Zainab Shah

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Zainab Shah is TPM's Director of Audience. She was previously the strategy and operations lead at BuzzFeed.

Where Things Stand: Trump Did Chris Christie So Damn Dirty Prime Badge
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I could read and write all day every day about those days in late September 2020 when Trump became the superspreader-in-chief. It almost feels like an obligation to do so, that we may inoculate ourselves against the potential claims of future historians that we were a blind, gullible, clueless people. Yes, we were, but not nearly as much as this episode suggests. We knew. We got it. The White House COVID outbreak with Trump at its center was very, very bad, and we understood that much in real time, not only in retrospect.

But now we have a new or more precisely an updated account of the shitshow, from someone who was neck deep in the shit at the time. Poor Chris Christie. He was done wrong so many times by Trump. He was the toadiest toady. There was the hostage video. There was this unforgettable headline: “Trump Uses Chris Christie As ‘Manservant’ To Fetch His McDonald’s.” There was Christie being unceremoniously dumped as the head of the transition. But in none of those episodes did Trump try to kill Christie.

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Where Things Stand: Now Look What We’ve Gone And Done Prime Badge
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Jake A, 33, aka Yellowstone Wolf, from Phoenix, holds a QAnon sign, as he presents himself as a shamanist and consultant for the Trump supporters gathered in front of the Maricopa County Election Department where ballots are counted after the US presidential election in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 5, 2020. - President Donald Trump erupted on November 5 in a tirade of unsubstantiated claims that he has been cheated out of winning the US election as vote counting across battleground states showed Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory. (Photo by OLIVIER  TOURON / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER  TOURON/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s all Matt Shuham’s fault.

Back in May, Matt interviewed the lawyer for the most high-profile Jan. 6 defendant of them all: Jacob Chansley, the QAnon shaman. The quotes from the lawyer were enough to peel your hair back.

Now they may*** be the basis for an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal from Chansley, who has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

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Where Things Stand: Schrödinger’s Sinemanchin Prime Badge
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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is followed by a swarm of reporters as he leaves a meeting between a group of bipartisan Senators in the basement of the U.S. Capitol Building on July 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. The group of Senators are trying to come to an agreement on the Infrastructure Bill before Congress heads into their August recess after the initial agreement fell apart. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Joe Manchin

A lot happened today, and, at the end of it, it’s not clear how far we’ve come from where we were when we started.

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Where Things Stand: The OTHER Reason The Filibuster Is So Devastating Prime Badge
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(A lot going on in that photo beyond what the caption says, on so many levels. It is from June 21, 1947, after Senate Democrats spent the previous night filibustering the eventual GOP override of President Truman’s veto of Taft-Hartley.)

Set aside for a moment the big issues like democracy reform that we know are stymied by the filibuster — it’s a given that its anti-majoritarianism holds up major generational reforms. Its impact goes far beyond that. The ways in which the filibuster infects not just legislating but the basic task of governance is so pervasive that it’s become part of the background noise of Washington. We don’t notice it anymore, but it’s hugely significant.

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Where Things Stand: So, Is That It For Biden’s Climate Agenda? Prime Badge
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Senate debate climate provisions

One of the many soft deadlines Democrats are facing as they trudge forward with their reconciliation package is the looming UN Climate Change summit in Glasgow. Last year’s Conference of Parties was postponed because of the pandemic, and, with the world now two years deeper into its worsening crisis, this year’s gathering is being heralded as the most important since the Paris Agreement was hammered out in 2015.

All that build-up comes as the U.S. Senate struggles to deliver the policies that would fulfill the President’s climate agenda.

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Where Things Stand: Are We There Yet? Prime Badge
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Nicole is away, so the editors will be sharing Where Things Stand duties this week.

Over the next few days, I want to address a series of longer-term issues that transcend the breaking news of the day.

Let’s start with the filibuster.

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