Teri Kanefield Profile picture
Former appellate defender. UC Berkeley Law graduate. Book prizes include the Jane Addams Book Award. Find me at : @Teri_Kanefield@law-and-politics.online
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Oct 9, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
(Thread) Recap: Back to the 1920s

Let’s keep our current situation in perspective.

Two things are happening.

First, we're in the midsts of a slow-motion constitutional crisis prompted by Congress failing to act as a check on presidential power.
1/ As a result, we have a president with authoritarian impulses whose instincts are not being contained.

We also have a president who has lived a life of crime being shielded from criminal liability by Congress.
Oct 8, 2018 27 tweets 8 min read
(Thread) Can a sitting president be indicted?

Spoiler: Most likely yes—even with Kavanaugh’s vote.

But it’s not a game-changing issue.

(It's complicated—so a long thread)

Indictment means there's basis for a criminal charge;
Guilt is found at trial.
law.cornell.edu/wex/indictment 1/ The reason some of you are worried about whether a sitting president can be indicted is because you’re worried Trump will get away with his crimes, or be placed above the law.

The Constitution outlines a procedure for when a president is suspected of criminal behavior:
Oct 7, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
(Thread) Sunday recap.

Hi, everyone. I wrote 4 threads this week plus a Slate article.

INCUMI any, here they are:

#1: Trump and his lies:
#2: Why nobody is paying attention to the NYT Trump tax fraud story:
Oct 6, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read
(Thread) Trump and his lies

[First 8 tweets are some notes from the Snyder Speaks series/ YouTube]

Fascism always begins with clearing the horizon of factuality.

The fascist clears away facts & starts with myth—usually the nation’s mythic past and future destiny of greatness. 1/ Trump naturally and gracefully inhabits a world of fiction.

When Trump had to grapple with reality, he never actually succeeded. He was a business failure.

He has, however, been successful when pretending to be something he isn’t.
Oct 5, 2018 14 tweets 4 min read

Tony Schwartz wants to know why nobody is paying attention to the NYT Trump tax fraud story.

I can think of a few reasons🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

By now Trump’s critics know he was never a “successful businessman” and that he committed a boatload of crimes. 1/ What’s more important, the GOP doesn’t care.

[If any MAGA people pop in and say, “What crimes?” click here: russia-investigation-summary.com

The drafters of the Constitution considered the possibility that a president would be elected who was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Oct 4, 2018 6 tweets 3 min read
(short thread) I'll give you a quick list of my top four recommendations for understanding what is happening right now.
First on the list: The Road to Unfreedom (Timothy Snyder)
The next three, in no particular order: How Democracies Die, How Fascism Works, Can It Happen Here? 1/ My top four recommendations 👇

Snyder's book is complex. He has a series of lectures on YouTube. If you spend a day or two and listen to his lectures, then read the book, it's easier.
You'll then have almost a graduate education in how Trump happened.
Snyder is brilliant.
Oct 4, 2018 8 tweets 3 min read
(Thread) Why Kavanaugh?

I coauthored this article on the misunderstandings about Gamble v. US: slate.com/news-and-polit…

“OK, Teri,” people keep asking me. “If getting out of jail under Gamble isn’t the reason, why is Trump so desperate to put Kavanaugh on the Court?” 1/ It does seem insane to many people that Trump is digging in his heels despite credible allegations of sexual assault and perjury.

So people start looking for answers that make sense to them.
Oct 3, 2018 15 tweets 5 min read
(Thread) How we can get through this and save liberal democracy. 👇

Trump pummels our emotions. He keeps Democrats on a roller coaster of outrage and anxiety.

His followers swing from elation at his latest antics to fear and fury at Democrats. 1/ Like Putin, Trump governs by keeping everyone spinning.

(What do I mean? See 👇 )

Yesterday’s moment was when Trump mocked Dr. Ford at a rally for not remembering how she got to the party.

Democrats were outraged.
MAGA people were elated.
Oct 1, 2018 17 tweets 5 min read
(Thread) Trump v. the FBI

Trump has been attacking the FBI since he took office.


Trump’s goal—and one of his method for undermining the Mueller probe and putting himself above the law—is to create what Paxton calls a A Cult of Leadership. 1/ From Paxton: The followers believe the Leader’s instincts are superior to the rational logic used by “elites”

Leaders don't follow laws. They are the law & embody the mythic destiny of the nation.

The only truth is the word of the Leader.
Sep 30, 2018 9 tweets 4 min read
(thread) Sunday ICYMI recap.

Here are this week's threads, if you missed any:

#1: A history of rape and sexual assault laws puts the Kavanaugh hearing into perspective.

#2: Kavanaugh and fascism.

The principles of fascism explain [some of] why the Trump-GOP is insisting on Kavanaugh despite credible allegations of sexual assault:

Sep 28, 2018 15 tweets 6 min read
(Thread) Kavanaugh and the slide into fascism.

The older white men of the GOP view Kavanaugh (and themselves) as victims.

I’ll give some examples, then I’ll explain what this has to do with fascism.

“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life. . ."
1/ “[Dr. Ford’s testimony] is a disgraceful smear campaign. . .”

Don Jr. “It’s nice to see a conservative man fight for his honor and his family against a 35 year old claim with ZERO evidence . . .”

David French/National Review👇
Sep 27, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read
(Thread) Will Trump fire Rosenstein?

If Trump starts firing people to shut down the probe, it will be a disaster—for Trump.

Spoiler: I suspect his advisors have figured that out, and they're pursuing a smarter strategy.

Here’s what I mean: 2/ If Trump tries to shut down the probe & Dems win control of the House after the midterms, Congress simply appoints an independent prosecutor. [They'd probably appoint Mueller!]

That’s how we got Kenneth Starr.

Independent prosecutors have more power than special prosecutors.
Sep 26, 2018 22 tweets 7 min read
(Thread) Twitter Law 101

Some of you are worried there’s a case going to SCOTUS that may “get rid of double jeopardy” and “allow Trump to pardon state crimes.”

Or, as Pat puts it:

It seems the case you're all worrying about is Gamble v. US. 2/ And the article that seems to have you all worried is this one:


I'm going to explain why you can stop worrying.

Take out your notebooks. It’s time for Twitter Law 101.
Sep 25, 2018 15 tweets 4 min read
(Thread) The Cultural War

@stucam7771 asks why the GOP insists on Kavanaugh, despite credible allegations of sexual assault.

🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️I have an explanation for why Trump is digging in.

He WANTS this to be a cultural war.
2/ Think back. Past GOP nominees moved right during the primaries to appeal to the “base,” and then moved to the center.

Trump never moved to the center. After his “Mexico . . they’re rapists” speech—he shocked everyone (even more) by doubling down.
Sep 24, 2018 15 tweets 5 min read
(Thread) Rolling back the clock

Senator Graham: “I want to listen to her, but I’m being honest with you. . . what do you expect me to do?. . . ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation?”

A brief history of rape laws puts the current debacle in context.
1/ For much of world history, rape was a property crime.

An unmarried girl was her father’s property. A married woman was her husband’s property.

If a virgin was raped, the property damage was to her father.
If she was married, the damage was to her husband.
Sep 23, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Sunday ICYMI recap.

I wrote 5 threads this week (!!)

[Soon this will go back to about 3-4 per week]

Here they are, if you missed any:

#1: Trump and the Russia Mafia: What’s ‘Collusion’ got to do with it?
#2: What the heck happened to the GOP?

Sep 22, 2018 13 tweets 5 min read
(Thread) Modern American fascism

Yes, it can happen here.

It is happening.

The modern American fascist era opened with this speech: “Our country is in serious trouble. . . When Mexico sends it’s people . . . they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. . .”
washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/w… 2/ That speech (and others like it) ignited what Profs. Stenner and Haidt call an “authoritarian dynamic.” Info from their essay in 👇

An authoritarian dynamic occurs when a person with an authoritarian disposition is faced with a normative threat.
Sep 21, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read

Joe Walsh wants to know what happened to the GOP.

He doesn’t understand how the “Law and Order” GOP morphed into the attack-the-FBI & obstruct justice GOP.

🙋‍♀️I can explain. The problem is how he’s defining Law and Order. 1/ Remember Watergate? Iran-Contra? Nixon’s obstruction of justice? Scooter Libby’s perjury?

GOP leadership has a history of disregarding laws.

Conservatives also never liked the idea of regulating banks and industry.
They were never the party of Mortgage Broker Law and Order.
Sep 20, 2018 14 tweets 4 min read
(Thread) In the choice between Putin-style oligarchy and liberal democracy (⤵️) the Trump GOP has chosen Putin.

Now, why would they do that?

I’ll give you 6 reasons. Then I’ll offer a suggestion from a CSIS report about what we can do about it. 1/ Reason #1: Russian money. Lots of it.

Here are 3 examples (of many):

As per a senate report, Russia funneled money to the Trump campaign through the NRA: feinstein.senate.gov/public/_cache/…
Russian oligarch Vekselberg gave Michael Cohen $500K in 2016:
Sep 18, 2018 17 tweets 5 min read
(Thread) Trump and the Russia Mafia

What’s “collusion” got to do with it?

Spoiler: The word is entirely inadequate and misdirects the inquiry.

Fact: Trump was bought and paid for by the Russian mafia. 1/ Let’s begin with Semion Mogilevich.

Mogilevich got his start as a young man in the Soviet Union (SU) scamming his fellow countrymen who wanted to emigrate. He offered to sell their assets & send them the money, but instead, he pocketed their money. theguardian.com/world/2008/jan…
Sep 17, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
As @JahnOce pointed out, about 7 hours ago, I threw out a prediction that Trump would try to undermine the Manafort guilty plea with some kind of "Release the Memo" debacle.

Now we find out that Trump . . . . . . orders the immediately release of Comey's text messages and 20 pages of a surveillance application that targeted former campaign adviser Carter Page as an offensive against Mueller's investigation.

The author of the Politico piece says it's a surprise order.