ATLANTA — The defense on Thursday asked a judge to exclude thousands of hours of jailhouse phone calls made by the father and son charged with murder in the 2020 death of Ahmaud Arbery. Prosecutors have made it clear they intend to use select phone calls, including one in which Greg McMichael disputes the any suggestion that race may have played in Arbery's death, calling it "bull----." Arbery was Black; the defendants, including neighbor William "Roddie" Bryan, are white. "You've heard the saying that no good deed goes unpunished?" McMichael said in a phone call to his brother. "Yeah, that's ...
The Republican-led Arizona election "audit," which recently has inspired a new echo in Montana, now faces opposition from a conservative talk radio who initially backed the effort and also fresh turmoil surrounding Cyber Ninjas, the previously unknown firm hired to carry out the audit.
With the audit entering its final days, conservative talk-show host Mike Broomhead told CNN anchor Pamela Brown over the weekend that his position on the audit had changed in recent weeks because Republicans had let the procedure become "biased" and overtly partisan in nature.
"I just think that they lost focus on being fair and unbiased," he stated on CNN. "I think they have allowed it to turn into a very biased audit, where they are speaking only to the people that already believed ahead of time that the election was stolen, and they haven't really produced any evidence to the contrary."
Broomhead had not initially argued that the election was stolen, but said he thought the audit would be a worthwhile measure to ensure confidence in the electoral process.
"This is not about politics for me," he told The Arizona Republic in mid-June. "It's not about right and left. It's about right and wrong. I'm an Arizonan, and I'm an American before I'm a Republican, but I'm proud of all three. I don't see the direction this audit is going as doing the state of Arizona or the country any good anymore. The goal of a transparent and unbiased audit is gone. You've either got to fix it or end it."
But it's not only Broomhead who is speaking out against his fellow Republicans.
On Monday evening, Maricopa County recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican, ripped into the never-ending audit in his county, the state's major population center. "Let's be honest, this Arizona audit isn't going to convince anyone outside of the crowd that already believes the election was stolen," he told CNN host Anderson Cooper. "We think that the Arizona Senate boarded this train without knowledge of where it was going, and I don't think it's going to a good place."
While the slow-moving audit has generated intense coverage from right-wing media, no evidence has been produced that challenge the official and certified result, which was that Joe Biden won Arizona by roughly 10,500 votes.
Judges across the country have tossed out cases alleging widespread election fraud, which has not deterred Trump acolytes like former 2016 campaign head Steve Bannon from pushing for a "freight train" of nationwide Republican audits.
While the Arizona audit is pushing onward and Trump allies pushing for audits in other states, the firm tapped to lead the audit, Cyber Ninjas — headed by fervent Trump supporter Doug Logan — is now under increased scrutiny.
According to a CNN report last week, friends and acquaintances of Logan describe him as increasingly sounding like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has made increasingly wild allegations of a widespread voter-fraud conspiracy.
"It's hard to say anything bad about the guy. He's a lovely person. He's just nuts now," said Tony Summerlin, who has been friends with Logan for 15 years, and said he helped him win a cybersecurity contract with the Federal Communications Commission five years ago. "It's scary; because if someone like him can turn into this, who can't turn into this?"
Summerlin said that in all the years he'd known Logan, before the Arizona audit, "we never, never had a single political conversation; that's what stunned me about this. ... He said, 'there's definitely something there.' I said, 'based on what?' He said, 'it'll come.' I said, 'you sound like the My Pillow guy.'"
Another friend of Logan, who asked not to be named because she works with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington, DC, and feared blowback from being linked to him, described him as very smart, very competent in cybersecurity, and politically naïve. "Doug may not have thought it all the way through," she said.
Cyber Ninjas now appears to be running with a skeleton staff. CNN reports that most of the company's listed phone lines, including those supposedly dedicated to "purchasing" and "human resources," redirect to Logan's phone.
Cyber Ninjas did not return Salon's request for comment on this story.
Democrats will show Manchin and Sinema over and over bipartisan legislation fails due to the filibuster: analyst
Speaking to CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday, senior political analyst Ron Brownstein predicted that one of the things Democrats in the leadership might be doing is holding these votes over and over again to show Sens. Joe Manchin (R-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema that good, bipartisan legislation continues to die as a result of the filibuster.
Thus far it's happened with the COVID-19 stimulus, the Jan. 6 Commission bill, and even Manchin worked to make the voting rights legislation more conservative and Republicans still wouldn't stand with him.
"The only lever they have to address what is happening in the states is to set a nationwide floor of voting rights and I think, you know, to represent the argument that S1 and HR1 was too sweeping, we'll get a test of that Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) who will be on later told me today that the Democratic response to this is going to be to negotiate a slimmed-down bill based on the compromise Mansion offered a few days ago and basically all Democrats will unify behind something like that and then ask Mansion and Sinema and others who claim this can be done whether they can find ten Republicans. And if they can't, it becomes another proof point in what is really this process, Don, that will go all the way on for quite a while of trying to move Mansion, Sinema and others off the resistance of changing a filibuster by demonstrating to them time after time that there are not ten Republicans willing to come to the table."
He explained that rather than promoting compromise and negotiation, the filibuster makes it so much easier to stonewall because they know they can block everything Democrats do.
"If they knew it would pass then they might feel more pressure to actually negotiate," he explained.
Former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) agreed that the filibuster is clearly broken and that his former colleagues have perverted it into some fake constitutional law that is responsible for upholding all of democracy. It isn't and it never was.
See the discussion in the video below:
Dems to show Manchin and Sinema over and over bipartisan legislation fails due to the filibuster www.youtube.com
Mitch McConnell is coming close to declaring victory on stopping 100 percent of Biden's agenda: columnist
Writing for the Washington Post Tuesday evening, award-winning reporter Peter Stevenson writes that the Democrats are running out of options after the Republicans blocked the debate on the voting rights bill.
Despite their best efforts, no Republican was willing to support the bill. While Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said that she was willing to move forward for a bipartisan option, he bill will be just as pointless until she can deliver nine votes along with her.
The only saving grace, if there can be one, Stevenson said, is that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) voted with the Democrats. A few provisions that Manchin wanted were included and others removed, earning his support. Despite the bipartisan agreement with the requests from him, Republicans still refused to debate the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Republicans "don't even want to debate it because they're afraid. They want to deny the right to vote, make it harder to vote for so many Americans, and they don't want to talk about it. They want to sweep it under the rug and hope Americans don't hear about it."
Republican moderates even proved that they didn't fully understand what was in the bill. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) claimed that it was a partisan power play, a GOP talking point. At issue for Republicans is that the bill calls for non-partisan redistricting commissions to be set up. Not Democratic, not liberal, not progress, non-partisan. Neither party.
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted that President Joe Biden isn't done with pushing the legislation.
Twitter: Is @POTUS working on voting rights? 👇 https://t.co/Kb8pUhoDXR— Ronald Klain (@Ronald Klain) 1624389866.0
While Klain hasn't indicated what Biden is willing to do to ensure voting rights passes, one of the biggest things he can do is shop the law to the states where Republicans are up for reelection in 2022 or 2024 and possible swing-vote Republicans. Republicans found that their own voters support the majority of the things in the voting rights legislation. A Morning Consult poll from early June also showed that Americans overwhelmingly agree that Biden is working on bipartisanship.
"On voting rights, on infrastructure and on their other big legislative priorities — including climate change and immigration — Democrats are pushed up against the limits of their razor-thin Senate majority," wrote Stevenson. "Republicans have shown they can and will shut down bills they see as partisan, using the filibuster. And the way things work right now, there just isn't much else Democrats can do to pass new laws."
The truth, however, is that Republicans have also proven that they'll try and shut down any bill whether or not it is bipartisan. In the case of the COVID-19 stimulus, Republicans blocked it too. Democrats were forced to use budget reconciliation to pass the bill. The same was true with the Jan. 6 Commission bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support and may actually have passed with the GOP demands, but a slate of officials left town for the vote.
Ultimately, it does little to deliver confidence to Democrats that making a deal with one or two Republicans like Murkowski or Collins is worth it if they can't deliver the ten votes necessary to break the filibuster.
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