Showing posts with label Election 2024. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Election 2024. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

With Biden out, Kamala Harris becomes the new Democratic Party choice for President

By Natalia Marques

The Democratic Party seeks to distance itself from the unpopular presidency of Joe Biden with his withdrawal from the upcoming elections, but does Harris really represent a significant change?

On Sunday, following nationwide pressure and pressure from within top leaders of his own party, Joe Biden withdrew from the presidential race. 

“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your President,” Biden said in a statement. “And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term.”

Later on in the day, Biden endorsed his Vice President, Kamala Harris, as the nominee from the Democratic Party. “My very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my Vice President,” Biden said in a post on X. “And it’s been the best decision I’ve made. Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year. Democrats—it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this.”

The beginning of the end for Biden was marked by a humiliating debate performance against the Republican Party choice for president, former President Donald Trump, on June 27. President Biden’s slurred words and nonsensical responses called his fitness for office into question. Biden continued to produce embarrassing political gaffes at the NATO Summit earlier in July, when he called Ukrainian President Zelenksy “President Putin” and called Kamala Harris “Vice President Trump” at a press conference. 

Biden’s fate was further cemented after the attempted assassination of Trump at a campaign rally. Trump’s reaction to the attempted assassination, in which he pumped his fist and shouted “Fight, fight, fight!” was a sharp contrast to Biden’s frailty. 

Polls showed that the vast majority of Democratic voters wanted Biden to drop out. For the Democratic Party establishment, Kamala Harris is shaping up to be the most logical second choice—a younger, more diverse option who in many ways, is just as conservative as the candidate she is replacing. 

Who is Kamala Harris?

Harris’ career in the upper echelons of the California criminal justice system is one of further entrenching the state’s reputation as one of the worst in terms of mass incarceration. According to the Prison Policy Institute, California’s incarceration rate of 494 per 100,000 people means that the state “locks up a higher percentage of its people than almost any democratic country on earth.”

As California’s Attorney General, Harris personally championed a harsh statewide truancy law that enabled highly punitive measures against parents whose children were not attending school. This law sought to make an example out of parents, who were often working people whose children could not attend school due to a variety of circumstances. These included a mother, Cheree Peoples, of Orange County, arrested and walked out of her home in her pajamas in front of cameras, whose daughter could not attend school regularly due to sickle cell anemia.

Also in her time as California’s Attorney General, Harris spent years defying a Supreme Court ruling to decarcerate the state, a defiance she undertook for one of the most nefarious reasons possible—to maintain the adequate levels of cheap and forced prison labor. California as a state is plagued by wildfires, and forces its massive population of prisoners to take on dangerous jobs on the frontlines of fighting these fires. When Harris was running for President, a memo emerged from 2014 in which lawyers from her office argued that nonviolent prisoners needed to stay in prison because their freedom would “would severely impact fire camp participation.” This would be “a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought,” Harris’ lawyers argued. 

Her record as Vice President proved to be a continuation of her deep conservatism. Not only has she been a fierce supporter of Israel for her entire political career, but she has been just as complicit as “Genocide Joe” Biden in continuing the US’ policy of unconditional arming and funding of Israel as it carries out genocide in Gaza. She has also been a hardliner on immigration, famously telling Guatemalan asylum seekers “do not come,” warning migrants that they would be turned away at the border.

headline from the Wall Street Journal from 2020, when Kamala joined Biden’s presidential campaign reads “As Harris Joins Biden Ticket, Wall Street Exhales in Relief.” Her key supporters throughout her political career have indeed been the rich and powerful, with the “social and legal elites” of San Francisco funding her first campaign to become the city’s District Attorney. Her popularity with the upper classes continued, with billionaires bankrolling her bid for president in 2020.

In response to Biden’s endorsement of Harris, Claudia De la Cruz, a socialist running for president against both Biden and Trump on the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, wrote, “Let’s remember Kamala may be a Black woman, but class interests matter! She has contributed to the mass incarceration of our Black and brown people and has been complicit of genocide. She isn’t kin nor is she a sister of working women!”

This article originally appeared in People's Dispatch on July 22th, 2024

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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Trump’s Shooting Should Not Silence Warnings About His Threat to Democracy

By Julie Hollar

Immediately after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump, when little was known about the white male shooter (except that he was a registered Republican), right-wing politicians directly blamed Democratic rhetoric for the shooting.

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." 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

U.S. Supreme Court throws out SC racial gerrymandering ruling

By Seanna Adcox

Split high court upholds GOP map, but sends case back to federal panel for further analysis

A federal court “clearly erred” in determining that South Carolina legislators racially gerrymandered congressional voting lines to keep the coastal 1st District red, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday in sending the case back to the three-judge panel for further analysis on a separate question.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, repeatedly used the terms “clearly erred” and “clearly erroneous” in rejecting the lower court’s reasoning for its 2023 ruling that the lines were unconstitutionally drawn.

“To sum up our analysis so far, no direct evidence supports the District Court’s finding that race predominated in the design of District 1,” Alito wrote, further calling the lower court’s approach “seriously misguided.”

Advocates for the plaintiffs decried the ruling, saying the high court broke its own precedent by ignoring the lower court’s findings and made future challenges for racial discrimination more difficult.

In this redistricting case, the question was whether the GOP-controlled Legislature based its admittedly partisan aim on voters’ race as they moved precincts between the 1st and 6th districts.

The Legislature’s GOP leaders testified the goal was to make the 1st District safer for a Republican, following a narrow flip to blue in 2018 and a similarly narrow flip back to red in 2020. The staffer who chiefly drew the map said he used political data on precincts that voted Democrat in 2020 to move the lines. Their testimony easily explains the final map, the majority of justices concluded.

The opinion noted the map was drawn with input from U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the state’s longest-serving congressman and only Democrat, “whose recommendations would have preserved the strong Democratic tilt” in his adjoining 6th District.

The 6th, which has been a majority-minority district since the post-1990-census redistricting, already spanned counties from Columbia to Charleston, while the 1st spanned the state’s southern coastline.

The changes put all of Beaufort and Berkeley counties in the 1st District, as well as more of the Republican parts of Dorchester County. Charleston County was further split between the two districts, with the 6th District given more of West Ashley and the entire peninsula, to include uber expensive homes South of Broad.

In all, 193,000 South Carolinians were moved between the two districts. The final map “achieved the Legislature’s political goal” of increasing the GOP advantage in District 1, as the projected Republican voter share rose 1.4 percentage points to 54.4%, reads the majority ruling.

 Map of South Carolina’s 1st and 6th congressional districts as drawn in 2011. (Screenshot of Figure 1 in the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 23, 2024, ruling.)

“The circumstantial evidence falls far short of showing that race, not partisan preferences, drove the districting process, and none of the expert reports offered by the Challengers provides any significant support for their position,” Alito wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, whose testimony was cited by justices, contends the 1st District is still politically competitive.

“I said it would have been political malpractice for us to sacrifice the 1st (District),” the Edgefield Republican told reporters Thursday about his testimony. “We were not going to pass a plan that sacrificed the First, but that was all about political calculations. And that was the case because those were the rules the Supreme Court set out.”

Justice Elena Kagan, who wrote the 34-page dissenting opinion, was joined by liberal Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson, the court’s newest member.

 A map of South Carolina’s 1st and 6th congressional districts as redrawn in 2022. (Screenshot of Figure 2 in the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 23, 2024, ruling.)

Kagan scoffed at the majority’s reasoning.

“The Challengers introduced more than enough evidence of racial gerrymandering to support the District Court’s judgment,” she wrote. “The majority picks and chooses evidence to its liking; ignores or minimizes less convenient proof; disdains the panel’s judgments about witness credibility; and makes a series of mistakes about expert opinions.”

Map makers obviously used data on race to achieve the desired Republican tilt, she wrote, pointing to the percentage of Black residents 18 and older in the 1st District. Despite all the precinct moves, “the district’s racial balance did not budge.”

The Black voting-age population in the district went from 16.6% to 16.7%. Such a constant would not have been possible without the use of racial data, she wrote.

The case will return to the lower court to re-evaluate challengers’ separate claim of the redrawn lines diluting the Black vote. Alito said the judges’ ruling on that was tied to the faulty reasoning on racial gerrymandering.

“In light of our conclusion that those findings were clearly erroneous, that conclusion cannot stand,” wrote Alito, who spent several pages of his opinion dismissing Kagan’s criticisms.

Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with most of Alito’s conclusions but wrote a separate opinion disagreeing that any further analysis on voter dilution is needed.

The complaint “combines two stereotypes by assuming that black South Carolinians can be properly represented only by a black Democrat,” Thomas wrote. “The vote dilution analysis in this case inevitably reduces black Charlestonians to partisan pawns and racial tokens. The analysis is demeaning to the courts asked to perform it, to say nothing of the black voters that it stereotypes.”

The three lower court judges — Richard Gergel, Mary Geiger Lewis and Toby Heytens — ruled in January 2023 that state lawmakers drew the coastal 1st District, held by Republican Nancy Mace, in a way that discriminates against Black voters.

The judicial panel sided with the NAACP, ACLU of South Carolina and Taiwan Scott, a Black Hilton Head Island resident who lives in the 1st District, who challenged the new lines following the 2020 census with arguments they violated the Constitution’s 14th and 15th amendments.

“It’s as though we don’t matter, but we do matter, and our voices should be heard,” Scott told reporters after the ruling. “It’s sad to see the decision after, you know, three federal judges ruled we were racially gerrymandered. But we won’t stop.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling changes nothing for this year’s elections.

The lower court’s ruling last year put South Carolina’s congressional elections on hold until a new map was drawn. But in late March, the judges reluctantly agreed to let this year’s elections continue as scheduled with the Legislature’s 2022 map, since the nation’s high court had yet to weigh in and candidate filing for the June party primaries was just days from concluding.

In the 1st District, three Republicans, including Mace, and two Democrats are competing in the June 11 primaries. In the 6th District, Clyburn has no primary challenger. Two Republicans are facing off for the opportunity to challenge him in November. But Clyburn, first elected in 1992, is expected to easily win a 17th term.

The chief attorney for the NAACP legal defense fund said the group is still assessing next moves.

“There is a potential avenue for plaintiffs to try to redress the harm of the racially discriminatory map,” Leah Aden, who argued the case before the nation’s high court, told reporters. “But what we will do and what that will look like, I think we are still wrapping our heads around now.”

Officials with the ACLU pledged that the fight will continue.

“Today is a dark day for democracy in South Carolina, but all hope is not lost,” said Jace Woodrum, executive director of the ACLU’s state branch. “For now, the Supreme Court has upheld a racially gerrymandered map, and South Carolina voters are the ones who will suffer the consequences. … We remain committed to ending gerrymandering in our state and will use every tool at our disposal until ‘We the People’ truly means all of us.”

SC Daily Gazette reporters Abraham Kenmore and Skylar Laird contributed to this report. 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on South Carolina’s voting lines brought responses from across the political spectrum. Here are some of the differing opinions:

• Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms, who led redistricting efforts in the Senate: “I am pleased that the United States Supreme Court agreed with what we have said all along: the First Congressional District map was not racially gerrymandered.”

• U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, 6th District: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alexander v. South Carolina State Conference of the NAACP is further affirmation that this Court has chosen to disenfranchise Black voters and rob us of our fundamental access to the ballot box.”

• Senate President Thomas Alexander, R-Walhalla: “As I have said throughout this process, our plan was meticulously crafted to comply with statutory and constitutional requirements, and I was completely confident we would prevail. With its decision today, the Supreme Court affirmed the hard work of South Carolina senators and the product they produced as constitutional.”

• Brenda Murphy, president of the NAACP in South Carolina: “Today the Supreme Court has failed the American people, voting rights have taken another gut punch, and the future of democracy in South Carolina is dangling by a thread. Make no mistake, though, we are not backing down from this fight.”

• S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster: “The Supreme Court, I think, was clear. I think they examined the question and followed the law. … And I think they made the right decision.”

• Janai Nelson, president and director-counsel of the Legal Defense Fund: “The highest court in our land greenlit racial discrimination in South Carolina’s redistricting process, denied Black voters the right to be free from the race-based sorting and sent a message that facts, process, and precedent will not protect the Black vote.”

• Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield: “I’m pleased, but it’s what we expected was going to happen. We took a lot of effort and spent a lot of time to make sure we did redistricting the right way, so we felt confident we were going to prevail, and we did.”

• Adriel I. Cepeda Derieux, deputy director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project: “At the end of the day, the Supreme Court essentially says that short of the most flagrant kind of evidence pointing to racial intent — short of someone standing in the public square and saying they’re drawing a racist map — that this Legislature was going to get a pass, and that has never been the law, and it shouldn’t be the law.”

• Michael B. Moore, one of two Democrats in the District 1 primary: “Regardless of the congressional map, this race is all about connecting with folks in South Carolina’s coastal communities. … We have a plan to win in November, no matter the playing field, and we’re more confident than ever about our footing in the fight for SC-01.”

This article originally appeared in the South Carolina Daily Gazette on May 24th, 2024.

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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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