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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, April 21, 2024
Sunday 'Popcorn Ready' Toons
THIS WEEK: Stormy outlook ... Abortion wrongs ... American values ... Earth Day ... And much more in our latest collection of the week's best political toons!...
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Despite media punditry, the facts, the law, lightning-fast scheduling and an insulated Judiciary may not bode well for the former President...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2024 11:35am PT  

As a poll-obsessed media focuses on what many see as a seemingly inevitable contest next November between the former and current Presidents, it has become easy to look past the distinct possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court might bring about a swift end to the 2024 Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

By way of a Jan. 5 decision, in Trump v. Anderson, SCOTUS agreed to hear the former President's Jan. 3 legal challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling, in Anderson v. Griswold. In that case, the high court in CO ruled that, by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment, Trump is an insurrectionist and, therefore, disqualified from running for the Office of President of the United States. The CO ruling has been stayed pending a final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are multiple reasons why the SCOTUS decision to hear this landmark case may not bode well for the former President, even if the many pundits are inclined to believe that a majority of Justices on the High Court will concoct some extra-Constitutional reason to allow him off the hook. Neither the facts, the law, nor published opinions advanced by conservative constitutional scholars support a decision to overturn the CO Supremes' landmark ruling.

While widely overlooked by most in the media, the identity of the parties could also be critically important. The Anderson Respondents --- 4 Republicans and 2 independents eligible to vote in the Colorado Republican Primary --- essentially represent the dwindling number of honest conservatives, who make up what might be described as the Liz Cheney Wing of the GOP.

Unlike Congressional Republican cowards, who know better, yet shamelessly embrace the dangerous Orwellian lies of a would-be dictator, GOP-appointed, life-tenured members of the federal judiciary need not fear being removed from the bench during a primary election by the MAGA base. While Trump sycophants in the U.S. House have demonstrated a willingness to initiate baseless, partisan impeachment inquiries, the prospect of impeachment of any Justice who voted to uphold Colorado's §3 disqualification decision, followed by a 2/3 vote to convict in the Senate, are so remote as to not even be worthy of consideration.

The lightning fast scheduling set forth in the Court's order to hear the CO matter reflects a recognition that, if it upholds the state trial court's factual finding that Trump "engaged" in an "insurrection" and the Colorado Supreme Court's legal determination that Trump is therefore disqualified by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment, SCOTUS can both prevent the former President from running for office and afford voters --- especially Republican primary voters --- the opportunity to make an informed choice between qualified candidates.

The facts of the case --- if not necessarily the media punditry or courage of our Republican-appointed Supremes --- reflect that reality...

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

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Guest: Marilyn Marks of Coalition for Good Governance; Also: Shutdown averted; CA's new Senator; Nobel prize for COVID vaccine masterminds; Trump in deeper trouble by the day...
By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2023 7:08pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast likely knew about the big news last Friday better than almost anyone in the nation. Certainly better than those in the corporate media. We'd been reporting on it for years now, so our listeners likely knew the name "Scott Hall" before pretty much everyone else in the country. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.

On Friday, Atlanta bail bondsman Scott Hall was the first among Donald Trump's 18 co-defendants to plead guilty in the Fulton County, Georgia racketeering indictment, detailing Trump's broad conspiracy to steal the state's 2020 Presidential election in the state. Hall was indicted in the RICO scheme [PDF] on five felony charges related to his participation in the January 7, 2021 breach of Georgia's voting system software in rural, Republican-leaning Coffee County. The plot included Trump supporters unlawfully gaining access to the state's proprietary voting system software at the County's elections office, making copies of it and illegally distributing it via the Internet.

The crime first came to light after Hall called longtime Election Integrity champion and frequent BradCast guest MARILYN MARKS, founder of the nonpartisan Coalition for Good Governance, and essentially confessed to the entire scheme. Marks recorded the phone call "confession" and we were the first in the nation to broadcast audio from that phone call last year in May. Marks' group has been leading a long-running lawsuit against GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger, seeking to replace the Peach State's wildly vulnerable and unverifiable touchscreen voting systems with verifiable hand-marked paper ballots before next year's Presidential election. Her quick thinking to record Hall's phone call resulted in at least five of the indictments in District Attorney Fani Willis' case against Trump and friends.

"It was one of the more intelligent things I've done, which are not many!," quips Marks today. "But I'm glad I recorded that." She joins us today for the first time since Hall was the first to cop a plea in the case last week to avoid jail time in exchange for testifying against his fellow defendants. He received 12 months of probation and a $5,000 fine.

Marks explains that Hall will have a lot to share with Willis' team. "On mainstream media over the weekend, I heard many commentators saying, 'Well, he's kind of a small player.' Oh no no no --- he is not a 'small player'," she insists. "He knows the ladder, up and down. He was smart to get that deal he did. He got in early. And now Fani Willis has his truthful testimony about a whole range of characters and facts."

Among the many points we discuss with Marks today...

  • What Hall knows about the Coffee County breach, its organization by co-defendant and Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and the genesis of the multi-state plot beginning in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020.
  • Why MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell flew into tiny Coffee County in his private plane for a few hours in the middle of the night as the County was preparing to fire its Election Director, co-defendant Misty Hampton, in the wake of the breach.
  • Why did all of Hampton's emails from her years as the County's Elections Supervisor supposedly disappear after she was fired? (Though, on today's show, we found one of them! Read on!)
  • Who else was involved in the breach but wasn't indicted by Willis (for example, Lindell and head of the now-defunct "Cyber Ninjas" outfit, Doug Logan) and why?
  • Why has GA SoS Raffensperger been covering up the breach since it happened in early 2021, and why is he still refusing to take any action in response to it? For example, why is his office refusing to install new security patches created by Dominion Voting Systems for the touchscreen voting systems until after the 2024 Presidential election?
  • Why is the state's voting system software breach in Coffee County important to the Coalition's lawsuit against Raffensperger, which seeks to move to hand-counted paper ballots? (The trial in that years-long case, by the way, is finally set to begin in federal court in January.)

"There is nothing to suggest that [Raffensperger] is remotely interested in learning what happened," Marks argues today. "He has still not started an investigation of the implications of this breach --- who was involved, how the administrative rules fell apart --- and has not done any kind of work on the security implications of it. It is absolutely shameful."

That's just the tip of the iceberg today which also includes another 'BradCast' first: We share the long sought after invitation letter allegedly sent by Hampton to the MAGA breachers on December 31, 2020, giving them the greenlight to come to the Coffee County Board of Elections office. "Y'all are welcome in our office any time," writes Hampton in the brief letter that Powell had claimed would somehow exonerate her, and in which Hampton goes out of her way to mention being in accordance with "Georgia Law" at least three different times, for some reason, in a single paragraph letter.

Tune in for all of that and much more today, including several news headlines on the federal government shutdown averted over the weekend, thanks to Democrats, and the price GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may now pay for that; California Gov. Gavin Newsom's selection of political consultant, labor leader and Emily's List President Laphonza Butler to complete the term of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who died late last week; Today's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to two researchers who invested decades into developing the technology that would eventually become used to develop the COVID vaccines in record time in 2020; And several pieces of news from several different ongoing cases against Trump and his fellow co-conspirators, including his surprise appearance at the first day of New York state's $250 million civil fraud suit against him in Manhattan.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Prighozan 'dead'; Milwaukee schools closed due to heat wave; All-male SC Supreme Court allows abortion ban; Randy Rainbow returns!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2023 6:27pm PT  

Today's BradCast might be best summarized by matching up the mugshots and court appearances this week (most of them just today!) of Republican attorneys who are being held accountable for felony crimes, most related to election fraud. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

From left to right of the rogues gallery pictured above...

  • Ohio attorney and Trump donor James Saunders was found guilty on Tuesday of two counts of election fraud for having voted twice, once in Ohio and once in Florida, in both the 2020 and 2022 general elections. The judge immediately sent him to jail after the verdict, even before his sentencing next week. Saunders apparently committed the same crimes in 2014 and 2016, but the statute of limitations had already run before Cuyahoga County prosecutors nabbed him.
  • Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's trial on 20 impeachment charges in the state Senate is scheduled to begin on September 5. The photo above (second from left) is his mugshot from 2015 when he was charged with state felony Securities Fraud which he has yet to be tried for. TX voters elected him twice since then, nonetheless. As to the charges for which he has now been impeached, Texas House impeachment managers this week released new details about Paxton's abuse of office as the state's top law enforcement official, which include abuse of office to help his friend and donor Nate Paul, his use of a fake Uber account, burner phones and secret personal emails accounts used, in part, to facilitate his secret visits with his mistress who Paul's firm hired in order to make it easier for Paxton to visit her in Austin. All of that, even as Paul was secretly paying to renovate Paxton's home in McKinney. Paxton, who led the failed U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit attempting to toss out every vote cast in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, in the 2020 Presidential election, is also under federal investigation for many of the crimes he has been impeached for in the Lone Star State where he is now serving his third term as A.G.
  • A whole passel of Donald Trump co-defendants --- many of them also Republican attorneys --- were in the news today, as many surrendered to felony charges in Fulton County, Georgia, after being charged in the state racketeering conspiracy indictment along with Trump for their efforts to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. Seen in mugshots above (slots 3 through 6) are Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman (booked yesterday), Ken Chesebro, and Sidney Powell. Also surrendering today in Atlanta was Misty Hampton, the Republican Election Director of Coffee County, GA who invited Powell, and a bunch of other MAGA folks in to the Elections Office in the rural, Republican-leaning GA county to make unlawful copies of the state's sensitive voting system software. Also in related news today were Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Trump DoJ attorney Jeffrey Clark. Both are co-defendants in the RICO case, currently seeking to move their trials to federal court. Both had moved in federal court to postpone or cancel their surrenders in Fulton County. Both motions were rejected by the federal court today just before airtime after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis made clear that they had both been given more than enough time before this Friday's deadline to turn themselves in.

In other, occasionally related news on today's program...

  • Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Russian mercenary Wagner military battalion and leader of a short-lived coup against his former close ally, Vladimir Putin, earlier this year, reportedly died along with 9 others in a private jet that crashed shortly after takeoff approximately 60 miles north of Moscow on Wednesday. The plane was video-taped falling out of the sky after something appears to have caused an explosion after the jet had reached cruising altitude.
  • Milwaukee Public Schools were closed today in Wisconsin due to a dangerous heat wave. The closure comes on the same day that eight GOP candidates --- none named Trump --- are to appear in Milwaukee this evening for the party's first Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 season. Pretty much all of these candidates, many of whom pretended to be furious about school closures due to COVID, are also climate crisis deniers. Nonetheless, they are unlikely to raise the issue of our climate emergency at tonight's debate, despite the school closures today due to climate change in the very city in which they will be debating tonight.
  • The newly all-male state Supreme Court in South Carolina reversed the Court's own ruling from earlier this year today, regarding the state Legislature's near total abortion ban, even though the majority opinion concedes the new law infringes "a woman’s right of privacy and bodily autonomy." The 5 men now serving as Justices --- following the lone female Justice's mandatory retirement earlier this year --- just don't care, apparently. Unlike the now-retired female Justice who wrote the majority opinion blocking the new law earlier this year, the dudes now sitting on the state's High Court believe those state Constitutional interests of women do not outweigh "the interest of the unborn child to live."

And finally...

  • Trump says he will go in for booking at the Fulton County jail on Thursday evening, during TV's prime-time, of course. As he is set to be arraigned for his fourth criminal indictment of the year (his second one for attempting to steal the 2020 election), musical satirist Randy Rainbow returns with an all new, hilarious tune to mark the occasion and close today's program...

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: BRAD BLOG legal contributor Ernest A. Canning; Also: Trump co-defendants begin surrenders on 2020 election theft RICO charges in GA...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2023 6:31pm PT  

There is no small amount of irony throughout today's BradCast, as Republican lawmakers threaten to impeach a newly elected state Supreme Court Justice just days after she was sworn in. Do they think we don't remember how they pretended to be outraged(!) in 2020 and 2021, charging Democrats were offending voters with attempted "election nullification" by twice impeaching the former President at the end of his four-year term?

Before we get to that mess in Wisconsin today, speaking of The Former Guy, two of his co-defendants in his fourth criminal indictment of the year (the RICO case in Georgia for his attempted to steal the 2020 election there) surrendered at a Fulton County jail on Tuesday. John Eastman and Scott Hall both turned themselves in after arranging to be released on bond after booking.

Eastman is the far-right Trump attorney and architect of the unlawful/unconstitutional failed scheme to have then Vice President Mike Pence toss out legitimate Electoral College votes on January 6th, 2021. Hall, little known to most of the nation but well known by now to longtime BradCast listeners, is the Atlanta bail bondsman (well, that'll come in handy!) who confessed to frequent guest on this program, Marilyn Marks of the Coalition for Good Governance, that he helped run the unlawful MAGA breach of Georgia's sensitive voting system hardware and software in Coffee County, GA on January 7th, 2021.

Marks had the wherewithal to record Hall's phone call to her. We aired it for the first time on this program last year and have been closely covering the Coffee County breach ever since (even as GA Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger appears to still be covering it up.) That scheme, part of a multi-state conspiracy, was allegedly hatched in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020, and paid for by another co-defendant, Trump attorney Sidney Powell, and plays a key role in the 41-count grand jury RICO indictment [PDF] secured last week by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis. More surrenders, including Trump's own, are to come this week before the Friday deadline, after which Willis has vowed to seek arrest warrants.

As that plays out in the Peach State, desperate Republican lawmakers in the Badger State may be seeing the writing on the wall. Their 15 years of autocratic, partisan gerrymandered majority rule of both chambers of the Wisconsin state Legislature may finally be coming to an end following the statewide landslide election victory last April of Janet Protasiewicz to the state Supreme Court.

On August 1, Justice Protasiewicz was finally sworn in (as pictured above), giving liberals on the High Court a 4 to 3 majority for the first time in some 15 years. The next day, August 2, the first of two petitions was filed with the Court seeking a ruling that the GOP's extreme partisan gerrymandered Legislative maps for both the state Assembly and Senate are unlawful violations of the state's Constitution. Plaintiffs seek not only new, fair maps in advance of the 2024 elections, but they are also asking the Court to order an emergency special election for all seats in the Senate next year. According to plaintiffs, current office holders "lack legal entitlement" to hold those seats due to the unlawful maps in place since 2011, as first approved by the state's hard-right radical then-Governor Scott Walker.

Republicans are both furious and terrified about the two new lawsuits filed by voters, leading current, far-right Assembly Speaker and autocracy fan, Robin Vos (arguably one of the biggest benefactors of the states "rigged" maps), to float the idea of impeaching Protasiewicz if she fails to recuse herself from both cases. Vos argues that, during her campaign earlier this year, Protasiewicz "prejudged" the cases by describing the obviously unfair maps as both unfair and rigged.

There are a whole bunch of problems with Vos' argument, one that was laughably shared in a recent "intemperate dissent" penned in response to these cases by Walker-appointed Justice Rebecca Bradley.

Longtime BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNEST A. CANNING has been closely following and writing about the matter. He joins us today to detail the allegations against Protasiewicz, the hypocrisy of Bradley, and the constitutional crisis that could occur in the Badger State if Vos moves ahead with impeachment and removal by the state's Republican gerrymandered Assembly and Senate.

"For the Republicans to hold on to a 2/3rds majority in the Senate, even when they received as little as 45% of the vote, tells you what they've done. This is a deeply anti-democratic project," Canning explains. "If they're willing to impeach simply to hold on to power, that in itself is a direct assault on democracy. Particularly when you consider the argument that they really don't have a legal basis for the seats they are holding right now."

We also share a comment today on this entire fine mess from friend of the show, national affairs correspondent at The Nation and WI favorite son, John Nichols.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report as hurricane season suddenly kicks into full gear in the U.S., wildfire season continues unabated across Canada, and extreme drought partially shuts down operations at the Panama Canal. Also, before we close today, some grim news out of this year's climate change-fueled wildfires in Greece, and a quick update on Wednesday night's upcoming "Trump-free" 2024 Republican Presidential debate in Milwaukee...

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Computer election fraud charges via Coffee County voting system breach plays key role in second indictment in two weeks related to the disgraced former President's failed schemes to steal the 2020 election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2023 6:14pm PT  

We thought it possible that the news might break during yesterday's program, as we were covering some very related news. It happened, instead, later in the evening, just a few hours after we signed off from The BradCast. And it was just about as broad and sweeping as we've been arguing that it was likely to be. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

A Fulton County, Georgia grand jury handed up a sprawling 97-page indictment [PDF] on Monday evening, detailing 41 criminal felony counts for its 19 named defendants. Leading the case, of course, are the 13 new charges against Donald John Trump, who is alleged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to have run a racketeering (RICO) scheme with the other 18 defendants. The purpose of their criminal enterprise, the indictment details, was to steal the 2020 election from Joe Biden, Georgia voters and the American people. Happily, his racket failed.

The charging document details the counts related to the many different unlawful ways in which Trump and his co-conspirators attempted to flip the 2020 results in the Peach State, including by strong-arming state officials from members of the Legislator to the Secretary of State; lying to them all about non-existent voter fraud; threatening election workers into making false confessions; creating fake Trump electors as part of the scheme to pressure the Vice President into discarding the legitimate Electoral College results on January 6, 2021; and more, including the notorious voting system software breach in Coffee County which we had a hand in breaking on The BradCast more than a year ago.

Trump's indicted co-conspirators include his disgraced attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell; his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; former DoJ official Jeffrey Clark; a number of GOP operatives who conspired to threaten election worker Ruby Freeman; former GA GOP chair David Shafer; sitting GOP state Senator Shawn Still; former Coffee County GOP chair Cathy Latham; former Coffee County Director of Elections Misty Hampton and Atlanta bail bondsman, Scott Hall.

It was Hall's ill-considered phone call to frequent BradCast guest Marilyn Marks of the Coalition of Good Governance, bragging about his role in the entire illicit scheme to image hard drives on voting and tabulation systems made by Dominion Voting Systems in Coffee County, which initially helped reveal the unlawful plot last year. That phone call was aired for the first time on our show in May of 2022. We've been covering the entire plot --- a multi-state conspiracy hatched in Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020 and organized by Powell --- ever since on this show and at The BRAD BLOG, even as GA's Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger appears to have been working hard to cover it up ever since. That, despite the ongoing dangers to next year's Presidential election.

The breach plays a major role in Willis' indictment. She charges Powell, Hampton and Hall with seven conspiracy crimes each related to Computer Theft, Computer Trespass, Computer Invasion of Privacy ("with the intention of examining personal voter data with knowledge that such examination was without authority") and Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud. Latham was also charged with those same seven counts and another four related to her dual role as one of the fake electors in Georgia.

All of that and more is detailed on today's program, including Willis' late night announcement of Trump's fourth criminal indictment in just over four months. He is now, personally, facing 91 charges in four different jurisdictions at both the state and federal level.

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, which also happens to include some landmark good news for a happy change (along with the usual amount of grim news), to end today's program...

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Guest: Attorney Keith Barber's primer on the crime of Racketeering; Also: Raskin on Trump trying to 'steal' the 2020 election; Election Day in OH...
By Brad Friedman on 8/8/2023 6:17pm PT  

For some reason, it seemed like a good moment on today's BradCast to bone up on exactly what "racketeering" or RICO charges are. I have a feeling it may come in handy in the days ahead. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP, it's Election Day in Ohio. One single statewide ballot issue, in the middle of August. That's because Republican lawmakers were hoping to undermine a ballot measure set for this November which, if successful, will codify protection for reproductive freedoms into the state Constitution.

For more than 100 years in the Buckeye State, Constitutional Amendments were adopted via the ballot with a simple majority vote. Today's measure, Issue 1, would raise the requirement needed for passage to a 60% super-majority. Of course, the GOP's Issue 1 on the ballot today would require just 50% + 1 for passage.

As we've been reporting, despite the state Republicans' attempt to sneak their anti-democracy Amendment past voters (after, earlier this year, adopting legislation to ban August Special Elections), early voting has been huge. Today's Election Day turnout was reportedly higher than expected as well. Happily, there were, so far, only a few reported problems at the polls. We'll see if that changes and we'll have reported results on this critical measure tomorrow.

THEN, over the weekend, Donald Trump's top attorney on his new indictment by Special Counsel Jack Smith for his many failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, was all over the news shows offering absurd defenses for his client's crimes. John Laura told Meet the Press, for example, that "a technical violation of the Constitution" isn't actually unlawful.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who happens to be a Constitutional law professor (as well as both the Lead Manager for the U.S. House during Trump's second impeachment for insurrection and a member of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating it) strongly begged to differ. Critically, he noted in his response to Lauro's remarks, there are people serving years in jail in this country for falsifying one single vote, whereas Trump "tried to steal the entire election."

Thank you, Congressman!

NEXT, we continue to await what is almost certainly going to be Trump's fourth criminal indictment in about as many months. This one will come any day now, likely this week or next, courtesy of Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis in relation to Team Trump's failed attempts to steal the Peach State's election in 2020 from Joe Biden and the state's voters.

Her case, for reasons explained on today's program, could be expansive, including many charges and many conspirators acting in concert with Trump. Exactly who will be charged and what they will be charged with remains unknown.

Among the many questions about Willis' case: Will she invoke the state's "Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations" (or RICO) Act or just simple conspiracy charges? And, oh, by the way, what are the difference between the two, as RICO is best known for use against organized crime by the mafia, etc.?

Luckily, KEITH BARBER, former attorney, former Republican and current Daily Kos contributor on law and Constitutional matters, recently wrote about exactly that and joins us today for a helpful RICO primer and insights into Willis' likely imminent indictments.

Short version of the difference between "conspiracy" and "RICO", as Barber wrote last month: "Conspiracy requires an agreement between the co-conspirators to commit what are usually specific crimes. RICO does not require proving any such agreement. So long as the parties commit the required predicate offenses, as part of the same 'enterprise,' acting 'in furtherance of a common purpose,' RICO can be satisfied."

As Barber tells me today: "The mob boss doesn't necessarily plan anything with the guy who is running the protection racket He may not even know him. But they are both engaged in the same broad criminal enterprise. That's the distinction between RICO and conspiracy. You don't have to show the connections that are shown in the [Jack] Smith indictment of Trump between the co-conspirators. It's sufficient if they engage in a pattern of racketeering activity in furtherance of the same general objective."

If you'd like a more detailed explanation, tune in to today's show, when Barber also offers his thoughts on who is likely to be indicted. "All indications are, all the hints are, that it's going to be a whole lot of people, with a whole lot of charges. It's kind of mind-boggling how many people it could be."

Also discussed: last night's court ruling in columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape and defamation case against Trump and his counter-suit for defamation against Carroll. Short version: Trump's suit was tossed as the judge confirmed that, yes, Trump was found by a jury to have been a rapist according to common vernacular, and Carroll's second civil trial against him (she already won $5 million from him during the last one, now she's suing for at least $10 million) is scheduled to begin early next year and could be a very very short trial given everything that was already established as a fact in the first trial.

FINALLY, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the death toll rises under prolonged extreme heat in Arizona; climate change unleashes a brand new flooding problem in Alaska; President Biden moves to protect a million acres from uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, and extreme rains and deadly flooding continue to pummel parts of Europe...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2023 6:06pm PT  

The quote in the headline for today's BradCast comes, according to one of our guests today, from former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who knows quite a bit about both Constitutional crimes and American history. Finally, Donald J. Trump is facing accountability for his worst (known) crime of all: Attempting to overthrow American democracy itself by stealing a Presidential election from the American people before our very eyes. Luckily, he was as bad at that as he is at everything else. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

"This is a momentous legal event. It's the most significant legal event of our lifetimes, one of the most significant legal events ever in the history of this country. It is up there with Marbury vs Madison, Brown vs Board of Education, Dred Scott as a defining case for the times," Katyal told MSNBC after the new indictment against the the disgraced former President was handed up in D.C. yesterday. "This indictment lays out a case that a guy who was President of the United States --- while he was President of the US --- leveraged his office, used his power to thwart the will of the people in the most solemn thing they do in our country, vote. This is the biggest constitutional crime in our history."

We're joined today discuss that crime and Trump's latest indictment (his third in four months, and his second at the federal level) for it by two favorite BradCast special coverage guests. HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is the award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; and our old friend "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and simply "Bill" at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he has long and proudly produced The Professional Left Podcast.

Following the release of Special Counsel Jack Smith's new, very readable 45-page indictment [PDF] against Trump just minutes before airtime on Tuesday --- including four felony fraud, obstruction and conspiracy charges related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election before, during, and after the January 6, 2021 insurrection he incited at the U.S. Capitol --- we've had a bit of time to finally read the charges and evidence presented with them in full.

Also, we've had some time to learn about the judge assigned to the case, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan. And, boy howdy, is Trump not gonna like her. She was appointed by President Obama, has been particularly tough on January 6 insurrectionists, and famously (and correctly) wrote, in a 2021 ruling allowing the bipartisan House Jan. 6 Select Committee access to documents from the Trump White House that "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President."

As noted, he's not gonna like her one bit. Oh, well. Perhaps it balances out the Trump-appointed federal judge/stooge overseeing his federal indictment on 40 felony charges related to his theft and retention of national security documents and his attempts to obstruct the government's investigation and attempts to retrieve them down in Florida.

Among the topics discussed with "Digby" and "Driftglass" on today's special coverage...

  • Why it took so long to bring this case, particularly as so much of it had already been revealed by the House Jan. 6 Committee last year.
  • What either struck or surprised them about the new indictment.
  • Who the still-unidentified "Co-Conspirator 6" might be.
  • Will history better remember Mike Pence's moment of courage on January 6 or his pathetic turnabout ever since?
  • Why this case feels so much different than the other two indictments filed against Trump.
  • Why it seems that nobody in the media is able to describe what Trump did as an attempt to STEAL a Presidential election. (Though MSNBC's Joy Reid and Parton --- both of whom have long followed me on Twitter --- get well-deserved kudos for doing so today!)
  • Whether, as folks on the Right like to claim, Tuesday's new indictment (and the others) actually help him in the 2024 election.
  • And, would they support or oppose a plea agreement in which the disgraced former President was allowed to plead guilty, get some home confinement, pay a huge fine and, most importantly, drop out of the 2024 race and vow to never run for public office again in exchange for escaping prison time (akin to Nixon VP Spiro Agnew's deal with federal prosecutors)?

Answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

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Six co-conspirators cited, but still unnamed, in charges handed up by federal grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith's Jan. 6-related probe; Also: NJ Lt. Gov. Oliver dies suddenly; OH's critical Aug. 8 election...
By Brad Friedman on 8/1/2023 6:23pm PT  

Literally minutes before today's BradCast, news broke that the grand jury in D.C. hearing Special Counsel Jack Smith conspiracy case against Donald J. Trump regarding his many failed attempts to steal 2020 Presidential election had handed up a four-count federal indictment against Donald J. Trump. Seconds before airtime, Smith offered a brief statement on the new indictment. We cover both today...on the fly...

As Smith announced (we share his brief remarks in full), Trump was indicted on four federal felonies...

Count 1: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States [18 USC 371]
Count 2: Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(k)]
Count 3: Obstruction of, and Attempt to Obstruct, an Official Proceeding [18 USC 1512(c)(2)]
Count 4: Conspiracy Against Rights [specifically, the right to vote and to have one's vote counted, 18 USC 241]

Six of Defendant Trump's alleged co-conspirators are briefly described in the 45-page indictment [PDF], though not named within it. The co-conspirators appear to be uncharged at this time. Most of their names were pretty simple to identify based on their description in the indictment (see pages 3 and 4). According to Washington Post, which names 5 of the 6 of them, it appears we got them pretty much correct as we read through the early portion of the charges on today's show. WaPo identifies them as...

Co-Conspirator 1: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani
Co-Conspirator 2: Trump attorney John Eastman
Co-Conspirator 3: Trump attorney Sidney Powell
Co-Conspirator 4: DoJ Asst. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark
Co-Conspirator 5: Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro
Co-Conspirator 6: A still unidentified "political consultant" whose description matches several potential different Trump henchmen.

Looks like we were correct, at least, on Co-Conspirators 1 through 4. Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler agrees WaPo's ID of Chesebro as number 5 is "sound". He is described in the indictment as "an attorney who assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding". We speculate on the show that Co-Conspirator 6 could be Trump's 2020 campaign Director of Election Day Operations Michael Roman, but that's just an on-the-fly guess.

The most central aspect of the charges, at least to my eyes, is that Donald Trump not only attempted to steal the election by lying about it, using dozens of fraudulent claims for months after the November election, but knew that he was lying about every aspect of it.

"The Defendant lost the 2020 presidential election," the indictment reads in its first paragraph...

Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false. But the Defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway --- to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.

He lost. He knew it, because he was told by his closest advisors and all the top state and federal officials with whom he conferred. And, yet, he fraudulently claimed otherwise in hopes of defrauding the American people and stealing a Presidential election. He is finally be charged for all of the above.

It's all spelled out, quite readably, in the indictment [PDF] which Smith, in his brief remarks, encouraged "everyone" to "read in full".

We will, no doubt, have more on all of this in the days ahead. In the remaining time on today's show, as salvaged somewhat from our previous planned program...

  • The sudden death of New Jersey's Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, the first statewide black official in the Garden State and a central character in my 2011 blockbuster exclusive on then Gov. Chris Christie's secret address to the Koch Brothers secret political gathering that year in Vale, CO.
  • The critical election next Tuesday, August 8, in Ohio, where corrupt, authoritarian Republicans have suddenly called a special election to try and adopt a constitutional amendment that would require 60% approval by voters for all future constitutional amendments placed on the ballot. This measure, however, would still need only 50% to be adopted. The scheme is meant to undermine a citizen's ballot initiative planned for this November that would write protections for reproductive freedoms into the Buckeye State constitution.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report with news on the hottest month ever recorded in human history (July 2023); President Biden's new federal heat protections for workers; Canada's first steps toward ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry; and the landmark banning of natural gas hook-ups in new construction by a major state in Australia...

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Trump and his henchmen facing more consequences by the day; Trump apologists in Congress hilariously face-planting...
By Brad Friedman on 7/11/2023 6:42pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: It's taken longer than it should have to get here, but Accountability Season for Trump World is finally beginning to fire on all pistons, even as his stooges in Congress, pretending to bring "accountability" for..."Biden crime family" something or other...continue to step on rakes. That part is hilarious. [Audio link to show follows this summary.]

First up today, the GOP House "whistleblower" face-plants...

  • Yesterday, we quickly detailed a supposed "IRS whistleblower" claim that Trump-appointed and Biden-retained U.S. Attorney David Weiss was somehow blocked by Biden's DoJ from bringing anything more than a couple of minor misdemeanor charges against Hunter Biden for under-paying two years of taxes. In a letter sent to Sen. Lindsey Graham, however, Weiss made clear that the GOP argument was completely false and that he was given full agency to investigate and prosecute anything he wanted.
  • Then, just after airtime last night, there was news about yet another supposed GOP "whistleblower" blowing up. This one has long been touted by House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer...at least until the guy, Gal Luft, suddenly went missing a few months ago. Still, Comer, claimed the dude was ready to spill the goods on a massive bribery scandal regarding the Bidens and illicit payoffs from China. Comer appeared on Newsmax just three days ago with a host describing Luft as "well connected in intelligence circles in Washington" and "not just some weird guy who popped up out of nowhere." Comer agreed that Luft was "very credible" and that people on MSNBC who said he looked like a fool would be sorry. Well, the guy is still on the lam, but on Monday, we learned why. The DoJ unsealed an 8-count indictment against Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, related to working as an unregistered foreign agent for China; brokering illicit Chinese weapons and Iranian oil deals; and unlawfully trafficking arms to places like Libya, UAE and Kenya. Other than that, he's "very credible" and will soon be cracking open the Biden Crime Family case with House Republicans who don't look like "fools" at all.

In news today of actual accountability for real crimes...

  • Grand jurors are being convened in Atlanta today, where they will soon be voting on indictments in Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' broad criminal probe of the attempt to steal the 2020 Peach State election by Donald Trump and his henchmen, including Rudy Giuliani, fake electors, and likely many others. Let the accountability begin!
  • Accountability is already under way for a number of Trump's top 2020 legal henchmen. In recent days, a panel of the D.C. Bar found Rudy Giuliani should be disbarred in the District for bringing "frivolous" and "destructive" lawsuits after the 2020 election that falsely alleged fraud. The formerly respectable NYC Mayor turned disgraced Trump attorney has already had his license to practice law suspended in New York, but still has a few more chances to appeal his case in D.C., even after the panel determined that his misconduct was so disgraceful that it "sadly transcends all his past accomplishments."
  • L. Lin Wood, a formerly respected Georgia attorney turned Trump wingnut was allowed by the State Bar of Georgia last week to transfer to "Retired Status effective immediately," rather than face disciplinary charges from the state Bar for his part in attempting to steal the 2020 election for Trump with bogus lawsuits. The retirement is "unqualified, irrevocable, and permanent," and bans him from practicing law in Georgia or any other jurisdiction. But it allows the seemingly mentally unstable, formerly high-profile 70-year old attorney to retire to his $16 million South Carolina plantation without consequence.
  • John Eastman, the disgraced, far-right Trump attorney responsible for dreaming up the unlawful and unconstitutional scheme to have then Vice President Mike Pence block Joe Biden's Electoral College certification in Congress on January 6, 2021, is in an ongoing trial with the California Bar Association facing 11 disciplinary charges likely to result in the loss of his license to practice law in the Golden State.
  • Late last week, disgraced, deadbeat Trump advisor and former Campaign Chair Steve Bannon was ordered by a New York Judge to pay his own former attorneys nearly $500,000 after stiffing them for legal fees related to representation in his unsuccessful trial for Contempt of Congress after refusing to answer subpoenas from the House Jan. 6 Committee (he was sentenced to 4-months in prison, but is currently free pending appeal) and many other crimes and grifts.
  • MyPillow, the Minnesota-based company founded and run by 2020 election fraud conspiracist Mike Lindell, is reportedly auctioning off factory equipment and sub-leasing manufacturing space after, according to Lindell, losing $100 million in business following his continuing, evidence-free claims that the election was stolen from Trump. Now he's mad at "the box stores, the shopping networks, the shopping channels" because "all of them did cancel culture on us." We're all crying in our Bud Light beer for ya, Mike.

And finally...

  • While Accountability Season is finally beginning, Climate Season is, sadly, fully underway all across the globe and, as Desi Doyen details in our latest Green News Report, here at home with record temps broiling the U.S. Southwest and hurricane-like downpours drenching the U.S. Northeast. (Rainfall in Vermont over the past 24 hours has now reportedly outpaced 2011's Hurricane Irene.)

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

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

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

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

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

On Jan 6 and related matters:

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

On the Stolen Documents:

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

On the GA Conspiracy:

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

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

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Guest: Former UT Asst. A.G. Michael Teter of The 65 Project; Also: BRAD BLOG's 20th year!; NY D.A. seeking criminal charges against Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2023 6:18pm PT  

We're still fighting for accountability after all these years on The BradCast. So why should today be any different? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We kick off today's program with a word or two on our 19th Anniversary of independent investigative journalism, blogging, broadcast, muckraking and trouble-making as we now officially enter our 20th(!) year of doing so at The BRAD BLOG! While I had some thoughts on all of that this morning at the blog, one point of particular pride remains the ongoing billion-dollar lawsuits by voting machine companies against Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell (as well as Fox "News" and a bunch of their on-air hosts.) The reason for the pride is that no small part of the false claims made against Dominion and Smartmatic after the 2020 election by Trump's huckster attorneys spring directly from inaccurate interpretations of accurately reported exclusives at The BRAD BLOG many years ago, particularly in regard to American voting systems and Hugo Chavez.

By the time those defamation suits come to an expensive end, however, it's likely that both Powell and Giuliani will have been disbarred wherever they are currently still licensed to practice law. Just last month, for example, Rudy faced a hearing before the D.C. Bar Association where he is likely to be disbarred for the phony lawsuits he (and Powell) filed on Trump's behalf, falsely claiming fraud following the 2020 election.

Donald Trump's lawyers --- there are lots of them --- have been getting sanctioned in state and federal courts left and right over the past couple of years. But none, to my knowledge, have yet to be disbarred. That could be changing soon for both Giuliani and Powell. And, finally, as of last week, for John Eastman. He's the main attorney behind Trump's failed effort to have Vice President Mike Pence steal the election for him during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, when Joe Biden's Electoral College victory was finally certified after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Late last week, the State Bar of California announced that Eastman is being charged with "multiple disciplinary counts." He faces 11 charges arising from allegations that he "engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states." The Office of the State Bar's Chief Trial Counsel says he will seek disbarment of Eastman before the State Bar Court. This is serious stuff for an attorney.

We're joined today by former Utah Asst. Attorney General and former University of Utah associate law professor, MICHAEL TETER, who now serves as Managing Director for The 65 Project. The group, named for the approximately 65 failed lawsuits Team Trump filed after the 2020 election, describes its work as "a bipartisan effort to protect democracy...by holding accountable Big Lie Lawyers who bring fraudulent and malicious lawsuits to overturn legitimate election results, and by working with bar associations to deter future abuses by establishing clear standards for conduct that punish lies about the conduct or results of elections."

The group has filed ethics complaints against loads of scammy Trump attorneys across the country and, as Teter explains today, against elected officials who are also licensed attorneys, like Sen. Ted Cruz and Attorney General Ken Paxton, both of Texas, for their fraudulent legal efforts to steal the 2020 election for Trump and rob millions of Americans of their perfectly legal votes.

"It's a solid case," Teter tells me today, regarding the CA State Bar's case against Eastman. "There are no disputes about the facts, quite frankly. Everything that John Eastman was doing and engaging in in 2020 and early 2021 has been well-documented. Those efforts clearly violate the rules of professional conduct that every lawyer swears to abide by. There are no 'slam dunks' in this world, but I think this is a very strong case and the bar wouldn't have brought it forward if it didn't think so, as well."

We discuss how rare cases like these are --- or used to be --- and how much State Bars really aren't prepared for cases like these. It's one of the reasons, Teter explains, that it has taken so long to bring many of these Trump attorneys before the Bar.

"The disciplinary processes set up in the states are not set up in a way to protect democracy or protect the abuse of the legal system" the way Team Trump has abused it. Usually, he says, they examine one page complaints, where an attorney has overcharged a client or something. "The bars need to adjust their thinking and their approaches to make sure they are protecting democracy."

Teter argues that most of the cases brought by Trump and his attorneys after the 2020 election were never meant to win. They were simply meant to allow members of Congress and others to argue that the 2020 results were in dispute. "They knew they didn't have the law or the facts. They were using the court system as a political tool, as part of their propaganda."

"So when they lost these lawsuits it didn't create any disincentive to continue. They got out of them what they wanted," Teter explains. "These bar associations are not used to lawyers using the legal system in this way and they need to get caught up. They need to start thinking about the abuse of the legal system, the abuse of law licenses in this way."

We've got a lot to discuss today with Teter, including the remarkable number of Trump attorneys now facing court sanctions, disciplinary charges and potential disbarment. That, he says, has at least made it more and more difficult for Trump --- and his acolytes like failed 2022 Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona --- to find lawyers willing to represent them.

"MAGA has a new meaning now," Teter quips, "which is Making Attorneys Get Attorneys."

And finally today, as we're on the Trump Accountability beat again (was there ever a time when we weren't?), potentially good news out of New York today, where the Times reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has begun presenting evidence to a grand jury seeking criminal charges against Trump himself, related to his hush money payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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House J6 Committee's report details how the then-President's anti-Pence tweet was directed at, and likely to produce, 'imminent lawless action'...
By Ernest A. Canning on 12/28/2022 9:05am PT  

The violence was no accident. It was not a peaceful protest that spun out of control. Instead, as Rep. Elizabeth Cheney (R-WY) observed, in explaining her Jan. 11, 2021 vote to impeach, a then "President of the United States summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame for this attack." It was, by the former President's deliberate design, a violent insurrection.

In its Executive Summary [PDF] released last week, the bipartisan House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol amplified its referral to the U.S. Department of Justice for potential prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump et al. under provisions of 18 U.S.C. §2383 - Rebellion or Insurrection, which expressly applies to anyone who "incites" an insurrection.

"A Federal Court", the Committee observed, "has already concluded that President Trump's statements during his Ellipse speech were "plausibly words of incitement not protected by the First Amendment."

Those "words", uttered by the then President on January 6, 2021 at what was billed as a "Stop the Steal Rally" at the Ellipse near the White House, included 22 occasions in which Trump urged his supporters to "fight". He told them: "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." Trump offered those words to an angry, armed mob gathered in D.C. that morning after his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, at the same rally, called for "trial by combat."

While not mentioned in the Committee report's Executive Summary, the video recordings of the rally reflect that, as the former President was speaking, the crowd chanted: "Fight for Trump! Fight for Trump!"

Trump knew those he'd summoned to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 were both armed and dangerous. According to Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and one of the J6 Committee's star witnesses, Trump became irate when "thousands would not pass through the magnetometers" at the rally site, which had been erected by the Secret Service for his protection. She testified that the former President said: "I don't F'ing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me."

Given the totality of the evidence assembled by the Committee over the past 18 months, detailing Trump's multifaceted effort to overturn and steal the election from the American people in order to retain the Presidency, a prosecutor would be well positioned to argue that, when Trump directed thousands of angry and armed supporters to move to the Capitol, he was extolling them to essentially carry out a violent coup and that the words uttered at the Ellipse were, indeed, "incitement" within the meaning of the Insurrection statute.

Indeed, his reported irate antics in response to his Secret Service detail's refusal to permit him to accompany the mob at the Capitol, suggests that the former President saw his own role as that of an insurrectionist Commander in Chief --- someone who could direct the actions of an armed mob that included members of extremist militias clad in tactical gear.

As defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), however, speech is prohibited only where it is (1) "directed at inciting or producing imminent lawless action", and (2) "likely to incite or produce such action." [Emphasis added.]

That definition provides room for Trump's legal counsel to argue the former President merely told the crowd to "go to the Capitol"; that it wasn't an incitement to "imminent" violence.

However, that plausible defense evaporated on Jan. 6, 2021 at 2:24 p.m. when Trump tweeted...

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Special Coverage of panel's final public hearing; Also: Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 12/19/2022 5:58pm PT  

Well, Merry Christmas from The U.S. House and The BradCast, Mr. Trump! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

In their finale hearing on Monday, the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating the former President's incitement of insurrection on January 6, 2021 and his multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election, voted unanimously to send criminal referrals for the former President on four different, very serious crimes to the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Those criminal referrals include:

  • Obstruction of an official Proceeding. For corruptly attempt to block the peaceful transfer of power at the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. For his efforts to block Joe Biden's victory by lying about fraud, despite being told by all his top White House legal advisors and his own DoJ there was no evidence to support his false claims.
  • Conspiracy to Make a False Statement to Congress. For participating in the scheme to send phony certificates in support of fake Electors on January 6th.
  • Insurrection. For inciting, assisting, or giving aid or comfort to those attempting to overthrow the United States government.

If eventually indicted and found guilty of that final "very grave charge," as Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) described it today, Trump would become ineligible to hold any future federal office.

In our Special Coverage of today's hearing, we step through extended clips highlighting the Committee's case, as presented and summarized on Monday, including additional information from new witnesses interviewed by the panel since their last public hearing in mid-September.

The meeting ended with the presentation of the Committee's final report (Introductory Summary: PDF, HTML) and their unanimous, 9 to 0 vote to send the unprecedented criminal referrals to the DoJ for the former President of the United States, one of his corrupt attorneys (John Eastman) and others.

Whether these referrals result in actual criminal indictments is, of course, a separate matter. But, as discussed today, they will at least force the DoJ to review the evidence of these serious crimes as collected by the Committee from hundreds of witnesses over the past two years.

We close today with a few callers ringing in on what (if anything) happens next, and if these referrals may finally result in real accountability for the unspeakably corrupt Donald John Trump...

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Formalizing 2020's ad-hoc strategy, Republicans have organized nationally to create and unleash phony fraud claims, as needed, amid the havoc of next Tuesday's critical elections...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2022 6:49pm PT  

Today on The BradCast, we continue our focus on next Tuesday's critical midterm elections by picking things up, somewhat, from our conversation on yesterday's program. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

We were joined yesterday by longtime election and voting system expert Eddie Perez to discuss, among other things, what he has been writing about as the "manufactured chaos" that Republicans are creating to wreak havoc in the 2022 elections.

Today, we dive into broader details of that organized, manufactured chaos program that is emerging as a national strategy by the GOP to create enough havoc around the country to allow them a patina of "evidence" with which to challenge results of election outcomes they don't like.

A number of seemingly disparate efforts are actually now emerging as of a piece with a national strategy that you (and the Democrats and the media) need to know about before it all comes crashing down at once amid chaotic smoke and mirrors on Election Day and thereafter.

This is clearly an effort that echoes the less coordinated post-election chaos of 2020. Many of the same players are involved, including corrupt Trump attorneys John Eastman and Cleta Mitchell, as well as his convicted former aide Steve Bannon, the laughable billionaire pillow guy Mike Lindell, not to mention those in the far-right political media set to help execute the strategy as if it is legitimate, from Tucker Carlson on down.

The hope, as Josh Kovensky outlines at TPM today, is to sow the seeds of enough chaos to be able to create court cases and "thousands of sworn affidavits" (sound familiar?) to "credibly" point to (false) claims of "fraud" in virtually any election around the country next week, if and when they don't win it. "The chaos is the point," he writes.

We pull many of these threads together on today's program. One example is the seemingly isolated case of the campaign manager for Maryland's white nationalist Republican candidate for Attorney General who directed supporters at a rally last weekend to vote next Tuesday "as late in the day as possible," explaining that, "If everyone could stand in long, long lines at 6 o’clock, that would actually help us."

Then there are the door-to-door canvassers --- organized in part by folks like Eastman, Bannon, Lindell, Mitchell and others --- who, according to a Reuters report today, have been active in at least 23 states. They are dressing as if they are government officials --- sometimes armed and with badges --- intimidating voters with questions about who lives in their house, what their voting record is, etc. They appear to be collecting information to use to challenge voters on Election Day at the polls and/or in the post-election period, as required to create enough chaos to offer the appearance of fraud and/or uncertainty in the legitimacy of election results. And, yes, Fox "News" and the rest will be standing by to report all of these false accusations as if they are real.

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. It's important that you --- not to mention the Democratic Party and everyone at legitimate media outlets --- understand what is going on before the fog of chaotic election war overwhelms all of us beginning next Tuesday.

In a not unrelated story today, we noted yesterday that AP has found more than 100 election lawsuits have already been brought this year related to the 2022 elections. Most have been filed by Republicans in efforts to make voting more difficult. We detailed several of those cases yesterday (in Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada). Today we discuss one filed in Illinois that seeks to invalidate lawful absentee ballots that are cast on or before Election Day but do not arrive until afterward, in the two week period allowed by state law. A Republican Congressman is suing to block the counting of those votes, even though they are lawfully cast ballots that could include tens of thousands cast by members of the U.S. military stationed overseas. The complaint was originally filed in May of this year. But the Trump-appointed federal judge overseeing the case has yet to rule on it, for some reason, with Election Day less than a week away. Chaos in waiting.

Also, since we quickly waved at these Trump accountability stories at the top of today's show, some links for more deets for ya:

  • A judge has appointed an independent monitor to oversee Trump Organization finances in the civil fraud suit filed by NY A.G. Letitia James against Trump, his company and his three oldest kids.
  • The NY criminal tax fraud case against the Trump Organization is now under way.
  • Top Trump aide Kash Patel has been granted immunity to testify against him before a federal grand jury probing the documents Trump stole upon leaving the White House.
  • Trump settled the lawsuit against him for ordering his security goons to beat up protesters in front of Trump Tower in 2015, as jury selection was underway in the case.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with a whole bunch of climate related stories both good and bad as winter is coming...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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