Thursday, April 7, 2022

Last Call For Orange You Glad He's Boxed In?

The boxes of White House records that Trump essentially stole in his last days of his term -- some of them classified as top secret -- that Trump reluctantly returned to the National Archives are now reportedly under Justice Department investigation.

The Justice Department has begun taking steps to investigate former president Donald Trump’s removal of presidential records to Mar-a-Lago — some of which were labeled “top secret,” people familiar with the matter said.

The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, said the probe remained in the very early stages. It’s not yet clear if Justice Department officials have begun reviewing the materials in the boxes or seeking to interview those who might have seen them or been involved in assembling and moving them.

The department is facing increasing political pressure to disclose its plans in the case. On Thursday, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) accused the Justice Department of obstructing her committee’s investigation into the 15 boxes of records Trump took to his estate in Palm Beach, Fla.

In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Maloney alleges that the Justice Department is “interfering” with the investigation by preventing the National Archives and Records Administration from handing over a detailed inventory of the contents of the recovered boxes.

If the department is planning an investigation, that might explain why it would not want lawmakers getting an inventory of the materials.

It is unclear to what extent the Justice Department already has assessed the contents of the boxes, which the National Archives arranged to retrieve from Mar-a-Lago in January — including documents clearly marked as classified, The Washington Post previously reported. The Justice Department, though, has been in touch with the Archives about moving its own inquiry forward, people familiar with the matter said.

Addressing the matter previously, Garland said the department would “do what we always do under these circumstances — look at the facts and the law and take it from there.”

Trump’s spokesman in the past has defended his handling of the records. “It is clear that a normal and routine process is being weaponized by anonymous, politically motivated government sources to peddle Fake News,” Taylor Budowich said in a statement in February.

In her letter Thursday, Maloney said her committee needed further explanation as to why the Justice Department was blocking its request for an inventory of the records.

“The Committee does not wish to interfere in any manner with any potential or ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice,” Maloney wrote. “However, the Committee has not received any explanation as to why the Department is preventing NARA from providing information to the Committee that relates to compliance with the [Presidential Records Act], including unclassified information describing the contents of the 15 boxes from Mar-a-Lago.”

An FBI spokeswoman told The Post, “We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
In other words, there's definitely an investigation, the House Oversight Committee knows there's an investigation, and now you know too, thanks to the Washington Post. Can't keep a secret in DC if more than two people know it.
So what does this mean? Trump hauling off boxes of "souvenirs" from his time in the White House clearly violated the Presidential Records Act in multiple cases, and he did so with classified information, presenting a massive security risk to the nation as those documents sat around Mar-a-Lago.

Question is whether or not Merrick Garland and the DoJ want to actually do anything about it, and it always was. Rep. Maloney is making it clear that Garland needs to get moving, and so that's what we're seeing.

How far this investigation goes, well who knows. My view that Garland will never indict Trump because he believes doing so will cause more damage to the country than not indicting him is also pretty clear. I guarantee you the Supreme Court will toss the conviction, which Garland believes he'll never actually get anyway, and that's if the trial ever finishes, with jury tampering if not open jury harm being a real concern.

We'll see where this goes, but yes, another federal investigation into Trump is all but confirmed.

Bragging Wrongs, Con't

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has announced via press release that the office's investigation into Donald Trump is in fact continuing, and not all but dead as it appeared to have been killed by Bragg himself last month, but the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery and Asawin Suebsaeng call bullshit and say the case is 99.99% dead.

Over the last several weeks, the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into former President Donald Trump has appeared to be unraveling, with the two top prosecutors on the case resigning over the lack of charges and the DA feeling so attacked over the lack of movement that he issued a statement Thursday saying an indictment against Trump could still come.

"Investigations are not linear,” DA Alvin Bragg Jr. told CNN Thursday. “So we are following the leads in front of us, and that's what we're doing.”

But inside the DA’s office, the inertia and frustration over Trump potentially avoiding culpability looks worse than ever before.

Yet another prosecutor appears to have been pulled back from the case, according to knowledgeable sources who say it could be further proof of the probe’s failure. And sources now seem to think Trump dodging an indictment is inevitable.

Solomon Shinerock—a lead investigator who helped drive much of the intensive, four-year effort—is no longer as actively involved in the case, according to three people with knowledge of the matter, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.

In recent weeks, Shinerock’s pullback from the team investigating Trump has been conspicuous enough to frustrate some who have been on the prosecutors’ side—and has been noticeable enough to quietly delight lawyers working on the ex-president’s and Trump Organization’s end, sources noted.

Another person familiar with the situation described the current state of the team, which had been investigating Trump, as “gutted” and a “shell” of its former self, even beyond what’s previously been reported. The loss of momentum in this high-profile probe—which some of its former prosecutors believe already produced sufficient evidence to criminally charge Trump—has left several lawyers who’ve worked on the investigation feeling frustrated, and in some cases enraged.

Among the frustrated is Shinerock, according to a source familiar with the matter and another individual briefed on the situation. Shinerock has, predictably, refrained from commenting in public about the current state of the criminal probe, or his opinion about the apparently stalled investigation into Trump and his business empire.

Shinerock is still employed at the DA’s office, but his connection to the special prosecution team now appears tenuous. The office declined to provide a comment addressing allegations that he has stepped back from his lead role on the case. Similarly, Shinerock declined to comment for this story.

For days, The Daily Beast had been pressing spokespeople in the Manhattan DA’s office for comment, sharing with them specific details of this reporting. A spokesperson for the office had repeatedly refused opportunities to go on the record to deny or challenge any of the details.

But Thursday afternoon, hours after being informed of the Beast’s final deadline, the office blasted out its written statement, attributed to Bragg, to a variety of national media outlets, insisting that “the team working on this investigation is comprised of [sic] dedicated, experienced career prosecutors," who are still “investigating thoroughly and following the facts without fear or favor.”

The Daily Beast did not receive this statement, and the DA’s office has continued to decline chances to go on the record to explain how their claims square with this reporting showing how another lead investigator on the case has had his role significantly curtailed.

Shinerock may still be part of the prosecution in some official capacity, and his name may still appear on a number of documents related to the Trump investigation. But sources were clear: Shinerock’s role has been greatly reduced.

One source told The Daily Beast that he last heard from Shinerock six weeks ago.

Another source said Shinerock has been less involved in day-to-day communications ever since the departure of the other two high-ranking prosecutors who recently quit.

Indeed, last month, Carey Dunne and Mark Pomerantz abruptly departed, citing their displeasure with Bragg’s refusal to sign off on an indictment of Trump on the criminal charge of falsifying business records, among other allegations.
So now not only are the lead prosecutors gone, but the lead investigator is all but toast. Expect Bragg to announce that won't be charges filed against Trump sometime in the months ahead.  Nothing has changed, and Trump still has to be indicted by anyone, state or federal.

I still don't see that changing anytime soon.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

A general rule of thumb I've developed over the years is "Try to live your life in a way that you're not listed as a keynote speaker at a white nationalist celebration of Hitler's birthday". I'm fairly sure that's pretty easy to do, but I'll be damned if GOP Rep Paul Gosar of Arizona can figure it the fuck out.

Prescott Republican Congressman Paul Gosar was listed as a “special guest” with the white nationalist American Populist Union at an event that will be on a date popular among white nationalists and Neo-Nazis: Hitler’s birthday.

The American Populist Social will be held in Tempe on April 20, a date revered by white supremacists and Neo-Nazis.

But Gosar’s campaign says he isn’t attending and it doesn’t know how he was listed as a guest of honor, even though Gosar promoted his scheduled appearance on social media.

The American Populist Union is closely aligned with groypers, a group of white nationalists who strive for their ideas to become a part of the Republican mainstream and are largely followers of 23-year-old white nationalist Nick Fuentes. In 2021, Gosar was the first elected official to speak at Fuentes’ America First Political Action Conference in 2021. This year, the conference saw speeches by Gosar, Rogers and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Earlier this month, Gosar said his March video message to attendees of AFPAC was the fault of a staffer who sent his video message to the wrong group. He distanced himself from Fuentes, telling Politico that the young Holocaust-denying racist “has a problem with his mouth.”

Fuentes shared the story on the encrypted messaging app Telegram with the message “April Fool’s!” and later said in a livestream that he and Gosar will continue to “collaborate behind the scenes.”

American Populist Union has connections to Fuentes ideologically and through its members. The group hobnobbed with Arizona politicians in December when it held an event across the street from Turning Point USA that attracted a slew of fringe activists and groypers.

The other featured guest at the event, John Doyle, has allied with and promoted groypers, and he organized a “Stop the Steal” rally in Michigan with Fuentes. Doyle, a YouTube personality who runs a show called “Heck off Commie,” regularly advocates far-right ideology. He has said that Martin Luther King was “not a hero” and has claimed that liberalism is linked to satanism
Weird, Rep. Gosar happily tweeted that he was going to the actual Hitler barbecue and potluck shindig, and his campaign is like "Well I don't know what you're talking about, I'm just a regular guy and not a Nazi."
This is the GOP, folks.
For ens of millions of American voters, this isn't a dealbreaker.
Related Posts with Thumbnails