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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, September 29, 2022
KS Abortion Referendum Data Suggest Women Being Under-Counted in Midterm Polling: 'BradCast' 9/28/22
Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Hurricane Ian storms ashore in FL...
Critical Elections, Catastrophic Storm Bear Down: 'BradCast' 9/27/22
Poll workers needed!; Ian closing in on FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
'Green News Report' 9/27/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ian takes aim at Florida; Fiona broke records in Canada; Noru pummels Philippines; Winter fuel prices soar; PLUS: Pacific Island nations call for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty at U.N.
Recent GNRs: 9/22/22 - 9/20/22 - Archives...
'Gold Standard' SCOTUS Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support Expansion of High Court: 'BradCast' 9/26/22
Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens FL; Callers ring in...
Sunday 'Heavy Traffic' Toons
Be sure to check PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons before crossing state borders. You're welcome!...
Trump, Lindell, Ginni Thomas --- Geniuses All!:
'BradCast' 9/22/22
GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in of new American citizens...
'Green News Report' 9/22/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. Sec-Gen wants fossil fuel industry to pay up; New plastics initiative; Puerto Rico still lacking power and clean water; PLUS: Senate approves first climate treaty in decades...
Recent GNRs: 9/20/22 - 9/15/22 - Archives...
It's National Voter Registration Day!
(Who Knew?): 'BradCast' 9/20/22
Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters; Much more...
'Green News Report' 9/20/22
Simultaneous storms, in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Japan; Climate change juiced Pakistan floods; Aussie energy turnabout; PLUS: Plastics plant blocked in LA...
Kidnapping is a Crime. Will DeSantis Be Held Accountable for It?: 'BradCast' 9/19/22
Also: Media still pulling punches on GOP; Elizabeth finally buried, so will CNN finally cover weekend's THREE hurricane landfalls?!; Plus, callers!...
Sunday 'Pawn' Toons
Make your move to PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Reagan's Big Government Gift to Big Pharma is Still Giving, Killing: 'BradCast' 9/16/22
Guest: Ernest A. Canning; Also: Trump's failed GA election theft; NH GOP Sen. nom flip-flops on 2020 denial; Patagonia gives away company to save planet...
More Good News for Ds; More Fraud Accountability for Rs: 'BradCast' 9/15/22
Biden approval up, strike averted; Trump NY fraud; Feds probe Lindell CO fraud; Fraud probe of MI GOP A.G. nom; NY Election Commish charged w/ absentee vote fraud...
'Green News Report' 9/15/22
U.N. says world in 'uncharted climate territory'; Summer 2022 hottest ever; Clean energy will save world $12 trillion; PLUS: Biden touts IRA, national EV charging network...
'Groundbreaking' Victory for CA's Half-Million Fast-Food Workers: 'BradCast' 9/14/22
Guest: TAP's Harold Meyerson; Also: Rail worker strike looms; Noteworthy primary results from DE, RI, NH...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
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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: Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel on that and several of the ongoing criminal cases elsewhere against the disgraced former President...
By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2022 5:31pm PT  

The first of many hammers to come on Donald Trump's years of lying, grifting and defrauding the American people and the world came down today in New York, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

According to New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday, the former President falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars over many years in wildly fraudulent financial statements that allowed him to unlawfully obtain bank loans as well as tax and insurance benefits he had not earned.

"Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to 'The Art of the Deal.' It's the art of the steal," alleged James near the end of her announcement this afternoon, detailing "astounding" financial falsehoods which Trump employed over decades. "There cannot be different rules for different people in this country or in this state, and former Presidents are no different. And so, today, we're making good on that promise, on our commitment, because no one --- no one --- is above the law," she said.

After a three-year probe, James filed a 222-page lawsuit [PDF] in New York state court against Trump and the Trump Organization, as well as his three oldest children, Eric, Don Jr. and Ivanka. The company's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg and its Controller Jeffrey McConney were also named as defendants.

The A.G. detailed dozens of flagrant incidents of "staggering" fraud in her civil suit. It seeks to "permanently bar Mr. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York state" and "bar Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years." The suit also seeks to disgorge some $250 million, the estimated "financial benefits obtained through the persistent fraudulent practices."

Moreover, James said that many of the violations of law detailed in her case are not only civil, but also criminal She has now referred those charges to both state and federal authorities at the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the IRS, and the U.S. Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York.

Among the many fraudulent practices employed by Trump to inflate his self-worth, as detailed by James at her presser today, was his claim that his 11,000 square foot penthouse apartment at Trump Tower was actually 30,000 square feet. By falsely more than tripling the size of the apartment, he was able to value it at $327 million, far more, according to James, than any apartment has ever sold for in New York City. It was an overstatement, as Weisselberg conceded during his deposition, of "give or take" $200 million.

As James' office noted in their announcement of the suit today, Trump also lied about dozens of other properties, including Mar-a-Lago, which he valued in financial statements "as high as $739 million" when, in fact it "should have been valued at closer to $75 million."

But there is more. Much. All of which allowed the disgraced former President and TV star to inflate his net worth by billions of dollars in recent decades. We share the bulk of James' statement on today's show, in case you missed it. It was, at times, breathtaking.

We're joined today by accountability and national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel to discuss Jame's long-awaited civil suit in the Empire State and several of the many other ongoing criminal investigations bearing down on Trump elsewhere.

"It's important for people to remember that with this [case in New York], as with all of Trump's legal exposure, this stuff takes time," Wheeler cautions, explaining that Trump is going to do everything possible to stall the A.G.'s lawsuit, as he does with everything else. "So, it's not like tomorrow he's going to be put in cuffs by the IRS. This is his empire, and he is going to fight for his empire, he's going to fight for his brand."

Until James announced her lawsuit today, we had originally planned to discuss, with Wheeler, the DoJ's case against Trump at Mar-a-Lago, as a federal judge appointed by Trump has been running absurd and corrupt interference for him following the FBI's search at his Florida club, finding that he stole more than a thousand pages of highly classified national security documents upon leaving office.

"He probably still has classified documents lying around his properties," Wheeler argues, charging "the thing about Trump is he's never going to stop cheating." At least until someone stops him.

Right now, in addition to James' civil action on Wednesday, there are at least three other major criminal probes that Trump is being forced to contend with. Today was likely only the first shoe to drop in that regard. Stay tuned...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Legal analyst, author Dahlia Lithwick; Also: Lincoln Project begs Former Guy to sue them; Judge tosses Trump's ridiculous Clinton, Comey 'conspiracy' lawsuit; DoJ offers corrupt Mar-a-Lago judge an off-ramp...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2022 6:33pm PT  

For all of the legal experts on TV and Twitter helping the nation understand a flood of ridiculous rulings by corrupt, rightwing, Federal Society-approved judges and Justices, it might also be helpful if they started pointing out the desperate need for structural change in our federal judiciary. We can't lawyer our way out of this mess, but we can reform it. But we're gonna need their help. One of those legal experts joins us on today's BradCast to help make exactly that case. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, however, the Republican "Never Trumpers" of the Lincoln Project are back. And their latest ad is another doozie, pointing out how Trump's sleazy Save America PAC is little more than a "sucker's game" meant to scam his own supporters. "Trump told you the election was stolen to rip you off, to sucker you, to take your hard-earned money and shovel it into his pockets ... It was the biggest scam in political history. ... It was a sucker's game all along."

Apparently, Lincoln Project is running the ad on Fox "News" and it appears to be driving The Former Guy crazy. So much so that he's threatened to sue the Lincoln Project. And now the group's co-founder, Rick Wilson, is begging him to. We share the ad, Trump's pathetic (though hilarious) social media tantrum and Wilson's acerbic (though hilarious) response.

While Trump is unlikely to actually sue Lincoln Project --- and open up his corrupt Save America PAC to the discovery process! --- one of his most recent impotent lawsuits, filed against Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and bunch of other folks at the FBI and DoJ claiming a "conspiracy" against him regarding Russia's interference in the 2016 election, spectacularly crashed and burned before a federal judge in South Florida on Thursday. It was a real judge. Not one that Trump appointed.

As to the federal judge in South Florida that Trump did appoint, Judge Aileen Cannon, who issued the absurd, unprecedented and completely unworkable order on Monday in response to the FBI's court-ordered seizure of thousands of government documents stolen by Trump and stored at Mar-a-Lago, the DoJ pushed back on Thursday night. On Monday, Cannon ordered an injunction against the DoJ's use of the stolen documents, many of them highly classified, in their criminal investigation of Trump's theft until a Special Master examined all of the documents for potential attorney-client and executive privilege conflicts. (There can be no executive privilege conflicts since Trump hasn't asserted it and, no longer the Executive, he is not entitled to any such privilege.)

In their filing [PDF] on Thursday night, however, the DoJ offered a compromise and an off-ramp to Cannon, before they otherwise plan to appeal her ruling in full to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals next week. Hopefully, Cannon takes the off-ramp to allow the critical criminal investigation and national security damage assessment to continue. But, otherwise, the DoJ may have a long slog before the appeals court which has now been packed with Trump-appointed judges.

All of this --- not to mention the unprecedented rulings by the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court majority at the end of their term earlier this summer --- underscores how broken our federal judicial system has become. And while there is no shortage of well-meaning legal experts on TV and social media explaining how best to respond to corrupted rulings by corrupted courts, these are problems that the nation cannot litigate itself out of, as our guest argues today.

We're joined again by the great DAHLIA LITHWICK, longtime legal analyst at Slate, MSNBC contributor, podcast host, and author of the new book, LADY JUSTICE: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America.

Writing this week with our other legal reporter friend from Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, in an article headlined "The Solution to the Trump Judge Problem Nobody Wants to Talk About" the pair reference the court battle over the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago: "The problem is not just the extreme and heinous flaws in Cannon’s ruling. It’s also the Trump-shaped world in which Cannon operates, with impunity, which we will all have to endure for the foreseeable future. It’s the brutal reality that we may face a steady stream of depraved decisions like Cannon’s for the rest of our lives --- and the pain of hearing from every quarter that nothing can be done to remedy it."

"There are too many things wrong with the Cannon order to litigate," they conclude. "And there are too many things wrong with Trump’s judicial dominion of every part of our lives --- for years to come --- to litigate. So maybe it's time to stop litigating them and start fixing them."

How to start fixing them? Well, that's at the center of my discussion today with Lithwick, beginning with the need for "big-swing structural reform" of our courts and how to start making the noise needed to help make it happen.

Also, we discuss LADY JUSTICE, Lithwick's brand-new book --- hitting "shelves" in just a few days --- which "knits together these stories of extraordinary women lawyers" who "faced unbelievable odds" and "changed the world in the Trump era". Now, she argues, "they could do it again."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on Trump and his party's flagging fortunes, Biden and his party's stunning late-summer ascension...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2022 6:46pm PT  

As the summer season winds down on The BradCast, the contrast between the two major parties, their respective leaders and their prospective near-term fortunes could hardly be more stark, as illustrated by a very lively conversation on today's program. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

On Friday, all eyes were on the release of an unsealed, redacted version of the Dept. of Justice's 38-page affidavit [PDF] used to establish "probable cause" for their unprecedented search of Donald Trump's home, office and storage areas at Mar-a-Lago on August 8.

The bulk of the affidavit was redacted, due to what the DoJ has described as the need to protect "the safety and privacy of a significant number of civilian witnesses" and because "Disclosure of the government's affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations."

What wasn't redacted were a few more specifics on what had largely already been publicly known about the nearly full year effort by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to retrieve highly classified documents that Trump had stolen from the White House upon leaving office. That eventually led to NARA's criminal referral to the DoJ and the FBI search warrant seeking "All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519". (Those statutes refer to the Espionage Act, obstruction, and violations of the Presidential Records Act, among other crimes Trump may have violated, despite a full year and a half of various warnings and polite, quiet attempts by both NARA and DoJ to retrieve the stolen material.)

The new specifics revealed today include that when NARA eventually received the first set of documents --- prior to a grand jury subpoena, a personal visit from the DoJ's top counter-espionage official, and eventually the FBI search in early August --- "FBI agents conducted a preliminary review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET." The unidentified agent who served as the affiant, noted: "Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI [national defense information.]"

Of course, that was all before Trump reportedly handed over another dozen or so boxes of sensitive records in June, following a subpoena and personal visit by DoJ officials, and then the eventual August search in which another 11 sets of highly classified documents were retrieved from "the STORAGE ROOM, FPOTUS's residential suite, Pine Hall, the '45 Office,' and other spaces within the PREMISES." The affiant notes: "I do not believe that any spaces within the PREMISES have been authorized for the storage of classified information at least since the end of FPOTUS 's Presidential Administration on January 20, 2021."

That news on Friday --- just the latest mind-blowing development in multiple concurrent criminal investigations of the former President of the United States --- followed (and, in many cases, over-shadowed) the extraordinary run of late summer successes by President Biden and the Democrats.

It also comes the day after Biden offered a 27-minute stem-winder of a rally speech for the DNC in Rockville, Maryland, leading many to wonder: "Hey, where has that guy been all this time?!" We share a wholly unsatisfactory 6 minutes or so today from his lengthy, barn-burner remarks, in which he detailed his accomplishments and unsparingly took on the "semi-fascism" of Republicans and the former President in no uncertain terms. ("Guess what? MAGA Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women. ... Let me tell you something: They are about to find out.")

We're joined today to discuss all of this by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Earlier this summer, she served as our anchor panelist following all 8 of the hearings by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 election. And yet, since her last appearance in July, it seems we've all learned about an entirely new and massive criminal scandal that Trump has completely brought upon himself!

"What in the world was he doing with these documents? What was the purpose of it?," she joins us and the rest of the world in still wondering. "Whatever he planned to do with this stuff, it's very, very dangerous stuff."

"Donald Trump apparently has now bought into his own hype that he is still the legitimate President, and he's basically like Napoleon in exile on Elba," quips Parton. "Somehow or other he convinced himself that that meant that he had the same protections he had as President, and that has given him this sense that they can't touch him because of his position."

But now, she observes, Trump is "just dancing as fast as he can." Parton explains why she believes that, of all the probes now closing in on him, the discovery of hundreds of pages of highly classified national security documents at Mar-a-Lago will be the worst for him. "And here's the reason: Nothing shows more chutzpah and gall than this man --- the man who led the 'Lock Her Up' chants for the last 5 years saying that Hillary Clinton needed to be put into jail for mishandling classified information --- the fact that this guy did what he did in light of that, it's almost to much to bear."

"On a political level," Parton adds, "I think this one hits him in a way --- it shouldn't be that way, it should be the coup --- but this one is simple, easy to understand, and it's so incredibly galling that he would have done this under the circumstances."

That, by way of contrast with our current, not-insane President and his party's, by any measure, historic achievements in recent weeks. "I don't know but it seems to me that Dark Brandon is rising here... [Digby explains that reference for those who may be unfamiliar with the latest social media meme by Biden fans] ...in light of all of the successes that he's had legislatively in the last few months, it's been a rather stunning success story, honestly. I'm not a big Joe Biden pat-on-the-back person, but I am really surprised that under very difficult circumstances, with a very, very narrow majority, dealing with divas like Sinema and Manchin, and having to come up against a very low approval rating and a rightwing that's gone completely nuts out-of-its-mind bonkers, this Administration has managed to pass a whole lot of really important, big legislation."

But, as she also writes about at Salon today, the Republicans' biggest problem is the backlash to their "very, very far right, radical anti-abortion zealotry" and the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. That, she argues, has cost them dearly at the ballot box since the late June Dobbs decision. But, while Parton believes the GOP will pay a huge price for their anti-choice advocacy in "red" and "blue" states alike this November, she explains why it's also "going to haunt them for a long time to come."

All of that and much much more with Parton on today's program --- including thoughts on the GOP's attempted Jedi Mind Trick regarding Biden's landmark forgiveness of as much as $20,000 in student loan debt for tens of millions of low and middle-income Americans on Thursday!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

* * * NOTE: We will be standing down from The BradCast (and Green News Report) next week until after Labor Day for an attempt at some much-needed R&R before Congress reconvenes, more J6 hearings get under way, new indictments come down and midterm season begins in earnest. That means, of course, that there will most likely be huge, earth-shaking news occurring next week while we're gone. So, please buckle up and stay safe until our return!

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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: Longtime accountability journalist and media critic Dan Froomkin; Also: MD's GOP Guv says GOP Guv nominee 'not mentally stable'; Top Trump staffers say declassification order 'complete fiction'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/19/2022 6:51pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Our U.S. corporate media are still cowed by the radical Right and still failing in their Constitutional mandate to inform and educate the electorate; a few quick items from the UNconventional Times files in advance of the 2022 midterms; and a much-needed new tune to leave you whistling on the way out. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, as I've long argued on this program, it's a mistake to buy into the political punditry of Conventional Wisdom that Dems will taking a beating this November. While the climb is still an uphill one for them this year --- particularly in the House --- polling is now bearing out my warning from months ago to ignore Conventional Wisdom in these decidedly UNconventional times. Some brief new exhibits for that case today: Maryland's popular, termed-out Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is describing Dan Cox, the state's Trump-endorsed GOP nominee for Hogan's job, as "not mentally stable", and "a nut" who has "no chance whatsoever" of winning the Governorship.

Further harming GOP odds this year, Trump's ever-worsening legal woes. As CNN reported last night, there are now 18 former top Trump Administration officials --- from two Chiefs of Staff to key military and intel officials --- who tell the news net that the disgraced former President's claim to have had a "standing order" that any documents he left the Oval Office with were immediately declassified is "ludicrous," "ridiculous," "a complete fiction" and worse.

CNN's exclusive reporting, however, never makes clear to readers that, whether or not the highly sensitive national security documents were declassified or not, doesn't actually matter. It was still unlawful for Trump to have stolen them when leaving the White House. That is a fact no matter the classification status of those documents or any other material that he stole upon leaving office last year.

Why are they so afraid to use a 100% accurate description like "stole" when describing what Trump stole from the White House? Or, as we've discussed on many previous shows, simply using plain language to describe Trump's many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election? (He wasn't trying to "undermine" or "reverse" or "overturn" the results, he was trying to STEAL the election!) Our guest today has some thoughts on all of that and more. He joins us the day after news broke that new management at CNN is cancelling Reliable Sources, the only legitimate media criticism program on cable or broadcast TV news, as hosted by Brian Stelter for 9 years at the end of its 30-year run.

We're delighted to welcome today longtime media critic and former corporate media "insider", DAN FROOMKIN, who served 12 years heading up Washington Post's popular "White House Watch" blog during the George W. Bush era (before he was unceremoniously let go for being too good at it), after which he moved to Huff Post and then The Intercept and is now the editor and creator of the Press Watch newsletter and website.

Our conversation follows on CNN's axing of Reliable Sources, as well as recent headlines from major media outlets that horrifically mislead the public or pull punches in order to "both sides" facts that they clearly see as as politically controversial, no matter how true they happen to be. One example, as cited by NYU media critic Jay Rosen last week, Washington Post's "Garland vowed to depoliticize Justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago." And another deconstructed this week by media critic James Fallows on the New York Times' "Even on Biden's Big Day, He's Still in Trump's Long Shadow."

We cover a lot of ground on all of the above and more with Froomkin today. But, a few key quotes...

On Stelter and CNN: "It's a terrible indicator about what CNN is doing and where it's going. ....It's a huge loss for CNN and a huge win for Fox because Stelter was really one of the few in mainstream media who was willing to say that Fox News was all about spreading malicious lies and poisoning the politics of our country. ... I think the reason he was canned was because he was basically the number one target of the rightwing media." Froomkin describes the move as "clearly a sacrifice on the altar of rightwing media," likely at the behest of a major stockholder ("John Malone, the cable company monopolist") of CNN's new owner following the recent merger and reorganization of Warner Bros. and Discovery.

On the lack of Public Editors/Ombudsmen at major corporate outlets like NYT and WaPo: "Public Editors were an incredibly valuable thing...then they were all ditched. The excuse was hysterically funny. The excuse from the New York Times publisher was, 'We don't need a public editor anymore, because we have social media.' That has a certain sense to it, except you look at what they've been doing the last ten years. They've been scrupulously ignoring social media, mocking social media criticism of themselves. They've been incredibly defensive about anything anyone tweets about them. And they've now passed all of these rules telling reporters what they're allowed to tweet and not allowed to tweet, and one of the things they're not allowed to tweet is any criticism of the Times or any other journalists. Same rules at the Washington Post. ... I've always hoped that there would be a sort of critical mass of media critics out there who would cumulatively have the heft of one of these Public Editors, but it's never happened. And, as you pointed out, we're becoming fewer and further between."

On other ongoing corporate media failures in the Age of Trump: "The worst example, by far, is the coverage of the January 6 Committee and what's happened since. The singular achievement of that Committee was that it had established, to the satisfaction of pretty much everybody, except for the willfully ignorant, that prosecuting Trump was not a political necessity --- it was a moral necessity. I think that really helped inoculate [Attorney General Merrick] Garland against the perception that what he would be doing would be political. Instead, the FBI does a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago because of documents that [Trump] stole and didn't give back and then lied about giving back, and the press sees this as some sort of a political fight?!"

As to why the bulk of the mainstream media won't use the word "stole" or "steal" as in the indisputable facts regarding the documents Trump stole from the White House or his many attempts to steal the 2020 election: "Unfortunately, the truth has become so politicized in this day and age that simply asserting the truth is seen as political by these people. And they don't want to do that. ... Five years ago, I think everybody in the country would have agreed that trying to steal the Presidential election was a bad thing and whoever did it ought to be held accountable. But it's a little bit like the frog in the pot --- the media has, day after day, normalized what Trump does."

Much more in my fascinating conversation with Froomkin today.

Finally, as promised, we leave you with a long-overdue and much-needed new Randy Rainbow ditty to end yet another impossible week. Enjoy!...

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Guest: Journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: Cheney loses in WY; Murkowski advances in AK, as Palin awaits Ranked Choice Vote count in U.S. House Special Election...
[UPDATED with link to full transcript of interview with Wheeler.]
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2022 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: What you need to know about the stolen national security documents retrieved by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago and the trouble Trump is in. And, about the known results of the strange-world-we-now-live-in primaries and special elections yesterday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, those elections, as based on incomplete and/or unverified results in both states.

The biggest story of last night, of course, was conservative Republican Rep. Liz Cheney's loss to a Trump-backed GOP primary challenger in Wyoming for the state's single, at-large House seat. As expected, Cheney lost bigly to former Never Trumper turned MAGA 2020 election denier Harriet Hageman. What does it all mean going forward for Republicans who wrongly hate Cheney and Democrats who wrongly love her and for the Republican Party itself? Cheney offered some hints, as we discuss, in her graceful concession speech on Tuesday night, promising once again that she "will do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office."

Then, incomplete results from Alaska, where it has always taken a long time to tally them and will take even longer following election reform adopted by state voters in 2020. They now have an open primary system, where the top four vote-getters go on to general elections which become Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) contests among those candidates.

Like Wyoming, Alaska has just one at-large U.S. House district. But there were two elections for it on Tuesday following the death, earlier this year, of Republican Rep. Don Young. He held the seat for 49 years. One was a Special Election to fill the remainder of Young's term through the end of the year, the other was an open primary for a full term beginning in January.

On the Special, Democratic candidate Mary Peltola currently leads Republicans Sarah Palin (yes, that Sarah Palin) and Nick Begich with about 70% of votes tallied as of airtime. However, because it's an RCV election --- in which none of the candidates received more than 50% of first choice votes --- once the first round of counting is complete, the candidate in last place will be removed and their voters' second place choices will be redistributed to the other two candidates. The entire race is then tallied again. We are unlikely to know the final winner until the end of August, but if Peltola wins, she'd be the first Alaskan native to be elected to Congress.

In the open primary for the full House term beginning next year --- featuring nearly 30 candidates --- it appears that all three of the candidates in the Special will also advance to November's general election. The fourth candidate in that contest has yet to be determined as counting continues. In the state's U.S. Senate race, Republican Lisa Murkowski --- who, like Liz Cheney, voted against Trump in his second impeachment --- will advance to the November general, where she will face Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka and two other candidates still to be determined, with just over 70% tallied.

Then, longtime, really smart, independent national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel returns to the show for the first time since the FBI's seizure of highly sensitive and classified national security documents at Mar-a-Lago last week, as stolen from the White House by Donald Trump upon leaving office last year.

As usual, we have a lot to cover with Wheeler, who was busy explaining on Twitter last week before anyone else that we know of --- before the unsealing of the FBI's search warrant detailing "probable cause" of three federal statutes violated by Trump --- that the Dept. of Justice was almost certainly investigating the former President for violations of the Espionage Act. As usual, after the warrant was unsealed, she was proven correct.

Also as usual when Marcy's on, you'll need to tune in for the full story. There is simply no way I can detail all of the critical insight and helpful information she has to offer here. But, among the points she helps clarify and explain along with key context from her years of covering similar cases dealing with the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and the theft of government documents...

  • What each of the three U.S. Criminal Code statutes cited in the warrant means, and the evidence that Trump appears to have blatantly violated each of them.
  • Were there, or were there not, documents including nuclear records found and/or sought in the search, as reported by Washington Post before the warrant and inventory list of retrieved items was unsealed.
  • Are documents sought by the National Archives and DoJ still missing after the search? And/or have they been mutilated or destroyed in violation of federal statutes?
  • Despite a signed declaration by one of Trump's attorneys that all of the highly classified documents and other material stolen from the White House had been returned to the government as of June, in fact, that was proven untrue. Who is the insider that tipped off the DoJ?

Wheeler argues that Trump is likely far more concerned about obstruction charges than even violations of the Espionage Act. Why? "We know that some of the documents that were responsive to subpoenas regarded January 6," she tells me, before suggesting reason to believe that some of the documents Trump was trying to withhold might be related to other crimes of his from farther in the past, such as: obstruction of justice in the Robert Mueller/Russia investigation; his attempt to bribe the Ukrainian President ("We know that the White House counsel didn't provide Congress the fullest version of the 'Perfect Transcript' of the Trump call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. So that's an example of concealing a document that should have been released."); or the transcript regarding the classified Israeli intelligence that Trump gave to the Russian ambassador during an Oval Office meeting ("the documents got altered and disappeared.")

She has much more, including this fresh tidbit regarding obstruction: "There was a leak by one of the rightwing journalists [covering this story] that said, 'People close to Donald say he doesn't have to give [certain documents] over because the Archives will just give it to the January 6 Committee.' I'm like, 'That's a confession of obstruction! He just literally confessed to the elements of the offense for obstruction!' And honestly, Brad, this is something that virtually everyone is missing --- this is the one that Trump is terrified of."

There are many details we still don't not know and more disturbing revelations to come. As Wheeler notes several times, this all likely to get much much worse for Trump. But, she emphasizes, just based on what we already know it's already really really bad for him.

"Every half hour or so," she says, "this flash goes through my brain, and I go, 'Oh my God, Donnie has really, really screwed himself .' There are ways that I can imagine this snowballing that people aren't even grasping at this point. And that is all separate from the question of whether he's taken the nuclear codes and given it to [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman. You don't really need to get ahead of the game here to figure out things are pretty bad."

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Update 8/21/2022: Once again, our friend "Spocko" thought our interview with Marcy's was so important that he created a full text transcript of my interview with her. AI was used to do it, so it may have some inaccuracies in it. Nonetheless, I suspect it may be useful for easier access to the record.

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Guest: Stephanie Foggett of The Soufan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2022 6:53pm PT  

We really do have (at least) two Americas at this point. One America, led by President Joe Biden and his Democratic party in Congress, who have now triumphantly signed into law the largest climate bill in U.S. history, which also includes landmark measures to make healthcare cheaper for tens of millions of Americans. And another America, which is calling for violence, mayhem and murder of American law enforcement officials, and they are led there by the disgraced former President of the United States. We discuss both Americas on today's BradCast. Apologies in advance for the whiplash. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, Joe Biden signed the historic, if somewhat misleadingly named, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a trimmed down version of his Build Back Better Act which was blocked by all 50 Senate Republicans and two Democrat last year. The IRA, however, includes some $400 billion to finally begin tackling climate change and moving the nation from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy; institutes a $2,000 annual cap on prescription drug costs for seniors; allows Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prices with drug companies for the first time ever; and increases taxes on hugely profitable corporations that currently pay no taxes at all. It also helps pays down the deficit and a bunch of other things.

It was passed in both chambers of Congress, where Democrats hold the thinnest of majorities in each, without one single Republican vote, as the President took pains to note during his White House signing ceremony today.

"Let’s be clear," Biden said, "In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one. In fact, big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill. A hundred million dollars. And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill."

"We’re delivering results for the American people," the President boasted. "We didn’t tear down; we built up. We didn’t look back; we looked forward. And today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning."

"I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country," Biden said. "I’m not one of them. I believe in the promise of America. I believe in the future of this country. I believe in the very soul of this nation. And most of all, I believe in you, the American people."

As to those who do "hold a dark and despairing view of this country," many of them have been showing their true, dark colors over the past week since the FBI obtained a lawful warrant to search Donald Trump's Florida compound for highly classified and sensitive national security documents that he stole from the White House upon leaving office last year.

After Trump revealed the search publicly last week, using rhetoric seemingly chosen to incite violence --- falsely citing "prosecutorial misconduct," "weaponization of the Justice System," describing the U.S. as a "broken, Third-World Country" --- there has been what the DHS and FBI described in a bulletin last week as an "unprecedented" number of "violent threats" against federal law enforcement, courts and government personnel and facilities.

"These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards," the bulletin warns. It was published the day after a Donald Trump supporter was killed following his attempt to attack an FBI field office in Ohio with a nail gun and an AR-15, and as another Trump supporter was taken into custody and charged for issuing graphic calls to "slaughter" federal officers on several different social media cites.

And while threats on far-right, neo-Nazi Internet sites reportedly spiked following Trump's announcement of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, it has also spiked on "mainstream" Rightwing media outlets like Fox "News", where the rhetoric --- from many of its prime time hosts and elected Republican officials alike --- has become hauntingly similar to that found on the darkest, far-right cesspools of the Internet.

We're joined today by STEPHANIE FOGGETT, a Research Fellow at The Soufan Center and Director of Global Communications at The Soufan Group, where her areas of expertise include terrorism, online extremism and the rise of white supremacy. She has a great deal of perspective to offer on this issue.

"This rhetoric is alarming, but it is not surprising, especially given the online spaces and activity that I watch every day," she tells me. "I monitor the darkest and most violent corners of this information ecosystem, and I really think, above all, it's important to know that these threats and attacks on law enforcement, they're not coming out of a vacuum."

Indeed, as Matt Gertz at Media Matters observed last week "Fox and other right-wing outlets describe the search as 'the worst attack on this republic in modern history,' part of a 'preemptive coup' to prevent Trump’s reelection, and a sign the country is now a 'tyranny.' They say the FBI is acting like 'the East German Stasi in the Cold War' and the Nazi 'Gestapo,' and call its agents part of a 'lawless criminal organization' that 'planted evidence,' bugged Trump’s bedroom, and may be planning his 'assassination.'"

"And they are quick to tell their viewers that they should fear their own persecution in the wake of the search," Gertz writes. "According to right-wing outlets, 'the real target of this investigation is you'." Just last night, Tucker Carlson, the most popular host on the nation's most popular cable "news" outlet, told viewers that President Biden is now "declar[ing] war on his own population."

"It's rinsing and repeating narratives and concerns that we saw with the Stop the Steal campaign and things like that," Foggett explains. "It's really tapping into this narrative on the far-right that if they can go after a President they will be able to come after you one day."

She worries even more "about what comes next," while offering both historical context for this current moment --- in which "every agency in America, from intelligence agencies to law enforcement agencies [have] come to the assessment that the far-right and domestic extremism is the greatest threat that America is facing today" --- and ways in which responsible Americans can respond in hopes of decreasing the threat.

"It is tricky, and there is no silver bullet. There's no one single thing that can be done to address this," Foggett asserts, before describing how individuals can be mindful of what they share online --- stuff that is meant to go viral with misleading messages --- and how "it's really about individuals in positions of power to be much more careful about the things that they say, and how they interact with the violence that this movement promises."

In short, solving this problem won't be easy, and things may get much worse before they get better. But there are ways to educate Americans about these now main-streamed extremists and ways to "isolate them by rejecting them, by ignoring them, and by denouncing them."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the Democrats' historic climate bill and several alarming new reports underscoring how the measure has finally become law not a moment too soon...

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Fallout from FBI retrieval of stolen, classified docs at Mar-a-Lago; Also: FBI, DHS warn of 'unprecedented' threats; Giuliani now a 'target', Graham must testify in GA election theft probe; Report: Trump Org CFO to plead 'guilty' in NY; Callers speculate on Trump's theft of NatSec docs...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2022 6:06pm PT  

At this point on The BradCast we can barely keep up with it all, as the years-long (and continuing) Trump Crime Spree continues to collapse and implode onto itself. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the too many stories covered on today's program...

  • Author Salman Rushdie off ventilator, able to talk, and still in critical condition, but "on road to recovery", according to his agent, following his stabbing on Friday in western New York state.
  • Federal court rejects Sen. Lindsey Graham's attempt to avoid grand jury subpoena for testimony in Fulton County, Georgia's probe of Trump's 2020 election theft conspiracy in the Peach State. Unless he can wriggle out of it somehow, he is scheduled to be deposed next Tuesday.
  • FBI and DHS issue joint bulletin over the weekend citing "unprecedented" threats to law enforcement and other government officials from the far-right Trump World following last week's warranted FBI search at Mar-a-Lago and retrieval of stolen, highly classified national security documents stolen from the White House by Trump.
  • Congressional Republicans, now unable to defend Trump's theft of documents, demand instead that DoJ release the sealed affidavit from last week's federal court-approved warrant finding "probable cause" that Trump may have violated at least three federal laws (retaining or destroying federal documents; obstructing government proceedings; violating the Espionage Act).
  • In Monday court filing, DoJ argues against release of the Mar-a-Lago affidavit, arguing "Disclosure of the warrant affidavit would irreparably harm the government's ongoing criminal investigation" and would "likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations." [Emphasis mine.]
  • Over the weekend, NYTimes reported that a Trump lawyer signed a certification in June that all classified materials taken by Trump had been returned. That was not true, as the 11 sets of classified documents retrieved last Monday revealed. The false assertion by a Trump attorney came after nearly a year and a half of discrete efforts by the National Archives and DoJ to retrieve the documents. The paper also reported security camera footage from inside Mar-a-Lago revealed that, just after Team Trump was contacted by the DoJ, boxes were moved into and out of the storage area where Trump unlawfully kept the classified records in a basement storage area at the hotel.
  • Mid-show, NBC reported that the Trump Organization's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, was preparing to plead guilty in the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal fraud charges filed against both him and Trump's family business last year. NYTimes is now reporting that, under the plea agreement, Weisselberg will face just 5 months in prison and will not be cooperating with the prosecution against Trump or his family.
  • Finally, callers ring in with their own speculation on why they believe Donald Trump was hording those national security documents and refusing for a year and half to give them back. Also, on whether he will finally be held accountable for that and the rest of his endless criming...

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Guest: Climate and energy journalist David Roberts of Volts...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2022 5:21pm PT  

On some days, there is more huge news than others. This is about 10 of those days. With not one, but two absolute blockbuster stories jammed into today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show posted below this summary.]

On Friday, a federal judge unsealed the warrant obtained by the FBI and DOJ to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound for classified documents earlier this week. We have now learned that law enforcement officials collected some 11 sets of classified documents from the former President's Florida residence on Monday. Several of them were marked "TOP SECRET/SCI" (Sensitive Compartmented Information), the highest level of security classification. That's an even higher level of secrecy than merely "Top Secret". In all, agents collected four sets of "top secret" docs, three sets of "secret" docs and three marked "confidential", the lowest classification. (The latter, akin to the classification level of a handful of emails sent to Hillary Clinton's private email server when she served as Sec. of State.)

It is currently unknown if any of the sensitive and highly classified documents regarded nuclear secrets or not, as Washington Post reported exclusively on Thursday night.

But the arguably larger blockbuster part of this news is the specific crimes detailed in the warrant, for which DOJ officials sought it in the first place and for which they were required to show "probable cause" to the federal judge. Specially, the warrant reveals that Trump was being investigated for at least three different violations of the United States criminal code. As the Times' Charlie Savage summarizes: "Section 793, better known as the Espionage Act, which covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary; Section 1519, which covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings; and Section 2071, which covers the unlawful removal of government records."

"Notably," Savage adds, "none of those laws turn on whether information was deemed to be unclassified." That is important, of course, because the Trumpers have been claiming over the last day or so that the disgraced former President declassified all the materials before he stole them from the White House. In fact, whether he did or didn't (and that is likely to be of MUCH dispute), it may not matter when prosecuting the Espionage Act, as well as Obstruction, and the Unlawful Removal of Government Documents.

For the record, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death in 1953 for violations of the Espionage Act.

While all of that is blockbuster enough for one show, receiving much less coverage today is a another of arguably even greater consequence: Democrats (and ONLY Democrats) in the U.S. House on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act, including a landmark $370 billion investment to battle climate change. It is the largest such single investment in history by any nation. Moreover the Act includes a ton of other longtime progressive priorities, such as the ability to negotiate Medicare drug prices with Big Pharma, price caps on prescriptions for the elderly, the expansion of Obamacare premium subsidies, new taxes on hugely profitable corporations currently paying zero in taxes and much more. It even puts hundreds of billions toward deficit reduction.

The historic measure, the central pillar of Joe Biden and the Democrats' economic agenda, was passed last weekend in the Senate, also with zero Republican votes, and now heads to the President for his signature.

We are joined today by the great DAVID ROBERTS, who has spent too many years writing about the confluence of politics, climate and energy for many different publications. He now publishes the Volts newsletter and podcast after having joined us at various times over the past 15 years or so to discuss climate matters and what, until now, had been a bevy of failed federal climate and energy policies. Today, however, for the first time, we've got something very real to celebrate which, he suggests, is likely to be a game changer in the fight to mitigate climate change.

"The shortest way to put it," he tells me, in response to my request for his top-line reaction to this bill, "If you recall Obama's stimulus bill, it contained about $90 billion for clean energy. That bill is responsible for kicking off an absolute firestorm of growth in both those markets [solar and wind], basically helping to bring their costs down below fossil fuels and revolutionizing the US energy landscape. That was $90 billion mostly on wind and solar. Now we're talking about $370 BILLION on wind, solar, hydrogen, batteries, go on down the list. So just the math of it, this is going to spur another revolution in US energy."

We discuss the various mechanisms by which this sprawling new law will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 which he sees as likely a minimum of cuts in the deadly pollution driving our worsening climate crisis. All of which, he describes as "miraculous," given the surprising way it all came about just days ago.

"As you know, about a week ago we were staring in the face of a big goose egg from Congress, a big nothing," Roberts recalls. But that changed when Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck a deal after secret negotiations with, of all people, Sen. Joe Manchin from the coal state of West Virginia. "So this really is the difference between almost total failure on climate and something very close to the level of success that I would have hoped for and dreamed for."

Roberts walks through several of the key points in the bill that he believes will make the greatest difference in our efforts to cut emissions at the federal as well as state and local level.

"One of the most important aspects of this bill is the transformative effects it's going to have on our political economy. It's going to change politics," he argues. "I like to draw the analogy with the defense industry in the US. They are horrific and evil, but they are very savvy in one way, which is that they spread their investments across all 50 states. So then you have 50 states defending defense spending --- which is obnoxious, but it's a good strategy." It's one that he believes will now be echoed in the renewable energy industry, making it much harder to kill in the future, even in --- and, perhaps especially in --- "red" states.

Roberts also concurs with the explanation climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann offered on this show earlier this week, when explained how the bill's incentives work, largely by turning "carrots" (financial incentives) to encourage renewable energy production into "sticks" that will ultimately take down the deadly fossil fuel industry now that they will face real, cleaner and cheaper competition.

"It's a giant bag of carrots," Roberts quips. "The idea, the theory of change, is that these carrots will accelerate the development of renewable energy even further, even faster, and it's going to undercut the economics of fossil fuels even further, even faster. And so fossil fuels are just going to lose on the market." He goes on to add this key point: "One of the things the models find is this bill is going to cause a net reduction in US demand for oil and gasoline for the first time ever. Ever!"

Of course, there are some progressives who have been critical of the bill's giveaways to the fossil fuel industry, included in the 755-page measure in order to win the needed 50th vote in the Senate of Joe Manchin. Those measures "suck," Roberts concurs, even as many on the left have been (purposely?) misinformed about some of those provisions.

"In the grand scheme of things, in the big picture, they are relatively marginal compared to the massive, massive boost that this is going to give clean energy, and the massive amount of emissions it's going to reduce. There is no credible argument otherwise. This is absolutely a net win."

So, yeah. An absolutely historic day --- on at least two remarkable stories...

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Rightwing political violence stirs after former Prez lied about 'siege' at Mar-a-Lago; Also: Midterm elections continue to trend toward Dems...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2022 6:13pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: We are now learning even more about what Trump didn't bother to tell his followers when he played the victim card on Monday following the FBI's search at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida. It's becoming difficult to avoid the pretty clear conclusion that he is now simply hoping to foster political violence as the walls, the truth, and accountability close in on him. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up today, here's the original video version of the Lincoln Project's amusing new ad, hoping to get inside Trump's head and make him wonder who must be the reported "insider" that tipped off investigators about stolen national security documents Trump was believed to have been keeping at Mar-a-Lago.

Before diving fully back into the latest news following Monday's Mar-a-Lago search and the reasons for it, we've got just a bit of encouraging news for Democrats and democracy lovers amid these decidedly UNconventional times. Today, a brief look at polling numbers trending toward Dems in this November's mid-terms, particularly for the U.S. Senate, and how best to make sense of that data.

Then, after days of media speculation and parroting of misleading claims sourced largely Trump and his attorneys, some clearer, more plausible and better sourced details are finally beginning to emerge from several outlets regarding what actually happened at Mar-a-Lago, and why the FBI decided they needed to obtain a warrant from a federal court to execute their search of Trump's property.

CNN sums much of it up well. But, long story short, after days of Trump and his gullible minions (including, shamefully enough, a bunch of top elected Republican officials) whining that the DoJ should have first taken less aggressive and invasive steps to get at whatever they were looking for, it turns out, DoJ very much already did!

Following a criminal referral from the National Archives in January, charging that incredibly sensitive national security documents had been stolen by Trump when he left office, a grand jury subpoenaed him for those documents in June. Top DoJ officials also visited Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump and his attorneys around the same time to get the documents back. But while some were reportedly returned, others were not, according to both an insider and security surveillance video from inside Mar-a-Lago, reportedly turned over by the Trump Organization.

Documents that were withheld from the National Archives, and said to be of a highly classified nature, were also reportedly stored in the unsecured basement at Trump's South Florida resort.

All of that, as Trump has been out-and-out hoping to scam the public and his supporters (I know, shocking!) by falsely portraying himself as the victim of outrageous "prosecutorial misconduct," "the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats." All part of little more than a "political witch hunt" which has resulted in the U.S. having become a "broken, Third-World Country."

Except, if he wanted to prove any of that to be true, as we discussed yesterday with former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason, he could have simply released the warrant he was given by the FBI on Monday, detailing what they were looking for and what crimes they believe may have occurred, along with a full inventory that he was given, listing the documents and other materials that the FBI retrieved from his residence.

Trump could have done all of that. He did none of it.

On Thursday, however, Attorney General Merrick Garland offered brief remarks to announce that DoJ has now asked a federal judge to unseal the warrant, while declaring his support the men and women of the DoJ and FBI who have now been mercilessly targeted by Team Trump over the past week.

The selective release of at least part of the warrant by Trump's attorneys, including the name of the federal magistrate judge who signed it, has resulted in anti-Semitic slurs and calls for extreme violence against the judge and his family. Some have even been posted to Trump's own social media outlet.

It's difficult to believe that political violence isn't the whole point of what the disgraced former President is now doing, as the walls continued to close in on him. An attempted attack at an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio today, by a man with body armor, a nail-gun and an AR-15, would seem to underscore that. (Shortly after airtime, it was reported that the man, injured in a gunfight as he fled but still on the run as of airtime, had been killed by authorities. Also, that the man had attended Trump's January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.)

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the deadly effects of our climate emergency quickly worsen around the world; elected Republican officials in the U.S. are found to have been conspiring to punish private companies working to curb carbon emissions; and at least one country with a long history of denialism among its rightwing elected class (other than the U.S.), is finally getting on board to cut greenhouse gas emissions after voters recently elected non-deniers to take control of its government...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney, Randall D. Eliason; Also: Inflation slowing?; Noteworthy primary results from CT, MN, VT, WI (and WA)...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2022 5:57pm PT  

Remember during the 2016 Presidential election when Donald Trump repeated over and over how only mobsters plead the Fifth Amendment? Yeah, so does he, as discussed on today's BradCast . And yet, he repeatedly took the Fifth for some four hours in a row during his deposition in New York today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to those details and the related story of the FBI search at Trump's home in Florida on Monday...Good news for Americans is, of course, bad news for Republicans. According to new numbers released by the Department of Labor on Wednesday, inflation may now be slowing, along with gas prices which fell in July by roughly 20%. Obviously, that is completely thanks to the brilliant policies of President Joe Biden. (It's not, but since the GOP blamed him for inflation and the rise in prices at the pump, it seems only fair to give him all the credit when the numbers go the other way.)

Next, our highly selective and curated coverage of noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in four states --- Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. (And one last noteworthy race called from last week's primary in the state of Washington.) Here too, good news for far-right MAGA Republican voters may turn out to be very bad news for them in November. If not, it's likely to be very bad news for American democracy in advance of the 2024 elections. Many of Trump's endorsed candidates, all of whom are 2020 election deniers, are winning GOP nominations for offices likely to be critical during the 2024 Presidential election, if those candidates are successful in the 2022 election. We cover a bunch of them today, with appropriate warnings, along with a number of the encouraging Democratic victories on Tuesday.

Then, Trump's horrible, no good, very VERY bad week continues to get worse. Of course, that is good news for the bulk of Americans who actually do believe in law and order and accountability and stuff. On Wednesday, Trump finally sat down for the under oath deposition he has fought so hard against in New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil probe into his and the Trump Organization's years of apparent bank, tax and insurance fraud. For four hours, he repeatedly exercised his Constitutional Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, despite claiming for years --- or, at least while he was running for President in 2016 --- that doing so is "horrible, horrible, horrible" and "disgraceful" because "if you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

(As it turns out, Trump invoked the Fifth nearly 100 times during his 1990 divorce deposition as well. His own kid, Eric, one of the titular heads of the Trump Organization while Trump was in office, invoked the privilege more than 500 times when he was deposed in the James' probe back in 2020. And, over the past several days, two of his other kids, Don Jr. and Ivanka, were also reportedly deposed. Any guess what they might have done?)

All of this, of course, comes on the heels of the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, though we still don't actually know what they were looking for nor which of the several federal criminal investigations Trump is the focus of it pertained to. Trump does. It says as much on the warrant he has in his possession. He's just not telling anyone, while describing the matter (as usual) as a "political witch hunt" and declaring that it means the U.S. is now a "broken, Third-World Country."

We're joined today for some really helpful insight into both of these ongoing cases by former Asst. U.S. Attorney in D.C. and chief of the DoJ Public Corruption/Government Fraud section, RANDALL D. ELIASON.

As usual, Eliason, who now teaches law with a focus on white collar crime at George Washington University Law School, is able to offer clear, straight-forward facts on what much of cable news has been speculating about over the past 72 hours or so.

For example, what's the difference between a "raid", as Trump and many on the Right are describing what happened in South Florida on Monday, and the lawful exercise of a search warrant, approved by a federal judge? "I'm not sure if there is a universally agreed-upon definition of a raid," he explains, "but I think the most likely definition is it's a raid if it happens to you."

In response to the reports of Trump pleading the Fifth in his NY fraud case, Eliason doesn't think it's "terribly surprising, given what we know" about both the case and the former President, but he goes on to lay out both the difference between a civil case (such as the James') and a criminal probe, and how the Fifth Amendment can be used against Trump in the former, but not the latter, even if it may help criminal prosecutors, like the Manhattan District Attorney, identify where the disgraced former President himself believes he has potentially committed a crime.

Eliason explains what material would be revealed by the portion of the FBI search warrant from Mar-a-Lago that is now in Trump's possession, even as he is refusing to disclose it. "It has to cite the statutes that the investigators believe might have been violated," he says, while noting that there is nothing that legally prevents Trump from releasing it tothe public. Also, he asserts, Trump would, by now, "have an inventory of what was seized" by the FBI, even if he has also failed to release that information as well, despite his many claims of innocence and being a victim.

We also discuss the hurdles that would have to have been cleared by Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray, Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as the federal magistrate judge who finally approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. (Eliason also breaks down the difference between a federal judge and a federal magistrate judge, who Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio suggested on Fox "News" last night, isn't actually a real judge.)

"Given the outcry that you know was going to result from this, and that we've actually seen, you'd want something far beyond just 'probable cause'," argues Eliason, a contributing columnist at the Washington Post and at his own Sidebars Blog. "The DoJ is not going to do this in a marginal case. Before taking this kind of extraordinary, unprecedented step, they're going to really be sure they've got substantial proof, and that it's something really important that they're going after."

As far as what they're "going after"? Well, nobody --- other than Trump, his attorneys and the FBI, DoJ and a federal judge --- actually knows at this point. There has been much TrumpWorld-sourced reportage that this all has something to do with the more than 15 boxes of Presidential Records, many of them highly classified, according to the National Archives, that Trump absconded with to Florida after leaving the White House. But none of that is actually confirmed.

I convince the usually quite careful Eliason to offer his own speculation about what the FBI could be looking for that would involve such a monumental and politically fraught step as obtaining a search warrant for the home of a former President. "Most people are speculating about these crimes that involve Presidential Records," he says. "If that's all it was, and it was relatively routine stuff, I would be surprised that they'd take this kind of step. That makes me think either the documents themselves are something extraordinarily sensitive, and potentially dangerous to national security, or that there's something else going on."

What might that "something else" be, according to Eliason? For that, you'll need to tune in...

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Also: Important late results from last week's AZ and WA primaries; MI's GOP A.G. nominee facing criminal probe; Federal appeals court approves release of Trump tax returns to Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2022 7:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the unprecedented breadth of the late-breaking news on Monday, we know remarkably little so far about what actually happened at Donald Trump's Florida estate and why it happened. Not that that has prevented anyone in these United States from speculating about it since then. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The news of the FBI's Monday search of Mar-a-Lago literally broke about one second after we signed off from Monday's show and, like the rest of the nation, we've been trying to make sense of it ever since. But, before we get there today, a few other news items of note that are being buried under all of the rest of the news items of note.

Today was primary election day in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Happily, so far, we've heard few reports of problems for voters at the polls. As usual, we'll have noteworthy results on tomorrow's show.

There are, however, several important results from last week's primaries in several states that were "called" by the media over the weekend, and some that are still too close to call. Most noteworthy is the weekend call for the GOP Gubernatorial nomination in Arizona, where far-right, Trump-endorsed 2020 election denialist and former TV news anchor Kari Lake was declared the winner. She'll now face off with Democratic nominee, Sec. of State Katie Hobbs in November. Like AZ's Republican nominee for Sec. of State, Mark Finchem --- and despite all counts and recounts confirming Joe Biden's victory there in 2020 --- Lake has said she wouldn't have certified the state's electors in 2020 for the guy who voters actually chose. That makes both her race for Governor and Finchem's for SoS among the most critical contests in the nation this November, in advance of the 2024 Presidential election. (Finchem will face the Democratic nominee, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes in the SoS contest in the fall.)

The entire top of the ticket in Michigan is similarly perilous this year, with Republicans having nominated Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers and conspiracy loons to take on all three Democratic incumbents for Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. Reuters, however, broke the exclusive news this week that the state's GOP Attorney General nominee, Matthew DePerno, "led a team that gained unauthorized access to voting equipment while hunting for evidence to support former President Donald Trump’s false election-fraud claims." That now places DePerno --- seeking to become the state's chief law enforcement officer --- squarely at the center of Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel's criminal probe of several such incidents in MI following the 2020 election, as based on criminal referrals by Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson. It also means Nessel will now likely need to recuse herself and her office from probing her own November challenger. Over the weekend, at a CPAC rally in Dallas, Trump praised DePerno, ironically vowing that "he's going to make sure that you are going to have law and order and fair elections."

The reported unlawful breach of sensitive voting system software by DePerno is now added to a growing list of similar incidents across the country, such as Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, Tina Peters (who has been charged with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her own election fraud related breach of her county's voting system software) and the GOP Board of Elections in Coffee County, Georgia (who allegedly allowed a similar breach of the voting system there, followed by an apparent cover-up of the incident by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger.)

Then, we get to Trump's no good, very very bad week, as news broke this afternoon that a three-judge federal appeals court panel in D.C. decided unanimously that, yes, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee may indeed have access to Trump's tax returns. This is part of a years-long legal battle, where Trump now has just two appeals options left.

But that problem likely pales in comparison for the disgraced former President to what happened at Trump's South Florida home on Monday, while he was in New York to give a sworn deposition to the state Attorney General, Letitia James, who is investigating him, his kids and his Trump Organization for tax, bank and insurance fraud.

As you've heard by now, the FBI, headed by Trump-appointee Christopher Wray, executed a warrant from a federal judge to search Mar-a-Lago. For what? We do not actually know, though there has been much reporting that it is related to Trump taking at least 15 boxes of Presidential Records, much of them reportedly highly classified, with him to Florida after leaving office.

Most of what we know about what happened Monday comes from either Trump himself or "sources" most likely very close to him, likely describing the matter in the best possible light for him. Trump himself was among the first to confirm the news of the search, misleadingly describing it as a "raid" and declaring Mar-a-Lago "under siege", thanks to "prosecutorial misconduct" and "the weaponization of the Justice System."

"Such an assault," he wrote in his lengthy statement, "could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before." Naturally, the entirety of the rightwing media and elected Republicans simply took his word for it, vowing to exact revenge on Attorney General Merrick Garland, Joe Biden and Democrats in general. Fox "News" headlined some of its fair and balanced coverage this way: "Raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home by Biden's politicized FBI means US now a third world country".

Today, we try to break down what is actually known and mostly still unknown about what happened; what kind of trouble Trump could potentially be in, based on the few known facts; and how he could easily prove his (clearly false) claims about it all by simply releasing the search warrant that he would now have, showing why law enforcement was able to obtain the warrant, what they were looking for, and what criminal laws there is "probable cause" to believe he has committed.

What we absolutely do know: This is either a blunder of historic proportions or, far more likely, a matter of monumental criminal importance. Investigators would have had to demonstrate serious probable cause evidence of a very serious crime under way or about to happen --- otherwise Wray, Garland and a federal judge would not all have signed off on the unprecedented action of issuing a warrant to execute a search of the home of a former President of the United States.

What we also now know (as we've been trying to tell you for some time): Garland appears to be doing his job and the walls are continuing to close in on our indescribably corrupt and criminal former President.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with special coverage of the other biggest story of the week (now largely big-footed by the "siege" at Mar-a-Lago), Senate Democrats' long-overdue, unified passage of historic climate change legislation...

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Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, Richard 'RJ' Eskow of 'The Zero Hour'; ALSO: BANNON FOUND GUILTY OF CONTEMPT...
By Brad Friedman on 7/22/2022 5:59pm PT  

On January 6, 2021, then President Donald Trump wound up his supporters, who he knew to be armed, with lies about a stolen election, which he knew to be false, at a rally near the White House. He then pointed them toward the U.S. Capitol with the instruction to "fight like hell". They did. People died. And during the more than three hours of violent attack, as five people would lay dead, hundreds of law enforcement officials injured, and Trump's MAGA mob coming within feet of fleeing lawmakers --- including the Vice President --- the Commander-in-Chief holed up in the dining room near the Oval Office in White House, ordered that no photographs be taken, watched the carnage on TV, and did nothing to stop any of it.

In fact, as the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the insurrection and Trump's many other failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election made clear on Thursday night's Day 8 --- and as we discuss on today's BradCast Special Coverage --- he wasn't bothered in the least by the carnage. It was all part of the plan. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The then-President was informed that the riot was under way at the Capitol just minutes after returning to the White House after his speech to rile up the insurrectionists. He spent the next several hours ignoring his sworn duty and oath of office to defend the nation and Constitution, while rejecting scores of entreaties from advisers, friends, top staffers and legal aides, refusing to take any action to quell his angry, dangerous, armed and disinformed mob. But he did, as the Committee laid out in minute-by-minute detail, call friendly U.S. Senators (some of them, such as MO's Josh Hawley, who were fleeing for their lives after firing up the mob themselves) in hopes of encouraging them to further his plan to steal the election from its rightful victor, Joe Biden, during the joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College vote.

"Trump didn't fail to act," Republican Committee member and Iraq and Afghanistan combat vet Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) charged, "he chose not to act." That, after turning his supporters "love of country into a weapon," as Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) asserted, adding: "Donald Trump made a purposeful choice to violate his oath of office."

It was, according to the evidence presented, the greatest "dereliction of duty" ever committed by a sitting U.S. President. By far.

The hearing was incredibly information-dense. With compelling evidence and testimony --- both live and on video tape --- from dozens of former aides, military and national security officials, White House attorneys, staffers and family members, all detailing Trump's hours-long lack of action. No calls to the military or national security or law enforcement agencies. The violence was the plan all along. He did not want to stop it.

Even the next day, as seen in raw footage from the White House, the loser Trump could not declare that the election was over during a brief, scripted, video-taped address to the nation, in which his emotional instability and seething anger was, at times, laid bare for all to see. (Everyone but Fox "News" viewers anyway. Fox didn't show it to them, choosing to run Sean Hannity's show instead, making fun of Joe Biden for having COVID, even as the Committee was revealing Hannity's own texts to Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, begging him to get the President to take action to stop the attack on the Capitol.)

Perhaps the most chilling moment of the night was the video-taped testimony from an unidentified national security official, his or her voice disguised, detailing how members of VP Mike Pence's Secret Service detail were calling family members, as the mob attacked, to say goodbye, as the officials believed they may not live through the day.

We're joined today by two excellent guest panelists, both old friends and old school bloggers. One, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, has been with us for every one of the Committee's summer series of hearings. (They now promise more in September.) And the other is RICHARD "RJ" ESKOW, longtime columnist and host of The Zero Hour on radio and TV.

The conversation, as always with these two, was spirited and insightful. Eskow has some complaints about the Committee, Parton thinks they are doing a superb job. Both have smart thoughts about what we've learned from the hearings so far, including last night, what we still need to learn much more about in the weeks ahead, and what it all may mean going forward.

And, oh yeah, on Friday, just before airtime, a federal jury found Trump's former aide and campaign chair, Steve Bannon, guilty on both criminal counts of Contempt of Congress, for having ignored lawful subpoenas from the J6 Committee for testimony and documents regarding what he knew about Trump's insurrection. He now faces anywhere from 60 days to 2 years in prison, presuming he isn't able to squirm out on appeal between now and his sentencing in October. Parton explains why she thinks today's verdict may actually become a win for Bannon, who she describes as "MAGA Mandela." We'll see if she's right about that.

Lots to cover on today's lively Special Coverage. Please tune in!...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2022 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Special Coverage of gripping Day 4 public testimony in the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee's investigation of the January 6th insurrection and Donald Trump's repeatedly failed attempts to steal the 2020 election from the American people. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) led the bulk of the questioning of witnesses on Tuesday, observing at one point that "the system held, but barely", thanks to "people of courage, Republicans and Democrats, who put their oath to the country and Constitution above any other consideration."

We may take some issue with part of that on tomorrow's BradCast, with a guest who may rebut at least some of the testimony offered by the two Republican state officials from Georgia who testified on Tuesday, Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger and Deputy Sec. of State (who served as the voting system manager in 2020) Gabriel Sterling. But there should be no question of the selflessness of the two other live witnesses, Arizona's Republican state House Speaker Rusty Bowers and now-former Fulton County, GA election worker Wandrea "Shaye" Moss.

All four of them endured unrelenting and unforgivable attacks and threats and lies from Trump --- and from his attorney Rudy Giuliani and their mobs of thuggish supporters --- in his criminal attempts to fraudulently flip the results of the 2020 election in both of the swing-states focused on today. In the case of Moss in Atlanta, as one of our guests suggests today, she and her mother, Ruby Freeman (and eventually even her grandmother), were targets of nothing less than "a form of terrorism" by the President of the United States. All for the crime, as Moss explained, of "doing my job." It was a job that she loved. For ten years. Because she was able to help people vote. Now, as she testified this afternoon, she's barely able to leave the house, is constantly forced to look over her shoulder more than a year and a half since the election, is afraid to go out with her mother (for fear she might mention her name out loud), has gained 60 pounds, and has left her job for Fulton County that she loved so much. The terror visited on her and her mother was too much to bear.

Moss and Freeman were the targets of the oft-repeated Trump/Giuliani lie that they had hidden ballots in a "suitcase" under a table at the State Farm Arena counting room in Atlanta on Election Night, before "physically" forcing observers and the media to leave the room, and then counting those fraudulent ballots ("all for Joe Biden," as Trump lied) multiple times. All of those claims were easily rebutted lies. All of them. As Raffensperger and Sterling (who both voted for Trump) and even Trump's own advisors told him repeatedly. Trump knew they were lies, even before he continued to repeat them over and over, mentioning Ruby Freeman's name 18 times during his infamous recorded phone call with Raffensperger, threatening him with potential criminal penalties if he didn't "find" 11,780 votes --- one more than Trump needed --- to steal the election from Biden in the Peach State.

Bowers, also a Trump voter in Arizona, faced similar lies --- about hundreds of thousands of votes cast by undocumented immigrants and thousands of dead voters --- as he refused Trump's entreaties to convene a special session of the state legislature in order to select Electors for the disgraced President instead of the ones for Biden that the state's voters actually voted for. Bowers, elected to the state legislature in 1993, refused to violate the law and his sacred oath to both the state and U.S. constitutions.

It was an emotional --- and, at times, harrowing --- day in the hearing room, as the House panel laid out the pathetic story of the loser Trump's relentless attempts to force local officials to do his unlawful bidding, to trick several swing-state Republicans into signing up as fraudulent Electors, and as he threatened those who wouldn't play ball with the violence of his mobs.

We're joined today for our special coverage with smart analysis of the entire hearing by old-school progressive bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast.

"What we're seeing over and over again [is that] Donald Trump was deeply, deeply immersed in this. He was calling these legislators and basically trying to order them to overturn the election on his behalf," Parton observers. "But there is also this undercurrent here that we're seeing through all of this, that this was always leading to violence. The violence was building from the time of the election. What [the Committee] did today, in particular, was talking about the threats of violence to all of these people. [Trump and his supporters] were inciting a form of terrorism against these people."

As Driftglass characterizes the case being laid bare by the Committee to date: "Donald Trump was the ringleader of this. He's the 'don'. He's the man calling the shots, dispatching his men into the field to threaten everybody. This is an army of raptors testing the fence --- 'Where can we find a break?' --- with the intention in mind at all times to retain power by any means necessary. And it was very clear that behind this was a mob of Brownshirts. He made it clear how deeply he was enjoying the idea scaring the crap out of people and ruining their lives for daring to stand in his way of holding onto power."

"Today was heartbreaking," he argues. "How could you be a citizen, love democracy, and watch these two very different people --- this old, bald, white guy, and these lovely African-American mother and daughter --- who go to very different churches, I'm sure, but have the same reverence for the Constitution and fidelity to duty, and believe this is a holy, sacred thing they're doing, and how completely they were undercut by that."

There is, of course, much much more in our coverage today. I hope you'll tune in...

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CISA issues advisory based on sealed expert report in GA voting system lawsuit; Also: We try to open the phones re: upcoming J6 hearings, get waylaid by callers with other matters on their mind...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2022 6:05pm PT  

Like it or not, we're back on today's BradCast! But we've got plenty of trouble-making and muckraking for you today, and even some contentious listener calls for your listening pleasure! [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, some long overdue good news. Though we've been warning, in great detail, over the years (nearly 20 of them, at this point) about the risks of voting on 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems, we now have some good(ish) company. Last Friday, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) issued a public security advisory regarding nine serious vulnerabilities discovered in touchscreen Ballot Marking Devices (BMD) made by Dominion.

The alert comes after the federal agency's review of a sealed report, which a federal court in Georgia allowed CISA to access, created by the University of Michigan's J. Alex Halderman, a longtime cybersecurity and voting systems expert who is serving as an expert witness in the Coalition for Good Governance's long-running lawsuit to block the use of those systems in the state. The Coalition, founded and headed up by frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks, filed suit in 2017 against Georgia's use of touchscreen systems made by Diebold. After the court found those systems to be unverifiable, insecure and, therefore, unconstitutional, the state defied expert advice to move to a hand-marked paper ballot system. Instead, GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger forced all counties in the state to switch to a newer touchscreen BMD system made by Dominion, which has many if not all of the same vulnerabilities as the older systems that were banned by the court.

As part of the Coalition's lawsuit, Halderman was granted access to the Dominion systems and found vulnerabilities so alarming that his report was sealed by the federal judge and even blocked from review by the plaintiffs. Only their attorneys could view the report, until CISA asked to see it in February. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg allowed them access and, after studying the report and notifying the 16 states where Dominion BMDs are used, CISA issued their public alert last week.

"One of the most serious vulnerabilities could allow malicious code to be spread from the election management system to machines throughout a jurisdiction," according to Kate Brumback's excellent coverage at AP. "The vulnerability could be exploited by someone with physical access or by someone who is able to remotely infect other systems that are connected to the internet if election workers then use USB sticks to bring data from an infected system into the election management system."

In the wake of Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 Presidential election being stolen (when, in fact, it was he who was attempting to do so), has led to a rash of election insiders --- the County Clerk in Mesa County, CO, the Board of Elections in Coffee County, GA, to name just two cases --- making secret copies of proprietary voting system software and releasing it to members of the public in an extraordinary security risk for future elections.

The vulnerabilities, according to CISA, could allow manipulation of results in a way that would not necessarily be discovered by most security provisions employed by most jurisdictions which use these terrible types of voting systems. Halderman told AP that he believes it is not only the systems made by Dominion that are vulnerable. Similar touchscreen systems made by ES&S, the nation's largest vendor, are used in many more states across the country, or by Smartmatic, whose touchscreen BMDs are now forced on voters at the polling place here in Los Angeles County, the nation's largest single voting jurisdiction. They all have many of the same design flaws, such as the use of barcodes/QRCodes to tally ballots printed out by the systems, ignoring the human-readable selections printed on the same ballot paper that may or may not have been correctly verified by the voter.

"There are systemic problems with the way election equipment is developed, tested and certified," Halderman told AP, "and I think it’s more likely than not that serious problems would be found in equipment from other vendors if they were subjected to the same kind of testing."

We dive into the details of this long overdue story today, along with recommendations for how voters can maximize the odds are their votes being tallied as per their intent in this year's critical midterm elections. (One key suggestion: Vote on a hand-marked paper ballot if possible! Even if it means using an absentee ballot. Deliver it in person to a dropbox or polling place, if you can!)

Next up, we try to open the phones to callers regarding their hopes for the the upcoming U.S. House select Committee's public hearings, beginning this Thursday, on Donald Trump's January 6, 2021 insurrection and his attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. As it turns out, however, some callers want to discuss election concerns. And, among them, at least one of whom is a terribly disinformed rightwinger who actually believes the 2020 election was stolen. Much fun ensues thereafter! Enjoy!...

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Guest: Election Integrity activist Sherry Healy on Clackamas County, OR's primary election boondoggle; Also: Abbott slashed mental health care in TX before shooting; GOP blocks domestic terror bill in Senate; Trump loses another appeal in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2022 7:10pm PT  

On today's BradCast: More shameful GOP responses to America's continuing mass shooting epidemic; one step closer to some accountability for our corrupt former President; the Republican Party's shameful response to a very close primary election in Pennsylvania; and an unmitigated election disaster for voters continues to hold up a critical U.S. House race two weeks after Oregon's midterm primaries. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • This week in Uvalde, Texas, 19 fourth graders and two teachers were murdered after the shooter at Robb Elementary School had no problem purchasing two semi-automatic rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammo just days after his 18th birthday this month. The state's Republican Gov. Greg Abbott --- who is up for reelection this November --- declared after the massacre that the problem was mental illness and Texas must "do a better job with mental health." But last month, Abbott slashed $221 million from the department overseeing mental health programs in the state which, according to a new study, ranked 50th last year for access to mental health care. That, after Abbott signed bill after bill making it easier for Texans to buy, carry and kill as many people as possible, with high-powered, military-style weapons. (Did I mention that Abbott is up for reelection this November?)
  • It's not only Texas Republicans working hard to make it as easy as possible to kill fellow Americans. Just days after back-to-back-to-back mass shootings in America, Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill in the U.S. Senate meant to help to prevent domestic terrorism. The measure was already adopted by Democrats in the House. Not one single Republican Senator voted in favor. (Several of them will be on the ballot this November.)
  • In somewhat brighter news, a federal judge on Wednesday rejected a lawsuit by gun manufacturers, distributors and retailers which had attempted to block New York's new law allowing those in the firearms industry to be sued by the state, cities and individuals for endangering the public's safety and health. NY Attorney General Letitia James said the judge's ruling offers "a moment of light and hope" following the American carnage of the past two weeks. The trade group representing the domestic terrorism industry, The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), vowed to appeal.
  • In more good NY/Letitia James-related news, a four-judge state appeals court panel today upheld a lower court ruling that Donald Trump and his children Ivanka and Don Jr. must sit for a deposition in James' civil investigation examining the Trumps' "fraudulent" valuation of properties in bank, tax and insurance filings. The Trumps claimed their comments under oath could be used against them in a parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney into many of the same issues. The court agreed. But noted that that's why the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination exists. If the Trumps want, they may invoke it during their depositions, in the same "disgraceful" way, according to Trump, that "only mobsters" use it. Some difficult choices await in the very near future for our disgraced former President.
  • In Pennsylvania, nearly two weeks ago, Trump-endorsed celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz and former hedge-fund CEO Dave McCormick battled to a virtual tie for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination. The winner will run against Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman. As of today, Oz leads McCormick by fewer than 1,000 votes out of more than 1.3 million cast in the Keystone State's GOP primary. This week, McCormick sued in federal court to assure that all legal ballots are counted, including mail-in ballots that arrived on time but have a missing or incorrect date on the secrecy envelope. Another court recently ruled such ballots are valid and must be tallied. The RNC and Pennsylvania Republican Party, however, are intervening against McCormick to prevent those lawful, valid ballots from being tallied in the U.S. Senate primary and are attacking their own candidate, McCormick, for daring to enfranchise all Republican voters. On Wednesday, the state announced there will be an automatic statewide recount in the race, with about one-tenth of one percentage point currently separating the two leading candidates in the unofficial results. The official winner should be named by June 9.
  • Another midterm primary election held on the same day in Oregon, on May 17, has far worse problems. The closely watched U.S. House race in the state's 5th Congressional District between grassroots-supported Democrat Jamie McLeod-Skinner and conservative Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader caused much excitement on Election Night, when McLeod-Skinner appeared on her way to unseating the incumbent Congressman. Then, with about 68% of the vote in, pretty much all of the counting stopped and hasn't moved much, if at all, since then.

    What happened? We're joined today by one of Oregon's longtime Election Integrity activists SHERRY HEALY --- co-founder of the California Election Protection Network, and, more recently, the Chair of the Oregon Democratic Party's Election Integrity caucus --- to explain the disaster in Clackamas County, OR which has held up the tally.

    As she details, a printing problem on the barcodes (used to identify party and precinct) on tens of thousands of the County's vote-by-mail ballots means they cannot be run through the computerized tabulation system. But, rather than count those ballots publicly by hand, the County's longtime beleaguered County Clerk, Sherry Hall (pictured above), decided that those tens of thousands of otherwise valid ballots should be "remade" by hand --- duplicated by election officials --- on separate ballot sheets so they can then be running through the optical scanners for tabulation.

    "This county clerk has a long history of bungled elections," Healy explains. "But this is the Hiroshima of botched elections." Healy details how Hall failed to adequately test the ballots for this problem after receiving them from the printer before sending them out to voters. Moreover, the decision to remake tens of thousands of ballots, rather than simply count them by hand, "imperils" the entire election, she charges.

    Healy calls Hall's decision "absurd" and "insane," explaining that a simple hand-count "would take less time and be more efficient and accurate" than recreating "in excess of 66,000" ballots.

    Hall, a Trump supporter elected to the job back in the Tea Party days about a decade ago, has a long history of problems in her office. Way back in 2012 we reported on an election official in Clackamas who was indicted on six felonies and two misdemeanors after she was found to have secretly filled in unvoted races for Republican candidates on incoming mail-in ballots.

    When Hall announced that the printing error on the ballots made them unscannable, she claimed that it was new deadlines adopted by the state legislature for the receipt of incoming mail ballots that would hold up her county's tally, as opposed to her own failure to test ballots before sending them out. More recently, she denied that she gave permission for a Schrader campaign observer to enter the counting room an hour early, before observers from the McLeod-Skinner campaign had arrived. Then security camera footage was obtained through a public records request revealing she had lied about that.

    It's unknown when the tabulation in Clackamas will finally be complete. The 5th Congressional District primaries on both the Democratic and Republican side remain uncalled, with just over 70% tallied in each almost two weeks after Election Day. (More have come in since air time today.) For now, McLeod-Skinner remains almost 15 points ahead of Schrader. But that could change. In the meantime, there are a whole lot of lessons to be learned from this entire mess, as we discuss with Healy today. (And, yes, Hall is also up for reelection this November.)

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with some disturbing news about this year's hurricane season (it officially begins next week, buckle up). But she's also got some encouraging news about accountability for an upcoming climate fraud trial for ExxonMobil, and the Biden Administration's EPA putting what may be the final nail into the coffin on a longtime controversial proposed mining project in Alaska...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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