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Latest Featured Reports | Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Wisconsin's Decade-Long Un-Democracy Finally Undone. (Almost.): 'BradCast' 2/20/24
Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
'Green News Report' 2/20/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat decimating FL's coral reefs; Plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam; PLUS: Nearly half of world's migratory species in decline, U.N. study finds...
Previous GNRs: 2/15/24 - 2/13/24 - Archives...
After Navalny:
'BradCast' 2/19/24
Also: Massive election fraud alleged in Pakistan; Final death blow for GOP fraudsters' phony election fraud film, '2000 Mules'...
Sunday 'Partying With Putin' Toons
Can someone let Tucker know that Vlad got another one? It's our latest collection of the week's best toons...
In Memoriam: Alexei Navalny (1976-2024)
So, remind me again how wonderful Vladimir Putin is...
Guns Again, Trump as Ever, Media Failure and the Way Forward: 'BradCast' 2/15/24
Also: Special Counsel probing Hunter Biden indicts informant who lied about 'bribes' to the Bidens from a Ukrainian energy company...
'Green News Report' 2/15/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Mysterious oil spill in Trinidad and Tobago; Big changes as Greenland gets greener; Wildfires reversing hard-won gains against air pollution; PLUS: Climate change comes for chocolate...
Previous GNRs: 2/13/24 - 2/8/24 - Archives...
New Chesebro Docs Detail Trump's Failed 2020 'Legal Coup': 'BradCast' 2/14/24
Guest: TPM's Josh Kovensky; Also: Another huge night for Dems in NY, PA; WI gets closer to fair maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied...
Stewart Return to 'Daily Show' Not a Moment Too Soon!: 'BradCast' 2/13/24
Also: GOP takes mulligan on Mayorkas impeachment; Sen. passes Ukraine bill; Media's epic fail on Hur's obnoxious vindication of Biden in classified docs probe...
'Green News Report' 2/13/24
Culture shift from fossil fuels in Super Bowl EV ads; Big Oil/Gas spending big on Trump; PLUS: Climate scientist wins $1 million defamation suit against rightwing deniers...
Russia, If You're Listening, Trump Says 'Do Whatever the Hell You Want' to NATO Allies: 'BradCast' 2/12/24
Also: Last week's GOP Caucuses in NV, V.I.; Special Election in NY-3; Callers ring in...
Super Sunday 'Borderline Insanity' Toons
Just a few too many tokes over the line in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
Biden Should Federalize TX National Guard Amid State's Defiance of SCOTUS Order
POTUS must address, expose 'moral crisis' of GOP hypocrisy, cruelty, dehumanizing anti-immigrant propaganda...
'Green News Report' 2/8/24
EPA cracks down on deadly soot pollution; January was hottest ever recorded on Planet Earth; PLUS: Hurricanes are getting so intense, scientists propose a 'Category 6'...
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...


Guest: WI's John Nichols of 'The Nation'; Also: 2020 Team Trump attorneys lose again at SCOTUS; And a word on the 'victims' of Trump's decades-long NY real estate fraud...
By Brad Friedman on 2/20/2024 6:03pm PT  

Yesterday was a very good day for democracy in Wisconsin. On today's BradCast, we take a few minutes to celebrate. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We have been covering the GOP's autocratic takeover of the state following the 2010 elections for some 13 years at this point. After the 2010 Census, state Republicans implemented one of the most extreme gerrymanders in the nation at both the legislative (state Senate and Assembly) level as well as for their U.S. House districts.

The gerrymanders were so extreme that, despite Democrats winning 14 of the past 17 statewide elections in the Badger State, Republicans have maintained super-majority or near super-majority control of both chambers of the Legislature for more than a decade. Meanwhile, WI's 8-seat U.S. House delegation includes just 2 Democrats in the very closely divided Presidential battleground state.

With no fear of losing their legislative majorities, Republicans ran wild. They stripped labor unions of their right to collective bargaining, loosened gun safety laws, suppressed voters, etc. over the past decade. But, as of last year, everything finally began to change when voters finally won back a progressive majority on the state Supreme Court. The day after the liberals 4 to 3 majority was seated, voters filed a challenge to the Constitutionality of the state's legislative gerrymanders and they won. The Court ordered that new maps must be drawn up in time for the 2024 elections.

On Monday, after declaring, "Folks, it's a new day in Wisconsin, and today is a beautiful day for democracy," the state's Democratic Governor Tony Evers signed legislation adopted by the gerrymandered Assembly and House last week, approving new fairer legislative maps that Evers' office itself had drawn up for the state. Those maps will now take effect for this year's elections and democracy may, at long last, be at least partially restored to the Badger State.

We're joined today by our old friend, longtime Wisconsin native and progressive journalist and author, JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation, to discuss all of this very good news --- not for Democrats, per se, but for voters and democracy itself.

"The Republicans tried everything" to prevent this from happening, he tells me. "They threatened to impeach one of the Supreme Court justices. They tried all sorts of stunts." But, on the verge of the high court handing down its own maps, which would arguably have been worse for Republicans, "the very wily Speaker of the State Assembly, Robin Vos, decided he had no options, so he passed the Governor's maps."

Those maps, notes Nichols, are "not a particularly good set of maps for Democrats. In fact, Democrats have a little hill to climb in order to win." He explains, however, that "if it's a good year for the Republicans, it's very likely the Republicans are going to control the legislature. If it's a good year for the Democrats, there's a decent chance that Democrats will control the legislature." That, of course, is how representative democracy is supposed to work, after all.

As Evers declared before signing the measure on Monday: "When I promised I wanted fair maps --- not maps that are better for one party or another, including my own --- I damn well meant it." He added, "Wisconsin is not a red state or a blue state --- we’re a purple state, and I believe our maps should reflect that basic fact."

Interestingly enough, Democrats in the Legislature voted against the Democratic Governor's maps...before celebrating their adoption. We discuss why. But, Nichols also notes this bottom line: "If the Democrats take both chambers of the legislature" this year with the Democratic Evers in the Governor's mansion, "they will be able to, in a matter of weeks, reverse" more than a decade of GOP power grabs and union stripping, not to mention the state's 1849 anti-abortion law and much more. "Every disappointment that Democrats have had over the last twelve, thirteen years could be undone," Nichols argues, and almost as quickly as Republicans implemented their regressive policies (even while they had to bulldoze the rule of law to do so.)

"Look to Michigan," advises Nichols. "Because Wisconsin is still in process. Wisconsin is still struggling to get there. Michigan got there. They got independent redistricting which drew fair maps after the 2018 election. In 2022 they had fair maps, finally, after a long process. They elected a Democratic state assembly [and] a Democratic state senate. On Tuesday, the laws officially went on the books eliminating their anti-labor 'right-to-work' law, expanding collective bargaining rights for teachers and graduate students, restoring all sorts of wage protections for construction workers. Michigan has now gone --- just a couple of years ago --- from being one of the more anti-labor states in the northern part of the country to having probably the best, or very close to the best, labor laws in the country. That's what you get when you don't give up. You get to actually transform it."

We also discuss who gets credit for this long-fought win in WI, from the state's indefatigable Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler who declared on Monday that "the long, dark night of ultra-partisan gerrymandering is over, and a new day for democracy now dawns in the Badger State," to the progressive grassroots activists who, says Nichols, deserve "the most credit."

And the lesson for other states to take from Wisconsin, as litigation continues in more than a dozen of them over both legislative and the U.S. House districts (including in WI, where that gerrymander could also soon be ended by the state Supreme Court): "Don't give up," urges Nichols, echoing the words, by the way, of the late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

ALSO TODAY:

  • The U.S. Supreme Court rejects an appeal from Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and six others, of the $150,000 in legal sanctions they were forced by a judge to pay for abusing the court system in Detroit via Powell's sham, post-2020 "Kraken" lawsuit, challenging the results of MI's election that year.
  • A bedtime story to help you understand the propaganda now coming from Trump supporters claiming there were "no victims" in the New York civil lawsuit against Trump and his company and two eldest sons for inflating the value of their assets to the tune of more than $2 billion each year over the past 11, to receive better rates on bank loans and lower taxes. Last Friday, NY Superior Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled [PDF] Trump and his eldest sons must pay nearly $400 million in penalties for their decades-long fraud.
  • And finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, to bunk our high over all of today's good news (as usual!) with some chilling reports on Florida's disappearing coral reefs; the plastics industry's 50-year recycling scam, and nearly half of the world's migratory species now in decline thanks to climate change, according to a new U.N. report...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Reformed 'Ultra-MAGA' member Rich Logis on 'Leaving MAGA'; Also: Is this the week the tide finally begins to turn against Trump?...
By Brad Friedman on 1/29/2024 6:06pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Escaping MAGA and whether real accountability for the former President's many crimes and civil verdicts might finally begin to bend the curve against him from within his own party and from his own supporters. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Friday, a nine-member federal jury in New York ordered Donald Trump to pay an additional $83.3 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, who an earlier 9-member jury determined last year that he had sexually assaulted and repeatedly defamed. The original verdict cost him $5 million, but wasn't enough to stop the repeated defamation of Carroll.

All of this comes on the cusp of a completely separate verdict in a state case in NY where the judge has already determined Trump committed massive fraud by falsely inflating his assets to receive more favorable rates on bank loans, insurance and taxes. The State A.G. has asked that the judge now find Trump and his companies and his top executives (including his two eldest sons) liable for at least $370 million. That ruling is likely to come any day now.

A hundred million here, a hundred million there, and, before ya know it, you're talking about real money. Even for a "billionaire" like Trump. But will any of it make a difference to Trump's most ardent supporters? How about the few Republicans left who are neither Never Trumpers nor hardcore MAGA? Will they finally take notice? Might these rulings begin to make a difference in GOP primary polling, as the disgraced former President continues to be the party's front-running nominee for the 2024 Presidential election?

For thoughts on all of that and much more, we're delighted to be joined again today by RICH LOGIS, a former hardcore MAGA member himself who voted for Trump in both 2016 and 2020, before eventually coming to terms with the fact that he had become captive to what is a far-right political cult. (Our first conversation with him, with more details on that, was in October last year.)

Logis now runs PerfectOurUnion.us, devoted to "healing political trauma" and "building diverse, pro-democracy alliances". Today, he offers his insight, as a reformed MAGA member and former Republican pundit, on whether any of the recent verdicts against Trump --- and/or those that are still to come in the four separate criminal felony cases he is facing this year --- might finally begin to turn the tide away from the GOP's cult leader.

We also discuss Logis' thoughts published recently at Salon, on why the MAGA crowd is so gullible to mythologization and race-baiting, and how even Nikki Haley is now tapping into the same bloodstream to capitalize on a party that has long been captured (well before Trump) by racist polarization and "White fright".

Logis is now creating a new organization specifically devoted to "Leaving MAGA" and we begin the important discussion of how to help those captured by MAGA find their way out, and what friends and family members may be able to do to begin helping their loved ones find their way home.

"As someone who was in MAGA for seven years," he tells me, "Most MAGA voters are good people, deep down. But, unfortunately, the relationship between most MAGA Americans and Donald Trump is a very toxic one. While I don't defend ignorance, MAGA Americans have been traumatized by Trump and the rightwing and the Republican Party. They just have a skill set at keeping MAGA Americans desperate and panicked."

But, he insists optimistically, "if someone got into MAGA, they can get out of it." His own catalyst came after coming to terms with the fact that his own Governor, Ron DeSantis, who he had previously supported, was willing to let people die by lying to them about COVID vaccines in 2021.

"If someone who is very pro-MAGA speaks to someone who is very anti-MAGA, I guarantee, if they speak long enough, they're going to find some issues that they have some common ground and agreement on." He cautions, however, that vilification doesn't work. If it did, "everybody would have left at this point."

"It's going to take time," Logis insists. But he believes "there are more out there who are in the nascent stages of remorse. Because ultimately the strength of the numbers in Leaving MAGA will be in how many we can encourage and empower to leave and tell their stories publicly."

Until his new organization is formally unveiled, he asks folks to contact him at his website. This conversation will continue, I hope. Because it must...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dan Froomkin of Press Watch; Also: A whole bunch of long-overdue accountability news for a whole bunch of rightwingers!...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2024 5:03pm PT  

No matter what happens in this year's election, the year will be like none other in the U.S. Are the mainstream media --- which arguably helped lead us to our current mess at the edge of a potential collapse of American democracy --- able to meet the challenge? To serve a nation that badly news an unapologetic press able to call out the corrupted without "both sidesing" every issue? That's where we begin on today's BradCast, before covering a whole bunch of accountability for rightwingers and rightwing organizations in recent days and weeks. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

It seems impossible to believe that the U.S. mainstream media will be able to meet this moment. And yet, there are signs, suggests our guest today, longtime journalist and media critic DAN FROOMKIN of Press Watch, formerly of Washington Post, Huff Post, The Intercept and Harvard's journalism watchdog, the Neiman Foundation.

In a column late last year, Froomkin detailed the "intense internal pressure to defend democracy" that newsrooms will be facing in 2024. The greatest pressure, he reports, is likely to come not from outside those newsrooms, but from inside, where "traditional bosses are still in control," holding fast to "both sides" journalism, but where they are finally being challenged by what he describes as a "silent journalistic majority", an often younger and/or more diverse group of reporters "whose sense of self is defined by more than just not taking sides. It’s defined by informing the public of the truth."

With the stakes now higher than ever, he observes, there are signs, at least, that some in the traditional, unhelpful mainstream are begin to change in order to meet the moment. It's a tall order --- especially after so many decades of failure --- but there are some positive signs that even the traditionalists are beginning to understand the threat posed to American democracy itself by a Republican party which has now all but fallen to the fascistic, autocratic demands of its cult leader.

"The good news --- and it is unusual for me to focus on the good news in the media --- is that I think we're seeing two steps forward, one step back, in that I do see some braver, more honest, more upfront journalism happening on occasion at the major institutions," Froomkin tells me, before adding, "And then every so often, they'll backslide terribly."

He argues that many are "getting really impatient with this 'both-side'-ism, this 'a pox on both your houses' stuff."

"If you talk to any journalist who is not personally invested in the old way of doing things, you'll find that they actually agree with this critique. It is not a radical critique anymore. It is very much a 'How do we do journalism in this day and age?' question. And I think the answer is increasingly becoming that we need to call it out the way we see it. And that we need to stand up for democracy and for a free press, and for core journalistic values. It doesn't mean telling people to go vote Democratic, it doesn't mean being easy on the Democrats. But it does mean pointing out what this danger is right now."

"If Trump takes power, he's going to go after the media. And he will criminalize journalism in a lot of ways, and the free press will be under a lot of pressure. I don't think any journalist can sit there and say, 'I'll be fine if Trump wins.' They should all be terrified," Froomkin asserts, adding: "An increasing number are. You're seeing some of that, for instance, in this story on political violence. That was one of the big issues swept under the rug until recently."

As Froomkin explains, the jury is very much still out. But what he once saw as a "generational project" now needs to happen much quicker. "The stakes feel so high right at this moment --- for obvious reasons --- that I think there’s pretty good chance of change before November," he wrote last month. We'll see if he's right about that.

In the meantime, there has been some encouraging news elsewhere, at least from the court system in recent weeks, resulting in a rush of long-overdue accountability for people and organizations of the corrupted right.

  • Last week, New York Attorney General Tish James' office filed motions seeking $370 million from Donald Trump, his company, and its top executives for years of massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. She is also seeking a lifetime ban from the NY real estate market for Trump, and a five-year ban for his eldest sons. The whole crew has already been found liable by the state judge overseeing the case. The only question now is what the penalties will ultimately be. Closing arguments are this week and Trump will not be allowed to make part of them himself, after failing to agree he would do so without attacking prosecutors, the judge or his staff, or turn the remarks into a political statement.
  • Also last week, Wayne LaPierre, the wildly corrupt 30-year leader of the terrorist-supporting National Rifle Association, finally resigned on the eve of his corruption trial --- also thanks to Tish James in New York --- which began this week. LaPierre and other top NRA officials allegedly bilked millions of dollars from the non-profit organization to fund their own lavish lifestyles. James hopes to force LaPierre and the others to pay it all back and permanently bar them from serving on the board of any NY charity. Thoughts and prayers.
  • Longtime Republican grifter James O'Keefe's sleazy, fake "journalism" organization called Project Veritas, finally seems to be all but permanently dead. That, after O'Keefe was found to have overseen years of "financial malfeasance" according to its Board and newly seated CEO, Hannah Giles, who resigned last month citing "an unsalvageable mess" at the organization, "one wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties." Giles originally played the "prostitute" in heavily edited videos published years ago by Andrew Breitbart targeting the community organizing and voter registration group ACORN. O'Keefe --- as we spent quite a bit of time some years ago detailing to mainstream media outlets who had also fallen for the hoax --- pretended to have dressed up as a "pimp" in those fraudulent videos. Though scams, they still resulted in rightwing millionaire, billionaire and just plain old dupes donating tens of millions of dollars to O'Keefe's organization over the years in support of their phony, frequently unlawful, partisan schemes targeting groups and individuals on the left. The organization and O'Keefe himself are reportedly under criminal and/or civil investigation for a number of those schemes.
  • Remember Kim Davis? The sleazy, far-right Kentucky county clerk who, in 2015, refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling? Last week, a federal judge found her liable for $260,000 in legal fees and expenses incurred by one of the couples who she unlawfully refused to license. In 2022, a federal jury said she had to pay the couple $100,000 in damages. The rightwing legal organization representing Davis for free, Liberty Counsel, says they will appeal the original verdict, the order for attorneys fees, and Obergefell itself at the U.S. Supreme Court.

FINALLY, as today's show ended, it looks like former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has decided to suspend his 2024 GOP Presidential campaign (much as we called for him to do --- if he was truly serious about keeping Trump out of the White House --- on yesterday's program.) The announcement comes just hours before a debate tonight between Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in advance of Monday's Iowa Caucuses. Presumptive frontrunner Donald Trump won't be at this debate either, but we will have Special Coverage, nonetheless, for some reason, on tomorrow's BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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EPA to mandate removal of nation's lead water pipes; Interior's firefighter, wildfire resilience funding; OPEC to cut production again; NY re-gags Trump; Biden in CO touts clean energy jobs, manufacturing boom...
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2023 6:29pm PT  

We've got an unusually large amount of somewhat encouraging environmental-related news on today's BradCast. We apologize in advance. Don't worry. It's not all good.

Among today's stories...

  • More than 40 inches of snow fell on parts of the Northeast over the past two days. Desi Doyen explains why that may --- or may not be (though probably is) --- related to climate change.
  • Donald Trump's very narrow gag order in his $250 million civil fraud trial in New York, meant to bar him from attacking the court clerk --- which had resulted in hundreds of vile death threats against her --- has been reinstated by the state appeals court. Trump and his lawyers are pretending this is the greatest "tragedy" and injustice in world history. Shortly after the ruling [PDF] was handed down, Trump began posting attacks on social media against the Judge's wife.
  • OPEC+ member states, including cartel leader Saudi Arabia, Russia and others, announced they will be cutting oil production in 2024 in hopes of raising your gas prices in an election year. They had already cut production in late 2022, but, thanks in part to record U.S. oil production under the Biden Administration, prices came down anyway. (Yes, we realize that's the oppose of what you've been told by Republicans.) Sick of manipulation of global gas prices by foreign adversaries hoping to interfere in U.S. elections? We've got a few answers to that in the rest of today's show.
  • The Biden Interior Dept. announced on Thursday that it had invested some $468 million to advance wildfire resilience and a temporary increase in pay for firefighters across the nation under the Administration's "Investing in America" agenda, as wildfire season gets longer and more deadly thanks to our climate crisis. (The Biden-Harris Administration says it is working hard to find a way to make those pay increases permanent. But GOP members of Congress may have to play along.)
  • The Biden EPA also announced some very big news on Thursday. The Administration has proposed new restrictions on lead levels in drinking water that will result in all 9 million of the nation's lead water pipes --- which can cause brain damage and behavior disorders, particularly in children --- being replaced over the next 10 years! "To finally have a rule that mandates the removal of lead pipes is exactly what the government should be doing,” declared the Michigan pediatrician whose research first discovered the 2014 Flint, Michigan lead poisoning water crisis. This is very very good news and, yes, exactly the sort of thing that the federal government should be doing --- and should have done long ago!
  • But for, perhaps, the best examples of the federal government doing what it should be doing to help Americans this week came from Joe Biden's own remarks at a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Pueblo, Colorado on Wednesday. It is the largest such plant in the world, and will be even larger soon thanks to a number of pieces of legislation adopted during his Presidency. In his remarks, Biden touted the Administration's multifaceted jobs and manufacturing agenda --- via bills such as the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the CHIPS Act and more --- which has resulted in a clean energy jobs and manufacturing boom across the country. In this case, he was speaking in the district of --- and pushing back at --- handsy far-right Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert and other Republicans who voted against all of the measures that have brought thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars to her own district.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a suspiciously high ratio of good to bad news for a change today. It must be something in the water today. Hopefully it's not lead.

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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Reproductive freedoms and vote purges in VA, OH; Upset Gubernatorial races on deck in KY, MS?; Election denialism threatens vote counting in northern CA county; Also: Listener calls and other news of the day...
By Brad Friedman on 11/6/2023 6:26pm PT  

Tomorrow is a so-called "off-year" election in a number of states. But several of those elections may tell us quite a bit about the 2024 elections, and not necessarily in the way you may think, as reported on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among today's stories...

  • First up, some quickish news updates. Donald Trump took the stand on Monday in court in Manhattan for three and a half hours of contentious testimony in his losing battle to save his fraudulent company and his children's inheritance in New York State's $250 million fraud lawsuit against them for falsely inflating Trump Organization assets to the tune of $2.2 billion dollars each year from 2011 through 2021. He's already lost the case. Now the question is how much it will cost him (and his children.)
  • Next, a few quick updates on Israel's relentless war against the people of Gaza following the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, which killed at least 1,300. Now, more than 10,000 have reportedly been killed in response in Gaza, including more than 4,000 children. Calls for a ceasefire are getting louder in the U.S. and around the world. The Biden Administration's calls and Sec. of State Antony Blinken's shuttle diplomacy in the region for a "humanitarian pause" to speed additional humanitarian aid into Gaza and allow the release of some 240 hostages, have yet to gain much traction from Israel's hard-right government.
  • Then, it's on to Tuesday's elections, first with a focus on two Gubernatorial contests in the Deep South, with one popular incumbent Democrat (Kentucky's Andy Beshear) seeking a second term, and another Democrat (Mississippi's Brandon Presley) vying for a long-shot victory now that his state, where 40% of the population is black, has finally done away with a Jim Crow law that has dampened African-American turnout for generations.
  • We discussed the critical fight for control of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates last week with former VA Delegate Mark Levine. But it was worth revisiting today for a reminder of how much is stake in the Commonwealth on Tuesday, including the right to abortion, which its Republican Governor, Glenn Youngkin, is vowing to restrict if he can hold the House and flip just two seats in the Senate on Tuesday. Every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs this year, in what is likely to be seen as a bellwether ahead of the 2024 Presidential contest.

    But the biggest battle of the day is likely to be Ohio's Constitutional amendment to protect reproductive freedoms. Republicans are pulling out all the stops to lie, cheat and, yes, even steal it if they must, to block the popular ballot initiative in hopes of instituting a six-week ban on abortions in the Buckeye State with no exceptions for rape or incest. To that end, Republican Sec. of State and U.S. Senate nominee-wannabe Frank LaRose recently purged some 26,000 voters from the rolls. He did so after overseas and military voting had already begun (which would have been unlawful during a federal election) and without giving a heads up to voting rights groups as he has in the past. Those nonpartisan groups have frequently discovered and prevented thousands of errors in such purges. Last week's shocker, as discussed on Thursday's show, wherein I learned from an obituary on the Internet that I had died (even though, I assure you, I haven't) is a reminder of how easy it can be to wrongly remove "dead" voters from the roles who are, in fact, quite alive. At least when you do it as LaRose has done. But, of course, that's why he did it.

    And, in what may be a bit of a sleeper "bellwether" for next year's elections, one county in Northern California may be bracing for potential political violence, as rightwingers in Shasta County are insisting on hand-counting ballots after prematurely ending their contract with Dominion Voting Systems. But the elected registrar --- the only county-wide elected Dem in the County --- believes it wise to follow state law and tally with new Hart-Intercivic tabulators instead. Tune in for details. And keep your eyes on Shasta over the next few days, as we will.

  • Then we close by taking a few calls from listeners on some of the above today. Buckle up! Not as much for today's show or our callers, but for tomorrow's otherwise low-key, but critical elections around the country...

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Nothing but tough breaks for Trump in GA, NY, D.C. and CO courtrooms; Also: House GOP selects new Speaker nominee...he quits hours later...
By Brad Friedman on 10/24/2023 6:20pm PT  

A bad day in court for the former President is a good day for America and democracy. Happily, as reported on today's BradCast, it was a very bad day for the former President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Rudy Giuliani's attempted election theft sidekick, rightwing media darling, accomplished liar and opportunistically Christian Trump attorney Jenna Ellis offered a teary apology-ish in an Atlanta courtroom today, as she threw Rudy under the bus and pretended to be contrite for helping him and Donald Trump try to steal the 2020 election in Georgia.

Ellis was allowed to plead guilty to a single felony charge (she was originally charged with two) in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against Trump and 18 co-defendants. She will receive no jailtime if she follows the terms of her plea deal and cooperates with prosecutors against her fellow co-defendants, which include Trump, Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman and others.

The manipulative Ms. Ellis (pictured above either crying or smiling following her remarks to the judge on Tuesday) boasted just last month about raising more than $200,000 for her legal defense in the case, which she characterized as "the criminalization of the practice of law" by a "weaponized government."

On Tuesday, however, she suddenly decided to claim "deep remorse" and that she should have made sure "that the facts the other lawyers alleged to be true were in fact true." She told the judge through her tears: "I believe in and I value election integrity. If I knew then what I know now, I would have declined to represent Donald Trump in these post-election challenges."

And you shouldn't believe her for a second, as discussed today. Ellis is the fourth co-defendant to plead guilty in Willis' case, and the third attorney to do so after Sidney Powell and Ken Chesebro last week. To date, all have avoided any jail time...as we discuss as well.

Elsewhere, on a very Trumpy news day (sorry, not sorry)...

  • Moments before midnight last night, at the deadline for pre-trial motions, Trump filed a flurry of desperate pleadings in the felony indictment case against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith in federal court in D.C. for efforts related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election, including the January 6 insurrection. TPM's David Kurtz has an excellent quick round-up of the filings; former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade characterizes them as "all losers"; and our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel offers the shortest, sharpest round-up of the pleadings which appear destined to fail miserably.
  • In a New York state courtroom on Tuesday, where Trump, his company and his two eldest sons face the loss of their fraudulent business empire in Attorney General Letitia James' civil case against him, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen testified --- as Trump glowered from the defense table --- that, when he worked for the Trump Organization he was "tasked by Mr. Trump" to inflate the value of company assets to "whatever number Trump told us." The judge in the case has already found Trump et al guilty on the key fraud claims brought by James. Several other issues and the final size of the judgement against the defendants remain at stake. Also, the question of whether Trump and his attorneys will be sickened by COVID again.
  • In Congress, Republicans in the U.S. House spent the last two days selecting their newest Speaker Designate after moving to fire Kevin McCarthy three weeks ago. On Tuesday, after five rounds of voting in a close-door conference meeting, House Republicans selected Majority Whip Tom Emmer (MN). A few hours later, after being attacked by Trump, Emmer --- following in the footsteps of Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan before him over the past two weeks --- dropped out of the running. And we're back to square one with no Speaker and a House that is unable to do any business until the GOP can grow up and govern before next month's deadline for a full government shutdown.
  • And, in one more Trump-related story from Friday. A state judge in Colorado rejected three different attempts by the disgraced former President to dismiss a lawsuit charging that he is ineligible to appear on the state's ballot next year under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrection Disqualification Clause". The filings from both Trump and the Colorado GOP were all but laughed out of court by the judge. The trial in the matter begins in state court next week!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report. The good news: Trump's name doesn't come up. The bad news: Pretty much everything in our latest Green News Report...

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Hard right moves to vacate, Dems stay united, next steps unclear; Also: Trump gag order in NY; John Kelly confirms Trump attacks on military, vets; Milley slams former Prez as 'wannabe dictator'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/3/2023 6:16pm PT  

Breaking just before air on today's BradCast: Yup. More GOP chaos in Congress. But I'm sure, by week's end, it'll all be the Democrats' fault somehow. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In the wake of House Dems helping to keep the federal government from a shutdown over the weekend by voting in support of then House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's last-minute, 45-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open until the GOP's warring factions can pass a budget, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a Motion to Vacate against the Speaker of the House on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, just before airtime, McCarthy was ousted in a dramatic 216 - 210 floor vote.

Gaetz and 7 other far-right Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to vacate the Office of Speaker of the House. It was a first in U.S. history.

Of course, we all saw it coming when McCarthy agreed to a deal with the farthest rightwing members of his own caucus in January to allow a single member to file a Motion to Vacate. It was one of many concessions by McCarthy in exchange for allowing him to become Speaker last on the 15th ballot. Moreover, he did himself few favors with the opposition party by breaking many promises with Biden and the Democrats regarding the shutdown, an absurd, evidence-free Impeachment Inquiry and more.

What happens next? That is completely unclear as of this hour, and as we scrambled to cover the historic news while still salvaging at least part of our previously planned program.

As the Republican Party falls apart in Congress, so does the life of the Republican front-runner for the 2024 Presidential nomination. Among our other stories, breaking or otherwise, today...

  • The judge in New York overseeing the state's $250 million civil fraud trial against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons issued a gag order against the former President on Tuesday, after he targeted the judge's law clerk this afternoon in a social media posting and in an email blast to supporters.
  • Picking up on our continuing coverage of the racketeering case against Trump and 18 co-defendants in Georgia, related to their broad, failed conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State, there was bad news in court on Friday for at least four of the co-defendants. We explain.
  • Retired U.S. Marine Corps General, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Trump's second and longest-serving Chief of Staff, John Kelly, finally went on record today to confirm his direct knowledge of a number of Trump's long-reported attacks against military members and veterans, including by describing them as "suckers" and "losers".
  • Kelly's devastating, if long-overdue, on-the-record remarks came in the wake of Trump's recent attack against General Mark Milley, Trump's Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who the former President recently charged with committing "treason", a crime punishable by execution. For his part, Milley, whose four-year term expired last week, offered thinly-veiled, if striking and piqued remarks during his Farewell Address late last week. Without mentioning Trump by name, while describing the uniqueness of the American military's mission to protect the nation and our democracy by taking an oath to protect the Constitution, Milley railed: "We don't take an oath to a country. We don't take an oath to a tribe. We don't take an oath to a religion. We don't take an oath to a king or a queen or to a tyrant or a dictator, and we don't take an oath to a wannabe dictator!" While those comments have received a fair amount of attention by the media, Milley had much more to say along those lines. We share a bit more of his remarks that are worth hearing today.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, after New York saw its third 100-year flood in the past two years over the weekend; extreme heatwaves shattered September records; climate change is straining the home insurance bubble; and Norway's effort to move to 100% electric vehicles is all but complete...

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Guest: Author, historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Gobsmacking details from NY state fraud ruling against Trump family; Late-night shows returning!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2023 5:52pm PT  

On today's BradCast: A couple of follow-ups and a deep dive into what almost certainly lies ahead beginning this weekend, including who is likely to be blamed for it, who may or may not still have a job when all is said and done, and what the cost is likely to be to the American people. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP: The news broke just before airtime on yesterday's program, but I've now had time to read Tuesday's full, breathtaking court ruling [PDF] which seemed impossible to believe as it broke yesterday. But, yes, Judge Arthur Engoron's summary judgement ruling in New York state's $250 million fraud case against Donald Trump and his company and his two eldest sons is as brutal, if not more so, than we initially reported it yesterday.

In addition to utterly obliterating the case presented by defendants --- as "pure sophistry", "not relevant", "patently false", "fatally flawed", "simply untrue", "completely irrelevant," and "frivolous", among other things, some of which we share today --- Engoron details several of the eye-popping fraudulent lies told in years of Statements of Financial Condition (SFCs) signed off on by Trump in applications for bank loans. Breathtakingly inflated overvaluations of his key properties, including by 2,300% at Mar-a-Lago alone, where Palm Beach County assessed the property to be valued anywhere from $18 to 27.6 million in the years from 2011 to 2021. During those same years, Trump's SFCs said the property was worth from $426 to $612 million!

In total, the fraudulent overvaluations documented by the suit, just in the years in question, total anywhere from $812 million to $2.2 billion. "Even in the world of high finance," writes the Judge in response to defendants attempts to marginalize the false statements, "this Court cannot endorse a proposition that finds a misstatement of at least $812 million dollars to be 'immaterial'."

Each of the Trump properties seem to be "owned" by Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) created by the Trump Organization to manage each of them. And, yes, the result of yesterday's ruling --- which we couldn't believe as it was breaking, but have now been able to confirm in the actual court order --- is that the Judge has ordered NY business certificates "controlled or beneficially owned by Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, Allen Weisselberg, and Jeffrey McConney" to be "canceled". He has also ordered "independent receivers to manage the dissolution of the cancelled LLCs."

All of that on summary judgement before the non-jury trial, to be decided by the very same judge, begins on Monday. Youch. There is, of course, the possibility for appeals and such. But it is kinda remarkable how Tuesday's ruling has sort of been downplayed by many of the corporate media outlets. Perhaps they can't believe it either.

Before we get to our guest today on a completely different topic, more good news as the Writers Guild of America approved their new contract with major corporate producers on Tuesday after a nearly 150-day strike. That now clears the way for a bunch of late-night shows to finally return to the air beginning this weekend and by Monday. Some shows and most films will still be largely paused as the actors union remains on strike against the studios.

NEXT UP: A federal government shutdown is now all but certain to begin as of Saturday, thanks to far-right Republicans in the House who are unable to strike a deal amongst themselves for a short-term Continuing Resolution, much less a full budget package for the new fiscal year. Nonetheless, a new poll out this morning suggests that while 1 in 3 Americans blame Republicans, 2 out of 3 are blaming either Democrats or President Biden for the shutdown?!? Seriously?!? How can that be?!?

To help make some sense out of all of this and what is about to happen and what its historical antecedents may be, we're joined today for a great conversation by author, columnist, political scientist, and longtime Congressional historian NORM ORNSTEIN of the American Enterprise Institute. He blames the corporate media's terrible "both sides", "access journalism" coverage for the mistargeting of blame by Americans for a shutdown by Republicans.

"It's entirely on House Republicans, egged on by Donald Trump," he explains. "These people want a shutdown. Because this is not an ideology. It is a theology. The theology is that government is evil, government is bad, lose government, we get freedom, without regard to the realities in the real world and on the ground. They are very happy to have chaos out there."

Ornstein also charges that the GOP, claiming to seek government spending cuts, are "hypocrites" because shutdowns end up costing the government money while hurting actual Americans. "This is not a harm-free zone we're entering into," he warns. "Not only does it not save the government money. In some instances, because functions will be postponed, maintenance will not be done, ultimately it will cost more. They're hypocrites, at minimum. They're not really talking about savings for the government. They're talking about bringing the whole mechanism down because they hate government."

While Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is unable to wrangle his own caucus to even adopt a short term spending package to keep the government open as talks continue, he is also threatened with removal from his post as Speaker by the farthest right elements in the House. Ornstein offers some historical comparisons to this extraordinary moment, and argues that McCarthy "is in deep trouble."

"This movement towards using the threat of chaos, of shutdown, of default, as hostages" by Republicans in recent years, has "resulted in absolutely nothing happening. No concessions. Just the disruption." In recent years, he says, "we have been on a trajectory that is leading us further and further away from adults --- at least those that understand that no one is going to gain politically from a shutdown --- to a position now where we are basically being driven by the lunatic fringe."

He has, as ever, much more to help clarify on all of this today. All of it, as usual, well worth tuning in for...

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Also: Biden joins picket line in MI; SCOTUS rejects AL gerrymander (again); Cassidy Hutchinson warns against former Prez; MUCH more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2023 6:42pm PT  

Some breaking news just before airtime helped, once again, threw off our best laid plans for today's BradCast. But, given this particularly huge breaking news, we're just fine with that. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The New York Judge in state Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and two top company executives, ruled [PDF] that they all committed years of "persistent and repeated fraud" to the tune of billions of dollars by inflating the value of company assets when applying for bank loans. They also decreased the value of the same properties to receive favorable terms on both insurance and taxes, according to the ruling.

Judge Arthur Engoron found in favor of the state's key contention during the summary judgment phase of the landmark case on Tuesday, before the non-jury trial is slated to begin next Monday. Trump's attorneys had also sought summary judgement, hoping to see the case thrown out entirely. Instead, the key issue has already been decided against them and Engoron, in a brutal ruling, has stripped the former President, his company, his sons and execs, of control over several of his main New York properties. The Trump Organization and its various LLCs were placed into receivership to be controlled by court-appointed officers!

In the massive fraud suit, James seeks to permanently revoke the Trump family's license to do business at all in New York state. The trial, set to begin next week, will now determine the other issues at stake and the full breadth of penalties. Of course, Trump will appeal everything. But, make no mistake, this is a huge verdict against the failed former President and current 2024 GOP frontrunner who, as validated by Judge Engoron today, has built his business empire on decades of fraud and lies.

Among the many other important stories also covered on today's program...

  • Cassidy Hutchinson, star witness at last year's House January 6 Committee hearings and the former top aide to Trump's final Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, warns that Trump "almost destroyed democracy in one day and he wants to run for President do it again."
  • This week's second GOP Presidential Primary debate, at the Reagan Library here in Southern California, will feature the same candidates as last month's debate in Milwaukee, other than former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who apparently did not meet the RNC's criteria. Trump was also not invited for refusing to sign the party's loyalty pledge, but he had already announced he wouldn't participate in any of their debates.
  • Labor economist Kathryn Anne Edwards offered a must-listen response to Louisiana's loopy U.S. Senator John Kennedy during a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on post-pandemic child care concerns. While Kennedy suggested he really really wanted to help, he had no idea where, oh, where the federal government could possibly find the money to do so. Edwards' straightforward, well-supported answer: Raise taxes on the wealthy that you've been lowering for the past two decades if you really care about children in need.
  • In a related matter on Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first sitting U.S. President, incredibly enough, to join a picket line with striking workers. In this case, he called on striking United Auto Workers members in Detroit to "stick with it," as he rallied workers with UAW President Shawn Fain. On Wednesday, the former President is set to speak at a non-union facility in a "red" county outside of Detroit.
  • California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law today that doubles the tax on sales of guns and ammunition in the state to help pay for increased school safety measures. While the federal government already charges a 10% tax on guns and ammo, California doubled it with one of their own, becoming the first in the nation to do so.
  • Bona fide good news today from our corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court. They rejected Alabama's attempt --- once again --- to violate the Voting Rights Act with a racially gerrymandered U.S. House map. Last June, in a surprising 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the Court's three liberals, SCOTUS ordered the state to create a second majority black U.S. House District. Just 1 of 7 districts is currently a majority minority district despite African Americans comprising more than a quarter of the state's population. But Alabama Republicans, blatantly defying the U.S. Supreme Court, redrew their districts without including a second black majority district as mandated. A federal court panel then ordered a Special Master to draw up a new map instead. Alabama tried to stay that decision at SCOTUS, which unanimously rejected the state today in a one sentence ruling. That is good news for voters and bad news for several other GOP-controlled states trying the same gambit to cheat their way to a Republican majority in the House again next year.
  • Speaking of the Republicans' narrow majority in the U.S. House, it appears next to impossible at this hour to believe they will be able to agree amongst themselves on a spending bill to keep the federal government open as of Saturday. At least not without either Democrats saving them and/or House Speaker Kevin McCarthy losing his job as Speaker.
  • New Jersey's Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, federally indicted for a second time late last week on charges of bribery and corruption, maintains his innocence. But the flood of fellow Democratic U.S. Senators calling for his resignation seems all but unstoppable now, with at least six of them --- including fellow NJ Senator Corey Booker --- calling for Menendez to step down. The charges, by the way, would seem to dramatically undercut Trump/GOP claims that the DoJ has been "weaponized" by Democrats against them.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Orleans declares a drinking water emergency; Fracking is "devouring American's groundwater" amid persistent drought in a number of states; and FEMA girds to suspend critical recovery operations in several states if Republicans shut down the federal government as of this Saturday...

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Also: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

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Proof that McCarthy and party couldn't care less about the debt or deficit; Also: Trump criminal woes worsen by the day; TX joins GA in new laws to undermine elections in Democratic strongholds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2023 6:40pm PT  

With their policy positions wildly unpopular among Americans, is it any wonder that Republicans are now doing little more than lying about their beliefs, crashing the economy, using the government to funnel money to wealthy campaign donors, and otherwise adopting laws, where ever they still can, to prevent non-Republicans from winning elections? And those are their non-violent strategies, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • A 19-year old from Missouri, apparently with a Nazi flag in his rented truck, is charged with "threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing," after attempting to ram the truck into Lafayette Square across the street from the White House on Monday night. MAGA Republicans online seem to think the Nazi flag was an FBI setup to make them look bad. They may not have thought through that argument very well.
  • TAP's Ryan Cooper details the evidence that makes it plain as day that Congressional Republicans couldn't care less about the national debt or budget deficits in their pretend case against raising the statutory (and, almost certainly unconstitutional) Debt Ceiling law. If they actually cared about the debt or deficits, they wouldn't oppose raising revenue, among other things. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's fight, on behalf of his party, is not about debt. It is about using terrorism to crash the economy in hopes of hurting Democrats before the next election. They've been pulling this trick for years now. Perhaps Democrats should stop falling for it?
  • According to separate reports from WaPo and NYT last night, Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed information from the Trump Organization on its business dealings with China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman since 2017, as part of his probe of the documents, many of them highly classified, that Donald Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office. Now why would Smith want to do that?
  • Trump appeared remotely in New York court today to be instructed by the judge overseeing his 34 felony count indictment in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, that he may not share certain evidence from prosecutors over social media. He may not even view some of it without his lawyers present. A date was also set for the beginning of his trial, on March 25, 2024, smack-dab in the middle of next year's Presidential primary season. Should be fun.
  • In a somewhat more immediate Trump Criminal Accountability Calendar Item, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has now informed Fulton's Chief Judge that, other than leadership and "armed investigators", the bulk of her staff will be working remotely from July 31 though August 18. That syncs up with dates that Willis previously suggested indictments were likely to be brought in her office's investigation "into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 general election". She requested that "judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14." So, yeah...mark your calendars. It may get hotter than usual in Atlanta this summer.
  • We would have covered the above story sooner, but it came out as I was being deposed last week in a lawsuit [PDF] filed by the Coalition for Good Governance against Georgia's SB202 voter suppression law. I am a named plaintiff in the case, representing media, regarding provisions of this terrible bill that unconstitutionally chill and/or otherwise dangerously prevent press freedoms and public oversight of elections in the Peach State. While my three-hour depo last week went very well, I believe, I'll hold more specific thoughts for later, as other plaintiffs in the case are still going through their own depositions. But, another provision being challenged by CGG in this terrible bill --- best known for blocking the distribution of food or water to voters waiting in line to vote --- is a scheme that allows the State to replace entire, elected, local Boards of Elections with a single appointee of the Secretary of State's choosing. That wildly undemocratic provision, supported by GA's Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger, is now being echoed in...
  • ...Texas! Lawmakers in the Lone Star State on Tuesday were voting on two bills that will allow local election officials to be replaced by someone chosen by the Republican Governor's hand-picked Secretary of State, and otherwise make it easier to interfere with local elections. However, these provisions only apply to Counties in Texas with more than 3.5 million voters. As it turns out, the only such county in the state that meets that requirement is Houston's Harris County, a now reliably "blue" part of a "red" state turning more "purple" by the year. If ya can't beat 'em...commandeer their elections and right to vote.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for news on a massive cyclone now aiming directly for the U.S. territory of Guam after spinning up from almost nothing overnight to a catastrophic category 4 Super Typhoon today. That, followed by our latest Green News Report, with important news in the war over water in the drought-stricken U.S. west, and some great news about sweeping, landmark environmental and climate legislation being adopted by Minnesota, now that Dems have taken control of both chambers of the state legislature and its governor's mansion...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Two rightwing mass murders in TX over the weekend; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 5/8/2023 6:14pm PT  

It was another deadly weekend in the violent state of Texas, thanks, in no small part to the Republican Party of Mass Murder. But on today's BradCast our focus is mostly on accountability for the rightwing Seditious Conspirators who attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government on behalf of lies told by then-President, Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Last Thursday, leaders of the far-right, racist, Trump-supporting Proud Boys gang were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and many other felonies for their part in attempting to carry out Trump's sore-loser insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The verdict mirrored those from previous trials of both Proud Boys gangsters and far-right Oath Keepers militiamen.

On Friday, the Dept. of Justice "threw the book" at the seditious Oath Keepers in a 183-page [PDF] sentencing recommendation filed with the court for organization leader Stewart Rhodes and the others found guilty along with him earlier this year. DoJ recommended a 25-year sentence for Rhodes and slightly fewer years for eight others.

We're joined today by DR. ALLISON GILL, known to many as "A.G." and host of the Mueller, She Wrote podcast and Twitter handle, which covers the daily travails on the road to accountability for our disgraced former President.

Gill, who plowed through the full Sentencing Memo from DoJ over the weekend, breaks down its key elements, including similar sentencing recommendations to those brought for "treason"; additional penalties sought for an "upward departure" due to "terrorism"; and prosecutors asking the judge for consecutive sentences for each of the convictions, rather than concurrent sentences allowing the convicted to serve multiple years-long sentences at the same time.

"All three of things that I was looking for them to do, to 'throw the book' at these seditious conspirators, all of them were done," Gill told me. "So, I am not sure they could have gone any harder than they did."

Most importantly, we discuss why all of this news about the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers convictions is likely very bad news for Trump, who may soon find himself indicted by Special Counsel Jack Smith on charges that the DoJ has now road tested to excellent results in these other sedition and conspiracy trials.

Also, we get Gill's thoughts on the New York Time's curious (understated bombshell?) reference to records recently sought by Smith in his probe of the sensitive documents stolen by Trump from the White House upon leaving office. In the middle of a Times story last week on the "confidential cooperation of a person who has worked for [Trump] at Mar-a-Lago" and the report of large gaps in the security surveillance footage turned over to prosecutors, there was reference to the Trump Organization's dealing with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf venture, which is holding tournaments at Trump's golf resorts. For some unexplained reason, the Times reports, there have been "previously unreported subpoenas to the Trump Organization" regarding business with Saudi Arabia. Now what does that have to do with the stolen documents case? Curiously, the Times doesn't elaborate, but we discuss the possibilities.

Then, after some news on the apparent white supremacist who shot and killed 8 and critically injured three others at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas on Saturday and on the man who killed another 8 and injured about a dozen others with his SUV outside of an immigrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas on Sunday, we open the phone to callers mostly regarding the DoJ efforts to finally bring the criminal Trump to heal. Though some duped listeners, you may be bemused to learn, just can't understand why we need to prosecute Trump instead of....Joe Biden?!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Deadly downpours follow megadrought, highlight $1 trillion in U.S. climate-related damage over past 7 years; Also: Trump Org financial chief briefly jailed; Biden attorneys properly handle classified docs...
By Brad Friedman on 1/10/2023 6:07pm PT  

Who says it never rains in Southern California? Evidence on today's BradCast would strongly suggests otherwise. [Audio link to full show follows below]

Repeated "atmospheric river" downpours continue to drench the Golden State for the second straight week, and will keep doing so through at least the weekend. Some 35 inches of rain have reportedly fallen in some parts of the state over the past two weeks after years of megadrought in the West, which the recent storms are, incredibly, still unlikely to make up for.

Hundreds of thousands of CA residents began Tuesday without power; tens of thousands were under mandatory evacuation orders; millions were under flood watches or warning; at least 15 people have been killed so far by the storms, flooding, hurricane-speed wind gusts and an uncountable number of fallen trees. That, as NOAA clocks in with a new report finding that, over the past seven years alone, there have been more than 122 separate climate-related disasters causing more than one billion dollars in damage and killing at least 5,000 people in the U.S. at the cost of more than one trillion dollars.

Imagine if we had decided to spend anywhere near that much to try and end the use of the fossil fuels that are causing this mess, or at least on efforts to mitigate the worsening effects of this climate crisis. Of course, that would have made paid supporters of the oil and gas industry mad. So, instead, we face these continuing deadly disasters, paid for with every more of your blood and treasure.

We discuss all of the above on today's program.

Also today, after pleading guilty to 15 counts of tax related fraud charges in New York and testifying against the Trump Organization, its longtime Chief Financial Officer (who is still paid more than a million dollars a year to work for them), Allen Weisselberg headed to Riker's Island today for no more than 5 months in the notorious state prison. The Judge who sentenced him on Tuesday said he regretted agreeing to such a short sentence in approving his plea deal last summer, after hearing him testify against the Trump Organization during the company's recent trial. "I would be imposing a sentence much greater," the judge said. ""I'm not going to deviate from the promise, though I believe a stiffer sentence is warranted, having heard the evidence." Trump's company was found guilty on 17 counts of tax fraud, but Weisselberg is the only one person from the company going to jail. For now. That, even though state prosecutors made clear during the trial that Donald Trump and his two sons, Eric and Don Jr., who ran the company while he served in the White House, knew about the massive, years-long tax fraud as well.

That comes after news broke last night that attorneys for Joe Biden recently discovered "a small number of documents with classified markings" on them, according to the White House. The documents, reportedly ten of them, were locked in a closet with other personal Biden family items at an office he used after his Vice Presidency. When the documents were discovered late last year, as the office was being cleared out, Biden's attorneys reportedly contacted the White House immediately and the White House notified the National Archives who took custody of the documents the following day. That, by way of stark contrast with Trump's hoarding of hundreds of classified documents; his refusal to return them to the National Archives, even after receiving a subpoena; and the disgraced former President's attempts to both lie about the documents and conceal them from law enforcement officials. Of course, none of that has prevented Trump's lackeys in Congress from disingenuously suggesting both cases were identical, but for the disparate treatment victim Trump received from the Justice Department. But, of course, selling such nonsense and lies is pretty much all those folks are good for at this point.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on California's extreme downpours; unprecedented flooding in Australia; and bad news about natural gas stoves...

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: Dr. Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
By Brad Friedman on 11/17/2022 6:10pm PT  

There are just too many crimes. Next time we'll need to plan a longer BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We're not yet beyond the 2022 elections. Votes are still being tallied and races still being called. Only last night, media outlets finally were able to project the GOP would win back a majority in the U.S. House next year, if barely, and that progressive Rep. Karen Bass would be the winner of the Los Angeles Mayoral race over billion real estate developer Rick Caruso. Of course, the fallout from the election will continue for a while. Today, two-time Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi --- love her or hate her, one of the most effective Speaker's in history --- announced that, while she plans to remain in Congress, she will not seek a leadership role next session. The first women to hold that job said during floor remarks today, that she is passing the torch to a new generation.

Most notably, however --- at least when it comes to accountability for the most corrupt man likely to ever hold public office in this nation, much less as President of the United States --- actual 2022 midterm voting continues as well, in the December 6th U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.

That means the Dept. of Justice guidelines barring overt action in politically-related cases during the 60-day window prior to elections is likely still in effect. But even after the GA runoff on December 6th, as our friend Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel recently explained, "Merrick Garland hasn't done the specific thing you want because DoJ has been busy doing things they have to do first." In other words, before federal indictments can be brought against Donald Trump, as many (yours truly included) are eager to see, there remains a lot of legal work that must be done in order to ensure that any such indictments result in actual convictions.

Our guest today is DR. ALLISON GILL of the notorious "Mueller, She Wrote" Twitter account and podcast, which tracks the many (seemingly endless) criminal and civil cases and investigations under way against the disgraced former President about as closely as anyone in the country. She agrees that patience remains a virtue in these cases. Depending on the case, as she explains today, we are looking at a matter of weeks to a matter of months before indictments can be brought against Trump. Though she does believe they are coming and that his announcement this week that he is running again in 2024 provides no protection against prosecution in any of these cases.

As we begin to move beyond the midterms, today seemed a good day to touch base with Gill to help us try and reset where things are regarding to the many ongoing criminal and civil probes, indictments and lawsuits still bearing down on Trump. To be honest, we've lost track of some of them in recent weeks as we'd moved largely full time to 2022 election coverage.

Those pending cases include (but are not limited to):

  • The New York state criminal tax fraud trial currently underway against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg, as brought by Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg;
  • Bragg's New York state criminal investigation into bank, tax and insurance fraud by Trump himself, as seemingly abandoned earlier this year, but which could be revived following the trial against his company;
  • The $250 million New York state civil lawsuit for bank, tax and insurance fraud against Trump, his company, and his three oldest kids, Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka, filed by NY A.G. Letitia James, which Gill sees as extraordinarily damaging to Trump;
  • The Georgia Special Grand Jury probe, as brought by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis, of the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to convince state officials to steal the 2020 Presidential election on his behalf;
  • The Dept. of Justice's federal probe of thousands of pages of classified documents stolen from the White House by Trump upon leaving office, in apparent violation of the Espionage Act, Presidential Records Act and obstruction of justice;
  • The DoJ's federal probe of the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and his other many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, including via a fake electors plot.

Add to those, Trump's failure to show up for his deposition this week in response to a lawful subpoena.from the the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. (Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon was recently sentenced to two months in prison for Contempt of Congress for failing to answer similar subpoenas from the Committee.)

"Don't forget," Gill adds today, "his Save America PAC is under federal criminal investigation. His Truth Social [companies] are under FINRA, FEC, and federal criminal investigation. He is facing a lot --- a lot --- of legal problems. We've got the E. Jean Carroll case, the Mary Trump case, the Hillary sanctions, the Michigan sanctions. He's in a lot of trouble from a lot of things. We're going to just have to see who drops the hammer first."

"If we just look at the Watergate timeline," she posits, regarding the sprawling January 6 investigation, "we won't see indictments until April 2023. And this is far more complex [than Watergate]. So it's going to be interesting to see how the timing plays out. Or whether maybe Garland says, 'Hey, Fani Willis, you take the fraudulent electors stuff, I'll take the documents stuff.'" That, she explains, would have the advantage of potentially convicting Trump under state law for which he can't be pardoned by a future President (or even by a Georgia Governor, since they are not granted state pardon power.)

Gill does believe --- in fact, she is "very, very certain" --- that Trump will be indicted in at least one of the federal cases we discuss today. Tune in to find out which one!

Finally today, Desi Doyen's got our latest Green News Report, as the COP27 U.N. climate conference in Egypt nears crunch time this weekend; Trump offers well-worn climate lies at his 2024 announcement; and some good energy related news to close out today's program...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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