Friday, September 2, 2022

The Big Lie, Local Edition

Here in Kentucky, Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams is under heavy fire for not being part of The Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election.
Months ahead of the midterm election in Kentucky, Secretary of State Michael Adams continues to find himself combating election conspiracy fallout from the 2020 election and the primary in May.

That is some of what he shared with an audience Wednesday as guest speaker at Paducah Rotary Club's weekly meeting at the Carson Center.

Over recent weeks, Adams has been vocal on social media to shut down false claims of violations to voter integrity in Kentucky.

"I am really concerned about these conspiracy theorists making it harder for us to get poll workers. I don't want poll workers to feel like they're having to sit there, it's a long day as it is, and then have angry people come up and accuse them of fraud. It's ridiculous," Adams said.

Adams himself has been the target of baseless claims accusing him of overseeing voter fraud. Just last week he reported another death threat he had received to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Adams also voiced concern at an up-tick in demands for a recount following an election.

"What I don't want to have is abusive process for people who lost by a landslides demand recounts. Recounts are far more demanding on our county clerks and our election officials. They put a great strain on our process. They mean that we can't use the machines for voting because they're locked down. We've had five county clerks in the state resign in the last month alone, because, it's not just one thing, but in part it's the abuse they're getting from people and the absurd demands that they're getting from people," Adams said.

He said one of the ways he can thwart disinformation about alleged election irregularities is by traveling the state and talking with people one on one.

"All I can do is handle Kentucky. All I can do is talk to Kentuckians about what Kentucky does right. We've got a great record. We've made enormous strides improving our process that last few years making it more accessible, making it more secure, banning practices that have led to fraud in our state and other states, requiring an ID to vote, but also expanding access for our voters so they can go vote more easily. Not just having one arbitrary day but multiple days to pick to go vote," Adams said.
Which is true. 

Despite the famous quote attributed to Mark Twain about "When the end of the world comes, I'd rather be in Kentucky because it's 20 years behind" (which, by the way, Twain never actually said) it really does seem like the Commonwealth really is 20 years behind, back in the 2002 era of merely evil, greedy Republicans like McConnell instead of the full-on fascist election deniers like we're seeing in several other Secretary of State races in 2022.

To his credit, Adams is merely an evil, enabling Republican in a state where Republicans win by 15-20 points.

But I expect Adams is going to face a fierce primary challenge from a Trumpian election denier next year.

And as far as 2022 elections go, well, expect the goofballs in the state legislature to interfere with more "voter integrity" legislation should any Democrats actually win in November.


Ridin' With Biden, Con't

In a primetime speech to America last night, President Biden made it very clear what the stakes are this November and what Trump's cultists will do if we fail to defend democracy from them.

President Joe Biden delivered a sober assessment of American democracy during a rare prime-time address in Philadelphia on Thursday, warning that Donald Trump and his closest political allies are threatening to take the country backward. 
"As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault," Biden said in front of Independence Hall. 
"We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise. So tonight, I've come to this place where it all began. To speak as plainly as I can, to the nation, about the threats we face. About the power we have in our own hands to meet these threats." 
After tearing into Republicans for what he calls "MAGA extremism" and "semi-fascism," administration officials say Biden determined the time was right to provide a more serious, sober reckoning on what he regards as growing anti-democratic forces building across the country. 
"We must be honest with each other and with ourselves: Too much of what's happening in our country today is not normal," Biden said. "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic." 
He said the Republican Party of 2022 was partly "dominated, driven and intimidated" by Trump and his acolytes. 
It's a topic Biden has come to embrace more publicly in recent months after initially attempting to ignore the after-effects of his predecessor and focus instead on national unity. At its core, the speech represents the same overarching theme that defined the launch of his presidential campaign in 2019 as he set out to defeat Trump. 
It remained a constant through high profile speeches in locations rife with historical symbolism, including Warm Springs, Georgia, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The prime-time remarks was no different, this time with the site of the nation's revolutionary beginning as the backdrop. 
A crowd of about 300 invited guests -- a mix of elected officials and dignitaries, along with Democratic supporters -- watched Biden speak from behind panes of bulletproof glass. It was a short distance away from where Biden formally announced his bid for the presidency in 2019, striking similar themes about the "battle for the soul of the nation." 
Thursday's speech served as an implicit acknowledgment that Biden's efforts to move past the divisiveness and chaos of former President Donald Trump have been harder than he might have imagined. Trump continues to dominate headlines, especially in recent weeks after federal agents searched his Florida home, revealing an investigation into the former President's possession of classified documents after he left office. 
White House officials emphasized ahead of time that when Biden warns of the threat to democracy, he is not talking about Republicans as a whole, but those who style themselves after Trump: the "MAGA Republicans," as the administration has deemed them.
 In my opinion, this is Joe Biden preparing the nation for Donald Trump's eventual indictment. I don't think it will happen before the Sept. 10 deadline of 60 days before the election that Merrick Garland confirmed will be DoJ non-interference, and besides, there's a very good chance the investigation into Trump involving materials recovered by the FBI last month at Mar-a Lago will be tied up in the courts for a very long time.

A federal judge indicated Thursday that she’s giving serious consideration to temporarily barring Justice Department investigators from reviewing material seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon suggested that she’s mulling imposing that restriction, while potentially allowing an exception for the intelligence community to continue reviewing national security risks from the potential exposure of the slew of sensitive documents the FBI found at Trump’s compound last month.

Cannon’s willingness to consider restraints — even for a period of time — on prosecutors and investigators in the politically explosive inquiry is some of the first positive news for Trump and his attorneys in a saga that presents an acute legal threat and has caused new strains with Republican elected officials.

Justice Department attorneys pushed back sharply against any such limits, warning against disruption of their ongoing criminal investigation of Trump’s handling of classified documents. Cannon, who previously said she was inclined to order an outside review of the materials seized from Trump’s estate, appeared undeterred during a 90-minute hearing that featured arguments from DOJ counterintelligence officials and Trump’s legal team.

Senior Justice Department attorney Jay Bratt repeatedly pleaded with Cannon, a Trump appointee, not to interrupt their ongoing criminal probe, emphasizing that the search warrant executed Aug. 8 was clearly valid and lawfully authorized to obtain “evidence of three significant federal crimes.”

“He is no longer the president and because he is no longer the president he did not have the right to take those documents,” said Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence section in the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “He was unlawfully in possession of them…This plaintiff does not have an interest in the classified and other presidential records.”

Cannon signaled concern about a couple of instances in which the investigative team had flagged potentially privileged material that was not screened out during the initial review of records by the DOJ “filter team” assigned to prevent such occurrences.

The judge gave no indication she planned to limit the privilege claims Trump could lodge in a still-to-be-determined review process. That suggested she could impose a special master with broad purview to screen documents for any potentially subject to executive privilege claims by Trump — despite DOJ’s argument that no such claim could ever be upheld in this context.

“It would be unprecedented for the executive to be able to successfully assert privilege against the executive branch,” said Julie Edelstein, a Bratt deputy.
It's very possible that this Trump appointed judge buys Trump the week and change he needs to bog the investigation down until past September 10, in hope of the GOP winning one or more chambers of Congress so that they can force Garland out and end the investigation completely. If you don't think Kevin McCarthy would order the arrest of Merrick Garland by the House Sergeant-at-Arms, understand this is already a party that tried a violent terrorist coup and conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election with McCarthy's active participation.

Which would leave a lame duck indictment with McCarthy all but promising impeachment and arrests and oversight (an more importantly and damaging, leaks to the press in an effort to wreck the case against him.

Of course, we avoid all that if we listen to President Biden's words, and turn those into action in November.
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