Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Donald Trump. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

65% of Democratic Voters Want Biden to Step Aside: Poll

A majority of respondents said they want both Biden and Trump to quit the race, and were not confident in the mental fitness of either candidate.

A majority of U.S. voters want both President Joe Biden and Republican nominee Donald Trump to drop out of the 2024 presidential contest, with nearly two-thirds of Democrats favoring the Democratic incumbent's withdrawal amid mounting concerns over his mental fitness, a poll published Wednesday revealed.

The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of 1,253 U.S. adults conducted between July 11-15 found that 70% of all respondents want Biden to step aside in favor of an alternative nominee and 57% think Trump should quit the race. Broken down by partisan affiliation, 73% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, and 65% of Democrats want Biden to stand down, while 26% of Republicans, 51% of Independents, and 86% of Democrats say Trump should withdraw.

"I just feel like these two individuals are a sad choice," Alexi Mitchell, a 35-year-old civil servant in Virginia and self-described Democratic-leaning Independent, toldThe Associated Press, adding that Biden has "put us in a bad position where Trump might win."

Black Democrats are Biden's strongest supporters—50% want Biden to continue running—while only 25% of all Democratic voters aged 18-44 want him to stay in the race.

A majority of respondents said they were not confident in the mental fitness of either candidate. Seventy percent of voters said they had little or no confidence in Biden's "mental capacity to be an effective president," while 51% said the same thing about Trump.

The former president was recently convicted of 34 felony charges in New York state related to the falsification of business records regarding hush money payments to cover up sex scandals during the 2016 presidential election. Trump still faces dozens of federal and state charges in connection with his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, cases that could be impacted by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling granting presidents "absolute immunity" for acts committed in their official capacity.

Earlier this week, a Trump-appointed federal judge dismissed a case involving Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents—a decision Special Counsel Jack Smith, who has led the case since Trump announced his current campaign, is appealing.

Trump was also impeached twice by the House of Representatives—but not convicted by the Senate—during his first presidential term.

A separate survey by Data for Progress published Wednesday found that "swing" voters are increasingly more concerned about Biden's age than Trump's criminal charges.

According to Data for Progress:

Before the debate and before Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts, we found that swing voters were more concerned about Trump's criminal charges (48%) than Biden's age (41%), with 11% unsure.

After the debate, swing voters have flipped. Now, 53% say they are more concerned about Biden's age, a 12-point increase from our last survey of swing voters. Only 37% say they are more concerned about Trump's criminal charges, an 11-point decrease.

Notably, the new AP-NORC survey was conducted before Saturday's attempted assassination of Trump at a Pennslyvania campaign rally. The deadly shooting seemed to take some wind out of the sails of the burgeoning movement of Democrats urging Biden to withdraw from the race: In the four days before the incident, over a dozen Democratic U.S. lawmakers called on Biden to step aside. In the four days since the assassination attempt, only one more has joined the list, Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

"Our nation is at a crossroads," Schiff told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. "A second Trump presidency will undermine the very foundation of our democracy, and I have serious concerns about whether the president can defeat Donald Trump in November."

A Pew Research Center poll published last week showed that more than 6 in 10 U.S. voters see both Biden and Trump as "embarrassing" choices and nearly 9 in 10 said that the 2024 election campaign "does not make them feel proud of the country."

This article originally appeared in Common Dreams on July 17th, 2024

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Was Biden’s Debate Fiasco a Gift?

Should Biden persist, the remaining four months of the campaign will be consumed by questions of his ability to govern to the end of this term.

Over the weekend, LA Progressive took the quick pulse of its readers about the controversy around President Joe Biden’s terribly weak debate performance and how people opposed to another Donald Trump election think we should move forward.

Of course, no one should confuse this push poll to LA Progressive subscribers with a scientific sampling across all voters, all Democratic Party voters, or any other group save the 194 LAP readers who chose to respond.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Right-Wing Supreme Court Rules Trump Has 'Absolute Immunity' for Official Acts

By Jake Johnson

 "In every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law," warned Justice Sonia Sotomayor. "With fear for our democracy, I dissent."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled along ideological lines on Monday that former President Donald Trump is entitled to "absolute immunity" for "official acts" taken while he was in office, a decision that liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned makes any occupant of the Oval Office "a king above the law."

Writing for the majority in the 6-3 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that Trump "may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts." 

Friday, February 16, 2024

Fulton DA delivers fiery testimony against Trump, co-defendants quest to disqualify her


Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday fiercely defended herself against allegations of prosecutorial misconduct while she had a romantic relationship with the special prosecutor she appointed to oversee the 2020 presidential election interference case.

A surprise appearance in a Fulton County courtroom saw Willis agree to testify in response to defense attorneys and a witness contradicting her statements that she only became romantically involved with Nathan Wade a few months after she hired him as a lead special prosecutor in a sweeping racketeering case charging interference in Georgia’s 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants were indicted by a grand jury in August on charges of illegally trying to alter the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia and several other swing states.

Willis repeatedly denied allegations that she or Wade misappropriated taxpayer funds for personal gain based on her relationship with Wade outside of work. The motion to disqualify her is centered on that issue, as opposed to the just-admitted nature of the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade.

Willis’ appearance also means another day of testimony Friday in the judge’s hearing on defendants’ request to have her disqualified.

Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduled the hearing last month to address whether Willis should be barred from overseeing the election interference case in the future. Wade’s estranged wife revealed in a January divorce filing that airline tickets were purchased for him and Willis for trips to San Francisco and Miami from 2022 to 2023 under Wade’s name on credit cards.

Willis’ harshest barbs Thursday were targeted at Ashleigh Merchant, the attorney for Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, who publicly surfaced the existence of a romance between Willis and Wade in January. Merchant, along with Trump attorney Steve Sadow and others representing co-defendants, raised doubts to the former couple testifying that Willis repaid Wade thousands of dollars in cash for several flights, cruises and other trips they took together while dating from March 2022 until summer 2023.

Merchant repeatedly questioned Willis about whether she tracked each cash payment and why she didn’t provide documents showing withdrawals from her bank account or other financial changes that would support her testimony.

“So you have no proof of any reimbursement for any of these things because it was all cash,” Merchant said to Willis.

Willis called her line of questioning insulting, especially the charge that the DA had started the affair as soon as she met Wade at a 2019 conference. She said she would reimburse Wade for her share of travel expenses with cash she kept at home over time that she incrementally saved. According to her, the largest reimbursement was about $2,500 for one trip.

”The testimony of one witness is enough to prove a fact. Are you telling me that I’m lying to you, is that what you’re intimating here?” Willis asked.

Merchant said Willis should be aware that how she uses public funds will be scrutinized as a district attorney. Since November 2021, Wade’s firm has received more than $650,000 from Fulton County.

“You understand that you’re under a microscope,” Merchant said. “You have reporting requirements to all types of things. You have no record other than your testimony of the money that you’ve given Mr. Wade.”

Willis rejected defense questioning if Wade visited her south Fulton home before Willis launched the investigation into Trump’s role in Georgia’s election. She also reaffirmed her decision to pursue the felony racketeering case against Trump, several members of his inner circle and other Trump supporters because they attempted to illegally influence election results in his favor.

One of Willis’ angry reactions to pointed personal questions led McAfee to order a five-minute break after Willis repeatedly told Merchant “It’s a lie” while holding court documents filed by the Marietta attorney.

“He never came to my house, let alone live with me, as you falsely put in these documents,” Willis said about the residence she lived in during 2019 and 2020.

As pressure mounted in the high-profile case, Willis and Wade ended their relationship last summer, they said. The two continue to be friends as well as professional colleagues, she said.

“Mr. Wade has been my friend since 2020,” Willis said. “He started out as a mentor and professional colleague and he became my friend and somebody that I really respected. I feel very indebted to Mr. Wade for taking on the task of this job.”

On Thursday, defense attorneys also criticized Willis for not listing Wade’s travel expenses on financial disclosure reports that require public officers to disclose gifts of at least $100 or more from anyone contracting with the government.

The district attorney said she never considered the vacations with Wade to be gifts since she would later cover her share of the expenses.

Wade provided his own testimony in advance of Willis’ time on the stand, disputing the testimony of a former longtime friend of Willis, Robin Bryant-Yeartie, who claimed that Wade and Willis were intimate before he began working on the election investigation.

Wade testified that he never discussed his relationship with Bryant-Yeartie or with anyone else in social settings, and that Willis frequently reimbursed him for trips with cash. Occasionally, the two took one-day trips to Tennessee in order to escape the spotlight on Willis as she became well known around Atlanta due to the case, Wade said.  

He told the court that because of a cancer diagnosis in 2020 and 2021, he was focused more on staying healthy rather than dating anyone.

“It wasn’t secret. It was just private,” said Wade, a former prosecutor who also spent a decade as a Cobb County municipal judge. “I wouldn’t have discussed my relationship with Ms. Yeartie or anyone publicly.”

Bryant-Yeartie testified Thursday that she sublet her condo to Willis in April 2021, and that the two were close friends from the early 1990s until March 2022. Bryant-Yeartie said that she was certain that she witnessed Willis and Wade hugging, kissing and holding hands on a few occasions prior to November 2021.

Under cross examination, she acknowledged having a falling out with Willis that ultimately led to the DA telling her to resign or be terminated due to poor job performance.

Reaction split on Willis sparring with defense counsel

The reaction to Willis’ testimony was split along partisan lines with election officials and for many spectators who monitored online livestreams that attracted tens of thousand of people at a given time watching the tense-filled moments play out.

Trump sounded a defiant tone in an interview with Fox News Digital during Willis’s testimony.

“There is no case here,” Trump said. “It is so badly tainted. There is no case here. There was a perfect phone call. It was perfect. But by going after Trump, she’s able to get her boyfriend more money than they ever dreamed possible.”

Legal experts also had mixed reactions to Willis and Wade’s testimony. While some experts criticized Willis for being overly defensive, they also doubted that the defense attorneys had provided enough evidence to remove her from the election interference case.

Norman Eisen, an attorney who served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee majority during Trump’s first impeachment and trial, said Willis has so far defended herself from the allegations.

“The spectacle generated by the allegations and by counsel for the defendants today was not pretty,” said Eisen, who also served as ambassador to the Czech Republic during the Obama administration. “But at the end of the day, it is clear that those who are trying to disqualify DA Willis have not met their steep burden under Georgia law to prove a conflict. On the contrary, the judge has made clear that he’s assessing financial benefit, and the unrebutted evidence shows that Wade and Willis split expenses. There was no benefit to Willis.”

Rep. Shea Roberts, House Democratic Caucus treasurer, described Thursday’s hearing as nothing more than a sensationalized attack by Trump on Willis for pursuing charges against him and others. 

“We all heard the smoking gun recording of the phone call in which Trump pressured Secretary (Brad) Raffensperger to alter Georgia’s election results, and no amount of manufactured controversy the Trump team tries to conjure up can change that,” Roberts said in statement.

Georgia Recorder reporter Ross Williams contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared in the Georgia Recorder on February 15th, 2024.  

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Press Makes Trump, Not Voting Rights, the Primary Issue

Press Makes Trump, Not Voting Rights, the Primary Issue


WaPo: Kemp, Raffensperger win in blow to Trump and his false election claims

The Washington Post (5/24/22) reported that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s GOP primary win “threatened Trump’s reputation as GOP kingmaker.”

The country’s centrist corporate media have decided what this year’s primaries are mainly about: Donald Trump.

In the wake of an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election and continued efforts by the Republican Party to undermine democratic processes, corporate media remain fixated on Trump’s role in the party, seeing the 2022 primaries as a series of referenda on Trump and his role as kingmaker. But the focus on Trump obscures the even more important story that Trump represents: the GOP assault on democracy, which is being carried out only marginally less aggressively by many of those “defeating” him.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is the perfect example of this. After this week’s state primaries, most corporate media made their lead story the losses of Trump-backed candidates, in particular to Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who both played very public roles in refusing to bow to Trump’s demands to “find” votes for him in Georgia in 2020.

The Washington Post (5/24/22) declared, “Kemp, Raffensperger Win in Blow to Trump and His False Election Claims.” A New York Times (5/24/22) subhead read, “The victories in Georgia by Gov. Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state, handed the former president his biggest primary season setback so far.” At Reuters (5/24/22), the top “takeaway” subhead read: “Trump Takes Lumps.”

These are stories centrist media like to tell: The voters are sensibly rejecting extremists from their party, so the “moderate” candidates are taking the right path. Journalists tell this story over and over in coverage of Democratic primaries, with “move to the center” stories encouraging the party to reject its progressive candidates. The problem is, candidates like Kemp and Raffensperger are not moderate, except in comparison to Trump—and painting the story as one centrally about Trump obscures the anti-democratic nature of those who defeated his hand-picked candidates.

Boston Globe: Kemp Cruises to Victory in Georgia, Delaing Blow to Trump but Not His Voter Fraud Lies

The Boston Globe (5/24/22) noted that “Kemp had not beaten back the 2020 doubts of voters [who thought that election “stolen”]; he simply found a different way to champion them than Trump.”

The Boston Globe demonstrated that this contradiction could be addressed, with an article (5/24/22) headlined, “Kemp Cruises to Victory in Georgia, Dealing Blow to Trump but Not His Voter Fraud Lies.”

The Globe‘s Jess Bidgood reported:

Kemp’s easy win over Perdue on Tuesday may seem to suggest that the former president and his baseless insistence that fraud and irregularities cost him the election have lost their iron grip on the Republican Party….

Even though he stood up to Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election, Kemp found other ways to assuage the GOP base’s unfounded doubts about the issue. He signed a voting bill that added new hurdles to absentee voting and handed some election oversight power over to the Republican-controlled legislature. He spoke of “election integrity” everywhere he went, while Raffensperger leaned into the issue as well.

But even this didn’t go nearly far enough in describing Kemp and Raffensperger’s histories of attacking voting rights. As Georgia’s secretary of state, Kemp for years vigorously promoted false election fraud stories and made Georgia a hotspot for undermining voting rights. He aggressively investigated groups that helped register voters of color; in 2014, he launched a criminal investigation into Stacey Abrams’ New Georgia Project—which was helping to register tens of thousands of Black Georgians who previously hadn’t voted—calling their activities “voter fraud.” His investigation ultimately uncovered no wrongdoing (New Republic5/5/15).

Kemp oversaw the rejection of tens of thousands of voter registrations on technicalities like missing accents or typos (Atlantic11/7/18) and improperly purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the rolls prior to the 2018 election (Rolling Stone10/27/18), disproportionately impacting voters of color (Atlanta Journal-Constitution3/12/20). He refused to recuse himself from overseeing his own race for governor against Abrams, drawing rebukes from former president, Georgia native and fair elections advocate Jimmy Carter (The Nation10/29/18), among others. Kemp ran that governor’s race as a “Trump conservative.”

None of Kemp’s history as anti–voting rights secretary of state was mentioned in any of the next-day election coverage FAIR surveyed. (There was an opinion piece on on May 26 that detailed “Kemp’s appalling anti-democracy conduct.”)

As governor, Kemp has further eroded voting rights in Georgia, as mentioned by the Globe (a story that the media managed to both-sides at the time—FAIR.org4/8/21). He has also taken a hard-right stance on many other rights issues, signing into law a bill to prohibit “divisive concepts” from being taught in schools, a bill to ban abortions as early as six weeks and a bill discriminating against transgender kids in sports.

Like Kemp, Raffensperger was an early supporter of Trump who pushed election fraud stories and voter suppression tactics. As FAIR (3/5/21) pointed out at the time, centrist media fawned over Raffensperger for standing up to Trump in the 2020 election, ignoring his “support of the little lies that made the Big Lie possible.”

AJC: A principled stand where it counts

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1/4/21) editorialized that Georgia Secretary of State Brad “Raffensperger deserves kudos from all Georgians for continuing a principled stand for what is right,” weeks after reporting (12/17/20) that “the secretary has helped fuel suspicions about the integrity of Georgia’s elections.”

For instance, just weeks before an uncritical editorial (1/4/21) praising him, the local Journal-Constitution published a front-page investigation (12/17/20) that found Raffensperger was touting “inflated figures about the number of investigations his office was conducting related to the election, giving those seeking to sow doubt in the outcome a new storyline.” Those claims helped propel the state’s 2020 bill restricting voting rights.

Like Kemp, he launched vote fraud investigations into progressive voter registration groups (AJC11/30/20), and oversaw the purge of nearly 200,000 voters, mostly people of color, from the rolls before the 2020 election (Democracy Now!1/5/21).

During his re-election campaign, Raffensperger had gone on national television (CBS, 1/9/22) to push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting noncitizens from voting in any elections, as well as to praise photo ID requirements for voting and oppose same-day voter registration. He has also called for an expansion of law enforcement presence at polling sites.

In their obsession with Trump’s win/loss record and their desperate search for “moderate” Republicans, journalists whitewash GOP candidates who paved the way for Trumpism and, ultimately, seek the same end—minority rule—by only slightly different means.

Featured image: Reuters (5/24/22) depiction of Donald Trump illustrating the takeaway, “Trump Takes Lumps.”

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