Monday, September 12, 2022

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

The Justice Department, recognizing that Trump's "special master" nonsense is a ploy to stop the entire classified document scandal investigation in its tracks, is now playing Bonus Overtime Hardball, issuing dozens of subpoenas against Trump regime crooks on the other big investigation into Trump's criminal wrongdoing on January 6th.

The Justice Department has issued about 40 subpoenas over the past week seeking information about the actions of former President Donald J. Trump and his associates related to the 2020 election and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, according to people familiar with the situation.

Two top Trump advisers, Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, had their phones seized as evidence, those people said.

The department’s actions represent a substantial escalation of a slow-simmer investigation two months before the midterm elections, coinciding with a separate inquiry into Mr. Trump’s hoarding of sensitive documents at his residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.

Among those the department has contacted since Wednesday are people who are close to the former president and have played significant roles in his post-White House life.

Those receiving the subpoenas included Dan Scavino, Mr. Trump’s former social media director who rose from working at a Trump-owned golf course to one of his most loyal aides and has remained an adviser since Mr. Trump left office. Stanley Woodward, one of Mr. Scavino’s lawyers, declined to comment.

The Justice Department also executed search warrants to seize electronic devices from people involved in the so-called fake electors effort in swing states, including Mr. Epshteyn, a longtime Trump adviser, and Mr. Roman, a campaign strategist, according to people familiar with the events. Federal agents made the seizures last week, the people said.

Mr. Epshteyn and Mr. Roman did not respond to requests for comment.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner who promoted baseless claims of voter fraud alongside his friend Rudolph W. Giuliani, was issued a subpoena by prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, his lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, said on Monday. Mr. Parlatore said his client had initially offered to grant an interview voluntarily.

The subpoenas seek information in connection with the plan to submit slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump from swing states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump and his allies promoted the idea that competing slates of electors would justify blocking or delaying certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

In a new line of inquiry, some of the subpoenas also seek information into the activities of the Save America political action committee, the main political fund-raising conduit for Mr. Trump since he left office.
Merrick Garland is sick of your shit, Donny.

Insurrection Investigation, GOP Edition

House Republicans are promising that there will be a "real" January 6th investigation, if they take control of the House, focusing on how everything was Nancy Pelosi's fault or something for not doing a better job of oversight of the Capitol Police.

Even after some of their members took heat for downplaying the violent reality of the Capitol attack, House Republicans are sticking with their take on Jan. 6, 2021 — pivoting away from Donald Trump and toward security failures.

GOP lawmakers, if they flip the chamber in November, are planning to use their new power to search for more answers on security lapses related to the siege by Trump supporters and how the Capitol Police has adjusted in wake of the breach. Republicans also want to look at restructuring the secretive board that governs the protection of the Capitol complex.

While past investigations by the Senate and Capitol Police inspector general have thoroughly explored many of those areas and made a laundry list of recommendations to bolster security, not to mention a forthcoming report from the Democratic-run Jan. 6 select committee, House GOP lawmakers are determined to run their own, Trump-free inquiry.

It’s a contradictory turn for a conference that has struggled for a successful message defending Trump against revelations already uncovered by the select panel, instead largely urging Washington to move on. But after two years of being on the outside looking in —Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled his picks from the panel after Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of them — House Republicans are eager to flip the script.

“I think it’s been very well-documented that there were significant intelligence and communications failures on Jan. 6. It’s not the first time we’ve had those issues,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), who voted to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, said in an interview. “We have to stop that.”

Though House Republicans have stayed almost completely out of the ongoing Jan. 6 probe, they’ve quietly laid the groundwork for changes to the Capitol’s security apparatus that would take effect much more quickly than the investigations they plan to mount.

For example, they want to get rid of the metal detectors installed around the House floor after Jan. 6 that have fueled GOP ire and resulted in hefty fines for lawmakers who tried to dodge them. They are also eager to reopen the Capitol complex, which still has restrictions in place after shuttering at the start of the pandemic. Armstrong noted while many of his colleagues will look back at Jan. 6, his focus is on how the building operates moving forward on a “general 11 a.m. on a Wednesday.”

But more central to the party’s 2023 plans is a report, slated for release later this year by a group of Republicans led by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — who is eyeing his own jump to leadership — that urges changes to the management and structure of Capitol security.

Banks, who supported pro-Trump election objections, said that the report he’s helming “will make recommendations to the next speaker … on how to provide better leadership and oversight of the Capitol Police.”
House Republicans are very eager to roll back all the Capitol security improvements, because after all, it's not like MAGA terrorists would attack the building if Republicans were in charge of the House. They're no longer necessary, you see.

Also, they want to "reform" the Capitol Police and make sure they can never be used against, say, MTG waving a gun around at Democrats on the House floor. And hey, what if Democrats need arresting?

Gotta keep those options open, you see.

Democracy in Danger, Con't

A new Axios/Two Americas Index poll finds that roughly a third of Americans are very, very much into fascism these days in both parties, or at least strongly into anti-democratic authoritarianism.

About one in three Americans prefers strong unelected leaders to weak elected leaders and says presidents should be able to remove judges over their decisions, according to the latest findings from our Axios-Ipsos Two Americas Index.

Why it matters: The findings from this poll shatter the myth that Americans overwhelmingly agree on a common set of democratic values around checks and balances on elected leaders, protection of minority rights and freedom of speech. 
They're also a reality check against President Biden's speech that portrayed threats to democracy as solely driven by Republican supporters of former President Trump who refuse to accept that he lost the 2020 election.

What we're watching: In this poll, significant minorities of Republicans and Democrats supported non-democratic norms in about equal percentages — and Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say presidents should be able to remove judges when their decisions go against the national interest.Many Americans also believe the government should follow the will of the majority even at the expense of ethnic and religious minority groups' civil rights. 
And roughly a third said the federal government should be able to prosecute members of the news media who make offensive or unpatriotic statements. 
Respondents younger than 35 or with household incomes below $75,000 a year were more likely to favor strong unelected leaders and to support prosecuting the media or empowering presidents to remove judges.

The big picture: If you're looking for good news in this poll, it is primarily that the people who embrace the anti-democratic views are still in the minority.But the findings are a reminder that for all of the attention and congressional hearings around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, anti-democratic views take many forms.

What they're saying: "There's a lot of anti-democratic sentiment, a lot more than we might have expected," said Justin Gest, an associate professor at George Mason University who studies the politics of demographic change and advises the project.
No doubt Republicans will seize on this poll to say that Democrats are just as bad as MAGA folks when it comes to trampling all over democracy, as long as it serves as a means to an end for "our side". If there is any good news, it's that Independent voters are starting to shy away from the extremist MAGA positions.
Still, there a lot of disturbing stuff in that Two Americas index, and it's getting worse.

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