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Republicans claim to be patriots but they are not. Real patriots put country first not party; Republicans put party first not country, Republicans are not real patriots. The Republican Party is doing some very unpatriotic things and is willing to destroy our democracy using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts, whataboutism and Russian talking points to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. Welcome to GOP Watch keeping an eye on Republicans for you. The Republican Party is using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts and whataboutism to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. The GOP is a danger to America and Americans.

By Nicquel Terry Ellis

Atlanta (CNN) Voting rights groups led bus tours, knocked on 1 million doors and gave out food at community events to achieve an unprecedented Black voter turnout in Georgia. The organizations have been credited with helping Democrats win both the White House and control of the US Senate in the last election cycle. Their efforts, however, could be reversed by Republican-backed bills advancing in the Georgia Legislature that activists say are reminiscent of tactics used to prevent Black people from voting in the South during the Jim Crow era. "We know that their targets are Black voters," said Cliff Albright, co-founder of the Atlanta-based Black Voters Matter. "These (legislation) notes are dripping in the blood of Jim Crow." Black Voters Matter, the Georgia NAACP, the New Georgia Project and other civil rights groups are now in a battle to protect Black voting power, launching a campaign this week to stop the voter restrictions from moving forward. They are also demanding that Congress pass federal voting rights legislation that would roll back the state-level laws. more...

By Fredreka Schouten, CNN

(CNN) Georgia Republicans have advanced a sweeping bill in the state Senate that further restricts voting -- keeping a state that was pivotal to the 2020 elections at the forefront of the GOP backlash against expanded voting. The expansive package, which passed by a narrow margin Monday, would repeal no-excuse absentee voting for many Georgians -- a method 1.3 million of the state's residents used to cast ballots in last November's general election. The measure now moves to the Georgia House, which has passed its own slate of proposed voting restrictions. The developments in Georgia come amid a flurry of activity around the country by Republican-controlled legislatures to make it harder to vote after the GOP lost the presidency and the US Senate majority in the 2020 elections. On Monday, Iowa became one of the first states to enact new restrictions as the Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new law that makes it harder to vote early. But Monday's vote in the Peach State -- which came on the final day that the Senate could send its voting package to the state House for consideration -- also underscored fresh tensions building among Republicans over how much to restrict paths to the franchise. Republican grassroots activists mounted a weekend campaign to ensure the bill's passage. In the end, the measure survived by only a one-vote majority of the Senate's 56 senators, once abstentions were taken into account. And the No. 2 GOP official in Georgia, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, opted to boycott Monday's debate. more...

By Eric Bradner and Dianne Gallagher, CNN

(CNN) Months after former President Donald Trump and his allies in Congress attempted to overturn Arizona's election results, Republicans in the state's legislature are trying to make it harder for some residents to vote, targeting different elements of the system with almost two dozen separate measures. A handful of the bills -- including two that would impose new restrictions on Arizona's popular vote-by-mail system and one that would limit its narrow voting window -- have gained momentum and could pass. They are part of a push by Republican-controlled legislatures in several states to advocate for strict new voting laws in response to Trump's false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. There are more than 250 bills in circulation nationwide, according to the most recent tally by the Brennan Center, an unprecedented nationwide effort to roll back voter access. The list of states includes Georgia and Texas, two other states with increasingly diverse electorates where Democrats have made recent gains, and Iowa, where Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a new law that makes it harder to vote early. more...

By Dianne Gallagher, CNN

(CNN) A Florida Senate panel on Wednesday voted to advance a revamped election bill that would ban drop boxes used for mail-in ballots, among other changes, despite bipartisan opposition from local election supervisors. Committee Substitute Senate Bill 90, approved 4-2 along party lines, would also prohibit anyone other than an immediate family member from picking up a voter's ballot and would require vote-by-mail ballots to be requested each election cycle, rather than every two cycles. It increases the identification requirements to request a ballot by mail over the phone and prevents elections supervisors from sending ballots to voters without a request. The decision also comes as state lawmakers across the country, including in Georgia, are pushing legislation to change election procedures and limit voter access in the aftermath of the 2020 election. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last month announced voting proposals he wanted lawmakers to pass during the legislative session, including restricting access to ballot drop boxes and restricting mail-in ballots. more...

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN)Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday signed into law a controversial bill aimed at limiting voting and making it harder for voters to return absentee ballots, her office announced Monday. The legislation, which passed both Republican-controlled chambers of the state legislature last month, will reduce the number of early voting days from 29 days to 20 days. It will also close polling places an hour earlier on Election Day (at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.). The bill additionally places new restrictions on absentee voting including banning officials from sending applications without a voter first requesting one and requiring ballots be received by the county before polls close on Election Day.

"It's our duty and responsibility to protect the integrity of every election. This legislation strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa's election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, as well as a clear appeals process for local county auditors," Reynolds said in a statement Monday. "All of these additional steps promote more transparency and accountability, giving Iowans even greater confidence to cast their ballot." The new law drew immediate backlash from Democrats in the state, including a tweet from the Iowa Democratic party stating, "We deserve better." "Rather than help Iowans keep food on the table and a roof over their family's heads, @IAGovernor and Iowa Republicans chose instead to fast-track legislation that stacks the deck in their favor and disenfranchises Iowans," the tweet said. more...

Grace Dean

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Wednesday that he would sue the city of Austin after it said it would still enforce mask-wearing. Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate via executive order on Wednesday, making Texas the largest state to do so. He also lifted other COVID-19 safety protocols, such as capacity restrictions for bars and restaurants. On Tuesday, Austin-Travis County authorities announced that a local mask mandate would remain until April 15 to "avoid another surge of cases." The county has mandated face masks on business premises since July, and people can be fined if they don't comply. In Austin, people who are "outside of their residence" and people over the age of 6 who are on or in city property must wear masks. more...

A HuffPost investigation reveals many links, past and present, between the far-right extremist and the GOP establishment.
By Luke O’Brien

High above Constitution Avenue, on a rooftop terrace, “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander gazed down at the U.S. Capitol and the chaos he’d helped unleash. A mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters had just stormed the U.S. Capitol, forcing members of Congress to scramble for safety. White nationalists, QAnon cultists and Make America Great Again extremists roamed the halls hunting for politicians. Some carried zip-tie handcuffs. One wore a sweatshirt that read “Camp Auschwitz.”

“I don’t disavow this,” Alexander said, pointing to the scene below. The longtime Republican political operative had spent months working with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and far-right activists, such as Mike Cernovich, to organize nationwide protests aimed at invalidating Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win. Alexander knew plenty of influential Republicans, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who led an effort in the Senate to dispute the election results. He had connections to the Republican Attorneys General Association, which was also involved in promoting the rally-turned-riot. more...

By Nicquel Terry Ellis

Atlanta (CNN) Voting rights groups led bus tours, knocked on 1 million doors and gave out food at community events to achieve an unprecedented Black voter turnout in Georgia. The organizations have been credited with helping Democrats win both the White House and control of the US Senate in the last election cycle. Their efforts, however, could be reversed by Republican-backed bills advancing in the Georgia Legislature that activists say are reminiscent of tactics used to prevent Black people from voting in the South during the Jim Crow era. "We know that their targets are Black voters," said Cliff Albright, co-founder of the Atlanta-based Black Voters Matter. "These (legislation) notes are dripping in the blood of Jim Crow." Black Voters Matter, the Georgia NAACP, the New Georgia Project and other civil rights groups are now in a battle to protect Black voting power, launching a campaign this week to stop the voter restrictions from moving forward. more...

By Fredreka Schouten, Casey Tolan and Kelly Mena, CNN

(CNN) Black Georgians disproportionately cast their ballots on the weekend days that Republican lawmakers want to eliminate as options in future elections, according to a CNN analysis of voting data from last November's general election. A measure moving swiftly through the Georgia legislature would reduce the number of weekend days available for in-person early voting and ban casting ballots on the final Sunday of the early voting period. Voting rights activists say the move attacks the "Souls to the Polls" programs that help drive turnout among Black churchgoers, a key Democratic constituency. Only 26.9% of the voters who cast in-person early ballots in Georgia during the general election were Black, state voting records showed. But CNN's analysis shows Black voters made up 34.6% of the voters who cast early ballots on the three weekend voting days that could be eliminated under the proposal from Georgia lawmakers -- about 48,000 people, significantly more than President Joe Biden's victory over former President Donald Trump in the state. Biden won Georgia by just shy of 12,000 votes. more...

Tackling the most powerful social media accounts – such as Donald Trump’s – could be key to halting false narratives, researchers say
Kari Paul in San Francisco

A handful of rightwing “super-spreaders” on social media were responsible for the bulk of election misinformation in the run-up to the Capitol attack, according to a new study that also sheds light on the staggering reach of falsehoods pushed by Donald Trump. A report from the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), a group that includes Stanford and the University of Washington, analyzed social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok during several months before and after the 2020 elections. It found that “super-spreaders” – responsible for the most frequent and most impactful misinformation campaigns – included Trump and his two elder sons, as well as other members of the Trump administration and the rightwing media. The study’s authors and other researchers say the findings underscore the need to disable such accounts to stop the spread of misinformation. “If there is a limit to how much content moderators can tackle, have them focus on reducing harm by eliminating the most effective spreaders of misinformation,” said said Lisa Fazio, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who studies the psychology of fake news but was not involved EIP report. “Rather than trying to enforce the rules equally across all users, focus enforcement on the most powerful accounts.” more...

By Lauren Fox, CNN

Washington (CNN) Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren has quietly posted a nearly 2,000-page report documenting social media posts by her Republican colleagues who voted against certifying results of the presidential election on January 6. The information compiled isn't secret, but the report is another sign of the deep distrust that has settled into the US Capitol in the weeks since the insurrection. The report chronicles the social media activity of members on public forums immediately before the November election and right after the January 6 riot. The report has been online for a week. CNN reported earlier Thursday that federal investigators are examining records of communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol, as the investigation moves closer to exploring whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists. In a preamble to the report, Lofgren -- the chair of the House Administration Committee -- wrote that she had asked her staff to pull the relevant social media posts and compile them in an effort to gather facts. more...

*** Republicans are up to the old tricks once again obstruction not helping the American people but obstructing help for the American people and then will blame the democrats for not helping the American people. ***

Nicholas Wu USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., forced the Senate to begin reading all 628 pages of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID bill aloud on the Senate floor Thursday, further delaying a vote on the legislation Democrats hope to make law by next week. Johnson said his tactic was about “educating” the American public on what was in the $1.9 trillion package, which he has derided as full of provisions unrelated to COVID relief. The entire process could take at least 10 hours. He told reporters Thursday he felt badly for the Senate clerks who are going to “have to read it,” but it was “important” to delay the process and read the bill aloud because “so often we rush these massive bills” which few lawmakers have time to read. more...

*** Republicans are up to the old tricks once again obstruction not helping the American people but obstructing help for the American people and then will blame the democrats for not helping the American people. ***

The Alaska senator — as unique as her home state — has admitted she is torn over what to do.
By BURGESS EVERETT and MARIANNE LEVINE

Senate Republicans are leaning on Lisa Murkowski to reject President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, hoping they can get unanimous GOP opposition and prevent Democrats from claiming the bill is bipartisan. Most in the GOP think that the senator will ultimately side with them on the Covid measure. In particular, they expected Murkowski to vote no on the first procedural vote on the measure on Thursday — and she met those expectations. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said, both publicly and privately, that he wants a united GOP casting 50 "no" votes on the final product too. Murkowski said Thursday she was undecided on the final vote. more...

*** No matter how hard Republicans, Fox news and right wing media try to place the blame on Anifa the facts and the videos prove it was not Antifa but Trump supporters, white supremacist and Qanon that sacked the capitol of the Untied States of America. ***

The FBI has not seen "any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th," he said at a Senate hearing.
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday repeatedly shot down claims by Republican allies of former President Donald Trump and others that antifa activists participated in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. “We have not to date seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th," Wray said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing to address concerns about the intelligence leading up to the riot and the domestic terrorism threat more broadly. "That doesn't mean we're not looking, and we'll continue to look, but at the moment we have not seen that.”

Wray explained that those who participated in the breach of the Capitol fell into two main groups of violent extremists — those associated with militia groups, such as Oath Keepers, and those who advocate white supremacy. Wray's comments came after Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the committee, spent much of his opening remarks focused not on the right-wing extremists who attacked the Capitol in January, but on left-wing extremists, such as the anti-fascist, or antifa, movement. Grassley referred to how far-left protesters vandalized a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, in the summer and the state Democratic Party headquarters during President Joe Biden's inauguration. more...

*** How Republicans win elections by suppressing the votes of democrats. ***

By Mark Niesse, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The fight over voting restrictions will permeate the Georgia Capitol this week, with protests and votes on bills creating obstacles to absentee and early voting. The House planned to vote on an overhaul of Georgia’s election laws Monday, requiring ID for absentee voting, curbing ballot drop boxes and limiting weekend early voting hours. Proposals to end no-excuse absentee voting and automatic voter registration could also receive votes within days. Democrats vowed to try to stop the bills, but they’re outnumbered by majority Republicans pushing to change election rules after losing presidential and U.S. Senate races in Georgia. more...

On social media, on cable networks and even in the halls of Congress, supporters of Donald J. Trump tried to rewrite history in real time, pushing the fiction that left-wing agitators were to blame for the violence on Jan. 6.
By Michael M. Grynbaum, Davey Alba and Reid J. Epstein

At 1:51 p.m. on Jan. 6, a right-wing radio host named Michael D. Brown wrote on Twitter that rioters had breached the United States Capitol — and immediately speculated about who was really to blame. “Antifa or BLM or other insurgents could be doing it disguised as Trump supporters,” Mr. Brown wrote, using shorthand for Black Lives Matter. “Come on, man, have you never heard of psyops?” Only 13,000 people follow Mr. Brown on Twitter, but his tweet caught the attention of another conservative pundit: Todd Herman, who was guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh’s national radio program. Minutes later, he repeated Mr. Brown’s baseless claim to Mr. Limbaugh’s throngs of listeners: “It’s probably not Trump supporters who would do that. Antifa, BLM, that’s what they do. Right?” What happened over the next 12 hours illustrated the speed and the scale of a right-wing disinformation machine primed to seize on a lie that served its political interests and quickly spread it as truth to a receptive audience. The weekslong fiction about a stolen election that President Donald J. Trump pushed to his millions of supporters had set the stage for a new and equally false iteration: that left-wing agitators were responsible for the attack on the Capitol. more...

*** If you cannot win honestly rig the elections and cheat to win that is the republican way. ***

Steve Inskeep

Republican-led legislatures in dozens of states are moving to change election laws in ways that could make it harder to vote. Many proposals explicitly respond to the 2020 election: Lawmakers cite public concerns about election security — concerns generated by disinformation that then-President Donald Trump spread while trying to overturn the election.

The Brennan Center, a nonprofit that tracks voting laws, says that 43 states — including key swing states — are considering 253 bills that would raise barriers to voting, for example by reducing early voting days or limiting access to voting by mail. Lawmakers in a different set of 43 states have proposed expanding voter access, but Republicans have prioritized new security requirements and shorter voting periods.

In Georgia, which President Biden won by nearly 12,000 votes, legislators are considering multiple bills to restrict voting. The most significant, House Bill 531, is before a committee chaired by Republican Rep. Barry Fleming. He said Democrat Stacey Abrams campaigned to expand voter access after losing a governor's race in 2018, and now Republicans want their own changes. The bill is "an attempt to restore the confidence of our public," he said, because "there has been controversy regarding our election system." more...

*** No matter what Republicans and right wing media say it was not Antifa is was Trump supporters, white supremacist and Qanon who arrack the United States Capitol. ***

By Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) Nearly a dozen Trump supporters charged in connection with the US Capitol insurrection have said that Antifa and other left-wing groups weren't involved in the attack, debunking a false-flag conspiracy theory that is gaining popularity in the pro-Trump orbit. The baseless claim that left-wing infiltrators were responsible for the violent attack has been promoted by former President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers, several GOP lawmakers and at least one speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday morning. Many of the alleged rioters facing charges also embraced this conspiracy. But according to a CNN review of court documents, nearly a dozen defendants have explicitly pushed back, saying that they and other Trump supporters deserve the credit for storming the Capitol -- not Antifa. "There's a lot of memes and posts flying around saying that the people who were fighting last night were all Antifa provocateurs etc.," defendant Jose Padilla allegedly posted to Facebook one day after the January 6 attack. "I just want to say that as a first hand observer of every point of last night, that it was not Antifa. They were Patriots who were trying to Restore the Republic." more...

Mike Redmond

While today’s Republicans are predominantly Evangelical Christians, they clearly missed the part in The Bible about building false idols. In a move that truly captures the apocalyptic vibes of his presidency, Bloomberg’s William Turton captured footage of a golden statue of Donald Trump being wheeled around CPAC on Thursday, and people are having a blast dunking on the graven image. Shortly after the footage hit Twitter, “Golden Calf” started trending as religious leaders and others pointed out the awkward (and hypocritical) Biblical implications of turning Trump into a golden idol, which is a big no-no, according to Christian scripture. And, yet, that’s definitely a gilded Trump wearing American flag shorts. more...

By Nicole Lyn Pesce

Comments like ‘the GOP worship a golden crook’ spread across Twitter faster than you can say ‘Moses’. This is pure Twitter gold. The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, kicked off in Orlando, Fla., this week with someone wheeling in a golden statue of Donald Trump. And the inevitable comparisons to the Old Testament story of the Israelites worshiping a false idol in the form of a golden calf spread across social media faster than you can say “Moses.” In fact, “golden calf” and related terms like “Moses” and “CPAC” were soon trending on Friday morning. more...

This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference attendees “are living in an alternate reality in which facts don’t matter,” said former GOP Rep. Mickey Edwards.
By Lee Moran

A former chair of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday slammed what the event has now become, suggesting former President Ronald Reagan would not get elected by those in attendance at this year’s gathering. Mickey Edwards — who led the American Conservative Union, which organizes the event, for five years until 1983 — ripped Republicans attending this year’s CPAC in Orlando for their devotion to former President Donald Trump. In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Edwards likened the GOP to a cult whose members are living in an alternate reality. Edwards served as a GOP representative for Oklahoma for 16 years until 1993 but quit the GOP in January following the deadly U.S. Capitol riot. The violence was perpetrated by a violent mob of Trump supporters who’d been whipped up by the then-president’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him. more...

“The Daily Show” montage spots similarities in the rhetoric of Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference and the U.S. Capitol rioters.
By Lee Moran

A stinging supercut calls out Republican rhetoric at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” montage highlights how speakers — including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Donald Trump Jr. — used the same frenzied language in their addresses on Friday as the violent mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. video...

By Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck, CNN

(CNN) A close ally of Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took part in the January 6 mob at the Capitol and said he was among those who eventually made their way into the building. Greene, a freshman congresswoman with a history of promoting dangerous and violent conspiracies and comments, encouraged the big lie that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump by voting to object to the election certification and fanned the flames of the insurrection by telling her supporters to "fight for Trump." In tweets after the Capitol insurrection, Greene falsely suggested that those who had broken into the Capitol were not Republicans and instead falsely implied so-called "Antifa" dressed as Trump supporters were to blame.

In fact, Anthony Aguero, a conservative livestreamer, activist and associate of Greene, said on video following the January 6 assault on the Capitol that he had been among those who entered and attacked those who falsely claimed it was done by "Antifa." "We were all there. It was not Antifa and it was not BLM. It was Trump supporters that did that yesterday. I'm the first to admit it, being one myself," said Aguero in a video posted on January 7. "I walked amongst all those people," he added, later defending entering the Capitol. more...

Conservative activists and leaders are set to spend the weekend talking about unproven voter fraud weeks after stolen election lies fueled a deadly riot.
By Jane C. Timm

The nation's largest conference of conservative activists will prominently feature former President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud weeks after his stolen election lie fueled a riot that led to the deaths of five people. The agenda for the Conservative Political Action Conference, the influential right-wing summit best known as CPAC taking place in Florida this weekend, provides attendees multiple forums that appear to perpetuate conservative mythmaking around the 2020 election as well as ways to discuss the new wave of voting restrictions pushed by the Republican Party. The featured speaker is the former president himself on Sunday. The event includes seven speeches and panels about “protecting elections” over the long weekend, with 2020-specific themes like "Other Culprits: Why Judges & Media Refused to Look at the Evidence," and "The Left Pulled the Strings, Covered It Up, and Even Admits It." more...

*** Republican cannot win elections fairly so they are trying to rig elections so they can win. ***

By Fredreka Schouten and Kelly Mena, CNN

(CNN) Republican legislators around the country are moving aggressively to strip governors and other officials of their power to change election rules -- after states made it easier to vote last year during the coronavirus pandemic and turnout surged to record levels. The measures have been introduced in at least eight states with Republican-controlled legislatures -- including the key battlegrounds of Georgia and Arizona. Some bills would give more authority to lawmakers to establish the ground rules for voting, in an escalation of the already bitter partisan fights that have erupted following the 2020 presidential contest. The fresh showdowns over who should run elections come as allies of former President Donald Trump continue to try to cast doubt on his loss -- by arguing that election officials and the courts usurped state laws when they relaxed voting rules to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic. And they represent the latest front in the ongoing political warfare over voting rules. As of this month, state legislators in 43 states had introduced 253 bills to restrict voting access, according to an updated tally by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. more...

Seth takes a closer look at the Republican Party lying about the Green New Deal and the 2020 election as the U.S. passes a grim coronavirus milestone and Texas experiences an unprecedented power crisis. video...

Ex-Capitol police chief contradicts GOP senator at riot hearing | CNN
During the Senate hearing on the Capitol riot, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) claimed that the vast majority of Trump supporters are pro-law enforcement but the former Capitol police chief said that many rioters at the Capitol identified themselves as police and tried to illegally enter the building. video...

Yes, Jan. 6 Capitol assault was an “armed insurrection”
By Eric Litke

Five people died Jan. 6, 2021, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, when a mob violently invaded the U.S. Capitol in protest of the November 2020 election results. Few arrests were made that day, but our understanding of the day’s events and the rioters’ motivations has grown over time, as more than 230 people have now been identified and charged, according to a database maintained by National Public Radio. But U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, still claims accounts of the day’s events are being exaggerated. He made his case Feb. 15, 2021, in an appearance on "The Jay Weber Show" on WISN radio. "The fact of the matter is this didn’t seem like an armed insurrection to me. I mean armed, when you hear armed, don’t you think of firearms?" Johnson said. "Here’s the questions I would have liked to ask. How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired? I’m only aware of one, and I’ll defend that law enforcement officer for taking that shot." more...

The 45th president profoundly altered our system of government.
Jonathan Rauch | The Atlantic

When I step back to look at the legacy of President Donald Trump, a surprising conclusion emerges: He has substantially altered the Constitution. His changes aren’t formal, of course. But his informal amendments are important. If left to stand, they threaten to make Congress an advisory body and give carte blanche to rogue presidents.

The surprising aspect of this conclusion is not that the Constitution can be informally amended. That has been the usual way of making revisions. In 1803, the Supreme Court granted itself the power to review laws and overturn them. In 1824, the states tied the electoral vote to the popular vote. Neither of those changes was inscribed on parchment or envisioned by the Founders, but today we can’t imagine our constitutional system without them. more...

Even the “appearance of corruption” is enough to justify voter suppression laws, according to the Supreme Court justice.
By Mark Joseph Stern

Justice Clarence Thomas is not backing down from the fight to legitimize Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was rife with fraud. On Monday morning, Thomas issued a startling opinion ranting against the alleged dangers of mail voting and declaring that SCOTUS must override state courts that expand vote-by-mail pursuant to their state constitutions. Trump may be out of office, but his staunchest ally on the U.S. Supreme Court is carrying on his assault on the legitimacy of the election.

Thomas’ grievances arise out of two identical challenges to Pennsylvania’s election procedures. The state legislature set a strict deadline for mail voting: Any ballot received after 8 p.m. on Election Day must be thrown out. In September, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that, in light of the pandemic and the Postal Service slowdown, this deadline would disenfranchise many voters through no fault of their own. Specifically, the court found that the deadline violated the Pennsylvania Constitution, which requires that all elections be “free and equal.” To safeguard this right, the majority extended the mail ballot deadline by three days. more...

By Dan Merica, CNN

Medina, Ohio (CNN) To Shannon Burns, the betrayal that local Republicans felt when Ohio State wide receiver-turned-Republican-congressman Anthony Gonzalez voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump was analogous to only one other disloyalty: Suiting up for Michigan. "This is like him playing for the Buckeyes again, getting down to the two-minute warning, running into the locker room, getting a Michigan jersey and running back out," said Burns, who runs the Strongsville GOP, a grassroots organization that once backed Gonzalez. "It's not that you turned your back or you did something that we didn't like. You did the unthinkable." Gonzalez's decision to join just nine other House Republicans and all House Democrats to impeach Trump in January has unearthed profound anger in his northeast Ohio district, kicking off a localized fight over the future of the Republican Party that pits the two-term congressman against irate constituents eager to expel any Republican who crosses the former President. more...

By Dominick Mastrangelo

Nearly half of Republicans say they would abandon the party as it is currently structured and join a new party if former President Trump was its leader, according to a new poll released Sunday. A Suffolk University-USA Today poll found that 46 percent of Republicans said they would abandon the GOP and join the Trump party if the former president decided to create one. Only 27 percent said they would stay with the GOP, with the remainder indicating they would be undecided. "We feel like Republicans don't fight enough for us, and we all see Donald Trump fighting for us as hard as he can, every single day," a Republican and small-business owner from Milwaukee told the newspaper. "But then you have establishment Republicans who just agree with establishment Democrats and everything, and they don't ever push back." Trump has not indicated the details of his political future. But after his acquittal in his second impeachment trial, Trump issued a scathing rebuke of Republican leadership, specifically Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) more...

The Senate's No. 2 Republican on Thursday defended fellow Republicans who sided with Democrats on the “vote of conscience.”
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

PIERRE, S.D. — U.S. Sen. John Thune is criticizing Republican activists and party leaders for engaging in “cancel culture” by rushing to censure GOP senators who found former President Donald Trump guilty of inciting an insurrection. In his first interview since he voted to acquit Trump, the Senate's No. 2 Republican on Thursday defended fellow Republicans who sided with Democrats on the “vote of conscience” and warned against shutting out dissenting voices in the party. “There was a strong case made,” Thune said of the Democrats' impeachment presentation. “People could come to different conclusions. If we’re going to criticize the media and the left for cancel culture, we can’t be doing that ourselves.” more...

Florida governor accused of playing politics with Covid vaccine
"I'll tell you what, I wouldn't be complaining," DeSantis told critics.
By Corky Siemaszko

Florida’s governor was slow to respond to the pandemic and his Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan has been marked by chaos, but critics say he’s been quick to recognize the political gold in those precious doses. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, ignored federal guidelines and prioritized getting senior citizens — one of Florida’s most potent voting blocs — vaccinated first. When Holocaust survivors and Cuban survivors of the Bay of Pigs debacle — revered members of two other key Florida voting blocs — got their first shots, DeSantis made sure he was there for the news conferences. And now the governor stands accused of using the Covid-19 vaccine to reward powerful political supporters and developers by setting up pop-up vaccination sites in planned communities they developed and where GOP voters predominate. more...

DeSantis defends controversial vaccine deal with developer -- and threatens to pull vaccines if officials don't like it
By Konstantin Toropin, CNN

(CNN) Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has threatened to move a pop-up vaccination clinic that his state has set up in an affluent community in Manatee County after he was confronted with allegations of political favoritism and preference for the wealthy at a news conference Wednesday. Manatee County announced on Tuesday that Florida's Division of Emergency Management would host a "pop-up" vaccination spot at Lakewood Ranch this week for 3,000 Manatee County residents, according to a statement from the county. The vaccines, however, would be limited to people living in only two zip codes -- 34202 and 34211. Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia, a Republican, criticized the selection of these two areas at a Board of County Commissioners work session on Tuesday. more...

Jake Lahut

As first responders deal with Texas' statewide power and water crisis, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's office asked Houston police for a security detail at the airport ahead of his family trip to Cancun, the department confirmed on Thursday afternoon. "The Houston Police Department (HPD) can confirm that a member of Senator Cruz's staff contacted HPD personnel at IAH on Wednesday afternoon, February 17th, and requested assistance upon the Senator's arrival at the airport," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said in a statement. more...

Ted Cruz’s Cancún Trip: Family Texts Detail His Political Blunder
The Texas senator faced fierce blowback for fleeing his state as a disaster unfolded. Text messages sent by his wife revealed a hastily planned trip away from their “FREEZING” family home.
By Shane Goldmacher and Nicholas Fandos

Like millions of his constituents across Texas, Senator Ted Cruz had a frigid home without electricity this week amid the state’s power crisis. But unlike most, Mr. Cruz got out, fleeing Houston and hopping a Wednesday afternoon flight to Cancún with his family for a respite at a luxury resort. Photos of Mr. Cruz and his wife, Heidi, boarding the flight ricocheted quickly across social media and left both his political allies and rivals aghast at a tropical trip as a disaster unfolded at home. The blowback only intensified after Mr. Cruz, a Republican, released a statement saying he had flown to Mexico “to be a good dad” and accompany his daughters and their friends; he noted he was flying back Thursday afternoon, though he did not disclose how long he had originally intended to stay. more...

Residents struggle with lack of power, food and water while White House says storms prove ‘climate change is real’
Greg Abbott, Texas’s Republican governor. Abbott and other Republicans were accused of ‘wanting to point fingers at everything except the problem’.
Tom McCarthy and Erum Salam in San Antonio and Joan E Greve in Washington

As Texas struggled on Thursday with a disastrous lack of power, food and water following the deadly storm that brought Arctic temperatures to the southern US, the state’s Republican leadership stood battered by a growing outcry over mismanagement of the power grid and a painfully slow emergency response. Residents huddled at elementary schools in makeshift “warming centers”, moved in with any relatives and friends who have heat – despite the coronavirus risks – or simply held out inside their homes in deteriorating conditions. Some do not have enough water to drink, let alone wash. Others are dealing with flooding from burst pipes, unreliable gas and electricity service and “boil water” notices spreading to additional major cities. more...

Customers use the light from a cellphone to look in the meat section of a grocery store in Dallas.
Maanvi Singh in Oakland (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)

Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who became Donald Trump’s energy secretary, has said that Texans would willingly endure longer periods of sub-freezing temperatures if it stymied Democrats’ energy policy and efforts to combat climate change. “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business,” Perry was quoted saying in blog post published Wednesday on the website of Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy. The blog post had asserted that those “watching on the left may see the situation in Texas as an opportunity to expand their top-down, radical proposals. Two phrases come to mind: don’t mess with Texas, and don’t let a crisis go to waste”. Perry’s comments come as millions of Texas are struggling with a brutal winter storm, which created a surge in demand for electricity to warm up homes unaccustomed to such extreme lows, buckling the state’s power grid and causing widespread blackouts. Frigid temperatures and snow have covered most of the central US this week, resulting in at least two dozen deaths, but Texas in particular has reeled because most of its power is on a state-run grid that has repeatedly been described as mismanaged. more...

*** Another day another lie from Republicans, Fox News and right wing media. ***

Peter Weber

As Texas on Tuesday entered its third night with sub-freezing temperatures and 3.3 million customers without electricity, the operator of the state's unique power grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), urged Texans who still have electricity to turn off lights, unplug appliances, and turn down the thermostat. People without power took shelter elsewhere, if they could, or resorted to sometimes deadly means of generating heat. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and state legislators called for investigations — and Abbott and other prominent GOP politicians wrongly blamed frozen wind turbines and other renewable energy sources for the failures of the Texas energy grid. more...

Author: James Brooks

JUNEAU — Republican officials in at least five Alaska state House districts have approved resolutions censuring U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and many of those officials said they believe the state party also will consider a resolution denouncing her. The resolutions are at least partially motivated by Murkowski’s support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump, but several sponsors expressed wider discontent with the senator. The districts’ actions set up a collision course with the state Republican Party organization, where chairman Glenn Clary has supported a “big tent” approach to party membership. “If we’re going to win this game, if you will, or win at politics and maintain our freedoms … then we’re going to have to band together and not splinter ourselves,” he said during a Jan. 26 talk radio interview. Republican officials in other states have expressed their disapproval of elected Republicans who supported impeachment, but Alaska’s Republican organization has remained relatively quiet until recently. more...

By Aaron Blake

In 2017, a white supremacist who attended a rally in Charlottesville drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one of them. President Donald Trump leaped into controversy by saying there were good people on both sides of a rally organized by racist groups. The remarks drew condemnation from many Republicans and even a high-profile White House aide, Gary Cohn. In the months and years that followed, though, something happened: Trump’s allies sought to rewrite the history of Charlottesville to fit Trump’s claims. It didn’t happen instantly, but eventually a conventional wisdom emerged among his most devoted supporters that the official Charlottesville narrative had been wrong all along — that there were indeed good people on both sides because this rally organized by racist groups included a significant number of non-racists who simply wanted to preserve Confederate history. They have come to label it the “Charlottesville hoax.” I debunked it here, as did The Post’s Fact Checker. more...

Ashley Collman

A House impeachment manager says Republican senators told her privately that she "made the case" to convict former President Donald Trump, but they still voted to acquit him. Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the Virgin Islands, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday about the interactions she had with unnamed Republican senators during Trump's second impeachment trial last week. "I had senators, even after we presented, who stopped me in the hallway, Republicans, who said that we had made the case, but yet they were going to vote to acquit the president," Plaskett said. Plaskett said she tried to win these senators over by saying they could vote to acquit Trump, but not vote to disqualify him from holding office in the future — a vote which would have taken place after conviction, and only requires a simple majority. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Every once in a while, a member of Congress says something that makes your eyes bug out of your head. More often than not these days, that person is Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson. Here's Johnson over the weekend talking about the January 6 riot at the US Capitol: "This didn't seem like an armed insurrection to me. When you hear the word 'armed,' don't you think of firearms? Here's the questions I would have liked to ask: How many firearms were confiscated? How many shots were fired?" Well, as of Monday morning, more than 221 people had been arrested as a result of the Capitol riot, according to CNN's reporting. (Here are some of the most prominent.) Five people died in the riots. And while overrun police were in no position to confiscate guns and other weapons brought by rioters to the Capitol, PolitiFact wrote Sunday night that "we still can identify accounts of numerous weapons found in and around the Capitol, brought there in some cases by people who saw themselves as soldiers in a war." more...

By TARA PALMERI, EUGENE DANIELS, RYAN LIZZA and RACHAEL BADE

While the rest of the country wants less DONALD TRUMP, Republicans just can’t quit him. Our flash POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted in the days following the Senate trial shows that despite the impeachment managers’ gripping presentation and video laying out Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 rampage, the GOP remains the undisputed party of Trump. Republican voters got over any misgivings they had about Trump’s role on Jan. 6 very quickly. Fifty-nine percent of Republican voters said they want Trump to play a major role in their party going forward. That’s up 18 percentage points from a Morning Consult poll conducted on Jan. 7, and an increase of 9 points from a follow-up poll on Jan. 25, before the impeachment trial began. Another piece of evidence: While Trump’s overall favorability rating is an abysmal 34% in our latest poll, 81% of Republican respondents gave him positive marks. Trump was at 77% approval among Republicans on Jan. 7 and 74% on Jan. 25. more...

Aware of this emerging voter demo, the White House is hoping its agenda and relief bill will inoculate it against frustrations.
By CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO and NATASHA KORECKI

Distraught and exhausted parents are emerging as a new class of voters that could torment President Joe Biden — and the White House is moving quickly to head off the pain. Nearing a year into the pandemic, Biden’s advisers and allies recognize that they need to respond to the spiraling angst felt by families or risk driving them into the arms of waiting Republicans. It is a crucial test for Biden and Democrats as they try to consolidate their gains from the 2020 election. The pandemic has disrupted lives and exacerbated inequities and a raft of public and private surveys show clear political potholes and opportunities because of it. The coronavirus is spawning sweeping policy prescriptions from Democrats and Republicans alike, from billions in school reopening funds to the creation of a federal child allowance. And it’s prompting pollsters to loosely coin emerging voter demos like “women in chaos” and “families in crisis.” more...

*** Why do Republicans threaten or attack people who tell the truth or do what is right? What does that say about the Republican Party do what is right or tell the truth, and we will attack you? ***

Tucker Higgins

The seven Republican senators who joined all 50 Democrats in voting to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol are now facing heat from conservatives in their home states. Party leaders and local GOP officials, many seeking to curry favor with the broad swath of conservative voters still loyal to Trump, have condemned the 7 lawmakers for breaking ranks with the rest of the party. The critiques illustrate the strong hold that Trump continues to have over Republicans nationally in spite of his November loss and his subsequent refusal to concede defeat. Polling conducted after the attack on Congress last month continues to show Trump holds a sky-high approval rating among Republicans, and that about half of the GOP is primarily loyal to the ex-president himself, rather than the party. The Senate ultimately acquitted Trump on Saturday in a 57-43 vote after an unprecedented second impeachment trial. more...

From QAnon reps to the corrupt Lincoln Project to impeachment cowardice, the GOP is morally dead. Dems must work around them.
by Will Bunch | Columnist

The Republican Party was born on March 20, 1854, the green shoots of a political spring. Unlike America’s other parties that were often shotgun weddings of convenience, the Republicans burst forth around moral ideas that were so powerful — ending slavery and making America a world industrial power — that the tail of this supernova lasted for more than 166 years and inspired its eventual nickname, the Grand Old Party. That GOP died — morally, if not officially — in the late afternoon gloaming of a grey and bitterly cold winter’s day, Feb. 13, 2021. After 43 Republican senators who’d been given a green light to “vote their conscience” on Donald Trump’s impeachment still managed to come up empty — thus enshrining the notion that an end-of-term president can foment a deadly insurrection to thwart a peaceful transition of power and not face any consequences — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell strolled to the well of the Senate. He was presumably holding the bloody knife with which he’d repeatedly stabbed American democracy for a dozen years hidden behind his back. more...

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

We witnessed a historic confession of hypocrisy and deceit on Saturday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went to the floor after voting to acquit Donald Trump in the former president’s Senate impeachment trial. McConnell said, “Former President Trump’s actions [that] preceded the riot were a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.” He added, “Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.” But McConnell said he couldn’t vote to convict because the trial had come too late, after Trump was out office — even though it was McConnell himself who had kept the Senate out for the remainder of Trump’s term. McConnell suggested that a criminal prosecution of Trump could be in the cards, a stunning confession of how he regards the seriousness of the allegations and the extent of the evidence. The only saving grace is that McConnell will be forever remembered as the one who intentionally let someone worthy of criminal investigation get away. more...

*** Why do Republicans threaten people who tell the truth or do what is right? Something is wrong with the Republican Party they like to bring up Trump’s 74 million votes but forget Trump lost to Biden by over 7 million votes, Biden had 81 million votes. ***

By Katelyn Caralle, U.S. Political Reporter and Nikki Schwab, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

Marjorie Taylor Greene lashed out at fellow GOP Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler on Saturday for turning on the Republican Party, calling her 'the gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats.' Taylor Greene is specifically referencing Herrera revealing details this week of a January 6 phone conversation between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former president Doanld Trump. 'First voting to impeach innocent President Trump, then yapping to the press and throwing @GOPLeader under the bus, and now a tool as a witness for the Democrats running the circus trial,' Taylor Greene tweeted on Saturday. 'The Trump loyal 75 million are watching.' more...

*** History will not be kind to Trump and the Republican Party. Once again, Republicans have violated their oath of office and voted once again to protect Trump. Republicans have shown repeatedly that the only care about law and order and our constitution when they are using it as a weapon against the democrats. ***

Domenico Montanaro

The U.S. Senate on Saturday acquitted former President Donald Trump on an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection. The acquittal comes more than a month after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were counting the electoral results that certified Trump's loss. Five people died in the riot, including a police officer. Two other officers later killed themselves. A majority of senators voted to convict Trump — 57 to 43, including seven Republicans. But two-thirds, or 67 votes, was needed to convict. It was the second time Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial. The seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump on Saturday were: Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House twice, and the first to be tried for impeachment after leaving office. more...

*** History will not be kind to the Republican Party. Once again, Republicans have violated their oath of office and rigged the trial to protect Trump. Republicans have shown repeatedly that the only care about law and order and our constitution when they are using it as a weapon against the democrats. ***

Connor Perrett

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said during an episode of his podcast that he advised former President Donald Trump's defense attorneys ahead of the impeachment trial, telling them they'd "already won" their case on behalf of the former president. "I said, look, you've gotta remember you've already won," Cruz said during a Friday episode of "Verdict," his podcast that launched in 2020 during the former president's first impeachment trial. CNN previously reported that three GOP senators, including Cruz, had met with Trump's legal team ahead of the Senate trial that began this week. Cruz said he believed that Democrats were far from achieving the 67 votes needed to convict, and instead said he told the president's lawyers there were anywhere from 53 to 57 votes to convict the former president, which would lead to an acquittal. more...

***Republicans are still protecting Trump even after he attempted a coup and caused the sacking of the capitol of Untied State of American. ***

His announcement ends a long period of silence over whether he would consider convicting Trump.
By BURGESS EVERETT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told GOP colleagues in a letter that he will vote to acquit Donald Trump in the former president's impeachment trial, according to sources familiar with the communication. McConnell's announcement ends a long period of silence over whether he would consider convicting Trump for incitement of insurrection and could pave the way for many other Republicans to follow in acquittal. The Kentuckian shared his decision in a note to fellow GOP senators on Saturday morning, ahead of what could be the final day of Trump’s second impeachment trial. “While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction,” McConnell wrote. That position puts McConnell in line with the votes he and 43 other GOP senators already cast, declaring Trump’s second trial unconstitutional. But the Republican leader, who has not spoken to Trump for weeks, suggested that criminal prosecution of the former president could be appropriate as a remedy following the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. more...

CNN political analyst and renowned Watergate reporter, Carl Bernstein, calls former President Donald Trump "the most evil force in the White House that we have ever seen." video...

***Republicans around the country are censuring Republicans for doing the right thing, what does that say about the Republicans party? ***

By Mykal Vincent and Rilwan Balogun

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish has censured United States Senator Bill Cassidy for voting to continue the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. The resolution, which was unanimously adopted on Wed., Feb. 10, said Cassidy’s vote “to allow the impeachment fiasco to continue was a betrayal of the people of Louisiana and a rebuke to those who supported President Trump and him.” “We condemn Senator Cassidy’s actions in the strongest manner,” it goes on to say. “He does not represent the people of this state or the Republican Party. He represents himself and has joined with some of the most dishonest and disreputable forces in our country to be part of this despicable sham.” The party censured him, an action the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish has never taken before, declaring him “an object of shame.” more...

By Zack Budryk

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch blasted GOP Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley Thursday over their handling of former President Trump’s impeachment trial, calling it an “embarrassment to the state.” In an editorial, the Post-Dispatch lambasted the two for voting against allowing the trial to take place and Hawley specifically for what it said was his evasion of responsibility for challenging the results of the presidential election in key states. Hawley was one of the lawmakers who followed through on Trump's call to challenge the certification of the Electoral College vote in states that he lost to now-President Biden, even after a mob of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to stop the count. more...

*** Republicans are at it again they are helping Trump to rig the trial to get Trump off. ***

By Daniel Villarreal

On Thursday, three Republican Senators—Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah—reportedly met with former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense attorneys, according to Cruz and Trump attorney David Schoen. Schoen called the three senators "very friendly," a comment which raised eyebrows seeing as senators are often thought to serve as impartial jurors during impeachment trials. In other criminal and civil trials, jurors are forbidden from meeting with or expressing overt favor to lawyers involved in the case. Schoen claimed that the senators met with them to ensure that they were "familiar with procedure" before offering their opening arguments on Friday in rebuttal to the House impeachment managers' case, CNN reported. Schoen considered the mid-trial meeting to be appropriate, adding, "I think that's the practice of impeachment... There's nothing about this thing that has any semblance of due process whatsoever." more...

Did the candidate really put in enough miles to circumnavigate the world one and a half times?
By Ryan Grenoble

A nonprofit watchdog group has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), requesting an investigation into more than $20,000 in mileage reimbursements the candidate received from her 2020 campaign. The group, Campaign for Accountability, said Monday that Boebert and Mike McCauley, the treasurer of Lauren Boebert for Congress, may have violated FEC regulations by spending campaign funds for personal purposes. At issue are two mileage reimbursement payments to Boebert from her campaign: one on March 31, 2020, for $1,059.62, and another, filed Nov. 11, for $21,199.52. It’s the second payment that’s raising eyebrows. At the federal reimbursement rate of 57.5 cents per mile, Boebert would have had to drive 36,868 miles in seven months to justify the amount. To put that in perspective, that’s about one and a half times the circumference of the earth, 24,850 miles. more...

“Welcome to the stupidest week in the Senate,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer, who, like literally everyone, witnessed the ex-president incite a deadly insurrection.
By Jennifer Bendery

We all saw it. Senators serving as jurors this week in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial lived through it. On Jan. 6, at a Washington, D.C., rally, Trump used violent imagery as he recited lies about the election being stolen from him and urged supporters to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell” to stop Joe Biden from becoming president. So they did: They stormed the building and roamed the halls looking for members of Congress to kill to stop them from certifying the election results. Five people died. Two more Capitol Police officers who were there died by suicide. More than 140 police officers were injured. And the entire hourslong attack was documented on TV and social media.

Despite video evidence, despite rioters saying on camera that Trump told them to carry out the attack and despite literally everyone witnessing the nightmare scenario unfold in real time, most Republican senators say they’re not convinced Trump incited the insurrection that day. The excuses they’ve come up with ― all of which are fueled by a fear of hurting their own political futures by criticizing Trump ― range from dismissing Congress’ constitutional right to hold an impeachment trial to saying everyone is to blame for the attack to saying we should probably pin this on Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). more...

Jaclyn Diaz

Michigan's highest ranking Republican leader was caught on video calling the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol a "hoax" and espousing other conspiracy theories related to the siege. Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, in a video posted on YouTube of a meeting with Hillsdale County Republican Party officials, said of the Capitol insurrection in which five people died: "It was all staged." About half an hour into the video Shirkey can also be heard asking, "Why wasn't there more security there?" He accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of being involved, saying McConnell "is part of the decision-making how much security they have on stand. I think they wanted to have a mess." more...

*** Republicans are still protecting Trump even after he attempted a coup and caused the sacking of the United States Capitol. ***

By Melissa Quinn

Washington — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Sunday that the outcome of former President Donald Trump's upcoming impeachment trial is "really not in doubt" as many Republicans believe the Senate lacks the authority to try a president who is no longer in office and will likely vote to acquit him. "It's not a question of how the trial ends, it's a question of when it ends," Graham said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "Republicans are going to view this as an unconstitutional exercise, and the only question is, will they call witnesses, how long does the trial take? But the outcome is really not in doubt." more...

CNN's Jake Tapper says there's been no real accountability for several prominent GOP leaders after the Capitol riot. video...

*** There is something is serious wrong with some in the Republicans party. Those who want to punish Liz Cheney for doing the right thing should resign they are violating their oath of office. ***

John Ruwitch

The Wyoming Republican Party voted on Saturday to censure Rep. Liz Cheney and asked her to resign for her vote last month to impeach then-President Donald Trump after the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Cheney, the third-ranking member of House Republican leadership, was one of just 10 members of her party to support impeaching Trump for a second time. She and other party leaders have come under fire from Trump loyalists for siding with Democrats in the impeachment. Cheney's censure by the Cowboy State's GOP is largely symbolic, and it comes after House Republicans decided this week to let her hold onto her leadership role in Congress. The Wyoming Republican Party's central committee censured Cheney with just 8 of its 74 members opposing the resolution. The committee also called on her to "immediately resign," according to a copy published by Forbes. more...

In a speech to the House, Greene said she no longer believes in the QAnon conspiracy theory and asked that her past statements not be held against her.
Paul McLeod BuzzFeed News Reporter

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her roles on two House committees Thursday as 11 Republicans voted with Democrats for her removal. The 230–199 vote came after CNN dug up Facebook posts from 2018 and 2019 in which Greene called for executing Democratic politicians. It was looking like an almost party-line vote before a bloc of Republicans voted against Greene at the same time just as the voting period was ending. The Republicans who voted to strip Greene of her committee roles were Reps. Adam Kinzinger, Brian Fitzpatrick, Carlos Gimenez, John Katko, Chris Jacobs, Young Kim, Nicole Malliotakis, María Salazar, Chris Smith, Fred Upton, and Mario Diaz-Balart. more...

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy discusses freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's (R-GA) statement to GOP about her past inflammatory comments. Greene spoke to the members at the same meeting where House Republicans voted that Rep. Liz Cheney should keep her post in House GOP leadership. video...

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business

New York (CNN) A voting technology company swept up in baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election filed a monster $2.7 billion lawsuit on Thursday against Fox News, some of the network's star hosts, and pro-Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, alleging the parties worked in concert to wage a "disinformation campaign" that has jeopardized its very survival. "We have no choice," Antonio Mugica, the chief executive and founder of Smartmatic, told CNN Business in an interview about the company's decision to file the lawsuit. "The disinformation campaign that was launched against us is an obliterating one. For us, this is existential, and we have to take action." The lawsuit, filed in New York state court, accused Fox, Giuliani, Powell and hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro of intentionally lying about Smartmatic in an effort to mislead the public into the false belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. "They needed a villain," the lawsuit said. "They needed someone to blame. They needed someone whom they could get others to hate. A story of good versus evil, the type that would incite an angry mob, only works if the storyteller provides the audience with someone who personifies evil." more...

Donald Trump's backers failed to take down Liz Cheney. But the GOP's 'civil war' is nowhere near over.
David Jackson | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump and his allies lost the first battle for post-election control of the Republican Party Wednesday night – but not without a fight, making clear that the political war within the GOP is nowhere near over. House Republicans voted Wednesday to keep Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., in her leadership position despite her January impeachment vote against the now-former president. The secret-ballot vote was overwhelmingly in Cheney's favor, 145-61. Nevertheless, Trump's backers have vowed to defeat Cheney and other Republicans who voted for his impeachment in their future political races. Others said the contentious House Republican meeting showed how much the party remains in thrall to Trump, despite his election defeat and his impeachment for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by extremist supporters. more...

Republicans target Rep. Ilhan Omar after Dems try to oust Marjorie Taylor Greene
Sarah Elbeshbishi and Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Congressional Republicans are retaliating against Democrats for trying to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees because of past violent rhetoric and her promotion of conspiracy theories by attempting to do the same to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. The full House will vote Thursday to strip Greene of her committee spots after a number of social media posts resurfaced causing Republicans and Democrats to denounce the Georgia Republican. The posts show Greene directed violent rhetoric at prominent Democrats and endorsed various conspiracy theories, like that some school shootings were staged and space lasers were causing deadly wildfires in California. In response, a group of House Republicans is seeking to remove Omar from her House committee assignments. more...

Richard Wolffe

At Trump’s impeachment trial, Republicans have one more chance to turn their backs on the extremists. Will they take it? In 2001, nine days after terrorists attacked the United States and its federal government, a Republican president stood before Congress with the overwhelming support of a terrified nation, as he presented a stark choice to the world. “Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” said George W Bush to loud applause in September 2001. “From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” Thus was born the post-9/11 era, which survived for the best part of two decades, costing trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, and realigning American diplomacy and politics in stark terms. Republicans fought and won two elections on the basis that they were strong and unequivocal in defending the nation, while Democrats were weak flip-floppers who tried to have it both ways. more...

By STEPHEN GROVES

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Longtime South Dakota Republican voter Jim Thompson is ready to leave the GOP, hoping that an exodus of Donald Trump supporters like him will punish the state’s preeminent politician, Sen. John Thune, for defying Trump. Thompson, a retired rodeo announcer and broadcaster, watched Trump’s calls for supporters to come to Washington to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory and he saw the ensuing assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 . But as Congress tries to hold Trump accountable for his actions, Thompson sees an agenda to banish the former president from politics and return the party to establishment figures such as Thune, the second-ranking GOP leader in the Senate. more...

By Darragh Roche

A major Missouri newspaper has called on Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) to hold former President Donald Trump accountable in his upcoming second impeachment trial or resign. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an editorial on Monday urging Hawley and his Republican colleagues to "impose law and order on Trump" and cited the deadly Capitol riot on January 6. Hawley was one of the most prominent Republicans to object to President Biden's 2020 election victory. He supported formal objections to the Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. more...

"Somebody who’s suggested that ... horrifying school shootings were pre-staged ... is not living in reality," the Senate minority leader said.
By Frank Thorp V and Phil Helsel

"Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and our country," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday after questions about Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. “Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality," McConnell said. McConnell, R-Ky., did not mention the Georgia representative by name, but his statement was released after NBC News asked about the controversial freshman lawmaker. "This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party," his statement said. Greene on Twitter seemed to respond, writing: "The real cancer for the Republican Party is weak Republicans who only know how to lose gracefully. This is why we are losing our country." more...

The GOP this week will decide the fates of the two lawmakers, who are on opposite sides in the battle over the direction of the post-Trump party.
By MELANIE ZANONA

The GOP’s brewing civil war will take center stage this week, when House lawmakers decide the fates of two Republicans who are on opposite sides of the fight over the direction of the post-Trump party. First up, the House Republican Conference will huddle in person on Wednesday morning to debate the future of GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, who voted on Jan. 13 to impeach President Donald Trump. A group of hard-line conservatives is leading a charge to oust Cheney from leadership, and says it has commitments from more than 100 colleagues who are willing to vote on a secret ballot to remove her. more...

CNN's Erin Burnett calls out Republicans for their support of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) despite past incendiary comments. video...

Ashley Terrell

‘Today is 1776,’ said Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert. More Republican Congress members are facing scrutiny after the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6. When asked whether the country heading to Civil War, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona said “We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.” According to The New York Times, nearly 150 House Republicans were in support of former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election. Gosar and many other Republican members of the House are said to have deep ties to the extremist groups that caused a riot and stormed the halls of Congress in protest of President Joe Biden’s certification. more...

By Tim Reid

(Reuters) - Dozens of Republicans in former President George W. Bush's administration are leaving the party, dismayed by a failure of many elected Republicans to disown Donald Trump after his false claims of election fraud sparked a deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol last month. These officials, some who served in the highest echelons of the Bush administration, said they had hoped that a Trump defeat would lead party leaders to move on from the former president and denounce his baseless claims that the November presidential election was stolen. But with most Republican lawmakers sticking to Trump, these officials say they no longer recognize the party they served. Some have ended their membership, others are letting it lapse while a few are newly registered as independents, according to a dozen former Bush officials who spoke with Reuters. more...

Arwa Mahdawi

The conspiracy theory mouthpiece in Congress from Georgia constituency has ripped off the GOP’s mask of respectability. Marjorie Taylor Greene: the face of GOP hypocrisy. Ah, the American dream! In some countries being a gun-obsessed racist who has spread gruesome conspiracy theories about a Satan-worshipping cult, mocked the deaths of schoolchildren and suggested Democratic lawmakers should be executed might get you put on a watch list. In America it gets you a job in Congress. In the case of the newly elected Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, it also gets you a seat on the House education and labor committee: a panel that helps shape federal policy on schools.

Greene’s support for QAnon and her bigoted views are not new news. However, the extent of her extremism has come under increased scrutiny this week after a video showing Greene harassing the Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg went viral. In the clip, filmed in 2019, Greene can be seen following the teenager and parroting the antisemitic conspiracy theory that the Parkland survivors were “crisis actors” funded by George Soros.

I don’t have space to go into all the vile things that Greene has said and done, but they range from blaming California wildfires on “Jewish space lasers” to saying Muslims don’t belong in government. Suffice it to say we’re not talking a few errors of judgment here: Greene has a long, well-documented history of promoting hatred and violence. Still, that hasn’t stopped her from oh-so-predictably claiming she’s the victim of “fake news”. In a statement posted on Tuesday Greene said that a number of people had managed her Facebook page. So, you know, she’s not responsible for anything. more...

The most effective solution to incorrigible members of Congress is censure. And then let the voters take it from there.
By JACK SHAFER

Nowhere in the Constitution—and this is excellent news for freshly sworn-in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)—does it stipulate that a House member must have the mental capacity to cook on all four burners. This is in keeping with the Framers’ general idea that only the lowest bars should be set for officeholders. They declined to cordon off Congress with credential and qualification roadblocks, stating in Article I, section 2, clause 2 that House members need only be 25 years old or older and a U.S. citizen for at least seven years. This left plenty of room for the daft, the moonstruck, the brainsick, the rabble-rousing and the witless to run for the seats. And they have, often gaining office, as Rep. Greene recently did, to the horror of many. more...

By Lexi Lonas

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Saturday blasted news that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had spoken by phone with former President Trump amid growing backlash over the Georgia Republican's past remarks. “Lies of a feather flock together: Marjorie Taylor Greene’s nonsense and the 'big lie' of a stolen election,” Romney tweeted. more...

Ledyard King, Christal Hayes | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Congressional Republicans have a real dilemma on their hands: What to do about Marjorie Taylor Greene. Less than a month after being sworn into office, the ultra-right, conspiracy-spouting congresswoman from northwest Georgia has turned what should have been a GOP celebration over congressional gains in the Nov. 3 election into how to address the unapologetically outspoken freshman's past controversial remarks. Do they formally reprimand her or strip her of committee assignments – as they did two years ago with Steve King of Iowa after he made comments about white nationalism. Or do they continue to stay silent on the controversy – hoping it dies down. Either choice risks alienating parts of their caucus. It's a conundrum for top House GOP members, particularly Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who plans to meet with Greene next week. more...

Holding your breath waiting for the GOP to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene? I’ve got news for you. You’re going to suffocate.
Goldie Taylor

Marjorie Taylor Greene is unfit to serve. She is a danger to her colleagues and unless her fellow Republicans expel her from Congress they are culpable. Somebody ought to stand up and say, enough. But they won’t. There are a few voices among House Republicans who understand and see the threat, including Liz Cheney and Steve Scalise. They take her seriously when she threatens members of Congress and when she stalks high school students, like Parkland mass shooting survivor David Hogg, down the street proclaiming her gun ownership and deriding him for needing armed guards. more...

Eliza Relman

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene warned before the election that if former President Donald Trump lost, Americans would have to pay "the price of blood" to "get your freedoms back." "If this generation doesn't stand up and defend freedom, it's gone," Greene said in a video first reported on by Mother Jones on Friday. "And once it's gone, freedom doesn't come back by itself. The only way you get your freedoms back is it's earned with the price of blood."  The footage was from a late October conversation between gun rights activist Chris Dorr and Greene, a far-right Republican of Georgia, who said that voters had to choose between "freedom" and ending "America as we know it" in the 2020 election. "This is it: November 3rd, freedom is on the ballot," she said. "You have a choice of either voting for freedom by voting for Donald J. Trump ... or you're going to vote for socialism and vote to completely end America as we know it. This is no joke." more...

By Em Steck and Andrew Kaczynski, CNN

(CNN) Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has removed dozens of Facebook posts from 2018 and 2019 in which she endorsed fringe conspiracy theories and repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians.
Searches of Greene's Facebook show the posts from 2018 and 2019 have been removed. Links saved by CNN's KFile during a review of hundreds of posts and comments from Greene's Facebook page are no longer available. Greene is facing backlash for her conspiratorial social media posts after CNN reported she indicated support for executing prominent Democrats in Facebook comments and videos. The freshman congresswoman from Georgia also deleted videos she posted on Facebook Live where she said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is "guilty of treason" and that she will "suffer death or she'll be in prison" for her "treason." more...

*** History has shown Republicans refuse to work with democrats. Republicans are the party of obstruction when democrats are in power. When democrats don’t do what republicans want republicans jump up and down about how the democrats will not work with them, even thought republicans refuse to work with democrats. ***

Ted Cruz and John McCain voice support for indefinitely blocking Clinton from filling vacancy left by Antonin Scalia and leaving ninth seat vacant
Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington

With the presidential election one week away, a handful of Republicans are already vowing to oppose any nominee to the supreme court proposed by Hillary Clinton should she be elected. At least three Republican senators have voiced support for indefinitely blocking Clinton from filling the supreme court vacancy left by the late justice Antonin Scalia, thus breaking with a 150-year precedent for having nine justices serving on the nation’s highest bench. Senators Ted Cruz, of Texas; John McCain, of Arizona; and Richard Burr, of North Carolina have all suggested leaving Scalia’s seat open if Clinton reaches the White House. Cruz, in particular, argued there was a “long historical precedent” for having fewer than nine justices on the supreme court. Senate Republican leaders have yet to hold a hearing or a vote on Merrick Garland, who was nominated by Barack Obama to replace Scalia in March. Republicans justified their refusal to move forward on the Garland nomination by saying the next president should fill the vacancy. But as Donald Trump’s path to the White House narrows, a potential split is emerging within the party ranks on how to proceed when Congress returns after the election for a lame duck session. more...

*** Republicans refuse to hold republicans accountable for their actions but have no problem-holding democrats accountable. ***

By Manu Raju

(CNN) To Senate Minority Whip John Thune, former President Donald Trump's actions ahead of the deadly Capitol riot are totally indefensible. "No -- not at all," the No. 2 Republican said when asked if he can defend what Trump did. "The way he handled the post-election, both in terms of his public statements and things that he tried to do to change the outcome, no." But like other Republicans, Thune has no clear answer to this key question: What should they do to Trump after he lied to his supporters about the election being stolen, promoted the January 6 rally in DC and urged demonstrators to go to the Capitol, which they later rampaged in a deadly riot? "Well, that's a good question," said Thune, who faces reelection in South Dakota next year. "One way, obviously, would be in a court of law."

With the impeachment trial for Trump set to begin February 9, Senate Republicans are criticizing him without doing anything about his actions, hoping to put distance between themselves and the former President without casting any votes that could cause a backlash from Trump and his fervent supporters. Many say something should be done about what Trump did -- but just not by them. When asked about Trump's actions in relation to the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of GOP leadership, said: "I'm not going to defend them." "I think he's been held accountable in the court of public opinion already," Cornyn said when asked if the Senate should take any actions, arguing it would set a "dangerous precedent" to convict a former President. more...

By Jeffery Martin

Democrat Missouri Representative Cori Bush told MSNBC host Joy Reid on Friday that she relocated her office to avoid white supremacists in Congress, including Republican Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. Some Democratic lawmakers have criticized Greene for her continued commitment to former President Donald Trump. Videos posted to social media appear to show Greene's support of conspiracy theories, including a belief that a mass shooting at a Florida high school in 2018 was a false flag event. Some Democrats have called for Greene to be expelled from Congress. On Friday, Greene and Bush had a heated discussion over Greene's choice not to wear a face mask. After the incident, which was live-streamed by Greene, Bush announced that she would be relocating her office. more...

A number of members of Congress have links to organizations and movements that played a role in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
By Luke Broadwater and Matthew Rosenberg

WASHINGTON — The video’s title was posed as a question, but it left little doubt about where the men who filmed it stood. They called it “The Coming Civil War?” and in its opening seconds, Jim Arroyo, who leads an Arizona chapter of Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia, declared that the conflict had already begun. To back up his claim, Mr. Arroyo cited Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, one of the most far-right members of Congress. Mr. Gosar had paid a visit to the local Oath Keepers chapter a few years earlier, Mr. Arroyo recounted, and when asked if the United States was headed for a civil war, the congressman’s “response to the group was just flat out: ‘We’re in it. We just haven’t started shooting at each other yet.’” Less than two months after the video was posted, members of the Oath Keepers were among those with links to extremist groups from around the country who took part in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, prompting new scrutiny of the links between members of Congress and an array of organizations and movements that espouse far-right beliefs. more...

By Clare Foran and Kristin Wilson, CNN

(CNN) Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday slammed House Republican leaders for not doing more to rebuke GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia over her shocking rhetoric and past statements, saying the focus must be on leadership. "What I'm concerned about is the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, who is willing to overlook, ignore those statements," Pelosi said at her weekly news conference, days after CNN reported Greene repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians -- including Pelosi -- in 2018 and 2019 before being elected to Congress. The statements were part a CNN KFile review of hundreds of posts and comments from Greene's Facebook page.

Greene is also facing criticism for a video of her confronting Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg before she was elected to Congress went viral Wednesday. And last week, other students who survived the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and families of the victims are calling for Greene's resignation, after comments surfaced that showed her agreeing with people who said the 2018 shooting was a "false flag" operation, remarks Pelosi called special attention to Thursday. The California Democrat also criticized Greene's placement on the House Committee on Education and Labor. more...

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