Finally, Friday Wrap upPosted: June 17, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Well, it’s been a wild ride this week with public hearings from the January 6th Committee, insane weather, and just general mayhem and running amok, amok, amok.
This is Susan Glasser’s take on this week’s hearings in The New Yorker. ‘What We Learned About Trump, Pence, and the January 6th Mob. The third hearing on the attack on the Capitol revealed that the Proud Boys would have killed the Vice-President “if given the chance.” ‘
The malice of those in the crowd toward Pence, the holier-than-thou evangelical Christian who had spent the previous four years as Donald Trump’s slavishly loyal sidekick, was remarkable.
“If Pence caved we’re going to drag motherfuckers through the streets,” one rioter was captured on video saying. “He deserves to burn with the rest of them,” another said. A man with a bullhorn agitated the crowd. “Mike Pence has betrayed the United States of America,” he informed the already agitated mob. “Mike Pence has betrayed this President.” He finished with a threat and a promise: “We will never, ever forget.”
The explosive ending of the Trump Presidency has always been a story about the rift between Trump and Pence—two of the most mismatched figures ever to be thrown into a marriage of political convenience. For four years, Trump had tested and tried his sanctimonious No. 2, but Pence never broke. Not in public, not, as far as we can tell, in private, either. He was famous during the Trump years for doing and saying almost nothing that would make news. When he debated Kamala Harris during the 2020 campaign, his most memorable moment was when a fly landed on his impeccably coiffed white hair and he did not react for the full two minutes that it sat on his head.
But on January 6th, Pence finally did break with Trump, refusing to go along with the President’s absurd, illegal, and unconstitutional plot to have his Vice-President single-handedly overturn the will of the American people and block Congress’s confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory. On Thursday, the House committee devoted its hearing to attempting to explain Trump’s scheme to pressure Pence—which unfolded in a series of inflammatory Presidential tweets, angry phone calls, and bizarre White House meetings that were a mix of constitutional-law seminars and live reënactments of “The Godfather.” The committee introduced a new villain to a national television audience: John Eastman, the former law professor who concocted the absurd legal theory that Pence could unilaterally overturn the election—a concocted counterpart to what U.S. District Judge David Carter recently skewered as “a coup in search of a legal theory.”
Meanwhile, Pence is making plans to run for President in 2024. This is from The Wall Street Journal: “Mike Pence Plots 2024 Bid as Jan. 6 Hearings Remind Voters of His Break From Trump. Former vice president has been campaigning for GOP candidates, including high-profile Trump critics, and plans to make economic speech Monday.”
As the House committee investigating the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol focused almost entirely Thursday on the role Mike Pence played in averting a constitutional crisis, the former vice president was far from Washington.
Rather than watch the hearing, Mr. Pence was in Ohio, campaigning for Gov. Mike DeWine and a Republican congressman—the latest step in a carefully managed re-emergence onto the national political scene as he appears to lay the groundwork for a 2024 presidential campaign.
“Ultimately, I believe that most Americans understand that we did our duty that day under the Constitution and the laws of this country,” Mr. Pence said in an interview of his actions on Jan. 6, when he rebuffed pressure from then-President Donald Trump to reject electoral votes for Joe Biden.
It was the most visible break Mr. Pence displayed after four years of loyalty to Mr. Trump. Committee members said the president’s resulting actions helped trigger an attack that included calls for the vice president’s hanging.
Mr. Pence, nonetheless, indicated he isn’t interested in relitigating the 2020 election as Mr. Trump has since he lost, to the frustration of some GOP leaders.
“Everywhere I go across the country, I can tell you, the American people are hurting,” he said Thursday. “Inflation is at a 40-year high, $5-a-gallon gas and higher, the crisis at our border that I saw firsthand on Monday. A crime wave impacting our cities. It’s one of the reasons I’m so determined to be out supporting candidates for the House, the Senate and governors.”
Mr. Pence’s travels illustrate the challenge he would face in another election as he grapples with the legacy of the Trump administration. Some analysts and Republican strategists question whether he could pull it off.
“The Trump base in many states is very firm and very loyal,” said Pennsylvania pollster Terry Madonna. “That’s Pence’s problem. He has to find a way to move some of those people over to him and campaign without alienating that base.”
I cannot believe that people are laying the groundwork for the 2024 presidential election already. Especially, Mike Pence and especially in the middle of these hearings. More information is coming from The Washington Post on the connections between the Thomases and John Eastman. “John Eastman says Ginni Thomas invited him to speak on ‘election litigation’.”
John Eastman, the lawyer who played a key role in efforts to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, confirmed Thursday that the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invited him a month after the election to speak at a meeting she was helping to organize.
Eastman’s disclosure came a day after The Washington Post reported that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol had obtained email correspondence between him and Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a conservative activist and staunch supporter of former president Donald Trump. Individuals involved in the investigation said the emails — which have not been made public — showed that Thomas’s efforts to help overturn the election were more extensive than previously known, The Post reported.
On Thursday afternoon, during a hearing largely devoted to outlining Eastman’s role in what the committee described as a scheme to steal the presidency, he posted online a copy of an email that he said Thomas sent him on Dec. 4, 2020. The email showed Thomas inviting him to speak on Dec. 8 to Frontliners, which she described as “a group of grassroots state leaders.”
In an accompanying statement posted to Substack, the online newsletter site, Eastman sought to downplay the significance of the invitation, saying Thomas had asked him to give an “update about election litigation to a group she met with periodically.”He wrote that he did not discuss with Thomas or her husband “any matters pending or likely to come before the court.”
I’ll just let my buddy John have a word on this.
All of the witness-to-date –except for those in the Capitol Police–have been Republican officials or lawyers that are have basically had it with The Big Lie. John Eastman continues to dither and take his 5th Amendment rights in response to questioning. From what I could tell from the testimony of others, he knew it was wrong but just couldn’t abandon Trump’s machinations. Pence never went public with his plans until the day of the insurrection which makes him complicit up to that point in my eyes. They are all weasels.
The Russians are still pounding the eastern part of Ukraine although there is some good news on some fronts. The EU membership is likely to happen.
Here is what Ursula von der Leyen said as she officially gave candidacy status to Ukraine.
The European Commission has backed Ukraine’s bid to be given candidacy status to join the EU – bringing it one step closer to joining the bloc.
“Good work has been done” by Ukraine, but more is needed, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Ukraine must make “important” reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption, she added.
Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU, however the whole process can take many years.
The recommendation from the European Commission still needs to be signed off by the EU’s 27 member states, who meet to discuss it next week. The French, German and Italian leaders have already backed Ukraine’s bid, but the decision must be unanimous.
Speaking from Brussels and wearing blue and yellow – the colours of Ukraine – Ms Von der Leyen said Ukrainians are “ready to die” for the European perspective.
“We want them to live with us in the European dream,” she said, adding that Ukraine had shown its “aspiration and determination to live up to European values and standards.”
The Washington Post continues its live updates on the conflict if you’re interested in the meeting with EU leaders or any other details of the war.
The best news of the week is that my almost 1-year-old granddaughters can now get either Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. Everyone with small children in their family should be quite happy about this. Our littlest citizens will now be protected. This is from CBS News. “FDA authorizes COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 years old”.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old on Friday, clearing a key hurdle in expanding eligibility for the shots to 20 million babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must still sign off before kids under age 5 can start getting vaccinated, which could happen within days.
“Those trusted with the care of children can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and can be assured that the agency was thorough in its evaluation of the data,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said in a statement announcing the move.
The FDA’s decision comes after meeting Wednesday of the regulator’s outside advisers, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, which weighed submissions from Moderna as well as Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.out of a daylong
A panel of the CDC’s own advisers, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is scheduled to vote on Saturday. Once the CDC director formally greenlights vaccinations following the meeting, federal officials have said they expect many kids can start getting shots as soon as Tuesday, June 21.
Federal officials say most jurisdictions —— have pre-ordered doses out of the 10 million total shots that ; 2.5 million orders were received for Pfizer’s shots and 1.3 million for Moderna’s.
Providers in the initial wave have ordered only one of the brands in some jurisdictions, though the Biden administration hopes that will even out as supply climbs around the country over future rounds of shipments.
The FDA also moved Friday to authorize Moderna’s vaccine for children 6 through 17 years old, after the company’s request to vaccinate these children had been stalled for months over concerns it might pose a larger risk of heart inflammation side effects in adolescents.
So, that’s a little this and that for the week! I hope you can add some more interesting things! I’m trying to escape the heat today. We may hit 100 today.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?