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Texas Republican’s Complaint: Biden Doesn’t Tweet Enough

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Monday attacked President Joe Biden for his restraint on social media, suggesting Biden isn't "in control" because he's not tweeting all day long.

Cornyn tweeted a quote from a Politico article that pointed out the difference between Biden and Donald Trump's communication strategies:

"The president is not doing cable news interviews. Tweets from his account are limited and, when they come, unimaginably conventional. The public comments are largely scripted. Biden has opted for fewer sit down interviews with mainstream outlets and reporters," Cornyn tweeted, a word-for-word paragraph from the Politico article.

But Cornyn then added that the strategy, "Invites the question: is he really in charge?"

However, it's not accurate to say that Biden is "not doing cable news interviews."

Since he was elected in November, Biden has done a number of interviews with mainstream media outlets, including with CNN's Jake Tapper, CBS News' Norah O'Donnell, and ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

Biden has also answered questions from reporters numerous times either while leaving the White House to travel for White House events, as well as at an official news conference.

Ultimately, appears like Cornyn was trying to compare Biden's measured approach to communication to that of Donald Trump, who would often go off-script, much to his own staff's dismay.

Over his four-year tenure, Trump blindsided numerous aides by firing them by tweet. He would also tweet policy announcements that surprised his own staff and sent the West Wing into a tailspin. Trump's bigoted ban on transgender people serving in the military, for example, blindsided his joint chiefs of staff, who were unaware of the policy change. (Biden has since reversed the ban.)

Trump also spent hours calling into Fox & Friends — Fox News' morning program — where he'd be lobbed softball questions by the hosts, who sometimes had to coach him into taking back offensive comments that could hurt him politically.

And, of course, Trump infamously spent many of his days tweeting baseless conspiracy theories, childish insults, and media critiques as he watched hours of cable news shows.

In fact, Trump's Twitter use was criticized even by his own supporters, with polls and focus group panels over his four years in office showing that even his supporters wished he would stop tweeting.

Now, Trump can no longer tweet because he was permanently banned from the platform after the social media outlet said he violated the company's policy against inciting violence following the deadly January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

Cornyn's criticism of Biden drew scorn on social media.

"Making meandering calls into Fox and Friends and rage tweeting at all hours is how you demonstrate you're truly running the country, per John Cornyn," Sarah Longwell, a GOP strategist who founded the group Republican Voters Against Trump in 2020, tweeted.

First GOP Congressman Urges Gaetz To Resign

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) became the first Republican member of Congress to call for the resignation of Matt Gaetz, the embattled Florida GOP Congressman ensnared in a federal sex trafficking investigation.

"Matt Gaetz needs to resign," Kinzinger said in a tweet Thursday night.

The tweet included a link to a Daily Beast report, which said Gaetz sent a friend $900 through Venmo, with the direction to "hit up" a young woman who had just turned 18. The friend was accused sex trafficker Joel Greenberg. Transactions totaling $900 were then sent from Greenberg to three separate women, including the teenager.

Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, has been charged with nearly three dozen counts of child sex trafficking, bribery, stalking, and fraud.

On Thursday, Greenberg's lawyer said he's expected to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation — which Gaetz is ensnared in.

"I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today," Fritz Scheller, Greenberg's attorney, said.

Gaetz is under federal investigation into whether a sexual relationship he had with a 17-year-old girl also ran afoul of child sex trafficking laws, as he allegedly paid for the girl to travel with him across state lines, according to a New York Times report.

Gaetz has denied the allegations, and is trying to defend himself against the probe.

On Thursday, his office distributed a letter from "the Women of U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz's Office," which said they "stand with him" amid the probe. However, not one woman signed their name to the letter.

While Kinzinger is the first Republican House member to call for Gaetz's resignation, few other GOP lawmakers have come to Gaetz's defense.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that before Donald Trump left office, Gaetz asked the White House for a blanket pardon — which was denied.

Gaetz was a major defender of Trump during his time in office, with Gaetz once saying that he felt his sole purpose in Congress was to protect the former commander in chief.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Michigan Authorities Cite Sidney Powell’s Own Arguments In Disbarment Action

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sidney Powell's defense against a $1.3 billion lawsuit over her lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election could come back to bite her.

Powell, a lawyer who supported Donald Trump's claims of election fraud and filed multiple failed lawsuits across the country seeking to overturn the 2020 election, is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation after she falsely accused the company of conspiring with a dead Venezuelan dictator to rig the election against Trump.

Back in March, Powell argued that Dominion's lawsuit should be dismissed because "no reasonable person" would believe her lies about voting machine rigging.

Now, however, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is using Powell's defense in the Dominion lawsuit to support filings on February 1 made by Nessel, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson with the Attorney Grievance Commission in Michigan and the State Bar of Texas calling for Powell's disbarment.

Nessel is seeking sanctions against Powell and three other attorneys for filing frivolous lawsuits to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the Wolverine State, asking that they be stripped of their licenses to practice law and forced to repay legal fees incurred as a result of their suits.

"Faced with the specter of more than $1.3 billion in damages in the Dominion Action, Ms. Powell has adopted a new litigation strategy to evade Dominion's defamation claim: the truth. Whether that strategy will be advantageous in the Dominion Action remains to be seen, but it strongly underscores why sanctions and attorneys' fees are appropriate here," reads the brief Nessel filed in the sanctions cases, according to the website Law & Crime.

The brief continues, "If there were any doubts about counsel's mindset when filing this action, Ms. Powell has put them to rest. She and her co-counsel knew there was no reasonable basis for the statements they made in this litigation, but they made them anyway."

In seeking to defend herself against the sanctions Michigan is seeking, Powell had said in February that she shouldn't be disbarred because her allegations of fraud could be proved, the Detroit Free Press reported.

But that doesn't jibe with Powell's defense in the Dominion lawsuit, which claimed that "reasonable" people would not have believed her claims.

Nessel tweeted on Wednesday, "As lawyers, fidelity to the law is paramount and these attorneys seemingly made statements they knew were misleading in an effort to further conspiracy theories in an effort to erode public trust in government and dismantle our systems of democracy. Their actions are inexcusable."

Powell is one of a number of people Dominion has sued for the lie that the voting machine company rigged the election against Trump — a lie that was officially debunked in a joint Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security report in March. Dominion has also sued Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Fox News, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Major League Baseball Pulls All-Star Game From Atlanta Over Voting Law

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. announced on Friday that the league is moving both the 2021 All-Star Game and the MLB draft out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia's new voter suppression law.

In a statement, Manfred said:

Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box. In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support.

The move comes a little more than a week after Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp signed the new law, which requires ID to vote by mail, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, and gives the Republican-controlled state legislature more power over how elections are administered. It's led to fears among voting rights activists that voters in Democratic strongholds in the state will see rule changes that make it harder for them to vote.

Civil rights activists in the state had been pressuring companies to take a stand against the law or face boycotts.

Multiple major companies headquartered in Georgia, like Delta Air Linesand Coca-Cola, spoke out against the law.

However, MLB's decision to move the All-Star Game and draft from the state is the biggest move to date and could cost Georgia millions in tourism revenue.

Cobb County Chair Lisa Cupid said in a video statement this week that moving the All-Star Game out of the state would cause financial damage.

"Some are asserting that they will boycott our businesses and not travel to our state," Cupid said. "This would have a negative impact to us in Cobb County, as our top industries are retail travel and tourism."

President Joe Biden had said this week he supported moving the events.

"I think today's professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly," Biden said in an interview with ESPN. "I would strongly support them doing that. People look to them. They're leaders."

Georgia Republicans have dug in their heels in response to the criticism, slamming companies for speaking out and even trying to retaliateagainst those companies by attempting to yank a tax break from Delta as a form of retaliation.

Kemp called Biden's support for moving the All-Star Game "ridiculous." He's also lied about what Georgia's voter suppression law does, saying it was aimed at "expanding early voting, strengthening voter ID measures, increasing the use of secure drop boxes statewide, and making it easier for local election officials to administer elections."

Gabe Sterling, a Republican election official in Georgia, had slammed the MLB for contemplating moving the All-Star Game before the move was announced.

"I think it's morally reprehensible and disgusting that he's perpetuating economic blackmail over a lie," Sterling said in an interview with the right-wing outlet The Dispatch. "It's a lie. This is no different than the lie of Trump saying there was voter fraud in this state. And the people who are going to be most hurt by [a boycott] are the workers in all of these places that are going to be impacted."

Sports leagues have successfully forced Republican state legislatures into amending discriminatory laws in the past by threatening to move or moving major events.

In 2017, the NBA helped push North Carolina to amend a discriminatory anti-transgender bathroom law after it pulled its All-Star Game from the state. The NBA later reversed its decision after North Carolina Republicans amended the law.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Predicted Slump Under Biden — But Markets And Jobs Are Surging

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Donald Trump often said ahead of the 2020 election that if Joe Biden were elected, gains in the stock market would be destroyed.

"If he is elected, the stock market will crash," Trump said in a presidential debate on October 22, 2020, one of dozens of times he made the claim during the campaign, according to transcripts gathered by Factbase.

Yet 72 days into Biden's first term as president, the stock market has not only gone up, but it has set multiple records, including on Thursday, when the S&P 500 surpassed 4,000 for the first time in history.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has also broken records multiple times since Biden was elected, beginning with the day Biden was sworn in. Since then, the Dow has surpassed 33,000 for the first time in history.

CNN reported in January that since Biden was elected in November, the stock market has had the "best post-election market performance for a new president in modern history."

The latest stock market surge follows the announcement of Biden's new infrastructure plan, which could be behind the record stock market performance. Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan would modernize the country's roads, bridges, and airports, as well as focus on modernizing infrastructure to help battle climate change.

The stock market news also comes as the vaccine rollout accelerates, and after Biden successfully pushed through a coronavirus relief package in March to help aid the economic recovery effort — without a single Republican vote in the House or Senate.

Experts predicted the relief package would bring "an almost immediate boost to the U.S. economy," the New York Times reported, with $1,400 checks and a $300 weekly increase to unemployment insurance likely to increase consumer spending as parts of the economy most hard-hit by the virus, including hospitality and tourism, began to show signs of life again with increased vaccinations.

On Friday, those predictions were bolstered when the Department of Labor announced that employers created a massive 916,000 jobs in March, including more than 200,000 jobs at restaurants, bars, and hotels. That's even more than the 675,000 jobs predicted in a survey done by Dow Jones last month, according to CNBC.

Stock market futures continued to rise Friday morning.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Arizona GOP Hires Conspiracy Theorist To Conduct Third 2020 Election ‘Audit’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann announced that she has hired Cyber Ninjas, a firm led by a Donald Trump supporter who was active in pushing "Stop the Steal" conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, to conduct an audit of the state's election results.

This is the third audit to be conducted in the state as Republicans continue to push the lie that the election was stolen from Trump due to mass voter fraud — a lie that's been debunked multiple times by the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and two previous audits of Arizona's ballots.

Fann said the third audit will consist of a full hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, the most populous county in the state and formerly a Republican stronghold.

Fann had first announced that Allied Security Operations, a firm with a history of pursuing false claims of election fraud, would do the audit, but later said she hadn't decided.

Now she's officially announced that Cyber Ninjas will lead the audit, to be conducted with along with three other firms.

The Arizona Mirror reported on the long history of statements on social media posted by Cyber Ninjas owner Doug Logan pushing pro-Trump conspiracy theories about election fraud.

According to the report, posts on Logan's now-deleted Twitter account included claims that Venezuela rigged voting machines in the United States to steal the election from Trump and hashtags like "#StopTheSteal," the motto of the rally that preceded the attack by supporters of Trump on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

A joint report issued by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security officially debunked the claim that voting machines were rigged in March, and lawyers and officials tied to Trump, as well as right-wing cable networks, are now being sued by voting machine companies for promoting the lie.

What's more, a previous audit Fann ordered found "no hacking or vote switching occurred in the 2020 election."

Democrats responded angrily to Fann's announcement of the firms that will conduct the recount.

"What are we doing other than just undermining the past election and voter confidence?" state Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios told USA Today.

Even Republicans in the state had previously said the audit is unnecessary.

"It's really not a necessary process. So, it's not something I believe that needs to be done or that it should be done," former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said last month, adding that a hand recount is prone to human error.

Ultimately, it's unclear what Arizona Republicans want to accomplish with the audit. The election is over; Joe Biden won and is serving as president of the United States.

In addition to challenging the 2020 election results, GOP lawmakers in Arizona are introducing voter suppression laws based on the same false claims of fraud.

Nearly two dozen Republican bills are aimed at making it harder to vote by mail, tightening voter ID requirements, and even giving the state Legislature the ability to ignore the will of the voters and choose presidential electors for the Electoral College.

Arizona Republican state Rep. John Kavanagh defended the bills in March, saying, "There's a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they're willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don't mind putting security measures in that won't let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn't be voting."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

As Delta And Coke Officials Protest, Kemp Lies About New Election Law

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Following days of backlash, Republican officials are lying about what Georgia's recently passed voter suppression law will actually do, in an apparent effort to make it seem less harsh and discriminatory.

The attempt to sugarcoat the law comes as major companies, responsible for billions of dollars of Georgia's economy, are coming out against it.

Delta Air Lines, the No. 1 private employer of Georgians, came out with a statement on Wednesday calling the Georgia law "unacceptable" and built on a "lie" that there was voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey went on CNBC to also call the law "unacceptable" and a "step backwards" later in the day.

"This legislation is wrong and needs to be remedied, and we will continue to advocate for it both in private and in now even more clearly in public," Quincey said.

Like Delta, Coca-Cola is also headquartered in Georgia and employs thousands of people in the state.

As the backlash mounts, Republicans, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the voter suppression measure into law last week, are lying about what the legislation does.

In response to Delta's statement, Kemp wrote a statement saying, "Throughout the legislative process, we spoke directly with Delta representatives numerous times. ... At no point did Delta share any opposition to expanding early voting, strengthening voter ID measures, increasing the use of secure drop boxes statewide, and making it easier for local election officials to administer elections — which is exactly what this bill does," according to NPR reporter Stephen Fowler.

However, the Georgia law does not expand ballot drop boxes, as Kemp said. In fact, it does the opposite in Democratic counties.

That's because while the law mandates that counties have at least one drop box, it also puts limits on how many ballot drop boxes are allowed per county — or "one drop box for every 100,000 active registered voters," according to the law.

That would mean many Democratic-run counties that had numerous drop boxes in 2020 election would see the number of drop boxes severely cut back.

As the Savannah Morning News reported, "For Chatham County, which had a little over 208,000 registered voters in the Jan. 6 runoff, that likely means we'll have two drop boxes, down from the 10 we had during the runoff and the general election."

Chatham County voted overwhelmingly Democratic in the presidential election, with President Joe Biden beating Donald Trump there by a whopping 19 points.

Kemp also claimed the fact that the law lets the Republican-controlled State Board of Elections take over county election boards in Democratic strongholds was a move that makes it "easier for local election officials to administer elections."

Rather, voting rights experts fear that allowing Republicans to take over county election boards in Democratic areas or heavily Black cities that overwhelmingly support Democrats. Trump and other Republicans across the country sought to overturn the results in Democratic-controlled cities and counties in 2020 as they spread lies about voter fraud.

In a call in which Trump tried to coerce Georgia's Republican secretary of state to "find" just the right number of vote to declare him the winner of the state, Trump lied about fraud in Fulton County, the Democratic stronghold that includes the city of Atlanta. Biden carried Fulton County by a 46-point margin in 2020.

"I think the provision for state takeover of local election processes is a natural choice for a party whose election policy is driven by Trump's 'big lie'" Georgia Democratic state Rep. Josh McLaurin told Vox. "By centralizing control over those processes, Republicans make their own manipulation easier while also removing a principal barrier to their lies."

Meanwhile, the chair of Heritage Action, a right-wing organization involved in pushing voter suppression laws across the country, told similar lies and half truths about what Georgia's law does, including the dropbox lie and the sugarcoated explanation of county election board takeovers.

The Georgia law is just one of hundreds of voter suppression laws state Republican lawmakers have been pushing in response to Trump's loss.

Democrats are trying to counteract it with the For the People Act, a pro-democracy bill that would make it easier to vote and prevent almost all of these laws from being enforceable.

Polls show the act is popular, with a survey from mid-March finding 83 percent of voters support the legislation. The legislation would require states to have automatic voter registration, expand access to absentee ballots, and restrict the use of voter ID for absentee voting, among other features.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Poll: Americans Say Tax Wealthy And Corporations To Fund Infrastructure Program

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

President Joe Biden's plan to tax the rich to pay for an infrastructure bill that fixes the country's aging roads, bridges, and transit systems is broadly popular, according to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll published on Wednesday.

The poll found that 54 percent of Americans support raising taxes on corporations and those earning more than $400,000 per year in order to pay for the infrastructure plan, as opposed to 27 percent who said that the proposal should be paid for without those tax increases.

What's more, 57 percent of Americans said they would be more likely to support the infrastructure plan if it raised taxes on people earning more than $400,000, while just 17 percent said it would make them less likely to support the proposal.

The poll comes after several Republicans have pooh-poohed the idea. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there won't be "any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase" and called the infrastructure plan a "trojan horse" for tax increases.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) literally laughed when asked whether she supports raising taxes to pay for an infrastructure plan, MSNBC reported.

"I would not anticipate that it would be well received," Collins said of using tax hikes to pay for infrastructure legislation.

Republicans remain against raising taxes to pay for the infrastructure plan, despite recently raising concerns over the federal deficit. Rising federal deficits were the reason some GOP lawmakers gave to justify their opposition to the popular coronavirus relief bill Democrats passed earlier this month.

Ultimately, just 1.8 percent of taxpayers earn more than $400,000 per year, according to CNBC. Because of the way tax policy in the United States works, only the income over $400,000 would be taxed at a higher rate. For example, a married couple that earns a combined $450,000 would only see a tax increase on the $50,000.

According to CNBC, Biden's infrastructure plan includes $621 billion for repairing bridges, airports, roads, and public transit; $300 billion to upgrade "drinking-water infrastructure, expanding broadband access, and upgrading electric grids;" and $300 billion to build and update schools, among other facilities.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Lawyer Who Urged Executing Pence Seeks GOP Chair

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Lin Wood, the far-right, pro-Trump attorney who lost multiple lawsuits attempting to overturn the 2020 election, has announced he is running to be chair of the South Carolina Republican Party, the Post and Courier reported on Monday.

"My decision to run for the office was heavily influenced by my well known desire to reform local and state political parties and return power to the people," Wood told the paper. "Here, I want to return power and control of the South Carolina Republican Party to the members of the party."

Wood is now well-known for filing lie-filled legal challenges alleging voter fraud in the 2020 election, with zero evidence to back them up.

Back in November, a federal judge eviscerated Wood for a lawsuit he filed that sought to block certification of President Joe Biden's victory in Georgia, with the judge telling Wood that his suit had "no basis in fact or in law."

Wood's effort to steal the 2020 election has taken a toll on both his personal and professional life.

He is currently facing the possible loss of his law license in Georgia after he refused to undergo a mental health evaluation from the Georgia State Bar Association, which is looking into possible disciplinary action against Wood.

The Lawyers Club of Atlanta kicked Wood out of their club after Wood said in a January 1 tweet that Mike Pence should "face execution by firing squad."

"He is a coward and will sing like a bird and confess ALL," Wood said in the tweet, which has since been deleted, as Twitter permanently booted him from the platform for another tweet, which falsely stated that the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was "staged" by antifa.

The social media outlet Parler — which has become the platform of choice for white supremacists who were either kicked off Twitter or are boycotting it — also removed a post from Wood in which he also called for Pence to be executed.

"Get the firing squads ready. Pence goes FIRST," Wood wrote the day after the Capitol riot that saw a pro-Trump mob attacking the Capitol as Congress attempted to certify Biden's victory.

In an ironic twist of fate, Wood is under investigation himself for possible voter fraud, after he said he voted in Georgia in the 2020 election in Georgia despite being a resident of South Carolina.

It's unclear what kind of chance Wood has in the race for South Carolina GOP chair.

Trump back in February endorsed Drew McKissick, the current state party chair.

If Wood wins, he would be part of a nationwide trend of Republican state parties being dominated by pro-Trump, right-wing conspiracy theorists.

The Arizona Republican Party, for example, is currently run by Kelli Ward — a far-right conspiracy theorist. With Ward at the helm, the Arizona GOP advocated to overturn Biden's victory in the state, using violent rhetoric back in December that asked supporters if they were "willing to give [their] life for this fight."

The chair of the Wyoming Republican Party, Frank Eathorne, advocated in January for his state to secede over Trump's loss.

Many of the Republican House and Senate members who voted to impeach or convict Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol have been censured by their state Republican parties. Eathorne even seemed to advocate for getting rid of one of its own members, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). because she voted to impeach Trump and believes the GOP should move on from the twice-impeached former leader.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

House Democrats Vow To Bring Georgia Voters Water After GOP Criminalizes It

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Georgia Republicans on Thursday passed a sweeping voter suppression law that, among other things, makes it a crime to hand out food and drink to voters in line to cast their ballot.

In protest of the law, Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said they will go to Georgia on Election Day next year to hand out water bottles to voters in protest of the new law.

"Well guess I am gonna get arrested to protest this stupid law," Gallego tweeted late Thursday night, after the law passed.

"Dear @GovKemp: Next year, Congressman @RubenGallego and I are going to provide water to GA voters waiting in lines caused by your voter suppression law," Lieu tweeted. "My sense is many, many people will be providing water to voters. Because your law is unAmerican and insane."

Swalwell suggested he is in too, tweeting "Ted, do you and @RubenGallego have room for one more?"

Language to make it a crime to hand out food and drinks to voters waiting in line was first introduced into a bill Georgia state House Republicans passed in early March.

That bill had other voter suppression tactics within it, such as slashing the number of early voting Sundays.

The legislation that GOP Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law on Thursday had changes from the initial state House-passed bill — including removing the provision that cut back on Sunday early voting days — after an outcry from the business community in the state. But the food and drink provision remained in the legislation Kemp signed behind closed doors.

Under the law, it is now a misdemeanor to "give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink" within "25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place."

In the first days of the early voting period in the 2020 general election in Georgia, some voters waited as long as ten hours in line to cast their ballots.

In response, nonpartisan groups like Pizza to the Polls sent hundreds of free pizzas to voters waiting in lines to vote in Georgia's January 5 Senate runoff elections — in which now-Democratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock unseated Georgia's two GOP senators.

Pizza to the Polls program director Amirah Noaman said the group doesn't know if it can continue to operate in Georgia following the passage of the new law.

"Fundamentally, we do not know how this will affect our operations in Georgia, but we are disappointed that it may be more difficult to feed people and ease the burden of being in a long line as they engage in civic activities," Noaman told the American Independent Foundation. "Ultimately, the issue is that long lines exist in the first place, and eliminating that should be a priority over removing the option of food and beverages being distributed."

It's also unclear whether this law will still be in place for the next election.

Civil rights groups have already filed a lawsuit against the law in federal court, saying it is a violation of the Constitution's equal protection clause, as well as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

President Joe Biden on Friday commented on the law that makes passing out food and water to voters waiting in line, saying it's an "atrocity."

"You can't provide water to people standing on line and waiting to vote?" Biden told reporters. "We don't need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive and designed to keep people from voting"

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Dominion Voting Systems Files $1.6 Billion Defamation Lawsuit Against Fox News

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Fox News has been hit with yet another massive lawsuit for peddling lies about fraud in the 2020 election.

Dominion Voting Systems on Friday sued the right-wing cable channel for $1.6 billion, alleging that Fox News knew the voting machine company did not engage in any fraud, yet peddled those lies because it was losing viewers to other far-right cable channels that were also telling those lies.

"Fox set out to lure viewers back — including President Trump himself — by intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump's loss by rigging the election," Dominion said in the lawsuit.

The company's complaint said, "Fox News took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire" by airing "fictions" and giving them "a prominence they otherwise never would have achieved."

The lawsuit added, "The truth matters. Lies have consequences. Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process."

This is now the second lawsuit Fox News faces for its lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

In February, Smartmatic USA sued Fox News and three of its hosts — Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, and Jeanine Pirro — for $2.7 billion. Dobbs' show was taken off the air by the network the day after the lawsuit was filed.

Ultimately, multiple recounts, audits, and reviews of the election found there was no fraud, and that voting machine companies like Dominion did not switch votes — as Trump and his GOP allies have alleged.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said the 2020 election was the "most secure in American history." Meanwhile, the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security released a joint report specifically debunking the claims that voting machine companies like Dominion switched votes from Trump to President Joe Biden.

After Dominion filed the lawsuit, Fox News issued a statement saying the outlet is "proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court."

However, Fox News in February aired a segment specifically fact-checking lies its own hosts had made about voter fraud.

The lies spread by Fox News hosts and contributors, as well as from Trump and other Republican lawmakers about voter fraud, have contributed to a massive GOP effort to suppress the vote in future elections.

Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday signed a voter suppression law that requires ID to vote by mail, limits the use of drop boxes to hand in absentee ballots, allows Republican state election officials to take over county election boards run by Democrats, and even makes it a crime to hand out food and drink to voters waiting in line to vote. That law is already being challenged in court.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Arizona GOP Won’t Quit Recounting 2020 Ballots Until Trump ‘Wins’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate is continuing to try to overturn President Joe Biden's 2020 election victoryin the state, ordering a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots in the state's largest county.

Election experts say recounting ballots by hand takes a long time and can yield inaccurate results due to human error, the Arizona Republic reported.

Already, numerous election audits have been conducted both in Arizona and nationwide that have found no evidence of fraud or vote-changing in the 2020 election, despite the accusation of Donald Trump and his supporters.

Last week, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint report that concluded there is "no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor prevented voting, changed votes, or disrupted the ability to tally votes or to transmit election results in a timely manner; altered any technical aspect of the voting process; or otherwise compromised the integrity of voter registration information of any ballots cast during 2020 federal elections."

An audit conducted by a firm hired by Arizona Senate President Karen Fann found in a report released on February 23 that "no hacking or vote switching occurred in the 2020 election."

That is still not good enough for Fann: She and state Republicans continue to demand more audits to find the fraud in Maricopa County's results that they insist is there.

Fann won a court order on February 26 — three days after the last audit came back showing there was no evidence of vote tampering — requiring the county's Board of Supervisors to turn over election materials to the Senate's leadership for a "full forensic audit."

But she has not said who will conduct the audit, which will be a full hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County.

Republicans had previously announced that the audit would be carried out by Allied Security Operations Group, described by a person at the company reached by the New York Times last year as "a private Dallas-based cybersecurity firm," associated with failed right-wing Texas U.S. House candidate Russell Ramsland and with a history of trying to ferret out supposed fraud. But Fann later said an auditor had not been selected.

Fann, for her part, did not respond to a request for comment from the American Independent Foundation about why she thinks another audit would produce any different results than the previous audits, what firm she has hired to conduct the recount, or how much it would cost the state.

Democrats and Republicans alike criticized Fann's announcement.

Former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, a Republican, declined to be part of the effort, telling a Phoenix ABC affiliate, "It's really not a necessary process. So, it's not something I believe that needs to be done or that it should be done." Purcell said the two previous independent audits that found no fraud were enough.

Democrats say Fann is merely trying to appease conspiracy theorists in the state, who are still pushing the lie that Trump would have won the 2020 election had it not been for fraud.

"Senate President Fann is caving to the most radical fringes in her party and is actively pushing election conspiracy theories using Arizona taxpayer dollars," Alex Alvarez, a spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party, told the American Independent Foundation.

Alvarez said, "There is no credible evidence of election tampering, and even former Republican Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell has agreed that this process is unnecessary. Fann and her Republican legislative colleagues are complicit with far-right conspiracy theorists and are doing everything they can to overthrow a free and fair election."

Senate Democratic Minority Leader Rebecca Rios told the Associated Press that the latest recount is a "charade."

"This audit is not about increasing voter trust. Americans' right to vote is sacred and how elections are run is paramount to the trust in our Democracy," Rios said. "This entire charade is only keeping the flame of fraud lit and we've seen how gaslighting voters into thinking their election was stolen has to end."

The latest conspiracy theory Arizona Republicans are pushing is that shredded ballots were found in a dumpster. The theory was launched by a Facebook post from Staci Burk, who had filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state's election results. Burk's lawsuit was dismissed by a judge who said it was "sorely wanting of relevant or reliable evidence."

No evidence for Burk's new claim about shredded ballots has been found, yet Republican state lawmakers are pushing it as further evidence of fraud.

Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli is one of the Republicans spreading the false claim.

The Arizona Republic reported that Borrelli told Burk during a phone call, "This is the domino. This is the one domino (that) Arizona knocks over and we expose this corruption then the other states fall, too."

"This is so high level, people, that they want this to go away," Borrelli said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Hampshire Republicans Aiming To Outlaw Student Voters

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republicans in New Hampshire have introduced a spate of bills looking to make it harder — if not impossible — for college students to vote in the state, an effort to strip Democrats of an important bloc of supporters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

One bill being considered in the GOP-controlled state House would ban students from using their dorm address to register to vote. A second bill would remove student IDs from the list of acceptable forms of identification needed to cast a ballot.

It's part of a growing trend of Republican state lawmakers trying to make it harder to vote for key Democratic constituencies following Donald Trump's 2020 loss.

For example in Georgia, Republicans are seeking to cut back on Sunday early voting days and require voters to submit copies of their ID to vote by mail — moves critics say are directly aimed at disenfranchising Black voters.

Black voters — who backed President Joe Biden over Trump in the state by a 77-point margin, according to exit poll data — vote in large numbers on Sundays. It's because Black churches organize "Souls to the Polls" events, where churches organize caravans to take parishioners to vote after services.

And the voter ID law could also disproportionally impact Black voters, as data shows Black voters are more likely than white voters to not possess the type of ID needed to cast a ballot. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, "Nationally, up to 25 percent of African-American citizens of voting age lack government-issued photo ID, compared to only 8 percent of whites."

New Hampshire doesn't have much of a minority vote to suppress. The state is 93 percent white, according to the Census Bureau.

But the state does have the largest number of college students per capita, with college students making up 11 percent of the state population, according to American School & University, a trade publication for education professionals.

And college students overwhelmingly vote Democratic, with 65 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 24 choosing Biden over Trump in 2020, according to national exit poll data.

New Hampshire will be a critical state for Republicans in the 2022 midterms, when they will seek to win back control of the Senate.

Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is up for reelection this year. She is one of just four Democrats up for reelection in the 2022 class of senators whose race is currently considered competitive, and thus Republicans will target the seat for a pick-up.

New Hampshire Republicans have also tried to disenfranchise college students in the past.

GOP Gov. Chris Sununu signed a law in 2018 that would force students to become permanent residents of the state in order to vote, rather than just prove they were domiciled in New Hampshire.

However, that law was struck down, with a judge ruling that it put a "discriminatory burden on the rights of voters in New Hampshire."

"Young, mobile, low-income and homeless voters will all encounter SB 3 and be exposed to its penalties at a higher rate than other voters," the judge wrote in an opinion striking the law down, according to NBC News. "Therefore the burdens imposed by the law are discriminatory, in addition to being unreasonable."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Spooked McConnell Threatens ‘Scorched Earth’ To Protect Filibuster

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

As momentum grows to eliminate a tool Republicans have used over the years to kill overwhelmingly popular legislation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday threatened to make the Senate into an unbearably slow and hostile work environment as retribution.

"Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin to imagine what a completely scorched-earth Senate would look like," the Kentucky senator declared in a speech on the Senate floor, referring to what he'd do if Democrats repealed the filibuster, the extended debating tactic that makes it possible for the chamber's minority to block legislation. Invocation of cloture, a move to limit the debate, requires a total of 60 votes to be adopted.

McConnell said he'd require a quorum to be present to conduct even mundane business. That would slow down work in the Senate because it would pull lawmakers from committee hearings and take away time senators have to meet with constituents in their offices in Washington, D.C.

It's a similar tactic to that used by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) in recent weeks, as she forced the House of Representatives to reject motions to adjourn ahead of planned votes on landmark bills such as the COVID-19 relief bill; the pro-LGBTQ Equality Act; and H.R. 1, a government reform bill that would make it easier to vote.

Greene's tactics are angering her own GOP colleagues, who were forced to leave constituent meetings and hearings in order to vote on her procedural motions.

McConnell said that if the filibuster is eliminated, Republicans would respond by repealing bills Democrats passed and then pushing through conservative legislation without any Democratic input if the GOP wins back control of the chamber.

"We wouldn't just erase every liberal change that hurt the country. We'd strengthen America with all kinds of conservative policies with zero — zero — input from the other side," McConnell said.

McConnell said Republicans would defund Planned Parenthood, a move that 75 percent of Americans oppose, and loosen gun laws, which 60 percent of Americans oppose.

This is not the first time McConnell has threatened to terrorize the Senate if the filibuster is repealed. He kept Democrats from taking their positions as the majority party in the Senate in January to demand the filibuster be kept in place, finally giving up the skirmish — but not before delaying Democrats from assuming the majority they rightfully won for a week.

McConnell reiterated his threats on Tuesday, as Democrats signaled an openness to making it harder for Republicans to use the filibuster to block any and all legislation.

On Monday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that the filibuster has a "death grip on American democracy": "Senators don't even have to stand for one minute to shut down the Senate. All they have to do is to threaten it. ... 'Mr. Smith Phones It In' — that wouldn't have been much of a movie, would it?"

Durbin said he wants senators to be required to stand and speak on the Senate floor indefinitely in order to block a piece of legislation: "If a senator insists on blocking the will of the Senate, he should at least pay the minimal price of being present. No more phoning it in. ... If the Senate retains the filibuster, we must change the rules so that any senator who wants to bring the government to a standstill endures at least some discomfort in the process."

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has said he doesn't support eliminating the filibuster, says he is open to implementing the "talking" filibuster.

"People have to make sure that they're willing to show — it'd be great, don't you think, if someone was down there telling you why they're objecting?" Manchin told Fox News last week.

McConnell, for his part, wants to use the filibuster to block passage of H.R. 1. Known as the For the People Act of 2021, the bill would make it easier to register to vote, allow anyone who wants to vote absentee to do so, limit the implementation of voter ID laws, and block voter roll purges.

Despite making threats to gum up the Senate and pass conservative policies that majorities of voters oppose, McConnell himself was quick to get rid of the filibuster in 2017 in order to confirm Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominees.

McConnell also took advantage of the fact that the filibuster doesn't apply to other judicial nominees to confirm a spate of Trump's right-wing judges to vacancies he had held open during Barack Obama's presidency.

McConnell also got around the filibuster under Trump in 2017 to pass the GOP tax cut bill, which overwhelmingly benefited the rich and added to the deficit, without measurably benefitting the economy.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

On Twitter, Sen. Wicker Takes Credit For Rescue Plan He Opposed

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted for President Joe Biden's coronavirus relief bill that provides more aid to struggling Americans.

Yet already, at least one GOP lawmaker is trying to take credit for a piece of the legislation — even though he voted against the bill at the end of the day.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) bragged on Wednesday, shortly after the bill passed, that he helped get billions in relief to help restaurants that have had their businesses upended during the pandemic.

"One bright spot from this week's budget package is the $28.6 billion in targeted support for restaurants that have been hit hard by the pandemic," Wicker tweeted, along with a video of himself praising the part of the bill that gives aid to restaurants. "[Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)] and my RESTAURANTS Act was the first amendment added to the package."

However, just days earlier on March 6 — when the Senate passed the relief bill — Wicker slammed the legislation.

"President Biden and Congressional Democrats have billed this reckless spending spree as COVID-19 relief, but in reality it has little to do with ending the pandemic," Wicker said in a statement explaining his vote against the bill. "The bill is full of unnecessary spending that will overheat the economy at a time when infections are dropping nationwide. It is no surprise that this bill has not earned a single Republican vote. This is no way to govern, and I strongly oppose this legislation."

He went on to say in his statement that he opposed the bill because "less than 10 percent of the provisions in the legislation would address the immediate COVID crisis."

That criticism does not line up with his praise of the bill's billions in help for restaurants, which are not part of the "immediate COVID crisis."

Wicker's decision to praise a provision in the bill, even though he ultimately voted against it, is in contrast to his GOP colleagues, who are trying to vilify the legislation with scare tactics and outright lies about what it does.

For example, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said that the bill sends "checks to illegal immigrants." That's a lie, as only those with social security numbers will receive the $1,400 direct payments that the bill authorized.

Republicans are also calling the bill too expensive, saying it adds too much to the national debt.

The GOP's attacks, however, are not resonating with voters, as polling shows the bill is overwhelmingly popular.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll published Wednesday found 75 percent of voters support the legislation — including 59 percent of Republicans. That's virtually unchanged from a Politico/Morning Consult poll from one week earlier, that found 77 percent supported the bill, including an identical 59 percent of Republicans.

What's more, voters do not agree that the bill is too expensive, with the Politico/Morning Consult survey from Wednesday showing that just 21 percent of voters say the bill "offers too much support."

Democrats, for their part, are planning to hammer Republicans for voting against the bill — and are already running ads against vulnerable GOP lawmakers up for reelection in 2022 attacking them for opposing popular provisions in the legislation.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Sen. Johnson’s Stunt To Delay Relief Bill Backfires — Badly

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) tried to delay the passage of the coronavirus relief bill by forcing Senate clerks to read aloud every word of the 628 legislation.

However Johnson's effort to delay passage of the bill — which will send another round of direct payments to Americans, extend more generous unemployment benefits, and provide funding for vaccine rollout and school reopenings — actually backfired, as there is now 17 hours fewer to debate the legislation.

Here's what happened:

Johnson remained on the Senate floor until around 2 a.m. EST, nearly 11 hours after clerks began to read the legislation at Johnson's demand.

But after he left, Democrats moved to cut down debate on the bill from 20 hours to 3, and Johnson was not there to object. That means Republicans will have 17 fewer hours to debate the merits of the bill.

"Still struggling to understand @RonJohnsonWI last night," Paul Kane, a longtime Congressional correspondent who works for the Washington Post, tweeted. "He forced nonpartisan Senate staff to read entire covid bill for 10+ hrs. Yet he wasn't there to object when Dems reduced debate to 3 hrs (instead of 20). So, now bill is moving faster to passage, not slower. Strategery?"

Democrats are moving quickly on the legislation because they want to have it on President Joe Biden's desk by March 14, when expanded Unemployment Insurance benefits are set to expire.

If Republicans were successful in their efforts to delay the passage of the bill, it would leave hundreds of thousands of laid-off workers with smaller unemployment checks. On Thursday, the Department of Labor announced that 745,000 had filed for unemployment payments the week before.

But ultimately, having less time to debate the bill cuts back on the GOP's opportunity to build opposition to the legislation, which is currently overwhelmingly popular with the electorate.

A Politico/Morning Consult poll published Wednesday found 77 percent of voters supporting the relief legislation. That includes a whopping 59 percent of Republicans.

In the end, debate on the relief package began at 9 a.m.ET Friday morning, and was scheduled to end three hours later.

At that point, Republicans will wage another stunt to drag out the passage of the legislation, by offering amendments they hope will cause political pain to Democrats.

And at the end of the day, it looks like not a single GOP lawmaker will vote for the relief bill. Already, Vice President Kamala Harris had to break a tie Thursday even to proceed to debate the bill in the evenly divided 50-50 Senate.

And Democrats are crying foul that Republicans, who voted for relief bills under Trump, are now unified in support against Biden's proposal.

"Now that a Democrat is in the White House, now that Democrats control the Senate, those same ideas [Republicans] supported when Trump was president and McConnell was majority leader are a liberal wish list. Same ideas. Who the heck are they kidding?" Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday morning on the Senate floor.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Boebert Won With Mail Ballots, Now Wants To Kill Them

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) wants to strip a voting rights bill of a key provision that expands access to voting by mail — the very same voting method her state exclusively uses in conducting its elections.

Boebert filed an amendment to HR 1, the "For the People Act of 2021," that would expand access to the ballot in federal elections.

The provision Boebert wants stricken states: "If an individual in a State is eligible to cast a vote in an election for Federal office, the State may not impose any additional conditions or requirements on the eligibility of the individual to cast the vote in such election by absentee ballot by mail."

Colorado has been voting entirely by mail since 2013. Boebert — who has not raised any doubts about the legitimacy of her own victory in 2020 — was elected in 2020 entirely by absentee ballots.

But throughout her campaign, Boebert spread Donald Trump's lies that voting by mail was prone to fraud and has been pushing for restrictions to voting by mail.

"The 'For The Swamp' Act, HR 1, will make permanent law out of the mail-in ballots that we saw turn the 2020 election into an absolute mess," Boebert tweeted on Feb. 18. "The new norm will be waiting days & weeks for elections to be called — and even then who can be sure of the results given mail-in fraud."

Repeated investigations into the 2020 election have demonstrated that it was not marred by fraud.

Even William Barr, who served as Trump's attorney general, said as much.

Boebert's was one of the loudest voices pushing Trump's baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen, helping to incite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters who sought to block President Joe Biden's win from being certified.

On the day of the insurrection, Boebert tweeted, "Today is 1776" — a comment that's been widely criticized as having incited the mob.

Now Boebert is using lies about voter fraud to make it harder to vote.

Her amendment is one of a number from Republicans seeking to water down HR 1's intended goal of expanding access to the ballot.

The amendments will almost certainly not be added to the bill in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

The bill is slated to come up for a vote in early March and is expected to pass in the House.

However, it's unlikely HR 1 will make it to Biden's desk under current rules, with Senate Republicans likely to block it using the filibuster.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.