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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, April 17, 2021
Taking the 'DUH' Out of Floriduh: 'BradCast' 4/16/21
Guest host Nicole Sandler with Rep. Ted Deutch and journalist Ryan Grim...
Corporations Pretend to
Stand Up for Democracy:
'BradCast' 4/15/21
Guest: Pulitzer Prize-winning biz journalist Michael Hiltzik; Also: New U.S. sanctions on Russia reveal previously unknown detail on alleged 2016 election interference...
'Green News Report' 4/15/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
US threat assessments finds climate change a clear, present danger; Japan to dump radio-active water in ocean; Biden undoing Trump damage; PLUS: France to ban short flights...
Previous GNRs: 4/13/21 - 4/8/21 - Archives...
Biden's Infrastructure Plan Begins End of Govt Socialism for Fossil Fuel Industry: 'BradCast' 4/14/21
Guest: David Roberts of Volts; Also: DHS knew Capitol was 'target'; Biden to end 'forever war'...
'Both Sides'? Really, Liz?: 'BradCast' 4/13
New data shows stunning rise in RW domestic terror; Also: US 'out' of Afghanistan by 9/11/21; J&J vaccine 'paused'; Cop, police chief resign in MN; Appalling video shows VA cops pepper-spraying black service member in car...
'Green News Report' 4/13/21
Western drought worsens before fire season, water cuts; CA's fire prevention plan; EV battery company settlement; PLUS: NOAA predicts bad 2021 hurricane season...
The SCOTUS-Approved, FCC Ownership Rule Catch-22: 'BradCast' 4/12/21
Guest: Sue Wilson of the Media Action Center; Also: More news from vaccination nation; More corporate pushback against vote suppression...
SCOTUS Approves FCC Rule to Allow Further Consolidation of Local Media Outlets
The FCC, under Trump, created a Catch-22 on new rule, requiring private research to counter hidden public data...
Sunday 'Avoid the Politicks' Toons
PDiddie's Springtime reminder to avoid 'blood-sucking insects' in his latest collection of the week's best toons...
GOP 'Legislative' Agenda Now Carried Out by Activist SCOTUS: 'BradCast' 4/9/21
Guest: Court expert Ian Millhiser; Also: Amazon union vote loses in AL; Biden's new SCOTUS reform Comm.; Hating on Cruz and Graham...
'Green News Report' 4/8/21
Biden on dumb GOP infrastructure attacks; Abandoned oil, gas wells loom; Treasury to help private sector decarbon-ize economy; PLUS: GM's all in on EV future...
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: Slate's legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Virginia is no longer for death penalty lovers...
By Brad Friedman on 2/24/2021 6:24pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Try as they did, Donald Trump and the Republican Party were unable to steal the 2020 Presidential election. But they've got their plans in place for how to try and do it next time. They just need their currently stolen and packed Republican U.S. Supreme Court majority to help them pull it off. This week, SCOTUS chose not to do so --- even if they may in the future. But, in a separate decision, the Court did radically help increase the odds that our disgraced former President could be headed to jail before he's even able to run for office again. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

But first up today, some good news out of Virginia, where more people have been put to death by the Commonwealth's government than in any other state in the nation. Since their founding as a colony in 1608, some 1,390 people have been executed by the government there. Since SCOTUS reinstated the death penalty in 1976, Virginia has executed 113 people. That is more than any other state but Texas. This week, however, following Democrats gaining majorities in both chambers of the legislature, Virginia will now become the first Southern state --- and the 23rd in the union --- to abolish the abhorrent practice. And not a moment too soon, particularly given the systemic racism of their death penalty practices. For example, as the Death Penalty Information Center pointed out to Washington Post this week, "From 1900 to 1969...Virginia did not execute a single White person for any offense that did not result in death, while 73 Black men were executed for rape, attempted rape or robbery." So, yeah. Very good news out of Virginia this week, as Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam prepares to sign the long-overdue measures finally adopted by the state legislature.

Speaking of state legislatures, on yesterday's BradCast, we reported on this week's decision by SCOTUS to purge a bunch of held over Trump/GOP challenges to the 2020 election. Cases from Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Arizona were all dismissed as moot. But dismissal of the Pennsylvania cases found three Justices --- Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch --- in dissent [PDF]. The two nearly identical cases in question had challenged the PA state Supreme Court's decision to extend the deadline [PDF] for the return of absentee ballots by three days after Election Day, due to the pandemic, slowdowns by the U.S. Postal Service and a provision in their state constitution mandating fair elections.

With all of their many other attempts to steal the 2020 election having failed, the GOP has now latched on to a radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause to argue that only state legislatures --- not Governors, not Secretaries of State, not State Elections Board or even state Supreme Courts --- may set any procedure for federal elections. Therefore, the Trumpers argued in their now-dismissed Pennsylvania challenges, the three day extension by the PA Supreme Court to enforce their state's Constitution by allowing for the arrival of late mail-in ballots cast by Election Day, was an unlawful violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Though no SCOTUS majority has ever affirmed this extreme reading of the federal Constitution, this is what many Republicans have now decided to believe to make themselves feel better after losing last November. In Pennsylvania, however, there were only 10,000 late arriving ballots and Joe Biden won the Keystone State by about 80,000. So SCOTUS decided the issue was moot and dismissed the cases. But Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch argued the case should have been heard anyway.

"A decision in these cases would not have any implications regarding the 2020 election," Alito wrote in dissent. "But a decision would provide invaluable guidance for future elections." On yesterday's program, I actually agreed with Alito and explained why.

Today, for a counter-point, we're joined by Slate's great legal journalist MARK JOSEPH STERN who offered a very different view from mine in his own coverage of Monday's decision by the high court. While justifiably destroying Justice Thomas' solo dissent in which he argued that mail-in ballots are bad even if there is no fraud, simply because people may think there is fraud, Stern also argued that SCOTUS was right to dismiss the case, rather than hear it. In part, he argues, that's because this Court has been packed so far to the extreme right. "We should be very afraid of what the Court would say," he tells me. "And that fear is enough for us to just hope that the Justices put off a decision on this matter for as long as humanly possible."

But I disagree with Stern and, in a very spirited debate, explain why. Who wins that one? Tune in and decide for yourself.

Stern also comments today on whether our failed former President should be concerned that his own packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court, in an apparently unanimous decision on Monday, finally allowed Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to obtain Trump's financial and tax records as part of Vance's grand jury criminal probe into alleged bank, tax and insurance fraud by Trump and his organization. In short, Stern asserts, "the answer is yes," Trump should be very concerned. "They're looking at felony offenses here, not just civil offenses, run-of-the-mill white collar stuff, but serious crimes. I do think there's a serious chance that we could see an indictment of Donald Trump coming down the pipeline in the near future." Though he does add a caveat or two.

Of even more immediate concern, Stern recently wrote, Trump's efforts to interfere with Georgia's election results --- for example, cajoling and threatening the state's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to declare him the winner --- could spell trouble, and even jail time, even sooner.

"You'll see some people argue that Trump can't be convicted under this law --- the ban on criminal solicitation of election fraud --- because he didn't have the requisite state of mind, because he didn't actually want the Sec. of State to falsify records because he was deluded enough to believe that there were actually 12,000 secret votes for him out there that could be found. That's a question for the jury, that's not a question for the prosecutors or the grand jury. That is something Trump could argue at a criminal trial," says Stern, before adding: "I think that any reasonable reading of that transcript proves that Trump was, in fact, looking for the Secretary of State to falsify records, to commit election fraud. It is very difficult to read those sentences in any other way."

He explains why Trump could soon be looking at anywhere from 1 to 3 years in that criminal probe by the Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney and whether he thinks it is actually possible that a former President of the United States may actually receive prison time before all of this is said and done...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: National Security blogger Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: SCOTUS rejects GOP challenge to PA's 2020 election results; GA Repubs move new vote suppression measures forward...
By Brad Friedman on 2/23/2021 6:45pm PT  

By a number of happily surprising measures, the confirmation of Joe Biden's Attorney General nominee is going very well. Perhaps even better than expected, according to our guest on today's BradCast.  And, best yet, it may even result in some serious consequences for our former President. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

But, first up today...The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday finally dismissed a bunch of silly and/or meritless MAGA challenges to the 2020 Presidential elections results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Arizona. But the case out of Pennsylvania, in which dissents [PDF] to its dismissal were offered by Justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito and Neil Gorsuch, warrants notice. The case argued that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in ordering [PDF] a three-day extension for the arrival of mail-in ballots, prior to the November 2020 election, violated the U.S. Constitution. The PA Supremes found that, given the pandemic and slow-downs in mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service, the state's deadline for ballots to arrive by the close of polls at 8pm on Election Night violated their own state constitution's mandate for fair elections. The Republican challenge to their ruling charged that the state high court was in violation of a radical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution's Elections Clause allowing "The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections" for federal office "shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof".

That, their argument goes, means that only state legislatures may set any provision whatsoever pertaining to elections. Any such procedure set by a Secretary of State or Governor or even a state Supreme Court is therefore unconstitutional on the federal level. Or so the GOP is now claiming. It is, for several reasons, a ridiculous argument. But it is one that has been given new life in the Trump Era as desperate Republicans took their cue from the former President to come up with any reason whatsoever to nullify election results they didn't like.  There are now at least three, arguably four, Justices on our stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court who appear to buy into the radical argument. Nonetheless, the case was dismissed on Monday on the grounds that the matter was moot. (There were about 10,000 late arriving ballots in PA last November, and Biden won the state by about 80,000 votes.) But, without an election hanging in the balance, the dissenters noted that this case would have been an ideal moment to settle this matter. Oddly enough, I actually agree on that last point with Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch, and we discuss why on today's show.

That, as GOP-controlled legislatures around the country continue to move forward with new voter suppression schemes following their loss on the Presidential level in 2020. Today for example, Georgia's Republican-majority Senate approved a measure that would require a copy of a Photo ID to even request a mail-in ballot. And that's just the start of what the state's wingnut legislature is now up to, after having recently lost the Presidential race and two U.S. Senate seats in the Peach State.

All of which underscores again the critical need for Congress to pass HR-1, the "For the People Act," which would go a long way toward blocking the new GOP attacks on the right to vote. To do that, of course, Democrats in the Senate will need to end the filibuster. And to do that, Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will have to come to understand how they are allowing these overt attacks on democracy itself to worsen at the state level, as they protect the undemocratic Jim Crow-era filibuster.

Then, we're joined by longtime national security and accountability blogger MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel, who has now moved to Ireland for reasons that she explains on today's program. The real reason we wanted to catch up with her, however, is to discuss the ongoing confirmation process for Biden's AG-designate Merrick Garland --- who completed his GOP-stalled second day of testimony in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday and to discuss Monday's unanimous ruling by SCOTUS that Trump's financial documents must now be handed over to the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., for his criminal probe into alleged tax, bank and insurance fraud by Trump and his organization, as well as the unlawful conspiracy he directed involving hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

Is Trump soon to face very real accountability that could actually include jail time? Whether it's in the New York state case, another criminal investigation into his election interference in Georgia, or even under AG Garland's promised federal response to the conspiracy to take over the U.S. Capitol on January 6th?

Wheeler has lots of thoughts on all of the above on today's BradCast --- and you probably won't be angry about (most of) them. I'll share just one of them for now here, regarding those charged for conspiracy for the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol: "All of these defendants, one after another, saying 'I was just swept up by the inflammatory language of the then-President. That may be true, but it doesn't get them off for the crime. But if one after another are saying 'Trump made me do it,' then at some point you've got to respond to that."

Now may be a good time to brush up on the legal meaning of the phrase "seditious conspiracy."

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, on the continuing fall out from the Texas power and water failure over the past week, the fossil fuel-funded GOPers who lied about it, and the not-a-moment-too-soon official U.S. return to the Paris Climate Agreement...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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On the rising threat of rightwing domestic terror; Accountability for Trump/GOP and crucial democracy reform...
By Desi Doyen on 2/19/2021 3:37pm PT  

We're off today, but we've got a BradCast 'RECOUNTED' for your listening pleasure, with two excellent recent interviews that you may have missed --- or just need to hear again. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

We'll be back LIVE soon!

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: Constitutional law expert John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People; Also: Fossil fuel failure freezes out TX grid during deadly winter storm...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2021 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Impeachment may be broken, but accountability is still coming. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary.]

But, first up: Record low temperatures continued to batter dozens of states and knock out power to millions of customers in several of them. But it is residents of the great state of Texas who are paying the highest price for their government's utter failure to keep the lights...and the heat...and the water on...throughout this foreseeable and deadly cold snap. No, it's not the renewable energy sources like wind power that has failed --- as Fox "News" is frantically misinforming their viewers today --- it's the fossil fuel industry and the state's disastrously unregulated and privatized power infrastructure that has helped create the mess in Texas. Our own Desi Doyen explains.

Then, in a refreshing bit of encouraging news today, Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) has filed a civil federal lawsuit against Donald Trump in response to the deadly attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, incited by the disgraced former President. The suit, filed on Thompson's behalf by the NAACP on Tuesday, also names Rudy Giuliani and the rightwing extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as defendants. It seeks both punitive and compensatory damages for the assault on Thompson's place of work that left the 72-year old Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee hiding on the floor of the U.S. House for hours and in dangerously close contact with colleagues, two of whom tested positive for COVID in the days that followed. The complaint is believed likely just the first of a potential wave of similar litigation in response to the unprecedented attack on the Capitol which killed at least five people, and which a bipartisan 57-43 majority of U.S. Senators over the weekend at his Impeachment Trial found Trump guilty of having incited.

But guilty or not, the Impeachment process, for a second time in the Trump Presidency, ultimately fell short of the high Constitutional bar of a two-thirds vote needed for conviction, begging the question as to whether the founders misjudged what might be needed by Congress to hold a scofflaw President to account.

We're joined today once again by Constitutional legal scholar JOHN BONIFAZ, Co-Founder and President of the non-partisan governmental accountability group Free Speech for People, and co-author of the 2018 book The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.

Our wide-ranging conversation on various paths towards accountability for the 45th President includes discussion of Rep. Thompson's lawsuit; Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and how it might be invoked to prevent Trump from running for future office; and as well as criminal statutes which could be invoked against Trump under the leadership of Joe Biden's Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland. On the day after the January 6 insurrection, FSFP joined a coalition of groups calling for Garland to stand up a task force upon his confirmation to pull together all of the disparate investigations into the matter.

Central to any such accountability, however, Bonifaz argues today, is the need for an important reform in the U.S. Senate and accountability for members who serve both there and in the U.S. House. He argues that the failure to convict Trump at his second Impeachment Trial "demonstrates that those who are sworn to take the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution in the U.S. Senate are not up to the task --- at least for the 43 members of the Sedition Caucus, who are every bit as guilty as Donald Trump for voting to acquit him despite the overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump incited this insurrection and was guilty as charged."

He faults "those in power who are not abiding by their oaths" who have allowed Presidents to "assume the powers of a king". To begin reform of Congress, Bonifaz explains, we must start with reform of our electoral system as Democrats have proposed in their critical H.R.1. and S1 bills called the "For the People Act". But to see that through Congress --- and so many other necessary reforms --- we will have to do away with the legislative filibuster, he says.

"The filibuster, as we know, requires a 60 percent majority in the U.S. Senate for anything to pass, and that's contrary to any basic principle of small-d democracy," Bonifaz tells me. "That's a first order of business for those in the U.S. Senate and, frankly, those in the White House who are pledging to protect and defend our democracy. We need to eliminate the filibuster, and we need get on to the business of responding to these voter suppression efforts throughout the country that we now see in state legislatures to try to roll us back and disenfranchise millions of voters."

Of course, Democrats could do that without Republicans at all, with their newly-won Senate majority, but for Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona who have each pledged to protect the filibuster. Even those obstacles however, as Bonifaz explains, are not insurmountable if pressure is applied by Democratic leadership in the Senate and the White House...and if pressure is applied by we, the people on them to do so.

With the "Jim Crow relic" filibuster out of the way, says Bonifaz, the Senate would also be able to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to prevent Trump from being allowed to hold federal office in the future. The post-Civil War Amendment blocks those who have engaged in rebellion or insurrection against the U.S. Government from becoming candidates for public office. "This is a critical next step needed to ensure that this lawless ex-President is disqualified from running for office again," Bonifaz asserts, detailing how the provision would work with a simple resolution adopted by both the Senate and House.

I hope you tune in for this important conversation today as the quest for accountability continues to continue on The BradCast!

Finally, we close somewhere near where we began, with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report focused on the winter storm now battering dozens of U.S. states and the utter failure of Texas lawmakers (and those in other states) to properly harden our critical infrastructure for a 21st century climate changed world...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Brutal winter storm locks down TX, much of nation; Biden, Dems push ahead with progressive agenda; Callers ring in on Impeachment verdict and what must come next for disgraced former President...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2021 6:23pm PT  

Donald Trump was found guilty by a huge, bipartisan 57 to 43 verdict in the U.S. Senate of having incited the deadly, attempted January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. On discuss on today's BradCast, 7 Republican Senators joined all of the Democrats in that majority finding on Saturday, affirming that Trump attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government and the 2020 Presidential election. Nonetheless, due to the U.S. Constitution's requirement that a two-thirds vote of the Senate is needed to secure a conviction under the rules for Impeachment, our disgraced former President was "acquitted" of the charge he was found guilty of during his second Senate Impeachment Trial. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

We discuss what happened on Saturday in detail today, and take a bunch of calls from listeners on the matter. But first up, we cover the catastrophic winter storm --- featuring crippling snow, record cold and power outages for millions, particularly in Texas --- amid the ongoing COVID pandemic and attempt to distribute vaccinations to tens of millions of Americans. Native Texan Desi Doyen, co-host of our Green News Report, joins us to explain what's going on and why scientists tell us that it is happening.

Also, even while still on the Trump Accountability beat (as we've previously noted, this is going to take a while), we cover a bit of Biden Administration news today, including the quiet weekend withdrawal of Trump-era work requirements for Medicaid, as pushed and allowed to some states by the previous Administration, and the re-opening of the Healthcare.gov exchange to accommodate new "ObamaCare" signups during massive unemployment wrought by the pandemic. That, as the very popular American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief and stimulus package, moves toward passage with or without Republican support in the Senate and (thanks to pushback from the House Progressive Caucus) without the potential cuts to the promised $1,400 relief checks which Republicans and some of the more conservative Democrats were previously considering.

Though an occasional kick to the head is required, it does seem like --- at least for now --- Democrats are "getting it" when it comes to the nation's bipartisan desire for big and bold action from lawmakers in D.C. Even conservative Democratic Rep. Richie Neal, Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is now calling for new, monthly cash payments totaling $3,600 per year for every child under age 6, and $3,000 for children from 6 to 17. We hope Dems continue to offer the progressive policy the country yearns for, and we're glad to see progressives pushing Democrats when they need to.

Of course, Democrats have yet to learn all of the lessons they need to, as revealed by the Saturday snafu when House Impeachment Managers easily won a bipartisan vote to call witnesses at Trump's second Senate Impeachment Trial, only to cave shortly thereafter. There were arguably legitimate reasons to not call witnesses --- even if we would have preferred to see that happen. But to get everyone's hopes up, only to dash them --- without figuring out the concerns in advance --- was an inexcusable self own.

Nonetheless, Democrats won an historic 57-43 majority in the conviction votes, with an unheard of seven Senators from the opposing party joining all of the Democrats and independents in finding Trump guilty. Even the snake Mitch McConnell was forced to admit that, yes, Trump incited the violence at the Capitol. Though he still voted "not guilty", falsely and ridiculously claiming that it was unconstitutional to hold a trial after the impeached Executive Branch official was already out of office. His claims were even more grotesquely absurd given that he was the one that prevented the trial from happening while Trump was still in office.

So, what happens next? Will Trump ever face real accountability for his many crimes, including an attempt to overthrow the U.S. Government itself? If so, how, when and by whom? (Our own Ernie Canning has a few ideas today.) We discuss and open up the phone lines today to listeners to discuss that and other related matters on today's lively BradCast. Enjoy!

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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Survival of the republic may now hinge on a wide-ranging criminal probe...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/15/2021 11:01am PT  

It's bad enough that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), based upon deeply flawed opinion memos, issued by its own Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), believes a sitting President cannot be prosecuted while in office for his or her crimes.

Now, 43 Republican Senators have sought to justify their "not guilty" votes in Donald J. Trump's second impeachment trial based on the specious assertion that an impeached President cannot be tried in the Senate for crimes committed while in office after he/she is no longer in office. That disingenuous notion is at odds with historical Senate precedent, the opinions of more than 170 legal scholars from both the Right and Left, and a simple reading of the plain text of the U.S. Constitution, not to mention the Senate's own decisive, bi-partisan, 56-44 majority vote at the start of this latest Senate Impeachment trial establishing that such a trial is indeed Constitutional.

Obviously most of the 43 "impartial" Republican jurors --- a number of whom share responsibility for the insurrection because they either directly perpetrated or failed to timely refute the Big "Stop the Steal" Lie --- latched onto the "no jurisdiction" defense in a desperate effort to erect plausible deniability for themselves. A fig leaf, if you will, designed to conceal their own duplicity and cowardice. Indeed, the remarks by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered on the floor of the Senate immediately after he cast his "not guilty" vote reveal that the factual case presented by the House Managers was both clear and convincing.

For that reason, an historically huge, bi-partisan, 57-43 majority of the U.S. Senate found Trump guilty as charged of "Incitement of Insurrection". That there were enough misinformed, duplicitous or simply cowardly Republican Senators to prevent the two-thirds vote required to meet the incredibly high bar for conviction under Senate Impeachment rules is of little moment.

A political impeachment process is very different from a legal proceeding. There are, in fact, grave statutory crimes at the heart of Trump's most recent Article of Impeachment, including 18 U.S. Code § 373 - Solicitation to commit a crime of violence; 18 U.S. Code § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection; and 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy. With that in mind, the DOJ's failure or refusal to prosecute the former President could result in impunity with respect to an Office that is already considered the most powerful on earth.

Trump's attempted coup may have failed, but if we cloak the Office of the President with impunity, we invite a more skilled, future demagogue to do anything --- legal or illegal --- to retain power. To counter that more-serious-than-ever concern, the DOJ, under the leadership of Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland, must investigate and prosecute the former President for violations of applicable federal laws...

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Special Coverage Day 3 of Trump's second Impeachment Trial as House Managers wrap up their damning case to Republicans who may fail to realize they could now take away his last remaining 'superpower'; Also: Disenchanted GOPers consider forming new national party...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2021 6:33pm PT  

Our BradCast special coverage continues today, as House Impeachment Managers completed their opening argument in Donald Trump's second Senate Impeachment trial, closing out a damning case for the charge of "Incitement of Insurrection" and pre-butting the arguments expected from the former President's defense team. [Audio link for today's full show is posted below the summary.]

But first up today, in not-at-all-unrelated news, Reuters is reporting a nascent effort by unhappy Republicans --- many of whom served in the Administrations of Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and even Trump --- to begin building a third national party to help break away from the Trump-captured GOP. They claim the new party would reflect "principled conservatism" and could be called the "Integrity Party" or "Center Right Party". Or the effort, discussed on a Zoom call late last week by some 120 Republicans disenchanted by their party's hard-right, nativist turn, could fizzle all together. We discuss.

Then, following Wednesday's emotionally gripping first day of opening arguments in the Impeachment Trial, in which Democratic House Managers presented a tightly-knit, point-by-point, media-rich case detailing Trump's incitement of the murderous January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Republican Senators were reportedly moved by some of the harrowing, never-before-seen-or-heard audio and video shared during the presentation. Nonetheless, even after seeing hard, persuasive evidence of Trump's long-planned attempt to steal the election after all of his non-violent schemes had fizzled, Washington Post reports that most of the GOP Senate jurists were still likely to vote against conviction. That, even as some of the Senators were visibly shaken by the dramatic presentation of the MAGA mob's violent ransacking of the Capitol with Trump's encouragement and their hopes of assassinating Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or any of the other lawmakers who came frighteningly close to being overrun by the insurrectionists.

Foolishly, it seems, the cowardly Republican Senators who are still in thrall to Trump and in fear of his supporters don't seem to understand that this Impeachment Trial is affording them an opportunity to neutralize the only real superpower that Trump now has left: his control over them and the Party itself, thanks to his ability to run again in 2024 --- where he is currently the easy front-runner for the GOP nomination. End the possibility of him ever becoming President again and his one remaining superpower will almost certainly dissipate in surprisingly short order, as I explain today.

Nonetheless, the Impeachment case picked up on Thursday, with House Managers underscoring Trump's personal role in inciting the violence and his complete failure to take any action at all to stop it after it had begun, leaving lawmakers "for dead", as compellingly detailed yesterday. Even now, the Managers noted, Trump has failed to take any personal responsibility for the riot or even concede that he lost the 2020 election. That "Big Lie", as the Managers explained, continues to threaten national security; has cost the federal government nearly half a billion dollars for protection of the Capitol; has resulted in adversaries in China, Russia and Iran dismissing America's promise of Constitutional democracy; and has made a joke of Republican claims to support either the rule of law or law enforcement itself. (One Capitol Police officer was killed in the January 6 assault, two more killed themselves in the days that followed, and hundreds were seen being attacked by MAGA mobsters on video, describing them as "traitors" before more than 100 were seriously injured that day.)

Today we share excerpts from presentations made by Impeachment Managers Jamie Raskin (MD); Diana DeGette (CO); Ted Lieu (CA); Joaquin Castro (TX); and Joe Neguse (CO).

Each warned in different ways that if the Senate fails to convict and then bar Trump from holding future office, the chances are very good that he --- or a future President --- will repeat his deadly, authoritarian tactics. The most chilling moment of the day, however, may have belonged to Lieu, who noted that the disgraced former President "will undoubtedly cause future harm if allowed, because he still refuses to account for his high, grave crime against our government."

"I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years," Lieu warned. "I'm afraid he's gonna run again and lose...because he can do this again."

Their case concluded, essentially, with the reminder that if an insurrection directed by the President of the United States against the U.S. Government itself is not impeachable, then nothing is. The Managers also pre-butted the expected arguments from Trump's attorneys, noting that the First Amendment free speech clause does not protect incitement of violence. And, since Trump declined their invitation to answer himself under oath, the Managers asked his lawyers to explain why Trump took no action at all as Commander-in-Chief to stop the murderous attack once it began and if they even agree that a President inciting an insurrection against the U.S. Government amounts to an impeachable offense.

Trump's attorneys will present their own case beginning on Friday...

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Special Coverage of Day One; Also: U.S. Election Assistance Commission leaders quietly override cybersecurity experts to allow modems in new voting system standards...
By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2021 7:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast Special Coverage: There have only been three Presidents during the 243-year history of the United States who have been Impeached, for a total of four Presidential impeachments. Donald Trump has been impeached twice. He alone makes up a full half of all of the Presidential Impeachments in the history of our nation. That will be a scar and mark of shame that will never be removed from his pathetic legacy, no matter what happens in his historic second Impeachment Trial in the US Senate, which began in earnest today....sort of. [Audio link to show follows below summary.]

Democratic House Impeachment Managers on Tuesday were forced to make the case for the Constitutionality of holding an Impeachment Trial for a President who is already out of office. Frankly, it's a ridiculous case to have to make, as we discussed on yesterday's show and again today. Of course an impeached, former official can be tried by the U.S. Senate after leaving office. It's been done several times in our nation's history, and legal scholars from both the Right and Left have argued as much in recent days in response to the disingenuous case made against it by Trump's defense attorneys and his sycophantic Republican supporters in the Senate.

Nonetheless, lead Impeachment Manager Rep. Jaime Raskin (MD) opened the argument on this point on Tuesday, with a compelling narrative that there is no "January Exception" to the Constitution's impeachment clause. If there was, he argued, Presidents leaving office would have impunity to cause any amount of mayhem during their final weeks in office. Raskin's presentation began with a stunning, riveting and chilling video juxtaposing Trump's January 6th rally comments to his supporters at the White House, instructing them to "fight like hell" before directing them to the U.S. Capitol, along with previously unseen video clips of his supporters subsequent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. The montage showed Congress being interrupted by the violent insurrectionists, with lawmakers sent scurrying for their lives during the Joint Session to certify the 2020 Electoral College results from last November's Presidential Election victory by Joe Biden...

Raskin's presentation was followed with ones from Managers Joe Neguse (CO) and David Cicilline (RI) who offered historical, Constitutional and legal background in support of their case, before Raskin returned to close the argument with a heartbreaking personal tale of his --- and his family's --- experience during the January 6th attack at the Capitol. We share extended excerpts from his presentation and video.

Next, Trump's team of defense attorneys offered their own case, beginning with a rambling, disjointed, confusing, often political case by lead defense attorney Bruce Castor (famous for having refused to charge Bill Cosby while a prosecutor in Pennsylvania), before an angry, confusing, and even-more-political and partisan case was made by attorney David Schoen (who had previously represented convicted felon and Trump pal Roger Stone, and was set to defend convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein before he committed suicide in prison.)

Castor made no case at all about the Constitutionality of the proceedings, and even appeared to threaten at least one Republican Senator before arguing that a trial to determine if Trump should be allowed to hold future office was not necessary, since "smart" voters had already done a very good job of voting Trump out of office by themselves. (Begging the question of whether Castor will be allowed by Trump to return tomorrow!) Schoen eventually seemed to make a case against the Constitutionality of the trial, but his argument was so quickly read, and included so many arcane Constitutional and historical references, it was virtually impossible to follow or make sense of.

No worries, however. His case --- any case at all, apparently --- was good enough to win the votes of 44 Republicans Senators when the resolution to dismiss the trial was ultimately defeated at the end of the day by a 56-44 vote. All Democrats and six Republicans (Collins, Cassidy, Murkowski, Romney, Sasse and Toomey) voted to allow the trial to proceed. Opening arguments for the actual substance of the article of impeachment for "Incitement of Insurrection" begin on Wednesday.

Finally, in our closing few minutes today, we switch gears (mostly) for a quick report on two disturbing, and somewhat related developments. The first story regards an apparent hacker or intruder who was able to use remote access software several days ago, to dangerously increase sodium hydroxide (sometimes known as lye) levels at a water treatment plant in Oldsmar, Florida, near Tampa. Luckily the incident was noticed --- live, as it was happening --- by an alert operator at the plant who saw the manipulation on his monitor before drinking water was actually poisoned.

And, in somewhat related news, we learned over the weekend that top officials at the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) --- the federal agency responsible for certifying computer voting and tabulation systems --- quietly changed a provision in new security standards for voting systems to allow wireless modems and chips in such systems. The change comes after years of work on the new draft standards by cybersecurity and voting systems experts who strongly urged against allowing remote access hardware, which can be used to hack election results, in such systems.

Whether they are used to manipulate results or not obviously makes no difference to those who are concerned that results might have been changed by hackers, as today's Impeachment Trial should, once again, underscore.

We hope to have more information in the future on this, but the newly modified standards --- known as the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines (VVSG) --- are now much more friendly to private voting system vendors (and hackers) and are set to be approved by the Commission tomorrow (Wednesday). The EAC has long been captured by private voting system vendors, and appears to be doing their bidding once again.

The Election Integrity advocates at Free Speech for People have set up a petition that they are asking voters to sign in hopes of encouraging EAC leadership to return to the safer, modem-free standards before they are officially adopted and used by many states across the country...

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Landmark bill would enact long-overdue voting reforms, but needs at least one key rewrite to close a loophole regarding hand-marked paper ballots...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2021 10:35am PT  

As their first official bills in each chamber of Congress --- H.R.1 in the House and S.1 in the Senate --- Democrats are proposing a remarkably ambitious election, campaign and ethics reform measure which would go a long way towards enhancing our system of democracy. At least one important rewrite is needed, however, in order to close a loophole in its mandate regarding hand-marked paper ballots.

H.R.1 or the For The People Act of 2021, was introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) with hundreds of Democratic co-sponsors on January 4. It is supported by both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

With the exception of partisan gerrymandering as applied to State legislative offices --- which is out of the hands of federal lawmakers --- the bill would, for all intents and purposes, outlaw a wide array of voter suppression, intimidation and deceptive practices that have, for decades, been used to undermine American democracy.

The massive bill, clocking in at nearly 800 pages, also includes Congressional ethics reforms and other important measures, but we focus here on the statute's provisions to help outlaw suppressive measures and improve election security, transparency and the verifiability of results.

As presently written, the measure appears to mandate the use of "voter verified permanent paper ballots" in all federal elections. That aspect, however, must be improved with minor, but very important revisions to mandate the availability of hand-marked paper ballots --- the only type that can be known to be "voter verifiable" --- for all voters at the polling place for both early and Election Day voting.

H.R.1 also includes provisions for either hand-counting of paper ballots or the use of optical scanning computers accompanied by Risk Limiting Audits. It includes mechanisms to fund those post-election activities.

The bill provides for minimum periods during which States must make early voting available in federal elections and promotes, streamlines and secures mail-in voting. It tightens ethical standards and also takes a stab at reducing the role of dark money in campaigns, while prohibiting the presence of foreign money and interference in our elections. This includes a mandate that TV, radio and online platforms "make reasonable efforts to ensure that [election-related] communications...are not purchased by a foreign national".

The real question isn't whether H.R.1, if appropriately amended, should become law. The question is whether a sufficient number of Senators are willing and able to do what is necessary to ensure it becomes law...

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




Also: Dem House Managers, Trump lawyers submit pre-Impeachment Trial briefs; AOC shares harrowing personal story from January 6th attack...
By Brad Friedman on 2/2/2021 7:31pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
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So far, so good. Neither Joe Biden nor Chuck Schumer nor Nancy Pelosi seem to be falling for the GOP's "conservative" budget concerns, newly rediscovered by the Party now that there's a Dem in the White House.  Also on today's BradCast, the stage gets set for next week's historic second Impeachment Trial of disgraced former President Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows summary below.]

A study last December from economists at the London School of Economics and King's College London looked at 18 developed countries over a 50 year period from 1965 to 2015 to find out if tax cuts actually "trickle down" to improve economic outcomes. You'll be "shocked" to hear the results. Tax cuts in the nations examined (including the U.S.), do not improve either GDP or unemployment rates.  They do, however, help the wealthy to become wealthier --- by a lot --- while increasing economic inequality.

That report may have come in useful as President Biden was considering a proposal from 10 Republican Senators at the White House on Monday night to slash his proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief and stimulus bill down to about $600 billion, or one-third of what Biden and the Dems are proposing. The GOP proposal leaves out a lot of much-needed funding from Biden's proposal for no apparent reason, other than Republicans are pretending to be concerned about spending and deficits again --- a concern they decidedly did not remember to have when they gave away much more with their $2.3 trillion tax cuts mostly to the rich during Donald Trump's Administration.

The good news today is that the White House is moving ahead with their planned $1.9 trillion proposal, and both  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have queued up the measure to be quickly adopted under Budget Reconciliation procedures which require only a simple majority vote in the Senate. No need to overcome a filibuster with 60 votes.  Now we just have to see if conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia decides to play along. He certainly should, given that his state's own Republican Governor is calling on Biden to "go big" in his COVID relief package.

With things moving encouragingly forward, at least for the moment, with the new President and Dem control of both houses of Congress, we turn back to the disastrous previous President, who helped get us into all of these messes.

To help set the stage, we share an extended excerpt from an hour-long live Instagram video by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Monday night. She detailed for the first time, her harrowing experience on January 6th, describing how she was forced to hide in the dark behind the bathroom door in her personal office at the Capitol, as the murderous and attempted insurrection by Trump's MAGA Mob was underway. As she makes clear, she had very good reason to fear for her life and is still reeling from the trauma of that day.

Trump's second Impeachment Trial, for "Incitement of Insurrection" at the U.S. Capitol that day, is set to begin next week in the Senate. Both the Democratic House Impeachment Managers and Trump's brand new attorneys (all five of his previous ones left him over the weekend) submitted their pre-trial filings on Tuesday. The 80-page Dem memorandum [PDF] lays out the House's case against Trump, alleging he falsely worked his supporters into an outrage over many months --- even before Election Day, as early as last summer --- with baseless claims of a stolen election. He then "aimed them like a loaded cannon down Pennsylvania Avenue" toward the Capitol on January 6th with instructions to "fight like hell" as a Joint Session of Congress was underway to affirm the 2020 Presidential election results. They offer a graphic, detailed, painstakingly-documented argument for Trump's conviction and a thorough response to the false GOP claim that it is somehow unconstitutional to hold an Impeachment Trial after the impeached officer in question has left office.

"If the Senate does not try President Trump (and convict him) it risks declaring to all future Presidents that there will be no consequences, no accountability, indeed no Congressional response at all if they violate their Oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution’ in their final weeks," the House Managers write. "There is no ‘January Exception’ to impeachment or any other provision of the Constitution," they explain, "A president must answer comprehensively for his conduct in office from his first day in office through his last."

For his part, Trump's 14-page response [PDF] is brief and unsurprisingly limp. He cites First Amendment Free Speech rights to support his evidence-free claims that the election was stolen from him and repeatedly claims --- over and over --- that the Senate trial is unconstitutional, since he is no longer in office. There is one point, regarding his personal (if evidence-free) belief that the election was stolen, that should be worth noting when it comes to the difficulty of public oversight and the availability of evidence regarding U.S. election results. Not that he bothered to actually try to get at most of what is available. Beyond that, however, its clear he is hoping that his fellow Republicans in the Senate remain captured, in his thrall and afraid of the wrath of his brain-poisoned supporters.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with GM's landmark announcement that they intend to end production of internal combustion engine vehicles; as global temperatures are now at the highest since the dawn of human civilization; as Biden releases billions of dollars in disaster relief to Puerto Rico that Trump had held back for years; and as a federal court rolls back one of Trump's final rollbacks to Obama's environmental protections...

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Guest: Impeachment expert Ron Fein of Free Speech for People; Also: DHS warns of domestic terror threat in wake of Trump's 'voter fraud' lies...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2021 7:16pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
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And here I thought dealing with one President in a single hour on The BradCast was tough. Now we've got the previous one on trial after his second impeachment and a new one unveiling an ambitious new agenda to begin cleaning up the other guy's horrific mess, particularly on climate today...and not a moment too soon! [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First up today, the Department of Homeland Security issues a new warning about ongoing threats of violence by domestic, home-grown terrorists in the U.S., many of whom have been radicalized by Donald Trump's many lies about the 2020 election having been stolen.

Then, It's been only three weeks since Trump encouraged his MAGA Mob to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and "fight like hell" to prevent the formal counting of Electoral College votes by the U.S. Congress. The attempted insurrectionists violently broke into the U.S. Capitol, called for the hanging of the Vice President, succeeded in shutting down the tally for several hours and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives into secured locations. Five people were killed, including a Capitol Police officer, in the ensuing violence. One week later, then President Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a second time, this time for "Incitement of Insurrection", though the Senate's then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to convene a trial. One week after that, Joe Biden was successfully sworn in as President. And today, just three weeks to the day since the Trump-incited mob's murderous attack on the Capitol, with Democrats now officially in the Senate majority, Trump's second Impeachment Trial has officially begun.

While the arguments in the trial will not be presented in full for another two weeks, Republican Senator and pretend Constitutionalist Rand Paul forced a vote on Tuesday, just after Senators were sworn in as "impartial jurors", to try and dismiss the entire matter by falsely claiming that an Impeachment trial after a President is out of office is "unconstitutional". (Though he repeatedly argued that "private citizens" cannot be impeached and that "If the accused is no longer President - where is the constitutional power to impeach him?")

Joining us today to answer to the clearly false and almost-certainly disingenuous argument proffered by Paul --- and, incredibly, supported by 45 of the Senate's 50 Republicans who voted in favor of his resolution on Tuesday --  is Constitutional law expert RON FEIN of the non-partisan government accountability group Free Speech for People. Fein, with John Bonifaz and Ben Clements, authored the 2018 book, The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump

"The obvious flaw," in Paul's argument, Fein explains, is that Trump WAS impeached while he was President, and then McConnell stalled the process of the Senate trial by refusing to allow it to be held until Trump was already out of office." But on the broader issue, as he tells us, impeachment trials may absolutely be held after an official is out of office. "Congress has done it before and explicitly considered that exact question."

"If their argument was allowed to go forth, then what it would say is that any President can do whatever they want in the last couple of weeks of their term, because by the time they would get impeached, and by the time the Senate could convene for a trial, they'd be out of office already," he persuasively argues. "Disqualification from future office is an important remedy and penalty for impeachment. It is important to have that hanging over the head of a President even in their last couple of weeks in office."

We also discuss whether the votes of 45 GOP Senators --- including McConnell, who just last week conceded that Trump "provoked" the riot at the Capitol --- to dismiss the trial, signals that it will be impossible to win over the 17 Republicans needed to win the two-thirds vote necessary for a conviction; whether a vote can be held to prevent Trump from holding future office even without conviction; whether a second failure to win a conviction in a second impeachment would redound to Trump's benefit; and whether a resolution to censure the disgraced former President would serve as any kind of deterrent for similar behavior in the future (by Trump or other future Presidents), in the event that he is not convicted once again.

Fein also rings in with his thoughts in response to the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court which, on Monday, dismissed two cases regarding Trump's alleged violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause as "moot" since he is no longer in office and why it took so long for the cases to even reach the high court. We also discuss whether Fein believes that Trump actually did pardon himself, but is keeping that pardon a secret, somehow, until he's actually charged with a federal crime.

Finally, in far less maddening news, it was "Climate Day" in Joe Biden's new White House on Wednesday! And the new President unveiled an historically ambitious climate agenda that will, among many other things, if successful, result in carbon emissions-free power, nationally, by 2035. Declaring that "we can't wait any longer" to address our worsening climate crisis, Biden detailed his new Executive Orders and Directives to "supercharge" the United States' efforts to combat global warming by pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, ending fossil fuel industry subsidies, and creating millions of new jobs in the electric car market and renewable energy industry, and by capping and closing old, unused mines and wells across the nation. His new Climate Envoy, former Sec. of State John Kerry and new White House National Climate Advisor, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, also responded to media questions (naturally framed by rightwing talking points) during a White House briefing. We share some of their remarks, and the entirety of Biden's historic announcement during today's very busy BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: FairVote's David Daley; Also: Insiders aided insurrection; Biden's executive actions, move to end private prisons; Schumer wins Senate power battle, Repubs vote to nix Impeachment, cling to filibuster...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2021 6:53pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
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On today's BradCast: The effort by Donald Trump and Republicans to steal the Presidential election with false allegations of "voter fraud" didn't work. But that tsunami of disinformation is now being used to advance new restrictions on voting in the states as the GOP obstruction gets underway in the new Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate.

First today, there is quite a bit of news out of both the White House and the Senate. Among those stories covered today...

  • President Biden's flurry of executive orders continue, including one today that calls for an end to privately-run federal prison facilities.
  • Biden's nominee for Sec. of State, Anthony Blinken, was confirmed in the Senate. His nominee for Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, the first woman in that role, was sworn in today by the nation's first female Vice President.
  • Mitch McConnell caved in his demand that Chuck Schumer and the Democrats promise to not do away with the wildly undemocratic legislative filibuster before he would agree to a new power-sharing agreement in the nation's wildly undemocratic upper chamber of Congress
  • The historic second impeachment of Donald Trump, on charges of "Incitement of Insurrection" for the deadly, January 6th U.S. Capitol riot, formally began with Senators sworn in on Tuesday as "impartial" jurors and a vote by 45 Senate Republicans to toss out the whole matter entirely.
  • And, before this one slips completely down the memory hole...Charges filed by the Justice Department against several military veterans who took part in the attempted insurrection at the Capitol that killed five people, include allegations that dozens of the former military insurrectionists pre-planned their coordinated attack, had hoped to arrest lawmakers, and appear to have had disturbing help from at least one, still-unidentified Congressional insider who gave the seditionists real-time help during the attack to locate lawmakers who had been shuttled into secured locations below the Capitol.

Then, we're joined by DAVID DALEY Senior Fellow at FairVote and author of the books UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy and RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. The latter documents the GOP's ingeniously insidious --- and successful --- plan to capture electoral control of statehouses in the 2010 elections in order to gerrymander the hell out of them for the next 10 years (or more).

Daley writes this week at Boston Globe about the latest effort by GOP state legislators to exploit Trump's absurdly false claims about "voter fraud" in the 2020 election in order to implement new restrictions on voting at the state level and new ways to game the electoral college vote. Among the states we discuss where Republicans are right now citing false fraud claims in order to game the systems: Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas. These efforts are very real, and may well work, even in states which currently have Democratic Governors.

We also discuss the ridiculously undemocratic Senate, where Democratic Senators represent tens of millions of more voters than Republicans but, due to "the original gerrymander" as Daley describes it, are barely able to win 50 percent of the seats. "The US Senate is weighted so viciously towards small states in a way that the founders, if they saw it now, they would be truly horrified," he tells me.

"You've got a 50/50 body and yet, those 50 Democratic Senators are representing about 41.5 MILLION MORE PEOPLE.  When you add into that the small-state bias of the Electoral College, when you add into that the advantage that that bias has given Republicans in selecting Supreme Court Justices --- five of these nine Justices  on the Supreme Court selected by a President that lost the popular vote --- when you factor in the advantages that Republicans have with gerrymandering and geography --- all the way down from the US House to the state legislative level --- we are looking at an epidemic of Republican minority rule in this country."

And then there's the need to get rid of the undemocratic filibuster in the already wildly undemocratic Senate if Democrats hope, as they are now promising, to quickly accomplish "big, bold things" done. One of those "big, bold things," as we discuss, is HR-1, the "For the People Act." It's an enormously ambitious and much-needed bill that includes a ton of long-overdue reforms for voting and fair elections; ending dominance of big money and dark money in politics; and re-enforcing disclosure and ethics rules for members of Congress. But, as long as the filibuster remains in place, it will be next to impossible to see that, or any of the other much-needed reforms get through Congress. Constituents of Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona and Joe Manchin in West Virginia may wish to mention that to them. Repeatedly.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more news on major executive actions signed by the new President to roll back years of Trump damage to our environment, and to push Biden's "Buy American" initiative to, among other things, move the nation as quickly as possible to American made, all-electric cars as the days of the internal combustion engine must quickly come to an end...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Dominion Voting Systems sues Rudy Giuliani for $1.3 billion in yet another defamation suit against a Team Trump attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2021 6:22pm PT  

If you thought the news might slow down a bit with Donald Trump finally out of office, you may still have to wait a while.  On today's BradCast, we pick up where Friday's left. Moments after we got off air a ton of astonishing news broke, and it has continued right up through airtime today.  Most notably, the stunning story of just how close the nation's mercifully former President actually came to stealing the election from Joe Biden and the American people is only just now beginning to come together. [Audio link to full show follows below summary.]

We start today --- (which, by the way, marks our 17th Anniversary of muck-raking and trouble-making via The BRAD BLOG! Please feel free to help us continue our reader/listener supported work into our 18th year with a much-needed donation!) --- with another $1.3 billion defamation suit filed against yet another Team Trump legal liar and defamer.  Following a similar suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Trump's attorney Sidney Powell just weeks ago, his lead election-theft attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has now also been slapped with a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by the Canadian-owned firm.

The 107-page complaint [PDF] filed on Monday, as we detail at some length today, charges that Giuliani repeatedly fueled Trump's "Big Lie" about the election and the repeatedly evidence-free claims that Dominion's systems were somehow used to steal it from Trump for Biden. These are the false claims that Giuliani made over and over again in public, on rightwing media and on his snake-oil peddling YouTube show, ironically named "Common Sense". They are also, as Dominion points out in the complaint, the same claims that Giuliani failed to make in a court of law, where he could actually be punished for his egregious and repeated "voter fraud" lies.

The company charges that the false information from Trump's attorney was also retweeted and shared millions of times on social media, leading to broad distrust and millions in potentially lost business by the private voting systems vendor. Giuliani's months long assault also resulted in a number of vile and violent death threats to company employees and contractors alike.

The central false claim by Giuliani --- which we have detailed on previous programs --- is based on a wildly bastardized and re-imagined version of a deep-dive investigative exclusive from The BRAD BLOG that I published more than 10 years ago. It relates to Dominion's 2010 purchase of another voting machine company that had once been owned by still another voting machine company that was once tied to Venezuela and its now deceased President, Hugo Chavez. My decade-old, completely accurate story was so bastardized by Rudy and Team Trump that, at one point, while he was giving false testimony about Dominion "fraud" to the GOP-majority Michigan state legislature in early December, Rudy claimed that Dominion's owners were brought "down to meet Chavez just two years ago."  (Chavez has been dead for seven years.)

As also explained today, we are no fans here of private voting companies having any place in our public elections. Nonetheless, Dominion is right to sue for the libelous and dangerous falsehoods repeatedly told by Team Trump, which also fueled the violent, attempted insurrection by the enraged and disinformed MAGA Mob at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Moreover, there may well be more such suits coming in the days ahead. The firm has indicated they may even file suit against Trump himself.

All of that served as the basis --- at least in Donald Trump's addled-brain, as we learned over the weekend --- for a gob-smacking, last minute attempt by the then President of the United States earlier this month to also stage a coup at the U.S. Justice Department! He reportedly attempted to replace his Acting Attorney General with yet another lackey who was willing to use the Dept. of Justice to file suit at Trump's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the 2020 Presidential election results in one or more states, and to lie to Georgia's elected officials that the DoJ was investigating major voter fraud in the state. That, the hare-brained but wildly dangerous scheme argued, should have then led Georgia state legislators to void the results and award the state's electors to Trump. In reality, Biden won the Peach State narrowly last November. There has been no credible evidence to suggest otherwise and, in fact, there has been quite a bit of evidence to suggest the results in Georgia were accurately tabulated by the Dominion systems.

On Friday, the New York Times' Katie Benner published the shocking scoop on that attempted DoJ coup, that --- along with several other pieces of reporting in recent days and weeks --- gets us a bit closer to understanding just how close Trump was to pulling a trigger that might have resulted in the complete undermining of American democracy and the stolen election he was after. We detail the plot to remove Trump's Acting Attorney General (the one he installed when even Bill Barr was unwilling to go along with Trump's phony election fraud scheme), prevented only by a vow of top officials at DoJ to resign en masse if Trump went through with it. The details, however, are as stunning as the story itself, and help to spell out exactly what Trump was hoping for with the insurrection he (and Giuliani!) incited at the Capitol on January 6th and how close he came to actually pulling it all off!

All of which underscores how the two week delay now scheduled in the U.S. Senate before Trump's second impeachment trial begins is likely to make things far worse, rather than better, for the disgraced, now former President.

Buckle up for today's latest edition of The BradCast!...

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Did the Framers really wish to give Get-Out-of-Jail Free cards to insurrectionists?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2021 11:30am PT  

When Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last year, his remarks specifically related to Presidential self-pardons. His observations, however, reveal why the Department of Justice (DOJ) should also contest any effort by President Donald J. Trump to grant a pardon to anyone who could be considered a co-conspirator in carrying out an insurrection designed to allow the loser of the 2020 Presidential Election to remain in power...

If a self-pardon could be given recognition by any court, then the President would know that he could commit crimes from day one of his presidency to the end of four years --- even horrible crimes; crimes like treason, crimes like making war on his own people...That would, as George Mason said, turn us from a constitutional republic to a monarchy, or worse.

In an amicus brief [PDF] filed late last year in the Michael Flynn case, the legal advocacy group, Free Speech for People (FSFP) observed that, while the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schick v Reed (1974), described the Presidential pardon power as "plenary", or absolute, the Court added that the limitations on the pardon power, "if any, must be found in the Constitution itself." Citing a recent Georgetown Law Review article [PDF] that reached a similar conclusion, FSFP argued that the U.S. Constitution's command that a President ensure that the laws be "Faithfully Executed" broadly prevents a President from granting a pardon for a corrupt purpose.

Although U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan issued a 43-page Memorandum Opinion explaining that he had dismissed the Flynn case as moot following Flynn's acceptance of a Presidential pardon, the court neither referenced nor rejected the corrupt purpose limitation set forth by the FSFP amicus brief. Even if that ruling implicitly entailed a rejection of the FSFP argument, as applied to the Flynn case, it would not foreclose a DOJ challenge to the limits of the pardon power with respect to the unprecedented events that occurred on Jan. 6th.

This is not an abstract question. An attorney representing insurrectionist Jacob Anthony Chancey announced he'd request a Presidential pardon, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reported. Evidence suggests that Chancey, who was filmed "shirtless, wearing buffalo horns and holding a spear", may be one of the rioters who intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials," according to Goodman. As rioters yelled "Hang Mike Pence", the charging documents allege, Chancey aka the "QAnon Shamen", left a note on the VP's desk that ominously warned that "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming", according to Anna Lucia Murillo of the Daily Beast.

No President, before this one, has ever been implicated in a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection or 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy. It is virtually impossible to believe that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the availability of the pardon power to be utilized as an instrument designed to entice others to assist in the ultimate violation of the solemn oath to see that the laws of the United States are "Faithfully Executed". The framers of the U.S. Constitution regarded the duty to "Faithful Execute" our laws as so central to our constitutional scheme of governance that Art. II, §1, Cl. 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that every President "shall" take the oath before entering office.

* * *
Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




Guest: Former federal prosecutor Ben Clements; Also: Capitol Police officer dead after riot; Pelosi demands Trump resign or face second impeachment; Dominion files $1.3B defamation suit against Powell...
By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2021 8:24pm PT  

The walls are closing in very quickly now --- even throughout our hour today --- on the man who President-elect Joe Biden correctly, if generously, described today as "not fit to serve" and "one of the most incompetent Presidents in the history of the United States of America." As we go to air, Donald Trump is still in office. We can't tell you for certain if that will still be the case by the time you hear today's BradCast. [Audio link is posted at bottom of article.]

On Thursday night, U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick succumbed to injuries sustained during the attempted coup at the Capitol on Wednesday, as incited by Trump. He was the fifth person to have died amid the mayhem wrought by our outgoing criminal President. Sicknick's death, which Trump didn't bother to mention today, may add yet another crime --- conspiracy to incite murder or manslaughter --- to Trump's quickly growing rap-sheet.

On Friday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum. Either Trump resigns now or new Articles of Impeachment will be filed on Monday. That, as the Administration rats continue to flee his sinking ship, with more resignations and the welcome news that sore loser Trump will not attend Biden's inauguration and plans to leave D.C. as of the day before. "Good riddance," we say, in echoing the two word statement issued by the American Federation of Teachers last night upon the news that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was also quitting (though only after four convicted murderers and war criminals who worked for her brother received Presidential Pardons.)

More on Trump's growing legal perils and calls for accountability with my guest today, but first a few words on the news that Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Team Trump attorney  and his fellow perpetual liar and con-artist Sidney Powell. The private voting systems vendor charges Powell led a campaign to spread "wild" and "demonstrably false" claims about the company, including lies about their voting systems being developed with communist money in Venezuela by the late Hugo Chavez and, with the help of George Soros and China and Cuba, being used to steal the election for Biden.

(Her absurd Venezuela/Chavez claims are bastardized and re-imagined versions of my detailed, accurate, exclusive investigative reporting at The BRAD BLOG from approximately 2008 to 2010. And, while I've been wildly critical for many years of Dominion's unverifiable voting systems, as deployed by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State, there is nothing to support Powell's fantastical claims, including her evidence-free assertions that the state's SoS and Governor received kickbacks from the company to deploy their machines in the Peach State, for the first time, in 2020.)

Dominion, which previously warned they were likely to sue for slander and defamation if Powell did not retract her false claims (she refused and "doubled down" instead, according to the 124-page complaint [PDF]), also has sent similar warnings to other Team Trump liars such as Rudy Giuliani, Fox "News", Newsmax and One America News. They suggest they may even sue Trump himself. We'll hope they do, even if I'm called to testify by the private election vendor which should have no place in our public election system.

But, for now, according to our guest today, Constitutional expert and former federal prosecutor BEN CLEMENTS, Board Chair and Senior Legal Advisor of the non-partisan government accountability group, Free Speech for People (FSFP), it's accountability for the "seditious" President of the United States that is of the greatest immediate concern.

Clements, along with FSFP's  John Bonifaz and Ron Fein, filed an op-ed in the Boston Globe on Tuesday --- the day before the Trump-instigated insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday --- calling for Trump to be immediately impeached for a second time.

"At the time we wrote the op-ed, we were only dealing with the first major set of felonies that the President committed this week, in the effort to falsify the Georgia election results in his favor," he tells me today, referring to last Saturday's phone call by the President to GA's Sec. of State, cajoling and threatening him to "find" enough votes to steal the election for him there. (Yes! That was just this past week as well!) "At this point, we obviously have a second set of felonies in connection with his incitement of a seditious mob on Congress, which creates an even greater urgency."

But the reason Clements is calling for a second impeachment this late in Trump's term is because, as he explains: "There is really, for the most part, only one sure way to ensure that Donald Trump is not permitted to again run for office in this country...And that way is through the impeachment power.   If the Senate convicts, an official can be removed, but they can also be disqualified from ever holding federal office again. Aside from removal, which is now needed more urgently than ever, there is the need to disqualify him, to prevent him from running in 2024, or from running for anything else at any time in the federal government."

With just 12 days left before Biden's Inauguration, is there even enough time for such a proceeding?  As Clements, who authored a book with Bonifaz and Fein called The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump, details that impeachment and a Senate trial can happen even after an official is out of office. Indeed, as he (and his op-ed) recounts, there is even historical precedent for it.

We also discuss whether the Constitution allows for a Presidential self-pardon, whether Trump will try to execute one, whether lawful or not, and as FSFP called for yesterday, the need for Joe Biden's Attorney General-designate, Judge Merrick Garland, to immediately empanel an independent task force, once confirmed, to coordinate and investigate "any potential federal criminal or civil violations that may have been committed by President Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign, business, or other associates."  Clements argues that, without public pressure, Democratic Administrations have had a tendency in the past, when taking office "after a corrupt and sometimes lawless Republican administration" to make a "a quick call to 'turn the page.'"

"We are hearing those calls broadly already," he says. But "if we really want to move forward, if we really want to restore the integrity of the Department of Justice, there must be accountability for the crimes of this Administration and particularly of Donald Trump. And there must be accountability for the destruction that he created to our democracy and to the Department of Justice. The reason we're calling for this is there is a risk that there will be this temptation to say 'he's out of office and let's move on.' And I think that would be a GRAVE mistake that will invite more lawless activity, that will invite more of the kind of activity that we saw on Wednesday with the attack on the Capitol."

As we chatted, news came in that Alaska's Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, is now calling for Trump to resign, declaring "I want him out" and threatening to leave her party if they continue to align with him. And Twitter finally did the right thing (years belatedly) by permanently banning Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.

It's going to be a very dark weekend for Trump. But, for us, we close a dark week today with a long overdue, brand new and hilarious parody tune for the seditious moment, from the great Randy Rainbow! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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