EDITORS' BLOG
Where Things Stand: Trump Crawls Back To Once-Estranged Friend
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Back in 2018, Trump had one of his most dramatic bromance breakups yet.

If you recall, it was back when excerpts of Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury” were trickling out. Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon was quoted in the book calling the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donnie Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer “treasonous.” Trump dumped him immediately and in brutal fashion.

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We’ve Been Coddling Right Wing Terrorists for Thirty Years
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I strongly recommend you read Josh Kovesnky’s account of why the US government’s vaunted intelligence capabilities were caught utterly flatfooted by the events of January 6th despite that fact that one needed no greater intelligence asset than a Twitter account or at most one on Parler to know what could be coming.

A key cause of the failure is that no one wanted to raise an alarm about a security threat from the President’s own supporters. Indeed, no one really wanted to be caught investigating it.

This is both a shocking abdication of responsibility and entirely unsurprising given what’s happened to basically anyone in the federal security bureaucracy who’s gotten crosswise with the President. But we can’t understand this development without understanding or simply remembering that this is our fourth or fifth round of this cycle: the institutional Republican party rushing forward to claim that any effort to combat far right terrorism or organized political violence amounts to a crackdown on conservatives or bias against the GOP.

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Where Things Stand: Impeachment Talks Began While Dems Hid From Violent Mob
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Trump was formally impeached for the second time yesterday afternoon.

But the process began in real time while the Capitol was being mobbed by his supporters last week.

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Cotton > Hawley and Cruz

I find it noteworthy that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) has – from a purely cynical point of view – navigated the politics of the last few weeks with more deftness than either Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley.

After the Raffensperger call was released but before the Georgia defeats and the Capitol insurrection Cotton announced that he would not be part of challenging the electoral college results. Now he is, unsurprisingly, saying he won’t convict Trump in a new impeachment trial. But note that he isn’t defending Trump on the merits. He is saying that it is constitutionally inappropriate to hold an impeachment trial of a President after he leaves office. There’s some plausible logic to that. But it’s mainly just a canny dodge. He’s not defending Trump in any bright line way (no figure prints on the horrors of the last weeks) but also avoiding any vote or position that would make him toxic to Trump-supporting Republicans.

Feast of False Equivalency

TPM Reader DW is watching the impeachment debate: “While we’re treated to this feast of false equivalency from Republicans, it’s worth remembering that the only officers killed during BLM protests last summer were shot by a right-wing extremist engaging in a false flag attack.”

Where Things Stand: The Chilling Of Democracy
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The spectre of violence is already chilling democracy in a handful of ways.

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The Quickening … Why?
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As you can see, the tempo of events is moving rapidly now. Donald Trump not finishing his term of office now seems like a real possibility, as astonishing as that may seem. A number of developments are coming together, like converging waves that build on each other.

There are two things I think we should be thinking about as developments which led to this quickening.

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The GOP’s Benghazi

TPM Reader SC: “This is a Republican Benghazi, except that not only does the Republican Party get to be the cavalry that didn’t show up they get to be the terrorists, too. Very efficient.”

Where Things Stand: Trump Uses First In-Person Appearance Since Mob To See If The ‘Witch Hunt’ Gimmick Still Works
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President Trump used his first public appearance in front of reporters since a mob of his supporters breached the Capitol last week, resulting in the deaths of five people, to test out whether his old defenses still carried any water.

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The President Deliberately Withheld Aid to Combat the Insurrection

There is a simple chain of events that even news outlets doing the best work are still tiptoeing around. After President Trump gave his speech to the insurrectionists on Wednesday he returned to the White House and excitedly watched the storming of the Capitol on TV. As members of Congress were besieged and then retreated to a secure undisclosed location, Trump received numerous pleas from members of Congress to send reinforcements or call on his supporters to disperse. He refused because he liked what he was seeing.

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Week In Review
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Impeachment 2.0

  • President Trump loves the unprecedented. And this week, he became the only American president to be impeached twice.
  • Ten Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues to impeach Trump. Almost exactly a year ago, no House Republicans voted for Trump’s first impeachment.
  • A Republican congressman who backed impeachment told MSNBC that he and his colleagues are altering their routines and looking into purchasing body armor, as Congress and the nation reels from the deadly insurrectionist violence last week.
  • Trump apparently had to be dissuaded from dropping in on the impeachment proceedings, according to the New York Times.
  • In a surreal scene at the Capitol, National Guard troops have been stationed inside the building and sleeping on marble floors.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has not specified when she will send the impeachment article over to the Senate for a trial, but a couple of Republican senators have already indicated they will not vote to convict the President. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said he doesn’t believe a former president can be convicted. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s biggest enablers over the past four years, warned that impeachment would further divide the country.

 

The Capitol Riot Comes Into Focus

 

An Active Threat

 

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