A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Rep. Jim Jordan’s supposed “whistleblowers” who were going to expose the FBI’s role in various Deep State conspiracies have turned out to be as bogus as his so-called investigations:
But the first three witnesses to testify privately before the new Republican-led House committee investigating the “weaponization” of the federal government have offered little firsthand knowledge of any wrongdoing or violation of the law, according to Democrats on the panel who have listened to their accounts. Instead, the trio appears to be a group of aggrieved former F.B.I. officials who have trafficked in right-wing conspiracy theories, including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol, and received financial support from a top ally of former President Donald J. Trump.
Not surprising, of course. But what is notable is House Democrats flexing big time to pre-empt Jordan’s circus.
In what appears to be a well-orchestrated campaign to counter Jordan’s misinformation, House Democrats have released an extensive report on the first three witnesses interviewed in private by Jordan’s special Judiciary subcommittee. Based on how the news emerged last evening, it appears some news outlets where given advanced notice of the report or its findings. CNN and Rolling Stone had stories up early in the evening, I believe before the report was published by the NYT. Nothing wrong with that per se. It just shows Democrats aren’t sitting back and letting themselves and the public be led around by the nose by Jordan.
The early reports:
Rolling Stone: Inside Jim Jordan’s Disastrous Search for a ‘Deep State’ Whistleblower
CNN: Jim Jordan’s first FBI whistleblowers face scrutiny from skeptical Democrats
Can’t Make This Up
Forbes: Trump And Jan. 6 Prisoners Collaborate On New Song Called ‘Justice For All’
DOJ Undercuts Trump’s Big Immunity Defense
It’s been a dicey spot for the Justice Department, which generally defends the presidency as having expansive powers.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals gave DOJ an opportunity to weigh in on whether it agrees with former President Donald Trump that he is absolutely immune from civil liability in a lawsuit brought against him by Capitol Police officers and members of Congress for his role in allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 rioters.
In a sign of its discomfiture, DOJ had asked for two deadline extensions to file its brief in the case.
Yesterday, DOJ finally weighed in against Trump. But it did so in a measured, we-really-don’t-want-to-have-to-do-this kind of way. It agreed that immunity applied for official acts by the president, but said that there is an outer limit to what constitutes official acts, and that inciting third parties to private violence, as alleged in this lawsuit, is outside those bounds. But DOJ asked the court to keep its decision on presidential immunity very narrow.
A notable footnote to the DOJ brief:
The House Ethics Committee has formally opened an investigation into serial fabulist George Santos.
For his part, Santos claimed that he IS the House Ethics Committee and has exonerated himself. Okay, I made that up.
Ethics Committee To Further Investigate AOC Over Met Gala
The House Ethics Committee is extending its review of whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) impermissibly accepted gifts associated with the 2021 Met Gala, where she memorably wore a “Tax the Rich” dress.
AOC has expressed regret for delays in making reimbursement for some of the goods and services she received for the event but denies violating House rules.
Feinstein Hospitalized With Shingles
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), 89, is in the hospital in San Francisco with shingles.
With Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) undergoing inpatient treatment for depression, the narrow 2-vote Democratic majority is under some strain. Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, has had to cast three tie-breaking votes in recent days.
Elizabeth Warren: John Roberts Is Acting Like A ‘Super Legislator’
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tells TPM’s Kate Riga that Chief Justice John Roberts crossed the line during oral arguments over Biden’s student loan debt relief plan.
SCOTUS Asks For More Briefings In Moore v. Harper
A not-unexpected-development in the Supreme Court case on the wacky independent state legislature theory.
Michigan man charged with threatening to kill all the state’s Jewish elected officials.
Walgreens Cowed By Republican AGs
The nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain confirmed Thursday that it will not dispense abortion pills in several states where they remain legal — acting out of an abundance of caution amid a shifting policy landscape, threats from state officials and pressure from anti-abortion activists.
N. Carolina Inches Closer To Medicaid Expansion
More than a decade after it could have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, the North Carolina legislature has reached a tentative deal on finally doing it.
Not Going Down Well In DC
The District of Columbia is howling over President Biden’s decision not to veto a GOP-led move to block a new local crime bill in the nation’s capital. It would be the first time Congress intervened in the District in this way in more than 30 years.
Biden Re-Elect Slowly Takes Shape
President Biden’s team is moving quickly to build a “national advisory board” stocked with Democratic governors, senators and other political stars who will travel and speak on Biden’s behalf during his expected reelection campaign, an early effort to unify party leaders and minimize the chance of dissent.
2022 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by a court in Belarus.
Headline Of The Day
“The Sacramento Dildo Saleswoman Behind A Neo-Nazi Network Advocating For Mass Shootings“
Your Glimpse Of CPAC
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) of all people:
Perry’s phone was seized by the FBI in August as part of the federal investigation into Jan. 6. He is fighting tooth and nail to keep the Justice Department from accessing the phone’s contents. Perry is of interest to investigators because he played a key role in introducing then-President Trump to a little-known DOJ official named Jeffrey Clark, who Trump toyed with appointing as attorney general to further the Big Lie scheme.
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