RonJohn’s Campaign Recently Paid Law Firm Of Fake Trump Elector Crony

INSIDE: Hannity ... Truss ... Rittenhouse The YouTuber
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 16: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., takes his seat for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Build... UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 16: Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., takes his seat for the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation Subcommittee hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images). MORE LESS

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

Hmmm

New FEC filings reveal that Sen. Ron Johnson’s reelection campaign (R-WI) paid more than $20,000 this past summer to Troupis Law, the legal firm headed by Trump campaign lawyer James Troupis–a key plotter in the MAGA sham elector scheme.

  • Johnson’s campaign made payments of $13,287 in July and $7,000 in August for “legal consulting” and “Recount: Legal Consulting,” respectively, according to the filings.
  • NBC’s takeaway: “Johnson’s payment for legal consulting on a possible recount to an outside law firm could be a sign that he expects the kind of dead-heat contest the battleground state is known for.”
  • Troupis is entangled in the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation. He’s reportedly been listed in the DOJ’s subpoenas to some of the fake Trump electors seeking their communications with Trump’s team.
  • Johnson has admitted to texting with Troupis on Jan. 6 before and after the GOP senator’s office tried to deliver the fake Trump elector slate to then-Vice President Mike Pence’s office that day. The Wisconsin senator insists he was involved in the sham elector plot for only a “couple of seconds.”

Biden Admin Kicks Off Student Loan Forgiveness 

The Biden administration officially unrolled its student debt forgiveness program on Monday, which will wipe out up to $20,000 in federal student loans for eligible borrowers.

  • The application form is surprisingly simple: name, Social Security number, date of birth, phone number, and email. That’s it.
  • Conservatives are suing to block the program, including a Wisconsin legal group that’s accusing the plan of being racist against white people (no, really). Six Republican-led states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina) have filed a joint lawsuit arguing that Biden overstepped his authority.

Kemp And Abrams Face Off In First Debate

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) and Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams (and Libertarian nominee Shane Hazel) squared off in their first debate in the high-stakes gubernatorial race on Monday night. 

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “In rematch, Kemp and Abrams spar in first 2022 debate”
  • New York Times: “For Abrams and Kemp, a Debate Rematch Recalls a 2018 Exchange”
  • CNN: “Four takeaways from the Georgia governor’s debate”
  • Axios: “Gun policy takes center stage at Georgia governor’s debate”

Ryan vs Vance: Round 2

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Hillbilly elegist J.D. Vance had a second debate last night as they battle over a key Ohio Senate seat.

  • Washington Post: “Ohio Senate debate filled with contentious exchanges”
  • Associated Press: “Ryan, Vance at odds on abortion, Jan 6 in Ohio Senate debate”
  • NBC News: “Tim Ryan and J.D. Vance attack each other over ‘great replacement’ theory in final Ohio Senate debate”
  • CNN: “Five takeaways from the second Ohio Senate debate”

Key Analysis

“Kari Lake’s sugarcoated Trumpism is scarier than the original” – Greg Sargent at the Washington Post

Lake is making similar gestures, while casting them as an effort to appeal to people’s better instincts. That’s a departure from Trump, whose innovation was to communicate to voters they should not be ashamed of their xenophobic, antidemocratic — even cruel and malevolent instincts — but should wear them proudly.

Saudi Arabia Sentences US Citizen Over Tweets

In an escalation of recent tensions with the U.S., Saudi Arabia has arrested and sentenced an American citizen to 16 years in prison over tweets that criticized the regime for corruption and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Hannity Frantically Tries To Do Some Damage Control For Walker

Fox News host Sean Hannity hosted a town hall in Georgia last night for embattled Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker, with Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as backup. Hannity made virtually no effort to disguise the event as anything more than an opportunity to clean up Walker’s campaign amid unceasing scandals over fake cop badges, a paid abortion, and domestic abuse.

Yeezy To Buy Parler

Welp, we might have another reason why rapper Ye (formerly Kanye) West went off the rails with rants about The Jews (besides blatant anti-Semitism): He’s planning on buying Parler, one of the “free speech” social media platforms that Twitter-banned conservatives flock to, and what’s a better marketing ploy for that particular market than posting screeds about going “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE” and getting yourself locked out of Twitter?

  • West pointed directly at his Twitter (and Instagram) time-out as his motivation for the Parler purchase on Monday, telling Bloomberg that that was when he “knew it was time to acquire my own platform.”
  • West also told Bloomberg that he uses social media “as my therapist.” Dear God.

The Woes Of Liz Truss

British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s six-week-old leadership is going very poorly.

Larry the cat, who serves as Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office at Number 10, knows what Truss’ deal is:

Anyway,

WTF Read Of The Day

“More U.S. companies charging employees for job training if they quit” – Reuters

Rittenhouse Sets Out To Become A YouTuber

Kyle Rittenhouse, aka the guy who became a right-wing darling after fatally shooting two people at an anti-police brutality protest and being acquitted of murder, is apparently launching a new career on YouTube to talk about guns or … something? Rittenhouse’s intro video doesn’t have a lot of details beyond showing random footage of him firing at targets.

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