Democrats Introduce a Bill to Pack the Supreme Court with 4 More Justices

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For the first time in decades, House Democrats have introduced a long-shot piece of legislation to increase the number of Supreme Court Justices from 9 to 13, a measure most believe is dead on arrival.

Earlier this week, President Biden signed an executive order establishing what he dubbed a ‘bipartisan’ commission to examine potential reforms to the highest court in the land. One of which includes whether to increase the number of justices benched.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, was the last President to seriously push for a Supreme Court expansion, a move blocked by the Democrat controlled Congress, after the court struck down key provisions of The New Deal.

Constitutional scholars argue increasing the number of justices would politicize the court and delegitimize its role as a nonpartisan and neutral interpreter of law. It would also set precedent for future administrations to pass legislation allowing their party to increase the number of seated justices just enough to hold an ideological majority. 6 justices appointed by Republicans currently reside in the court whereas only 3 justices who were appointed by Democrats remain.

The legislation introduced by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., would give Biden the opportunity to appoint four additional justices, i.e. giving liberals a 7-6 advantage in the court.

Senator Markey, who had been advocating for this measure for over a year, said expanding the Supreme Court is the only way to repair the judiciary.

“Adding four new seats to the Supreme Court, to be filled by President Biden, will repair the damage done by Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump,” he tweeted. “The bench will then rightly reflect the values of the majority of the American people on whose behalf they serve.”

He then likened Trump’s fulfillment of his constitutional duty to appoint justices to a “far-right” attempt to “maintain its grip on power.”

He also claims Republicans “stole two seats” in the Supreme Court. Senator Markey is referring to two of the three SCOTUS appointments made by Trump during his term. Then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denied a confirmation hearing for D.C Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, now Attorney General, after President Obama appointed him to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat. That seat was later filled by Justice Gorsuch. Trump would later appoint Justice Barrett to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away two months before the 2020 election.

Court Packing advocates claim Trump and Republican appointments undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, an argument eerily similar to that made by those who feel uneasy when the party in power threatens to appoint just enough Justices to give their ideological side an advantage in future cases.

“Nine justices may have made sense in the nineteenth century when there were only nine circuits, and many of our most important federal laws—covering everything from civil rights, to antitrust, the internet, financial regulation, health care, immigration, and white collar crime—simply did not exist, and did not require adjudication by the Supreme Court,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) wrote in a statement. “But the logic behind having only nine justices is much weaker today, when there are 13 circuits. Thirteen justices for thirteen circuits is a sensible progression, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing the Judiciary Act of 2021.”

Both liberal Justice Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have repeatedly warned against talks of court packing, fearing it would politicize the court and sow distrust in its ruling.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi came out following the bill’s announcement with less than favorable words.

“I have no intention to bring it to the floor,” Pelosi said of the proposal. However, she’s not ruling it out entirely, simply telling fellow Democrats to hold off for now. “I don’t know that that’s a good idea or a bad idea. I think it’s an idea that should be considered. It’s not out of the question,” she added.

Even if the bill made its way to the Senate, it would not even reach the floor. Democrats hold the tie breaking vote in a 50-50 split, and would need 10 Republicans to jump ship to break a Filibuster. Currently, Democrats are two votes short of ending the filibuster itself, leaving them with no options to pass this bill.

Senator Markey is also calling on fellow democrats to end the filibuster, a Senate procedural tool requiring 60 members to signal support for the legislation in order to pass it. The filibuster has, in its more than 100 year existence, been the single greatest tool for Congressional bipartisanship, all but requiring the minority party to join in on supporting any new law.

Joe Biden had previously called expanding the court a “bonehead idea” during a 1983 Senate hearing, saying “it put in question, for an entire decade, the independence of the most significant body—including the Congress in my view—the most significant body in this country, the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”

Joe Biden Established a Commission to Study Expanding the Supreme Court

Opinion | I Observed Joe Biden at Close Range for 20 Years. Here's How He  Wins—and Loses - POLITICO

On Friday, President Biden signed an executive order establishing a commission to study the effects of expanding the Supreme Court, an unpopular proposal many fear would turn the highest court into another partisan branch of government.

Biden, who purposely refused to take a public side on the issue during the 2020 campaign, again did not announce his position on the controversial issue. While on the campaign trail, instead of answering repeated requests from reporters to take a stance, then candidate Biden pledged to establish a commission to both review proposals and make a recommendation to him.

Many far-left activists have urged Biden to expand the Supreme Court after President Trump appointed his third justice – Amy Coney Barrett – in his four year term, giving conservatives a 6-3 majority. Though Chief Justice Roberts seldom sides with the other 5 Republican appointed justices in controversial issues. They fear Trump’s judicial appointments will give conservatives an advantage as future bills are argued before the court, extending their influence regardless of who’s in power.

“The Commission’s purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals,” a statement released by the White House says.

The 36 members are instructed to submit a report following their review of how our highest court functions to the White House with their analysis of positions for and against potential reform. Though people familiar with the commission have told the New York Times that no official stance by the commission will accompany said report.

“It is not clear that the commission established by Mr. Biden will by itself clarify his position. Under the White House order establishing it, the commission is not set to issue specific recommendations at the end of its study — an outcome that is likely to disappoint activists,” the Times reported.

Members will analyze potential reform proposed by politicians related to the Supreme Court, turnover rate and tenure for justices, the process of Justice selection both by the President and their confirmation by the Senate, the courts’ size, and “contemporary commentary and debate” around said reform.

In their report to President Biden, the commission must also include “an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals,” giving members the power to write into existence the motivation for a particular political view. And while the executive order does not specifically call on the commission to issue a recommendation, individual members will likely make their position known.

The commission will consist of 36 Constitutional scholars, former judges, and members of the Clinton and Obama administrations. “In addition to legal and other scholars,” the statement reads, “the Commissioners includes former federal judges and practitioners who have appeared before the Court, as well as advocates for the reform of democratic institutions and of the administration of justice.” Two members severed in the Clinton White House, and five served under Obama.

Co-Chairs Cristina Rodríguez and Bob Bauer, both served in the Obama administration. Rodriguez served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, and Bauer was Obama’s White House Counsel.

Members of both parties can be found on the commission, but members ideology is tilted in favor of Democrats.

Constitutional scholars, and Supreme Court Justices from all sides of the political spectrum, including Democrat favorites like Justice Stephen Breyer, and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have come out against court packing.

Justice Breyer argues court packing court jeopardize “the trust that the court has gradually built.”

“I hope and expect that the court will retain its authority … which was hard won. But that authority, like the rule of law, depends on trust. A trust that the court is guided by legal principle, not politics. Structural alteration motivated by the perception of political influence can only feed that latter perception, further eroding that trust,” Breyer added.

“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” Ginsburg said in 2019, “I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.”

“If anything [packing the court] would make the court look partisan,” she said, “it would be that — one side saying, ‘When we’re in power, we’re going to enlarge the number of judges, so we would have more people who would vote the way we want them to.'”

FDR was the last president to formally attempt such a policy, and was swiftly blocked by the Democrat controlled Congress. His plan would have increased the number of justices from 9, a number held constant since the mid 1800’s, to 15, after several New Deal laws were ruled unconstitutional. The number of justices has fluctuated between 5 and 10 since the court’s founding.

The commission is required to host an unspecified number of public forum discussions with outside scholars, judges, and advocates throughout the 180 day period.

Democrats Push to ‘Unseat’ GOP Congresswoman from Iowa; Reversing an Election

Hart Versus Miller-Meeks | WVIK

On November 3rd, now-Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, narrowly defeated Democrat Rita Hart by less than 50 votes in an election of 400,000. After the official recount, Miller-Meeks still came out on top, with a 6 vote margin, and was sworn in as Iowa’s 2nd Congressional Districts’ representative.

While America is almost 4 months out from the election, and Congresswoman Miller-Meeks is currently serving in the House, her challenger remains adamant that she is the rightful winner of the election, and is pushing forward with legal challenges.

Hart and he team argue 22 votes were improperly disqualified from the tally – most of the votes were for her. For whatever reason, whether it be a signature mismatch, improperly filled out forms, etc. the votes were tossed by poll workers and thus Hart argues the results should be disregarded. Because the recount only counted votes verified as legal in the original tally, the 22 ballots in question were again excluded. When the margin of victory is half a dozen, every vote matters even more.

Claiming a lack of time, Hart did not pursue retribution through the courts, rather her campaign is using another legal avenue: Congress. Under Iowa law, Hart was required to file her dispute in state court within two days after the recount totals were announced. A panel of Iowa judges would then hear her arguments, and would render a verdict by December 8th. Instead, she’s seeking a hearing from the Democrat held House of Representatives.

Under the Federal Contested Elections Act, Hart can ask the House of Representatives to review the election results, in this case determine whether the 22 votes in question were in fact lawfully cast, and possibly overturn the election entirely. It would require a majority vote in the House, which is increasingly unlikely as Democrats hold a slim 219-211 majority. All it would take is four Democrats voting against party lines for Rep. Miller Meeks to keep her seat.

According to the Wall Street Journal, three Democratic Congressmen, Dean Phillips (MN), Elissa Slotkin (MI), and Josh Gottheimer (NJ), have signaled a reluctance to unseat their colleague.

Rep. Phillips took to Twitter on Monday, urging Democrats to halt their efforts for the good of the country. “Losing a House election by six votes is painful for Democrats,” he wrote. “But overturning it in the House would be even more painful for America. Just because a majority can, does not mean a majority should.”

Before the full House can vote, the Committee on House Administration is tasked with investigating Harts allegations. They then will give a recommendation to the House at large on whether Hart should be seated, who then votes on the measure. The committee could decide by as early as Monday whether these votes were unproperly discarded, at least that’s what Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes.

“I think it’s Monday they’ll make a determination as to if these challenges meet certain criteria to go forward,” Pelosi stated.

“Now, if I wanted to be unfair, I wouldn’t have seated the Republican from Iowa,” the Speaker added. “Because that was my right on the opening day. I would have just said ‘You’re not seated.’ And that would have been my right as speaker to do. But we didn’t want to do that. We just said, ‘let’s just go through this process.'”

Republican lawmakers have criticized Hart’s decision to bypass the courts and take her case directly to Congress, where Democrats hold an advantage. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Hart “didn’t go through the court system, which was the appropriate place to go. She said I’m taking it directly to the House because that’s where she thinks she can get the outcome she desires.” Hart would have been able to challenge the decision in the House even if she lost in court, but she never officially ventured down that path.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joined his colleague from the other end of the Capitol. “Speaker Pelosi and Washington Democrats have set out trying to overturn the result from here in Congress,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Thursday.

“The voters of Iowa’s 2nd District spoke in November. Their votes were counted. Then recounted. The outcome was certified. There was the opportunity to present complaints in court, but the defeated Democrat passed it up,” McConnell added. “The process played out in the way that every liberal in America spent November, December, and January insisting was beyond question. But there’s a catch. This time, the Republican won and the Democrat lost.”

Republicans are drawing a parallel between Democrats’ response to Trump’s assertion of voter fraud and irregularities, and Harts’ claim of improper vote disqualification.

McConnell along with Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, and Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Earnest sent a joint letter to “all companies who support free and fair elections” arguing businesses who swore to withhold donations to Republicans who supported challenging the 2020 general election results should do the same to Democrats challenging Iowa’s 2nd district’s results.

They call Democrats moves challenging the results “an unacceptable to undermine a legitimate democratic process.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chair of the House Administration Committee called Republicans pushback against the investigation a “coordinated public campaign” to discredit efforts to resolve election questions.

“Republicans know how this process works – over the past 90 years the Congress has adjudicated, in a bipartisan manner, more than a hundred contested elections cases filed by Republicans and Democrats alike in races nowhere near as close as Iowa’s Second,” she said. “With that history in mind, it is profoundly disappointing some of my Republican colleagues are now painting this process as somehow nefarious.” She likened Republican rhetoric to that which she claims caused the Capitol Hill riot on January 6th.

A public Democrat effort to remove a Republican from Congress months after the election could act as a rallying point for the GOP base as we near the 2022 midterm election. With Democrat’s narrow 4 seat lead in the House and tie in the Senate, Republican efforts to paint the Democrats as power grabbers who will do anything to maintain control could push the GOP into the majority, effectively freezing the Biden administration’s legislative agenda. 

AOC, Chuck Schumer, and other Top NYS Democrats Demand Gov. Cuomo Resign Amid Growing Claims of Sexual Harassment

The Democrats who could take Cuomo's place - POLITICO

Earlier today, a seventh woman came forward accusing New York State governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. As more stories come out, many prominent Democratic officials are now calling for Cuomo to resign.

With claims ranging from unrequested sexual conversations and comments to inappropriate touching both in and out of the office, seven female former staff members and associates of the third term governor are now telling the world he crossed the line with them, creating a hostile work environment for women.

Cuomo, who apologized for “acting in a way that make people feel uncomfortable,” adding that it was unintentional and apologized during press briefing earlier this month, denies ever touching anyone inappropriately.

“Women have a right to come forward and be heard, and I encourage that fully. But I also want to be clear: there is still a question of the truth. I did not do what has been alleged, period,” he told reporters.

Earlier today, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Cuomo to resign in disgrace, tweeting “after two accounts of sexual assault, four accounts of harassment, the Attorney General’s investigation finding the Governor’s admin hid nursing home data from the legislature & public, we agree with the 55+ members of the New York State legislature that the Governor must resign.”

She called the the allegations “consistent,” “highly detailed,” and “credible.” The freshman Congresswoman also said Cuomo’s coverup of thousands of Nursing Home deaths from COVID-19 after the governor’s deadly order forcing long term care facilities to admit COVID positive patients between March and May of last year.

New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand released a joint statement saying the governor “has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York.”

“Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct. Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign,” the two senators said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman and NY Representative Jerry Nadler said “Gov. Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York. Gov. Cuomo must resign.”

118 New York State Senators and Assemblymen are calling for Cuomo to resign, more than half of which are fellow Democrats.

Despite calls from within his own party to step aside, Gov. Cuomo remains firm in his position to not resign, telling reporters that New York needs a strong leader to get the next budget completed.

Democratic Congressmen Send Letter to Cable Networks, Try to Cancel Fox News, NewsMax, OANN

Capitol riot: Democrats ask TV providers about role in spreading  misinformation

Two California Democratic Congressmen sent letters to a dozen cable news broadcaster earlier this week claiming traditionally right-leaning news networks peddle “misinformation,” and demanded to know what actions the providers intended to take to mitigate their spread.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and Congressman Jerry McNerney sent two-page letters to the CEOs of Verizon, AT&T, Apple, Roku, Amazon, Comcast, Charter Communications, Dish, Cox Communications, Altice USA, Alphabet (Google), and Hulu with overt pressuring overtones, suggesting they take punitive actions against networks who have shared what they dubbed “misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies” around the ongoing pandemic, and 2020 election.

“Our country’s public discourse is plagued by misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies,” the dually signed letter reads. “These phenomena undergird the radicalization of seditious individuals who committed acts of insurrection on January 6th, and it contributes to a growing distrust of public health measures necessary to crush the pandemic.” The House Members then frame this under a request for each company to send more information on steps they’re taking to regulate speech.

“Not all TV news sources are the same,” they wrote. “Some purported news outlets have long been misinformation rumor mills and conspiracy theory hotbeds that produce content that leads to real harm.” They go on to blame the three networking in question – Fox News, NewsMax, One America News Network (OANN) – for the January 6th violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. These networks have “led to our current polluted information environment that radicalizes individuals to commit
seditious acts and rejects public health best practices, among other issues in our public discourse.”

Experts have noted that the right-wing media ecosystem is “much more susceptible…to disinformation, lies, and half-truths.” Right-wing media outlets, like Newsmax, One America News Network (OANN), and Fox News all aired misinformation about the November 2020 elections. For example, both Newsmax and OANN “ran incendiary reports” of false information following the elections and continue to support “an angry and dangerous subculture [that] will continue to operate semi-openly.” As a violent mob was breaching the doors of the Capitol, Newsmax’s coverage called the scene a “sort of a romantic idea.” Fox News, meanwhile, has spent years spewing misinformation about American politics.

These same networks also have been key vectors of spreading misinformation related to the pandemic. A media watchdog found over 250 cases of COVID-19 misinformation on Fox News in just one five-day period, and economists demonstrated that Fox News had a demonstrable impact on non-compliance with public health guidelines. One online platform suspended and demonetized OANN’s channel online because it was spreading COVID-19 misinformation. Newsmax has amplified allegations that members of the Chinese Communist Party helped to develop the COVID-19 vaccine.

Over the course of the year, nonpolitical health officials have yo-yoed between all possible stances on COVID questions. Dr. Fauci famously went on record as both being anti-mask and pro-mask, stated vaccinations will lead to normalcy to asking vaccinated people to remain masked and socially distant after both doses, and has given multiple answers on whether to reopen schools and end lockdowns. Medical experts aren’t even giving a unified message on COVID. Most information is still subjective based on an ever changing set of available data.

More than half of the “misinformation” claims in the letter cited by Media Matter in, a left wing WatchGuard group used by Eshoo and McNerney were either ‘politicization’ of the pandemic or “emphasizing economics.” Both are heavily subjective standards.

Making an open call for stations to limit these network’s reach, the House members said, “to our knowledge, the cable, satellite, and over-the-top companies that disseminate these media outlets to American viewers have done nothing in response to the misinformation aired by these outlets.” They go on to claim the 12 targeted broadcasters played “a major role in the spread of dangerous misinformation that enabled the insurrection of January 6th and hinders our public health response to the current pandemic.”

What moral or ethical principles (including those related to journalistic integrity, violence, medical information, and public health) do you apply in deciding which channels to carry or when to take adverse actions against a channel?

Do you require, through contracts or otherwise, that the channels you carry abide by any content guidelines? If so, please provide a copy of the guidelines.

How many of your subscribers tuned in to Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on U-verse, DirecTV, and AT&T TV for each of the four weeks preceding the November 3, 2020 elections and the January 6, 2021 attacks on the Capitol? Please specify the number of subscribers that tuned in to each channel.

What steps did you take prior to, on, and following the November 3, 2020 elections and the January 6, 2021 attacks to monitor, respond to, and reduce the spread of disinformation, including encouragement or incitement of violence by channels your company disseminates to millions of Americans? Please describe each step that you took and when it was taken.

Have you taken any adverse actions against a channel, including Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, for using your platform to disseminate disinformation related directly or indirectly to the November 3, 2020 elections, the January 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection, orCOVID-19 misinformation? If yes, please describe each action, when it was taken, and the parties involved.

Have you ever taken any actions against a channel for using your platform to disseminate any disinformation? If yes, please describe each action and when it was taken.

Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on U-verse, DirecTV, and AT&T TV both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?

The Congressmen asked for broadcasters to disclose the “moral or ethic principles” used to gauge whether to air a network, implying the mere presence of these channels directly cause views to commit acts of evil.

The also asked whether the broadcasters police the speech on each channel, nudging AT&T, Comcast, and others to act more as publishers rather than the traditional non-endorsing platform cable providers are expected to be. They want to know what actions the broadcasters took after November 6th “to monitor, respond to, and reduce the spread of disinformation, including encouragement or incitement of violence by channels your company disseminates to millions of Americans,” and what actions they’ve “taken any adverse actions against a channel, including Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN, for using your platform to disseminate disinformation.”

After framing Fox, NewsMax, and OANN as the root cause of misinformation and the tragic violence of January 6th, they ask whether the broadcasters will continue to air these channels for viewers after the network’s contracts expire.

Fox fired back at the California Congressmen, saying “as the most-watched cable news channel throughout 2020, FOX News Media provided millions of Americans with in-depth reporting, breaking news coverage, and clear opinion. For individual members of Congress to highlight political speech they do not like and demand cable distributors engage in viewpoint discrimination sets a terrible precedent.”

Newsmax also responded to letter, adding, “the House Democrats’ attack on free speech and basic First Amendment rights should send chills down the spines of all Americans. Newsmax reported fairly and accurately on allegations and claims made by both sides during the recent election contest. We did not see that same balanced coverage when CNN and MSNBC pushed for years the Russian collusion hoax, airing numerous claims and interviews with Democrat leaders that turned out to be patently false.”

Cuomo Berated a New York State Democratic Assemblyman after he Condemned the Governor’s Nursing Home Policy

Cuomo said 'he can destroy me': NY assemblyman alleges governor threatened  him over nursing homes scandal - CNNPolitics

One New York State Assemblyman is openly claiming New York Governor Andrew Cuomo verbally threatened him for criticizing his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic’s early days.

According to Assemblyman Ron Kim, a long-time progressive democrat and chairman of the state’s Aging Committee, Cuomo berated Kim over the phone late at night last week for not politically supporting his pandemic response regarding nursing homes.

“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim told CNN. “we’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me.”

“Who do you think you are,” Cuomo asked Kim when he refused to back the Democratic governor.

Cuomo’s demand for loyalty comes as his aide Melissa DeRosa admitted earlier this month that the administration knowingly withheld the true COVID death toll among nursing home residents. Up until recently, the state only reported deaths occurring within nursing homes as ‘nursing home deaths’ whereas most, if not all states, classified the death of any long term care patient from COVID, regardless of whether they died in a nursing home or hospital, as a nursing home death.

This new, more in line way of reporting data caused the proportion of nursing home deaths to spike almost threefold, though it did not change the total New York death tally.

Cuomo’s administration was allegedly hiding the true data from federal investigators, a move some are calling an abuse of power.

In March, Cuomo ordered nursing homes to readmit recovering COVID patients who had not yet fully recovered or who had not yet tested negative for the virus, a move linked to up to 1,000 excess deaths in nursing homes, or 1 in 6 nursing home COVID deaths between late March and early May. The policy was rescinded in May after it became public.

Kim, among other Democrats, are calling to remove Cuomo’s emergency powers given at the start of the pandemic. Republicans in the state legislature are eyeing impeachment.

“He laid out how he was going to come out to the public and tell everyone how bad of a human being I am. And they would ruin my career. I mean, the way that he presented himself… It left my wife in tears for 2 hours,” Kim said in a Fox New interview.

Cuomo threatened to destroy his career if Kim “did not issue a statement that he can use to cover up for his top aide.”

“I believe his top aide had accidentally told the truth of the cover-up that they purposely hid life and death information from the Department of Justice in fear that the information could be weaponized against them. Now there is a web of lies and excuses why they couldn’t provide information. But sooner or later, the truth will come out. And that’s what’s happening now,” he added.

“I have told the administration, including in the private meeting, there are a number of policies that you got wrong for the last 10 months,” Kim said. “You need to own up to your mistakes, issue a public apology, create a victims compensation fund for the families who lost loved ones, repeal that stupid legal immunity that gave the worst nursing homes a get out of jail free card and a number of different policies that we should be working on to fix what you did. But they’re not interested. They’re not interested in fixing them.”

Kim’s statement during a Fox News Interview

The governor’s office had reached out to Kim several times following the first harassing call, but Kim has refused to respond.

Trump’s Legal Team Releases a Detailed Defense of the Former President against the Impending Impeachment Trial

Image result for impeachment

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team released a 14-page legal defense against the Articles of Impeachment levied against their client.

Democrats, on January 13th, along with 10 Republicans formally impeached outgoing President on the grounds that his actions directly led to supporters storming the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to certify the 2020 election. They assert “President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials,” instigating his supporters and sowing mistrust in institutions. Additionally, they claim charged language used by Trump during a January 6th rally, such as “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide” and “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore” incited the crowd into attacking Congress, leading to the murder of a Capitol Hill police officer and four other deaths.

Democrats also cite Trump’s January 2nd call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump asked the official to “find” enough votes to put him over the line of victory.

In an 8-part defense against the single charge of inciting an insurrection on January 6th, Trump’s attorneys hope to prove both Trump’s rhetoric leading up to the deadly siege on Capitol Hill and in the months following the November election was protected speech, and that it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a President who already left office.

  1. Proponents of impeachment are gunning for removal from office and disqualification of holding any future office, essentially shutting Trump out of a 2024 run. Trump’s attorneys assert because Trump is, as of January 20th, a former President, the Senate can no longer remove him from office – the only remedy for impeachment listed in the Constitution. Without a legal remedy or punishment available, there is no reason to hold a trial. The brief adds, “since removal from office… is a condition precedent which must occur before, and jointly with, “disqualification” to hold future office,” the latter cannot apply with Trump out of office.
  2. The Trump team denies the President engaged in any act of insurrection and thus the claim he’d be ineligible to hold future office under the 14th Amendment is a “moot” point.
  3. They deny Trump ever acted in violation of his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.
  4. The impeachment argued Trump’s statements criticizing the election, often calling it “stolen” and “rigged” is well within his 1st Amendment rights and falls under Constitutionally protected speech. Americans, regardless of office held, are free to express their opinions, even if they’re wrong, and there is no legal restriction on being so, as long as it’s held with a genuine belief. 45th’s counsel have taken that stance. There is no verifiable evidence of voter fraud on a scale large enough to sway any state election. However, that’s not what Trump’s lawyers assert. “Under the convenient guise of COVID-19 pandemic ‘safeguards,'” his lawyers said, “state election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures.”
  5. In point 5, Trump’s lawyers reiterate the then-President was merely stating his opinion that the election was rife with fraud during the January 6th rally proceeding the loosely related attack on Capitol Hill.
  6. They deny actions undertaken by rioters met the legal definition ‘seditious acts,’ while acknowledging the evilness of that day. Referencing other cited quotes, Trump’s lawyers say the President was ‘clearly’ telling his supporters to “fight like hell” for election security, not to physically attack the capitol or interfere with vote counting procedures. “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump said towards the tail end of his speech. In the context of general political rhetoric, Trump’s comments were no more inciteful than his Democratic and Republican colleagues. His team also asserts that electoral objections are a normal part of the congressional counting process, citing Democrats objections in 2017 and Republican objections last month.
  7. In point 7, Trump’s team steps back four days to a now infamous call between the President and Georgia’s Secretary of State. Trump, during the secretly recorded hour long conversation, asked Secretary Raffensperger to “find” enough ballots for him to win the state. They admit everything on the call was accurate and without missing context. “It is denied the word “find” was inappropriate in context,” they continue, “as the president was expressing his opinion that if the evidence was carefully examined one would ‘find that you have many that aren’t even signed and you have many that are forgeries.'” Again, being wrong is not criminal, and according to Trump’s defense team, “find” was in reference to reexamining state evidence and sorting out legal votes. They also deny Trump threatened any Georgia official.
  8. Finally, Democrats claim Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government.” Trump’s lawyers deny the claim, and deny its relevance to impeachment.

In addition to the 8 outlined points, Trump’s legal team argues the House did not act within due process as they “rushed” through impeachment without holding a single hearing.

Attorneys Bruce Castor and David Scheon, representing the 45th President, are not his first set of legal counsel. His original defense team quit mere days ago after an internal battle over whether to approach this case by attacking the impeachment’s constitutionality or whether to argue Trump’s claims of voter fraud were not factually incorrect. Trump, obviously, wanted the latter while his team insisted on the former, leading to a last minute shake up.

Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate is scheduled for Tuesday, February 9th.

Biden Team is Requesting Questions from Journalists ahead of Briefings; Press Core told to ‘Push Back’

8 Things to Know About Jen Psaki, Biden's Press Secretary | Vogue

Members of Biden’s communications team have solicited several members of the White House press pool for questions they intend to ask during that days’ press briefings.

Reporters at the Daily Beast learned several members of the White House Correspondence Association (WHCA) brought up these concerns during an off-the-record internal Zoom call last Friday.

“According to three sources with knowledge of the matter, as well as written communications reviewed by The Daily Beast, the new president’s communications staff have already on occasion probed reporters to see what questions they plan on asking new White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki when called upon during briefings.”

Journalists were understandably “pissed” with such requests as providing material ahead of a press conference would give Psaki unearned purview of what will be asked and gives her the opportunity to prepare statements for each briefing. WHCA members on Friday’s call feared such activity would hint towards the “perception” of “coordination” between the administration and the media, lending more credence to assumed left wing bias in the establishment media.

Reporters were told not to comply with such demands or to ignore any communication around such topics. “Leaders at the meeting advised print reporters to push back against requests by the White House press team to learn of questions in advance, or simply to not respond to the Biden team’s inquiries,” the Daily Beast continued.

“While it’s a relief to see briefings return, particularly with a commitment to factual information, the press can’t really do its job in the briefing room if the White House is picking and choosing the questions they want,” one White House correspondent said. “That’s not really a free press at all.”

“It pissed off enough reporters for people to flag it for the [WHCA] for them to deal with it,” another knowledgeable source said.

‘Let me circle back to that’ has become Psaki’s unofficial catchphrase after many viewers online noticed she sometimes comes unprepared for questions.

The White House has not denied soliciting questions ahead of pressers from members of the WHCA. Rather, they claim it’s all done in an effort to foster a better relationship between the communications team and the media. They hope to avoid situations where Psaki has to “circle back,” so viewers and readers can get relevant information promptly.

“Our goal is to make the daily briefing as useful and informative as possible for both reporters and the public,” a White House spokesperson told the Daily Beast. “Part of meeting that objective means regularly engaging with the reporters who will be in the briefing room to understand how the White House can be most helpful in getting them the information they need. That two-way conversation is an important part of keeping the American people updated about how government is serving them.”

According to some insiders, these off the record and impromptu meetings between media members and White House communications officials, or gaggle sessions, were common practice during previous administrations. Reporters and communications staffers would discuss general topics ahead of major press briefings, but White House officials usually restrained themselves from asking for specific questions.

The most apparent issue with the Press Secretary knowing questions ahead of time is selection bias. If Psaki doesn’t like a questions, she might not call on them.

NY Attorney General Accuses Cuomo of Covering up 4,000 COVID Deaths from Nursing Homes; Cuomo’s Response: ‘Who Cares?’

Republican leaders call for resignations of Cuomo, Zucker after nursing  home report | WRGB

After months of being lauded by the media for his response to New York’s coronavirus outbreak, a new report by the state’s Attorney General claims that not only did NY Governor Andrew Cuomo cover up the number of nursing home deaths, but his policies may have directly resulted in the state’s unnecessarily high death count.

Earlier this week, NYS Attorney General Letitia James released a detailed report detailing how the state undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by nearly 50%.

According to the New York Times, James “reported on Thursday morning that Mr. Cuomo’s administration had undercounted coronavirus-related deaths of state nursing home residents by the thousands.”

Up until now, New York State only included nursing home resident deaths occurring inside nursing homes as ‘nursing home deaths.’ Residents who contracted COVID-19 inside a nursing home, but sadly died in a hospital or anywhere offsite were not counted.

“Health Department officials made public new data that added more than 3,800 deaths to their tally,” the NY Times added, “representing nursing home residents who had died in hospitals and had not previously been counted by the state as nursing home deaths.”

The Associated Press detailed Cuomo’s secrecy around nursing home deaths back in August, acknowledging this led “to speculation the state is manipulating the figures to make it appear it is doing better than other states and to make a tragic situation less dire.” The numbers being reported seemed too fishy and too low to be complete.

Total nursing home deaths were believed to be just shy of 9,000 statewide. Following the publishing of James’ report, NY Health Commissioner Howard Zucker released a revised death count. NY Department of Health now estimates 12,743 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19 as of January 19th, representing 30% of state deaths.

State directives may have been a contributing factor to this high death toll. “A New York state mandate [required] nursing homes to accept those recovering from COVID-19, even if they still might be contagious,” NBC reported back in April. On March 25th, Cuomo’s health department required nursing homes to admit recently recovered COVID patients, possibly exposing still contagious individuals to the most vulnerable population.

As of May, 2020, 6,300 recovering COVID patients were sent back into nursing homes. Cuomo’s directive was reversed in early May after widespread outcry. The Governor lied on multiple occasions about the nature of this directive, enough for even CNN to fact check his statements.

Few regular network news viewers would tell you they haven’t seen Cuomo’s daily Coronavirus briefings and PowerPoints broadcasted from Albany. The governor’s daily presentations were so popular among media pundits and left wing viewers that Cuomo actually won an Emmy for them.

While the media gawked at the supposedly “facts first” messaging, New York was ravished. By early April, 1,000 New Yorkers were dying each day from Coronavirus related complications. No other state, even at their worst, has come close to that number. California’s worst day saw no more than 750 deaths; Texas maxed out below 500. Florida, a state criticized by every major outlet for allegedly botching their response, never surpassed 300 COVID-19 deaths a day.

On a per capita basis, New York, which experienced a cumulative 2,238 deaths per million residence is the second worst state, behind only New Jersey with 2,416 deaths per million residents. Florida, the media’s punching bag, is ranked 26th with 1,227 deaths per million residents. Every death is tragic, even one is too many, but it’s clear some states handled their response better than others.

When confronted Friday about AG James’ new report during his Emmy winning daily briefings, Cuomo gave a dismissive and unsympathetic response, telling journalists “who cares” about getting the number of nursing home deaths correct.

“If you look at New York state, we have a lower percentage of deaths in nursing homes than other states,” Cuomo said after reporters brought up the report.

“A third of all deaths in this nation are from nursing homes. New York state, we’re only about 28 percent — only — but we’re below the national average in number of deaths in nursing homes.”

“But who cares — 33 [percent], 29 [percent] — died in the hospital, died in a nursing home? They died.”

His uncaring response led many on social media to share their stories of loved ones who died in NY nursing homes.

Texas Federal Judge issues ‘Temporary Restraining Order’ against Biden Administrations Deportation Moratorium

ICE arrests more than 280 at Texas business, biggest workplace immigration  raid in a decade

Biden faced his first judicial loss as President earlier this week when a federal judge in Texas blocked the administration’s attempt to halt most deportations for 100 days.

As part of Biden’s Day 1 stack of 17 executive actions, more than any recent administration, the President ordered state and federal law enforcement to suspend the deportation of most illegal immigrants. However, recent arrivals and unlawful immigrants accused of terrorism can still be removed. According to CNN, “the Biden moratorium covers most deportations but excludes individuals who came to the US after November 1, are suspected of terrorism or espionage or pose a danger to national security, have waived rights to remain in the US or who’ve been determined removable by the acting director, according to an agency memo.”

A DHS news release claimed the cessation of deportations was made “to ensure we have a fair and effective immigration enforcement system focused on protecting national security, border security, and public safety.”

Within days, the Texas attorney general Ken Paxton filed suit in a Southern Texas district court asking for an injunction against the order. “On its first day in office, the Biden Administration cast aside congressionally enacted immigration laws and suspended the removal of illegal aliens whose removal is compelled by those very laws. In doing so, it ignored basic constitutional principles and violated its written pledge to work cooperatively with the State of Texas to address shared immigration enforcement concerns,” the Paxton stated.

In the Trump administration’s final days, Texas and the DHS came to an agreement where the DHS will consult with Texas on any future changes to immigration enforcement. Texas primarily sued on those grounds.

On Tuesday Judge Drew Tipton, a Trump appointee, ordered a 14-day delay of implementation for Biden’s controversial executive order.

Tipton did not rule on Texas’ agreement with the DHS as it’s “of such gravity and constitutional import that they require further development of the record and briefing prior to deciding their merits,” rather he issued a temporary restraining order against the administration under the “Administrative Procedural Act.” The same act used by Justice Roberts to strike down Trump’s attempt to end DACA.

“Paxton argued the state would face financial harm if undocumented immigrants were released into the state because of costs associated with health care and education, and said the moratorium would also lure others to come to Texas,” according to the Texas Tribune.

According to Tipton, plaintiffs are entitled to such relief when their case is likely to prevail in court, and when there’s a “substantial threat of irreputable harm” to the plaintiff. The harm must outweigh any harm to the defendant and the TRO cannot disserve the public interest.

“Texas argues that ‘the categorical refusal to remove aliens ordered removable will encourage additional illegal immigration into Texas,’ thereby exacerbating its public service costs. Such injury is not, as a legal matter, purely speculative,” Tipton added. “The Court finds that the foregoing establishes a substantial risk of imminent and irreparable harm to Texas.”

Outraged over the ruling, Kate Huddleston, an attorney for the ACLU of Texas, who filed a brief siding with the administration, said “Paxton sought to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by attempting to baselessly suppress votes; now he is attempting to force the Biden administration to follow Trump’s xenophobic policies. The administration’s pause on deportations is not only lawful but necessary to ensure that families are not separated and people are not returned to danger needlessly while the new administration reviews past actions.”

Internal emails circulating through Houston’s ICE office show officials were initially confused over the executive order’s extent and intent. In one email thread, officers were ordered to “release them all, immediately. No sponsor available is not acceptable any longer.”

That command was retracted the following day, stating “high risk detainees” are still subject to deportation.