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Donald Trump Jr.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

After former Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered the final report for the Russia investigation in 2019, he noted that the Department of Justice has a longstanding policy against prosecuting a sitting president. But if former Vice President Joe Biden defeats President Donald Trump this November, he will no longer be a sitting president after Biden is inaugurated in January 2021. And according to a lengthy piece by journalist Jason Zengerle for the New York Times, Donald Trump, Jr. is worried about the possibility of members of his family facing criminal prosecutions if the president loses to Biden.


Zengerle's article takes an in-depth look at the prominent role that Trump, Jr. is playing in the president's reelection campaign. And an anonymous source described by Zengerle as a "prominent conservative activist" told the Times, "Don's the only person who thinks they're going to lose. He's like, 'We're losing, dude, and we're going to get really hurt when we lose.'"

Zengerle explains that by "really hurt," that source means criminal prosecutions. The Times journalist reports, "An electoral defeat in November, Trump Jr. fears, could result in federal prosecutions of Trump, his family and his political allies. He has told the conservative activist that he expects that a Biden administration will not participate in a 'peaceful transition' and instead, will 'shoot the prisoners.'"

Zengerle's article describes, in detail, Trump, Jr.'s rise in prominence in Trumpworld.

"When Trump ran for president in 2016, Trump Jr. — who is now 42 — was involved but hardly central to the effort," Zengerle notes. "His sister Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, exercised sweeping influence over the campaign. Trump Jr., by contrast, was assigned small, discrete tasks, like putting his outdoorsmanship on display in a pheasant-hunting photo-op with his brother, Eric."

But Zengerle emphasizes that four years later, Trump, Jr. is by no means a marginal figure in Trumpworld and has "grown into arguably his father's most valuable political weapon." Now, according to Jason Miller — a senior adviser on Trump's reelection campaign — "Don, Jr. represents the emotional center of the MAGA universe." And Zengerle points out that Trump, Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, is also a prominent figure in Trumpworld.

"Trump Jr. is now a key player in the Republican Party's 2020 operation," Zengerle observes. "He and Guilfoyle have become fund-raising powerhouses, coaxing large donations from high-dollar donors. Guilfoyle is reportedly paid $15,000 a month by the Trump campaign. E-mail solicitations sent out by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House Republicans' election arm, under Trump Jr.'s name have so far raised more than $3 million in small-dollar donations."

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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

Targeting Battleground States

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Former president Donald Trump

By Rami Ayyub and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -The prosecutor for Georgia's biggest county on Thursday requested a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid her investigation into then-President Donald Trump's efforts to influence the U.S. state's 2020 election results.

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