A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.
An impeachment with no wrongdoing.
A impeachment launched in hopes of finding some evidence of wrongdoing that can justify its existence.
An impeachment inquiry designed to buy off Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s rabid and restless far-right flank so he can avoid a government shutdown that those same extremists are angling for.
It’s unchartered territory, but that’s where things stand as the House reconvenes today after a long summer recess. The stage is set for the rest of September, with government funding running out at the end of the month.
McCarthy Throws In On Bogus Impeachment
Speaker Kevin McCarthy is expected to give the House GOP a green light this week on initiating a groundless impeachment of President Biden, according to reporting from Punchbowl, which points to a Thursday closed-door conference meeting as the fulcrum of the House’s first week back.
McCarthy Squeezed By Senate GOP
The Senate is remarkably unified on proceeding with appropriations votes while the House GOP ties itself in knots. That adds more pressure on McCarthy to figure something out. And the bargain he seems to be trying to make is to placate his extreme wing by tossing them an impeachment bone. But as is so often the case, there’s no real reason to think that will be enough to buy their acquiescence on avoiding a government shutdown. The end result may very well be we get both impeachment and shutdown this fall. Yay. Thanks, Kev.
It’s Happening, Y’all
The obvious fact that Joe Biden is old is becoming a beginning, middle and end to 2024 horse race coverage. It’s the “but her emails” of 2024. It’s a fact so obvious and glaring that you can use it to make any point and buttress any argument, at which point of course it becomes meaningless drivel.
Josh Marshall noted one particularly ripe instance of the “age issue” being pumped up into something meant to be political analysis. Here’s another piquant example from the WSJ: “Is Biden Too Old to Run Again? We Asked People Born on His Exact Birthday.” You know it’s become a crutch of conventional wisdom when reporters are pitching and editors are greenlighting new “angles” on Biden’s longevity. Clever!
What makes it so insidious is that it’s no one story, no one piece of less-than-trenchant analysis, no single lazy cable news segment. It’s the sheer totality of the conventional wisdom being ingested by journos and pumped out nonstop. It becomes a substitute for original thinking, a balm for those either unable or unwilling to hold the real complexities of the world in their heads, and a shortcut for reporters without anything new to offer.
‘I Just Had Another One’
Politico: How McConnell scrambled to protect his job after two freeze-ups
Alabama Dares SCOTUS To Show Some Self Respect
You know the basic details already:
- In a big surprise in June, the Supreme Court rejected Alabama’s congressional district map and ordered a do-over. The gist was that the Alabama map needed to have a second majority Black district (though it should be said that the ruling was arguably slightly less categorical than that).
- In response, Alabama’s GOP-controlled statehouse coughed up another congressional district map but again included only one majority Black district.
- Last week, a three-federal-judge panel rejected the new map, again for lack of a second majority Black district.
Alabama brushed off the setback and immediately went to the Supreme Court for a stay. Ball in your court, SCOTUS.
In a NYT op-ed – “Alabama Has Put the Supreme Court’s Legitimacy on the Line” – Kate Shaw writes: “Facing a crisis in public confidence, the court should take the opportunity to regain some of its rapidly dwindling legitimacy by sending a clear message that even its ideological fellow travelers do not get a pass from abiding by its rulings.”
Trump Seeks Long-Shot Recusal Of Chutkan
It’s going to be fun watching Donald Trump try out all the maneuvers the hundreds of convicted Jan. 6 rioters tested out and watched fail in their own cases: judge recusal, change of venue, legal challenges to the underlying criminal charges. It’s going to be a long list.
Trump’s Low Energy Defense In Georgia
Presumably it’s part of his delay strategy, but Donald Trump has been slow and lethargic in responding in court to the sweeping RICO indictment in Georgia. Yesterday, rather than filing his own motions, he adopted and joined in several of the motions filed by his co-defendants, including one seeking to dismiss the indictment.
Feds Drop Case Against Mike Flynn Compadre
Prosecutors originally won a 2019 conviction against Bijan Rafiekian, a former biz partner of Mike Flynn, for illegally lobbying for Turkey, but the trial judge set aside the verdict. Now prosecutors have dropped “one of the last prosecutions stemming from investigations into alleged foreign influence over Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign,” as Politico put it.
Extremists Keep Targeting The Grid
Politico: Extremists keep trying to trigger mass blackouts — and that’s not even the scariest part
TPM flashback to April: Aspiring Right-Wing Terrorists Are Targeting The Power Grid Amid Rise In Accelerationist Extremism
Sign Of The Times
Uncertain Death Toll In Devastating Flood In Libya
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