The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Today’s Adventures in Politics

A grand jury that will decide if Trump or anyone else will be indicted in the Fulton County, Georgia, election interference case has been sworn in.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville refuses to admit that white nationalists are racists.

A couple of months ago, Rep. James Comer (R-KY), chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee and tireless investigator of Hunter Biden’s laptop, admitted he had lost an informant.

During an interview on Fox News, host Maria Bartiromo asked Comer about evidence he had of [President] Biden’s alleged corruption.

“You have spoken with whistleblowers,” she noted. “You also spoke with an informant who gave you all of this information. Where is that informant today? Where are these whistleblowers?”

“Well, unfortunately, we can’t track down the informant,” Comer replied. “We’re hopeful that the informant is still there. The whistleblower knows the informant. The whistleblower is very credible.”

The mystery is solved:

Yesterday the Southern District of New York announced a wide-ranging indictment of Gal Luft, a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, for various charges including unregistered foreign lobbying for China, sanctions busting for Iran and arms dealing. (Here’s CNN’s run-down of the details.) Luft was indicted last November but remained under seal until yesterday. He was arrested in Cyprus in February to be extradited back to the United States but promptly jumped bail. It turns out Comer really had “lost” his whistleblower because Luft was quite literally on the lam and actually still is.

Josh Marshall continues,

This is part of a pattern: government workers or others facing workplace or criminal investigations trying to get a get-out-of-jail-free card or at least allies in a tough situation by showing up at the doorstep of Jim Jordan or James Comer basically willing to say quite literally anything. It’s true of course that chancers in a jam often do know things and are willing to talk for protection. But that’s why such claims require real scrutiny, something Republican investigators simply never do. In Luft’s case it’s not at all clear why he would be privy to anything about the President or his son in the first place. Indeed, the pattern is so persistent that it’s pretty clear Republican investigators are, if not explicitly in on the ruse themselves, totally indifferent to the truth of any of their claims.

Philip Bump:

This has been the pattern on the right for months. Anyone making any allegation against Biden and/or his family is accepted as inherently credible, however shaky the evidence or, as in the case of Luft, however obvious the conflict of interest. Not only are anti-Biden claims taken at face value, any skepticism about those allegations or, again as in the case of Luft, external indicators of unreliability are themselves folded into a voluminous conspiracy theory.

The timeline is important. It appears, both from comments by Luft in the video reported by the New York Post and in looking at court records, the indictment was handed down last fall. (Update: It occurred on Nov. 1, as Luft indicated in the video reported by the New York Post.) As mentioned, his initial arrest was in February. It is not clear why the indictment was unsealed now, but it is not the case that the charges are new. In other words, the understood order of events suggests not that he was charged because he made public allegations but, instead, that he made public allegations after he had been charged.

That hasn’t stopped anyone on the Right from accusing the Biden administration of political harassment of Luft, of course.

14 thoughts on “Today’s Adventures in Politics

  1. Rule Number 1 – Republicans (or allies) are never guilty until convicted in a court of law AND all appeals have been exhausted AND then they are probably innocent because it was a setup by the Democrats and the Deep State.

    Rule Number 2 – Democrats are guilty, guilty, guily once innuendo or speculation of their guilt has been made.

    Of course we have been hearing today from republicans and the reich-wing media that it is a deep state plot to protect Joe Biden and therefore more proof that Joe is guilty, guilty, guilty.

  2. Sen. Tommy Tuberville doesn't know about white nationalists and racism?!?

    No surprise.

    Sen. Tommy Tuberville is too feckin' STUPID to know anything beyond what should go on in games on the gridiron!

    And even then, I wouldn't let him coach my team since I think he's too feckin' stupid to be allowed to lead others – anywhere else but off a cliff, I mean.

    He makes WI's Sen. Ron Johnson seem like James Madison.

    And in reality, Sen. Johnson would loose an IQ test to a toad!

    That's how feckin' DUMB Tommy Tuberville!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • "And in reality, Sen. Johnson would loose an IQ test to a toad!"


      (good thing I wasn't drinking anything hot when I read that)

  3. sanctions busting for Iran and arms dealing

    So he's like Oliver North, practically a Republican saint.

  4. IMO, the interesting part of this is Gal Luft.  From Wiki:

    "Gal Luft (born May 26, 1966) is an American-Israeli think-tank director, author, professor. Luft was a lieutenant colonel in the Israel Defense Forces, and is the executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and cofounder of the Set America Free Coalition"

    "Lt Col in the IDF" generally translates to "Mossad Agent", which would explain both the actions leading to his arrest (shady deals with China and Iran) and the ease with which he skipped custody in Cyprus.

    The IAGS website is a little confusing; it seems to be the site for 5-6 different (related?) projects "co-founded" by Robert McFarlane (of Iran-Contra fame) and R. James Woolsey (Project for a New American Century, etc).  So, generally a NeoCon project, though it looks like a low-budget one.

    If Luft really is Mossad, and had authorization to talk about the Hunter Biden mess, then the question becomes "what's their game?".  Are they trying to actually undermine Biden?  Or just squeeze him a bit with threats to provide Jim Jordan with "evidence"?  Or are they actually aiming to undermine the GOP witch-hunt by helping them believe their own BS?  This Spook stuff gets real squirrelly, real quick.

    Unfortunately, I don't think Luft will spend any time in US prisons.

  5. Going to Item One: Fani Willis said the stuff hits the fan starting about Aug 1, So we're three weeks out from things getting real for Rudy and a bunch of others. I think Trump will also be indicted but the direct connection between Trump and the illegal conspiracy in GA (IMO) requires an insider facing charges to flip. Admittedly, Willis may HAVE the smoking gun that proves Trump directed the illegal activities to flip GA. 

    Trump suggested today in a Memo that the trial should not be scheduled until after the election because of jury selection. If Cannon agrees, I hope Smith a) objects and b) cites the bad decision as a reason to replace Cannon. The trial date is set (and unreasonably short) but Smith formally proposed a realistic date around the end of the year. So Trump was signaling Cnnon – I don't want a trial date set. Keep it loosey-goosey and we'll provide reasons for dragging this out. The district Cannon is in runs a "rocket docket.", so no trial date will look like the judge is in Trump's pocket. So Cannon has to walk a tightrope – she wants Trump to walk but she'll be bounced from the case with one bad decision. Suppose Cannon sees that Trump is toast – the jury will almost certainly bring back a guilty verdict. (I said 'suppose.") The one thing she can gift Trump is a fully suspended sentence and no jail time. BUT, if she gets removed, a different judge will adhere to federal sentencing guidelines which means years. 

    Related to the documents case, Smith has a solid case in NY with witnesses and with Trump on tape with a confession. So if Cannon plays games in FL, Smith can move the first trial to NJ. A conviction in NJ changes the federal sentencing guidelines for the (potentially) more serious prosecution in FL. If Trump gets convicted in GA, I think that ALSO changes the federal sentencing guidelines. 

    As far as I know, the civil case in NY will go forward in October – NY is asking for penalties in the neighborhood of $250 million, That cuts into available cash, money Trump needs for lawyers. 

    Oh, the Justice Department bailed on Trump with the second defamation case, So that's almost certain to go to trial and the jury. The key argument is that Trump defamed Carrol again a day after the first rape trial and guilty verdict. They're gonna ask for enough money to make it sting Trump. And they'll get it. 

    Referancing the previous post on masculinity, Trump likes to bill himself as the Alpha Male. Well, a characteristic of the Alpha is not that he's regularly and repeatedly getting publicly thrashed and trashed in courts all over the country. Which is how the summer and fall are shaping up. There are major GOP PACS forming now to try to unseat Trump as the GOP nominee. It's a tall order but Trump may be seriously damaged by the first of the year. (Maybe not enough to deny Trump the GOP nomination, but enough to deprive Trump of support anywhere outside the cult.)

  6. This is crazy, but I'm feeling a bit crazy tonight.

    I have no formal training in the legal / justice system, but that doesn’t prevent me from thinking.

    I believe the title of this case is United States of America vs. D. J. T.  That means that while the defendant is considered innocent (by the legal system) until proven guilty, nonetheless the alleged criminal actions for which he has been indicted can cause harm to the plaintiff(s). The harm to national security harms 330+ million Americans, whether or not they like/support defendant.

    If I were the judge in this matter (yes, I’m untrained), there a few things I would make very clear to the defendant and his legal team.

    1. You are charged in this matter with very serious crimes, with potential harm to more than 300 million people.  You are one person. You will be accorded all of the rights and due process accorded to any person, but this court and this process is not obligated to provide you with special treatment, no matter what other activities you may choose to engage in outside of this legal matter. The Constitution guarantees both you and the plaintiffs a speedy trial.
    2. When this court schedules an event that requires your presence, you will be present or you will be in contempt of court.  If you have a previously scheduled campaign event, this court will not change its schedule to accommodate that.  If you schedule a new conflicting campaign event as soon as this court establishes an appearance date, the response will be the same but with additional penalties for obstructive behavior. As a citizen it is always your option to withdraw from the political race if you can’t handle both it and this legal process. The trial process will be driven by the needs of the trial process, not by the needs of either party to the case.
    3. You have expressed concern that this legal proceeding might interfere with what you had hoped would be your campaign activities. That is your problem, not this court’s problem.  Every defendant in the history of the US Legal System has had this general type of challenge. Being a defendant in a trial never fits easily into one’s life.  You are no different.
    4. If you would like to be able to campaign during 2024, you are free to devote massive resources over the next several months (if you can) so that a trial can be concluded by early 2024. It would certainly behoove you to do everything you can to accelerate the process. It would certainly be in your interest to establish a large team to do this for you.
    5. Regarding your request for more time to prepare for your defense due to the classification of documents: a) While the evidentiary items shared by the prosecution in discovery are certainly voluminous, not all of those items are classified, so your defense team can be reading/listening/viewing all unclassified items in the present.  This court will do nothing to stand in the way of your team’s review of non-classified discovery items. It is the option of any defendant to prioritize defense preparations in order to be ready for the trial. b) Furthermore, the case before this court, and the charges involved, do not require that we litigate the legitimacy of the classification levels of documents.  In fact, to do that would be counter-productive to the proceedings and irrelevant to the trial process in this case. The need for review of the redacted documents by both counsels and by the jury will be focused on establishing the extent and gravity of the alleged crimes.  c) The established process for managing these items in legal proceedings has been used successfully for years, and this court will use that process.  It is quite possible that your team can be energetically engaged reviewing unclassified discovery materials first while awaiting security clearance without managing to complete that unclassified review by the time clearance is obtained. This court wants you to have a most vigorous defense in this trial, so it is suggested that you proceed with alacrity.
    6. Regarding your suggestion that it will be impossible to seat an impartial jury before the 2024 election is concluded:  a) Given the political history in this country over the past decade, it seems unlikely that the percentage of potential jurors who are too opinionated to serve honorably as jurors will change at any time between now and the end of voir dire. And that percentage is not likely to change after the 2024 election. This court, in this venue, does not consider the challenges of jury selection to be a valid reason for delaying justice. b) Over many decades the justice system has conducted trials for defendants who have been political actors, in office, or as candidates for office.  Jury selection for those trials may have been more challenging than lower profile trials, but the challenges have always been met. c) Any attempts by the defense to poison the jury pool will be a serious matter in this court. It is recommended that both sides keep communications to the public prior to voir dire at a minimal level.
    7. Any legitimate and reasonable request for minor schedule adjustments will, of course, be considered. Adjustments will not be ruled out.  However, if the frequency of frivolous requests is high, then that pattern will be considered when evaluating future requests.  In other words, given a pattern of frivolous requests for delay, this court will decide additional requests the same day and the decision will more often tend to be to leave the original scheduled date in place.            
    • Bravo! The signal from Cannon I'm watching for is deadlines for motions. Some judges will stave off delays by setting a deadline for ALL pre-trial motions, Trump will want to dismiss, appeal, and appeal to the USSC. Then a motion to suppress evidence, and appeal to the USSC. Then a motion to … You get the picture. If the judge requires the requests (motions) be bundled and submitted by x-date, the appeals process for all can be done concurrently. 

      I do not see how the jury selection will be any easier after the election. The judge should demand that the defense explain why the timing (before vs after trial) changes Trump's opportunity for a fair trial. In my biased opinion, if Trump has a legal defense for the crimes he's accused of, the best thing for Candidate Trump is to secure a "Not Guilty" verdict before the election. If Candidate Trump doesn't think he will prevail in a jury trial, the court is concerned and dismayed if the plan is to use the authority of POTUS to derail the trial because you know you're guilty.

  7. The American political system and process has devolved into a mashup of "The Twilight Zone," "Pee Wee's Funhouse" and Johnny Knoxville's "Jackass."  In one week we've had everything from yet another James "Comer Simpson" d'oh! moment with his fugitive whistleblower to Tuberville giving yet more evidence he's as dumb as a stump, to state GOP leaders kicking each other in the balls over money wasted on conspiracy theories for Trump. Meanwhile, there’s the ubiquitous presence of Trump, a twice impeached criminal who is the GOP front runner, meandering through it all. And the best the media can do is make a big deal of him not knowing what a “Blizzard” is.

    We are truly on our way to turning "Idiocracy" from fiction to prophecy.


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