Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Last Call For Hunting The Hunter, Con't

The newly McCarthy approved "impeachment inquiry" into President Biden and his son Hunter is again going about as well as it has been for the last four years, which is "nowhere because there's nothing there."
New testimony from a number of FBI and Internal Revenue Service officials casts doubt on key claims from an IRS whistleblower who alleges there was political interference in the federal criminal investigation of Hunter Biden’s taxes.

According to transcripts provided to CNN, several FBI and IRS officials brought in for closed-door testimony by House Republicans in recent days said they don’t remember US Attorney David Weiss saying that he lacked the authority to decide whether to bring charges against the president’s son, or that Weiss said he had been denied a request for special counsel status.

Those twin claims, made by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, form the basis of Republican accusations that the Justice Department’s investigation into Biden’s taxes was tainted by political influence and that Weiss and Attorney General Merrick Garland tried to protect Hunter Biden in the investigation.

The new testimony comes as House Republicans begin an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and his family, potentially undercutting one element of that effort.

At issue is an October 2022 meeting between prosecutors and case agents working on the Hunter Biden investigation. Shapley alleges that during that meeting, Weiss, the then-US attorney for Delaware, told participants that he was “not the deciding person” on whether Hunter Biden was charged, according to Shapley’s notes from the meeting. House Republicans have taken that to mean Weiss was not in charge of his own investigation, and was deferring to a higher authority.

In addition to Shapley and Weiss, there were five others in that meeting, three of whom have recently testified to the Republican-led congressional committees now spearheading the impeachment inquiry.

While the witnesses disputed Shapley’s key allegations from that meeting, they acknowledged Weiss was having trouble finding a venue to bring charges against the president’s son, as US attorneys from other states rejected partnering on the case. They also expressed frustration with the pace of the probe, which at that point had been ongoing for roughly four years.
And to the surprise of nobody, the cherry-picked GOP-aligned "whistleblower" is full of shit, and there's no corroborating evidence to back his claims up. For four years now Republicans have been trying to make anything they can stick to Hunter Biden, who definitely needs some help and care to deal with his issues, into the end of Joe Biden's career.
Next week's public "impeachment inquiry" is going to go just as badly for James Comer and the GOP.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

Trump can't stop lying to everyone: the press, his MAGA flunkies, and to himself.
Former President Trump is pushing his mug shot, arrests and criminal charges to try to claim new solidarity with Black voters — a group that has largely shunned him in elections.

Why it matters: Trump has latched on to a narrative promoted last month by Fox News commentators and others in conservative media — that his arrests could boost his standing among African Americans who believe the criminal justice system is unfair.

The big picture: There's little evidence he's getting an indictment bump among Black voters, despite his claim that support rose after the mug shot from his arrest in Atlanta was released. But his team believes he can make inroads with Black voters by pushing an I-am-a-victim-just-like-you storyline.

Zoom in: Trump claimed in a recent interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt that his poll numbers among Black voters "have gone up four and five times" since his mug shot was released.That's not true, as CNN reported.
And it's unclear whether Trump's favorability with Black voters has increased beyond the 8% or so share he received in 2020. (Recent polls have suggested Trump's support among Blacks is improving, but pre-election polls in 2020 overstated his support.)

Driving the news: In recent weeks Trump has promoted videos of Black people defending him, and senior Trump advisers have kept in touch with Black celebrities who have supported him publicly.Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung posted on X a TikTok video of a 34-year-old Black man saying, "We rocking with Trump, man. Even the youth, they know what time it is."
"I just think — especially, again with the (Black) men — they're going to see through" the charges against Trump, "because they've been dealing with this for a long time," Donald Trump Jr. told Newsmax.

Black artists including Lil Pump, Kodak Black and Chief Keef have posted mugshots of themselves next to Trump's, shared supportive messages, or otherwise indicated they're rooting for him. Keef mused that Trump would "run the prison" if he's convicted. Another artist, Bandman Kevo, got Trump's image tattooed on his leg.
Several artists have pointed to actions Trump took while in office, including passing the First Step Act and PPP loans, as reasons for their support.

Yes, but: Critics of the former president see irony in his push for African Americans' support.Trump is charged in Fulton County, Georgia, with trying to overturn the 2020 election results. The charges stem from an alleged conspiracy in which Trump's team sought to invalidate votes in heavily Black urban areas across the country after the election.
Democratic pollsters doubt that Trump's support among a few Black artists will help him significantly. A bigger issue in a general election matchup against President Biden could be Biden's slipping numbers with non-white voters who don't have college degrees.
"The best way to describe (Trump's) political efforts here is pissing in windmills," former South Carolina state Rep. Bakari Sellers told Axios.
"I love Kodak. I love his music, but that doesn't mean that his thoughts on Donald Trump are going to be pervasive."
They accept us as long as we're willing to grovel to them. They'll take our street cred and our voices if it means they can use them to control the rest of us.
I don't think I will do that, thanks.

Paxton, Repaxtonated, Con't

So we know now that the badly-kept "secret GOP coordination effort" targeting Texas state senators to acquit impeached GOP state AG Ken Paxton over last weekend was 100% both absolutely real and absolutely effective. WIN THE MORNING 2.0's Mike Allen on Monday:
Following a secret campaign coordinated by top Trump allies, Texas state senators yesterday acquitted Attorney General Ken Paxton of all impeachment charges, allowing him to return to his post. Why it matters: The allegations against Paxton, a close ally of former President Trump, bitterly divided the Texas GOP, Jay R. Jordan of Axios Houston and Nicole Cobler of Axios Austin report.

Behind the scenes: National Republicans organized an under-the-radar campaign of outside conservative pressure on the Texas senators designed to neutralize mainstream media coverage, top strategists tell me
. This outside unofficial team operated independently of the Paxton legal operation — like "a super PAC without the money," a top GOP strategist said. Pro-Paxton forces also paid social media influencers to defend the attorney general.

The team had a "very well-defined target audience … no different than a confirmation battle," the strategist said.After winning, Paxton tweeted his thanks to the conservative news outlet National Pulse, a valued player in the under-the-radar drive.

Catch me up: Senators weighed whether Paxton illegally used his office to benefit an Austin real estate developer, and improperly fired some of his top deputies who reported him to the FBI and other agencies. Despite an overwhelming majority of House Republicans voting to impeach Paxton in May, only two of 18 Republican senators voted to convict Paxton.

So ... how did that happen?

"We didn't care what the MSM (mainstream media) said," the top GOP strategist said."We basically ignored them from start to finish. Goal was to fire up the grassroots. A story in National Pulse, Post Millennial and similar publications was more valuable than any harm an A1 NYT story could do."
The jury tampering was in the bag last week. Trump and his allies put out notice that anyone who didn't play ball was toast, and that limited the damage to only two GOP state senators.
What we're hearing: It was made clear to Texas GOP senators that they'd face a very well-funded primary opponent in their next election if they voted to impeach.The two senators who voted to convict, Kelly Hancock and Robert Nichols, don't face re-election until 2026.

How it worked: Steve Bannon was a big Paxton backer on his WarRoom podcast.
Turning Point USA's Charlie Kirk was vital, the strategist said: "He had his people posting senators' office numbers and was giving them out on his show. Driving the senators absolutely crazy."

A few days before the vote, Trump called Paxton "one of the TOUGHEST & BEST Attorney Generals in the Country" and after the vote, Trump congratulated Paxton on his "Texas sized VICTORY."

A day earlier, Paxton posted: "I'm heading to Maine next week to sit down with @TuckerCarlson."

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, also a Trump ally who presided over the trial, received $3 million this summer from a pro-Paxton group called Defend Texas Liberty PAC. 
Patrick is now saying that he will order an audit into the impeachment investigation costs (also jury tampering) and the number one target is current Texas GOP House Speaker Dale Phelan. We'll see who survives he purge, but a purge is what's coming.

Trump will see to that.

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