The madness continues on today's BradCast. But, midway through the show, SCOTUS put the unanimous brakes on the MAGA Mob's latest greatest hope to overturn the 2020 election, while top Republicans increase their eliminationist rhetoric to foment violence and Trump prepares to hand out pardons like Christmas candy.
A new survey out this week from Gallup finds a huge drop in the self-identified mental health of Americans. Not surprising. Perhaps also not surprising is that, among demographic groups which saw double-digit drops from their previous self-ratings of "excellent" mental health, Republicans and independents were near the top, while Democrats were among those groups identified with the smallest change in their own mental health ratings from previous surveys.
Not sure what that may mean exactly, but somehow it seems relevant today as the Republican Party appears to be mentally crumbling before our eyes as it begins to sink in for them that they've been lied to about Trump having "won" the 2020 election. Or even that they would somehow be able to come up with evidence --- any evidence --- that proves in court that Joe Biden and the Democrats and dead Hugo Chavez somehow stole it from Trump.
Last week, Trump Campaign lawyer and former U.S. Attorney, Joe diGenova, called for a former top DHS official, Chris Krebs, to be "taken out at dawn and shot" because he dared believe the 2020 election was "the most secure in American history." DiGenova and the Trump Campaign and Newsmax TV, the wingnut outlet which aired the Team Trump call to execute a former government official, all now face a serious lawsuit from Krebs.
Over at the old school wingnut outlet, Fox "News", formerly sane business anchor turned racist wingnut drama queen Lou Dobbs broke into a frothy rage while interviewing top White House advisor Stephen Miller because Trump and his party, as Dobbs sees it, aren't fighting hard enough to overthrow the election while "the Republican Party...is watching its blood drain into the streets because they're gutless."
And out in Arizona, where the very Trumpy Republican Governor Doug Ducey has been forced to repel entreaties by the President of the United State to stage a coup and declare the loser President to be the "winner" of the state's electoral votes, the state GOP, chaired by a loon named Kelli Ward, is asking Twitter followers to give their lives (literally) for Donald Trump. The AZ GOP even went so far as to follow up that request with a second tweet that includes a clip of "Rambo" holding an arrow to someone's head, while uttering: "This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something." That, in a state where a gun massacre was carried out in 2011 at a Democratic event that killed six and almost fatally wounded then Rep. Gabby Giffords whose husband, Mark Kelly, just unseated the state's Republican U.S. Senator on November 3rd.
All of that madness came before the U.S. Supreme Court today unanimously rejected the only case to come before the Court to challenge the 2020 Presidential election results. (The Trump Campaign has promised to go to SCOTUS themselves, but hasn't.) The rejected case was filed by U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and several Pennsylvania state lawmakers challenging the new absentee ballot law that they passed (and voted for) last year as a violation of the state Constitution. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court already strongly rejected the challenge, and this afternoon, mid-show, SCOTUS refused to hear the attempted federal appeal.
But, if some 50 (and counting) failed, evidence-free court cases from Team Trump haven't yet done the trick, and they are unable to spark the violent new civil war they are clearly hoping for, Donald Trump is still busy preparing to give away pardons "like Christmas gifts" to his aides, friends, family and even himself while he still has the chance. As of today, such a pardon appears to have helped the admitted felon and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn off the hook after he twice pleaded to lying to the FBI (while also admitting that he was an undeclared paid agent of Turkey.) So, in lieu of a violent upheaval --- or maybe along with it --- why not issue Presidential Pardons to all of your corrupt friends, family and business associates on the way out the door? Even before they've been charged with any crime? That appears to be coming very soon at this point.
To discuss the awesome, virtually unchallengeable Constitutional power of the Presidential Pardon, we are joined today again by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON of George Washington University Law School. Several weeks ago, Eliason wrote an excellent primer on the scope and recent history (and abuse) of the Pardon power and the PardonPalooza that both he (and I) expect to see in the coming days.
Eliason challenges some of the common wisdom concerning Presidential Pardons (for example, whether it's true that someone who is pardoned loses their 5th Amendment right to refuse to testify about the criminal matter to Congress and law enforcement officials and whether or not a Pardon is actually an acknowledgement of "guilt"); whether Pardons may be legally challenged as corrupt or unlawfully self-dealing and, if so, how exactly; whether a President is Constitutionally allowed to pardon himself; and whether this one is likely to do so (answer in short: of course he is!)
As the news that U.S. Circuit Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the Michael Flynn case as "moot" just before airtime today, and the news that SCOTUS unanimously declined to take up the challenge to Pennsylvania's electors came during our discussion, we also get Eliason's reaction to both of those breaking matters.
Yes, it's another chocked-full-o-information BradCast, appropriately seasoned, we hope, with just enough snark along the way to help keep you both informed and sane! Good luck!...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)