Nel's New Day

September 14, 2021

SCOTUS Shadow Dockets, Rulings Move to the Right

Signe cartoon Court Packing

The U.S. Supreme Court used to be known for deliberative hearings, complete with public arguments and thoughtful questions. Now they frequently take action by settling decisions within a few hours in private, not even signing off on who made what opinion. These shadow dockets make instant decisions shaping policy on voting rights, climate change, birth control, Covid-19, restrictions and more. Last month, the justices’ shadow decisions forced tenant evictions and the reinstatement of an infamous immigration policy by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). The policy set by conservative justices forces thousands of asylum seekers to remain living in danger in Mexico, at the mercy of predatory gangs, while they wait for hearings. The brief ruling statement didn’t even specify the reason, just that it might have been because of a DHS violation of the law. These cases hold as much weight as a real case in front of the nine justices. Lower courts are issuing decisions applicable to the entire country so the Supreme Court quickly dives in to maintain its dominance, according to Charlie Savage.

Conservative justices hide from criticism by not signing these quicky rulings, for example, permitting  Texas to continue its unconstitutional six-week limit on pregnancy termination through private individuals’ vigilante lawsuits. Unfortunately, for the majority of five who ruled for Texas, the other four each released a signed dissent, clarifying those who support the unconstitutional law.

In the four terms of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the DOJ applied for emergency relief interventions only eight times. DDT’s DOJ applied 41 times with the number of requests increasing after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s replacement of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Lower courts were bypassed, and conservative justices granted 28 requests in whole or part, denying DDT only four times. DDT obtained border wall funding and construction, a ban on military troops, a ban of immigrants from Muslim majority countries, and many executions in a killing spree. Most of DDT’s policies weren’t judged legal; they disappeared after he lost the election.

With this form of “justice,” the conservative justices supported DDT and the religious right against COVID public health policies. In a Reuters’ analysis of the past year, the high court granted all ten “emergency applications” in favor of religious organizations during a deadly pandemic.

In a surprise ruling this past week, the Supreme Court blocked an execution and accepted the case for oral arguments. The question is whether prisoners may bring their faith advisers into the death chamber and community with them during the execution. The possibility, however, is that the choice came from the subject of religion although other prisoners have received fast track rulings in 2019 and 2021.

While conservative justices hide behind shadow dockets, they have also been beating up on voting rights for over a decade, beginning with the destruction of a vital part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and continuing this year by ruling in favor of restrictive Arizona laws against minorities. The conservative majority ruled that GOP partisans can use race to identify communities with large numbers of Democratic voters and target those areas with voter suppression. The ruling can hurt minority voters in Georgia where the state GOP can shut down most of the polling places in the Democratic, majority-Black city of Atlanta. Recent decisions have also capitalized on a ruling that blocks decisions in illegal state voting rules close to elections. For over a decade, conservative justices have ignored constitutional text in making their decisions although they claim to be originalists. Gone from these decisions is the 15th Amendment—“the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

 

Former House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent five years controlling the additions to the Supreme Court by refusing President Obama’s candidate and then pushing three of DDT’s appointments onto the court, the last one just a few days before DDT lost his 2020 election. Now, that most recent justice, Amy Coney Barrett, is upset with criticism against the partisan court and tried to defend it. Eugene Robinson pointed out the flaws in Barrett’s (right) assertions:  

“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks,” the newest Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett, said Sunday. Good luck with that. When the court’s hard-right majority stops acting like partisan hacks, maybe we’ll believe her.

Barrett was speaking in Louisville, having been warmly introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who, in 2020, rushed Barrett’s confirmation through the Senate just eight days before the November election. That unprincipled exercise in raw political power increased the conservative majority on the high court from 5-4 to 6-3—and likely cemented the balance of power on the court for a generation.

The arithmetic means that the court’s five most right-wing justices—Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Barrett—can impose their will even when Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., a conservative but also an institutionalist, decides to side with liberal justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. That is exactly what happened earlier this month when the court let stand a bizarre and draconian Texas law that comes close to nullifying the constitutional right to abortion recognized nearly 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade.

The Supreme Court allowed a Texas law banning abortion past six weeks to remain in effect. Other conservative states may adopt similar measures going forward. (Blair Guild/The Washington Post)

“Judicial philosophies are not the same as political parties,” Barrett claimed in her speech. And it is true that the conservative justices (all appointed by Republicans) and the liberal justices (all appointed by Democrats) reach consensus or cross party lines on many decisions. But on the issues most associated with partisan politics—such as abortion, gun control, affirmative action, and voting rights—philosophy and party affiliation function in lockstep on the high court, with Roberts sometimes straying from GOP orthodoxy.

Barrett complained that this is not how the justices see their work. She said that when the media and “hot takes on Twitter” report a decision by the court, that “makes the decision seem results-oriented. It leaves the reader to judge whether the court was right or wrong, based on whether she liked the results of the decision.”

But Barrett is being disingenuous. The Supreme Court’s rulings are not theoretical exercises in abstract legal reasoning. They have real-world results. In Texas, the second-most-populous state in the nation, many reproductive health clinics have stopped offering abortion services because they and their workers could face a ruinous avalanche of civil lawsuits brought by state- and self-appointed antiabortion vigilantes. Roe v. Wade is still on the books. But in Texas it no longer functionally applies.

Even worse is that the ruling was made on a procedural question without the court even hearing argument on the merits of the Texas law. In a rare public comment, Breyer—one of the four justices who voted to block the Texas law at least temporarily—called the ruling “very, very, very wrong.” And Breyer is very, very, very right to be upset, because even if the ruling is technically just about procedure, it has concrete and dramatic impact on any Texas woman who is or becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to be. Moreover, other states with Republican-controlled state legislatures are rushing to draft copycat laws. If the Supreme Court wants to let states ban abortion, it should just go ahead and reverse Roe v. Wade.

I see no reason to believe the court’s conservative majority will stop short of doing just that. Thomas and Alito have long made clear that they are raring to do just that. And while the three justices appointed by former president Donald Trump—Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett—all claimed deep respect for precedent at their confirmation hearings, their votes to let the Texas law go into effect say otherwise.

The conservative Federalist Society, which has become a crucial gatekeeper on the right and vetted a list of acceptable Supreme Court candidates for Trump to choose from, did its job well. The result is a solid five-vote and sometimes six-vote majority that opposes abortion, supports gun rights, questions affirmative action, doubts existing federal protection of voting rights, doesn’t see the influence of big money in politics as a problem… in short, a majority that agrees with the Republican Party’s position on issues the party most cares about.

What can Democrats and progressives do about all the terrible, reactionary, wrongheaded decisions that look likely to come in the next months and years? On voting rights, they could pass strong new federal legislation, like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act or the For the People Act. On other issues, they should prepare to battle at the state level—and to bring the same legislative creativity and tenacity that Texas conservatives brought to bear on the abortion law.

And they should ignore Barrett and others who claim this court’s decisions are nonpartisan—at least until and unless we see evidence to the contrary.

Conservatives are afraid that Democrats will “pack the courts.” DDT has already done that. Barrett will go down in history as a member of the worst court in modern times—at least five of them “partisan hacks.”

July 25, 2021

Court Rulings Support Voters, Protesters

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 4:31 PM
Tags: , , , ,

[Update on backlash to GOP attempt to save lives through COVID vaccinations: 

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK), a 2024 presidential wannabe: “If you just turn [health] decisions over to a bunch of public health bureaucrats, of course, the only thing they’re going to consider is what they think is in the best interest of the public health.”

Conservatives are now accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a 2024 presidential wannabe, of accepting bribes because he flipflopped on his anti-vaccination stance and now promotes them.

Court cases are sometimes supporting people and not politicians:

In Missouri, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of voters. They passed a state constitutional amendment to adopt Medicaid expansion, but the GOP lawmakers refused to follow through. The court supported the voters’ decision, but the 275,000 newly eligible recipients will have to wait because Gov. Mike Parsons had pulled federal paperwork to enroll them. As of now, 38 states, including ones ruled by Republicans, have either expanded or are in the process of expanding Medicaid with federal aid.

In Mississippi, the state Supreme Court ruled against the people, overturning an a medical marijuana proposal passed by the voters because, according to the court, the state’s initiative process is outdated and unworkable. The court also removed the initiative process. Gov. Tate Reeves has tried to persuade the legislature to reinstate the results of the initiative. The marijuana initiative was even more popular in the state than DDT last November. 

A Minnesota court ordered police to stop blocking access to the area where anti-pipeline activists are organizing opposition to the multimillion-dollar tar sands project by the Canadian company Enbridge. Police called a driveway to the camp a “trail” not designated for vehicular traffic even to deliver food and water. Enbridge has paid over $1 million to local sheriffs’ departments. Indigenous people protest the pipeline sending 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil every day from Alberta to Wisconsin though 800 wetland habitats and violating the treat rights of Anishinaabe peoples. Energy sector employment would add 18 million jobs in under 30 years with a shift from the fossil fuel industry to renewable energy.

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court upheld a lower court ruling supporting voter rights groups by barring Indiana’s law allowing purging of voter lists without notifying the voters. The legal fights in the state have been ongoing for four years. The purge dropped the inaccurate program Crosscheck, but a judge wrote that the most recent law violated the Voting Rights Act safeguards requiring a voter authorize the removal of their registration or following the law’s “notice-and-waiting procedures.”

A federal judge appointed by DDT has upheld the COVID vaccine mandate at Indiana University, the first ruling of its kind. Exemptions are permitted for religious objections, documented allergies to the vaccine, medical deferrals, and virtual class attendance. His decision, based on the 14th Amendment, was “in the legitimate interest of public health for its students, faculty and staff.”

An 8th U.S. Circuit of Appeals panel on Friday upheld a federal judge’s May 2020 order that the state pay $452,983 in tribal voting rights. The state in February 2020 agreed to settle longstanding legal disputes with Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa members as well as the Spirit Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes. The crux of the tribal claims was that North Dakota’s requirement that voters have identification with a provable street address creates a voting barrier for Native Americans who live on reservations where street addresses are hard to come by.

 A federal judge blocked the new Arkansas law preventing almost all abortions until she hears the challenge to its constitutionality. The “heartbeat” law bans abortions at about six weeks before the fetus is viable. In its next session, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine whether to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Mississippi law banning abortions at 15 weeks before the fetus can survive outside the womb.

A unanimous panel of the 9th Circuit Court confirmed a lower court decision rejecting a claim against the Department of Homeland Security that DACA and other immigration policies ignore environmental impacts of greater population. Arizona AG Mark Brnovich filed a similar suit in Arizona, stating that the Biden administration will harm the environment with an influx of migrants. Two of the three judges were appointed by George W. Bush, the third by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT).

Frank Caporusso, who threatened the judge presiding over the Michael Flynn case, was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pled guilty to Influencing, Impeding, or Retaliating Against a Federal Official by Threat.

At the beginning of the pandemic over a year ago, House Democrats tried to protect members’ health by proxy votes if they wished to avoid the Capitol because of from experiencing COVID symptoms, coping with an illness in their household, etc. Republicans were outraged, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) joined with 20 other members to file a federal lawsuit challenging the procedure’s constitutionality. A district court rejected the case, stating that the judiciary shouldn’t intervene in procedural rules for the legislative branch, and a three-judge panel, including a DDT appointee, for the DC Circuit Court supported the decision.

Yet Republicans, including far-right conservatives who were among the 161 House members to vote against proxy voting, took advantage of the system, including votes by proxy when they attended other events such as the Conservative Political Action Conference. Rep. Ralph Norman, one of 161 representatives who opposing the proxy system, used it to skip town for an appearance with DDT on the southern border with other representatives in late June. They certified on official letterhead that the coronavirus kept them from “physically” attending “proceedings in the House chamber.” Others use it for convenience to avoid their commute to Washington or campaign at home. McCarthy had no comment about Republicans’ behavior although he said he would end proxy voting if the GOP wins the House in 2022. The proxy voting is due to end in mid-August, and McCarthy must decide whether to object so that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will extend the emergency authority for 45 days.

First, the Colonial Pipeline was hacked, then they paid the ransom, and finally somehow they got the ransom back. Now Colonial is facing another problem: one of its customers is suing the company for lost business and hopes to be joined by hundreds of other gas station owners in the impacted dozen states. In addition, consumers forced to pay higher prices for gas are filing class-action lawsuits. San Diego-based hospital system Scripps Health also faces class-action lawsuits from an April ransomware attack. All claim law cybersecurity. Target paid $10 million to consumers and $39 million to banks after personal information was stolen from the retailer by hackers in 2013, and Home Depot settled with shoppers whose credit card information was stolen from the business’ computers.

Anti-abortion bills and laws are irrational, but Texas has come out with the craziest one thus far. It has the standard unconstitutional and idiotic “heartbeat” provision blocking abortion after six weeks of pregnancy—before most women know they are pregnant. The Supreme Court ruled states cannot restrict abortions before viability, 24 to 28 weeks, when a fetus can survive outside the womb. “Heartbeat” laws opposing abortion when electrical activity occurs in embryo’s possible later heart location, have been passed in a dozen states. Federal courts struck down laws in four of these states and temporarily blocked the laws in the remaining eight states. Similar laws in Ohio and Wyoming failed.  

In the hopes that its law cannot be overturned, Texas GOP created an insane provision that government has no ability to enforce the anti-abortion bill for the women who obtains one. Instead, the law creates a vigilante approach by assigning private citizens to sue anyone who gives support for women getting abortions, as little support as a conversation or information. All private citizens successful in winning their vigilante suits, from disapproving neighbors to abusive spouses, will receive at least $10,000 from the state, thereby putting a bounty on all suspect people or entities who even give a patient money.

Anyone except convicted felons can sue for the $10,000 without being a Texas resident. Religious counselors can even be sued. The result of the law will be thousands of frivolous lawsuits seeking the state’s reward as courts will be overwhelmed. Anyone suing may also violate the Texas constitution which mandates filing a lawsuit is available only to a “person for an injury done [to] him.”

Doctors, clergy, and clinics have joined lawyers at the Center for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood in a lawsuit to stop the ban from going into effect on September 1, 2021. It is filed against all non-federal judges with jurisdiction over civil actions in Texas, all county clerks with jurisdiction over civil suits, The Texas Medical Board, the Texas Board of Nursing, the Texas Board of Pharmacy, the executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and Texas AG Ken Paxton—possibly thousands of people. The coalition has also filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. district court in Austin to overturn the law.  

July 19, 2021

Congress, Courts behind U.S. Rights

[Update: More good news since yesterday’s report on President Joe Biden’s work:

  • AG Merrick Garland has blocked federal prosecutors from seizing journalists’ records in leak probes, reversing earlier policies violating First Amendment rights for the press. Exceptions include concern about reporters working for a foreign power or terrorist organizations and situations with imminent risks such as kidnappings and crimes against children.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also agreed with Biden’s policy permitting unaccompanied children to enter the country in an exception to the pandemic regulation allowing any migrants crossing the border to be expelled.
  • A new guideline from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prevents them from the ability to “detain, arrest or take into custody individuals known to be pregnant, postpartum or nursing.”]

Congress:

The Capitol Police, who arrested no one at the January 6 insurrection, arrested Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and eight others in a small group of primarily Black women peacefully protesting in favor of the Senate passing voting rights legislation. Beatty spoke on the Hill before a march into the Hart Senate Office Building Atrium where she was zip-tied by the police officers for “demonstrating in a prohibited area on Capitol Grounds.” By June 21, 27 states enacted 28 laws this year to restrict access to voting while another 61 bills move through 18 state legislatures, 31 passing in at least one chamber. After Texas passed its highly restrictive bill in the Senate, Democrats left the state House without a quorum, going to Washington, D.C. and lobbying senators to support the House voting rights act. Because of the filibuster, the U.S. Senate requires 60 votes of the 100 senators to debate the House bill.  [Photo by Jose Luis/AP]

Objecting to fascist speeches, people in three West Coast locations blocked QAon Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene from public venues. The duo protested on a Riverside sidewalk to oppose vaccinations after turned away there as well as in Anaheim and Laguna Hills. Gaetz, investigated for sex-trafficking, and Greene, threatening to execute House colleagues, cried “cancel culture” to a crowd of about 100. 

Seven GOP senators asked Biden to repeal trade barriers, including tariffs, set up by Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Congressional members, who never objected during DDT’s term, included the most conservative lawmakers: Iowa’s Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, Utah’s Mike Lee, and Nebraska’s Deb Fischer.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) not only gave Democrats credit for the financial windfall his state receives from ARPA but also told constituents his state would never get it again if he had his way. He said: 

“Cities and counties in Kentucky will get close to [$700] or $800 million. If you add up the total amount that will come into our state, $4 billion. That’s twice what we sent in last year.”

Last year, McConnell told states they should file for bankruptcy—something most likely legally impossible.

Before a Congressional summer break, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff originally appointed by DDT, testified at a House Armed Services Committee hearing about the 2022 Defense Department budget. Accused of “critical race theory” being taught in military academies, he called “for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read.” Milley said he wanted to learn about white rage to understand what “caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America…” He asked his questioners, “What is wrong with understanding?” and continued by talking about antebellum laws leading to “a power differential” with Blacks who “were three-fourths of a human being when this country was formed.”  On Fox, Laura Ingraham proposed defunding the military if it spreads a “far-left Marxist racist ideology,” and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) agreed with her.  Gaetz tweeted a proposal to defund the FBI before deleting it.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is being criticized for holding up confirmation on key appointments for the national security team, especially Bonnie Jenkins, named as under secretary of State for arms control and international security affairs. U.S. and Russian officials will meet on July 28 to discuss nuclear nonproliferation talks with Jenkins the senior official. Cruz is singlehandedly blocking a dozen State appointees until Biden sanctions the pipeline delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany and Europe. 

Earlier this year, New York suspended the law license of Rudy Giuliani, DDT’s former lawyer, for his plethora of election lies both in and out of court. Now the DC appeals court has suspended Giuliani from working as an attorney in the city “pending outcome” of his New York situation in New York. Because of his lies “to courts, lawmakers, and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer” for DDT his campaign, Giuliani’s “conduct immediately threatens the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law,” according to the court. Giuliani promised to stop making statements about the election in his legal capacity but continued to lie.

Courts:

Sued by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is claiming that he incited the insurrection on January 6 as part of his government responsibilities. When Brooks was finally served with the lawsuit after three months, he lied about the manner of being served, as video proves.

A federal judge earlier dismissed a case from two Colorado lawyers alleging a vast conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election by Dominion Voting Systems, but he is now considering discipline against the lawyers for filing a frivolous claim, allowing themselves to be used as “a propaganda tool” by DDT for “just repeating stuff the president is lying about.” Earlier last week, a federal judge in Michigan skeptically questioned nine lawyers about the “stolen” election, including Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood in a similar hearing. Pending sanctions hearing include one in Wisconsin where the governor asked a judge to order DDT and his lawyers to pay legal fees for the post-election litigation. Attorneys who lie in court with frivolous motions are required to pay the opponents’ legal fees. 

The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided 5-2 that state election officials may not immediately force people off the voter rolls. Some of the 72,000 subjects, trimmed from 232,000 in 2019, still live where they registered. The court determined local clerks, not the state commission, are responsible for any removal, according to state law. Officials admit they use a system mistakenly flagging people who move and lists which shouldn’t be the final word while not knowing how many errors have been made but want accuracy.

Once again, a Massachusetts court is permitting a case against ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies to move forward. Since 2017, over 20 state and local governments have brought liability lawsuits against major fossil fuel companies, but the Massachusetts case is the first to overcome a dismissal motion. ExxonMobil faces similar cases of consumer fraud from AGs in Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. The company’s board of directors also has three new members supported by a climate-focused activist investment firm.

A federal judge temporarily stopped a Florida law penalizing social media companies for blocking a politician’s posts, suggesting the law violates the First Amendment. The judge described the law, intended to force DDT’s return to social media after his removal y the January 6 insurrection, as “an instance of burning the house to roast a pig.” Other conservative states consider similar laws to regulate tech industry. NetChoice stated appreciation to the court for not being forced to provide “racial epithets, aggressive homophobia, pornographic material, beheadings, or other gruesome content.”

Survivors and families of victims of a 2019 California synagogue shooting may continue with their lawsuit against the manufacturer of the attacker’s weapon and the gun store selling the gun. The judge ruled that Smith & Wesson demonstrated negligence in its marketing the assault-style semiautomatic rifle modified to automatically fire. The 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) protects gunmakers from litigation for their weapons used in criminal acts but not to negligence or deliberate violations of state laws. In 2019, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims could sue the manufacturer of the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle used for the crime, and the family of a woman killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, killing 53 people, can sue manufacturers of the weapons.

A federal court decided in favor of Hawaii law blocking people from carrying arms openly in public, ruling that states may restrict open carry without violating the Second Amendment. George W. Bush appointment Judge Jay Bybee stated in the opinion that the “right to carry arms openly in public [is not] within the scope of the Second Amendment.” A “may issue” state, Hawaii may issue a special carry license showing they have “reason to fear injury” to “person or property.”

The trading app Robinhood has been fined $70 million for “widespread and significant harm suffered” by its customers because of its “false and misleading” information, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Millions of Robinhood customers suffered losses during the app’s outages in March 2020, preventing them from capitalizing on historic stock market gains. Harmed customers will receive $12.6 million of the $70 million. The app was fined $1.25 million in 2019 and $65 million in December 2020 for breaking rules requiring brokerages to get the best possible share prices for customers.

Despite all the GOP attacks on Biden, his overall YouGov favorability is at 58 percent.

June 29, 2021

The Barr Show Dominates Media 

The media is abuzz about excerpts of Jonathan Karl’s book Betrayal, based on interviews with former AG Bill Barr. As with most people in the orbit of Deposed Donald Trump (DDT), Barr left his post in disgrace, in his case for not continuing to push the “Big Lie” about DDT’s stolen election.

Now Barr claims he wanted to tell DDT that he had looked into accusations of fraud and knew a “stolen election” was “bullshit”—after tens of millions of people bought into all the lies that Barr and other DDT followers told. Before the election, however, Barr consistently delivered QAnon conspiracy theories to the media about “foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots.” He goaded DDT’s base by saying, “There’s so many occasions for fraud there that cannot be policed.” Three months later, he lied, “Elections that have been held with mail have found substantial fraud and coercion.” The DOJ had to apologize for his falsehoods. Even after the election, he reversed DOJ policy, permitting investigation into “substantial allegations” of possible election fraud.

In her June 27, 2021 “letter,” Heather Cox Richardson compared DDT’s “Big Lie” to the Confederate organization in 1861 when they called on supporters to defend the United States. The January 6 insurrectionists claim they are patriots in the mold of Samuel Adams, not domestic terrorists. During the attack on the Capitol, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a QAnon believer, tweeted, “Today is 1776.” In February 1861, 150 years earlier, members of the Confederate States of America wrote their own U.S. Constitution before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on February 4, 1861. They made only three changes from the otherwise verbatim copying of the almost 100-year-old old document: “they defended state’s rights, denied that the government could promote internal improvements, and prohibited any law that denied or impaired ‘the right of property in negro slaves.’”

Confederate leaders persuaded southern White males that supporting slaves defends the U.S. against “radicals” who defend equality in the Declaration of Independence like the current conservative virulent opposition to “critical race theory” to encourage racism. Confederates moved quickly to take Southern states from the Union. With waning interest in secession, they fired on Fort Sumter to commit Whites into a new country, and the war began.

Today’s neo-Confederate Sons of  Confederate Veterans membership includes serving military officers, elected officials, public employees, and a national security expert whose CV boasts of “Department of Defense Secret Security Clearance” as well as other violent participants in the riot at Charlottesville (VA) and neo-Confederate groups such as the League of the South (LoS). [Specifics here.] Yet waning enthusiasm in DDT and insurrection was shown by people leaving DDT’s rally early. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) compared following DDT to professional wrestling:

“That it’s entertaining, but it’s not real. And I know people want to say, yeah, they believe in the ‘Big Lie’ in some cases, but I think people recognize that it’s a lot of show and bombast. But it’s going nowhere. The election is over. It was fair….let’s move on.”

Richardson also compared DDT to “President Richard M. Nixon, whose support eroded as more and more sordid information about his White House came to light. Exposés of the Trump White House recently have shown his cavalier approach to the pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 Americans, and his willingness to employ force against peaceful protesters in summer 2020.”

While state GOP legislators still push recounts, the Arizona experience has been a monumental fiasco, and a thorough investigation from the Michigan Senate Oversight Committee found absolutely no voter fraud, proving President Joe Biden won fairly. DDT’s faithful lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been suspended from practicing law for lying to everyone, including the court, and a Georgia judge tossed a lawsuit calling for another look at Fulton County ballots.   

As the far-right grows more desperate, a One American News reporter called for the execution of tens of thousands of people “involved in the efforts to undermine the election.” Republican senators are terrified of an independent commission investigating the events of January 6. Many of the 500+ insurrectionists thus far charged for the attack on the Capitol are blaming DDT for their actions.

Barr may be following the shift in political wind by rejecting DDT. Leaving the office in December, he wrote DDT a worshipful letter promising to update him “on the Department’s review of voter fraud allegations in the 2020 election and how these allegations will continue to be pursued” and pushing the Big Lie: 

“At a time when the country is so deeply divided, it is incumbent on all levels of government, and all agencies acting within their purview, to do all we can to assure the integrity of elections and promote public confidence in their outcome.”  

Six months later, he said:

“If there was evidence of fraud, I had no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along was that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit.”

Barr also told Karl how then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) kept asking Barr to refute DDT’s claim of election fraud. McConnell told Barr that DDT’s lies damaged the GOP, hurting the party in the two Georgia Senate runoff necessary to keeping Republican control in the chamber, and Barr, head of an independent justice agency, colluded with his partisan wishes. Selling democracy to get his two senators, McConnell is responsible for the Big Lie. Democrats’ win made the Senate 50-50 for each party.

In December 1, 2020, AP printed a story about Barr’s belief that Joe Bien was legally elected as president, and DDT met with him:

DDT: “How the fuck could you do this to me? Why did you say it?”

Barr: “Because it’s true.”

DDT: “You must hate Trump. You must hate Trump.”

Barr announced his resignation as attorney general on December 14, 2020.

When Barr left, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) called him “one of the worst attorneys general in American history.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) tweeted:

“There should be no sympathy or regret for an Attorney General who trashed the rule of law, caused untold suffering, & enabled a morally depraved president. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Examples of Barr’s blind loyalty to DDT over the people of the United States:

  • Lied about the Mueller report about DDT’s connection with the Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Tried to investigate FBI and DOJ officials probing into DDT’s 2016 campaign.
  • Personally ordered and directed the clearing of Layfayette Square of protesters last summer for DDT’s Bible-holding photo op.
  • Warned that if Biden won the presidency, the U.S. would be “irrevocably committed to the socialist path.”
  • Interfered in criminal investigations of DDT friends Roger Stone and Michael Flynn to get them lighter sentences or dismiss criminal charges although Flynn had already pled guilty. (Career prosecutors resigned in protest.)
  • Politicized the criminal investigation process to limit the abilities of the incoming Biden-appointed AG.
  • Refused to recognize the constitutional congressional authority to conduct oversight of the executive branch.
  • Subpoenaed Apple for data from Democratic lawmakers, family, and media DDT perceived as political enemies. 
  • Served DDT by putting him above the law, unrestrained by constitutional checks and balances.

Harry Litman wrote:

“Barr has treated Americans to a parade of hypocrisy for two years: He was a law and order crusader who helped presidential cronies evade consequences for their crimes in two administrations; a constitutionalist who didn’t mind blowing off congressional oversight; a moralist who put his talents and intellect in the service of the most corrupt president since Richard Nixon.”

DDT didn’t take the excerpt from Karl’s book well. Lumping Barr with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), DDT accused them of fraud and conspiracy to put Joe Biden into the White House. About McConnell, DDT said that he “blew it for the country.” DDT continued: 

“Based on press reports he convinced his buddy, Bill Barr, to get the corrupt (based on massive amounts of evidence that the Fake News refuses to mention!) election done, over with, and sealed for Biden, ASAP!”

DDT also called both Barr and McConnell “spineless RINOs” (Republicans in Name Only). The next day, DDT described Barr as “afraid, weak, and … pathetic.” Barr joined DDT’s pattern of rejecting former specially-selected officials such as AG Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, National Security Adviser John Bolton, another National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Homeland Security Security and White House chief of staff John Kelly, and VP Mike Pence. 

Before the election, Barr was willing to do anything DDT wanted, but DDT’s loss of the election and his becoming more dangerous may have caused Barr to back off from his appearance of adoring DDT. Barr even accused DDT of “inexcusable” behavior on January 6, “a betrayal of his office.” He simply abandoned DDT to keep his position in the GOP. Barr spent his entire career hedging his bets, and he isn’t finished. With Karl’s book, Barr rewrites his personal history in an attempt to erase his unethical, corrupt behavior—“to cleanse his own record,” as Jonathan Chait writes. A better book about Barr might be Elie Honig’s Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor’s Code and Corrupted the Justice Department.

June 28, 2021

DDT Goes to Court

After the 2016 election, Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) faced 75 court battles. Some of them have been settled: he paid $25 million to settle his Trump University’s swindles of thousands of students soon after he was elected and $2 million for abusing his charitable foundation, shuttered after the discovery of a “shocking pattern of illegality” and “repeated and willful self-dealing.” Today, his lawyers met with prosecutors in Manhattan to fight filing criminal charges against the Trump Organization because they would harm the business. Unable to stay out of the discussion, DDT called prosecutors “rude, nasty, and totally biased.”

DDT’s eight years of income tax returns he had to give New York City may show that he failed to pay taxes for tens of thousands of benefits to his executives, especially Allen Weisselberg—expensive automobiles, apartments, school tuition, etc.—and Matthew Calamari, DDT’s former bodyguard and now his business’s CEO. Ronald Fischetti, DDT’s 85-year-old personal lawyer, said DDT won’t be charged in he first indictment but the investigation is “ongoing.” 

Possibility of indictment in New York is just part of his problems. He’s being accused of defrauding people, violating the Voting Rights Act, and other illegal acts. According to protective attorneys general, he couldn’t be prosecuted while he was in the White House. His loss in the 2020 election, however, removed his immunity.

Election Tampering:

DDT wanted almost 11,000 more votes from Georgia to win the state so he pressured the state’s election authorities get them switched from Joe Biden. Fulton County DA Fani Willis is investigating DDT’s telephone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for that purpose. Possible charges: election fraud conspiracy, criminal solicitation of election fraud, and/or interference with elections duties.

NAACP and Michigan voting rights activists lawsuit against DDT regarding violation of the Voting Rights Act including his pressuring Wayne County GOP officials to not certify election totals for its jurisdiction of Detroit. The suit also seeks a restraining order requiring DDT to get court approval to obtain court approval “prior to engaging in any activities related to recounts, certifications, or similar post-election activities.”

The District of Columbia AG has a criminal investigation into DDT’s activities on January 6 with the possibility of charging DDT under the local statute making it “unlawful for a person to incite or provoke violence where there is a likelihood that such violence will ensue.”

U.S. Capitol Officers:

Two Capitol police officers beaten, maced, poked with flag poles, and pinned against the doors of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 are suing Trump for inciting the violence they endured and conspiracy claims that DDT joined the violent groups, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, in their attacking the Capitol.  

Members of Congress:

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and the NAACP filed a civil suit about violating the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act to oppose southern White supremacists during the Civil War’s Reconstruction. It forbids conspiracies “to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat” U.S. officeholders from discharging their duties or forcing them to leave the location where those duties must be performed. The lawsuit claims that “Defendants Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers plotted, coordinated and executed a common plan to prevent Congress from discharging its official duties in certifying the results of the presidential election.” It seeks to enjoin him from future violations.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) sued DDT for inciting the insurrection. Other defendants include Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, and GOP colleague Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) who spoke at the rally and who allegedly “directly incited the violence at the Capitol that followed.”

Sexual Activities:

E. Jean Carroll’s accusation of DDT sexually assaulting her during the mid-1990s in a department store dressing room led to DDT’s claim she was “totally lying,” he didn’t know her, and she wasn’t his “type.” The statute of limitations for sexual assault had run out so she filed a civil suit against him for defamation. Under AG Bill Barr, the DOJ became his legal representation, but a federal judge ruled against Barr’s decision because DDT wasn’t a protected government “employee” and his “allegedly defamatory statements [were not] with the scope of his employment.” The Biden DOJ is still defending DDT’s side. The suit seeks to force DDT “to retract any and all defamatory statements” as well as to pay compensatory and punitive damages.

Summer Zervos filed a civil suit alleging DDT defamed her in 2016 when he called her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault in 2007. Like several other women, she accused DDT of killing and groping her without her consent on several occasions; he called her story “phony.” After he was no longer in the White House, the New York Court of Appeals ruled the case could proceed, requiring DDT to testify under oath.

Family Issues:

Mary Trump, DDT’s niece, realized she was denied part of her inheritance after an expose about DDT’s fortune and his routine manipulation of his assets’ value. Her civil suit alleges DDT and others in the family carried out “a complex scheme to siphon funds away from her interests, conceal their grift, and deceive her about the true value of what she had inherited.” The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Businesses:

DDT’s family faced a class-action lawsuit in 2018 from anonymous Americans claiming DDT cheated them into joining a multi-level marketing scheme run by a third party called CAN secretly paid by DDT to promote. The civil suit alleges that DDT, his company, and his offspring executives Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr. “operated a large and complex enterprise with a singular goal: to enrich themselves by systematically defrauding economically marginalized people looking to invest in their educations, start their own small businesses, and pursue the American Dream.” The suit asks for class-action status, allowing others to participate in the litigation, and for “actual, compensatory, statutory [and] consequential damages.” It also seeks the “disgorgement of all ill gotten gains” by the Trumps.

The investment group Ithaca Capital Partners claim DDT fraudulently induced it to purchase a majority stake in a 70-story hotel and condo complex in Panama City in 2019 after he claimed the complex was a successful business and well-maintained. According to the lawsuit, however, the Trump Organization was “grossly mismanaging its operations of the former Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama including causing intentional damage to the Hotel Amenities Units and failing to pay income taxes to the Panamanian government.” The civil suit seeks “not less than” $17 million in damages plus attorney fees.

Profit from the 2017 Inauguration:

The D.C. attorney general is suing DDT for diverting funds to DDT properties, alleging the nonprofit inaugural committee “wasted approximately $1 million of charitable funds in overpayment” to DDT businesses by charging exorbitant rates, including $175,000 for a ballroom that usually rented for $5,000. The AG alleges “the Trump Entities … unconscionably benefited from nonprofit funds required to be used for the public good.” The civil suit seeks to have the ill-gotten gains from the Trump properties donated to public-serving nonprofits.

False testimony by DDT’s children, Don Jr and Ivanka, has put themselves in trouble. Last February, Jr lied under oath in the inauguration scandal lawsuit, and now Ivanka has made the same mistake. Executive of the Trump Organization before moving to the White House as an adviser to DDT, Ivanka denied having any “involvement in the process of planning the inauguration.” She said she did nothing more than “give feedback to my father or to anyone who asked my perspective or opinion.”

Documents, however, prove “involvement.” Trump was directly involved in planning at least one proposed inauguration event, according to emails. They showed communication, including meetings, with Rick Gates, then deputy chair of the Presidential Inauguration Committee, and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a lead producer working with the committee. Trump was to host a “Women’s Entrepreneurs Reception/Dinner” for the inauguration, setting up the invitees and location. She also volunteered to coordinate with Reince Priebus, to be the White House chiefof staff, and Katie Walsh, his deputy. Although the reception/dinner didn’t happen, Trump was involved in other planning, including consulting on menu, recruiting talent, and guaranteeing media.

Under oath, Trump also said, “I didn’t know Stephanie Winston that well,” yet they were good friends at that time. Winston Wolkoff was recommended for her top spot on the committee because of Trump’s recommendation. Trump began to separate herself from her friend when Winston Wolkoff expressed concern about the Trump Hotel overcharging DDT’s inauguration committee, still twice the market rate after Trump supposedly interceded for a better rate. Winston Wolkoff warned Trump, Gates, and others that the spending would be audited and “become public knowledge.” She is a lead cooperating witness in the lawsuit against the Trump Organization and the inauguration committee.

Last month, Jared Kushner, Ivanka’s husband, lost another case in court when a judge found Kushner’s management company charged “deceptive” fees to thousands of its tenants. Two years ago, a Maryland judge found several violations of consumer laws, including a “bait and switch” by showing a prospective tenant one apartment and then renting them another, highly substandard, one. This case included the questionable fees such as a $12 “agent fee” on court filings against 28,000 tenants although the courts had no costs. In another 2,600 instances, Kushner assessed $80 for court fees when courts charged $50. The lawsuit is not yet settled: each side may file objections. State lawyers can also propose restitution costs for tenants as well as a civil penalty before the court decision can be challenged in Maryland’s appeals courts.

June 10, 2021

How Low Does DDT Sink? Revelations from the Past

Since Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) has left the White House, revelations of his actions keep appearing from under rocks, illustrating the slime that he spread throughout his administration. Today was the knowledge that DDT’s Department of Justice took records of metadata and other account records from Apple and another internet provider about at least a dozen House Intelligence Committee members, their aides, and their family members, including at least one minor child. The DOJ also had a gag order on Apple expiring this year to prevent it from revealing the subpoenas for this information. A major figure in this attack is Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who was the leading Democrat on the committee during DDT’s first impeachment trial in 2017 and 2018.

The DOJ investigation started when former AG Jeff Sessions and his prosecutors searched for media sources about ties between DDT and Russia. No information could be found so the search almost disappeared until DDT’s new AG, Bill Barr, resumed the investigations by moving Osmar Benvenuto, a New Jersey prosecutor with little relevant DOJ experience, to the Schiff-related case and several others. Congressional officials cannot remember any case in which lawmaker records have been seized outside corruption investigations, and members of the DOJ saw the department’s actions as politically motivated.

For the last half of 2020, Barr secretly fought CNN to get two months’ of 2017 email logs from CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. The DOJ also put a gag order on CNN general counsel David Viglante to keep him from sharing any information beyond CNN’s president, top attorneys at CNN’s parent organization, and attorneys at an outside law firm. According to CNN, the complete secrecy, the court proceeding, and the unwillingness to negotiate subpoenas for reporters’ records are highly unusual. During the past three months, DOJ officials disclosed subpoenas for reporters’ email logs as well as phone records for reporters at The Washington Post and The New York Times in the last year of DDT’s term. 

Since this revelation, President Joe Biden claimed it was “simply, simply wrong” to seize reporters’ records, and the DOJ stated it will no longer try to secretly obtain these records during investigations into leaks. The DOJ’s ruling out “compulsory legal process” may eliminate attempts to force journalists to give up their sources identities, but this policy works only in probing leaks, only to “members of the news media,” and only when they are “doing their jobs.” It also did not define members of the media. Media advocates are also concerned that the policy will revert with a new administration.

The DOJ also withdrew its subpoena to USA Today for the identities of readers of its story about a suspect in a child pornography case who fatally shot two FBI agents in February. The FBI was demanding IP addresses and mobile phone identification information for everyone who clicked on the internet article during the 35 minutes after the shooting.

The decision to no longer secretly demand journalists’ records leaves questions about the handling of DDT’s DOJ investigations about stories written early in DDT’s term. One was whether then FBI Director James Comey shared information with reporters about a document influencing his closing an investigation into Hillary Clinton. The Post also wrote about Sessions’ contact with Russian officials, and CNN reported on U.S. proposals in North Korea. DDT’s administration avoided telling reporters within the appropriate timeline about their records being sought, leaving the Biden administration to notify reporters. Biden’s DOJ continued to keep from notifying the NYT’s lawyer about seizing reporter records for almost two months after Biden’s inauguration and past DOJ Merrick Garland’s swearing in on March 11.

A new audio among DDT’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and Andriy Yermak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reveals Giuliani’s pressuring Ukraine to investigate evidence-free conspiracy theories about Biden in July 2019 before DDT’s call with Zelensky, leading to DDT’s first impeachment. During the 40-minute phone call, Giuliani incessantly told Yermak that Zelensky should publicly announce his probes into lies about Biden’s possible corruption in Ukraine and Ukraine’s interference in 2016 to hurt DDT. Like DDT’s subsequent call, the audio of the call proves the falsehood of DDT’s constant claim about “no quid pro quo” with Zelensky securing U.S. government support for doing DDT’s political favors. An ongoing investigation into Giuliani concerns violation of lobbying laws through coordination with ex-officials giving him dirt on Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The tape of the telephone call also means trouble for Volker, showing he didn’t tell the truth under oath in his televised testimony during DDT’s first impeachment trial when he said he didn’t know about DDT’s attempts to pressure Ukraine into an evidence-free investigation of Joe Biden. The House Intelligence Committee has put Volker under scrutiny for his previous false statements. In his October 3, 2019 deposition, Volker said, “Vice President Biden was never a topic of discussion.” In November 2019, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) used Volker’s words about “no quid pro quo” to successfully exonerate DDT during his impeachment trial.

After GOP interference in the 2020 election failed to elect DDT, his last chief of staff Mark Meadows sent multiple emails to DOJ demanding investigation into conspiracy theories about election fraud, hoping he could nullify Joe Biden’s win. The most bizarre may have been the use of military technology and satellites by Italians to tamper with U.S. voting machines that then switched DDT’s votes to those for Biden. Even DDT’s newest AG, Jeffrey Rosen, wouldn’t look into the theories. Rosen also refused to arrange a meeting between the FBI and the man posting videos online about Italygate.

Previously, Meadows had pressured officials in Georgia to find 11,000 votes for DDT which would allow him to win the state for the Electoral College. His search into non-existent anomalies with signature matches in Georgia’s Democratic Fulton County has been resumed since a court case permitted plaintiffs to look into the theory. Meadows also sent Rosen false allegations of election problems in New Mexico. DDT had pushed Rosen to support the lawsuits searching for election fraud and appoint a special investigator to probe Dominion voting machines used in many states. Rosen’s refusal led DDT to consider the appointment of a more cooperative acting AG. Longstanding guidelines prevent almost all White House personnel, including the chief of staff, from contact with the DOJ about investigations or other enforcement actions.

Rosen is currently talking with the Senate oversight panel about telling investigators regarding pressure on the DOJ to investigate election fraud and the DOJ response to the January 6 insurrection. He is also negotiating with the DOJ about what he can legally tell Congress and the inspector general.

A judge has unsealed files listing the “principal lies” DDT’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort told special investigator Robert Mueller’s team before the release of the report. Manafort was convicted on eight counts, including false tax returns and bank fraud, before DDT pardoned him. The first lie showed that Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates “periodically” gave Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik DDT’s campaign internal polling data although Gates suspected Kilimnik was a Russian “spy.” Manafort also lied about how he made plans with Kilimnik to control part of eastern Ukraine. Other lies included his lack of communication with “anyone” in DDT’s administration “on any subject matter.”

Weeks after the presidential victory for Biden was certified in Pennsylvania with a majority of over 80,000 votes, GOP state senators started secretly calling GOP-leaning counties to ask if they would permit a voluntary ballot audit. Behind this effort were not only the GOP lawmakers but also private fund-raising campaigns. Only one of three counties acquiesced, Fulton County where DDT won by 86 percent. On December 31, 2020, Wake TSI, “contracted” to a nonprofit group by pro-DDT lawyer Sidney Powell who was filing a series of lawsuits challenging DDT’s election loss, spent an afternoon recounting 1,000 mail-in ballots and taking data from county voting machines. Its draft report originally stated the election had been “well run” and “conducted in a diligent and effective manner,” but a revised version gave a caveat:

“This does not indicate that there were no issues with the election, just that they were not the fault of the County Election Commission or County Election Director.”

DDT allies used this revised report to claim voting machines are vulnerable to hacking and fraud. Wake TSI was hired to do a hand recount of Maricopa County (AZ) ballots but abruptly ended its involvement after a few weeks. Like Maricopa County, Fulton County, population under 15,000, may have to replace all its voting machines because of turning them over to an uncertified company.

DDT’s Commerce Department used a security unit as a rogue counterintelligence operation to collect information on hundreds of citizens and foreign visitors suspected of criticizing the 2020 U.S. census or having ties to China.

Biden has also withdrawn a subpoena attempting to force Twitter to disclose Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) anonymous social media critic. The DOJ also put a gag order on Twitter about the subpoena. Twitter executives believed the DOJ abused their power and violated the First Amendment to support DDT’s ally. A Virginia judge dismissed Nunes’ $250 million suit against Twitter for parody accounts pretending to be his mother and a cow.

And there are sure to be more revelations.

February 23, 2021

DDT’s Lawsuits ‘the Rest of My Life’

With Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) out of Washington, the U.S. Supreme Court may stay out of his legal messes—at least for now. On Monday, the justices’ refused to block a lower court giving DDT’s financial records and tax returns, both personal and corporate, to New York City prosecutors. The grand jury will have eight years of tax returns, 2011-2018, for a grand jury investigation, and last July, the high court ruled 7-2 against DDT’s claim he was immune from prosecution while still in the Oval Office. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority:

“No citizen, not even the president, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”

This decision not to hear the appeals court case frees Manhattan DA Cy Vance to continue his criminal probe. Michael Cohen, DDT’s former personal lawyer, has claimed the Trump Organization committed insurance fraud, avoided taxes, and jacked up loan collateral by manipulating real estate valuations. New York state AG Letitia James is pursuing the same information for a civil probe. DDT’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, and his bank, Deutsche Bank, said in the past they will release the information if subpoenaed.

Vance recently issued another dozen subpoenas for the investigation, including one for Ladder Capital Finance, one of DDT’s major creditors for commercial real estate holdings. DDT’s $160 million interest-only mortgage with Ladder on Trump Tower comes due in 18 months.  

Taking part in the inquiry is Mark Pomerantz, who both prosecuted and defended mob figures.

In another New York case, Manhattan prosecutors subpoenaed documents from an engineer working on the Trump-owned 200-acre Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County. In the past decade, DDT’s valuation of the property, purchased in 1995 for $7.5 million, ranged from $25 million to $291 million. In 2014, he deducted $2.2 million in taxes by claiming it as an investment property and then claimed a $21.1 million tax deduction for donating a conservation easement for 2015, not “reflected on applicable tax returns.” DDT tried to build a golf course on the property, but quit after local opposition, and then considered a development with 15 mansions.

DDT’s returns may not be public unless they lead to criminal charges. In that case, the documents could be evidence, allowing them to be public. If those charges lead to conviction, DDT can’t escape it with a pardon, even a secret blanket one he might have made before he left the Oval Office, because it’s a state, not a federal, charge.

In another rejection of DDT, SCOTUS refused to consider cases out of Pennsylvania to block a deadline for absentee ballots three days after Election Day which were postmarked by Election Day in cases from a legislator and from DDT to block Pennsylvania’s certification of election results. The disposition of absentee ballots either way would not have affected President Joe Biden’s win in the state.

Thanks to Fulton County (GA) DA Fani Willis, DDT may also face RICO, an anti-racketeering law to prosecute the mob, in trying to change Georgia’s majority to favor himself. Willis successfully used the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in a case against Atlanta teachers accused of organized cheating by falsifying student standardized scores to improve schools’ standing. Former Georgia public defender Ryan Locke said RICO is used “in a case where someone commits a number of crimes that all lead toward one common corrupt aim.” RICO can be used for using a legal entity, i.e., a government agency or public office, to break the law.

More fallout has come from 60+ frivolous lawsuits claiming, with no evidence, fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Both public officials and private companies want to hold DDT and his GQP (Grand QAnon Party) allies accountable for the rhetoric causing insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. Federal rules prohibit lawyer participation in frivolous suits or use of litigation for such improper purposes as to delay or harass. Laws prevent attorneys from lying in court. Judicial sanctions to discourage bad practices could be monetary penalties or references to disciplinary action.

Michigan and Detroit asked a federal judge to sanction attorneys filing lawsuits falsely alleging fraud in the election. Al Schmidt, GOP Philadelphia City Commissioner facing threats with falsehoods about fraud in vote counting, asks for reconciliation. “Moving on isn’t enough,” he said. Last Friday, a federal judge in D.C. referred a lawyer for possible disciplinary action.

In Wisconsin, lawyers representing the state council of the Service Employees International Union requested a criminal investigation about ten false Wisconsin electors who secretly met at the state Capitol in an attempt to appoint themselves electoral voters for DDT. On the same day Wisconsin convened electoral representatives representing the state’s voters, the illegitimate group signed fake certificates of election with DDT’s name and sent them to federal and state officials. The six laws possibly broken include forgery and falsely assuming the role of public officer.

In New York, Stephen Gillers, a NYU law school professor, helped draft a complaint to investigate DDT’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s conduct and possibly revoke his license to practice law in the state. State rules prohibit lawyers from “conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness as a lawyer.” A court can suspend the lawyer’s license on an interim basis while the disciplinary process is being resolved, sometimes three to four years.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MI), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, is suing DDT, Giuliani, and members of two extremist groups, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, on the basis of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan law banning violent interference in congressional duties. His representation, NAACP, said other congressional members may join.

Two election technology companies filed multibillion-dollar defamation suits against DDT’s allies for telling lies about the software and equipment. Dominion Voting Systems, with $1.3 billion defamation lawsuits against lawyers Giuliani and Sidney Powell, has a new $1.3 billion suit against the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Dominion claims Powell has been evading service of its suit. Smartmatic’s lawsuits have forced conservative media into reversing its lies.

While DDT prepares for his first speech since leaving Washington for Mar-a-Lago, possibly to announce his presidential candidacy in 2024, he fears he will be sued for the rest of his life—sort of like his life before the White House. A few non-political cases:

Former journalist E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit is still active. After the statute of limitations for rape expired, she is suing DDT for defamation because he said she lied about a rape in a New York department store. Former AG Bill Barr tried to move the case from state to federal court and assign DOJ lawyers to defend DDT, but the new administration dropped that effort.

A one-time contestant on DDT’s former TV reality show The Apprentice, Summer Zervos, has requested a continuation of her suit now that DDT, presently a private citizen, no longer has protection from a deposition regarding alleged sexual assault.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, once a close friend of DDT who advised him for his campaign, is considering a lawsuit because DDT repeated—and falsely—called Scarborough a murderer.

DDT may be in financial trouble despite grifting throughout four years in the White House. Vornado Realty Trust, owning 70 percent of two first-class commercial buildings in New York and San Francisco, may force DDT to sell his 30 percent stake at a discount. With control over DDT’s cash flow, Vornado can withhold money from DDT, who desperately needs the funds to pay for his loan. After a decade, DDT has owned a share worth $784 million with a $285 million share of the debt. Almost $400 million in DDT’s debt partially backed by Trump International Hotel (Washington, D.C.) and the Trump National Doral Golf Resort (Miami) comes due in 2023. Without money to maintain the facilities in good shape, he loses the ability to attract future business.

Since DDT left the White House, members are leaving Mar-a-Lago because of bad food and a depressing atmosphere, lacking even entertainment. Calling DDT an “employee,” however, Palm Beach allows DDT to live at Mar-a-Lago, despite his agreement in 1993 to not stay there for longer than seven days at a time and only three times a year. Neighbors still oppose his residence there.

DDT lost over $120 million in revenue last year, according to his financial disclosure forms, the worst losses at his D.C. hotel, down over 60 percent, and Doral Resort, dropping 44 percent. Revenue amounts for 47 companies declined over 35 percent, and banks and law firms are cutting ties with DDT’s businesses. Gone are three of four banks with DDT’s largest deposits. Even a small event like the triathlon at DDT’s golf course outside Charlotte canceled when the January 6 Capitol attack caused sponsors and vendors to drop out. The event’s founder had canceled another event almost four years after DDT’s comment about “very fine people” among white supremacists,  but he came back to lose again.

And DDT’s supporters think he’s a good businessman.

December 25, 2020

End of 2020: Light from the Dark

On Christmas Day, we should have good news. Here are pieces from the past few weeks.

President-elect Joe Biden has slowed down in making appointments the past week but found a highly qualified replacement for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Connecticut’s commission of public schools Miguel Cardona moved from assistant superintendent in a district of 9,000 students to this appointment in fewer than two years. Born to Puerto Rican parents living in public housing, he first taught fourth-graders before he became the state’s youngest principal at age 28. In 2012, he was named the state’s principal of the year. Billionaire DeVos was educated in private schools, never taught, and focused on giving all her budget to private, preferably religious, schools. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called him a “very, very solid” candidate.

Cardona’s background includes working to provide technology while pushing to reopen schools during the pandemic. His concern on equity issues led Connecticut to become the first state to require high school courses in Black and Latino studies under his tenure. Biden wants to triple the $15 billion Title I funds supporting high-poverty schools and double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, and social workers in schools, provide new money for school infrastructure, and increase federal spending for special education. He also proposed forgiving college debt and making community college free.

California’s governor Gavin Newsom has selected his secretary of state Alex Padilla to replace VP-elect Kamala Harris, making him the state’s first Latino senator from California. The son of Mexican immigrants, Padilla went to MIT, the LA City Council, and the state senate, before his current job. He and Sen.-elect Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) will join four other Latinos in the Senate. With Harris gone, the chamber has no Black woman, but in 26 days the U.S. will have a Black and Indian woman.

The Georgia runoff for two incumbent GOP senators heated up on the day after the general election in early November—court cases to suppress the vote and massive lies from the conservatives. A federal judge agreed on a settlement between civil rights groups and the postal service for measures to guarantee absentee ballots arrive in time for the January 5 election deadline. Georgia postal facilities are required to regularly sweep for undelivered ballots until the election and use expedited delivery services for mail-in ballots, and the plaintiffs agreed to not ask the Washington, D.C. circuit court for any other orders in their cases until after the elections. First class postal service during the past month has suffered serious delays because of Postmaster Louis DeJoy’s attempts, supported by DDT’s DOJ, to dismantle the promptness of delivery services.

A Fulton County judge rejection of a lawsuit permits voters to continuing using drop boxes 24 hours a day until polls close in Georgia on January 6. The county, generally voting Democratic, has a population of over one million. The State Election Board approved the disputed rule earlier this year. Republicans also lost their cases to stop the use of drop boxes, block early processing of mail ballots, and institute stricter signature verification procedures. Plaintiffs were barred from filing new lawsuits, but they can still appeal. Another trauma for Republicans comes from the 76,000 new registrations, 57 percent of them under the age of 35.

Another lawsuit, also rejected by a federal judge, would have removed the ballots of new Georgia residents from the senator runoff in a misreading of the federal Voting Rights Act. That was followed by a demand to the removal of Dominion software and equipment from use in the Georgia election. Conspiracy theorists also claim people are racing to Georgia to vote Democratic.

Over 1.4 million people in Georgia, 132,000 more than in the recent general election, have submitted applications for absentee ballots, down only 4 percent from the number of mail ballot applications at this point in the run-up to the general election. The deadline for requests is January 1. On the first day of early voting, the 168,000 voters had a 27-percent greater turnout than for the first day of the presidential election. Since early voting began on December 14, 2020, 1.3 million people have voted in person, and another 721,000 absentee ballots have also been received. About 5 million people in Georgia voted in November.

DDT has attacked the U.S. people with over 60 lawsuits to disenfranchise their votes, but litigation is now directed at him, for example one accusing him and the GOP of conspiring to violate Black voters’ rights. The case goes beyond a cease and desist; it asks DDT and the RNC to obtain court approval before demanding accounts or other “post-election activities.” A federal judge order barring the RNC from “ballot security” activities was lifted only three years ago after in effect for 36 years. Claims of intimidation, threats, and voter disenfranchisement came from voter roll purges and payment to police officers for patrolling sites in primarily Black and Latino areas. The new lawsuit, under the auspices of the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act, charges the defendants of purposefully focusing voter challenges on cities with large Black populations.

Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic, companies making election voting equipment, also threaten defamation charges against DDT’s attorney Sidney Powell and conservative media outlets, demanding retractions of false claims in rigging the election. Fox, Newsmax, and OAN already played the video refuting the fraud. DDT’s campaign told staffers to preserve documents in preparation for a lawsuit. Dominion’s lawyer, Tom Clare, won a $1 million verdict in a defamation lawsuit after Rolling Stone alleged gang rape on the University of Virginia campus. The case was finally settled out of court.

Eric Coomer, director of product strategy and security for Dominion Voting Systems, in hiding after receiving death threats, is suing not only the lawyers but also the conservative networks and pundits along with evangelical radio host Eric Metaxas for “relentless defamation and ongoing threats.” Another defendant, Joseph Oltmann, founded a nonprofit and media business to uncover Antifa activists and also impugned Coomer. He has been branded a traitor to the U.S. a terrorist, and a criminal of the highest order.

Michigan AG Dana Nessel announced her office will file bar complaints against Powell, DDT’s campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and other lawyers who attacked state and local election officials as well as attempted to disenfranchise voters and overturn the election. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) also plans to file complaints against Giuliani and the other lawyers representing DDT and the GOP.

An attorney opposing one of DDT’s election fraud cases has also filed for sanctions against DDT’s lawyers.

Federal judges can sanction lawyers filing cases “for any improper purpose, such as to harass” or who press “frivolous” claims. They repeatedly called out Powell for failing to follow court rules and rejected her efforts to overturn Biden’s win. Attorneys’ ethics rules include similar language prohibiting lawyers from abusing the legal system and bringing frivolous claims.

Maricopa County (AZ) supervisors refuse to comply with subpoenas from the state Senate Judiciary Committee for over 2 million ballots cast in the November election.

A Delaware Superior Court judge threatened to revoke Lin Wood’s legal representation of DDT’s former adviser Carter Page because Wood’s Georgia suit had “no basis in fact or law” and his Wisconsin suit had “multiple deficiencies.” Page is suing Yahoo! News and Huffpost for defamation.  

Among DDT’s chaos in the past week, Robert E. Lee’s statue has been removed from the nation’s capitol. Virginia chose the traitor as one of its two designated monuments in the federal Statuary Hall over a century ago. He led the failed Confederate army during the Civil War and lost his plantation, now Arlington Cemetery. According to Virginia’s commission, a statue of Barbara Johns may replace Lee. In 1951, Johns, 16 years old at the time, led a two-week walkout protesting substandard educational conditions at her segregated all-Black high school. The following litigation became part of Brown v. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court outlawed school segregation. Virginia’s General Assembly needs to approve the commission’s decision. Mississippi has yet to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis, treasonous Confederate president, and Georgia still has treasonous Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens. At least six other treasonous Confederates are also honored in Statutory Hall.

A split Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled police must have probable cause for a crime to conduct warrantless searches in the state. Of the 2,000 searches a month, 80 percent have been on Black drivers, but police found contraband only 12 percent of the time.  

A Fairfax County (VA) judge ruled the portraits of White judges must be removed for a Black defendant’s proceedings because he cannot get a fair trial from the implied bias.  

The conservative Gallup poll finds that DDT’s approval rating has dropped seven points since the election to 39 percent. Congress gets 15 percent approval. By contrast, Biden’s approval rating at 65 percent is 27 points higher than DDT’s rating at his inauguration in 2016. He never reached higher than 49 percent approval during his four years and averaged 39 percent over the four years.  

December 9, 2020

DDT Spirals Downward in Court

All 50 states have certified their electoral college votes according to the votes of their populations. President-elect Joe Biden has 306 votes; loser Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has 232 votes. The party totals are exactly the opposite from those in 2016 when DDT received 306 votes. After December 8, 2020, votes cannot be challenged in court or in Congress. Fox network traumatized supporters of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) when Neil Cavuto broke into DDT’s “vaccine summit” programming to announce Joe Biden is president-elect and the Supreme Court isn’t going to put him back into the Oval Office.

Next Monday, December 14, the electors meet in their separate states to vote by paper ballot for president and vice president. After the vote, they sign “Certificates of the Vote” with the list of votes and distribute them to officials along with the Certificate of Ascertainment. Thirty-three states have laws requiring electors to follow the vote of the people; Georgia, with 16 votes, and Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, are the only swing states without this law. Without those 36 votes, Biden still has the necessary 270 electoral votes to be president.

Tuesday was another marker in losing for DDT. He and his allies passed the marker for 50 lost post-election legal battles, exactly 51, according to Marc Elias, Democrats’ top election attorney. The GOP came out victorious in one minor case allowing them to move from ten feet to six feet away from ballot counters. The icing on the losing cake was a rejection from the U.S. Supreme Court for a request to throw out all of Pennsylvania’s 6.7 million votes. The order from conservative Justice Samuel Alito had no dissents from the conservative 6-3 court—including the three justices DDT appointed to give him the White House in the next term. The case was the first—and perhaps the last—to reach the Supreme Court to overturn Biden’s win. In arguing the Supreme Court case, lawyers tried to use the 2000 decision putting George W. Bush into the White House, but that case overturned Florida’s Supreme Court decision on the basis its ruling “impermissibly distorted [state law] beyond what a fair reading required.” SCOTUS rejected the argument.

The basis of the case, filed by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) was against Act 77, last year’s law to allow unlimited absentee ballots to eligible voters. Republicans passed the law with the belief it would increase Republican voters, but DDT’s belief it would help Democrats drove Republicans to oppose the law that they passed. The state Supreme Court stated that the challenge was filed far too late, after Biden’s 80,000 majority was known. Challengers to Act 77 already ignored the 180-day window set by the GOP legislature to raise any constitutional objections. The GOP goal was to disenfranchise over 2.5 million voters so they could give the state to DDT.

One Pennsylvania state legislator gave an explanation for the recent interest in nullifying election results. Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward said defying DDT’s position might “get my house bombed.” Armed threatening men gathered around the home of Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and extremists are posting photographs of the home of Ann Jacobs, Wisconsin Elections Commission chair, and threatening her children.    

After the conservative Supreme Court rejected the GOP’s effort to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump’s supporters are using Parler social media to call for martial law and armed rebellion across the nation. The same people called liberals “snowflakes” in 2016 and accused them of not being able to accept DDT’s victory four years ago. DDT lost both the electoral college and the popular vote to Biden, but DDT’s supporters claim people would not have voted for Biden.

After DDT’s Supreme Court loss came Nevada’s Supreme Court agreement with a lower court of “no credible or reliable evidence that the 2020 general election in Nevada was affected by fraud.”

Arizona’s Supreme Court unanimously rejected the “election fraud” lawsuit from the state’s GOP chair, Kelli “Chemtrail” Ward, who tried to give the state’s certified votes to DDT instead of the popular vote for Biden. The case accused both election workers and foreign countries of manipulating the results. After Arizona’s GOP Gov. Doug Ducey certified the vote for Biden, Ward told him to “shut the hell up.” The state GOP has asked Republicans if they are willing to die in the cause of obtaining the election for DDT. Activist Ali Alexander set the tone when he said he was “willing to give my life for this fight [to put DDT in the Oval Office].” The party sent out Alexander’s statement with the words, “He is. Are you?” with a clip from Rambo. A few respondents said they would, but far more ridiculed the approach.

A Georgia judge denied a lawsuit to force the state’s GOP governor and secretary of state decertify the election results for Biden to give the state to DDT. Desperate to get votes despite their openly fraudulent activities, Georgia’s GOP incumbent senators, up for reelection on January 6, have both signed a statement asking the state to invalidate the vote of the people for Biden.

Another Tuesday event was learning that DDT’s campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis, who worked closely with COVID-19 infected Rudy Giuliani, also tested positive for the virus. She had told Fox she was bringing lawsuits to put loser DDT into the Oval Office for “Lord Jesus Christ.” Evidently, God blocked Ellis by giving her coronavirus.

The “safe harbor deadline” has passed, but 17 flaming red states are following Texas AG Ken Paxton in his filing opposition to Biden’s election in the Supreme Court, claiming four states—Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia—for “illegal election results.” DDT needs to get electoral votes from an additional four states to pass the 270-vote threshold for presidential election; he is ignoring the other 46 states.

Paxton’s lawsuit has serious problems. (1) It has no evidence. (2) One state has no standing to sue another state for its election processes. If so, many states could sue Paxton’s Texas for its multiple voter suppression tactics. (3) DDT has joined the lawsuit. Acting “in his personal capacity” as a presidential candidate, DDT wants “to protect his unique and substantial personal interests as a candidate for re-election.”

DDT’s new attorney, John Eastman, is using his birther belief attempting to disqualify VP-elect and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) for both her government positions because she was born in Oakland (CA) to U.S. immigrants. Newsweek ran an article from Eastman and then profusely apologized for having published his highly discredited column. 

Paxton’s lawsuit appears self-serving. After being under indictment for five years for securities fraud, several of his senior officials accused him of “bribery, abuse of office and other crimes.” He may be shopping for a pardon before DDT leaves office.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies turned sour Tuesday when Republicans rejected the customarily pro-forma resolution stating Joe Biden is president-elect in a preparation for him and VP-elect Kamala Harris. With six members on the committee, the resolution met with a tie. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) accused Democrats of getting “ahead of the electoral process [to] decide who we are inaugurating.” He wants them to “adhere to the committee’s longstanding tradition of bipartisan cooperation.” The other two Republicans on the committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), look upset about planning a Democrat’s inauguration. 

GOP leaders are giving December 14, the meeting of electors as the end of the elections. Next Tuesday will determine whether Republicans come up with a new personal deadline. Chair of the committee, Blunt indicated it won’t be meeting again. More sabotage of what should be a celebration of democracy. Blunt also said the committee members would accept the president-elect after the Electoral College meets. When the 249 GOP congressional members were asked if they would accept Biden as president-elect after formalization by the electors, only 32 said yes. Two said no, and the remaining 215 wouldn’t answer. The 32 accepting the inevitable is only five more than the 27 who had already agreed with Biden as the president-elect.

Meanwhile, Biden is moving forward with his own inaugural committee. He has appointed five chairs with Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), the lead, with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer the co-chair. Others are Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE). At the same time, Ivanka Trump, deposed for an investigation into the misuse of funds for her father’s inauguration called it “a politically motivated demonstration” and “waste of taxpayer dollars.” After the 50+ lawsuits against states because Republicans can’t believe Joe Biden can get over 80 million votes.

U.S. COVID-19 for December 9, 2020: cases – 225,441; deaths – 3,243. Within the next two days, anticipate total cases to go over 16 million and deaths over 300,000.

November 25, 2020

DDT’s Flailing Attempts to Get Votes

Filed under: Judiciary — trp2011 @ 12:08 AM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

With 36 losing lawsuits and eight more pending, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has not yet found any election fraud. He even admitted that he failed by tweeting he “will” find evidence. For the past month, DDT and other Republicans have thrown lawsuits to block Biden from winning, going from county jurisdictions to the federal circuit courts. Media differ on the number of lawsuits, going as high as the 44 listed above. GOP lawyers have tried to prevent counting and certifying votes while changing the rules and just having the electoral votes given to DDT with no justification. All of the cases declare nothing about widespread voter fraud in court; it appears only in the court of public opinion. Sometimes, attorneys claim in court that no fraud exists. By now, all the lawyers are incompetent.

Sidney Powell, Michael Flynn’s failed lawyer, accused Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of conspiring with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to steal the election from DDT. Rudy Giuliani, still DDT’s personal lawyer and QAnon member Jenna Ellis said Powell doesn’t work on the election cases, but Ellis described Powell as a member of Trump’s legal team and praised her performance at the press conference. Giuliani said that the press conference was “representative of our legal team.” DDT’s campaign claimed Powell is “practicing law on her own” and “not a member of the Trump Legal Team,” but DDT had tweeted the three of them with Joseph deGenova and Victoria Toensing, who DDT refused to hire years ago, are “a truly great team.”

A taste of the recent cases:

Last weekend, a U.S. District Court judge in Pennsylvania dismissed DDT’s case in federal court. Matthew W. Brann wrote:

“In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more.”

Fox showed a pre-recorded segment with DDT’s lawyer Jenna Ellis about a promising case possibly going to the Supreme Court—hours after the judge threw out the lawsuit. The Supreme Court has refused to take the case about counting ballots arriving within three days after Election Day but mailed on time.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed five consolidated appeals yesterday in DDT’s attempt to disqualify a few thousand mail-in ballots. The majority ruled the election code does not disqualify votes with no fraud or irregularity. Justice Christine Donohue wrote:

“Failures to include a handwritten name, address or date in the voter declaration on the back of the outer envelope, while constituting technical violations of the Election Code, do not warrant the wholesale disenfranchisement of thousands of Pennsylvania voters.”

In Pennsylvania, officials asked the 3rd Circuit Court to end DDT’s challenge of the election because it has been certified and resolved. The case was about rejecting millions—or at least tens of thousands—of legally cast ballots with no evidence to support the surrounding allegations. Parties were given 24 hours to submit arguments; rejecting DDT’s legal team may close down most of DDT’s ability to contest the election in that state, especially after today’s certification for Biden.

When Brann tossed the Pennsylvania case to remove all 6.8 million ballots from consideration last Friday, he described the case as a “Frankenstein’s Monster … haphazardly stitched together” and the GOP solution “unhinged.” That case led Pennsylvania Republicans to file a petition for the state supreme court which rejected it Monday before the 3rd Circuit Court was willing to take briefs. The same case also led to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) to declare Biden as the president-elect.

The appeal for the circuit court didn’t ask for a delay in certification or a reversal in the trial court’s motion to grant preliminary relief. All it wants is an order for the district court to decide the case that the judge already called “Frankenstein’s Monster.”

Yesterday, DDT also lost a case in Michigan. A representative from the Brennan Center for Justice said the Michigan decision rejecting DDT’s poll observers to stop the certification could be the end of the road for DDT in that state. Michigan certified its electoral college votes for Biden yesterday. Another Michigan case had been rejected as “defective” for improper filing and was never corrected. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel (Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney’s niece) and state GOP Chair Laura Cox asked Michigan’s state canvassing board to delay certification for 14 days, allowing for a “full audit and investigation.”

Republicans’ Tuesday lawsuit asking the Wisconsin state supreme court to block certification during the recount uses DDT’s typical arguments as well as a repeat of a rejected argument in September that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to “illegally circumvent Wisconsin absentee voting laws” through grants awarded by a nonprofit center he funds. It’s slightly less daring than the Pennsylvania case to eliminate all 6.8 million votes based on hearsay, according to the judge.

A Wisconsin judge refused a request to throw out 60,000 mail-in ballots not associated with a written application in Democratic Dane County—all cast during in-person early voting. DDT’s team also lost the request to eliminate all ballots in which clerks added in a witness’ address information on the ballot envelope. In 2016, the state elections commission told municipal clerks to add that information if it was missing and they could reasonably discern it.

A Nevada district judge denied a former senate candidate her request to stop this week’s certification. The judge also denied a motion to strike down Nevada law allowing mail-in ballots and denied the request from a failed GOP congressional candidate for a revote in Nevada’s biggest county, calling it a “shocking ask.” Another Nevada case is still waiting for a decision, but the case probably won’t affect the state’s vote count.

This morning, DDT promised a “big lawsuit” will be filed “soon.” Last week, DDT’s legal team leader Rudy Giuliani also promised “a major lawsuit in Georgia,” but nothing has yet to emerge. The only lawsuit in Georgia, filed the day after the election, was quickly dismissed.

Miserably failing in court, DDT has developed other undemocratic tactics. Thus far, they have gained no traction other than to lead DDT’s gullible cult followers into rejecting democracy.  

Recounts:  Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp, elected with his personally chosen and possibly faulty voting machines, is calling for a second complete hand count of all ballots after the first one shows Biden ahead by 12,670 votes. DDT is also calling for a machine hand count although Georgia has already certified its votes for Biden. In the last hand recount, DDT gained about 1,300 votes. Georgia’s taxpayers will have to finance the second recount.

Too cheap to do a total Wisconsin recount, DDT picked the two heaviest Democratic counties. Observers’ sole goal is to delay the recount past the deadline to certify votes for the state. Never mind that certification from other swing states—Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan—put Biden at 280 electoral college votes, ten points over the required 270. Observers not only break social distancing rules by doubling up at tables but also engage in other illegal activity. One of them questioned every ballot for no reason at all. One refused to wear a mask, and another assaulted a ballot counter when she moved his jacket from a chair. Some observers claiming to be independent or nonpartisan later admitted to the media they were present to help DDT.

State legislatures:  DDT’s campaign said Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Michigan will have public hearings on election, but the states disagree. Pennsylvania’s Senate Majority said the “hearing” is an “informational meeting.”  The other two states won’t confirm any hearing.  DDT’s daughter-in-law said about winning by swaying GOP state legislators, “We’re open to anything.” And DDT lobbied Michigan lawmakers in the White House to give the state to himself.

Twitter:  Since DDT’s abdication of any responsibilities, he has unlimited time to rant and rave over Twitter although his tweets are sometimes flagged for “misinformation.” Tomorrow is another day with no public events scheduled after he pardoned two turkeys and had a 63-second press conference today.

Re-vote: DDT retweeted this message from Randy Quaid, adding Republicans should take note:

“We need an in-person-only-paper ballot re-vote, especially in the States where flagrant irregularities have occurred. No accuracy, no democracy!”

AG Bill Barr, DDT’s fixer in the past, has maintained two weeks of silence without taking any action in the fake election fraud accusation. The U.S. Supreme Court has also shown no interest, already turning down one appeal.

Months ago, DDT began his strategy of telling his supporters the election is rigged and filled with fraud. Now those same supporters may boycott the Georgia election on January 5 to select two senators for the 177th Congress, senators who could give the Senate control to Democrats. The PAC connected to Roger Stone, DDT’s friend who Barr saved from part of his prison sentence, calls for Republicans to avoid the runoffs. On social media Parler are posts such as “Don’t vote! Don’t be part of the corruption.” Lin Wood, a DDT campaign worker in Georgia, tweeted, “I will NOT vote in GA runoff.”

November 24, 2020 – U.S. daily COVID-19: 175,168 cases (hitting over 13 million tomorrow); 2,194 deaths (hitting over 266,000 tomorrow).  

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