Dianne Feinstein’s Half Century Journey Through American Politics, In Photos

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) the oldest member of congress, died Thursday night, according to the New York Times, bringing to an end a career that saw her play starring roles repeatedly in a half century of American political history. She was 90 years old.

Biden Issues Dire Warning About The Threat Posed By Republican Extremists

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

‘A Threat To The Character Of Our Nation’

It was quite a contrast Thursday as President Joe Biden gave a forceful speech warning of the threat to democracy and the rule of law posed by MAGA Republicans while those same radicals were taking overt steps in the House of Representatives to impeach him on baseless, evidence-free claims of wrongdoing.

In a speech in Arizona, Biden drew a through-line from Donald Trump’s threats against the media to the House GOP’s government shutdown to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s attacks on the military leadership. Biden is not a powerful speaker, and his delivery often steps on his best lines, but don’t let the presentation distract from how extraordinary it is that an American president is having to issue such warnings about the threat to democracy.

A sampling of his remarks (based on the White House transcript):

  • “And there is something dangerous happening in America now.  There is an extremist movement that does not share the basic beliefs in our democracy: the MAGA Movement.”
  • “Their extreme agenda, if carried out, would fundamentally alter the institutions of American democracy as we know it.”
  • “They’re pushing a notion the defeated former President expressed when he was in office and believes applies only to him.  And this is a dangerous notion: This president is above the law, with no limits on power.”
  • “Did you ever think you’d hear leaders of political parties in the United States of America speak like that?  Seizing power, concentrating power, attempting to abuse power, purging and packing key institutions, spewing conspiracy theories, spreading lies for profit and power to divide America in every way, inciting violence against those who risk their lives to keep America safe, weaponizing against the very soul of who we are as Americans.”
  • “This MAGA threat is the threat to the brick and mortar of our democratic institutions.  But it’s also a threat to the character of our nation and gives our — that gives our Constitution life, that binds us together as Americans in common cause.”

You’ve been warned.

GOP Impeachment Shitshow

Two things you need to know about yesterday’s clown show as the House GOP initiated its impeachment inquiry: 1) The ham-handedness of their handling of the hearing reinforced how baseless, unserious, and often silly their impeachment jihad is; but 2) Those kinds of theater reviews of their performance can often veer into coverage that would, if their theatrics were more polished, eat it right up – so be a careful news consumer.

If you want a better sense of how epically bad yesterday went, Aaron Rupar has you covered with this video-heavy thread:


Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has died.

Trump Won’t Seek Removal Of Georgia RICO Case

After toying with the idea of removing the sweeping RICO case against him from Georgia state court to federal court, Donald Trump has decided to stay put. This was a complicated calculation for Trump, and oddly the low odds of succeeding were probably among the least of his considerations.

Two major factors argued against him seeking removal: 1) The case was likely to move faster in federal court, which is in conflict with Trump’s broad strategy of delay; and 2) Any effort by Trump to put on evidence to argue for removal would have been very constrained by the fact that having him testify would have been a disaster.

Trump Seeks Another Delay In Jan. 6 Case

Fresh on the heels of seeking a delay in the CIPA process in his Jan. 6 case, Donald Trump is seeking to push back the deadline for pretrial motions by 60 days.

Trump Loses Bid To Delay NY Civil Trial

A New York appeals court declined to delay the start of next week’s civil trial by the state attorney general against Trump, his adult sons, and numerous of his business entities. It had made a last ditch effort to stave off trial by suing the trial judge. Yep.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Letitia James’ witness list for trial includes Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Michael Cohen.

Disqualification Clause Watch

Minnesota’s top election official isn’t taking a position on whether the Disqualification Clause renders Donald Trump ineligible for office but agrees the case currently pending before the state’s Supreme Court is the proper vehicle for answering that question.

So Many Trump Legal Entanglements!

After years of effort to make it happen, former FBI official Peter Strzok is finally set to depose Donald Trump next week – if a government shutdown doesn’t interfere.

Pro Tip: When On The Lam, Don’t Go Home

The Proud Boy convicted in the Jan. 6 attack who failed to show up to his sentencing last month was arrested … at his Florida home.

Is Biden Special Counsel Close To Wrapping Up?

Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified information from his vice presidency is still pending. The NYT reports that Hur’s team has interviewed, among others, Steve Ricchetti, Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, Ron Klain, and Michael Carpenter.

Dead Man Walking?

Things are tense inside the House GOP conference, as the far-right gang plots to replace Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker as early as next week with his top deputy Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the WaPo reports.

House Progressives Name Their Price

If Kevin McCarthy comes hat in hand for Democratic votes to pass a budget deal or to save his speakership, House progressives want to extract a power-sharing agreement from him, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told TPM.

GOP Shutdown Watch

  • Chances are high that when you read Morning Memo on Monday, the federal government will have shutdown after running out of funding.
  • The House GOP will try to pass a stopgap funding bill Friday, but it’s not clear McCarthy has the votes. Even if it passes, it’s DOA in the Senate.
  • As of this morning, there is no obvious vehicle in the wings for avoiding a shutdown.
  • After a long ride on the struggle bus, the House GOP was able to pass three of four appropriations bills Thursday, but that won’t have any real impact on the looming shutdown.

2024 Is Gonna Be Another Misinfo Shitshow

Elon Musk has gotten rid of the team at X/Twitter assigned to combat election misinformation.

Idaho Abortion Ban Back In Effect

A three-judge panel of Trump appointees on the Ninth Circuit lifted an injunction blocking enforcement of Idaho’s near-total ban on abortion.

Makes My Head Hurt

The folks ginning up all kinds of conspiracy theories to justify a Biden impeachment are now conspiracizing about why they sucked so bad in the first impeachment hearing:

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Majority Of Americans Don’t Support This Sideshow

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) officially launched his disinfo campaign/Trump retribution crusade guised as an impeachment inquiry today. TPM isn’t really covering it, at least for now, because it’s not a serious matter. It’s a concession Comer and other hardliners squeezed out of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in exchange for some sort of shutdown averting cooperation — a deal far-right members did not keep to a cartoonish degree.

Continue reading “Majority Of Americans Don’t Support This Sideshow”

Jayapal: Progressive Caucus Wants Power-Sharing Agreement For Jeffries If McCarthy Comes Knocking For Their Votes

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told TPM Thursday that a sizable chunk of the House Democratic caucus plans to demand power-sharing concessions from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) if he ultimately needs their votes to save his speakership or keep the government open.

Continue reading “Jayapal: Progressive Caucus Wants Power-Sharing Agreement For Jeffries If McCarthy Comes Knocking For Their Votes”

Fetterman Calls For Menendez Ouster Feet Away From Indicted Senator Appealing To Colleagues

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), clothed in his much ballyhooed hoodie and shorts, held court with reporters just feet away from the room where the indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was appealing to his colleagues to stand with him.

“I was very clear that unless the only thing he has to say is that he’s going to resign, that I’m not interested in some kind of explanation on why he has gold bars in his mattress or anything like that,” he said. 

Continue reading “Fetterman Calls For Menendez Ouster Feet Away From Indicted Senator Appealing To Colleagues”

A Blackout on The Phony “Union Members” At Trump’s Event?

Let me ask you: what coverage have you seen of ex-President Trump’s event in Michigan Wednesday night? The speech was billed as a message to union autoworkers and comes amidst the on-going UAW strike. It was meant both to counter-program last night’s GOP presidential debate and also to contest President Biden’s relationship with unionized auto workers. Biden showed up to walk on a UAW picket line on Tuesday, making history as the first time a sitting president has ever so explicitly backed not just the right to bargain generally, but a specific strike.

A lot of coverage noted that Trump’s visit wasn’t really “at the strike,” as a number of reports had it, but at a non-union auto parts manufacturer, Drake Enterprises. What’s gotten much less attention is that a substantial number of the “auto workers” and “union members” in the audience appear to have been phonies produced by the Trump campaign. The Detroit News found at least one actual, self-identified auto worker in the crowd, 55 year old Doug King, who works for Stellantis. The paper also reported that a retired auto worker named Brian Pannebecker said he helped recruit people to come to the event. But the paper seemed to have a hard time finding real auto workers or union members in the crowd of between 400 and 500 people.

From The Detroit News

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Remember: The Saudis Are The Problem

At the frontier of political and economics journalism there’s a long running dialogue looking for that key development that will finally tip the post-COVID U.S. economy into recession. Think of it as a part of “soft landing” discourse, now mixing together analyses of inflation, Fed rate hike policy, the end of loan forbearance and post-COVID savings running dry. In recent weeks it’s focused on the price of oil and thus gas creeping back up towards $100 a barrel. Yesterday saw the biggest one day rise since the Spring.

The drivers of oil prices are complex. Part of the rise is fueled by the very strength of the U.S. and global economy, which is driving up demand. But the big driver is supply and particularly the policy to restrict supply and drive up prices, a policy headquartered in Saudi Arabia. Rising oil prices help keep inflation high. They also increase pressure on the Fed to maintain or increase interest rates. Both have bad effects on the U.S. (and global) economy, as well as knock-on political impacts on Joe Biden’s reelection effort.

Continue reading “Remember: The Saudis Are The Problem”