Saturday, December 12, 2020

Last Call For Retribution Execution, Con't

Donald Trump is going to do everything he can to put Joe Biden in the position of having to pardon his son to save him from a Bill Barr/Rudy Giuliani-constructed frame job and a long prison stretch, because he wants the Bidens to suffer. He figures it'll be leverage to get Biden to force New York AG Tish James and Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance into dropping their investigations into the Trump Organization, too. After all, if they are going after Trump's kids, Trump will make sure Hunter Biden rots in jail.
A subpoena seeking documents from Hunter Biden asked for information related to more than two dozen entities, including Ukraine gas company Burisma, according to a person familiar with a Justice Department tax investigation of President-elect Joe Biden’s son.

The breadth of the subpoena, issued Tuesday, underscores the wide-angle lens prosecutors are taking as they examine the younger Biden’s finances and international business ventures.

Hunter Biden’s ties to Burisma in particular have long dogged the policy work and political aspirations of his father, Joe Biden, now the president-elect of the United States. It’s unclear whether Hunter Biden’s work at the Ukrainian company is a central part of the federal investigation or whether prosecutors are simply seeking information about all his sources of income in recent years.

The person was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

A lawyer for the younger Biden, George Mesires, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment for this story and a spokesman for the Biden transition team declined to comment.

Hunter Biden confirmed Wednesday that his taxes are under federal investigation. The revelation comes at a delicate time for the president-elect, who is building out his Cabinet and will soon decide on his nominee to run the Justice Department, the same department overseeing the investigation into his son.

In addition to the Burisma-related request, the subpoena issued last week also seeks information on Hunter Biden’s Chinese business dealings and other financial transactions.

The probe was launched in 2018, the year before his father announced his candidacy for president. At one point in the investigation, federal prosecutors were also examining potential money laundering offenses, two people familiar with the matter told the AP.

Hunter Biden said he only learned of the investigation on Tuesday.

The younger Biden joined the board of Burisma in 2014, around the time his father, then vice president, was helping conduct the Obama administration’s foreign policy with Ukraine. President Donald Trump and his allies have long argued, without evidence, that Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine influenced the Obama administration’s policies toward the Eastern European nation.

Senate Republicans said in a report earlier this year that the appointment may have posed a conflict of interest but did not provide evidence that any policies were directly affected by Hunter Biden’s work.
Part of me wants to say that Biden should clean house at the DoJ, and definitely replace as many US Attorneys as he can, and get rid of any Special Counsels that Trump appoints. The problem is, he's actually bound by the rules, whereas Trump is not. Actually doing that would prompt howls of BOTH SIDES ARE CORRUPT by the Village, and Biden won't do it anyway.

But Trump thinks he will 1) succeed in convicting Hunter Biden and 2) force Biden into an agonizing choice that "proves" he's either corrupt or willing to "sacrifice his family for political gain" and he's counting on Biden to let Ivanka and Junior (maybe even Eric, maybe) skate as a result.

Anything they find to use against Joe Biden himself is gravy, frankly. That's how they work, you see.

The Maine Event, Explained

Nathan Bernard over at The Mainer (support your independent state news blogs, folks!) gives us the rundown on how Sara Gideon lost to Susan Collins basically the day after she declared her candidacy in summer of 2019, 18 months ago. And apparently, the only person who didn't know Gideon was cooked like a Bar Harbor lobster in 2019 was Sara Gideon in 2020.

Democrat Sara Gideon’s bid to unseat Sen. Susan Collins was doomed the day after she announced she was running.

Gideon, a state legislator from Freeport who was then Maine’s Speaker of the House, formally announced her candidacy on Monday, June 24, 2019. The next day, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), a powerful political organization controlled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top members of the party establishment, announced it was backing her campaign.

At the time, the DSCC’s endorsement was perceived as a huge boost for Gideon. It would ensure her campaign would be well funded and guided by the brightest political minds in the business.

In retrospect, it was the kiss of death — a guarantee her campaign would be ugly, uninspiring, obscenely expensive, and out of touch with local concerns. Despite spending nearly $60 million, twice as much as Collins’ campaign did, Gideon lost by over 8 percentage points, more than 70,000 votes, in a state where Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by over 74,000.

The DSCC and likeminded political action committees flooded Maine’s modest media market and stuffed our mailboxes with ads and junk mail slamming Collins. Among them were so-called “dark money” groups that don’t disclose their donors, like Maine Momentum, an ad hoc operation run by Willy Ritch, a former spokesman for Democratic Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and Chris Glynn, a former Gideon staffer and spokesman for the Maine Democratic Party. In August of 2019, Maine Momentum dropped nearly three-quarters of a million dollars, all from secret sources, to run over 4,000 commercials attacking Collins, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported.

Incessant negative advertising by outside groups helped make this race the most expensive in Maine’s history. It also made a mockery of Gideon’s oft-repeated pledge to “limit the influence of big money in politics.” Republicans were quick to call the DSCC’s endorsement proof that Gideon was a puppet of Beltway powerbrokers, and her two Democratic primary challengers were equally critical. “The DC elite is trying to tell Mainers who our candidate should be,” Betsy Sweet, one of those challengers, tweeted that summer.

But, crucially, the DSCC’s endorsement also limited the impact of Gideon’s positive messages, the campaign promises she made to improve the lives of everyday Mainers.

It’s an axiomatic fact that Schumer and other top party officials will not back candidates who openly disagree with their policies or are likely to challenge their leadership. Adherence to the party line on big issues like health care and the climate crisis are unspoken prerequisites for a DSCC endorsement. So, unsurprisingly, Gideon did not support popular ideas championed by fellow Democrats, like a Green New Deal or universal health care. Even Democrat Jared Golden, who represents Maine’s conservative 2nd Congressional district, supports “Medicare for All;” he was reelected this fall in a district that once again voted for Trump. Instead, Gideon spoke of lowering prescription-drug prices and made vague vows to “create an economy that works for all Mainers.”

In the aftermath of Election Day, some top Democrats sought to blame progressives for the party’s poor showing in Senate and House races, but the DSCC’s record speaks for itself. Of the 18 Senate candidates endorsed by the committee, only four were victorious last month (two contenders, both in Georgia, failed to win on Nov. 3 but qualified for runoff elections next month).

As the campaign gained speed, the pandemic and the national uprising against police brutality gave Gideon two big opportunities to break from the moderate pack and distinguish herself from Collins, who denied that “systemic racism” is a “problem” in Maine, and whose Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was a fraud-riddled failure. But Gideon’s position on racial justice was limited to training-manual adjustments like banning chokeholds and racial profiling, as well as further study of the problems that have plagued Black Americans since Reconstruction. Her credibility to criticize the PPP was compromised by the million or more dollars her husband’s law firm got from the program. And Republican critics took to social media daily to point out that, as far as anyone could tell, the House Speaker was doing practically nothing to help Mainers crushed by COVID-19.

While her constituents worried about keeping their jobs and homes, Gideon’s campaign bombarded them with tens of millions of dollars’ worth of ads, including pleas for them to give her money. The fundraising juggernaut engineered by her highly paid political consultants badgered Mainers for more cash till the bitter end.

On the afternoon and evening of Election Day, the Gideon campaign sent multiple e-mails urging supporters “to rush one final contribution right now to help us keep our digital ads on the air until the polls close.” It was subsequently revealed that her campaign still had about $15 million left in its war chest at the time.

Let's keep in mind that Sara Gideon, Amy McGrath, and Jaime Harrison combined blew through $200 million and none of them came closer than Gideon's nearly 9-point loss. McGrath lost by almost 20 points, guys.

The problem is in 2020, the only Republican enablers that the Dems could beat were the Republicans who beat themselves and retired because they thought they were going to lose. The exceptions were the two worst GOP candidates in the country: Cory Gardner and Martha McSally. Republicans meanwhile picked up 100% of the Dems seats rates as toss-ups by Cook Political and Sabato's Crystal Ball.

One-hundred percent of them.

I appreciate Schumer and Pelosi when it comes to legislative combat, but their national campaign arms keep losing to people who sign onto actual acts of sedition.

Republicans should be relegated to the dustbin of history by now, and yet there's a very good chance they will be America's present and future if Dems don't get their shit together.

And I've been saying this for more than ten years now, and I'm tired of it.

Bone weary.

Do better.

A Taxing Situation, Con't

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance's state tax case against Donald Trump has reached the grand jury stage, complete with evidence, interviews with Deutsche Bank officials, and depositions, and I remind everyone again that Donald Trump is currently conducting an open coup to stay in power because he is 100% sure that he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison.

State prosecutors in Manhattan have interviewed several employees of President Trump’s bank and insurance broker in recent weeks, according to people with knowledge of the matter, significantly escalating an investigation into the president that he is powerless to stop.

The interviews with people who work for the lender, Deutsche Bank, and the insurance brokerage, Aon, are the latest indication that once Mr. Trump leaves office, he still faces the potential threat of criminal charges that would be beyond the reach of federal pardons.

It remains unclear whether the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., will ultimately bring charges. The prosecutors have been fighting in court for more than a year to obtain Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, which they have called central to their investigation. The issue now rests with the Supreme Court.

But lately, Mr. Vance’s office has stepped up its efforts, issuing new subpoenas and questioning witnesses, including some before a grand jury, according to the people with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.
The grand jury appears to be serving an investigative function, allowing prosecutors to authenticate documents and pursue other leads, rather than considering any charges.

When Mr. Trump returns to private life in January, he will lose the protection from criminal prosecution that his office has afforded him. While The New York Times has reported that he discussed granting pre-emptive pardons to his eldest children before leaving office — and has claimed that he has the power to pardon himself — that authority applies only to federal crimes, and not to state or local investigations like the one being conducted by Mr. Vance’s office.

Mr. Trump, who has maintained he did nothing improper, has railed against the inquiry, calling it a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

The investigation by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, has focused on Mr. Trump’s conduct as a private business owner and whether he or employees at his family business, the Trump Organization, committed financial crimes. It is the only known criminal inquiry into the president.
Now whether Vance ultimately brings charges isn't up to Trump either, and Trump knows this. The political and frankly domestic terrorism issues that charging Trump will create for Vance, his team, his family, and for Manhattan itself will be overwhelming and he will absolutely need the full, open support of the Biden administration before he does, and this goes for any charges that NY state AG Tish James may bring as well.

I'm 99% sure the Biden administration will support them, and I'm also 100% sure that the Biden administration will have long conversations about doing this in January because all the "We can't comment on an ongoing investigation" stuff we will hear is a nicety we can't afford. Should Vance try putting Trump in prison, there's a decent chance that domestic terrorists will descend like locusts upon NYC and a non-zero chance that some of those terrorists plotting to harm or kill prosecutors are, you know, NYPD.

I've said before that Biden and Vance/James have to be ready to deal with a cold civil war going hot if they try to prosecute Trump, and that is absolutely the reality we're in given Republican state AGs and scores of Republicans in Congress are openly asking the Supreme Court to hand the election to Trump anyway.

Folks, you might not think we're in a civil war right now, but the Trumpies sure as hell do.

Shutdown Countdown: The Shutdownening

It wouldn't be December without Rand Paul's usual idiotic grandstanding against funding the government, with the added bonus of being during a lethal pandemic that has already killed almost 300,000 Americans. And even though the Senate passed the Defense Bill on Friday, Rand Paul is still a jackass.

Rand Paul is at it again. And his moves could force another brief government shutdown.

The Kentucky Republican is objecting to swift passage of the annual defense policy bill, effectively forcing senators to remain in Washington for an extra day as he filibusters the $740 billion legislation. But the government needs to be funded past Friday — and the short one-week spending bill can't be passed before then without agreement from all 100 senators to vote.

Paul, no stranger to filibusters, said in an interview Thursday that he opposes a provision in the bill that would hamstring the president’s ability to draw down American troops from Afghanistan.

“That amendment alone is enough to make me object to it, as well as the amount of spending,” he said. Removing a provision from a conference report would destroy a massive agreement on defense spending.

Paul said he would drop his objection if GOP leaders allowed a final vote on the National Defense Authorization Act on Monday, which would require the Senate to go through the procedural motions. But Republicans are eager to finish work on it this week, in addition to a one-week government funding bill to avoid a shutdown. Paul offered to allow swift passage of the stopgap funding bill if GOP leaders punt a final NDAA vote to Monday.

“It’s really just a function at this point of letting the clock run and seeing if we can get cooperation. Some of it’s our side, some of it’s their side,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.). “If people come together we could probably wrap a couple of things up this week and then work on the big stuff — the spending bill and Covid package — next week.”

Drama on the floor ahead of a deadline is nothing new to Paul, who exerts major leverage over the Senate by seizing on imminent deadlines and pushing his priorities. Paul forced a brief shutdown in 2018 over his moves to cut spending, and using the shutdown deadline to try and get extra concessions on the defense bill is vintage Paul.

Republicans are hopeful that Paul will, at most, stretch things out right up to the Friday shutdown deadline. Asked how the Senate will deal with the logjam, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) replied: "I don't know the answer to that but I'm hopeful that it's just a short-term thing. We'll probably be here tomorrow. But I don't know how much longer. I can't imagine anybody wants [a shutdown]."

Other senators are also seeking to use the shutdown deadline to push their priorities. Conservatives want votes on legislation to prevent government shutdowns and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants a vote on new stimulus checks, Thune told reporters on Thursday afternoon.

"It is absolutely imperative that we provide $1,200 for every working-class adult and $500 for each of their children. This is what we did, unanimously, in the CARES package passed in March. This is what we must do now. Congress cannot go home until we address this crisis," Sanders said in a statement to POLITICO, before threatening to hold up the funding bill over his demand for stimulus checks.

The defense bill, which Trump has threatened to veto, passed on a veto-proof majority in the House earlier this week and is expected to win similar support in the Senate, though some Republicans may ultimately side with the president on a veto-override question.
Just ridiculous nonsense, but it's what Rand Paul does,folks. If he can't scuttle the entire Defense bill, he'll force a shutdown right at Christmastime to just remind people how broken Rand Paul can make government,and he'll easily win reelection for his stupidity in a few years.

I wonder how many Kentuckians here realize how much damage he's doing to them personally along with Mitch, but it's clear voters here are going to reelect them for as long as they want.
Related Posts with Thumbnails