Good morning. Starting of with this nugget of news:
Now for the cartoons:
Also, check this out:
This is an open thread.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
There’s some good news from the Insurrection Investigation and some bad news on the Biden Domestic Plan. Let’s start with the good news. Then, I’ll drag Manchin’s ass to the virtual woodshed.
Let me just start out with one fact. The Secret Service is a mess; maybe Major had a reason for biting some of them. We’ve discovered they deleted texts when the Inspector General of Homeland Security told them not to do so. We’re also finding out they are trying to cover up the Trump Temper Tantrum in his motorcade when the Toddler-in-chief wanted to lead his ugly band of traitors to the Capitol on January 6th. This is from CNN: “First on CNN: DC police officer in Trump Jan. 6 motorcade corroborates details of heated Secret Service exchange to committee.”
A Washington, DC, police officer has corroborated to the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, details regarding a heated exchange former President Donald Trump had with his Secret Service detail when he was told he could not go to the US Capitol after his rally, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.
The officer with the Metropolitan Police Department was in the motorcade with the Secret Service for Trump on January 6 and recounted what was seen to committee investigators, according to the source.
A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment. A spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately respond to comment.
The description of the angry exchange between Trump and his Secret Service detail was a striking moment during the June testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Hutchinson said that she heard a secondhand account told to her by then-White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato that Trump was so enraged at his Secret Service detail for blocking him from going to the Capitol on the day of the insurrection that “he reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel” and “then used his free hand to lunge towards” his Secret Service lead agent Robert Engel. Hutchinson testified that Ornato told her the story in front of Engel and he did not dispute the account.
Neither of the agents named in the testimony have commented publicly on Hutchinson’s testimony. But soon after it, a Secret Service official who would only speak on background, said Engel would deny parts of the story regarding Trump grabbing at the steering wheel and lunging toward an agent on his detail. The agency has said the agents involved would testify to that effect, though they have not yet gone back to the committee to testify.
The committee is also engaging with the driver who was in the presidential SUV regarding possible testimony, the source said. A lawyer for the driver did not respond to a request for comment.
Trump is basically unsuited to be an adult, let alone an officeholder. Let me give you some information on those deleted text messages since I brought up the subject. This is from The Washington Post: “Secret Service erased texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, official says.”
A government watchdog accused the U.S. Secret Service of erasing texts from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, after his office requested them as part of an inquiry into the U.S. Capitol attack, according to a letter sent to lawmakers this week.
Joseph V. Cuffari, head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, wrote to the leaders of the House and Senate Homeland Security committees indicating that the text messages have vanished and that efforts to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, attack were being hindered.
“The Department notified us that many U.S. Secret Service (USSS) text messages, from January 5 and 6, 2021 were erased as part of a device-replacement program,” he wrote in a letter dated Wednesday and obtained by The Washington Post. The letter was earlier reported on by the Intercept and CNN.
Cuffari emphasized that the erasures came “after” the Office of Inspector General requested copies of the text messages for its own investigation, and signaled that they were part of a pattern of DHS resistance to his inquiries. Staff members are required by law to surrender records so that he can audit the sprawling national security agency, but he said they have “repeatedly” refused to provide them until an attorney reviews them.
“This review led to weeks-long delays in OIG obtaining records and created confusion over whether all records had been produced,” he wrote, and offered to brief the House and Senate committees on the “access issues.”
Writing for Axios, Andrew Solender believes the “Jan. 6 panel aims to “reconstruct” deleted Secret Service texts.”
“It’s concerning, obviously. If there’s a way we can reconstruct the texts or what have you, we will,” Thompson, who also chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told Axios at the Capitol on Thursday.
Thompson said the inspector general “was not clear as to how” the texts were deleted, adding that the committee “asked them some time ago to look at it.”
Asked if the committee would bring in Secret Service agents to try to reconstruct the texts, he said, “I think it’s important for us to get as much information about how this discrepancy occurred.”
Thompson said the Jan. 6 panel has not yet interviewed Ornato and Robert Engel, another agent mentioned in Hutchinson’s testimony, but said, “We’ve been talking to them.”
So, Senator Joe Manchin did it again. He basically stopped the Biden Domestic plan from become anything more than a few healthcare items. He tanked the climate change agenda.
From The New York Times article in the above tweet: “How One Senator Doomed the Democrats’ Climate Plan. Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia led his party and his president through months of tortured talks, with nothing to show for it as the planet dangerously heats up.”
First, he killed a plan that would have forced power plants to clean up their climate-warming pollution. Then, he shattered an effort to help consumers pay for electric vehicles. And, finally, he said he could not support government incentives for solar and wind companies or any of the other provisions that the rest of his party and his president say are vital to ensure a livable planet.
Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, who took more campaign cash from the oil and gas industry than any other senator, and who became a millionaire from his family coal business, independently blew up the Democratic Party’s legislative plans to fight climate change. The swing Democratic vote in an evenly divided Senate, Mr. Manchin led his party through months of tortured negotiations that collapsed on Thursday night, a yearlong wild goose chase that produced nothing as the Earth warms to dangerous levels.
“It seems odd that Manchin would choose as his legacy to be the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity,” said John Podesta, a former senior counselor to President Barack Obama and founder of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.
Privately, Senate Democratic staff members seethed and sobbed on Thursday night, after more than a year of working nights and weekends to scale back, water down, trim and tailor the climate legislation to Mr. Manchin’s exact specifications, only to have it rejected inches from the finish line.
“Rage keeps me from tears,” Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and a longtime advocate for climate legislation, wrote on Twitter late Thursday.
We have to pick up more seats in the Senate this fall to make this jerk irrelevant. We have this piece from Ronald Brownstein from The Atlantic: “Mother Nature Dissents. From Texas to California, voters are enduring rude wake-up calls about the future of our country.”
Mother nature is entering a dissenting opinion on last month’s Supreme Court decision that weakened the federal government’s ability to combat climate change.
With record heat in Texas that is testing the state’s power grid, a California wildfire that has threatened an ancient grove of sequoias considered a foundation stone of the national-park system, and persistent drought across the West that is forcing unprecedented cutbacks in water deliveries from the Colorado River, the summer of 2022 already is shaping up as another season of extreme and dangerous environmental conditions.
The paradox is that precisely as these events are dramatizing the rising costs of inaction on climate change, Washington faces more difficulty in taking action. That’s not only because of the Supreme Court but also because of the resistance to sweeping legislation in the Senate from every Republican as well as Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who represents one of the top coal-producing states, West Virginia. Adding to the strain: The states most integrated into the existing fossil-fuel economy—almost all of them controlled by Republicans—are escalating their efforts to block action on climate change from the federal government and even the private sector.
In all of these ways, both the magnitude of the threat and the difficulty of responding to it are simultaneously rising—a trend that climate scientists find equally frustrating and frightening.
“In a world where facts are no longer the currency, it actually is very hard to make arguments in favor of doing what seems very logical,” Kathy Jacobs, the director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona, told me. “People are questioning really fundamental scientific principles and/or just choosing to ignore them. This post-fact world we are operating in makes dealing with this problem much more difficult.”
This is from NBC News: “Manchin balks at climate and tax pieces of Biden agenda bill but backs health care provisions. Manchin’s position leaves Democratic leaders with a grueling choice: They can either drop the package or pass the provisions he supports.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and his staff told Democratic leadership on Thursday that he’s not willing to support major climate and tax provisions in a sweeping Biden agenda bill, according to a Democrat briefed on the conversations.
Instead, Manchin, a key centrist who holds the swing vote in the 50-50 Senate, said he is willing to back only a filibuster-proof economic bill with drug pricing and a two-year extension of funding under the Affordable Care Act, the source said.
Manchin’s move upends lengthy negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., most likely forcing the party to scrap climate change policies and new taxes and delivering a major blow to some of President Joe Biden’s priorities heading into an already challenging midterm election landscape for Democrats this fall.
Manchin “was explicit that he will not support a bill in August” with energy or climate provisions or one “closing tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest” and large corporations, “despite his support for those specific things throughout the entire negotiation,” said the Democrat briefed about the discussions.
Democrats hope to pass a bill before September to prevent major insurance premium hikes under the Affordable Care Act, which could be difficult to avert if they don’t act quickly.
“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1%,” Manchin spokesperson Sam Runyon told NBC News in a statement. “Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”
A Democratic aide familiar with the talks said Manchin conveyed to Democratic leadership that he could support a package that includes climate and tax provisions as long as they’re paid for — or that he would just want a bill on prescription drugs and ACA money.
I’m not sure how to precisely describe the behavior of the Senator. His actions make him appear quite selfish and power-hungry.
Okay, one more piece of good breaking news then I turn our conversation over to you! “Exclusive: Fulton County DA sends ‘target’ letters to Trump allies in Georgia investigation” as reported by Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman.
In the latest sign that she is moving rapidly in her investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has sent so-called “target” letters to prominent Georgia Republicans informing them they could be indicted for their role in a scheme to appoint alternate electors pledged to the former president despite Joe Biden’s victory in the state, according to legal sources familiar with the matter.
The move by Willis, a Democrat, threatens to have major political implications in a crucial battleground state with high-profile races for governor and the U.S. Senate this fall. Among the recipients of the target letters, the sources said, are GOP state Sen. Burt Jones, Gov. Brian Kemp’s running mate for lieutenant governor, David Shafer, the chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and state Sen. Brandon Beach.
Jones and Shafer were among those who participate in a closed-door meeting at the state Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, in which 16 Georgia Republicans selected themselves as the electors for the state, although they had no legal basis for doing so. Shafer, according to a source who was present, presided over the meeting, conducting it as though it was an official proceeding, in which those present voted themselves as the bona fide electors in Georgia — and then signed their names to a declaration to that effect that was sent to the National Archives.
The offices or spokespersons for Jones, Shafer and Beach did not respond to requests for comment. Willis, in an interview, declined any comment on the target letters. But she confirmed she is considering another potentially controversial move: requesting that Trump himself testify under oath to the special grand jury that is investigating his conduct.
“Yes,” said Willis when asked if there was any chance Trump will be called to testify. “I think it’s something that we’re still weighing and evaluating.” She also said she had spoken to Dwight Thomas, a veteran local defense lawyer who has been retained to represent Trump, as recently as Thursday. She declined to say what they talked about. Thomas did not respond to requests for comment.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
And can you believe this?
Cartoons via Cagle:
Some disturbing videos out of Yellowstone:
Meanwhile in Mexico City:
This kid has the moves:
And just an update…my daughter Bebe has a new kitten, she picks her up later tonight. It is a little 11week old female.
So have a good day, try to keep cool.
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It’s going to be an interesting week as we start the January 6 committee’s public hearings on the insurrection on Thursday evening. The times are listed in EDT to the left of the headline. NBC asks the big questions: “The Jan. 6 committee begins hearings with a big challenge: Capture public attention. Whether the public hearings will be considered a success for Democrats largely depends on what comes after and whether legislation or prosecutions follow.”
Seldom has a set of congressional hearings opened amid so much anticipation and, at the same time, so little guarantee of success.
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitolwill hold the first of at least a half-dozen public hearings this week, having already promised stunning revelations that would lay bare just how dangerously close the U.S. came to losing its democracy.
“It’s all about democratic resiliency. Can we fortify our institutions and our people against insurrection, coups and violence?” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a committee member, told NBC News. “I hope we will be able to spur the country to make the necessary reforms to solidify democracy.”
Thursday is when the suspense lifts and the nine-member committee gets to tell all.
But what will success look like? The question has weighed on committee members and congressional Democrats who have invited the panel to present both a definitive accounting of the riot and tangible solutions to prevent another.
What comes later is likely to determine whether the committee’s work is judged a success or a failure, according to interviews with more than 20 committee members, other lawmakers, witnesses, congressional aides and political strategists.
As the panel sees it, the hearings can’t just come and go. Members are looking for accountability. The committee isn’t a law enforcement body, so it can’t prosecute anyone. Yet if members lay out a compelling story about the far-flung effort to deny Joe Biden his rightful victory, it could pressure the Justice Department to ramp up its own inquiry.
“I am really very hopeful that what [the committee] will produce will be a road map — not just for Congress, but for the Department of Justice and for the American people who want to preserve our democracy,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, who was trapped in the gallery of the House chamber during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, said in an interview.
If you’ve been on Twitter at all this morning, you’ll notice that the cult that controlled Amy Coney Barrett is in the news. This is from The Guardian. Why do almost all of these religious cult stories come with sordid tales of child abuse and perversion? “Legal claims shed light on founder of faith group tied to Amy Coney Barrett. Examination of People of Praise comes as supreme court seems poised to reverse Roe v Wade.” Little Miss Amy’s job was to control the women.
The founder of the People of Praise, a secretive charismatic Christian group that counts supreme court justice Amy Coney Barrett as a member, was described in a sworn affidavit filed in the 1990s as exerting almost total control over one of the group’s female members, including making all decisions about her finances and dating relationships.
The court documents also described alleged instances of a sexualized atmosphere in the home of the founder, Kevin Ranaghan, and his wife, Dorothy Ranaghan.
The description of the Ranaghans and accusations involving their intimate behavior were contained in a 1993 proceeding in which a woman, Cynthia Carnick, said that she did not want her five minor children to have visitations with their father, John Roger Carnick, who was then a member of the People of Praise, in the Ranaghan household or in their presence, because she believed it was not in her children’s “best interest”. Cynthia Carnick also described inappropriate incidents involving the couple and the Ranaghan children. The matter was eventually settled between the parties.
Barrett, 50, lived with Dorothy and Kevin Ranaghan in their nine-bedroom South Bend, Indiana, home while she attended law school, according to public records. The justice – who was then known as Amy Coney – graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1997 and two years later married her husband, Jesse Barrett, who also appears to have lived in the Ranaghan household. There is no indication that Amy Coney Barrett lived in the house at the time when the Carnick children were visiting or witnessed any of the alleged behavior described in the court documents.
The examination of the People of Praise’s history and attitude towards women comes as a majority of the supreme court – including Barrett – appear poised to reverse Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal across the US.
Cynthia Carnick stated in the documents that she had witnessed Dorothy Ranaghan tie the arms and legs of two of the Ranaghans’ daughters – who were three and five at the time the incidents were allegedly witnessed – to their crib with a necktie. She also said that the Ranaghans allegedly practiced “sexual displays” in front of their children and other adults, such as Dorothy Ranaghan lying with her clothes on and “rocking” on top of Kevin Ranaghan in their TV room.
Cynthia Carnick – who no longer uses Carnick as her last name – declined to comment but said that she stood by the statement she made at the time.
This is horrifying. We have too many sick, sick individuals on the Supreme Court right now appointed by Republicans appeasing these types of cults. One piece of good news on the SCOTUS front did come out today. This is from USA Today. “Supreme Court declines appeal over law licenses from St. Louis couple who waved guns at protest. Mark and Patricia McCloskey drew national attention for walking onto their front yard with guns during a 2020 protest of the police killing of George Floyd.”
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from a St. Louis couple potentially facing indefinite suspension of their law licenses after they waved guns at a racial justice protest outside their home in 2020.
Mark McCloskey, a personal injury attorney and Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, and his wife Patricia McCloskey drew national attention for walking onto their front yard with guns during a protest of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The protesters were walking to the home of the St. Louis mayor at the time.
Mark McCloskey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment. Missouri Gov. Michael Parson pardoned the McCloskeys in 2021 but the state office responsible for investigating allegations of misconduct by lawyers sought to suspend their law licenses.
Rebecca Traister has a long piece up at The Cut on Senator DiFi. “The Institutionalist Dianne Feinstein fought for gun control, civil rights, and abortion access for half a century. Where did it all go wrong?”
Feinstein is now both the definition of the American political Establishment and the personification of the inroads women have made over the past 50 years. Her career, launched in a moment of optimism about what women leaders could do for this country, offers a study in what the Democratic Party’s has not been able to do. As Feinstein consolidated her power at the top of the Senate, the party’s losses steadily mounted. It has lost control of the Supreme Court; it is likely about to lose control of Congress. Children are being gunned down by the assault weapons Feinstein has fought to ban, while the Senate — a legislative body she reveres — can only stand by idly, ultimately complicit. States around the nation are banning books about racism as Black people are being shot and killed in supermarkets. Having gutted the Voting Rights Act, conservatives are leveraging every form of voter suppression they can, while the Senate cannot pass a bill to protect the franchise. The expected overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer will mark a profound step backward, a signal that other rights won during Feinstein’s adulthood, including marriage equality and full access to contraception, are just as vulnerable.
As the storied career of one of the nation’s longest-serving Democrats approaches its end, it’s easy to wonder how the generation whose entry into politics was enabled by progressive reforms has allowed those victories to be taken away. And how a woman who began her career with the support of conservationist communities in San Francisco, and who staked her political identity on advancing women’s rights, is now best known to young people as the senator who scolded environmental-activist kids in her office in 2019 and embraced Lindsey Graham after the 2020 confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett, a Supreme Court justice who appears to be the fifth and final vote to end the constitutional right to an abortion. As Feinstein told Graham, “This is one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in.”
For many from a younger and more pugilistic left bucking with angry exasperation at the unwillingness of Feinstein’s generation to make room for new tactics and leadership before everything is lost, the senator is more than simply representative of a failed political generation — she is herself the problem. After she expressed her unwillingness to consider filibuster reform last year, noting that “if democracy were in jeopardy, I would want to protect it, but I don’t see it being in jeopardy right now,” The Nation ran a piece headlined “Dianne Feinstein Is an Embarrassment.”
Feinstein, who turns 89 in June, is older than any other sitting member of Congress. Her declining cognitive health has been the subject of recent reporting in both her hometown San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times. It seems clear that Feinstein is mentally compromised, even if she’s not all gone. “It’s definitely happening,” said one person who works in California politics. “And it’s definitely not happening all the time.”
Reached by phone two days after 19 children were murdered in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in late May, Feinstein spoke in halting tones, sometimes trailing off mid-sentence or offering a non sequitur before suddenly alighting upon the right string of words. She would forget a recently posed question, or the date of a certain piece of legislation, but recall with perfect lucidity events from San Francisco in the 1960s. Nothing she said suggested a deterioration beyond what would be normal for a person her age, but neither did it demonstrate any urgent engagement with the various crises facing the nation.
“Oh, we’ll get it done, trust me,” she assured me in reference to meaningful gun reform. Every question I asked — about the radicalization of the GOP, the end of Roe, the failures of Congress — was met with a similar sunny imperviousness, evincing an undiminished belief in institutional power that may in fact explain a lot about where Feinstein and other Democratic leaders have gone wrong. “Some things take longer than others, and you can only do what you can do at a given time,” she said. “That doesn’t mean you can’t do it at another time. And so one of the things that you develop is a certain kind of memory for progress: when you can do something in terms of legislation and have a chance of getting it through, and when the odds are against it, meaning the votes and that kind of thing. So I’m very optimistic about the future of our country.”
It’s a long read but well worth it if you remember the year of the woman that brought a few more women senators to the District. There are also two features on some of the worst of the worst Republicans if you want to check them out. Steve Bannon is the Focus of “American Rasputin” at The Atlantic. Blind justice is still chasing that one. Hot Air follows the latest Elon Musk Drama with the headline “BREAKING: Musk threatens to dump deal in letter to Twitter, SEC.” The last one doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s from The Bulwark. “The Long History of Glenn Greenwald’s Kissing Up to the Kremlin. In his world, it seems America can do nothing right and Vladimir Putin can do nothing wrong.” I really don’t want to quote them but you may want to skim them and see if anything interests you. I’ll give you a taste of Cathy Young’s piece on Greenwald.
But Greenwald has been baffling and disappointing legions of his progressive admirers for years with his cozy relationship with the MAGA right. And a look at his career shows that his pro-Kremlin affinity goes way back—as part of a more general tendency to sympathize with foes of the U.S.-led “neoliberal” (or “neoconservative”) international order.
A CBS poll shows how out of step a lot of Republicans are with the rest of the county. “In a new @CBSNewsPoll , 72% of the nation believes mass shootings are preventable, however, there is a partisan split with 44% of Republicans saying mass shootings are something we have to accept.” That’s like basically saying we can’t cure all cancers so just give up on it. Or maybe, what you have is cancer, so we’ll just inject more cancer in there.
I just really have trouble understanding this viewpoint. It seems so irrational.
This weekend saw 7 mass shootings. This is from Axios. “At least 54 injured, 11 killed in 7 separate mass shootings this weekend.” These shootings show the disturbing trend of increasingly younger shooters. Most of these were due to young men solving their personal issues with guns,
The big picture: Most of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. since 2018 were committed by men who were 21 or younger.
- Between the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, committed by a 20-year-old, and late 2017, killers were between the ages of 26 and 64. All of them were men.
- When looking at school shootings specifically, killers tend to be younger, PolitiFact reports.
- Nearly half of homicides in 2020 were committed by people 29 and under, according to the most recent FBI data on the matter.
- Wednesday’s shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was committed by a man in his 40s who was targeting a doctor he blamed for his back pain.
The problem seems to be getting worse. Per the New York Times, only two of the deadliest mass shootings from 1949 to 2017 were committed by gunmen under 21. The two were the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
“We see two clusters when it comes to mass shooters, people in their 40s who commit workplace type shootings, and a very big cluster of young people — 18, 19, 20, 21 — who seem to get caught up in the social contagion of killing,” Jillian Peterson, a criminal justice professor who helped found the Violence Project, told the New York Times.
State of play: Under federal law, a person has to be 18 or older to buy a shotgun or a rifle, though some states have a higher limit of 21. Additionally, there is no law preventing teens or even kids from being given a rifle as a gift.
Something could be done to lessen the ability of the under 21 crowd to access guns.
So I hope my sweet fluffy kitten brightens your day even if the situation in our country is dire. Even local Republicans are bracing for the impact of Trump on their next round of primaries. This is from Natasha Korecki at NBC News. “Republicans brace for next round of Trump primary chaos. State party officials and other members of the GOP in Nevada, Wisconsin and Missouri say they’re concerned about coming contests and the effects of Trump’s 2020 fixation.”
“I wish Trump would sit down and keep quiet. I think the country’s had enough of him,” said Perry DiLoreto, a prominent Nevada businessman and longtime GOP donor who backed Trump in 2016 and 2020.
In the state’s upcoming GOP primary for Senate, he ignored Trump’s endorsement of former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt and instead supported retired Army Capt. Sam Brown.
“Donald Trump was a great example of somebody that had some good ideas and had good common sense. But to move any of those ideas forward, you have to know how to have civil dialogue with people,” DiLoreto said.
Republicans in states like Nevada, Missouri and Wisconsin are airing their frustrations as they brace for primaries that could play a heavy hand in the fate of governor races or ultimately Senate control in November. Republicans in these states say they are increasingly turned off by Trump’s fixation on the unfounded contention that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, particularly since changes in voting laws have already played out in many states.
Their grumbling comes on the heels of a blowout loss of Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate David Perdue in Georgia — he lost by 50 points – only for Trump to push voter fraud conspiracy claims afterward. And it comes after the messy results in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, where Mehmet Oz and David McCormick went into overtime amid the narrowest of Oz leads. This again had Trump, who endorsed Oz, crying foul over ballot counting. (McCormick conceded on Friday.) Trump also backed far-right state Sen. Doug Mastriano in the governor’s contest, who went on to win, prompting an eruption within the state’s GOP that now fears it could lose a once competitive governor’s mansion in the fall.
The seesaw of emotions Republicans are expressing comes as more of the party rank and file members — who still adoringly back Trump and his politics — show signs that they’re open to new faces in the party to run for president in 2024.
I think expecting Orange Caligula to sit down and be quiet is a tall order. Hope springs eternal they say!
Anyway, enough for me today! What’s on your reading and blogging list?
And the sourdough boule is done!!!
Good Day Sky Dancers!
It should be an interesting June as we head towards public, televised hearings on the January 6th investigation and begin to see mentions of big fish testimony and big fish criminal indictments.
Let’s start with this from Just Security: “Primer on the Hearings of the January 6th Select Committee.” It’s been almost a year since they convened. They’ve been busy.
Nearly 11 months into its inquiry, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol already represents among the most complex and sprawling investigations in congressional history. In light of the volume and complexity of information, this resource is intended to organize and distill key prongs of the multifaceted campaign to overturn the 2020 election. Particularly in advance of this month’s public hearings, it also highlights key facts and findings that are already known, as well as important unanswered questions.
The resource is structured around the key prongs of the investigation itself — how the Select Committee has organized its investigative work — which mirror the key prongs of the campaign to overturn the election. The Committee’s investigative teams are color-coded in name (Gold, Blue, Purple, Red, and Green); this primer has in turn highlighted key facts and findings according to that same organizational structure.
Critically, “January 6th” has, like “Watergate,” become a useful shorthand. But as with Watergate, January 6th represents neither a single nor isolated event, but instead a much broader and more multifaceted effort to stop the transfer of power. We hope this resource is useful in distilling those components and what we critically know — and don’t yet know — about each. This resource was produced as a collaboration between Just Security and Protect Democracy.
The Primer is available in Scribd format below and also as a PDF.
It is worth downloading and reviewing this to get a sense of what each team has to date. The first page dedicated to the gold team’s findings is a really good reminder of what we know at the topmost levels. I can’t reproduce any of it here but the PDF is free to view and download. I intend to keep it handy as the hearings progress.
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released an official notice that it will hold the first hearing on what it has found so far about the deadly siege on Thursday, June 9 in prime time at 8 p.m. ET.
In the notice made late on Thursday, the panel also said witnesses for the hearing would be announced next week.
At the hearing, the panel will “present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, preview additional hearings, and provide the American people a summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power,” it said.
This will be the first public hearing held by the committee in nearly a year. During the last hearing, in July, four police officers gave graphic accounts of the physical and verbal assaults they endured while protecting the Capitol and the lawmakers who had gathered on Jan. 6, 2021, to count and certify states’ electoral votes from the 2020 election. Over 100 law enforcement officers were injured and several people died after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol to overturn the election results.
From Charlotte Klein at Vanity Fair: “CAN THE JAN. 6 COMMITTEE BREAKTHROUGH IN PRIME TIME?
Some panel members have hyped the upcoming public hearings as a Watergate-style moment, a chance to make their case in the court of public opinion. Yet one week out, the schedule—in Congress and on TV—is still being hashed out. ”
Ahead of the hearings, Axios on Wednesday revealed one “blockbuster” witness expected to testify: J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and lawyer who advised Vice President Mike Pence in the leadup to Jan. 6, as Donald Trump was pressuring Pence to use his traditionally ceremonial role as president of the Senate to overturn the 2020 election results. Luttig gave Pence the legal argument he used to defy Trump’s anti-democratic demand; the vice president quoted Luttig in a statement released moments before the joint session of Congress.
While official invitations to testify have not been sent to Luttig, according to Axios, the conservative legal scholar is “expected to describe his view of the stakes of Jan. 6 and his argument that American democracy is at a crossroads” before answering questions—including, presumably, ones about the constitutional defense he armed Pence with. Luttig referenced such legal technicalities in April while warning in a CNN Op-Ed that “the last presidential election was a dry run for the next” for Trump and Republicans, who “began readying their failed 2020 plan to overturn the 2024 presidential election” hours after the insurrection and “have been unabashedly readying that plan ever since, in plain view to the American public.” GOP efforts to elect election-denying candidates to state legislative offices in battleground states, as well as Trump supporters to Congress, are among Luttig’s examples.
The Luttig news comes as House committee members have promised fireworks at the public hearings, which, according to Rep. Jamie Raskin, “will tell a story that will really blow the roof off the House” and “will be compared to the Watergate hearings.” (Perhaps, but Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan wrote in her latest column why a Watergate moment is unlikely, thanks in part to the right-wing media ecosystem that didn’t exist in the Nixon era.) Back in January—when the select committee was discussing potential hearing formats, including holding them in prime time, to build a maximum audience for testimony—Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, told Bloomberg, “The public needs to know, needs to hear from people under oath about what led up to January 6, and to some degree, what has continued after January 6.” Since then, Thompson has said that some of the hearings spread throughout June will be a “mixture of some prime time and some regular,” but aside from a draft recently reported by the Guardian, the schedule remains unclear. (The Jan. 6 committee did not respond to a request for comment.
The January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol was the product of a months-long effort, led by former-President Donald Trump and enabled by members of Congress, state representatives, and political allies, to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. Since that deadly attack, the House of Representatives’ Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attacks on the United States Capitol has engaged in a deliberate and largely quiet effort to investigate the facts, circumstances, and causes that led to the attack. As the Committee prepares to hold its first public hearings beginning on June 9, CREW is proud to be one of the leading voices for accountability. Below we provide answers to some of the common questions about the Committee’s work, authority, and quest for accountability.
There are lots of questions with lots of answers. It’s a very good read.
So, I saw Peter Navarro chattering on Ari Melber at MSNBC last night and was terrifically surprised that he would repeat his performance of his last visit. He just cannot seem to keep his mouth shut. From the Daily Beast: “‘I Am Willing to Go to Jail for This’: Peter Navarro Dishes to Ari Melber After Suing Jan. 6 Committee.”
Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro on Thursday spoke at length to MSNBC host Ari Melber about a lawsuit he has filed against the Justice Department and the House Jan. 6 committee after the DOJ subpoenaed him for documents and testimony. Navarro has indicated he will refuse, saying the subpoena demanded “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
Navarro was found to be in contempt of Congress last month for ducking a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee, with the House referring him – as well as Trump’s social media handler Dan Scavino – to the Justice Department for potential prosecution. When the Jan. 6 committee voted to move along the contempt charge, Navarro abruptly bailed on a scheduled appearance that night on Melber’s show.
Thursday’s appearance was yet another edition of the pair sparring over Navarro’s role in the events of Jan. 6, his refusal to cooperate with Congress, and yet his willingness to write a book and talk with the press. (Navarro told The Daily Beast in December about the “Green Bay Sweep” plan that he and Steve Bannon ginned up to try to thwart the 2020 election results and keep Trump in power.)
“You’re waging this legal battle not to talk to the committee, not to talk potentially to DOJ, although as you said, TBD,” Melber said. “So you’re risking going potentially to jail not to talk to them, but you’re out here talking in public. You do realize these investigators can hear you when you talk on TV?”
“What we’re talking about now, Ari, is the case law itself and the constitutionality of executive privilege, testimony, immunity. A second key issue in the case is the separation of powers,” Navarro replied. “This kangaroo committee has clearly violated the separation of powers. They’re not supposed to act as judge, jury, and executioner. They’re only supposed to pursue a legislative function.”
Melber said he’d take Navarro’s premise seriously, and Navarro replied: “You should. This is why I’m fighting. This is why I’m willing to go to jail for this.”
The pair went back and forth for 20 minutes, with Navarro offering no shortage of blustery opinions about what he believes should be done to congressional Democrats and the Biden administration.
Melber quoted Navarro’s lawsuit: “‘If an incumbent can strip a predecessor of privilege…just imagine what will happen to Biden and his advisers if Republicans win in 2024.’” Melber continued, “Quote, ‘If I’m not dead or in prison, I will lead the charge.’ What are you threatening? And are you suggesting that you would be in a Republican White House? And what will you do?”
Navarro is former President Donald Trump’s second aide to be charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the Jan. 6, 2021, investigation, His arrest comes months after the indictment of former White House adviser Steve Bannon.
Navarro, 72, was charged with one contempt count for failing to appear for a deposition before the House committee. The second charge is for failing to produce documents the committee requested. He was taken into federal custody Friday morning and was expected to appear in federal court in Washington later in the afternoon.
The indictment underscores that the Justice Department is continuing to pursue criminal charges against Trump associates who have attempted to impede or stonewall the work of congressional investigators examining the most significant attack on U.S. democracy in decades.
Guess it’s not his day!
As you can see, the month has already started out blustery. It includes the first invest of the hurricane season. This is from Yale Climate Connections (and yes, I’m still being a nice little volunteer weather tracker for the NWS). “Disturbance 91L in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico likely to become the Atlantic’s first tropical cyclone of 2022. Hurricane Agatha’s remnants are invigorating the well-organized disturbance centered near the northeastern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.”
Though 91L has strong model support for development, wind shear is predicted to remain high this week, and any storm that does form in the Gulf would likely be incapable of rapid intensification. The odds of development appear to be greater after the system crosses over the Florida Peninsula and enters the waters off the Southeast U.S. coast on Sunday (Figure 1).
The track of 91L will bring it to the coast of southwestern Florida on Saturday; at the time of landfall, 91L is likely to be no stronger than a 60-mph tropical storm, with a weaker storm more likely. Heavy rains from 91L will be its main threat, with seven-day rainfall amounts of five-plus inches expected over portions of Mexico, Cuba, South Florida, and the western Bahamas by Thursday, June 9 (Figure 2). Because of dry air to the northwest of the system, a sharp cutoff point for the heavy rains is expected over central Florida.
So, get ready for a June to remember!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?