Gaetz is certainly a subject of the investigation.
A target means that the prosecutor intends to indict.
Being a subject is not something you should feel good about. It means they’re trying to develop enough information to charge you.
The defense attorney can ask if his/her client is a subject or a target.
Sex trafficking statute. Drugs potentially can go to the coercion part of the law.
Drugs are at the very least a thing of value you can be exchanging for sex.
Mariotti is talking about the decisions that go into charging, whether there is enough evidence to win in court on a specific count.
Mariotti maintains that he would want to have the 17-year-old count. Juries will look at the defendant as such a sleaze they won’t be able to think of anything else.
The Mann Act is a “strange act.” Enacted over a century ago. Weird language in it.
It had been used to prosecute people for sex among adults. People questioned the use. Mariotti maintains that it is not a normal act for the federal government to charge under.
When there are federal Mann act cases, they usually involve child sex trafficking.
My note: Why was Bill Barr so determined to stay away from this case and Matt Gaetz? Why didn’t he quash the case?
There is the speculation that this case is larger than the underage girl question?
Mariotti argues that he would want a slam dunk charge like identity fraud or bank fraud. Then, he would introduce the other sex acts as context. The idea is to convict Gaetz on the fraud charges (the “slam-dunk”) and then tell the judge that the fraud was committed in the context of the sexual behavior which the judge would consider in sentencing.
My note: I don’t really understand this but it sounds sleazy as hell.
My note: Why is Mariotti even talking about Gaetz being charged for political reasons? Is he arguing that they should charge the “slam-dunk” instead of the sex charges because it can be argued that the sex charges are politically motivated? Why? What difference does that even make? Why are people so afraid of what some Republican might say about criminal behavior? If Gaetz has violated the law, he has violated the law.
My note: Mariotti is maintaining that one of the considerations in charging is: “How will this cause people to view the Justice Department differently?” So, what’s Mariotti’s actually saying is that the Justice Department itself is making political decisions (the politics of their own image) in charging.
My note: This is the type of attitude that led Comey to make some of the decisions he made that were so disastrous for the Democrats. He made decisions partly on the basis of what he thought was good for the Justice Department and its image, not on what DOJ policy was and had been when he announced they were not charging Clinton, but probably should have.
My Note: Gaetz was showing photographs of naked women to other men on the floor of the House and bragging that they were his conquests. I would like to know who he showed these photographs to and why they didn’t report him and have him censured? Who were they?
My Note: Matt Gaetz, a Republican, and his behavior with underage girls speaks to the repeated projection by the Republican party. They have spent years accusing Democrats of running a pedophile ring. Now that they have a pedophile in their midst and they are fine with it. It’s all projection. So, I keep thinking about the “baby eating” charge.
The interviewer asks, as a prosecutor would you bring in the fact that Gaetz showed these photos on the House floor? Mariotti says that if he were the judge he would not allow this evidence in because it would be too prejudicial. My note: Jesus Christ.
Mariotti argues that it would be too prejudicial because “Jurors would judge him (Gaetz).” My note: Well, hell yeah. Quite rightly.
Mariotti is talking about “streamlining” cases, what prosecutors do to “streamline” cases. My note: this is part of what’s wrong with the system.
My note: In what universe is Gaetz’s showing nude photos of women on the floor of the House not evidence of a pattern of exploitive behavior towards women?
Gaetz has chosen Mark Mukasey as his attorney. Mukasey’s father was at the Justice Department after Alberto Gonzalez. Mukasey’s a very good trial lawyer, according to Mariotti. He is very closely tied to Giuliani. Perhaps also representing the Trump Organization.
My note: So now we know that Mukasey is part of the club.
Gaetz still thinks he’s living in a world where Trump is president and can shield him.
My note: these men wouldn’t be behaving like this, like they were above the law, if they hadn’t been for their entire lives. The world Mariotti lives in has shielded these elite criminals for decades.
Dereck Chauvin put his knee on the neck of George Floyd, stared into the camera and dared us to do anything about it.
Donald Trump did exactly what Chauvin did – he put his knee on the neck of democracy, decency, legality. He stared into the camera and dared us to do anything about it.
Putin has done exactly what Chauvin did – he has put his knee on the neck of Navalny, stared into the camera and dared us to do anything about it.
These are lessons, authoritarian lessons. They are demonstrating to us that that they can do whatever they want. They can even murder one of us right in front of our very eyes and we can’t do a damn thing about it.
We have won tonight, in the Chauvin case. We have won because of the mobilization of millions of people putting pressure on the system to live up to its ideals. We have won because of the courage and discipline of a group of witnesses. We have won and we can win again.
We must stand together and stand up to the boot of authoritarian rule on our necks. We stopped them with the Chauvin verdict. That’s why the legal system avoids jury trials if at all possible, especially for powerful defendants. We can, and we must stop them again. We must demand that the participants in the corrupt crime spree that was the Trump administration are held to account. We must demand that dangerous men like Putin and the oligarchs that surround him are held to account.
If we do not see, truly see that these actions are preparations for authoritarianism, they will come back for us. They are obviously not phased in the least by the electoral defeat in 2020. The tidal wave of voter suppression being orchestrated by the Republicans is just another way to take power because they cannot win it legitimately. It is their way back in power. We must take them seriously or we will find ourselves in 2022 and 2024 with another authoritarian take-over of the governmental process. If we flirt with that possibility, we may never recover.
That look you saw on Chavin’s face when he was kneeling there, crushing the life out of a man, is the same look you would see on the face of Bill Barr, Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Pompeo, Pence, Steven Miller, Manafort and many others while they crushed the life out of anyone who opposed them if they thought for one minute they could get away with it. If we let them get away with it, they will crush the life out of democracy and our lives will be unalterably changed. If we don’t take them seriously, if we don’t fight them we will find ourselves living under that knee being given the same compassion and respect Dereck Chavin gave George Floyd.
Those relying on the U.S. justice system to hold the Trump administration accountable for the crime spree that was the past four years, need to consider the record of the Justice Department in prosecuting corporate and white collar criminals. Let’s just start with one case.
In January of 2021, the Justice Department allowed Boeing to resolve a criminal charge “related to a conspiracy to defraud” the government in connection with the FAA’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.
Boeing needed FAA approval for the planes and FAA was charged with developing safety protocols for them. Employees of Boeing, however, placing “profit over candor” deceived the government by withholding important information from the regulatory agency, information which might have delayed approval or necessitated increased training for the use of the planes.
These employees continued to withhold the information and participate in a conspiracy to cover up the withholding, even after the first disastrous crash of the Boeing 737 MAX in 2018.
In 2018, Loin Air Flight 610 crashed near Indonesia. 189 passengers and crew were killed. In March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, crashed near Ejere Ethiopia. All 157 passengers and crew died. In March 2019 the plane involved, the 737 MAX, was officially grounded.
No individuals were charged in the federal criminal information filed against a company, Boeing, and no individuals were punished. Boeing was allowed to buy itself out of prosecution.
The agreement accepted by the Justice Department was a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), one of many the Department of Justice enters into with corporations every year. According to “The Chikenshit Club” by Jesse Eisinger (one of the most underestimated books in the past decade) from 2002 until the Fall of 2016, the Justice Department entered into 416 such agreements. In the previous 10 years, they had participated in 18.
These DPAs take the place of prosecutions. They are easier for the Justice Department (require less resources and risk of losing), allow the Department to claim victories and tout what appear to be large fines. And, the NPAs are much less painful for the corporation. The fines are usually tiny compared with resources of the corporation, and they rarely involve individuals.
So even though individuals at Boeing made decision after decision to deceive the regulatory agency the public depends on to ensure flying safety, they were not named and not prosecuted. They were allowed to hide behind a NPA that resulted in a fine paid by Boeing.
DPAs are similar to plea bargains. But, unlike plea bargains, they are not lowered charges in exchange for a guilty plea. It is a prosecution that has been deferred, not brought. Boeing has not been prosecuted for a crime, and can claim so. It has been allowed to buy itself out of prosecution.
Every criminal in every court in the country (except the innocent ones) would love to be allowed to pay a small sum in order not to be prosecuted for the crime s/he committed. They are almost never afforded this opportunity.
Ordinary criminal defendants (the poor) are almost always required to plead guilty to a crime in order to secure a more lenient sentence. The poor defendant is subject to the stigma of criminal prosecution, the economic costs. These companies, however, are allowed to negotiate a settlement that doesn’t even include prosecution, or necessarily an admission of guilt.
In this case, Boeing agreed to a settlement, a bribe, in order not to be prosecuted for deceiving the government by withholding crucial information about one of its planes from those charged with developing safety protocols, information that might well have prevented two crashes and the loss of over 400 lives.
Boeing, a company, a legal fiction, is held responsible for its’ employees behavior. Those employees who participated in this conspiracy, knowing that it would endanger lives for profit, are left free to be promoted, or leave the company and get jobs working elsewhere, committing more crimes.
The FAA is one of the agencies administering regulations about how corporations function. Republicans have spent the past forty years fighting against every regulation of industry, starving regulatory agencies of funds, and demonizing them in the eyes of the public they were designed to protect.
When a white collar or corporate criminal is caught, they are allowed to hide behind their “company” and evade responsibility.
If you want to know what Republicans stand for, this is it – free, unfettered, unaccountable fraud against the American people for profit.
Free Speech TV: Economic Update with Richard Wolff, History Lessons on Capitalism’s Failures, 3/2/21.
Joe Scarborough, both-sideser in chief and head MSNBC misogynist is at it again this morning joined by his usual kiss ass crew. He got in a little trouble yesterday by repeatedly asking guests whether it was necessary to impeach Trump. The dreadful Mika told him to stop and he responded like the petulant bully he is, by berating her and trying to embarrass her on national television.
This morning, he and Peter Baker are trying to figure out how “we” can work with the Republicans like James Langford, who have suddenly had an attack of conscience over trying to overthrow an election.
But, for Scarborough and Baker, that’s just a minor blip. Sedition? Just apologize and Scarborough will find a way to launder your reputation (if you are a Repubican).
Baker’s contribution to this was to lament the fact that, in his words, both sides have decided to go back into their partisan corners. Equal corners, right? One side is providing the rationale for sedition and the other is trying to restore democracy, but they are both equally to blame.
On to other matters.
On Ari Melber’s MSNBC show last night, Eugene Robinson (Mr. Mild Manners himself) said that the Republicans created this division and now they are buying body armor.
AOC was evidently so afraid when the attack was going on, she was fearful of going into a safe room with Republicans. She thought they might lead the attackers to her. It was not an unreasonable suspicion since one of the members of the House was texting out the location of Nancy Pelosi.
Lindsey Graham characterized the impeachment proceedings as “sheer hatred.” I can’t wait to find out why Graham did a 180 turn to support Trump. Maybe if Trump gets more and more frustrated, he will start to spill the dirt.
Rep Madeleine Dean, who will be one of the impeachment managers said “Lindsay Graham knows better.” “You too” she said referring to Graham, “are complicit…”
Trump evidently brought Bannon back into the sedition circle. Roger Stone was the one who came up with the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry.
Tony Schwartz is saying that Trump is now moving “between rage and delusion.” And that Trump has unleashed forces that we may well see become more powerful in the future.
Peter Strzok, former FBI, expressed “frustration and anger” at the lack of preparedness at the Capitol. If you look at other events, Strzok argued: “The government can secure the capitol when it wants to and that didn’t happen here.” Strzok said that the tour groups that evidently went through the Capitol the day before the assault needed to be “looked into.”
Elizabeth Newmann, former Assistant Secretary for Threat Presentation and Security Policy at DHS, explained that the Terrorist Watch List is a separate list from the No Fly List and is broader, larger. She says it includes “suspected white supremacists.” But, she also said, this list functions more as an alert system than a surveillance system. If, for example, someone got arrested, law enforcement could run the name and the person would show up as on this Terrorist Watch List. But, there is no ongoing surveillance on these people. So, they could all decide to go to Washington at the same time and go and there would be no automatic alert because of this list.
Last night, Rachael Maddow was commenting on the absurdity of having people on this list, but not knowing that they were all converging on the same problematic location. The only way law enforcement could know this is if these people were under constant surveillance and I’m not sure that’s what we want.
A number of people are already pointing out on Twitter and in articles that this siege of the Capitol may well end up working to the disadvantage of legitimate protest. As always, it’s easy to argue for more surveillance of individuals when they are opposed to you politically. But, these same surveillance measures can be turned quickly against legitimate protest.
I heard no discussion yesterday of the way in which a person might be put on this Terrorist Watch List. Once on this list, are you ever taken off? What surveillance measures can the government take after you are put on this list? These are questions we need to answer.
Newman, after explaining the list, went on to say that there was “no excuse for the lack of preparation” at the capitol. She pointed out that that the Executive Branch, while reluctant to tell another branch of government what to do, has a “duty to warn” of dangerous situations. They, for example, should have issued a “Joint Intelligence Bulletin.” They did not. “They knew that violence was planned” Newman continued. “You always assume the worst, prepare for the worst…”
Petef Strzok expressed disappointment that we had not heard from Director Wray. He wondered whether the FBI attempted to warn other agencies but was prevented from doing so. Strzok didn’t say by whom.
Anna Palmer noted that since the COVID outbreak, the Capitol had been like a “ghosttown.” She noted the extensive security measures for even going into the Capitol as a reporter. “It’s been months since people were even around” she noted. These tours were highly unusual.
Biden has named Jamaal Bowman head of the DNC. It has not escaped notice that Bowman is against Medicare For All.
And, lastly, in Georgia…
I had an interesting exchange with a friend on Facebook. He commented that when the FBI asked all these low-level attackers who are being arrested if they had any coordination or contact with Congressmen or Trump, they would flip and implicate them.
I responded: True, if the FBI agents ask them.
Now, as usual, he took exception to this. Most people, especially those who have worked around law enforcement accept a law enforcement ethos. They resist any aspersions on the integrity of the force, even confronted with daily evidence to the contrary.
He responded in a curious way. First he said that I shouldn’t paint all agents with a “broad brush.” Seemed to me that he was painting them with a broad brush, just assuming that the FBI would be trying to turn offenders on higher ups. Why this assumption is made, I don’t know.
We have just witnessed years of the most curious behavior on the part of the FBI and the Justice Department in recent memory. Why did James Comey make public the absurd reopening of the investigation of Hillary Clinton right before the 2016 election? Why did he within the past few days argue publicly that Biden should pardon Trump? What was going on in the New York City office of the FBI in 2016 that almost lead to a work stoppage? These are just a few threads that need to be followed up here. In addition, why was the Justice Department so easily compromised by Jeff Sessions and then Bill Barr? Why was the Mueller investigation so limited as to make it meaningless?
I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we can assume that all those FBI agents out there are crusaders for justice especially when it comes to investigating people at the top of the food chain. (See Jesse Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club.)
Then, my friend said that the last time he talked to me I was (overly) concerned “dismayed” with voter suppression in Georgia, and Georgia had become the beacon of election security. Georgia, he said had become the “honest election state that is saving democracy. What truly happened?”
Now, I have no idea what this last paragraph has to do with FBI agents working overtime to get dirt on powerful Congressmen, but there you are.
I find the statement amazing. I fully realize that the media, prone as they are to simplistic narratives, is trying to make heroes out of Raffensperger, Sterling and Kemp, but anybody who reads should know that Georgia is far from a beacon of hope.
Brian Kemp’s government spent a fortune on a fancy new voting machine system. And they conducted a propaganda operation by replacing all the “I voted” material with “I secured my Vote.” It was all a propaganda operation. I did poll worker training in Georgia before the general and I left at lunch and didn’t go back. It was obvious to me then that the new system was unwieldy and full of holes. The measures taken to “secure the vote” were geared toward security threats in the 19th century. Nobody could answer questions about hacking into the system.
Even though the media has touted “paper ballots” as an indication of transparency, in Georgia, they are not really “paper ballots.”
The ballots are marked by a machine. Then, the voter gets a sheet of paper which has his choices printed on it. The voter is supposed to check these choices to make sure they are right. But, the scanners that count the votes do not even register the words printed on the ballot. They count a bar code at the bottom of the ballot. The voter cannot read the bar code. The poll workers cannot read the bar code. I don’t think anybody outside of the Voting Machine company can read the bar codes. It’s protected by law. What kind of state of affairs is that?
Before the general election, Brian Kemp’s government made a decision that any recount in Georgia would be done by simply feeding the same ballots (with the same bar codes) through the scanners again.
In short, Georgia spent a fortune on a voting system that is impenetrable. They regularly send out “experts” who claim that the system cannot be hacked. But, Jennifer Cohn, Jonathan Simon and the Coalition for Good Governance have repeatedly offered evidence that at best, we don’t know this.
In addition, Kemp is the king of voter suppression. That’s how he won a race against Stacey Abrams for governor. Raffensperger and Sterling were in the voter suppression game up to their eye balls. Kemp, Raffensperger and Sterling are like the guys who are willing to drive the getaway car, but not willing to go into the liquor store with the gun.
Just in case you hadn’t heard…Kyle Rittenhouse is out on bail and sitting in a bar drinking and yucking it up with the Proud Boys. Reality Winner has COVID and in still in jail. I know she’s not receiving her mail because I have a box of returned letters.
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
It is increasingly apparent to me that watching the corporate news will be as difficult over the next four years as it was over the last four.
Nicolle Wallace, one of the Never-Trumpers that the corporate Democrats love so much, just begged a reporter for information on Republicans who are likely to cooperate with the Democrats. The reporter cited SUSAN COLLINS as one of those likely Republicans. Susan Collins? If we are pinning our hopes on Susan f…ing Collins, we are in sad shape.
Wallace and the reporter spent ages discussing how “fascinating” watching the relationship between Biden and McConnell was going to be. It will be a real test, the reporter said, to see if Biden can move McConnell on “anything at all.”
There is no test here. And, Biden is wasting his time. McConnell is not going to cooperate with Joe Biden because Biden’s a nice guy. The Democrats essentially nominated and ran Biden not for any policy agenda, but because he was a “nice guy.” Well, I will just go out on a limb here and say that Mitch McConnell is not going to change the total obstruction that has characterized his entire leadership due to the power of Joe Biden’s personality.
Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, Pompeo and others are on a mission. They perceive themselves to be fighting a war and that war didn’t end just because we were lucky enough to have Trump turned out because of mail-in ballots.
The entire Democratic nominating convention was a celebrity creation exercise. It had nothing to do with policy which was hardly mentioned. It was about creating and marketing a celebrity. Part of that process was trying to convince the consumer that the power of Biden’s personality was going to change politics in Washington.
I am afraid that Biden has come to believe his own hype and truly thinks that he’s going to walk into the Senate, put his arm around Mitch McConnell and say, “come on man” and McConnell is going to go down on his knees. It ain’t gonna happen. I’ll say it again. It ain’t gonna happen.
But corporate media hosts like Nicolle “I facilitated torture” Wallace will spend hours of valuable ideological real estate publicly wondering which Republicans are going to “cooperate” and the ins and outs of some kind of personal relationship between Biden and McConnell.
The corporate media and the Democratic Party still perpetuate the notion that Trump and the Republican Party are different. Biden has said that once Trump is gone, the Republicans are going to return to “normal.” The Republicans were completely willing to use Trump and his crazed supporters as a vehicle to advance their agenda. They are not going to stop advancing that agenda, not now, not when they are this close to establishing a one-party authoritarian state.
If Democrats think that the power of Biden’s personality is going to change what is, for Republicans, a holy war, they are delusional. But, I guess we already knew that.
Widespread protests continue in Belarus. Protests have been happening in the major city of Khabarovsk for weeks after Putin “removed a popularly elected governor and replaced him with a hand-selected loyalist. Putin is now in the position of allowing Lukashenko to flee to Russia (as he did with Yanukovych in Ukraine) and gobbling up parts of Balarus, or does he modulate his interference. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/08/15/putin-lukashenko-belarus-russia/
David Plouffe, along with others stress that the destruction of the effectiveness of the Post Office, is an emergency (see also Jesse Eisinger). He recommends prime-time hearings, now; subpoenas to Trump WH and other officials. “This is a RICO case,” says Plouffe. Twitter From the Democrats, silence, strongly worded letters.
Lest we Forget: Don McGahn is the nephew of mafia attorney, Pat McGahn, who brokered the AC Taj Mahal land deal between Donald Trump and mob boss, Little Nicky Scarfo.
Jesse Eisinger’s book “The Chickenshit Club” is one of the most important books in understanding what is happening with the Republican party and the Trump administration. Tweet (8/16/20) “…cutting government and then pointing to a crippled government as proof that government doesn’t work has been a Republican strategy for 40 years.” Republicans who are surprised at the inaction of the federal government in the pandemic and at the dismantling of the post office have not been paying attention to the policies of the Republican party they have been voting for.
Biden is already caving on health care for Americans. Democratic operatives tell “The Hill” that the most likely strategy is to “fix” Obamacare without providing a public option. This is just one example of what a Biden/Harris administration will be like. There will be repeated caving to corporate interests and the abandoning of the people they are begging to vote for them now. “Powerful health care industry groups, ranging from drug companies to health insurers to hospitals, are strongly opposed to a public option, worried about its impact on their bottom line, and would fight any legislative push on the subject next year. The industry is instead pushing the idea of a more modest ObamaCare fix that does not include a public option.”