…pace yourself [DOT 22/9/22]

even sisyphus would sympathise...

…it’s gonna be…well…I guess it’s gonna be a lot of things…but there’s a strong chance one of ’em is going be exhausting…october’s on the doorstep & hot on its heels come those mid-terms in november

Law enforcement activity has not pushed these false electors from their political perches.

Instead, with just two months until the midterms, more than two dozen of the individuals who served as phony electors still hold some of the highest-ranking political posts in their state parties. They’re also interwoven into the GOP infrastructure across seven battleground states that will determine the balance of Congress in November and the next presidential race two years later, according to a review by NBC News.
The Trump effort, which even his own White House counsel said was not “legally sound,” according to Jan. 6 committee testimony, was ultimately unsuccessful. But the committee has presented testimony that members of Trump’s team plotted the scenario in advance of what ultimately led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. A Trump spokesman declined to comment.

Now, at least four false electors are running for public office and have already won their Republican primaries this year, including for lieutenant governor in Georgia. Two others are serving as paid campaign staffers for major Republicans like Arizona U.S. Senate nominee Blake Masters and Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. In Nevada, one fake elector is the chief election official of his county, while another in Wisconsin, Bob Spindell, serves on the state’s elections commission, a panel that makes critical decisions around election fraud. After the elector scheme came into fuller view last year, the Wisconsin state senate’s majority leader reappointed Spindell to a five-year term, calling him a “fighter” when “election integrity is on the line.”

Three of those who submitted their names on a slate of false electors are the chairs of their respective state Republican parties. Michael McDonald, Nevada’s GOP chair and a staunch Trump supporter, had his cellphone seized by the FBI in June, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to NBC News. Arizona’s Republican chair, Kelli Ward, and her husband have been served with grand jury subpoenas and are fighting the panel’s request for her phone records. And Georgia GOP Chair David Shafer was subpoenaed by the Department of Justice.

False electors remain in influential posts and retain their political bully pulpits, which could be used to continue perpetuating theories of false election results and encouraging attempts to upend the next round of elections, said Sarah Longwell, a longtime Republican and executive director of the Republican Accountability Project, a group that opposes Trump.

Longwell argued the false electors are an extension of what’s become a litmus test in the Republican Party: election denialism.

…& it’s not like the senate is exactly august as things stand

The Presidential Election Reform Act was written and introduced earlier this week by Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., two members of the Jan. 6 select committee.

The bill would amend the 1887 Electoral Count Act to remove any doubt that the vice president’s role in counting Electoral College votes is simply ministerial. It would lift the threshold for members of Congress to force a vote on discounting presidential electors from just one member of the House and the Senate each to one-third of both chambers. And it would require governors to send electors to Congress for the candidate who won, based on state law set before Election Day, which cannot be retroactively changed.

Democrats unanimously supported the bill and were joined by just nine Republicans; 203 Republicans voted “no.”
“If your aim is to prevent future efforts to steal elections, I would respectfully suggest that conservatives should support this bill,” Cheney said on the floor. “If instead, your aim is to leave open the door for elections to be stolen in the future, you might decide not to support this or any other bill to address the Electoral Count Act.”
The legislation now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan group led by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, has spent months working on a similar bill that will be reviewed by the Senate Rules Committee next Tuesday. It currently has 20 co-sponsors — 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats, enough to reach the 60-vote threshold to pass if Democrats unify behind it.

…broken record, I know…but whatever prize those two have their eye on…it doesn’t seem to be one their nominal affiliation would imply

Congressional staffers and environmental groups tell The Lever that they have seen no reliable analyses comprehensively quantifying the climate effects of the initiative. In short: lawmakers appear to be proceeding without any data, even though a draft version of the pipeline bill has been in the public domain since early last month.

This is a deliberate deception. After all, last month, Democratic leaders waved around projections of emissions reductions to portray their Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a weapon to combat climate change. Indeed, to deflect questions about why fossil fuel companies were lauding the bill, party leaders and their media acolytes pointed to studies – one by an institution with ties to fossil fuel giants – asserting that even with its provisions expanding oil and gas development, the legislation would result in a huge net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

That was the bait, now here’s the switch: those studies did not take into account the pipeline legislation that the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, says was an integral “part of the IRA”. And now neither Schumer nor the groups that created the previous emissions reductions projections are releasing similar analyses about the pipeline proposal that Congress could vote on as soon as this week.

The initiative, which is backed by the Biden administration, was originally negotiated between Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin – respectively Congress’s top recipients of utility and fossil fuel industry campaign cash. Though the final text of the measure is still secret, an early leaked draft was emblazoned with the watermark of a powerful oil and gas industry lobbying group.
Pipeline approvals are not some unimportant side issue in the fight to halt climate change – they are central, according to data from researchers at Michigan Technological University. Their recent study found that pipelines account for nearly half of the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions, because the infrastructure accelerates the distribution and use of fossil fuels.

That is in addition to emissions from natural gas pipeline leaks of methane, which is a particularly potent greenhouse gas. Such pipeline leaks are releasing millions of metric tons of methane every year, according to government data cited by the Environmental Defense Fund.

What’s more, congressional investigators earlier this year found that “oil and gas companies have internal data showing that methane emission rates from the sector are likely significantly higher than official data reported to [the Environmental Protection Agency] would indicate”.
“Just looking at a couple pipelines and our public lands gives you a sense of how much damage this could do,” said Jamie Henn, a co-founder of 350.org and director of Fossil Free Media, which is backing a coalition of 1,200 groups opposing the pipeline deal. “The Mountain Valley pipeline is estimated to have the lifetime emissions of approximately 25 coal-fired power plants, the Line 3 pipeline that Biden refused to stop is estimated to have the equivalent emissions of 50 coal-fired power plants, and one-quarter of US emissions since 2005 have come from public lands, which Manchin and the GOP want to open up for more drilling. Start adding these up and we’re talking serious emissions.”

…so…yeah…the democrats don’t entirely smell of roses

For instance: employees from one of the companies leading the West Virginia pipeline project have been funneling cash to Manchin and Schumer – to the point where they are now this election cycle’s second and fifth largest contributors to the duo, respectively. That same company, NextEra, has also dumped more than $400,000 into Democrats’ House and Senate campaign committees.

In all, Democratic candidates and committees have vacuumed in more than $13m from donors in the fossil fuel, utility and pipeline industries. Meanwhile, Manchin and Schumer’s former staffers have been hired to lobby for pipeline and utility companies.

…back to that problem with scale, I guess

A single pound of SF6 heats the planet as much as 25,200 pounds of carbon dioxide and remains in the atmosphere for 3,200 years, according to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. SF6 is one of several long-lived, synthetic, fluorine-containing chemicals that are released by heavy industry, chemical manufacturers, semiconductor-makers and electric utilities according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA, which does not regulate emissions of any of these potent greenhouse gases, notes that once they are released, they are “essentially permanent additions to the atmosphere.

In 2020, Duke Energy, which provides electricity in six states, leaked nearly 11 metric tons of SF6 into the atmosphere from its electric substations in North and South Carolina alone, more than any other utility in the nation, according to mandatory reports the company files with the EPA each year, reviewed by Inside Climate News. The emissions were equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of more than 59,000 automobiles, according to the EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalency calculator.
While other utilities have participated for decades in a voluntary program with the EPA to reduce SF6 emissions to next to nothing, Duke Energy has not. Duke Energy’s leak rate in North and South Carolina, where it reports combined emissions from subsidiaries Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress as a single entity, was 5.2% in 2020, or more than five times higher than the average leak rate of utilities that participate in the EPA’s voluntary emissions reduction program.
The leading users, and emitters, of sulfur hexafluoride are electric utilities that use the gas as an insulator to prevent electrical equipment from arcing, or sending an electric current jumping through the air, and in high-voltage circuit breakers to quickly interrupt electric current. The gas is housed in pressurized tanks at utility substations, and a small amount is often emitted either through equipment leaks or improper handling during servicing or disposal of the gas.
Now, the 88 utilities that are current members of the EPA emissions reduction program, representing nearly half of the U.S. electric grid, are eyeing ways to eliminate SF6 emissions entirely.

Unless the rate at which utilities leak SF6 decreases, U.S. emissions will likely grow along with the electric grid. Recent studies suggest the electric grid will have to increase its transmission capacity to two to five times its current level by midcentury if the U.S. is to meet its net-zero emissions goals.
In 2009, the EPA determined that SF6 threatened “the public health and welfare of current and future generations” in part of a sweeping “endangerment finding” on greenhouse gases. Thirteen years later, the agency continues to rely on voluntary measures for SF6 emission reductions.
The largely unregulated class of synthetic, fluorine-containing chemicals became known as “the immortals” because of how long they remain in the atmosphere. The human-made compounds — which also include tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and hexafluoroethane (C2F6) — are some of the most potent and longest-lasting greenhouse gases on the planet. Tetrafluoromethane, which is a byproduct of aluminum manufacturing, is the longest-lived of all. It has an atmospheric lifetime of 50,000 years.

The chemicals share the same fluorine-based chemistry as per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances, the toxic “forever chemicals” linked to cancer that are used in everything from nonstick coating on pots and pans to fast-food packaging, water-repellent clothing and cosmetics.
Global emissions of these long-lived “F” gases in 2018 equaled the climate impact of 264 million tons of carbon dioxide, based on an Inside Climate News assessment of the European Union’s Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research.

The figure is roughly half of 1% of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, far smaller than yearly emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary driver of climate change. However, the emissions are still significant, equal to the greenhouse gas emissions of putting an extra 57 million automobiles on the road each year, according the EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalency calculator — and driving those cars for thousands of years.

…there’s a lot of people vying for attention

António Guterres said that “polluters must pay” for the escalating damage caused by heatwaves, floods, drought and other climate impacts, and demanded that it was “high time to put fossil fuel producers, investors and enablers on notice”.
Guterres’s appeal came in his most urgent, and bleakest, speech to date on the state of the planet, and the will of governments to change course.

His first words were: “Our world is in big trouble.”

“Let’s have no illusions. We are in rough seas. A winter of global discontent is on the horizon, a cost-of-living crisis is raging, trust is crumbling, inequalities are exploding and our planet is burning,” he told the assembly. “We have a duty to act and yet we are gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction. The international community is not ready or willing to tackle the big dramatic challenges of our age.”
“The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time,” he added. “It must be the first priority of every government and multilateral organization. And yet climate action is being put on the back burner – despite overwhelming public support around the world.”

“We have a rendezvous with climate disaster … The hottest summers of today may be the coolest summers of tomorrow. Once-in-a-lifetime climate shocks may soon become once-a-year events. And with every climate disaster, we know that women and girls are the most affected. The climate crisis is a case study in moral and economic injustice.”

Governments must stage an “intervention” to break their addiction to fossil fuels, Guterres said, by targeting not only the extractive companies themselves but the entire infrastructure of businesses that support them.

“That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution,” said the secretary general.

“And it includes the massive public relations machine raking in billions to shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny. Just as they did for the tobacco industry decades before, lobbyists and spin doctors have spewed harmful misinformation. Fossil fuel interests need to spend less time averting a PR disaster – and more time averting a planetary one.”

…while a great many others are too busy trying to put food on the table

Only two companies control 40% of the global commercial seed market, compared with 10 companies controlling the same proportion of the market 25 years ago, according to the ETC Group, an eco-justice organisation.

Agricultural commodity trading is similarly concentrated, with 10 commodity traders in 2020 dominating a market worth half a trillion dollars.
Chinese companies are also coming to the fore, according to the ETC Group’s latest 141-page report published on Thursday. The Chinese state-owned company Cofco is now the world’s second-biggest agricultural commodity trader, behind only Cargill of the US, with sales in 2020 of just over $100bn (£89bn), compared with $134bn for Cargill.
Syngenta, the seed, pesticides and biotech company, is now majority owned by the Chinese government through Sinochem and ChemChina. The group controlled about a quarter of the global market in agricultural chemicals in 2020, with $15bn in sales, far greater than its nearest rivals Bayer and BASF.

Two of the other Top 10 agrochemicals companies are also Chinese, as is the seventh big synthetic fertiliser company, Sinofert.
Jim Thomas, of ETC Group, said the increasing market dominance of a small number of companies was concerning, particularly at a time of high and rising food prices, a gathering climate crisis and biodiversity crisis. “Power over the global food system is being concentrated in a very small number of hands, and we should be concerned about that,” he said.

He added that increasing digitisation was also working to consolidate that power further, by making it possible for companies to avoid transparency, automate transactions and influence consumer demand. He also warned that agricultural workers were in danger of being thrown off the land as robotic technology began to be used in an increasing number of countries.

“We uncovered a vast digital restructuring of the commercial food system, including AI, robots, drones, blockchains,” he said. “Concerns include manipulating customers, taking decision-making away from farmers, replacing and algorithmically controlling food chain workers, and the climate costs of the data use.”

…& when churchill made that crack about how bad a system of government democracy was…the cigar-chomping bugger wasn’t exactly blowing smoke

I think people are making a grave mistake of applying principles of law to Trump’s legal maneuvering.

Trump’s lawyers are not making arguments about law.

If there were lawyers concerned about principles of justice participating in his defense, they’d be stridently advising him to work on a plea deal admitting guilt to 18 USC 2071, removing government documents, maybe even agreeing to the probably unconstitutional part of the law that would prohibit him from running for President again, in exchange for removing the more serious 18 USC 793 and 1519 charges from consideration. Such a plea deal is never going to happen. Win or lose, Trump is pursuing power, not adjudication under the law, not even recognition of the law.

One way you can be certain about that is because Evan Corcoran, who got his and Steve Bannon’s asses handed to them in Carl Nichols’ courtroom making legally ridiculous arguments that treat Executive Privilege as a theory of impunity applicable to everyone who is loyal to Trump, has taken from that setback not that his claims about Executive Privilege are ignorant and wrong. Instead, he has doubled down on that approach with Eric Herschmann (and probably the Two Pats, Cipollone and Philbin), undoubtedly believing that so long as he can delay the time until Bannon reports to prison and Trump’s former White House Counsels testify about what really went down on January 6, his people can reclaim Executive authority and make all this go away.

He’s definitely not wrong that he can delay the time until Bannon is jailed, and he may not be wrong about the rest of it.

Four years ago last week, Paul Manafort entered into a plea agreement with Mueller’s team and then promptly started lying about matters to which he had already confessed to get the plea deal in the first place. Manafort managed to sustain the appearance of cooperation through the mid-term election, after which Trump took action that would have been politically problematic before it — firing Jeff Sessions and hiring Billy Barr. Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort had lied during his plea deal. But it didn’t matter. Trump and Barr spent the next two years erasing every legal judgment against him and the Trump flunkies that had remained loyal, erasing Manafort’s conviction and even his forfeiture. They erased a good deal of evidence that he conspired with Russia to get elected in the process. In the end, everyone who played a part in this process ended up better off — in significant part because the process, especially Barr’s part in it, has never been fully reported for what it was. Trump even used the ensuing process of discrediting the Russian investigation as a means to train Republicans — along with likely Fox viewers like Aileen Cannon — to believe he was mistreated in the Russian investigation, when the opposite is the case.

Along the way, Trump did grave damage to rule of law and undermined trust in US institutions. For him, that was a side benefit of the process, but a very important and lasting benefit, indeed.

He’s undoubtedly trying to play the same trick again: Stall the investigation past the election, and then (seemingly confident that Republicans will win at least one house of Congress, by democracy or by deceit) flip the entire investigation into yet another example where Trump has not flouted the law, but instead the law has failed to recognize Trump’s impunity from it.
Trump’s goal here is not any final determinations from Dearie (absent a determination that the FBI was mean to Trump just like they were to Carter Page). Cannon’s order fairly obviously invites Trump to contest Dearie’s ultimate decisions so she can de novo decide the issues. Trump’s goal is undoubtedly (because it always is) to create conflict, to sow an invented narrative that DOJ is out to get him. And Trump’s optimal outcome is not necessarily even that Cannon will say Trump declassified all these documents, including some of the Intelligence Community’s crown jewels. Such a proposition might even piss off a few of the Republicans who’ve not entirely lost their mind, until such time as Trump convinces them through the process of repetition and demonization that the IC should never have been spying on (say) Russia in the first place.

Trump’s goal here is to sustain the conflict until such time as Jim Jordan can save him, and the two of them can resume their frontal assault on rule of law again.

All Cannon needs to do to serve that end is at some point, after the election, declare that Trump’s claims about classification, even if incorrect and foolish, are reasonable for a former President. That’s all it would take to make it prohibitively difficult for future prosecutors to indict the 793 charges. This is the same way Barr made it prohibitively difficult for prosecutors to charge outstanding Mueller charges, notwithstanding the number of self-imagined liberals who blame Merrick Garland for that damage.

[…] Cannon used those potentially privileged documents as the harm she hung her authority to wade in on. If Dearie rules that — as DOJ has repeatedly claimed — these documents were pulled out not because they really are privileged, but only because they set the bar for potential privilege so low as to ensure nothing was reviewed, then it takes one of the three harms that Cannon has manufactured off the table. Every time a claimed harm is taken off the table, another basis for Cannon’s power grab, and another basis from which to claim conflict, is eliminated.

Trump needs to forestall that from happening until such time as he has created more conflict, more claimed injury.
It doesn’t have to be true or legally sound. It needs to be a conflict that can be sustained long enough to let Cannon decide, and decide in such a way that Trump keeps claiming he’s the victim.

Like I said, Corcoran may not be wrong that this will work. A lot depends on what the 11th Circuit decides. But a lot, too, depends on commentators continuing to treat this as a good faith legal dispute when instead it’s just more manufactured conflict.

…& part of the problem…if only in terms of having to endure the coverage…much less the eventual outcome…is that the scale of bullshit required to obscure the sheer acreage of what might charitably be described as a preponderance of evidence indicating guilt…that’s just plain unpleasant to contemplate…& the circus is absolutely both coming & likely going to town

Conservative activist Virginia Thomas, the wife of supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with the House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection, her lawyer said Wednesday.
Thomas’s willingness to testify comes as the committee is preparing to wrap up its work before the end of the year and is writing a final report laying out its findings about the US Capitol insurrection. The panel announced Wednesday that it will reconvene for a hearing on 28 September, likely the last in a series of hearings that began this summer.
The extent of Thomas’ involvement ahead of the Capitol attack is unknown. In the days after news organizations called the presidential election for Biden, Thomas emailed two lawmakers in Arizona to urge them to choose “a clean slate of electors” and “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure”. The Associated Press obtained the emails earlier this year under the state’s open records law.
Thomas, a Trump supporter long active in conservative causes, has repeatedly maintained that her political activities posed no conflict of interest with the work of her husband.
Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenting voice when the supreme court ruled in January to allow a congressional committee access to presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritten notes relating to the January 6 attack.

It’s unclear if the hearing would provide a general overview of what the panel has learned or if it would be focused on new information and evidence, such as an interview with Thomas. The committee conducted several interviews at the end of July and into August with Trump’s cabinet secretaries, some of whom had discussed invoking the constitutional process in the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office after the insurrection.

…on the upside, though…might could be as not a few chickens look to be lining up for that coming home to roost thing?

Donald Trump’s legal perils have become insurmountable and could snuff out the former US president’s hopes of an election-winning comeback, according to political analysts and legal experts.
The former US president has repeatedly hinted that he intends to run for the White House again in 2024. But the cascade of criminal, civil and congressional investigations could yet derail that bid.
“He’s done,” said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, in Washington, who has accurately predicted every presidential election since 1984. “He’s got too many burdens, too much baggage to be able to run again even presuming he escapes jail, he escapes bankruptcy. I’m not sure he’s going to escape jail.”
Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard University, noted that the civil component “involves things of particular significance to Trump and his family and his organisation, namely their ability to defraud the public, to defraud banks, to defraud insurance companies, and to continue to subsist through corruption. Without all of that corruption, the entire Trump empire is involved in something like meltdown.”

Tribe added: “Trump is probably more concerned with things of this kind than he is with having to wear an orange jumpsuit and maybe answer a criminal indictment … As a practical matter, this is probably going to cause more sleepless nights for Mr Trump than almost anything else.”
Kurt Bardella, an adviser to the Democratic National Committee, said: “If the best defence you have for your conduct is: if you hold me accountable, there will be violence, that sounds like someone who has no business being either in public service or being outside of jail.”

Bardella expressed hope that, at long last, Trump would be held to account. “Everything about Donald Trump has always been about the grift. It’s always been about the con. And now his unmasking is at hand.”

…so…what’s it looking like under that sagging white sheet of a mask?

On the same day that NY Attorney General Tish James announced a lawsuit against Trump for his alleged tax cheating and financial fraud,
[emptywheel – but there’s more to come from this one]


“It probably makes it more likely that he runs for president, as I believe, should he win, the lawsuit would be held in abeyance while he was in office,” Mick Mulvaney, a former Trump White House chief of staff, told NBC News.

…confused? …when the professor says his electoral chances are toast & mulvaney say it makes it more likely the asshole will run…that might seem like it’s at least adjacent to the point in that emptywheel post that was talking about grave mistakes…speaking of which

[…] the 11th Circuit granted DOJ a stay of Aileen Cannon’s injunction prohibiting it from using the documents marked as classified in its investigation. But Trump got to go blow smoke to Sean Hannity, so I guess all is not lost.
The opinion calls the scheme that Cannon had set up — allowing the Intelligence Committee to continue its intelligence assessment but prohibiting any investigation for criminal purposes — untenable. In support, the opinion notes that there’s a sworn declaration from FBI Assistant Director Alan Kohler (the only one in this docket) debunking Cannon’s distinction between national security review and criminal investigation. It notes, twice, that courts must accord great weight to the Executive, including an affidavit. The opinion notes that “no party had offered anything beyond speculation” to undermine this representation.
Two parties — both Trump and Cannon — did speculated wildly that Kohler’s representations were overblown. Which you can’t do in courts of law, the 11th Circuit says. The more important point was that Cannon totally dismissed the Kohler declaration (even while she didn’t require declarations of others) to sustain her own “untenable” injunction.

The opinion lays out at length how classification works, citing sources Trump also relied on (largely EO 13526 and Navy v. Egan) to effectively show the parts of those citations he ignored. In one such passage, it comes pretty close to suggesting all this should be obvious, even to Aileen Cannon.
The way courts have expansively interpreted Navy v. Egan to grant the [current] Executive nearly unfettered authority to dictate matters of classification invites abuse (and screws over defendants in Espionage Act cases). But that is what courts have dome. That is what precedent demands. And Cannon’s blithe deviation from that precedent deserved this kind of disdain.
In another section, the opinion makes a finding that goes beyond where the dispute before Cannon has gone (but not beyond where the dispute before Special Master Raymond Dearie has). Even former Presidents can only access classified information if they have a Need to Know.

[W]e cannot discern why Plaintiff would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings. Classified documents are marked to show they are classified, for instance, with their classification level. Classified National Security Information, Exec. Order No. 13,526, § 1.6, 3 C.F.R. 298, 301 (2009 Comp.), reprinted in 50 U.S.C. § 3161 app. at 290–301. They are “owned by, produced by or for, or . . . under the control of the United States Government.” Id. § 1.1. And they include information the “unauthorized disclosure [of which] could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security.” Id. § 1.4. For this reason, a person may have access to classified information only if, among other requirements, he “has a need-to-know the information.” Id. § 4.1(a)(3). This requirement pertains equally to former Presidents, unless the current administration, in its discretion, chooses to waive that requirement. Id. § 4.4(3).

Plaintiff has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents. Nor has he established that the current administration has waived that requirement for these documents. And even if he had, that, in and of itself, would not explain why Plaintiff has an individual interest in the classified documents. [my emphasis]

Trump has tried to claim that because the Presidential Records Act grants him access to his own former official papers, it means he has possessory interest over the classified documents seized from his home. This passage should end that debate, including the complaint Jim Trusty made in Dearie’s court the other day that the President’s lawyers (from the coverage I’ve seen, he didn’t say former) do not have a Need to Know the material in the documents Trump stole. Without DOJ needing to appeal this issue, the 11th Circuit has already sided with Dearie. As I showed here, the fact that even the former President can only access classified information with a Need to Know waiver is laid out explicitly in EO 13526, the Obama EO that (Trump has repeatedly conceded) governed classified information during Trump’s entire Administration and still governs it.

That should settle this issue.


…except…seems like that should be more than enough out of me for this morning…& yet…you know it’s only scratching the surface of what’s going on

Ferguson acknowledged it was a tough question. But if McConnell’s endgame was to keep Trump from running for office again, Ferguson warned, a Senate conviction was no guarantee of that goal. Some scholars believed that the Constitution did not actually permit an impeached president to be disqualified from holding office again, as it did judges and other public officials, he explained to McConnell and other GOP members considering conviction. It was a minority view that few constitutional experts agreed with, Ferguson acknowledged, noting he personally didn’t accept it either. But it didn’t matter: Trump could try to run again in 2024 and sue any state that kept him off the ballot, he said. It would turn into an explosive legal battle that would catapult the ex-president back into the headlines, possibly resurrecting his efforts to stage a political comeback, right when the party was trying to heal.

“Barring him from office wouldn’t be a slam dunk,” Ferguson warned.

[…][Cheney] pressed him in a series of phone calls to bring the Senate back from a congressional recess before the Biden inauguration and quickly convict Trump before he left office. Republicans would follow his lead, she insisted to McConnell. And besides, Trump still posed an ongoing threat to the country.

McConnell told Cheney he did not disagree on her last point, though he was adamant that logistically the Senate could not convict Trump in a week. In his view, Trump deserved the right to find counsel and prepare a defense no matter how guilty he was. But McConnell also acknowledged another fear to Cheney that had started to creep into his psyche: that conviction might make Trump a martyr in the eyes of his followers, empowering him in the long run. That might pose even more of a threat to the Republican Party, he feared.

“We don’t disagree on the substance; we just disagree on the tactics,” McConnell told Cheney as they conferred about how to free the GOP from Trump’s iron grip. “Let’s just ignore him.”
McConnell did drop occasional hints of his fury with the president, hoping to give others the courage to take the principled stand he still wasn’t sure he wanted to take himself. In private conversations, he made clear he thought Trump had committed impeachable offenses. The day after Luttig’s argument made a splash with his members, McConnell penned a letter to his colleagues saying he was open to voting to convict — an enormous turnaround for a leader who had declared during Trump’s first impeachment that he was “in total coordination” with the president’s defense team. And when it came to the facts of what had happened on Jan. 6, McConnell didn’t mince words; he put the blame squarely on the ex-president’s shoulders.

“The mob was fed lies,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Jan. 19. “They were provoked by the president.”

But McConnell stopped short of perhaps the one thing that may have made a difference: He never actually encouraged his colleagues to convict. Instead, he told them the verdict would be a “vote of conscience.” And while some senior Senate Republicans privately predicted in mid-January that double digits of their ranks would be willing to convict Trump — if not the full seventeen that would have been necessary to bar him from serving in office again — McConnell never did a whip check.
On a conference call with the GOP senators that week, McConnell listened as a group of Trump allies pressed him to find a way to avoid a second impeachment trial — and to do more to defend the ex-president. Couldn’t he get the Supreme Court to throw out the charges, they asked. After all, Trump was not president anymore. Why go through this at all?

A year before, McConnell had used his position to secure the most advantageous conditions possible for the president at trial, assuring his acquittal almost single-handedly.

…same old story?

Sinclair Broadcast Group is a large media company that “owns, operates and/or provides services to 185 television stations in 86 markets” across the country. Its conservative bona fides became a matter of viral obsession in 2018, when it directed anchors at its stations to read the same editorial channeling then-President Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news.”

A less well-known chapter in Sinclair history is emerging in a federal courthouse this week in the case Democracy Partners v. Project Veritas Action Fund, in which an umbrella group of Democratic political consulting firms sued James O’Keefe’s video-sting organization over an infiltration operation during the 2016 presidential campaign season. As the operation neared its end in October 2016, Project Veritas gave the story to Sinclair as an “exclusive,” O’Keefe testified on Monday.

What ensued was an awkward and ultimately fruitless handoff that could bolster the arguments of Joe Sandler, attorney for Democracy Partners, that the group fell victim not to a journalism outlet but to a group practicing political espionage.

…still & all…it might still be the very definition of an uphill struggle…but at least things look to be going downhill for some folks that might actually deserve it for a change?

[…I’ll get onto digging up a few tunes shortly…but if anyone feels like throwing in some links to the vast panoply of topics I’ve not so much as grazed this morning…knock yourselves out?]



  1. I can finally see this, although I probably could see it earlier but wasn’t scrolling down. Anyway, glad this made it finally.

    Fuck Sinclair Broadcasting Group with a 200-plus-foot AM antenna.

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