Department of Justice attorney August Flentje got poor marks for his bumbling performance defending the Trump administration’s Muslim ban before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday. But Sean Hannity, ever adoring fan-boy of Donald Trump, decided it was really the Democrats’ fault that the Trump administration stumbled.
The reason Flentje seemed so ill-prepared was probably because he was assigned the job at the last minute. As Bloomberg reported, the lawyers were shuffled just hours before the hearing because the two top lawyers on the case had a conflict of interest.
Hannity was obviously displeased with Flentje’s work. As I previously reported, college-dropout Hannity has already rendered his legal opinion on the case and I doubt you’ll be surprised to know that he has ruled in Trump's favor.
Tuesday night, Hannity told guest Boris Epshteyn, a Russian-born “special assistant” to Trump, “I was a little shocked, Boris, to be honest. I felt that the government side, there were points that were left on the table that I would have made.”
HANNITY (to Sekulow): You filed an amicus curiae in this case, an amicus brief in this case. Are you as shocked as I am? I felt that you put in issues in your brief that the government and the Department of Justice representative that was arguing—they should have been using that they didn’t use! Did you see information and law left on the table here?
SEKULOW: I did. You know, look, I think this is a really clear-cut case. The lawyer for the Department of Justice was asked a question, Are you saying—this was from the judges—that the president has the authority to do this on his own initiative? Is this his authority exclusively?
And the answer to that question should have been immediately, Yes! That’s what the Constitution says. That’s what the statute says. But the Department of Justice lawyer hedged for a long time, and then they—as you just mentioned, they adopted this fallback position that, Well, if you think it’s over-broad—and I’ve done over-broad statute cases at the Supreme Court—you could strike down part of it but uphold part of it.
That is not the way you do this! The way you go into this case is the president had the authority to do this, period!
INGRAHAM: It was frustrating to watch. This is a frustrating argument for a lot of us to watch, I think, because this Justice Department lawyer is a career lawyer arguing this case on the telephone. This—clearly, the Trump team was not ready—and Jay, I bet you agree with me on this—was not ready to defend this executive action in court.
INGRAHAM: The petition should have been filed in every circuit court in the country within 10 minutes of this thing, frankly, being challenged. And we knew it was going to be challenged. They should have the petition already written for the Supreme Court because we know it’s going there.
HANNITY: I was listening to the special counsel of Department of Justice, and I’m thinking, Wait a minute. Where is the solicitor general? Or Donald Trump...
INGRAHAM: Not confirmed. Not appointed.
HANNITY: ... even bringing in—OK, or even bringing in temporarily outside counsel, strong, disciplined advocates instead of a career DOJ guy...
HANNITY: ... that I didn’t get the impression even did his due diligence in preparing for this case? Jay, I don’t fault the administration.
SEKULOW: You know, what Laura said is...
HANNITY: I fault the Department of Justice.
SEKULOW: ... absolutely correct. I mean, it was—it was painful to watch this. I mean, this was painful to listen to this argument. And it’s because the lawyers didn’t have their heart in it. And Laura’s also absolutely correct. This is going to the Supreme Court, so none of the questions asked by these judges, including the ridiculous question about motive—you know the answer to that should have been when they asked that question? So what? What does that have to do with it!
HANNITY: It’s irrelevant!
SEKULOW: This isn’t an evidentiary hearing.
HANNITY: Right. Exactly.
SEKULOW: I really do think the solicitor general’s office should have been in there. I know we don’t have a confirmed SG yet, but there are career SGs that are familiar with the appellate process … this was horrible argument.
HANNITY: But this is important because the Democrats’ purposeful delaying of the president even getting his attorney general in place or the solicitor general in this particular case hurt the president because now you have a career special counsel at the DOJ.
I guarantee you that Hannity will blame the Democrats for every single one of Trump’s errors and all of his incompetence right up until the day he leaves office and probably afterward.
Watch it below, from the February 7, 2017 Hannity.
Richard M Nixon.
What a wonderful example for the Idiot in Chief
We must also be clear that these decisions are not really being made by Donald Trump. He doesn’t know half of what he’s signing. The EO’s are being drafted by Pence and his team and then being presented to Trump to present as a triumphant success, regardless of what damage each EO does. Remember that the domestic and foreign policy of this White House is the responsibility of Mike Pence, meaning that we should expect more and more of these EO’s, and more and more proclamations of imaginary success and popularity. Even if Trump somehow resigned or disappeared today, these policies and EO’s would continue at the same pace in the same direction. We would just have Pence doing his work in the open rather than hidden behind Trump.
I think it’s healthier to think of this as the presidency Mike Pence was hoping to see from Ted Cruz. Hard Right choices, Far Right appointments and a smash-mouth, in-your-face approach to governance. If anyone in this country is really upset by all this, it’s Ted Cruz, who is now forced to cheerlead Trump from the sidelines while watching Pence steal all of Cruz’ pet ideas and present them as Trump’s.
Keep in mind that the fast pace of this White House is understandable as their reaction to how little time they have to ram all these ideas through before the 2018 midterms where they expect to face serious trouble in the Senate. And they’re rushing to try to erase the Obama presidency as fast as they can – but that’s more a matter of their personal hatred for Barack Obama and his voters than any real political need.
Regarding Neil Gorsuch, that’s unfortunately a done deal as well. My hope is that the Dems go ahead and filibuster him, and that they vote, as they’ve announced, to appropriately oppose him. Once it’s clear that McConnell can’t get 60 votes (he’ll likely only have 53 with Joe Manchin joining in), the Right will immediately “go nuclear” and dismantle the remaining 60 vote thresholds. The next day, we’ll see a new vote on Gorsuch, which will safely sit at 53 and Fox News will announce it as “bipartisan support” for the new Scalia on the high court.
BTW – I note that Jason Chaffetz has proudly announced that he’s pushing a bill to abolish the Department of Education that should move through the House this year. So they’re moving faster than I thought on some of these ideas. I have a feeling that Energy and the EPA won’t be far behind…
Of course, we all know the reason: Things are different when a GOPer is in the White House.
Maybe Laura can volunteer her services to the needy Trump administration. And Sean,… he could mow the lawn and do other landscape chores. Or they could do their jobs!!! Which is, to defend and explain Hair Twitler’s latest 5:00a.m. insanity.
If Sessions was in front of the appeals court (in place of the Solicitor General) he could make the slam dunk Trump argument the Muslims being banned pray funny and have slightly darker skin compared to the Archie Bunker Trump voters so should be banned from America. He could then wave the flag to end his oral argument.