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House Freedom Caucus Mounts Doomed Bid To Remove Pelosi

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The far-right wing of the House Republican caucus is demanding the party immediately mount a quixotic bid to remove Nancy Pelosi from her position as Speaker of the House. They claim the California Democrat is too "authoritarian."

In a letter dated July 23, the House Freedom Caucus asked Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the House Republican Conference to "bring up a privileged motion by July 31, 2021 to vacate the chair and end Nancy Pelosi's authoritarian reign as Speaker of the House." They ask McCarthy (R-CA) to obtain authorization from the party conference to force a vote on a resolution to remove Pelosi.

Formed in 2015, the Freedom Caucus is a group of hard-line conservative House Republicans. It claims to "support open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans." While it does not disclose its roster, dozens of its members have been identified, including its chair, Andy Biggs (AZ), and its vice chair, Jim Jordan (OH).

The letter to McCarthy specifies a handful of grievances against Pelosi, who the group claims is "destroying the House of Representatives and our ability to faithfully represent the people we are here to serve."

First, they charge that she "has championed unconstitutional changes like allowing proxy voting and insulting security metal detectors for Members coming to the floor to vote."

These moves were not unconstitutional. The Constitution expressly grants each chamber the authority to "determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member."

After numerous COVID-19 cases in Congress, the House voted to pass a temporary rule change to allow members to designate a colleague to serve as their proxy if they are "unable to physically attend proceedings in the House chamber due to the ongoing public health emergency."

Republicans initially objected, calling the change a decision by the Democrats to "abandon ship" and filing a federal lawsuit challenging the work-from-home system. A federal judge rejected their case last August, and a three-judge appellate panel unanimously dismissed their appeal on Tuesday — but McCarthy's office said he plans to ask the Supreme Court to intervene.

But dozens of House Republicans — including several members of the Freedom Caucus — have taken advantage of the system. Some even used it as an excuse to skip work and attend the CPAC conference in February.

The House also voted to require members to pass through metal detectors after several ignored a prohibition on firearms in the chamber.

The Freedom Caucus' letter also complains of Pelosi's decision not to appoint two GOP members chosen by McCarthy to the select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection, as well as the House's February vote to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from her committee assignments over her racist and bigoted behavior.

"Less easily reversible is the damage done to the institution by the Leadership of one party directing the ability of Members of another party to serve in roles at the direction of their own conference," they wrote, adding that this followed "the intolerable action of unseating another Republican from her committees."

Numerous House members who later joined the Freedom Caucus voted in 2014 to create an earlier select committee to study the 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. That committee was appointed at the sole discretion of the Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner.

And 200 House Republicans — including most members of the Freedom Caucus — voted this March to remove Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Even if the Freedom Caucus convinces the rest of the House Republicans to force a vote on Pelosi's removal, it is almost certain to fail in the majority-Democratic House.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Cheney Backs Pelosi's Rejection Of GOP Extremists For Jan. 6 Panel

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) had choice words for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, accusing him of doing everything in his power to block a legitimate investigation into the January 6 attack at the Capitol.

Cheney made the comments after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy's five picks — Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) — for the select committee to investigate the insurrection. McCarthy slammed Pelosi's decision to reject those two members, vowing that Republicans will now not participate in the investigative committee at all.

But Cheney sided with Pelosi in the matter, saying that Banks and Jordan — who have openly sympathized with the Trump mob that stormed the Capitol — would have prevented the committee from actually doing real investigative work.

"She has objected to two members and the rhetoric around this from the minority leader and from those two members has been disgraceful," Cheney told reporters on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. "This must be an investigation that is focused on facts, and the idea that any of this has become politicized is really unworthy of the office that we all hold and unworthy of our republic."

Cheney went on to say that McCarthy has taken "every opportunity" to try to block a probe into the attack, which Cheney has accused former President Donald Trump of inciting.

And she said that his appointment of Banks and Jordan was one of those opportunities to thwart a legitimate investigation.

"She objected to two [of McCarthy's picks], one of whom may well be a material witness to events that led to that day, that led to January 6," Cheney said, referring to Jordan, who reportedly spoke to Trump during the insurrection.

As for Banks, Cheney said he "disqualified himself by his comments in particular over the last 24 hours demonstrating that he is not taking this seriously. He is not dealing with the facts of this investigation but rather viewed it as a political platform."

Banks said in a statement after McCarthy appointed him that he was there to protect Trump and made attempts to blame the attack on Pelosi and President Joe Biden's administration, even though it had not yet begun when the Trump-supporting mob violently beat law enforcement to enter the Capitol to prevent a peaceful transition of power.

Since Pelosi's decision to nix those two members, McCarthy and Banks have been on a media tour to try to paint the committee as political and a farce.

But the Congressional investigation will go on, with the select committee set to hold its first hearing on July 27.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Why Do Mainstream Media Enable GOP Sabotage Of Jan. 6 Investigation?

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Following the attempt by House Republicans to place members on the January 6 select committee who have not only lied about the 2020 election but openly signaled their intention to undermine the investigation on behalf of former President Donald Trump, mainstream media outlets are engaging in a both-sides narrative. Instead of focusing on the organized Republican efforts to undermine the investigation, they are shifting the blame onto Democrats for somehow not trying hard enough to keep the investigation bipartisan with those very same wreckers.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two out of the five members that Republicans had offered to sit on the committee — to which Republicans replied by declaring they would boycott the committee entirely. (A single Republican remains on the committee, however: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) whom Pelosi had already named.)

Of those two members whom Pelosi rejected, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) had previously met with Trump in late December to confer on strategy to reject the certification of the election results, and declared this week that the committee was "impeachment round 3, this is to go after President Trump" — rather than to investigate a matter of national security. The other, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), had released a statement accusing the committee of having been formed "solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left's authoritarian agenda."

Politico Digs In On The Both-Sides Play

This week, Politico echoed the Republican spin and ignored the obvious reality that the Republican committee picks would be set on sabotaging an investigation. The site followed up in its Playbook newsletter Thursday morning, declaring that partisan oversight had hit "a new low," at once acknowledging Republican opposition to the investigation and putting the burden on Democrats to please them.

"When Republicans voted against an outside bipartisan commission to investigate the siege because of what it might turn up in an election year, we called them out for acting in cowardice," the Playbook authors wrote. "But Pelosi's move will make the investigation even easier to dismiss for people who aren't die-hard members of Team Blue."

The newsletter also removed the moral onus from individuals sympathizing with January 6 rioters by declaring, "It also comes as polling for CBS News finds that Republican voters are increasingly sympathetic to the rioters … making a probe that's credible to the right even more important."

CNN's Chris Cillizza Keeps Blaming Democrats

Perhaps the single worst example of this kind of willful both-sides spin game is CNN's Chris Cillizza — who not only keeps pinning an equal (or greater) blame on Democrats, but also repeatedly shows with his comments that he does know better. On Wednesday, Cillizza published a widely-mocked column declaring that Pelosi had "just doomed the already tiny chances of the 1/6 committee actually mattering."

If you ever held any hope that the House select committee on the January 6 US Capitol riot might produce a report that would help us understand what happened in the lead-up to that day and, in so doing, provide us avenues to keeping it from happening again, you should give up on those hopes now.

No matter Pelosi's reasoning, her decision to reject Jordan and Banks, the two most high-profile Republicans put forward by McCarthy, dooms even the possibility of the committee being perceived as bipartisan or its eventual findings being seen as independent.

But as others pointed out, Cillizza had published another column just the day before titled "Kevin McCarthy's picks for the 1/6 commission reveal his true goals."In it, he had declared that the House minority leader's selection of Jordan and Banks demonstrated that the Republican leader had "zero interest in getting to the bottom of what really happened" on January 6 — further adding that Jordan's presence on the committee would ensure "that it will be a circus" since Jordan is there to "muddy the waters."

And during an appearance Wednesday on CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper, Cillizza acknowledged that "the reason that we're where we are, generally speaking with this, is because Mitch McConnell decided that they didn't want to play ball within a true bipartisan, independent commission. It's the only reason that there's a select committee now."

But Cillizza wasn't alone at CNN in his obtuseness. A news article by reporters Annie Grayer and Jeremy Herb claimed in its second paragraph that Pelosi's decision had "injected new fuel into the partisan fight over the select committee" — as if the open declarations by Jordan and Banks that they would seek to undercut the investigation on partisan grounds had not done that very thing to begin with.

Other Mainstream Outlets Are Giving In

The Washington Post ran an article headlined "Bipartisan House probe of Jan. 6 insurrection falls apart after Pelosi blocks two GOP members" — though in fact, the committee still has a bipartisan membership including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). The article also featured a both-sides narrative about Congress' supposed inability to investigate the storming of the Capitol by supporters of a single political leader:

The inability of the House to move forward with a bipartisan committee marks the latest failure in repeated attempts by members of Congress to investigate the first storming of the Capitol in more than 200 years. Both parties have attacked the other as insincere and uninterested in conducting a fair-minded examination of the attack by Trump supporters seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

Similarly, ABC News reporter Ben Siegel wrote an article headlined "Jan. 6 commission collapses after Nancy Pelosi vetoes GOP selections Jim Jordan, Jim Banks." By contrast, Thursday morning's editing of ABC's newsletter The Note cast Cheney as "now perhaps the only person standing in the way of final Jan. 6 takeaways devolving into wearying and meaningless 'both sides-ism.'"

In a discussion on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire detailed the "deeply cynical" actions by congressional Republicans. But then he made the media into just a passive observer, saying that Republican efforts to cover up January 6 were "just going to lead to more and more Americans just shrugging their shoulders and saying, 'Look, this is why Washington is so broken.'"

But mainstream media voices like himself have the ability to prevent that impression from just sinking in among the American public — they don't just have to accept it.

Gym Jordan Says Insurrection Occurred Because Democrats ’Normalized Anarchy’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) attacked nearly half of American adults on Wednesday, falsely claiming Democrats "normalized anarchy," after Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to allow him on the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

Jordan suggested because Democrats supported the Black Lives Matter protests against police killing of unarmed Black people, Trump supporters had every right to break federal laws, damage federal property, attempt to overturn an election, and threaten the lives of duly-elected House and Senate representatives, and the vice president of the United States.

Jordan insisted the "fundamental question" the January 6 Select Committee should investigate is not who lied to the American people, who incited the insurrection, and the attempted coup – but "why wasn't there a proper, proper security presence at the capitol that day."

That is one of many questions that must be answered, but Jordan claims to already have the answer, which is straight out of far right wing extremist social media posts.

"My answer is because what happened all last year," Jordan said Wednesday at a press conference. "The Democrats normalized anarchy. They normalized rioting and looting and rioters and looters attacks on law enforcement personnel, when rioters and looters destroyed small businesses, what did Democrats did? They went out and raised money to bail them out of jail and they continued to talk about defunding the police," Jordan said.

Watch:

Republicans Abandon Capitol Riot Panel After Pelosi Rejects Jordan, Banks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday withdrew his five nominees to serve on the special committee probing the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of them. Pelosi had earlier rejected Representatives Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, staunch defenders of former President Donald Trump, from serving on the panel investigating the Trump supporters who assaulted Congress in an attempt to stop it from certifying President Joe Biden's election. "With respect for the integrity of the investigation, w...

'Not Surprised': As Gaetz Sinks In Scandal, Trump And His Allies Remain Silent

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz has come up with what would seem to be the perfect defense for a Republican audience. In a Washington Examiner editorial, Gaetz explains how the whole series of charges against him are nothing more than fake news from "leftist television anchors" who are after Gaetz because he "loathes the swamp." He then compares his current troubles to the very-credible accusations made against Brett Kavanaugh, and the Senate verified claims connecting Donald Trump's campaign to Russia.

But as Gaetz rails that these "bizarre claims" are coming out because he's decided to take on the FBI and the "Biden Justice Department" in some unspecified way, there seems to be a distinct parade of rats looking for the exit ramp from S.S. Gaetz.

According to Politico, those eager to run, not walk, away from association with Gaetz include Trump, right-wing pundits like Sean Hannity, and other Republican members of Congress. According to one Trump staffer, when it comes to the accusations against Gaetz, "Not a lot of people are surprised."

The most surprising thing about Gaetz's current position is just how unsurprising every Republican in D.C. seems to find it. But there's a good reason: Not only did Gaetz show off naked pictures and videos of his supposed conquests to other Republican members of Congress, his staff apparently sent around videos of his most outrageous exploits to their counterparts with other Republican officials.

When it comes to Matt Gaetz, Republicans weren't facing vague rumors about his conduct, they were getting bragging self-confessions from the man himself. And they were getting both photos and video, some of it delivered by Gaetz right from the floor of the House.

Part of what made Gaetz feel as if sending his sex tapes to fellow Republicans acceptable can be seen in a new Orlando Sentinel article that describes Gaetz's feelings about such images. Gaetz believes that once he has an "intimate" picture of someone, that image is his to use however he wants. That includes feeding his ego, or using the image as revenge porn. Which is why Gaetz as the primary source of opposition to a bill against revenge porn when he served in the Florida house.

All of this suggests that the biggest crime connected to Matt Gaetz may not be transporting an underage girl across state lines and putting her up at a hotel for the purposes of sex, or Gaetz's long-running partnership with Republican official and fake ID supplier Joel Greenberg. The biggest crime is the conspiracy of silence among Republican lawmakers who continued to protect Gaetz even though they were seeing graphic evidence of his behavior. They knew what he was doing. And they were just fine with it until Gaetz was caught.

How bad do Republicans think Gaetz's actions were? When Rep. Jim Jordan faced reports that he was connected to a coverup involving dozens of cases of sexual abuse at Ohio State, six Republican lawmakers stepped forward to put a statement of support for Jordan on the record. None of them has offered anything similar for Gaetz. (Of course, Gaetz has been praised by new Republican leader Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. So there's that.)

  • As CNN reported last week, Gaetz sent to other members of Congress "photos and videos of nude women he said he had slept with." This isn't something that happened just once, but repeatedly.
  • As Politico reported on Tuesday, Gaetz's staffers "would regularly send embarrassing videos of their boss to other GOP operatives." Not once, but "regularly."
  • As The Washington Post reported last Friday, Gaetz "repeatedly boasted" about women he met through Greenberg, who has been facing at least 33 indictments since last summer, including sex trafficking of a minor.
  • As Florida Trend reported in 2015, Gaetz not only led the opposition to a revenge porn bill, he was ultimately only one of two representatives to vote against the bill.

Over and over again, Gaetz showed Republicans exactly who he was. But until word of an actual FBI investigation made the news, not one of them made a move to speak out against Gaetz. No Republican turned those nude videos into an ethics complaint. No Republican warned that Gaetz was bragging about the women he picked up through an indicted sex trafficker.

Even now, the best Republican leader Kevin McCarthy will say is that Gaetz will be removed from his campaign committees should the accusations "turn out to have merit." That's a position of incredible weakness—especially from someone who very likely has already seen nude pics passed along by Gaetz.

The Republican willingness to accept this behavior from a representative is nothing short of disgusting.