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Last night, independent journalists Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor co-authored a post on Mensch’s Patribotics blog, a post which asserts that a sealed indictment has been issued against President Donald Trump for unspecified charges. Since their report, the Internet has been buzzing with speculation, arguments, and requests for verification. While no doubt the idea of a Trump indictment for an alleged role in Russian election interference or other crimes has many salivating, it’s important to take a closer look at this story and break down the basic facts and background behind it.

The claim

The very brief article, as published by Mensch and Taylor a little after 10:00 PM EST on May 13th, 2017, reads as follows:

“Separate sources with links to the intelligence and justice communities have stated that a sealed indictment has been granted against Donald Trump.

While it is understood that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution means that, until Mr. Trump is impeached, he cannot be prosecuted, sources say that the indictment is intended by the FBI and prosecutors in the Justice Department to form the basis of Mr. Trump’s impeachment. The indictment is, perhaps uniquely, not intended or expected to be used for prosecution, sources say, because of the constitutional position of the President.”

Soon after their post, the claims began to re-circulate online, especially after being reported on by Inquisitr, Raw Story, and Daily Kos. The Inquisitr article was shared to the /r/politics section of Reddit, where it immediately streaked to the frontpage with thousands of upvotes, before it was deleted by /r/politics mods for being rehosted content.

FISA Court?

Beyond the bombshell-like nature of such a claim, many skeptics have latched on to two facets of the Taylor/Mensch story to criticize: the nature of what the Supremacy Clause actually does, and Taylor’s further claim in a tweet from last night that the indictment was issued by a FISA court.

Taylor would later issue a tweet thread retracting that statement, explaining that he had been mistaken over the details of which court issued the indictment.

He followed that apology up with a more detailed claim that indictments were prepared against “Trump, Manafort and Flynn—among others” by US Attorney Dana Boente out of the Eastern District of Virginia, a court frequently referred to as the “rocket docket” because of the speed with which cases typically move through its system.

Many skeptics have been crying foul because of the FISA court issue, but it should be noted that Mensch and Taylor’s original report does not mention FISA court, or any issuing court at all.

According to the metadata in the original article, it was posted just after 2:00am GMT on May 14th (or 10:00pm EST May 13th), and was edited at 2:41am GMT, as seen in the screenshot below. Did Mensch stealth-edit the post to remove an erroneous mention of FISA court?

Mensch Metadata
This screenshot from 2:10am GMT shows the original article, which does not include any mention of FISA court. This screenshot from 2:57am (after the metadata indicates an edit was made) shows the exact same article text, but with a “read more” section with links added to the bottom of the post, and the author names linked. The screenshots can be seen side-by-side below.

Mensch Comparison

This proves that FISA was never mentioned in the report by Mensch and Taylor. The FISA kerfuffle resulted from Taylor’s incorrect tweet, which he later corrected. All that aside, evidence gathered via a FISA warrant could be theoretically used by a grand jury convened within another court to issue an indictment, so it’s a rather moot point.

The Supremacy Clause

Next, let’s unpack the meaning of the second part of Mensch/Taylor’s brief article, which mentions the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Supremacy Clause establishes “federal preemption”—that is, federal laws, treaties, and regulations generally preempt any related state or local laws/regulations. It doesn’t have anything to do with the arrest, impeachment, or prosecution of a sitting president. So while Mensch and Taylor are mostly right about the President’s constitutional privileges when it comes to criminal charges, the Supremacy Clause doesn’t enter into it.

Law professor Susan Low Bloch of Georgetown University authored a paper addressing this issue in 1997—“Can We Indict a Sitting President?” In 1998, Bloch testified before the House Judiciary Committee on impeachable offenses, and she later testified before the Senate on whether a sitting president could be indicted and tried. The question itself is a sticky one, which has many possible legal interpretations. On its face, Section 3, Article I of the Constitution suggests that impeachment must occur before any subsequent indictment, as asserted by Mensch and Taylor:

“Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.”

That being said, Bloch’s analysis of the question points out that “other punishments can be still imposed by the criminal process without violating any prohibitions against double jeopardy; [Section 3, Article I] may not be addressing the issue of order [of charges brought] at all.”

But can an official be impeached for actions which occurred before they took office? In 1873, the House Judiciary Committee made the determination that Impeachment “should only be applied to high crimes and misdemeanors committed while in office and which alone affect the officer in discharge of his duties.”

Despite this determination, later proceedings have ignored the 1873 decision. In 2010, Judge Thomas Porteous was removed from office by the U.S. Senate due to charges that stemmed from actions taken before he was appointed to the federal bench. Although the wrongdoing occurred before his appointment, the charges were directly linked to his service as a federal officer, which in the Senate’s view, made them Impeachable offenses.

Theoretically, such a precedent could be used to establish articles of Impeachment against President Trump, should it be shown that he participated in criminal activities related to his office, even prior to his inauguration. Mensch and Taylor are not entirely correct when they assert such an indictment couldn’t be used for prosecution in a criminal trial. To be honest, that question will probably have to be decided in court.

Sealed indictments

In Virginia, a grand jury must be empaneled to hear all felony charges. Grand juries also serve as an investigatory body—calling witnesses and hearing evidence before deciding if there is probable cause to issue an indictment. Claude Taylor was the first to report the existence of a grand jury related to the investigation, when he tweeted on April 28th that his sources say “two grand juries have convened and…one is almost complete.”  We now know that a grand jury does exist in the Eastern District of Virginia for the FBI’s Russia investigation, and on May 10th, 2017 CNN reported that the grand jury had issued subpoenas (orders to appear and/or produce documents) in recent weeks to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

A sealed indictment is one that is sealed by the court in order to keep its contents nonpublic until a later date, such as after the person named has been informed and arraigned. The proceedings of a grand jury are meant to be kept secret, and if those proceedings or any sealed indictments are disclosed without permission, the person who disclosed the information could be found in contempt of court. Contrary to what is being claimed by some Twitter users, disclosure of a sealed indictment doesn’t invalidate the indictment.

Who are Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor?

Louise Mensch is a “chick lit” novelist and former Conservative MP from England, who retired from her parliamentary post in 2012 to move to New York with her family. After moving to the United States, Mensch became active in journalism, launching the center-right/libertarian news website Heat Street in April 2016, under the umbrella of Rupert Murdoch’s company, News Corp. Mensch was no longer leading Heat Street as of January 2017, but is reportedly still working with News Corp. on other projects.

In November 2016, just before the election, Mensch reported exclusively on the existence of FISA warrants against people tied to President Trump’s presidential campaign and (allegedly) Russia. The Washington Post later corroborated Mensch’s claim in April 2017, reporting that a FISA warrant had been issued several months before against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

While Mensch has been proven right before, it’s also important to note that she has developed a controversial reputation, and has made outlandish claims supporting various unproven conspiracy theories—such as Putin ordering the murder of Andrew Breitbart, that Stephen Bannon and his associates were behind the spate of Jewish community center bomb threats, and that Putin directed a catfishing scheme to entrap former congressman Anthony Weiner and thus plant emails from the Clinton campaign on his laptop.

Claude Taylor worked on the Bill Clinton campaigns in 1992 and 1996, and served as the director of the White House Volunteer Office during the Clinton administration. Taylor later turned to a career as a fine art travel photographer, and continues to reside in the Washington, D.C. area. As previously mentioned, Taylor has been proven right on the existence of grand juries, and he also was tipped off by a source about the FBI search warrant executed at an Annapolis GOP-connected campaign consulting firm earlier this week. While that warrant is reportedly unrelated to the Trump-Russia investigation, there’s no question that Taylor obviously has some reliable inside sources. On the flip side, Taylor has also made some unsubstantiated claims that haven’t been proven true or fully debunked—yet.   

While they didn’t go so far as to back up Mensch and Taylor’s claims, both Republican strategist Rick Wilson and political commentator Keith Olbermann have pointed out that the pair have been correct in the past on the issues of FISA warrants and grand juries.


We’ve covered a lot of ground on this topic, so here is a tl;dr breakdown of the most important points, as well as some more information.

  • Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor claim their independent/separate sources (judicial and intelligence community) are both saying a sealed indictment has been issued for President Trump. No other sources are corroborating this information yet.
  • Claude Taylor caused confusion when he asserted in a Tweet the indictment was handed down by a FISA court. He later retracted that statement and stated it was actually the Eastern District of Virginia court under Dana Boente. FISA court was never mentioned in the original article that Mensch and Taylor co-authored.
  • Mensch and Taylor reported the Supremacy Clause means that the indictment can only be used against Trump to prompt impeachment. The Supremacy Clause doesn’t apply in this situation, and it is still unclear if criminal charges can be leveled against a sitting President—mostly because it hasn’t happened before.
  • Sealed indictments can be issued by a grand jury, and are intended to stay nonpublic until unsealed by the court. Premature revelation of a sealed indictment does not invalidate the indictment.
  • Mensch broke the story about Trump-Russia FISA warrants several months before the rest of the mainstream media. She has also promoted several outlandish conspiracy theories that have not been proven.
  • Taylor has been more reliable in his reporting than Mensch, and scooped the MSM on the news about grand juries, as well as the warrant executed in Annapolis. He also has made some unsubstantiated claims that have yet to be proven, although those claims are not as outlandish as Mensch’s.
  • No other news agencies have been able to corroborate Mensch and Taylor’s claims as of yet on a Trump indictment. Rick Wilson and Keith Olbermann did tweet pointing out that Taylor and Mensch have been correct in the past.
  • We do know that a grand jury has been empaneled in the Eastern District of Virginia under Attorney Dana Boente, and has issued subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn. Subpoenas are not indictments, although this proves the existence of the grand jury and the jurisdiction.
  • We also know that last week, Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made an unannounced appearance on Capitol Hill, where they met with Senate Intelligence Committee leaders Richard Burr and Mark Warner. Burr and Warner left the open Senate hearing on worldwide threats to attend the long-planned meeting with Boente and Rosenstein, where they reported discussing the ongoing Russia investigation.

Taken as a whole, there is just not enough information to fully evaluate Mensch and Taylor’s report. It’s true that they have been correct before on some major scoops. It seems very likely that they both have valid sources within the judicial and intelligence communities. However, Mensch has damaged her reputation with some of the unproven conspiracy theories she has promoted in the past. Others point to Taylor’s erroneous tweet about FISA court and the error in their co-authored report about the Supremacy Clause as reasons to distrust their story. The reports of subpoenas coming out of Virginia under Dana Boente and the meeting with Burr and Warner are tantalizing, but not enough to be taken as corroboration. For now, it seems best to take a “wait and see” approach, as surely other news organizations are working to confirm this story with their own sources.


Update 5/14/17 10:23PM: Bloomberg Politics is reporting that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. have opened investigation(s) into the financial and real-estate dealings of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. This increases the likelihood of Taylor’s report of a second grand jury in New York being accurate.

Taylor has also updated his indictment claim with new information: his sources are now saying upwards of 70 people are being targeted for indictment in the investigation(s). Again, this has not been verified by law enforcement, the Justice Department, or other media sources, but I feel it is important to include the most recent claims here.


Author’s note: I am not a lawyer or legal expert. As such, my understanding of the legal issues mentioned in this article may contain errors. If you have details or corrections to submit regarding this article, you may contact me via Twitter.


I'm a wife, mother of two, and nerd lord from the Fort Worth, Texas area. Dubbed "The Theorist that was Promised" by the Huffington Post, my crazy Game of Thrones theories got me started in a career writing about pop culture, entertainment, gaming, tech, and everything geeky.


5 Reasons You NEED To Play The Final Fantasy VIII Remaster




Final Fantasy VIII Remastered

After many years of fans begging Square Enix to remaster Final Fantasy VII, they finally listened and did just that. There were numerous excuses as to why the game’s re-release had lagged behind the re-releases of both VII and IX, with the most common excuse being that the game’s original code was lost years ago. However, the company made it happen and the game is finally available for modern audiences to play on modern hardware today. We’re going to give you 5 reasons why you should do just that.

First time available on modern hardware

As we’ve already said, this is the first time that the game is available on modern hardware. While the game originally launched for PS1 back in 1999, it later got a PC port in 2000. That means that is has been a whopping 19 years since a new version of the game has been available for purchase, and that wait was a brutal one. However, it is finally over and you can now play this classic game on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch along with PC. If the lack of modern hardware support was stopping you from checking out, that excuse just got thrown out the window.

The visuals look better than ever

Thankfully, Square Enix did not just slap this port together quickly and throw it out there to shut everyone up. They did a terrific job of putting on a shiny new coat of paint for the game, with the character models in particular looking much better. While things like environment textures didn’t get quite the same amount of attention, this is nevertheless the best that the game has ever looked. It also helps that the game is simply beautiful from a design standpoint, with the game’s world being gorgeous to behold even though we’re dealing with the hardware limitations of 1999.

Quality of life improvements

While those who played the game 20 years ago will still be getting what is essentially the same experience, Square Enix did add some quality of life improvements to put it more in line with current JRPGs. These changes include the likes of increasing battle speed by 3 times, shutting off random encounters completely and even a cheat to give you max HP and limit breaks. While these may seem minor, these will go a long way to ease some of the tedium that many feel after some particularly long gaming sessions. Max HP and Limit Breaks will also make the incredibly tough Ultima and Omega Weapon boss fights a lot easier to deal with.

Triple Triad

The Final Fantasy series is known for having its fair share of enticing side quests and mini games, but there isn’t a single one that is as addicting as Triple Triad. The game is essentially a card game that is played on a 3×3 grid, and each card has a certain number on the top, bottom, left and right sides. You need to place your cards in a manner that the numbers on your cards are higher than your opponents, and seeing as your card can be attacked from four different sides this can be tricky. You’re able to challenge many different characters to a match throughout the course of the entire game, and doing so comes with plenty of nice rewards that will make your quest easier.

The game is awesome

While our previous points focused on specific elements of the game, this one is a simple fact that has been true since 1999: the game is awesome. Unfortunately, releasing immediately after Final Fantasy VII (a watershed moment for gaming) put it under a very cruel microscope, with many knee jerk reactions simply saying it “isn’t as good as VII.” However, in the years that have passed people have revisited the game, and the consensus has definitely changed. This adventure that Square created is unlike any other in the series, being host to an ambitious and bizarre plot filled with some of the best characters the series has ever seen. If you’ve played the game before then this is the perfect time to experience this masterpiece all over again, and if you haven’t then what are you waiting for?

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10 Huge Games Still Coming In 2019




10 Huge Games Still Coming 2019

2019 has been yet another good year for gaming so far, with several games releasing that will be big contenders for game of the year once the curtain closes. However, despite the year already being more than halfway over, there are still some huge titles on the horizon that are sure to make their own dents on the coming best-of lists. This article will list the 10 biggest games that are still coming in 2019.



A new game from Remedy Entertainment is always highly-anticipated, and Control is no different. The game is an action-adventure game in the same style as Alan Wake or Quantum Break, but with a supernatural twist. Players will control Jesse Faden, who possesses a variety of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, levitation and more. She will be using her abilities in order to defeat an enemy known only as the Hiss, which has corrupted reality. Control launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 27th.

Borderlands 3


It has been many years since the last game in the Borderlands series released, but the hiatus is finally coming to an end very soon. Those who have played previous games in the series will feel right at home with this game, as it’s once again a loot-driven FPS. The game will offer more zany characters and a charming and insane world to explore, all while dealing with new antagonists Troy and Tyreen Calypso along with their Children of the Vault cult. Borderlands 3 launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 13th, with a Google Stadia port release date being TBA.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series is returning soon with Breakpoint, which will serve as a continuation of previous game Wildlands. The game is set in an open world environment called Aurora, which is a fictional island in the Pacific Ocean. Players will control Lieutenant Colonel Anthony “Nomad” Perryman, who is a special forces operative that was sent to the island to investigate a series of disturbances in the area. Breakpoint launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 4th, with a Google Stadia port coming in November.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare


Each new installment in the Call of Duty series is always huge, but Modern Warfare’s release marks a first for the long-running franchise. It will be the first game in the series that is reimagining of a previous game in the series, taking 2004’s original game and updating its mechanics and themes to match today’s world. The game will still have some of the beats that the first game had, but will also incorporate lots of surprises to make it a fresh experience. Modern Warfare launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th.

The Outer Worlds


Obsidian Entertainment’s The Outer Worlds is one that will be very highly-anticipated for fans of Fallout: New Vegas, as this game serves as a sort of spiritual successor to that game. It will be an open world RPG that allows you to explore many unique areas crawling with plenty of deadly foes. Players will also be able to encounter and recruit NPCs as companions that have their own personal missions and stories to take part in. The Outer Worlds launches for PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 25th, with a Switch port also being in the works.

Luigi’s Mansion 3


It seemed very unlikely that Luigi’s Mansion would become a recurring franchise for Nintendo following the original GameCube game, but here we are. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is coming to Switch, which also means it will be the first home console release since the original game back in 2003. This time the game is set in a haunted hotel rather than a mansion, and Luigi has some new tricks up his sleeves to take down all those ghosts. Luigi’s Mansion 3 will launch exclusively for Nintendo Switch on October 31st.

Death Stranding


If you’re looking for the most ambitious (and weirdest) game still coming in 2019, then look no further. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has perplexed gamers ever since its announcement, and each new trailer that releases just brings more and more questions to the table. It is Kojima’s first game since breaking up with Konami after the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phanton Pain (and the cancellation of Silent Hills), and it looks like Kojima has taken the newfound complete creative control to deliver something truly original. Death Stranding launches exclusively for PS4 on November 8th.

Pokemon Sword & Shield


At this point we all know what to expect from a new Pokemon game, and Sword and Shield seems poised to deliver even more cute creatures for players to capture and battle very soon. What sets Sword and Shield apart from its predecessors is that it will be the first home console release for the series, which is saying something considering the series has been around for over 20 years. Pokemon Sword & Shield launches exclusively for Switch on November 15th.

Shenmue III


If you’re a fan of Shenmue then nothing needs to be said for the inclusion of the upcoming third game on this list. Fans of the series have been waiting nearly two decades for a follow-up to the second game, and in just a couple of months that will finally be delivered to them. Brought to life thanks to an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, the game continues the adventure of protagonist Ryo Hazuki as he hunts down his father’s killer. Shenmue III will launch for PS4 and PC on November 19th.

DOOM Eternal


id Software’s DOOM 2016 was one of the best FPS games to come along in years, so it’s a no-brainer that the follow-up would be on this list. Eternal is set to offer yet another intense FPS campaign for players to plunge into, while also offering a multiplayer component that greatly improves upon the last game’s underwhelming multiplayer mode. There will also be twice as many demon types than there was in the last game, meaning that the chaos level just got that much higher. DOOM Eternal launches for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and PC on November 22nd.

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5 Most Exciting Announcements From The Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference




Microsoft E3 2019

Microsoft’s Xbox E3 2019 Press Conference has officially come to an end, and with it came plenty of big announcements to get excited about. Some new games were announced, whereas previously-announced games got new footage and/or release dates. In this article we’ve narrowed it all down to the 5 most exciting announcements.

New Xbox “Project Scarlett” Coming Holiday 2020

We’ve known for a while now that a new Xbox was in the works, but now we know when to expect it. Microsoft’s fourth console (which hopefully has a better official name than Xbox One did) will be a big step up from the previous console. Things like much faster load times, an AMD Processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X, 8K Resolution and 120 FPS were all mentioned. A price and exact release date weren’t mentioned. It will also be launching with…

Halo Infinite Coming Holiday 2020, Launching On Both Xbox One and Project Scarlett

The wait for the next Halo game has been longer than ever before for series fans, and the announcement at E3 revealed that the wait will continue. Halo Infinite will not be launching until Holiday 2020, meaning it will have been 5 years since the previous game released with Halo 5. It will also be launching on Xbox One and Project Scarlett, meaning the new console will have a big launch title for fans to get pumped about.

Cyberpunk 2077 Coming April 2020, Stars Keanu Reeves

It’s hard to pick a game that people have been more excited about than Cyberpunk 2077, and after Microsoft’s press conference we’re even more excited. Not only is it coming in April of next year, but Keanu Reeves himself will be playing a “key” role in the game. Everything shown from the game has looked great so far, so hopefully it all pans out and we have another classic from CD Projekt RED come April 2020.

FromSoftware and George R.R. Martin Collaboration Elden Ring Announced

This one was actually leaked prior to the presentation, but Dark Souls developer FromSoftware and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin are collaborating on a new game. The game is called Elden Ring, and it will be a departure from the developer’s most recent games as it will be open world. Very little information on the game is known at this point, as it is still in the early stages of development.

Phantasy Star Online 2 Is Coming West

It took a very long time, but the popular MMORPG is finally coming west. The game is coming to Xbox One in a free-to-play form in Spring 2020, so the wait won’t be that much longer. “There will be no limitations on game experiences,”says Sega, because they want to “provide all players with a fair and exciting experience.”

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