Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

As I mentioned last month, Donald Trump's quixotic quest to block the Justice Department's investigation into his trove of illegally held classified documents will now be going to the Supreme Court, or it would, if Trump's lawyers were actually arguing that.
Former President Donald J. Trump asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to intervene in the litigation over sensitive documents that the F.B.I. seized from his Florida estate, saying that an appeals court had lacked jurisdiction to remove them from a special master’s review.

But Mr. Trump’s lawyers did not ask the Supreme Court to overturn the most important part of the appeals court’s intervention: its decision to free the Justice Department to continue using documents with classification markings in its criminal investigation of Mr. Trump’s handling of government records.

The new filing was technical, saying that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, had not been authorized to stay aspects of a judge’s order appointing a special master to review all materials that the F.B.I. had seized in its search of Mr. Trump’s residence, Mar-a-Lago.

“The 11th Circuit lacked jurisdiction to review the special master order, which authorized the review of all materials seized from President Trump’s residence, including documents bearing classification markings,” the application said.

The court requested a response from the Justice Department by 5 p.m. next Tuesday.

Even were Mr. Trump to prevail, his victory would be distinctly modest. It would merely allow the special master to review those documents even as the Justice Department continues its work.

Although the Supreme Court is dominated by six conservative justices, three of them appointed by Mr. Trump, it has rejected earlier efforts to block the disclosure of information about him, and legal experts said Mr. Trump’s new emergency application faced significant challenges.

Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas, said Mr. Trump was pursuing a limited and curious litigation strategy in trying to reinstate part of a ruling from Judge Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Trump’s application, Professor Vladeck said, presented “technical procedural questions on which the justices may be even less likely to be sympathetic to the former president.”

In other words, the Trumpies are arguing over how much should be included in Special Master Raymond Dearie's review, not over blocking the investigation. The former is likely to grant Trump additional months to delay the investigation, and the latter means nothing's going to happen until after the midterms.

We'll see how this shakes out, but don't be surprised if we get a shadow docket unsigned order from SCOTUS next week in Trump's favor.

Vote Like Your Country Depends On It, Con't

A key race for Democrats to hold the Senate is Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock is locked in a tight race with Republican and former NFL running back all-star Herschel Walker.

Having said that, I don't think it's going to remain tightly locked much longer after the week Walker has had, as AJC's Greg Bluestein assesses the damage.

Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker has weathered crises that have leveled other campaigns and still remained within striking distance of Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock thanks to relatively unshakable support from many in the GOP base.

But the one-two punch on Monday of a Daily Beast story that accused Walker of paying for his then-girlfriend’s abortion in 2009 coupled with his adult son’s stunning attacks on his father’s candidacy may pose the greatest threat yet to the Republican’s bid.

Just weeks before the midterm election, the shocking developments have some GOP figures despondent about Walker’s chances of defeating Warnock in a November race that could determine control of the U.S. Senate.

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson said the fallout is “probably a KO” for Walker’s midterm chances. Nicole Rodden, a former Republican House contender, blamed party leaders for backing a candidate who has “cost the GOP the US Senate for a second time.”

Walker reacted by condemning the Daily Beast report as a “flat-out lie” and said on Fox News he “never asked anyone to get an abortion, I never paid for an abortion.” His attorney has pledged to file a defamation lawsuit against the publication, which stands by the story.

The Republican and his allies had a more muted response toward his son Christian Walker’s claims that his father threatened to kill his family members and entered the race despite opposition from “every single one” of his relatives.

“I LOVE my son no matter what,” Walker tweeted.

The developments complicate Walker’s campaign at a pivotal time.

Already struggling to consolidate Republican support, Walker now stands accused of brazen hypocrisy over one of his campaign’s signature issues.

An avowed opponent of abortion, Walker called for a “total ban” on the procedure even in cases of incest or rape throughout his campaign. And he endorsed a 15-week federal abortion restriction proposed by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham even as other Republicans in key races distanced themselves from the measure.

His son’s sudden outspoken treatment of his father amounts to a different sort of blow. Christian Walker’s mother, Cindy Grossman accused Herschel Walker of choking her and putting a gun to her head when they were married. She obtained a restraining order against him in 2005 in response to the threats.

Warnock’s ads feature wrenching footage of Grossman recounting his abusive relationship, and the Republican has refused to directly address the allegations on the campaign trail beyond attributing his behavior to a mental health illness.

Though he runs influential social media accounts with droves of followers, Christian Walker hasn’t used his platform to advance his father’s campaign. His arms-length approach was an ongoing concern for his father’s supporters -- and the subject of ongoing fascination in political circles.
Now nationally, Republicans don't care about hypocrisy, and every single Republican will tell you that the end of legalized abortion in two dozen states means more voters will turn out for them to make the ban national than Democrats to stop it.

National Republicans have stayed focused on the Georgia race’s impact in the broader contest for control of the Senate. “This election is about the future of the country,” Mr. Law said. “Herschel Walker will make things better, Raphael Warnock is making it worse. Anything else is a distraction.”

Mr. Warnock, who won the seat in a runoff election in January 2021, is seeking a full six-year term and is seen as one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the nation, running in a state with a long Republican lineage but that Democrats carried in 2020.

Since Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, many Christian conservatives have chosen to overlook a politician’s personal failings for the sake of achieving broader policy goals.

Ralph Reed, the prominent social conservative leader based in the state, dismissed the latest report, saying that he expected “100 percent” that evangelical Christians would stick with Mr. Walker.

He compared the report’s timing to that of the “Access Hollywood” recording that threatened Mr. Trump’s bid in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign. “We’ve seen this movie before,” Mr. Reed said. “They’re trying to take down a good man.”

The statements of support from fellow Republicans came quickly on Tuesday.

Senator Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said on Tuesday, “Herschel has denied these allegations and the N.R.S.C. and Republicans stand with him."

Gov. Brian Kemp’s office issued a statement Tuesday backing the Republican ticket after a cascade of revelations threatened Walker’s bid. But he stopped short of specifically pledging his support for the former football star.

“As he has said repeatedly throughout this campaign, the governor is laser-focused on sharing his record of results and vision for his second term with hardworking Georgians,” spokesman Cody Hall said, “and raising the resources necessary to fund the advertising, ground game and voter turnout operation needed to ensure Republican victories up and down the ballot on Nov. 8.”

And Attorney General Chris Carr would not say whether he continues to back Walker’s campaign, instead through a spokesman taking a shot at Kemp’s opponent, Stacey Abrams,without answering a question about the Republican Senate nominee.
Walker is, granted, only in trouble because there are so many undecided Georgia voters still.  Fox News and Marist College both have Warnock up by five points for example, but with double digit undecided voter percentages in both.

Then again, if you're still undecided about Republican candidates like Walker...this isn't going to change anything at all.

We'll see

Climate of Emergency, Con't

As millions of Florida residents try to put their lives aback together after Hurricane Ian last week, several things are becoming increasingly clear. The death toll will go up. The most marginalized in the path of the storm have the fewest resources to recover. More, and more powerful storms like Ian will hit Florida in the years to come. Insurance companies will help to rebuild and replace, but not infinitely. The mental and emotional health of storm victims will be just as important as physical.

And Republicans will do absolutely nothing about any of those problems.

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is calling for the US to send aid to Floridians in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian — but he also voted "no" to a bill that carved out cash for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to do just that.

In a tweet on Sunday, Gaetz appealed for help after Hurricane Ian battered Florida. Ian was a Category 4 storm when it made landfall and pummeled the Florida coast, killing at least 76 people.

"Dear Congress: On behalf of my fellow Florida Man in grave need of assistance…. Just send us like half of what you sent Ukraine. Signed, Your Fellow Americans," Gaetz wrote on Twitter.

Gaetz's appeal for funding came two days after he — and 200 other Republicans — voted against a stopgap measure that sought to fund the government through December. Among other provisions, the bill also gave $18.8 billion to FEMA's disaster relief fund, $12 billion in aid for Ukraine, and $112 million to beef up security at federal courts.

Speaking on the House floor in support of the bill last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that passing the bill would free up disaster recovery funding that would "go toward supporting Florida as well as Puerto Rico, Alaska and other communities hit by disaster."

In the roll-call vote on Friday, 10 Republicans joined 220 Democrats in voting for the bill. It was signed into law by President Joe Biden on September 30.

In a video posted to his Twitter page on October 1, Gaetz said he voted against the bill because it had other spending priorities tagged to it as well.

"This was a piece of legislation regarding insulin prices. And they attached the entire funding of our government and Ukraine's to that bill so that these programs and these policy choices would not be subjected to committee review, and to hearings, and to markups and amendments," Gaetz said in the video.
Every single Florida Republican, including Gaetz and both Sens. Scott and Rubio, voted against every penny of the $18 billion in FEMA aid.  Ian is easily going to be the most expensive storm in Florida history, costing $60 billion or more by some estimates and the true cost will be far higher.

But Florida Republicans, given the opportunity to show that they support the federal government when it comes to giving the people the aid they need, said "go to hell, Florida" instead.

Oh, and GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis doesn't care either. He made sure the state's insurance providers would get rich off a multi-billion dollar slush fund for the next hurricane to hit. Now that Ian has devastated the state, rebuilding will now be impossible for tens of thousands. The insurance companies gave $700K to DeSantis's campaign war chest in return.

Republicans know climate change exists. They're happily profiting from the misery.

Keep that in mind.
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