'I’ve said it’s over': Judge cautions Chesebro lawyer over rant about 'PowerPoint' and 'personal attacks'

Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify an attribution and remove an errant word in the second paragraph.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee on Thursday shut down arguments from Kenneth Chesebro lawyer Scott Grubman as the attorney for the alleged Donald Trump co-conspirator accused Executive District Attorney Daysha Young of firing “personal attacks” and “[impugning] the reputation” of his colleague.

Chesebro’s lawyers have asked McAfee to intervene to allow the defense access to “additional information from the special grand jury used to investigate” the Georgia election interference case, CNN reports. The judge on Thursday ruled the case will now be severed: Chesebro and former Trump campaign layer Sidney Powell will be tried together, and Trump will stand trial alongside the other co-conspirators.

At one point during the hearing, Grubman complained that the state’s presentation of a PowerPoint was “not an efficient use of the court’s time.”

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Addressing the arguments from Chesebro’s attorneys, Young asserted, "There is no authority that allows what they’re asking the court to allow them to do."

As Young continued with her argument, Grubman jumped in to address “personal attacks [from the] counsel for the state.”

“Speaking of what’s inappropriate, you know it’s inappropriate —” Grubman began before McAfee interrupted.

“Let me just pause right here, Mrs. Young, are you finished?” The judge asked.

“I was not, judge,” Young replied before concluding her argument. Grubman jumped up as Young sat down.

“Your honor, I take very extreme exception for Mrs. Young coming up here to try to impugn the reputation of my colleague,” he said.

“I will not consider it," McAfee replied. "It is not part of the record right now."

Grubman noted the hearing “is broadcast live, and this is inappropriate.”

“This is not part of the consideration, and if you want to handle that outside of [court] we will do that,” the judge said.

“Respectfully, it was said on the record, and I should have the opportunity … that is completely inappropriate,” the Chesebro attorney replied.

“... Mrs. Young is trying to send my client to prison, and we have the right to know if it was done properly,” he added before launching yet again into an argument against the district attorney’s “PowerPoint."

“She lied to the court!” Grubman exclaimed.

“I've said it’s over,” the judge replied.

“Alright, well I wish you would have stopped her from defaming my co-counsel,” Grubman shot back.

Watch the full video below or at this link.

What’s at stake in the long-awaited trial over Texas' sweeping 2021 elections law

Editor's note: This article was updated by the original publisher because it incorrectly reported some information about SB 1’s provisions. SB 1 did not ban absentee ballot drop boxes. The law codified rules for in-person delivery of absentee ballots to election workers at drop-off locations.

The law did not set new requirements for all people driving more than seven voters to the polls. New requirements apply only if those voters use the curbside-voting option.
The law did not eliminate an employer’s obligation to let employees take time off to vote. The law provides an exception to employers under some circumstances.

Two years after voting rights groups challenged Texas Republicans’ sweeping overhaul of its voting and election laws, the case comes to trial Monday in a federal court in San Antonio. The lengthy roster of plaintiffs will argue certain provisions of the new law made it harder for voters of color to cast ballots, with some alleging the effect was intentional.

More than 20 state and national organizations brought a collective five lawsuits against the law, often referred to as Senate Bill 1, that have been consolidated into this case. The groups claim several provisions of the law violate federal laws including the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the First, 14th, and 15th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The trial is expected to go until late October, and U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez may not issue a decision until months later. Experts say it’s unclear and too soon to tell whether a decision will come in time to affect elections and voting in 2024, especially since appeals could draw the process out.

Republicans rammed the law through in 2021, with Democrats accusing them of legislating in response to baseless and unsupported allegations of nonexistent voter fraud. Ever since, election observers have closely monitored the effects of the law’s changes to how Texans vote and how election officials administer elections.

“These rules have gotten so incredibly complicated, that now [voters] almost need a lawyer to understand what you can and cannot do,” said Nina Perales, the vice president of litigation at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and a lead attorney representing plaintiffs La Union del Pueblo Entero and the Southwest Voter Registration Project.

For example, she said, it’s now illegal for a person who assists voters to receive or accept compensation. That’s the sort of work nonprofit advocacy groups have done for several years, especially for the elderly and people with disabilities.

“Some people don’t speak English. Some people can’t read or write. We have a lot of elderly in our community, people with disabilities, too. It is not true that every voter has somebody in their house with them, who can help them navigate the process. Some people turn to community resources for that,” Perales said.

Among the provisions the plaintiffs are challenging:

  • One that prohibits election officials from distributing mail-in ballot applications to voters who did not request them. The provision came in response to an effort in Harris County, the state’s most populous, to expand voting access during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when election officials sent out absentee ballot applications to voters who were eligible to use them.
  • A ban on 24-hour and drive-thru voting. Harris County also provided those voting options during early voting in 2020. Republicans challenged drive-thru voting unsuccessfully at the time, and later banned it as part of SB 1.
  • A provision that limits dropping off absentee ballots. SB1 cements into law a state policy requiring voters who deliver absentee ballots in person to do so by giving them to an election official, who attests that the voter provided their name, signature, and identification when delivering their ballot. *
  • New requirements for anyone who provides transportation to more than seven voters using curbside voting. These drivers must submit their personal information and authorization for providing such transportation to the government.*
  • Provisions restricting providing assistance to voters casting a ballot at the polls and completing absentee ballots. Those providing assistance at the polls must fill out a form with an oath affirming the voter is qualified to receive help. Those helping voters with their absentee ballot must provide information about their relationship to the voter and whether they are being paid.
  • An exception to an employer’s obligation to give employees time off to vote. When polls are open for two consecutive hours outside an employee’s work schedule, the law stipulates that their employer is not required to give them leave. *
  • Provisions that expand poll watchers’ access. The law limits election workers’ ability to remove those poll watchers “who intimidate voters or otherwise interfere with the voting counting processes,” the lawsuit says.

Some decisions reached before trial

Senate Bill 1 created new requirements for Texans who qualify to vote by mail. They are now required to provide either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number on their absentee ballot application and the envelope used to return their completed ballot, whichever matches the number the state has in its voter registration file. Last month, Judge Rodriguez, who is overseeing the trial, said that provision is illegal, though it remains in effect pending an injunction. More evidence against the provision will be heard at trial.

For voters who qualify to vote by mail — elderly voters, voters with disabilities, college students living away from home or any voter who isn’t in the county at the time of the election — the ID requirements have added barriers to having their votes counted, said Zachary Dolling, senior staff attorney for the voting rights program at the Texas Civil Rights Project and who represents OCA-Greater Houston, a chapter of the OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, as plaintiffs challenging that provision.

Months after the law went into effect, 24,000 voters who tried to vote by mail in the March 2022 primary had their ballots rejected due to the new ID mandates.

“These ID-matching provisions throw out votes on the basis of immaterial irrelevant paperwork. Errors that have nothing to do with whether the person is an eligible voter,” Dolling said. “The other plaintiffs’ groups will be able to show at trial that the burden of these mail ballot rejections falls disproportionately on people of color, as well.”

Last year, a provision restricting assistance at the polls for voters with disabilities and limited English language proficiency was permanently blocked in a separate lawsuit after a judge found it violated the Voting Rights Act. That provision is now no longer in effect and thus, won’t be part of this trial.

The law also added ballot security requirements to the election administration process in the state, including a mandate for elections administrators in counties with a population of more than 100,000 people to provide 24-hour video surveillance of any area of the election office that contains voted ballots, including the room where the votes are counted on election night. Taxpayers in those counties footed the bill for costs associated with the new rules. This provision isn’t being challenged in court.

The Texas Attorney General’s office is representing the state.

In a pretrial order filed by the parties last week, the office said the law was enacted to prevent fraud, promote voter access, and to make the conduct of elections in Texas uniform throughout the state. None of the challenged provisions created a racially disparate impact, the state maintains, and no challenged provision “blocks or seriously hinders voting by members of any minority group.”

The attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Among the list of plaintiffs are organizations advocating for Latino, Black, and Asian-American voters: the Southwest Voter Education Project, the League of United Latin American Citizens, OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, and REV UP Texas, which advocates for voters with disabilities, among others. Among the named defendants in the case are Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson and interim Texas Attorney General Angela Colmenero.

To support their claims, the parties will call a total of 52 witnesses over the next month, including county election administrators from across the state, voters, Republican and Democratic lawmakers, representatives of the Texas secretary of state, and experts in political science and voting rights.

Whatever happens in the trial, SB 1 is far from the Legislature’s last word on the state’s elections. This year, legislators proposed more than 100 new laws, some of which passed. One that abolished the elections administration department in Harris County is now being disputed in court.

Natalia Contreras covers election administration and voting access for Votebeat in partnership with the Texas Tribune. Contact Natalia at

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.

Women’s bodies are not public parks

Editor's note: The author of this editorial has been corrected to Lindsay Beyerstein.

Welcome to The Uterus, America’s newest national park, please enjoy your stay and exit through the gift shop. At least, that’s the vision of Judge James Ho of the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ho is part of a three-judge panel that ruled recently to restrict access to long-approved abortion drugs. Ho went even further than his fellow judges, however, arguing that anti-choice doctors could challenge the availability of the drug by arguing that it deprives them of their right to gawk at cute fetus pictures.

“Unborn babies are a source of profound joy for those who view them,” Ho went on. “Expectant parents eagerly share ultrasound photos with loved ones. Friends and family cheer at the sight of an unborn child. Doctors delight in working with their unborn patients — and experience an aesthetic injury when they are aborted.”

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Ho is borrowing a concept from environmental law known as “aesthetic injury.” Until now, the concept has been used to safeguard tourists’ right to enjoy pristine wilderness areas, but now a federal judge wants to put women on the same level as plants and animals. Sexism doesn’t get more obvious than that: Women’s bodies exist to gratify bystanders who can sue to preserve the view.

“It’s well-established that, if a plaintiff has ‘concrete plans’ to visit an animal’s habitat and view that animal, that plaintiff suffers aesthetic injury when an agency has approved a project that threatens the animal,” wrote Judge Ho, who argued that because researchers can sue to curb pesticide use, doctors should be able to sue to the FDA approval of an abortion drug 20 years after the fact.

Ho’s argument is even more breathtaking than a daybreak view of the cervix. If Ho had his way, anyone who planned to leer at pregnant bellies would have a legal basis to sue to protect his aesthetic supply. There’s no reason why aesthetic rights should be limited to doctors rather than, say, pregnancy fetishists on PornHub.

Such trolling in the guise of legal argument is exactly what you’d expect for a judge who was sworn in under the watchful eye of Clarence Thomas’s billionaire bestie Harlan Crow.

READ MORE: How 'MAGA cultists' and 'white evangelical cruelty' are making young American Christians avoid church

Even if the Supreme Court were to uphold such reasoning, it would be a violation of medical ethics for any physician to champion his aesthetic enjoyment over the wellbeing of the patient.

The moral conviction that a physician must never put personal gratification over patient wellbeing is as old as medicine itself. The Hippocratic Oath has largely been superseded by more modern formulations, but the old Greek version contains many principles that still govern medical ethics today. The original oath states that “Whatsoever house I may enter, my visit shall be for the convenience and advantage of the patient.”

In other words, the doctor’s duty is to attend to the wellbeing of the patient not to gratify their own urges, aesthetic or otherwise. This proviso was originally a promise not to have sex with patients, enslaved or free, but the moral imperative of disinterested beneficence has been elaborated and extended to create the principle of patient-centered care that all physicians must strive to uphold today.

READ MORE: White men have controlled women’s reproductive rights throughout American history

'Avoid prison time': Trump memo writer Chesebro urged by lawyers to cooperate in Georgia

Editor's note: The spelling of "Chesebro" in the headline was corrected.

A trio of attorneys penned an open letter to indicted Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro on Thursday urging him to "swallow hard, cooperate, stay out of jail, and spend the rest of your life a free man" as Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' sprawling Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act case against Chesebro, former President Donald Trump, and seventeen of their associates proceeds.

Chesebro is the author of a memo laying out a plan to send fraudulent slates of pro-Trump presidential electors to Washington following Trump's 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. In it, Chesebro suggests that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the power to reject Biden's electors from battleground states that Trump falsely insisted that he won.

"Wehave observed your ongoing travails in the criminal justice system at the federal and state level. As experienced defense counsel, we write with serious concerns about your decision to proceed to trial in Georgia. Your current path represents a grave threat to your liberty. We urge you to reconsider for that purpose alone," the Just Security letter begins. "We have watched as you were indicted in Fulton County, Georgia on August 14, thirteen days after being includedas 'Co-Conspirator Five in the federal indictment against former President Trump. We then watched as youpleaded not guilty in Fulton County, asserted your speedy trial rights under state law, filed an unsuccessful motion to sever your trial from that of co-defendant Sidney Powell, and most recently filed a motion to dismissunder the Supremacy Clause.We do not seek to weigh in on the merits of the individual Georgia charges pending against you. Instead, we are focused here on what the best legal advice would mean for someone in your position, and how to effectuate the optimal strategy."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Conceding that "we are not your lawyers" and that "nothing we write here is meant to suggest that you are not being represented ably by excellent counsel who are focused on your best interest," the three legal minds tell Chesebro, "we beseech you, think of one and only one thing: your liberty." They continue, "As an appellate lawyer, you have probably not spent much time, or any time at all, inside a prison. But as seasoned defense counsel and former prosecutors, we have. Believe us when we tell you that prison is not where you want to spend any amount of time, much less a minimum of five years or the rest of your life."

They add, "You face criminal charges in the State of Georgia on seven counts. The state alleges that you conspired: to impersonate public officials by having impostors hold themselves out as qualified presidential electors; to forge and file a false document that purported to be a 'certificate' of Georgia’s 2020 electoral votes; and ultimately, to unlawfully change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. The facts underlying such a conspiracy, if it indeed existed as alleged, could astonish all Americans, particularly the jurors, voters, and citizens of Georgia especially as you are an outsider who allegedly worked to disenfranchise members of their community."

Following a review of "the facts," the authors assert that "it appears that the prosecution in Fulton County, Georgia has a lot to work with. This means that, barring jury nullification, chances are you will be convicted. And, even if you really want to roll the dice with the jury, the federal case looms; that must be factored in here. Yours is aDamoclean situation."

Therefore, Chesebro's best course of action, the attorneys jointly conclude, is "to swallow hard, cooperate, stay out of jail, and spend the rest of your life a free man."

READ MORE: Trump tells Georgia judge he 'may' try to move case to federal court: report

Jestin's, Childress', and Darmody's full letter is available at this link.

'The GOP has become anti-American, anti-government and anti-United States': Can they be stopped?

Editor's note: Headline corrected for clarity.

Nations don’t just exist geographically; they also exist psychologically. Every nation has a story it tells itself about who and what it and its people are, how it came to be and the core values that brought that about, and its ultimate goals as it works toward its highest purpose.

For most of American history, the story we told ourselves about America was that we were a good and decent people who were striving to achieve a government that drew its legitimacy from “the consent of the governed” and championed the values of the Enlightenment.

Clearly we didn’t always live up to those standards: from slavery to the Native American genocide to our support for foreign dictators and overthrow of democratic republics, we’ve come from a pretty grim start and made a lot of terrible mistakes.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

But always, at the core of the American ideal, was that goal, that ideal, that we are dedicated to expanding human freedom and possibility for all. As President Lincoln told the nation at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. … It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us … that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Nearly every generation of the 16 since this nation’s founding has seen forward progress toward the ideals that our Founders, and Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and other American leaders have declared.

Until now.

Today, the Republican Party is openly rejecting this historic view of America’s destiny, the ideal of ever-greater inclusion, of support and compassion for our fellow human beings, of our willingness to work and even fight to support democracy both at home and around the world.

This is a crisis because a nation without a positive vision of itself, without a moral compass that points toward ever-more-inclusive democracy, inevitably becomes a nation heading toward anarchy and autocracy.

While the seeds of fascism and anti-Americanism have a long history in this country (check out the story of Smedley Butler and the attempted coup against FDR, or the rise of the Klan in the 1920s and the American Nazi movement in the 1930s), it has never before so completely seized one of our two main political parties that its leadership would openly reject Americanism and embrace foreign dictators.

But that’s what the GOP is doing right now:

— Republicans in Congress are enthusiastic about shutting down our government next month in the hope they can so badly damage our economy that a severe recession will harm President Biden’s re-election chances next year. In the process, they risk creating a worldwide economic crisis.

— Senator Tommy “Coach” Tuberville is kneecapping our military leadership by blocking the top ranks in the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, keeping those positions open (waiting for President Trump?) at a crisis time of heightened international tension. And yesterday he said that America got Ukraine into war with Russia, perfectly echoing one of Putin’s favorite propaganda lies.

— Senator Rand Paul was caught flying to Russia to hand-deliver “secret” documents to Putin’s men on behalf of Donald Trump just weeks after they met in Helsinki and Trump declared Putin’s intelligence services more trustworthy than America’s.

— Shortly thereafter, the CIA sent out an alert to its stations across the world warning that our agents were the subject of the most successful precisely-targeted campaign of murder and assassination in the agency’s history.

— Republicans at all levels and all across the country promulgate the lie that our elections are rigged against them and that therefore America must make it harder for people — particularly Black and young people living in Blue cities in Red states — to vote.

— As a result of Trump’s rhetoric, almost four out of ten Republican voters say that violence against their neighbors to achieve political ends in America is now justified.

— Instead of viewing Democrats as people with different ideas about how to achieve what’s best for America and Americans, 57 percent of Republicans now say Democrats are America’s “enemies.”

— Ever since Fred Koch started funding the John Birch Society’s “Impeach Earl Warren” billboards in the 1950s and 1960s Republicans have used the issue of race (and its subset: immigration) as a wedge to tear Americans apart.

— As the world is battered by an environmental crisis and our younger generations are terrified about their futures, Republicans funded by fossil fuel billionaires tell us to “Drill, baby drill” and that climate change is a hoax.

— On the Supreme Court, six Republicans have their hands out to the morbidly rich and then reward that largesse by legalizing voter purges, political bribery, and gutting worker protections.

— GOP-aligned billionaire social media CEOs tweak their algorithms to promote antisemitism, Nazism, homophobia, anti-government violence, and racial hate.

— Two Republican-controlled states have begun the controlled demolition of their entire public-school systems, while others are jumping into the voucher and state-funded-religious-school act.

— Death rates from Covid are more than twice as high in Red counties than in Blue counties, because Republican politicians have rejected science.

— As the largest democratic republic in Europe struggles under a daily terrorist assault from Russia, including being hit with chemical weapons and rape as a weapon of war, Republicans in Congress are trying to cut or end altogether US aid to Ukraine.

— Republicans in multiple Red states have put targets on the backs of pregnant women and their friends and family, asserting they can prosecute when women go out-of-state to get an abortion.

— The so-called “party of law and order” now openly attacks the FBI and other law enforcement agencies when they go after corrupt Republican politicians.

— When Nazis demonstrated in Florida on behalf of Ron DeSantis, he stayed silent. Even worse, Trump openly supports his Nazis, saying they are “good people.”

— Republican politicians are actively working to destroy American’s faith and confidence in our courts and jury systems.

— Fascists are openly recruiting for and joining our military and police departments, preparing for the “end days” race wars they fetishize with books like Turner Diaries (Tim McVeigh’s favorite) and Camp of the Saints.

As former Republican attorney and uber-GOP-insider George Conway recently told Joe Scarborough:

“They hate the United States military because it’s a part of the United States government. The Republicans have become anti-American, anti-government, anti-the United States. That’s their shtick now. That’s why they’re attacking the State Department, FBI, prosecutors, and they attack the institutions that normally Republicans were very, very supportive of -- now, it’s just this nihilistic attack on American institutions.”

There are three drivers of this anti-American suspicion and hate in today’s GOP.

First are the rightwing billionaires who don’t want to pay taxes to support “takers” and “moochers” like you and me.

They hate the idea of having to fund Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schools and colleges, public roads, libraries, public health programs, and anything else they believe should be turned over to them to run for a profit. Activated in the 1970s by the Powell Memo, they’ve been at this for five decades in a big way and now believe they’re close to finally totally taking over our political and economic system.

Second are Vladimir Putin and his pals in Saudi Arabia, China, and other wealthy dictatorships.

They correctly see a free and vibrant America as a threat to their power because we have historically served as an inspiration to people around the world who crave freedom. They’re collectively pouring billions into social media and other campaigns to tear America apart so they can say to their people, “See, we told you this ‘democracy’ thing is overrated.”

Third is Putin’s wholly-owned man, Donald Trump.

A world-class grifter and career criminal who’s been helping Russian oligarchs launder their ill-gotten gains through real estate for decades, Trump and the criminals associated with him want to take over America so they can end the rule of law and institute a one-party neofascist, white-supremacist, strongman state.

There was a time in America when we largely agreed that fascism was bad and patriotism was good. The famous 17-minute film “Don’t be a Sucker” epitomized that thinking in 1947, noting:

“We must never let [what Hitler did] happen to us or to our country. We must never let ourselves be divided by race or color or religion, because in this country we all belong to minority groups; I was born in Hungary, you are a mason, these are minorities. And then you belong to other minority groups tooː you are a farmer, you have blue eyes, you go to the Methodist Church. Your right to belong to these minorities is a precious thing.

“You have a right to be what you are and say what you think, because here we have personal freedom, we have liberty. And these are not just fancy words, this is a practical and priceless way of living, but we must work at it.

“We must guard everyone's liberty, or we can lose our own. If we allow any minority to lose its freedom by persecution or by prejudice, we are threatening our own freedom, and this is not just simply an idea, this is good, hard, common sense. You see here in America, it's not a question whether we tolerate minorities, America is minorities!!! And that means you, and me.”

The Army published a series of pamphlets called “Army Talks” throughout World War II, including one about fascism that noted:

“Fascism is government by the few and for the few. The objective is seizure and control of the economic, political, social, and cultural life of the state. Why? The democratic way of life interferes with their methods and desires for: (1) conducting business; (2) living with their fellow men; (3) having the final say in matters concerning others, as well as themselves.

“The basic principles of democracy stand in the way of their desires; hence — democracy must go! Anyone who is not a member of their inner gang has to do what he’s told. They permit no civil liberties, no equality before the law. They make their own rules and change them when they choose. If you don’t like it, it’s ‘T.S.’”

There was a time in America when the media and even our government talked back to fascists, particularly those who sought to undermine our nation. Today our government is cowed, half our states are openly on the side of American fascists, and our media is enthralled with wannabee strongmen like Trump, Greene, and Ramaswamy.

So the job falls to us, to me and you.

We must warn our friends, family, and neighbors of the threat this fascist takeover of the GOP represents, and work to restore a government of care and goodwill to our nation.

Notes by Giuliani’s 'jack-of-all-trades' adviser who 'struggled to get paid' sent to special counsel: report

Editor's note: Headline updated for clarity.

Notes written by one of the closest aides to America's criminally indicted whilom Mayor Rudy Giuliani were handed over to United States Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith as part of his ongoing investigation into the January 6th, 2021 conspiracy allegedly perpetrated by former President Donald Trump and members of his inner orbit, Politico's Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney report.

Katherine Freiss "circulated a draft email addressed to the White House seeking 'provisional' security clearances for the former mayor and members of his team as part of their work to keep Donald Trump in power," according to documents reviewed by Swan and Cheney.

Freiss "helped Giuliani woo potential donors to finance Trump's effort to reverse the results of the election," Cheney and Swan note. "She helped draft a 'strategic communications plan' for a final push to keep Trump in office, a document that became a focus for Jan. 6 investigators and that called for placing paid ads on radio and TV alleging widespread voter fraud. At the same time, Friess warned other Trump aides that their claims about dead people voting in Georgia were weak — but Trump continued to trumpet those claims anyway."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Politico continues, "Friess, a national security consultant with deep roots in Washington, kept a low profile, but in November and December 2020, she was Giuliani's jack-of-all-trades. A host of emails and documents exchanged by Friess and other Giuliani aides have been turned over to special counsel Jack Smith, according to a person familiar with the investigation granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive material."

Politico writes, "The earliest known sign of her involvement with Giuliani's team is a declaration she signed on Nov. 9, 2020, in which she complained of restricted access to mail-in ballot counting processes in Allegheny County, Pa. It's unclear if the declaration was ever filed in court, but a version of it, with Friess' signature, was among the documents reviewed by POLITICO. In the document, Friess said she was an approved Republican Party observer and spent two hours watching the process at a Pittsburgh canvassing center on the morning of Nov. 3, 2020. She didn't have a good view of how election workers were reviewing and counting mail-in ballots, she added. 'I do not believe any of these ballots should be allowed to be part of the final vote tally,' she wrote."

Although Freiss "has not been accused of any wrongdoing — by prosecutors or by Congress," Politico explains, her personal accounts "add new detail to the public understanding of how Trump's allies operated after Election Day — and how they grappled with obstacles both immense and quotidian."

Moreover, the communications, "including more than 20 sent or received by Friess herself," Politico adds, were submitted from "encrypted Hushmail or ProtonMail accounts" and "depict her as an active figure in Giuliani's effort who feared what would happen if they failed. And they show that like so many others who have worked for Trump over the decades, Friess struggled to get paid."

READ MORE: Giuliani’s 'life essentially is falling apart' amid mounting 'legal woes': reporter

Swan's and Cheney's full analysis is available at this link.

Legal experts: Mark Meadows’ testimony may have unintentionally doomed Trump’s Georgia defense

Editor's note: an earlier version of this article stated that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp would be able to pardon Mark Meadows if he were convicted in Fulton County DA Fani Willis' criminal case. But in Georgia, the power to grant pardons rests outside the governor's office. Kemp would not have the power to grant such a pardon.

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, one of Donald Trump's 18 co-defendants in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' 2020 election case, is trying to get his prosecution moved from the State of Georgia to the federal courts. It isn't hard to see why: a future Republican president — be it Trump or someone else — would be able to grant him a pardon if he is convicted on federal charges.

If Meadows is convicted by a State of Georgia jury, however, a pardon would need to come from Georgia's government — not the federal government. And it could not come from Gov. Brian Kemp's office, as governors do not have the power to grant pardons under Georgia law.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Meadows testified in a Georgia courtroom on Monday, August 28, insisting that he was merely doing his job as White House chief of staff in late 2020/early 2021 and did nothing wrong.

In an article published two days later, the Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery stresses that Meadows' testimony could be bad for Trump.

"Meadows' entire defense rests upon the idea that he was just doing his job, that his efforts to connect Trump with people who would help to overturn the election was at the direction of the former president himself," Pagliery explains. "It's precisely that point which Fulton County DA Fani Willis is trying to prove: that Trump was at the center of this entire criminal conspiracy…. Even if that wasn't Meadows' intent, his lengthy testimony Monday may help Willis illustrate that argument."

Peter Odom, a former Fulton County prosecutor, told the Beast, "He now cannot ever say, 'I wasn’t doing this for the president, I was acting on my own.'"

The Beast also interviewed Ronald Carlson, a University of Georgia law professor. Carlson explained why the legal term "respondeat superior" is relevant to Meadows' August 28 testimony.

READ MORE: 'Wrong on the law, wrong on the facts': Fani Willis smacks down indicted Trump DOJ official’s legal move

Carlson told the Beast, "There's an ancient legal doctrine: respondeat superior. It's Latin for ‘Let the master answer,’” which means that a boss is ultimately responsible if he 'directs the agent to do something.'"

READ MORE: Fani Willis calls for October trial in Trump Fulton County case

Read the Daily Beast's full report at this link (subscription required).

Trump campaign weighing 'counter-programming' options to 'upstage' GOP debate: report

Editor's note: "upstate" corrected to "upstage."

Former President Donald Trump last week opted out of participating in the Republican National Committee's first presidential primary debate of the 2024 cycle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday, August 23rd, and Trump's campaign is busy finalizing their alternative plans for "counter-programming" to "upstage" the event, The Guardian's Hugh Lowell explains in a Monday report.

"The Trump team has two overarching priorities for the debate, according to several sources briefed on the situation: to starve the other Republican presidential candidates of attention, and to publicly humiliate Fox News, which is hosting the event with the RNC, because he has been displeased with some of its recent coverage," Lowell writes.

"For weeks, Trump had asked his aides privately and rally crowds publicly whether he should attend the debate or engage in counter-programming efforts in a boastful display of his political strength even after being criminally charged four times," Lowell continues. "The response has overwhelmingly been for him to skip the debate. Trump has told allies he intends to shun the event and that his sit-down interview with the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which he taped in recent days, could be released around the same time."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Trump "also considered swaggering into the debate at the last minute — without prior warning" and "explored whether Trump could do the ultimate counter-programming by scheduling his surrender to authorities" in Georgia, notes Lowell, where Trump and eighteen co-defendants were indicted by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on forty-one felony counts for allegedly conspiring to steal the 2020 election.

Although Trump has until Friday, August 25th to turn himself in, "Trump's lawyers are expected to negotiate the scope of his surrender, including whether the former president will have his mugshot and weight released," Lowell states.

"The Trump campaign have asked the lawyers for there to be no photograph, in part because aides have produced a flattering 'mugshot' which they have used on promotional material, even though Trump once thought getting arrested and photographed would make him look defiant," Lowell adds. He further points out that "the political team has since recalibrated for a potential surrender on Thursday morning followed by a news conference, which they see as additionally beneficial because it would almost certainly drown out coverage of the debate from the previous night."

Lowell highlights that "Trump's decision to spurn the debate on Fox News in favor of an online interview with Carlson marks a new level of hostility with the network" amid the fallout from its $787 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis a 'terrible debater' whom GOP candidates 'should go after': Republican strategist

View Lowell's article here.

Ron DeSantis a 'terrible debater' whom GOP candidates 'should go after': Republican strategist

Editor's note: The spelling of "Stuart" was corrected.

Veteran Republican strategist Stuart Stevens said on MSNBC on Sunday that if former President Donald Trump skips the first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Wednesday, August 23rd that the other candidates should take aim at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

"Stuart, we put three pictures up on the screen because they're a whole bunch of no-lane people, and it'd be nice if one of them succeeds in suddenly shooting up and that does happen sometimes in Republican primaries," host Ali Velshi noted. "But ultimately we had Ron DeSantis, he's running number two. We've got Chris Christie, sort of the leading contender who is up against Donald Trump. He's the one who was prepared to take him to task on everything. And then there's Vivek Ramaswamy, who in some polls is showing up in the number two spot. And there's a leaked memo that suggests that DeSantis' strategy may be to hammer on Vivek Ramaswamy which sounds interesting to me. What's your take?"

Stevens explained that the GOP hopefuls who are participating should focus on how to defeat each other, rather than somebody who is absent.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"Look, I think the key in any of these debates is to go into very specific strategy. You should try to accomplish two to three, four at the most things. If I was working for one of these candidates, I would not go after Donald Trump because he's not on stage. I would go after Ron DeSantis," Stevens opined. "And when you do that, you have to walk into that debate with the attitude, 'One of us is gonna walk off the stage alive.' And that's what needs to be done here. He's got the second most votes. I think he's a terrible debater. He lost a debate to Charlie Crist, which is not that easy to do. And I think that would show aggression in a strategy. I don't know what they're gonna do, but all of them had to sign a pledge saying that they would back the nominee of the party, right, to get on that stage. And that just to me seems to set the frame of the whole kind of moral collapse of the Republican party."

Watch the clip below or at this link.

MSNBC 08 20 2023 11 50

READ MORE: Why GOP candidates are 'correct in refusing' to sign RNC’s 'farcical' loyalty pledge: columnist

Making sense of Florida’s nonsensical history curriculum

Editor's note: Clarifying language was added by the original publisher.

‘Slavery wasn’t so bad; white men are the real victims’: these are the messages that appear to stem from the right-wing war on history. It’s part of a bigger picture rooted in the politics of fear.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is waging a war on history. The GOP’s aspiring presidential candidate saw how effectively Donald Trump tapped into white conservatives’ fears of demographic change and seems to want to use that same tactic to catapult himself into the White House. In 2021 and 2022, DeSantis championed the smugly named “Stop WOKE Act,” to undermine—try not to laugh—“woke indoctrination” and a “Marxist-inspired curriculum” in schools. To top that, the Florida Board of Education this summer released new standards for teaching history in middle schools that whitewash slavery and uplift white supremacist patriarchy.

This article was produced by Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

Florida students will now potentially be exposed to instruction that claims, “slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” The standards also emphasize that “trading in slaves developed in African lands,” to remind students that it was not an American invention. Further, it covers “the practice of the Barbary Pirates in kidnapping Europeans and selling them into slavery in Muslim countries,” as well as, “how slavery was utilized in Asian cultures,” and “how slavery among indigenous peoples of the Americas was utilized prior to and after European colonization.”

In other words, American students of history will now be taught that slavery was so widespread that they surely can’t blame white American enslavers for engaging in what the rest of the world was doing, and that whites too, were victimized by the institution.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

It’s an increasingly popular idea among conservative whites that they have historically been the victims, not the perpetrators of racial oppression.

The Florida Board of Education also approved the use of videos created by PragerU, an outfit named after its co-creator, Christian-fundamentalism-peddling talk show host Dennis Prager. Dennis Prager. It is instructive to note that Prager once said, “If you see the n-word on a dormitory building, the odds are overwhelming that a Black student actually did that,” because they are engaging in “race hoaxes… to show how racist the country is.”

Again, a popular idea among conservative whites is that racism is so nonexistent in the U.S. today that overt acts of racism are surely hoaxes meant to defame white Americans—the real victims.

One of the Florida board’s spokespeople justified approval of PragerU’s videos for use in schools, saying that “the material aligns to [sic] Florida’s revised civics and government standards.” PragerU describes its tools as “pro-American,” which is code for pro-white, pro-fundamentalist, pro-patriarchy.

In its videos, PragerU overtly promotes “Judeo-Christian values,” encourages women and girls to “embrace… [their] femininity,” and teaches boys to “embrace… [their] masculinity.” It upholds revisionist history claiming Thanksgiving arose from Indigenous Americans working in harmony with white settlers, puts words into the mouth of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass to claim that slavery had to continue in order to “achieve something great: the making of the United States,” and spouts pro-police propaganda that attempts to discredit the racial justice uprisings of 2020.

When Florida’s Lieutenant-Governor Jeanette Núñez defended her state’s “Stop WOKE Act,” she claimed that it was about, “prioritizing education[,] not indoctrination.” But in a speech to the hate group Moms for Liberty, Prager said, “We bring doctrines to children. That’s a very fair statement… But what is the bad of our indoctrination?”

The effort to clamp down on education is spreading. Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who made a name for herself as Trump’s press secretary, has decided to use the DeSantis playbook in attacking the teaching of accurate history. Her state has decided that students will no longer receive credit for taking the AP African American history course because it violates the Literacy, Empowerment, Accountability, Readiness, Networking, and Safety (LEARNS) Act, which she promoted and signed into law earlier this year.

In defiance, every public school in the Little Rock school district announced it would continue to teach the AP course.

There is a harmful narrative that frames right-wing conservative thought, and it goes like this: “Intrepid white settlers discovered America, fought for its independence, and created the most powerful nation on earth. Now, uppity Black folks are asking for special treatment, illegals are cutting in line, and women and gays are threatening the natural order. We have to fight to preserve the sanctity of America against these predators.”

It’s a dangerous and powerful story, one that is rooted in the politics of fear. And it is an effective tool to rally voters to back regressive policies, laws, and candidates in the face of popular ideas of collectivism, of policies promoting equity to undo the damage of past and current racial and gender-based harms, of realizing the ideal of a multiracial democracy.

This fear-based story is the overarching framework for a reactionary backlash to the teaching of accurate history—precisely because such education has been so effective.

In my new book, Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (City Lights, 2023), I cite the example of Brittany Murphree, a white Republican college student who took a Critical Race Theory (CRT) course at the University of Mississippi School of Law. When Republican lawmakers in her state passed a bill banning the teaching of such history in K-12 schools, she wrote to her representatives, “To date, this course has been the most impactful and enlightening course I have taken throughout my entire undergraduate career and graduate education at the State of Mississippi’s flagship university.”

Murphree added, “The prohibition of courses and teachings such as these is taking away the opportunity for people from every background and race to come together and discuss very important topics which would otherwise go undiscussed.”

It’s no wonder that the far right has taken aim at CRT, ethnic studies, and the teaching of accurate history saying they promote biased thinking and indoctrination. Indeed, such curricula are biased—toward truth, justice, and pluralism, and they have the potential to change the way young Americans think about race.

Murphree and the eye-opening education she benefitted from represent the worst nightmare of Prager, DeSantis, and Trump. Her education offers a powerful de-programming of archaic ideology and promotes a promise of a pluralistic future—one where white men like them no longer have a monopoly on power.

AUTHOR BIO: Sonali Kolhatkar is an award-winning multimedia journalist. She is the founder, host, and executive producer of “Rising Up With Sonali,” a weekly television and radio show that airs on Free Speech TV and Pacifica stations. Her most recent book is Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (City Lights Books, 2023). She is a writing fellow for the Economy for All project at the Independent Media Institute and the racial justice and civil liberties editor at Yes! Magazine. She serves as the co-director of the nonprofit solidarity organization the Afghan Women’s Mission and is a co-author of Bleeding Afghanistan. She also sits on the board of directors of Justice Action Center, an immigrant rights organization.

Miami mayor said he qualifies for first GOP debate — but he doesn’t: report

Editor's note: This article was updated with remarks from Citadel CEO Kenneth Griffin.

Minutes after Miami, Florida Mayor Francis Suarez claimed to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee on August 23, two Republican National Committee senior advisors told Miami Herald the opposite.

Seeking the 2024 GOP nomination, Suarez has openly criticized Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis' "promise to end birthright citizenship if elected president," and recently deemed the governor's agreement to debate California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom "a sign of desperation."

Miami Herald reported last month that the mayor recently ran into another issue, having "created some controversy by accepting a free pass to a Formula 1 event: the Miami Grand Prix. Florida's ethics law prohibits elected officials from accepting gifts from companies that are doing business with the government, and Suarez attended as a guest of Citadel CEO Ken Griffin."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

The paper notes that "in response to a records request from the Miami Herald, Suarez and the city said no such public records exist." On Wednesday, it republished a letter to the editor from Griffin asserting that "Suarez appropriately covered the costs of his and his wife's attendance, which we told Herald reporters repeatedly and on the record."

Regarding the upcoming GOP debate, the newspaper reports:

The Associated Press, which first reported Suarez's claims with an exclusive interview Friday, later reported that the Suarez campaign had presented a reporter with incomplete information to support his assertion that he had made the debate. According to the outlet, the campaign provided an email from an RNC official confirming that Suarez had been allotted 135 reserved seats in Milwaukee. The email also stated that the tickets would be canceled if Suarez did not meet the debate requirements, but that portion was not included in the information sent to the Associated Press, according to its report.

Republican candidates are required "to provide the RNC with proof that they meet its criteria" to attend the debate by Monday, August 21, and according to the report, Suarez has "suggested he will end his candidacy if he doesn't make the debate."

READ MORE: Miami mayor draws ethics questions after wealthy CEO treats him to Formula 1 event

Miami Herald's full report is available at this link. Griffin's editorial is here.

Trump launches new attack on Fani Willis hours after indictment

Editor's note: Author corrected.

Less than one day after a Georgia grand jury indicted Donald Trump on 13 felony charges the ex-president has launched an attack on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis who will be prosecuting him on charges related to his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election he lost.

Willis obtained a comprehensive grand jury indictment Monday against Trump and 18 others, all of whom are being charged with violating Georgia’s racketeering, or RICO statute.

At 3:22 PM on Tuesday Trump again went after Willis, despite having signed a document earlier this month stating he is aware it is illegal to “intimidate” an “officer of the court” in his federal indictment for allegedly attempting to overturn the election.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

“Can you believe it?” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website. “This failed District Attorney from Atlanta, Fani Willis, where murders and other violent crime soars daily to new record highs, is charging me with 2020 Presidential Election Interference. No, Fani, the only Election Interference was done by those that Rigged and Stole the Election. Those are the ones you should be going after, not the innocent people that are fighting for Election Integrity!”

Local news reports show crime is substantially down in Atlanta.

READ MORE: Gaetz Pushing for Public School Prayer Instead of ‘Pansexual Poetry Hour in Portland’

According to Willis’ indictment, Trump and his co-defendants “unlawfully conspired and endeavored to conduct and participate in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere.”

“Trump and the other Defendants charged in this Indictment refused to accept that Trump lost, and they knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Trump,” the indictment reads. “That conspiracy contained a common plan and purpose to commit two or more acts of racketeering activity in Fulton County, Georgia, elsewhere in the State of Georgia, and in other states.”

The indictment also alleges Trump and his co-defendants “constituted a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in various related criminal activities including, but not limited to, false statements and writings, impersonating a public officer, forgery, filing false documents, influencing witnesses, computer theft, computer trespass, computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, acts involving theft, and perjury.”

READ MORE: Trump Next Week: ‘Major’ News Conference, GOP Debate, Arraignment on 13 Felony Charges Including RICO

Overnight Trump also had attacked Willis, calling her “an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, ‘I will get Trump.'”

Willis won election in 2020, in the same election Trump lost.

HuffPost’s S.V. Dáte calls Trump’s allegation Willis campaigned on indicting Trump a “ridiculous lie.”

“She had no idea he was going to do that and did not ‘campaign’ on it.”

Trump 'can say whatever he wants' but 'acting on' false statements 'furthers a crime': former prosecutor

Editor's note: Indictment count corrected.

Former Federal of Investigation general counsel Andrew Weissman explained to MSNBC on Tuesday why Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' forty-one-count indictment against ex-President Donald Trump and eighteen of his associates for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election is not a violation of Trump's right to free speech.

Anchor Katy Tur wondered if, at trial, jurors could ask, "'Isn't it his right to, to try and invest and investigate stuff? Isn't it his right to say whatever he wants? Why is this criminal?'"

Weissman said that while "absolutely it is his right to say whatever he wants publicly, and matter of fact, the press conference that he is about to have" — even if it is total "fiction" — is "totally fine. That's what he's entitled to do."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Weissman continued, "It's acting on it or speaking in a way that furthers a crime that is a problem. So for instance, the charges that are making a false statement or perjury, those are pure word crimes. Everybody under the Sun knows that that's a crime, and they're prosecuted every day of the week. So it doesn't even require action."

Watch the clip below or at this link.

MSNBC 08 15 2023 14 04

READ MORE: Trump crimes continued 'nearly eight months after' he left office, indictment reveals: analysis

Defense secretary: Senator’s 'unprecedented' blockade sinking 'America’s military readiness'

Editor's note: This article was first published by The New Civil Rights Movement's David Badash. The author byline has been corrected.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin issued a stern public warning Monday that “America’s military readiness” is being undermined as U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville‘s eight-month blockade of all military appointments and promotions requiring Senate approval now encompasses top leaders of three branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Calling Alabama Republican Senator Tuberville’s block on these required confirmations a “sweeping hold,” Defense Secretary Austin warned it is creating a situation for America’s defenses that is “unprecedented,” “unnecessary,” and “unsafe.”

“I want to take a moment to mark a painful milestone,” Secretary Austin said (video below) at a ceremony honoring U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday, who stepped down Monday, as AFP reports.

READ MORE: ‘Blatantly Unlawful’: Legal Experts Warn Trump Now Attempting ‘Witness Tampering in Real Time’

“As you know more than 300 nominations for our outstanding journal and flag officers are now being held up in the United States Senate. That includes our top uniform leaders in our next Chief of Naval Operations,” Austin announced.

“Because of this blanket hold starting today, for the first time in the history of the Department of Defense, three of our military services are operating without Senate-confirmed leaders. This is unprecedented. It is unnecessary, and it is unsafe. And this sweeping hold is undermining America’s military readiness.”

Starting in February, Senator Tuberville put a hold on all U.S. Military promotions and nominations requiring Senate confirmation, which usually are passed by voice vote and uncontested. Tuberville is under fire for his refusal to allow even the promotions of top Military leaders pass. He claims he has placed this hold in response to the Pentagon’s decision to reimburse service members who now need to travel out of state to obtain abortion services, after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade and some states have enacted abortion bans.

READ MORE: ‘This You?’: White House Destroys Tuberville After He Claims His 300 Military Holds ‘Are Not Affecting National Security’

Without mentioning Tuberville by name, Austin made clear the Alabama Republican is single-handedly “hindering our ability to retain our very best officers.” and “up-ending the lives of far too many American military families.”

“Our troops deserve better. Our military families deserve better. And our allies and partners deserve better and our national security deserves better. So let me say again, that smooth and swift transitions have confirmed leadership are central to the defense of the United States and to the full strength of the most lethal fighting force in history. And it’s time for the Senate to confirm all of our superbly qualified military nominees, including the 33rd chief of naval operations.”

Watch the Secretary’s remarks below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Racist Down to Its Rotten Core’: Schumer Blasts Tuberville’s ‘One-Man Mission to Defend White Nationalism’

A MAGA Trojan horse Trump-RFK Jr. ticket is being built in New Hampshire

Editor's note: The author of this piece was corrected to Arnie Arnesen.

CONCORD, N.H. — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. claimed his presidential candidate status in New Hampshire by filing a declaration of candidacy and paying a $1,000 filing fee; that's all it takes in the Granite State — sign your name and put up some chump change.

Identifying as a Democrat and purchasing real estate on the presidential primary ballot gives insight into the RFK Jr. campaign strategy: run as a Democrat while serving as the MAGA Trojan Horse.

For those not paying attention in ancient history class:

The Greeks succeeded in conquering Troy through trickery. They built a huge wooden horse and left it at the gates of Troy. They then pretended to sail away.

The Trojans believed the huge wooden horse was a peace offering to their gods and thus a symbol of their victory after a long siege. They pulled the giant wooden horse into the middle of the city. That night, after the Trojans had gone to bed, the Greek soldiers inside the horse got out, opened the gates of the city, and let in the remainder of the Greek army, which had sailed back under the cover of night. Taking the Trojans by surprise in the middle of the night, the Greeks were able to conquer Troy.

The blueprint is ancient, but the strategy is timeless. For decades, the Kennedy name served, like the horse to the Trojans, as a symbol of Democratic Party power and victories. Who better than a child of beloved Bobby Kennedy to climb on board as the Camelot-bred primary challenger to 80-year-old incumbent President Joe Biden — someone admired, but not necessarily desired, for 2024?

This Trojan horse doesn't even need to do the heavy lifting; no need to open the gates and let the Republican army in, since there is no Joe Biden on the New Hampshire presidential primary ballot. That’s right: Thanks to an intramural Democratic Party dispute (more on that shortly), RFK Jr. may very well win New Hampshire early next year. No matter that New Hampshire’s Democratic voters overwhelming prefer the White House’s current occupant.

ALSO READ: ‘They blew up my life’: Fox News, a hidden camera and threats to an Indiana school administrator

But RFK Jr is blessed twice. Not only is there no Joe in New Hampshire, but RFK Jr. is flush with cash that comes not from the Democratic faithful but a single GOP megadonor who has donated more than half the millions amassed by RFK Jr.'s super PAC.

A little research shows that there is so much more to RFK Jr. than his anti-vaxx rantings during the pandemic. But the attraction of his name, coupled with his crusade against all things pharma — even suggesting that ‘Vaccine Research’ was likely responsible for HIV and the Spanish Flu and pushing the false notion that antidepressants are linked to school shootings — plays the MAGA base like a fiddle, pipe and drum. Suggesting that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was bioengineered to spare the Jews and Chinese people, RFK Jr. proved that he does antisemitic/racist falsehoods nearly as well as the thrice-indicted Trump.

In true MAGA style, when questioned by Elizabeth Vargas at a town hall event whether he’d pledge to support whoever wins the Democratic nomination, Kennedy said, "of course I’m not gonna do that.”

Is Steve Bannon writing his script?

A man receives a sign for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. before his official announcement that he is running for President on April 19, 2023 in Boston, Mass. Scott Eisen/Getty Images

Speaking of Bannon, just a week ago, Bannon once again let the tiger out of the bag by suggesting that a Trump-RFK Jr. ticket would win in a “massive landslide”. The GOP, Bannon continued, would welcome RFK Jr., this ersatz Dem, into their lair. Kennedy has a favorability rating among Republicans that exceeds a 2-to-1 margin, and unlike a Kristi Noem or a Kari Lake, he has instant connection, via his surname, to every voter in America.

ALSO READ: How S.C.’s honor-bound military college camouflaged its connection to Rudy Giuliani

Not to leave a stone unturned: Last Friday the RFK Jr. campaign filed a 27-page complaint in California alleging that YouTube and Google were acting as "state actors" by censoring his anti-vaxx interviews. RFK Jr.'s suit contends this is a way of serving the concerns of the federal government, and aiding and abetting his democratic primary rival Biden. The complaint gives him a free media strategy and serves as a convenient tool to gin up thousands of small-dollar donors who will revel in the free speech and anti-vaxx arguments being rolled out by RFK Jr.

But RFK Jr. has a surprising accomplice in his presidential primary strategy. The decision by the Democratic National Committee to change the primary calender — and awarding South Carolina the first presidential primary voting state — has turned out to be the gift that keeps on giving to the MAGA GOP. They have free "reign" to spin their partisan/fascist adjacent agenda in Iowa and New Hampshire, with RFK Jr. flipping the bird to the DNC. Who wouldn't be reveling in New Hampshire’s state law that requires New Hampshire to be the first-in-the-nation presidential primary?

So much to lose in 2024 and the Democratic Party appears to be unprepared to fight a war Trump has been promising since 2020. Ancient history wrote the script but well-paid democratic strategists preferred courses in economics and political science and not in the academic discipline known as classics — the study of ancient Greeks and Romans.

If he expects to win re-election next year, Biden needs to consult strategists who know Trojans are more than a condom.

Arnie Arnesen is the host of syndicated radio program "The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen". A former fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, Arnesen was the 1992 Democratic nominee for governor of New Hampshire and served as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1984 to 1992.

'Fascist' and 'tyrant': DeSantis blasted for ousting another elected Democratic state attorney

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. Mr. Warren is not Black.

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis Wednesday morning, for the second time, suspended an elected Democratic State Attorney and replaced them with an appointee of his own choosing.

DeSantis, who is also running for president, says he is suspending Florida State Attorney Monique Worrell “for neglecting her duty to faithfully prosecute crime in her jurisdiction.”

“I am appointing Judge Andrew Bain to step in and take over the duties of the State Attorney’s Office in the 9th Circuit,” DeSantis announced on social media. “The people of Central Florida deserve a State Attorney that will prosecute criminals and keep our communities safe.”

Florida State Attorney Monique Worrell won her office in 2020. Her term runs for four years. Judge Bain, a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, was appointed to the bench by Gov. DeSantis in 2020.

READ MORE: Trump Spins Wild Attack Against Fulton County DA Fani Willis Ahead of Possible Indictment

One year ago, almost to the day, Governor DeSantis suspended from office Andrew Warren, another Democratic elected State Attorney, also for alleged “neglect of duty.”

The New York Times on Wednesday called Gov. DeSantis’ removal of the state attorneys a “drastic and exceedingly rare step.”

“Critics, and even a federal judge,” The Times reported, “decried Mr. DeSantis’s ouster of Mr. Warren as politically motivated. But Mr. Warren remains out of office — and Mr. DeSantis mentions his removal in just about every campaign stump speech.”

Critics are again blasting DeSantis.

“This is literally just a dictator overruling the people, kicking out a duly elected official he doesn’t agree with and putting in his own pawn. This shouldn’t happen in America. And the guy who did it shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House,” said David Rothkopf, a noted foreign policy, national security and political affairs expert and commentator.

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, Democrat of Florida, blasted Gov. DeSantis as a “Fascist” who “hates democracy.”

“Struggling to raise money for his failing campaign and trailing by 40 points in the polls, Ron DeSantis removes a Black woman, Monique Worrell, from her duly elected office in Florida in a desperate, antidemocratic ploy to win MAGA voters,” observed attorney, former White House aide, author, and political commentator Keith Boykin.

READ MORE: Trump Disparages America’s Transgender Service Members at Rally: ‘We Had It Banned’

“This is absolutely disgusting,” wrote Florida state Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani. “State Attorney Monique Worrell is a duly elected official and the only Black woman serving as State Attorney in Florida right now. Her removal is a complete slap in the face to Orange and Osceola County residents and another example of Governor DeSantis eroding our local control and democracy. This politically motivated action by the Governor in a predominantly democratic part of the state should alarm everyone. DeSantis is extreme, unfit to serve, and must be held accountable.”

U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, Democrat of New York, slammed the Florida governor.

“Ron DeSantis not only punishes corporations, like Disney, for advancing causes, like LGBTQ rights, that he disfavors. He also removes from office duly elected officials who dare criticize the imperial Ron DeSantis. The latest victim is a Florida State Attorney, Monique Worrell, a black woman elected by the people, only to be removed by a tyrant.”

“The self-proclaimed small-government conservatives are actually authoritarians who are all too willing to use big-government power to enforce cancel culture against their political opponents,” Torres added. “There’s a word for this: hypocrisy.”

'Crooked Joe instead of Sleepy Joe': Trump reassigns nicknames while ranting about indictments

Editor's note: Extra text removed.

Thrice-indicted ex-President Donald Trump reassigned nicknames that he has for his political opponents during a speech in New Hampshire on Tuesday, mere hours before Judge Tanya Sue Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia scheduled a Friday hearing to decide whether to grant Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith's request for a protective order on accused criminal defendant Trump.

Chutkan ordered Trump to "not commit any more crimes" at his arraignment in Washington, DC last Thursday, where he pleaded not guilty to the four federal felonies that Smith filed against him for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election and deprive American citizens of their civil rights.

"You've heard your conditions of release. It is important you comply to your conditions of release. You may be held pending trial in this case, if you violate conditions of release," Chutkan told Trump, who agreed to not engage in behavior such as witness tampering. Trump's short-lived compliance ended with social media attacks on Smith, Chutkan, and other public figures, prompting Smith to file for an order of protection, which Chutkan added to Friday's docket.

READ MORE: Why potential RICO charges in Georgia are 'the most dangerous prosecution for Trump': report

In New Hampshire, Trump vowed to keep saying whatever he wants, which today included labeling Smith a "thug."

Trump disparaged Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis — reportedly nearing completion of a case against Trumpworld characters for trying to reverse Trump's 2020 loss in Georgia — as a "racist" who had an "affair" with a "gang member" (which is false).

Trump's attacks were also aimed at his 2024 Republican presidential primary rival and erstwhile friend, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whom Trump passively called a "fat pig" by instructing the audience not to do just that.

Trump directed his hypotheticals toward President Joe Biden and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton too:

He's a compromised candidate. And I'll tell you something. Out of respect for the office of president, I didn't talk this way five weeks ago, six weeks ago. I knew I felt very badly about what was going on. But out of respect for the office of the president, I wouldn't have said the way I talk.

He's a crooked person. He's a totally dishonest guy, so we'd say things, but, but, we, now, I even changed his name. I took it away from Hillary and we call him Crooked Joe instead of Sleepy Joe. We call him Crooked Joe. I retired it. That was a great day for Hillary. Instead of crooked Hillary, I said, 'We're removing the name from Crooked Hillary. Now we call her Beautiful. Beautiful Hillary. It's a beautiful woman, and we're giving it to Biden because he's a crooked person. But out of respect for the office, I would never have said that to this extent, and I never did. But now they indicted your president, your former president.

Watch below via The Daily Beast's Justin Baragona or at this link.

READ MORE: Ex-GOP strategist: Democrats should 'never bring up' Hunter Biden because voters 'don’t care'

'Joe Biden’s the president': DeSantis says 'of course' Trump 'lost' in 2020

Editor's note: This article was updated with additional information about DeSantis' interview.

Florida governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis told NBC News correspondent Dasha Burns on Sunday that thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump was defeated in the 2020 election.

"Whoever puts their hand on the Bible on January 20th every four years is the winner," DeSantis said in an exclusive interview that will air during Monday edition of NBC Nightly News.

"Of course he lost. Joe Biden's the president. But the issue is, I think with people in the media and elsewhere, they wanna act like somehow, this is just like the perfect election," DeSantis continued. "I don't think it was a good-run election. But I also think Republicans didn't fight back. You've got to fight back when that is happening."

READ MORE: Trump reminisces about 'beautiful, nice, wonderful suds' and recalls nixing water efficiency standards

Trump's spokesman Steve Cheung responded in a statement to NBC that "Ron DeSantis should really stop being Joe Biden's biggest cheerleader.

Watch the segment below via The Recount or at this link.

READ MORE: 'Unlawful benefit': Why Jack Smith has 'evidence' Trump 'acted corruptly'

View the conversation here.

Trump reminisces about 'beautiful, nice, wonderful suds' and recalls nixing water efficiency standards

Editor's note: Image attribution added.

Thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump was the keynote speaker at the Columbia, South Carolina Silver Elephant Gala on Saturday, which The State noted on Monday is "a Republican-led black tie optional fundraising event that featured a crowd of more than 1,300."

Trump said in his hour-long speech that "under my leadership, we built the greatest economy in the history of the world" and pledged that "when I get back in office, I'm going to reverse Bidenomics and restore the trajectory I created toward increasing this country's financial prosperity."

As part of his pitch, Trump shared anecdotes about inadequate plumbing and recalled that his administration had water efficiency standards repealed.

READ MORE: Mulvaney admits seeing Trump rip up documents but says he never witnessed them being flushed down toilets

"So, you know, little things like your sink. You know, you buy a sink and no water comes out because they have regulators on the water. Even if you're in a state where water comes out of heaven all day long, doesn't make any difference," Trump complained. "When you take a shower, I like to have, you know, I have this gorgeous head of hair. I like — when I take a shower — I want water to pour down on me. When you go into these new homes with showers, the water drips down slowly. Slowly you'd have suds, beautiful, nice, wonderful suds."

Trump then pivoted, "Lot of money, Procter & Gamble. All that crap that they sell they say is good. Probably cost them, cost them about two cents and they sell it for $10."

He continued, "But you can't, it, it takes you ten minutes to wash your hair. You know what you do? You just stay in the shower about ten times longer than you would've. It's the same. You probably used more water. I broke all that up. I opened up your sinks."

Watch Trump's full address below or at this link. This passage begins at the 13:17 mark.

FULL SPEECH: President Donald J. Trump Speaks at South Carolina GOP Dinner - 8/5/

READ MORE: New toilet photos back up bombshell claims about Trump flushing documents

'Unlawful benefit': Why Jack Smith may have 'evidence' Trump 'acted corruptly'

Editor's note: The headline was corrected for clarity.

United States Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith's indictment of former President Donald Trump for "Obstruction of and Attempt to Obstruct and Official Proceeding" — the January 6th, 2021 congressional tallying of President Joe Biden's 2020 Electoral College victory — is a provable case with recent legal precedent, explainedThe Guardian's Hugo Lowell on Monday.

"The count is notable, because — based on a review of previous judicial rulings in other cases where the charge has been brought — it may be one where prosecutors will not need to prove Trump knew he lost the election, as the former president's legal team has repeatedly claimed," Lowell said. "The obstruction of an official proceeding statute has four parts, but in Trump's case what is at issue is the final element: whether the defendant acted corruptly."

Norm Eisen, who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment, told Lowell that "there's no need to prove that Trump knew he lost the election to establish corrupt intent" because "the benefit under the statute is the presidency itself — and Trump clearly knew that without his unlawful actions, Congress was going to certify Biden as the winner of the election. That's all the corrupt intent you need."

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Lowell noted that Smith has "evidence that Trump knew of the significance of impeding the vote certification when he pressured his vice-president, Mike Pence, to interfere, saying he otherwise could not remain president." Smith also alleges in his complaint, Lowell continued, that Trump "implored Pence to accept the fake slates of Trump electors from battleground states and delay proceedings, or reject the Biden slates entirely."

Lowell recalled the ruling argument from District of Columbia District Court Judge Royce Lamberth when he sentenced January 6th defendant Alan Hostetter.

"Even if Mr. Hostetter genuinely believed the election was stolen and that public officials had committed treason, that does not change the fact that he acted corruptly with consciousness of wrongdoing," Lamberth opined. "Belief in the greater good does not negate consciousness of wrongdoing."

Lowell added that Lamberth invoking a "stricter interpretation of 'corruptly' to mean 'unlawful benefit'" means that "prosecutors could simply argue Trump gained a benefit he was not otherwise entitled to: still being president because Congress had not announced Biden as the next president."

READ MORE: Weissman: Anyone but Trump 'would have to await trial in jail' if they violated terms of release

Lowell's complete analysis continues at this link.

GOP candidates’ anti-'wokeness' crusades 'may be losing their punch' with voters: report

Editor's note: This story has been changed to include additional clarifying language.

Thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump's domination of the 2024 Republican presidential primary field remains, and new polling suggests that a key reason is increased displeasure among GOP voters toward right-wing culture wars. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for example, has championed limits on what can be taught in public schools, opposed to LGBTQ+ equality, and engaged in an economic spat with The Walt Disney Company as principal rallying cries of his White House campaign. But according toNew York Times correspondent Jonathan Weisman, that approach is failing.

"Attacks on 'wokeness' may be losing their punch," Weisman reported on Sunday. "The term has become a quick way for candidates to flash their conservative credentials, but battling 'woke' may have less political potency than they think. Though conservative voters might be irked at modern liberalism, successive New York Times/Siena College polls of Republican voters nationally and then in Iowa found that candidates were unlikely to win votes by narrowly focusing on rooting out left-wing ideology in schools, media, culture and business."

Rather, Weisman explained that "Republican voters are showing a 'hands off' libertarian streak in economics, and a clear preference for messages about 'law and order' in the nation's cities and at its borders."

READ MORE: 'What a joke': Newsom spox pans DeSantis’ debate proposal as evidence of 'insecurity and ineptitude'

Weisman recalled that in June, Trump said in Iowa that 'I don't like the term 'woke'" and that 'it's just a term they use — half the people can't even define it, they don't know what it is.'"

Weisman found that "the Times' polls suggest Mr. Trump may be right. Social issues like gay rights and once-obscure jargon like 'woke' may not be having the effect many Republicans had hoped."

Weisman noted that "when presented with the choice between two hypothetical Republican candidates" in the Times/Sienna Collegesurvey, "only 24 percent of national Republican voters opted for 'a candidate who focuses on defeating radical ‘woke’ ideology in our schools, media and culture' over 'a candidate who focuses on restoring law and order in our streets and at the border.'"

Furthermore, Weisman continued, "around 65 percent said they would choose the law and order candidate," while "among those 65 and older, often the most likely age bracket to vote, only 17 percent signed on to the 'anti-woke' crusade. Those numbers were nearly identical in Iowa, where the first ballots for the Republican nominee will be cast on Jan. 15."

READ MORE: DeSantis’ 'hostile' laws have 'been absolutely devastating' to Florida’s convention business: report

View Weisman's analysis at this link (subscription required).

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