Former President Donald Trump's call to "find" votes in Georgia is expected to be a focus.
......The Georgia officials' public testimony comes after Raffensperger appeared recently in a closed-door special grand jury investigation in Fulton County that is seeking to determine if Trump and others violated several state laws in their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Raffensperger and others have also provided hours of testimony privately to the committee, including discussion of the unprecedented call from Trump, leaked to GPB News, The Washington Post and other outlets in the runup to Georgia's dual U.S. Senate runoffs.
Georgia's politics have remained central to understanding how thousands of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in hopes of blocking the certification of Joe Biden as president, ranging from fraudulent "alternate electors" submitted by top Republican officials, numerous failed lawsuits and harassment of election workers in efforts to find widespread fraud that three separate counts of the votes confirmed was not present......
Trump attorney John Eastman on Thursday publicly posted a Dec. 4, 2020 email from Thomas asking him to speak to a gathering she called "Frontliners."
A Facebook group that appears to be run by Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, could become a new point of interest in the U.S. House Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Congressional investigators said they planned to ask Ginni Thomas to testify before the committee hours after Trump attorney John Eastman on Thursday publicly posted a Dec. 4, 2020 email from Thomas asking him to speak to a gathering she called “Frontliners,” which she described as featuring “grassroots state leaders.” Ginni Thomas is listed as an administrator of a Facebook group that goes by a similar name and description: “FrontLiners for Liberty.”
The private group, which listed more than 50 members, was created in August 2020, just two months before the November elections, according to the page’s description.
The group, which CNBC reviewed before it was removed from public view, described itself as “a new collaborative, liberty-focused, action-oriented group of state leaders representing grassroots armies to CONNECT, INFORM and ACTIVATE each other weekly to preserve constitutional governance.” Although Thomas’ personal Facebook page isn’t verified, it contained numerous photos of Justice Thomas......
The attack on the US Capitol wasn’t the isolated doing of Trump and a few loyalists. Nearly the entire Republican party is now united behind it – and the attack on democracy hasn’t ended
.....The committee’s core task is to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and what led to it, of course. But everyone who believes in democracy needs to recognize that, in a very concrete sense, there is a continuing insurrection that far surpasses Trump.
The committee’s strategy of building its case almost entirely on testimony from Trump people, Republicans, and conservatives, not Democrats, is certainly effective if the goal is to prove the nonpartisan nature of the proceedings. But it runs the risk of letting too many people besides Trump off the hook. The narrative is that there was a “Team Normal” in and around the White House that moved away from Trump as he went increasingly off the rails, isolating him and leaving him with only “Team Crazy” and the likes of an allegedly drunk Rudy Giuliani, a rather unhinged Sidney Powell, and a rightwing lawyer, John Eastman, who seemed entirely willing to invent pseudo-legal reasons to justify a coup attempt.
It is important to get insight into these inner dynamics. But the group of people who were deeply complicit in Trump’s machinations is a lot bigger than Team Crazy. A tale that presents not only Mike Pence, but also former attorney general William Barr, Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien, and even Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, undoubtedly members of Trump’s innermost circle, as part of Team Good Guys (or at least: Team Normal, Team Reasonable) is problematic. All of them stood with Trump almost to the bitter end and fought long and hard to keep him in charge; Pence undoubtedly played a crucial role in thwarting Trump’s scheme, but none of the others spoke out publicly until, in the case of Barr, they had a revelatory book to promote and were looking for redemption.......
.....First, the challenge.
Just this week, Jim Marchant won the Republican primary for secretary of state in Nevada, seeking to fill the open seat left by term-limited Barbara Cegavske, a Republican who defended the state’s elections in 2020 and was later censured by the state GOP for not doing enough to investigate nonexistent voter fraud. Marchant is one of more than 100 primary winners so far this year who have embraced lies about the 2020 election.
Earlier in the week, Doug Mastriano, fellow election denier and Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, hired former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis to serve as his chief legal advisor. Mastriano, whom Ellis herself has dubbed “the Donald Trump of Pennsylvania,” is similarly campaigning on erroneous claims about our elections and supporting dangerous policy changes. He aims to re-register all Pennsylvania voters and de-certify voting machines in counties he deems to be producing “fraudulent” results. In 2020, as a state senator, he was one of the leading voices in the commonwealth connected to January 6 and conspiracies about the 2020 election.
These candidates and their successful primary campaigns are a stark reminder that the insurrection—and the lies that sparked it—did not end on January 6, 2021 or when former President Trump left office. And they are proof that the kindling for the attack—and the continued stoking of the fire—is alive and well in the states......
When political leaders face a constitutional crisis, like that of Jan. 6, the process of collectively deciding how to respond can be messy, arbitrary, and sometimes change the nature of the system itself.
.....Such crises, with democracy’s fate left to a handful of officials, rarely resolve purely on legal or constitutional principles, even if those might later be cited as justification.
Rather, their outcome is usually determined by whichever political elites happen to form a quick critical mass in favor of one result. And those officials are left to follow whatever motivation — principle, partisan antipathy, self-interest — happens to move them.
Taken together, the history of modern constitutional crises underscores some hard truths about democracy. Supposedly bedrock norms, like free elections or rule of law, though portrayed as irreversibly cemented into the national foundation, are in truth only as solid as the commitment of those in power. And while a crisis can be an opportunity for leaders to reinforce democratic norms, it can also be an opportunity to revise or outright revoke them.......
Donald Trump’s final day as a political force will come eventually—with the heat death of the universe, if nothing else. Right now, Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is racing against the House Jan. 6 committee and the silent ravages of untold acres of Extra Crispy chicken skin—enough to upholster one of Jupiter’s smaller moons, I’ve been told—for the honor of finally muting the feral gibberish disgorging from King Derp’s yawning lie-hole.
That said, we’ve been waiting for Trump’s ultimate defenestration for so long, it often feels like the day will never come. And considering we have a relatively short window in which to end his dangerous, antidemocratic growl movement before the thousand-year Trumpian Reich turns every last one of our brains into tomato aspic, we have to walk a fine line between hope for a Trumpless future and despair for our suddenly precarious republic.
So with that caveat in mind, here’s one small nudge toward optimism.
.............. On Sunday, MSNBC’s Katie Phang invited former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman on her show to discuss Trump’s future—or lack thereof. And while I’ve heard enough breathless “Trump is really doomed this time” analysis to keep me jaded for the rest of this millennium at least, Akerman not only has decades of legal experience, he also worked for seven years as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York and, before that, as an assistant special Watergate prosecutor. And according to him, Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump tried to convince state election officials to gift him thousands of fake votes, is the smoking gun that could finally strip the bark off this irredeemable asshole.
So do I reallythink this is the end of Trump? Should anyone? Hell if I know. I was naive enough to think the Mueller investigation might scuttle his presidency. But Trump no longer has his top consigliere, Bill Barr, around to protect him. And he no longer has the seemingly impenetrable shield of the presidency to keep him out of the stir.
But one thing is clear. This mad dog needs to be restrained one way or another, and it has to happen soon or we could be left shaking our fists at his lawless antics for another four, eight, or 80 years—assuming it’s possible to isolate his DNA for cloning before his purpling carcass is choppered to the crematory like a SeaWorld orca.
Fingers crossed, folks. Maybe justice will prevail in the end after all. And in a world where we often have a stark choice between pessimism and optimism, I’ll lean toward the latter every time. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane.
The Texas Republican Party will have a new party platform soon, thanks to a convention that saw over 5,000 delegates show up to boo the archconservative Republican Sen. John Cornyn while otherwise ironing out just how devoted to seditious conspiracy the party wants to be. Cornyn was booed for working on a "bipartisan" proposal to modestly tighten some gun rules so that Americans who have a history of violence or making threats of violence can't get one, aka "red flag" laws—a negotiation Cornyn almost certainly intended as a do-nothing feint to begin with, something to be scuttled again after the Uvalde mass murders have been forgotten. .........
Cornyn wasn't the only one to receive a hostile reception. The far-right Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw and his staff were physically assaulted by a crowd calling him "Eyepatch McCain"—a Tucker Carlson-produced insult, in case you needed further evidence of Tucker's role in far-right violence. A crowd member demanded that he "be hung for treason!" The exact impetus for the assault remains unclear, but seems to include anger at the same "red flag" laws that riled the crowd against Cornyn.
A pseudo-militia organization premised on violent street assaults is very worked up about proposed changes to bar known-violent freaks from owning guns, you say? Well, it does match the conservative reflex of only giving a damn about topics that specifically affect them.
But the new Texas Republican Party platform? Oh, it's quite a work. The state party will go into the midterms with an official declaration that President Joe Biden is not the legitimate President of the United States.
"We reject the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States," says the Texas Republican Party.
Congratulations, Texas Republicans. You're officially a seditious conspiracy cult.
But the new Texas Republican platform, as reported by The Texas Tribune, is more than the bleatings of an especially active cult. The party produced a document fully in tune with its fascist base; declaring non-allegiance to the elected leader of the United States is only the capper in a Texas Republican platform riddled with conspiracy and brazenly fascist rhetoric.
The party again asserts that Texas has a right to secede from the United States, because of course it does. It also demands a new Constitutional convention to rewrite the founding documents of the nation it demands the right to leave.
Other far-right elements of the Texas platform are familiar callbacks to decades of John Birch-era conspiracy crankitudes. Abolishing the Federal Reserve and repealing the federal income tax are oldies but goodies. A section frothing about policies that would prioritize pedestrian traffic and mass transit over cars is a warmed-over version of past conspiracy theories claiming that the United Nations was going to come take our roads and replace them with bike lanes.
But the new platform is also meaner than the old one, and is especially heavy on the indoctrination (sorry,grooming of Texas students. There are planks specifically asserting homosexuality to be "abnormal" and a "lifestyle choice," another that looks to punish gender-affirming medical care in the state through civil mechanisms similar to what the state has already used to effectively ban abortions, and another one prohibiting the teaching of "Critical Race Theory" in Texas.
A party explicitly banning the teaching of an academic theory is Not Normal, in non-fascist, non-authoritarian countries, and the move is not rendered any less dangerous by the fact that the theory simply isn't taught in Texas schools, being a narrow legal topic that requires far more advance education than any Texas Republican could tolerate, or the complete inability of anyone in the Texas Republican Party to so much as correctly define what it is they're banning.
The platform also demands that the teaching of "sex education" or "sexual health" in public schools be made a state crime. You're simply not allowed to teach a child what to expect in puberty, or why they might be bleeding profusely into their underwear. You're not allowed to teach them what molestation is, because Republicans (and, we imagine, the Proud Boys) do not want Texas children learning about consent.
Not to worry, though. The Texas Republican platform will ensure Texas students are indoctrinated properly according to the beliefs of the fascist cult that produced it. It requires schools to teach that life begins at conception and, according to the Tribune, requires students to "listen to live ultrasounds of gestating fetuses."
When it comes to gun and the state's notable indifference to constant mass murders, the official Texas Republican Party platform goes full free-for-all. The party demands that the state constitution itself be amended to strip from the legislature the power to enactanygun restrictions, "with a view to prevent crime." There will be Zero rules on buying or carrying guns in Texas.
Yes, the Texas Republican Party has gone QAnon With Guns, and the party document imagines a pseudo-religious fascist government that teaches the state's children which citizens are worthy of respect and which are "abnormal" or suffering from "mental health" problems. It explicitly rejects the legitimacy of the current government based on a conspiracy premise bleated out by a Dear Leader figure who is provably lying, and demands a new state referendum to determine whether the state should simply leave the United States entirely.
To you, this might sound like a document produced by child molestation advocates in conjunction with seditionists to encourage mass murders before turning full traitor, but this is just what Texas Republicans are now. Yes, even the ones that claim to be against these things while voting for the Republicans that support them. It's a party of conspiracy freaks and treason, a party in which even the most far-right members aren't safe from attack in their own convention if they dare, even for a moment, go against the militant seditionist base.
If there's anything that's an "abnormal lifestyle choice" or a "mental health condition," it's willingly remaining a Texas Republican as the party slid into QAnon-styled conspiracy cult. The state's Republican leaders are riddled with actual seditionists from top to bottom, people whose only devotion to the country and to their fellow citizens is a desire to dominate. Bike lanes are tyranny; claiming the sitting president is illegitimate because some drunken idiot told a delusional narcissist that foreign satellites were out to get him, though, now that's a movement that can get the Republican base riled up.
A bunch of creepy-ass child groomers, that's what they are.