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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, May 25, 2024
Alito's an Insurrection Supporter. So, What Are Dems Gonna Do?: 'BradCast' 5/23/24
Also: SCOTUS allows SC racial gerrymander; OH still blocking Biden from ballot; Smartmatic says Newsmax destroyed evidence; Biden cancels still more student debt...
'Green News Report' 5/23/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Extreme weather unleashes disasters from Iowa to Mexico; DeSantis signs 'Don't Say Climate Change' law in FL; PLUS: Study finds microplastics in human testicles...
Previous GNRs: 5/16/24 - 5/14/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Costello Fails, Trump Bails, Defense Rests: 'BradCast' 5/22/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: Election results and problem reports from KY, OR, GA, CA and MD...
Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/24
Guest: Victoria Cadostin; Also: Rudy arraigned in AZ; Trump defense rests in NY; More...
Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons
THIS WEEK: Unethical Lying Sleazebags ... The Death of Satire ... Trains are Real ... And many more primal screams in our latest collection of the week's best toons...
FEC Repubs Vote to Allow Campaign Donor Anonymity: 'BradCast' 5/16/24
Guest: Public Citizen's Craig Holman; Also: Two (generally) encouraging SCOTUS rulings on CFPB funding and a second Black-majority U.S. House district in Louisiana...
'Green News Report' 5/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Canadian wildfires expand; Climate change exacerbated extreme heat in Asia; Broadcast media ignored Trump's billion dollar Big Oil quid pro quo; Plus: Biden v. China on EVs...
Previous GNRs: 5/14/24 - 5/9/24 - Archives...
Trump Trial Ketchup: Cohen, 'Smoking Gun', 'Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/24
Guests: Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos; Also: MD, NE, WV primary results; Biden, Trump agree to early debates...
LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise
U.S. law enforcement has long sided with the right against peaceful anti-war, environmental, racial and economic injustice protesters...
Could Ohio Repubs REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/24
Also: GOP dirty tricks in WA; More GOP voter suppression in GA; Brighter news from WI and on the slow painful death of 'stare decisis'...
'Green News Report' 5/14/24
Canada's fire season erupts; Record-breaking increase in global CO2 levels; PLUS: MI is newest state to sue Big Oil for climate damages...
Recount in Tied House Primary Reveals Probs in CA Law: 'BradCast' 5/13/24
Guest: Dr. John Maa; Also: Bannon denied; Giuliani fired; Menendez trial begins; Cohen takes stand in Trump's NY criminal trial...
Sunday 'Stormy Weather Continues' Toons
THIS WEEK: Cannon Fire ... Catch and Kill ... Parasites ... Protesting Too Much ... and more, in our latest collection of the week's most turbulent toons...
'Green News Report' 5/9/24
Tornadoes across U.S.; FL Repubs ban 'climate change'; House Repubs' latest salvo in 'War on Woke Appliances'; PLUS: US culture shift in portrayal of climate reality...
BARCODED BALLOTS AND BALLOT MARKING DEVICES
BMDs pose a new threat to democracy in all 50 states...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


With smart special guests Heather Digby Parton of Salon and 'Driftglass' of 'The Pro Left Podcast'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2023 5:20pm PT  

Woah, Nelly! Today's BradCast may arguably be both the dumbest and most fun ever! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

The subject material --- Wednesday night's ridiculous GOP 2024 "Presidential Primary Debate" (if it's even worth calling it that) at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library out here in Simi Valley, California --- is what makes it dumb.

It featured seven "candidates" --- former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, supposed businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum --- but not the much-indicted guy who Republicans apparently intend, for now, to actually nominate for the job next year.

Our excellent special coverage panelists --- award-winning blogger and columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON of Salon and Hullabaloo, and "DRIFTGLASS" of the Professional Left Podcast from "Flyover Country, Illinois" --- are what make it fun.

Hear Digby discuss the GOP's "Bizarro World alternet universe" and the "big orange elephant in the room"! Hear Driftglass explain the "Doomsday machine with no off switch" and "the smelly wet sock of the mainstream media"! Also, Doug Burgum!

To paraphrase Haley last night, hearing us today may help you "feel a little bit dumber." I'd tell you more, but that would ruin all the fun...and most of the dumbness! Enjoy!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Special Coverage with Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'; Also: Willis requests Trump RICO trial begin this October!...
By Brad Friedman on 8/24/2023 6:32pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's special coverage of the first GOP Presidential Primary debate of the 2024 campaign. It featured eight candidates, none of which were named Trump, But he was there anyway. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

The raucus two-hour debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was sponsored by Fox "News" and held before a rowdy audience of booing and cheering Republicans who, at times, resembled a pro wrestling crowd --- or a lynch mob --- more than supporters of an American political party.

The actual participants on the stage were (in order of polling popularity before the debate): Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; 38-year old entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you probably have now); Former Vice President Mike Pence; Former South Carolina Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley; Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott; Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (who, if you hadn't heard of him before last night, you may still have no idea who he is today.)

We're joined today by some favorite BradCast special coverage guests to try and make sense of it all. (Which was no easy feat, frankly!) HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is a longtime, award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on the site formerly known as Twitter and occasional as just "Bill" back at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he produces the weekly Professional Left Podcast.

Among the questions asked, answered and/or discussed today...

  • Who and what is Vivek Ramaswamy? And why was he both the target and obnoxious star of the evening?
  • What did all those red ties worn by everyone but Christie, Hutchinson and Haley actually mean?
  • What happened to Great White (Non-Trump) Hope DeSantis? Why was he largely ignored? And why was he screaming?
  • Holy crap! Was that a question about Climate Change on a Fox 'News' sponsored debate?!
  • Has Pence been underestimated after so many years in Trump's shadow?
  • Did Haley help or hurt herself in calling for a "new generation" of GOP leaders (while clearly being part of the old generation of GOP leaders)?
  • Wait, they all think Pence did the right thing on January 6, 2021, but almost all of them would support Trump next year even if convicted on felony crimes?
  • Have Christie and Pence figured out how to use the Constitution as a weapon against Trump?
  • Remember when even Republican debates included actual policy issues?
  • Who on that stage would be more likely than Trump to defeat Joe Biden next year?
  • If Trump is somehow removed from contention, who becomes the party's front-runner?
  • Was Trump right or wrong to stay out of the debate?

All of that and many more questions asked, answered, discussed or dodged on today's special edition of The BradCast, as Trump heads to a jail in Atlanta to be booked on his fourth criminal indictment of the year and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asks the Court [PDF] to begin his racketeering trial just two months from now in October(!) and as the once Grand Ole Party continues its long, dangerous descent into madness.

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The judge quickly approved Willis' request for an October 23 trial, but only for Trump attorney Ken Chesebro (alleged architect of the fake electors scheme), who invoked Georgia's speedy trial law. The other defendants do not yet have a trial date. So The Cheese stands alone...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The BradCast and Green News Report are standing down until after the Labor Day Holiday! See you in September!...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Daily Kos' Keith Barber...
By Brad Friedman on 8/16/2023 6:26pm PT  

We've got more Special Coverage on today's BradCast of the fourth --- and, theoretically, last, but who knows? --- criminal indictment of our disgraced former President for the Summer season. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

On Monday's show this week, just hours in advance of the massive new criminal charges out of Georgia, we detailed the dangers to next year's elections of the illicit Coffee County, Georgia voting system software breach carried out by Trump supporters beginning on January 7, 2021 (and covered up in the many months that followed by Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger). The scheme --- which we helped break last year and have been covering ever since --- is now known to have been just one part of a multi-state conspiracy organized by Trump attorney Sidney Powell and hatched inside Trump's Oval Office in December of 2020. It remains a huge threat to the security of next year's Presidential elections across the entire state of Georgia and in more than a dozen states with jurisdictions using the same breached, proprietry hardware and software that was stolen from Coffee County.

On Tuesday's show, we detailed the sprawling 97-page RICO indictment [PDF] of Donald John Trump and 18 co-conspirators charged with 41 felony counts by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia late on Monday. The charges are related to Trump's alleged (and failed) criminal enterprise to steal the 2020 Presidential election in the Peach State (and elsewhere) and comes out of the two-year probe by Fulton County, D.A. Fani Willis. We broke down all of the charges, detailed those who were indicted, along with a focus on the specific charges brought against Powell and the three others facing several counts related specifically to conspiracies to commit Computer Theft, Computer Trespass, Computer Invasion of Privacy ("with the intention of examining personal voter data") and Conspiracy to Commit Election Fraud as part of the Coffee County scheme.

The new indictment brings the number of criminal felony charges that our disgraced former President is now personally facing in four different jurisdictions at both the state and federal level to a gob-smacking 91!

And then on today's program, our hot indictment summer continues, with both legal and political analysis of the new indictment with two old friends. Former attorney KEITH BARBER of Daily Kos (who joined us last week for a splendid preview and explanation of what RICO charges are!) is with us again today, along with award-winning Salon columnist and Hullabaloo blogger HEATHER DIGBY PARTON.

Among the many topics discussed on today's program related to the latest Trump Indictment and what it means moving forward into next week's first-of-the-season GOP Presidential debate and next year's election...

  • General thoughts on and surprises from the new indictment.
  • Barber on "the power of RICO".
  • Parton on her article on whether former Trump Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows may be cooperating in Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal case on Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 election.
  • Barber on Meadow's motion to move his indictment from state to federal court.
  • How and why did Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) escape indictment from Willis, despite his participation in the criminal enterprise to steal the Peach State election for Trump?
  • The still wildly under-investigated matter of the scheme to replace Mike Pence as President of the Senate overseeing the Electoral College certification on January 6, 2021 with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). (Willis refers fleetingly to this scheme in her indictment, see p. 44; Barber wrote a bit about this as "Trump’s Plot To Kidnap The Vice President" back in April of 2022.)
  • Trump's post-indictment Tuesday morning claim that next Monday he will release an "Irrefutable REPORT" on "Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia" in 2020 which he claims will be a "complete EXONERATION!" for him. (Giggle.)
  • How that "REPORT" is likely to be an unlawful continuation of the same criminal enterprise under RICO that he is already charged with.
  • What we should expect from next week's first-of-the-season 2024 GOP Presidential debate in Milwaukee and whether Trump will (or should) show up for it.
  • My continuing --- if, apparently, controversial --- Spidey Sense (not a prediction...just a sense, as explained today) that Trump will, ultimately, not end up being the GOP Presidential candidate on next year's ballot...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guests: Salon's Heather Digby Parton, Pro Left Podcast's 'Driftglass'...
By Brad Friedman on 8/2/2023 6:06pm PT  

The quote in the headline for today's BradCast comes, according to one of our guests today, from former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, who knows quite a bit about both Constitutional crimes and American history. Finally, Donald J. Trump is facing accountability for his worst (known) crime of all: Attempting to overthrow American democracy itself by stealing a Presidential election from the American people before our very eyes. Luckily, he was as bad at that as he is at everything else. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

"This is a momentous legal event. It's the most significant legal event of our lifetimes, one of the most significant legal events ever in the history of this country. It is up there with Marbury vs Madison, Brown vs Board of Education, Dred Scott as a defining case for the times," Katyal told MSNBC after the new indictment against the the disgraced former President was handed up in D.C. yesterday. "This indictment lays out a case that a guy who was President of the United States --- while he was President of the US --- leveraged his office, used his power to thwart the will of the people in the most solemn thing they do in our country, vote. This is the biggest constitutional crime in our history."

We're joined today discuss that crime and Trump's latest indictment (his third in four months, and his second at the federal level) for it by two favorite BradCast special coverage guests. HEATHER DIGBY PARTON is the award-winning columnist at Salon and founder of Digby's Hullabaloo blog; and our old friend "DRIFTGLASS" is otherwise known as both @Mr_Electrico on Twitter and simply "Bill" at home in "Flyover Country, Illinois" where he has long and proudly produced The Professional Left Podcast.

Following the release of Special Counsel Jack Smith's new, very readable 45-page indictment [PDF] against Trump just minutes before airtime on Tuesday --- including four felony fraud, obstruction and conspiracy charges related to his attempt to steal the 2020 election before, during, and after the January 6, 2021 insurrection he incited at the U.S. Capitol --- we've had a bit of time to finally read the charges and evidence presented with them in full.

Also, we've had some time to learn about the judge assigned to the case, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan. And, boy howdy, is Trump not gonna like her. She was appointed by President Obama, has been particularly tough on January 6 insurrectionists, and famously (and correctly) wrote, in a 2021 ruling allowing the bipartisan House Jan. 6 Select Committee access to documents from the Trump White House that "Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President."

As noted, he's not gonna like her one bit. Oh, well. Perhaps it balances out the Trump-appointed federal judge/stooge overseeing his federal indictment on 40 felony charges related to his theft and retention of national security documents and his attempts to obstruct the government's investigation and attempts to retrieve them down in Florida.

Among the topics discussed with "Digby" and "Driftglass" on today's special coverage...

  • Why it took so long to bring this case, particularly as so much of it had already been revealed by the House Jan. 6 Committee last year.
  • What either struck or surprised them about the new indictment.
  • Who the still-unidentified "Co-Conspirator 6" might be.
  • Will history better remember Mike Pence's moment of courage on January 6 or his pathetic turnabout ever since?
  • Why this case feels so much different than the other two indictments filed against Trump.
  • Why it seems that nobody in the media is able to describe what Trump did as an attempt to STEAL a Presidential election. (Though MSNBC's Joy Reid and Parton --- both of whom have long followed me on Twitter --- get well-deserved kudos for doing so today!)
  • Whether, as folks on the Right like to claim, Tuesday's new indictment (and the others) actually help him in the 2024 election.
  • And, would they support or oppose a plea agreement in which the disgraced former President was allowed to plead guilty, get some home confinement, pay a huge fine and, most importantly, drop out of the 2024 race and vow to never run for public office again in exchange for escaping prison time (akin to Nixon VP Spiro Agnew's deal with federal prosecutors)?

Answers to all of those questions and many others on today's BradCast Special Coverage! Enjoy!...

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, Pandora, TuneIn, Google, Amazon or our native RSS feed!

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Guest: Legal journalist Mark Joseph Stern of Slate on that and other 'Major Questions' from our radical, activist, corrupted U.S. Supreme Court...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2023 6:35pm PT  

It's been too long, but we're delighted to have one of our favorite guests back on today's BradCast! [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

But first, in a rare, one day only special session of the State Legislature called by Iowa's Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, GOP lawmakers in the Hawkeye State hastily adopted a ban on almost all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, before most know they are even pregnant.

Reynolds had the temerity to declare that "the voices of Iowans and their democratically elected representatives cannot be ignored any longer." That, despite recent state polling finding that 61% of voters in Iowa support legal abortion in all or most cases, with just 35% saying it should be banned.

Well, the "elected representatives" have now been heard --- Reynolds plans to sign the measure on Friday, when it will immediately take effect --- but the voices of Iowans certainly haven't. The new law was passed with only Republican votes. It allows limited exceptions after 6 weeks in some cases of rape, incest and certain medical emergencies. A lawsuit by proponents of reproductive freedom was filed today. We explain the details and the news that former Vice President and current 2024 GOP candidate for President, Mike Pence, is both calling for a similar ban at the federal level and believes abortion should be banned even when a pregnancy is not viable and doctors have determined a baby cannot survive outside of the womb. (None of the other 2024 GOP candidates has been willing to say they disagree with Pence.)

That cruelty, unfortunately, is now par for the course in the Republican Party, and is reflected in similar legislative bans on reproductive freedoms now in at least 17 states just one year after the corrupted, far-right U.S. Supreme Court activist majority overturned Roe v. Wade's 50 years of Constitutional reproductive freedoms.

Rulings made by SCOTUS this year, sadly, are no less radical, even as several of them issued at term's end last month have been cited by some in the media to suggest that Chief Justice John Roberts has somewhat "moderated" the most extreme positions of the Court. That would be inaccurate, but exactly what Roberts had hoped for.

We're joined today by the great MARK JOSEPH STERN, legal journalist at Slate to discuss a number of those decisions, and what has now emerged as Roberts' neat trick to hoax the media into regarding him and some of the opinions issued by the Court this year as "moderate".

In short, as Stern details today, Roberts is essentially manipulating the Court's docket --- by determining which cases to hear and which ones not to --- in order to make SCOTUS' end-of-term opinions appear less extreme, overall, than they actually are.

"They have consistently taken up these cases that sort of seem designed to terrify liberals. Then, when the case comes down in a way that's not the end of the world, they get good headlines," he explains.

"The Court really shouldn't have been hearing a lot of these cases in the first place. So, by deciding them in a so-called 'liberal way', they create this image of balance and moderation that's not really deserved," he argues. "There's no better example of that than the Independent State Legislature case [Moore v. Harper]. There was absolutely no reason for the Supreme Court to intervene, and yet it reached down and grabbed that case. And, by deciding it in a somewhat moderate way --- although Roberts left the door open for mischief, as he so often does --- the Court got great headlines as being so moderate and thoughtful."

"That is a trick that the Chief Justice is very good at playing on the media. But it's not one I think we should fall for, given how obvious it is and how many decisions that he really cares about [that] end up coming out so far to the right over and over again."

"We pretend as though these cases emerged out of nowhere, when in reality, the Court is building a very careful story, using each individual case to try to show something about the Court that it thinks will appeal to the public." But that doesn't reveal the full story, Stern argues. "The 'liberal victories' simply leave the law as it was, without making any changes. Whereas the conservative victories radically overhaul the law in ways that were unimaginable just five or six years ago. That's also something that I think is very difficult to explain to people who don't watch the Court closely, but becomes blazingly obvious once you apply a little bit of scrutiny to how this Court operates."

And now, it's all making much more sense.

We saw that neat trick play out once again this year, as the stolen, packed and corrupted far-right majority, at terms end, ultimately reverted to form to overturn decades-old precedents regarding race-based Affirmative Action in college admissions (though not other Affirmative Actions, for example, legacy admissions and those for the kids of high ticket donors); the Court expanded newly discovered Constitutional "religious freedoms" to allow web page designers (and, actually, any other business) to discriminate against LGBTQ+ customers based on imaginary --- in fact, wholly fraudulent --- grievances; they picked up on last year's Judicial Activism by further restricting the EPA's ability to meet mandates of landmark laws passed by Congress, in this year's case, the Clean Water Act; and, they determined that while forgiving millions of dollar in loans to so-called small businesses and cutting taxes for billionaires was just fine, forgiving $10,000 to student loan borrowers during a national emergency --- in specific accordance with the original text of federal law --- was a bridge too far for a President of the United States...or, at least for the current President of the United States. (The Court showed no such "conservatism" when Donald Trump used the same exact law to "modify or waive" conditions for the same student loans.)

As bad as all of those decisions were, I had specific questions about one of them that sort of seems to give away the game for this far-right Court, with six Republican-appointed Justices now more than happy to legislate from the bench after years of their party pretending to be against that sort of thing.

As it turns out, the case I had questions about --- the one I saw as the most alarming and worst ruling of the term --- is one that Stern felt the same about. It's the one in which the Court relies on a made-up-out-of-whole-cloth, completely subjective test they now refer to as the "Major Questions Doctrine" whenever they don't have a legitimate reason to block an Executive Branch action, even when it's based on the specific text of a law they may not like.

"Justice Kagan has called this a 'get-out-of-text-free card,'" Stern tells me. "This is not a legitimate tool of statutory interpretation, because it means that the Court can set aside what the actual words of the law say, and just apply their own opinion, under this very thin guise of trying to uphold Congress' will." Last year they cited this pretend "doctrine" to say the EPA couldn't regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act, despite the specific text of the law, because it was just too much of a "Major Question" that Congress had to speak to in more specific language somehow. This year, they used it to block President Biden from forgiving certain student loans amid the COVID pandemic, as specifically allowed by the HEROES Act.

"When you're dealing with the federal government, every policy is going to be major," Stern argues. "Every policy is going to affect as many as 300 million Americans. Every policy is going to have a fiscal impact of more than billions of dollars. So this is really just an excuse, in every single case, for the Court to ignore the law that Congress has passed, perversely while claiming to uphold Congress' wishes."

We discuss that and much more today, including which upcoming cases most concern him on the docket for the Court's next term. Should we freak out about them? Or are they also now just part of Robert's insidious manipulation to be sure to have a few cases on which the Court's rightwingers can appear to be far less radical than they actually are?...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: More disturbingly good news from SCOTUS and the lower courts!...
By Brad Friedman on 6/15/2023 6:20pm PT  

Seriously worried about what's going on at SCOTUS. Yet another good decision today. Are they okay? And what does all of this good news mean for their opinions yet to come before term's end at the end of this month? We worry about that and more on today's BradCast. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Nonetheless, most of our stories today are, happily, not horrible. Among the many covered today...

  • An obnoxious Fox "News" chyron describing President Joe Biden as a "wannabe dictator" on the day of Donald Trump's federal arraignment on 37 criminal felony counts (and their ham-fisted crocodilian "cover up" thereafter) offers a telling illustration of how the Trump Mind Virus has been implanted into the poisoned brains of his cult followers.
  • The faintest of cracks may be emerging in the otherwise seemingly solid GOP support for their disgraced, criminal defendant former President, including an unmistakable plunge of some 15 points for Trump in Ipsos/Reuters polling among Republicans from April to June.
  • The attorney for 2016 Russian election interference whistleblower Reality Winner, however, has a few thoughts on our actual two-tiered justice system.
  • After stunningly good decisions last week protecting both the Voting Rights Act and Medicaid, the otherwise-corrupted U.S. Supreme Court did it again today, with a 7 to 2 ruling upholding the Indian Child Welfare Act, with Amy Coney Barrett(!) writing the opinion that rejects "all of petitioners' challenges to the statute". Still to come by the end of the month, however: SCOTUS rulings on Affirmative Action in college admissions; the Independent State Legislature theory decision that could wreak utter havoc in the 2024 Presidential election; and whether they will deign to allow Biden to waive up to $20,000 for each federal student loan borrower.
  • We've also had some very good news from the lower federal courts as well in recent weeks, including a U.S. District Court judge rejecting Tennessee's Republican Gov. Bill Lee's attempt to stifle free speech by unconstitutionally banning drag shows, and a temporary injunction on portions of Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' unspeakably cruel law that places his state's Big Government between doctors and medically necessary treatments for trans children. That, in a state where DeSantis laughably ran for reelection last year with the slogan "Freedom Lives" in Florida.
  • Of course, as we've learned since 2016, for GOP American Idiots infected with the Trump Mind Virus, "The Cruelty is the Point". They seem to think it will somehow help them gain or hold power. Illinois' Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, however, in his Commencement Address at Northwestern University this week, has some helpful advice on how to spot an idiot. (Hint: Their cruelty is a dead giveaway.)
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with troubling news for the Summer on both sides of the Canadian border and in Texas. But, there is also a very encouraging landmark trial playing out right now in a Montana courtroom...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: New 2024 Presidential candidates; Accountability arriving for corrupt TX A.G. Paxton, conman James O'Keefe; Callers ring in on the debt deal...
By Brad Friedman on 6/5/2023 5:54pm PT  

We're back! And with good news on today's BradCast...whether the media have been reporting it that way over the past week, as we've been on a break, or not. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]

FIRST UP, some notable quick news headlines today --- and some from last week --- which we'll undoubtedly jump deeper into in the days and weeks ahead. Including...

  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is impeached by the hard-right Texas legislature.
  • Cartoonishly corrupt Republican activist and pretend journalist James O'Keefe is sued by Project Veritas --- his own ironically named nonprofit --- for waste, fraud and abuse.
  • A bunch of new Republicans entered the fray for the 2024 Presidential nod (the unhung Mike Pence, the disgraced Chris Christie and some guy named Doug Burgum).
  • One Republican, popular New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, smartly announces he's not running.
  • And progressive activist and academic Cornel West announces he's running for President under a third-party banner.

THEN, its on to the one story that made me wish I wasn't on vacation last week (well, a little, anyway.) And that's the story of President Biden outfoxing the GOP to take three Republican-engineered fiscal cliffs off the table over the next two years, all for the price of less than one, in his ingenious debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy...who got hosed in the bargain.

As you may know, we were all in favor of Biden avoiding negotiations entirely, invoking the 14th Amendment to declare the dumb Debt Ceiling law unconstitutional, and ordering the Treasury Department to simply pay our bills without disruption to avoid a first-ever U.S. default. If anyone had a prob with that, they could sue him --- or try to --- in order to force the global economy meltdown that would have come with such a default.

But Biden, and his lead negotiator, Steve Richetti, came up with a much better idea. In the bargain, they took not one, not two, but three GOP fiscal cliffs off the table for the price of less than one budget negotiation this fall. And it all would have been much more difficult if Biden had taken the leverage of invoking the 14th off the table.

In short (much more detail on today's show), the President outfoxed Republicans. Bigly. And where they had demanded some 18% in cuts to government spending, they got a measly 0.2% over the next ten years. In the bargain, the Debt Ceiling is suspended until 2025 and spending will largely stay flat over the next two years on a few non-defense matters.

Make no mistake. There are some cuts in the deal that suck. But nothing more than Biden would have been forced to give away anyway in order to avoid a protracted Government shutdown with obstructionist Republicans when a new budget would be needed at the beginning of the next fiscal year this October.

As British columnist Will Hutton correctly opined on Sunday, while "It is easy to write off President Joe Biden as a senile, 80-year-old duffer," the deal was "massively weighted in his favour" and represented an "extraordinary victory".

It's a shame that so many in the U.S. media --- on the Right, Left and Other --- seem incapable of reporting it that way, in order to properly educate the American electorate about what actually just happened.

We try to balance the scales a bit on that score on today's program before opening the phones to callers in the second half of the show to hear why they believe we might be wrong about all of this. (SPOILER ALERT: We're not!)

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: NatSec and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 5/3/2023 6:19pm PT  

On today's BradCast we catch up on where each of the major, still-unindicted criminal investigations of Donald Trump currently stand with the one person who may pay closer attention to the details of the cases than even the prosecutors working on them! [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Over the weekend, longtime national security journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel wrote three articles, summarizing the latest status in each of the three ongoing criminal probes of the already-criminally-indicted-in-New-York former President, and what the final issues are that prosecutors must nail down before indictments can be brought.

Those cases include Special Counsel Jack Smith's federal investigations of Trump's January 6 related conspiracies and the documents he stole from the White House, as well as Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' broad probe into Trump's failed attempt to strong-arm state officials into stealing the 2020 election from Joe Biden.

Among the many points discussed with Wheeler, who joins us today from Paris...

On Jan 6 and related matters:

  • Why determining the legal definition of "corrupt purpose" in the D.C. federal court circuit, in regards to Trump's attempt to obstruct the Electoral College vote certification, is so important to Smith's case.
  • Why pending cases against Jan. 6 insurrectionists remain key to that definition.
  • Why the fake electors schemes in several states and Trump's fraudulent fundraising on his lies about election fraud is also critical to Smith's case.
  • Evidence that Trump's own attorneys knew in advance that their fake electors scheme was unlawful.
  • Why nailing down testimony from cooperating witnesses is so important and whether former VP Mike Pence --- who testified before Smith's federal grand jury last week about Trump's attempt to have him assassinated --- can be made into a sympathetic witness on the stand.
  • Will we see a broad set of indictments against Trump regarding Jan. 6 or just one or two focused, easily provable charges?
  • Is Smith investigating the multi-state conspiracy to breach voting system software in states like Georgia, Michigan, Colorado and elsewhere as part of his probe?

On the Stolen Documents:

  • What's the hold-up in bringing charges on what has always seemed like the simplest of the many ongoing cases?
  • Why it's helpful that Smith is overseeing both this case and the Jan 6 probe, given that several witnesses are key to each of the cases.
  • What the specific criminal charges may ultimately be, and the important related decision on whether they will be brought in Florida or in D.C.

On the GA Conspiracy:

  • What's the hold-up for D.A. Willis in bringing charges in the Georgia-related crimes?
  • Why Trump is likely to try and move any GA charges to the federal level (and into Smith's lap).
  • How and why a number of co-conspirators may have suddenly decided to cooperate with Willis after all in recent days.
  • How there may be an additional 24(!) previously-unknown witnesses to Trump's infamous Jan 2, 2021 phone call to the GA Sec. of State attempting to strong-arm him to "find" 11,000 votes to steal the state's election from Biden.

That's just a sample, of course. Wheeler joins us for the full hour. Dig in...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Pence ordered to testify; More white GOP voter fraud in FL; SCOTUS allows KS racial gerrymander; AR Repubs attack direct democracy; Mentally ill TN shooter legally purchased seven guns...
By Brad Friedman on 3/28/2023 5:13pm PT  

Ya know, if their ideas were popular, Republicans wouldn't have to work so hard to undermine democracy, would they? An example or three of that on today's BradCast.

Among today's many stories...

  • Cowardly Mike Pence's attempt to avoid testifying about Donald Trump's January 6th insurrection to Special Counsel Jack Smith's grand jury is denied by a federal judge.
  • Yet another white Republican in Florida is charged with election fraud. Yet again, he was not arrested at gunpoint on camera and hauled to jail like the people of color who Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered rounded up before last year's election, even though they had no idea they had voted unlawfully. The white Republican voter turned himself in to authorities at his own convenience.
  • Our corrupt, stolen and packed rightwing U.S. Supreme Court majority has declined to review a ruling by the state Supreme Court in Kansas which found that intentionally discriminating against minority voters was just fine, after state Republicans gerrymandered Kansas City by cutting it into two different Congressional districts in order to dilute the power of black voters.
  • In Arkansas, voters have repeatedly made clear through recent rejections of GOP ballot initiatives, that they really really oppose making it more difficult for citizens to put stuff on statewide ballot initiatives and see it adopted by voters. So now, Republicans in the state legislature, giving the finger to voters, have simply passed a new law to make it virtually impossible for Democrats to place measures on the statewide ballot. AR's new democracy-hating Republican Governor, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, happily signed the measure which, on its face, seems to blatantly violate the state's own Constitution. The League of Women Voters of Arkansas and other fans of democracy are now suing to block what the League's President accurately describes as "an attack on direct democracy."
  • The 28-year old shooter in Monday's mass shooting --- the 130th of the year so far --- reportedly purchased SEVEN weapons from five local guns shops in Nashville, Tennessee before using at least two of them to kill three 9-year olds and three adults at a private Christian elementary school. All of that while the assailant was said to have been under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder, according to the Nashville police chief. Seven guns, at least two of them semi-automatic assault weapons, and none of it triggered any red flags to authorities. Nonetheless, Republicans in Congress today, according to media reports, still lack the courage to support any new gun safety laws that might make such massacres less likely or more difficult. They are, as Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) correctly noted today, "cowards". AND PLEASE NOTE: This is not a problem with "Congress" or "lawmakers in D.C." The problem is Republicans. Period. They do not want to make it more difficult to murder people, while Democrats do. It's as simple as that. If media outlets are unable to call out Republicans, specifically, for fear of sounding "partisan", they are doing a grave disservice to their readers, viewers, listeners and country.
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, with news on the weekend's massive tornado(s) in Mississippi; more flooding in California's unending storms; ongoing deadly drought in Somalia; U.N. warning of water wars; and a new global record for clean, renewable energy production...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Election system expert Susan Greenhalgh; Also: Biden on bank failures; Admin approves new AK oil project, blocks millions of acres from drilling; Pence calls out Trump, but refuses to testify about Jan. 6...
By Brad Friedman on 3/13/2023 5:42pm PT  

Why isn't the FBI or DoJ investigating the broad, multi-state conspiracy, carried out by Trump supporters after the 2020 election, to breach sensitive voting and tabulation systems? Especially with the 2024 elections now coming into view? Disturbing new evidence of the DoJ and FBI's LACK of action on today's BradCast!

But, first up, a few quick words on the federal takeover of several failed banks late last week and into the weekend (after the Trump Administration rolled back regulations enacted after the 2008 banking crisis to help prevent such failures), and then on Biden's decision to allow a controversial new oil project on federal lands in Alaska, while otherwise ordering the federal protection millions of acres in Alaska and the Arctic from similar future drilling projects.

Next, a few quick words on former Vice President Mike Pence's weekend comments at the Gridiron Dinner in D.C., characterized by many in the corporate media as his "toughest words yet" against Trump's incitement of insurrection on January 6, 2021.

While Pence was, in fact, heroic that day in refusing to leave the Capitol while it was under siege by Trump supporters, until the Electoral College vote was officially certified, the former Veep's recent legal challenge to a Subpoena to testify before the Grand Jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe of the deadly 1/6 probe is unconscionable.

Among Pence's reported comments at the no-cameras-allowed Gridiron Dinner on Saturday: "History will hold Donald Trump accountable." (No, sir. It's not history's job, it's law enforcement's! And, as a witness to a crime, it's your responsibility to help them!) Also, he repeatedly praised media and said, "I expect members of the fourth estate to continue to do their job" in covering the tragic, shameful events of that day. But, guess what? While it's the media's job to report on what happened, if witnesses don't tell law enforcement what they know, then those who should be held accountable will not be.

Then, speaking of people not being held accountable, why hasn't the FBI begun a probe of the multi-state effort, headed up by Trump's then-attorney Sidney Powell, to unlawfully and surreptitiously make copies of voting and tabulation system software in at least four states after the 2020 election? We now know that this happened in Coffee County, Georgia, Mesa County, Colorado, several townships in Michigan, and at least one county in Pennsylvania. We also have evidence that the conspirators planned to breach the election system in Nevada as well.

America's computerized election systems were officially designated as "critical federal infrastructure" during the Obama Administration. Shouldn't evidence of a multi-state conspiracy to unlawfully make copies and release that proprietary software publicly be a crime worth probing by the FBI? Especially before 2024?

SUSAN GREENHALGH, a longtime election integrity and transparency expert and Senior Advisor on Election Security at Free Speech For People thinks so. She and 14 other cybersecurity and voting system experts wrote a letter [PDF] last December to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Special Counsel Jack Smith, FBI Director Chris Wray and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly, seeking a federal probe, given the overwhelming evidence of this MAGA conspiracy and the recent evidence that they are using the stolen software and knowledge gained from it for potentially nefarious means.

"The people that got the software seem to be interested in further disrupting elections," Greenhalgh tells me today. "They already tried once to disrupt an election and impact the results in 2020 and we see that this is continuing. The software that was taken unlawfully in Coffee County, Georgia, showed up at CPAC [the Conservative Political Action Conference] CPAC last week, in a presentation by a bunch of conspiracy theorists making a lot of unfounded and really disturbing false claims about elections in it."

"We can see the software already being used for disinformation campaigns," she continues, "but it could actually be used for much worse, like to reverse engineer it and create malware to impact and potentially corrupt an election."

As the Los Angeles Times reported last week, Greenhalgh has now heard back from the head of the FBI's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, in a polite, if terse, four-paragraph letter [PDF] that seems to not only suggest that the FBI is not investigating the matter, but to do so they would have to receive a request from local or state officials.

That doesn't make much sense. This is a federal issue, if only because it appears to be conspiracy stretching across multiple states. Moreover, as Greenhalgh explains, such requests have been made, for example, by the State Board of Elections in Georgia.

So, what is going on here? Is the matter being probed by the feds, but the FBI is suggesting otherwise (since they may not wish to comment on ongoing investigations)? Is it not being probed at all, for some reason? If so, why not? And, why does all of this matter? Greenhalgh answers those questions and many others on today's BradCast!

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: AZ Guv files bar complaint against former A.G. for 2020 fraud lies...
By Brad Friedman on 3/2/2023 6:31pm PT  

There's a reason we don't spend much time discussing the Right's phony "culture war" BS on The BradCast. Today, we talk about why. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

We go into much more detail on the program, but perhaps the biggest reason is likely that most of these so-called "culture wars" aren't any such thing. But talking about it, helps to make them appear to be such a thing. Whether it's outrage over BLM or CRT or, more lately, ESG, the GOP and FNC and all of their various corporate sponsors (mostly from the oil and gas industry), prefer spending time on ginned-up, phony nonsense to keep their readers, listeners and viewers angry, so they don't notice how the Republican Party has absolutely nothing but pain and thievery to offer them.

When the non-wingnut corporate media and Democrats jump in to respond to those ginned-up issues, sadly, the Right has succeeded in creating yet another "partisan" "culture war" out of whole cloth, in which they are able to claim there is a pitched partisan battle between "both sides". They've been mastering this scam for years, and the media and Dems have been falling for it for years as well.

One might think, for example, that the nation is bitterly divided in the "culture war" over abortion rights, one of the GOP's decades-old stand-bys. In fact, it's not much of a partisan or left/right or Republican/Democratic issue at all. The vast majority of Americans, across party lines, support reproductive freedom. And a recently released detailed survey from PRRI (of about 23,000 people in all 50 states!), demonstrates that there is not one single state in the union where a majority of the population supports the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Not one. Not even in the Deep South.

But maybe if you're furious enough about "ESG" you won't notice the Constitutional freedoms the GOP has just stolen from all of us. What's ESG? Well, the folks who watch Fox "News" almost certainly know what it is. It stands for "Environmental Social Governance." And, while the corporate concept has been around for about 20 years, Republicans, with the encouragement (and lots of money) from the fossil fuel industry, have only recently decided to become furious about it. Yup, they're hoping --- and the media are helping --- to turn it into yet another pretend "culture war".

Republican Presidential hopefuls like Florida's Ron DeSantis, Texas' Greg Abbott and former Vice President Mike Pence are all over those "woke" corporations who consider things like the health of the environment when making investments and other business decisions. As discussed today in some detail, Republicans have now decided that sort of thing must stop immediately! Failing to invest as much money as possible, including public funds, in the fossil fuel industry that is helping to wipe out humanity, will almost certainly result in grandma's retirement fund going bankrupt! Or something. And it now appears we're all gonna be dumb enough (again) to help these fake Fox "News" and fossil fuel industry outrages become a real thing.

Just this once --- hopefully, today only --- we're gonna talk about it so you understand exactly what's going on and how you're getting played...so hopefully we'll all stop falling for these scams over and over again.

Also today, a follow-up to a story we covered last week, when Kris Mayes, the new Democratic Attorney General of Arizona, released documents from her office that the previous Attorney General, Republican Mark Brnovich, appears to have forgotten to release before leaving office in January.

Among other things, the documentation reveals that Brnovich's office spent some 10,000 taxpayer-funded hours in 2021 investigating phony claims of election fraud in the state's 2020 Presidential election, assigning everyone in the office to the matter at one point. And though the probe was completed by March 2022, Brnovich never bothered to release the findings, that there was no evidence the election was stolen from Trump in Arizona, to the public. Instead of letting his state and the nation know, during his failed run for the state GOP nomination for U.S. Senate last year, Brnovich lied about the investigation. He told state lawmakers and the public that his office had found "serious vulnerabilities", even while he was ignoring his own staff's recommendations to come clean about the facts.

We covered those disturbing revelations from Mayes last week. And now, the state's new Democratic Governor, former Sec. of State Katie Hobbs, has filed a complaint against Brnovich with the state bar association. Hopefully, that complaint will result in sanctions or even disbarment for the state's corrupt, former top attorney, who was already under sanctions from the state bar association, as it turns out, when he misled the public last year about all of this.

Finally, it's Desi Doyen with our latest woke, ESG, Green News Report! Today, we focus on continuing drought conditions in California, despite the recent series of major storms and continuing, bizarre, climate change-fueled weather across much of the nation; Also, we cover the railroad industry's opposition to new regulations following outrage (phony or otherwise) over the recent toxic train derailment in Ohio...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: National security and accountability journalist Marcy Wheeler...
By Brad Friedman on 2/15/2023 6:00pm PT  

As we've advised many times on The BradCast, accountability takes a while. Particularly when you're talking about criminal accountability for a President of the United States for the first time ever. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

We're joined today, for the first time in several months, by perhaps the one person who may know nearly as much (and, in some cases, even more) about the many criminal cases against Donald Trump than the many prosecutors currently considering indictments against him for those crimes.

Longtime, independent national security and accountability journalist MARCY WHEELER of Emptywheel.net joins us for the full hour today. There is now just too much going on all at once in the various federal investigations being overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith (not to mention the several criminal and civil probes underway in Georgia and New York), to fit into a single segment.

We dive into details with Wheeler on both the probe of Trump's hundreds of stolen, classified documents recovered by the FBI last year at Mar-a-Lago, and the ongoing investigation of the broad conspiracy surrounding the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol (and his many other attempts to steal the 2020 election.)

Among the many points and questions discussed with Wheeler on today's show...

ON SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH:

  • Where is he? Literally. And why are there no known new photos or videos of him Special Counseling?
  • And what, if anything, does his incredibly low profile tell us about the work that he is doing?

ON THE TRUMP STOLEN DOCUMENTS PROBE:

  • What does this week's news that Smith is hoping to pierce the attorney-client privilege by invoking the crime-fraud exception to force federal grand jury testimony from Trump attorneys like Evan Corcoran actually mean? And, is it true, as the New York Times reported on Tuesday, that Smith's motion to do so is "an aggressive new dimension to the inquiry"?
  • What exactly is the crime being investigated that Smith contends took place between Corcoran and Trump that would nullify the attorney-client privilege?
  • What do we need to know about this past weekend's startling news that Team Trump has now turned over still more classified documents and that some of them were reportedly scanned onto a laptop computer (and thumb drive) said to belong to a Trump aide at his main fundraising PAC?
  • Why weren't those documents found at Mar-a-Lago during the FBI's very thorough search last August?
  • Should we be concerned that more classified documents are out in the wild after being digitized and shared with others?
  • Where are the dozens of documents that were previously in the now-empty classified document folders recovered by the FBI last August? And, is Trump's claim that he kept empty classified document folders as trophy keepsakes even plausible?
  • Does the discovery and quick return of a handful of classified and other Presidential records found by aides at the offices and residences of Joe Biden and Mike Pence make any difference in a potential decision to charge Trump for having stolen thousands of documents and then lying about them to federal officials?

ON THE JANUARY 6 CONSPIRACY PROBE:

  • Mike Pence has now been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury investigating the January 6 attack. He says he will challenge the subpoena based on the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause that, he claims, prevents him --- as President of the Senate on January 6 --- from having to answer questions by the Executive Branch. That, after Pence previously refused to testify to the House J6 Committee on the basis of separation of powers and Executive privilege.
  • Many are describing Pence's defense "novel", but Wheeler (and I) recall when the previous Republican Vice President, Dick Cheney, hoping to also have it both ways, attempted to play the exact same hand to avoid testifying to both the Legislative and Executive branches during the George W. Bush era.
  • In any event, will Pence's ploy work? And, if so, will it prevent Smith from being able to bring indictments?
  • How do the recent guilty verdicts for Seditious Conspiracy, in the trials of a number of rightwing Oath Keepers militia members (and the ongoing trial of racist Proud Boys members), affect potential indictments of the former President?
  • Is it likely that the DoJ will simply take the "Al Capone tax evasion" route by charging Trump with a simpler crime, such as wire fraud, based on his fundraising scheme that raked in some $250 million after the 2020 election for an "official election defense fund" that didn't actually exist?
  • And, by the way, can a former President --- with a 24/7 Secret Service detail and all of that --- actually be sent to prison in the event he ever actually is indicted, convicted and sentenced?

As you can tell, just a few things to discuss with Wheeler today. And, as usual, she offers a ton of important, smart and keenly-informed insight!...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Also: Over-inflating 'balloon' threats?; GA judge orders partial release of Special Grand Jury report on Trump election-theft conspiracy probe...
By Brad Friedman on 2/13/2023 6:23pm PT  

As noted at the top of today's BradCast, I thought when the Trump Era ended, there wouldn't be quite as much of a fire-hose of news coming in over weekends. Silly me. Perhaps my mistake was in somehow thinking the Trump Era had ended. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

In any event, among the many stories covered on today's show before we opened up our lines to listener calls on all of them...

  • Hey, that was some Super Bowl, eh?
  • Over the weekend a total of three "unidentified aerial objects" were shot down by the U.S. military over North America by President Biden. One off the frozen coast of Alaska, one over Canada (shot down at their urging), and another in Michigan over Lake Huron. None of the objects, according to U.S. officials, were similar to the much larger spy balloon from China recently shot down off the coast of South Carolina. So, what were they exactly? And should anybody really be concerned about it? We discuss.
  • In far more important news, there was also another flurry of activity over the weekend regarding the discovery of mishandled classified documents. It began on Friday, when a consensual FBI search of former Vice President Mike Pence's home in Indiana turned up another classified document. But that story only served to district from the hugely important news that not only were more classified and stolen documents found in Donald Trump's possession (where well over 300 such documents, including thousands of pages marked classified, have been found to date), but in this case, at least one classified document was discovered to have been digitized onto a notebook computer and a thumb drive. Even more disturbing: the notebook on which the document was found wasn't even at Mar-a-Lago. It was, reportedly, in the possession of a still-unnamed aide working for Trump's main fundraising arm, the Save America PAC. If the documents stolen by the disgraced former President were electronically scanned, as appears to be the case, and copied to thumb drives and computers, that opens up a whole new potentially very troubling ball of wax in Special Counsel Jack Smith's ongoing criminal investigation into the documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago. It was also reported, as part of the weekend news flurry on this, that Trump received yet another subpoena for those newly discovered documents last month and that two more of his attorneys testified in January before Smith's federal grand jury.
  • On Monday, a judge in Atlanta announced that parts of a recently written Special Grand Jury report --- including what he described as "a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what, in relation to the conduct (and aftermath) of the 2020 general election in Georgia" --- will be released to the public this week. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said in his 8-page order [PDF] today that the introduction and conclusion of the report, as well as one section on witnesses believed to have lied to the Special Grand Jury, will be released on Thursday. None of the sections to be released this week, according to McBurney, include names of those who could soon be indicted. The report was created by the Special Grand Jury convened by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. She had sought their advice on whether to bring charges against the former President and other co-conspirators in his attempt to strong-arm Georgia officials into stealing the 2020 Presidential election. At a hearing three weeks ago, she explained that her office opposed the release of the report at this time out of concern for fairness to those who may soon be indicted. She said at the time that charging decisions were "imminent". Presumably, they still are.
  • Finally, some of very good and/or interesting callers ring in today on all of the above and more!

Please tune in for today's lively and, hopefully, both entertaining and informative program!...

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Also: Jeffries blocks GOP attempt to kill Office of Congressional Ethics; PA special elections give Dems full control of state House; New Dem trifecta in MN protects abortion rights, mandates 100% clean power...
By Brad Friedman on 2/9/2023 6:05pm PT  

The long-awaited GOP-led House hearings are now getting under way in full. And, as we've previously predicted, they ain't going well...for the Republicans. Also on today's BradCast, a few critical (and good news) updates to several stories we've covered in the recent past, as well as some encouraging breaking news on the worsening woes of our failed former President. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

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

  • A few weeks back, longtime Congressional ethics expert Craig Holman of Public Citizen joined us to explain the House GOP's attempt, buried in their new rules package adopted at the beginning of the new session last month, to kill the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. That is the very effective body that runs real investigations into Congressional members' crimes and ethics lapses, by way of contrast with the House Ethics Committee which, as Holman told us at the time, is "literally designed to sweep ethics matters under the rug." The new House rules were cleverly crafted by Republicans to cripple the OCE --- along with any real probes of folks like George Santos or Kevin McCarthy and the several other GOP members who defied Congressional subpoenas last year. But, at the last second this week, House Dem Leader Hakeem Jeffries appears to have saved the day --- and the OCE --- with some very quick work to thwart the GOP scheme to kill this critical agency.
  • In another good news update today to yet another story we've been covering in recent weeks, the long and confusing battle over majority control of the Pennsylvania state House is now all but settled with the election of all three Democrats in three different Special Elections held on Tuesday to fill three vacancies in the chamber. That means that Dems will now have full control of the House in the Keystone State for the first time in over a decade. Critically, they will now be able to thwart the effort by the previously GOP-controlled legislature's plan to adopt a state Constitutional amendment that would declare there is no right to an abortion in the state.
  • And, in still more good news on reproductive freedoms and the importance of elections, last November, Democrats won a trifecta in the great state of Minnesota, as they gained majority control of both chambers in the state legislature and control of the Governor's mansion. They have now begun to move a huge number of long-overdue progressive priorities forward. Last week, they adopted a statute to protect reproductive freedoms in the state --- the first state to do so after last summer's SCOTUS reversal of Roe v. Wade --- and, this week, Gov. Tim Walz signed a measure that mandate MN's move to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040! (And there is much more to come. Elections matter!)
  • Next, it's on to the ridiculous hearing held on Wednesday in the newly GOP-controlled Oversight Committee in the U.S. House. The long-awaited hearing, featuring a panel of witnesses who formerly worked at Twitter, was meant to examine alleged federal government censorship on the social media site. Specifically, a two-day pause on the broad sharing of a questionable New York Post article in early October 2020 on a laptop purportedly abandoned by Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden. The hearing did not go well for the Republicans. As it turns out (and as we've told you previously), there is no actual evidence of the FBI or any other government agency, censoring the laptop story --- or any other --- at the social media network, even though Republicans are now pretending that the FBI (Trump's FBI, by the way!) somehow used Twitter to rig the 2020 election for Biden. If all of that sounds ridiculous, it's because it is. We share several clips today from the hearing, which failed to reveal evidence that Biden or the Democrats or the FBI or the "deep state" violated the First Amendment in somehow censoring --- or trying to censor --- Twitter. But, you know who did? Yup, Donald Trump and his White House, as revealed by Democrats and the former Twitter employees who testified at Wednesday's sort of hilariously failed hearing.
  • Also today, Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report with details on environmental elements of Biden's Tuesday State of the Union address; new evidence of more lies and war profiteering by BP; a foiled neo-Nazi attack on the power grid in Baltimore; and more on that great news about the clean energy mandate (as noted above) out of MN.
  • Finally, some breaking news as today's show wraps up: former Vice President Mike Pence has reportedly been subpoenaed by Jack Smith's federal Special Counsel probe of Donald Trump's attempt to steal the 2020 Presidential election. That, according to ABC News, which broke the story first, suggests "a major escalation of Smith's probe"...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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Guest: Former UT Asst. A.G. Michael Teter of The 65 Project; Also: BRAD BLOG's 20th year!; NY D.A. seeking criminal charges against Trump...
By Brad Friedman on 1/30/2023 6:18pm PT  

We're still fighting for accountability after all these years on The BradCast. So why should today be any different? [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

We kick off today's program with a word or two on our 19th Anniversary of independent investigative journalism, blogging, broadcast, muckraking and trouble-making as we now officially enter our 20th(!) year of doing so at The BRAD BLOG! While I had some thoughts on all of that this morning at the blog, one point of particular pride remains the ongoing billion-dollar lawsuits by voting machine companies against Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell (as well as Fox "News" and a bunch of their on-air hosts.) The reason for the pride is that no small part of the false claims made against Dominion and Smartmatic after the 2020 election by Trump's huckster attorneys spring directly from inaccurate interpretations of accurately reported exclusives at The BRAD BLOG many years ago, particularly in regard to American voting systems and Hugo Chavez.

By the time those defamation suits come to an expensive end, however, it's likely that both Powell and Giuliani will have been disbarred wherever they are currently still licensed to practice law. Just last month, for example, Rudy faced a hearing before the D.C. Bar Association where he is likely to be disbarred for the phony lawsuits he (and Powell) filed on Trump's behalf, falsely claiming fraud following the 2020 election.

Donald Trump's lawyers --- there are lots of them --- have been getting sanctioned in state and federal courts left and right over the past couple of years. But none, to my knowledge, have yet to be disbarred. That could be changing soon for both Giuliani and Powell. And, finally, as of last week, for John Eastman. He's the main attorney behind Trump's failed effort to have Vice President Mike Pence steal the election for him during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, when Joe Biden's Electoral College victory was finally certified after the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Late last week, the State Bar of California announced that Eastman is being charged with "multiple disciplinary counts." He faces 11 charges arising from allegations that he "engaged in a course of conduct to plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states." The Office of the State Bar's Chief Trial Counsel says he will seek disbarment of Eastman before the State Bar Court. This is serious stuff for an attorney.

We're joined today by former Utah Asst. Attorney General and former University of Utah associate law professor, MICHAEL TETER, who now serves as Managing Director for The 65 Project. The group, named for the approximately 65 failed lawsuits Team Trump filed after the 2020 election, describes its work as "a bipartisan effort to protect democracy...by holding accountable Big Lie Lawyers who bring fraudulent and malicious lawsuits to overturn legitimate election results, and by working with bar associations to deter future abuses by establishing clear standards for conduct that punish lies about the conduct or results of elections."

The group has filed ethics complaints against loads of scammy Trump attorneys across the country and, as Teter explains today, against elected officials who are also licensed attorneys, like Sen. Ted Cruz and Attorney General Ken Paxton, both of Texas, for their fraudulent legal efforts to steal the 2020 election for Trump and rob millions of Americans of their perfectly legal votes.

"It's a solid case," Teter tells me today, regarding the CA State Bar's case against Eastman. "There are no disputes about the facts, quite frankly. Everything that John Eastman was doing and engaging in in 2020 and early 2021 has been well-documented. Those efforts clearly violate the rules of professional conduct that every lawyer swears to abide by. There are no 'slam dunks' in this world, but I think this is a very strong case and the bar wouldn't have brought it forward if it didn't think so, as well."

We discuss how rare cases like these are --- or used to be --- and how much State Bars really aren't prepared for cases like these. It's one of the reasons, Teter explains, that it has taken so long to bring many of these Trump attorneys before the Bar.

"The disciplinary processes set up in the states are not set up in a way to protect democracy or protect the abuse of the legal system" the way Team Trump has abused it. Usually, he says, they examine one page complaints, where an attorney has overcharged a client or something. "The bars need to adjust their thinking and their approaches to make sure they are protecting democracy."

Teter argues that most of the cases brought by Trump and his attorneys after the 2020 election were never meant to win. They were simply meant to allow members of Congress and others to argue that the 2020 results were in dispute. "They knew they didn't have the law or the facts. They were using the court system as a political tool, as part of their propaganda."

"So when they lost these lawsuits it didn't create any disincentive to continue. They got out of them what they wanted," Teter explains. "These bar associations are not used to lawyers using the legal system in this way and they need to get caught up. They need to start thinking about the abuse of the legal system, the abuse of law licenses in this way."

We've got a lot to discuss today with Teter, including the remarkable number of Trump attorneys now facing court sanctions, disciplinary charges and potential disbarment. That, he says, has at least made it more and more difficult for Trump --- and his acolytes like failed 2022 Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake in Arizona --- to find lawyers willing to represent them.

"MAGA has a new meaning now," Teter quips, "which is Making Attorneys Get Attorneys."

And finally today, as we're on the Trump Accountability beat again (was there ever a time when we weren't?), potentially good news out of New York today, where the Times reports that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has begun presenting evidence to a grand jury seeking criminal charges against Trump himself, related to his hush money payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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