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Sarah Palin may not be as well liked as she thinks she is in her home state of Alaska. According to a Public Policy Polling poll released on Tuesday, the former governor and vice-presidential hopeful currently holds a dismal 39 percent favorability rating among Alaskan voters.

Earlier this month Palin told Sean Hannity that she was considering entering the U.S. Senate race to replace Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). “I’ve considered it because people have requested me considering it,” Palin told the Fox News host.

Those people are a clear minority; only 47 percent of voters in the Last Frontier State consider Palin to be an Alaskan, and only 41 percent think she should be running for Senate in Alaska as opposed to Arizona, where the Palin family have a home.

Begich’s seat is critical to Republican hopes of winning a Senate majority, increasing the party’s incentive to find an electable candidate. Right-wing activist and 2010 Republican nominee Joe Miller and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell have formally filed papers to run for the Republican Senate nomination, and there is growing speculation that former attorney general and current Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan may join the race upon returning from military duty in Afghanistan. If Palin entered the race she would be the favorite in the primary, with the support of 36 percent of Alaska Republicans. Treadwell is second at 26 percent, followed by Sullivan at 15 percent and Miller at 12 percent.

Without Palin in the race, Treadwell would lead with 33 percent, followed by Sullivan at 25 percent and Miller at 24 percent.

Although Palin is the favorite among GOP voters, Treadwell is the best chance Republicans have of ousting Begich. When each Republican candidate was matched up against Begich in a hypothetical general election, Joe Miller and Sarah Palin struggle, trailing the incumbent 55 to 32 and 52 to 40 percent, respectively. Begich leads Sullivan by 7 points, and holds a 4 point lead over Treadwell.

This is promising news for Begich and Senate Democrats: if Palin enters the race she would have a good chance of winning the primary, but falling flat in the general election. If Palin decides to not enter the race, Treadwell would likely triumph in the primary, giving Begich a more difficult path to re-election.

Palin has plenty of criticism for Senator Begich, saying he “has not done what he has promised to do for the people of Alaska and that was to represent what it is that the nation needs in terms of energy development and so many other… development issues that are near and dear to an Alaskan’s heart.” Palin continued, “Because he’s on the wrong side of the aisle, he has to go along to get along with his Democrat leadership. And that’s a shame. That’s a waste of opportunity for our nation.”

Sarah Palin has time to decide whether or not she’ll run for U.S. Senate, but this poll should serve as a word of caution to the Tea Party darling. Not only do 58 percent of Alaskans polled have an unfavorable opinion of Palin, but she ought to know that her approval rating in the state she once led is equal to President Obama’s—and he lost the state by 14 points in 2012.

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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.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

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