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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, May 24, 2024
Alito's an Insurrection Supporter. So, What Are Dems Gonna Do?: 'BradCast' 5/23/24
Also: SCOTUS allows SC racial gerrymander; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/24 - 5/14/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Costello Fails, Trump Bails, Defense Rests: 'BradCast' 5/22/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
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: Unspeakable Libya death toll; Record global heat; Hunter Biden charged; Hurricane Lee; Much more...
By Brad Friedman on 9/14/2023 7:03pm PT  

It's still kind of hilarious that the Republican Speaker of the House this week, in announcing an impeachment inquiry of Joe Biden for...(fill in actual crime here when available)...described the Democratic President as "the picture of a culture of corruption". It's particularly amusing given the bulk of today's news on The BradCast. [Audio link to full show follow below this summary.]

Among our stories today...

  • The unspeakable death toll from flooding in Libya is now expected to be in the tens of thousands as bodies line the streets in the eastern coastal town of Derna, where 16 inches of rain fell in one day over the weekend resulting in the collapse of two dams. Given some of the horrifying new numbers from Berkeley Earth this week, however, suggesting that the planet has a good chance of exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius increase of warming since pre-industrial times which the Paris Climate Agreement seeks to avoid, we could be in for many more such horrific disasters in the years ahead.
  • Following a nearly 5-year probe by a Trump appointed U.S. Attorney and a recently failed plea agreement, Hunter Biden was charged today with 3 felony counts related to using illegal narcotics while buying a gun. These are crimes which almost nobody is ever charged with, especially when they have never fired or even loaded the gun, which Hunter reportedly had for only 11 days. But that must be a part of the "special preferential treatment" the President's son has received, if you hear Republicans tell it. Try not to laugh.
  • The state judge overseeing the sprawling, 41-count racketeering conspiracy indictment [PDF] against the former President of the United States, Donald Trump and his 18 co-conspirators for their attempts to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, has determined that all 19 defendants will not be tried in a single group beginning in October, as Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis had sought. So far, former Trump attorneys Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell will stand trial next month, but a trial date for all of the others will be set later, likely for some time next year --- if a slot when Trump isn't standing trial on felony charges in three other jurisdictions can be found.
  • The civil trial Trump faces --- along with his two eldest sons, his company and two top executives --- via New York state Attorney General Letitia James, for falsely and unlawfully inflating his company's net worth by billions of dollars in order to fraudulently receive bank loans and other benefits, begins on October 2. Just mentioning that since it seems few others are doing so these days for some reason.
  • The Fox Corporation was sued yet again this week, related to the knowing lies Fox "News" told about the 2020 election being "rigged". The latest suit comes courtesy of New York City's huge pension funds. They charge neglect of corporate duty to protect shareholders by opening themselves up to defamation suits like the one from Dominion Voting Systems. That one cost the pretend news outlet $787.5 million to settle earlier this year. The state of Oregon, on behalf of their public employee retirement fund, has joined the suit. All of which begs the question as to why anybody's money is actually invested in a company known, for years. to be as corrupt as Fox. I might suggest that those whose retirement funds are being handled by NYC and Oregon (and elsewhere) demand the funds pull their money from similarly irresponsible and corrupt corporations --- such as the major fossil fuel companies --- before they too face the huge financial liabilities that await them.
  • Are Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and his fellow corrupt Republicans in the state's obscenely gerrymandered Legislature blinking in their recent threats to impeach newly-seated state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz before she has even heard a case? The High Court's new liberal majority will soon be hearing two citizen petitions challenging the GOP's corrupt state district maps, which have ensured Republican majorities in both the Assembly and Senate for most of the past decade. But this week, just after state Dems announced a $4 million ad buy to let voters in the Badger State known what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024, Vos floated a new legislative "deal" to create new maps. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers immediately rejected the proposal as "bogus". We explain.
  • Remember that Kentucky County Clerk who refused to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 2015? Kim Davis will now have to pay one of those couples $100,000 for having refused to do so, according to a decision this week by a federal jury.
  • Ken Paxton, the unspeakably corrupt Texas state Attorney General and close Trump ally who is facing trial in the Republican-dominated state Senate on 20 articles of impeachment brought by the state's Republican-dominated House this week, may have dodged at least one bullet. A last-minute deal was struck between the opposing attorneys to skip testimony from Paxton's mistress on Wednesday. She's the one who was given a job by a Paxton donor to make it easier for them to continue their secret affair. The impeachment trial of the state's top law enforcement officer continues in the Senate, which will soon decide if the Republican should be removed from office based on charges of bribery, unfitness for office and abuse of power. Paxton's wife is a state Senator and has been present all week at the trial. She will, however, be barred from voting on his fate.
  • Washington Post reports today that Florida's corrupt Republican Governor Ron DeSantis enjoyed a whole bunch of unreported and undisclosed private plane flights, luxury resort accommodations and meals with wealthy donors after being first elected in 2018. With his Presidential aspirations now failing, he must be angling for a Supreme Court nomination.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest 'Green News Report' with more on the horrific news out of Libya; the record costs of U.S. weather-related disasters so far this year; more bad news for Texas water drinkers; and a bit of encouraging news courtesy of Biden and the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act. Oh, we're also still keeping an eye on the powerful, slow-moving Hurricane Lee, a monster storm in the Atlantic which is currently brushing by Bermuda and threatening New England, Canada and Newfoundland over the next several days...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: David Roberts, climate and energy journalist; Also: Senate Repubs don't think much of McCarthy's Impeachment Inquiry either...
By Brad Friedman on 9/13/2023 6:59pm PT  

The landmark federal climate bill called the Inflation Reduction Act, adopted last year without a single Republican vote when Democrats held majorities in both chambers of Congress, has a long way to go before we can determine its full success or failure.

On the other hand, as discussed on today's BradCast, if it is going well, but few Americans know it's going well --- as corporate broadcast media spend nearly 24 hours a day on various crises both manufactured and real (ironically, many caused by climate change!) --- can it or will it make a difference in next year's elections? [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But, FIRST UP today, one (or more) of those manufactured crises. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's desperate attempt on Tuesday to win over his own far-right caucus in the House by unilaterally declaring an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden doesn't seem to be going over very well. He had to break his own vow, made just 11 days ago, to do it only after a full vote of the House. It doesn't seem to be winning over enough colleagues to help him avoid a federal Government shutdown at the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1. And even fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate apparently see no evidence of High Crimes or Misdemeanors by the President to warrant impeachment.

On the other hand, he hasn't been pushed out of Speaker job by his own party this week...yet. So there's that!

NEXT: Biden and the Democrats' landmark Inflation Reduction Act --- featuring the largest single investment in history in climate change mitigation and clean energy manufacturing and jobs --- is now one year old. It has already begun to "turbocharging" a massive investment in new manufacturing plants and jobs in the U.S. to help reduce fossil fuel carbon emissions causing our climate crisis. It will soon be funding billions of dollars in home improvement projects to allow low and middle-income homeowners to electrify, solarize, upgrade and simply increase energy efficiency to save money. (NOTE: Not currently applicable in states like Florida, Kentucky, Iowa or South Dakota, apparently, which have failed to join the federal program to help their own residents save money and improve their home values while fighting climate change.)

Our guest today to discuss all of this is the great DAVID ROBERTS, longtime climate, energy and politics journalist and podcaster at Volts.WTF. We last spoke to him a year ago, just after passage of the critical legislation.

He explains today that it is still "too early to tell" whether the legislation is a success or not given all of its many practical objectives, which include vastly lowering emissions, creating millions of good paying jobs, sparking a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S. to bring supply chains home for renewable energy technology and overtaking China's dominance in the sector.

"Because the IRA's goals are so vast," Roberts explains, "it will only be over the course of five to ten years that we really have any understanding of whether it pulled it off. It's trying to do enormous things."

"What we definitely can say," however, is "that one of the goals --- which was to spur private investment into these products and supply chains in the U.S. --- is absolutely working. Last I looked, it's like $270 billion-worth of private investment flooding into the U.S."

But the yardstick for success here may be even longer than you think, according to Roberts. He tells me there is yet another goal for the legislation that is "not as public, but, if you talk to some Biden people behind the scenes, they will tell you that this apocalyptic terror you have about the future of democracy is not crazy."

"We are in a perilous, perilous moment. And part of the thinking behind IRA was that it is these parts of the country that were hollowed out by globalization, hollowed out by decades of reflexive 'free trade' dogma --- it's these parts of the county that have experienced this reactionary backlash that we've all been living through over the past little while. And if that goes on, U.S. democracy is in serious, existential trouble. People are freaked out about that all the way to the top. So, part of the goal of IRA was to channel investment into those areas. And that is happening."

Roberts says that much of the new investment "is coming into Southern and Midwestern states," including by companies like First Solar, which is "investing $1.2 billion into a facility in Louisiana. That is the single largest private investment in that state's history." Similar projects are happening in states like Georgia, West Virginia and elsewhere.

So, all we need to assess success of this enormous new law is whether it helps solves both of the nation's most existential crises: Democracy and Climate Change.

"Spurring investment, yes, it is succeeding. Is it succeeding in muting that reactionary backlash? Is it succeeding in muting these horrendous politics we've dealt with? Is it succeeding in turning a few swing voters in those swing states to help Joe Biden get back into office? That we don't know yet. And part of the problem is that our media ecosystem is broken and dysfunctional, and people just don't know about [the law]."

How to solve that? Well, as you can tell, we've got much to discuss today with Roberts along those lines as well, as he characterizes that part of issue as "the six million question" given "how broken the media is, and how difficult it is to get it to focus on these things."

He's got a few ideas, however, some involve "a huge role for NGOs, for the green movement" and even for you, as the climate, economic and political effects of the IRA one year on are still "TBD"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: John Nichols on the WI GOP's state Supreme Court impeachment threat to save their gerrymandered majorities; Also: McCarthy announces House GOP's evidence-free impeachment inquiry of President Biden...
By Brad Friedman on 9/12/2023 6:48pm PT  

Republicans have railed against the use of impeachment in recent years, describing it as little more than "election interference" --- at least when it was their obscenely corrupt, four-time indicted former President being twice impeached. Well, the party seems to have had a change of heart, as discussed on today's BradCast, as they are now threatening impeachments in both D.C. and Wisconsin. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

FIRST UP: Just 11 days ago, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told a rightwing news outlet that, unlike those corrupt Democrats under Nancy Pelosi during the Trump era, Republicans wouldn't open an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden without a full vote of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“To open an impeachment inquiry is a serious matter, and House Republicans would not take it lightly or use it for political purposes," McCarthy vowed in his statement just 11 days ago. "The American people deserve to be heard on this matter through their elected representatives. That’s why, if we move forward with an impeachment inquiry, it would occur through a vote on the floor of the People’s House and not through a declaration by one person."

On Tuesday, one person, Kevin McCarthy, declared he was opening an Impeachment Inquiry in the People's House into Joe Biden's "culture of corruption". That, of course, is a nice way of describing an impeachment inquiry of the sitting President that has no actual evidence of either high crimes or misdemeanors. The unilaterally announced inquiry (he took no questions from media afterward) comes on the heels of three ongoing, GOP-led U.S. House probes into the business dealings of the President's son, Hunter Biden, which includes a five-year long (and continuing) criminal probe by a Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney.

Despite all of that, there remains no independently verifiable evidence of wrongdoing by President Biden, or even evidence that he had anything to do with his son's business affairs. There is a mountain of evidence, however, that the far-right Freedom Caucus in the House has fully captured the Speaker, who they allowed to take the gavel this year, after 15 rounds of voting, in exchange for a host of concessions. One is that any single member of the House may call a vote at any time to remove McCarthy as Speaker.

With the federal fiscal year ending on September 30, the far-right GOP House mob is now threatening to shut down the Government without passing spending bills that McCarthy agreed to with Biden earlier this year (as part of a deal to avoid GOP threats, at the time, to allow the federal government to default on its bills for the first time in history.) McCarthy's announcement today appears to be an effort to win back his radicalized caucus at least long enough to adopt a 30-day Continuing Resolution to keep the government open before the end of the month and/or prevent himself from being ousted as Speaker. We wish him luck on all of the above.

NEXT: The U.S. House is not the only place where Republicans are desperately embracing impeachment in hopes of salvaging their political fortunes. Wisconsin's state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has been threatening to impeach state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz unless she recuses from two challenges to the state's wildly gerrymandered state legislative maps.

She was elected by an 11-point landslide in the previously closely-divided battleground state earlier this year, giving liberals a 4 to 3 majority on the High Court for the first time in 15 years. She was seated August 1 and, the very next day, petitions were filed with the Court seeking to replace the GOP's rigged maps with fair ones.

Vos is demanding that Protasiewicz recuse from the cases based on the fact that, while running for the job, she referred to the state's rigged maps as "rigged". Which, of course, they are. So much so that --- despite a majority on the Supreme Court and the top statewide elected offices being filled by Democrats, including two-term Governor Tony Evers --- Republicans still have more than enough votes, most likely, to impeach Protasiewicz in the Assembly and a two-thirds majority in the Senate, as needed to remove her from office before she's even heard a single case.

As one of the petitions [PDF] now before the Court argues: "Since 2012, even when Democrats have won as much as 53% of the vote, they have held no more than 39 of the 99 Assembly seats. In the same period, when Republicans have won as little as 44.8% of the statewide vote, they have held no fewer than 66 of the 99 seats and saw victories that yielded them 22 of 33 senate seats."

Native Wisconsinite, longtime progressive author and journalist JOHN NICHOLS joins us today to help make sense of and offer context to what he characterizes as the Wisconsin GOP's "unprecedented" use of the impeachment power in the Badger State --- or any other.

He describes the "high stakes political war" as "a game of chicken," with Republicans "upping their threat" to remove Protasiewicz, "not because it's legitimate, but because these folks might well do something crazy."

"I don't think you can say it's a foregone conclusion that they will impeach," he cautions. "I would say we've moved to the point where it's likely. They have realized, once the lawsuits were filed, that if the Court moves forward on these, they are going to be upended politically. Basically, this is self-preservation at this point. If you know anything about politics, self-preservation is a stronger motivation than partisanship or ideology. That's what tips the balance toward the likelihood of impeachment."

"The best way to understand the Republican Party of Wisconsin is that this is a political party that's in crisis," Nichols tells me. "Their crisis is that the state, which really was pretty evenly divided [is now leaning Democratic.] If that's the case, then for the Republicans, the only way they survive politically is to either change, become a much more moderate party --- they're unlikely to do that --- or game the process."

And, while one single Republican in the state Senate could prevent Protasiewicz' removal, the WI Constitution, as Nichols explains, has a provision "that's really become the heart of the whole matter. The clause says that if you are impeached by the state Assembly, you cannot rule on cases that come before the court. This is the key to it. We've always known there aren't the votes in the state Senate. But because of that clause, they don't have to send it to the Senate. They can just impeach her, and then leave her in limbo for a year and a half, at least until the legislative session ends. Which would eliminate any action as regards the 2024 maps, potentially the 2026 maps."

Could she simply resign and be reappointed by Evers until the next election? Yes, says Nichols, but there is a rub. Tune in for it.

All of this, however, may come at a great cost to Republicans, he explains, as voters respond to this radical tactic as Constitutional abortion rights, union rights and voting rights are all expected to come before the liberal Court that voters elected this year.

How does this "game of chicken" end? Nichols, who told me a month ago, when Vos' threat first emerged, that we were likely "in for a wild ride," now promises a "roller coaster" in his home state in the coming weeks, as state Dems are now spending at least $4 million to let Wisconsin voters know what Republicans are up to in advance of 2024. If the GOP pulls this trigger, Nichols believes, they could be in for serious trouble when voters return to the polls next year.

FINALLY: Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as horrific flooding moves from Greece to Libya where it has taken thousands of lives over the past several days; Africa holds its first-ever climate summit and calls for a global fossil fuel carbon tax; and climate protesters interrupt the U.S. Open...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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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Guest: Former Dep. Asst. AG, Chief Counsel for U.S. Senate, Dep. Chief of Article III Judges Div. for U.S. court system, Lisa Graves of True North Research; Also: Biden officially announces 2024 run...
By Brad Friedman on 4/25/2023 6:56pm PT  

If there is anyone more uniquely qualified than to discuss to discuss several issues of note on today's BradCast, I don't know who it could possibly be.

But FIRST UP, President Biden released a video today titled "Freedom", officially declaring his intention to run for a second term in 2024. The announcement comes four years to the day after releasing his video declaring his successful 2020 run. He faces long-shot Democratic primary challenges, so far, from vaccine opponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and self-help author/spiritual guru Marianne Williamson, who also ran in 2020 but dropped out before primary voting began.

We share Biden's video today and discuss the challenges he will be facing, which mostly include his age and health, according to many Democratic and other voters who say they'd prefer someone younger. Recent polling, however, shows that most of those voters will likely support Biden if he becomes the party's nominee.

The RNC and their most likely (for now) 2024 GOP nominee, Donald Trump, responded somewhat predictably with apocalyptic statements and AI video renderings of a dystopian nation wracked by disaster under a second Biden term, ironically describing Biden, ironically enough. as "out-of-touch". The disgraced former President, as recent polling reveals, will likely be the easiest nominee for Biden to defeat.

NEXT UP, since it's a day that ends in "y", we have yet another revelation of corruption by Clarence Thomas, almost certainly the most corrupt Supreme Court Justice in U.S. history. Bloomberg News and CNN report today that, despite previous claims to the contrary by both men, Thomas did, in fact, sit on a case at the high court in which Harlan Crow --- billionaire GOP megadonor and longtime giver of lavish worldwide travel and luxury vacations that went unlawfully undisclosed for decades by Thomas --- had business before SCOTUS in the 2000's. Thomas failed to recuse himself from the case involving the company of his "personal friend".

We're joined today to discuss the seemingly endless decades of both unethical and unlawful corruption by Thomas (and his corrupt, far-right activist wife Ginni), by LISA GRAVES. She previously served as Deputy Asst. Attorney General at the U.S. Justice Department, Chief Counsel for nominations in the US Senate, and as a Deputy Chief of the Article III Judges Division for the U.S. court system. Graves is now a muckraking political researcher and founder of Truth North Research. She has been exposing massive corruption of our electoral system by folks like Thomas, Crow, the Koch Brothers, wealthy rightwing federal court operative Leonard Leo and many others for years.

That means we've got a lot to discuss with Graves today, including Thomas' long history of corruption and failure to disclose stuff like his wife's annual salary for about twenty years from the rightwing Heritage Foundation back in 2011, and the undisclosed sponsorship of Leo and the group Citizens United that helped him win his controversial nomination to SCOTUS back in 1991. (That was well before Thomas failed to recuse himself from the infamous 2010 Citizens United case.)

"This new revelation is really important because it does show that there were cases, at least one case [at the Supreme Court] that directly affected Harlan Crow's company," Graves explains today. "But I think that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because the reality is that you have a number of instances that have been documented by the press where Clarence Thomas has failed to disclose to the American people his financial ties to Harlan Crow, who also has ties to Leonard Leo, who has been the architect of moving the Court to the far right. Including the fact that Leo cut his teeth trying to get Clarence Thomas confirmed in the first place. So these are deep and long relationships."

It's not only Thomas on the High Court who has recently been revealed as playing fast and loose with ethics rules and laws. Today, Politico reports that Justice Neil Gorsuch sold a nearly 3,000-square foot log home and a 40-acre tract of land in Colorado for nearly $2 million to the top executive of one of the nation's largest law firms just days after being nominated by Trump to SCOTUS in 2017. While Gorsuch disclosed the property sale, he failed to identify the purchaser on his disclosure forms, leaving that box blank. Since then, the firm has been involved in at least 22 cases before the Court.

And it's not only corrupt Republican appointees to the High Court. CNN recently unearthed interviews by a Christian talk radio outlet with far-right U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the corrupt judge who banned the popular abortion pill, mifepristone, earlier this month. During the interviews he describes his opinion that being gay is "a lifestyle" and criticizes both "no-fault divorce" and "permissive policies on contraception." He failed to disclose those interviews during his 2017 confirmation process.

Perhaps more disturbingly, Washington Post recently reported what would appear to be out and out fraud by the controversial judge. He not only failed to disclose a law review article he authored, in which he criticized President Obama's protections of transgender people and those seeking abortions, but, after being nominated by Trump, he instructed the journal to remove his name as author and substitute the names of two junior colleagues at his activist law firm who appear to have had nothing to do with the article.

Graves charges Kacsmaryk should be held to account by the DoJ for possible prosecution under Section 1001 of Title 18 of the US Code, which deals with giving materially false statements to Congress. "You have someone who affirmatively, deceptively, actively, willfully hid from the Senate that he wrote this article. He did so purposely. He did so knowing he was about to be nominated for this position. He affirmatively deceived Congress," she tells me.

"Kacsmaryk deceived Congress in his quest to become a judge, and then he had no restraint on his efforts to impose those various same types of personal anti-abortion views in a case where he has now injected himself in overturning nearly a quarter century of law in defiance of long-standing Supreme Court precedence."

Given the massive corruption of both the federal bench and Republicans in Congress, what, if anything can be done about any of it? We discuss what can and should be done by Congress, by the U.S. Judicial Conference which oversees operations of the federal courts, and by the U.S. Department of Justice, all of whom Graves has worked with in various capacities over the years...

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Guest: Congressional historian, political scientist Norm Ornstein; Also: Leahy's Iraq War spy story...
By Brad Friedman on 10/19/2022 5:41pm PT  

We've spent quite a bit of time of late on The BradCast discussing what could happen if Democrats are able to hold their majority in the U.S. House this year and pick up two more seats in the Senate. Codifying privacy rights and reproductive freedoms into federal law; passage of the much-needed Freedom to Vote Act; expansion of the corrupted U.S. Supreme Court to un-corrupt it. That all become possible in such an event, just to cite a few of the most pressing issues. But what happens if they don't? [Audio link to today's full show follows this summary.]

We've noted that it remains an uphill battle for Democrats to hold their majorities in either chamber of Congress this year, much less expand one of them. So, what happens if Republicans win a majority in one or both?

In short, it would be very very bad for a host of reasons, including for democracy itself. But TPM's Kate Riga detailed just some of the political nightmares that are likely to occur, as Republicans have revealed in their own words. From endless Congressional investigations of nonsense (think "Benghazi on steroids") to pointless culture war legislation that would be vetoed by President Biden even if it somehow overcame a Senate filibuster, to impotent efforts to impeach the President and various members of his Cabinet...for something or other.

But, even without majorities in both chambers, Republicans can wreak extraordinary damage to both the U.S. and global economies simply by re-upping their 2011 "Tea Party" scheme to hold the nation (and world) hostage to any number of demands in exchange for raising the dumb debt ceiling next year. ("Dumb", because it's absurd that the U.S. even has such a statute requiring Congressional permission to borrow money to pay for stuff that has already been purchased with Congressional and Presidential authority. Also "dumb" because Republicans only use it as a dangerous bargaining chip when a Democrat is in the White House. Despite blowing up the deficit by trillions during the Trump Administration, the debt limit was raised three times by Congress with nary a peep.)

As Riga and others have reported this week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP's presumptive House Speaker if they take back a majority, has signaled that his party intends to hold cuts to Medicare and Social Security among hostages in exchange for agreeing to lift the debt ceiling. That, in the words of our guest today, would be "catastrophic" on several levels.

We're joined today by Congressional historian, political scientist and author NORM ORNSTEIN, who has been covering Congress for nearly 50 years via the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where he is a Senior Fellow Emeritus and now as contributing editor and columnist for The Atlantic.

Last week at The Atlantic, Ornstein warned that it's not just "democracy at stake this fall", as he asked "how far would a Republican majority go?" in undermining the U.S. economy in advance of the 2024 Presidential election. He recounts the first real use of the debt ceiling as a blunt political instrument to wreak havoc on U.S. policy and the economy along with it by the "Tea Party" back in 2011. While a last minute compromise at the time avoided a first-ever default of the U.S. government and the inability to pay its debts, the brinkmanship and hostage-taking cost the economy billions. Our credit rating was downgraded for the first time ever and the Dow plunged some 2,000 points.

But Ornstein is now more worried about what may happen next year if the GOP wins a House majority. As he explains today, "back in 2011, there were grownups in the room who kept it from getting out of control." Today, however "we're in a different world."

"In the past," he tells me, citing Donald Trump as an "accelerant" for GOP "dysfunction," "we still had what we could think of as a political party, even as it began to go downhill. But now it's a full-blown cult. The willingness of new members coming in, joining with a lot of radical members who will be returning to blow the whole thing up, the lack of interest in fundamental institutions or in the need to be responsible at governance is astonishing."

"I have never, in fifty-plus years of being immersed in the institution, seen a weaker or more pathetic leader than Kevin McCarthy," he says. "The idea that he would stop them from mayhem is, at this point, not believable."

"Other than that the fact that these are radicals dominating the party, they can't pass legislation on their own. They can't impeach and convict and remove from office the officials they would want to, including the President and the Attorney General and Sec. of Homeland Security, among many others."

But, as Ornstein adds, they will have "the power for the purse" with which they can cause extraordinary damage both here and around the world. He details both the chaos and what Democrats can do to try and preempt it during the Lame Duck period after the November midterms in the event that Republicans win back a majority in one or both chambers.

"The best thing to do is to do as every other country does and eliminate this ridiculous device [the debt ceiling]," but, since Dems can't do that on their own via reconciliation, they could invoke "the ironically named McConnell Rule" through reconciliation to stave off the threat of GOP debt ceiling brinkmanship that could result in a first-ever financial default by the nation. Tune in for an explanation of that ironically named rule and much more on all of this today.

Or, of course, Americans could simply reelect Democrats to majorities in both chambers and avoid the guaranteed nightmares that lie ahead with GOP control of either, now that they have wasted away into little more than a radical, extremist, "full-blown cult."

Finally, we close today with a fascinating spy story, of sorts, regarding retiring, eight-term Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and the U.S. intel agencies during the lead-up to the Iraq War (which he voted against), based on false evidence of WMDs hyped by the Bush/Cheney Administration...

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Guest: Journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel; Also: Cheney loses in WY; Murkowski advances in AK, as Palin awaits Ranked Choice Vote count in U.S. House Special Election...
[UPDATED with link to full transcript of interview with Wheeler.]
By Brad Friedman on 8/17/2022 6:13pm PT  

On today's BradCast: What you need to know about the stolen national security documents retrieved by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago and the trouble Trump is in. And, about the known results of the strange-world-we-now-live-in primaries and special elections yesterday. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up, those elections, as based on incomplete and/or unverified results in both states.

The biggest story of last night, of course, was conservative Republican Rep. Liz Cheney's loss to a Trump-backed GOP primary challenger in Wyoming for the state's single, at-large House seat. As expected, Cheney lost bigly to former Never Trumper turned MAGA 2020 election denier Harriet Hageman. What does it all mean going forward for Republicans who wrongly hate Cheney and Democrats who wrongly love her and for the Republican Party itself? Cheney offered some hints, as we discuss, in her graceful concession speech on Tuesday night, promising once again that she "will do whatever it takes to ensure that Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office."

Then, incomplete results from Alaska, where it has always taken a long time to tally them and will take even longer following election reform adopted by state voters in 2020. They now have an open primary system, where the top four vote-getters go on to general elections which become Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) contests among those candidates.

Like Wyoming, Alaska has just one at-large U.S. House district. But there were two elections for it on Tuesday following the death, earlier this year, of Republican Rep. Don Young. He held the seat for 49 years. One was a Special Election to fill the remainder of Young's term through the end of the year, the other was an open primary for a full term beginning in January.

On the Special, Democratic candidate Mary Peltola currently leads Republicans Sarah Palin (yes, that Sarah Palin) and Nick Begich with about 70% of votes tallied as of airtime. However, because it's an RCV election --- in which none of the candidates received more than 50% of first choice votes --- once the first round of counting is complete, the candidate in last place will be removed and their voters' second place choices will be redistributed to the other two candidates. The entire race is then tallied again. We are unlikely to know the final winner until the end of August, but if Peltola wins, she'd be the first Alaskan native to be elected to Congress.

In the open primary for the full House term beginning next year --- featuring nearly 30 candidates --- it appears that all three of the candidates in the Special will also advance to November's general election. The fourth candidate in that contest has yet to be determined as counting continues. In the state's U.S. Senate race, Republican Lisa Murkowski --- who, like Liz Cheney, voted against Trump in his second impeachment --- will advance to the November general, where she will face Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka and two other candidates still to be determined, with just over 70% tallied.

Then, longtime, really smart, independent national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel returns to the show for the first time since the FBI's seizure of highly sensitive and classified national security documents at Mar-a-Lago last week, as stolen from the White House by Donald Trump upon leaving office last year.

As usual, we have a lot to cover with Wheeler, who was busy explaining on Twitter last week before anyone else that we know of --- before the unsealing of the FBI's search warrant detailing "probable cause" of three federal statutes violated by Trump --- that the Dept. of Justice was almost certainly investigating the former President for violations of the Espionage Act. As usual, after the warrant was unsealed, she was proven correct.

Also as usual when Marcy's on, you'll need to tune in for the full story. There is simply no way I can detail all of the critical insight and helpful information she has to offer here. But, among the points she helps clarify and explain along with key context from her years of covering similar cases dealing with the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and the theft of government documents...

  • What each of the three U.S. Criminal Code statutes cited in the warrant means, and the evidence that Trump appears to have blatantly violated each of them.
  • Were there, or were there not, documents including nuclear records found and/or sought in the search, as reported by Washington Post before the warrant and inventory list of retrieved items was unsealed.
  • Are documents sought by the National Archives and DoJ still missing after the search? And/or have they been mutilated or destroyed in violation of federal statutes?
  • Despite a signed declaration by one of Trump's attorneys that all of the highly classified documents and other material stolen from the White House had been returned to the government as of June, in fact, that was proven untrue. Who is the insider that tipped off the DoJ?

Wheeler argues that Trump is likely far more concerned about obstruction charges than even violations of the Espionage Act. Why? "We know that some of the documents that were responsive to subpoenas regarded January 6," she tells me, before suggesting reason to believe that some of the documents Trump was trying to withhold might be related to other crimes of his from farther in the past, such as: obstruction of justice in the Robert Mueller/Russia investigation; his attempt to bribe the Ukrainian President ("We know that the White House counsel didn't provide Congress the fullest version of the 'Perfect Transcript' of the Trump call with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. So that's an example of concealing a document that should have been released."); or the transcript regarding the classified Israeli intelligence that Trump gave to the Russian ambassador during an Oval Office meeting ("the documents got altered and disappeared.")

She has much more, including this fresh tidbit regarding obstruction: "There was a leak by one of the rightwing journalists [covering this story] that said, 'People close to Donald say he doesn't have to give [certain documents] over because the Archives will just give it to the January 6 Committee.' I'm like, 'That's a confession of obstruction! He just literally confessed to the elements of the offense for obstruction!' And honestly, Brad, this is something that virtually everyone is missing --- this is the one that Trump is terrified of."

There are many details we still don't not know and more disturbing revelations to come. As Wheeler notes several times, this all likely to get much much worse for Trump. But, she emphasizes, just based on what we already know it's already really really bad for him.

"Every half hour or so," she says, "this flash goes through my brain, and I go, 'Oh my God, Donnie has really, really screwed himself .' There are ways that I can imagine this snowballing that people aren't even grasping at this point. And that is all separate from the question of whether he's taken the nuclear codes and given it to [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman. You don't really need to get ahead of the game here to figure out things are pretty bad."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

Update 8/21/2022: Once again, our friend "Spocko" thought our interview with Marcy's was so important that he created a full text transcript of my interview with her. AI was used to do it, so it may have some inaccuracies in it. Nonetheless, I suspect it may be useful for easier access to the record.

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Critical lessons (and warnings) from primary results in AZ, KS, MI, MO, WA, OH; Also: IN Rep. Walorski killed in crash; A farewell to Vin Scully...
By Brad Friedman on 8/3/2022 6:07pm PT  

Look at the faces in that photo. Those are the faces of people grappling to understand a profound truth that they simply had no idea about prior to Tuesday night. Those faces should serve as inspiration for every Democrat and/or progressive on the ballot in every race in all 50 states between today and November 8. And as a warning for every Republican.

On today's BradCast, selective, noteworthy, curated results --- or what is known about them, unofficial, incomplete or otherwise --- from Tuesday's primary elections in six states, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington and Ohio. (And several problems for voters in Pinal County, AZ.) [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Of course, the biggest news from Tuesday, hands down, was the stunning landslide rejection of a state constitutional amendment in Kansas that would have allowed the state's Republicans to restrict and/or ban abortion rights. (That's what the folks in that photo were just learning about.) It was the first statewide vote on the matter anywhere in the nation since the newly extremist, far-right, radical, activist, corrupt, Republican U.S. Supreme Court majority overturned 50-years of Constitutionally protected rights and freedoms by striking down 1973's Roe v. Wade decision.

Even in the theoretically "conservative" state of KS, voters soundly rejected that proposed Amendment with their "NO" votes by a stunning 18 points over "YES" as of airtime. The "NO" vote did well in large and small, rural and urban, Democratic and Republican counties alike. Turnout, thanks to this measure --- in a midterm primary where Republicans assumed few would notice --- was enormous and at levels normally seen in Presidential primaries or even mid-term general elections in the recent past.

The question now is whether Democrats will finally have the confidence and courage to run on this issue, following the overturning of Roe in June, in every state in the country and for virtually every office on the ballot from Governor to Attorney General to District Attorney to County Sheriff to state Judge to state Supreme Court Justice. And, whether Democrats will be able to capitalize on Josh Marshall's "Roe and Reform" campaign that he's been pushing hard at Talking Points Memo, calling for a very specific promise to voters from Democrats on the federal level: Let us hold our House majority and give us two more seats in the Senate and we vow, come January 2023, to reform the Senate filibuster to codify the protections of Roe into federal law, guaranteeing privacy rights and reproductive freedom in all 50 states.

Nothing short of that very specific "You give us that, we'll give you this" promise will do, as Josh has smartly been explaining for weeks now. We have long argued ourselves that candidates must give voters something very clear and specific to vote for. When they do, as proven on Tuesday in Kansas --- where the stakes were crystal clear, and voters knew exactly what they would get from their one single vote --- they will respond in large numbers.

Of course, all of this also further underscores the argument I've been making for months that Democrats and progressives must ignore the "conventional wisdom" from so-called political professionals about the historical odds of impending doom this November. These are decidedly UNconventional times, proven once again in KS yesterday.

Beyond that very encouraging news on Tuesday, there was still more good news in both the Secretary of State and Attorney General races in KS; Somewhat disappointing news in the MO race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt; Potentially concerning news out of MI's Republican gubernatorial contest, where a well funded, Trump-backed loon will run against the state's popular Democratic Governor; And wildly troubling news out of AZ on the Republican side in the contests for the Gubernatorial and Sec. of State nominations, in what could turn out to be two of the most critical races in the nation this November.

All of that and many other races covered and explained, with context, on today's busy show.

Finally, we close with some tragic news on the death this afternoon of Indiana's 58-year old Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two of her young staffers in an automobile accident. And, some pleasant thoughts following the passing on Tuesday night of Hall of Fame broadcasting legend Vin Scully at age 94. He served as the inimitable and nationally recognized voice of Dodger baseball --- in both Brooklyn and Los Angeles --- for 67 incomparable years...

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Guest: John Nichols of The Nation; Also: State Dept. has no records of gifts to Trump; Don Jr. plotted to steal 2020 two days after the election...
By Brad Friedman on 4/11/2022 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The corruption never ends and will only get far worse until someone finally faces accountability. Whether it's Donald Trump for his unspeakable corruption and attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election or Justice Clarence Thomas, whose corruption has been well-documented for decades now, as he appears to have joined the effort to help Trump steal that election --- or, at the very least, avoid accountability for trying. Thomas needs to be impeached, argues our guest today, or we might as well put our Constitution "through the shredder." [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

As to Trump's unspeakable corruption, yes, we are still learning about much more of it. As TPM reported over the weekend, apparently the State Department is now reporting they have no records of gifts given to Trump (or Vice President Mike Pence and other Administration members) by foreign leaders during Trump's final year in office. Worse, according to the State Dept.'s report, the Office of the Chief of Protocol's Gift Unit reports no records of any gifts at all from January 20, 2017 (the day Trump took office) until the end of his first failed term in January of 2020. No record of what the President of the United States received from Foreign Leaders?! Um, that's not good.

We've come to expect this kind of grotesque corruption from Trump and his family members. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise to learn over the weekend, as we did via CNN, that Don Jr. was texting then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows just two days after Election Day in November of 2020 --- before the race had even been called or all of its votes tallied --- to detail one way after another that the election could and should be stolen for his father. "We control them all," Don Jr. told Meadows, while describing the way that state legislatures or Congress, or even the judiciary could help steal the election before Team Trump even knew for certain they had lost. "We have operational control Total leverage....POTUS must start 2nd term now," Trump Sr.'s corrupt son instructed the White House Chief of Staff on November 5th, 2020, according to messages obtained by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.

It's troubling enough that the man and his party who are planning to steal the 2024 election, if necessary, have yet to be held to account. It is no less troubling that at least one member of the U.S. Supreme Court is corrupt enough to help them. Outrage over Ginni Thomas, the far-right activist wife of far-right activist Justice Clarence Thomas, having texted Meadows dozens of times after the election, encouraging the Administration to steal the election for Trump, faded quickly after it was initially reported just over two weeks ago by the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Sure, there is a war in Europe and Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, but a corrupt sitting Supreme Court Justice --- willing to be the lone dissenting vote to potentially keep his own wife's text messages out of the hands of House J6 Committee is impeachment-worthy, according to my guest today, JOHN NICHOLS, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation.

The news about corruption of Clarence and Ginni is just the latest apparent law-breaking by the couple. We've been reporting on it for more than a decade. So has Nichols, who tells me he reported on conflicts of interest regarding Ginni's far-right activism 22 years ago. "Ginni Thomas was already working with the Bush-Cheney Administration at the same time that Clarence Thomas joined in that closely divided decision to close down [the 2000 Presidential] recount," he notes today. "So this woman has a quarter century of engagement in politics in a way that should not only have led to recusals by her husband, but ultimately, when he didn't recuse, should have led to his removal from the Supreme Court."

But enough is enough. And it would nice if both the corporate media (which has largely ignored this matter) and elected Democrats (who have tepidly called for Thomas to recuse himself from 2020-related cases) starting doing something about it. "We have reached that point," Nichols argues, when asked if Justice Thomas needs to be held to account for "seri­ous ethical or crim­inal miscon­duct" after the House Select Committee gathered evidence of his wife's texts to the White House Chief of Staff. "Trump tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election in what can accurately be referred to only as a coup attempt. And he sought to hold office illegally. That is a coup. When you are investigating something of that consequence, if there is even the slightest possibility that a member of the U.S. Supreme Court used his position to try to undermine or limit that investigation --- because his wife was a co-conspirator, because his political allies were involved in the issue --- that has to be investigated. It is best investigated, in my opinion, in an impeachment inquiry."

"We're having a discussion about recusal at this point for Clarence Thomas? This is absurd!," Nichols insists. "This guy isn't going to recuse. He's made it absolutely clear. This is like saying, 'At the very least, Jesse James should recuse himself from robbing banks.' The crime has already been committed! The notion that we would now say 'Oh, he should recuse himself going forward' doesn't get to the heart of the matter, and it doesn't get to the reality. The only option we have in this case is impeachment."

But, of course, even if Democrats in the House stepped up to do the right thing, Mitch McConnell and the Republicans would never remove Thomas from the High Court, right? "For those who say, 'Oh, we can't do that because Mitch McConnell might not let us,' then you might as well take the Constitution out of the National Archives and put it through the shredder. What's the point of having an impeachment power if you don't use it in a moment like this?"

Good argument. And we've got much more along those lines with Nichols today, including some of his thoughts on the huge hole left behind in the progressive media following last week's tragic loss of longtime media critic Eric Boehlert, and on whether he believes Attorney Merrick Garland and the DoJ are taking the appropriate steps to hold Trump and the rest of his cabal to account for their part in the insurrection (as discussed last Thursday on this show with former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason) and the broader attempt to steal a Presidential election before our very eyes...

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D.C. Guard Commander's Senate testimony underscores need for probe...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2021 10:52am PT  

For more than two months, the FBI has been rounding up and charging hundreds of Trump-incited insurrectionists who, in hopes of preventing the Congressional certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory last November, stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

But a number of key questions remain wholly unanswered following the unprecedented attack on our very system of representative democracy. Central to several of those questions is Donald Trump's own, personal, behind-the-scenes machinations to help instigate the uprising and, perhaps, prevent the deployment of the military to help quell the rebellion he encouraged.

The March 3rd Senate committee testimony of Major General William Walker, Commander of the D.C. National Guard, describing a seemingly inexplicable delay in authorization for his troops to provide relief to the U.S. Capitol under siege, underscores the need to determine whether there is a connection between Trump's post-election November 2020 purge of the top civilian leadership at the Department of Defense (DoD) and the January 6th assault.

The purge at the Pentagon began two days after media outlets called the Presidential Election for Joe Biden, when Trump fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Within days, four senior DoD officials either resigned or were fired and replaced by what CNN characterized as "conspiracy theorists and Trump loyalists." Christopher Miller became the Acting Secretary of Defense. Kash Patel, who had previously worked for the disgraced Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on the House Intelligence Committee, was appointed to serve as Miller's Chief-of-Staff.

While one Pentagon official described the November purge as "scary", "unsettling" and the moves one would expect from a "dictator", CNN noted in its contemporaneous account that "no one at the Pentagon has an understanding as to what the grand plan is."

Walker's testimony before the Senate Rules and Homeland Security Committees earlier this month, together with other publicly known evidence, points to a distinct likelihood that, once it became clear he couldn't rely upon the U.S. military to carry out a coup, Trump's "grand plan" entailed a stand-down of the D.C. National Guard while his "personal army", an incited mob of white supremacists, stormed the Capitol on January 6...

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Guest: Migration Policy Institute's Sarah Pierce; Also: More 'Clean up on Aisle 45' news on the FBI, Kavanaugh and the Vindman family...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2021 6:28pm PT  

We've got quite a bit of 'Clean up on Aisle 45' news on today's BradCast, particularly at the U.S. southern border. [Audio link to today's full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, a few noteworthy 'Clean up" news items. Rhode Island's Democratic Sen. Sheldon has written a letter to Joe Biden's newly confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland, requesting an investigation into what he describes as the "fake" investigation the FBI apparently made into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh before his confirmation to a lifetime appointment as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. That confirmation, by the way, happened only thanks to Senate Republicans willingness to do away with the filibuster on Supreme Court Justices. Of course, it wasn't only sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh that deserved a real probe by the FBI. There is still the matter of what happened to the $60,000 to $200,000 worth of credit card debt that Kavanaugh carried the year before his nomination, which magically disappeared by the time he was tapped by Trump to help pack the stolen Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, Army Lt. Col Yevgeny Vindman --- twin brother of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against Donald Trump during his first impeachment --- will now be promoted to Colonel under the Biden Administration. That, despite a revenge campaign leveled against the Vindman family by the former disgraced President, which resulted in some negative job reviews for Yevgeny during his time as deputy legal advisor on Trump's National Security Council. Shortly after the impeachment, Trump fired both men from their NSC posts and Yevgeny filed a whistleblower complaint over the retaliation with the Pentagon's Inspector General. The IG's report has not yet been released.

Then, for the biggest 'Clean up on Aisle 45 ' news of the day, we move down to the U.S. Southern Border, where Republicans have been taking a cue from the former disgraced President to claim a massive "Biden border crisis!" is current under way, not two months into the new President's tenure. Sadly, corporate media have taken that cue as well. As they do.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) traveled to the border this week and, among other apparent lies, claimed that terrorists from Yemen, Iran and Turkey were "rushing" the border "all at once." While that is almost certainly untrue, there has been an increase over the past two months in unaccompanied children, seeking asylum at the border, after making the arduous journey from beleaguered Central American "Northern Triangle" countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Thanks to the influx of unaccompanied kids, a hollowed out asylum system left behind by the previous administration, along with pandemic social distancing requirements, Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities meant to house children before they are handed over to the Dept. of Health and Human Services to find sponsored shelters are running out of space. The influx is also leading to many being held in the CBP facilities beyond the 72-hour legal limit, even as the Biden Administration has, for the time being, left many of Trump's policies in place, expelling families and single adults fleeing from gang violence, climate change and poverty in their troubled nations.

So, what is actually going on at the border right now? Is it really a crisis? And how much is the Biden Administration, not even two full months on the job, to blame? We're joined today by SARAH PIERCE, immigration attorney and Policy Analyst for the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute to help us separate fact from breathless, GOP/media-inflated fiction.

"I think there is a significant challenge at the southern border," she explains. "I don't think we can call it a crisis yet. But we could certainly be moving in the direction of a crisis.  We had a really fast acceleration in the number of unaccompanied child migrants arriving at the southern border between January and February. But we still haven't reached record numbers of children arriving at the southern border. We saw records during 2019 and 2014 that we haven't yet broken."

"But our facilities are limited because of the pandemic," she continues, "and so that is making what would already be a challenge even more difficult as the administration scrambles to bring beds back online, and move children out of Border Patrol custody as quickly as they possibly can."

Pierce explains how bad the situation currently is; whether she believes the Biden Administration is taking the appropriate measures to handle it; whether GOP claims about terrorists rushing the border or becoming "super-spreader caravans" are in any way true; and whether the situation can be handled at all without Congressional action (which seems a long shot while the filibuster remains in place, with Republicans seeking distraction from their failure to vote for the COVID relief bill and relying on alarmist rhetoric about the border to try and hold on to their base).

The Biden Administration "inherited a really, really big challenge and a system that was just gutted by the prior administration. So, whether or not they'll be able to do this all, while also dealing with what could very well be a crisis in the near future at the southern border, is a really big question."

She also offers, among other direct answers, a response to my question about the oft-repeated spurious claim that Trump's infamous family separation policy that resulted in those horrific "kids in cages" photographs was was actually begun by the Obama Administration. The answer will probably not shock you.

Next, it's our latest Green News Report with Desi Doyen (and, yes, more 'Clean up on Aisle 45' news there as well). And, finally, I close with a plea for Congress to do the right thing, once and for all, when it comes to...daylight saving time...

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Guest: Constitutional law expert John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People; Also: Fossil fuel failure freezes out TX grid during deadly winter storm...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2021 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Impeachment may be broken, but accountability is still coming. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of summary.]

But, first up: Record low temperatures continued to batter dozens of states and knock out power to millions of customers in several of them. But it is residents of the great state of Texas who are paying the highest price for their government's utter failure to keep the lights...and the heat...and the water on...throughout this foreseeable and deadly cold snap. No, it's not the renewable energy sources like wind power that has failed --- as Fox "News" is frantically misinforming their viewers today --- it's the fossil fuel industry and the state's disastrously unregulated and privatized power infrastructure that has helped create the mess in Texas. Our own Desi Doyen explains.

Then, in a refreshing bit of encouraging news today, Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) has filed a civil federal lawsuit against Donald Trump in response to the deadly attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, incited by the disgraced former President. The suit, filed on Thompson's behalf by the NAACP on Tuesday, also names Rudy Giuliani and the rightwing extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as defendants. It seeks both punitive and compensatory damages for the assault on Thompson's place of work that left the 72-year old Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee hiding on the floor of the U.S. House for hours and in dangerously close contact with colleagues, two of whom tested positive for COVID in the days that followed. The complaint is believed likely just the first of a potential wave of similar litigation in response to the unprecedented attack on the Capitol which killed at least five people, and which a bipartisan 57-43 majority of U.S. Senators over the weekend at his Impeachment Trial found Trump guilty of having incited.

But guilty or not, the Impeachment process, for a second time in the Trump Presidency, ultimately fell short of the high Constitutional bar of a two-thirds vote needed for conviction, begging the question as to whether the founders misjudged what might be needed by Congress to hold a scofflaw President to account.

We're joined today once again by Constitutional legal scholar JOHN BONIFAZ, Co-Founder and President of the non-partisan governmental accountability group Free Speech for People, and co-author of the 2018 book The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.

Our wide-ranging conversation on various paths towards accountability for the 45th President includes discussion of Rep. Thompson's lawsuit; Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and how it might be invoked to prevent Trump from running for future office; and as well as criminal statutes which could be invoked against Trump under the leadership of Joe Biden's Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland. On the day after the January 6 insurrection, FSFP joined a coalition of groups calling for Garland to stand up a task force upon his confirmation to pull together all of the disparate investigations into the matter.

Central to any such accountability, however, Bonifaz argues today, is the need for an important reform in the U.S. Senate and accountability for members who serve both there and in the U.S. House. He argues that the failure to convict Trump at his second Impeachment Trial "demonstrates that those who are sworn to take the oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution in the U.S. Senate are not up to the task --- at least for the 43 members of the Sedition Caucus, who are every bit as guilty as Donald Trump for voting to acquit him despite the overwhelming evidence that Donald Trump incited this insurrection and was guilty as charged."

He faults "those in power who are not abiding by their oaths" who have allowed Presidents to "assume the powers of a king". To begin reform of Congress, Bonifaz explains, we must start with reform of our electoral system as Democrats have proposed in their critical H.R.1. and S1 bills called the "For the People Act". But to see that through Congress --- and so many other necessary reforms --- we will have to do away with the legislative filibuster, he says.

"The filibuster, as we know, requires a 60 percent majority in the U.S. Senate for anything to pass, and that's contrary to any basic principle of small-d democracy," Bonifaz tells me. "That's a first order of business for those in the U.S. Senate and, frankly, those in the White House who are pledging to protect and defend our democracy. We need to eliminate the filibuster, and we need get on to the business of responding to these voter suppression efforts throughout the country that we now see in state legislatures to try to roll us back and disenfranchise millions of voters."

Of course, Democrats could do that without Republicans at all, with their newly-won Senate majority, but for Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona who have each pledged to protect the filibuster. Even those obstacles however, as Bonifaz explains, are not insurmountable if pressure is applied by Democratic leadership in the Senate and the White House...and if pressure is applied by we, the people on them to do so.

With the "Jim Crow relic" filibuster out of the way, says Bonifaz, the Senate would also be able to invoke Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to prevent Trump from being allowed to hold federal office in the future. The post-Civil War Amendment blocks those who have engaged in rebellion or insurrection against the U.S. Government from becoming candidates for public office. "This is a critical next step needed to ensure that this lawless ex-President is disqualified from running for office again," Bonifaz asserts, detailing how the provision would work with a simple resolution adopted by both the Senate and House.

I hope you tune in for this important conversation today as the quest for accountability continues to continue on The BradCast!

Finally, we close somewhere near where we began, with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report focused on the winter storm now battering dozens of U.S. states and the utter failure of Texas lawmakers (and those in other states) to properly harden our critical infrastructure for a 21st century climate changed world...

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Also: Brutal winter storm locks down TX, much of nation; Biden, Dems push ahead with progressive agenda; Callers ring in on Impeachment verdict and what must come next for disgraced former President...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2021 6:23pm PT  

Donald Trump was found guilty by a huge, bipartisan 57 to 43 verdict in the U.S. Senate of having incited the deadly, attempted January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. On discuss on today's BradCast, 7 Republican Senators joined all of the Democrats in that majority finding on Saturday, affirming that Trump attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government and the 2020 Presidential election. Nonetheless, due to the U.S. Constitution's requirement that a two-thirds vote of the Senate is needed to secure a conviction under the rules for Impeachment, our disgraced former President was "acquitted" of the charge he was found guilty of during his second Senate Impeachment Trial. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

We discuss what happened on Saturday in detail today, and take a bunch of calls from listeners on the matter. But first up, we cover the catastrophic winter storm --- featuring crippling snow, record cold and power outages for millions, particularly in Texas --- amid the ongoing COVID pandemic and attempt to distribute vaccinations to tens of millions of Americans. Native Texan Desi Doyen, co-host of our Green News Report, joins us to explain what's going on and why scientists tell us that it is happening.

Also, even while still on the Trump Accountability beat (as we've previously noted, this is going to take a while), we cover a bit of Biden Administration news today, including the quiet weekend withdrawal of Trump-era work requirements for Medicaid, as pushed and allowed to some states by the previous Administration, and the re-opening of the Healthcare.gov exchange to accommodate new "ObamaCare" signups during massive unemployment wrought by the pandemic. That, as the very popular American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief and stimulus package, moves toward passage with or without Republican support in the Senate and (thanks to pushback from the House Progressive Caucus) without the potential cuts to the promised $1,400 relief checks which Republicans and some of the more conservative Democrats were previously considering.

Though an occasional kick to the head is required, it does seem like --- at least for now --- Democrats are "getting it" when it comes to the nation's bipartisan desire for big and bold action from lawmakers in D.C. Even conservative Democratic Rep. Richie Neal, Chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, is now calling for new, monthly cash payments totaling $3,600 per year for every child under age 6, and $3,000 for children from 6 to 17. We hope Dems continue to offer the progressive policy the country yearns for, and we're glad to see progressives pushing Democrats when they need to.

Of course, Democrats have yet to learn all of the lessons they need to, as revealed by the Saturday snafu when House Impeachment Managers easily won a bipartisan vote to call witnesses at Trump's second Senate Impeachment Trial, only to cave shortly thereafter. There were arguably legitimate reasons to not call witnesses --- even if we would have preferred to see that happen. But to get everyone's hopes up, only to dash them --- without figuring out the concerns in advance --- was an inexcusable self own.

Nonetheless, Democrats won an historic 57-43 majority in the conviction votes, with an unheard of seven Senators from the opposing party joining all of the Democrats and independents in finding Trump guilty. Even the snake Mitch McConnell was forced to admit that, yes, Trump incited the violence at the Capitol. Though he still voted "not guilty", falsely and ridiculously claiming that it was unconstitutional to hold a trial after the impeached Executive Branch official was already out of office. His claims were even more grotesquely absurd given that he was the one that prevented the trial from happening while Trump was still in office.

So, what happens next? Will Trump ever face real accountability for his many crimes, including an attempt to overthrow the U.S. Government itself? If so, how, when and by whom? (Our own Ernie Canning has a few ideas today.) We discuss and open up the phone lines today to listeners to discuss that and other related matters on today's lively BradCast. Enjoy!

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Special Coverage of Day 4 with Salon's Heather Digby Parton...
By Brad Friedman on 2/12/2021 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast special coverage: For Trump's attorneys, at least, it was an open and shut case, as they both opened and closed their argument in about 3 hours of their allotted 16 on Friday, on behalf of the former President in his second Impeachment Trial. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

We might have known it wasn't going to go well when the charge that a President of the United States incited a murderous insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th was characterized by his attorneys as little more than a case of "Constitutional Cancel Culture". A perfect fit for the Fox "News" chyron! And, naturally, a defense perfectly fit for Donald Trump since it was filled to the brim with unapologetic lies right out of the gate.

The first such lie (that we noticed anyway) came in the very first few minutes, when new Trump attorney and Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer, Michael T. Van Der Veen, falsely claimed that in 2016, "the Clinton Campaign brought multiple post-election court cases" and "demanded recounts".  Of course, as long time readers and listeners know, they did no such thing, even if we wished they had. Despite cybersecurity and voting systems experts at the time begging the Campaign to do so, they refused. Instead, Green Party candidate Jill Stein sought those counts instead, as she announced at the time on this program.

Trump's liars...er lawyers, also falsely claimed House Democrats waited until Trump was out of office to deliver the Article of Impeachment to the U.S. Senate (that was because then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to reconvene the Senate), and that the Democratic House Impeachment Managers withheld the chilling, "never before seen video" used in their presentation this week, from the defense team in an outrageous "rushed trial without due process".  (In fact, the Managers have since noted, all audio and video evidence and materials used in their presentation was given to the defense team before the trial began, as per Senate Impeachment Trial rules.)

Team Trump also charged that the Dems falsely manipulated Trump's tweets and manufactured evidence to make their case and that they failed to connect the violence at the Capitol to "the 45th President." The charge of manipulated, cherry-picked video evidence came just before the defense played several really long, fully out-of-context video montages of Democrats using the word "fight" in various settings, underscored by manipulative dramatic music. The Trump attorneys claimed that "the 45th President" never incited any violence and "was immediate in his calls for calm" after the assault was under way. That's a lot of lies (and that wasn't all of them) in such a short presentation. But we suspect they did their client proud.

Their central arguments were that Trump was merely exercising his First Amendment free speech rights when lying to his supporters for months that the election was rigged and imploring them to "fight like hell" or they "wouldn't have a country anymore". That, they argued, was only a plea for election reform and to primary Republicans who didn't fight hard enough for him. But there is no First Amendment right to incite imminent violence, and there are all matter of activities that would be protected by the First Amendment (wearing a Nazi armband, suggesting certain people should be killed) that are certainly impeachable activities for a President nonetheless.

Even more conspicuous were the matters that Trump's attorneys did not address, such as why Trump never attempted to send help to protect the Capitol or tell his supporters to stop their attack, even as he knew his own Vice President and others were being targeted for assassination by the MAGA Mob.

We're joined today to try and make sense of all of this, as well as the rest of the Impeachment Trial week and where it goes from here, by the the wise, award-winning opinion and analysis journalist, HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo.

She describes the defense case as little more than an effort "to create sound bites for Fox New, OAN and Newsmax. That's it. They know that they had intimidated the jurors. They have 50 Republicans. Of those Republicans, I would say 90 percent of them of them have been intimidated by Donald Trump or they are true believers in MAGA." Parton charges that the events of January 6th were "a grotesque assault on democracy" and a "domestic act of terrorism, which the President of the United States incited."

"He did incite it. This is not in any way disputable. And there's nobody, if they're honest with themselves, that believes he didn't," she argues. "They actually targeted the day when every single one of our national representatives were present, and it was to stop the certification of the Presidential election. This was huge. It's historic. We all watched it."

Moreover, she notes, no matter how the vote for conviction comes out, "it was imperative that they did this. They had to put it on the record. And now Donald Trump is the only President in history to be impeached twice."

We also discuss not only how Republicans are expected to vote, but why they might vote against conviction and disqualification from future office even though, as I opined yesterday, removing Trump's only remaining superpower --- his viability as a 2024 Presidential candidate --- would actually help the Republican Party itself and most of those Senators.

Would Parton like to see witnesses brought? If so, who? And what will --- or should --- happen after Trump is acquitted which, at least for now, is believed the most likely outcome. As usually, it's a very lively conversation with our friend "Digby", though it ended just before the breaking news from CNN that Trump had a heated conversation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy during the insurrection, which devolved into a "shouting match" in which the Republican lawmaker is said to have "begged" the then-President to call of his goons and send help to protect the Capitol. Trump, reportedly refused, according to the several House Republicans who McCarthy briefed on the call and who are now, apparently, willing to go on record to say as much, according to CNN's late breaking report.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, as President Biden places climate action at the center of both national security and foreign policy and as the U.S. wind energy industry just had its best year ever, among other important, non-impeachment related environmental news stories...

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Special Coverage Day 3 of Trump's second Impeachment Trial as House Managers wrap up their damning case to Republicans who may fail to realize they could now take away his last remaining 'superpower'; Also: Disenchanted GOPers consider forming new national party...
By Brad Friedman on 2/11/2021 6:33pm PT  

Our BradCast special coverage continues today, as House Impeachment Managers completed their opening argument in Donald Trump's second Senate Impeachment trial, closing out a damning case for the charge of "Incitement of Insurrection" and pre-butting the arguments expected from the former President's defense team. [Audio link for today's full show is posted below the summary.]

But first up today, in not-at-all-unrelated news, Reuters is reporting a nascent effort by unhappy Republicans --- many of whom served in the Administrations of Reagan, Bush Sr., Bush Jr. and even Trump --- to begin building a third national party to help break away from the Trump-captured GOP. They claim the new party would reflect "principled conservatism" and could be called the "Integrity Party" or "Center Right Party". Or the effort, discussed on a Zoom call late last week by some 120 Republicans disenchanted by their party's hard-right, nativist turn, could fizzle all together. We discuss.

Then, following Wednesday's emotionally gripping first day of opening arguments in the Impeachment Trial, in which Democratic House Managers presented a tightly-knit, point-by-point, media-rich case detailing Trump's incitement of the murderous January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, Republican Senators were reportedly moved by some of the harrowing, never-before-seen-or-heard audio and video shared during the presentation. Nonetheless, even after seeing hard, persuasive evidence of Trump's long-planned attempt to steal the election after all of his non-violent schemes had fizzled, Washington Post reports that most of the GOP Senate jurists were still likely to vote against conviction. That, even as some of the Senators were visibly shaken by the dramatic presentation of the MAGA mob's violent ransacking of the Capitol with Trump's encouragement and their hopes of assassinating Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or any of the other lawmakers who came frighteningly close to being overrun by the insurrectionists.

Foolishly, it seems, the cowardly Republican Senators who are still in thrall to Trump and in fear of his supporters don't seem to understand that this Impeachment Trial is affording them an opportunity to neutralize the only real superpower that Trump now has left: his control over them and the Party itself, thanks to his ability to run again in 2024 --- where he is currently the easy front-runner for the GOP nomination. End the possibility of him ever becoming President again and his one remaining superpower will almost certainly dissipate in surprisingly short order, as I explain today.

Nonetheless, the Impeachment case picked up on Thursday, with House Managers underscoring Trump's personal role in inciting the violence and his complete failure to take any action at all to stop it after it had begun, leaving lawmakers "for dead", as compellingly detailed yesterday. Even now, the Managers noted, Trump has failed to take any personal responsibility for the riot or even concede that he lost the 2020 election. That "Big Lie", as the Managers explained, continues to threaten national security; has cost the federal government nearly half a billion dollars for protection of the Capitol; has resulted in adversaries in China, Russia and Iran dismissing America's promise of Constitutional democracy; and has made a joke of Republican claims to support either the rule of law or law enforcement itself. (One Capitol Police officer was killed in the January 6 assault, two more killed themselves in the days that followed, and hundreds were seen being attacked by MAGA mobsters on video, describing them as "traitors" before more than 100 were seriously injured that day.)

Today we share excerpts from presentations made by Impeachment Managers Jamie Raskin (MD); Diana DeGette (CO); Ted Lieu (CA); Joaquin Castro (TX); and Joe Neguse (CO).

Each warned in different ways that if the Senate fails to convict and then bar Trump from holding future office, the chances are very good that he --- or a future President --- will repeat his deadly, authoritarian tactics. The most chilling moment of the day, however, may have belonged to Lieu, who noted that the disgraced former President "will undoubtedly cause future harm if allowed, because he still refuses to account for his high, grave crime against our government."

"I'm not afraid of Donald Trump running again in four years," Lieu warned. "I'm afraid he's gonna run again and lose...because he can do this again."

Their case concluded, essentially, with the reminder that if an insurrection directed by the President of the United States against the U.S. Government itself is not impeachable, then nothing is. The Managers also pre-butted the expected arguments from Trump's attorneys, noting that the First Amendment free speech clause does not protect incitement of violence. And, since Trump declined their invitation to answer himself under oath, the Managers asked his lawyers to explain why Trump took no action at all as Commander-in-Chief to stop the murderous attack once it began and if they even agree that a President inciting an insurrection against the U.S. Government amounts to an impeachable offense.

Trump's attorneys will present their own case beginning on Friday...

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