Morning Memo comes to you today from the frigid shore of Lake Mendota, where one of the kids graduated from UW this weekend.
The New York Times is out with an incredible exposé on an incoming GOP member of Congress from Long Island who does not at all appear to be who he says he is.
Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY) first hit Morning Memo’s radar a week ago, when he was one of the attendees at the New York City gala where Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) bragged that if she and Steve Bannon had been in charge on Jan. 6, they would have coup’d more effectively.
Now the Times has a blistering examination of Santos’ biography. Let’s just say who he claimed to be on the campaign trail doesn’t match with the newspaper’s reporting.
Let’s start with his work history. NYT could find no record of him actually holding claimed jobs at Citigroup or Goldman Sachs.
Education? No record of him attending Baruch College in NYC as he has claimed, the NYT reported.
A tax-exempt charity he claimed to have started? No record of it having registered in New York or New Jersey, and the IRS had no record of it, the paper found. A supposed beneficiary of a 2017 fundraiser for the group, who declined to be named by the paper, said she never received any of the funds, only excuses from Santos.
The kicker is criminal charges for check fraud in Brazil!
There’s much more. It’s worth a read.
Big Day For The Jan. 6 Committee
The Jan. 6 committee will meet this afternoon to vote on releasing its final report to the public. The committee is also expected to recommend criminal referrals arising from the effort to overturn the 2020 election. The exact sequence of events this week remains a bit opaque as the committee winds up its work before the next Congress. Look for a TPM live blog today to cover the minute-to-minute developments.
The Meadows Texts Series Wraps Up
The concluding installments in TPM’s series on the Meadows Texts:
- ‘Potus Is Going To Need Some Warriors:’ Texts Show Former Cabinet Secretary’s Effort To Oust His Rivals
- Scenes From The Meadows Texts Show The Diverse Cast Of Characters Who Chimed In On Efforts To Overturn The Election
- What Mark Meadows’ Phone Taught Us
TPM On TV
Hunter Walker was on with MSNBC’s Yasmin Vossoughian:
GOP Rep Downplays Role In Meadows Texts: ‘I Was The Messenger In This’
Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) denied to a local paper having any substantive communications with Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows about overturning the 2020 election.
Here’s a sample of what TPM reported on Murphy’s texts to Meadows:
The next day, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC) sent Meadows a couple of texts with another version of the state legislature strategy . … Murphy’s text was largely copied and pasted from a Revolver article that claimed “The Vote Has Been Hopelessly Contaminated. Republican State Legislatures Must Now Move to Appoint Pro-Trump Electors.”
“Why are we not pursuing this strategy?” Murphy asked before sharing text from the Revolver article, and adding, “Please pay close attention to the very last paragraph.”
Here’s how Murphy spun it to the local paper:
“It is literally a copy-and-paste from something someone sent me with a formal legal opinion to pass on to Mark Meadows because I had his contact information,” he said. “This is what was sent to me to pass on. I was the messenger in this.”
More Reaction And Fallout To The Meadows Texts
The impact of the Meadows Texts series continued to ripple outward:
- Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, described Rep. Ralph Norman’s call for “Marshall Law” as “obscene” and “unprecedented.”
- In an open letter, a bipartisan group of more than 30 former congresspersons called for ethics investigations of members of the House who played a role in the events leading up to and including the Jan. 6 attack.
Other Coverage Of The Meadows Texts
Aaron Rupar’s Public Notice: “Hunter Walker on Mark Meadows’s texts and what he expects from the final J6 report”
Alexandra Petri: “Help us, auto-correct. You are the last best hop for democracy.”
Todd Zwillich: “The texts show various levels of cheerleading, crackpottery, magical thinking, and authoritarian planning on the part of nearly three dozen GOP lawmakers in Meadows’ contacts. The vast majority of them—Norman, Greene, Rep. Scott Perry (who I’m betting you’ll be hearing a lot about on Monday—are all returning to Congress, ready to take power in January and wielding muscular influence over GOP leaders. Those leaders have already promised to do all they can to distort and erase the truth of Jan. 6 from the national memory.”
Francis Wilkinson: “The texts show a group effort, by people who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, to locate American democracy’s weak points and exploit them to overthrow a democratically elected government.”
The Meadville Tribune: “Text messages from three Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania are among a trove of texts exchanged with former President Donald Trump’s last White House chief of staff concerning attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a report from online news outlet Talking Points Memo.”
Sid Schwab: “Reading the TPM series, there’s no denying the seditious depth of their intentions; their undisguised disregard for democratic processes; their willingness to turn to violence and totalitarianism. Perhaps surprising to people less intent on observation is the amount of paranoid, conspiratorial, uninformed insanity of those people. Elected people. Reelected; not, presumably, in spite of their derision of democracy, but because of it.”
Mar-a-Lago Case Has Quieted Down
I suspect this is the calm before the storm of indictments.
After a flurry of activity in the Mar-a-Lago documents case — including Special Counsel Jack Smith taking over the case, and a federal appeals court shutting down the special master sideshow — things have been quiet publicly, even though the end of the special master fiasco meant the Justice Department could resume its investigation.
In the meantime, some big picture coverage:
- WaPo: How Trump jettisoned restraints at Mar-a-Lago and prompted legal peril
- NYT: Inside Mar-a-Lago, Where Thousands Partied Near Secret Files
Proud Boys Seditious Conspiracy Trial Starts
Jury selection begins today in the trial of five Proud Boys, including its former chairman Enrique Tarrio.
A Special Kind Of Stupid
A Jan. 6 riot defendant from Tennessee is facing new charges after he allegedly schemed to kill the FBI agents investigating his case and to attack the FBI office in Knoxville. A cooperating witness apparently recorded a call with 33-year-old Edward Kelley, who has been charged along with an alleged co-conspirator:
On December 14, 2022, at approximately 3:45 PM, Witness 1 had a recorded call with KELLEY over Service 1. KELLEY started the call by saying: “I just sent Austin [CARTER] a message, here’s your course of action: if I’m extradited to DC or you don’t hear about my status within 24 or 48 hours of my, if they are coming to arrest me again, start it. You guys are taking them out at their office. What you and Austin [CARTER] need to do is recruit as many as you can, call [UI] who you need to, and you’re going to attack their office. If the same thing happens to any of you guys, I’m doing the same thing, okay?” Witness 1 replied, “just to make sure I’m understanding which office, we’re going after the Knox one, right?” KELLEY replied “yes.” KELLEY further told Witness 1 “once you guys have enough people … you don’t have time to train or coordinate, but every hit has to hurt, every hit has to hurt.”
A Twit For The Ages
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