Both Members of GOP Ticket to Speak Friday at Annual Values Voter Summit
â€” FRC (@FRCdc) August 25, 2016
Both GOP nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will speak at Friday’s 11th annual Values Voter Summit â€” the first time both members of a major party presidential ticket have addressed the confab hosted by the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBT hate group.Â
â€” FRCAction (@FRCAction) August 11, 2016
Trump and Pence will share the stage with several activists who’ve called for the criminalization of homosexuality, along with others who’ve falsely linked it to pedophilia or bestiality and denigrated LGBT service members, Right Wing Watch reports. Other bastions of anti-equality infamy will speak as well.
â€” FRCAction (@FRCAction) September 7, 2016
Among the confirmed guest speakers are Michele Bachmann, the Benham Brothers, Kirk Cameron, James Dobson, Reince Priebus, Rick Santorum, Todd Starnes, and members of “Duck Dynasty.”
It marks the second consecutive month in which Trump, who’s claimed he would be better on LGBT rights than Democrat Hillary Clinton, has appeared at an anti-LGBT event. On Aug. 12, the two-month anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre, Trump spoke at a gathering for evangelical pastors in Orlando.Â
Trump’s choice to attend the event makes him the first presidential nominee of either party to do so in person. In previous presidential election years, only one candidateÂ â€“ Mitt RomneyÂ â€“ gave theÂ far right wing gathering any credibility, and only by sending in a pre-recorded video.
Meanwhile, one day after Trump and Pence address the Values Voter Summit, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine will address the National Dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group. Both events are in Washington, D.C.Â
Washington BladeÂ reporter Chris Johnson writes,Â “the Republican presidential nomineeÂ will demonstrate his commitment to social conservatives seeking to undermine LGBT rights while the Democratic vice presidential nominee will address a largely LGBT audience seeking to advance and protect those rights.”Â
Trump recently gave $100,000 to the church led by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. In a statement on Saturday’s summit, Perkins said “there is a growing realization among voters that the future of our freedoms and even our identity as Americans hangs in the balance” in the November election.Â
“I am certain thatÂ Donald TrumpÂ andÂ Mike PenceÂ will underscore not only the importance of this election, but the important role conservative Christian voters have in influencing the outcome of the November election,” Perkins said. “The fact that this is the first GOP presidential ticket to attend since the Summit’s inception in 2006, demonstrates an understanding of the importance of values voters in the general election and a desire to work with them in addressing the critical issues facing our nation.”Â
This article has been updated to note Trump’s address is now Friday.
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‘Insultingly Stupid’: Trump’s Move to Toss Out Classified Docs Case Torn Apart by Experts
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.”
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.”
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.”
Arrested Again: Ex-FBI Informant and GOP Former Star Witness Alexander Smirnov
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.”
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.”
Politico’s Kyle Cheney posted the arrest warrant. See it below or at this link.
JUST IN: Alexander SMIRNOV, the former FBI informant charged with feeding false info about the Bidens, has been rearrested despite a magistrate’s release order.
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) February 22, 2024
Image: Screenshot of Smirnov with his face hidden from camera view
‘Reached His Limits’: Engoron ‘Brings the Hammer Down’ on Trump Attorney
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.”
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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