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Latest Featured Reports | Friday, April 19, 2024
Bad Climate News for Home, Car Owners; Good Labor News for Workers in the South: 'BradCast' 4/18/24
Also: Jury seated in NY; NV okays abortion initiative; OH Repubs block Biden from ballot...
'Green News Report' 4/18/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Deluge in Dubai; Climate impacts to cost trillions per year; New lightbulb efficiency standards; PLUS: Biden Admin cracks down on toxic silica dust to protect workers' lungs...
Previous GNRs: 4/16/24 - 4/11/24 - Archives...
SCOTUS Suddenly Worried About Overcriminalization ... for J6 Insurrectionists: 'BradCast' 4/17/24
Guest: LawDork's Chris Geidner; Also: GOP impeachment ends; Turnout doubles in AL...
'Trump Media' Plummeting, MAGA Buyers Losing Life Savings: 'BradCast' 4/16/24
Also: Trump's ridiculous 'immunity'; 7 jurors seated in NY criminal trial; Repubs deliver impeachment to Senate; Smartmatic, OAN settle 2020 defamation suit...
'Green News Report' 4/16/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record ocean heat bleaching corals worldwide; EV charging roads in Indiana; Biden raising drilling, mining royalties for first time in a century; PLUS: A marine mystery in Florida...
Previous GNRs: 4/11/24 - 4/9/24 - Archives...
Trump's First Criminal Trial, for Cheating in 2016, Begins in NY: 'BradCast' 4/15/24
Special coverage of an historic day with Heather Digby Parton of Salon, attorney Keith Barber of Daily Kos...
Sunday 'Party Like It's 1864' Toons
THIS WEEK: Bad politics, good toonery and at least one wake-up call, in our latest collection of the week's best toons!...
Biden Closes 'Gun Show Loophole'; Repubs Turn Desperate: 'BradCast' 4/11/24
RNC Chair says Ukraine our enemy; GA Lt. Guv faces probe; Fox hides AZ abortion ruling, Hannity blames Dems; WI Justice to retire...
'Green News Report' 4/11/24
  w/ Brad & Desi
10th hottest month ever in a row; Swiss climate inaction violates human rights; PLUS: EPA crack down on airborne chemical plant pollution, 'forever chemicals' in drinking water...
Previous GNRs: 4/9/24 - 4/4/24 - Archives...
'Pink Slime': Fake 'Local News' Sites Proliferating in Advance of Election: 'BradCast' 4/10/24
Guest: Alex Mahadevan; Also: Trump CFO back to jail; GOP chaos, panic after AZ's 1864 abortion ban restored...
Dirty Tricks and the Dirtiest Candidate Of All Time: 'BradCast' 4/9/24
A CA three-way!; Polls shift toward Biden; RW scam artists pay the price; Trump rejected again in NY criminal case, facing trouble for phony $175M bond in NY civil case...
'Green News Report' 4/9/24
Big hurricane season coming; Colorado River used mostly for cattle; Good news for CA snowpack, for now; PLUS: Disney's Tomorrowland says goodbye to Yesterdayville...
'Titanic Law' Reform Just Tip of Iceberg in Quest for Key Bridge Accountability: 'BradCast' 4/8/24
Guest: Helen Santoro; Also: Media echo Trump abortion lies; Biden's new debt relief for 30M...
Sunday 'Dark Days Indeed' Toons
FEATURING: The Eclipse! Disinformation! 'Victimless' Crimes! And much more in our latest collection of the week's darkest toons...
Trump's Very Bad Day in Court(s), Other Good (& Less Good) News: 'BradCast' 4/4
No Labels out; Soft sentence for vote fraudster; WI reconsiders drop-boxes; NE nixes Elctrl College change; Biden v. Israel; Sanders, Biden tout drug price success...
'Green News Report' 4/4/24
Hunger crisis amid drought in Africa; Biden invests billions to decarbonize manufacturing; Melting ice is bending time; America's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm...
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
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'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...


Survival of democracy and rule of law also on docket, as potential for political chaos looms no matter how Court ultimately rules...
By Ernest A. Canning on 2/5/2024 9:05am PT  

Only a month has passed since the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear, on an expedited basis, a legal challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court's determination that Donald J. Trump is disqualified from holding any state or federal office by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment.

Both the CO trial and state Supreme Court expressly found that Trump "engaged in" an "insurrection" on January 6, 2021. The CO Supremes ordered Trump's name removed from the Centennial State's Republican presidential primary ballot. However, the CO Supreme Court stayed their order pending the outcome of a final determination by SCOTUS.

A final SCOTUS decision will likely have profound electoral and constitutional impacts, irrespective of whether our nation's highest court upholds or overturns the CO Supreme Court's ruling...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Despite media punditry, the facts, the law, lightning-fast scheduling and an insulated Judiciary may not bode well for the former President...
By Ernest A. Canning on 1/15/2024 11:35am PT  

As a poll-obsessed media focuses on what many see as a seemingly inevitable contest next November between the former and current Presidents, it has become easy to look past the distinct possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court might bring about a swift end to the 2024 Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump.

By way of a Jan. 5 decision, in Trump v. Anderson, SCOTUS agreed to hear the former President's Jan. 3 legal challenge to the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling, in Anderson v. Griswold. In that case, the high court in CO ruled that, by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment, Trump is an insurrectionist and, therefore, disqualified from running for the Office of President of the United States. The CO ruling has been stayed pending a final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are multiple reasons why the SCOTUS decision to hear this landmark case may not bode well for the former President, even if the many pundits are inclined to believe that a majority of Justices on the High Court will concoct some extra-Constitutional reason to allow him off the hook. Neither the facts, the law, nor published opinions advanced by conservative constitutional scholars support a decision to overturn the CO Supremes' landmark ruling.

While widely overlooked by most in the media, the identity of the parties could also be critically important. The Anderson Respondents --- 4 Republicans and 2 independents eligible to vote in the Colorado Republican Primary --- essentially represent the dwindling number of honest conservatives, who make up what might be described as the Liz Cheney Wing of the GOP.

Unlike Congressional Republican cowards, who know better, yet shamelessly embrace the dangerous Orwellian lies of a would-be dictator, GOP-appointed, life-tenured members of the federal judiciary need not fear being removed from the bench during a primary election by the MAGA base. While Trump sycophants in the U.S. House have demonstrated a willingness to initiate baseless, partisan impeachment inquiries, the prospect of impeachment of any Justice who voted to uphold Colorado's §3 disqualification decision, followed by a 2/3 vote to convict in the Senate, are so remote as to not even be worthy of consideration.

The lightning fast scheduling set forth in the Court's order to hear the CO matter reflects a recognition that, if it upholds the state trial court's factual finding that Trump "engaged" in an "insurrection" and the Colorado Supreme Court's legal determination that Trump is therefore disqualified by reason of §3 of the 14th Amendment, SCOTUS can both prevent the former President from running for office and afford voters --- especially Republican primary voters --- the opportunity to make an informed choice between qualified candidates.

The facts of the case --- if not necessarily the media punditry or courage of our Republican-appointed Supremes --- reflect that reality...

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Caselaw demands judges avoid mere 'appearance' of impropriety...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/19/2023 1:02pm PT  

Constitutional legal scholar Laurence Tribe is charging that federal statute mandates that Donald Trump-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon recuse herself from presiding over United States v. Donald J. Trump.

28 U.S. Code §455(a) provides that...

Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned. (Emphasis added)

The criminal case against the former President is a 37-count indictment related to his alleged unlawful retention of national defense documents, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

Tribe argued that Judge Cannon, in the earlier civil case filed by the former President last year, had not merely been overturned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal but also rebuked for what amounted to a lawless effort to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Her unwarranted intervention was such that, in Tribe's view, "no person could say" that the 455(a) standard mandating recusal "had not been met."

The Harvard law professor is but one of many legal experts calling for Cannon's recusal, as caselaw would appear to support their arguments...

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Guest: Attorney Ernest A. Canning on how Biden can safely avoid default; Also: Suit against Giuliani details how Trump's scheme to steal 2020 was hatched by early 2019; Election results from FL, KY, PA...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2023 6:06pm PT  

Is President Biden falling into a dangerous GOP trap by negotiating the debt ceiling? Our guest on today's BradCast argues that a potential disaster could and should easily be avoided entirely.

BUT FIRST, while we covered the grotesque lawsuit filed by Noelle Dunphy detailing sexual abuse by the repulsive, alleged sexual predator Rudy Giuliani on yesterday's show, I had the chance to read the full 70-page complaint [PDF] this morning. And I discovered one paragraph that I hadn't yet seen reported elsewhere and just want to make sure it gets out there.

Paragraph 124 on page 23 details how Trump and Giuliani, according to Dunphy, already had worked out plans by early 2019 to claim phony "voter fraud" and that the election was stolen, if the then-President turned out to be the loser in 2020.

"On February 7, 2019," the suit alleges, "Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy...about a plan that had been prepared for if Trump lost the 2020 election. Specifically, Giuliani told Ms. Dunphy that Trump's team would claim that there was 'voter fraud' and that Trump had actually won the election."

Just wanted to make sure that gets out there today.

NEXT UP, we cover the reported results of a number of key state and local elections held on Tuesday, with overall very good results for Democrats (again) and some embarrassment for Florida Governor and hapless GOP Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. In an upset victory, voters in Jacksonville --- long the most populous city in the nation with a Republican Mayor --- chose Democrat Donna Deegan to take over. A Republican has served as Mayor there for all but 4 of the past 30 years. Now, it will be run by both a Dem and the city's first-ever female chief executive. That, after DeSantis endorsed her Republican opponent.

That wasn't the only embarrassment for Meatball Ron on Tuesday. In Kentucky, for some reason, he endorsed Trump's former U.N. ambassador at the last minute in the GOP primary for Governor. She came in third by more than 30 points. Trump's choice, Mitch McConnell protege and the state's first Black Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, will run against the popular incumbent Democratic Governor Andy Beshear this November. So, ol' Ron was 0 for 2 on the night, even if the candidate he endorsed in KY was a GOP megadonor that he hopes, I suspect, will want to return the favor by supporting a loser herself next year.

In Philadelphia, moderate Democrat Cherelle Parker emerged victorious from a group of five front-runners, defeating a more progressive Dem to win the primary. The win almost ensures Parker will become the City of Brotherly Love's 100th Mayor this fall, and the very first female, after 99 dudes in a row, to hold the position in the nation's 5th most populous city.

Dems also held on to the majority in Pennsylvania's state House, after narrowly taking it over, by one seat, for the first time in a dozen years in February. On Tuesday, the Democratic candidate won a seat in the state House recently vacated by a Dem accused of sexual harassment. In PA, the House sets the agenda for the entire state legislature, where Republicans still control the Senate.

And, Republicans may have dodged a bullet on Tuesday in the Keystone State when the only judge in the nation to rule in favor of blocking certification of the 2020 Presidential race lost the GOP primary to a not-insane Republican who will run against a Dem this fall for a recently vacated seat on the state's Supreme Court. No matter what happens in the general election, Democrats will retain a majority on the court in the critical battleground state.

FINALLY, an ever-optimistic President Biden on Wednesday announced that he will cut his planned overseas trip short to return to Washington on Sunday to finish what he believes is a possible deal to prevent the GOP from forcing the federal government into defaulting on our debts for the first time in history. We'll see if he's right about that. The Treasury Department warns that, without Congress raising the debt ceiling, we'll hit the dumb statutory debt limit as early as June 1, barring Treasury from borrowing more money to pay the bills for stuff that Congress and Presidents of both parties have already committed to paying for. Economic calamity would likely ensue in the U.S. and even across the globe if that happens.

But is it even necessary to play along with far-right Republicans hell-bent on holding the nation and world economy hostage to their pretend concerns about spending and debt? A number of Constitutional law experts, including Harvard's well-respected Laurence Tribe, argue that it is not. That the 14th Amendment makes clear: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts ... shall not be questioned."

We're joined today by BRAD BLOG's longtime legal analyst, ERNEST A. CANNING, who agrees with Tribe and his argument that, in fact, there is no one who actually has the legal standing to sue the Biden Administration if he simply instructs Treasury to keep paying the nation's bills, as required by law, whether Congress raises the debt ceiling or not. Canning recently wrote an article explaining how a simple Executive Order from the President would do the trick.

But wouldn't litigating over the matter --- even the act of determining if, say, the GOP House had standing to sue --- still end up crashing the markets? Canning explains why he believes that will not happen and why Biden's concerns about invoking the 14th Amendment are unwarranted.

We also discuss Canning's recent article on how Ronald Reagan's veto of a 1987 bill to codify the FCC's Fairness Doctrine into law, led directly to the January 6 insurrection and the extreme threat that U.S. democracy now faces...

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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The President should direct the Treasury Department to honor the nation's debt with or without Congressional action. As Laurence Tribe argues, Republicans would have no legal standing to challenge such an Order...
UPDATE 5/22/23: Biden can also agree to injunction compelling Treasury to honor debt...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/15/2023 10:35am PT  

President Biden has, at his disposal, a simple, yet elegant solution to the Republican-manufactured debt ceiling crisis/hostage-taking effort.

On a legal level, as Harvard's Constitutional law expert, Laurence Tribe, points out, Biden can avert an unprecedented and catastrophic U.S. Government default on its Congressionally-created debt by invoking a critical provision of the U.S. Constitution to order the Government to continue borrowing as needed in order to pay for spending that has already been incurred. On a practical level, he could do so by issuing a simple Executive Order directing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to honor the nation's debt, irrespective of whether or not Congress passes a bill to increase the debt ceiling.

The President and his administration, Tribe contends, are required to make Congressionally-mandated payments, even if doing so requires borrowing sums beyond the existing statutory limit.

In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, Tribe joined others who have long argued that Section 4 of the 14th Amendment provides that "the 'validity' of the public debt 'shall not be questioned' --- ever!" He spelled out, in no uncertain terms, that, "after passing the spending that created these debts in the first place", Congress does not have the power to "invoke an arbitrary dollar limit to force the president...to do its bidding."

In the editorial, Tribe advised the President to remind Congress that he's "bound" by his Oath of Office "to prevent the country from defaulting on its debts."

In response to Tribe's advice, Biden, mentioning him by name, said he'd "been considering the 14th Amendment...but the problem would have to be litigated." He added: "In the meantime, without an extension, it would still end up in the same place."

Biden may have misunderstood the ramifications of Professor Tribe's analysis...

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ALSO: JURY FINDS TRUMP LIABLE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE, DEFAMATION, AWARDS E. JEAN CARROLL $5 MILLION...
By Brad Friedman on 5/9/2023 6:43pm PT  

On today's BradCast: It's official. Our former President has now been found liable by a federal jury for sexual assault. And, it's not a matter of partisanship, but a matter of facts and evidence. The Republican Party has now clearly become a Party of Terrorism in these United States. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Among the stories backing up those assertions on today's program...

  • A federal jury in New York on Tuesday, after no more than three hours of deliberation, found Donald J. Trump to liable for sexual abuse and defamation against magazine writer E. Jean Carroll after what she described as a rape in a New York department store in the 1990s. The jury in the civil case ordered Trump to pay some $5 million in damages to Carroll, even as he continued to lie about her both before and after the jury's unanimous decision.
  • Nations around the world are now warning their citizens to take precautions when traveling to the U.S. due to all the terrorism, specifically the gun-violence by domestic-terrorists which the Republican Party refuses to do anything about. Instead, like Texas Governor Greg Abbott --- who has presided over an untold number of mass murders carried out with AR-15 and similar weapons in his state during his three terms as Governor --- they are pretending (again) that the real issue isn't the easy availability of weapons of war, but "mental health". And yet, at the same time, Republicans like Abbott have slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from, you guessed it, mental health care, even while working hard to both take health care away from folks who need it entirely and make it easier for those with and without mental health issues to buy still more high-powered, military-style weapons.
  • We now know the identities of the 8 killed in the weekend mass murder at the Allen, Texas outlet mall, allegedly carried out by a neo-Nazi who echoed many ideas expressed by Republicans in his social media postings. One Korean American six-year old became an orphan during the weekend rampage as his mother, father and younger brother were all killed in the shooting. Two sisters in grade school were also murdered at the same time, along with a mall security guard and several others.
  • Over the same weekend, a 14-year old girl, miraculously, wasn't killed in Louisiana, even though she was shot in the head by a man who saw shadows outside of his house and started shooting at them. The shadows were of neighborhood children playing hide and seek. But, at least the 58-year old man bravely "stood his ground" against the "threat". Yet another victory for the Republican Party of Terror.
  • All of that as the Dept. of Justice Sentencing Memo we discussed on yesterday's program, "throwing the book" at the rightwing, Trump-supporting militia group Oath Keepers for their seditious conspiracy on January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, included a request for increased penalties for "terrorism" in the addition to the charges for which the conspirators were previously found guilty.
  • If being the Party of Terror by Murder and Terror by Insurrection wasn't enough for today's Republicans, they are now working on adding the Party of Economic Terror to their list of accomplishments. With the "X-Date" now looming for when the U.S. Government runs out of borrowing authority to pay its bills --- including payments for decades of stuff mandated by Congress and Presidents of both parties --- the U.S. is facing the real possibility of default for the first time in its history. That's because House Republicans are, so far, refusing to simply vote to raise or ignore the dumb debt ceiling law unless the White House agrees to cut billions of dollars in spending on food assistance, health care (including for veterans) and much more. If the U.S. defaults on its debts and its ability to pay interest on loans, social security checks and salaries to the military (and much, much more), we could see a financial calamity in world markets and economies as early as June 1, according to the Treasury Department.

    If Republicans shoot the proverbial hostage this time around, the Biden Administration is reportedly considering invoking Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, the text of which states clearly, in pertinent part: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred ...shall not be questioned."

    Under this theory, the Treasury Department would simply continue to borrow, as needed, in order to pay bills already incurred, even if Republicans refuse to lift the Debt Limit. Remember, the Executive Branch is required, by law, to pay bills that Congress already mandated be paid. If the Government runs out of money and can't pay its bills, it would be in violation of myriad laws. On the other hand, if Treasury borrows money to pay our bills without the Debt Ceiling limit being raised by Congress, it would also be violating the law, albeit only that one, dumb one and, arguably, the U.S. Constitution. Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe explains all of this in a weekend op-ed at the New York Times in which he details his reasons for having changed his mind about the debt limit.

  • But, as Simon Rosenberg observed over the weekend, "If there was a terror org operating inside the US, how would it look any different then what we're seeing," from today's Republican Party? Good question, Simon. If al-Qaeda or ISIS had helped people obtain weapons to kill thousands of Americans, attempted to overthrow the U.S. Government in an insurrection and threatened to crash the U.S. and world economies, I suspect we'd have been in an actual shooting war with them long ago...

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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Anticipated court rulings will determine whether Trump's corrupt political influence will expand from a compromised DOJ to the Judiciary...
UPDATE : Sharply divided Appellate Panel orders District Court to dismiss Flynn case. UPDATE 7/10/20: District Court petitions full DC Circuit for en banc rehearing. UPDATE 7/30/20: DC Circuit grants en banc review; vacates panel's order. UPDATE: 9/2/20 DC Circuit denies Flynn's writ petition...
By Ernest A. Canning on 6/17/2020 11:33am PT  

This is about far more than the fate of Michael Flynn.

Last week, in an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief [PDF], former federal prosecutor John Gleeson, a retired federal judge, together with a number of renowned attorneys and constitutional scholars, offered a scathing condemnation of the William Barr-led Department of Justice. Gleeson denounced the DOJ's "corrupt" and "politically motivated" effort to dismiss the long-running case against Flynn, Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor, who, the brief describes as a "political ally of the President."

The issue at stake in this case is not only on a matter of accountability for Trump's disgraced former National Security Advisor. It also entails a question of whether the corrupt political influence the President has exerted over an ethically compromised Attorney General will now flow into and compromise a co-equal branch of government, the federal Judiciary...

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AG Barr ordered to hand over grand jury transcripts, exhibits redacted from the Mueller Report to Congress by October 30
UPDATE 10/29/19: DC Circuit Court of Appeal Grants Temporary Stay of Order to Release Grand Jury Materials...
By Ernest A. Canning on 10/28/2019 9:35am PT  

In her landmark, 75-page decision filed on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell did much more than simply grant a motion filed by the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) to compel the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide it with grand jury materials from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe that had been previously concealed. In that same order, the court systematically demolished every quasi-legal objection the DOJ and White House have raised in their specious efforts to interfere with an ongoing and lawful impeachment inquiry.

The core question raised by HJC's motion was whether the court should order the DOJ to release pertinent grand jury materials in accordance with Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Although grand jury testimony and exhibits are ordinarily kept secret, Rule 6(e) authorizes a court to order the disclosure of such materials "preliminarily to" or "in connection with a judicial proceeding" when there is a "particularized need" for disclosure.

Judge Howell suggested that a House impeachment inquiry, in and of itself, may be considered a "judicial proceeding". She concluded, however, that the court did not have to reach that issue because the HJC was correct in its assertion that its impeachment inquiry was "preliminary to" a judicial proceeding.

In her erudite decision, Howell cited historical practice, the Federalist Papers, the text of the Constitution, and both Supreme Court and binding DC Circuit Court of Appeals precedent. All of these make it abundantly clear: U.S. Senate impeachment trials are "judicial proceedings". Indeed, the DOJ's contrary position is not only at odds with the appellate decision in Haldeman v. Sirica (1974) but also with the DOJ's own legal position in that Watergate-era decision. The DOJ was unable to satisfactorily explain why, under Attorney General William P. Barr, it had changed its previous, long-standing legal position.

The "particularized need" to release the materials arises, in this instance, because Mueller, in deference to the opinions of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) that a sitting President may not be indicted,* refrained from reaching conclusions about the legality or illegality of the President's conduct. "This," the court observed, "leaves the House as the only federal body that can act on allegations of presidential misconduct." Yet, the court observed, "under the DOJ's reading of Rule 6(e), the Executive Branch would be empowered to wall off any evidence of presidential misconduct from the House by placing that evidence before a grand jury."

The DOJ's contentions were, thus, not simply wrong but untenable. "In carrying out the weighty constitutional duty of determining whether impeachment of the President is warranted," Judge Howell observed at the outset of her opinion, "Congress need not redo the nearly two years of effort spent on the Special Counsel's investigation, nor risk being mislead by witnesses, who may have provided information to the grand jury and the Special Counsel that varies with what they tell HJC."

Had she stopped there, Judge Howell's ruling would be significant. Her demolition of every argument against the validity of the impeachment inquiry that has been presented by the DOJ, by the White House and by some Republican members of Congress, however, was nothing short of breathtaking...

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Two federal courts uphold Legislative oversight of the Executive Branch...
By Ernest A. Canning on 5/27/2019 2:37pm PT  

The federal courts, so far anyway, are holding up well amidst the Constitutional Crisis foisted upon the nation with President Donald Trump's attempts to stymie all Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch and the potentially criminal record of its chief occupant. The Judicial Branch firewall, at least according to one renowned Constitutional law expert --- and at least on the matter of the Congressional subpoenas --- should hold up all the way to even the otherwise very divided U.S. Supreme Court.

On May 20, just seven days after hearing oral arguments, United States D.C. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta issued an erudite 41-page decision [PDF] in which he ordered Donald Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight Committee. Both the subpoena and subsequent court order directs Mazars to provide financial records from Trump and several affiliated entities to the panel. Judge Mehta also denied Trump's request to stay the order pending appeal, reasoning that the President had failed to either cite "potentially persuasive authority" or "present serious legal questions" to overcome nearly 140 years of Supreme Court case law establishing the right of Congress to obtain the requested records as part of its broad investigative authority.

Judge Mehta's rationale was so compelling --- and the "legal" arguments advanced on behalf of the President so specious --- that, when Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, a preeminent constitutional expert appeared on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell following the ruling, he predicted the President's appeal would not only be swiftly denied by the United States D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal, but that the Supreme Court would either deny the President's request that it hear the case or swiftly affirm the District Court decision. Tribe described the law in this realm as a "slam dunk" and said he'd "expect all nine Justices...would follow the law."

It took only one day for Tribe's sentiment to be echoed elsewhere. Citing Mehta's decision, Judge Edgardo Ramos at the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, issued a bench ruling immediately after oral arguments in a separate, if related case. Ramos directed Deutsche Bank and Capital One to comply with a Congressional subpoena to turn over the President's bank records. That subpoena, according to The New York Times, seeks "to elicit information on potential money laundering and bank fraud." Like Mehta, Judge Ramos refused to issue a stay pending appeal...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 3/10/2017 9:54am PT  

The never before utilized Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (full text posted below) may provide the most efficient lawful means to facilitate a swift end to the madness brought on by the Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

The real issue is not whether Donald Trump --- an utterly dishonest raging authoritarian narcissist and "pathological liar" --- should be removed from office. Instead, the focus should be on which of two alternative constitutional means for removing this miscreant from office has the best chance of ultimately succeeding.

Impeachment is a cumbersome process that, assuming the GOP-controlled Congress would permit it, entails lengthy investigative hearings, and the introduction of Articles of Impeachment alleging High Crimes and Misdemeanors --- Articles that must be approved by a majority of the House. This would be followed by a trial in the Senate. Trump would then be removed from office only if two-thirds of the Senate votes to convict. Tall orders for both Republican-majority chambers, to say the least.

Throughout the length of those protracted proceedings, Trump would remain in office with access to the nuclear codes.

In his recent New York Times op-ed, Nicholas Kristof, quoting Harvard's renowned Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, opined that the 25th Amendment offered a viable means for removing Trump from office. Per the language of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, if Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of Trump's own cabinet transmitted to the leaders of the House and Senate "their written declaration that [Trump] is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President." The burden would then shift to Trump to submit "his written declaration that no inability exists." If he submits a declaration contending that he is able to carry out the duties of his office, Trump would not be permanently removed unless two-thirds of both Houses of Congress upheld the Vice President's declaration.

Irrespective of the legal bases for impeachment --- such as Trump's corrupt and remarkably overt violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clauses --- it is unlikely that a GOP-controlled Congress would be willing to entertain, let alone vote to impeach a Republican President. This would especially be true if, as is likely, the Articles of Impeachment were introduced by Democratic members of the House.

By contrast, as observed by Lawrence O'Donnell during a Feb. 20 airing of The Last Word (see video below) --- if successfully invoked, the 25th Amendment would pit Republicans against Republicans: to wit, Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet against Trump and a minority of the cabinet. If the chaos that is the Trump administration continues and potentially threatens GOP majority rule in either or both houses of Congress in 2018, there's a distinct possibility that, as predicted by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the dynamics within the GOP could undergo a significant change. If he could overcome loyalty to the man who named him as his running mate, Pence and a majority of the cabinet could legally initiate a swift end to the Trump presidency.

That's a lot of "ifs"...and even if they all came to pass, there is more to think about regarding this path...

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