Monday Reads: Scratch and Sniff EditionPosted: August 22, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’m late today, but the ‘scratch’ part of our title comes from me and the sudden outburst of hives I got yesterday. I’m pretty miserable at the moment, so bear with me. The ‘sniff’ part is the sniff tests coming out of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. None of the former guy’s excuses pass the sniff test. Politico has some headlines today.
First up: “Judge says FBI’s evidence for searching Mar-a-Lago is ‘reliable.’ The new order underlines the historic significance of a typically secret part of the criminal investigative process.” This is reported by Kyle Cheney.
The federal magistrate judge who authorized the warrant to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate emphasized Monday that he “carefully reviewed” the FBI’s sworn evidence before signing off and considers the facts contained in an accompanying affidavit to be “reliable.”
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart offered his assessment in a 13-page order memorializing his decision to consider whether to unseal portions of the affidavit, which describe the evidence the bureau relied on to justify the search of the former president’s home.
Reinhart ruled last week that he would consider unsealing portions of the affidavit after conferring with the Justice Department and determining whether proposed redactions would be sufficient to protect the ongoing criminal investigation connected to the search. But in his order, Reinhart emphasized that he may ultimately agree with prosecutors that any redactions would be so extensive that they would render the document useless.
“I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the Government,” Reinhart wrote.
This also comes from Politico: “Gang of 8 wants to see Trump Mar-a-Lago search docs. The request is the latest sign of Congress trying to get some insight into the FBI’s search of the former president’s home.” Andrew Desiderio reports this news.
The group of congressional leaders charged with reviewing the most sensitive intelligence information has asked the Biden administration for access to the documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s private residence in Florida, according to two people with direct knowledge of the request.
The inquiry from the so-called “Gang of 8” comes as lawmakers from both parties seek to learn more about the unprecedented investigation into the former president. And it suggests that Congress is unwilling to be a bystander in the political and legal fallout following the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.
It follows a similar request from Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Vice Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who asked the nation’s top intelligence official to draw up an assessment of possible national-security risks related to Trump’s handling of the sensitive documents.
The Gang of 8 includes the top two congressional leaders in each chamber — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — as well as the top Democrat and Republican on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
A spokesperson for the Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment. A representative for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence also declined to comment.
Privately, Capitol Hill aides have expressed frustration about the fact that Congress has learned little about the investigation into the former president, especially since it reportedly involves matters of national security. The executive branch has historically resisted congressional inquiries about ongoing law-enforcement actions, arguing that it could compromise the investigation.
The FBI search warrant unsealed earlier this month revealed that the Justice Department was investigating potential violations of the Espionage Act, the Presidential Records Act and obstruction of justice in relation to Trump’s storage of White House materials at his home.
Dr. Fauci is stepping down from his position by the end of the year. This is from The New York Times.
This is reported by Sheryl Gay Stolberg.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said on Monday that he intended to leave government service in December to “pursue the next chapter” of his career, and that he would step down as President Biden’s top medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which he has led for 38 years.
The announcement by Dr. Fauci, 81, was not entirely unexpected. He has hinted for some time that he was thinking of retiring, saying last month that he would “almost certainly” do so by 2025. In an interview Sunday evening, he said he was “not retiring in the classic sense” but would devote himself to traveling, writing and encouraging young people to enter government service.
“So long as I’m healthy, which I am, and I’m energetic, which I am, and I’m passionate, which I am, I want to do some things outside of the realm of the federal government,” Dr. Fauci said in the interview, adding that he wanted to use his experience and insight into public health and public service to “hopefully inspire the younger generation.”
In a statement on Monday, Mr. Biden thanked Dr. Fauci, whom he called a “dedicated public servant and a steady hand with wisdom and insight.” The two had worked closely together during a global outbreak of the Zika virus when Mr. Biden was vice president.
“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved,” the president said.
Few scientists have had as large or as long-lasting an impact on public policy. Dr. Fauci joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968, when Lyndon B. Johnson was president; he was appointed the director of its infectious disease branch in 1984, when the AIDS epidemic demanded attention.
Dr. Fauci has advised every president since Ronald Reagan — seven in all — and has been adept at navigating the nexus of science and politics. Among his proudest accomplishments, he said, was his work with President George W. Bush in developing a global program to combat H.I.V./AIDS, known as PEPFAR, which has saved an estimated 21 million lives. Mr. Bush — whose father, George Bush, called Dr. Fauci a hero during a 1988 presidential debate — awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008.
A South Dakota ethics board on Monday said it found sufficient information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “engaged in misconduct” when she intervened in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license that it could take action against her.
The three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board determined that “appropriate action” could be taken against Noem, though it didn’t specify the action.
The board voted unanimously to invoke procedures calling for a contested case hearing that would give Noem, who has denied wrongdoing, a chance to publicly defend herself against the allegations related to “conflicts of interest” or “malfeasance.”
The retired judges also referred a complaint that Noem flew on state-owned airplanes to political events to the state attorney general’s office for further investigation. That puts the investigation under the oversight of the interim attorney general, Mark Vargo, who was appointed by Noem.
Where are the screams of “lock her up”?
Laura Gambino has this lede for an exciting read from The Guardian: “‘The world flipped upside down’: will end of Roe galvanize Democrats’ base in midterms?” We certainly hope so! Any reasonable Republicans left and smart Independents should feel free to join the bandwagon!
For years, Democrats warned that abortion rights were under grave threat. Across the US, anti-abortion activists in red states chipped away at access and pushed for conservative judges to secure their gains. Yet for many Americans, the prospect of losing the constitutional right to abortion that had existed since 1973 remained worrying but remote.
That all changed in June, when in Dobbs v Jackson, the supreme court overturned Roe v Wade, the 49-year-old ruling which had established the right.
Since then, bans have taken effect in at least 10 states. Republicans are rushing ahead with new restrictions and stirring fears that other rights, including same-sex marriage and access to contraception, could be vulnerable too.
And yet, from rural Minnesota to ruby red Kansas and a conservative corner of Nebraska, there are signs of a brewing backlash that Democrats believe will reshape the battle for control of Congress and statehouses this fall.
Republicans are “the dog that caught the bus”, said Cecile Richards, a former head of Planned Parenthood. “This is what they’ve been wanting for years. Now they own it.”
White House officials, Democratic candidates and party strategists say the loss of reproductive choice has not only galvanized their once-disillusioned base but is strengthening Democrats’ appeal among independent and Republican-leaning women in suburbs who were key to the party’s recent victories.
The landslide vote to protect abortion rights in conservative Kansas earlier this month further emboldened Democrats – and emphasized that Republicans risk overreaching on one of the most emotionally charged issues in American life.
“The world just completely flipped upside down after the Dobbs decision,” said Richards, now co-chair at American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal Super Pac. “We’re no longer defending a right. We now actually have to fight to get a right back.”
A strange, false claim is all over conservative cable TV, right-wing social media and in the halls of Congress, where it’s been repeated by dozens of Republican lawmakers: President Joe Biden, the warning goes, is going to hire and arm 87,000 Internal Revenue Service agents to target everyday Americans.
As the head of the Republican National Committee hyperbolically tweeted recently: “How long until Democrats send the IRS ‘SWAT team’ after your kids’ lemonade stand?”
The tale of how the tale of 87,000 armed agents made it into mainstream political dialogue began last May on the website of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative advocacy group run by anti-tax fixture, Grover Norquist. And while it was repeated occasionally from then to now, it exploded in recent weeks following relentless efforts by a cross-section of the Republican firmament to promote the false claim on social media, in right-wing broadcasts and in the halls of Congress.
Political discourse is impossible when one Party insists that something baseless is the biggest problem of the century. How do we make this stop?
Meanwhile, John Pavlovitz has this to say about the folks that embrace nothing but Conspiracy Theories.
Every day I see Christians lamenting the “Cancel Culture;” claiming whenever they face accountability for their words or their conduct, or for the policies or politicians they support—that they are being systematically silenced.
This is irony of biblical proportions.
The Evangelical Church in America doesn’t hate cancel culture, it invented it.
Ask LGBTQ human beings, who have been continually bullied into silence by pastors and youth leaders: who are berated and marginalized and excluded from spiritual community if they speak their truest truth or desire to marry the person they love or want to serve in ministry. Ask them how welcome or heard they feel in the Evangelical Church and how much of a presence they have if they want to be both out and included.
Ask women, who in most Conservative denominations are still not allowed to become pastors or to lead Bible Studies in mixed gender classes; who are still theologically treated as less-than and expected to be silent and submissive, relegated to the kitchen and the bedroom. Ask them how their claims of sexual abuse or domestic violence have been received and how much of a voice they have if they question authority or seek opportunity.
Ask people of color, whose most passionate opposition to equality still comes from white Evangelicals; people who daily face discrimination from a religious entity that is steeped in white supremacy and whose cries for justice in the face of unspeakable brutality by law enforcement are greeted with sustained resistance.
There’s a pretty long list but I’d say these folks canceled The Beatitudes along with a list of other things they should embrace if they are who they say they are.
So, I’m going to go lather up in more anti-itch cream. Y’all have a great start to the week!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
and is “justice” “just ice”?