On today's BradCast: Rudy Giuliani works his magic as he settles in as the newest attorney on Donald Trump's personal legal defense team --- and it appears to have exploded spectacularly. And Ohio's Sec. of State and two largest counties are slapped with an election transparency lawsuit just days before next Tuesday's primary in the Buckeye State. [Audio link to show is posted below.]
First up: On Wednesday night, the former NYC Mayor stunned Sean Hannity of Fox "News" when he told him on air that Trump reimbursed his embattled "fixer" and personal lawyer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 in hush money paid to Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 Presidential election. The payment, which Trump had long denied making himself, was meant to cover up an alleged affair Trump had with the porn star. Then, on Thursday morning, Giuliani dug the hole deeper by making clear, once again on Fox "News", that the payment was meant to protect Trump's candidacy.
All of which means that Trump is likely in even more --- and perhaps even criminal --- trouble, regarding serious campaign finance violations which Giuliani seems to have thought he was helping Trump avoid. We discuss and try to clarify the President's newly revealed legal peril on that front today, even as Trump (or his attorneys) took to Twitter to reverse his own previous denials by admitting that he did, in fact, reimburse Cohen for the payments to Daniels.
As Politico's Jack Shafer wryly tweeted today: "Having Giuliani in the mix is almost like having a second Trump."
Then, as we try to stay focused amidst all the noise, we're joined by election transparency expert JOHN BRAKEY and longtime election attorney CHRIS SAUTTER, both of Americans United for Democracy, Integrity and Transparency in Elections (AUDIT USA) about their lawsuit just filed in Ohio in advance of the state's 2018 mid-term primary next Tuesday.
The suit echoes a similar one filed last December in Alabama before that state's much-watched U.S. Senate Special Election between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore. (That suit was successful in a lower court, before the state's woeful Sec. of State John Merrill convinced their Supreme Court to stay the ruling at the last minute.) The new complaint seeks to force Ohio's Secretary of State Jon Husted and its two most-populous counties, Cuyahoga (Cleveland) and Franklin (Columbus), to retain digital ballot images created by the counties' computer scanners as hand-marked paper ballots are initially scanned during tabulation.
Those images, as Brakey explains, allow the public to safely examine the accuracy of election results without disturbing the original paper ballots and, according to Sautter (and several court rulings in other states), complies with federal election law requiring the retention of all election materials for 22 months after federal elections.
The pair detail why preventing the destruction of the images in question is at the center of the multi-partisan suit filed in Ohio, and why they plan to continue pressing election officials in Ohio and in many other states and counties around the country to ensure that digital ballot scanners are set to retain all such images for public oversight after Election Day.
Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with still more bad news for corrupt EPA chief Scott Pruitt and for the planet itself, but also with a bit of good news for NYC, Hawaii, and even one of China's major cities...
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[Update 9/22/09: The American Conservative story is now posted. As well, the office of the Congresswoman named for the first time in the report has offered a vehement denial of the allegations to The BRAD BLOG. Her full response, rebuttal now here...]
On Friday, we reported on the coming exclusive American Conservative cover story interview with formerly-gagged FBI translator turned whistleblower Sibel Edmonds by quoting the magazine's own teaser description of the piece as "explosive." Over the weekend, we received an embargoed look at the final version of the AmCon interview by former CIA officer Phil Giraldi, and yes, "explosive" may be a vast understatement. At least if the U.S. corporate media bother to notice it this time.
It seems it may be difficult not to notice it, given that Edmonds finally names, on the record, for the first time, in a right-leaning periodical founded by Pat Buchanan, the identity of the currently-serving Democratic Congresswoman she has previously described as married with grown children and having been "hooked" into participating in a lesbian affair with a Turkish foreign agent, as she was secretly video-taped for blackmail purposes.
Edmonds has alluded to the Congresswoman, without naming her, in the past, most notably in her recent sworn and video-taped deposition in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case now pending before the Ohio Election Commission. In that testimony, she did manage to name the names of other Congress members she had previously identified publicly. At the time, we (and virtually no other media outlets) reported on her disclosures that Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), and Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased), were all participants in blackmail and/or bribery schemes by and with agents of the Turkish government, as she became aware while translating wiretaps in the FBI's counterintelligence division after 9/11. Some of those crimes are said to have resulted in the theft and sale of nuclear weapons technology to allies and enemies alike.
In her 8/8/09 D.C. deposition, she discussed, for the first time on the public record since being previously gagged by the Bush Administration's use of so-called "State Secrets Privilege" (twice), details of what she heard while reviewing and translating wiretaps of Turkish agents who were targets of a long-running FBI investigation centered out of Chicago, but extending far beyond.
In addition to specific details on allegations of serious wrongdoing by the Congress members mentioned above, as well as State and Defense Department officials such as Marc Grossman, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle, Edmonds had offered details, during the deposition, about a Democratic Congresswoman who is "married with...grown children, but she is bisexual."
"So they have sent Turkish female agents," she testified, in her sometimes-broken English, according to the transcript [PDF]. "And that Turkish female agents work for Turkish government, and have sexual relationship with this Congresswoman in her townhouse actually in this area, and the entire episodes of their sexual conduct was being filmed because the entire house, this Congressional woman's house was bugged."
She went on to add that she hadn't used her name in the past because she left the FBI before knowing whether or not the information was actually used against the Congresswoman to blackmail her, or if the woman had even been made aware of it. "I don't know if she did anything illegal afterwards," Edmonds said.
In Giraldi's AmCon interview, Edmonds again repeats that she doesn't know if the Congresswoman "ever was actually blackmailed or did anything for the Turkish woman," but she does name her name this time...
It has now been over a week since the video tape and transcript from the remarkable 8/8/09 deposition of former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was publicly released. Previously, the Bush Administration invoked the so-called "state secrets privilege" in order to gag Edmonds, in attempting to keep such information from becoming public.
The under-oath, detailed allegations include bribery, blackmail, espionage and infiltration of the U.S. government of, and by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials and agents of the government of Turkey. The broad criminal conspiracy is said to have resulted in, among other things, the sale of nuclear weapons technology to black market interests including Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Libya and others.
Even as many of these allegations had been previously corroborated to varying extents, by a number of official government reports, documents and independent media outlets (largely overseas), not a single major mainstream media outlet in the U.S. has picked up on Edmonds' startling claims since her deposition has been made fully available.
Granted, last week was a busy news week, with the death of Ted Kennedy, the release of the CIA Inspector General's report on torture, and the announcement that Michael Jackson's death was ruled a homicide. And, it's true, a 4-hour deposition and/or 241-page transcript [PDF] is a lot of material to review, particularly given the wide scope of the charges being made here. Still, given the serious national security issues at stake, said to have the been among the most important matters of the past 8 years, one would think someone in the corporate MSM might have taken the time to go through the material, and report on it. Particularly as Edmonds' claims have previously been found "credible" "serious" and "warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review," by the DoJ Inspector General, and confirmed as such, on several occasions, by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and many many others.
So for the benefit of the U.S. media, and other readers, who may find it helpful for this large body of newly-available information to be culled down into more digestible pieces, I will attempt to break down the deposition, a bit, into some of its subject matter-based component parts. I will try to go through the major disclosures from the deposition, one-by-one, in a series of pieces which might help others to further report and/or investigate these breathtaking disclosures from a former FBI official who, following 9/11, listened to and translated wiretap recordings made from 1996 through 2002, in the FBI's counterintelligence and counterterrorism departments, under top-secret clearance.
In this first break-down article, we'll look at the answers given by Edmonds during her deposition in regard to bribery and blackmail of current and former members of the U.S. Congress, including Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY), Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased) and an unnamed, currently-serving, married Democratic Congresswoman said to have been video-taped in a Lesbian affair by Turkish agents for blackmail purposes.
In further breakdown articles, we'll look at her disclosures concerning top State and Defense Department officials including Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and, perhaps most notably, the former Deputy Undersecretary of State, Marc Grossman, the third-highest ranking official in the State Department. Also, details on the theft of nuclear weapons technology; disclosures on Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA front company Brewster-Jennings; items related to U.S. knowledge of 9/11 and al-Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001; infiltration of the FBI translation department and more...