly ties into what Senator Whitehouse exposed during the hearings with his many boards.

    “My experience around politics,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, “is that when you find hypocrisy in the daylight, look for power in the shadows.”

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