Nicole Lafond

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Nicole Lafond is TPM’s special projects editor, based in New York. Previously, she was a senior newswriter for TPM. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and formerly covered education for The News-Gazette in Illinois.
Where Things Stand: Hit-And-Run AG Was Reading A Right-Wing Website While Driving, Investigators Say Prime Badge

We’ve been following closely this week as new details have emerged about a hit-and-run by South Dakota’s attorney general. A Republican politician, who was charged with a mere misdemeanor after being involved in the fatal accident, is now facing a bipartisan impeachment push as it starts to look as if his “I thought I hit a deer” story might be Swiss cheese.

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Where Things Stand: The Value Of Playing The Antifa Card Prime Badge
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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18: Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) questions Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz during a Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Governmental Affairs hearing at the US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Last week the Inspector General released a report on the origins of the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties with Russia during the 2016 Presidential elections. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ron Johnson

The antifa card has been dealt repeatedly this week. And it’s only picking up more steam among the GOP as a vague but ready excuse for all manner of things.

Tucked into a recent Politico report on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to push back on the House’s bid to conduct a bipartisan review of the Jan. 6 insurrection was a clue as to the staying power the actually-it-was-antifa lie will have.

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Where Things Stand: Gory New Details About South Dakota AG Hit-And-Run Prime Badge
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We’ve been following the story of South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s fatal hit-and-run incident for some time now. And new video footage of interviews between the state AG and investigators raises questions about what truly happened on that September night — and the extent to which Ravnsborg might have known that he hit a human being, not a deer.

Like, for instance, the fact that the victim’s reading glasses were allegedly found inside the vehicle that Ravnsborg was driving when he hit him.

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Where Things Stand: Garland Looks To DOJ’s Origins To Confront Today’s Right-Wing Extremism Crisis Prime Badge
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Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland meets with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) in his office in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Barack Obama nominated Garland to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia who passed away earlier this year.

Merrick Garland is finally getting his day in court.

While the most eye roll-inducing moments thus far involve Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) daring to harp on the importance of an apolitical Department of Justice, Garland’s opening statement gave us a pretty clear sign of what to expect out of a Garland-run DOJ.

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Where Things Stand: There’s A Lot To Learn About The Last Four Years Prime Badge
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The Trump presidency was chock-full of scandal, slimy misdeeds, worrying and outright deadly events that we still don’t fully understand. It’s hard to keep each straight in hindsight. There’s so much we didn’t know or couldn’t confirm as the events were unfolding in front of us — from the details of the family separation policy to Trump’s conversations with Putin to the government’s response to natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria.

But slowly and surely we will begin to learn more about some of the Trump era’s worst offenses. Coming soon: an official accounting of the jarring details behind the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Where Things Stand: I Really Don’t Care, Do U? Prime Badge
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WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) heads into a Judiciary Committee hearing where Republicans will vote on whether or not to move the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court out of committee and on to the Senate for a full vote on October 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Judge Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in September. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ted Cruz

There’s always a tweet.

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Where Things Stand: Pro-Trump Rioters Pissed Antifa Is Getting Credit For Their Work Prime Badge
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As Kate Riga reported yesterday, on the day of the insurrection, ex-President Trump’s more loyal right-wing media hosts and lawmakers in Congress were casting about for an explanation for how the violent attack on the Capitol could have happened that didn’t blame Trump.

They settled on a usual suspect: Antifa.

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Where Things Stand: ‘Cancel Culture’ Not The Urgent National Crisis The GOP Wants It To Be, Poll Finds Prime Badge
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If you’ve been following Republican talking points closely, you’d assume the concept of “cancel culture” — not the pandemic or the uprising of violent domestic extremists — is the main threat facing the nation today.

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Where Things Stand: Loyal (Publicly, At Least) Until The Bitter End Prime Badge
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announces the Trump Administration's plan to create the U.S. Space Force by 2020 during a speech at the Pentagon August 9, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. Describing space as advasarial and crowded and citing threats from China and Russia, Pence said the new Space Force would be a separate, sixth branch of the military.

Even though the last two days of the impeachment trial have included new information about the fact that former President Trump put his veep in harms way, Vice President Mike Pence is standing by his man.

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Where Things Stand: Georgia Looms Over Trump’s Trial Prime Badge
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on July 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

We just started the second day of House impeachment managers’ arguments as they seek to persuade a jury of senators to convict Trump of inciting the insurrection. All eyes, of course, are on the Republicans in the chamber.

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