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George Conway, a prominent conservative lawyer and the husband of Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway, launched into a powerful rant against the president’s habit of pointless, absurd, and delusional lies on Wednesday night.

He seemed to be inspired by the president’s false claim that the sentencing of Paul Manafort, his former campaign chair who is facing about 7.5 years in jail for crimes arising out of the Russia investigation, proved that there “no collusion.” In fact, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said at the sentencing that “collusion” hasn’t been addressed because the investigation is still ongoing. But Conway was also baffled at the president’s effort to lie about his recent slip of the tongue when he called Apple CEO Tim Cook “Tim Apple.”

“Have we ever seen this degree of brazen, pathological mendacity in American public life?” Conway wrote on Twitter.  “One day he makes a harmless slip of the tongue, something any mentally balanced person would laugh off.”

He continued:

He went on to argue that it’s a “pathological” and “self-defeating” form a lying because there’s no point to it. He’s not actually going to convince anyone, and it only further erodes his own credibility.

And of course, he noted, this is nothing new — there are dozens of these examples every week, if not each day.

“It’s nuts. It’s a disorder,” he said.

He concluded: “Whether or not impeachment is in order, a serious inquiry needs to be made about this man’s condition of mind.”

George Conway has long been a vocal and fierce critic of the president, so the point of view he expressed was not surprising. But it remains a truly bizarre circumstance in Washington, D.C., that the husband of one of the president’s best-known and most cynical defenders has become such a vociferous and trenchant Trump critic.

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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

Targeting Battleground States

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Former president Donald Trump

By Rami Ayyub and Alexandra Ulmer

(Reuters) -The prosecutor for Georgia's biggest county on Thursday requested a special grand jury with subpoena power to aid her investigation into then-President Donald Trump's efforts to influence the U.S. state's 2020 election results.

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