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Exclusive: Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The January 6 Committee has the night they wanted. The militias? No.



Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The January 6 Committee has the night they wanted. The militias? No.

#Abbreviated #Pundit #Roundup #January #Committee #night #wanted #militias

You can skip right to 29:10 for Liz Cheney, if you missed it.


Clara Jeffery/Mother Jones:

January 6 Committee Opens With a Narrative MasterClass

Teasers, hooks, special guests, mic drop—what we just saw is must-see TV.

In the prologue, they laid out where they’re going to go, and which night you can tune in for what part. They’re dropping little previews of the juicy depositions (I especially appreciated the way they let Jared show himself to be the callous traitor he is) and other evidence to come. And then they cut to a film, a timeline of sorts, of what went down that day—maybe 10 minutes of how the rioters talked of their plans, how they started to breach the Capitol, how Trump egged them on from the bandstands and then via Twitter, how the police fought for their lives and the lives of members of Congress.

By the end of the ransacking clip, my pulse was racing. I had a bit of a PTSD reaction. Then they dropped the mic and went to a 10-minute recess, allowing room for the TV pundits to express how they, too, were blown away by the storytelling.

Maybe it’ll bog down. Maybe none of it will matter. But one thing is for sure: Lawyers, TV producers, and storytellers of all stripes will be coming back to this first hour for years to come.



John Bresnahan/Twitter:

.@RepLizCheney talked about a “sophisticated 7-part plan” by Trump to steal the election. Here’s what it looked like…

Step 1: “President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the American public claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.”


Step 2: “President Trump corruptly planned to replace the Acting Attorney General, so that the Department of Justice would support his fake election claims.” 

 “President Trump corruptly pressured Vice President Pence to refuse to count certified electoral votes in violation of the US Constitution and the law.” 

 “President Trump corruptly pressured state election officials, and state legislators, to change election results.” 

 “President Trump’s legal team and other Trump associates instructed Republicans in multiple states to create false electoral slates and transmit those slates to Congress and the National Archives.”


 Step 6: “President Trump summoned and assembled a violent mob in Washington and directed them to march on the US Capitol.” 

Step 7: “As the violence was underway, President Trump ignored multiple pleas for assistance and failed to take immediate action to stop the violence and instruct his supporters to leave the Capitol.” 



She mentioned Rep.Scott Perry by name. 

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

Fox News’s blackout of Jan. 6 points to a hidden crisis for Democrats

By contrast, Fox hosts are gearing up to substitute a propagandistic alternative story in which the only real victims related to Jan. 6 and the hearings are Trump and his supporters. House Republicans allied with Trump will manufacture material for this disinformation push designed to keep the truth from the base at all costs.

Yet Fox’s blackout also highlights severe information challenges that Democrats will face for the foreseeable future. The fact that Republicans enjoy a massive media apparatus that manufactures a separate reality for the base, even as Democrats rely on traditional news organizations to communicate with voters, creates deep information asymmetries that continue to bedevil them.

Don’t believe the naysayers. These hearings matter.


As is the case so often, the best material hasn’t been written yet, but the tweets give you a flavor of how it went over.




January 6 committee to hear from Raffensperger, Sterling

[GA SoS Brad] Raffensperger became nationally known for his refusal to overturn Georgia’s election results following the 2020 elections in the face of substantial pressure from former President Donald Trump and his allies.

“Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” Raffensperger told Trump during an infamous leaked call on Jan. 2, 2021, during which the president cajoled him to “find” 11,780 votes to reverse Democrat Joe Biden’s win in Georgia.

His turn before the select committee, however, could bring him into the national spotlight in a new way.


Susan B Glasser/New Yorker:

Without Mark Meadows, January 6th Might Never Have Happened

Trump’s fourth and final White House chief of staff served as the “matador” for the former President’s election lies.

Meadows acted less as a gatekeeper than as a door opener. “Meadows was basically a matador,” a Republican involved in discussions with the White House at the time told us. “He’s sort of just let in anybody and everybody who wanted to come in.” A White House colleague of his said, “Meadows admitted to people privately . . . ‘Trust me, I’m gonna get the President there, he’s gonna drop this issue. Just kind of give him time to mourn and grieve, and then he’s gonna come around.’ ” But while he was telling this to Republicans such as the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the White House colleague pointed out, he was also facilitating the ongoing plot. “He was bringing crazies into the West Wing.”


Rick Hasan/WaPo:

The Jan 6. committee should be looking ahead to election threats in 2024

Establishing what happened in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election is important. It’s even more crucial to fix vulnerabilities in the system.

But the most important thing the hearings can do — given that, if someone tries to steal the next election, they won’t do it precisely the way Trump and his allies tried in 2020 — is to shift our gaze forward: They can highlight continuing vulnerabilities in our electoral system and propose ways to fix them, before it is too late.

The hearings also represent the best chance to galvanize public support to address these weak points, which is important, because the window for passing such legislation is closing; if Republicans retake the House in November, they will never put forth bills that imply the country needs protection from Trump, their kingmaker. If these hearings don’t spur action by this summer or fall, expect Congress to do nothing before the 2024 elections, at which point American democracy will be in great danger.

Any attempt to subvert the next presidential election is likely to be far more efficient and ruthlessly targeted than the last effort. It will be focused on holes and ambiguities in the arcane rules for counting electoral college votes set forth in the Constitution and in a poorly written 1887 law, the Electoral Count Act.


And in non Jan 6 news…

Andrew Exum/Atlantic:

Putting Armed Veterans Into Schools Is Madness

Politicians need to stop turning to the military to solve every problem.


I drop my kids off at school most mornings, but I also have a job. I do not have the time to run inside and clear all of their classrooms with a firearm—although I am sure my kids and their friends would think it hilarious to watch me doing so with my trusty 28-gauge shotgun, saving them from any hostile quail found lurking under their desks.

The only veterans who have the time to do this, then, are those veterans who are mentally or physically disabled from their service, or veterans who have otherwise failed to transition back to “civilian life” and find gainful employment. Many, I would respectfully argue, are the very last people you want walking around schools with firearms.



Exclusive: For the love of books –




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#love #books

While plenty of people read purely for entertainment, I truly believe books do incredible work in teaching us about others and about ourselves. In addition to the obvious exposure to folks who are not like us—learning about other cultures, religions, and lifestyles, for example—books can fundamentally teach us empathy, compassion, and critical thinking skills. Books can keep our attention beyond a clickbait headline. Books can remind us that we all possess a deep humanity that isn’t always at the forefront of, say, arguing with a stranger on the internet about mask mandates. 

Supporting authors is one of the obvious ways to keep books accessible for all. This can look like buying a book, sure. It can also look like requesting a book at your local library. It can also look like speaking out against censorship attempts at your local school board meeting. It can even include advocating on behalf of readers who aren’t like yourself—maybe your library system isn’t great about providing large-print books or audiobooks, for example. If you have the time to do some polite outreach and make requests, it could really help your overall community access free content. 

It’s also always valuable to make an effort to read books by marginalized writers. Yes, read what you want. And yes, take time to reflect on what you’re reading and where your dollars are going. When it comes to buying presents for a friend or family member, for example, considering supporting an author whose identity is historically or systemically under attack if you normally go for white, cisgender, heterosexual folks. 

There’s also a great joy to be found in community and family book events. As we’ve seen as of late, for instance, the far-right Proud Boys have taken to terrorizing kids and families at LGBTQ+ Pride Month book events. Pride Month is coming to a close, but these sorts of efforts should happen all year, and at no point do kids deserve to be screamed at or have their programming canceled.

Even if you don’t have kids, it can still be effective to reach out and show support for such programming. It can even make a positive impact to share such events on social media and drop a few words of encouragement for the staff creating them. 

I’d love to hear what you’re reading this summer or any reading challenges you’re doing. (And if you’re a writer yourself, please feel free to share your own work!) 

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Exclusive: The many reasons the “just vote” rhetoric from Democrats falls flat –




The many reasons the “just vote” rhetoric from Democrats falls flat

#reasons #vote #rhetoric #Democrats #falls #flat

Over and over, Democrats’ main refrain in response to the end of Roe v. Wade has been to tell people to vote in the midterms.

“This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot,” said President Joe Biden in a recent speech. “A woman’s right to choose — reproductive freedom — is on the ballot in November,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi similarly emphasized. “You have the power to elect leaders who will defend and protect your rights,” echoed Vice President Kamala Harris.

They’re speaking to an important political reality: Democrats do need to both keep their majority in the House and get a bigger one in the Senate in order to pass any legislation that could codify abortion rights long term.

Abortion rights activists, though, have been underwhelmed with that response: They want to see more short-term policy solutions, more specifics about long-term plans, and they really want top Democrats’ rhetoric to match the urgency they feel. “It is extremely patronizing to tell people that the answer is to vote, when many of us have been voting for years,” says Tamya Cox-Toure, co-chair of Oklahoma Call for Reproductive Justice, a coalition of abortion rights advocacy groups. “It’s a vote and.

The White House, meanwhile, has stressed that it’s operating under serious legal constraints and weighing concerns that taking some of the more aggressive actions activists are demanding could create political backlash on what is currently a winning issue for Democrats. Biden has signaled that his administration will protect the right to travel across state lines for abortion and defend access to medication abortion — without going into the particulars. He’s noted, too, that he supports eliminating the filibuster in order to codify the protections of Roe into law, though that avenue is currently stymied by members of his own party. Additionally, he’s indicated that there could be more executive actions to come.

The legal and legislative challenges facing the White House — and national Democrats overall — are real and in some cases, insurmountable. Some of the things activists want, Biden simply might not be able to achieve, and may have less political support than leaving legislation up to Congress. At the same time, many of the demands activists are making are within the administration’s capacity and could have immediate impacts on people’s access to reliable information, and their ability to obtain abortions in the near term. Ultimately, too, if Democrats want their voters to stay mobilized this fall, they need to demonstrate that they’re able to act when they are in power.

The Biden administration is weighing political and legal constraints

The Biden administration has sounded caution thus far about what it can do.

“The administration is looking at everything we can do to protect women’s rights,” a White House official told Vox. “But it’s important to remember that an executive order cannot restore a constitutional right that the Supreme Court has taken away.”

Passing any legislation with stronger abortion rights protections is up to Congress, where Democrats don’t currently have the numbers they need to advance any bill. Thus far, Senate Democrats have taken two failed votes on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would enshrine the right to an abortion into law, after House Democrats previously passed it. Because of the filibuster, most bills in the Senate need 60 votes in order to pass — a threshold that the 50-person Democratic caucus currently falls short of.


Biden, along with many other Democrats, has called for the elimination of the filibuster in order to pass abortion rights legislation, but the party doesn’t have the numbers for that, either. All 50 Senate Democrats would have to be on board in order to make that happen, and thus far, Sens. Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) have been staunchly opposed to taking this route.

Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist and Biden supporter, thinks national Democrats and the administration are doing the most they can under the limitations they face. “I think the president has focused on what he knows he could do without being legally challenged, which could cause even more disruption. I think that he’s urged Congress to do what it can,” Seawright told Vox.

But there are things activists see as within Biden’s power — and interest — to do.

Activists want a plan

Activists want Democrats to provide specifics about what’s next, and to bring more energy to defending abortion rights, both things they could do now.

Their demands have included ambitious ones that are likely to prompt legal pushback — like attempting to establish clinics on federal lands — as well as more straightforward tasks like building out the administration’s website to show how people in different states are affected by this decision.

One of activists’ core frustrations is that there hasn’t been an explicit roadmap for what the White House, and Democrats broadly, intend to do next, beyond calling on people to vote.

“It is unacceptable that there was not a concrete plan the minute this decision came down,” says Morgan Hopkins, the interim executive director of All Above All, an abortion rights advocacy group.

The White House, like the broader public, had known for weeks that this decision was coming since Politico published a scoop outlining the contours of it in early May. Yet, on the Friday the Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision was announced, the administration offered few specifics, noting broadly that it would defend people’s ability to travel and that it would advocate for access of medication abortion to the “fullest extent possible.”

Experts have long emphasized that the Justice Department could challenge state laws that try to curb access to medication abortion and that there’s precedent to take such actions. They note that there are likely to be legal challenges but solid grounds to make this case: because the FDA has made medication abortion more accessible, that policy theoretically supersedes state laws attempting to ban abortion altogether.

Neither the White House nor the DOJ has committed to this approach. And this past week, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declined to provide more context about how exactly the agency would offer protections of medication abortion. Being clearer about their willingness to challenge state laws on abortion pills would be helpful, Georgetown University health law professor Lawrence Gostin told Vox. Becerra had said that they are taking the time to figure out responses that align with “what a state tries to do.” Several states’ restrictions on abortion pills have been in place since last year, giving lawmakers more time to determine a response.

The White House didn’t provide much context for how it would go about shielding people’s ability to travel and obtain abortions in different states, either. “If any state or local official, high or low, tries to interfere with a woman’s exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack,” Biden has previously said. Activists want to hear about what this defense would entail as well as how the administration could help people address the costs and logistics of having to travel for abortions.


Beyond these two areas, advocates have also called on Biden to consider a range of executive actions including the idea of leasing federal lands to abortion clinics, and declaring a public health emergency that could help unlock staffing and funding for states dealing with an influx of people seeking abortions. The administration has pushed back on the idea of leasing federal lands, citing concerns that providers and patients could still be prosecuted by different states. It has yet to consider a public health emergency, which activists note could help provide funding for different resources that wouldn’t clash with the Hyde Amendment, a measure that bars the use of federal funds for many abortions.

“We’ve seen in the last three years that tremendous resources can be marshaled to address a public health emergency,” says Kimberly Inez McGuire, the executive director of URGE, a reproductive justice organization aimed at mobilizing young people. “This requires a response of that scale.”

Biden has also given one major speech on the issue before leaving for a major foreign policy trip in Europe. Activists hope to see him and others speaking out on the issue more, and using rhetoric that acknowledges the need for abortion care in an array of instances.

In particular, they’re interested in seeing him continuing to dispel any stigma surrounding abortions by treating the procedure as health care, rather than something that people can only use in particular cases. In his initial remarks, for example, Biden cited specific instances of when abortions would now be restricted in many states, such as in the case of threats to a woman’s health or in the case of rape.

“How hard is it for the president to go out there and say, ‘my fellow Americans, every single one of us has loved someone who’s had an abortion, and it’s health care’?” asks Renee Bracey Sherman, the executive director of abortion rights advocacy group, We Testify. Both Inez McGuire and Bracey Sherman noted, too, that it would be meaningful for the administration to hold public events and meetings with people who have had abortions.

Finally, activists are calling on Democrats to provide more centralized resources. Currently, is already beginning to address some of those questions — but it could be much more robust.

“What they have is a good start,” said one reproductive justice advocate, who noted that “additional information on where to go, information on what an abortion is, what a medication abortion is,” would be helpful.

Any efforts that Biden can take will, as the White House has repeatedly explained, fall short of fully bringing back the abortion rights protections guaranteed by Roe. Activists, broadly, are aware of this dynamic, but they’d like to see Biden try actions that could lead to incremental gains and send a powerful message about where he stands.

The political calculus

Besides the issues the administration is running up against legally, officials have also indicated there’s another reason the White House has been more reserved in its response: politics. “​​Biden and officials are concerned that more radical moves would be politically polarizing ahead of November’s midterm elections, undermine public trust in institutions like the Supreme Court or lack strong legal footing, sources inside and outside the White House say,” according to a Reuters report.

Democratic pollster Joey Teitelbaum, however, says the politics of the issue are firmly in Democrats’ favor at the moment, and actually suggests that they should be as aggressive as possible. “The good news for [Biden] is protecting Roe and abortion rights is not only the right thing to do, it’s popular with voters from across the spectrum,” Teitelbaum tells Vox. “It would benefit him electorally to take action, and it would benefit women everywhere to have control over their own health care decisions.”

Support for a national law to protect abortion rights, for example, is strong. According to a Morning Consult/Politico poll conducted after the Supreme Court decision was announced, 52 percent of people supported Congress passing one. It’s unclear whether the White House believes that some of the executive actions that have been floated could potentially be more polarizing. Other proposals, like an executive action to preserve access to medication abortion and the declaration of a national public health emergency, had 54 percent and 44 percent support, respectively, in the same Morning Consult poll.


“A defense of Roe is not divisive within the Democratic Party and it commands a clear majority in the country. So perhaps the reference is to something more extreme to that,” says Bill Galston, a governance studies fellow at Brookings Institution. “Obviously, a serious administration doesn’t want to put itself in the position of looking ridiculous with symbolic acts that are impractical or would do very little to address the problem.”

Overall, the bulk of Democrats’ messaging in the wake of the Dobbs decision has been focused pretty extensively on the threat that Republicans pose, rather than the affirmative case of what Democrats are doing.

“Republicans aren’t stopping at overturning Roe,” notes a recent ad campaign from the Democratic National Committee. “They want to go further and ban abortion. Believe them.” “[Biden] is ‘telling people the truth and putting the focus where it needs to be, holding Republicans’ feet to the fire for the harm they’re causing,’” a White House official told Reuters.

The implication of all this messaging is that voting for Democrats this fall will serve as a check on any GOP efforts to pass even more expansive abortion restrictions, something Galston sees as an important point to make before the party can make an argument for solutions of its own. Aides for both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the DNC note that Democrats have a track record in the House of passing legislation that would codify abortion rights, and that the case for electing more Democrats is the fact that they would advance such bills if they had the numbers required in the Senate.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also said the House could consider other legislation that focuses on protecting people’s data on reproductive health apps and reiterates people’s ability to travel for services.

Some of the skepticism from protesters has stemmed from Democrats’ failure to codify Roe in past administrations, like in the Obama administration, when they had a 60-vote majority in the Senate as well as a majority in the House. In 2009, for example, Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress as well as the presidency, and did not pass legislation to codify Roe.

“Democrats have used this for 50 years to fundraise. They had opportunities to codify Roe,” Carolyn Yunker, a pro-abortion rights protester, told NPR this past weekend.

Then as now, however, there was dissent among the Democratic caucus about abortion rights: Even though the party had a filibuster-proof Senate majority, not all of those lawmakers were necessarily supportive of such legislation, USA Today reports. And because of the Supreme Court precedent, few lawmakers actually thought that Roe was at risk and would need legislation to enshrine it.

Democrats’ past track record and their recent approach to the issue has only fueled activist pushback. Bracey Sherman is among those who wondered why the DNC’s reproductive rights website focused on phone banking for candidates and fundraising, rather than offering guidance to people about how they can access abortions and advocate for these rights in their states. A DNC aide noted that the group had coordinated more than 25 events and rallies in states across the country since the Supreme Court decision had been announced, including protests in Ohio and Michigan.

“None of this will actually help people get abortions right now. It’s exhausting,” Bracey Sherman said, of the DNC website.


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Exclusive: Trump’s Social Media Company Subpoenaed by Federal Grand Jury –




Trump’s Social Media Company Subpoenaed by Federal Grand Jury

#Trumps #Social #Media #Company #Subpoenaed #Federal #Grand #Jury

A federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) subpoenaed President Trump’s social media company on Friday.

According to CNBC, Trump Media and Technology Group said it would comply with the subpoenas.

Although some employees received subpoenas, none were issued to Trump or TMTG CEO Devin Nunes.

“The Justice Department and the SEC, which regulates the stock market, are investigating the deal between DWAC and Trump Media. By merging with DWAC, which is a kind of shell company called a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, Trump’s firm would gain access to potentially billions of dollars on public equities markets.” CNBC reported.

TRENDING: White Failed CNN Host Says Clarence Thomas Isn’t Truly Black Because He Doesn’t Go to NBA Games

The subpoena issued to TMTG by the SEC is regarding a civil investigation.

CNBC reported:

Donald Trump’s media company was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in connection with a criminal probe, according to the company with which the former president’s firm plans to merge.

Digital World Acquisition Corp. said in a filing Friday that Trump Media and Technology Group received a subpoena from the grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday. The Trump company also received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a civil probe on Monday, DWAC said.


DWAC also said some current and former TMTG employees have also recently received grand jury subpoenas. Later Friday, TMTG said it would comply with the subpoenas, and that none of them were directed at its chairman, Trump, or CEO, former U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes.

The filing came days after DWAC said the government investigations could delay or even prevent its merger with Trump’s newly formed company, which includes Truth Social, a social media app intended to be an alternative to Twitter.

Early criticism of the Trump-DWAC deal came from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. In calling for an investigation, she wrote to SEC Chair Gary Gensler in November, telling him that DWAC “may have committed securities violations by holding private and undisclosed discussions about the merger as early as May 2021, while omitting this information in [SEC] filing and other public statements.” The lawmaker’s request came shortly after The New York Times published a report that said the deal might have violated securities laws and regulations.

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