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Gender: Male
Hometown: Maryland
Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 83,341

Journal Archives

Is it really so hard to support and respect an aged, ailing octogenarian wanting to finish her job

...even taking a moment to admire this woman for her determination?


She's "dealing with vision and balance impairments, and will be using a wheelchair (shingles can cause face paralysis and other visible impairments)."

Still, she made her first vote this afternoon since returning, confirming Glenna Wright-Gallo to serve as Asst. Education Sec. for Special Education & Rehabilitative Services. The post has been without a Senate-confirmed official since 2019.

Sen. Feinstein has said she will not run for reelection next year but plans to fulfill her obligation, which ends in early 2025, then retire. We'll see how it goes, but I'm really glad she hasn't let anyone force her out before she was done serving. It's her responsibility, as so many reminded us in the past weeks, but it's also her right as an elected senator from California to finish out her term.

I don't really expect the internet to be kind to the jarring images of the still-ailing senator, but I do expect decent people to stand up and defend our own Democratic legislator against the despicable remarks about her appearance, especially since many of the same very likely participated in the haranguing that demanded she return before she was fully healed.

The dragging of Sen. Feinstein took off here after a bogus 'PoliticalWire' post about a bogus Politico article claiming she wasn't going to return. This return makes ALL of that clickbait reporting a dirty lie.

I don't know, as Rep. Pelosi remarked, "what political agendas are at work that are going after Sen. Feinstein in that way," but I agree with the former Speaker that, "Sen, Feinstein has been a champion for California for 20 years... and I have seen up close and first-hand her great leadership for the country, but most importantly for the state of California.

No one should get away with continuing to drag this courageous woman now that she's wheeled her way back to stand up for our party and the people and issues our Senate majority represent. This is the ultimate dedication to duty, as others perfectly able and present refuse to do the same.

You don't need to bother anymore with measuring the amount of time lost to her illness. Now people who are sincere in their concern for her work undone can begin anew, counting the continuing contributions of her long and consequential career.

Dick Durbin letter to the editor: "Senate Judiciary Committee is quickly advancing nominees"

___In her April 20 Opinion column, “Senate Democrats need to play hardball,” Jennifer Rubin argued that my “appeals to shameless Republicans have accomplished nothing” when it comes to confirming federal judges.

The facts speak otherwise.

During the 117th Congress (2021 to 2022), the Senate Judiciary Committee accomplished a record-breaking rate of judicial confirmations during the longest evenly divided Senate and committee in history. In total, we advanced 126 judicial nominees from committee, and the Senate confirmed 97. Importantly, these were historically diverse nominees, in both their professional and demographic backgrounds, including Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman and first former public defender to be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Since January, the Senate has confirmed an additional 22 federal judges — 19 with bipartisan support — bringing the total under the Biden administration to 119. There are 26 more nominees out of committee and ready for floor votes.

It also is important to note that the blue-slip process — which allows a senator to place a hold on a judge nominated in his or her state — allowed Democrats to play a role in the selection of nearly half of the district court judges confirmed during the Trump administration. Now, some Senate Republicans have also displayed a willingness to work with the Biden White House on judicial nominations. Already this year, the committee has held hearings for nominees to the Southern District of Indiana, the District of Idaho and the Eastern District of Louisiana, all of whom have support from their Republican home-state senators. More are to come.

The effort to bring balance to the courts has been one of this Senate’s great successes.

Richard J. Durbin, Washington


Who are the prosecutors working with special counsel Jack Smith?

Here is a roster of the prosecutors known to be working with Smith:



Tom Windom has been a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland for much of the past decade, working on an array of cases -- from financial fraud and domestic terrorism to public corruption and drug trafficking. Last year, as the Justice Department expanded its probes stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, siege on the U.S. Capitol, Windom took on a temporary role in the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., overseeing key parts of the department's investigative efforts. Earlier in his career, before joining the Justice Department, he once donated $750 in 2011 to the first congressional campaign of now-Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and clerked for a Republican-nominated U.S. appeals court judge after graduating law school in 2005. In a profile last year, The New York Times called Windom "a little-known but aggressive federal prosecutor." Smith has described Windom as his "senior assistant special counsel."


Joseph Cooney is a long-time prosecutor from the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., where he took over as chief of the office's fraud and public corruption section. Cooney has been involved in many high-profile and controversial cases, including the doomed conspiracy case against Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., in 2015, and the obstruction-related cases against former Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Roger Stone, who was later pardoned by Trump. In mid-November 2020, when then-attorney general William Barr issued a memo that seemingly encouraged prosecutors to investigate allegations of election fraud, Cooney urged Barr to rescind the memo, telling the attorney general it promoted "conspiracy theories" about election fraud and "eradicate[d] the Department's guardrails against improper political influence." In a private email at the time, a senior Trump-appointed Justice Department official described Cooney as a "nonpartisan career prosecutor" who is "focused on integrity."


Mary Dorhmann serves in the U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia, prosecuting federal cases involving drugs, guns, bank robberies, and other crimes in the nation's capital. She took on Jan. 6-related cases and helped the Justice Department investigate efforts to overturn the 2020 election. She is one of the younger known members of Smith's team, having graduated from Columbia University's law school in 2015. After graduating law school, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Judge Beryl Howell, who, as the chief federal judge in the District of Columbia until March, supervised the grand juries being used by Smith and decided legal matters stemming from his investigations.


David Rody was a long-time Justice Department prosecutor and the head of the Violent Crimes unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York when he left the Justice Department in 2011 for private practice. Before Smith was announced as special counsel, Rody left his high-paid private job to rejoin the Justice Department, reportedly as an adviser on the widening Trump-related probes. According to a biography posted online, Rody's previous tenure with the Justice Department gave him "extensive trial and investigative experience" with matters such as insider trading, drugs, terrorism and murder. He also directed investigations of fraud, bribery, obstruction of justice, and many other federal crimes.


Timothy Duree has been with the Justice Department for more than a decade, first prosecuting federal cases in the Western District of Texas and then joining the department's fraud section in Washington, where he's worked since 2016.


Matthew Burke is a federal prosecutor based in the U.S. attorney's office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He has often prosecuted fraud-related crimes, including pandemic-related fraud and the 2020 case against a former spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration who pleaded guilty to defrauding companies out of $4.4 million by pretending to be a covert CIA officer.


Raymond Hulser has been a prosecutor with the Justice Department for more than two decades, starting in the Public Integrity Section of the department's Criminal Division, which investigates public corruption and other misconduct by government officials. In 2015, he became chief of the section, with Cooney as his deputy. At the time, NPR described Hulser as a "Mr. Fix It" within the Justice Department. "This section is not going to be shy about bringing important and tough cases, and we're going to try those cases," Hulser told NPR.


David Harbach has a diverse career background. Early in his career, he was a private attorney and then an assistant district attorney in Houston. He eventually joined the Justice Department and between 2005 and 2019 he prosecuted public corruption and other federal crimes in New York, Washington, and Richmond, Virginia – with a short stint at the FBI working for then-FBI director James Comey. Reuters previously described him as a "veteran prosecutor of high-profile corruption cases," including the failed campaign finance case against former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., and the bribery case against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican. In 2019, Harbach joined the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor's Office at The Hague, working under now-special counsel Smith to prosecute war crimes. He then returned to private practice in late 2021, before joining Smith again.


John Pellettieri has been with the Justice Department since 2009, serving as an attorney in the Criminal Division's appellate section. As part of Smith's team, Pellettieri has helped persuade federal judges to let investigators question Trump's attorney Evan Corcoran about his communications with Trump and to access a cellphone seized from Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., a pro-Trump lawmaker who was communicating with Trump administration officials in the run-up to Jan. 6, 2021.


James Pearce has been with the Justice Department for several years, prosecuting bribery and corruption cases as part of the department's Public Integrity Section and then working as a trial attorney in the Criminal Division's Appellate Section. Even before Smith's appointment, he was involved in some of the cases stemming from the Jan. 6 attack, which he described in court as "an act of domestic terrorism." Before joining the Justice Department, he worked with refugees in Turkey, Egypt and Sudan, and then earned a master's degree in human rights law from the American University in Cairo, according to Duke University's Law School, where he later graduated.


Gregory Bernstein has been with the Justice Department for several years, including time prosecuting fraud cases in Maryland. More recently, he became a member of the Major Frauds Section in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.



Jay Bratt has led the counterintelligence section in the Justice Department's National Security Division since 2018. He is a veteran Justice Department prosecutor. Axios wrote last year that he "has built his career going after convicted spies, Blackwater guards, Chinese companies and some of Trump's close associates," capitalizing on a "rare combination of litigation and leadership expertise." When the Justice Department first launched its investigation into hundreds of classified documents kept at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Bratt not only oversaw the investigation as head of the counterintelligence section but also traveled to Florida to personally take part in elements of the case.


Julie Edelstein has served as a federal prosecutor for the past 13 years and in 2018 she became Bratt's deputy in the Justice Department's counterintelligence section. She became involved in the Trump-related documents case even before Smith was appointed special counsel. As Bratt's deputy for the past five years, she has supervised cases across the country involving espionage, mishandling of classified information, unauthorized disclosures and other counterintelligence matters. She has also made "charging recommendations with respect to all counterintelligence cases, ensuring a consistent national approach to counterintelligence prosecutions," according to her LinkedIn page. While still in law school in 2005 and 2006, she interned for the House Homeland Security Committee, working with the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi.


Brett Reynolds has been a trial attorney in the Justice Department's National Security Division for less than two years. Before that he served in the department's Criminal Division and in 2018 was tapped by then-attorney general Jeff Sessions to lead a team targeting certain drug cartels. "I investigated, indicted and obtained convictions against some of the most notorious international drug kingpins," including Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, Reynolds wrote on LinkedIn. Even before Smith was appointed special counsel, Reynolds was part of the Justice Department team investigating classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.


It's untrue that Sen. Feinstein's temporary absence is blocking a 'Clarence Thomas' subpoena

..besides the fact that the Senate is in recess:

from New Republic:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse didn’t rule out a subpoena but told The New Republic the question was premature.

“I think that if you’re doing an investigation or making an inquiry, you build the case first. You don’t just grab your big witness and not have prepared. That’s just like, super bad trial practice,” laughed the Rhode Island Democrat. “First, you build your case.”

“I would leave it to the chairman to announce our course of action,” said Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat on the committee. Coons was upstaged moments later in the Senate tunnels by Mazie Hirono, who was more committal. “We are going to have a hearing on the Supreme Court not having a code of ethics,” the Hawaii Democrat revealed to The New Republic. Hirono wouldn’t say if Thomas would be subpoenaed to testify. “I am not sure whether that is in the offing,” she said.

...why in hell is this being held against the ailing senator when a committee hearing hasn't even begun, much less issued a subpoena of Thomas?

When have Senate Democrats EVER sacrificed an ailing party member to republican obstinacy?

...tell me when the party has forced out a member just because republicans played hardball?

I want to know if this has ever happened because, I believe we're on the verge of an historic appeasement by a Senate Democratic majority to a republican minority in demanding Sen. Feinstein resign because republicans won't budge.

I've never seen anything like this, and it will be a permanent stain on the party if she's ultimately forced out because, republicans. It's the future of fascism, minority rule because the majority party won't stand up to them.

Who's next? What other republican obstruction will the party roll over for? What Democrat is next in line to be retired in reaction to republican obstruction? Once republicans see the Democratic party is willing to sacrifice one of their own in response to their petty politics, they won't stop there.

How likely is it that Senate republicans would allow a retired Feinstein replacement to be seated?

...they've just decided to take advantage of an ailing member's absence.

Why would they then allow any new Senator to sit on the committee in her place, even if Gavin Newsome appointed a replacement?

I don't see any reason to expect they would allow the makeup of the committee to change, for any reason (even the precedent of replacing late members).

It's part of the organizing resolution the full Senate voted on, including each committee member. They will still need to hold a vote on any new Senator seeking a committee position.

What reason is there to believe, or what indication has there been, if any, from republicans that they would allow a successor to be seated on the committee?

I think at that point Leader Schumer could organize a simple majority for a rules change based on a break in precedent, but why not just do that now? Why not just change the super-majority rules for this situation, since republicans are already acting in bad faith?

What really stinks is it's now republicans who are forcing Sen. Feinstein to resign, along with Senate Democrats and others associating themselves with the party calling on her to resign BECAUSE OF republican obstinacy.

It's no longer just Democrats calling for her to leave town. Now they have republicans gloming onto those sentiments, expecting Democrats to follow suit to avoid republicans hurting them in committee.

This isn't Sen. Feinstein's disgrace, as so many are saying, it's the Senate Democrats' disgrace if they don't pull themselves together and change the rules to oppose this open obstruction, this open abuse of an ailing Democratic stalwart.

Everyone else acquiescing to this thuggery needs to ask themselves who they're really accommodating demanding Dianne Feinstein resign to appease republicans.

Even more of a question if republicans will even be satisfied with her retirement and just try and maintain the even split that advantages them anyway? Even so, in the end, this is about sacrificing a Democratic Senator to republican political hardball.

Not a bill, not an initiative, but a DEMOCRATIC SENATOR. That's what's being offered up to republicans here. I don't know how anyone can stand themselves appeasing them.

A day trip to Charleston (again) for Easter

...already taken this trip with me? C'mon, hop into my Dad's old green Impala for one more.


I REMEMBER Easter as a child. Mom would take us to Charleston, West Virginia every year to visit my grandfather for the Spring holiday.

My grandfather lived in a huge two story house off of Main Street. He rented out the upstairs to a few folks that I never really saw much, and another room off of his kitchen where a dapper garbage man slept. Granddad was a short, strong man, dark as night, with a hearing aid for his deafness that happened when he worked in the glass factory after WWI. He'd turn it down when my mom would lecture him about something or another, and whenever he fell asleep in his red reclining chair with the red duct tape covering the cracks while he watched the baseball game turned up way loud. He'd wake up every now and then to spit his tobacco in his brown ceramic spittoon and record the score on the margin of his TV guide.

He was a master of checkers and never let me win one game. I still have the wooden checkers and smoke-stained board which he put away for good after his last checker partner and friend died.

Bobo, his faithful mixed border collie who would bark whenever the phone rang or the door chimed, laid and slept by his side as he slept. When he thought we weren't listening, he'd call Bobo by his seedy pet name: "C'mon shitbutt, he'd say as he sneaked away to the smaller room by the kitchen where he slept (or listened to the baseball game on his portable radio) while we took over his grand bedroom with the thick, dark aged-oak furniture and the huge wooden pocket doors that separated the bedroom from the living room. Bobo would never fail to bite me almost every visit, sending me three times to the doctor for stitches, the last time after taking the other half of a cookie I gave him from my hand.


Besides that, nothing much at all happened in that town for us young ones. The biggest thing was when the huge car carrier pulled up on the other side of the street. My sister and I would run outside on the porch and sit on that rough painted metal rocking chair and bench and watch as the man unloaded the new cars one by one until the very last.

Charleston was like a large retirement community to me, with a Dairy Queen where I sometimes got to go to by myself to get mom her butter almond, and a steaming hot, all night laundromat where we sometimes went after dark to wash our clothes and beg Mom for one of the prizes in the bubble gum machine; or, maybe a handful of stale peanuts for a nickle from the other dispenser.

There were a bevy of old relatives who Mom would take us to visit - walking for endless miles through town, in the heat, in our new spring wear. There was a lady with who had been stuck in bed for years (I never saw her get up) who was always in her nightgown and robe. Mom said she tried to get up one morning and found she couldn't walk. She was a kind woman with several pictures of Jesus on the wall. There was a lady who took care of her who had a huge goiter on her neck. The bedridden lady always gave my sister and I some change before we left.

Then, there was Mrs. Gilmore (a recognized civil rights leader) who lived in a huge brownstone with a funeral parlor in the basement that her husband had left her. Everyone in town brought her their business when someone passed away. She had a wide painted smile with her hair pulled back so tight that it seemed stuck on. She had long fingers with the longest nails I had ever seen and she would gesture when she spoke with the extra long cigarette holder she had delicately wedged between two of them. Mom would take us to visit and I'd fiddle with a crystal ball she had brought back from a visit to Russia to try and conjure up the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz in the translucent glass. Years after she died the National Park Service made her spooky home a landmark because of her work as an activist in Charleston and elsewhere.

There was Annie Joe, my mom's best friend who would do her hair with the hot combs heated on the kitchen stove, and her mom, Cousin Gussy and Uncle Moore who lived across the Kanawha bridge in one of a suite of plaster houses with sunken floors. They had two trees with white washed trunks and red mites that crawled up and down. We'd salt the slugs on the walkway for fun and climb the trees to wait for them to shrivel. The railroad tracks were just a few feet from the house and the train would barrel by occasionally. We'd leave pennies on the track and collect them flattened when the train rolled over them. Gussy would cook up a Sunday meal that I'll never forget with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and greens that would melt in your mouth while Mr. Moore watched the ball game.

Easter Sunday was a great pain for a small kid like me. Mom was a terror as she got us ready for church. She'd scrub me, brush my hair raw, and dress me in this powder blue, Lord Fauntleroy suit with shorts and a beanie cap.

She'd hustle us outside as Granddad carefully backed his gold Oldsmobile out of the garage with the shed on the side which had a ton of pipe parts, motor parts, nuts and bolts and everything wonderful. There was a shack in the back and a couple of run-down homes surrounding his three floor boarding house where poor folks improbably survived on next to nothing.

I smoked my first cigarette in that shed one Sunday before church, one of Granddad's Pall Malls without a filter . . .

Granddad's house

Granddad would stop and open the wide gate he had built at the end of the long driveway (with pipe parts) which had a pulley and a rope with a brick tied on that slowly shut the gate by itself until it clicked surely into its handmade latch. The front gate also closed by itself, but with an entirely different pulley and weight arrangement he had designed. I'd always look back out of the window of the Olds to see whether that would be the day that it failed to close. It always clicked shut, though.

We'd arrive early at the First Baptist Church and sit in the pew as the parishioners would stream in. First Baptist was a huge church with a wall of stained glass windows on both sides and a pulpit that towered above us all with room for its large choir. Martin Luther King preached there in 1960, the year I was born. The church on Easter Sunday was always packed full and humming from the rich, sickly perfume of the women there. The smell was unbelievable. And the hats . . . wide brimmed monstrosities with feathers and such, atop processes and wigs.

There was this one large lady who owned and lived in a dubious consignment shop along Main Street with a few dust-covered ceramic figurines and plastic flowers on the window shelf who would always arrive at the last minute. She'd saunter down the aisle with her silver tipped cane, and her hat was always the largest, most outlandish one there, with fake birds, fruits or something amazing on top. She'd make her way down to her reserved seat in the front row. She was the only holy roller I think that was allowed in First Baptist. I understood that she had been informed that she'd have to tone down her shouts of praise to the Lord which, nonetheless, still echoed through the hall at several key points in the service.

Granddad always left us to take his place up front. He was a longtime deacon who would fully memorize the passage he would get to read before the congregation. I'd be stuck on that hard bench for the full 3 hours that the service ran on Easter Sunday. Mom would do her best to keep me still and quiet throughout the service with gum, or some starlight mints and butterscotch candies. A few of the stained glass windows swung open to let in whatever breeze could be had, but it was always sweltering hot. Almost everyone (but me) had a hand fan with a wooden handle and a picture of Jesus and a lamb on the front and a picture of the church on back. You could hear the fwap, fwap of the parishioners waving them back and forth in vain attempts to ward off the heat. I always fell asleep several times throughout, taking advantage of Mom's arm, probably the only time that she didn't terrify me.

The First Baptist Church was led by the Reverend Moses Newsome, a towering, light-skinned black man with a deep baritone and kind eyes. He would lead the congregation through prayers, through acknowledgments and death and sick mentions. He would stop in between and sit as the choir belted out some rollicking gospel tune, rocking, bobbing, and clapping their hands in unison as they rocked the house. They had an unbelievable sound. And folks would rock along with them. There was nothing subtle about the choir. They were loud and righteous. Whew! The one holy-roller up front would be on her feet, shouting out. "Praise glory!" she would cry. "Thank you Jesus!"

Then came the sermon. One hour long. An eternity. I'd have a sore butt by then and the candy just wouldn't cut it anymore. Reverend Newsome would speak in a low, measured tone as he counseled the congregation on the vestiges of evil and the virtues of good. His long arms reached out from under his flowing robe and he firmly grasped the lectern on both ends as he glared down on the flock. Sweat poured off of his freckled brow while he cautioned us about the Devil and warned us to look everywhere for Christ's coming.

Somewhere near the end you would get a whiff of the food cooking in the church kitchen for after the service. The smell of fried chicken and gravy, beans, cornbread, and greens wafted uncontrolled into the great hall. Folks got restless, but they were mostly patient and still until, at once, the Reverend's voice would rise to a fevered timbre as he brought on the end of his sermon. Folks would shift in their seats and sit upright again as the Reverend boomed out his ending.

Then came the benediction, that wonderful benediction that signaled the end of the service. And thankfully it was over. There were Easter baskets full of jellybeans and chocolate waiting at home, and the sun was shining full outside as we filed past Reverend Newsome and he grasped my small hand with his giant, coffee-colored soft ones.

"You be good now, you hear?" the Reverend would say. "I'll be good sir," I'd answer as I pushed out into the Spring air to soak up another Easter in Charleston.

Joe Biden's our winning candidate for '24

...and the Defendant will be the losing republican nominee.

Despite that certainty, the media churned out two delusory reports today.

One slippery angle taken by far too many major news orgs was that Trump's approval had surged among republicans- more than a few neglecting to mention the 'among republicans' part in an apparent attempt to slough off the political ball and chain the Defendant is now carrying with him everywhere he goes.

Criminal Defendant Trump isn't going get the votes of republicans who went for Biden in the last election by posting pictures of his shackles, or his pathetic mug behind fake prison bars.

There's no groundswell of GOP voters who are thinking more favorably of him as a prevaricating perp.

There's even less of a number of Biden's republican voters who are more attracted to a sniveling convict droning on about his supposed innocence. And there's a fast dwindling contingent of GOP voters still pining for a presidential candidate prattling endlessly about how he actually won what he clearly didn't possess.

That didn't stop others today from claiming President Biden only has support of a third of voters. But every one of the fantasy candidates the media prognosticators put up against the president (and even the fantastical ones) are going to fall away as voters focus and decide between a proven, productive, and rational leader, against the serial deviant that republicans are trying to re-foist on them.

There won't be any opening for anti-vaxers, spiritualists, or any other opportunists to lure voters away from President Biden, because he's fully engaged in accomplishing, managing, or maintaining most of the things that his opponents will merely be talking about.

Has anyone actually seen a republican initiative, proposal, or plan on what they intend to do about the issues facing Americans, beyond their political theater?

The little that's been revealed is a mashup of tax increases on working families, proposals to cut Medicare and Social Security, repeals of student loan forgiveness, rolling back environmental regulations, and continuing to defend and protect the very insurrectionists who violently threatened our votes the last time around.

They're not getting anywhere near the presidency with any of that.

Joy Reid opened her show tonight bashing Garland

...back another night insisting there's some kind of injustice being perpetrated on Alvin Bragg because, in her view, he's shouldered a prosecution that the federal government should have handled.

Reid infantilized the Manhattan DA, using essentially the same argument republicans have been making about jurisdiction. It's House republicans who have been angling to control Bragg's probe by virtue of some imagined federal funding to the state agency.

More than one suggested moving it into federal court where they would have more opportunities to meddle, using the ridiculous reasoning that Bragg's Democratic district disqualifies him from prosecuting the former republican president, now a private citizen.

Whose interest it is in having DOJ prosecute? Bragg didn't say a word of resentment about having to take this on, didn't call out DOJ, so what is this exactly?

What's the actual value in deflecting from Bragg's prosecution to claim it's DOJ's jurisdiction, instead? What's the point in making a stink repeatedly, with Weissmann and others in agreement, that DOJ should have taken the case instead of Bragg?

Are they trying to discredit Bragg's prosecution? Because that's the ONLY effect of these questions that people KNOW WELL can't be answered now. It's just Garland bashing, and I think that's become a popular fad among some presumed supporters of the justice he's busy meting out, and it should be denounced.

It's baseless, and unsubstantiated by anything other than imaginings about the state of evidence that Garland had in his possession at the time - the same amount of evidence Alvin Bragg was also looking at as he stepped into his own new position.

But Bragg explained yesterday that there's "a 'distinct and strong independent interest in New York State, the business capital of the world" in prosecuting false records cases which he characterized as the 'bedrock' of financial activity in the state.

Also, Bragg said in his news conference that he moved forward on the indictment only when he had obtained "more evidence available to the office and the chance to meet with additional witnesses... additional evidence that was not available prior to my time here."

So what is Reid actually talking about? DOJ bringing a case forward that didn't obtain until recently 'additional evidence' and 'additional witnesses' that allowed Bragg to proceed with a grand jury and ultimately indictments?

It's essentially a deflection and diminution from the Bragg prosecution which has just broken the mold for equal justice under the law. Why should anyone deflect from that to insist without cause that Bragg is in over his head?

That's just a novel complaint.

Here's NYT:

Contrary to the protestations of Mr. Trump and his allies, New York prosecutors regularly charge felony violations of the books and records statute — and win convictions — when the crimes covered up were campaign finance violations, resulting in false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity.

The charge of creating false financial records is constantly brought by Mr. Bragg and other New York D.A.s. In particular, the creation of phony documentation to cover up campaign finance violations has been repeatedly prosecuted in New York. That is exactly what Mr. Trump stands accused of."

...a note about the Manhattan D.A.’s office that will prosecute this case: It is hardly a typical local cog in the judicial system. In fact, it is unique. Its jurisdiction is the financial capital of the world. That means the office routinely prosecutes complex white-collar cases with crime scenes that involve the likes of the BNP Paribas international banking scandal. Big cases involving powerful, high-profile individuals have been handled by the office for decades. That was proved most recently by the office’s conviction of the Trump Organization and the guilty plea of one of its top executives, Allen Weisselberg, on charges relating to an intricate yearslong tax fraud scheme.

It’s also worth noting that Mr. Trump was a federal candidate, whereas the other New York cases involved state ones. But court after court across the country has recognized that state authorities can enforce state law in cases relating to federal candidates. Those courts have allowed state cases concerning federal campaign contributions under widely varied circumstances, including for fraudulently diverting funds from political action committees founded to support federal presidential campaigns, violating state law limits on corporate contributions to federal campaigns and transgressing state laws concerning donations to PACs that funded federal campaigns. Some of the examples involve criminal enforcement by state authorities, some civil, but the point is the same: They can act.

So Mr. Bragg’s bringing a state case concerning a federal campaign is hardly novel. In an abundance of caution, he not only alleges violations of state campaign finance law but also alleges federal violations. We believe that is permitted, given that the fraudulent books and records and other relevant statutes refer simply to covering up “another crime” or using “unlawful means” and do not specify whether they need be federal or state.

"Hardly novel," and hardly something to bash Merrick Garland with in one hand while smothering Alvin Bragg with undue and compromising concern.



Pence likely doesn't have to answer questions about Jan. 6, even if he does appear

...however, Judge Boasberg’s ruling (which still stands with details still unclear), probably allows prosecution to question Pence about everything he knew and heard before his Jan. 6 certification duties.

That makes sense because we can all see what Pence did that day.

If Trump's executive privilege claims finally sizzle like all of the rest of the majors' who were forced to testify in the past weeks, everything up to that day will be covered before the grand jury.

Pence has said before that he's willing to testify about matters not covered by executive privilege. But who knows if this is just a faint, or not? He can still claim the 5th before jurors, but it remains to be seen if Jack Smith will do anything to further compel testimony from a recalcitrant Pence, like take away any jeopardy in that claim by granting limited immunity from prosecution.

One important note, though. The rapidity which the appeals courts treated the 'privilege' rulings against Trump vindicates the time taken to get there. Aside from the merits of the appeals and challenges to testifying, there has also been a need to prove to judges there's significant enough potential evidence of criminality being concealed behind the claims.

It's one thing to appear before judges, as they might have done a year or more ago, and claim crimes occurred; it's much more powerful to have compelling evidence in hand to show the courts.

That evidence wasn't going to come voluntarily from principals like Pence, Trump, Meadows, or any of the other top officials without the testimony of others below them. You don't get rapid rulings knocking down privilege claims of attorneys subpoenaed to testify like ducks in a row without showing courts evidence serious crimes committed are being obscured by them.

You don't get that evidence by sitting on your hands, as many have accused DOJ of doing. You get to this point of actually pressuring top Trump officials, including the former president, by doing quiet, behind the scenes groundwork.

Kyle Griffin @kylegriffin1
BREAKING on @MSNBC: Mike Pence *will not* appeal a federal judge's order that he testify in the special counsel's probe of Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election results.
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