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Monday, December 09, 2019

Investigations

Mike Pence

Youtube Screenshot

Cue the rewrite squad: Republicans are scrambling for new talking points. CNN reports that an attorney for Mike Pence has located “about a dozen” classified documents at Pence’s home in Carmel, Indiana.

That’s pretty amazing, considering the confidence with which Pence answered this question.

From that same interview with Pence, in which he was feigning astonishment at the idea that Joe Biden might have left the White House with classified documents after his term as vice president, Pence said:

"There would be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area."

Where were the documents found inside former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home? In an unprotected area.

That interview wasn’t the only time Pence claimed he had no classified documents. He has made this claim repeatedly, especially as Republicans have attempted to use documents found in the home of President Biden to make demands—ranging from more investigations of Biden, to claiming this makes Biden ineligible to run again in 2024, to insisting that the Justice Department drop the investigations into documents Donald Trump refused to return, to insisting that Biden should resign.

Pence’s attorneys now state that a “small number” of classified documents were “inadvertently” boxed and transported to Pence’s home in Indiana. The statement also insists that Pence was unaware of the documents.

We can only assume that the next step is for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel. After all, Garland appointed an investigator to look into the documents at Biden’s home on January 12. In fact, Garland went out of his way to appoint an investigator who had been appointed as a U.S. attorney by Donald Trump and was well known as a hard-line conservative to investigate the documents at Biden’s home.

Surely that means an attorney appointed by Biden or Obama will be appointed as a special counsel to look into the documents at Pence’s home. After all, Garland insisted that appointing such an investigator for Biden was necessary to show the independence of the Justice Department.

If Garland doesn’t appoint another such investigator now, it will be nothing short of a signal that the DOJ goes easy on Republicans. Scratch that. It will be another signal.

And when it comes to any comparison between what Joe Biden did and what Donald Trump is still doing

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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Rep. Scott Perry

House Republicans have reportedly selected four of their most extreme members to serve on the Committee on Oversight and Accountability in the new session of Congress. Two of them had been stripped of all committee assignments in the last Congress for inappropriate conduct.

Punchbowl News and the Washington Post are reporting that the new GOP majority will place Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Scott Perry (R-PA) on the panel. The committee's stated mission is "to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies."

In February 2021, Greene was removed from her committee assignments via resolution "in light of conduct she has exhibited" after she embraced antisemitic, Islamophobic, racist, and QAnon-related conspiracy theories; endorsed the execution of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; and falsely claimed mass school shootings were hoaxes intended to boost support for gun safety laws.

Gosar, who, like Greene, spoke at a March 2022 white nationalist event, lost his committee assignments in November 2021 and was formally censured for posting an animated video on social media that depicted a fictionalized version of himself assassinating his colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and assaulting President Joe Biden.

Most of the Republican caucus opposed both moves, with then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claiming that it was unprecedented and "authoritarian" for the majority party to overrule the minority party from deciding committee assignments for their own party members. He vowed in November 2022 that when his party regained control, he would restore Greene's and Gosar's committee appointments. "They'll have committees," the California Republican told reporters. "They may have better ones."

Boebert has also made antisemitic comments and pushed QAnon conspiracy theories. She has a history of failing to comply with ethics and campaign finance disclosure laws. Both she and Greene were fined by the House Ethics Committee during the last Congress for refusing to comply with mask requirements issued at the direction of the Capitol's attending physician to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In December, the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol issued a report that mentioned Perry's role in a scheme to overturn Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election and urged the Ethics Committee to sanction Perry for failing to comply with a subpoena.

The move to put all four on the powerful Oversight committee comes as the Republican majority seeks to block Democratic appointments to certain committees.

McCarthy has promised not to allow California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff or Eric Swalwell to serve on the Intelligence committee, which Schiff previously chaired, or to let Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar serve on the Foreign Affairs panel.

On January 12, according to Mediaite, McCarthy told reporters: "You will find the fundamental difference of me being a speaker and Nancy Pelosi: The other side will get to name their members on the committee. It won't be handpicked by me and denying the Democrats their voice."

When a reporter reminded McCarthy of his plans to block Democratic appointments, he responded by smearing Swalwell and Schiff with what Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler called "specious attacks" earning "four Pinocchios." He claimed that he heard negative things about Swalwell in a classified FBI briefing and accused Schiff of lying to the public.

On Saturday, Boebert told Fox News that she believes Schiff and Swalwell should be excluded from the Intelligence Committee because they and other Democrats are "conspiracy theorists" and "a bunch of Blue Anons."

On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Ian Sams blasted the GOP appointments, telling Axios: "It appears that House Republicans may be setting the stage for divorced-from-reality political stunts, instead of engaging in bipartisan work on behalf of the American people.

"Chairman [James] Comer once said his goal was to ensure the Committee's work is 'credible,' yet Republicans are handing the keys of oversight to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus who promote violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.