A federal judge in Georgia Monday morning denied U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham‘s motion to quash a subpoena from the Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Politico’s Kyle Cheney was first to report the development.
“Senator Graham has direct personal knowledge of conversations with Georgia election officials which have been the subject of public dispute as to the nature of his inquiries and requests, including any implicit or overt suggestions to discard ballots or otherwise alter the election results,” U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May writes.
Quoting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Judge May notes that “the District Attorney described Senator Graham as a ‘necessary and material witness in [the Special Purpose Grand Jury] investigation’ not only because of his personal knowledge of the phone calls with Georgia election officials, but also because he possesses ‘unique knowledge’ concerning ‘the Trump Campaign and other known and unknown individuals involved in the multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.'”
Graham will have to prove his case if he wants to avoid testifying. As Judge May’s explanation of the arguments in the case suggests, that may prove challenging.
Judge May says in her ruling that “the Court finds that there are considerable areas of potential grand jury inquiry falling outside the Speech or Debate Clause’s protections.”
“Additionally, sovereign immunity fails to shield Senator Graham from testifying before the Special Purpose Grand Jury. Finally, though Senator Graham argues that he is exempt from testifying as a high-ranking government official, the Court finds that the District Attorney has shown extraordinary circumstances and a special need for Senator Graham’s testimony on issues relating to alleged attempts to influence or disrupt the lawful administration of Georgia’s 2022 elections.”
Because Sen. Graham asked for the subpoena to effectively be tossed out, the judge did not dive further into the merits, instead ordering the case be sent back to the Superior Court of Fulton County.
He will have to either testify or convince the court he is somehow immune from doing so.
As the judge wrote, those issues Graham will have to address include his claim “that the Speech or Debate Clause of the U.S. Constitution completely shields his testimony,” “that the doctrine of sovereign immunity protects him from testifying,” and “that the subpoena should be quashed because he is a high-ranking government official.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
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‘No Shame’: Trump Judge Overrules Special Master – Stuns Legal Experts
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday overruled the special master Donald Trump’s legal team chose and she installed, deciding to change the deadlines he set, delaying the case and DOJ’s work for months, and overruling his decisions.
Specifically, Judge Cannon ruled Trump and his attorneys do not have to make any statements to support the former president’s baseless claims that the FBI “planted” documents or other evidence.
“Judge Cannon overrules the order by her special master that would have forced Trump’s lawyers to lodge objections to the accuracy of the DOJ’s inventory, effectively forcing him to prove his ‘planting claims,'” Law & Crime managing editor Adam Klasfeld reports. “Trump doesn’t need to do that any more, she rules.”
“Upon review of the matter,” Cannon writes in her order Thursday, “the Court determines as follows. There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff [Trump] at this stage, prior to the review of any of the Seized Materials, to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents. The Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation.”
Legal experts are stunned by Cannon’s latest move.
The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal writes: “Trump Judge Cannon trying to preserve the white wing talking point without forcing Trump to prove it. She’s in too deep now. She has to ride Trump all the way and hope he wins and promotes her.”
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler says, “Judge Cannon unilaterally rewrites HER OWN deadlines to make sure that her Trumpy doesn’t have to commit until after the election. Holy hell this woman has no shame.”
Over at her site, Wheeler expands her thoughts.
“Aileen Cannon, without explaining why she was intervening, just rewrote Judge Raymond Dearie’s work plans regarding the Special Master review,” Wheeler says, calling it “an obvious power grab to ensure her own intervention doesn’t backfire on Trump.”
“With no justification (particularly given the way Dearie has ceded to multiple issues Trump has raised), and after having been scolded by the 11th Circuit for her improper claims of jurisdiction, she effectively just eliminated any claim that the Special Master Trump picked and she appointed is a neutral observer.”
“Cannon is shamelessly acting as Trump’s defense attorney. If you are a reporter, that’s what your story is. If you’re not a reporter, that’s also what your story is,” she warns. “At the very least fact check this woman.”
Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern, who has authored a book on the Supreme Court, says, “Cannon was shameless enough to overrule the special master, because she is not a real judge.
Former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and well-known MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann calls Cannon “a disgrace.”
“Oy- Judge Cannon tinkers badly with (and with typos) Judge Dearie’s scheduling order, relieving Trump of obligation to say whether docs were planted, even though she had wanted a clear inventory of what was found. She is such a disgrace.”
Highly-Anticipated J6 Committee Hearing Likely Postponed
Wednesday’s highly-anticipated hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, the first one since July, and possibly the final publicly-televised event, will likely be postponed due to Hurricane Ian which is ravaging Florida.
The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey were the first to report the postponement. MSNBC has confirmed the likely postponement.
No new date has been scheduled yet.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
Embattled Vladimir Putin Grants NSA Classified Document Leaker Edward Snowden Russian Citizenship
Snowden is best-known for leaking classified intelligence documents which he gained access to as a contractor with the National Security Agency.
The Associated Press notes that in 2020 Snowden was granted permanent residency in Russia and applied for Russian citizenship.
Putin’s move comes just days after announcing at least 300,000 more Russians would be conscripted to fight his war in Ukraine, which has been condemned worldwide. Putin and his military are accused of war crimes including rape and summary execution, looting, and bombing civilian infrastructure.
“Ukrainian forces said they found mass graves and evidence that civilians had been killed after their feet and hands were bound,” the BBC reported in July.
“In March,” the BBC added, “a Russian strike on a theatre in Mariupol appeared to be the first confirmed location of a mass killing. The word ‘children’ was written in giant letters outside the building.”
Last week in his Substack newsletter Snowden launched an attack on President Joe Biden and the CIA.
“It hasn’t been a month since President Biden mounted the steps of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, declaring it his duty to ensure each of us understands the central faction of his political opposition are extremists that ‘threaten the very foundations of our Republic,'” Snowden wrote, blasting the American President for his speech warning that Donald Trump and his MAGA Republicans are dangers to democracy, a fact supported by the hundreds of prosecutions of January 6 insurrectionists and the numerous legal and civil cases being brought against the former president.
“Congratulations to Ed Snowden who — after a recent attack conflating CIA torture and Biden — has now earned his Russian citizenship,” commented National security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler.
Investigative journalist and fellow at the New America think tank, Dave Troy has been focusing on threats to democracy. On the news Snowden is now a Russian citizen, he writes: “It’s time for us to come to grips with the fact that the Snowden, [Glenn] Greenwald, [Julian] Assange ops were all part of a years-long Russia-supported effort to upend the West.”
Snowden handed the leaked intelligence documents to journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Troy goes on to suggest Paul Manafort and Mike Flynn belong in that category as well.
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