‘Trump Would Be Better Off If He Had Never Met John Eastman’

Column: As Eastman’s legal exposure increases, a conservative lawyer and former Trump delegate illuminates Eastman’s ‘three major rookie blunders’

True, former President Donald Trump’s mug shot is generating more cash than John Eastman’s mug shot — while Trump glowers, Eastman looks more like one of those stone heads on the graves in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion — but the former Chapman Law dean isn’t doing too shabbily on the fundraising front:

Tens of thousands in small donations have poured in over the past week, helping Eastman surpass his half-million dollar “legal defense fund” target. He set a new goal of $750,000.

It appears he’ll need it.

Eastman faces a slew of criminal charges in Georgia, including violating the state’s RICO Act, filing false documents, soliciting a public officer to violate the oath of office and other criminal conspiracies.  Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Eastman, Trump and 17 others with scheming to subvert the will of Georgia voters in an illegal bid to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss there. They are scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 6.

More criminal charges could be forthcoming in federal court for Eastman, and he’s currently fighting charges of “dishonesty and moral turpitude” as the California Bar tries to yank his law license.

This bar trial is fascinating stuff, offering a sneak peek at the defenses Eastman will mount in criminal court(s) — and it has some legal observers thinking that Eastman is in big, big, big trouble.

Eastman and his lawyers argue that his legal advice to Trump — including memos theorizing that the vice president has power to delay election certification and send matters back to the states for a potential do-over and that states could send alternate electors (for the losing candidate) to the Capitol even after election results are certified by those states. etc. —  wasn’t unreasonable, and his opinion that there was massive fraud in the election is a matter of free speech.

Experts for the bar say it’s quite clearly otherwise.

“No reasonable lawyer exercising diligence appropriate to the circumstances would adopt Mr. Eastman’s legal positions,” wrote constitutional scholar Matthew A. Seligman in a report for the bar.

Months into his bar trial, Eastman asked the judge to halt trial until the Georgia criminal case concludes — to, you know, avoid incriminating himself. The judge declined. It’s apparently a bit too late for that.

Eastman “has testified for over 8 hours … not once invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege or making any such objection to his testimony thus far,” the judge wrote. “It is firmly established that a witness cannot choose to testify willingly about a topic … and then later claim the right to remain silent under self-incrimination privilege. …

“The act of testifying results in a forfeiture of the privilege for the subjects discussed.”

‘Three major rookie blunders’

And among Eastman’s “three major rookie legal blunders,” Laguna Niguel attorney James V. Lacy tells us, is this testifying in the disbarment proceeding bit.

Taking the stand for more than eight hours after zipping his lips and invoking the Fifth Amendment before the House Jan. 6 committee was probably, at best, unwise.

“Clearly Eastman was headed for a criminal trial, the House even referred him to the Justice Department!” said Lacy, whose conservative bona fides include serving in the Reagan and Bush administrations and as a Trump delegate in 2016.

Yet, somehow, for some reason, Eastman didn’t seek to postpone the disbarment trial, and then proceeded to talk, talk, talk. “Once that horse is out of the barn, any decent lawyer knows the Fifth Amendment defense as to what has already been said is out the window,” Lacy said.

Eastman’s other two major rookie legal blunders, in Lacy’s opinion, are as follows:

“Being a cheapskate and using the Chapman.edu server to send and accept attorney-client privilege messages about Trump’s post-election legal strategy. That all should have been done on his own secure confidential server. It is an inexcusable violation of client expectations of attorney confidentiality to send confidential messages over a server you do not control, let alone one that is owned by a public nonprofit educational institution,” he wrote to us.

Then, Eastman sued in federal court in an attempt to keep those Chapman emails confidential — which turned out to be way worse than shooting yourself in the foot. He got nowhere, almost all the emails were divulged anyway, and he put himself — and his client, Trump — in a far worse position by setting the stage for Judge David O. Carter to write that Eastman and Trump “more likely than not” committed a crime by trying to stop the vote certification on Jan. 6.

“If Eastman had used a secure system, or never filed the litigation to try to fix it, Carter would never have had a platform to write that,” Lacy said.

Lacy’s not saying that’s legal malpractice, but someone else might.

‘Awful legal advice’

Lacy has known Eastman for years. They met in D.C. in the 1980s, they vied for the same congressional seat in the 1990s, have had a “decent” relationship, with Lacy even taking on one of Eastman’s Chapman law students as an intern, who Lacy hired and who remains on the firm’s staff today.

“As a person who has supported Trump in the past, I am deeply saddened by this awful legal advice he gave to Trump,” Lacy said. “If Eastman was never in the picture, never gave any such legal advice … Trump would be in a far better political position today. Two of the four indictments would never have even happened.

“I’ve known John a long time,” Lacy continued. “He’s been very strong on extreme legal theories and trying to normalize them. Not just with this bit of the vice president having power to reject electors, but his philosophizing that state legislatures have unlimited power. … It’s just not true. Both of those are contrary to the underpinnings of our democracy.

“How could you say it’s democracy at all if it doesn’t provide for judicial review, for fairness? How can you say the vice president can set aside certified state electors? How can you say that, and say you’re a conservative and believe in state’s rights?”

Eastman didn’t just propose a theory on how to postpone or set aside certified election results from seven different states. He provided legal advice that he didn’t really believe in — in emails to the vice president’s lawyer, Eastman concedes that not one Supreme Court justice would agree with him — and took “overt acts,” Lacy said.

Eastman contacted state officials, helped organize alternate slates of Trump electors, testified to state legislators, was “a serpent in the ear of the President of the United States, the most powerful office in the entire world,” as the vice president’s attorney said.

“I can say flat out that Trump would have been so far better off politically if he didn’t have this 1/6 albatross around his neck, that was really created by Eastman,” Lacy said. “Even if Trump wanted to interfere in the outcome of the election, without those two (Eastman) memos, there’s no path to it.

“Trump would be better off if he had never met John Eastman.”

A judge set a March 4 trial date for Trump in the federal case charging the former president with trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

On Eastman’s defense that his opinions on massive fraud et al are a matter of free speech, Lacy says this:

“The zero-in point is coupling all his overt acts like helping prepare fake state elector certificates and calling legislators. The overt acts, like yelling ‘Fire!’ In a theater when you know there is no fire, makes the speech/advice no longer protected by the First Amendment.”

‘Contribute (or contribute again!)’

Eastman and his attorneys beg to differ there, of course.

“(W)e sought to have investigated what Vice President Mike Pence described as ‘serious allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law.’  Doing that is speech and petitioning the government for redress of grievances fully protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Eastman wrote on his fundraising blog.

“But the narrative being foisted on us by the left and by the anti-Trump right doesn’t care about constitutional rights, free and fair elections, presumption of innocence, or any of those other basic components of our system of government. That mentality needs to be confronted head on, and with your help, I’m doing all that I can….

“Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. And if you can, contribute (or contribute again!) to the legal defense fund and encourage your friends to do the same. Estimates from the various lawyers with whom I have spoken over the past week indicate this may cost $1 Million or more.”

After his booking in Georgia, Eastman vowed to vigorously contest every count of the indictment. “I am confident that, when the law is faithfully applied in this proceeding, all of my co-defendants and I will be fully vindicated,” his statement said.

Others aren’t so sure. Lacy thinks Eastman should have simply resigned his bar membership rather than agree to testify at the disbarment trial. Eastman is licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C.  He doesn’t really need a California law license.

The best thing Eastman can do now — not just for himself, but for Trump and everyone else — is to shut up, Lacy said.

We’ll see how that plays out at the State Bar. His trial resumes Sept. 5.

Click here to read the article in the OC Register

Ex-Chapman Law Dean John Eastman, Who Advised Former President Donald Trump, Indicted on 9 counts

Ex-Chapman Law dean John Eastman, the architect of a plan to keep former President Donald Trump in office, was indicted along with Trump and 17 others in Fulton County, Georgia, on Monday, Aug. 14.

Eastman was part of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act count of an indictment issued by a grand jury and presented by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

The attorney was indicted on eight additional counts:

  • Solicitation Of Violation Of Oath By Public Officer;
  • Conspiracy To Commit Impersonating A Public Officer;
  • Conspiracy To Commit Forgery In The First Degree;
  • Conspiracy To Commit False Statements And Writings;
  • Conspiracy To Commit Filing False Documents;
  • Conspiracy To Commit Forgery In The First Degree;
  • Conspiracy To Commit False Statements And Writings;
  • Filing False Documents.

Willis said those indicted have until Aug. 25 to turn themselves in voluntarily.

Eastman was an unidentified, unindicted co-conspirator in a federal indictment against Trump issued by special counsel Jack Smith on Aug. 1. He clearly was one of the six who weren’t named based on specific quotes and actions attributed to co-conspirator 2 in the indictment.

He even acknowledged that the Southern California News Group put it all together in a post on his fundraising page for his legal defense.

“Lots of speculation swirling around today about whether I am one of the unindicted co-conspirators mentioned in the latest indictment handed down by the Biden administration against its most likely opponent in the next election, Donald Trump,” Eastman said in a post dated Aug. 2. “

Click here to read the full article in the OC Register

Republicans Win Presidency! Expand House Majority! Regain Senate! Spoiler Alert

Republicans are going to win handily next year.

Among Fox News viewers.

But what about the rest of America?

Can Democrats replace Biden to keep the presidency, retain the Senate, and take back the House?  Ron DeSantis is showing the way. The latest example was in New Hampshire last week where he continued his inexplicable journey to morph into Donald Trump: “We’re going to have all of these deep state people, you know, we are going to start slitting throats on Day 1.”

An inelegant metaphor, or a loose cannon?

Mega-donor Robert Bigelow — who gave $20 million earlier this year to DeSantis’s Super PAC  “Never Back Down” — has suspended support.  Bigelow says “extremism won’t get you elected” and cited Florida’s six week abortion ban.  Voters will celebrate DeSantis if they see him as a reflective man of principle and integrity who will persuade others to his cause and collaborate for the common good. But  if “Never Back Down” instead describes a reflexive man of ideology and intransigence who won’t admit a mistake or compromise, they don’t need a Trump wannabe.

On Friday DeSantis belatedly criticized Trump’s insults and antics, and Trump’s behavior as not the way “the president of a great nation … should be conducting himself …  not a good standard for our children to follow.” DeSantis said voters don’t want Biden but in the end Trump would lose to Biden.

As I’ve pointed out, even many Trump voters are worried that ultimately Trump would lose in a general election, that more-than-subconscious apprehension that constitutes the path for DeSantis or someone else to win the Republican nomination. (READ MORE: There Is No Path for Donald Trump to Become the Republican Nominee)

Yet DeSantis’s sudden awakening to reality may not be plausible. It’s not just his past effusive praise of Trump, featured provocatively in a new Trump ad,  or his current Trump-like campaign. Most of all, it’s national  polls showing Trump competitive with Biden.  There may still be hope for DeSantis if he could finally credibly pivot from his absurd out-Trump Trump mode and instead appeal to independent voters to shift general election polling — to demonstrate he is more likely to defeat Biden. This is, paradoxically, the way to effect primary polling.  “Winner” Gov. DeSantis, who won a landslide reelection last year in Florida, must contrast with three-time loser Trump.

In 2018 President Donald J. Trump could have defied the odds and kept control of the House by a few seats.  Instead, he sabotaged his winning message of peace and prosperity, making the midterm election a referendum on him.  Losing the House meant his impeachment!  In 2020, it was again about him, not policy — and then his defeat.  Trump’s inept reelection campaign along with the clueless Republican National Committee did not encourage early mail voting or ballot harvesting.  If the election were stolen, it was not stuffed ballots or tampered vote counts, but the unconstitutional DOJ/FBI collusion with Big Tech, especially Facebook and Google, to suppress and tilt the news to favor Biden.

Last year Trump was at it again: he favored weak primary candidates who lost in November, assuring Democrats continued Senate control.  Also, Republicans had hyped a super majority in the House, triggering a high Democrat turnout.  Yet Republicans failed  on message — inflation. In lieu, they obsessed about investigations, the prurient interest of Fox News groupies. Republicans won only a narrow majority — nearly impossible for Speaker Kevin McCarthy to lead. (READ MORE: CHAOS! Republicans Control House, Barely, and Trump Is In-and-Out)

Since then, they “investigate” with blatant partisan stridency, no effort to project fairness and thus to win the end-game.  Without strategy or choreography, they announce the conclusion before each investigation starts  No media savvy, they raise expectations but don’t deliver. Their “impeachment inquiry” without credibility further telegraphs that this is all just politics and retribution.

For decades, the pre-senile Joe Biden exploited the tragic death of his first wife by falsely claiming a drunk driver killed her.  Joe Biden is not just a documented life-long serial plagiarist, but an unabashed liar to make himself look good, and even play victim.  Alibis are Biden DNA.  Hunter Biden’s tell-all book pre-empted Hunter’s drug-abusing, sex addict defense: I did bad things in the fog of Ecstasy. Voyeur-like Fox News fell for reality star Hunter. But Republicans could have conceded Hunter is a screw-up, pretended empathy and then focused on Joe.  Instead, they enabled many voters to buy the evolved narrative — a loving father helping a problem kid, as if a middle-aged con man is a teenager gone astray (those terrible delinquents at Burisma!).

In refusing to approve Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea bargain, Federal Judge Maryellen Noreika acted competently and professionally. That’s why even the biased legacy media reported the deal smells, and now Hunter is on their watch list.  Voters react to favored treatment for Hunter but otherwise don’t care if Hunter is a crook. They do care if Joe is a crook, but so far they perceive politics-as-usual — a partisan vendetta —  far off from their macro-concerns.

The Big Picture

What about the Big Picture?  In the past, the increased cost of living was relentless but subtle:   After a decade or two or a generation, parents  would say to their children, “I remember when the cost of a (hot dog, ice cream cone, movie ticket, etc.) was …”  But Biden handed Republicans the keys to the kingdom when he shocked the economy into CHAOS.  Even former Harvard President and Democrat Larry Summers, an economist who served as President Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary, predicted Biden would bring about doom and gloom inflation.

Republicans cannot process this political gift, an inflationary psychosis, such that even if inflation lessens, it’s baked in — the anxiety and angst are palpable and needed to have been — and to be — nurtured, with political closure in November 2024. Meanwhile Trump drama distracts from the uncertainty and despair of the inflation monster,  the nostalgia not for a quarter century ago, but for an APB … America-pre-Biden.

We are in uncharted waters.  Black and Latino support for Trump may increase, because they get it — bad cops and a rogue prosecutor. Republican support for Trump grows, but what about his unchecked baggage for November? A Trump candidacy even against Biden remains risky.  Chris Christie will say  a vote for Joe is a vote for Kamala. But Joe won’t run, and Trump surely loses to another Democrat.  Republicans bet all their chips on a Biden candidacy, rather than hedge with a generic attack on his Administration and its apologists, including likely Biden successors.

If non-candidate Biden serves out his term,  the unctuous Gavin Newsom will continue to gush over Kamala, as he has rhapsodized over Joe. Meantime, Newsom has drafted his announcement of candidacy. (Can we we get into Gavin’s laptop?)  If Biden won’t complete his term, Dems move Kamala into Feinstein’s Senate seat or elsewhere and replace the V.P. with an adult.

As for the proposed California Governor Newsom-Florida Governor DeSantis debate this year, Newsom is personable, slick and fast.  If DeSantis is abrasive, rigid, and detached, DeSantis will project anger and extremism, while Woke Newsom will come across as a happy moderate.

Meanwhile, Trump’s legal morass sucks the energy out of the spirited Republican primary. If Trump avoids the first debate, the viewer audience will be less.  But will his ego let him stay away? Besides, without Trump, will one candidate steal the stage?

The absurd indictment sponsored by that hack New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg was a nonstarter, and Trump should score an early win there. On federal matters, Trump deserves rebuke, but not criminal prosecution, yet we have Jack Smith’s multiple indictments for, get this, crimes against democracy. But what threatens democracy more? Trump soliciting alternative electors who then could be challenged? Or government/Big Tech collusion  to censor information, preventing  an informed electorate vital to democracy, manipulating an election, and actually violating the  First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech, assembly, and religion?   Prosecutor Smith claims to defend democracy as he seeks to undermine it!

After former Sen. John Edwards’ failed 2004 presidential run, Smith prosecuted Edwards. The jury failed to convict and the embarrassed Department of Justice dropped the case.  In yet other high profile case, Smith went after Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who had to spend $28 million to defend himself. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated McDonnell’s conviction, rebuking Smith, in its words: “the uncontrolled power of criminal prosecutors is a threat to our separation of powers.”  His false morality a cover, Jack Smith seeks not to stop Trump’s insurrection, but to start his own resurrection, a divided nation be damned.

It Won’t Be Trump vs. Biden

The Republican base is angry about the unprecedented persecution of Trump, the most recent indictment two-and-one-half years after the alleged crimes.  That anger manifests in growing support for Trump.  But in time, that fury may find expression, not in endlessly defending Trump, but in  supporting another Republican, better on offense against the Democrats.  In most so-called “winner take all” primary states, Trump needs a majority, not a plurality. Given Trump’s seemingly infinite capacity for self-destruction, Trump is more likely to top out early, even in Iowa and New Hampshire, than gain further. The Big Secret: other candidates are relatively more anxious for a collapse of DeSantis, not Trump.

Click here to read the full article in the Spectator

Trump Reportedly Getting Ready to Throw Giuliani and John Eastman Under the Bus

It’s possible that a third indictment is coming for former President Donald Trump for his involvement in January 6, and one legal strategy being hinted at is blaming the lawyers who advised him at the time.

Trump has claimed in his Truth Social posts that he “did nothing wrong” when the January 6 insurrection happened and he allegedly tried to steal the 2020 election, and that he was “advised by many lawyers” at the time. In a new Rolling Stone report by Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley those lawyers could very well turn out to be the scapegoats, specifically John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani:

The attorneys were acting on Trump’s behalf. But in this legal strategy, Team Trump would argue it was the lawyers leading Trump, rather than the other way around.

“It is an argument the [former] president likes, and the team is on board with it,” one Trump adviser bluntly says, then somewhat ominously adding: “John [Eastman] and Rudy [Giuliani] gave a lot of counsel … Other people can decide how sound it was.”

Judging by the testimony given by both Giuliani and Eastman, they knew that the advice they were giving was short of “sound.” In late July, Giuliani admitted in a court filing that statements he made publicly and repeatedly about Georgia election workers allegedly committing fraud were false. And when Eastman testified before the January 6 Committee in June 2022, he admitted that despite knowing that using former Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election was illegal, he pushed for it anyway. Eastman even emailed Giuliani requesting that he “should be on the [presidential] pardon list, if that is still in the works.”

But placing blame on “advice of counsel” might not be enough because Trump listens to many other people besides his lawyers, including people who aren’t lawyers at allTim Parlatore, one of Trump’s former lawyers who quit this past May, told Rolling Stone how weak that defense could be:

“To my mind, ‘advice of counsel’ is a much more narrow defense, whereas a more comprehensive view of everything that went into Trump’s state of mind, and would affect the mens rea element of it, is more effective. This would include all of the advice and the information that he received and was basing his decision on — not just the advice from the attorneys who were formally representing him.”

But even with Trump placing the blame on others, that defense could backfire if he’s found to have committed a crime:

“[The ‘advice of counsel’ argument] has its limits. As a lawyer, I can’t tell my client: Look, there’s this obscure, ancient law that I found that says you can kill your wife. If the client goes out and kills his wife, it doesn’t really work if the client turns around and says, ‘Well, wait, my lawyer told me I could do that,’” says Steven Groves, who used to work as an attorney and then as a spokesman in the Trump White House.

Click here to read the full article

Tensions Flare As California GOP Gives Trump a Boost by Overhauling State Primary Rules

In a move backed by former President Trump’s campaign, the California Republican Party on Saturday changed its rules for allocating delegates in the state’s presidential primary — a shake-up that could discourage other GOP candidates from campaigning here and make the state less competitive in next year’s nominating contest.

Tensions flared as the California GOP’s executive committee approved the plan, with some pro-Trump demonstrators denouncing the move, police getting called and two factions nearly coming to fisticuffs.

Although demonstrators argued that the state party leadership was trying to undermine the former president, the decision by the California GOP’s executive committee reflects a concerted effort by the Trump campaign to mold state party rules across the country to benefit his candidacy.

The Michigan Republican Party also recently changed its rules for awarding delegates in a way that’s expected to benefit Trump. Republicans in Idaho, Nevada, Louisiana and Colorado are considering other measures that could give Trump an advantage.

The new rule in California means a Republican presidential candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote in the March 5 primary will win all 169 delegates from California, which has more than any state in the nation. If no one reaches this benchmark, delegates will be awarded proportionally based on the statewide vote.

State party leaders argued that the new plan would draw candidates to compete in California.

“Today’s vote … was a massive victory for California Republicans who are eager to have a say in deciding who our Party’s 2024 presidential nominee will be,” state party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement.

“Republican presidential candidates will not only be encouraged to spend real time campaigning in our state and making their case to voters, but Republican voters will equally be encouraged to turn out to support their chosen candidate to help them win delegates,” she added

But other Republicans say the plan will instead make California less competitive than if the party had stuck with some version of the system it has used for much of the last two decades, in which three delegates were awarded for each congressional district won, said Jon Fleischman, who was executive director of the state GOP in 2000, when it adopted this plan (though it didn’t go into effect until after the 2004 election).

Such a system allows a candidate to strategically target a handful of areas instead of trying to campaign and advertise in an enormous state with some of the most expensive media markets in the nation.

“The net effect of passing this proposal will be no presidential campaign will be incentivized to do any campaigning in California, period,” Fleischman said. “The cost to advertise statewide is too great and the impact of trying to motivate volunteers is too small. So they will go to other states and ignore California in the primary, as they ignore California in the general election.”

Trump’s campaign supported the plan because polling shows he can win more than half the votes in California’s GOP primary, allowing him to sweep up the state’s huge haul of delegates, according to an executive committee member who had spoken with a campaign official.

Trump strategists also believe a previous proposal — that the California GOP scrapped — could have helped Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said the executive committee member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about the insider conversation.

Under that system, delegates would have been awarded by congressional district, with two going to the winner in each district and one delegate going to the second-place finisher. California is so big, with 52 congressional districts, that such a system would have created an enormous “consolation prize” amounting to more delegates than those awarded by multiple other states combined.

Ken Cuccinelli, founder of the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down super PAC, blasted the state GOP’s decision to go the other route.

“Smoke filled back rooms do not reflect the will of or benefit voters in any state. Yet across the country games are afoot to enhance the potential outcome of primary elections for one former president who half of the Republican electorate no longer wants as the party leader,” said Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general who served in the Trump administration, in a statement.

But “even with these asinine primary rules changes,” he added, “we remain confident Governor DeSantis will become the Republican nominee and 47th president of the United States.”

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Had it not changed its rules, the California GOP would have lost half of its delegates to the Republican National Convention — a huge blow to the state’s clout. Either of the plans that were considered would have met the national party’s requirements for sending a full delegation.

California’s 2024 primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday on March 5, along with contests in more than a dozen other states. While California’s overwhelmingly Democratic tilt has long made it uncompetitive for Republican presidential nominees in general elections, the state could play a significant role in deciding the next GOP nominee — particularly if a candidate doesn’t take a commanding lead in earlier contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

By the time California votes in the spring, Trump could be under indictment in four separate criminal cases. He has already been charged in connection with an alleged hush money payment to an adult-film star in the final days of the 2016 campaign, and with mishandling and illegally possessing classified documents at his Florida home after his presidency ended.

Trump is also being investigated in Georgia on allegations that he attempted to overturn his 2020 loss in the crucial state to Democrat Joe Biden; and federal prosecutors have targeted the former president in an investigation into other efforts to keep him in office, including the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

But Trump’s legal issues have not dampened support from his base — including the more than 50 supporters who staged a protest at the Marriott hotel in Irvine on Saturday morning.

The protesters saw the California GOP’s earlier proposal as a purposeful effort to harm Trump, and remained angry that a decision was being made by the party’s 100-member executive committee rather than by more than 1,400 members at their fall convention — a reflection of the distrust of party leadership among conservative activists across the country. They unsuccessfully pushed for a candidate having to receive a certain percentage of the vote to be awarded any delegates.

“There’s a part of me that does think that maybe they’re trying to take votes away from Trump, specifically, who’s coming in strong, and so they’re kind of thinking, ‘What can we do to take away votes for Trump?’” said Bonnie Wallace, president of the Greater Pasadena Republican Assembly. As a state party delegate, she was able to observe the committee meeting, which was closed to the media, but she was unable to vote on the matter.

“What I heard in there is, ‘Oh, we need to open this up so all the candidates are welcome. … If they get 5% of the vote, they’ll get something,” added Wallace, who carried a sign that read, “CAGOP & RNC/Why not Trump? Stop supporting corruption!” “You know, we need to whittle things down. We don’t have participation trophies.”

The executive committee approved the delegate allocation plan on a 53-16 vote. State party officials said they could not wait for the convention to debate the matter due to a tight deadline for submitting plans to national Republicans.

The protest was driven in part by fury and confusion sowed on social media, where far-right activists argued that Millan Patterson and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, who effectively controls the state party, were trying to derail Trump’s candidacy.

“They are trying to change the laws so they can orchestrate a brokered convention at the National convention and steal the GOP nomination from Donald Trump,” Laura Loomer, a Trump supporter from Florida who has a history of spreading conspiracies to her large online following, wrote on Twitter on July 20. “We can’t allow [Millan Patterson] and [McCarthy] to get away with their deceptive rule changes that are designed to screw Donald Trump.”

Millan Patterson and McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment on the accusations.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Republicans’ Faith in 2024 Vote Count Low, Poll Finds

Few Republicans have high confidence that votes will be tallied accurately in next year’s presidential contest, suggesting years of sustained attacks against elections by former President Trump and his allies have taken a toll, according to a new poll.

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that only 22% of Republicans have high confidence that votes in the upcoming presidential election will be counted accurately, compared with 71% of Democrats expressing high confidence — underscoring a partisan divide fueled by a campaign of lies about the 2020 vote.

As he runs for the White House a third time, Trump continues to claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

Overall, 44% of Americans surveyed said they had “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of confidence that the votes in the next election would be counted accurately.

Confidence in elections has risen among Democrats in recent years, but has dropped among Republicans. Ahead of the 2016 election, 32% of Republicans polled were highly confident that votes would be counted accurately. That share rose to 54% two years later, after Trump won the presidency.

But their confidence fell to 28% a month before the 2020 election as Trump signaled that the voting would be rigged, and now sits at 22%.

“I just didn’t like the way the last election went,” said Lynn Jackson, a nurse and registered Republican from Contra Costa County. “I have questions about it. I can’t actually say it was stolen — only God knows that.”

Trump’s claims were rejected by dozens of judges, including several he had appointed. Multiple reviews, audits and recounts in the battleground states where Trump disputed his loss — including several overseen by GOP lawmakers — confirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

Even so, Trump’s claims led GOP-dominated states to pass new laws increasing voting restrictions, primarily by restricting mail voting and limiting or banning ballot drop boxes. Across the country, conspiracy theories related to voting machines prompted many Republican-controlled local governments to explore banning counting machines in favor of hand counts.

The AP-NORC survey found that political independents — a group that has consistently had low confidence in elections — were also largely skeptical about the integrity of the 2024 elections. Just 24% said they had the highest levels of confidence that the votes would be counted accurately.

Chris Ruff, a 46-year-old unaffiliated voter from Sanford, N.C., said he lost faith in elections years ago, believing they are rigged. He also sees no difference between the two major parties.

“I don’t vote at all,” he said. “I think it only adds credibility to the system if you participate.”

The conspiracy theories about voting machines, promoted through forums held around the country, also have taken a toll on confidence among Republicans even though there is no evidence to support the claims.

About 4 in 10 U.S. adults said they were highly confident that scanning paper ballots into a machine provides accurate counts. Democrats are about twice as confident in the process as Republicans — 63% compared with 29%. That marks a notable shift from a 2018 AP-NORC poll that found just 40% of Democrats were confident compared with 53% of Republicans.

Gillian Nevers, a 79-year-old retiree from Madison, Wis., has been a poll worker and said she had confidence — based on her experiences — in the people who oversee elections.

“I have never seen any shenanigans,” said Nevers, who votes Democratic. “The claims are unfounded and ridiculous.”

The conspiracy theories have led to death threats against election officials and an exodus of experienced workers.

Among other poll findings:

Most Republicans — 62% — said they were opposed to voting by mail without an excuse, compared with just 13% of Democrats.

Requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot received broad bipartisan support. Seven in 10 adults said they would favor a measure requiring voters to provide photo identification, including 87% of Republicans and 60% of Democrats.

A slim majority of Americans — 55% — said they supported automatically registering adult citizens to vote when they get a driver’s license or other state identification.

Four in 10 adults said eligible voters being denied the right to vote is a major problem in U.S. elections, but about as many Americans said the same about voting by people who are not eligible. The perceived significance of each issue varies by political party: 56% of Republicans said illegal voting is a major problem in U.S. elections, compared with 20% of Democrats. And 53% of Democrats said eligible voters being unable to vote is a major problem, compared with 26% of Republicans.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

Trump heavily favored over DeSantis among California Republicans, poll shows 

Former President Donald Trump is favored over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis among registered Republican voters in California in the 2024 presidential primary, a new poll from Emerson College Polling and Inside California Politics shows. 

54.5% of registered Republican respondents said they would most likely vote for Trump in the presidential primary, nearly three times as many who said they would vote for DeSantis (18.7%).

The poll was conducted from June 4 – 7, before a federal indictment against Trump became public.

Former Vice President Mike Pence was the top choice for 11.8% of those polled, with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley rounding out the top four with support from 5.7% of respondents.

However, among California voters, both Trump and DeSantis trailed President Joe Biden by more than 20 percentage points in hypothetical matchups.

53.5% of respondents favored Biden over Trump, who was the preferred candidate for 31.7% of respondents. If that matchup were to repeat itself in 2024, 9.6% said they would vote for someone else and 5.2% said they were undecided.

A similar percentage, 53.7%, favored Biden over DeSantis, who was the preferred candidate for 28.4% of respondents. In that matchup, 10.3% said they would vote for someone else and 7.6% said they were undecided. 

Biden Sweeps 2024 Democratic Primary Poll

As the incumbent president, Biden is easily the favorite in the 2024 Democratic primary among registered Democrats polled. 

Biden was the top choice for 73.3% of registered Democrats polled.

Robert Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist and nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, was the second most popular choice with 16.2% favoring him. 6.6% of respondents said they would vote for author Marianne Williamson.

4.6% said they would vote for someone else.

Democratic Politicians’ Approval Rating

Despite the strong support from California voters in the two seemingly most likely 2024 matchups, Biden’s approval rating among respondents (43.9%) was only about 4 percentage points higher than those who said they disapproved of the job he was doing as president (39.6%).

Vice President and California native Kamala Harris fared slightly worse than the president. 37% of California voters polled said they approve of her job performance while 41.8% said they disapprove. 

44.7% of respondents said they approve of Governor Gavin Newsom. 39.4% said they disapprove. 

Click here to read the full article at Fox40

Trump Is Being Charged with Willfully Retaining National-Defense Information

Reporting from the Washington Post and New York Times indicates that former president Donald Trump has been indicted on seven felony counts. The indictment obtained by special counsel Jack Smith from a federal grand jury in Miami is still under seal, so the reports are based on leaks from people said to be knowledgeable.

The most notable thing I’ve seen is that, in charging Trump with an Espionage Act offense, prosecutors are relying on a provision that criminalizes willful violations of the rules that government officials are required to follow in handling national-defense intelligence. This seems like an obvious effort to distinguish Trump’s alleged crime from President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, which the White House and the media-Democratic complex have described as inadvertent — the result mainly of sloppy staff work, not willfulness.

No one who has been following our analyses at NR will be surprised to hear that Trump is reportedly charged with a conspiracy to obstruct justice. What intrigues me about that allegation is that it takes two to tango — i.e., one can’t conspire alone. To have conspired to obstruct justice, prosecutors would have to prove that Trump had at least one co-conspirator who knowingly agreed to obstruct the government’s investigation. At this point, it is not clear with whom Smith alleges Trump conspired. When the indictment is made public, perhaps it will shed light on that question.

Trump is also said to be charged with making false statements. As I’ve previously related, one theory the special counsel appears to be pressing is that Trump is responsible for a false sworn statement his lawyers conveyed to the FBI — for transmission to the grand jury — on June 3, 2022.

At that time, the lawyers represented that a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been conducted and that the 38 documents bearing classification marking that they were surrendering that day were the only ones in Trump’s possession. After that point, the government continued to investigate and developed evidence that Trump was still hoarding documents marked classified. As a result, prosecutors sought and obtained a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago on August 5, 2022. Three days later, the FBI searched the premises and seized over a hundred documents with classification markings, many of them found in Trump’s private office.

Under the federal aiding-and-abetting statute, a principal is responsible for criminal acts of his agents, including false statements, if he has caused, counseled, or commanded their commission.

Most interesting, though, are reports that Trump is charged with willfully retaining national-defense information. We can’t be sure until we’ve seen the indictment, but this appears to refer to subsection (d) of the Espionage Act (Section 793 of the federal criminal code, Title 18). In pertinent part, that section states:

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document … relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, … willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it [is guilty of a crime punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment].

Subsection (d) sets forth a more serious offense than the provision that usually applies to government officials who mishandle classified information and other national-defense intelligence. That provision, subsection (f), makes it a crime for officials trusted with national-defense intelligence to exhibit gross negligence in mishandling it (e.g., by removing it from safekeeping, by retaining it in an unauthorized place, by exposing it to an unauthorized person, or by allowing it to be lost, stolen, or destroyed).

Subsection (f) would obviously be applicable to the misconduct of President Biden, who was entrusted with classified information and, at a minimum, caused it to be removed from safekeeping and stored it in unauthorized locations.

Obviously, if Trump were charged with a violation of subsection (f), it would raise the question of why Biden has not also been charged with that offense. The strategy of the Biden administration and its special counsel, then, seems to be (1) to allege that Trump committed a willful offense that puts him in a different, more egregious category from Biden’s conduct; and (2) to pretend in connection with Biden — as the Obama-Biden Justice Department pretended in connection with Hillary Clinton’s email scandal — that it is not a felony for government officials to be grossly negligent in mishandling classified information (i.e., to pretend that willfulness, or some intent to harm the United States, is an essential element of the offense).

Click here to read the full article in National Review

Panel May Urge Criminal Charges Against Trump

Besides insurrection, defined as an uprising aiming to overthrow the government, the panel is also considering recommending that prosecutors pursue charges of obstructing an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press. The committee’s deliberations were continuing late Friday, and no decisions were formalized on which charges the panel would refer to the Justice Department.

The committee is to meet publicly Monday afternoon, when any recommendation would be made public.

The deliberations were confirmed by a person familiar with the matter who could not discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. A second person familiar with the deliberations confirmed that the committee was considering three charges.

The decision to issue referrals is not unexpected. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the committee, for months has been suggesting the panel might send the Justice Department criminal referrals based on the extensive evidence the nine-member panel has gathered since it was formed in July 2021.

“You may not send an armed mob to the Capitol; you may not sit for 187 minutes and refuse to stop the attack while it’s underway. You may not send out a tweet that incites further violence,” Cheney said about Trump on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in October. “So we’ve been very clear about a number of different criminal offenses that are likely at issue here.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee chair, detailed possible referrals last week as falling into categories that include criminal and ethics violations, legal misconduct and campaign finance violations. It would then fall to federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue referrals for prosecution. Although they carry no legal weight, the recommendations would add to the political pressure on the Justice Department as a special counsel it appointed investigates Trump’s actions.

“The gravest offense in constitutional terms is the attempt to overthrow a presidential election and bypass the constitutional order,” committee member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told reporters last week. “Subsidiary to all of that are a whole host of statutory offenses, which support the gravity and magnitude of that violent assault on America.”

Raskin, along with Cheney and Reps. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), made up the subcommittee that drafted the referral recommendations and presented them to the full committee.

Click here to read the full article in the LA Times

DeSantis Will NOT Bend The Knee to Trump and Says Backing Ex-President For 2024 ‘Is Too Much To Ask’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a once-loyal member of Donald Trump‘s court, is refusing to bend a knee to the former president and says backing him in the 2024 election ‘is too much to ask’ after Trump publicly attacked his character, according to a report.

Trump reportedly said the popular governor has ‘no personal charisma’ and a ‘dull personality’ as rumors swirl the ex-president is angry DeSantis hasn’t declined to challenge him for the GOP presidential nomination. 

DeSantis, however, has told his inner circle that Trump’s ‘expectation that he bend the knee is asking too much,’ the New York Times reported.  

The governor also reportedly said his biggest regret in office is not having ‘been much louder’ in speaking out against Trump’s coronavirus pandemic response. 

The commentary comes after Trump appeared to take direct aim at DeSantis in an interview just last week when he called politicians who refuse to disclose their booster vaccination status as ‘gutless’. 

Sources close to the former president – who have recently talked to him about the governor – said Trump has grown increasingly irked by DeSantis in recent months, with Trump beginning to voice his frustrations to those in his inner circle. 

The Florida governor is extremely popular in Republican circles, and is widely seen as a leader who can push policies popularized by Trump, but without the same level of drama or baggage. 

‘In the context of the 2024 election, he usually gives DeSantis a pop in the nose in the middle of that type of conversation,’ a source who recently spoke to Trump about DeSantis told Axios.

The president also claims ‘there’s no way’ DeSantis would have ever been elected Florida governor without his support.

Click here to read the full article at Dailymail