Law professor and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance is warning Republicans, namely GOP presidential candidates, to think twice before going all-in on defending Donald Trump. The ex-president announced just hours ago announced he has been informed he is a “target” in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigation into his alleged actions attempting to overturn the 2020 election, including the events surrounding the January 6 insurrection.
Trump has not been arrested or indicted, although he said he fully expects to be shortly.
There is no indication any charges have been filed, so no one knows what those charges will be – assuming Trump is indeed indicted at some point. And yet GOP politicians, especially House Republicans, are flocking to microphones, cameras, and social media to defend the likely soon-to-be charged again former president.
Also rushing to defend the ex-president is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is currently Trump’s top challenger – although in second place by 26 to 40 points according to some polls.
DeSantis, who holds a Harvard law degree and was a Navy JAG lawyer, falsely characterized Trump’s actions as he rushed to defend the ex-president on Tuesday – despite not even knowing what the likely charges will be.
“Criminal charges is not just because you may have done something wrong, it’s did you behave criminally, and I think what we’ve seen in this country is an attempt to criminalize politics and to try to criminalize differences,” DeSantis told reporters in South Carolina (video below).
“DeSantis,” USA Today reports, “then repeated his belief that the FBI and Department of Justice have been politicized and ‘weaponized.'”
“Responding to a follow up question about whether ‘Trump’s actions were wrong on Jan. 6,’ DeSantis said: ‘I think it was shown how he was in the White House and didn’t do anything while things were going on, he should have come out more forcefully, of course.'”
“But to try to criminalize that, that’s a different issue entirely and I think that we want to be in a situation where you don’t have one side just constantly trying to put the other side in jail,” DeSantis added, appearing to falsely suggest that Democrats are attempting to prosecute and jail Republicans.
Trump ran his 2016 campaign in large part on a “lock her up” theme, as he denounced Hillary Clinton for what he claimed was criminal mishandling of classified documents. Trump is currently facing 37 federal charges, 31 of which are for violating the Espionage Act by allegedly mishandling classified documents.
“Prediction,” Vance, who is also an MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst, wrote via social media. “Jack Smith evidence, or what we see of it in his indictment, will be much stronger than people are anticipating. GOP presidential contender who continue to shill for Trump will be forced to do an about face, perhaps not immediately, but it’s coming.”
Watch DeSantis below or at this link.
“I think what we’ve seen in this country is an attempt to criminalize politics.”
— Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) reacts to Trump claiming he was informed about being a target in the DoJ’s January 6th investigation. pic.twitter.com/6UbPcep4Ll
— The Recount (@therecount) July 18, 2023
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Kremlin Using GOP in Plot to ‘Tear Down’ Biden is ‘Scandal of Historic Proportions’: Miller
Special Counsel David Weiss’ allegation that a former FBI informant was fed anti-Biden propaganda from the Kremlin and laundered it to congressional Republicans who then used it to launch an impeachment investigation into President Joe Biden is a “scandal of historic proportions” says former Republican political strategist Tim Miller.
Reminding MSNBC viewers that the bombshell news is really a story about election interference, Alicia Menendez on Wednesday’s “Deadline: White House” turned to Miller.
“This is now coming from inside the House of Representatives, inside the Republican conference within the House of Representatives,” said Miller, a former Jeb Bush communications director who now writes for The Bulwark.
Calling it “an unprecedented and really historic kind of moment,” Miller explained, “what we have here is an impeachment inquiry – we’ve not had that many of those, an impeachment investigation going against the President of the United States, premised on totally false information that allegedly was sourced from Russian intelligence, that was sourced from our foe.”
The premise of the House Republicans’ impeachment investigation was based on “frankly, kind of preposterous information,” Miller observed, “like this notion that Joe Biden took $5 million and had some web of bank accounts that were, that was so complex that it would take 10 years to unravel, that was one of Smirnov’s claims.”
Alexander Smirnov, Politico reported Tuesday evening, is the “former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company.” Smirnov “had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in a court paper Tuesday.”
“Like it’s kind of laughable at the face,” Miller continued, “right, like this notion that the American CIA could not have uncovered this but that [Republican U.S. Reps.] Elise Stefanik and Byron Donalds could. you know, it was a preposterous accusation.”
Miller blasted “Republicans in the House” for pushing “this false information about the sitting president, and become tools in a foreign power, in a foe’s effort to interfere in our elections, to tear down the sitting President of the United States, to prop up his rival, and it is you know … this is a scandal of historic proportions.”
“I’d just like to put it in context: It’s akin to, you know, imagine if during the Cold War in the 80s, the Soviets had trumped up some fake information about Ronald Reagan being on the take and [Democratic Speaker] Tip O’Neill and the Democratic House had opened up an inquiry and investigation into it, that would be something that would be echoing and, you know, it would be talked about in conservative media 40, 50 years later. And so the fact that this is happening now, that there’s one party that is complicit in this, I don’t think the significance can be understated.”
Watch below or at this link (segment starts at 14:25).
Nikki Haley: Frozen Embryos Are ‘Babies’
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley is siding with a first-of-its-kind ruling that decrees frozen embryos are human beings.
On Tuesday the Alabama Supreme Court decreed that frozen embryos, used for in-vitro fertilization (IVF), are people.
“‘Unborn children are ‘children’ … without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristics,’ Justice Jay Mitchell wrote in Friday’s majority ruling by the all-Republican court,” The Associated Press reported. “Justices, citing anti-abortion language in the Alabama Constitution, ruled that an 1872 state law allowing parents to sue over the death of a minor child ‘applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location.'”
Haley, the former Trump administration UN Ambassador and former Governor of South Carolina, made her remarks ahead of the South Carolina presidential primary, where she is behind in a recent poll by about 28 points.
“I mean, embryos to me are babies,” Haley told NBC News.
Asked if that includes “those created through IVF,” Haley replied, “I mean, I had artificial insemination. That’s how I had my son. So when you look at you know, one thing is to save sperm or to save eggs. But when you talk about an embryo you are talking about, to me, that’s a life, and so I do see where that’s coming from.”
When asked about the practical implications of declaring embryos human beings, Haley appeared to not want to go into the legal aspects, or discuss how it would affect women who need the embryos to conceive. She instead focused her remarks on her own artificial insemination experience, saying these decisions are very personal.
When pressed by NBC News’ Ali Vitali (video below), Haley said she had not seen any legislation on the topic.
The Alabama Supreme Court ruling quickly threw into question the right and ability of women and couples to use IVF to conceive.
One Alabama university quickly paused its IVF program. The Guardian reports it “says [the] state’s supreme court ruling could expose doctors and patients to criminal charges.”
“On Wednesday, spokesperson Savannah Koplon told the Guardian on behalf of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a research university and academic medical center that is also the largest healthcare provider in the state, that the institution was ‘saddened that this will impact our patients’ attempt to have a baby through IVF, but we must evaluate the potential that our patients and our physicians could be prosecuted criminally or face punitive damages for following the standard of care for IVF treatments.'”
The Biden campaign immediately jumped on Ambassador Haley’s remarks, posting a short clip to social media, and writing: “Haley says she supports the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling threatening IVF access for women, made possible by Trump ending Roe: Embryos, to me, are babies.”
Watch the full NBC News video below or at this link.
MAGA Is a ‘Russian Intel Op’: Experts Respond to Allegation GOP Using Kremlin Propaganda
Legal and political experts are responding to Special Counsel David Weiss’ allegations that a former top FBI informant, now under federal indictment, had, as one reporter explained, “high-level contact with Russian intelligence operatives,” and fed Republicans falsehoods from the Kremlin which they used to attack the Biden family and to try to build a case to impeach President Joe Biden.
“How many intel and legal findings and counter-espionage cases before people are willing to accept that the entire MAGA movement is a Russian intel op?” asks David Rothkopf, the noted foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author.
The bombshell allegations from the Special Counsel, a U.S. Attorney nominated by then-President Donald Trump, were published in his legal memo asking a judge to detain Alexander Smirnov, the defendant and former FBI confidential human source.
“Russia has fully infiltrated the Republican party. Nice going traitors,” alleged Richard Signorelli, a former Asst. U.S. Attorney at the Southern District of New York office. He added: “Trump & @SpeakerJohnson et al are Putin’s ‘useful idiots.'”
U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY), an attorney who served as the lead counsel for the first Trump impeachment, wrote: “The Comer/Jordan impeachment sham appears to have been a Russian intelligence operation from the start. The only remaining question is whether Rs were witting or unwitting agents of Putin in their desperate quest to get Trump reelected. Will the GOP continue to work for Putin?”
The Comer/Jordan impeachment sham appears to have been a Russian intelligence operation from the start.
The only remaining question is whether Rs were witting or unwitting agents of Putin in their desperate quest to get Trump reelected.
Will the GOP continue to work for Putin? pic.twitter.com/erzG7b54sU
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) February 21, 2024
Former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman, a frequent MSNBC commentator, points to a passage from the DOJ’s memo: “More from DOJ motion re Smirnov: ‘the misinformation he is spreading is not confined to 2020 …He is actively peddling new lies that could impact U.S. elections after meeting with Russian intelligence officials in Nov.'”
“This guy made be the sole reason for R’s Burisma obsessions,” Litman says.
Litman continues: “DOJ to court: ‘Smirnov transformed his routine & unextraordinary business contacts with Burisma in 2017 and later into bribery allegations against [Joe Biden] and [Hunter Biden], after expressing bias against Joe Biden.’ Was the entire R Burisma obsession based on phony intel?”
He adds: “And the big plot point to the Smirnov revelations from [Special Counsel David Weiss] is that the misinformation that Republicans have gone running — in fact galloping with –originates with, you guessed it, Russian intelligence. i.e part of overall Putin misinformation campaign that so distorted 2016.”
Attorney Blake Rutherford, in a social media post “retweeted” by attorney George Conway, wrote: “At what point will the broader American press, and I mean producers, editors, and publishers, wake up to very real fact that Russian propaganda is being normalized in today’s @GOP. They are all useful idiots. Putin knows it.”
Republican turned independent Tim Miller, a political strategist and author at The Bulwark, takes a look at recent events:
“To sum up: RUS/Putin have invaded their neighbor, assassinated the biggest domestic political threat, coopted one of the right’s biggest media stars, and seeded a fabricated story about the US President that was echoed by GOP congressional leadership & rightwing media en masse.”
But even before the Special Counsel’s allegations against the indicted former FBI informant, some were growning increasingly aware of Russia’s alleged penetration into the GOP.
Former Trump White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah Griffin, now a co-host on “The View,” last week wrote: “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Russia is winning the information war within the US. GOP politicians – who know better – are amplifying Kremlin garbage. We are in deep, deep trouble.”
Watch the video above or at this link.
Image via Mike Johnson/X
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