The Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s last-ditch legal attempt to keep his financial records out of the hands of prosecutors in New York.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast reports that the Biden Administration has started a classified review of drone strikes and other weapons in America’s war on terror, as activists push him to end our decades-long wars abroad.
And lastly, a whistleblower report alleges that a software bug kept hundreds of prisoners in Arizona incarcerated past their release dates because it failed to properly interpret state law.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Donald Trump has lived most of his life in some sort of legal trouble, but his post-presidency life may be even more fraught than his time in office.
The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Trump’s last-chance effort to keep his financial records away from prosecutors in New York, who are part of a state-level investigation that had previously subpoenaed Trump’s accountants.
Under that ruling, Trump has to hand over his long-sought tax returns, which were revealed at least in part by the New York Times last year.
Trump’s response was typically indignant, insisting that the investigation into his finances was quote “Democrat-inspired in a totally Democrat location, New York City and State, completely controlled and dominated by a heavily reported enemy of mine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo.” endquote.
Unfortunately, that line of argument did not convince the Supreme Court. The Times investigation into Trump’s taxes and financial records showed that he has massive debts and has avoided paying taxes regularly for decades.
The prosecutors’ initial investigation was reportedly looking into hush money payments paid by Michael Cohen, like the Stormy Daniels affair, but court filings indicate that prosecutors are also looking into crimes like tax and insurance fraud. Either way, Trump has to turn over his books. It’s gonna be a lot of fun seeing what the D.A. in Manhattan finds.
Biden Launches Drone Strike Audit
The Daily Beast reports that Joe Biden is undertaking a major audit of the U.S.’s main tool for extrajudicial killing overseas.
According to the Beast, Biden has tasked his national security advisor Jake Sullivan with a full review of drone strikes and other ways that the U.S. makes the decision to use lethal force in its counterterrorism efforts. That includes a review of who exactly is authorized to make those calls, and in what circumstances they’re made.
A spokesperson for the National Security Council told the Beast that Biden wants quote “full visibility” endquote on proposed lethal actions. This is a big change from the Trump administration, which delegated lethal authority to other leaders down the chain of command.
In February, Business Insider reported that there have been no recorded drone strikes during the Biden presidency, though the Beast reports that there have been some confirmed manned airstrikes and some unconfirmed reports of others.
That data comes with a huge asterisk, as the CIA and other intelligence agencies don’t follow the same reporting structures that the military does, but it’s still an encouraging sign that the rate of violence under Biden is slower than it was under Trump.
The Beast points out that this may reflect the fact that Biden is facing a more robust anti-war sentiment in Washington than previous presidents, led by the bipartisan wing that formed in response to the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen under Trump. Here’s hoping that his official review concludes that the doves in Congress have been right all along.
Arizona Inmates Screwed By Software Glitch
A new whistleblower report shows a shocking, unjust level of technical dysfunction in Arizona’s prison system.
According to the report, the computerized system used to keep track of quote “inmate management” has potentially been miscalculating hundreds of prisoners’ sentences, as it fails to properly understand new state sentencing laws.
KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix, reports that whistleblowers from inside the state’s Department of Corrections have been raising the issue with their superiors for more than a year, and that some leadership has been aware of the problem since at least 2019.
Arizona prisons are using a program called ACIS to calculate release dates, but the whistleblowers report that it does not account for a 2019 amendment to state law that made it so nonviolent offenders could earn release credits by completing programs while inside.
But the program A) can’t identify inmates who qualify for the release credits, and B) can’t calculate their new release dates when they complete the programming. Instead of fixing this,
the DOC is attempting to identify prisoners who qualify manually, which is cearly not the quickest way about things. A spokesperson said they’ve found over 700 so far who qualify.
That means that if this system worked correctly, hundreds of prisoners have missed out on over a year of potential time when they could have worked toward their release.
As a result, there are potentially hundreds of people still in jail who should be free.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Merrick Garland, Joe Biden’s pick for Attorney General, indicated on Monday that his top priority will be investigating the January 6 Capitol Riots. It’s unclear whether that focus will extend to, you know, the literal members of Congress who helped incite the riots, but we can dream!
Fox News reports that Donald Trump is expected to declare himself the quote “presumptive 2024 nominee” for the Republican party during his speech at CPAC next weekend. This will be one of Trump’s first major public outings since his defeat in November, and if Fox’s report is correct it sounds like there will be more of that to follow.
In other extremely funny CPAC news, the conservative conference was forced to disinvite -- or cancel -- one of its planned speakers, a YouTuber named Young Pharoah, after discovering extremely antisemitic tweets. It’s necessary to identify the YouTuber here, because the conference initially tweeted a vague quote "We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views,” endquote, which really doesn’t narrow things down!
FEB 23, 2021 - AMQUCKIE
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn