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

Signs Point to Latinos Voting Republican in ’22

Recent polls show increasing dissatisfaction with Democrats

Imagine the following scenario:

Donald Trump enters the 2024 presidential election, but announces he’s replacing former Vice President Mike Pence as his running mate with a Latino. The former president argues it’s about time everyone acknowledge what was once thought impossible: Latinos want to go Republican en masse.

He picks someone younger, more charismatic, and even more conservative than him — a child of an immigrant who grew up poor but pulled himself up by the proverbial bootstraps to succeed in the U.S. It’s such an impeccable story that any accusations that Trump’s choice is a vendido — a sellout — fall flatter and are cheesier than a quesadilla.

From East Los Angeles to South Texas, Little Havana to Washington Heights, just enough inspired Latinos become the swing vote that secures Trump’s win — maybe eventhe first time ever that a GOP presidential candidate wins a majority of the Latino electorate. The GOP thus finally fulfills the prophecy long attributed to Ronald Reagan — that Latinos are Republicans who just don’t know it yet.

Crazy scenario, right? Actually, no.

In an alternate universe, this could’ve totally been a thing — and recent polls and studies that show Latinos are more politically conservative than at any point in recent memory are proof of this.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Latinos its pollsters talked to support Republicans and Democrats in equal numbers, and that only one percentage point separates Joe Biden from Trump in a hypothetical 2024 rematch among the Latinos they surveyed. Two Democrat-friendly research groups found that Latinos are increasingly dissatisfied with the blue view. Another Democrat-aligned firm discovered that the use of “Latinx” by Democratic politicians offends enough Latinos to the point that 30% of the ones they talked to would be less likely to vote for a politician who used the term.

Even a Fairleigh Dickinson University study that found Americans believe there’s a War on Christmas more than ever before revealed that Latinos buy that humbug more fervently than any other ethnic group.

All this news comes a year after Trump — who, quick recap, dismissed Mexicans trying to come into the United States in the 2015 speech that announced his first presidential run as rapists and drug dealers, posed with a hideous-looking taco salad in a 2016 Cinco de Mayo tweet, and referred to El Salvador as a “shithole” country in 2018 — built bigly on his 2016 Latino support to earn 38% percent of our vote. It was the highest such percentage since George W. Bush got 44% of the Latino vote in 2004.

The conservative political swing by Latinos has set off furious finger-pointing among Democratic operatives and glee among conservative ones, who now hope one of the gifts under their Christmas tree this year is the 2022 Latino vote (poor Democrats, meanwhile, are stuck with a giant lump of West Virginia coal in their stocking).

wrote about this phenomenon in columns leading up to and after the 2020 presidential elections. I’m seeing it on the streets, in social media, and in the poll numbers — it’s real, and it’s reaching a boil.

There are many immediate reasons why more Latinos are voting Republican right now: an attraction to Trump’s bluster, an exhaustion with COVID-19 mandates, a repudiation of the social justice causes that Democrats have campaigned on for the last couple of years at the expense of the economy.

Democratic activists dismiss these points, and instead blame the very real disinformation campaigns on social media that paint President Biden as a communist at best and a child-eating reptilian at worst as swaying too many Latinos to leave their party. But the most important reason why there’s always a chance for Latinos to flip conservative is because it’s inherently within us thanks to a political philosophy that I call rancho libertarianism.

It’s the core beliefs of working-class Latinos, many influenced by their roots in the rural parts of their ancestral countries. Whether you live in Appalachia, the highlands of Jalisco, County Cork in Ireland, or Sicily, country folk oftenshare common traits — rugged individualism, distrust of government and elites, conservative moral beliefs, a love of community and a hatred of political correctness — that are like catnip for Republicans.

Click here to read the full article at LA Times

Trump Tells Supporters ‘You’re Playing Right Into Their Hands’ By Doubting the COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Former President Donald Trump confronted a crowd of supporters over vaccine skepticism.
  • Trump told his fans to “take credit” for the vaccines instead of being against them.
  • “You’re playing right into their hands,” he said during his tour with Bill O’Reilly.

Former President Donald Trump urged his supporters on Sunday to get a booster shot of one of the COVID-19 vaccines to protect themselves against the Omicron variant, telling them they were “playing right into their hands” by doubting the vaccines.

Sitting alongside the former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly at a stadium in Dallas, Trump touted his administration’s contribution toward developing the vaccines as part of Operation Warp Speed.

“Look, we did something that was historic,” he said. “We saved tens of millions of lives worldwide. We, together, all of us, not me.”

He added that without the vaccine, millions more people would have died from the virus.

“I think this would have been the Spanish flu of 1917, where up to 100 million people died,” he said. “This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now.”

He then told his supporters to “take credit” for the vaccine, saying they shouldn’t “let them take it away.”

Click here to read the full article at Yahoo News!

Nunes Resignation Sparks Massive Political Shakeup

It’s election season in California, and the resignations, announcements and endorsements are coming in fast and furious.

The state’s political scene got a major shakeup on Monday, when Rep. Devin Nunes, a high-profile, powerful and controversial Republican who’s represented the San Joaquin Valley in Congress since 2003, announced that he plans to give up his seat in January to lead former President Donald Trump’s new media company.

The surprise move will trigger numerous rounds of political musical chairs, starting with Gov. Gavin Newsom calling a special election to fill Nunes’ seat through the end of his term in January 2023. State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat who also represents the San Joaquin Valley, tweeted a photo showing that she’d received nearly 600 text messages about the open seat. And Democrat Phil Arballo, who lost to Nunes in 2020 and planned to challenge him again in 2022, is apparently planning to run in the special election next spring.

Another factor that may have prompted Nunes’ resignation: Draft maps that California’s independent redistricting commission are expected to finalize later this month show his district shifting from majority Republican to majority Democratic for the next decade, starting with the 2022 elections. Whether that holds true in the final maps could influence who decides to run for the seat.

Another sign election season is heating up: the flurry of endorsements. Rep. Jackie Speier on Monday endorsed Assemblymember Kevin Mullin — a fellow San Mateo Democrat and her former staffer — for the seat she plans to vacate after 2022. And Assemblymember Jim Frazier, a Fairfield Democrat who’s resigning at the end of the year to take a job in the transportation industry, threw his weight behind Suisun Mayor Lori Wilson to replace him.

Also Monday, crime victims served Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón with papers of intent to recall him — a few months after another attempt to oust him from office fizzled. The news came the same day state lawmakers held a joint hearing to consider proposing a 2022 ballot measure to overhaul California’s recall process, such as by limiting recalls to cases of improper conduct.

Experts say that Newsom appears to be headed for easy reelection in 2022 after his overwhelming defeat of the Sept. 14 recall. But the governor is also facing scrutiny from critics for taking several out-of-state trips despite recently extending portions of California’s COVID state of emergency through March 2022. 

The governor’s office announced Monday that Newsom will be in New York until Wednesday to promote on “The Daily Show” and “The View” his new children’s book about a young boy’s struggle with dyslexia, which is scheduled to be released today. The trip comes after Newsom’s Dec. 3-5 visit to Nevada and a Nov. 22-28 stay in Mexico.

A Newsom spokesperson called the criticism of the travel “ridiculous political attacks.”

This article originally appeared at CalMatters.org

John Eastman May Have Blown Up Privilege to Avoid Testifying About Trump

A conservative lawyer subpoenaed by the Capitol riot investigators may have set himself up to lose any claim of privilege.

John Eastman, who wrote legal memos outlining ways former Vice President Mike Pence could try to overturn the 2020 election, made an admission months ago that could debilitate any argument to keep his conversations with former President Donald Trump confidential.

In the interview on May 5, during which Eastman was talking to Denver radio talk show host Peter Boyles , he spoke about meeting with Trump and Pence about contesting the election results and said he had permission to talk about it.

“And by the way, I would normally not talk about a private conversation I have with a client, but I have express authorization from my client, the president of the United States at the time, to describe what occurred — to truthfully describe what occurred in that conversation,” he said.

BOB WOODWARD FINDS ‘SEVEN CONSPIRATORIAL ACTIONS’ BY TRUMP AND BANNON

The House committee investigating the Capitol riot subpoenaed Eastman , along with several others, on Monday, seeking documents and testimony. Eastman recently distanced himself from the scenarios outlined in his memos during a  National Review  interview . He has also drawn interest for his participation in a so-called “war room” at the Willard Hotel with other Trump allies during the days surrounding the Capitol riot and because he spoke at the same rally Trump did the day of the siege.

A letter to Eastman, signed by Chairman Bennie Thompson , even cites the May 5 interview, noting, “You have stated publicly that President Trump has authorized you to discuss the matters at issue, this waiving any applicable attorney-client and attorney work product privileges.”

Watergate sleuth Bob Woodward agreed with this assessment and made the case that any argument for privilege would flounder in court.

Click here to read the full article at the Washington Examiner