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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...


Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity' rant; Seven jurors now seated in his NY criminal trial; House Repubs deliver impeachment articles to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
By Brad Friedman on 4/16/2024 7:07pm PT  

Even Joe Biden is now making jokes about the plummeting value of the former President's latest scam, his attempt to turn his failing social media site into a Wall Street meme stock. As discussed on today's BradCast, it ain't working. At least for now. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The value of Trump Media & Technology Group, trading under Donald Trump's initials as DJT, has lost about two-thirds of its value since it debuted as a publicly traded stock at the beginning of the month. If it "drops any lower," Biden quipped at a rally in Pennsylvania today, Donald Trump "might do better under my tax plan than his."

When it first went public, DJT quickly shot up to nearly $80 per share. It has been nose-diving by double-digit percentages pretty much every day since. The stock closed on Tuesday at less than $23 a share. On Monday night, the Washington Post's Drew Harwell posted a piece that is nearly equal parts hilarious, for those who enjoy the schadenfreude of Trump losing billions of theoretical dollars in just a few weeks time, and heart-breaking, for those who feel for the hundreds of thousands of Trump fans who have lost, in some cases, their "whole nest egg" because they were brain-poisoned enough to buy into Trump's latest fraudulent scheme.

Harwell's report of the reaction to the plummeting value of the stock by Trump supporters themselves on Truth Social, the money-losing venture that is currently DJT's only actual business, is harrowing and amazing. (But just more evidence of the "deep state", if you believe some of the denialists who are still buying more shares every day now!) But it serves as yet another reminder that, as sick as Trump is, it is our nation itself, and its people, whose illness we must eventually figure out how to attend to.

Anyway, tune in to today's show for many more thoughts on the above, and a whole bunch of other news of the day, including...

  • Trump's recent Truth Social video rant on how Presidents simply can't do the job of Presidenting without absolute criminal immunity, the way the Founders wanted it. Then again, there is no evidence that the Founders wanting anything of the sort (quite the opposite, in fact); every President of the United States before (and since) Trump has been able to function just fine without it; and --- oh, yeah --- as Trump said in a separate rant just one day earlier, apparently "Crooked Joe Biden...can't put two-sentences together" but has been clever enough to mastermind all four of Trump's current criminal indictments in two different states and two separate federal jurisdictions, all without leaving a trace of evidence. "At what point are the actions of a sitting President...against his opponent for election interference considered illegal?," Trump asked. But, according to Trump just one day earlier, even if the President had anything to do with Trump's criminal indictments (he doesn't) it would still never be illegal!
  • The disgraced former President's criminal trial in New York, on 34 federal counts related to hush-money payments to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election, seems to be moving faster than expected. On Tuesday, seven jurors were selected on the second day of the trial. Just five more jurors and six alternates are needed before opening statements can begin, perhaps as early as the beginning of next week.
  • On Tuesday, House GOP lawmakers finally delivered their two articles of impeachment against Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the U.S. Senate, where the high-crime-and misdemeanor-free charges are expected to die either very quickly or somewhat less quickly, in an impeachment trial that, according to the rules, must begin immediately and continue until complete. Good thing there is nothing else Congress needs to be doing right now.
  • The far-right conspiracy outlet known as One American News (OAN) has reportedly struck a confidential settlement with voting system vendor Smartmatic, in the defamation lawsuit brought against the Trump-supporting TV channel for lies told about the company's voting systems following the 2020 election. Despite repeated false claims by OAN anchors and guests that Smartmatic software was used "in 30 states" to steal the election for Biden --- with zero evidence in support of those claims --- the company's voting systems are only used in one U.S. jurisdiction: here in Los Angeles County, where even brain-poisoned MAGA dupes aren't dumb enough to claim the election was stolen from Trump.

    For the role that we personally played in confusing Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and the OAN clowns regarding Smartmatic's role in U.S. elections, I can only say: "You're welcome!"

    The terms of the settlement are undisclosed, but it follows on last year's $787 million settlement between Fox "News" and Dominion Voting Systems over similarly false claims, as well as a settlement between OAN and a former Dominion executive. There are many other similar defamation suits still pending, however, by both Smartmatic and Dominion over lies told about them following 2020 by other well-known Trump conspiracists.

  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with several pieces of pretty cool news littered amidst a number of terrifying climate crisis omens...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2024 5:11pm PT  

After a number of quick news headline since our previous BradCast last week, it's on to the biggest story of the day: the first day of the first criminal trial of a former U.S. President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Of course, the nation has never seen anything like it. I might suggest we'd otherwise be unlikely to see anything like it again in our lifetimes, but for the fact that the trial on 34 felony counts against Donald J. Trump that began in New York on Monday is just the first of four criminal trials awaiting the disgraced former President and presumptive Republican Party nominee for the 2024 Presidential election.

Jury selection finally got underway late on Monday after a series of pretrial arguments in the indictment brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. It alleges that that Trump created a series of fraudulent business records with the intent to hide a $130,000 hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels just weeks prior to the 2016 Presidential election. The payment was made amid Trump's panic in the wake of the release of the Access Hollywood videotape in the closing days of the 2016 race, during which Trump is heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Then, while serving as President of the United States, Trump signed and sent monthly payments to his then personal attorney/fixer Michael Cohen to reimburse him for the payment to Daniels on Trump's behalf, as well as for several hundred thousand additional dollars for Cohen's efforts.

The payments were meant to prevent Daniels from discussing a sexual affair she says she had with Trump ten years earlier, while Trump's wife Melania was nursing their newborn son.

The payments, according to Federal Elections Commission (FEC) findings, violated federal campaign finance laws which, Bragg alleges, changes the charges for Trump's falsified business records from misdemeanors to felonies. Thirty-four of them, in fact, all in service of cheating to win the 2016 election. Bragg describes the scheme --- just as Trump would, had a Democratic candidate done anything even close to it --- as "election interference".

We're joined today for special coverage of the legal, political and cultural significance of this historic day by two longtime friends of the program: Award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and her Hullaballoo blog, and former attorney and former lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who now covers legal and constitutional issues as "KeithDB" for the progressive Daily Kos website.

Both offer explanations of the alleged crimes themselves and their insights on the Prosecution's witness list, which includes, among many others, Cohen and Daniels as well as Playboy model Karen McDougal --- who is said to have carried out a year-long sexual dalliance with Trump during Melania's pregnancy --- and David Pecker, the head of the company which owned the National Enquirer in 2016. Pecker has since admitted to buying McDougal's story to make it go away --- a so-called "Catch and Kill" scheme --- on behalf of Trump, his longtime friend.

Barber details some of the complexities of the NY criminal case and how unusual it is for prosecutors to call some 6,000 potential jurors. Parton discusses the historic, political and cultural ramifications of this trial. Both offer thoughts on the likelihood that Trump ends up spending time in jail, either for the crimes themselves, which could result in a sentence of up to four years, or for violating the gag order placed on Trump by the trial judge, Justice Juan Merchan, after Trump has spent weeks attacking potential witnesses and the judge's family. Prosecutors charged today that Trump violated the gag order three times over this past weekend alone. A hearing on that matter will be held next Wednesday, April 24 Tuesday, April 23.

"It is a shocking, unprecedented moment to see an ex-President --- and current nominee for one of the major parties for President --- whining like a 5-year-old every five minutes about being politically persecuted because he committed the crime of paying hush money to an adult film actress, and in the process of doing that, violated New York state law," Parton argues. "And motivated at the time in order to win an election. What he keeps calling 'election interference' is actually true."

Barber notes that what Trump continues to complain about "a two-tiered system of justice", which somehow disadvantages HIM. That might be true, Barber suggests, "if Trump did not face the same justice that Michael Cohen did for being his co-conspirator in all of this, and really doing the same thing." Cohen served a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to participating in the criminal conspiracy "directed" by Trump the then-President. "This is an equalization of justice. Bringing this case to trial is saying, 'Look, the guy who Cohen helped is also going to be held accountable.' And I think it's a triumph for justice that that is going to be happening."

As you might guess, there is a lot to cover on this historic first day of Trump's first criminal trial. And, as shameful as it all is, we also find the time for more than a few laughs along the way during today's Special Coverage...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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

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

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

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

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

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: TikTok foolishness; NY hush-money trial delay?; Navarro must go to jail; Trump owes $400k for failed 'Steele Dossier' lawsuit in UK...
By Brad Friedman on 3/14/2024 6:51pm PT  

Lots (and lots) of news on today's BradCast, from Israel to TikTok foolishness to lots (and lots) of Trump accountability news. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Among our lead stories today...

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, an ardent, longtime supporter of Israel, called on Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold new elections. New York's Schumer, a Jew who happens to come from NYC, which has the world's largest Jewish population, cited the far-right Prime Minister as an obstacle to peace who is turning Israel into the world's "pariah". In a 40-minute floor speech, the Senate's top Democrat charged that the unpopular Netanyahu, who is avoiding facing felony charges while remaining in office and avoiding a new election until his war against Hamas in Gaza is over (which it will never be, as long as these are the stakes), "has lost his way by allowing his political survival to take precedence over the best interests of Israel." This is a very big deal in a whole bunch of ways. We discuss some of them today.
  • There has been a bipartisan push this week to adopt a bill that would result in the banning of the TikTok app in the U.S. if the company which owns it does not divest from China. Donald Trump, who, as President, issued a failed Executive Order to ban the popular social media video app (it was blocked by the Courts for violating First Amendment free speech rights) has recently flip-flopped to support the app, after meeting with a billionaire hedge fund manager heavily invested in the company. But, despite the popularity of the bill which has now passed in the House, we discuss why it is a terrible idea. Social media regulations are long overdue. But the menace of China's (theoretical) ownership of TikTok is no worse than Elon Musk's actual ownership of Twitter/X. And, in case Democrats failed to notice today, Trump's former Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced that he is trying to bring together an investor group to purchase the company. Still think this is a good idea, Dems?
  • The UK's Guardian, in an excellent piece today, details the Trump business associates who prosecutors say paid Alexander Smirnov $600,000 in 2020, the year that Smirnov, now charged with lying to the FBI, fed them false claims that Joe Biden accepted bribes from the Ukrainian energy company named Burisma. Prosecutors have also charged that Smirnov met with Russian Intelligence officials before passing on the lie to the FBI, which House Republicans cited at the center of their doomed impeachment probe of the President. So, Smirnov passed on disinformation from Russian intelligence to the FBI and was paid by longtime business associates in the U.S., UK and Dubai of the then-President who was running for re-election that year. And, after losing the election, those lies were used to try and impeach the guy who defeated him. This movie keeps getting worse and worse.

In Trump accountability news today (there is lots of that as well)...

  • U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Trump after he lost the election, but before he left the White House, rejected a Team Trump motion, for a happy change, in the case of the highly classified documents he stole when leaving the White House, and then hid from prosecutors seeking to get them back. Cannon turned down his attempt to dismiss the felony charges based on his claim that the Espionage Act he is charged under is too vague.
  • Meanwhile, the one criminal case that Trump is facing which had not yet been derailed by Trump's various delay tactics --- his New York state hush-money case --- may now be delayed following a tranche of thousands of documents from a previous federal investigation recently turned over to Manhattan prosecutors. We explain what happened here and why the NY D.A.'s office cites the defendants actions for this surprise revelation. Prosecutors have agreed to a 30-day delay before the start of the trial, which was previously scheduled to begin on March 25. The judge overseeing the case, however, Judge Juan Merchan, has yet to decide how much, if any, delay he will allow.
  • Trump's former White House trade advisor, and one of his top 2020 "voter fraud" fraudsters, Peter Navarro must report to federal prison in Miami next Tuesday, according to a federal appeals court panel today. Navarro was charged with criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to answer subpoenas from the House January 6 Committee. Like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, who has managed to remain free pending appeal, Navarro was sentenced to four months for his crimes.
  • And, in a bit of Trump accountability news that appears to have slipped through the cracks, last week, a judge in the UK ordered Trump to pay some $382,000 in attorneys fees to the lawyers of former British spy Christopher Steele and his private intelligence company. Trump had filed sued in the UK, charging that the "shocking and scandalous" allegations in the so-called Steele Dossier had harmed his reputation. (Please hold your laughter.) The British judge determined the claims were "bound to fail" and ordered Trump to cough up legal fees to cover the frivolous suit. In 2022, Trump lost a similar case he filed in Florida against Steele, Hillary Clinton and a number of top former FBI officials. That case was also tossed and he was ordered to pay nearly a million dollars for that fiasco. I guess he's still not tired of winning.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report with cruel news out of Ron DeSantis' Florida; disturbing news about the fossil fuel industry's continuing methane leaks; terrifying news about GOP plans if Trump retakes the White House; and sad news for California salmon...

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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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: Thomas Frank of E&E News; Also: Globe continues to swelter; GOP's climate change 'solution'; Trump loses again in federal court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2023 6:46pm PT  

Just last week, amid record temperatures, massive flooding and the choking smoke across a dozen states from hundreds of wildfires, U.S. House "Freedom Caucus" Chair Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), partying like it's 1999, declared during a Congressional hearing that climate change is "a problem that doesn't exist." Today's BradCast, demonstrable scientific facts, and the insurance industry running for the exits from Ron DeSantis' Florida, all beg to differ. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, it was another humiliating loss for the disgraced former President in court today, as a federal judge soundly rejected Donald Trump's effort to move Alvin Bragg's 34 felony count indictment in New York from state to federal court. The judge found in his order that, "Hush money paid to an adult film star is not related to a President’s official acts. It does not reflect in any way the color of the President’s official duties." Thus, the criminal case against Trump will remain in state court and Trump will not be allowed to have the Dept. of Justice substituted as defendant instead of him. He will have to answer for his own acts of fraud in paying out nearly half a million dollars --- while serving in the White House --- in hopes of covering up his payoffs to a porn star to help him win the 2016 election.

Beyond that, no more Trump news for today! (You're welcome!) Though we've got a lot of consequences from our worsening climate crisis which may or may not be more welcome.

A few House Republicans, of late, are pretending they are not climate crisis deniers anymore. Their plan: Hugely increase the production of the fossil fuels that are responsible for global heating, but plant a whole bunch of trees --- a trillion of them, in fact (which would require a space as large as the continental U.S.) --- to make balance it all out. Or something. The ridiculous plan, of course, wouldn't even come close to working. We discuss.

Then, after a quick spin around the nation and globe today, through hundreds of shattered heat records and sweltering cities and tourist attractions throughout Europe and the U.S. over the past several weeks (with no end in sight), we land back in Florida, where the insurance industry continues to head for the doors. Last week it was Farmers. This week, AAA. There are no climate denialists, as it turns out, in the insurance actuarial business.

Premiums for homeowners insurance have risen about 7% over the past year nationwide, on average. But they have spiked some 40% in Ron DeSantis' Florida as ocean temps in the south of the state reach bathwater temps of over 90 degrees. All a recipe for hurricane disaster as this year's storm season is barely underway.

We're joined today by Pulitzer Prize finalist THOMAS FRANK, climate impacts reporter for E&E News, where he focuses on disasters, disaster recovery and federal efforts by FEMA and other federal agencies to serve as a backstop to the growing number of billion dollar disasters across the nation.

We spoke with Frank last year, just after Hurricane Ian devastated parts of Florida, including parts inland where few even bother to buy flood insurance. Even if they want to now, it's nearly impossible for many to afford it.

"The recent news involving Farmers, one of the nation's largest insurance companies, and AAA, is the opposite of what the Governor and the State Legislature envisioned happening when they had a special session back in December and enacted a couple of laws aimed at bringing insurers back. Those are very bad signals," Frank explains, detailing why the state's insurance market continues to collapse, along with fears that the housing market itself may not be far behind.

But the DeSantis denial continues. Last week, the Florida Governor and 2024 GOP hopeful invoked what one media wag describes as his "wish upon a star" strategy. DeSantis claimed insurance companies would soon return to the state. "I think they're gonna wait through this hurricane season," he told rightwing radio host Howie Carr, before adding, "Knock on wood we won't have a big storm this summer."

It's not only Florida, of course, though it is a canary in the national coal mine. The climate crisis --- created by the burning of fossil fuels --- is flashing bright red warning signs everywhere at this point, even as the fossil fuel industry and mostly Republican politicians they have bought off, continue to shamefully ignore, obfuscate and lie about it as long as they can.

"The phrase you use, 'canary in the coal mine' is completely appropriate," Frank tells me. Florida, he says, is "a canary in the coal mine for hurricane-prone states. California is the canary in the coal mine for wildfire-prone states. People in Colorado, Oregon and Washington should be watching California. It's a similar scenario unfolding there."

"What you're starting to see happen is the insurance industry is becoming aware of climate risks, and they're starting to incorporate that into their prices. If someone has to pay $7,000 for their home on the coast of Florida, maybe that is what they should pay," he argues. "The reality is that the insurance industry --- I know a lot of people hate it --- but one thing it does very well is it prices risk. That's all it does. When the insurance industry starts increasing your premiums, they're not doing it because they just want to scam you, they're doing it because that's what their actuaries and algorithms think the risk is to your home."

"You see that happening in a lot of states," says Frank, recent adjustments to premium pricing in parts of Colorado. "You are building in a wildfire zone. Colorado had a couple of very bad wildfires in the past year. So insurers start raising their rates, they start leaving the state, cancelling policies, non-renewing policies. It's happening in more and more states. It's a trend that is not going to be reversed."

Sounds like a very real problem. Then again, we could just start planting a lot of trees, knock on wood, and hope for the best...

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Proof that McCarthy and party couldn't care less about the debt or deficit; Also: Trump criminal woes worsen by the day; TX joins GA in new laws to undermine elections in Democratic strongholds...
By Brad Friedman on 5/23/2023 6:40pm PT  

With their policy positions wildly unpopular among Americans, is it any wonder that Republicans are now doing little more than lying about their beliefs, crashing the economy, using the government to funnel money to wealthy campaign donors, and otherwise adopting laws, where ever they still can, to prevent non-Republicans from winning elections? And those are their non-violent strategies, as detailed on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among our many stories today...

  • A 19-year old from Missouri, apparently with a Nazi flag in his rented truck, is charged with "threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on a president, vice president or member of their family; assault with a dangerous weapon; reckless driving; destruction of federal property; and trespassing," after attempting to ram the truck into Lafayette Square across the street from the White House on Monday night. MAGA Republicans online seem to think the Nazi flag was an FBI setup to make them look bad. They may not have thought through that argument very well.
  • TAP's Ryan Cooper details the evidence that makes it plain as day that Congressional Republicans couldn't care less about the national debt or budget deficits in their pretend case against raising the statutory (and, almost certainly unconstitutional) Debt Ceiling law. If they actually cared about the debt or deficits, they wouldn't oppose raising revenue, among other things. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's fight, on behalf of his party, is not about debt. It is about using terrorism to crash the economy in hopes of hurting Democrats before the next election. They've been pulling this trick for years now. Perhaps Democrats should stop falling for it?
  • According to separate reports from WaPo and NYT last night, Special Counsel Jack Smith has subpoenaed information from the Trump Organization on its business dealings with China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman since 2017, as part of his probe of the documents, many of them highly classified, that Donald Trump stole from the White House upon leaving office. Now why would Smith want to do that?
  • Trump appeared remotely in New York court today to be instructed by the judge overseeing his 34 felony count indictment in the Stormy Daniels hush-money case, that he may not share certain evidence from prosecutors over social media. He may not even view some of it without his lawyers present. A date was also set for the beginning of his trial, on March 25, 2024, smack-dab in the middle of next year's Presidential primary season. Should be fun.
  • In a somewhat more immediate Trump Criminal Accountability Calendar Item, Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis has now informed Fulton's Chief Judge that, other than leadership and "armed investigators", the bulk of her staff will be working remotely from July 31 though August 18. That syncs up with dates that Willis previously suggested indictments were likely to be brought in her office's investigation "into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 general election". She requested that "judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14." So, yeah...mark your calendars. It may get hotter than usual in Atlanta this summer.
  • We would have covered the above story sooner, but it came out as I was being deposed last week in a lawsuit [PDF] filed by the Coalition for Good Governance against Georgia's SB202 voter suppression law. I am a named plaintiff in the case, representing media, regarding provisions of this terrible bill that unconstitutionally chill and/or otherwise dangerously prevent press freedoms and public oversight of elections in the Peach State. While my three-hour depo last week went very well, I believe, I'll hold more specific thoughts for later, as other plaintiffs in the case are still going through their own depositions. But, another provision being challenged by CGG in this terrible bill --- best known for blocking the distribution of food or water to voters waiting in line to vote --- is a scheme that allows the State to replace entire, elected, local Boards of Elections with a single appointee of the Secretary of State's choosing. That wildly undemocratic provision, supported by GA's Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger, is now being echoed in...
  • ...Texas! Lawmakers in the Lone Star State on Tuesday were voting on two bills that will allow local election officials to be replaced by someone chosen by the Republican Governor's hand-picked Secretary of State, and otherwise make it easier to interfere with local elections. However, these provisions only apply to Counties in Texas with more than 3.5 million voters. As it turns out, the only such county in the state that meets that requirement is Houston's Harris County, a now reliably "blue" part of a "red" state turning more "purple" by the year. If ya can't beat 'em...commandeer their elections and right to vote.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for news on a massive cyclone now aiming directly for the U.S. territory of Guam after spinning up from almost nothing overnight to a catastrophic category 4 Super Typhoon today. That, followed by our latest Green News Report, with important news in the war over water in the drought-stricken U.S. west, and some great news about sweeping, landmark environmental and climate legislation being adopted by Minnesota, now that Dems have taken control of both chambers of the state legislature and its governor's mansion...

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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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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/4/2023 5:12pm PT  

At long last. Criminal accountability for a U.S. President finally begins on today's BradCast Special Coverage. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Donald J. Trump surrendered to law enforcement on Tuesday in downtown Manhattan. He was arrested, booked and arraigned in New York State Supreme Court on 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.

The crimes were carried out, according to a statement released by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office, "in order to conceal damaging information and unlawful activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election."

As detailed in the 16-page indictment [PDF] and 13-page statement of facts [PDF] unsealed this afternoon, the charges relate to a conspiracy by the disgraced, twice-impeached former President and others to employ a "'catch and kill' scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects."

In one case detailed by the prosecutors, he allegedly worked with American Media Inc. (AMI), the publishers of the National Inquirer, to pay $30,000 to a former Trump Tower doorman to quash the man's claims that Trump had a child out of wedlock. In another, Trump is said to have worked with the same company to pay $150,000 to Playboy Model Karen McDougal to silence her about a sexual relationship they had. And, in yet another scheme Trump, he had his then attorney, Michael Cohen, pay $130,000 hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels just 12 days before the 2016 election.

Trump then issued nearly a dozen checks over the following year --- 9 of them personally signed --- while serving in the Oval Office, in a scheme to keep it all quiet. He allegedly made false entries in his business records to describe the payments as fees for legal services and "took steps that mischaracterized, for tax purposes, the true nature of the reimbursements," according to the D.A.

During his arraignment before New York's Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, Trump pleaded Not Guilty to all charges.

We're joined today by some of our favorite BradCast Special Coverage panelists, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog, and "DRIFTGLASS", otherwise known as @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and as simply Bill at home in Illinois, where he has long produced The Professional Left Podcast.

All of us, long time progressive bloggers who have written and discussed the need for accountability for criminal Presidents for many years. Without it, each one --- specifically Republican Presidents --- have subsequently become more criminal than the last, from Richard Nixon through Ronald Reagan through both George Bushes until the system produced the most criminal of them all, Donald J. Trump.

Until now, our decades of calls for accountability have gone unmet. But today, for the first time, as we all seem to agree, accountability may finally be beginning to help right a system that has gone so horribly wrong in recent decades --- at unspeakable cost to both the nation and the world.

"We've seen one scandal after another of real, serious corruption on the part of these Republican leaders," notes Digby today. "If we are not able to get some accountability, some way for the system to right itself, I really worry that we are definitely goners. This is way, way too important. It's not just Stormy Daniels. It's that this guy feels he is unaccountable to the law."

"It's not just that [Trump] feels entitled," adds Driftglass. "It's also that Republican voters believe he's entitled to get away with murder. That's the scary part. There are 70 million plus Americans out there who think, 'Yeah, he's corrupt. Sure, he's done terrible things. But he should get away with it because we're Republicans, and that's our natural right.'"

Today we discuss what all of this means; some of today's charges; the special treatment received by Trump (despite the Manhattan D.A.'s website claim of "One Standard of Justice for All"); the former President's social media tantrums; the limp response to his indictment from his supporters; and what comes next in the accountability storm we are likely to see over the next several weeks and months.

Also today, Desi Doyen has our latest Green News Report, with several items of good news to end today's happier-than-usual BradCast!...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The historic news breaks as we are on air; Also: Newly unredacted evidence from the Fox 'News' 'Brain Room' in Dominion's defamation suit; Disney hilariously out-foxes DeSantis...
By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2023 4:52pm PT  

On the other hand, Donald Trump's statement at his own social media website says he's been "INDICATED". But why quibble? The news caught us mid-BradCast today. We did our best to make sense of it all on the fly. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, we were covering the newly unredacted evidence from Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the wildly corrupt Fox "News" outfit, regarding the Republican propaganda outlet's knowing lies and evidence-free claims that the voting machine company somehow helped to steal the 2020 Presidential election from Donald Trump. Dominion didn't, and Fox knew as much, according to their own "Brain Room", which they ignored. (Yes, they have a "Brain Room", apparently, at Fox. So, that must be where they keep them?) As bad for Fox as the previously released evidence was, this is the stuff they had redacted from that, for some reason, until a judge ordered it released on Wednesday. So, imagine how bad this stuff is? You don't have to. We discuss it on today's show before today's big breaking news.

Then, we were covering the hilarious case of Disney out-foxing (no pun intended) Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his attempt to weaponize the state government against them. That, because Disney dared speak out against his "Don't Say Gay" law which was written to allow the government to ban discussion of sexual orientation and general identity in ALL public school grades. (Not just K through 3.) So, how did Disney out-fox, DeSantis? It's pretty hilarious. So, tune in to find out.

Next, we were going to cover a whole bunch of important labor union news from this past week...BUT...news then broke of Trump's indictment by a criminal grand jury in New York.

Thus, we moved our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen from the end of the show to the middle, to buy some time to figure out the breaking news hubbub. Sadly, there's some pretty important news in today's GNR, including the fact that electricity generated renewables outpaced coal last year for the first time in the U.S. That big news will all almost certain be forgotten because...well...

TRUMP WAS INDICTED today. Reportedly, the charges are in relation to his secret hush-money payoff of porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, in hopes of improving his chance of winning. But we don't know, because the indictment by a New York grand jury is still sealed until next week.

The charges, brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whatever they are, represent the first indictment of a U.S. President in history. Trump will reportedly surrender next week in NYC, according to his attorney Joe Tacopina. He will then be finger-printed, booked and perhaps hand-cuffed before his arraignment. We'll see if that all happens.

We share several related thoughts on all of this on today's program, on the fly, as based on the historic news as it broke in real time this afternoon...

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Also: DeSantis proven a liar, moves to expand 'Don't Say Gay' to ALL public school grades; NE legislature advances cruel anti-trans measure...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2023 5:35pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: Is being a terrible human being now a requirement for all elected (and unelected) Republican lawmakers? It's sure starting to look like it these days. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered today making that point and related others...

  • Donald Trump's "Indictment Week" in New York gets pushed back (at least) another week, though The Joker may or may not have something to say about it this weekend at the Manhattan Courthouse.
  • Former news anchor, Trumpist election denier and GOP grifter Kari Lake in Arizona is still busy hoaxing what's left of her supporters into believing she won last year's Gubernatorial election against Democrat Katie Hobbs. (No, Hobbs is not a "twice-convicted racist", no matter how many times Lake repeats that sleazy, false claim.) On Wednesday, Lake saw her 2022 election fraud claims rejected [PDF] by yet another court. This time, it was Arizona's Supreme Court. While rejecting most of her claims yet again, they did kick one of her seven claims back to a lower court for re-examination. That claim has to do with the signature verification process for ballots cast during early voting. Both the lower trial court and Maricopa County Court of Appeals misinterpreted the claim, according to the Supremes. We explain the claim in question, why it needs to be reheard, and why it will almost certainly not result in the 2022 election results being overturned.

    None of that stopped Lake from misrepresenting yesterday's ruling at the high court to her supporters on social media, to whom she tweeted: "HUGE: AZ Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Kari Lake." She didn't bother to share a link to either a news story or the Court's actual order with that tweet.

    But that may be a step up from when she lost every single claim, for a second time, at the Appeals court in Maricopa last month and declared: "BREAKING: I told you we would take this case all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court...Buckle up, America!"

  • Speaking of obnoxious Republican liars, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who reportedly did win his election last year, was furious at critics of his "Don't Say Gay" law enacted earlier in the year. Opponents of the measure, such as legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern pointed out at the time that the language of the bill allowed for a ban on "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity" in all public school grades, not just kindergarten through third grade, as DeSantis falsely claimed at the time.

    When critics pointed out that DeSantis was wrong, he sanctimoniously charged they were being dishonest about what the bill actually said, claiming it only applied to grades K through 3. "It's why people don't trust people like you," he chastised journalists at the time, "because you peddle false narratives!"

    Well, funny thing about that. As AP reported Wednesday, the DeSantis Administration is now "moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades." They hope to expand the ban to grades 4 to 12 based on the original legislation in the state where the Governor and GOP Presidential hopefully unironically claims "Freedom Lives Here". DeSantis appointees heading up the state Board of Education and state Education Department will be voting to make the change next month. No legislative changes will be needed to be made to the existing law. Imagine that.

  • Coincidentally, the Republican state lawmaker who authored FL's "Don't Say Gay" law, pleaded guilty this week to numerous federal felonies, including wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements, after fraudulently obtaining more than $150,000 in federal COVID relief funding for two businesses of his that were defunct during the COVID pandemic. The (now former) lawmaker, Joseph Harding, now faces years in prison. He will be sentenced in July.
  • The Sunshine State is hardly the only one where elected Republicans are punishing state residents with hateful and cruel legislation. Nebraska's state legislature advanced a bill today that would ban gender-affirming care for minors. The anti-LGBTQ measure has been strenuously opposed by progressive state Senators, including one, Senator Megan Hunt, who has a transgender teenage son. We share some of her remarks today. Opponents vow to filibuster every single other bill on the state Legislature's calendar, effectively shutting it down for the rest of the session, in order to block the bill. It must survive two more debates before passage and signature by Republican Gov. Jim Pillen who vowed to sign it if it reaches his desk.
  • Finally, after a bit of musical-ish listener email today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with bad news for the world's oceans; bad news for the West Coast salmon population; bad news for fresh water drinkers; but some good news for newly protected public lands and waters in several national monuments designated this week by President Biden...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Uncertainty and necessity of Trump indictment(s); Bragg ponders 'perp walk' protocol; MAGA fears a protest 'trap'; Fox 'News' eating its own...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2023 5:33pm PT  

Looks like Donald Trump was not "ARRESTED ON TUESDAY" as he lied (again) to his easily-duped followers over the weekend. But, just to put this up front on today's BradCast: We reject the notion that indicting the former President in relation to a hush-money payment made to help him win the 2016 Presidential election --- and the payments made while he was in the White House to cover it all up --- is a "minor crime" not worth indicting a former President for. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

That point is explained in much more detail on today's program, along with other related stories and important points, as the GOP begins to collapse in on itself...

  • Given that no U.S. President has ever been indicted, nobody knows how (or if) this will work out, and what will happen after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in New York (or Fani Willis in Georgia, or Special Counsel Jack Smith at the federal level), actually brings an indictment against Trump. That is, presuming one or more of them actually do, as we also discussed with callers on yesterday's program.
  • A so-called "liberal" at Facebook was critical of our coverage yesterday, even if he doesn't appear to have either listened to it, or even read the item we posted along with it. His critique seems to be that, on this week's 20th Anniversary of George W. Bush's unlawful, accountability-free invasion of Iraq and the war crimes that followed it (as discussed yesterday as well), we shouldn't be wasting time discussing accountability for Donald Trump. He is wrong for a host of reasons...
  • ...Several of which also happen to be discussed in Will Bunch's newsletter at Philly Inquirer today, headlined "U.S. presidents and their crime spree since 1968." Bunch concludes his piece with this on-point observation:

    So let me get this straight: We look the other way when our leaders oversee war crimes or greenlight torture or commit quasi-treason with foreign adversaries because the American presidency is too big to fail, but we're also going to ignore a cut-and-dried lower-level crime because it's too small? I'd argue that charging Trump with violating a law that applies to 333 million other Americans is a first baby step toward undoing 55 years of gross injustice, and it's long overdue. We need to rediscover that it's still illegal even when a president does it.
  • Meanwhile, as GOP House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (along with the Republican chairs of the Oversight and Administration Committees) is demanding NY D.A. Bragg come in to testify and turn over all documents from his criminal grand jury probe of Trump --- before any indictment has even been issued --- it seems worth noting that Congressional subpoenas are now optional. Jordan and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and several other GOP members made that clear last year when they ignored similar requests from the House January 6 Committee and faced no accountability for their Contempt. Nonetheless, they are apparently hoping to weaponize the federal government at this point to prevent elected state law enforcement officials from doing their job of fighting crime.
  • All of that, while Bragg is reportedly considering whether Trump will be forced to carry out the same "perp walk" that all other white collar criminals facing felony crimes in NYC must face, or whether a former President should be given special consideration for some reason.
  • At the same time, in the wake of Trump exhorting supporters to "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!", very few seem to be answering his call so far. That may be because many of them reportedly believe it's all a trap by the Feds! (Marjorie Taylor Greene, however, believes there's no need to protest, because any indictment of Trump only assures he will be re-elected in 2024. Maybe. Though it begs the question as to how other Republicans, like Jordan and Trump himself, can claim that indictments are only being brought to hurt his chances in 2024.)
  • And while all of those rightwingers collapse in on themselves, Fox "News" appears to be doing the same thing. A producer named in Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation suit against the Republican propaganda outlet is now suing Fox, claiming misogyny by Tucker Carlson and his staff and that she and Maria Bartiromo are being sacrificed by the company for their false reporting on fraud in the 2020 Presidential election. She is also charging she was coerced by Fox attorneys into offering misleading testimony in the Dominion lawsuit. As Media Matters' Angelo Carusone told us on this show several weeks ago regarding the damage that Dominion's suit may due to Fox: "It's sort of like a Jenga puzzle. Pulling one block is not going topple it down, but its certainly gonna make it a lot more vulnerable to toppling. The tiniest little breeze will probably knock the rest of it over." --- Well, it's getting pretty windy at Fox "News" these days.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, including news on the 12th(!) major winter storm now slamming California this season; unprecedented heat records smashed in Argentina; and the latest warning from the U.N. that the window for avoiding catastrophic, irreversible damage to the climate is almost closed, requiring an unprecedented worldwide effort to radically cut fossil fuel emissions before the end of this decade...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: 20th anniv. of U.S. invasion of Iraq (still no accountability); DeSantis was instrumental in torture at Gitmo; Callers ring in on all of the above...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2023 5:06pm PT  

I have no idea what this week is going to bring. As noted on today's BradCast, nobody, save for (maybe) the Manhattan District Attorney does. And I suspect even he is largely flying blind about what happens once (and if) Trump is ultimately indicted in New York State. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get to discussion about that --- and callers on the same topic --- today is the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As we said at the time, and have been saying for the 20 years since, we were lied into war under false premises by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney regime. In the bargain, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and about 5,000 Americans. No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. More disturbingly, no one was ever held accountable for that pointless war and the lies that were told to get us there.

Back in 2003, 66% of Americans supported the invasion, in no small part because opposition voices in the U.S. were largely shut out of the mainstream media conversation. Now, 61% of Americans, according to new polling, think that war was a mistake.

And, because there was never any accountability for the war criminals, guys like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are considered to be front-runners to become the next Republican nominee for President of the United States. That, despite the fact that, as Washington Post detailed over the weekend, DeSantis played a key role in torturing detainees with forced-feeding at Guantanamo Bay while he served as a 27-year old Navy lawyer there.

Meanwhile, now playing the part of imperialistic invader and war criminal is Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, who the International Criminal Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant for, accusing him of abductions of thousands of Ukrainian children since his unlawful invasion just over one year ago.

If you're wondering just how terrible Putin actually is, please do yourself a favor soon and watch last week's Academy Award winning Best Documentary, Navalny (currently available via HBO Max and Amazon Prime). As discussed today, it is jaw-dropping. For a whole bunch of reasons. And, don't worry, it's also uplifting and hilarious at times...even as we see, live and as it happens, the attempted assassination of Russia's incredibly likable opposition leader, Alexei Novalny, and the remarkable moment when he actually tricks one of his own would be assassins into confessing to his attempted murder. All caught live on camera!

Then, we get to the story that I have a feeling we'll be covering for some time on this program: the first criminal indictment of a U.S. President in our nation's history. It may finally happen this week in New York (emphasis on "may"), thanks to Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg. He is believed likely to bring charges against Donald Trump related to the hush-money payments the disgraced former President made to porn star Stormy Daniels to cover up a sexual affair. That payoff, carried out at his direction by his then-attorney Michael Cohen, helped Trump win the 2016 Presidential election. Cohen went to jail for it. Trump never did. At least not yet.

Trump is almost certainly not going to be "BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY", as he claimed in a panicked, weekend, ALL-CAPS statement on his social media site. Tuesday is seen as the earliest time he could possibly be indicted by a Grand Jury in New York. But, even if so, he will not be "ARRESTED" by New York law enforcement officials in Florida, where he now lives.

If Trump finally is indicted on criminal state charges, whether it's this week or next, will he actually go back to New York to turn himself in? Seems unlikely. But, if not, then what? Would NY ask Ron DeSantis' Florida law enforcement to arrest and extradite Fugitive Trump from Mar-a-Lago? Also seems unlikely, even with DeSantis believed almost certain to run for the GOP's 2024 Presidential nomination against Trump. Will Trump's supporters actually "PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST!!!" as the cowardly ex-President is begging them?

And why are House Republicans, led by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan --- who pretends to support law and order --- now actually weaponizing the federal government to try and undermine Bragg's case?

In fact, nobody knows what is coming next. There is no playbook for what is about to happen --- whether it happens this week, or next, or even in a different state, like Georgia. But it does seem to be a good day to open our phones to listeners on the topic, to talk about it all and get their best guess about what where things go from here.

Tune in for all of that and much more on today's program!...

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Russia's missile assault on Ukraine; Trump's 'peace plan' censored by Hannity; Dominion will win Summary Judgement against Fox, attorney explains; 1/6 rioters trashed Senator's office; Finchem sanctioned in AZ; La Nina finally over; NY on verge of indicting Trump?...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2023 6:49pm PT  

It's another news-packed BradCast today, including some details and context you likely have not heard elsewhere.

Among our many stories today...

  • More war crimes by Russia, as the imperialistic aggressor nation launched a brutal, nationwide missile assault against Ukraine on Thursday. They claimed the bombardment was a "retaliation strike" for "terrorist actions" said to involve an attack by Ukrainian nationals who crossed the border into Russia's Bryansk region. There was no apparent evidence of such an attack as of this morning, but golly it must be bad when someone crosses your border to attack you.
  • Donald Trump has been claiming he has a plan to end the war in Ukraine "immediately". He revealed his ingenious plan on Sean Hannity's radio show this week. Apparently, the secret is to allow Russia to "take over" parts of Ukraine. When Hannity aired parts of that radio interview on his Fox "News" show later that night, they conspicuously, and clumsily, removed that part of Trump's comments. We share the evidence today.
  • It was efforts like that --- seemingly to protect the disgraced former President --- that helped Fox "News" find itself as defendant in a $1.6 billion defamation suit by Dominion Voting Systems which charges the Republican propaganda mill knowingly, and with "actual malice" lied about the company's voting systems after the 2020 election. The voluminous, well-documented allegations demonstrating that Fox knew it was lying about false fraud claims have been well covered elsewhere. But today we take a few minutes to share some specific thoughts from an attorney who predicts that Dominion will win their motion for Summary Judgement on liability in the case, leaving only the need for a jury trial on damages. It's actually less a prediction than a matter of law, according to the argument. We explain that argument today, as we haven't heard it offered broadly elsewhere.
  • This week, Fox' Tucker Carlson has been busy attempting to rewrite the history of Trump's deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection as little more than a peaceful "sightseeing" tour by those who "revered" the Capitol. His laughable segments have been roundly criticized from all quarters and are based on what is purportedly previously unseen security camera footage from the Capitol given to him exclusively by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. But, in addition to the evidence of the deadly riot that you have already seen with your own eyes, NBC News offered some previously unseen video today of the 1/6 trashing of a Republican Senator's office, by a guy who drove a stun gun into a police officer's neck that same day. Apparently, Tucker has yet to reveal that video to his viewers.
  • Arizona's failed 2022 Republican Sec. of State candidate and 2020 election denier Mark Finchem was sanctioned by a state judge this week for "groundless" claims that he lost his 2022 election due to fraud. The judge ordered him to pay attorney fees for the winning Democratic Secretary of State and Gubernatorial candidates after noting that "none of Contestant Finchem’s allegations, even if true, would have changed the vote count enough to overcome the 120,000 votes he needed to affect the result of this election." Nonetheless, Finchem still refuses to concede and says he will appeal the court's decision.
  • The three-year La Nina --- which increases Atlantic hurricane activity and worsens western drought, among other things --- is now officially over, according to NOAA. We explain what that means...and doesn't.
  • Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with even more bad news than usual, most of which comes courtesy of the corrupt Big Oil industry.
  • And, finally, just before our hour is up, breaking news out of New York suggesting the Manhattan District Attorney is on the precipice of filing criminal charges against Donald J. Trump...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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