What It Looks Like When You Elect Online Trolls To Congress

INSIDE: Fani Willis ... Rudy G ... Elon Musk
UNITED STATES - JUNE 26: Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., is seen after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on June 26, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) is seen after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on June 26, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

It’s Okay To Laugh And Cry

The appearance of FBI Director Chris Wray on the Hill Wednesday offered another bracing example of how far off the rails the House GOP has gone.

Obsessed with conspiracy theories, performative politics, and pugilism, the worst of the House Republicans show little interest in governing but have enormous appetites for getting in front of cameras.

It’s bad every single day, but it comes into stark relief during committee hearings, when serious, well-informed witnesses with expertise and responsibilities are used as would-be punching bags. Bewildered, confused, not up to speed on the latest bogus conspiracy theories, the witnesses are often left grasping for what the members are even talking about.

So it went yesterday with Wray …

Ghost Buses?!?!

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) has DONE … HIS … OWN … RESEARCH, y’all.

His latest conspiracy theory is that conspicuously white buses were used to transport FBI personnel and informants disguised as pro-Trump protestors to the Jan. 6 attack.

Higgins made a fool of himself quizzing FBI Director Chris Wray about it in a congressional hearing yesterday:


As bad as it was, Higgins’ foolishness was not the peak insanity of the Wray hearing:

Santos Ethics Report Could Drop At Any Minute

The House Ethics Committee is expected to release an initial report on Rep. George Santos (R-NY) by the end of week. It will not recommend sanctions. Proponents of expelling Santos are expected to use the report to push for another expulsion vote.

Getting To Know Mike Johnson

  • Politico: Mike Johnson is a board member of a Christian publishing house that called ‘monkeypox’ a penalty for being gay
  • NBC News: Speaker Mike Johnson says separation of church and state is a ‘misnomer’
  • Politico on Mike Johnson’s House: ‘Same clown car with a different driver’

The Latest In The Georgia RICO Case

  • Expect a protective order soon from the judge overseeing Fani Willis’ RICO case after all the parties came to a broad agreement during a hearing yesterday on what it should say.
  • The incipient protective order comes after proffer videos of defendants who had pleaded guilty were leaked to the press. A lawyer for one of the Coffee County scheme defendants admitted to the judge during the hearing that he had been a source of the leak.
  • Willis is moving to revoke the bail of one of the more flamboyant RICO defendants for allegedly repeatedly violating the terms of his release.
  • NYT: Why Georgia Republicans Are Protecting the D.A. Who Indicted Trump

Rudy G Faces A $$$ Reckoning

ABC News:

Former Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss will seek between $15.5 million and $43 million from Rudy Giuliani at a defamation trial slated to begin next month in a Washington, D.C., federal court, attorneys for the mother and daughter wrote in court documents filed Tuesday.

Day Late And Dollar Short?

Nevada’s attorney general is now investigating Trump’s fake electors scheme.

Watch Trump Sweat

Marcy Wheeler: Trump Continues To Disavow The Mob That Sacrificed Their Lives For Him

Closing Arguments In Colorado DQ Clause Case

After closing arguments late yesterday in the Colorado Disqualification Clause case against Trump, the judge said she plans to release her decision Friday.

Meanwhile, a Michigan judge has allowed Trump to stay on the ballot for the GOP presidential primary.

Arrest Made In Pro-Palestinian Protest Outside DNC HQ

About 150 pro-Palestinian demonstrators surrounded the Democratic National Committee headquarters near the Capitol Wednesday evening, while House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar, the third-ranked Democratic leader were inside.

Capital Police reported that one person was arrested for assault on a police officer, and six officers were treated for injuries “ranging from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched.”

As is often the case in such situations, there’s quite a bit of dispute over what exactly happened. Semafor’s Dave Weigel was on the scene and his observations contradict initial claims that protestors tried to storm the building and used pepper spray against the police.

A Snapshot From The West Bank

This NPR piece does a really good job of capturing the quotidian indignities visited upon West Bank Palestinians. While the piece is ostensibly about how tensions have ramped up since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, what it depicts is the kind of the routine inconvenience, deprivation, and restriction that are hallmarks of the occupation.

This Is Who Elon Musk Is

Yair Rosenberg: On Wednesday night, Elon Musk affirmed on Twitter/X the deadliest anti-Semitic conspiracy theory in recent American history.


WSJ: President Biden Expected to Face Harsh Criticism in Classified-Document Probe But No Charges

Hunter Biden Throws A Hail Mary Subpoena

In the federal firearms case against him, Hunter Biden is seeking to subpoena Donald Trump, Bill Barr, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to obtain evidence that his prosecution was driven and tainted by political pressure.

These kinds of selective or vindictive prosecution claims almost always fail, but … rarely does the defendant have the kind of public record of political interference to draw on that Biden does here.

Ohhh …

WaPo: Pressure mounts on CPAC chief Matt Schlapp as legal costs spiral

2024 Ephemera

  • Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman, twin brother of Alex, both of whom were caught up in the first Trump impeachment, is planning to run for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA).
  • Politico: Progressives facing primary challenges over Israel demand more help from Jeffries
  • New Hampshire sets presidential primary date for Jan. 23, defying Biden and the DNC.

Good Read

Brian Stelter: The Inside Story of How Fox Fell for the ‘Big Lie’

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