Friday, July 14, 2023

Last Call For The Devil Went Down To Georgia, Con't

Donald Trump's legal team is asking Georgia's state supreme court to toss Fulton County DA Fani Willis's entire investigation into Trump's 2020 election interference conspiracy in the state, claiming Willis has no legal right to investigate Trump or to bring charges against him for acts he may have taken while in the Oval Office.
Weeks before he’s expected to be indicted in Fulton County, former President Donald Trump revived his push to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis from investigating him for election interference.

In a petition filed before the Georgia Supreme Court, Trump’s attorneys also sought to quash the final report of a special purpose grand jury that recommended people be indicted. Additionally, they requested a ruling that would forbid Willis from using any evidence obtained by the investigative jury, which heard testimony from about 75 witnesses between May 2022 and Jan. 2023.

The motion filed on Thursday asks Georgia’s highest court to put a halt to any ongoing proceedings “related to and flowing from the special purpose grand jury’s investigation until this matter can be resolved.” This would include any consideration of a possible indictment for alleged criminal meddling in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election by one of two regular Fulton grand juries that were seated on Tuesday.

Trump’s attorneys — Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg and Jennifer Little — acknowledged that such a petition filed before Georgia’s highest court is typically a long shot. But they said “extraordinary circumstances” justify it now.

“Even in an extraordinarily novel case of national significance, one would expect matters to take their normal procedural course within a reasonable time,” the motion said. “But nothing about these processes have been normal or reasonable. And the all-but-unavoidable conclusion is that the anomalies below are because petitioner is President Donald J. Trump.”

In March, Trump’s attorneys filed a motion in Fulton Superior Court also asking officials to disqualify Willis and toss out the special grand jury’s findings. They noted this time that Judge Robert McBurney, the supervising judge of the special grand jury, has yet to rule on the motion and that Willis has notified local court officials and law enforcement she is likely to seek an indictment at some point between July 31st and Aug. 18th.

“Stranded between the supervising judge’s protracted passivity and the district attorney’s looming indictment, (Trump) has no meaningful option other than to seek this court’s intervention,” the motion said.

Willis’s office previously said Trump’s arguments for dismissal were barred by lack of standing, untimeliness and other procedural flaws. The Republican’s efforts were premature because no one has been charged with a crime yet, prosecutors said.

“If an investigation results in actual criminal charges against (Trump), the justice system ensures they will have no shortage of available remedies to pursue,” the DA’s May response argued.

Trump’s lawyers also filed a similar motion in Fulton Superior Court on Friday, saying they did so out of an abundance of caution.

A spokesman from the DA’s office declined to comment on the state Supreme Court filing. McBurney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both motions contend that Willis and McBurney “at every turn” have trampled on the procedural safeguards and rights of Trump and others under investigation.

“The whole of the process is now incurably infected,” the motion said. “And nothing that follows could be legally sound or publicly respectable.”
It asserted that the Georgia statute allowing for the operation of special grand juries was unconstitutionally vague. It said that publication of excerpts of the final report would violate the former president’s rights to fundamental fairness and due process and lead to “irremediable injury” to his reputation as he runs for the GOP nomination for president for a third time.

“(Trump) now sits on a precipice,” his lawyers’ motion said. “A regular Fulton County grand jury could return an indictment any day that will have been based on a report and predicate investigative process that were wholly without authority.”
The motion is nonsense, of course. It assumes plenary executive immunity to state crimes, and assumes that indictments will wreck Trump's 2024 campaign run, which won't actually happen (it should) but that's not a reason to grant Trump immunity and wipe out the investigation.

It's a long shot but the play here is victimization, setting the table for what Trump's lawyers know is coming: criminal charges that he can't absolve himself of if convicted.

Of course, Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp could do exactly that, so...

We'll see.

Retribution Execution, Con't

ABC News's Tal Axelrod is mostly right about his article today documenting Trump's campaign promise of revenge against the federal government. Mostly.
Donald Trump has told supporters not to just see him as a candidate but as "your retribution."

In his comeback bid for the White House, the former president -- twice impeached but twice acquitted and now twice indicted -- has vowed that if reelected, he will wield his power to personally remake parts of the federal government to a degree that historian Mark Updegrove said was unprecedented. Trump has promised to hamstring perceived enemies, including in the Department of Justice, which is currently investigating him, and target Republican bogeymen like President Joe Biden.

He swore in June to appoint a special prosecutor to "go after" the Bidens and that he would "totally obliterate the deep state," referring to a conspiratorial view of how the government operates.

"This is the final battle. ... Either they win or we win," he said in March.

Among Trump's policy proposals is reviving an executive order from the final months of his presidency, revoked by Biden, that observers say would let him essentially turn broad swaths of federal workers into at-will employees whom he could fire and replace -- rather than terminating them only for cause, such as bad performance, and after satisfying certain employment protections.

Shortly after being indicted in New York in April on felony charges of falsifying business records, which he denies, related to money paid to an adult film actress during his 2016 campaign, Trump exhorted Congressional Republicans via social media to "DEFUND THE DOJ AND FBI UNTIL THEY COME TO THEIR SENSES."

He's also directed ire at longtime nonpartisan institutions, deriding national security and intelligence workers as "corrupt," and he's crassly attacked both the special counsel who is investigating his alleged mishandling of government secrets -- and the prosecutor's family.

Experts says all of this is stretching -- maybe snapping -- the boundaries of how past presidential candidates have criticized the very government they hope to lead.

"Time and time again, we have seen Donald Trump attempt to remake our government in his image, not based on our country’s ideals and traditions, but based on a personal agenda," said Updegrove, a presidential historian and ABC News contributor.

But conversations with GOP insiders and attendees at recent Trump campaign events confirm the base's appetite hasn't waned for the revenge he promises. According to FiveThirtyEight, early polls show Trump is the clear front-runner for his party's nomination, with his support not stifled by either of his two historic indictments, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

"It makes me more supportive and more prone to help him in any way I can," Larry Miller from Merrimack, New Hampshire, told ABC News earlier this month at an event Trump held in New Hampshire.

Another attendee at that event, Krisia Santiago, said she was a two-time Trump voter who was sticking with him. She spoke bluntly: "They're scared because he can finish this war. … If you believe in him, you're gonna be a supporter no matter what."
What Trump is promising isn't retribution against the "federal government" though, what he's really promising is retribution against Democrats, some "RINO" Republicans, and the people who voted them into office
That subtext, that Trump will use the power of a government he controls to immiserate those people, is increasingly becoming overt policy. It's not just revenge but purge, anyone who isn't destroyed outright will be rendered a second-class citizen with optional, situational rights.

That's the actual promise Trump is selling, and tens of millions of Americans are buying the dream of a country where they are making the choices and the rest of us have to live with it. Or, die with it.

They'll be powerless of course, Trump's donors will be the ones making the choices. But at least white MAGA voters figure they'll be last on the list for revenge because they will submit freely to their cult leader.

Maybe that's true.


The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Chief Justice John Roberts all but begged for a case to outlaw diversity efforts by employers in his decision ending affirmative action in college admissions, and it looks like he's going to get one sooner rather than later.
More than a dozen Republican attorneys general sent a letter to major corporations Thursday warning them to refrain from using racial preferences in hiring and promotion decisions.

Pointing to the Supreme Court’s decision undercutting the use of affirmative action in college admissions, the group said that companies would expose themselves to “serious legal consequences” for discriminating against different groups “even for benign purposes.”

“The Supreme Court’s recent decision should place every employer and contractor on notice of the illegality of racial quotas and race-based preferences in employment and contracting practices,” the letter from 13 attorneys general states.

Though the high court’s ruling in the college admissions cases did not directly implicate so-called diversity, equity or inclusion policies that have seen widespread adoption among the country’s largest employers, many legal experts believe workplace diversity efforts will see additional challenges that they unlawfully boost some groups over others.

The letter, which was directed at Fortune 100 companies and other large businesses, alleges that racial discrimination is “all too common” and violates federal and state civil rights laws.

“Responsible corporations interested in supporting underprivileged individuals and communities can find many lawful outlets to do so,” wrote the group, led by the attorneys general of Kansas and Tennessee. “But drawing crude lines based on skin color is not a lawful outlet, and it hurts more than it helps.”

Conservatives have stepped up their attacks on businesses over what they perceive as “woke” policies, namely around diversity initiatives and ESG-related efforts.

DEI’s defenders note that many of the things that employers have adopted, such as statistical breakdowns of their workforce or setting hiring goals, are aspirational and nonbinding.

Nevertheless, the attorneys general argue that many of these efforts effectively serve as illegal race-based quotas and called on companies to stop.

“If your company previously resorted to racial preferences or naked quotas to offset its bigotry, that discriminatory path is now definitively closed,” the letter states, citing the Supreme Court opinion. “Your company must overcome its underlying bias and treat all employees, all applicants, and all contractors equally, without regard for race.”
Oh, and wait until the Roberts Court gets rid of the EEOC. If you're Black and employed in anything more than an entry-level minimum-wage job, well, that's affirmative action, and you need to be fired as a result.
It's bad enough having to constantly prove socially to people that as a Black person, you belong at the job you've been hired for.
Pretty soon, we'll have to prove it legally, too.
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