On today's BradCast: The President's defense team picked up on Monday where they left off on Saturday in their Opening (and potentially Closing) Argument in the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald John Trump. But that defense was hit with a major bombshell by the New York Times on Sunday which could (emphasis on "could") turn out to be a game-changer for the previously expected course of this trial. [Audio link to program is posted at the end of this summary.]
But first, and before we eventually open the phones today, a few updates on the tragic Sunday death of Los Angeles Lakers' legend and NBC icon Kobe Bryant, who was killed along with his 13-year old daughter and seven others during a helicopter ride on a very foggy day just outside of L.A. While the shocking death of the 41-year old Bryant has reverberated around the globe, the pain of his loss was particularly acute here in Los Angeles yesterday.
In other Los Angeles news with national implications, we've got a bit more information on Friday's "conditional certification" [PDF] by CA Sec. of State Alex Padilla of L.A. County's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting system set for first-time use in the upcoming March 3rd Super Tuesday Presidential primaries. Among the updates, we've got a bit more information on the so-called "hand-marked paper ballot" that Padiila has ordered be made available at Voting Centers "for any voter that requests to cast" one. It will, according to the Secretary's mandate, be a "write-in absentee ballot," modeled on the Federal Voting Assistance Program's federal write-in absentee ballot [PDF] --- meant as a ballot of last resort for overseas voters who do not receive a normal absentee ballot in time to cast a vote --- that requires voters to write in all of the names of the offices and candidates for which they would like to vote. As much confusion and chaos as L.A. County's new, $300,000,000 "Voting Solutions for All People" or VSAP voting system is likely to cause at the polls this year, the provision for a second-rate, hand-marked "write-in ballot" as the only means for casting a hand-marked ballot at the polling place, is likely to make things even more chaotic. We detail that, and a few other points related to the certification of the new system on Friday, despite a newly filed lawsuit and warnings from cybersecurity and voting systems experts after its failure to meet more than 40 California Voting System Standards, according to the independent testers hired to analyze the system during Padilla's certification process.
Next it's on to the President's lawyers' case being presented once again as we went to air today, in the U.S. Senate, where Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr, the Special Prosecutor who recommended impeachment against Bill Clinton for lying about an affair) argued hypocritically that Trump could not Constitutionally be impeached for Abuse of Power (Article 1 of the two Impeachment Articles against him), even though Starr's own recent book on impeachment explains that Abuse of Power was the capstone of Clinton's impeachment case in 1998. That, and his argument that impeachment was just too divisive to put the country through without a bi-partisan political consensus was a bit hard to stomach for those of us old enough to remember the Clinton impeachment.
But the most noteworthy Impeachment-related news today is John Bolton, Trump's former National Security Advisor, reportedly charging in a manuscript of his new book, according to the New York Times, that Trump was directly involved in the unlawful freeze of $391 million allocated to Ukrainian for military assistance, unless the Ukrainians agreed to turn over documents related to an investigation of Joe Biden meant to help Trump's 2020 reelection changes. That alleged Abuse of Power is at the heart of Trump's impeachment, and the manuscript of Bolton's forthcoming book reportedly charges that Attorney General Bill Barr, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and Trump's Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were all directly aware of the scheme, according to the Times blockbuster report.
That explosive news on Sunday has, according to several different news outlets, led a number of key GOP Senators to rethink their previous votes against calling for new witnesses and documents in the Senate Trial. Will four or more Republican Senators now agree to vote in favor of subpoenaing Bolton and other related (and/or unrelated) witnesses? That appears to be the question of the moment in this matter as we go to air today, and one we open up to discuss with callers near the end of today's program...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)