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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, December 1, 2022
'Green News Report' 12/1/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
DoJ sues to clean up water supply in Jackson, MS; Mauna Loa shuts global CO2 monitor; New methane rules for drilling; PLUS: Int. Dept to help tribal communities escape rising seas...
Recent GNRs: 11/29/22 - 11/17/22 - Archives...
Good News and Bad News in GA Early Runoff Voting: 'BradCast' 11/30/22
Guest: GA election integrity expert, observer Jeanne Dufort; Also: Dems unite behind new House leadership; Bills passed to help avert rail strike; Meadows ordered to testify in GA...
Fun Times in MAGA Land!:
Sedition! Collusion! Denial!:
'BradCast' 11/29/22
Oath Keepers chief 'guilty'; GOP money launderer 'guilty'; AZ Dem SoS/Guv-elect fights to keep Repubs from disenfranchising selves...
'Green News Report' 11/29/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
While we were out... Breakthrough at U.N. climate conference; Americans at risk of power blackouts; Buffalo, NY buried by blizzard; PLUS: Houston, TX under boil water notice...
Recent GNRs: 11/17/22 - 11/15/22 - Archives...
We're Back! But Election and Accountability Season Never Left: 'BradCast' 11/28/22
Pillow Guy is running!; Special Counsel wasting no time; Trumpers failed in AK too; Lake still pretending in AZ; Callers have a few thoughts...
Sunday 'Once More Unto the Breach' Toons
And here we go again...into PDiddie's latest post-Turkey toon collection...
Turkey Toons
Gobble gobble! Our thanks to the one and only Pdiddie for a special holiday collection of toons to help you burn off a few calories!...
Debating the Merits of Garland's New Special Counsel: 'BradCast' 11/21/22
Guests: Former DoJ prosecutor Randall D. Eliason of GWU, Const'l law expert John Bonifaz of FSFP; Also: Does the Constitution disqualify insurrectionist Trump from 2024?...
Sunday 'Ready or Not' Toons
PDiddie's latest collection of the past week's most gut-busting political toons...
Now Back to the Quest for Trump Accountability, Still in Progress: 'BradCast' 11/17/22
Guest: Allison Gill of 'Mueller, She Wrote'; Also: Pelosi leaves Dem leadership; GOP secures House majority; Bass wins L.A. Mayor...
'Green News Report' 11/17/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Crunch time for COP27 climate agreement; NASA says sea levels to rise a foot by 2050; Trump's 2024 announcement climate lies; PLUS: Climate disinfo surging again...
Recent GNRs: 11/15/22 - 11/10/22 - Archives...
2022 GOP Political Fallout, Blame, Circus Begins: 'BradCast' 11/16/22
Guest: Heather Digby Parton; Trump's running again; House, Senate GOP leadership chaos; MS moves to hand-marked paper ballots...
'Green News Report' 11/15/22
Biden pledges leadership, funding at U.N. climate summit; U.S. and China resume climate talks; Costly Nicole; PLUS: Dems Sen. majority to hold line on climate policy...
Sunday 'Red Wave' Toons
Surf the wave! It's Pdiddie's first post-midterms collection of the week's best political toons!...
The Guy Whose Data Analysis Was Right on the Election on Why Media Got It So Wrong (Again): 'BradCast' 11/11/22
Guest: TargetSmart's Tom Bonier; 'Red wave' buffoonery; Latest results from AZ, NV...
It's the Gerrymandering (and Corrupted Courts), Stupid: 'BradCast' 11/10/22
Guest: Redistricting expert, author David Daley; Also: How Fox 'News' dupes followers via smartphone; Latest Sen, House, Guv results...
'Green News Report' 11/10/22
Failed 'red wave' is good news for the climate; New reports warn of skyrocketing methane levels; PLUS: Mixed results for state environmental ballot propositions...
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...
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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...


Dem Senate candidates smack down GOP opponents in OH, WI debates; Also: SCOTUS undermines key election provision of Civil Rights Act; Is FBI underplaying threats to election security?...
By Brad Friedman on 10/11/2022 6:38pm PT  

As noted on today's BradCast, we generally cover the track conditions of our elections more than the actual horse races. We do so again today. But, as it turns out, Dems have put up some pretty good horses this year. We cover a couple of them today as well. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First, track conditions...

The corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority on Tuesday overturned an appeals court ruling which had found that both the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Pennsylvania law mandates that legitimately voted ballots may not be invalidated due to minor errors that are "immaterial" to determining voter qualification. In this case, the question was about absentee ballots where voters had forgotten to fill in the date on the ballot's outer envelope. The activists on SCOTUS, however, held today that such ballots may not be counted this November, despite the Civil Rights Act provision that previously ended the Jim Crow era's use of immaterial errors to invalidate perfectly legitimate votes.

Also, FBI officials say they have identified no credible threats to U.S. election systems this year, despite efforts by some foreign adversaries, including Russia, to sow doubt about fraud. But do these officials understand the actual threats now posed to our non-transparent, easily manipulated and error-prone computerized voting and tabulation systems? Do they appreciate the increased threat level thanks to recent breaches of election management systems by MAGA conspiracy theorists in several states following the former President's false claims of fraud?

While the Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray seems to falsely suggest there are similar domestic threats of violence from "both sides" following the 2020 election and the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v. Wade, the federal Elections Threat Task Force, launched last year by the Dept. of Justice, seems to finally be taking at least some action in response to the thousands of violent threats made by rightwingers against election officials and poll workers following the last Presidential election.

Next, horse races...

During a U.S. Senate debate in Ohio on Monday night, Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan called out his Republican opponent, author J.D. Vance, for running a fake non-profit charity to support opioid addicts; defending January 6 insurrectionists; and for giving up his "dignity" to Trump who said about Vance at a recent rally in Youngstown: "All you do is kiss my ass to get my support," before Vance went on to pose for pictures with the disgraced former President. "Ohio needs an ass-kicker, not an ass-kisser," said Ryan in response.

In Wisconsin's U.S.. Senate race, Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes was similarly ass-kicking in his debate against incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Barnes called out the Badger State GOPer for supporting the January 6 insurrection while claiming to support police, despite the serious injuries to more than 140 law enforcement officials that day. Barnes also made clear he would vote to codify the rights of Roe v. Wade into federal law, and made a very impressive showing against Johnson.

Both races are currently neck and neck, and are among at least five Senate races this year (along with Pennsylvania, North Carolina and even Florida) where Dems have real shots at flipping currently GOP-held seats from "red" to "blue". That, by way of contrast with Republicans who are looking at just two states (Nevada and Georgia), where they stand any real chance, generally speaking, of flipping a Senate seat from "blue" to "red" this year --- at least if you have any confidence in this year's pre-election polling.

Finally...

Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, underscoring, yet again, the stakes of this year's critical midterms following the devastation of Hurricane Ian in Florida; consequences of our worsening climate crisis around the world; and the Governor of California's new effort to hold Big Oil accountable for price gouging...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens...
By Brad Friedman on 9/22/2022 7:04pm PT  

If you're dumb enough to fall for the disgraced former President's evidence-free claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, you probably deserve whatever nightmares are coming for you. We cover at least three of those dumb dupes on today's BradCast. [Audio link to today's full show follows below this summary.]

  • It's been a really really bad week for failed President and 2020 election conspiracist Donald Trump. His hand-picked Special Master in the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents case has been doing him no favors. And, yesterday, Trump and his kids and his company were slammed with a massive $250 million fraud lawsuit by the state of New York which may end his ability to do business in the state ever again. And, just a few hours later, a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Trump-appointed judges, unanimously sided with the Dept. of Justice in a no-uncertain-terms rebuke of Trump's claim's that the classified documents he stole from the White House somehow belong to him, and to the dumb and/or corrupt U.S. District Court Judge who facilitated his ridiculous legal challenge. And no, despite what The Former Guy tried to tell Sean Hannity last night, a President can't simply declassify documents with his mind. But, even if he could, as the 11th Circuit Court helpfully pointed out in their scathing ruling [PDF], the classified status of the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago is little more than a "red herring".
  • It's also been a really really bad week for pillow salesman and 2020 election conspiracist Mike Lindell. On Monday, a federal court in Minnesota denied Lindell and his company's motions to dismiss the massive defamation suit filed against them by Smartmatic, a voting system vendor. The next day, Lindell tried to get himself a similar deal to the one that Trump got in that destined-to-fail Mar-a-Lago lawsuit by filing a lawsuit against the Dept. of Justice, seeking to get his cell phone back. FBI official seized Lindell's phone last week while he was at a fast-food restaurant drive-thru, based on a probable cause search warrant. Lindell's own destined-to-fail lawsuit filing included a copy of the FBI's search warrant, revealing that the bedding magnate is being investigated for identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer related to the breach of Dominion voting system software in Mesa County, Colorado by its indicted County Clerk, Tina Peters. Lots to explain here. We give you the full story.
  • As to 2020 election conspiracist and far-right Republican activist Ginni Thomas, wife of far-right Republican activist Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, her bad weeks may just be beginning. Hopefully. Four months ago, it was revealed that that she actively lobbied Trump's then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a corrupt Trump lawyer named John Eastman, and several state lawmakers in battleground states to help steal the 2020 election for Trump. On Wednesday, Ginni's attorney announced that she has finally agreed to give testimony to the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple failed attempts to steal the election. It is unclear when Thomas' will be interviewed, though the agreement comes months after she had originally claimed to be eager to "clear up misconceptions" about her role in trying to help steal the 2020 election. In related news, the J6 Committee is currently scheduled to hold what may be their last public hearing next week, before releasing their final report at year's end.
  • In news that is far less stupid, though also related to much of the above, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland offered incredibly moving remarks (video, transcript) at Ellis Island in New York last week at the swearing in ceremony for 200 new American citizens. The A.G. had a difficult time holding himself together as he recounted his family's history of coming to America while attempting to escape the Holocaust. But it was his telling remarks on "the rule of law" and "the promise of equal justice under law" that may offer clues about what is likely to happen in the days ahead, at a moment when he is almost certainly deciding whether or not to indict a former President of the United States for the first time in history.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as Climate Week unfolds in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. She has coverage of the UN Sec. General's call for the fossil fuel industry to pay up for its unspeakable damage across the globe; the continuing toll of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico; and some good news on the first climate change treaty in decades to actually be adopted by the U.S. Senate.

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Biden approval spikes, gets good econ data, helps avert rail strike; Trump fails to settle NY fraud suit; Feds subpoena Lindell in CO election fraud case; Special prosecutor to probe GOP A.G. nom in MI election fraud case; Feds charge GOP Election Commish with absentee fraud in NY...
By Brad Friedman on 9/15/2022 5:41pm PT  

Apologies in advance for all of the encouraging news on today's BradCast! I'm sure things will be terrible and outrageous tomorrow. [Audio link to full show is below this summary.]

Among the many stories covered today, however...

  • Joe Biden's approval rating spikes nearly 10 points in new AP/NORC polling.
  • Retail sales grew yet again in August as unemployment falls yet again, finds new federal data.
  • Biden Administration hashes out last minute deal between rail workers and companies to avert crippling rail strike.
  • New York A.G. Letitia James reportedly rejects Trump's attempt to settle a fraud lawsuit against him, his company and maybe one of his kids (that she has yet to file.)
  • Pillow magnate and election denier Mike Lindell's phone is confiscated by FBI in federal grand jury probe of unlawful Colorado voting system breach.
  • Special Prosecutor is named to investigate Republican state Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno (and several other top GOPers) involvement in unlawful Michigan voting system breach.
  • Instead of committing election fraud crimes after the 2020 election, under the guise of looking for them, Republicans might have looked a bit closer to home. Rensselear County, New York's Republican Election Commissioner is the latest GOP official to be arrested and charged for absentee ballot voting fraud in a sweeping federal probe.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, including a new U.N. warning that we are entering "uncharged climate territory"; Summer 2022 clocks in as the hottest ever recorded; Transitioning quickly to clean energy could save the world $12 trillion; and President Biden touts his historic climate bill and our new national EV charging network...

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: Legal analyst, author Dahlia Lithwick; Also: Lincoln Project begs Former Guy to sue them; Judge tosses Trump's ridiculous Clinton, Comey 'conspiracy' lawsuit; DoJ offers corrupt Mar-a-Lago judge an off-ramp...
By Brad Friedman on 9/9/2022 6:33pm PT  

For all of the legal experts on TV and Twitter helping the nation understand a flood of ridiculous rulings by corrupt, rightwing, Federal Society-approved judges and Justices, it might also be helpful if they started pointing out the desperate need for structural change in our federal judiciary. We can't lawyer our way out of this mess, but we can reform it. But we're gonna need their help. One of those legal experts joins us on today's BradCast to help make exactly that case. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up, however, the Republican "Never Trumpers" of the Lincoln Project are back. And their latest ad is another doozie, pointing out how Trump's sleazy Save America PAC is little more than a "sucker's game" meant to scam his own supporters. "Trump told you the election was stolen to rip you off, to sucker you, to take your hard-earned money and shovel it into his pockets ... It was the biggest scam in political history. ... It was a sucker's game all along."

Apparently, Lincoln Project is running the ad on Fox "News" and it appears to be driving The Former Guy crazy. So much so that he's threatened to sue the Lincoln Project. And now the group's co-founder, Rick Wilson, is begging him to. We share the ad, Trump's pathetic (though hilarious) social media tantrum and Wilson's acerbic (though hilarious) response.

While Trump is unlikely to actually sue Lincoln Project --- and open up his corrupt Save America PAC to the discovery process! --- one of his most recent impotent lawsuits, filed against Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and bunch of other folks at the FBI and DoJ claiming a "conspiracy" against him regarding Russia's interference in the 2016 election, spectacularly crashed and burned before a federal judge in South Florida on Thursday. It was a real judge. Not one that Trump appointed.

As to the federal judge in South Florida that Trump did appoint, Judge Aileen Cannon, who issued the absurd, unprecedented and completely unworkable order on Monday in response to the FBI's court-ordered seizure of thousands of government documents stolen by Trump and stored at Mar-a-Lago, the DoJ pushed back on Thursday night. On Monday, Cannon ordered an injunction against the DoJ's use of the stolen documents, many of them highly classified, in their criminal investigation of Trump's theft until a Special Master examined all of the documents for potential attorney-client and executive privilege conflicts. (There can be no executive privilege conflicts since Trump hasn't asserted it and, no longer the Executive, he is not entitled to any such privilege.)

In their filing [PDF] on Thursday night, however, the DoJ offered a compromise and an off-ramp to Cannon, before they otherwise plan to appeal her ruling in full to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals next week. Hopefully, Cannon takes the off-ramp to allow the critical criminal investigation and national security damage assessment to continue. But, otherwise, the DoJ may have a long slog before the appeals court which has now been packed with Trump-appointed judges.

All of this --- not to mention the unprecedented rulings by the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court majority at the end of their term earlier this summer --- underscores how broken our federal judicial system has become. And while there is no shortage of well-meaning legal experts on TV and social media explaining how best to respond to corrupted rulings by corrupted courts, these are problems that the nation cannot litigate itself out of, as our guest argues today.

We're joined again by the great DAHLIA LITHWICK, longtime legal analyst at Slate, MSNBC contributor, podcast host, and author of the new book, LADY JUSTICE: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America.

Writing this week with our other legal reporter friend from Slate, Mark Joseph Stern, in an article headlined "The Solution to the Trump Judge Problem Nobody Wants to Talk About" the pair reference the court battle over the stolen documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago: "The problem is not just the extreme and heinous flaws in Cannon’s ruling. It’s also the Trump-shaped world in which Cannon operates, with impunity, which we will all have to endure for the foreseeable future. It’s the brutal reality that we may face a steady stream of depraved decisions like Cannon’s for the rest of our lives --- and the pain of hearing from every quarter that nothing can be done to remedy it."

"There are too many things wrong with the Cannon order to litigate," they conclude. "And there are too many things wrong with Trump’s judicial dominion of every part of our lives --- for years to come --- to litigate. So maybe it's time to stop litigating them and start fixing them."

How to start fixing them? Well, that's at the center of my discussion today with Lithwick, beginning with the need for "big-swing structural reform" of our courts and how to start making the noise needed to help make it happen.

Also, we discuss LADY JUSTICE, Lithwick's brand-new book --- hitting "shelves" in just a few days --- which "knits together these stories of extraordinary women lawyers" who "faced unbelievable odds" and "changed the world in the Trump era". Now, she argues, "they could do it again."

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton on Trump and his party's flagging fortunes, Biden and his party's stunning late-summer ascension...
By Brad Friedman on 8/26/2022 6:46pm PT  

As the summer season winds down on The BradCast, the contrast between the two major parties, their respective leaders and their prospective near-term fortunes could hardly be more stark, as illustrated by a very lively conversation on today's program. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

On Friday, all eyes were on the release of an unsealed, redacted version of the Dept. of Justice's 38-page affidavit [PDF] used to establish "probable cause" for their unprecedented search of Donald Trump's home, office and storage areas at Mar-a-Lago on August 8.

The bulk of the affidavit was redacted, due to what the DoJ has described as the need to protect "the safety and privacy of a significant number of civilian witnesses" and because "Disclosure of the government's affidavit at this stage would also likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations."

What wasn't redacted were a few more specifics on what had largely already been publicly known about the nearly full year effort by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to retrieve highly classified documents that Trump had stolen from the White House upon leaving office. That eventually led to NARA's criminal referral to the DoJ and the FBI search warrant seeking "All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519". (Those statutes refer to the Espionage Act, obstruction, and violations of the Presidential Records Act, among other crimes Trump may have violated, despite a full year and a half of various warnings and polite, quiet attempts by both NARA and DoJ to retrieve the stolen material.)

The new specifics revealed today include that when NARA eventually received the first set of documents --- prior to a grand jury subpoena, a personal visit from the DoJ's top counter-espionage official, and eventually the FBI search in early August --- "FBI agents conducted a preliminary review of the FIFTEEN BOXES provided to NARA and identified documents with classification markings in fourteen of the FIFTEEN BOXES. A preliminary triage of the documents with classification markings revealed the following approximate numbers: 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as CONFIDENTIAL, 92 documents marked as SECRET, and 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET." The unidentified agent who served as the affiant, noted: "Based on my training and experience, I know that documents classified at these levels typically contain NDI [national defense information.]"

Of course, that was all before Trump reportedly handed over another dozen or so boxes of sensitive records in June, following a subpoena and personal visit by DoJ officials, and then the eventual August search in which another 11 sets of highly classified documents were retrieved from "the STORAGE ROOM, FPOTUS's residential suite, Pine Hall, the '45 Office,' and other spaces within the PREMISES." The affiant notes: "I do not believe that any spaces within the PREMISES have been authorized for the storage of classified information at least since the end of FPOTUS 's Presidential Administration on January 20, 2021."

That news on Friday --- just the latest mind-blowing development in multiple concurrent criminal investigations of the former President of the United States --- followed (and, in many cases, over-shadowed) the extraordinary run of late summer successes by President Biden and the Democrats.

It also comes the day after Biden offered a 27-minute stem-winder of a rally speech for the DNC in Rockville, Maryland, leading many to wonder: "Hey, where has that guy been all this time?!" We share a wholly unsatisfactory 6 minutes or so today from his lengthy, barn-burner remarks, in which he detailed his accomplishments and unsparingly took on the "semi-fascism" of Republicans and the former President in no uncertain terms. ("Guess what? MAGA Republicans don’t have a clue about the power of women. ... Let me tell you something: They are about to find out.")

We're joined today to discuss all of this by the great HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo. Earlier this summer, she served as our anchor panelist following all 8 of the hearings by the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Trump's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 election. And yet, since her last appearance in July, it seems we've all learned about an entirely new and massive criminal scandal that Trump has completely brought upon himself!

"What in the world was he doing with these documents? What was the purpose of it?," she joins us and the rest of the world in still wondering. "Whatever he planned to do with this stuff, it's very, very dangerous stuff."

"Donald Trump apparently has now bought into his own hype that he is still the legitimate President, and he's basically like Napoleon in exile on Elba," quips Parton. "Somehow or other he convinced himself that that meant that he had the same protections he had as President, and that has given him this sense that they can't touch him because of his position."

But now, she observes, Trump is "just dancing as fast as he can." Parton explains why she believes that, of all the probes now closing in on him, the discovery of hundreds of pages of highly classified national security documents at Mar-a-Lago will be the worst for him. "And here's the reason: Nothing shows more chutzpah and gall than this man --- the man who led the 'Lock Her Up' chants for the last 5 years saying that Hillary Clinton needed to be put into jail for mishandling classified information --- the fact that this guy did what he did in light of that, it's almost to much to bear."

"On a political level," Parton adds, "I think this one hits him in a way --- it shouldn't be that way, it should be the coup --- but this one is simple, easy to understand, and it's so incredibly galling that he would have done this under the circumstances."

That, by way of contrast with our current, not-insane President and his party's, by any measure, historic achievements in recent weeks. "I don't know but it seems to me that Dark Brandon is rising here... [Digby explains that reference for those who may be unfamiliar with the latest social media meme by Biden fans] ...in light of all of the successes that he's had legislatively in the last few months, it's been a rather stunning success story, honestly. I'm not a big Joe Biden pat-on-the-back person, but I am really surprised that under very difficult circumstances, with a very, very narrow majority, dealing with divas like Sinema and Manchin, and having to come up against a very low approval rating and a rightwing that's gone completely nuts out-of-its-mind bonkers, this Administration has managed to pass a whole lot of really important, big legislation."

But, as she also writes about at Salon today, the Republicans' biggest problem is the backlash to their "very, very far right, radical anti-abortion zealotry" and the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade. That, she argues, has cost them dearly at the ballot box since the late June Dobbs decision. But, while Parton believes the GOP will pay a huge price for their anti-choice advocacy in "red" and "blue" states alike this November, she explains why it's also "going to haunt them for a long time to come."

All of that and much much more with Parton on today's program --- including thoughts on the GOP's attempted Jedi Mind Trick regarding Biden's landmark forgiveness of as much as $20,000 in student loan debt for tens of millions of low and middle-income Americans on Thursday!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

* * * NOTE: We will be standing down from The BradCast (and Green News Report) next week until after Labor Day for an attempt at some much-needed R&R before Congress reconvenes, more J6 hearings get under way, new indictments come down and midterm season begins in earnest. That means, of course, that there will most likely be huge, earth-shaking news occurring next week while we're gone. So, please buckle up and stay safe until our return!

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Guest: ACLU's Ben Wizner; Also: Results from KS abortion amendment recount; Dems quietly outsmart GOP/SCOTUS on climate; More...
By Brad Friedman on 8/23/2022 6:23pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Based on the FBI's unsealed warrant for their recent court-approved search at Mar-a-Lago, we now know that our disgraced former President is being criminally investigated by the Dept. of Justice for violation of at least three federal statutes. One of them --- the one which has arguably received the most headlines --- is the Espionage Act. But that very broad federal statute has been wildly misused by the government over the years to target free political speech and, in modern days, both whistleblowers and journalists. Today, we speak with national security whistleblower Edward Snowden's lead ACLU attorney in hopes of better understanding the controversial law, what's wrong with it, how it needs to be amended, and if it is now properly being applied against Donald Trump. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

First up, however, as primary elections are underway in New York, Florida and Oklahoma today (noteworthy results and problem reports for voters on our next 'BradCast'), we wanted to close a loop on a story we reported last week. Anti-abortion activists in Kansas had hoped for a statewide hand recount of the ballot measure for a state constitutional amendment that failed so thoroughly during their primary elections earlier this month. The measure, trounced by about 18 points, would have allowed state Republicans to ban abortion rights in Kansas. Activists vaguely claimed there was evidence of fraud and asked for a hand-count of 9 of the state's largest counties after failing to raise enough money to count the whole state. That hand-count was completed over the weekend and very few votes changed at all. The "Yes" campaign netted an additional 63 votes out of more than 556,000 tallied by hand in those counties.

We've got some thoughts on that hand count to share today, including a response to the Kansas Sec. of State who claims the hand-count "proves once and for all that there is no systemic election fraud in our state's election process" (it doesn't) and for Democrats who decry lawful, public hand-counts --- paid for by challengers, even if they are loony ones --- as undermining our election system. They don't. In fact, they add confidence to it. Tune in for more.

Next, on Monday night, the New York Times reported that Donald Trump stole at least 300 documents marked as classified, many of them said to be incredibly sensitive national security documents. (Contrast that with the total of 3 documents found to have been sent to Hillary Clinton via her private email address marked as classified, for which Trump and his supporters railed to "LOCK HER UP!" for so many years.) All told, it took a year and a half to get those stolen documents back, after a year of negotiation and pleading by the National Archives, a grand jury subpoena from the DoJ, a personal visit to Mar-a-Lago by its top counter-espionage official, and, ultimately, the FBI search earlier this month.

Throughout that time, the paper reports, "Trump went through the boxes himself in late 2021," before failing to turn them all in and, even now, it is unknown if all of the stolen documents have yet been returned. Whether marked as classified or not --- and whether Trump declassified them or not (he didn't) --- it was still illegal for Trump to have any of them in his possession.

The federal search warrant revealed that he is being investigated for, among other things, violation of the Espionage Act. Writing last week at Politico, the Knight First Amendment Institute's Jameel Jaffer, formerly of the ACLU, argued that the Act has been abused over the years in its application against whistleblowers and journalists, such as Chelsea Manning (who released classified documents revealing war crimes by the U.S. Military), Reality Winner (who released a classified document revealing Russia's 2016 breach of U.S. voter registration systems) and, more recently, WikiLeak's Julian Assange.

But, Jaffer writes, while the overly-broad law desperately needs to be amended or even scrapped entirely, its use against Trump appears to be perfectly appropriate.

We're joined today by BEN WIZNER of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. Wizner serves as the principal legal advisor for Edward Snowden, the national security whistleblower who, charged with Espionage Act crimes, is currently living in Russia to avoid prosecution.

Wizner explains the many problems with the more than 100-year old law as it was originally used --- before being somewhat amended decades later --- to prosecute thousands of Americans for legitimate political speech. "In fact, the abuses of the Espionage Act at the outset really had something to do with the formation of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920," he tells me. "It was used by Woodrow Wilson's administration to go after pacifists and anti-war activists, labor activists. Eugene Debs was prosecuted and imprisoned under the Espionage Act. So in its early years, it really is associated with all of the excesses of the first Red Scare and the crackdown on dissent, and immigrants and other radicals." (Debs ultimately ran for President from his prison cell, as Trump may now wish to take note.)

"In it's modern history, the core critique of the Espionage Act has been that it doesn't distinguish between selling the country's secrets to a foreign adversary for personal gain and sharing those same secrets with respected journalists in the public interest," Wizner explains. "In the Snowden case, you have somebody who shared information with news organizations. Those news organizations won the highest awards in journalism, a public interest Pulitzer Prize [based on documents from Snowden.]

But the most egregious part of the Espionage Act, as Wizner notes regarding Snowden's case and his exile abroad: "He's not able to argue, if he's brought to court under this law, that he was acting in the public interest, [and] that in fact the law [was] changed as a result of his actions. All of that would be irrelevant and inadmissible under an Espionage Act prosecution."

In other words, Snowden would be disallowed from even offering a defense for what he did. "The first person ever prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaks to the press in the public interest, rather than trying to provide secrets to a foreign entity was, of course, the Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, in 1971," Wizner reminds us. (We discussed Snowden's case with Ellsberg on the show back in 2013. Audio and transcript here.)

There is much more to discuss about this bad law and the need to amend it, as several lawmakers from both major parties have long been trying to do. Tune in for that.

As to whether Wizner agrees with his former ACLU colleague, Jaffer, regarding the Espionage Act's correct application against Trump? While he argues "there's no good justification for what Trump did here," Wizner says he is keeping powder dry" regarding Trump's alleged Espionage Act violations. "I am very open to the possibility that when we find out why they cited that statute, I will be a full-throated advocate of what they did in this case. I'm just saying I don't have the information yet to be that full-throated advocate...It matters what those documents were. The fact that they were marked classified is a key fact. I still want to know what was in them."

"I believe Jameel Jaffer is correct that the concerns that the ACLU and other have raised about the Espionage Act are not implicated here," Wizner tells me. "We've been saying you shouldn't equate two different categories --- spies and whistleblowers. What we have here is a third category."

Finally, after some breaking news on President Biden reportedly deciding to forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for some federal borrowers, and Desi Doyen's explanation of how Democrats may have quietly and ingeniously outsmarted both Republicans and their stolen U.S. Supreme Court majority by declaring carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses to be "pollutants" in their recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, she joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the summer of extreme extreme weather continues...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The Everything-Everywhere-All-At-Once Era continues... And we continue to try and help you (and us) make sense of it all...
By Brad Friedman on 8/18/2022 7:07pm PT  

Years ago, the month of August was considered the slowest news month of the year. Those years are obviously over. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's BradCast...

  • There are some huge economic advantages on the horizon for large companies who transition their fleets to all-electric vehicles, including 18-wheelers. A writer at Torque News recently broke down the "staggering economics" in "fuel" savings for a 200-mile trip in the coming-very-soon Tesla Semi. The calculation finds, the costs for such a trip would plummet from about $170 now to just $28 in an all-electric semi-truck, an 83% reduction! (Not to mention the savings in lower maintenance costs "due to no engine and oil changes" and, yes, most critically, savings for the planet in huge cuts to carbon emissions amid our worsening climate crisis!)
  • And speaking of climate emergencies...A new federal study out today from the Dept. of Energy largely confirms several recent independent analyses finding the Democrats' newly-signed Inflation Reduction Act --- which invests nearly $400 billion to move the nation from dirty, deadly fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy --- will cut greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change by about 40% by 2030. It will remove more than one billion tons of heat-trapping gasses, including cutting 35 tons for every one that it adds, according to the study. As we discuss, while there are valid criticisms of the law as passed with several giveaways to the fossil fuel industry in order to win Joe Manchin's vote. But ya gotta start somewhere. And this is a very good start. Want even more climate action? (We do!) Then elect more Democrats to Congress this year, since the IRA passed with the barest of Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress without the support of one single Republican --- a party which still, in 2022, describes climate change as "a hoax"!
  • And speaking of denial...On Tuesday in Wyoming, GOP voters elected a Trump-backed 2020 election denier to become the state's next chief election official. Because no Democrat ran for the job, it means the winner on Tuesday, Chuck Gray, will become WY's next Secretary of State. Of course, it's a very Republican state (Trump won 70% of the vote in 2020), but there are now 2020 election deniers running to become chief state election officials in five battlegrounds states: Mark Finchem (Arizona); Kristina Karamo (Michigan); Kim Crockett (Minnesota); Jim Marchant (Nevada); Audrey Trujillo (New Mexico). While the 2022 election will be about a lot of things, it will likely prove to be about the 2024 election --- and the survival of American democracy --- as much as anything else.
  • And, speaking of even more election deniers...One GOP 2020 election denier who won't be a Republican Party nominee for Secretary of State this year is Tina Peters. She is the Mesa County, Colorado Clerk who has been indicted on 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to making unlawful copies of her county's sensitive Election Management System Software in the middle of the night, and allowing it to be released to the public to make hacking future elections easier. Last month, Peters ran for the GOP nomination to become Colorado Sec. of State. She lost. By a lot. Nonetheless, she raised $250,000 for a statewide recount and...lost again. She gained just 13 votes in the re-tally out of the 90,000 votes needed to defeat the GOP's nominee, Pam Anderson. (Anderson will run against incumbent Democratic Sec. of State Jena Griswold in November.) But Colorado does statewide recounts by employing the same computers to re-tally hand-marked paper ballots that tallied them (either correctly or incorrectly) in the first place, rather than hand-counting them. While Peters is a duped rightwing loon, even duped rightwing loons deserve to know for certain if they won or lost an election. If candidates are willing to follow the law and raise the money to pay for a hand-count, they should be allowed to have one. Such counts will help, not hurt, to regain confidence in our electoral system after it has been so grievously harmed by the lies of Donald Trump and his party.
  • And speaking of hand-recounts...A group of anti-choice activists in Kansas this week had sought a statewide hand-count of the ballot initiative this month that would have rewritten the state Constitutional to allow Republicans to ban abortion rights. The measure failed by a stunning 165,000 votes (18 points), according to computer tallies. But the activists failed to raise the $229,000 needed for a full, statewide count, so they are settling for hand-counts in just nine counties. If supporters of the failed referendum want to spend their money on a hand-count to make sure it really really failed, that's perfectly fine by us, and likely to prove a good thing for our faltering democracy after Trump and his party have worked so hard to undermine confidence in it.
  • And speaking of confidence-men...The Trump Organization's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty in state court on Thursday to all 15 criminal counts related to tax fraud that he was charged with last year, along with the Trump Organization itself, by the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Weisselberg will not be cooperating with prosecutors in their criminal investigation of Trump himself. But he has agreed, as part of his plea deal, to testify truthfully for the prosecution in the company's upcoming fraud trial in October. If he does so, the 75-year old will then be sentenced to just 5 months in Rikers Island, will have to pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest, and face five years of probation. He remains an employee of the Trump Organization even after being indicted and even after pleading guilty to all charges.
  • And speaking of attempts at accountability for the disgraced former President...A federal magistrate judge in Florida --- the same one who signed the FBI's warrant for a search at Mar-a-Lago last week finding "probable cause" that Trump violated the Espionage Act and several other federal statutes --- is considering the release of a redacted version of the affidavit the Dept. of Justice submitted to obtain the warrant. The DoJ strongly objects to its release, even with redactions. Nonetheless, the Judge ordered the Department to submit a redacted version of the affidavit by next week and said during his bench order that he will consider its release in a "careful process".
  • Finally...Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report following President Biden's signing of the largest single investment to take on the climate crisis by any nation. The historic bill was followed by Massachusetts' Governor signing a sweeping new climate and energy law this week. Both new laws can't have come soon enough, as several other stories Desi covers today, regarding unprecedented water worries in the U.S. West, make abundantly clear...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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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."

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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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Guest: Stephanie Foggett of The Soufan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2022 6:53pm PT  

We really do have (at least) two Americas at this point. One America, led by President Joe Biden and his Democratic party in Congress, who have now triumphantly signed into law the largest climate bill in U.S. history, which also includes landmark measures to make healthcare cheaper for tens of millions of Americans. And another America, which is calling for violence, mayhem and murder of American law enforcement officials, and they are led there by the disgraced former President of the United States. We discuss both Americas on today's BradCast. Apologies in advance for the whiplash. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, Joe Biden signed the historic, if somewhat misleadingly named, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a trimmed down version of his Build Back Better Act which was blocked by all 50 Senate Republicans and two Democrat last year. The IRA, however, includes some $400 billion to finally begin tackling climate change and moving the nation from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy; institutes a $2,000 annual cap on prescription drug costs for seniors; allows Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prices with drug companies for the first time ever; and increases taxes on hugely profitable corporations that currently pay no taxes at all. It also helps pays down the deficit and a bunch of other things.

It was passed in both chambers of Congress, where Democrats hold the thinnest of majorities in each, without one single Republican vote, as the President took pains to note during his White House signing ceremony today.

"Let’s be clear," Biden said, "In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one. In fact, big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill. A hundred million dollars. And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill."

"We’re delivering results for the American people," the President boasted. "We didn’t tear down; we built up. We didn’t look back; we looked forward. And today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning."

"I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country," Biden said. "I’m not one of them. I believe in the promise of America. I believe in the future of this country. I believe in the very soul of this nation. And most of all, I believe in you, the American people."

As to those who do "hold a dark and despairing view of this country," many of them have been showing their true, dark colors over the past week since the FBI obtained a lawful warrant to search Donald Trump's Florida compound for highly classified and sensitive national security documents that he stole from the White House upon leaving office last year.

After Trump revealed the search publicly last week, using rhetoric seemingly chosen to incite violence --- falsely citing "prosecutorial misconduct," "weaponization of the Justice System," describing the U.S. as a "broken, Third-World Country" --- there has been what the DHS and FBI described in a bulletin last week as an "unprecedented" number of "violent threats" against federal law enforcement, courts and government personnel and facilities.

"These threats are occurring primarily online and across multiple platforms, including social media sites, web forums, video sharing platforms, and image boards," the bulletin warns. It was published the day after a Donald Trump supporter was killed following his attempt to attack an FBI field office in Ohio with a nail gun and an AR-15, and as another Trump supporter was taken into custody and charged for issuing graphic calls to "slaughter" federal officers on several different social media cites.

And while threats on far-right, neo-Nazi Internet sites reportedly spiked following Trump's announcement of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, it has also spiked on "mainstream" Rightwing media outlets like Fox "News", where the rhetoric --- from many of its prime time hosts and elected Republican officials alike --- has become hauntingly similar to that found on the darkest, far-right cesspools of the Internet.

We're joined today by STEPHANIE FOGGETT, a Research Fellow at The Soufan Center and Director of Global Communications at The Soufan Group, where her areas of expertise include terrorism, online extremism and the rise of white supremacy. She has a great deal of perspective to offer on this issue.

"This rhetoric is alarming, but it is not surprising, especially given the online spaces and activity that I watch every day," she tells me. "I monitor the darkest and most violent corners of this information ecosystem, and I really think, above all, it's important to know that these threats and attacks on law enforcement, they're not coming out of a vacuum."

Indeed, as Matt Gertz at Media Matters observed last week "Fox and other right-wing outlets describe the search as 'the worst attack on this republic in modern history,' part of a 'preemptive coup' to prevent Trump’s reelection, and a sign the country is now a 'tyranny.' They say the FBI is acting like 'the East German Stasi in the Cold War' and the Nazi 'Gestapo,' and call its agents part of a 'lawless criminal organization' that 'planted evidence,' bugged Trump’s bedroom, and may be planning his 'assassination.'"

"And they are quick to tell their viewers that they should fear their own persecution in the wake of the search," Gertz writes. "According to right-wing outlets, 'the real target of this investigation is you'." Just last night, Tucker Carlson, the most popular host on the nation's most popular cable "news" outlet, told viewers that President Biden is now "declar[ing] war on his own population."

"It's rinsing and repeating narratives and concerns that we saw with the Stop the Steal campaign and things like that," Foggett explains. "It's really tapping into this narrative on the far-right that if they can go after a President they will be able to come after you one day."

She worries even more "about what comes next," while offering both historical context for this current moment --- in which "every agency in America, from intelligence agencies to law enforcement agencies [have] come to the assessment that the far-right and domestic extremism is the greatest threat that America is facing today" --- and ways in which responsible Americans can respond in hopes of decreasing the threat.

"It is tricky, and there is no silver bullet. There's no one single thing that can be done to address this," Foggett asserts, before describing how individuals can be mindful of what they share online --- stuff that is meant to go viral with misleading messages --- and how "it's really about individuals in positions of power to be much more careful about the things that they say, and how they interact with the violence that this movement promises."

In short, solving this problem won't be easy, and things may get much worse before they get better. But there are ways to educate Americans about these now main-streamed extremists and ways to "isolate them by rejecting them, by ignoring them, and by denouncing them."

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with more on the Democrats' historic climate bill and several alarming new reports underscoring how the measure has finally become law not a moment too soon...

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Fallout from FBI retrieval of stolen, classified docs at Mar-a-Lago; Also: FBI, DHS warn of 'unprecedented' threats; Giuliani now a 'target', Graham must testify in GA election theft probe; Report: Trump Org CFO to plead 'guilty' in NY; Callers speculate on Trump's theft of NatSec docs...
By Brad Friedman on 8/15/2022 6:06pm PT  

At this point on The BradCast we can barely keep up with it all, as the years-long (and continuing) Trump Crime Spree continues to collapse and implode onto itself. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the too many stories covered on today's program...

  • Author Salman Rushdie off ventilator, able to talk, and still in critical condition, but "on road to recovery", according to his agent, following his stabbing on Friday in western New York state.
  • Federal court rejects Sen. Lindsey Graham's attempt to avoid grand jury subpoena for testimony in Fulton County, Georgia's probe of Trump's 2020 election theft conspiracy in the Peach State. Unless he can wriggle out of it somehow, he is scheduled to be deposed next Tuesday.
  • FBI and DHS issue joint bulletin over the weekend citing "unprecedented" threats to law enforcement and other government officials from the far-right Trump World following last week's warranted FBI search at Mar-a-Lago and retrieval of stolen, highly classified national security documents stolen from the White House by Trump.
  • Congressional Republicans, now unable to defend Trump's theft of documents, demand instead that DoJ release the sealed affidavit from last week's federal court-approved warrant finding "probable cause" that Trump may have violated at least three federal laws (retaining or destroying federal documents; obstructing government proceedings; violating the Espionage Act).
  • In Monday court filing, DoJ argues against release of the Mar-a-Lago affidavit, arguing "Disclosure of the warrant affidavit would irreparably harm the government's ongoing criminal investigation" and would "likely chill future cooperation by witnesses whose assistance may be sought as this investigation progresses, as well as in other high-profile investigations." [Emphasis mine.]
  • Over the weekend, NYTimes reported that a Trump lawyer signed a certification in June that all classified materials taken by Trump had been returned. That was not true, as the 11 sets of classified documents retrieved last Monday revealed. The false assertion by a Trump attorney came after nearly a year and a half of discrete efforts by the National Archives and DoJ to retrieve the documents. The paper also reported security camera footage from inside Mar-a-Lago revealed that, just after Team Trump was contacted by the DoJ, boxes were moved into and out of the storage area where Trump unlawfully kept the classified records in a basement storage area at the hotel.
  • Mid-show, NBC reported that the Trump Organization's longtime Chief Financial Officer, Allen Weisselberg, was preparing to plead guilty in the Manhattan District Attorney's criminal fraud charges filed against both him and Trump's family business last year. NYTimes is now reporting that, under the plea agreement, Weisselberg will face just 5 months in prison and will not be cooperating with the prosecution against Trump or his family.
  • Finally, callers ring in with their own speculation on why they believe Donald Trump was hording those national security documents and refusing for a year and half to give them back. Also, on whether he will finally be held accountable for that and the rest of his endless criming...

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Guest: Climate and energy journalist David Roberts of Volts...
By Brad Friedman on 8/12/2022 5:21pm PT  

On some days, there is more huge news than others. This is about 10 of those days. With not one, but two absolute blockbuster stories jammed into today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show posted below this summary.]

On Friday, a federal judge unsealed the warrant obtained by the FBI and DOJ to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound for classified documents earlier this week. We have now learned that law enforcement officials collected some 11 sets of classified documents from the former President's Florida residence on Monday. Several of them were marked "TOP SECRET/SCI" (Sensitive Compartmented Information), the highest level of security classification. That's an even higher level of secrecy than merely "Top Secret". In all, agents collected four sets of "top secret" docs, three sets of "secret" docs and three marked "confidential", the lowest classification. (The latter, akin to the classification level of a handful of emails sent to Hillary Clinton's private email server when she served as Sec. of State.)

It is currently unknown if any of the sensitive and highly classified documents regarded nuclear secrets or not, as Washington Post reported exclusively on Thursday night.

But the arguably larger blockbuster part of this news is the specific crimes detailed in the warrant, for which DOJ officials sought it in the first place and for which they were required to show "probable cause" to the federal judge. Specially, the warrant reveals that Trump was being investigated for at least three different violations of the United States criminal code. As the Times' Charlie Savage summarizes: "Section 793, better known as the Espionage Act, which covers the unlawful retention of defense-related information that could harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary; Section 1519, which covers destroying or concealing documents to obstruct government investigations or administrative proceedings; and Section 2071, which covers the unlawful removal of government records."

"Notably," Savage adds, "none of those laws turn on whether information was deemed to be unclassified." That is important, of course, because the Trumpers have been claiming over the last day or so that the disgraced former President declassified all the materials before he stole them from the White House. In fact, whether he did or didn't (and that is likely to be of MUCH dispute), it may not matter when prosecuting the Espionage Act, as well as Obstruction, and the Unlawful Removal of Government Documents.

For the record, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were put to death in 1953 for violations of the Espionage Act.

While all of that is blockbuster enough for one show, receiving much less coverage today is a another of arguably even greater consequence: Democrats (and ONLY Democrats) in the U.S. House on Friday passed the Inflation Reduction Act, including a landmark $370 billion investment to battle climate change. It is the largest such single investment in history by any nation. Moreover the Act includes a ton of other longtime progressive priorities, such as the ability to negotiate Medicare drug prices with Big Pharma, price caps on prescriptions for the elderly, the expansion of Obamacare premium subsidies, new taxes on hugely profitable corporations currently paying zero in taxes and much more. It even puts hundreds of billions toward deficit reduction.

The historic measure, the central pillar of Joe Biden and the Democrats' economic agenda, was passed last weekend in the Senate, also with zero Republican votes, and now heads to the President for his signature.

We are joined today by the great DAVID ROBERTS, who has spent too many years writing about the confluence of politics, climate and energy for many different publications. He now publishes the Volts newsletter and podcast after having joined us at various times over the past 15 years or so to discuss climate matters and what, until now, had been a bevy of failed federal climate and energy policies. Today, however, for the first time, we've got something very real to celebrate which, he suggests, is likely to be a game changer in the fight to mitigate climate change.

"The shortest way to put it," he tells me, in response to my request for his top-line reaction to this bill, "If you recall Obama's stimulus bill, it contained about $90 billion for clean energy. That bill is responsible for kicking off an absolute firestorm of growth in both those markets [solar and wind], basically helping to bring their costs down below fossil fuels and revolutionizing the US energy landscape. That was $90 billion mostly on wind and solar. Now we're talking about $370 BILLION on wind, solar, hydrogen, batteries, go on down the list. So just the math of it, this is going to spur another revolution in US energy."

We discuss the various mechanisms by which this sprawling new law will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 which he sees as likely a minimum of cuts in the deadly pollution driving our worsening climate crisis. All of which, he describes as "miraculous," given the surprising way it all came about just days ago.

"As you know, about a week ago we were staring in the face of a big goose egg from Congress, a big nothing," Roberts recalls. But that changed when Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck a deal after secret negotiations with, of all people, Sen. Joe Manchin from the coal state of West Virginia. "So this really is the difference between almost total failure on climate and something very close to the level of success that I would have hoped for and dreamed for."

Roberts walks through several of the key points in the bill that he believes will make the greatest difference in our efforts to cut emissions at the federal as well as state and local level.

"One of the most important aspects of this bill is the transformative effects it's going to have on our political economy. It's going to change politics," he argues. "I like to draw the analogy with the defense industry in the US. They are horrific and evil, but they are very savvy in one way, which is that they spread their investments across all 50 states. So then you have 50 states defending defense spending --- which is obnoxious, but it's a good strategy." It's one that he believes will now be echoed in the renewable energy industry, making it much harder to kill in the future, even in --- and, perhaps especially in --- "red" states.

Roberts also concurs with the explanation climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann offered on this show earlier this week, when explained how the bill's incentives work, largely by turning "carrots" (financial incentives) to encourage renewable energy production into "sticks" that will ultimately take down the deadly fossil fuel industry now that they will face real, cleaner and cheaper competition.

"It's a giant bag of carrots," Roberts quips. "The idea, the theory of change, is that these carrots will accelerate the development of renewable energy even further, even faster, and it's going to undercut the economics of fossil fuels even further, even faster. And so fossil fuels are just going to lose on the market." He goes on to add this key point: "One of the things the models find is this bill is going to cause a net reduction in US demand for oil and gasoline for the first time ever. Ever!"

Of course, there are some progressives who have been critical of the bill's giveaways to the fossil fuel industry, included in the 755-page measure in order to win the needed 50th vote in the Senate of Joe Manchin. Those measures "suck," Roberts concurs, even as many on the left have been (purposely?) misinformed about some of those provisions.

"In the grand scheme of things, in the big picture, they are relatively marginal compared to the massive, massive boost that this is going to give clean energy, and the massive amount of emissions it's going to reduce. There is no credible argument otherwise. This is absolutely a net win."

So, yeah. An absolutely historic day --- on at least two remarkable stories...

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Rightwing political violence stirs after former Prez lied about 'siege' at Mar-a-Lago; Also: Midterm elections continue to trend toward Dems...
By Brad Friedman on 8/11/2022 6:13pm PT  

Today on The BradCast: We are now learning even more about what Trump didn't bother to tell his followers when he played the victim card on Monday following the FBI's search at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida. It's becoming difficult to avoid the pretty clear conclusion that he is now simply hoping to foster political violence as the walls, the truth, and accountability close in on him. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

First up today, here's the original video version of the Lincoln Project's amusing new ad, hoping to get inside Trump's head and make him wonder who must be the reported "insider" that tipped off investigators about stolen national security documents Trump was believed to have been keeping at Mar-a-Lago.

Before diving fully back into the latest news following Monday's Mar-a-Lago search and the reasons for it, we've got just a bit of encouraging news for Democrats and democracy lovers amid these decidedly UNconventional times. Today, a brief look at polling numbers trending toward Dems in this November's mid-terms, particularly for the U.S. Senate, and how best to make sense of that data.

Then, after days of media speculation and parroting of misleading claims sourced largely Trump and his attorneys, some clearer, more plausible and better sourced details are finally beginning to emerge from several outlets regarding what actually happened at Mar-a-Lago, and why the FBI decided they needed to obtain a warrant from a federal court to execute their search of Trump's property.

CNN sums much of it up well. But, long story short, after days of Trump and his gullible minions (including, shamefully enough, a bunch of top elected Republican officials) whining that the DoJ should have first taken less aggressive and invasive steps to get at whatever they were looking for, it turns out, DoJ very much already did!

Following a criminal referral from the National Archives in January, charging that incredibly sensitive national security documents had been stolen by Trump when he left office, a grand jury subpoenaed him for those documents in June. Top DoJ officials also visited Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump and his attorneys around the same time to get the documents back. But while some were reportedly returned, others were not, according to both an insider and security surveillance video from inside Mar-a-Lago, reportedly turned over by the Trump Organization.

Documents that were withheld from the National Archives, and said to be of a highly classified nature, were also reportedly stored in the unsecured basement at Trump's South Florida resort.

All of that, as Trump has been out-and-out hoping to scam the public and his supporters (I know, shocking!) by falsely portraying himself as the victim of outrageous "prosecutorial misconduct," "the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats." All part of little more than a "political witch hunt" which has resulted in the U.S. having become a "broken, Third-World Country."

Except, if he wanted to prove any of that to be true, as we discussed yesterday with former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason, he could have simply released the warrant he was given by the FBI on Monday, detailing what they were looking for and what crimes they believe may have occurred, along with a full inventory that he was given, listing the documents and other materials that the FBI retrieved from his residence.

Trump could have done all of that. He did none of it.

On Thursday, however, Attorney General Merrick Garland offered brief remarks to announce that DoJ has now asked a federal judge to unseal the warrant, while declaring his support the men and women of the DoJ and FBI who have now been mercilessly targeted by Team Trump over the past week.

The selective release of at least part of the warrant by Trump's attorneys, including the name of the federal magistrate judge who signed it, has resulted in anti-Semitic slurs and calls for extreme violence against the judge and his family. Some have even been posted to Trump's own social media outlet.

It's difficult to believe that political violence isn't the whole point of what the disgraced former President is now doing, as the walls continued to close in on him. An attempted attack at an FBI field office in Cincinnati, Ohio today, by a man with body armor, a nail-gun and an AR-15, would seem to underscore that. (Shortly after airtime, it was reported that the man, injured in a gunfight as he fled but still on the run as of airtime, had been killed by authorities. Also, that the man had attended Trump's January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.)

Finally today, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as the deadly effects of our climate emergency quickly worsen around the world; elected Republican officials in the U.S. are found to have been conspiring to punish private companies working to curb carbon emissions; and at least one country with a long history of denialism among its rightwing elected class (other than the U.S.), is finally getting on board to cut greenhouse gas emissions after voters recently elected non-deniers to take control of its government...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney, Randall D. Eliason; Also: Inflation slowing?; Noteworthy primary results from CT, MN, VT, WI (and WA)...
By Brad Friedman on 8/10/2022 5:57pm PT  

Remember during the 2016 Presidential election when Donald Trump repeated over and over how only mobsters plead the Fifth Amendment? Yeah, so does he, as discussed on today's BradCast . And yet, he repeatedly took the Fifth for some four hours in a row during his deposition in New York today. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

Before we get to those details and the related story of the FBI search at Trump's home in Florida on Monday...Good news for Americans is, of course, bad news for Republicans. According to new numbers released by the Department of Labor on Wednesday, inflation may now be slowing, along with gas prices which fell in July by roughly 20%. Obviously, that is completely thanks to the brilliant policies of President Joe Biden. (It's not, but since the GOP blamed him for inflation and the rise in prices at the pump, it seems only fair to give him all the credit when the numbers go the other way.)

Next, our highly selective and curated coverage of noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in four states --- Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. (And one last noteworthy race called from last week's primary in the state of Washington.) Here too, good news for far-right MAGA Republican voters may turn out to be very bad news for them in November. If not, it's likely to be very bad news for American democracy in advance of the 2024 elections. Many of Trump's endorsed candidates, all of whom are 2020 election deniers, are winning GOP nominations for offices likely to be critical during the 2024 Presidential election, if those candidates are successful in the 2022 election. We cover a bunch of them today, with appropriate warnings, along with a number of the encouraging Democratic victories on Tuesday.

Then, Trump's horrible, no good, very VERY bad week continues to get worse. Of course, that is good news for the bulk of Americans who actually do believe in law and order and accountability and stuff. On Wednesday, Trump finally sat down for the under oath deposition he has fought so hard against in New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil probe into his and the Trump Organization's years of apparent bank, tax and insurance fraud. For four hours, he repeatedly exercised his Constitutional Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, despite claiming for years --- or, at least while he was running for President in 2016 --- that doing so is "horrible, horrible, horrible" and "disgraceful" because "if you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"

(As it turns out, Trump invoked the Fifth nearly 100 times during his 1990 divorce deposition as well. His own kid, Eric, one of the titular heads of the Trump Organization while Trump was in office, invoked the privilege more than 500 times when he was deposed in the James' probe back in 2020. And, over the past several days, two of his other kids, Don Jr. and Ivanka, were also reportedly deposed. Any guess what they might have done?)

All of this, of course, comes on the heels of the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, though we still don't actually know what they were looking for nor which of the several federal criminal investigations Trump is the focus of it pertained to. Trump does. It says as much on the warrant he has in his possession. He's just not telling anyone, while describing the matter (as usual) as a "political witch hunt" and declaring that it means the U.S. is now a "broken, Third-World Country."

We're joined today for some really helpful insight into both of these ongoing cases by former Asst. U.S. Attorney in D.C. and chief of the DoJ Public Corruption/Government Fraud section, RANDALL D. ELIASON.

As usual, Eliason, who now teaches law with a focus on white collar crime at George Washington University Law School, is able to offer clear, straight-forward facts on what much of cable news has been speculating about over the past 72 hours or so.

For example, what's the difference between a "raid", as Trump and many on the Right are describing what happened in South Florida on Monday, and the lawful exercise of a search warrant, approved by a federal judge? "I'm not sure if there is a universally agreed-upon definition of a raid," he explains, "but I think the most likely definition is it's a raid if it happens to you."

In response to the reports of Trump pleading the Fifth in his NY fraud case, Eliason doesn't think it's "terribly surprising, given what we know" about both the case and the former President, but he goes on to lay out both the difference between a civil case (such as the James') and a criminal probe, and how the Fifth Amendment can be used against Trump in the former, but not the latter, even if it may help criminal prosecutors, like the Manhattan District Attorney, identify where the disgraced former President himself believes he has potentially committed a crime.

Eliason explains what material would be revealed by the portion of the FBI search warrant from Mar-a-Lago that is now in Trump's possession, even as he is refusing to disclose it. "It has to cite the statutes that the investigators believe might have been violated," he says, while noting that there is nothing that legally prevents Trump from releasing it tothe public. Also, he asserts, Trump would, by now, "have an inventory of what was seized" by the FBI, even if he has also failed to release that information as well, despite his many claims of innocence and being a victim.

We also discuss the hurdles that would have to have been cleared by Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray, Biden-appointed U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, as well as the federal magistrate judge who finally approved the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. (Eliason also breaks down the difference between a federal judge and a federal magistrate judge, who Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio suggested on Fox "News" last night, isn't actually a real judge.)

"Given the outcry that you know was going to result from this, and that we've actually seen, you'd want something far beyond just 'probable cause'," argues Eliason, a contributing columnist at the Washington Post and at his own Sidebars Blog. "The DoJ is not going to do this in a marginal case. Before taking this kind of extraordinary, unprecedented step, they're going to really be sure they've got substantial proof, and that it's something really important that they're going after."

As far as what they're "going after"? Well, nobody --- other than Trump, his attorneys and the FBI, DoJ and a federal judge --- actually knows at this point. There has been much TrumpWorld-sourced reportage that this all has something to do with the more than 15 boxes of Presidential Records, many of them highly classified, according to the National Archives, that Trump absconded with to Florida after leaving the White House. But none of that is actually confirmed.

I convince the usually quite careful Eliason to offer his own speculation about what the FBI could be looking for that would involve such a monumental and politically fraught step as obtaining a search warrant for the home of a former President. "Most people are speculating about these crimes that involve Presidential Records," he says. "If that's all it was, and it was relatively routine stuff, I would be surprised that they'd take this kind of step. That makes me think either the documents themselves are something extraordinarily sensitive, and potentially dangerous to national security, or that there's something else going on."

What might that "something else" be, according to Eliason? For that, you'll need to tune in...

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Also: Important late results from last week's AZ and WA primaries; MI's GOP A.G. nominee facing criminal probe; Federal appeals court approves release of Trump tax returns to Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 8/9/2022 7:06pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Given the unprecedented breadth of the late-breaking news on Monday, we know remarkably little so far about what actually happened at Donald Trump's Florida estate and why it happened. Not that that has prevented anyone in these United States from speculating about it since then. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

The news of the FBI's Monday search of Mar-a-Lago literally broke about one second after we signed off from Monday's show and, like the rest of the nation, we've been trying to make sense of it ever since. But, before we get there today, a few other news items of note that are being buried under all of the rest of the news items of note.

Today was primary election day in Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont and Wisconsin. Happily, so far, we've heard few reports of problems for voters at the polls. As usual, we'll have noteworthy results on tomorrow's show.

There are, however, several important results from last week's primaries in several states that were "called" by the media over the weekend, and some that are still too close to call. Most noteworthy is the weekend call for the GOP Gubernatorial nomination in Arizona, where far-right, Trump-endorsed 2020 election denialist and former TV news anchor Kari Lake was declared the winner. She'll now face off with Democratic nominee, Sec. of State Katie Hobbs in November. Like AZ's Republican nominee for Sec. of State, Mark Finchem --- and despite all counts and recounts confirming Joe Biden's victory there in 2020 --- Lake has said she wouldn't have certified the state's electors in 2020 for the guy who voters actually chose. That makes both her race for Governor and Finchem's for SoS among the most critical contests in the nation this November, in advance of the 2024 Presidential election. (Finchem will face the Democratic nominee, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes in the SoS contest in the fall.)

The entire top of the ticket in Michigan is similarly perilous this year, with Republicans having nominated Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers and conspiracy loons to take on all three Democratic incumbents for Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. Reuters, however, broke the exclusive news this week that the state's GOP Attorney General nominee, Matthew DePerno, "led a team that gained unauthorized access to voting equipment while hunting for evidence to support former President Donald Trump’s false election-fraud claims." That now places DePerno --- seeking to become the state's chief law enforcement officer --- squarely at the center of Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel's criminal probe of several such incidents in MI following the 2020 election, as based on criminal referrals by Sec. of State Jocelyn Benson. It also means Nessel will now likely need to recuse herself and her office from probing her own November challenger. Over the weekend, at a CPAC rally in Dallas, Trump praised DePerno, ironically vowing that "he's going to make sure that you are going to have law and order and fair elections."

The reported unlawful breach of sensitive voting system software by DePerno is now added to a growing list of similar incidents across the country, such as Mesa County, Colorado Clerk, Tina Peters (who has been charged with 7 felonies and 3 misdemeanors related to her own election fraud related breach of her county's voting system software) and the GOP Board of Elections in Coffee County, Georgia (who allegedly allowed a similar breach of the voting system there, followed by an apparent cover-up of the incident by Georgia's Republican Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger.)

Then, we get to Trump's no good, very very bad week, as news broke this afternoon that a three-judge federal appeals court panel in D.C. decided unanimously that, yes, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee may indeed have access to Trump's tax returns. This is part of a years-long legal battle, where Trump now has just two appeals options left.

But that problem likely pales in comparison for the disgraced former President to what happened at Trump's South Florida home on Monday, while he was in New York to give a sworn deposition to the state Attorney General, Letitia James, who is investigating him, his kids and his Trump Organization for tax, bank and insurance fraud.

As you've heard by now, the FBI, headed by Trump-appointee Christopher Wray, executed a warrant from a federal judge to search Mar-a-Lago. For what? We do not actually know, though there has been much reporting that it is related to Trump taking at least 15 boxes of Presidential Records, much of them reportedly highly classified, with him to Florida after leaving office.

Most of what we know about what happened Monday comes from either Trump himself or "sources" most likely very close to him, likely describing the matter in the best possible light for him. Trump himself was among the first to confirm the news of the search, misleadingly describing it as a "raid" and declaring Mar-a-Lago "under siege", thanks to "prosecutorial misconduct" and "the weaponization of the Justice System."

"Such an assault," he wrote in his lengthy statement, "could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before." Naturally, the entirety of the rightwing media and elected Republicans simply took his word for it, vowing to exact revenge on Attorney General Merrick Garland, Joe Biden and Democrats in general. Fox "News" headlined some of its fair and balanced coverage this way: "Raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago home by Biden's politicized FBI means US now a third world country".

Today, we try to break down what is actually known and mostly still unknown about what happened; what kind of trouble Trump could potentially be in, based on the few known facts; and how he could easily prove his (clearly false) claims about it all by simply releasing the search warrant that he would now have, showing why law enforcement was able to obtain the warrant, what they were looking for, and what criminal laws there is "probable cause" to believe he has committed.

What we absolutely do know: This is either a blunder of historic proportions or, far more likely, a matter of monumental criminal importance. Investigators would have had to demonstrate serious probable cause evidence of a very serious crime under way or about to happen --- otherwise Wray, Garland and a federal judge would not all have signed off on the unprecedented action of issuing a warrant to execute a search of the home of a former President of the United States.

What we also now know (as we've been trying to tell you for some time): Garland appears to be doing his job and the walls are continuing to close in on our indescribably corrupt and criminal former President.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us today for our latest Green News Report, with special coverage of the other biggest story of the week (now largely big-footed by the "siege" at Mar-a-Lago), Senate Democrats' long-overdue, unified passage of historic climate change legislation...

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Also: Elections results from ME, NV, ND, SC, TX; Vote system prob leads to IA recounts; MAGA County Commission in NM refuses to certify June 7 primaries...Just cuz...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2022 6:13pm PT  

With the bipartisan January 6 Committee having postponed today's hearing, we take the opportunity on today's BradCast to spend some time rebutting the disgraced former President's supposed rebuttal to the two damning hearings held to date. But, of course, we've got much more as well, including election results from Tuesday and evidence of both voting system problems and bad faith elected MAGA officials already trying to disenfranchise 2022 voters. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Among the stories covered on today's program...

  • An error caused by paper jams during ballot scanning on Election Day at the precincts on the state's computer tabulators in Iowa during their June 7 primaries has reportedly resulted in a whole bunch of recounts across the state. Cedar Rapid's KCRG cites an email from the Sec. of State's office which has lead to those recounts, in hopes of reconciling the number of ballots misreported by the scanners as cast with the number of voters who actually signed in to vote.
  • Noteworthy election results from four states which held primaries on Tuesday (Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina) and one (Texas) which purposely held a low-turnout U.S. Special Election yesterday, instead of at the same time as their regular primaries in March or primary runoffs in May. While we cover a lot of Tuesday's races, and why they matter (or don't), the most disturbing one is likely the Secretary of State's race in Nevada, where a 2020 election denialist by the name of Jim Marchant has apparently won a 38% plurality to become the GOP's nominee to become the critical swing-state's chief election official in advance of the 2024 election.
  • The dangers of an election denier like Marchant, who served as one of the state GOP's fake electors in 2020, and who has said he wouldn't have certified Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump that year had he been SoS at the time, is a stark warning of what lies ahead. But we're already seeing the dangers of brain-poisoned MAGA Mobsters in positions of elected authority. The three-person County Commission in a very right-leaning rural county in New Mexico, is refusing to certify results from their June 7 primary. Even though votes are cast on hand-marked paper ballots across the state, the County Commission unanimously voted against certification of primary results, citing distrust of the County's digital ballot scanners made by Dominion Voting. They have no evidence of fraud, which might otherwise allow a court to order the hand-count they are seeking. They just don't trust the results in the County where Trump won 62% of the vote in 2020. The Republican County Clerk is furious and the Democratic Sec. of State is now suing the County Commission ahead of this Friday's deadline for County certification. Expect much more of this in the months and years ahead. We've long warned about exactly this type of fallout from our irresponsible rush to the use secret vote casting and counting systems made by private vendors and the avenues it opens for opportunists to claim fraud without any evidence of same.
  • On Monday night, after the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and other efforts by Trump to steal the 2020 election, our corrupt former President issued a 12-page rebuttal [PDF] to the Committee's first two hearings. We rebut his dumb rebuttal today. It leans heavily on tired, long-ago debunked nonsense, such as his lead in some swing-states on Election Night "inexplicably" disappearing (after heavily-Republican polling place ballots were quickly tallied before the arduous task of opening and verifying and counting heavily-Democratic vote-by-mail ballots one-by-one) and how thousands attended his rallies, while Biden chose not to hold super-spreader events during the worst pandemic in 100 years. Much of Trump's (ghost-writer's) claims were already debunked during the Committee hearings to date, which he seems to presume that his supporters didn't watch or are too dumb to understand.

    Trump's ghost-writer spends most of the rebuttal ink citing what is laughably described as "indisputable proof" of "Ballot Trafficking" presented in the repeatedly debunked 2000 Mules movie. That's a pretend documentary film created by a long-discredited GOP "election integrity" group named True the Vote and a rightwing activist named Dinesh D'Souza who actually pleaded guilty himself to several federal election fraud crimes before he was later pardoned by Trump.

    As noted, the film has been repeatedly debunked, including by us, several times by now. Months before it was even released, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) and FBI concluded the group's claims about cell phone data purporting to reveal evidence of "ballot harvesting" by "mules" of tens or hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots cast in drop-boxes, in fact, reveals no crimes at all. A GA state Board of Elections investigation after the movie's release found that supposed "ballot mules" in Atlanta, shown via security camera footage in the film, were just regular voters legally casting their own ballot and those of direct family members. None of the "mules" are ever seen in the film visiting a drop-box or multiple boxes more than once.

    But, perhaps the most stinging rebuttal came from Trump's own Attorney General, Bill Barr this week. During sworn testimony to the J6 Committee, shared by the panel on Monday, Barr laughed out loud at even the mention of the name of the film, before going on to explain how he found it to be "singularly unimpressive," "indefensible," and that it failed to "establish widespread illegal harvesting." That, of course, is a long way from the "indisputable proof" Trump's dumb rebuttal claimed it to be.

  • Finally, speaking of the House J6 Committee, Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney released a video teaser on Tuesday for its next upcoming hearing scheduled for Thursday. This one will focus on the pressure Trump placed on Vice President Mike Pence to help him steal the 2020 election by tossing out valid Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021. Cheney's teaser video includes testimony from one of Trump's top White House attorneys who says he warned outside lawyer John Eastman, who developed the scheme for Pence to toss out the votes, to "get a great f'ing criminal defense lawyer," adding "you're gonna need it."

Special Coverage of tomorrow's J6 Hearing, of course, on tomorrow's BradCast!...

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