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‘Flying Monkeys on a Mission for the Wicked Witch’: Raskin Rips Republicans Over Impeachment ‘Inquiry’

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U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, blasted members of the House GOP at the opening of their first, televised, impeachment “inquiry” into President Joe Biden Thursday morning, declaring, “If the Republicans had a smoking gun or even a dripping water pistol, they would be presenting it today but they’ve got nothing on Joe Biden.”

Ranking Member Raskin noted the full House did not vote to hold an official impeachment inquiry, which he said violates the ruling of the Dept. of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).

Congressman Raskin, a former constitutional law professor who served as the lead prosecutor for the second impeachment of Donald Trump, told the Committee, “like flying monkeys on a mission for the Wicked Witch of the West, Trump’s followers in the House now carry his messages out to the world: shut down the government, shutdown the prosecutions. But the cultmaster has another command for his followers, which brings us here today.”

Raskin added that Republicans “don’t have the votes because dozens of Republicans recognize what a futile and absurd process this is. Now, the title of the hearing is ‘The basis for impeachment inquiry of President Joseph Biden,’ and yet they present us no basis at all today. Even after eight months of investigation.”

READ MORE: Poll Finds Majority Oppose Impeachment Inquiry as House GOP Kicks Off Hearings Two Days Before Likely Shutdown

“They’ve invited three witnesses to testify. Not one of them is an eyewitness to a presidential crime of any kind. Not one of them is a direct fact witness about any of the events related to Ukraine, and Burisma. Not one of them has participated in the eight months of investigation, in which our distinguished Chairman has publicly boasted that he received 100% of everything he asked for, and I quote, ‘every subpoena that I’ve signed as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, over the last five months, we’ve gotten 100% of what we’ve requested, whether it’s with the FBI, or with the banks, or with Treasury.'”

Raskin kicked off his remarks with remarks of Republicans attacking other Republicans for holding an “impeachment drive.”

“So let’s get it straight,” Raskin began. “We’re 62 hours away from shutting down the government of the United States of America. And Republicans are launching an impeachment drive based on a long debunked and discredited lie. No foreign enemy’s ever been able to shut down the government of the United States but now MAGA Republicans are about to do just that. But they don’t want to cut off public services to people and tonight, paychecks to more than a million service members, without first launching impeachment drive, even when they don’t have a shred of evidence against President Biden for an impeachable offense. You think I’m being harsh? Here’s what some Republicans have had to say over the last week about the actions of the Republicans, as they watch up close ‘the dysfunction caucus at work,’ in the words of our GOP colleague from Nebraska, Don Bacon, ‘clown show,’ ‘foolishness,’ ‘terribly misguided,’ ‘stupidity,’ ‘failure to lead,’ ‘lunatics,’ ‘disgraceful,’ .new low,’ ‘pathetic,’ ‘enabling Chairman Xi,’ ‘people that have serious issues,’ ‘those folks don’t have a plan,’ ‘show just how broken they are, and ‘individuals that just want to burn the whole place down.'”

“Now, if I said any of these things, they’d probably take my words down, but these are Republicans talking about Republicans. So let’s be clear. This isn’t partisan warfare America’s seeing today, it is chaotic infighting between Republicans vs. Republicans. It’s MAGA versus extreme MAGA, as if anybody in the real world could tell the difference between the two.”

“What a staggering failure of leadership. Speaker McCarthy’s invertebrate appeasement of the most fanatical elements of his conference now threatens the well-being of every American. Now some people think the members of the GOP caucus aren’t interested in anything logical. They just want to see the world burn, as Alfred Pennyworth put it in ‘The Dark Knight,’ but I see a method in the madness.”

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

“A week ago Donald Trump posted a comment saying that a government shutdown ‘is the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other patriots.’ You get it? To delay justice Donald Trump would cut off paychecks to a couple million service members and federal workers and furlough more than a million workers and pay them later for having not worked. They would halt food assistance to millions of moms and kids and keep NIH in my district from enrolling any more patients in life and death clinical research trials. Trump’s convinced if you shut the government down his criminal prosecutions on 91 different felony and misdemeanor charges will be defunded in delayed long enough to keep him from having to go before a jury of his peers before the 2024 election.”

“On August 27, he posted this edict: ‘Either impeach the bum or fade into oblivion. They did it to us.’ Of course the standard for impeachment is not whether ‘they did it to us,’ but whether the President committed treason or bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. But the Constitution is irrelevant to them. What counts is what Donald Trump wants. As Republican Representative Ken Buck, a Freedom Caucus member, told CNN the other day, President Trump has gone on his social media accounts and said we should be impeaching President Biden. Kevin McCarthy said we have an impeachment inquiry. You draw the conclusion directly or indirectly. This impeachment inquiry was a result of President Trump’s pressure.”

“So we move from a Trump-ordered government shutdown to a Trump-ordered impeachment process, and yet back into reality-based world the majority sits completely empty-handed with no evidence of any presidential wrongdoing. No smoking gun, no gun, no smoke. In fact, we have had to slide awkwardly into a House impeachment process without the benefit of the floor vote that Speaker McCarthy insisted was absolutely imperative and necessary when Donald Trump was impeached.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘I Feel a Little Bit Dumber for What You Say’: The Nine Worst Moments of the GOP Presidential Debate

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George Santos Trying to Get Plea Deal: Report

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Less than two weeks after Republicans and Democrats joined together to expel George Santos, the now-former GOP U.S. congressman is trying to arrange a plea deal to keep him out of prison.

“Santos is talking to federal prosecutors on Long Island about a plea deal, according to a newly filed court document,” ABC News reports, citing a court filing that reads: “The parties are presently engaged in plea negotiations with the goal of resolving this matter without the need for a trial.”

The former New York Republican freshman lawmaker is facing 23 charges ranging from money laundering to identity theft to theft of public funds, and lying to Congress, not to mention a damning Ethics Committee report.

READ MORE: Republicans Are Secretly Meeting With Allies of ‘Putin’s Buddy’ Orbán to End Ukraine Aid: Report

Santos has a September 2024 trial date set but federal prosecutors are trying to move that to May, according to the court filing.

On Sunday Santos hinted at a plea deal.

“Look, in the essence of everything going on, a plea is not off the table, obviously, at this point,” Santos told CBS New York’s Marcia Kramer in an interview.

Asked if he is afraid of going to jail Santos said, “I think everyone should be afraid of going to jail.”

Watch the interview below or at this link.

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Republicans Are Secretly Meeting With Allies of ‘Putin’s Buddy’ Orbán to End Ukraine Aid: Report

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Congressional Republicans are meeting in secret this week behind closed doors with allies of the far-right Christian nationalist authoritarian Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. Those allies, including from a Hungarian government agency that reportedly organized a far-right U.S. group’s conference in Budapest, are working to support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal war against Ukraine. GOP lawmakers, especially in the House but increasingly in the Senate, have been voicing strong opposition to the U.S. sending any additional funding to Ukraine.

“Members of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs and staff from the Hungarian embassy in Washington will on Monday begin a two-day event hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation thinktank,” The Guardian reports. The Heritage Foundation, once considered the premier conservative think tank, by 2016 was a pro-Trump group. Now, Heritage is behind the massive Project 2025, which aims to install tens of thousands of pro-Trump loyalists into the federal government if the ex-president re-takes the White House.

“The first day,” The Guardian explains, “includes panel speeches about the Ukraine war as well as topics such as Transatlantic Culture Wars. It is expected to feature guests including Magor Ernyei, the international director of the Centre for Fundamental Rights, the institute that organized CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) Hungary.”

Orbán, called “Putin’s Buddy” just last week by Politico, is “a strongman who cultivates close ties with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and who is widely seen as having undermined democracy and rule of law at home.”

READ MORE: ‘Ballsy Move’: Experts Praise Special Counsel for Not Playing Trump’s ‘Stupid Reindeer Games’

In other words,” wrote U.S. Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL), “Far-right Republicans are conspiring with Hungary’s extremist Russian-sympathic PM Viktor Orbán to help former KGB dictator Putin defeat democratic Ukraine. Ronald Reagan and John McCain must be looking on in utter disbelief.”

Many are outraged that Republicans will be meeting with Orbán’s allies in D.C. while refusing to publicly acknowledge their attendance at the anti-Ukraine events. To date the guest list has not been published.

National security expert, former U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), blasted the GOP’s secrecy: “A list of every representative in that meeting with Orban should be made available to the press. Public servants shouldn’t hide in the shadows— especially when discussing decisions with foreign leaders that could benefit Vladimir Putin.”

READ MORE: ‘They’re Coming After Our Children’: Watch Casey DeSantis’ Dystopian Fear-Mongering Ad

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol explained, “Heritage Foundation and Viktor Orbán are not simply against aid for Ukraine. They are against Ukraine. They hate Ukraine, because a) they’re pro-Putin, and b) they hate liberal democracy, especially one fighting to defend itself against a brutal dictator.”

National security and international law expert Eugene Vindman, a retired U.S. Army colonel whose twin brother made national headlines when he blew the whistle on Donald Trump and was mercilessly targeted for his actions, blasted both the Hungarian prime minister and the GOP: “Viktor Orbán is actively interfering in domestic politics and colluding with extremist republicans to help Vladimir Putin. This is dangerous. Republicans must stop putting Putin ahead of U.S. national security interests.”

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‘Ballsy Move’: Experts Praise Special Counsel for Not Playing Trump’s ‘Stupid Reindeer Games’

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Legal experts are applauding Special Counsel Jack Smith’s move to “leapfrog” a Trump effort to delay his D.C. case by claiming he has immunity from prosecution and appealing the decisions by asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on that major question.

Trump is claiming he cannot be prosecuted for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election because he was president at the time, and is also claiming he cannot be prosecuted because he was impeached nay the House but not convicted by the Senate.

Legal experts and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan have declared Trump is not immune from prosecution for criminal acts, with Judge Chutkan writing: “Defendant’s four-year service as Commander in Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.”

READ MORE: Clarence Thomas Vehemently Objects to LGBTQ Conversion Therapy Case Denial by SCOTUS

On Monday the Special Counsel appeared to have short-ciircuited Trump’s delay tactic by asking the Supreme Court to rule on this question: “Whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin.”

“It is hard for Trump to logically object to Smith’s request today for expedited Supreme Ct review since it is Trump who is claiming he [should] not be subject to the indictment at all,” writes former FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann, a popular MSNBC legal analyst. “Expedited review only helps alleviate that harm, if he is correct (which he is not).”

Weissmann adds, “Note newest Smith team member: the storied appellate lawyer Michael Dreeben. Argued over 100 cases in Supreme Court, and was head appellate lawyer on SC Mueller team.”

“This is a really ballsy move,” declared former U.S. Attorney and Deputy Asst. Attorney General Harry Litman. “And who is Michael Dreeben? He plays a similar role in Mueller investigation but he was a very long time Deputy Solicitor General and probably the most respected Supreme Court advocate on criminal issues in the Dept.”

READ MORE: ‘They’re Coming After Our Children’: Watch Casey DeSantis’ Dystopian Fear-Mongering Ad

Steve Vladeck, the national security attorney and professor of law, adds, “if I were taking a criminal procedure issue to the Court, there’s no one I’d want as my special counsel *more* than Michael Dreeben.”

He also explains, “The bottom line of Jack Smith’s #SCOTUS filing is that he wants to ensure, one way or the other, that the issue of Trump’s constitutional immunity from the January 6-related prosecution is conclusively resolved by the end of the Supreme Court’s *current* term (i.e., June 2024).”

This is exactly the right move,” announced noted constitutional law scholar and Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe.  “And SCOTUS should agree to leapfrog the DC Circuit, just as it did in the Nixon tapes case. The issue is purely legal and delay hurts the country.”

Former 30-year federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, now an NBC News/MSNBC legal analyst sums up the Special Counsel’s move: “Unwilling to play Trump’s stupid reindeer games, Jack Smith takes the reins and seeks an expedited answer from the Supreme Court on Trump’s baseless claim that he is above the law and can’t be prosecuted for his crimes.”

Watch Weissmann’s explanation of Smith’s move below or at this link.

READ MORE: Jobs Report Forces Fox News to Admit Biden Economy ‘A Lot Stronger Than Anybody Understands’

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