Lazy Caturday Reads

cca5caf13bb3baa6cedc218519b5a9e7Good Morning!!

Monday is the Fourth of July, AKA Independence Day, but it’s difficult to celebrate “freedom” when the Supreme Court is rapidly taking away our rights. It feels as if we are racing against time to prevent a fascist takeover of the U.S. And no, I don’t think that is an exaggeration.

I’m hoping for a quiet weekend on the political news front, but there is still news breaking today. Republicans are still trying to undercut Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony before the January 6 Committee, and There is also a bit of news about the DOJ investigation of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. We are still dealing with the aftermath of a series of shocking SCOTUS decisions and fears of what these out-of-control “justices” may do next.

Reactions to January 6 Committee Testimony

CNN reporters spent yesterday investigating GOP efforts to undermine Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony about Trump’s behavior on January 6. Accounts of Trump angrily demanding to go to Capitol on January 6 circulated in Secret Service over past year.

Then-President Donald Trump angrily demanded to go to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, and berated his protective detail when he didn’t get his way, according to two Secret Service sources who say they heard about the incident from multiple agents, including the driver of the presidential SUV where it occurred.

The sources tell CNN that stories circulated about the incident — including details that are similar to how former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson described it to the House select committee investigating January 6 — in the months immediately afterward the US Capitol attack and before she testified this week.

While the details from those who heard the accounts differ, the Secret Service sources say they were told an angry confrontation did occur. And their accounts align with significant parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, which has been attacked as hearsay by Trump and his allies who also have tried to discredit her overall testimony.

Like Hutchinson, one source, a longtime Secret Service employee, told CNN that the agents relaying the story described Trump as “demanding” and that the former President said something similar to: “I’m the f**king President of the United States, you can’t tell me what to do.” The source said he originally heard that kind of language was used shortly after the incident.

“He had sort of lunged forward — it was unclear from the conversations I had that he actually made physical contact, but he might have. I don’t know,” the source said. “Nobody said Trump assaulted him; they said he tried to lunge over the seat — for what reason, nobody had any idea.”

0a702ea7c8cbc937f329785b356c4befThe employee said he’d heard about the incident multiple times as far back as February 2021 from other agents, including some who were part of the presidential protective detail during that time period but none of whom were involved in the incident.

The source added that agents often recounted stories of Trump’s fits of anger, including the former President throwing and breaking things.

“Not just plates,” the source added, a reference to how Hutchinson testified this week that she saw ketchup on the wall and a porcelain plate shattered on the floor of the White House dining room after Trump had thrown his lunch at the wall upon hearing about then-Attorney General William Barr telling a media outlet there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Read more details at CNN.

Alan Z. Rozenshtein and Jed Handelsman Shugarman at Lawfare: Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony Changed Our Minds About Indicting Donald Trump.

Until Tuesday, we had both publicly stated that the Department of Justice had insufficient evidence to indict former President Trump for his conduct on Jan. 6. Our conclusion, which we each came to independently, was largely grounded in First Amendment concerns about criminalizing purely political speech.

But Tuesday’s explosive testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, changed our minds. In particular, Hutchinson testified to hearing Trump order that the magnetometers (metal detectors) used to keep armed people away from the president be removed: “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons, they’re not here to hurt me. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the fucking mags [magnetometers] away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here; let the people in and take the mags away.”

Admittedly, Hutchinson is only one witness, and it is true that some of her testimony would, in the context of a criminal trial, constitute hearsay. But Hutchinson—unlike many of her detractors who have contested certain details of her testimony—testified under oath and, contrary to the sneering commentary of the House Judiciary Committee GOP Twitter account, not all of Hutchinson’s second-hand remarks were introduced to establish the truth of the matter asserted. Even much of that portion of her testimony that did constitute hearsay might still be admissible under the relevant evidentiary rules.

These utterances by Trump (as alleged by Hutchinson) were not political speech. They serve as additional proof of intent and context, and—crucially—a material act to increase the likelihood of violence. This easily distinguishes Trump’s speech at the rally from other kinds of core political speech that should never be criminalized.

Read the authors’ legal arguments at the Lawfare link.

Two more articles to check out:

Greg Sargent: Liz Cheney’s harsh new attack on Trump is a plea for GOP sanity.

Quinta Jurecic at The Atlantic: The January 6 Committee Is Going to Have the Final Word.

Justice Department January 6 Investigation

The Washington Post: Justice Dept. subpoenas two Arizona state senators in Jan. 6 probe.

The Justice Department has subpoenaed two Republican Arizona state senators for information tied to possible correspondence with President Donald Trump’s attorneys as attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election were underway.

1000_F_191451373_0aDUnfZCtszv3RydvybJgPRztdqqlH5cArizona Senate President Karen Fann and Sen. Kelly Townsend received subpoenas last week, according to Kim Quintero, a spokeswoman for Senate Republicans in Arizona. The subpoenas came as the Justice Department deepened its investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol to include key Republican players in battleground states. Fann and Townsend are the first state legislators known to have received subpoenas as part of that push.

The Yellow Sheet Report, a political tip sheet, first reported the news. The legislators received the subpoenas while at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix. Federal agents tried to deliver Townsend’s at her home, she said; she invited them to the statehouse, where she was working.

The subpoenas came the same week Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers (R) testified before the U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Bowers testified about efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the former president’s loss in Arizona.

Bowers told The Washington Post on Friday that he has not been subpoenaed and that he is not aware of any members of the Arizona House who have been subpoenaed.

Fann and Townsend are complying with the request, Quintero said, and staff members have already identified tens of thousands of records from constituents and others that could fit what is being broadly requested. The subpoenas are identical and request emails and text messages, Quintero said.

“They’re requesting text messages and emails from a list of people, which I can’t disclose who those people are, because they told us not to speak with the media about this,” she said.

Fallout from SCOTUS Overturning Roe v. Wade

The Cincinnati Enquirer: As Ohio restricts abortions, 10-year-old girl travels to Indiana for procedure.

On Monday three days after the Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indianapolis obstetrician-gynecologist, took a call from a colleague, a child abuse doctor in Ohio.

Hours after the Supreme Court action, the Buckeye state had outlawed any abortion after six weeks. Now this doctor had a 10-year-old patient in the office who was six weeks and three days pregnant.

Cat from Brighton, AustraliaCould Bernard help?

Indiana lawmakers are poised to further restrict or ban abortion in mere weeks. The Indiana General Assembly will convene in a special session July 25 when it will discuss restrictio ns to abortion policy along with inflation relief.

But for now, the procedure still is legal in Indiana. And so the girl soon was on her way to Indiana to Bernard’s care.

While Indiana law did not change last week when the Supreme Court issued its groundbreaking Dobbs decision, abortion providers here have felt an effect, experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of patients coming to their clinics from neighboring states with more restrictive policies.

Click the link to read the rest.

Elizabeth Dias at The New York Times: Inside the Extreme Effort to Punish Women for Abortion.

Hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last week, a man with a wiry, squared-off beard and a metal cross around his neck celebrated with his team at a Brazilian steakhouse. He pulled out his phone to livestream to his followers.

“We have delivered a huge blow to the enemy and to this industry,” the man, Jeff Durbin, said. But, he explained, “our work has just really begun.”

“Even the states that have trigger laws,” which ban abortion at conception without exceptions for rape or incest, did not go far enough, Mr. Durbin, a pastor in the greater Phoenix area, said. “They do not believe that the woman should ever be punished.”

Resistance to “the question of whether or not people who murder their children in the wombs are guilty,” he said, “is going to have to be something we have to overcome, because women are still going to be killing their children in the womb.”

455125F200000578-0-image-m-29_1507976840984Even as those in the anti-abortion movement celebrate their nation-changing Supreme Court victory, there are divisions over where to go next. The most extreme, like Mr. Durbin, want to pursue what they call “abortion abolition,” a move to criminalize abortion from conception as homicide, and hold women who have the procedure responsible — a position that in some states could make those women eligible for the death penalty. That position is at odds with the anti-abortion mainstream, which opposes criminalizing women and focuses on prosecuting providers.

Many people who oppose abortion believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder. Abolitionists follow that thinking to what they believe is the logical, and uncompromising, conclusion: From the moment of conception, abolitionists want to give the fetus equal protection as a person under the 14th Amendment.

No equal rights for the pregnant woman though–she’s just a broodmare now.

Future SCOTUS Horrors

The Washington Post: Democracy advocates raise alarm after Supreme Court takes election case.

Voting rights advocates expressed alarm Friday, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court said it will consider a conservative legal theory giving state legislatures virtually unchecked power over federal elections, warning that it could erode basic tenets of American democracy.

The idea, known as the “independent legislature theory,” represents to some theorists a literal reading of the Constitution.

But in its most far-reaching interpretation, it could cut governors and state courts out of the decision-making process on election laws while giving state lawmakers free rein to change rules to favor their own party. The impact could extend to presidential elections in 2024 and beyond, experts say, making it easier for a legislature to disregard the will of its state’s citizens.

This immense power would go to legislative bodies that are themselves undemocratic, many advocates say, because they have been gerrymandered to create partisan districts, virtuallyensuring the party-in-power’s candidates cannot be beaten. Republicans control both legislative chambers in 30 states and have been at the forefront of pushing the theory….

The [January 6] committee has offered fresh evidence suggesting President Donald Trump sought to disrupt the congressional counting of electoral votes to allow state legislatures time to send alternate slates of electorsas part of a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

1000_F_60236993_F1LAMzRaOmg8sciVgGFf504rVU9zANRGState legislatures have already introduced or enacted laws in a number of GOP-controlled states that voting rights groups say make it more difficult to cast a ballot. Experts say if the Supreme Court adopts the independent legislature theory, it would give state lawmakers ultimate control over election-related decisions like redistricting, as well as issues such asvoting qualifications and voting by mail.

“This is part of a broader strategy to make voting harder and impose the will of state legislatures regardless of the will of the people,” said Suzanne Almeida, director of state operations for Common Cause, a nonpartisan pro-democracy group. “It is a significant change to the power of state courts to rein in state legislatures.”

The case could also open the door for state legislatures to claim ultimate control over electors in presidential elections, said Marc Elias, aveteran Democratic voting rights attorney.

I’m not going to quote from it, but for a view from an ultra-conservative Federalist Society member, see this piece by Josh Hammer at Newsweek: After Dobbs, What Comes Next for the Conservative Legal Project? | Opinion.

That’s all I have for you today. I plan to spend my weekend reading and ignoring the news as much as I possibly can. Take care everyone!



23 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice long weekend!!

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  4. roofingbird says:

    I don’t believe this is just about prosecuting abortion providers. For example, if a woman is shown to have had an abortion, could this be a factor in custody battles? Where is the statute of limitations on the trigger laws? With the loss of the right to privacy, if you had an abortion in one state and moved to an anti abortion state could you be prosecuted? What is the position on retroactivity?

    • quixote says:

      Yeah, and what about tax deductions for this young “person”? Or, for that matter, what about if you’re having IVF? It’s no longer legal to not to implant excess embryos. So if you implant, say, nine, you take nine deductions that year, plus whatever actual kids you already have, right?

      Of course, most of them, probably all of them, won’t survive. Except for the stunning wear and tear of a pregnancy like that, this would be a whole new way to, for instance, cancel out capital gains that year. Cool.

      Can’t you just see it? Head Mofo Of The Family: “Honey, time to go to Dr. Strange for IVF. Get on with it. We need to get this done by March or it won’t count for April 15th.”

      • roofingbird says:

        uh uh, though I heard from a tax consultant that “preborns” aren’t a tax deduction, yet.

        • quixote says:

          I know. I’m wondering how big the explosion of their heads is going to be when they realize that there are financial consequences to this personhood bullshit.

          Of course, in the real world it’s not so funny. (“Funny”) They have no problem with 100% inconsistency. They’ll just declare it a person for the purposes of making women broodmares, but not a person when it costs them money.

        • NW Luna says:

          If “life” begins at conception — well, first of all, ova and sperm are alive before they get together for conception. So menstruating women literally “kill” a life monthly, and men “kill” zillions of lives monthly (I’m guessing).

          Dictionary definition, but only #2 is the medical definition:

          Conception: 1. The union of the sperm and the ovum. Synonymous with fertilization. 2. The onset of pregnancy, marked by implantation of the blastocyst into the endometrium

          Oftentimes the blastocyst doesn’t implant into the endometrium. Also, up to 50% of fertilizations and conceptions end in spontaneous abortions (miscarriages in lay language). If early, this may be only a heavier-than-usual menses.

          It’s going to be really hard to figure out the tax deductions for all the lives involved.

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  7. Enheduanna says:

    Hope everyone has a safe and pleasant holiday weekend!

    I’m consoling myself with the thought of Dump, in the back seat fuming with his jaw squared off – mouth open, while the Secret Service drives him BACK TO THE WHITE HOUSE. HAHAHAHAHA. What a jerk amirite?

    • quixote says:

      I get a lot of hollow laughter out of the image of that bargain basement Mussolini unable to fulfill his Best TV Role Evah because he’s too much of a shambling lump of triglycerides to walk fifty feet.

    • NW Luna says:

      Indeed. Didn’t even enter his tiny brain that he could walk there.

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  11. NW Luna says:

    I plan to spend my weekend reading and ignoring the news as much as I possibly can.

    Me too. So much of the news is awful. I dread what might happen in the next few years. I want to see if the “both parties are the same,” Berniebrats, iGen and GenZ actually vote this November.

  12. NW Luna says:

    BB, I love the beach kitties!