Justice Dept. Objects to Releasing Affidavit Used for Trump Search

The Justice Department said Monday it opposes the release of an FBI affidavit justifying a search warrant used to remove documents from former President Trump’s home in Florida last week.

Though the department asked a federal court to release the search warrant last week, it said in a filing that the affidavit “presents a very different set of considerations.”

“There remain compelling reasons, including to protect the integrity of an ongoing law enforcement investigation that implicates national security, that support keeping the affidavit sealed,” according to the filing in federal court in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Justice Department also said the affidavit — typically a road map of an investigation — includes “highly sensitive information about witnesses, including witnesses interviewed by the government.”

The department was responding to a request filed by the conservative group Judicial Watch and some media organizations seeking the release of all materials related to the unprecedented search of a former president’s residence, which resulted in the seizure of 11 sets of classified documents.

In the week since the search on Trump’s property, some Republican lawmakers have called for the release of the document and Senate Intelligence Committee leaders made a bipartisan request over the weekend to the government for members to privately access the classified documents.

Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Last week, a Florida judge released the search warrant and a list of materials seized during the search after a request from the Justice Department that Trump didn’t oppose. But the underlying affidavit would reveal the most extensive information used to justify the action, possibly including sources used by FBI agents and details about the documents and classified information.

Releasing an affidavit at this stage of an investigation would be highly unusual and require the approval of a federal judge. Unlike the warrant itself and the seizure receipt, which the FBI gave to Trump’s lawyer during the search and Trump was free to share, the former president wouldn’t have seen a copy of that document.

“There is simply no alternative to sealing that could ensure the integrity of the government’s investigation and that would prevent the inevitable efforts to read between the lines and discern the identities of certain individuals, dates or other critical, case-specific information,” the Justice Department said in the filing.

It isn’t possible to make a redacted version of the affidavit public because the redactions would be “so extensive as to render the document devoid of content that would meaningfully enhance the public’s understanding of these events,” the department said.

The FBI’s seizure of classified material from Trump has thrown U.S. politics into turmoil, and court filings revealed the former president may be under investigation for mishandling government records and potentially compromising national security information.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Trump Says FBI Raided Mar-a-Lago

Former president Donald Trump said Monday the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a statement.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before,” he added, claiming that the FBI even broke into his safe.

The former president then compared the raid to Watergate, saying, “What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.”

Trump did not state what the agents were searching for, and reports indicate he was not in Florida at the time of the raid.

The raid happened in the morning and the FBI agents brought a “safe cracker” to break into a “relatively new” safe on the property, a source told Fox News.

Two anonymous sources familiar with the investigation told the New York Times that the raid was related to classified documents Trump had taken out of the White House after his presidency.

“Investigators visited Mar-a-Lago in recent months to speak to Trump’s attorneys about material taken from the White House. Trump’s attorneys showed investigators documents, though it’s unclear which ones & how many. Trump was present on property at time of visit,” according to an anonymous source cited by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Agents scoured the property and looked for documents and boxes without looking at them on the property, according to Fox.

Click here to read the full article at the National Review

They Keep Trying, Keep Failing to Actually Nab Donald Trump for Criminality

Like a Road Runner cartoon, the pursuit of Donald Trump is unending, noisy, and repeatedly running off the edge of a cliff.

The January 6th committee concluded its hearings in July with a thundering failure to present any of the long-promised evidence that Trump had committed a crime. But then another box of Acme explosives arrived in the form of subpoenas from the Biden administration’s Department of Justice, just in time to fill the newspapers, airwaves and internet with reports about the coming this-time-we’ve-got-him.

A check of online headlines Thursday found CNBC trumpeting, “Trump likely to be criminally charged in DOJ election probe along with other former White House officials,” and CNN splashing, “Exclusive: Trump lawyers in talks with Justice Department about January 6 probe.” Next to the story was a video clip of Rep. Liz Cheney with the caption, “I think he’s guilty.”

CNN cited “sources familiar with the matter” for its report that Trump’s legal team was communicating with Justice Department officials, “the first sign of talks between the two sides as the criminal probe into January 6, 2021, accelerates.”

CNBC’s story that Trump is “likely” to face criminal charges had no sources other than pure speculation by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who made the comments on a Sirius satellite radio program. “I think ultimately you’re probably going to see the president, former president of the United States indicted,” the former Obama administration official said, while admitting that he had not yet seen any evidence that would justify it. However, Holder was confident that as “more evidence is elicited, you will see people start to cut deals.”

A week earlier, the New York Times had breathlessly reported that the Justice Department’s “investigation into a central element of the push to keep Mr. Trump in office – the plan to name slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump in battleground states won by Mr. Biden — now appears to be accelerating as prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington ask witnesses about Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle.” The report was sourced to a “person familiar with the testimony.”

But here’s where the story runs off the cliff: Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin have introduced a bill to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the law on Electoral College procedures that was the basis for the Trump team’s plan. The fact that the senators are proposing to change the law to prevent what Trump tried to do is itself evidence that what Trump tried to do is within the law.

That’s not the evidence Liz Cheney promised to show everybody, but there it is.

The proposed Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act follows months of work by the majority staff of the Committee on House Administration. In January, the staff produced a dense 35-page report — 191 footnotes — on the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and proposals for reforming it. Among the recommendations: “narrowing the vice president’s role at the count.”

Here’s another one: “narrowing states’ ability to appoint electors after Election Day.”

There are more recommendations for changes, such as “enacting new counting rules” and raising the minimum number of lawmakers required to object to counting a state’s electoral votes. The staff report concludes, “Taken together, these reforms would end any ambiguity about the timing of presidential elections, clarify Congress’s role at the count, and constrain Congress in future controversies.”

The Electoral Count Act of 1887 is wildly complicated, as is the history of how it came to be. But you don’t have to know the fine points of the “safe harbor” provision to see that if Congress is trying to change the law so no one can do what President Trump tried to do, then what President Trump did wasn’t a crime.

It wasn’t unlawful to seek alternate slates of electors, or to talk to members of Congress and U.S. senators about raising objections to accepting the votes of some states, or to talk to state officials about how many ballots may have been illegally counted because they were cast too early or too late.

“President Trump’s campaign argued that 3 U.S.C. Section 1 [setting a single, uniform Election Day] prohibits states from undertaking certain election-related acts prior to or after Election Day, such as receiving or processing mail ballots,” the committee staff report explains, “Congress should clarify that 3 U.S.C. Section 1 does not restrict states from permitting acts and procedures of that kind.”

Until Congress actually does clarify it, there is nothing criminal about questioning the legality of mail ballots that were accepted past a state’s legal deadline (as in Pennsylvania) or in an illegal drop box (as in Wisconsin). It wasn’t criminal to have a rival slate of electors in case a state legislature could be convinced to appoint them, or to ask the vice president to do what the newly revised law would prohibit in the future.

Nonetheless, the show must go on. On Thursday, Liz Cheney released a video of her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, denouncing former President Trump with the ridiculous statement, “In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual that was a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.”

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Trump’s Political Vulnerabilities Mount

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa — Stunning new revelations about former President Trump’s fight to overturn the 2020 election have exposed growing political vulnerabilities just as he eyes another presidential bid.

A former White House aide last week described Trump as an unhinged leader with no regard for the safety of elected officials in either party as he clung to power on Jan. 6, 2021. The testimony from the congressional panel investigating the Capitol attack provided a road map for prosecutors to potentially charge Trump with a crime, some legal experts say.

Republican voters — and Trump’s would-be rivals in the 2024 presidential race — took notice.

Here in Iowa, the state expected to host the first presidential nominating contest in roughly 18 months, several voters signaled Thursday that they were open to another presidential candidate even if Trump were to run again. Nationally, some conservative media outlets issued scathing rebukes of the former president, and aides for multiple GOP presidential prospects indicated, publicly and privately, that they felt increasingly emboldened to challenge Trump in 2024 after the explosive new testimony.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, drew roughly 350 conservative activists to a congressional fundraising barbecue on Thursday in Sioux County, where Trump won 82% of the vote in 2020.

There was ample evidence of Trump fatigue. Interviews with a dozen attendees revealed strong interest in a 2024 alternative, even if Trump is on the ballot.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find people in this area who support the idea that people aren’t looking for someone else,” said Dave Van Wyk, a transportation company owner. “To presume that conservative America is 100% behind Donald Trump is simply not the case.”

Former White House staffer Cassidy Hutchinson on Tuesday offered previously unknown details about the extent of Trump’s rage in his final weeks of office, his awareness that some supporters had brought weapons to the city on Jan. 6 and his ambivalence as rioters later laid siege to the Capitol.

Upset at the size of the crowd at his “Stop the Steal” rally — many supporters avoided entering because they were armed and didn’t want to go through metal detectors — Trump said words to the effect of, “I don’t care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” according to Hutchinson. She recalled hearing about a separate incident after the rally in which Trump tried to grab at the steering wheel of the presidential vehicle to go to the Capitol to join his supporters.

That detail has caused some pushback. The agent who was driving the vehicle and another official were reportedly prepared to testify under oath that Trump never lunged for the wheel.

But the renewed concern was evident.

The conservative Washington Examiner’s editorial board said Hutchinson’s testimony “ought to ring the death knell” for Trump’s political career. “Trump is unfit to be anywhere near power ever again.”

The often Trump-friendly New York Post blasted the headline “Tyrant Trump.” And the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal wrote, “Just when it seems as if Donald Trump’s behavior after his 2020 loss couldn’t possibly look worse, a new piece of wild testimony arrives.”

To be sure, conservatives have shared serious concerns about Trump repeatedly in recent years. And in every case, the former president has emerged largely unscathed, sometimes stronger. He has been caught on video bragging about sexual assault; he instigated a violent attack on the Capitol; and he has been impeached twice.

Trump is sitting on campaign funds that exceed $101 million and remains deeply popular with many Republican voters. Lest there be any question, Republican candidates in states including Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia have been battling one another this midterm season for his support.

“The American people remain hungry for his leadership,” Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said, citing Trump’s strong endorsement record and fundraising success. “And as another witch hunt is blowing up in the faces of Democrats, President Trump is in a stronger position now than at any time before.”

But even before last week’s revelations, a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 48% of U.S. adults say Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Views on Trump’s criminal liability break down predictably along party lines, with 86% of Democrats and 10% of Republicans saying Trump should be charged. Still, the fact that nearly half the country believes he should be prosecuted is a remarkable position for the former president, pointing to the difficulties he could face if he makes another run at the White House.

Trump reported raising nearly $9 million in March and April combined. Figures for May and June were not yet available, but aides to the former president say his fundraising has remained strong.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, eyeing a presidential bid in 2024, says he was hearing concerns about Trump from donors and voters alike before last week’s testimony, which adds to the “cumulative weight” of the former president’s political shortcomings.

“People are concerned that we could lose the election in ’24 and want to make sure that we don’t nominate someone who would be seriously flawed,” Christie said.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is also considering a 2024 run, said he considers Trump beatable in a GOP primary even if Republican voters aren’t paying close attention to the congressional hearings, as he suspects.

“His approval among Republican primary voters has already been somewhat diminished,” Hogan said. “Trump was the least popular president in American history until Joe Biden.”

Aides for other Republican presidential prospects said privately that Trump may still be the overwhelming favorite to win the next GOP presidential nomination, but they believe his standing with Republican voters has been in steady decline. There was a broad sense — or at least a hope — that Hutchinson’s testimony would accelerate that decline among voters and donors in a way that would open opportunities for others.

Marc Short, a senior advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence, another likely 2024 presidential contender, was blunt when asked about Trump’s political strength.

“Republican activists believed Donald Trump was the only candidate who could beat Hillary,” Short said. “Now the dynamic is reversed. He is the only one who has lost to Joe Biden.”

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who serves on the Jan. 6 commission and has not ruled out a 2024 presidential bid, cast Trump as a direct threat to American democracy in a Wednesday night speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

“Republicans cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution. We must choose,” she said.

Haley, who has said she would not seek the 2024 GOP nomination if Trump ran, declined to say Thursday whether the testimony has given her reason to rethink that plan.

Instead, she sounded an upbeat note.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Newsom Runs a TV ad — In Florida

Gov. Gavin Newsom is launching his first television ad of the general election on Monday, but not in California. The ad will air thousands of miles away, in Florida, further fueling speculation that he wants to run for president — or, at a minimum, to troll the state’s Republican leaders.

In the ad, Newsom contrasts the policies in California and Florida while images flash of former President Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, potential 2024 presidential candidates.

“Freedom, it’s under attack in your state. Republican leaders, they’re banning books, making it harder to vote, restricting speech in classrooms, even criminalizing women and doctors,” Newsom says in the 30-second spot. “I urge all of you living in Florida to join the fight, or join us in California, where we still believe in freedom — freedom of speech, freedom to choose, freedom from hate and the freedom to love.”

Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign is spending about $105,000 to air the ad on Fox News stations around the state, according to AdImpact, a firm that tracks political advertisements.

The size of the buy is a pittance for the governor, whose reelection campaign had more than $23 million as of May 21, according to the latest filings with the California secretary of state’s office. Newsom is heavily favored in the fall election over his conservative Republican challenger, state Sen. Brian Dahle.

The move, which was rolled out on CNN on Sunday, appears designed to draw national media attention. After Newsom tweeted the ad and the media began running stories, it had been viewed 1.4 million times on Twitter and 90,000 times on YouTube as of Sunday evening.

Newsom, 54, has denied that he wants to run for president, but many political experts are skeptical, particularly considering the speculation about President Biden’s plans to seek reelection.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

EXCLUSIVE: California Globe Interview With President Donald Trump, Part 2

The California Globe had the opportunity to meet with Former United States President Donald Trump Friday in Los Angeles in a one-on-one interview, while he was in the state on business. We discussed the state of the State of California. As expected, President Trump had plenty to say about the politics of our unique state.

This is Part 2 of the series; Here is Part 1.

“The one thing with me is I have a big voice,” President Donald Trump said as we discussed whether or not California’s elections can be cleaned up. “Because nobody ever writes this story – I haven’t seen this story,” he added.

“California is totally corrupt,” the 45th President told the Globe. “And frankly it has to be when you send out 20 million ballots. It has to be.”

Trump continued: “And many people got two, three four or five ballots! I’ve seen this on television. And people say to me ‘I got five ballots.’”

“It’s a disgrace.”

“What the Republicans do is allow it to happen without a fuss,” President Trump said. “The Democrats would go crazy” if they were on the receiving end of mailed ballots, ballot harvesting, and funny business with elections.

“See, I don’t believe the Democrats are a 50/50 Party. I think they cheat on all elections,” Trump added. “Because when you have ‘defund the police,’ sanctuary cities, open borders, all of the drugs you want, no God, no guns, I don’t believe that is a 50/50 Party. I think Democrats cheat in elections, and the Republicans are just as guilty because they let them.”

“Look at Pennsylvania – the Republicans allow them to cheat by being weak,” Trump said. “But I don’t believe they are a 50/50 Party because of all of the things they stand for so strongly – ‘defund the police,’ sanctuary cities, open borders.”

“Look at now – look at inflation,” he said. “We had no inflation. We had it down to a perfect science. We had no inflation and we had low interest rates.”

“I mean this guy [President Joe Biden] is going to be the next Herbert Hoover. Or worse,” President Trump said.

Under President Herbert Hoover, the 31st president (1929-1933), elected on the eve of the Great Depression, the top tax rate was hiked from 25% to 63%. “Perhaps his single greatest policy blunder was supporting and signing into law a tariff act that fueled international trade wars and made the Depression even worse,” USNews reported.

“He could be a combination of Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter,” Trump continued. “Jimmy Carter was almost Herbert Hoover.”

Under President Jimmy Carter, the 39th President (1976-1980) inflation rose from 7% in 1977 by an average of more than 11% in 1979, up to nearly 14% in 1980. “Automobile prices increased 72%. New house prices went up 67%. In 1979 alone, gasoline prices increased 60%. By the time Carter left office, the prime rate was 21.5%, Human Events reported. Gas prices skyrocketed to (inflation-adjusted price) $4.14, which made it the 5th most expensive year in an 85-year span.

“Whereas we had the strongest economy in the history of the world,” President Trump said. “We created the strongest economy in history. There was never an economy like this.”

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

California Globe Interview With 45th President Donald Trump

Part 1: ‘We have horrible borders and horrible, corrupt elections’

The California Globe had the opportunity to meet with Former United States President Donald Trump Friday in Los Angeles in a one-on-one interview, while he was in the state on business. We discussed the state of the State of California. As expected, President Trump had plenty to say about the politics of our unique state.

“I happen to think California is one of the most corrupt states in the nation for election fraud,” President Donald Trump said at the outset of our meeting Friday. “When they send out 20 million ballots… basically they don’t have any voting rules, right? They send out everything and they have no idea where they are going.”

The 45th President is referencing how every registered California voter now receives a ballot mailed to them ahead of elections under a bill signed in 2021 by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Under the law, ballots in California must be mailed at least 29 days before the election. Voters are still able to drop off their ballot or vote in person.

According to the California Secretary of State, as of April 8, 2022 there are 26,948,297 eligible California voters and 22,004,006 registered California voters.

“I don’t believe California is a blue state,” Trump said. “I think California – if there were fair elections in the state – California is a very even state and maybe would even be a Republican State.”

“When the Democrats sent out over 20 million ballots, there is no way a Republican can win in the state. Because they are as crooked as can be,” he added.

“And this is a corrupt election, and many of the states in our country are corrupt,” President Trump added. “And I think I proved two things in doing what I’m doing: We have horrible borders and horrible, corrupt elections.”

“The first thing I was told when I decided to run in 2015 is ‘don’t waste any time in California.’ I did one rally and I’m telling you, I had 100,000 people there,” Trump said. “And I said ‘this is not a blue state.’ But I never went back. And I was told ‘you’ll lose by anywhere from 7 to 10 million votes.’ So I said, ‘this is crazy.’ It’s only because the process is so corrupt.”

“And the Republicans should not stand for it.”

I covered a Trump campaign event June of 2016 in Sacramento, California, held at the Sacramento International Airport. The crush of the massive crowd was spectacular. It was evident that many people there were awestruck at the size of the crowd. The Associated Press reported that 5,000 people showed up for the event.

President Trump discussed how Hispanic voters jumped on board the Trump Train. “Look at how well I did in Texas and Florida with Hispanics. I have record numbers.”

“I won the border of Texas – that’s never happened before,” Trump said. “It’s mostly Hispanic and I won it.” Trump said the Governor called him and said that’s not happened since the Texas civil war and reconstruction.

We discussed California’s 2018 ballot harvesting election slaughter when “ballot harvesting” helped flip seven U.S. House races in California after Election Day. “That was a total mess,” Trump said. “We had seven elections that went to overtime and all seven were lost.”

In the weeks after Election Day, and after the counting of hundreds of thousands of ballots harvested under a new California law, election observers and California voters started to raise red flags on what they witnessed, a Republican House report found.

This law permits any individual to return the mail ballot belonging to another voter without any limitation as to the number of ballots collected, the relationship to the voter, or even relationship to candidates on the ticket. And they can be paid to collect the ballots.

In Orange County, 250,000 mailed ballots were turned in on Election Day, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

California also passed a law ahead of the 2018 election authorizing the counting of ballots for an entire month after Election Day.

“That’s the other thing – for the country, I want to have all-paper ballots, and all same-day voting,” Trump said, sounding as if he is running for President in 2024. “Like France. In all fairness, like Canada. They don’t have any problems with their elections. They all do same-day voting.”

President Trump said the only exceptions to the same-day, paper ballot voting in Canada and France are if someone is very sick and cannot make it to the polls, or for military out of the country. They are allowed, with permission, to cast an absentee ballot.

“You should have very few mail-in ballots because it is very corrupt,” Trump added.

We discussed the work his former Director of National Intelligence, Ric Grenell, is doing with Fix California. Fix CA started a statewide inspection of the 58 counties’ voter rolls in July 2021 to clean them up.

Click here to read the full article in the California Globe

Jan. 6 Architect John Eastman Is Still Plotting to Overturn 2020 Election

John Eastman, the conservative lawyer who wrote several memos arguing that then-Vice President Mike Pence could stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021, isn’t done fighting to block the last election result.

ABC News reported on Monday that Eastman gave a private briefing to the speaker of the Wisconsin legislature in March and reportedly made the case for decertifying Biden’s 2020 victory in the state. A conservative activist named Jefferson Davis, who attended the briefing, told ABC that Eastman pressed Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos to reclaim Biden’s electors and commit to “either a do over or having a new slate of electors seated that would declare someone else the winner.”

ommittee: Trump Broke Multiple Laws in Attempt to Overturn Election

Eastman told ABC News that he wouldn’t comment on the meeting.

Eastman’s closed-door meeting with Wisconsin Republicans wasn’t the first time he fueled the far-right push to throw out the battleground state’s 2020 election results. As Rolling Stone first reported in February, Eastman wrote an eight-page memo for State Rep. Tim Ramthun arguing that the legislature could toss out election results if there was “acknowledged illegality” in the vote count.

Legal experts have said it’s impossible to decertify the last election and pull back the electors won by Biden. As the Wisconsin Legislative Council concluded last year, “There is no mechanism in state or federal law for the Legislature to reverse certified votes cast by the Electoral College and counted by Congress.”

Eastman’s ongoing effort to overturn the 2020 election come as he faces increasing legal scrutiny for his involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The special committee probing the insurrection subpoenaed Eastman, seeking tens of thousands of emails that potentially pertain to his work to challenge the last election.

Click here to read the full article at Rolling Stone

Clinton Campaign, DNC Fined by FEC For Lying About Steele Dossier Payments

The Federal Election Commission has fined both Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee for lying about how they spent money used to fund the now-debunked Steele dossier on former President Donald Trump.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC will be forced to pay $8,000 and $105,000 respectively for mislabeling payments that ultimately went to Fusion GPS, the consulting firm that commissioned the dossier, according to FEC documents viewed by the Post.

The fines stem from a complaint originally filed in 2018 by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which was informed of the outcome on Tuesday.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC paid more than $1 million combined to powerful Democratic law firm Perkins Coie, which engaged Fusion GPS to dig for dirt on Trump. Fusion GPS, in turn, hired former British spy Christopher Steele — whose namesake dossier included allegations that Russian security services possessed a tape of Trump in a Moscow hotel room with prostitutes who were supposedly urinating on a bed where the Obamas had previously stayed.

The FEC said Clinton and the DNC claimed the money given to Perkins Coie to hire Fusion GPS was reported on disclosure forms as having gone toward “legal advice and services” rather than opposition research.

The commission ruled it had found probable cause that both the Clinton campaign and the DNC had violated election law by not being “sufficiently specific” about the purpose of the payments and not including detailed information about Fusion GPS in the disclosure forms.

Both the Clinton campaign and the DNC did not admit the FEC’s finding, but said they “will not further contest the commission’s finding of probable cause,” according to documents reviewed by the Post.

Lawyers for both Democratic entities maintained the payments were reported “in accordance with the law and Commission guidelines,” claiming Fusion GPS’ work would assist Perkins Coie in providing legal advice. They also argued that Fusion GPS’s work was protected under attorney-client privilege. 

Click here to read the full article in the NY POST

The Diminishing Value Of A Trump Endorsement

Running for governor as a disciple of Donald Trump, Janice McGeachin has done almost everything short of surgically attach herself to the former president.

It’s not just that Trump is omnipresent in her advertising, or that McGeachin mimics his flame-throwing rhetoric. She’s also modeled Trump’s flamboyantly defiant behavior, challenging Gov. Brad Little, a fellow Republican, in the upcoming primary and, as lieutenant governor, acting to overturn his policies when he left Idaho.

The reward for McGeachin’s performance is Trump’s “Complete and Total Endorsement,” which followed her pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago and makes Little one of only two Republican governors in the country seeking reelection to be openly opposed by the ex-president.

Not that the endorsement — make that Total Endorsement— seems to be doing much good. Less than two months before the May 17 primary, McGeachin (pronounced Mick-GHEE-hin) is fighting for credibility and traction in a race that polls show her losing badly.

She is not alone in facing those difficult straits.

Trump coaxed former Georgia Sen. David Perdue into the Republican primary against Brian Kemp after the governor committed the heresy of refusing to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. But Perdue is also struggling ahead of the May 24 GOP primary, as are candidates Trump endorsed in Senate primaries in North Carolina and Alabama.

All of which suggests Trump’s sway over Republican voters — and, by extension, the Republican Party — is diminishing the further he gets from the White House.

“A president’s endorsement is going to carry more weight than an ex-president’s endorsement,” said Q. Whitfield Ayres, a GOP strategist with extensive experience in congressional and gubernatorial races nationwide. “Especially an ex-president without access to Twitter and social media.”

Polls reflect the waning of Trump’s influence.

A January survey by NBC News found that more than half — 56% — of Republicans interviewed described themselves as more supportive of the GOP than of Trump personally, while 36% saw themselves as more supportive of Trump than of the Republican Party.

That’s a near-total reversal from 2020, when 54% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they considered themselves more supportive of Trump than of the party, and 38% were more supportive of the GOP than of Trump.

In a separate measure, a Quinnipiac Poll last month showed, by a 52%-36% margin, Republicans sided with Mike Pence over Trump on the question of whether the former vice president could have overturned the 2020 presidential election, as Trump urged.

Of course, much could change before Republicans vote in May. But if Idaho — a state Trump won by nearly 2-to-1 over Joe Biden — is any indication, it will take more than a blessing from the former president to boost his preferred candidates into office.

Issues matter and so, most especially, does the quality of each candidate.

Little, 68, an affable third-generation rancher and former head of the Idaho Assn. of Commerce and Industry, is a living embodiment of the business-oriented pragmatic conservatism that has long held sway here.

As governor, he’s cut taxes and regulations and kept a light hand during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed businesses to stay open during the worst outbreaks but pitched the healthcare system into crisis for several months.

His reelection strategy essentially amounts to doing his job and ignoring McGeachin.

On Tuesday, Little appeared in the governor’s ceremonial office — marble columns, gold drapery, big Western oil paintings — to announce “a new online, one-stop shop” to find public meeting information for the state’s executive branch agencies. Standing before a bank of cameras, Little also worked in a lighthearted reference to his aggressive deregulation efforts, saying anyone who didn’t know his record was “living on a foreign planet.”

For her part, McGeachin, 59, was a mainstream conservative during a decade in the Legislature before transforming herself — like many seeking opportunity and advancement in the Trump era — into an acolyte of the man she calls “the greatest president of our lifetime.”

Her campaign has consisted largely of attention-seeking stunts, with COVID-19 the wedge she’s used to break from Little. (The two were elected separately, not as running mates.)

On two occasions when the governor left the state, McGeachin used her temporary authority to issue executive orders prohibiting localities from enforcing mask mandates and testing and vaccine requirements. Little immediately reversed her actions and secured an opinion from the state attorney general limiting McGeachin’s powers in his absence.

The governor, for good measure, also stopped telling the lieutenant governor his travel plans.

Lately, McGeachin’s candidacy has further degenerated.

Click here to read the full article at the LA Times