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Speaking of subpoenas in New York for Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr, as Viv was earlier, this piece from 2016 by Jon Swaine (late of this parish, now of the Washington Post) ought to be interesting secondary reading:
John’s intro: “An attempt by Donald Trump to slash the property tax bill on a golf club outside New York City may be undermined by records indicating that he previously said the property was worth 35 times more than the value he is now trying to convince a judge to approve.”
That sort of thing is what Letitia James, the New York attorney general, is looking into in an investigation which could result in a civil lawsuit. Such alleged practices at the Trump Organization are also part of a criminal inquiry run out of Manhattan.
Here’s Jon’s story:
More than 140 mayors have asked the US Senate to act to pass two pieces of sweeping voting rights legislation. Both bills have been stalled for months because no Republicans support them.
Senate Democrats are expected to make a new push in the coming days to do away with the filibuster, a senate rule that requires a 60-vote supermajority to advance legislation. Republicans used the rule to block the voting rights bills several times last year.
One bill, the Freedom to Vote Act, would set sweeping national guarantees for voting access, including 15 days of early voting, as well as guaranteed automatic and same-day voter registration. The second measure, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, would restore a critical provision of the Voting Rights Act that gives the federal government more oversight over US elections.
The bills would neutralize many new voting restrictions Republicans enacted in the last year.
“These bills would stop this voter suppression. They would create national standards for voting access in federal elections that would neutralize many of the restrictive voting laws passed in the states,” the group of 146 mayors wrote. “America’s mayors urge you to take whatever steps are necessary to assure that the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act can get a straight up or down vote.”
Schumer announces plans to hold vote to change filibuster rules
Ex-US archivist: Trump scared of ‘prison time’ over 6 January
A former US official archivist thinks Donald Trump is so desperate to stop the 6 January committee accessing records from his White House because he wants to avoid “prison time” as a result of any release.
Trump’s fight to keep the records secret is on its way to the supreme court, after repeated losses for the former president.
The House 6 January committee is preparing for televised hearings and in rounds of interviews on Sunday its Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson, and senior Republican, Liz Cheney, said a criminal referral for Trump remains a possibility.
“Given how frantic [Trump’s lawyers] are… there are things in those records that are going to make real trouble. I’m talking about prison time,” John W Carlin told the Daily Beast. “It reinforces the fact that they know they’re in real trouble if these things are released – particularly if they’re released soon.”
Five people died around the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, by supporters Trump told to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden.
On Sunday, Cheney said the House select committee investigating 6 January now had “first-hand testimony” confirming Trump was in his private dining room at the White House watching TV as the riot unfolded.
Speaking to ABC’s This Week, Cheney said there were “potential criminal statutes at issue here, but I think that there’s absolutely no question that it was a dereliction of duty [by Trump in not trying to stop the attack]. And I think one of the things the committee needs to look at is … a legislative purpose, is whether we need enhanced penalties for that kind of dereliction of duty.”
Carlin was one of two former US archivists who spoke to the Beast about Trump’s fight to keep records pertinent to 6 January away from the House committee.
He said: “It’s important that records are used to get the truth out. Nothing highlights that more than the controversy we’re going through. Records are going to have a huge impact in determining who did what, particularly as you get to the justice department.”
What with this being the week of the first anniversary of the US Capitol attack, a lot of US news organisations are out with polls on the state of US democracy.
At the weekend, we had more than a third of Americans telling the Washington Post violence against government was sometimes justified; CBS finding that just over two thirds think US democracy is threatened; and ABC finding that a little more than half of Republicans thought the 6 January rioters were trying to protect democracy.
This morning NPR has joined the rush, working with Ipsos to find that just under two-thirds of Americans, 64%, believe US democracy is “in crisis and at risk of failing”.
They have a point: two-thirds of Republican respondents told NPR they agreed “with the verifiably false claim that ‘voter fraud helped Joe Biden win the 2020 election”, and fewer than half such Americans said they accepted the election result.
Mallory Newall, a vice-president at Ipsos, told NPR: “There is really a sort of dual reality through which partisans are approaching not only what happened a year ago on 6 January, but also generally with our presidential election and our democracy.
“It is Republicans that are driving this belief that there was major fraudulent voting, and it changed the results in the election,” Newall said.
Here’s some further – and alarming – reading, from Richard Luscombe: