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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, February 25, 2021
SCOTUS Puts Both Trump and Future Elections in Serious Legal Peril: 'BradCast' 2/24/21
Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern; Also: Virginia is no longer for death penalty lovers...
Merrick Garland, Cyrus Vance and Trump Accountability: 'BradCast' 2/23/21
Guest: Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler; Also: SCOTUS ends 2020 GOP election challenges; GA Repubs move vote suppression bills...
'Green News Report' 2/23/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
Texas power crisis mostly over, as water crisis continues; Repubs who lied about wind energy got big bucks from Big Oil; PLUS: U.S. officially rejoins Paris Climate Agreement...
Previous GNRs: 2/18/21 - 2/16/21 - Archives...
Seeking Environmental Justice in the 'ALONE' Star State: 'BradCast' 2/22/21
Guest: Dr. Robert Bullard of TSU and Nat'l Black Environmental Justice Network; Also: COVID kills 500k; SCOTUS denies Trump; Dominion sues MyPillow guy for $1.3B...
Sunday 'Kick the Can' Toons...
Kick back with PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
'RECOUNTED' w/ Terror Analyst Colin P. Clarke,
Const'l Expert John Bonifaz: 'BradCast' 2/19/21
On the rise of rightwing domestic terrorism; Accountability for Trump and the GOP...
Cruz Deserts Texas,
NASA Returns to Mars:
'BradCast' 2/18/21
Guest: Margot Paez, formerly of 'BradCast' and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Also: TX crisis spikes oil, gas prices; sparks int'l ire...
'Green News Report' 2/18/21
  w/ Brad & Desi
GNR Special Coverage: Texas power grid devastated by deep freeze, death toll climbs, privatization to blame, Rightwingers launch TX disinfo campaign to falsely blame wind power...
Previous GNRs: 2/16/21 - 2/11/21 - Archives...
States Respond to 2020 With 'Avalanche' of Vote Supp-ression: 'BradCast' 2/17/21
Guest: MoJo's Ari Berman; Also: TX Repubs blame wind energy for own fossil fueled failure; LIMBAUGH DEAD, HIS POISON LIVES ON...
Accountability Amidst the Storms. All of Them.: 'BradCast' 2/16/2021
Guest: Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of Free Speech for People; Also: Fossil fuel failure freezes out TX grid in deadly winter storm...
'Green News Report' 2/16/21
Historic storm cripples Texas, takes out power for millions, brings record low temps to dozens of states; PLUS: Biden warns China outpacing U.S. on infrastructure...
BIPARTISAN SENATE MAJORITY VOTES TRUMP GUILTY AS CHARGED: 'BradCast' 2/15/21
Also: Winter storm locks down TX; Biden, Dems push progressive agenda; Callers on Impeach vote...
Prosecute Trump or Perish
Ernie Canning on why republic's survival may hinge on a criminal probe by DoJ into our former President's role in deadly Jan. 6 insurrection...
Sunday 'Case Dismissed' Toons
PDiddie's back with more unimpeachable guilty pleasures in his latest weekly toon collection...
'Green News Report' 2/11/21
Biden puts climate at center of NatSec, Foreign policy; Fossil fuels and premature deaths; U.S. wind's best year yet; PLUS: Pipeline spill in San Fran Bay...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Accountable's Lizzy Price on holding corporate CEOs to account for hiring Trumpers; Also: Trump loses Impeachment lawyers; Callers ring in on whether Biden should compromise with GOP on COVID bill...
By Brad Friedman on 2/1/2021 6:27pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
WE WELCOME YOUR ANNIVERSARY SUPPORT/DONATIONS HERE!

Our ongoing parallel coverage on The BradCast of the insane former President and the not-insane current President continues today, as one faces a decision whether to compromise with Republicans on COVID relief, and the other continues to dig his own grave even deeper while facing still more accountability for his disastrous Presidency. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

But first up, as COVID vaccinations get shut down in the Northeast due to a monster winter storm, anti-vaccination protesters and rightwing Trump-supporting extremist in sunny Los Angeles over the weekend temporarily shut down COVID vaccinations at Dodger Stadium. Because they are jackasses.

Speaking of jackasses, Donald Trump lost all five of his impeachment defense attorneys on Sunday, just days before his historic second impeachment trial is set to begin next week in the U.S. Senate --- this one, for "Incitement of Insurrection" at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. The five, actually respectable attorneys, quit Team Trump, reportedly, because the former failed President insisted his impeachment defense should include his false claims that the election was stolen from him. The lawyers wanted to stick with the false argument that an Impeachment Trial after a President is out of office is somehow unconstitutional. But, no worries! Trump has reportedly replaced two of those attorneys already, with one who represented now-deceased sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and another who, as a state prosecutor in Pennsylvania, refused to file criminal charges against convicted sex predator Bill Cosby. Trump's new attorneys should be a match made in heaven for the disgraced former President and accused sex predator himself.

In the meantime, the accountability continues for Trump's business, as a New York Supreme Court Justice on Friday ordered the Trump Organization to turn over even more documents related to the ongoing civil bank and tax fraud investigation being carried out by the state's Attorney General. That probe is running parallel to a similar criminal investigation by the state prosecutor in Manhattan, into the 45th President's allegedly fraudulent activities. Trump continues to lose in court in virtually every single one of his challenges to both probes.

And, accountability continues at the same time for some of the thousands of those in the MAGA Mob who attended the U.S. Capitol insurrection, even if they didn't (apparently) join those breaking into the building to try and overturn the 2020 election. Just ask Mark Hastings, the CEO of an online bartending supply company who proudly posted his "Stop the Steal!" selfie from outside the Capitol on his Facebook page. Customers are now said to be leaving BarProducts.com in droves. He has since deleted the selfie, for some reason.

But while Trump is facing accountability, as are his supporters who attacked the U.S. Capitol, what of those officials in his Administration who quietly and dutifully served him for years as he separated immigrant children from their parents, helped killed hundreds of thousands by opportunistically treating COVID as a hoax, and incited an attempted insurrection?

Last week, non-partisan government watchdog groups Accountable.us and American Oversight launched a new campaign called CorporateComplicity.org to hold American corporate CEOs to account for hiring former senior Trump Administration officials. Accountable's LIZZY PRICE joins us today to explain the campaign, and the difference between the "cancel culture" Republicans are now whining about --- now that some are finally facing a few consequences for their actions --- and accountability. (Answer: None. Also, the irony of GOPers whining about "cancel culture" after years of boycotts against those with whom they disagreed politically, is laughable. Especially just days after the Arizona GOP voted to "cancel" (censure) their own Republican Governor Doug Ducey, their own former Republican Senator Jeff Flake, and even the late John McCain's wife Cindy for daring to oppose overturning the state's lawful election of Joe Biden last November.)

"There are three real fundamental foundations to this campaign. One, no one is guaranteed a cushy job just because they served in the Administration.  Two, actions have consequences.  And three, staff at any organization reflects their [organization's] values. We're trying to make it very clear to companies that your staff reflect your values. So to hire the architect of these harmful, anti-democratic policies and rhetoric is to be complicit in that, to take that on as your corporate identity," Price explains. "So we want to make that sure corporations really think hard about doing that."

"This isn't about 'cancel culture.'  It's about what kind of behavior and what kind of policies that you reward. Corporations have a part to play in making sure that Trump is not normalized. If these officials are welcomed back into high-profile jobs, it only encourages more bad behavior."

And what does the campaign plan to do, if companies ignore their friendly warning [PDF]? "We're saying, look, if you won't vet your candidates, we will.  And we'll use any tool in our toolbox to make sure the facts are out there," Price tells me.

Finally, we close with calls from listeners ringing in one whether they'd like to see President Biden compromise with Republicans on his proposed $1.9 trillion COVID relief package in order to see it passed with bipartisan support via regular order in the U.S. Senate, instead of by a simple majority vote under the Budget Reconciliation process. On Monday, the new President was meeting with 10 Republican Senators who proposed a $600 billion package on Sunday night --- about a third of the size of Biden's --- offering much less relief for the American people.

So, should Joe and the Dems move ahead with the much-needed package they ran and won on (including $1,400 relief checks for those making $75,000 or less) or a smaller package (with just $1,000 checks for those making $50,000 or less) to keep his promise of reaching out to try and find compromise with Republicans? Callers have a few thoughts on that, and we are with almost all of them...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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On a new wave of GOP voter suppression laws; Trump's second Impeachment, emoluments, and pardons...
By Desi Doyen on 1/29/2021 6:30pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
WE WELCOME YOUR ANNIVERSARY SUPPORT/DONATIONS HERE!

We're off today, but we've got a BradCast 'RECOUNTED' for your listening pleasure, with two excellent interviews from the past week that you may have missed --- or just need to hear again. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

  • Then it's Brad's conversation on 1/27/2021 with Constitutional law and impeachment expert RON FEIN, Legal Director of the non-partisan government 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. Fein delves into why the second Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump is both constitutional and crucial to ensuring accountability, not just for the 'seditious' former President but for all future Presidents.  Fein also dismantles Senate Republicans' false and disingenuous attempts to circumvent the Impeachment trial; what happens now that the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court dismissed two cases regarding Trump's alleged violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause; and the not-inconsequential question of secret self-pardons....

We'll be back LIVE soon!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Impeachment expert Ron Fein of Free Speech for People; Also: DHS warns of domestic terror threat in wake of Trump's 'voter fraud' lies...
By Brad Friedman on 1/27/2021 7:16pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
WE WELCOME YOUR ANNIVERSARY SUPPORT/DONATIONS HERE!

And here I thought dealing with one President in a single hour on The BradCast was tough. Now we've got the previous one on trial after his second impeachment and a new one unveiling an ambitious new agenda to begin cleaning up the other guy's horrific mess, particularly on climate today...and not a moment too soon! [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

First up today, the Department of Homeland Security issues a new warning about ongoing threats of violence by domestic, home-grown terrorists in the U.S., many of whom have been radicalized by Donald Trump's many lies about the 2020 election having been stolen.

Then, It's been only three weeks since Trump encouraged his MAGA Mob to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and "fight like hell" to prevent the formal counting of Electoral College votes by the U.S. Congress. The attempted insurrectionists violently broke into the U.S. Capitol, called for the hanging of the Vice President, succeeded in shutting down the tally for several hours and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives into secured locations. Five people were killed, including a Capitol Police officer, in the ensuing violence. One week later, then President Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a second time, this time for "Incitement of Insurrection", though the Senate's then Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to convene a trial. One week after that, Joe Biden was successfully sworn in as President. And today, just three weeks to the day since the Trump-incited mob's murderous attack on the Capitol, with Democrats now officially in the Senate majority, Trump's second Impeachment Trial has officially begun.

While the arguments in the trial will not be presented in full for another two weeks, Republican Senator and pretend Constitutionalist Rand Paul forced a vote on Tuesday, just after Senators were sworn in as "impartial jurors", to try and dismiss the entire matter by falsely claiming that an Impeachment trial after a President is out of office is "unconstitutional". (Though he repeatedly argued that "private citizens" cannot be impeached and that "If the accused is no longer President - where is the constitutional power to impeach him?")

Joining us today to answer to the clearly false and almost-certainly disingenuous argument proffered by Paul --- and, incredibly, supported by 45 of the Senate's 50 Republicans who voted in favor of his resolution on Tuesday --  is Constitutional law expert RON FEIN of the non-partisan government accountability group Free Speech for People. Fein, with John Bonifaz and Ben Clements, authored the 2018 book, The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump

"The obvious flaw," in Paul's argument, Fein explains, is that Trump WAS impeached while he was President, and then McConnell stalled the process of the Senate trial by refusing to allow it to be held until Trump was already out of office." But on the broader issue, as he tells us, impeachment trials may absolutely be held after an official is out of office. "Congress has done it before and explicitly considered that exact question."

"If their argument was allowed to go forth, then what it would say is that any President can do whatever they want in the last couple of weeks of their term, because by the time they would get impeached, and by the time the Senate could convene for a trial, they'd be out of office already," he persuasively argues. "Disqualification from future office is an important remedy and penalty for impeachment. It is important to have that hanging over the head of a President even in their last couple of weeks in office."

We also discuss whether the votes of 45 GOP Senators --- including McConnell, who just last week conceded that Trump "provoked" the riot at the Capitol --- to dismiss the trial, signals that it will be impossible to win over the 17 Republicans needed to win the two-thirds vote necessary for a conviction; whether a vote can be held to prevent Trump from holding future office even without conviction; whether a second failure to win a conviction in a second impeachment would redound to Trump's benefit; and whether a resolution to censure the disgraced former President would serve as any kind of deterrent for similar behavior in the future (by Trump or other future Presidents), in the event that he is not convicted once again.

Fein also rings in with his thoughts in response to the GOP's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court which, on Monday, dismissed two cases regarding Trump's alleged violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause as "moot" since he is no longer in office and why it took so long for the cases to even reach the high court. We also discuss whether Fein believes that Trump actually did pardon himself, but is keeping that pardon a secret, somehow, until he's actually charged with a federal crime.

Finally, in far less maddening news, it was "Climate Day" in Joe Biden's new White House on Wednesday! And the new President unveiled an historically ambitious climate agenda that will, among many other things, if successful, result in carbon emissions-free power, nationally, by 2035. Declaring that "we can't wait any longer" to address our worsening climate crisis, Biden detailed his new Executive Orders and Directives to "supercharge" the United States' efforts to combat global warming by pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, ending fossil fuel industry subsidies, and creating millions of new jobs in the electric car market and renewable energy industry, and by capping and closing old, unused mines and wells across the nation. His new Climate Envoy, former Sec. of State John Kerry and new White House National Climate Advisor, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, also responded to media questions (naturally framed by rightwing talking points) during a White House briefing. We share some of their remarks, and the entirety of Biden's historic announcement during today's very busy BradCast...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: FairVote's David Daley; Also: Insiders aided insurrection; Biden's executive actions, move to end private prisons; Schumer wins Senate power battle, Repubs vote to nix Impeachment, cling to filibuster...
By Brad Friedman on 1/26/2021 6:53pm PT  
NOW CELEBRATING THE BRAD BLOG'S 17th ANNIVERSARY!
WE WELCOME YOUR ANNIVERSARY SUPPORT/DONATIONS HERE!

On today's BradCast: The effort by Donald Trump and Republicans to steal the Presidential election with false allegations of "voter fraud" didn't work. But that tsunami of disinformation is now being used to advance new restrictions on voting in the states as the GOP obstruction gets underway in the new Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate.

First today, there is quite a bit of news out of both the White House and the Senate. Among those stories covered today...

  • President Biden's flurry of executive orders continue, including one today that calls for an end to privately-run federal prison facilities.
  • Biden's nominee for Sec. of State, Anthony Blinken, was confirmed in the Senate. His nominee for Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen, the first woman in that role, was sworn in today by the nation's first female Vice President.
  • Mitch McConnell caved in his demand that Chuck Schumer and the Democrats promise to not do away with the wildly undemocratic legislative filibuster before he would agree to a new power-sharing agreement in the nation's wildly undemocratic upper chamber of Congress
  • The historic second impeachment of Donald Trump, on charges of "Incitement of Insurrection" for the deadly, January 6th U.S. Capitol riot, formally began with Senators sworn in on Tuesday as "impartial" jurors and a vote by 45 Senate Republicans to toss out the whole matter entirely.
  • And, before this one slips completely down the memory hole...Charges filed by the Justice Department against several military veterans who took part in the attempted insurrection at the Capitol that killed five people, include allegations that dozens of the former military insurrectionists pre-planned their coordinated attack, had hoped to arrest lawmakers, and appear to have had disturbing help from at least one, still-unidentified Congressional insider who gave the seditionists real-time help during the attack to locate lawmakers who had been shuttled into secured locations below the Capitol.

Then, we're joined by DAVID DALEY Senior Fellow at FairVote and author of the books UNRIGGED: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy and RATF**KED: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy. The latter documents the GOP's ingeniously insidious --- and successful --- plan to capture electoral control of statehouses in the 2010 elections in order to gerrymander the hell out of them for the next 10 years (or more).

Daley writes this week at Boston Globe about the latest effort by GOP state legislators to exploit Trump's absurdly false claims about "voter fraud" in the 2020 election in order to implement new restrictions on voting at the state level and new ways to game the electoral college vote. Among the states we discuss where Republicans are right now citing false fraud claims in order to game the systems: Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Georgia, Minnesota and Texas. These efforts are very real, and may well work, even in states which currently have Democratic Governors.

We also discuss the ridiculously undemocratic Senate, where Democratic Senators represent tens of millions of more voters than Republicans but, due to "the original gerrymander" as Daley describes it, are barely able to win 50 percent of the seats. "The US Senate is weighted so viciously towards small states in a way that the founders, if they saw it now, they would be truly horrified," he tells me.

"You've got a 50/50 body and yet, those 50 Democratic Senators are representing about 41.5 MILLION MORE PEOPLE.  When you add into that the small-state bias of the Electoral College, when you add into that the advantage that that bias has given Republicans in selecting Supreme Court Justices --- five of these nine Justices  on the Supreme Court selected by a President that lost the popular vote --- when you factor in the advantages that Republicans have with gerrymandering and geography --- all the way down from the US House to the state legislative level --- we are looking at an epidemic of Republican minority rule in this country."

And then there's the need to get rid of the undemocratic filibuster in the already wildly undemocratic Senate if Democrats hope, as they are now promising, to quickly accomplish "big, bold things" done. One of those "big, bold things," as we discuss, is HR-1, the "For the People Act." It's an enormously ambitious and much-needed bill that includes a ton of long-overdue reforms for voting and fair elections; ending dominance of big money and dark money in politics; and re-enforcing disclosure and ethics rules for members of Congress. But, as long as the filibuster remains in place, it will be next to impossible to see that, or any of the other much-needed reforms get through Congress. Constituents of Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona and Joe Manchin in West Virginia may wish to mention that to them. Repeatedly.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more news on major executive actions signed by the new President to roll back years of Trump damage to our environment, and to push Biden's "Buy American" initiative to, among other things, move the nation as quickly as possible to American made, all-electric cars as the days of the internal combustion engine must quickly come to an end...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: Dominion Voting Systems sues Rudy Giuliani for $1.3 billion in yet another defamation suit against a Team Trump attorney...
By Brad Friedman on 1/25/2021 6:22pm PT  

If you thought the news might slow down a bit with Donald Trump finally out of office, you may still have to wait a while.  On today's BradCast, we pick up where Friday's left. Moments after we got off air a ton of astonishing news broke, and it has continued right up through airtime today.  Most notably, the stunning story of just how close the nation's mercifully former President actually came to stealing the election from Joe Biden and the American people is only just now beginning to come together. [Audio link to full show follows below summary.]

We start today --- (which, by the way, marks our 17th Anniversary of muck-raking and trouble-making via The BRAD BLOG! Please feel free to help us continue our reader/listener supported work into our 18th year with a much-needed donation!) --- with another $1.3 billion defamation suit filed against yet another Team Trump legal liar and defamer.  Following a similar suit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Trump's attorney Sidney Powell just weeks ago, his lead election-theft attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has now also been slapped with a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit by the Canadian-owned firm.

The 107-page complaint [PDF] filed on Monday, as we detail at some length today, charges that Giuliani repeatedly fueled Trump's "Big Lie" about the election and the repeatedly evidence-free claims that Dominion's systems were somehow used to steal it from Trump for Biden. These are the false claims that Giuliani made over and over again in public, on rightwing media and on his snake-oil peddling YouTube show, ironically named "Common Sense". They are also, as Dominion points out in the complaint, the same claims that Giuliani failed to make in a court of law, where he could actually be punished for his egregious and repeated "voter fraud" lies.

The company charges that the false information from Trump's attorney was also retweeted and shared millions of times on social media, leading to broad distrust and millions in potentially lost business by the private voting systems vendor. Giuliani's months long assault also resulted in a number of vile and violent death threats to company employees and contractors alike.

The central false claim by Giuliani --- which we have detailed on previous programs --- is based on a wildly bastardized and re-imagined version of a deep-dive investigative exclusive from The BRAD BLOG that I published more than 10 years ago. It relates to Dominion's 2010 purchase of another voting machine company that had once been owned by still another voting machine company that was once tied to Venezuela and its now deceased President, Hugo Chavez. My decade-old, completely accurate story was so bastardized by Rudy and Team Trump that, at one point, while he was giving false testimony about Dominion "fraud" to the GOP-majority Michigan state legislature in early December, Rudy claimed that Dominion's owners were brought "down to meet Chavez just two years ago."  (Chavez has been dead for seven years.)

As also explained today, we are no fans here of private voting companies having any place in our public elections. Nonetheless, Dominion is right to sue for the libelous and dangerous falsehoods repeatedly told by Team Trump, which also fueled the violent, attempted insurrection by the enraged and disinformed MAGA Mob at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Moreover, there may well be more such suits coming in the days ahead. The firm has indicated they may even file suit against Trump himself.

All of that served as the basis --- at least in Donald Trump's addled-brain, as we learned over the weekend --- for a gob-smacking, last minute attempt by the then President of the United States earlier this month to also stage a coup at the U.S. Justice Department! He reportedly attempted to replace his Acting Attorney General with yet another lackey who was willing to use the Dept. of Justice to file suit at Trump's stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the 2020 Presidential election results in one or more states, and to lie to Georgia's elected officials that the DoJ was investigating major voter fraud in the state. That, the hare-brained but wildly dangerous scheme argued, should have then led Georgia state legislators to void the results and award the state's electors to Trump. In reality, Biden won the Peach State narrowly last November. There has been no credible evidence to suggest otherwise and, in fact, there has been quite a bit of evidence to suggest the results in Georgia were accurately tabulated by the Dominion systems.

On Friday, the New York Times' Katie Benner published the shocking scoop on that attempted DoJ coup, that --- along with several other pieces of reporting in recent days and weeks --- gets us a bit closer to understanding just how close Trump was to pulling a trigger that might have resulted in the complete undermining of American democracy and the stolen election he was after. We detail the plot to remove Trump's Acting Attorney General (the one he installed when even Bill Barr was unwilling to go along with Trump's phony election fraud scheme), prevented only by a vow of top officials at DoJ to resign en masse if Trump went through with it. The details, however, are as stunning as the story itself, and help to spell out exactly what Trump was hoping for with the insurrection he (and Giuliani!) incited at the Capitol on January 6th and how close he came to actually pulling it all off!

All of which underscores how the two week delay now scheduled in the U.S. Senate before Trump's second impeachment trial begins is likely to make things far worse, rather than better, for the disgraced, now former President.

Buckle up for today's latest edition of The BradCast!...

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Guest: The Prospect's David Dayen on Biden out of the starting gate and Senate dysfunction; Also: House to transmit Impeachment on Monday; Trump's empire continues to crumble; and a prescient Jon Stewart...
By Brad Friedman on 1/22/2021 6:27pm PT  

It's only Day 3 for the Biden Administration, but it feels like Donald Trump has been gone for months. And that feels fantastic. On today's BradCast, we catch up with the new President's flurry of Executive Actions since taking office and the GOP's attempt to continue Senate dysfunction, even with Democrats now (theoretically) in the majority. [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

Also today, some news on Donald Trump's upcoming second Senate Impeachment Trial, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces plans to transmit Trump's latest Article of Impeachment --- for "Incitement of Insurrection" --- to the upper chamber on Monday. And we've got more good news on Trump's crumbling empire, with more banks and law firms having dumped the toxic former President and his company following his incitement of the attempted U.S. Capitol insurrection by MAGA Mobsters on January 6.

We're joined today by progressive financial journalist and author DAVID DAYEN, Executive Editor of The American Prospect and author of its new, daily, FIRST 100 newsletter. Dayen, whose magazine has devoted no small amount of the past year toward detailing a progressive Day One Agenda for the new Democratic President, offers his take on President Biden's first (less-than-half) week in office, the corporate media's curious adjustments in covering a new Administration, and Mitch McConnell's attempt at delaying the full turn over of the Senate to Democrats.

While he remains cautious this early in the Administration, Dayen notes that he has been pleased, so far, with their "unwillingness to get caught up in a Fox News game of worrying about 'optics'" and indications that Biden, to date, is "not going to get sucked into a deficit hawk argument."

After a year covering the COVID crisis for his magazine, Dayen also offers a prescription for how to get both new relief checks and vaccine shots to the American people as quickly as possible while Republicans balk at Biden's critical $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal and even attempt to stymie a power-sharing deal in the 50/50 Senate unless Dems agree to not do away with the democracy-stifling legislative filibuster.

So far, Dayen observes, Senate Democrats appear unwilling to give up the leverage of potentially doing away with the filibuster. "There's nothing in it" for them, he says, adding "Schumer has been insistent that he's not going to take that deal." There's a bit more good news to end your week for now.

Finally, we close a remarkable and historic week --- the last one to include Donald Trump as President of the United States (was that still this week?!) --- with some prescient thoughts from Jon Stewart, as shared with Steven Colbert just 11 days into the then-nascent but already-exhausting Trump Administration, from January 31, 2017...

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Former Prez issues pardons for corrupt allies at exit; New Prez calls to 'defend truth, defeat lies,' and declares 'we must end this uncivil war'...
By Brad Friedman on 1/20/2021 6:07pm PT  

Looks like we made it! Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 46th President on Wednesday. Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female, black and South Asian Vice President. And the nation's worst President and greatest sore-loser ever became a former President at the same time, fleeing D.C. like the coward he is just after dawn. All of which we cover in today's BradCast Inauguration Special. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

On his way out the door, Donald Trump unleashed a load of pardons and commutations for his corrupt allies and wealthy friends, abusing the Presidential pardon power in an unprecedented, but hardly surprising, way. We detail just some of the 144 grants of clemency he issued just after midnight, including for Steven Bannon, his former campaign manager and fired White House senior political strategist (who was indicted for defrauding millions of dollars from Trump supporters for a project to build a wall on the U.S. southern border); Elliot Broidy, former RNC fundraiser and Trump Inaugural Treasurer who pleaded guilty to selling his services to lobby Trump on behalf of a foreign billionaire; Paul Erickson, GOP operative and boyfriend of alleged Russian spy Maria Butina; a last second pardon for Albert Pirro, the real-estate developer, GOP fundraiser and convicted felon husband of Fox "News" host and Trump suck-up Jeanine Pirro; and more than 100 others like them. The raft of 11th hour pardons led one good government advocate to wryly charge that "Amazingly, in his final 24 hours in office, Donald Trump found one more way to fail to live up to the ethical standard of Richard Nixon."

Much to our surprise, however, Trump did not pardon his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, any of his children or himself! We would have bet good money he'd have pardoned some or all of them. (Especially himself!) But he apparently didn't.

As if his list of pardoned fraudsters, liars and other assorted and unrepentant criminals wasn't wasn't slimy and sleazy and swampy enough for ya, Trump also issued one last. middle of the night Executive Order to rescind his own 2017 EO that barred Executive Branch officials from lobbying their own agency for five years after leaving office, in addition to a lifetime ban on lobbying for any foreign government. In reversing his much vaunted ethics rule from his first year in office, he made clear yet again that he was only ever pretending for his base of dupes and suckers that he wanted to "drain the swamp" in D.C.

In much less sleazy news, on Day One of the Biden Administration, the new President signed an unprecedented raft of Executive Orders at the White House after his Inauguration, meant to begin to undo some of the most egregious excesses and corruption of the previous Administration. The orders focus generally on four concurrent crises Biden has vowed to immediately begin tackling, including COVID-19, the economy, racial injustice and climate change. Among the EOs planned to be signed on Wednesday, according to AXIOS:

  • Moving to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement
  • Asking the Department of Education to extend student loan relief
  • An executive order to rescind Keystone XL pipeline permit
  • Rejoining the World Health Organization
  • Asking the CDC to "immediately" extend eviction restrictions
  • Reversing Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries
  • Temporarily halting oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
  • An initiative on advancing racial equity in federal policymaking
  • Overturning Trump order excluding undocumented immigrants from census count
  • But after Trump mercifully fled town early on Wednesday, a remarkably moving and socially distanced Inauguration Ceremony was held at the U.S. Capitol, under extraordinary security precautions following the massive MAGA Mob of violent, rioting insurrectionists who attempted, to little avail, to block Biden's decisive 2020 victory from being formally affirmed by Congress just two weeks ago today.

    We share some key moments from today's ceremony, including Biden's full, crisp, and tremendously on-point Inaugural Address. The new President, among other things, declared that "Democracy has prevailed" and vowed to be a "President for all Americans" while calling for "unity". He pointedly noted: "We must end this uncivil war" and went on to observe that "Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies."

    Finally, we close with a few thoughts on this wonderful, historic and long overdue day from both Desi and myself, at the end of four (actually five) hellishly long, painful, destructive, difficult and deadly years as the "American Carnage" of the Trump Era hopefully begins to fade as a new day begins...

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    Guest: Progressive columnist, broadcaster Richard 'RJ' Eskow on Trump's bitter end, Biden's difficult new beginning, America's challenges ahead...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/19/2021 6:17pm PT  

    It's our final BradCast with Donald Trump still serving as President of the United States! Though it's likely to take a while before the stink fully dissipates. [Audio link to the show follows below the summary.]

    The soon-to-be-former President is said to have been in a foul mood all weekend (SAD!) as he prepares, reportedly, to announce as many as 100 or more last minute Presidential Pardons. Reporting today suggests he will not issue pardons for either his family or himself (or even for the under-indictment Steve Bannon or the reportedly under-federal investigation Rudy Giuliani). Color us dubious about that, however.

    The failed President's mood was undoubtedly not brightened by Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who --- while convening the Senate for what is likely his last full day as Majority Leader --- declared that Trump "provoked" the violent attack and riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. That may not be a good sign for the disgraced man who will face an Impeachment Trial in that same Senate in coming days, as the first ever twice-Impeached President.

    The fact that few wish to show up to send Trump off from Joint Base Andrews on Wednesday morning, or that tons of A-List stars are showing up for Joe Biden's inauguration, probably hasn't made Trump any less bitter. So at least America can be happy about that. Trump did release a video today in which he bid "farewell" to the nation (promises, promises), and --- without mentioning Joe Biden's name --- said out loud that there would be a "new administration" as of Wednesday.

    That may still come as a shock to many of those gullible supporters of his to whom he's spent the last several months lying about that fact. But since he's been banned from Twitter, according to new research, misinformation about the election has plummeted on social media sites, along with hate speech and calls for violence. Go figure.

    Still, as Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a moving memorial service for the more than 400,000 Americans killed by COVID-19 thanks to Trump's delinquent response, the streets of D.C. are otherwise locked down tight today in advance of Wednesday's inauguration.

    We're joined from D.C. today by progressive columnist and broadcaster RICHARD 'RJ' ESKOW of The Zero Hour to discuss a whole bunch of related stuff. Our conversation ranges from the on-edge mood in the nation's capitol on the eve of an unprecedented Inauguration Day lockdown to Eskow's concerns about Big Tech's muzzling of political viewpoints (even Trump's) to questions of accountability for the outgoing President and to what the former health insurance executive and senior writer for Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign thinks of Biden's cabinet selections and stated agenda to date.

    Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our last Green News Report of the Trump Presidency, with some good news on Biden's economic recovery plan and his intention to reverse a host of environmental rollbacks by the previous Administration; some good news on the zombie Keystone XL pipeline, and; some very good news from the courts, late today, regarding the Trump EPA's failed attempt to allow coal-fired power plants to continue to pollute and contribute to deadly global warming.

    Yes, it's the end of an error...with a lot of cleaning up to do in the days, weeks, months and, sadly, years ahead. But at least we will soon have all of that to look forward to, with the nation's worst ever President, hopefully, becoming nothing more than a terrible terrible memory...

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    Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Tragic COVID milestone; Biden's $1.9T COVID plan; Creepy new Capitol Insurrection revelations...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/15/2021 6:43pm PT  

    It's beginning to feel like the beginning of the end on today's BradCast. And while there remains plenty to be concerned about and lots of work ahead...it's beginning to feel just a little bit better all the same. [Audio link to show is posted below summary.]

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

    • The world crossed a new, tragic COVID milestone. 2 million dead. That's the equivalent of 10 jumbo passenger jets falling from the sky every day for the past year. In the U.S., with more deaths by far than any other country thanks to Donald Trump's delinquent efforts, and the rate quickly rising, well over 390,000 are now dead --- or 2 jumbo jet crashes every single day for the past year;
    • Joe Biden's Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, predicts we may see as many as 500,000 COVID deaths in the U.S. before the end of next month. Therefore, it is very good to see the President-elect unveil a comprehensive, $1.9 trillion plan to both fight the virus and revive the economy --- and even raise the minimum wage to $15/hour at the same time! Republicans will oppose it, naturally. But almost everything in Biden's plan, save for the minimum wage increase, says The Prospect's David Dayen, can be adopted in the U.S. Senate with a simple majority vote...presuming all Dems are on board;
    • The nation is certainly on board for the Biden Presidency at this point, with Joe's approval rating up since the election and Trump's plummeting to an all-time low on his way out the door, according to a new survey out today from Pew Research;
    • Biden's Inauguration rehearsal has reportedly postponed due to security concerns following last week's Trump-incited Capitol Insurrection, and a warning from U.S. intelligence agencies that his "Domestic Violence Extremist" supporters may be planning more attacks, thanks to Trump's continuing, false, evidence-free claims that the election was stolen;
    • In a court filing, federal prosecutors said that Capitol Insurrectionists hoped to "capture and assassinate elected officials". Late today, they began to walk back that claim;
    • After a Congresswoman and former U.S. Navy pilot Mikie Sherril (D-NJ) charged this week that some insurrectionists were given "reconnaissance" tours of the Capitol by Republican lawmakers the day before last week's deadly riot Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)'s Chief of Staff reports that all of the panic buttons in the Congresswoman's office were found to have been mysteriously removed prior to assault;

    Then, as moving vans begin hauling the remnants of the Trump Administration away, the outgoing President is reportedly angry and increasingly isolated. (Sad!) But as our long national nightmare will soon come to a close, his legal and financial nightmares may be just beginning. Even that, however, comes with threats to the security of the nation.

    We're joined today by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo.  She's been writing about Trump's crumbling corporate empire both before, but especially in the wake of his failed Capitol Insurrection and the security concerns his financial woes pose to the nation. She explains why on today's show.

    We also discuss the fallout from Trump's second historic Impeachment and how the U.S. Senate will proceed with the trial even as Biden takes office and hopes to see his cabinet confirmed and agenda enacted. And then there's the question of what we should expect as the "Ghost of Trumpism" lingers --- and continues to rot --- the soul of the Republican Party after he mercifully leaves office on Wednesday.

    Finally, we close with some good news that got somewhat lost in the stampede of this week's instant Impeachment proceedings. Following a report from the Commerce Department Inspector General, the Census Bureau has now been instructed to abandon Trump's almost-certainly unconstitutional Executive Order scheme to withhold undocumented immigrants from apportionment data to be sent to Congress. Thus ends the Republicans desperate --- and now failed --- attempt to use the Constitutionally-mandated decennial federal Census as a means to shift political power from urban, Democratic-leaning areas of the country, to white, rural Republican districts...at least for another 10 years.

    And with that good news, I wish you a great holiday weekend!...

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    Did the Framers really wish to give Get-Out-of-Jail Free cards to insurrectionists?...
    By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2021 11:30am PT  

    When Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell last year, his remarks specifically related to Presidential self-pardons. His observations, however, reveal why the Department of Justice (DOJ) should also contest any effort by President Donald J. Trump to grant a pardon to anyone who could be considered a co-conspirator in carrying out an insurrection designed to allow the loser of the 2020 Presidential Election to remain in power...

    If a self-pardon could be given recognition by any court, then the President would know that he could commit crimes from day one of his presidency to the end of four years --- even horrible crimes; crimes like treason, crimes like making war on his own people...That would, as George Mason said, turn us from a constitutional republic to a monarchy, or worse.

    In an amicus brief [PDF] filed late last year in the Michael Flynn case, the legal advocacy group, Free Speech for People (FSFP) observed that, while the U.S. Supreme Court, in Schick v Reed (1974), described the Presidential pardon power as "plenary", or absolute, the Court added that the limitations on the pardon power, "if any, must be found in the Constitution itself." Citing a recent Georgetown Law Review article [PDF] that reached a similar conclusion, FSFP argued that the U.S. Constitution's command that a President ensure that the laws be "Faithfully Executed" broadly prevents a President from granting a pardon for a corrupt purpose.

    Although U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan issued a 43-page Memorandum Opinion explaining that he had dismissed the Flynn case as moot following Flynn's acceptance of a Presidential pardon, the court neither referenced nor rejected the corrupt purpose limitation set forth by the FSFP amicus brief. Even if that ruling implicitly entailed a rejection of the FSFP argument, as applied to the Flynn case, it would not foreclose a DOJ challenge to the limits of the pardon power with respect to the unprecedented events that occurred on Jan. 6th.

    This is not an abstract question. An attorney representing insurrectionist Jacob Anthony Chancey announced he'd request a Presidential pardon, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman reported. Evidence suggests that Chancey, who was filmed "shirtless, wearing buffalo horns and holding a spear", may be one of the rioters who intended "to capture and assassinate elected officials," according to Goodman. As rioters yelled "Hang Mike Pence", the charging documents allege, Chancey aka the "QAnon Shamen", left a note on the VP's desk that ominously warned that "it's only a matter of time, justice is coming", according to Anna Lucia Murillo of the Daily Beast.

    No President, before this one, has ever been implicated in a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2383 - Rebellion or insurrection or 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy. It is virtually impossible to believe that the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the availability of the pardon power to be utilized as an instrument designed to entice others to assist in the ultimate violation of the solemn oath to see that the laws of the United States are "Faithfully Executed". The framers of the U.S. Constitution regarded the duty to "Faithful Execute" our laws as so central to our constitutional scheme of governance that Art. II, §1, Cl. 8 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that every President "shall" take the oath before entering office.

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing




    Also: Another Schadenfreude Update as Trump's empire crumbles...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/14/2021 6:46pm PT  

    On today's BradCast: Donald Trump's Big Lie(s) continue to pose a terror threat, even as his world is crumbling. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]

    On Wednesday, during the debate in the U.S. House over Donald Trump's second impeachment, a number of GOPers argued that the bipartisan call for accountability in response to the President of the United States inciting a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol last week would only serve to make matters worse. A number of Trump's defenders charged that if the Congress that was attacked by his MAGA Mob attempted to hold him to account it would be too "divisive" and anger his supporters at a time that the nation needed "unity" and "healing".

    At the very same time, according to Greg Sargent at Washington Post today, a number of U.S. intelligence agencies, including DHS and DoJ, issued a memo warning that Trump's Big Lie about a "stolen election" was serving as the driving force for "Domestic Violence Extremists" (DVEs) who pose a serious threat of further violence in coming days.

    Nonetheless, few of those Republicans in the House pretending to be concerned about dividing the nation further were willing to say the one thing that might actually "lower the temperature": That Joe Biden won the election fair and square according to all available evidence and that Donald Trump lost it in the same fashion.

    Phony GOP concerns about "divisiveness" not withstanding, their refusal to do the right thing by debunking Trump's ridiculous claims that the election was stolen, rather than play along with them, has resulted in news that the National Mall in D.C. will now reportedly be closed entirely for the first time during a Presidential Inauguration due to the threat of domestic terrorism.

    Trump's Big Lie about the election is not the only one. Some of the House Republicans on Wednesday were attempting to rewrite reality by claiming that Trump, at his MAGA Mob rally before the insurrection at the Capitol, did little more than "urged attendees to, quote, unquote, peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. There was no mention of violence, let alone calls to action." That was the claim made by Pennsylvania's lying Rep. Guy Reschenthaler. Reality --- and actual evidence --- prove otherwise, as we do as well on today's program. Given that Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate on this very matter awaits, it seems wise to get a jump on this newest Big Lie.

    But, as dark as this moment may be for the safety of Americans and future of American democracy, there is still plenty of Trump Schadenfreude News to be enjoyed today. Including the fact that Trump is reportedly "isolated and angry at aides for failing to defend him" during his second impeachment; his approval ratings have plummeted 11 points since December; and New York City is joining a growing list of those cutting ties to the disgraced Trump. As his Trump Organization empire begins to crumble, he is already losing millions of dollars worth of business from those who regard his brand as too toxic to get anywhere near at this point. And things are likely to get much much worse for him in the days ahead.

    All of that and much more, with gusto, on today's program, before we close with some accountability news when Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report...

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    Guest: Former diplomat, Rep. Tom Perriello of Open Society Foundations US on our nation's need for accountability beyond impeachment...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/13/2021 6:42pm PT  

    On today's BradCast: Donald John Trump made history yet again on Wednesday by becoming the first President to be Impeached twice. Plus, a former Congressman and diplomat warns accountability is needed if the nation ever hopes to recover. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

    The U.S. House voted 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans joining all of the Democrats, to charge the soon-to-be-former President with "Incitement of Insurrection" [PDF] for inflaming his violent MAGA mob before they stormed the U.S. Capitol just one week earlier. Using false claims that he had actually won the election in a landslide, he told his infuriated supporters to "fight like hell" to prevent the 2020 election from being stolen for Joe Biden. At least five people, including a police officer, were killed during the insurrection, another officer later committed suicide. Scores of both law enforcement officials and rioters were hospitalized as the marauders attempted to find and kill Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

    Soon-to-be-former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to the historic day by ruling out a trial on the charge in the U.S. Senate before next week's inauguration of Joe Biden. He did not, however, rule out his own vote to convict the twice-impeached President. Some close to McConnell have reportedly suggested that he may see the impeachment and a subsequent conviction of Trump as a way to distance the GOP from the nation's worst and most divisive President.

    We share a number of the statements made during the House floor debate, both for and against Trump's impeachment, on Wednesday, including from one of the Republicans who broke with his party to vote to impeach the President.

    Then, we're joined by former Democratic Congressman and diplomat TOM PERRIELLO, who now heads the Open Society Foundation for the U.S. Perriello, after serving as Representative for Virginia's 5th Congressional District, went on to serve as the U.S. Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Region during the Obama Administration. Earlier in the 2000s he worked as a U.S. diplomat with the UN-mandated Special Court for Sierra Leone and as a consultant to the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kosovo (2003), Darfur (2005), and Afghanistan (2007).

    Comments from Perriello caught our eye last week when he was quoted by the New York Times following the attempted coup at the Capitol. It was an article on the growing demands by Democrats for accountability for Trump, his family and his associates after he leaves office. In the piece, Perriello is cited --- based on his experience helping to resolve political crises in various developing nations, including one in which a President attempted to stay in office beyond his constitutional term --- noting: "Countries that skip the accountability phase end up repeating 100 percent of the time --- but the next time the crisis is worse."

    “People who think that the way forward is to brush this under the rug," he told the paper, "seem to have missed the fact that there is a ticking time bomb under the rug."

    On a day in which a majority of House Republicans argued and voted against accountability for last week's Trump-incited violent assault on the U.S. Capitol --- with many arguing, hypocritically, that impeachment would merely serve to anger Trump supporters and lead to more divisiveness and hostility at a time the nation needs healing --- Perriello's insight based on his years of experience abroad is enlightening. Citing, for example, the efforts to rebuild Liberia following the tumultuous, criminal reign of its former President Charles Taylor, was to bring charges. "The only real path to peace involved accountability for him and the other warlords who had driven so much of that conflict across the region."

    "Accountability can take a lot of different forms, but there's a reason you don't have a lot of candidates out there and politicians saying they want to be the next Richard Nixon or the next Joe McCarthy. These are people who faced public accountability in the form of censure and resignation, with real consequences to them. And that tends to define the path forward," ," Perriello tells me. "There's a reason that in Germany, there are not statues set up to Hitler and other Third Reich figures. The way in which we choose to understand our history and hold people to account has real consequences for other leaders in the future, and the actions they choose to take."

    Citing his concern about what could happen in the coming days, in the wake of last week's attempted coup, he notes: "The insurrectionists are already planning escalations. The failure to take seriously such similar provocations or promises, really, is part of what got us into this mess. ... To me, as someone who has worked in conflict zones and on transitional justice, the most scary image was them walking out not in handcuffs, because those images were ones that simply invited the idea of impunity. And impunity leads people to repeat those events, and repeat them with escalation. Allowing even a 24-hour news cycle in which these people could exit as heroes, was something that was almost certainly going to lead to more violence down the road. And that's why this issue of introducing accountability is important." 

    So, is the best way for Joe Biden to help "heal" the country to look forward, not back, as the Obama Administration did when taking office after George W. Bush, when they failed to bring accountability for torture and domestic spying by the Administration or for those whose crimes resulted in the 2008 financial crisis? Or should the Biden Administration hold Trump and his enablers to account for their actions? Should some sort of Truth and Reconciliation Committee be formed to help the U.S. out of its current seemingly-intractable morass, as Perriello helped oversee in overseas, third-world nations?

    He offers his thoughts on all of that, on Biden's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland for Attorney General, as well as on today's history second impeachment of Donald Trump, and even explains why he believes "this may yet be our finest hour." All of that on today's jam-packed program!...

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    Also: Military condemns Capitol insurrection; Corporations dump Repub coup-supporting lawmakers; Sheldon Adelson dead; Surprising GOP support for impeachment; Schwarzenegger's important response...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/12/2021 7:01pm PT  

    On January 3rd --- three days before Trump's violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol --- John McCain's 2008 campaign chair Steve Schmidt argued "The die is cast for the Republican Party. It will be destroyed on January 6th." His brief but prophetic Twitter thread went on to argue that his former Party would not be able to survive its factionalism and "the poisonous fruit from four years of collaboration and complicity with Trump's insanity, illiberalism and incompetence are ready for harvest." He ended the thread charging: "There are only two sides in American politics now. There is the American side and the Autocratic side. May God help us all if we falter, flag or fail in defense of American democracy." Schmidt's prediction, as we discuss on today's BradCast, appears spot on. [Audio link to today's show is posted below the summary.]

    Among the stories, many of which appear to buttress Schmidt's case, covered on today's program....

    • The Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff issued an unprecedented statement to the military (and the nation), condemning the "violence, sedition and insurrection" at the U.S. Capitol last week, reminding them of their duty to defend the Constitutional process, and made clear that "President-elect Biden will be inaugurated and will become our 46th Commander in Chief" next week.
    • In the wake of that deadly, Trump-incited coup attempt, many major corporations have announced they will be withholding millions in campaign funding to Republicans who voted against affirming Joe Biden's Electoral College victory last week. Some will also be withholding funding from Democrats...for apparently no sensible reason at all. (Not that we're against it.)
    • If the news of losing their funding from major corporations wasn't bad enough for Republicans, their biggest funder, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, died on Tuesday. We suspect GOPers will keep kissing up to his widow, however, in hopes of continuing to rake in Adelson's corporate campaign cash.
    • How upside-down has the nation become in the Trump Era? We have to laud Liz Cheney (Liz Cheney!) today for coming out in favor of the Article of Impeachment [PDF] Democrats are now moving through the House, charging Donald Trump with "Incitement of Insurrection". Even soon-to-be-former Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reportedly, is not opposing it and is even said to be "pleased" about it.
    • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is not nearly as clever as McConnell, as several stories we cover today make all too clear. Among them, on Monday, following a conversation with the President, McCarthy told his House GOP Conference, according to Fox "News", that Trump acknowledged he bears some blame for what happened last Wednesday, when his supporters attacked the Capitol following his remarks to them, falsely claiming that the election was stolen and they must "fight" to save the nation. McCarthy's thanks for passing on that message from Trump? Today in Texas, Trump said he takes no responsibility at all for the riot. "People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," Trump told media, "Everybody to the ‘t’ thought it was totally appropriate.”
    • Among those who didn't find it "totally appropriate," New Jersey's former Republican Governor and longtime Trump buddy Chris Christie, who said "if incitement to insurrection" isn't grounds for impeachment, "I don't know what is." Maryland's current Republican Governor Larry Hogan echoed the sentiment, agreeing that Trump has "blood on his hands" for the riot that resulted in the deaths of at least five people, including a police officer last week. "He was responsible for inciting this riotous mob. This was an insurrection. They stormed the Capitol and threatened to kill the Vice President and put the lives of people in danger and he had a huge role to play in that," said Hogan, a likely 2024 Presidential hopeful.
    • But it may have been California's former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger whose remarks --- as someone who grew up in Austria in the shadow of WWII --- were the most profound and even, somehow, encouraging. We share his full, emotional, must listen statement posted online over the weekend, comparing the Nazi's Kristallnacht to last week's violent, failed coup.
    • Finally, news breaks that Michigan's former Republican Governor Rick Snyder and other former state officials are about to be criminally charged for their parts in the Flint lead water poisoning disaster, which leads us to Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, with bad news for the planet as usual, but a bit of welcome schadenfreude concerning the fossil fuel industry and the fates of those toxic political appointees who worked in the Trump Administration...

    CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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    Callers ring in on demands for accountability following last week's deadly, Trump-incited riot at the U.S. Capitol. But timing looms large before Inauguration Day, and as the MAGA Mob gears up for more violence...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/11/2021 7:40pm PT  

    We open up the phone lines on today's BradCast for the first time since Donald Trump's deadly attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol last week, to get feedback from callers on whether it makes sense to impeach him again with just about a week and a half left in his term. (For the record, my own opinion is "YES!," and I explain why throughout the course of today's show.) [Audio link to full show is below the summary.]

    We start with some of the latest breaking news...

    • Trump's illegally appointed Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf announced, just before air time, that he is stepping down after being critical of Trump following last week's insurrection that killed at least five people, including a Capitol Police officer. Wolf called the riot "tragic and sickening".
    • The FBI has reportedly notified all 50 states of the possibility of armed attacks on state houses, as Trump's MAGA Mob are continuing to tell each other that Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th (he won't be) and that we should all prepare for a national emergency in which Trump invokes the Insurrection Act and begins "high profile arrests" between now and Inauguration Day. All of that, his minions have convinced themselves, come amid what they describe to each other as "a battle for our republic against elites that are attempting the very coup that they are accusing Trump of doing."
    • Over the weekend, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House Dems that if Trump refused to resign, she would hold a vote on a resolution calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power. If that doesn't work (it doesn't appear that it will), a vote on a second Impeachment could be held in the House as early as Wednesday. We share the Article [PDF], formally filed in the House today by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Ted Lieu (D-CA), David Cicilline's (D-RI), and Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for "Incitement of Insurrection", on today's program.
    • Over the weekend, both Democrats (like AOC) and Republicans like Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Ben Sasse (NE) and Trump ally and former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie all suggested they might support impeachment and removal of the President. As Christie noted, "If inciting to insurrection" isn't an impeachable offense then "I don't really know what is."
    • Nonetheless, a number of Republicans are suggesting that if either the 25th or impeachment are invoked, it would lead to further violence. As Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) pathetically tweeted on Saturday, "Those calling for impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment in response to President Trump's rhetoric this week are themselves engaging in intemperate and inflammatory language and calling for action that is equally irresponsible and could well incite further violence." --- In other words, if you hold anybody accountable for inciting violence, you are inciting the same people to more violence. So, best to do absolutely nothing, apparently. Very patriotic and courageous, Congressman.
    • On Sunday night, the PGA pulled their planned 2022 Championship from Trump's Bedminster, NJ golf resort, adding to the schadenfreude already most likely being enjoyed by anti-Trumpers since Twitter permanently banned him from the social media platform late on Friday.

    As to the timing of how to pull off an impeachment with just days left in Trump's Presidency, it's important to understand --- as we discussed with former federal prosecutor Ben Clements on last Friday's show --- that an official doesn't even have to still be in office to be impeached. There is historical precedent for that. Clements, and others, argue it's important to impeach Trump if only to convict him at trial so that he cannot run for public office ever again.

    It should also be noted that the House may vote to impeach this week or next, but wait until after Biden is sworn into office before sending the Articles to the Senate for a trial. That's what some Dems are now calling for. Rep. James Clyburn wants to wait until Biden's first 100 days are over. Others suggest waiting just long enough to allow Biden's cabinet to be sworn in, since all Senate business must stop when a Senate impeachment trial begins. With Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader, after Biden and Vice President-elect Harris are sworn in, a real trial could be held in the Senate, with dozens and dozens of witnesses, unlike the show trial McConnell held to quash the charges Trump was previously impeached for last year.

    So, lots to chew over on today's program, and lots of callers ringing in with thoughts on all of the above...

    CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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    Guest: Former federal prosecutor Ben Clements; Also: Capitol Police officer dead after riot; Pelosi demands Trump resign or face second impeachment; Dominion files $1.3B defamation suit against Powell...
    By Brad Friedman on 1/8/2021 8:24pm PT  

    The walls are closing in very quickly now --- even throughout our hour today --- on the man who President-elect Joe Biden correctly, if generously, described today as "not fit to serve" and "one of the most incompetent Presidents in the history of the United States of America." As we go to air, Donald Trump is still in office. We can't tell you for certain if that will still be the case by the time you hear today's BradCast. [Audio link is posted at bottom of article.]

    On Thursday night, U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick succumbed to injuries sustained during the attempted coup at the Capitol on Wednesday, as incited by Trump. He was the fifth person to have died amid the mayhem wrought by our outgoing criminal President. Sicknick's death, which Trump didn't bother to mention today, may add yet another crime --- conspiracy to incite murder or manslaughter --- to Trump's quickly growing rap-sheet.

    On Friday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum. Either Trump resigns now or new Articles of Impeachment will be filed on Monday. That, as the Administration rats continue to flee his sinking ship, with more resignations and the welcome news that sore loser Trump will not attend Biden's inauguration and plans to leave D.C. as of the day before. "Good riddance," we say, in echoing the two word statement issued by the American Federation of Teachers last night upon the news that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was also quitting (though only after four convicted murderers and war criminals who worked for her brother received Presidential Pardons.)

    More on Trump's growing legal perils and calls for accountability with my guest today, but first a few words on the news that Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Team Trump attorney  and his fellow perpetual liar and con-artist Sidney Powell. The private voting systems vendor charges Powell led a campaign to spread "wild" and "demonstrably false" claims about the company, including lies about their voting systems being developed with communist money in Venezuela by the late Hugo Chavez and, with the help of George Soros and China and Cuba, being used to steal the election for Biden.

    (Her absurd Venezuela/Chavez claims are bastardized and re-imagined versions of my detailed, accurate, exclusive investigative reporting at The BRAD BLOG from approximately 2008 to 2010. And, while I've been wildly critical for many years of Dominion's unverifiable voting systems, as deployed by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State, there is nothing to support Powell's fantastical claims, including her evidence-free assertions that the state's SoS and Governor received kickbacks from the company to deploy their machines in the Peach State, for the first time, in 2020.)

    Dominion, which previously warned they were likely to sue for slander and defamation if Powell did not retract her false claims (she refused and "doubled down" instead, according to the 124-page complaint [PDF]), also has sent similar warnings to other Team Trump liars such as Rudy Giuliani, Fox "News", Newsmax and One America News. They suggest they may even sue Trump himself. We'll hope they do, even if I'm called to testify by the private election vendor which should have no place in our public election system.

    But, for now, according to our guest today, Constitutional expert and former federal prosecutor BEN CLEMENTS, Board Chair and Senior Legal Advisor of the non-partisan government accountability group, Free Speech for People (FSFP), it's accountability for the "seditious" President of the United States that is of the greatest immediate concern.

    Clements, along with FSFP's  John Bonifaz and Ron Fein, filed an op-ed in the Boston Globe on Tuesday --- the day before the Trump-instigated insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday --- calling for Trump to be immediately impeached for a second time.

    "At the time we wrote the op-ed, we were only dealing with the first major set of felonies that the President committed this week, in the effort to falsify the Georgia election results in his favor," he tells me today, referring to last Saturday's phone call by the President to GA's Sec. of State, cajoling and threatening him to "find" enough votes to steal the election for him there. (Yes! That was just this past week as well!) "At this point, we obviously have a second set of felonies in connection with his incitement of a seditious mob on Congress, which creates an even greater urgency."

    But the reason Clements is calling for a second impeachment this late in Trump's term is because, as he explains: "There is really, for the most part, only one sure way to ensure that Donald Trump is not permitted to again run for office in this country...And that way is through the impeachment power.   If the Senate convicts, an official can be removed, but they can also be disqualified from ever holding federal office again. Aside from removal, which is now needed more urgently than ever, there is the need to disqualify him, to prevent him from running in 2024, or from running for anything else at any time in the federal government."

    With just 12 days left before Biden's Inauguration, is there even enough time for such a proceeding?  As Clements, who authored a book with Bonifaz and Fein called The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump, details that impeachment and a Senate trial can happen even after an official is out of office. Indeed, as he (and his op-ed) recounts, there is even historical precedent for it.

    We also discuss whether the Constitution allows for a Presidential self-pardon, whether Trump will try to execute one, whether lawful or not, and as FSFP called for yesterday, the need for Joe Biden's Attorney General-designate, Judge Merrick Garland, to immediately empanel an independent task force, once confirmed, to coordinate and investigate "any potential federal criminal or civil violations that may have been committed by President Trump, members of his administration, or his campaign, business, or other associates."  Clements argues that, without public pressure, Democratic Administrations have had a tendency in the past, when taking office "after a corrupt and sometimes lawless Republican administration" to make a "a quick call to 'turn the page.'"

    "We are hearing those calls broadly already," he says. But "if we really want to move forward, if we really want to restore the integrity of the Department of Justice, there must be accountability for the crimes of this Administration and particularly of Donald Trump. And there must be accountability for the destruction that he created to our democracy and to the Department of Justice. The reason we're calling for this is there is a risk that there will be this temptation to say 'he's out of office and let's move on.' And I think that would be a GRAVE mistake that will invite more lawless activity, that will invite more of the kind of activity that we saw on Wednesday with the attack on the Capitol."

    As we chatted, news came in that Alaska's Republican Senator, Lisa Murkowski, is now calling for Trump to resign, declaring "I want him out" and threatening to leave her party if they continue to align with him. And Twitter finally did the right thing (years belatedly) by permanently banning Trump, citing the risk of further incitement of violence.

    It's going to be a very dark weekend for Trump. But, for us, we close a dark week today with a long overdue, brand new and hilarious parody tune for the seditious moment, from the great Randy Rainbow! Enjoy!...

    CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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