Friday, September 30, 2022

Friday, September 23, 2022

Writer. Reader. Grouch.

I don't like the way tweets appear in Blogger, so I thought I would try Substack.

I subscribe to a few writers and I like how tweets look lean, with a minimum of text and whatnot.

So here is a post.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Trump's Lawyers Actually State, In Court Filings, The Best Way To Solve Issue Of
Classified Documents Is To Charge Trump With Federal Crimes And Put Him On Trial

Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC:
Donald Trump's lawyers – in writing – went so far as to invite a criminal prosecution of Donald Trump to determine whether the documents are classified and whether or not they belong to Donald Trump. The Trump lawyers actually said, in writing, ". . . whether some of the listed property does not, in fact, belong to Plaintiff is a matter better dealt with on summary judgment or at trial."

Or at trial. There are Donald Trump's lawyers – in writing – today – to a federal appeals court – saying the way to determine who should have these documents is to charge Donald Trump with federal crimes and put him on trial. [shakes head]

After a day of Trump lawyering like today, you don't have to be a TV fiction-drama writer, like I used to be, to be left wondering: If Donald Trump's lawyers secretly were working against him, wanting him to be convicted of crimes, would they have done or said anything different today?

I mean, think about it. It was Donald Trump's lawyers who suggested Raymond Dearie as the special master, the special master who said today that he might not even look at the classified documents before ruling in favour of the prosecution. And it is Donald Trump's lawyers who have told the special master and the appeals court that the way to find out if [laughs] Donald Trump is going to claim that he declassified those documents while he was president is to charge him with a crime. They are inviting federal prosecutors to charge him with a crime.

The highest-priced lawyer in the room today – the one Donald Trump is paying $3 million of his contributors' money – didn't say a word – not one word. And he's considered the most competent lawyer on the Trump side.

At what point does Donald Trump begin to wonder which side are his lawyers really on?

The Justice Department is investigating Trump for violating (at least) three federal statutes:

18 U.S. Code §793 (the Espionage Act), which includes the refusal to return national security documents upon request. Penalty: up to 10 years in prison and being disqualified from holding any office in the United States.

18 U.S. Code §1519, which includes the act of concealing documents or records "with the intent to impede, obstruct or influence the . . . proper administration of any matter" within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies. Penalty: up to 20 years in prison per offense (i.e., per document).

18 U.S. Code §2071, which includes the theft or destruction of government documents.  Penalty: up to three years in prison per offense.

All three statutes state that it does not matter whether the documents at issue were classified or unclassified. Whether Trump declassified any of the documents (and he didn't) is a moot point on which many journalists seem stuck. Discussing classification is playing the game by Trump's made-up rules.

Everything, literally everything, that has been reported to date shows unequivocally that Trump violated all three statutes. Indeed, neither he nor any of his lawyers have offered even one word of explanation as to why he was in possession of 60 boxes of government documents (which he initially told federal investigators were nothing but 12 boxes of "newspaper clippings") at the athletic-and-supper club where he lives.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Trumpy Judge Invents New Laws Just For Trump And Appoints Special Master; As Soon As Special Master Asks Trump For Some Info, He Starts Whining And Refusing To Cooperate


If you tried to make this shit up, you would fail. No one would believe it. It's too ludicrous.

A Trump-appointed judge invented a few new laws (while ignoring legal history) to give Trump exactly what he wanted – a Special Master to review the classified documents – and who he wanted – Ronald Dearie.

And then as his first task, Dearie asked Trump to provide the evidence showing Trump had declassified some of the documents he stole from the US government (Trump has claimed this in his faux-tweets, but his lawyers never claimed it in court (because perjury)). Team Trump did not appreciate Dearie's  simple, logical request, to put it mildly.

Trump's lawyers complained that "disclos[ing] specific information regarding declassification . . . will force [Trump] to fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment". They also whined about Dearie moving too fast.

Before you know it, Trump will be faux-tweeting (with Random capitalizations) insults about "Deep State Dearie".

Saturday, September 17, 2022

DeSantis's "Sickeningly Cruel" Actions Are Worse (And More Illegal) Than You Thought

Rachel Self,  an immigration attorney based in Boston (my emphasis):
Accounts from the migrants who arrived last night make it clear that they were lied to again and again and fraudulently induced to board the planes. They were told there was a surprise present for them, and that there would be jobs and housing awaiting them when they arrived. This was, obviously, a sadistic lie.

Not only did those responsible for this stunt know that there was no housing and no employment awaiting the migrants, they also very intentionally chose not to call ahead, to any single office or authority on Martha's Vineyard, so that even the most basic human needs arrangements could be made. Ensuring that no help awaited the migrants at all was the entire point.

They were provided with a cartoonishly simple map of Martha's Vineyard and the United States and a brief brochure containing snippets from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website — and instructions to report their change of address to USCIS when they relocated. This is especially troubling, as anyone with even the most basic understanding of immigration proceedings knows that USCIS was not the agency with whom the migrants would have to record their address and has nothing to do with their cases in any way.

It is clear this was an intentional attempt to ensure the migrants were removed in absentia when they failed to change their address with the proper agency. This was a purposeful derailment designed to prevent people from complying with federal immigration policies. This is problematic because the state should not be interfering in federal immigration policy.

Before they boarded the planes, the migrants were process by agents of the Department of Homeland Security, who listed falsified addresses on the migrants' paperwork. Agents apparently chose random homeless shelters all across the country, from Washington State to Florida, to list as the mirgants' mailing addresses, even when told by the migrants that they had no address in the U.S. According to the paperwork provided to them, the migrants are required to check in with the ICE office nearest the fake address chosen for them by DHS, or be permanently removed — with some required to check in as soon as this coming Monday

It couldn't be clearer that this is an attempt to ensure that these people are ordered removed, even as they try as hard as they can to comply with the instructions provided to them. There is no other reason to list as someone's mailing address a homeless shelter in Tacoma, Washington, and then ship them to Massachusetts. It is sickeningly cruel.

Throwing obstacles in the way of people fleeing violence and oppression, some of whom walked through ten countries in hope of finding safety, is shameful and inhuman. Many of these victims were deprived of medical care despite clear existing injuries. These people are human beings who were deprived of basic human rights.

To these wonderful people who find themselves plane-wrecked on our island, I have a message for all of them: You are not alone. We have your backs. We are proud to be here for you and we got you. If the intention of those who perpetrated this horrendous act was to create a crisis, they have failed.
In answer to a question about the migrants, Self said:
Their demeanor is kind. Their demeanor is grateful and their demeanor is that they want to be doing everything right. Their biggest concern today is that many of them have dates to appear in San Antonio, Monday morning. Tacoma, Washington, Monday morning. Washington, D.C., Monday morning. You tell me how that's possible. . . . Their biggest concern is compliance.
Self showed reporters this "cartoonishly simple map", which turns out also to be a lie, as it does not include the detour to Florida. (By the way, Fox is not being sarcastic.)

Sadly, there's more.

To make absolutely sure there would be no services and no one waiting when they dumped the migrants at the airport, the pilots filed a fake flight plan to Bedford, Mass., and then "diverted" the planes to Martha's Vineyard.
Considering how important it is to not have two or more aircraft in the exact same airspace, I am going to assume that knowingly filing an incorrect flight plan is illegal.

Indeed, every portion of every step in this depraved process involved either a lie or a crime . . . or both.

On Saturday, DeSantis's campaign tried to make jokes about the compassion shown to the migrants and did nothing but advertise its own stupidity and lack of empathy. (A) Mid-September is the off-season in MV and the "billionaires" have left their summer homes; the only people there now are actual residents. (B) Although extremely wealthy people have advantages, they cannot call out the National Guard whenever they feel like it. (C) Being transferred to a different city in the same state is not what "deported" means. (D) Froot Loops is two words. (E) A woman who runs a Venezuelan restaurant showed up with multiple trays of food, so the migrants could have some comforting and familiar food.

As has been widely noted, it those Always-Mentioning-Jesus fascists could learn a thing or two about compassion from those godless coastal elite liberals.

These heartless actions by DeSantis and Abbott are not new. These far-right governors are following in the path of earlier racists, who did the exact same thing 60 years ago.
Daniel Uhlfelder is a lawyer and candidate for Attorney General of Florida. He bills himself on Twitter as "chief tormentor of Ron DeSantis".
DeSantis just used COVID-19 relief money he opposed to traffic 50 Venezuelans across the country. DeSantis only won his 2018 election by approximately 32,000 votes. Florida has the largest Venezuelan population of any state - 102,116 or .5% of the state's population.

According to this article, Governor Abbott denied any involvement in chartering planes. The $12 mil program DeSantis created from interest on COVID-19 relief funds he opposed gives authority to transport illegal aliens from Florida.

DeSantis flew them from Texas to Florida so he could presumably use these funds to say he was transporting them "from" Florida [Note: The plane did make a brief stop in the Florida panhandle.]

Governor DeSantis enjoys no immunity from human trafficking or smuggling across state lines.

Apparently, Governor Abbott denies any involvement in this human trafficking stunt. So, how does a Governor from a different state (DeSantis) have authority to transport these individuals from another state across the country?

Answer: He doesn't.
Charlie Crist, who is running against DeSantis in Florida, tweeted:
Ron won’t answer questions so we looked ourselves: FL paid Vertol Systems $615,000 on Sept 8th out of the $12m deportation fund. So Floridians paid $12,300 for each refugee DeSantis trafficked for his own political purposes.
Vertol Sytems Company Inc. is based in Destin, Florida.

Vertol Sytems is owned by James Montgomerie. Vertol also is managing member of company affiliated with Destin developer Jay Odom called Zeppelin Holdings. Odom went to prison for laundering campaign funds for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.
Note: Montgomerie is "a very, very conservative republican" who has had "government contract[s] for at least 22 years". In what is an interesting coincedence, he claims his company is "the only civil company currently operating Russian helicopters in the United States." . . . Maybe not a coincedence: 
NEWS: The little-known aviation company awarded the migrant "relocation" contract by the DeSantis administration purchased 6 helicopters from the Russian government in 2018 for $42 million. Other significant business with Kremlin-adjacent companies.

The Russian government bodies involved in the transaction, the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, and its parent company Russian Helicopters were sanctioned this year for proving support to the Russian military in Ukraine.

The Florida company awarded the migrant contract has also purchased aircraft parts from a Russian government contractor that is embroiled in an embezzlement scandal.

* * *

So, how does DeSantis coordinate paying $600k to a helicopter company based out of Destin, FL with ties to well known Republican donor who went to prison for laundering funds for Mike Huckabee transport 50 migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard.

I just called the owner of the business that got paid $615,000 by DeSantis to help transport 50 migrants across the country this week. I will provide updates going forward.

I’m now at the hangar where the company that was paid $615k at DeSantis’s request to traffic 50 human beings across state lines is headquartered. Strange, because I was told the company was just a flight school not a human trafficking company.

DeSantis’s relocation statute requires two bids for these contracts. I wonder what other flight school program bid for this human trafficking gig.

DeSantis knew if you wanted to pull off a crime like this the best place to do it is the Florida panhandle.

Planes land at Crestview airport. DeSantis pays $615k to crooked Destin vendor to carry it out. Stay tuned as we uncover all the players.

I guess the $615,000 doesn't cover the $25 a month WIX fee for DeSantis's human trafficking vendor. Their website just went dark.

Strange how the company DeSantis authorized to pay $615,000 to traffic 50 migrants no longer has a working website. I left message for head of company and visited their headquarters earlier today. It's a 4 person operation that trains pilots.

Because Justice . . . . . . . . . . . Matters!

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Do Federal Laws Apply To State Governors?
DeSantis (And Abbott) Should Be Arrested For Human Smuggling/Kidnapping After Transporting Migrants Across State Lines In Violation Of The Immigration And Nationality Act (8 U.S. Code §1324)

UPDATED here and there.
Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor, I'll piss on 'em
That's what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death
And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard
Get 'em out!
Lou Reed, "Dirty Blvd."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is guilty of multiple violations of 8 U.S. Code §1324 (§274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act) and should be arrested. 

DeSantis promised 50 Venezuelan and Columbian migrants that were in Texas that they would be transported to Boston and receive expedited work papers. That was a lie. DeSantis had the people, including numerous children, none of whom spoke English, flown to Martha's Vineyard (because Obama owns a house there (seriously, that's the reason)) and abandoned them at the airport. They had to walk three miles to a community center, with no idea where they were. Spanish-speaking high school students acted as interpreters.

The migrants were given a map and instructions about housing and jobs, but the directions led to a vacant parking lot. DeSantis told Fox this was part of his "relocation program for illegal immigrants".

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post writes that the deliberate sadism of the entire dehumanizing affair seemed "orchestrated for maximum cruelty", beginning with the migrants being approached by a woman outside a shelter in San Antonio, who gave them food and "lured" them onto the plane with the promise work papers.

One of DeSantis's spokespeople agreed with someone who likened her boss's actions to that of a criminal human trafficking cartel.

David J. Bier, The Daily Beast:

This was a crime perpetrated on some of the most vulnerable people in this country. . . .

[K]idnapping is really the only word that works to describe it. The state used deception to transport someone to a place they wouldn't otherwise go for the purpose of harming them and depriving them of the ability to move freely (especially to Florida).

Beyond the deception, the intent to injure the immigrants is further confirmed by the fact that though he apparently tipped off Fox News, Gov. DeSantis intentionally gave the little town no advance notice about the flight. Clearly, the plan was to trick the immigrants into leaving their shelter in Texas and strand them on the island homeless, jobless, and starving.

DeSantis, a neo-Nazi sociopathic pile of shit, publicly confessed (several times) to committing this crime and, in what appears to be a concerted effort to out-moron Donald Trump (he's already mastered the body language and air accordion solos), he had a film crew document his crimes. DeSantis (no stranger to using people as political propos) wasted taxpayer money for this illegal publicity stunt.

In addition to be arrested and charged with 50 violations of 8 U.S. Code §1324, DeSantis should be ordered to personally pay Florida's taxpayers back that $12 million. The punishment? It turns out it's five years in prison for each person transported. That's a potential 250-year prison sentence. Plus fines. . . . (Or just life in prison.) I'm cool with that. 

Make an example of him and maybe ti would curb the on-going sadism from so many far-right public officials.

By the way, Texas Governor Greg Abbott also should be in handcuffs for multiple violations of the same law. Since April, Abbott has sent approximately 9,800 migrants to other cities, including Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago. (That works out to 49,000 years in prison.)

DeSantis and Abbott can be warehoused in one of those Florida or Texas unairconditioned prisons where the temperatures are regularly over 100 and the heat index, which records how hot it feels with humidity, reaches 150 degrees.

Call to Activism wants to get the ball rolling, so it:

filed an official plea with the DOJ to prosecute Abbott and DeSantis for violating Section 274(a)(1)(A)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which makes it a federal crime to transport undocumented persons across state lines.

The law is clear. No person may knowingly transport an undocumented person within the United States, and Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis just did.

We're holding Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott accountable for using human beings as political props. Democrats need to stop playing nice. It's time to fight fire with fire.

Gavin Newson has also requested that the Department of Justice begin an investigation.

Jonathan V. Last of The Bulwark is rightly incensed:

Ron DeSantis is, supposedly, a Christian.

Here's DeSantis last February, talking to the Very Fine Kids at Hillsdale College:
Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm against the left's schemes. You will face flaming arrows, but if you have the shield of faith, you will overcome them, and in Florida we walk the line here. And I can tell you this, I have only begun to fight.
On Monday, the Tampa Bay Times dove into his penchant for invoking Christian and nationalist themes:
The biblical reference DeSantis is using is from Ephesians 6, and calls on Christians to spiritually arm themselves against the "devil's schemes." In DeSantis' speeches, he has replaced the "devil" with "the left" as he tries to mobilize supporters ahead of his reelection in November and possibly a run for the White House in 2024.

"The full armor of God passage is a favorite amongst certain types of Pentecostals who really do see the world in terms of spiritual warfare," said Philip Gorski, a comparative-history sociologist at Yale University who co-wrote the book The Flag and the Cross: White Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy.

DeSantis has made the biblical references in numerous stump speeches. He did it at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando in February. Then, at the Florida Republican Party's annual gathering in July. And again, in August, while campaigning alongside Doug Mastriano, a right-wing Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate who has promoted Christian power in America. . . .

On Sunday, DeSantis was a keynote speaker at the National Conservatism Conference in Aventura, a three-day event that featured several sessions about the role of Christianity in politics, including one titled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christian Nationalism."
. . . Let's pretend, just for a moment, that Jesus would have nothing to say about whether or not the state should seek to discourage undocumented migrants as a high-level matter of government policy.

Those planes were filled with actual human beings. People with dignity. People with hopes and dreams, problems and challenges. People with names and families.

And this Christian man used them as props. He didn't clothe the naked or feed the hungry. He literally did the opposite: Evicted them—and not because he felt that he had to, because it was a requirement of the law. But because he saw that he could use them as a means to the ends of his personal ambition.

I'm trying—really trying—not to get too hot here. But Christians should look at this act and be revolted. They should be horrified.

Because using vulnerable human beings for your personal gratification is evil. Full stop.
. . .
[H]e's not just doing evil. He's doing evil while claiming Jesus as his justification. . . .

One of the early truths we learned about Trumpism was that the cruelty was the point.

In previous eras, when a political actor pursued a policy that was useful but cruel, he would make excuses. He would pretend that actually the policy was okay. That no one would really get hurt. Or that, if someone was going to get the short end, that tough choices had to be made because there was no alternative. So sorry.

One of Trump's political innovations was to realize that his followers wanted cruelty. They didn't care about abstract ideas, like the free market or liberalism. They had various subsets of Americans whom they hated. What they wanted was a strongman who would target these othered peoples and hurt them. They wanted cruelty; policy TBD.

That lesson has been absorbed by Trump's children, DeSantis first among them.

This episode is one more data point in support of the thesis that Christian nationalism is nationalism first and foremost. In this formulation, "Christian" is not a modifier so much as a marker, useful only to distinguish one nationalist tribe from another.

The people of Martha's Vineyard turned a callous, cold-hearted, and evil political stunt into a demonstration of how to be a caring human being.

I was reminded of this November 2019 exchange between Salon's Chauncey DeVega and Dr. John Gartner, a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and former professor at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and the founder of the Duty to Warn PAC.

Trump has really normalized deviance. At one of his recent rallies he even pretended to have an orgasm on stage while re-enacting a sex act. There is a deeply libidinal connection between Donald Trump and his cult members. This is an aspect of fascism which is little understood by the general public and most in the news media.

Trump experiences great pleasure from sadism. One of the four components of narcissism is sadism, getting pleasure — maybe even sexual pleasure — from degrading, humiliating and harming your enemies. . . .

Donald Trump is an empty shell of a human being. That is what he is manically trying to overcome with all this grandiosity. Deep down inside, Donald Trump is a very empty and sad person. . . . I believe that Donald Trump's whole life is about a battle to be dominant and to crush his enemies. That is what gets him off. It excites him.

One of DeSantis's former college baseball teammates called him "the most selfish person I have ever interacted with" and "the biggest dick we knew":

He has always loved embarrassing and humiliating people.

Nothing I have read about DeSantis dissuades me from believing he receives the exact same pleasure — a drug rush of pure joy, perhaps even a sexual satisfaction — from inflicting pain on people he hates.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A New Book: "American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation Of How The Republican Party Went Crazy (David Corn)

David Corn's new book looks like it will be a solid, if depressing, history lesson.

It Didn't Start With Trump: The Decades-Long Saga Of How The GOP Went Crazy
The Modern Republican Party Has Always Exploited And Encouraged Extremism.
David Corn, Mother Jones, September/October 2022

. . . Joe Biden had expressed [the sentiment] during the 2020 campaign: If Donald Trump were out of the White House, the GOP would return to normal and be amenable to forging deals and legislative compromises. . . .

But was the GOP's complete surrender to Trumpism an aberration? Or was the party long sliding toward this point? About a year ago, I set out to explore the history of the Republican Party, with this question in mind. What I found was not an exception, but a pattern. Since the 1950s, the GOP has repeatedly mined fear, resentment, prejudice, and grievance and played to extremist forces so the party could win elections. Trump assembling white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Christian nationalists, QAnoners, and others who formed a violent terrorist mob on January 6 is only the most flagrant manifestation of the tried-and-true GOP tactic to court kooks and bigots. . . .

In my book American Psychosis: A Historical Investigation of How the Republican Party Went Crazy, I lay out this sordid history in great detail. But even a highlight reel makes it clear that the GOP has bowed to, depended on, and promoted far-right extremists and conspiracists for the past 70 years. Trumpism is the continuation, not a new version, of Republican politics. . . .

The Southern Strategy

In 1968, Nixon had a problem, actually two: George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. . . .  Nixon worried that Wallace, the segregationist and former Democratic governor of Alabama running as a third-party candidate . . . Nixon feared that Reagan, the onetime B-movie star who had won the California governorship in 1966 by exploiting white backlash to the civil rights movement . . .

This led him into the arms of white supremacists. At a May gathering of Southern Republican officials, Nixon pandered, saying he opposed forcing the pace of integration, especially busing to redress school segregation . . . [Nixon met and found common ground with] Strom Thurmond, the arch-segregationist senator from South Carolina . . . 

In subsequent weeks, Nixon contemplated how best to capitalize on racism. . . . Nixon instructed his campaign manager, John Mitchell, to tell Southern party leaders that he would choose a running mate acceptable to the South and would "lay off pro-Negro crap." . . . 

Nixon blocked Reagan and won the nomination. He chose Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew, an experienced race-baiter, as his running mate. . . . He had won the nomination battle by kneeling before the segregationists and adopting racism as a key ingredient in the GOP's recipe for electoral success.

Reagan's Allies of Hate

Reagan eventually got his turn. After being nominated at the GOP's presidential convention in July 1980, his first campaign stop was in Philadelphia, Mississippi—where 16 years earlier the Ku Klux Klan had murdered three civil rights workers. . . . 

Throughout the campaign, Reagan courted the new religious right. . . . [In August 1980, Reagan sat behind] fiery Pastor James Robison . . . "There is no possible way that you can separate God from government and have a successful government," Robison thundered. He blasted liberals, homosexuals, and communists, lumping them all together into one giant threat to American families. "We'll either have a Hitler-type takeover, or Soviet dominion, or God is going to take over this country." . . .

Satan's Useful Idiot

. . . The GOP's embrace of [Pat] Robertson became a bear hug after he formed the Christian Coalition in early 1990. . . . Robertson advanced the far-right trope that America was being annihilated from within, claiming "elites" were trying "to destroy the very society from which they drew their nurture." He added, "There will be Satanic forces . . . We are not going to be coming up just against human beings to beat them in elections. We're going to be coming up against spiritual warfare." . . .

Robertson had published a book, called The New World Order, that merged some of the battiest conspiracy theories of the ages. . . . George H.W. Bush, he asserted, had "unwittingly" carried out "the mission . . . of a tightly knit cabal whose goal is nothing less than a new order for the human race under the domination of Lucifer and his followers."

George Bush, Satanic dupe—that was Robertson's claim. The Wall Street Journal called his book a "compendium of the lunatic fringe's greatest hits." . . .

But the Christian Coalition would become further integrated into the GOP and help Newt Gingrich and the Republicans gain control of the House in 1994. Six years later, Robertson and his group would rescue Texas Gov. George W. Bush when Sen. John McCain threatened to defeat him in the Republican presidential primary. W. welcomed the assistance of the nut who had pegged his dad as Satan's useful idiot.

Joining the Tea Party

In the fall of 2009, a House Republican backbencher summoned conservative activists to the Capitol for a protest and ended up fusing the GOP to a new manifestation of far-right extremism. . . .

Tea Partiers, led by Sarah Palin [and shot full of paranoia, racism, and rage] . . . falsely claimed Obama's health care reform bill would set up "death panels" . . . [They] legitimized Fox News host Glenn Beck, an unofficial Tea Party leader who suggested Obama was a "full-fledged Marxist" who hated white people, was setting up concentration camps for his political foes, and was creating a "fascist" state. . . .

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann . . . urged Tea Partiers to protest the health care bill at the Capitol. Thousands showed up. They carried signs depicting Obama as Sambo. . . . Another equated Obamacare with a Holocaust death camp. At the mention of Democrats' health care plan, the Tea Partiers shouted, "Nazis! Nazis!"

Yet this crowd was welcomed by the top leadership of the GOP. Present were House Republican leader John Boehner, Reps. Eric Cantor and Mike Pence, and other House Republicans. . . .

Boehner and other Republicans had emboldened a nativistic and tribalistic right-wing force that would soon provide a political base for Trump's jingoistic, racist, and demagogic campaign.

There's a well-established record. For more than 70 years, the Republican Party has stoked animus and conspiracies, often capitalizing on unfounded apprehension about internal enemies subverting the nation. In the 1950s, the foe was Reds. In the 1960s (and beyond), it was Black people demanding social justice and societal change. In the 1970s, the New Right and the religious right claimed liberals and Democrats (and gays!) were plotting to destroy the nation. Tea Partiers asserted Obama headed a sinister cabal bent on turning the United States into a socialist hellhole. Trump and his devotees say the same about today's Democrats.

From McCarthyism to the Southern strategy to the New Right to the Tea Party—the GOP told Americans they were being victimized and that their nation was being sabotaged by their fellow citizens. The Republican Party encouraged Americans to believe the worst, and it affirmed the worst beliefs held by Americans. It operated a feedback loop that caused and reinforced animosity. It bred extremism; it cynically profited off extremism.

There is a great body of academic literature exploring why people believe conspiracy theories, hold fast to false premises, and are susceptible to tribalism and drawn to authoritarians. In 1970, sociologists Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab wrote, "Right-wing extremist movements in America have all risen against the background of economic and social changes which have resulted in the displacement of some population groups from former positions of dominance." Four decades later, political scientists Christopher S. Parker and Matt A. Barreto concluded, "People are driven to support the Tea Party from the anxiety they feel as they perceive the America they know, the country they love, slipping away, threatened by the rapidly changing face of what they believe is the 'real' America: a heterosexual, Christian, middle-class, (mostly) male, white country." In an analysis of Trump's 2016 victory, political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck reached an identical conclusion: "He capitalized on an existing reservoir of discontent about a changing American society and culture."

The GOP hasn't been all extremism, all the time. . . . But since at least the 1950s, the party has consistently boosted extremism, prejudice, paranoia, and rage. . . .

This dark side of the Republican Party has often been obfuscated, allowing Biden, Pelosi, and others to suggest there was once a day when the GOP was an honorable entity. Yet the history is undeniable: The party has consistently sought to exploit the worst of America and foment hate and suspicion. Trump didn't invent this malevolence. He merely turned it into the party's brand.

Also from Our Land, Corn's newsletter:

Donald Trump and Snowflake Fascism

Donald Trump recently issued a statement on his struggling TRUTH Social platform: "Why are people so mean?" This came in the middle of a conservative crusade to depict liberals and Democrats as nasty folks. Trump's remark captured the absurdity of this campaign. The fellow who routinely assails political foes and critics as "losers," whose misogynistic history of denigrating women is unparalleled in American public life, who rose to the top of the GOP pile by disparaging the physical appearances of his opponents (and, in one case, the wife of an opponent), who railed against Muslims and "shithole countries," who called for locking up his political rival, who worships revenge and lives on spite, who denounced journalists as "the enemy of the people," who relishes conjuring up ugly and dismissive nicknames for his political adversaries, whose entire political project is built upon denigration and vilification—this guy complains about people being mean? And this list does not include his incitement of an insurrectionist riot or his attempt to destroy the foundation of American democracy.

Yes, you can chalk this up to Trump projection: his habit of accusing others of his own pathological sins. But his whine occurred as other right-wingers boo-hoo'ed about President Joe Biden's recent blast at Trumpism. . . .

Trump and his cultists are masters at the I'm-rubber-you're-glue form of name-calling. Each day, I receive a bunch of fundraising emails from Trump or other Republicans lambasting evil Democrats as radical socialists or communists pursuing devious plots to purposefully destroy America. . . .

On September 1, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Biden again addressed the issue of MAGA extremism in a formal speech. Noting that not every Republican is a MAGA Republican—which is a charitable position these days—he declared, "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic." He put it simply: "MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they're working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself….They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence." . . .

And this, too, triggered the Trumpers. Mercedes Schlapp, a former Trump White House official, exclaimed, "No Republican can feel safe in Biden's America.". . . In pro-Trump internet forums, Biden was cast as Hitler. Ari Fleischer, the onetime White House press secretary who helped the Bush-Cheney administration lie the United States into the Iraq war, slammed Biden as "the most divisive, over the top, rhetorically vile, bumbling, inarticulate president in history." Did Fleischer just wake up from a five-year coma? . . .

The GOP, going back to McCarthyism, has wielded falsehoods and paranoia to cast its political enemies as malevolent and nefarious threats to the nation—as literal enemies of the state. . . . [N]ow we see that Trump and his Republican enablers are snowflake fascists. They hurl false accusations to demonize and dehumanize adversaries, plot against democracy, peddle outrageous lies to their followers, support dangerous and nutty conspiracy theories, and fan the flames of political violence. Then they moan when they are called out. C'mon now. Fascists ought to be made of sterner stuff. Perhaps that's why Biden called them semis.

Donald Trump and Gaslight Fascism

. . . This is when authoritarians deny their own efforts to impose an authoritarian regime. The GOP has been engaged in gaslight fascism since the January 6 riot, refusing to fully acknowledge the assault for what it was: a rampage of domestic terrorists who had been directed by Trump toward the Capitol and who tried to obstruct the peaceful transfer of power. . . . To counter Biden and to claim that he (not Trump) is the divisive force in American politics—Trump called Biden an "enemy of the state" at a rally in Pennsylvania this weekend—MAGA-ites cannot admit the reality of January 6 and Trump's various schemes and actions to sabotage the 2020 election. . . .

I encountered this directly . . . when I got into a Twitter dust-up with Ric Grenell, the combative and nasty (and apparently misogynistic) Trumpster who served as Trump's acting director of national intelligence for three months in 2020 . . . Grenell contended that criticism of Trump and the Republicans for January 6 and the 2020 Big Lie was nothing but a Democratic attempt to "crush dissent." He insisted that Trump had done no wrong on January 6 and only had called for a peaceful protest. He asserted that the fact-based description of Trump's misdeeds—Trump declaring victory with no basis for that claim, subsequently plotting secretly to overturn the election results, and then doing nothing when his mob attacked the Capitol—was "fake" history.

This was full-scale denialism—so extreme as to be absurd. But this is how fascists and authoritarians debate. . . . George Orwell knew this. In 1984, what is the apotheosis of the Party's desire to create a false reality? "In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it," Orwell wrote. "It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it."

Trump fascists have been trying to do the same with the 2020 election: conjure an alternative reality untethered from confirmed facts and declare it to be the party's truth. And in a two-plus-two-equals-five way, they transform a democracy-threatening authoritarian force into patriotic defenders of democracy. Grenell was casting the Big Lie brownshirts as heroic dissenters, not fascist thugs. More disturbing was that a pack of Grenell's tweeps chimed in with assorted lies and distortions about the 2020 election and January 6. They were drowning in the Kool-Aid served by Trump, Grenell, and their co-conspirators. . . .

The reality of Trump's conniving to subvert the republic cannot be recognized by leading Republicans. Doing so would create a dilemma for them. They would then have to explicitly declare themselves in favor of or opposed to this Trumpian war on democracy. They realize an outright expression of support for autocracy would not be good for the GOP, yet a declaration of opposition to the Trumpist assault on the Constitution would alienate any Republican from the party's cult-like base. . . . To survive within the GOP, they must deny. They must say black is white. War is peace. Authoritarianism is democracy. That is the only way the party can now exist. The logic of their position demands it.
In the latest edition of Our Land, Corn realizes his book's subtitle is "a bit of a misnomer":
[T]he Republican Party has always been somewhat crazy—at least since World War II. That is, if you define "crazy" as the acceptance and promotion of irrationality, bigotry, paranoia, conspiracy theories, and other elements of fanaticism. . . . Donald Trump just placed it front and center and made the red meat even bloodier. . . .

One point from the book that seems especially relevant these days is that the GOP and the right has long employed a diabolical and demagogic tactic: accusing Democrats and liberals of purposefully seeking to destroy the United States. . . . The threat within—it's been a common theme for Republicans for decades. We see it today, as the right pushes panics over CRT and the Great Replacement Theory and accuses Democrats of pedophilia.

Spending over a year researching and writing American Psychosis has bolstered my belief in the importance of understanding history. . . . [O]nce you recognize and acknowledge it, the task of countering such reckless and irresponsible political warfare becomes a tad easier. As I've noted before, at the start of this project I didn't envision this book being so timely and relevant. Yet as a debate has ensued over the role of MAGA extremism in the GOP and the value of dubbing Trumpism a fascist—or semi-fascist—enterprise, this history provides a crucial context for this moment and for figuring out what should be done.

Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Judge Prioritized The Protection Of Trump's Reputation And Rewarded Him For His Current Crimes While Ignoring The On-Going Danger To Hundreds Of CIA Assets' Lives

Aileen Cannon Prioritized Donald Trump's Reputation Over CIA Assets' Lives
Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel, September 6, 2022
Cannon did some crazy-ass stuff . . . [She] usurped the authority of the President of the United States (among other things), to claim that Trump had a property interest in the 11,000 stolen government documents the FBI seized on August 8.

Her argument about the irreparable harm that Trump faces because the government seized 11,000 documents — some highly classified — that he refused to return is still more appalling. . . . [S]he says it would harm Trump's reputation to be charged with a crime. . . .

[C]onsider Aileen Cannon's logic about leaks. . . . 

It's pretty obvious they [the DOJ] haven't [been responsible for leaks to the media], because none of the leaks to the press have been accurate. The vast majority of them, in fact, can be matched to false claims Trump has made in his own filings.

Trump is leaking. The investigative team is not.

Ironically, in her order, Cannon also revealed details about the potentially privileged content seized from Trump. She's done more leaking than the investigative team has.

And so Judge Aileen Cannon's remedy for the risk of hypothetical leaks about Trump is to give the seized documents . . . back to Trump and the lawyers who are leaking up a storm, not a single one of whom has a need to know about these Human Source Operations anymore. . . .

[S]he also has forbidden the government from continuing to criminally investigate Trump and any co-conspirators he might have. She has forbidden the FBI from using the documents to try to chase down any existing leakers of these documents (though she has allowed a damage assessment that will be virtually impossible to do without the FBI side of the investigation).

Judge Cannon is worried about a hypothetical threat to Trump's reputation posed by the leak of materials seized from his hall closet and desk drawers, and because of that, she has prohibited the FBI from investigating Trump for willingly, knowingly, obstinately leaving stuff about Human Source Operations lying around a hotel targeted by foreign intelligence services.

For a year, Donald Trump left 325 files lying around his club, unsecured. After he gave 184 of them back in January 2022, he went to great efforts to prevent the FBI from reviewing what kind of damage he had done, delaying their access by a month. All the while, he secretly kept at least 141 more of those files in his desk drawer and hall storage room, even after it was public that he had been storing sensitive records in his poorly secured resort. The government subpoenaed him. He stalled again. He gave back 38 of those documents, while still hiding another 103, still lying around his poorly protected club. He bought a padlock, his lawyers have claimed in leaks to the press. Finally, on August 8, the FBI came and seized another 103 documents, still including documents protected as part of highly sensitive compartments that, if disclosed, could get people killed.

Judge Aileen Cannon has ruled that it is more important that Donald Trump's reputation be protected from hypothetical leaks than that FBI be able to remedy the possibility that leaks facilitated by Donald Trump's obstinance and neglect could get people killed.

Donald Trump has already been given 18 months in which his obstinance has prevented the government from preventing leaks of the sort that can get people killed. Now, out of fear of hypothetical reputational leaks, Judge Aileen Cannon has mandated that Trump and any co-conspirators be given still more time to get people killed.

There Is A Reason Trump Calls Every Allegation Against Him A "Hoax." It Works
Heather Digby Parton, Salon, September 7, 2022
One of Cannon's rationale for appointing a Special Master to look through all the documents to make sure Trump's "privileges" were preserved (some of which he is not entitled to) was to allegedly insure the appearance of impartiality, even going so far as to say that Trump's position is so special that it's even more important that he not be tainted by the unseemly existence of an investigation. . . . But it is nothing more than a political tactic and it's one the right is well-practiced at deploying. . . . The right spreads a conspiracy theory, either defensively or offensively, which has only the slimmest relationship to reality. But their non-stop shrieking about it inevitably leads some people to believe that there must be something to it. The media can't resist this so they then pump the "controversy" which gives right-wing authorities the excuse they need to let a Republican off the hook.

You see, there's just so much (fake) controversy circling in the ether that these authorities, whether law enforcement or the courts, have no choice but to bend over backward to ensure there is no "perception of unfairness" when, in fact, the whole manufactured dispute is blatantly biased. This can also work in reverse as well. The controversy can also lead authorities to go harder on Democrats so as not to appear biased in the face of the right's accusations. It's a win-win for the GOP.

Judge Cannon was particularly crude in her invocation of this ploy and it will be remembered as one of the most brazenly partisan acts ever handed down from the federal bench. Caring not at all about maintaining even a shred of judicial objectivity, she went the extra mile to ensure that Trump will at least have the delay he desperately needs to worm his way out of this one. Considering what we already know about the stolen documents, and the actual simplicity of the elements of the crimes he's clearly committed, however, that's going to be more difficult than most of Trump's corrupt conduct. So, he is working overtime to make sure his MAGA supporters see this as the ultimate act of persecution. . . .

His followers no doubt relate to all of this. They too are angry at all the unfairness they believe is being meted out by people who are out to get them. He speaks to their grievance like no one else and in their view he is being mistreated for doing so. . . .

The fact that [Trump] constantly eludes accountability even as the government throws everything at him, from the DOJ to Congress to state courts and local law enforcement, has led to the belief among his followers that he is invulnerable.

What we see as whining they see as strength and when he says "this will fail miserably, like all the rest" they believe him — he's a superhero. It's rather important that the government gets the job done this time. If he gets away with stealing top secret nuclear documents, relying on the laughably absurd rationales he and his hand-picked judge have been throwing out, they will believe he is nothing short of a god.

Trump Claims FBI Took His "Complete And Highly Confidential Medical File And History", Which Allegedly States He's "An Absolutely Perfect Physical Specimen"

It turns out Donald Trump was LYING (!) when he claimed the reports about "nuclear" documents being recovered from his Florida home was a "hoax" and "fake" and "a total public relations subterguge".
The Washington Post reported last night:
A document describing a foreign government's military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month . . .
[More than 11,000 documents, including over 300 classified and top secret documents were recovered on August 8, 2022.]

Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. . . .

Investigators grew alarmed, according to one person familiar with the search, as they began to review documents retrieved from the club's storage closet, Trump's residence and his office in August. The team soon came upon records that are extremely restricted, so much so that even some of the senior-most national security officials in the Biden administration weren't authorized to review them. One government filing alluded to this information when it noted that counterintelligence FBI agents and prosecutors investigating the Mar-a-Lago documents were not authorized at first to review some of the material seized.

"An Absolutely Perfect Physical Specimen"


Noah Berlatsky explains why focusing on District Judge Aileen Cannon's flawed understanding of the law and obvious deference to Donald Trump (the man who awarded her a lifetime appointment to the bench) distracts from "the real dangers, and real evil, of the current far right assault on the judiciary".

Cannon's ruling fails to meet even the most basic professional standards, not because she is incompetent, but because she has contempt for established laws and professional standards. Berlatsky says Cannon's ruling is both "a warning" and "a chilling assertion of power" because it is proof that she (and the extremist movement of which she is a part) believe "they retain rightful power regardless of elections or laws".
Trump has argued that the documents at Mar-A-Lago were not sensitive because as president he had the absolute authority to declassify them, even if he told no one he had done so. This "magic wand" defense sounds ridiculous. But it also sounds fascist.

Hitler's central theory of law was called the Führerprinzip, or leadership principle. Basically it meant that the leader's word was above the law. The leader shaped the law; the law did not bind the leader, who "was not subject to any constitutional checks and balances," per historian David Welch. The leader's power in fascism is (like Trump's mental declassification) virtually mystical. It does not arise from written law or from established institutions. Rather, it comes from the leader's spiritual connection to the masses.

"The purpose of the law in the eyes of the Nazis was not to apply long-held principles of fairness and justice," historian Richard Evans explains, "but to root out the enemies of the state and to express the true racial feeling of the people."

From this perspective, Cannon's decision is not a failure of reasoning. It's simply the application of an alternate set of legal principles. Or, as composer Frank Wilhoit put it, "Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect." . . .

This is only illogical if you think that Trump's power as president came from the law. If you are operating under Führerprinzip, or something like it, then Trump's power comes from embodying the spirit of MAGA, and always puts him above the law. . . .
This is the actual legal reasoning behind Trump's refusal to accept the 2020 election results. From the traditional empirical and legal standards, there was no election fraud, and Biden's victory was valid. But if you hold to Führerprinzip, as Trump does, then any vote cast against the leader is by nature illegitimate and illegal. The law is there to crush those who defy the leader. Trump, from the view of Trumpism, isn't lying when he says he was the winner. Or his lying is justified because is serves a greater truth. Either way, Trump remains president no matter the law, because the true purpose of the law is to validate his presidency.

The conservative legal movement that Trump advanced has been moving more and more towards Führerprinzip and the law of MAGA. The Supreme Court has mostly abandoned any pretense of ruling by precedent, truth, or reason, and has signaled its willingness to abandon voting altogether and simply allow Republican legislatures to choose the next president . . . 

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

In Addition To The 48 Empty Classified File Folders Found (Among The Stolen Goods) In Trump's Possession, One Appears To Be On Display In A Bar At Trump Tower

A MAGA Federal Judge Accepts Trump's Snowflake-Whining And Rules (With No Legal Foundation) In His Favour, Stating His Reputation & Feelings Are More Important Than The Current National Security Nightmare He Has Caused

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon's decision ordering the appointment of an independent arbiter to review nearly 13,000 pages of documents (including numerous "top secret" and "classified" documents) that Donald Trump stole from the US government and hid in his home for at least 18 months and barring the Justice Department from using those documents for any "investigative purpose" connected to its current investigation of Trump until the work of the arbiter is completed. (Order)

Cannon, a member of the far-right Federalist Society since 2005, was appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate one week after Trump lost the 2020 election. Any appeal by the Justice Department would be heard by a three-judge panel from the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta. Of its 11 judges, six were appointed by Trump.

Trump's lawyers told the Justice Department on June 3 that Trump had returned all government documents in his possession. That was a lie -- and has landed two of Trump's lawyers in serious legal trouble for lying to the Justice Department -- because two months later, during a court-ordered search of Trump's Florida home, the FBI discovered an additional 27 boxes of documents (including more than 300 classified documents and more than 70 mysteriously empty folders). Other news account mention 33 additional boxes.

(My emphasis below)

Political scientist Norman Ornstein said Cannon "violated her oath and is unfit for the bench", calling her ruling "a clear-cut impeachable offense" and stating that she has "engaged herself in obstruction of justice".

Laurence Tribe, constitutional law scholar, a University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, a former Harvard Law School professor, and the co-founder of the American Constitution Society:
Her decision was utterly lawless. She has disgraced her position as an Article III judge.
Joyce Vance, a former federal prosector (25 years):
Is it only Trump who can have a judge enjoin a criminal investigation into his conduct following execution of a judicially authorized search warrant? Either Judge Cannon thinks Trump is above the law or she's created a new rule to benefit criminal defendants.
Samuel W. Buell, a Duke University law professor:
To any lawyer with serious federal criminal court experience who is being honest, this ruling is laughably bad, and the written justification is even flimsier. Donald Trump is getting something no one else ever gets in federal court, he's getting it for no good reason, and it will not in the slightest reduce the ongoing howls that he is being persecuted, when he is being privileged.
Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at University of Texas, called the ruling
an unprecedented intervention by a federal district judge into the middle of an ongoing federal criminal and national security investigation.
Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor:
Judge Cannon had a reasonable path she could have taken — to appoint a special master to review documents for attorney-client privilege and allow the criminal investigation to continue otherwise. Instead, she chose a radical path.
Paul Rosenzweig, a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration and prosecutor in the independent counsel investigation of Bill Clinton:
This would seem to me to be a genuinely unprecedented decision by a judge. Enjoining the ongoing criminal investigation is simply untenable.
Peter M. Shane, a legal scholar in residence at New York University and a specialist in separation of powers, said Cannon had no legal basis to expand a special master's authority to screen materials that were also potentially subject to executive privilege. He said her opinion
seems oblivious to the nature of executive privilege. . . . Even if there is some hypothetical situation in which a former president could shield his or her communications from the current executive branch, they would not be able to do so in the context of a criminal investigation — and certainly not after the material has been seized pursuant to a lawful search warrant.
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a Harvard Law School professor, called Cannon's reasoning "thin at best" and said she gave "undue weight" to the fact that Trump is a former president, undermining the premise that in the United States, everyone is equal under the law.
I find that deeply problematic. This court is giving special considerations to the former president that ordinary, everyday citizens do not receive.
Lawyer Robert J. DeNault:
Judge Cannon's decision is wacky for a lot of reasons, none more than this. I can't think of any other ruling I've ever read where a judge explicitly notes that applicable law does not grant her jurisdiction to hear the case but proceeds to decide it anyway.
Former FBI Special Agent Asha Rangappa:
This judge basically did Trump's lawyers' work for them, making arguments under the 4-part Richey test which Trump did not brief or argue, making executive privilege arguments that Trump did not press fully in the hearing, and granting an injunction when one wasn't requested

In addition, this judge basically admits that Trump is getting special treatment bc he is former POTUS. . . .
Glenn Kirscher, who worked as a federal prosector for 30 years:
If Donald Trump were any other person on the planet, you know what law enforcement would be doing? They'd be getting an arrest warrant for him, they would lock him up . . . Trump knows PRECISELY why he had those TS documents containing some of our nation's most closely guarded intelligence information AND he knows what he did w/the docs that are missing from the classified folders. Stop handling Trump w/kid gloves. Arrest him. Protect our nation.
Elie Mystal, author and columnist at The Nation:
The argument that he has executive privilege is so what the scientists would call stupid. . . . It would be like if Trump called for executive privilege over Air Force One and parked the plane at Mar-a-Lago.
Neal Katyal is a professor of national security law at Georgetown University Law Center and an Acting Solicitor General of the United States from May 2010 to June 2011. He also worked as Principal Deputy Solicitor General in the U.S. Justice Department:
This special master opinion is so bad it’s hard to know where to begin:
1. She says Biden hasn't weighed in on whether docs protected by Exec Privilege. Nonsense. The archives letter (which DOJ submitted to the Judge) makes it clear current President thinks none of this is privileged. Archivist says it is "not a close" question.

2. Judge enjoins the entire investigation because some of the material might be subject to Executive Privilege. But Executive Priv isn't some post-presidential privilege that allows Presidents to keep documents after they leave office. At most, it simply means these are Executive documents that must be returned to the archives. It doesn't in any way shape or form mean they can't be used in a criminal prosecution about stolen docs...

3. She says the "reputational" harm to Trump justifies a special master. That's insane–every crim deft has reputational harm. Are we now going to have special masters in every crim investigation?

4. She says the Special Master should screen materials for exec privilege, without ever once explaining what specific material is subject to exec priv, particularly when the incumbent President rejects the assertion. How is the Master supposed to figure that intricate Q out?

5. She says that because some tiny percentage of materials might be privileged, the entire investigation over all the materials has to stop. That's a bazooka when one needs at most a scalpel.

6. She tries to enjoin the Exec Branch from using these materials in an investigation, but the govt has already reviewed all the materials. It makes no sense.

7. She says Trump suffers irreparable harm in interim, but the only harm she isolates is he won't have the docs back during the investig. That's not irreparable, he can get them back later & if they are improperly used to bring an indictment, he can move to dismiss the indictment.

8. Her analysis of standing is terrible. Trump wouldn't own these docs anyway, so why does he get a Master over them? If there is some marginal claim to some attorney client docs, that handful of material can be separately dealt with–you don't enjoin the entire investig for that.

9. Her jurisdictional analysis is similarly awful. She let Trump forum shop for a judge, instead of letting the magistrate judge evaluate these claims. The appearances here are tragic.

That's just a few of many more problems. Frankly, any of my first year law students would have written a better opinion.
Seth Abramson graduated from Harvard Law School and has worked as a former criminal defense attorney and federal criminal investigator. From his 46-tweet thread, explaining "why so many lawyers are horrified" by Cannon's ruling:
5/ So already we come to the first problem with the Cannon ruling, besides the obvious fact that it came from a Donald Trump political appointee who Trump and his team desperately "forum-shopped" for in a clear abuse of how our system is *supposed to* (but often does *not*) work.

6/ And that problem is this one: Trump appointee Aileen Cannon declared—and not just implicitly, but, horrifyingly, *explicitly*—that Donald Trump's reputation simply *matters* more than yours or mine, as do his property rights. And they matter more because he is a powerful man.

7/ In ruling (in part; explicitly) on this basis, Cannon not only made up *precisely* the sort of ad hoc judicial-activist new rule Republicans claim to hate—"ex-presidents' reputations matter more than other people's, even though they're just regular citizens"—but did far worse.

8/ Why do I say that she did worse than just not applying the rule of law equally across all those before her? Because she implicitly accepted Trump's dime-a-dozen whining about being persecuted—many defendants say/think this—by bringing political considerations into her ruling. . . .

15/ But even more importantly, Judge Cannon actually held in her ruling that DOJ had not abused its authority—had *not* abused Trump's constitutional rights—which makes any explanation of her ruling in grounded in the opposite claim wildly self-contradictory and even nonsensical. . . .

23/ . . . There are immediate and dire national security implications in the question of whether or not DOJ's counterintelligence division is going to be allowed to continue its investigation of one of the worst security breaches in our history.

24/ And make no mistake, that is *exactly* what Cannon did: she acknowledged the high national security stakes in this case and then said that Trump's *specially protected, snowflake-like reputational interests* were clearly more important than U.S. national security. Uh....what?

25/ The DOJ investigation is a national emergency, as DOJ doesn't know what was taken illegally from DC, whether it has all of it, what was done with what it doesn't have (or where such portion of Trump's stolen goods might be)—and so it *needs* to keep reviewing documents *now*.

26/ Instead, Cannon has effectively put a stop on the DOJ investigation for weeks or even months, making it impossible for DOJ to determine if Trump still has national secrets hidden somewhere in one of his domiciles. Indeed, Cannon's ruling so threatens national security that...

27/'d be not at all surprising if the FBI now sought to search Trump Tower and Bedminster precisely *because* their suspect—who, to be clear, they have dead to rights—has managed to forum-shop his way into preventing them from determining if *more* stolen data is out there.

33/ . . . Trump has made no showing whatsoever (or even claim) that the documents seized included attorney-client privileged materials, because of course he's too busy trying to preserve a false defense that he didn't even *know* what he stole from DC (yes—really).

34/ By the same token, Trump has not and cannot credibly raise executive privilege as an issue because he is not the president, the actual president (Biden) has waived that privilege preemptively anyway, and privilege actually has nothing to do with the case—which is about theft.

35/ But even more than this, Trump—*again*, and consistent with his M.O. throughout his presidency—has yet to formally invoke executive privilege with respect to *any* specific document. The law requires him to do so, but judges have been covering his ass on this for *years* now.

36/ To my knowledge not a single federal judge since 2017 has required Trump to invoke executive privilege even when *others* have—without any basis in law—tried to do so on his behalf. It's like these judges are acting as *Trump's lawyers*, invoking defenses *he* can't or won't.

37/ Here, Trump won't invoke because—again—he's trying to maintain the farce that he's no idea what he took and therefore doesn't know if any of it was privileged (which, again, is legally immaterial here anyway). So Judge Cannon has helpfully given him an argument he never made.

38/ And to be clear—to the extent appointment of a special master *is* common in a type of case involving a seizure, it's one in which a defendant *shows cause* to a court that there's reason to think items were seized a special master must curate. Trump has made no such showing.

39/ The result of this is that we have a demand for a special master without any of the legal or factual grounding for such a demand, in a situation in which granting the demand harms national security, and with a claim of special status that has no basis in U.S. law whatsoever.

40/ And it's *on top of all this* we must put the fact that a) Cannon is a lame-duck Trump-appointed judge who owes her career to [Trump], b) Trump has actively incited threats against *all* government agents who could threaten him—which implicitly includes Cannon.

CONCLUSION/ This case should've been heard by the same court already overseeing the Mar-a-Lago search. Failing that, it should've been decided by Cannon consistent with the facts, law, and the issues *actually raised* by the movant (Trump). Fortunately, DOJ can—and should—appeal.

PS/ As it is appealing, DOJ should *also* use the Cannon ruling as an additional basis—it already has probable cause—to search other Trump domiciles for the contraband it *knows* he stole. Moreover, it should move full speed ahead with its January 6 investigation of the ex-POTUS.

PS2/ I'll also say that I consider it odd that Cannon feels compelled to consider certain facts not in evidencea 2024 run Trump hasn't announced; legal claims he hasn't/won't make—but not *other* known facts, like the movant's decades-long history of bad-faith delaying tactics.

PS3/ A judge can only take what's called judicial notice of facts not in evidence on a motion by one of the parties, but here she's already said Trump is special—she can take into account items not properly before her—so how is she drawing the line on her deviation from protocol?

PS4/ It's for all the foregoing reasons that my rather curt and snarky tweets about the ruling this morning focused on just two possibilities: (a) Judge Cannon is a political partisan more than she is a judge, or (b) she's *acting* that way because she's scared of MAGA terrorism.