Kevin McCarthy’s Dirty Deal With Tucker Carlson Plays Out Exactly As Planned

INSIDE: Mike Pence ... Hope Hicks ... Michelle Obama
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Carlson ... WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Carlson talked about a large variety of topics including dropping testosterone levels, increasing rates of suicide, unemployment, drug addiction and social hierarchy at the summit, which had the theme 'The Case for the American Experiment.' (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

We All Saw This Coming

The challenge this morning is how to alert you to a big dump of new misinformation without amplifying and validating it. The good news: This is an easier task when Kevin McCarthy and Tucker Carlson are involved because it is so transparent.

The speaker of the House gives special exclusive access to the security footage of the Jan. 6 attack on Congress to the leading propagandist minimizing, dismissing, and counter-programming the failed coup. What did you think was going to happen?

Monday night, Carlson began using the footage (much of which was already turned over to defense attorneys for the Jan. 6 rioters) to reinforce and continue to promulgate his made-up narrative that the attack consisted of peaceful “sightseers” touring the Capitol under escort:

More than 44,000 hours of surveillance footage from in and around the Capitol have been withheld from the public, and once you see the video, you’ll understand why. Taken as a whole, the video does not support the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection. In fact, it demolishes that claim.

Reporters who have covered the Jan. 6 attack and the criminal justice aftermath spent Monday evening debunking the Carlson segment in various ways: the footage isn’t actually new or unseen, it was selectively presented by Carlson, things he claimed were new or unknown were old and known, etc.

But of course the game plan here isn’t for McCarthy to simply provide Carlson with new fodder for predictable if outrageous segments on his show. In a pattern we all know too well, the Carlson segment takes the raw material and transmogrifies into even better, more useful fodder for all manner of elected Republicans, Jan. 6 deniers, other right-wing news outlets, and MAGA world.

Like clockwork, Republican House members seized on the Carlson segment:

My favorite response though was this tweet from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene:

The punchline, in case you missed it: Jacob Chansley, the easily recognized QAnon Shaman, didn’t go to trial; he pleaded guilty.

The easily mocked Carlson segment was, well, easily mocked:

Pence Resists Grand Jury Subpoena

Former Vice President Mike Pence on Friday filed a motion to quash a federal grand jury subpoena of him in the Jan. 6 investigation on the grounds that it violates the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, CNN reported.

As previously reported, former President Trump’s legal team on the same day raised executive privilege arguments to block Pence’s testimony.

The filings are sealed and the arguments will play out in secret because this remains in the confines of a grand jury proceeding.

Trump Tries To Get Toothpaste Back In The Tube

This is a weird one. Apparently Trump is now asserting executive and attorney-client privileges to try to block Special Counsel Jack Smith from using the grand jury testimony of former White House lawyers Pat Cipollone, Patrick Philbin and Eric Herschmann, ABC reported.

The ABC report is a little hard to parse, but it suggests that Smith has taken this argument to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to resolve and oral arguments may happen in secret this week.

Passantino Faces The Music

Stefan Passantino, the one-time lawyer for former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, is facing a bar complaint for his alleged misconduct in representing her.

Hope Hicks On The Spot In Hush Money Case

Former Trump aide Hope Hicks was at the Manhattan district attorney’s office yesterday as part of its investigation into the Stormy Daniels hush money scheme. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Hicks met with prosecutors or testified to the grand jury or both.

Fox Loses Its Top Lobbyist

As the fallout from the Dominion defamation suits continues, Fox Corp. is losing its top lobbyist. Danny O’Brien, who hails from Democratic circles and used to work for Joe Biden, is stepping down as EVP and head of government relations.

Why The SCOTUS Leak Investigation Failed

Former DOJ and DoD Inspector General Glenn Fine on why the Supreme Court’s investigation of the Dobbs draft leak was doomed from the start.

Biden Pushes Hard On Medicare

Biden is putting the social safety net at the center of his re-election campaign. With a NYT op-ed and a planned rollout today of a new plan for Medicare, Biden is drawing on the same tensions for the Republicans – they want to eliminate programs that are deeply popular among their aging political base – that he poked on Social Security in his State of the Union address.

Biden Considering Resuming Detaining Families At The Border


The Biden administration is considering reviving the practice of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally — the same policy the president shut down over the past two years because he wanted a more humane immigration system, officials familiar with the discussions said Monday.

Although no final decision has been made, the move would be a stark reversal for President Biden, who came into office promising to adopt a more compassionate approach to the border after the harsh policies of his predecessor, former President Donald J. Trump.

Moody’s Warns Of Crippling Effect Of Debt Limit Default

Moody’s Analytics chief economist of Mark Zandi is set to warn a Senate Banking subcommittee today that a debt limit default would crater the U.S. economy.

Elon Musk’s Latest Embarrassment

Platformer: How a single engineer brought down Twitter on Monday

America’s Great Home Heating Divide

What A Day That Was

Michelle Obama describes sobbing uncontrollably for 30 minutes aboard Air Force One after Trump’s inauguration.

Do you like Morning Memo? Let us know

Latest Morning Memo
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: