Aug 02 2017

No Special Snowflake

I’ve often enough said that I don’t like The Donald at all and the sooner he winds up on the ash heap of History the happier I’ll be. I don’t even much care what the excuse is or how it’s done though I do think it a little hinky to diagnose mental illness from a distance for a 25th Amendment removal and I despair of ever getting enough Republicans for Impeachment let alone Conviction no matter how smoking the gun of Obstruction of Justice (proven beyond a reasonable doubt in my opinion).

Consider the consequences. Will things be better under Pence (likely equally complicit in High Crimes and Misdemeanors) or Ryan the Zombie-eyed Granny Starver or will they simply be more effective at advancing the Republican Agenda?

My contrarian position, to the extent that it is contrarian, is that the entire Republican Party is nothing more than a corrupt, criminal enterprise and they should all be prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin Allegedly Lied Under Oath. Will the Justice Department Investigate?
by David Dayen, The Intercept

A watchdog organization has asked the Justice Department to investigate Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for allegedly making repeated false statements to Congress about the conduct of OneWest Bank, where he served as CEO and later chairman between 2009 and 2015.

In the letter, the Campaign for Accountability writes, “Even today, Americans have a right to expect that those who seek and hold top government positions will not lie to their elected representatives and that if they do, the consequences will be swift and severe.”

On three separate occasions, both in written testimony and in live hearings, Mnuchin has denied that OneWest engaged in robo-signing of foreclosure documents, when copious evidence exists to the contrary. Most recently, Mnuchin appears to have lied about robo-signing while under oath last week in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., confronted Mnuchin with the 2009 deposition of Erica Johnson-Seck, a OneWest vice president who admitted that her team of eight employees robo-signed 6,000 affidavits a week attesting to verifying mortgage files while spending “not more than 30 seconds” reviewing the underlying material. Mnuchin replied defiantly, “I don’t think you know what robo-signing is,” insisting there is no legal definition, and denied that there was any robo-signing at OneWest, “for the record.”

Previously, in written answers for the record to Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., in January, in conjunction with his confirmation hearings, Mnuchin stated “OneWest did not ‘robo-sign’ documents,” and then when given a chance to clean up his answer, he maintained his denial. In fact, despite his claim last week that “robosigning is not a legal term,” Mnuchin provided such a definition to Casey, saying it referred to “(a) a signer of a foreclosure affidavit attested to facts that were not verified to be accurate; or (b) a signer of a foreclosure affidavit represented himself or herself to be someone else.”

Johnson-Seck admitted to both things. She attested to facts in foreclosure cases without verifying them in any way; in response to the question “Is it true that you don’t read each document before signing it,” she replied “That’s true.” She also represented herself as having the authority to sign documents for at least seven different financial institutions. In fact, the late Brooklyn judge Arthur Schack once threw out a OneWest foreclosure because Johnson-Seck had both assigned a mortgage to Deutsche Bank and executed an affidavit on behalf of Deutsche Bank, appearing as multiple officers in the same case.

None of this is surprising because it was the standard practice of every bank engaged in foreclosure operations at that time. For some reason, the campaign claims, Mnuchin doesn’t want to admit to a practice that most banks have acknowledged and paid billions of dollars in fines for.

“Sec. Mnuchin’s dissembling was shameful enough when he served as a CEO,” the Campaign for Accountability writes, “but once he began repeating this obvious untruth to Congress, Sec. Mnuchin crossed the line into potentially criminal conduct.” Indeed, it is a federal crime to commit perjury or make a “false or misleading statement” to Congress.

The Justice Department is, of course, highly unlikely to investigate Mnuchin’s statements. This is especially the case given the questionable assertions made to Congress by its leader, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, that he had not met with any representatives of Russia during the Trump campaign.

So pace yourselves and save a little hate for the rest of them will you? Trump is no “special snowflake” though he likes to imagine he is.

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