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Friday, December 12, 2014

Can Democrats be the Opposition Party?

Republicans are pack animals that stick together while Democrats are lone wolves prone to back biting when in groups.   With respect to a handful of issues, a Democratic strategy of non-obstruction can amount to cunning, rather than surrender.  Republicans are poised to pass a lot of focus-grouped, business-friendly legislation that will likely fracture Democrats.   That's mostly what you hear about these days.   But to assuage the right, Republicans will also probably be forced to vote on a variety of more contentious issues.   And in those cases, there’s a deep strategic logic to eschewing the filibuster.

If conservatives force Republicans to hold votes on unpopular measures—pure conjecture, but abolishing the EPA, say—a filibuster by the Democratic minority would allow Republicans to disguise divisions within their ranks.   If a filibuster’s insurmountable, then reluctant Republicans can vote yes, secure in the knowledge that the bill’s not going anywhere, anyhow.    Remove the filibuster and suddenly future Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has to get his vulnerable members and his hardliners on the same page, or the bill fails on account of Republicans.



But I don’t think that’s what future Minority Leader Harry Reid’s talking about here.   His message is a tacit acknowledgement of structural difficulties that make it harder for Democrats than Republicans to be a united, rejectionist opposition party.    Their coalition includes many moderates; isn’t overwhelmed by ideological liberals; is in hock to big business; and, unlike Republicans, is invested in the idea that government should function well.

That the Democratic Party’s favorables have just fallen below the Republican Party’s favorables for the first time since the last Republican midterm blowout (and really for the first time in about a decade) compounds the problem—Democrats don't want to become even more unfavorable, and they saw what obstruction did to the House GOP's approval numbers.

The pending vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline illustrates how these phenomena combine.   Keystone probably had the votes to overcome a filibuster all along, and will definitely have the votes to overcome a filibuster in January.   It might even pass by a veto-proof margin then, which moots the White House’s opposition.   If voting next week instead of January gives Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu even a small nudge in her runoff election (and I’m skeptical that it will) then Dems might as well bite the bullet now, rather than later.

But this only shows that when Democratic rank and file don’t benefit from Reid controlling the legislative agenda, they scurry for cover, lest they get caught opposing bad-but-popular ideas.



Republicans don’t face the same array of pressures, which made single-minded obstruction easy.    As game theory, turning Mitch McConnell’s playbook back on the GOP is probably the right move.    But if Harry Reid were to try, he’d run into people like Joe Manchin who are happy to say they won’t put up with his “bullshit.”



The Big Give Away To the Upper Crust 1%ers

The GOP is doing so well representing the wealthy the Democrats have decided to represent them too.   So sad for the main street crowd, left out, represented by no major party and soon to be completely forgotten.   The $1.01 trillion spending bill unveiled late Tuesday will keep most of the federal government funded through next September.  

It is packed with hundreds of policy instructions, (riders), that will upset or excite Democrats, Republicans and various special interest groups.


Obama's buddy who helped lobby votes for the bill, after authoring the bill?

So, what's in the bill?   It is highlighted below, enjoy.    I wish I could print the names of the people who put the riders in the bill but they are hidden in the shadows.    We do know that Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, joined President Obama to call members and lobby for the passage of this bill.    We know that lobbyist from CITI wrote sections of the bill.    What we know is sad and highly unusual, what we may in the future learn will be shocking.    The highlights of the bill follow.

ABORTION:
The bill once again bans using federal funding to perform most abortions; blocks the use of local and federal funding for abortions in the District of Columbia; and blocks the use of federal dollars for abortions for federal prisoners. Republicans say that there's also new language directing the secretary of health and human services to ensure that consumers shopping for health-care coverage on the federal exchange can tell whether a plan covers abortion services.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT:
The law is still funded, but there's no new money for it. There's also no new ACA-related funding for the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the two agencies most responsible for implementing the law.   The bill also would cut the budget of the Independent Payment Advisory Board -- what Republicans have called "the death panel" -- by $10 million.

AFGHANISTAN:
Congress withholds funding for the Afghan government "until certain conditions are met," including implementing the bilateral security agreement reached with the United States.



AMTRAK:
The nation's rail passenger service earns $1.39 billion, the same amount it currently receives. The rail service carries passengers through 46 states and hit an all-time high of 31.6 million passengers during the last fiscal year, according to Democratic aides.


CAMPAIGN FINANCE:
The bill would dramatically expand the amount of money that wealthy political donors could inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. Bottom line:   A donor who gave the maximum $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National 
Committee would be able to donate another $291,600 on top of that to the party’s additional arms -- a total of $324,000, ten times the current limit.    Who put this in the bill?

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL:
The agency would get more than $6.9 billion, an increase of about $42.7 million. The nation's leading disease-fighters also get $30 million to help fight Ebola.



CLEAN WATER ACT:
In a win for Republicans, the spending bill blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from applying the law to certain farm ponds and irrigation ditches -- a move that GOP aides said would benefit farmers.

DODD-FRANK:
Democrats agreed to make some of the biggest changes yet to the 2010 financial regulatory reforms.   In a deal sought by Republicans, the bill would reverse Dodd-Frank requirements that banks "push out" some of derivatives trading into separate entities not backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations.   Ever since being enacted, 
banks have been pushing to reverse the change. Now, the rules would go back to the way they used to be. But in exchange, Democrats say they secured more money for the enforcement budgets at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.    Dodd-Frank has been completely undone leaving tax payers to pay off the gambeling debts of the banks.

EBOLA:
Roughly $5.4 billion is provided across several agencies to combat the spread of the disease in the United States and around the world. The amount is less than the $6 billion Obama requested.



EGYPT:
The beleaguered country gets $1.3 billion in military aid and $150 million in economic aid -- but the money is subject to "democracy and human rights conditions," while the secretary of state can make exceptions for counterterrorism and border security operations.

EMBASSIES:
There's $5.4 billion for security at U.S. embassies worldwide, $46 million more than Obama requested. The total includes new money to implement recommendations from the Benghazi Accountability Review Board. The bill also once again bans any embassy construction money to be spent on the lavish new U.S. embassy in London.


INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE:
One of the GOP's favorite targets will see its budget slashed by $345.6 million. The nation’s tax agency also would be banned from targeting organizations seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideological beliefs.

ISRAEL:
There's $3.1 billion in total aid for the country plus $619.8 million in defense aid.



JOE BIDEN:
The legislation once again enacts a pay freeze for the vice president "and senior political appointees."

LIBYA:
The troubled country cannot receive any U.S. aid until the secretary of state confirms the country is cooperating with ongoing investigations into the September 2012 attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

JORDAN:
The Arab kingdom would receive $1 billion in economic and military aid, in addition to U.S. humanitarian aid for millions of Syrian refugees.



LIGHT BULBS:
The bill once again prohibits new standards that would ban the use of cheaper, less energy efficient incandescent bulbs.   The proposal was first introduced and set in motion by the Bush administration, but the Obama White House allowed the change to continue, despite sustained consumer demand for older bulbs.    What kind of Congressional or Senate Jerks are this concerned with light bulbs and WHY?   Let the market decide which light bulbs prevail.



MARIJUANA:
The District of Columbia will be prohibited from legalizing marijuana for the much of the coming year.   The development -- upending a voter-approved initiative -- shocked elected D.C. leaders, advocates for marijuana legalization and civil liberties groups.   The bill also would block the Justice Department from interfering with state-level medical marijuana measures and prohibits the Drug Enforcement Agency from interfering with industrial hemp production.



METRORAIL:
The D.C. region's subway and bus system would earn $150 million in federal dollars for continued improvements.   That's part of $10.9 billion set to be doled out for transit programs nationwide, including the construction of new rail and rapid bus projects in California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Texas.   But Republicans stress that the bill has no new federal funding for high-speed rail projects, especially the ambitious Los Angeles-to-San Francisco routes envisioned by California Democrats.





MILITARY PAY AND PERKS:
Military service members will receive a 1 percent pay increase next year. But there's a pay freeze for generals and flag officers.   The bill also ends a five percent discount on tobacco and tobacco-related products sold at military exchanges.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY:
The agreement includes $24 million to complete the federal government's contribution to the new museum being built on the Mall.   The rest of the money will be raised through private donations.

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH:
The nation's premier medical research agency would receive $30.3 billion, a $150 million overall increase.   Democrats noted that the new funding helps especially for ongoing Alzheimer's and brain research programs.



OFFICIAL PORTRAITS:
You're a government official and want an official portrait?   You'll have to pay for it (or raise the funds).   The bill bans taxpayer funding for official portraits of any Executive Branch employees, lawmakers and heads of legislative agencies.

OVERSEAS MILITARY OPERATIONS:
There's $1.3 billion for a new Counterterrorism Partnership Fund; $5 billion for military operations to combat the Islamic State, including $1.6 billion to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces;  $500 million for a Pentagon-led program to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition fighters; $810 million for ongoing military operations in Europe, including requirements that at least $175 million is spent in support of Ukraine and Baltic nations.

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY:
The bill stops assistance to the Palestinian Authority if it becomes a member of the United Nations or UN agencies without an agreement  with Israel.   It also prohibits funds for Hamas.

PENSIONS:
For the first time, the benefits of current retirees could be severely cut, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.   The change would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets.



U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
You like your mail on Saturdays?   You'll keep your mail on Saturdays.   The bill requires the mail service to continue six-day deliveries, despite a years-long attempt to cut back on service to save money.




POTATOES:
White potatoes, to be exact.   The Women, Infants and Children program that provides food aid to low-income families would receive $6.6 billion, a $93 million cut from the last fiscal year.   But the program will be required to ensure that "all varieties of fresh vegetables, including white potatoes, are eligible for purchase" through the 
program, said Republicans.   The change is a big victory for the potato lobby, which has long fought to be part of the food assistance program.

RACE TO THE TOP:
The bill cuts funding for Obama's signature education initiative -- a big blow to his education legacy, according to The Post's Valerie Strauss. Overall, the Education Department would take a slight hit in funding;  at $70.5 billion, down $133 million below the fiscal year 2014, but special education grants to states would get $25 million 
more than last year, up to $11.5 billion.   There is also no funding for the controversial Common Core State Standards in this legislation.

RAILROADS:
Among other things, there's $3 million to expand inspections along the roughly 14,000 miles of track used by trains hauling oil tankers.

SAGE-GROUSE:
In a victory for the GOP, the bill would ban the Fish and Wildlife Service from adding the rare bird found in several Western states to the Endangered Species List. 

Republicans argue that adding the bird to the list "would have severe economic consequences on Western states and the nation’s efforts to become energy independent."   But there's also $15 million for the Bureau of Land Management to conserve sage-grouse habitats.

SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM:
The school lunch nutritional changes sought by First Lady Michelle Obama take a hit.   The bill allows more flexibility to school districts to implement new whole grain nutrition standards "if the school can demonstrate a hardship" when buying whole grain products, according to Republicans.   The bill also relaxes new sodium standards until they are "supported by additional scientific studies."

SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY:
There's $257 million for the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, including $25 million more to expand the Sexual Assault Victims’ Counsel program. 

But Democrats, led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), are expected to make a final push to expand the program this week.




TRUCKING:
In a victory for the trucking industry, the bill blocks new Transportation Department regulations requiring truckers to get two nights of sleep before starting a new work week.   The regulation slashed a typical trucker's work week to 70 hours, down from 82 hours.

UNITED NATIONS:
The perennial ban on providing money for the ongoing renovation of U.N. Headquarters in New York remains intact.

U.S. CAPITOL (AND RELATED AGENCIES):
There's $21 million to continue restoring the cast-iron Capitol Dome.   And $348 million for the U.S. Capitol Police (a force with 1,775 officers). Lawmakers also plan to save $10,000 by allowing the congressional Office of Compliance to email congressional staffers about their employment rights.   Old rules required the office to send such 
notices by snail mail.   Finally, for the first time the agency formerly known as the Government Printing Office is now officially known as the Government Publishing Office.



VETERANS:
After a year of embarrassing scandals at the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs, lawmakers are making good on promises to provide more money and oversight.   There's a total of $159.1 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending.    Of that, $209 million was added to address new costs related to the bipartisan veterans' reform bill passed last summer.   The legislation calls for adding medical staff and expanding dozens of facilities.   In order to specifically addressing the "wait list" scandal, the VA's inspector general is getting a $5 million budget increase to continue investigating lapses in patient care.

WHISTLEBLOWERS:
The bill includes language ensuring that government contractors are not barred from reporting allegations of waste, fraud or abuse if they sign a confidentiality agreement.   And the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would receive a $500,000 increase for its enforcement of existing whistleblower laws.



WHITE HOUSE BUDGET:
There's $222 million for executive mansion operations, a $10 million increase.   The money pays for the National Security and Homeland Security councils, the Council of Economic Advisers, the vice president's office and the executive residence.   The bill doesn't provide any new funding "to address security weaknesses at the White House complex," according to Democrats. But the U.S. Secret Service would be allowed to use some of its funding "to prepare and train for the next presidential election campaign," Democrats said.



WOLVES:
Well, only if you're attacked.   There's $1 million in the bill "to compensate ranchers for livestock killed by wolves."

YUCCA MOUNTAIN:
There's no new money for the site, but current money for it must be spent pursuant to a recent court decision.   Republicans say that the bill continues to leave open the possibility that the site could be used someday to store nuclear waste -- but that won't happen as long as Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is around.


              ACVDN Certified  HERO
             Senator Elizabeth Warren
During remarks on the Senate floor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) encouraged a Democratic rebellion while ripping and shredding Wall Street and House Republicans for trying to weaken financial protections will giving Big Banks a huge gift in the government funding bill.

"I come to the floor today to ask a fundamental question.   Who does Congress work for? Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their 
armies of lobbyists and lawyers, or does it work for all the people?

People are frustrated with Congress and part of the reason, of course, is gridlock, but mostly it’s because they see a Congress that works just fine for the big guys, but it won’t lift a finger to help them.



Now, the House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful.   The House is about to vote on a budget deal.   A deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system. These are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs.

….

And now, no debate and no discussion, Republicans in the House of Representatives are threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get a chance to repeal it.   That 
raises a simple question.   Why?   If this rule brings more stability to our financial system.   If this rule helps prevent future government bailouts.   Why in the world would anyone want to repeal it?    Let alone hold the entire government hostage to ram through this appeal.   The reason unfortunately is simple. It’s about money, and it’s about power. Because while this legal change could pose serious risks to our entire economy, it will also make a lot of money for a handful of our biggest banks.

….

Now, I know that House and Senate negotiators from both parties have worked long and hard to come to an agreement on the omnibus spending legislation, and Senate leaders deserve great for preventing House leaders from carrying out some of their more aggressive fantasies about dismantling even more pieces of financial reform, but this 
provision goes too far.   Citigroup is large and it is powerful, but it is a single private company.   It shouldn’t get to hold the entire government hostage, to threaten a 
government shutdown, in order to rollback important protections that keep our economy safe.

This is a democracy and the American people didn’t elect us to stand up for Citigroup.   They elected us to stand up for all the people.

I urge my colleagues in the House, particularly my Democratic colleagues, whose votes are essential for moving this package forward to withhold support from it until this risky giveaway is removed from this legislation.   We all need to stand and fight this giveaway to the most powerful banks in this nation.

Warren also explained during her remarks that the provision in the legislation was written by Citicorp lobbyists.    Democrats and Republicans are divided within their own 
parties on this bill.   The left is in full rebellion over this provision, and if enough Democrats withhold their support, the bill won’t pass the House.

It is estimated that 50-60 House Republicans will vote against the bill because they are displeased with the lack of action over Obama’s immigration executive orders. 

Boehner needs House Democrats in order to pass this bill.  If he doesn’t get the Democrats, the bill will die.

Democrats must keep the pressure on. Boehner will drop the provision from the bill because he will do almost anything to avoid a government shutdown.   Sen. Warren was 
correct.   If they keep the heat on, they can prevail.   The first fight is in the House.   A victory by Warren and the other congressional liberals would be the biggest sign yet that the left is going to be a force in the next Congress.




              ACVDN  Certified  Nut Job

Michelle Bachmann is bat shit crazy and so are the people who elected her.


Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, and she wants to go out with a bang.   A very specific kind of bang, in fact:  the type you get when you drop a U.S. bomb on an Iranian nuclear facility, which experts believe could upend months of delicate negotiations and spark even more conflict in the Middle East.


                            Mr. President you need to bomb those MFers.

At the White House holiday party for members of Congress on Monday, Bachmann had her final interaction with President Barack Obama as a member of Congress.   She used the opportunity to tell the president he must bomb nuclear facilities in Iran.   The Iranian government claims the country's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the international community worries that the country is attempting to build a nuclear weapon.

Bachmann told the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative online newspaper, all about the exchange for an interview the Beacon published Thursday afternoon:

"I turned to the president and I said, something to the effect of, ‘Mr. President, you need to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities, because if you don’t, Iran will have a nuclear weapon on your watch and the course of world history will change,'" Bachmann said in the interview.

"And he got his condescending smile on his face and laughed at me and said, ‘Well, Michele, it’s just not that easy,’" she continued. "And I said to him, ‘No, Mr.  President, you’re the president, it will happen on your watch, and you’ll have to answer to the world for this.’ And that was it and then I left.   Merry Christmas."

Bachmann told the Beacon she had heard from experts that the U.S. could destroy Iran's nuclear facilities in six to eight weeks.

The U.S. and five other countries -- Germany, France, the U.K., Russia and China -- are presently in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.   Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the negotiations -- which have now been extended beyond previously set deadlines twice -- seem likely to produce an agreement by February or March.

Such a deal would be a key foreign policy success for a beleaguered Obama.   Yet congressional opponents of the nuclear diplomacy process have said they worry that Obama's team will concede too much in the deal by allowing Iran to retain a dangerous capacity to build a bomb.    Critics have proposed bolstering U.S. pressure on Iran by imposing new sanctions, which Obama administration diplomats say could destroy the talks.

Bachmann's suggestion of military action against Iran isn't an option many prominent commentators have raised in recent months. Still, she is not alone in making her  recommendation:  Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who serves with Bachmann on the House Intelligence Committee, promoted the same action at a roundtable with reporters on Dec. 3.

Bachmann told the Beacon that her other concerns about the Obama administration's foreign policy include cuts to the military budget, the release of prisoners from  Guantanamo Bay, and, perhaps most controversially, the end of the CIA torture program.   A report on the program released this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA's use of torture was harsher and more pervasive than the spy agency had previously reported.

The departing congresswoman also told the Beacon about her future plans.   Bachmann's comments should put to rest any worries her fans might have that she won't be around to offer uplifting holiday messages in the years to come:

Bachmann now plans to travel across the country, giving speeches and writing op-eds ahead of what she called a “consequential” election in 2016.   Presumptive Democratic  nominee Hillary Clinton will simply continue Obama’s widely criticized domestic and foreign policies, Bachmann said.   Republicans for their part need to ensure that they do not nominate a candidate who is “changing their stripes just for an election.”
If we get a very bold conservative who has a strong identification of where they want to take the country, both economically and in terms of national security, we do have a  chance to have a major course correction for America in the future," she said.

And then Bachmann winked, dropped her crack pipe and rode off in the sunset toward Minnesota.    And to all a good night.





Amherst County Virginia Democratic News

ACVDN


Thursday, December 11, 2014

CIA Takes a Back Seat to Nobody When it Comes to Torture

CIA Takes a Back Seat to Nobody When it Comes to Torture

                                                                             President                                           Vice President

Under the leadership of George W Bush and Dick Cheney Americas high standing in the world was lowered considerably.   We were willing to be just like the enemies we fought and then willing to lie to everybody to about what we did.   The next time some of our troops get captured its katie bar the door, we have made everything we did acceptable for the enemy to do to our solders.    Sure some future president will complain but who will be listening, we have broken treaties that we signed.   The saddest part is there will be no punishment for those who soiled the American reputation.   None.

The CIA "provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media and the American public" about the "brutal" interrogation techniques it used on terrorism suspects, a long-held Senate intelligence committee report finds.

It looked at more than 6 million pages of CIA material over the course of more than three years, and it came to two major conclusions:  The CIA misrepresented the interrogation techniques it was using at secret prisons abroad, and it also overstated the techniques' efficacy.    The report details the techniques used on detainees and found that those interrogations led to no useful intelligence.


                 "The United States does not Torture."

Below are highlights from the report released by the Committee.

Interrogators Admitted to Sexual Assault



According the the report, "numerous CIA interrogators and other CIA personnel associated with the program had either suspected or documented personal and professional problems that raised questions about their judgement and CIA employment. This group of officers included individuals who, among other issues, had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault."


Round-the-Clock EIT

Detainee Abu Zubaydah was placed "in complete isolation for 47 days," then subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques on a near 24-hour-per-day basis."    He “cried, begged, pleaded, and whimpered,” but denied having any information.

The CIA reportedly instructed personnel that his interrogation should take "precedence" over medical care, which eventually led to the "deterioration" of a bullet wound Zubaydah sustained during his capture.

Stuffed in a Coffin-Like Box



Zubaydah spent a total of 266 hours in a "large confinement box" that looked like a "coffin."   He spent an additional 29 hours in an even smaller box, which was 21 inches wide, 2.5 feet deep, and 2.5 feet tall.

CIA interrogators reportedly told Zubaydah "that the only way he would leave the facility was in the coffin-shaped confinement box."

Waterboarding Continues

Even after the interrogation team told CIA headquarters that it was “highly unlikely” he had the information they were looking for, interrogators continued to waterboard Abu Zubaydah, who “coughed, vomited, and had involuntary spasms of the torso and extremities’” during the procedure.    At one point, he "became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth."

CIA Personnel ‘Choking Up’ During Waterboarding

The waterboarding eventually induced "involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms."   According to CIA records, “it seems the collective opinion that we should not go much further.”   Several on the team were “profoundly affected,”  “some to the point of tears and choking up.”

Rectual Infusion of 'Pureed' Humus, Pasta, Nuts and Raisins

Several detainees, including Zubaydah, Marwan al-Jabbur, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, underwent "rectal rehydration" or "rectal fluid resuscitation" -- and detainee Majid Klian's “lunch tray," made up of hummus, pasta with sauce, raisins and nuts, was "pureed" and rectally infused.

According to CIA medical officers, rectal infusions were partially used as a behavior control:   "While IV infusion is safe and effective," an officer noted, "we were impressed with the ancillary effectiveness of rectal infusion."

Intimidation with a Power Drill

Another detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was blindfolded before an interrogator placed a pistol near his head and operated a cordless power drill near his body.

‘Let’s Roll With the New Guy’

Less than two hours after the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, self-professed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, in March 2003, an CIA interrogation chief sent an email to CIA headquarters requesting permission to “press [Sheikh Mohammed] for threat info right away.” The subject line:  “Let’s roll with the new guy.”

Medical Officer: Waterboarding is ‘Basically…Drownings’

During waterboarding sessions, Sheikh Mohammed ingested significant amounts of water.   According to CIA records, his abdomen “was somewhat distended and he expressed water when the abdomen was pressed.”

“In the new technique,” a medical officer wrote, “we are basically doing a series of near drownings.”

Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times.

Transforming Interrogations into ‘Battles of Will’

Sheikh Mohammed was also subject to abdominal and facial slaps, standing sleep deprivation, stress positions, nudity, water dousing.   And although he hadn’t determined it was medically necessary, an interrogation chief also ordered rectal hydration.

The procedure, the chief said, illustrated the interrogators’ “total control over the detainee” – but an on-site psychologist later concluded that sessions would have been more successful had interrogators avoided “confrontations that allow [Sheikh Mohammed] to transform the interrogation into battles of will with their interrogator.”

'Mr. Rogers' Persona'

The interrogation team eventually concluded the enhanced techniques had caused Sheikh Mohammed to "clam up," prompting interrogators to adopt a "softer Mr. Rogers' persona."

In what the interrogation team deemed the "best session held to date," a "more cooperative" Sheikh Mohammad revealed information about an individual he described as the protector of his children.  The information turned out to be fabricated, resulting in the capture and detention of two innocent people.

Family Photo

When interrogators concluded there would be “no further movement” in Sheikh Mohammed’s interrogations, detention site personnel hung a photograph of his sons in his cell to “[heighten] his imagination concerning where they are, who has them, [and] what is in store for them.”

Interrogators Threatened Families

CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families.   Those threats included doing harm to the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee and to "cut" a detainee's mother's throat.

'They Cowered'

Detainees at a detention facility referred to in the report as "COBALT" were kept in complete darkness -- paired with constant noise.

Detainees  "'literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled,'"  one CIA interrogator said.  "When the doors to their cells were opened, 'they cowered.'"

Naked Detainees Doused With Ice Water

Without approval from CIA headquarters, interrogates doused COBALT detainees with ice water.   They were hosed down while shackled in a standing position or held down naked on the floor.

One detainee, Gul Rahman, naked except for a sweatshirt, died of hypothermia while chained to a wall at COBALT in 2002.

Diapers, Sleep Deprivation

Mohamed Rahim, the last CIA detainee in the Detention and Interrogation Program, was kept awake for 138 1/2 hours -- almost six days.

Diapered and and shackled in a standing position, Rahim  “reiterated several times during the session that he would make up information if interrogators pressured him, and that he was at the complete mercy of the interrogators.”

26 Individuals Improperly Detained

Twenty-six of the CIA's 119 detainees  "did not meet the ... standard for detention," according to the report.

One of these improperly detained individuals, Abu Hudhaifa, endured 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation and ice water baths "before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be." 

A second "intellectually challenged" individual was detained and used "as leverage" against a family member.  Two more spent 24 hours chained in the standing sleep deprivation position, until CIA Headquarters  "confirmed that the detainees were former CIA sources,"  who had previously reached out to the CIA to try to share intelligence.




Cheney Throws Bush Under The Bus On Torture Program

                                                  "I'd it all again."
Dick Cheney discussed the newly released Senate torture report Wednesday on Fox News, and in particular challenged a finding that former President George W. Bush hadn't been briefed on the CIA's harsh interrogation methods until years after they'd already been in use.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked the former vice president whether the agency deliberately kept Bush in the dark about its so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

"Not true. Didn't happen," Cheney responded. "Read his book, he talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was in fact an integral part of the program, he had to approve it before we went forward with it."

Asked if there was ever a point where he knew more about the CIA's activity than the President, Cheney said "I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program."

Baier then asked if the former President knew about the "details" of the program. The report -- which Cheney called "full of crap" -- described brutal interrogation methods including waterboarding, extensive sleep deprivation, threats to harm detainees' families and "rectal feeding."

"I think he knew certainly the techniques, we did discuss the techniques," Cheney said. "There was no effort on our part to keep him from that."

"The notion that the committee's trying to peddle, that somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren't being told or the President wasn't being told, is just a flat out lie," he later added.




What the World Thinks about the CIA and Torture


CHINA

"China has consistently opposed torture,"  Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.  "We think the U.S. should reflect on that and correct related practices, to earnestly abide by and honor the regulations of international conventions."

FRANCE

Extreme-right politician Marine Le Pen said she "did not condemn"  the CIA's methods.   "On subjects like this it's quite easy to go on television to say 'Oh, la la!   That's wrong',"   Le Pen told French broadcaster BFMTV.   "I believe that those people who are dealing with terrorists, and trying to get information out of them that helps save civilian lives, are responsible people."

NORTH KOREA

The rogue state weighed in via its official state news agency in typically cryptic fashion:   "Why is the UNSC turning its face from the inhuman torture practiced by the CIA over which the UN Anti-Torture Committee expressed particular concern and which is dealt with in the 6,000 page-long report presented by the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. Senate ...   If the UNSC handles the "human rights issue"  in the DPRK while shutting its eyes to the serious human rights issue in the U.S., one of its permanent members, while failing to settle the pending and urgent issues directly linked with the world peace and security, it will prove itself its miserable position that it has turned into a tool for U.S. arbitrary practices just as everybody can hear everywhere."


RUSSIA

The Guardian reported that Konstantin Dolgov, Russia's human rights ombudsman, released a series of tweets slamming the U.S. response to the report:  "The Senate's report proves that there was systematic use of torture in CIA prisons in violation of the international obligations of the US.

  Everyone has known this for a long time.   But the Obama administration, having formally banned torture, hasn't lifted a finger to punish those guilty for these egregious human rights abuses.   This has created a further stain on the already stained US reputation in human rights.   Let's see what the administration's reaction to the report is."

UNITED KINGDOM

British Prime Minister David Cameron: "Let's be clear:  torture is wrong;  torture is always wrong.    In Britain we have had the Gibson inquiry and that inquiry has now produced a series of questions that the intelligence and security Committee will look at.   But I am satisfied that our system is dealing with all these issues and I, as prime minister, have issued guidance to all of our agents and others working around the world about how they have to handle these issues in future."

UNITED NATIONS

The United Nations' top special investigator for counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson, called for the prosecution of senior U.S. officials who authorized and carried out torture as part of former President George W. Bush's national security policies.   "It is now time to take action.   The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed 
in today's report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes,"  Emmerson said.


Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and an assortment of GOP Clowns Out a CIA Base

                                                 Chairman Issa

When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was:  They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.

The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to examine security lapses that led to the killing in Benghazi last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others. But in doing so, the lawmakers reminded us why “congressional intelligence” is an oxymoron.


Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base.   They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.

                                         Rep. Chaffetz, R-Utah.    The same Chaffetz who sleeps on a cot in his House office and showers in the House Gym to avoid paying rent.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) was the first to unmask the spooks.   “Point of order!   Point of order!”   he called out as a State Department security official, seated in front of an aerial photo of the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, described the chaotic night of the attack.   “We’re getting into classified issues that deal with sources and methods that would be totally inappropriate in an open forum such as this.”

A State Department official assured him that the material was  “entirely unclassified”  and that the photo was from a commercial satellite.  “I totally object to the use of that photo,”   Chaffetz continued.    He went on to say that  “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”


Now that Chaffetz had alerted potential bad guys that something valuable was in the photo, the chairman, Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), attempted to lock the barn door through which the horse had just bolted.   “I would direct that that chart be taken down,”  he said, although it already had been on C-SPAN.    “In this hearing room, we’re not going to 
point out details of what may still in fact be a facility of the United States government or more facilities.”

May still be a facility?   The plot thickened — and Chaffetz gave more hints.    “I believe that the markings on that map were terribly inappropriate,” he said, adding that  “the activities there could cost lives.”

In their questioning and in the public testimony they invited, the lawmakers managed to disclose, without ever mentioning Langley directly, that there was a seven-member  “rapid response force” in the compound the State Department was calling an annex.    One of the State Department security officials was forced to acknowledge that  “not 
necessarily all of the security people”  at the Benghazi compounds  “fell under my direct operational control.”

And whose control might they have fallen under? Well, presumably it’s the  “other government agency”  or  “other government entity”  the lawmakers and witnesses referred to;   Issa informed the public that this agency was not the FBI.

“Other government agency,” or “OGA,” is a common euphemism in Washington for the CIA. This  “other government agency,”  the lawmakers’ questioning further revealed, was in possession of a video of the attack but wasn’t releasing it because it was undergoing  “an investigative process.”

Or maybe they were referring to the Department of Agriculture.

That the Benghazi compound had included a large CIA presence had been reported but not confirmed. The New York Times, for example, had reported that among those evacuated were “about a dozen CIA operatives and contractors.”   The paper, like The Washington Post, withheld locations and details of the facilities at the administration’s request.

But on Wednesday, the withholding was on hold.

The Republican lawmakers, in their outbursts, alternated between scolding the State Department officials for hiding behind classified material and blaming them for disclosing information that should have been classified.    But the lawmakers created the situation by ordering a public hearing on a matter that belonged behind closed doors.

Republicans were aiming to embarrass the Obama administration over State Department security lapses.   But they inadvertently caused a different picture to emerge than the one that has been publicly known:  that the victims may have been let down not by the State Department but by the CIA.    If the CIA was playing such a major role in these 
events, which was the unmistakable impression left by Wednesday’s hearing, having a televised probe of the matter was absurd.

The chairman, attempting to close his can of worms, finally suggested that  “the entire committee have a classified briefing as to any and all other assets that were not drawn upon but could have been drawn upon” in Benghazi.

Good idea.   Too bad he didn’t think of that before putting the CIA on C-SPAN.   Secrets are not safe in the hands of these clowns.     Chairman Issa and this GOP gang will give the store away to throw a punch at President Obama.    Now these fools are running the House and the Senate, God Help Us.


Amherst County Virginia Democratic News

ACVDN

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Motion for New Trial for Bob McDonnell Denied

Former Virginia governor, wife will not get new trial.     December 1st, 2014, 4:30 pm.



RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge has denied the request of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, for a new trial. The two were convicted on public corruption charges in September.

Judge James R. Spencer rejected the McDonnells' request for a new trial and their arguments that the guilty verdicts should be overturned.

But Spencer did toss a jury's decision that Maureen McDonnell was guilty of obstructing justice. Spencer said prosecutors did not prove that she attempted to mislead a federal grand jury investigation.

Maureen McDonnell is now guilty of eight counts instead of nine. She is set to be sentenced next year.

In October, Bob McDonnell's lawyers filed a memorandum laying out four reasons for a new trial.

The former governor was convicted of 11 counts, including conspiracy and extortion, of performing official acts to promote a businessman's dietary supplement products in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts, trips and loans.


Here's how Bob and Maureen got here.


After three days of deliberations, the seven men and five women who heard weeks of gripping testimony about the ­McDonnells’ alleged misdeeds unanimously found that the couple conspired to lend the prestige of the governor’s office to Jonnie R. Williams Sr. in a nefarious exchange for his largesse.

The verdict means that Robert McDonnell, the first governor in Virginia history to be charged with a crime, now holds an even more unwanted distinction — the first to be convicted of one.

He and his wife face decades in federal prison, although their actual sentences are likely to fall well short of that. U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer set a sentencing hearing for Jan. 6.

UPDATE    Wed., Dec.  10th

A federal judge will allow lawyers for former Gov. Bob McDonnell to file a 50-page sentencing memorandum, 20 pages more than the court normally permits.

U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer allowed the 20 extra pages without explanation in an order entered Wednesday.

McDonnell is due to be sentenced by Spencer on Jan. 6.   His lawyers filed a request to file the extra pages, citing what they anticipate will be the prosecution’s request for a substantial prison sentence.

Among other things, they want to write about McDonnell’s “entire life,” they said.

The U.S. attorney’s office opposed the request, arguing that more than 30 pages was unnecessary because of the large amount of biographical material on McDonnell that was presented during his six-week trial earlier this year.

They also said McDonnell deserved no more and no less consideration than other defendants.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, who is set to be sentenced Feb. 20, were convicted by a federal jury in September.

The former first couple were indicted in January for accepting more than $177,000 in gifts and loans from Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the one-time CEO of Star Scientific, in exchange for promoting a new dietary supplement product.

END OF UPDATE





A portion of the transcript of the new trial request is printed below.   The entire document is public and available on line.   ACVDN is printing 6 pages of the 25 to give you the flavor of the filing and the decision.

1 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA RICHMOND DIVISION 

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,  v. ROBERT F. MCDONNELL, and MAUREEN G. MCDONNELL, Defendants. 
 Action No. 3:14-CR-12

MEMORANDUM OPINION
 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Robert F. McDonnell’s Motion #40 (“Motion”) (ECF No. 511). The Government filed an Opposition Memorandum (“Opp’n Mem.”) (ECF 
No. 530) on October 14, 2014. McDonnell subsequently filed a reply on October 24, 2014 (“Reply Mem.”) (ECF No. 541). The parties have not requested a hearing on this matter, and the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. E.D. Va. Loc. Crim. R. 47(J). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is hereby DENIED.



I.

BACKGROUND
Defendant Robert F. McDonnell (“McDonnell”) served as the 71st Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from January 2010 to January 2014.   His wife, Maureen G. McDonnell (“Mrs. McDonnell”), served as the First Lady of Virginia. 

During his campaign for Governor, McDonnell met Jonnie Williams (“Williams”).  Williams was the Chief Executive Officer of Star Scientific, Inc. (“Star Scientific”). 

Beginning in or about 2007, Star Scientific focused on utilizing certain alkaloids in the tobacco plant, namely anatabine, to address issues related to the desire to smoke.   The company engaged in the development, manufacture, and marketing of two anatabine-based dietary supplements:  CigRx
Case 3:14-cr-00012-JRS Document 567 Filed 12/01/14 Page 1 of 25 PageID# 16263


====================================
(Presented here are page 1 (Motion Denied) and pages 20 through 25)   On the bottom of page 25 the Judge reaches his decision, appeal denied.

====================================


20 

this regard, the more similar the prior act is (in terms of physical similarity or mental state) to the act being proved, the more relevant it becomes. 

(2) The act must be necessary in the sense that it is probative of an essential claim or an element of the offense.

2
 (3) The evidence must be reliable. And (4) the evidence's probative value must not be substantially outweighed by confusion or unfair prejudice in the sense that it tends to subordinate reason to emotion in the factfinding process.

3     132       F.3d at 997.

(1)
Goodwin Evidence
First, McDonnell contends that the Court erroneously admitted evidence that he received things of value from William Goodwin (“Goodwin”). Specifically, the Government introduced evidence that McDonnell’s draft 2012 Statement of Economic Interest (“SOEI”) listed a Kiawah Island trip from Goodwin with a value of $23,312.55.

 See
Tr. Vol. XXII 5295:9–5296:7. However, McDonnell subsequently crossed out the trip and wrote “personal,”   Id . at 5296:10–13, and thus McDonnell’s final SOEI contained no reference to the Kiawah Island trip,   id . at 5296:20–24. However, the SOEI still contained other gifts from Goodwin, including a Keswick Cabinet Retreat valued at $920.    Id . at 5296:17–19. McDonnell argues that the Government never established that this evidence was relevant to an issue other than character. In essence, he argues, all the evidence did was to suggest that he had a propensity to accept expensive gifts from donors. (Mem. in Supp. of Mot. at 27.) Under Virginia law, certain state officials, including the Governor, are required to annually file a standardized disclosure of their personal economic interests, commonly referred to as the SOEI. The SOEI requires a state official to disclose,

inter alia

, gifts or entertainment  valued in excess of fifty dollars received by the state official from any business or individual other than a relative orclose personal friend 
. The Government introduced the Goodwin
2
 The Court defines evidence as “necessary where, considered in the light of other evidence available to the government, it is an essential part of the crimes on trial, or where it furnishes part of the context of the crime.”
Queen, 132 F.3d at 998 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
3
 The court also points to “(1) a limiting jury instruction, when requested by a party, explaining the purpose for admitting evidence of prior acts, and (2) the requirement in a criminal case of advance notice,  when so requested, of the intent to introduce prior act evidence” as protections against potential “pit falls” under this Rule.
Queen, 132 F.3d at 997.



21 

evidence at trial in order to prove McDonnell’s prior improper manipulation of this “personal friend” exception because although McDonnell testified that Goodwin was supposedly his personal friend,
id 
. at 5051:21–22, the Government produced sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to reject that testimony.
 See id 
. at 5051:23–5055:20. Contrary to McDonnell’s argument that this evidence did no more than suggest to the  jury that McDonnell had a propensity to accept expensive gifts from donors, the Goodwin evidence was clearly relevant to issues other than McDonnell’s general character. First, the evidence showed McDonnell’s knowledge of the SOEI and the existence of the “personal friend” exception.   Second, McDonnell testified that, like Goodwin, he viewed Williams as a personal friend in 2012,
see
Tr. Vol. XXI 5109:9–14, but despite this opinion of their relationship, he still chose to disclose gifts from Williams on his 2012 SOEI. Thus, this evidence indicated an absence of mistake or accident in omitting the gifts and loans from Williams and thus was relevant to McDonnell’s intent to defraud.   Applying the factors defined in
Queen
, evidence of McDonnell’s knowledge and of the absence of mistake is relevant to, and probative of, his alleged intent to defraud—an element of the charged crimes;  the prior act alleged is similar to the act the Government sought to prove—omission of gifts from Williams pursuant to the personal friend exception; and there is nothing in the record to suggest that the evidence was unreliable or unfairly prejudicial to McDonnell.
See
Queen
, 132 F.3d at 997. Therefore, the Goodwin evidence was properly admitted.
(2)
Zubowsky Email Secondly, McDonnell argues that the Court erroneously admitted evidence indicating that his staff organized free golf for him. This piece of evidence revolved around a January 2013 email exchange between Emily Rabbit (“Rabbit”), McDonnell’s scheduler at the time, and Adam Zubowsky (“Zubowsky”). Gov’t Ex. 627. Rabbit 
asked Zubowsky whether he had any background in planning a golf trip for the Governor and his sons. Tr. Vol. XXI 5137:23–5138:3. Zubowsky responded that Rabbit should find a golf course that will host McDonnell and his family for free


22

 Id . at 5138:14–16. Zubowsky then directed Rabbit to put all the information in a briefing book for McDonnell’s review.

 Id . at 5138:21–5139:1. McDonnell now objects to the introduction of this email, arguing that it is both inadmissible hearsay and Rule 404(b) evidence. As an initial matter, when the Government first attempted to introduce this email through its direct examination of Rabbit, McDonnell’s counsel objected on the basis that the evidence is not 
relevant and “extraordinarily prejudicial.”   Tr. Vol. XII 2869:1–2.    When the Government subsequently attempted to introduce the email during the cross-examination of McDonnell, his counsel again objected solely based on relevancy.

 Tr. Vol. XXI 5137:7–9.   Thus, during trial McDonnell’s counsel never objected based on hearsay or Rule 404(b).   Based on Federal Rule of Evidence 103, a party may claim error in a ruling to admit or exclude evidence only if the error affects a substantial right of the party and if the party both timely objected at trial and stated the specific grounds for the objection

. Fed. R. Evid. 103(a)(1). Because McDonnell’s counsel objected solely on the basis of relevance, this Court properly admitted the email at trial. Despite McDonnell’s apparent mistake, the Court may still consider McDonnell’s present objections if the introduction of this email constituted plain error, meaning it affected McDonnell’s substantial rights.   Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(b);  Fed. R. Evid. 103(e).    To proceed with the merits, McDonnell first argues that this email was inadmissible hearsay, and should have been excluded as such.   Hearsay is an out-of-court statement that is offered in court to prove the truth of the matter asserted, Fed. R. Evid. 801(c), and is inadmissible at trial unless an exception applies,  Fed. R. Evid. 802.   A statement that is offered against an opposing party and was made by either the party in his individual capacity or representative capacity, or made by the party’s agent or employee on a matter within the scope of that relationship and while it existed, is deemed 
non-hearsay.   Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(A), (D). First, the portion of the email from Rabbit is not hearsay.
See
 Fed. R. Evid. 801(d)(2)(D). Rabbit was McDonnell’s scheduler at the time and thus an employee.   The statement she made in the email was within the scope of her employment 
relationship, as McDonnell requested that


23 

they meet to discuss golf trips in Myrtle Beach or Florida.   The statement was then offered against McDonnell at trial.   Second, with respect to Zubowsky’s statements in the email, McDonnell’s counsel is correct that the email is hearsay that does not fall within any exception.   Zubowsky was no longer employed by McDonnell at the time he 
sent the email and he does not purport to relate any statement made by McDonnell.   However, the admission of this evidence was harmless error as it did not affect any substantial right of McDonnell and thus McDonnell’s argument must be disregarded.

 See
Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(a). “Where non-constitutional error is involved, the proper test of harmlessness is whether, on appellate review, this Court can say ‘with fair assurance, after pondering all that happened without stripping the erroneous action from the whole, that the judgment was not substantially swayed by error.’”

United States v. Hartgrove, No. 90-5331, 919 F.2d 139, at *2 (4th Cir. Nov. 29, 1990) (quoting
United States v. Urbanik, 801 F.2d 692, 698 (4th Cir. 1986)).   Based on the considerable amount of evidence introduced over a five-week period during this trial, the Court can assuredly state that the jury’s verdict was not swayed by one portion of one e-mail.   McDonnell next contends that this evidence also violated Rule 404(b) as the Government’s only purpose in introducing it was to show McDonnell’s character in an unflattering light–that he had a propensity to seek out free expensive gifts.   On the other hand, the Government contends that this email “was not Rule 404(b) evidence;  [rather] it was offered to rebut Mr. McDonnell’s assertion that he didn’t seek gifts and he simply accepted gifts to spend time with his family.”   (Opp’n Mem. at 29.)   As support, the Government cites a section of “McCormick on Evidence,” which describes impeachment by “specific contradiction.” 1 McCormick on Evid. § 45 (7th ed. 2013). “Impeachment by contradiction is a means of policing the defendant’s obligation to speak the truth in response to proper questions.”

United States v. Gilmore
, 553 F.3d 266, 271 (3d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Specifically, “this doctrine
Case 3:14-cr-00012-JRS Document 567 Filed 12/01/14 Page 23 of 25 PageID# 16285



24 
provides that when a witness puts certain facts at issue in his testimony, the government may seek to rebut those facts, including by resorting to extrinsic evidence if necessary.”

United States v. Ramirez 
, 609 F.3d 495, 499 (2d Cir. 2010). In sum, this form of impeachment is intended to prevent the defendant from invoking “the Federal Rules of Evidence in order to shield his perjury from contradiction.”

 Id 
. Impeachment by contradiction is authorized by Federal Rule of Evidence 607 and its application is governed by Rule 403.
Gilmore
, 553 F.3d at 271;
see also United States v. Perez-Perez 
, 72 F.3d 224, 227 (1st Cir. 1995) (finding that impeachment by contradiction is not governed by Rule 608(b), but by common-law principles).   Most importantly, this form of impeachment is used to contradict a specific fact  the defendant testified to on direct 
.
 See Ramirez 
, 609 F.3d at 499;  Gilmore, 553 F.3d at 271;
United States v.  Scott , 693 F.3d 715, 722 (6th Cir. 2012).   The Government attempts to argue that the introduction of the Zubowsky email was intended to rebut McDonnell’s testimony on
direct  that the “most important gift” he received as governor was “having some time with his family.” Tr. Vol. XX 4853:22–25. However, it was not until
cross-examination when the Government specifically questioned McDonnell regarding his solicitation of free golf outings.   Thus, the Government cannot rest its argument of impeachment  by contradiction on the general “notion” implicit in McDonnell’s direct testimony. If the Government’s argument is rejected, then the Court must analyze the Zubowsky email pursuant to Rule 404(b). According to the factors defined in
Queen, this evidence was relevant to McDonnell’s motive for entering a corrupt agreement with Williams; the prior act alleged is similar to the act the Government sought to prove—acceptance of free gifts from  Williams;  and there is nothing in the record to suggest that the evidence was unreliable or unfairly prejudicial to McDonnell.

 See Queen, 132 F.3d at 997.   Therefore, the Zubowsky email  was also properly admitted. // //
Case 3:14-cr-00012-JRS Document 567 Filed 12/01/14 Page 24 of 25 PageID# 16286



25

IV. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, McDonnell’s Motion is DENIED.  Let the Clerk send a copy of this Memorandum Opinion to all counsel of record.   An appropriate Order will issue. 

ENTERED this 1st day of December 2014



December 6th, 2014 is the date for the sentencing.   ACVDN will cover the sentence in detail.


                           Bob's Rolex, time to go

Amherst County Virginia Democratic News

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