MTG And Carlson Rush To Defend Discord Leaker And Turn Him Into Tribal Signifier

INSIDE: Greg Abbott ... Clarence Thomas ... Donald Trump
TOPSHOT - This photo illustration created on April 13, 2023, shows the suspect, national guardsman Jack Teixeira, reflected in an image of the Pentagon in Washington, DC. - FBI agents on Thursday arrested a young nat... TOPSHOT - This photo illustration created on April 13, 2023, shows the suspect, national guardsman Jack Teixeira, reflected in an image of the Pentagon in Washington, DC. - FBI agents on Thursday arrested a young national guardsman suspected of being behind a major leak of sensitive US government secrets -- including about the Ukraine war. US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the arrest made "in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information." (Photo by Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

That Sure Didn’t Take Long

Within hours of the arrest of 21-year-old air national guardsman Jack Teixeira for allegedly distributing classified info on Discord, far-right figures were racing to his defense and trying to turn him into a tribal signifier.

The logic, such as it is, seemed to be some rough approximation of: Teixeira’s leaks included classified info about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and we’re against the Biden policy in Ukraine, ergo Teixeira is a freedom-loving whistleblower and the media is complicit with the national security state for tracking him down and identifying him.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) hailed Teixeira as “white, male, christian, and antiwar.” The “real enemy,” according to Greene, is the Biden administration waging war against Russia. (Your occasional reminder that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) famously appointed Greene to the Homeland Security Committee.)

On his show, Tucker Carlson cast Teixeira as a truth-teller revealing the crimes of the Biden administration:

Carlson’s long rant (full version here) about the media aiding and abetting the Biden administration in covering up leaks included accusing Biden of covering up the Kennedy assassination and, he darkly suggested, who knows what else. I’m not making this up.

Carlson followed that madness up with an interview of Glenn Greenwald, who despite going off the deep end long ago still hasn’t hit bottom yet:

This seems like an excellent day for reporters to pin down elected Republicans on which side of this new tribal divide they fall.

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Greg Abbott’s Pardon Target Is Racist Islamophobe

The man who was convicted last week of killing a BLM protestor in Austin and who Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has turned into a cause célèbre, vowing to pardon him as soon as possible, is revealed in newly released court documents to have trafficked for years in racist memes, hatred for Muslims, and the desire to kill people.

There’s a whole lot more where that came from.

Must Read

TPM alum Justin Elliott co-bylines the latest ProPublica exposé on Clarence Thomas and Harlan Crow: Billionaire Harlan Crow Bought Property From Clarence Thomas. The Justice Didn’t Disclose the Deal.

From and ethics and duty-to-report standpoint, this episode seems actually worse to me than the jet and yacht travel ProPublica revealed last week. As Slate confirmed late yesterday, Thomas’ mother is still living in the house that Crow bought and renovated.

Crow responded to some of ProPublica’s questions but not the one about whether he was charging Thomas’ mother rent.

Grenell Testifies In Mar-a-Lago Case

Donald Trump’s former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell testified Thursday in front of a DC grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.

Ratcliffe Testifies In Jan. 6 Case

Donald Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe testified Thursday before a DC grand jury investigating Jan. 6.

Trump Did Not Plead Fifth

Unlike the first time he was deposed in the New York civil fraud case against him and and his company, Donald Trump not not plead the Fifth yesterday when he was deposed a second time. Instead, he answered all questions from Attorney General Tish James’ team, at least according to his own lawyer.

Trump Wins A Concession In Carroll Case

The judge overseeing the upcoming trial of E. Jean Carroll’s defamation and rape claim against Donald Trump denied Trump’s request to delay the trial, but he did allow Trump to do another short deposition of Carroll before the trial. At issue is outside funding for Carroll’s lawsuit by LinkedIn co-founder and Dem donor Reid Hoffman. Carroll previously testified that no one else was paying her legal fees. The judge said the issue may impact Carroll’s credibility.

Meanwhile, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals mostly punted a legal dispute at the core of Carroll’s original defamation case against Trump, which has been tangled up in whether Trump was acting within his duties as president when he made the allegedly defamatory remarks.

What To Watch For Today

We’re waiting for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the Justice Department’s emergency request to stay the Texas federal judge’s abortion pill ruling. In a sane world, Justice Samuel Alito, who handles these kinds of appeals from the Fifth Circuit, would issue an administrative stay to give the full Supreme Court time to consider it. So that’s what we’re tentatively expecting.


Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat, the open-soure intel outfit that helped the NYT track down Discord leaker Jack Teixeira:

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