Tom Boggioni

'Thank you for your service': GOP insiders say Donald Trump is 'all washed up' with 'too much drama' for 2024

Donald Trump kicked off his bid for the 2024 Republican Party presidential nomination on Saturday with two speeches before smaller crowds in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and one Republican insider didn't see him turning his slide around with both speeches being a rehash of old complaints.

According to a report from the Guardian's David Smith, both of Trump's speeches were low-key affairs before smaller audiences as the president tries to reboot after his 2024 announcement in November which was "widely derided for its absence of sparkle or swagger."

According to longtime Republican pollster Frank Luntz, those two speeches likely have not stopped Trump's slide as he suggested the former president is "all washed up," as Smith put it.

Speaking with the Guardian, Luntz said his polling with GOP voters shows the former president is losing supporters to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and maybe it is time for Trump to step aside.

“How much Trump has fallen is a big deal and how much DeSantis has gained is a big deal,” Luntz began.

After he added, "DeSantis is so far ahead of where Barack Obama was against Hillary Clinton [in the Democratic primary in 2007] because that’s the closest parallel,” Smith wrote that the pollster, "predicts that DeSantis will be the Republican nominee in 2024."

"I used to think that Trump was the prohibitive favorite but, now that he’s below 50% and the first vote is still a year away, he’s bleeding support," he elaborated. "I talk to Trump people. We did a focus group on him a few weeks ago. They all still appreciate all that he did. They still think he was one of the greatest presidents in American history. But there’s too much drama and too much controversy and they’ve had enough. The conclusion from them is: Mr. Trump, thank you for your service, this country is grateful, but it’s time to move on.”

You can read more here.

Profanity-filled tirades and threats about grassroots dominated RNC meeting

Ronna McDaniel was re-elected to a fourth term as the Republican National Committee on Friday after staving off challenges to her leadership, but she will now have to deal with bitter recriminations that burst out into the open at the RNC get-together in California.

According to a report from Politico, things got personal and ugly as the vote neared with a surrogate for failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake creating scenes by confronting lawmakers and GOP officials at the hotel where the meeting is being held.

As Politico's Natalie Allison wrote, "The at times fierce, two-month-long race sparked debates about how the RNC has managed its finances and fared in recent elections. It also saw some members — on both sides of the contest — publicly calling into question the character of their colleagues, putting McDaniel and her allies on the defensive and forcing the incumbent chair to assemble an aggressive whip operation to shore up her support."

As the report notes, GOP activists who were opposed to McDaniel serving another term managed to alienate delegates.

One of those was conservative gadfly Charlie Kirk who complained, "I think the RNC is going to have a lot of trouble raising small-dollar donations, a lot of trouble rebuilding trust. Going into 2024, the apparatus that should be a machine and clicking on all cylinders and firing on all cylinders is going to be in a trust deficit.”

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump insiders question 'seriousness' of 2024 run as new hire expected to 'rankle' activists

As for more direct confrontations, Allison wrote one was a supporter of both RNC head candidate Harmeet Dhillon and Lake who caused scenes as voters were being lobbied before the final tally.

"Kirk wasn’t the only Dhillon ally whose aggressive advocacy ended up turning off members of the committee. Caroline Wren, who most recently ran Kari Lake’s gubernatorial campaign in Arizona, got into a heated exchange with Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones on Thursday night in the lobby of the Waldorf Astoria," Politico is reporting. According to three people familiar with the confrontation, Wren, who has been Dhillon’s top adviser in her campaign for chair, told Jones: 'Everyone knows you’re here f*cking whipping votes for Ronna.' She proceeded to call him a 'f*cking sell out,' adding that, 'the grassroots will never support you again.'"

The report adds, "A person familiar with the conversation said Wren had also approached Jones two other times this week, once while he was speaking with an RNC member, during which she called him 'the f*cking enemy,' and another time as Jones was speaking with Lake, during which she called him a 'sellout.'"

Wren attempted to downplay the conversations, denying that she used profanity and stated, "she was frustrated with Jones because he had previously been a public supporter of Dhillon."

You can read more here.

'It's a mistake' to believe murder case against cops who beat Tyre Nichols to death 'will be easy': legal expert

According to CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, the criminal charges filed against the five Memphis police officers accused of murdering 29-year-old Tyre Nichols by beating him to death are justifiably "aggressive," but he cautioned that the prosecution won't be easy.

Speaking with host Michael Smerconish, the former prosecutor said each of the five accused cops, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean, are facing seven charges each and that a jury -- should defense attorneys not seek to have them tried separately -- will have to come back with 35 verdicts.

According to Honig, "it is a mistake" to think the prosecution will "easy" because jurors can't convict if they have any doubts.

Honig also took up the matter of the failure to provide Nichols with medical help as he lay on the ground after the savage beating.

"So the theory here is failure to render aid or failure to render medical aid," he told the host. "Now, this is a really important point legally because this is the sort of new development that we're seeing in some of these police cases. We saw in the Derek Chauvin trial in the killing of George Floyd. The theory around all of those officers is, in addition to causing George Floyd's death, they failed to render aid."

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Profanity-filled tirades and threats about grassroots dominated RNC meeting

"That was a fairly novel legal theory at the time, but the jury accepted it, and now we're starting to see that type of theory brought to bear more often," he continued. "It's some of the lesser charges but still significant lesser charge; the official misconduct charge and official omission charge if you look further down the charges here. The theory is by standing around doing nothing, first, I would think that tells you something about their mind-set, their intent. They didn't care what happens to him and that's a crime in and of itself. And we're seeing prosecutors do that kind of theory used much more aggressively in charging some police officers and with some success."

"Bottom line, do you expect there to be more charges?" host Smerconish pressed.

"I don't expect there to be more charges," Honig replied. "I don't think there's a first-degree charge to be had here, as you said that involves an intentional premeditated killing, prosecutors plainly must have considered that charge -- I don't think the proof is there. I think they've charged this as aggressively as they can charge it. I'm all in favor of charging aggressively; that's what I used to do as a prosecutor, Michael, but the risk is if the jury thinks you have overcharged, that could actually backfire because that can compromise your credibility."

"The prosecutors really took an aggressive approach here, I think it was warranted, but I do not think it is a safe assumption that everyone is going to be convicted across the board," he added.

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'Scammed' users rage at Trump over 'misleading gimmicks' on Truth Social

Because major advertisers are avoiding Donald Trump's Truth Social, users are instead being exposed to a flood of ads from what the New York Times characterizes as "miracle cures, scams and fake merchandise," as the platform is forced to take what it can in an effort to survive.

That, in turn, has led to complaints aimed at the former president in his comment sections for allowing the forum to turn into a cesspool of ads from scam artists.

As the Times is reporting, Truth Social is almost devoid of ads from large corporations for a multitude of reasons that include the toxic rhetoric on the site, its small reach due to few users and the fact that the predominant demographic is not one that advertisers are trying to reach.

As the Times' Stuart Thompson wrote, "Ads from major brands are nonexistent on the site. Instead, the ads on Truth Social are for alternative medicine, diet pills, gun accessories and Trump-themed trinkets, according to an analysis of hundreds of ads on the social network by The New York Times," before adding, "The ads reflect the difficulty that several far-right platforms, including Rumble and Gab, have faced in courting large brands, preventing the sites from tapping into some of the world’s largest ad budgets."

As the report notes, Truth Social was initially financed with $37 million from GOP donors, and is currently estimated to be burning through $1.7 million per month and money is running out because of problems with the Security Exchange Commission.

Upon its launch, Devin Nunes, the chief executive of Trump Media, announced major advertisers would flock to the site — which has not happened — and the gap has been filled by companies that are much less desirable.

Add to that, according to one advertiser, the money he has spent on Truth Social has gone nowhere when it comes to sales.

"Maxwell Finn, an online marketer, said in a YouTube video that he was one of Truth Social’s top advertisers, spending more than $150,000 on ads, including those for Trump-themed hats, shirts, coins and novelty bills. In the video, he called the ad platform 'frustrating' and 'bare bones,' adding that it lacked even basic functionality, forcing his company to manually track ad performance — a method that would prove impossible for advertisers with larger budgets," the report states with Finn explaining, "Do I think this is a platform where you can be spending tens of thousands of dollars a day, especially if you only have a few products? No, probably. The audience is just too small.”

As for those who are still advertising on the site, fans of the former president are furious that advertisers are not being vetted.

"Over time, the low-quality ads on Truth Social have irritated its own users, who have complained to Mr. Trump after repeatedly seeing the same disturbing images or after falling for misleading gimmicks," the Times is reporting before adding an example of one user complaining directly to Trump, "Can you not vet the ads on Truth? I’ve been scammed more than once.”

You can read more here.

Questions raised about former US attorney who knew the DOJ was protecting Trump

A former U.S. attorney who knew that the Department of Justice during Donald Trump's administration was protecting the former president is off the hook for an ethics complaint that could have led to his disbarment.

In the book "Holding the Line" written and published by former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, he alleged that he was under tremendous pressure from the Trump White House to make sure the former president was shielded as part of his investigation of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's payment to adult performer Stormy Daniels.

That admission led Cohen -- who eventually served jail time and was disbarred over the hush money payment that spared Trump embarrassment prior to the 2016 presidential election -- to file an ethics complaint against Berman.

However, as the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery is reporting, Berman was absolved of any wrongdoing on Thursday, and that has Cohen asking why.

"According to Berman’s book, Justice Department top brass tried to shield Trump, demanding that Berman’s team of prosecutors scrub any reference to him in public law enforcement documents. And the attorney general at the time, Bill Barr, even tried to unravel Cohen’s prosecution by shopping around an alternative legal 'theory' that, in fact, Trump’s right-hand man hadn’t broken campaign finance laws," the Beast report states before adding, "But all the details remained secret until Berman landed a book deal with Penguin Press."

Responding to the revelation, Cohen's filed a complaint on Dec. 7 that claimed, in part: "Mr. Berman, despite his self-aggrandizing refusal to capitulate to the pressure campaign, failed and failed miserably to uphold his ethical and legal obligation to report the occurrences. By failing to do so, Mr. Berman deprived me of valuable information that could have been used in my defense.”

The Beast is reporting that minutes after they contacted Berman on Thursday for comment, a statement was issued from Jorge Dopico, chief attorney of the judicial region’s attorney grievance committee, who wrote, "Mr. Berman wrote that he took no inappropriate action at the behest of the Department of Justice under former President Trump. We have concluded that no further investigation or action is warranted.”

That has Cohen fuming and asking more questions that warrant an investigation of their own.

“He says nothing about the communications until he’s out of office, in private practice, and decides to write about it in a for-profit book. How is this not unethical?” he told the Beast in an interview.

The report adds, "Unlike some states where the legal profession is regulated by an independent bar association, New York state courts set the rules of conduct. Cohen filed his complaint against Berman, who works at the Manhattan firm of Fried Frank, with the attorney grievance committee at the regional appellate court, the First Judicial Department."

You can read more here.

What was Donald Trump doing with a Philadelphia mob boss?

Add to the list of sketchy characters Donald Trump has been agreeable to meet with -- and then pose for a picture -- reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has come into possession of a photo of the former president clad in golfing attire and his traditional "Make America Great Again" red hat posing with Merlino -- but no one in both of their camps seems to want to answer questions about it.

The photo can be seen here, with the Inquirer reporting that it was taken at Trump International Golf Club West Palm.

According to the Guardian, Merlino is a Trump supporter who previously served a major part of a 14-year sentence for racketeering, and in 2018 was sentenced to two more years for running an illegal gambling operation.

The Guardian report added that, after his latest conviction, he approved of the former president's comments about insiders becoming informants, telling reporters, "President Trump was right. They need to outlaw the flippers.”

As for the recent Trump picture, the Inquirer reported, "The photo, obtained by The Inquirer, is likely to renew concerns among Trump loyalists eager to help him retake the White House next year that he still lacks the sort of protective political infrastructure that would prevent a candidate for president from taking a picture with a convicted mobster whose last stint in federal prison ended in mid-2020."

The former president recently created a firestorm when he sat down to dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and virulent anti-Semite Kanye West that roiled the start-up of his 2024 presidential bid.

The report added, "Merlino did not respond to requests for comment," about the picture.

'You keep bringing up Chicago!' CNN cuts off Republican for dismissing new gun laws following LA mass shooting

During a conversation about the mass shooting in Los Angles that took place late Saturday night and claimed at least ten lives, CNN "State of the Union" host Dana Bash called out at GOP lawmaker who attempted to brush off the need for new gun laws by pointing out gun violence in Chicago -- a favorite rightwing talking point.

Sitting down with McCaul to discuss what to expect now that Republicans have majority control of the House, Bash first asked about the latest gun-related bloodshed in California.

"I was a counter-terrorism federal prosecutor and I was chair of Homeland Security," the Texas Republican replied. "Chicago has probably some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, yet the highest murder rate. The way I look at it is we need the intelligence, we need information sharing, we need to connect the dots."

"Every one of these cases, and I guarantee you'll see it in this one as well, the shooter had warning signs along the way," he continued. "We just didn't respond or pick it up. In my judgment we can create a system. I introduced a bill that we can take published information on the internet, have an algorithm to stop the threat before it happens. That is a smart approach rather than violating Second Amendment rights. So, look, I hope we can get that passed -- we're seeing this movie way too many times."

"What about a red flag law? A federal red flag law?" Bash asked.

"In a way what i'm talking about are red flags," McCaul replied before adding, "Chicago, Illinois has red flags --"

"You keep bringing up Chicago, which I understand," the CNN host interjected before adding, "But the guns in Chicago come in from other places because there is a patchwork of laws across the country, there's no federal law."

'Right. Again, we stopped ---," he backtracked. "I saw it when I chaired Homeland, so many terror attacks because we got the threat information in advance and we stopped it. We can use the same formula here domestically, although it's a little different. The Constitution didn't apply overseas, but we can do that here and stop these threats before they happen."

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CNN 01 22 2023 09 38

Legal expert calls for new Brett Kavanaugh investigation amid explosive documentary allegations

Based upon new allegations of sexual impropriety committed by sitting now-sitting Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a former career prosecutor stated there is no reason why a new investigation should not be undertaken by the Justice Department.

Speaking with MSNBC host Katie Phang, Glenn Kirschner hammered the FBI for the poor handling of tips that came in before Kavanaugh was given a lifetime appointment to the nation's highest court.

In the new documentary from noted filmmaker Doug Liman, Deborah Ramirez --who was never invited to testify during the Senate confirmation hearing -- gave a detailed description about her encounter with Kavanaugh while in college.

According to Phang, "The documentary alleges that the FBI failed to reach out to 4500 people who sent in tips prior to Kavanaugh's confirmation and, said those tips went to the [Trump] White House."

"We know what happened once those steps went to the White House, don't we, Glenn?" she continued. "Isn't this more just proof positive that the SCOTUS confirmation processes to be overhauled, and there has to be an exterior force, an exterior entity that is actually watching what's happening?"

"Absolutely!" Kirschner shot back. "It would be nice if we knew what was in those 4500 tips. I understand that the FBI will say it was a background investigation and, because it was requested by the White House, that's why our procedure is -- the White House, Donald Trump, was the very entity that desperately wanted Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court."

"They didn't care what misconduct he may have engaged in that disqualified to sit as a justice," he continued. "Here is what I find so nauseating. 4500 citizens put themselves on the line and called in those tips about Brett Kavanaugh's unsuitability to serve. You know what? There is nothing more offensive or disrespectful of those citizens who put themselves out there, then to have those things delivered to the White House, rather than investigated by the FBI."

"How about we investigate them now?" he then proposed.

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MSNBC 01 22 2023 07 43

Ex-prosecutor: Donald Trump keeps handing investigators 'incriminating evidence from heaven'

Donald Trump's inability to stop talking about his legal problems, and his penchant for floating possible defenses on his social media accounts, will likely come back to haunt him, explained one legal expert.

During an appearance on MSNBC early Sunday morning, former Army prosecutor Glenn Kirschner was asked by host Katie Phang about the former president's inability to keep quiet while he is under multiple investigations.

Brought on to talk about a report that new government documents were recovered from President Joe Biden's home, Kirschner first pointed out the distinction between the Biden investigation and special counsel Jack Smith looking at obstruction by Trump over his Mar-a-Lago documents.

That led host Phang to ask, "We do know that Donald Trump, and you mentioned it a couple of minutes ago, he is his own worst enemy. He cannot shut up. He posted on Truth Social, for example, that these were 'cool keepsake folders that the Gestapo, the FBI took when they raided Mar-a-Lago,' quote."

"Does he keep on making admissions and confessions every time he opens his mouth with a post on Truth Social?" she asked.

"He does, that is incriminating evidence from heaven for prosecutors," the legal analyst replied. "One, somebody who is the target of a criminal probe, which he clearly is, special counsel Jack Smith is investigating these precise crimes, the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago."

"Everything he says, everything he posts is what we call it an admission by a party opponent," he elaborated. "It's not hearsay, it comes in as criminal information."

"When Donald Trump says, on the one hand, the FBI planted them, on the other hand, okay, if they are there I declassified them with my mind. On the next post, well, you know, it was a bunch of empty folders -- we know that to be untrue," he continued. "All of this may play to a certain segment of the base. You know who won't play too? When prosecutors line it all up and present it to 12 people in the jury box. It's not going to play to a jury."

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MSNBC 01 22 2023 07 18

Trump could end DeSantis' presidential hopes with a series of surprising attacks: analyst

As Republican contenders for the 2024 presidential nomination begin to test the waters with an emphasis on how they would fare against announced candidate Donald Trump, the former president is reportedly fixated on his main rival, Ron DeSantis, and could be contemplating a new strategy to end the Florida Republican's dream of becoming the party's standard bearer.

Rolling Stone reports that DeSantis has taken some hard positions years ago that "would have raised the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare to 70. It would have weakened Medicare by offering seniors 'premium support' instead of comprehensive health coverage. And it would have eroded Social Security by giving recipients miserly annual adjustments for inflation."

Intelligencer's political analyst Ed Kilgore suggested that Trump could make this a central theme when he finally declares open warfare on the Florida governor for his controversial 2013 proposals.

And, to do that, the former president would have to go after DeSantis from the left, suggests Kilgore.'''

As he pointed out, Trump "famously abandoned austerity politics upon taking office in 2017," choosing instead to cut tax rates for the rich without reeling in domestic spending or entitlements.

With that in his hip pocket, the former president could sell himself to voters as the savior of Medicare and Social Security while painting DeSantis as an ogre willing to destroy the social safety net.

Kilgore wrote, "In other words, instead of maligning his governor as a RINO squish the way he has described most Republican rivals, Trump will go after DeSantis for supporting budget austerity, 'entitlement reform,' and free trade (all positions common among hard-core pre-MAGA conservatives)," while also adding it has some pitfalls by noting, "Trump can’t go after DeSantis’s like-minded 2013 thinking without fragging some of his most devoted followers today."

"If Trump decides on this as his strategy, he won’t pull any punches in pursuing it. The man who in 2016 dared to insinuate that John McCain was a loser for enduring years of torture as a POW isn’t going to show any grudging respect for Ron DeSantis once he begins smiting him hip and thigh," the analyst predicted.

Texas Republicans in turmoil as party launches attack ad aimed at GOP House speaker

A civil war has broken out among Republicans in Texas after the state party paid for an attack ad aimed at the House speaker -- who is also a Republican.

At issue is House Speaker Dade Phelan's (R) refusal to kick Democrats out of key committee chairmanships as he also blocked a rules package from far-right members from being voted upon.

As WFAA is reporting, the Texas Republican Party is attempting to turn up the heat on Phelan, running an ad that asks conservative voters to "Tell him to be a Republican."

According to the report, "In the minute-long ad, a narrator says the speaker is 'teaming up with Democrats to kill our Republican priorities.' The spot started running Wednesday in Phelan’s Southeast Texas district, according to a tweet from Texas GOP Chair Matt Rinaldi," before adding the party has already spent $15,000 attacking their own -- so far.

Phelan ally Rep. Charlie Geren(R) fired back at the GOP chair, stating, "Rinaldi spending more attacking a conservative Republican speaker than he did to help elect Republicans.”

The report adds, "Supporters of ending Democratic committee chairs always faced long odds in finding enough support inside the House to change the rules, but they hoped to show their ranks had grown when the rules package came up for a vote last week. Instead, Phelan and his allies used points of order, or procedural challenges, to successfully prevent consideration of two amendments to restrict Democratic committee chairs. Banning Democratic committee chairs is one of the Texas GOP’s eight legislative priorities, and Rinaldi has been one of the most vocal advocates for it."

Rinaldifired back at Geren on Twitter, saying "... the money the state party spent on the ad 'pales in comparison to the millions we spent in support of Republicans this election cycle.' The party has claimed it spent over $6 million in the November election, though critics have claimed much of that sum was money funneled through the state party by national GOP groups and earmarked for certain efforts," the report continued with Rinaldi sniping at GOP colleague Geren by stating, "Geren doesn’t know what he’s talking about and it’s complete deflection."

McCarthy constituents furious he's been ignoring their needs as he feeds his own desire for power

There is growing unrest back in his district aimed at House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), with his constituents believing that he is ignoring their needs because he is too caught up in his rise to power.

While McCarthy has spent months building support for his rise to speaker, people back home feel that their pleas for help with water problems in the largely rural district are falling on deaf ears and they are having to appeal to some lawmakers in neighboring districts for help.

As has been previously reported, the California Republican spent months building support for his drive to become House speaker after Democrats lost control of the chamber in the midterms. That was followed by a week spent on 15 ballots before holdouts in his own party fell in line.

As CNN is reporting, back home in California, his district is suffering from a devastating shortage of water that has some folks complaining they have to use gas station bathrooms to take baths. And they are still waiting for help.

CNN's Elia Nielsen reports "that about 8,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley need thousands of gallons of hauled water just to keep their taps flowing – and that number is growing."

With numbers increasing, the report adds, "Multiple people CNN spoke to for this story said McCarthy and his office don’t often engage on this issue in the district, especially compared with neighboring members of Congress. And they wish he would do more with his power in Washington – especially now that he holds the speaker’s gavel."

Put bluntly, Jessi Snyder, the director of community development at local nonprofit Self-Help Enterprises, explained, "In my experience, he has never engaged with us on any of these kinds of emergencies.”

According to the report, McCarthy’s office issued a statement claiming he is “a staunch advocate on water issues in the Central Valley and California,” but that hasn't stopped the criticism.

Tami McVay, Self-Help’s director of emergency services, begged to differ.

Telling CNN, the "outreach from McCarthy’s office on dry residential wells is 'slim to none, and I am not saying that to discredit them at all,'" she added, "I have had more conversations, more engagement and just more wanting to know how they can assist from Congressman [David] Valadao (R-CA) and his office than probably any other on the federal side.”

"Other members of Congress, including Democratic Rep. Jim Costa and Republican Connie Conway, who left office earlier this month, have also been more accessible and engaged on the issue, Snyder said," before adding, “Kevin McCarthy, no."

Judge slaps aside Trump attorney’s key conspiracy accusation against his niece

One of the key contentions made by Donald Trump's lawsuit filed against his niece Mary Trump over a privacy agreement involving his financial records earned a stiff rebuke from New York State Supreme Court Justice Robert R. Reed on Thursday, reports Courthouse News.

The former president has been battling with his niece for years over Trump family money and, in a case now being heard, has accused her of violating a 20-year-old agreement about the privacy of the documents shared.

In this case, the dispute claims Mary Trump violated a "confidentiality clause that prohibits all family members" from making the documents public, with the former president's lawyers accusing her of conspiring with New York Times reporters Susanne Craig, David Barstow and Russell Buettner who used information from the documents for their Pulitzer Prize-winning report in 2019 that delved into some of his financial dealings.

According to Trump's lawyer Alina Habba, arguing before Reed, "The line is when they were in the trenches with Ms. Trump, when she was going to her attorney’s office, when they were giving her burner phones to converse with her and walk her through the steps and have meetings with her. The New York Times was so aggressive with something that frankly Congress couldn't get their hands on themselves.”

Habba's co-counsel representing the former president, Michael Madaio, then insisted that the Times reporters were “ordering” Mary Trump to provide them with more information which led the judge to pull him and his law partner up short.

According to Courthouse News, Reed told the two, "You used the word ordered again,” before adding, “What authority did they exercise over her, such that she, a grown woman, licensed clinical psychologist, could be compelled by Sue Craig to take any action?”

The report adds that Mary Trump attorney Anne Champion told the court, "it was within Mary Trump’s rights to terminate the agreement, as it doesn’t specify an end date. She called the agreement nonsensical and cited the decision by a state judge in 2020 that allowed the book to be published against opposition from Robert Trump, the former president’s younger brother, related to the same family contract."

You can read more here.

Florida judge rules against Ron DeSantis in firing of state attorney

According to a ruling from U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) broke the law when he dismissed Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren over vague accusations that he was not prosecuting crimes that the governor deemed important, reports the Miami Herald.

The controversial Florida Republican held a press conference last August to attack Warren and state that he was being relieved of his duties.

In a sharply-worded rebuke on Friday, Hinkle, a federal judge, bluntly stated DeSantis was in the wrong.

In his ruling, he wrote, "The allegation was false. Mr. Warren’s well-established policy, followed in every case by every prosecutor in the office, was to exercise prosecutorial discretion at every stage of every case. Any reasonable investigation would have confirmed this.”

But the report adds that Hinkle is powerless to force DeSantis to put Warren back in his old job, with the Herald's Dan Sullivan, writing the "U.S. Constitution prohibits a federal court from awarding the kind of relief Warren seeks, namely to be restored to office."

You can read more here.

Watch: GOP House candidate corrected about the debt ceiling during MSNBC interview

During an interview on MSNBC's "The Sunday Show," the Republican Party candidate for the House seat, now open due to the death of the late U.S. Rep. Don McEachin (D), ran into some difficulties when asked if he would agree to raise the debt ceiling if elected that, in turn, led host Jonathan Capehart to explain what it is.

Sitting down with the MSNBC host, Virginia's Leon Benjamin was given the opportunity to make the case for himself as opposed to his Democratic opponent State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D).

Benjamin ran into early trouble when asked about the debt ceiling and he responded with a boilerplate conservative complaint about taxes.

"On Friday, Congress is on track to hit the debt limit with this upcoming week. If elected, would you vote to raise the debt ceiling? " Capehart asked.

"Well, there comes some parameters with raising the debt ceiling," Benjamin began. "If we want to continue to do the spending we are doing, then all it does is move the goalpost and someone has to pay for that debt. And most of the time it is our children and grandchildren. So if we are going to raise any debt ceiling, there has to be some, uh, parameters around the spending and I would vote for that."

"But paying our debts isn't new spending, it's paying for stuff we've already bought," the MSNBC host patiently explained. "So the question again, will you vote to raise the debt ceiling if you are indeed elected to Congress?"

"Well that's the issue," the GOP hopeful attempted. "We had 33 trillion right now something, somebody has to pay for. that and most of the time the goalpost gets pushed down into the future. So there has to be an understanding of spending money that you have, as opposed to spending money that you don't."

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MSNBC 01 15 2023 10 49

Joe Biden's document discovery does not cancel out Donald Trump's troubles

The discovery of additional government documents at President Joe Biden's home on Saturday, dating back to when he was vice president under President Barrack Obama, should not have any impact on special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into Donald Trump's hoarding documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

That's according to a former U.S. attorney who did admit it will be perceived as a "political" problem -- but that has nothing to do with following the letter of the law.

As the Guardian's David Smith wrote, the Biden document recovery is creating a firestorm that Trump and his allies are using to protest his own legal problems as the DOJ-appointed Smith investigates possible charges of government obstruction and violations of the Espionage Act.

"Despite superficial similarities, the two cases are like chalk and cheese. In January last year the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s home, telling justice department officials they contained 'a lot' of classified material," Smith wrote before adding, "The Biden papers are far less voluminous. First it emerged that a 'small number' with classified markings had been found in November in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center think tank in Washington."

According to noted political scientist Larry Sabato, "This may be pure sloppiness on Biden’s part or the Biden team’s part but it doesn’t matter. In the public mind, now they will say, 'Well, a pox on both your houses. You’re both guilty. Shame on you both.’ It’s over.”

Be that as it may, Jay Town, who served as a U.S. attorney in the Trump administration, claimed Trump is still not off the hook.

“I don’t think that it impacts Trump’s legal calculus at all, but it certainly does impact the political narrative going forward. To the extent that the political narrative is a consideration, it does make it harder to bring charges against former President Trump as it relates to the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago," he explained in an interview.

On that note, Smith added, "Republicans are also well practiced in the political art of false equivalence and 'whataboutism'. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, allegations that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia were effectively neutralised by a controversy over rival Hillary Clinton’s private email server."

You can read more here.

Trump's lawyers 'should be alarmed' by his 'undisciplined' deposition eruption: legal expert

According to portions of Donald Trump's deposition that are part of a lawsuit filed against him by E. Jean Carroll, the former president was combative when questioned and made more defamatory comments about the writer which should be cause for concern for his lawyers.

According to MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin, Trump's demeanor when forced to answer questions could lead to more civil suits because potential opposing counsels can now see how "undisciplined " he is when cornered.

As Rubin told host Chris Hayes, "This is a person who is, thoroughly, to use your word, undisciplined, through and through. That should scare us for a number of reasons. Number one, because he was the president of the United States and we know how capable he was during his presidency of this lack of discipline. Two, because he is the declared candidate again, for president of the United States."

"Three, the lack of discipline here should be alarming to his lawyers if no one else, because he is likely to be sued again by other people if E. Jean Carroll succeeds, and she 's got a trial date for April 17th games for claims he has made against them since he was president," she added.

"If he can be sued for defamation by an ordinary citizen like E.Jean Carroll, he can be sued by defamation for example, by Ruby Freeman, the Georgia election worker, against whom him he has redoubled an attack just last week, not once, not twice, but three times."

Watch below or at the link:

MSNBC 01 13 2023 20 24

Embattled Michigan GOP co-chair accused of leaving behind a 'poison pill' to create more election chaos

A Michigan Republican Party co-chair, who is under the cloud of a possible investigation over attempting to overturn the 2020 election results, is reportedly stepping aside but her GOP colleagues fear she is not done sowing seeds of discontent after she is gone.

According to a report from the Daily Beast's Jon King, avid Donald Trump supporter Meshawn Maddock will reportedly not run for another term as a co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party in the wake of the "ass-kicking" the party received in the 2022 midterm election that saw Democrats gain a super-majority in the legislature.

However, some Republicans think she is behind pushing her son-in-law, 22-year-old Parker Shonts, as a candidate for youth vice chair where he will continue her work elevating election conspiracies and disrupting plans for the 2024 election.

As the Beast's King put it, some of Maddock's colleagues see Shonts as a "poison pill" designed to be forced "down the throat of the party faithful."

According to King, "While the position itself is largely seen as ceremonial, and the vast majority of attention is being paid to the race for the next chair of the party, skeptics see Shonts’ candidacy as a proxy to affirm Maddock’s continued influence. In other words, some Republicans say, Shonts stands for doubling down on the same far-right, election-denying politics that may have doomed the party last fall."

Former county and district chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, Tom Stroup, claims Maddock and her husband, Republican State Rep. Matt Maddock, have been a thorn in the side of the party for years.

“I have known the Maddocks long before they came to power in the Michigan Republican Party, and they have been a problem in our party basically since day one,” he explained before adding, "Meshawn did such a poor job as co-chair of the party.”

He then suggested her son-in-law's bid “is a part of trying a power play to try and stay in power in some form.”

As for Shonts, King reports he ".... has been endorsed by a host of election deniers, including My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell and Michigan GOP District Chair Shane Trejo. The latter—who, as The Daily Beast reported, hosted a podcast with a member of the white supremacist group Identity Evropa—called for the ouster of a fellow Republican who voted to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 win."

According to Dennis Lennox, a GOP strategist in Michigan, Shonts bid to be a youth vice chair is not one to be taken lightly.

“Historically, it has been the most contested, the nastiest race,” he pointed out. “I can remember running races for a youth chair at the convention, winning some, losing some, and hating the people because you’re 20 years old and you hate the person who wins. Then, 10 years later, you’re both political professionals and you’re working together.”

You can read more here.

'The evidence is powerful': Trump's political future could be on the line following judge's ruling

Donald Trump's hopes of running for president in 2024 could suffer a fatal blow later this month when a judge in Georgia hears arguments regarding the release of a grand jury report over his involvement into possible election tampering that one legal scholar predicted could be "momentous."

According to a report from the Guardian's Chris McGreal, the grand jury's report is now in the hands of the judge, and, if the report recommends prosecution and is made public, it could lead Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to follow through and drag the former president into court.

As the report notes, the 23-member panel wrapped up their work last Monday and specifically requested the report be viewed by the public -- something Trump's lawyers will likely try to stop.

According to legal scholar Norm Eisen of the Brookings Institution, which issued its own report stating the former president is "at substantial risk of prosecution," there is a wealth of evidence that could lead to prosecution for "improperly influencing government officials, forgery and criminal solicitation."

Speaking with McGreal of the Guardian, Eisen claimed it is "highly likely” Willis will follow the recommendations of the grand jury and procede with prosecution.

“The evidence is powerful and the law is very favourable to the prosecutors in Georgia,” the attorney explained. “I believe the [special grand jury] report very likely calls for the prosecution of Trump and his co-conspirators.”

Eisen noted that the Georgia case is farther along than the Department of Justice's investigation of Trump over his part in the Jan 6th insurrection and obstruction of justice with regard to the taking of government documents and hoarding them at Mar-a-Lago.

That means Trump could be in a Georgia courtroom long before the DOJ concludes its work.

According to the Guardian report, "If the grand jury’s report recommends prosecution, a county district attorney in Atlanta, Fani Willis, will face the most consequential decision of her career – whether, for the first time in American history, to charge a former president with a criminal offence," adding, "That could result in Trump sitting behind bars in Georgia when he expects to be out on the campaign trail. Provided he is not already serving time as the result of a federal investigation into his attempts to pressure election officials in several other states to rig the vote and his part in the 6 January 2021 storming of the Capitol."

According to the Guardian, "Those who have worked with Willis say she is unlikely to shy from prosecuting Trump if she deems it appropriate. She is known to be a fan of anti-racketeering laws, having used them to prosecute public school teachers who were part of a cheating scandal. If Willis decides to press ahead with the case, she will need to convene a regular grand jury which has the authority to hand down indictments."

You can read more here.

'It’s his life': Steve Bannon’s attorney explains why he’s bailing on his client's fraud case

Appearing on CNN the morning after he had a major falling out with his client before a judge and asked to be allowed to resign from the case, attorney Doug Schoen explained the "irreconcilable" differences he has with his soon-to-be former client Steve Bannon.

Speaking with "CNN This Morning" co-host Kaitlan Collins, Schoen said that his client was not allowing him to present the best possible defense and that he has no choice but to step aside.

As the Associated Press reported, Schoen is representing Bannon in a case where he is charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud related to the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign.

AP reported, "Bannon, a conservative rabble-rouser and longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, has until a Feb. 28 hearing to find new counsel, Judge Juan Manuel Merchan said. His current lawyers, David Schoen and John Mitchell, must stay on the case until then, the judge said."

Appearing on CNN, Schoen, said he still talks to his client -- but that he uses another attorney as an intermediary.

"I guess the first question I have for you, is when was the last time that you and Steve Bannon spoke?" host Collins prompted.

"We spoke, we just don't speak about this case," Schoen explained. "I concluded that we had irreconcilable differences about the approach to the case, the defense of the case, the strategy in the case, the resources for the case. So the best policy was not to talk about it anymore. I talked to him through a third-party lawyer. I still represent him in the case in D.C. and I speak to him."

"So you still talk to him about other cases, but when it comes to this border wall case he's facing, you speak through a third-party attorney to talk to Steve Bannon?" Collins pressed.

"Yeah, there's no point any further in discussing issues surrounding this case," he elaborated. "We have very different views of how it should be handled. When I take on a case, I need to be able to handle it in the way I see is appropriate. Frankly, there was a bit of a breakdown in the D.C. trial. I disagreed with the trial strategy in the case. When the trial came, I refused to participate in the examination of witnesses and arguments. I just handled the legal issues in that case, even though I had been hired to be the lead lawyer."

After stating that he needs to follow "...the rules of professional conduct as well," he later added, "I can't go into those details, as I know you know, and Steve Bannon may well be right and I may be wrong. But it's his case, it's his life and he deserves to be able to proceed with a defense he thinks is appropriate."

Watch below or at this link.

Legal expert pours cold water on GOP’s Biden document freakout

In a column in the Daily Beast by attorney Shan Wu, GOP glee about President Joe Biden documents from his years as Vice President Barrack Obama discovered in a locked storage room at the Penn Biden Center is much ado about nothing.

On Monday it was revealed an attorney working for the president discovered the documents and immediately notified the National Archives so that they could retrieve them.

That, in turn, led Republicans to seize on the news as a way of trying to undercut the DOJ investigation of Donald Trump's boxes of documents kept at his Mar-a-Lago resort that he refused to return until the FBI obtained a search warrant to enter and seize them.

According to Wu, who previously served in the DOJ, beyond demagoguery, Republicans should not expect anything to come from an investigation ordered by Attorney General Merrick Garland being overseen by U.S. Attorney John Lausch.

As the attorney noted, a representative from the National Archives already stated that the possession of the Biden docs was likely a mistake that was the result of lack of clarity over what was permissible to keep.

Wu also noted that, in the Donald Trump case, refusal to return the documents is central to special counsel Jack Smith's investigation.

"The recovery from Trump of highly sensitive documents pertaining to national security—including ones related to nuclear secrets—came after more than a year of requests, negotiations, grand jury subpoenas and meetings between Trump’s representatives, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the Justice Department that culminated in a criminal search warrant being executed on Trump’s home," Wu wrote before adding, "In contrast, Biden’s lawyers notified the National Archives on the same day the documents were found “in a locked closet” and the documents were retrieved by the National Archives the next morning. Biden’s lawyers’ prompt actions displayed a transparency and disregard for political consequences given that they discovered the documents on Nov. 2—only days away from the midterm elections."

He continued, "The facts as we know them so far make it highly unlikely that Lausch will find evidence of criminal behavior on the part of Biden and/or his team given the lack of any effort to conceal or obstruct, which would be critical in finding any criminal intent."

You can read more here.

Marjorie Taylor Greene could access 'the most sensitive secrets in the government' if House GOP has its way

According to a report from the New York Times, House Republicans will be putting forward a resolution this week to create a special Judiciary subcommittee focusing on what they call the “weaponization of the federal government,” with a focus on the FBI and the U.S. intelligence services.

Now that the House Republicans finally came together to make Kevin McCarthy the new House speaker, they will begin work this week on new rules for the chamber and other changes as they flex their majority powers.

After McCarthy promised concessions to far-right Freedom Caucus members, which reportedly included handing out chairmanships and creating new subcommittees, a focus on the FBI and intel groups would open the door to a wide range of House Republicans having access to sensitive documents that were previously beyond their reach.

That could include controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) who was booted from all of her committee assignments -- with 11 Republican colleagues agreeing -- back in February of 2021 due to "her past incendiary comments and apparent support of violence against Democrats," reported NPR at the time.

The report warns, "While Mr. Jordan’s investigative unit will be housed within the Judiciary Committee, its 13 members — eight of whom would be Republicans — will not be limited to lawmakers on that panel."

That could include Taylor Greene who has wormed her way into the good graces of McCarthy as one of his staunchest advocates in his bid for the speakership and reportedly will have her pick of committees to serve on.

The Times report states, "Mr. McCarthy has already promised her a spot on the House Oversight Committee, and she broke with other far-right members to support his speakership bid from the first ballot, as did Mr. Jordan. Such a situation could result in lawmakers trying to scrutinize a Justice Department investigation as that inquiry potentially examines some of those same lawmakers’ conduct concerning the events of Jan. 6."

Asked about that possibility on Sunday, Perry claimed, "Why should I be limited — why should anybody be limited just because someone has made an accusation? I get accused of all kinds of things every single day, as does every member that serves in the public eye. But that doesn’t stop you from doing your job. It is our duty and it is my duty.”

You can read more here.

'Everybody panicked and flipped out' after Lauren Boebert bungled her speaker vote on 14th ballot

According to Punchbowl News founder John Bresnahan, the literal floor fight in the House late Friday night that saw Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) hauled away after he tried to attack Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), was precipitated by a goof in voting by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) on the 14th ballot.

C-SPAN viewers and House members were stunned late Friday when Gaetz voted "present" and denied Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) the House speakership.

That, in turn, led McCarthy to march up the aisle and confront the Florida Republican where reportedly "F-bombs were flying," before Rogers stormed down the aisle to join in.

During an appearance on CNN's "Inside Politics," Bresnahan explained that Gaetz shouldn't have been the focus of their ire and that it was Boebert's mistake that initiated the chaos.

Speaking with the panel he explained, "One of the things, Mike Rogers is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Gaetz serves on the committee, and he wanted a subcommittee chairmanship on Armed Services which Kevin McCarthy cannot give him."

"Rogers came over and said 'you're done,' he's the only guy on Armed Services voting against McCarthy, and it got a little worse and that's when Richard Hudson stepped in," he elaborated.

"One thing that was interesting to me is that what we were told was Lauren Boebert was sitting next to Gaetz, and we were told on that vote, on the 14th vote, she was actually going to vote for Gaetz, which would have allowed Gaetz to vote present, which McCarthy would have won on the 14th vote," he continued. "Voted for Gaetz, then Gaetz can vote present. What happened is she voted present, and Gaetz voted present. and he didn't get it. He got on the number but he didn't get there. There was some confusion about what was happening, and that's when everybody panicked and flipped out."

You can watch below or at this link:

CNN 01 08 2023 08 07

'We’re not going to be a cheap date': House Democrats to capitalize on Kevin McCarthy's fractured GOP caucus

According to a report from Vox, House Democrats, observing the Republican Party rancor that preceded the 15-ballot election of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to become the new House speaker, see an opportunity to maintain a certain amount of control of the chamber.

That led one senior Democrat to put the California Republican on notice that he will at times need their votes -- and will pay a price for them.

With McCarthy leading a House with the slimmest of margins, and a caucus that is far from united behind him and itching to depose him, the GOP leader will be walking a tightrope for the next two years if he lasts that long.

After handing his GOP critics a concession that would allow them to demand he vacate the chair, McCarthy will be feeling pressure from both sides.

As Vox's Li Zhou wrote, "McCarthy’s agreement to weaken the role of the speaker is likely to lead to extreme gridlock within the ranks of the GOP. But it could also present an opening for Democrats. If far-right lawmakers in the GOP follow through on their promises to hold up pivotal spending and debt ceiling legislation, Republicans may well have to rely on Democrats’ help to get any bills across the finish line — a dynamic Democrats could capitalize on."

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), the senior Democrat on the House Rules Committee put it bluntly by saying, "The deal is, if they want to get stuff done, they’re going to have to work with us. And we’re not going to be a cheap date.”

The report goes on to add that Democrats could also find some surprising allies to derail some McCarthy initiatives.

"Given the number of Freedom Caucus members added to the House Rules Committee, Democrats could theoretically join with the conservatives on the panel to block or slow bills favored by House GOP Leadership," the report states before adding, "The situation gives Democrats more leverage to put forth their own demands, if Republican leadership is actually interested in getting anything done. Of course, there’s a high chance that they aren’t, a reality Democrats are preparing to confront as well."

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) who sits on the Rules Committee held out hope that could happen.

“I think there is an opportunity. But it’s just such an unusual time — and it’s so hard for so many of them to reach across the aisle,” DeSaulnier explained.

You can read more here.

Trump special counsel Jack Smith was handed an 'easy case' that can be 'prosecuted at any time': legal expert

During an appearance on MSNBC's "The Katie Phang Show" early Saturday morning, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne said special counsel Jack Smith has his work cut out for him when it comes to a Donald Trump criminal indictment over the Jan. 6 riot.

As for the Mar-a-Lago stolen documents investigation, she added that Smith was handed a case ready-made to take the former president to court as soon as possible.

Speaking with host Phang, Alksne said the Department of Justice had not done a good job pursuing Trump over the 2021 insurrection that forced lawmakers to flee for their lives, but the Mar-a-Lago case is a completely different matter.

Addressing the FBI searching Trump's Florida resort and discovering documents that should not be in Trump's possession after stalling the National Archives, Phang prompted, "One is so much farther along in terms of the development of evidence. We've seen some of it already in public, for public consumption, why haven't we seen charges here with respect to the hoarding of classified documents?"

"Well, I would guess that that was going to come pretty soon," the former DOJ official quickly answered. "I mean, let's face it, that's an easy prosecution: you stole the documents, we're asking for them, we ask you 'pretty please,' he said 'no,' you lied about it, you move them, and then we found them!"

"It's a reasonably easy prosecution," she elaborated. "There are a couple of outstanding things: one is, what is the obstruction? We know that, originally, they made the aide lie and didn't say that he had moved the documents under Trump's direction and then eventually flipped and did. Now, the question is was that flip, was that in any way coordinated? Without an obstruction by Trump or any of the lawyers as in, perhaps that Cassidy Hutchinson model with [attorney] Stefan Passantino."

"They have to figure out that obstruction, and they also have to figure out, now that they have the documents, were they shared with anybody and what exactly happened with them -- and that may take some time," she continued. "But the truth of the matter is that it's a relatively easy case, it could be prosecuted at any time, and I hope they do it before spring."

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MSNBC 01 07 2023 07 41

Kari in 'Neverland': Arizona columnist buries GOPer Lake for 'duly-elected governor' claim

In a piece for the Arizona Republic, longtime columnist E.J. Montini questioned the sanity of failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake for refusing to admit that she was defeated in her first run for political office and suggested she is living in a "personal cloud cuckoo land."

In his biting column, Montini indicated that it is unclear if Lake really thinks she won or is playing a part much like her avid supporter Donald Trump who still insists the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

As the columnist wrote after the former TV personality boasted to an interviewer that she is the "real governor, the duly-elected governor,” "The failed Republican candidate for Arizona governor, Kari Lake, has spent a lot of time hobnobbing at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s personal Disneyland, and she seems to have fallen completely under the spell of the enraptured proselytes who populate the former president’s conspiracy driven Shangri-la," before adding, "Lake used to reside in the real world, the one where facts are facts and events that happen actually, you know, happen."

"Now, however, I’m not sure in what imaginary realm Lake believes herself to dwell," he proposed.

"I can understand the appeal of living in a dreamworld, a fanciful fantasia of one’s own creation. Imagine if any one of us could snap our fingers and make our wildest dreams become reality," he admitted. "After all, there are no rules in one’s personal cloud cuckoo land, none of the constrictions of reality. Anything you want to happen can happen. Anyone you wish to meet can be rejuvenated, even reborn."

Montini went on to suggest that Lake and Trump appear to be living in "their own twisted dreams."

With that in mind he wrote, "Alice woke up and left Wonderland. Dorothy returned home to Kansas from Oz. Not Kari. We cannot even be certain if Lake is simply an actress playing a part or if she genuinely believes her delusion."

"However, those of us living in the real world know for certain there is only one place where Lake might hope to be a 'duly elected governor': Neverland," he concluded.

You can read his whole piece here.

Anti-McCarthy GOPers 'are in for a rude awakening' now that he's speaker: conservative analyst

With Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) assuming the House speakership after 15 grueling roll-call vote counts due to a faction in his own caucus who bitterly opposed him, one GOP adviser claimed that anti-McCarthy GOPers are likely going to pay for putting up a protracted fight.

Speaking with CNN host Alex Marquardt, conservative campaign consultant Alice Stewart explained the bitterness of the speaker vote will linger and that some of their Republican colleagues in House are furious about their demands for more power.

"One of the next things that's going to happen in the near future, Alice, is committee assignments," the CNN host prompted. "This is not entirely up to Speaker McCarthy. There's a steering committee that assigns members of Congress to the various committees. How do you expect, or where do you expect, some of these conservative rebels, as we've been calling them, in terms of what they may or may not get in terms of committee assignments?"

"I don't think there's going to be as much under the Christmas tree for them in that regard as they seem to think," Stewart quickly replied. "Speaking with a lot of members of the rational Republican group throughout the weekend, specifically late into the night last night, they were frustrated. they were angry. They felt this was completely unnecessary given the fact that every concession they had requested had been met and this was not a matter of policy, this was just about personality conflicts with Kevin McCarthy."

"Here these people have gone in day-in and day-out for all the right reasons for the party and for policies, and you have people like [Rep. Matt] Gaetz and [Rep. Lauren] Boebert who are in a vanity project to raise money for the future. They do have the opportunity to decide who gets on which committee and where and, I can guarantee you, Alex, that they're going to be quite selective in who gets on which committee."

"Certainly Matt Gaetz has his eye on the prize for a key committee assignment, but they're going to be in for a rude awakening because their colleagues are frustrated with the fact that they have a job to do," she added.

Watch below or at the link:

CNN 01 07 2023 07 09

New questions raised about 'nefarious' gap in Trump’s day on Jan. 6

On Monday the now-shuttered House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 insurrection released more documents to the Depart of Justice and the public and now new questions are being raised about Donald Trump's activities on that day.

As the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery wrote, a renewed focus is taking place on the 8-hour gap when the former president's phone calls were not logged --which could lead to a DOJ inquiry involving phone records people known to have been in contact with him based on their own testimony.

As American University professor Chris Edelson, put it: "The first thing one thinks of is the [Richrad] Nixon tapes, the missing 18 minutes. It’s never been resolved,” with regard to the Watergate scandal that brought his presidency down.

Adding that Trump "Is now in the same boat," Pagliery wrote, "The gap starts at 11:04 a.m. that day, when an incoming call was logged from then-Senator David Perdue (R-GA) with the attached note, 'Talked Ok.' The next item appears nearly eight hours later at 6:54 p.m., when Trump asked the switchboard operator to ring his social media director. 'POTUS instructed operator to call back with Mr. Dan Scavino,' it reads.

For investigators, what is central to those missing calls is Trump's state of mind during the insurrection -- a key charge made by the Jan. 6 committee

With Pagliery writing, "... similar to Nixon, there’s ample evidence that former President Donald Trump did indeed have damning conversations that aren’t reflected in the official record. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) have all admitted to having phone conversations with the former president during the harrowing hours while the attack unfolded in the afternoon, yet the White House switchboard typically used for official calls doesn’t reflect any of those calls," Barbara Ann Perry, of the University of Virginia, claimed the gap needs a thorough investigation.

"All you’re left to surmise is that, for nefarious reasons, this particular president didn’t want any record kept,” Perry explained before adding, "Yes, this is missing evidence of wrongdoing on the president's part. This would be part of that story. Why would he be hiding this?”

You can read more here.

Trump's New Year's Eve 'media availability' stunt is a sign he's 'desperate': NYT reporter

After MSNBC host Alex Witt announced Donald Trump will be holding a surprise New Year's Eve "media availability," the New York Times' Peter Baker professed ignorance of what the former president is up to this before labeling it a stunt borne out of "desperation."

According to Witt on Saturday afternoon, "Trump is expected to have a media ability tonight. 9 pm, just hours before we bring in the new year."

"Do you he know what this is about and is it expected to be an announcement of some kind, and let me ask you about the timing. what do you think that?" she asked.

"I do not know what it is about, I have not heard any details about it, they haven't slipped out lately, at least that I know of," he admitted.

"Could be another NFT thing? Could be another one?" she pressed.

"Exactly., it could be a fundraising gimmick. could be, maybe he's just -- look, he's a showman," Baker replied. "That is the essence of his politics, is to keep people on the hook, suspense, cliff-hangers. He kept that show of his, 'The Apprentice' going for 14 years on air even though it was basically the same show week after week. It was hardly a new concept. each week, and yet somehow managed to get viewers to come back for more."

"So that has been one of the superpowers in politics, obviously; getting attention, trying to get people to follow him," he continued. "One of the things that this indicates, I think though, is how desperate he is for attention at this point. I don't think he has got the attention that he thought he would after announcing that he is running again. I think the attention, of course, has mostly been negative in the form of this Jan. 6 committee, his taxes being released, continued investigation by the Justice Department."

'So, he is looking for some way to change the subject, to get attention in a positive way, or at least a way that turns on his terms rather than everybody else's terms," he added.

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MSNBC 12 31 2022 12 28

GOP's 'giddiness about a big red wave' ended up blowing up in their face

According to a report from the New York Times, Republicans have only themselves to blame for the midterm election disaster that saw them take over the House by a far slimmer margin than they expected and actually lost a seat in a Senate that seemed ripe for a similar takeover.

At issue, the report notes was an over-reliance on sketchy Republican-leaning polls that fed into a popular narrative among conservatives that a "red wave" was coming which, in turn, led candidates to make critical mistakes in the waning days before voters headed to the polls.

While much attention has been paid to the influence of Donald Trump in the selection of GOP candidates, a substantial number of whom went down to defeat, Republicans bought into their own invincibility and failed to listen to warnings from naysayers who pointed out that few races were slamdunks.

As the Times reports, "Surveys showing strength for Republicans, often from the same partisan pollsters, set Democratic klaxons blaring in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Colorado. Coupled with the political factors already favoring Republicans — including inflation and President Biden’s unpopularity — the skewed polls helped feed what quickly became an inescapable political narrative: A Republican wave election was about to hit the country with hurricane force."

Pointing out, "The skewed red-wave surveys polluted polling averages, which are relied upon by campaigns, donors, voters and the news media. It fed the home-team boosterism of an expanding array of right-wing media outlets," the NYT report added, "The virtual 'bazaar of polls,' as a top Republican strategist called it, was largely kept humming by right-leaning pollsters using opaque methodology, in some cases relying on financial support from hyperpartisan groups and benefiting from vociferous cheerleading by Mr. Trump."

According to Steven J. Law, the chief executive of the Republicans’ Senate Leadership Fund, he saw the warning signs early.

“These frothy polls had a substantial, distorting impact on how people spent money — on campaign strategy, and on people’s expectations going into the election,” he explained.

Law added that his own internal polling showed candidates were in tighter races than were believed but candidates failed to adjust their messages -- which left him in distress.

“All of these effervescent polls and giddiness about a big red wave led some Republican candidates to believe all they had to do was play to late-night cable and the hard-core base, instead of reaching out to independent voters who decided the election,” he lamented.

Another contributing factor, the Times is reporting, was rightwing outlets cheering on a potential red wave which helped boost ratings while at the same time, in the case of Fox News, "The network’s own polling unit, respected throughout the news industry for its nonpartisanship and transparency, was not detecting a Republican wave."

That didn't stop popular host Sean Hannity from promoting polls from Trafalgar and InsiderAdvantage -- which ended up being wildly wrong -- with the Times reporting both "had long been viewed with suspicion in the polling industry for their opaque surveying methods."

According to Jason Damata, the founder and chief executive of Fabric Media, Fox News hyped the questionable pollsters for a reason.

“The culture of programming does not take kindly to narratives of ‘we’re behind’ or ‘we’re losing,’” Damata explained. “Fox has a profound understanding of what’s going to keep audiences coming back and being engaged.”

You can read more here.

Donald Trump: 'Absolutely horrendous SleazeBags' behind 'fake' reports of rifts with Ivanka and Jared

Donald Trump kept up his prolific posting on his Truth Social account on Monday after spending the Christmas holidays lashing out at his enemies and complaining that, without him in the Oval Office, the U.S. is going to hell.

Or as he put it on Christmas day: "The USA is dying from within!!!"

After attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife on Monday, the former president addressed a deep dive into his Mar-a-Lago life over the past 30 days since he made his announcement that he would be running for president for the third time written by New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi after she interviewed him at his pricey Florida resort.

A great part of her reporting noted that the former president is pre-occupied with his legal problems and has basically holed up at Mar-a-Lago where close aides say he is just growing through teh motions of running again ("He just goes, plays golf, comes back, and f*cks off. He has retreated to the golf course and to Mar-a-Lago"), and that "The magic is gone" as one campaign adviser admitted.

In his interview with Nuzzi, Trump balked at the idea that -- contrary what his close aides are saying -- he has almost become a shut-in, with the journalist writing, "Trump’s campaign schedule, described to me as 'busy,' involved 11 events over the course of the month. One event was the announcement itself. Five events took place at Mar-a-Lago. Four events were not events at all but taped videos that were aired at events where Trump was not physically present."

Addressing that Truth Social on Monday Trump wrote, "So funny to read and hear the Fake News political pundits saying that “Trump isn’t working too hard on his campaign. This is not a good sign, maybe he’s giving up (even though I’m leading BIG in the Polls!). What they don’t say is that, 'WE HAVE ALMOST TWO YEARS TO GO.' The Rallies will be bigger and better than ever (because our Country is going to Hell), but it’s a little bit early, don’t you think?"

In her New York Magazine piece, Nuzzi also noted that the former president became "defensive" when asked about reports that his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner balked at lending him a helping hand after his dinner with anti-semite Kanye West and white nationalist Nick Fuentes turned into a firestorm that had Republicans heading for the hills, and that have continued to keep their distance since the 2020 election loss.

On Monday Trump claimed, "Contrary to Fake News reporting, I never asked Jared or Ivanka to be part of the 2024 Campaign for President and, in fact, specifically asked them not to do it - too mean and nasty with the Fake & Corrupt News and having to deal with some absolutely horrendous SleazeBags in the world of politics, and beyond. There has never been anything like this 'ride' before, and they should not be further subjected to it. I ran twice, getting millions more Votes the second time (RIGGED), & am doing it again!"

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