The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

The News This Week, So Far

Getting slammed with news today.

First, from the WTF Is He Thinking department — Lindsey Graham TODAY introduced a nationwide abortion ban bill to the Senate. He claims this will help Republicans in the midterms.

All together now — WTF Is He Thinking?

It’s called the “Protecting Pain-Capable Unborn Children from Late-Term Abortions Act.” It would ban abortions after 15 weeks gestation, which is way before “late-term” status. Also,

The bill includes exceptions for “situations involving rape, incest, or risks to the life and physical health of the mother,” Graham’s office said. It also “leaves in place state laws that are more protective of unborn life” — indicating that it would not supersede more draconian bans in red states, but would hypothetically impose new restrictions in blue ones.

If he thinks this is some kind of compromise that would be broadly accepted, I think he’s nuts.

In the medical world, “late-term” is used to describe the very end of a pregnancy; births can stretch from early term at around 37 weeks to late around 41. The anti-abortion world has successfully hijacked the phrase to apply to much earlier abortions, implying that the procedure would be done on a virtually fully developed fetus. The gambit goes hand-in-hand with the long anti-abortion tradition of using imagery of very advanced fetuses on its signage and promotional material, even while the vast majority of abortions happen in the first trimester.

The notion of “fetal pain” is another popular one in anti-abortion circles, and the legislation for which they lobby. The medical consensus is that fetuses don’t develop the necessary structures to feel pain until the third trimester — well past Graham’s 15 weeks. 

This isn’t going to satisfy the True Believer Abortion Criminalizers at all. And some Republicans are still going with the “Dobbs just returned it to the states” talking point, and this messes them up. Never mind being bad law; politically this was a purely boneheaded move on Graham’s part. Politico is reporting the bill is not being well received by GOP senators.

Mar a Lago News. The usual people I can usually count on to write smart legal analysis of things filed in court haven’t yet addressed yesterday’s response from the Trumpers I posted about yesterday. This best I could find is Jennifer Rubin

The Trump legal brain trust’s latest filing has been met with proper ridicule. From its characterization of the documents retrieved from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as “purported ‘classified records’ ” (Is there some doubt?) to its contention that the former president had the power to declassify documents (even though the absence of classification would not protect him from prosecution under the Espionage Act), the brief is incoherent, to put it mildly. Former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa tells me, “It literally contradicts itself in several places.”

Nevertheless, the filing is quite revealing, even if any rational judge would dismiss it out of hand. It demonstrates that Trump really has no excuse for having highly classified documents unsecured at Mar-a-Lago. …

… There is a risk of overanalyzing the brief. Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe explains, “His defense comes down to ‘I’m President Trump.’ ” Trump seems to balk at the suggestion that he has to explain to the FBI which documents he considers privileged. “To me, that’s equivalent to: ‘Shut up, I explained.’ ” Tribe says. “Not much of a defense.”

General Trump Corruption News. If you saw Rachel Maddow’s last night you heard the interview with Geoffrey S. Berman, who was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2018 through June 2020, when he was fired by Trump. (Here’s a 2020 article from Vox with background.) See also the New York Times. The basic charge is that Trump’s White House, through AG Bill Barr, pressured the SDNY to be a political tool — for example, by bringing charges (any charges) against Democrats Trump didn’t like, and especially before the 2018 midterm election. When people on Trump’s side faced investigations, pressure was brought to drop the investigations or even reverse convictions.

Investigations into this have been announced.

January 6 News. Also yesterday, the New York Times reported that in the past week the Justice Department has issued 40 subpoenas in regard to its investigation of January 6. They also seized phones of a couple of Trump advisers I don’t think I’ve heard about before — “Boris Epshteyn, an in-house counsel who helps coordinate Mr. Trump’s legal efforts, and Mike Roman, a campaign strategist who was the director of Election Day operations for the Trump campaign in 2020.” It is alleged they are connected to the fake electors scheme.

There’s more! Greg Sargent:

The Associated Press adds more, reporting that subpoenas have been issued to seek “information about the political action committee’s fundraising practices.”

This is of interest because the Save America PAC’s “fundraising practices” seem to represent the moment when the “big lie” monetized itself into the “big grift” in spectacular fashion.

As the Jan. 6 House select committee documented, Trump and his allies raised as much as $250 million with countless texts and emails that were full of lies about the 2020 election. Some missives, which were sent out in the run-up to Jan. 6, 2021, called for donations to an “Official Election Defense Fund.”

But that fund didn’t exist, the committee demonstrated. Much of the money flowed to the newly created Save America PAC, not “election-related litigation.” That PAC donated millions to groups connected to top Trump advisers, the committee claimed, such as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

I may be caught up now.

12 thoughts on “The News This Week, So Far

  1. I may be caught up now.  Be of good cheer, it is only Tuesday!

    Lindsey wants to impose forced-birth on blue states and other states like Kansas which already have voted that they don't want it.  The 'official' senate campaign platform by Rick Scott wants to require reauthorization of Medicare and Social Security every five years.  moRon Johnson wants them to be subject to annual funding.  

    Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is in the news after preaching to a Christian Nationalist convention.

    Dems need to run on what they have accomplished this year and last and especially about what they hope to do if they get working control of both the House and Senate this fall;  but they also need to spend time and money to tell their constituents what the rePukes plan to do to them.

  2. Thrilled that Lindsey Graham is so obtuse he's creating problems for the Rs. I just got a fund-raising email from my rep, Katie Porter featuring a TV ad where she forcefully states, as only a strong woman could, that she will fight any abortion ban. It's almost as if Graham is doing her work for her.

    Porter is up against a real wingnut, her district has been redrawn to make it a tougher fight as it now includes wealthy Newport Beach. Of course I  want her to win, but if she loses, I hope she steps up her game and runs for senile Dianne Feinstein's Senate seat.

    Porter is a prodigious fundraiser, and I get hammered with solicitations from her all the time. And I mostly don't mind, she or her people are good at getting her across, and are rightfully unashamed to ask for money, often multiple times a week.


  3.  I generally expect that when the dummy speaks, tRump has his hand up Miss Lindsey's … behind. This might not always be true, but tRump wants to corner some powerful groups now – before DeSantis makes overtures to them. The Evangelicals are near the top of that list, I'd guess. TFG has decided to take credit (deservedly) for the downfall of Roe For decades the GOP strung along the Christian Nationalists – tRump delivered. I think TFG will promise the Christian Nationalists he will persecute gays, lesbians, trans people, and any hint of tolerance in schools. Some of these are places DeSantis is going now and tRump wants to corner that niche ASAP. 

    Alarms go off. This strategy works for TFG in the primary, but not so good in the General.  Independents aren't buying into the "Let's persecute gays" movement. Either tRump is worried about the primary OR tRump does not think the General election matters. 

    Re Mir A Lago: Two issues: Which of the four nominees might the judge pick  The DoJ has said one of the two proposed by the other side is acceptable. (That makes it VERY hard for the judge not to select the only mutually acceptable nominee) Second issue: What are the rules for the special master? If the application is strictly and entirely attorney-client and non- classsified documents, it's a fairly trivial delay of no consequence. The other defense pick for special master is a rabid trumpster. It will go to appeal. 

    Last thought: DoJ has leaked specifics and pictures related to the MAL raid. IMO, it's always been a response to lies posted from TFG to refute the attempt to try the case in social media entirely before charges are filed. If/when there's a gag order on leaks from DoJ, it should be matched with a gag order for tRump and his lawyers. 

  4. moonbat & maha,

    Also too:  Regarding Porter v. DiFi?  Me too, too!

    Also three:  With all of the incoming legal missiles focusing their aim at US PresiDUNCE "The Gizzard of Ooze," I fear the world will run out of popcorn before the dotting of the final "i" and the crossing of the last "t."


  5. I just heard that Christina Bobb was in attendance at the Willard Hotel war room. I don't know how that's going to play out, but it certainly makes the hook that the DOJ has in her already to go in a little deeper. One thing that can be safely extrapolated from that information is that she can kiss her law license good bye. She is no longer a naive little up and comer who got caught up in taking Trump at his word by signing an affidavit, she's now a battle hardened insurrectionist.

  6. Fuck right off with that Miss Lindsey bullshit.  He is not a woman. He may be a deeply closeted homosexual* but he's still a man.

    *I don't care if he's gay except that if he is, he must loathe himself almost as much as I do.

  7. "Miss Lindsey" is what I'll keep calling the Senator from S. Carolina. It's not a slur on his being gay… if he is. It's not a comment on his genitals at all or what he does or who he does it with.

    Miss Lindsey is the political Drama Queen of the decade. His pretended outrage and pearl-clutching is like a poor rendition from "Gone With The Wind." There's not an ounce of sincerity or integrity in him. Like a southern belle in a hoop skirt, he swishes in front of the camera oozing aristocratic entitlement. 

    CNN didn't have to dig very deep to find a clip of Miss Linsey from August declaring that abortion on demand should be a state's rights issue. That doesn't prove tRump put the idea in his head, but it wasn't the ghost of John McCain.

  8. Trump really has no excuse for having highly classified documents unsecured at Mar-a-Lago

    "Because I could get away with it." Because he's a spoiled man-baby with oppositional defiance disorder who took them for the ego kicks. But that doesn't hold up in court, unless it's a judge from the Federalist organized crime society.

  9. There is a risk of overanalyzing the brief. Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe explains, “His defense comes down to ‘I’m President Trump.’ ”


    Technically, it's been called the Gumby defense, after SNL/Eddy Murphy/"I'm Gumby, dammit!".

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