Thursday Reads

Good Morning!!

This is disappointing. The grand jury in Manhattan is meeting today, but not to consider the Trump/Stormy Daniels case. ABC News live updates: Grand jury won’t meet about Trump case this week, sources say.

The grand jury hearing evidence of former President Donald Trump’s alleged role in hush money paid to Stormy Daniels will not meet about the case for the remainder of the week, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News.

The grand jury is meeting Thursday to consider a different case, the sources said. The grand jury news was first reported by Business Insider.

The grand jury is expected to reconvene Monday to consider the Trump case, at which time at least one additional witness may be called to testify, the sources said.

Also from ABC live updates: DA Bragg has responded to a letter from Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, demanding that Bragg testify to Congress about the case against Trump: DA says compliance with GOP’s requests for information would interfere with investigation.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Brag’s general counsel responded to House Republicans Thursday, telling them compliance with their requests for information would interfere with a legitimate law enforcement investigation.

General counsel Leslie Dubeck noted the House inquiry only resulted from former President Donald Trump’s social media post.

“Your letter dated March 20, 2023 (the “Letter”), in contrast, is an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution,” Dubeck wrote. “The Letter only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene. Neither fact is a legitimate basis for congressional inquiry.”

and from Politico:

For now, those of us obsessively watching for signs that Trump could finally face consequences for his long life of crime can shift our attention to Jack Smith’s Washington DC grand jury. Recapping the big news from yesterday:

Alan Feuer, Ben Protess, and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times: Appeals Court Orders Trump Lawyer to Hand Over Records in Documents Inquiry.

A federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that a lawyer representing former President Donald J. Trump in the investigation into his handling of classified material had to answer a grand jury’s questions and give prosecutors documents related to his legal work.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was a victory for the special counsel overseeing the investigation and followed Mr. Trump’s effort to stop the lawyer, M. Evan Corcoran, from handing over what are likely to be dozens of documents to investigators.

The behind-the-scenes fight shed new light on the efforts by prosecutors to assemble evidence about whether Mr. Trump committed a crime in defying the government’s efforts to reclaim classified materials he took after leaving the White House.

The litigation — all of which has taken place behind closed doors or under seal — centers on whether prosecutors can force Mr. Corcoran to provide information on who knew what about the continued presence of classified material at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s residence and private club in Florida, after the government had demanded its return last spring.

In particular, prosecutors have been focused on a document that Mr. Corcoran drafted last spring stating that a “diligent search” had been conducted at Mar-a-Lago and that no further classified material remained there — an assertion that would be proved false. Prosecutors have been seeking to learn what Mr. Trump knew about that statement, according to people briefed on the matter.

You’ll recall that on Friday Judge Beryl Howell found that Trump likely committed a crime through Corcoran, and that behavior could not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

….[I]n seeking to obtain as much information from Mr. Corcoran as it could, Mr. Smith’s office invoked the crime-fraud exception in a filing to Judge Beryl A. Howell, who sits in Federal District Court in Washington. Prosecutors working for Mr. Smith wanted Judge Howell to set the attorney-client privilege aside and compel Mr. Corcoran to give them what they wanted.

On Friday, Judge Howell issued a ruling saying that the government had indeed met the threshold to invoke the crime-fraud exception and that prosecutors had made a preliminary case that Mr. Trump had violated the law in the documents case.

Judge Howell’s finding that “the government had made a prima facie showing that the former president committed criminal violations” did not mean prosecutors necessarily had enough evidence to charge Mr. Trump. Rather, it was enough to justify setting aside attorney-client privilege and requiring Mr. Corcoran to divulge information about his interactions with Mr. Trump.

Legal experts were stunned at how quickly the appeals court dealt with the Trump camp’s appeal of Howell’s ruling. Some are suggesting that this might be because Trump is still hiding important government documents, and thus there could be national security considerations in this case.

And from actual national security experts:

Scott Anderson is a senior editor and general counsel at Lawfare blog.

We can only hope that Trump hasn’t shared these documents with foreign governments.

Corcoran did show up at the courthouse today, but his testimony isn’t scheduled until tomorrow–unless he appeals to the Supreme Court. Politico’s Kyle Cheney reported that other activities at the courthouse this morning.

In other news, Ron DeSantis seems to be running for president, but that hasn’t stopped him from promoting fascism in Florida. Here’s the latest from the Florida governor and his legislature.

AP: DeSantis to expand ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to all grades.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ′ administration is moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the controversial law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” as the Republican governor continues to focus on cultural issues ahead of his expected presidential run.

The proposal, which would not require legislative approval, is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education and has been put forward by the state Education Department, both of which are led by appointees of the governor.

The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The initial law that DeSantis championed last spring bans those lessons in kindergarten through the third grade. The change was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

DeSantis has leaned heavily into cultural divides on his path to an anticipated White House bid, with the Republican aggressively pursuing a conservative agenda that targets what he calls the insertion of inappropriate subjects in schools.

TNR: Florida GOP’s New Anti-Trans Bill Is So Extreme It Could Ban Treatment for Breast Cancer. The bill is one of the cruelest in the country targeting transgender people.

A Florida House of Representatives committee on Wednesday advanced an anti-trans bill that is so broad and so extreme that it could also prevent people from getting treated for breast cancer.

The bill passed the Healthcare Regulation Committee by a vote of 12–5 and now heads to the House for a vote. The measure is one of the cruelest in the country to target transgender and LGBTQ rights and care. It bans gender-affirming care for minors and would force them to medically detransition, or stop receiving treatments such as hormone therapy. But the bill’s vague wording has larger repercussions as well.

The text defines gender clinical interventions as “procedures or therapies that alter internal or external physical traits,” including surgeries that change “primary or secondary sexual characteristics.” During the debate, Democratic Representative Christine Hunschofsky pointed out that this could prevent people from getting treatment for breast cancer, as the overly broad language could apply to mastectomies.

Bill sponsor Randy Fine—who prior to being a Republican representative was a gambling industry executive, not a doctor—was surprised to learn that young people can get breast cancer.

By the same definition, people who need prostatectomies to treat prostate cancer could also be denied treatment. The bill also bans hormone treatments, which could potentially affect care for menopause, stunted growth, and birth control.

Read more at the TNR link.

DeSantis is getting some pushback in Florida, including from Disney and a 100-year-old woman.

Miami Herald: After DeSantis tussle, Disney World will host a major summit on gay rights.

The Walt Disney Company will host a major conference promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the workplace in Central Florida this September, gathering executives and professionals from the world’s largest companies in a defiant display of the limits of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign against diversity training.

Disney’s decision to host the conference this fall comes amid a yearlong dispute between the company and the Republican governor, who signed a law that ended decades of autonomy at the Disney resort. It was seen as punishment over the company’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, known widely as the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms before fourth grade. Disney has had a longstanding relationship with Out & Equal, the organization behind the event, and is listed on its website as one of its most generous sponsors

The Florida resort has committed to hosting the conference this year and next, which will coincide with the presidential election campaign in 2024. DeSantis is widely expected to challenge former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

5WPTV: 100-year-old Martin County woman criticizes Florida’s book ban, creates quilt to show opposition.

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida book ban controversy sparked a heated and hours-long discussion at Tuesday night’s Martin County School Board meeting.

Former educators, students and parents spoke in favor of and in opposition to the ban.

“There’s no educational value acquired from a library full of erotica,” a woman said at the meeting.

One individual in particular brought with her 100 years of experience.

“I care about this community and our country,” Grace Linn, a Martin County resident, said.

To show her opposition to the book ban, she made a quilt and brought it with her to the Martin County School Board meeting.

Linn said on it are books that have been either targeted or banned….

‘I care about this community and our country,’ Grace Linn says.

To show her opposition to the book ban, she made a quilt and brought it with her to the Martin County School Board meeting.

Linn said on it are books that have been either targeted or banned….

‘I care about this community and our country,’ Grace Linn says.

Please watch the video. It’s terrific.

One more before I wrap this up. I’ve long believed that Kyrsten Sinema was a terrible person, but it’s even worse than I thought.

From Politico: The Arizona senator courts GOP donors by ridiculing her former Democratic colleagues.

As she races to stockpile campaign money and post an impressive, statement-making first-quarter fundraising number, Sinema has used a series of Republican-dominated receptions and retreats this year to belittle her Democratic colleagues, shower her GOP allies with praise and, in one case, quite literally give the middle finger to President Biden’s White House.

And that’s before an audience.

Speaking in private, whether one-on-one or with small groups of Republican senators, she’s even more cutting, particularly about Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whom she derides in harshly critical terms, according to senior Republican officials directly familiar with her comments.

Sinema’s sniping spree has delighted the Republican lawmakers, lobbyists and donors who’ve taken in the show, giving some of them hope that she can be convinced to caucus with the GOP, either in this Congress or in the case she’s re-elected as an independent.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who Sinema has assiduously courted, remains skeptical, however. Believing she remains a Democrat at heart, McConnell has focused on trying to recruit a non-controversial Arizona Republican into the race, somebody who could attract the moderate GOP voters and independents Sinema would need to win the purple state as an independent.

It’s entirely possible, however, that such a Republican doesn’t run or can’t clear a primary in Arizona’s MAGA’fied state party. Former Gov. Doug Ducey has made clear he’s not interested, first-term Rep. Juan Ciscomani is likely to accrue more House seniority and the most attainable option, Karrin Taylor Robson, just lost the gubernatorial primary to Kari Lake. With near-total name identification among Arizona Republicans and the affection of one Donald J. Trump, Lake would enter the Senate race as the odds-on favorite to be the GOP nominee.

There’s much more nasty stuff at the Politico link.

I was really hoping for a Trump indictment in New York, but that’s not going to happen this week. I wonder how things are progressing in Georgia? What do you think about all this? What other stories have captured your interest?

17 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice Thursday everyone!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. dakinikat says:

    Wow. It makes you wonder how bad our election process is to get these whackos in some places. Gym Jordan is a national disgrace, and Sinema is just laughable.

  4. bostonboomer says:

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    • dakinikat says:

      Sicko! He’s basically calling for a lynching party. His racial overtones are anything but subtle! No one wonder the DA asked for FBI protection!

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. NW Luna says:

    • quixote says:

      Good to see it getting attention at that level.

      I hope they make the point that they’re not the first to notice the dying. It only matters, though, when women are real people.

      Otherwise it’s more of a feature than a bug. Warns the rest of the undercaste to shut up and keep their heads down.

      Which is important because there are way too many US Repub politicians working from that instruction manual. Be nice if they made that clear!

    • dakinikat says:

      Hopefully, we get some grief on what republicans are doing to women too.

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. NW Luna says:

    I went to the text of that Florida bill (which does not have anything like “don’t say gay” in its text). Here’s the money paragraph:

    The amendment prohibits classroom instruction to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 3 on sexual orientation or gender identity. For grades 4 through 12, instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited unless such instruction is either expressly required by state academic standards as adopted in Rule 6A-1.09401, F.A.C., or is part of a reproductive health course or health lesson for which a student’s parent has the option to have his or her student not attend.

    I think omitting sex education in the kindergarten – grade 3 years makes perfect sense. That’s way too young for the kids to comprehend.

    Omitting gender-ID topics makes perfect sense too, as there is no objective thing such as gender identity — it’s not scientific. Personality and preference for stereotypes exist, but that’s subjective. Kids of any age shouldn’t be taught this ridiculous anti-science shit.

    OTOH, sexual orientation info as part of a reproductive health course makes perfect sense. That’s where it should be anyway!

    Yeah, deSantis is awful in most areas, but this isn’t one of them.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Re the proposed Florida ban on “gender-affirming” care, which in actuality is stereotype-affirming ‘care,’ the TNR article has no link to the actual text of the bill. That (intentionally?) stops people from being able to easily check the wording.

    Adults can have healthy body organs removed and plastic surgery done; I don’t care, but it’s not medically necessary.

    Children who are too young to drive, enlist in the military, or buy liquor are too young to make irreversible decisions with life-long consequences. Do people realize that “gender-affirming” care including puberty blockers will sterilize the children? Add risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and dementia to the list. Taking puberty blockers (the same drugs used to chemically castrate Alan Turning) before Tanner Stage 2 will prevent the individual from being able to orgasm. Also results in reduced height. All of these treatments are experimental. The only long-term study (30 yrs) was done in Sweden, which has now halted treatment on children.

    More info here:

    • quixote says:

      There is such a flood of la-la motivated reasoning out there about puberty blockers. Thanks for these links. The word really needs to get out about downstream side effects, because how else is anyone supposed to make an _informed_ decision?

      I can easily see that in some cases social transition might not be sufficient. The thing is, that situation needs to be worked out with psychologists trained in pediatric care and gender dysphoria. Signing up for a lifetime of reduced sexual sensation, at a time when you haven’t even experienced it, because you hope some experimental treatment will fulfill your dreams, is insanity.