Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, which today sent out a memo to all its candidates instructing them to vigorously defend IVF fertility treatments which the Alabama Supreme Court just effectively outlawed in the state. Donald Trump put out a statement so wildly endorsing IVF that he appears all but ready to undergo IVF himself just to make the point. But Sen. Daines himself recently cosponsored (along with numerous Senate colleagues) a law based on precisely the same theory used by the Alabama court.
For weeks political observers have been having fun with Donald Trump’s decision to launch if not a hostile then what we might call an abusive takeover of the RNC. Of course, one might ask what was left to take over exactly. Since the day before his inauguration in 2017 the RNC has been under the management of Trump’s pliable toady Ronna McDaniel (née Romney McDaniel) who has served in that role for the unheard of span of seven years. But that was clearly not a tight enough bond to the Trump family. Trump wants to replace McDaniel with his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who has become an increasingly visible Trump political surrogate. Technically, it’s not just Lara Trump. They propose a kind of co-leadership with North Carolina GOP chair Michael Whatley and Lara Trump serving as cochairs. Presumably Whatley is there for the operational experience and management; Lara is there for the control. Trump campaign senior advisor Chris LaCivita will become the RNC’s COO.
Trump campaign sources tell pliant media outlets that this is to assure a “seamless operation,” uniting the campaign and the RNC. And there’s no arguing that point. They will become in effect the same organization. You can’t get more seamless than literally no seams. But I think we should not underestimate the odds that the takeover of the RNC is for reasons beyond the mere crony-fication of political institutions. Trump clearly needs the money. Certainly for legal expenses and quite possibly to pay legal judgements to the state of New York and E. Jean Carroll.
As I noted yesterday, the Alexander Smirnov news is either confirmation of what we already knew or else spurs a kind of mass outburst of incredulity about how it is we’re still as a country, as a media, as a national political conversation getting led around by the nose by these same transparent scams?
Let’s stipulate that these are rhetorical questions.
But let me note a tendency I’m already seeing in a lot of coverage. House Republicans seems surprisingly candid that their holy grail of Biden impeachment isn’t going to happen. Quite a few press reports are taking a different tack. Some are playing this as “the Smirnov news may undermine the whole Biden investigation.” (Who’s gonna tell ’em?) To others it’s like a hot start up that failed. It just didn’t pan out. Oh well.
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A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Kate and Josh discuss the verdict in Donald Trump’s civil fraud case, the ongoing Fani Willis drama and the latest, Ezra-Klein-sparked round of fretting over Joe Biden’s age.
You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.
I know that’s a big headline that promises a lot. But I think it’s true. David has a good rundown of the events in the Morning Memo. But I want to do my best to set them out on a larger canvas that goes back to the “Hunter Biden laptop” and really all the way back to 2015, a continuing Russian information operation that has been ongoing for almost a decade.
Let’s review recent events. First came the news that prosecutors in special counsel David Weiss’s office had decided that the confidential FBI informant who had been one of Biden’s top accusers had been lying and that they were charging him for lying to the FBI. That next step is critical. Informants lie to prosecutors all the time. They seldom get charged. It’s one standard to decide your informant isn’t telling the truth and/or won’t hold up at trial. It’s an entirely different one to think that you can prove they knowingly lied beyond a reasonable doubt. Clearly investigators felt they had caught Alexander Smirnov dead to rights. Yesterday came news that Smirnov has admitted that he got his false stories from Russian intelligence officers. Smirnov isn’t just at the center of the DOJ investigation, he’s at the center of what we have to generously call James Comer’s House inquiry, the premise for Joe Biden’s increasingly wobbly impeachment.
First, remember the Central Bucks (County) School Board? This is the school board north of Philadelphia that got caught up in the Moms for Liberty tide in 2021 and then flipped back in 2023 when the locals — good upstanding folks, which I know from personal experience — got sick of the crap and turned out the Moms for Liberty crowd and gave Democrats a 6-to-3 majority on the board. This is the place where there was a very suspicious sweetheart deal cut with the departing superintendent — about which there’s now ongoing litigation. It’s also the stomping ground of our good friend “Cool Mom” Clarice Schillinger.
Well, now it turns out that two of the remaining three right-wingers — Lisa Sciscio and Debra Cannon — are done. Like they’ve resigned. First, they verbally resigned on February 13th. And apparently you can’t do that. So now they’ve resigned in writing, which you can. A special meeting of the board will be held this Friday to officially accept those resignations.
Klein begins his essay by assuring us that he likes Joe Biden and actually thinks he’s done a good job as President. This is to soften the reader up and dispel any notion that he’s got some anti-Biden axe to grind. I don’t think Klein is disingenuous or cynical about this. I think he believes it. He not only doesn’t think age has hindered Biden in doing the job as President so far; he doesn’t think it would in a second term either. The issue for him, Klein says, isn’t about being President but running for President: Biden has slowed down considerably, even from his last run in 2019–2020, and Biden simply is not up to running a vigorous campaign in which the candidate is an asset, not a liability.
The Anti-LGBTQ Movement Scores A Big Victory In Tennessee
A new Tennessee law undercuts the Supreme Court’s 2015 landmark, closely divided decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, and marks a significant victory for a resurgent conservative movement to restrict LGBTQ rights.