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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


So what do we do now? Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 4/29/2024 5:47pm PT  

Today we had our first live BradCast out of KPFK's new (if temporary) broadcast facility, where everything is not yet quite in place. Nonetheless, I think we survived it in good order, including some good callers! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On our last show last week, with two top-notch federal law experts, we went to air just after the U.S. Supreme Court completed hearing the absurd Oral Argument on whether Presidents have "absolute immunity" for any and all crimes they commit while in office. They don't. It's nowhere to be found in the Constitution or anywhere else. But Donald Trump has made that argument in order to delay his federal criminal trial on charges related to having attempted to steal the 2020 Presidential election. The lower courts denied his argument, and yet the corrupted SCOTUS decided to hear it anyway and took their sweet time in doing so.

We spent a fair amount of time on that previous show discussing the ridiculous question that the Supremes claim to be examining --- whether a President is immune "from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office" --- and how the Justices on the Court questioned the counselor representing Special Counsel Jack Smith and the attorney representing Trump in the disgraced former President's delayed 2020 election interference case.

The decision to hear the case, of course, has prevented that federal trial --- originally scheduled for March --- from moving forward at all. The Court took enough time even scheduling Oral Argument to likely prevent the case on four felony charges from going to trial, much less completing, before America is asked to vote on whether to give the President who tried to steal the 2020 election another term of office in the 2024 election.

But we didn't spend as much time in our coverage last week on just how transparently corrupt this entire exercise was and is, with at least five of the rightwing Justices appearing more concerned about the potential rogue prosecution of a President than about the ability for the American people to bring criminal accountability against an actual rogue President.

The upside --- if there can be one --- is that it seems the scales have fallen from the eyes of most serious Court watchers who had long fooled themselves into believe that, when the rubber meets the road, even the rightwing Justices (three of them appointed by Trump himself) would do the right thing for the nation instead of their party. Thursday's absurd hearing seems to have made it clear to just about every serious person that the Roberts court is now doing little more than running interference for Republican policies in general and the former Republican President in particular. In a word: it is corrupt.

Our long-held position that the stolen and packed rightwing supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court has been completely corrupted is no longer a particularly radical, or even minority view among serious people. Recognizing that is a first step toward figuring out what to do about it and how, if possible, to overcome it.

We were also able to take some calls from listeners today --- (surprisingly, we were able to do so at the new KPFK location, where the phone system is largely only half in place ) --- regarding what, if anything, can or should be done about any of this as the nation stumbles its way toward November, potential autocracy under a rogue, criminal President and his Court, and whatever dystopian American future may accompany it...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves, former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Meadows, Giuliani, 16 others charged in 2020 AZ fake elector plot; CA now running regularly on 100% renewable energy...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2024 6:01pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Honestly, I tried. But it was really hard to find any part of the case heard by the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday that wasn't just absolutely ridiculous. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

For nearly three hours this morning, the nine Justices themselves --- including a number of its rightwingers --- seemed to struggle to pretend that any of this made sense. In Trump v. United States [PDF], the disgraced four-time indictee is arguing that former Presidents of the United States have "absolute immunity" from any and all crimes they may have committed while serving in office, including murdering his political opponents or anything else you can think of.

As absurd as it sounds, Donald Trump has used this novel claim to, so far, successfully delay his federal trial on four criminal counts brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith related to Trump's many failed efforts to steal the 2020 Presidential election. SCOTUS has helped by delaying today's hearing for months and may help further depending on when they decide to release their opinion, and whether or not that opinion will lead to still more delays in the lower courts.

After losing this argument at the trial court last year and then unanimously at the D.C. Court of Appeals, Trump brought the case to SCOTUS, packed with three of his own appointees. They did him the favor of taking up his losing argument and putting off their Oral Argument on it until today, almost certainly delaying his trial for trying to steal the 2020 election until AFTER the 2024 election. [Transcript and audio of today's proceedings here.]

"This Court has never recognized absolute criminal immunity for any public official. Petitioner, however, claims that a former President has permanent criminal immunity for his official acts, unless he was impeached and convicted," argued Michael Dreeban, Counselor to Jack Smith, in his opening statement. "His novel theory would immunize former Presidents for criminal liability for bribery, treason, sedition, murder and, here, conspiring to use fraud to overturn the results of an election and perpetuate himself in power. Such Presidential immunity has no foundation in the Constitution."

In taking the case, the Court decided to hear the following question: "Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy Presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office."

But what "official acts" are they even talking about? Smith's indictment accuses Trump of things like organizing fake slates of electors; pressuring state officials and the DOJ and his Vice President to fraudulently change certified election results; and directing supporters to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 after telling them to "fight like hell or we won't have a country anymore." The Justices --- as well as our two guests today --- all seemed to have a very difficult time finding any "official acts" for which Trump is being accused.

We're joined today by two excellent guests. Former Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption unit at the U.S. Attorney's office in D.C., RANDALL D. ELIASON now teaches at George Washington University Law School, publishes the SidebarsBlog newsletter, and contributes to New York Times. Former Deputy Asst. Attorney General at DoJ, LISA GRAVES is now Executive Director of Truth North Research. They each know far more about all of this and the specifics of the Rule of Law than I do. But they too had trouble coming up with much of anything Trump has been charged with that has anything to do with "official acts" as President.

Its an "astonishing argument," says Graves. "What's at issue in this case is a set of conduct by this President to basically subvert our democracy through a variety of means. None of these are official acts. But even if somehow a President were engaged in an 'official act,' like appointing an ambassador, he couldn't take a bribe in the context of doing so. It just seems crazy that here we are with the U.S. Supreme Court basically delaying the prosecution of Donald Trump for a set of acts that are clearly outside the bounds of a Commander-in-Chief, whose job is to take care that the law is faithfully executed."

There was no conflict in the lower courts to resolve, but at least four members of the High Court decided they wanted to hear this silly argument nonetheless in which Trump and his attorney John Sauer have been arguing that, without immunity, Presidents would be unable to take bold, decisive action. It would "chill" their ability to do their job for the American people.

"The easiest response is that for nearly 250 years, that hasn't deterred Presidents from taking bold, decisive action," Eliason responds today. "Because they've also been willing to recognize that they need to act in compliance with federal criminal law, and they might be held accountable if they don't. On the one hand, he's saying there's a chilling effect on all these Presidents, even though it hasn't bothered any President in the past. On the other hand, he's saying 'But of course he could be prosecuted IF he's impeached and removed.' Well there's a chilling effect. So why doesn't that undercut his argument?"

We share audio clips from today's hearing, along with much more insight on all of it from Eliason and Graves, including why this case was accepted in the first place; the "Bizarro Superman world" in which we are having this argument and the "repugnant" idea of Clarence Thomas sitting on this case at all, as Graves observes; the argument by Sauer that unless statutes specifically say they are to apply to the President, like the federal bribery statute, they can't be held against him (Eliason, who headed up the DOJ's bribery prosecutions unit in D.C., notes the bribery statute actually "does not name the President, but nobody thinks that the President is immune for bribery"); and, of course, how and when they believe the Court will ultimately rule.

ALSO TODAY... On Wednesday, a grand jury in Arizona indicted Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, his attorney Rudy Giuliani, his other attorney John Eastman and 15 others, including 11 Republican fake electors (including two sitting state Senators and the former head of the state GOP), for their efforts to try and steal the 2020 election for Trump in the state.

AND FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with grim-as-ever news, but also some really cool news from out here in California, where the state has been powered by 100% renewable energy --- largely solar --- for much or all of the day for a whole bunch of days in a row in recent weeks. So, there's that positive note to end today with, in any event!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: Scam GOP impeachment trial ends in one day; AZ Repubs spike repeal of 1864 abortion law (again); Voter turnout doubles in AL's new majority minority U.S. House District...
By Brad Friedman on 4/17/2024 6:34pm PT  

On today's BradCast: If only the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court cared as much about the exact words in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment (the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause") as they pretend to care about the word "otherwise" in a criminal statute used to hold hundreds of January 6 insurrectionists --- including the former President --- accountable for obstructing an official government proceeding. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

But, first up today, a few news items of note...

  • Yesterday, House Republicans formerly delivered two articles of revenge impeachment against DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate for a trial. Today the trial began and ended, as Democrats determined the articles contained no High Crimes and Misdemeanors as required by the Constitution.
  • Despite pleas from Donald Trump and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Kari Lake for Arizona state lawmakers to repeal their draconian 1864 total abortion ban (which Lake long supported...until the all-GOP state Supreme Court revived the law last week), Republicans lawmakers in the state legislature blocked another attempt by Democrats to repeal the 160-year old territorial law.
  • In Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff for Alabama's newly redrawn 2nd Congressional District, the popular progressive, Shomari Figures, easily won. The more important news, however, may be that Democratic voter turnout during the first round of voting last month on Super Tuesday doubled from two years earlier. That, after the state was finally ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to redraw their unconstitutionally, racially gerrymandered Congressional Map to include a second district where Black voters may have a chance of selecting a candidate of their choosing.

Next, we're joined by longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork News to discuss Tuesday's Oral Argument in Fischer v. U.S. at the U.S. Supreme Court. The case questions whether a January 6th insurrectionist was properly charged with a 2002 law that criminalizes obstruction of an official government proceeding.

Some 300 of about 1,400 of those charged for their participation in the Trump-incited attack on the U.S. Capitol --- including Trump himself --- have been charged and/or convicted by more than a dozen D.C. federal judges under this same statute. But one of those judges, a Trump appointee, rejected the use of the law. He was overturned by the D.C. Court of Appeals, but the plaintiff --- a police officer at the time --- took his case to SCOTUS, which heard it on Tuesday.

Geidner was at the Court this week during Oral Argument and joins us today to explain how the hearing went; why this challenge over the the meaning of the word "otherwise" in the statute even exists; the rightwing Justices' newly-discovered concerns about overcriminalization; whether he believes the Court will kill, narrow or allow the statute to stand as is; and how their ruling might affect both the cases for hundreds of insurrectionists and two of the four criminal charges that rely on the statute in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal indictment of the former President for his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.

Geidner also offers a preview of next Thursday's looong-awaited hearing on Trump's ridiculous, rejected-by-every-lower-court, "Presidential Immunity" case, in which he asserts that all Presidents must have absolute immunity to commit any and all crimes they like while in office.

"The arguments advanced by Trump have no foundation in history, in practice, or in experience. And there is a very strong case for imagining that we will get a 9-0 decision in that case, even with this Court," Geidner argues, before noting: "The bottom line here is Trump will still have delayed [his federal 2020 election interference] case. It will be at least May before we get a ruling on this. So, in some ways, win lose or draw, he has won, if the goal here is to avoid the possibility of a conviction on these charges before the election is held in November."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Trump is promising political violence whether he wins or loses; Also: Navarro goes to prison; Scofflaw MI MAGA attorney arrested; SCOTUS allows TX to override federal law, Constitution; Biden's SOTU success...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2024 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast, some much needed "context" for what will absolutely be the most important election in U.S. history this November. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald Trump is now running on the promise of political violence --- whether he wins or loses. He made that clear (again) during this past weekend's rallies, interviews and social media postings as he continues to up his violent rhetoric with each passing day, embraces strongman tropes and celebrates his supporters' deadly attempt to overthrow the Constitution and U.S. Government on his behalf on January 6, 2021.

The real context of Trump's weekend rally in Ohio, threatening a "bloodbath for the country" if he loses this November, should be clear by now to anyone who hasn't already drunk his Kool-Aid. If it isn't, we attempt to rectify that today. And it has little to nothing to do with cars from China as his Kool-Aid drunk cultists and apologists are attempting to argue. Historians like Timothy Snyder (author of On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom) and Jason Stanley (author of How Fascism Works) are shouting from the rooftops to make that clear. So are folks like conservative attorney George Conway and progressive journalist Josh Marshall.

In other largely related news today...

  • Former Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro, a key player in the disgraced former President's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, reported to a federal corrections facility in Miami today to begin a fourth month sentence, becoming the first Trump White House official to go to prison on charges related to Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election from the American people.
  • Election denying Michigan MAGA attorney Stefanie Lambert, charged on four counts related to the unlawful breach of voting systems in the state, was arrested in D.C. on Monday after a hearing in a separate case in which she is defending billionaire election denier Patrick Byrne who is being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems. Her arrest by U.S. Marshals was related to her failure to show up for a hearing in her own case back in MI, even as she improperly released discovery documents from the Dominion case to the public.
  • The corrupted U.S. Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to take effect today that overturns more than a century of federal immigration authority and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution which has long held that federal law trumps state law. The TX statute, which allows state and local police to arrest people they suspect have violated federal immigration law, is similar to Arizona's 2012 "Papers Please" law that was blocked at the time by SCOTUS. But neither Court precedent nor the Constitution appear to mean much anymore to the current, far-right supermajority on the High Court.
  • There is a movement among Congressional Republicans to prevent Joe Biden from giving a State of the Union Address to Congress next year under the premise that his speech two weeks ago was "divisive" and "hyper-partisan". (And you know how much Republicans hate that sort of thing, especially at SOTU!) At the same time, Republicans are pretending that polls suggest Biden's SOTU was not "well received". Actual numbers from viewers of the speech before and after strongly suggest the contrary.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with the EPA finally banning all uses of toxic asbestos; extreme heat in Africa; the Biden Administration's investment of billions of dollars to rebuild under-privileged communities that were broken into pieces decades ago by highway construction; and the remarkable climate change deniers in a wealthy coastal community in Massachusetts who want millions of dollars from the state, in perpetuity, to save their beaches and property values, despite the ravages of global warming and rising seas.

All of that and a whole lot more on today's BradCast!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Listeners ring in on that, Brad's hack of Daylight Saving Time and more...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2024 6:01pm PT  

We were able to open up the phones today to listeners regarding last week's State of the Union Address, the GOP's stunningly failed Rebuttal, and what has become a seemingly annual debate on The BradCast over Daylight Savings Time --- about which I am right and everyone else, of course, is wrong. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to those phones, we review and/or discuss...

  • How I hacked Daylight Savings Time over this past weekend --- and how you can (and should!) next year too!
  • Joe Biden's new budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 calls for the expansion of social programs and new taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for it and to shave $3 trillion off the national debt.
  • Biden's new post-SOTU ad: "Look, I'm not a young guy. That's no secret! But, here's the deal..."
  • How Donald Trump welcomed, and praised, Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, celebrating the rightwing strongman's rule: "He said this is the way it's gonna be and that's the end of it, right? He's the boss."
  • 1,000 protesters against Israel's attack on Gaza marched near the Sunday's Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater here in Hollywood --- whether you heard about them or not.
  • A few key points from Biden's rousing, lively, feisty SOTU Address (video | transcript) that drove the GOP crazy, and...
  • The outrageous lie, told amidst Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL)'s incredibly bizarre SOTU Rebuttal, regarding a 12-year old girl who was held captive and repeatedly raped by drug traffickers at the U.S. southern border during the Biden Administration which, as we have subsequently learned, didn't actually happen during the Biden Administration nor even in the U.S. at all. (Here's journalist Jonathan Katz' full, well-documented evisceration of Britt's incredible border lie.)

Then, we open up the phones to callers on all of the above, including on the never-ending DST debate and the almost-as-important debate over the importance of re-electing Joe Biden to save democracy and, yes, Gaza...if either can be saved at this point...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech for People; Also: Sweden joins NATO; Biden to aid Gaza via sea port; 'No Labels' to choose 'Unity' ticket; TX utility admits culpability in state's record wildfires...
By Brad Friedman on 3/7/2024 6:14pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we're honored to be joined by one of the Constitutional law experts who first brought the issue of the Constitution's "Insurrection Disqualification Clause" to the attention of the nation...before our corrupted, activist U.S. Supreme Court, he explains, "invented" a way to nullify it to help protect our disgraced former President on Monday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Free Speech for People (FSFP) is the non-partisan government accountability group which first raised the issue of Donald Trump's clear violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment way back during the summer of 2021. At the time, they sent letters to chief election officials in all 50 states warning them not to place Trump on the ballot should the disgraced former President chose to run again in 2024, as he was in violation of the Constitutional clause barring oath-breakers from public office after having "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" against the nation. After having incited the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, they explained to state officials, he was no longer eligible for office under the post-Civil War Amendment.

They were, of course, correct. Both chambers of Congress, in bipartisan votes, found that Trump had, in fact, incited the insurrection while attempting to prevent Joe Biden, the winner of the 2020 election from being certified by Congress. Late last year the Colorado Supreme Court agreed [PDF], and barred Trump from the state's ballot. He appealed the ruling to SCOTUS, which quickly heard the matter and issued its 13-page ruling [PDF] on Monday, pulling reasons out of thin air for why Colorado could not bar Trump from running in the state.

The Republican Supremes went even further by inventing a new mandate that will prevent insurrectionists from being barred from federal office under 14.3 unless Congress adopts a new law to execute the 150 year old Amendment. (Or, at least, to execute it's two-sentence Section 3. All of the other mandates of the 14th --- such as citizenship for those born or naturalized in the U.S., due process for all and equal protection under the law --- are all self-executing. A special law by Congress is, apparently, only necessary for Section 3, for some reason, according to the Supreme Court as of this week.)

We're joined today by FSFP's Legal Director, RON FEIN, who, with fellow FSFP Constitutional law experts John Bonifaz and Ben Clement, penned an op-ed on Wednesday, describing the Court's ruling as "an error of historic proportions and a sham."

The Court's ruling, he argues today, "had nothing to do with the text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, nor of the history, or the original public understanding of Section 3. Instead, the Justices --- and it's not just the six conservative Justices but also the three so-called liberals --- started from the endpoint of the result that they wanted to reach and then worked backwards to find a rationale."

"If they had wanted to say that Trump didn't engage in insurrection," he tells me, "I would have had a little bit more respect. It would have been very brazen and obviously ridiculous. But at least they would have been straightforwardly saying something that would have meant that he wasn't disqualified --- if they wanted to defy all evidence and say that he didn't engage in insurrection. But instead, they fabricated an exception that can be found nowhere in the Constitution, that basically lets Trump and others off without ever confronting the merits of what he did."

As anyone who has read Monday's ruling may have noticed, the Justices never dispute the Colorado Supreme Court's finding --- following a five-day trial --- that, yes, Trump is, in fact, an insurrectionist. In fact, the Court's three liberals, in response to the part of the majority's Opinion from which they dissent, refer to Trump as an "oathbreaking insurrectionist" on numerous occasions.

Fein describes how the SCOTUS ruling makes a mockery of their claim to require "uniformity" in elections. "This is something that they pull when they want to, but it has no real basis in reality," he notes, describing how our Presidential election system is actually set up to allow each state to determine their own way of running elections.

"We have state by state elections," he asserts, "both at the primary stage and in the general election. We have, for better or worse, an Electoral College system. That's the system under which Donald Trump became President under in 2016. It is not at all uncommon, both in the primaries and in the general election, for some candidates to be on some states' ballots and not others. In fact, we're going to see that in this election. We're going to see RFK Jr. will be on some states' ballots, but not all of them. Cornel West will probably be in the same situation. The Constitution says that states have the power to determine how they appoint electors."

Those facts make the Court's argument that removing Trump from the ballot would allow a single state to determine the result of the election a joke. Then again, the entire ruling is exactly that, if not a particularly amusing one.

Fein eviscerates the rest of their opinion as well today, while warning that there may now be further Constitutional bastardizations regarding Trump in the days and years ahead. As he, Bonifaz and Clement explain in the chilling conclusion of their op-ed: "If Trump wins, prepare for a third term. Sure, the Twenty-Second Amendment says that '[n]o person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.' But Trump has already claimed that he is entitled to a third term because 'they spied on my campaign.' When Trump’s lawyers make this argument, what credibility will the Supreme Court have as he runs roughshod over our constitutional democracy?"

ALSO TODAY...

  • Sweden formally joins NATO. (I guess Russia will have "no choice" but to attack them now too, amirite Putin fans?)
  • Joe Biden will announce plans to use the U.S. military to deploy food and humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea via a temporary port.
  • The group calling itself No Labels is reportedly planning to select a "Unity Ticket" for this year's Presidential election that nobody, other than No Labels and their secret funders, actually seem to want.
  • Texas utility company Xcel Energy admits their equipment sparked the largest wildfire in state history.
  • And Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report on the enormous climate stakes of this year's Presidential election and more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden, Trump (mostly) sweep; Haley drops out; McConnell endorses; Protests haunt Dem victories in MN, CA; Few (though some noteworthy) Election Day voting system failures...
By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2024 7:12pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We distill a whole bunch of stuff --- results, problems, politics, concerns --- from Super Tuesday's primaries and caucuses in some 15 states and one U.S. territory. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Included in our coverage today...

  • Donald Trump won most, if not all, of the GOP nominating contests on Tuesday by largely anywhere from 60% to 80% over Nikki Haley who defeated Trump in Vermont. Nonetheless, she subsequently announced on Wednesday that she is suspending her campaign, without (yet) endorsing Trump, saying he must now earn her support and those of her backers.
  • Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell --- after pretending to be outraged by the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection which he described Trump as "morally responsible" for --- endorsed him for President on Wednesday. I've got a word or two about that today.
  • Joe Biden won the Democratic contests in all of the states which voted on Super Tuesday, most by well over 80%. (He only received 70% and 73% respectively in Minnesota and Oklahoma. More on that below.) Nonetheless, if you were watching CNN last night, you'd have heard how Trump "DOMINATED!" his primaries, while Biden just did "very well" on the Democratic side.
  • After the U.S. Supreme Court, last year, required Alabama to finally add a second U.S. House District where Black voters might elect a candidate of their choosing --- in a state where 27% of the population is Black but only 1 of 7 U.S. House seats are even held by a Democrat --- more than 6,500 voters in that newly redrawn district were misinformed by County officials about which Congressional District they were supposed to vote in on Tuesday. The Chair of Montgomery County's Board of Registrars blamed a computer "software glitch" for what several candidates worried may have led to mass disenfranchisement.
  • Meanwhile, in Utah, where Republicans decided to run their own statewide Caucuses this year, an untold number of voters end up going home without voting when the Party's computer systems crashed or were otherwise unusable at many Caucus sites. The Salt Lake Tribune describes the "chaos" that ensued.
  • In North Carolina, GOP voters elected their Holocaust-denying Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson as their nominee for Governor this year. Democrats, who selected state A.G. Josh Stein for the job on Tuesday are likely delighted about that. Also in NC, preacher and former Rep. Mark Harris appears to be heading back to the U.S. House after his 2018 campaign for the state's 8th Congressional District resulted in a do-over election after Harris hired a known election thief who illegally collected ballots and filled them in for Harris. That election was tossed by the state Election Board and a chastened Harris chose not to run again. But now he's back! And on Tuesday, he apparently won enough votes to avoid a run-off. So, he appears headed back to D.C. next year thanks to further GOP gerrymandering of his NC district since he last tried to steal the election there.
  • In Texas, Democrats elected Rep. Colin Allred to take on Senator Ted Cruz this fall. Though state Republicans drew the line, apparently, at nominating a convicted January 6th insurrectionist for the U.S. House in the state's 19th Congressional District, sticking with the current Republican incumbent instead.
  • Jason Palmer defeated Joe Biden on Tuesday to win the Democratic Caucus in American Samoa! Who is Jason Palmer? We discuss, while noting that the victory came in a 51 to 40 vote (Not percentage points! That's the actual vote tally!) on the U.S. territorial island some 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Apparently it pays to actually show up and campaign! Palmer was the only Democratic candidate who actually did so. Other than that, yeah, Biden actually "DOMINATED!" on the Dem side last night.
  • There was, however, a noteable vote for "Uncommitted" in Minnesota's Democratic Primary on Tuesday, with some 19% of voters casting a protest vote against the President, presumably as a statement in opposition to the Biden Administration policy regarding Israel's war in Gaza. The state has a sizeable Arab-American population. MN Democrats' bump for "Uncommitted" this year, as compared to the last time a Dem President ran for reelection in 2012, was substantial --- much more than a similar protest vote in Michigan last week --- even as all of the other states with similar "None of the Above" options on the ballot to date (Alabama, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Tennessee) all saw a decrease in such votes this year as compared to 2012.
  • Still, the protests from a small faction of the Left are unmistakable. Democrats dismiss those voters at their peril. Especially in critical battleground states like MI and MN. The protest was impossible to not notice at Rep. Adam Schiff's victory celebration last night in California. He will face Republican former MLB star Steve Garvey for the state's open U.S. Senate seat this November, after outpacing fellow progressive Congressmembers Katie Porter and Barbara Lee last night. But protesters chanted "Cease-fire Now!" and "Free Palestine!" throughout Schiff's entire victory speech on Tuesday, which the L.A.-based Dem handled gracefully. The Biden Administration does seem to be taking notice. Over the weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris gave remarks on Sunday calling for an "immediate cease-fire", "given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza."

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Guests: Former Deputy Asst. A.G. Lisa Graves; Legal journalist Chris Geidner; Also: Haley wins a primary; And a Super Tuesday preview...
By Brad Friedman on 3/4/2024 6:38pm PT  

In case I haven't mentioned it lately on The BradCast, the U.S. Supreme Court is wildly corrupt. They proved that again on Monday in their ruling on whether Donald Trump, who they don't dispute in their ruling is an insurrectionist, should be disqualified from the 2024 election for having "engaged in insurrection", as barred by the simple text of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We knew this ruling from the corrupt Court was coming, based on their questions at Oral Argument last month. We also knew that the packed, stolen and rightwing SCOTUS majority was corrupt. But their hypocrisy was what shined through most in today's relatively brief 13-page ruling [PDF] and the additional dissenting opinions that followed it. The one by the Democratic appointees was fairly seething.

After years of pretending to be "conservative Constitutionalists"; pretending to be "textualists" who are focused only on the simple meaning of what the words in the founding document say; who pretend to be "originalists", concerned only with what the framers were trying to accomplish at the time they adopted the Constitutional amendment in question, the Court, once again, gave away the ghost. They don't care about any of that. They are an activist rightwing Court finding stuff in the Constitution that doesn't exist to arrive at the political result they wanted in the first place.

On Monday --- in their 9 to 0 opinion (which, the dissenters made clear, was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, but for Democrats on the Court trying to go along to get along in an election year) --- the High Court reversed the Colorado Supreme Court's 213-page ruling [PDF] in December barring Trump from this year's ballot for having violated the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". So much for states rights as well, apparently.

But, not only did the SCOTUS majority twist itself into pretzels to come up with "logic" for doing so, they further perverted Section 3 of the 14th Amendment beyond recognition in order to do so. In the bargain, they have killed 14.3 to the point that it can likely never be used to bar insurrectionists from public office --- at least at the federal level. (That's another distinction they made up from whole cloth that appears nowhere in the actual Constitution.)

Congress, the Court decided, must pass a law before the 150 year old 14.3 may be used. It is not self-executing, they ruled, unlike all of the other sections of the 14th Amendment and the other Amendments adopted with it following the Civil War that prohibit slavery, guarantee due process and equal justice under the law for all. But only the two-sentence Section 3, apparently, is not self-executing. At least at the federal level. It can still, apparently, be used by states to bar state and local officials from public office for insurrection for some reason. That, even though Section 3 itself requires a two-thirds super-majority in Congress for the disqualification to be lifted for any insurrectionist to serve in office.

We're joined today by two experts on this matter, former Asst. Deputy Attorney General at the DOJ, LISA GRAVES of True North Research, and "recovering lawyer" and longtime legal journalist CHRIS GEIDNER of Law Dork to try and make sense of what the corrupt, hypocritical Justices did.

Geidner details how the dissenters in this case, the Court's three Democratic Justices, Sotomayor, Kagan and Jackson --- but also, in part, even Justice Amy Coney Barrett --- "explained how the majority had basically cut off the use of Section 3 going forward."

And they did so, according to Graves, in the most cowardly way, with a per curiam decision that speaks for the whole court, without saying who actually wrote it. "Like Bush v. Gore," they didn't sign their names to, she observed, noting that "issuing a per curiam opinion is an act of cowardice by these rightwing justices."

Geidner adds: "It truly is just an example, like 'Bush v. Gore', of 'Let's work backwards from the principle that we want, and we're going to shoehorn in some principle of law that clearly can't make sense in light of the interpretation of these amendments over the past 150 years.'"

"The Colorado Supreme Court's decision was so well-reasoned," Graves argues about the ruling overturned by SCOTUS today. "It sought to vindicate the plain language of the 14th Amendment. But here you had the Supreme Court not wanting to allow Colorado to make that independent determination based on the plain language. It really shows how outrageous this anonymous Republican-appointee decision --- how outrageous and wrong --- that decision is." She also notes, given what was actually a 5 to 4 ruling, how outrageous it is that Justice Clarence Thomas --- whose wife actually participated in the insurrection --- didn't bother to recuse himself.

Last Summer, Geidner tells us, when he wrote about this case, he says he argued, "It's pretty clear that Trump is barred from being President again. Will it matter?" He adds: "That was the right question to ask, and we got our answer today."

As usual, there is much more covered in today's program on all of this, so please tune in for the full show.

Also today, a wrap-up of of the weekend's GOP nominating contests in which Nikki Haley finally notched her first primary victory after Trump actually threatened the voters participating in it. And we close with a preview of tomorrow's 15-state Super Tuesday primaries in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and American Samoa. If you live in one of those states and have yet to vote, NOW is the time!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guest: Investigative journalist Josh Kovensky of Talking Points Memo; Also: Another huge Special Election night for Dems in NY, PA; WI inches closer to fair legislative maps; MI 'fake elector' says GOP lied to him...
By Brad Friedman on 2/14/2024 6:24pm PT  

A tranche of newly unearthed documents offer a clearer understanding of Team Trump's failed attempt to steal the 2020 election on today's BradCast, in which we also cover yet another better-than-expected Special Election Day for Democrats on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First, some of the breaking headlines on today's horrific mass shooting at the end of the victory rally for Superbowl champs, the Kansas City Chiefs. Not much is known as of airtime, beyond one dead, more than 15 injured and two (now three) said to be in custody, according to Missouri state officials.

Then, the House GOP, on behalf of the disgraced, twice-impeached former President was finally successful on Tuesday in passing Articles of Revenge Impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The do-over vote follows their embarrassingly botched effort at same last week. This week, they were able to pass the Articles by one single vote, 214-213, against three Republican defectors and a unified Democratic caucus for "charges" that are not even close to the "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" mandated by the Constitution. Both Articles are expected to die, one way or another, over in the Senate, where even Republicans have shown little interest in the charade.

GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson had to get those Articles passed yesterday, however, given what New York voters did on Tuesday, when the seat in the state's 3rd Congressional District, formerly held by disgraced, expelled and indicted con-artist, Rep. George Santos, was flipped from "red" to "blue" by former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi. He easily defeated Republican Mazi Pilip by almost 8 points in Tuesday's hotly-contested Special Election, according to the latest reported numbers. That was almost twice the margin predicted by even the most optimistic pre-election polls. The Dem victory in New York (and another in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night --- by 36 points!), again underscores the dearth of issues that Donald Trump's dysfunctional Republican Party has to run on or offer voters this year. Had House Repubs waited just one more day to vote on Articles of Impeachment, they would have lost again.

More apparent good news for voters and Democrats this week in Wisconsin, as the Republicans who control the wildly gerrymandered state Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to adopt new legislative district maps in advance of the 2024 elections, as ordered by the state's Supreme Court. The new maps are ones created by Democratic Governor Tony Evers. And though they don't promise a Dem majority for this year's elections, they do appear to be much fairer for voters. For more than a decade the GOP's gerrymandered maps resulted in nearly twice as many Rs as Ds in the state legislature in the otherwise very closely divided state. State Republicans approved Evers maps because they fear if the High Court selects a map it will be even worse for them. Evers has suggested he plans to sign the legislation.

Meanwhile, as Democrats continue to out-perform in 2024 elections, Republicans are busy in court defending their criminal efforts to steal 2020. A fake elector in Michigan on Wednesday testified that he was lied to by party officials that state legislators could select the phony Trump slate of electors over those for Biden, who state voters actually chose. This particular fake elector has decided to cooperate with prosecutors while 15 others are now facing serious jail time for their alleged conspiracy to forge phony Elector certificates.

And this week, we've got new news from the man who invented the fake electors scheme in the first place. A massive trove of emails, text messages and other documents have been turned over to Michigan prosecutors by former Team Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro and obtained by our guest today, investigative journalist JOSH KOVENSKY of Talking Points Memo. He has been detailing the documents in a new multi-part series this week at TPM which explores the attempted coup, hoped-for chaos, and the plan to pressure friendly members of SCOTUS.

Chesebro first dreamt up the fake elector plot for his own home state of Wisconsin in 2020, before he was asked by Team Trump attorneys, such as the disgraced John Eastman and Boris Ephstyn, to apply the same scam for phony electors in about seven swing-states following Trump's loss in November. They would be instrumental to the Trump team's failed legal efforts to steal the election.

The Chesebro documents shed new light on the failed "legal coup" which, as Kovensky reports, was not meant to be a one-day insurrection on January 6th, 2021, but to result in enough legislative chaos and trumped-up "questions" about the veracity of certified election results to force the U.S. Supreme Court to eventually settle the election themselves, ala Bush v. Gore twenty years earlier.

"What they really wanted was a stalemate in Congress" on January 6th, Kovensky explains. "And in that time, they would have used that stalemate to draw the country's attention to Congress, and then use that attention to put forth the campaign's completely nonsensical theories of voter fraud. That was the idea."

"If you talk to people who were around this, they'll say, 'Yeah, the invasion of the Capitol on January 6th destroyed that plan. Because it did draw attention to Congress, but there were no members of Congress there to make the case that there was voter fraud in the election," he tells me.

"The way the legal coup was meant to proceed was by halting the count," as detailed in the new docs obtained and reported out by Kovensky. "That's the key similarity between what the rioters on Jan. 6 ended up achieving by violent means and what the lawyers were trying to achieve just by procedural means. Which was that the count would have been stopped, [but] it would have been stopped indefinitely until potentially the Supreme Court stepped in to act and appoint Trump the winner."

So how did Chesebro --- who, until now, has not appeared, at least, to be a hard-right partisan ideologue along the lines of Eastman and Ephsteyn --- find his way into the vortex of Team Trump and the "legal coup" they were hoping to pull off? What is he hoping to accomplish by turning over these documents to prosecutors in MI and elsewhere since pleading guilty to one felony charge with no jail time in Georgia last year in exchange for testifying against his fellow conspirators? Will Trump be able to use Chesebro's documents and testimony to help himself in his own trials regarding his attempt to steal the 2020 election?

All of those questions and many more asked and answered about "The Cheese" and his documents on today's BradCast...

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Guests: Former Dep. Asst. AG Lisa Graves and attorney Keith Barber on today's oral argument on the 'Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/8/2024 5:15pm PT  

We've been telling you for years on The BradCast that most rightwingers who claim to be "Constitutional Conservatives" --- such as the corrupted bunch now packed onto the Republican U.S. Supreme Court supermajority --- are nothing of the sort. Today's oral argument at SCOTUS, on whether Donald Trump must be disqualified from the 2024 ballot under the very clear text of the Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause", appear set to prove that point yet again. [Audio link to full program is posted below this summary.]

In December, the SCOTUS Appears Set to Ignore Text of Constitution's 'Insurrectionist' Clause: 'BradCast' 2/8/2024 found Trump had violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from office public officials who, after taking an oath to support the Constitution, "have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same". The mandate applies, according to the actual text of the clause, to "any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State". The Colorado Supremes compiled an airtight, 200+ page ruling [PDF] that was both "textualist" (adhering to the simple text of the clause) and "originalist" (carefully hewing to the original intent of its post-Civil War framers) in order to appeal to the legal principles supposedly most important to the Republican majority at SCOTUS.

The CO court, finding that Trump had indeed "engaged in insurrection" and was thus barred from holding the office of President of the United States, disqualified him from the state's 2024 Presidential ballot. Trump appealed their ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard the case on Thursday. (Transcript, audio)

While we can't know for certain from questions asked at the hearing, the Justices appear set to simply ignore the clear meaning of the text of 14.3 in order to allow Trump to run for President this year. Arguments put forward today for doing so --- some of them preposterous and in direct conflict with the framer's intent, according to the Congressional Record at the time the 14th Amendment was adopted --- include that the President is not an officer of the United States; that 14.3 bars insurrectionists from holding office, but not from running for office; and that the clause, unlike every other section of the 14th Amendment, is not "self-executing". Rather, Congress must create legislation before it can be used against a federal official. (Never mind its history over the past 150 years or so.)

We're joined today to somehow make sense of all of this by former U.S. Deputy Asst. Attorney General LISA GRAVES, now of True North Research, and retired attorney KEITH BARBER, who writes on legal and Constitutional matters as 'KeithDB' at Daily Kos. They both joined us just after Trump filed his appeal to the High Court earlier this year and do so again today to discuss how it all appears to be working out for him.

A fair amount of time during Thursday's hearing was spent on the argument that Section 3 allows Congress, by a two-thirds majority vote in each chamber, to waive disqualification for insurrectionists. Thus, the argument goes, Trump can still run for President, even if he cannot "hold" the position if elected. That's because Congress could, ya never know, decide to grant him amnesty after he is elected and before he is sworn in to office.

Graves characterizes the argument as "absurd", describing it as "counter to the plain-language, commonsense argument on its face." It could also, as the attorney for the challengers (a group of Republican and independent voters), noted today, result in the same Congressional chaos on January 6, 2025 that we saw in 2021. If Trump were to win, but Congress fail to grant him an insurrectionist's waiver, he would be barred, according to 14.3, from actually being sworn in to office. SCOTUS seems to be begging for this scenario based on much of today's questioning.

Barber suggests it is likely "that challenges are raised in the electoral certification process" if Trump wins in November, "saying that Trump is not eligible for the office, and any Electoral College votes for him must not be counted for that reason."

"The meaning" of Section 3 of the 14th "could not be clearer in the intent of the drafters," argues Graves. "These supposed 'originalists,' these supposed 'strict constructionists' claim to be so devoted to it when striking down access to abortion, marriage equality, our ability to regulate corporations. But here, suddenly they're confused. It's not confusing if you look at the history and read it."

Indeed, the Justices --- including at least two of the Court's liberals --- appear set to come up with a reason or set of reasons that the Constitution doesn't say what it actually says. Why, for example, does Section 3 --- unlike the other sections of the landmark 14th Amendment, such as the requirement for Due Process under the law for all U.S. persons --- suddenly require a law to be written by Congress before it can be executed? (But only against Trump, apparently. It's been used without issue many times in the past.) "In this case, it's because the Supreme Court needed it to be," says Barber, a former lifelong Republican. "I don't have a better explanation than that."

"Are we living under the Constitution or not?," asks Graves. "It seems we are, only to the extent that this faction of the Court wants to impose it. And when it doesn't, it does not apply."

We discuss much more on all of this today's, including why Clarence Thomas (and, perhaps three other Justices on the Court) have not recused themselves from this case given their extraordinary conflicts of interest; whether there is a "grand bargain" in the works to strike down the CO Supreme Court's mandate while upholding the D.C. Court of Appeals' ruling this week on "Presidential Immunity"; and how the attorneys arguing on behalf of Colorado voters missed the opportunity to underscore that, as bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress have already voted, Donald Trump is an insurrectionist.

ALSO TODAY: Brighter news, believe it or not, in our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen! Yes, another one of them shows where the GNR actually offers more encouraging news than the rest of the program. Apologies in advance!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on that and this week's 'Insurrectionist Disqualification' hearing at SCOTUS; Also: Relentless rain continues drench SoCal; Trump's rigged NV GOP Primary/Caucuses...
By Brad Friedman on 2/6/2024 6:38pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Bad news from the DC Court of Appeals for the disgraced former President, though things could get much worse this week depending on how things go at SCOTUS on Thursday. [Audio link to full program follows this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unrelenting downpour in Southern California continues for a third straight day, as Los Angeles alone reports more than 300 mudslides since the atmospheric river began pouring in on Sunday, resulting in continuing flash flooding and evacuations throughout the region. Thankfully, there have been no deaths or major catastrophes yet reported, though three were killed in Northern California where strong winds toppled trees as the storm blew ashore on Sunday. It's not yet over, but we're told the sun may finally reappear again in SoCal, at least for a time, on Wednesday.
  • Today was the last day to vote in Nevada's all vote-by-mail 2024 Presidential primaries, though few may have bothered. On the Democratic side, President Biden faces little or no competition. On the Republican side, Donald Trump helped rigged the state in his favor with the help of NV state party officials. He's not on the NV Primary ballot, since he objected to the all-mail process created by the state. He demanded caucuses instead. So Nikki Haley will be on the primary ballot, but Trump won't. While Haley won't be participating in the Thursday caucuses, but Trump will. Republican Delegates, however, will only be awarded to the winner of the rigged GOP Caucuses.
  • Welp, it took nearly a month, but a three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals finally released their long-awaited ruling on whether Presidents have immunity against any and all criminal charges for crimes they carry out while serving as President. That is what the four-time indicted former President is arguing. And, to the shock of pretty much nobody, the court ruled in a unanimous, very thorough 57-page decision [PDF] today, that, nope, a President may not avoid criminal consequences for, by way of an example Donald Trump's attorney defended in court last month, ordering Seal Team 6 to murder a political rival. While the ruling was not surprising, it was successful for Trump, at least in part, by delaying his previously scheduled March 4th federal trial on four felony counts [PDF] related to his many attempts to steal the 2020 election. The D.C. panel struck down every single argument made by Trump and ordered the case to be returned to the trial court unless the defendant appeals the ruling to SCOTUS by Monday. Of course he will. The only question for the moment is: will there be enough votes at the corrupted rightwing SCOTUS to bother even hearing this dumb case.
  • Then, we're joined by BRAD BLOG's longtime legal contributor ERNEST A. CANNING to discuss both today's Immunity ruling and the arguably far more consequential matter that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The Supremes will hear oral argument for and against the case for disqualifying Donald J. Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, the "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause". The specific case, Trump v. Anderson, is named for the 91-year old Republican, Norma Anderson, who is one of six Republican and independent voters that sued under 14.3 in the state of Colorado to bar Trump from the state's Presidential ballot. They were successful. The CO Supreme Court barred Trump in a very well argued (and very conservative) ruling [PDF] late last year, pending a decision from SCOTUS. In the month since the Justices agreed to hear the case, as Canning writes this week, no fewer than 50 amici (friend of the court) briefs have been filed both for and against the Constitution's post-Civil War ban on insurrectionists serving in public office.

    Canning cites several key points offered in the various briefs from a host of scholars and experts, and we preview the questions likely to be up for debate during this Thursday's landmark hearing. The eventual opinion issued by SCOTUS could determine whether Trump is barred from the Presidential ballot in all 50 states. And what might happen then?

    Canning argues that if you follow conservative "textualist" and "originalist" doctrine, "what the intent was, what the actual language was" by the framers of the 14th Amendment, "there's no way you can come to a decision other than the fact that Donald Trump is disqualified within the meaning of the statute."

    That largely matches conventional wisdom suggesting the Constitutional case for banning Trump from office is pretty rock solid legally. Nonetheless, most of those media pundits and legal experts also tend to argue that the former President's friends and appointees on the High Court are likely to conjure up some sort of jiggery-pokery and pure applesauce to allow him to remain on the ballot this year anyway. "That could very well happen here," Canning tells me, before adding: "But I wouldn't bet the farm either direction."

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with more on the climate change-related causes of California's historic downpour, Chile's deadly heat and wildfires, and Spain's persistent drought. She also reports on how Europe has avoided Vladimir Putin's energy blackmail, and how Republicans plan to turn back the clock on the Biden Administration's landmark climate achievements if they succeed in winning back the White House in November...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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RNC rigging nomination for Trump; Also: Luttig's 'textualist' SCOTUS brief argues Trump 'disqualified himself'; More bad news for Bannon; Court nixes Musk's $56B pay package; Biden pauses new NatGas terminals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2024 6:11pm PT  

Be sure to put on your mud boots for today's BradCast. You're gonna need 'em. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

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

  • American Presidential Primaries and Caucuses were always confusing for voters. This year, they are even more so. That, however, suits Donald Trump just fine in advance of next week's Nevada Primary (on Feb. 6) and Caucuses (on Feb. 8 ), which have been rigged by Team Trump to assure he cannot lose a single delegate to Nikki Haley, his last remaining challenger for the 2024 GOP Presidential nomination.
  • The day after the New Hampshire Primary last week, Trump supported an RNC executive resolution to officially declare him to be party's "presumptive 2024 nominee for the office of President of the United States." That, after nominating contests in only two states (Iowa and NH) where he won just 32 of the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Two days later (perhaps after receiving some sage legal advice) the desperate former President came out against the resolution, so the RNC promptly killed it. We what actually appears to have happened.
  • Well-respected and very conservative former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Michael Luttig filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief [PDF] with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, arguing that the Justices must adhere to the "textualist" approach that rightwingers on the High Court have claimed to follow in recent years, as they weigh whether Donald Trump is eligible for the 2024 ballot under the U.S. Constitution's "Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause." Trump has "disqualified himself" for the office of President under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, Judge Luttig and others argue in the brief, after having "engaged in insurrection" on January 6, 2021, when he "sought to prevent the vesting of the authority and functions of the Presidency in the newly-elected President." That, the brief contends, may be even worse than when South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860 to "prevent the newly-elected President Lincoln from governing only in that State." The Justices must not construct an artificial "off-ramp" to avoid their Constitutional mandate, the brief asserts. The matter will be heard by SCOTUS on Thursday next week.
  • Disgraced former Trump White House advisor and campaign Chair turned podcaster and con-artist, Steve Bannon, may be in more trouble than you know. He has already been convicted and sentenced to four months in federal prison for Contempt of Congress for his refusal to answer subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating January 6. While free on appeal, he has also been charged by New York state for massive fraud in the "We Build the Wall" campaign which siphoned millions from duped Trump supporters. And now his former attorney in that case is gunning for Bannon's bank accounts after he was found to owe the law firm nearly half a million dollars in unpaid legal fees. Bannon's latest attempt to block his banks from turning over documents to the firm claims that doing so "poses a significant risk of compromising Mr. Bannon’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination." Sad!
  • BREAKING DURING SHOW: A Delaware court judge has voided Tesla CEO Elon Musk's nearly $56 billion compensation package, ruling it was unlawfully dictated by Musk himself to a non-independent Board of Directors in sham negotiations. Also sad!
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as President Biden puts a pause on approvals for new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export terminals; new reports find Canada tar sands are up to 6000% more toxic than previously known and that climate change made Brazil's Amazon rainforest draught 30 times more likely; and China, as it turns out, built more new solar power in 2023 alone than the U.S. has in its entire history...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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UAW endorses Biden as GDP, other indicators 'stun' experts; Also: Navarro sentenced to prison; Proud Boy gets 6 years; A THIRD swing-state GOP Chair has now been ousted amid outrageous scandal...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2024 6:27pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Some very good news about Democrats. Specifically, for the President and the post-pandemic economic recovery. And a bunch of good news about Republicans. At least for those who enjoy watching the fish rot from the head down.

As detailed on today's program...

  • Yet more excellent economic numbers were released on Thursday by the Commerce Department, easily beating professional expectations on GDP growth, leading one of those experts to describe the newly released 2023 fourth-quarter numbers as "stunning and spectacular." They are, in fact, just one of the economic indicators that are now better even than the pre-pandemic years, as GDP continues to rise, unemployment remains very low, wages are growing faster than inflation, which is now down below targets set by the Federal Reserve, and the recession that experts predicted for last year is still nowhere in sight. They are the kind of numbers that the former President would have declared as "the greatest economy in U.S. history" and about which TIME Magazine would have put his face on the cover with the headline: "The Man Who Saved the American Economy!" Will any of that happen now that Joe Biden --- who received a rousing endorsement for his 2024 campaign from the half-a-million-strong United Autoworkers Union yesterday --- is the President, rather than Trump? Will anybody in America even hear about these "stunning" numbers and "spectacular" economic growth?
  • As to the good news about Republicans, we start with Trump's former Trade Advisor, Peter Navarro. Today he was sentenced by a federal judge in D.C. to four months in prison for two counts of Contempt of Congress after refusing to respond to two 2022 subpoenas from the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee that had been investigating the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Poor Peter. Perhaps he'll be cell mates with Steve Bannon who received a similar sentence in 2022 for the same crimes.
  • A wildly obnoxious member of the far-right extremist Proud Boys group attacked the D.C. Circuit Court's Chief Judge during sentencing on Wednesday as a "clown" and a "fraud". He received 6 years in prison in return for his part in the deadly January 6 insurrection and for attempting to organize a subsequent attack on the government in Portland, Oregon described as "January 6 2.0".
  • But, as the fish rots from the head down, it's rotting GOP state parties outside of Washington as well. There is an ongoing, vicious --- and, at times, even violent --- legal dispute --- between the now-ousted Michigan GOP Chair, election denier and failed 2022 Sec. of State nominee Kristina Karamo, and the bulk of the state party that ousted her --- over who now actually controls the state party apparatus in the critical battleground state. In Florida, the recently ousted state party Chair Christian Ziegler -- hand-picked by Ron DeSantis --- is being investigated by state law enforcement on charges of "video voyeurism", after being accused of rape by a woman with whom he and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, the hypocritical anti-LGBTQ co-founder of "Moms for Liberty", had thrupled with --- and secretly videotaped during sex.

    And this week, on Wednesday, Jeff DeWit, Chair of Arizona's Republican Party, abruptly resigned after audio tapes were released by election denier and failed Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in which he appears to be begging her to accept a bribe for not running for the U.S. Senate in the state this year.

    So, that's three GOP state Chairs (the "Party of Law and Order") in three critical swing-states, all being hilariously ousted after allegations of incompetency, sexual battery or bribery within a matter of weeks, in the middle of, arguably, the most important Presidential election year in American history. Keep up the great work, state Republicans!

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as astonishing climate change-fueled extreme weather continues to batter the infrastructure across U.S. cities; ExxonMobil sues its own shareholders so they can try to keep polluting as long as possible; and the U.S. Postal Service finally begins rolling out its new fleet of clean electric delivery vehicles, thanks to demands from climate advocates and funding from Joe Biden and the Democrats...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' argument at D.C. Court of Appeals...
By Brad Friedman on 1/9/2024 6:19pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we continue our COVID recovery, revisit some of the Biden v. Trump horseraces that sent so many Dems scurrying under their bed sheets late last year, and try to make sense of the disgraced former President's ridiculous argument (his attempt to delay his Jan. 6 criminal trial until after this year's election) at the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. on Tuesday. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories cited and/or referenced today...

  • New CNN/University of New Hampshire polling finds Nikki Haley within single digits of Donald Trump in New Hampshire with the first-in-the-nation primary now just two weeks away. Their polling is not the only one showing Haley within spitting distance.
  • USA Today buries the lede in their coverage of a new USA Today/Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll finding Joe Biden seven points ahead of Trump in a general election match-up in New Hampshire and reveals that "American democracy" is the issue that both Dems and independent voters are most concerned about this year.
  • Donald Trump and his attorney apparently believe that a U.S. President may lawfully order Seal Team 6 to assassinate an American political rival. Seriously, the question was raised on Tuesday by one of the three judges on the D.C. appeals court panel tapped to hear Trump's claims of "absolute immunity" for crimes committed while serving as President. Can he sell pardons? Can he accept bribes? Sell nuclear secrets? According to Trump's attorney, sure he can! As long as he is not impeached and convicted first. Trump's other appeal argument, that being "acquitted" by the U.S. Senate at his second impeachment trial (when a majority of bipartisan Senators found him guilty of inciting an insurrection), somehow renders him immune from criminal prosecution in the judicial system because that would be unconstitutional "double jeopardy". As one of the three judges pointed out, Trump's own attorneys during the impeachment argued exactly the contrary. "It's in the Congressional Record," she said. It's all as absurd as it sounds. But, in fact, it is simply meant as a way to push Trump's March 4 trial date in his federal indictment for attempting to steal the 2020 election back past the 2024 election, when he hopes to win and make all of his many indictments go away. The three judges on the D.C. panel, however, didn't seem to be buying any of it.
  • Finally, as deadly winter weather whiplashes much of the nation today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with bad news for the snow crab season in Alaska and good news, thanks to the Joe Biden Administration, for American school buses...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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