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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 19, 2024
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
  w/ Brad & Desi
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...
Previous GNRs: 4/11/24 - 4/9/24 - Archives...
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
  w/ Brad & Desi
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...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan; Also: Trump CFO back to jail; GOP chaos, panic after AZ's 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s), Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4
No Labels out; Soft sentence for vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Elctrl College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders, Biden tout drug price success...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
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
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'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...


Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2023 5:41pm PT  

Not only was it another historic Arraignment Day on today's BradCast, but it was also an opportunity to wish a very happy 77th birthday to our disgraced former President, who was celebrated with the circus-like atmosphere of a smattering of supporters, protesters and observers outside of the federal courthouse in Miami today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald J. Trump's attorney pleaded "Not Guilty" on his client's behalf Tuesday, during his historic arraignment in the Southern District of Florida on 37 federal felonies related to his theft of hundreds of highly classified documents and repeated attempts at obstructing the government from taking them back. Those attempts included, according to the indictment [PDF] filed last week by Special Counsel Jack Smith, efforts to have his attorney Evan Corcoran commit a list of crimes on his behalf.

Former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut, detailing the seriousness of these charges yesterday, explained how highly the documents in question were classified and the "bone-chilling" concerns about specific foreign nationals who visited Mar-a-Lago under false identities as Trump stored dozens of boxes of stolen documents haphazardly in a ballroom, a bathroom, a storage room and other unsecured locations at his resort property. "There's never been anything remotely like it," Aftergut contended, adding that Trump's legal peril is "extreme" and "that prosecutors' obligation, should there be convictions, would be to ask for the maximum term of imprisonment available." That would amount to decades in prison for the Birthday Boy.

We're joined today for special coverage analysis by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and Hullabaloo, and KEITH BARBER, a former Republican attorney who now writes for Daily Kos and Medium.

Among the many points discussed in our very lively conversation today...

  • Whether Democrats previously critical of Attorney General Merrick Garland may now have changed their tune.
  • The breathtaking nature of this "slam dunk" indictment and these charges.
  • Whether Trump's problems finding lawyers to represent him will help or hurt in this case.
  • What a lawyer would normally do when a client asks them to violate the law, as Trump allegedly did with his attorney --- and, now, likely star witness --- Corcoran.
  • What should we make of the horrible Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon currently presiding over this case?
  • Are we any closer to knowing why Trump refused to return the documents, despite repeated polite requests from the National Archives for over a year and a subpoena from the Dept. of Justice?
  • What legal strategy should an attorney recommend at this point for Trump --- for example, to seek a plea deal to avoid jail time --- and would Trump even consider such deal?

We also spend some time debunking (yet again) the absurd claims still being made by duped Republicans that Trump is somehow the persecuted victim of unequal justice and that "Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton did the exact same thing, but were never charged for it!" Over the weekend, dopey, dishonest Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) even ridiculously claimed on Fox "News" that Trump "decided not to pursue any kind of prosecution of Hillary Clinton" and that "Joe Biden could have made the exact same decision, but he didn't. He allowed a SWAT raid on the very secure residence of President Trump."

Every point made by the lying Senator is simply false. Biden had nothing to do with the FBI search warrant approved by a federal judge after finding probable cause that Trump was committing several serous crimes, including those he's now been charged with under the Espionage Act, at his South Florida resort.

As to the handful of classified documents found at an old office of Biden's and at his Delaware home, Barber explains: "Of course they say, 'They should be treated the same!' So I say, fine, let's treat them the same. Donald Trump was not charged for anything related to any of the documents that he voluntarily returned. So, if you're going to treat them similarly, then Biden [who immediately returned all documents inappropriately found in his possession] should not be charged for any documents that he voluntarily returned. It's simple. And that is what's going to happen."

For her part, Parton dismantles Johnson's stupidly false claims about Trump having "declined" to prosecute Clinton. "There were five investigations into the Clinton email server," she explains, after writing about this very point on Monday. "There was the original FBI investigation. There was a DOJ Inspector General's investigation. There were two State Department investigations. And Bill Barr himself...named a US Attorney in Utah to also look into all that stuff. They all concluded the same thing: Hillary Clinton didn't break any laws with this."

"The facts of the case don't match at all on the Clinton thing," says Parton. "All of this is nonsense, it's what-aboutism. It is, of course, what they would do. And there are a million cases of poor schmucks that worked in the government that did much less than anything that Trump did, much lesser kinds of offenses, that actually went to jail."

All of that and much more in today's special coverage!

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because even as Trump now faces a total of 71 criminal felony charges in both New York and at the federal level (with more to come soon), our worsening climate crisis is undeterred and making life much much worse (and deadly) for everyone on the planet...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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37 federal felony counts for Trump; Calls for violence by top GOP officials, supporters; And callers ring in on all of it today, including many who are still duped by the world's greatest-ever criminal conman...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2023 5:52pm PT  

Thanks, kudos and apologies to our friend Tom Sullivan of Hullabaloo for the headline of today's BradCast (even if he smartly picked it up from someone else). [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We've had a weekend of experts and pundits on the TV opining on Donald J. Trump's Friday federal indictment [PDF] on 37 criminal felony counts related to Special Counsel Jack Smith's investigation of Trump's theft of documents from the White House and multiple attempts to conceal his crimes. So it was very good to hear from a lot of listeners on the matter on today's program!

That, as experts warn that comments from Republican elected officials and wannabe elected officials could result in acts of lone wolf violence, if not an organized January 6th-style attack. Just some of those folks would include GOP Trump supporters like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who described the attempt at accountability for Trump's criminal violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice a "war phase" requiring an "eye for an eye". And wannabe elected officials, like Arizona's losing Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake warning "Merrick Garland and Jack Smith and Joe Biden" that she and 75 million Americans who support Trump "are card-carrying members of the N.R.A." at the Georgia state GOP convention over the weekend.

Even Trump's own, wildly corrupt Attorney General Bill Barr scraped up the decency to tell Fox "News" on Sunday that the evidence in the indictment by 23 random citizens in South Florida last week demonstrates Trump is likely "toast" for having stolen highly classified state secrets belonging to the American people, not to the former President. One would think the photos in the charging documents alone, of dozens of document boxes fill with sensitive materials, stored haphazardly at Mar-a-Lago in a public ballroom, a bathroom, a storage space, his office and bedroom, would turn even the most braindead 2016 MAGA "Lock Her Up!" supporter against their cult leader.

But, alas, there remain plenty of disinformed folks out there who still actually believe Trump's preposterous claims belied by his own well-documented actions recorded on tape and by his own attorneys who documented his attempts to use them to commit crimes such as hiding the documents on his behalf and lying to federal officials about them.

And, yes, some of those still-duped folks (who admit they didn't bother to read the indictment) called us on today's show to try and make the case for Trump. A lively call-in segment ensued. Hope you'll enjoy it!

The disgraced former President will be arraigned on Tuesday in Miami at 3p ET, after which he will officially be facing a gob-smacking total of 71 criminal felony counts at both the federal level and in New York state. But there are still more felony charges to come before America's Summer of Accountability concludes...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Fox 'News' lied about Dominion and 2020. Now they're lying about Trump's indictment. It's what they do.; Callers ring in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 4/3/2023 5:06pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Nobody knows what we'll learn when the indictment against Donald Trump is unsealed, hopefully on Tuesday, when he will reportedly surrender to arrest and arraignment in downtown Manhattan. But that hasn't kept Fox "News" and the rest of the Republican Party (including even folks like Jeb Bush, whose own political career was destroyed, in no small part, by Trump) from lying about all of it. It's what they do. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We'll find out soon enough what the charges are, as brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against the disgraced former President. But among the lies that Fox and friends are having trouble keeping straight: Is the indictment a "political prosecution" mean to harm Trump's chances of re-election in 2024? If so, why do they all keep claiming that the indictment is gonna help him win in 2024?

For the record, new polling since the indictment was confirmed last week show a huge bump for Trump in the Republican Primary contest against Ron DeSantis and others. On the other hand, new polling since last Thursday also reveals that a majority of Americans, in every single demographic, approve of Trump being indicted. We'll see if that holds after we finally learn what's in the New York charges.

But, as we now know, in no uncertain terms as of Judge Eric Davis' Friday blistering ruling against Fox in Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation suit, lying in order to dupe viewers is no accident. It is actually the Fox business model. They are not a news outlet and never have been. They are Republican activists and propagandists. Period. And the evidence in the case now makes all of that "CRYSTAL clear," as the court noted.

Of course, the Republican Party and Fox "News" also like to pretend that the Department of Justice declined to prosecute the charges they believe Bragg will be unveiling this week. They claim the DoJ examined, but decided against bringing charges related to Trump's hush-money payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, and about the payments he made while serving in the White House to keep it all quiet.

But DoJ didn't decline to prosecute. In fact, Trump's own DoJ prosecuted Trump's own attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years for his part in the conspiracy. At the time of Cohen's sentencing, both he and Trump's own DoJ admitted the scheme was "directed by" and "for the benefit of" Trump himself. That, before Trump's own Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the probe be shut down, according to Geoffrey Berman, Trump's own U.S. Attorney in New York. DoJ didn't "decline to prosecute," as Jeb and Fox and the rest of the Republicans have been lying.

Of course, given who Jeb's brother and father were, its little wonder he has joined the parade of Republican who now oppose criminal accountability for former Presidents of the United States.

Anyway, much more to discuss on today's show regarding the importance of accountability for criminal U.S. Presidents. And lots of good callers ringing in today in response. Tune in for the full program tonight before the "fun" really begins as of Tuesday in New York City. Buckle up...

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Jordan's FBI lies called out on 'Meet the Press'; Also: Barr's weaponization of the DoJ; 'Red' state murder rates far exceed 'blue' states; More white people voter fraud in FL; Sore-loser Lake violates AZ election law...
By Brad Friedman on 1/31/2023 6:32pm PT  

We've got another grab-bag for you on today's BradCast, from the new challenges faced by corporate media during a U.S. House controlled by GOP liars, to more evidence of the former guy's weaponization of the federal government, to still more voter fraud by wealthy white people in Florida.

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

  • NBC's Chuck Todd, the usually milquetoast host of Meet the Press, actually stood up to a few lies by accomplished GOP liar Rep. Jim Jordan on Sunday. That is never easy, given the flurry of lies the Ohio Congressman is capable of spewing at light speed. But Todd, who traditionally allows rightwingers to get away with all manner of BS with little if any response at all, did an impressive job this week --- at least for a few minutes --- in calling out several of Jordan's patently false assertions attempting to equate Donald Trump's theft of hundreds of classified documents and refusal, for more than a year, to return them to the federal government, with the discovery by Joe Biden's attorneys of a few dozen such documents from during his Vice Presidency found stored by aides at his former office at the Penn Center and his home in Wilmington, Delaware. We share the tale of the tape.
  • Jordan now serves as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and its silly, newly formed select Subcommittee on "the Weaponization of the Federal Government". The new panel is meant to promote all sorts of QAnon and Fox "News" fantasies and victimization porn about the FBI and DoJ somehow having it out for Republicans. Or something. They will pretend to expose false claims such as the FBI paying millions of dollars to Twitter to censor and ban rightwingers during the Trump years. Or something. Will Democrats and our corporate media be up to the task of countering their nonsense over the next two years?
  • If you're looking for actual "weaponization of the federal government", however, look no further than what the disgraced former President did with his appointment of DoJ weaponizer-in-chief Bill Barr as Attorney General. Late last week, the New York Times published a jaw-dropping exclusive on Barr's failed attempt at revealing "deep state liberals" at the FBI and DoJ with the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel to "investigate the investigators" of Russia's well-documented plot to interfere in the 2016 election. After four years, Barr and Durham have found none of the corruption that Trump and Barr pretended was there. But they did, apparently, find evidence of financial crimes by Donald Trump that, until the Times report just last week, remained their own little secret. Paging Jack Smith.
  • Speaking of lies propagated by rightwingers and the corporate media, you may recall that, during the runup to the 2022 midterms, allegations of rampant, out-of-control crime in big "blue" state cities was all the rage. Trouble is, that was mostly lies as well. Now, a new analysis puts some meat on those bones and dispels another longtime rightwing myth. As it turns out, murder rates in "red" states not only far exceed "blue" states, but that has been the case since at least 2000, according to evidence documented by the new report.
  • Speaking of elections, yet another wealthy white vote fraudster has been arrested for double-voting during the 2020 election in Ron DeSantis' GOP enclave known as The Villages in Florida. He is the fourth, to date. And you won't believe how easy the penalty was for this guy who, like the others, purposely voted twice. Especially as compared to the people of color who were rounded up at gun point by DeSantis' new "Election Crimes and Security" police force just before last year's elections. Those rounded up and tossed in jail by the GOP Governor and Presidential hopeful's personal police squad were former felons who had apparently been allowed by the state to vote two years earlier, despite a loophole in a new law that bars some former felons from being allowed to vote. They had no idea they were voting unlawfully, unlike the white criminals in The Villages who got off with (less than) a slap on the wrist.
  • And speaking of GOP election liars, Kari Lake, 2022's failed, Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate in Arizona who lost by 17,000 votes but is still pretending she won, may now be facing legal issues of her own. According to a complaint filed by the state's newly elected Sec. of State Adrian Fontes (D), in a letter sent to the state's newly elected Attorney General Kris Mayes (D), Lake violated state law by publishing the signatures of several voters on Twitter last week. Fontes is seeking a criminal investigation.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Zealand is swamped by stunning, record rainfall; a new study finds building solar and wind projects is now cheaper than using existing coal-fired power plants; Tax payers in Pennsylvania are now on the hook for the clean up of thousands of recently discovered abandoned oil and gas wells; and the Biden Administration reverses a Trump scheme in Minnesota in order to protect a vast wilderness from toxic mining for the next 20 years...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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UT's Sen. Lee in dead heat; Biden Admin begins student loan forgiveness; Biden vows to codify 'Roe' if Dems hold House, increase Senate majority; Also: Trump/Barr's dumb Special Counsel Durham loses another case...
By Brad Friedman on 10/18/2022 6:20pm PT  

Democratic voters, it seems, are an easily spooked bunch. A few bad polls and some seem ready to all but throw in the towel on the November midterms. But now is not the time for that sort of thinking. As discussed on today's BradCast, there is simply too much at stake this year --- Constitutional freedoms, democracy itself, survival on Planet Earth, just to name a few --- to get sidetracked by despair. To paraphrase Obama, don't boo-hoo! Vote! (And make sure everyone else you know does the same!) [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

It was always gonna be an uphill fight this year. It still is. But it makes no sense to wallow. It does make sense to get to work. As President Biden correctly noted this afternoon, "Today we face an inflection point, one of those moments that only come around every several generations where there's so much change happening --- technologically, politically, and socially --- that the decisions we make now are going to determine the future of our nation and the future of your generation for the next 30 or more years."

With all of that in mind, these are among the stories covered on today's program...

  • Breaking just before airtime: Special Counsel John Durham --- tapped by Donald Trump and Bill Barr to investigate the investigators who investigated Russia's interference in the 2016 election --- is now 0 for 2 in Court. Igor Danchenko, said to have been a primary source for the so-called "Steel dossier", was charged in Durham's probe with five counts of lying to the FBI. He was acquitted today by a jury on all charges. He was the second to be indicted by Durham and then fully exonerated at trial. Even more humiliating for Durham: he personally handled most of the argument and questioning in court and reportedly ended up being rebuffed by his own witnesses who provided support for the defense. Worse, Danchenko, a Russian citizen living in the U.S., was reportedly "a treasured FBI informant" whose indictment "hurt U.S. national security."
  • Last week we detailed the five U.S. Senate seats that could plausibly be flipped this year from Republican to Democratic (in PA, OH, WI, NC and FL) and the two Democratic seats that could plausibly be won by Republicans (in NV and GA). At the end of yesterday's show, however, we added another to the Plausible Red to Blue list when the "gold standard" Des Moines Register poll over the weekend found Iowa's 89-year old, 7-term Republican Senator Chuck Grassley to be just three points ahead of his Democratic challenger Mike Franken. Today, there's yet another Republican Senate seat said to be in jeopardy --- in deep red Utah of all places! According to two different polls, independent candidate Evan McMullin is said to be in a dead heat with GOP Senator Presidential election theft enthusiast and not Trump "bootlicker" Mike Lee. On Monday, the two sparred in their only debate. It didn't go all that well for Lee.
  • On Monday, the Biden Administration opened its student loan forgiveness program at StudentAid.gov. The process has reportedly already served some 12 million applicants who may be forgiven for as much as $20,000 in debt. The process to apply reportedly takes no more than five minutes. All that is needed is a name, birthdate and social security number. The government will supposedly take care of the rest. At the same time, Republicans are suing to block Biden's program, created via Executive Order. But if they believe it's truly illegal, as Slate's Mark Joseph Stern observes today, they should introduce a bill to force those who received debt forgiveness to pay the money back. Do you think Republicans will do so?
  • On Tuesday, President Biden spoke at a DNC event and vowed to codify the Constitutional rights and freedoms previously guaranteed by Roe v. Wade into federal law as his first order of business in January, after our corrupt, stolen and packed Republican Supreme Court majority took privacy rights and reproductive freedoms away from Americans last June. We share Biden's remarks today. But, in order to enact those protections, as he points out, Dems will need to hold their House majority and pick up at least two more Democratic Senators willing to reform the undemocratic Senate filibuster rule in November. If that happens, not only can abortion and privacy rights be protected by federal law, but voting rights can be expanded and protected, and the corrupt Supreme Court itself can be expanded and un-corrupted. But, again, if that's what you'd like to see, you better to get to work between now and November 8!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on how GOP rollbacks to climate policies made things worse for Florida; how the Pacific Northwest is facing record heat and wildfires in mid-October(!); how FL's Sen. Rick Scott wants the government to do less for disaster victims; and how a can of soup and a priceless Van Gogh have sparked debate over climate protest tactics...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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New poll finds democracy now top issue for voters; Also: Latest Trump accountability news; Midterm election news; Callers ring in on why they're voting this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2022 6:24pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast know that we see democracy as pretty much the number one issue that makes pretty much everything else possible. Even the climate crisis comes second for that reason. Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have yet to make the threat that democracy itself now faces in America, thanks to Donald Trump and his GOP, much of a campaign issue. That's both curious and troubling, particularly following a new poll out today finding that democracy is "the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters." [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show --- followed by some great callers in the second half today...

  • On Sunday, a federal appeals court gave Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a short reprieve from his scheduled testimony before the special grand jury in Georgia investigating the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to try and steal Georgia's 2020 election. Graham, who reportedly called the GA Sec. of State to see if it might be possible to toss thousands of lawfully cast votes, claims he was just doing his job as a Senator...from South Carolina...and has absolute immunity under the Constitution's "speech and debate" clause. His reprieve [PDF] from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' probe is unlikely to last for long.
  • A different federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Justice Department must release a memo written by its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Trump Administration, regarding then-Attorney General Bill Barr's decision to not charge the former President for some ten instances of obstruction of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The DoJ claimed the memo, sought by a good government watchdog group under FOIA laws, was exempt from disclosure because it was part of the deliberative process in deciding whether or not to charge Trump. In fact, as a lower court previously determined, the memo was written after the DoJ had already determined they would not charge Trump.
  • Then, we move from the 2016 and 2020 elections back to the current one, now just 78 days away, when political pundits had long been telling us that Democrats would take a shellacking in Congress this November. But, as we've long noted, that Conventional Wisdom is by no means a certainty during these decidedly UNconventional times. Among the latest examples from 2022's UNconventional Times files, emotional remarks last week from a Republican South Carolina lawmaker who regrets his vote --- just weeks after casting it --- to restrict abortion in the state. He relates a disturbing story of a pregnant 19-year old woman whose water broke at 15 weeks, making the pregnancy unviable. But thanks to the state's new "fetal heartbeat" law, attorneys advised her doctors they could not extract the fetus until its heart stopped beating...two weeks later. She could have lost her uterus or even died during the interim. We share some of the state Rep's emotional response and his reasons for refusing to vote in favor of an even more draconian restriction on reproductive freedom now moving through the SC state legislature.
  • Still more today from the UNconventional Times file: Signs that inflation appears to be coming down on tons of products whose prices had surged last year. And signs, along with it, that pandemic supply chain snarls appear to finally be easing up as well.
  • Of course, all of that good news for American consumers is bad news for Republicans who have been hoping for a terrible economy to help them win back majorities in Congress this November. A new forecast from Fox "News" out today, however, finds that to be less and less likely as polling and other conditions continue to trend back in favor of Democrats. It's still an uphill climb for them in the gerrymandered House, but the GOP is clearly getting nervous. We discuss.
  • At the same time, in a lengthy deep-dive, Politico Magazine reported over the weekend that a number of old school Dems from the Carter Administration are concerned that Congressional Democrats are not making enough of a campaign issue out of the threat that Republicans now pose to American democracy itself. That, following Trump's January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection and the boatload of bat-crap insane, Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers who have been nominated for key positions to help decide the 2024 election in swing-states and non-swing-states alike this year. While Congressional Dems offer a reasonable argument for why they have been sticking with other issues this year --- "from energy and the environment to education, roads and infrastructure, abortion, health care, Trump and guns" --- rather than the threat posed by Republicans to democracy itself....
  • So, what do our listeners care most about this November? What issues are leading them to vote (or not vote)? We open the phones to find out and get some very good callers in response including a fun one from a confused Republican...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Special coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton on overwhelming evidence Trump knew there was no fraud, then raised $250 million for phony 'Official Election Defense Fund'; Also: Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2022 6:03pm PT  

On Day 2 of public hearings in the U.S. House, Donald Trump's greatest con continues to unravel. On today's BradCast, we get you all caught up on today's public hearings by the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the attempt by the former President to steal the 2020 election by defrauding the nation. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The witnesses who testified live today, as our guest HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo pointed out, were all Republicans. And they all made clear that Trump not only lost the 2020 election, but he lied over and again about fraud, even though he was told...over and again, by his closest campaign advisers, top government officials and even his own family, that he lost fair and square. He knew his claims were, as his own Attorney General Bill Barr described it, "bullshit". Nonetheless, he kept barraging his supporters via email for more and more money for his "Official Election Defense Fund". But, as the Committee's Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) pointed out: There was no "Official Election Defense Fund" and the $250 million in small dollar donations Trump raked in all went to him, not to legal challenges of the 2020 election.

Once again, a mix of live and videotaped witness testimony put the lie to Trump's Big Lie fraud claims and the false notion that he believed them to be true. He didn't. He knew better. He just didn't care. Live witnesses today who underscored those points: Chris Stirewalt, the former Fox "News" political director who made the correct Election Night call that Trump had lost Arizona; BJay Pak, Trump's own U.S. Attorney in Georgia who investigated all of the many claims by Trump supporters of fraud in Atlanta, finding none of them to be true. He was forced to resign thereafter; Trump's own 2020 Campaign Manager, Bill Stepien, was scheduled to testify, but his wife suddenly went into labor on Monday morning, so the Committee relied on his video taped testimony in which he explained that he repeatedly told Trump that his claims of fraud were bogus; Philadelphia's Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt who debunked Rudy Giuliani's false testimony to the PA legislature that more than 8,000 "dead people" voted in the state in 2020. "Not only was there not evidence of 8,000 dead voters voting in Pennsylvania," Schmidt testified, "there wasn't evidence of 8."

The most damning testimony may have come from Trump's former Attorney General Bill Barr, who said on tape that he and the DoJ tracked down every claim made by Trump and his supporters and found none of them to be true. "Boy, if he really believes this stuff," Barr testified thinking, "he's become detached from reality." No matter how "crazy" he told Trump the allegations were, it made no difference. Barr debunked the notion that the Dominion Voting systems company stole the election for Joe Biden, and even went on to dismantle the easily-debunked 2000 Mules movie which pretends to document tens of thousands of fraudulent ballots cast unlawfully by thousands of people in swing-states. Barr's debunking of that film, which he laughs out loud about, was suspiciously similar to our own debunking on this program several weeks ago.

Even longtime, top GOP election attorney Ben Ginsberg --- who successfully lead the RNC's fight to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to steal the 2000 election for George W. Bush --- testified live on Monday that there was "no credible evidence of fraud produced by the Trump campaign or his supporters." He also made clear that dozens of lawsuits rejected by the courts (including by many Trump-appointed judges) did, in fact, examine the merits of the challenges and found no basis for them.

"I think what is important, and I was really glad to see, that they decided to take one of these hearings and really attack the Big Lie itself," Parton tells us today. "Because I don't think you can really prove the case about Trump's coup plot without attacking that as well. They went from the very beginning. Trump was undermining the election 18 months before the election took place."

Parton also praised the panel's highlighting of Trump's "'willful blindness,' in which he is shown to have been told by everyone that the election was not stolen. We're talking about his own campaign team, people in his family, the Dept. of Justice, various officials around the country. They all said the same thing. Ginsberg pointed out the courts also said the same thing. [Trump] refused to see it, and in fact continuously got more and more angry, apparently, continually ignored what they said, and went toward the people who told him what he wanted to hear."

"That's actually a legal concept, where someone does have an obligation --- they have a responsibility to at least have some recognition of the facts of a case. You're not allowed to go into a court and say, 'I didn't know,' when you've had dozens of people telling you something. So that's leads to maybe a potential criminal referral."

She also explained how she was "shocked" by the Big Lie fund-raising scam. "We all sort of knew this but it hadn't really been a focus until now," she observed. "But I think this is super-important, because this could go toward a real fraud investigation, a real case of wire fraud, where they defrauded millions of devoted followers with a Big Lie. And, in fact, a lot of the people who were involved in that fundraising, they also knew it was a Big Lie because they just testified to it. This is kind of a big deal."

Finally today, we open the phones to see how listeners are responding to what the House panel has been unpacking over the first two hearings, with at least another four still to come...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the many questions discussed today...

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest Host Nicole Sandler with Emptywheel's investigative journalist on the Durham probe, Sussman acquittal, Jan. 6 hearings, more...
By Nicole Sandler on 6/1/2022 3:47pm PT  

It's NICOLE SANDLER back with you, guest hosting the BradCast once more this week. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, a jury in DC acquitted Michael Sussman, an attorney whose firm worked for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, of lying to the FBI. The failed prosecution comes three years after Donald Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham to open a Special Counsel investigation into the origins of the FBI's probe into Russian interference in that election. Or, as the former guy demanded at the time: "They now go and take a look at the oranges of the investigation... the beginnings of the investigation, about the Mueller report."

The jury only deliberated for six hours before finding Sussman not guilty of lying to his FBI contact about working with the Clinton campaign when he tried to warn the federal agency about unexplained data transmissions between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. Sad!

I'll admit that I have not followed this case or Durham's overall investigation very closely, despite many on the right desperately describing Durham's case against Sussman as a "BOMBSHELL!". But, that's probably because I don't watch Fox Not-News.

Investigative journalist MARCY WHEELER, on the other hand, has followed all of this very closely, takes her work very seriously and explains this insane prosecution and much more today. As she notes toward the end of the today's interview, "I've lived and breathed this stuff for 18 months now." She covers all of it in great detail at her somewhat eponymous website, Emptywheel.net.

So, Marcy is my guest whole hour. She's filled with details and stories, tells us all we need to know about this trial and Durham's overall (largely fruitless) investigation, which had no real predicate to begin with, other than Barr believing something didn't seem right about the original investigation into Russia's involvement in 2016.

Then we also look ahead to next week, as the U.S. House Select Committee's public hearings on the January 6, 2021 investigation begin next Thursday night...

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Guest: Const'l attorney John Bonifaz of FSFP; Also: Trump more involved in 2020 gambit to seize voting machines than previously known...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2022 6:53pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Self-declared Republican "Constitutionalists" may not turn out to be huge fans of the written text of the U.S. Constitution after all. Particularly Section 3 of the 14th Amendment which bars from federal office those "who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States...to support the Constitution of the United States...engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same." [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

That's turning out to be very bad news right now for North Carolina's Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn. It could also turn out to be bad news in the not too distant for other members of the MAGA Caucus in Congress and even our disgraced former President --- even if that might be good news for the rest of the nation.

Last month, an official complaint [PDF] was filed by voters with NC's State Board of Elections, charging that Cawthorn must be disqualified from running for re-election this year in the Tar Heel State. The freshman Congressman reportedly participated in planning meetings for the rallies in advance of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 and spoke at the rally on the Eclipse in front of the White House prior to Donald Trump's speech directing supporters to head to the Capitol and "fight like hell". Cawthorn also joined dozens of other members of the House and Senate that day in voting against Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, despite the lack of evidence of fraud that might have changed the certified results of the election in any state.

The effort to block Cawthorn's candidacy in NC is the first official volley in the 14Point3.org campaign created by good government groups Free Speech for People and Our Revolution. NC state law requires that candidates must meet all requirements for office as detailed in the U.S. Constitution and further requires potential candidates to disprove any challenges to those qualifications, such as their age, legal residency, citizenship status or, in this case, whether or not they've "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the U.S. Constitution.

We're joined today by longtime Constitutional law expert JOHN BONIFAZ, co-founder and President of the non-partisan, non-profit Free Speech for People, to discuss this rather amazing and actually quite serious challenge to Cawthorn's candidacy and perhaps additional challenges to other insurrectionist candidates such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and potentially even one Donald J. Trump.

"It's a 'novel' challenge in the sense that it's the first such challenge since the Reconstruction Era," Bonifaz tells me, while noting that "during that time, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment was applied to many Confederates who remained in positions of government power." But, he explains, "the Framers of the 14th Amendment were clear that if you take an oath of office to defend and protect the Constitution, and then you turn around and engage in insurrection or give aid and comfort to it, then you are prohibited from holding future public office. Now, we have the second insurrection in our nation's history and those who incited the insurrection or gave aid or comfort to it must also face accountability under that mandate."

The challenge is serious enough that, on Monday, Cawthorn filed a federal lawsuit in hopes of quashing the inquiry into his role on January 6th. His lawsuit claims that the State Board has no authority to keep him off the ballot. Bonifaz describes the claim as absurd. "If Madison Cawthorn were ten years old and seeking to be on the ballot in North Carolina, there'd be no question that he's ineligible to be placed on the ballot because he doesn't meet the age qualification for a member of Congress. This is another qualification requirement --- you cannot take an oath of office, as Madison Cawthorn did on Jan. 3, 2021, and then turn around and engage in insurrection and hold public office again."

"Instead of complying with the process that is laid out under state law, he has now rushed to federal court with his attorney to try to completely declare the whole process by which candidate qualifications are brought to be unconstitutional" Bonifaz contends. "If it's so hard for him to prove that he's not an insurrectionist, maybe the real question is why Section 3 of the 14th Amendment should not be applied to him."

"If he's really nervous about appearing before the State Board of Elections, that may be a real indication that the Board needs to act in the voters' favor. But the very fact that he's doing an end run around the state process and rushing into federal court ought to tell you a lot about whether Madison Cawthorn wants to appear before the State Board of Elections to defend himself."

Cawthorn's attorney has also offered another unique defense. He charges that the last part of Section 3 states that "Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability" and that the Amnesty Act of 1872 declared just that. Yes, Cawthorn is relying on the dispensation given specifically to former Confederate rebels in 1872 to try and remain on the ballot in 2022. Bonifaz explains on today's program why he is less than impressed with that defense.

For the moment, while there is a separate legal challenge to NC's newly gerrymandered Congressional maps, the qualifications process for all candidates in the state is on hold. Once the maps are settled, however, Bonifaz says the Board's "longstanding process by which voters can bring these kinds of challenges" includes creating a panel that will have 20 days to hear the case in which Cawthorn will have to defend himself, before the matter goes to the full Board and then, potentially, to state court on appeal.

One way or another, the matter must be settled in a few months before the state's primary election. It has resulted in a fascinating conversation among Constitutional law experts on the matter of what it means to "engage" in an insurrection. Bonifaz explains why he believes that conviction for sedition or insurrection in a court of law is not necessary to trigger the Constitutional clause. And if Cawthorn is, in fact, disqualified from running in North Carolina based on restrictions in the U.S. Constitution, what will that mean for other such insurrectionist candidates in other states in 2022 and, indeed, for Trump himself, if and when he attempts to become a candidate on the ballot again in the critical and closely divided swing-state in 2024? All of that, and much more is discussed on today's program.

Also today, speaking of insurrectionist Trump, new exclusives late last night from both CNN and the New York Times suggest that the disgraced, twice-impeached former President was much more personally involved in the attempt to seize the nation's voting machines following the 2020 election than previously reported. Also, that his efforts were far broader than previously known. CNN reports that there were actually two different Executive Orders drafted up for Trump's use. One was recently obtained by Politico, which we discussed last week. That one would have ordered the Department of Defense to seize the machines. The other order would have directed the Department of Homeland Security to do so. Team Trump was reportedly told by DHS that the federal agency lacked the authority to impound the voting systems.

But the Times offers new details on a third effort, which included a personal appeal by Trump in the Oval Office to his then Attorney General Bill Barr to have DOJ impound the voting systems. Barr, to his credit, is said to have immediately shot down the idea, telling the desperate loser that, since there was no evidence of fraud on the systems, the DoJ had no probable cause to believe they had been used in any crime. Trump's A.G. tendered his resignation shortly thereafter.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with bad news for fans of winter sports and good news for opponents of more deadly oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico...

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Also: NatSec journalist Marcy Wheeler with 'perspective' on Trump DoJ 'spying' on Dem lawmakers, lessons Adam Schiff may learn from it...
By Brad Friedman on 6/16/2021 5:56pm PT  

Our plans for covering the Biden/Putin summit in Geneva today were happily tossed aside late today, with the big news that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin is apparently willing to compromise on a voting rights bill in the U.S. Senate! Frankly, it's more important right now than Biden/Putin, so they got bumped from today's BradCast. We didn't, however, bump our guest today, who offers some critical insight on the disturbing news that Donald Trump's Justice Department "spied" on House Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, Sen. Manchin has been the only Democrat in the upper chamber unwilling to come on board as co-sponsor of the For the People Act (H.R.1 in the House, where it's already passed and S.1 in the Senate, where Manchin is holding it up.) In fact, he recently declared in a hometown paper op-ed that he opposes the measure (even though he co-sponsored it back in 2019), while also restating his opposition to reform of the filibuster. Such reform would be required to adopt the For the People Act with a simple majority of Democrats in the Senate.

Today, however, Manchin released a memo [PDF] detailing his "Compromise" points for support of the For the People Act! We discuss those points at the top of today's show. They include a whole bunch of stuff that's in the current measure already adopted by the House, along with a few "New" items that he is seeking. Most of them are acceptable (such as "Make election day a public holiday"), where some others (such as a measure for seemingly modest "voter ID" requirements) may be a bit more controversial among some Democrats and voting rights advocates.

All told, however, while the devil remains in the details --- and his simple bullet points offer few --- we see nothing particularly objectionable about Manchin's "Compromise" list. At least nothing that should prevent passage of such a measure ASAP to help counter some of the extreme voter suppression measures currently being adopted by Republicans at the state level around the country in advance of the 2022 mid-terms.

There is still the problem that, as Manchin's memo notes, "federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward." He's right, of course, in general. But the fact is that Republicans have zero interest in finding any such path. There is also the problem that, even if Dems can settle on a bill they (and Manchin) all like, there is little chance in hell that even one Republican will come on board to support it, much less the 10 that would be needed to overcome a GOP filibuster. If Manchin won't agree to compromise on the filibuster --- at least to pass democracy related legislation --- the measure would go nowhere.

Still, one step at a time. Today's news, that Manchin is finally willing, at least, to compromise on the For the People Act, is tremendously encouraging for those of us who care about the survival of democracy in the U.S.

Next, we're joined by long-time, independent national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel, with some critical insight on the news that broke late last week revealing the Trump Dept. of Justice secretly subpoenaed phone, email and text message records of House Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell in 2018. Both were, and are, members of the U.S. House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and both were regarded by our disgraced former President as his political enemies.

In addition to Schiff and Swalwell, the Trump DoJ's shocking secret surveillance also included scores of Congressional aides and even their children, purportedly as part of a probe into leaks regarding a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant taken out during the Obama Administration on 2016 Trump Campaign advisor, Carter Page.

Following the news this week, the House Judiciary Committee announced a formal investigation into what they describe as "a pretext to spy on President Trump’s perceived political enemies". Also, Attorney General Merrick Garland has asked the DoJ Inspector General for a probe into the matter as well.

Wheeler, however, offered some very helpful "perspective on the politicized leak investigation" by Trump's DoJ at her website, which we discuss today. Among the points she notes: This isn't actually "spying"; It isn't actually unprecedented --- well, mostly; and the fact that the secret subpoenas reportedly only sought metadata (records of who and when someone was called, emailed or texted, rather than the actual content of those communications), shouldn't really bother Democratic lawmakers at all, given that they have long defended the collection of "just" metadata in probes by law enforcement officials.

Wheeler notes Schiff has been "championing" the "it's 'just' metadata" claims for years "when he talks about surveilling Americans." But, she explains, "when you get metadata [going back] ten years, that is enormously powerful." Putting limits "on the span on metadata that you can pull without a judicial order" might be "something, maybe that Adam Schiff will have learned his lesson" from here, she quips.

Moreover, the breadth of the secret subpoenas --- for example, obtaining Schiff's records from Apple going all the way back to 2009 for an investigation into a leak that occurred in 2017 --- was wildly broad. And, though the records apparently didn't reveal any of the Congressmembers or their staff (or their children) were guilty of leaking, the FBI and DoJ were legally allowed to hold onto to those records for years, potentially using them for other reasons as well, as it appears Trump's AG Bill Barr may have. As Marcy snarked in her piece on this at Emptywheel: "It’s a pity for Adam Schiff that no one in charge of surveillance in Congress imposed better trackability requirements on FBI’s access of its investigative collections."

Schiff is currently the Chair of HPSCI. At the time of the secret subpoenas, he was the Committee's ranking Democrat and has long been supportive of these types of virtually limitless subpoenas, according to Wheeler.

There are other outrages here, for example, the length of allowable gag orders, preventing companies like Apple from notifying customers, for years, that they are being surveilled, as in this case; the fact that there are no real requirements for narrowly tailoring such broad searches. Wheeler is hopeful that lawmakers may learn from this, now that they have become the targets. Naturally, they are bothered when it happens to them and to journalists, whereas the same invasive practices targeting ordinary Americans receives little attention or concern from lawmakers.

"The standard is there is no probable cause required," for these kinds of searches, she explains. "The FBI could have just said, 'We need all of the phone records for everybody on HPSCI because they are the people who got the document that was leaked,'  and that meets the relevant standard. And that is the standard that Adam Schiff has been telling us for years isn't all that intrusive"...

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Guest: Const'l Attorney John Bonifaz on reversing 'the road to tyranny' (and also on how to get foreign corporate money out of U.S. elections)...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2021 6:46pm PT  

Writing at Washington Monthly today, asking "Why Is Merrick Garland Defending Bill Barr's Policies?," law professor and Free Speech for People (FSFP) Board Member Jennifer Taub quips: "This is Merrick Garland's Tylenol moment, and by which I mean he has more than a headache but a poisoning on his hands." Yup. Today's BradCast won't cure his headache, but it may offer an antidote for the poisoning...if he pays attention. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

The new Attorney General spoke at the Dept. of Justice on Tuesday about his national strategy to focus on the rise of domestic terrorism, particularly carried out by white supremacists in the wake of the Trump-incited January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Garland described such incidents as "attacks on all of us collectively, aimed at rending the fabric of our democratic society and driving us apart," adding: "We have an enormous task ahead, to move forward as a country, to punish the perpetrators, to do everything possible to prevent similar attacks and to do so in a manner that affirms the values on which our justice system is founded and upon which democracy depends."

Garland's remarks follow on his announcement Friday that he is doubling the number of DoJ attorneys focused on enforcing voting rights at the federal level in light of new vote suppression laws being adopted by Republicans in states around the country.

So, he seems to understand at least two major threats to the values "on which our justice system is founded and upon which democracy depends." But is he really prepared to punish all of the perpetrators?

Every day now it seems that stunning new information is revealed as to just how poisoned our Dept. of Justice had become under the Trump Administration, as the former President used the nation's once widely respected law enforcement agency for his own personal purposes, to protect himself from legal accountability (as in former AG Bill Barr's use of the department to block Trump from criminal accountability for obstruction following Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings and from civil accountability in the defamation case filed by Trump's alleged rape victim, E. Jean Carroll, both of which Taub writes about today); to wield power against his perceived political enemies (as we learned last week, when it was revealed that the DoJ secretly obtained phone, email and text message records from Democratic lawmakers and several media outlets in 2018); and, in futile efforts to keep himself in power (as we learned today, based on emails obtained by the House Oversight Committee revealing Trump tried to order the DoJ to file briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of his evidence-free big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him).

As more and more emerges, it's difficult to keep up with it all. But, sadly, what we know so far is likely only the tip of the iceberg. That's why, back in February, a group of non-partisan government watchdog groups penned a letter [PDF] to then Judge Merrick Garland, prior to his confirmation as AG, calling on him to form a task force at the DoJ immediately after being confirmed, "to investigate any potential federal criminal or civil violations that may have been committed by former President Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign, business, or other associates."

The letter, which has now been signed onto by more than 200,000 Americans, according to FSFP, asks Garland to convene the task force to probe Trump's "flurry of unethical, unconstitutional, and often criminal activity, culminating on January 6, 2021, with the seditious insurrection on the United States Capitol incited and encouraged by former President Trump and his allies."

"If we are to begin the process of restoring the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law to our nation," the groups write --- before detailing at least five different categories of "potential offenses" by the previous administration --- "it is essential that the Department thoroughly investigate these actions and, where warranted and appropriate, hold accountable those who have violated the nation's laws."

That DoJ task force, however, has yet to be formed. And Garland, according to our guest today, Constitutional attorney and longtime voting rights champion JOHN BONIFAZ, co-founder and President of FSFP, has yet to reply to the February letter.

On today's show, Bonifaz explains why "it's critical" that this task force be stood up, and why such a group of prosecutors need to be convened in this matter, rather than an independent commission formed by Congress, a blue ribbon panel formed by the White House or even another Special Counsel investigation launched by DoJ.

While he supports Congressional oversight in general, he explains: "The reason why we believe a task force is the best way to go over a Special Counsel is we do think this should not be assigned outside of the Department to someone who then is seen, as Robert Mueller was, as the sole arbiter of this." While disagreeing, as many scholars do, with the notion that a sitting President cannot be criminally indicted, Bonifaz explains that Mueller's report "was very clear that once the President was out of office, he would be free to be prosecuted for those crimes."

"That's just one example of many as to why this task force needs to be created," he tells me. "There are multiple investigations that need to proceed, and potentially multiple prosecutions. It would be an outrage for this Administration to claim that it's going to turn the page, it's not going to conduct that kind of accountability for those that have engaged in such lawless behavior in the last Administration. That's what happens on the road to tyranny. If we're to protect our democracy and our Constitution, it's critical that we hold Donald Trump and his associates accountable for the violations of federal criminal law they may have committed."

We discuss a number of the already known issues currently crying out for real probes by federal prosecutors if the DoJ is ever to be restored; concerns about Trump associates still burrowed in at Justice; the many investigations known to have been shut down by Barr which should quickly be re-opened; and the question of "why is the Biden Justice Department continuing the work of the Barr Justice Department" when it comes to attacks on press freedoms via only-recently lifted gag orders on secret subpoenas of reporters' private records and "the intervention that the Barr Justice Department started in the E. Jean Carroll case --- both of these decisions were clearly made with Garland's knowledge."

I also ask Bonifaz for his opinion on whether he believes Garland is actually up to the gargantuan task of dealing with the ongoing and increasing problems that DoJ must now handle regarding all sorts of criminal and civil matters, even while bringing both accountability for the unprecedented corruption of the previous Administration and the necessary reforms at DoJ to avoid the same or worse abuse of the nation's top law enforcement agency in the future.

"I think this is a moment for the Department of Justice, but also for democracy and our Constitution. And they need to get it right," he explains.

In a separate matter, FSFP --- which was founded in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2010 'Citizens United' ruling that opened the floodgates to corporate money in American elections --- is now working at the state level to enact model legislation that would bar corporations with foreign investors (which is a whole lot of them!) from being allowed to spend money in state and municipal elections.

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen, as new temperature records are being smashed during the year's first major (and very early) heat wave, for our latest Green News Report. Beyond the bad news about climate change, we've got some very good news to close with today, particularly for folks up in Alaska...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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