Some breaking news just before airtime helped, once again, threw off our best laid plans for today's BradCast. But, given this particularly huge breaking news, we're just fine with that. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]
The New York Judge in state Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, his eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and two top company executives, ruled [PDF] that they all committed years of "persistent and repeated fraud" to the tune of billions of dollars by inflating the value of company assets when applying for bank loans. They also decreased the value of the same properties to receive favorable terms on both insurance and taxes, according to the ruling.
Judge Arthur Engoron found in favor of the state's key contention during the summary judgment phase of the landmark case on Tuesday, before the non-jury trial is slated to begin next Monday. Trump's attorneys had also sought summary judgement, hoping to see the case thrown out entirely. Instead, the key issue has already been decided against them and Engoron, in a brutal ruling, has stripped the former President, his company, his sons and execs, of control over several of his main New York properties. The Trump Organization and its various LLCs were placed into receivership to be controlled by court-appointed officers!
In the massive fraud suit, James seeks to permanently revoke the Trump family's license to do business at all in New York state. The trial, set to begin next week, will now determine the other issues at stake and the full breadth of penalties. Of course, Trump will appeal everything. But, make no mistake, this is a huge verdict against the failed former President and current 2024 GOP frontrunner who, as validated by Judge Engoron today, has built his business empire on decades of fraud and lies.
Among the many other important stories also covered on today's program...
- Cassidy Hutchinson, star witness at last year's House January 6 Committee hearings and the former top aide to Trump's final Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, warns that Trump "almost destroyed democracy in one day and he wants to run for President do it again."
- This week's second GOP Presidential Primary debate, at the Reagan Library here in Southern California, will feature the same candidates as last month's debate in Milwaukee, other than former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who apparently did not meet the RNC's criteria. Trump was also not invited for refusing to sign the party's loyalty pledge, but he had already announced he wouldn't participate in any of their debates.
- Labor economist Kathryn Anne Edwards offered a must-listen response to Louisiana's loopy U.S. Senator John Kennedy during a Senate subcommittee hearing last week on post-pandemic child care concerns. While Kennedy suggested he really really wanted to help, he had no idea where, oh, where the federal government could possibly find the money to do so. Edwards' straightforward, well-supported answer: Raise taxes on the wealthy that you've been lowering for the past two decades if you really care about children in need.
- In a related matter on Tuesday, Joe Biden became the first sitting U.S. President, incredibly enough, to join a picket line with striking workers. In this case, he called on striking United Auto Workers members in Detroit to "stick with it," as he rallied workers with UAW President Shawn Fain. On Wednesday, the former President is set to speak at a non-union facility in a "red" county outside of Detroit.
- California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law today that doubles the tax on sales of guns and ammunition in the state to help pay for increased school safety measures. While the federal government already charges a 10% tax on guns and ammo, California doubled it with one of their own, becoming the first in the nation to do so.
- Bona fide good news today from our corrupted, packed and stolen U.S. Supreme Court. They rejected Alabama's attempt --- once again --- to violate the Voting Rights Act with a racially gerrymandered U.S. House map. Last June, in a surprising 5 to 4 ruling, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the Court's three liberals, SCOTUS ordered the state to create a second majority black U.S. House District. Just 1 of 7 districts is currently a majority minority district despite African Americans comprising more than a quarter of the state's population. But Alabama Republicans, blatantly defying the U.S. Supreme Court, redrew their districts without including a second black majority district as mandated. A federal court panel then ordered a Special Master to draw up a new map instead. Alabama tried to stay that decision at SCOTUS, which unanimously rejected the state today in a one sentence ruling. That is good news for voters and bad news for several other GOP-controlled states trying the same gambit to cheat their way to a Republican majority in the House again next year.
- Speaking of the Republicans' narrow majority in the U.S. House, it appears next to impossible at this hour to believe they will be able to agree amongst themselves on a spending bill to keep the federal government open as of Saturday. At least not without either Democrats saving them and/or House Speaker Kevin McCarthy losing his job as Speaker.
- New Jersey's Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, federally indicted for a second time late last week on charges of bribery and corruption, maintains his innocence. But the flood of fellow Democratic U.S. Senators calling for his resignation seems all but unstoppable now, with at least six of them --- including fellow NJ Senator Corey Booker --- calling for Menendez to step down. The charges, by the way, would seem to dramatically undercut Trump/GOP claims that the DoJ has been "weaponized" by Democrats against them.
- Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as New Orleans declares a drinking water emergency; Fracking is "devouring American's groundwater" amid persistent drought in a number of states; and FEMA girds to suspend critical recovery operations in several states if Republicans shut down the federal government as of this Saturday...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)