Kurt Bardella: 2022 Midterms Might Be The Last Free And Fair Elections We Have. WHOA!!

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MSNBC’s Katie Phang show(05/21/22) did a segment on WaPo’s bombshell revelation that Ginni Thomas’ involvement in the effort to overturn the 2020 election results was much more than has been previously reported. The conversation then turned into how ruthlessly Republicans would have dealt with a similarly situated liberal justice. Guest Kurt Bardella slammed the perennial weakness by congressional Democrats, who he said always played defense as opposed to the attack-minded Republicans. Bardella then made a startling assertion, telling host Katie Phang that if the January 6th Select Committee doesn’t go on the offense by making top Trump officials testify in public like Republicans did Hillary Clinton during Benghazi, then “this[2022 midterms]might be the last free and fair elections we have.”

MSNBC host Katie Phang(video at 5:11): “Kurt I saw you tweeting about how you were surprised that Democrats didn’t immediately start investigations into the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as soon as they got into power. Now we see the January 6th Committee is apparently fine with not even getting him to testify…What will it take for the Dems to go on the offensive?”

Kurt Burdella: “I just think back to the Benghazi Select Committee, when Republicans didn’t blink to bring up Hillary Clinton to testify for more than 11 hours and face that type of grilling. I don’t know how you can have a system that has Secretary Clinton at the time having to do that, but you let Donald Trump, and people like Mike Pence, and Ginni Thomas, and Rudy Giuliani, and Steve Bannon, and Mark Meadows avoid that type of public setting. It’s such a parity and I’m telling you, we’re seeing right now, at this very second, Republicans campaign for the midterms on the idea that they are going to do this to the Biden administration. That they are not going to hesitate to use the reins of power to go after the president’s son…to try to impeach the president, to try to impeach the DHS secretary…Democrats are about to get a lesson on how to wield power, whether they like it or not, if they don’t step up right now because they are the last line of defense of stopping Republicans from hijacking democracy. It’s not about 2024 Katie, it’s about 2022 because I promise you, if Republicans are allowed to regain a congressional majority, they will not certify a Democrat win in 2024…This check and balance that we are about to see with the January 6th Select Committee is perhaps the last guardian of defense that we have of our democracy and our process, and if we don’t get answers from everybody who was involved, especially at the very top, this might be the last free and fair elections we have.”

As outlandish as Kurt Bardella’s assertion sounds, rank and file Democrats know it is absolutely true. A lot of the crazy things we’ve witnessed from Trump Republicans are rooted in their belief that Democrats will never muster enough courage to hold them accountable in any meaningful way–all bark no bite. Let’s hope the January 6th Select Committee breaks this expectation of weakness by Republicans, by holding them accountable through lengthy public testimonies, under oath. If the January 6th Select Committee fails to hold Trump and his top lieutenants accountable, then as Bardella correctly points out, democracy as we know it, will be dead this year, not in 2024, and Dem weakness will be partly to blame. This of course, also apples to President Biden’s Department of Justice.

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Trump Lashes Out At AG Barr For Not Going After Hunter Biden

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Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News’ Sean Hannity show(04/13/22) where he among other things, lamented the weaponization of law enforcement for political purposes. Trump joked that in the last five years, he has gone through “more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together.” Yours Truly found this quite interesting because even though weaponization of the criminal justice system for political purposes is a legitimate topic of concern, Trump’s DOJ was brazenly political, especially under Attorney General William Barr. As a matter of fact, Trump admitted to host Sean Hannity that he was frustrated with AG Barr’s refusal to prosecute President Biden’s son Hunter, during the 2020 campaign season.

Trump specifically told Hannity(video at 32:00 onwards): “I’ve gone through in five years, more investigations than Al Capone, Jesse James and Billy the kid put together…They’ve weaponized law enforcement essentially, they’ve weaponized the AGs in the states..and district attorneys…I mean, it’s such a horrible thing that they are doing, and I just don’t think the people of the country are going to take it. but I just, based on past, I think probably nothing will happen[to Hunter Biden]. Look, we also had a chance, but Bill Barr, the Attorney General, didn’t want to be impeached, they[Democrats] were vicious with him…How do you not get impeached? You just sit back and relax and wait out for your term to end, and that’s what he did, and it was a sad thing and a sad day for this country, then he writes his crummy book, which was so false…He was so afraid of being impeached, that he refused to do his job.”

There’s no other way to interpret Trump’s remarks on Hannity other than, he was infuriated by his own AG Bill Barr, for not prosecuting Hunter Biden during the runup to the 2020 presidential elections, a move that Trump knew would give him political advantage over his opponent Joe Biden. This, needless to say, would have been the quintessential weaponization of the criminal justice system. Put another way, Trump is not concerned about the legitimate problem surrounding the weaponization of the criminal justice system, he is just mad that his own AG refused to go along with it when it came to Hunter Biden.

Bottom line folks, as we have seen with many other issues involving former President Trump, projection is always a major theme. As Trump is now complaining about weaponization of the criminal justice system, it must not be left unsaid that his own DOJ was notorious for that. Trump’s remarks also raise serious questions about the Hunter Biden criminal investigation. If Bill Barr was against the investigation while he was AG, why is he now saying on cable TV that Hunter should be investigated?

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Mnuchin Grilled Over Trump’s Tax Returns Double Standard

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on 2/12/2020, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was grilled by Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) about the apparent double standard stemming from his department’s decision to deny a request for President Trump’s tax returns from House Democrats while at the same time gladly handing over financial records related to Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans.

Sec Mnuchin’s explanation, a plausible one, was that the request for Trump’s tax returns was governed by a different provision from the one governing records request related to Hunter Biden. According to Sec Mnuchin, the records request related to Hunter Biden was a SARS (Suspicious Activity Reports) request which he said Treasury has already released for over 1,000 individuals following requests by both Republican and Democratic committee chairs.

Specifically, Sec Mnuchin said, “The House disclosure of tax returns is subject to protections of 26 U.S.C. 6103 which on the advise of counsel as we documented, we had significant concerns. That’s very different than I believe what you[Sen Wyden] are referring to–SARS requests, which on a bipartisan basis we have responded to thousands ofSARS requests to the committees from both Republicans and Democrats on an equal basis.”

The question for House Democrats going forward is whether they can pin Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to this SARS rationale and get Treasury to release suspicious activity reports related to the Trump family from the myriad banking institutions they have been involved with, especially Deutsche Bank. This might prove particularly interesting given the fact that Attorney General William Barr’s daughter Mary Daly currently works at Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Unit (FINCEN), which presumably handles suspicious activity reports from the various banking institutions. Was Mary Daly installed at FINCEN for a reason? Hmm

Bottom line folks, getting Trump’s tax returns remains a very high priority for the majority of the American public. However, there are other financial records related to Trump and his family that House Democrats could pry loose using Sec Mnuchin’s SARS rationale, especially records related to Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank. Hopefully House Democrats will seize on this great opportunity Sec Mnuchin has unwittingly presented them with.

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Lev Parnas Says It Was All About Biden, Not Corruption

In an explosive interview on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show, Lev Parnas, the indicted Ukrainian-American at the very center of President Trump’s impeachment saga, appears to have dealt a death blow to Trump’s defense when he told host Maddow that all Trump wanted from President Zelensky of Ukraine was dirt on Biden and that he was never interested in rooting out corruption in the country.

Parnas told Maddow, “It[Ukrainegate]was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden and also Rudy [Giuliani]had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff, the black ledger. That was another thing that they were looking into. But it was never about corruption, it was strictly about Burisma which included Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.”

This is a very problematic revelation for the Trump team because their entire defense has been that as President, Trump had every right to deny aid to Ukraine if he felt that hard earned U.S. tax dollars would be misappropriated by corrupt Ukrainian officials.

Republican Senators, especially those from swing states who are up for reelection this year, have found it impossible to defend Trump against allegations that he sought help from a foreign country (Ukraine) to dig up dirt on his political opponent (Biden). These Senators have instead rested on the more palatable anti-corruption defense.

If Parnas’ allegation that this was all about Joe Biden pans out, and all indications are that they will, then the vulnerable Republican Senators who have relied on the anti-corruption defense will have no leg to stand on and may be forced to do the unthinkable–put the country’s interests over the GOP and vote to remove Trump from office .

Bottom line folks, we all know that Washington and indeed the rest of the country has become deeply polarized as a result of the Trump presidency. Under any other normal administration, the revelations brought forward by Ukrainegate would be enough to garner bipartisan support both in the House and Senate for a president’s impeachment and removal from office. It will be interesting to see whether partisanship in Washington has become so bad under Trump, that he is allowed to get away with his very troubling conduct re Ukrainegate–the quintessential “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

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