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Latest Featured Reports | Monday, January 30, 2023
Trump's 1/6 Attny Eastman Faces CA Disbarment Charges: 'BradCast' 1/30/23
Guest: Former UT Asst. A.G. Michael Teter of The 65 Project; Also: NY D.A. seeking criminal charges against Trump...
Sunday 'Bullet Points' Toons
PDiddie takes aim at the problem in this week's collection of targeted toons...
NJ 2022 Computer Mistally Means Loser Actually Won: 'BradCast' 1/26/2023
Also: 'Doomsday Clock' ticked forward; Opposing war and supporting Ukraine; And, 'Russia, please!'...
'Green News Report' 1/26/23
  w/ Brad & Desi
Spate of new studies find climate impacts escalating; Logging banned (again) in Alaskan rainforest; PLUS: 'Doomsday Clock' moved closer than ever to 'midnight'...
Recent GNRs: 1/24/23 - 1/19/23 - Archives...
Republican Dark Money Group's Multi-Million Dollar 'Grassroots' Vote Suppression Scheme: 'BradCast' 1/25/23
Guest: Brendan Fischer of Documented; Also: My ridiculous, couldn't-be-true Santos theory...
'Decisions are Imminent' in Trump Probe, Says Willis in GA: 'BradCast' 1/24/23
Also: Mass shooting spate; Pence found classified docs at home, returned them; Media still failing on Trump document theft story...
'Green News Report' 1/24/23
CA storm damage tops $1B; Offshore wind doesn't kill whales; Disasters displaced 3.3M in U.S. last year; PLUS: Hand-feeding manatees in FL appears to be saving them...
Callers Ring in on Everything. (Everywhere. All at Once.): 'BradCast' 1/23/23
From the debit limit to Biden/Trump docs to mass shootings to Ukraine and much more...
Million Dollar Sanction Underscores Trump's Seemingly Never-Ending Litigation Grift
Ernest A. Canning on why nothing less than a criminal prosecution will end it. (Maybe.)
Sunday 'Selective Focus' Toons
Keeping priorities straight in PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons...
GOP Targets Ballot Initiatives After 2022 Progressive Wins: 'BradCast' 1/20/23
Guest: Chris Melody Fields Figueredo of Ballot Initiative Strategy Center; Also: Judge orders Trump to pay Hillary, others nearly $1M...
OH's Completely Moderate, Not-Corrupt-At-All Republican Governor: 'BradCast' 1/19/23
Dark money fossil fuel bribery and disen-franchising military voters in the Buckeye State; Also: GOP's dangerous limit debt game...
'Green News Report' 1/19/23
EU's plan to compete with U.S. on renewables; Banks spend billions on fossil fuel despite pledges; PLUS: Dark money led OH to redefine NatGas as 'green energy'...
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...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Special Coverage of panel's final public hearing; Also: Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2022 5:58pm PT  

Well, Merry Christmas from The U.S. House and The BradCast, Mr. Trump! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In their finale hearing on Monday, the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the former President's incitement of insurrection on January 6, 2021 and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, voted unanimously to send criminal referrals for the former President on four different, very serious crimes to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Those criminal referrals include:

  • Obstruction of an official Proceeding. For corruptly attempt to block the peaceful transfer of power at the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. For his efforts to block Joe Biden's victory by lying about fraud, despite being told by all his top White House legal advisors and his own DoJ there was no evidence to support his false claims.
  • Conspiracy to Make a False Statement to Congress. For participating in the scheme to send phony certificates in support of fake Electors on January 6th.
  • Insurrection. For inciting, assisting, or giving aid or comfort to those attempting to overthrow the United States government.

If eventually indicted and found guilty of that final "very grave charge," as Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) described it today, Trump would become ineligible to hold any future federal office.

In our Special Coverage of today's hearing, we step through extended clips highlighting the Committee's case, as presented and summarized on Monday, including additional information from new witnesses interviewed by the panel since their last public hearing in mid-September.

The meeting ended with the presentation of the Committee's final report (Introductory Summary: PDF, HTML) and their unanimous, 9 to 0 vote to send the unprecedented criminal referrals to the DoJ for the former President of the United States, one of his corrupt attorneys (John Eastman) and others.

Whether these referrals result in actual criminal indictments is, of course, a separate matter. But, as discussed today, they will at least force the DoJ to review the evidence of these serious crimes as collected by the Committee from hundreds of witnesses over the past two years.

We close today with a few callers ringing in on what (if anything) happens next, and if these referrals may finally result in real accountability for the unspeakably corrupt Donald John Trump...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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But the accountability is only just beginning...
By Brad Friedman on 12/6/2022 6:04pm PT  

Let's enjoy the good news on today's BradCast --- and we've got quite a bit of it --- because things may or may not be as bright tomorrow, as returns come in from the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia and the corrupt rightwing U.S. Supreme Court hears a case they may use to undermine American democracy as we have known it for more than 200 years. [Audio link to full show follow this summary.]

But, for tonight, at least, there is a whole bunch of good news regarding a whole bunch of bad news for our disgraced former President...which is great news for everyone else...

  • A New York jury in Manhattan took little more than one day to find the Trump Organization guilty of all criminal state tax fraud charges brought against it --- 17 counts in all. That follows its longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg's guilty plea on 15 counts of fraud. He's set to receive about five months in prison after his plea and agreement to testify against the company. A company, however, can't be sentenced to prison, so a fine will be levied instead. But the Manhattan D.A.'s office may have other plans for criminal charges against Donald Trump, which we discuss as well today.
  • Meanwhile, Trump is now claiming that he didn't say what everybody saw him say, when he called for the "termination" of the U.S. Constitution over the weekend. It was, of course, part of his continuing effort to pretend the 2020 Presidential election that he lost was actually stolen from him. More disturbing, however, is the lack of elected Republican officials who, while pretending to be "Constitutional conservatives", are unable to say whether Trump's comments disqualify him from becoming President again.
  • But, back to brighter news as we continue to try and keep track of accountability for at least 56 known criminal violations of law by the former President since he first ran for office. (That doesn't include all of the civil violations, such as the $250 million lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James against him, his company and his three oldest children on state tax fraud violations.) The Manhattan D.A.'s office of Alvin Bragg, which successfully prosecuted the criminal tax fraud cases against the Trump Organization, has made a new hire that suggests the office may be eyeing new criminal charges against Trump himself this time. We 'splain.
  • Also on Tuesday, the Chair of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's many failed attempts to steal the 2020 election, said that the panel will be making criminal referrals to the U.S. Dept. of Justice before year's end. That may or may not be bad news for Trump himself and many others in the MAGA Cinematic Universe. But it almost certainly ain't good news for any of them.
  • Also also on Tuesday, it is being reported that Jack Smith --- newly tapped by Attorney General Merrick Garland as Special Counsel overseeing the DoJ's federal criminal probes into January 6, the documents stolen by Trump from the White House, and any other matters related to either of those cases --- has issued his first subpoenas since taking his new position. Officials in Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona according to Washington Post, as well as in Pennsylvania, as confirmed by AP, have all recently received demands from Smith for "any and all communications with Trump, his campaign, and a long list of aides and allies."

It's going to be a very long rest-of-his-life for Donald Trump --- unless he pulls a Ken Lay first. Of course, we wish him nothing but the best.

  • And, finally, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, including news on the electric grid attack in North Carolina; Russia targeting energy infrastructure in Ukraine (a war crime); and EV sales now surging in U.S. and across the globe...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
By Brad Friedman on 11/16/2022 5:40pm PT  

It may be a somewhat disconcerting deja vu on today's BradCast for longtime listeners. Apologies in advance. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Seven and a half years ago, on the day Donald Trump came down his golden escalator at Trump Tower to declare that Mexicans were rapists and he was running for President, our guest was HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Since then, she's joined us to try and make sense of virtually every landmark event during his disastrous candidacy, Presidency and post-Presidency.

Back in June of 2015, when posting that day's show at The BRAD BLOG, I headlined it "The GOP's New 'Frankenstein's Monster'". Most in the media considered Trump's candidacy a joke at the time. We felt otherwise. I believe history has proven us right on that one.

After multiple failed attempts at trying to steal the 2020 election, including inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in hopes of stealing it by force, and with multiple criminal investigations against him now underway at both the state and federal level, Trump announced (to the nation's chagrin) his third run for President on Tuesday night. He did so at a really long and boring super-spreader event at Mar-a-Lago, the scene of at least one of the many crimes for which he's being investigated. Parton joins us once again today to discuss whether we should be as worried this time about Trump's candidacy (she describes it at Salon today as "the America First Vengeance Tour 2024") and whether he or Ron DeSantis would be more difficult for Democrats to defeat in 2024.

We spend more time, however, discussing the three-ring circus, circular firing squad, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, for the Republican House and Senate leadership battles now under way following last week's midterm elections in which the GOP appears to have won the narrowest of majorities in the U.S. House --- but not much more than that anywhere else. Will the splintered, increasingly loony GOP caucus in the House even be able to get 218 votes for anybody as House Speaker come January? ("They have created an absolutely insane caucus filled with lunatics, and now they're having to pay the piper on this," says Parton. "This is what happens when you embolden people like Marjorie Taylor-Greene. She'll be operating as a shadow Speaker.")

Also today...A note of caution at the top of the show: Do not be fooled by Trump's deceptive call at his announcement speech on Tuesday night for "paper ballots" to help fight fraud in elections. He has no clue what he's talking about. Else he would have called for "hand-marked paper ballots," since all of the states he lost (but pretends to have won) already use paper ballots! He's also demanding new voter suppression measures. We explain all of the above today.

In related news, two counties in the state of Mississippi used hand-marked paper ballots in the 2022 midterms for the first time. After some 20 years of forcing voters to vote on 100% unverifiable touchscreen systems --- while we've been begging them to move to hand-counted paper ballots for all of those years --- the clerks of both counties report that voters and pollworkers loved the new system and it worked great! In fact, the clerks also found that it was both faster and more cost-efficient than their 20-year old unverifiable touchscreens. Who could have predicted it?

Following a new state law adopted in April, all counties in MS must upgrade their systems before the 2024 Presidential elections. As noted on today's show, I've long argued that it would likely take a high-profile Republican getting screwed by touchscreen voting systems before GOPers finally demanded a move to verifiable voting systems. I was close. What I should have said was that it would take a high-profile Republican pretending to be screwed by touchscreen voting systems before they'd finally demand such changes.

Finally, we close with some listener email. Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Progressive journalist, author, John Nichols of 'The Nation'...
By Brad Friedman on 11/15/2022 5:30pm PT  

"Election Day" coverage continues today into its second week on BradCast, as more of the closest races are being called and as a clearer picture emerges as to what actually happened and why. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Shortly after airtime on Monday night, media outlets finally called the very close Arizona Governor's race for Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs over former TV news anchor and failed Trump-wannabe Kari Lake. As we detail, Lake's apparent narrow loss was likely particularly satisfying for outgoing GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.

Hobbs' lead over Lake, with almost all votes tallied, is 0.7% as we go to air. That is above the 0.5% or less required for an automatic recount in AZ, where state law (shamefully) does not allow for candidates to request and pay for a recount on their own. That, of course, will allow Lake to continue to present evidence-free claims of "fraud" in her election, particularly given unexplained Election Day failures of some optical scanner at some polling places in Maricopa County. That shouldn't have prevented anybody from voting --- thankfully, Arizona votes on hand-marked paper ballots --- but it did mean that some ballots cast at the polls on Election Day had to be tabulated back at County headquarters later.

Presuming Hobbs' victory is certified as expected, that means the AZ's Governor's office turns from "red" to "blue" for the first time in 13 years. (It'll be the third state where that happened this year.) Add to that the state's two Democratic U.S. Senators and Democrat Adrian Fontes' victory over Trump-backed election liar Mark Finchem for Sec. of State, and Democrat Kris Mayes currently leading Republican Abe Hamadeh (if barely --- and easily within recount territory for now) in the race to replace the state's outgoing Republican Attorney General. All of that looks a lot like a new "blue" state, with every major statewide seat in AZ perhaps soon to be occupied by a Democrat in advance of 2024.

Yes, it was a stunning midterm election across the nation, as that "red wave" that Republicans and corporate media imagined and promised, never arrived.

"This is the best midterm election result for a newly-elected Democratic President in their first term since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934," notes our guest today, progressive journalist and author JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, describing the results as "remarkable" and "against all sorts of historical patterns," while observing that this is the "third election cycle in a row where Donald Trump has been the dominant figure in the Republican Party and the Republican Party has lost. It's kind of a pattern."

So why did the results defy history? "I think the answer is that our politics have changed. We're not in the same world that we were in before," explains Nichols, who we have turned to many times over the years following Election Days to try and make sense of them. "Local media doesn't exist the way it used to, so elections are nationalized. We have seen the two parties go more to their corners --- the Democrats at least somewhat to the left, Republicans way to the right --- so we have to adjust our filter. And if we do, we understand that this election actually tells us a lot about where potential Democratic majorities and coalitions are in the future."

We dig deep into the remarkable results and how they may have been even better for the Democrats had the party not been so taken by their own fears that the media might have been right about the "red wave" which never came. Those poor predictions (which often contradicted the media's own available evidence to the contrary) also resulted in an overconfident GOP which, like the Democrats, ended up spending money in many of the wrong races. Nichols explains how Dem victories might have been even broader had they fought more aggressively and less defensively by funding, for example, more rural races where Democrats could have also won with more support from the Party.

He breaks down the likely reasons that the excellent Democratic candidate Mandela Barnes, in Nichols home state of Wisconsin, ended up losing to the insufferable Republican insurrection enthusiast Sen. Ron Johnson, and why other excellent candidates, if arguably less progressive ones, like Tim Ryan in Ohio and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, ended up falling short.

In addition we also dig into how critical young voters --- lots of them! --- were to what ultimately happened this year. "Young people ought to be where you're putting a lot of your resources. As a party, Democrats need to be talking to young voters, bringing young people into leadership positions in the party. If you do, the rewards are immense," he avers. "Under 30 and especially under 25, the bias is 28% in favor of the Democrats. At the very end of the 2022 cycle, in states across the country, you had a lot of young voters lining up and casting votes. They don't turn out at the same percentage, at the same level, as older voters do. But if they turn out strong, it has a huge impact."

We also discuss how an institutionalist like Joe Biden has been clever enough as President to shift his policies toward the progressive left, in tune with those voters and the American electorate overall.

"Let's be very clear," Nichols argues today, "despite what games pundits try to play, Americans had a very clear choice. In 2022, they had a choice between an extreme rightwing Republican Party straying toward authoritarianism on many issues and a Democratic Party that was edging toward progressivism, and was attacked for that. And what did the American people decide to do? In a surprise to everyone, to the politicians and the pundits, they decided to go for the party that is edging towards progressivism."

Finally today, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as Biden pledges leadership and funding at the U.N. climate conference in Egypt, and restarts climate negotiations with China...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage of final(?) public hearing with Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'; Also: SCOTUS rejects Trump's emergency motion on stolen classified docs retrieved from Mar-a-Lago...
By Brad Friedman on 10/13/2022 6:17pm PT  

It was a very bad day for our disgraced former President. So, it was a good day for the nation and for today's special BradCast coverage of what is likely to be the final public hearing of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Trump-incited insurrection of January 6, 2021 and his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The Committee on Thursday presented both new video footage and documents obtained since their last public hearing back in July. Among the new video: Chilling footage of Democratic and Republican lawmakers attempting to fill the leadership gap left by the President during the three hours the Capitol was under siege while Donald Trump sat in the White House dining room watching Fox "News" coverage of the violence he sparked unfolding.

Among the new documents: email and chat messages from the Secret Service revealing they knew damned well about the threat of violence on Jan. 6, long prior to the insurrection. Also: more evidence from well before Election Day revealing Trump planned to falsely claim the election was stolen from him, and that he knew damned well that he lost and there was no evidence of election-changing fraud.

But, of course, the biggest news from Thursday's hearing was the panel's unanimous, 9 to 0 vote taken at the end to subpoena documents and under-oath testimony from the ringleader of the riot.

"Our duty today is to our country and our children and our Constitution. We are obligated to seek answers from the man who set this all in motion, and every American is entitled to those answers so we can act now to protect our republic," explained Republican Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, introducing the motion. "So, this afternoon I am offering this resolution that the Committee direct the Chairman to issue a subpoena for relevant documents and testimony under oath from Donald John Trump in connection with the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol."

That wasn't the only bad news for the disgraced former President today. As the hearing was playing out, his corrupt, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court majority rejected his emergency motion regarding the classified documents he stole from the White House and retrieved by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago in early August. The High Court nixed, without comment, his appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the documents marked as classified from a privilege review by a Special Master.

All of that came the day after Washington Post and New York Times each published stories last night reporting that a Trump employee was captured on security camera video from inside Mar-a-Lago moving boxes of documents both in and out of a storage room both before and after Trump had been subpoenaed by the Dept. of Justice earlier this year for the return of all documents that he had stolen from the White House upon leaving office. The reports allege that the employee is said to be cooperating with DoJ, at least to some extent, and was ordered to move the documents by Trump himself.

Like I said, a bad day for Trump...but a great day for everyone else!

Joining us for a very lively conversation attempting to make sense of all of this madness and much more today in our Special Coverage, are HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo and 'DRIFTGLASS' of the Professional Left Podcast. And while both of them have been right about pretty much everything over the last 20 years, they disagree today on whether Trump will actually answer that Congressional subpoena to testify. Tune in to find out why.

As usual, they offer smart insight today on the new video footage and many other fresh revelations from this afternoon's J6 hearing, and we discuss whether Trump will now finally be indicted; on which of the several different criminal investigations he's now facing; and when such charges will --- or won't --- finally come...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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: Daniel Wolf of America Counts; Also: GOP's sad abuse of Herschel Walker; And, Republicans For Democrats 2022!...
By Brad Friedman on 10/12/2022 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast we've got an excellent idea for Democrats, Republicans and everyone else who has any concerns about accurately reported election results in this year's critical midterm elections. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, first up, a few thoughts on a Republican Party in dangerous decline and what at least some long-time GOPers are now doing to put country over party.

We start with the sad tale, frankly, of how the GOP is using and/or abusing Georgia's former football hero and clearly unstable U.S. Senate nominee Hershel Walker for grotesquely partisan political purposes, despite the costs to the man who had no business or qualifications being put up as a candidate for U.S. Senate in the first place. In a thoughtful Twitter thread this week, Illinois' Democratic Rep. Sean Casten worries that Walker is on "a trajectory that does not end well." He describes him as "just one in a long, tragic legacy of disposable black men" for the Republican Party. Even now, Casten notes, elected GOP officials who put him up for the job have no interest in his well-being if there is any hope he might defeat GA's incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and help the party win a majority in the upper chamber of Congress.

There are some Republicans, however, who are proving to be much better than that. We are happy to laud some of them today, including Rep. Liz Cheney and (gasp!) Bill Kristol. Both are among a growing group of longtime GOPers who are not just calling out their party for the threat they now pose to American democracy itself, but are putting their money where their mouth is by actively supporting and endorsing pro-democracy Democratic candidates for office in battlegrounds like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona --- and even in ruby-red states like Idaho.

"I don't know that I have ever voted for a Democrat, but if I lived in Arizona now, I absolutely would...for Governor and for Secretary of State," Cheney said last week at a McCain Institute event at Arizona State University. She supports the Democratic bids for Governor by Katie Hobbs and for Sec. of State by Adrian Fontes. "We cannot be in a position where we elect people who will not fundamentally uphold the sanctity of elections," Cheney explained, referring to GOP Gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake and SoS hopeful Mark Finchem, both of whom falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. If elected, both would be in a position to block state certification of a legitimate Democratic Presidential victory in 2024.

Of course, despite the complete lack of evidence to suggest that the 2020 election was stolen by anybody in any state, the lack of transparency and public oversight of our brittle and vulnerable computerized voting and tabulation systems makes it easy for charlatans to dishonestly claim otherwise.

We have long advised that voters show up to their local polling place at closing time in order to take photos and videos of the cash register-style poll tapes that are printed out by voting machines and optical scanners. They are supposed to be printed and publicly posted there at the end of the night. Public documentation of those records can be very helpful when compared to results eventually reported for those precincts by towns, counties and states.

A new smart phone app called Actual Vote makes that process much easier for voters of all parties or no party at all, promises our guest today, DANIEL WOLF, CEO of AmericaCounts.us, a non-profit tech company that developed the free app.

Wolf has been observing elections since 1984, when he was sent to research election systems in Nicaragua. He explains today how he was struck after the controversial 2004 Presidential election in Ohio when poll tapes from dozens of Counties went missing well before the 22 months they are required to be preserved under federal law. Comparison of contemporaneously printed results at the precinct on those tapes with final results reported later can be helpful in ferreting out fraud (either foreign or domestic) or simple programming errors. As importantly, this sort of oversight, he argues, can also offer confidence to the public that results were tabulated and reported correctly as per voter intent.

"If people took a picture of the [poll] tape in the past, the question was, 'Who do I send it to?," he explains. But Actual Vote, in addition to assisting in the recording of poll tapes, allows the user to press a button to send those videos to a secure public server, where they are posted and where analysts can transcribe their numbers and compare them to final results in key jurisdictions.

"Anything that pops out, we then would go back to the election administrators and say, 'Look, we found a discrepancy. What about it?'," Wolf details. "Most of those discrepancies are going to be resolved. But those that aren't resolved can then be looked at more deeply. And if they cannot resolve that, then it gives the candidate or anybody else who is concerned about that particular race the ability to go into court and say 'I have documented evidence of discrepancies in the results reporting'."

Wolf notes that while "laws vary" from state to state and jurisdiction to jurisdiction regarding the use of cameras at polling places, "once public information is posted in the public" after polls close, "you have a First Amendment right to take a picture of it."

His hope is that while Actual Vote could help surface fraud or simple error, broad use of the app may ultimately add confidence in election results for Republicans and Democrats alike, among whom he hopes to "ignite a war of mutual assured accountability."

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Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters...
By Brad Friedman on 9/20/2022 6:38pm PT  

Today's BradCast starts off with a show-stopper! Everything else thereafter, well, you'll decide for yourself. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On today's program...

  • Since it's, apparently, National Voter Registration Day today (yes, that's a thing), we thought we'd celebrate by starting off with a fantastic new lyric rewrite video from the cast of Broadway's Hamilton. They've updated a song from the show called "The Election of 1800" to a new version called "The Election of 2022" to raise awareness of the importance of voting this year. Their effort is in partnership with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote and Vote Riders. But for help in registering to vote, checking to make sure your registration still exists (and is at the address where you actually live), and for information on the type of ID required to vote where you live, I recommend either the DNC's IWillVote.com app or the federal government's Vote.gov. Both sites allow you to check your registration or register to vote without having to give information to a third party. And, since merely voting is no longer enough, we are officially enlisting you to spread the word to others on all of this! Ask your friends, co-workers, neighbors etc., if they are registered to vote; help them do so, if not; make sure they get to the polls to vote by November 8 this year, etc. etc. Yes, it's that important this year!
  • There is a weird beer shortage looming! Why? Lack of carbon dioxide due to contamination at an extinct volcano in Mississippi. Yes, I realize that sounds bizarre --- especially given the deadly over-abundance of CO2 in our atmosphere, causing our deadly climate crisis --- but, well...tune in for the full bizarre explanation.
  • On yesterday's program, we detailed some of the apparent federal criminal statutes, such as kidnapping, that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seems to have violated when he shipped 48 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts on behalf of the state of Florida. We noted that requests had been made to the MA Attorney General U.S. Attorney's office in the state to investigate whether laws were violated. But shortly after airtime yesterday, news broke that Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas Sheriff's office has opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Good news!
  • As to what actually happened --- versus what DeSantis is claiming --- TPM's Josh Marshall has been trying to do some digging, after first noting that the initial story "Doesn't Add Up". Why did DeSantis hunt down migrants in Texas seeking asylum to entice (with false promises) to go to Massachusetts? Are there no migrants in Florida that could have been similarly abused, since the Florida state legislature has set allocated some $12 million to use to transport migrants out of the state (as opposed to out of the state of Texas)?! Who is this mysterious "Perla" character who has been identified as having recruited the migrants and organized luxury corporate jets to fly theme to MA? And, though the Florida Governor and Presidential hopeful is refusing to offer specifics, what clues can be gleaned about all of this from some of the statements that he has made, referencing a "contractor" or "vendor" who seems to have been hired for all of this, rather than government workers. In other words, what the hell is really going on here?
  • Then, in some election law related news today, the House January 6 Select Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and committee member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) detailed proposed reforms to the Electoral Count Act, over the weekend. The Committee, they explain, hopes to make it more difficult in the future to steal elections via the Electoral College, as Donald Trump attempted to do on January 6, 2021. The new measure, officially introduced by the Committee in the House on Monday, is called the Presidential Election Reform Act. It would clarify the role of the Vice President on January 6 as purely ministerial; increase the number of Representative and Senators required to challenge any state's Electoral College votes; offer legal options to Presidential candidates in the event that a state fails to certify its Electoral Votes (as a number of GOP candidates for Governor and Sec. of State this year have said they would have done in 2020, had they been in office at the time); and prevents state legislatures from changing the rules for determining election results after the election has already started. The House measure is similar to one recently introduced by a bipartisan group in the Senate, and would need to be reconciled with that version if both versions are successfully brought to a vote in each chamber.
  • Some good news --- and some troubling news --- for disabled voters. New voting restrictions adopted by Republicans in several different states have made it literally impossible for some disabled voters to vote at all without breaking the law. For example, a Wisconsin law had mandated that nobody other than the voter him or herself could place an absentee ballot in a mailbox. That means that those without use of their arms --- such as voters suffering from advanced multiple sclerosis or who may have been injured --- might not be able to vote absentee at all. A recent federal court victory in WI will at least allow disabled voters in that state to receive assistance when casting their ballot. But several other states, such as Kansas, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri, still have measures in place that could make it impossible --- and/or illegal --- for some disabled voters to vote at all in 2022 and beyond.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as three major storms made simultaneous, catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico, Alaska and Japan over the weekend; a new report finds climate change made Pakistan's recent catastrophic flooding much much worse; better news in Australia where the nation, until recently controlled by climate change deniers, is finally moving to reduce carbon emissions; and, in Louisiana, a court has blocked the construction of a massive, toxic plastics plant in area of the state known as "Cancer Alley"...

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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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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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Guest: National security journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
[UPDATED with link to full transcript of interview with Wheeler.]
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2022 6:34pm PT  

The big time former federal prosecutors are only just now beginning to catch up to what our guest on today's BradCast has been saying all along: Merrick Garland's Department of Justice is, in fact, on the job and Donald Trump is, in fact, in their sights. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

At The Atlantic today, Ronald Reagan's former Deputy Solicitor General and George H.W. Bush's Deputy Attorney General, Donald Ayer, along with former Asst. Attorney General for the Civil Division at DoJ, Stuart M. Gerson, and former federal prosecutor and Chief Asst. City Attorney in San Francisco, Dennis Aftergut, declared that, after seven public hearings by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection and Trump's multiple attempts to steal the election, "The evidence is now overwhelming that Donald Trump was the driving force behind a massive criminal conspiracy to interfere with the official January 6 congressional proceeding and to defraud the United States of a fair election outcome."

The three prosecutors, two of whom served in Republican Administrations, observe that "This was Trump's project all along" and there is now more than enough evidence to prosecute the disgraced former President. "The damage to America’s future that would be inflicted by giving him a pass far outweighs the risks of prosecuting him," they write, "And the tradition of not prosecuting a former president must yield to the manifest need to protect our constitutional form of government and to assure that the violent effort to overthrow it is never repeated."

At New York Times earlier this week, Andrew Weissman, a long time federal prosecutor of high profile criminal conspiracies and a senior prosecutor on the Special Counsel team that investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, argues that Garland's "bottom up" investigation --- working the way up the food chain from the hundreds of dupes on the ground on January 6, through the rightwing extremist militia group participants like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, now facing seditious conspiracy charges, to those in Trump's inner-circle --- is too slow, difficult and ultimately too narrow. He calls instead for a "hub and spoke conspiracy" probe, now that it's clear Trump was at the "hub" of multiple criminal "spokes" in his attempts to steal the 2020 election. January 6 was just one such "spoke".

Our guest today, however, who has perhaps been following every single indictment, federal court filing, and shred of available evidence as close or closer than anyone on the planet, has long been arguing that Garland's DoJ has been doing all of the above, and for some time --- whether the big time former federal prosecutors have finally gotten around to noticing or not.

MARCY WHEELER, the prolific independent national security journalist from Emptywheel.net, is a long time friend who has been joining us on the show for many months now, often to counter the many critics of Garland. She has long argued the DoJ is, in fact, on the case, and has a number of criticisms of Weissman's much-cited critique of the Department's probe.

She argues DoJ has long been carrying out a very broad investigation of the sort that Weissman is now calling for. In addition to the hundreds of grunts on the ground and dozens of seditious conspirators from the militia groups already charged, the Department has also been deliberately collecting a wide swath of critical evidence from members of Trump's inner-circle --- from Rudy Giuliani to Roger Stone to Michael Flynn to Sidney Powell to John Eastman to Mark Meadows and beyond.

Today's conversation, as usual with Wheeler, is complex and far-reaching. We discuss where folks like Weissman have been missing the big picture, and we discuss what she has learned from the Select Committee's hearings and where they still have information to learn themselves.

But the bottom line is this: Wheeler believes "there is plenty of evidence to prove that Donald J. Trump conspired and, himself, did obstruct the vote certification on January 6th," but that the DoJ "will not charge it...until they get a couple of more things in place." Those things, namely, are "four people," one of whom, she notes, the Trump camp itself believes "is about to go to prison."

Tune in to find out who those people are, and when Wheeler believes charges for Trump are likely to come down --- from someone who has been far ahead of the curve on all of this for the past year and a half or so. (Oh, and yes, she tells us that Steve Bannon, whose trial on criminal Contempt of Congress charges begins next week, is indeed in trouble too. "Probably more trouble than he knows.")

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

Update 7/21/2022: Our friend "Spocko" was so impressed by Marcy's commentary in this episode that he created a full text transcript of my interview with her. He says he used AI to do it, so I can't vouch for the accuracy of it, but thought it might be helpful to some if I posted that link to it here for archival and posterity purposes.

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Special Coverage with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, David Faris of Roosevelt University...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2022 6:43pm PT  

It was Day 7 of public hearings for the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee probe of Donald Trump's January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential Election. We've got full Special Coverage once again on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

If you've been turning away over the past week or so, we've got a quick recap of "our story so far" at the top of today's show, summing up the key elements of the six previous public hearings by the Committee. In short, to sum up that summary, Donald Trump knew everything and was personally involved in everything. He knew there was no fraud of note in the 2020 election, as all of his top advisers and legal experts told him as much, but he continued to lie about it anyway. He knew that his efforts to reverse election results to steal the election from Joe Biden in various swing-states and at the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021 were unlawful and/or Constitutional. Again, we've been shown that all his top advisers told him as much. He relentlessly pushed for it anyway. And he knew that calling his supporters to D.C. on January 6 and directing them to march on the Capitol would result in violence led by armed extremist groups. He was advised against it, but he did it anyway.

Today's hearing picked up on Trump's "call to arms" to his supporters. It came in the middle of the night in his now-infamous "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!" tweet, issued just hours after an insane, "unhinged", hours-long December 18, 2020 White House meeting with his personal crackpot attorneys Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, his felonious former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne (for some reason) and a bunch of White House attorneys. The latter angrily tried to derail the MAGA coup plotters plans to have the President issue an Executive Order to seize the nation's voting machines and install Powell as a Special Counsel to investigate fraud and issue arrests. Even Trump loyalist and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone --- who finally testified to the Committee last Friday --- said he "vehemently opposed" the "terrible idea." That, after repeatedly asking for any evidence of fraud and being shown none at all.

That bonkers meeting, and its fallout --- resulting in the tweet that "electrified and galvanized" his supporters immediately thereafter --- was detailed in the first part of today's hearing, with mountains of evidence and video-taped testimony. The second part covered what happened next, as the extremist groups which supported Trump, including the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers (the leaders of which have already been indicted for seditious conspiracy), descended on D.C., planning for the violence --- and much worse --- that eventually occurred.

The Committee shared video of Trump's media supporters, immediately after his "will be wild!" tweet, calling on their own followers to join them in D.C., including rightwing conspiracy radio host Alex Jones and others. One called for "storming right into the Capitol," noting "the rules of engagement: If you have enough people, you can push down any fence or wall." Another vowed "There are gonna be a million, geeked-up armed Americans" coming to occupy D.C. in response to Trump's call.

All of that, weeks before Trump eventually directed them to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 in what, the Committee showed through several draft tweets and speeches, was absolutely not a spontaneous ad-lib made by Trump during his remarks on the Ellipse. The armed march on the Capitol was the plan all along.

On the night before the attack, according to White House call logs obtained and revealed by the Committee today, Trump's disgraced former aide Steve Bannon took to his "War Room" podcast just after a conversation with the then President to declare: "All hell is going to break lose tomorrow. It's all converging and now we're on the point of attack. It's not gonna happen how you think it's going to happen. It's gonna be quite extraordinarily different and all I can say is strap in."

One witness at the end of today's hearing were Jason Van Tatenhove, an independent journalist turned self-described Oath Keepers propagandist, who says he left the group 5 years ago after seeing them become more and more racist and violent. The other was Stephen Ayers, a January 6 rioter and Trump believer. He was not tied to any of the extremist groups. He was just a guy, "a family man" who answered Trump's call to come to D.C. and "fight like hell" to "save the country" as he believed Trump needed him to do. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at the Capitol and now regrets every part of it, believes it was all a con, but has since lost his job and much more after having fallen for Trump's Big --- violent, deadly --- Lie.

Today's hearing came to a close with another Liz Cheney cliff-hanger. This time she revealed that Trump had attempted to contact one of the Committee's witnesses following their last hearing. "We will take any effort to influence witness testimony very seriously," vowed the Committee's Republican Vice Chair, adding that the Justice Department had been notified about the apparent witness tampering by the disgraced former President.

Joining us to make sense of all of this today are, once again, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullaballoo, joined this time by DAVID FARIS, Associate Professor of Political Science at Roosevelt University and a contributor to both Newsweek and The Week.

"They've been setting up the various strands," Parton explains, describing today's hearing focused on Trump's directives to his violent supporters, as she cited Andrew Weissman's recent "'hub and spoke' conspiracy" op-ed at NYTimes. "There were a number of different spokes going out from the Oval Office, which included the 'voter fraud,' the fake electors, the DOJ, Mike Pence. This was one of the spokes, and it's a huge one, because it is the spoke that leads from the White House and the Oval Office to the insurrection on January 6th. That part of the whole coup plot, the conspiracy to keep Trump in office come what may, that was a huge one."

"Big picture, I think these hearings have a number of different purposes. One is to provide concrete evidence of a systematic and sustained effort to extra-constitutionally overturn the results of the 2020 election," Faris observes. "Stealing the election. That's a coup. We've learned a lot more during these hearings about the mechanics of the coup. The bottom line is that the people who were putting these plans into motion knew perfectly well that they were illegal."

He also notes that he believes these hearings are likely to spur the DoJ into action. "There are a lot of little Trump lieutenants running for office who are planning to do things like manipulate the vote in 2024, or use extra-constitutional procedures to install a Republican candidate for President into office," Faris tells us. "There are a lot of people who are contemplating committing crimes in another conspiracy against the United States, and if you do not show them there are consequences to the people who did it the first time, I don't see how those people can draw any other conclusion then that they'll get away with it. I wish that we were not in this position where we have to talk about indicting a former President. It's not great. But I don't think he can be allowed to skate without really jeopardizing our democracy."

Lots more on today's show, of course, from the hearing itself and via smart analysis from Parton and Faris as, yes, the walls continue to close in on Donald J. Trump...

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Special coverage of Cassidy Hutchinson's explosive testimony with Crooks and Liars' John Amato, Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 6/28/2022 5:29pm PT  

There was one bombshell after another during Tuesday's "surprise" Day 6 hearing by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating Donald Trump's January 6, 2021 insurrection and his many attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. We cover as many of those bombshells as possible on today's BradCast Special Coverage. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

From the then President of the United States trying to commandeer the steering wheel of the Presidential limo ("The Beast") to force the driver to take him to the Capitol on 1/6, to his attempt to choke the top member of his Secret Service detail in the car, to smashing ketchup-drenched china plates against the wall of the Oval Office dining room when his Attorney General told AP there was no evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, to Rudy Giuliani and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows seeking pardons for their failed roles in helping Trump prevent the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in U.S. history.

Those were just some of the bombshells delivered during Tuesday's remarkable testimony by 25-year old White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as Meadow's top deputy before, during and after the January 6 insurrection. She, apparently, was everywhere that he was. Her office was just feet from the Oval Office. She was even next to Trump just moments before he gave his infamous "fight like hell" speech on the Ellipse in front of the White House on Insurrection Day, as his supporters bearing AR-15s were climbing trees and scaring the hell out of the Secret Service.

There was more from both Hutchinson and the House Committee today, including evidence that Trump and Meadows seemed to be hoping for violence that day and did nothing to stop it as the deadly insurrection unfolded and as his Cabinet members were considering invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

And then there were the teasers...for future hearings...regarding mafioso-like messages delivered to witnesses testifying before the House Select Committee...

From one witness: "What they said to me is, as long as I continue to be a team player, they know that I'm on the team, I'm doing the right thing, I'm protecting who I need to protect, you know, I'll continue to stay in good graces in Trump World. And they have reminded me a couple of times that Trump does read transcripts and just to keep that in mind as I proceeded through my depositions and interviews with the committee."

A message to a witness: "[A person] let me know you have your deposition tomorrow. He wants me to let you know that he's thinking about you. He knows you're loyal, and you're going to do the right thing when you go in for your deposition."

Who were the witnesses in question? Who was the goon attempting to tamper and intimidate them? Both matters would be federal crimes. Those questions will, presumably, be revealed in future hearings.

Lots to cover in today's special coverage, whether you saw the mind-blowing Day 6 hearing or not, which seem to be freaking out Trump World now. I hope you'll tune in for smart insight and analysis from our guests today, Salon and Hullaballoo's HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and Crooks and Liars' JOHN AMATO. (And some, even from me who, as Parton vouches, explained to her the likelihood of Hutchinson becoming a superstar witness in these hearings weeks ago, before the public hearings even began. Just sayin'.)

Notes Amato, who monitors Fox "News" closely for coverage at his blog: "Today was the first day of testimony that broke through their veil." He quotes Fox anchor Brett Baier observing, "I've been around politics a long time, and this was, first-hand, the most riveting, powerful testimony from anything I've ever seen since Watergate."

"I think she was incredible," Parton says regarding Hutchinson. "This testimony shook up the complacency that these hearings were really not going to end up doing much of anything. All you have to do is look up Trump's reaction. He's having a complete and total hissy fit over this, so you can tell he's concerned. What she ended up doing was giving this inside view that everyone's been waiting to get. Not just what he was doing, not just on January 6th, but in the days ahead. And Mark Meadows and what he was doing."

"That is super-important to proving the case. In my view, I think we're coming to is a case of seditious conspiracy, involving not just the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, but also Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani and ultimately Donald Trump," she tells us...

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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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Also: Elections results from ME, NV, ND, SC, TX; Vote system prob leads to IA recounts; MAGA County Commission in NM refuses to certify June 7 primaries...Just cuz...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2022 6:13pm PT  

With the bipartisan January 6 Committee having postponed today's hearing, we take the opportunity on today's BradCast to spend some time rebutting the disgraced former President's supposed rebuttal to the two damning hearings held to date. But, of course, we've got much more as well, including election results from Tuesday and evidence of both voting system problems and bad faith elected MAGA officials already trying to disenfranchise 2022 voters. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • An error caused by paper jams during ballot scanning on Election Day at the precincts on the state's computer tabulators in Iowa during their June 7 primaries has reportedly resulted in a whole bunch of recounts across the state. Cedar Rapid's KCRG cites an email from the Sec. of State's office which has lead to those recounts, in hopes of reconciling the number of ballots misreported by the scanners as cast with the number of voters who actually signed in to vote.
  • Noteworthy election results from four states which held primaries on Tuesday (Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina) and one (Texas) which purposely held a low-turnout U.S. Special Election yesterday, instead of at the same time as their regular primaries in March or primary runoffs in May. While we cover a lot of Tuesday's races, and why they matter (or don't), the most disturbing one is likely the Secretary of State's race in Nevada, where a 2020 election denialist by the name of Jim Marchant has apparently won a 38% plurality to become the GOP's nominee to become the critical swing-state's chief election official in advance of the 2024 election.
  • The dangers of an election denier like Marchant, who served as one of the state GOP's fake electors in 2020, and who has said he wouldn't have certified Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump that year had he been SoS at the time, is a stark warning of what lies ahead. But we're already seeing the dangers of brain-poisoned MAGA Mobsters in positions of elected authority. The three-person County Commission in a very right-leaning rural county in New Mexico, is refusing to certify results from their June 7 primary. Even though votes are cast on hand-marked paper ballots across the state, the County Commission unanimously voted against certification of primary results, citing distrust of the County's digital ballot scanners made by Dominion Voting. They have no evidence of fraud, which might otherwise allow a court to order the hand-count they are seeking. They just don't trust the results in the County where Trump won 62% of the vote in 2020. The Republican County Clerk is furious and the Democratic Sec. of State is now suing the County Commission ahead of this Friday's deadline for County certification. Expect much more of this in the months and years ahead. We've long warned about exactly this type of fallout from our irresponsible rush to the use secret vote casting and counting systems made by private vendors and the avenues it opens for opportunists to claim fraud without any evidence of same.
  • On Monday night, after the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and other efforts by Trump to steal the 2020 election, our corrupt former President issued a 12-page rebuttal [PDF] to the Committee's first two hearings. We rebut his dumb rebuttal today. It leans heavily on tired, long-ago debunked nonsense, such as his lead in some swing-states on Election Night "inexplicably" disappearing (after heavily-Republican polling place ballots were quickly tallied before the arduous task of opening and verifying and counting heavily-Democratic vote-by-mail ballots one-by-one) and how thousands attended his rallies, while Biden chose not to hold super-spreader events during the worst pandemic in 100 years. Much of Trump's (ghost-writer's) claims were already debunked during the Committee hearings to date, which he seems to presume that his supporters didn't watch or are too dumb to understand.

    Trump's ghost-writer spends most of the rebuttal ink citing what is laughably described as "indisputable proof" of "Ballot Trafficking" presented in the repeatedly debunked 2000 Mules movie. That's a pretend documentary film created by a long-discredited GOP "election integrity" group named True the Vote and a rightwing activist named Dinesh D'Souza who actually pleaded guilty himself to several federal election fraud crimes before he was later pardoned by Trump.

    As noted, the film has been repeatedly debunked, including by us, several times by now. Months before it was even released, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and FBI concluded the group's claims about cell phone data purporting to reveal evidence of "ballot harvesting" by "mules" of tens or hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots cast in drop-boxes, in fact, reveals no crimes at all. A GA state Board of Elections investigation after the movie's release found that supposed "ballot mules" in Atlanta, shown via security camera footage in the film, were just regular voters legally casting their own ballot and those of direct family members. None of the "mules" are ever seen in the film visiting a drop-box or multiple boxes more than once.

    But, perhaps the most stinging rebuttal came from Trump's own Attorney General, Bill Barr this week. During sworn testimony to the J6 Committee, shared by the panel on Monday, Barr laughed out loud at even the mention of the name of the film, before going on to explain how he found it to be "singularly unimpressive," "indefensible," and that it failed to "establish widespread illegal harvesting." That, of course, is a long way from the "indisputable proof" Trump's dumb rebuttal claimed it to be.

  • Finally, speaking of the House J6 Committee, Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney released a video teaser on Tuesday for its next upcoming hearing scheduled for Thursday. This one will focus on the pressure Trump placed on Vice President Mike Pence to help him steal the 2020 election by tossing out valid Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021. Cheney's teaser video includes testimony from one of Trump's top White House attorneys who says he warned outside lawyer John Eastman, who developed the scheme for Pence to toss out the votes, to "get a great f'ing criminal defense lawyer," adding "you're gonna need it."

Special Coverage of tomorrow's J6 Hearing, of course, on tomorrow's BradCast!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton; U.S. Army vet, attorney, former Republican, Keith Barber...
By Brad Friedman on 6/10/2022 5:09pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we kick off our special coverage of the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee's public hearings on Donald Trump's unprecedented attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election via not only the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection he incited, but via a well-coordinated (by Trump standards) 7-point scheme. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

During Thursday night's gripping and, at times, emotional first prime time hearing, the Committee began to lay out their case, placing the disgraced former President firmly at the center of "an attempted coup". It was a plot to prevent the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history. The panel detailed what we will learn over a series of at least five more hearings over the next two weeks.

Last night, they employed disturbing, never before seen footage of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, and snippets of stunning video-taped testimony from a number of Trump's top officials and his own family members.

The pieces of evidence laid out on Thursday already make clear that Trump was told time and again, for weeks before the assault, that there was no evidence to support his claim that he lost the election due to fraud. His own Attorney General Bill Barr told him on several occasions that the claim was "bullshit." His own daughter, Ivanka Trump agreed with Barr. Both were seen testifying to that end on video last night.

Meanwhile, after Trump incited his supporters --- including extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers --- to attack the Capitol and threaten the life of Vice President Mike Pence, Trump did nothing to stop them for hours. His top general, Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified that Pence contacted the military several times on January 6 to put down the insurrection, while the former President took no action at all. His Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, however, did contact Milley in an attempt to "kill the narrative that the Vice President was making all the decisions" and to "establish the narrative that the President is still in charge."

The damning evidence was presented before two live witnesses took the stand. One was documentary filmmaker Nick Quested, who was embedded with the Proud Boys on the night before the insurrection and the day of, capturing both their chilling assault on January 6 and a secret meeting between the heads of both the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers on the night before. U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, reportedly the first of more than 100 law enforcement officials to be critically injured that day, testified how she had been knocked unconscious by the Trump supporters, before awaking to continue the fight among "carnage" and "chaos" while slipping on the blood of her fellow law enforcement officers and being attacked with pepper spray from the violent mob.

There was much more presented by Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), suggesting several of Trump's top allies in Congress sought pardons after January 6, and that, as his supporters were chanting "Hang Mike Pence!", Trump was following along via television in the Oval Office; became irate at aides urging him to take action to quell the violence; and even declared, "maybe our supporters have the right idea, Mike Pence deserves it."

We're joined today for analysis by Salon's award-winning opinion journalist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON and former U.S. Army Captain and now-retired attorney KEITH BARBER (who was also a lifelong Republican, until Trump.) He had long been a contributor at Daily Kos on legal and constitutional matters, and now writes at Medium.

Among the many questions discussed today...

  • What did they learn Thursday night that they hadn't known previously?
  • Who are these hearings meant to reach?
  • Why was Fox "News" the only major broadcast or cable news network too terrified to allow their viewers to watch the proceedings?
  • Why is the Committee so focused on the violent, seditious conspiracy carried out by the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and is there evidence they conspired directly with the Trump Administration?
  • What are the seven points in Trump's failed plot to steal the election that the Committee will detail in the days ahead?
  • How do the claims by Trump supporters that they support law enforcement square with the MAGA mob's brutal assault of Capitol Police?
  • What do both of our guests hope to see from the hearings in the days ahead?
  • And will the hearings continue to grab the attention of the American people?

Both Parton and Barber offer insight and analysis for us today on all of the above and much more!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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