CHICAGO — A jury in New York has found R. Kelly guilty of racketeering and other federal charges, but the 20-year legal saga surrounding the disgraced R&B star is far from over. With Kelly’s sentencing hearing more than seven months away, attention now swings back to his hometown of Chicago, where he faces five more indictments in both federal court and Cook County stemming from alleged sexual abuse. But with Kelly already facing decades in prison, is it possible he may never go to trial in a Chicago courtroom at all? What comes next depends on a lot of moving parts and behind-the-scenes maneu...
Wisconsin Republicans are conducting their own Arizona-style "audit" of the 2020 election results, but the operation is reportedly on the ropes thanks to a "series of blunders" committed by former State Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman.
CNN's Eric Bradner reports that Gableman in just a few short weeks has made several mistakes that has already resulted in calls for the "audit" to be shut down.
"In recent weeks, Gableman's office has issued, and then backed off, subpoenas for testimony from officials in Wisconsin's five largest counties," Bradner writes. "Gableman has faced backlash after comparing a newspaper's coverage of his probe to Nazi propaganda. And he has been criticized for consulting with Shiva Ayyadurai, a conspiracy theorist whose recent work on the partisan election review in Arizona was discredited. Gableman has also admitted that he does not know how elections work."
Because of all this, Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul last week sent a scathing letter ripping Gableman's efforts to pieces.
"This is not a serious investigation," Kaul wrote. "Even if an investigation like this were justified -- and it's clearly not -- this one suffers from glaring flaws that destroy any credibility that its results could have."
Additionally, Democratic state Rep. Lisa Subeck has called on Gableman to resign after he compared critics of his "audit" to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
"Special Counsel Michael Gableman's comments earlier today comparing a mainstream newspaper to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbel clearly disqualify him," said Subeck, who is Jewish.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., the freshman congressman who has repeatedly spread Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, was apparently dismayed to learn that 4% of her state's electorate said they "won't even vote" in future elections due to that very "fraud."
"I recently conducted a poll on Georgia's elections and if my constituents felt their votes would count during a teletown hall," she tweeted on Monday. "Sadly, 4% said they won't even vote due to voter fraud. This is WRONG. Legal votes by Rs are just as important as stopping illegal ones."
Greene, who is up for re-election in 2022, has extensively supported Trump's efforts to overturn the election. Back in September, she declared – without evidence – that the former president "won Georgia," later calling for an official audit. In May, Greene also threw her support behind the GOP-backed election recount of Maricopa County, Arizona, which just weeks ago found that President Biden beat Trump by a wider margin than originally reported.
In a series of tweets, Greene also noted that Republican Gov. Brian Kemp would have lost the gubernatorial election against progressive voting rights activist Stacey Abrams if just 4% of the Georgia GOP electorate opted out of voting.
"Combine that with mass absentee ballot harvesting and Rs never win again in Georgia," the conservative lawmaker added, taking issue with the practice of ballot harvesting. Ballot harvesting is the process by which third parties, like volunteers or election workers, gather ballots for voters instead of having voters submit the ballots themselves.
Last week, Trump appeared to lend credence to Greene's concerns around non-voting within the GOP base.
"If we don't solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented)," he said in a statement, "Republicans will not be voting in '22 or '24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do."
Trump's remarks came just hours after a state judge dismissed a Trump-backed lawsuit alleging fraud in the Peach State, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The decision dashed Republican hopes of the state conducting an official audit any time soon.
"This lawsuit was the result of the Big Lie, which is nothing more than a meritless conspiracy theory being spread by people who simply cannot accept that their side lost," Robb Pitts,, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement. "Its defeat here today should echo throughout the nation."
Greene defeated her opponent by an approximate 50% margin in the 2020 House races, so it remains unlikely she will be ousted next year, even if she loses 4% of her voting bloc.
The Jan. 6 House Select Committee released a statement saying that they intend to "move quickly" to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt if he refuses the subpoena to appear.
Bannon, who wasn't working for the White House at the time the Capitol riots were taking place, is attempting to assert executive privilege to block the subpoena.
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace asked about Bannon in a conversation with former FBI special agent Clint Watts, who now serves as a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University.
"Absolutely, I think they need to pursue prosecution because if they don't, it would give precedence for anyone, regardless of any committee, to just not respond, you know, when brought up with any sort of subpoena or a call to Congress in general," Watts explained. "I imagine all the committee hearings across the board, any time someone doesn't want to show up -- we have been talking about social media, for example. They don't want to show up, or they don't want to return records. Then, they [would] have a precedent that they could do that."
He went on to say that he believes this is exactly the "showdown" that Bannon wants.
"He wants to put that challenge up there, and remember, I think for him and many of his group, their time is waning," Watts continued. "So this is a way to continue to stir up trouble, continue to be in the news, and continue this sort of standoff. Remember, Steve Bannon's focus has always been [the] death of the administrative state. You heard him talk about that during the early years of the Trump administration. He would be killing off the administrative state if he were not prosecuted in this. It is actually a challenge. It is at the core of what our country is about, can he alone sort of make this challenge? Will there be any follow-up to it in the future?"
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