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Latest Featured Reports | Sunday, September 24, 2017
The 'Madman' v.
the 'Mentally Deranged':
'BradCast' 9/22/2017
Callers ring in on Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and how this all madness ends; Also: Is the GOP ObamaCare 'repeal' finally dead?...
'Green News Report' 9/21/17
  w/ Brad & Desi
Hurricane Maria devastates Puerto Rico; Earthquake devastates Mexico City; CA cities sue fossil fuel industry; PLUS: French President takes lead to rally U.N. on climate action...
Previous GNRs: 9/19/17 - 9/14/17 - Archives...
Political and Corporate Hypocrisy on Parade: 'BradCast' 9/20/17
Guest: CPI journalist Rachel Leven; Also: Kimmel slams Cassidy; Catastrophic Maria in Puerto Rico, 7.1 M earthquake in Mexico...
Trump Blusters UN; GOP 'Repealing' Again; Dems 'Look Forward' w/ 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/19/17
Guest: John Judis of TPM; Also: Irma slams Caribbean, Quake devastates Mexico...
'Green News Report' 9/19/17
Maria slams Caribbean, more storms in wings; Trump denies climate link; Zinke to shrink 10 Nat'l Monuments; PLUS: UN gathers 30th yrs after 1st global climate treaty...
Lack of 'Convictions': Repubs on Trump, Dem Senator on Trial: 'BradCast' 9/18/17
Guest: Former Asst. U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eliason; Also: Hurricane Maria on Irma's path of destruction...
Sunday Toons: Cognitive Dissonance
Pity the poor 'PDiddie' trying to make sense of the past week, much less the political toons about all of it...
Nothin' But News (Good, Bad and Otherwise): 'BradCast' 9/15/17
From North Korea to London to Charlottesville to Florida to Texas to Ohio to California to Alaska and beyond...
Trump Plays Both Sides on DACA and Wall; Also: Equifax and You, Dems and 'Medicare-for-All': 'BradCast' 9/14/17
Guest: Gaius Publius of 'Down With Tyranny'; And another hurricane, another NK missile...
'Green News Report' 9/14/17
Desperate conditions after Irma; 8 dead in FL nursing home as power out for millions; Toxic spills, lawsuits follow Harvey; PLUS: Impact of climate in warming world...
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...


And, ironically, Wednesday's mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Comm. on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election...
By Brad Friedman on 6/21/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we cover the reported results from Tuesday's U.S. House Special Elections in Georgia's 6th District and South Carolina's 5th, and whether anybody in America can or should have confidence in those unverified and unverifiable results as reported. [Audio link to complete, rant-filled show follows below.]

In both cases, the Republican candidates are reported to have narrowly defeated the Democratic candidates in very Republican districts. In both cases, the computer tabulated results are based on votes cast on 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems. In both cases, the results may be absolutely right or completely wrong. In both cases, absolutely nobody knows for certain either way. And, in both cases, if anybody tells you otherwise, they are either lying or don't know what they're talking about.

We do know, according to the state's reported results, that Democrat Jon Ossoff defeated Republican Karen Handel in GA-06 by a nearly 2 to 1 margin on the only verifiable ballots used in the race, the paper absentee mail-in ballots. Or, at least we can know that, if anybody ever bothers to check them against the computer tallies. But the rest of the race, run on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems, will remain 100% faith-based, despite the fact that, as we reported in detail on Monday, the folks who program all of Georgia's voting and voter registrations systems (Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems, which is paid $750,000 a year to do so) left the system passwords online, unprotected, at their website since last August and perhaps much longer and then covered it up. Moreover, the Republican candidate in GA-06, the state's former Sec. of State Handel, also personally covered up security failures at at Kennesaw's Center for Elections during her term as the state's chief election official.

Other than all of that, why worry? Last night and today, Democrats and progressives have been continuing their internecine battles, blaming one another for a candidate who wasn't progressive enough (in GA), even as they blamed each other for a candidate seen as too progressive in many areas just weeks ago, after losing Montana's U.S. House Special Election.

I'd suggest, as I do on today's show (and last night on Twitter), that Democrats might be better served if they fought like hell for actual human oversight of our voting and vote-counting system before reloading their circular firing squad. But that's just me. In both GA and SC yesterday, those unverified results, if you believe them, do show a nearly 20 point swing towards Dems since last November's election. Similarly encouraging results have been seen in all of the special elections this year. That should be a good sign for Dems, even as a "loss" is a loss, no matter how one looks at it, and whether they actually lost or not.

Ironically enough today, in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, top intelligence officials from the FBI and DHS testified in regard to concerns about alleged Russian manipulation of the 2016 election. Neither they, nor the elections officials who also testified today, seemed to know much of anything about the actual vulnerability of U.S. voting systems. Or, if they did, they certainly offered a whole lot of demonstrably inaccurate information about whether voting systems are connected to the Internet (they are), whether our decentralized voting and tabulation systems make it impossible to hack a a Presidential election (it doesn't), and whether actual voting results were manipulated in the 2016 President race (they claimed that they weren't, even while the DHS finally admitted they never actually checked a single machine or counted a single ballot to find out!)

On the other hand, one computer scientist and voting machine expert, Dr. Alex Halderman of the University of Michigan, also testified today and he actually knows what he's talking about, because he's personally hacked just about every voting system in use in the U.S. today, including 10 years ago when he first hacked the exact same 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting machines used in the state of Georgia during Tuesday's Special Election for U.S. House, the most expensive such election in U.S. History. As he explained in his prepared remarks [PDF] today, 10 years ago, he "was part of the first academic team to conduct a comprehensive security analysis of a DRE [touch-screen] voting machine." It was a Diebold touch-screen machine, the exact same type used in GA yesterday, as obtained from a source of mine and given to his crew at Princeton University at the time.

"What we found was disturbing," he testified (even as the Senators had no clue that he was referencing the same systems used yesterday in Georgia), "we could reprogram the machine to invisibly cause any candidate to win. We also created malicious software --- vote-stealing code --- that could spread from machine-to-machine like a computer virus, and silently change the election outcome." I broke that story originally at Salon and at The BRAD BLOG in 2006, but Georgia is shamefully still forcing voters to use the exact same hackable, unverifiable machines.

In his remarks shared on today's show, Halderman also testifies to the fact that machines thought not to be attached to the Internet actually are vulnerable to malware from the Internet, and that our decentralized and disparate system of computerized voting machines and tabulators provides no real safeguards against malicious hackers, whether they are from Russia or France or Cleveland or Atlanta.

Finally today, we close with a few listener calls on all of the above and Desi Doyen with our latest, sweltering, Green News Report...

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

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State contracted e-vote and pollbook programmers at Kennesaw State Univ. told of vulnerability last year, covered it up, left files unprotected
Also: Unlawful U.S. war on Syria expands, incurs Russian wrath; Dem plan to slow GOP Senate's secret health care bill; Fatal anti-Muslim attacks in London, Virginia...
By Brad Friedman on 6/19/2017 6:47pm PT  

On today's BradCast, another blockbuster report confirms vulnerabilities in our nation's voting systems that I've been trying to warn about for more than a decade, and several other stories not receiving the dire attention merited this week. [Audio link to complete show is posted below.]

In advance of Tuesday's highly contested U.S. House Special Election in Georgia's 6th Congressional District --- the most expensive House race in U.S. history --- Politico Magazine's Kim Zetter offers an absolutely chilling bombshell of a report headlined "Will the Georgia Special Election Get Hacked?" She reports that gigabytes of unsecured data --- including passwords for e-voting system central tabulators, voter registration databases and much more were kept on a wholly unsecured web server, potentially for years, at Kennesaw State University's Center for Election Systems.

The KSU Center, as they describe on their website, was "created and charged with the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of voting systems in Georgia" since the state adopted its statewide, 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting system in 2002. Those same machines are still used there today, despite their age (they run on a version of Windows 2000) and massive, well-documented vulnerabilities to hacking and insider manipulation. Nonetheless, the Center for Election Systems has long been cited as a model for election administration by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and is responsible for the security and programming of every 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting system, computerized central tabulator, and electronic pollbook used across the state of Georgia.

The unsecured data files at Kennesaw, according to Zetter, were discovered prior to last year's Presidential Election and reported to the Center, but were still available online for download without a password at the beginning of March this year, during the run-up to the April primary election in the GA-06 House race. The data may, in fact, have been available there for years, even as Kennesaw's Executive Director Merle King, who has spent years testifying in court on behalf of Diebold's systems, reportedly failed to inform GA Sec. of State Brian Kemp about the breach last year after he was informed of it. In fact, Zetter notes that he warned the outside computer security researcher who discovered it not to inform the state. GA's former Sec. of State, Karen Handel, is the Republican House candidate in the reportedly very tight GA-06 race against Democrat Jon Ossoff and is said to have repeatedly blocked a security analysis of the Center years earlier while serving as the state's chief election official.

When the results of the House contest are announced on Tuesday night --- whichever party's candidate is declared the winner --- it will be virtually impossible to know if the results are accurate or if even one vote cast on GA's 100% unverifiable touch-screen voting systems were recorded as per any voter's intent.

While many of the vulnerabilities in GA's terrible voting and tabulation systems have been publicly known for years, the fact that the security at Kennesaw's Center for Elections is even far worse than ever imagined is both new and absolutely chilling in regard to both Georgia elections, and all others across the country, as I explain in detail on today's program.

Beyond that nightmarish report today, we also cover two different fatal attacks on Muslims over the past 24 hours, one in London and one in Virginia (and Donald Trump's failure to comment on either of them); The new Democratic strategy to slow down progress on the Obamacare replacement bill being crafted by Senate Republicans in complete secrecy, without public hearings or amendments in advance of a possible floor vote on the controversial legislation before the July 4th recess; And, the U.S. shoots down a Syrian bomber over Syria in violation of international law and without any authorization (or complaint or debate) from Congressional Republicans or Democrats alike, even as the weekend incident has drawn the wrath and potential targeting of U.S. aircraft over Syria by its ally Russia...

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

Several other recent programs in The BradCast's series of reports leading up to the GA-06 U.S. House Special Election:

  • 4/4/2017: Computer and e-voting expert Barbara Simons on the initial reports of a "massive breach" of the state voter database files at Kennesaw State University
  • 5/8/2017: Garland Favorito of election watchdog VoterGA.org on the group's disturbing analysis of the central computer tabulator failure on the night of the April primary in GA-06.
  • 6/6/2017: Election integrity expert Marilyn Marks on her lawsuit demanding hand-counted paper ballots in the GA-06 race.
  • 6/12/2017: Diebold document whistleblower Steven Heller on Diebold caught lying in California in 2004 about the exact same machines still used in Georgia in 2017. (CA decertified them after Heller's disclosure.) And on the NSA analysis recently released by NSA contractor Reality Winner on spear-phishing attacks that may have allowed access to the voting system computers of election officials across the country prior to the 2016 Presidential election.

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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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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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Plus: More bad court news for Trump on his 'travel ban' and the Emoluments Clause, but perhaps good court news for him in GA-06...
By Brad Friedman on 6/12/2017 6:46pm PT  

On today's BradCast, things are not going well in the judicial system for Donald Trump. And, an election-related whistleblower joins us to offer insight into the undoubtedly agonizing decision of another election-related whistleblower who was arrested just last week. [Audio link to show follows below.]

The week is not starting off well for Trump in the courts. A second U.S. Court of Appeals has now upheld lower court rulings blocking his second Muslim "travel ban" Executive Order. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals echoed a similar finding by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals late last month. The new court loss comes on the same day that the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit against Trump's alleged violations of the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clauses, prohibiting elected officials like Trump from receiving payments from foreign and state governments.

But he may have won one in Georgia where, late last week, a state judge denied and dismissed [PDF] a complaint [PDF] and motion for a Temporary Restraining Order [PDF] seeking to demand paper ballots at the polling place for next week's much-watched (and most expensive ever) U.S. House special election. That, as voters will still be forced instead to use 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems at the polling place instead.

Then, speaking of elections and Diebold's unverifiable touch-screen systems, we're joined by "Diebold Document Whistleblower" [PDF] STEPHEN HELLER who, while working at a law firm in 2004, discovered the company and its attorneys were lying to the state of California about having illicitly installed uncertified hardware and software into its unverifiable voting systems that were, back then, allowed for use in the state. The touch-screen voting systems were decertified by the state following Heller's disclosures, but he paid a stiff price for sharing attorney-client privileged documents with the media. The same system he blew the whistle on in 2004 will be use in Georgia for next week's Special Election, and Heller offers thoughts on that issue.

But Heller joined us specifically today to share his unique perspective on another election-related leaker/whistleblower, 25-year old NSA contractor and Air Force vet Reality Leigh Winner. Her arrest comes on the heels of the release of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, whose 35-year sentenced was commuted by President Obama before leaving office, to the seven years Manning served since her conviction.

Winner was charged [PDF] last week under the 1917 Espionage Act for leaking a "Top Secret" NSA analysis to the press, which asserted that, prior to last year's election, Russian intelligence had used spear-phishing attacks to try and gain access to the computers of election officials around the country. Those same computers are often used to program voting systems, tabulators and voter registration databases. Under the espionage charges, Winner will not be allowed to make her case to the jury as to why she leaked the classified materials, nor explain how she believed them to be in the public interest, said fellow NSA-contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden last week.

Heller offers his own insight into the difficult decision he believes Winner faced when deciding to leak the documents, and explains why whistleblowers like him are often forced to decide to do the wrong things for the right reasons. "I felt that the crime of violating attorney-client privilege in this single, isolated, discrete instance, was worthwhile --- that I had to get this information out to the public so that the people of California and the rest of the country would know that this corporation was diddling our elections," he tells me.

"I think the message in both Ms. Winner's situation and mine is essentially the same --- our elections are under attack. And we Americans can't be complacent. We must protect our elections. Keep them clean, fair, open, untainted either by corporations or foreign nations or our own politicians and elections officials."

"What is illegal is not always wrong," Heller goes on to explain, from his unique perspective on the agonizing choices that folks like him and Winner (and Manning, and Snowden, et al) face when deciding to do what they did. "There's no question that if she did indeed leak these documents, as is alleged, that was illegal. But is it wrong? Reasonable minds may disagree."

Lots of stuff in my conversation with Heller (who, by way of full disclosure, has become a friend and occasional BRAD BLOG contributor in his years since blowing the whistle on Diebold) is worth tuning in for today. Much more than I can detail here!

Finally, a major energy utility company in Virginia tries to help choose the winner of the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, and an otherwise Trump-loving Fox "News" anchor charges Trump's problem isn't fake news or the media, it's Donald Trump...

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: 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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By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2017 5:58pm PT  

On today's BradCast, it's great to be back live at our flagship Los Angeles affiliate station, KPFK on the Pacifica Radio Network in Los Angeles after their recent fund drive. So we throw open the phones to listeners in celebration after several insanely busy news weeks! [Audio link to show is posted below.]

But, first, former FBI Director James Comey released his prepared statement [PDF] in advance of his much-anticipated testimony on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee. In the remarks, Comey details a number of his one-on-one meetings with and phone calls from Donald Trump, including the infamous "loyalty dinner" at the White House in late January and the similarly-infamous early-February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign, where Comey charges that he was asked by the President to end the FBI's investigation of Flynn.

We review the details of that prepared testimony, including Comey's confirmation that he did, in fact, indicate to Trump on three different occasions that he was not personally being investigated by the Bureau at the time. Trump's personal attorney cites that testimony to claim the President is "completely and totally vindicated" by it. Others, however, regard the testimony as "explosive" and as confirmation that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Also today, more on the leaked NSA analysis charging that Russian intelligence attempted to access the computers of election officials around the country after successfully sending spear-phishing emails to employees at a private voter registration firm. That rather rudimentary hacking effort just before last year's election, no matter who did it (as explained in much more detail on yesterday's show), may have allowed access for the intruders to the computers that program voting machines, results tabulators and voter registration systems around the country. Also, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's offers a response to the arrest of the alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, and the charges filed against her under the 1917 Espionage Act.

Then, as just-retired Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper charges "Watergate pales...compared to what we're confronting now," we take calls on all of the above and whether listeners believe Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump (as The Nation's John Nichols argued earlier this week on the show) or at least promise such proceedings if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018. We received some rather surprising answers to that question from callers, as well as in regard to the charges filed against Winner!

Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the swift and global fallout following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement...

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: Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation...
By Brad Friedman on 6/6/2017 6:33pm PT  

On today's BradCast, the release of a leaked NSA analysis of alleged cyberattacks on voter registration systems and attempted intrusions into the computers of local elections officials just before last year's Presidential election underscore, once again, just about every warning regarding U.S. electronic voting, computer tabulation and voter registration systems that we've been yelling about for some 15 years on both The BradCast and at The BRAD BLOG. [Audio link to full show follows below.]

Today, we break down the specific details found in the leaked NSA documents published by The Intercept on Monday, how they highlight a much broader problem with the U.S. electoral system, and what the answer, at long last, must ultimately be in response to concerns about manipulated election results, no matter who the alleged or attempted culprit. (In this case, the U.S. intelligence services blame Russian military intelligence, which they deny. Either way, as detailed on today's show, it doesn't actually matter!)

On a not-at-all unrelated note, we are then joined by Marilyn Marks of the Rocky Mountain Foundation to discuss her lawsuit, filed with members of Georgians for Verified Voting, demanding hand-counted paper ballots for all voters in the upcoming, highly contested U.S. House Special Election runoff in Georgia's 6th Congressional District between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.

Marks, a former Republican mayoral candidate turned long-time Election Integrity expert, details some of the many concerns spelled out in her suit (Complaint here [PDF], TRO Motion here [PDF]) regarding the state of GA's 100% unverifiable Diebold touch-screen voting systems, and the known cyberhacks, e-pollbook thefts and computer tabulator failures that have already plagued the most expensive U.S. House race in history, where early voting is already underway in advance of the bellwether June 20 contest.

"There were so many things that have happened since March 1st," Marks explains, describing many of the problems that have already undermined this election. "As you've pointed out, these systems --- when you say they are 'unverifiable', what people need to understand by that, of course, is that there is no way to assure that the voter's intent is recorded. We know what the machines want to report. But there is no way to know what the voter intended to vote. We do know that with the evidence of a paper ballot. So, that is what we are telling the court, that this system has gone through so many problems. It was unverifiable to begin with. And now we have seen the instances of several problems, just in the last 60 days, that tell us there is no way that the Sec. of State and the county election officials should assume that the system is safe to vote on. They must presume the system is unsafe."

The plaintiffs request, she says, "is a simple one. And that is: let voters vote on paper ballots."

"The only practical answer is to go to paper ballots [and] hand count them," Marks tells me. "It would be very easy to do. We've had a professional estimate how long it would take --- less than an hour per precinct. It would actually be faster, cheaper, more efficient and far more transparent to vote on paper ballots in this simple election than it is to use the machines." Indeed, with just one contest on most of the ballots in this Special Election, hand-counting would amount to little more than separating ballots into two stacks, one for each candidate, and then counting each stack. It is what we have long described as "Democracy's Gold Standard."

Marks goes on to cite the concerns illustrated, once again, by yesterday's leaked NSA documents and argues: "You talk to any computer scientist, regardless of what party they are, you talk to any voting systems expert, I don't think you'll find a single expert, a single computer scientist who would say these machines even approach the point of being safe to vote on. And it has nothing to do with their politics."

"We must have transparent elections where the public can oversee the counting of the ballots. And in Georgia, there is no oversight. No one --- not the election official, not the public, not the campaign, not the candidate --- no one can figure out whether or not the ballots are counted right."

But does her lawsuit have a chance this late in the game, with early voting already under way? Tune in for her response to that and much more, including her thoughts on how GA's Sec. of State Brian Kemp, also a Republican, has responded so far to both Marks' complaint, and an earlier request, prior to the GA-06 primary, from dozens of the world's top computer security and electronic voting systems experts.

Yes, elections still matter. But, as computer security expert Bruce Schneier told The Intercept yesterday: "To the extent the elections are vulnerable to hacking, we risk the legitimacy of the voting process, even if there is no actual hacking at the time. It's not just that it has to be fair, it has to be demonstrably fair, so that the loser says, 'Yep, I lost fair and square.' If you can't do that, you're screwed."

We're screwed.

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Guest: Princeton political historian Prof. Julian Zelizer...
By Brad Friedman on 6/1/2017 6:35pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Making history and breaking history. From historic worldwide climate pacts to nuclear arms treaties, from Trump and Russia to Nixon and the Soviet Union and back again. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First, in an historic Rose Garden speech on Thursday, President Donald Trump --- against the advice of world leaders, major American companies, and even many in his own Administration --- announced his intention of pulling the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement. The landmark 2015 pact is signed by nearly 200 nations and was crafted as part of a 20-year U.N. effort to decrease greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, in hopes of avoiding the worst effects of man-made climate change.

Trump's announcement has largely been met with worldwide derision from China to India to Russia to the EU and back here at home. And his announced intention of "renegotiating" a different deal was quickly nixed today by France, Germany and Italy. We offer extended experts from Trump's remarks announcing his intention to withdraw, some much-needed fact-checking, and a look at where the tortured decision --- which will take four years and another Presidential election --- leaves the U.S.

But, as that unfortunate history was being made today, we also take a look back at historic parallels for the recently reported, and seemingly bizarre, attempt by Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner to create a secret back-channel line of communications with Russia during last year's Presidential transition.

Princeton University political history professor and author Julian E. Zelizer, joins us to describe two different similar back-channels created with two different countries (including one to Russia --- actually, then, the Soviet Union) by Richard Nixon, both during his campaign and his transition.

One such line of secret diplomacy, Zelizer explains, turned out to be hugely successful for both the U.S. and USSR alike. The other...well, it didn't turn out so well, even as we've only learned details about both in recent years. Zelizer also describes the recent history of diplomatic back-channel diplomacy by Presidents other than Nixon and Trump, offers a few other uncomfortable parallels for the current President, and explains why Kushner's purported scheme to use Russian facilities to speak with the Kremlin is so bizarre, even, apparently, to the Russians themselves.

"Part of the idea that both Richard Nixon believed in, and his top National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, was that there needed to be a new approach to handling U.S. relations with the Soviet Union," Zelizer tells me. "The key to doing this was simply opening up the lines of dialogue. [Kissinger] sets up a back-channel, as it was called, to the Soviet ambassador, which is top secret. He believed this had to be done around the existing government bureaucracy. They were worried about leaks, they were worried about political push-back."

"Nixon was totally paranoid and frightened about the existing bureaucracy in the State Department, and to some extent in the Defense Department, and was really determined to try to do things --- which would ultimately lead to his downfall --- on his own. And to have these kinds of communications without the official government knowing what he was doing, and subverting him."

Sound familiar? In that case, as Zelizer writes at CNN, it was actually a huge success that eventually resulted in the SALT I Agreement to limit nuclear weapons in both nations. The other Nixon back-channel was far more nefarious, dealing with his campaign's attempt to scuttle peace talks by Lyndon Johnson in Vietnam before his election.

In both Nixon cases, it took years before we even learned about any of it. In the more recent case of Kushner and Russia, Zelizer notes, "There's a lot of uncertainty, both about context and the substance of this effort, which is why it is something that's raised a lot of suspicion and is the focus of an investigation. It's not the back-channel, it's what this back-channel was meant to do and why it was being put into place --- if it's true."

Finally, Desi Doyen re-joins us for special, breaking Green News Report coverage of, well...see if you can guess...

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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...

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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...

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'Chaotic darkness' at Trump's White House; Bipartisan agreement in Congress; Flynn and Pence go cold Turkey; Eye on McGahn; More unauthorized US war in Syria; MUCH more from today's news tsunami...
By Brad Friedman on 5/18/2017 6:31pm PT  

On today's BradCast, we do our best to surf today's news tsunami, with a focus on a few troubling and under-appreciated stories amid the political flood pouring out of Washington and around the world in the wake of the DoJ's appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Among the huge number of quickly moving and/or under-covered stories pieced together on today's show...

  • CA Assembly bill calls for Donald Trump's impeachment;
  • U.S. launches new airstrike on Syrian forces (despite Congressional failure to authorize attacks on a sovereign nation, which could result in war with Russia);
  • Michael Flynn blocked President Obama's planned offensive against ISIS, which was opposed by Flynn's secret client Turkey;
  • Trump Team was told of FBI investigation of Flynn long before inauguration;
  • VP Mike Pence, head of Trump Transition, still claims he knew nothing about Flynn's ties to foreign nations;
  • Suspicion grows over Team Trump attorney, White House counsel Don McGahn;
  • Senate Intel Chair offers two different stories on Flynn subpoenas;
  • House Oversight Chair announces he's quitting Congress next month;
  • Mueller's appointment receives mostly bipartisan support, as....;
  • ...White House turns 'chaotically dark', cancels Kellyanne Conway appearance on Fox 'News', before...
  • Trump turns against appointment of Mueller to describe it as 'unprecedented witch hunt', which 'divides the country', even as he begins to separate himself from 'Russia collusion' and prepares to throw campaign team under the bus;
  • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for the latest Green News Report with, among other things, a citizen call to action to save National Monuments set for possible repeal by the Trump Administration...

I wish our countries had "scandals" like this one instead...

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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"...

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Guest: Brennan Center's Elizabeth Goitein says Trump may have violated the law during Oval Office meeting with Russians; And then... BREAKING: Trump said to have asked Comey to shut down Flynn probe...
By Brad Friedman on 5/16/2017 5:54pm PT  

On today's BradCast: Coverage of the two (yes, two) most recent (yes, most recent) blockbuster reports regarding the President, as leaked out of the Oval Office. [Audio link to show follows below.]

First up today: Washington Post's explosive report from late yesterday detailing Donald Trump's alleged (and all but confirmed by Trump himself) sharing of highly classified information (reportedly now from Israel) during his recent meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyiak. The White House, largely via National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, strongly denies any wrong doing.

We're joined to discuss that and what we know and don't about it all, by Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU's Brennan Center for Justice. And, unlike those who are reporting that Trump broke no laws in his alleged disclosure of sensitive information regarding ISIS, Goitein argues the case is not so clear cut.

Classification and declassification of sensitive information is spelled out by Executive Order of the President. "The existing Executive Order was written by President Obama. It is still in force unless or until Trump revokes it or replaces it," Goitein explains. "But President Obama himself would not have been bound by his own Executive Order. President Trump is not bound by that Executive Order. I think it's problematic that Presidents are not bound by their own Executive Orders. Or, I should say, it's problematic they can secretly depart from those orders. Ideally we would have a classification Executive Order that says what the President can do, even if it's just 'The President is exempt from all of these rules.'"

However, Goitein suggests that even a President could face legal exposure via the Espionage Act of 1917.

"The Executive Order is not the only law that is at play here," she tells me. "Congress has also stepped in on various occasions, to regulate the disclosure of national security information. And there are several statutes in which Congress has done that. The statute that seems most relevant here is the Espionage Act. And this is the law that President Obama infamously used to prosecute national security whistle-blowers and others who leaked information to the media, rather than actual spies and traitors, which is whom the law was designed to address. But this law, on its face, prohibits the communication of information related to the national defense --- whether that information is classified or not --- to anyone not entitled to receive it, if there's reason to believe it could be used either to harm the United States or to aid a foreign nation. So on it's face, that statute would certainly seem to apply."

I discuss that and much more with Goitein about this entire fine mess today. It's worth tuning in for that alone. But then...

Breaking hard mid-show today: The New York Times' perhaps even more explosive report detailing a memo written by then FBI Director James Comey describing his February one-on-one meeting with the President in the Oval Office, in which Comey reportedly charges that Trump requested he drop the Bureau's ongoing investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "I hope you can let this go," Trump said to Comey, according to the Times, in an account also vigorously denied by the White House, but which, if true, would amount to a very serious case of Obstruction of Justice by the President of the United States.

If only there was a taping system of some kind in the Oval Office so we could figure out who's telling the truth.

Finally today, after disembarking from that insane news roller coaster, if only for the moment, we finish up today with Desi Doyen and our latest Green News Report, because the planet doesn't really give a damn about either national security or politics...

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...

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

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