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LetMyPeopleVote

LetMyPeopleVote's Journal
LetMyPeopleVote's Journal
February 15, 2023

On the debt ceiling, Republicans are hostage takers with no demands

President Biden is not going to negotiate with McCarthy over the debt ceiling. I am amused to see that McCarthy and his fellow idiots are not even able to come up with a list of demands for these "negotiations."
https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1625412039995711488
https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/debt-ceiling-gop-hostage-taker-no-demands-rcna69718?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ma&taid=63eae78879b5c90001110c4b&utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Joe Biden performed a piece of political jujitsu: He got Republicans to actually take a position on the looming debt limit showdown. Sort of. Rather than identify what spending cuts the GOP wants in return for not letting the country default on its debt, they affirmed what’s off the table.

About halfway through his remarks, Biden accused “some Republicans” of wanting to use the threat of debt as leverage to cut Social Security and Medicare. GOP members of Congress quickly rose in denunciation, jeering the president. “We all apparently agree,” Biden joked, “Social Security and Medicare is off the books now.” Republicans applauded......

At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Joe Biden performed a piece of political jujitsu: He got Republicans to actually take a position on the looming debt limit showdown. Sort of. Rather than identify what spending cuts the GOP wants in return for not letting the country default on its debt, they affirmed what’s off the table.

About halfway through his remarks, Biden accused “some Republicans” of wanting to use the threat of debt as leverage to cut Social Security and Medicare. GOP members of Congress quickly rose in denunciation, jeering the president. “We all apparently agree,” Biden joked, “Social Security and Medicare is off the books now.” Republicans applauded.
February 15, 2023

How Trump lawyers testifying in Mar-a-Lago case could hurt him

This will be fun to watch
https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1625472452632477696
https://www.msnbc.com/deadline-white-house/deadline-legal-blog/trump-lawyers-mar-lago-case-doj-rcna70445?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ma&taid=63eb31ca69067d0001d6a6cd&utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

It’s usually not a good sign when your lawyers testify in the grand jury probe against you, and former President Donald Trump may learn that the hard way.

We learned recently that Trump lawyers Christina Bobb and Evan Corcoran reportedly testified in special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury probe into the former president’s handling of classified material at Mar-a-Lago. It’s one of the two probes Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to handle, the other being the Jan. 6 investigation, which is also progressing against the former president along with state probes in Georgia and New York.

And while it may sound aggressive to have lawyers testify, Smith merely appears to be taking the step of determining the full extent of Trump’s potential obstruction. That’s because the Trump team's representations to the Department of Justice have already come under scrutiny in the investigation that required a court order to search the former president’s Florida residence and seize evidence last year. As The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday:

Ms. Bobb had previously spoken with federal investigators. In an October interview, Ms. Bobb said Mr. Corcoran had assured her that he conducted a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago before he asked her to certify that all records requested by a subpoena had been returned, the Journal reported. Ms. Bobb at the time insisted on adding language to the certification that said she was acting “based upon the information that has been provided to me,” and “to the best of my knowledge.”

And the full extent of the Trump team’s cooperation in the matter is still unclear. So Smith likely wants to see how directly he can tie all of this to the former president himself. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing in this case.)

As I’ve written previously, Trump’s potential obstruction of the documents investigation could be what earns him criminal charges, based on past DOJ precedent, as opposed to what we know about the documents situations involving President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence. There's no reason for Biden and Pence to worry about charges based on what we know to date.
https://twitter.com/AWeissmann_/status/1624899645624225799

February 15, 2023

Third Trump attorney appears before federal grand jury investigating Mar-a-Lago documents Paula Reid

Make Attorneys Get Attorneys
https://twitter.com/1JaySC/status/1625633583854456832
https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/politics/alina-habba-trump-attorney-grand-jury-maralago/index.html

Alina Habba, an attorney for former President Donald Trump, appeared last month before a federal grand jury investigating the mishandling of classified documents from his time in the White House, two sources familiar with the investigation told CNN.

Habba is the third Trump lawyer known to have been brought before the DC-based grand jury, which is investigating obstruction in addition to criminal violations of government records laws.

While Habba has not played the prominent role that other Trump attorneys have played in responding to the documents probe, which spilled out in public view with an August FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, she has made notable TV appearances defending Trump and criticizing the federal documents probe.

Habba also has been a lead attorney in litigation related to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil case against the Trump family and their business for alleged financial fraud. In that role, she personally searched several Trump properties – including Trump’s residence and private office at Mar-a-Lago – weeks before the FBI search.

She was tasked with recovering any Trump Organization documents that James was seeking but told a New York court she didn’t find any records covered by the subpoena from the attorney general.
February 14, 2023

Pence is set to argue that his former role as president of the Senate protects him from Subpoena

Pence is set to argue that his former role as president of the Senate — therefore a member of the legislative branch — shields him from certain Justice Department demand

The speech and debate clause did not protect Lindsey Graham in the Georgia subpoena case.
https://twitter.com/benjaminwittes/status/1625465074952425472
https://www.politico.com/news/2023/02/14/pence-subpoena-trump-election-00082637

Pence is set to argue that his former role as president of the Senate — therefore a member of the legislative branch — shields him from certain Justice Department demands.

Pence allies say he is covered by the constitutional provision that protects congressional officials from legal proceedings related to their work — language known as the “speech or debate” clause. The clause, Pence allies say, legally binds federal prosecutors from compelling Pence to testify about the central components of Smith’s investigation. If Pence testifies, they say, it could jeopardize the separation of powers that the Constitution seeks to safeguard.

“He thinks that the ‘speech or debate’ clause is a core protection for Article I, for the legislature,” said one of the two people familiar with Pence’s thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss his legal strategy. “He feels it really goes to the heart of some separation of powers issues. He feels duty-bound to maintain that protection, even if it means litigating it.”

Pence’s planned argument comes after an FBI search that followed his attorney’s voluntary report of classified material in his possession last month — drawing him into a thicket of document-handling drama that’s also ensnared Trump and President Joe Biden. While Pence aides say he’s taking this position to defend a separation of powers principle, it will allow him to avoid being seen as cooperating with a probe that is politically damaging to Trump, who remains the leading figure in the Republican Party.
February 14, 2023

Chinese balloon sensors recovered from ocean, says US

Shooting this balloon down over water was the right decision
https://twitter.com/BBCWorld/status/1625383230743486465
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64633705?at_campaign_type=owned&at_medium=social&at_format=link&at_link_origin=BBCWorld&at_campaign=Social_Flow&at_bbc_team=editorial&at_ptr_name=twitter&at_link_id=C82EB482-AC31-11ED-A0E6-F5840EDC252D&at_link_type=web_link

The sensors from a suspected Chinese spy balloon shot down after crossing the US have been recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, the US military says.

Search crews found "significant debris from the site, including all of the priority sensor and electronics pieces identified", said US Northern Command.

The FBI is examining the items, which the US says were used to spy on sensitive military sites.

The US has shot down three more objects since the first one on 4 February.

"Large sections of the structure" were also recovered on Monday off the coast of South Carolina, military officials say.

About 30-40ft (9-12m) of the balloon's antenna array are among the items found, according to CBS, the BBC's US partner.

US officials said the high-altitude balloon originated in China and was used for surveillance, but China said it was merely a weather-monitoring airship that had blown astray.


February 13, 2023

Alec Baldwin is mounting creative legal challenges in the 'Rust' shooting case

Baldwin was charged under an ex-post facto law. This should be a good defense
https://twitter.com/DeadlineWH/status/1625238642514952199
https://www.msnbc.com/deadline-white-house/deadline-legal-blog/alec-baldwin-shooting-legal-strategy-rcna70082

On the subject of pretrial litigation, Baldwin’s team has thrown another big argument out there, separate from the special prosecutor issue. It's claiming that prosecutors shouldn’t be able to use the firearm enhancement that carries a five-year penalty upon conviction because the enhancement charge was different when the alleged crime occurred in 2021. According to the defense filing, the version of the law that existed when the shooting occurred required a showing of intent to injure or intimidate someone in brandishing a firearm. However, the newer version, enacted last May, doesn't require that level of intent.

Of course, both the U.S. and the New Mexico constitutions outlaw what are called “ex post facto” punishments, or ones that make conduct illegal after the fact. Simply put, we don’t want people punished for things that weren’t illegal at the time they happened. So while knocking out that gun charge enhancement wouldn’t result in dismissing the case against Baldwin, it could take the most significant potential prison time against him off the table.

I previously noted the uphill battle prosecutors may face in trying to convict Baldwin, and that a trial, if one happens, could come down to a battle of the experts over what's required on film sets. These latest filings from Baldwin suggest prosecutors have some work to do before they get to that point, as both defense arguments risk the government losing what it no doubt sees as important tools at its disposal ahead of a trial.

I am enjoying the DeadlineWhitehouse legal blog
February 13, 2023

The new George Santos? GOP Rep Anna Paulina Luna accused of exaggerating biography

This MAGA nutcase is just as bad as Santos which is hard to believe.
https://twitter.com/TonyHussein4/status/1624490902390439936
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/george-santos-anna-paulina-luna-b2280046.html

A new investigation suggests the Republican Party could have another freshman member of Congress with a flair for fabulism, after its early weeks in power in the House have been overshadowed by the numerous falsehoods and fabrications told by Representative George Santos.

Representative Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, a GOP congresswoman who flipped a redistricted area outside of Tampa with the backing of Donald Trump, may have exaggerated or changed details about her ethnic heritage, family life, and personal experiences with safety and firearms, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

Rep Luna was born Anna Mayerhofer, but changed her name in what she said was an homage to her mother’s Mexican American family.

Former colleagues who served with Ms Luna in the Air Force said she never seemed to publicly identify as Hispanic until she left the armed forces and ran for Congress in Florida.

Ms Luna identified herself as “white, not of Hispanic origin” on her voting registration in Florida in 2015, the paper found, but later said she was Hispanic in a 2019 updated form.


February 13, 2023

A misdemeanor for Trump sounds crazy, right? Let's explore why, and why not.

Deadline WhiteHouse has a legal blog that I am enjoying. I tend to agree that even a misdemeanor conviction for TFG could be useful.
https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1624732570825940997
https://www.msnbc.com/deadline-white-house/deadline-legal-blog/pomerantz-book-trump-charges-rcna69481?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ma&taid=63e7fdca79b5c900010dd86b&utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Charging Donald Trump with a misdemeanor would be totally insane, right?....

So while it’s unlikely, given the myriad federal and state probes into the former president, that his criminal fate will come down to a misdemeanor or nothing, it’s worth thinking about why we might be inclined to disregard anything called a misdemeanor as insufficient. I think that inclination is misplaced, for two reasons — one philosophical and one practical.

First, if Trump isn’t above the law, then no charge is too small for him, especially the sort of charge that people around the country face every day. If a misdemeanor winds up being the crime, or one of the crimes, he’s guilty of, then so be it, just as it would be for the rest of us.

Second, the practical difference between misdemeanor and felony charges can be smaller than one might think, as the hush money situation illustrates. The felony charge of falsifying business records in the first degree sounds quite serious — and any criminal charge is serious — but it’s the lowest level felony in New York, called an “E” felony, which, like the misdemeanor charge, can result in relatively brief incarceration. So the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, at least for falsifying business records in connection with the hush money, could be minimal when it comes to potential incarceration.

And, again, I don’t expect Trump’s nationwide criminal exposure to come down to a misdemeanor or nothing, but it’s worth understanding why the idea is less absurd than it sounds at first blush, if the point is to treat Trump like the rest of us.

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