Thursday, August 10, 2023

Last Call For The Manchin On The Hill, Con't

As with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Sen. Joe Manchin is looking to make good on his threat to leave the Dems. Whether he remains in the Dem caucus, well...
Sen. Joe Manchin, in an interview with a West Virginia radio station, said Thursday that he has “absolutely” thought about becoming an independent, one of his strongest statements yet in his flirtation with exiting the Democratic Party.

After criticizing the Biden's administration’s implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which he helped write, and slamming President Joe Biden for “playing” to the Democratic base, Manchin said he has considered leaving the party.

“I want to be able to speak honestly about, basically, the extremes of the Democrat and Republican Party that is harming our nation,” Manchin told host Hoppy Kercheval.

The three-term senator has kept his political plans close to the vest, dodging questions from reporters and pledging to announce a decision on his political future at the end of the year. He has not ruled out running for president in 2024, including a third-party run with the No Labels organization.

At the same time, Manchin is up for re-election in 2024 and he's kept a close eye on the Republicans seeking to flip it from blue to red in a state former President Donald Trump won by nearly 40 percentage points in 2020.

Elected to the Senate in 2010, Manchin is the last Democrat to win a statewide race in West Virginia, following his re-election in 2018.

“I’m thinking seriously what’s best for me, I have to have peace of mind basically,” Manchin said in the interview Thursday about becoming an independent, “I’ve been thinking about that for quite some time."
To recap the extremists in the GOP want to remove civil rights from LGBTQ+ folk, women, Black folk, Hispanic folk, Asian folk, and anyone who isn't a Christian.

The extremists in the Democratic party would like free health care, college, and more affordable housing. They're the same, so we need Joe Manchin to make sure nobody gets any of that ever while he rakes in that coal and gas money.



Ron's Gone Wrong, Con't

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis's authoritarian tyranny continues as he has summarily removed a second Black state attorney for failing to give in to his diktats.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has once again suspended an elected local prosecutor, a move that comes as his presidential campaign struggles amid a continued reset.

DeSantis on Tuesday suspended Orlando-area State Attorney Monique Worrell, a Democrat who is the only Black woman serving as a local prosecutor in Florida.

It’s the second time he has used his authority as governor to take such action. DeSantis suspended Tampa-area prosecutor Andrew Warren in August 2022 for signaling he would not bring charges under Florida's new 15-week abortion ban. A federal judge called that decision unconstitutional but said he could not overturn the suspension. A challenge filed by Warren was later thrown out by the DeSantis-friendly Florida Supreme Court.

Both Warren's and Worrell’s 2020 campaigns received help from a committee that got money from Democratic megadonor George Soros, a frequent target of Republican attacks. In fundraising emails and in speeches, DeSantis has boasted that he is the “only elected official in America to remove a ‘progressive’ Soros-funded district attorney,” a reference to Warren's suspension.

DeSantis made the announcement during a hastily called press conference in Tallahassee. It included top law enforcement officials and a room packed with his administration staffers, who were apparently given a heads-up the day before to show up at the 8:15 a.m. press conference. DeSantis alerted the media to the event less than 30 minutes before it began.

The press conference was held one day after DeSantis' presidential campaign elevated his gubernatorial chief of staff, James Uthmeier, to campaign manager. Uthmeier was chief of staff when DeSantis suspended Warren in 2022.

DeSantis is trailing in public polling to former President Donald Trump, and over the past few weeks, he has fired roughly 40% of his staff as part of an ongoing reboot of his presidential campaign.

Worrell’s held a press conference in Orlando hours after the DeSantis announcement, calling him a "weak dictator."

"I am your duly elected state attorney, and nothing done by a weak dictator can change that," she said.

In an interview with NBC News, Worrell said that the country was "in danger of losing our democracy."

"This man is running for president and the country should be afraid," she said. "The country should be afraid of an individual who removes duly elected officials because they are not politically aligned with him. The country should be afraid of a man who dares to teach our children that slavery was somehow a benefit to the African Americans in this country. ... Our country should be afraid of the impact that this could have across this country if he were to be elected."

Worrell’s suspension comes after months of political fights with Republicans, including with DeSantis directly, over her handling of a string of Orlando-areas shootings — most notably a March shooting spree in the Orlando area that left three dead, including a 9-year-old and a local television journalist. The alleged gunman had eight felonies and 11 misdemeanors, but those all came while he was a juvenile. His only crime as a legal adult in 2021 was when he was in possession of drug paraphernalia and cannabis. 
Worrell, whose office announced it is seeking the death penalty in the case, said Republicans were playing politics with the issue, and noted her office closed almost 3,000 cases this year. But conservatives blasted her for allowing someone with such an extensive criminal record, even though most of it came while he was a juvenile, to remain on the streets.
DeSantis is systematically removing Black prosecutors from office, point blank. The state Supreme Court will continue to side with him. And even as his presidential aspirations rightfully fail, the people of Florida will continue to be ruled over by a petty tinpot dictator until they decide they've had enough, and even then it may already be too late.

Fani, Flagged In Georgia, Con't

DONALD TRUMP MAY be in trouble in Fulton County, Georgia. But unlike the recent indictment of him in a federal court in Washington, DC, he may not be alone.

Three sources who have spoken with prosecutors tell Rolling Stone that they believe that Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis is likely to indict not just Trump, but a number of his associates involved in attempting to overturn the election, as well.

“It really seems like they’re coming for everyone,” says one lawyer who has repeatedly dealt with the prosecutors in this criminal probe. “Based on what I know, Willis and her team do not seem to be stopping at Donald Trump. The scope for this [likely coming indictment] is probably going to be a hell of a lot wider than that…and round up a significant number of people.”

The Fulton County DA’s office has declined to comment on what will occur with an indictment, and only she knows for sure who ultimately will be hit with charges.

Still, some of Trump’s own lawyers, as well as other attorneys retained by his election-denying allies, are already preparing for the very real possibility that Trump will have plenty of company in an upcoming indictment. Lawyers have already outlined legal strategies, memos, and other material that factor in their expectation that an array of these Trump subordinates will face charges alongside him, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Trump’s team is in part basing their expectation of wider charges on the subject matter of prosecutors’ witness grillings, as well as what the DA has asked for. Those inquiries include granular details of what certain Trump allies were doing in the weeks following Election Day 2020. Figures of particularly high interest have included, but aren’t limited to, the once obscure lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, John Eastman, and Rudy Giuliani, sources who’ve dealt with the prosecutors tell Rolling Stone.

The Fulton County district attorney’s office and attorneys for Trump, Eastman, and Giulaini did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Wednesday flatly denied that she had a relationship with a former client and other rumors spread by former President Donald Trump in a new campaign ad.

In an email to her colleagues, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Willis called the information in a television spot bankrolled by the Trump campaign “derogatory and false.” She urged her staff not to respond to any of the allegations.

“You may not comment in any way on the ad or any of the negativity that may be expressed against me, your colleagues, this office in the coming days, weeks or months,” Willis wrote in the email, sent early Wednesday. “We have no personal feelings against those we investigate or prosecute and we should not express any.”

A Willis spokesman declined to comment.

In the minute-long ad, titled “The Fraud Squad,” the narrator refers to Willis as “Biden’s newest lackey.” It says that Willis presided over a sharp rise of violent crimes in Atlanta and highlights her office being disqualified from investigating Lt. Gov. Burt Jones in her long-running election interference case due to a political conflict of interest.

But the most incendiary allegation is that Willis “got caught hiding a relationship with a gang member she was prosecuting.” It cites as evidence a Jan. 25, 2023, article in Rolling Stone.

But the ad gets several facts wrong. The Rolling Stone article is an interview with YSL Mondo, one of Willis’ former clients in 2019 when she worked as a defense attorney, and it doesn’t make reference to any sort of affair.

In the interview, Mondo is quoted saying that he had some “auntie-to-nephew, mother-to-son type of talks” with Willis. But the article notes that the two didn’t talk after his case was resolved.

After Willis was elected DA, her office opened a racketeering case against the rapper Young Thug and the alleged street gang Young Slime Life. YSL Mondo co-founded the Young Slime Life music crew with Young Thug in the early 2010s, according to Rolling Stone, and in the article commented that the Willis who defended him is not the same person who would pursue such a racketeering case.
Trump made a similar baseless relationship allegation against Willis during a Tuesday campaign rally in Windham, N.H.

“I guess they say that she was after a certain gang and she ended up having an affair with the head of the gang or a gang member,” Trump said. “And this is a person that wants to indict me.”

Since then, his comments have been amplified by several right wing activists.

The Trump campaign paid $79,000 for “The Fraud Squad” ad to run on cable news channels in metro Atlanta between Aug. 9 and 13, according to Medium Buying, which tracks political ad spending.

As I said last week, Georgia Republicans will almost certainly try to use a law passed earlier this year and signed into law by former GA Secretary of State and current GOP Gov. Brian Kemp to remove Willis from office for "misconduct" with an "independent commission" whose members are of course appointed by Kemp. That law is currently being challenged in state court by four of Willis's fellow Georgia County DAs.

What Trump is doing with his ludicrous slime job is laying the false justification for doing just that. If the indictment includes several of the false slate of electors who are powerful members of the state Republican Party apparatus on RICO and fraud charges as I strongly suspect, then the pressure on Kemp and the commission to remove Willis will be overwhelming, hence the lawsuit filed last week.

We're most likely headed for a massive court battle to even see if Willis will be allowed to bring her case against Trump at all, delaying a possible trial for months, if not years. Willis will be attacked on all sides, and Trump is sending a message to anyone else poised to charge him: you're next.

And even if he is found guilty, Gov. Kemp will then be under pressure to pardon Trump, his lackeys, and all the state Republicans who joined in.

What I'm saying is don't expect Trump to end up in an Atlanta jail anytime soon.
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