More to ignore, Book 78.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Steve Bannon contempt trial continues with opening arguments
Brandi Buchman

The second day of Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress trial got underway on Tuesday.

Here’s a round-up of where things stand so far:

- Jury selection began on Monday and after an hours-long process where prospective jurors were seated or stricken from service, the final jury was chosen on Tuesday with opening arguments expected after 2 p.m. ET.

- On Tuesday, things started off a bit rocky, according to reporters in the courtroom. Politico and WUSA9 reported that presiding U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols fielded a dispute from Bannon’s attorneys over what records the defense could present to jurors. Overnight, Bannon’s attorney David Schoen filed a motion seeking to keep correspondence between committee chair Bennie Thompson and Bannon’s former attorney, Robert Costello, out of sight. In the letters, Costello argued that Bannon had executive privilege asserted and in response, the committee laid out how there was no evidence to support this claim.




- As Daily Kos previously reported, Judge Nichols ruled that Bannon would not be able to present claims of executive privilege asserted by former President Donald Trump over his testimony or cooperation with the select committee. Nichols did, however, agree to let Bannon argue that he was not aware of the compliance deadline for his 2021 subpoena. He may not argue that he received bad legal advice from his attorneys by refusing to comply, either. Instead, he can defend himself by arguing that his lawyer was unclear about the flexibility of the deadline. The fight over the letters on Tuesday was prompted by Schoen because he believes leaving them in would potentially gum up how jurors perceive the case. Nichols agreed to have portions of the letters shared for clarity but sections where Bannon overtly relied on privilege will be redacted.

- Bannon’s attorneys tried to delay the case again on Tuesday, asking for a one-month continuance based on the judge’s decision and their newfound understanding of the evidence but Nichols rebuffed them and dismissed the motion.

- After opening arguments get underway, witnesses will start making their way to the stand. According to court records, the Department of Justice plans to call at least three witnesses: Stephen Hart, Kristin Amerling and Sean Tonolli. Only Tonolli is listed as a potential witness where Hart and Amerling are locked in. Amerling serves as the deputy staff director and general counsel for the Jan. 6 committee and is expected to illustrate how the committee issued its request to Bannon and how he refused to comply. Hart is a special agent with the FBI and prosecutors say he will testify about “various statements” Bannon made regarding his subpoena as well as other records that were collected in the process. Should Tonolli appear as a witness, he would potentially speak about the attempted deposition negotiations between Bannon’s lawyers and the committee.

DOJ Witness List for Bannon Trial by Daily Kos on Scribd

- Only the items where committee chair Bennie Thompson wrote to Bannon’s former attorney Robert Costello were objected to on Tuesday by the defense.


Govt Exhibit List for Bannon trial by Daily Kos on Scribd

- Prosecutors can secure a conviction by convincing jurors that Bannon was properly subpoenaed and that his refusal to comply was willful. From NBC News, prosecutors kept this point clear. “It wasn’t optional… and it wasn’t an invitation.”



If convicted on both counts of contempt of Congress, Bannon could face a maximum 2-year sentence and be required to fork over fines of up to $200,000 max.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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No texts to recover, Secret Service tells Jan. 6 committee
Brandi Buchman

Hopes by the Jan. 6 committee that the Secret Service would turn over text messages the agency deleted from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 were dashed on Tuesday.

The Washington Post was first to report that a senior official familiar with the matter said the Secret Service has “no new texts to provide” related to the Jan. 6 probe and that any other messages shared between its agents during the same period were also “purged.”

The National Archives confirmed to Daily Kos that it sent a letter to Damian Kokinda, the records officer for the Department of Homeland Security, ordering the Secret Service to look into the matter and determine if the messages were improperly deleted. The Secret Service must file a report within 30 days that itemizes what led up to the deletion, notates precisely what records were affected, and offers a plan for how the agency intends to “safeguard” its data in the future.

Jan. 6 investigators and Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Zoe Lofgren said this past weekend they expected to receive the recovered texts by Tuesday. Lofgren and Kinzinger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
..........
According to the source who was interviewed by the
Post:

“The agency, which made this determination after reviewing its communication databases over the past four days, will provide thousands of records, but nearly all of them have been shared previously with an agency watchdog and congressional committees, the senior official said. None is expected to shed new light on the key matters the committee is probing, including whether Trump attacked a Secret Service agent, an account a senior White House aide described to the Jan. 6 committee.

The committee issued a subpoena for the messages last week after Department of Homeland Security i”Inspector General Joseph Cuffari informed them the records were missing. They were deleted as part of an agency-wide overhaul of staff phones that were being migrated to new devices.

Archives Letter to Ss by Daily Kos on Scribd
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Dismayed Trump officials who stepped down amid Capitol storming to testify in Jan. 6 probe
Brandi Buchman

Pottinger.jpg


Though the Jan. 6 committee has not yet made it official, reports are circulating rapidly that the expected witnesses for the probe’s hearing this Thursday will be Matthew Pottinger, who served as former President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, and Sarah Matthews, the former Trump White House deputy press secretary. Both resigned amid the assault and cooperated with the committee behind closed doors.

CNN was first to report the expected witnesses. A committee spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment to Daily Kos.

Pottinger stepped down on Jan. 6, “dismayed” over what he perceived as Trump’s responsibility for bringing the mob to Washington and setting them loose on Congress. In a recounting of that day in journalist Jonathan Karl’s book, Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, Pottinger was said to be in a state of “disbelief” after hearing unconfirmed reports that a call to send in the National Guard had been delayed.

Pottinger was watching the melee unfold in his office in the West Wing when he saw Trump’s tweet targeting then-Vice President Mike Pence, calling him a coward. In a clip of his recorded private deposition before the committee aired during the sixth public hearing, Pottinger testified that once a member of his staff brought him a printout of Trump’s mid-riot tweet targeting Pence, it sealed his decision.

“That's where I knew that I was leaving that day, once I read that tweet,” Pottinger told the committee.
........
The delayed deployment of the National Guard was beyond baffling. Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows offered him no real comfort either, Karl reported. When Pottinger bumped into Meadows in the White House on Jan. 6 and asked him point blank if there was any truth to press reports that the White House had blocked the Guard from assisting, Meadows told him he gave “very clear instructions to get the Guard over there to control the situation.”


Then Meadows scurried off to see Trump, and Pottinger set about tendering his resignation.

As questions around delays for backup swirled, according to the Times, before his interaction with Meadows, Pottinger was informed by Charles Kupperman, a fellow national security adviser, that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had made attempts to contact the White House seeking a rollout of National Guard, but there was a sluggish response.

The Guard would not be deployed until roughly 5:08 PM. A curfew went into effect by 6 PM, and U.S. Capitol Police would confirm the building was all clear by 8 PM.



A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters and a former U.S. Marine, Pottinger served in Iraq and Afghanistan on three combat deployments before eventually landing his spot on the National Security Council in the Trump administration. He was named deputy adviser in 2019. Notably, in an interview with The Atlantic this month, Pottinger recounted his experience with fellow Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn when the two were in Afghanistan together.

Flynn was, to hear him tell it, a much different man then.

“When we were in Afghanistan, I didn’t hear wacky conspiracies,” he said.

Flynn, who peddled Trump’s wild conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud and openly suggested that Trump declare martial law in order to “rerun” the 2020 election, was hauled in before the committee on a subpoena and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. He refused to answer all questions, including: “Do you believe the violence on Jan. 6 was justified morally or legally or do you believe in the peaceful transition of power?”




According to The New York Times, former Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews is expected to testify about her attempts to have Trump issue a statement that would quell the violence as it was exploding all around them.

Before coming aboard the Trump White House, Matthews served as a Trump campaign aide. Since then she has taken a spot as a communications director for a select committee on the climate crisis in the House. She’s been there for more than a year.



When the committee aired portions of Matthews’ private testimony at its seventh hearing, she described being invited into the Oval Office on the eve of the insurrection.

That night, Trump asked his personal assistant Nicholas Luna to open a door so he could better hear the pro-Trump “Rally to Save America” unfolding blocks away at nearby Freedom Plaza.

Roger Stone, who was flanked by Oath Keepers as his security detail, would speak at that event, telling the crowd: “We will win this fight or America will step off into a thousand years of darkness. We dare not fail. I will be with you tomorrow, shoulder to shoulder.”

Once the insurrection was underway the next day, footage from the Danish documentary A Storm Foretold shows Stone fleeing Washington and telling his aide: “I really want to get out of here.”


Matthews described the scene to the committee in her private deposition:

“We walked in, the staff was kind of standing up and assembled along the wall, and the president was at the desk and Dan Scavino was on the couch. And the president was dictating a tweet that he wanted Scavino to send out. Then the president started talking about the rally the next day. He had the door of the Oval open to the Rose Garden because you could hear the crowd already assembled outside on the Ellipse.
And they were playing music, and it was so loud that you could feel it shaking in the Oval. He was in a very good mood. And I say that because he had not been in a good mood for weeks leading up to that, and then it seemed like he was in a fantastic mood that evening.”

Trump’s White House Deputy Assistant Judd Deere told the committee that Trump “asked if members of Congress would be with him tomorrow.”

Matthews said Trump was confident that they could “make the RINOs do the right thing” when Congress met for the joint session. All the while, according to testimony by fellow aide Sarah Craighead, Trump was “making notes talking then about we should go up to the Capitol, what’s the best route to go to the Capitol.”

The hearing on Thursday will be led by Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Elaine Luria and is expected to unpack what Trump did—or did not do—during the fraught three hours when Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police pushed themselves to the brink to defend the Capitol from a thousands-strong mob.

The committee will likely lean heavily on recorded deposition from Pat Cipollone, Trump’s former attorney at the White House. Cipollone’s testimony during the last committee hearing corroborated much of what other former White House officials have said about Trump’s obstinance around conspiracy theories ginned up by his most sycophantic counselors: personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and attorney Sidney Powell.

Cipollone confirmed that Trump was told repeatedly the allegations of voter fraud were completely baseless, and he told investigators he urged Trump to throw in the towel. He also strongly advised the president against traveling to the Capitol on Jan. 6 lest he wish to spark a smorgasbord of criminal liability concerns, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, the one-time aide to Meadows.

Moreover, Cipollone corroborated details behind an explosive Dec. 18 visit to the White House where Powell, Giuliani, and the former head of Overstock.com Patrick Byrne pushed to have Trump declare that voting machines in battleground states should be seized.


On the day of the attack, Cipollone was also one of the closest people to Trump who called right away for Trump to do something, anything, to stop the storming of the Capitol.
 

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Ukraine update: Russian Navy bravely runs away, FIRMS isn't firm, and an unlikely secret advance
Mark Sumner

Early in the invasion of Ukraine, those interested in following the war discovered that they had some friends in high places—places anywhere from 200 to 800 miles above the ground. Not only has intelligence been available in terms of satellite imagery (some of it from free sources), but NASA’s FIRMS Fire Map has become a staple in tracking what’s happening on the front lines and behind the front lines. However, at this point, the value of FIRMS has plummeted and the possibility of misreading this data has reached an all-time high.

The FIRMS Fire Map, which is created from two types of instruments spread across multiple satellites, is intended for tracking exactly what the name implies: fires. Technically, it spots “thermal anomalies” or “hot spots.” The hot spots located by FIRMS infrared tools are points that stand out, temperature-wise, from the background, and have been literal life savers when it comes to tracking wildfires in both the U.S. and around the world. That the FIRMS data also turned out to be aces at picking up flashes from artillery and the explosions of missiles was a happy accident—“happy” only in the sense that it provided much-needed support for people engaged in Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), not for anything actually happening on the ground.

But at this moment, using FIRMS data as an indicator of anything happening in Ukraine takes a good deal more scrutiny and expertise than it did a month ago. Here’s why.

First, take a look at this map of the area in eastern Ukraine.

screencap.jpg

FIRMS data, eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2022

At first glance this aligns pretty well with what we know is happening when it comes to conflict. Russian forces are trying to get to Bakhmut, near the center of this image, so it makes sense they would be bombarding Ukrainian forces in the area. Ukrainian forces are surely trying to take out Russian artillery. So they’re probably shooting up the backfield. Except … that cluster of shots over near Alchevesk is a good 40km into Russian-held territory. The spots south of Krasnyi Luch are even farther in the red zone. So … High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) seeking out artillery stockpiles?

Before you answer, take a look at this war-torn battlefield.

screencap.jpg

FIRMS data, NOT in eastern Ukraine, July 19, 2022

This looks pretty bad. However, a quick glance at some of the names on this map will show that this is actually on the Romania/Bulgaria border. It’s an area where, so far as anyone knows, Russian artillery is not engaged in shelling towns and not a single HIMARS is firing missiles. Why is the map so spotted with hot spots? Because … hot spots.

First of all, it’s summer. FIRMS is not immune to being thrown off by a reflective surface or toasty bit of asphalt (though the system keeps a list of known/fixed hot spots and filters them out, so sure false spots are transient). Second, it’s dry. So there are actual fires. Some of those hot spots are FIRMS doing its duty and reporting places where trees are ablaze. Third, it’s summer, and it’s hot, and it’s dry. So farmers all over Europe are burning off the stubble left after the harvest of spring crops.

Most of that winter wheat that was greening up Ukraine back in April was harvested in May or June. Farmers like to burn off those fields in the summer to kill off weeds, prevent the spread of diseases, and drive out pests. Burning also helps put some of the nutrients from last year’s crop back into the soil for the next year. In any case, fields in many areas are burned in the summer in preparation for planting in the fall. Take a close-up look at these hot spots, whether in Romania or Ukraine, and the great majority are out in a patchwork of farm fields. And yes, Ukrainian farmers are still farming right through all this mess. Those guys who were towing tanks with their tractors are not going to get intimidated now.

This doesn’t mean that FIRMS is useless. However, it does mean that a casual glance at the FIRMS Fire map is a dangerous way to spot military activity at this time.

Clicking on any one of those points that’s highlighted on the map will provide additional data—including more precise locations and brightness of hot spots as well as more esoteric values like “instantaneous fire radiative power.” More details of how the data can be interpreted, and how it’s filtered before it ever makes the Fire Map, can be found in the users guide to the data.

A careful filtering of the data can help to exclude actual forest fires, burning fields, and trash fires that are springing up around the battlefield area. Appropriately enough, it’s some of the data that looks “marginal” to the fire models at NASA, data on the edge of being filtered out of the dataset in the first place, that’s often the best indicator of military activity.

Some of those OSINT folks have become very good at picking out the war signal from the fire background. They’ll scan hundreds of hotspots, removing many of them based on data, and sometimes reviewing satellite imagery to remove or confirm still more candidates. The final set of data they produce is still extremely valuable for outside observers trying to sense the ebb and flow of the invasion.

All of which is a very long way of saying: While you may see maps that contain hot spots from FIRMS data, don’t expect to see a lot of FIRMS Fire Map images in the near future. Because a quick glance can very well tell a deceptive story. As with so many other areas of OSINT, I’m going to let the self-made experts do it … then sponge off of them.

Fun fact: If you scan around on the FIRMS map, you can usually find a few hot spots indicated in the middle of the South Atlantic. These don’t represent warships ablaze or undersea volcanoes erupting. They’re due to the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly allowing the satellites to get a blast of radiation from space.

THE NOT-SO-MIGHTY RUSSIAN BLACK SEA FLEET GOES INTO HIDING​

For a nation that had to steal a couple of ice-free ports, Russia has always been inordinately proud of its naval prowess. However, as the current home of the fleet’s flagship, Moskva, indicates, the actual quality of that navy, and its equipment, seems to be completely on par with the rest of the corruption-plagued, poorly maintained, and entirely overestimated Russian military.

The Moskva was reportedly sunk by a pair of Ukrainian-made R-360 Neptune missiles with a range up to 280 km. Since that sinking, Ukraine has also gained a number of Harpoon missile systems. The Harpoons have about half the range, somewhere under 150km, but are much better able to evade defensive systems … not that the Russian flagship seemed to put up much resistance on that basis.

Whatever weapon is used, Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Gavrylov has made it clear that one of Ukraine’s goals in this war is sinking the Black Sea Fleet. Gavrylov indicated that Ukraine has some even longer-range weapons on the way that would allow it to clear the ships that are blocking Ukrainian ports and holding back shipments of Ukrainian grain.

Which makes this bit of intelligence very interesting.



Not only was the port in Sevastopol under threat from anti-ship missiles, indications that Ukraine is about to receive longer range missiles for use with the HIMARS system mean that the Russian Navy’s biggest warm-water port is under threat from a number of points along the coast. That threat only increases should Ukraine retake the area around Kherson. So getting those ships the hell outta Dodge makes a lot of sense.

That smaller facility over at Novorossiysk might also need to prepare for some additional residents. The recent missile attack on Vinnytsia, which killed at least 23 people including three children, was reportedly launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea. The Black Sea Fleet includes six submarines, all of the 636 'Varshavyanka' class. Compared to the things moving around on land, these are relatively new systems, with the earliest dating back to 1997. However, they are diesel-electric subs, not nuclear subs, and at 20+ years old, they need considerable time and maintenance on the surface between each 45 day cruise.

The submarine that fired those missiles into Vinnytsia is going to be sitting on the surface at a dock soon. Ukraine is really hoping that dock is at Sevastopol.

IS UKRAINE’S SILENCE IN KHERSON HIDING A SIGNIFICANT ADVANCE?​

For a solid month now, Ukraine has been insisting that a counteroffensive is underway in the area around Kherson. It’s also insisted that strict operational silence is in place, and the daily briefings from the Ukrainian military have rarely shed any light on developments.

We’ve seen some flashpoints of that offensive: the crossing of the Inhulets River south of Davydiv Brid and occupation of several villages; the push along the southern section of the line that has brought Ukrainian forces close enough to shell Russian control centers and equipment just outside the city; and continuous fighting around a number of towns where Russian forces have constructed hardened positions.

But some detailed geolocation of images and video from one of the many online sources following this invasion closely shows that most of those looking at the area may have missed something big.



His conclusion is that Ukraine is actually much closer to Nova Kakhovka, and that northern bridge across the Dnipro, than any public report has acknowledged. That’s an attractive thought, especially considering how Ukraine recently blew the holy hell out of a huge ammunition depot at Nova Kakhovka and has fired on other targets near the city.

However, there is a problem with this theory. Much of it based on fields being on fire to the southeast of Nova Kakhovka at a distance that would require Ukrainian forces to be much closer to the city than anyone has reported. And even the satellite data used to support this shows a very regular pattern of burning that confirms neatly to the boundaries of an area under cultivation.

What’s really at work here is likely to be the same thing confounding many of those currently looking at FIRMS data—the deliberate burning of fields where spring crops have already been harvested. It’s not just satellites who can get fooled when a new factor enters into the dataset.

On the other hand … maybe he’s right. I hope he’s right. I just don’t expect it. As tight as the Ukrainian opsec has been, it’s not that tight.

IF THE THREE STOOGES OWNED A TANK …​

The old saw that “Russian tanks are fueled by vodka” appears to still be operative.



VLADIMIR PUTIN’S GIFT LIST​

Republicans in the House on Monday made it easy for Vladimir Putin to do his Christmas shopping: 18 of them actually voted to exclude Sweden and Finland from NATO, because … who cares? I’m sure Marjorie Taylor Greene, Thomas Massie, and Matt Gaetz can provide you with a reason.



Thankfully, these pro-Russian jackasses’ votes don’t mean spit.
 

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Olena Zelenska started her visit to the United States


As part of her visit to the United States of America, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska is visiting Washington at the invitation of First Lady of the United States Jill Biden.

"Mrs. Biden visited Ukraine in May in order to see and communicate with those who lost their homes and loved ones due to the war. Now it's my turn to speak in the US about Ukrainian needs in our resistance and fight against the aggressor," said Olena Zelenska, starting the visit.

The First Lady of Ukraine held a meeting with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Olena Zelenska visited the Memorial to the Victims of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine in Washington downtown established at the expense of philanthropists, the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora in 2015. She met there with representatives of the Ukrainian community in the US.

"Visiting this place, which resonates so much with our tragic present, where Russia is trying to destroy Ukraine once again, I faced a true ray of light - a meeting with the Ukrainian community in the USA. These are people who, even thousands of kilometers from their homeland, remember who they are, know the language, who voluntarily responded to the Russian attack in the first ranks and rushed to help their homeland and compatriots," said Olena Zelenska.

On the first day of the visit, she also met with USAID Administrator Samantha Power.

"I was glad to meet our great friend, Mrs. Samantha, especially in the context of the fact that her agency, USAID, is one of the main partners of Ukraine in the matter of supporting people. In particular, it is about psychological assistance in the framework of our National Program of Mental Assistance and Psychosocial Support. Together, we must return to Ukrainians the strength and will to live," said the First Lady of Ukraine.

Olena Zelenska also held a meeting with the participants of the Prosthetics Program, which was initiated by the Ukrainian House in Washington and the Embassy of Ukraine in the USA. It was created specifically for Ukrainians who lost their limbs as a result of Russian aggression.

Olena Zelenska told about the first citizens of Ukraine who took advantage of this help, the Stepanenko family from Kramatorsk: "Natalia Stepanenko with her 11-year-old twins Yana and Yaroslav were at the station in Kramatorsk and tried to evacuate on the very day when a Russian missile flew there... Nataia lost a leg, Yana - both. Now the family is in the USA - Natalia is already getting used to the new prosthesis, and Yana is preparing for the upcoming prosthetics surgery."

The First Lady emphasized that the program continues. The Ukrainian House and the Embassy collect information from the Ministry of Health about children who suffered mine and explosive injuries. After the determination of the medical institution that will receive the family in the USA and a meeting between Ukrainian and American doctors, transportation and prosthetics take place.


"I believe that together we will return the childhood that the Russians took away from our children," Olena Zelenska summed up.

OlenaZelenska.jpg

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska (right) at the Holodomor Memorial in Washington D.C.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump begs for 2 newspapers to be stripped of Pulitzers. Not gonna happen, says Prize Board
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Donald Trump has convinced millions that the lengthy Mueller investigation produced no evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, or of obstruction into the investigation by Trump himself. He accomplished this deft sleight-of-hand by tweeting “NO OBSTRUCTION! NO COLLUSION!” with the ardency of a lab rat requesting cocaine pellets.

In fact, endlessly repeating the same lie is a hallmark of Trumpism—and it’s about the only evidence we have that Trump is capable of mounting a disciplined response to anything. So the fact that The New York Times and The Washington Post both won Pulitzer Prizes for their deep dives into the Russia collusion story has remained a thorn in Trump’s wee greasy paw for some time now.

CNBC:

The board made that decision after two separate, independent reviews found that the award-winning reporting on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton stood up to scrutiny.
“No passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes,” the Pulitzer board said in a press release.

The 2018 Pulitzer Prizes in National Reporting stand,” it added.

Wait, so “NO OBSTRUCTION! NO COLLUSION!” was just a … lie? But Donald Trump always tells the truth. He said so himself!

In fact, the Mueller report, which Robert Mueller unequivocally stated did not exonerate Trump, cited at least 10 instances in which Trump likely committed obstruction of justice. In addition, the report detailed “multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government.” Further, a subsequent bipartisan Senate report firmly established collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, noting that former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort shared internal polling data with Russian intelligence officer Konstantin Kilimnik.

But those Pulitzers put the lie to Trump’s meticulously crafted “NO OBSTRUCTION! NO COLLUSION!” mantra, and so Trump had to at least pretend to challenge them. Unfortunately for him, the Pulitzer Board still has access to Google.

The Washington Post:

Trump has long chafed at any suggestion that his surprising electoral victory in 2016 was aided by the Russian government, or that his campaign had acted in concert with Russian operatives seeking his election over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He repeatedly called investigative efforts — including by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — a “witch hunt,” and the focus on it as “Russia, Russia, Russia.”
Teams of reporters at The Post and Times produced substantial evidence of connections in the 10 prizewinning articles that each submitted for Pulitzer consideration.
The Post, for example, first reported on the Justice Department’s concerns that Trump’s incoming national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had lied to Vice President-elect Mike Pence about details of his communications with Russia’s ambassador, making him potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail. The Times, meanwhile, broke the news that Donald Trump Jr. had agreed to a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer compromising information about Hillary Clinton and that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.

Of course, Trump responded to this news with his usual aplomb (namely, like a howler monkey smuggling moist paper bags full of bath salts in his colon).

"Instead of acting with integrity and providing transparency, the Pulitzer Board is running cover for the biggest reporting failure in modern history: the fake Russia Russia Russia collusion hoax. Why would The Washington Post or The New York Times ever want to admit their obvious mistakes and come clean when their false reporting is being guarded, and awarded, by the Pulitzer Prize, which at one point actually meant something? These outlets should hand back their prizes without notification from Pulitzer, which would be the honorable thing to do. The only way The New York Times and The Washington Post should get a possible Pulitzer Prize would be in a new category—disinformation, for helping to perpetrate a false story created and peddled by Crooked Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and certain lowlife Democrats."

Maybe Trump is just mad he never won a Pulitzer. After all, it must be tough to know literally everything there is to know about windmill cancer and never get the recognition you deserve.
......
.......
CRYBABY TRUMP Whines that Pulitzer Won't Rescind Awards for True Stories About His Treason
News Corpse
 

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Lawless Republican election officials in Pennsylvania preview the election threats to come
Joan McCarter

Three counties in Pennsylvania are providing a preview of constitutional crises to come if election subversion by the Republican Party is not stopped now, while the Democratic Congress and White House still have the chance. Three county boards of elections (Berks, Fayette, and Lancaster) in Pennsylvania are refusing to certify some mail-in ballots for the 2022 primary election, which was conducted on May 17.

The primary is over. The results are uncontested. This precise issue—whether undated but otherwise valid mail-in ballots should be counted—has in fact already been contested in Pennsylvania and all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yes, the court decided in refusing to take up a separate challenge of ballots from the state, the lack of a date is not enough to invalidate a vote.

There are about a million voters in these three counties, who are now under a state court order to certify all of the ballots legally cast in the Republican primary, and they are refusing to do so. These officials, despite the fact that this is a decided issue, have decided that
they are the sole arbiters of which votes should count. That’s a problem. A big problem and a bad harbinger of what could come.
.........
Marc Elias of Democracy Docket details the core of the threat:

Most importantly, these counties did not refuse to submit any election results at all. Worse, they submitted results that intentionally exclude lawful votes. Our decentralized method of running elections relies on precinct workers and county officials acting in good faith to ensure every lawful ballot is counted and included in accurately tabulated vote totals. When a county fails to submit results, it is easily detected. But, when a county presents incomplete results as complete, the risk of undetected election subversion increases.

Our own Adam Bonin points to a closely related story out of Bucks County, Pennsylvania where the Board of Elections received an “expletive-laden letter, filled with a suspicious substance” on Monday. “Since the 2020 election, people in Bucks County have been misled by baseless and unfounded allegations and our Board of Election employees have been subjected to unprecedented hostility as a result,” Board of Elections Chair Bob Harvie said. “Today’s incident was an example of the kind of idiotic and pathetic behavior which has been targeted at election workers around the nation.”

The elections officials in Berks, Fayette and Lancaster are part of that problem in the state. Not necessarily because they believe in the Big Lie writ larger—every election without their preferred outcome is fraudulent—but because they’ve taken the further step of deciding that they get to pick and choose which votes count.

Which is exactly what is threatened on a larger scale by the U.S. Supreme Court when it takes up the “independent state legislature” theory this fall. In that case, the Court will decide if state legislatures have primacy in deciding federal elections—above state and federal courts, above everyone. Sort of like what those county officials are unconstitutionally declaring in Pennsylvania—they have the final say.

The Senate is nearing an agreement that could help fight one aspect of this, the presidential electoral count. Reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887 is one necessary means of protecting elections and it needs to pass. But it’s not nearly enough. not when threats and intimidation and a willingness to cheat to win pervades the Republican party. It’s not just presidential elections that count—it’s all of them.

This election, the 2022 midterm, might be our last chance to stop them. We need a Democratic majority in the Senate big enough to end the filibuster and pass the democracy-saving legislation Republicans have shut down. We need a big enough majority—one that recognizes the scope of the threat we’re facing—to reform and expand the federal courts, but particularly the U.S. Supreme Court.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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GOP strategist: 'Just had another focus group of Trump voters where ZERO wanted Trump to run again'
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Remember the good old days before the GOP went from a marginally lucid opposition party to full-blown Nazi Zombie mode on Call of Duty? Back then, the worst they had to worry about was that Pat Buchanan might drop his P.W. Botha lunchbox and one of his Heinrich Himmler action figures would spill out.

That was before revanchist white supremacy went from being a heady spice the party seasoned its stew with to essentially being the whole stew—and the only thing left on the menu, really.

But there’s good news! Finally! Maybe! It’s not outside the realm of possibility, anyway!
..........

Sarah Longwell is a longtime Republican strategist, prominent never-Trumper, and CEO of Longwell Partners, a Washington, D.C., communications firm. And she’s starting to see Donald Trump’s support soften—at least in the focus groups she’s been conducting.




Seven years ago, when Trump rode down that escalator and my brain started scanning the multiverse for timelines in which disgruntled circus ferrets gnawed Fred Trump’s woebegone yam bags into testes detritus well prior to 1944, I figured no one this racist could ever get the Republican nomination for president. Now it looks like his previously off-the-charts racism is a prerequisite to any electoral success in the GOP.

And while it looked for a time as if nothing could possibly penetrate Trump’s armor—or his followers’ skulls—the Jan. 6 hearings do appear to be having an effect.

That’s the good news. The bad news? The alternate candidates rank-and-file Republicans may be pining for might not be much better than Trump—though it’s still an open question whether they’d try to blow up American democracy in order to cling to power for a few extra years.

The Independent:

Whether it is highlighting the way Trump called officials in Georgia and asked them to “find” an extra 11,000 votes, the fact he thought Mike Pence deserved crowds chanting for his death, or else trying to grab the steering wheel of his SUV to try to join his supportings marching on the Capitol, the hearings have created a backdrop of noise “about this thing that their team did, that they don’t like, that they’re not proud of”.
[Longwell] says it is not that Trump supporters are sitting down and thinking he is suddenly bad or that they no longer believe he was a good president.
“A key component of this is that there are people they want to move on to, that they’re getting excited about – Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo or these people they see on Fox News, Kristi Noem,” she says. “And they think ‘look at all these other superstars we can have’. They don’t turn away from Trump.”

Wait, people are getting excited about Mike Pompeo? Are these the same people who watch Walker, Texas Ranger? Because I’ve literally never met even one such person.

But hey, anything can happen—as we were brutally reminded on November 8, 2016 ... and pretty much every day since.

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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11 Fake Georgia Electors are now Targets in Criminal Probe
ericlewis0

C5B038BC-5CF9-4001-846B-BED3C18FC365.jpeg

Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer might in the most trouble of them all.

From CNN:


The Atlanta-area district attorney investigating Donald Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia has informed 11 individuals who were put forward as fake electors on behalf of the former president that there they are considered targets in the ongoing criminal probe, according to new court documents filed Tuesday.
Fulton County DA Fani Willis’ office informed lawyers for the 11 fake electors that the status change from witness to target was the result of “new evidence” that has come to light over the course of the probe.
“As our investigation has matured and new evidence has come to light, in a spirit of integrity we feel it only fitting to inform you that your clients’ status has changed to ‘Target,’” prosecutors said, according to a defense filing.

www.cnn.com/…

Now we just sit back and wait for one or more of these eleven ne’er-do-wells to rat out the big orange menace. Remember, Mr. Shafer — first one to spill will get the best deal.

I say throw the lot of them in jail for sedition or worse.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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An Indianapolis doctor who provided abortion care to a 10-year-old rape victim is preparing to sue Attorney General Todd Rokita of Indiana for defamation after he said he would investigate her actions in the case, according to a statement released on Tuesday by her lawyer.

Dr. Caitlin Bernard earned the ire of conservative lawmakers and pundits after she told The Indianapolis Star about her patient, a 10-year-old girl who crossed state lines from Ohio to receive an abortion. Ohio is one of nearly a dozen states with abortion restrictions that do not make exceptions for rape or incest.

The case drew national attention after President Biden mentioned it this month while signing an executive order in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a bombshell report that could upend the probe into the Capitol insurrection, Tucker Carlson has claimed that the missing Secret Service texts from January 5th and 6th were deleted by the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


“Hillary is extremely tech-savvy,” Carlson said. “She has her own server. She can delete anything from anywhere at any time.”

The Fox News host said that he arrived at his incendiary accusation after a lengthy investigation and “only after eliminating Hunter Biden as a suspect.”

As for Clinton’s motivation for deleting the Secret Service’s texts, Carlson said, “That’s for the January 6th committee to investigate. I can’t do everything.”