Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Last Call For The Concerned Citizen's Brigade, Con't

The abortion "bounty" laws in Texas and Oklahoma are the future of America, using ordinary citizens to bring civil litigation and enforcement of unconstitutional ordnances rather than having the government do it. It's recruiting your neighbor as police informants, and we've now returned to the point where groups of these "concerned citizens" are tracking down potential miscreants door-to-door.
Clipboards in hand, Jenifer Short and Emily Tadlock strolled a swanky suburban neighborhood on a recent afternoon, checking homes against a list of voter registrations.

Knocking on the front door of a house with an Alfa Romeo in the driveway, they chatted with a woman, a renter who verified she was registered to vote at the address, but who said another person registered there was the homeowner, who did not live there.

After the brief chat, Short and Tadlock moved on, marking down the information on an “incident report” for the group they’re volunteering for, the Washington Voter Research Project.

“We’re detectives, OK?” said Tadlock, somewhat jokingly describing the work of checking out thousands of voter registrations flagged by the group as potentially suspicious.

Across Washington, hundreds of volunteers like Tadlock and Short have been knocking on doors, questioning residents and searching for evidence of voter fraud — or at least outdated voter rolls.

It’s an effort led by Glen Morgan, a conservative activist from Thurston County known for filing frequent campaign finance complaints against Democratic politicians, unions and other allied groups.

While Morgan seeks to distance the canvassing from outlandish and false conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election, he acknowledged his group has attracted 350 volunteers across the state in part due to the distrust in the election system stoked by former President Donald Trump.

What’s happening here is loosely connected to a national campaign by Trump supporters hunting door-to-door for proof that the 2020 election was fraudulent. The activity in some states has drawn fierce blowback and accusations of voter intimidation. Civil rights groups in Colorado filed a federal lawsuit in March, alleging canvassing by Trump supporters there has targeted neighborhoods with a high number of people of color.

In Washington, the Morgan-led doorbelling campaign has generated complaints from people put off by the inquiries, leading several county auditors and Secretary of State Steve Hobbs to issue public statements warning that the group is not authorized by any election office.

In interviews, some county auditors said they have received reports of canvassers trying to pose as government officials.

“People called very concerned, because they were portraying themselves as county employees,” said Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall. “They had like the Thurston County logo on their clipboard.”

Hall said her office “would never go door-to-door asking voters if they voted or how long they’ve lived there, anything like that.”
As I said yesterday, this open voter intimidation is nothing more than a 2022 field test for a massive operation in 2024. It's going to be an army harassing every polling place where a Democrat mnight win, and it's going to be a phone book's worth of "irregularities" that will only be reported in places where Democrats pull ahead.

And then these wins will be nullified by GOP secretaries of state.


The Durham Disaster, Con't

The jury in the Michael Sussman trial of the Clinton lawyer accused by US Attorney John Durham of lying to the FBI about the Trump/Russia collusion connection took less than six hours to come back wit a not guilty verdict, if you're still wondering how badly the Durham probe is going for Trump and the right.
A federal jury delivered a major setback to special counsel John Durham on Tuesday, acquitting well-connected lawyer Michael Sussmann on a charge that he lied to the FBI in 2016 while acting on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign — a trial that sought to revive old controversies about the FBI’s role in that election.

The verdict, coming after less than a full day of deliberations spread over parts of Friday and Tuesday, was not a close call or a hard decision, two jurors told The Washington Post.

“Politics were not a factor,” the jury forewoman said. “We felt really comfortable being able to share what we thought. We had concise notes, and we were able to address the questions together,” she said, declining to give her name as she left the courthouse.

“Personally, I don’t think it should have been prosecuted,” she added, saying the government “could have spent our time more wisely.” A second juror told The Post that in the jury room, “everyone pretty much saw it the same way.”

Sussmann was accused of lying to a senior FBI official in September 2016 when he brought the FBI allegations of a secret computer communications channel between the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa Bank. FBI agents investigated the data but concluded that there was nothing suspicious about it. 
Durham, appointed three years ago during the Trump administration to find possible wrongdoing among federal agents who probed Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, alleged that Sussmann had lied to the FBI when he claimed that he was not bringing them the information on behalf of any client, when, the prosecutors alleged, he did so on behalf of the Clinton campaign and technology executive Rodney Joffe.

Sussmann, the first person charged by Durham to go to trial, said outside court that “justice ultimately prevailed in my case. … I’m looking forward to getting back to the work I love.”

Durham did not speak outside court, issuing a statement that said, “While we are disappointed in the outcome, we respect the jury’s decision and thank them for their service.” Durham plans another trial in the fall, of a researcher accused of lying to the FBI about his research into Trump.

Gregory Brower, a former U.S. attorney and senior FBI official, said the acquittal was “not a surprising result given the lack of evidence” and the way false statement laws have historically been applied.

“The special counsel was only appointed because the former president wanted an investigation that he could point to for political reasons during the campaign, and [former attorney general William P.] Barr gave him one,” said Brower, noting that much of what Durham was tapped to investigate had already been exhaustively examined by the Justice Department’s inspector general. “This quick acquittal,” he said, “should mark the end of this chapter.


It should mark the end of the Durham probe as a whole.  Both President Biden and Merrick Garland should hold a joint press conference explaining why Durham is being cashiered after this, but in the long run Durham will get a chance to write his report, and it will be just as disappointing to the right as the Mueller Report was to the rest of us.

Keep in mind if Trump is elected again in 2024 though, he will order his AG to arrest Democrats all over the place.


A Supreme Search

Again, the odds that Justice Clarence Thomas's wife, GOP activist Ginni Thomas, is the person who leaked the draft Roe decision is about 99%. The Supreme Court on the other hand continues to pretend that a massive investigation into clerks and staff is needed.

Supreme Court officials are escalating their search for the source of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, taking steps to require law clerks to provide cell phone records and sign affidavits, three sources with knowledge of the efforts have told CNN.

Some clerks are apparently so alarmed over the moves, particularly the sudden requests for private cell data, that they have begun exploring whether to hire outside counsel.

The court's moves are unprecedented and the most striking development to date in the investigation into who might have provided Politico with the draft opinion it published on May 2. The probe has intensified the already high tensions at the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority is poised to roll back a half-century of abortion rights and privacy protections.

Chief Justice John Roberts met with law clerks as a group after the breach, CNN has learned, but it is not known whether any systematic individual interviews have occurred.

Lawyers outside the court who have become aware of the new inquiries related to cell phone details warn of potential intrusiveness on clerks' personal activities, irrespective of any disclosure to the news media, and say they may feel the need to obtain independent counsel.

"That's what similarly situated individuals would do in virtually any other government investigation," said one appellate lawyer with experience in investigations and knowledge of the new demands on law clerks. "It would be hypocritical for the Supreme Court to prevent its own employees from taking advantage of that fundamental legal protection.". 

Sources familiar with efforts underway say the exact language of the affidavits or the intended scope of that cell phone search -- content or time period covered -- is not yet clear.

The Supreme Court did not respond to a CNN request on Monday for comment related to the phone searches and affidavits.
SCOTUS is going to continue to pretend the credibility crisis of the court is because of the leak, and not because Alito and at least four other justices are going to start rolling back rights after decades and pitch the country into a patchwork of abortion bans and other "it's up to the state" rulings where your rights are determined solely by which state you live in.

We'll see who is offered up as the leaker eventually, but my guess is that we won't see that until after the term ends.

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