News Round-Up: December 21, 2020

Joe Manganiello makes a great sexy Santa

Some news items you might have missed:

Sexy Santas: I realized I haven’t been on my game when it comes to sexy Santas this year, so I’m hoping to make up ground a bit with the snap above of Archenemy star Joe Manganiello at the beach 😉

Right Wing Watch: Right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson declares that Drag Queen Story Hour is “the equivalent of pedophilia” and says parents who take their child to such an event “need to have their children taken away from them.”

CNN: Donald Trump has turned to a fringe group of advisers peddling increasingly dubious tactics to overturn the results of the election, creating a dire situation that multiple senior officials and people close to the President say has led to new levels of uncertainty at how Trump will resist the coming end to his tenure.

Christmas Music: Tayla Parx contributes this short but sweet track, “Ain’t A Lonely Christmas Song,” to the 2020 Atlantic Records holiday release, Still Home For The Holidays.

The Hill: Thousands of Trump supporters are planning a virtual “second inauguration” for President Trump on Jan. 20, the same day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. More than 60,000 people have indicated on Facebook that they plan to attend the event being billed as “Donald J. Trump 2nd Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.”

New York Times: A former Justice Department attorney pens a personal apology for the work she did in the Trump administration and for failing to push back more.

Elle Magazine: A journalist who covered the case of now-convicted pharma bro Martin Shkreli fell in love with him, quit her job, divorced her husband,…and then Shkreli ghosted her.

Variety: Outfest and GLAAD have partnered to produce a PSA with the cast and artists from the soundtrack of Hulu’s queer-centric rom-com, Happiest Season, to discuss the importance of finding chosen family for LGBTQ people during the holidays.

Appeals Court Says ‘No’ To Dismissing Case Against Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn (photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

A federal appeals court has denied a request by Michael Flynn and the Department of Justice to shut down the investigation against him.

From CNN:

The 8-2 decision restores power to a judge to question the Justice Department’s moves in the politically divisive case when Attorney General William Barr dropped charges against President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser earlier this year despite twice pleading guilty to lying under oath to lying to the FBI.

Flynn had fought District Judge Emmet Sullivan’s decision to ask a third-party lawyer to argue against the Justice Department’s dismissal in the case, and his plans to hold a hearing, which has not yet happened.

Monday’s decision adds what may be the most consequential round yet to what’s become an unusual and deeply political court case in an election year, and one of the most symbolic prosecutions of a Trump adviser during this presidency.

In an earlier decision, a panel of three judges on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to allow Flynn’s case to be tossed.

Today’s ruling from the full court reverses that decision.

The appeals court also declined to reassign Flynn’s case to another trial judge, after Flynn’s attorneys accused Judge Sullivan of being biased against Flynn.

I still maintain that, at the end of this whole sordid affair, Donald Trump will pardon Flynn.

Judge Rules House Impeachment Investigation Legal, Orders Mueller Evidence Released

Donald Trump (image via Flickr/WhiteHouse)

House Democrats received a major win today when a federal judge not only ordered the secret grand jury evidence from the Robert Mueller investigation be turned over to the House Judiciary Committee but also declared that the current impeachment inquiry is a legal investigation.

From the New York Times:

The House Judiciary Committee is entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in a 75-page opinion. Attorney General William P. Barr had withheld the material from lawmakers.

Typically, Congress has no right to view secret evidence gathered by a grand jury. But in 1974, the courts permitted the committee weighing whether to impeach President Richard M. Nixon to see such materials — and, Judge Howell ruled, the House is now engaged in the same process focused on Mr. Trump.

“Tipping the scale even further toward disclosure is the public’s interest in a diligent and thorough investigation into, and in a final determination about, potentially impeachable conduct by the president described in the Mueller report,” she wrote.

In reaching her decision, Judge Howell rejected the contention by Mr. Trump and his allies that the investigation Democrats are pursuing, which has since expanded to encompass the Ukraine scandal, is not a legitimate impeachment inquiry.