Thursday, December 6, 2018

Last Call For That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

With Acting AG Matt Whitaker's woes piling up, and Special Counsel Robert Muller freely in his endgame phase, the Trump regime is reportedly looking to an old hand to solve Trump's legal problems.

Former attorney general William P. Barr is President Trump’s leading candidate to be nominated to lead the Justice Department — a choice that could be made in coming days as the agency presses forward with a probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations.

Barr, 68, a well-respected Republican lawyer who served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, has emerged as a favorite candidate of a number of Trump administration officials, including senior lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office, these people said. Two people familiar with the discussions said the president has told advisers in recent days that he plans to nominate Barr.

One person familiar with the discussions cautioned that while Barr is the leading candidate, the decision is not final and the president could decide to pick someone else.

Another person familiar with the discussions said Barr is “a really serious contender and possibly the front-runner” for the job but stressed it was impossible to predict Trump’s pick definitively until it was announced publicly.

That person said those advising the president viewed Barr as someone who knows the department well and is a good manager. Barr, this person said, also had a bluntness that is likely to resonate with the president.

Barr declined to comment.

Those familiar with the discussions said Barr, having already been attorney general, doesn’t feel a particular ambition for the position, but does feel a sense of duty to take it if offered.

It's no surprise then that Barr's name came up in the wake of the death of the President that he served.  I'm sure the Bush 41 camp was in contact with the Trump regime and Barr emerged as a "Hey, why don't we ask him?" kind of thing.  Also, it doesn't hurt that Barr backed up Trump's firing of James Comey 19 months ago and publicly congratulated Jeff Sessions on a "job well done" after his summary firing by Trump...oh, and did I mention that he too wants to "Lock Her Up?"

“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” said William P. Barr, who ran the Justice Department under President George Bush. “Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation.”

Mr. Barr said he sees more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia. “To the extent it is not pursuing these matters, the department is abdicating its responsibility,” he said.

As usual, somebody is leading Donny by the nose and putting this out there so Trump thinks he thought of it, and Barr is connected enough to know how the game works.  We'll see if Trump taps Barr, and how quickly he'll be praised for a "serious, Presidential move" to "right a shaky ship" at the DoJ.

Will Barr be the hatchetman for Mueller?  Does that even matter now that Mueller is well into the endgame?  We'll see.

Get The Hence, Pence

Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman informs us of the latest rumblings from the Trump bunker, where things have gotten so crazy that people are starting to ask if VP Mike Pence has outlived his usefulness.

But the ominous signs of Mueller’s progress have not completely overwhelmed other subplots. On Monday, Trump hosted a 2020 strategy meeting with a group of advisers. Among the topics discussed was whether Mike Pence should remain on the ticket, given the hurricane-force political headwinds Trump will face, as demonstrated by the midterms, a source briefed on the session told me. “They’re beginning to think about whether Mike Pence should be running again,” the source said, adding that the advisers presented Trump with new polling that shows Pence doesn’t expand Trump’s coalition. “He doesn’t detract from it, but he doesn’t add anything either,” the source said. Last month, The New York Times reported that Trump had been privately asking advisers if Pence could be trusted, and that outside advisers have been pushing Nikki Haley to replace Pence. One veteran of Trump’s 2016 campaign who’s still advising Trump told me the president hasn’t been focused enough on 2020. “What he needs to do is consider his team for 2020 and make sure it’s in place,” the adviser said. “He has to have people on his team that are loyal to his agenda.”

I think this is hysterical, considering Trump is going to have much larger problems than "whether or not Mike Pence helps him on the 2020 ticket."  Trump isn't thinking about 2020 enough?  He needs to be thinking about 2019 and whether or not he's in an orange jumpsuit.

It's About Suppression, Con't

North Carolina's largest newspaper, the Charlotte Observer, is calling for new elections in NC's 9th Congressional district as the evidence of massive GOP fraud that cost Democrat Dan McCready the election piles up.

In the week since the state Board of Elections declined to certify the results of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District election, journalists and others have begun to fill in the details of a troubling case of apparent ballot fraud. In Bladen County — and perhaps other counties — individuals have interfered with the voting process by gaining access to others’ absentee ballots, according to witnesses and records. Investigators also are looking into the burgeoning scandal.

There may be no way, however, to know how widespread the fraud was, or whether it involved enough ballots to potentially change the outcome of the election — a 905-vote victory for Republican Mark Harris over Democrat Dan McCready. But we do know enough. Unless new evidence somehow clears the clouds hanging over this election, the Board of Elections should toss out the 9th District results.

Calling for a new election would be an enormously significant decision for the board. It should be done with the support of N.C. statutes and without a whiff of partisan politics. Republicans from Raleigh to Washington would surely howl; already, they’ve noted that the number of absentee ballots cast in Bladen County falls short of the overall margin of victory in the 9th.

This is true. But witnesses have said that their ballots, which were collected by individuals apparently working for ringleader McCrae Dowless, were never submitted to the county or state. There’s little certainty about how many ballots were wrongly tossed or destroyed in Bladen County (there were more than 1,500 that were requested but unreturned) or how much Dowless and his workers may have done the same in neighboring Robeson County, as reports suggest. It might have been enough to change the outcome of the race. It might not have been.

That possibility, however, triggers a statutory threshold for holding a new election. North Carolina General Statute 163A-1180 authorizes the Board of Elections to intervene and “take any other action necessary to assure that an election is determined without taint of fraud or corruption and without irregularities that may have changed the result of an election.The board should call for a new NC-09 general election. The U.S. House can and should order a new primary, given that results show Harris winning a startling 96 percent of the Bladen absentee vote in his narrow 2018 primary victory over then incumbent Robert Pittenger

The Observer calls for not only new elections, but a new GOP primary in the case of Mark Harris's absolute malfeasance.  

CNN election analyst Harry Enten is a bit less sanguine about the situation in NC.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics last week voted against certifying Republican Mark Harris' 905 vote win over Democrat Dan McCready in the state's 9th Congressional District. 
In the days since, allegations of election fraud involving absentee mail-in ballots have been made public. 
The case for election fraud appears to be strong. That's because it's doesn't rely on just one or two pieces of evidence. Rather, it's a slew of evidence. This means that even if one part of the case were to fall apart, there would be still be reason to believe that the election wasn't on the level.

BuzzFeed News drops this bombshell.

The allegations that Republicans tampered with absentee ballots in a close North Carolina election represent the most serious federal election tampering case in years, one that allegedly stole votes from elderly black voters in the state’s rural south.

Now two women intimately involved with McCrae Dowless’s absentee ballot machine have revealed to BuzzFeed News its grim and chaotic workings, in which Dowless tracked votes on yellow paper and paid his workers, including family members, from stacks of cash, and that some were on opioids while they worked.
The accounts of the women, Jessica Karen Dowless and Lisa Britt, add significant new details to those that have come out from investigators and other news reports, as the state election board considers whether it should order a new election between Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. The women, both related to McCrae Dowless, paint a picture of American political chicanery at its lowest levels — though with sweeping consequences both for voters allegedly denied the franchise, and for the outcome of a pivotal national election, which Harris won by 905 votes.

Jessica Dowless described the scene in the small office at the intersection of two highways, where she worked on Harris’s behalf for the last two months as chaotic. One worker, she said, “was so fucking high the other day she passed out at the fucking computer.” One of the workers who collected absentee ballots from residents was a “pill head,” she said.

Dowless, whose husband is distantly related to McCrae Dowless, described herself as a “housewife [who] needed a part-time job” and said she was one of about six employees. She often worked six days a week tallying the number of Democrats and Republicans who had recently voted. However, she explained, there were times when she did not quite understand what she was doing or what the grand purpose was.

She did say, though, that campaign workers delivered sealed absentee ballots from the homes of people who requested them to McCrae Dowless’s office — though North Carolina law forbids third parties from handling those ballots.

She said she spent her time tracking the number of ballots sent in to the county board of elections — and then tallying up the number that were collected by employees of McCrae Dowless, who the Washington Post reportedwould keep the Harris campaign updated on the latest figures.

Jessica Dowless said she would also note voters’ race and party affiliation.

“My job was at the office and I read emails and counted how many Republicans and Democrats and non-affiliated people voted every day... I added up how many voted that day and wrote it on a piece of paper and then they read it and then I don’t know what it did with it. McCrae was the only one who saw it,” she said. “I would go down each page and count how many black Republicans, white Republicans and I did the opposite, black unaffiliated, black Democrats, and add them up and then calculate the percentage of how many people voted that way each day.”

Mark Harris cannot be seated in the US House come January.  That is an absolute certainty. 

In fact, he should be in prison.


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