Greg Abbott

Abbott's Pardon Candidate Premeditated His 'Self-Defense' Murder Spree

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is planning to pardon Daniel Perry, the man convicted of murder for killing a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally in Austin in July 2020. Abbott is citing a “Stand Your Ground” law after Perry ran a red light and accelerated his car onto a street filled with protesters, then shot Garrett Foster, a protester who approached the car while openly carrying an AK-47. That Abbott wants to make Perry into a cause célèbre, given the bare facts of the case, is bad enough, but on Thursday, the Houston Chronicle released a 76-page filing by Travis County prosecutors that should really make Abbott think again, but probably won’t.

The filing includes page after page of social media posts and private messages filled with racism, violent imagery, and, tellingly, a strong preoccupation with exactly what counts as murder when it comes to killing protesters. The man did research on what he might be able to get away with—a search for “degrees of murder charges,” web history looking at Wikipedia on murder in United States law, a status posted about the distinctions between different degrees of murder and manslaughter, discussions of people who drove into crowds of protesters. Daniel Perry didn’t just happen to drive onto a street with protesters and then shoot and kill one of them. This was something he’d thought about a lot.

On May 31, 2020, Perry shows how he is thinking this through:

DANIEL PERRY: “I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex.”

JUSTIN SMITH: “Can you legally do so?”

DANIEL PERRY: “If they attack me or try to pull me out my car then yes.”

DANIEL PERRY: “If I just do it because I am driving by then no.”

So that’s the first question for Greg Abbott: Do you want to pardon the guy who not only murdered someone, but murdered someone after doing his research on different types of murder charges and showing a preoccupation with driving into crowds of protesters?

The second question for Abbott would probably involve some of the more overtly racist things Perry said and shared. Just one with the n-word, apparently, but you don’t need to use that word to be unbelievably racist, like when Perry shared “a meme with a photo of a woman holding her child’s head under the bath water and the text reads, ‘WHEN YOUR DAUGHTERS FIRST CRUSH IS A LITTLE NEGRO BOY.’”

Perry also compared Black Lives Matter protesters to monkeys at the zoo and said, speaking for himself, not sharing a meme, “To bad we can’t get paid for hunting Muslims in Europe.” How about that, Gov. Abbott? Still can’t wait to pardon him?

But that’s not all prosecutors want on the record about what Perry was up to online. They also have him searching for “good chats to meet young girls” and messaging with multiple underage girls, with the strong implication that he had a sexual relationship with one too young to have her driver’s license. This is the guy Greg Abbott wants to make into a heroic martyr of the right.

There are also some messages exchanged that you really want more context on, like this one:

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “He is now saying they threaten him.

”JUSTIN SMITH: “Probably. Sounds like he got kidnapped.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “Look just fix it.”

JUSTIN SMITH: “Literally how.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “By ensuring this never happens again contacting me and my father if he contacts you.”

JUSTIN SMITH: “I’m sorry.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “And tell me if the money shows up.”

That exchange goes on from there, concluding:

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “I am legally not allowed to talk about said issue anymore.”

OUTGOING MESSAGE: “I will hit you up on the DL.”

Daniel Perry was obsessed with protests, especially protests for racial justice. He was specifically interested in when it was permissible to kill protesters. He was also sharing racist memes, saying his own personal racist stuff, and hitting on teenage girls. This guy is a real prince. And Abbott isn’t the only Republican who has defended him:

Maybe Republicans will back away from Perry a little bit following the revelations in this filing, with their racism and obsession with teenage girls and evidence of premeditation. But that’s not a given. And even if they back away now, they were willing to go with him right up to murder. This is where we are right now: Major politicians in one of the major parties support murderers if the murderer is on their side politically and the victim was on the other side. It’s hard to see how you come back from that.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan Plans Hearing On 'Crime In New York' To Undermine Bragg

Rep. Jim Jordan is ramping up his efforts to undermine Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as Bragg prosecutes Donald Trump on felony charges of falsifying business records. The House Judiciary Committee, which Jordan chairs, is planning a show hearing in Manhattan on April 17 focusing on “how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.”

In reality, crime has been dropping in New York City in recent months, as Bragg’s office noted in response. “New York remains one of the safest big cities in the U.S. with a far lower murder rate than the most populous cities where the Committee Chairmen hail from – Ohio, Wisconsin, and Kentucky,” Bragg’s office pointed out, referencing Reps. James Comer and Bryan Steil, the other two committee chairs who have joined Jordan in trying to interfere in this local criminal prosecution.

Let’s get really specific about that.

New York City didn't even make a list of 65 cities with the highest homicide rates based on 2019 data. In Jordan’s home state of Ohio, Dayton was number five, Cleveland was 10, Cincinnati was 19, Akron was 49, and Toledo was 57, with a murder rate of 12.43 per 100,000 residents. New York’s homicide rate per 100,000 residents was 3.5 in 2018.

In 2020, New York was one of the five states with the lowest gun death rates. The five states with the highest gun death rates were Mississippi, Wyoming, Louisiana, Alaska, Missouri, and Alabama.

But it’s New York that Jordan wants to focus on. It couldn’t be clearer that this is about Bragg’s prosecution of Trump, not about crime. Jordan has tried to intimidate Bragg at a distance, demanding documents and testimony relating to this ongoing prosecution. When Bragg rebuffed him, he subpoenaed a former special assistant district attorney in the office who worked on the Trump case. Now Jordan is taking his intimidation efforts to Bragg’s immediate neighborhood. It’s obvious what he’s doing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work for the Fox News crowd, offering them (false) evidence that Trump is the victim of a witch hunt.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Justice Clarence Thomas

Few Ethics Rules Bind Supreme Court, But Thomas Violated A Big One

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has another ethics problem, and this time, despite the near-total lack of binding ethics rules applying to the Supreme Court, he may have actually broken a law.

A Pro Publica investigation has found that for more than two decades, Thomas has been accepting lavish vacations from real estate billionaire Harlan Crow. And while the Supreme Court is not bound by the code of conduct that requires other federal judges to avoid even the “appearance of impropriety,” it is bound by a law requiring the disclosure of gifts over $415. Thomas would likely claim that the vacations Crow has gifted him don’t need to be disclosed because they fall under the category of “Food, lodging, or entertainment received as personal hospitality,” which “need not be reported.” But ProPublica identified two ways that Thomas’ flights on a Crow’s private jet, vacations on his 162-foot yacht, and annual stays in his private resort do violate the disclosure requirements.

First, the disclosure requirements apply to “gifts other than food, lodging or entertainment, such as transportation that substitutes for commercial transportation.” Like, say, flights on a private jet, or, for that matter, yacht travel between islands. Second, they apply to “gifts extended at property or facilities owned by an entity, rather than by an individual or an individual’s family, even if the entity is owned wholly or in part by an individual or an individual’s family”—and Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks is owned through a company.

Thomas usually spends a week every summer at Camp Topridge, that resort in the Adirondacks, where there’s a painting of Thomas smoking cigars with Crow and Republican operatives including Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo. It’s a “camp” in the same sense that the Vanderbilt mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, are “cottages.”

The mountainous area draws billionaires from across the globe. Rooms at a nearby hotel built by the Rockefellers start at $2,250 a night. Crow’s invitation-only resort is even more exclusive. Guests stay for free, enjoying Topridge’s more than 25 fireplaces, three boathouses, clay tennis court and batting cage, along with more eccentric features: a lifesize replica of the Harry Potter character Hagrid’s hut, bronze statues of gnomes and a 1950s-style soda fountain where Crow’s staff fixes milkshakes.

At Camp Topridge, Thomas may be fishing and dining with business executives, major Republican donors, and leaders of right-wing think tanks. Crow told ProPublica he was “unaware of any of our friends ever lobbying or seeking to influence Justice Thomas on any case, and I would never invite anyone who I believe had any intention of doing that.” It strains credulity to believe that the gatherings haven’t involved talk of politics, which would be relevant. But even if they (improbably) haven’t, the thing about vacationing with people is that even if no direct lobbying goes on, you’re going to intuitively understand them as your people, sharing your interests.

But that’s the routine vacation Thomas gets from Crow. In 2019, ProPublica reports, Thomas was flown to Indonesia on Crow’s jet for nine days going to sites like Komodo National Park and the volcanic lakes of Mount Kelimutu. Around 10 years ago, there was a yacht trip in New Zealand. ProPublica also found photographs of Thomas wearing the custom polo shirts Crow gives his yacht guests, one of which said “March 2007” and “Greek Islands.” Nice life, right?

This is not the self-image Thomas promotes. “I don’t have any problem with going to Europe, but I prefer the United States, and I prefer seeing the regular parts of the United States,” he recently claimed in an interview for—get this—a documentary about Clarence Thomas funded in part by Harlan Crow. Just, you know, the “regular parts of the United States” like a billionaire’s private resort with tons of servants and a replica of Hagrid’s hut.

“I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that. There’s something normal to me about it,” he added. “I come from regular stock, and I prefer that—I prefer being around that.” On the Indonesia yacht trip, one of the stops was at a beach that can only be accessed by boat.

(And really, who actually prefers a Walmart parking lot to a beach? Maybe the beach of choice is on the Florida panhandle, but if you ask the people working at Walmart or shopping there because it’s the main store in town or it’s what they can afford, they’re probably going to tell you they’d prefer the beach, too. This claim from Thomas shows how fake this affectation is, how far he is from being a guy who is in Walmart parking lots because that’s just where he needs to be.)

Thomas also appears to use Crow’s jet for routine travel occasionally, with the jet going from Crow’s hometown of Dallas to Dulles airport, then somewhere Thomas is going, and then back to Dulles.

On July 7 last year, Crow’s jet made a 40-minute stop at Dulles and then flew to a small airport near Topridge, returning to Dulles six days later. Thomas was at the resort that week for his regular summer visit, according to a person who was there. Twice in recent years, the jet has followed the pattern when Thomas appeared at Crow’s properties in Dallas — once for the Jan. 4, 2018, swearing-in of Fifth Circuit Judge James Ho at Crow’s private library and again for a conservative think tank conference Crow hosted last May.

Thomas has even used the plane for a three-hour trip. On Feb. 11, 2016, the plane flew from Dallas to Dulles to New Haven, Connecticut, before flying back later that afternoon. ProPublica confirmed that Thomas was on the jet through Supreme Court security records obtained by the nonprofit Fix the Court, private jet data, a New Haven plane spotter and another person at the airport. There are no reports of Thomas making a public appearance that day, and the purpose of the trip remains unclear.

It would cost around $70,000 to charter a jet for such a trip. Thomas’ salary is $285,000 a year, though of course his wife Ginni also makes a substantial salary working for far-right groups with interests in Supreme Court cases. At least once, Ginni’s six-figure salary came from a group that had gotten a $500,000 contribution from Harlan Crow. Isn’t it cozy?

The law doesn’t prohibit Thomas from accepting these trips—in a clear demonstration of how broken ethics laws are when it comes to the Supreme Court—but he does have to disclose them, and he has not been doing that, just as he has not been recusing himself from cases in which his wife is in some way involved. Will Thomas face any consequences for apparently having violated the financial disclosure law again and again? The chances are slim, honestly. But once again he is personally dismantling the fraying credibility of the Supreme Court.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

James Comer

Raskin: Oversight Chair Worked With Trump Lawyers To Kill Tax Probe

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer is putting up a perfect display of Republican priorities, and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the ranking Democrat on the committee, is on the case.

On the one hand, Comer is not only dropping an agreement with Mazars, the longtime accounting firm for Donald Trump, to produce documents relating to foreign government spending at Trump properties during Trump’s time in the White House—he’s coordinating with Trump’s lawyers about the move. And at the same time, Comer is broadening his investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden and someone with no government role whatsoever, to demand banking records for three of Hunter Biden’s business associates.

Pointing out that documents Mazars already turned over to the committee show hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from governments including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and China to Trump’s businesses, Raskin wrote, in a letter to Comer, “On January 19, 2023, Patrick Strawbridge, counsel for Donald Trump, wrote to counsel for Mazars, stating ‘I do not know the status of Mazars [sic] production, but my understanding is that the Committee has no interest in forcing Mazars to complete it and is willing to release it from further obligations under the settlement agreement.’”

Raskin continued, “When counsel for Mazars sought clarification, Mr. Strawbridge confirmed this direction had been provided to him, twice, by the Acting General Counsel of the House of Representatives, in his capacity as counsel to the Committee.” This is, Raskin wrote, “an astonishing delegation of the legislative power of the Chair to a twice-impeached former President whose Executive Branch actions are still actively under Committee investigation.”

At the same time, Comer subpoenaed Bank of America seeking 14 years of financial records for three of Hunter Biden’s business associates. This isn’t just records of a specific business. It was a demand for “all financial records” from the moment Joe Biden became vice president until now.

“These documents go well beyond any business deal with Hunter Biden or CEFC,” Raskin wrote. “They intrude into private details of Mr. Walker’s and his family’s finances: how much he pays for his child’s dance lessons, when he has been to the hospital, how many parking tickets he has paid, how often he eats at Papa John’s or has coffee at Starbucks, and how much he spends on groceries at Safeway.”

To House Republicans, Walker’s participation with Hunter Biden in a failed business venture makes this information a more legitimate target for investigation than evidence of foreign governments spending hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump properties. As Raskin accurately summed up, “I fear this wildly overbroad subpoena suggests that your interest in this investigation is not in pursuing defined facts or informing public legislation but conducting a dragnet of political opposition research on behalf of former President Trump.”

So: Information on how a former president and would-be future president profited, while in office, from foreign government spending is not of interest to the Republicans in control of the House Oversight Committee.

But: Detailed personal financial records of the business associates of a person who is not in the government are at the center of what these Republicans are doing.

It’s obviously partisan—Republicans want to investigate Democrats and end investigations of Republicans—but it’s more than that. The difference in the closeness to power of what and who is under investigation is telling. It’s the guy who was in the White House vs. people who did business with the son of the guy in the White House, with no reason, despite multiple investigations, to believe that the president has had any involvement in his son’s business dealings, let alone steered U.S. policy in directions favorable to his son.

Comer and his Republican buddies would like voters to believe that, wow, if they’re demanding financial records of people who just did business with Hunter Biden, there must be a there there. But the reality is that what it shows is that they have nothing on the president. If they even thought they did, they’d be investigating him.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Jim Jordan

Republicans Went All In On Partisan Probes -- And Have Nothing To Show

Republicans are making investigations and hearings the signature of their time in control of the House, but they’re not doing a very good job of it. That’s not a partisan assessment trying to define the narrative, either—that’s something Republicans themselves increasingly fear.

Rep. Jim Jordan’s subcommittee on the weaponization of government was supposed to be the true centerpiece of the effort, making the case that the federal government has targeted Republicans. So far, though, it has been unfocused and ineffective with hearings that haven’t made much of an impact, and no big bombshells. Again, Republicans are saying this.

“Jordan is overextended and short-staffed, biting off much more than he can chew,” a former Sen. Chuck Grassley staffer tweeted in late February. “This is doomed to fail.” One of the quoted tweets on that came from an EpochTV host, who added, “Is it once again all talk & no action from the GOP - this time from the Weaponization Committee?” And Fox News’ Jesse Watters said, “Make me feel better, guys. Tell me this is going somewhere. Can I throw someone in prison? Can someone go to jail? Can someone get fined?”

Jordan is insisting that he’s doing great. “There have been more subpoenas, letters, interviews, and depositions than any other committee in Congress — and not that those are the measurement of success — but our staff is working their tails off,” he told The Washington Post. “There’s always going to be people who criticize us … We’re just going to do our job. We’re going to get the facts on the table and then we’re going to propose legislation that we think would help remedy the situation.”

He’s also asking for more funding to help staff up. But multiple sources told the Post that’s easier said than done.

“The reality is that there are a lot of people that don’t want to go and leave their jobs and work for this committee,” said one person identified as being “close to the committee.” They continued, “Unlike the January 6 committee, a lot of folks don’t think this will be a career enhancement — they don’t think this will get them on the partner track for their firm. So you will have to pay a premium for talent to support this and the fact that resources aren’t being devoted to it to do it will make it harder.”

And the subcommittee’s first hearings are not going to have made it easier to sell potential staffers on the career-building opportunities here. Jordan is using the hearings to float one false story and conspiracy theory after another—for instance, misquoting his own witnesses, who told Twitter that a possible hack-and-leak operation law enforcement was warning social media companies about might involve Hunter Biden. Former Twitter executive Yoel Roth said under oath that as far as he remembered, the specific warning about Hunter Biden came from someone at another tech company, but Jordan claimed it came from the government. If you’re a lawyer looking to make your career, you have to be pretty far off in Sidney Powell territory to think that being associated with that level of evidence-based claim is going to help.

”There is a feeling right now that this will simply be a Fox News clip generator — this really needs to be a comprehensive, well-resourced examination of the security state,” an unnamed “person familiar with the committee’s operations” told the Post. “It can’t be a way for members to get three- to five-minute hits on the Sean Hannity show. If they want this to be real, it has to be done right.”

But right now all the Republican investigations are exactly that: Fox News clip generators. And Jordan isn’t the only committee chair drawing some internal criticism. Punchbowl News reports that James Comer, chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, is drawing some gripes as he announces one investigation after another without making much of an impact. Just this week his committee has held seven hearings, all on different topics, with yet another one being postponed. That looks like someone throwing things against the wall to see what sticks (or, more precisely, what draws Fox News coverage), not someone conducting serious investigations intended to turn up meaningful information.

“There’s a big difference between oversight where you have expertise and oversight to churn out press releases,” a House Republican aide said. “Everyone thought he’d learn from prior chairmen and work in a more coordinated way. It’s been quite the opposite.”

That basic assessment applies to a lot of the highest-profile Republican “investigations,” the ones that were supposed to show what they were capable of. Then again, maybe they are showing what they’re capable of.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.


DeSantis Bill Mandates Political Control Of Public Colleges

After a series of teasers, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis released his detailed legislation to turn Florida’s public colleges and universities into right-wing indoctrination factories, and it’s as bad as he promised it would be. DeSantis is, on the one hand, moving to ban virtually any viewpoint he doesn’t like and, on the other hand, setting up a core curriculum that reflects his specific political agenda.

On the banned list: Not only whatever the people DeSantis puts in charge decide are “Critical Race Theory,” but literally all diversity, equity, and inclusion programming. Majors or minors in gender studies. Any general education course that “defines American history as contrary to the creation of a new nation based on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.”

Yes, DeSantis is attempting to write into law that any history that suggests the United States did not always fully live up to the “universal principles” of the Declaration of Independence (a document written by a slave-owner!) is not fit for inclusion as a general education course—the ones that students will be required to take. Those general education courses will be five courses designated within each of five areas (communication, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, natural sciences) from which students must choose. The direct requirement of the bill would be history courses that didn’t admit to the existence in U.S. history of slavery or the internment of Japanese people during World War II.

“General education core courses may not suppress or distort significant historical events,” according to the bill, and yet they are also required to comply with the ban on anything that “defines American history as contrary to the creation of a new nation based on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” The whole thing is about suppressing and distorting significant historical events.

All of the general education core courses are intended to provide “the education for citizenship of the constitutional republic”—constitutional republic being a big Republican buzzword to assert that the United States is not a democracy. Meanwhile, the core courses in communications “must afford students the ability to communicate effectively, including the ability to write clearly and engage in public speaking, through engagement with the Western literary tradition.” Heaven forbid students learn to communicate effectively, write clearly, and engage in public speaking through engagement with a non-Western literary tradition. We can’t have that!

This will be strictly enforced from above, by people DeSantis appoints for that purpose. Faculty—experts in their fields—will be radically disempowered, forced to teach within the limits DeSantis lays out, or else. The bill talks about “the cultivation of the intellectual autonomy of its undergraduate students,” but its meaning is clear: Faculty are defined as the enemies of intellectual autonomy, which properly belongs only to conservative students who don’t want to learn all that unpleasant stuff about race and gender.

The legislation would weaken faculty tenure, but what’s much worse is what it would do to faculty hiring:

Each state university board of trustees is responsible for hiring faculty for the university. The president of the university may provide hiring recommendations to the board. The president and the board are not required to consider recommendations or opinions of faculty of the university or other individuals or groups.

These trustees will effectively be DeSantis political appointees—for instance, when he put six new people on the board of trustees at the New College of Florida, they included Christopher Rufo, the right-wing think-tanker whose attacks on public education have included being the architect of the campaign against “critical race theory” in schools; the superintendent of a religious charter school; a dean from Hillsdale College, a private Christian school; and the viciously transphobic president of a conservative think tank. That’s the type of people DeSantis is putting in charge of all faculty hiring in Florida’s public colleges and universities.

And no, this isn’t just a formality where the board won’t really exert control:

The board of trustees may delegate its hiring authority to the president; however, the president may not delegate such hiring authority and the board must approve or deny any selection by the president.

Even if the board doesn’t want to go through all the applications (a number that may shrink as academic jobseekers steer clear of Florida), it will have the final word on each and every person hired to teach Florida’s college students.

On Thursday, college students across Florida protested DeSantis’ plans for their schools.

“We want to take these classes and for the state to come in and say, 'Well, we might not want to allow you to have that' … At what point are college students going to be considered adults by the state of Florida?" Jonathon Chavez, president of College Democrats at the University of South Florida, told ABC News, adding, “We want to make our own decisions and our education, how we want to better ourselves. We think it's quite silly that the state would try to restrict that.”

“We’re not here to be spoonfed a sanitized version of history,” USF senior Andy Pham told the crowd at the protest. “If Black people, Indigenous people, all people of color have to confront racism every moment of our waking lives, white folks can certainly handle reading about it.”

Walkouts were also held at the University of Florida, Florida International University, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Poly, New College, the University of North Florida, the University of Central Florida, Rollins College (a private liberal arts college in the state), and Largo High School.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

'I Don't Think You'll Be Shocked': Georgia Grand Juror Teases Trump Indictment

'I Don't Think You'll Be Shocked': Georgia Grand Juror Teases Trump Indictment

There’s a lot more to come in the Georgia investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election in that state, based on what the foreperson of the recent special grand jury told CNN on Tuesday. While the only recommended indictment that made it through the redacted version of the grand jury’s report that was released to the public was perjury, more indictments were recommended in the unredacted report. “It’s not a short list. It’s not,” Emily Kohrs told CNN. She added, “There may be some names on that list that you wouldn’t expect. But the big name that everyone keeps asking me about—I don’t think you will be shocked.”

So, yes, it sounds like the special grand jury recommended indicting Donald Trump. That’s a long way from it happening, or from a guilty verdict, or from Trump actually being sentenced, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The special grand jury was not able to issue indictments itself. Rather, it made recommendations for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who could then take them to a regular grand jury. In late January, Willis cited “imminent” charging decisions, so it seems that well before the public saw scraps of the special grand jury report, Willis was taking action.

Asked by Kate Bolduan if the “not short” list of recommended indictments was more than 12, Kohrs called it “probably a good assumption.” She also described hearing “a lot of very compelling evidence, a lot of very interesting things, things that we didn’t expect. We discovered a lot as we went.”

As for Trump’s insistence that the special grand jury report exonerated him, Kohrs called it “Fascinating,” adding, “I’m not positive he read the right document.”

Trump was always going to claim he was exonerated, though. In fact, his attorneys had said that the special grand jury exonerated him even before its report was released. Because he was never called in or subpoenaed by this grand jury, they claimed, “we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump.”

Trump’s absence from in-person testimony doesn’t mean the grand jury didn’t hear from him. Willis kicked off this investigation in response to Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he demanded that Raffensperger “find 11,780 votes,” the number Trump needed to win. It was always safe to say that the grand jurors would hear from Trump in recorded form, and Kohrs told CNN that wasn’t the only Trump call they heard. “Yes. I’m positive I have heard the president on the phone more than once,” she said.

In the CNN interview, referring to the report’s recommendation of perjury charges for some, Kohrs drew a distinction between “crimes we were called to investigate and crimes that were committed in the room.” Sen. Lindsey Graham, who fought hard to avoid testifying, said on ABC’s This Weekthat he had “no concerns about [his] testimony,” and Kohrs told the Associated Press that he did answer questions. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, on the other hand, repeatedly invoked the Fifth Amendment (which probably means he didn’t commit perjury).

While the investigation began with that Trump call to Raffensperger, it expanded beyond that to consider evidence on the slate of false electors attempting to throw the state to Trump; state legislators’ false allegations of election fraud; the resignation of Byung Pak as U.S. attorney in Atlanta, a resignation he told congressional investigators was because he had heard Trump was planning to fire him; the computer forensics team hired by Trump allies that copied voting system software in one Georgia county; and the harassment campaign directed against Fulton County elections worker Ruby Freeman.

Trump seems in jeopardy of indictment here, which would definitely draw the biggest headlines, but there is also plenty of room there for indictments of people most of us have never heard of but who were eager members of the effort to overturn an election and commit a coup. And those people are also important—not just in Trump’s 2020 attempt but in 2024 and beyond. If there are no consequences now, those people will just keep going.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Kristina Karamo

New Michigan GOP Chair Urges Her Party To Focus On 'Demonic Forces'

In today’s Republican Party it is no longer enough to deny that Donald Trump lost in 2020. The true Republican diehards demand that their leaders deny that Republicans ever lose any election.

That played out at the Michigan GOP convention over the weekend, with Trump’s pick for state party chair being defeated by a candidate who is even more extreme an election denier. It took three rounds of voting—counted by hand because Republicans have also made it an article of faith not to accept voting technology, even at their own convention—but Kristina Karamo prevailed over second-place finisher and Trump endorsee Matt DePerno.

Karamo ran for secretary of state in 2022, losing by 14 points. DePerno ran for attorney general, losing by 8.6 points. But DePerno conceded that he had lost, while Karamo refused to concede. At the state party convention, she made that part of her campaign message, saying, “Conceding to a fraudulent person is agreeing with the fraud, which I will not do.”

When it comes to 2020, DePerno has been an election denier in good standing, having made his name as a Republican and earned Trump’s endorsement on the basis of his quest to prove fraud in that election. He’s even faced a criminal investigation for tampering with voting machines in 2021. That is the kind of stuff that gets you Donald Trump’s endorsement to lead a state Republican Party. But apparently it is not enough for Michigan Republicans. “Matt ran out on us; he didn’t fight for us,” one delegate told The Washington Post.

Election denial isn’t Karamo’s only angle, though. At the convention, she said, “My goal number one as a Christian is to bring people to Christ, and secondarily to save our country.” A few nights earlier, in a speech to a far-right “patriot” group, she went into a little more detail.

“When we start talking about the spiritual reality of the demonic forces, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, this is crazy, we can’t go there,’” Karamo said. “No. It’s like, did you read the Bible? Didn’t Jesus perform exorcisms? … Scriptures are clear. And so if we’re not operating as though the spirit realities of the world exist, we’re going to fail every time.”

The convention that elected Karamo to lead the state party was attended by 2,000 delegates—but not one of the outgoing party co-chairs or any member of the state congressional delegation. But Karamo claimed the party would move forward unified. “We cannot wait to get work done as one Michigan Republican Party,” she said. “And we are going to beat the Democrats.”

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

New Tesla Model S Plaid

Tesla Fired Dozens In Buffalo Plant On Day After Union Campaign Launch

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_MuskLike freakin’ clockwork. It took one day between a group of Buffalo Tesla workers informing the company of their intent to unionize and Tesla firing more than 30 workers in that plant, including a member of the union organizing committee.

Workers United, the union the workers are affiliating with, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that Tesla “terminated these individuals in retaliation for union activity and to discourage union activity,” and seeking an injunction blocking the firings. According to More Perfect Union, “Tesla managers announced surprise performance reviews, then fired 8x as many workers as usual.”

This is not the first time Tesla has engaged in apparent retaliatory firing for union activity, and Tesla isn’t the only Elon Musk company to have fired workers for speaking up.

In 2021, the National Labor Relations Board found that Tesla had illegally fired a union activist and that a tweet from Musk had illegally threatened workers with the loss of stock options if they unionized. Tesla is appealing that ruling, which came from two Republicans and one Democrat.

In 2022, unfair labor practice charges were filed claiming that SpaceX had fired eight workers in retaliation for a letter about the company’s sexual harassment policies generally and specifically about Musk’s tweets dismissing a report that SpaceX had settled a sexual harassment complaint against him. Those cases are pending. And, of course, at Twitter, Musk has repeatedly fired people who didn’t kiss the ring enthusiastically enough.

In the narrow window of time between the Buffalo Tesla workers—who work on the Autopilot system—going public with their union drive and the company firing a significant number of workers in the plant, Tesla issued a warning to workers to “protect the confidentiality, integrity and security of all Tesla Business Information.” It’s not clear what that was about, but it doesn’t sound coincidental either.

“I feel blindsided,” one of the fired workers, Arian Berek, said in a statement. “I got COVID and was out of the office, then I had to take a bereavement leave. I returned to work, was told I was exceeding expectations and then Wednesday came along.”

Another member of the organizing committee who was not fired (yet) said the effort to intimidate workers away from union activism was backfiring, Bloomberg reports.

“It’s pretty clear the message they’re sending. They’re trying to scare us,” Sara Costantino said. “And it’s really I think backfiring on them.”
“It has really opened people’s eyes to the fact that this is why we need a union.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is organized labor?

A. Organized labor refers to groups of workers who come together to advocate for their rights and improve their working conditions.

Q. What is anti-union activity?

A. Anti-union activity refers to actions taken by employers to discourage workers from forming or joining a union.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

House Republicans Backtrack On China Balloon Attack

House Republicans Backtrack On China Balloon Attack

House Republicans have abruptly backed off after making a lot of noise about passing a resolution condemning President Joe Biden’s handling of the Chinese surveillance balloon. Since “House Republicans backed off of attacking Biden”—let alone backing off of a plan to make headlines on the day of the State of the Union address—is not a story you hear very often, this is fascinating.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to play statesman. “I think you could see that this week,” he told reporters, referring to a China-focused resolution. “I think our greatest strength is when we speak with one voice to China.”

The question is what changed their minds about this.

One answer seems to be that some House Republicans balked. And McCarthy definitely did not want to go into the State of the Union, with the headlines being that he tried and failed to pass a resolution criticizing Biden. Spending the evening sitting on national television behind the guy he couldn’t get the votes to publicly rebuke would not be fun, and you know Biden’s speechwriters would have raced to get a reference to that failure into the speech.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul is getting much of the credit for getting Republican leadership to change direction. “We want it to be a bipartisan resolution about China, not about us fighting each other,” McCaul told reporters. “It’s too important of an issue, you know. We want to stand strong together against China instead of having our internal fights.”

McCaul is also talking to Rep. Gregory Meeks, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, about making the resolution bipartisan.

But given that the Biden administration is sending signs that it has significant intelligence on this and previous balloons, and that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in her Monday press briefing that they’d “even briefed Congress this past August” about Chinese surveillance balloons, you have to wonder if McCarthy concluded that in addition to the possible embarrassment of losing an anti-Biden vote, he might end up with serious egg on his face after more information comes out.

That would have to be a lot of egg, because Republicans are so very good at pretending that inconvenient information doesn’t exist. But the Biden administration has steadily made the case that it knew what it was doing all along with this balloon, and that it knows more than it has told to this point. All senators are due for a classified briefing on the issue on Thursday, and McCarthy may be nervous about getting out too far on a limb attacking Biden ahead of that.

The Biden administration is emphasizing that it has been way ahead of the former administration on this issue. According to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, under Biden, the U.S. “enhanced our surveillance of our territorial airspace, we enhanced our capacity to be able to detect things that the Trump administration was unable to detect.”

Whatever the reason, it’s kind of delightful that Republicans made public noise about a resolution criticizing Biden on the balloon and are now backing off so swiftly that it’s within the realm of possibility for them to end up with a resolution condemning China that turns into one of the more bipartisan votes of the opening weeks of this Congress.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Republican National Committee

Republican National Committee Vows To 'Go On Offense' Over Abortion

Republicans didn’t get the big red wave they expected in November’s elections, thanks to voter anger over harsh abortion bans. So how are Republicans going to do better in 2024? By embracing harsh abortion bans, if the Republican National Committee has anything to say about it. That’s the party’s official position as laid out at length in a resolution passed by the RNC on Monday.

See, the problem is that Republicans didn’t talk about abortion enough in 2022. “Instead of fighting back and exposing Democratic extremism on abortion, many Republican candidates failed to remind Americans of our proud heritage of challenging slavery, segregation, and the forces eroding the family and the sanctity of human life, thereby allowing Democrats to define our longtime position,” in the resolution’s words.

The RNC passed the resolution in the wake of Ronna McDaniel’s reelection as chair and, in that context, it looks like a Kevin McCarthy-style concession to the far right. McDaniel was reelected easily compared with McCarthy’s 15 rounds of speaker votes, but the chair fight drew enough attention, and her opponents drew enough votes, to give her reason to try to shore up her right flank. As ways of doing that go, though, “more abortion bans” is a glorious gift to Democrats.

The resolution for action moving forward is twofold. First, there’s a plan to “go on offense,” aka lie. “The Republican National Committee urges all Republican pro-life candidates, consultants, and other national Republican Political Action Committees to remember this proud heritage, go on offense in the 2024 election cycle, and expose the Democrats’ extreme position of supporting abortion on-demand up until the moment of birth, paid for by the taxpayers, even supporting discriminatory abortions such as gender selection or when the child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.”

That is simply not the position of the Democratic Party. So that’s step one: “Hey, Republicans, you didn’t lie about Democrats enough in 2022! Fix that in 2024!”

The second part of the action plan is to pass more anti-abortion laws, specifically ones based on disinformation. Yep, voters dealt you a historic rebuke in 2022 over the anti-abortion laws you had already passed, but this time is going to be different.

“The Republican National Committee urges Republican lawmakers in state legislatures and in Congress to pass the strongest pro-life legislation possible – such as laws that acknowledge the beating hearts and experiences of pain in the unborn – underscoring the new relics of barbarism the Democratic Party represents as we approach the 2024 cycle.”

The “beating hearts” part means six-week abortion bans based on the first signs of cardiac activity that come long before anything that could reasonably be described as a heart has formed. Those bans prohibit abortion starting at a point before many people know they are pregnant.

The “experiences of pain” part is a mainstay of Republican anti-abortion legislation, often used as an argument for 15-week abortion bans. Except a 15-week fetus does not and cannot feel pain. Here’s what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has to say on the issue: “The science conclusively establishes that a human fetus does not have the capacity to experience pain until after at least 24–25 weeks. Every major medical organization that has examined this issue and peer-reviewed studies on the matter have consistently reached the conclusion that abortion before this point does not result in the perception of pain in a fetus.” The 24 to 25 weeks at which the capacity to feel pain develops, by the way, is also right around the viability threshold that was a critical part of the rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade.

The RNC probably thinks that part one of the plan—tell lies about Democrats being the real extremists on abortion—will overwhelm part two of the plan—pass more of the kind of laws that voters rose up against last year. But the losses of hardcore anti-abortion politicians like Arizona Senate nominee Blake Masters, Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, and Michigan gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon suggest that “go harder on abortion” may not be the key to success in battleground states.

If Republicans want to try that, though, please proceed. Anti-abortion bills are not going to get through the U.S. Senate or get President Joe Biden’s signature, but if House Republicans want to pre-write Democratic campaign ads by passing some message bills showing what they would do to ban abortion at the federal level if Republicans got full control of government … great, thanks guys. If Republicans manage to pass more state-level abortion restrictions, real suffering will follow in those states, as has already kicked off in the states that have passed harsh restrictions.

But the low-hanging fruit has already been picked—the states that don’t yet have abortion bans are probably ones where, even if Republicans propose such bills, they may encounter trouble passing them, potentially even from fellow Republicans who look at what happened in 2022 and decide that maybe extreme opposition to abortion is not a winning tactic.

Abortion, and the long-term consequences of banning it, aren't going anywhere as political issues because they're not going anywhere in people’s lives. If Republicans want to keep being loud and proud about which side they’re on, that’s helpful in ensuring that voters know what their votes mean when Election Day rolls around.

​Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the official position of the Republican National Committee (RNC) on abortion?

The RNC passed a resolution calling for Republican candidates to embrace harsh abortion bans in an effort to do better in the 2024 elections. The resolution also calls for Republicans to "go on offense" and lie about the Democratic Party's stance on abortion and for Republican lawmakers to pass more anti-abortion laws.

Why did Republicans perform poorly in the 2022 elections with regards to abortion?

According to the RNC, Republicans failed to talk about abortion enough in the 2022 elections, allowing the Democrats to define their stance on the issue.

What is the first part of the RNC's action plan regarding abortion?

The first part of the RNC's action plan is for Republicans to "go on offense" and lie about the Democratic Party's stance on abortion, claiming they support abortion "on-demand up until the moment of birth, paid for by the taxpayers."

What is the second part of the RNC's action plan regarding abortion?

The second part of the RNC's action plan is for Republican lawmakers to pass more anti-abortion laws, specifically ones based on misinformation, such as six-week abortion bans based on the first signs of cardiac activity.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Santos Still Hiding Source Of $625K He Didn't Loan To His Campaign

Santos Still Hiding Source Of $625K He Didn't Loan To His Campaign

The big question—the really big question—about Rep. George Santos’ lies has been where he got the $700,000 he lent his campaign. Because there’s no evidence Santos ever had that much money, and if it came from someone else, that person bought themselves a U.S. congressman, which is illegal. Updated finance reports Santos’ campaign filed on Tuesday added a new twist.

In the new filings, the campaign unchecked a single box that had been checked in previous filings. The box in question was originally marked to say that the loan came from “personal funds of the candidate.” Now it’s not saying that money came from Santos’ own money, in two amended reports about $500,000 and $125,000 loans from Santos. But no more explanation is forthcoming.

“I have never been this confused looking at an F.E.C. filing,” Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and therefore someone who probably looks at a lot of FEC filings, told The New York Times.

“If the candidate’s personal wealth wasn’t the source of the loan, then what was?” one campaign lawyer quoted in the Times asked. “The only other permissible source would be a bank, and they would require collateral for a loan of this size. If a bank wasn’t the source of the funds, then the only alternatives are illegal sources.”

Santos had claimed that he got the money through his company, the Devolder Organization. But the Devolder Organization has no record of clients that would be paying it enough money to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to Santos, who made $55,000 a year at his previous job. Even if the Devolder Organization legitimately made that money, with Santos as its owner, taking the money out of the company to go to his campaign could be illegal.

It seems unlikely that “I got the money from my personal company that within the space of a couple years made millions of dollars with no major clients I can disclose” is a true answer, though. One possible answer is that, as the Times reported earlier in the month, large amounts of money were raised for Santos through RedStone Strategies, described in some documents as an “independent expenditure” group but never registered with the FEC. Some of the contributions to RedStone Strategies came shortly before Santos’ $125,00 loan to his campaign. Because there’s no documentation, we can’t say anything for sure about that, but it’s … interesting.

Everything about this guy is sketchy, but the hundreds of thousands of dollars he funneled to his campaign on the claim that it was his own money is one of the things most likely to be criminal. That, and the actual criminal fraud charges in Brazil. And the allegation that he fraudulently raised money for lifesaving surgery for a disabled veteran’s service dog and then refused to pay for the dog’s surgery while claiming that the money would go to other dogs.

So the highly questionable campaign finance arrangements aren’t the only crimes Santos may have committed—but they’d be by far the largest in dollar value and impact in the world. (A dog dying needlessly is awful, but not an enormous story in comparison with a criminal criming his way into Congress.)

As a result of the new disclosures and the general cloud of suspicion surrounding Santos, this is how his days are going:

But note there are still no answers. Voters in his district—and the FEC and Santos’ colleagues in the House—really need to know where that money came from. Republican leaders have stood by Santos so far because they care more about his vote than about what rules or laws he may have broken on the way to Congress. Is there anything that could possibly shift Kevin McCarthy’s risk-benefit analysis on Santos? It seems like we’re going to get a very strong test of that question.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Some Republicans Distancing From George Santos As His Lies Metastasize

Some Republicans Distancing From George Santos As His Lies Metastasize

Republican Rep.-elect George Santos is “not welcome” at Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) events anymore, the group said after Santos repeatedly lied to them about his supposed Jewish heritage. That’s just part of the fallout as Santos tried and failed to explain what’s not just a series of lies but seems to be an entire invented identity. But top House Republicans? They're silent, because with an extremely narrow majority, they’re not going to say or do anything to jeopardize a win in a slightly blue district. In particular, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy previously included Santos when bragging about the increase in Jewish Republicans in the House, but he still needs Santos’ vote for speaker.

The RJC has a lot of reason to be furious at Santos. He’s now saying he “never claimed to be Jewish.” Instead, “Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’” In reality, he told several American Jewish organizations, in writing, that he was “a proud American Jew.”

Speaking to the aforementioned RJC after the elections, he really leaned in:

Santos also claimed his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, which is both gross and unambiguously a lie. No wonder the RJC is saying “He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage” and “will not be welcome at any future RJC event.”

This particular Santos lie is entirely debunked at this point. There are still big questions about some of the others, and the biggest one remains just how a guy whose claims about significant assets and personal wealth all turn out to be lies was able to lend his campaign up to $700,000. One possibility, raised by Democratic campaign operative Chris Walsh in a Twitter thread digging into Santos’ FEC filings, is that … he didn’t. That his official federal campaign filings are full of lies, too.

Walsh’s discoveries include broad strokes like the campaign spending more on fundraising than advertising and specific eyebrow-raising expenditures like these:

If the FEC was worth a damn, it would be digging into this right now.

Here’s how bad Santos is at telling the truth or getting people to continue overlooking his lies: He made Tulsi Gabbard look good.

The really special thing here, though, is that none of this is likely to matter a bit. It would take a lot of Republican votes to kick Santos out of the House, and they will not do that as long as they need him to maintain their majority.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

January 6 Report: Hundreds Of Weapons Seized Before Capitol Riot

January 6 Report: Hundreds Of Weapons Seized Before Capitol Riot

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene recently said that if she’d planned the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, “we would have won. Not to mention, it would’ve been armed.” Greene went on to make clear that she was talking specifically about guns, but let’s check out what she considers to have been an inadequately armed mob, because the Jan. 6 committee has some details on that.

Secret Service security checkpoints screening people going into the rally on the Ellipse at which Donald Trump spoke turned up quite a lot: “269 knives or blades, 242 cannisters of pepper spray, 18 brass knuckles, 18 tasers, 6 pieces of body armor, 3 gas masks, 30 batons or blunt instruments, and 17 miscellaneous items like scissors, needles, or screwdrivers.” Those were the people who agreed to go through the magnetometers, and they still had hundreds of knives and hundreds of canisters of pepper spray.

Others evaded the Secret Service checkpoints. “At 6:29 a.m., Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, reminded his group’s members that DC prohibited blades over ‘3 inches’ and encouraged them to ‘[k]eep [the knives] low profile.’ Others were thinking along the same lines. At 7:25 a.m., the National Park Service reported that a significant number of attendees ditched their bags in trees, rather than have them inspected.”

These are people drawn from the same population that has been convinced by Fox News that major U.S. cities are too dangerous to even go into without risking your (white) life, and they were just leaving their bags lying around in Washington, D.C.? They must have had some pretty strong reasons for doing that.

But again, the people leaving their bags outside the checkpoints did then go through. Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Tony Ornato, the deputy chief of staff in charge of security, told Trump that many people “don’t want to come in right now. They—they have weapons that they don’t want confiscated by the Secret Service.” According to Hutchinson, there may have been thousands of people refusing to go through security for that reason.

That’s still not all. “Three men in fatigues from Broward County, Florida brandished AR-15s in front of MPD officers on 14th Street and Independence Avenue. MPD advised over the radio that one individual was possibly armed with a ‘Glock’ at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, and another was possibly armed with a ‘rifle’ at Fifteenth Street and Constitution Avenue around 11:23 a.m. The National Park Service detained an individual with a rifle between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m.”

These are people on what Rep. Andrew Clyde deemed a “normal tourist visit.” Not well enough armed to be anything more than a joke, according to Marjorie Taylor Greene. Between the documented efforts to get around D.C.’s laws regarding weapons and the hundreds of weapons that did arrive at Secret Security checkpoints and the many more encountered by other law enforcement—to say nothing of however many weapons were not quantified—no one can seriously contest that a significant fraction of the crowd arrived ready for violence.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Why Zelensky Wore Military Green From The Battlefront To The Capitol

Why Zelensky Wore Military Green From The Battlefront To The Capitol

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, making his first trip out of his country since Russia invaded. But seeing Zelensky outside of Ukraine doesn’t make it possible to look at him and think this is business as usual, because Zelensky is not departing from the military green he has worn since the start of the war. By doing that, he is making himself a walking reminder that his country has been brutally invaded and that he was visiting the soldiers fighting on the front lines just days ago.

Zelensky arrived in the United States as, visibly, the president he has been since he stunned the world with his determination to stay in Kyiv despite enormous personal danger, from the time he rejected a U.S. offer to get him out of Ukraine by saying, “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Prior to 2022, we had seen Zelensky in a suit. Sometimes he looked confident and charismatic:

Zelensky, a professional entertainer for much of his adult life, knows the power of symbolism, and he’s certainly working that. But he’s also earning the power of his appearance through his steadfastness. If he had fled at the beginning, he could have showed up in full military garb and it wouldn’t have worked. Probably quite the opposite.

Zelensky doesn’t try to cosplay as an actual soldier. He’s not out there looking like a member of the British royal family in a garish uniform studded with every medal imaginable. Instead, he shows solidarity with the soldiers and the regular Ukrainians fighting for their country by wearing an unadorned military green. While he’s not regularly at the front lines, and, again, isn’t pretending to be, he is very intentionally serving as a reminder to the world of the people who are there.

And today, he has brought that reminder to Washington, D.C., just as Congress prepares to vote on a government spending bill that includes nearly $45 billion in funding for Ukraine. The U.S. politicians Zelensky encounters may be wearing traditional power suits, but by not joining them in that, he’s making a power move.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Arizona Re-Elects Kelly In Key Hold For Senate Democrats, Nevada Still Counting

Arizona Re-Elects Kelly In Key Hold For Senate Democrats, Nevada Still Counting

Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly has defeated Republican Blake Masters in Arizona’s Senate race. Arizona has been one of the hardest-fought battlegrounds this year, after both Kelly and President Joe Biden won narrowly in 2020. That marked the first time the state had two Democratic senators since 1953 and just the second time a Democrat had won the state’s presidential election since 1948. With Democrats having held the Senate by the narrowest possible margin for the past two years, this is a critically important win.

Kelly was elected just two years ago in a special election following the 2018 death of Sen. John McCain. Now he will have a full six-year term.

[Editor: Ballots are still being counted in Nevada, where incumbent Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto appears to be erasing a small lead for Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Her victory would ensure a Democratic Senate majority even before the outcome of a runoff election in Georgia between incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.]

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

John Fetterman Flips Pennsylvania Senate Seat, Defeating Mehmet Oz

John Fetterman Flips Pennsylvania Senate Seat, Defeating Mehmet Oz

“I got knocked down but I got back up,” Pennsylvania lieutenant governor and Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman tweeted last month, referring to the stroke that took him off the campaign trail for months. Even as Fetterman fought his way back, including doing interviews with the help of closed captioning to help him adapt to a temporary auditory processing disorder, the media worked on painting him as unqualified while giving Oz a pass on things like having hundreds of dogs killed for medical research and promoting quack medicines.

Now Fetterman has gotten all the way back up, defeating Republican Mehmet Oz in the race for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. This is a big pickup for Democrats in the fight to retain control of the Senate.

[With more than 93 percent of precincts reported, Fetterman was projected to win with just over 50 percent to 47 percent for Oz. Democrat Josh Shapiro easily defeated Republican Doug Mastriano in the Pennysylvania governor's race.]