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GOP Watch Keeping an Eye on Republicans for You - Page 10

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” ― Theodore Roosevelt 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 Bob Brigham | Raw Story

The leaked draft Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade has a fatal flaw, according to the off-air legal analyst for MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show." "Beyond the practical consequences of overturning Roe, however, then there are the legal analyses of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft. Before detailing why that draft is so flawed legally, a brief outline of Justice Alito’s approach is in order. In concluding that Roe and Casey 'must be overruled,' Alito reasons that because 'the Constitution makes no reference to abortion,' the right to abortion, like any right purportedly implicit in the Constitution, can be recognized only if it is 'deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition' and 'implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.'" "That standard, known as the Glucksberg test, is lifted from the 1997 case upholding Washington’s ban on assisted suicide," Lisa Rubin wrote. She then explained why Washington v. Glucksberg is key. "But what makes Justice Alito’s analysis truly disingenuous is its distortion of the one case on which it depends: Glucksberg. In that case, the Court found a person’s liberty interest, as recognized by Casey, was not limitless and did not guarantee terminally-ill adults the right to end their own lives. Yet in distinguishing physician-assisted suicide from 'those personal activities and decisions that this Court has identified as so deeply rooted in our history and traditions, or so fundamental to our concept of constitutionally ordered liberty, that they are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment,' the Court left no doubt which decisions and history it meant," she explained.

Igor Derysh

A Florida judge said Wednesday that he would block Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' congressional map because it unconstitutionally suppresses Black voters. Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith, who was appointed by DeSantis, said he would issue a formal order this week blocking the map approved by the governor from taking effect. "I am finding that the enacted map is unconstitutional under the Fair District amendment ... because it diminishes African Americans' ability to elect the representatives of their choice," Smith said during a hearing, according to CNN. The move came after an unprecedented intervention from DeSantis' office into the state's redistricting process. Republican state lawmakers were working on their own maps in January when DeSantis' office tried to hijack the process and proposed its own map so-called "race-neutral" map that would cut the number of predominantly Black districts in the state from four to two. Republican lawmakers passed their own maps instead but they were vetoed by DeSantis and the GOP ultimately caved and agreed to approve DeSantis' map. DeSantis' proposal would give the GOP an advantage in 20 of the state's 28 congressional districts. The map would eliminate the district represented by Rep. Al Lawson, D-Fla., one of the state's Black congressmen, and reduce the number of Black voters in the Orlando-area district represented by Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., who is running for Senate.

by David B. Gowler

"God grant it was not an apparition of the devil," Hans Luther reportedly responded to his son Martin's claim that a voice from heaven had called Martin to be a monk. Luther's father proposed an alternative scenario: Satan, not God, was responsible for Martin's (poor) decision. That story sprang to mind when I read that Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had argued in a recent interview, and then clumsily tried to explain away in an official statement, that "Satan's controlling the church." The evidence she gave for such satanic control? Christian groups who provide aid to undocumented immigrants. Greene argued that these humanitarian efforts mean the church "is not doing its job, and it's not adhering to the teachings of Christ and it's not adhering to what the Word of God says we're supposed to do." She went on to argue, "What they're doing by saying 'Oh, we have to love these people and take care of these migrants and love one another. . .' Yes, we're supposed to love one another, but their definition of what love one another means, it means destroying our laws."

Travis Gettys

A Republican senator pressed a legal expert to explain ethical responsibilities for U.S. Supreme Court justices, and she turned his arguments against him. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) repeatedly asked Amanda Frost, a law professor at American University and a critic of existing recusal provisions, whether it was improper for then-Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to put public pressure on the court to uphold abortion rights, which he suggested undermined their integrity. "Unfortunately, over the last decade, particularly the last five years or so, I have seen the court come under attack from so many different sources," Frost said, before Kennedy interrupted to rephrase his question. "I would certainly not support a senator criticizing the court. It's also a problem when the Senate of the United States will not confirm a nominee for over a year, leaving the court with eight justices." Then-Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to allow nomination hearings for Merrick Garland, whom Barack Obama had tapped to replace the late Antonin Scalia nearly eight months before the 2020 election, and GOP senators held the seat open until Donald Trump was inaugurated and selected Neil Gorsuch.

Ed Mazza

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tried to revise history on Monday, but was busted by his own past comments. As Fox News footage showed a peaceful protest in favor of abortion access, Cruz slammed the crowd as “goons” and warned of “escalation.” Then, he defended the right-wing mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 2021:  That’s very different from what Cruz has said in the past. Progressive PAC MeidasTouch contrasted Cruz’s words this week with his previous comments about the Jan. 6 mob, which he called “terrorists” who committed a “violent assault on the Capitol.”

Amanda Marcotte

Despite the fact that forced childbirth has been a major goal and central organizing strategy of the GOP for approximately four decades, Republican political strategists don't exactly seem stoked about a leaked draft opinion indicating that the GOP-controlled Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade outright. Turns out that abortion rights are very popular, likely due to people's well-documented enthusiasm for fornication without procreation. With the midterms just a few months away and Democrats signaling that they intend to make this a major issue, Republicans are scrambling for a political strategy to make their mandatory childbirth policy seem not as bad of an idea as it obviously is. On Tuesday, Axios leaked a three-page talking points memo from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The strategy that the Republican campaign strategy group suggests is to lie. A lot. Lie every chance you get. Lie about everything, all the time. Lie so often that the media stops bothering to fact-check you and your opponents grow exhausted trying to disprove your lies. It's a tried-and-true trick for the GOP.

Leah Litman and Steve Vladeck

The leaked copy of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion overruling Roe v. Wade has unleashed a wave concern about what the opinion would mean, not only for people who depend on the availability of abortion care, but also for people who depend on other fundamental rights related to the 1973 ruling. As President Biden and legal commentators pointed out, Justice Alito’s stated reasons for overruling Roe could seemingly be applied to overrule other precedents ranging from Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized a right to marriage equality, to Lawrence v. Texas, which recognized a fundamental right for intimate relationships between consenting adults, including adults of the same sex, to Griswold v. Connecticut, which recognized a fundamental right to contraception. While conservative commentators have sought to minimize these fears, one of their main responses has exposed Justice Alito’s draft majority opinion as nothing more than a lawless exercise of political power. They now claim that the court wouldn’t overrule those other precedents because, among other things, those other precedents are “politically popular.” This, to be clear,  is not a legal distinction; it’s merely a statement that public opinion and politics will dictate what the court’s conservative supermajority thinks it can get away with. Respect for the law and neutral principles be damned.

By Joshua Rhett Miller

An Indiana man accused of murdering his cancer-stricken wife won a township board primary election while in jail for the brutal slaying. Andrew Wilhoite — who was charged in March with murdering 41-year-old Elizabeth “Nikki” Wilhoite, allegedly using a concrete flower pot — is one of three Republicans who secured a spot Tuesday in November’s election for the Clinton Township Board, the Indianapolis Star reported. Wilhoite, 40, of Lebanon, has been in custody at the Boone County Jail since he told investigators he threw the flower pot at his wife’s head and dumped her body over the side of a bridge. He’s next due in court on May 27, according to the newspaper.

by Richard Galant, CNN

(CNN) "I know nothing." That was the response members of the Order of the Star Spangled Banner were supposed to give when asked about their secret society, which was founded in 1849. The fiercely anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic group evolved into the American Party, but it will be forever remembered by another name. The "Know Nothings" became a powerful political force, commanding the allegiance of more than 100 members of Congress in the 1850s, as Lorraine Boissoneault wrote in Smithsonian Magazine. Last week, a Republican member of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene, lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi, falsely accusing her of having "gazpacho police spying on members of Congress," apparently mistaking a cold vegetable soup from Spain for the Gestapo, the Nazi regime's secret police. The botched reference was widely mocked on social media, and Greene later made fun of herself, tweeting: "No soup for those who illegally spy on Members of Congress, but they will be thrown in the goulash."

Pranav Baskar

WASHINGTON—Four years ago, at the Senate confirmation hearing that would send Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, asked the judge, point-blank, how he’d rule on a woman’s right to an abortion. “Can you commit, sitting here today, that you would never overturn Roe v. Wade?” Kavanaugh’s expression didn’t change as he quickly replied, “Senator, each of the eight Justices currently on the Supreme Court, when they were in this seat, declined to answer that question.” It was a practiced non-answer Kavanaugh deployed repeatedly as he dodged questions on Roe during his 2018 confirmation hearing, according to a Globe analysis of all 300 references to the landmark ruling he faced over dozens of hours of questioning. Justice Neil Gorsuch, confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2017 under Former President Trump as well, deployed a similar strategy. He referred to Roe as settled “precedent” but declined to comment on the merit of the ruling itself, nor revealed a glimpse into his personal stance on the matter. Both justices are currently under fire from some lawmakers after Politico published a leaked draft opinion that would overturn the 50-year right to an abortion–a dramatic overruling of decades of Supreme Court precedent. The draft, which the court confirmed is authentic on Tuesday, may not represent the justices’ final decision.

Jon Skolnik

President Biden is set to host the first food insecurity conference in the last fifty years, raising awareness of the fact that nearly 14 million American households still do not have reliable access to food. The upcoming event, first reported by CNN, will mark the first conference of its kind since 1969, when then-President Richard Nixon hosted the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. "Too many families don't know where they're going to get their next meal," Biden said in a video this week. "Too many empty chairs around the kitchen table because a loved one was taken by heart disease, diabetes or other diet-oriented diseases, which are some of the leading causes of death in our country." The event comes as millions of Americans continue to buckle under the weight of rising food prices, driven largely by corporate profiteering as well as the COVID-induced supply shock. Over the past two years, a handful of Republican-led states have missed deadlines to renew federal funding for food provisions, deeming them unnecessary now that schools have reopened as the pandemic peters out.

Nathan Place

AUS Navy veteran was filmed personally accusing Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of disparaging the military and other groups, calling the Republican congresswoman a “shame.” The confrontation was caught on camera by WTVC at a campaign event on Monday in Trion, Georgia. The veteran, Alex Boyle, was incensed over some of Ms Greene’s past comments, and directly challenged her on them. “You are disrespecting the United States Congress and you’re a shame,” Mr Boyle told the congresswoman. “No, sir,” Ms Greene calmly responded. The tense exchange began when Mr Boyle asked the Georgia Republican to explain a controversial remark she made last month about military service. “I know a lot of young people don’t want to have anything to do with that,” Ms Greene told former Fox News host Lou Dobbs on his podcast. “It’s like throwing your life away.”

Ed Mazza

Newly released audio shows House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) once again attacking former President Donald Trump behind his back in the days after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. “What the president did is atrocious and totally wrong,” McCarthy said in the audio released by New York Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, authors of the new book, This Will Not Pass. McCarthy has since defended and praised Trump and ostracized those within his party who are critical of the former president. But the audio shows McCarthy was in a much different frame of mind after the assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters. He said in the Jan. 8, 2021 recording that removing Trump via the 25th Amendment would take too long, and that impeachment could further divide the nation. McCarthy also indicated he wanted to reach out to Joe Biden, who at the time was president-elect, to show there would be a smooth transition. CNN broadcast the audio from a GOP leadership call as well as a discussion with the authors:

Erik Larson

(Bloomberg) -- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis trampled Walt Disney Co.’s constitutional right to free speech by dissolving the company’s debt-issuing district as punishment in a political fight, three residents claim in a lawsuit. The violation of Disney’s First Amendment rights will result in taxpayers being forced to foot the bill for the district’s debt, estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion, according to the suit filed Tuesday in federal court in Miami. DeSantis, a Republican and potential 2024 presidential candidate, signed a law April 21 repealing the Reedy Creek Improvement District after Disney announced its opposition to the state’s new parental rights law that restricts classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity. “Corporations are obviously capable of expressing themselves, as Disney did when it spoke out against the ‘don’t say gay’ bill,” the residents said in the complaint. “If a government retaliates and attempts to punish a speaker’s freedom of speech, they are violating the speaker’s constitutional rights.”

by Sabrina Haake

When Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Republican Party punished Disney for its criticism of the "Don't say gay" bill — in other words, for corporate speech that was clearly political in nature, their retaliation was not just fiscally shortsighted, it was illegal. Any government attempt to restrict a corporation's speech based on the content of that speech must satisfy the strictest scrutiny, meaning the restriction adopted by the government must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. Restrictions based on political viewpoint have long been prohibited. Stripping Disney of its special tax status in two Florida counties (which both lean Democratic), while leaving intact more than 1,800 similar tax districts in largely Republican counties, is not narrowly tailored to achieve any clear objective, nor is silencing political critics a compelling or even legitimate government interest in the first instance. More than 10 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court vested corporations with the same legal protections as other individuals when speaking on political issues. In the infamous Citizens United decision of 2010, the court elevated the protection due corporate political speech, shielding corporate expenditures for that purpose under the First Amendment. Maligned by the left for largely valid reasons, Citizens United has empowered Big Oil, utility companies and other deep-pocket industries to boost politicians like DeSantis, who symbiotically protect their corporate profits instead of protecting constituents worried about climate, even as Florida's coasts sink visibly around them.  

Matt Shuham

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) theatrical decision to effectively institute a blockade at the U.S.-Mexico border last month has cost Texas a planned railroad expansion across that divide, the Mexican government said. Abbott’s border antics have already cost Texas billions in GDP, according to one estimate, and the hurt could continue for years. Now, the tally of economic damage will include the cost of a long-term railroad and ports expansion project that may instead be routed through New Mexico. “We’re now not going to use Texas,” Mexico’s Secretary of the Economy Tatiana Clouthier said Thursday at a press conference in Mexico City, the Dallas Morning News reported. “We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool.” That appeared to be a pointed reference to Abbott, who’s running for reelection this year, and who last month ordered Texas authorities to do their own inspections of cross-border shipments from Mexico — even though federal authorities already screen that traffic.

Gustaf Kilander

Ted Cruz mocked GOP candidates in the Ohio Senate Republican primary for jockeying for the support of former President Donald Trump. Mr Cruz has backed Mr Trump despite previous the former president’s previous insults against Mr Cruz’s wife and father. The Texas senator was campaigning for former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in Kettering, Ohio on Friday, saying that “when I look to candidates, I don’t look to see what they say on the stump, because they all say the same darn thing”. “Every candidate says ‘I love Donald Trump. No, no, no – I love Donald Trump more. No, no, no – I have Donald Trump tattooed on my rear end!’” he said mockingly. During the 2016 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr Cruz called Mr Trump a “snivelling coward,” a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral”. After losing that race, he made his fellow Republicans furious by refusing to endorse Mr Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

By David Edwards | Raw Story

ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl clashed with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Sunday over House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's lies about Jan. 6. During a panel discussion on ABC, Christie argued that reports claiming McCarthy called for then-President Donald Trump to resign after Jan. 6 were untrue. According to Christie, McCarthy said that the resignation should only occur if the Senate had the votes to convict Trump. But Karl insisted that the words McCarthy said about Trump had been accurately reported. "I have to say, with all due respect, Gov. Christie, I don't think you're characterizing what was on that tape accurately," Karl said. "There's no way to listen to that tape and think that Kevin McCarthy told the truth. That tape, you hear Kevin McCarthy saying I've had it with that guy, referring to Donald Trump." "You hear Kevin McCarthy say he's going to call Donald Trump and his recommendation would be that he resign," he insisted. Christie disagreed but Karl refused to back down.

RNC tweets distortion of what Biden said to teachers about kids in their classrooms
By Samantha Putterman April 28, 2022

The claim makes it sound like Biden was saying that kids belong to teachers and that teachers can ignore parents' wishes. But that misrepresents Biden’s comments by omitting words and context. The full quote includes him telling teachers students are “like” their children. His surrounding comments show that Biden was talking about the successful education of American children.

By FARNOUSH AMIRI, Associated Press - 44m ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rioters who smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, succeeded — at least temporarily — in delaying the certification of Joe Biden’s election to the White House. Hours before, Rep. Jim Jordan had been trying to achieve the same thing. Texting with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, a close ally and friend, at nearly midnight on Jan. 5, Jordan offered a legal rationale for what President Donald Trump was publicly demanding — that Vice President Mike Pence, in his ceremonial role presiding over the electoral count, somehow assert the authority to reject electors from Biden-won states. Pence “should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all,” Jordan wrote. "I have pushed for this," Meadows replied. “Not sure it is going to happen.” The text exchange, revealed in a court filing from the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot, is in a batch of startling evidence that shows the deep involvement of some House Republicans in Trump’s desperate attempt to stay in power. The evidence provides new details about how, long before the attack on the Capitol unfolded, several GOP lawmakers were participating directly in Trump's campaign to reverse the results of a free and fair election.

by Elie Honig

(CNN) This needs to be said right up front about the pending Justice Department investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz: there's still a lot that we don't know. He has steadfastly, even furiously, denied any wrongdoing. But the facts that have emerged -- including new CNN reporting that federal prosecutors are attempting to obtain cooperation from Gaetz's ex-girlfriend -- seem likely to paint a bleak picture for Gaetz moving forward.

Joel Greenberg. Gaetz's onetime pal and political ally Joel Greenberg -- who faces a 33-count federal indictment, charged with crimes ranging from sex trafficking of a minor to bribery to identity theft to stalking -- reportedly is cooperating with federal prosecutors and providing information about Gaetz's conduct, including alleged encounters with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex. Greenberg has until the end of this week to finalize any plea agreement with prosecutors.

Bevan Hurley

Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn were among a handful of Republicans to vote against a bill supporting the small European nation of Moldova amid fears it could be dragged into the war in Ukraine. The House voted to pass a motion by 409 to 17 expressing support for “Moldova’s democracy, independence, and territorial integrity” and to strengthen relations with the United States on Tuesday evening. The show of bipartisan support came as Moldova’s pro-Russian breakaway region of Transnistria said on Wednesday that it had come under fire from Ukraine. The trio of far-right lawmakers have criticised US support for Ukraine, and last month were among 17 House members to vote against providing aid to Ukraine and banning oil imports from Russia. In March, a leaked clip showed the scandal-plagued Mr Cawthorn calling Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and the Ukraine government “incredibly evil”.

Asher Notheis

A Michigan GOP official resigned from his position Tuesday while griping that members of his party are too beholden to former President Donald Trump. Tony Daunt, who was a member of the Republican Party's state committee, wrote in his resignation email that the "feckless, cowardly party 'leaders' have made the election here in Michigan a test of who is the most cravenly loyal to Donald Trump" instead of focusing on the "myriad failures" of the Democrats. "Incredibly, rather than distancing themselves from this undisciplined loser, far too many Republican 'leaders' have decided that encouraging his delusional lies — and, even worse — cynically appeasing him despite knowing they are lies, is the easiest path to ensuring their continued hold on power, general election consequences be damned," Daunt added.

By News and Guts

Why is the GOP obsessed with a loser? Donald Trump’s undeniable grip on the Republican Party is particularly confounding given his electoral track record. This is a man, after all, who lost the popular vote in consecutive presidential elections and his insistence that the 2020 vote was rigged tanked the GOP’s chance of retaining the Senate. Writing in The Atlantic, Mark Leibovich argues that Never Trump Republicans ought to take off their kid gloves if they want to dismantle his kingmaker status: Trump’s bizarre and enduring hold over his party has made it verboten for many Republicans to even utter publicly the unpleasant fact of his defeat—something they will readily acknowledge in private. I caught up recently with several Trump-opposing Republican strategists and former associates of the president who argued this restraint should end. The best way for a Republican to depose Trump in 2024, they said, will be to call Trump a loser, as early and as brutally as possible—and keep pointing out the absurdity of treating a one-term, twice-impeached, 75-year-old former president like a kingmaker and heir apparent. In other words, don’t worry about hurting Special Boy’s feelings.

Kirk Swearingen

Vladimir Putin recently launched an intercontinental missile meant to threaten the members of NATO with nuclear annihilation. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has gone after the Walt Disney Company as a warning to all "woke" corporations. Call it the masculinity-obsessed right's inter-corporate missile, resetting the traditional terms of mutual grift between corporate America and the Republican Party. The conservative right has been squirming uncomfortably in recent years as it watches corporate America introduce diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, and apparently Disney's belated mild rebuke of DeSantis's "Don't say gay" law led to this showdown between the formerly more-than-chummy CEOs of corporate America and Republican politicians. But the Trump cult is not your grandfather's GOP, or even your father's. (I think it's fair to call it your conspiracy-obsessed uncle's or white nationalist cousin's GOP.)

Jake Thomas

After denying she promoted the January 6 insurrection, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said she'll vote against a bill intended to combat domestic terrorist groups. The firebrand Georgia representative said on Twitter Tuesday that she would be voting against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 due to concerns of government overreach. Greene announced her opposition to the bill days after she testified under oath over her alleged role in seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The legislation is intended to better equip federal law enforcement agencies to address the growing domestic extremism and authorizes domestic terrorism offices in the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

by Opinion by J. Michael Luttig

Nearly a year and a half later, surprisingly few understand what January 6 was all about. Fewer still understand why former President Donald Trump and Republicans persist in their long-disproven claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Much less why they are obsessed about making the 2024 race a referendum on the "stolen" election of 2020, which even they know was not stolen. January 6 was never about a stolen election or even about actual voting fraud. It was always and only about an election that Trump lost fair and square, under legislatively promulgated election rules in a handful of swing states that he and other Republicans contend were unlawfully changed by state election officials and state courts to expand the right and opportunity to vote, largely in response to the Covid pandemic. The Republicans' mystifying claim to this day that Trump did, or would have, received more votes than Joe Biden in 2020 were it not for actual voting fraud, is but the shiny object that Republicans have tauntingly and disingenuously dangled before the American public for almost a year and a half now to distract attention from their far more ambitious objective.

tporter@businessinsider.com (Tom Porter)

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida slammed House Republican leaders who privately expressed concern after the Capitol riot that he could be seeking to whip up further violence. The New York Times on Tuesday published audio of a January 10, 2021, call in which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise discussed comments made by Gaetz after January 6 about Rep. Liz Cheney. In the call, McCarthy expressed concern that Gaetz was "putting people in jeopardy," referencing TV appearances in which Gaetz had singled out Cheney for criticism in the wake of the riot. Cheney is an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump. In response to the leaked audio, Gaetz wrote: "Rep McCarthy and Rep. Scalise held views about President Trump and me that they shared on sniveling calls with Liz Cheney, not us. This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders."

by Dr. Karen Williams Weaver

As we hit the eight-year anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis, one of the worst man-made public health disasters in U.S. history, it must be noted that the sin done on to the people of Flint didn’t just start or end with the switch in our drinking water source. Revenue-sharing was cut drastically, impacting the level that city services were able to be maintained. Public safety, water quality and legacy costs all took a hit. Black cities in this situation were set up to fail. We could start counting the offenses done to us with the toxic dumping that occurred for years in Flint. We could count the discriminatory policies and systems of racism that caused Flint’s Black residents to live in neighborhoods more favorable to social and environmental injustices. But as I hear the cries of the small mostly Black town in Mason, Tennessee, which was recently taken over by a GOP-led state government just as millions of dollars were to roll into the city’s coffers, I am reminded of the discriminatory state government takeover of the city of Flint that preceded the callous and deadly decisions that would soon follow.

The New York Times

Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, feared in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack that several far-right members of Congress would incite violence against other lawmakers, identifying several by name as security risks in private conversations with party leaders. Mr. McCarthy talked to other congressional Republicans about wanting to rein in multiple hard-liners who were deeply involved in Donald J. Trump’s efforts to contest the 2020 election and undermine the peaceful transfer of power, according to an audio recording obtained by The New York Times. But Mr. McCarthy did not follow through on the sterner steps that some Republicans encouraged him to take, opting instead to seek a political accommodation with the most extreme members of the G.O.P. in the interests of advancing his own career.

Now we know why Republicans did not want an investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The New York Times

WASHINGTON — It was less than two weeks before President Donald J. Trump’s staunchest allies in Congress would have what they saw as their last chance to overturn the 2020 election, and Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania, was growing anxious. “Time continues to count down,” he wrote in a text message to Mark Meadows, then the White House chief of staff, adding: “11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to inauguration. We gotta get going!” It has been clear for more than a year that ultraconservative members of Congress were deeply involved in attempts to keep Mr. Trump in power: They joined baseless lawsuits, spread the lie of widespread election fraud and were among the 147 Republicans who voted on Jan. 6, 2021, against certifying President Biden’s victory in at least one state.But in a court filing and in text messages obtained by CNN, new pieces of evidence have emerged in recent days fleshing out the degree of their involvement with the Trump White House in strategy sessions, at least one of which included discussions about encouraging Mr. Trump’s supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, despite warnings of potential violence. Some continued to push to try to keep Mr. Trump in office even after a mob of his supporters attacked the complex.

A small circle of Republican lawmakers, working closely with President Donald J. Trump’s chief of staff, took on an outsize role in pressuring the Justice Department, amplifying conspiracy theories and flooding the courts in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.
By Katie Benner, Catie Edmondson, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer

WASHINGTON — Two days after Christmas last year, Richard P. Donoghue, a top Justice Department official in the waning days of the Trump administration, saw an unknown number appear on his phone. Mr. Donoghue had spent weeks fielding calls, emails and in-person requests from President Donald J. Trump and his allies, all of whom asked the Justice Department to declare, falsely, that the election was corrupt. The lame-duck president had surrounded himself with a crew of unscrupulous lawyers, conspiracy theorists, even the chief executive of MyPillow — and they were stoking his election lies. Mr. Trump had been handing out Mr. Donoghue’s cellphone number so that people could pass on rumors of election fraud. Who could be calling him now?

In a Jan. 2021 text message, Greene told Trump's chief of staff that some lawmakers wanted the president to declare martial law. During court testimony, she said she didn't recall that.
By Zoë Richards, Charlie Gile and Blayne Alexander

New text messages from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene surrounding the 2020 election are drawing attention to recent court testimony in which the Georgia Republican said she did not recall any involvement in efforts to keep former President Donald Trump in office. When asked during a hearing Friday if she had advocated for martial law to keep President Joe Biden from taking office, Greene said she could not recall. But a new tranche of text messages obtained by CNN shows Greene broached the idea with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Ron Fein, who is leading a legal challenge to Greene’s candidacy in Georgia over allegations she helped facilitate the Jan. 6 riot, told NBC News on Monday that the text messages undermine her credibility and testimony in the case. “Marjorie Taylor Greene testified under oath that she could not remember telling Trump or his chief of staff to declare martial law to try to keep Trump in power, but her own texts reveal that she did exactly that,” Fein said in a statement.

by Sarah Rumpf

Florida State Rep. Randy Fine (R) told a local television program that a peaceful protest by Democratic legislators was “far worse than what happened on in Washington on January 6.” (Just wait, it gets dumber.) In last week’s special session in the Florida Legislature, in addition to rushing through the repeal of Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, the GOP-controlled House and Senate also passed a new map for the state’s Congressional districts that had been drawn by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R-FL) office after he had rejected the map submitted by the Legislature. Florida Democrats did not like DeSantis’ map. On a procedural level, they objected to the governor’s office assuming a role that the Florida Constitution directs the Legislature to handle as a violation of the balance of powers. The House and Senate had passed a set of maps but DeSantis vetoed the bill that contained those maps, and Republican lawmakers came back during the special session with a map the governor’s office had created and passed it without making any changes.

DeSantis owns the libs but taxpayers will pay the price.

If it is dissolved, the Reedy Creek district’s debt obligations, revenues and responsibilities would be transferred to Osceola and Orange counties and the small cities of Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake.
By News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill aimed at dissolving a special taxing district that has granted Walt Disney World unique self-governing powers for more than five decades as a leading bond-rating agency cautioned investors about the proposed changes. The bill (SB 4-C) targets the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which encompasses about 25,000 acres in Orange and Osceola counties on property in and around the “most magical place on earth.” The district has authority over issues such as land use and provides traditional functions of government, including fire protection and wastewater services. DeSantis, who is seeking re-election and is widely mentioned as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, came out swinging against Disney — one of the state’s largest employers and a major tourism draw — after the company vowed to fight a controversial law restricting education on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

“This is outrageous! And that is really the illness that pervades the Republican leadership right now,” Warren added over the leaked recordings of McCarthy bashing Trump.
Justin Baragona

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tore into House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Sunday morning, calling the California congressman a “liar” and “traitor” over revelations that he privately told House Republicans that then-President Donald Trump was to blame for the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and would recommend that he resign. In a series of audio recordings obtained by The New York Times, McCarthy not only contradicted his public comments by suggesting Trump should step down but he also claimed the former president personally took responsibility for the attack. Additionally, McCarthy told GOP leadership that he’d “had it with this guy.” Trump, however, has indicated that he is not upset with McCarthy over the leaked comments, telling his inner circle that he’s glad the lawmaker didn’t follow through while publicly saying he still has a good relationship with McCarthy and will support his efforts to become House speaker. McCarthy, meanwhile, has claimed that despite what the tapes reveal, he “never thought that [Trump] should resign” and was merely walking “through different scenarios.”

Katie Balevic

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' decision to strip Disney of its self-governing status was slammed as a "boneheaded move" by a former Florida governor. Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who served as Florida's governor from 2007 to 2011 as a Republican, criticized DeSantis in a tweet. "Attacking Disney, threatening to harm our state's economic powerhouse that creates so many jobs and brings in so many tourism dollars is a boneheaded move however you look at it. Ron's a threat to our state's economy and he's gotta go in November," Crist said in the tweet on Friday. In an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Thursday, Crist said DeSantis seems to want to be the "king of Florida," calling the sitting governor "an angry dude." "What he's trying to do is have a one-man rule of this great state," Crist told the Sentinel. "This governor seems to really want to centralize all power in himself."

Republicans have attacked everyone who is not like them, our elections and our capitol.

Seema Mehta

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, under scrutiny for saying after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that he would urge then-President Trump to resign, alluded to the turmoil during a speech Saturday night at the California GOP convention. "As we go out to earn this majority, they’re going to attack you, they’re going to attack me, they’re going to attack President Trump,” he said, speaking of GOP aims to win control of the House in the November election. "They’re not just going to use the Democrats, they’re going to use the media as well. We have to be united, and we have to be prepared for it.” The Bakersfield Republican's speech before a friendly audience in Anaheim came after a tumultuous two days, starting with a New York Times report that he had told fellow GOP leaders in early 2021 that he planned to urge Trump to resign. McCarthy vehemently denied the report, calling it "totally false and wrong" and denigrating the reporters, but hours later, audio was released of him making such comments on a recorded call.

From his Disney crusade to his CRT fearmongering, DeSantis has turned Trump's divisive talk into real (and really harmful) action.
By Dennis Aftergut, former federal prosecutor

So it’s come to this in Florida: censoring math books. Last Saturday, the state’s education board banned 54 of 132 books submitted for inclusion in public schools’ math curricula. In June, the board similarly banned the teaching of critical race theory, or CRT, from public schools, notwithstanding the absence of any evidence proving that it was being taught in Florida’s K-12 schools. CRT is currently one of the right-wing’s favorite racial boogeyman, and one of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ favorite causes célèbre. The board said it had decided to reject more than half of the math textbooks submitted because they included “prohibited topics or unsolicited strategies, including CRT.” This explanation begs for some follow-ups: Were the textbooks’ algebraic equations somehow encoded with secret woke messages, like CRT Trojan horses? I won't hold my breath for answers.

Ella Lee | USA TODAY

Republican lawmakers actively worked with former President Donald Trump and other top aides strategize ways to overturn the 2020 election, new evidence filed in federal court late Friday suggests. Meetings that included discussion of efforts to prevent now-President Joe Biden from taking office, detailed in deposition excerpts filed by the Jan. 6 committee, were attended by several of the former president's allies in Congress, both in-person and by phone. Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Scott Perry, R -Pa., were among the members who attended meetings, Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson said in her deposition.

Yelena Dzhanova

Republican lawmakers held calls with former President Donald Trump in December 2020 to plot ways to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to court records filed by the congressional committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. The committee filed deposition excerpts on Friday, which detail how Republican lawmakers, such as Reps. Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan, plotted with Trump to stop then-candidate Joe Biden from becoming president. Gaetz, Jordan, and other Republican lawmakers participated in calls and meetings with Trump and his aides after he lost the 2020 presidential election, according to testimony given to the committee by Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

By Sarah Rumpf

“I will not allow a woke corporation based in California to run our state,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) declared in a recent fundraising email, and this week his war on Disney moved from rhetoric to retaliatory regulation, as he pushed for a bill in the current special session that would dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). He seems poised to declare victory as the House and Senate have both passed the bill, but this effort marks a reversal of not only long-held conservative principles of protecting free speech and private property rights but also threatens to unleash colossal economic devastation on Central Florida’s local governments and residents, with impacts rippling statewide. “I will not allow a woke corporation based in California to run our state,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) declared in a recent fundraising email, and this week his war on Disney moved from rhetoric to retaliatory regulation, as he pushed for a bill in the current special session that would dissolve Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). He seems poised to declare victory as the House and Senate have both passed the bill, but this effort marks a reversal of not only long-held conservative principles of protecting free speech and private property rights but also threatens to unleash colossal economic devastation on Central Florida’s local governments and residents, with impacts rippling statewide.

Ian Millhiser

At the urging of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida legislature voted this week to punish one of the world’s biggest producers of entertainment and pop culture, because DeSantis and his fellow Florida Republicans disagreed with that producer’s First Amendment-protected speech. DeSantis signed the bill into law on Friday. Florida’s decision to strip a government benefit from Disney because, in DeSantis’s words, Disney expressed “woke” opinions and “tried to attack me to advance their woke agenda,” is unconstitutional. And it’s not a close case. As the Supreme Court said in Hartman v. Moore (2006), “official reprisal for protected speech ‘offends the Constitution [because] it threatens to inhibit exercise of the protected right.’” Nor does it matter how the government retaliates against a person or business who expresses an opinion that the government does not like — any official retaliation against someone because they engaged in First Amendment-protected speech is unconstitutional.

Cassidy Hutchinson, a special assistant in the Trump administration, told the House panel investigating the Capitol riot it was unclear what Meadows did with that information.
By Nicole Acevedo

A former White House official warned Mark Meadows, who served as former President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, could turn violent, according to a court filing from the House panel investigating the Capitol riot. Cassidy Hutchinson, a special assistant in the Trump White House, said Meadows received information before the day of the attack that “indicated that there could be violence,” according to transcripts contained in the 248-page filing late Friday. Hutchinson said she remembers “Mr. Ornato coming in and saying that we had intel reports saying that there could potentially be violence on the 6th. And Mr. Meadows said: All right. Let’s talk about it,” in apparent reference to Anthony M. Ornato, a Secret Service official. “I know that there were concerns brought forward to Mr. Meadows,” Hutchinson said, adding she was unsure if he “perceived them as genuine concerns.”

Sam Levine in New York

As Florida Republicans gave final approval to new congressional districts on Thursday, Black lawmakers staged a sit-in on the floor of the legislature, praying, chanting and singing that Black voters were under attack in the state. The extraordinary moment served as a remarkable endpoint to a brazen attack by the Republican governor, Ron DeSantis. Earlier this month, in an unprecedented move, Republicans in the legislature took the unusual step of allowing DeSantis to take the lead on drawing new congressional districts. The governor’s plan went out of its way to reduce from four to two the number of districts where Black candidates can elect the candidate of their choosing. The plan significantly distorts the map in favor of Republicans, giving them a hold on 20 of 28 congressional seats in a state Donald Trump won in 2020 with 51.2% of the vote. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Florida map is nearly tied with Texas as the most biased in the US.

CNBC's Tyler Mathisen reports a new book alleges that both House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted former President Trump out of the White House following the Jan. 6 riots.

By Melanie Zanona, CNN

(CNN) In the days following the January 6 insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Republican lawmakers on a private conference call that then-President Donald Trump had admitted bearing some responsibility for the deadly attack, according to new audio -- a significant admission that sheds light on Trump's mindset in the immediate aftermath of the US Capitol riots. A readout of that conversation, which took place on January 11, 2021, had been previously reported by CNN. But two New York Times reporters obtained an audio recording of the conference call for their upcoming book, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future," and shared it with CNN. "But let me be very clear to you and I have been very clear to the President. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if, ands or buts," McCarthy told House Republicans on January 11, 2021, according to the audio obtained by CNN. "I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he needs to acknowledge that."

by Jonathan Chait

Some observers of Viktor Orban’s slowly tightening grip over Hungary have wondered what response would ensue if a sufficiently determined reactionary implemented the same methods here in the United States. Based on the evidence from Florida, where Ron DeSantis is test-driving his brand of “competent Trumpism,” the answer is, very little. After DeSantis signed an anti-gay measure, Disney issued a statement condemning it, and suspended its political donations, which had previously included generous support for DeSantis. In retaliation, DeSantis rushed through a measure targeting Disney’s legal status. He is establishing a new norms in Republican politics: Corporations that publicly question the party’s preferred policy, or withhold donations in protest, will be subject to discriminatory policy. If they enjoy favorable regulatory or tax treatment, they can continue to do so on the condition that they stay in the GOP’s political good graces. This is one way rulers like Orban and Putin hold power. It is a method that, until quite recently, would have been considered unthinkable in the United States. That bright line has been obliterated. Trump and DeSantis have now made it almost unremarkable.

By Lauren Fox, CNN

(CNN) New audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released on Thursday night reveals he did consider asking then-President Donald Trump to resign in the days after the January 6 riot -- contradicting his office's earlier denials of New York Times reporting that he had done so. In the audio, which was obtained by the Times and first played on MSNBC Thursday evening, McCarthy is heard answering a question from Rep. Liz Cheney -- then a member of GOP leadership -- about whether there was any chance Trump would resign. McCarthy says, "My gut tells me no. I am seriously thinking about having that conversation with him tonight." "The only discussion I would have with him is I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation that he should resign," McCarthy says, referring to the impeachment resolution in the House. "That would be my take, but I don't think he would take it. But I don't know." CNN has obtained only a portion of the audio.

Robert Frank

A repeal of Disney’s self-government status in Florida could leave local taxpayers with more than $1 billion in bond debt, according to tax officials and legislators. The Florida House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would dissolve Disney’s special improvement district, escalating Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attack on the company over its opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The state Senate passed the bill Wednesday, after it was first introduced Tuesday. It will now go to the governor for his signature. Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District was created in 1967 and gives the Walt Disney Company full regulatory control over Disney World as well as government services such as fire protection, emergency services, water, utilities, sewage and infrastructure.

Do not piss off the GOP or they will come after you.

By Dianne Gallagher, Steve Contorno and Rachel Janfaza, CNN

(CNN) The Florida legislature on Thursday gave final passage to a pair of bills aimed at Disney, weeks into the company's feud with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over its objections to a new law that limits certain classroom discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity. One of the bills would eliminate the unique status that allows Disney to operate as an independent government around its Orlando-area theme parks. The other would eliminate a Disney carve-out in a social media bill that was signed into law last year but put on hold by a federal judge. The bills passed 70-38 in the Florida House on Thursday. The vote happened without any final debate and came as several Black Democratic members were staging a protest over the congressional redistricting map. The Disney bills passed the state Senate on Wednesday, and now head to DeSantis' desk. Disney drew the ire of DeSantis and Sunshine State Republicans earlier this year over legislation that prohibits schools from teaching young children about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Weston Blasi

‘Hate wins when people like me stand by and let it happen. I won’t.’ That was Mallory McMorrow, a Democratic state lawmaker in Michigan, responding to comments from a fellow state senator from the Republican side of the aisle who had suggested in a fundraising email that McMorrow supports sexualizing children. Republican Lana Theis, from south-central Michigan near the Indiana state line, insinuated in a campaign email that McMorrow, from suburban Detroit and the parent of a young daughter herself, wanted to “groom and sexualize kindergarteners.” McMorrow responded in a Senate floor speech on Tuesday that has gone viral.

by Lara M. Brown

Although analysts disagree on the magnitude of the coming Republican midterms rout, few believe that Democrats will retain their House majority. Despite a few losses during redistricting, Republicans need to net only five more seats to win the Speaker’s gavel. The Senate landscape is a bit more uncertain for the GOP. Whereas Democrats are defending four incumbents in competitive seats, Republicans have two vulnerable incumbents and three open seats in states that could go either way. Former President Trump’s controversial endorsements in some of these primaries may be dividing, more than uniting, Republicans, which could prove problematic come the November elections. Still, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is spending widely to maximize the chances of the Senate Republicans netting the one more seat they need to make him the chamber’s majority leader.

Arjun Singh

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is stepping into the growing dispute between Elon Musk and Twitter over the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s hostile takeover of the social media company. During a Tuesday news conference, DeSantis said that the state’s lawyers were reviewing options for legal action against Twitter’s Board of Directors, to “hold them accountable for breaching their fiduciary duty.” Florida, through its Retirement System pension fund, is an investor in Twitter. The move comes after the Wall Street Journal on Monday quoted sources who said that Twitter plans to reject Musk’s bid to purchase the company at $54.20 per share, an 18 percent premium over the closing price of $45.08 on the day of his offer. Shortly after Musk announced his bid, Twitter’s board activated a “poison pill” defense mechanism against an informal attempt by Musk to buy more stock, whereby new shares would be sold at a discount to dilute his control over the company. Musk is currently Twitter’s largest individual shareholder, owning 9 percent of its stock. Musk had cited Twitter’s free speech policies as the reason for his bid.

A 1967 Florida law created a special district that allows Disney to self-govern, including collecting taxes and providing emergency services.
By Marc Caputo and Rebecca Shabad

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Disney crossed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by opposing his law restricting schools from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. Now DeSantis and his fellow Republicans in the Florida Legislature are ready to make the company pay for it. In a surprise move, DeSantis on Tuesday asked the lawmakers to consider eliminating the special taxing district that allows the company to act as a type of local government. DeSantis in a news conference Tuesday said that, in addition to a new congressional map they're voting on this week in a special session, lawmakers "will be considering termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968, and that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District."

kleonard@insider.com (Kimberly Leonard)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday defended the state's Department of Education for rejecting a record number of math textbooks in which reviewers accused publishers of invoking social and emotional learning into the subject. "There is a movement to say math should be not about getting the right answer, but more about social and emotional response," DeSantis, a Republican, said at an event in The Villages, Florida, when asked by a reporter about the rejections, which applied to grades K-12. This type of learning would continue to be rejected in Florida, he pledged, saying that school districts in other states were "moving toward a more sociological and political" type of learning. "It doesn't matter how you feel about the math problem," DeSantis said. "It matters whether you can solve the math problem."

Adam Staten

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says the state may get involved in billionaire Elon Musk's attempt to buy Twitter. DeSantis, during a Tuesday press conference for the signing of a bill designed to improve accountability for higher education in the state, made the comments that Florida may pursue some type of action when it comes to Musk's attempt to buy the social media site. This comes after Musk offered to buy 100 percent of the popular platform, offering more than $40 billion. However, in response to Musk's offer, Twitter adopted the "poison pill." After signing the bill into law, DeSantis, without being prompted, brought up Musk's attempt to buy the platform. He mentioned that the State of Florida, through their pension system, does own shares of the tech company and indicated some moves from the state against Twitter may be forthcoming.

Ed Mazza

Aretiring Republican lawmaker says the extremist members of his party could make it difficult for the GOP to govern if they retake control of the House of Representatives in November with a slim majority. “It will be very hard to govern for Republicans if we’re under 230, knowing that we’ve got the MTG element that’s really not a part of a governing majority,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Upton was referring to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a far-right conspiracy theorist who’s spoken at a white nationalist event and has a history of spreading racist and anti-Semitic talking points.

Sebastian Murdock

Florida officials continued their war on education this week after rejecting more than 50 proposed math textbooks that allegedly “included references to Critical Race Theory.” The Florida Department of Education announced Friday it would not include 54 of the 132 ― or 41% ― of math textbooks on the state’s adopted list, citing “CRT” as one of the main reasons. “Reasons for rejecting textbooks included references to Critical Race Theory (CRT), inclusions of Common Core, and the unsolicited addition of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in mathematics,” the statement said. “The highest number of books rejected were for grade levels K-5, where an alarming 71 percent were not appropriately aligned with Florida standards or included prohibited topics and unsolicited strategies.” The state’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said without evidence that the math textbooks “included indoctrinating concepts like race essentialism, especially, bizarrely, for elementary school students.”

The text messages from Lee to the White House give new insight into the extent of his role in attempting to keep Donald Trump in the White House.
By Robert Gehrke

We woke up Friday morning to a bombshell report from CNN, which had obtained text messages sent by Utah Sen. Mike Lee to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows discussing efforts to overturn the 2020 election and keep Donald Trump in the White House. The text messages take us on a roller coaster, where Lee initially embraces the conspiracy theories of Trump lawyer Sidney Powell before coming to the realization that she could potentially expose the president to legal liability for her defamatory statements.

Andrew Solender

Two Republican members of Congress repeatedly pressed former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows for evidence of widespread voter fraud before turning skeptical of former President Trump's election conspiracies, texts reported by CNN reveal.

Why it matters: The texts from Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the aftermath of the 2020 election highlight the winding road some Trump loyalists took to opposing election objections on Jan. 6.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) warned President Donald Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about overturning the election without evidence, new text messages reveal.

Keith Reed

Afederal judge issued a ruling in a case over a political fundraising law in Georgia that will put Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and even some Republicans at a big disadvantage as they try to unseat Gov. Brian Kemp. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Cohen ruled that Abrams can’t start raising unlimited funds for her campaign under a new Georgia law that allows her potential opponent, Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, to do the same. Cohen wrote that he, “will not rewrite Georgia law,” to allow Abrams to play by the same rules that, ironically, the state’s legislature rewrote last year to Kemp’s advantage. In 2021, Georgia’s Republican-controlled General Assembly passed a law that exempts some incumbents–particularly the governor and lieutenant governor–as well as party nominees for elected offices from fundraising caps on their campaigns. Candidates in those positions can create so-called leadership committees that don’t have to abide by the $7,600 cap on donations from individuals in general elections, while all other candidates do. The leadership committees can also coordinate directly with candidates’ campaigns, something that a traditional political action committee, such as Abrams’ One Georgia, cannot do.

Timothy Bella

As the Tennessee Senate debated a bill that would classify camping on public property as a misdemeanor, Republican state Sen. Frank Niceley argued that homeless people had a chance to not just find shelter but also enjoy history-making lives. But as he attempted to make his point on Wednesday about how homeless people could change their fortunes, Niceley picked someone who went from homeless to historical for all the wrong reasons: Adolf Hitler, the Nazi leader who led the genocide that killed millions of Jews. “I haven’t given you all a history lesson in awhile, and I wanted to give you a little history on homelessness,” Niceley said. “[In] 1910, Hitler decided to live on the streets for a while. So for two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced his oratory, and his body language, and how to connect with citizens and then went on to lead a life that got him in the history books.” Niceley, who said he supported the bill to criminalize homeless encampments on public property, added, “It’s not a dead end. They can come out of these homeless camps and have a productive life — or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life.”

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