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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, September 29, 2022
Keeping Up With Ian and Trump's GOP Fraudsters: 'BradCast' 9/29/22
Guest: Nicole Sandler from FL; Also: Election tampering charges in MI; Bad days in court for Powell, Dobbs, Fox 'News'; Trump's corrupt MAL judge strikes again...
'Green News Report' 9/29/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Ian smashes records, pummels FL; Manchin's permitting reform bill collapses; New probe for PG&E; PLUS: Mysterious breaches erupt on Russian gas pipelines to Europe...
Recent GNRs: 9/27/22 - 9/22/22 - Archives...
KS Abortion Referendum Data Suggest Women Being Under-Counted in Midterm Polling: 'BradCast' 9/28/22
Guest: Tom Bonier of TargetSmart; Also: Hurricane Ian storms ashore in FL...
Critical Elections, Catastrophic Storm Bear Down: 'BradCast' 9/27/22
Poll workers needed!; Ian closing in on FL; Scofflaw TX A.G. flees process server; Congress nears Electoral Count Act update; Listener mail...
'Green News Report' 9/27/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ian takes aim at Florida; Fiona broke records in Canada; Noru pummels Philippines; Winter fuel prices soar; PLUS: Pacific Island nations call for fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty at U.N.
Recent GNRs: 9/22/22 - 9/20/22 - Archives...
'Gold Standard' SCOTUS Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support Expansion of High Court: 'BradCast' 9/26/22
Also: Disinformationists; Fascism rising; Hurricane Ian threatens FL; Callers ring in...
Sunday 'Heavy Traffic' Toons
Be sure to check PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best toons before crossing state borders. You're welcome!...
Trump, Lindell, Ginni Thomas --- Geniuses All!:
'BradCast' 9/22/22
GOP election conspiracists have bad lawyers; Also: Garland's moving (and telling) remarks at swearing-in of new American citizens...
'Green News Report' 9/22/22
  w/ Brad & Desi
U.N. Sec-Gen wants fossil fuel industry to pay up; New plastics initiative; Puerto Rico still lacking power and clean water; PLUS: Senate approves first climate treaty in decades...
Recent GNRs: 9/20/22 - 9/15/22 - Archives...
It's National Voter Registration Day!
(Who Knew?): 'BradCast' 9/20/22
Also: Beer shortage?!; More on DeSantis' migrant scam; Electoral Count Act reform news; Good (and bad) news for disabled voters; Much more...
'Green News Report' 9/20/22
Simultaneous storms, in Puerto Rico, Alaska, Japan; Climate change juiced Pakistan floods; Aussie energy turnabout; PLUS: Plastics plant blocked in LA...
Kidnapping is a Crime. Will DeSantis Be Held Accountable for It?: 'BradCast' 9/19/22
Also: Media still pulling punches on GOP; Elizabeth finally buried, so will CNN finally cover weekend's THREE hurricane landfalls?!; Plus, callers!...
Sunday 'Pawn' Toons
Make your move to PDiddie's latest collection of the week's best political toons...
Reagan's Big Government Gift to Big Pharma is Still Giving, Killing: 'BradCast' 9/16/22
Guest: Ernest A. Canning; Also: Trump's failed GA election theft; NH GOP Sen. nom flip-flops on 2020 denial; Patagonia gives away company to save planet...
More Good News for Ds; More Fraud Accountability for Rs: 'BradCast' 9/15/22
Biden approval up, strike averted; Trump NY fraud; Feds probe Lindell CO fraud; Fraud probe of MI GOP A.G. nom; NY Election Commish charged w/ absentee vote fraud...
'Green News Report' 9/15/22
U.N. says world in 'uncharted climate territory'; Summer 2022 hottest ever; Clean energy will save world $12 trillion; PLUS: Biden touts IRA, national EV charging network...
'Groundbreaking' Victory for CA's Half-Million Fast-Food Workers: 'BradCast' 9/14/22
Guest: TAP's Harold Meyerson; Also: Rail worker strike looms; Noteworthy primary results from DE, RI, NH...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New poll finds democracy now top issue for voters; Also: Latest Trump accountability news; Midterm election news; Callers ring in on why they're voting this November...
By Brad Friedman on 8/22/2022 6:24pm PT  

Longtime listeners of The BradCast know that we see democracy as pretty much the number one issue that makes pretty much everything else possible. Even the climate crisis comes second for that reason. Congressional Democrats, on the other hand, have yet to make the threat that democracy itself now faces in America, thanks to Donald Trump and his GOP, much of a campaign issue. That's both curious and troubling, particularly following a new poll out today finding that democracy is "the most important issue facing the country for a plurality of registered voters." [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the many stories covered on today's show --- followed by some great callers in the second half today...

  • On Sunday, a federal appeals court gave Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) a short reprieve from his scheduled testimony before the special grand jury in Georgia investigating the Trump-led criminal conspiracy to try and steal Georgia's 2020 election. Graham, who reportedly called the GA Sec. of State to see if it might be possible to toss thousands of lawfully cast votes, claims he was just doing his job as a Senator...from South Carolina...and has absolute immunity under the Constitution's "speech and debate" clause. His reprieve [PDF] from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' probe is unlikely to last for long.
  • A different federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Justice Department must release a memo written by its Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) during the Trump Administration, regarding then-Attorney General Bill Barr's decision to not charge the former President for some ten instances of obstruction of Robert Mueller's Special Counsel investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The DoJ claimed the memo, sought by a good government watchdog group under FOIA laws, was exempt from disclosure because it was part of the deliberative process in deciding whether or not to charge Trump. In fact, as a lower court previously determined, the memo was written after the DoJ had already determined they would not charge Trump.
  • Then, we move from the 2016 and 2020 elections back to the current one, now just 78 days away, when political pundits had long been telling us that Democrats would take a shellacking in Congress this November. But, as we've long noted, that Conventional Wisdom is by no means a certainty during these decidedly UNconventional times. Among the latest examples from 2022's UNconventional Times files, emotional remarks last week from a Republican South Carolina lawmaker who regrets his vote --- just weeks after casting it --- to restrict abortion in the state. He relates a disturbing story of a pregnant 19-year old woman whose water broke at 15 weeks, making the pregnancy unviable. But thanks to the state's new "fetal heartbeat" law, attorneys advised her doctors they could not extract the fetus until its heart stopped beating...two weeks later. She could have lost her uterus or even died during the interim. We share some of the state Rep's emotional response and his reasons for refusing to vote in favor of an even more draconian restriction on reproductive freedom now moving through the SC state legislature.
  • Still more today from the UNconventional Times file: Signs that inflation appears to be coming down on tons of products whose prices had surged last year. And signs, along with it, that pandemic supply chain snarls appear to finally be easing up as well.
  • Of course, all of that good news for American consumers is bad news for Republicans who have been hoping for a terrible economy to help them win back majorities in Congress this November. A new forecast from Fox "News" out today, however, finds that to be less and less likely as polling and other conditions continue to trend back in favor of Democrats. It's still an uphill climb for them in the gerrymandered House, but the GOP is clearly getting nervous. We discuss.
  • At the same time, in a lengthy deep-dive, Politico Magazine reported over the weekend that a number of old school Dems from the Carter Administration are concerned that Congressional Democrats are not making enough of a campaign issue out of the threat that Republicans now pose to American democracy itself. That, following Trump's January 6, 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection and the boatload of bat-crap insane, Trump-endorsed 2020 election deniers who have been nominated for key positions to help decide the 2024 election in swing-states and non-swing-states alike this year. While Congressional Dems offer a reasonable argument for why they have been sticking with other issues this year --- "from energy and the environment to education, roads and infrastructure, abortion, health care, Trump and guns" --- rather than the threat posed by Republicans to democracy itself....
  • So, what do our listeners care most about this November? What issues are leading them to vote (or not vote)? We open the phones to find out and get some very good callers in response including a fun one from a confused Republican...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Callers ring in; Also: Russia attacks Ukrainian shopping mall; Surprise J6 hearing announced; SCOTUS, at all time low approval, further erodes separation of church and state with new ruling...
By Brad Friedman on 6/27/2022 5:50pm PT  

Before we get to a bunch of callers on today's BradCast, responding to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey by our corrupt, extremist, activist, rightwing Republican Supreme Court majority, a few news items. [Audio link to full show follows this summary...]

  • Russia reportedly launched a missile strike on a crowded shopping mall in a central Ukrainian city with some 1,000 civilians reportedly inside. The number of dead and wounded are still unknown, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at least "scores" are likely dead.
  • The bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and Donald Trump's multiple attempts to steal the 2020 Presidential election announced a surprise last-minute hearing scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/28). They did not announce a witness list, though some have speculated that documentarian Alex Holder, who was granted insider access to interviews with and footage of Trump, his kids, Vice President Mike Pence, and other insiders both before and after January 6, might be testifying. The Committee has said only that they are calling the hearing due to "recently obtained evidence." We'll have Special Coverage, as usual, on tomorrow's BradCast.
  • The radical rightwingers packed onto our Supreme Court are continuing to dismantle Constitutional rights and freedoms. On Monday they found in favor of a public high school football coach from Bremerton, Washington who was eventually fired after he refused to stop kneeling on the 50-yard line after games to hold prayers. White guy who takes a knee to pray on the public high school football field cannot be fired. Will be paid with your tax-payer dollars. Meanwhile, a black guy who takes a knee on the football field to protest racial injustice can absolutely be fired for it, apparently. That, as the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state continues to be corruptly eroded by our radical, stolen and packed U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The extremist Court, according to Gallup polling last week, is now seeing it's all time lowest approval rating in the 50-years that Gallup has been polling on confidence among Americans in the High Court. Just 25% of Americans now have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the Court. That's 11 points down from one year ago and 5 points lower than the Court's all time low in the Gallup survey. And the kicker: that survey was taken prior to Friday's unprecedented ruling overturning the long-established Constitutional right to privacy and reproductive freedoms in Roe v. Wade.

And with that and a few other points of related note, we open the phones to listeners on what comes next, how the nation must respond, and which long-established Constitutional rights this illegitimate Court is likely to strike down next.

While callers may offer some other notes, I'm happy to offer the reminder that the solution still remains voting and organizing, along with the reminder that had Hillary Clinton received 2 votes that otherwise went to Donald Trump in 2016 in each precinct in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, we'd not be in the authoritarian mess we're facing now. Moreover, as political scientist Rachel Bitcofer observed following the Court's ruling on Friday, a Supreme Court with Clinton's nominees on board, rather than the three Trump nominees packed onto the Court by Republicans, likely means that gerrymandering would have been blocked by now, and Citizens United might have been overturned...just two name a couple things we missed out on because too many decided to stay home or vote for Trump in 2016. "We can't continue to hurt ourselves by not voting," she correctly concludes.

Enjoy our lively callers today on all of that and much more...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest Host Nicole Sandler with Emptywheel's investigative journalist on the Durham probe, Sussman acquittal, Jan. 6 hearings, more...
By Nicole Sandler on 6/1/2022 3:47pm PT  

It's NICOLE SANDLER back with you, guest hosting the BradCast once more this week. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

On Tuesday, a jury in DC acquitted Michael Sussman, an attorney whose firm worked for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, of lying to the FBI. The failed prosecution comes three years after Donald Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham to open a Special Counsel investigation into the origins of the FBI's probe into Russian interference in that election. Or, as the former guy demanded at the time: "They now go and take a look at the oranges of the investigation... the beginnings of the investigation, about the Mueller report."

The jury only deliberated for six hours before finding Sussman not guilty of lying to his FBI contact about working with the Clinton campaign when he tried to warn the federal agency about unexplained data transmissions between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank. Sad!

I'll admit that I have not followed this case or Durham's overall investigation very closely, despite many on the right desperately describing Durham's case against Sussman as a "BOMBSHELL!". But, that's probably because I don't watch Fox Not-News.

Investigative journalist MARCY WHEELER, on the other hand, has followed all of this very closely, takes her work very seriously and explains this insane prosecution and much more today. As she notes toward the end of the today's interview, "I've lived and breathed this stuff for 18 months now." She covers all of it in great detail at her somewhat eponymous website, Emptywheel.net.

So, Marcy is my guest whole hour. She's filled with details and stories, tells us all we need to know about this trial and Durham's overall (largely fruitless) investigation, which had no real predicate to begin with, other than Barr believing something didn't seem right about the original investigation into Russia's involvement in 2016.

Then we also look ahead to next week, as the U.S. House Select Committee's public hearings on the January 6, 2021 investigation begin next Thursday night...

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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Biden ends Russian imports, destroys Fox/GOP/Big Oil lies; Jan 6. insurrectionist 'guilty' on all counts; 'Proud Boy' indicted for U.S. Capitol conspiracy; Pardoned GOPer indicted for funneling Russian money to Trump 2016; Another former 'BradCast' guest indicted...
By Brad Friedman on 3/8/2022 7:10pm PT  

As the horrors of war continue in Ukraine today, we focus on the latest efforts to counter it by ending --- or trying to --- Russian oil and gas imports to the EU and US, and as we enjoy more accountability for GOP election fraudsters and insurrectionists, including one who funneled Russian money to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and another who used to appear on The BradCast from time to time. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • Fossil fuel profiteer Shell Oil apologizes after getting caught secretly buying cheap Russian oil, even after pretending last week that it was ending its business with the country after their invasion of Ukraine. Does it smell "like Ukrainian blood?," Ukraine's Foreign Minister wonders.
  • On Tuesday, after nearly two hellish weeks of unspeakable humanitarian suffering in Ukraine and pressure from the public to do the right thing, several more major American companies --- McDonald's, Starbucks, Coke and Pepsi --- finally decided to "pause" doing business in Russia.
  • The European Union, which has made the mistake of becoming reliant on Russia for about 45% of its gas imports, announced plans to try and wean themselves off two-thirds of it by year's end. Hopefully this will help hasten their move to clean, renewable energy.
  • President Biden announced today that the U.S. will halt all imports of Russian oil and gas. Hopefully this will help hasten our move to clean, renewable energy.
  • Also, both White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and President Biden pushed back hard against the obnoxiously phony claims by Republicans, Fox "News" and the oil industry that opening up more public land to oil and drilling leases and permits would lower surging U.S. gas prices. As both Psaki and Biden point out, Big Oil is already sitting on some 9,000 currently unused permits on millions of acres of land, as is. The GOP/Fox "News"/Big Oil axis of evil is really hoping that Americans don't know that, so they can blame Biden for the surge in global oil and gas prices...even as new polling finds American majorities are willing to pay more at the pump to help Ukraine and they want to expand renewable energy development, not fossil fuels.
  • The International Energy Agency (IAE) has a list of 10 things the EU can do to decrease gas use by at least 10% before year's end. Many of those things the U.S. can do as well. One thing many of us could and should do to lower the cost of gas in a big way during Russia's war on Ukraine --- since many of us already did it for much of the past two and a half years anyway, cleaning the skies and drastically lowering gas prices in the bargain --- WORK AT HOME AGAIN if possible!
  • The first January 6th insurrectionist to stand trial before a jury, was found guilty on all five felony counts today. (He's a helluva guy, apparently. Threatened to kill his own teenage children if they told on him. Ya know, as "patriots" do.) The DoJ hopes the result may lead other Trump insurrectionists to plead guilty. We hope it leads the DoJ to keep working their way up to the top of the insurrectionist cabal.
  • The leader of the violent rightwing street gang calling itself Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio --- who wasn't even at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 (because he was in police custody on a separate crime) --- was indicted, with several others in his gang of white hoodlums, on conspiracy charges related to their violent, coordinated attack on the Capitol. Tarrio had reportedly met with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes in a parking garage in the hours before the Republican assault on American democracy. Rhodes and several other Oath Keepers were also recently indicted on seditious conspiracy charges. And Rhodes, like another rightwing hoodlum facing new felony indictments in a separate matter (discussed below), had been a guest on The BradCast several years ago.
  • This story is amazing. Jesse Benton, a longtime Republican operative and former campaign manager for Senators Rand Paul (in 2010) and Mitch McConnell (in 2014), has already been pardoned for felony election fraud once, by Donald Trump in the closing days of his Administration. Now Benton has been indicted again, for more election fraud, and along with another former guest on The BradCast! Tune in for the full story, but Benton was originally charged and convicted some years ago for buying away an endorsement for about $75,000 from a Michele Bachmann supporter during the GOP Iowa Caucus in the 2012 Presidential campaign. At the time, he worked for Rand's father Ron Paul's Presidential campaign. Benton was sentenced to two years probation and a $10,000 fine just days before the scheme he has now been indicted for which includes receiving $100,000 from an unnamed Russian national, keeping $75,000 for himself, and giving $25,000 of it to the campaign of "Political Candidate 1" in his own name, an unlawful straw donation to avoid laws barring foreign money in American elections. Benton promised a meeting with "Political Candidate 1" in Philadelphia on September 22, 2016, the day that Donald Trump happened to be holding a fundraiser there. They all took pictures together, according to the September indictment unsealed on Monday, along with Doug Wead, a GOP Presidential historian and, in recent years, far-right operative who appeared a number of times on this program some years ago. Wead, a Senior Advisor to Ron Paul's 2012 campaign was indicted as a co-conspirator with Benton. They both face the potential of a lot of time in prison. Each of the six counts charged against both of them carries sentencing of 5 to 20 years. But, yup, more Russian money in Donald Trump's 2016 election. Who could have guessed it?
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, in which we can barely keep up with Russia/Ukraine related events in the energy industry (including nuclear) and as the U.N. offers some good news for a change, in this case regarding global plastic pollution.

All of the above is much funnier, outraging, and/or more enlightening when heard in full on today's surprisingly lively BradCast (given what we have to work with at times like these)...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with Emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler...
By Nicole Sandler on 2/25/2022 4:07pm PT  

It's Nicole Sandler, back for another day guest hosting the BradCast. Friday was another brutal day of war perpetrated by Vladimir Putin on the people of Ukraine. It's unfathomable that this is happening. There's coverage of it everywhere, so I thought that today, we'd focus on the rest of the news.

Well, obviously not all of it... but there were three areas I wanted to talk with the always brilliant MARCY WHEELER about. Marcy is an independent journalist who focuses on matters of national security and civil liberties at her own Emptywheel blog.

I spoke with her on Monday, Presidents' Day, which was a few days before Putin invaded Ukraine. Nevertheless, her thoughts on what brought us to that point are interesting, as she weaves all the threads together...

The first of the three areas she enlightened on was filing by Bill Barr-appointed Special Counsel John Durham, which Fox not-News covered ad nauseum for days, criticizing the responsible media for not reporting on it...until Fox themselves suddenly stopped talking about it.

Second, the progress being made on the Jan 6 insurrectionists prosecutions and House Select Committee investigation.

And, of course, Russia/Ukraine.

Marcy spends most of the hour with us, for which I am very grateful. Listen and be informed...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Also: Spotify's shame; Disgraced CO County Clerk to run for SoS; BRAD BLOG server failure; 13th Anniversary 'Green News Report'; MORE...
By Brad Friedman on 2/17/2022 6:05pm PT  

"If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?," Donald Trump used to repeatedly bellow at his campaign rallies. "It's disgraceful," he would tell his MAGA Mob over and over again in 2016. "Only the mob takes the Fifth!" All words that, we just have a feeling on today's BradCast, may soon come back to haunt the disgraced, twice-impeached former President. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

Trump, and his family, and his family business, are now just losing motion after motion, case after case in courts across the country. And the more the losers lose, the more they have to lose.

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

  • The BRAD BLOG web server was offline for much of the past 24 hours. We explain what happened and why we're likely gonna need to some shows off in the days ahead in hopes of finally fixing it. (And, yes, we could really use your help!)
  • Of course, if we had an obscene $200 million contract from Spotify (not just $100 million as previously reported), it might be much easier to fix it. But nobody is worth $200 million just to talk on air or on a webstream, no matter how important what they may have to say. But that's especially true for folks like Joe Rogan, who just fills the time with words --- entertaining or otherwise --- that may also have the affect of killing people. Moral of the pathetic Spotify/Rogan story: the company doesn't pay its musical artists nearly enough and, if they have that much extra money lying around to blow on one guy to help spread deadly misinformation, they are also definitely not paying enough in taxes.
  • As to our loser former President and his loser family, Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka and son Don Jr. lost bigly in New York court on Thursday, where a judge ordered them to answer questions under oath within the next 21 days from state Attorney General Letitia James. She is investigating the family and their business for very clear evidence of years of bank, tax and insurance fraud. Their gambit to sue to the AG to avoid sitting for a deposition has failed and each of them may well consider pleading the Fifth very soon. Ya know, like the mob does.
  • The news was no better for Trump in his hopes of avoiding accountability regarding the insurrection he incited last year on January 6th, in his last desperate bid to steal the 2020 election. On Wednesday, President Biden and the White House counsel rejected Trump's attempt to invoke Executive Privilege to block White House visitor logs from January 6th, 2021.
  • And, also in D.C. this week, the Attorney General there had another victory in court over the Mob Family Trump, when a federal judge allowed him to restore the Trump Organization back into his lawsuit regarding millions of dollars that Trump and his family and his Trump Organization appear to have unlawfully stolen from the non-profit Presidential Inauguration Committee back in 2017. In a stunning ruling by a different judge last year, the company had been released from the lawsuit. But D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine brought evidence to the Court revealing that the unspeakably cheap and greedy Trump Organization inappropriately billed the Committee for about $50,000 in Inaugural weekend hotel rooms that they never ended up using. We explain the sleazy backstory.
  • In somewhat similarly amusing news, out in Colorado, the very Trumpy disgraced and recently arrested Mesa County Clerk, Tina Peters has now declared her intention to run for Secretary of State! Her backstory of recent disgraces --- apparently helping to steal and distribute proprietary voting system software after sneaking into a secure warehouse and turning off security cameras in the middle of the night; being relieved of her duties and barred from overseeing her county's election by a state judge; being investigated for election-related crimes by local, state and federal prosecutors; and being hilariously arrested last week for refusing to turn over evidence that she violated a judge's order by video-taping a court proceeding (among other stuff) --- should make her a top-notch candidate to win the GOP primary for the state's top election official this year! That, even as state Republicans are pretending as if they'd really rather she didn't run at all.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our 13th Anniversary Green News Report! Despite almost certainly being the nation's longest-running bi-weekly national broadcast devoted to coverage of our climate crisis, the news on that front continues get largely worse, not better, as revealed again in today's episode. Though, as usual, there is also a bit of very good news on that front to help the medicine go down a bit easier...

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Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Climate disaster in Rio; Retail sales boom under Biden; I.G. finds Trump Interior Sec. 'misused public office for private gain'...
By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2022 6:05pm PT  

The clean up on aisle 45 seems to never end on The BradCast. But a whole bunch of experts (including our guest today) suggests our disgraced former President is inching ever closer to some very bad news --- at least in New York. [Audio link to full show is posted at end of this summary.]

First up, some other news not getting enough coverage today...

  • Our climate emergency continues to worsen, as 10 inches of rain fell in three hours in a mountainous tourist area near Rio in Brazil on Tuesday. As of airtime at least 58 were confirmed killed by the downpour and the deadly mudslides it triggered. That comes on the heels of at least 40 killed in similar storms in Brazil last month, as the nation's President, Jair Bolsonaro, has allowed for the acceleration of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, contributing to our worsening climate crisis and resulting in these deadly, extreme weather disasters.
  • The Biden economic boom continues, despite corporate media's continuing obsession with inflation. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported consumer spending surged in January, and at much higher numbers than can be attributed to inflation. Retail sales nearly doubled what Dow Jones had previously estimated would be seen in January. A separate report today also found that industrial production spiked three times higher than estimates for last month.
  • Donald Trump's disgraced Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, "misused his public office for private gain" and lied about it to government ethics officials, according to a report [PDF] released Wednesday by the Department's Inspector General. Despite vowing, upon his confirmation as Trump's Interior chief in 2017, to disassociate with a foundation he worked with and a related commercial venture while serving as Secretary, Zinke was found to have communicated with the group dozens of times via email and text; had private meetings with them in D.C.; and played an "extensive, direct, and substantive role" in a commercial development project that would also benefit a private commercial project of his own in Montana. The I.G. reportedly referred the matter to Biden's Dept. of Justice, which --- for reasons unknown --- declined to bring criminal charges against Trump's disgraced former Interior chief. And, because no accountability was ever brought over this matter --- or a host of other personal Zinke scandals revealed while he served under Trump --- the wildly corrupt Zinke is now running again for high office in Montana, hoping to win back his old U.S. House seat this year.

Then, it's on to our guest today, for insight on a number of related matters.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Trump's longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, informed him and his family business last week that they would no longer be doing business with them. Moreover, they informed Trump that nearly 10 years of annual financial statements they'd prepared for him and the Trump Organization should no longer be relied upon to be accurate in any way, as it was based on faulty information supplied by Trump.

The company informed Trump that Statements of Financial Condition created from 2011 to 2020 were being retracted and that, due to a "conflict of interest", they would no longer be working for his company. The news came via a court filing on Monday by New York state Attorney General Letitia James in response to the attempt by Trump and his children to avoid depositions in James' civil investigation into alleged bank, tax and insurance fraud by all of them. The Manhattan D.A. is also running a concurrent criminal probe into many of the same matters.

Since that news became public this week, a number of legal experts have explained that Mazars' "conflict of interest" almost certainly means the firm is now cooperating with New York prosecutors against Trump and his businesses. Longtime Trump investigative reporter David Cay Johnston told CNN on Tuesday that he believes Trump and his company and maybe even his kids, will, in fact, be indicted on racketeering charges in the state.

We're joined today by former Asst. U.S. Attorney RANDALL D. ELIASON, who spent years as Chief of the DoJ's Public Corruption/Government Fraud section in D.C. He's now a law professor at George Washington University Law School where he is an expert in white collar criminal law. Eliason offers helpful insight into Trump's increasingly serious New York troubles and discusses his recent opinion piece at Washington Post calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to explain himself in regard to the DoJ's probe (or lack thereof) into the 10 or more obstruction of justice allegations detailed by Robert Mueller in the report on his Special Counsel investigation.

On the New York matter(s), Eliason cites a recent comment he'd heard that Mazars' dumping of Trump suggests "the ship is leaving the rats." He charges that the financial firm is clearly "trying to distance themselves, and that suggests they see something bad coming down the road for their client." He concurs that "the most likely explanation for what's going on is that Mazars is now cooperating, either in the criminal case or the civil case, or both, and potentially testifying against Trump and the Trump Organization. That definitely creates a conflict of interest, to where they'd say, 'Well, I can't be your accountant anymore because now I'm actually a witness against you.'"

Eliason also offers a very helpful explanation of what racketeering charges actually are, and how, if Johnston is right, that might play into the New York state prosecutions and even the investigation by Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis into Trump's conspiracy to steal the 2020 election in the Peach State. Eliason further helps us understand how both the NY state Attorney General and Manhattan D.A. could both ultimately bring charges for the same set of fraud crimes, but as a civil matter (resulting in fines and other such penalties) by the A.G. and as a criminal indictment (potentially resulting in prison time) by the D.A.

As to the curious case of Merrick Garland, as Eliason highlighted in his recent Post op-ed, he does not count himself among those who think that Biden's Attorney General is necessarily dropping the ball. But he does believe an explanation is warranted to the American people regarding any potential investigations of Trump on the many cases of obstruction painstakingly spelled out in Mueller's Special Counsel report on Russian interference in 2016 and Trump's related firing of FBI Director James Comey.

On Monday, the statute of limitations into the oldest such obstruction allegation cited by Mueller has now run out. (That, as Eliason detailed at the Post, was "Trump’s alleged request to then-FBI Director James B. Comey to drop the criminal investigation of disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Other acts of possible obstruction soon will be similarly time-barred.")

"This clock is ticking away," Eliason tells me today. "Given the size of the investigation, the seriousness of the investigation, the detail in that report, even though DoJ doesn't normally comment on cases that it's not going to bring, or that it's not prosecuting, in this case they should. They should tell us something about what's happened with that Mueller Report now that we have an administration in office that is not filled with Trump appointees."

Eliason spells out why he believes that, while the DoJ doesn't usually comment on such cases, "this is a unique case" where "a lot of people are really convinced that the evidence of obstruction was pretty overwhelming" and that "it's bad for the Department and bad for the country if that just is allowed to fade into the distance and nobody ever says, 'Hey, we did take a look at this, and here's what we decided.'"

In fact, Eliason believes there is evidence to suggest that Garland is carefully looking at Trump's potential criminal exposure in regard to the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, but is less certain about his handling of the Mueller allegations and thinks "there should be some closure on that.".

All of this, of course, as the clock may also be ticking toward an announcement by Trump that he plans to run for President again in 2024. How would that affect any potential federal indictments against the twice-impeached former President? We discuss that matter --- "practically speaking, that gets really hairy --- as well.

Finally, in our closing few minutes, a few more thoughts on Trump's worsening New York woes from someone else with a unique perspective. George Conway, the longtime Republican attorney and husband of Trump's former Campaign Manager and White House aide Kellyanne Conway, tells CNN why he believes the Mazars news to be far worse for Trump than his two impeachments as President...

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Also: Cold soup, dumb members of Congress; GOP flipping Dem voter registrations to Repub in FL; Media and Merrick Garland ill-serving the American people and the rule of law...
By Brad Friedman on 2/10/2022 6:56pm PT  

A helpful reminder or two on today's BradCast. Those haunting, thundering, Third Reich-style Trump campaign rally chants of "LOCK HER UP!" back i 2016 were in response to his claims that Hillary Clinton had criminally mishandled classified information in her emails while serving as Secretary of State. Despite months of very public investigation by the Dept. of Justice at the time --- in violation of their own guidelines --- she was never charged with anything or found to have violated the law. But that's what the MAGA Mob was bellowing about way back then, just in case you may have forgotten. That's just part of, but at the heart of, what I've got a bit of a rant about on today's program. [Audio link to the full show is posted below this summary.]

Before we get there, an item or two to laugh whole-heartedly about. Consider it a cold appetizer. Super-genius Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene believes Nancy Pelosi is unleashing her "gazpacho police" on Republican members of Congress. Which, as the laughter dies down, we're reminded of the time super-genius Texas GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert accused then Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 of "casting aspersions on [his] asparagus."

With all of the Republican food-related malapropisms aside, it's back to still more stark examples of how Republicans and Democrats are treated differently by both the corporate media and law enforcement. One swell new example comes out of Florida this week, where it appears that the state Republican Party is sending operatives door-to-door to low-income buildings and targeting senior citizens in Miami-Dade County to sign applications for new voter IDs. Even when the elderly citizens don't bite, apparently, thousands of them may be receiving new voter IDs in the mail with their party affiliation changed from Democratic (or independent) to Republican.

Haven't heard about that story? You would have --- in spades --- had the party affiliations in the story been reversed. It would have been covered virtually wall-to-wall by national media by now, and Republicans would have been demanding prosecutions and legislation in Congress to prevent this kind of outrage from happening again. But, it was Republicans doing the criming with Dems affected by it, so...ya know...

That disparity also permeates the corporate media coverage of just the latest collection of boxes of evidence of criminal felonies committed by our former President. And, by way of help for many in the corporate media, Merriam-Webster offers these two top definitions for the word "steal": "1 - to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal. 2 - to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission."

The word "steal" should be particularly useful this week, in their coverage of the growing mountain of evidence that demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, that Trump tried, but failed, to STEAL the 2020 Presidential election. Over and over again.

And, as we've been learning this week, he also STOLE boxes and boxes of documents --- some reportedly "clearly marked" as "classified" and "top secret" --- when he left the White House more than a year ago. The theft is in clear violation of the Watergate-era Presidential Records Act barring the destruction, alteration or theft of such documents. Incredibly, the National Archives is said to have been negotiating for "several months" to get the stolen documents and other items back, and even now, the Archives doesn't know whether they've received everything that Trump stole when he was booted from office.

Of course, we knew he repeatedly broke the Presidential Records Act long ago. But as more reporting this week confirmed, Trump frequently destroyed Presidential records by tearing them up, despite having been "counseled by at least two chiefs of staff and the White House counsel to follow the law on preserving documents."

Today's newest report along those lines is that he may even have flushed unknown numbers of "printed pages" down the toilet at the White House, offering a new light on his attempt to order the EPA to change their water regulations in late 2019 because, as he bizarrely asserted at the time: "People are flushing toilets ten times, fifteen times, instead of once." Really? Are they? Or was he?

I''ve got a quite a bit to say about all of this today, impossible to adequately detail in this summary. Suffice to say, as the media twist themselves into pretzels to both report on Trump's crimes and downplay each and every one of them in the very next sentence, the stark difference in how they cover Republicans versus Democrats has never been clearer or more appalling.

Even more appalling, the difference in the way the Dept. of Justice appears to treat Republicans versus Democrats, especially high profile ones. Especially at this precarious moment in American history.

Note to Merrick Garland. Take your pick. There are mountains of evidence that everyone in the country already knows about. But, if a blatant attempt to steal a Presidential election from the American people is just too complicated or large or somehow too political for you to prosecute, the Presidential Records Act is simple. And you've got tons of evidence for that now as well, which everybody also now knows about. Either way, Mr. Garland, it's time to lock him up.

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with the FBI's former chief counter-espionage expert and author Peter Strzok...
By Nicole Sandler on 2/4/2022 6:14pm PT  

It's NICOLE SANDLER back with you, filling in for Brad and Desi today, guest hosting the BradCast. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

I'm somewhat afraid to get my hopes up about the idea of Donald Trump and his accomplices being held accountable for their crimes, despite seeing the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6 doing their work. I can't wait to see their hearings.

But I also remember being confident when Robert Mueller was investigating, knowing a report was on the way. And we know how that went. Trump's minions were able to preempt the release of the report and put out a completely fabricated synopsis of its findings.

I remember Peter Strzok, the FBI counter-espionage agent who first opened an investigation into Russian tampering into the 2016 election. And then watched Trump bully and eviscerate him after private texts with a coworker surfaced, allowing the entire narrative to be hijacked. The Washington Post put together adevastating supercut of Strzok's testimony before Congress, if you need a refresher --- or, for some reason, want to get really angry.

So, I'll be cautiously optimistic that good will prevail, even if I wouldn't bet on it.

My guest today is PETER STRZOK, FBI veteran and New York Times bestselling author of COMPROMISED: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump. His book has just been released in paperback and includes a new afterword with fresh reporting on the flood of Trump intelligence revelations that have come to light since it was first released.

I really enjoyed our conversation, and wish he were still on the job.

We started the show with a bit of the latest news. And I figured, after being so serious with Strzok, we could end on a lighter note. So, I shared a couple of songs that deal with the Spotify/Joe Rogan/Neil Young issue. First, a new little ditty from Steven Page, former lead singer of Barenaked Ladies called "Choose Young". And we finish up with Lauren Mayer (who publishes wonderfully funny and topical song parodies on YouTube) and her song called " They Fought Spotify".

Until next time...

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Guest: FSFP Legal Director Ron Fein; Also: Jan 6 Comm. homes in on members of Congress; House COVID Comm. faces off with Trump official; Trump judge rejects Trump tax case against Congress...
By Brad Friedman on 12/14/2021 6:46pm PT  

A whole lotta Trump Accountability News going on all at once again on today's BradCast. Too slowly, to be sure, but going on nonetheless. Even if not (yet) at the DoJ. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

On Monday night, the bipartisan House Select Committee on the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously to refer criminal contempt charges to the Dept. of Justice for Donald Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. During their hearing, Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) read a number of texts from Fox "News" personalities and from Don Jr., sent to Meadows during the hours the Capitol was under attack after Trump incited the riot in his last gasp effort to steal the 2020 election. The messages were pleas to get Meadows to convince Trump to call it off. Those same Fox personalities would soon go on the air and pretend that "antifa" was behind the deadly assault. The texts prove they knew otherwise and, according to Cheney, serve as more "evidence of President Trump's supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes" when he failed to act while the U.S. Capitol was under assault by domestic terrorists.

Committee member Adam Schiff (D-CA) shared several damning text messages from unidentified members of Congress that were sent to Meadows as well, noting that, due to the ongoing investigation, the lawmakers were not being named "at this time." Separately, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said those names would eventually be made public, as the Contempt referral for Meadows also referenced several "members of Congress" who participated in phone calls and White House meetings to help strategize before the eventual bloody insurrection.

Meanwhile, another House Select Committee investigating the coronavirus crisis may be heading toward separate contempt charges against former Trump official and prominent COVID denier, Peter Navarro. He says he cannot cooperate with that Committee's probe because Trump gave him a "direct order" not to, claiming Executive Privilege (which former Presidents do not have), and that because of it, "this matter is out of my hands."

"Trump's supreme dereliction of duty" in 2020 is unspeakable in many cases, but it's only part of his unspeakable legacy and a seemingly unending list of criminal culpability.

But never mind 2020. Some good government groups are still seeking accountability for the 2016 campaign that put the disgraced former President into the White House in the first place. Last week, Free Speech for People (FSFP) and the Campaign for Accountability filed suit [PDF] in D.C. federal court against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for failing to take action on a complaint they filed in December of 2016. That complaint alleged unlawful "coordination" between the Trump Campaign and the Russian Federation.

"Even today, despite multiple investigations, critical information about the money spent in the 2016 election is still unknown," said RON FEIN, Legal Director of FSFP, in a statement announcing the new lawsuit. "How much did the Russian Federation spend? When and for which efforts did it make the payments? How much (and which) of that spending was ‘coordinated’ with the Trump campaign? Answering these questions is the FEC’s job, and they’ve sat on it for almost five years."

Now, says Fein, who joins us on today's program, the groups have no choice but to take the FEC to court to force the government's long-dysfunctional federal campaign regulator to investigate the complaint. Fein explains how "coordination" has a very different meaning in campaign finance law than it does in the matters that Special Counsel Robert Mueller looked at in his two-year probe. "Congress passed a law specifying that coordination 'shall not require agreement or formal collaboration,'" he says. "It could be a wink and a nod. Put that into the context of things like Trump saying, 'Russia, if you're listening, I hope you find those emails'," after which Russia attempted to hack the Clinton campaign, and the question of unlawful coordination under campaign finance law becomes plain to see.

"I don't mean this as a personal attack on Mueller or anyone who worked on that team," Fein clarifies, "because they're not campaign finance experts, but they missed an important area of the law that the Federal Election Commission has the authority to investigate, and the obligation to at least make a decision on our administrative complaint that alleged this."

FSFP's "2016 administrative complaint alleged that the Russian government paid for computer hacks, social media posts, and paid political advertisements to influence the 2016 election, and that the Trump campaign engaged in 'coordination' with the Russian government," the group notes in their statement announcing the new suit.

"There were many aspects of what happened in the 2016 election that were extremely troubling, from a legal as well as from a broader, democracy-preservation standpoint," Fein tells me today. "For example, even illegal political spending is required to be disclosed. That's what both the Russian government and the Trump Campaign failed to do. And that's the information that we would have if they disclosed it."

The six member FEC, with three Commissioners appointed by each major party, is notorious for tie votes that end up killing action against campaign finance violations that even the FEC's own staff argues should be pursued. In this case, Fein says, the FEC didn't even hold a vote on their complaint over the past five years. Their lawsuit is meant to force the Commission to hold that vote. If the court orders them to do so and the complaint then fails to receive the necessary four votes to proceed with a full investigation, FSFP can sue the Commission again. It's potentially a long road, but one that could actually be short-cutted.

"Because it takes four votes to do anything in the FEC, if there is not a four-vote majority to appear in court --- this has happened several times recently --- the FEC has simply defaulted," explains Fein. "And then the statute provides --- and this was rarely, if ever, used until just the past year or so --- the statute provides that if there's a default judgement, then the plaintiff can just go ahead and sue the parties that they filed the administrative complaint against directly. In other words, if that plays out that way, then we'd be in a position to sue the Trump Campaign and the Russian government and cut the FEC out of the picture entirely."

Still a long road, but a much shorter one that doesn't rely on the corrupted FEC.

In the meantime, FSFP --- as we discussed with its co-founder and President John Bonifaz early last month --- is continuing its campaign calling for the resignation of Attorney General Merrick Garland for failing to meet the moment in taking action on the endless list of criminal allegations against Trump and his minions before, during and after his Presidency. When I inquire with Fein as to whether the recent criminal Contempt indictments against former Trump lackey Steve Bannon has changed the group's outlook, he notes that, if anything, "the call for Garland to resign is even stronger right now."

You'll need to tune in to find out why.

And then, one more bit of breaking Trump Accountability that came in during today's show, as a Trump appointed federal judge rejected the former President's lawsuit seeking to block House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richie Neal (D-MA) from obtaining Trump's tax records. The ruling is the latest in a roller-coaster legal battle that begin in April of 2019. Trump's Treasury Department refused to turn over the documents to Congress, as required by law. Biden's has agreed to. Trump sued to stop them. Trump now has 14 days to decide if he will appeal.

Finally, we close with Desi Doyen and today's grim Green News Report following the deadly, climate change-fueled tornado swarm that slammed Kentucky and several other states over the weekend. Though she also has some slightly brighter news at the same time, as the Biden Administration reveals its new, electric vehicle charging strategy, made possible by the recent passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill...

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Also: Netanyahu finally out in Israel; 'Imminent radiological threat' at Chinese nuke plant?; 2016 whistleblower leaves prison; Callers ring in...
By Brad Friedman on 6/14/2021 6:07pm PT  

We try to hit a lot of news on today's BradCast after yet another very busy news weekend both at home and abroad. We don't get through our entire stack, but that's only thanks to some good calls from listeners along the way. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.]

Among the stories we cover on today's program...

  • 600,000 are now dead from COVID-19 in the U.S. as states --- including California on Tuesday --- begin opening up again for business at full capacity (and as infection rates start to tick up again nationally...we're hoping it's just some noise in the data for now...)
  • Israel's longtime, hard-right leader Benjamin Netanyu, recently indicted on corruption charges, is finally out as Prime Minister of Israel. On Sunday, the Israeli Knesset officially approved a new governing coalition with a former top Netanyahu aide, Naftali Bennett, as the Jewish state's new Prime Minister. He will lead a broad coalition of some eight left, right and center parties, including the first Arab party to sit in a governing coalition. The fragile new partnership aims to move beyond the exceedingly polarizing years of the former PM, even as Netanyahu --- in one of his Trumpiest tantrums to date --- demonized many of his former rightwing colleagues in the new coalition as an "evil and dangerous leftist government" and decried his personal legal troubles as the result of a witch hunt. (Sound familiar?)
  • A disturbing story broke over night by CNN, suggesting there may be an ongoing or "imminent radiological threat" at a new nuclear power plant in China. Details come largely via a French company that has partnered with the Chinese on the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province. Independent experts are watching the situation closely to determine how dangerous --- or, not-that-unusual --- the situation now is, as cracks seem to have formed in the main encasement of fuel rods at the plant. We'll continue to watch this one as well.
  • U.S. allies appeared just shy of giddy over the weekend and into today, as Joe Biden made his first appearance as President at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England and the NATO meetings that followed it. Biden and longtime allies in Europe hope the new President will restore a sense of normalcy to the proceedings and the post-WWII order, even as old disputes continue and many in Europe remain concerned (for good reason!) about the continuing fragile and divisive political situation in the U.S. that allowed the rise of Donald Trump's autocratic regimes in the first place.
  • Former National Security Agency whistleblower Reality Winner was released early from prison on Monday for good behavior. Winner had sent documents to media revealing Russia's attempted hacks of a voter registration software company in the U.S. during the 2016 election. The extent of those hacks is still publicly unknown but, arguably, wouldn't be known at all had it not been for Winner revealing the information to the media and public. As thanks, she was slapped with one of the longest prison sentences ever for such a leak to the media.
  • Then, callers ring in on a number of the various stories covered above, as well as some additional ones, including the news that Trump's DoJ secretly subpoenaed phone, email and text message records from Democratic lawmakers; Republicans continue to undermine American democracy in states across the nation; Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin continues to obstruct democratic reforms; and concerns persist about whether Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland is up to the task of bringing accountability for so much of the unprecedented damage wrought by the Department during the Trump years...

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Guest host Nicole Sandler with Edward-Isaac Dovere, author of 'Battle For The Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump'...
By Nicole Sandler on 5/28/2021 4:47pm PT  

Thank God it's Friday! I don't think I could take another day like this one. It's NICOLE SANDLER, guest hosting the BradCast again while Brad and Desi try to dodge the jackhammers making work at their studio impossible. Hopefully the noisy work will be done soon so they can get back in time for the next show!

We begin today's show with the first Senate filibuster of the 117th Congress, and it was a doozy. First of all, the vote was 54-35. In any other civilized country, majority rules, and the motion to open debate on forming an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol would begin. But in the opposite world that is our reality, the minority wins. Again.

Six Republicans joined every Democrat present in voting to invoke cloture. But with 54 yes votes, that means they're two Democrats short. Two Democrats didn't show up to vote to investigate the attack on our government! The two are Patty Murray of Washington and Kyrsten Sinema, the thorn in the side of good Democrats everywhere. Murray released a lame statement blaming a "personal family matter." I'm biting my tongue because, unless someone is dying, there's no excuse for her missing that vote. As for Sinema, she's a heinous, horrible person who's misrepresented herself to the electorate. In my book, that's fraud, and she should be driven from office. Calls to her office today were unanswered.

But it wouldn't have mattered anyway. There were not 10 Republican votes because there aren't 10 Republicans in the senate with principles. Yes, our Democracy is still horribly broken.

But at least we got Donald Trump out of the White House, so we've got that going for us. But it wasn't easy.

The 2020 election season was the subject of today's interview with EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE. In addition to being a columnist for The Atlantic, he's the author of the just-released book, Battle For The Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump, which, as the title suggests, brings us back to the trauma of the 2020 election season, beginning with election night 2016 as an incredulous Barack Obama watched his nemesis Donald Trump inexplicably become the next President.

I'm very glad the weekend has arrived...

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Guest: Election integrity advocate Jennifer Cohn with callers ringing in...
By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2021 7:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, (riddled with a few tech probs at the station, so apologies for any incoherence on my part!) we bring you up to date on some of the latest developments in the insane, dangerously non-transparent "audit" theater in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona being carried out by the Trump-supporting Cyber Ninjas company. [Audio link to full show is posted below summary.

[ALSO: See important "SHOW NOTE" at end of this summary!]

Notably, a story we broke some weeks ago, after the Ninjas were forced by a state judge to publicly release what suffices as their procedural documents [PDF] for the "audit" (they had claimed their procedures for counting public ballots from the 2020 election were "trade secrets") was confirmed, at least in part, by an excellent article at Slate this weekend by Jeremy Stahl. In short, we had explained weeks ago how the Ninjas poorly documented procedures (see p. 178 in the PDF linked above) allows them to change a MINIMUM of 42,000 votes in their so-called "audit", without setting off any internal or external alarm bells. Stahl's lengthy, well-reported story on the Maricopa mess, headlined "What if the renegade Arizona audit declares Trump won?" details, among many other things, the same point, that the Cyber Ninjas' own procedures allow them to change far more votes than would be needed to falsely declare Trump actually won the state. Any such mistally is considered an acceptable rate of error in their own documented procedures --- even though Joe Biden was certified to have won the state by just over 10,000 votes.

Moreover, if and when they do declare that AZ was somehow stolen from Trump, there is little that can be done to dispute such a claim, since the secure chain of custody for the 2.1 million actual ballots cast in Maricopa last year has now been irrevocably broken. Only yet another hand-count could prove or disprove such a claim by the Ninjas, since --- unlike real audits --- they have not allowed the public to track or oversee their daily tallies. But, after the private, Florida-based company took custody of the County's ballots weeks ago, they could have added, removed or changed ballots at any time since.

All of that, meanwhile, as a real audit continues in Windham, NH, being run transparently by actual voting system, cybersecurity and post-election audit professionals who are allowing full public oversight. And as a judge in Georgia just granted permission for yet another post-election audit of copies of the 2020 ballots cast in Fulton County (Atlanta), Georgia's Presidential race last year.

Of course, all of these questions about the results of last year's elections --- whether offered in good or bad faith --- might have been avoided years ago had Democrats insisted on fully overseeable public elections, instead of allowing private voting machine companies to, by and large, take over America's election with computers that tally votes, essentially, in secret. We have been warning about this nightmare for years, and now it is coming home to roost.

As our guest today, San Francisco-based attorney, election integrity advocate and Twitter rockstar JENNIFER COHN pointed out in a recent smart Twitter thread, Republicans spent years blocking Democratic legislation, the SAFE Act, which would have at least mandated post-election audits for federal races in every state. Now, Republicans are claiming they are needed all over the country. But, oddly enough --- for reasons that Cohn has been unable to determine so far --- Dems have failed to reintroduce the SAFE Act in this session of Congress.

She speculates today that the legislation may now be seen by Democrats as feeding into the GOP's evidence-free claims of fraud in the 2020 election, not unlike how Dem fears of being labeled as "conspiracy theorists" over the years prevented them from challenging and demanding hand-counts after what her thread describes as "fifteen years of poll-defying victories" for Republicans.

"I don't want to imply that I think they are equally to blame," Cohn tells me. "But I do think that it's a failure of leadership. Because leadership isn't about just reacting always to what the other party does. It's about standing for something." She goes on to correctly note that Democrats "had an opportunity after 2016 to really be the champions of election security, and to even incorporate that into their campaign platforms, and they didn't do it." Doing so, "behind the scenes does not win the court of public opinion" and now that has "allowed Trump to hijack that narrative."

"It should have been the Democrats to take that to the people, to take that to the court of public opinion. Had they done that, Trump would not be in a position to play the victim. Had the public known about the SAFE Act, and that Republicans blocked it, they would not be in the position they were to pretend to be victims" today.

Cohn is a longtime, dyed-in-the-wool Dem. So she does not level such accusations lightly. We discuss those concerns and many other points regarding the various audits --- and several splits in the Election Integrity community about them --- before opening up the phone to listeners with thoughts and questions for her and/or me on all of the above today.

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SHOW NOTE!: We've just learned from my landlord that major construction --- tearing up a walkway to install a new security gate --- will begin on Tuesday and last anywhere from 7 to 14 days! That means jack-hammers outside of our studio will make it impossible for Desi and I to do shows for the rest of the week and maybe even next week. Our beloved guest host Nicole Sandler has agreed to fill in for us for the rest of the week...and then we'll see where we are after next Monday's holiday. It could be a week of re-runs, but I hope not! Just letting you know why we are forced to suddenly and unexpectedly disappear for at least the rest of the week! My apologies. Though, as usual, Nicole will do a swell job of covering for us in our unexpected absence! Thanks for your understanding! --- BF

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Guest: Former FEC Chair Ann Ravel on FEC Repubs killing 'slam dunk' hush-money conspiracy 'directed' by Trump; Also: Computerized voting and tabulation has allowed my election nightmares to come true...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2021 6:46pm PT  

We've got two lede stories really on today's BradCast. You can decide for yourself which one is the more maddening. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

Late last week, the bi-partisan Federal Elections Commission (FEC) announced they were ignoring the advice of their own General Counsel by voting down further investigation of the Stormy Daniels hush-money case payoffs by a former disgraced President. Two Republican appointees voted to kill, two Dem appointees voted to continue the probe (with one Repub recusing and one independent absent for the vote). The way the broken, six-person FEC is structured, no investigations of campaign finance reform violations --- no matter how obvious and blatant, as in this case --- can move forward unless there are four votes to do so.

Here, it's a slam dunk. Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was already found guilty and sent to prison for the criminal campaign finance conspiracy in which he paid off the adult film star to keep quiet about her affair with Trump. The affair took place ten years before the 2016 election. The payments were given to her just days before the election. It was clearly an election related expense, yet the Trump Campaign failed to report it, and Trump himself paid Cohen back for the payouts during his time as President.

Both Cohen and the DoJ stated in Court, before Cohen went to prison, that the payments were part of a criminal conspiracy "directed by" and "for the benefit of" Trump himself.

The explanation of the Republican commissioners on the FEC for killing the probe is ridiculously laughable, as we discuss with our guest today, former FEC Chair ANN RAVEL. She was appointed to the Commission under President Obama in 2013 and served until 2017. She, too, agrees this was a "slam dunk" case against Trump, which serves to highlight how the GOP have permanently "captured" the Commission in order to make certain that Republicans are never held to account for violations of federal campaign finance laws.

"Wanting to do nothing is exactly how the Republican Commissioners have always been able to assure that the Commission doesn't do what it is supposed to do to make elections and the electoral process fair, and to make sure that there is total disclosure of campaign finance activities," Ravel explains. "You're right to say that it's a 'slam dunk' case. In particular, because the [FEC's] General Counsel said [Trump's behavior] was 'knowing and willful', which it clearly was. 'Knowing and willful' is the criminal standard. So that may be an alert to the Justice Department that they need to now go forward and prosecute the case."

The DoJ prosecuted Cohen for participating in the conspiracy. Now the nation's top law enforcement agency needs to prosecute the man that the DoJ has already said "directed" it!

Ravel also offers her insight on how the FEC became so captured and broken in the first place (Hint: Trump's former White House Counsel and longtime GOP operative Don McGahn struck a corrupt bargain with Mitch McConnell years ago) and on the Democratic plan in the For the People Act (otherwise known as H.R.1 and S1) to reform the FEC. The plan would restructure it from a 6-person panel designed to deadlock and never move anything forward, to a 5-person panel of appointees selected by non-partisan judges and attorneys, with the fifth appointed by the President. No more than two people from any one political party could serve on the Commission at once, and appointees would have to have spent a number of years not working on political campaigns or as staffers for elected officials, among other sensible restrictions.

"The positive about what they have proposed in HR1 is that there would be a blue-ribbon commission, comprised of people who actually believe in the law and enforcement of the law, who would be nominating and reviewing particular individuals to be on the commission who would abide by the law. That is key to making the change --- to have people who are not beholden to a particular political party, who independently would look at the law and make decisions based on what the legal requirements are."

Naturally, Republicans oppose the reform (along with HR1 in its entirety) and are lying about it to say that it would turn the Commission from a bi-partisan commission into one that gives Democrats partisan control.

Ravel also explains how the Stormy Daniels case --- which can still be prosecuted on a criminal level by the DoJ --- is not necessary over at the FEC either, since the vote to kill the inquiry can now be appealed in a court of law by an outside group.

Then, I've got a bit of a today on the absurd clown show of an audit of the 2020 Presidential election still under way in Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona (which we've been covering in detail for the past several weeks); the legitimate audit, being led by several top shelf election and voting systems experts set to begin this week in Windham, New Hampshire (as we detailed in some length last Friday); and the remarkable 8,500 word deep-dive investigative report published over the weekend by Washington Post, detailing how the phony myth of Donald Trump's "stolen" 2020 election came together beginning way back in 2018.

In short (which is not easy with an 8,500 word story!), a wealthy Texas businessman and some Republican operatives calling themselves Associated Specials Operations Group (or ASOG) took the research on vulnerabilities in computer voting and tabulation systems compiled by folks like Bev Harris of Black Voting, Cybersecurity journalist Kim Zetter, myself and others, to morph those very real vulnerabilities into phony claims of actual election fraud. Simply because a system is vulnerable, does not mean the vulnerabilities have been exploited. But such distinctions did not matter to this group which is clearly operating in bad faith, or to Trump who was happy to highlight any lie to cover for his shame of having been a failed, one-term President.

As I have been trying to explain for nearly 20 years on this beat, whether an election is stolen or not, the fact that we now use privatized, non-overseeable computers to cast and tabulate votes is itself a grave threat to democracy. Ultimately, as I've warned over and over again over the years (and as we are now seeing play out), it doesn't matter if an election is 100% accurate and secure if the public can't know that it is. Secret software and concealed vote counting inside computers run by private companies --- even when done perfectly and securely --- allows those operating in bad faith (as is the case with Republicans right now), to claim an election was stolen, even when there is no proof to support such an extraordinary charge. It's nearly impossible to refute such claims, bogus or otherwise.

I have warned about exactly this scenario as a dangerous threat to democracy itself for years, and now, as I explain on today's show, my worst nightmare is now playing out before all of our eyes...

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Guest: L.A. Times' Michael Hiltzik; Also: New U.S. sanctions on Russia reveal previously unknown details on 2016 election interference...
By Brad Friedman on 4/15/2021 7:27pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's nice to see hundreds of companies and corporate executives coming out in favor of democracy and voting rights. If only they actually meant it. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First up today, however, the Biden Administration announced a spate of new sanctions against Russian organizations and individuals in response to both the massive Solar Winds hack of top U.S. agencies, including including the Treasury, Justice, Energy and Homeland Security departments, as well as for what is described as interference in the 2020 election on behalf of Donald Trump.  At the same time, the Administration seems to be going out of their way to downplay the sweeping sanctions by suggesting that they are open to top level discussions to avoid further exacerbating growing tensions between the two nations.

But one of the 32 individuals sanctioned is of note today because the announcement from the U.S. Treasury Department refers to the 2016 election, charging that the individual, Konstanin Kilimnik shared proprietary polling information given to him by Trump's first campaign manager, Paul Manafort, directly with Russian Intelligence Services.  If true, that would be significant new information. Previous reports on Russia's involvement in the 2016 election from both Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee cite the information Manafort is said to have given to his former business associate Kilimnik, a Russian and Ukrainian political operative linked to Russian intelligence. But neither of those voluminous report goes so far as to say that the data was subsequently given directly to Russian intelligence services.  Those reports acknowledge they were not able to learn what came of it after it was handed over to Kilimnik. Today's announcement of the sanctions by the Treasury, however, notes: "During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy."

As national security website Just Security observes: "The Treasury Department’s new statement raises questions about why this information is coming out now and why the Special Counsel’s office did not have access to it during its investigation. Was it not available then or did it exist but was not provided to the Mueller team?"   So, does this mean the Biden Administration has uncovered details on manipulation of the 2016 election that was previously hidden or withheld by the Trump Administration?  It looks like the "Clean up on Aisle 45" will be continuing for quite some time. There is a LOT to clean up.

In not entirely unrelated news, hundreds of companies and corporate CEOs issued a full-size, two-page ad in the New York Times, Washington Post and other papers this week, with a short statement purporting to declare "WE STAND FOR DEMOCRACY," and noting: "We all should feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot."

Though the statement doesn't mention any specific states, it was issued in response to Republicans' recently enacted voters suppression law in Georgia and dozens of other states where similar restrictions on the franchise, in bills sponsored by GOP state lawmakers, are moving forward.  All of which is said to be in response to false claims by Trump and Republicans of massive fraud in 2020.  Georgia's new law, for example, makes it more difficult to vote by mail, limits the use of drop boxes, bans the distribution of food or water on long voting lines (which are all too typical in certain parts of the Peach State) and allows the partisan GOP state legislature to replace bipartisan County Election Boards with a single partisan person who will be able to unilaterally undermine elections or even overturn results.

While statements like the one issued this week in the two-page ad --- and, before it, by Atlanta-based companies such as Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines --- have resulted in good publicity for those signed onto them, they have also brought blowback from the right, leading Republicans (who pretend to abhor so-called "cancel culture") to demand boycotts of any company which stands up for voting rights.

I have railed in recent weeks about the absurdity of Republicans finally paying attention to concerns about new voter suppression laws only now that a number of corporations have come out in apparent opposition to such laws. Corporate entities, it seems, have far more sway with the GOP lawmakers who ignored weeks of complaints and protests about the new laws from actual voters before the GA law was passed.

But our guest today is seemingly even more cynical about these recent corporate declarations of fealty to democracy. We're joined today by MICHAEL HILTZIK, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and business columnist at the Los Angeles Times. He argued in his column this week that many of the "vague" declarations recently by large corporations are no substitute for actual action. He cites a host of companies, for example, which, following the January 6th U.S. Capitol insurrection, vowed to suspend donations to lawmakers who had voted to overturn the Electoral College results that same day. Despite those public pronouncements, he details one company after another --- from Jet Blue to AT&T to Toyota --- which, despite their previous public claims, have since given plenty of money to dozens of Republicans who voted against the certification of Biden's Electoral College victory.

In his column, he notes that while many companies and executives have come out in opposition of suppressive voting laws, almost none have gone on record to demand the passage of measures which would counteract them, such as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act or H.R. 1, the For the People Act.

"It's not that unusual for businesses to affiliate themselves on the side of the angels when they feel a lot of popular pressure to do so.  But once again the question is, what are they going to do about it?," Hiltzik tells me today. "Let's face facts. Many of the companies --- if not all of them --- that signed on to these statements, these honeyed words, had been assiduous supporters of the politicians who are now out there introducing and passing laws that restrict the voting franchise."

Criticizing their failure to speak out before Georgia's law was adopted, for example, he says, "They didn't really put their reputations on the line when they didn't think they had to.  And, as a result, we have a law in Georgia that's going to be very hard to repeal because the more these companies come out and say this is wrong, the more the rightwing legislators who passed it are doubling down, saying 'We're not going to kowtow to these liberal leftwing corporations'.  So they lost their chance. They're trying to recover. But I don't think they really deserve a lot of credence just by signing a statement."

Moreover, he explains, many of these very same companies have been opponents of democracy within their own corporate organizations. "What's really hypocritical is that these same companies that have said 'We believe in democracy, we believe in everybody having a vote' --- they've actually gone to the Securities and Exchange Commission and asked for, and received, a tightening of the rules that makes it even harder for small shareholders to get resolutions on the annual meeting agenda, and to actually get votes on the resolutions that they submit."

There is plenty of cynicism on today's show to go around. And it extends to our discussion of the need for campaign finance reform, and several neat GOP tricks that have long been used to prevent such long-overdue efforts to keep corporations out of our elections altogether.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us once again for our latest Green News Report, which, as always, is chocked full of important news, including Japan's announcement that they intend to dump more than a million tons of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea. And we close with a follow up to that story from the Guardian today, regarding Japan's ill-fated attempt to marginalize concerns from their own citizens and neighboring countries, by using a cartoon character dubbed "Little Mr. Tritium" to make the massive release of radioactive wastewater slightly more adorable than it actually otherwise is...

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