Nicole Lafond

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Nicole Lafond is TPM’s associate editor, based in New York. She has also worked as the special projects editor and as a senior newswriter for TPM. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously covered education in central Illinois.

Where Things Stand: McConnell Admits Dems May Hold Senate Because He’s Bad At His Job
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It’s political canon that the president’s party does poorly in the Midterms — especially if it’s said president’s first term. But the Senate minority leader is tossing bits of that conventional wisdom out the window as we get closer to the general election. And it’s not even the first time Mitch McConnell has preemptively winked in the direction of things not going super well for Republicans this fall — at least when it comes to control of the Senate.

During an event in Kentucky on Thursday McConnell suggested that it was far more likely that Republicans are able to flip the House than take back the Senate. That’s because the Senate is “different.”

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Where Things Stand: Pence’s Strategic Toe-Dipping
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Former Vice President Mike Pence is walking a sort of unprecedented fine line — saying a bunch of stuff that’s just subtly enough at odds with Trump that he makes headlines, but not so harsh in breaking with Trump that he Cheneys himself.

At least two of his remarks today provided an excellent example of this.

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Where Things Stand: Scott Escalates ‘87,000 New Armed IRS Agents’ Conspiracy Theory
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Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) pulled a publicity stunt this afternoon by releasing an open letter addressed to the “American Job Seeker” warning anyone who might be considering applying for a gig at the Internal Revenue Service that they need not apply.

That’s because, in his telling, any new funding being funneled into the agency after the passage of Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act will be reversed if Republicans take back Congress after the Midterms. Vowing to gut the agency once Republicans are back in power, Scott referred to any new job openings at the IRS — after the Democratic bill allocated $80 billion in additional funding for the agency, in part to help with staffing shortages — as a “short-term gig.”

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Where Things Stand: Man Charged For FBI Death Threats After Gab Meltdown Over Trump Raid
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The FBI and DHS put out a bulletin last week announcing that the agencies were fielding a significant uptick in violent threats being made against federal law enforcement, courts and government employees and buildings in general. Some of those targeted by the “unprecedented” surge in threats were the agents and officials listed in court records as being involved in the raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence a week ago.

Names of at least two agents who signed off on warrant-related paperwork have been circulating online for several days, adding to the specificity of the uptick in threats against the bureau as a whole. That, of course, could’ve been prevented if someone — presumably Donald Trump — hadn’t leaked unredacted versions of the warrant before it was officially unsealed, with names redacted, on Friday.

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WaPo: FBI Searched Trump Resort For Classified Nuclear Docs

The Washington Post has a breaking new development this evening that’s worth your attention:

Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence on Monday, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Read the full piece here.

Where Things Stand: More FBI Activity Surrounding Perry
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There’s a lot going on in the world of Trump investigations this week, but I wanted to catch you up on some details surrounding additional FBI activity in Pennsylvania. At the center of it, it seems, is Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA).

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Where Things Stand: Trump Shares Video With QAnon Song, Conspiracy Theorists See Writing On The Wall
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A few hours after the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort Monday night, the former president shared what appeared to be a campaign-style video on his official Truth Social page. You know, the place where he has to post all his stream-of-conscious screeds now that he’s been booted from normal social media for inciting violence and trying to do a coup.

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Where Things Stand: A Bipartisan Shrug At The Bare Minimum
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Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said it himself upon unveiling a new, bipartisan bill that would, at the very least, codify the right to an abortion into federal law: it’s the bare minimum.

“What the four of us were trying to do was put a statutory minimum in place that replicated what the law was a day before Dobbs,” Kaine said of the Reproductive Freedom For All Act, which he introduced with Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) this afternoon.

The language of the law is a bare bones compromise, seemingly aimed at putting something on the books that would prevent red states from outright banning access to abortion, which we’ve seen proposed and passed in several states across the nation since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in June. It could also help protect people living in states with old trigger laws on the books that are now going into effect post-Roe.

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