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GOP Intellectual Malpractice: Syrian Refugees And Paris Attacks Edition

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Opinion: 25 GOP governors now illegally refusing refugees, and all based on a fake Syrian passport. 

The level of Republican inhumanity and stupidity, and refusal to look for facts has reached new heights.

Remember George W. Bush and the lies he and his administration told in the run up to the Iraq War? 

Bush didn’t look for facts, and when confronted with them, he dismissed them. You’re seeing today by Republicans that same level of intellectual malpractice, a lack of curiosity about facts, a pandering to the base and an almost viral race to the bottom of the barrel of stupidity.

At least 25 of America’s 31 Republican governors today (and sadly, Democratic governor Maggie Hassan) have issued press releases, tweets, and executive orders mandating – and boasting – their state will not accept any Syrian refugees. Unfortunately, it appears none of them bothered to actually check if they have the authority to refuse refugees here legally, though an extremely rigorous federal process.

And, of course, these “pro-life” “conservative Christian” governors, it turns out, do not have the authority to refuse refugees.

But what they do have is the ability to grandstand and to turn the tide of public opinion against the very people running from terrorists, and have Americans see them as terrorists, so when they do get to America (insert obligatory “land of the free, home of the brave” quote here) many will likely become victimized by a pathetically ignorant, Fox News watching populace that equates “Muslim” with “terrorist.”

To be clear, even France has called the murder of 129 people in the Paris attacks, not to mention the hundreds who have suffered injuries, “an issue of internal domestic security.”

Or, to be even more clear, as ThinkProgress reports, “All of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals, according to a top EU official.”

That story about one of the terrorists having a Syrian passport is either fake, or his passport was.

Here’s the list of Republicans who have stated America should refuse Syrian refugees, or have stated they will not allow them in their state, all based on a false story about a Paris attacks terrorist with a fake Syrian passport.

Republican Governors:

Robert Bentley of Alabama
Doug Ducey of Arizona
Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
Rick Scott of Florida
Nathan Deal of Georgia
Butch Otter of Idaho
Mike Pence of Indiana
Terry Branstad of Iowa
Bruce Rauner of Illinois
Sam Brownback of Kansas
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Paul LePage of Maine
Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
Rick Snyder of Michigan
Phil Bryant of Mississippi
Pete Ricketts of Nebraska
Chris Christie of New Jersey
Pat McCrory of North Carolina
John Kasich of Ohio
Mary Fallin of Oklahoma
Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Bill Haslam of Tennessee
Greg Abbott of Texas
Scott Walker of Wisconsin
Matt Bevin, governor-elect of Kentucky

GOP Presidential Candidates:

Donald Trump
Ben Carson – no religious test, but an “ideological” one
Marco Rubio
Ted Cruz
John Kasich
Rand Paul 
Jeb Bush – only Christian refugees
Carly Fiorina
Chris Christie – no Syrian refugees, “not even 5-year-old orphans
Lindsey Graham
Mike Huckabee
George Pataki
Rick Santorum

Image by Mike Licht via Flickr and a CC license

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‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts

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Lawyers for Donald Trump late Thursday night launched a multi-pronged effort to toss out of court Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of the ex-president in the classified documents case, which includes charges under the Espionage Act. Many legal experts were stunned, not only by the move, but by the shallowness of the arguments.

The motions will be decided by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by then-President Donald Trump during his last year in office.

“Mr. Trump’s lawyers made a barrage of legal arguments in seeking to circumvent a criminal case that many legal experts consider the most ironclad of the four against him,” The New York Times reported just past midnight, observing that some of the claims presented by attorneys for the indicted ex-president “tested the bounds of credulity or clashed with prior court rulings.”

“They attacked the law he is accused of violating, questioned the legality of the special counsel prosecuting him and argued that he is shielded from prosecution by presidential immunity,” the Times reported, adding that many of the arguments “appeared designed to delay the case from moving toward trial, a strategy that Mr. Trump has pursued in all of the criminal proceedings he is facing.”

READ MORE: ‘Reached His Limits’: Engoron ‘Brings the Hammer Down’ on Trump Attorney

Politico late Friday morning added the seven different motions filed were “a grab bag of arguments that the charges are legally faulty, that prosecutors have targeted him for political reasons and that the special counsel spearheading the case had no legal authority to bring it.”

Nearly two weeks ago Trump, citing his claim of “presidential immunity,” asked the U.S. Supreme Court to delay proceedings in Special Counsel Smith’s other court case against him, the election interference trial. The Court agreed to take up the case but has not released its decision.

Now, citing the same or similar arguments, Trump is plowing forward.

“Trump claims that he designated the classified materials ‘personal’ and he took his ‘personal records’ to Mar-a-Lago with him,” MSNBC legal contributor Katie Phang reported Thursday night.

Phang points to this section, the opening of Trump’s motion:

“President Donald J. Trump respectfully submits this motion seeking dismissal of Counts 1 through 32 on the basis of presidential immunity, as these charges stem directly from official acts by President Trump while in office,” it reads. “Specifically, President Trump is immune from prosecution on Counts 1 through 32 because the charges turn on his alleged decision to designate records as personal under the Presidential Records Act (‘PRA’) and to cause the records to be moved from the White House to Mar-a-Lago. As alleged in the Superseding Indictment, President Trump made this decision while he was still in office. The alleged decision was an official act, and as such is subject to presidential immunity.”

READ MORE: ‘Handmaid’s Tale’: Biden Campaign Blasts Trump Christian Nationalism Plans

After the FBI executed a legal search warrant of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and resort in 2022, agents retrieved “11 sets of classified documents, including some marked as top secret and meant to be only available in special government facilities,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

The federal government, in total, has recovered from Trump “more than 300 classified documents” with classified markings, totaling over 700 pages, The New York Times reported in August of 2022.

“Material about nuclear weapons is especially sensitive and usually restricted to a small number of government officials, experts said,” The Washington Post also reported at the time. “Publicizing details about U.S. weapons could provide an intelligence road map to adversaries seeking to build ways of countering those systems. And other countries might view exposing their nuclear secrets as a threat, experts said.”

Back in October, NBC News reported, Trump “allegedly shared sensitive information about U.S. nuclear submarines with an Australian billionaire who is a member of his Mar-a-Lago club.”

Meanwhile, legal experts were stunned by Trump’s attorneys’ overnight motion to toss the case.

“This motion is insultingly stupid,” wrote national security attorney Brad Moss. “Trump is arguing he designated all these highly classified records as PERSONAL records, and that he therefore had the right to keep them. Even if that was a plausible argument, this is a motion to dismiss: he can’t introduce news facts.”

Former U.S. Ambassador and former Obama “Ethics Czar” Norm Eisen, an attorney and CNN legal analyst, Thursday night wrote, “I just finished reading Trump’s absolute immunity motion in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case.”

“If this were allowed, POTUS could declassify all of our most sensitive secrets when leaving office & sell them to Putin 5 minutes later,” he noted, adding: “As bad as Seal Team 6 hypo[thesis] in 1/6 case.”

In a more in-depth examination, Moss explained, “If Trump’s immunity arguments in the DC and FL cases actually succeed, Joe Biden can do the following: 1) declare Trump a threat to election integrity and have him imprisoned immediately, at a minimum, 2) declare the entire Trump Org a threat to national security and seize all of its assets.”

He continues: “3) cancel the election, 4) if, by some chance, he is forced out of office, he can walk out of the White House with 15 moving vans full of every classified secret he wants and sell them to the highest bidder. And no one could do anything to prosecute him for any of it. He can pardon anyone he wants while in office and who helped him commit any illegal act he could think of to do #1-#3, and he can then claim immunity for himself if he is later indicted.”

READ MORE: MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda

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Arrested Again: Ex-FBI Informant and GOP Former Star Witness Alexander Smirnov

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Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant who was arrested just eight days ago and charged with lying to the Bureau about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, has again been arrested, his lawyers state in an emergency court filing Thursday.

Smirnov allegedly used Russian intelligence to smear the Bidens, falsely claiming both Joe Biden and Hunter Biden had each accepted $5 million bribes. His claims were the basis of House Republicans’ impeachment investigation into President Biden.

But as NBC News’ Tom Winter reported, it’s a “mystery,” at least for now, why Smirnov was arrested again, his lawyers say, on the same charges as the first time.

Winter says earlier today at his attorneys’ offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, “Apparently agents showed up with a valid arrest warrant out of the Central District of California and took him into custody, but according to his attorneys, it was for the same exact indictment and the same exact charges that he had been previously hit with.”

RELATED: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

CNN adds that the warrant “this time” was “signed by federal district Judge Otis Wright, who will oversee the criminal case out of California.”

The federal government asked for Smirnov to be detained but a magistrate judge allowed him to be released last week.

Winter reports that Smirnov’s attorneys say “they would like to know why” he was re-arrested, “and there’s no indication on the docket that the judge has granted some sort of emergency motion to remand him, basically to pull him off the streets because he’s violated his agreement.”

“So a bit of a mystery at this point,” Winter adds.

CNN notes that after his first arrest, “Smirnov was released by Magistrate Judge Daniel Albregts in Nevada on Tuesday with several conditions, including GPS monitoring and the surrender of his two passports.”

READ MORE: Experts Ask if Trump Disclosed Classified Intel After Nuclear Weapons Talk at Town Hall

Politico’s Kyle Cheney posted the arrest warrant. See it below or at this link.

 

Image: Screenshot of Smirnov with his face hidden from camera view

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‘Reached His Limits’: Engoron ‘Brings the Hammer Down’ on Trump Attorney

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New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron has refused a “last ditch effort” from Donald Trump’s attorney to delay imposing the $355 million judgment in Attorney General Letitia James’ civil business fraud case against the ex-president.

“Once the judgment is officially entered, it will start the 30-day clock for Trump to file an appeal. During that period, Trump will need to put up cash or post bond to cover the $355 million and roughly $100 million in interest he was ordered to pay the state,” CNN reports.

MSNBC legal correspondent Lisa Rubin pointed to an email Judge Engoron sent Trump’s attorney Clifford Robert that reads in part, “You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay.”

On social media Rubin notes, “Judge Engoron has reached his limits. It appears that he has signed the judgment and that all that needs to happen now is for the clerk to enter it.”

READ MORE: Smirnov Scandal: Experts Call for Investigations, Warn GOP of Possible Conspiracy Charges

On-air at MSNBC, Rubin explained that Trump’s attorney asked Engoron “to stay the judgment without Donald Trump having to post a bond.”

Robert, according to Rubin, tried to use “a technicality in New York Civil Practice saying they should have filed a motion and they didn’t file a motion, they should have given us notice. We should have been able to counter propose our own judgment.”

Engoron, she continues, asked, “‘What exactly are you objecting to?’ And when Trump’s lawyers couldn’t articulate beyond a small but meaningful error with respect to the calculation of interest for Allen Weisselberg, that was the only real error that they identified. They couldn’t come up with anything else.”

“That’s when Engoron sort of dropped the hammer on them and said, ‘look, enough is enough. You have given me no reason for a stay.”

Rubin notes that at this point, “We’re just waiting for the clerk to start that 30 day clock.”

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