Federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland is under consideration to serve as attorney general in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, NPR has learned from two people closely following the process.
Garland, 68, is the widely respected former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He launched his career at the Justice Department decades ago.
Garland oversaw the prosecution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and gained significant management experience inside the sprawling department in the 1990s.
More recently, Garland was nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama, to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Despite his qualifications and a history of support from conservatives, Senate Republicans denied Garland even a hearing for the post, and he quietly returned to his job on what's considered the second most important court in the nation. On the bench, Garland focused on professionalism, collegiality and transparency, making audio of arguments widely available.
Some Justice Department veterans had been looking to history for a way to move ahead from the chaotic Trump era when the president has routinely attacked federal prosecutors and FBI agents. The current attorney general, Bill Barr, this year likened some of his employees to young students at a Montessori school.
Former Justice Department officials pointed out that after Watergate, President Gerald Ford enlisted former University of Chicago President Edward Levi to be attorney general and restore public confidence in the institution. The Justice Department bestows an award for honor and integrity in his name.
Friday, November 20, 2020
NPR reports former Obama Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland will be Biden's choice for Attorney General.
I can guarantee you that this won't happen if Mitch McConnell is still Senate Majority Leader in January, for the simple reason that Mitch McConnell will never allow Joe Biden to appoint a single federal judge to the bench, let alone nominate a replacement for DC Circuit Court. McConnell will leave every single vacancy open, just like he did in Obama's final two years.
So who else is Biden considering for the job of AG?
Firmer Acting AG Sally Yates, unceremoniously fired by Trump, would almost certainly never have the votes in a McConnell-led Congress, complete with screeching about Mueller. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick would be labeled a socialist Black Lives Matter supporter. Doug Jones might actually have the best shot, but would be ruthlessly attacked by far-left folks for being too moderate.
Biden will have no good choices for anything if Mitch is still in charge of the Senate come January.
Dems better win both Georgia runoffs.
Donald Trump's illegal coup continues, and tens of millions of Republicans support him retaining power by any means necessary as America is now on the brink of disaster.
Brett Fryar is like many mainstream Republicans. A 50-year-old chiropractor in this west Texas town, he owns a small business. He has two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree, in organic chemistry. He attends Southcrest Baptist Church in nearby Lubbock, where he has previously taught Sunday school and bible studies.
Fryar didn’t much like Donald Trump at first, during the U.S. president’s 2016 campaign. He voted for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primaries.
Now, Fryar says he would go to war for Trump. He has joined the newly formed South Plains Patriots, a group of a few hundred members that includes a “reactionary” force of about three dozen - including Fryar and his son, Caleb - who conduct firearms training.
Nothing will convince Fryar and many others here in Sundown - including the town’s mayor, another Patriots member - that Democrat Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election fairly. They believe Trump’s stream of election-fraud allegations and say they’re preparing for the possibility of a “civil war” with the American political left.
“If President Trump comes out and says: ‘Guys, I have irrefutable proof of fraud, the courts won’t listen, and I’m now calling on Americans to take up arms,’ we would go,” said Fryar, wearing a button-down shirt, pressed slacks and a paisley tie during a recent interview at his office.
The unshakable trust in Trump in this town of about 1,400 residents reflects a national phenomenon among many Republicans, despite the absence of evidence in a barrage of post-election lawsuits by the president and his allies. About half of Republicans polled by Reuters/Ipsos said Trump “rightfully won” the election but had it stolen from him in systemic fraud favoring Biden, according to a survey conducted between Nov. 13 and 17. Just 29% of Republicans said Biden rightfully won. Other polls since the election have reported that an even higher proportion - up to 80% - of Republicans trust Trump’s baseless fraud narrative.
Trump’s legal onslaught has so far flopped, with judges quickly dismissing many cases and his lawyers dropping or withdrawing from others. None of the cases contain allegations - much less evidence - that are likely to invalidate enough votes to overturn the election, election experts say.
And yet the election-theft claims are proving politically potent. All but a handful of Republican lawmakers have backed Trump’s fraud claims or stayed silent, effectively freezing the transition of power as the president refuses to concede. Trump has succeeded in sowing further public distrust in the media, which typically calls elections, and undermined citizens’ faith in the state and local election officials who underpin American democracy.
In Reuters interviews with 50 Trump voters, all said they believed the election was rigged or in some way illegitimate. Of those, 20 said they would consider accepting Biden as their president, but only in light of proof that the election was conducted fairly. Most repeated debunked conspiracy theories espoused by Trump, Republican officials and conservative media claiming that millions of votes were dishonestly switched to Biden in key states by biased poll workers and hacked voting machines.
Many voters interviewed by Reuters said they formed their opinions by watching emergent right-wing media outlets such as Newsmax and One American News Network that have amplified Trump’s fraud claims. Some have boycotted Fox News out of anger that the network called Biden the election winner and that some of its news anchors - in contrast to its opinion show stars - have been skeptical of Trump’s fraud allegations.
“I just sent Fox News an email,” Fryar said, telling the network: “You’re the only news I’ve watched for the last six years, but I will not watch you anymore.”
I don't know what else to say, folks. We're talking about average Trump cultists gladly saying they will take up arms and kill for their leader. It's easy to say this is all Trump's poisonous narcissism trying to steal an election through an armed coup, or that he's trying to force Biden and New York to drop charges through the threat of white supremacist domestic terrorism killing thousands, and those are, at this point, the preferable outcomes.
Because the big really bad one is that Trump tells his people to kill every Democrat they know and pile the bodies up as a temple to him.
And God help me, that's a possible outcome now.
Your local paper shut down five years ago, your local TV station was bought out by a national chain, your local radio station is all Limbaugh and Hannity all the time, and all of your neighbors are now getting local news from propaganda websites that are now doing everything they can to destroy Democrats in elections, and largely succeeding at it.
Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, a Democratic rising star with a national reach, is trailing in a reelection bid to an upstart Republican contender — a potential upset driven in part by a local social media page that has become a kingslayer if not a kingmaker in this San Joaquin Valley city.
Tubbs, the city’s first Black mayor and a favorite in progressive circles for championing ideas such as universal basic income, trailed Republican Kevin Lincoln 52% to 48%, though county officials said many mail-in ballots remained to be counted, leaving the possibility of a reversal.
Though Tubbs won his first mayoral election in 2016 with 70% of the vote and an endorsement from President Obama, this time he has been dogged by a social media page whose founder acknowledges he harbors a grudge against Tubbs — and which has hounded the incumbent, and other local political figures, with years of accusations of corruption and misdeeds.
As the city’s local newspaper, the Record, has struggled with staff cuts in recent years, the social media page, the 209 Times, named for the local area code, has amassed nearly 100,000 followers on Facebook and 118,000 on Instagram. Motecuzoma Patrick Sanchez, one of the founders of the 209 Times, said it has millions of interactions with viewers on its website and social media pages every month, making it one of the area’s most popular sources of information.
San Joaquin County has about 760,000 residents, with roughly 310,000 in Stockton. About 50,000 voted in the mayor’s race.
Local political pundits said the 209 Times has clout with voters and damaged Tubbs’ reputation by attacking him with relentless, and unfounded, allegations of corruption.
“He was wounded by the 209 Times,” said Michael Fitzgerald, a former metro columnist for the Stockton Record who has followed local politics for three decades.
It “just created this false narrative about Tubbs, and they just kept pounding that narrative,” he said.
The 209 Times has run articles, often with no proof, alleging that Tubbs has misappropriated millions of dollars earmarked for city programs, lied about his involvement with an unpopular idea to use the county fairgrounds as part of a state-funded site for homeless people, and put personal interests ahead of his elected role.
Daniel Lopez, Tubbs’ spokesman, said the allegations were “outright lies.”
“209 Times is a perfect example of what you are seeing in the country. It’s ‘pick your own news,’” Lopez said. He took particular issue with recent allegations that Stockton had received and misused $60 million in state funds meant for reducing homelessness.
“To address our challenges we need an informed public,” he said. “How can we have a dialogue around homelessness, for example, when the 209 Times persuades residents that we’ve been given $60 million for this issue, when in reality we only have $6.5 million? I’m sure a good number of Stocktonians reading this article will learn for the first time that the $60-million number is fake, yet some will still believe regardless.”
And not only did Stockton voters believe the 209 Times, they voted Tubbs out of office. He conceded Wednesday to Republican Kevin Lincoln, who ended up winning by double-digits.
By 2024, expect this to be the norm in local, county, and state elections. They've proven that you can take a website, put it on Facebook, and be a "news source" to thousands of voters.
- The Manhattan DA's office is looking at Trump Organization tax write-offs, specifically involving Trump's daughter Ivanka, as a consultant for the firm.
- China has inoculated as many as one million people with its COVID-19 vaccine as trials continue and production ramps up for medical responders and staff.
- The Vatican is asking social media company Instagram officials how Pope Francis's official account ended up giving a like to a model.
- Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney is calling Donald Trump's refusal to transition power to President-elect Joe Biden "undemocratic" and is calling on Trump to concede.
- CDC guidance on Thanksgiving this year is not to travel, and not to host people outside your household as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization continue to set record US numbers.