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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 21, 2024
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
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...


A California three-way; Polls shift toward Biden; Republican scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal fraud case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil fraud case...
By Brad Friedman on 4/9/2024 6:36pm PT  

Keep hope alive. We've got a bunch of mostly good news stories for you on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full program is posted at the end of this summary.]

Among those stories today...

  • EVERY VOTE MATTERS: The great state of California has finally wrapped up its month-long tabulation and canvassing following its March 5th Super Tuesday primaries. And, in one race, there's a bit of a first-of-its kind surprise. Ever since 2012, the state has run a top-two primary system, where candidates from all parties run in the same primary race and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, go on to compete in the general election. This year, however, in a U.S. House race for an open seat in the state's 16th Congressional District, there was an exact tie among the 2nd and 3rd place candidates, who each received exactly 30,249 votes. So, three candidates --- in this case, all Democrats --- will go on to the November general election and its anybody's guess who may win.
  • BIDEN RISING: After months of polls showing Joe Biden trailing Donald Trump in national polling, now that the general election is in sight with Americans finally beginning to understand that --- like it or not --- it will almost certainly be a Biden v. Trump match-up, the polls are finally turning in favor of the President. It's a fairly small shift, but a meaningful one, with a bevy of high quality polls almost all finding Biden either ahead of or tied with Trump. There are lots of caveats for these numbers, as discussed today (for example, it's only April and these numbers could change, and they don't include third-party candidates, etc.), but the general news should come as an encouraging turn of events for those who have been freaked out for months about Biden's performance against Trump in early polling.
  • RIGHTWING DIRTY TRICKSTERS PAY THE PRICE: Bufoonish rightwing clowns Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, who sent misleading robocalls to thousands of Black voters, lying to them about being arrested and more if they voted in the 2020 election, continue to pay a price for their dumb, offensive, dirty tricks. The pair will now have to pay as much as $1.2 million for their violations of civil rights laws in New York, according to a consent decree struck with the state's Attorney General Letitia James. That follows previous penalties for the pair of a more than $5 million fine by the Federal Communications Commission last year, and two years of probation plus 500 hours of voter registration to which they were sentenced in Ohio, another of several states where their scam played out.
  • MORE RIGHTWING DIRTY TRICKSTERS PAYING A PRICE: A woman named Aimee Harris who pleaded guilty to stealing a diary belonging to President Biden's daughter Ashley Biden before the 2020 election, when she sold it for $40,000 to rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe and his nearly-defunct fake "news" outfit called Project Veritas, was sentenced to a month in prison, three in home confinement, two years of probation and to return the money she raised from her crimes. Her partner in the scam, who was smart enough to cooperate with federal authorities, will be sentenced later this year, suggesting that criminal charges may still be in the offing for the disgraced Republican operative O'Keefe. His home was searched by the FBI after the crime initially came to light. Keep hope alive.
  • NOPE: Yet another New York appeals court judge has rejected yet another last-ditch legal attempt by Donald Trump to delay his trial on 34 felony fraud counts related to his hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels to help him cheat to win the 2016 election. That criminal trial is now still set to begin with jury selection this coming Monday. In this latest court denial, the NY appellate judge dismissed Trump's motion regarding the partial gag-order against him --- expanded after he identified and attacked the daughter of trial Judge Juan Merchan on social media --- charging the order was somehow "unconstitutional". The bad news for the disgraced former President comes just one day after his bid for a change of venue for the trial was similarly denied by a different appellate judge.
  • YOUR MONEY IS NO GOOD HERE: Last week it appeared that Trump successfully avoided, for now, the seizure of his property as he appeals his liability in New York's $454 million civil fraud judgment against him. He was allowed to file a reduced bond for just $175 million with the state. As it turns out, however, there are a lot of problems with that bond, as secured from a sleazy California outfit known as Knight Specialty Insurance Company. A LOT of problems. More and more of which have been coming to light ever since NY A.G. Tish James, last week, informed the judge in the case that Trump's bond appears to be deficient. Among those problems: the surety company is not licensed to issue bonds in New York; the company does not have enough "capital and surplus" to meet state standards (or even cover the amount of the bond!); and the bond itself appears to suggest Trump is responsible for the $175 million dollars, rather than Knight, which is not an actual bond at all. A hearing on the matter is scheduled in NY civil court for April 22.
  • HAPPY ENDING: Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on what scientists suggest could be a terrifying hurricane season; good news for California's mountain snowpack; disturbing news about the Colorado River water supply; and some long-overdue good news from the Happiest Place on Earth...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Trump staring down barrel of both civil and criminal accountability in Empire State; Also: Biden forgives another $6B in student loans; U.S. calls for 'immediate, sustained ceasefire' in Gaza; Scientists baffled by spike in record year of global heating...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2024 7:02pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's crunch time for our disgraced former President in his old home state. Sad! But they ain't playin' in New York. So, get your popcorn ready. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But first, a few other news items of note...

  • The past year has been the warmest on record globally --- on both land and sea --- for likely the last 100,000 years. Some of that warming has long been predicted by scientists, thanks to the continuing release of emissions from burning fossil fuels that are the main cause of global warming. But the sudden spike over the past 12 months has been far worse than predicted based on years of data and computer modeling. Top climate scientists are now baffled about the cause and wondering if, perhaps, they've been low-balling the climate change crisis in their modelling.
  • More good news for student loan borrowers today. The Biden Administration is forgiving another $6 billion in loans to some 78,000 public-service workers who were promised over a decade ago that their service would eventually help forgive their debt, only to be lied to and misled by schools and private companies administering their federal loans. President Biden is correcting that today, and will also be informing an additional 380,000 borrowers that they will also see their debt wiped out over the next two years if they keep their payments up to date. As of now, the Administration has forgiven nearly $144 billion in debt, even after the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court corruptly blocked his original plan for $430 billion in debt relief.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo on Thursday called for an "immediate, sustained ceasefire" and the release of all hostages in Gaza. He said the Administration is supporting U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for same, and reiterated U.S. opposition to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's promised offensive in Rafah unless accommodations are in place to prevent still more harm, death and starvation of the civilian population sheltering in southern Gaza. At the same time, the far-right Prime Minister --- facing felony charges whenever he finally leaves office --- is taking aim at high-ranking Jewish leaders in the U.S. like longtime Israel supporter and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for having dared to call for new elections in Israel.
  • New campaign fundraising numbers are out this week via the Federal Election Commission and reveal that the Biden Campaign and his affiliated fundraising groups are far outpacing the Trump Campaign and its affiliated groups. The Biden Campaign now has more than double the amount of cash on hand as Trump does, even as most of the funds raised by the former President has gone to cover his legal bills over the past year.
  • But the jig may finally be up for Donald Trump in New York, where he must come up with some $464 million dollars in cash or bonds by this Monday to avoid the start of seizure of his assets by the state following his loss in the state's civil trial against him, his company and his two eldest sons for massive bank, tax and insurance fraud. Reportedly, the office of state Attorney General Letitia James has already filed judgements in both New York City (home of Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street and other major property assets) and Westchester County (the location of one of his golf courses and an estate he owns called Seven Springs). The filing of judgements is the first step toward the state's seizure of Trump properties as well as bank and brokerage accounts. That process could begin as early as Monday if Trump is unable to come up with a half-billion dollar bond or get some other form of emergency relief from the NY state appeals court between now and then. Moreover, today the trial judge in the case expanded strict oversight by a court-appointed monitor of just about every financial event or attempted event at the Trump Organization to help ensure the longtime con-man is unable to move funds around or pull off any other chicanery to avoid accountability. As noted, they ain't playin' in NY!
  • But it's not only civil accountability barreling toward Trump in New York. The judge overseeing his upcoming criminal trial, likely to begin next month, related to hush-money payments made before and after the 2016 election, issued a ruling this week on what evidence may and may not be presented at trial by each side. As WaPo's Jennifer Rubin detailed today, it "couldn't have gone worse for Trump". Judge Juan Merchan, she reports, "ruled against [Trump] in virtually all of his motions to exclude evidence. By contrast, the judge largely granted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s motions to exclude evidence for trial that Trump believed might be exculpatory." The ruling, Rubin suggests, indicates Merchan "will not indulge Trump’s antics nor allow the trial to devolve into a spectacle." We'll see about that. But, she adds: "Based on these rulings, Trump should be quaking in his boots."
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more stunning heat records in South America (144°F heat index in Rio!); the Biden EPA's largest climate regulation ever; a climate "red alert" issued by the U.N.; and new remarks from ExxonMobil's sleazy CEO Darren Woods claiming that climate change isn't his company's fault, it's YOURS!...

NOTE: Both BradCast and Green News Report will be standing down next week for a much-needed Spring Break! I'm sure it'll be a totally slow news week anyway. We'll see you after Easter!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Kelly Sampson of the Brady Center; Also: Biden, Trump clinch noms; Judge nixes 6 counts in Trump's GA conspiracy indictment...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2024 6:50pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The most powerful pro-gun lobbying group in the nation --- along with its wildly corrupt leadership --- has finally been held to account for years of massive fraud. So what comes next for the NRA, for the firearms industry's ironclad death grip on the Republican Party, and for the continuing battle to enact popular gun safety reforms in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've got some answers to those questions but, first up, a bit of news today...

Both the disgraced former President Donald Trump and the current President Joe Biden each notched the number of delegates needed in their respective parties to clinch the 2024 nominations for President as of Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in Georgia, Mississippi, Washington state, Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands. (And, of course, there was some trouble on Tuesday regarding GA's unverifiable, computerized touchscreen voting system.) Based on the results in each state last night, Biden is clearly favored by more of his party's primary voters than Trump. Though we have a few noteworthy observations today.

And, also in Georgia, where Trump and 18 co-conspirators are facing criminal indictment in Fulton County for their multiple failed attempts to steal the state's 2020 election, the judge overseeing the case tossed six of the 41 felony counts brought against, though he allowed 35 others to move forward. In his 9-page order [PDF] on Wednesday, Judge Scott McAfee wrote that Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis will be able refile those six charges, though she'll have to add additional specificity if she does. Refiling the charges would also likely further delay the state's currently scheduled August trial date. Of course, many court watchers are on pins and needles this week waiting for McAfee's ruling, expected by Friday, on whether Willis, accused by one of Trump's co-defendants of inappropriately hiring one of her prosecutors, will be allowed to remain on the case.

Then, we're joined by KELLY SAMPSON Senior Counsel at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation's oldest gun violence prevention organization, to discuss the fate of the beleaguered National Rifle Association, the group that began as a non-profit gun safety organization 150 years ago in New York City, only to become the nation's most powerful firearms industry lobbying group, opposing any and all gun safety reforms.

Late last month, a New York jury determined the NRA's longtime leader, Wayne LaPierre, had unlawfully misallocated millions of dollars of member money for years on his extravagant personal lifestyle, which included private plane travel and exotic vacations for himself and his family, among with many other luxuries. He also authorized hundreds of millions of dollars in NRA contracts in exchange for free trips and access to a 108-foot superyacht. In addition, the jury also ruled that the NRA engaged in years of fraudulent tax filings and violated whistleblower protections under NY law. LaPierre, who resigned in disgrace on the eve of the trial late last year --- brought by state A.G. Letitia James --- was ordered to repay nearly $5.5 million to the NRA. The group had attempted, after James' filing, to seek federal bankruptcy protection, but was blocked after a federal court determined it was only doing so in hopes of moving the organization to Texas to avoid accountability in NY.

So, what now? "Wayne LaPierre is indicative of a particular type of corruption, taking advantage of people and basically grifting," Sampson explains today. "He's not concerned with people's safety. He's concerned with enriching himself. This is a win in terms of accountability for that."

But, she says, there are other pro-gun groups that are now filling the gaps left by the faltering NRA in blocking gun safety reforms at both the state and federal level, despite support from broad, bipartisan majorities of Americans --- if not from Republican lawmakers captured by the gun lobby. "There are organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation, or NSSF, which is the gun industry's almost corporate wing," she warns. "Regardless of what happens with the NRA, we still have to deal with the rhetoric, the false information, and the fact that, yes, there are some politicians who feel beholden to what the NRA wants."

We discuss the broad popularity of policies such as universal background checks for gun purchases, which GOP lawmakers have long stymied, as well as cases now before the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court which seek to block the ban on bumpstocks that turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, and on a federal law designed to help keep guns out of the hands of those under domestic violence restraining orders.

Also, Sampson discusses a number of landmark initiatives by the Biden-Harris Administration to address the nation's ever-worsening gun violence epidemic, including "the first White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which is really using the power of the Executive to have a 'whole of government' approach" to the continuing scourge.

There is much to discuss, as you may imagine, in our conversation today with Sampson, the Brady Center's Director of Racial Justice and co-host of their Red, Blue and Brady podcast. Happily, today's discussion does not take place, for a change, just hours after another high-profile gun massacre...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, 'Driftglass' of 'Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/29/2024 5:03pm PT  

I should be in bed nursing my illness (whatever it is), rather than doing today's BradCast. But given the firehose of news, some of it huge, that broke after yesterday's guest-hosted show with Nicole and Desi (thank you, guys!) and today, I felt I had to come in for this one. Nasal congestion be damned. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Back in 2018, as Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was lying his way through his Senate Confirmation hearings, he made what sure sounded like a threat at the time. "This confirmation process has become a national disgrace," he whined through angry tears. "And as we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around."

There has been a boatload of important news over the past 24 hours. But what may have been Kavanaugh's long-promised "comes around" moment may have finally occurred last night. The U.S. Supreme Court came up with at least 4 votes to hear Oral Argument of Donald Trump's ridiculous claim that Presidents enjoy "absolutely immunity" for any and all crimes they may commit while in office --- including ordering Seal Team Six to murder domestic political opponents, as Trump's lawyer's argued in this case at the lower D.C. Court of Appeals.

The federal appellate court, as well as the trial court below it, unanimously rejected the argument. But, rather than taking up the case three months ago, when Special Counsel Jack Smith asked them to, the corrupt SCOTUS waited more than two months before deciding, in a terse, one-page order [PDF], to "expedite" the matter by hearing it...seven weeks from now. The question will be: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office." --- Which "official acts" they may be referring to are uncited.

In the bargain, Trump's previously scheduled May 4th federal trial date for attempting to steal the 2020 election remains on on pause and may not now even begin before the 2024 election.

At the same time, in New York state court on Wednesday, an appellate judge, within hours after Trump's filing, rejected his attempt to offer a $100 million bond to prevent Attorney General Letitia James from beginning seizure of his assets in about 30 days for failure to post cash or a bond for the full $454 million penalty he faces for a decade of massive fraud via his corrupt real estate company. And Trump's criminal trial in the state, on 34 charges related to cheating to win the 2016 election with hush-money payments to a porn star, is set to begin at the end of next month.

Given my physical condition of late, we called in our good friends and very wise longtime fellow bloggers HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and 'DRIFTGLASS' of The Professional Left Podcast, to help make sense of these key, historic events. They each offer context and analysis of what appears --- to them at least --- to be one of the most corrupt actions ever taken by our corrupted, far-right, Trump-appointed supermajority on the High Court.

Driftglass argues the news from the Court on Wednesday is that "It's a corrupt court. And that corrupt court has rendered a corrupt decision," underscores his belief that Trump will never see a day in prison. Digby reminds us that true accountability was always going to come from only one place: the voters at the ballot box this November. "I'm sorry to have to tell you," she tells me, "but it's going to have to be a grinding out of a Presidential campaign and people are going to have to vote this guy out."

We've got a lot of ground to cover on today's program, with smart insights from both of them as usual, even if I don't have the energy to document much of it here for you today. So, please tune in.

There's one point, however, that I didn't get to on the show --- blame the cold medicine --- in response to the somewhat grim and arguably cynical (if accurate) assessments from Digby and Driftglass. That is, that even if Trump's federal trial for attempting to steal the 2020 election had moved forward, as scheduled, well before this November's election, I think the magic bullet moment that had been applied to that trial --- as if a guilty conviction would be an elixir that finally woke up the nation to how corrupt he truly was, leading supporters to abandon him --- was always, in my estimation, somewhat overblown.

When (not if) Trump is found guilty on any of the 91 criminal counts he is currently facing at both the state and federal level, his supporters will find a way to justify it and continue their support nonetheless. It'll be a evidence of a "corrupt system" or "Joe Biden's witch hunt" against Trump, etc.

I have never quite bought into the prodigious polling which suggests his 2024 support would crater once he was finally found guilty of a crime. His supporters know what he did. We all do. It's obvious. A criminal conviction is unlikely to change many opinions of him either way. This was and still will be --- as both Digby and Drifty point out --- about the VOTERS showing up and VOTING to save our democracy from the clutches of a fascistic, sociopathic, narcissist hell-bent on destroying it for revenge. Whatever happens between now and November 5, nobody else was ever gonna do it for us.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as winter heat in the center of this nation blew away records for February, topping out in the 80s and 90s in huge swaths of the region over the past week. That helped touch off what is now the largest wildfire in Texas history. In February! That, and much more on today's GNR.

Now I'm going back to bed. I'm sure the last 24 hours have been nothing more than a bad Nyquil-induced fever dream...

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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Guest: Rich Templin of Florida AFL-CIO; Also: NY A.G. may seize Trump building to cover fines; Biden forgives another $1.2B in student loans...
By Brad Friedman on 2/21/2024 6:54pm PT  

Don't forget to laugh out loud next time you hear a Republican pretending to oppose "Big Government regulations" or acting as if they give a damn about "forgotten working folks". Those are two of the biggest lies in the GOP toolbox, as discussed on today's BradCast, and actively demonstrated down in Emperor Ron DeSantis' Republic of Florida even as I write. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST... A few cheerier pieces of news to kick things off. The size of the fines against Donald Trump, his company and two of his sons in the New York fraud verdict against them is more staggering than you may realize following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling [PDF] last Friday. Most outlets have cited the $355 million that Trump must cough up. But that doesn't include another $100 million or so already tacked on in interest to cover the fraudulent inflation of assets going back as far as 2019 or so. In truth, he now owes NY about $455 million, with some $87,000 in new interest accruing each day that he fails to pay up. But don't worry. He'll pay. NY A.G. Tish James said yesterday that she is prepared to seize his assets, including buildings, if he fails to do so.

While the corrupt former President's life is on the precipice of ruin, the not-corrupt current President, Joe Biden, was busy today forgiving another $1.2 billion in student loans for some 153,00 borrowers. That brings the total to nearly 4 million Americans who have seen some or all of their student debt wiped out by the Biden Administration, after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Biden's original plan to forgive debt for 40 million borrowers. (That, even though the corrupt rightwing SCOTUS allowed Trump to change loan terms for borrowers under the very same law Biden tried to use.)

THEN... On yesterday's program with my guest John Nichols of The Nation, we discussed the possibility of rolling back the notorious anti-union law, known as ACT 10, in Wisconsin. The measure, which gutted most public sector unions (if not right-leaning police and firefighter unions) was muscled through to law more than a decade ago by the state's far-right then Gov. Scott Walker and his gerrymandered GOP toughs in the state legislature. Now that a newly liberal state Supreme Court has allowed Democratic Governor Tony Evers to implement fairer, non-gerrymandered legislative maps for the 2024 election, its conceivable Dems could finally return to power and restore collective bargaining rights to state workers next year.

Nichols cited neighboring Michigan as a role model for repealing Republican anti-union measures in a previously gerrymandered state, after its Democratic Governor and now Democratically-controlled state legislature rolled back that state's union-busting laws last week.

So, good news in the North this week...but really bad news down in Ron DeSantis' Florida, where a hastily-enacted 2023 law by the GOP legislature, passed in hopes of buttressing the Governor's ill-fated run for President, may now, literally, wipe out the very existence of hundreds of local public sector unions, with tens of thousands of workers, across the entire state.

Thousands of teachers, civil engineers, state and local clerical workers, mechanics, city park workers, those that answer 911 calls (but not police, firefighters or correctional officers, whose unions support DeSantis and are thus exempted from the law) are now seeing their unions decertified and dissolved by the state under Senate Bill 256, or are now on the brink of seeing that happening.

We're joined today by RICH TEMPLIN --- Legislative and Political Director of Florida AFL-CIO, the state's largest labor organization, representing more than 500 local unions --- to explain what is going on here, and what, if anything can be done about it.

None of this should be happening, he explains, because decades-old provisions in Florida's state Constitution protect the right to collective bargaining for public sector workers. But, "Constitutional Conservatism" is apparently for lefties and liberals now down in the Sunshine State, where Templin describes this attack on unions as "a sordid, complicated tale," that began "when Ron DeSantis decided to run for President."

"He was rewarding his biggest donors. Not only past donors but future donors he could count on for the campaign," Templin says, detailing how the wannabe President was "catering favor with national organizations that can provide national endorsements and national money. That's how we got sucked up into it. The extensive Koch Brothers network...He did this for them."

"When the bill was passed," Templin asserts, "there was no constituency group asking for it. There was no public sector employers asking for it. There were no public sector employees asking for it. It was 100% driven by billionaire out-of-state think tanks who the Governor was currying favor with for his Presidential run, and a legislature that was all too willing to turn their constituents over to his political ambitions."

At its heart, SB256 takes away the option for union members to voluntarily have their dues taken out of their paychecks each month. (Most unions anyway. Remember, police and firefighters unions are exempt from SB256.) Then the measure simply decertifies unions that do not have more than 60% dues-paying membership, even though Florida is a so-called "Right to Work" state where all workers must be allowed to "freeload" off of union contracts without being paying members of the union. They "took away the ability for members to conveniently pay their dues, and then they say, 'If there's not enough of you paying dues, you lose your union altogether.'"

While DeSantis didn't win the Koch Network endorsement or money --- or GOP Presidential nomination --- "he has really destroyed the state of Florida," in his failed attempt, according to Templin. "We are in shambles. It is going to take us a decade to dig out from what he's done."

SB256 is already a disaster, and not just because it was hurriedly pushed through the state legislature without regard to existing protections in the state constitution. But because nobody really knows how to implement it. How can unions be recertified after they've become decertified? What happens to existing union contracts?

Templin spoke to us today from the capital building in Tallahassee as a measure to try and fix some of SB256's most egregious disasters may come to the floor, and he is hoping to see amendments added to correct some of the law's most unworkable elements.

"This has been a time of great chaos," Templin laments. "There's a whole bunch of other bureaucratic hurdles that have been established to make it impossible for public sector unions to exist. They did this 'death by a thousand paper cuts' because the constitution doesn't allow them" to simply end collective bargaining for public sector workers as then Gov. Walker did in Wisconsin over a decade ago.

Templin has much more to say about all of this today, on the legal challenges to the measure, and how voters can help to turn things around in the state after years of rightwing autocracy, especially under DeSantis.

For some of the horrifying details on the ongoing effects of SB256 across the state, as it has fully taken effect as of the first of the year, be sure to check out investigative journalist Daniel Rivero's excellent and exhaustive recent article at South Florida's public radio outlet, WLRN.

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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...

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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...

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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.

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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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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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: NatSec and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2023 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast we catch up on where each of the major, still-unindicted criminal investigations of Donald Trump currently stand with the one person who may pay closer attention to the details of the cases than even the prosecutors working on them! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Over the weekend, longtime national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel wrote three articles, summarizing the latest status in each of the three ongoing criminal probes of the already-criminally-indicted-in-New-York former President, and what the final issues are that prosecutors must nail down before indictments can be brought.

Those cases include Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal investigations of Trump's January 6 related conspiracies and the documents he stole from the White House, as well as Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' broad probe into Trump's failed attempt to strong-arm state officials into stealing the 2020 election from Joe Biden.

Among the many points discussed with Wheeler, who joins us today from Paris...

On Jan 6 and related matters:

  • Why determining the legal definition of "corrupt purpose" in the D.C. federal court circuit, in regards to Trump's attempt to obstruct the Electoral College vote certification, is so important to Smith's case.
  • Why pending cases against Jan. 6 insurrectionists remain key to that definition.
  • Why the fake electors schemes in several states and Trump's fraudulent fundraising on his lies about election fraud is also critical to Smith's case.
  • Evidence that Trump's own attorneys knew in advance that their fake electors scheme was unlawful.
  • Why nailing down testimony from cooperating witnesses is so important and whether former VP Mike Pence --- who testified before Smith's federal grand jury last week about Trump's attempt to have him assassinated --- can be made into a sympathetic witness on the stand.
  • Will we see a broad set of indictments against Trump regarding Jan. 6 or just one or two focused, easily provable charges?
  • Is Smith investigating the multi-state conspiracy to breach voting system software in states like Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and elsewhere as part of his probe?

On the Stolen Documents:

  • What's the hold-up in bringing charges on what has always seemed like the simplest of the many ongoing cases?
  • Why it's helpful that Smith is overseeing both this case and the Jan 6 probe, given that several witnesses are key to each of the cases.
  • What the specific criminal charges may ultimately be, and the important related decision on whether they will be brought in Florida or in D.C.

On the GA Conspiracy:

  • What's the hold-up for D.A. Willis in bringing charges in the Georgia-related crimes?
  • Why Trump is likely to try and move any GA charges to the federal level (and into Smith's lap).
  • How and why a number of co-conspirators may have suddenly decided to cooperate with Willis after all in recent days.
  • How there may be an additional 24(!) previously-unknown witnesses to Trump's infamous Jan 2, 2021 phone call to the GA Sec. of State attempting to strong-arm him to "find" 11,000 votes to steal the state's election from Biden.

That's just a sample, of course. Wheeler joins us for the full hour. Dig in...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: National security and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2023 6:00pm PT  

As we've advised many times on The BradCast, accountability takes a while. Particularly when you're talking about criminal accountability for a President of the United States for the first time ever. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today, for the first time in several months, by perhaps the one person who may know nearly as much (and, in some cases, even more) about the many criminal cases against Donald Trump than the many prosecutors currently considering indictments against him for those crimes.

Longtime, independent national security and accountability journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel.net joins us for the full hour today. There is now just too much going on all at once in the various federal investigations being overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith (not to mention the several criminal and civil probes underway in Georgia and New York), to fit into a single segment.

We dive into details with Wheeler on both the probe of Trump's hundreds of stolen, classified documents recovered by the FBI last year at Mar-a-Lago, and the ongoing investigation of the broad conspiracy surrounding the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol (and his many other attempts to steal the 2020 election.)

Among the many points and questions discussed with Wheeler on today's show...

ON SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH:

  • Where is he? Literally. And why are there no known new photos or videos of him Special Counseling?
  • And what, if anything, does his incredibly low profile tell us about the work that he is doing?

ON THE TRUMP STOLEN DOCUMENTS PROBE:

  • What does this week's news that Smith is hoping to pierce the attorney-client privilege by invoking the crime-fraud exception to force federal grand jury testimony from Trump attorneys like Evan Corcoran actually mean? And, is it true, as the New York Times reported on Tuesday, that Smith's motion to do so is "an aggressive new dimension to the inquiry"?
  • What exactly is the crime being investigated that Smith contends took place between Corcoran and Trump that would nullify the attorney-client privilege?
  • What do we need to know about this past weekend's startling news that Team Trump has now turned over still more classified documents and that some of them were reportedly scanned onto a laptop computer (and thumb drive) said to belong to a Trump aide at his main fundraising PAC?
  • Why weren't those documents found at Mar-a-Lago during the FBI's very thorough search last August?
  • Should we be concerned that more classified documents are out in the wild after being digitized and shared with others?
  • Where are the dozens of documents that were previously in the now-empty classified document folders recovered by the FBI last August? And, is Trump's claim that he kept empty classified document folders as trophy keepsakes even plausible?
  • Does the discovery and quick return of a handful of classified and other Presidential records found by aides at the offices and residences of Joe Biden and Mike Pence make any difference in a potential decision to charge Trump for having stolen thousands of documents and then lying about them to federal officials?

ON THE JANUARY 6 CONSPIRACY PROBE:

  • Mike Pence has now been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating the January 6 attack. He says he will challenge the subpoena based on the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause that, he claims, prevents him --- as President of the Senate on January 6 --- from having to answer questions by the Executive Branch. That, after Pence previously refused to testify to the House J6 Committee on the basis of separation of powers and Executive privilege.
  • Many are describing Pence's defense "novel", but Wheeler (and I) recall when the previous Republican Vice President, Dick Cheney, hoping to also have it both ways, attempted to play the exact same hand to avoid testifying to both the Legislative and Executive branches during the George W. Bush era.
  • In any event, will Pence's ploy work? And, if so, will it prevent Smith from being able to bring indictments?
  • How do the recent guilty verdicts for Seditious Conspiracy, in the trials of a number of rightwing Oath Keepers militia members (and the ongoing trial of racist Proud Boys members), affect potential indictments of the former President?
  • Is it likely that the DoJ will simply take the "Al Capone tax evasion" route by charging Trump with a simpler crime, such as wire fraud, based on his fundraising scheme that raked in some $250 million after the 2020 election for an "official election defense fund" that didn't actually exist?
  • And, by the way, can a former President --- with a 24/7 Secret Service detail and all of that --- actually be sent to prison in the event he ever actually is indicted, convicted and sentenced?

As you can tell, just a few things to discuss with Wheeler today. And, as usual, she offers a ton of important, smart and keenly-informed insight!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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