Once again, we had a week full of good news. Pour yourself a coffee (or other beverage) and settle in for it because there is a LOT to cover this week!
But before I get to all I gathered from the NYT, WaPo, etc, let me get to the thing that brought me the most hope.
My greatest hope this week didn’t come from the news, it came from all of you.
Exactly one week ago, right here in this GNR, I started a fundraising effort.
I made an ActBlue fund that divided up donations to the 38 House seats rated as most likely to determine control of the House. We win most of these seats and we continue Biden’s agenda.
We lose these seats and the agenda grinds to a halt, Marjorie Taylor Greene starts chairing committees and the House has nonstop hearings on Hunter Biden.
So, you know, big stakes and all.
Anyway, I set up this fund exactly one week ago. I debated where to put the goal — I usually start with $5000 and move up from there (if possible) but I thought $38,000 would be great since that would put $1000 in every campaign coffer. Remember, as well funded as Senate raises are, House candidates have a tougher time raising money.
I figured that $38,000 would give us a goal to work towards all the way to November. It would be aspirational.
By the end of the day Saturday, we had already raised $31,000.
As of last night, we have surpassed our goal and were at $47,000.
We have sent over $1000 to each campaign.
We did that in less than a week.
I have already had two campaign manager reach out to thank me and to find out who the heck we are. I am sure others are grateful as well.
Here is a letter from Josh Riley who is running to represent NY-19. It is a “lean red” district. He is running super close in a mostly rural area. He can win. He is in one of the districts we are helping. Here is his thanks to YOU:
Like Josh, I am filled with gratitude and hope and appreciation.
I’ve made it my goal, on DailyKos, to bring hope to anyone looking for it for over five years here. I know I’ve received way more hope and encouragement over those years than I’ve given — this community is amazing -- but this one really takes the cake.
This is who we are. This is the hope that we have. This is how dedicated we are.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to the hundreds of you who donated.
Are we going to rest on our laurels? Heck no! We have upped our goal and we are going to see just how much money we can raise (and how many nice notes we can get from future congressional reps).
Can you donate a little to help us keep the house and save democracy? If you need more motivation, just imagine Chairpersons Green and Boebert holding hearings about Hunter Biden for two solid years (shudder).
Then imagine Biden having two more years of ACCOMPLISHMENTS due to your efforts!
So donate here:
and let’s get more of THIS:
With Hard Work, We Can Win in November
Is There a Serious Case for a Not-Awful Election for Democrats This Fall?
The conventional wisdom in Washington would indicate that the Democrats are all but certain to lose the House in 2022, and very likely the Senate, too.
But, over the summer, a new school of what might be called “Trumptimism” has taken hold among some Democratic strategists and independent analysts. In the mess of our current politics, they discern a case for optimism—history-defying, experience-flouting optimism that maybe things won’t work out so badly after all in November. “In the age of Trump, nothing is normal,” Simon Rosenberg, the president of the liberal think tank the New Democrat Network and a veteran strategist, told me, on Thursday. “Nothing is following traditional physics and rules, so why would this midterm?”
Rosenberg, a staunchly public proponent of this view for the past few months, argues that Trump’s continued hold over the Republican Party is actually good news for Democrats this fall—and beyond. Trump, he posits, is not so much killing off his political enemies as he is destroying his own host organism, the G.O.P. itself.
Recent events, according to Rosenberg, have started to prove his case, including what appears to be the easing of inflation, lower gas prices, and Congress’s passage of Biden’s long-stalled signature climate-change-and-health-care legislation. The horrific school-shooting massacre in Uvalde, Texas, upset pro-gun-control Democratic voters across the country, and the Supreme Court’s decision to toss out Roe v. Wade is giving millions of Americans a reason to vote in November. “It’s a new, bluer election,” Rosenberg tweeted, on Thursday, as part of a long thread of upbeat-for-Democrats data points. Or, as he put it when we spoke: “There was never really a red wave.”
The Trump factor, according to Rosenberg, is key. For the past several election cycles, nothing has united Democratic voters more than the chance to vote against him. And all summer Trump has been back in the news, thanks to revelations from testimony in the House’s January 6th hearings; the F.B.I. search of Mar-a-Lago, for classified documents improperly taken from the White House; and endless speculation about whether Trump will be indicted or run again for President—or both. “It awakened the anti-maga majority in the country,” Rosenberg insisted.
Rosenberg sees this fall as a genuinely competitive election, not a foregone conclusion. And his predictions for the long-term fate of the Trumpified G.O.P. are bleak. Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven of the past eight Presidential elections, and Trump was the first incumbent President running for reëlection since Herbert Hoover to have his party lose the White House, Senate, and House in just four years. Rosenberg said he remained convinced that divisive primaries, such as the Wyoming election this week, are disastrous for the Republican Party in general elections—even if pro-Trump candidates beat out the few Liz Cheneys every time. “The Republican coalition,” he asserted flatly, “is cracking.” At this rate, he insisted, the Trump party could even become just as much of a “noncompetitive national entity” as the post-Hoover G.O.P. of the nineteen-thirties and forties.
The GOP put an abortion dystopia on the ballot for the midterms
In their zeal to control women’s bodies, Republicans are threatening the lives, health, well-being and privacy of women and girls across the nation. But this modern-day Inquisition is one you can do something to stop when you cast your vote in November.
Republicans fought for decades to pack the high court with a majority that would eliminate the constitutional right to reproductive choice. During that time, however, a broad consensus emerged in support of the basic framework established by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey: Abortion was indeed a protected right, but it could be restricted by states as long as an “undue burden” was not imposed on that right.
Congress could pass legislation to codify the Roe v. Wade guidelines and make abortion policy sane again. But that can happen only if Democrats retain control of the House and grow their majority in the Senate. For every American who might become pregnant or have a miscarriage — and for everyone who loves them — your vote matters.
A post-Dobbs gender gap in new voters is poised to affect midterms
In a batch of swing-district races I’ve looked at in recent days (contests in Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Virginia and Washington), the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade appears to have changed voters’ priorities and put Republicans who support abortion bans on the defensive. The June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization might have a profound effect in many states with hotly contested races, according to findings by TargetSmart, a Democratic political data and data services firm.
The electorate in Kansas “changed dramatically” in the days after a draft of the court’s Dobbs decision leaked in May, the TargetSmart analysis indicates. “Kansans turned out in record numbers in the primary and delivered a victory for abortion rights, a win fueled by Democrats out registering Republicans by 9 points since the Dobbs decision was announced, with a staggering 70% of all new registrants being women,” the firm found. And this trend isn’t limited to Kansas.
Can Democrats finally run on climate? New ads test the premise.
the enactment of President Biden’s climate and health-care law offers a shot at shifting these paradigms: It could go some way toward solving both the present-future conundrum and the sacrifice-payoff one.
A new $10 million ad campaign from climate groups helps illustrate what this might look like. The ads seek to educate the public on what’s in the Inflation Reduction Act, which invests hundreds of billions of dollars in combating climate change.
The law’s climate provisions include tens of billions of dollars to incentivize the domestic manufacture and production of clean energy sources and their technologies. It also invests in manufacturing plants and tax incentives for building and purchasing electric vehicles, along with many other climate and environmental provisions.
Running on climate now looks a lot more plausible than it did only a month ago.
Here are those great ads:
Things are also looking promising in Texas, which is amazing news:
McConnell says Republicans may not win Senate control, citing ‘candidate quality’
Even though history strongly favors the party out of power — in this case the GOP — to make gains in midterm races, McConnell has long worried that subpar candidates could play into Democrats' hands.
While he didn't name names, there are examples across the country.
In Pennsylvania's open Senate race, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed its rating Thursday from "toss up" to "lean Democrat" as GOP nominee Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor, struggles against Democrat John Fetterman, the state's lieutenant governor, who leads in recent polls.
Apart from Oz, Republicans have nominated numerous first-time candidates backed by former President Donald Trump in states like Georgia, Arizona and Ohio to run against seasoned Democratic politicians. The Senate Leadership Fund, a group aligned with McConnell, recently bought $28 million worth of airtime in Ohio to support Republican nominee J.D. Vance.
The Republican Party establishment also failed to recruit preferred candidates in other states, like New Hampshire.
McConnell may be feeling déjà vu from 2010 and 2012 when his party fell short of capturing control of the chamber in part due to weak candidates like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Todd Akin in Missouri.
psst: your candidates suck because your party sucks.
The GOP is paying the price for Trump’s loopy Senate candidates
Thanks to defeated former president Donald Trump, Republicans have nominated a host of unqualified, extreme and loopy Senate candidates for the midterms. The party is now paying the price.
The New York Times reports on the latest indication that the party is facing fundraising woes: “The National Republican Senatorial Committee has cut more than $5 million in Pennsylvania, including its reservations in the Philadelphia media market, according to two media-tracking sources.” It also cut more than $2 million in Wisconsin and about $2 million in the biggest media markets in Arizona.
The candidates in each of these states — Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Blake Masters in Arizona — are all Trump favorites. Johnson seems to have never met a MAGA conspiracy theory he didn’t like. Masters is a flat-out election denier and crank. Oz, a millionaire known for hawking snake-oil medical cures, unsurprisingly turned out to be a rotten candidate who has been mocked as a carpetbagger for his ties to New Jersey.
How Democrats could actually come out on top in the midterms
For most of 2022, Democrats have been sinking ever deeper into a pit of despair. President Joe Biden’s approval ratings (driven by the worst inflation in 40 years), were approaching those of the late Bush administration. The party’s agenda was apparently dead in the Senate, and Republican gerrymandering had given the GOP a substantial handicap in House elections. Election nerds took it for granted that Democrats would lose the House and probably the Senate too, along with control of vital swing-state governments, in November.
But in just a few weeks, things have taken a sharp turn for the better for the party. Democratic senators pushed through the Inflation Reduction Act — a large climate and health care bill that proves the party isn’t completely incapable of governing. Inflation appears to be moderating somewhat. And Republican extremism has produced weak conservative candidates in several states and, thanks to the right-wing majority Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, toxic opposition.
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump appears to be in deep legal trouble. Last week, the FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago estate and reclaimed numerous boxes of documents. The entire conservative movement responded with purple-faced outrage, threatening retaliation against Attorney General Merrick Garland, the FBI and anyone else it could think of. One right-wing terrorist mounted an attack on an FBI office, which ended in his death.
Democrats just might be able to save their majorities in Congress, if they hustle.
Want to help us win?
Democrats Have Been Doing Great Things
Biden succeeds again on an issue where Trump tried and failed
There were a handful of issues on which then-candidate Donald Trump broke with Republican Party orthodoxy in 2016, and as regular readers may recall, lowering prices on prescription medications was near the top of the list.
Trump then took office, met with Big Pharma lobbyists, and promptly abandoned his earlier plans.
This morning, his successor will succeed where Trump failed
There’s no shortage of important elements in the Democrats’ reconciliation package, but among the most important is a breakthrough policy: For the first time, Medicare will be empowered to negotiate the cost of some of the most expensive prescription medications with the pharmaceutical industry.
Trump tried and failed to deliver an infrastructure package, while Biden succeeded on the issue.
Trump tried and failed to advance legislation to address gun violence, while Biden succeeded on the issue.
Trump said he’d use Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug costs, while Biden succeeded on the issue.
Trump tried and failed to deliver record job growth, while Biden succeeded on the issue.
Trump even endorsed penalties for stock buybacks, while Biden succeeded on the issue.
For the former president, the problem is not just that Biden has succeeded while Trump failed, it’s also that Biden succeeded where Trump failed.
The US has been quietly giving Ukraine radar-hunting missiles that could really be a problem for Russia
- A top defense official said this month that the US has been sending Ukraine anti-radiation missiles.
- The official didn't say which missile, but there are reports of AGM-88 missiles in use in Ukraine.
- The AGM-88 may have a limited overall impact, but it gives Russian troops another reason to worry.
Biden administration readies about $800 mln in additional security aid for Ukraine -sources
President Joe Biden's administration is readying about $800 million of additional military aid to Ukraine and could announce it as soon as Friday, three sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Biden would authorize the assistance using his Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows the president to authorize the transfer of excess weapons from U.S. stocks, the sources told Reuters.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that an announcement could slip into next week
How Education Dept. plans to lift 7.5 million borrowers out of default
The Biden administration has created a plan to bring 7.5 million Americans in default on their federal student loans back into good standing, restoring their eligibility for financial aid and removing the incident from their credit history, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.
Dems Do Big F*cking Deals, the GOP Does Fake Big Dick Energy
It has come down to BDE (Big Dick Energy) vs. BFD (Big Fucking Deal). That’s American politics today in a nutshell.
Last weekend, the former local television anchor turned cringe Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake praised both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for their BDE—a reference to the online discourse describing comedian Pete Davidson’s perceived “big dick energy” (as well as a popular 2021 song by the rapper Latto).
The current GOP is so caught up in giving off and talking about WWE-style masculinity that most Trump rallies these days seem to give off a strong whiff of AXE deodorant.
So, what are the shortcomings for which these manly men are trying to compensate?
I would argue it stems from the realization that they actually have none of the other things that political parties usually depend on to be successful. They have no ideology. They have no platform. They have no agenda. They have no accomplishments. And they are afraid that what they once had—power that automatically went to the white males who were the core of their base and the bedrock of their worldview—is actually gradually shifting in a more equitable direction—to the majority population (women) and the emerging majority population (non-whites).
In other words, GOP BDE is a sign of weakness, not of strength.
Meanwhile, Democrats have taken a much different approach.
They are often not flashy. They are often soft-spoken. They are often the nerdy students who studied hard. They include many women and people of color. In fact, they take being called inclusive or “woke” as compliments. (Note: Because they are.) They are just the kind of people that Mr. BDE-himself Donald Trump would call “low energy” or, in the case of the current president, “Sleepy Joe.”
All these Democrats manage to do in their dull gray way is the work of governing. All they do is produce, day in and day out, the kind of work of consequence that Joe Biden might well call a BFD—a big fucking deal.
Instead of greasing up their bodies and swinging into battle on the nearest vine, the Biden Dems have piled up real accomplishments. The American Rescue Plan. The bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. This week’s Inflation Reduction Act. The CHIPS and Science Bill. The most meaningful gun regulation in decades. Assistance for veterans who were victims of burn pits. Expanding NATO. Rejoining the Paris Accords. (Did I mention the IRA contains the largest initiative ever by the U.S. to combat climate change?) Restoring American leadership worldwide. Appointing more judges faster than any administration ever. Creating 10 million jobs in less than two years, more than any administration ever. Historic economic growth. Ending America’s longest war. Eliminating the leader of Al Qaeda. Leading the way to both a global and a national minimum tax for corporations. Reducing the cost of healthcare. Driving energy costs down despite global inflation. The most diverse cabinet ever. Healing the wounds and prosecuting those responsible for the first attempted coup in U.S. history—the largest investigation ever undertaken by the Department of Justice and the FBI.
4 underrated parts of the Inflation Reduction Act
1) $3 billion for highway removal and community cleanup
There is $3 billion marked for Neighborhood Access and Equity Grants, in addition to $1 billion already approved under the bipartisan infrastructure law last fall.
The money can be used for many things, including improving walkability, capping wells, installing noise barriers, and reducing the urban heat island effect. But one way communities could use the funding is to just remove a road, highway, or other types of damaging infrastructure. They can also reconnect communities divided by highways in other ways: “multi-use trails, regional greenways, or active transportation networks and spines.”
2) Direct payments to retire coal
$10 billion in direct payments to rural electric co-ops that pay for the cost of a clean energy transition. The USDA will administer direct payments for these co-ops to retire coal-fired power plants.
But before rural communities can even think about transitioning to solar and wind, first they have to shut down the coal plants. And that can be expensive because it includes paying off any debts. (A separate $5 billion Department of Energy program in the bill offers loans that lower debts and costs for privately owned utilities to transition to renewables.)
3) Big influx to states to clean up climate emissions however they want
Each state is eligible to compete for one grant to cut carbon pollution, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. And it doesn’t have to be the governor who applies. This can make a major difference despite partisan differences. For example, Georgia’s independent public utility commissions could end up applying for this funding even if the governor was opposed.
In blue states, the funding could help realize their 100 percent clean energy goals. In red states, one of the best uses for this money may be just to beef up state environmental agencies responsible for enforcement (for instance, Texas has an abysmal record of enforcing its own environmental rules against natural gas leaks).
The beauty is in its flexibility, but a lot will depend on how the EPA prioritizes funding.
4) Tackling climate change the natural way through forests and soils
there’s a more natural way to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and it’s right under our noses: trees and soil. As Vox’s Benji Jones explained, the act includes $20 billion for “climate-smart” agriculture, which could help farmers store more carbon in their soil and plants.
Part of that money, for example, will go toward an initiative called the Conservation Stewardship Program, which essentially pays farmers to make their land more environmentally friendly, such as by planting cover crops. Cover crops, planted when the ground would otherwise be fallow, are one way to increase a farm’s potential to store carbon (and can also help avoid emissions).
Another $5 billion in funding goes toward preventing wildfires and protecting old-growth forests, which are rich in carbon. This is critical because the US is expected to lose more of its natural carbon sinks over time under business-as-usual scenarios. “Helping slow and reverse that trend is a critical part of emissions reductions,” said Jesse Jenkins, head of Princeton’s REPEAT Project.
The forest and agriculture land policies in the bill are enough to suck up emissions equivalent to the annual emissions from 19 million cars by 2030, based on Princeton’s modeling. An investment in agriculture and forestry “significantly broadens the reach of the bill,” Jenkins said, adding that these provisions are “important pieces of the path to net-zero emissions.”
A Biden Hearing-Aid Breakthrough
Hear, hear to the Biden Food and Drug Administration, which on Tuesday finalized a rule that Commissioner Robert Califf said will open up the hearing-aid market to competition and “unleash the power of American industry.” This is the right way to reduce prices.
The FDA rule will let Americans buy hearing aids over the counter rather than by prescription. This will expand the hearing-aid market and could save seniors thousands of dollars. The four largest manufacturers control 84% of a relatively small market. In 2019 the average retail price of a hearing aid was $2,284, about three times more than the wholesale cost.
Consumers may qualify for up to $10,000 — or more — in climate tax breaks and rebates in the Inflation Reduction Act
- The Inflation Reduction Act includes thousands of dollars in tax credits and rebates for consumers who buy electric vehicles, install solar panels or make other energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
- Democrats’ legislation is also expected to have indirect financial benefits for consumers, saving them an estimated $170 to $220 a year in electricity costs.
Newsom funnels nearly $5 billion into mental health resources
Gov. Gavin Newsom said he's moving billions from the existing budget to fund programs to combat mental health issues.
"$4.7 billion to focus on universal screening and support and services for all of our children in the state of California," he said.
The governor highlighted the critical need for immediate action, pointing to the suicide rates for California kids. From 2019 to 2020, suicide rates amongst people between the ages of 10 and 18 jumped 20%. Research also showed more kids are feeling chronic sadness and depression. Newsom hopes to hire and train 40,000 more mental health professionals for help.
Want us to have two more years of ACCOMPLISHMENTS?
Good Financial News
signs that inflation may have finally peaked
“Inflation appears to be beyond its peak, which has stopped the rapid increase in mortgage rates that the housing market was experiencing earlier this year,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
Has the bear market really gone into early hibernation?
Markets have seemingly recovered from a miserable downturn in mid-June that sent the S&P 500 (SPX) down more than 20%
things are looking pretty good right about now. The 9.2% return in the S&P 500 last month marked its best July since the Great Depression.
Jurrien Timmer of Fidelity Investments noted recently that 88% of all stocks in the index are currently sitting pretty above their 50-day moving average. “If this rally continues much further than it has so far, on a historical basis it will be hard to conclude that this is not a new bull market,” he wrote.
Americans are still spending, but they’re spending smart
In this Jekyll and Hyde economy, Dr. Jekyll is winning this week. (Hint. He’s the good guy.)
July’s retail sales data from the Census Bureau added to a picture emerging of an American consumer still spending even amid biting inflation and lousy sentiment. July retail sales were unchanged from June, but retail sales excluding autos and gasoline rose a healthy 0.7%.
“In one line: If you’re looking for recession, you won’t find it here,” wrote Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics in a note to clients. “The July retail sales report made it clear that the U.S. consumer is rather more willing to spend than you might expect if you spend much time wallowing in the misery of the recession-obsessed media,” he said.
That recession obsession has faded a bit over the past 10 days or so amid continued signs of labor market strength, falling gas prices and hints that runaway inflation may be peaking. (The latest weekly jobless claims out this morning edged lower to 250,000, a sign the labor market is still strong.)
Things Look Bad for TFG
The 4 major criminal probes into Donald Trump, explained
1. The DOJ’s Mar-a-Lago classified documents investigation
The investigation into Trumpworld that most recently seized headlines is, perhaps at first glance, the most banal: a federal investigation into possible mishandling of classified documents.
Most notably, the FBI believes that Trump may have violated a provision of the Espionage Act that makes it a crime to “willfully” retain certain national security information that “the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation,” rather than turning that information over to an “officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.”
What we can say is there are signs that this investigation remains active, and that it could eventually lead to criminal charges. Among other things, in a document filed in federal court on Monday, the Justice Department asked the court to keep the affidavit it submitted to justify obtaining a search warrant secret. The affidavit, DOJ said, would reveal “highly sensitive information” that would “cause significant and irreparable damage to this ongoing criminal investigation.”
2. The Justice Department investigation into January 6
Last January, Garland announced that the Justice Department has “no higher priority” than its investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol, and that his department “remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law.”
There is, however, at least one outward sign that Trump is under investigation. Last May, prosecutors subpoenaed the National Archives for the same Trump administration documents that the Archives already turned over to the US House committee investigating the January 6 attack.
While the Justice Department is unlikely to say much about whether Trump could be indicted for January 6-related crimes until after such an indictment takes place, both congressional and judicial officials have indicated that Trump most likely violated at least two federal criminal statutes during his efforts to overturn the 2020 election — one protects Congress from interference, and the other prohibits conspiracies to defraud the nation.
3. The Georgia election investigation
Last January, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s office asked a Georgia court to convene a special grand jury “for the purpose of investigating the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 elections in the State of Georgia.” That includes the Trump campaign’s attempt to create a slate of fake members of the Electoral College who would fraudulently tell Congress that the state’s electoral votes were cast for Trump.
Of course, even if Giuliani or Graham is eventually charged or convicted of a crime, it remains an open question whether any of their actions could also implicate Trump. But there are a few Georgia criminal statutes that Trump’s broad efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and specifically his “find 11,780 votes” phone call with Raffensperger, might violate.
4. The New York investigations into the Trump Organization
Finally, Trump — or, at least, his businesses — are the subject of two related financial fraud investigations, at least one of which has a small chance of ending in criminal charges against Trump.
Letitia James, the New York attorney general, has spent the better part of three years investigating whether the Trump Organization, Trump’s flagship company, misled either banks or tax officials about the value of its assets — allegedly inflating their value when seeking a loan from a bank, or minimizing their value in order to reduce taxes. James even deposed Trump earlier this month as part of this investigation, although Trump spent that interview repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
James’s investigation is civil and not criminal, but it could potentially lead to an extraordinary sanction against Trump’s business.
James’s investigation parallels a similar criminal investigation that is currently led by Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney. Like the state-level investigation, this Manhattan investigation has been going on for a few years.
Justice Department subpoenas Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann
A federal grand jury investigating the Jan. 6 attack has subpoenaed Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann for documents and testimony, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Herschmann represented Donald Trump in the former president’s first impeachment trial and later joined the White House as a senior adviser. He did not work in the White House counsel’s office, but did provide Trump with legal advice.
Herschmann is not the first former Trump White House lawyer to receive a DOJ subpoena. Pat Cipollone, who served as White House counsel, and Patrick Philbin, who served as deputy counsel, have also been subpoenaed.
During the tumultuous final weeks of Trump’s term, Herschmann clashed with other aides and advisers who pushed the defeated president to fight the election results. He was also present for many of the most consequential meetings in that period of time. Among them was a high-stakes meeting where most of the Trump Justice Department’s top brass threatened to resign rather than work under a colleague who wanted to advance spurious claims of widespread voter fraud.
Trump’s legal woes enter yet another protracted phase
Donald Trump entered Thursday demanding answers about the basis for the FBI search of his private residence and calling for a swift end to the investigation. Instead, the former president got few new details about the probe and a piece of unwelcome news to boot: the feds are just getting started.
That was the message from top Justice Department prosecutors during an hour-long federal court hearing Thursday over whether to publicly release elements of the probable-cause affidavit that led to the unprecedented search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. And it’s the latest sign that the Trump legal controversies that have clouded Washington for years may be entering a new protracted chapter.
Trump has ricocheted from one legal crisis to another since 2015. But now, in addition to a grand jury probe of his efforts with allies to disrupt the 2020 transition of power, and an Atlanta-area election investigation that also may result in criminal charges, he is staring down a Justice Department review of his handling of classified documents that could present the most acute legal threat of all.
But he’s not the only one in a vise. With Trump weighing a comeback bid for the presidency, the Mar-a-Lago matter also presents great risks for the Justice Department, where Attorney General Merrick Garland has already made a break from history by agreeing to release the search warrant itself.
Unsealed document in Mar-a-Lago search sharpens focus on Trump as possible subject of criminal probe
A document unsealed Thursday, which offered specifics about the crimes the Justice Department is investigating, including “willful retention of national defense information,” sharpens the focus on former President Donald Trump as a possible subject of the criminal probe, several legal experts told CNN.
Previously, the search warrant documents only listed the federal statutes, including the broad law known as the Espionage Act. And the documents released so far have made clear that Trump and others around him face potential legal exposure, including for possible obstruction of justice.
But the specific language on “willful retention” could point to the role of the former President, who would have been authorized to possess national defense documents while in office but not once he decamped to his private club and residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
FBI Questioning Trump’s National Security Staff About His Top Secret Document Alibi
WHEN FBI AGENTS found top secret documents at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the former president and his staff claimed the docs were actually declassified by a mysterious “standing” declassification rule. Now, the feds are investigating Trump’s alibi to see if anyone besides Trump heard about it.
Two people familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone that the FBI has begun asking former Trump administration officials whether they’ve heard of the so-called “standing order” Trump claims to have given. In recent days, the sources say, the feds have sent interview requests to the ex-officials, including former National Security Council personnel. The FBI has asked some of them to visit local FBI field offices to answer follow-up questions concerning the ex-president, classified and highly sensitive documents, and the alleged “order.” That order, Trump’s office insisted last week, dictated that any “documents removed from the Oval Office and taken into the residence were deemed to be declassified.”
Why is this important?
What does that mean?
but is the affidavit possibly going public good for trump?
and that Weisselberg deal?
Trump is rushing to hire seasoned lawyers — but he keeps hearing ‘No’
The former president’s current legal team includes a Florida insurance lawyer who’s never had a federal case, a past general counsel for a parking-garage company and a former host at far-right One America News
Former president Donald Trump and close aides have spent the eight days since the FBI searched his Florida home rushing to assemble a team of respected defense lawyers. But the answer they keep hearing is “no.”
Other Good News
Federal judge halts part of Florida's "Stop WOKE Act"
A Florida law dubbed by Gov. Ron DeSantis as the "Stop WOKE Act" was hit with a double whammy on Thursday.
Driving the news: A federal judge suspended enforcement of the law's employer provisions as part of a lawsuit filed by Florida honeymoon registry company Honeyfund and workplace diversity consultancy Collective Concepts in June.
Catch up quick: The law bans classroom discussion and corporate training that make students or employees feel discomfort over their race.
What they're saying: "Florida's legislators may well find plaintiffs' speech repugnant. But under our constitutional scheme, the remedy for repugnant speech is more speech, not enforced silence," wrote Mark Walker, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, in his ruling.
- "If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case. But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents."
Meanwhile: The ACLU, ACLU of Florida, Legal Defense Fund and law firm Ballard Spahr filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of a group of Florida professors, arguing that "Stop WOKE" violates the Constitution's First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment.
Walls close in on Graham, Giuliani in Georgia Trump probe
A federal judge on Monday rejected Sen. Lindsey Graham’s attempt to evade testifying before a special grand jury as part of a criminal investigation into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested the special grand jury back in January to assist in her investigation. The panel issued the subpoena to Graham, a South Carolina Republican, last month — and he's been trying to get out of it ever since.
Graham is learning the pitfalls of being a Trump loyalist. Attaching yourself to Trump’s hip may earn you currency among conservatives — but doing so may very well lead you to engage in nefarious activity. And outside the conservative movement, that is still considered a bad thing. Graham's been in on the “MAGA” grift for several years now, but his testimony in the Fulton County case will be the closest he’s come to facing accountability for it.
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