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Select Panel Seeks 'Cooperation' Of Lawmaker Who Led January 5 Capitol Tour

The House Select Committee has requested cooperation from another sitting lawmaker; this time it is Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican, who investigators say gave a tour of the U.S. Capitol one day before a mob violently stormed the complex.

The letter sent to Loudermilk on Thursday is not a subpoena. It is a request for voluntary cooperation. Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) asked that Loudermilk make an appearance next week:

“We believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021. The foregoing information raises questions to which the Select Committee must seek answers. Public reporting and witness accounts indicate some individuals and groups engaged in efforts to gather information about the layout of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the House and Senate office buildings in advance of January 6, 2021.”


The week after former President Donald Trump incited an insurrection at the Capitol, New Jersey Democrat Mikie Sherrill alleged publicly that she witnessed sitting Republican lawmakers lead tours through the Capitol on the eve of the attack.

Other Democrats, like Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, also said they saw small “unauthorized” groups touring the Capitol on January 5. Scanlon told PhillyVoice in January that she witnessed a group of up to eight people, wearing ill-fitting face masks, on one of those tours.

This stuck out to her, Scanlon recalled at the time, because the Capitol had stopped public tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Sherrill, a moderate Democrat, a sitting member of the House Armed Services Committee, and a Navy veteran, the accusation drew sharp rebuke.

Sherrill has been publicly mum about the details of what she claims to have seen on January 5, but she did join more than two dozen other Democrats who demanded that the House and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms investigate the “suspicious behavior.”


Denials from Republicans came swiftly. Rep. Loudermilk, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee with Sherrill, lashed out by filing a complaint against her—and 33 other Democrats who called for a probe—with the House Ethics Committee.



Loudermilk called the Democrat’s request “a stain” on Congress and flatly denied that any member of the GOP led “reconnaissance tours” through the Capitol on January 5.

“Security footage captured by U.S. Capitol Police easily confirms these facts,” Loudermilk wrote in the full-throated denial.

Loudermilk was one of several Republicans on the House Administration Committee who reviewed security footage from January 6. Many of those same Republican lawmakers said after reviewing it that there were “no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”

In fact, Rep. Rodney Davis, once nominated to serve on the House Select Committee by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, led a call for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have the Capitol security footage made public.

His review, Davis said, did not support allegations from Democrats that members of the GOP led tours of the Capitol on Jan. 5. Pelosi, he screeched, must release the tapes.

But Davis was barking up the wrong tree: Pelosi does not have the authority to release U.S. Capitol security footage. That is up to the U.S. Capitol Police.

Arguably, Davis should have known that. As a member of the Committee on House Administration, he serves on a committee that, in part, oversees the Capitol Police.

Incidentally, Davis was also approved by Pelosi to serve on the January 6 committee when it was first being formed.

McCarthy nominated Davis and four other Republicans—including Trump cronies Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks—to serve in the probe. But Pelosi didn’t want Jordan or Banks and sent McCarthy back to the drawing board.

Instead of continuing negotiations, McCarthy abandoned the committee altogether and slammed it as a partisan witch hunt.

Since then, Davis has served on what amounts to a shadow committee investigating January 6. Its members are all those Republicans who were not placed on the House Select Committee, including Banks and Jordan.

The shadow panel has no subpoena power, so it has relied on voluntary cooperation only and has reportedly focused its efforts almost entirely on the U.S. Capitol Police.

Loudermilk has been a vocal opponent of the investigation of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Before the probe was officially formed, Loudermilk said any select committee formed in Congress would fail to produce new information.

So far, the select committee has interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and obtained critical first-hand witness testimony about what was happening inside of the White House during the insurrection incited by the former president.

Some of that information includes texts from Loudermilk to Trump’s then chief-of-staff Mark Meadows.

While a mass of the former president’s supporters—and members of domestic extremist networks like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys—carried out the assault, Loudermilk texted Meadows.

“It’s really bad up here on the Hill,” he wrote. “They have breached the Capitol.”

Meadows responded to Loudermilk that Trump was “engaging.”

Loudermilk thanked him, but he lamented where they found themselves.

    "Thanks. This doesn't help our cause," Loudermilk said.The lawmaker had spent weeks publicly promoting the idea on Twitter that election fraud was rampant in Georgia, as evidenced by posts collected in a social media field guide first compiled by Rep. Zoe Lofgren.


    A representative for Loudermilk did not respond to a request for comment to Daily Kos on Thursday.

    He did, however, tell The Guardian:



    Loudermilk ultimately voted to object to the certification of the 2020 election results on January 6 after hundreds of police officers had been badly beaten, one person had died, and the Capitol endured more than $1 million in damages.

    Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

    Pennsylvania GOP Nominates ‘Full-Blown Insurrectionist’ For Governor

    In Pennsylvania’s 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary, Republican voters in the Keystone State went with their most extreme option: Pennsylvania State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Christian nationalist and far-right conspiracy theorist who has promoted the Big Lie and falsely claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump in his state. The primary election, held on Tuesday, May 17, wasn’t even close: Mastriano defeated fellow Republican Lou Barletta by 24 percent and will be going up against Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the general election.

    Mastriano’s primary victory is being described as a troubling development by a variety of his critics, ranging from liberal Washington Post opinion columnist Greg Sargent to Never Trump conservative Amanda Carpenter. Sargent, in his May 18 column, stresses that Pennsylvania Republicans went with a flat-out “insurrectionist” when they chose Mastriano.

    Sargent has been complaining that mainstream media coverage of Mastriano fails to capture just how dangerously authoritarian his views are. And now that Mastriano is officially Pennsylvania’s 2022 gubernatorial nominee, Sargent is sounding the alarm even more.


    Pennsylvania has had a variety of governors in recent decades, from Republican Tom Ridge (a moderate conservative and Never Trumper who was popular in the Philadelphia suburbs during his two terms) to centrist Democrats such as Ed Rendell (a former two-term Philly mayor who chaired the Democratic National Committee in the early 2000s) and the late Bob Casey, Sr. (father of Sen. Bob Casey, Jr.). But if Mastriano defeats Shapiro in the general election, the Keystone State will have a dangerously authoritarian governor who is way to the right of even former Sen. Rick Santorum.

    “For the love of democracy, please stop using the phrase ‘election denier,’” Sargent writes. “Now that Doug Mastriano has won the GOP nomination for governor in Pennsylvania, countless news accounts are describing him with that phrase. This is meant to convey the idea that Mastriano won’t accept Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential reelection loss.”

    Sargent continues, “That’s true, but it’s insufficient. Let’s state this plainly: Pennsylvania Republicans just nominated a full-blown insurrectionist who intends to use the power of the office to ensure that, as long as he is governor, no Democratic presidential candidate wins his state again.”

    The Post columnist also points out that “Christian nationalism” is a key element of Mastriano’s ideology. In other words, Mastriano believes that God Almighty wants him to throw out election results if they favor Democrats.

    “Mastriano’s victory also highlights another story that’s bigger than this one contest: the role of Christian nationalism in fueling the growing insurrectionist streak on the right,” Sargent explains. “This nexus underscores the danger this movement poses in a way that also demands more clarity about the worldview of candidates like Mastriano.”

    Sargent adds that Mastriano “is running on what is functionally an open vow to use the power of the governor’s office to nullify future election losses, even if they are procedurally legitimate, and even if he knows this to be the case.”

    “When Mastriano tried to help Trump in 2020,” Sargent notes, “he adopted the radical argument that the Pennsylvania legislature had the ‘sole authority’ to reappoint new electors for Trump, because (Joe) Biden’s win was ‘compromised.’ Mastriano’s claim of a ‘compromised’ Biden win, of course, wasn’t tethered to actual facts. But here’s the crucial point: It didn’t have to be. The aim of overturning the election was itself such a righteous goal that the creation of a pretext for accomplishing it was justified on that basis.”

    Meanwhile, in an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on Tuesday night after the Republican primary election was called for Mastriano, Carpenter declares, “Doug Mastriano is an insurrectionist, period.”

    Sargent and Carpenter have their differences politically. While Sargent is liberal, Carpenter is among the Never Trumpers who has been condemning the MAGA movement from the right. But one thing they obviously agree on is that Mastriano is quite dangerous. Mastriano, Carpenter notes, “bused supporters to the Capitol on January 6, was photographed on the Capitol grounds, and ever since has sought to use his limited political powers as a Pennsylvania state senator to overturn the election.”



    Carpenter points out that “behind the scenes, Republicans have fretted about Mastriano’s candidacy” — fearing that Shapiro would defeat him in the general election. And Shapiro himself, during the primary, said that Mastriano would be the easiest Republican primary candidate to defeat. But Carpenter isn’t so sure.

    Carpenter writes, “Do you want to assume Mastriano is going to get shellacked by the super popular, likable, nice man that is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro? The same Shapiro that was so confident that he put out an ad during the GOP primary that looked like he was trying to boost Mastriano’s prospects with Trump voters?”

    The conservative adds that in 2016, some pundits insisted that Donald Trump couldn’t defeat Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania. Indeed, the Biden campaign left nothing to chance in the Keystone State in 2020 because they remembered some famous last words from four years earlier: Trump can’t win in Pennsylvania.

    Like Sargent, Carpenter points out that the Pennsylvania secretary of state position is chosen by the governor.

    “Republicans are still willing to bet our democracy on someone else cleaning their own house for them,” Carpenter warns. “Oh, and keep in mind that in Pennsylvania, the secretary of the commonwealth — the top elections official — is appointed by the governor. Does anyone doubt that Mastriano would fill that position with someone willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Republicans win the state in 2024?”

    Carpenter continues, “There’s an obvious lesson: Hoping that Democrats will solve the problems of the Republican Party has been a grave mistake. It’s not often countries get second chances. But if the GOP now gets behind insurrectionists like Mastriano, it’s January 6th forever. Which is exactly what Mastriano is campaigning on.”

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

    Right-Wing Media Join GOP Panic Over Kathy Barnette's Senate Campaign

    Kathy Barnette, a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, seems like a natural fit for the MAGA media. Her campaign’s website plays up her role as a political commentator and is festooned with photos of her posing with Fox News personalities and appearing on the network’s sets. Indeed, Barnette built a public profile with regular appearances on Fox & Friends, the insipid morning show that also jump-started former President Donald Trump’s political career.

    But with Republican leaders reportedly panicking in the wake of new polling that shows Barnette pulling even with the Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick in the primary, right-wing media figures like Fox’s Sean Hannity and Newsmax TV’s Greg Kelly are doing everything in their power to halt her rise. Both hosts ran lengthy segments on Wednesday night warning their viewers that her candidacy is too risky, armed with opposition research gleaned from her social media channels.

    Hannity and Kelly are both backing Oz in the primary; Hannity brought on the candidate himself to discuss the oppo drop, while Kelly settled for a surrogate. They also might worry about the impact on Trump’s reputation if the candidate he endorsed falls short, especially Hannity, given his role in advising Trump to make that endorsement. Notably, their criticisms of Barnette run afoul of their own and their networks’ past promotions of the candidate.

    Hannity argued Wednesday that Barnette puts the GOP’s chances of holding the seat at risk because she “has never been vetted.” After telling his viewers that she “has a very troubling history of attacking Donald J. Trump,” Hannity read from and displayed on-screen a series of her tweets from the 2016 presidential campaign criticizing the former president.

    Adding that “more resurfaced tweets are even more disturbing,” he highlighted her past statement describing former President Barack Obama as “a Muslim” as well as an anti-gay remark. In those cases, Hannity appears to be condemning her for comments not too different from some of his own past commentary.

    Hannity went on to praise Oz, whom he deemed “battle-tested,” saying he’s “been vetted and he can win in November” and adding that “Pennsylvania voters have a serious choice to make and the stakes could not be higher.” He then brought on Oz to respond, and the candidate used the opportunity to slam Barnette’s “homophobic comments” and called her “the best chance for Democrats to capture the Senate seat.”

    The Fox host’s criticisms of Barnette are a stark reversal from his previous praise. He noted during the segment that he previously hosted Barnette, but that hardly does the appearance justice. When Hannity brought her on for a Fox interview after she announced her campaign in April 2021, he told her, “You would be the first African American woman as a Republican in the Senate. From all I could see, I hope that happens.”

    Indeed, as late as April of this year, Hannity was saying on his radio show that while he was endorsing Oz in the race, he had “nothing bad to say” about Barnette. He went on to call her “a star,” adding: “I look forward to … supporting her in a future race. She's got a very bright future and I think the world of her.”

    Hannity’s prime-time colleague Laura Ingraham seemed to allude to his broadside on Barnette on the next hour Wednesday night, when she commented, “Boy is the GOP oppo on her flowing.” She then interviewed McCormick, whose candidacy she appears to favor in the race.

    Like Hannity, Newsmax’s Kelly also targeted Barnette’s MAGA bona fides on his Wednesday program, calling the candidate “a phony” who “was unvetted by the press.” But rather than arguing that she has made bigoted comments, his angle was that Barnette’s commentary on race shows that she is exessively left-wing.

    Kelly aired video of Barnette, who is Black, highlighting the presence of slave cabins during a visit to George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation and arguing for a “balanced view of history.” Kelly commented, “She sounds woke!”

    During a second segment, Kelly said Barnette “sounds like woke liberal Mayor Bill deBlasio.” He then aired a video of her saying that “systemic racism is very important to me” because she has a Black son and wants him to be treated fairly by the U.S. justice system. Kelly also aired a video of her saying she wanted to ensure that “George Floyd received justice,” adding, “I would have been out there right along beside each and every one of you who were protesting in Minneapolis.” Kelly went on to comment that Minneapolis “was on fire” and “nearly destroyed,” before airing video of a fiery scene.

    Kelly also interviewed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an Oz surrogate, to praise the Trump-endorsed candidate.

    Kelly’s complaint that Barnette hasn’t been vetted might hold more water if his network hadn’t repeatedly hosted her and even sponsored a debate for the Pennsylvania Senate candidates she participated in.

    Nothing Barnette did raised eyebrows for Hannity or Kelly until it became clear that her success could cost the Republican Party a Senate seat. But now that she’s in position to win a primary (and perhaps lose a general election), they are going to work.


    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Bitter GOP Split Over Pennsylvania Senate Primary Erupts On Fox

    Fox News’ role as an appendage of the Republican Party has made the network a battlefield for the U.S. Senate primary in Pennsylvania as two of its prime-time hosts rally behind different candidates.

    Sean Hannity is supporting Dr. Mehmet Oz, a heart surgeon and TV personality notorious for promoting pseudoscience and medical misinformation. Hannity has hosted 19 of the 25 Fox weekday interviews Oz has done since declaring his candidacy, and he regularly invites him on his nationally syndicated radio show. He has vouched for Oz’s political bona fides, publicly endorsed him on his TV and radio shows, and used his influence with Donald Trump to secure the former president’s coveted support.

    Laura Ingraham, meanwhile, appears to favor Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund CEO and Bush administration official. She has given McCormick 3 of his 9 total Fox weekday interviews during the primary and criticized Trump and Hannity for backing Oz.

    Hannity and Ingraham are both GOP kingmakers, and their shows are among the party’s most influential platforms. Their colleague Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, has ignored the Pennsylvania race altogether as he focused on helping J.D. Vance to victory in the Ohio Senate primary.

    Oz, who entered the public consciousness through broadcast TV as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and on his own eponymous program, used regular appearances on Fox to rebrand as a right-wing commentator, much as Trump himself did a decade ago. Oz has appeared on Fox weekday programs at least 130 times since September 2017, according to the Media Matters guest database, including 75 interviews on Fox & Friends and 38 on Hannity.

    Oz became a fixture on the network during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped him cement his relationships with Hannity and Trump. The Fox host regularly hosted Oz for interviews on his TV and radio shows and repeatedly stressed that the two stay up talking until 2 o’clock or “3 in the morning now, late at night.” Oz’s Fox appearances attracted the Fox-obsessed president’s attention, particularly his constant support for the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as treatment (studies show this drug is not effective). In response, Trump urged his administration officials to consult with Oz on their handling of COVID-19.

    Those relationships proved crucial to Oz’s Senate run. As a first-time candidate with a long history of statements unpopular with his party’s base, Oz has benefited from the public approval of Hannity and Trump. “The best thing he has going for him is his relationship with Hannity,” a conservative operative told New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi for a December profile of Oz.

    Hours after Oz announced his candidacy, Hannity gave him the opportunity to pitch himself to the Fox audience. Introducing Oz for that November 30 interview, Hannity stressed that Oz had “a lot of similarities” to Trump, and he highlighted their personal friendship and their “many conversations, too numerous to count, late into the night” at the start of the pandemic.

    During the interview Hannity asked Oz some softball questions about why he was running and how he would respond to the criticism that he is new to the state. He then offered him a chance to assuage the concerns of conservatives who might doubt that he is one of them.

    “I say I'm a conservative. I used to say I'm a Reagan conservative. I would say I'm an America First, Make America Great Again conservative,” Hannity said. “How would you describe, in just a sentence, your political ideology, philosophy? You are running as -- in a Republican primary. How would you sum it up?”

    Oz replied, “I match yours.”

    Oz used subsequent appearances on Hannity’s Fox show to push back against criticisms that he is insufficiently conservatives, lash out at right-wing targets like Dr. Anthony Fauci, and denounce President Joe Biden for firing him from the presidential fitness council.

    Hannity has formally endorsed Oz’s campaign. While introducing him for a March 3 interview on his radio show, Hannity said: “I'm supporting his nomination to be the Republican candidate. I've known him for many, many years. Some people said, ‘How do I know he's a conservative, Hannity?’ I got the same questions about Donald Trump, and I think I was proven right.” On Fox, Hannity likewise said on March 23 that Oz will “make a great senator. I've known him for years. He is a solid America First, Make America Great Again conservative. That's why I'm supporting him, and a friend.”

    Oz prominently displays Hannity’s support on his campaign website’s endorsements page.

    Hannity’s role at Fox ensures Oz’s access to a large audience of Republican base voters — but his sidegig as a GOP political operative may have been even more valuable to Oz’s campaign. He spent the Trump administration moonlighting as one of the president’s most trusted advisers and reportedly used that influence on Oz’s behalf. Other key Trump allies denounced Oz as a latecomer to the movement and many conservative luminaries backed McCormick. But Hannity reportedly “actively lobbied for Trump to endorse the celebrity doctor” and his recommendation “played an outsized role in influencing Trump’s decision” to do so in an April 9 statement.

    Two nights later on Fox, Hannity sought to lessen the blowback from Trump’s endorsement. “Dr. Oz is the America First candidate and running in Pennsylvania, which is why I have endorsed him,” Hannity said while introducing the candidate for yet another interview. “He's fully behind the America First, Make America Great Again agenda, strong on the border, strong on energy independence, tough on crime, believes in law and order, supports the right to life, he follows the science on COVID, wants to fire Fauci.”

    But the next night on her own Fox show, Ingraham joined the critics of Trump’s endorsement — and highlighted Hannity’s influence on the decision.

    After playing a video of Oz making comments about climate change, guns, and abortion that are anathema to conservatives, Ingraham asked her guest, former Trump White House official Kellyanne Conway, whether Trump had erred. When Conway refused to give a straight answer, Ingraham said, “Hannity, I think, I believe, endorsed Oz and … that’s probably not inconsequential for President Trump” before adding, “I think it was a mistake to endorse Oz. I'll say it. I'm not afraid to say it. It was a mistake to endorse Oz.”

    While Ingraham has not formally endorsed Oz’s primary opponent McCormick, she has repeatedly offered him a platform and praised his background.

    “All eyes are on the top two candidates, one of them served in the Turkish military, Dr. Oz, everyone knows him from TV,” she said while introducing McCormick for a February 22 interview. “And the other went to West Point and served as an Army Ranger in the Gulf War.”

    McCormick received an opportunity to pitch his candidacy to Ingraham’s viewers and respond to criticism that he won’t be “tough on China” like Trump. His answers apparently satisfied her concerns. “You clarified a lot, Dave, tonight, and we really appreciate your joining us,” she said at the end of the interview.

    Ingraham used subsequent interviews with McCormick to give him a chance to push back against Oz’s attacks on his position on tariffs with China and to levy his own salvos at Oz’s past statements on abortion.

    She isn’t the only one at Fox who seems to prefer McCormick. Host Mark Levin told him he would make “an excellent senator” during an interview, while contributors Mike Huckabee and Mike Pompeo have endorsed and campaigned for him.

    Fox will win the primary no matter which Republican emerges from the May 17 election, but it remains to be seen which Fox host has more sway with GOP voters in Pennsylvania.

    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Georgia Grand Jury Officially Opens Trump Probe

    The investigation into a call former President Trump made to Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger after losing the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden just got a whole lot more real.

    On Monday, prosecutors from the Fulton County District Attorney’s office began choosing residents for a special purpose grand jury. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the jury will comprise 23 Fulton County residents and three alternates.

    Although the special grand jury can’t approve indictments, it will assist Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis in building her case, as the group will have the power to issue subpoenas for documents and testimony. Ultimately, she will present her full case to a regular grand jury.

    More than 30 witnesses have refused to testify voluntarily since the investigation opened in Feb. 2021—including Raffensperger—and that won’t change until June 1, Willis told the AJC, in order to avoid any conflict with the May 24 primaries.

    Former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told the AJC Monday’s special jury selection is a “significant legal step.”

    “I think (Trump) probably should be concerned in that now, instead of just investigators poking around the edges, he’s got a grand jury that can go directly to the heart of it and compel testimony… They may be able to compel his testimony.”

    In addition to the call from Trump to Raffensperger, AJC reports that Willis will probe the resignation of U.S. Attorney Byung “BJay” Pak, who has testified he felt pressured to investigate bogus election fraud allegations; Sen. Lindsey Graham’s call to Raffeensperger to request he trash legally cast ballots in the state; erroneous statements from Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani during a Georgia Senate Judiciary Committee, and finally, the forged election docs falsely claiming that Trump won in 2020.

    Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert C.I. McBurney will oversee the special grand jury and the DA’s entire investigation will be kept secret. The panel could meet for up to a year and at the end of their service, the group makes recommendations for the case.

    “Anything’s possible because they don’t just sit there and listen to two sides present a case. They get to ask questions, they get to get involved,” Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia told the AJC. “They can break out in committees if they want to look at different things, and then come back and report to the full body.”

    Willis has remained steadfast in her investigation into Trump’s call to Raffensperger, vowing to hold him to account.

    “I’m going to bring an indictment—I don’t care who it is,” Willis told the AJC in April.

    In early February, Willis, who is Black, was forced to ask for additional security from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after Trump lashed out at her during a rally in Texas.

    The veteran district attorney alleged that since Trump’s speech, in which he called her a “racist,” she began receiving threats.

    “If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta, and elsewhere, because our country and our elections are corrupt,” Trump said at the rally.

    Reprinted with permission from DailyKos.

    Top Pollster Reveals Why Trump’s Influence Within GOP Is Crashing

    A veteran Republican pundit is revealing how he believes Republicans really feel about former President Donald Trump and, apparently, they aren't as fond of him as they once were.

    During a discussion with The Daily Beast, pollster Frank Luntz referenced a recent joke New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu made about his fellow Republican at the Gridiron Club dinner in Washington.

    “He’s fucking crazy,” Sununu said of the former president. “I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution. But I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out.”

    Although it's common for roasting to take place at the event, Luntz believes the remarks are indicative of a bigger problem as he noted how Republicans may feel about Sununu's remarks.

    “I don’t know a single Republican who was surprised by what Sununu said. He said what they were thinking,” Luntz told The Daily Beast. “They won’t say it [in public], but behind his back, they think he’s a child. They’re laughing at him. That’s what made it significant.”

    Trump New Report Dishes Trump's Bizarre Conduct In His Own Hotel "Donald Trump" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

    Luntz also noted the sharp decline in Trump's influence over Republican voters. While the former president has had a relatively tight grip on the party to the point of his endorsement being a determining factor in elections, that does not appear to be the case anymore.

    “Trump isn’t the same man he was a year ago,” Luntz added. “Even many Republicans are tired of going back and rehashing the 2020 election. Everybody else has moved on and in Washington, everyone believes he lost the election.”

    The Republican pundit's remarks follow a series of lackluster Trump rallies. Unlike the Trump rallies of the past, the former president is reportedly drawing much smaller crowds now. Speaking to MSNBC's Cori Coffin, Republican strategist Susan Del Percio weighed in on the low rally attendance in Selma, North Carolina, saying, “That’s what you saw there: a very shrinking base.”

    Printed with permission from Alternet.

    Despite Near Unanimous GOP Opposition, Senate Confirms Jackson In Historic Vote

    Forty seven Republican senators voted against approving Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

    The U.S. Senate voted 53 -- 47 Thursday to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. Over nearly unanimous Republican opposition, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the high court in its 232 -- year history.

    Just three Senate Republicans — Maine's Susan Collins, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, and Utah's Mitt Romney — joined with every one of their Democratic colleagues in support of Jackson's confirmation. On Monday, 47 Republican senators opposed even allowing Jackson's nomination to come to a vote on the Senate floor after the evenly divided Judiciary Committee split along party lines.

    In February, President Joe Biden named Jackson to succeed retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, keeping his 2020 campaign promise to appoint a Black woman to the most powerful court in the country. Biden highlighted Jackson's impressive record as a federal appellate court judge for the District of Columbia, a former public defender, and a former Supreme Court clerk for Breyer.

    Jackson has promised to be an impartial and fair arbiter on the court. "I decide cases from a neutral posture," she told the Senate. "I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me, without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath."

    Jackson was unanimously recommended as "well qualified" for the post by the American Bar Association, the highest rating from the nonpartisan group of lawyers that is praised by Republican and Democratic senators alike as the "gold standard."

    The American public also strongly backed Jackson's confirmation, with polls showing her as one of the most popular Supreme Court picks in modern times, with the support of two -- thirds of those polled.

    Despite Jackson's eminent qualifications for the role, Senate Republicans went on the attack and spent weeks trying to block her confirmation.

    First, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized her for having gotten her law degree at Harvard Law School, although he had previously backed other nominees from the same school.

    Then Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley began making widely debunked claims that "Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child porn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker" and that she had demonstrated an "alarming trend of lenient sentencing."

    Finally, GOP senators resorted to what they had previously called "embarrassing antics" at Jackson's confirmation hearings, demanding she weigh in on policy questions that are up to Congress to decide.

    Though Jackson has now been confirmed, she will not join the Supreme Court immediately. Breyer's resignation goes into effect at the end of the current term, meaning she will likely be sworn in late June or early July.

    She will be just the sixth female and third Black Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.

    Biden tweeted a photo of himself with the newly confirmed justice on Thursday, writing, "Judge Jackson's confirmation was a historic moment for our nation. We've taken another step toward making our highest court reflect the diversity of America. She will be an incredible Justice, and I was honored to share this moment with her."

    Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


    Feckless GOP Leadership Refuses To Punish Greene For ‘America First’ Bigotry

    The two top House Republicans made comments criticizing two members of their caucus on Monday for participating in a white nationalist event. But both Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise have opposed any previous efforts to punish Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Paul Gosar (AZ) for their clear bigotry, and they have stood by as others in their caucus promote Islamophobia, antisemitism, racism, and anti-LGBTQ discrimination.

    "There's no place in our party for any of this. ... The party should not be associated any time, any place with somebody who is antisemitic," McCarthy (CA) told reporters. "This is unacceptable."

    "There's no place in America for anti-Semitism, for hate speech and thought that any race is purer than any other," agreed Scalise, the congressman from Louisiana.'

    These rare criticisms of their own GOP colleagues came after Greene and Gosar gave speeches to the America First Political Action Conference — a far-right conference organized by Southern Poverty Law Center-designated white nationalist Nick Fuentes — over the weekend.

    Greene has since claimed she was unfamiliar with Fuentes and his views.

    But both Gosar and Greene have prior records of hateful speech and deeds.

    Prior to her election to Congress, Greene had a long history of antisemitic, racist, and Islamophobic comments.

    Last summer, she compared COVID-19 safety requirements to "Nazi practices." She later apologized for her "offensive" and "hurtful" analogy — but then equated President Joe Biden's door-to-door campaign to offer vaccines to people who wanted them with Nazi "Brownshirts" three weeks later.

    Gosar addressed the same America First Political Action Conference last year — while pretending to be working from home due to the pandemic.

    Before that, he traveled to the United Kingdom for a 2018 rally for an anti-immigrant extremist, where he blamed sex trafficking and abuse on the "scourge" of Muslim people and said in 2020 that Americans should "take a chill pill" instead of using words like "racism" and "racist."

    Last November, Gosar refused to apologize after his staffers posted a violent video depicting him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and assaulting President Joe Biden.

    McCarthy, Scalise, and the House Republican Conference refused to take any action to hold Greene or Gosar responsible for their actions. Instead, the Democratic majority — with almost no GOP supportcensured Gosar and stripped both of their committee assignments. Scalise and McCarthy opposed both moves.

    Neither GOP leader has spoken out or taken action against other House Republicans who have also made offensive comments about Jews and the Holocaust.

    Colorado's Lauren Boebert last summer called public health officials providing at-home COVID-19 vaccines as "Needle Nazis;" Ohio's Warren Davidson had to apologize for likening a Washington, D.C., vaccine requirement to a Nazi "Gesundheitspass (health pass)" used to require "racial hygiene;" Alabama's Mo Brooks read aloud sections of Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf" on the House floor in 2019 as part of a speech attacking the media and Democrats for allegations Donald Trump's 2016 campaign colluded with Russians; and North Carolina's Madison Cawthorn complained in 2020 that it was really difficult to convince Jews to convert out of Judaism.

    Scalise himself infamously spoke to a white nationalist group connected to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in 2002 and reportedly once claimed to be "David Duke without the baggage."

    Scalise's Eye of the Tiger leadership PAC has given at least $10,000 to Cawthorn.

    McCarthy's Majority Committee has donated at least $17,500 to Gosar, $10,000 to Cawthorn, and $5,000 to Boebert.

    Both have also embraced Trump, despite his frequent attacks on LGBTQ, Muslim, Jewish, Asian, and Black Americans.

    And a significant portion of their caucus has voted against protections for those communities.

    On Monday, McCarthy and Scalise were among 188 Republicans in the House voting against the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, a bill to ban discrimination "based on a person's hair texture or hairstyle if that style or texture is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin."

    Both were among 206 House Republicans to oppose the Equality Act — which would explicitly add LGBTQ Americans to existing federal nondiscrimination laws — last February.

    And many members of their caucus have been even worse. Last May 62 House Republicans voted against a bipartisan bill to protect Asian Americans from coronavirus-related hate crimes. On Monday, three even voted against a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime.

    Ocasio-Cortez called out the GOP leader's hypocrisy on Monday evening.

    "McCarthy has been protecting his little KKK Caucus for years with these toothless statements and meetings," she tweeted. "It's how he covers for them. He's now helped them for so long they've escalated their open antisemitism & collaboration w/ white nationalist groups. He's just as culpable."

    Reprinted with permission from American Independent