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GOP Watch Keeping an Eye on Republicans for You - Page 8

“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.

Story by Yasmin Tayag

No country has a perfect COVID vaccination rate, even this far into the pandemic, but America’s record is particularly dismal. About a third of Americans—more than a hundred million people—have yet to get their initial shots. You can find anti-vaxxers in every corner of the country. But by far the single group of adults most likely to be unvaccinated is Republicans: 37 percent of Republicans are still unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated, compared with 9 percent of Democrats. Fourteen of the 15 states with the lowest vaccination rates voted for Donald Trump in 2020. (The other is Georgia.)

We know that unvaccinated Americans are more likely to be Republican, that Republicans in positions of power led the movement against COVID vaccination, and that hundreds of thousands of unvaccinated Americans have died preventable deaths from the disease. The Republican Party is unquestionably complicit in the premature deaths of many of its own supporters, a phenomenon that may be without precedent in the history of both American democracy and virology.

Story by Matthew Chapman

On Thursday, following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's historic address to the U.S. Congress, conservative writer Nick Catoggio tore into the wing of the Republican Party that has increasingly embraced Russia and Vladimir Putin rather than the cause of fighting for the preservation of global democracy, in a scorching article for The Dispatch.

"If you're a post-liberal populist, particularly of the Very Online variety, watching Putin go belly-up in Ukraine has dashed all sorts of political illusions," wrote Catoggio. "Your faith that strongmen are the best, most competent instrument for achieving political prerogatives is shaken. Your belief that woke Western militaries are no match on the battlefield for fascist machismo looks silly. Your hope of a great authoritarian victory over Ukraine that might inspire Americans to embrace nationalism and reject the global liberal order has disappeared along with 100,000 or so Russian soldiers."

Republicans talk a good game but once again, their actions show they are all talk and no action.

Story by Kylie Cheung

For the past year, we’ve been subjected to an endless, escalating right-wing fearmongering campaign presenting LGBTQ adults as innate child sexual predators, or “groomers,” and any children in their vicinity as victims. People are literally throwing molotov cocktails into establishments that host drag events, under the guise of protecting children. The now-feuding Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) have been the most front-facing proponents of this rhetoric (even though Boebert’s husband was jailed for exposing himself to teens in a bowling alley a few years ago).

Yet, on Wednesday, Greene and Boebart joined 26 other House Republicans to vote against the bipartisan Respect for Child Survivors Act, which overwhelmingly passed out of the House anyway and will address how the FBI has historically mishandled child sexual abuse cases. The bill will create specific teams within the FBI to support child victims and investigate child sexual abuse, trafficking, and child abuse content. Neither Greene nor Boebert have publicly offered explanations for their votes, and frankly, they don’t have to—the gross hypocrisy of constantly lying that LGBTQ people pose a threat to children, all while declining to protect children from actual sexual predation, speaks for itself.

Story by Ian Millhiser

Federal law explicitly authorizes federal courts to review convictions and sentences handed down by state courts, and to invalidate them if a prisoner is held “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” Last Thursday, however, a far-right panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit effectively eliminated state prisoners’ right to seek what is known as a “writ of habeas corpus” when they are imprisoned in violation of the Constitution or federal law, except in cases of “factual innocence.”

Among other things, this means that someone who is “factually guilty” of an unconstitutional crime — such as violating a Jim Crow law or a law prohibiting individuals from criticizing the president — would be stripped of their habeas rights in federal court. It could also potentially enable abusive conduct by police and prosecutors, such as coerced confessions or warrantless searches, by removing nearly all federal supervision of states that overlook such violations. Judge Andrew Oldham’s decision in Crawford v. Cain is completely lawless. It finds this novel requirement that an unconstitutional or illegal conviction or sentence must stand, unless the prisoner shows they are innocent, within a federal statute that states that federal courts hearing habeas cases “shall summarily hear and determine the facts, and dispose of the matter as law and justice require.” Oldham, along with the two other Republican-appointed judges who joined his opinion, claims that only factual innocence “satisfies the law-and-justice requirement.”

Story by Ian Macdougall

To hear some tell it, a Supreme Court case set for argument on Dec. 7 could spell the end of democracy in the United States. If the Republicans who brought the case, Moore v. Harper, prevail, state legislatures will effectively be free to override the votes of their citizens in presidential elections, the doomsayers predict. That might allow a future presidential candidate to undo an election, much as Donald Trump attempted, but failed, to do in 2020.

The Atlantic warned that the "Court's right-wing supermajority is poised to let state lawmakers overturn voters' choice in presidential elections." The Guardian opined that a ruling in favor of the GOP would mean that "whether Republicans win or lose elections via the popular vote will not matter because they will be able to maintain power regardless." And Slate called Moore v. Harper "the Supreme Court case that could upend democracy."

Those fears are overblown. They ignore other legal protections that would prevent the theft of a presidential election. A state legislature can in fact choose which electors to pick, legal scholars generally agree, as those bodies routinely did in the early days of the republic. But a legislature has the power to decide to handle a vote that way only before citizens begin casting ballots in a given election.

Story by Zachary Leeman

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito denied allegations he was behind leaking a 2014 Supreme Court ruling, which has many critics now branding him as the one who leaked the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Former anti-abortion activist Rev. Rob Schenck claimed through interviews with the New York Times and a letter sent to Chief Justice John Roberts that he was told the outcome of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby weeks before it became public in June 2014. According to the report by Jodi Kantor and Jo Becker, Schenck prepared a public relations campaign ahead of the ruling and he even tipped off the president of Hobby Lobby, the company that would win the case.

According to the Times:
In early June 2014, an Ohio couple who were Mr. Schenck’s star donors shared a meal with Justice Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann. A day later, Gayle Wright, one of the pair, contacted Mr. Schenck, according to an email reviewed by The Times. “Rob, if you want some interesting news please call. No emails,” she wrote. Mr. Schenck said Mrs. Wright told him that the decision would be favorable to Hobby Lobby, and that Justice Alito had written the majority opinion. Three weeks later, that’s exactly what happened. The court ruled, in a 5-4 vote, that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance covering contraception violated their religious freedoms.

Bob Brigham

Four U.S. Supreme Court justices attended the black-tie dinner gala at the first Federal Society convention since the court overturned Roe vs. Wade in its controversial Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health decision. Associated Press correspondent Mark Sherman reported Justices Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh were in attendance at the group's 40th-anniversary celebration Sherman noted it is four-fifths of the majority of the court that overturned Roe. Controversial Justice Clarence Thomas was the fifth.

Opinion by Julia Davis

The midterm elections in the United States were a hot topic in Moscow. Convinced that the “red wave” was coming, Russian propagandists rushed to take credit for the anticipated landslide victory that would ensure Republican majority in Congress and Senate. The midterm elections in the United States were a hot topic in Moscow. Convinced that the “red wave” was coming, Russian propagandists rushed to take credit for the anticipated landslide victory that would ensure Republican majority in Congress and Senate.

This plan to discredit the U.S. elections and convince the Republicans that the mighty Kremlin hand covertly helped push them to victory had backfired. On Wednesday, state TV propagandists were scratching their heads about the wave that turned out to be but a trickle. During the broadcast of 60 Minutes, host Olga Skabeeva asked an expert: “How are our guys in America?” Political scientist Vladimir Kornilov clarified with a chuckle: “Our Republicans.”

Xander Landen

Thousands of people have signed an online petition circulated by a Christian organization condemning Republicans including Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, and former Trump national security adviser, Michael Flynn, as "false prophets." In a description of its petition, the organization, Faithful America, blasts leaders of the "Christian nationalist movement," who "come to us in sheep's clothing by claiming to speak for Jesus, but ultimately prove themselves to be ravenous wolves who manipulate the language of religion and care only for themselves, devouring the rights of non-Christians, women, migrant families, voters, and the LGBTQ community."

In addition to Greene and Flynn, the organization labels Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Republican Ohio U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance, Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, and Representative Lauren Boebert, a Colorado Republican, as "false prophets," according to the organization's website. The petition, which has a goal of 15,000 signatures, currently has close to 14,000 signatures as of Saturday morning.

Opinion by Mark Joseph Stern

Federal judges are not historians, but they are increasingly obligated to play ones on the bench. In his Bruen decision last June, Justice Clarence Thomas ordered courts to assess the constitutionality of modern-day gun restrictions by searching for “historical analogues” from 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified. Ever since, judges have struggled mightily with this task—in part because most have no training in real historical analysis, but also because the record is often spotty and contradictory. In light of Bruen’s maximalist language, they have erred on the side of gun owners, finding a constitutional right to buy a gun while under indictment for a violent crime, to carry a gun into airports, and to scratch out the serial number on a firearm, rendering it untraceable.

The Founding Fathers would disagree with Mike Pence and so does the Constitution.

By Brandon Gage | AlterNet

Former Vice President Mike Pence claimed during a Wednesday appearance on Fox Business that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution does not protect Americans from having other people's faiths forced upon them. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," it states. In fact, there are no references to a supreme being anywhere in the Constitution, because the Founding Fathers were adamantly opposed to centralized religious power as well as requiring individuals to subscribe to any particular denomination.

The concept of separation of church and state was sacrosanct to men like President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in his 1776 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom that "setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time" and that "to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical."

Katherine Fung

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is facing criticism over his decision to temporarily freeze an order from a lower court that required Republican Senator Lindsey Graham to testify in front of a grand jury investigating the efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Fulton County, Georgia. The move from Thomas, who did not refer the case to the full bench and acted alone in the decision, prompted calls for his impeachment and accusations that the top judge was acting anti-democratically."Hard to overstate how antidemocratic and delegitimizing this move is. The husband of a key insurrectionist blocks the testimony of a key witness in an election interference probe," activist Max Berger tweeted on Monday.

"Democrats should launch impeachment proceedings against Clarence Thomas. He's not fit to serve." Earlier in the day, Thomas agreed to freeze the order on Graham, whose legal team argued he could not be questioned about his calls to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff because they were part of his work as a senator and that answering any such questions is unconstitutional under the speech or debate clause that protects legislators from certain law enforcement actions connected to those duties. Graham filed the request to Thomas, who has jurisdiction over emergency matters from Georgia, on Friday.

Opinion by Ryan Cooper

To say that the upcoming election is the most important in American history is a cliché at this point, more of a biannual tradition than an actual warning. The arguments made often sound ridiculous in retrospect — but there is a strong case for the 2022 midterms to be the most important election in American history. The results of next month’s voting will determine if there are any more real elections in the future. Also on the ballot are potential global financial apocalypse, enormous cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and all manner of ancillary issues. And yet these issues are almost totally absent from mainstream political reporting, and apparently, the minds of swing voters who will decide the control of Congress and statewide offices around the country.

The stakes badly need to be clarified, so consider this an attempt to lay them bare. The stakes badly need to be clarified, so consider this an attempt to lay them bare. First, Republicans have nominated 2020 election deniers to oversee electoral processes in swing states Arizona, Nevada, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And these nominees are barely trying to hide their intentions. Given the attempted putsch Jan. 6, 2021 — which Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for governor, not only attended, but also organized buses for — we should take these candidates at their word.

Erum Salam

The second-highest ranking Republican in the US House, Steve Scalise, is facing criticism for questioning what Democrats did to halt the deadly January 6 Capitol attack on the day of the riots despite being shown on video standing beside chamber speaker Nancy Pelosi as she called for back-up from national guard troops. Scalise, whose Louisiana district includes a large suburban area outside New Orleans, at one point questioned the lengths to which top Democrats went to end the assault on the Capitol staged by a mob of Donald Trump supporters as the former president questioned the results of the 2020 election that he lost to Joe Biden. But a video released last week by the bipartisan House committee investigating the Capitol attack showed Scalise, the Republican whip in the chamber, got an up-close look at the Democratic majority’s leadership trying to summon troops who could help quell the insurrection.

By David Badash,The New Civil Rights Movement | AlterNet

66 million Americans get their income from Social Security. 64 million Americans use Medicare for their primary health insurance, and 76 million Americans use Medicaid for healthcare. Since last week Republicans have been talking about gutting these three critical programs, which they falsely call “entitlements,” despite them being funded through every employed person’s paycheck. Last week the four Republicans vying to become the next Chair of the House Budget Committee all said they would use a vote on the debt ceiling – which is simply voting to raise the country’s credit limit on everything we have already purchased (that’s a critical point, it’s to pay our bills, not to buy more) – basically as a sword to get Democrats to support massive reductions in critical programs that literally help keep millions of Americans alive.

This week, multiple Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have admitted the plan is to use the debt ceiling as a threat to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. “With Republicans favored to take over the majority in the U.S. House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is preparing to become the House speaker,” MSNBC‘s Steve Benen reports. “And while the California congressman doesn’t have much of a governing blueprint in mind — the GOP remains a post-policy party — McCarthy told Punchbowl News about one step he’s prepared to take once he’s in a position of real power.”

Matthew Chapman

At the Utah Senate debate on Monday night, incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Lee denied having had a role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election for former President Donald Trump when challenged by conservative independent Evan McMullin. "There were rumors circulating suggesting that some states were considering switching out their slates of electors," said Lee. "I did research on that; I made phone calls to figure out whether the rumors were true. The rumors were false. On that basis, I voted to certify the results of the elections." But on Tuesday, CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale dismantled Lee's characterization of how he handled the 2020 election — bringing up his past text messages to show Lee was in fact in on Republican efforts to challenge the result.

"One part of the story is true: Lee did vote on January 6 to certify Biden’s victory, saying Congress didn’t have a constitutional role in the process other than opening and counting the electoral votes," wrote Dale. "But before that – according to his texts to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, which were obtained by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol – he wasn’t merely doing research to look into the truth of rumors. To the contrary, the texts show Lee telling Meadows that he was engaged in an intensive attempt, until at least two days prior to January 6, to somehow find a way that Donald Trump could be named the winner of the election."

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson wrong to claim Jan. 6 was not an armed insurrection
By D.L. Davis

The U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, has scheduled what could be its final public hearing for Oct. 13. It will be the committee’s first public session since the summer, when lawmakers presented the evidence they gathered in a series of televised hearings that attracted millions of viewers. A report is to be filed by the end of the year. The earlier hearings, and the criminal charges brought against more than 900 protesters by the U.S. Justice Department, have made clear that the events of that day were part of a coordinated effort to prevent the lawful transfer of power to newly elected President Joe Biden.

An insurrection. The hearings have included video footage and photos of the attack, showing participants erecting gallows, deploying pepper spray, hurling a fire extinguisher, using baseball bats to smash windows and throwing flags like spears at police officers. Within a week of the attack, a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition were found. In other words, the crowd was armed.

Both points seem clear. Not to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who is locked in a tight re-election race against Democrat Mandela Barnes, Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor. Here was Johnson during an Oct. 4 appearance at the Rotary Club of Milwaukee as reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Now some of the protesters did teach us all how you can use flagpoles and that kind of stuff as weapons. But to call what happened on January 6 an armed insurrection, I just think is not accurate." On that, he is plainly wrong.

Matt Fuller

For anyone who watched the House’s 2019 impeachment of Donald Trump over withholding military aid to Ukraine, it’s probably not a surprise that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) wasn’t quite an unbiased investigator. But a new book about Trump’s two impeachment trials details how Jordan worked to frame the Ukraine scandal as a nothingburger—even when he knew there was more damning information that had yet to come out—and defended Trump’s stonewalling tactics, even when he disagreed and tried to convince the president to cooperate. In “Unchecked,” Politico’s Rachael Bade and The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian lay out how Jordan made his way into Trump’s inner circle, became a key defender of the president, misled the media with strategic leaks, and defended Trump’s decisions to block key testimony. Jordan’s staff did not reply to a request for comment.

By Alex Henderson | AlterNet

When Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia debated Marcus Flowers, her Democratic challenger in the 2022 midterms, on October 16, he lambasted her for encouraging the insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Greene angrily responded that it was unfair to blame her for that attack in any way. But an article written by journalist/author Hunter Walker and published on SubStack following that debate demonstrates that Greene promoted the Big Lie after the 2020 election and encouraged MAGA efforts to overturn the election results.

Greene, during the debate, told Flowers, “You cannot accuse me of insurrection. I was a victim of the January 6 riot just as much as any other member of Congress. That was the third day I had on the job. I had nothing to do with what happened there that day, and I will not have you accuse me of that. That is wrong of you to do. You’re lying about me, and you will not defame my character in that manner.” But text messages that Greene sent to former White House Chief of Starr Mark Meadows before January 6, 2021, according to Walker, “indicate” that she “was involved in organizing the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election at the U.S.”


The public hearing held on Thursday by the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots provided "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" of Donald Trump's "treasonous crimes" in attempting to retain the presidency, legal analyst Glenn Kirschner said. Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, attended the hearing and later posted a video on his YouTube page breaking down the presentation, choosing to quote and paraphrase the words of committee members in laying out what he described as "devastating" evidence of Trump's guilt. He pointed to the opening statement from Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair, in which she stated that the central cause of the events on January 6 was "one man, Donald Trump."

The public hearing held on Thursday by the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots provided "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" of Donald Trump's "treasonous crimes" in attempting to retain the presidency, legal analyst Glenn Kirschner said. Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, attended the hearing and later posted a video on his YouTube page breaking down the presentation, choosing to quote and paraphrase the words of committee members in laying out what he described as "devastating" evidence of Trump's guilt. He pointed to the opening statement from Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the committee's vice chair, in which she stated that the central cause of the events on January 6 was "one man, Donald Trump."

Benjamin Lindsay

As more video footage of the Jan. 6 insurrection comes to light, so, too, does the hypocrisy of various Republican politicians who claim one truth while experiencing another. The latest example got "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough fired up Friday. Rep. Steve Scalise didn't have the morning news host mincing words: "I couldn't imagine … lying through my teeth on an issue," he said. Ever since the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the actions of Speaker Nancy Pelosi have especially been brought into question, with former president Donald Trump, Rep. Scalise and others claiming that she should have done more to secure the building while under siege. Those criticisms, however, hit a snag this week when never-before-seen footage of Pelosi calling in the National Guard went viral Friday. Scalise, it turns out, is shown in the footage as being an active witness to Pelosi's efforts, as well.

Michael Rainey

Republicans in the House are planning to use a potential showdown next year over raising the federal debt limit to make changes in Social Security and Medicare, Bloomberg’s Jack Fitzpatrick reports. The developing plan hinges on Republicans winning control of the House in the midterm elections, an outcome that is looking likely. Four GOP lawmakers who are vying for leadership of the House Budget Committee in the event of a Republican victory told Fitzpatrick that the need to raise the debt ceiling could give them the leverage they need to force Democrats to make concessions.

“The debt limit is clearly one of those tools that Republicans — that a Republican-controlled Congress — will use to make sure that we do everything we can to make this economy strong,” Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the senior Republican on the current Budget Committee, said. Republicans are still discussing exactly what changes they might try to enact. “What would we consider a win?” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), who is interested in the top spot on the Budget Committee. “What would we consider to be a fiscally responsible budget?”

Although the details are still up in the air, one theme is clear: House Republicans want to reduce federal spending, and the major entitlement programs are a target. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) Carter said that Republicans’ “main focus has got to be on nondiscretionary — it’s got to be on entitlements.”

“The debt limit is clearly one of those tools that Republicans — that a Republican-controlled Congress — will use to make sure that we do everything we can to make this economy strong,” Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), the senior Republican on the current Budget Committee, said. Republicans are still discussing exactly what changes they might try to enact. “What would we consider a win?” said Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), who is interested in the top spot on the Budget Committee. “What would we consider to be a fiscally responsible budget?”

Shrinking the safety net: One option reportedly being discussed is raising the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare, the two largest mandatory spending programs. Each faces financial squeezes in the coming years as the baby boomers age and continue to retire. Under current rules, the Social Security system would be forced to cut benefits starting in 2034, while Medicare could run short of funds by 2028.

By Sarah K. Burris | Raw Story

The Washington Post got a heads-up about what the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 attack will be revealing in what is expected to be the final public hearing. One of the reporters who penned the piece spoke to Nicolle Wallace and explained that all of the things that former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson said under oath are going to be corroborated by the Secret Service on Thursday.

One of the key pieces of the Jan. 6 probe was the radio traffic that they were able to play during the last committee hearing. Secret Service agents reported several people with weapons outside of the security perimeter at the White House. Wallace replayed the clips of the audio. "Individuals in a tree, a white male, about 6 feet tall, brown cowboy boots," a voice on the radio reports. "Got blue jeans and a blue jean jacket and he has an AR-15. He's with a group of individuals, 5 feet from other individuals. Two of the individuals in that group beneath the tree are in green fatigues, about 5'8", 5'9", skinny white males, brown cowboy boots, Glock-style pistols in their waist."

The Florida governor ‘put politics aside’ to ask Joe Biden for federal – unlike when he voted against help for Hurricane Sandy victims
Martin Pengelly in New York

As Hurricane Ian has devastated parts of Florida, the national political spotlight in America has shone brighter than ever on Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor, rising star of the hard right and probable presidential contender in 2024. Since his election in 2018, DeSantis has made his name as a ruthless culture-warrior as he has become an ally to Trump and perhaps his most serious rival in any presidential nomination contest. DeSantis has embraced an extremist agenda on everything from immigration to election integrity, positioning himself as Trumpist on policy but more mainstream on personality and temperament. He has championed “don’t say gay” legislation in Florida schools and this month used taxpayers’ money to send a planeload of migrants from the southern border in Texas to Massachusetts, a Democratic-run state.

That last move prompted a blizzard of anger and indignation. The transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, said DeSantis was “hurting people in order to get attention”. But such opprobrium did not deter a governor playing to a Trumpist base. For his next move, DeSantis suggested, he would send his next planeload of unsuspecting asylum seekers to Delaware, where Joe Biden has a weekend home. But then Hurricane Ian hit. And like ambitious Republicans before him – most famously Chris Christie of New Jersey, whose photo ops with Barack Obama after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 were reckoned to have hurt him in the 2016 primary – DeSantis realised he needed to talk to the president.

By Bob Brigham | Raw Story

Florida governor Ron DeSantis campaigning for president by pushing Christian nationalism was the focus of a new editorial published online by the Miami Herald on Saturday afternoon. "Is America a Christian nation? The United States is a secular nation with no official religion, so the answer is No," the editorial board wrote. "But to Republicans such as Florida Gov. DeSantis, simplifying the answer to a Yes is a powerful tool. They’ve found a political gold mine in pitting Christians against the so-called evils of the left, gay and transgender people and teachers accused of pushing a 'woke' agenda."

"DeSantis’ flirting with Christian nationalism — the belief that America is in God’s plan and was intended to be a Christian nation — as the Herald recently reported, is not new in GOP politics," the editorial board wrote. "But it shows where the governor’s mind is. Elected in 2018 by a razor-thin margin in a state long considered purple — Florida has become redder, but it isn’t Mississippi, yet — he appears more concerned with 2024 GOP presidential primary voters. He’s not losing any sleep over alienating middle-of-the-road voters in his state." The newspaper warned of the dangers of white supremacy.

Thomas Kika

Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, on Friday had harsh words for the "alt-right" wing of his own party. Crenshaw is a congressman for Texas' 2nd Congressional District, which is predominantly made of the northern parts of the Houston metropolitan area. On Friday, The Texas Tribune published an interview with the lawmaker in which he criticized the conspiratorial, far-right elements of the Republican Party, comparing them to the so-called "far-left" and accusing them of only wanting "to wear a jersey and just scream at the other side."

"They remind me of the far left more than anything," Crenshaw said. "If the first words out of their mouths are 'RINO' and 'establishment' and 'globalist,' rest assured they are not very thoughtful and they are probably about to lie to you. I'm just sick of it." Interviewer Johnathan Martin suggested controversial Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, as one of the specific GOP lawmakers that he was referring to, though Crenshaw himself stopped short of naming anyone. Greene and Crenshaw have come to blows in the past, with the congresswoman in May criticizing Crenshaw for voting in favor of a bipartisan $40 billion aid package for Ukraine.

In some cases, Trump’s fake electors could influence elections in midterm swing states, while others are running for office themselves.
By Natasha Korecki and Kaitlyn Francis

They were part of an effort across battleground states to upend the 2020 presidential election results, signing documents asserting they were their states’ rightful electors and Donald Trump — not Joe Biden — was the victor. Today, the U.S. Justice Department is circling these “fake electors.” The FBI has visited many of their homes delivering grand jury subpoenas and, in at least one case, seizing a cellphone, a source familiar with the investigation confirmed to NBC News. And the Jan. 6 Select Committee has compelled many of them to testify, arguing they were an integral part of a broader scheme cooked up by some of Trump’s closest confidants to overturn the election.

Law enforcement activity has not pushed these false electors from their political perches. Instead, with just two months until the midterms, more than two dozen of the individuals who served as phony electors still hold some of the highest-ranking political posts in their state parties. They’re also interwoven into the GOP infrastructure across seven battleground states that will determine the balance of Congress in November and the next presidential race two years later, according to a review by NBC News.

At issue is the attempt by Republicans in seven battleground states that Biden won in 2020 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — to offer phony slates of 84 Republicans most of whom signed certificates declaring themselves the “duly elected electors” from their states. The problem: There were official, state-certified electors for Biden whose votes were sent to Congress to be counted as part of the verification of presidential election results.

Election watchdogs say Koch’s about face after pledging change following January 6 is disturbing given the threats to democracy
Peter Stone

Fossil fuel giant Koch Industries has poured over $1m into backing – directly and indirectly – dozens of House and Senate candidates who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s win on 6 January 2021. Koch, which is controlled by multibillionaire Charles Koch, boasts a corporate Pac that has donated $607,000 to the campaigns or leadership Pacs of 52 election deniers since January 2021, making Koch’s Pac the top corporate funder of members who opposed the election results, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks campaign spending. In addition, the Super Pac Americans for Prosperity Action to which Koch Industries has given over $6m since January 2021, has backed some election deniers with advertising and other communications support, as well as a few candidates Donald Trump has endorsed who tried to help him overturn the 2020 election, or raised doubts about the final results.

Julia Conley

Government watchdogs are warning that the Republican takeover of state legislatures in recent years could imminently have major implications for the United States, as a right-wing effort to hold a new constitutional convention appears closer than ever to being realized. On Monday, former Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold wrote in an op-ed at The Guardian that Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution allows the document to be amended, either with amendments being proposed by two-thirds of Congress and ratified by three-quarters of the states, or through a method that has never been tested: the establishment of a new constitutional convention.

To hold a new convention, two-thirds of all state legislatures—34 total—must apply to hold the gathering, where lawmakers would have broad freedom to change the Constitution however they saw fit. Three-quarters of states would have to ratify their proposed amendments. "The right has already packed the Supreme Court and is reaping the rewards, with decisions from Dobbs to Bruen that radically reinterpret the Constitution in defiance of precedent and sound legal reasoning," wrote Feingold, referencing recent rulings on abortion rights and gun control. "But factions of the right are not satisfied to wait for the court to reinterpret the constitution. Instead, they have set their sights on literally rewriting our foundational document."

Steve Benen

The Washington Post’s report on the FBI finding nuclear secrets at Mar-a-Lago was obviously stunning, though the article used a specific phrase that warrants a closer look. According to the reporting, some of the documents seized at Donald Trump’s glorified country club was so highly sensitive that it fell under the category of “special-access programs.” The Post added, “Documents about such highly classified operations require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, not just top-secret clearance. Some special-access programs can have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of an operation’s existence.”

On the show last night, Alex spoke to John Brennan, the former director of the CIA, who also acknowledged that the documents in question are “part of special-access programs, SAPs.” He added, “These are documents that are the most highly sensitive and highly restrictive within the U.S. government.” Obviously, the fact that the former president took such materials and refused to give them back is extraordinary, and may yet prove to be criminal. But the specific reference to special-access programs reminds me of something we last discussed a couple of weeks ago: a quote from a House Republican that’s worth revisiting.

By Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota ethics board on Monday said it found sufficient information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “engaged in misconduct” when she intervened in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license that it could take action against her. The three retired judges on the Government Accountability Board determined that “appropriate action” could be taken against Noem, though it didn't specify the action. The board voted unanimously to invoke procedures calling for a contested case hearing that would give Noem, who has denied wrongdoing, a chance to publicly defend herself against the allegations related to “conflicts of interest” or “malfeasance.” The retired judges also referred a complaint that Noem flew on state-owned airplanes to political events to the state attorney general’s office for further investigation. That puts the investigation under the oversight of the interim attorney general, Mark Vargo, who was appointed by Noem.

By CBS Philadelphia

(CNN) -- The Republican nominee in at least 21 of this year's 36 gubernatorial races is someone who has rejected, declined to affirm, raised doubts about, or tried to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. And the list will almost certainly get longer when the last batch of Republican primaries is completed over the coming weeks. The 21 candidates on the list so far have expressed varying views about the 2020 election. Some have falsely proclaimed the election stolen; some others have been evasive when asked if Biden's victory was legitimate. Some incumbents endorsed a 2020 lawsuit that sought to overturn Biden's win but have said little about the election since; some first-time candidates made false election claims a focus of their successful 2022 primary campaigns.

Regardless, the presence of a large number of 2020 deniers, deceivers and skeptics on general election ballots in November raises the prospect of a crisis of democracy in the 2024 presidential election in which former President Donald Trump is widely expected to run again. Governors play a major role in elections -- signing or vetoing legislation about election rules, sometimes unilaterally changing those rules, appointing key election officials, and, critically, certifying election results. It is possible that some swing states will have their 2024 elections run by both a governor and elections chief who have vehemently rejected Biden's victory.

Jason Lemon

Critics of Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), resurfaced a past Medicare fraud settlement from his tenure as CEO of a hospital corporation, as his committee reportedly is running short on cash and pulling ads in support of GOP Senate candidates with less than three months until the midterm election.

The NRSC is the primary organization working to raise funds and support Republican candidates in the party's bid to take back the majority in the upper chamber of Congress. Scott has led the committee since January 2021, but The Washington Post reported on Friday that campaign advisers are asking "where all the money went and to demand an audit of the committee's finances" as the NRSC pulls ads and runs low on funds. Many on Twitter pointed to Scott's past Medicare fraud scandal

To protect Trump Rand Paul wants make our nation less safe by repealing the Espionage Act. Republicans also want to make us less safe by defunding the DOJ and FBI to protect Trump.

jzitser@businessinsider.com (Joshua Zitser)

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called for the repeal of the Espionage Act after it was revealed that the Justice Department is investigating if former President Donald Trump potentially violated the Act. "The Espionage Act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI," tweeted Paul. "It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment."

Paul shared a link to a 2019 article by Jacob Hornberger, a former Libertarian presidential candidate and founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, which called the Espionage Act a "tyrannical law." The Espionage Act of 1917 dates back to World War I. Insider reported it was introduced to prohibit sharing information that could harm the US or advantage foreign adversaries.

The right has shown us who they are and it should scare the hell out of all Americans.

insider@insider.com (John Haltiwanger)

In the wake of an FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Florida home, some far-right figures have been spreading violent rhetoric online — including calls for war. The Republican party has long portrayed itself as the defender of "law and order," but the aftermath of the raid has seen GOP lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene call for defunding the FBI. Greene has also made references to "civil war" on social media as her Republican colleagues compare the FBI to the Gestapo and depict the raid as the type of thing that only happens in "third world" countries.

Meanwhile, pro-Trump internet channels have seen a spike in talk of civil war since the raid. The FBI raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home came in a historically divisive period for the US, one in which millions of voters continue to believe the false notion that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. Such erroneous claims were at the heart of what catalyzed the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol last year, and historians and experts on democracy warn that these lies continue to foster the potential for further violence. They also say that if the US did see civil war, it wouldn't look like the first one.

Republicans, Fox News and right wing media only support the blue when they are going after black, brown and democrats.

By Tom Boggioni | Raw Story

Late Thursday, the president of Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association lashed out at Republicans who have been attacking the FBI and Department of Justice employees for their part in serving a warrant for classified materials at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort earlier in the week. Since FBI agents descended on the former president's Florida home at the direction of Attorney General Merrick Garland, Republican Party lawmakers have been raising a fuss that has included calls to "defund the FBI" as well as calling for investigations and purging of DOJ officials if the GOP takes control of the House in November. With that in mind, the Washington Post reports that Larry Cosme issued a statement stating the GOP lawmakers making threats about "coming for you" is far beyond the pale. While noting a Cincinnati man attacked an FBI field office -- and subsequently died -- Thursday afternoon with the assault directly attributed to the violent rhetoric against the department due to the Mar-a-Lago investigation, Cosme stated, "The rank-and-file officers on the street and agents, they are career employees that … cherish the Constitution like the average American."

Natalie Korach

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) joined Fox & Friends on Thursday, where anchor Steve Doocy pressed the congressman about the attacks directed toward law enforcement following the FBI raid at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. On Monday evening, Trump’s south Florida home was raided by the FBI, a search which reportedly concerned classified documents that were taken from the White House. Since the raid, Trump supporters in the media have lambasted the FBI and DOJ, and there has been a significant increase in violent threats against law enforcement.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, who was appointed to the position by Trump himself in 2017, condemned the threats that have increased as a result of the Mar-a-Lago search. On Thursday, Doocy noted the threats being received by law enforcement saying “there are a number of people online and elsewhere who are demonizing the FBI.” The Fox News anchor mentioned Republican politicians who have spoken out against the FBI since the raid, including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Gosar tweeted that “We must destroy the FBI,” claiming that Trump is being unjustly targeted.

By Travis Gettys | Raw Story

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said the Mar-A-Lago search revealed the Republican Party was opposed to law and order, and he singled out Newt Gingrich for special scorn. The GOP has circled its wagons around Donald Trump after federal agents removed around a dozen boxes of presidential documents that investigators say had been improperly removed from the White House, and the "Morning Joe" host blasted conservatives for inciting violence against law enforcement officials.

"Some of the same people are making dark, ominous threats, now comparing the FBI to Stalin, now suggesting that this is a banana republic, now saying we have to go to war against the FBI," Scarborough said. "These people hate law and order. I thought they were the party of law and order. They don't believe in the rule of law when it applies to the most powerful, I guess." Gingrich, the former GOP House speaker, joined other conservatives suggesting the FBI planted evidence at Mar-A-Lago and compared them to wolves, and Scarborough called him out.

"Newt Gingrich, damn you," he said. "You know better ... you are taking another cheap shot at law enforcement officers when they don't serve your interest, in saying we'd be better off to think of the FBI as wolves? Wolves who want to eat you? Wolves who want to dominate you? You say the FBI has, quote, 'declared war on the American people?'"

Donald Trump invoked the 5th Amendment and declined to answer questions from the New York attorney general during deposition Wednesday. Trump has been the subject of a three-year New York investigation involving potentially misleading financial statements. Following Wednesday's deposition, a 2016 clip of the former president resurfaced with Trump asking, "If you're innocent, why're you taking the 5th Amendment?

By Alex Henderson | AlterNet

On Sunday, August 7, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a $750 billion package addressing energy, climate change, health care and taxes. The bill passed 51-50 via the process known as budget reconciliation, allowing the Senate’s narrow Democratic majority to bypass the 60-vote rule of the filibuster. Now, the bill will go to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration, and Democrats are optimistic that it will pass in the House and make it to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Both of North Carolina’s Republican U.S. senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, voted against the bill. Journalist Danielle Battaglia, in an article published by the Raleigh News and Observer on August 8, stresses that they are facing a “vehement backlash” in their state for, during debates on the bill, opposing a proposal to limit how much private insurance companies can charge for the insulin used by diabetics.

Emily Brooks

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has launched a new website knocking House Republicans for promoting programs funded by bills that they voted against. The site, GOPVotedNoTookTheDough.com, lists 26 House Republicans who touted projects funded by the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, the American Rescue Plan stimulus, or the Fiscal Year 2022 funding omnibus, despite voting against the bills. Scrolling over a bullet point for any of the Republicans listed replaces the member’s photo with a clown emoji.

The list includes a number of House Republicans running in districts targeted by the DCCC, such as Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), but also includes members in solidly Republican districts like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and members running for higher office. “If Republicans want to tout these critical victories coming to their districts, they should have voted for them,” DCCC spokesperson Tommy Garcia said in a statement. “House Democrats delivered these historic investments – if House Republicans had their way, none would have been made possible.”

bmetzger@insider.com (Bryan Metzger)

The January 6 committee offered new details on Tuesday about a meeting at the White House that involved several Republican members of Congress ahead of the meeting of the Joint Session of Congress to certify the 2020 presidential election. According to Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida, a member of the committee, the December 21 meeting was part of an effort to "disseminate his false claims and to encourage members of the public to fight the outcome on January 6." Vice President Mike Pence, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani were all in attendance at the meeting, along with President Donald Trump. At the meeting, the members discussed election theories pushed by Trump personal lawyer John Eastman, who believed that Pence was able to singlehandedly rejected slates of electors in his role presiding over the joint session.

By Travis Gettys | Raw Story

The pardon request submitted by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) contains language that could be used to prove corrupt intent in a criminal proceeding. The Alabama Republican sought a pardon from Donald Trump in a Jan. 11, 2021, email obtained by the Guardian that shows his request for all-purpose, preemptive pardons for lawmakers who objected to the certification of Joe Biden's election win just hours after the insurrection. At least a half dozen Republican lawmakers asked for pardons immediately after the Capitol riot after Trump “hinted at a blanket pardon for the Jan. 6 thing for anybody,” according to testimony from former White House presidential personnel director John McEntee. Brooks refers to a Texas lawsuit that put pressure on vice president Mike Pence to halt or stop certification, which the select committee has argued violated the Electoral Count Act of 1887, and to objections filed in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Objections filed in those two states came after the Capitol attack, and when viewed alongside efforts by Trump attorney to push senators to continue objecting to Biden's certification suggests additional corrupt intent.

Paul Livengood, WFAA Staff

One day after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, which gave constitutional abortion rights to women for more than 50 years, a Texas senator is now going viral online for comparing it to another landmark ruling that was overruled related to racial segregation. Sen. John Cornyn responded to a tweet by former president Barack Obama that denounced the Roe v. Wade decision. Cornyn's tweet said "Now do Plessy vs Ferguson/Brown vs Board of Education." That tweet quickly went viral online, with most speculating the Texas senator was suggesting SCOTUS reverse the Board v. Board of Education decision, including Texas Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro. Brown v. Board of Education was a landmark SCOTUS decision in 1954 – which partially overruled its 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson – declaring that the "separate but equal" notion was unconstitutional for American public schools and educational facilities. WFAA reached out to Sen. Cornyn's office about the tweet, and a spokesperson directed us to this follow up tweet, which said, "Thank goodness some SCOTUS precedents are overruled."

Bombshell revelation comes during fifth public congressional hearing into the events surrounding the Capitol riot
Andrew Feinberg

Representatives Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert and Scott Perry were among the Republican members of Congress who asked President Donald Trump to insulate them from future prosecutions by granting them presidential pardons in the days immediately following the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January last year. Their names were revealed by the House January 6 select committee hearing on Thursday that focused on Mr Trump’s efforts to pressure the Department of Justice to assist in his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden. Illinois representative Adam Kinzinger, the Republican select committee member who led the hearing, suggested that seeking pardons implied that his colleagues may have at least suspected they may later face prosecution. “All I know is if you’re innocent, you’re probably not gonna go out and seek a pardon,” he said. The select committee played videotaped excerpts from depositions of former Trump White House staffers, who described the Republican members’ efforts to obtain clemency after Mr Trump’s scheme led to an attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Maggie Haberman, Michael S. Schmidt and Alan Feuer

At least half a dozen Republican members of Congress sought pre-emptive pardons from President Donald J. Trump as he fought to remain in office after his defeat in the 2020 election, witnesses have told the House Jan. 6 committee, the panel disclosed on Thursday. Mr. Trump “had hinted at a blanket pardon for the Jan. 6 thing for anybody,” Mr. Trump’s former head of presidential personnel, Johnny McEntee, testified. Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, appeared to ask for a broad pardon, not limited to his role in Mr. Trump’s effort to reverse the outcome of the election. Mr. Gaetz even invoked the pardoned former President Richard M. Nixon as he did so, Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer for Mr. Trump, testified. “He mentioned Nixon, and I said, ‘Nixon’s pardon was never nearly that broad,’” Mr. Herschmann recounted. Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama sent an email seeking a pre-emptive pardon for all 147 members of Congress who objected to the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s Electoral College win.

By Sarah K. Burris | Raw Story

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a conversation with Raw Story, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) referenced the video the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack produced Wednesday showing Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) giving a Capitol tour to a large group of individuals. The tour took place the day before the attack. "The committee is in possession of a video of one of the tourists who also was clearly part of the MAGA crowd on Jan. 6," Raskin explained. "He was calling out the names of Democratic members of Congress: Schumer, Pelosi, Nadler and AOC. And he had a huge reaction, we captured on video, with a fellow MAGA protester, in which that MAGA protester showed off how he converted his American flag into a weapon." For over a year, Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) has maintained she witnessed Republicans giving tours in the Capitol at a time that the building was closed to all tours due to the pandemic. When a member asked the Capitol Police how Loudermilk was able to get around that rule, the member was told that because it was approved by the official, the police had no power to do anything.

By Brad Reed | Raw Story

A man who went on a tour of the Capitol with Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) on January 5th, 2021 was caught on camera outside the Capitol the next day threatening lawmakers. Punchbowl News reports that the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol riots "has video of this person taking part in the Loudermilk tour on Jan. 5, as well as documentary footage of the same man outside the Capitol on Jan. 6." The person in question, who has not been identified, has interviewed with the Jan. 6 Committee and has not been charged with any wrongdoing related to the riots. Additionally, Capitol Police said this week they have no evidence that Loudermilk was leading a reconnaissance tour of would-be rioters to show them the layout of the building.

The American Muckrakers PAC has just dropped an explosive press release about Lauren Boebert alleging that she once served as an unlicensed escort for a member of the Koch family, who she met Sen. Ted Cruz through, and even got two abortions during her career in sex work. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with sex work and being a sex worker, there is a huge problem with her hypocritical rhetoric surrounding abortions and sex work in general. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss on The Young Turks.

They may call themselves Christians but they are not Christian in anyway shape or form.

kbalevic@insider.com (Katie Balevic)

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert received cheers and applause when quipped that she prays for President Joe Biden's demise while speaking at a Christian event. Boebert made the comments during a weekend event called the Family Camp Meeting at Charis Christian Center in Colorado Springs, which included a series of pastors and speakers "who have proven God's Word," according to the center's website. A video of Boebert making the comment has circulated on social media. "I do want you to know that I pray for our President. Psalm 109:8 says, 'May his days be few and another take his office.' Hallelujah! Glory to God," Boebert said with a laugh as the crowd clapped and cheered.

By David Edwards | Raw Story

Former Attorney General Eric Holder warned on Monday that the United States is "slipping into" a "political apartheid system" because conservatives have greater influence than their numbers would suggest. During an interview with Washington Post Live, Holder said he was concerned that gerrymandering allows politicians to pick their voters instead of voters making the choice. "We are in danger of slipping into what I would call a political apartheid system, where a minority of the people in this country will have disproportionate amounts of power," Holders said, "and be able to put in place things that are not supported by the majority."

By Travis Gettys | Raw Story

The Republican strategy for defending Donald Trump against the House Select Committee hearings could lead the GOP even further into extremism. Pro-Trump lawmakers are planning a media blitz to distract from the public hearings on the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election to keep the former president in power, and CNN political analyst Stephen Collinson warned that could set the GOP onto a dark path. "There are potential pitfalls for Republicans who stand with Trump as the lurid tale of violence, lies and autocratic power grabs is told again for the American people and for the benefit of history," Collinson wrote. "The evidence could be so damning that those who seek to discredit the hearings will find themselves defending the indefensible -- a dark moment of the American story that is so heinous it will live in infamy." It's not clear what political impact the evidence will have, and most voters have already made up their minds about Trump after his four years in the White House, but the GOP's willingness to defend the former president to the bitter end shows that he maintains his grip on the party and its core voters.

Thomas Kika

GOP Texas Representative Louie Gohmert faces widespread criticism for his lament Friday about Republicans not being able "to lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent," including from Democratic lawmaker Ted Lieu. Gohmert, a Republican representing Texas' 1st Congressional District, made much-derided comments during a Friday appearance on the right-wing news channel Newsmax. The lawmaker discussed the recent federal grand jury indictment of former Trump administration trade adviser Peter Navarro, who refused to meet with the House select committee investigating last year's Capitol riot. "If you're a Republican, you can't even lie to Congress or lie to an FBI agent or they're coming after you," Gohmert complained. Lieu, a Democrat representing California's 33rd Congressional District, noted that it's against the law for any person, regardless of party affiliation, to lie to entities like Congress or the FBI. "I simply note it is a federal crime for anyone to lie to Congress or the FBI during an investigation," he tweeted Friday.

By Tom Boggioni | Raw Story

According to a report from the New York Times, two Donald Trump insiders who have been consumed with proving the former president was robbed of re-election, are forging ahead by backing and supporting a slate of over one dozen Republican candidates who could oversee election results in their respective states in 2024. With interest in Donald Trump's complaints about the results of 2020 waning -- and Republicans admitting they want to move on the Times' Alexandra Berzon reports that MyPillow founder Mike Lindell and former Overstock.com executive Patrick Byrne are doing all they can to push the candidacies of conservatives running under the America First banner who hope to win election as secretary of state in 2022 which would allow them to influence election results in 2024.

By Bob Brigham | Raw Story

Strategy memos obtained by Rolling Stone from a "variety of conservative candidates and organizations" urge changing the topic and letting the news cycle change following the latest string of mass shootings in America. "Stay cool. Run out the clock. Scare some gun nuts while you can. But don’t worry: this moment will be over soon," is how the magazine summarized the guidance. A memo for a top GOP Senate candidate urged them to "ignore guns, talk inflation." "Other documents predictably decried liberal desires for 'gun-grabbing' and 'gun confiscation,' and made whataboutism-type references to gun violence in Chicago," the magazine reported. The memos come as the National Rifle Association has not been leading the charge as it did following the Newtown school shooting massacre.

By Brad Reed | Raw Story

Reporter Heidi Przbyia on Wednesday broke down new revelations about Michigan GOP operatives launching what she describes as an "unprecedented" effort to recruit poll workers to directly contest elections at polling places across the state. As Przbyia reported in Politico, the plan is to "install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys" so they can challenge votes in real time. Speaking about the report on CNN, Przbyia outlined just how much this could disrupt the voting process on election day.

Aaron Blake | The Washington Post

Among the many GOP efforts to counterprogram the Russia investigation with thinly constructed conspiracy theories, one of the most persistent ones was the so-called unmasking of Michael Flynn. The idea was that Obama administration officials deliberately targeted Donald Trump associates — and particularly Flynn — by requesting the disclosure of their names in intelligence reports before Trump took office, doing so for political purposes. This fed into long-running allegations of the government “spying” on Trump, who chose Flynn as his national security adviser. We knew before that this theory had fallen apart. We now know just how spectacularly. BuzzFeed News late Tuesday revealed a previously top-secret Justice Department report that details the findings of a review ordered by Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr. The report is a resounding rejection of the conspiracy theories, which were seeded and fertilized throughout Trump’s four years in office by Trump allies and GOP members of Congress. Essentially, the idea was that the Obama officials might have sought the identity of Flynn in intelligence detailing his December 2016 calls with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and then leaked details for political purposes. (Flynn would later plead guilty to lying to the FBI about these calls.) And there were valid questions early on about the Obama administration’s use of unmasking, as we wrote in 2017.

By Bob Brigham | Raw Story

The far-right is already planning strategies for investigating the Biden administration under the assumption that Republicans will win the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections. Axios reported Tuesday on a two-day retreat held on Maryland's Eastern Shore. "If the GOP wins control in the midterms, leaders want to kick off high-profile investigations as soon as the new Congress is seated. Republicans plan to draw on investigative power from allies across Washington," Axios reported. "The retreat was hosted by the Heritage Foundation, the Conservative Partnership Institute and the American Accountability Foundation, a nonprofit run by Trump administration alumni that's dogged Biden nominees with independent investigative work."

Placing operatives as poll workers and building a "hotline" to friendly attorneys are among the strategies to be deployed in Michigan and other swing states.
By Heidi Przybyla

Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys. The plan, as outlined by a Republican National Committee staffer in Michigan, includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts. “Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,” said Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, stressing the importance of obtaining official designations as poll workers in a meeting with GOP activists in Wayne County last Nov. 6. It is one of a series of recordings of GOP meetings between summer of 2021 and May of this year obtained by POLITICO.

Donald J. Trump:

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