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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, June 27, 2017
SCOTUS Rulings on 'Travel Ban', WI Gerrymandering, More: 'BradCast' 6/26/2017
Guest: Legal journo Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Kobach sanctioned, CBO finds GOP Senate health bill loses coverage for 22M...
What Will It Take for Americans to Understand Basics of Election Integrity?
After concerns of a 'hacked' 2016 Presidential race and unverifiable 'loss' in GA-06 that defied polling, Dems, media and the American people are still missing the verifiable facts...
Sunday Toons of the 'Trumpcare Revealed' Moment
The Senate bill is even more deadly than the one in the House. But that may be the least of our problems, as noted in PDiddie's latest collection of political toons...
Secrets Revealed: DoD Assessment of Manning Leaks, GOP Senate Healthcare Bill: 'BradCast' 6/22/17
Guest: BuzzFeed 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Also: Trump's audio tape bluff?...
'Green News Report' 6/22/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Trump's solar border wall; Perry's science denial; Trump Admin seeks to reactivate Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository; Plastic reaches Antarctica; PLUS: UK to shift to e-cars...
Previous GNRs: 6/20/17 - 6/13/17 - Archives...
Tuesday's 100% Unverifiable Special Election Results in GA, SC: 'BradCast' 6/21/17
And, ironically enough, Wednesday's disinformative Senate hearings on alleged 2016 election manipulation...
'Bedlam' Ahead: Obstruction, Recusals, Chain of Succession, Impeachment, Indictments: 'BradCast' 6/20/17
Guest: Attorney Seth Abramson; Plus: Senate moving healthcare; Rick Perry still dumb...
'Green News Report' 6/20/17
Record heat wave in Western U.S.; Criminal indictments in Flint; Massive Portugal wildfire kills more than 60; PLUS: Court victory, enviro award for Standing Rock Sioux...
GA's Unverifiable E-Vote Passwords, Database, Found on Unsecured Server: 'BradCast' 6/19/17
State contracted programmers told of security prob last year, covered it up, left files online...
Sunday Toons of the Rhetoric Toning Moment
If only we could tone down the rhetoric in D.C., everything would be happily every after, right? The cartoonist in PDiddie's weekly collection aren't so sure...
NC Racial Gerrymandering Highlight's GOP 'Justice Delayed, Denied' Strategy
But after SCOTUS ruling and government realignment, justice may soon be at hand...
As Sessions Testifies, GOP Schemes: 'BradCast' 6/13/17
Guest: David Dayen on Congress/Trump plans to sell off public assets, gut banking reforms, more; Also: How to win young voters and the House Dem rift over impeachment...
'Green News Report' 6/13/17
Int. Sec. wants new nat'l monument borders; Heat waves more deadly in India; More 100-year floods in US; PLUS: French grants for US scientists...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


Guest: Author, journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a day many have been anticipating for some time. Fired FBI Director James Comey testified in open session before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday about his one-on-one meetings with President Trump, during which, he claims, Trump asked for "loyalty" during one meeting and asked Comey to help end the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the other. Comey was fired by Trump shortly thereafter. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

During his written and opening statements, and subsequent Q&A with members of the Committee, Comey charged the Trump Administration with having "defamed" both him and the FBI, and lying about the reason for his firing, which he characterizes as an attempt to scuttle the Bureau's counter-intelligence probe into alleged Team Trump coordination with Russia both before and after last year's election.

Following today's testimony, Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz claimed, once again, that Comey's testimony "completely vindicated" his client, and he otherwise vehemently rejected the assertion that Trump either demanded Comey's "loyalty" or sought to shut down the Flynn investigation.

Joining us for full analysis today is journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. She offers a comparison to the breadth of this widening scandal and others she's covered in the past, such as the deliberate outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame during the George W. Bush Administration. "Dick Cheney was just so much more effective at coverup and abuse of power than Trump is," Wheeler quips.

Among many other points in our discussion today, Wheeler responds to Kasowitz' charge that Comey made "unauthorized disclosures of privileged communications" (he didn't, she explains); details the new revelations from Comey's testimony regarding his various meetings with the President and his contemporaneous documentation of those meetings; potential legal exposure for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence in this matter; whether we should have confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's oversight of the still-widening probe; whether Trump himself is now being investigated for obstruction of justice (she says it's "clear" that he now is); whether any of it amounts to impeachable offenses; and the possibility --- raised several times during today's hearing --- that White House audio tapes of the Trump/Comey meetings may exist. "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey declared today.

She also breaks down the bizarre testimony before the same U.S. Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, when the heads of the NSA and DNI, without any apparent legal basis or precedent, refused to answer questions about whether Trump had asked them to intercede into the FBI probe. "Just because Donald Trump is President," Wheeler tells me, "it has not changed the rule that you have Congressional overseers and you answer their questions."

Finally, near the end of today's show, news breaks out of the UK regarding Exit Poll results from Britain's parliamentary election, suggesting a stunning surprise loss of majority power for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and what is likely to be regarded as a huge victory for the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, sometimes regarded as "Britain's Bernie Sanders"...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's great to be back live at our flagship Los Angeles affiliate station, KPFK on the Pacifica Radio Network in Los Angeles after their recent fund drive. So we throw open the phones to listeners in celebration after several insanely busy news weeks! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first, former FBI Director James Comey released his prepared statement [PDF] in advance of his much-anticipated testimony on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee. In the remarks, Comey details a number of his one-on-one meetings with and phone calls from Donald Trump, including the infamous "loyalty dinner" at the White House in late January and the similarly-infamous early-February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign, where Comey charges that he was asked by the President to end the FBI's investigation of Flynn.

We review the details of that prepared testimony, including Comey's confirmation that he did, in fact, indicate to Trump on three different occasions that he was not personally being investigated by the Bureau at the time. Trump's personal attorney cites that testimony to claim the President is "completely and totally vindicated" by it. Others, however, regard the testimony as "explosive" and as confirmation that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Also today, more on the leaked NSA analysis charging that Russian intelligence attempted to access the computers of election officials around the country after successfully sending spear-phishing emails to employees at a private voter registration firm. That rather rudimentary hacking effort just before last year's election, no matter who did it (as explained in much more detail on yesterday's show), may have allowed access for the intruders to the computers that program voting machines, results tabulators and voter registration systems around the country. Also, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's offers a response to the arrest of the alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, and the charges filed against her under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Then, as just-retired Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper charges "Watergate pales...compared to what we're confronting now," we take calls on all of the above and whether listeners believe Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump (as The Nation's John Nichols argued earlier this week on the show) or at least promise such proceedings if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018. We received some rather surprising answers to that question from callers, as well as in regard to the charges filed against Winner!

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the swift and global fallout following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Craig Holman of Public Citizen...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2017 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The political price of becoming the world's pariah, and new documents finally released by the Trump Administration prove yet again that they are doing anything but "draining the swamp" as promised.

The brutal fallout, including both nationwide and worldwide condemnation for President Trump's regrettable decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, continues as the Administration tries and lies to explain the wildly irresponsible and seemingly senseless move, while also working hard to avoid answering whether or not the President of the United States still believes that climate change is a "hoax", as he's previously asserted.

As that story unfolded this week, the Administration was finally forced to release the ethics waivers they say were granted to dozens of White House and executive agency officials allowing them to avoid ethics requirements set out in Trump's Executive Order issued, purportedly, to keep corporate lobbyists out of the government and ensure those working for the Administration did not work with companies whose employ they had just left.

But getting the waivers released at all was "like pulling teeth," according to my guest today, Craig Holman, the long time Government Affairs lobbyist, specializing in campaign finance and government ethics at Public Citizen. He joins us to discuss what is revealed by the waivers released by the White House so far, and why Trump's approach to ethics guidelines cannot even be compared to previous Administrations. "There is a sea-change of difference between the Obama system and the Trump system," he says, describing how even though Obama issued some waivers himself, he did so only in line with "a very tough legal standard" and only after it was "demonstrated that no one else could do the appointee's job."

Trump, on the other hand, "eliminated any criteria for issuing waivers" and even went a step further by failing to disclose them until group's like Holman's and the aggressive current head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Walter Shaub, required White House Counsel Don McGahn (who also apparently waivered himself!) to do so.

In addition to top White House officials like Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus receiving waivers, Holman explains, "We saw people like Shahira Knight, who was a lobbyist for Fidelity on retirement issues, stepping in to the White House and being the special adviser for retirement issues, which would appear to be a violation of the ethics Executive Order. But was she issued a waiver? We didn't know. So we're banging at the door of the White House wondering what was going on." (As it turns out, yes, she got one too.)

Holman is more troubled still by the fact that almost all of the waivers seem only to have been created this past Wednesday, in order to meet a disclosure deadline on Thursday. "I've gone through each and every waiver, and almost all of them are undated, and unsigned," he says. If it's true that they were issued retroactively, Walter Shaub, the Director of the OGE told the New York Times, "There is no such thing as a retroactive waiver...You have violated a rule." Richard Painter, George W. Bush's White House ethics lawyer told the Times,"The only retroactive waiver I have ever heard of is called a pardon."

But what punishment exists for violating Executive Orders and ethics rules, even though both supposedly carry "the force of law"? And who, exactly, would enforce such violations, anyway? White House Counsel Don McGahn? Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Can groups like Public Citizen sue for enforcement? We discuss all of that and much more with Holman today.

Finally today, an iceberg the size of Delaware is on the brink of falling off of an Antarctic ice shelf; the Special Counsel's investigation of the Trump Administration may reportedly be widening to include a probe of AG Jeff Sessions himself; and what is likely the real (and disturbing) reason that Trump ultimately decided to pull out of the Paris Accord? All of that and much more on today's BradCast!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two important election-related SCOTUS decisions and this week's U.S. House Special Election in MT...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2017 6:35pm PT  

The new Twin Peaks (which is excellent, by the way!) may be less surreal than the latest goings on inside our current White House. On today's BradCast, the latest news on the ever unfolding investigations into Team Trump and on his overseas trip (stories Trump already managed to conflate today), along with big election-related news from the U.S. Supreme Court and a quick preview of this week's upcoming U.S. House special election in the state of Montana. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Today, before we get to the latest in the David Lynchian tales of President Trump, two new and important election-related rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. One, being described by UC Irvine Election professor Rick Hasen as a very "big deal" and "a major victory for voting rights plaintiffs" deals with racial and partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, with ramifications for a number of other similar Republican gerrymanders in several states. The other is a victory for campaign finance restrictions. Both cases feature surprising alliances between Republican and Democratic-appointed Justices following last month's confirmation of Neal Gorsich to fill the vacant seat stolen by Republicans after the death of Justice Anton Scalia.

And, speaking of elections, we also preview the U.S. House Special Election set to take place in Montana this Thursday, as populist first-time candidate and popular folk singer Rob Quist barnstormed the state over the weekend with Bernie Sanders. Republican establishment candidate Greg Gianforte is said to have a small lead in pre-election polls, despite being recently caught on tape supporting the GOP health care bill while seeking money from wealthy lobbyists, even while telling voters on the stump he hadn't made up his mind about it yet. In addition to providing a bellwether for the 2018 elections, it may also serve to shake up the current, very serious divide within the Democratic Party itself, depending on how the results shake out this week. That divide has been somewhat obscured by the madness of the Trump White House, but the bitter split between Bernie and Hillary partisans is still very much creating a rift among progressives and Democrats.

Then, we're joined by the great Heather Digby Parton of Salon.com and the Hullabaloo blog to try and make sense of ALL of the latest in the increasingly surreal Trump Administration investigations, and the ongoing troubles Trump ("the clear and present danger"), his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ("something wrong with him"), his Vice President Mike Pence ("Involved up to his eyeballs"), and many others. In addition to all of that and whether or not it may be heading towards impeachment, Parton also shares thoughts on Trump's overlooked recently reported threat to lock up journalists (reminding us that AG Jeff Sessions is "by far the most dangerous, malevolent person in the Administration") and offers insight on a number of late-breaking stories related to all of the above, including: Flynn, reportedly, now taking the 5th to avoid self-incrimination in response to Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas; Trump digging himself deeper in Tel Aviv during his 9-day jaunt overseas; and now he may have even have lost a few of his own supporters following his speech on Islam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you watched the new Twin Peaks over the weekend, as I did (the first two hours all year that I haven't thought about Trump, frankly!), what's going on in this Administration is even more difficult to make sense of right now, believe it or not. So, enjoy!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 5/22/2017 9:35am PT  

Faced with his own inept inability to control the antics of his American prisoners, the only defense for bumbling Luftwaffe POW camp guard Sergeant Schultz was to pretend he had no knowledge of events. Confronted with what he saw and was told in this classic Hogan's Heroes clip, Schultz proclaims: "I see nothing! I was not here! I did not even get up this morning!"

Last Thursday, we witnessed a version of the Sergeant Schultz defense. But it wasn't for laughs. It came from a source said to be "close to the [Trump] administration". According to an NBC News report (later echoed by a number of other outlets), the source claimed that "Vice President Mike Pence has been kept in the dark about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's alleged wrongdoing"...

Earlier this year, Pence said he was not made aware of Flynn's discussions with Russian officials until 15 days after Trump and the White House were notified.

The source close to the administration, who requested anonymity as the White House denies the story, is now saying that Pence and his team were not made aware of any investigation relating to Flynn's work as a foreign agent for Turkey.

"It's also a fact that if [Flynn] told [Trump Transition attorney, now White House Chief Counsel, Don] McGahn that during the transition, it's also a fact that not only was Pence not made aware of that, no one around Pence was as well," the source said. "And that's an egregious error — and it has to be intentional. It's either malpractice or intentional, and either are unacceptable."

The source's claims are offered despite the fact that Flynn himself also served as one of Pence's vice-chairs on the Presidential transition.

The NBC report offers a plausible sounding explanation for Pence's seeming ability to be everywhere, yet know absolutely nothing about what happened, particularly given the number of occasions where Trump has swiftly thrown those defending his actions under the bus: e.g., when, one day after Pence said the President had simply complied with Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein's "recommendation" when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, Trump acknowledged he'd made the decision to fire Comey before Rosenstein wrote the memo.

But there are a multitude of reasons why the "I know nothing!" defense doesn't really wash, particularly given Pence's penchant to quietly lie with a straight face, even when directly confronted by contradictory information and instances in which Pence has denied all knowledge of otherwise broadly publicized information...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




'Chaotic darkness' at Trump's White House; Bipartisan agreement in Congress; Flynn and Pence go cold Turkey; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to surf today's news tsunami, with a focus on a few troubling and under-appreciated stories amid the political flood pouring out of Washington and around the world in the wake of the DoJ's appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Among the huge number of quickly moving and/or under-covered stories pieced together on today's show...

  • CA Assembly bill calls for Donald Trump's impeachment;
  • U.S. launches new airstrike on Syrian forces (despite Congressional failure to authorize attacks on a sovereign nation, which could result in war with Russia);
  • Michael Flynn blocked President Obama's planned offensive against ISIS, which was opposed by Flynn's secret client Turkey;
  • Trump Team was told of FBI investigation of Flynn long before inauguration;
  • VP Mike Pence, head of Trump Transition, still claims he knew nothing about Flynn's ties to foreign nations;
  • Suspicion grows over Team Trump attorney, White House counsel Don McGahn;
  • Senate Intel Chair offers two different stories on Flynn subpoenas;
  • House Oversight Chair announces he's quitting Congress next month;
  • Mueller's appointment receives mostly bipartisan support, as....;
  • ...White House turns 'chaotically dark', cancels Kellyanne Conway appearance on Fox 'News', before...
  • Trump turns against appointment of Mueller to describe it as 'unprecedented witch hunt', which 'divides the country', even as he begins to separate himself from 'Russia collusion' and prepares to throw campaign team under the bus;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a citizen call to action to save National Monuments set for possible repeal by the Trump Administration...

I wish our countries had "scandals" like this one instead...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated the law during Oval Office meeting with Russians; And then... BREAKING: Trump said to have asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Coverage of the two (yes, two) most recent (yes, most recent) blockbuster reports regarding the President, as leaked out of the Oval Office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Washington Post's explosive report from late yesterday detailing Donald Trump's alleged (and all but confirmed by Trump himself) sharing of highly classified information (reportedly now from Israel) during his recent meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyiak. The White House, largely via National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, strongly denies any wrong doing.

We're joined to discuss that and what we know and don't about it all, by Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. And, unlike those who are reporting that Trump broke no laws in his alleged disclosure of sensitive information regarding ISIS, Goitein argues the case is not so clear cut.

Classification and declassification of sensitive information is spelled out by Executive Order of the President. "The existing Executive Order was written by President Obama. It is still in force unless or until Trump revokes it or replaces it," Goitein explains. "But President Obama himself would not have been bound by his own Executive Order. President Trump is not bound by that Executive Order. I think it's problematic that Presidents are not bound by their own Executive Orders. Or, I should say, it's problematic they can secretly depart from those orders. Ideally we would have a classification Executive Order that says what the President can do, even if it's just 'The President is exempt from all of these rules.'"

However, Goitein suggests that even a President could face legal exposure via the Espionage Act of 1917.

"The Executive Order is not the only law that is at play here," she tells me. "Congress has also stepped in on various occasions, to regulate the disclosure of national security information. And there are several statutes in which Congress has done that. The statute that seems most relevant here is the Espionage Act. And this is the law that President Obama infamously used to prosecute national security whistle-blowers and others who leaked information to the media, rather than actual spies and traitors, which is whom the law was designed to address. But this law, on its face, prohibits the communication of information related to the national defense --- whether that information is classified or not --- to anyone not entitled to receive it, if there's reason to believe it could be used either to harm the United States or to aid a foreign nation. So on it's face, that statute would certainly seem to apply."

I discuss that and much more with Goitein about this entire fine mess today. It's worth tuning in for that alone. But then...

Breaking hard mid-show today: The New York Times' perhaps even more explosive report detailing a memo written by then FBI Director James Comey describing his February one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, in which Comey reportedly charges that Trump requested he drop the Bureau's ongoing investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "I hope you can let this go," Trump said to Comey, according to the Times, in an account also vigorously denied by the White House, but which, if true, would amount to a very serious case of Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States.

If only there was a taping system of some kind in the Oval Office so we could figure out who's telling the truth.

Finally today, after disembarking from that insane news roller coaster, if only for the moment, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the planet doesn't really give a damn about either national security or politics...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: David Roberts of Vox; Also: Good voting rights news for NC, more details on the thousands turned away from the polls in WI in 2016...
By Brad Friedman on 5/15/2017 6:29pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Our friend David Roberts of Vox.com on making sense of Donald Trump's seemingly senseless decision making process --- and, somehow, learning to live with it and/or contain the damage. [Audio link to show follows below.]

But, first up today, some good news! The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear North Carolina Republicans' appeal of the U.S. 4th Circuit Appeals Court ruling last year striking down what many have describes as the "Mother of All Voter Suppression" laws. The appellate court had found that state Republicans included provisions in the law that were intentionally discriminatory in that they were drafted in order to "target African-Americans with almost surgical precision".

But while that law was blocked last year in NC and will now remain blocked for the foreseeable future there, a similarly discriminatory Photo ID voting restriction was allowed to be used in Wisconsin last year, where Trump is said to have won by just 22,000 votes despite some 300,000 voters in the Badger State --- disproportionately African-American, poor, elderly and students --- who do not have the type of ID now required to vote under the GOP's restriction.

Last week, we detailed a new analysis of the affect of that law on the Presidential election results in WI last year, finding that some 200,000 otherwise legal voters may have been prevented from casting their vote. Today, we detail some of the specific voters who were prevented from voting last November, because of the discriminatory law, including, as AP reports: "The Navy veteran whose out-of-state driver’s license did not suffice, or the dying woman whose license had expired, or the recent graduate whose student ID was deficient", among others.

Then, we're joined by Vox' Roberts who, late last week, published a Tweetstorm in response to Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey, in which he attempted to explain why it's so difficult, if not impossible, for journalists, politicians and the public to make sense of the President's decision making process. That is largely, Roberts detailed in his Tweetstorm and in a follow-up article at Vox and to me today, because Trump doesn't have any such process --- at least beyond what feels good at the moment he makes the decision based largely on whatever the last person he talked to told him about the issue.

Roberts' assessment, which cites psychological conditions such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and something called "Theory of Mind", actually helps to illuminate the reasons for Trump's otherwise, seemingly, reason-free process.

"There's clearly something wrong with the dude," says Roberts. "From all indications he just doesn't have those beliefs and commitments that carry over from situation to situation. By all indications on the surface, what he's doing is: every situation is new. He gropes around for what makes him feel powerful or in charge, and then sort of lunges at that, with no thought of commitments that came before, or consequences that might come after, or how it relates to other things he's said, or other people he's committed to, or anything really!"

"I compare it to a goldfish. Every situation is new. Every day is new. And he's just this sort of bundle of impulses." But while that, Roberts explains, makes Trump so difficult to cover from a journalistic standpoint, or to understand from a political or voter's perspective, it's also what makes him exceedingly dangerous. "Imagine if there's a viral outbreak, or imagine if North Korea really tries to provoke him. Even his allies --- even the people in his administration --- have to be thinking 'Do I know what he's going to do in that situation?'"

While many try to explain Trump's decisions as some grand design, or even as an attempt to distract from one issue or another, Roberts argues it's usually far simpler (and more troubling) than that. He also speaks to what we --- journalists, politicians and citizens --- can all do now in hopes of minimizing the damage that he will be able to cause until he finally leaves office one way or another...

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The VP will now oversee Trump's sham 'Election Integrity' Commission; Also: Trump/Comey goes 'Godfather' and even more Nixon-like...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2017 6:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The story of Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey turns even more bizarre and takes a decidedly thuggish turn (don't worry, your President is 'not a crook') and Vice President Mike Pence gets tapped to head Trump's new "voter fraud" commission, despite his own (much overlooked) record of stoking false GOP allegations of "voter fraud" and helping to shut down a major registration drive in his home state, just before last year's Presidential election, while campaigning for Veep and serving as Governor of Indiana.

First, the Trump/Comey affair turns more insane and Godfather-like by the hour...or Nixon-like, if you prefer, now that Trump has hinted there may be audio recordings of his private conversation with the now-former FBI Director. We bring you up to date on the latest madness and lies on that quickly moving soap opera, which continues to tie the White House into knots.

We then turn to the Executive Order signed this week by the President amidst all the Comey fallout, which creates a new sham commission, by fiat, to examine Trump's false claims that as many as five million votes were illegally cast in the 2016 election. The so-called "Election Integrity Commission" --- which, according to the Order, is to look at only voter and voter registration fraud, rather than voter suppression, which is a far more extensive problem or concerns about the vulnerability of vote casting and counting systems --- is to be headed up by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas' notorious vote-suppressing Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

While many may be familiar, by now, with Kobach's years-long storied history of fraudulent 'voter fraud' claims, many are likely unaware of Pence's efforts last year during the campaign, while serving as Indiana's Governor, to suppress a major voter registration drive targeting African-Americans in Indiana, with false claims of "voter fraud" and the outrageously heavy-handed use of his State Police force.

On today's show, we detail how the offices of the Indiana Voter Registration Project were raided and shut down, with computers, cell phones and paperwork confiscated by Pence's cops, just days before the state's October 11, 2016 voter registration deadline. The effort (also aided and abetted by the state's Republican Sec. of State Connie Lawson, who is also set to serve on Trump's phony commission), served to shut down the major registration drive by a Democratic-leaning organization and resulted in the Marion County Prosecutor demanding an end to misleading and suppressing public statements from Superintendent of the State Police. It did not, however, despite claims of "thousands" of fraudulent forms, result in any arrests, and it was all quickly forgotten, as usual, after Election Day. In all, some 50,000 valid registrations may have been scuttled in the Hoosier State, thanks to the false claims of forged and fraudulent registration forms across dozens of counties in what Pence described to brain-addled supporters on the campaign trail as a "vigorous investigation into voter fraud".

Finally today: The White House lies about the number of new manufacturing and coal jobs created last month and North Carolina receives just 1% of their requested funding for Hurricane Matthew relief from Congress and the President...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 5/4/2017 11:16am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Indiana governor signs bill to gut state's rooftop solar industry; Another coal mine tragedy, this time in Iran; Exxon ordered to pay $20 million for refinery pollution; Denmark moves to phase out renewable energy subsidies; PLUS: Rhode Island town makes history as first in U.S. to be powered by offshore wind... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Diseases hidden within the ice are waking up; CA Exxon refinery explosion report finds weak safety standards; Environmental groups sue over rollback of coal water pollution rules; Ohio state lawmakers seek to open state parks to fracking; Congress' spending deal overrides climate science on burning trees for electricity; How satellite data caught Gulf oil companies hiding enormous spills; Trump puts critic of renewable energy in charge of renewable energy office... PLUS: EPA asks what regulations to scrap, gets an earful from citizens about dirty water... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Guest: Attorney Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center on Arkansas' extraordinary planned killing spree
Also: More electoral concerns for GA's U.S. House special election; Britain's PM announces snap elections; and Turkey's President declares victory as international observers protest...
By Brad Friedman on 4/18/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Voting and killing. Voting and killing. The world sure seems to be doing a lot of each these days, especially the U.S. (particularly when it comes to the killing part, anyway.) [Audio link to complete show follows below.]

First up today, an obnoxiously arrogant (and hypocritical) comment about the U.S. and North Korea by Vice President Mike Pence. Then, voters head to the polls today in Georgia's 6th Congressional District for a U.S. House special election in which the Democratic candidate has been polling far ahead of a split Republican field. But Jon Ossoff will have to win more than 50% of the reported vote to avoid a one-on-one run-off election with the top Republican vote-getter, in a very Republican district, as still more concerns arise about the reliability of reported results from the state's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. Among the concerns (in addition to the unverifiable results): a "massive data breach" last month at the facility which programs both the voting machines and the state's electronic pollbook systems and, over the weekend, the theft of a number of those e-pollbooks from a poll workers car. (Widely mis-reported as a theft of "voting machines", but still concerning nonetheless. We discuss why.)

Also today, Britain's Prime Minister makes a surprise announcement calling for snap elections to be held in June, in advance of final Brexit negotiations and, also over the weekend, a Turkish referendum to grant sweeping powers to the nation's President appears to have narrowly passed. But the opposition and international election observers (if not Donald Trump) are crying foul. That apparent "victory" has resulted in the Turkish President calling for restoration of the death penalty, which, the European Union warns, would prevent Turkey from finally joining the beleaguered EU.

None of that, however, has prevented the state of Arkansas from attempting to move ahead with an unprecedented eight executions over the next 10 days, as the state's supply of one of the controversial drugs --- of dubious effectiveness and purchased under false pretenses by the state --- used for lethal injections there, is set to expire on May 1.

Longtime capital punishment litigator Robert Dunham, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, joins us to explain Governor Asa Hutchinson's extraordinary planned killing spree and the blizzard of protests, legal measures and court rulings at both the state and federal level, which have already resulted in a last minute U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Monday night, and stays on the state's killing of the first two men set to die in the first of four nights of scheduled double-executions over this week and next.

"This is completely unprecedented. No state in the modern history of the U.S. death penalty has ever attempted to carry out this many executions in a short period of time," Dunham explains, describing the "artificial 'Kill By' date" set by the Governor. "This is something we have never seen before. And [Arkansas is] trying to use a very, very controversial and inappropriate drug in circumstances in which the execution schedule only makes things worse."

We discuss the "psychological trauma for the prison personnel" tasked with carrying out the killings, the pharmaceutical companies trying to keep their medicines from being used to kill prisoners "against their corporate mission, which is to save lives, and not take lives"; questions about the innocence, guilt, legal representation and mental acuity of some of those set to be killed; and the multiple state and federal cases furiously moving through the courts over all of this, including the "irony" of the state of Arkansas' "states rights" Governor and Attorney General challenging a ruling on state law by their own state Supreme Court at the U.S. Supreme court.

Finally today, in hopes of cheering us all up a bit, it appears that folks in Texas have finally gotten something right about politics --- and Donald Trump will not like it one bit...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 4/18/2017 10:43am PT  

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Lake Michigan beaches closed after toxic chemical spill; BP's newest oil spill in Alaska finally shut down after 3 days; US nuclear company bankruptcy raises questions over unfinished reactors; Good news: March 2017 was not the hottest on record! Bad news: it was 2nd hottest; PLUS: London's famous black cabs are going electric... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Science Strikes Back: Anti-Trump March Draws Thousands To Washington; Trump Advisers To Meet Tuesday To Discuss Paris Climate Agreement; DOE Sec. Perry Orders Electric Grid Study to Boost Coal; Saudis Target 30 Solar, Wind Projects in $50 Billion Pledge; Battle Over Endangered Species Law Already Raging Out Of Public Eye; Exodus From Canada's Oil Sands Continues as Energy Giants Shed Assets; In The Rockies, Climate Change Spells Trouble For Cutthroat Trout... PLUS: Canada Glacier Melt Rerouted In Rare Case Of 'River Piracy'.... and much, MUCH more! ...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2017 9:54am PT  

The never before utilized Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (full text posted below) may provide the most efficient lawful means to facilitate a swift end to the madness brought on by the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The real issue is not whether Donald Trump --- an utterly dishonest raging authoritarian narcissist and "pathological liar" --- should be removed from office. Instead, the focus should be on which of two alternative constitutional means for removing this miscreant from office has the best chance of ultimately succeeding.

Impeachment is a cumbersome process that, assuming the GOP-controlled Congress would permit it, entails lengthy investigative hearings, and the introduction of Articles of Impeachment alleging High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- Articles that must be approved by a majority of the House. This would be followed by a trial in the Senate. Trump would then be removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict. Tall orders for both Republican-majority chambers, to say the least.

Throughout the length of those protracted proceedings, Trump would remain in office with access to the nuclear codes.

In his recent New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof, quoting Harvard's renowned Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, opined that the 25th Amendment offered a viable means for removing Trump from office. Per the language of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump's own cabinet transmitted to the leaders of the House and Senate "their written declaration that [Trump] is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President." The burden would then shift to Trump to submit "his written declaration that no inability exists." If he submits a declaration contending that he is able to carry out the duties of his office, Trump would not be permanently removed unless two-thirds of both Houses of Congress upheld the Vice President's declaration.

Irrespective of the legal bases for impeachment --- such as Trump's corrupt and remarkably overt violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses --- it is unlikely that a GOP-controlled Congress would be willing to entertain, let alone vote to impeach a Republican President. This would especially be true if, as is likely, the Articles of Impeachment were introduced by Democratic members of the House.

By contrast, as observed by Lawrence O'Donnell during a Feb. 20 airing of The Last Word (see video below) --- if successfully invoked, the 25th Amendment would pit Republicans against Republicans: to wit, Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet against Trump and a minority of the cabinet. If the chaos that is the Trump administration continues and potentially threatens GOP majority rule in either or both houses of Congress in 2018, there's a distinct possibility that, as predicted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the dynamics within the GOP could undergo a significant change. If he could overcome loyalty to the man who named him as his running mate, Pence and a majority of the cabinet could legally initiate a swift end to the Trump presidency.

That's a lot of "ifs"...and even if they all came to pass, there is more to think about regarding this path...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




Guest: The Intercept's Jon Schwarz...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2017 5:51pm PT  

On today's BradCast, while the U.S. media and public are obsessed by whatever Trump's relationship is or isn't with Russia and his bizarre tweets over the weekend, real policies and federal agencies --- relied upon for decades by millions of Americans --- are about to be gutted by the President and his Republican friends in the U.S. Congress. [Audio link to show follows below.]

Once again today, however, we must lead with more terrorism. And, once again, it's another alleged attack by a white man against someone --- a man of the Sikh faith, in this case --- told by the shooter, to "Go back to your own country!" While the incident, once again, has been ignored by the White House, Donald Trump found time today to sign a new Executive Order being described by critics as "Muslim Ban 2.0". While it's more narrowly tailored than his last one, which was blocked by the federal courts, the new order still provides no evidence that it will actually increase national security in any way.

Then, while Trump was unleashing his latest evidence-free Twitter tantrum over the weekend, charging that President Obama had "wire tapped" his phones at Trump Tower before leaving office, White House budget busters were sharpening their knives with huge planned increases in defense spending to be paid for by draconian slashes to thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

But why stop protecting the environment and health of Americans there? Our guest today, Jon Schwarz of The Intercept, joins us to explain how, while much of what Trump said in last week's address to Congress (at least some of the encouraging parts, like his promise to "promote clean air and clean water") can "safely be ignored", at least one point should not be. His comments about Medicaid, relied upon by millions of Americans, should be taken very seriously, Schwarz warns.

"Medicaid is not just healthcare for the poor," he explains. "It also pays the bills for over 60 percent of nursing home residents, and 40 percent of all national long-term care costs." With GOP control of Congress and Trump no longer promising "no cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," as he repeatedly did on the campaign trail, Schwarz decodes the President's comments from last week's speech promising to "give our state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid."

"It truly is awful what the Republicans have planned for Medicaid," Schwarz says, detailing how Trump's language now syncs up almost perfectly with House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long called for schemes that would gut Medicaid. "The reason that they will go after it first is because the people who are the main recipients are either children, or they are over 65, or they are blind or they are disabled --- they truly are the people with the least ability to fight back. So it makes sense that that's who you want to attack first."

Schwarz explains what replacing the current federally-funded system with "block grants" to states actually means, who it will most harm, and how it will harm them. Medicaid, he says, is "not an incredibly generous program" as is. "But, it is crucial for anyone who has not made a lot of money their whole lives. People don't understand that if Medicaid is cut, old people truly will be dying in the streets. If you're a bit luckier, and you have kids with an extra room, maybe you will be dying on your kids' fold out couch."

As noted during the interview, Schwartz, a former writer for Saturday Night Live, is not particularly funny today. But Americans, particularly younger Americans, who will become the victims of these schemes while they are not paying attention --- unless Republicans can block them --- need to pay attention to what is likely about to happen, if Trump and GOP leadership get their way.

Finally, we close today with a moving word or two from MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski on the woeful and embarrassing White House reaction to Trump's bizarre weekend Tweet storm...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, reporting from the U.S. District Court hearing, says DoJ and state of Texas have 'really bungled this one'
Also: Mike Pence used a private email server for sensitive state business --- and got hacked. Lock him up!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2017 6:22pm PT  

The hypocrisy gets thicker by the moment. On today's BradCast, Vice President Mike Pence used private email for state business while serving as Indiana's Governor. And, down in Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice, after switching sides in a long running voting rights case, bombs out, according to our guest who was in the courtroom for a remarkable hearing this week. [Audio link to show posted at end of this article.]

Yes, VP Pence has been discovered to have used a private email server for state business as Governor of Indiana, even while running for Vice President and mercilessly criticizing Hillary Clinton for having done the same while Secretary of State. Unlike Clinton's email account, Pence's was actually hacked. That news follows a similar report that Trump's EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, also used a private email server for state business while serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General --- and lied to Congress about it.

Then, we're joined by Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern with his amazing report out of Texas, where he was in a federal courtroom this past week, to witness the latest hearing in the long-running case against the state's racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law. The hearing, he explains, was remarkable on a number of fronts. Not the least of which is the fact that, after years of successfully challenging the state Republicans' racist law side-by-side with private litigants, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, now under the control of Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has switched sides in the case to join with Texas!

The result, as Stern details, was encouraging, gob-smacking and, at times, hilarious. After the state's law, denying access to the polls for those without very specific types of state-issued IDs, has been found racially discriminatory in court after court for years (including by the most conservative U.S. Appeals Court in the land), the only real question now before the U.S. District Court Judge is whether or not Texas enacted their voting restriction with a discriminatory intent. If the law is found (again) to have been purposely designed to discriminate against racial minorities, the state could find themselves back under the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance regime, requiring federal approval for any new laws related to elections.

The DoJ, now standing with Texas in their call for the case to be dismissed, offered an argument that the Judge didn't appear to be buying, Stern reports --- largely because the argument seemed to make no sense at all. Their argument, in short, is that the state legislature is working on a new version of the same law. Therefore, their intent while creating the previous version should no longer matter nor be held against them as a violation of the law or Constitution. At the same time, the state attempted to offer evidence that they failed to offer during the original trial, which turned out not to be actual evidence at all. Suffice to say, amidst a mountain of real evidence against them, the DoJ and Texas arguments "crashed and burned," says Stern, adding that "t was almost painful to watch!"

This case, "goes way beyond Texas," he notes, citing some of the responses from a plaintiff attorney for the NAACP after the hearing, and a Democrat that the state's attorney inexplicably tried to blame for the law. "This is sort of testing the waters for many other states, even possibly for a national voter ID bill governing all federal elections. This is just the start. So we're really at the threshold of this battle, even though it feels like we've been waging it forever."

There is a lot more in today's interview. Please tune in for it. Trust me. It's a very nice way to end this week.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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