The Corruption Runs Deep In This Rolling Clown Show

INSIDE: Allen Weisselberg ... Jean Carroll ... George Santos
TOPSHOT - US Republican Representative from California Kevin McCarthy (R) speaks with Republican Representative from Ohio Jim Jordan as the US House of Representatives continues voting for new speaker at the US Capit... TOPSHOT - US Republican Representative from California Kevin McCarthy (R) speaks with Republican Representative from Ohio Jim Jordan as the US House of Representatives continues voting for new speaker at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 4, 2023. - The new Republican-led US House of Representatives was engulfed in crisis for a second day running Wednesday after a fresh round of voting failed to produce a winner in the race for speaker. McCarthy lost out again as the House reconvened for a fourth ballot. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/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.

It’s Bad. Very Bad.

The House GOP’s brazenness, its lack of shame, and its full-throated embrace of interfering with ongoing criminal investigations has the effect of almost normalizing what is an extraordinary level of systemic corruption and abuse of power.

That would be true even if numerous House GOPers didn’t have vested personal interests in the investigations in question, but as we know an astonishing number of them are caught up in the investigations that they’re so loudly protesting and are now trying to sabotage.

As Greg Sargent noted yesterday, giving incoming Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) a select subcommittee to target the FBI and DOJ is basically creating a propaganda machine.

That resistance could serve as grist for Republicans and their allies in the right-wing media to scream “coverup” and paint investigations as corrupt. That could even be used to manufacture a fake rationale for impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland, and for attempts to use an obscure House rule to defund investigations of Trump.

Jordan himself was deeply involved in Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election. But the list is long. Here is newly elected Rep. Daniel Goldman, the lead majority counsel in the first Trump impeachment, calling out Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), another GOP member already in DOJ’s crosshairs for his role in the election subversion effort:

Beyond Ridiculous

No one is happier about the House GOP’s new remit to investigate the investigators than Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT). The former Interior secretary was widely regarded as the most ethically challenged member of the Trump cabinet. Quite an achievement. He went on a Deep State rant on the House floor:

Weisselberg Sentenced To Five Months In Jail

In return for his limited cooperation, the former CFO of the Trump Org received a relatively lenient five months in jail for on tax fraud-related charges. You’ll recall Allen Weisselberg testified against the Trump Org at trial, but never flipped on Donald Trump himself.

The longtime executive for Trump immediately began serving his sentence on Rikers Island.

Also notable: Weisselberg finally came off the Trump Org payroll after his sentencing and received an undisclosed severance package.

DC Appeals Court Not Eager To Get Involved In Trump Defamation Case

Trump’s effort to fight off Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit against him wound up before the highest court in DC yesterday, and the judges didn’t want to get dragged into the melee.

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Santos Faces New Ethics Complaint

Two Democratic congressmen from New York filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Rep. George Santos (D-NY) over his serial fabrications while running for his House seat.

Rough Day To Be Flying

Godspeed to Morning Memo readers trying to fly today. The FAA’s NOTAMs system is down, causing flight delays and grounding airplanes across the country.

Jury Selection Finally Complete In Proud Boys Trial

After a painstaking 10 days of jury selection in Washington, D.C., opening statements are slated to begin today in the seditious conspiracy trial of the Proud Boys.

Quick Check-in On The Biden Classified Docs Brouhaha

Some new reporting and first public comments from President Biden:

  • The classified documents from Biden time as vice president included US intelligence memos and briefing materials on foreign countries, including Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom, according to various news reports.
  • The 10 classified documents were dated between 2013 and 2016, CNN reported.
  • “They were found in three or four boxes also containing unclassified papers that fall under the Presidential Records Act,” according to the CNN report.
  • Biden tells reporters he was “surprised” to learn of the classified documents found in his former DC office:

After I was briefed about the discovery, I was surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken to that office. … But I don’t know what’s in the documents.

Progress?

I hesitate to call this a breakthrough, but I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few news outlets fronting the differences between the Mar-a-Lago case against Trump and the classified documents found in Biden’s former DC office. Again, I don’t think “but her emails” journalism is dead, but clearly there’s an effort to course-correct:

Politifact: Trump, Biden classified documents cases differ in key ways. Here’s how.

BBC: How the Biden-Trump classified documents cases are different

The Guardian: In the case of the classified documents, it’s more serious for Trump than Biden

Washington Examiner: Biden classified document controversy: What we know and how the president’s case differs from Trump’s

CNN was flashing this graphic through the day:

(credit: CNN)

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F***

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) has jumped into the 2024 race for Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat before Feinstein, nearing 90 years old and not expected to seek re-election, has announced her intentions.

It’s Already Happening

The last eight years were the hottest on record.

The Year In Billion-Dollar Disasters

Via NOAA:

The U.S. experienced 18 billion dollar disasters in 2022, totaling more than $165 billion in damage. (Source: NOAA)

Basic Civics

Let the dunking begin.

Just in case it isn’t clear, the House GOP did pass a bill to strip some IRS funding (for the millionth time: the 87,000 IRS agents canard is a bogus GOP conspiracy), but the bill is not going anywhere in the Senate or getting signed by Biden.

Basic Schoolhouse Rock stuff.

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