Debate Blogging #2

9:10 PM: I think Christie managed to connect there. He’s breaking through on the fakeness of the whole primary campaign and unwillingness of any of these people to attack Trump. He basically made smoke come out of DeSantis’s ears. But DeSantis is already roadkill. So hard to say how much it matters.

9:01 PM: “Europe is committing suicide” with immigration. Basically right out of the Great Replacement playbook.

Glory & Doom … Only One Can Be Second (Live Blogging)

8:44 PM: I haven’t seen any time counts but it seems like Chris Christie has spoken dramatically less than the other three. Just doesn’t have it in him. No fight. Had a couple sharp moments with Ramaswamy. But just flat.

8:31 PM: Kate and I will definitely do an instapod tonight if Christie and Haley murder Vivek live on stage.

8:30 PM: Christie already seems to be done attacking Donald Trump.

8:28 PM: Let’s just note that Haley seems to have floated the conspiracy that Iran launched the massacres in southern Israel to help Russia in Ukraine, and also Putin’s birthday! Weird.

8:25 PM: That’s the first time Christie has really done what he promised he’d do at the start of his campaign: take the argument to Trump. But it seems like he might already be done attacking Trump. Doesn’t seem to have the fight in him anymore.

8:15 PM: I’ve basically made my career covering stupid. But this kind of has me defeated 15 minutes in.

8:08 PM: Just being reminded of the fact that these four are the best the GOP could get up on this stage. It’s pretty remarkable.

8:05 PM: Not sure the 2022 collapse is a big applause line in a GOP debate?

8:04 PM: DeSantis has that weird hands down, dominated dog stance. Weird.

8:03 PM: The only thing of any consequence is whether any of these folks really try to take the fight to Trump.

7:55 PM: Let’s do this.

Tuberville Finally Ends Abortion Tantrum, Drops Blockade On Most High-Ranking Nominations

This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis. It was originally published at The Conversation.

After holding up the promotions or new assignments of several hundred senior officers for nearly a year, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville relented to pressure from both GOP and Democratic Senate members and ended most of his campaign against a military policy on abortion.

Continue reading “Tuberville Finally Ends Abortion Tantrum, Drops Blockade On Most High-Ranking Nominations”  

Speaker Johnson Called J6 Rioters Shameful “Criminals” Before Protecting Them from DOJ

Eager to maintain the support of the far right of the House GOP caucus Speaker Mike Johnson recently ordered the release of internal House footage of the various rioters who stormed the Capitol complex on January 6th 2021 in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. But his transparency train hit a speed bump when he decided to blur the faces of the rioters and criminals who stormed the capitol in order to prevent their being, in Johnson’s words, “retaliated against and charged by the DOJ and have other concerns and problems.”

So Johnson says quite clearly and publicly that his office is obscuring the faces of Jan. 6th rioters in order to prevent law enforcement from holding them accountable for their crimes.

But Johnson wasn’t always so pro-January 6th rioter, or at least he hasn’t been consistently. He called the feral Trumpers who stormed the capitol shameless criminals, in fact.

Continue reading “Speaker Johnson Called J6 Rioters Shameful “Criminals” Before Protecting Them from DOJ”  

Major Party Bylaws Fail

When last we checked with accused rapist and confessed threesomer Christian Ziegler, Chairman of the Florida GOP, major Florida Republican party officials were all coming out and demanding he resign. On Monday the state party Vice Chair Evan Power announced he was going to call an emergency meeting for December 17th to deal with the matter. When I heard this I was surprised they’d wait that long to boot Ziegler. They clearly want him gone yesterday.

But they may have to wait longer.

According to Florida Politics, the state party has no mechanism for removing a party chair against their will. It seems the best they can do on the 17th is censure Ziegler or perhaps appoint someone to investigate his behavior.

The Insurrectionists Still 100% Control The House

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

Showing Exactly Who He Is

This is as remarkable a window into the House GOP as anything we’ve seen since Jan. 6, 2021.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), eager to release more Jan. 6 surveillance footage as fodder for right-wing revisionism, says it will take some time because they need to blur the faces of people caught on the videos … to prevent the Justice Department from prosecuting them:

The reaction was swift and fierce:

One point worth adding here: The FBI has had access to the Jan. 6 surveillance footage for years now, so Johnson’s reasoning is as flawed as it is dangerous.

Now It’s Getting Good

Since the indictment of Donald Trump last August for trying to overturn the 2020 election, Special Counsel Jack Smith hasn’t offered much publicly to advance the underlying narrative. But that changed yesterday with a new filing that vividly describes how prosecutors want to frame up their case against Trump for jurors.

In a filing that the rules require, Smith revealed other bad acts and conduct that he intends to introduce against Trump at trial. What emerges is a compelling argument that Trump’s own anti-democratic statements and conduct began years before the 2020 election and continued well after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. But it goes even further than that.

I’m going to cheat and just share the subheads that Smith used in the filing because they elegantly show the framing of the case:

  1. Historical Evidence of the Defendant’s Consistent Plan of Baselessly Claiming Election Fraud
  2. Historical Evidence of the Defendant’s Common Plan to Refuse to Commit to a Peaceful Transition of Power
  3. Evidence of the Defendant and Co-Conspirators’ Knowledge of the Unfavorable Election Results and Motive and Intent to Subvert Them
  4. Pre- and Post-Conspiracy Evidence That the Defendant and Co-Conspirators Suppressed Proof Their Fraud Claims Were False and Retaliated Against Officials Who Undermined Their Criminal Plans
  5. Pre- and Post-Conspiracy Evidence of the Defendant’s Public Attacks on Individuals, Encouragement of Violence, and Knowledge of the Foreseeable Consequences

The filing is only nine pages long, but it’s chockablock with specific instances and examples that show the contours of the prosecution’s case against Trump. I’d urge you to read it.

A Small Point Of Pride

I remain immensely proud of this piece by then-TPMers Tierney Sneed and Matt Shuham from late January 2021 in which they made a heroic effort to place the Jan. 6 attack in the broader context of the vast, months-long effort to subvert the election: The Capitol Mob Was Only The Finale Of Trump’s Conspiracy To Overturn The Election.

I mention it now because that piece led with a description of the disturbance caused by pro-Trump supporters trying to stop the counting of votes at the TCF Center in Detroit shortly after Election Day 2022 – and in yesterday’s filing by Special Counsel Jack Smith he revealed new information about the origins of that near-riot to block the ballot counting.

In a partially redacted section of the filing, Smith states (emphasis mine):

The Government also plans to introduce evidence of an effort undertaken by an agent (and unindicted co-conspirator) of the defendant who worked for his campaign (“the Campaign Employee”) to, immediately following the election, obstruct the vote count. On November 4, 2020, the Campaign Employee exchanged a series of text messages with an attorney supporting the Campaign’s election day operations at the TCF Center in Detroit, where votes were being counted; in the messages, the Campaign Employee encouraged rioting and other methods of obstruction when he learned that the vote count was trending in favor of the defendant’s opponent.

That’s a remarkable revelation. If only we’d known it then! It’s not clear who the “Campaign Employee” is or whether this is a new co-conspirator or one of the unnamed co-conspirators in the indictment.

It’s Coming …

At what point do prosecutors and investigators start gathering evidence for the open, blatant, transparent Trumpian plan to abuse the powers of government to retaliate against his perceived enemies?

Take a listen to this appalling brag from former Trump Pentagon apparatchik Kash Patel:

The fact that this is so far outside the CIA’s lane is just icing on the cake of underlying wrongness and bad faith.

Lest you be tempted to dismiss comments like these as the florid paeans of sycophants, here’s another new warning about Trump from his own former secretary of defense:

Oh, Well, Then …

Trump: I won’t be a dictator ‘except for day one’

Buck Up! Don’t Despair!

Greg Sargent:

It’s sometimes said that our institutions and civic culture have withered so much that resistance to Trumpian tyranny would be incapacitated, rendering its onset all but inevitable.

Such a reading of the moment risks leading us astray. It fails to account for much of the good that transpired during the Trump years, from which there is plenty to learn. Undue fatalism could even prove counterproductive, de-energizing voter opposition exactly when Trump is brazenly projecting his dictatorial intentions.

Colorado High Court Hears DQ Clause Case

Oral arguments today in the 14th Amendment Disqualification Clause case to keep Trump off the Colorado ballot. It’s not clear yet, but this could be the case that the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately weighs in on.

Judge Irked By Rudy’s No-Show For Hearing

With his defamation trial looming next week, Rudy Giuliani annoyed U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell by not showing up for a pre-trial hearing yesterday. By her order, parties were to supposed to attend the hearing in person. It would have been the first time Giuliani would have faced Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss in person.

Ukraine Aid Is In Real Trouble

It’s hard to overstate how insane it is that Ukraine aid has been successfully held hostage by Republicans, with the ransom demand being an array of aggressive new U.S. border policies. And it’s not just crazies in the House. This short thread by PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins nicely captures the Senate Republican pathology:

Antisemitic NYC Attack Yields Hate Crime Charges

A NYC man was charged with hate crimes after allegedly stalking and harassing Israeli tourists in Times Square before punching one of them in the head. The man was allegedly taunting:

  • “Hamas should kill more of you.”
  • “May Allah kill you.”
  • “May Allah kill all the Jews.”
  • “All Jews should die.”
  • “I will die for Gaza.”

2024 Ephemera

  • President Biden, on his re-election campaign: “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running.”
  • LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, the billionaire Democratic donor, gave $250,000 to a super PAC supporting Nikki Haley.
  • Special election to fill the seat of ex-Rep. George Santos (R-NY) is set for Feb. 13, 2024.

How Far Will The Conservative Supreme Court Go?

Another bellwether case before the Supreme Court yesterday that will test how far the supermajority of Republican appointees will go in validating obscure conservative pet legal theories.

A Proper Tribute To Sandra Day O’Connor

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