Monitoring Biden and other Contemporary Events

bobsal u1553115
Reply Tue 30 May, 2023 12:04 pm
0 Replies
Reply Wed 31 May, 2023 02:48 am
“[O]ne of the things that I hear some of you guys saying is, ‘Why doesn’t Biden say what a good deal it is?’” President Joe Biden said to reporters yesterday afternoon before leaving the White House on the Marine One helicopter. “Why would Biden say what a good deal it is before the vote? You think that’s going to help me get it passed? No. That’s why you guys don’t bargain very well.”

Biden’s unusually revealing comment about the budget negotiations was actually a statement about his presidency. Unlike his Republican opponents, he has refused to try to win points by playing the media and instead has worked behind the scenes to govern, sometimes staying out of negotiations, sometimes being central to them.

The result has been, as Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf summarized today, historic. Biden has worked to replace 40 years of supply-side economics with policies to rebuild the nation’s economy and infrastructure by supporting ordinary Americans. The American Rescue Plan gave the United States a faster economic recovery from the COVID pandemic than any other major economy. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has already funded more than 32,000 projects in more than 4,500 communities in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and U.S. territories.

The Inflation Reduction Act made the biggest investment in addressing climate change in our history, and according to University of Washington transportation analyst Jack Conness, it and the CHIPS and Science Act have already attracted over $220 billion in private investment, much of it going to Republican-dominated states: Tennessee, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma have each attracted more than $4 billion; Ohio, more than $6 billion; Arizona, more than $7 billion; South Carolina, more than $9 billion; and Georgia, more than $13 billion.

Victoria Guida in Politico yesterday reported that the reordering of the economy under Biden and the Democrats has reversed the widening income gap between wage workers and upper-income professionals that has been growing for the past 40 years. The pay of those making an average of $12.50 an hour grew by almost 6% from 2020 to 2022, even after inflation.

Those gains are now at risk as pandemic measures end and the Fed raises interest rates to bring down inflation, although the wage increases are only a piece of the inflation puzzle: Talmon Joseph Smith and Joe Rennison of the New York Times today reported that companies raising their prices to “protect…profits” are “adding to inflation.” In other words, companies pushed prices beyond normal profit margins during the pandemic and the economic recovery, then maintained those higher profit margins with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and continue to maintain them now.

The fight over the debt ceiling is both an example of the different approaches to negotiation on the part of Biden and Republicans like House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and part of the larger question about the direction of the country.

On January 13, 2023, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned McCarthy that the Treasury was about to hit the borrowing limit established by Congress and that she would have to resort to extraordinary measures in order to meet obligations until Congress raised the debt ceiling.

On March 9, as part of the usual budget process, Biden produced a detailed budget, which was a wish list of programs that would continue to build the country from the bottom up. He told McCarthy he would meet with the speaker as soon as he produced his own budget, which McCarthy could not do because the far-right House Freedom Caucus (these days being abbreviated as HFC) wanted extreme cuts to which other Republicans would never agree.

On April 26 the House Republicans passed a bill that would require $4.8 trillion in cuts but was quite vague about how it would do so apart from getting rid of much of the legislation the Democrats had just passed. HFC members said they would not raise the debt ceiling until the Senate passed their bill. That is, they would drive the United States into default, crashing the U.S. and the global economy, until the president and the Democrats agreed to their policies. Even then, they would raise it only until next spring, with the expectation that it would then become a key factor in the 2024 election.

Biden insisted all along that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling, which pays for money already appropriated under the normal process of Congress and which Congress raised three times under former president Trump even as he added $7.8 trillion to the national debt. Biden said he would happily negotiate over the budget. McCarthy, meanwhile, was out in front of the cameras and on social media insulting Biden and insisting that it was Biden’s fault that talks took so long to get started.

Late Saturday, the two sides announced an agreement “in principle” to raise the debt ceiling for two years—clearing the presidential election. As the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell noted, it protects current spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; keeps tax rates as they are; increases spending on defense and veterans’ programs; leaves most other domestic spending the same; cuts a little from the expanded funding of the Internal Revenue Service; and tweaks both the permitting process for energy projects and the existing work requirements in the food assistance program.

As Rampell points out, “this much-ballyhooed ‘deal’ doesn’t seem terribly different from whatever budget agreement would have materialized anyway later this year, during the usual annual appropriations process, under divided government. To President Biden’s credit, the most objectionable ransoms that Republicans had been demanding are all gone.”

Now the measure has to get through both parties, with congressmembers back in Washington today after the holiday weekend. Freedom Caucus members are howling at the deal. Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) is threatening to bottle the measure up in the House Rules Committee, which decides what bills make it to the floor. The Freedom Caucus forced McCarthy to stack that committee with far-right extremists as part of his deal for the speakership (it has nine Republicans but only four Democrats on it). But Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo suggests that McCarthy’s alliance with Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) might pay off here, since the two have thrown their weight behind the measure.

Even if the measure does pass before the June 5 deadline when the Treasury runs out of money, it has had an important effect. As Rampell noted, it has weakened the United States. It has enabled both China and Russia to portray the U.S. as unstable and an unreliable partner. As if to prove that criticism, Biden had to cancel a trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea, where he was strengthening the Indo-Pacific alliances designed to weaken Chinese dominance of the region. (And Russia continues to involve itself in U.S. politics: today Tara Reade, the woman who in 2020 accused Biden of sexually assaulting her, appeared on Russian television next to alleged spy Maria Butina to say she has fled to Russia out of fear for her life in the U.S.)

Writing in Foreign Policy, Howard W. French sees a more sweeping problem with the debt ceiling fight: it “highlights America’s warped priorities.” “[W]hen a rich and powerful country finds it easier to cut back on the way that it invests in its people, in education, in science, and in making sure that the weakest among them are not completely left behind than to curtail useless and profligate weapons spending,” he said, “there are reasons to worry about the foundations of its power.”

bobsal u1553115
Reply Wed 31 May, 2023 06:18 am
Gavel, Gavel, Who Wants the Gavel ...

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bobsal u1553115
Reply Wed 31 May, 2023 06:19 am
One more reason, I trust Joe Biden.
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2023 08:24 am
You'll all be quite surprised to hear this
Fox covered Target’s Pride Month displays for hours and the allegations of abuse in the Illinois Catholic Church for less than a minute
bobsal u1553115
Reply Wed 31 May, 2023 08:52 am
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2023 11:37 pm
This most.assuredly passes the Senate by midnight next Tuesday and prevents another disastrous Republican created economic Worldwide problem from occurring.

House passes debt limit deal as lawmakers race to avert default

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to pass a bill to suspend the nation’s debt limit through January 1, 2025, as lawmakers race to prevent a catastrophic default.

https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/31/politics/house-vote-debt-limit-bill/index.html<br />
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Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 02:54 am
Zardoz wrote:
“The ultimate aim of every organized religion has always been social control.”

There is nothing wrong with organized religion taking socially control of its members. The trouble comes in when they decide they are going to take social control of the country. If a cult member decides he no longer wants to be controlled by the cult he can quit the cult however that is not the case of members of the general population when the cults use their political power to impose cult rules on the general population.

We have reached a tipping point in America with the outlawing of abortion. The religious cults have imposed their values on the general population. Do you like the religious right telling you what clothes to wear? Look at the Amish their cults dictate what clothes they can wear. Our government and the religious cults are natural born enemies. America was established to give the population the maximum amount of freedom, religious cults were established to take that freedom away and control the population. So, far the government has done nothing but lay down and let the religious right just walk over our American values. The religious cults have formed an American Tailband. There are two competing concepts, freedom and control, which will you choose?
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Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 02:55 am
Tonight the House passed a bill to suspend the debt ceiling for two years, enabling the Treasury to borrow money to prevent a default. More Democrats than Republicans rallied to the measure, with 165 Democrats and 149 Republicans voting in favor, for a final vote of 314 to 117. Seventy-one Republicans and 46 Democrats opposed the bill. Now the measure heads to the Senate.

The votes revealed a bitter divide in the Republican Party, as the far-right House Freedom Caucus fervently opposed the measure; Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) for example, called it a “turd sandwich.” Florida governor Ron DeSantis also came out against it, saying it leaves the country “careening toward bankruptcy.”

The far right insists the measure does not provide the cuts they demand. Last night’s nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office scoring of the bill offered them ammunition when it said that the additional work requirement imposed on able-bodied people aged 18–54 without dependents to receive food benefits is outweighed by the expansion of those benefits to veterans, unhoused people, and children aging out of foster care. The CBO estimates that the measure will add 78,000 people a month to food assistance programs, adding $2.1 billion in spending over the next ten years.

Despite their fury, though, the far right in the House appears to be backing down from challenging Representative Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) speakership. Their angry news conferences seem mostly to be performances for their base, and to answer them, McCarthy today said on the Fox News Channel that he was creating a “commission” to “look at” cutting the budget that the president “walled off” from cuts, including the mandatory spending on Medicare and Social Security.

But, as Josh Marshall pointed out in Talking Points Memo today, the Republican base no longer seems to care much about fiscal issues. Instead, they are pushing the cultural issues at the heart of illiberal democracy: anti-LGBTQ laws, antiabortion laws, anti-immigration laws.

Former president Trump is making those themes central to his reelection campaign. Yesterday he released a video promising that on “Day One” of a new presidential term, he would issue an executive order that would end birthright citizenship. Our current policy that anyone born in the United States is a citizen, he claims, is “based on a historical myth, and a willful misinterpretation of the law by the open borders advocates.” He promises to make “clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law, going forward, the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic US citizenship.”

Trump is picking up an idea from his presidential term that immigrants are flocking to the U.S. as “birth tourists” so their children will have dual citizenship, but the estimate from the immigration-restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies that birth tourism accounts for 26,000 of the approximately 3.7 million births in the U.S. each year has been shown to be wildly high. Trump’s attack on birthright citizenship is an attack on immigration itself, echoing people like Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, who insists that immigration weakens a nation by diluting its native-born people with outsiders.

Trump’s attack on the idea of birthright citizenship as a “historical myth” is a perversion of our history. It matters. In the nineteenth century, the United States enshrined in its fundamental law the idea that there would not be different levels of citizenship in this country. Although not honored in practice, that idea, and its place in the law, gave those excluded from it the language and the tools to fight for equality. Over time, they have increasingly expanded those included in it.

The Republican Party organized in the 1850s to fight the idea that there should be different classes of Americans based on race—not only Black Americans, but also Irish, Chinese, Mexican, and Indigenous Americans faced discriminatory state laws. Republicans stated explicitly in their 1860 platform that they were “opposed to any change in our naturalization laws or any state legislation by which the rights of citizens hitherto accorded to immigrants from foreign lands shall be abridged or impaired; and in favor of giving a full and efficient protection to the rights of all classes of citizens, whether native or naturalized, both at home and abroad.”

In 1868, after the Civil War had ended the legal system of human enslavement, the American people added to the Constitution the Fourteenth Amendment, whose very first sentence reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” Congress wrote that sentence to overturn the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that people of African descent “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.”

The Fourteenth Amendment legally made Black men citizens equal to white men.

But did it include the children of immigrants? In 1882, during a period of racist hysteria, the Chinese Exclusion Act declared that Chinese immigrants could not become citizens. But what about their children who were born in the United States?

Wong Kim Ark was born around 1873, the child of Chinese parents who were merchants in San Francisco. In 1889 he traveled with his parents when they repatriated to China, where he married. He then returned to the U.S., leaving his wife behind, and was readmitted. After another trip to China in 1894, though, customs officials denied him reentry to the U.S. in 1895, claiming he was a Chinese subject because his parents were Chinese.

Wong sued, and his lawsuit was the first to climb all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, thanks to the government’s recognition that with the U.S. in the middle of an immigration boom, the question of birthright citizenship must be addressed. In the 1898 U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark decision, the court held by a vote of 6–2 that Wong was a citizen because he was born in the United States.

That decision has stood ever since, as a majority of Americans have recognized the principle behind the citizenship clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as the one central to the United States: “that all men are created equal” and that a nation based on that idea draws strength from all of its people. Over time, we have expanded our definition of who is included in that equality.

Now the right wing is trying to contract equality again, excluding many of us from its rights and duties. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision makes women a separate and lesser class of citizen; anti-LGBTQ legislation denigrates sexual minorities. Trump’s attack on birthright citizenship makes that attack on equality explicit, calling equality a “myth” and attempting to enshrine inequality as the only real theme of our history.

The concept of equality means we all have equal rights. It also means we all owe an equal allegiance to the country and that we all should be equal before the law, principles the former president has reason to dislike.

Today, Katelyn Polantz, Paula Reid, and Kaitlan Collins of CNN broke the story that federal prosecutors have an audio recording of the former president admitting he kept a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran. The material on the tape, which was recorded at his Bedminster, New Jersey, property and appears to indicate that the document was in his hands, shows that Trump understood he had taken a classified document and that he understood that there were limits to his ability to declassify records.

The recording also appears to suggest that at least one of the documents Trump took when he left office had enormous monetary value. As former Senior Foreign Service member Luis Moreno tweeted: “You can bet that if the TS/SCI dox involved military action against Iran, there would be a couple of countries willing to pay a king’s ransom for it.”

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bobsal u1553115
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 07:59 am
Legal expert: Trump's trusted Mar-a-Lago aides may soon be "testifying witnesses" against him

(Salon) An employee at Mar-a-Lago who assisted with moving boxes of documents last June was questioned regarding his behavior in relation to a government request for surveillance footage from former President Donald Trump's property, according to The Washington Post.

The employee has been questioned several times by authorities after video footage revealed their involvement in assisting Walt Nauta, a Trump aide, in moving boxes into a storage room at Mar-a-Lago a day before Justice Department officials came with FBI agents to collect classified material in response to the subpoena, the Post reported last week.

"If true that the President Trump's employees moved classified documents ahead of a DOJ visit to Mar-a-lago, those actions, if linked to President Trump, could be demonstrative of his intent to unlawfully prevent the retrieval of the documents," Temidayo Aganga-Williams, partner at Selendy Gay Elsberg and former senior investigative counsel for the House Jan. 6 committee, told Salon.

Special counsel Jack Smith's investigators are trying to determine whether Trump or people close to him attempted to obstruct justice in response to a grand jury subpoena requiring the return of classified documents, or if they lied about what happened, people familiar with the matter told the Post. ................(more)

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bobsal u1553115
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 09:22 am
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bobsal u1553115
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 01:48 pm
The DOJ Has Questions About Trump Firing an Election Security Expert Days After the Election
The special counsel investigating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election has subpoenaed members of the former president’s White House staff believed to be involved in the firing of the administration’s top election security expert, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Trump fired former Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs via Tweet weeks after he — you guessed it — said the election was legitimate.

Smith reportedly issued the subpoenas two weeks ago. Sources who spoke to the Times said the special counsel is probing witnesses for information regarding “loyalty” tests, and efforts within Trump’s administration to root out officials whose devotion to Trump was deemed insufficient.

Krebs was among those administration figures targeted by former Trump aide John McEntee. According to a memo obtained by ABC News, White House staff drafted a list of Krebs’ alleged sins against the former president. Items included allowing a Black Lives Matter town hall to take place, endorsing mail-in voting, his wife posting a photo on Facebook with a Biden/Harris watermark, and being “known to have direct contact with Dominion [Voting] Systems.”

Trump fired Krebs less than two weeks after the 2020 election.

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Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 03:43 pm

Tommy Tuberville’s brother distances himself from Alabama Senator’s controversial comments
by: Every Akin

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — “Please don’t confuse my brother with me.”

That’s what Charles Tuberville, an Oklahoma-based musician and brother of Alabama U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville, wrote on Facebook May 26, distancing himself from controversial comments he’s made over the last couple of months. News of his comments was first reported by Tread.

“I’ll try and make this brief,” Charles Tuberville said in a post. “As some of you know, my brother Tommy Tuberville is the senior U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama elected in 2021.

Due to recent statements by him promoting racial stereotypes, white nationalism and other various controversial topics, I feel compelled to distance myself from his ignorant, hateful rants. What I’m trying to say is that, I DO NOT agree with any of the vile rhetoric coming out of his mouth.”

bobsal u1553115
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 07:02 pm
Now that's a hoot.
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bobsal u1553115
Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2023 08:35 pm


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Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2023 04:49 am
Late tonight the Senate passed H.R. 3746, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, suspending the debt ceiling and cutting certain federal spending. President Joe Biden has promised to sign it tomorrow, preventing a government default. Forty-four Democrats and two Independents—Angus King (I-ME) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ)—voted yes, along with 17 Republicans. Four Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted no, along with 31 Republicans. The final tally to pass the measure was 63 to 36.

“Democrats are feeling very good tonight,” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. “We’ve saved the country from the scourge of default.”

Republicans brought the nation to the brink of default with their insistence that they opposed runaway government spending, but their demands did not square with that argument. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said that the $21 billion cut in funding to the Internal Revenue Service, for example, will result in $40 billion in lost revenue, increasing the deficit by $19 billion.

In other economic news, the Biden administration today announced actions designed to address racial bias in the valuation of homes.

This sounds sort of in the weeds for administration action, I know, but it is actually an important move for addressing the nation’s wealth inequality. In 2019 a study from the Federal Reserve showed that white American families had a median net worth of $188,100, Hispanic or Latino families had a net worth of $36,200, and Black American families had a median net worth of $24,100.

Homeownership is the most important factor in creating generational wealth—that is, wealth that passes from one generation to the next—both because homeownership essentially forces savings as people pay mortgages, and because homes tend to appreciate in value.

But a 2021 study by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, more popularly known as Freddie Mac, showed that real estate appraisers are twice as likely to undervalue minority-owned property relative to contract price for which the home sells, than they are to undervalue homes owned by white Americans.

The story of lower valuation came to popular attention after a Black couple living near San Francisco applied for a loan and received an initial valuation far too low for them to qualify for that loan. Shocked, since the same house had been appraised at almost a half a million dollars higher the year before, the couple removed all traces of their ownership of the house and asked a white friend to stand in as the owner before a new appraiser evaluated the worth of the property. That new appraisal came back a half a million dollars higher than the lowball one.

(The couple sued, and the case was settled in February 2022).

Two years ago, the Biden administration announced a sweeping effort to “root out racial and ethnic bias in home evaluations.” Today it bolstered those efforts to “ensure that every American who buys a home has the same opportunities to build generational wealth through homeownership.” They call for fixing algorithms to ensure that home values are accurately assessed, creating pathways for consumers to challenge low assessments, and increasing the numbers of trained appraisers.

There is a reason that the administration has centered its housing policies on June 1. This is the anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre, when in 1921 white gangs destroyed the prosperous Greenwood district of that city, which was home to more than 10,000 Black Americans. It wiped out 35 blocks with more than 1,200 homes and businesses and took hundreds of Black lives, robbing Black families of generational wealth and the opportunities that come with it.

In 1921, Greenwood, known as “Black Wall Street,” was estimated to be the richest Black community in the United States. The destruction of May 31 to June 1, 1921, changed all that. Residents of Greenwood filed $1.8 million in damage claims—more than $27 million in today’s dollars—against the city, but all but one of the claims were denied when the city was found not liable for damages caused by mobs. (A white pawnshop owner was compensated for the guns stolen from his store.) Insurance didn’t help, either: insurance companies claimed that damage caused by “riots” was not covered by their policies.

In a 2018 article in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Chris M. Messer, Thomas E. Shriver, and Alison E. Adams estimated that the destruction in Tulsa might well have amounted to more than $200 million in today’s dollars.

Greenwood’s Black residents nonetheless pooled their resources and rebuilt the district, despite the system of “redlining” by mortgage companies that deemed parts of Greenwood to be credit risks and made it impossible for residents to get mortgages. “Urban renewal” then destroyed the area again in the 1960s through the 1980s as white city planners rezoned the district, built highways through it, and took property through eminent domain.

Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledged the destruction of Greenwood today in a call with reporters. Noting that “[h]omeownership is one of the single most powerful engines of wealth-building available to American families,” she explained that ‘[m]illions rely on the equity in their homes to put their children through college, to fund a startup, to retire with dignity, to create intergenerational prosperity and wealth.” But “for generations, many people of color have been prevented from taking full advantage of the benefits of homeownership.”

The inequalities of the past have persisted in the home appraisal system, Harris said. “Because their homes are undervalued, Black and Latino people often pay more for their mortgage, receive less when they sell, and are less able to get access to home equity lines of credit—all of which widens the racial wealth gap and deepens longstanding financial inequities.”

“Today,” her Twitter account said, “our Administration is announcing new actions to root out racial bias in home valuations to ensure that all hardworking families can realize the true value of their investment and have a fair shot at the American dream.”

Jonathan Lemire, Adam Cancryn, and Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico reported today that White House officials urged allies to downplay their substantial victory on the debt ceiling crisis and the related budget negotiations, afraid of sparking Republican opposition and eager to be seen as the adults in the room.

But they needn’t have worried. Today, President Biden tripped over a sandbag left in his path as he was jogging away from the center stage of the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation in Colorado after giving the commencement address. He appeared fine after the fall, but it is dominating right-wing social media, the debt ceiling crisis already forgotten.

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bobsal u1553115
Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2023 06:39 am






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Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2023 07:46 am
More of a verification of previous troubles rather than breaking news of something new.
Prosecutors say Trump talks about keeping classified documents on a recording
NPR's Leila Fadel speaks with former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti about evidence former President Donald Trump admitted he kept classified documents after leaving office.
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bobsal u1553115
Reply Fri 2 Jun, 2023 05:38 pm
Model Prosecution Memo for Trump Classified Documents (Just Security)


This model prosecution memorandum assesses potential charges federal prosecutors may bring against former President Donald Trump. It focuses on those emanating from his handling of classified documents and other government records since leaving office on January 20, 2021. It includes crimes related to the removal and retention of national security information and obstruction of the investigation into his handling of these documents. The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as other legal expertise. Based upon this experience and the analysis that follows, we conclude that Trump should–and likely will–be charged.

Before indicting a case, prosecutors prepare a prosecution memo (or “pros memo”) that lays out admissible evidence, possible charges, and legal issues. This document provides a basis for prosecutors and their supervisors to assess whether the case meets the standard set forth in the Federal Principles of Prosecution, which permit prosecution only when there is sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a conviction. Before a decision is made about bringing charges against Trump (and co-conspirators, if any), prosecutors will prepare such a memo.

There is sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a conviction here, if the information gleaned from government filings and statements and voluminous public reporting is accurate. Indeed, the DOJ is likely now, or shortly will be, internally circulating a pros memo of its own saying so. That DOJ memo will, however, be highly confidential, in part because it will contain information derived through the grand jury and attorney work product. Since it will not be publicly available, we offer this analysis. Ours is likely more detailed than what DOJ will prepare internally for explanatory purposes. But, given the gravity of the issues here, our memo provides a sense of how prosecutors will assemble and evaluate the considerations that they must assess before making a prosecution decision.

Our memo analyzes six federal crimes in depth:

Mishandling of Government Documents
1. Retention of National Defense Information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))
2. Concealing Government Records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)
3. Conversion of Government Property (18 U.S.C. § 641)

Obstruction, Contempt, False Information

1. Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)
2. Criminal Contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)
3. False Statements to Federal Investigators (18 U.S.C. § 1001)

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Reply Sat 3 Jun, 2023 02:57 am
Three years ago today, on June 2, 2020, days after then–Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, Martha Raddatz of ABC snapped the famous and chilling photograph of law enforcement officers in camouflage, their names and units hidden, standing in rows on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Mr. Floyd’s murder sparked protests across the country, and Trump used those protests as a pretext to crack down on his opponents. Just the day before, after a call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump told state governors on a phone call: “You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time.... You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again.” Then he used a massive police presence wielding tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash-bang explosives to clear peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters from Lafayette Square across from the White House.

Tonight, President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the Oval Office to emphasize that democracy depends on bipartisanship.” [W]hen I ran for President,” he began, “I was told the days of bipartisanship were over and that Democrats and Republicans could no longer work together. But I refused to believe that, because America can never give in to that way of thinking…. [T]he only way American democracy can function is through compromise and consensus, and that’s what I worked to do as your President…to forge a bipartisan agreement where it’s possible and where it’s needed.”

While he noted that he has signed more than 350 bipartisan laws in his time in office, his major focus today was on the bipartisan budget agreement passed by the House and Senate after months of wrangling to get House Republicans to agree to lift the debt ceiling. Biden will sign it tomorrow, averting the nation’s first-ever default.

Biden characterized those threatening to force the U.S. into default as “extreme voices,” who were willing to cause a catastrophe. The economy, which continues to add jobs at a cracking pace—another 339,000 in May, according to the numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor—would have been thrown into recession. As many as 8 million Americans would have lost their jobs, retirement savings would have been decimated, borrowing for everything from mortgages to government funding would have become much more expensive, and “America’s standing as the most trusted, reliable financial partner in the world would have been shattered.”

“It would have taken years to climb out of that hole,” he said.

But the extremists were sidelined, and the House Republicans and the White House reached an agreement. Biden went out of his way to praise House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his team, saying that the two negotiating teams “were able to get along and get things done. We were straightforward with one another, completely honest with one another, and respectful with one another. Both sides operated in good faith. Both sides kept their word.”

This was not entirely true—McCarthy constantly attacked Biden in the media—but Biden was hammering on the image of bipartisanship. Yesterday, Jonathan Lemire, Adam Cancryn, and Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico reported that Biden and his team plan to make the case for reelection on their ability to negotiate deals that get things done for the American people, acting as the “adults in the room” in contrast to Republican extremists. The budget deal that led to the suspension of the debt ceiling is a major illustration of that position.

Biden also praised House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), claiming that “[t]hey acted responsibly and put the good of the country ahead of politics.”

The solution to the debt ceiling crisis is a major victory for Biden’s team not only because it happened, but also because it leaves Biden’s key priorities intact, not least because they are popular and Republicans did not want to go into 2024 having demanded unpopular cuts.

Biden noted that the measure will cut spending as Republicans wanted (although not necessarily through the measures they insisted on adding), but reiterated that it is the Republican Party that has been on a spending spree. “We’re all on a much more fiscally responsible course than the one I inherited when I took office,” Biden said. “When I came to office, the deficit had increased every year the previous four years. And nearly $8 trillion was added to the national debt in the last administration,” while the deficit fell by $1.7 trillion in his first two years in office.

Biden laid out that the deal protects his reworking of the U.S. economy to support ordinary Americans. It protects Social Security and Medicare, as well as healthcare and veterans’ services. It protects the investments in the economy that have enabled the country to add more than 13 million new jobs, including 800,000 jobs in manufacturing. It protects investments in addressing climate change.

Finally, Biden vowed to make the wealthy—those who earn more than $400,000 a year—pay their fair share in taxes.

“I know bipartisanship is hard and unity is hard,” he concluded, “but we can never stop trying, because in moments like this one—the ones we just faced, where the American economy and the world economy is at risk of collapsing—there is no other way.

“No matter how tough our politics gets, we need to see each other not as adversaries, but as fellow Americans. Treat each other with dignity and respect. To join forces as Americans to stop shouting, lower the temperature, and work together to pursue progress, secure prosperity, and keep the promise of America for everybody.”

What a difference three years can make.

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