No announcement yet.

The US 2020 Presidential Election & Attempts To Overturn It

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • TopHatter
    Arizona Secretary of State's Office subpoenaed by Special Counsel Jack Smith in Jan. 6 inquiry

    U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith subpoenaed the Arizona Secretary of State's Office as recently as May as part of his investigation into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

    Smith's office also talked to GOP lawmakers in the spring about events in the wake of the 2020 presidential election.

    The inquiries highlight the key role Arizona played in the 2020 presidential election, where Joe Biden edged out Trump by 10,457 votes — the narrowest margin in the nation. The election has drawn ongoing scrutiny since the polls closed in November 2020, extending to a contentious state Senate review of Maricopa County's presidential ballots and numerous lawsuits.

    The subpoenas to the Secretary of State's Office were not previously publicly known. They sought information related to two lawsuits, one from Trump's campaign and another from former Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, that alleged errors and fraud in the 2020 presidential results.

    A spokesman for Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said the law firm of Coppersmith Brockelman, the outside counsel which represents the office, complied with the requests.

    Despite Smith's subpoenas to the secretary of state and lawmakers, the special counsel apparently has not reached out to former Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican who played a pivotal role in certifying that Joe Biden won the presidential race in Arizona.

    Ducey, talking to an unnamed donor earlier this year, marveled that Smith or his investigators had not contacted him, the Washington Post reported. Ducey famously silenced a call from Trump that rang on his cellphone as the governor was certifying the 2020 election results.

    The former governor did not directly reply to a query about whether he has since heard from the special counsel's office. His spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato, instead released a statement saying reports that then-President Trump tried to pressure Ducey to overturn Arizona's election results was old news.

    “This is nothing more than a ‘copy and paste’ of a compilation of articles from the past two years," Scarpinato said in a statement responding to the Post's story and sent to The Republic in response to an inquiry about the report.

    "Frankly, nothing here is new nor is it news to anyone following this issue since 2020. Gov. Ducey defended the results of Arizona’s 2020 election, he certified the election, and he made it clear that the certification provided a trigger for credible complaints backed by evidence to be brought forward. None were ever brought forward.

    "The governor stands by his action to certify the election and considers the issue to be in the rear view mirror — it’s time to move on.”

    But federal investigators have not moved on from the election, where resistance to the outcome led to protests culminating in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

    In Georgia, which had the second-closest margin of victory for Biden, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has met with federal investigators about Trump's call demanding he “find 11,780 votes" to reverse the election's outcome.

    The Fulton County District Attorney's Office has spent more than two years investigating whether Trump and his allies illegally meddled in the 2020 election.

    Pence: No pressure from Trump about Arizona
    On CBS' "Face the Nation" last weekend, former Vice President Mike Pence confirmed that Trump asked him to talk to Ducey about the election results, but said he had no pressure from the president to find evidence that Trump actually won the Arizona vote.

    It is unclear why Smith has not contacted Ducey, if indeed he has not. His staff has sought records and interviews from other Arizonans involved in the election's contentious aftermath.

    In May, the special counsel's office sought documents from the Secretary of State's Office related to discovery, proposed exhibits and communications with opposing attorneys related to two election-related lawsuits.

    One case, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Hobbs, argued several voters wrongly had their ballots tossed because they overvoted, or voted twice in a race with only one choice. A Maricopa County Superior Court judge dismissed the complaint, noting there were not enough ballots in question to alter the outcome of the election.

    The second case, Ward v. Jackson, was filed by Kelli Ward, then the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party. It argued Maricopa County election workers weren't qualified to verify signatures on mail-in ballots and that poll observers weren't present when damaged ballots were replicated.

    The court found no evidence of fraud and dismissed the case, which was appealed to the state Supreme Court and then the U.S. Supreme Court without success.

    Although the two cases listed in the subpoena involved Maricopa County proceedings, the county attorney's civil division chief, Tom Liddy, said Monday that he was unaware of any recent requests from the special counsel. The county previously was subpoenaed for records pertaining to correspondence with Trump, Liddy said.

    A 'check-the-box' interview with investigators
    Several state lawmakers received subpoenas in February from the special counsel's office, also seeking information about events in the aftermath of the 2020 election.

    House Speaker Ben Toma said he sat for a several-hours-long interview in Phoenix with one investigator and two FBI agents in March.

    “They had lots of questions about what happened, who I talked to and so on," said Toma, a Glendale Republican who at the time was the incoming majority leader.

    Toma said it was a friendly interview, which he characterized as a "check the box" kind of interaction. He added that he doesn't think he was of much help, since none of the "powers that be" tried to contact him to undo the election results.

    Those requests fell on former House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who was facing pressure from Trump allies as well as from some members of the GOP caucus to do something to reject the election results. Bowers rebuffed the requests, saying he never was provided any proof of wrongdoing.

    It is unclear if Bowers was subpoenaed by the special counsel; when asked about it in February he said he was advised to not comment. He did not return a request for comment on Monday.

    Senators, supervisor also queried
    Senate President Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, as well as two Senate colleagues also received subpoenas in February. The Senate ordered a review of Maricopa County ballots in the presidential and U.S. Senate races in 2021.

    Petersen, in a text message, said he complied with a request to disclose communications with a list of Trump allies, of which he recognized only one: Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. He said he didn't sit for an interview.

    Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, and former Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, also received subpoenas, but have not responded to requests for comment about their responses.

    Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman said representatives of the Department of Justice interviewed him late last year and he has not heard anything since. Hickman, along with the other four supervisors, received heavy criticism from Trump supporters for defending how Maricopa County conducted the election.

    Hickman was the target of a death threat from a Trump supporter in Iowa. In April, that man pleaded guilty to federal charges of threatening an election official.

    A year ago, the FBI subpoenaed Karen Fann, then the state Senate president, and Kelly Townsend, for any communications or records they had concerning Trump's efforts to nullify the 2020 election results. Both women said they complied with the request.

    On Monday, Townsend said the questions in her FBI interview were focused solely on which Trump lawyers she and other legislators spoke with.

    I see Mike Pence is doing his usual waffling back and forth

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Giuliani’s Sit-Down With Jack Smith Is Bad News for Trump
    What this looks like to a former federal prosecutor.

    THIS WEEK, SPECULATION mounted about a second potential federal indictment against former President Donald Trump arising from his unlawful retention of government documents. The speculation was fed by Tuesday’s leak of an audio recording of Trump strongly suggesting he was showing a top secret contingency war plan to unauthorized individuals at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey in July 2021. The speculation held that because of risks involved in the first indictment in the case, issued in Florida earlier this month, a second indictment in New Jersey could serve as a sort of “backup.”

    But another bombshell Wednesday hinted at why Special Counsel Jack Smith may feel no need for such a backup indictment. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has reportedly made a “proffer” of potential January 6th-related testimony. Smith appears to be steaming toward an indictment relating to Trump’s role on January 6th.

    That case would be brought in Washington, D.C., where prosecutors have won every trial involving January 6th participants.

    Before we unpack what we know and what we can reasonably surmise, here’s a little background: “Proffers” consist of evidence and leads that “profferors” can give prosecutors. Proffers are based on understandings between the parties that give the potential witness a “free pass” to provide everything that might help the prosecution. Truthful information provided cannot be used against the witness offering it. Most often that information is about someone in the prosecutor’s crosshairs.

    Proffers can occur in various situations, including when the profferor is not seeking to become a cooperating witness in exchange for leniency. One example is where a subpoenaed grand jury witness, if compelled to testify, will assert the Fifth Amendment. A proffer allows prosecutors to learn something about what the witness has to say. The advantage for profferors is that the information provided cannot be used against them.

    HERE’S WHY I THINK that Giuliani is indeed seeking to cooperate.

    First, however nonsensical Giuliani’s past thinking and public utterances have been, facing prosecution tends to focus the mind. Giuliani likely sees his freedom at risk because he was so central to Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election before January 6th.

    Among other things, after the 2020 election, Giuliani, along with Trump himself, pressured Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers to help reverse the certification of Joe Biden’s election, though Giuliani admitted not having evidence to justify such a move. Giuliani also reportedly led the Trump “fake electors” campaign, which aimed to send Congress phony slates of electors from battleground states to provide a pretext for then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject or delay certification of President Joe Biden’s election.

    The New York Times reported on Wednesday that in the proffer session, “Mr. Smith asked Mr. Giuliani about [the] plan to create fake slates” of electors. Giuliani was also reportedly asked about his role with Steve Bannon, Trump lawyer John Eastman, and others at a command center at the Willard Hotel near the White House on January 6th itself.

    Second, Giuliani probably figures that at this point he owes Trump nothing. Author Michael Wolff reported that in 2021, after Rudy’s over-the-top labors attacking the 2020 election, Trump gave Rudy “the cold shoulder,” irked that “he tried to get paid for his election challenge work.” Of all things!

    Third, Giuliani and his lawyers surely feel the prosecutorial vise tightening on him. Two of Nevada’s fake electors have testified before Smith’s grand jury. So has Trump campaign official Gary Michael Brown, who was reportedly connected to the fake-electors scheme, while his boss, Michael Roman, has now reportedly reached a cooperation agreement with Smith. Even Mark Meadows, Trump’s last White House chief of staff, who emailed about the need “to have someone coordinating the [fake] electors for states,” is reported to have testified in Smith’s probe.

    And Giuliani has witnessed how Smith has obtained court orders piercing the attorney-client privilege to compel other Trump lawyers’ testimony about their communications with Trump. As to Giuliani, we don’t know whether Smith has already done so in a closed proceeding.

    You can see why Rudy might wish to cooperate: The best deals fly away quickly to co-conspirators who come to prosecutors first. Or, as they say, the early worms catch the birds.

    Fourth, while prosecutors can’t use the words in a proffer directly against the profferor, those words can be used by prosecutors as leads to investigate a future case against the person interviewed. Would Rudy really want to provide that help without seeking a deal to obtain some leniency in return?

    Finally, Giuliani is a target in Georgia. Boy, would he love Jack Smith’s help brokering a global deal with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

    To tempt prosecutors to make a deal, potential cooperators have every incentive to spill their guts. Prosecutors can use against profferors any facts they omitted.

    Jack Smith’s prosecutorial team is a freight train barreling down the tracks at full speed, with one destination in mind: Applying the law and the facts to the person or persons atop the chain of command on January 6th. Rudy would be smart to get out of the way.

    From the evidence amassed by the House January 6th Committee and the public reporting about Smith’s investigation, we know that a trial against Trump in Washington is unlikely to come out well for him. He understands that the best he can do is derail the train by winning the 2024 election.

    Keeping that from happening is not Jack Smith’s job. It’s ours.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    "Tough-on-crime former mayor seeks leniency from prosecutor for his own crimes."

    Story at eleven
    He is so screwed. Maybe he can get a job at Four Seasons Landscaping!

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Giuliani Sat for Voluntary Interview in Jan. 6 Investigation
    The onetime personal lawyer for Donald Trump answered questions from federal prosecutors about the former president’s efforts to remain in power after his 2020 election loss.

    Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, interviewed with Jack Smith, the special counsel investigating the former president.

    Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as former President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, was interviewed last week by federal prosecutors investigating Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, people familiar with the matter said.

    The voluntary interview, which took place under what is known as a proffer agreement, was a significant development in the election interference investigation led by Jack Smith, the special counsel, and the latest indication that Mr. Smith and his team are actively seeking witnesses who might cooperate in the case.

    The session with Mr. Giuliani, the people familiar with it said, touched on some of the most important aspects of the special counsel’s inquiry into the ways that Mr. Trump sought to maintain his grip on power after losing the election to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    “The appearance was entirely voluntary and conducted in a professional manner,” said Ted Goodman, a political adviser to Mr. Giuliani.

    A proffer agreement is an understanding between prosecutors and people who are subjects of criminal investigations that can precede a formal cooperation deal. The subjects agree to provide useful information to the government, sometimes to tell their side of events, to stave off potential charges or to avoid testifying under subpoena before a grand jury. In exchange, prosecutors agree not to use those statements against them in future criminal proceedings unless it is determined they were lying.

    Prosecutors working for Mr. Smith asked Mr. Giuliani about a plan to create fake slates of pro-Trump electors in key swing states that were actually won by Mr. Biden, one person familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation. They focused specifically on the role played in that effort by John Eastman, another lawyer who advised Mr. Trump about ways to stay in office after his defeat.

    Mr. Giuliani also discussed Sidney Powell, a lawyer who was briefly tied to Mr. Trump’s campaign and who made baseless claims about a cabal of foreign actors hacking into voting machines to steal the election from Mr. Trump, the person said.

    Ms. Powell, who was sanctioned by a federal judge for promoting conspiracy theories about the voting machines, also took part in a meeting in the Oval Office in December 2020 during which Mr. Trump was presented with a brazen plan — opposed by Mr. Giuliani — to use the military to seize control of voting machines and rerun the election.

    The person said that prosecutors further asked Mr. Giuliani about the scene at the Willard Hotel days before the attack on the Capitol. Mr. Giuliani and a group of close Trump advisers — among them, Mr. Eastman, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and Mr. Trump’s current adviser Boris Epshteyn — had gathered at the hotel, near the White House, to discuss strategies before a violent mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, disrupting the certification of Mr. Biden’s victory over Mr. Trump.

    The proffer session with Mr. Giuliani, elements of which were reported earlier by CNN, came as Mr. Smith’s team pressed ahead with its election interference inquiry of Mr. Trump even as it prepares for the former president’s trial on separate charges of putting national security secrets at risk and obstructing government efforts to recover classified documents.

    The prosecutors have been bringing witnesses before a grand jury and conducting separate interviews of others as they seek to assemble a fuller picture of the various ways in which Mr. Trump and his allies were promoting baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him and seeking to reverse his electoral defeat.

    In some cases, they appear to be gauging whether they can elicit useful information without necessarily agreeing to formal cooperation deals.

    Last week, The New York Times reported that prosecutors were in negotiations to reach a proffer agreement with Michael Roman, the former director of Election Day operations for Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign. Mr. Roman was also instrumental in helping put together the so-called fake elector plan.

    The push to assemble slates of pro-Trump electors from swing states won by Mr. Biden is one of a number of components of Mr. Smith’s investigation. Prosecutors have also scrutinized whether Mr. Trump and his allies bilked donors by raising money through false claims of election fraud, examined efforts to use the Justice Department to give credence to election-fraud claims and sought to piece together a detailed picture of the role played by Mr. Trump in inciting the attack on the Capitol and the disruption of the congressional certification of his loss.

    It remains unclear whether Mr. Giuliani will face charges in the special counsel’s investigation. He is also under scrutiny on many of the same subjects by the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., who is pursuing a wide-ranging investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to reverse his election loss in that swing state.

    As part of Mr. Smith’s inquiry, prosecutors questioned Mr. Roman’s deputy, Gary Michael Brown, last week in front of a grand jury in Federal District Court in Washington that has been investigating the attempts by Mr. Trump and his allies to overturn the election. Federal prosecutors on Wednesday are also scheduled to interview Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia, who took a call from Mr. Trump in early January 2021 during which the former president asked him to “find” sufficient votes that would put him over the top in the election in that state.

    A longtime ally of Mr. Trump who served two terms as New York City’s mayor, Mr. Giuliani effectively led the former president’s attempts to overturn his defeat in the last presidential race and has for months been a chief focus of the Justice Department’s broad investigation into the postelection period. His name has appeared on several subpoenas sent to former aides to Mr. Trump and to a host of Republican state officials involved in the plan to create fake slates of electors.

    Last year, shortly before Mr. Smith was appointed to his job as special counsel, the Justice Department issued a subpoena to Mr. Giuliani for records related to his representation of Mr. Trump, including those that detailed any payments he had received. A group of federal prosecutors including Thomas Windom had been pursuing various strands of the inquiry into Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in power before Mr. Smith’s appointment and they continue to play key roles in the investigation.

    Among the things that prosecutors have been examining are the inner workings of Mr. Trump’s fund-raising vehicle, Save America PAC. The records subpoenaed from Mr. Giuliani could include some related to payments made by the PAC, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    More recently, prosecutors have been asking questions about Mr. Trump’s false claims that his defeat in the election was caused by widespread fraud, and how he aggressively raised money off those claims. The prosecutors have drilled down on the issue of whether people around Mr. Trump knew that he had lost the race, but continued raising money off the fraud claims anyway.

    The House select committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 first raised questions publicly about Mr. Trump’s fund-raising, and the special counsel’s team has picked up on that thread. Among other questions they have asked witnesses is whether their lawyers are being paid for by the political action committee that became a repository for money raised off Mr. Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud.

    Investigators have walked through a timeline with various witnesses, including asking people about election night and what Mr. Giuliani may have been telling Mr. Trump before his defiant speech declaring he had won the election, as well as about Jan. 6 and Mr. Trump’s actions that day.

    The special counsel’s office has focused on Mr. Trump’s mind-set and who was telling him he lost, according to people familiar with the questions. Among the questions has been whether there were concerns raised among people working with the campaign as to the language used in television ads about fraud in December 2020, and who signed off on the ad copy.

    Prosecutors also subpoenaed former Vice President Mike Pence, who was a key focus of Mr. Trump’s efforts to stay in power as Mr. Trump tried to pressure him to use his ceremonial role overseeing congressional certification to block Mr. Biden from being certified.

    "Tough-on-crime former mayor seeks leniency from prosecutor for his own crimes."

    Story at eleven

    Leave a comment:

  • DOR
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    "But Thomas’ dissent made clear he endorsed a key aspect of Eastman’s view: that state legislatures are not bound by their own constitutions when it comes to the appointment of electors."

    Did I read that right? Not one but two hard-right conservative Justices just endorsed the idea that state legislatures can violate their own constitutions when it comes to appointing electors? Really?

    Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, surprises me about this court anymore.

    That loud humming you hear are John Marshall and Oliver Wendell Holmes spinning in their graves. Worst court since Taney.
    But, But, but, StatesRights ?

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    "But Thomas’ dissent made clear he endorsed a key aspect of Eastman’s view: that state legislatures are not bound by their own constitutions when it comes to the appointment of electors."

    Did I read that right? Not one but two hard-right conservative Justices just endorsed the idea that state legislatures can violate their own constitutions when it comes to appointing electors? Really?

    Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, surprises me about this court anymore.

    That loud humming you hear are John Marshall and Oliver Wendell Holmes spinning in their graves. Worst court since Taney.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    How the Supreme Court’s decision on election law could shut the door on future fake electors
    “It keeps the toothpaste in the tube,” one election expert said.

    Attorney John Eastman is currently facing disbarment in California for his actions to subvert the 2020 election.

    The Supreme Court’s rejection of a controversial election theory may also have another huge political consequence for future presidential contests: It obliterated the dubious fake elector scheme that Donald Trump deployed in his failed attempt to seize a second term.

    That scheme relied on friendly state legislatures appointing “alternate” slates of pro-Trump presidential electors — even if state laws certified victory for Joe Biden. Backed by fringe theories crafted by attorneys like John Eastman, Trump contended that state legislatures could unilaterally reverse the outcome and override their own laws and constitutions to do so.

    Mainstream election lawyers on both sides of the aisle denounced the theory in the months after the 2020 election. But because no court had ever directly ruled on the theory, its proponents were able to describe it as a plausible, if untested, interpretation of constitutional law. Eastman himself, currently facing disbarment in California for his actions to subvert the election, has claimed that he was engaged in “good-faith” advocacy on an unsettled legal question.

    But by rejecting the so-called independent state legislature theory in Moore v. Harper on Tuesday, Chief Justice Roberts effectively extinguished it as a plausible path in 2024 and beyond.

    “It keeps the toothpaste in the tube, in the sense that the theories that would give state legislatures unvarnished power has been rejected,” said Ben Ginsberg, a prominent Republican elections attorney who loudly pushed back against Trump’s attempts in 2020 to overturn his loss. “State legislatures thinking that they can just, if they feel like it after an election, replace the popular will with a slate of electors is as gone as ‘there can’t be any review of redistricting plans.’”

    Tuesday’s opinion primarily revolves around an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s elections clause, which says that state legislatures can set rules for congressional elections in their states.

    Though some on the right have interpreted the clause as giving state legislatures total authority to write and rewrite election procedures, without any input from governors or state courts, the Supreme Court rejected that notion.

    That decision cuts the already-wobbly legal legs out from under Trump’s last-ditch efforts to remain in power. When Trump tried to subvert the 2020 election, his allies relied, in part, on a similarly fringe interpretation of the Constitution’s electors clause, which permits state legislatures to determine the method for appointing presidential electors. Eastman and other Trump allies argued that state legislatures could determine unilaterally that Trump was the rightful winner, appointing their own electors to be counted on Jan. 6, 2021.

    No state legislatures embraced Eastman’s calls, and the effort collapsed when then-Vice President Mike Pence refused a simultaneous pressure campaign to single-handedly postpone the counting of electoral votes.

    Tuesday’s decision contained just glancing discussion of the electors clause in its majority opinion, which was joined by liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson and conservatives Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. But in soundly rejecting the independent state legislature theory, the implications were clear: “The Elections Clause does not insulate state legislatures from the ordinary exercise of state judicial review,” Roberts wrote.

    “Today’s ruling makes clear, for example, that an elected state legislature cannot cut the people of the state out of the loop of picking presidential elections if the state constitution requires that electors to the electoral college be popularly selected,” argued Vikram Amar, a law professor at the University of Illinois, on a call organized by the group Protect Democracy and others who opposed the independent state legislature theory.

    The elections clause and electors clause contain very similar language. The elections clause reads that the “times, places and manner” of electing senators and representatives “shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof,” while also granting explicit powers to Congress to do the same. The electors clause similarly says each state shall appoint presidential electors “in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”

    “The operative constitutional language in the two clauses is essentially identical,” said Michael Luttig, a former conservative federal appellate judge who advised Pence to reject those alternative slate of electors on Jan. 6.

    The clearest link between Tuesday’s decision and the Trump election gambit was in the references to a 140-year-old Supreme Court decision in McPherson v. Blacker — a ruling cited repeatedly by Trump’s allies as they sought to justify their efforts to supplant Biden’s electors with their own.

    That 1892 decision paved the way for a Michigan law that permitted the appointment of electors by congressional district, and it emphasized the power of legislatures to dictate the way presidential electors are chosen.

    Eastman has repeatedly cited that ruling as evidence that state legislatures could simply ignore state court decisions they disliked regarding the appointment of electors, and he has reupped those arguments as he seeks to hold onto his California law license this month.

    Like Eastman, then-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark cited the McPherson decision in a now-infamous letter that he pressed Justice Department leaders to issue on the cusp of Jan. 6, 2021, urging them to call their legislatures into session and consider appointing a new slate of electors. Trump appeared to briefly appoint Clark as acting attorney general amid this battle before rescinding the decision amid a mass resignation threat by top DOJ officials.

    “Our decision in McPherson … had nothing to do with any conflict between provisions of the Michigan Constitution and action by the State’s legislature — the issue we confront today,” he wrote.

    Conversely, the dissent from the Roberts opinion, authored by Justice Clarence — whom Eastman clerked for in 1996 — might provide Eastman a boost in his effort to save his bar license. Eastman has argued that even if his legal theory was wrong, it’s not a punishable offense to give incorrect or unpopular legal advice.

    Bar discipline authorities seeking to disbar him, however, say Eastman’s advice was catastrophically wrong and built on assumptions and inferences that no lawyer could make in good faith. They have repeatedly emphasized that Eastman sought to avoid court battles over his theory because they might have resulted in an adverse decision before Jan. 6.

    But Thomas’ dissent made clear he endorsed a key aspect of Eastman’s view: that state legislatures are not bound by their own constitutions when it comes to the appointment of electors. Citing McPherson, Thomas rejected Roberts’ interpretation of the case.

    “Contrary to the majority’s suggestion of ambiguity … this statement can only have meant that the state legislature’s power to direct the manner of appointing electors may not be limited by the state constitution,” Thomas wrote in a footnote. One other justice — conservative Neil Gorsuch — signed onto that portion of Thomas’ dissent.

    Eastman had urged Pence to consider electoral votes purportedly cast by pro-Trump activists in several states that Biden won, even when no state legislatures agreed to endorse a slate of “alternate” electors.

    That push has landed Eastman at the center of both bar disciplinary actions as well as ongoing criminal probes in Washington and Georgia.

    "But Thomas’ dissent made clear he endorsed a key aspect of Eastman’s view: that state legislatures are not bound by their own constitutions when it comes to the appointment of electors."

    Did I read that right? Not one but two hard-right conservative Justices just endorsed the idea that state legislatures can violate their own constitutions when it comes to appointing electors? Really?

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    It sucks to suck!

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    It’s Not Looking Good for Trump’s Coup Lawyer John Eastman

    The latest chapter of accountability for the bloody Jan. 6 riot is playing out in a quiet California courtroom, where disgraced law school professor John Eastman is going through a disbarment hearing over his role fueling former President Donald Trump’s belief that he could disregard the 2020 election and remain in power.

    At issue is whether lawyers can claim they’re “just doing their job.” In Eastman’s case, that means actively playing along with a plot to damage American democracy by giving dubious advice to one of the world’s most difficult legal clients: Donald J. Trump.

    One week into defending himself from an 11-count disciplinary charge filed in January, things aren’t looking good for Eastman.

    Although it’s essentially a professional regulatory rebuke, the disciplinary charge reads like a criminal indictment. Eastman is charged with making false representations and failing to support the nation’s Constitution and its laws. He’s accused of committing “an act of moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption,” as stated in the charge notice.

    Eastman was the author of a now-infamous memo in which he argued Vice President Mike Pence could single-handedly reject electoral college votes to buy Republican state legislatures time to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. And his six-page memo laying out how Pence could reject the electoral college is the heart of the case.

    The idea was to pull the plug on the traditionally seamless transfer of power from one American president to another. The coup failed both in courtrooms and in Congress, which turned into a literal battlefield with Capitol Police and rioters on Jan. 6, 2021. But Eastman has mostly avoided any real repercussions besides reputation to damage—until now.

    Last week, the judge on his case said that “luckily” he's not on trial for all of the false statements he made in one article published less than two weeks after the insurrection, where Eastman defended the legal advice he gave Trump. In that article, Eastman repeated debunked claims about Georgia’s “suitcases of ballots” and Michigan’s vote-flipping machines, “illegal ballot harvesting,” and ghost absentee votes.

    “The vice president was not being asked to decide the matter himself, but to pause the proceedings long enough,” Eastman claimed.

    Those words now carry a more haunting weight given the fuller picture provided by the House Jan. 6 Committee. The panel revealed a year ago this week how MAGA Republicans assembled fake electors in seven swing states to erase the victory of now-President Joe Biden.

    Since then, Eastman was forced to retire from his spot as dean of Chapman University’s law school just outside Los Angeles. The feds seized his phone. His reputation was eviscerated when a California federal judge cited evidence of a crime or fraud and forced Eastman to turn over his emails to Congress. And the extent of his personal involvement in Trump’s failed coup was laid bare in those messages, which were splashed on TVs all across the country last summer and showed how Pence’s own lawyer ripped into Trump’s kooky professor as a violent mob descended on them in the Capitol.

    “Thanks to your bullshit, we are now under siege,” Greg Jacob wrote to Eastman at 3:14 p.m. that day, only to have Eastman throw the blame right back at him.

    “My ‘bullshit’ — seriously?” he shot back. “The ‘siege’ is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary to allow this to be aired in a public way so the American people can see for themselves what happened.”

    So far, Eastman’s disbarment trial has rehashed many of the same damning details that were already released during the nearly dozen House Jan. 6 Committee hearings, where Jacob testified about the pressure aimed at convincing Pence to abuse his authority.

    Jacob appeared again last week, this time in the Los Angeles courtroom, where he testified that Eastman knew his stop-the-vote plan was utterly ludicrous—plainly evident by the way the conservative legal scholar came to the obvious conclusion himself that it would never pass the Supreme Court, even the present one packed with Trump appointees.

    Jacob previously recalled Eastman asking, “If this case got to the Supreme Court, we’d lose 9-0, wouldn’t we, if we actually took your position and it got up there?” To which Eastman eventually responded: “Yeah, all right, it would be 9-0.”

    Jacob repeated the story in court on Wednesday, noting that Eastman at first believed he could at least convince the iconoclastic and conservative judge he’d once clerked for: Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Eastman’s own testimony was interrupted by Jacob’s appearance in court, which took precedence because of his limited availability. The scholar on trial is expected to take the stand again in the coming days, with the trial resuming on Tuesday.

    One question that remains to be answered is how significant of a role Eastman’s own guilty conscience will play in the trial. The Jan. 6 Committee exposed messages from Eastman that showed him taking steps to avoid a potential prosecution when his clearly illegal plan failed.

    “I’ve decided that I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman emailed Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

    MAGA ire is now being directed at Judge Yvette D. Roland over her stern approach from the very start of the trial, when she began dismantling Eastman’s defense by blocking several of his proposed witnesses from testifying. Among them was a certified public accountant, Joseph Fried, who wrote a book that’s skeptical about the 2020 election results—but someone whom the judge concluded had no relevant training or expertise in elections.

    Over the weekend, the conservative Arizona Sun Times seized on the fact that Roland had donated to Democrats to attack her.

    “I have NEVER encountered a judge before who contributed to political parties AFTER they became a sitting judge! She's obviously extremely partisan but ruling on a clearly politically tinged trial over a conservative attorney advising a Republican president,” noted writer Rachel Alexander, who was herself a lawyer before Arizona suspended her for misconduct 10 years ago this month, according to records pulled by The Daily Beast.

    However, Federal Election Commission records show that nearly all of the judge’s political donations occurred when she was still a lawyer working at a private firm; and the $344 she contributed in the past four years to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s re-election bid and the progressive fundraiser ActBlue were well below the amount allowed in the state’s judicial ethics code.

    The fate of Eastman’s law license is largely in Roland’s hands. She alone will decide the trial’s outcome, though her ruling could be appealed and end up in California’s Supreme Court.

    The trial was supposed to end after two weeks, but the judge added an extra week at the end of August, as delays and thorny legal issues have popped up along the way, meaning Eastman might not know for another two-plus months whether he’ll keep his law license.

    As Los Angeles legal journalist Meghann Cuniff pointed out, Eastman has refused to name people in court other than Trump, whom he advised about what turned out to be a failed plan, citing attorney-client privilege that normally protects correspondence between the two.

    “The fact that someone is a client is not covered,” Roland asserted in court.

    “When the question, Your Honor, with all due respect, is ‘Who are the clients you would have provided this advice to?’ revealing the name of the client reveals the advice that I gave to them,” Cuniff quoted Eastman as saying in court.

    By pushing back the potential end of the trial to late August, the judge has also opened up an awkward possibility that Eastman will be implicated in yet another case before this one wraps up: the Atlanta-area criminal investigation into the Trump effort to overturn Georgia’s state election and recruit a slate of fake electors.

    Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are widely expected to bring charges against Trump and a handful of co-conspirators who tried to erase Biden’s lead there by intimidating the state’s top elections official and replacing electors slated to vote for Biden with Trump loyalists who signed a document purporting to represent the state’s real electors.

    While Eastman losing his law license in California would be the sternest punishment he’s faced yet, it would hardly compare to a criminal indictment in Fulton County.

    I have a feeling that the Georgia grand jury is make this look like a kiss from a pretty girl....

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Judge Orders Giuliani to Pay Georgia Election Workers' Attorney Fees
    Back when the House was investigating the Jan. 6 coup attempt, two of the witnesses were Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman. They thought they were just doing their civic duty, helping run Georgia elections and told the House members that. However, their lives changed instantly on Dec. 10, 2020, when Rudy Giuliani claimed they had rigged the 2020 election for Joe Biden. He said they brought in suitcases full of fake ballots and scanned them multiple times. The death threats poured in. They were scared. They quit their jobs. They went into hiding. They also sued Giuliani for defamation.

    The judge in the case, Beryl Howell, ordered Giuliani to turn over certain evidence. He didn't bother. Must have been too busy to comply, just like Donald Trump. Howell was not amused. On Friday, she ordered Giuliani to pay Freeman and Moss' attorneys' fees. She didn't specify the amount, but clearly she is annoyed with Giuliani and probably isn't going to take much more stalling from him.

    There is no indication how long the case will take, but Giuliani is in a weak position since his statement was widely circulated and the damage it caused Freeman and Moss is easy to prove. Like Trump in the E. Jean Carroll case, he could be hit with a major judgment. Which he may or may not have the money to pay.

    Oh, and while we are on the subject of defamation lawsuits, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer just filed a lawsuit against Kari Lake for repeatedly claiming that he interfered with the 2022 gubernatorial election results, causing her to lose. Richer says that he has had death threats and more as a result of her lies. The Carroll case showed that defamation cases against public figures sometimes win, despite the high standard of proof required. The Dominion Voting Systems case showed that sometimes the defendants see that their case is hopeless and give up. (V)

    Leave a comment:

  • Monash
    Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
    Some one needs to go to jail for what was done to these women. Law suits might give you financial compensation but the claim is still out there despite it being debunked. There will always be some who will keep on believing they are guilty because "this is the way" of the Cult.
    Assuming the plaintiffs win (which in the case of most of the 'stolen election' defamation suits is pretty much a foregone conclusion now) civil cases actually do have have an impact on public perceptions. But only if the wins are well publicized. As much as the MAGA crowd are welded on to Trump and all the conspiracy theories circulating around him they still love their money more. Watching prominent members of their club, sorry I should have said fellow 'patriots' having their beloved pet theories taken apart in open court piece by piece and exposed as lies, watching them squirm and admit they have no evidence to justify the harassment and harm they've caused the victims AND watching those same perpetrators get taken to the cleaners?

    That tends to make the majority of that crowd pull their heads in. It won't change their minds of course but it does tend to make them much, much more cautious about expressing those views publicly in the future. For example you don't see anyone smack talking Dominion and the other voting machine companies very much if at all now. What's that Rupert? You have something to add? Of course long term nothing much changes. The loons just move on to the next new 'theory' in the queue and start defaming some other victims and around we go again.

    Leave a comment:

  • tbm3fan
    Some one needs to go to jail for what was done to these women. Law suits might give you financial compensation but the claim is still out there despite it being debunked. There will always be some who will keep on believing they are guilty because "this is the way" of the Cult.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Georgia poll workers targeted by Trump are cleared of false election fraud claims
    The official state report comes years after law enforcement agencies interviewed Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss.

    Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother, Ruby Freeman, as she testifies at a House Jan. 6 committee hearing in Washington on June 21, 2022.

    Years after their lives were turned upside down by conspiracy theorists, Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Wandrea ArShaye "Shaye" Moss, were officially cleared by Georgia authorities on Tuesday.

    Georgia’s State Election Board dismissed its yearslong investigation into alleged election fraud at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, more than two years after conspiracy theorists — and then-President Donald Trump — claimed that Freeman and her daughter had committed election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

    The fraud claims were “unsubstantiated and found to have no merit,” the investigation concluded, reporting on the work of the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and investigators from the Secretary of State’s office vetting the alleged fraud.

    During their efforts to overturn the results of the election, Trump and his ally Rudy Giuliani repeatedly claimed that Freeman and Moss had committed election fraud. A heavily edited, brief clip of security footage was widely circulated online and by Trump allies as supposed proof.

    Giuliani said Freeman and Moss were passing USB drives “like vials of heroin or cocaine” during ballot-counting operations. Moss later explained her mother handed her a ginger mint during ballot counting.

    Freeman in particular became a regular target for Trump, and the former president made false comments about her on social media as recently as January.

    The Trump campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

    State officials said at the time that the election workers had done nothing wrong, but both women were relentlessly harassed. Freeman fled her home, fearing for her safety.

    Last year, the U.S. House's Jan. 6 committee played taped testimony from Freeman and Moss during a congressional hearing.

    “There is nowhere I feel safe. Nowhere,” Freeman said last June. “I have lost my name and I have lost my reputation. ... All because a group of people starting with number 45 and his ally Rudy Giuliani decided to scapegoat me and my daughter."

    Investigators interviewed or received affidavits from nine election workers. They also identified and interviewed an unnamed man who created an Instagram account purporting to be Freeman and claiming to have committed election fraud.

    "The account creator admitted he created the fake account and confirmed the content that was posted on the account was fake," the report said.

    The bulk of the investigation appears to have been conducted in December 2020 and January 2021, but both the State Election Board and the Georgia Secretary of State's office was backed up reviewing claims, according to Gabriel Sterling, the chief operating officer in the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

    This particular report, due to the partisan nature of the allegations, took a particularly long time because it "needed to be beyond reproach," he added.

    Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger applauded the conclusion of the investigation in a statement on Wednesday: "False claims and knowingly false allegations made against these election workers have done tremendous harm. Election workers deserve our praise for being on the front lines."

    Moss and Freeman have sued outlets and individuals who advanced false claims about them for defamation. One America Network settled one defamation lawsuit, while other claims are still ongoing.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Judge clears way for disciplinary proceedings against Trump ally Jeffrey Clark
    D.C. Bar authorities charged Clark, a top ally in the effort to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election, with engaging in “dishonest” conduct.

    In the weeks before former President Donald Trump left office, Jeffrey Clark spearheaded the drafting of a letter urging state governments in states won by Joe Biden to consider convening their legislatures and revisiting the results of the election.

    A federal judge has cleared the way for District of Columbia Bar authorities to resume long-stalled disciplinary proceedings against Jeffrey Clark, a top ally in Donald Trump’s bid to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election.

    Clark, an assistant attorney general in Trump’s Justice Department — whom Trump considered naming acting attorney general amid his final, frenzied bid to remain in power — had tied up those proceedings for nearly eight months as he sought to transfer the battle to federal court.

    But U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras rejected Clark’s effort on Thursday, issuing a 36-page opinion concluding that federal courts have no jurisdiction over disciplinary proceedings meant to be managed by the D.C. Bar and local courts.

    D.C. Bar authorities charged Clark in July 2022 with engaging in “dishonest” conduct and seeking to “seriously interfere with the administration of justice” when he embarked on a weekslong effort to help Trump sow doubt about the results of the 2020 election.

    In the weeks before Trump left office, Clark — then the acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division — spearheaded the drafting of a letter urging state governments in states won by Joe Biden to consider convening their legislatures and revisiting the results of the election. He leaned on Justice Department leaders to send the letter but was repeatedly rebuffed.

    But Clark continued pressing to issue the letter and, with the help of Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), caught the attention of Trump, who was prepared to make Clark the acting attorney general in early January 2021 — until a mass resignation threat by senior Justice Department officials caused him to reverse his decision. Clark’s involvement in the episode has drawn intense scrutiny from federal prosecutors, who raided his home a year ago, and the Jan. 6 select committee, which highlighted Clark’s role in Trump’s bid to subvert the election during its public hearings.
    Jan. 6 panel shows Rep. Scott Perry texts urging Meadows to promote Jeffrey Clark

    In his legal filings, Clark contended that the D.C. Bar proceedings — which could result in his suspension or disbarment from law practice in Washington — are improper to bring against someone who worked as an attorney in the federal government. The District of Columbia, Clark contended, was specifically exempted from federal laws granting states the authority over bar discipline.

    But Contreras sharply rejected Clark’s assessment of the history of these laws.

    “To accept Mr. Clark’s position would be to subscribe to the absurd proposition that Congress chose to make these officials subject to jurisdictional rules of professional conduct everywhere except where they work.” he argued. “That D.C. is home to, by far, the most government lawyers in the country only compounds this absurdity.”

    Contreras’ ruling could kickstart a proceeding that has been used against other officials connected to Trump’s bid to stay in power. D.C. Bar authorities temporarily suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license after two weeks of proceedings there and are due to make a final determination on his potential disbarment imminently. California Bar authorities are preparing to try John Eastman, an architect of Trump’s bid to derail the transfer of power, over the next few weeks.

    But Clark has so far successfully stymied D.C. Bar investigators’ bid to advance their inquiry since filing suit in October.

    In his ruling, Contreras noted that the federal law itself, which was amended in 1998, was rooted, in part, in Democrats’ concerns about the conduct of then-Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and his investigation of then-President Bill Clinton.

    “This context, including broad upset among President Clinton’s supporters over a perception of prosecutorial overreach, affected Congress’s consideration,” Contreras noted. Congress added the independent counsel to the jurisdiction of the D.C. Bar authorities, which Contreras said underscored the fact that Congress intended those provisions to apply to lawyers working for the federal government.

    Clark, in his filings, also argue that D.C. Bar proceedings have features of both civil and criminal proceedings that can be legally redirected to federal court. But Contreras rejected that view, as well, saying bar discipline proceedings are neither civil nor criminal and therefore not subject to the laws that provide for transferring cases out of the states.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Wisconsin judge allows for lawsuit against fake Trump electors to proceed
    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin judge on Monday refused to break up a lawsuit filed against 10 fake electors for former President Donald Trump and two of his attorneys, saying the case could proceed in the county where it was filed.

    The lawsuit seeks $2.4 million from the fake electors and their attorneys, alleging they were part of a conspiracy by Trump and his allies to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential race. It also seeks to disqualify the Republicans from ever serving as electors again.

    Fake electors met in Wisconsin and other battleground states where Trump was defeated in 2020, attempting to cast ballots for the former president even though he lost. Republicans who participated in Wisconsin said they were trying to preserve Trump’s legal standing in case courts overturned his defeat.

    Nine of the 10 fake electors in Wisconsin, and one of Trump's attorneys, argued that the lawsuit against them was wrongly filed in Dane County Circuit Court. Since none of them lived in that county, they argued, the lawsuit should be refiled against each of them in their respective home counties.

    But Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington disagreed on Monday, saying the lawsuit was properly filed because, in part, at least one of the defendants appears to live in Dane County or does not present evidence to the contrary.

    One of Trump's attorneys, James Troupis, and fake elector Scott Grabins, the former Dane County Republican Party chair, both live in Dane County. Neither of them provided any evidence of where they lived, the judge said. Neither did Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who practices law in the Boston area.

    Attorneys for the fake electors who don't live in Dane County argued that a 2007 state law allows for venue changes to courts in the defendant's home county in cases that relate to elections or election law. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants broke several criminal and civil laws when they met at the Wisconsin state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in an attempt to cast the state’s electoral votes for Trump.

    Remington said the law requires that the case be heard in Dane County where it was filed.

    “Wisconsin law does not allow the problematic consequences of ten judges simultaneously litigating the same claims in ten different courts, or ten juries — some 120 jurors — hearing the same claims and rendering ten different verdicts,” Remington wrote.

    The lawsuit was filed a year ago this month by two Democratic electors and a voter. They are represented by the Madison-based Law Forward law firm and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at the Georgetown University Law Center.

    “Although likely not the last, this was just the latest effort to delay any type of accountability,” said Law Forward attorney Scott Thompson. “We are pleased this matter will be resolved in the Dane County Courthouse, just one block from where the fake electors scheme was carried out.”

    Attorneys for the fake electors did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

    Remington last week also revived a complaint brought by Law Forward against the fake electors filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission. That complaint sought sanctions against the fake electors.

    Remington ruled last week that the complaint must be heard again because a commissioner who considered the complaint last time should have recused himself. That commissioner, Robert Spindell, also served as a fake elector and is one of the defendants in the lawsuit seeking damages.

    President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, a result that has withstood recounts, partisan-led investigations, a nonpartisan audit and multiple lawsuits.

    Leave a comment: