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SantosMentum! 78% of Constituents Say He Should Resign 

I’ve been so eager to see data on how George Santos is doing in his home district that I half considered having TPM sponsor a poll, which is completely insane because quality polls are super expensive and we don’t have anything like that kind of money. But now we can rejoice because Siena College has leapt into the breach. They did a poll and Santos currently clocks in with 7% favorability and 83% unfavorability, which is fairly poor. Even with Republicans he’s at 11%.

Generally, when you poll the constituents of incumbent politicians, you poll “approval” rather than “favorability.” But I think we can likely infer that his approval is fairly low too.

But there’s more!

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So Many Dangling Threads 

TPM Reader RC has some thoughts and questions about the Charles McGonigal case. McGonigal is the former FBI counterintelligence agent arrested a week ago. Knowledgeable people I’ve spoken to tell me that McGonigal was much less involved in the Trump-Russia probe than many people on the outside seem to think. But like others, I’m very interested in what’s come out of Mattathias Schwartz’s reporting at Business Insider.

McGonigal’s girlfriend, who may have been the one who tipped the feds off to McGonigal’s corruption, also happens to be so close to Rudy Giuliani that Rudy put her up for some time at his home while she was recuperating from a burn? I’m not sure what that means beyond them both being part of the social and networking scene around the FBI’s NYC field office, but that and other details in Schwartz’s reporting really got my attention.

From TPM Reader RC

Something I thought your crew might be interested in, from Mattathias Schwartz’s Business Insider article last fall about the McGonigal investigation, which included a copy of a subpoena in the case.

Marcy Wheeler suggests (convincingly to me) that Guerriero, the girlfriend, was the person who got the subpoena, and therefore (the? / a?) source for the piece.

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Numbers 

The Bulwark has a poll out today which shows a greatly weakened Donald Trump but one who still holds an iron grip on about a third of the GOP primary electorate. In this poll he loses to Ron DeSantis in a head-to-head match-up (52 to 30), in a three-way race with “another candidate” (44 to 28) and even in a ten-candidate race (39 to 28). These numbers are substantially different from other recent polls which have consistently shown Trump leading DeSantis in an actual multi-candidate race, usually by double digits. (538; RCP)

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When You Really, REALLY Love Florida 

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six month tourist visa to extend his stay in the United States, which began two days before he relinquished the presidency. The Financial Times reports that, according to Bolsonaro’s lawyer, the time to process the request could itself take “several months.” So it doesn’t sound like Bolsonaro is planning to return to Brazil any time soon.

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That ‘No Negotiation’ Strategy 

Let me start by saying that I think Democrats are doing just the right thing on their flat policy of non-negotiation on the debt-ceiling extension or increase. As several articles have reminded us today, Obama and Biden (and really all Democrats with their eyes open) learned this lesson in 2011–2013. But I think there’s a slight clarification or additional elaboration that could help Democrats anticipate one line of attack from congressional Republicans.

No one — not the White House or any Democrats on Capitol Hill — is saying they won’t negotiate the federal budget or how much the country should be spending on this or that priority or how much debt the country should take on. Kevin McCarthy is right when he says, albeit disingenuously, you can’t say you won’t negotiate. That’s what democratic governance is. That’s true. In the last Congress, Democrats’ had a tenuous but complete control of Congress as well as the White House. Now Republicans hold the House by an equally tenuous but real margin. By definition, that means fiscal policy will move in the Republican direction during the next two years. That’s the democratic process. The extent of the shift is what negotiation is about. Each side has its own set of tools at its disposal.

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Take Two! 

McCarthy now seems to say Social Security and Medicare are “off the table” in debt ceiling hostage negotiations.

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House Republicans: Please Get Us Out of This 

According to a report in Bloomberg News, there’s an increasing push among House Republicans to pass some kind of short-term “clean” debt ceiling bill. It would likely be a “suspension” of the debt ceiling rather than raising it. For these purposes, however, same difference. As we noted yesterday, the governing idea seems to be to time a debt-ceiling crisis to Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. This would combine both a debt default cliff and a government shut down cliff on one big fiscal Armageddon day.

There are two goals to this. One is to add pressure by bundling all the bad, scary things into a single day (though I’m not sure that actually places more pressure on the White House) and also to make it a date certain. Currently, the Treasury is doing all these accounting tricks, juggling things in the air, also dealing with the uncertainty of just when tax revenues come in. It’s very hard to know just when the big moment comes and the Treasury doesn’t necessarily have a strong interest in telling the House just when that happens. If you’re planning a showdown you want to know exactly when showdown day is. This would provide that certainty for House Republicans. It would definitely come exactly on Sept. 30.

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Vish Burra didn’t hesitate when asked by TPM if the scandal surrounding Santos’ lies about his personal history and the myriad questions surrounding his campaign finances drew him to work for the newly elected congressman. “Of course,” Burra said during a phone call on Friday evening. “That’s my brand.”



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Josh and Kate discuss early 2024 Senate projections and the discovery of yet more classified documents, this time at the home of former Vice President Mike Pence.

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