Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

So here's the kind of trenchant political analysis and pithy observation you've come to expect from ZVTS:

  1. It has already been a horrific week for Donald Trump.
  2. He cost the GOP another Senate seat last night with his personal pick of Herschel Walker.
  3. It's only Wednesday.
  4. Things have already gotten considerably worse for him tonight.
 
Former President Donald J. Trump hired people to search four properties after being directed by a federal judge to look harder for any classified material still in his possession, and they found at least two documents with classified markings inside a sealed box in one of the locations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump’s search team discovered the documents at a federally run storage site in West Palm Beach, Fla., the person said, prompting his lawyers to notify the Justice Department about them.

The New York Times reported in October that Justice Department officials had told the former president’s lawyers that they believed he might have more classified materials that were not returned in response to a subpoena issued in May. The F.B.I. searched Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, in August for additional classified documents and other presidential records.

People close to Mr. Trump had said earlier on Wednesday that no classified material had been found during the searches, a claim that was later proved incorrect. The Washington Post first reported on the locating of the two additional documents, as well as the searches of the properties.


After the warning from the Justice Department, a debate ensued among Mr. Trump’s lawyers about whether to bring in an independent firm to conduct a search.

The discovery of the documents at the storage unit, maintained by the federal General Services Administration, came during a series of wider searches that were completed around Thanksgiving and conducted at Mr. Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.; at Trump Tower in New York; and in a storage closet at Mar-a-Lago, according to two people familiar with the events.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement that the former president and “his counsel continue to be cooperative and transparent, despite the unprecedented, illegal and unwarranted attack against President Trump and his family by the weaponized Department of Justice.”

The department is investigating the former president’s handling of thousands of government documents, including more than 300 classified ones, that were taken from the White House at the end of his term and were found at Mar-a-Lago. Prosecutors are also seeking to determine whether Mr. Trump obstructed the government’s repeated efforts to retrieve the materials.

When the Justice Department warned that it believed Mr. Trump still had documents in his possession, a lawyer whom he had hired a short time earlier, Christopher M. Kise, suggested along with other lawyers working for Mr. Trump that they engage an outside firm, according to people familiar with the events.

A cadre of other Trump lawyers were resistant to the idea; among them was Boris Epshteyn, a communications adviser who has positioned himself as an in-house counsel on some of Mr. Trump’s legal entanglements. The dispute led to Mr. Kise’s standing in Mr. Trump’s circle diminishing for weeks, according to several people close to the former president.

More recently, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of Federal District Court in Washington, who oversees grand jury investigations, directed Mr. Trump’s lawyers essentially to search more carefully for any remaining documents. Other lawyers in Mr. Trump’s circle took on the issue and hired a firm, according to one of the people familiar with the matter.
 
So, like everything else in this case, Trump lied, his lawyers said one thing, and the truth was entirely something else.  He can't stop lying. He knows he's going to get caught, and he does.

And this time it's going to cost him.

I hope, anyway.

Antifa, With German Efficiency

Thousands of German police conducted early-morning raids and arrested more than two dozen right-wing domestic terrorists allegedly plotting a fascist coup to overthrow the country's government.
 
Authorities in Germany arrested 25 people on Wednesday who are suspected of planning to violently overthrow the government in a far-right extremist plot.

More than 3,000 police officers, including special forces, made 130 early morning searches across 11 of Germany's 16 federal states in one of the biggest counterterrorism operations in the country's history.

Suspects from the so-far unnamed group include a nobleman with a historic royal title and various armed forces veterans. It is centered on the so-called Reichsb├╝rger, or Reich Citizens, movement which is motivated by conspiracy theories about the role and legitimacy of the modern German state.

Those arrested will appear in court Wednesday and Thursday. The homes of a further 27 people suspected of being members or supporters of the group have been searched.

“We defend ourselves with all strength against the enemies of democracy," German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser wrote on Twitter.

She said the group was "driven by fantasies of violent overturn and conspiracy ideologies" and hated democracy and the state. "Further investigations will give a clear picture of how far the coup plans had progressed," she said.

The German prosecutor's office said the suspects belong to a terrorist group founded in November 2021 at the latest, which aims to overthrow the government in Berlin and install its own leaders through the "forcible elimination of the democratic constitutional state."

"The members of the association are aware that this project can only be realized through the use of military means and violence against state representatives," the prosecutor's office said in a statement early Wednesday. It said there was "the suspicion that individual members of the association have made concrete preparations to forcibly invade" the German lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, "with a small armed group."
 
This would have been a competent version of America's January 6th attack, and they supposedly had some serious hardware on them. I don't know if our good friends in Moscow were involved, but I wouldn't be surprised.
 
The group had planned to overthrow the German government, in part by assassinating government officials and installing “Heinrich XIII P.R.,” identified by German officials as 71-year-old Prince Heinrich XIII, a German noble of the House of Reuss. Heinrich was among those arrested.

According to a press release from the German attorney general’s office, the group was founded around November 2021. Prosecutors allege the organization adheres to the ideology of the “Reichsb├╝rger,” or Citizens of the Reich, and is heavily influenced by QAnon. According to the statement, the group is “firmly convinced that Germany is currently governed by members of a so-called ‘deep state.’” The group also believes an “Alliance” of “technically superior secret society of governments, intelligence services and the military of various states, including the Russian Federation and the United States of America” had assets present in Germany prepared to assist in securing liberation from “deep state” forces.

The organization had reportedly engaged in paramilitary training for its members, and began acquiring arms and equipment in preparation for its coup. Several of the accused individuals were preparing to occupy government positions and head agencies following the overthrow. According to prosecutors, the group targeted members of the Bundeswehr, the German military, and the German police. 

More on this as we get information, but yeah, this was a serious threat, enough so that police acted first, rather than, you know, allow the attack to happen. The Germans actually deal with their neo-Nazi politicians. Here in America they run for office as Republicans.

Maybe we should consider doing the same?

Warnock, Win Notched

Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock has faced voters five times in the last two years and change, a Democratic primary in 2020, two general elections, and two runoff wins with last night's victory over Republican Herschel Walker, and being the 51st Democrat in the US Senate means the current power-sharing agreement with Mitch McConnell goes into the trash.
 
Democrats had already clinched control of the Senate, with 50 seats secured last month, which would allow Vice President Kamala Harris to cast the tie-breaking vote as she does now. But winning a 51st seat, thanks to Warnock’s victory Tuesday, comes with important benefits for the Democrats running the Senate and for President Joe Biden’s administration.

The party will now enter 2023 with a true Senate majority – one that won’t require the power-sharing agreement that has been in place over the last two years in an evenly divided chamber. That outright majority means that Democrats will have the majority on committees, allowing them to advance Biden’s nominees more easily.

For example: The Senate Judiciary Committee, with its 22 members, will shift from a split of 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans to 12 Democrats and 10 Republicans. That removes a GOP procedural mechanism to slow down the confirmation of Biden’s judicial nominees.

Democratic leaders, meanwhile, face a reduced risk that a single senator can hold its priorities hostage, since the party can now afford to lose a vote. Harris, who has already cast the third-most tie-breaking votes of any vice president, and the most since John Calhoun nearly 200 years ago, would be less tied to Capitol Hill.

It’s also an early boost to Democrats ahead of a 2024 election in which the party will have to defend several seats in deep-red states, including West Virginia and Montana, to maintain its majority. 
 
The good news is that the Dems did astonishing well for 2022. The bad news is 2024 is going to be a far tougher road, and whether you like them or not, both Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin will be up for re-election, along with Jon Tester, Jacky Rosen, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Tim Kaine and Tammy Baldwin. Dems will have to defend all these seats and depending on the presidential outcome, we might have to defend all eight seats and run the table to keep the Senate.

Now, we did that this year and even gained a seat with John Fetterman. But Florida (Rick Scott) and Indiana (Mike Braun, leaving the seat for a Governor's run in Indiana) are going to be tough to pick up. let alone beating Ted Cruz in Texas or Josh Hawley in Missouri.

We'll see how all this turns out.
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