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Tag: jim jordan

Jordan May Testify — But Only If Select Panel Shows Its Hand First

More than a week after receiving a subpoena from the House Select Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has responded by telling investigators he will consider complying if they meet a list of his demands, including that the probe share any information it has on him that prompted the subpoena.

In a six-page letter to Committee Chair Bennie Thompson littered with accusations that the probe is unconstitutional, the Ohio Republican said he would “adequately” respond if investigators provided, in advance, “all documents, videos, or other material” they anticipate using during his possible deposition.

He has also demanded that the committee give him all other materials it has where he is specifically referenced and any legal analyses the panel has accumulated pertaining to the constitutionality of subpoenaing a fellow member of Congress.

A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

In related news: On Thursday, Politico was first to get its hands on a letter from at least 20 former House Republicans urging GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans subpoenaed by the select committee to comply with the requests.

Addressing the letter to McCarthy and Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, and Scott Perry, the former Republican lawmakers stressed that they understood the rarity of a “congressional investigative body” issuing a subpoena to sitting lawmakers.

But, they wrote, “we also recognize that the subject of this inquiry is unprecedented in American history.”

“A full and honest accounting of the attack and its causes is critical to preventing future assaults on the rule of law and American institutions — and ensuring that we all can move forward,” the letter states.

The committee first asked Jordan to voluntarily cooperate in December, highlighting questions it had for him about his contact with former President Donald Trump before, during, or after the insurrection at the U.S Capitol.

Historically, Jordan’s public response to these questions has been wildly inconsistent. Last summer Jordan told Fox News he spoke to Trump on January 6. When asked the same question a day later by a reporter from a different outlet, Jordan initially couldn’t recall if or when he spoke to Trump on January 6.

But he ultimately bumbled through the question and said he “thought” he spoke with Trump after the attack.

Then, a month after that interview, Jordan told Politico he spoke to the former president during the attack. And last October, when testifying before the House Rules Committee, Jordan was adamant that he spoke to Trump after the attack but he also said he couldn't remember how many times he spoke to Trump that day, either.

It was only after several minutes of House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-MA) pushing Jordan to get specific that he stated he did not talk to Trump during the Capitol assault.

Last February, the committee investigating the insurrection obtained White House call records from the National Archives that showed Trump attempting to reach Jordan on the morning of January 6 from the White House residence.

Another entry following it noted the call lasted for 10 minutes.

When this news broke in February and reporters asked Jordan yet again if he remembered speaking to Trump before the insurrection, he responded: “I don’t recall.”

But he did say that he talked to Trump after delivering remarks on the House floor for roughly five minutes on January 6.

Legislators were debating objections to Biden’s electoral vote in Arizona and Jordan’s remarks began just after 1:30 PM. Jordan then spoke again from the House floor hours after the riot had subsided, this time around 10:27 PM.

"I know I talked to him after we left off the floor," Jordan told CNN in February.

Investigators also want to ask Jordan about any communication he was privy to that took place at the Willard Hotel on the eve of the attack or on Jan. 6 itself.

Trump’s legal team established a “war room” at the Willard, an upscale venue just blocks from the White House. Using a block of suites there, the president’s attorneys, advisers, and campaign strategists would meet regularly to hash out a strategy to overturn the 2020 election results.

Public reporting, witness testimony, and court records have indicated it was Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Bernie Kerik, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and others who convened there, though it is critical to note that they were far from the only Trump aides, attorneys, or insiders who frequented the room.

All told, it has been estimated that up to 30 people attended meetings at the Willard where the overturn—and “alternate elector”—strategy was discussed in detail.

In his response to the committee’s subpoena, Jordan argues at length that neither the subpoena nor the committee are constitutional. His argument has become a de facto position for Republicans who have faced the probe’s scrutiny.

Though Jordan claims the panel’s request is invalid because the committee does not have proper representation of Republican members appointed by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Jordan fails to note that when he had a chance to vote in favor of a wholly bipartisan committee—evenly split between Republicans and Democrats with even subpoena powers—he voted against it.

McCarthy appointed Jordan to serve on the initial bipartisan committee proposed by Democratic leaders. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rejected Jordan—and Rep. Jim Banks—and asked McCarthy to advance two new nominees to the pool of five GOP members he was permitted to appoint.

McCarthy refused to do so, negotiations ended, and the hopes of an evenly split committee were dashed.

As for the select committee itself, it was, in fact, also properly formed.

To stand up a special committee in the House, congressional rules dictate that a resolution is drafted and voted on. When lawmakers in the House drafted the resolution to form the special committee in 2021, this is exactly what happened: They wrote a resolution, imbued the committee with the power to have subpoena authority, and dictated the membership terms.

The House voted on it and a majority of lawmakers voted in favor of it.

A federal judge in California last January has dismissed similar claims about the committee’s unconstitutionality from election subversion strategist John Eastman.

“The public interest here is weighty and urgent. Congress seeks to understand the causes of a grave attack on our nation’s democracy and a near-successful attempt to subvert the will of the voters. Congressional action to ‘safeguard [a presidential] election’ is ‘essential to preserve the departments and institutions of the general government from impairment or destruction, whether threatened by force or by corruption,’” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote earlier this year.

And just a few weeks ago, on May 2, in a different court—this one in Washington, D.C.—a federal judge handily dismissed a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee (RNC) brought against the January 6 probe to stop it from obtaining information about fundraising efforts the RNC premised on Trump’s bogus claim that he won the election.

Among allegations that the probe was engaging in a fishing expedition for sensitive party information, the RNC also argued that the select committee was invalid and its subpoena powers unenforceable.

“The subpoena’s valid legislative purpose is apparent enough to sustain it against this challenge,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Records Trump Tried To Hide Reveal Call To Jim Jordan Before Capitol Attack

Records that former President Donald Trump attempted to hide from public scrutiny have now revealed that he spoke on the phone with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Jan. 6, 2021.

The phone call between Trump and Jordan occurred hours before Trump joined other Republicans in an attempt to deny certifying President Joe Biden's election win. The call also occurred before the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a pro-Trump mob attempting to prevent Biden from officially winning the race.

CNN reported on Friday that Congress's Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack received Trump's phone records that documented the call.

The Jan 6. committee requested that Trump's records stored at the National Archives be turned over as part of the investigation into the attack. In December, Trump had asked the Supreme Court to block the release of his records, claiming that their disclosure was a violation of executive privilege.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against Trump later in the month. Noting that President Joe Biden had decided against invoking executive privilege with regard to Trump's records, Judge Patricia A. Millett noted in the decision, "Former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment."

Jordan has been evasive on whether he spoke to Trump or not on Jan. 6. After telling a Fox News interviewer in July that he had spoken to Trump, Jordan later told another reporter he wasn't sure he had done so, then told another reporter he couldn't remember if he had spoken to Trump.

During a House hearing in October, Jordan would still not confirm the exact time of his Trump call. Since then, Jordan has refused a request to be interviewed by the Jan. 6 committee.

A spokesperson for the committee said Jordan's admission that he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6 made him a "material witness."

After his phone call with Trump, Jordan made a speech on the floor of the House arguing against congressional certification of the election results. In his speech, Jordan invoked debunked conspiracies about the integrity of the election, echoing other comments he had been making at the time.

The false arguments offered by Jordan, Trump, and many other Republicans were later echoed by the mob that attacked the Capitol. Several called for hanging then-Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused to entertain Trump's demand that he not certify the election.

More than 768 people have been charged with federal crimes in connection to the Capitol attack.

Ultimately, 147 Republican members of Congress voted against certification, which would have invalidated the votes of millions of voters including the more than 81 million in the majority who voted for Biden.

The effort was unsuccessful, and Biden's election win was certified.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

More Republicans Claim Credit For Infrastructure Bill They Opposed

Republicans have adamantly fought against President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan but now a growing list of them are taking credit for the funding provided by the same plan they opposed.

According to HuffPost, over the last several days, several Republican lawmakers have issued press releases praising funding that will be used to improve United States highways and other infrastructure. On Wednesday, January 19, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) described the $829 million in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve infrastructure along the Mississippi River as “game-changing.”

“Over 60 percent of our nation’s grain exports travel through this lock and dam system, and it is a massive economic engine for the entire state,” Hinson said in a statement.

“That’s why I helped lead a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the Administration to prioritize funding for these essential upgrades," she added, "I’ll always fight to ensure Iowans’ taxpayer dollars are reinvested at home in Iowa."

However, Hinson's latest remarks differ vastly from her stance back in November. At the time, she described the package as “a raw deal for Iowans” and “spending at its worst,” according to a statement given to HuffPost by her spokeswoman, Sophie Seid.

“Congresswoman Hinson opposed the infrastructure package because it was tied to trillions of other spending in the House,” Seid, said in a statement. “Since the bill was signed into law, this money was going to be spent regardless. If there’s federal money on the table she is, of course, going to do everything she can to make sure it is reinvested in Iowa.”

Another Republican lawmaker in Texas also lauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' funding announcement on Wednesday. Since the funds will also help to mitigate flooding in Fort Worth, Texas, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) verbalized her support for the bill.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) also released statements touting the infrastructure funding announcement.

“When I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I was voting for exactly this type of federal support for critical infrastructure that Iowans depend on,” Grassley said in a statement.

Grassley and Blunt were among the 19 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the bill.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Select Committee Asks To Question McCarthy -- But He Won't Appear Voluntarily

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) -The House Select Committee investigating the deadly January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol asked House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday to voluntarily answer questions about Donald Trump's actions on the day of the riot.

In a letter to McCarthy released publicly, the House of Representatives Select Committee requested his testimony on a range of topics, including his conversations with the former president before, during, and after the attack.

"We also must learn about how the President's plans for January 6 came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election," the Select Committee's chairman, Bennie Thompson, said in the letter.

The committee is also investigating whether Trump suggested to McCarthy what he should say publicly and to investigators about their conversations on the day of the attack, according to the letter. McCarthy and Trump met on January 28, 2021, in Palm Beach, Florida.

A spokesman for McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Later McCarthy's office issued a statement rejecting the committee's request.

"As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward," McCarthy said.

The panel had previously asked another Trump ally in Congress, Representative Jim Jordan, to disclose conversations he had with Trump on January 6, 2021.

Jordan said on Sunday he would not cooperate with the committee's investigating, calling it illegitimate.

Two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are members of the committee.

Thompson has said the panel is looking into whether it has the authority to issue subpoenas to congressional Republicans to force their cooperation.

The Select Committee has interviewed more than 340 witnesses and issued dozens of subpoenas as it investigates the deadly storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters as lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden's election victory.

The committee is aiming to release an interim report in the summer and a final report in the fall, a source familiar with the investigation said last month.

The committee's members have said they will consider passing along evidence of criminal conduct by Trump to the Justice Department. Such a move, known as a criminal referral, would be largely symbolic but would increase the political pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to charge the former president.

One police officer who battled rioters died the day after the attack and four who guarded the Capitol later died by suicide. Four rioters also died, including a woman who was shot by a police officer while trying to climb through a shattered window.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler)

Select Committee Calls Jordan — Who May Risk Arrest If He Balks

On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan received a letter from the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, inviting him to voluntarily appear before the committee and discuss “in detail” his communications with Donald Trump on January 6. And January 5. And every other date. The committee would also like to hear about Jordan’s communications with Trump’s campaign staff and legal team involved in planning the multi-stage coup.

This letter was phrased in a way that acknowledges the extraordinary nature of a House committee call for a member of the House to testify. It’s also phrased in a way that makes it clear the committee already knows Jordan was deeply involved in planning the attempted overthrow of the legitimate government. Mostly because Jordan can’t stop running his mouth when talking to right-wing media. It’s not so much that the letter is couched in a subtle threat that failure to cooperate will net Jordan a subpoena, even if the evidence comes out anyway. Because it’s really not that subtle.

On Wednesday evening, Jordan did what any Republican called to tell the truth before the nation does: He went on Fox News to whine and complain that the committee isn’t playing fair. But if Jordan thinks that he can just join the long queue of Trump advisers who are doing their best to delay until an expected Republican victory in 2022 can bail them out, he may be surprised. Jim Jordan could find himself arrested.

As The Hill reports, Jordan went on Fox to speak with Brian Kilmeade—who happens to have also sent texts to the White House on January 6, and might be facing his own request to testify—and explain that he has “concerns” about the select committee. In particular, he alleged that the committee has been “altering documents.”

“We're going to review the letter, but I gotta be honest with you. I got real concerns about any committee that will take a document and alter it and present it to the American people, completely mislead the American people like they did last week,” said Jordan.

That reference to “altering documents” apparently refers to how Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) read part of a Jordan text earlier in the week, rather than giving the whole thing. The portion that Schiff read was repeating a portion of the coup plot indicating that Mike Pence "should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all." Because Schiff didn’t read the full text, Jordan is accusing him of altering documents.

The full text doesn’t make this better. If anything, it shows how serious Jordan was about backing the planned coup.

“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all—in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. ‘No legislative act,’ wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, ‘contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.’ The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ‘That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.’ 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.”


Nothing that Schiff omitted lessens the impact of what Jordan wrote in any way. In fact, the full text is much worse. The talk about “altering documents” is simply Jordan mulling an excuse not to appear—in this case, an excuse that was also regularly aired on Fox during Trump’s impeachment hearings.

But as MSNBC reports, Jordan might want to think twice about simply refusing to show up before the select committee. As one of six Republican representatives known to have worked directly with Trump and his campaign to overturn the outcome of the election, Jordan is of keen interest to the committee, and a key participant in events leading up to January 6.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) —who brought would-be attorney-general Jeffery Clark to the White House—has already refused to appear before the committee. If Jordan joins Perry in refusing to provide vital documents and testimony, the House could be entering unknown territory.

So what happens if Perry—or, for example, his fellow schemers Jordan and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas—gets a subpoena? The short answer is that we don’t really know — there’s never been a situation like this before. “There is no established historical or legal precedent regarding congressional power to enforce subpoenas against members of Congress,” law professor Kimberly Wehle wrote in The Atlantic in August. “But if the bipartisan committee has to defend the subpoenas in federal court, it could make a strong argument that the Constitution allows a court to order compliance.”

Of course, Jordan, Perry, Gohmert, et. al, would be happy to join the long line of Republicans now facing court cases over subpoenas from the select committee. Stonewalling until the GOP rides in to save them on the back of an angry midterm is the bet they are all making. However, there is one thing that keeps getting mentioned, then carefully packed away again—the power of inherent contempt.Congress’ ability to simply arrest someone directly, without going through a request to the DOJ and a long parade through the ladder of courts, hasn’t been trotted out in a long time. But a special case … could be a special case.

While the discussion is on shakier ground with private citizens, the fact is that each house of Congress is explicitly allowed to make its own rules under the Constitution. It is also then allowed to enforce those rules as it sees fit, granting it the power of censure and expulsion. And courts have yet to rule on how long, say, a member of Congress could be held while defying a lawful subpoena.

The prospect that Jim Jordan will actually be locked up in some repurposed storeroom beneath the House chambers remains slim. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to start very visibly clearing out some space and testing some padlocks, just to make sure that Jordan, along with the other five Republicans at the top of the list, knows the possibility is still there.

If the Senate can be harangued for failing to end the filibuster even for the purpose of saving democracy, then the same pressure should be applied to the House when it comes to inherent contempt. No one likes the idea. That doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Meadows Endorsed Plot To Toss Millions Of Votes -- Before They Were Even Counted

In the months before the 2020 election, lies about widespread voter fraud steadily spewed from former President Donald Trump’s lips and fingertips like so much sewage from a busted septic line. But among a tranche of text messages obtained by the January 6 select committee, a disturbing light shines anew upon the actions of Trump’s most loyal foot soldiers in Congress: One of them was so eager to have the 45th president installed that they suggested tossing out legal votes well before the counting of votes was even complete.

“Here’s an aggressive strategy,” the November 4 text from an unidentified lawmaker to Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows began. “Why can’t the states of GA, NC, PENN and other R-controlled state houses declare this is BS [where conflicts and election not called that night] and just send their own electors to vote and have it go to SCOTUS.”

This, put simply, was a proposed strategy to directly undermine the will of American voters. And when Trump’s staff was presented with a similar plot a second time, there was no rush to outrage at the unethical, unprincipled unconstitutionality of it all. Instead, the strategy was welcomed with a warm embrace and three simple words.

Politico reporter Kyle Cheney pointed out this disturbing dynamic in a tweet on Tuesday night as lawmakers convened in the House to vote on a contempt of Congress referral for Meadows.

Select committee Chairman Bennie Thompson has not yet revealed the identity of the person who sent the proposal to Meadows, but he told NBC News this week that there “won’t be any surprises as to who they are.”

As Kyle Cheney opined, once the person is unmasked, it will likely be time to reconcile “his or her claims of concern about voter fraud with the proposal to throw out millions of legal votes before they were even counted.”

This hypocrisy is familiar to Republicans in Trump’s orbit. One-time personal attorney for Trump Rudy Giuliani notoriously went full autocrat during a drunken exchange on election night, according to Washington Post reporters Carol Leonning and Philip Rucker in their book, I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year.

When it looked like Trump was losing Michigan, Giuliani urged Trump’s campaign staff and Meadows to just say that Trump had won. Meadows, at the time, reportedly said such a maneuver couldn’t be done.

“We can’t do that, we can’t,” Meadows said on November 4.

But by November 6, his tune had changed.

According to records already obtained by the committee, Thompson said that when a legislator in Congress approached Meadows this time with the “highly controversial” scheme to appoint alternate electors despite a total lack of evidence for election fraud, Meadows responded: “I love it.”

And a day later on November 7, after Biden was formally declared the victor, Meadows would write an email that Thompson said “discusses the appointment of alternate slates of electors as a part of a direct and collateral attack after the election.”

This sequence of events alone paints one of the clearest pictures yet of how the White House condoned lies about the 2020 election and was on board with attempts to subvert the results, consequences be damned.

Further illuminating the committee’s findings was Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, one of Trump’s most loyal lapdogs during his presidency.

Politico was first to report Wednesday that Jordan is defending a portion of another text message unveiled by the committee a day earlier. The part of the message made public stated: “On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all the electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.”

The full text continued: “In accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. ‘No legislative act,’ wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, ‘contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.’ The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ‘That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.’ 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916).”

Russell Dye, a spokesperson for Jordan, told Politico that the message from Jordan was merely a forward to Meadows of legal analysis compiled by Joseph Schmitz, the Pentagon’s former inspector general.

“Schmitz's words are an argument that Pence had the unilateral authority to simply refuse to count electoral votes he deemed unconstitutional, akin to arguments made by Trump allies John Eastman and Jenna Ellis,” Politico reported.

Though Jordan maintains the message was a forward, the text itself does not necessarily indicate that.

Meanwhile, as Meadows awaits his fate on contempt charges that have now been referred to the Department of Justice and the mystery lawmaker’s messages are in the public square courtesy of the select committee, two key organizers for Trump’s “Stop the Steal” propaganda, Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence, have also stepped into the light.

Both Stockton and Lawrence were subpoenaed by the committee in late November. A month prior to that, the duo served as anonymous sources for another Rolling Stone article where they claimed that members of Congress were directly involved in Trump’s scheme to overturn the election and helped orchestrate the rally at the Ellipse on January 6.

Stockton and Lawrence told Rolling Stone that Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar offered a tit-for-tat deal, telling the couple they could receive a “blanket pardon” from Trump in another unrelated investigation if they would protest the election results. Gosar has denied the exchange.

The couple also said they had warned Meadows that their discussions with organizers of the pro-Trump rallies in the runup to Jan. 6 left them worried about looming threats of violence.

“The people and the history books deserve a real account of what happened,” Stockton told Rolling Stone.

Lawrence added: “Violent shit happened. We want to get to the bottom of that.”

Importantly, the couple also admits they are running low on funds and don’t have the ability to fend off a hungry congressional probe that has shown it will go the distance to hold those who refuse to cooperate in contempt. They had a self-proclaimed “falling out” with ex-Trump strategist Steve Bannon following Bannon’s We Build the Wall fraud scheme, which led to his arrest and later, to his pardon by Trump. Stockton and Lawrence were raided in connection to that scheme but were never charged.

“We definitely didn’t want to face another violent raid and we also wanted to avoid racking up even more legal fees and trouble,” the couple told Rolling Stone.

The duo admitted to working with other commission probe targets, like Amy Kremer of Women for America First, to coordinate rallies promoting Trump’s lies about election fraud in mid-November, but in the recent interview, Stockton said Trump’s incitements on Jan. 6 incensed him.

“We assumed that him sitting with all the access to all the agencies of government and classified information he … had access to vastly more information than we did,” Stockton told Rolling Stone. “We trusted when he told us that it was black-and-white and that there was clear evidence over, and over, and over again. We trusted that it would be there, and it ended up being a bluff, and he finally got caught in it.”

Now the couple says they are “going nuclear” and are cooperating with the committee in full to expose everyone who was involved.

Unsurprisingly, other individuals also under subpoena by the committee are less keen on transparency.

John Eastman, the author of the now-infamous memo outlining a six-point strategy to overturn the 2020 election, has opted to sue the committee. Eastman argues that lawmakers went too far by demanding he turn over data from a three-month span, and he contends the committee does not have a legislative function. Meadows also sued the committee and Verizon last week as well as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Meadows is asking a federal court to bar enforcement of the subpoena lobbed against him and the requests sent by the committee to Verizon.

The committee has targeted call records for over 100 people but significantly, they are not after the content of calls. They seek only time logs that would reveal details like when calls are made and their duration.

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Is Trump Scheming To Oust McCarthy And McConnell?

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked by a reporter this week when he last talked to Donald Trump, he paused for a millisecond before landing on what was probably the truth.

"Uhhh, this morning," McCarthy said on Thursday, the day after House Democrats censured GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona over his violent tweet depicting the execution of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democrats also rightfully stripped Gosar of his committee assignments as McCarthy did the dirty work of shielding him from any backlash within the GOP caucus. Trump topped off the entire episode of GOP ignominy by endorsing Gosar.

The whole saga was a reminder of something everyone of us already knew: McCarthy is nothing more than Trump's stooge.

As the week wore on, McCarthy's antics began to have the whiff of desperation. His 8-hour pre-Build Back Better vote diatribe—perhaps most memorable for uncovering the baby carrot conspiracy—felt less like a Mel Gibson rallying cry in Braveheart than a Steve Carell non sequitur in The Office.

"@GOPLeader is bringing it on the floor right now!" enthused Florida man, Rep. Matt Gaetz, on the early side of McCarthy's harangue. But by Friday, Gaetz was denigrating McCarthy's speech as "a really long death rattle" and railing against House GOP leadership for starting "this march to socialism because they allowed 13 Turncoats to cross the line."

Gaetz is an interesting test case in the GOP caucus, since he's a primo Trump-wannabe hack whom McCarthy shielded from repercussions when it was revealed he was under federal investigation for having sex with a minor and potential sex trafficking. In other words, Gaetz is one of at least a handful of House Republicans to whom McCarthy has effectively given a free pass, in order to earn their vote for his speakership. But despite selling his soul, things don't seem to be going as planned for McCarthy.

In fact, two former GOP strategists and never-Trumpers, Stuart Stevens and Rick Wilson, think McCarthy's days at GOP leader are numbered, particularly if Republicans recapture the majority.

"His crazy caucus of radicals is going to put his head on a spike & elect Jim Jordan," Stevens tweeted Thursday night, calling McCarthy's speech the "desperate plea bargain of a man who knows he is done."

Wilson tweeted out a hypothetical Q&A scenario, with a question he apparently gets a lot: "Why don't you pay more attention to Kevin McCarthy?"

"A: Because if the GOP retakes the House Jim Jordan will be Speaker," Wilson wrote.

Look, if Republicans win back the House, whoever takes over as Speaker will undoubtedly be nothing more than Trump's mouthpiece. But it does feel as though Trump is making a purity power play to eventually install his handpicked people as heads of both House and Senate Republicans. McCarthy simply won't do after he slipped up one fateful week in mid-January and dared to admit Trump "bears responsibility" for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

No amount of groveling or spinelessness is going to make up for that.

Which brings us to the Senate. In a little-noticed multi-page statement Wednesday, Trump upgraded Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from the "Old Crow" to the "Broken Old Crow," charging that he missed his chance to jam President Joe Biden's agenda.

"He could have won it all using the Debt Ceiling—they were ready to fold. Now the Democrats have a big victory and the wind at their back," Trump wrote, referring to the infrastructure bill that McConnell keeps praising in his home state of Kentucky.

"It was extremely good for our state. I'm proud of my vote," McConnell reaffirmed Tuesday, after previously hailing the package as a "godsend" to Kentucky."

For a solid two weeks, Trump has been stewing about passage of the bipartisan measure that 32 congressional Republicans voted for and, let's face it, much like his 2020 loss, it will never be over for Trump. More than just about anything—including the ouster of McCarthy—Trump hopes to orchestrate McConnell's demise. In fact, Trump has been actively agitating "to depose" McConnell for months.

That's what made an Axios story about GOP donors being "furious" over passage of the bipartisan deal stand out. At the center of the story was Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who reportedly informed his Senate counterparts this week that he had been fielding complaints from angry donors about congressional Republicans handing Biden a big win.

The reporting raised a bunch of provocative questions: Who leaked it, which donors complained, and how many? It's certainly not a story a Republican operative would leak to reflect positively on the Senate GOP conference—19 of whom voted for the bill. It also figured particularly poorly for McConnell, so it likely would have been leaked by a Trump ally trying to make a point.

If anyone is positioned to potentially oust McConnell as leader at some point, it's Rick Scott, who has buddied up to Trump (in contrast to McConnell) and was one of only eight GOP senators to vote against certification of the 2020 election. In that sense, Scott is a purist, while McConnell is a giant thorn in Trump's side.

Scott is also busy building his donor list as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which would help him blunt one of McConnell's biggest leverage points as leader: his ability to dole out campaign funds to members via his massive fundraising network.

Rick Scott undoubtedly sees himself running for president one day. But if Trump runs in 2024, one could see him vying for Senate leader instead, to bide his time until the time is right for a presidential bid. For Trump, Scott sort of hits the sweet spot between someone like McConnell, an establishment Trump detractor, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a Trump convert who is loathed by his colleagues.

If Trump were going to work to elevate anyone to that post, Scott would be a good pick—with the added benefit of distracting him from a 2024 presidential bid.

Republicans Stir Fake Outrage Against FBI Over School Board Threat Watch

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters

Fox News and other right-wing media voices are now hyping a letter from House Republicans claiming that the FBI is targeting parents who show up to complain at school board meetings. But the document they have produced does not even say that at all.

Previously, Fox News lied about an FBI letter on efforts to track violent threats against school officials, to then claim that parents across the country would be labeled as "domestic terrorists." In fact, an official memorandum specifically differentiated such threats from "spirited debate about policy matters" that is protected by the Constitution.

The outlets are now misusing an FBI term of art, "threat tag," to make it sound like individual parents are being tracked. An FBI spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal (one of Fox's corporate cousins) that such tags are used to track information on a range of issues, but that "the creation of a threat tag in no way changes the long-standing requirements for opening an investigation, nor does it represent a shift in how the FBI prioritizes threats."

The statement also bluntly explained: "The FBI has never been in the business of investigating parents who speak out or policing speech at school board meetings, and we are not going to start now."

The text of the latest memo, as posted on Twitter by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, does not call for anyone to report people simply showing up at local government meetings. In fact, the memo made clear that anyone filing an example should identify any potential laws being broken, with an emphasis on violations that would require a federal presence:

When evaluating potential threats, we ask that you attempt to identify the following:
a) Is there a federal nexus?
b) Are there potential federal violations that can be investigated and charged?
c) What's the motivation behind the criminal activity?
We appreciate your attention to this matter and welcome any engagement to identify trends, strategies, and best practices to accomplish discouraging, identifying, and prosecuting those who use violence, threats of violence, and other forms of intimidation and harassment pertaining to this threat.

In short, if there are no violent acts or threats of violence, then there would be no incidents to file, and thus nothing to track.

But that was not how the story was presented on Fox's afternoon news program, The Story with Martha MacCallum, during an interview between the anchor and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).