Depart of Justice official Jeffrey Clark speaks during a news conference on September 14, 2020.Susan Walsh/AP Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.Jeffrey Clark, an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department under Donald Trump, played a key role in Trump’s conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election. And new evidence obtained by the House committee investigating the January 6th insurrection suggests he was working more closely with the White House than was previously known. In late December 2020, Clark drafted a letter that he wanted the Justice Department leadership to send to election officials in Georgia falsely stating that “the Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities in the 2020 election for President of the United States” and recommending that Georgia’s legislature convene to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. When DOJ leadership refused to send the letter, Trump considered replacing Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Clark. He backed down at the last-minute, but Clark’s maneuvering at the Justice Department amounted to an unprecedented attempt at interference in the 2020 election. The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection voted on Wednesday to hold Clark in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer the committee’s questions. Among the key questions the committee wants answered: to what extent did Clark coordinate his election subversion letter with the White House? “I also wanted to ask him about metadata in that draft letter that indicates some involvement with the White House Communications Agency [in] the drafting or preparation of that letter,” the January 6 committee’s chief counsel said at a November 5 deposition for Clark, which was first reported by Rachel Maddow on Friday night. BREAKING: January 6th Committee finds White House metadata on Jeffrey Clark letter pushing Georgia to overturn Trump's election loss. pic.twitter.com/134Cg9NYZW — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) December 4, 2021 This suggests that the White House may have played a role in crafting Clark’s letter, which was drafted shortly before Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, and told him to “find 11,780 votes” to overturn Biden’s victory in the state—a call that is now under criminal investigation by the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia. Clark was expected to plead the Fifth Amendment—a possible acknowledgment of having knowledge of criminal activity—in response to the January 6th committee’s subpoena during a scheduled deposition on Saturday, but due to a “medical condition” the meeting has been postponed until December 16.
The Trump Justice Department and White House may have collaborated in their attempts to overturn the 2020 election. According to new evidence from the Jan. 6 committee first reported by Rachel Maddow, White House communications staff may have worked on a draft letter written by Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark encouraging Georgia to appoint new electors who would overturn its election results. The revelation comes from a transcript of a Nov. 5 deposition of Clark released by the committee on Wednesday as it referred a recommendation to the DOJ that Clark be charged with contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with its Jan. 6 investigation. According to the transcript Clark’s attorney, Harry MacDougald, told the committee during the deposition, “We do not intend to answer any questions or produce any documents today,” due to executive privilege. After a lengthy back-and-forth about whether Clark actually can claim executive privilege, Clark and MacDougald left. But the committee’s discussion continued as the panel’s chief investigative counsel rattled off a list of questions he’d hoped to ask Clark. Within those questions was a revelation about a letter Clark drafted to the Georgia governor and legislative leadership asking them to convene a special session of the legislature to investigate voter fraud claims. Related Stories
Rudolph Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Veteran Tom Fisher lost his restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic and went into debt.On top of that, he couldn't search for jobs beyond a short distance because his old car couldn't be trusted. That's when the Veteran's Club in Shelbyville stepped in to give him a reliable ride."It's overwhelming, you know as veterans we're taught not to show our emotions because that's a sign of weakness," Fisher said. "But I showed my emotions the other day when they gifted it to me."Fisher went from his 300,000-mile Saturn leaking radiator fluid into the cabin, to a Kia Soul with 22,000 miles on it. The vehicle was donated by a woman in Shelbyville who volunteers at the Veteran's Club."We just want to keep pushing forward and helping folks who need help," Veteran's Club CEO Jeremy Harrell said. "That's anything from housing, to mental health, to vehicles, any of those things. We'll do whatever it takes so we take care of veterans and their families."It's the second vehicle donated to the Veteran's Club. Harrell said they will always find a veteran in need if other people would like to donate a car.Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.
One of the country’s most gerrymandered congressional maps is slated to be redrawn next week when Maryland lawmakers return to Annapolis, over the protests of Republicans who charge the proposed map still significantly favors Democrats.Debate over the lines comes as the legislature is poised to select a new state treasurer and take pivotal votes on parole reform, immigration and public transit.The General Assembly will convene for at least a week to decide — for the first time in modern history under a divided government — how the maps for the eight districts should be drawn.The lawmakers will do their work under watchful eyes from Washington, where Democrats are grasping to maintain control of Congress, and as other states across the country recast their maps. Republican-dominated legislatures have already started redrawing boundary lines that move toward tipping the scales of power in the U.S. House.“How’d I get so lucky?” Sen. Nancy J. King (D-Montgomery), a veteran of the process who is chairing the Senate Standing Committee on Reapportionment and Redistricting, said sarcastically as she contemplated the task before her.“There isn’t a pretty map,” she said. “I don’t care how you look at it. And we’ll never have one that everyone agrees with.”King said the Senate committee is expected to hold a hearing on the maps on Monday and ultimately will work alongside a House committee to hear testimony and vote on a map to be sent to the full legislature. She said she would be “very surprised, although there’s always a possibility” that changes would be made to the map that the Legislative Redistricting Advisory Commission selected.The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave it an F for partisan fairness and geographic compactness, while awarding an A to the map produced by Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) citizens’ commission.On Thursday, Hogan encouraged Marylanders to testify during the special session in support of the citizen commission’s map. He charged at a recent news conference that state Democrats intended “to do some of the worst gerrymandering in the country” and said he plans to veto the bill that outlines the new boundary lines.“We finally have the chance to restore fairness to our political system,” he said in a statement Thursday, “and the Annapolis party bosses are instead scheming to further erode the public trust with disgracefully gerrymandered maps. It is an embarrassment.”By contrast, top Democratic lawmakers on the legislative committee praised their proposed map earlier this month as offering more compact and contiguous districts compared to the current eyesore. But critics and Republicans have cast doubt on those claims.Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said the pressure to retain every possible Democratic advantage when control of the U.S. House is up for grabs next year likely outweighed the pressure to undo nakedly partisan gerrymandering.To retain the advantage, Eberly said that meant lawmakers still have to draw twisty-turny districts that, for the most part, are anything but compact. He described the newly proposed 3rd Congressional District as resembling “a bizarre and very painful comb that no one would want to use,” stretching from Montgomery County to the Susquehanna River.“I would say anyone who looks at 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 8 is going to chuckle a bit at the idea that we’ve made these more compact,” Eberly said. “They’re still nonsense districts drawn for a very specific purpose. You’re going to spin it however you’re going to spin it.”Helen Brewer, a legal analyst with the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, agreed, noting that it was apparent simply by looking at the strangely shaped districts that lawmakers sacrificed compactness for partisan advantage. She noted that the project still took into account Maryland’s unique geography when doling out its F grade.Like the current map, seven of the eight districts would be safely Democratic in a state where, according to 2020 state voter registration data, approximately one-fourth of voters are registered Republicans. The map’s proposed 1st District — which would stretch across the Chesapeake Bay to include parts of blue Anne Arundel County — would likely be a toss-up, while the Princeton Project rates it as leaning ever so slightly Democratic.“In comparison to the citizens’ commission [map], it’s not apparent there is much of a reason to have these really outlandish shapes drawn when the map with those really wiggly shapes is the one producing an unfair partisan outcome,” Brewer said.Not all Democrats in Congress would support an 8-0 outcome. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) told a WBAL radio host earlier this month that he would not support efforts to inch toward an 8-0 map, fearing too many Marylanders’ political viewpoints risk being “locked out” of the democratic process. “If it were the other way around, and Democrats were one-third of the population,” Mfume said, “and they put forth maps or started moving toward an 8-0 representation, we’d be jumping up and down in arms.”Mfume on Thursday, though, declined to comment further on the proposal before the General Assembly, noting it was in the legislature’s hands and preferring to let the public hearings take their course.Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said lawmakers’ proposed map underscored to him the need to pass the For the People Act, a measure Republicans filibustered in the Senate that would have required independent commissions to handle redistricting.Still, Raskin argued that pursuing a Democratic advantage in the Maryland map was necessary because Democrats could not afford to unilaterally disarm; Republicans control far more state legislatures in charge of redistricting than Democrats do.“I wish we had gotten out of the gerrymandering business. But these are the terms the Republican Party wants to fight on, so given that, we should do everything we can to maximize Democratic performance in Maryland as we have been gerrymandered into near oblivion in states like North Carolina, Ohio and Georgia,” Raskin said. “Democracy itself is at stake in the coming elections” — noting his lone Republican colleague, Harris, “sided with insurrectionists.”Eberly said that Democrats would still face an uphill climb to try to oust Harris under the proposal the General Assembly is considering. Although Trump won the district by more than 19 points in the 2020 election, Biden would have won the proposed district by just 0.3 percentage points.In a statement to The Washington Post, Harris said that he was pleased that at least the Eastern Shore was kept intact in the lawmakers’ proposal, he but lamented that the General Assembly sidestepped Hogan’s citizen commission.“I was hopeful that the General Assembly leadership would follow Gov. Hogan’s lead with a citizen-led nonpartisan redistricting process. Instead, we may have districts stretching from the Susquehanna River to Montgomery County that are called shared communities of interest,” he said, referring to the 3rd Congressional District.In addition to finalizing the new map, the legislature is expected to override Hogan’s veto of a measure that would strip the governor of his role in paroling inmates serving life sentences and a bill that would decriminalize needles, syringes and other drug paraphernalia.Lawmakers also would take up two immigration reform measures that would shut down the state’s privately-run centers that hold detainees for federal immigration officials and would ban the Motor Vehicle Administration from sharing personal information, including facial recognition data, with immigration officials.“These bills are going to change the lives of immigrants … Their lives are at risk,” said Jossie Flor Sapunar, a spokeswoman for CASA, a grass-roots immigrant advocacy group. “We can’t miss this moment.”Hogan vetoed about 20 bills during the regular session earlier this year, including measures on collective bargaining, greater investment in mass transit and legislative oversight of emergency procurement, that could be taken up. Lawmakers are also expected to select Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), the chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, as treasurer. Davis was recently recommended by a legislative panel to be considered for the position.Hogan also is calling on lawmakers to consider a package of emergency bills he recently proposed to contain the surging violence in Baltimore City. The bills call for stricter penalties for illegal gun possession and straw purchases — the buying of guns on behalf of people barred from owning them and a requirement that the sentences handed out by judges for violent offenders are tracked and published.Hogan said Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) expressed concern about the surging crime but also conveyed reservations about taking the bills up during the special session.“I’m sure they are going to be working on trying to override some common sense vetoes that most people in Maryland agree with me on,” said Hogan, during a news conference last week on the coronavirus pandemic, without elaborating on where his mandate came from. “And I explained to him that they would be making a mistake if they go against the overwhelming will of the voters. I’m not sure if I convinced him on all of them.”
By Tim Steller Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021 | 2 a.m. The Steve Pierce Precedent — that is a clever way of explaining the most important Arizona political event of the year. Pierce was a Republican state senator representing District 1 from 2009 to 2017. He was Senate president for one full legislative session in 2012. But in November that year, then-Sen. Andy Biggs challenged Pierce and outflanked him from the political right, narrowly sneaking away with a majority of Republican senators to win the powerful Senate presidency. Sen. Karen Fann succeeded Pierce in office in 2017, and she also convinced her fellow Republicans to elect her Senate president. When then-President Donald Trump and his supporters pressured her hard to conduct a review of Maricopa County’s election, she went along, even though her equivalent in the other chamber, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, declined. Fann, it appears, did not want to end up outflanked on the right like Steve Pierce. That’s one of the key insights I drew from The Arizona Republic’s recent five-part series, measuring a whopping 27,000 words, that analyzed how the Cyber Ninjas’ so-called audit of Maricopa County’s 2020 election came to be and played out. Their reporting was derived in part from public records that the newspaper wrenched out of the Senate through a lawsuit. Meanwhile, from a different source, the latest report on the Cyber Ninjas’ performance by Tucsonan Benny White and others, we find the upshot of that “audit”: The Ninjas’ crucial count of the votes simply cannot be reconciled. White and his colleagues Larry Moore and Tim Halvorsen, who have dubbed themselves The Audit Guys, analyzed a Nov. 1 release of data from the Cyber Ninjas’ recount. They found that the Ninjas’ hand count of ballots, which took place over months at a Phoenix coliseum, quite literally does not add up. “We have used the official results and the Ninja database in numerous attempts to determine how they arrived at the vote totals they announced at their Sept. 24, 2021, press conference in the Arizona Senate chambers,” their report says. “We have tried dozens of ways to include and exclude various boxes and batches to arrive at those precise figures and have been unable to replicate their announced results.” As The Republic series shows, it was pressure from Trump himself, along with associates such as Rudy Giuliani and thousands of Trump’s followers, that convinced Fann to pursue a “forensic audit” of Maricopa County’s election. In the weeks after the election, Trump called Fann and Bowers more than once each, and Giuliani called and showed up, imploring them to overturn the election results or, barring that, to conduct an audit, because of all the evidence of fraud. Bowers demanded to see the evidence, but Fann went along, even as Giuliani’s promised evidence never appeared. History has already shown Bowers made the right choice. In an August deposition for a civil suit in which Giuliani is a defendant, he admitted that he did not have evidence for the claims he made. He just got information from social media or from what other people told him. “It’s not my job, in a fast-moving case, to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that was given to me. Otherwise, you’re never going to write a story. You’ll never come to a conclusion,” Giuliani said in the deposition. While Bowers and Fann originally discussed bringing in a qualified election auditor to review Maricopa County’s election, Fann eventually followed Giuliani and others into the world of Trump supporters who wanted to overturn the election and claimed to have a way to do it, in the name of “election integrity.” She hired the firm Cyber Ninjas, led by a man, Doug Logan, who was inexperienced in elections, had publicly stated he believed in the “Stop the Steal” movement and had stayed with the deranged election conspiracist Lin Wood while working to overturn the election. White, who was the Republican candidate for Pima County recorder in 2020, joined with Halvorsen and Moore, who were formerly leaders of the Clear Ballot Group, a Boston-based election technology company, to try to check the work of the Cyber Ninjas. They have found the Ninjas’ work wanting, from its faulty inception. “Normally in an audit, what you would do is take a known group of ballots, then check them against the official results,” White said. “The objective there is to find out if the official count is correct. But the Ninjas never attempted to do that.” Instead, they invented a system to conduct their own hand count, and it’s this that White and company think reveals the fatal flaws of the review Fann ordered. In October, they issued a report arguing that the hand count numbers appeared to be a hoax, invented to nearly match a machine count the Senate had ordered. The new report goes further, alleging that the Cyber Ninjas’ team miscounted original ballots that needed duplication to be correctly counted, and the duplicates made for that purpose. This problem alone led to 1,142 more ballots being counted than should have been, they say. But the problems, again, were in the conception of the audit, they report: “The point of an audit is to determine whether there are errors in the official results and discover the reasons for the errors. The objective of the Senate ‘forensic audit’ was to create a new result for the election; this is obvious since there was no attempt to directly compare even a minimal number of batches or boxes to the official result.” No wonder Fann never attempted to hire an experienced, unbiased auditor. That was never the point, as The Republic’s reporting shows. The point was to satisfy Trump and the election-fraud true believers, and to avoid the Steve Pierce Precedent. Tim Steller is a columnist for The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. View more of the Sun's opinion section
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was all smiles and cheers for the shot of hope as Jefferson County Public School hosted their second dose vaccination clinic on Saturday, but the road there wasn’t the easiest.“We've been pretty careful about contact and the spaces that we go. We don't go out to dinner alot or movies and those are things we’d like to do,” said JCPS parent Amy Whitehead. What You Need To Know JCPS students received their 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday Nearly 3,000 JCPS 5 to 11 year olds have been vaccinated Other full day vaccination sites available include Waggener, Kammerer, Eastern, and Jeffersontown High School For the Whitehead family, that meant no birthday parties. It's been two years since their youngest son Edwin had a party. “Then last year, it was still trying to be really careful so we still didn't have a party. We weren't even sure if we were going to have one for Eleanor this year, but then whenever we heard the news that 5 to 11 year olds could get vaccinated, we were like absolutely we're doing that,” Whitehead said. The Whitehead family waiting in the Iroquois High School auditorium for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Wilson) But the wait is finally over. Both Eleanor and Edwin have officially been fully vaccinated. “I know Edwin was a little nervous to get it done but he did it,” Whitehead said. “I’m just very happy and looking forward to more gatherings.” Jefferson County Public Schools hosted the largest vaccine clinic in the region for 5 to 11 year olds with 24 sites. The clinics were hosted on Saturday and Sunday, some consisting of full and half day sites. The full day sites available include Waggener, Kammerer, Eastern, and Jeffersontown High School. It was a monumental moment for the Whitehead family. "We wanted to make sure they know how big of a deal this is, so we're going to go celebrate and get pokemon cards and ice cream.” JCPS officials stated they will have fully vaccinated nearly 3,000 5 to 11 year olds after this weekend. Related Stories
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/CNN) - COVID-19 vaccination rates among children ages five to 11 are slower compared to older children, according to recent data.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 16 percent of kids ages five to 11 received their first dose of the vaccine one month after becoming eligible.In contrast, 27 percent of kids ages 12 to 15 received their first dose of the vaccine in June, one month after becoming eligible.The recent data raises concerns among health experts as cases of a rare but potentially life-threatening COVID-19 complication are increasing among children.The complication is known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MISC.New numbers from the CDC found MISC cases increased more than eight percent in November with nearly 6,000 cases confirmed by the end of the month.More than 50 children in the U.S. have died from MISC, according to the CDC.The syndrome is one of the many reasons public health officials are strongly encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
Grandmaster Jay, the leader of the NFAC, isn’t about to let some fed charges stop him from celebrating his birthday. He appeared in court on his birthday, December 1, but opted to celebrate this weekend in Louisville, KY – the same city he was accused of pointing a gun at five lawmen perched atop buildings during a military formation.
Researchers at the University of Louisville who monitor the city’s wastewater for COVID-19 say levels are the highest they’ve been since testing started in July 2020. The new omicron variant still has not been detected there. Ted Smith, director at U of L’s Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil at the school’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, told WFPL Friday that the samples taken Monday show between 1,000 and 10,000 copies of the virus per mL of wastewater. The previous high was detected in August during the delta surge, according to Smith’s data. All the current samples show the delta variant. “The highest level of transmission is when it’s absolutely in the community pervasively — that it’s everywhere, that it’s not just in a few places,” he said. “The probability that you would encounter this virus goes up when it achieves these levels.” The team began collecting samples in July 2020 as part of the Co-Immunity Project, a partnership to track spread of the disease. This February, they started sequencing the samples to determine what strains of the coronavirus may be present. Each week, they take samples every 15 minutes over a 24-hour period from 17 sites in Jefferson County. Starting Sunday, they’ll take samples daily for at least the next two weeks, to help with early detection of omicron. As of Thursday, Jefferson County remained in the red on the state’s color-coded map of COVID-19 spread with 35.1 incidents per 100,000 residents. A county is designated red when it is at 25 incidents per 100,000 residents or more. There were 2,813 new cases reported Friday in Kentucky and 64 new deaths.