Performative lawsuits

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Sean Hannity speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Let’s talk about Sean Hannity. Hannity hired Trump libel lawyer Charles Harder to send a threatening letter to the New York Times. Hannity is upset that some writers indicated he was responsible for the death of man who watched Fox News, didn’t think much of coronavirus risks, went on a cruise and later died of Covid-19. The New York Times sent a terse “no” in response, and Ken says that it meets Harder’s letter on the same battlefield: public relations. But it’s not going to be cheap for either side.

Then: the DC Circuit heard the McGahn subpoena case en banc this week and it didn’t go very well for the Department of Justice and the Trump administration’s position. A few judges were interested in some other options Congress could have taken to hold the Trump administration in contempt, including using the inherent contempt power, i.e. sending someone out to arrest McGahn and bring him in. Interesting. But most judges indicated that the court may overturn the initial decision and find that a court could enforce a Congressional subpoena in this case. On the other side of this, in the Supreme Court, President Trump wants the courts to intervene to protect him from a subpoena for his business and financial records. The Supreme Court was set to hear these cases very soon, but now it wants to hear arguments about whether it should even consider these decisions. What does that mean for the cases?

Plus: Flynn deletes an I-did-it-and-I’m-sorry tweet, states are suing China because of the coronavirus and it’s probably not going to work out (or worse, it could backfire), and Ken and Josh talk torts and liability for businesses amid the pandemic.



Sara Fay