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Pat McCrory

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If former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is any indication, the GOP primary wounds wrought in the last several months stand a good chance of bleeding into the general election this fall.

McCrory, who lost his bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for the Tar Heel State's open Senate seat, declined to endorse his GOP rival, Rep. Ted Budd, the Trump endorsee.

"What I need to do is get assurances from the current leaders in my state party that I haven't been cancelled, because for the past 13 months, I've been told I'm a RINO," McCrory said, using the acronym for Republicans In Name Only.

The term, once pejoratively used to describe Republicans who weren't conservative enough, has effectively become a slur hurled at Republicans who aren't considered loyal enough to Donald Trump.

But McCrory wanted the state party to "correct that" categorization, objecting to the insinuation that he wasn't a tried-and-true conservative.

"Maybe they didn't mean that," McCrory posited, "or if they meant it, I've gotta do some reevaluation. Because they not only said I was a RINO, they said I wasn't conservative—and I consider myself a pretty conservative guy."

But McCrory wasn't simply speaking for himself. He was using himself as a stand-in for the some 25% of GOP primary voters who cast their ballots for him and who will also make or break Republicans' chances of claiming that seat in November.

"This is going to be a very close general election," McCrory noted. "So I think my party, in order to win the general election, has still got to appeal to the conservatives like me—the Ronald Reagan conservative—in order to win North Carolina.”

He challenged party leaders to come back to him and his supporters and embrace them as an "important" part of the Republican Party.

"But to do kind of a Mccarthyism within in our own party—saying some people belong and some people don't belong—man, we better correct that or we're not going to win the U.S. Senate or the White House in '24."

McCrory noted that GOP Sen. Thom Tillis won reelection last year by roughly 40,000 votes out of over 4 million cast.

"And that was with a flawed Democrat," he said of Cal Cunningham, who was dragged down in the final month of the race by a sexting scandal. "So the Republican Party is going to have to work hard here," McCrory said.

McCrory added that he wanted the Republican Majority in the Senate, but offered, "I think we're gong to have to have a little more courage in reaching out and not being so wrapped up in one individual."

And there's the rub. That one individual—otherwise known as "Individual 1" in criminal parlance—is Trump, who would much rather sacrifice the GOP Senate majority than welcome non-loyalists into a bigger tent party.

But McCrory isn't alone in his rejection of simply smoothing over intraparty ruptures in order to prevail in November. On the other end of the GOP spectrum is MAGA radical Kathy Barnette, who lost her bid Tuesday to become the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania's Senate seat. While her rivals, Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, are locked almost dead even at 31% each, Barnette still managed to commandeer some 25% of the GOP vote with her late rise to prominence in the race. It's nothing to sneeze at in a state that promises to host one of the most competitive general-election Senate contests in the country.

But Barnette is already on the record saying she doesn't intend to endorse either of her rivals, whom she has cast as MAGA posers even though Oz won Trump's endorsement.

Asked by right-wing Breitbart News Monday if she planned to back her GOP challengers, Barnette responded, “I have no intentions of supporting globalists. I believe we have ran out of room on this runway for this nation. I believe we have very little rope left to just roll the dice and we’ll see how it works on the other end."

Barnette's slash and burn continued on Wednesday as she seized on Dr. Oz's election-night shout out to Fox News' Sean Hannity for offering his advice and consultation "this entire campaign."

That admission clearly got under Barnette’s skin. "I do want to say, never forget what Sean Hannity did in this race," Barnette said in a video statement thanking her supporters. "Almost single-handedly, Sean Hannity sowed seeds of disinformation, flat-out lies, every night for the past five days. And that was just extremely hard to overcome."

By contrast, Rep. Connor Lamb of Pennsylvania, who lost the Democratic Senate primary Tuesday to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman by a roughly 33-point margin, issued an amicable statement conceding the race.

"I entered this believing PA Dems needed a real debate, and I’m proud of the campaign we gave you," Lamb tweeted Tuesday night. "Today, voters made it clear that John is their choice. I respect their decision and congratulate John on his victory."

But don't worry, folks, if you're enjoying the post-primary Republican infighting, more is surely coming after next week's GOP primary in Georgia, where Trump endorsee David Perdue appears poised to lose his effort to oust incumbent GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump still despises with a white hot hate.

Here’s McCrory’s interview—very much worth the watch since he is taking up the mantle of old-school Republicans as ideological outcasts in today’s MAGA-dominated GOP.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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Former President Donald Trump, left, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone

On Wednesday evening the House Select Committee investigating the Trump coup plot issued a subpoena to former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, following blockbuster testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who said the lawyer had warned of potential criminal activity by former President Donald Trump and his aides.

The committee summons to Cipollone followed long negotiations over his possible appearance and increasing pressure on him to come forward as Hutchinson did. Committee members expect the former counsel’s testimony to advance their investigation, owing to his knowledge of the former president's actions before, during and after the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

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