Connect with us

News

Experts Blast Chief Justice’s ‘Sham’ Leak Probe: ‘When Is an Investigation Not an Investigation?’

Published

on

Legal and political exerts are blasting the U.S. Supreme Court’s investigation that failed to determine who leaked the draft opinion in the Dobbs case that ultimately served to overturn Roe v. Wade and void the decades-old previously-constitutional right to abortion. Some, having read the Court’s report on the investigation, state it appears the Justices and their spouses were not interviewed or investigated.

In an unsigned statement Thursday the Court announced after a long investigation, “to date” it had been “unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Frank Figliuzzi, the well-known former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence and MSNBC national security analyst, served up strong contempt for the process chosen by the Court, and what he suggested was the underlying reason the investigation failed to produce the leaker.

Asked point-blank on MSNBCs “Dateline: White House” if he believes the leaker is already known to the Court, he responded with one word: “Yes.”

“Looks like maybe they didn’t want to get to the truth,” he opined.

READ MORE: Supreme Court Announces It Can’t Figure Out Who Leaked the Draft Decision of the Ruling That Overturned Roe

Noted national security attorney Mark S. Zaid, who also handles government investigation cases, says investigators did not interview or investigate the Justices or their spouses.

“Having read [the] investigative findings, I am completely struck by fact does not appear Justices (or their families) were interviewed, much less investigated,” he tweeted.

“Since bare min[imum] ‘preponderance of evidence’ was standard that could not be met w/staff, who else does that leave as leaker?” he asked.

“When is an investigation really not an investigation?” Figliuzzi also rhetorically suggested to MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace. “When you’re told what you can and can’t do, you can’t do what you need to do or talk to the people you need to talk to to solve the investigation, and, when the investigation isn’t conducted by professional investigators.”

Figliuzzi, himself an expert investigator who served as the Bureau’s chief inspector, blasted the decisions made about how the investigation would be conducted and who would conduct it.

“The U.S. Marshal Service did not conduct this investigation. This investigation was conducted by someone called the Marshal of the Supreme Court. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person. But she has no law enforcement training or experience. She’s in charge of securing the building called the Supreme Court building and its justices. That’s what she does.”

He also criticized who he says was not investigated: former clerks and current Justices.

READ MORE: ‘War Has Begun’: Ex-NOM Spokesperson Carrie Prejean Lashes Out Over Miss Universe Being Owned by Trans Woman

“If you want to do real serious leak investigation, you’re going to talk literally to every person who may have had access to whatever it is that leaked. From what we can see so far, while they may have talked one hundred people, they didn’t talk to ex-clerks. They didn’t talk to the very universe of people who may have done the leaking and then left the court,” he noticed.

“They didn’t call the FBI, because you know what would happen, then a real case would have happened. They wouldn’t have actually had the criminal process.”

“Someone stole government property, someone mishandled government records, potentially a crime. They could have had subpoenas of former clerks and former employees they would have had that leverage over them. They could have subpoenaed phone carriers and internet providers, and they could have see who was talking to whom and when, at the media platform that obtained this information,” he said, presumably referring to Politico which obtained and published the leaked draft opinion. “All of that could have been done.”

“We still have, according to The New York Times reporting today, we have no evidence that the justices themselves were interviewed.”

There was “no serious intent to get to get to the bottom of it, in my opinion,” Figliuzzi added.

Wallace at that point specified she was calling it “a sham investigation,” and then asked, “Why would a sham investigation be ordered? If Justice Alito felt that his quote assassination was possible because of the leak?”

Former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, also points to the fact, based on the report from the Marshal of the Supreme Court, that the Justices and their spouses were not investigated, and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s claim affirming the quality of the investigation.

“Kind of blows a huge hole in Chertoff’s statement that he ‘[could] not identify any additional useful investigative measures,'” Strzok wrote.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele went even further, while agreeing with Figliuzzi’s take that the Court knows who the leaker is.

“I don’t think they want to know,” he alleged, also on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.”

“I don’t think they want to know because I think they already know. I think they already know enough to know who, what, where, when and why, inside that building.”

Steele, a veteran of politics, declared, “the worst outcome here is not a judicial one. It is a political one. It is one that steeps this building, and its justices in a political vortex that they cannot escape from. Sitting at 26% approval among the American people because of the prior bad acts and opinions in how people are perceiving how this Court is operating.”

READ MORE: Trump Moves to Return to Twitter and Facebook After Being Banned Over Risk of ‘Incitement of Violence’ and to Public Safety

“You layer on top of this, someone within their own ranks, whether it was a staffer or a justice, God forbid – which I do not take off the table here – leaking this for nefarious political reasons, whether to create outcome ‘A’ or create outcome ‘B’ around this opinion, that does not create an avenue to further entrust or garner the trust of the American people.

Slate’s legal expert Dahlia Lithwick added to the conversation, “I think that the decision was taken to do this is in-house using the Marshal Service, but probably other choices could have been made, to have a different, perhaps more thorough investigation. But I think the takeaway is exactly what you just heard, that for a leak that was characterized by most of the justices as the single most shocking, egregious violation of norms like trust. It’s still being credited for destroying collegiality amongst the justices.”

“This was a nuclear bomb that went off into court. And now the answer seems to be, ‘so sad, too bad, I’m good,'” she observed. “It’s pretty amazing in light of how absolutely consequential this has been, not just for the justices amongst themselves, but for the sort of integrity and reputational interests of the court.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

‘Extremely Concerned’: School Board’s ‘Christian Values’ Candidate Search Sparks Criticism

Published

on

Wisconsin’s Cedar Grove-Belgium School District Board of Education postponed a scheduled public event to share with the community its narrowed-down list of candidates to become the next superintendent of schools after a former schools superintendent raised concerns about the process. The school board cited a “shift in the timeline” as the reason for the delay.

Retired St. Francis Superintendent Carol Topinka pointed out the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s job posting listed “Christian values” and “conservative politics” as desired characteristics for candidates to be considered by the board, as Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reports.

“Help me understand how a public school district can legally limit its hiring to people who are Christians?” Topinka wrote in an email to the Illinois-based firm hired to conduct the search for the schools superintendent, WPR reported. A friend of Topinka who applied for the job pointed out the “desired characteristics.”

“My mentee is not a Christian and is frankly gobsmacked that a public school district can blatantly and prejudicially flout the law,” Topinka wrote.

“Thanks for your email,” responded Mike Richie of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates. “That was a comment made during the focus groups and you are correct that should not have been in the report. It will be removed. Thanks.”

School Board President Chad Hoopman “said as part of the process of hiring the superintendent focus groups met and ‘any characteristic mentioned by any participant in attendance is recorded and appears on the list of traits for that particular focus group for complete transparency to any potential candidates to review.'”

An undated post on the school district’s website announcing the search states, “base salary range expected to be $140,000-$180,000 (based on experience).”

It adds, “As the district looks ahead, it seeks a leader who aligns with its values and shares a commitment to preserving the traditional principles that have made Cedar Grove-Belgium a unique and cherished educational community.”

The ACLU is raising concerns.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in the recruitment phase,” Ryan Cox, legal director with ACLU of Wisconsin told WPR. “The ACLU of Wisconsin is extremely concerned that a public body might be attempting to apply a religious test as a condition of employment, or even as a preferred ‘qualification.’”

Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Congressman Mark Pocan called it, “a complete disregard for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You can’t hire based on religion for a public position.”

Meanwhile, the chair of a Wisconsin chapter of Moms for Liberty, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled an anti-government extremist group, falsely claimed Christians are now being excluded from the search.

“In the era of woke ‘inclusive’ paganism, everyone is welcome… except for Christians,” Scarlett Johnson wrote on social media. Stating the ACLU “plans to investigate” the district “for their heresy,” Johnson added, “Imagine stating that ‘Christian Values’ in a superintendent might be good! How dare this community in Sheboygan, WI, stray from the qu-er gender-bending multicultural god to whom leftist wing radicals worship and sacrifice!”

Johnson also claimed ACLU attorneys “will investigate and deconstruct whiteness wherever they find it and look into past actions taken by the board as well.”

“Don’t worry, folks,” Johnson continued. “Christians will not have a voice in YOUR public school. The WPR and ACLU will be sure to take appropriate action. Rest easy and watch a drag show with someone else’s kids.”

 

Continue Reading

News

‘Spoiler’ Questions Swirl as Trump Says He Would Vote for RFK Jr. ‘If I Were a Democrat’

Published

on

Embracing polls and reports that claim independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could take more votes from President Joe Biden than from Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee is effectively “endorsing” RFK Jr., but only for Democratic voters.

“RFK Jr. is going to be taking away votes from crooked Joe Biden and he should because he’s actually better than Biden,” Trump says in a rambling nearly three-minute video posted to his Truth Social page. “He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden, because he’s frankly more in line with Democrats.”

Trump’s remarks come as multiple news reports and the DNC this week suggest RFK Jr. could be a “spoiler” to help Donald Trump, and as the Kennedy campaign announced it had fired a New York State staff member whose remarks suggested the goal was to “get rid” of President Biden, throw the election to the House, which, she said, would choose Trump. RFK Jr.’s campaign manager has denied that is their plan.

READ MORE: Trump-Johnson Mar-a-Lago Meet to Push Ban on ‘Non-Citizen’ Voting – Which Is Already a Felony

In his video, Trump calls RFK Jr., “the most radical left candidate in the race,” while saying, “he’s a better man than Joe Biden,” “great for MAGA,” and, “I happen to like him.” He ends the video repeating his claim: “I do believe he’s going to take a lot of votes away from crooked Joe Biden.”

Noting that “RFK Jr. sounds like Trump as he courts MAGA voters,” Axios this week reported, “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is making targeted appeals to Donald Trump supporters, pledging to “seal the border” from undocumented migrants and investigate the prosecutions of pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

UC Berkeley Professor of Public Policy Robert Reich warns, “Don’t be fooled: RFK Jr. has received funding from big Republican donors.”

“Steve Bannon urged him to run! Why? Because he’s there to play spoiler. The MAGA world knows that a vote for RFK Jr. is a vote to help Trump win, plain and simple,” he added.

Is RFK Jr. a threat to Biden?

“Election spoiler?” writes USA Today on Friday. “Seven months from the election, Kennedy has the support of 11.7% of likely voters, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polls. That doesn’t make him a serious contender to win the election. But Kennedy’s current double-digit standing is more than enough to swing outcomes in battleground states.”

READ MORE: Arizona Republicans Block Democrats’ Bills to Repeal 1864 Near-Total Abortion Ban

The Hill on Friday also asked, “Will RFK Jr. be a spoiler in November?”

“Kennedy and other independent candidates ‘certainly could be spoilers,’ conceded No Labels chief strategist Ryan Clancy, who cautioned that much could happen before November.”

Bloomberg Opinion‘s Patricia Lopez this week slammed No Labels and RFK Jr.

“Let’s Call No Labels and RFK Jr. What They Are: Spoilers,” Lopez wrote. “A rudderless third party and a nepo baby’s vanity run distort the dynamics of a pivotal election.”

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi points to a New York Times report from Wednesday: “Trump Allies Have a Plan to Hurt Biden’s Chances: Elevate Outsider Candidates.” Trippi writes: “Trump Allies, Trump Donors, MAGA Supporting Billionaire all in to make RFK Jr a Spoiler For Trump.”

The liberal Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century has repeatedly labeled RFK Jr. a “spoiler.”

“Trump is desperately trying to prop up RFK Jr.’s spoiler campaign after two straight weeks of negative headlines and zero polling bump after his running mate announcement last month,” the group said on Friday, posting a short clip of the Trump video.

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: Biden Takes Major Action on Guns Lawmakers Have Been Talking About Since Columbine

Continue Reading

News

Pro-Trump RFK Jr. Campaign Staff Member Fired for ‘Misrepresentation’: Report

Published

on

Rita Palma, a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. presidential campaign New York State staffer and pro-Trump election denier who attended the pre-insurrection January 6, 2021 rally, has been terminated for “misrepresentation,” according to multiple news outlets and the campaign.

Palma made headlines earlier this week when unearthed video of her promoting a plan to “get rid” of President Joe Biden to help elect Donald Trump went viral.

Palma was identified as the campaign’s New York State director, but RFK Jr.’s national campaign manager, Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, on social media claimed Palma is “a ballot access consultant” and distanced the campaign from Palma’s remarks, saying she was “speaking as a private citizen and her statements in no way reflect campaign strategy.”

Fox Kennedy, CNN reports, “said on Wednesday that New York campaign staff member Rita Palma was fired after she told GOP voters in a meeting last week that preventing President Joe Biden’s victory was her ‘number one priority’ and encouraged them to volunteer for former President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.”

READ MORE: Arizona Republicans Block Democrats’ Bills to Repeal 1864 Near-Total Abortion Ban

Fox Kennedy Wednesday night, in response to an RFK Jr. supporter angered by Palma’s remarks, wrote on X: “We terminated her contract for misrepresentation immediately upon seeing the longer video in which she gave an inaccurate job title and described a conversation that did not happen.”

Palma had told Kennedy supporters the goal is to use RFK. Jr. to block President Joe Biden from obtaining 270 Electoral College votes, throw the election to the Republican-majority House of Representatives, which she said would put Trump back in the White House. She also declared President Joe Biden the “enemy” of both the Trump voter and the “Bobby” Kennedy voter.

“We’re all on the same team right now, and we’ll be on the same team later, as long as Trump or Kennedy wins,” Palma said, CNN had reported. “If it’s Trump vs. Biden, Biden wins. Biden wins six days, seven days a week. With Bobby in the mix, anything can happen.”

Responding to the video, DNC Chair Jaime Harrison wrote: “As we have been saying… RFK Jr. = Trump,” and added, “They share the same donors… the same extremist agenda.”

READ MORE: ‘Bless Those Who Persecute You’: Johnson Invokes Bible Amid Greene’s Ouster Threat

Earlier this week CNN’s KFile reported Palma “previously promoted false claims that the 2020 election was rigged and attended ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies after the election, including the rally on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC, that preceded the deadly riot at the US Capitol.”

She “also repeatedly called Trump her ‘favorite president,’ according to tweets along with comments she posted on the conservative social media site Parler that have since been made private.”

On Wednesday, Vanity Fair‘s Eric Lutz wrote, “The big question here is whether Kennedy is knowingly playing into Trump narratives, or if he’s actually buying into some of this as a noted conspiracy theorist himself.”

“But whether this is gullibility or bad faith, the effect in November could be the same: to create chaos in November that could ultimately help Trump, an aspiring authoritarian, reclaim the White House. ‘RFK Jr.’s campaign isn’t building a plan or a strategy to get 270 electoral votes,’ Matt Corridoni, spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, told CNN. ‘They’re building one to help Trump return to the Oval Office.'”

READ MORE: ‘Disinformation’: Greene Pushes Pro-Putin Propaganda in ‘War on Christianity’ Rant

 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.