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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, July 22, 2017
Constitutional Crisis Nears, Democracy Crisis Now: 'BradCast' 7/20/17
Guest: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning on lawsuit and media fail in GA-06; Also: Trump's DoJ threat; NYT health care failure; Israel to hand-count ballots due to hack threat...
'Green News Report' 7/20/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
CA extends landmark climate program, but enviros say it's not enough; Trump re-opens offshore drilling in Arctic; PLUS: 2017 already breaking new global heat records as of June...
Previous GNRs: 7/18/17 - 7/13/17 - Archives...
Civilian War Deaths Skyrocket; Bipartisan CA Climate Action: 'BradCast' 7/19/17
Guest: R.L. Miller, climate hawk Dem, on opposition to the CA bills; Also: Big Oil's big trouble; State Dept. war crimes office closing...
GOP's ObamaCare Repeal Collapses (Again. Twice.): 'BradCast' 7/18/2017
What's the next illegit plan for Trump and Congress?; Also: 2016 election hacks worse than known; Kobach commission's voter suppression already a success...
'Green News Report' 7/18/17
Raging wildfires in British Columbia; Trump reduces royalties on offshore drilling; Energy Dept. study contra- dicts Energy Sec. claims; PLUS: Nuns block gas pipeline...
With ObamaCare Repeal on Brink, Admin Ups Their Lies: 'BradCast' 7/17/17
Guest: Ned Resnikoff of ThinkProgress; Plus: Guess what happened after TX cut family planning funding...
Sunday Toons of 'Borscht Thickens' Moment
Trump White House 'nothing burgers' more rancid by the moment. Plus: Voter suppression, e-voting, melting Antarctica in PDiddie's latest weekly toon collection...
Are They Liars? Or Just Incompetent? Or Both?: 'BradCast' 7/14/2017
Breathtaking Team Trump perfidy. Congressional GOPers not much better. Also: Espionage Act turns 100...
Why Do Georgia Election Officials Insist on 100% Unverifiable Elections?
Another contested election in GA following more than a decade of failures, vulnerabilities, repeated warnings...
Nun Too Happy: Catholic Order Builds Chapel to Block Pipeline: 'BradCast' 7/13/17
Guest: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck; Plus: What is Team Trump hiding? And why?...
'Green News Report' 7/13/17
Huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica; Tesla builds world's biggest battery; EPA reviving controversial Pebble Mine; PLUS: France nixing coal, internal combustion engine...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Guest: Legal analyst Ernest A. Canning...
By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2017 6:36pm PT  

On today's BradCast: We may be quickly heading towards a very troubling Constitutional crisis and what will it take for voters (and corporate media!) to appreciate the dangers posed by our absurd voting systems in the U.S.? [Audio link to full show is posted below.]

President Donald Trump offers some astounding revelations regarding his thoughts about firing the nation's top law enforcement officials (the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, the Acting FBI Director and the Special Counsel investigating Team Trump) during a rare interview with the New York Times. He also suggests he believes he can restructure the Dept. of Justice so that the FBI Director reports directly to the President, rather than the Dept. of Justice. The breathtaking admissions in the interview leads at least one former top Justice Department official under Obama to predict that "we are headed for a massive clash....I don't see how we get past this without him firing either [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller or other people at the Justice Department and a massive, massive crisis."

As disturbing and important as Trump's revelations are, the Times' reporters, Peter Baker, Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, utterly failed to ask any substantive questions about the President's positions on and understanding of the various ongoing Republican schemes to repeal ObamaCare. That, despite each of the GOP's proposed plans for doing so predicted by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to result in anywhere from 22 million to 32 million Americans losing access to health care coverage.

Instead, the reporters focused only on process questions surrounding the political difficulty of enacting health care repeal, rather than the untold suffering and damage it will cause and Trump's own wildly conflicting advocacy for such proposals. They even ignored the fact that the transcript of the interview appears to suggest he does not even know the difference between health insurance and life insurance!

All of that, as former Presidential candidate and Vietnam War torture victim, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer and Senate GOP leadership is reported to be desperately promising to spend some $200 billion in hopes of buying votes for their health care repeal schemes from so-called moderate Republicans in the U.S. Senate.

Then, we're joined by BRAD BLOG legal analyst ERNIE CANNING, to discuss his analysis of the multi-partisan lawsuit recently filed in Georgia contesting the surprising and 100% unverifiable results of the June 20 U.S. House Special Election in the 6th Congressional District and his rather gob-smacking article on the massive security breaches before the election and the more-than-a-decade of disturbing revelations from computer scientists and whistleblowers alike about the Diebold touch-screen voting systems still forced on voters in the Peach State.

Moreover, he tells me about an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter who recently dismissed his concerns about her reporting on GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp's comments that there was no evidence to suggest any election results in the state, including the recent GA-06 race, were inaccurate, or that any manipulation, hacking or programming error occurred. "Well, that's true," says Canning, "but you can't prove that the actual count is valid, either. There's no scientific way to do it. The only one that would really know if it was rigged would be somebody who actually took part in the rigging of the vote."

"You have all this coverage everyday with MSNBC about potential Russian hacks," he continues, "and yet nobody there bothers to talk about the fact that these systems are vulnerable to anybody, whether it be Russia or anybody else, and that there's no way to know whether the votes have been altered."

So, what will it take for Americans --- Republicans and Democrats alike --- to understand the on-going threat to democracy posed by both 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems and by paper ballot systems that are tallied by easily-manipulated, oft-failed computer tabulators? What will it take, for that matter, for the corporate media (including Georgia's largest newspaper!) to understand it as well?

We discuss all of that and much more today, including the Texas County that is finally returning to paper ballots after a disaster in November, and the decision by Israel to stick with hand-counted paper ballots in light of recent election hacks around the world...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Plus: On the Espionage Act's 100th Anniversary, it's now being used against whistleblowers and journalists rather than spies...
By Brad Friedman on 7/14/2017 6:15pm PT  

On today's BradCast, take your pick. Either the Trump Administration (and its cronies in Congress) are liars or completely incompetent. There is plenty of evidence for both. [Audio link for show follows below.]

For a start today, the number of people now reported to have been at that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian attorney said to have dirt on Hillary Clinton has now risen to eight. And, not single day has gone by since the revelation of that meeting one week ago, without the Team Trump explanations for it --- including from the President himself --- changing. Why?

But those aren't the stories today to suggest they are either liars or buffoons (and can't do math either.). Among the many additional stories placed into appropriate context today:

  • Trump's own Sec. of State takes a withering shot at Trump's government;
  • A congressional GOPer laments Republicans "simply don't know how to govern";
  • The non-partisan CBO finds Trump's budget doesn't actually balance (it's only off by $3.4 trillion);
  • Senate Republicans newest health care repeal plan doesn't either;
  • Some GOPers are willing to shut down the government if Trump's wall isn't funded (by tax-payers, not by Mexico, as promised);
  • Trump's border "wall" is beginning to sound exactly like Dubya and Obama's border fence (And his plans for immigration reform are beginning to sound a lot like Obama's as well.)

Given a new Pew survey finding a huge majority of Republican voters now believe higher education at universities and colleges has a "negative effect" on the country, perhaps none of today's stories should come as much of a surprise.

Finally, on the 100th Anniversary of the Espionage Act, the Committee to Protect Journalists offers a report on how, since Nixon first did so in the 70's, the Act has been misused to prosecute whistleblowers rather than spies, particularly under Obama, and how Trump may well begin using it against journalists in the bargain...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Pastor Malinda Harnish Clatterbuck of Lancaster Against Pipelines | Plus: GOP tries again on health care, and what is Team Trump hiding?...
By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2017 6:38pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Republicans in the U.S. Senate gets desperate, Team Trump keeps getting caught in lies, and an order of Catholic nuns in rural Pennsylvania takes action to block a pipeline from being built on their own land. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up: The Senate GOP today released the newest version of their attempted scheme to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and it's as bad as we'd warned it would be on our previous shows this week. The new version removes some of the tax cuts for the wealthy, but leaves in the massive Medicaid cuts that will remove health care for millions, and adds a new provision by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would allow private insurers to sell largely worthless health care plans to suckers in order to claim they have "lowered premiums!"

The newest proposal will also likely continue to have a very difficult time finding the 50 GOP votes needed for passage in the Senate, but it would be a huge mistake to count them out and let your guard down. As that is moving forward, with a vote said to be scheduled for next week, two House Democrats have now officially filed an Article of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump for Obstruction of Justice, and more evidence of Team Trump having lied about contacts with various Russians and other foreign agents continues to emerge. What, if anything, are they trying to hide? And why?

Then, an order of Catholic nuns in central Pennsylvania dedicated a new outdoor chapel last Sunday at the edge of a cornfield and smack-dab in the path of a planned $3 billion natural gas pipeline. PASTOR MALINDA HARNISH CLATTERBUCK of Lancaster Against Pipelines and the Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster joins us to explain the defiant action by the nuns of The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, in the ongoing attempt to block the huge "Atlantic Sunrise" pipeline from being built by a private, Oklahoma-based company. The Williams Partners company has received federal Eminent Domain orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that would allow them to steal the use of the land from the sisters and other residents along the 300-mile path of the massive pipeline path in rural Lancaster County, PA.

Clatterbuck scoffed at the "irreparable harm" argument being made in U.S. District Court by the company in their emergency motion, to be heard next week, against the sisters' open-air chapel . "It's really ironic that they would use that language when the harm that they are proposing to do, not just to Lancaster County, but to the whole extension of Central Pennsylvania with this pipeline, would be violating the waterways --- 380-some waterways --- this pipeline would be crossing. And it would be going through more than 250 wetlands. And permanently fragmenting over 44 deep forests. I feel like that's irreparable harm that we're really pushing back against," she tells me.

"The audacity of an industry to feel as though they have an entitlement to put a pipeline wherever they want to is unfathomable to me," the pastor and longtime community organizer says, while responding to Williams' statement that they have no problem with peaceful protest by the nuns, as long as they move their chapel to a different location on the land they have owned for almost 100 years. "Isn't that amazing, how arrogant they are? It's not their property. This is the nuns' property. And the nuns have a right to do on their property what they want, right? Isn't this America?"

Paging Sean Hannity! (Who used to pretend to be infuriated by eminent domain...at least when it was done by Democratic Administrations.) And, paging Republicans and Donald Trump! (Who still pretend to be infuriated by encroachments on "religious freedoms," such as when other Catholic nuns, like the Little Sisters of the Poor, challenged the contraceptives mandate of ObamaCare.)

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report on the Delaware-sized iceberg that has just broken off of Antarctica, Tesla's plan to build the world's largest battery in just 100 days (or it's free!), and much more, including a Phoenix weatherman who has been lying to his viewers --- over our public airwaves --- about global warming...in the middle of yet another record heat wave...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Journalist David Dayen | Also: How to win young voters and the House Democratic caucus rift over impeachment...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2017 6:37pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the latest testimony you probably already know about, and the Republican/Trump schemes on banking regulations, infrastructure and healthcare that aren't receiving nearly as much media attention. [Audio link to show is posted at end of article.]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in case you hadn't heard, testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee in open session on Tuesday, and pushed back strongly against what he described as the "secret innuendo" to smear him with the "appalling and detestable lie" that he colluded with Russia on behalf of Team Trump in any way. He said he did not violate his official recusal from the FBI's Trump/Russia investigation when he recommended that the President fire FBI Director James Comey, but then went on to refuse to answer a number of questions concerning his conversations with Trump, despite the fact that Trump has not invoked Executive Privilege for the conversations in question.

There were a number of heated exchanges with Democratic Senators on the Committee, including with one who accused Sessions of "obstructing" the Congressional investigation with his refusal to answer questions or provide a valid legal reason as to why. He also says that he is not aware whether there is a White House taping system that may have recorded Trump's one-on-one conversations with Comey, and that he has received no briefings as Attorney General on the allegations that Russian intelligence used cyberattacks to try and interfere in the 2016 elections.

We cover those hearings today, just completed before air time, before turning to a number of matters that have received far less attention by the media, with our guest DAVID DAYEN, author and prolific financial journalist for The Nation, New Republic, the Fiscal Times, The Intercept and elsewhere.

Among the topics we discuss: The stunning results of last week's UK elections and what it means for the UK, the US, and a what it may portend for a more progressive future for young voters in both countries ("The lesson is that you run on things that people can tangibly experience," says Dayen); The CHOICE Act ("A big ball of deregulation") passed by Republicans in the House last week to gut the modest banking regulations enacted in response to the 2007 global economic collapse (can it possibly pass in the Senate? And does the White House even want it to, given that they are already rolling back those same regulations on their own?); Trump's new scheme to invest in infrastructure, and how it's actually a very thinly veiled plan to privatize public assets, like the federal Air Traffic Control system ("Trump's plans for infrastructure are indistinguishable with privatization").

And finally today, more infighting among Democrats in Congress, as some members are the caucus move forward with a plan to impeach Donald Trump, as Dem leadership pushes back to kill, or at least slow down the process...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Author, journalist Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net...
By Brad Friedman on 6/8/2017 6:18pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it was a day many have been anticipating for some time. Fired FBI Director James Comey testified in open session before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday about his one-on-one meetings with President Trump, during which, he claims, Trump asked for "loyalty" during one meeting and asked Comey to help end the FBI's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in the other. Comey was fired by Trump shortly thereafter. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

During his written and opening statements, and subsequent Q&A with members of the Committee, Comey charged the Trump Administration with having "defamed" both him and the FBI, and lying about the reason for his firing, which he characterizes as an attempt to scuttle the Bureau's counter-intelligence probe into alleged Team Trump coordination with Russia both before and after last year's election.

Following today's testimony, Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz claimed, once again, that Comey's testimony "completely vindicated" his client, and he otherwise vehemently rejected the assertion that Trump either demanded Comey's "loyalty" or sought to shut down the Flynn investigation.

Joining us for full analysis today is journalist and author Marcy Wheeler of Emptywheel.net. She offers a comparison to the breadth of this widening scandal and others she's covered in the past, such as the deliberate outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame during the George W. Bush Administration. "Dick Cheney was just so much more effective at coverup and abuse of power than Trump is," Wheeler quips.

Among many other points in our discussion today, Wheeler responds to Kasowitz' charge that Comey made "unauthorized disclosures of privileged communications" (he didn't, she explains); details the new revelations from Comey's testimony regarding his various meetings with the President and his contemporaneous documentation of those meetings; potential legal exposure for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Vice President Mike Pence in this matter; whether we should have confidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's oversight of the still-widening probe; whether Trump himself is now being investigated for obstruction of justice (she says it's "clear" that he now is); whether any of it amounts to impeachable offenses; and the possibility --- raised several times during today's hearing --- that White House audio tapes of the Trump/Comey meetings may exist. "Lordy, I hope there are tapes," Comey declared today.

She also breaks down the bizarre testimony before the same U.S. Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, when the heads of the NSA and DNI, without any apparent legal basis or precedent, refused to answer questions about whether Trump had asked them to intercede into the FBI probe. "Just because Donald Trump is President," Wheeler tells me, "it has not changed the rule that you have Congressional overseers and you answer their questions."

Finally, near the end of today's show, news breaks out of the UK regarding Exit Poll results from Britain's parliamentary election, suggesting a stunning surprise loss of majority power for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and what is likely to be regarded as a huge victory for the Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn, sometimes regarded as "Britain's Bernie Sanders"...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Craig Holman of Public Citizen...
By Brad Friedman on 6/2/2017 6:20pm PT  

On today's BradCast: The political price of becoming the world's pariah, and new documents finally released by the Trump Administration prove yet again that they are doing anything but "draining the swamp" as promised.

The brutal fallout, including both nationwide and worldwide condemnation for President Trump's regrettable decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, continues as the Administration tries and lies to explain the wildly irresponsible and seemingly senseless move, while also working hard to avoid answering whether or not the President of the United States still believes that climate change is a "hoax", as he's previously asserted.

As that story unfolded this week, the Administration was finally forced to release the ethics waivers they say were granted to dozens of White House and executive agency officials allowing them to avoid ethics requirements set out in Trump's Executive Order issued, purportedly, to keep corporate lobbyists out of the government and ensure those working for the Administration did not work with companies whose employ they had just left.

But getting the waivers released at all was "like pulling teeth," according to my guest today, Craig Holman, the long time Government Affairs lobbyist, specializing in campaign finance and government ethics at Public Citizen. He joins us to discuss what is revealed by the waivers released by the White House so far, and why Trump's approach to ethics guidelines cannot even be compared to previous Administrations. "There is a sea-change of difference between the Obama system and the Trump system," he says, describing how even though Obama issued some waivers himself, he did so only in line with "a very tough legal standard" and only after it was "demonstrated that no one else could do the appointee's job."

Trump, on the other hand, "eliminated any criteria for issuing waivers" and even went a step further by failing to disclose them until group's like Holman's and the aggressive current head of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), Walter Shaub, required White House Counsel Don McGahn (who also apparently waivered himself!) to do so.

In addition to top White House officials like Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus receiving waivers, Holman explains, "We saw people like Shahira Knight, who was a lobbyist for Fidelity on retirement issues, stepping in to the White House and being the special adviser for retirement issues, which would appear to be a violation of the ethics Executive Order. But was she issued a waiver? We didn't know. So we're banging at the door of the White House wondering what was going on." (As it turns out, yes, she got one too.)

Holman is more troubled still by the fact that almost all of the waivers seem only to have been created this past Wednesday, in order to meet a disclosure deadline on Thursday. "I've gone through each and every waiver, and almost all of them are undated, and unsigned," he says. If it's true that they were issued retroactively, Walter Shaub, the Director of the OGE told the New York Times, "There is no such thing as a retroactive waiver...You have violated a rule." Richard Painter, George W. Bush's White House ethics lawyer told the Times,"The only retroactive waiver I have ever heard of is called a pardon."

But what punishment exists for violating Executive Orders and ethics rules, even though both supposedly carry "the force of law"? And who, exactly, would enforce such violations, anyway? White House Counsel Don McGahn? Attorney General Jeff Sessions? Can groups like Public Citizen sue for enforcement? We discuss all of that and much more with Holman today.

Finally today, an iceberg the size of Delaware is on the brink of falling off of an Antarctic ice shelf; the Special Counsel's investigation of the Trump Administration may reportedly be widening to include a probe of AG Jeff Sessions himself; and what is likely the real (and disturbing) reason that Trump ultimately decided to pull out of the Paris Accord? All of that and much more on today's BradCast!...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Also: Trump travel ban blocked by full Appeals Court; UK furious at Admin over intel leaks; Trump praises Philippines extrajudicial murders; More...
By Brad Friedman on 5/25/2017 5:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, one of the most amazing candidate meltdowns ever seen (or, in this case, heard) and how the Speaker of the House hopes to look the other way in the event that he wins anyway. But that's just the tip of today's news iceberg(s). [Audio link to show posted below.]

In one of the most remarkable Election Eve unravelings ever by a U.S. candidate for...pretty much anything, Republican U.S. House candidate Greg Gianforte melted down on the eve of what should have been an easy victory in his statewide Special Election for Montana's only U.S. House seat against Democratic candidate Rob Quist. Instead, in an incident caught on stunning audio tape and witnessed by Fox "News" reporters, Gianforte "body slammed" a Guardian reporter, has been charged with assault, and saw his newspaper endorsements rescinded on the night before voters went to the polls on Thursday.

But many voters already cast their vote by absentee ballot by time of the Wednesday incident, and House Speaker Paul Ryan suggests he'll accept whatever results are reported from the election. That, as I explain today, conveniently ignores Congress's Article 1, Section 5 Constitutional right (and duty) to determine who is actually seated in the House of Representatives. It's a right they have exercised on a number of other controversial elections in the past, so surely Ryan is familiar with that. But, of course, we'll soon see (hopefully) who voters in Montana have decided they want for their only Representative in the U.S. House.

At the same time, it was another enormous news day in which Donald Trump's second attempted travel ban Executive Order was blocked, yet again, this time by the full U.S. 4th Circuit of Appeals. His Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced he will appeal the case to the GOP's stolen U.S. Supreme Court.

Also today, yet another embarrassment for the Trump Administration, which was publicly taken to task by British Prime Minister Theresa May for leaking British intelligence to media regarding the UK's Manchester Bombing investigation. The leaks not only invoked the wrath of (and temporarily stopped intelligence sharing from) the United States' closest ally, but it was hardly the only highly sensitive information recently and inappropriately disclosed to friend and foe alike by Trump and/or his Administration in recent days.

And, in a (related) news item we didn't get to yesterday, after disclosing the whereabouts of two U.S. nuclear submarines, it appears Trump actually praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during a recent phone call for the "unbelievable...great job" he has done on that nation's drug epidemic --- in which thousands of people have been murdered in a brutal extrajudicial campaign carried out by Duterte's police force.

Finally, Desi Doyen joins us with a jam-packed Green News Report, before still more news breaks at the buzzer, reportedly finding Trump's top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner 'under FBI scrutiny' in the Bureau's ongoing Trump/Russia probe...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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While we post The BradCast here every day, and you can hear it across all of our great affiliate stations and websites, to automagically get new episodes as soon as they're available sent right to your computer or personal device, subscribe for free at iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or our native RSS feed!
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Guest: Salon's Heather Digby Parton; Also: Two important election-related SCOTUS decisions and this week's U.S. House Special Election in MT...
By Brad Friedman on 5/22/2017 6:35pm PT  

The new Twin Peaks (which is excellent, by the way!) may be less surreal than the latest goings on inside our current White House. On today's BradCast, the latest news on the ever unfolding investigations into Team Trump and on his overseas trip (stories Trump already managed to conflate today), along with big election-related news from the U.S. Supreme Court and a quick preview of this week's upcoming U.S. House special election in the state of Montana. [Audio link to show is posted below.]

Today, before we get to the latest in the David Lynchian tales of President Trump, two new and important election-related rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. One, being described by UC Irvine Election professor Rick Hasen as a very "big deal" and "a major victory for voting rights plaintiffs" deals with racial and partisan gerrymandering in North Carolina, with ramifications for a number of other similar Republican gerrymanders in several states. The other is a victory for campaign finance restrictions. Both cases feature surprising alliances between Republican and Democratic-appointed Justices following last month's confirmation of Neal Gorsich to fill the vacant seat stolen by Republicans after the death of Justice Anton Scalia.

And, speaking of elections, we also preview the U.S. House Special Election set to take place in Montana this Thursday, as populist first-time candidate and popular folk singer Rob Quist barnstormed the state over the weekend with Bernie Sanders. Republican establishment candidate Greg Gianforte is said to have a small lead in pre-election polls, despite being recently caught on tape supporting the GOP health care bill while seeking money from wealthy lobbyists, even while telling voters on the stump he hadn't made up his mind about it yet. In addition to providing a bellwether for the 2018 elections, it may also serve to shake up the current, very serious divide within the Democratic Party itself, depending on how the results shake out this week. That divide has been somewhat obscured by the madness of the Trump White House, but the bitter split between Bernie and Hillary partisans is still very much creating a rift among progressives and Democrats.

Then, we're joined by the great Heather Digby Parton of Salon.com and the Hullabaloo blog to try and make sense of ALL of the latest in the increasingly surreal Trump Administration investigations, and the ongoing troubles Trump ("the clear and present danger"), his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn ("something wrong with him"), his Vice President Mike Pence ("Involved up to his eyeballs"), and many others. In addition to all of that and whether or not it may be heading towards impeachment, Parton also shares thoughts on Trump's overlooked recently reported threat to lock up journalists (reminding us that AG Jeff Sessions is "by far the most dangerous, malevolent person in the Administration") and offers insight on a number of late-breaking stories related to all of the above, including: Flynn, reportedly, now taking the 5th to avoid self-incrimination in response to Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas; Trump digging himself deeper in Tel Aviv during his 9-day jaunt overseas; and now he may have even have lost a few of his own supporters following his speech on Islam in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

If you watched the new Twin Peaks over the weekend, as I did (the first two hours all year that I haven't thought about Trump, frankly!), what's going on in this Administration is even more difficult to make sense of right now, believe it or not. So, enjoy!...

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Guest: Former Asst. DA Ames Grawert of Brennan Center...
By Brad Friedman on 5/19/2017 6:38pm PT  

So who is the "nut job" here? On today's BradCast, Trump appears to have dug himself even deeper into the Obstruction of Justice mire and, speaking of "justice", Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolls back bi-partisan gains on criminal justice reform made during the Obama Era. [Audio link for show follows below.]

A new report today from the New York Times alleges that, during his Oval Office meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador last week, the day after he'd fired James Comey, President Trump described the former FBI Director as "crazy" and a "real nut job". He reportedly explained that he'd been under "great pressure because of Russia," but that pressure had been lifted due to his firing. If accurate, the new report, said to have been based on documentation of the meeting from the White House itself, could serve as more evidence of Obstruction of Justice by the President, who has now departed for a nine day overseas trip.

Foreign diplomats are reportedly making special preparations to deal with Trump in the Middle East and Europe, including plans to compliment him on his Electoral College win, and by keeping presentations short enough for his, um, limited attention span.

But lost among the sturm und drang over the Comey firing and related dramas over the past week or more is the fact that Trump's executive agencies, such as the EPA, the Department of Interior and Department of Justice, are all moving ahead with some pretty troubling policies. Among them, Attorney General Jeff Sessions' harsh new guidelines requiring federal prosecutors to charge defendants with the "most serious" crimes possible in order to, among other things, force judges to impose mandatory minimum sentencing. This comes even while the U.S. has less than 5% of the world's population, but nearly one quarter of its prisoners.

The new Trump Administration policies, rolling back progressive Obama Era reforms, are being enacted despite decades of plummeting crime rates and broad bi-partisan efforts for criminal justice reform, both at the state and federal levels, according to my guest today, former New York Asst. District Attorney Ames Grawert, now counsel at the Justice Program for NYU's Brennan Center.

Grawert, co-author of the new report, A Federal Agenda to Reduce Mass Incarceration, speaks to the Trump/Sessions claims that crime is rampant and ravaging the nation, despite all evidence to the contrary. "Fear sells," he tells me. "He [Trump] and Sessions need something to convince people that there's a need to embrace these draconian blast-from-the-past policies on mandatory minimums."

About those policies, Grawert laments, "Whether you come to it as a conservative from a moral angle, a religious angle, or simply a budgetary common sense angle, there's a lot of Republicans who are willing to say that criminal justice reform is an imperative for the country. It's shocking that Sessions [when he served as U.S. Senator, blocking a bi-partisan reform bill] was not one of them."

Obama's Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates (yes, that Sally Yates), had issued a memorandum last year instructing federal prisons to end contracts with private prison corporations for a number of reasons supported by both Republicans and Democrats. "Sessions rescinded that very early in his tenure," Grawert notes, "with an ominous declaration that it was needed to meet the quote 'future needs of the federal correctional system.'"

"The problem is that when you have mandatory minimums like these, and when you have an order like the one Sessions just put out last week preventing prosecutors from deciding how they are going to charge a case, it takes a lot of the discretion out of the hands of prosecutors. So, rather than making sure that they, who know the case best of all, are able to help the judge fit the punishment to the crime, you have prosecutors with their hands tied, required to seek a draconian sentence that they, themselves, and that judges also may not feel is actually called for."

"The one thing we learned from the last thirty years or so, is that the federal government's power of the purse, and the tone set in Washington, they carry a lot of weight at the state level," he tells me. "So if you have an attorney general saying, look, we need to send more people to jail for longer, you shouldn't think for a minute that people in states, people running for D.A., people running for governor's house, won't listen to that and take their cues from that."

Please listen to the full show with much more on all of the above right here...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Former Asst. US Attorney Randall D. Eliason of GWU Law School...
By Brad Friedman on 5/17/2017 6:40pm PT  

On today's BradCast, yes, like yesterday, more huge breaking news mid-show. [Audio link follows below.]

But before we get to that, today, controversial, extremist and, perhaps, insane Milwaukee Sheriff David C. Clarke claimed today that he has been appointed to a position in Donald Trump's Dept. of Homeland Security. If true, his appointment would be disturbing. Not only given the number of people who have died in his jail cells, but also because he has, literally, called for about a million people in the U.S. to be rounded up and shipped off to Gitmo, indefinitely, without attorney or trial. Really.

Then, the fallout from yesterday's huge mid-show breaking news concerning the report that, in February, Donald Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to end the Bureau's investigation of Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Republicans, both last night and today on Capitol Hill, are having trouble grappling with and/or responding to the news, though at least one GOP Senator, John McCain, compared what's now going on to Watergate. And committees in both the House and Senate have now asked to see the Comey memos said to document his private meetings with Trump.

And, along with all of that, the phrase "Obstruction of Justice" is being heard more and more regarding Trump's apparent efforts to shut down the FBI's probe into his campaign associates alleged coordination with Russia during the 2016 Presidential election. So, we are joined today by former Asst. U.S. Attorney, now Professor Randall D. Eliason of George Washington University Law School to discuss what "Obstruction of Justice" actually means, in both the criminal sense (as it might apply in an indictment) and in the political sense (as it might apply in Articles of Impeachment) Eliason recently discussed both applications in a lengthy article at his Sidebars Blog.

"The important thing," he tells me today, "is to distinguish between Obstruction of Justice in the broader sense --- the way the term gets thrown around a lot --- and the more narrow criminal sense of an actual criminal violation that fits the Obstruction of Justice statutes. That's a much higher standard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, all of the elements of an actual crime, as opposed to a more general claim that the President is kind of violating all these norms and rules and traditions that we have about not interfering with ongoing investigation, appearing to pressure the FBI Director, things like that."

The key issue, Eliason explains, is whether there was "corrupt intent" in the many different incidents that now appear as Trump's obstruction. "It's not enough if the President does something that just has the effect of hurting the investigation, as a kind of side effect. The prosecutor would have to show that was what he set out to do --- he had the wrongful and deliberate intent to try to thwart, in [the Flynn] case, the ongoing grand jury investigation."

As to the use of Obstruction of Justice as used in Articles of Impeachment against a President, there is a different standard, which Eliason also explains. We discuss the cases (and defenses) being built for both types of obstruction, whether a sitting President can actually be indicted on criminal charges, and also the meaning of another phrase being bandied about of late: "abuse of power".

In the course of the conversation we also discuss the likelihood of impeachment and the potential application of the 25th Amendment remedy as a way to remove Trump from power and the need for a Special Counsel to be named by the Dept. of Justice.

No sooner do we complete that conversation, than the huge news breaks late today that, indeed, former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been named by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as Special Counsel to take over the the FBI's probe into "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump"...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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Guest: Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice...
By Brad Friedman on 5/10/2017 6:03pm PT  

On today's BradCast, as you might have guessed, we pick up on the news that broke mid-show yesterday of Donald Trump's stunning and sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, while the fallout and reeling continues in D.C. and across the nation today. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The pretext for that firing, which even some on Fox "News" describe as "almost inexplicable", was Comey's alleged mishandling last year of the Bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while Sec. of State, according to a letter [PDF] written by new Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A handful of Republican Senators (though some key ones) have expressed concern or "disappointment" over "the timing" of Trump's unprecedented firing of the FBI chief, which appears to have caught just about everybody by surprise, even as investigations continue at both the FBI and Congress into Trump and members of his campaign regarding allegations of undeclared ties to Russia and/or other foreign nations both during the campaign and after the election.

Democrats, meanwhile, are outraged by Comey's firing, despite their furor about the way he oversaw the Clinton probe last year during the run-up to the Presidential election. They are calling for a special prosecutor to be named by Rosenstein at the DoJ and an independent bi-partisan special committee to be named by Congress to investigate all of this. Many are comparing Trump's dismissal of Comey to Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" at the height of the Watergate investigation, others describing it as "a grotesque abuse of power by the President", while some Congressional Democrats are citing this moment as "a full-blown Constitutional crisis."

Joining us today to try and explain what is or isn't going on here, and whether it amounts to such a Constitutional crisis, full-blown or otherwise, is author and Constitutional law expert Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress Justice. He explains the legitimate complaints against Comey, while making the case that his firing was little more than an effort by Trump to disrupt the FBI's ongoing Russia probe.

"What is the emotion you're supposed to feel when the biggest villain in the United States fires the second biggest villain in the United States?," Millhiser wryly asks, before detailing the legal underpinnings for Trump's move, whether any of it is in violation of the law or the U.S. Constitution, and whether Rosenstein or his new boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acted inappropriately in collusion with Trump and the White House.

"The story of the last nine years of American politics," he goes on to explain, "has been that people like Trump, and Jeff Sessions, and James Comey, and Mitch McConnell --- maybe I shouldn't lump Comey in with them because I don't know that he was necessarily acting in bad faith in the way that some of the other ones are --- but people have figured out that we don't have a system of rules that prevents you from doing a lot to blow stuff up, and that prevents you from engaging in a lot of sabotage. What we have are norms that people just didn't violate because they cared enough about the United States of America not to do so."

Those days, Millhiser argues today, appear to be over --- at least as of right now --- in these United States.

Finally, we close with a tiny bit of good news today --- thanks, in part, to the surprising vote of at least one Republican Senator --- regarding the GOP's continuing attempt to roll back Obama Administration fossil fuel-related regulations on public lands...

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Guest: Heather Digby Parton of Salon and Hullabaloo...
By Brad Friedman on 4/28/2017 6:00pm PT  

On today's BradCast, at the 100 days milestone for his Presidency --- which Donald Trump recently dismissed as an "artificial barrier" --- Heather Digby Parton of Salon and the Hullabaloo blog, joins us to try to make sense of (wish us luck) the extraordinary chaos, few successes and many failures, to date, of his historically unpopular Administration. [Audio link to show follows below.]

We do so on a day that Trump watches his hopes for a health care bill fall apart once again in the U.S. House, addresses the NRA in Atlanta, suggests a "major, major confrontation" may be ahead with North Korea, and as he seems to threaten trade wars with everyone from South Korea to Canada to Saudi Arabia.

All of that, as North Korea fires off another ballistic missile test today and Trump tells Reuters he thought being President of the United States "would be easier" than his old job as a real estate hustler and reality TV personality.

Digby --- who also wrote recently about the 100-day mark --- offers her always-enlightening insight on all of the above, explains what has, so far, surprised her most about Trump's Presidency, and speaks to how the corporate media, Congressional Democrats and we, the people, are holding up in The Resistance.

Just another day of havoc and confusion for a stressed out nation (and world) fighting to survive the Trump Era.

Then, speaking of, Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report as Florida burns and the melting Arctic now appears to be accelerating the rate of sea level rise beyond previous scientific predictions...

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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By Ernest A. Canning on 4/26/2017 12:09pm PT  

I couldn't help but burst out laughing while reading White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's description of U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick's late Tuesday decision partially blocking a Presidential Executive Order on funding to so-called "sanctuary cities" as an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge."

(All federal judges are nominated by a President and confirmed by the Senate. None are "elected.")

Not to be outdone by his Press Secretary, Trump via Twitter described the ruling to enjoin the enforcement provision of his January 25 Executive Order as "ridiculous."

In that Executive Order, Trump threatened to withhold and/or recapture all federal funds and grants from any local jurisdiction that did not assist the federal government in its newly aggressive efforts to deport undocumented immigrants.

Trump vowed to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.

Hilarious!

In the forty (40) years that have passed since I was first admitted to the California State Bar, I can scarcely recall a more one-sided "contested" case --- one in which I actually felt sorry for the Justice Department attorney who had been assigned to defend this indefensible Executive Order...

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Guest: Slate's Mark Joseph Stern, reporting from the U.S. District Court hearing, says DoJ and state of Texas have 'really bungled this one'
Also: Mike Pence used a private email server for sensitive state business --- and got hacked. Lock him up!...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2017 6:22pm PT  

The hypocrisy gets thicker by the moment. On today's BradCast, Vice President Mike Pence used private email for state business while serving as Indiana's Governor. And, down in Texas, the U.S. Department of Justice, after switching sides in a long running voting rights case, bombs out, according to our guest who was in the courtroom for a remarkable hearing this week. [Audio link to show posted at end of this article.]

Yes, VP Pence has been discovered to have used a private email server for state business as Governor of Indiana, even while running for Vice President and mercilessly criticizing Hillary Clinton for having done the same while Secretary of State. Unlike Clinton's email account, Pence's was actually hacked. That news follows a similar report that Trump's EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt, also used a private email server for state business while serving as Oklahoma's Attorney General --- and lied to Congress about it.

Then, we're joined by Slate legal reporter Mark Joseph Stern with his amazing report out of Texas, where he was in a federal courtroom this past week, to witness the latest hearing in the long-running case against the state's racially discriminatory Photo ID voting law. The hearing, he explains, was remarkable on a number of fronts. Not the least of which is the fact that, after years of successfully challenging the state Republicans' racist law side-by-side with private litigants, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, now under the control of Donald Trump's Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has switched sides in the case to join with Texas!

The result, as Stern details, was encouraging, gob-smacking and, at times, hilarious. After the state's law, denying access to the polls for those without very specific types of state-issued IDs, has been found racially discriminatory in court after court for years (including by the most conservative U.S. Appeals Court in the land), the only real question now before the U.S. District Court Judge is whether or not Texas enacted their voting restriction with a discriminatory intent. If the law is found (again) to have been purposely designed to discriminate against racial minorities, the state could find themselves back under the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance regime, requiring federal approval for any new laws related to elections.

The DoJ, now standing with Texas in their call for the case to be dismissed, offered an argument that the Judge didn't appear to be buying, Stern reports --- largely because the argument seemed to make no sense at all. Their argument, in short, is that the state legislature is working on a new version of the same law. Therefore, their intent while creating the previous version should no longer matter nor be held against them as a violation of the law or Constitution. At the same time, the state attempted to offer evidence that they failed to offer during the original trial, which turned out not to be actual evidence at all. Suffice to say, amidst a mountain of real evidence against them, the DoJ and Texas arguments "crashed and burned," says Stern, adding that "t was almost painful to watch!"

This case, "goes way beyond Texas," he notes, citing some of the responses from a plaintiff attorney for the NAACP after the hearing, and a Democrat that the state's attorney inexplicably tried to blame for the law. "This is sort of testing the waters for many other states, even possibly for a national voter ID bill governing all federal elections. This is just the start. So we're really at the threshold of this battle, even though it feels like we've been waging it forever."

There is a lot more in today's interview. Please tune in for it. Trust me. It's a very nice way to end this week.

Download MP3 or listen to complete show online below...

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