Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Last Call For Lowering The Barr, Con't

You knew Bill Barr had to make an appearance in this dangerous farce somewhere, and when he did, it was a classic example of authoritarian coup tactics.

Attorney General William P. Barr, wading into President Trump’s unfounded accusations of widespread election irregularities, told federal prosecutors on Monday that they were allowed to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified.

Mr. Barr’s authorization prompted the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, Richard Pilger, to step down from the post within hours, according to an email Mr. Pilger sent to colleagues that was obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Barr said he had authorized “specific instances” of investigative steps in some cases. He made clear in a carefully worded memo that prosecutors had the authority to investigate, but he warned that “specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.”

Mr. Barr’s directive ignored the Justice Department’s longstanding policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election. And it followed a move weeks before the election in which the department lifted a prohibition on voter fraud investigations before an election.

“Given that voting in our current elections has now concluded, I authorize you to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions,” Mr. Barr wrote.

A Justice Department official said that Mr. Barr had authorized scrutiny of allegations about ineligible voters in Nevada and backdated mail-in ballots Pennsylvania. Republicans have circulated both claims in recent days without any evidence emerging to back them.

Mr. Barr did not write the memo at the direction of Mr. Trump, the White House or any Republican lawmakers, the official said.

Mr. Barr has privately told department officials in the days since the election that any disputes should be resolved in court by the campaigns themselves, according to three people briefed on the conversations. He has said that he did not see massive fraud, and that most of the allegations of voter fraud were related to individual instances that did not point to a larger systemic problem, the people said.

But critics of Mr. Barr immediately condemned the memo as a political act that undermined the Justice Department’s typical independence from the White House.
The legal reasoning from Team Trump now, thanks to this horsecrap:
  1. Because the Justice Department has authorized US attorneys to investigate fraud that doesn't actually exist, 
  2. election results then can't be certified until the investigation by US attorneys is exhausted, 
  3. and this will take as long as it takes, 
  4. and if it takes so long that electors to the Electoral College can't give either candidate 270 votes,
  5. because not enough state elections have been certified and for electors to be elected by the states,
  6. or faithless electors vote for Trump,
  7. then the Supreme Court has to step in and stop the election process for President,
  8. then the Presidential contest has to go to the majority of House state delegations where Trump wins, or
  9. state legislatures elect faithless electors anyway, and
  10. enough faithless electors abandon Biden and give Trump 270 electoral votes,
  11. and the Supreme Court orders all-new elections for the House and Senate races in disputed states,
  12. which would simply be annulled by SCOTUS until enough Republicans win.
Now that is a 12-step program to hell, yes?
It would effectively be the end of free and fair elections in the US, which is kind of funny actually because America didn't have universal suffrage for roughly the first 180 years of its existence thanks to non-white folk not being able to vote, women not being able to vote, and Jim Crow laws, and the major mechanism for enforcing universal suffrage, the Voting Rights Act, was effectively dismantled by Chief Justice John Roberts seven years ago, and kept dismantled by Mitch McConnell.
Free and fair small "d" democratic elections in America are literally a younger concept than the Zandarparents. America has been an actual "symbol of freedom" for maybe six decades out of 25, and that's being amazingly generous.

And Bill Barr is helping Trump put an end to that.

The Battle Of Georgia

Biden won Georgia and Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were able to force runoffs in January in large part thanks to the herculean efforts of Stacey Abrams and other voting rights activists working to overcome massive voter suppression. Now Abrams has her sights set on winning both runoffs, and she's going to have a cornucopia of resources to get the job done and win the Senate for the Dems.

Voting rights activist and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Sunday that Democrats are going to have unprecedented financial support for the two possible January Senate runoff elections in her state — contests that could also determine control of Congress.

Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are battling GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for the seats. NBC News has not projected an outcome in the Ossoff-Perdue race, but Perdue's campaign said Friday that it's preparing for a runoff. The Senate currently shows Democrats and Republicans each in control of 48 seats, with four races still outstanding.

"This will be the first time we've had three things happen," Abrams said. "One, we've got Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock at the top of these tickets, working together to make certain that voters come back."

"Number two, we will have the investment and the resources that have never followed our runoffs in Georgia for Democrats," she continued. "And number three, this is going to be the determining factor of whether we have access to health care and access to justice in the United States. Those are two issues that will make certain that people turn out."

It appears the money is already flooding in to the Georgia contests. A spokesman for Abrams' group Fair Fight told NBC News that, in the past 48 hours, they have raised more than $3.6 million dollars.
And she's right. Ossoff and Warnock winning are the difference between being able to actually fix the problems in this country, and another two years of frustrating gridlock with Mitch McConnell blocking every piece of legislation he can. 

We'll get to that battle in 55 days or so, but the time to prepare is now, and Abrams is already on it.

Retribution Execution, Con't

The Trump regime is opening up dangerous efforts this week to try to de-legitimize Joe Biden's win, and will challenge the election itself starting this week with multiple recounts in multiple states, attacking the election process in various state courts, and a nationwide media blitz on cable channels to engage Trump supporters to mobilize. Axios's Alayna Treene:
President Trump plans to brandish obituaries of people who supposedly voted but are dead — plus hold campaign-style rallies — in an effort to prolong his fight against apparent insurmountable election results, four Trump advisers told me during a conference call this afternoon.

What we're hearing: Obits for those who cast ballots are part of the "specific pieces of evidence" aimed at bolstering the Trump team's so-far unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud and corruption that they say led to Joe Biden’s victory. Fueling the effort is the expected completion of vote counting this week, allowing Republicans to file for more recounts.

What's next: Team Trump is ready to announce specific recount teams in key states, and it plans to hold a series of Trump rallies focused on the litigation.
  • In Georgia: Doug Collins, the outgoing congressman who lost to Sen. Kelly Loeffler in a special election to fill former Sen. Johnny Isakson's seat, will be leading the campaign's recount efforts. The team has also redeployed 92 staffers from Florida to Georgia, doubling its group on the ground.
  • In Arizona: Kory Langhofer, former counsel for Trump's 2016 transition, will serve as lead attorney.
  • In Pennsylvania: Porter Wright's Ron Hicks is heading up the legal effort.
  • Nationwide: They're assembling additional surrogates and lawyers.
"We want to make sure we have an adequate supply of manpower on the ground for man-to-man combat," one adviser said.

The group is also staffing a campaign-style media operation. The team led by Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh is now a surrogate messaging center. It will pump out "regular press briefings, releases on legal action and obviously things like talking points and booking people strategically on television," one adviser said. They'll also make a big play to raise money for their legal defense fund.

Trump's formal legal team includes 2020 campaign manager Bill Stepien, lawyer Justin Clark, and senior advisers Jason Miller and David Bossie. Reps. Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, as well as former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, are also advising.
This is all going to end up extremely badly for the country, especially when Trump cultists decide that maybe obstacles to Trump's "win" need to be removed by any means necessary. The damage is going to be incalculable, and please note all the dozens of Republicans lining up to help Trump do this.
Well, the ones that are left, anyway.
Mike Allen follows up as Republicans are worried however that Trump's long, futile fight will cost them Georgia's Senate runoff.

GOP leaders and confidants of President Trump tell Axios his legal fight to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory — which they admit is likely doomed — could last a month or more, possibly pushing the 2020 political wars toward Christmastime.

Why it matters: Most top Republicans have followed Trump’s orders not to accept the Biden victory, and to allow all legal options to be exhausted. That could mean weeks of drama — and, more importantly, distractions from the vital work of transitioning government for a change of power.

Axios is told an internal effort is underway to dissuade Trump from pursuing a blitz (with Rudy Giuliani as the tip of the spear) that could mean three to six weeks of legal challenges, discovery and rulings — at the same time that Biden is talking daily about a message of healing. 
Some top sources tell Axios that Trump has no plan to call for national unity. "No chance," says a person who talks often to the president. A senior Republican who talks often to Trump said the president is "angry ... volatile ... disconsolate."

The problem was never Trump.

The problem was always the GOP and the people who support them.


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