House Republicans promise revenge over Bannon indictment just as soon as they retake the gavel

House Republicans did everything they could to block a bipartisan investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. seat of government. Now they are promising retribution against Democrats over that probe after the Department of Justice indicted Steve Bannon for defying a congressional subpoena.

“Joe Biden has evicerated [sic] Executive Privilege. There are a lot of Republicans eager to hear testimony from Ron Klain and Jake Sullivan when we take back the House," Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio tweeted Friday after news of Bannon's indictment. Jordan was referring President Joe Biden's chief of staff and national security adviser.

What potential crimes Klain and Sullivan have committed in Jordan’s view remains unclear. Perhaps it’s the vaccine rollout that has paved the way for more than 225 million Americans to receive at least one vaccine dose. Or how about that ”socialist” bipartisan infrastructure bill Democrats delivered about nine months after Biden took office? Something about that must seem very fishy after Republicans came up dry on infrastructure despite the country enduring four long years of Donald Trump.

But here's the crux of what the GOP's revenge pledge means: Republicans are actively promoting lawlessness by engaging in a massive cover-up of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and making common cause with people like Bannon, who actively worked to overturn the 2020 results.

And maybe that's the point—some Republicans already did make common cause with the perpetrators of the Jan. 6 siege, and they are scared stiff about that information surfacing.

Naturally, the GOP's chief messenger, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, really outshone Jordan with her duplicity and verve for incendiary lying.

“For years, Democrats baselessly accused President Trump of ‘weaponizing’ the DOJ. In reality, it is the Left that has been weaponizing the DOJ the ENTIRE TIME — from the false Russia Hoax to the Soviet-style prosecution of political opponents,” Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, tweeted Saturday.

Everyone should get ready for more baseless gaslighting from House Republicans—the select committee investigating Jan. 6 has subpoenaed at least 20 of Trump's top aides. Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is next in line for a potential criminal contempt charge, or perhaps civil litigation, after he skipped his scheduled deposition last Friday.

Meadows apparently has plenty to hide based on his own refusal to sit for a deposition. He not only spent the entirety of Jan. 6 at the White House as Trump drank in the violence with glee, he also reportedly emailed a memo from Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis to a top adviser to Vice President Mike Pence outlining how Pence could block congressional certification of the election. Pence didn't actually possess the constitutional power to do that, but Ellis and other Trump allies argued that he did have the authority and developed a coordinated pressure campaign around the bogus legal strategy.  

Regardless of what Jordan and others say, there's no evidence the courts believe that Biden has eviscerated executive privilege. Opting to enable a legitimate congressional investigation into an effort to overturn a legitimate election result by launching a two-pronged legal and physical assault on Congress isn't exactly eviscerating executive privilege. Republicans will surely launch as many investigations of the Biden White House as they can dream up if they regain control of Congress next year, but they'll have to come up with something legitimate to get the courts on their side.

In the meantime, Jordan—who has had a lot of trouble nailing down the timing of his calls with Trump on Jan. 6—and other GOP members appear to be running interference ahead of their own potential legal exposure.

“Now that Democrats have started these politically-motivated indictments for Contempt of Congress, I look forward to seeing their reactions when we keep that same energy as we take back the House next year!” declared Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado on Saturday.

Bannon's indictment on Friday represented a clear break from the previous five years in which the Trump administration's stranglehold on enforcement of congressional subpoenas repeatedly shielded top Trump officials from being compelled to testify before Congress, most notably during both of Trump's impeachment proceedings. The Trump administration's blanket obstruction of Congress in every matter concerning potential Trump wrongdoing crippled the congressional branch from serving as an effective check on executive branch power. Trump's takeaway—aided by Senate Republicans' lock-step refusal to indict him, even after Jan. 6—was clearly that he would never be held to account for anything he did.

As Congress works to reclaim its constitutional oversight powers aided by a White House that actually believes in the rule of law, the question now is how much the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee can accomplish before a potential GOP takeover following the 2022 midterms and how aggressively the Department of Justice will pursue the panel's conclusions.

McConnell longs for a mulligan after gifting the GOP and its 2022 message to Trump

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a mulligan on his failure to convict Donald Trump earlier this year during his second impeachment trial. McConnell's fumble is undoubtedly responsible for breathing new life into Trump, who has now overwhelmed the party McConnell fancifully imagined was under his command.  

On Tuesday, McConnell was asked by CNN's Manu Raju if he is "concerned at all" about the Republican Party embracing Trump, who McConnell once said was morally responsible for the Jan. 6 attack. McConnell's dodgy answer boiled down to "yes" as he painted a picture of the GOP midterm message that could have been absent Trump.

"I do think we need to be thinking about the future and not the past," McConnell responded, obviously lamenting Trump's obsession with his 2020 election loss. "I think the American people are focusing on this administration, what it's doing to the country, and it's my hope the '22 election will be a referendum on the performance of the current administration, not a rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020."

Good luck with that, Senator. Whatever the American people might be focusing on, most GOP voters are shoveling down a daily diet of grievance about the 2020 election supposedly being stolen despite lacking a shred of evidence to support their claims.

If McConnell had an ounce of grit, he wouldn't even open the door of conjecture about "what may have happened in 2020." But over and over, McConnell has proven he doesn't have the fortitude to slam that door shut—which is exactly what has landed the Republican Party in Trump's factless alternate reality.  

For months, Senate Republicans—particularly those responsible for winning back the Senate majority—have been trying and failing to tell political reporters about their supposedly forward-looking message for 2022. But instead, Trump's 800 pounds of deadweight keeps the GOP anchored and awash in his self-obsessed grievances about being a literal loser last November.

Trump can't handle the truth, and Senate Republicans like McConnell are too spineless to tell it.

So whatever McConnell may "hope" for 2022, it's a pipe dream precisely because he doesn't have the mettle to set the record straight.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) asked by @mkraju if he’s comfortable with GOP embracing Trump after he incited the Capitol insurrection. McConnell says 2022 election should be referendum on Biden, not a “rehash of suggestions about what may have happened in 2020.” pic.twitter.com/s4L4T7qvgu

— The Recount (@therecount) October 19, 2021

Trump is dividing the GOP against itself in ways Republicans couldn’t have imagined

Remember when Donald Trump won the election and everyone knew his presidency was going to be a disaster, but then it turned out to be a supercalifragilisticexpial-atrocious walk on the dark side, resulting in a record-breaking two impeachments along with a raging pandemic that had already claimed 400,000 American lives by the time he left office?

Even among those of us who knew Trump's tenure would be horrific, it was impossible to imagine both the depth and breadth of that horror.

That same phenomenon appears to be taking place in regard to Trump's takeover of the Republican Party. For reasons that are beyond comprehension by anyone with a lick of sense, Senate Republicans failed to seal Trump's political fate earlier this year by providing the votes to convict him during impeachment, which would have constitutionally banned him from ever holding federal office again.

That gave him a lifeline within the GOP even after his coup attempt and defeat at the ballot box. It may be years before we learn exactly why Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans fell 10 votes short of the 17 they would have needed to provide in order to doom Trump. Perhaps there simply wasn't the political will within the conference, or maybe they actually came to the strategic decision that not jettisoning him would prove better for the party electorally than cutting him loose entirely. If that was the case, it's worth remembering that they made that assessment having already suffered two stunning losses in the Georgia Senate runoffs, due in no small part to Trump's incessant election fraud lies depressing turnout among his most fervent supporters.

Whatever the case, Senate Republicans handed Trump that lifeline, and now we are just beginning to get a glimpse of how disastrous the move was for the party as a whole.

None of this is to say that Democrats are assured electoral victories in next year's midterms. Indeed, all historical trends suggest the opposite for a party that controls the White House and both chambers of Congress.

But it is an assertion that Trump's continued presence in the party—and indeed total takeover of it—is already proving so much more deleterious than advantageous. It's something I've been writing about for months, and perhaps I shouldn't be amazed by the GOP's total collapse under Trump's thumb, but I must admit that I am. Trump is shaping an alarming number of Republicans' most critical congressional races by blessing the candidacies of those who most eagerly embrace his Big Lie about the 2020 election being stolen. Trump has also bulldozed Republicans in multiple swing states (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) and Texas (!) to launch Arizona-style audits even after that hot mess hilariously confirmed Biden's win, and his push continues in other states (Michigan) at this very moment.

But Trump is also notching those successes by breaking state parties and pitting Republicans against themselves in almost every case. GOP infighting over whether the sham audits should proceed at all or are going far enough have broken out in almost every case, sometimes pitting Republican state lawmakers against each other (Michigan) or pitting them against local GOP officials (Arizona). Right now, in Nevada—a swing state with a key 2022 Senate race—the state GOP is in full meltdown mode, or a "civil war," as Politico framed it.

Against that backdrop, Trump issued this week what may be his most ominous statement to date—a threat to drive down turnout if Republicans didn't "solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020"—setting an impossible bar for every sitting Republican across the country.

Short of that, Trump said, "Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

A CNN/SSRS poll this week asked respondents whether congressional Republicans and Democrats "deserve to be reelected." Predictably, the numbers weren't exactly great for either party, but they were positively terrible for Republicans, with just 37% of respondents saying they do deserve reelection and 63% saying they don't. (Democrats were 46% yes/54% no.)

But the real problem for Republicans is flagging support within their own party—including 35% of self-identified Republicans in the poll saying GOP members don't deserve reelection, and just 65% saying they do. (Democratic voters’ assessment of their own members was better, with 20% saying their members don’t deserve reelection and 80% saying they do.)

This internal GOP erosion of support continues to show in Civiqs tracking of support for the parties, where Republicans have never really regained their footing among their own voters since Election Day 2020. Similar to the CNN poll, just 66% of registered GOP voters have a favorable view of their own party.

Democrats, on the other hand, are mostly holding their own among their own voters with an 86% favorable rating.

It’s worth noting, of course, that Republicans also experienced a sharp drop in confidence among their own voters shortly after the 2018 midterm elections, too. So yeah, the GOP could rebound. 

But now congressional Republicans have Trump working against them every step of the way. And he will never be satisfied until he achieves total domination—including the full and unequivocal embrace of his 2020 election fraud lies by every GOP lawmaker across the country. 

It’s finally dawning on Republicans that gifting their party to Trump was a strategic misstep

Senate Republicans got an unwelcome intrusion into their swanky campaign donor retreat this week in Palm Beach, Florida, when Donald Trump issued a statement Wednesday threatening to tank turnout among GOP voters if Republicans didn't find a way to overturn the 2020 election results.

According to reporting from The Washington Post, Trump's ill-timed and self-serving statement cast a pall over the gathering.

“It gives everyone cold sweats over the Georgia situation and the prospect he could have some impact again,” said one party strategist, referring to Trump's effect on the Georgia Senate runoffs earlier this year.

On Thursday, a Trump spokesperson followed up with a statement asserting that Trump was actually a GOTV machine. "There is no one in the country that does more to increase voter engagement and participation than President Trump. Through his endorsements and massive Save America rallies, President Trump is single-handedly rebuilding the Republican Party at the ballot box.”

Fascinating. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of depressed turnout among Republican voters in Georgia's runoffs included a quote from 61-year-old Craig Roland, who said Trump's message about the stolen election had discouraged him from voting in the runoffs.

“What good would it have done to vote? They have votes that got changed,” Roland said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever vote again.” 

Trump, speaking to attendees at the Palm Beach getaway, offered a different view. The Post reviewed some audio from his speech, and it's a doozie. Trump bragged about all his electoral successes after four years in which the Republicans lost total control of Congress and the White House alike.

“It was a dying party, I’ll be honest," he told the room full of GOP operatives and Senators, who are now sitting in the minority. "Now we have a very lively party." That's one way of putting it.

Trump went on to blast certain Senate Republicans who have dared to publicly challenge him, name-checking Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska at their own retreat. Nothing like some uplifting rhetoric to foster that ol' team spirit.

“The Republican Party has to stick together,” Trump added. He wasn't being ironic.

Playing up his own baseless election fraud claims (which nearly every GOP senator knows are ludicrous) was a centerpiece of Trump's pitch to the crowd.

Trump called what happened in Georgia "a terrible thing" and said many states were "correcting all the ways we were all abused over the last election . . . last two elections if you think about it." Apparently, Trump is aware that 2018 wasn't exactly a home run for the GOP either.

Congressional Republicans see real opportunities for gaining seats and retaking majorities next year, but not with a message dominated by Trump's obsessive 2020 election fraud lies.

GOP Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who holds an urban/suburban swing seat, said Republicans could "win big" in 2022 with consistent messaging about foreign policy, inflation, immigration, and crime.

However, Bacon said, "If the party wants to make it about the election is rigged, we will lose. Independent voters don’t respond well to that."

The problem for Bacon and other vulnerable Republicans is that it doesn't matter what "the party" wants because no one in GOP leadership has the guts, integrity, or political juice to face down Trump, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blew his chance to shiv Trump during the January impeachment trial. McConnell either couldn't muster the votes to convict Trump or didn't try—either way, he failed.

In the meantime, both the Senate and House campaign arms continue to avidly fundraise by invoking Trump's name and a potential 2024 presidential bid.

Trump is also set to keynote the fall dinner of the National Republican Congressional Committee. When NRCC chair Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota was asked about Trump's threat to sink GOP turnout next year unless Republicans overturned the 2020 results, all Emmer could muster was, "The former president, he’s a private citizen. He, of course, is entitled to his own opinion.” (That's clearly the best Emmer's going to do because it's the second time he's deployed the private citizen/own opinion messaging.)

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel has also promised donors that the party would make "election integrity" a key focus in 2022.

Historically, congressional Republicans enjoy a huge advantage heading into next year's midterms simply because they are the party out of power. The problem for them is they have hung their hat on a guy whose delusional obsession with the 2020 "steal" is overwhelming the entire party. Trump is demanding fealty on that message from every one of his GOP primary endorsees and alternately promising primary challenges for anyone at the state and federal levels who defies him.

In Michigan, where Trumpers are currently knocking on doors trying to find evidence of 2020 fraud, Trump issued a statement threatening any GOP lawmaker who stood in their way.

“Hopefully, each one of these cowardly RINOs, whose names will be identified and forthcoming, will be primaried with my complete and total endorsement in the upcoming election,” Trump said in a Wednesday statement.

To date, the state's GOP-led legislature hasn't launched an audit and an investigation by the Senate Oversight Committee concluded there was "no evidence" of widespread fraud.

So whatever message GOP operatives and lawmakers might hope to feature in next year's midterms: They can kiss it goodbye. Trump is going to go to his grave spewing 2020 election fraud conspiracy theories and he'll happily drag the Republican Party with him.

Trump’s latest statement blows up GOP’s 2022 messaging and strategy alike

It’s not going exactly as planned for the geniuses in the Republican Party. The whole idea was that, instead of killing off Donald Trump when they had the chance during impeachment, they would keep him around so they could thread the needle of pinching his supporters while still appealing to the GOP’s more traditional upper-income voters.

Except that strategy somehow assumed that Trump would play nice, take an interest in boosting the GOP’s electoral prospects, and stay on message. Good bet, right?

In that vein, Trump issued a statement Wednesday, “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

Just a quick fact check: Exactly zero systemic fraud has been documented after 60-plus visits to the courthouse and dozens of recounts in multiple swing states. Even Arizona’s pro-Trump, partisan-driven sham audit came up dry on the fraud front.

Anyway, not to distract from the GOP’s forward-looking message of positivity about 2022 and all the policy fixes Republicans have proposed to move the country forward. (Honest question: Has anyone heard a single Republican offer a single policy to support their mystery vision for America?)

So back to Trump’s threat of flagging GOP voter enthusiasm and non-participation in the midterms—it’s Republicans’ worst fear come true. It’s the scenario where they make a deal with the devil, and then the devil screws them, walking away with their souls while delivering nothing in return. Based on Trump’s statement, that’s exactly the deal Republicans have signed.

The enthusiasm expressed by the House GOP’s campaign chair in response Trump’s statement speaks volumes.

“He’s a private citizen and he’s entitled to his own opinion,” said Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, when asked about Trump’s continued obsession with the 2020 election.

But it’s important to note here that the statement Trump issued isn’t just a messaging problem for the GOP—it’s a strategy problem. It’s entirely possible—and some might argue, probable—that Trump is correct. A bunch of his voters don’t seem to be interested in any election where Trump isn’t the focal point (i.e. on the ballot).

That’s proven out in multiple elections—including gubernatorial races in Kentucky (2019) and Louisiana (2020) where Trump begged his supporters to turn out only to watch Democrats prevail.

And then there are the Georgia runoffs in January, where Republicans made almost the same exact bet they have in the 2022 cycle—they kept loser Trump close, hoping to keep his voters engaged even as he groused about 2020 and the Georgia GOP’s failure to overturn the results. We all know what happened there—two Democrats replaced two sitting GOP Senators. But why that happened is what really matters.

Following an analysis of voting records, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote in February:

Control of the U.S. Senate was on the line, but many Georgia Republicans — at least some deterred by Donald Trump’s loss — stayed home rather than cast ballots in January’s runoffs.

Their absence at the polls helped swing Georgia and the Senate to the Democrats.

Over 752,000 Georgia voters who cast ballots in the presidential election didn’t show up again for the runoffs just two months later...

Democratic voters were also juiced by Biden’s win, but the point for the purposes of this piece is Trump’s dismal effect on GOP turnout.

Trump is now promising a repeat performance next year if Republicans fail to find a way to “solve” the non-existent 2020 voter fraud and overturn the election. So Trump is now damning Republicans to do something that’s impossible for them to do.

Republicans in leadership positions can now expect to be repeatedly questioned on Trump’s statement and the assertion he made about depressed turnout. Trump’s statement actually pushes beyond the “steal” narrative, prompting questions about what kind of action Republicans plan to take. It’s a two-part test now for GOP lawmakers: Do you support Trump’s fabricated “fraud” lies, and what are you going to do about it?

And sure, Republicans can grandstand, but ultimately they can’t do squat other than rail about Trump losing the election. That doesn’t seem likely to enthuse Trump’s voters any more than Georgia’s Senate runoffs enthused them after Trump spent two months blasting the state’s top GOP officials.

At the same time, constantly being dragged back into questions about supposed fraud that’s never been proven isn’t exactly a focal point that is likely to woo back erstwhile Republican voters who rejected Trump at the ballot box.

Simply put, there’s no way for Republicans to express enough anger over 2020 to satisfy Trumpers while also appealing to the suburban voters who defected from the GOP in both 2018 and 2020. It’s a lose-lose proposition: depressing turnout among one cohort while alienating more high-propensity voters.

This one quote shows how out of touch Mitch McConnell is with the GOP base

At some point during the reporting of the newly released book Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky seemed to believe Trumpism was just a passing fancy.

In the book, McConnell called Donald Trump “a fading brand. Retired. OTTB as they say in Kentucky -- off-the-track Thoroughbred,” according to the Lexington Herald Leader

“There is a clear trend moving,” McConnell predicted, toward a Republican Party not dominated by Trump. “Sucking up to Donald Trump is not a strategy that works,” he added.

It's unclear exactly when McConnell offered those keen insights to Woodward and Costa, but what is clear is just how badly the GOP leader has misjudged Trump-era politics.

Though McConnell is correct that playing suck-up never works, Trump and his acolytes are presently running roughshod over the McConnell wing of the party.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the way Trump is already pushing GOP primaries toward extremism rather than promoting the policies and candidates most likely to prevail in competitive general elections. Trump's obsession with endorsing pushers of his 2020 election fraud lies is already narrowing the Senate GOP's chances of netting the one seat they need to regain control of the Senate. 

At the same time, moderates and one-time "rising stars" in the Republican Party—such as Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio—are opting to retire rather than trying to swim upstream in a sea of GOP disinformation about vaccines, 2020, Jan. 6, and myriad other issues.  

Trump has also succeed in bullying GOP lawmakers in swing states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania into initiating Arizona-style fraudits, ensuring that supporting them will become a litmus-test issue for every Republican lawmaker and candidate in the state. If there’s one thing Republican leaders have wanted to avoid, it’s having their message entirely overshadowed Trump’s election lies.

Any way one slices it, Trump's stranglehold on the party isn't exactly what one would characterize as "fading" at the moment.

In a candid moment several months ago, McConnell even admitted that he has no control whatsoever over Trump's involvement in the midterms, saying bluntly, "Well, he has his own agenda."

Indeed.

In the book, McConnell said the only way he imagined Trump and him "at loggerheads" would be "if he gets behind some clown who clearly can’t win."

“To have a chance of getting the Senate back, you have to have the most electable candidates possible," McConnell added.

Genius. Too bad McConnell didn't take the chance to bury Trump during the impeachment trial earlier this year. McConnell either didn't have the vision or the political juice with his caucus to finally put Trump away. But whether it was lack of insight or lack of leadership, McConnell missed his single best opportunity to render Trump "a fading brand."

Now, McConnell and the GOP—along with the rest of the nation—are paying the price for that incompetence. 

Pro-Trump Candidates Look To Replace Squishy GOP Senate Retirees In 2022 Midterms

A much deeper shade of red could be on the horizon for Republicans in the Senate, as moderate GOP Senators in five states are retiring, and many of the candidates vying to replace them are not afraid to run on a Trumpian “Make America Great Again” platform.

Of the Senators retiring in those five states, it’s hard to imagine that anyone who replaces them would be more moderate – instead, candidates are looking to bring with them a much more conservative approach to the Senate, an approach that may spill over into the House.

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Some Key Races

In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, retiring Senators Richard Burr and Pat Toomey both voted to convict former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, a vote that got them in hot water with their respective state parties.

Mark Walker, running in North Carolina, declared, “Wrong vote, Sen. Burr. I am running to replace Richard Burr because North Carolina needs a true conservative champion as their next senator.”

Ted Budd – who has been endorsed by Donald Trump, also lambasted Burr’s vote.

But it is not just voters wanting Trump back.

In Ohio, outgoing Senator Rob Portman was one of the architects of the trillion dollar bipartisan infrastructure deal. Of ten Republicans running or considering a run, six of those candidates do not support the infrastructure bill.

Populist firebrand and author J.D. Vance, running for Portman’s seat said, “Republicans are bending over backwards to get this deal. Really, it’s just a partisan hatchet job.”

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The Changing Face Of The Republican Party

Whether you love or hate Donald Trump, one thing is certain, he has changed the face of the Republican Party and who it appeals to. It is a sentiment echoed by North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley, who says,

“Trump has reshaped the Republican Party. We’re now a blue-collar party. We’re an America first party. It’s a different party than it was when [retiring Missouri Sen.] Roy Blunt and Richard Burr first got elected. And I don’t think the party is going back. It’s tough on China, protect the border, fight for the Second Amendment, fight for life. That has been an enormously popular agenda with the base.”

But the new face of the party isn’t going to change without the old face putting up a fight.

And because Republicans have zero room for mistakes if they want to win back the Senate, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said that he is more than willing to intervene in GOP primaries where he sees “electability” issues. 

Meaning, McConnell and the GOP establishment will do what it takes to keep outsiders… out.

There will be no other place where “electability issues” are more on display than in Missouri. 

Among the candidates vying for Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat is former Gov. Eric Greitens.

Greitens was elected in 2016, but resigned due to a sex scandal in 2018. His candidacy has Missouri GOP officials nervous. Greitens ran for Governor as an “outsider,” and says he has no plans to follow in the establishment footsteps of Roy Blunt.

RELATED: Pentagon’s John Kirby Claims U.S. Military Equipment In Viral Video Is ‘Unusable’

Afghanistan Changes Everything

In less than a year, Americans have put up with higher gas prices, food prices, COVID, and a wide open southern border courtesy of the Biden administration.

But aside from all the analysis and pundit predictions, the one giant horrendous game changer could be Afghanistan. The incompetence and ineptness of the Biden administration has also been on full display with no sign it will get better anytime soon.

While traditionally it is domestic issues that are front and center during midterm elections, and there are plenty of those to go around, there are exceptions. Vietnam in 1968, Iran in 1980, and Middle East terrorism in 2004. 

Democrats may count on Americans having short memories, but Republicans know that is what political ads are for. And in this case, even some Democrats want a full investigation into how this went so horribly wrong.

But former Pennsylvania State GOP Chair Rob Gleason says don’t count Donald Trump and his supporters out anytime soon.

“Primaries have low turnout but you can count on the Trump people because they’re still coming to rallies, they still fly Trump flags, they still wave Trump signs. In all of these states we’re talking about, Trump supporters are still really active and because of all the problems with this presidency now, they don’t just feel more energized. They feel vindicated.”

This may be a good sign for all of those deep red candidates. 

 

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Donald Trump, serial grifter who never gives back, has soaked up more than $100 million in donations

Donald Trump has amassed a $105 million war chest since leaving office but hasn't dropped so much as a dime on boosting GOP candidates or funding outside efforts to overturn the 2020 elections, according to Politico.

Nope. That's for losers and suckers, and Trump is just a good old-fashioned grifter. Consequently, he has directed nearly all the money he soaked up through his political action committees (Make America Great Again PAC, Save America PAC, and the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee) to pay his own personal and business expenses almost exclusively. That includes paying for travel expenses, more fundraising appeals, the salaries of personal and political aides, and legal fees he racked up trying to mount an impeachment defense and overturn the 2020 results. Trump did make one external donation of $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, which was founded by several of his former aides after he lost reelection. 

But when it comes to high-profile efforts to overturn 2020, like the Arizona fraudit or helping Republican candidates—zip! They're on their own. In other words, the vast majority of Trump's fundraising appeals have nothing to do with where he is actually directing his money. Those Arizona-style audits that more than half of Republican voters actually think could change the 2020 outcome are just window dressing to Trump. They're going nowhere and he isn't wasting a dime on them—but they sure are lucrative.

Another popular fundraising theme for Trump is that he's going to ensure Republicans win back Congress next year. But apparently the sum total of his efforts include dooming the Republican candidates who are perhaps best-suited to win in general elections

A Trump spokesperson now claims he recently made donations to his chosen candidates that haven't yet shown up in campaign filings. And despite telling all the GOP campaign committees earlier this year to cease and desist from using him or his likeness to solicit donations, Trump is now taking credit for their fundraising hauls.

“In addition to the RECORD BREAKING money raised over the last 6 months to my political affiliates, I am pleased to see the entire party benefit from ‘Trump,’ Trump said in a statement after the GOP's national committee and two congressional campaign committees raised close to a combined $300 million in first six months of the year.

Interestingly, though, the statement from the National Republican Senatorial Committee hailing its $51 million intake made no references to Trump. 

“The more voters learn about the disastrous impacts of the Senate Democrats’ socialist agenda, the more the momentum builds to elect a Republican Senate majority in 2022,” NRSC chair Rick Scott said in a statement.

Gee, it almost seems like Senate Republicans don't want to be associated with Trump. Rest assured that Trump is lying awake at night smarting over the fact that the GOP committees have raised even a single cent that he believes belongs to him exclusively.

What Trump has lavished money on is attorney fees—the many, many lawyers involved in defending and advising him in everything from his second impeachment to the Russian investigation to a host of personal lawsuits.

Rudy Giuliani, however, the face of Trump's legal resistance following his 2020 loss, appears to have come up dry. The $75,000 Trump shelled out to Giuliani went exclusively to his travel expenses, not legal fees. Sorry, Rudy.

Trump Says He Will Endorse One Of The Challengers To ‘Loser RINO’ Liz Cheney

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump said that he plans to meet next week with some of the primary challengers to anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney.

Trump made his remarks in an official statement.

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Trump Slams ‘Loser RINO’ Liz Cheney

The former president said he will endorse one of the candidates seeking Cheney’s seat within the next few months.

“Paying close attention to the Wyoming House Primary against loser RINO Liz Cheney,” Trump said in a statement.

He continued, “Some highly respected pollsters tell me she’s toast in Wyoming after siding with Crazy Nancy Pelosi and supporting the Democrat Impeachment Hoax.”

“And that’s just the beginning!” Trump added.

“This is a ‘hot’ race with some very interesting candidates running against her,” Trump said.

But the former president also emphasized there needs to be only one candidate challenging Cheney as to not split the primary field, giving the incumbent an advantage.

Trump said, “Remember though, in the end we just want ONE CANDIDATE running against Cheney.”

“I’ll be meeting with some of her opponents in Bedminster next week and will be making my decision on who to endorse in the next few months,” the statement read.

“JUST ONE CANDIDATE. Thank you!” Trump finished.

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Cheney Vows She Will Keep Her Seat

Cheney joined nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump after the Capitol riot on January 6.

In the Senate, the votes fell short from the number required for a conviction, though 57 did vote to convict. That vote took place after Trump had left office.

Trump critic Cheney lost her House Republican Conference Chair in May to Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who was chosen to fill the seat after Cheney was ousted.

Cheney has served as a Wyoming’s lone U.S. House member since 2017 and said she plans to keep her job despite Trump’s efforts.

“The people of Wyoming are gonna have a very clear choice between somebody who is loyal to the Constitution and somebody whose claim is loyalty to Donald Trump, and I’m confident that people will make the right decision,” Cheney said on Tuesday, as reported by The Hill.

 

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Ousted Anti-Trump GOP Chair Liz Cheney Outraises Successor Stefanik

The split in the Republican Party is not going away anytime soon, if fundraising numbers are to be believed.

Anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was recently ousted as the GOP Conference Chair for her aggressive, repeated attacks on the leader of the party, raised significantly more money than her successor, Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

In fact, in the second quarter of the year alone, Cheney broke fundraising records for a second time.

This is significant because it is also the period during which Cheney was removed as GOP Conference Chair, the highest ranking Republican member of Congress.

She has consistently been an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump.

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Tale Of The Numbers

During the second quarter of 2021, which runs from April to June, Cheney raised roughly $1.88 million. During the first quarter, also a record breaker, she raised $1.5 million.

For the same second quarter time period, Stefanik raised $1.467 million. The difference is around $400,000.

The Hill reports that the Cheney campaign has $2.85 million on hand, almost double her first quarter total. Her total so far for the year is roughly $3.5 million, up from the $3 million received for her successful 2020 re-election bid.

Cheney will likely need it, as she’s drawn a number of Republican primary challengers over her vote to impeach President Trump.

The Stefanik campaign reported having $2.1 million cash on hand. 

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Cheney And Stefanik

Liz Cheney’s trouble began soon after the Jan. 6 riot, when she placed the blame squarely at the feet of former President Donald Trump.

At the time, she called it “the most egregious violation of an oath of office of any president in our history.” She then became one of just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for what they saw was his role in the violence at the Capitol.

Cheney came under fire not just from Trump and his supporters, but she also garnered some trouble at home.

Almost immediately following her impeachment vote, she had a 2022 primary challenger. Since then, others have jumped into the race in Wyoming to unseat her.

Cheney is not the lone House member to get a primary challenger. Of the 10 that voted to impeach, nine of those have 2022 primary challengers. 

Republicans first tried to remove Cheney from her Conference Chair position in February, but she managed to hang on to her position. On the second attempt in May, she was removed from the Conference Chair position.

Elise Stefanik is a fourth term Congresswoman from upstate New York. She is young, and has described herself as the opposite of far-left Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Stefanik’s district has seen a bigger shift to the right since the election of Donald Trump, and she has become an ally of Trump. Trump hosted a fundraiser for Stefanik back in June that brought in $250,000.

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GOP Feeling Good About 2022

The National Republican Congressional Committee is set to report $79.2 million raised in the first half of 2021.

The NRCC reports having $55 million cash on hand, compared to $44 million for the DCCC.

NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said of the cash haul, “We will take back the majority next fall and voters are doing everything they can to help us accomplish that goal,” NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said in a statement. “Every vulnerable House Democrat should be eyeing the exits because if they choose to run, they will lose.”

 

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