Trump Commuted The Sentences Of Only The Best People. This one raises all sorts of questions:
Jonathan Braun of New York had served just two and a half years of a decade-long sentence for running a massive marijuana ring, when Mr. Trump, at 12:51 a.m. on his last day in office, announced he would be freed.
Mr. Braun was, to say the least, an unusual candidate for clemency.
A Staten Islander with a history of violent threats, Mr. Braun had told a rabbi who owed him money: “I am going to make you bleed.” Mr. Braun’s family had told confidants they were willing to spend millions of dollars to get him out of prison.
At the time, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department and federal regulators, as well as New York state authorities, were still after him for his role in an entirely separate matter: his work as a predatory lender, making what judges later found were fraudulent and usurious loans to cash-strapped small businesses.
The commutation dealt a substantial blow to an ambitious criminal investigation being led by the Justice Department’s U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan aimed at punishing members of the predatory lending industry who hurt small businesses. Mr. Braun and prosecutors were in negotiations over a cooperation deal in which he would be let out of prison in exchange for flipping on industry insiders and potentially even wearing a wire. But the commutation instantly destroyed the government’s leverage on Mr. Braun.
In working to secure his release, Mr. Braun’s family used a connection to Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, to try to get the matter before Mr. Trump. Jared Kushner’s White House office drafted the language used in the news release to announce commutations for Mr. Braun and others.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Braun said he did not know how his commutation came about.
“I believe God made it happen for me because I’m a good person and I was treated unfairly,” he said, adding that his supporters tried “multiple paths” to get him out of prison but he had no idea which one succeeded.
Read the whole thing. If you think Trump’s first term was bad, just imagine who he’ll pardon when he gets back in.
This Can’t Possibly Be True, Can It? Why, yes, yes it can:
Donald Trump and Devin Nunes team up to provide you only the finest in glycerine-infused alcohol (glycerine is an additive nobody but Trump and Nunes use in wine. From the makers of ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ wines.
I’m not making this up.
Has Supreme Court Already Signaled Further Evisceration Of The Voting Rights Act? Could be:
For right-wing litigants, the line of communication has never been clearer. Their ideologically aligned Supreme Court justices send out messages — “trial balloons,” “bat signals” — in concurrences and dissents, raising a topic that maybe, perhaps, it would behoove a motivated lawyer to bring up in a case.
This time, a fellow judge picked up on the hint. U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky of Arkansas, a Donald Trump appointee, eagerly took up the qualms of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas that private litigants could never actually sue under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act — despite the fact that they’ve been doing so for decades.
Earlier this week, David Stras, an 8th Circuit Court of Appeals judge and fellow Trump appointee, enthusiastically echoed Rudofsky’s reasoning in a decision dripping with disdain for voting rights groups (in which he was joined by Judge Raymond Gruender, a George W. Bush appointee). Both Stras and Gruender had appeared on the shortlist for Supreme Court candidates during the Trump administration.
“Quarreling over district lines begins like clockwork every ten years after the United States Census,” Stras eyerolled, sniping that the advocacy groups fighting what they claimed was a gerrymandered Arkansas House map had “sued nearly everyone who had anything to do with it under § 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”
Stras and Gruender agreed with Rudofsky that individuals couldn’t sue under Section 2. In fact, they wrote, only the U.S. attorney general could.
I know. As if we don’t have enough to worry about…
Gotta keep it short, helping out at the Holiday Shop at the Arden Gild Hall starting at 10. I’ll be part of the Library Book sale team. If you want to see one of the most tasteless and, yes, alarming Christmas sweaters you’ll see all year, I’ll be wearing it.
What do you want to talk about?
Author: El Somnambulo