Nicole Lafond

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Nicole Lafond is TPM’s associate editor, based in New York. She has also worked as the special projects editor and as a senior newswriter for TPM. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously covered education in central Illinois.
Where Things Stand: State Dems Walk Out As GOP Seats New Member Who Was In DC For Jan. 6 Prime Badge
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Nearly all of the Democratic members of the North Carolina state House staged a walk-out on Monday evening to protest the seating of a new Republican state lawmaker who has not only dabbled in COVID-19 conspiracy theories, but who was present at the Jan. 6 Trump rally that became the insurrection.

The new state House member Rep. Donnie Loftis (R) has drawn the ire of North Carolina Democrats since his appointment. Loftis is a former county commissioner in the state and resigned his position on a local hospital board last year after he was criticized for posting coronavirus conspiracy theories on Facebook. In some of the posts, he referred to stay-at-home orders, enacted in the deadliest days of the pandemic to slow the spread, as a form of tyranny, according to The Charlotte Observer.

But it was Loftis’ presence near the Capitol while the attack unfolded that drove Democrats to walk out during his swearing-in this week, the state Democratic Party said in a statement.

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Where Things Stand: One Year Later, Big Lie Firmly Lives Rent Free In Trumpers’ Heads Prime Badge
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While the percentage is significantly higher among Republican voters (and deeply influenced by where said Republicans get their news, which I’ll get into below), the percent of Americans who believe that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump has remained relatively steady for (almost) an entire year.

The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute put out the staggering results of a new poll today, the highlights of which my colleague Josh Marshall lays out here. The results of the poll shed light on Americans’ perceptions on a number of topics, including revealing a concerning uptick in GOP voters being increasingly on board with acts of political violence as a necessary tactic for preserving their take on the country’s founding ideals. But one statistic was particularly striking to me, especially when juxtaposed alongside the same survey’s findings on Americans’ voter fraud concerns.

About three in 10 Americans still believe that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, approximately 31 percent. On its face, the number isn’t that surprising. The more unsettling part lies in this segment of the data: That number hasn’t shifted much, and has actually grown, albeit minimally, over the course of this year — even after countless courts have tossed out Big Lie-related litigation for lacking sound evidence to back up the Trumpy claims and even after politically-motivated election “audit” results have left much to be desired for the far-right proponents of the cause. Nonetheless, from PRRI: “This share has remained steady throughout 2021, in August (29%), June (30%), and March (29%).”

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Where Things Stand: GOPer Tries To Cosplay As Jan 6 Committee Member Prime Badge
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Let’s go back in time for a minute. Back when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was putting together a panel of House members to participate in the Jan. 6 select committee to probe the insurrection, she rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) panelist picks (the Jims) — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN).

The decision was rooted in her correct understanding that both of the Jims would use the committee’s probe of the Capitol attack as a platform for spewing the Big Lie and other Trumpy nonsense and conspiracy theories, thus likely derailing the serious work of the committee. Both Jims not only voted to overturn the election results on Jan. 6, but they also both signed onto a request out of Texas asking the Supreme Court to invalidate election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In retaliation for Pelosi’s move against the Jims, McCarthy pulled all of his Republican picks from the panel, leaving only Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) as GOP members (who joined out of their own volition). Both have been highly critical of Trump for some time and have, at least thus far, taken their assignments very seriously, signing off on all of the committee’s subpoenas and publicly supporting each layer of the committee’s investigation. Cheney is the committee’s vice-chair.

But one of the Jims, Jim Banks, is apparently now trying to play dress up — pretending to be a member of the panel probing the insurrection.

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Where Things Stand: RonJohn Takes DC US Attorney’s Office Hostage Over Jan 6 Prosecutions Prime Badge
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It’s a tale as old as time for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

The Republican senator is reportedly using his leverage as a senator to, at least temporarily, block the confirmation of Matt Graves, whom President Biden named as his pick to lead the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C. Since January of this year that office has overseen more than 600 prosecutions related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. So far, more than 100 insurrectionists have pleaded guilty to charges related to the attack.

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Where Things Stand: Cohen Gets Coffee With Kanye Who Is Wearing A Creepy Mask For Some Reason Prime Badge
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Let me just preface this by saying, I don’t have a lot of answers. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying: I reached out to Michael Cohen this afternoon for some clarification on WTF is going on and got crickets, so I will update you if I hear back.

But.

Michael Cohen and rapper and (one-time?) MAGA fan Kanye West (who recently legally changed his name to his rapper pseudonym “Ye”) were spotted getting coffee together today in New York City’s Upper East Side, according to Page Six. The rapper was wearing some bizarre prosthetic mask, apparently similar to ones he’s worn before. It’s a white mask. It’s really spooky looking. I don’t know enough about West’s aesthetic or marketing campaigns to give you a clear answer on why or how this originated, but check out the picture below.

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Where Things Stand: DOJ Takes Another Stab At Blocking Dangerous Texas Abortion Ban Prime Badge
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The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court today to temporarily block the enforcement of the unprecedentedly dangerous and restrictive abortion ban in Texas, filing an emergency appeal with the high court on Monday to protect the rights of women, and people who can become pregnant, in the red state.

It’s the second attempt by the DOJ to legally challenge the abortion law, which not only bans abortions post six-weeks in Texas, but also was crafted to be uniquely difficult to challenge in court. It enlists private citizens, instead of state officials, to deal with its enforcement. It’s a Wild West law that offers a $10,000 bounty to members of the public who successfully bring lawsuits against abortion providers and/or anyone who might “aid or abet” in the process of getting an abortion post-six weeks, including someone as far in the periphery of the act as a cab driver who might drive a woman to a clinic.

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Where Things Stand: Sinema Is Fundraising For Dems In Europe Right Now Because What Could Be More Pressing Prime Badge
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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is spending her Senate recess in Europe, fundraising for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, her office confirmed to the New York Times this week.

It’s curious that Sinema has taken it upon herself to be a shining visage for the Democratic Party overseas when her mere existence as a senator is holding up the entire party agenda. But that, we are coming to learn, is par for the course for the Arizona senator.

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Where Things Stand: Airlines Buck Abbott’s Confusing Anti-Mandate Mandate Prime Badge
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Two Texas-based airlines plan to follow federal regulations about vaccination mandates, defying the state’s Republican governor’s recent mandate barring such mandates in the Lone Star State.

How many times can we say mandate?

Gov. Greg Abbott’s whole positioning on COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Texas would be amusing if it weren’t so dark. Abbott passed an executive order on Monday, banning “any entity” from adopting vaccine requirements in the state, even if private businesses want to implement them and/or follow federal requirements on vaccinations for employees. His order is hyper-focused on the badness of government mandates, while being a mandate in and of itself.

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Where Things Stand: Are Workers Getting Fed Up With COVID-Era Aggression? Prime Badge
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TPM has been covering the way in which the pandemic and the public health measures necessary to tamp it down have resulted in periodic eruptions of anger, often egged on by opportunistic, MAGA-aligned politicians. It’s become a theme for us: the specter of violence in politics that’s simmered for the last few years, predating the pandemic but inflamed by it.

But of course, the current level of public outrage is not limited to the political sphere of life. Anecdotal reporting — and, increasingly, data — suggest there might be an economic corollary to this trend as well.

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Where Things Stand: Facebook Whistleblower In Talks With Jan 6 Committee About Insurrection Prime Badge
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Frances Haugen

The Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen — who I wrote about earlier this week — is expected to meet with the Jan. 6 select committee investigating the insurrection, and might have already shared testimony with the committee.

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