Friday, November 18, 2022

Last Call For The Ol' Special Treatment Again

With Donald Trump announcing his 2024 candidacy, US Attorney General Merrick Garland is declining to fall into Trump's "You can't lay a finger on me, I'm a presidential candidate!" trap and is naming a Special Counsel to handle the federal investigations into Trump.
Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel on Friday to oversee the Justice Department’s investigation into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate as well as key aspects of a separate probe involving the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and efforts to undo the 2020 election.

The move, being announced just three days after Trump formally launched his 2024 candidacy, is a recognition of the unmistakable political implications of two investigations that involve not only a former president but also a current White House hopeful.

Though the appointment installs a new supervisor atop the probes — both of which are expected to accelerate now that the midterm elections are over — the special counsel will still report to Garland, who has ultimate say of whether to bring charges.

The role will be filled by Jack Smith, a veteran prosecutor who led the Justice Department’s public integrity section in Washington and who later served as the acting chief federal prosecutor in Nashville, Tennessee, during the Obama administration. More recently, he has been the chief prosecutor for the special court in the Hague that is tasked with investigating international war crimes.

The Justice Department described Smith as a registered independent, an effort to blunt any attack of perceived political bias.

Representatives for Trump, a Republican, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

There was no immediate reason provided for the decision or for its timing. Garland has spoken repeatedly of his singular focus on the facts, the evidence and the law in the Justice Department’s decision-making and of his determination to restore political independence to the agency following the tumultuous years of the Trump administration.

And there does not seem to be an obvious conflict like the one that prompted the last appointment of a special counsel to handle Trump-related investigations. The Trump Justice Department named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign
So, Merick Garland is crossing his t's and dotting his i's while the House GOP will almost certainly be summoning him to Capitol Hill next year to "answer" for why the investigation into Trump is ongoing anyway. He can refer to the special counsel.
Worked for Bill Barr.
We'll see if indictments happen, that decision will be Garland's and Garland's alone to make.

Our Little White Supremacist Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

The federal seditious conspiracy trial of Stewart Rhodes and his Oath Keepers January 6th domestic terrorists wraps up today with closing arguments.
Stewart Rhodes and the leaders of the Oath Keepers repeatedly called on then-President Donald Trump to deploy the military to prevent ceding the Oval Office to Joe Biden. When he didn’t, prosecutors said Friday, they decided to do it themselves.

After a grinding eight-week trial, the most significant to emerge from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, prosecutors pleaded with jurors to consider the weight of Rhodes’ words in the lead-up to Jan. 6, 2021.

“These defendants repeatedly called for the violent overthrow of the United States government and they followed those words with action,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy said in her closing statements. “Please do not become numb to these statements. Think about what is actually being called for in these statements.”

To prosecutors, the case is clear: Rhodes was the “architect” of a plan to overthrow the government by force unless Trump took direct action to seize a second term he didn’t win. As Jan. 6 approached, Rhodes grew increasingly frustrated at Trump’s inaction and assembled a team — including co-defendants Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson of Florida, Jessica Watkins of Ohio and Thomas Caldwell of Virginia. They coordinated to amass an arsenal of heavy weapons at a Comfort Inn in nearby Arlington, Va., and developed land and water routes to ferry them to Oath Keepers if violence erupted.

Two dozen Oath Keepers entered the Capitol after other rioters breached it and migrated toward the House and Senate chambers before they were repelled by police. Later, they met Rhodes outside the Capitol. Prosecutors say the group celebrated their actions and prepared to continue their efforts to oppose the government even after authorities regained control of the Capitol.

After closing arguments Friday, jurors will begin deliberating on the most significant charge — seditious conspiracy — as well as a slew of other charges lodged against the Oath Keeper leaders, including obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of property at the Capitol.

Oath Keepers have contended that their conversation leading up to Jan. 6 was merely a lot of overheated talk and their actions amid the insurrection were relatively harmless. They came to Washington, they argued, to help perform security details for VIPs attending Trump’s Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally. Their weapons cache, which they described as a “quick reaction force,” was meant to guard against an outbreak of street violence, not to target the Capitol, they contended.

In his closing argument, Rhodes’ attorney Lee Bright said that the Oath Keepers were fearful in 2020, as the country was largely in lockdown amid the Covid pandemic. Then, riots erupted amid the protests that accompanied the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer — including in Portland, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“They saw their country burning,” Bright said.

What resulted, he said, was “horribly heated rhetoric” and “bombast” — not a genuine intention to topple the government. He emphasized that no one had any idea that Jan. 6 was going to be a major event until just two weeks before when Trump called for a rally and protest.

Bright also mocked prosecutors’ contention that the Oath Keepers’ arsenal of firearms was an effort to bring “weapons of war” into Washington, D.C. He described it as a routine function of the Oath Keepers’ protocols when they performed security details at major events.
Rhodes and his merry crew of dipshits need to be spending decades in prison for their terrorism, to stand as a warning to the rest of the MAGA trolls waiting for their own chance to harm or kill Americans over Trump losing the 2020 election.
How many 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls will commit to pardoning Rhodes and his co-conspirators if they are convicted? My guess is "anyone who wants to actually win the nomination". For all the lousy pretending that the GOP took back the House on "kitchen issues" understand that all of them are anti-American terrorists, and their voters are more than happy to scream LOCK THEM UP at every Democrat they can find.
We're possibly only a few years from that happening, along with the roundup of political enemies as payback.

Fight For Every Seat

Neither party fields candidates for every House seat, but seeing Lauren Boebert headed for a likely recount gives me hope that Dems can pull this one seat off.
Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, a renowned conservative firebrand whose combative style helped define the new right, is likely headed to an automatic recount in her bid to fend off a surprisingly difficult challenge by a Democratic businessman from the ritzy ski town of Aspen.

The Associated Press has declared the election in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District too close to call. AP will await the results of a potential recount to call the race. With nearly all votes counted, the incumbent Boebert leads Democrat Adam Frisch by 0.16 percentage points, or 551 votes out of nearly 327,000 votes counted.

A margin that small qualifies for an automatic recount under Colorado law, in a race that has garnered national attention as Republicans try to bolster their advantage in the U.S. House after clinching a narrow majority Wednesday night.

As counties finalized unofficial results on Thursday, Boebert’s already slim lead was cut in half. All but one of the 27 counties in the district had reported final results by Thursday evening. Otero County plans to finalize its numbers on Friday.

In Colorado, a mandatory recount is triggered when the margin of votes between the top two candidates is at or below 0.5% of the leading candidate’s vote total. On Thursday night, that margin was around .34%.
It's extremely unlikely that Frisch will be able to win, maybe he can shave 50 votes off with a recount, but likely not 500+. Curing votes, the process of correcting errors on the ballot in order to make them count, has a far likelier chance of moving the needle.

The updated results follow a hectic few days for both campaigns as they scrambled to “cure” ballots — the process of confirming voters’ choices if their ballots had been rejected in the initial count. Both the Republican and Democratic national campaign committees had boots on the ground in Colorado to support the efforts.

Spokespeople for Frisch’s and Boebert’s campaigns declined to comment.
Boebert has declared victory already and most likely she's correct. But the race never should have been this close in the first place. There's zero chance that Boebert moderates her disgusting nonsense with the GOP taking control of the House, so maybe she can put herself out of a job in two years.

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