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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Photo from Kevin McCarthy's official Facebook

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Democratic lawmakers are up in arms after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it would "be hard not to hit" Nancy Pelosi if he were to win the Speaker's gavel in the 2022 midterms, with a growing number calling for him to either resign or apologize for his remark.

"I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It'll be hard not to hit her with it," McCarthy said at a July 31 event with Tennessee Republican state lawmakers, according to audio published by local Tennessee reporter Vivian Jones.

As the audio spread, Democratic lawmakers condemned McCarthy's remark, saying his violent joke is not funny at a time when lawmakers are already receiving death threats associated with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

"It's been 24 hours since @gopleader McCarthy threatened violence against @SpeakerPelosi. RT if he should apologize or resign," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted Sunday night.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) also called for McCarthy's resignation tweetingSunday night that McCarthy "is now threatening to assault the Speaker of the House."

"His lies about the violence on January 6th are disgusting," McGovern added. "I've said it before & I'll say it again — he should RESIGN!!"

Multiple other lawmakers said McCarthy must apologize.

"@GOPLeader, not only are jokes about violence not funny, they can incite violent & tragic outcomes like January 6th," Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) tweeted. "This type of behavior is unbecoming of an elected official & diminishes Congress as an institution. You need to apologize & stop the reckless, partisan rhetoric."

A number of other comments made the connection to the insurrection at the Capitol, which McCarthy at one point blamed Trump for but later walked back as he tried to stonewall any investigations into the violent attack.

"Not shocking to see @GOPLeader invoke violence against @SpeakerPelosi while he continues to deny the danger she and so many others, on both sides of the aisle, were in on January 6th," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) tweeted. "He owes the Speaker an apology."

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) also said McCarthy's comment "encourages more violence like we saw on January 6th."

Pelosi herself has yet to comment. However, Drew Hammill, her deputy chief of staff, tweeted, "A threat of violence to someone who was a target of a #January6th assassination attempt from your fellow Trump supporters is irresponsible and disgusting."

The relationship between Pelosi and McCarthy has been fraught in recent weeks.

Since Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy's picks for a House committee to probe the insurrection, McCarthy has been wrongly blaming Pelosi for the insurrection. He did despite once blaming Trump and even as Pelosi was a target of the Trump-supporting mob on Jan. 6.

And he's also wrongly blamed her for new mask-wearing requirements on the House side of Capitol Hill, which were not put in place by Pelosi but rather by Congress' attending physician as cases of COVID-19 skyrocket.

McCarthy recently revealed that close to one-third of the House Republican conference has refused to get vaccinated as he argued against the new mask mandate. Every Democratic lawmaker on Capitol Hill is vaccinated.

Pelosi called McCarthy a "moron" for his anti-mask comments.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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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.

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(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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