Gaetz On Hot Mic Promised Stone Trump Would Pardon Him

INSIDE: Biden ... Confederate AG Nominee ... Kentucky Flood
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) listens during testimony by constitutional scholars before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on December 4, 2019. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

From Crony To Crony

The Washington Post obtained audio of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on a hot mic reassuring indicted Roger Stone at a Trump event in October 2019 that “the boss,” in Gaetz’s not-at-all mafioso terms, would pardon him if Stone were convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

  • Gaetz also blabbed about the redacted portions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which he had access to as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. The committee had agreed not to share the redacted material with outsiders, an agreement that had been formalized with the Justice Department, according to the Post.
  • During the conversation, Gaetz said he was cautious about saying too much because “there are many, many recording devices around right now” (people speaking at the Trump event were being filmed). He was recorded by a mic Stone was wearing for a Danish documentary crew.
    • LOL
  • Under investigation for alleged child sex trafficking and a key player in MAGAland’s election steal scheme, Gaetz himself tried to get a “blanket pardon” from Trump.
  • And yes, Trump did ultimately grant Stone clemency.

Trump Lawyers Quietly Prepping For Potential Criminal Charges

The ex-president’s attorneys are biting their nails over the possibility of the Justice Department slapping criminal charges on their client over his efforts to steal the 2020 election, and have started to craft legal strategies accordingly, Rolling Stone reports.

  • Some of the potential strategies reportedly include:
    • Finding a “fall guy” to pin the blame on (more specifically, arguing that Trump had gotten shoddy legal advice from lawyers who got him into this mess)
    • Arguing that Trump was just exercising his right to petition the government under First Amendment with his fake elector plot
  • Former Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony in front of the House Jan. 6 Committee reportedly ramped up the Trump legal team’s preparation efforts.

DOJ Scrutinizing RNC’s Ties To Fake Trump Electors Scheme

The Justice Department has sent subpoenas to several bogus Trump electors in Georgia and Arizona in recent weeks seeking records of their communications with Joshua Findlay, a former Trump 2020 campaign staffer who now serves as the Republican National Committee’s national director for “election integrity,” according to Politico.

Biden Tests Positive For COVID Again

Days after testing negative for COVID-19 following treatment with Paxlovid, Biden tested positive for the virus again on Saturday due to what White House physician Kevin O’Connor called “rebound positivity.” However, O’Connor reported on Sunday that the President is feeling well (the doctor had reported on Saturday that Biden wasn’t experiencing a reemergence of symptoms).

More Special Sessions To Ban Abortion On The Horizon

Several GOP-controlled state legislatures have rushed to push abortion bans via special sessions in wake of the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe v. Wade. Arkansas, Nebraska and South Carolina could be next.

Abortion On The Ballot This Week

Amid the many high-stakes primary elections on Tuesday is a key vote in Kansas on whether to amend the state’s constitution to strip the right to an abortion and kick the issue over to the state’s Republican-controlled legislature instead.

Confederate Maryland AG Nominee Is A 9/11 Truther

Michael Peroutka, the GOP’s proudly Confederate nominee for Maryland attorney general who believes public education is “the 10th plank in the Communist Manifesto,” argued during a radio show he co-hosted in 2006 that the Sept. 11 attacks were an “inside job” and dear God, the fact that he’s a 9/11 truther almost isn’t a surprise.

  • Peroutka suggested that an “elite bureaucrat” had triggered “preset charges” that were installed inside the buildings as explosives, according to audio discovered by CNN.
  • Peroutka’s campaign reportedly didn’t address the 9/11 trutherism when CNN asked about it, saying only that the “primary election results demonstrate that Maryland Republicans are dissatisfied with their current leadership.” Cool!
  • It might make you feel better to know that Maryland hasn’t had a GOP attorney general since 1952.

Kentucky Flooding Death Toll Now At Nearly 30

At least 28 people have been confirmed dead after the state was hit with devastating floods last week, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) reported on Sunday.

Ivana Trump Buried At Trump’s Golf Course

Ivana Trump, the former president’s first wife who died in a fall in her home last month, was buried near the first hole of his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey:

Even more grim: Trump may or may not be angling for a tax break under Jersey’s tax code for cemetery land.

Adam And Steve, Not Adam And Eve!

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