Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certification

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Tue Feb 20, 2024 3:50 am

Conservative group tells judge it has no evidence to back its claims of Georgia ballot stuffing. A conservative group that claimed to uncover a ballot stuffing scheme in Georgia has told a judge it has no evidence to back up its allegations
b Russ Bynum
Associated Press
February 14, 2024, 2:06 PM
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireSto ... -107241018

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A conservative group has told a Georgia judge that it doesn't have evidence to support its claims of illegal ballot stuffing during the the 2020 general election and a runoff two months later.

Texas-based True the Vote filed complaints with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2021, including one in which it said it had obtained “a detailed account of coordinated efforts to collect and deposit ballots in drop boxes across metro Atlanta” during the November 2020 election and a January 2021 runoff.

A Fulton County Superior Court judge in Atlanta signed an order last year requiring True the Vote to provide evidence it had collected, including the names of people who were sources of information, to state elections officials who were frustrated by the group's refusal to share evidence with investigators.

In their written response, attorneys for True the Vote said the group had no names or other documentary evidence to share.

“Once again, True the Vote has proven itself untrustworthy and unable to provide a shred of evidence for a single one of their fairy-tale allegations," Raffensperger spokesman Mike Hassinger said Wednesday. "Like all the lies about Georgia’s 2020 election, their fabricated claims of ballot harvesting have been repeatedly debunked.”

True the Vote’s assertions were relied upon heavily for “2000 Mules,” a widely debunked film by conservative pundit and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. A State Election Board investigation found that surveillance camera footage that the film claimed showed ballot stuffing actually showed people submitting ballots for themselves and family members who lived with them, which is allowed under Georgia law.

The election board subpoenaed True the Vote to provide evidence that would assist it in investigating the group's ballot trafficking allegations.

True the Vote's complaint said its investigators "spoke with several individuals regarding personal knowledge, methods, and organizations involved in ballot trafficking in Georgia.” It said one person, referred to in the complaint only as John Doe, “admitted to personally participating and provided specific information about the ballot trafficking process.”

Frustrated by the group's refusal to share evidence, Georgia officials took it to court last year. A judge ordered True the Vote to turn over names and contact information for anyone who had provided information, as well as any recordings, transcripts, witness statements or other documents supporting its allegations.

The group came up empty-handed despite having “made every additional reasonable effort to locate responsive items,” its attorneys David Oles and Michael Wynne wrote in a Dec. 11 legal filing first reported Wednesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

True the Vote's founder and president, Catherine Engelbrecht, didn't immediately respond to an Associated Press email seeking comment Wednesday. She and another member of the group were briefly jailed in 2022 for contempt for not complying with a court order to provide information in a defamation lawsuit. The suit accused True the Vote of falsely claiming that an election software provider stored the personal information of U.S. election workers on an unsecured server in China.

Prior to the State Election Board's investigation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looked into True the Vote's assertion that it was able to use surveillance video and geospatial mobile device information to support its allegations. In a September 2021 letter, Vic Reynolds, who was then the GBI's director, said the evidence produced did not amount to proof of ballot harvesting.

State elections officials opened their own investigation after receiving True the Vote's complaint two months later. When pressed to provide names of sources and other documentation, the group last year tried to withdraw its complaint. One of its attorneys wrote that a complete response would require True the Vote to identify people to whom it had promised confidentiality.

The State Election Board refused to shelve the complaint and went to court to force True the Vote to turn over information.

In addition to names, the judge ordered True the Vote to provide copies of any confidentiality agreements it had with sources.

The group's attorneys replied: “TTV has no such documents in its possession, custody, or control.”
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Feb 22, 2024 12:44 am

Jack Smith Sees NEW OPENING to OUST Judge Cannon
MeidasTouch
Feb 21, 2024

Special Counsel Jack Smith is ready to pounce as early as this weekend in seeking the removal of federal Judge Aileen Cannon and have her replaced in order to try the Mar-a-Lago obstruction case against Trump by May. Michael Popok of LegalAF explains how two separate rulings —one about witness protection where the judge committed Clear Error, and one about Classified Information Procedures which gives Smith an automatic expedited appeal, will come together to allow him to ask for the judge’s reassignment because of her illogical and inconsistent rulings that create and appearance of impropriety.



Transcript

Michael popok legal AF we are rapidly
approaching the Moment of Truth for Jack
Smith in the Mar-a-Lago case against
Donald Trump for Espionage and
obstruction and whether Jack Smith the
Department of Justice is going to move
for the reassignment of the case away
from Judge aen Cannon we've got not one
but two possible appellate issues that
are coming together coalescing at the
same time we'll know more about it on
Friday when Donald Trump files his final
brief on one of the issues I'm going to
tell you in this hot tick what those two
issues are I'm going to tell you what
the grounds would be for Jack Smith the
likelihood of success and what the 11th
Circuit Court of Appeals sitting in
Atlanta already most the lawyer the
judges there have a jaundice view of
what Aileen Cannon has done already since
she was first assign of the case before
the indictment even came out having
reversed her twice related to Donald
Trump I'll tell you what I think will
happen and the standard that needs to be
applied by the 11 circuit if they're
going to apply what I refer to as the
Lemon Law and remove a judge and assign
a new one especially this late the two
issues that I'm going to break down
right here on this hot take one is
related to witness protection and the
other related to the classified
information procedures act or what we
like to refer to here in you know in in
the shop as Sea CIPA and the CIPA issues
one of them gives an immediate immediate
right to an appeal but the way that Jack
Smith has set this up he has um alien
Cannon's leg hovering over a bear trap
related to witness protection those two
things could come together the witness
protection issue and the CIPA issue and
give a fast track appeal directly to um
the 11th circuit for Jack Smith to then
seek the removal of aen cies waiting
patiently it's no secret the Department
of Justice and Jack Smith have been
frustrated frustrated and buffeted by
alien Cannon and how she's handling or
mishandling this sepa based case there's
no two ways about it I get she's in a
sleepy Backwater division of the
southern district of Florida I practice
there I know all about Fort Pierce I
know all about how alien Cannon got this
position really nobody else wanted it it
is not the shining star or the Crown
Jewel of the southern district of
Florida West Palm Beach Fort Lauderdale
certainly Miami maybe even Key West but
on nobody's list is Fort Pierce uh a
very small Cow Town off of lake
okachobee is that where you want
sophisticated uh Federal criminal cases
to be tried you just don't and alien
Canon who's only been a judge for a very
short amount of time most of it through
covid when she didn't handle many cases
at all never seen a sea case before and
you can tell by the way she's making
rulings first issue first issue that
we're going to know more about is
whether she is going to reverse herself
always a difficult thing for a judge to
do off of the final briefing this Friday
she made a improvident ruling a
wrongheaded ruling recently that would
have disclosed over a dozen Witnesses in
their identity to the public who are
Cooper op ating with the government
against Donald Trump in this classified
information procedures act based case
that is a no no that is a cardinal sin
in the world of criminal courts and
criminal judges as part of their
impartial administration of justice
they're supposed to protect Witnesses
especially grand jury Witnesses who and
all their testimony that's it's secret
until the day that they testify and
listing these people and not we're not
talking about not turning over evidence
to the defense to let them put on a
defense we're talking about not
producing information on the public
docket that would put these Witnesses In
Harm's Way based on a track record and a
body of work by Donald Trump that the
judge REM uh that the um uh prosecutor
reminded alien can and the judge happens
all the time a fact that the Magistrate
Judge that reports to the judge remind
you know told us all Donald Trump has a
habit of attacking Witnesses prosecutors
their families jurors Grand jurries uh
jurors judges and the like even Aileen
Cannon herself has been attacked has
been attacked by a a person who's now
been prosecuted who sits in Texas who
made death threats against alen Canon so
she knows well of what I'm talking about
so she made an initial ruling that they
had to not redact not keep confidential
but put on the public docket witness
names she applied the wrong standard in
order to do that she told the
prosecutors that they had to meet a
heightened burden to prove that they
needed to keep this secret from the
public when that is not the standard in
the 11 circuit or really anywhere else
when it relates to witness protection it
is a much lower good faith standard in
fact the cases that aen Canon relied on
Judge Canon relied on in her own order
said that she was applying the wrong
standard you can blame her law clerk but
you have to ultimately the buck stops
with the judge so there's two magic
words and terms that are rarely invoked
rarely um uh mentioned by a prosecutor
unless he really has to and that is
Manifest Injustice and clear error when
you tell a judge that you're about to
commit clear error reversible error and
what you're about to do creates manifest
Injustice you better back those words up
because that is signal to the judge that
she has touched the third rail and is
about to electrocute herself and the
case and set herself up for reversible
error a judge who's already been
chastised by two separate 11 circuit
appellant panels before the case even
led to an indictment by the way she
interfered with the search warrant
process and almost tried to dismiss an
indictment that didn't even exist yet at
the beginning of the case she had to be
reprimanded including by the chief judge
of the 11th circuit before this case
even became a case and and and be told
you're a trial judge back the F my words
back the F up and stay out of it the
prosecutor the executive branch have a
role you don't have a role on this side
of the aisle on the in the Judiciary
Branch you feel like money is just
flying out of your account you have no
idea where it's going I know that
feeling it's all the the subscriptions
think about it between streaming
services fitness apps delivery services
parenting apps it's endless I'm guilty
of it so I used rocket money to help me
find out what subscriptions I'm actually
spending money on and I had them cancel
the ones I didn't want anymore rocket
money is a personal finance app that
findes and cancels your unwanted
subscriptions monitors your spending and
helps lower your bills I never have to
get on the phone with customer service
they'll eveny to get you a refund for
the last couple of months of wasted
money and negotiate to lower your bills
for you by up to 20% all you have to do
is take a picture of your bill and
Rocket money takes care of the rest
rocket money has over 5 million users
and has help saved its members an
average of $720 a year with over $500
million in canceled subscriptions cancel
your unwanted subscriptions by going to
Rocket
money.com leala that's rocket rocket
money.com leala rocket
money.com leala so so they are already
looking at her uh with Chagrin her boss
is at the 11th circuit so the first
issue is when when uh Jack Smith said
witness protection is Paramount you're
citing the wrong standard your own case
law is wrong judge and you're about to
commit clear error and manifest
Injustice the judge said oh well maybe
I'll do that was on a motion for
reconsideration so she gave Donald Trump
until this Friday to respond to that now
she's on the horns of a dilemma if she
doesn't reverse it Jack Smith has the
grounds to say that this judge is should
be removed and to get her reversed on
this issue because it is Manifest
Injustice and it is clear error the
wrong standard that she's applied if she
does reverse herself she's admitting
that she committed manifest Injustice
and clear error right which sets her up
up because no judge likes to be told
that and that would be yet another
strike against her that that Jack Smith
could use for her removal the clearest
and fastest way for her removal and to
get a new judge in there is how she's
handling the classified information
procedures act the sea matters there
it's hard it's very opaque because all
of
those uh procceedings like grand jury
proceedings are kept Under Wraps they're
secret the only people that are there
are the lawyers sometimes not even all
the lawyers and the judge and this
Donald Trump on one case and they meet
secretly sometimes with the sea officer
who is an independent officer and
officer of the court that handles the
confidential information that it's at
the core of mar Lago remember that's the
case about Donald Trump not turning over
dozens and dozens and dozens of of boxes
and information that is are at the heart
of Our National Defense top secret
classified National Defense information
um until it was ripped from his uh cold
living Hands by a execution of a search
warrant and so you've got the seep issue
what makes that different compared to
the issue I told you about about witness
protection is that the law recognizes
the right for the prosecutor to take an
immediate appeal for the for a wrong
decision by a trial judge related to sea
even if it's about one document even if
one document is screwed up by her she's
right a nine of 10 documents that one
document is so important to the National
Security and to avoid the situation of
having a defendant try to leverage and
extort the government about documents in
the case about
extortion that the government has the
right to take an immediate appeal to 11
circuit and at that time either the
witness issue witness protection failure
by the judge to apply the right standard
reversible error or the sea issue
mediate appeal could join together and
give uh Jack Smith what he's been
looking for for a year and a half the
right to get rid of alien Cannon get a
proper judge assigned from the southern
district of Florida having practiced
there for 20 years I could
name about eight of them including the
chief judge altonaga in Miami and many
judges in Miami many judges in West Palm
Beach judge Middlebrooks would be
perfect he's he's you know 20 years on
the bench he's about to take senior
status yes he was appointed by Clinton
he's got experience with Donald Trump
because Donald Trump filed suit in West
Palm Beach and tried to sue Hillary
Clinton the Democratic National
Committee got fine a million dollars
along with his lawyer alenina Hava that
Don Middlebrooks would be a great judge
in this particular case it's a judge
that that Donald Trump doesn't want to
see but if you want to stay up by West
Palm Beach and Palm Beach where Mara
Lago is Don Middlebrooks look him up but
in order to do that you've got to have
the grounds and the grounds I'm going to
I'm going to read to you from a leading
case uh the torington case out of out of
the 11th circuit because it kind of sets
out the grounds for what they call
reassignment on remat after reversal and
the the standard for it the first thing
the court said the 11th
circuit is that we have as the Appellate
Court the right as part of our
supervisory authority over the district
courts in this circuit under a statute
28 United States code section 20 uh 2106
we have the right to reassign judges
uh and that usually happens when a judge
has failed to represent appropriately
the impersonal authority of law right
they're not supposed to be biased
they're not supposed to give out the
appearance of impropriety re the the
court the 11 circuit went on in this
decision to say reassignment is
appropriate where the trial judge has
engaged in conduct that gives rise to
the appearance of impropriety or a lack
of impartiality in the mind of a
reasonable member of the public and that
Jack Smith will spend Pages talking
about things that undermine The
credibility and integrity of the court
and the way she's handled the case the
delays the foot dragging the odd orders
the weird procedure the failure to set
appropriate pre-trial deadlines and
Milestones to get this case tried in May
as she said she would the district judge
has the initial responsibility the 11
circuit went on to recuse themselves
disqualify themselves from a case and
they must recuse themselves in
circumstances that give rise to a
reasonable inference of impropriety or
lack of impartiality the teston appeal
the court went on is whether a judge
should have recused himself is whether
an objective disinterested lay Observer
civilian fully informed of the facts
underlying the grounds on which recusal
was sought would entertain a significant
doubt about the judge's impartiality if
the trial judge should have accused
himself it should be remanded with the
direction that it be reassigned to a
different District Judge uh there's no
other way to put this it's if you're
going to question if a reasonable person
knowing the fact possessing of the facts
would question the impartiality of the
trial judge reassignment is appro
appropriate even a stalemated posture
where the judge has put herself and
painted herself into a corner and locked
herself into a box which is what we have
with the witness the witness protection
issue right she's now going to either
have to admit that she committed
manifest Injustice and her by her order
or and clear error that has made that
has painted her into a corner and locked
locked her into a box of
stalemate right between her and the
prosecutors that in order to get out of
that stalemate posture the 11 circuit
said that also requires the reassignment
of a case to a different judge
especially if she's unwilling to carry
out the law impartial impart in
impartial manner the three elements that
the trial judge uh the Appel Court looks
at to remove the trial judge when
there's no indication of actual bias
they still can reassign about if they
look at whether the original judge would
have difficulty putting his previous
views and findings aside see it's not
necessarily bias that's a higher
standard here it's enough that they have
boxed themselves into a corner with
conflicting and inconsistent rulings
which is what she's doing now tying
herself up in knots wrapping herself
around her own axle is enough that
stalemate position is enough to have her
reassigned because the reassignment
would be appropriate as the court noted
here to preserve the appearance of
justice and then we they also look at
whether the reassignment would entail
waste and duplication out of proportion
to the gains real uh realized from
reassignment so I don't think that
applies here that last part because
she's done very little she's made some
rulings she has not ruled on OT to
dismiss the indictment so we don't have
to worry about that she hasn't ruled on
immunity she hasn't ruled on any of the
defenses she's postponed ruling on these
things now thinking about it out loud
maybe she's postponed all those things
so she can be reassigned I'm just
positing here for a minute Playing
devil's advocate she hasn't grasped the
case by its lapel you know or by it a
bull by its horns and taking it for her
own she's still sort of playing cat and
mouse with the prosecutors she's keeping
a very light footprint on the case but a
light footprint on the case means she
hasn't taken invested enough Sweat
Equity to keep the case and a new judge
could easily slide into her you know
black robe so to speak and just progress
the case to the May trial I mean the
lawyers should have been preparing for
this case to go to trial in
May um Todd blanch who's one of the
lawyers in the case he just told a um a
judge in New York who was scheduling the
stormmy Daniels hush money case the
first criminal trial against Donald
Trump which will go to trial on March
25th that they were busy they're busy
preparing for all the other trials
they're busy preparing for the DC
election interference case although they
shouldn't be because they got to stay in
that case and and I'm sure they said
they're busy in preparing for the make
trial so they have to prepare for the
trial they just have to replace the
judge and especially when the the the
remaining decisions can be easily
dispatched within I a 30 days time and
you pick your jury in may now would be
the time for Jack Smith to get her
replaced Lop the head off of alien Canon
so to speak bring in the new trial judge
replace her she's done a very light
footprint as I've said and they have the
grounds under what I just read the 11
circuit now look we'll continue to
follow one place on the mightest touch
Network legal AF you know what the title
means and we do that podcast where we
curate the stories at the intersection
of Law and politics Wednesdays and
Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
right here on the two over two million
strong Midas Touch YouTube channel help
them get the 3 million before um
Election Day November 5th and then you
can follow me on hot takes like this one
if you like what I'm doing give me a
thumbs up and leave leave a comment I'll
talk back to you so to speak in a polite
way open a dialogue and it helps keep us
on the air so until my next hot take
till my next legal AF says Michael popac
reporting love this video make sure you
stay up to dat on the latest breaking
news and all things midest by signing up
to the midest touch newsletter at mest
touch.com


**********************

Aileen Cannon’s Previous Rulings About Trump Demand Her Recusal
by Norman L. Eisen, Richard W. Painter, and Fred Wertheimer

Slate
June 12, 20235:50 AM

Soon after the news broke that Donald Trump will become the first former president to face federal criminal charges—37 counts that include willful retention of national defense information under the Espionage Act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing documents, and false statements—it was also revealed that Judge Aileen Cannon is scheduled to oversee the case. In our view as experts with more than a century of collective experience in judicial and other ethics questions, that cannot stand. She must recuse herself from the case or, if she refuses, be reassigned by the appropriate judicial oversight authorities.

Her name may be familiar to many. Cannon heard Trump’s challenge to the government’s classified-documents investigation, appointed a special master to review the documents, and temporarily barred the Justice Department from using those records in its investigation. That much-maligned decision was later reversed by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit consisting of three conservative judges: two Trump appointees and the G.W. Bush–appointed Chief Judge William Pryor. They wrote that her decision violated “clear” law and that her approach “would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations” and “violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations.”

Now that the same investigation has resulted in an indictment against Trump, Cannon’s prior, fundamentally erroneous approach casts a shadow over the proceedings. Because her earlier handling of this case went well outside the judicial norm and was roundly criticized by the Court of Appeals, reasonable observers of this case could question her impartiality. Federal law has a way to deal with this challenge: Under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), a judge “shall disqualify himself [or herself] in any proceeding in which his [or her] impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Cannon’s situation clearly fits that test, and she is obligated to recuse herself in Trump’s case.

Recusal is necessary here to avoid serious concerns about Cannon’s impartiality in the public eye. The judicial recusal rule is about preserving the public’s confidence in the judicial system; it does not require a showing of actual bias. Rather, as the Supreme Court has explained, it simply asks whether “an objective observer” in the public “would have questioned [the judge’s] impartiality.” That is clearly the case with Cannon. It is irrelevant whether a judge subjectively believes herself to be impartial. Because the statute aims at ensuring both justice and “the appearance of justice,” a federal judge must recuse if facts connected to the judge’s actions in the case would cause an objective observer to doubt the fairness of the proceedings.

Several features of this case make it clear that members of the public will harbor serious concerns about the fairness of the proceedings and Cannon’s impartiality, well beyond the objective observer standard.

First, it is common knowledge that Cannon already took the deeply erroneous step of ordering federal prosecutors to refrain from using the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago in their investigation when she appointed a special master to review whether these materials were subject to executive or attorney-client privilege. The charges here are the direct result of the investigation her order temporarily halted.

Second, Cannon’s other statements and actions in the prior proceedings made clear her view that Trump is entitled to differential treatment than any other criminal defendant. She wrote that “as a function of Plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own.” She reiterated this position in denying the government’s motion for a partial stay of her order pending appeal, stating that her consideration “is inherently impacted by the position formerly held by [Trump].” After the 11th Circuit rejected her position and granted a partial stay to allow the government to use classified materials and remove them from the special master’s review, she still ruled for Trump on procedural issues over the views of the special master she appointed. As the ultraconservative panel of the 11th Circuit forcefully explained when finally dismissing Trump’s civil action in its entirety, it was Cannon’s attempt to “carve out an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents” that was in a league of its own.

Third, federal courts have explained in related contexts that prior reversals of a judge’s decisions in a case can support the conclusions that the judge “would have difficulty putting [her] previous views and findings aside,” and that another judge taking the case would be “appropriate to preserve the appearance of justice.” Here, Cannon has issued a repeated series of decisions that were harshly criticized by the appellate authorities as being far outside the law. That is a pattern that leads to the ineluctable appearance of bias.

Notably, the prior erroneous rulings had to do with the treatment of classified documents, and she had to be schooled by the DOJ and then 11th Circuit on her cavalier attitude. These decisions are directly related to the current charges. And she will have to deal with those issues constantly, including under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), the complex statute governing how a court deals with the intricacies of a criminal prosecution involving classified information. Add all this on top of the fact that she is the only judge in her division of Fort Pierce, and that, for security reasons, the U.S. Marshal will likely insist the case be tried in Miami where the arraignment will occur, there are also substantial logistical reasons for her to step aside. That provides Cannon with an elegant exit opportunity, should she choose to take it, without having to even address the significant conflict issues.

To be clear, our concern is not that Cannon is a Trump appointee. The conflict of interest is that she has already issued unusual and profoundly wrong decisions favoring the defendant in this case that have been severely criticized and overturned, again by conservative or Trump-appointed judges.

Yet another dimension of recusal that judges sometimes consider is whether it would have practical downsides. But there are no such costs here to another judge overseeing Trump’s case. The proceeding is still in a nascent stage, and the bulk of pretrial motions, discovery, and hearings—which will likely be extensive—have yet to occur.

But what if Cannon does not recuse herself? One possibility that should be explored is for the chief judge of the district court, Chief Judge Cecilia Altonaga, to reassign the case pursuant to the court’s power under federal law to “assign … cases so far as [local] rules and orders do not otherwise prescribe.” Nothing in the Southern District of Florida’s local rules or internal operating procedures is to the contrary. Those local procedures provide for Cannon and her colleagues to agree to transfer the case to another judge. The chief judge should have a vigorous discussion with her under that provision. If Cannon demurs, though, the rules are silent about what happens next and so the federal statute comes into play for the chief judge to reassign the case. She too can point to logistical concerns, including the security ones, in reassigning it to a judge in Miami—saving face for Cannon.

We recognize that such intervention by the chief judge is not an everyday occurrence. If it doesn’t happen, though, there are other options. The more likely possibility here if the Southern District of Florida chooses not to deal with this issue is that the 11th Circuit should be called upon to reassign the case to a different judge at the earliest opportunity. As the case is lodged at the trial court level and is not before the circuit at the moment, that reassignment would likely come only as part of a reversal on appeal of one of Cannon’s decisions.

Under binding 11th Circuit precedents a case should be reassigned to a different judge if, among other reasons, the original judge would have “difficulty” setting aside her previous views and findings and reassignment would not result in a waste of judicial resources. Those factors clearly weigh in favor of reassignment here, due to the difficulties that Cannon will likely face in diverging from her previous unorthodox and wrongful rulings benefiting Trump.

This is the path that appears most likely to be pursued if Cannon is to be removed, because her approach thus far suggests that it unlikely that the judge will recuse herself. DOJ might choose to make the case in a recusal motion that it would be better for her and everyone concerned if she stepped aside. In just about any other high-profile criminal case, if a trial judge were to err in the direction of excessive leniency favoring a criminal defendant in a preliminary hearing and were reversed on appeal, law-and-order conservatives would be the first to say that trial judge had a conflict and should be removed. That judge’s reputation would be on trial. Impartiality would be too dubious. The same is true here.

But the department may, as they often do, take the more conservative approach to recusal. If so, they may instead wait for the judge to overstep once more and at that point ask her, and if she refuses, ask the 11th Circuit to act. They could do so as part of the appeal of that particular issue if it is available pretrial, as are all CIPA rulings on classified document handling (the general area where she stumbled before). Or, if a Cannon ruling is sufficiently outrageous on an issue that is not normally appealable before trial, they could seek mandamus (available in unusual situations when a district judge is failing to perform their duty).

If seeking reassignment by the 11th Circuit is the outcome here, that will require a bit of patience by all of us. Still, if the special master case is any indication, we should not have a long wait for an erroneous decision by Cannon (although we would be pleased to be proven wrong).

Ultimately, Cannon should do the ethical thing and recuse herself. If she chooses not to, DOJ should be watchful for the first opportunity to seek reassignment by the 11th Circuit. The reputation of the 11th circuit and the ability of their judges, both trial and appellate, to handle sensitive cases with an absence of bias are at stake here. So is the public’s confidence in the outcome of one of the most important criminal trials in the history of our republic. Not to mention the American people’s faith in the entire criminal justice system. Ultimately, a failure to recuse or reassign could well do great damage to the core American principle that no one—not even a former president—is above the law.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Feb 22, 2024 4:10 am

How a trusted FBI source became the center of a Washington scandal
by Evan Perez & Hannah Rabinowitz
CNN
Updated 9:29 PM EST, Wed February 21, 2024

Image
Alexander Smirnov, middle, leaves court in Las Vegas on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. CNN

Alexander Smirnov was initially prized by the FBI as a solid source who had relationships with corrupt foreign business and government officials, but his appeal grew when he revealed he also had connections with foreign intelligence services, according to multiple sources.

The FBI’s management of Smirnov is drawing fresh scrutiny after it was determined one of the bureau’s longtime paid sources was pushing fake dirt about President Joe Biden and his family.

Prosecutors say Smirnov was the source of the false allegations that the Bidens received $10 million in bribes in exchange for favors to benefit a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma, while the president’s son, Hunter, was a paid board member. Smirnov now claims to have gotten some of his dirt about the Bidens from Russian intelligence officials, according to court documents.

The former paid informant is facing criminal charges of lying to the FBI and falsifying documents. He has not yet entered a plea.

But the FBI was suspicious of some of Smirnov’s information as far back as 2020, and during his years working as a paid informant, there’s no indication he was polygraphed, according to a person briefed on the matter.

A polygraph is a standard way the bureau assesses sources. In some cases, the bureau is known to avoid using polygraphs if a confidential source is also working with another US intelligence agency, current and former officials say.

The Smirnov saga harkens back to another notorious longtime informant, Christopher Steele, whose relationship with the FBI went awry over explosive unverified allegations about candidate Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

Both informants had a venerated reputation within the FBI, and both brought uncorroborated raw allegations against a major presidential candidate, and his supposedly corrupt foreign ties. But the two aren’t the same; Smirnov is now accused of criminally lying to the bureau, while Steele was investigated for potentially doing the same thing but never faced charges.

FBI officials continue to believe it’s possible for both things to be true: that Smirnov provided legitimate and prized information in criminal investigations over the years and that he lied about the Burisma bribes in part because of his antipathy against the Bidens.

Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is a Latin maxim meaning "false in one thing, false in everything". At common law, it is the legal principle that a witness who falsely testifies about one matter is not credible to testify about any matter.

-- Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, by Wikipedia


Smirnov first began working for the FBI as an informant in 2010, according to court records. He provided information to the same handler for more than a decade, and court documents say their relationship was deep enough that the two eventually spoke nearly daily.

From early on in their relationship, Smirnov’s handler knew he had associations with foreign government officials. When he later reported interactions with foreign intelligence agencies, the FBI realized that the possible window Smirnov offered into those intelligence activities was also valuable, people briefed on the matter said.

The FBI also knew that Smirnov worked as a source to Israeli and other US intelligence services, the people briefed on the matter said.

Timeline of information from Smirnov

As prosecutors have gone public with Smirnov’s alleged lies, the timeline of what he said and what investigators, prosecutors and politicians believed, has come under renewed scrutiny from lawmakers who say the FBI has more to explain.

Before last week, it wasn’t even known that Smirnov was behind the false Biden bribery claims. And even as prosecutors relay his alleged claims of ties to Russian intelligence, they haven’t provided evidence to corroborate that he is now telling the truth.

Last summer, FBI briefers had privately told members of Congress that Smirnov had previously provided credible information in several investigations, the lawmakers have said.

But the bureau was in a bind: The briefers warned lawmakers that the document, known as a 1023, containing Smirnov’s allegations against the Bidens also included raw, uncorroborated intelligence that should not be made public. But at least one lawmaker already had the document, and House Republicans were threatening the FBI over its resistance to turn it over.

Several key questions now remain, chief among them: If the FBI and at least two Trump-appointed US attorneys – Scott Brady in Pittsburgh and David Weiss in Delaware – knew of the FBI’s inability to corroborate Smirnov’s claims, why did it take until last summer for them to begin unraveling his alleged lies?

As early as 2020, Smirnov’s claims about the Bidens were viewed as suspicious by FBI investigators, in part because they couldn’t corroborate them and because some suspected he wasn’t being truthful about all of them, a person briefed on the matter said. Smirnov’s new information also came at a time when the FBI and the US intelligence community was aware of Russian efforts to sow disinformation about the Bidens, some of which had become public through Rudy Giuliani.


In the meantime, congressional Republicans spent months using Smirnov’s allegations to fuel their probes into Hunter Biden and to eventually launch an impeachment inquiry into his father.

Risks of using informants

A former FBI official who managed confidential sources told CNN that Smirnov’s case highlights the risks of using informants.

“They are a necessary evil,” the former FBI official said. “People have ulterior motives to provide information. And … your job is to balance all of that.”

With an informant of Smirnov’s caliber – one providing information on the US president or high-level officials – FBI officials know the risks are even higher.

“Everyone holds their breath,” the former official said of managing a particularly sensitive confidential source. “There’s a roomful of nooses, and you think, ‘I’m gonna run into one of them.’”

A 2019 audit of the FBI’s management of informants from the Justice Department Inspector General found several deficiencies in how the FBI uses informants, including in the process for vetting sources, how the bureau decides to continue to use informants and how long-term informants were monitored.

Those deficiencies include “a risk that CHSs are not adequately scrutinized or prioritized,” the audit found, using an acronym for confidential human sources, or informants.

Smirnov first made payment accusations in 2020

In March 2017 – after the Obama-Biden administration had ended [WHEN TRUMP BECAME PRESIDENT!] -– Smirnov first reported contacts with Burisma executives, prosecutors say. The informant told his handler that there was a “brief, non-relevant” mention of Hunter Biden during a conversation he had with the owner of Burisma but that the conversation was focused [on] other things.

Smirnov’s reports were memorialized in an FBI form called a 1023, which agents use to record unverified reporting from informants.

Years later, in May 2020, Smirnov allegedly texted his FBI handler that Joe Biden was “going to jail.” Smirnov allegedly told his handler that he would “get those recordings” of Hunter Biden telling Burisma that his father would “take care” of the prosecutor general – an allegation that was pushed at the time by top Trump allies and Russian operatives.

For months, prosecutors say, Smirnov did not provide any information to back up his allegations.

In June 2020, the Pittsburgh-based US attorney at the time, Scott Brady, [UNDER DONALD TRUMP] was tasked by Justice Department officials [UNDER DONALD TRUMP] with helping to review information from the public “that may be relevant to matters relating to Ukraine.” As part of their review, FBI Pittsburgh opened an assessment into the document that memorialized Smirnov’s 2017 discussion with Burisma executives.

It is at this point, prosecutors allege, that Smirnov first made the explosive allegations about the Bidens. Smirnov told the FBI that Burisma executives admitted to him in 2015 and 2016 that they hired Hunter Biden to “protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems,” and that they had paid $5 million to each Biden.

The FBI asked Smirnov to hand over documents to determine whether the information he provided was accurate. Prosecutors say that two months later, the FBI members and DOJ leadership concurred that their assessment of Smirnov’s claims be closed.

But, according to his own private testimony last year to the House Judiciary Committee, Scott Brady claimed he was “able to corroborate certain information that was represented by the CHS and is memorialized in this 1023,” including through some travel records that Smirnov had provided.

Prosecutors now say that Smirnov’s travel records are going to be used as evidence against him in his criminal case, proving that he lied about his meetings with Burisma executives.

Brady said he believed that there was a “sufficient indicia of credibility” into aspects of the 1023, and briefed Weiss on the document, according to the interview transcript. Brady said he asked the FBI to give the document to Weiss’ office.

Weiss apparently kept that investigation open through July 2023, when the FBI approached his team about “allegations related to” Smirnov’s claims. By then, Smirnov’s allegations, though not publicly attributed to him, were thrust into the political spotlight by Republicans who relentlessly promoted his Biden bribery story.

Smirnov reported more than a dozen meetings or discussions with Russian officials in 2023, according to court documents.

In September, six years after his original report, Smirnov was again interviewed by the FBI regarding his claims about the Bidens. Prosecutors said that he “repeated some false claims, changed his story as to other of his claims, and promoted a new false narrative after he said he met with Russian officials.”

Smirnov was arrested last week. He has not yet entered a formal plea, but his lawyers have stated he’s fighting the charges.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Thu Feb 22, 2024 5:03 am

The Biden ‘bombshells’ all lead back to Trump – and Russia: It has become increasingly apparent that the sources of whatever ‘dirt’ Republicans claim to have on President Joe Biden and his family can all be traced back to one man. [Donald Trump]
by Andrew Feinberg
Independent
2/21/24

Image
Hunter Biden Informant [Alexander Smirnov] Charges (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

It’s been over than a year since Republicans took over the House of Representatives and launched a series of investigations into President Joe Biden and his family.

And, over the course of that year, it has become increasingly apparent that the sources of whatever “dirt” Republicans claim to have can all be traced back to one man: former president Donald Trump.

The Republican-led impeachment inquiry into Mr Biden has been beset by pratfalls and embarrassments for the two committee chairmen most responsible for the investigation, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer and Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan.

Even as Mr Comer and Mr Jordan and their compatriots met on Wednesday for a transcribed interview with Mr Biden’s brother James Biden, their justification for the sprawling investigation has been steadily falling apart as it has been exposed as little more than an errand carried out on behalf of Mr Trump – and even foreign intelligence officials – looking to damage the president.

In his opening statement to the Republican-led committees, James Biden made clear that his brother “has never had any involvement or any direct or indirect financial interest” in any of the businesses he has worked at during his 50-year career.

The president’s brother also hit out at critics who claim his business career has benefitted from the elder Mr Biden’s political career, telling the House panel that those who’ve accused him of being a hanger-on have been “either mistaken, ill informed, or flat-out lying”.

James Biden’s testimony largely squares with what was said under oath by a former associate of Mr Biden’s son Hunter, an ex-US Navy officer called Tony Bobulinski.

For anyone who paid attention to Mr Trump’s shambolic efforts to smear Mr Biden during his 2020 bid, Mr Bobulinski’s name should be a familar one.

Just hours before Mr Trump and Mr Biden met for their final general election debate, reporters covering the debate were summoned by the president’s [Trump's] campaign to a hotel conference room.

There, they were introduced to Mr Bobulinski, who proceeded to show them several non-functional mobile phones and claim that Mr Biden had been a co-stockholder in a failed business venture his son had explored with a Chinese energy conglomerate.

But when Mr Bobulinski appeared before Mr Comer and Mr Jordan’s panels last week, he was unable to produce any evidence backing up his claims. He even tried to deny he had any links to Mr Trump’s campaign
during a session which Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin slammed as “chaotic to the point of burlesque”.

Though Mr Bobulinski eventually admitted that he had indeed attended that 2020 debate as a guest of the former president, his appearance before the House panels presented yet another link between him and Mr Trump’s campaign — his lawyer.

The former naval officer was represented during his House interview by Stefan Passantino, a Republican elections lawyer and former Trump White House attorney who achieved a measure of notoriety when it was revealed that he’d pushed former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson to conceal testimony during the House’s investigation into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.


According to a transcript of one of Ms Hutchinson’s interviews with the House January 6 select committee, she told the panel — after she’d obtained new counsel — that Mr Passantino had advised her: “The less you remember, the better”.

And, according to an FBI memorandum of a 2020 interview of Mr Bobulinski by FBI agents, Mr Passantino represented the former naval officer even as he was working for the Trump campaign as an attorney.

And now, Mr Passantino is still on the Trump campaign payroll as the former president continues his efforts to return to the White House.


Federal Election Commission reports reviewed by The Independent show Mr Passantino’s firm, Elections LLC, receiving $92,500 during the last six months of 2023 from the Make America Great Again PAC, $90,000 from the MAGA Inc Super PAC, and another $150,000 from three other Trump-linked political committees during the same period of time.

Not only is the Republican party’s star witness against Mr Biden — a witness who couldn’t back up his claims — conclusively linked to Mr Trump, but the FBI informant who started the entire impeachment enterprise has been shown to be both a liar and a purveyor of foreign intelligence.

Last week, special prosecutor David Weiss obtained a grand jury indictment in the Central District of California against a former FBI source, Alexander Smirnov, on charges that he made false statements to federal investigators about Mr Biden and his son Hunter.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Smirnov made the false allegations to agents in June 2020, when he allegedly told them about two meetings with an executive from Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company which employed Hunter as an attorney and later as a member of its corporate board.

Mr Smirnov allegedly told agents that “executives associated with Burisma, including Burisma Official 1, admitted to him that they hired [Hunter Biden] to ‘protect us, through his dad, from all kinds of problems”.

He also allegedly told agents that the Burisma executives had made $5m payments to both Joe and Hunter Biden when the elder Mr Biden was vice president, so that Hunter would “take care of all those issues through his dad,” referring to a criminal probe involving Burisma being conducted in Ukraine.

Prosecutors further alleged that Mr Smirnov told agents about a phone call with the executive, in which he claimed he’d been “forced” to pay the alleged bribes and said it would take investigators a decade to find evidence of the payments.

Those allegations have been heavily leaned on by the Republican members of Congress conducting an impeachment investigation into the president

But it turns out that Mr Smirnov wasn’t acting only out of some partisan animus against the Bidens.

According to court documents, prosecutors believe Mr Smirnov has been “actively peddling new lies” he picked up from “officials associated with Russian intelligence” who he claimed had been “involved in passing a story” about Hunter Biden.

Prosecutors also said Mr Smirnov “has reported numerous contacts” with a top Russian intelligence official they described as “the son of a former high-ranking Russian government official, someone who purportedly controls two groups of individuals tasked with carrying out assassination efforts in a third-party country, a Russian representative to another country, and as someone with ties to a particular Russian intelligence service”.

“The misinformation he is spreading is not confined to 2020. He is actively peddling new lies that could impact US elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in November,” they said.

In 2016, Mr Trump allegedly benefited from Russia’s effort to interfere in the presidential election on his behalf.

Based on what we now know, it certainly appears he and his allies could be banking on a repeat performance to smear the Bidens.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Fri Feb 23, 2024 8:30 am

Jan. 6 pinball game featured at CPAC exhibit
by Miranda Nazzaro
The Hill
02/22/24 1:41 PM ET

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) exhibition hall for the 2024 event includes a variety of merchandise, trinkets and even a twist on the traditional pinball game.

The virtual pinball game, created by entrepreneur Jonathan Linowes, features photos from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, former President Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally earlier in the day, along with graphics of the U.S. Capitol and media networks MSNBC, Fox News and CNN.

The game can be played over several modes, including “Stop the Steal,” “Fake News,” “Peaceful Protest,” “It’s a Setup,” “Babbitt Murder” — a reference to the Jan. 6 rioter who was shot and killed by police after trying to climb barriers at the Capitol — “Have Faith” and “Political Prisoners.” As you play each mode, videos from the insurrection play on a screen above.

Image
A pinball machine themed around the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol is featured at CPAC 2024 at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (Miranda Nazzaro)

Linowes told The Hill he hopes the game can “reach an audience” of those who are not ordinarily political.

“I’m in the tech world, and it’s very sort of left leaning; I would go to tech events and hear people say things, and I would basically have to self censor myself,” Linowes said Thursday. “But after the 2020 election, I decided that … I didn’t want to really keep quiet anymore, and … I make games, so I decided to make this ‘J6’ that explains a lot of the truth of what happened in J6.”

He claimed he also posted the free software for the game on websites for enthusiasts, but was later banned because platforms said they did not “want any terrorists” on their website.

Other items nodding to conservative messaging were offered in the exhibit hall as well, including “Woke Tears Water” bottles, bedazzled guns and candy with the label, “Make America Great Again.”

CPAC kicked off its second day Thursday, featuring a series of Republican speakers including Rep. Byron Donalds (Fla.), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) and Lara Trump — the daughter-in-law of Trump and his pick for co-chair of the Republican National Conference (RNC).

The event will run through Saturday, with other high-profile Republicans expected to deliver remarks, including the former president, Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Matt Gaetz (Fla.) and Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), as well as Sen. JD Vance (Ohio) and Republican Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake.

More than 1,100 people have been charged in nearly every state since the Jan. 6 riots on the Capitol, according to the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office.

The Hill’s Cate Martel contributed.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Sat Feb 24, 2024 6:52 am

Dancing in the Dark: Steps to Avoid a Constitutional Coup in the 2024 Election
by Mark Medish & Joel McCleary
Jan 8, 2024 | Election 2024
https://washingtonspectator.org/dancing-in-the-dark/

[x]
Woman holding a sign that reads "Don't certfiy the Lie" PHOTO CREDIT: Johnny Silvercloud

Walt Whitman was right when he wrote that our democracy is an athletic one. Defending our democratic republic requires the stamina of a marathon runner and the versatility of a gymnast.

The events of January 6 alerted Americans to the quirkiness and fragility of our electoral process. Had Vice President Mike Pence failed to certify the electoral college outcome on January 6th, as urged by his boss, the country would have plunged into an arcane contested election procedure prescribed by the 12th Amendment, in which a majority of state congressional delegations in the House of Representatives might have had the final say.


After January 6th the nation has learned that getting from election day to inauguration day in a straight line can be a challenge, especially if the worse angels of our nature prevail in the context of a close election. For too long the balloting on election day was assumed to be dispositive, and the mishmash of laws pertaining to certification (which vary from state to state) were taken for granted. Until, that is, Donald Trump tried to upend the post-election day certification process with fake electors from several states, dozens of frivolous lawsuits and his demand that the Vice President violate his oath of office.

Trump’s largely improvised schemes to hold onto power were ultimately rejected, but his illegal actions opened a window onto additional and equally concerning vulnerabilities in our electoral process that he or other parties similarly antagonistic to democracy might exploit.

The peaceful transition of power requires civic trust and good faith. And to oversee, manage, and certify the final electoral steps mandated by the Constitution, the House cannot proceed without first electing the Speaker. But what if there is a deliberate strategy to block certification of selected congressional seats around the nation, with the aim of skewing the true majority in the House and controlling the vote for the Speakership in January 2025. Or, what if a new Speaker cannot be chosen, or goes rogue? What if due to disarray there is no clear presidential winner by Inauguration Day?

The U.S. is the world’s oldest continuous democracy but idiosyncrasies of the Constitution on which it’s grounded can put the stability of elections at risk. Our founding charter, ingenious and forward-looking in so many respects, contains seeds of its own undoing under certain circumstances.

The problems are not limited to the electoral college, which allows for anti-majoritarian outcomes where the winner of the popular vote does not get to the White House, as happened in the presidential elections of 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016.

No electoral system is perfect. In parliamentary democracies, if an election fails to produce a winner or winning coalition, a caretaker government is left in place, and fresh elections are held to determine a new government according to a timeline. The U.S. has particularly weak or problematic provisions for failed or indeterminate elections for federal office, foremost among these the Presidency. Unlike the Senate and House, there is no provision for a presidential election do-over.

In practice, our Constitution’s electoral process, though antique, has worked as long as people have acted in good faith and in conformity with laws, norms and customs. But what if decency and acceptance of norms is no longer the order of the day? What if a losing candidate refuses to acknowledge defeat? What if third party candidates’ driving purpose is to derail the general election process so they can bargain on the House floor over the selection of a President, and for a price? What if people are willing to act in bad faith and game the system?

The venerable Constitution is often praised for interpretive “elasticity” and “durability,” but key election process clauses of the founding document contain a combination of ambiguity, rigidity and silence that can be a recipe for disaster when left to unscrupulous actors. Close elections pose particularly high risks for mischief. As Robert Cindrich, the retired Federal District Judge from Western Pennsylvania, has observed, the Constitution is ultimately a “gentleman’s agreement” among all interested parties to behave properly.

Potential pathways for those of bad faith to grab power through a constitutional coup were revealed on January 6th and now are proliferating. Warning lights for 2024 are flashing. As former Congresswoman Liz Cheney has cautioned, the constitutional checks and balances may not be sufficient to prevent the potential for chaos ahead.

What could go wrong?

The American public approaches the election of 2024 more ideologically divided and distrustful of the democratic process since the pre-Civil war election of 1860. Since January 6th, the Trump camp has relentlessly propagated “Big Lie” allegations of a stolen election in 2020 and a rigged election to come in 2024. Trump has ominously declared there will be no need to vote but rather urged his supporters “to stop the steal” at the polls. The leading Republican candidate’s rhetoric makes clear that he will never accept any election result but his return to the White House.

Here are three examples of what could transpire after the ballots have been cast on November 5, based on extrapolation from precedents, circulating threats and unfolding strategies.

1. Hijack the House

Strategies for gaming the congressional certification process for House members at the federal and state levels.

Many civic leaders are rightly focused on the vulnerabilities of the state certification process for Presidential electors, where efforts to overturn or nullify a state’s Presidential ballot results have been normalized. But they are not yet focused on the equal threat of the weaponization of the House and State certification process, with their implications for the seating of the House of Representatives, election of a new Speaker and ultimately the confirmation of the new President.

a) Gaming the House Certification Process

Every two years, voters elect an entirely new House to be seated on January 3, in accordance with the 20th Amendment.

While individual states administer elections and certify Congressional elections, final certification of all House seats is ultimately up to the House under Article 1, section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which states simply “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members.”

The Federal Contested Elections Act of 1969 clarified procedures for a Congressional challenger to submit within 30 days of the election a notice of contest to the House Committee on Administration. Under the Act, the committee may dismiss or investigate the challenge, order a recount, or call for a new election, and it is supposed to make a recommendation for vote by simple majority in the full House.

These rules for the internal House adjudication process are less strictly legal than they are parliamentary and political. Generally, their disposition cannot be appealed in Federal courts. Indeed, according to what is known as “parliamentary law” or customary House practice, the sitting House majority is free to change or waive previously adopted rules, even those imposed by statute such as the Federal Contested Elections Act, provided that it does not “ignore constitutional restraints or violate fundamental rights.” In short, within certain limits, the majority in the House can make up the rules as they go without fear of court oversight.

In 1984, an exceedingly tight Congressional election in Indiana’s 8th district led to a brutal six-month dispute with multiple state recounts and a Congressionally-led audit. At the insistence of the Democratic House majority, who believed it had principled concerns about the integrity of the election, the 8th district’s seat remained vacant until May 1985, when a controversial split decision of a three-member committee chaired by Congressman Leon Panetta declared the Democratic candidate had won by a margin of four votes. In the eyes of the enraged Republican minority, the Democrats broke all norms and used its majority power to refuse to seat a Republican candidate duly certified by the state. President Reagan later remarked that Democrats “threw your votes out the window, and in a naked display of power politics, they simply handed your district to their own man. It was an act of unprecedented arrogance.”

Congressman Dick Cheney, too, warned the House Democrats that refusing to seat a state-certified winner and instead seating their own candidate through a partisan-controlled recount procedure violated accepted norms and comity. The bitterness of this battle led to the first major walkout in 95 years of a party’s entire delegation – the GOP members wore “Stop the Steal” pins as they exited. It could be argued the memory of that Republican loss helped prepare the Republicans for the type of power play required to prevail in the 2000 Florida Bush v. Gore recount battle, which determined the election of President Bush.

At the time of the Indiana dispute, Democratic Congressman Jim Wright (who later became Speaker) maintained that the House leadership conducted the recount and certification process in a non-partisan, untainted manner but he also noted that, in reality, the House majority has the “raw power” to select whomever they want to fill a Congressional seat, regardless of state certifications and vote counts.

The Indiana election dispute underscored that while the burden of proof should lie with the challenger, the authority to determine sufficiency of evidence lies not with independent courts but solely with the House Committee, leaving the door wide open to partisan power plays. The legacy of the 1984 disagreement poses a danger to the nation in the 2024 election cycle.

b) Gaming the State Certification Process

In another salient disputed election case, the 2018 election for North Carolina’s 9th district was clouded by allegations of significant fraud on the Republican side. The state did not certify the results. The seat was left vacant when the House convened on January 3 and remained empty for almost a year. The North Carolina state election board called a new election for September 2019, which the Republican contender won.

But what if in 2024 a governor, secretary of state or other authorized state-level actor goes rogue and attempts in a radical, unpreceded, and fraudulent manner to withhold a state’s election certification for one or more selected seats, regardless of the facts? What if Texas might fail to certify one or more of its many Democratic seats. This is hardly fantastical. Against all norms, in 2020 Texas state authorities attempted to challenge in court the electoral vote counts in other states. That challenge rightly failed but who knows to what lengths Texas, or any like-minded state might go in 2024. And what if New York feared such an action and preemptively moved to do the same?

The upshot of these precedents is that there is potential for the strategic misuse of challenges – both from the state level and within the House itself – to shape or otherwise impede the seating of a new House and thus to hijack the majority position and the Speakership. If the situation devolves into political chaos, it could also delay the selection of a new Speaker.

To be clear, these two disputed House cases were accidental in their origins, the scale small, and the tactics used opportunistically. But what if this type of certification delay at state or House levels or both played out on a larger and coordinated scale? And if the task of establishing a majority in the new House comes down to a handful of seats, the risk of strategic disruption increases.

Simply put, in such House seat dispute scenarios a rogue Speaker of the current 118th Congress could, with support of a cohesive majority, manipulate, strong-arm, or otherwise abuse House rules and procedures to guarantee (and control) a majority of the members for the 119th Congress in January 2025.

Good faith can no longer be assumed. In 2020, current Speaker Mike Johnson, in a purely partisan act, organized 138 Republican House members who were in the minority to refuse to certify the election of President Biden, despite state certifications of the outcome of the vote and the almost universal rulings from state and federal courts that it was an honest election. Indeed, in multiple cases where Republican state legislatures refused to accept a Biden win and conducted recounts in their respective states, the results confirmed the original tally. Still, Johnson cried foul. Imagine if Johnson had been speaker in 2020.

As Berkeley constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky has warned: “Now that Johnson is House speaker, there is no telling what he will do to undermine the election should Trump become the GOP nominee. Given his extreme loyalty to Trump and his efforts to spread outrageous lies and to nullify the 2020 election, the peril for the democratic process is great.”

Many people have trouble imagining that Congressional leaders would refuse to certify the results of a Presidential election solely because they don’t like the outcome. It is worth noting that in remarks as recently as this past Sunday, Elise Stefanik, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, publicly refused to commit to certify the results of the 2024 Presidential contest.

Next to the election of the president nothing is more important than the election of the new Speaker of the House. The party controlling the Speakership has the potential power to reverse the results of the Presidential election and deliver the White House to itself under the untested presidential succession mechanisms pursuant to the 20th Amendment and the Succession Act of 1947.


An added complicating variable for the House equation in 2024 is the third-party spoiler strategy of Bobby Kennedy Jr. and the No-Labels campaign, whose aim is to prevent the two major party presidential candidates from achieving the needed 270 electoral votes on January 6th. They would thus force a contingent election in the House where their purpose is to play the role of kingmakers at the expense of the voice and vote of the American people.

2. Short-Circuit the Electoral College

Overt corruption of the electoral college process is by now a more familiar pathway to perdition because something like it occurred in the run-up to January 6. Trump’s efforts to use parallel slates of electors from a handful of states to confuse the certification process was a form of constitutional coup that Vice President Pence heroically refused to support, even as violent mob insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was unfolding.

Alarmed by these events, in 2022 Congress amended the Electoral Count Act (ECA) to clarify the process of electoral college certification and to patch holes in that 1887 statute, which itself was a legislative response to the 1876-77 Tilden-Hayes presidential election debacle. The original ECA had long been criticized by election law experts for the ambiguities and loopholes that helped set the stage for January 6th.

[x]
The Compromise of 1877: A political cartoon by Thomas Nast that appeared in the February 17, 1877 issue of the American political magazine Harper’s Weekly. The cartoon is in response to the compromise of 1877. The caption says “A truce—not a compromise, but a chance for high-toned gentlemen to retire gracefully from their very civil declarations of war.”

The bi-partisan Electoral Count Reform Act (ECRA) has clearly tipped authority to governors (not legislatures) to certify electoral slates at the state level, raised the threshold for challenges in the Joint Session of Congress under the 12th Amendment, expressly limited the time for floor debate, and clarified the role of the President of the Senate (the Vice President) in counting the electoral votes as solely ministerial and thus without any discretion to invalidate electors or choose between dueling slates. The ECRA was a smart legislative attempt to iron out wrinkles in the antiquated electoral process and avert a replay of the 2020 drama. Eliminating the absurd notion that a single individual such as the Vice President could or should decide a national election outcome seems an obvious step for any modern democracy.

Nevertheless, ECRA remains vulnerable to potentially serious challenges. For example, a party with standing (such as one of the presidential candidates) could challenge aspects of ECRA relating to the states as unconstitutional on the theory that a statute cannot amend the Constitution’s terse provisions for the election process which favors state legislatures. In this context, the threat of the so-called “independent state legislature (ISL) theory,” a dubious legal doctrine that suggests state assemblies have the right to override the popular vote, has received considerable attention.

In its much-anticipated 2023 decision in Moore v. Harper, a North Carolina gerrymandering case about court review of state legislative authority over rules affecting federal elections, the Supreme Court showed no appetite for applying the pre-Civil War states’ rights philosophy embedded in the ILS to contemporary elections. This was a good sign. That said, a Court majority that has the chutzpah to reverse longstanding precedents such as Roe and Bakke – and to trim rather than enhance the desperately needed protections of the Voting Rights Act – has also shown itself to be capable of paradigm shifts against popular expectations.

But there is another potential hurdle for the procedural improvements of the ECRA to be effective. Like the Senate, the House is a self-governing body. But unlike the Senate, the House is not a continuous legislative body and therefore each new session must adopt its own parliamentary rules. The House of Representatives is like a relay race where each time the baton is passed it goes to an entirely new runner.

Thus, as a technical matter, the key provisions of ECRA are effective only if affirmatively adopted by the newly constituted House. Again, keep in mind that Speaker Johnson organized 138 Republicans to vote in opposition to the ECRA. Furthermore, because it is a political question involving the internal operations of the legislative branch, the Supreme Court would be unlikely to impose on Congress the strictures of ECRA relating to House rules.

Indeed, if a Republican majority under the current aggressive and unilateralist style of leadership — which has been willing to oust its own Speaker and threaten government shutdowns and U.S. debt default—is re-established after January 3rd, 2025, it is doubtful whether the new 119th House would adopt the ECRA in its rules package. Failure to adopt that set of rules would increase the risk of a chaotic electoral certification process with an uncertain outcome, including immediate resort to a 12th Amendment contingent contest for President in the House and for Vice President in the Senate, also determined by state delegations.

In other words, we could be plunged backwards to a pre-ECRA world which was ambiguous on key procedural points such as what to do with rival electoral slates, or even to a no-ECA world, with only the imprecise words of 12th Amendment to guide the selection process of a President and Vice President.

Furthermore, another risky quirk of the Constitutional electoral timeline is that, unlike January 3 which is the fixed end of the 118th House term, and January 20 which is the fixed end of the presidential term, January 6 (the date of electoral vote certification) is a changeable date. Under the 20th Amendment, Congress has authority to shift that date; while this would require concurrence of the House and Senate and would be subject to presidential veto, in theory at least the date could change. This flexibility could be helpful in the interests of the timely qualifying of a president, should there be a problem convening on January 6.

However, imagine there is a problem seating the new House owing to failed or competing certifications. Absent such a date change, a failure to certify the electoral college result on January 6 as prescribed would implicate the 12th Amendment. But again, what if there’s not yet a Speaker to convene the House and preside over the contested election process? (The role could possibly devolve to the Senate president pro tempore, the most senior Senator in the majority party caucus) In 2023 it took 15 votes for Kevin McCarthy to be elected Speaker. Such delays could intentionally or unintentionally spill over the January 20th deadline, which brings us to the next form of potential constitutional crisis, and perhaps the ultimate nightmare scenario.

3. Filibuster the Presidential Inauguration

According to the 20th Amendment, January 20 after an election is a rigid date for the end of the outgoing president’s term. This firm deadline is a useful protection against a president who unlawfully tries to extend his term, but it creates a possible conundrum. What if, due to delays from one of the conflictual scenarios just described, there is no qualified president by high noon on that date?

Without a qualified President or Vice President by January 20, the country would be in the uncharted waters of applying the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 as amended.

The Succession Act provides for an “Acting President” – language borrowed from the 25th Amendment in the case of a president’s physical incapacity — until a new President qualifies, which is exceedingly vague and potentially unsatisfactory for democratic legitimacy. For example, would the nation accept an unelected “Acting President” for four years until the next regular election?

As Jean Parvin Bordewich & Roy E. Brownell II, former senior staffers to Senate leaders Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnell respectively, point out, the Succession Act has significant gaps and shortcomings, These include the fact that legislators such as the House Speaker and Senate president pro tempore could succeed as “Acting President,” raising serious questions of political legitimacy. After all, why should legislators (who could be from either party) be assigned to the highest executive office without an election? Whether appointed Cabinet secretaries from the President’s own party are any more suitable as acting successors for prolonged periods without an election is also an open question. Fundamentally, there is a difference between mid-term succession in cases of death or incapacity (which the 25th Amendment addresses) and succession in the case of a failed presidential election.

Legal formalists may insist that all likely contingencies have been anticipated and there is no need for concern. Yet one wonders whether the Succession Act would in fact be implemented or accepted in such a controversial situation as a failed election. Might it be viewed by voters as too flimsy a process to handle a failed presidential election? Indeed, why should a strategy based on known election manipulation be allowed to determine succession to the presidency, even if only acting, when we know that free and fair elections must be the touchstones of our democracy?

It is noteworthy that in the presidential election crisis of 1876-77, even the 12th Amendment process was circumvented and instead Congress (then unconstrained by a Succession Act of its own making) opted for a special fifteen-member commission of eminent persons to broker a political settlement between the Tilden and Hayes camps. Tellingly, as legal scholars David Fontana and Bruce Ackerman have explained, this was done precisely to avoid allowing a highly partisan and untrustworthy Senate pro tem figure to preside over the contingent election process in lieu of the absent Vice President (who was deceased).

The result – awarding the presidency to the loser of the popular vote – may have avoided an even deeper national crisis, but it came at the devastating cost of undoing Reconstruction policies in the South. Could we be headed for some kind of brokered presidency in 2025, as hoped for by third-party nihilists and spoilers such as Bobby Kennedy Jr. and No-Labels? Would this further polarize an already dangerously divided nation?

What can be done?

Each of these “raw power” scenarios would require a big dose of bad faith and sinister conspiracy to succeed. Each would entail an aggressive and opportunistic misuse of Constitutional ambiguity and the laws of the land against the founding democratic spirit and principles of popular sovereignty and limited government.

Yet we already know too much not to engage in preemptive strategies to neutralize any fresh attempt at a constitutional coup. We can have no illusion in 2024 about the threat level – unscrupulous actors on the current political stage have been looking for constitutional loopholes and avenues to take power if it cannot be done by fair means. It is noteworthy that the former president has declined to sign the Illinois pledge not to advocate for the overthrow the U.S. government – at least he is not a hypocrite.

Preparedness is essential. Its purpose is not scaremongering; rather, it is vital to the anticipatory defense of our constitutional democracy.

As citizens in a democracy, we are not mere bystanders or spectators. We must strive to preempt those who would subvert our electoral process. No invisible hand will save us. To survive, we must act.

Here’s how: Apart from eligible voters casting their votes, there are three principal domains of citizens’ defense against a constitutional coup.

First Line of Defense: The Courts

While there may be no sure-fire legal remedy for the “raw power” tactics Representative Wright referred to, the courts matter.

Courts performed well in 2020, with independent judges (many of them Trump appointees) striking down scores of trivial and unsupported election challenges. They must be ready again.

Members of the constitutional and election law bars committed to upholding best practices – including all the lawyers and election experts who have been engaged in litigation at state and Federal levels in the aftermath of the 2020 election—must be prepared to defend the ECRA and to decisively defeat the states’ rights notion that state legislatures have authority to veto the popular vote, among many other knotty legal issues.

In addition, the prosecution of the various January 6 conspirators, including at the state level, as well as the disbarment of lawyers who aided and abetted the various election interference plots, has had an important ongoing deterrent effect on others who would contemplate such tactics in the future. The lesson is that individual wrongdoers are being, and should be, held to account for complicity in stoking election and post-election chaos, even though Trump is still encouraging bad actors by signaling he will pardon such past and future behavior if elected.

True, time can be an issue when it comes to the legal remedy. Justice delayed is justice denied. The normal Federal prosecution and appeals process can be drawn out. It has taken more than three years to respond to the “high crimes” of January 6 through the courts. We still have no definitive resolution with respect to the multiple Federal and state charges against Trump. Yet any of the nightmare scenarios described above will involve real-time court challenges during the pressure-cooker transition period.

The Supreme Court is unlikely to preemptively fix any of the major constitutional election conundrums—because the issues are not ripe or they involve political questions. Nevertheless, the ultimate normative check on an attempted constitutional coup could reside with the high court if it chooses to intervene amidst an election crisis. Such interventions can be a two-edged sword, as we learned with the Court’s controversial ruling to cut off the ongoing Florida recount in Bush v. Gore.

Twenty years ago, in the wake of Bush v. Gore, legal scholar Mark Tushnet argued there have been critical moments in our country’s history when the political order is tested by “constitutional hardball” – when aggressive tactics are used to advance partisan goals.

Such tactics risk pitting the letter of the constitution against its spirit. On a number of key occasions, such as Marbury v. Madison (1803), a case establishing the authority for judicial review of laws and acts by other branches, the Supreme Court have resolved such conflicts by charting a principled way forward in accord with a compelling reading of the Constitution. But “constitutional hardball” by definition can take things to the brink of disaster because, as Tushnet describes, the political actors, whether executive or legislative, are “playing for keeps” about foundational issues with high stakes for their policy agendas.

Indeed, the arena of legal hardball is where sharply competing political visions of the Constitution’s meaning and interpretation – for example, the “original intent” versus “living document” or the states’ rights vs. New Deal government schools of thinking– duke it out on first order questions. This is the contentious crossroads of the rule of law (which Justice Scalia defined as “the law of rules”) and political philosophy (the realm of values). In regular times, the law has much room for spirited and even acrimonious political give and take, but there are boundary lines that test the integrity of the entire democratic Republic. Constitutional hardball takes us to edges of those frontiers, for better or worse. Political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have warned that constitutional hardball can open the road for devolution from democracy into authoritarianism,

In this context, a Supreme Court majority willing to step in and “do the right thing” could save the Republic. But constitutional hardball is inherently high risk and can be played by both sides who do not agree on what “the right thing” is.

For example, there is no guarantee that under pressure of a hot political crisis the current Supreme Court majority would uphold the application of equal protection embodied in a long line of landmark voting rights case such as Baker v Carr (1962), Gray v Sanders (1963), Reynolds v Sims (1964), and Wesberry v Sanders (1964). The one person, one vote principle is the basis for popular sovereignty but (like gender equality or the right to privacy) the individual right to vote is not found in so many words in the Constitution.

One 2024 version of constitutional hardball is already starting to play out. The “insurrectionist” ballot cases under the 14th Amendment Section 3, a post-Civil War clause which prohibits people who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States from serving in federal office, could plunge us into a constitutional crisis involving the Supreme Court even before the November election. The Supreme Court has taken up the Colorado ballot exclusion case and its ruling will be highly consequential either way. The Democrats’ preemptive invocation of “14:3” to ban Trump from ballots is itself a form of constitutional hardball and, whether or not lustration of the former president succeeds on the merits, raises the risk of tit-for-tat escalation.

Second Line of Defense: Parliamentary Gymnastics and State-level Deterrence

Congressional and state leaderships have key roles to play in countering the threats to an orderly election and peaceful transition.

The Speaker, if principled, may have the ability to prevent a constitutional coup through procedural discipline and if necessary stronger parliamentary tactics, another form of “constitutional hardball.” For example, in the 2020 election House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had hardball tools of parliamentary maneuver at her disposal, including quorum rules, if the 12th Amendment contingent election power play was attempted. But again, all depends on the character of whoever occupies the Speakership in January 2025.

In addition, at the state level, if bad actors attempt to “hijack the House” with multiple coordinated frivolous challenges, principled government officials in other states could threaten to counter such a strategy by withholding their own election certification of House Members. This type of deterrent threat should be used only as a last resort and be subject to a strict doctrine of “no first use.” With an incipient House crisis, “mutual assured destruction” would take constitutional hardball to a new level but could also avert a power grab.

Third Line of Defense: The Marathon Work of Rallying Bipartisan Voices and Building a Citizens’ Firewall for Democracy

Bipartisan former and current members of Congress, governors and other leaders must be prepared to engage prophylactically in sustained vocal advocacy to protect the democratic principles of the Constitution. Appeal to common sense decency and fair play will be essential to summon the better angels of our nature – this has been America’s saving grace across generations. Denying a rogue Speaker a united House majority is one of the most powerful weapons. This principled advocacy must be done in advance of November as a clear warning to those who might be trying to hijack the House or otherwise hobble the transition and seize power by skullduggery. Members of the House should be strongly encouraged to cross party lines as needed to prevent a majority under a rogue Speaker.

Finally, broad public consciousness-raising through media and civic engagement remains imperative. We must continue to stimulate bipartisan civic discussion at the precinct level of town halls, fire houses and civic centers to preempt mischief and to rebuild trust wherever possible. The grassroots activism of concerned citizens is always the strongest antidote to potential abuses of power. Neighborhood stalwarts, pillars of the community and civic-minded influencers should speak up across the country. As former Pennsylvania Republican Governor Corbett has put it, “we need hyper-localized dialogues about democracy.” De Tocqueville could not have said it better.

As we head into the primary season, the message to voters and responsible officials alike is simple: We Americans must remind ourselves that we know how to hold honest elections, how to count votes and how to respect outcomes when all the votes are tallied. Fortunately, since 2020 many diverse non-partisan civil society organizations have sprouted to spread exactly this message across the land.

We must continue to build the barricades of public opinion against each of the foreseeable dark scenarios – hijacking the House, short-circuiting the electoral college, and filibustering inauguration day.

Fundamentally, the citizens’ mandate is for We The People to “just say no” to rampant election denial and to incipient schemes to undermine the 2024 election. Media pundits, opinion leaders, elected officials, law enforcement, and the public at large must all speak up if there is the slightest sign of intent to manipulate the post-election day process and overrule popular sovereignty.

Conclusion

The dark scenarios we have outlined are hopefully remote, but given what happened during the run-up to January 6, and on the day itself, the deep societal polarization, chaos in Congress, and the rise of extremist rhetoric, we must not let a failure of imagination impede our preparedness. Constitutional hardball must not be allowed to devolve into just plain hardball, or we will lose our Republic. In truth, we are already in the fight.

Mark Medish, a lawyer, served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council as well as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the Clinton Administration. Joel McCleary served as Deputy Assistant to the President in the Carter Administration.

*****************************

Whether U.S. Democracy Is a House of Cards Is Up to the House
Opinion

by Tom Rogers
Editor-at-Large for Newsweek
Published Jan 26, 2024 at 4:50 AM EST. Updated Jan 26, 2024 at 9:46 AM EST
https://www.newsweek.com/whether-us-dem ... on-1864092

Democracy—in its broadest terms—will be on the ballot this November. The fact that the Republican nomination will almost certainly go to a candidate who continues to deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election and acted to overturn those results is, in many ways, hard to believe. Yet, that is our reality. Not only will that candidate be the Republican nominee, but he is currently the frontrunner to win the presidential race.

The fact that former President Donald Trump is in this position speaks volumes about how little regard a huge portion of the American electorate has for the future of our democracy. Moreover, his voluminous authoritarian statements and praise of authoritarian leaders seems to enhance that support, not detract from it.

President Biden has rightfully pointed to this election being about preserving our democracy and that being the issue above all others. He is absolutely correct. However, this issue goes well beyond Trump and his anti-democratic proclivities. Trump alone cannot overturn an election or subvert the will of the voters. He needs a full cast of enablers to achieve that.

[x]
Mike Johnson smiles during the fourth round of voting for House speaker at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on Oct. 25. TOM BRENNER/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

We cannot lose sight of the fact that Trump has a full cadre of election deniers who continue to expound the notion that Biden is not a legitimate president and that the 2020 election results should never have been certified.

What makes the potential overturning the upcoming 2024 election even more dangerous than 2020 is that the Republican speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) is not only an election denier, but a ringleader of that effort. He has never renounced his claim and has the support of the majority of his caucus in claiming the last presidential election was illegitimate. In 2020, it was Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats who controlled the House. While it is unclear which party will control the House when the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 3, 2025, it is control of the House between Election Day 2024 and that date that provides those intent on ensuring a Trump victory—regardless of the results of the vote—the opportunity to do so.

In a recently published and extraordinarily important article published in the Washington Spectator, political veterans Mark Medish and Joel McCleary have outlined the real and present danger we face from a House of Representatives intent on ignoring the integrity of the election process. Their article, "Dancing in the Dark: Steps to Avoid a Constitutional Coup in the 2024 election," Medish and McCleary demonstrate their credentials as true guardians of our democratic process by getting deep into the mechanics of how an election-denying Republican speaker could overturn a presidential election, among various other ways legitimate election results could be illegitimately overturned.

As Medish and McCleary state: "Good faith can no longer be assumed. In 2020, current Speaker Mike Johnson, in a purely partisan act, organized 138 Republican House members who were in the minority to refuse to certify the election of President Biden, despite state certifications of the outcome of the vote, and the almost universal rulings from state and federal courts that it was an honest election."

Now that Republicans are in the majority, with Johnson leading the House, the ability to manipulate an election outcome is far greater.

Medish and McCleary spell out one of the most dangerous scenarios:

The current House Republican majority is very slim—down to just a few votes. Because of redistricting rulings in several states, the Democrats have a real chance of regaining the House majority in the November election. However, the current election denying Republican majority, in the days following the November elections, might decide that they are going to question the results of certain House races that Democrats have won by close margins. The current Republican majority in the 118th Congress, in preparation for the seating of the 119th Congress on Jan. 3, could deny certification of enough Democratic election winners to preserve the Republican majority in the new Congress. It is generally the old Congress certifies House member elections so that when the new congressional session begins, Congress can swiftly move to conduct business.

As Medish and McCleary point out, there are precedents where a House majority by brute political force has seated a member of their own party in a disputed election, despite results that point to a different winner. Essentially a rogue House could perpetuate itself.

Once the Republicans have effectively "stolen" the House majority and elected a speaker, the next step in an election denial process would be, with or without assistance of a swing-state governor, to refuse to certify the Electoral College results of certain states on Jan. 6. The recently enacted Electoral Count Reform Act (the ECRA) raised the number of objectors necessary not to certify any election, but there are enough election deniers in the House of Representatives to meet the new threshold. Even if the Senate were not going to meet that objection threshold, the House refusal to certify would be enough to assure that no candidate gets a majority in the Electoral College, thus throwing the presidential race into the House of Representatives.

According to Medish and McCleary this is a crucial point. Unlike the Senate, the entire House is elected every two years, and so it is not a continuous body, and thus its rules must be essentially re-adopted by each new Congress, according to the authors' informed House Parliamentarian sources. Thus, there is no guarantee that a House bent on overturning an election would adopt the implementing rules of the ECRA, rendering that major reform effort toothless. In sum, the House is sovereign over the rules it uses to govern itself.

Once the presidential race is thrown into the House, a president is chosen on a state-by-state delegation vote, a vote today that the Republicans would win, and there is very little likelihood that the state-by-state delegation vote would be changed by the results of the 2024 election. The long and short is that an election-denying speaker in the current Congress could manipulate the certification process of both House members and Electoral College slates so as to deliver the presidency to Donald Trump.

The key to preventing the Trumpian efforts at overturning the 2020 election were the many state and federal court rulings upholding the legitimacy of the election process. However, the threat from an election-denying House speaker-led coup is far greater because the House's internal political processes are not reviewable by the courts. As Medish and McCleary state, "the majority in the House can make up the rules as they go without fear of court oversight." What the courts deem as political issues are simply not subject to judicial review—"the sitting house majority is free to change or waive previously adopted rules."

It is naive to think that House Republicans are not focused on how to use their power to aid and abet a Trump claim that the election was stolen again. Very recently, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, refused to commit to certifying the results of the November elections. In addition, Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican who did vote to certify the 2020 election told The Hill "... remember the U.S. House of Representatives is the ultimate arbiter of whether to certify electors." He added, "that effort {in 2021} was doomed because Democrats controlled the House and Senate at that time."

As Medish and McCleary make very clear "we can have no illusion in 2024 about the threat level...The party controlling the speakership has the potential power to reverse the results of the presidential election and deliver the White House to itself." There is plenty to worry about in terms of whether this speaker and this House of Representatives will turn this republic into a house of cards. We must be prepared to defeat this scenario—starting by expressing gratitude to Medish and McCleary for their service in pointing out how real "dancing in the dark" and the chaos that would follow could become.

Tom Rogers is executive chairman of Oorbit Gaming and Entertainment, an editor-at-large for Newsweek, the founder of CNBC and a CNBC contributor. He also established MSNBC, is the former CEO of TiVo, a member of Keep Our Republic (an organization dedicated to preserving the nation's democracy). He is also a member of the American Bar Association Task Force on Democracy.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Tue Feb 27, 2024 2:20 am

Jim Jordan ROCKED with surprise legal news
by Brian Tyler Cohen and Glenn Kirschner
The Legal Breakdown with BTC & Glenn Kirschner
The Legal Breakdown episode 206: @GlennKirschner2 discusses Jim Jordan and James Comers' complicity with a US attorney who helped launder Russian disinformation to Congress.
Feb 26, 2024



Transcript

you're watching the legal breakdown so
Glenn this is probably one of the
craziest episodes of legal breakdown
that we're going to do so we know that
Jim Jordan and James comr among other
Republicans seized on allegations
against Hunter and Joe Biden that were
put forward by a guy named Alexander
smof and they pointed to the fact that
smov was a confidential source for the
doj and so his claims must have been
true they must have been legitimate
right so talk about the pretty stunning
update that we just got that shows where
this breakdown actually occurred yeah
Brian this is an incred ibly Tangled
Republican web that folks wo and it's
really staggering that at the end of the
day and we're going to go back to the
beginning of the day members of Congress
used Russian disinformation as the basis
to try to impeach an American president
I mean how far have we Fallen as a
government so here's how it started this
guy Alexander smaroff you can't make
that name up and I'm not going to make
jokes like Hunter B with a shot of
smaroff but this guy Alexander smaroff
was a longtime FBI uh human Source now
what people need to know is that the FBI
has lots and lots and lots of sources I
know because over the decades I was
practicing and Prosecuting cases
including with the FBI you know we got
to we used any number of sources or the
information provided by sources but
here's the key when it comes to a human
source providing information the three
most important words corroboration
corroboration and corroboration now
these sources will have all kinds of
incentive to just dump lots of
information on the FBI often because
they're getting paid for that
information and the FBI will record
dutifully record every word whether it's
true whether it's false whether it's an
open question whether it can be
corroborated or not but importantly and
I think valuably um the FBI will take
everything down and then they will go
about trying to figure out what's
important what's credible what's
reliable what's truthful well over the
years it looks like this smaroff guy was
providing lots of information and a lot
of it turned out to be untruthful
unreliable incredible so but all of it
kind of gets dumped into these reports
the reports are called 1023s which you
should think of as completely unverified
information it just came out of the
mouth of
and some of what came out of the mouth
of smaroff was oh you know what Joe
Biden and Hunter Biden were taking
bribes massive money bribes from barisma
this Ukrainian Energy company so somehow
rather than having that information
vetted for accuracy it just got passed
through a number of hands until it ended
up in the hot little hands of two
Republican members of Congress James
comr and Jim Jordan and they apparently
didn't care at all about the
truthfulness the accuracy the
reliability they just took it they ran
with it and they used what proved to be
Russian disinformation as the basis of
an impeachment inquiry so it went from
smaroff to an FBI agent and then at some
point Bill bar gallops in wearing his
big black hat and he says this is back
during the Trump Administration when
this information in this 1023 reform
gets discovered and it's a parade of
horribles about who Donald Trump's
political opponent Joe Biden Bill Bar
says here's what I'm gonna do I am going
to handpick a trump loyalist us attorney
a guy named Scott Brady and I'm gonna
say us attorney Brady I I'd like you to
try to verify this information Brady
does whatever Brady does we don't know
yet um and apparently it's verified to
his his satisfaction and it ends up
being handed off to congress not
necessarily by Brady but by the FBI now
director Ray reportedly tried to resist
giving this unreliable information to
Congress but he broke down and gave it
to them anyway that seems to me to be a
mistake I think there's more to come on
that story yeah um and uh after BR
verifies it and provides some behind
closed doors testimony to Congress about
it you know Jim Jordan and James comr
are Off to the Races saying this is the
world's most reliable evidence because
it was provided by the FBI not
withstanding the fact that it turned out
to be nothing but Russian lies so where
we are now Brian um and you know as you
say this is a a long twisted and tangled
web that the Republicans have weaved um
all of this has now been exposed and it
seems to me the impeachment inquiry
should implode because it was based on
on Russian
disinformation and representative Jerry
Nadler from New York asked made a formal
ask of the Department of Justice to
please investigate this importantly
investigate how it is uh a
self-described sort of Hardcore
Republican loyalist this us attorney
Scott Brady who according to report said
you know what I won't even serve under a
Democrat president and he left the
government when Barack Obama got uh
elected and he came back when Trump got
elected as a US attorney he also appears
on the Federalist Society website as a
contributor um of course so um Jerry
Nadler has said can you please
investigate Scott Brady because it looks
like there is at least a suggestion that
he may have laundered or assisted in
laundering Russian
disinformation got it into the hands of
Republican members of Congress and then
it was used as the basis of an
impeachment take party affiliation out
of it the fact that we're going to try
to impeach an American president based
on Russian disinformation is so obscene
and destructive and the exact opposite
of what our institutions of government
should be about but that is where we are
with this brand new referral by Jerry
Nadler um a request for an investigation
of the Department of Justice into Scott
Brady and the handling of this Russian
this information just I mean Insanity
Glenn what what is what is the recourse
if it does ultimately um bear itself out
that a US attorney you know that who
whose only job basically was to verify
the legitimacy of this information that
he failed at that and then basically
moved this information forward that
would then serve as a predicate to try
to impeach an American president like
what's the recourse for an attorney like
that yeah so the recourse is kind of
twofold if you read um representative
nadler's referral letter he refers this
for an investigation to both the FBI the
Department of Justice that would be for
possible criminal probe and to the
Inspector General for the Department of
Justice Michael harowitz and An
Inspector General looks into possible
misconduct even if it's less than
criminal misconduct possible misconduct
by doj employees so what is the remedy
well first and foremost if it's
investigated per representative nadler's
request and I sure hope the Department
of Justice doesn't take a blind eye to
it if it's investigated and it is
determine that there's any criminal
exposure by Scott Brady or anybody else
then I would expect the case to be
presented to a grand jury for possible
charges and if there's enough evidence
to indict then I would expect the
Department of Justice to seek
indictments of anybody who may have
committed crimes the other um possible
way this will um come to a head with
account ability for wrongdoers is if
Michael harwitz the Inspector General
conducts an investigation finds that
there is wrongdoing though perhaps not
quite rising to the level of criminal
wrongdoing it will then be handed off to
What's called opr the Department of
Justice Office of professional
responsibility where they will conduct
an investigation and they can sanction
lawyers up to an including recommending
termination from the government in the
event they're still in government so you
know there are a couple of avenues of of
accountability that can be pursued and
frankly I hope both are pursued can I
have your reaction to the fact that this
Russian disinformation seems to have
been laundered at every level of the US
government from a US attorney in the doj
whose job it was to again verify the
legitimacy of this information WR down
write down to sitting members of
Congress to chairman of of powerful
committees in Jim Jordan and James comr
um all for the express purpose of
hurting Joe Biden politically can I have
your reaction to that
yeah uh my reaction is is not going to
be a happy one um look I don't know who
laundered it I don't know who was just
negligent in the handling of it failing
to adequately adequately corroborate it
and determine whether it's truthful or
not I don't know what decisions went
into the FBI just deciding even though
it seems to be unconfirmed and
ultimately it was a product of Russian
disinformation just giving over to
Congress without an appropriate Court
battle to stop this exact thing from
happening cutting it off at the pass um
here's what I do know it seems that one
of the more culpable characters and I
know this is going to shock you and it's
going to shock all of our viewers Brian
one of the most culpable characters
seems to be Jim Jordan shocker y why do
I say that and I know let me let
everybody catch their breath that's
right I know um Jim Jordan once it was
exposed that smaroff not only provided
Russian
disinformation against Donald Trump's
political opponent but he's been
criminally indicted for it and he has
admitted to the FBI upon his arrest that
yeah he was providing false information
that was being fed to him by Russian
operatives what does Jim Jordan do does
he take a step back and say oh wait a
minute it looks like the entire basis
for our impeachment inquiry just
imploded it looks like what we were
trying to do was really a product of
Russian lies that had been fed to us so
we need to back off we need to sort of
just discharge this whole impeachment
inquiry no he doubles down he says well
you know the facts still remain and I
think it was uh Manu Raju of CNN who
said to him stopped them in his tracks
the facts don't remain because they're
not facts Russian lies does Jim Jordan
care and you know I will not quote but I
will paraphrase something that
representative Daniel Goldman himself a
former Federal prosecutor up in New York
said he said if the Jim Jordans and the
James comr of the world continue to
double down on these lies they need to
be criminally investigated to which I
say here here yeah perfectly put uh so
Glenn what happened to smov now by the
way because I know that there's a lot of
news regarding whether he's been
incarcerated whether he's been let go
whether he's been arrested can you give
an update on where where we're at right
now yeah another sort of funky and
unconventional um development in this
story so the FBI gets an arrest the FBI
gets an arrest warrant from a federal
judge for smaroff for the lies he told
so there are two charges one for lying
to the FBI what we call a 1,1 false
statement charge and also providing
false documents so um he's facing
upwards of a couple of decades at least
by the statutory maximum punishment the
federal sentencing guidelines will come
in Far Below that so A a federal judge
issues an arrest warrant he's arrested
where he lives at the time in Las Vegas
he's presented to a Magistrate Judge
that's not a full judge a Magistrate
Judge handles the lower level hearings
like when a defendant is first arrested
and the question arises and has to be
decided what should the system do with
him now that he's been arrested should
they release him and Order him to
reappear for his next court hearing or
should they detain him pending trial
because in this instance he's a Flight
Risk now smaroff had provided false
information to What's called the
pre-trial Services Agency upon his
arrest for example he said during an
interview I only have about
$6,500 available so I don't even have
the money to flee the United States
turns out he has access to more than $6
million he has really no contact in the
United States he has lots of contacts
overseas he holds a dual passport um I
believe he's a dual uh citizen Israel in
the United States so or Israel and
another country I'm not entirely sure so
there was so much indicaa of Flight Risk
that in my opinion as a former career
prosecutor he absolutely should have
been ordered detained pending his next
court appearance but for whatever reason
the Magistrate Judge in Las Vegas
ordered that he be released and that he
have to wear GPS ankle monitor well he
was released and a day or two later he
was arrested again by the FBI which is
an unusual development now I've had that
happen a defendant on release who gets
rearrested but it's generally because
the defendant has committed another
crime or because the grand jury has
issued what's called a superseding
indictment and charged him with more
offenses but neither of those two things
seem to have happened and all of a
sudden he's arrested again what we just
learned because the case was up in court
today is that a federal judge a full
federal judge not a Magistrate Judge in
California where the case originated and
will be tried um Revisited the issue he
was provided with some additional
information including importantly an
allegation that smirnoff's lawyers were
in the process of perhaps helping uh
helping him attempt to flee the United
States and that judge said I am issuing
an arrest warrant for him a new I want
him arrested immediately and I want him
brought forth with to my courtroom so
that I can get my case against him
started so he's been rearrested he's
been taken into custody and just today
he was ordered now detained pending
trial because he's clearly a Flight Risk
so again this is the most contorted
unusual set of circumstances in any
number of ways that that I've seen in
some time well I I I warned everybody
that this would be a pretty crazy
episode I think it's important to to
talk about this stuff though even though
it is so convoluted uh because because I
mean at its core this is the basis for
an effort by Republicans to launder
Russian disinformation to try and
impeach a Democratic president in the
United States I mean just like I know we
get normalized to so much of this stuff
but like there's that we adapt to so
much of this stuff but this can't become
normalized and so I think that
Republicans are probably relying on the
fact that this is so convoluted so that
nobody will talk about it but it's
absolutely worth talking about the the
the implications here could not be
bigger and uh you know this is something
that we'll definitely follow along with
as we continue to get updates here and
all the while we should make sure that
everybody is as as um educated on this
as we can possibly be so that Jim Jordan
can't move forward with it I mean to
your exact point he doesn't care whether
all the all of this stuff was debunked
because he's hoping that people don't
know enough because it is so convoluted
so nebulous and that he can continue
barreling forward with these allegations
against Joe Biden anyway but the more
people that know the truth the more
people that understand all of this stuff
the harder it'll be for Jim Jordan to
keep pushing this disinformation forward
and Brian why does it become normalized
why is Jim Jordan in a position to
continue to try to kill our democracy
from within because we have not
addressed Jim Jordan's crimes for
example when he defied a congressional
subpoena when he was subpoenaed to
testify to Congress and provide
information to the January 6 committee
and by extension to the American people
about the crimes of Donald Trump he said
I'm not going to do it I am instead
going to commit the crime of contempt of
congress in my determination to keep
hidden from the American people evidence
about the crimes of Donald Trump and
what did the Department of Justice do
about it Squat and that is why Jim
Jordan is in a position to continue to
to abuse his power and authority as a
member of Congress to interfere to use
congressional committees to interfere in
State Court prosecutions to Donald
Trump's Advantage like up in New York
and down in Georgia or to put together
together these idiotic committees on the
weaponization of the Department of
Justice when he is the one who is
weaponizing Congress in a way that is an
abuse of his Congressional Authority and
power and the reason he continues to get
to do it is because the institutions of
government are not holding him
accountable for it let's see if they
choose to hold him accountable for now
using Russian disinformation to try to
impeach an American president yeah all
of which by the way to your exact point
underscores the importance of of us
continuing to talk about this stuff of
everybody in the Progressive media
ecosystem continuing to talk about this
stuff and not giving Jim Jordan a free
pass and putting pressure on these
prosecutors of the doj on the mer
garlands of the world who have seen Jim
Jordan engage in this kind of behavior
and have opted to do nothing because God
forbid we have the Optics of a of a of a
politicized doj all the while look what
he's doing if that's not politicized I
don't know what is so with that said
again we'll stay on top of this stuff
for everybody watching if you want to
follow along please make sure to
subscribe the links to both of our
channels are right here on this screen
I'm Brian terer Cohen and I'm Glenn
kersner this is the legal
breakdown
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Fri Mar 01, 2024 10:34 am

How the Supreme Court just threw Trump’s 2024 trial schedule into turmoil: Trump is now unlikely to face criminal charges for election subversion until late summer or fall, at the earliest.
by Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein
02/28/2024 09:43 PM EST

https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/2 ... s%20argued.

As voters cast ballots this fall to decide whether Donald Trump should win another presidential election, a federal jury may be weighing whether he attempted to steal the last one.

That’s one of the plausible outcomes of Wednesday’s decision by the Supreme Court to take up Trump’s claim that he’s immune from prosecution for his efforts to subvert the 2020 election.

In fact, by taking up the immunity question and keeping the case on hold in the meantime, the justices have all but guaranteed that Trump cannot stand trial on the federal election charges until the waning weeks of campaign season, at the earliest.

If that happens, Trump may have to juggle courtroom appearances with debates and swing state speeches. The trial, which is expected to last several months, could even overlap with Election Day itself.

The justices’ 200-word unsigned order made no sweeping pronouncements, but it nevertheless scrambled special counsel Jack Smith’s determined, if unspoken, effort to bring Trump to trial before the election.

Here’s a look at the fallout:

Trial stays on ice, won’t be defrosted for months

Pretrial proceedings in the Washington D.C.-based federal election case — in which Trump is charged with conspiring to deprive Americans of their right to vote — have been stalled since Dec. 7 while he has litigated his novel “presidential immunity” claim. Trump contends that his attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory were part of his official duties as president and cannot be the basis for criminal charges.

Lower courts have resoundingly rejected the immunity claim, and many legal experts expect the Supreme Court to ultimately reject it as well. But by setting arguments for late April and keeping the case on ice in the meantime, the justices virtually ensured that the trial — which was originally scheduled to begin March 4 — cannot begin until late summer or fall.

That’s because the justices are unlikely to rule on the immunity claim until May or, more likely, June. Once they do (assuming they reject Trump’s immunity bid), the freeze will lift and pretrial proceedings can finally resume — but the trial judge, Tanya Chutkan, has indicated that she would then give Trump about three extra months to prepare for a new trial date.

The timeline sets up a series of exceedingly fraught choices for Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama who had seemed determined to move the case to trial quickly before it became frozen in December. Would she force the Republican presidential nominee into court during those politically pivotal months for a trial that could run headlong into Election Day? Would she excuse Trump from attending the trial in person so that he could campaign? Or would she postpone the trial until after the election?

Chutkan has, so far, insisted that Trump’s political campaign would have no bearing on her scheduling decisions — and she recently contemplated being in trial as late as August.

Nevertheless, Trump’s trial schedule has enormous practical consequences. If the trial spills into 2025 and Trump is elected president, he could unravel it altogether by appointing an attorney general who would dismiss the case. Trump’s detractors on the left and right seemed to recognize this prospect on Wednesday and decried the Supreme Court for allowing further delay.

“The Supreme Court is placing itself on trial,” former Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday after the court’s order.

“Delaying the January 6 trial suppresses critical evidence that Americans deserve to hear,” former Rep. Liz Cheney said.

Trump, on the other hand, made clear he welcomed the high court’s involvement, claiming that unidentified legal scholars were “extremely thankful” that the justices took up the case.

Cannon in the driver’s seat

Another consequence of the Supreme Court’s action: Suddenly, Judge Aileen Cannon has even more power than she already did.

The Florida-based federal judge, appointed by Trump in 2020, is expected as soon as Friday to reconfigure the timeline for Trump’s other federal criminal trial — on charges of refusing to return a hoard of highly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing an investigation into the matter.

That trial is officially scheduled for May 20, but has seemed primed for delay amid protracted fights about classified evidence. The former president is expected to be on hand in Cannon’s Fort Pierce, Florida courtroom Friday as prosecutors and defense lawyers battle over the schedule for the case.

A decision by Cannon to push back the Florida case could clog the calendar in late summer, making a 2024 trial in Washington on the federal election charges all but impossible, even if the Supreme Court lifts the freeze in the election case soon after it is argued.

New York, New York

The first criminal case against Trump could end up being the last. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is slated to put Trump on trial there March 25, a date cemented earlier this month by the judge overseeing that case, Justice Juan Merchan. Trump is charged with falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to a porn star in the final weeks of the 2016 election.

Bragg’s trial was once considered likely to give way to Trump’s two federal trials, but the delays in the federal cases have cleared a path for it to begin on schedule. With Trump’s other criminal trials in flux, and potentially on hold until after the election, the New York case is the only one that seems certain to occur this year.

Trump’s other state-level criminal trial — a case brought by Georgia prosecutors that mirrors the federal allegations he is facing in Washington — has already been in turmoil for weeks, as defendants seek to disqualify the lead prosecutor, Fani Willis. The trial, which Willis has asked to begin in August, has not yet been scheduled by Judge Scott McAfee. And the Supreme Court’s eventual immunity ruling may have implications for that case as well.

SCOTUS takes its time

Trump opponents are already grumbling that the justices have taken their sweet time mulling their options to resolve the former president’s broad claims of immunity.

Back in December, Smith asked the justices to allow Trump’s immunity appeal to leapfrog the D.C. Circuit and be heard promptly at the Supreme Court. The justices took 11 days to consider the request before turning him down.

When the matter came back to the court earlier this month, Trump was the one asking for the justices’ intervention. The court gave Smith a leisurely week to respond to the request. He took only one day.

Then, two weeks passed, leading to speculation that the court was going to turn down the former president and decline to hear the immunity claim — an outcome that would have allowed the trial proceedings to resume right away. Perhaps the two weeks of silence, the thinking went, were the result of one or more justices writing dissents from a decision not to take up the issue.

But the court defied those expectations by announcing Wednesday that it will take up Trump’s immunity appeal after all, agreeing to hear the case during the week of April 22 — among the last oral argument of the term.

To be sure, the court is moving the case far more quickly than a garden-variety one. Petitions granted in February or later are typically set for argument in the following term, meaning October or thereafter.

But the court can move faster when it wants to. In a separate high-stakes Trump-related case — involving whether states can disqualify him from their ballots — the justices scheduled expedited arguments 36 days after Trump sought the court’s review. (Those arguments occurred on Feb. 8, and a decision is still pending.)

By contrast, in the criminal immunity fight, the court will hear arguments at least 70 days after Trump sought review.

And in the post-election fight between George W. Bush and Al Gore in 2000, the Supreme Court moved with extraordinary speed, taking just one day to block a Florida Supreme Court ruling requiring a partial recount of the ballots. Oral arguments in the case were heard two days later, and the justices took just one more day to issue their 5-4 decision handing Bush the victory.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Wed Mar 13, 2024 11:51 pm

Republican Rep. Ken Buck is exiting Congress early, further eroding GOP majority: Buck, of Colorado, had already said he would not run for re-election in 2024, but he caught some colleagues off-guard in announcing Tuesday that he will leave the House next week.
by Scott Wong, Sahil Kapur and Ben Kamisar
NBC News
March 12, 2024, 12:15 PM MDT / Updated March 12, 2024, 2:58 PM MDT
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congre ... rcna143046

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who frequently defied his own party and announced last fall he would not seek re-election, said Tuesday he will resign from Congress at the end of next week, further shrinking the GOP's already razor-thin majority.

"Today I am announcing that I will depart Congress at the end of next week," Buck said in a statement. "I look forward to staying involved in our political process, as well as spending more time in Colorado and with my family."

His departure will cut the House Republican margin to 218-213; Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., will continue to have two votes to spare before needing Democrats to govern. But illnesses and other unexpected absences could make his already difficult job even more challenging.

Buck said later that he was tired of the way the House functions now. "We’ve taken impeachment and we’ve made it a social media issue as opposed to a constitutional concept. This place keeps going downhill and I don’t need to spend more time here," he said.

Speaking to reporters shortly after the news broke, Johnson suggested he did not get a heads-up from Buck.

"I was surprised by Ken’s announcement. I’m looking forward to talking with him about that," the speaker said.

But Buck said he did, in fact, inform Johnson, leaving a message for the speaker and discussing his departure with other members of leadership. "Frankly, I’m not leaving for a week so they have a week to prepare," he said.

Other GOP colleagues said they were taken aback by Buck's decision. “Very surprising, very disturbing, very alarming, very concerning," said Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas.

Buck is a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, but he made a name for himself in Washington for frequently breaking with his party on major issues.

He criticized his fellow Republicans for echoing former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. He has expressed doubts that Republicans have found any evidence that President Joe Biden has committed an impeachable offense. And he faced multiple death threats from conservatives after refusing to back a key Trump ally, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for speaker in October.

Most recently, Buck broke with his party and was one of three Republicans who voted against the impeachment of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

Buck referenced those votes when asked why he was making the GOP majority's job harder by decreasing its membership. "I’m actually helping them in some ways because I’m not gonna vote against more impeachments," he said.


Buck's resignation will trigger a special election in Colorado. State law requires the seat to be filled through a special election, which needs to be called between 85 and 100 days after the vacancy occurs.

If Buck resigns on March 22, 85 days out would be June 15, so it’s possible that Democratic Gov. Jared Polis could schedule the election on the same day as Colorado’s congressional primary on June 25.

The state party committees nominate their special election candidates during a state convention, instead of holding a primary.

Multiple Republicans, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, have already announced bids for Buck’s seat in 2024.

First elected to the House in 2014, Buck got his start in politics in the mid-1980s working for then-Rep. Dick Cheney, R-Wyo., on the committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair. Soon after, he was hired as a prosecutor in the Justice Department which is now the target of vicious attacks from Trump and his party.

******************

Ken Buck one of multiple Republicans receiving death threats for voting against Rep. Jim Jordan as House Speaker
by Caitlyn Kim
Colorado Public radio
Oct. 19, 2023, 1:53 pm

Republicans who voted against Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan as House Speaker have reported receiving threats stemming from a pressure campaign and some hardball tactics led by his supporters and right-wing media. And that includes one from Colorado.

Rep. Ken Buck told NBC News, “So far, I’ve had four death threats.” His office has also received a barrage of phone calls, to the point that there are 20,000 voicemails they haven’t been able to get to.


His office said per policy, threatening calls are reported to authorities immediately to be investigated.

Buck added he was also served an eviction notice at one of his state offices because “the landlord is mad with my voting record on the Speaker issue.”

Buck’s office confirmed that the landlord of his Windsor office has chosen “to terminate the lease.”


CPR has not spoken to the building’s owner.

Iowa Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks told CNN she received “credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls,” while the wife of Rep. Don Bacon received threatening anonymous texts because they did not vote for Jordan.

Wednesday night, Jordan condemned the threats, urging anyone making them to stop. “We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we come together.”

Buck’s ongoing opposition to Jordan’s Speaker bid has already mobilized some in Colorado’s Republican Party.

Former gubernatorial candidate Heidi Gahanl tweeted out Buck’s office number, urging people to call. The state GOP sent out a letter to members saying it “wholeheartedly supports” Jordan for Speaker. The message concluded with the postscript “You are welcomed and encouraged to let your voices be heard” and the numbers of all three Republican congress members. Both Reps. Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert support Jordan’s bid.

Arkansas Rep. Steve Womack said threats would not work with the group of holdouts and that Jordan’s supporters “didn’t read the room very well.”

Buck reiterated he would not support Jordan in a future vote.

The House Republican caucus remains at an impasse. Jordan met with several of the holdouts Thursday evening, but no one indicated they were going to change their position.

In an effort to break the stalemate in the House Republican conference, Jordan backed the idea of empowering acting speaker Patrick McHenry for a limited amount of time. But that proposal was shot down after a tense, hours-long meeting of the conference.

The resolution would have allowed McHenry to move legislation on the floor for a limited time, lifting the paralysis that has afflicted the chamber since Kevin McCarthy was ousted on October 3. It could also buy time for Jordan to win over detractors.

“The U.S. House of Representatives is paralyzed without having a fully empowered Speaker,” said Lamborn in a statement. He voted for Jordan but added, “to keep things moving forward, we should also give Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry the power and authority to fully operate as Speaker and pass a necessary Israel aid package.”

On Thursday, some of Colorado’s Democratic members indicated an openness to the idea. However, the idea went over like a lead balloon with many in the far right of the caucus.

Boebert wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, Thursday, “I will not sit back and watch a complete betrayal of the GOP base with this ‘plan’ that’s being discussed.”

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks was even more blunt in his description of the idea, calling it “the biggest F-U to Republican voters.” The chair of the House Freedom Caucus Scott Perry said, “It sets a bad precedent.”

Majority Leader Steve Scalise and GOP Whip Tom Emmer also came out against the plan.

It means any such resolution would have to pass with the help of Democrats, something Republicans are loath to pursue at this time.

Jordan left the meeting saying that the resolution would not come to the floor now, rather he would meet with the holdouts who have denied him the speakership and that he plans to continue his campaign for the gavel, go to the floor, get the votes, and “win this race.”

But he continues to face a very steep climb; 22 of his Republican colleagues didn’t vote for him, based on the last Speaker vote, and any candidate can only afford to lose four votes.

The next Speaker vote could happen as early as 8 a.m. (MST) on Friday.

******************

MAGA 'Implosion': GOP power shrinks in Washington as chaos hobbles Republican schemes
by Katie Phang
MSNBC
Mar 13, 2024 #MAGA #GOP #Republicans


Many Republicans plan to skip the House GOP retreat as tensions run high inside the party. Fewer than 100 Republicans have RSVP’d to attend the retreat, which is less than half of the entire conference, MSNBC’S Katie Phang is joined by MSNBC’s Johnathan Capehart and The BBC’s Katy Kay. (Check out The Beat's playlist: https://msnbc.com/ari Connect with Ari Melber: https://www.instagram.com/arimelber)



Transcript

>>> HOUSE REPUBLICANS ARE
IMPLODING AND OPENLY REVOLTING.
TODAY THE CONFERENCE TRAVELING
TO WEST VIRGINIA FOR THEIR
ANNUAL POLICY RETREAT, BUT FEWER
THAN 100 MEMBERS ARE EVEN
ATTENDING THE EVENT.
THAT'S LESS THAN HALF OF THE
CONFERENCE.
ONE LAWMAKER TELLING AXIOS,
QUOTE, I'D RATHER SIT DOWN WITH
HANNIBAL LECTER AND EAT MY OWN
LIVER.
AND NOW THE GOP MAJORITY IS INK
SHRINKING EVEN MORE.
COLORADO REPUBLICAN KEN BUCK
ANNOUNCING THAT HE'S LEAVING
CONGRESS IN JUST A MATTER OF
DAYS, TORCHING HIS PARTY ON THE
WAY OUT.
>> WHAT HAS FRUSTRATED YOU SO
MUCH ABOUT THIS ERA OF POLITICS
AND THIS -- PARTICULARLY
CONGRESS, WHAT'S MADE IT SO
DIFFICULT?
>> YOU REALLY NEED ME TO SAY
THAT?
YOU NEED ME TO EXPLAIN WHAT'S SO
DIFFICULT ABOUT THIS PLACE.
THIS PLACE JUST KEEPS GOING
DOWNHILL AND I DON'T NEED TO
SPEND MY TIME HERE.
A LOT OF IT IS PERSONAL, INSTEAD
OF HAVING DECORUM AND OPERATING
IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER, THIS
PLACE HAS DEVOLVED INTO THIS
BICKERING AND NONSENSE.
>> ANOTHER CONGRESSMAN, CHIP
ROY, ALSO SLAMMING HIS OWN PARTY
FOR FAILING TO ACT ON THE
BORDER.
>> IN 2018 WE HAVE THE HOUSE, WE
HAVE THE SEPT, WE HAVE THE WHITE
HOUSE, AND WE HAVE A BIGGER
MAJORITY THAN WE HAVE TODAY, AND
WE UTTERLY FAILED TO SECURE THE
BORDER, TOTALLY DROPPED THE
BALL.
>> JOINING ME NOW IS JONATHAN
CAPEHART THE HOST OF THE SUNDAY
AND SATURDAY SHOW WITH JONATHAN
CAPEHART.
AND KATIE CAY, NBC NEWS U.S.
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT.
MY THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU FOR
JOINING ME.
JONATHAN, I'D LOVE TO START WITH
YOU.
HELLO.
HOW MUCH OF THE GOP'S PARALYSIS
IN YOUR OPINION COMES FROM
TRUMP'S JUST TOTAL DOMINATION OF
THE PARTY NOW OR FROM A LACK OF
SPINE?
I FEEL LIKE WE SEE THESE THINGS
LIKE KEN BUCK SAYING WHAT HE'S
SAYING NOW, JONATHAN, AND YET IT
SEEMS TO BE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
BECAUSE HE'S SAYING IT ON THE
WAY OUT.
>> HE'S SAYING IT ON THE WAY
OUT, BUT THAT'S NOT BECAUSE HE
WASN'T TRYING TO GET STUFF DONE.
I THINK IT'S BOTH.
I THINK IT IS A LACK OF SPINE ON
THE PART OF SPEAKER JOHNSON AND
HIS LEADERSHIP TEAM, BUT IT ALSO
SPEAKS TO DONALD TRUMP'S
INFLUENCE NOT JUST OVER SPEAKER
JOHNSON, WHO HE TALKS TO ON A
REGULAR BASIS, BUT ALSO ON THE
PART OF THE SENATE.
THE SENATE WAS PUTTING TOGETHER
PROBABLY THE MOST CONSERVATIVE
IMMIGRATION BILL IN DECADES
NEGOTIATED BY ONE OF THE MOST
CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THE
SENATE, OKLAHOMA SENATOR JAMES
LANGFORD.
AND DONALD TRUMP PICKS UP THE
FEN OR GOES OUT ON HIS SOCIAL
MEDIA PLATFORM AND SAYS DON'T DO
IT, DON'T VOTE FOR THE BILL.
AND THE SENATORS DON'T.
IT DOESN'T EVEN GET OUT OF THE
SENATE TO GO TO THE HOUSE WHERE
SPEAKER JOHNSON SAID HE WAS
ALREADY GOING TO KILL IT.
AND SO THIS JUST SPEAKS TO
DONALD TRUMP'S COMPLETE TAKEOVER
OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN THE
HOUSE, IN THE SENATE, THE
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE.
AND SOME -- SOME COULD ARGUE THE
SUPREME COURT, BUT MAYBE I
SHOULDN'T GO THAT FAR.


>> KATTY CAY, COULD THEM NOT
GOING TO THE RETREAT BE SEEN AS
A SIGN OF SPEAKER JOHNSON'S
WEAKNESS?
REALLY, IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE
THIS WOULD EVEN HAPPEN UNDER
KEVIN McCARTHY'S TENURE.
>> YEAH, IT'S A NICE HOTEL.
I'VE BEEN THERE.
IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THEY'RE NOT
GOING BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO
SPEND TIME AT THE GREEN BREYER.
THEY'RE NOT GOING AS THAT
ANONYMOUS MEMBER OF CONGRESS
REPUBLICANS SAID BECAUSE THEY
DON'T WANT TO SPEND TIME WITHY
EACH OTHER BECAUSE THERE'S SO
MUCH -- WE TALK ABOUT THE
DYSFUNCTION BETWEEN AND THE
POLARIZATION BETWEEN THE
REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC
PARTIES, BUT YOU LOOK WITHIN THE
REPUBLICAN PARTY.
THERE IS SO MUCH POLARIZATION
WITHIN THAT GROUP THAT THESE
MEMBERS REALLY DON'T HAVE VERY
MUCH IN COMMON WITH EACH OTHER.
IT MIGHT NOT HAVE HELPED THAT
THE STAR SPEAKER, LARRY KUDLOW,
DROPPED OUT IN THE LAST MINUTE.
I DON'T KNOW IF THAT WAS PARTLY
WHAT IT WAS.
BUT WHEN YOU HAVE MEMBERS OF
CONGRESS SAYING, LISTEN, MY BIG
FEAR IS BEING PRIMARIED ON THE
RIGHT.
NOT WITH SOMEONE WHO DISAGREES
WITH POLICY, BUT SOMEONE WHO HAS
TO SHOUT AND SCREAM.
WELL, SHOUTING AND SCREAMING
DOESN'T SUIT MANY MEMBERS OF
CONGRESS.
THEY TRY TO COME TO WASHINGTON
TO GET THINGS DONE.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT ANY BAR CHART
OF THE AMOUNT OF BILLS BEING
PASSED LAST YEAR IN CONGRESS, IT
FALLS OFF A CLIFF.
IT'S THE LOWEST NUMBER IN
DECADES, AND THAT IS INTENSELY
FRUSTRATING AS CLEARLY KEN BUCK
THINKS.
>> YOU KNOW, JONATHAN, TO
KATTY'S POINT, THEY MAY NOT LIKE
EACH OTHER, AND YET FOR SOME
REASON WHEN THERE'S A COMMON
DENOMINATOR BEHIND THE THEY CAN
UNITE, THEY SEEM TO GET THEIR
UKNOW WHAT TOGETHER TO BE ABLE
TO DO THAT.
YOU HAD AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
SIT DOWN WITH PRESIDENT JOE
BIDEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER HE HAD
DELIVERED THAT REALLY FIERY
"STATE OF THE UNION" SPEECH.
AND YOU ASKED HIM ABOUT THE GOP
AND ITS RESPONSE TO THE THREAT
THAT PUTIN IS POSING NOT ONLY TO
UKRAINE BUT TO DEMOCRACY AT
LARGE.
AND WE WANTED TO TAKE A QUICK
LISTEN TO WHAT PRESIDENT BIDEN
HAD TO SAY IN RESPONSE.
>> WELL, I THINK SOME STILL
STAND FOR IT BUT THEY'RE PRETTY
MUCH INTIMIDATED BY TRUMP RIGHT
NOW.
YESTERDAY HE SPENT TIME AT HIS
MANSION AT HIS RESORT WITH
ORBAN.
HE TALKS ABOUT HIS GREAT RESPECT
FOR THE PRESIDENT OF NORTH
KOREA.
I MEAN, HE PRAISES PUTIN.
IT'S A DIFFERENT WORLD.
>> JONATHAN, I KNOW YOU YOURSELF
HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF HAVING
CONVERSATIONS WITH RUTH AND
OTHERS TO TALK ABOUT HOW TRUMP
SEES HIMSELF IN SUCH AN
AUTHORITARIAN LIGHT.
BUT LIKE I JUST SAID, THE GOP
FIGURES IT OUT, THOUGH, WHEN
THEY CAN GET TOGETHER AND NOT
PASS AID PACKAGES TO HELP
UKRAINE, RIGHT, HOLDING THAT
HOSTAGE BECAUSE OF BORDER DEALS.
HOW MUCH SHOULD AMERICANS BE
CONCERNED THAT THE GOP ACTUALLY
VIEWS PUTIN AS AN IDEOLOGICAL
ALLY AT THIS POINT?
>> WELL, I MEAN, I THINK THE
EVIDENCE OF THAT IS VERY CLEAR.
PART OF THE QUESTION I ASKED THE
PRESIDENT WAS HOW DID IT FEEL
FOR HIM TO, YOU KNOW, TALK ABOUT
PROTECTING DEMOCRACY, TALK ABOUT
THE THREAT THAT RUSSIA POSES,
TALK ABOUT THE THREAT TO OUR OWN
DEMOCRACY, HOW DID IT FEEL TO
SAY ALL THESE THINGS TO -- IN
FRONT OF A PARTY WHERE THEY USED
TO BELIEVE IN THOSE THINGS?
AND, YOU KNOW, FOR HIM THAT'S
WHAT'S SO GALLING.
WE USED TO KNOW WHAT THE
REPUBLICAN PARTY STOOD FOR.
AND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY THAT WE
GREW UP AROUND BETWEEN TWO TERMS
OF REAGAN, A TERM OF H.W. BUSH,
TWO TERMS OF W., YOU KNOW,
RUSSIA WAS NOT A FRIEND.
PUTIN WAS NOT SOMEONE WE COULD
DO -- WE LEARNED OVER AND OVER
AGAIN COULDN'T DO BUSINESS WITH.
AND SO I THINK WITH THE
PRESIDENT'S FIERY "STATE OF THE
UNION" ADDRESS, HIS MULTIPLE
SPEECHES ABOUT THE THREATS TO
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY AT HOME BUT
ALSO ABROAD, YES, THE AMERICAN
PEOPLE SHOULD BE VERY WORRIED
ABOUT A SECOND TRUMP WHITE HOUSE
BECAUSE HE'S MAKING IT VERY
CLEAR THAT IF HE GETS ANOTHER
TERM, THERE WILL BE LOTS OF
MEETINGS AND LOTS OF PHONE CALLS
AND LOTS OF BACK SLAPPING WITH
LEADERS OF NORTH KOREA, OF
RUSSIA -- RUSSIA TAKING OVER
UKRAINE, ORBAN BEING EVEN MORE
ASCENDANT.
IT'LL BE A ROGUE GALLERY OF --
OF -- I CAN'T EVEN GET THE WORDS
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Trump lashes out at Gov. Doug Ducey following certificat

Postby admin » Mon Mar 18, 2024 1:53 am

US firm that paid indicted FBI informant tied to Trump associates, records reveal: Alexander Smirnov was paid $600,000 in 2020 – the same year he allegedly began lying to FBI about Bidens’ role in Ukraine business
by Jacqueline Sweet
UK Guardian
Thu 14 Mar 2024 06.00 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/202 ... onnections

An American company that paid the now indicted FBI informant Alexander Smirnov in 2020 is connected to a UK company owned by Trump business associates in Dubai, according to business filings and court documents.

Smirnov is now accused of lying to the FBI about Hunter Biden and his father, President Joe Biden, alleging that they engaged in a bribery scheme with executives at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Smirnov’s accounts to the FBI, beginning in 2020, that federal prosecutors now say are fabrications, served as a major justification of the House impeachment investigation into the Bidens.

Republican lawmakers have repeatedly touted Smirnov as a reliable informant, and the chairman of the House oversight committee, James Comer, even threatened to hold the FBI director, Christopher Wray, in contempt unless he “handed over” a June 2020 FBI form with Smirnov’s claims to the committee.

Back in 2020, Smirnov was paid $600,000 by a company called Economic Transformation Technologies (ETT), prosecutors said. That same year, Smirnov began lying to the FBI about the Bidens, according to the indictment.


[x]
Alexander Smirnov Received $600,000 from:

ETT (Texas), Whose CEO is:

Christopher Condon, Who is a 33% shareholder in:

ETT Investment Holding (London), Along with:

Shahal Khan and Farooq Arjomand, Who both have ties to:

Donald Trump


ETT’s CEO is the American Christopher Condon, who is also one of three shareholders in ETT Investment Holding Limited in London. Other shareholders in the UK include the Pakistani American investor Shahal Khan and Farooq Arjomand, a former chairman and current board member of Damac Properties in Dubai who is also listed as an adviser on ETT’s American website.

Last month, Smirnov was charged with lying to the FBI, and is being held without bail. Prosecutors argued he posed a flight risk because of his contacts with Russian officials in the Middle East and access to millions of dollars.

Smirnov’s indictment alleged that the assertions in a document, known as a 1023, and other statements made to his FBI handler beginning in 2020 and continuing until December 2023, were factually impossible.

The exact business model of Texas-based ETT is murky. Its mission statement reads in part: “ETT set up the chess board to bring in top notch executives from those sectors to help implement its vision of love and social impact to improve the quality of human existence through the application of ‘new age’ technologies.”

The current CEO, Condon, is a California man who has been involved in several civil lawsuits, including a civil Rico case in 2010 that he won on appeal. Condon’s official biography says he is “a former professional tennis player, financial advisor, and currently is an entrepreneur focused on social-impact projects, public-private partnerships, and creating smart communities that benefit both individuals and governments”.

Condon, Arjomand and Khan registered ETT Investment Holding Limited in the UK on 6 March 2020. Khan, an investor who purchased the Plaza hotel in 2018, and Arjomand have ties to Donald Trump through Trump associates and Damac, a major Middle East developer that has partnered with Trump for a decade. Arjomand, Khan and Condon owned 34%, 33% and 33% of ETT Investment Holding Limited respectively, according to UK business filings. No other information on the UK company is readily available.

The former Damac chairman Hussain Sajwani is also close to Trump and has been described as his friend in multiple news reports. Trump has called the billionaire a “friend” and a “great man”, and his family “the most beautiful people”.

Sajwani attended Trump’s 2016 inauguration, and Trump’s sons Donald Jr and Eric Trump attended the 2017 ribbon-cutting of the Trump International golf club in Dubai, licensed by Damac in 2014. Sajwani and his family also attended a party in 2017 at Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s sons would go on to attend Sajwani’s daughter’s wedding in 2018.

In 2017 FEC filings, Trump disclosed making up to $5m from the Damac licensing deal, but said he would no longer do personal business deals when he became president. The two continued at least talking business into his presidency, however, according to multiple reports.


“Hussein, Damac, a friend of mine, a great guy. I was offered $2bn to do a deal in Dubai, a number of deals, and I turned it down,” Trump said in 2017.

Arjomand was the vice-chairman of Damac when the Trump International golf club, along with adjoining Trump-branded luxury homes, opened, and he replaced Sajwani as chair in 2021 when Sajwani stepped down to privatize the company.

Khan, who owns Dubai-based Trinity White City Ventures, is a New York native who partnered with New York City developer Kamran Hakim to buy the Plaza hotel in 2018 for $600m. He was a board member of ETT from 2019 to June 2020, according to his LinkedIn page, appearing in event photographs with Condon in Miami that year.

Khan is involved in a range of business from AI to mining to cybersecurity, according to his official biographies. In 2019, he was one of a dozen Pakistani American business owners invited to meet the then Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, the day before Imran met with Trump and Mike Pompeo, then the secretary of state, in Washington DC. The group was there to discuss the expansion of business in Pakistan.

In 2017, Khan reportedly approached Brad Zackson, dubbed Paul Manafort’s “real-estate fixer”, to help him broker a deal to buy the Roosevelt hotel in Manhattan, owned by the Pakistani government via its national airline, for $500m, according to the Real Deal. When the real-estate publication asked Khan about the reports, he denied that Zackson and Manafort, a former Trump campaign chairman, were involved. Khan purchased the Pakistani embassy building in DC in 2022 for $6.8m.

Khan is also CEO of BurTech Acquisition Group, a “blank check company”, or public shell company. Patrick Orlando, listed as a “special adviser” and shareholder of BurTech in 2021, was the CEO and chair of Digital World, another blank check company, from September 2021 to March 2023. When it began a merger with Trump Media & Technology Group in 2021, it was held up by an SEC investigation until given the green light last month.

The finalization of the merger may garner Trump as much as $4bn in shares, and help bolster his finances after his recent civil litigation losses. Orlando has known Trump since at least 2021, according to news reports.

Arjomand and Khan’s relationship is unclear. Arjomand, a former HSBC banker from the United Arab Emirates, also invests in hospitality businesses, including the celebrity Wahlberg brothers’ restaurant chain Wahlburgers, and owns a coffee company called Reborn Coffee.

ETT Investment Holding Limited was dissolved in 2021. Condon and Arjomand also registered a company called Atlas UK Group Limited the same day they registered the UK ETT, now dissolved.

The American ETT, then called Pandora Venture Capital Corp, was first registered in Florida in 2014 by a Wisconsin resident, Boris Nayflish, according to Florida business filings. Ukrainian American Nayflish is the ex-husband of Smirnov’s current partner, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which also claimed Nayflish stayed close to his ex, Diana Lavrenyuk, and Smirnov after the divorce.

Smirnov, born in Ukraine, lived in Israel before coming to the US in 2006.


Pandora changed its name to Skylab in 2017, then in 2018 Skylab seemed to split from what is now ETT, according to a lawsuit, when Condon first registered ETT websites and appeared on ETT’s Florida filings.

An unnamed former business associate told the Wall Street Journal that the $600,000 payment from ETT to Smirnov was “in exchange for a stake in an Israel-based crypto trading platform, called Bitoftrade, [that] Smirnov was working on launching”.

Calls and emails to Condon, Arjomand, Sajwani and Smirnov’s lawyer, and to Trump’s team, were not returned.

Khan told the Guardian: “I was on the board for a very short period, [and] there was no connection on my part.”

Smirnov is scheduled for a jury trial in April, according to court filings.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 36171
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to United States Government Crime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests