Aftermath of the Trump Administration, December 2021


My daily chronicle of news about the Trump administration (20 January 2017 – 20 January 2021), Republicans, Democrats, corporations, courts, resistance, and persistence continues to wind down. I am still posting important articles, especially ones that reflect the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration and ones that address the toxic legacy of the Trump administration and Republicans. I hope to devote more of my time to posting muckraking articles on my site and to working with my local activist group in pursuit of progressive change and a stronger democracy. Thanks for reading!


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Wednesday, 1 December 2021:


Supreme Court Appears Open to Upholding Mississippi Abortion Restriction. After two hours of sometimes tense exchanges in one of the most significant abortion cases in years, the court appeared poised to uphold the state law, which bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, based on sometimes tense and heated questioning at a momentous argument in the most important abortion case in decades. Such a ruling would be flatly at odds with what the court has said was the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, or around 23 weeks. But the court’s six-member conservative majority seemed divided about whether to stop at 15 weeks, for now at least, or whether to overrule Roe entirely, allowing states to ban abortions at any time or entirely…. Assuming the three most conservative members of the court — Justices Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch — are prepared to overrule Roe entirely, Chief Justice Roberts would need to attract at least two votes for a narrower opinion, one upholding the Mississippi law but not overruling Roe in so many words, to be controlling. But the most likely candidates, Justices Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, said little to suggest that they were inclined toward that narrower approach. The court’s three liberal members — Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor — were adamant that Roe should stand. Should Roe be overturned, at least 20 states will immediately or in short order make almost all abortions unlawful, forcing women who can afford it to travel long distances to obtain the procedure. Chief Justice Roberts expressed frustration with Mississippi’s litigation strategy. In the state’s petition seeking Supreme Court review, officials told the justices that ‘the questions presented in this petition do not require the court to overturn Roe or Casey,’ though lawyers for the state did raise the possibility in a footnote. Once the court agreed to hear the case, the state shifted its emphasis and began a sustained assault on those precedents. That amounted to a bait-and-switch, Chief Justice Roberts suggested. The more liberal justices pressed Scott G. Stewart, Mississippi’s solicitor general, on the dangers of overruling a longstanding precedent after changes in the membership of the court…. Justice Sotomayor asked whether the court would ‘survive the stench’ of being considered a political institution, a point echoed by Justice Kagan.” See also, Supreme Court signals willingness to uphold abortion limits in Mississippi case. The Mississippi law bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, allowing them only in medical emergencies or cases of severe fetal abnormality. NBC News, Pete Williams and Teaganne Finn, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court appeared prepared Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which would be a dramatic break from 50 years of rulings. The justices heard 90 minutes of oral arguments in the most direct challenge to Roe v. Wade in nearly three decades. A majority of the court’s conservative justices suggested they were prepared to discard the court’s previous standard that prevented states from banning abortion before a fetus becomes viable, which is generally considered to be at about 24 weeks into a pregnancy. It was unclear after Wednesday’s argument whether the court would take the additional step of explicitly overturning its abortion precedents, including Roe v. Wade. The three more liberal justices warned that the court would appear to be a political body if it tossed out abortion rulings that the country has relied on for decades. ‘It is particularly important to show that what we do in overturning a case is grounded in principle and not social pressure,’ Justice Stephen Breyer warned. Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked, ‘Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it’s possible.’ And Justice Elena Kagan said the court must not act in a way that would cause people to think it is ‘a political institution that will go back and forth, depending on what part of the public yells the loudest or changes to the court’s membership.'” See also, Roe v. Wade’s future is in doubt after historic arguments at the Supreme Court, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The right to an abortion in the United States appeared to be on shaky ground as a divided Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on the fate of Roe v. Wade, the court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States. At issue in Wednesday’s case — Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — was a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Until now, all the court’s abortion decisions have upheld Roe‘s central framework — that women have a constitutional right to an abortion in the first two trimesters of pregnancy when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb, roughly 24 weeks. But Mississippi asked the Supreme Court to reverse all its prior abortion decisions and return the abortion question to the states. The court’s three newest justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, all Trump appointees — appeared to signal they are ready to side with Mississippi — but it wasn’t immediately clear if all of them would strike down Roe, as the state of Mississippi has asked.” See also, Supreme Court seems inclined to uphold Mississippi abortion law that would undermine Roe v. Wade, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court on Wednesday signaled it is on the verge of a major curtailment of abortion rights in the United States, and appeared likely to uphold a Mississippi law that violates one of the essential holdings of Roe v. Wade established nearly 50 years ago. Whether the court would eventually overrule Roe and its finding that women have a fundamental right to end their pregnancies was unclear. But none of the six conservatives who make up the court’s majority expressed support for maintaining its rule that states may not prohibit abortion before the point of fetal viability, which is generally estimated to be between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., often the most moderate of the conservatives, said Mississippi’s law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks was not a ‘dramatic departure’ from viability, and gave women enough time to make the choice to end their pregnancies. He added: ‘Why would 15 weeks be an inappropriate line?’ But the other conservatives did not express much interest in rewriting Roe, decided in 1973, or 1992’s affirming decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Rather, they indicated they were open to simply getting rid of both. The court’s liberal justices said the institution’s reputation would be irreparably damaged if nearly a half-century of its abortion jurisprudence were dismantled because of a change in membership.” See also, Supreme Court’s conservatives lean toward limiting abortion rights after dramatic oral arguments on Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks, but it is less clear if there is a clear majority to end the right to abortion nationwide, although conservative justices expressed skepticism about the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. The dispute represents the culmination of a decades-long effort on the part of critics of the landmark opinion that legalized abortion nationwide to return the issue to the states, a move that would almost immediately eviscerate abortion rights in large swaths of the South and the Midwest. Chief Justice John Roberts seemed to be looking for a middle ground to allow states to ban abortion earlier — moving up the viability line from the current 22 to 23 weeks — but leaving in place some remnants of a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. He said 15 weeks was not a ‘dramatic departure’ from viability.”

Trump tested positive for Covid a few days before Biden debate, chief of staff Mark Meadows says in new book. Meadows makes stunning admission in new memoir obtained by The Guardian, saying a second test returned negative. The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, the former president’s fourth and last chief of staff has revealed in a new book. Mark Meadows also writes that though he knew each candidate was required ‘to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.’ Trump, Meadows says in the book, returned a negative result from a different test shortly after the positive. Nonetheless, the stunning revelation of an unreported positive test follows a year of speculation about whether Trump, then 74 years old, had the potentially deadly virus when he faced Biden, 77, in Cleveland on 29 September – and what danger that might have presented. Trump announced he had Covid on 2 October. The White House said he announced that result within an hour of receiving it. He went to hospital later that day. Meadows’ memoir, The Chief’s Chief, will be published next week by All Seasons Press, a conservative outlet. The Guardian obtained a copy on Tuesday – the day Meadows reversed course and said he would cooperate with the House committee investigating the deadly Capitol attack of 6 January. In a statement on Wednesday, Trump called Meadows’ claims ‘Fake News.'” See also, Three former aides say Trump tested positive for coronavirus before first debate with Biden, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Annie Linskey, and Dan Diamond, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus days before he shared the debate stage with then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in late September 2020, according to his former chief of staff and two others familiar with the former president’s test — a stunning revelation that illustrates the dismissive approach to the dangers posed by the virus in Trump’s inner circle. Trump’s positive test for the virus was Sept. 26, 2020, according to an account by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in a new book obtained by the Guardian newspaper. The Meadows account of the positive result was confirmed Wednesday by two former aides who requested anonymity to discuss their knowledge of the former president’s health. The timing means Trump would have had reason to believe he was infected with the coronavirus three days before the Sept. 29 presidential debate and six days before he was hospitalized for covid-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The disclosure also provides new evidence of Trump’s often reckless and cavalier approach to his health and the health of those around him as he struggled through a chaotic response to the pandemic.” See also, Two Ex-Officials Say Trump Tested Positive for Coronavirus Days Before First Debate With Biden, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “President Donald J. Trump tested positive for coronavirus three days before his first debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr. in 2020, two former administration officials said Wednesday. The White House did not announce the positive test at the time, and the president received a negative result shortly afterward and carried on with a campaign rally and the debate, the officials said. The account was first reported by The Guardian, which cited a forthcoming book by Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows…. The revelation came more than a year after widespread speculation that Mr. Trump was sick when he first shared a stage with Mr. Biden for their first presidential debate on Sept. 29, months into the pandemic.” See also, Former President Donald Trump showed ‘a flagrant lack of regard for public health’ and endangered White House staff by not disclosing a positive Covid-19 test he received last year, his former communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin said, CNN Politics, Devan Cole, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “‘Full stop, this demonstrates a flagrant lack of regard for public health and for the well-being of others,’ Alyssa Farah Griffin, who served for a time as the director of strategic communications and assistant to the president in the Trump White House, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on ‘The Lead.’ She added: ‘At this time in the White House, I had staffers who were pregnant. I had one who is a multi-time cancer survivor. We had plenty of people in the West Wing who are over 65. We could have killed one of our colleagues and instead they decided to not tell anyone, putting every single one of us at risk.'”

Federal District Judge Amy Berman Jackson says people who spoke at the January 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally ‘stoked’ the crowd and should be held accountable, CNN Politics, Hannah Rabinowitz, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “A federal judge suggested Wednesday that Donald Trump and others who spoke at the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6 should be held accountable for the US Capitol riot that followed, saying the then-President ‘stoked’ the crowd and ‘might’ve inspired what happened.’ Though she did not refer to Trump by name, District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said during a sentencing for riot defendant Russell Peterson that the former President and other speakers at the Ellipse riled the crowd and ‘explicitly encouraged them to go to the Capitol and fight for one reason and one reason only — to make sure the certification of the election didn’t happen. There may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable,’ Jackson said to Peterson. ‘But this is not their day in court. It’s yours.’  Jackson joins the ranks of several federal judges in Washington who have sharply criticized Trump for his inflammatory speech at the January 6 rally, with one judge saying last month that rioters were ‘pawns’ provoked into action. While Jackson stopped short of laying full responsibility at the feet of those who spoke at the January 6 rally, she and other judges have lambasted Trump and even suggested he may face legal consequences. Jackson has handled many politically significant court cases from the Trump era and its aftermath, and she’s known for her sharp criticism of his administration. She handles a number of the more than 670 Capitol riot cases, and has repeatedly disavowed attempts to frame rioters as political prisoners and called attention to what she considers dangerous lies about the 2020 election. Jackson also said Peterson should be held accountable, noting that he is an adult and responsible for his own actions on January 6. ‘You did receive a lot of overwhelming inaccurate information on social media,’ Jackson said to Peterson, ‘but you had a choice to reject the lies and not to join the antidemocratic call for martial law.'”

Continue reading Aftermath of the Trump Administration, December 2021:

House January 6 committee votes to hold former Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark in criminal contempt, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Wednesday, 1 December 2021: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously Wednesday to hold former Trump Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in criminal contempt for failing to cooperate with its inquiry. It is unclear when the full House could take up the contempt resolution, but if it is adopted, it would be up to the Justice Department to determine whether it wants to indict Clark for not complying with a congressional subpoena. Clark, however, has one more opportunity to appear in front of the committee on Saturday for a new deposition. Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said during the hearing that Clark informed the committee he ‘now intends to claim Fifth Amendment protection,’ and that the panel is ‘willing to convene another deposition at which Clark can assert that privilege on a question-by-question basis.’ Thompson called Clark’s last-minute notice a ‘last-ditch attempt to delay the Select Committee’s proceedings.’ ‘The committee would certainly consider that we will not finalize his contempt process if Mr. Clark genuinely cures his failure to comply with the subpoena this Saturday,’ Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a vice chair of the committee, said during the hearing. This is the committee’s second contempt referral against an ally of former president Donald Trump — the Justice Department charged former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon on two counts of criminal contempt last month. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor criminal offense that can result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.”


Thursday, 2 December 2021:


New details shed light on ways Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows pushed federal agencies to pursue dubious election claims, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Paula Reid, and Sara Murray, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ new cooperation with the January 6 House select committee could give investigators a valuable window into how former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to enlist government officials to pursue baseless election conspiracy theories — an effort new CNN reporting reveals Meadows was central to in the weeks after the 2020 election. According to multiple sources, including former Trump officials and others with direct knowledge of what was happening behind the scenes at the White House, Meadows reached out to some of the country’s top national security officials in an effort to connect them to Trump allies who were pushing unfounded claims of foreign election interference and voter fraud. Not only did Meadows try to get top government officials to investigate baseless conspiracy theories being espoused by the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn and Sidney Powell, he also passed along conspiratorial materials himself, including YouTube videos and other information that alleged widespread evidence of voter fraud, sources say. These, and other actions Meadows took on behalf of Trump, sources say, were not necessarily driven by his strong belief in the validity of these claims but instead by his desire to please a president who was hyper-focused on injecting baseless conspiracy theories of election fraud into official government channels. While Meadows’ attempts to enlist the Justice Department in the effort to overturn the election were documented by a recent Senate investigation, a complete understanding of how Trump’s chief of staff pushed other federal agencies to pursue dubious claims of a rigged election is still coming to light.”

A federal judge in Michigan has ordered a group of lawyers who brought a failed lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results to pay about $175,000 in legal fees to the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit, The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “A federal judge in Michigan has ordered a group of lawyers who brought a failed lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results to pay about $175,000 in legal fees to the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit, the latest in a series of rulings from federal judges seeking to hold lawyers accountable for trying to use the courts to overturn a democratic election. U.S. District Judge Linda V. Parker had already ordered that the group of nine lawyers — including Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood, both allies to former president Donald Trump — be disciplined for their role in the suit, which in August she called ‘a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.'”

Two Election Workers Targeted by Pro-Trump Media Sue for Defamation. The two Georgia workers were falsely accused of manipulating ballots by Trump allies and right-wing news sites. Election officials said the workers did nothing wrong. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “Two Georgia election workers who were the targets of a right-wing campaign that falsely claimed they manipulated ballots filed a defamation lawsuit on Thursday against one of the nation’s leading sources of pro-Trump misinformation. The suit against the right-wing conspiratorial website The Gateway Pundit was filed by Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, both of whom processed ballots in Atlanta during the 2020 election for the Fulton County elections board. It follows a series of defamation claims filed by elections equipment operators against conservative television operators such as Fox NewsNewsmax and One America News. The lawsuit from Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss is among the first to be filed by individual election workers who found themselves unwittingly dragged into the alternate universe of far-right media that claimed, and still does, that Donald J. Trump won last year’s presidential election. ‘I want the defendants to know that my daughter and I are real people who deserve justice, and I never want them to do this to anyone else,’ Ms. Freeman said in a statement. Ms. Moss, who continues to work for the Fulton County elections board, and Ms. Freeman, a temporary employee during the 2020 election, were ensnared by the Trump-supporting media and Mr. Trump himself after Gateway Pundit published dozens of false stories about them, starting last December and continuing through this November. The stories called the two women ‘crooked Democrats’ and claimed that they ‘pulled out suitcases full of ballots and began counting those ballots without election monitors in the room.’ Investigations conducted by the Georgia secretary of state’s office found that the two women did nothing wrong and were legally counting ballots.’… The lawsuit, filed in a Missouri circuit court in St. Louis, where James Hoft lives, articulates a litany of trauma the two women and their family suffered after Gateway Pundit began its campaign against them. They received death threats, unending harassment from phone calls and text messages, and unsolicited pizza deliveries to their homes. Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, both of whom are Black, were also subjected to racial slurs. The harassment was detailed in a Reuters article published Wednesday that included recordings of 911 calls Ms. Freeman made when Trump supporters came to her home and banged on her door last December.” See also, Two Georgia election workers targeted by Trump sue far-right conspiracy site Gateway Pundit for defamation, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “Two women who were Georgia election workers in 2020 are suing the far-right conspiracy website Gateway Pundit for defamation, alleging that the site and its owners knowingly published false stories about them that instigated a relentless campaign of harassment and threats. According to the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in circuit court in St. Louis, the falsehoods about Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, ‘have not only devastated their personal and professional reputations but instigated a deluge of intimidation, harassment, and threats that has forced them to change their phone numbers, delete their online accounts, and fear for their physical safety.’ The harassment got so bad that at one point, Freeman had to leave her home for two months upon the advice of the FBI, the lawsuit states. ‘Lies like those that The Gateway Pundit knowingly told about Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss cannot be divorced from the devastation they leave behind — both for the targeted individuals and for our democracy itself,’ Brittany Williams, an attorney with the nonprofit Protect Democracy, which is representing the women, said in a statement. Freeman and Moss are being represented by Protect Democracy; the law firms DuBose Miller, Dowd Bennett and Kastorf Law; and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.” See also, Two Georgia election workers are suing far-right conspiracy website The Gateway Pundit over ‘campaign of lies.’ In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Ruby Freeman and her daughter allege how they became the target of a feedback loop of misinformation that included President Donald Trump. NBC News, Ben Collins, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “Two Georgia election workers who became the target of conspiracy theories around the 2020 election are suing The Gateway Pundit, a far-right website that published false information about them as part of a sweeping effort to sow doubt about the integrity of the vote. The election workers, Ruby Freeman, a retired 911 call center worker, and her daughter, Shaye Moss, allege in the lawsuit that Jim and Joe Hoft, twin brothers who operate and write for The Gateway Pundit, conducted ‘a campaign of lies’ that ‘instigated a deluge of intimidation, harassment, and threats that has forced them to change their phone numbers, delete their online accounts, and fear for their physical safety.’ Freeman and her daughter became central figures in some of the many conspiracy theories that circulated among conservatives in the months after the election. Other subjects of similar theories — most notably companies that make voting machines — have also launched lawsuits targeted at media companies that spread misleading or outright evidence-free claims about their roles in the election. Articles from The Gateway Pundit that named Freeman sparked a feedback loop of accusations that included President Donald Trump and other conservative media outlets.”

Representative Liz Cheney says the House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol riot and Trump White House response will hold public hearings in 2022, CNBC, Kevin Breuninger, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “The House panel investigating the deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol aims to hold lengthy public hearings next year detailing ‘in vivid color’ the events of Jan. 6, both at the Capitol and in former President Donald Trump’s White House, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Thursday. Cheney, the vice chair of the select committee and one of its two Republican members, said the panel aims to conduct ‘multiple weeks of public hearings’ sometime in 2022, a year of crucial midterm elections where the GOP hopes to retake majority control of at least one chamber of Congress. Those hearings will lay out ‘exactly what happened every minute of the day on Jan. 6 here at the Capitol and at the White House and what led to that violent attack,’ Cheney said in a House Rules Committee hearing. Cheney revealed the plans less than a day after the select committee voted to advance contempt proceedings for former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark over his alleged defiance of a subpoena for documents and testimony.”

Mexico to Allow U.S. ‘Remain in Mexico’ Asylum Policy to Resume. A judge had ordered the Biden administration to restart the Trump-era program, but doing so required cooperation from Mexico, which had been reluctant. The New York Times, Eileen Sullivan and Oscar Lopez, Thursday, 2 December 2021: “Mexico has agreed to allow the United States to restart a contentious Trump-era asylum program that requires certain migrants to wait in Mexico while their cases are pending, complicating the Biden administration’s efforts to roll back the former president’s restrictive immigration policies. The Biden administration, which announced the agreement on Thursday, has tried to end the program, which American officials and advocacy groups have assailed as dangerous and inhumane. But it has been forced to restart it under a court order, and doing so requires the cooperation of the Mexican government, which had been reluctant to do so without commitments to address humanitarian concerns. Roberto Velasco Álvarez, head of the North America unit at the Mexican Foreign Ministry, said that Mexico had agreed to the restart of the program, known commonly as Remain in Mexico and formally as Migrant Protection Protocols, after the Biden administration agreed to a number of steps to improve humanitarian conditions at the border, such as providing vaccines for migrants. Unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable asylum seekers will not be included in the program.”


Friday, 3 December 2021:


Former Trump lawyer John Eastman, who was connected to efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election win on 6 January, will plead the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination before the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Friday, 3 December 2021: “The move by Eastman, communicated in a letter to the select committee by his attorney, is an extraordinary step and appears to suggest a growing fear among some of Trump’s closest advisers that their testimony may implicate them in potential criminality. ‘Dr Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him,’ Eastman’s lawyer, Charles Burnham, told the select committee in a letter on Wednesday. The select committee issued a subpoena to Eastman last month as they sought to uncover the extent of his role in Trump’s scheme to prevent Biden from being certified as president and return himself to office for a second term despite losing the 2020 election. House investigators also took an interest in Eastman after it emerged that he played an integral part in a 4 January Oval Office meeting where he presented a memo advising then vice-president Mike Pence about ways to stop and delay Biden’s certification from taking place.” See also, John Eastman, the attorney who helped former President Donald Trump contest the 2020 election, asserted his right against self-incrimination in a December 1 letter to the Capitol riot House panel, Politico, Kyle Cheney, Friday, 3 December 2021: “John Eastman, the attorney who helped former President Donald Trump pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a letter he delivered to the Jan. 6 committee explaining his decision not to testify…. Eastman’s decision is an extraordinary assertion by someone who worked closely with Trump to attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. He met with Trump and pushed state legislative leaders to reject Biden’s victory in a handful of swing states and appoint alternate electors to the Electoral College, effectively denying Biden’s victory.”

Opinion: It’s time to say it: The conservatives on the Supreme Court lied to us all about abortion rights, The Washington Post, Paul Waldman, Friday, 3 December 2021: “They lied. Yes, I’m talking about the conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and the abortion rights those justices have now made clear they will eviscerate. They weren’t just evasive, or vague, or deceptive. They lied. They lied to Congress and to the country, claiming they either had no opinions at all about abortion, or that their beliefs were simply irrelevant to how they would rule. They would be wise and pure, unsullied by crass policy preferences, offering impeccably objective readings of the Constitution. It. Was. A. Lie. We went through the same routine in the confirmation hearings of every one of those justices. When Democrats tried to get them to state plainly their views on Roe v. Wade, they took two approaches. Some tried to convince everyone that they would leave it untouched. Others, those already on record proclaiming opposition to abortion rights, suggested they had undergone a kind of intellectual factory reset enabling them to assess the question anew with an unspoiled mind, one concerned only with the law. Unfortunately, that lie was and is still enabled by the news media. Even in the face of what we saw at the court on Wednesday — when at least five of the six conservatives made clear their intention to overturn Roe — press accounts continued offering euphemisms and weasel words, about ‘inconsistencies’ or ‘contradictions.'”


Saturday, 4 December 2021:


Fearing a Repeat of January 6, Congress Eyes Changes to the Electoral Count Law. Members of the special House committee investigating the Capitol riot are among those arguing for an overhaul of a more than century-old statute enacted to address disputed elections. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Nick Corasaniti, Saturday, 4 December 2021: “Members of the select congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol are pressing to overhaul the complex and little-known law that former President Donald J. Trump and his allies tried to use to overturn the 2020 election, arguing that the ambiguity of the statute puts democracy itself at risk. The push to rewrite the Electoral Count Act of 1887 — enacted more than a century ago in the wake of another bitterly disputed presidential election — has taken on new urgency in recent weeks as more details have emerged about the extent of Mr. Trump’s plot to exploit its provisions to cling to power. Mr. Trump and his allies, using a warped interpretation of the law, sought to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to throw out legitimate results when Congress met in a joint session on Jan. 6 to conduct its official count of electoral votes. It was Mr. Pence’s refusal to do so that led a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters to chant ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ as they stormed the Capitol, delaying the proceedings as lawmakers fled for their lives. Members of Congress and the vice president ultimately returned and completed the count, rejecting challenges made by loyalists to Mr. Trump and formalizing President Biden’s victory. But had Mr. Pence done as Mr. Trump wanted — or had enough members of Congress voted to sustain the challenges lodged by Mr. Trump’s supporters — the outcome could have been different.”

New Evidence: Trump White House May Have Worked With Department of Justice Official in Scheme to Overturn the Election. The January 6 chief investigator pointed out that metadata in a draft letter to Georgia lawmakers asking them to appoint new electors’ indicates some involvement with the White House Communications Agency.’ Rolling Stone, Peter Wade, Saturday, 4 December 2021: “The Trump Justice Department and White House may have collaborated in their attempts to overturn the 2020 election. According to new evidence from the Jan. 6 committee first reported by Rachel Maddow, White House communications staff may have worked on a draft letter written by Trump DOJ official Jeffrey Clark encouraging Georgia to appoint new electors who would overturn its election results. The revelation comes from a transcript of a Nov. 5 deposition of Clark released by the committee on Wednesday as it referred a recommendation to the DOJ that Clark be charged with contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate with its Jan. 6 investigation.”


Sunday, 5 December 2021:


Since May 2021, people living in counties that voted heavily for Donald Trump during the last presidential election have been nearly three times as likely to die from COVID-19 as those who live in areas that went for now-President Biden, NPR, Daniel Wood and Geoff Brumfiel, Sunday, 5 December 2021: “[A new analysis by NPR] examines how political polarization and misinformation are driving a significant share of the deaths in the pandemic. NPR looked at deaths per 100,000 people in roughly 3,000 counties across the U.S. from May 2021, the point at which vaccinations widely became available. People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.78 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates. In October, the reddest tenth of the country saw death rates that were six times higher than the bluest tenth, according to Charles Gaba, an independent health care analyst who’s been tracking partisanship trends during the pandemic and helped to review NPR’s methodology. Those numbers have dropped slightly in recent weeks, Gaba says: ‘It’s back down to around 5.5 times higher.'”

Seven days: Following Trump’s coronavirus trail, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, Sunday, 5 December 2021: “When he first learned he had tested positive for the corona­virus, President Donald Trump was already aboard Air Force One, en route to a massive rally in Middletown, Pa. With him on the plane that Saturday evening were dozens of people — senior aides, Air Force One personnel, junior staffers, journalists and other members of the large entourage typical for a presidential trip — all squeezed together in the recirculating air of a jetliner. ‘Stop the president,’ White House physician Sean Conley told Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, according to a new book by Meadows set to publish Tuesday that was obtained by the Guardian newspaper. ‘He just tested positive for covid.’ But Meadows asserts in his book that it was too late to stop Trump and that a second rapid antigen test — apparently done using the same sample — came back negative. But under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump should have taken a more accurate polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm whether he had the coronavirus…. In fact, Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed about a week later. From the day he tested positive until his hospitalization, Trump came in contact with more than 500 people, either those in proximity to him or at crowded events, not including rallygoers, according to a Washington Post analysis of the president’s interactions during that period. That seven-day window reveals a president and chief of staff who took a reckless, and potentially dangerous, approach to handling the coronavirus, including Trump’s own positive test. Trump and Meadows hid Trump’s positive test not just from the public, but also from his inner circle and from his top public health officials. He took part in a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden three days later, never revealing the test result to Biden or event organizers. And Trump took no extra precautions, such as mask-wearing or social distancing, to protect those he came in contact with in the days following the positive test.”


Monday, 6 December 2021:


Justice Department Files Voting Rights Suit Against Texas Over New Map. The department said the state’s redistricting plan would violate the Voting Rights Act by discriminating against minority voters. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Nick Corasaniti, and Reid J. Epstein, Monday, 6 December 2021: “The Justice Department sued Texas on Monday over the state’s plan to redraw its voting districts, saying it would essentially make ballots cast by Black and Latino voters count for less than those of others. In announcing the suit, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said that the redistricting plan that the state’s Republican-led legislature approved in October violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which says that voters cannot be denied equal access to the political process based on their race or ethnicity. The suit was the second in a little over a month to be filed by the Justice Department challenging Texas over voting. The department sued the state in early November over a new voting law that it argued would disenfranchise Texans who do not speak English, people with disabilities, older voters and those who live outside the United States. The suit filed by the department on Monday also puts other states on notice as they redraw their voting districts, a process that occurs once a decade. Seventeen states have already finalized congressional maps this year, with more expected to complete the process before the spring.” See also, Justice Department sues Texas over redistricting, citing discrimination against Latinos and other minorities, The Washington Post, David Nakamura and Devlin Barrett, Monday, 6 December 2021: “The Justice Department has sued Texas for the second time in a month over voting-related concerns, this time alleging that Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Latinos and other minorities when they approved new congressional and state legislative districts that increased the power of White voters. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement on Monday marked the Biden administration’s first major legal action on redistricting. It comes at a time when the U.S. House is narrowly controlled by Democrats, many GOP-controlled state legislatures are tightening voting restrictions, and both parties are trying to draw maps to their own advantage ahead of the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election. While the Supreme Court has declined to put limits on partisan gerrymandering, it is illegal to draw lines that are unfair to racial and ethnic minorities.”

A group formed to support former President Donald Trump’s agenda is working with Wisconsin Republicans on a ballot measure that would bypass the state’s Democratic governor to change how elections are run in the battleground state, Associated Press, Scott Bauer and Nicholas Riccardi, Monday, 6 December 2021: “The effort represents a new escalation in the ongoing Republican campaign to alter voting laws in response to Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. It comes as Wisconsin has become the epicenter of this year’s voting wars, with Republicans trying to dismantle the election system they themselves put in place several years ago — and figure out how to do that with a Democratic governor still in office. The backing for a possible route around Gov. Tony Evers was revealed during a private meeting on elections hosted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which advocates conservative policies to state lawmakers in voting and other areas. Trump’s former White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told attendees that his new organization, the Center for Election Integrity, was working with elected officials and business leaders in Wisconsin ‘to figure out the best path’ around Evers, who has said he will block GOP-backed election measures.”

A former D.C. National Guard official is accusing two senior Army leaders of lying to Congress and participating in a secret attempt to rewrite the history of the military’s response to the January 6 Capitol riot, Politico, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Meridith McGraw, Monday, 6 December 2021: “In a 36-page memo, Col. Earl Matthews, who held high-level National Security Council and Pentagon roles during the Trump administration, slams the Pentagon’s inspector general for what he calls an error-riddled report that protects a top Army official who argued against sending the National Guard to the Capitol on Jan. 6, delaying the insurrection response for hours. Matthews’ memo, sent to the Jan. 6 select committee this month and obtained by POLITICO, includes detailed recollections of the insurrection response as it calls two Army generals — Gen. Charles Flynn, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations on Jan. 6, and Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of Army staff — ‘absolute and unmitigated liars’ for their characterization of the events of that day. Matthews has never publicly discussed the chaos of the Capitol siege. On Jan. 6, Matthews was serving as the top attorney to Maj. Gen. William Walker, then commanding general of the D.C. National Guard. Matthews’ memo defends the Capitol attack response by Walker, who now serves as the House sergeant at arms, amplifying Walker’s previous congressional testimony about the hourslong delay in the military’s order for the D.C. National Guard to deploy to the riot scene.”

Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun. January 6 was practice. Donald Trump’s Republican Party is much better positioned to subvert the next election. The Atlantic, Barton Gellman, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Technically, the next attempt to overthrow a national election may not qualify as a coup. It will rely on subversion more than violence, although each will have its place. If the plot succeeds, the ballots cast by American voters will not decide the presidency in 2024. Thousands of votes will be thrown away, or millions, to produce the required effect. The winner will be declared the loser. The loser will be certified president-elect.The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already…. For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft. Elected officials in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states have studied Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn the 2020 election. They have noted the points of failure and have taken concrete steps to avoid failure next time. Some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters. By way of foundation for all the rest, Trump and his party have convinced a dauntingly large number of Americans that the essential workings of democracy are corrupt, that made-up claims of fraud are true, that only cheating can thwart their victory at the polls, that tyranny has usurped their government, and that violence is a legitimate response.”

Trump draws attention with admission that he ‘fired Comey,’ The Hill, Brett Samuels, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Former President Trump is drawing attention after giving an interview in which he admitted to firing ex-FBI Director James Comey and suggested that doing so allowed him to remain in office for four years. ‘A lot of people say to me, how you survived is one of the most incredible things,’ Trump told Fox News host Mark Levin in an interview that aired Sunday night. ‘Don’t forget, I fired Comey. Had I not fired Comey, you might not be talking to me right now about a beautiful book of four years at the White House, and we’ll see about the future. The future is going to be very interesting,’ Trump continued…. The former president’s open admission that he fired Comey has garnered particular attention, as critics have argued it would amount to obstruction of justice if Trump removed the FBI director for investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.”

CNN Exclusive: Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, is cooperating with January 6 committee, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel, Michael Warren, and Ryan Nobles, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, is cooperating with the January 6 committee, a significant development that will give investigators insight from one of the highest-ranking Trump officials, according to three sources with knowledge of the committee’s activities. CNN is also reporting for the first time that the committee subpoenaed Short a few weeks ago. Short remains one of Pence’s closest advisers and is a firsthand witness to many critical events the committee is examining, including what happened to Pence at the Capitol on January 6 and how former President Donald Trump pressured the former vice president not to certify the presidential election that day. Short’s assistance signals a greater openness among Pence’s inner circle. One source told CNN the committee is getting ‘significant cooperation with Team Pence,’ even if the committee has not openly discussed that. Another source told CNN that Short’s help is an example of the ‘momentum’ the investigation is enjoying behind the scenes.”

Sidney Powell group raised more than $14 million spreading election falsehoods, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Rosalind S. Helderman, Isaac Stanley-Becker, and Josh Dawsey, Monday, 6 December 2021: “In the months after President Donald Trump lost the November election, lawyer Sidney Powell raised large sums from donors inspired by her fight to reverse the outcome of the vote. But by April, questions about where the money was going — and how much there was — were helping to sow division between Powell and other leaders of her new nonprofit, Defending the Republic. On April 9, many members of the staff and board resigned, documents show. Among those who departed after just days on the job was Chief Financial Officer Robert Weaver, who in a memo at the time wrote that he had ‘no way of knowing the true financial position’ of Defending the Republic, because some of its bank accounts were off limits even to him. Records reviewed by The Washington Post show that Defending the Republic raised more than $14 million, a sum that reveals the reach and resonance of one of the most visible efforts to fundraise using baseless claims about the 2020 election. Previously unreported records also detail acrimony between Powell and her top lieutenants over how the money — now a focus of inquiries by federal prosecutors and Congress — was being handled. The split has left Powell, who once had Trump’s ear, isolated from other key figures in the election-denier movement.”

California Representative Devin Nunes Will Quit the House to Become the Chief Executive Officer of Donald J. Trump’s New Media and Technology Company, The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Representative Devin Nunes, a California Republican who emerged as one of former President Donald J. Trump’s most loyal and pugnacious allies, announced on Monday that he would resign from Congress after 19 years to become the chief executive officer of Mr. Trump’s new media and technology company. Mr. Nunes faced almost impossible odds in being re-elected to the Central Valley district that his family had farmed for three generations. A new map emerging from an independent citizens’ redistricting commission was almost certain to flip it from a district Mr. Trump won handily to one President Biden would have won. But political analysts and politicians in the district had predicted that Mr. Nunes — who was the chairman, then the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee during the Trump administration — would jump to a newly created, Republican-friendly district. That would have allowed him to continue his congressional career and assume the helm of the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Republicans took control of the House, as they are favored to do. Mr. Nunes’s decision to take over Mr. Trump’s fledgling media enterprise instead of the influential House panel that writes tax and health care policy signals where he thinks power lies in the Republican Party and the conservative movement.” See also, California Representative Devin Nunes to leave Congress to become Trump media company CEO, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and David Weigel, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a fierce defender of President Donald Trump through his White House tenure, plans to leave his seat at the end of this month to become chief executive at Trump’s new social media company, the company announced Monday. Nunes, who was first elected to Congress in 2002 at age 30, was reelected last year for a 10th term, which ends in January 2023. A news release Monday said Nunes would be joining the Trump Media & Technology Group as its CEO starting in January, cutting short his congressional term by about a year. Nunes would have been in line to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, if the GOP takes back the House majority in 2022. But by stepping down, he is giving up what is considered the most powerful committee gavel. Nunes represents a historically Republican district that was growing more competitive even before the current round of redistricting. In 2012, President Barack Obama lost Nunes’s 22nd Congressional District, in California’s Central Valley, by 15 points. Last year, Joe Biden lost it by just six points.”

Donald Trump’s media company deal is being investigated by securities regulators, The New York Times, Matthew Goldstein and David Enrich, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Securities regulators have opened investigations into the planned merger of a nascent social media company backed by former President Donald J. Trump with a so-called blank-check company that raised nearly $300 million in an initial public offering in September. The investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority were disclosed Monday in a regulatory filing by Digital World Acquisition Corporation, the special purpose acquisition company that intends to merge with Trump Media Technology Group. Both regulators are looking for information regarding the trading in shares of Digital World. The S.E.C. is also looking into “documents and communications” between Digital World and Trump Media.” See also, Federal regulators are investigating the Trump Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) deal, CNN Business, Matt Egan, Monday, 6 December 2021: “The shell company that is facilitating former President Donald Trump’s return to Wall Street disclosed Monday that federal regulators are investigating the deal. In October, Trump announced a new media venture that would ‘stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.’ That new entity, chaired by the former president, agreed to go public through a merger with Digital World, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or SPAC. In a filing Monday, Digital World Acquisition Corp. said it received a document and information request from the Securities and Exchange Commission in early November. Among other items, Digital World said the SEC request sought documents and communications between Digital World and Trump Media and Technology Group. Digital World also said Wall Street’s self-regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, is looking into trading prior to the deal’s announcement. Shares of Digital World skyrocketed as much as 1,657% in the days after the deal was announced. The company achieved meme stock status almost overnight, even though little is known about the venture. Filings did not indicate how much revenue, if any, the firm generates. But almost immediately the deal drew scrutiny. Trump began discussing a merger with Digital World long before the blank-check company went public and before such talks were disclosed to investors, The New York Times reported in late October. Senator Elizabeth Warren called for the SEC to investigate whether any laws were broken by Digital World because the company repeatedly told shareholders that it had not held substantive talks with a target company. SPACs are not supposed to have merger targets planned before they raise money from the public.” See also, Who Just Gave Trump $1 Billion? Let’s Find Out. Investments in a blank-check company  backing the former president could turn out to be IOUs if he wins back the White House. Bloomberg, Timothy L. O’Brien, Monday, 6 December 2021: “Donald Trump’s new social media enterprise announced on Saturday that the blank-check company it set up to monetize the former president’s digital and political mojo has raised $1 billion — without identifying the members of the ‘diverse group of institutional investors’ backing him. Trump, a disinformation kingpin exiled from mainstream social media platforms, has positioned his gossamer startup, Truth Social, as a vehicle for battling ‘censorship and political discrimination’ and the ‘tyranny of Big Tech.’ It’s also a convenient way for Trump to continue his life’s work: separating investors and fans from their wallets by pitching promises that he routinely fails to keep.”

Trump’s Former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Says in His New Book That Trump’s Blood Oxygen Level in Covid Bout Was Dangerously Low, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Noah Weiland, Monday, 6 December 2021: “President Donald J. Trump’s blood oxygen level sank to a precariously low level after he announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus last year, according to a new book by Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff. The new details contradict Mr. Trump’s denials this year that his Covid bout was more dire than White House medical officials had acknowledged at the time…. Mr. Trump, who has long been fearful of appearing weak, has tried to camouflage those details. The White House staff and members of his medical team aided that effort, publicly downplaying how sick he was at the time. The former president denied a detailed New York Times report this year that he was more ill than his aides had revealed, with depressed oxygen levels and lung infiltrates, which occur when they are inflamed and filled with fluid or bacteria. Mr. Meadows recounts in extraordinary detail how severe Mr. Trump’s illness was. On Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, hours after the president announced on Twitter that he had tested positive for the virus, he recorded a blood oxygen level of about 86 percent, Mr. Meadows wrote. That is roughly 10 points below what would be considered normal. Most healthy people have a blood oxygen level of about 95 to 98 percent, although some people may have lower normal readings.”


Tuesday, 7 December 2021:


In a Reversal, Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Tells the House Panel Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol That He Is No Longer Willing To Be Interviewed, Reversing a Commitment He Made Last Week, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Maggie Haberman, Tuesday, 7 December 2021: “Mark Meadows, a White House chief of staff under President Donald J. Trump, on Tuesday informed the committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that he was no longer willing to sit for an interview with its investigators, reversing a deal he reached with the panel just last week to attend a deposition. The leaders of the committee immediately threatened to charge Mr. Meadows with contempt of Congress if he did not appear on Wednesday. They argued that he had no grounds for refusing to speak with the panel as he promotes a book he wrote on the very topic about which they wanted to question him.” See also, January 6 House committee threatens contempt action after Mark Meadows, former Trump chief of staff, says he will not attend deposition after all, The Washington Post, Amy B Wang and Tom Hamburger, Tuesday, 7 December 2021: “The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection said it will “be left no choice” but to move to advance criminal contempt of Congress proceedings against Mark Meadows, a former chief of staff in the Trump White House, if Meadows does not appear at a deposition scheduled for Wednesday. Meadows informed the bipartisan panel Tuesday morning that he would no longer appear before the committee on Wednesday but would be open to answering questions in writing, according to a letter his attorney sent to the committee that was obtained by The Washington Post. Committee leaders blasted Meadows on Tuesday afternoon for his about-face and released a withering statement noting that he had just published a book about his time as chief of staff to President Donald Trump.”

Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Pressley introduces resolution to condemn Representative Lauren Boebert for repeatedly making anti-Muslim remarks aimed at Representative Ilhan Omar. Nearly a dozen house liberals want Democratic leadership to act against the Colorado Republican after her anti-Muslim remarks. The Washington Post, Marianna Sotomayor and Jacqueline Alemany, Tuesday, 7 December 2021: “Rep. Ayanna Pressley introduced a resolution Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert of her committee assignments for repeatedly making anti-Muslim remarks aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, hoping the action forces House Democratic leadership to punish the lawmaker before the end of the year. The resolution from Pressley (D-Mass), first obtained by The Washington Post, comes amid mounting pressure by House Democrats for Boebert (R-Colo.) to be reprimanded for Islamophobic attacks that surfaced in a video in which Boebert, speaking at an event in her district over Thanksgiving break, likens Omar (D-Minn.) to a suicide bomber. On Tuesday, MSNBC unearthed another video of Boebert in which she called Omar ‘a terrorist’ and accused her of praising terrorists. Other staunch allies of former president Donald Trump in the House, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), have repeatedly targeted members of the liberal ‘Squad’ by falsely calling them terrorist sympathizers.”

Texas school district pulls 400 books from library shelves for review after an inquiry from a Republican state lawmaker. The books featured on the lawmaker’s list cover topics such as racial and gender equality, sexual orientation, and abortion. NBC News, Daniella Silva, Tuesday, 7 December 2021: “A Texas school district pre-emptively pulled more than 400 books from its libraries for review following an inquiry from a Republican state lawmaker. North East Independent School District in San Antonio said it determined its libraries contained 414 books on a list of roughly 800 targeted by state Rep. Matt Krause. Krause, who chairs the House General Investigating Committee, has asked school officials to search their campuses for copies of the books from the list and respond with how many they have, among other questions such as how the books were paid for. The school district said in a statement Tuesday that it was reviewing the books ‘out of an abundance of caution’ to ‘ensure they did not have any obscene or vulgar material in them.'”


Wednesday, 8 December 2021:


Mark Meadows, the Former Chief of Staff for President Trump, Sues House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Bid to Block January 6 Committee Subpoena, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 8 December 2021: “Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, filed suit on Wednesday against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol in an attempt to persuade a federal judge to block the committee’s subpoenas. Mr. Meadows’s suit came hours after the committee said it would move forward with a criminal contempt of Congress referral against Mr. Meadows after he refused to appear for a scheduled deposition. His lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, accuses the committee of issuing ‘two overly broad and unduly burdensome subpoenas’ against him, including one sent to Verizon for his phone and text data. The committee did not immediately announce a date for its vote on the contempt referral against Mr. Meadows, which is all but certain to be approved and sent to the full House, where lawmakers are likely to pass it, formally recommending that the Justice Department prosecute Mr. Meadows. It would be the third time the committee has moved to hold a recalcitrant witness in criminal contempt.” See also, New details emerge on Meadows’s role in trying to overturn election as January 6 House panel moves to hold him in contempt, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 8 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said it is preparing to hold Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for not complying with its subpoena as it laid out evidence Wednesday showing the former White House chief of staff’s support for efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), in a letter to Meadows attorney George Terwilliger III, criticized Meadows’s decision to no longer cooperate with the panel. The onetime North Carolina congressman reversed course this week, arguing the panel was pressuring him to discuss issues that former president Donald Trump said are protected by executive privilege…. In his letter, Thompson details some of the emails and text messages Meadows had already handed over to the committee, providing one of the first glimpses of internal communications the panel has obtained that illuminate the actions of Trump and his allies. The new materials show Meadows was involved in early discussions to appoint an alternate slate of electors to replace those prepared to certify Joe Biden the victor in certain states, including an email sent days after the election that described ‘a direct and collateral’ attack on the results. The letter highlights the committee’s focus not just on the specific events of Jan. 6 but the actions undertaken by Trump and his associates leading up to that day, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol while echoing the false claims he made about a stolen election. The panel appears to be focusing heavily on an effort by Trump’s allies to develop a plan in which Vice President Mike Pence would have halted Congress’s certification of the election on Jan. 6 to allow Republican state legislators to investigate the unfounded fraud claims. Trump privately and publicly pressured Pence to embrace the plan, but the vice president would not, arguing he did not have the power to do so under the Constitution. The information released by the panel Wednesday suggests that Meadows was deeply involved in the effort to overturn the election results.”

Biden Orders Federal Vehicles and Buildings to Use Renewable Energy by 2050. Under an executive order, the federal government would phase out the purchase of gasoline-powered vehicles and its buildings would be powered by wind, solar, or other clean energy. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman, Wednesday, 8 December 2021: “President Biden on Wednesday set in motion a plan to make the federal government carbon neutral, ordering federal agencies to buy electric vehicles, to power facilities with wind, solar and nuclear energy, and to use sustainable building materials. In a series of executive orders, Mr. Biden directed the government to transform its 300,000 buildings, 600,000 cars and trucks, and use its annual purchases of $650 billion in goods and services to meet his goal of a federal government that stops adding carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2050. From his earliest days in office, Mr. Biden said he intended to use the federal government as a model and to help spur the markets for green energy. The executive orders signed Wednesday set a timetable for the transition. By 2030, Mr. Biden wants the federal government to purchase electricity produced only from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide, the most plentiful of the human-caused greenhouse gases that are warming the planet. By 2032, the Biden administration wants to see the emissions from building operations, such as heating, cut in half. And by 2035, all new federal cars and truck purchases would also be zero-emissions.” See also, Biden wants to make federal government carbon neutral by 2050. White House to spend billions to buy electric vehicles, upgrade federal buildings, and change how the government buys power. The Washington Post, Anna Phillips, Wednesday, 8 December 2021: “The Biden administration announced Wednesday it aims to buy its way to a cleaner, cooler planet, spending billions to create federal fleet of electric vehicles, upgrade federal buildings and change how the government buys electricity. The executive order President Biden signed leverages Washington’s buying power to cut the government’s carbon emissions 65 percent by the end of the decade. It lays out goals that would put the federal government on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050 and would add at least 10 gigawatts worth of clean electricity to the grid. Under the new approach, federal operations would run entirely on carbon-free electricity by 2030. By 2035, the government would stop buying gas-powered vehicles, switching to zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and cars. A decade after that, most of the buildings owned or leased by the government would no longer contribute to the carbon pollution that’s warming the planet. The order also instructs the government to launch a ‘buy clean’ initiative, prioritizing products produced and transported with low greenhouse gas emissions.” See also, Biden signs executive order to make the U.S. government carbon neutral by 2050. The president is aiming to leverage the federal government’s massive buying power to jumpstart the market for clean energy, electric vehicles, and more efficient buildings. NBC News, Josh Lederman, Wednesday, 8 December 2021: “President Joe Biden is aiming to leverage the federal government’s massive buying power to jumpstart the market for clean energy, electric vehicles and more efficient buildings. In an executive order that Biden signed on Wednesday, the president set new goals for the federal government to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 65 percent by the end of this decade, and to zero out federal emissions by 2050. The order puts the U.S. in line with global targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century, which scientists say is needed to reduce the effects of climate change. Biden’s order also establishes a ‘Buy Clean’ policy, directing the federal government to use lower-emissions construction materials. It calls for the government to use 100% clean electricity by 2030.”

North Carolina Supreme Court Delays 2020 Primary Elections. In response to lawsuits over North Carolina’s political maps, the justices issued an order on Wednesday pushing back the state’s primaries from March to May. The New York Times, Michael Wines, Wednesday, 8 December 2021: “The North Carolina Supreme Court ordered a two-month delay in the state’s 2022 primary elections on Wednesday, giving critics of the state legislature’s gerrymandered political maps additional time to pursue a legal battle to redraw them. The unsigned ruling was a setback for the Republican-controlled General Assembly, which created the maps and had argued that a delay in the primaries would sow chaos among both candidates and voters. The court ordered the March 8 primary elections for all offices postponed until May 17, citing ‘the importance of the issues to the constitutional jurisprudence of this state, and the need for urgency’ in deciding the maps’ legality. New boundaries for state legislative districts and for North Carolina’s 14 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives face three lawsuits filed by Democrats and voting-rights advocates in a state court in Raleigh. In a state split almost evenly between Republican and Democratic voters, the new maps give Republicans a sweeping political advantage. The new House map, for example, would all but ensure victory for G.O.P. candidates in 10 of the 14 districts, with a decent shot at winning an 11th seat. The legal struggle over the new boundaries appears to have split state judges along political lines as well. On Monday, Republicans had secured a ruling in the state Court of Appeals, which is dominated by Republican judges, upholding the March 8 primary date. The state Supreme Court, which overruled the decision, is narrowly controlled by Democratic justices.”


Thursday, 9 December 2021:


United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Rejects Trump’s Bid to Shield Material From January 6 Inquiry. A three-judge panel held that Congress’s oversight powers, backed by President Biden’s decision not to invoke executive privilege over the material, outweighed Mr. Trump’s residual secrecy powers. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Congress is entitled to see White House records related to the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, rejecting former President Donald J. Trump’s claim that he still has the power to keep the material secret. In a 68-page ruling, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that Congress’s oversight powers, backed by President Biden’s decision not to invoke executive privilege over the material, outweighed Mr. Trump’s residual secrecy powers. Invoking the aphorism attributed to Benjamin Franklin that the founders had given the country a republic ‘if you can keep it,’ Judge Patricia A. Millett wrote that Jan. 6 ‘exposed the fragility of those democratic institutions and traditions that we had perhaps come to take for granted,’ against which Mr. Trump’s arguments for secrecy were ‘not close to enough. Former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment and the agreement and accommodations worked out between the political branches over these documents,’ she wrote. ‘Both branches agree that there is a unique legislative need for these documents, and that they are directly relevant to the committee’s inquiry into an attack on the legislative branch and its constitutional role in the peaceful transfer of power.’ Judges Millett, Robert L. Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson — the other two judges on the panel — were all appointed by Democratic presidents. Mr. Trump is almost certain to appeal their ruling to the Supreme Court, which is controlled by a six-member bloc of Republican appointees.” See also, A federal appeals court on Thursday resoundingly rejected former president Donald Trump’s bid to keep his White House documents secret from a congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, setting up an emergency Supreme Court review. This is the first legal case testing whether a sitting president can waive a predecessor’s claim of executive privilege. The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu and Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously upheld a lower court’s opinion, which said that in a dispute between a current and past president over whether to release White House records, the sitting president must prevail. In blunt and at times blistering language, Judges Patricia A. Millett, Robert L. Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson denied Trump’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the National Archives and Records Administration from releasing the first roughly 800 pages of disputed Trump papers after President Biden declined to assert executive privilege as requested by his predecessor, setting up the first of its kind constitutional controversy. ‘Lives were lost, blood was shed; portions of the Capitol building were badly damaged; and the lives of members of the House and Senate, as well as aides, staffers, and others who were working in the building, were endangered,’ the court said of the riots that stalled Congress’s confirmation of the 2020 election results, adding, ‘There is a direct linkage between the former President and the events of the day.’ At the same time, the 68-page opinion continued, ‘Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that the Political Branches have avoided.’… Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington said the former president would ask the Supreme Court to intervene. The D.C. Circuit gave his lawyers 14 days to do so, which means the records will not immediately be turned over to Congress. ‘Regardless of today’s decision by the appeals court, this case was always destined for the Supreme Court,’ Harrington posted on Twitter. ‘President Trump’s duty to defend the Constitution and the Office of the Presidency continues, and he will keep fighting for every American and every future Administration.'”

New York Attorney General Letitia James to Subpoena Trump to Testify in Civil Fraud Investigation. The move by James comes at a critical moment in a criminal inquiry into the former president, who could try to block the demand. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Thursday, 9 December 2021: The New York State attorney general, Letitia James, is seeking to question former President Donald J. Trump under oath in a civil fraud investigation, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, an unusual move that comes at a critical juncture in a parallel criminal investigation into the former president. Ms. James, whose office is also participating in the criminal investigation being run by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., wants to question Mr. Trump on Jan. 7 as part of her separate civil inquiry into his business practices. If Ms. James finds evidence of wrongdoing in the civil inquiry, she could file a lawsuit against Mr. Trump, but she could not file criminal charges. Her request comes as Mr. Vance is pushing to determine whether Mr. Trump or his family business, the Trump Organization, engaged in criminal fraud by intentionally submitting false property values to potential lenders. Mr. Vance, a Democrat, did not seek re-election and is leaving office at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Alvin Bragg, a former federal prosecutor elected in November. And because the two investigations overlap — both Ms. James and Mr. Vance have been focused on whether Mr. Trump inflated his property values to secure financing, and their offices are working together on the criminal inquiry — Mr. Trump could refuse to sit for a deposition once Ms. James formally subpoenas him. Ronald P. Fischetti, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said in a brief interview on Thursday that he would ask a judge to quash the subpoena.” See also, New York Attorney General Letitia James seeks Trump’s deposition as part of civil fraud investigation, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and David A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking a deposition from former president Donald Trump early next year as part of her investigation into potential fraud inside the Trump Organization, according to people familiar with the matter. James has requested to take his testimony on Jan. 7 at her New York office as part of a civil investigation into whether Trump’s company committed financial fraud in the valuations of properties to different entities, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is ongoing. One of the people familiar with the investigation said James is examining whether widespread fraud ‘permeated the Trump Organization.’ In a statement, the Trump Organization decried the move as politically motivated.”

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot with text messages and emails that show he was ‘exchanging with a wide range of individuals while the attack was underway,’ according to a source with knowledge of the communications, CNN Politics, Jamie Gangel and Zachary Cohen, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “The messages on Meadows’ personal cell phone and email account, which were voluntarily handed over without any claim of executive privilege, relate to ‘what Donald Trump was doing and not doing during the riot,’ the source added. These communications offer a window into what people were texting to Meadows on January 6, what he was telling them about Trump in real time, and what the former President was doing for those hours while the Capitol was under attack and rioters were chanting ‘Hang Mike Pence,’ according to the source. While a handful of Trump loyalists have defied the committee, the source familiar with the investigation said there are ‘many people every week coming in to testify and produce documents.’ In some instances, ‘multiple people a day,’ appear before the committee, the source added.”

A State District Court Judge in Texas Ruled That Citizen Enforcement of Abortion Law Violates the Texas Constitution, The New York Times, J David Goodman, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “A state district court judge in Texas ruled on Thursday that the unique enforcement scheme of a restrictive abortion law violated the State Constitution by allowing any private citizen to sue abortion providers or others accused of breaking the law. In a 48-page opinion, Judge David Peeples found that the approach, which had been seen by anti-abortion groups as its greatest strength, unconstitutionally granted standing to those who were not injured, denied due process and represented an ‘unlawful delegation of enforcement power to a private person.’ While deemed an important victory for abortion rights groups, abortion providers said on Thursday that they would not immediately resume performing the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy. The decision came in response to a number of lawsuits brought in Texas state court by abortion providers and others against Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group that had lobbied for the law. The group immediately filed a notice of appeal on Thursday.”

Opinion: The Supreme Court isn’t well. The only hope for a cure is more justices. The Washington Post, Nancy Gertner and Laurence H. Tribe, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “We now believe that Congress must expand the size of the Supreme Court and do so as soon as possible. We did not come to this conclusion lightly. One of us is a constitutional law scholar and frequent advocate before the Supreme Court, the other a federal judge for 17 years. After serving on the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court over eight months, hearing multiple witnesses, reading draft upon draft of the final report issued this week, our views have evolved. We started out leaning toward term limits for Supreme Court justices but against court expansion and ended up doubtful about term limits but in favor of expanding the size of the court. We listened carefully to the views of commissioners who disagreed. Indeed, the process was a model for how people with deeply diverging perspectives can listen to one another respectfully and revise their views through genuine dialogue. We voted to submit the final report to President Biden not because we agreed with all of it — we did not — but because it accurately reflects the complexity of the issue and that diversity of views. There has never been so comprehensive and careful a study of ways to reform the Supreme Court, the history and legality of various potential reforms, and the pluses and minuses of each. This report will be of value well beyond today’s debates. But make no mistake: In voting to submit the report to the president neither of us cast a vote of confidence in the Supreme Court itself. Sadly, we no longer have that confidence, given three things: first, the dubious legitimacy of the way some justices were appointed; second, what Justice Sonia Sotomayor rightly called the ‘stench’ of politics hovering over this court’s deliberations about the most contentious issues; and third, the anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian direction of this court’s decisions about matters such as voting rights, gerrymandering and the corrupting effects of dark money. Those judicial decisions haven’t been just wrong; they put the court — and, more important, our entire system of government — on a one-way trip from a defective but still hopeful democracy toward a system in which the few corruptly govern the many, something between autocracy and oligarchy. Instead of serving as a guardrail against going over that cliff, our Supreme Court has become an all-too-willing accomplice in that disaster. Worse, measures the court has enabled will fundamentally change the court and the law for decades. They operate to entrench the power of one political party: constricting the vote, denying fair access to the ballot to people of color and other minorities, and allowing legislative district lines to be drawn that exacerbate demographic differences. As a result, the usual ebb and flow that once tended to occur with succeeding elections is stalling. A Supreme Court that has been effectively packed by one party will remain packed into the indefinite future, with serious consequences to our democracy. This is a uniquely perilous moment that demands a unique response.”

House Approves Post-Trump Curbs on Presidential Power. Republicans almost unanimously opposed the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which might be broken into separate components in the Senate. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 9 December 2021: “The House on Thursday passed a sweeping package of constraints on presidential power, which Democrats framed as a response to Donald J. Trump’s norm-busting presidency and Republicans opposed for the same reason. By a nearly party-line vote of 220 to 208, the House approved the Protecting Our Democracy Act, which would impose new curbs on executive power. Proponents of tighter government ethics have long sought many of the measures, and Republicans have supported them, but they have been recast as partisan issues because of their association with Mr. Trump. ‘Disturbingly, the last administration saw our democracy in crisis with a rogue president who trampled over the guardrails protecting our Republic,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. ‘Now, Congress has the solemn responsibility and opportunity to safeguard our democracy, ensuring that past abuses can never be perpetrated by any president of any party.’ The legislation would require presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns, which Mr. Trump refused to do. The act would also strengthen the Constitution’s previously obscure ban on presidents taking emoluments, or payments, by extending anticorruption prohibition to commercial transactions. Mr. Trump’s refusal to divest from his hotels raised the question of whether lobbyists and other governments that began paying for numerous rooms at Trump resorts — and sometimes not using them — were trying to purchase his favor. The bill would also require campaigns to report any offers of foreign assistance to the F.B.I. — a proposal that resonates with episodes unearthed in the Russia investigation, such as when Donald Trump Jr. and other senior campaign officials met at Trump Tower with Russians they were told had dirt on Hillary Clinton. The package now moves to the Senate, where the 60-vote threshold for passing legislation means that Republicans can block it. Representative James Comer, the Kentucky Republican who managed his party’s side of the House debate, said there was ‘no apparent path for the bill in the Senate.’ But supporters of the bill envision breaking it up and attaching different components to other legislation in the Senate in a bid to regain bipartisan backing for elements that Republicans have supported in the past. Among many other things, the bill would make it harder for presidents to bestow pardons in briberylike contexts. It would create new protections against firing inspectors general without a good reason or retaliating against whistle-blowers. And it would constrain a president’s ability to spend or secretly freeze funds contrary to congressional appropriations. It would also speed up lawsuits over congressional subpoenas so that stonewalling by the executive branch cannot run out the clock on oversight efforts; require the Justice Department to give Congress logs of contacts with White House officials; and strengthen the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in campaign politics at work.”


Friday, 10 December 2021:


Supreme Court Allows Challenge to Texas Abortion Law but Leaves It in Effect. The law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, was drafted to evade review in federal court and has been in effect since September. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 10 December 2021: “The Supreme Court ruled on Friday that abortion providers in Texas can challenge a state law banning most abortions after six weeks, allowing them to sue at least some state officials in federal court despite the procedural hurdles imposed by the law’s unusual structure. But the Supreme Court refused to block the law in the meantime, saying that lower courts should consider the matter. The development was both a minor victory for supporters of abortion rights and a major disappointment to them. They had hoped that the justices would reverse course from a Sept. 1 ruling that had allowed the law, the nation’s most restrictive, to go into effect, causing clinics in Texas to curtail performing the procedure and forcing many women seeking abortions to travel out of state. ‘We will continue to seek justice in the shred of the case that the court has allowed to go forward and seek every other legal means to stop this catastrophic law,’ said Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the providers challenging the law. The decision provided further evidence that the Supreme Court’s newly expanded conservative majority is intensely skeptical of abortion rights. At an argument in a separate case last week, the court seemed prepared to uphold a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks, a decision that would be flatly at odds with the court’s abortion precedents. Opponents of abortion welcomed the court’s decision in the Texas case…. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the court’s three liberal members — Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — wrote that the limited victory for the law’s challengers may well prove to be inadequate. In partial dissents, they wrote that they would have allowed more comprehensive challenges, authorizing suits against the state’s attorney general and court clerks. Justice Sotomayor wrote that the court’s ruling could be evaded by a tweak to the Texas law, which generally bars state officials from enforcing it and instead deputizes private individuals to sue anyone who performs the procedure or ‘aids and abets’ it. Justice Sotomayor suggested that the court had given Texas lawmakers a road map to avoid review in federal court.” See also, The Supreme Court left in place a Texas law that bans most abortions after six weeks and provided only a narrow path for abortion providers to challenge in federal court what is the nation’s most restrictive law on the procedure, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 10 December 2021: “The court’s splintered decision allows the providers to return to a district judge who once blocked the law, saying it violated the constitutional right to abortion. But the decision limited the relief in a way that lawyers said probably makes it impossible to suspend the law while the legal battle continues. Marc Hearron, who argued the case for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told reporters in a call that the majority decision essentially ‘greenlit’ the law, making a statewide injunction impossible and encouraging other states to follow suit. Others said the decision could be a sign as the Supreme Court also considers this term Mississippi’s request to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion…. President Biden said in a statement that he was ‘very concerned’ about the court’s decision ‘in light of the significant consequences that law has for women in Texas and around the country, and for the rule of law.’ He said that there is ‘so much more work to be done — in Texas, in Mississippi, and in many states around the country where women’s rights are currently under attack,’ and that he will work with Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to safeguard abortion rights.” See also, Supreme Court refuses to block Texas abortion law as legal fights move forward, NPR, Nina Totenberg, Friday, 10 December 2021: “The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday refused for a second time to block a Texas law that has virtually brought abortions to a halt for anyone more than six weeks pregnant, a time so early that many women don’t know they are pregnant. Separately, the court dismissed as improvidently granted the Justice Department’s challenge to the law, meaning the court should not have accepted the case in the first place. In a fractured opinion, four of the court’s conservatives–Trump appointees Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, plus Justice Samuel Alito left the providers a single tenuous route to challenging the law. Justice Clarence Thomas went further, saying that in his view, the providers could not challenge the law at all. And Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by the court’s three liberals, would have allowed a full throated challenge to the law to go forward. Added all together, that boiled down to a vote of 8-1, with only Justice Thomas dissenting. But there was little agreement beyond that, with the conservative four making any continuation of the case nearly impossible, and the Roberts four strongly suggesting that the law is unconstitutional. At issue in the case is S.B. 8, a law enacted by the Texas legislature to make constitutional challenges to the state’s newest anti-abortion law impossible. It was avowedly written as a way to skirt more than a half century of Supreme Court precedents establishing that the way to challenge the constitutionality of a state law is to sue state officials. So S.B. 8 removes enforcement of the state law from the hands of state officials and instead delegates enforcement to private citizens, empowering them to sue anyone who ‘aids and abets’ an abortion after roughly 6 weeks, and putting a high price in damages for each abortion. As the chief justice and the court’s liberals saw things, ‘The clear purpose of the law was to nullify the court’s constitutional rulings,’ something that the high court has, since the founding era said is unconstitutional. Roberts drove his view home by quoting decisions from the founding era written by Chief Justice John Marshall. ‘If the legislatures of the several states may at will annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments,’ wrote Marshall, ‘the constitution becomes a solemn mockery.'” See also, Don’t be fooled: The Supreme Court’s Texas abortion decision is a big defeat for Roe v. Wade. Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion is sneaky, underhanded, and a big  blow to abortion rights. Vox, Ian Milhiser, Friday, 10 December 2021: “On first glance, it would be easy to see the Supreme Court’s decision Friday in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson as a win for abortion rights. It would also be wrong. More than two months after the Supreme Court allowed SB 8, a Texas law that effectively bans abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy, to take effect, the Court followed it up with a 5-4 decision that is an even larger defeat to proponents of abortion rights, and a victory to anti-abortion lawmakers in Texas. The specific question in Jackson is whether abortion providers are allowed to bring a federal lawsuit seeking to block SB 8. Although Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion technically answers this question in the affirmative, it permits suits only against state health officials who play a very minimal role in enforcing the law. It does not allow suits to proceed against the Texas state officials who play the biggest role in enforcing SB 8: state court judges and clerks.”

6 More Subpoenas Issued in House Panel’s January 6 Investigation. Those issued subpoenas included two men who met with President Donald Trump in his private dining room on January 4 and Mr Trump’s former political affairs director. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Friday, 10 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued six new subpoenas on Friday, digging deeper into the rallies that preceded the mob violence and organizers’ meetings with President Donald J. Trump. Those issued subpoenas Friday included Robert ‘Bobby’ Peede Jr., a former director of the White House advance team and Max Miller, a former Trump White House aide, who both met with Mr. Trump in his private dining room by the Oval Office on Jan. 4 to discuss the rally planned for two days later at the Ellipse, a park just south of the White House; and Brian Jack, Mr. Trump’s former political affairs director who reached out to several members of Congress to ask them to speak at the Jan. 6 rally. Mr. Jack is currently the political director for Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader. Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, accepted Mr. Jack’s invitation, the committee said. At the rally, Mr. Brooks wore body armor onstage as he told the crowd to ‘start taking down names and kicking ass.’ ‘Some of the witnesses we subpoenaed today apparently worked to stage the rallies on Jan. 5 and 6, and some appeared to have had direct communication with the former president regarding the rally at the Ellipse directly preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol,’ Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, said in a statement. ‘The select committee expects these witnesses to join the hundreds of individuals who have already cooperated with our investigation as we work to provide the American people with answers about what happened on Jan. 6 and ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.’ The committee also issued subpoenas for Bryan Lewis, who obtained a permit for a rally outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 to ‘urge Congress to nullify electoral votes from states that made illegal changes to voting rules during their elections’; and Ed Martin, an organizer of the Stop the Steal movement who the committee said was involved in the planning and financing of the rally immediately before the attack.” See also, House committee subpoenas six people linked to January 6 rally, including Trump-backed Ohio congressional candidate. Max Miller, a former Trump White House aide, met with the former president on January 4 to discuss the rally at the Ellipse, the committee said. The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro, Friday, 10 December 2021: “The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob issued subpoenas Friday to six people involved in the planning of the rally on the Ellipse that preceded the insurrection. Among those subpoenaed were Max Miller, who was an aide to President Donald Trump and is now an Ohio congressional candidate who the committee says met with Trump on Jan. 4 to discuss rally details, and another Trump aide, Robert ‘Bobby’ Peede Jr., who also attended the meeting. In a statement, the committee said it is seeking information from people involved with the rally’s planning or who witnessed the coordination of these plans.”

January 6 Committee Examines PowerPoint Document Sent to Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Mark Meadows’s lawyer said Meadows did not act on the document, which recommended that President Donald J. Trump declare a national emergency to keep himself in power. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Friday, 10 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is scrutinizing a 38-page PowerPoint document filled with extreme plans to overturn the 2020 election that Mark Meadows, the last chief of staff to President Donald J. Trump, has turned over to the panel. The document recommended that Mr. Trump declare a national emergency to delay the certification of the election results and included a claim that China and Venezuela had obtained control over the voting infrastructure in a majority of states. A lawyer for Mr. Meadows, George J. Terwilliger III, said on Friday that Mr. Meadows provided the document to the committee because he merely received it by email in his inbox and did nothing with it. ‘We produced the document because it wasn’t privileged,’ Mr. Terwilliger said. Phil Waldron, a retired Army colonel and an influential voice in the movement to challenge the election, said on Friday from a bar he owns outside Austin, Texas, that he had circulated the document — titled ‘Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN’ — among Mr. Trump’s allies and on Capitol Hill before the attack. Mr. Waldron said that he did not personally send the document to Mr. Meadows, but that it was possible someone on his team had passed it along to the former chief of staff. It is unclear who prepared the PowerPoint, but it is similar to a 36-page document available online, and it appears to be based on the theories of Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, a Texas entrepreneur and self-described inventor who has appeared with Mr. Waldron on podcasts discussing election fraud.” See also, Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows turned over to the House select committee investigating the 6 January Capitol attack a Power Point recommending Donald Trump to declare a national security emergency in order to return himself to the presidency,The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, published on Saturday, 11 December 2021: “The fact that Meadows was in possession of a PowerPoint the day before the Capitol attack that detailed ways to stage a coup suggests he was at least aware of efforts by Trump and his allies to stop Joe Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January. The PowerPoint, titled ‘Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 Jan,’ made several recommendations for Trump to pursue in order to retain the presidency for a second term on the basis of lies and debunked conspiracies about widespread election fraud. Meadows turned over a version of the PowerPoint presentation that he received in an email and spanned 38 pages, according to a source familiar with the matter. The Guardian reviewed a second, 36-page version of the PowerPoint marked for dissemination with 5 January metadata, which had some differences with what the select committee received. But the title of the PowerPoint and its recommendations remained the same, the source said.”

Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis wrote two memos claiming Vice President Mike Pence could halt Biden’s victory. In one previously unreported memo, Ellis delivered a technical, and far-fetched, legal argument to another of the former president’s outside lawyers. Politico, Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 10 December 2021: “A Donald Trump campaign lawyer wrote two legal memos in the week before the Jan. 6 Capitol attack that claimed then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to refuse to count presidential electors from states that delivered Joe Biden the White House. The memos from then-Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, which contain widely disputed legal theories about Pence’s ability to stop a Biden presidency, underscore Ellis’ promotion of extreme arguments that she promulgated amid Trump’s effort to reverse the election results. Her actions have remained largely below the radar as House investigators probe Trump’s inner circle.”


Saturday, 11 December 2021:


In Bid for Control of State and County-Level Offices With Direct Oversight of Elections, Trump Loyalists Face Few Obstacles. A movement animated by Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election lies is turning its attention to 2022 and beyond. The New York Times, Charles Homans, Saturday, 11 December 2021: “According to a May Reuters/Ipsos poll, more than 60 percent of Republicans now believe the 2020 election was stolen. This belief has informed a wave of mobilization at both grass-roots and elite levels in the party with an eye to future elections. In races for state and county-level offices with direct oversight of elections, Republican candidates coming out of the Stop the Steal movement are running competitive campaigns, in which they enjoy a first-mover advantage in electoral contests that few partisans from either party thought much about before last November. And legislation that state lawmakers have passed or tried to pass this year in a number of states would assert more control over election systems and results by partisan offices that Republicans already decisively control. ‘This is a five-alarm fire,’ said Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state in Michigan, who presided over her state’s Trump-contested election in 2020 and may face a Trump-backed challenger next year. ‘If people in general, leaders and citizens, aren’t taking this as the most important issue of our time and acting accordingly, then we may not be able to ensure democracy prevails again in ’24.'”

Election denier Phil Waldron who circulated January 6 PowerPoint proposal to challenge the 2020 election says he met with Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows at the White House, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, and Tom Hamburger, Saturday, 11 December 2021: “A retired U.S. Army colonel who circulated a proposal to challenge the 2020 election, including by declaring a national security emergency and seizing paper ballots, said that he visited the White House on multiple occasions after the election, spoke with President Donald Trump’s chief of staff ‘maybe eight to 10 times’ and briefed several members of Congress on the eve of the Jan. 6 riot. Phil Waldron, the retired colonel, was working with Trump’s outside lawyers and was part of a team that briefed the lawmakers on a PowerPoint presentation detailing ‘Options for 6 JAN,’ Waldron told The Washington Post. He said his contribution to the presentation focused on his claims of foreign interference in the vote, as did his discussions with the White House. A version of the presentation made its way to the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, on Jan. 5. That information surfaced publicly this week after the congressional committee investigating the insurrection released a letter that said Meadows had turned the document over to the committee…. The PowerPoint circulated by Waldron included proposals for Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6 to reject electors from ‘states where fraud occurred’ or replace them with Republican electors. It included a third proposal in which the certification of Joe Biden’s victory was to be delayed, and U.S. marshals and National Guard troops were to help ‘secure’ and count paper ballots in key states. Multiple scholars have said there was no legal basis for Pence to intervene in the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6. Numerous ballot recounts and legal proceedings have confirmed that there was no evidence of any significant fraud in the 2020 election.”

Senior Trump administration official Peter Navarro told the House committee investigating the government’s coronavirus response that he will not comply with its subpoena, escalating a fight with Democrats investigating the handling of the pandemic, The Washington Post, Dan Diamond, Saturday, 11 December 2021: “Peter Navarro, who served as President Donald Trump’s trade adviser and closely consulted on the White House’s virus strategy, cited a ‘direct order’ from the former president to claim executive privilege, according to a letter the panel released Saturday. ‘This matter is out of my hands and something that the Sub-Committee should discuss with President Trump’s counsel,’ Navarro wrote to the committee on Dec. 7, rejecting its requests to turn over documents and share other information about the White House coronavirus response by a Dec. 8 deadline…. The showdown with Navarro is the first time a witness has rebuffed a subpoena issued by the select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis amid attacks from Trump and his allies that the probe is politically motivated. The panel in September subpoenaed Steven Hatfill, an adviser to Navarro, who subsequently cooperated. Failing to comply with a subpoena can put a potential witness in ‘contempt of Congress,’ which can lead to escalating financial penalties and the possibility of jail time. Democrats have given Navarro until Dec. 15 to sit for a deposition and demanded again Saturday that he turn over relevant records.”


Sunday, 12 December 2021:


Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff to Former President Donald J. Trump, Was Deeply Involved in Fighting the 2020 Election Outcome, the House Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Said, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Sunday, 12 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol released a report on Sunday that laid out its case for a contempt of Congress charge against Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to former President Donald J. Trump, presenting evidence of Mr. Meadows’s deep involvement in the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In the 51-page document, the committee said it wanted to question Mr. Meadows about an email he had sent a day before the attack advising that the National Guard would be used to defend Trump supporters. The panel said it also wanted to ask him about an exchange with an unnamed senator about rejecting electors for Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Meadows had been cooperating with the committee’s investigation, but he refused to appear for a scheduled deposition last week or to turn over additional documents, citing Mr. Trump’s assertion of executive privilege. The committee, which is controlled by Democrats, is slated to vote on Monday to recommend a contempt of Congress charge against him for his refusal to cooperate with its subpoena. That charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail. Before coming to loggerheads with the panel, Mr. Meadows provided more than 9,000 pages of records to the committee. The information they contained raised additional questions, the panel said. Among the emails and text messages that Mr. Meadows turned over were the following, the panel said:

  • A Nov. 7 email that discussed an attempt to arrange with state legislators to appoint slates of pro-Trump electors instead of the Biden electors chosen by the voters. Mr. Meadows’s text messages also showed him asking members of Congress how to put Mr. Trump in contact with state legislators.

  • Text messages Mr. Meadows exchanged with an unidentified senator in which he recounted Mr. Trump’s view on Vice President Mike Pence’s ability to reject electors from certain states. Mr. Trump ‘thinks the legislators have the power, but the VP has power too,’ Mr. Meadows wrote.

  • A Jan. 5 email in which Mr. Meadows said the National Guard would be present at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to ‘protect pro Trump people.’

  • Emails from Mr. Meadows to Justice Department officials on Dec. 29, Dec. 30 and Jan. 1 in which he encouraged investigations of voter fraud, including allegations already rejected by federal investigators and courts.

  • Text messages Mr. Meadows exchanged with members of Congress as violence engulfed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in which lawmakers encouraged him to persuade Mr. Trump to discourage the attack, as well as a text message sent to one of the president’s family members in which Mr. Meadows said he was ‘pushing hard’ for Mr. Trump to ‘condemn this.’

  • Text messages reflecting Mr. Meadows’s private skepticism about some of the wild public statements about allegations of widespread election fraud and compromised voting machines that were put forth by Sidney Powell, a lawyer working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer.

The committee also said it had a number of questions prompted by Mr. Meadows’s new book, ‘The Chief’s Chief,’ and cited it as evidence that his refusal to testify was ‘untenable.’ ‘Mr. Meadows has shown his willingness to talk about issues related to the Select Committee’s investigation across a variety of media platforms — anywhere, it seems, except to the Select Committee,’ the panel wrote.” See also, Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent an email saying the National Guard would be present to ‘protect pro Trump people’ in the lead up to the US Capitol insurrection, according to a new report released by the January 6 committee Sunday night, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen, Paul LeBlanc, and Colin McCullough, published on Monday, 13 December 2021: “It was just one of several new details in the report about Meadows’ actions before and during January 6, as well as his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election. The report is a key component for the committee to send a referral for charges of criminal contempt of Congress to the Justice Department. The panel informed Meadows last week that it had ‘no choice’ but to advance criminal contempt proceedings against him given that he had decided to no longer cooperate with their investigation. The panel will meet Monday to formally advance the report to the full floor House vote as soon as later this week. The vote by the full House is the last step before sending the referral to the DOJ.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom Calls for Gun Legislation Modeled on the Texas Abortion Law. Newsom accused Texas of insulating its abortion law from federal courts, and then he called on lawmakers to use a similar strategy to go after the gun industry. The New York Times, Shawn Hubler, Sunday, 12 December 2021: “Angered by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to continue allowing private citizens to sue Texas abortion providers, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Saturday called for a similar law giving ordinary residents legal standing to file lawsuits against purveyors of restricted firearms. ‘SCOTUS is letting private citizens in Texas sue to stop abortion?!’ Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, tweeted. ‘If that’s the precedent, then we’ll let Californians sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets. If TX can ban abortion and endanger lives, CA can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives.’ The governor’s response seemed to contradict his earlier criticism of the Texas law, which Mr. Newsom had previously described as a cynical attempt to undercut federal rights. In a statement released on Saturday evening, Mr. Newsom said he had instructed his staff to work with California’s Legislature and attorney general to write a bill that would let citizens sue anyone who ‘manufactures, distributes, or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts’ in California. The governor called for damages of at least $10,000 per violation, plus costs and attorney’s fees. ‘If the most efficient way to keep these devastating weapons off our streets is to add the threat of private lawsuits, we should do just that,’ Mr. Newsom said in the statement. The governor’s response seemed to explicitly position California opposite Texas in the divisive battles over abortion rights and gun control — and to position him personally on a national front in the culture wars.” See also, California Governor Gavin Newsom says he will use legal tactics of Texas abortion ban to implement gun control, CNN, Andy Rose, Sunday, 12 December 2021: “California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed his ‘outrage’ Saturday at a Supreme Court decision to allow the Texas six-week abortion ban to remain in effect and said he would use similar legal tactics to tackle gun control in his state. ‘I am outraged by yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’s ban on most abortion services to remain in place, and largely endorsing Texas’s scheme to insulate its law from the fundamental protections of Roe v. Wade,’ Newsom said in a statement. ‘But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way,’ the statement continued.”


Monday, 13 December 2021:


The House Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Voted 9-0 to Recommend Mark Meadows, the Last White House Chief of Staff for Former President Donald Trump, Be Charged With Criminal Contempt of Congress for Defying Its Subpoena, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Monday, 13 December 2021: “Mark Meadows, the last White House chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, played a far more substantial role in plans to try to overturn the 2020 election than was previously known, and he was involved in failed efforts to get Mr. Trump to order the mob invading the Capitol on Jan. 6 to stand down, investigators for the House committee scrutinizing the attack have learned. From a trove of about 9,000 documents that Mr. Meadows turned over before halting his cooperation with the inquiry, a clearer picture has emerged about the extent of his involvement in Mr. Trump’s attempts to use the government to invalidate the election results. The committee voted 9 to 0 on Monday evening to recommend that Mr. Meadows be charged with criminal contempt of Congress for defying its subpoena. Before the vote, Representative Liz Cheney, one of the leaders of the panel, added to the evidence implicating Mr. Meadows in events of Jan. 6. She read aloud text messages sent to him by the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and by the Fox News hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade urging that Mr. Trump speak out amid the mob violence. ‘He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP,’ the younger Mr. Trump texted Mr. Meadows, according to Ms. Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the panel’s vice chairwoman. ‘I’m pushing it hard,’ Mr. Meadows responded. ‘I agree.’ In another message, the younger Mr. Trump implored Mr. Meadows: ‘We need an Oval address. He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.’ Ms. Ingraham sent her own plea. ‘Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,’ she wrote to Mr. Meadows, adding, ‘[This is hurting all of us.] He is destroying his legacy.'” See also, The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol voted Monday night to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena, while also releasing a series of texts from Fox News hosts and Donald Trump Jr. urging Meadows to implore Trump to call off the violent mob, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Mariana Alfaro, Monday, 13 December 2021: “The seven Democrats and two Republicans tasked with investigating the insurrection all supported the resolution that could be taken up by the full House as soon as Tuesday. Last week, Meadows backed away from cooperating with the committee just days after saying he would, arguing that the panel was pressuring him to discuss issues that the former president said are protected by executive privilege. However, he had already produced thousands of documents for the panel, including text messages and emails related to the events of the day. At a public meeting ahead of the vote Monday, members of the committee used information already provided by Meadows to make the case that he is a key figure in understanding Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, what role the White House played in planning the rally that preceded the attack, and why Trump did not immediately come out and forcefully call on his supporters to stop their assault on the Capitol once it was underway…. Some of the most dramatic evidence presented Monday night involved texts from allies of the president urging Meadows to get Trump to stop the rioters. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chair, read through texts to Meadows from Fox News hosts as well as Trump Jr., imploring Meadows to get his father to ‘condemn this s— Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.’… Several Fox News hosts also urged Meadows to get the president on TV or make some kind of statement while he remained silent in the White House as members of the mob assaulted police officers, chanted things like ‘Hang Mike Pence’ and menaced members of Congress. ‘Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home … this is hurting all of us … he is destroying his legacy,’ wrote Laura Ingraham.” See also, January 6 panel unveils text messages to Meadows from Don Jr. and Fox hosts as contempt charge advances, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Ryan Nobles, Monday, 13 December 2021: “Donald Trump Jr., Fox News personalities and lawmakers unsuccessfully implored then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 6 to get President Donald Trump to stop the violence unfurling at the US Capitol, according to text messages relayed by the House committee investigating the attack. The committee released the explosive new details Monday night as it met to advance a referral of Meadows to the Justice Department on a criminal contempt of Congress charge. The graphic messages illustrated the dismay of the former President’s inner circle as the Capitol riot worsened, and they served as evidence of Trump’s ‘supreme dereliction of duty,’ the committee’s vice chairwoman, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said Monday.Cheney made the motion for the committee to vote for the contempt resolution, which passed unanimously in the 9-member committee. The full House is expected to vote on the resolution on Tuesday.” See also, Three Prominent Fox News Anchors Sent Concerned Text Messages on January 6 to Mark Meadows, the Last Chief of Staff for President Donald J. Trump, Urging Him to Persuade the President to Take the Riot Seriously and to Make an Effort to Stop it, The New York Times, Jim Windolf and John Koblin, Monday, 13 December 2021: “Three prominent Fox News anchors sent concerned text messages on Jan. 6 to Mark Meadows, the last chief of staff for President Donald J. Trump, urging him to persuade the president to take the riot seriously and to make an effort to stop it. The texts were made public on Monday, shortly before the House committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol voted 9-0 in favor of recommending that Mr. Meadows be charged with contempt of Congress. Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, read the text messages aloud. The texts, part of a trove of 9,000 documents that Mr. Meadows had turned over before he stopped cooperating with the inquiry, were sent to the former White House chief of staff by Laura Ingraham, the host of the nighttime show ‘The Ingraham Angle’; Sean Hannity, a longtime prime-time host who once appeared onstage with Mr. Trump at a campaign rally; and Brian Kilmeade, a host of the morning show ‘Fox & Friends.’ ‘Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home,’ Ms. Ingraham wrote. ‘This is hurting all of us. He is destroying his legacy.’ Mr. Kilmeade echoed that concern, texting Mr. Meadows: ‘Please, get him on TV. Destroying everything you have accomplished.’ Sean Hannity texted: ‘Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol.’ Ms. Ingraham’s text came in contrast with what she said on her Fox News program in the hours after the attack, when she promoted the false theory that members of antifa were involved.” See also, The juicy Mark Meadows texts Liz Cheney just disclosed, The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 13 December 2021: “As the Jan. 6 committee voted to hold Meadows in contempt Monday night, one of its two Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), read aloud some texts that Meadows had received and sent on Jan. 6. They include Fox News personalities arguing to Meadows that the scenes were hurting what they clearly viewed as a common cause and that Trump wasn’t doing enough to stop them. They also, remarkably, included the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., rebuking his own father for insufficient steps to quell the violence. One big takeaway is that it speaks to just how many Trump loyalists recognized how bad both this and Trump’s response were in real time. It also contradicts myriad later efforts to revise the history of the Capitol riot and to deflect blame from Trump (including as early as that evening, in the cases of some of the same Fox hosts). The other big one is that it suggests Meadows was indeed cooperating to a significant degree. The texts, as relayed by Cheney, are below. The Washington Post has asked Cheney’s office when each of the texts were sent; that information wasn’t available as of publication.” See also, On January 6 itself, Trump’s allies understood that he was the catalyst, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Monday, 13 December 2021: “On Monday evening, America learned more about the extent to which Trump’s broad galaxy of allies, from Fox News hosts to Republicans inside the Capitol building, had urged him and his team to try to shut down the riot as it was underway. We’ve known since the day itself that Trump was disinclined to step in as the Capitol was stormed and as Congress and his vice president were hurried to safety. But we haven’t really known until now the range of voices who, as that unfolded, were pushing and pushing for him to more aggressively dismantle the juggernaut he’d created. Whatever he and his allies say about the events of that day now, many were very clear in the moment on what was unfolding: a group of people was seizing and, then, had seized control of the seat of American legislative power — and Trump could make it stop. But he didn’t even try until well after the damage was done.” See also, Representative Liz Cheney read text messages she said Mark Meadows got during the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Full remarks by Liz Cheney and committee chair, Representative Bennie Thompson. NPR, NPR Staff, Monday, 13 December 2021: “…[T]his vote on contempt today relates principally to Mr. Meadows’ refusal to testify about text messages and other communications that he admits are not privileged. He has not claimed, and does not have any privilege bases to refuse entirely to testify regarding these topics. Let me give just three examples: First, President Trump’s failure to stop the violence. On January 6th, our Capitol building was attacked and invaded. The mob was summoned to Washington by President Trump. And, as many of those involved have admitted – on videotape, in social media, and in Federal District Court – they were provoked to violence by President Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen. The violence was evident to all – it was covered in real time by almost every news channel. But, for 187 minutes, President Trump refused to act when action by our President was required, indeed essential, and compelled by his oath to our Constitution. Mr. Meadows received numerous text messages, which he has produced without any privilege claim – imploring that Mr. Trump take the specific action we all knew his duty required. These texts leave no doubt: the White House knew exactly what was happening at the Capitol. Republican members of Congress and others wrote to Mark Meadows as the attack was underway…. These non-privileged texts are further evidence of President Trump’s supreme dereliction of duty during those 187 minutes. And Mr. Meadows testimony will bear on another key question before this Committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes? Mark Meadows testimony will inform our legislative judgments. Yet he has refused to give any testimony at all – even regarding non-privileged topics. He is in contempt of Congress. Second, Mr. Meadows also has knowledge regarding President Trump’s efforts to persuade state officials to alter their official election results. In Georgia, for instance, Mr. Meadows participated in a phone call between President Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Raffensperger. Meadows was on the phone when President Trump asked the Secretary of State to quote ‘find 11, 780 votes’ to change the result of the presidential election in Georgia. At the time of the call, Mr. Meadows appears to have been texting other participants on the call. Again, Mr. Meadows has no conceivable privilege basis to refuse to testify on this topic. He is in contempt of Congress. Third, in the weeks before January 6th, President Trump’s appointees at the Justice Department informed him repeatedly that the President’s claims of election fraud were not supported by the evidence, and that the election was not, in fact, stolen. President Trump intended to appoint Jeffrey Clark as Attorney General, in part so that Mr. Clark could alter the Department of Justice’s conclusions regarding the election. Mr. Clark has now informed the Committee that he anticipates potential criminal prosecution related to these matters and intends in upcoming testimony to invoke his 5th Amendment Privilege against self-incrimination. As Mr. Meadows non-privileged texts reveal, Meadows communicated multiple times with a member of Congress who was working with Clark. Mr. Meadows has no basis to refuse to testify regarding those communications. He is in contempt. Conclusion: January 6th was without precedent. There has been no stronger case in our nation’s history for a congressional investigation into the actions of a former president. This investigation is not like other congressional inquiries. Our Constitution, the structure of our institutions and the rule of law – which are at the heart of what makes America great — are at stake. We cannot be satisfied with incomplete answers, or half-truths; and we cannot surrender to President Trump’s efforts to hide what happened. We will be persistent, professional and non-partisan. We must get to the objective truth and ensure that January 6th never happens again.” See also, What crime might Trump have committed on January 6? Liz Cheney points to one. The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Monday, 13 December 2021: “Rep. Liz Cheney’s disclosures of intriguing Jan. 6 text messages between Mark Meadows and both Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News personalities are the big news in the committee’s investigation right now. But don’t lose sight of what Cheney said immediately after she read those texts aloud. In summing up the texts, Cheney (R-Wyo.) said, ‘Mr. Meadows’s testimony will bear on another key question before this committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceeding to count electoral votes?’ A casual observer might have missed it, but what Cheney was doing here was pointing to a specific criminal statute — a felony, 18 U.S. Code § 1512 — that she suggests President Donald Trump might have violated. And both its inclusion in her comments and the timing of it shouldn’t be lost on anyone. This was a Republican member of the committee floating a specific potential Trump crime that the committee apparently wants to drill down on; it also came shortly after a federal judge upheld the use of the statute in a key Jan. 6 case. Cheney, on Tuesday morning at another hearing, cited the statute again — pretty much erasing any doubt about how deliberate this was.”

Two January 6 Organizers Are Coming Forward and Naming Names: ‘We’re Turning It All Over.’ After losing faith in Trump, the pair plan to hand over text messages, Instagram direct messages, and other documents related to the planning of the January 6 rally on the Ellipse where Trump spoke. Rolling Stone, Hunter Walker, Monday, 13 December 2021: “Two key organizers of the main Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C. are coming in from the cold. Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence are set to testify next week before the House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol. The pair will deliver testimony and turn over documents, including text messages, that indicate the extensive involvement members of Congress and the Trump administration had in planning the House challenge to certifying Biden’s election and rally near the White House where Donald Trump spoke — efforts that ultimately contributed to a massive and violent attack on the Capitol. Among the documents the couple is providing are conversations they had with staffers and members of Congress as they planned the main rally that took place on the White House Ellipse that day. Stockton described these discussions as largely logistical and focused on planning the members’ participation in objections to the electoral certification on the House floor and various events that were staged to protest against the election. They include Instagram messages Lawrence exchanged with Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) as she tried to get him to speak at the Ellipse rally. Cawthorn, whose office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, ultimately appeared onstage at that event.”

Senator Joe Manchin cites a blind trust to justify climate votes. But much income from his family’s coal company isn’t covered. The Washington Post, Michael Kranish and Anna Phillips, Monday, 13 December 2021: “In Sen. Joe Manchin III’s hilly West Virginia home county, his family’s business has made millions by taking waste coal from long-abandoned mines and selling it to a power plant that emits air pollution at a higher rate than any other plant in the state. That enterprise could have taken a hit under a key part of President Biden’s climate agenda, a $150 billion plan to push coal plants toward cleaner energy. One lawmaker, though, played a central role in killing that proposal: Manchin, who has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from the family coal company while using his role as a Democratic swing vote in a 50-50 Senate to dictate Biden’s policies. When pressed about whether he has a conflict of interest, Manchin bristles. ‘I have been in a blind trust for 20 years. I have no idea what they’re doing,”’the senator told reporters in September, referring to his family’s coal firm. ‘You got a problem?’ But contrary to his public statements, documents filed by the senator show the blind trust is much too small to account for all his reported earnings from the coal company, as of his latest financial disclosure report, which covers 2020 and was filed in May.”


Tuesday, 14 December 2021:


The House Voted 222 to 208 to Recommend Mark Meadows, Former President Donald J. Trump’s Last Chief of Staff, Be Held in Criminal Contempt of Congress for Refusing to Cooperate With Its Committee Investigating the Deadly January 6 Attack on the Capitol, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “The House voted on Tuesday night to recommend holding Mark Meadows, who served as chief of staff to former President Donald J. Trump, in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with its investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, escalating a legal battle against a potentially crucial witness in a widening inquiry. The vote of 222 to 208 sent the matter to the Justice Department to consider whether to prosecute Mr. Meadows, who would be the first former member of Congress to be held in contempt of the body he once served in nearly 200 years, according to congressional aides. Two Republicans — Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who serve on the committee investigating the attack over the objections of their party — joined Democrats in voting to find him in contempt. But while the action indicated a stalemate between Mr. Meadows and Congress, his initial cooperation with the inquiry — including around 9,000 pages of documents he turned over — has already given the committee its first substantial burst of momentum and political traction as it tries to establish a full accounting of the events that led to the deadly riot. More revelations emerged on Tuesday before the vote, as Ms. Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the committee, read aloud text messages that Republicans in Congress sent to Mr. Meadows on Jan. 6 as violence engulfed the Capitol…. The committee also divulged a Nov. 4 message from an unidentified Republican member of Congress to Mr. Meadows — before states were even finished counting ballots — proposing an ‘aggressive strategy’ in which Republican-controlled legislatures in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and other states would ‘just send their own electors’ instead of potential Biden electors chosen by voters. ‘How did this text influence the planning of Mark Meadows and Donald Trump to try to destroy the lawful Electoral College majority that had been established by the people of the United States and the states for Joe Biden?’ said Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee.” See also, House votes to hold Meadows in contempt for refusing to comply with January 6 committee subpoena, The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro and Jacqueline Alemany, published on Wednesday, 15 December 2021: “The House voted Tuesday to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued by the bipartisan committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The resolution was approved on a 222-to-208 vote, with just two Republicans — Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — joining Democrats in voting ‘yes.’ The matter now goes to the Justice Department, which will decide whether to pursue the contempt referral. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor criminal offense that can result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Members of the Jan. 6 panel have long said the information they seek from Meadows, a onetime North Carolina congressman, is not protected under any kind of executive privilege as the bipartisan panel investigates the insurrection, what former president Donald Trump did that fateful day and the actions leading up to the riot.”

D.C. attorney general sues Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over January 6 attack, The Washington Post, Devlin Barrett, Tom Hamburger, and Rachel Weiner, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) on Tuesday sued the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, seeking to use a law written to cripple the Ku Klux Klan to seek stiff financial penalties from the far-right groups that Racine alleges were responsible for the violence. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington cites the modern version of an 1871 law known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, which was enacted after the Civil War to safeguard government officials carrying out their duties and protect civil rights. Two similar suits have been filed already this year related to Jan. 6 — one by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and another by a number of police officers who fought the rioters that day. Racine’s suit, however, is the first effort by a government agency to hold individuals and organizations civilly responsible for the violence at the U.S. Capitol on the day Congress ceremonially confirmed President Biden’s 2020 election victory.” See also, DC attorney general sues Proud Boys and Oath Keepers members to recoup costs related to January 6 insurrection, CNN Politics, Jessica Schneider, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “More than two dozen members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are being sued by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine in an effort to recover the millions of dollars the city spent to defend the US Capitol during the January 6 attack. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Washington, DC, accuses 31 members of the extremist groups of ‘conspiring to terrorize the District’ on January 6, calling their actions ‘a coordinated act of domestic terrorism.’ Racine is asking the court to find the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys liable for the millions of dollars officials spent dispatching officers from the Metropolitan Police Department to the Capitol, along with the enormous expense of treating the injured officers and paying for their medical leave in the months after the attack. Three officers from the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police departments died in the days after the attack, and more than 140 officers were injured.” See also, Proud Boys Regroup, Focusing on School Boards and Town Councils. The far-right nationalist group has become increasingly active at school board meetings and town council gatherings across the country. The New York Times, Sheera Frenkel, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “Members of the Proud Boys, the far-right nationalist group, have increasingly appeared in recent months at town council gatherings, school board presentations and health department question-and-answer sessions across the country. Their presence at the events is part of a strategy shift by the militia organization toward a larger goal: to bring their brand of menacing politics to the local level. For years, the group was known for its national profile. The Proud Boys were prominent at the rallies of Donald J. Trump, at one point offering to serve as the former president’s private militia. On Jan. 6, some Proud Boys members filmed themselves storming the U.S. Capitol to protest what they falsely said was an election that had been stolen from Mr. Trump. But since federal authorities have cracked down on the group for the Jan. 6 attack, including arresting more than a dozen of its members, the organization has been more muted. Or at least that was how it appeared. Away from the national spotlight, the Proud Boys instead quietly shifted attention to local chapters, some members and researchers said. In small communities — usually suburbs or small towns with populations of tens of thousands — its followers have tried to expand membership by taking on local causes. That way, they said, the group can amass more supporters in time to influence next year’s midterm elections. ‘The plan of attack if you want to make change is to get involved at the local level,’ said Jeremy Bertino, a prominent member of the Proud Boys from North Carolina.”

Federal Judge Rules That Congress Can See Trump’s Tax Returns. The court dismissed a suit by the former president seeking to bar a House committee from getting his returns, but the judge stayed the ruling to allow time for an appeal. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by Donald J. Trump that sought to block Congress from obtaining his tax returns, ruling that the law gives a House committee chairman broad authority to request them despite Mr. Trump’s status as a former president. In a 45-page opinion, Judge Trevor McFadden of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia held that the Treasury Department can provide the tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, which could vote to publish them. Judge McFadden, however, stayed his ruling for 10 days to give Mr. Trump time to file an appeal, which he is very likely to do. Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, first requested copies of Mr. Trump’s tax returns in early 2019, after Democrats took over the House. A federal law gives the chairman of that panel broad authority to request any person’s tax returns. The Trump administration refused to comply, and the House filed a lawsuit. After Mr. Trump left office this year, Mr. Neal issued a fresh request for the ex-president’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020, and the Biden administration issued a Justice Department memorandum saying he was entitled to receive them. Mr. Trump’s lawyers, however, sought an injunction to block the request, saying that it served no legitimate purpose and that the real motive was to expose Mr. Trump’s financial information for political gain. Lawyers for the House said there were legislative reasons to seek the returns, including studying whether changes are needed to an Internal Revenue Service program that audits presidents.” See also, Federal judge tosses Trump lawsuit to block income taxes from being released to Congress. The judge put his ruling on hold for 14 days to give former President Donald Trump time to appeal. NBC News, Pete Williams, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “A federal judge late Tuesday threw out former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit seeking to block a House committee from getting his tax returns. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said efforts by Trump’s lawyers to block the handover were wrong on the law. ‘A long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference to facially valid congressional inquiries. Even the special solicitude accorded former presidents does not alter the outcome,’ McFadden wrote. McFadden put the ruling on hold for 14 days to give Trump’s legal team time to appeal.” See also, Trump appeals judge’s ruling that his tax records can be released by the Treasury Department to Congress, The Washington Post, Spencer S. Hsu, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “A federal judge on Tuesday rejected former president Donald Trump’s long-running effort to block the Treasury Department from turning over his tax records to the House Ways and Means Committee, but Trump’s lawyers immediately asked an appeals court to overturn the decision. U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden, a former Trump Justice Department official appointed to the court in 2017, said even if the former president’s attorneys were correct that House Democrats wanted his records only to expose them for political gain, they were ‘wrong on the law.’  ‘A long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference to facially valid congressional inquiries. Even the special solicitude accorded former Presidents does not alter the outcome. The Court will therefore dismiss this case,’ McFadden wrote in a 45-page opinion. The House Ways and Means Committee sought six years of Trump’s tax returns, saying it wanted to review the effectiveness of the presidential audit program. Trump sued to block the release of the records, saying it was an attempt to harass him and dig up political dirt.”

Trump’s longtime accountant testifies to New York grand jury in criminal probe, The Washington Post, David A. Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, Shayna Jacobs, and Jonathan O’Connell, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “A longtime accountant for former president Donald Trump — who helped prepare Trump’s taxes and the financial statements his company used to woo lenders — testified recently before a New York grand jury investigating Trump’s financial practices, according to two people familiar with that investigation. Accountant Donald Bender, of the firm Mazars, appeared before a grand jury that was impaneled this fall by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) to weigh potential criminal charges, the people said. In addition, in recent weeks prosecutors have interviewed Rosemary Vrablic, a former managing director at Deutsche Bank who arranged hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Trump, according to people familiar with the investigation. Vrablic’s interview was not before the grand jury. Instead, one person said, prosecutors pressed Vrablic about Trump’s role in dealings with the bank. The people who described these interviews spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation. The appearances by Bender and Vrablic suggest prosecutors are seeking information about Trump’s finances from a small circle of outside partners who handled details of Trump’s taxes and real estate deals. Bender and Vrablic were never Trump’s employees, but they knew more about his company’s inner workings than many employees did. Prosecutors are investigating whether Trump’s company broke the law by giving widely different valuations for the same property at the same time. In some cases, for instance, the Trump Organization provided low valuations to property-tax officials, while telling lenders that the same property was worth much more.” See also, Trump Fraud Inquiry’s Focus: Did Trump Mislead His Own Accountants? The investigation, by the Manhattan district attorney, is zeroing in on information the former president and his company shared about the value of his assets. The New York Times, William K. Rashbaum, Ben Protess, and Jonah E. Bromwich, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “As prosecutors in Manhattan weigh whether to charge Donald J. Trump with fraud, they have zeroed in on financial documents that he used to obtain loans and boast about his wealth, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The documents, compiled by Mr. Trump’s longtime accountants and known as annual statements of financial condition, could help answer a question at the heart of the long-running criminal investigation into the former president: Did he inflate the value of his assets to defraud his lenders? In recent weeks, prosecutors in the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., have questioned one of Mr. Trump’s accountants before a grand jury as part of their examination of the financial statements, said the people with knowledge of the matter. Prosecutors also interviewed his longtime banker, another person said. If the prosecutors seek an indictment, the case’s outcome could hinge on whether they can use the documents to prove that a defining feature of Mr. Trump’s public persona — his penchant for hyperbole — was so extreme and intentional when dealing with his lenders that it crossed the line into fraud.”

John Eastman, the attorney who helped former President Donald Trump try to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 presidential election, on Tuesday sued Verizon and the House select committee investigating the events of January 6, Politico, Myah Ward, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “Eastman’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., follows a similar lawsuit filed Monday by four organizers of the Jan. 6 rally. Monday’s lawsuit, against Verizon, argued the select committee doesn’t have the proper authority to obtain the cell phone data.”

An Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in the six battleground states disputed by former President Donald Trump has found fewer than 475–a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election, Associated Press, Christina A. Cassidy, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “Democrat Joe Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and their 79 Electoral College votes by a combined 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots cast for president. The disputed ballots represent just 0.15% of his victory margin in those states. The cases could not throw the outcome into question even if all the potentially fraudulent votes were for Biden, which they were not, and even if those ballots were actually counted, which in most cases they were not. The review also showed no collusion intended to rig the voting. Virtually every case was based on an individual acting alone to cast additional ballots. The findings build on a mountain of other evidence that the election wasn’t rigged, including verification of the results by Republican governors. The AP review, a process that took months and encompassed more than 300 local election offices, is one the most comprehensive examinations of suspected voter fraud in last year’s presidential election. It relies on information collected at the local level, where officials must reconcile their ballots and account for discrepancies, and includes a handful of separate cases cited by secretaries of state and state attorneys general.”

The nation’s biggest companies have steadily ramped up their donations to Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 election results, largely ending the giving freeze instituted following the Capitol riot, The Hill, Karl Evers-Hillstrom, Tuesday, 14 December 2021: “Less than a year after the Jan. 6 attack, PACs affiliated with Fortune 500 companies and their trade groups have contributed $6.8 million to the 147 Republicans who objected, according to a new analysis of campaign finance records from liberal watchdog group Accountable.US. Every major corporation paused PAC giving after the insurrection, prompting such donations to disappear entirely in January and total just $28,000 in February. Those same corporate PACs quietly resumed and later increased their political giving, doling out a total of $2.3 million to GOP election objectors between September and October, the most recent months on record.”


Wednesday, 15 December 2021:


Mark Meadows and the Band of Loyalists: How They Fought to Keep Trump in Power. A small circle of Republican lawmakers, working closely with President Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, took on an outsize role in pressuring the Justice Department, amplifying conspiracy theories and flooding the courts in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election. The New York Times, Katie Benner, Catie Edmondson, Luke Broadwater, and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 15 December 2021: “[A] half-dozen right-wing members of Congress became key foot soldiers in Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the election, according to dozens of interviews and a review of hundreds of pages of congressional testimony about the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. The lawmakers — all of them members of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus — worked closely with the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose central role in Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn a democratic election is coming into focus as the congressional investigation into Jan. 6 gains traction. The men were not alone in their efforts — most Republican lawmakers fell in line behind Mr. Trump’s false claims of fraud, at least rhetorically — but this circle moved well beyond words and into action. They bombarded the Justice Department with dubious claims of voting irregularities. They pressured members of state legislatures to conduct audits that would cast doubt on the election results. They plotted to disrupt the certification on Jan. 6 of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory. There was Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the pugnacious former wrestler who bolstered his national profile by defending Mr. Trump on cable television; Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, whose political ascent was padded by a $10 million sweepstakes win; and Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona dentist who trafficked in conspiracy theories, spoke at a white nationalist rally and posted an animated video that depicted him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York. They were joined by Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, who was known for fiery speeches delivered to an empty House chamber and unsuccessfully sued Vice President Mike Pence over his refusal to interfere in the election certification; and Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama, a lawyer who rode the Tea Party wave to Congress and was later sued by a Democratic congressman for inciting the Jan. 6 riot. [Representative Scott Perry, Republican of Pennsylvania], a former Army helicopter pilot who is close to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Meadows, acted as a de facto sergeant. He coordinated many of the efforts to keep Mr. Trump in office, including a plan to replace the acting attorney general with a more compliant official. His colleagues call him General Perry.”

Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan sent one of the texts revealed by January 6 committee, CNN Politics, Ryan Nobles and Zachary Cohen, Wednesday, 15 December 2021: “Rep. Jim Jordan forwarded a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on January 5, outlining a legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to stand in the way of the certification of the 2020 election. A portion of that message was read by the January 6 select committee during their contempt report presentation against Meadows in a meeting this week. The full House voted Tuesday night to refer Meadows to the Justice Department. A spokesperson for Jordan, an Ohio Republican, confirmed to CNN that he forwarded a text to Meadows on January 5 that was sent to him by Joseph Schmitz, a former Department of Defense inspector general. Schmitz’s text included a draft presentation arguing that Pence had the constitutional authority to object to the certification of election results from certain states. ‘Mr. Jordan forwarded the text to Mr. Meadows, and Mr. Meadows certainly knew it was a forward,’ Russell Dye, a spokesperson for Jordan confirmed to CNN. The conservative website ‘The Federalist’ was the first to report that Jordan forwarded the text to Meadows. The committee, during their presentation, shared only a portion of the text on a graphic that was read by Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California. A committee source tells CNN an aide inadvertently placed a period before the end of a sentence in the graphic that was not in the original text.”

Martin Luther King Family and Activists Plan Marches to Pressure Democrats on Voting Rights. Prominent backers of stalled voting rights legislation plan a blitz emphasizing the urgent need to counter new state restrictions. The New York Times, Carl Hulse, Wednesday, 15 December 2021: “Frustrated with President Biden and congressional Democrats for failing to enact voting rights legislation this year, progressive advocacy groups and descendants of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are planning to use the January holiday commemorating the civil rights leader’s birth to call for more aggressive efforts to overcome Republican opposition. With two measures stalled on Capitol Hill, members of the King family, backed by dozens of liberal organizations, say they will take their campaign to protect voting rights on the road, holding a series of marches to promote the urgency of the issue beginning Jan. 15 in Phoenix and ending two days later in Washington, D.C., on the official holiday. They hope to spur action, after months of stalemate in Congress, to offset new voting restrictions being imposed around the country by Republican-led legislatures. And they plan to press their case for killing the filibuster — the maneuver Republicans are using to thwart action in the Senate — condemning it as a tool for perpetuating racist policies.”


Thursday, 16 December 2021:


The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) Will Permanently Allow Abortion Pills by Mail. The decision will broaden access to medication abortion, an increasingly common method, but many conservative states are already mobilizing against it. The New York Times, Pam Belluck, Thursday, 16 December 2021: “The federal government on Thursday permanently lifted a major restriction on access to abortion pills. It will allow patients to receive the medication by mail instead of requiring them to obtain the pills in person from specially certified health providers. The decision, by the Food and Drug Administration, comes as the Supreme Court is considering whether to roll back abortion rights or even overturn its landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal nationwide. The F.D.A.’s action means that medication abortion, an increasingly common method authorized in the United States for pregnancies up to 10 weeks’ gestation, will become more available to women who find it difficult to travel to an abortion provider or prefer to terminate a pregnancy in their homes. It allows patients to have a telemedicine appointment with a provider who can prescribe abortion pills and send them to the patient by mail. Earlier this year, for the duration of the pandemic, the F.D.A. temporarily lifted the in-person requirement on mifepristone, the first of two drugs used to end a pregnancy. The decision to make this change permanent is likely to deepen the already polarizing divisions between conservative and liberal states on abortion. In 19 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest, telemedicine visits for medication abortion are banned, and these and other conservative states can be expected to pass other laws to further curtail access to abortion pills. Yet other states, like California and New York, which have taken steps in recent years to further solidify access to abortion, are expected to increase the availability of the method and provide opportunities for women in states with restrictions to obtain abortion pills by traveling to a state that allows them.”

The House Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack at the Capitol Issued a Subpoena on Thursday for Phil Waldron, a Retired Army Colonel With a Background in Information Warfare Who Had Circulated a Detailed and Extreme Plan to Overturn the 2020 Election, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer, Thursday, 16 December 2021: “The committee has been scrutinizing Mr. Waldron’s role in spreading false information about the election since a 38-page PowerPoint presentation he circulated on Capitol Hill was turned over to the panel by Mark Meadows, President Donald J. Trump’s last chief of staff, who denied having anything to do with it. ‘The document he reportedly provided to administration officials and members of Congress is an alarming blueprint for overturning a nationwide election,’ Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee, said. Waldron said he had not yet seen the subpoena and declined to comment. The PowerPoint — titled ‘Election Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN’ — recommended that Mr. Trump declare a national emergency to cling to power and included the false claim that China and Venezuela had obtained control over the voting infrastructure in a majority of states.”

The Republican Party has agreed to pay up to $1.6 million in legal bills for former president Donald Trump to help him fight investigations into his business practices in New York, according to Republican National Committee members and others briefed on the decision, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Daved A. Fahrenthold, Thursday, 16 December 2021: “The party’s executive committee overwhelmingly approved the payments at a meeting this summer in Nashville, according to four members and others with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting of the executive committee. That means the GOP’s commitment to pay Trump’s personal legal expenses could be more than 10 times higher than previously known…. The payments are meant to help Trump defend himself against two parallel investigations of his business: a civil probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) and a criminal investigation by James and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D)…. Campaign finance experts said there appeared to be nothing illegal about the payments. The RNC was free to pay for Trump’s legal fees, they said. Still, paying Trump’s legal bills is a highly unusual move, longtime party observers and members say, because the spending has nothing to do with promoting the GOP’s policy agenda or political priorities, dealing with ongoing party business or campaigning— and relates to investigations that are not about Trump’s time as president or his work in the White House.”


Friday, 17 December 2021:


CNN Exclusive: January 6 investigators believe November 4 text pushing ‘strategy’ to undermine the election came from Rick Perry, CNN Politics, Jake Tapper and Jamie Gangel, Friday, 17 December 2021: “Members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol believe that former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry was the author of a text message sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election pushing an ‘AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY’ for three state legislatures to ignore the will of their voters and deliver their states’ electors to Donald Trump, three sources familiar with the House Committee investigation tell CNN. A spokesman for Perry told CNN that the former Energy Secretary denies being the author of the text. Multiple people who know Rick Perry confirmed to CNN that the phone number the committee has associated with that text message is Perry’s number. The cell phone number the text was sent from, obtained from a source knowledgeable about the investigation, appears in databases as being registered to a James Richard Perry of Texas, the former governor’s full name.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says January 6 committee’s findings are ‘something the public needs to know. McConnell’s interest in the investigation is notable given that he had opposed the creation of a bipartisan January 6 commission, calling the idea ‘slanted and unbalanced.’ NBC News, Rebecca Shabad and Frank Thorp V, Friday, 17 December 2021: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday that he looks forward to seeing what the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol finds in its probe. ‘It was a horrendous event and I think what they are seeking to find out is something the public needs to know,’ McConnell said in an interview with Spectrum News…. The minority leader’s comments are a stark contrast to those of his GOP counterpart in the House, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has denounced the committee’s work as purely partisan. Earlier this week, McConnell was pressed about what he was hoping to learn from the Jan. 6 committee. ‘Well, I’m like you. I read the reports every day,’ he said at a press conference. ‘And it’ll be interesting to see what they conclude.'” See also, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says what the January 6 committee uncovers is ‘something the public needs to know,’ The Washington Post, Mariana Alfaro, Friday, 17 December 2021: “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled support for the bipartisan House committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, saying what the panel is trying to uncover is ‘something the public needs to know.’ In an interview with Spectrum News that aired Thursday, McConnell said he looks forward to hearing what else the committee will reveal about the insurrection, a view that puts him at odds with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who has attacked the work of the panel as purely political. ‘I think the fact-finding is interesting. We’re all going to be watching it,’ McConnell said. ‘It was a horrendous event, and I think what they’re seeking to find out is something the public needs to know.’ McConnell’s statements are noteworthy given that earlier this year he opposed the creation of a bipartisan, independent commission tasked with investigating the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812 and President Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. In May, McConnell said a commission investigating the attack would be, under Democratic leadership, ‘slanted and unbalanced.'”

Robert Palmer, a Florida Man Who Hurled a Fire Extinguisher at Police Officers During Some of the Most Ferocious Fighting at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Was Sentenced to More Than Five Years in Prison, the Longest Term Handed Down So Far to Any of the More Than 700 People Charged in the Attack, The New York Times, Alan Feuer, Friday, 17 December 2021: “A Florida man who hurled a fire extinguisher at police officers during some of the most ferocious fighting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was sentenced on Friday to more than five years in prison, the longest term handed down so far to any of the more than 700 people charged in the attack. The defendant, Robert Palmer, made his way to the Capitol that day in a distinctive red-white-and-blue flag-styled jacket after listening to President Donald J. Trump address a huge crowd at the Ellipse, a park just south of the White House. Prosecutors say he milled about in the crowd outside the building as violence increasingly broke out between the police and rioters. By a little before 5 p.m., Mr. Palmer found himself amid the most severe fighting at the lower west terrace, where an almost medieval form of hand-to-hand combat had erupted. There, prosecutors say, he threw a wooden plank-like spear at the police, sprayed a fire extinguisher at officers and then hurled the empty canister at them. Before his sentencing hearing in Federal District Court in Washington, Mr. Palmer, 54, wrote a letter to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, saying that he had come to recognize that Mr. Trump and his allies had lied to their supporters by ‘spitting out the false narrative about a stolen election and how it was “our duty” to stand up to tyranny.'”

Trump White House made ‘deliberate efforts’ to undermine Covid response, report says. The White House repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance from the nation’s top infectious disease experts and silenced officials, the report found. NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Friday, 17 December 2021: “The Trump administration engaged in ‘deliberate efforts’ to undermine the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic for political purposes, a congressional report released Friday concludes. The report, prepared by the House select subcommittee investigating the nation’s Covid response, says the White House repeatedly overruled public health and testing guidance by the nation’s top infectious disease experts and silenced officials in order to promote then-President Donald Trump’s political agenda.” See also, House oversight committee releases report detailing efforts of Trump administration officials to ‘undermine’ Covid-19 efforts in US, CNN Politics, Lauren Fox and Daniella Diaz, Friday, 17 December 2021: “Trump administration officials made ‘deliberate efforts to undermine the nation’s coronavirus response for political purposes,’ the House Select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis led by Democrats said in a report released Friday. The committee, which spent months working to interview former Trump officials, said the administration worked to undermine the public health response to the coronavirus pandemic by blocking officials from speaking publicly, watering down testing guidance and attempting to interfere with other public health guidance. Many pieces of the report were a summation of documents and interviews they’ve released throughout the year, but the report also outlined new examples where health guidance was adapted despite officials’ concerns about the potential harmful effects of the changes. In one instance, Dr. Jay Butler, the deputy director for infectious diseases at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the committee he was upset and concerned about guidance he was directed to update in May 2020 for faith communities. He said he feared that some of the altered guidance about masking and other church practices could potentially put lives at risk. He wrote in an email about the change that he was ‘very troubled on this Sunday morning that there will be people who will get sick and perhaps die because of what we were forced to do.'”

Appeals court lets Biden administration enforce its vaccine-or-testing rule for companies with more than 100 employees,  CNN Politics, Tierney Sneed, Friday, 17 December 2021: “The Biden administration scored a significant victory Friday in its court battles to enforce various federal Covid-19 vaccine mandates, with an appeals court ruling that the government can enforce its vaccine-or-testing rule for companies with more than 100 employees. Soon after the order came down, those challenging the mandate said that they’d turn to the Supreme Court to put it on hold. The decision in favor of employer mandate, from the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, came after a separate appeals court on Friday declined a Justice Department request that it reinstate the administration’s federal contractor mandate, which had been blocked nationwide by a federal judge earlier this month. A third Biden mandate — requiring vaccines for certain heath care workers — is being reviewed by the Supreme Court, after lower courts froze it in half the states in the country. The 6th Circuit decision allowing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to implement the administration’s rules for large employers is a rare victory for President Joe Biden in what has been an uphill battle in conservative-leaning courts that have been hostile to his administration’s approach to requiring vaccines.” See also, A Biden administration rule that requires workers at companies with 100 or more employees to be  vaccinated against Covid or undergo weekly testing is back on, NPR, Andrea Hsu, Friday, 17 December 2021: “The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay on the rule Friday evening. The rule was blocked on Nov. 6, just one day after it was formally issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In dozens of lawsuits around the country, Republican-led states, businesses, religious groups and some individuals charged the Biden administration with overreach. Among their arguments: OSHA does not have the legal authority to issue a rule regarding a society-wide health concern that goes far beyond the workplace. Even if reducing the risk of Covid is compelling, it is not necessarily a ‘grave danger,’ as OSHA has declared it to be, they said. In addition, they argued that complying with the rule would be costly and could lead to worker shortages. A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit found these injuries asserted by the petitioners to be “entirely speculative,” and the costs of delaying implementation of the rule to be comparatively high. ‘Fundamentally, the [rule] is an important step in curtailing the transmission of a deadly virus that has killed over 800,000 people in the United States, brought our healthcare system to its knees, forced businesses to shut down for months on end, and cost hundreds of thousands of workers their jobs,’ wrote Circuit Judge Jane B. Stranch, an Obama appointee. ‘The harm to the government and the public interest outweighs any irreparable injury to the individual petitioners who may be subject to a vaccination policy,’ she said. As expected, by Saturday morning, dozens of business groups and religious organizations had asked the Supreme Court for a new emergency stay.” See also, Appeals court reinstates Biden’s vaccine policy for large private businesses, setting up a likely showdown at the Supreme Court, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow, Friday, 17 December 2021: “A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated the Biden administration’s coronavirus vaccination policy for large private businesses, reversing an earlier court ruling that had halted one of the White House’s signature efforts to reduce transmission and drive down case counts. The ruling by the Ohio-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit was quickly appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is likely to have the final say over the rules set to take effect Jan. 4. The Justice Department had asked the court to clear the way for the policy designed to protect workers at large private businesses from the virus that has killed more than 800,000 people in the United States. Under the Labor Department rules, employers with more than 100 workers must require staff to get vaccinated or face weekly testing and mandatory masking. There are exceptions for employees who do not work on-site or with others.” See also, Appeals Court Reinstates OSHA’s Vaccine Mandate for Workers at Larger Businesses. The decision, by a split three-judge panel, overturned a ruling that had blocked a Biden administration rule requiring companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or testing for workers. The New York Times, Lauren Hirsch, Emma Goldberg, and Charlie Savage, Friday, 17 December 2021: “A federal appeals panel on Friday reinstated a Biden administration rule requiring larger companies to mandate that their workers get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing by early January. The decision, by a split three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, overturned a ruling last month by its counterpart in New Orleans, the Fifth Circuit, that had blocked the government from carrying out the rule. The contested rule, issued by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has faced a wave of lawsuits from businesses and Republican-controlled states. Several challengers immediately said they planned to file or already had filed emergency motions with the Supreme Court to block the rule. ‘The record establishes that Covid-19 has continued to spread, mutate, kill and block the safe return of American workers to their jobs,’ wrote Judge Jane B. Stranch. ‘To protect workers, OSHA can and must be able to respond to dangers as they evolve.’ The White House welcomed the decision.”

Opinion: 3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection, The Washington Post, Paul D. Eaton, Antonio M. Taguba, and Steven M. Anderson, Friday, 17 December 2021: “As we approach the first anniversary of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we — all of us former senior military officials — are increasingly concerned about the aftermath of the 2024 presidential election and the potential for lethal chaos inside our military, which would put all Americans at severe risk. In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time. One of our military’s strengths is that it draws from our diverse population. It is a collection of individuals, all with different beliefs and backgrounds. But without constant maintenance, the potential for a military breakdown mirroring societal or political breakdown is very real. The signs of potential turmoil in our armed forces are there. On Jan. 6, a disturbing number of veterans and active-duty members of the military took part in the attack on the Capitol. More than 1 in 10 of those charged in the attacks had a service record. A group of 124 retired military officials, under the name ‘Flag Officers 4 America,’ released a letter echoing Donald Trump’s false attacks on the legitimacy of our elections. Recently, and perhaps more worrying, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, the commanding general of the Oklahoma National Guard, refused an order from President Biden mandating that all National Guard members be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Mancino claimed that while the Oklahoma Guard is not federally mobilized, his commander in chief is the Republican governor of the state, not the president. The potential for a total breakdown of the chain of command along partisan lines — from the top of the chain to squad level — is significant should another insurrection occur. The idea of rogue units organizing among themselves to support the ‘rightful’ commander in chief cannot be dismissed.” See also, Retired US army generals warn of insurrection or civil war in 2024 if rogue military units pledge loyalty to a ‘Trumpian’ loser, Business Insider, Alia Shoaib, published on Saturday, 18 December 2021: “Three retired US army generals warned of an insurrection or even civil war if the results of the 2024 presidential election were not accepted by some in the military. Former Major Gen. Paul Eaton, former Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, and former Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson made the warnings in an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday. They wrote that they were ‘increasingly concerned’ about the 2024 election and the ‘potential for lethal chaos inside our military.’ The generals highlighted the ‘disturbing number’ of veterans and active-duty members of the military that took part in the January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters – more than 1 in 10 of those charged had a service record. They outlined a possible situation in which, after the 2024 election, some service members might pledge loyalty to a ‘Trumpian loser’ who refuses to concede defeat and tries to lead a shadow government. ‘Under such a scenario, it is not outlandish to say a military breakdown could lead to civil war,’ they wrote. Since the last election, the generals warned that even more turmoil and division had emerged in the armed forces. They pointed to recent resistance within the military towards federal vaccine mandates, such as a refusal to comply led by the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino.”


Saturday, 18 December 2021:


‘Stop the Steal’ leader Ali Alexander hands over communications with Republican lawmakers to January 6 House committee investigating the violent attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters, CNN Politics, Whitney Wild, Saturday, 18 December 2021: “‘Stop the Steal’ leader Ali Alexander has handed over to the House Select Committee investigating January 6 thousands of text messages and communication records that include his interactions with members of Congress and former President Donald Trump’s inner circle leading up to the riot, according to a court document submitted late Friday night. The revelations emerged from Alexander’s challenge to the committee’s effort to obtain his phone records directly from his telecommunications provider. ‘Alexander received a notice from Verizon that the Select Committee had subpoenaed Verizon for nine categories of information associated with Alexander’s personal cell phone number,’ the filing says. ‘The data sought is not pertinent to the investigation and sweeps up privileged communications between Alexander and clergy, Alexander and people he spiritually counsels and Alexander and his respective attorneys.’ The move comes more than a week after Alexander sat for several hours of testimony with committee organizers. It also highlights the wealth of information committee staff must sift through and analyze. Alexander is a central figure for investigators seeking to understand how the rallies on January 6 were funded, organized, promoted and eventually erupted into an attack at the Capitol intended to stop the certification of electoral votes for Joe Biden’s presidency. Alexander has provided communications with Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, possibly GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, and further detailed a call that Alexander believes included unnamed members of Congress, according to the filing.” See also, ‘Stop the Steal’ founder Ali Alexander told the January 6 House committee about contacts with Gop lawmakers. The description of the testimony comes in a lawsuit Ali Alexander filed to block the committee from obtaining his phone records. Politico, Kyle Cheney, Saturday, 18 December 2021: “Ali Alexander, who founded the pro-Trump ‘Stop the Steal’ movement and attended the rally that preceded the Capitol attack, told congressional investigators that he recalls ‘a few phone conversations’ with Rep. Paul Gosar and a text exchange with Rep. Mo Brooks about his efforts in the run-up to Jan. 6, his lawyers confirmed in a late Friday court filing. Alexander also told the Jan. 6 House select committee that he spoke to Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) in person ‘and never by phone, to the best of his recollection,’ his lawyers say. The description of the testimony comes in a lawsuit Alexander filed to block the committee from obtaining his phone records from Verizon. Alexander says in the suit that the records include contacts with people protected by privileges: religious advisers, people he counsels spiritually and his lawyers. He also indicated that he already shared more than 1,500 text messages with investigators, in addition to sitting for an eight-hour deposition. The Brooks text, he indicated, is among the texts he turned over. Alexander’s testimony underscores the degree to which the select committee continues to probe the roles of their Republican colleagues in efforts to promote former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud — and their potential support for fringe figures who helped gather people in Washington on Jan. 6, the day Congress was required to certify the 2020 election results.”


Sunday, 19 December 2021:


West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin Pulls Support From Biden’s Social Policy Bill, Imperiling Its Passage. The West Virginia senator’s comments dealt a potentially fatal blow to the centerpiece of the president’s domestic agenda, and drew a broadside from the Biden Administration. The New York Times, Emily Cochrane and Catie Edmondson, Sunday, 19 December 2021: “Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, said on Sunday that he could not support President Biden’s signature $2.2 trillion social safety net, climate and tax bill, dooming his party’s drive to pass its marquee domestic policy legislation as written. The comments from Mr. Manchin, a longtime centrist holdout, dealt the latest and perhaps a fatal blow to the centerpiece of Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda, barely a day after senators left Washington for the year after Democrats conceded they could not yet push through any of their top legislative priorities, from the social policy bill to a voting rights overhaul. ‘I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation,’ Mr. Manchin said on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ citing concerns about adding to the national debt, rising inflation and the spread of the latest coronavirus variant. ‘I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there. This is a no.'” See also, Senator Joe Manchin Rejects Landmark Legislation, Putting Biden’s Climate Goals at Risk. Manchin said he was opposed to legislation that includes climate action designed to keep the planet from dangerously overheating. The New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport, Sunday, 19 December 2021: “The declaration from Senator Joe Manchin III that he cannot support his party’s $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill has significantly dimmed the prospects for the climate action that scientists say the United States must take to avert the most catastrophic effects of global warming. Mr. Manchin, who first expressed his opposition in an interview on Fox News Sunday, released a follow-up statement that took aim at the climate and clean-energy provisions in the bill, saying they ‘risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains.’ As the swing Democratic vote in an evenly split Senate where all Republicans are opposed to the legislation, Mr. Manchin is in the unique position of deciding whether the bill can pass. News of his opposition alarmed environmentalists. ‘I don’t think we can tackle the climate crisis at the scale that’s necessary without passing this law,’ said Leah Stokes, an environmental policy professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who has been advising Senate Democrats. While the administration can use executive action and regulations, without legislation, experts say it will be virtually impossible to achieve President Biden’s goal of aggressively cutting the pollution generated by the United States, the country that has historically pumped the most planet-warming gasses into the atmosphere. That would have dire stakes for the planet, environmentalists said. Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, said on Twitter that failing to pass the legislation ‘would be a climate disaster.'” See also, From charm offensive to scorched earth; How Biden’s fragile alliance with Senator Joe Manchin unraveled, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim, Sunday, 19 December 2021: “As Democrats feuded over the size and scope of their sweeping social spending proposal this fall, President Biden invited Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va) to his home here for breakfast and a personal tour of the property he built. The October visit, according to a Democrat familiar with the day’s events, was part of a personal charm offensive by Biden to finally win over the man widely seen as the main obstacle to once-in-a-generation legislation to curtail climate change, and expand health care and education benefits, among other longtime priorities. On Sunday, the charm offensive turned to scorched earth. Hours after Manchin abruptly delivered what many saw as a potentially fatal blow to one of the centerpieces of Biden’s agenda with his declaration that he ‘just can’t’ support it, White House press secretary Jen Psaki unleashed a blistering 712-word written statement accusing him of making a ‘sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position’ and calling his comments a ‘breach of his commitments’ to Biden and Democratic lawmakers, if he has decided to end negotiations.”


Monday, 20 December 2021:


For the First Time, the House Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol Is Seeking Information From a  House Member. The committee is requesting testimony and documents from Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who was deeply involved in efforts to overturn the election. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Monday, 20 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is seeking testimony and documents from Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, the first public step the panel has taken to try to get information from any of the Republican members of Congress deeply involved in President Donald J. Trump’s effort to stay in power. The committee sent a letter on Monday to Mr. Perry, the incoming chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, asking for him to meet with its investigators and voluntarily turn over his communications during the buildup to the riot. To date, the panel has been reluctant to issue subpoenas for information from sitting members of Congress, citing the deference and respect lawmakers in the chamber are supposed to show one another. But Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the panel, has pledged to take such a step if needed. ‘The select committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its members,’ Mr. Thompson said in his letter to Mr. Perry. ‘At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully all of these facts and circumstances.’ A spokesman for Mr. Perry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the weeks after the 2020 election, Mr. Perry, a member of Congress since 2013, compiled a dossier of voter fraud allegations and coordinated a plan to try to replace the acting attorney general, who was resisting Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the election, with a more compliant official.” See also, House January 6 committee seeks information from Republican Representative Perry about communications with Trump Administration officials, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany, Monday, 20 December 2021: “The House select committee investigating the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 sent a letter Monday to Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) requesting that he provide information that could be crucial to the panel’s examination of efforts to overturn the election. The letter from committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) cites Perry’s efforts to install Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, in the role of acting attorney general as reason for seeking Perry’s voluntary cooperation with the committee. Perry introduced Clark to President Donald Trump, according to a report released by the Senate Judiciary Committee in October. Clark went on to play a key role in Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results. Thompson also cites evidence of Perry’s ‘multiple text and other communications with President Trump’s former Chief of Staff regarding Mr. Clark,’ according to the letter. ‘We also have evidence indicating that in that time frame you sent communications to the former Chief of Staff using the encrypted Signal app,’ writes Thompson. Perry, who led the objection to certifying Pennsylvania’s electoral votes won by Joe Biden, has emerged in recent weeks as the leading conduit for House Republicans involved with Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.”

Trump Sues New York Attorney General Letitia James in Bid to Stop Inquiry Into His Business. The lawsuit argues that attorney general Letitia James has long exhibited a political bias against the former president. The New York Times, Jonah E. Bromwich, Ben Protess, and William K. Rashbaum, Monday, 20 December 2021: “Donald J. Trump filed a lawsuit on Monday against the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, seeking to halt her long-running civil inquiry into his business practices and to bar her from participating in a separate criminal investigation. The suit, filed in federal court in Albany by Mr. Trump and his family real estate business, argued that Ms. James’s involvement in both inquiries was entirely politically motivated, a tack that Mr. Trump has deployed in the past when faced with scrutiny by law enforcement and others. The lawsuit cited a long list of Ms. James’s public attacks on Mr. Trump in the past, including while she was running for office, to argue that she had violated the former president’s constitutional rights. ‘Her mission is guided solely by political animus and a desire to harass, intimidate, and retaliate against a private citizen who she views as a political opponent,’ it read. In a statement, Ms. James, a Democrat, said the suit would not deter her inquiry. ‘The Trump Organization has continually sought to delay our investigation into its business dealings,’ the statement read. ‘To be clear, neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization get to dictate if and where they will answer for their actions.’ Mr. Trump faces a high bar in proving that Ms. James violated his rights, according to legal experts, some of whom predicted that Ms. James would prevail even if a judge concluded that her comments were inappropriate. The former president previously argued that he was the victim of political harassment when he tried to challenge a criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., also a Democrat. That fight, over a subpoena for the former president’s tax returns, significantly delayed the investigation, before Mr. Trump’s argument was ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court in February.”

Pentagon issues rules aimed at stopping rise of extremism, Associated Press, Lolita C. Baldor, Monday, 20 December 2021: “Warning that extremism in the ranks is increasing, Pentagon officials issued detailed new rules Monday prohibiting service members from actively engaging in extremist activities. The new guidelines come nearly a year after some current and former service members participated in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, triggering a broad department review. According to the Pentagon, fewer than 100 military members are known to have been involved in substantiated cases of extremist activity in the past year. But they warn that the number may grow given recent spikes in domestic violent extremism, particularly among veterans. Officials said the new policy doesn’t largely change what is prohibited but is more of an effort to make sure troops are clear on what they can and can’t do, while still protecting their First Amendment right to free speech. And for the first time, it is far more specific about social media. The new policy lays out in detail the banned activities, which range from advocating terrorism or supporting the overthrow of the government to fundraising or rallying on behalf of an extremist group or ‘liking’ or reposting extremist views on social media. The rules also specify that commanders must determine two things in order for someone to be held accountable: that the action was an extremist activity, as defined in the rules, and that the service member ‘actively participated’ in that prohibited activity. Previous policies banned extremist activities but didn’t go into such great detail, and also did not specify the two-step process to determine someone accountable.”


Tuesday, 21 December 2021:


Michael Flynn, a Former National Security Adviser to Trump, Sues January 6 House Committee as Republican Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania Refuses to Meet With the January 6 Committee. The committee investigating the Capitol attack faced stonewalling from allies of Trump on two new fronts. The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Tuesday, 21 December 2021: “Two allies of former President Donald J. Trump took steps on Tuesday to try to stonewall the House committee investigating the Capitol attack as Michael T. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, filed a lawsuit against the panel, and a House Republican who played a key role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election refused to meet with investigators. Mr. Flynn, who spent 33 years as an Army officer and has emerged as one of the most extreme voices in Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the election, filed suit against the committee in Florida, trying to block its subpoenas…. The House committee has said it wants information from Mr. Flynn because he attended a meeting in the Oval Office on Dec. 18 in which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers and continuing to spread the false idea that the election was tainted by widespread fraud. That meeting came after Mr. Flynn gave an interview to the right-wing media site Newsmax in which he talked about the purported precedent for deploying military troops and declaring martial law to ‘rerun’ the election. Mr. Flynn’s suit comes as Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican closely involved in Mr. Trump’s push to undermine the election, said on Tuesday that he was refusing to meet with the Jan. 6 committee.”


Wednesday, 22 December 2021:


The House Committee Investigating the January 6 Violent Attack on the Capitol Seeks Interview With Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a Close Trump Ally, The New York Times, Luke Broadwater, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Capitol attack asked Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio on Wednesday to sit for an interview with its investigators, in the latest step the panel has taken to dig into the role that members of Congress played in trying to undermine the 2020 election. The committee’s letter to Mr. Jordan, an ally of former President Donald J. Trump, says that investigators want to question him about his communications related to the run-up to the Capitol riot. Those include Mr. Jordan’s messages with Mr. Trump, his legal team and others involved in planning rallies on Jan. 6 and congressional objections to certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory…. Mr. Jordan, a Republican, was deeply involved in Mr. Trump’s effort to fight the election results. He participated in planning meetings with senior White House officials, including a gathering in November 2020 at Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., and a meeting at the White House last December, where Republican lawmakers discussed plans with the president’s team to use the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to challenge the election outcome.” See also, House January 6 committee requests information from and meeting with Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan about his contact with Trump, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Eugene Scott, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob is seeking information from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), one of former president Donald Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill. Jordan has previously said that he cannot recall how many times he spoke with Trump on Jan. 6 but that they spoke at least once. Also on Wednesday, a federal judge denied a motion by Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, for a temporary restraining order against the select committee over subpoenas it has issued against him.”

Michael Flynn has lost his bid in court to block a possible House select committee subpoena for his phone records and to hold off demands he speak to the committee investigating January 6, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “Michael Flynn has swiftly lost his bid in court to block a possible House select committee subpoena for his phone records and to hold off demands he speak to the panel investigating January 6. The ruling Wednesday comes one day after he asked a federal judge in Florida for a temporary restraining order, and it’s the first quick response to a lawsuit from a House witness, after several went to court to try to invalidate the committee and block the House from pursuing their phone records. So far, 11 others for whom the committee subpoenaed phone records have sued. Overall, the House has already spoken to dozens of witnesses and requested more than 100 people’s phone records. While the lawsuits to challenge the House are gaining attention, they’ve revealed that the committee appears to be notching many successful interviews about the pro-Trump rally and its high-profile right-wing participants and the insurrection on January 6, and that they are likely to have received large amounts of call log data from Verizon and AT&T already.”

Proud Boys member Matthew Greene pleads guilty for role in Capitol riot, NPR, Carrie Johnson, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “Matthew Greene, a self-proclaimed member of the far-right group known as the Proud Boys, has pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington, D.C., to two criminal charges: conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, related to the Capitol siege on Jan. 6, 2021. The plea deal pledges Greene’s cooperation with the sprawling Jan. 6 criminal probe in exchange for a reduced prison sentence and the dismissal of several other charges that had been pending against him. Greene could help investigators understand more about the activities of the Proud Boys’ central New York chapter before and during the insurrection. He had been indicted alongside Dominic Pezzola, who broke a U.S. Capitol window with a police shield to enter the building that day; and William Pepe, a Metro Transit employee who took sick leave to attend the Jan. 6 rally.” See also, Proud Boy Matthew Greene pleads guilty to felony charge in Capitol riot, The Washington Post, Rachel Weiner, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “A New York man who was a member of the Proud Boys pleaded guilty Wednesday to obstructing Congress and conspiring to obstruct law enforcement during the pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6. The plea to the felony charge is significant because Matthew Greene, 34, of Syracuse admitted coordinating with other New York-based members of the extremist group at the front of the Capitol mob, although there is no evidence he actually entered the building. Greene is the first self-admitted member of the Proud Boys to plead guilty in a felony conspiracy case stemming from the riot and agree to cooperate with law enforcement. He is set to be sentenced March 10.” See also, Proud Boys Member Matthew Greene Pleads Guilty and Will Cooperate in January 6 Riot Inquiry. Greene, 34, who was ‘among the first wave’ to rush up the Capitol steps, pleaded guilty to two charges and agreed to cooperate with the government, federal prosecutors said. The New York Times, Alyssa Lukpat, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “A Proud Boys member who was among the first to cross the police line at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 pleaded guilty on Wednesday and agreed to cooperate with the government — potentially against other members of the far-right extremist group, the authorities said. The defendant, Matthew Greene, 34, of Syracuse, N.Y., was most likely the first member of the Proud Boys, a group that describes itself as ‘Western chauvinists,’ to plead guilty to charges stemming from the riot, his lawyer, Michael Kasmarek, said on Wednesday. Mr. Greene was ‘among the first wave’ to rush up the Capitol steps after the police line was breached, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement on Wednesday. After he came down the stairs, he moved police barricades, prosecutors said. His lawyer maintains that he never entered the Capitol building. Mr. Greene and other Proud Boys members had agreed before the siege to communicate through programmable radios, prosecutors said. They were ‘intentionally dressed in clothing that concealed their membership as Proud Boys,’ the statement said.”

Inside the nonstop pressure campaign by Trump allies to get election officials to revisit the 2020 vote, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Emma Brown, and Josh Dawsey, Wednesday, 22 December 2021: “More than a year after Donald Trump lost the presidency, election officials across the country are facing a growing barrage of claims that the vote was not secure and demands to investigate or decertify the outcome, efforts that are eating up hundreds of hours of government time and spreading distrust in elections. The ongoing attack on the vote is being driven in part by well-funded Trump associates, who have gained audiences with top state officials and are pushing to inspect protected machines and urging them to conduct audits or sign on to a lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 results. And the campaign is being bolstered by grass-roots energy, as local residents who have absorbed baseless allegations of ballot fraud are now forcing election administrators to address the false claims. The fallout has spread from the six states where Trump sought to overturn the outcome in 2020 to deep-red places such as Idaho, where officials recently hand-recounted ballots in three counties to refute claims of vote-flipping, and Oklahoma, where state officials commissioned an investigation to counter allegations that voting machines were hacked.”


Thursday, 23 December 2021:


Trump Asks Supreme Court to Block Release of January 6 Records. The case is a constitutional clash on the scope of executive privilege and on whether a former president may invoke it when the current one has waived it. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 23 December 2021: “Lawyers for former President Donald J. Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block the release of White House records concerning the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, arguing that he had a constitutional right to shield the materials from Congress even though President Biden declined to invoke executive privilege over them. ‘The disagreement between an incumbent president and his predecessor from a rival political party is both novel and highlights the importance of executive privilege and the ability of presidents and their advisers to reliably make and receive full and frank advice, without concern that communications will be publicly released to meet a political objective,” Mr. Trump’s lawyers told the court. The case raises novel constitutional questions about the separation of powers and the power of a president no longer in office. Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked the justices to block the release of the records while they decide whether to hear his appeal. A special House committee investigating the attacks sought the records from the National Archives, which gave both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump the opportunity to object.” See also, Trump asks Supreme Court to withhold records from House January 6 committee, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, Thursday, 23 December 2021: “Former president Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to block release of his White House records to a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying the case presents a unique conflict between a sitting president and his rival predecessor. Lawyers for Trump asked the justices to put on hold a unanimous ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which rejected his assertions of executive privilege and his request to keep secret roughly 800 pages of his papers. President Biden determined the material could be released to the committee.”

Representative Bennie Thompson says the January 6 House committee is focusing intently on Trump’s hours of silence during the violent attack on the Capitol, weighing criminal referrals, The Washington Post, Tom Hamburger, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey, and Matt Zapotosky, Thursday, 23 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is focusing intently on Donald Trump’s actions that day as it begins to discuss whether to recommend that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into the former president. Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview that of particular interest is why it took so long for him to call on his supporters to stand down, an area of inquiry that includes obtaining several versions of a video Trump reportedly recorded before finally releasing a message 187 minutes after he told his supporters to march on the Capitol during the rally that preceded the attack. ‘It appears that he tried to do a taping several times, but he wouldn’t say the right thing,’ Thompson said, basing his statement on information the panel has gleaned from interviews with witnesses as well as media reports about that day.”

Two Georgia poll workers sue One America News and Rudy Giuliani over debunked election fraud claims, Reuters, Nathan Layne, Thursday, 23 December 2021: “Two Georgia election workers who were the target of vote-rigging conspiracy theories have sued the far-right One America News Network, its top executives, and former President Donald Trump’s ex-lawyer Rudy Giuliani for allegedly spreading lies about them. The defamation lawsuit was filed on Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C., by Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss, a voter registration officer in Fulton County, and her mother, Ruby Freeman, who was a temp worker for the 2020 election. The lawsuit targets San Diego-based Herring Networks, which owns and operates One America News Network, as well as the channel’s chief executive Robert Herring, president Charles Herring, and reporter Chanel Rion. Giuliani, Trump’s former personal lawyer, was also named as a defendant. Giuliani has frequently appeared on OAN’s programs and has been one of the biggest promoters of Trump’s false claims that voter fraud cost him the 2020 election. The complaint alleges that OAN broadcast stories in which Moss and Freeman were falsely accused of conspiring to produce secret batches of illegal ballots and running them through voting machines to help then-candidate Joe Biden defeat Trump. There is no evidence to support such claims, which have been repeatedly debunked by Georgia election officials.” See also, Rudy Giuliani and One America News sued by Georgia poll workers falsely accused of electoral fraud, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong, Friday, 24 December 2021: “Two election workers who counted votes for the 2020 presidential election filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against the parent company of One America News, senior staff at the far-right TV network and Rudolph W. Giuliani, who served as a personal lawyer to former president Donald Trump. Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss, who worked in Fulton County, Ga., allege that One America News and Giuliani, who frequently appears on the network, knowingly spread misinformation about them, including falsehoods that they logged illegal ballots for Joe Biden in the election. The two women ‘have become objects of vitriol, threats, and harassment … because of a campaign of malicious lies,’ their attorneys wrote in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. ‘Deliberate efforts to spread disinformation about America’s election workers undermine the integrity of American elections … and accordingly, threaten democracy.’ The legal action seeks to force the defendants to delete false statements about the two women from their platforms. It also asks for compensatory and punitive damages.”

The clear and present danger of Trump’s enduring ‘Big Lie,’ NPR, Melissa Block, Thursday, 23 December 2021: “t’s been nearly a year since the United States suffered an unprecedented attack on constitutional democracy. When a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the goal was to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and install Donald Trump to a second term. Call it an insurrection or a coup attempt, it was fueled by what’s known as the ‘Big Lie’: the verifiably false assertion that Trump won. Joe Biden won 306 votes in the Electoral College, while Trump received 232. In the popular vote, Biden won by more than 7 million votes. Many are warning that over the past year, that “big lie” of a stolen election has grown more entrenched and more dangerous. ‘I’ve never been more scared about American democracy than I am right now, because of the metastasizing of the “big lie,” “‘says election law expert Rick Hasen, co-director of the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the University of California, Irvine.”


Friday, 24 December 2021:


January 6 House select committee ramps up efforts to uncover funding behind the Capitol riot by Trump supporters, CNN Politics, Katelyn Polantz and Mary Kay Mallonee, Friday, 24 December 2021: “A new court challenge is revealing how the January 6 House select committee is demanding bank records, providing a new window into its effort to understand what propelled the violence that day. The previously undisclosed records request, revealed in a new lawsuit, is the first confirmed subpoena issued by the committee for information directly from a bank. The committee, which has moved aggressively in recent weeks, is using its subpoena power to follow the money surrounding the pro-Donald Trump rallies leading up to the insurrection. Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich disclosed in a lawsuit Friday night that the committee had demanded financial records, prompting him to sue in an effort to prevent the committee from obtaining them. The bank, JP Morgan, was planning to oblige, giving him a deadline of 5 p.m. ET on Christmas Eve to show he legally blocked the subpoena, according to a letter the bank sent to him that he included in the lawsuit. The lawsuit also discloses that Budowich has already supplied the committee with more than 1,700 pages of documents and provided about four hours of testimony.”

New York State Judge Upholds His Block on New York Times Coverage of Project Veritas. The judge also ordered The Times to turn over physical copies and destroy any electronic versions of documents a lawyer prepared for the conservative group. The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Friday, 24 December 2021: “A New York trial court judge has upheld his order preventing The New York Times from publishing documents prepared by a lawyer for the conservative group Project Veritas, in a move that alarmed First Amendment advocates concerned about judicial intrusion into journalistic practices. In a ruling made public on Friday, the judge, Justice Charles D. Wood of State Supreme Court in Westchester County, went further: He ordered The Times to immediately turn over any physical copies of the Project Veritas documents in question, and to destroy any electronic copies in the newspaper’s possession. The Times said it would seek a stay of the ruling and was planning to appeal it. ‘This ruling should raise alarms not just for advocates of press freedoms but for anyone concerned about the dangers of government overreach into what the public can and cannot know,’ the publisher of The Times, A.G. Sulzberger, said in a statement on Friday. ‘In defiance of law settled in the Pentagon Papers case, this judge has barred The Times from publishing information about a prominent and influential organization that was obtained legally in the ordinary course of reporting.’ Mr. Sulzberger said Justice Wood’s order that the company return the documents had ‘no apparent precedent’ and ‘could present obvious risks to exposing sources.'” See also, A Dangerous Court Order Against The New York Times, The New York Times, The Editorial Board, Friday, 24 December 2021: “Half a century ago, the Supreme Court settled the matter of when a court can stop a newspaper from publishing. In 1971, the Nixon administration attempted to block The Times and The Washington Post from publishing classified Defense Department documents detailing the history of the Vietnam War — the so-called Pentagon Papers. Faced with an asserted threat to the nation’s security, the Supreme Court sided with the newspapers. ‘Without an informed and free press, there cannot be an enlightened people,’ Justice Potter Stewart wrote in a concurring opinion. That sentiment reflects one of the oldest and most enduring principles in our legal system: The government may not tell the press what it can and cannot publish. This principle long predates the Constitution, but so there would be no mistake, the nation’s founders included a safeguard in the Bill of Rights anyway. The First Amendment says, ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ This is why virtually every official attempt to bar speech or news reporting in advance, known as a prior restraint, gets struck down. ‘Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this court bearing a heavy presumption against its constitutional validity,’ the Supreme Court said in a 1963 case. Such restraints are ‘the very prototype of the greatest threat to First Amendment values,’ Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a generation later. On Friday, however, a New York trial court judge broke from that precedent when he issued an order blocking The Times from publishing or even reporting further on information it had obtained related to Project Veritas, the conservative sting group that traffics in hidden cameras and fake identities to target liberal politicians and interest groups, as well as traditional news outlets.”


Monday, 27 December 2021:


January 6 House select committee to investigate Trump call to Willard hotel in hours before violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. Committee to request contents of the call seeking to stop Biden’s certification and may subpoena Rudy Giuliani. The Guardian, Hugo Lowell, Monday, 27 December 2021: “Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack, has said the panel will open an inquiry into Donald Trump’s phone call seeking to stop Joe Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January hours before the insurrection. The chairman said the select committee intended to scrutinize the phone call – revealed last month by the Guardian – should they prevail in their legal effort to obtain Trump White House records over the former president’s objections of executive privilege. ‘That’s right,’ Thompson said when asked by the Guardian whether the select committee would look into Trump’s phone call, and suggested House investigators had already started to consider ways to investigate Trump’s demand that Biden not be certified as president on 6 January. Thompson said the select committee could not ask the National Archives for records about specific calls, but noted ‘if we say we want all White House calls made on January 5 and 6, if he made it on a White House phone, then obviously we would look at it there.’ The Guardian reported last month that Trump, according to multiple sources, called lieutenants based at the Willard hotel in Washington DC from the White House in the late hours of 5 January and sought ways to stop Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January. Trump first told the lieutenants his vice-president, Mike Pence, was reluctant to go along with the plan to commandeer his ceremonial role at the joint session of Congress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the presidency for a second term, the sources said. But as Trump relayed to them the situation with Pence, the sources said, on at least one call, he pressed his lieutenants about how to stop Biden’s certification from taking place on 6 January in a scheme to get alternate slates of electors for Trump sent to Congress. The former president’s remarks came as part of wider discussions he had with the lieutenants at the Willard – a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Boris Epshteyn and Trump strategist Steve Bannon – about delaying the certification, the sources said.”

House select committee investigating January 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters plans to begin a more public phase of its work in the new year, The Washington Post, Jacqueline Alemany and Tom Hamburger, Monday, 27 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol plans to begin holding public hearings in the new year to tell the story of the insurrection from start to finish while crafting an ample interim report on its findings by summer, as it shifts into a more public phase of its work. The panel will continue to collect information and seek testimony from willing witnesses and those who have been reluctant — a group that now includes Republican members of Congress. It is examining whether to recommend that the Justice Department pursue charges against anyone, including former president Donald Trump, and whether legislative proposals are needed to help prevent valid election results from being overturned in the future. ‘We have to address it — our families, our districts and our country demand that we get as much of the causal effects of what occurred and come up with some recommendations for the House so that it won’t ever happen again,’ committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a recent interview. The committee has taken in a massive amount of data — interviewing more than 300 witnesses, announcing more than 50 subpoenas, obtaining more than 35,000 pages of records and receiving hundreds of telephone leads through the Jan. 6 tip line, according to aides familiar with the matter who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe details of the panel’s work.”

Alleged ‘dead’ Georgia voters found alive and well after 2020 election. Election investigators found just four absentee ballots in the 2020 presidential election from voters who had died, all of them returned by relatives. The Atlanta Journal- Constitution, Mark Niesse, Monday, 27 December 2021: “False claims that there were thousands of ballots cast in the names of dead Georgia voters can now rest in peace…. The State Election Board referred the cases to the attorney general’s office this month after investigators reviewed dozens of allegations. Almost all voters were found to be alive. The tiny number of ballots actually cast on behalf of deceased voters contrasts with then-President Donald Trump’s false accusation that there were 5,000 dead voters in Georgia’s election. It’s the latest in a series of unsubstantiated claims of fraud that have since been debunked, including allegations of counterfeit ballotsballot stuffing and forged absentee ballot signatures. Three vote counts showed that Trump lost by about 12,000 votes in Georgia.” See also, Trump claims 5,000 dead people voted in Georgia, but the real number is four. The claim was part of the push to overturn the election, but officials confirm only four cases, all involving family members submitting votes. The Guardian, Martin Pengelly, published on Tuesday, 28 December 2021: “Donald Trump has claimed 5,000 dead people voted in 2020 in Georgia, a state he lost to Joe Biden on his way to national defeat. He was off by 4,996. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday, state officials have confirmed four cases of dead people voting. All involved family members submitting votes for the deceased, cases in which the state has the power to levy fines.”


Tuesday, 28 December 2021:


January 6 Committee Shelves Requests for Hundreds of Trump Records. The Biden administration asked to shield some sensitive documents but continued to reject Trump’s blanket claim of executive privilege. The New York Times, Glenn Thrush, Tuesday, 28 December 2021: “The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has agreed to delay or withdraw demands for hundreds of Trump White House records at the request of the Biden administration, out of concern that releasing some of the documents could compromise national security. The deal, made public on Tuesday, does not represent a major policy shift for the administration: President Biden still rejects former President Donald J. Trump’s claim that all internal White House documents pertaining to the riot be withheld on the grounds of executive privilege. The White House counsel, Dana A. Remus, has been negotiating in recent weeks with the House committee to set aside requests for all or part of 511 documents her staff has deemed sensitive, unrelated to the probe or potentially compromising to the long-term prerogatives of the presidency.”

Judge Says New York Times Can Retain Project Veritas Memos, for Now. A New York appeals court said the paper did not need to immediately give up or destroy documents related to the conservative group. The paper is still prevented from publishing certain documents. The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Tuesday, 28 December 2021: “A New York State appeals court on Tuesday temporarily lifted a judicial order requiring The New York Times to turn over or destroy copies of legal memos prepared for the conservative group Project Veritas, in a case that has drawn the focus of First Amendment and journalism advocates. The stay, issued by the Appellate Division of New York State Supreme Court, followed objections by The Times to an order issued late last week in an escalating legal dispute between the newspaper and Project Veritas, which is suing The Times for defamation. But one major component of that order, issued by a trial judge, Justice Charles D. Wood of State Supreme Court in Westchester County, will stay in place: The Times remains temporarily barred from publishing the Project Veritas documents. The newspaper said it had not sought an immediate lifting of that element of the order but instead had asked for an expedited hearing. The Appellate Division asked Project Veritas to file its response by Jan. 14, declining the request by The Times for an earlier deadline.”


Wednesday, 29 December 2021:


Trump asks Supreme Court to consider January 6 chairman Bennie Thompson’s interview with Washington Post in bid to block records, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Wednesday, 29 December 2021: “Lawyers for former president Donald Trump told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that a Washington Post interview with the chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol shows the committee is trying to establish a criminal complaint against Trump, something the lawyers say is beyond the committee’s authority. The lawyers filed a supplemental brief alerting the justices to a Dec. 23 Post article featuring an interview with Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee’s chairman. In the article, Thompson said the committee is looking intently into Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 as it considers whether to recommend that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into the former president.”

Ex-White House and Department of Justice officials urge Supreme Court to reject Trump effort to stymie House investigation of the January 6 violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, The Hill, John Kruzel, Wednesday, 29 December 2021: “A group of former executive branch lawyers on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to reject an effort by former President Trump to hamper the House committee investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The group of legal heavyweights, comprising a half dozen former White House and top Justice Department lawyers who served under Republican presidents, argued in an amicus brief that Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over his administration’s records is outweighed by congressional investigators’ pursuit of the facts surrounding the Trump-inspired insurrection. ‘Congress is now investigating those events and determining how to prevent unsuccessful candidates from attempting to undermine our democracy in the future,’ they wrote. ‘Amici believe that the documents at issue should be turned over given, among other things, the importance of the House investigation into the January 6th attack and the current president’s reasonable determination that executive privilege should not be asserted in this case.'”

Federal court denies Republican Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s attempt to stop military vaccine mandate, The Washington Post, Andrew Jeong and Alex Horton, Wednesday, 29 December 2021: “A federal court Tuesday denied a lawsuit filed by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) that challenged the Pentagon’s military-wide coronavirus vaccination mandate by asking that the requirement be suspended for his state’s National Guard members. Judge Stephen P. Friot sided with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who has said the mandate is needed to maintain a healthy force that is ready to act quickly. Friot also disagreed with Stitt’s assertion that the Pentagon was overstepping its constitutional authority, noting that Guard members are already required to receive nine immunizations. ‘Adding a tenth … vaccine to the list of nine that all service members are already required to take would hardly amount to ‘an enormous and transformative expansion [of the] regulatory authority’ the Secretary of Defense already possesses,’ he wrote in his ruling. The ruling boosts the legal standing of the military vaccine mandate as the Biden administration struggles to increase vaccination rates among Americans.”


Thursday, 30 December 2021:


‘Slow-motion insurrection’: How Republicans are seizing election power, Associated Press, Nicholas Riccardi, Thursday, 30 December 2021: “In the weeks leading up to the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, a handful of Americans — well-known politicians, obscure local bureaucrats — stood up to block then-President Donald Trump’s unprecedented attempt to overturn a free and fair vote of the American people. In the year since, Trump-aligned Republicans have worked to clear the path for next time. In battleground states and beyond, Republicans are taking hold of the once-overlooked machinery of elections. While the effort is incomplete and uneven, outside experts on democracy and Democrats are sounding alarms, warning that the United States is witnessing a ‘slow-motion insurrection’ with a better chance of success than Trump’s failed power grab last year. They point to a mounting list of evidence: Several candidates who deny Trump’s loss are running for offices that could have a key role in the election of the next president in 2024. In Michigan, the Republican Party is restocking members of obscure local boards that could block approval of an election. In Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the GOP-controlled legislatures are backing open-ended ‘reviews’ of the 2020 election, modeled on a deeply flawed look-back in ArizonaThe efforts are poised to fuel disinformation and anger about the 2020 results for years to come. All this comes as the Republican Party has become more aligned behind Trump, who has made denial of the 2020 results a litmus test for his support. Trump has praised the Jan. 6 rioters and backed primaries aimed at purging lawmakers who have crossed him. Sixteen GOP governors have signed laws making it more difficult to vote. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll showed that two-thirds of Republicans do not believe Democrat Joe Biden was legitimately elected as president. The result, experts say, is that another baseless challenge to an election has become more likely, not less. ‘It’s not clear that the Republican Party is willing to accept defeat anymore,’ said Steven Levitsky, a Harvard political scientist and co-author of the book ‘How Democracies Die.’ ‘The party itself has become an anti-democratic force.’ American democracy has been flawed and manipulated by both parties since its inception. Millions of Americans — Black people, women, Native Americans and others — have been excluded from the process. Both Republicans and Democrats have written laws rigging the rules in their favor. This time, experts argue, is different: Never in the country’s modern history has a a major party sought to turn the administration of elections into an explicitly partisan act.”


Friday, 31 December 2021:


Bernard Kerik provides batch of documents to the January 6 House Select Committee investigating the violent attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. The former New York City Police commissioner also provided a ‘privilege log’ describing materials he declined to provide to the committee. Politico, Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney, Friday, 31 December 2021: “A key adviser to Donald Trump’s legal team in their post-election quest to unearth evidence of fraud has delivered a trove of documents to Jan. 6 investigators describing those efforts. Bernard Kerik, the former New York City Police commissioner and ally of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, also provided a ‘privilege log’ describing materials he declined to provide to the committee. Among the withheld documents is one titled “DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS.” Kerik’s attorney Timothy Parlatore provided the privilege log to the panel, which said the file originated on Dec. 17, a day before Trump huddled in the Oval Office with advisers including former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, where they discussed the option of seizing election equipment in states whose results Trump was attempting to overturn. Trump ultimately opted against that strategy, but his consideration of the option is one of the key questions the panel is probing as part of its broader investigation into attempts to overturn the election. It’s unclear whether the letter is related to the same plan and if Trump knew of its existence. Kerik withheld it, describing it as privileged because of its classification as ‘attorney work product.’… [A] 22-page document, titled ‘STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS PLAN – GIULIANI PRESIDENTIAL LEGAL DEFENSE TEAM,’ describes a 10-day blitz aimed at Republican House and Senate members to pressure them to vote against certifying the 2020 election results. The effort was focused, according to the document, on six swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The document says its primary channels to disseminate messaging on these efforts included ‘presidential tweets’ as well as talk radio, conservative bloggers, social media influencers, Trump campaign volunteers and other media allies. A list of ‘key team members’ supporting the effort included ‘Freedom Caucus Members’ — a reference to the group of hardline House conservatives, some of whom backed Trump’s effort to overturn the election. Other team members listed include: Rudy Giuliani, ‘Peter Navarro Team’ and ‘identified legislative leaders’ in each of the six swing states. The document also described a list of actions the group intended to organize, including ‘protests at weak members’ homes,’ ‘protests at local officials homes/offices’ and ‘protests in DC – rally for key House and Senate members.'”

First part of Texas’ 2020 election audit reveals few issues and echoes findings from review processes already in place. An initial review of four counties’ election results, launched after pressure from former President Donald Trump and touted by Republican leaders, showed few discrepancies between electronic and hand counts of ballots in a sample of voting precincts. The Texas Tribune, Alexa Ura and Allyson Waller, Friday, 31 December 2021: “The Texas secretary of state’s office has released the first batch of results from its review into the 2020 general election, finding few issues despite repeated, unsubstantiated claims by GOP leaders casting doubts on the integrity of the electoral system. The first phase of the review, released New Year’s Eve, highlighted election data from four counties — Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin — that showed few discrepancies between electronic and hand counts of ballots in a sample of voting precincts. Those partial manual counts made up a significant portion of the results produced by the secretary of state, which largely focused on routine voter roll maintenance and post-election processes that were already in place before the state launched what it has labeled as a ‘full forensic audit.'”

Prosecutors break down charges and convictions for 725 arrested so far in January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, The Washington Post, Keith L. Alexander, Friday, 31 December 2021: “Federal prosecutors in the District have charged more than 725 individuals with various crimes in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, when hundreds of rioters forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. attorney’s office said Friday. As the country nears the first anniversary of the storming of the Capitol, the U.S. attorney’s office in the District, the largest office of federal prosecutors in the nation, released a breakdown of the arrests and convictions associated with the attack. Of those arrested, 225 people were charged with assault or resisting arrest. More than 75 of those were charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon against police officers. The office said 140 police officers, including Capitol officers and members of the D.C. police department, were victimized during the attack. The office said about 10 individuals were charged with assaulting members of the media or destroying their equipment. Some 640 people were charged with entering a restricted federal building or its grounds. And another 75 were charged with entering a restricted area with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors in the office have been working with the FBI as well as prosecutors in various locations around the nation. The office said the individuals arrested come from nearly all 50 states.”





Even though the Trump administration is no longer in power, I am continuing to post summaries of the daily political news and major stories relating to this tragic and dangerous period in US history. I will try to focus on the differences between the Trump administration and the Biden administration and on the ongoing toxic residual effects of the Trump administration and Republicans. I usually post throughout the day and let the news settle for a day or so before posting.

I created Muckraker Farm in 2014 as a place to post muckraking (investigative) journalism going back to the 19th century. Recently I have been able to make time to return to this original project. You can find these muckraking pieces under the Home Page link at the top of this site. Thanks for reading!