[guest post by Dana]
As you know, Donald Trump requested a special master to oversee the review of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. He requested that U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie be appointed to the position. The requests were granted. And today, seeming a bit skeptical about Trump’s declassification claims, Judge Dearie pushed back on Trump’s lawyers. It didn’t go well for them:
Judge Raymond Dearie repeatedly challenged Trump’s lawyers for refusing to back up the former president’s claim that he declassified the highly sensitive national security-related records discovered in his residence.
“My view of it is: you can’t have your cake and eat it,” said Dearie, the “special master” picked by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon to vet Trump’s effort to reclaim the materials taken by federal investigators.
Trump has argued that the 11,000 documents taken from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI pursuant to a search warrant last month were rightfully in his possession, including about 100 bearing classification markings that suggest they contain some of the nation’s most closely guarded intelligence.
But Dearie bristled at the effort by Trump’s lawyers to resist his request for proof that Trump actually attempted to declassify any of the 100 documents that the Justice Department recovered from his estate. Without evidence from Trump, Dearie said his only basis to judge the classification level of the records was the fact that they all bear markings designating them as highly sensitive national security secrets — including some that indicate they contain intelligence derived from human sources and foreign intercepts.
There is more than a bit of irony here given that the individual that Trump’s team requested to be appointed special master, and was, clearly isn’t going to be taken in by the tactics of Trump’s lawyers. On the contrary. What they had counted on in having Judge Dearie as special master, didn’t happen for them today.
[guest post by Dana]
Why else would any Republican candidate refuse to respond in the affirmative other than they understand that the unspoken rule is that one must follow Trump’s lead if they want to stay in his good graces, and those of his base? It all trickles down:
A dozen Republican candidates in competitive races for governor and Senate have declined to say whether they would accept the results of their contests, raising the prospect of fresh post-election chaos two years after Donald Trump refused to concede the presidency.
In a survey by The Washington Post of 19 of the most closely watched statewide races in the country, the contrast between Republican and Democratic candidates was stark. While seven GOP nominees committed to accepting the outcomes in their contests, 12 either refused to commit or declined to respond. On the Democratic side, 17 said they would accept the outcome and two did not respond to The Post’s survey.
[Ed. If you’re keeping score, the report also mentions gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, who claimed that voter suppression occurred in 2018, and thus she refused to concede defeat to Brian Kemp: “But unlike Trump, Abrams never sought to overturn the certified result or foment an insurrection.” More about her post-election comments at the link.]
[guest post by Dana]
You would think that this would be a no-brainer:
Republican Representative Liz Cheney introduced a bill Monday that would change how Congress counts presidential electors to reduce the chances of another effort to overturn election results like that mounted by former President Donald Trump last year.
Co-sponsored with Democratic Representative Zoe Lofgren, the legislation would direct challenges to state elections to courts and limit the vice president’s role in electoral vote-counting as “ministerial.” That grew out of Trump’s attempt to pressure his vice president, Mike Pence, to take action as the Senate’s presiding officer during the counting of the Electoral College results to obstruct or delay formal certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
It also would raise the bar to challenge a state’s electors to one-third of both the House and Senate. Currently, if one member of Congress from each chamber objects to a presidential election during the arcane certification process, the chambers have to debate and hold a vote on the objection, as was done in 2021.
“The Electoral Count Act of 1887 should be amended to prevent other future unlawful efforts to overturn Presidential elections and to ensure future peaceful transfers of Presidential power,” the bill reads…“Our proposal is intended to preserve the rule of law for all future presidential elections by ensuring that self-interested politicians cannot steal from the people the guarantee that our government derives its power from the consent of the governed,” Cheney and Lofgren wrote. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House and the Senate toward this goal.”
While this legislation makes it clear that the vice-president has absolutely no authority to interfere in the counting of electoral votes, the report also says that the threshold for Congress to object to electors would be raised by this bill and that it would also address the delays a state could make in counting and certifying its votes. Given what happened after the 2020 election, there can be no doubt that legislation to protect future presidential elections is absolutely necessary.