Brad Heath Profile picture
DC reporter for @reuters on crime and justice. Ex-@usatoday. Data, documents and "convoluted KGB style back-door" stuff. 202-527-9709, brad.heath@tr.com
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15 Jan
NEW from @Reuters: Federal prosecutors have offered an ominous new assessment of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week, saying they had "strong evidence" that "the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials."

reuters.com/article/us-usa…
Prosecutors alleged that the man who appeared shirtless wearing horns on the Senate dais during the siege participated "in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government," its strongest language so far describing last week's unrest.
(Fixing a typo): The court filing in which prosecutors allege rioters planned to assassinate elected officials is here: courtlistener.com/recap/gov.usco…

Our story, with @SarahNLynch, is here: reuters.com/article/us-usa…
Read 9 tweets
15 Jan
From @Reuters: The first wave of arrests from the siege of the U.S. Capitol was of rioters who made themselves especially visible - people who mugged for cameras or posted real-time confessions online. Authorities expect more serious charges will follow.

reuters.com/article/us-usa…
The Capitol mob was a diverse mix of QAnon adherents, right-wing activists and people who were school employees, policemen and even an Olympic swimmer. One had an attempted-murder rap. What united them was support for Trump and a deep political grievance.
For the most part, the people facing charges so far in the Capitol siege made it exceptionally easy for the FBI to find them. I've never seen this many people charged with this many crimes this quickly based on their own public confessions.
reuters.com/article/us-usa…
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
The shirtless man with furs and a horned hat photographed on the Senate dais during the Capitol siege, Jacob Chansley, has been charged with unlawful entry. He told the FBI he came to D.C. "at the request of the President that all 'patriots' come to D.C." Image
Chansley confirmed to the FBI that this was him, according to the charging documents. Image
Prosecutors also charged the man who mugged for news cameras while walking through the Capitol holding a lectern. He posted about being in the Capitol on social media.

These are the lowest-hanging fruit for criminal cases. Image
Read 5 tweets
3 Jan
The president's call with Georgia election officials is hard to listen to. We spend billions of dollars to make the president the best-informed person on Earth, but the information he's parroting about the election is total bullshit.
It's stunning that the president is peddling this much misinformation even in private. He told Georgia election officials that he actually won the state by a half-million votes. He didn't. It's hard to describe how far removed from reality that fiction is.
One wonders whether anyone who has the president's ear also has the courage to tell him the truth: He lost.
Read 4 tweets
2 Jan
... And the lawsuit filed by Rep. Gohmert and others trying to give Vice President Mike Pence the power to singlehandedly select the next president has been dismissed because, to nobody's great surprise, they didn't have standing to bring this kind of case.
The opinion is quite straightforward, cites to the controlling cases, and in this way illuminates just how flimsy a lot of the legal arguments in support of this nonsense actually were.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jan
People pretending to be electors from Michigan continue to mislead federal courts that they cast the state's electoral votes for President Trump "with the permission and endorsement" of the state legislature - in spite of the fact they couldn't even get into the capitol building.
The purported Republican electors say they cast their votes for Trump "with the knowledge and permission" of the legislature, which in no way voted to give its permission. And they claim that they cast them in the way state law requires, at the capitol, albeit outside.
Michigan actually has a law on this. It says electors have to be elected, which the Republican electors weren't. And it says they are to vote in the Senate chamber, not outside. So even the ridiculous claim that they voted for Trump in accordance with state law is false.
Read 5 tweets
22 Dec 20
The only really notable feature of the absurd new election lawsuit in D.C. is that the plaintiffs sued Mike Pence in his official capacity, meaning I suppose that the Justice Department will now be obliged to defend him from the many pages of absurdity.

electionlawblog.org/wp-content/upl…
Also, good luck attempting service on the Electoral College, which isn't really an organization or a thing. This is like suing "the states."

Prison inmates who represent themselves generally avoid goofy stuff like this.
This is a real lawsuit that's really trying to invalidate the results of the 2020 election in *every* state, based on a legal theory that would invalidate every modern presidential election.

It won't go anywhere for Many Reasons but somebody really did file it in federal court.
Read 10 tweets
21 Dec 20
These people are banking on your being an idiot. The counties Biden won are home to about 60% of the U.S. population, almost 200 million people.
Also the numbers are wrong. Biden won more than 477 counties.
It's like every day the people peddling the election-was-stolen fiction have to fall back on an argument that's even stupider.
Read 5 tweets
18 Dec 20
So the elite Kraken team tried to file four cases at the Supreme Court and seems to have managed to mess up two of them and is blaming the clerk.
Sidney Powell and her Kraken team told the Supreme Court again today that slates of Trump electors "have received the endorsement of the legislatures" in four states.

This is obviously, baldly false. No legislature has endorsed a competing slate of electors. This is a lie.
I spoke to the lawyer who signed the brief. His view is that the legislatures gave "implied consent" in that "the electors were allowed into the capitol" to vote. (Except in Michigan, where they were not let in, but voted on the grounds and this was close enough.)
Read 5 tweets
15 Dec 20
Kraken lawyer Sidney Powell says she has "4 cases with massive evidence of fraud pending" at the Supreme Court.

Not one of them is currently listed on the court's public docket.
Trump lawyer @JennaEllisEsq also said the court could still take up the case Rep. @MikeKellyPA lost there last week. It can't unless he files a cert petition, and I don't see one of those on the public docket, either.
Powell is still soliciting donations for this stuff, though.
Read 13 tweets
13 Dec 20
Sidney Powell - the lawyer behind the fantastical Kraken election lawsuits - has indicated that she will ask the Supreme Court whether it really meant that all of this election-conspiracy stuff should stay off of its lawn.
(It did. The court very clearly indicated that this stuff is not welcome on its lawn.)
Always cool to try to sell the Supreme Court on your anonymous witness even though he was identified in the press yesterday and some of the stuff you're saying about his credentials is demonstrably false and you knew it before you filed this.
Read 4 tweets
12 Dec 20
President Trump has now lost his federal lawsuit in Wis. seeking to overturn the election there. A judge appointed by Trump ruled that he "has not proved" that the election was carried out in a way that violated his rights or state law.
Judge: "This is an extraordinary case. A sitting president who did not prevail in his bid for reelection has asked for federal court help in setting aside the popular vote. ... This Court has allowed the plaintiff to make his case and he has lost on the merits."
Trump actually got farther in this lawsuit than he did in his others. The judge ruled that he had standing to sue under the Electors Clause, isn't barred by the 11th Am., isn't barred by abstention, isn't moot.

Instead, his case just failed on the merits.
Read 4 tweets
12 Dec 20
"Spider," the secret military-intelligence witness behind Sidney Powell's fantastical election-fraud lawsuits never served in military intelligence, but rather was enrolled in a training program where he "kept washing out of courses," the Army says.
Spider didn't read his election-fraud declaration before he signed it! I mean, these lawsuits have been a catastrophic heap of exceptionally bad witnesses, but this is really spectacular.
For the record, the substance of Spider's testimony also is utter garbage. medium.com/@micallst/misu…
Read 4 tweets
11 Dec 20
Here's the Supreme Court order rejecting Texas' attempt to throw out the results of the presidential election in four other states. The court declines to hear it; the only dispute is a technical one over the manner by which it is killed.

It's over.

supremecourt.gov/orders/courtor…
The court's decision - that Texas lacks standing to bring this case - means it could not and did not reach the other issues. But these claims have all been rejected for many, many, many other reasons by other state and federal courts. Many.
Justices Alito and Thomas indicated that the court was (in their very consistent view) required to hear the case but that they too "would not grant other relief" - meaning they too wouldn't sign on to Texas' request for an injunction throwing out the election.
Read 9 tweets
11 Dec 20
Texas has filed its reply brief in its Supreme Court lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states.

supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/22/2…
Texas says it "does not seek to disenfranchise the majority of Defendant States' voters." Rather it argues nobody knows who won those states.
Texas thinks "a few urban centers" manufactured votes to steal the election from President Trump.
Read 9 tweets
10 Dec 20
Judge Ludwig says President Trump's request to overturn the election he lost in Wisconsin is "incredibly unique."
Ludwig is asking sharp questions. He suggests that the constitutional "manner" Wis. chose for selecting its presidential electors is having a popular election. The state did that; the features Trump doesn't like aren't "a significant departure from the legislative scheme."
Ludwig says the 7th Cir. doctrine of laches pretty clearly favors Wisconsin and says Trump's reasons for waiting to sue until after the election to challenge procedures he didn't like simply weren't credible.
Read 4 tweets
10 Dec 20
Michigan has filed its response to Texas' lawsuit. "The challenge here is an unprecedented one, without factual foundation or a valid legal basis."
Michigan's document title:
Read 4 tweets
10 Dec 20
Pennsylvania has filed its response to Texas' Supreme Court lawsuit. Texas, it says "added its voice to the cacophony of bogus claims. Texas seeks to invalidate elections in four states for yielding results with which it disagrees."
Pennsylvania: "What Texas is doing in this proceeding is to ask this Court to reconsider a mass of baseless claims about problems with the election that have already been considered, and rejected, by this Court and other courts."
Wow: Pennsylvania says Texas' request to invalidate its election is a "seditious abuse of the judicial process" and urges the court to "send a clear and unmistakable signal that such abuse must never be replicated."
Read 7 tweets
10 Dec 20
A judge tossed the Arizona "Kraken" suit.

"Allegations that find favor in the public sphere of gossip and innuendo cannot be a substitute for earnest pleadings and procedure in federal court. They most certainly cannot be the basis for upending Arizona’s 2020 General Election."
Judge Humetewa says the lawsuit seeking to overturn Arizona's presidential election result is "sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence."
In other equally surprising news, they sky is up.
Read 11 tweets
9 Dec 20
Now President Trump has moved to intervene in Texas' Supreme Court lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election in four states to keep Trump in power. Image
Trump's motion is to intervene so he can file his own complaint against the various states. This would basically undermine the entire premise of filing at SCOTUS, since he can -- and has -- litigated these issues in the various states. And lost.
Trump's brief argues that many Americans now mistrust the outcome of the presidential election. He has indeed worked hard to undermine that confidence, repeating a boatload of misinformation to persuade Americans he didn't lose the election he actually lost. Image
Read 7 tweets
9 Dec 20
Seventeen states filed a brief in the Supreme Court just now in support of Texas' request that the justices throw out the results of the presidential election in four other states that didn't support President Trump.
Here's the amicus brief, which is led by Missouri.

This is the product of a lot Republicans in a lot of states using their offices to try to throw out the votes of millions of people in other states who failed to support President Trump.
supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/22/2…
A lot of this brief is people in glass houses casting stones. It argues that allowing absentee ballots to arrive after Election Day undermines faith in democracy. But Kansas and Mississippi, which both signed on, also count mail-in ballots that arrive late.
Read 8 tweets