Friday, November 04, 2016

Today in Your FBI/KGB/Secret Police (and various Courts)

The FBI, exposed today (in the Guardian, Slate, Politico, Daily Beast etc.) as an armed investigative force eager to make sure it will soon take orders from President Trump, has its hands full...investigating attempts to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.  Wonder how that will go.

Reuters reports that the FBI is examining fake documents meant to discredit the Clinton campaign, possibly created by Russian agents.  David Corn at Mother Jones reports that the Democratic National Committee told the FBI that it found evidence their headquarters was bugged.

The FBI did not comment.  Come on, it's an ongoing investigation!

The FBI wasn't too busy for someone inside it to start a rumor--picked up by Trump and Faux News--that a Hillary indictment was imminent.  It wasn't.  But the correction came after the story had begun to spread.

Late in the day, a story broke of intelligence suggesting a terrorist attack  may be planned for the US on Monday with the purpose of disrupting the election.  The FBI is among the agencies tasked with investigating this, assuming it can spare the time from trying to get Trump elected.

There are other stories around that the Russians are still trying to disrupt the election.  The White House announced it is preparing to protect and counteract Russian cyber attacks.  Off the record, somebody is suggesting just how drastic such countermeasures might be.

Politicos were wondering if this Friday would bring some campaign-altering news, as last Friday did.  Well, sort of, in a slow way.  Two aides to Gov Chris Christie, Trump's transition czar, were found guilty of conspiring to create a dangerous traffic jam for political vengeance: Bridgegate.  Clinton campaign chair John Podesta immediately called for Trump to fire Christie.  It's pretty clear Christie has been lying about this.

Whether this story will play out over the weekend is an open question.  Some say yes, or at least it should. Jonathan Chiat says it should, but it won't: Because it won’t have any impact on Republicans, it’s not a campaign-changing event, and ergo merely a second-rank news story. Somewhere around the time he attracted a massive conservative following by promoting the birther hoax, Trump figured out that the Republican electorate was the biggest pool of suckers in America...It follows that if you are the champion of the Republican side, provided you have demonstrated your team loyalty, you can do or say anything whatsoever. You can be facing trial for massive fraud, you can have a crook promising a crooked governing scheme, and still be the candidate of good government. Good government, by definition, is Trump."

Elsewhere, in voter suppression court, Dems had a better day.  A federal judge ordered that several thousand voters purged from registration rolls in North Carolina be restoredU.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs said the use of that process to remove large numbers of voters amounted to the kind of "systematic" purging of voter rolls that federal law prohibits within 90 days of an election.  At a hearing Wednesday in Winston-Salem, Biggs called the challenge process "insane," according to local news reports.

Voting rights advocates also won cases in Kansas and Arizona.  That's the voter suppression news.  In voter intimidation news, in Ohio:

A U.S. judge in Ohio ordered Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign on Friday not to intimidate voters as voting-rights advocates scored a string of last-minute victories in several politically competitive states.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Gwin creates the possibility of fines or jail time for Trump allies who harass voters, a significant victory for Democrats who had worried the real-estate mogul was encouraging supporters to cause mayhem at the polls on Nov. 8.

The ruling also deals a blow to a Trump-aligned "exit poll" that seeks to mobilize thousands of supporters.  The Trump campaign appealed the decision."

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