Morning Digest: Election conspiracy theorist picks up Trump backing for Michigan attorney general

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

MI-AG: The Michigan GOP establishment got some very bad news Thursday when Donald Trump endorsed Matthew DePerno, an attorney who has made a name for himself spreading lies about the 2020 election, in the campaign to take on Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel. The move came a week after Trump backed another election denier, Kristina Karamo, in her quest to face Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Both parties pick their nominees for both offices at party conventions rather than through traditional primaries, and the GOP's event will take place in April.

Trump's endorsement in the attorney general race came about a month after another Republican, state Rep. Ryan Berman, announced his bid. The politician the party establishment reportedly has its eye on, though, is former state House Speaker Tom Leonard, who lost to Nessel 49-46 in 2018. The Detroit News writes that plenty of Republicans anticipated that their last nominee would run again and enter the convention as the favorite; it remains to be seen, however, if Leonard will get cold feet now that Trump has endorsed DePerno.

Plenty of major state party figures are hoping the answer is no. The paper writes that several Republicans "have privately expressed doubts that DePerno would be a viable general election candidate," and it's not hard to see why. DeParno, who describes himself as liberals' "worst nightmare," first attracted attention well before the election when he served as the attorney for ex-state Rep. Todd Courser, a Republican whose career came to a brutal end in 2015 after the public learned that he and colleague Cindy Gamrat devised a fake gay sex scandal to try to hide their real straight sex scandal.

Campaign Action

In 2017, when then-GOP Attorney General Bill Schuette was prosecuting Courser for perjury, a court hearing came to a dramatic end when the judge ejected DeParno from the courtroom for "offensive" statements. (Courser was eventually sentenced to 12 months of probation for a lesser offense after he reached a plea deal with the state.) The following year, DePerno​​ was Courser's lawyer in his defamation suit against the Detroit News. In 2019, a state judge not only dismissed that lawsuit, he also ordered Courser and DeParno to pay ​$80,000 in sanctions; the parties eventually reached a settlement requiring the pair to pay just $20,000, which was wired to the paper in May.

Trump's interest in DePerno, though, has nothing to do with his connection to one of the strangest scandals we've ever documented. The attorney stepped into the far-right spotlight after last year's election when he filed a lawsuit arguing that election fraud had taken place in Antrim County after vote totals initially showed Joe Biden leading Trump in this small conservative community. Those numbers were the result of a clerical error that was quickly corrected to reflect Trump's actual 61-37 win in the community, and a hand-count audit confirmed that the Dominion Voting Systems machines had correctly tabulated the results.

None of that stopped Antrim County, though, from becoming a prominent part of the fake Trumpian narrative about Dominion stealing the election. Indeed, Trump used his not-tweet endorsement to claim, "Dana Nessel, the Radical Left, and the RINOs are targeting Matt because he gets results and has exposed so much Voter Fraud in Antrim County, and many more places, in the 2020 Election."

But DeParno, who became a frequent conservative media guest, has had a tougher time winning over courts and even fellow Michigan Republicans. The attorney used his Antrim County lawsuit to argue there was a "strong presumption of ballot stuffing," but a judge dismissed it in May.

The GOP-led state Senate Oversight Committee even singled DeParno out in its report on the 2020 election, saying, "The committee closely followed Mr. DePerno's efforts and can confidently conclude they are demonstrably false and based on misleading information and illogical conclusions." The committee further recommended that Nessel investigate people who circulated false claims about the election results "to raise money or publicity for their own ends," an idea the incumbent said she'd act on.

DeParno himself has also been more than willing to pick fights with the GOP legislature. Last month, he told a party gathering, "What I've learned in the past six months is we elected people to Lansing who do not have courage. And that needs to stop." He also volunteered that just three state representatives had met with him about his Antrim County conspiracy theories.

Redistricting

AK Redistricting: Alaska's Redistricting Board recently released two draft proposals for the state's legislature, with plans to take more feedback from the public before settling on a single plan. In Alaska, state Senate districts (which are lettered) are made up of two state House districts (which are designated by number), a practice known as "nesting." The order is sequential, so House Districts 1 and 2 make up Senate District A, HD 3 and 4 make up SD B, and so forth.

Alaska's five-member board, which is made up of three Republicans and two independents, has final say over the maps; the legislature and governor are not involved, though any disputes over new lines would ultimately go before the state Supreme Court. The state only has sufficient population for a single congressional district, so federal redistricting is not at issue.

ID Redistricting: Idaho's bipartisan redistricting commission recently introduced a pair of proposals for the state's congressional map as well as a plan for the legislature. (Idaho uses the same districts for both the state House and state Senate, with each district electing two representatives and one senator.) Though Idaho is as red as a state can be, its equally divided commission was established several decades ago by an amendment to the constitution, and efforts to undermine it by Republican lawmakers have failed. As a result, the panel's members are likely to reach a compromise, as they did following the 2010 census, though the maps could wind up in court if commissioners fail to come to an agreement.

ME Redistricting: Maine's Apportionment Commission, which is made up of 10 legislators and five political appointees, has released first drafts of maps for Congress and state Senate. Maps for the state House "will be posted at a later date," according to the commission, which faces a Sept. 27 due date set by the state Supreme Court. Approval for any new districting plans requires a two-thirds supermajority vote by the full legislature, which has 10 days to act after the commission's deadline. If lawmakers fail to reach a consensus, the high court would take over the redistricting process.

MI Redistricting: Michigan's new independent redistricting commission has released its first draft congressional map, but as Bridge Michigan reporter Jonathan Oosting notes, "It's going to change, perhaps a lot, especially because it doesn't appear to create two required minority-majority districts, as required." Meanwhile, GOP operative Jeff Timmer, who helped draw the state's last set of maps but has since criticized his own work, slammed the proposal, saying, "I wouldn't have dared make public something this gerrymandered. I know, because I drew maps this gerrymandered and we buried them in a drawer."

The commission has not yet released complete plans for the state House and Senate, but an Excel file on the commission's site includes links to a variety of partial maps. The panel was supposed to publish maps for all three sets of districts by Friday under a deadline in the state constitution but acknowledged it would not meet this timetable due to the months-long delay in receiving necessary data from the Census Bureau.

NE Redistricting: A Democratic-led filibuster has blocked a Republican redistricting plan that would have made Nebraska’s only competitive congressional district considerably redder, prompting both sides to say they would begin negotiations anew on Monday. On a party-line vote on Thursday, a committee in the unicameral legislature had advanced the proposed map, which would have split Omaha's Douglas County, currently located entirely within the 2nd District, and placed half of it in the solidly Republican 1st District.

However, all 16 of the chamber’s 17 Democrats were joined by one Republican senator to filibuster the plan, and two other Republicans voted “present.” (The final Democrat was excused from attendance.) As a result, GOP leaders could only muster 29 votes to cut off debate, four short of the 33 required. If the parties can’t reach a compromise on a new map, redistricting would wind up in the courts.

The stakes here are higher than usual because Nebraska, along with Maine, is one of just two states that awards Electoral College votes to the winner of each congressional district. Joe Biden carried the 2nd District last year, as did Barack Obama in 2008. However, Republican Rep. Don Bacon won re-election in 2020 despite Biden's performance.

OR Redistricting: Democrats in Oregon's legislature released congressional and legislative plans on Thursday that they expect to vote on in a special session this coming week, but it remains to be seen whether they can actually pass them. In April, Democrats ceded their authority over redistricting by giving Republicans equal representation on the committees responsible for drawing new maps, essentially handing them veto power in exchange for a promise not to grind the legislature to a halt by once again fleeing the state, as they've done many times in recent years.

However, Democrats aren't acting as though the GOP represents a choke-point, since their congressional map is identical, and their legislative maps both very similar, to proposals they put out a couple of weeks ago. Republicans issued their own rather different proposals at the same time, but the latest Democratic maps don't seem like any attempt at a compromise.

Democrats could in fact bypass the relevant committees and directly vote on new maps before the full legislature, though that might lead to another quorum-busting GOP walkout. The signals are mixed: A spokesperson for House Speaker Tina Kotek said the speaker "is really disappointed House Republicans on the redistricting committee didn't engage more meaningfully during this process," but Kotek was the architect of the original deal to cede power over redistricting to Republicans. Kotek was pilloried on the record by high-profile Democrats for that decision, though, and she's now running for governor, so perhaps she's stiffening her spine in order to rehabilitate her partisan bona fides.

It's just as possible, of course, that Democrats are sticking to their guns now to avoid negotiating with themselves and will ultimately make concessions to the GOP once the legislative session gets underway. But if Democrats engage in hardball tactics to backtrack on Kotek's agreement, we could be headed toward another Republican-triggered meltdown.

Should lawmakers fail to pass any maps, legislative redistricting would be handled by Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, a Democrat. Congressional redistricting, however, would go to the courts.

Senate

SD-Sen: While Politico said back in March that Republican Sen. John Thune's colleagues were "certain" he'd seek a fourth term next year in this very red state, the incumbent sounded anything but sure about his own plans in an interview with CNN's Manu Raju. The senator said he would be making up his mind this fall.

Thune, who is the chamber's minority whip, acknowledged that retiring would cost him the chance to lead the caucus whenever Minority Leader Mitch McConnell eventually leaves. Still, the incumbent continued, "But there are lots of other (factors) too. ... I've been doing it for 25 years. I think you gotta get into family considerations, personal considerations." When Raju asked what was keeping Thune from making up his mind, the senator replied, "It's a six-year commitment."

Governors

CA-Gov: A UC Berkeley poll finished about a week before the Sept. 14 recall found Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom defeating four prospective GOP foes by landslide margins in hypothetical 2022 matchups. Newsom outpaced conservative radio host Larry Elder and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer 52-30 and 49-27, respectively, and he performed slightly better against 2018 nominee John Cox and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley.

Faulconer, who spent several years as one of the GOP's few rising stars in California before bombing on Tuesday, doesn't seem deterred by all this, though. The ex-mayor indicated he was interested in another run next year in an election night speech, declaring, "I'm not one that's part of a circus. I'm the guy that comes in to end the circus." He added, "Tonight was round one; there's more to come."

But Elder, of all people, seems to have finally acknowledged how unlikely it is that he or any other California Republican can win in 2022. While the radio host sounded very likely to try again after losing on Tuesday, he said later in the week, "It's hard to see how the outcome would be any different unless I was able to raise at least as much money as Gavin Newsom has spent, but even then the thing is daunting." Elder added, though, "I may change my mind over the next coming days."

MD-Gov: VoteVets has endorsed former nonprofit head Wes Moore, an author who previously served as a paratrooper in Afghanistan, in the Democratic primary for this open seat.

Meanwhile on the GOP side, the Washington Examiner's David Drucker writes that former RNC chair Michael Steele  is "likely" to decide by early November. Steele endorsed Joe Biden last year, and Drucker relays that many of his fellow Republicans aren't sure why he's still a member of Team Red, much less a potential candidate. State party Chairman Dirk Haire, who holds the post Steele had in the early 2000s, said, "If his plan over the past couple of years was to run for governor as a Republican, he's gone about it in an odd way."

A longshot bid by Steele, though, could still have an impact on the GOP primary to succeed termed-out Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in this very blue state. Drucker writes that some Republicans trying to talk the former RNC chair out of running worry that he could take enough votes from state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz to hand the nomination to Del. Dan Cox, who played a role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by organizing a bus of people to attend the riot.

NM-Gov: 2020 GOP Senate nominee Mark Ronchetti hasn't revealed anything about his plans in the weeks since local reporter Joe Monahan said he'd challenge Democratic incumbent Michelle Lujan Grisham, but the would-be candidate's wife is a bit more vocal.

Kristy Ronchetti used a Facebook comment on Monahan's page to say, "We want to help serve the people of this state and we want to see it do better… I'm not sure it will be in a political arena or not - but it won't stop us for fighting for the people we've gotten to know, respect and heard." Kristy Ronchetti, writes Monahan, also "expressed discontent that the story was published here but notably her comment does not close the door on her husband running."

OR-Gov: The Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council has backed state Speaker Tina Kotek in what Oregon Capitol Insider identifies as "a key labor endorsement" in the Democratic primary.

House

CA-25: 2020 Democratic nominee Christy Smith has picked up an endorsement from the California Federation of Teachers in the top-two primary to take on Republican Rep. Mike Garcia.

CO-08, CO-Sen: Former state Rep. Joe Salazar said Thursday that he wouldn't run for Congress next year, an announcement that takes him out of the running both for the not-yet-finalized 8th Congressional District and as a potential Democratic primary foe for Sen. Michael Bennet. And while state Rep. Brianna Titone hinted back in June that she was interested in seeking the 8th District, she's endorsed fellow state Rep. Yadira Caraveo instead.

Caraveo, who would be the first Latina to represent Colorado in Congress, currently is the only major Democrat running for the 8th District, but other party members are eyeing the race. State Sen. Dominick Moreno acknowledged his interest to Colorado Politics' Ernest Luning. The legislator ran for the current 7th District in 2017 after Rep. Ed Perlmutter decided to campaign for governor, but Moreno dropped out with the rest of the field after the incumbent decided to seek re-election after all. Luning also says that Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco is thinking about running for the new seat as well, but there's no quote from him.

On the GOP side, Luning writes that state Sens. Kevin Priola and John Cooke are "eyeing the seat," but there's also no direct word from either of them.

FL-10: Both the International Association of Fire Fighters and its Osceola County chapter have backed state Sen. Randolph Bracy in what Florida Politics says are the first union endorsements for next year's Democratic primary for what is currently a safely blue Orlando seat.

MA-04: After an unreleased poll tested Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission chair Sam Hyun in a hypothetical Democratic primary against Rep. Jake Auchincloss, Politico spoke to Hyun and wrote that he "said he's not running for the seat right now."

OH-16: Ohio Rep. ​​Anthony Gonzalez, who was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump, announced Thursday evening that he would not seek re-election out of disgust for "​the toxic dynamics inside our own party."

Gonzalez, who also said that his family had received death threats following his January vote, further told the New York Times that he'd devote "[m]ost of my political energy" towards ensuring that Trump never returned to the White House. Trump, for his part, celebrated Gonzalez's departure by emphasizing his earlier endorsement for former White House aide Max Miller and gloating, "1 down, 9 to go!"

The current version of Ohio's 16th District, which contains the western suburbs of Cleveland and Akron, supported Trump 56-42 in 2020. The Buckeye State will lose a House seat during the upcoming round of redistricting, but it's unlikely this constituency will be the one that gets eliminated since the GOP has more or less complete control over the map making process. The Trump-backed Miller will also be hard to stop in a primary despite allegations that he physically attacked his then-girlfriend, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, last year.

Despite the nature of Gonzalez's departure, the two-term congressman began his political career looking like a GOP rising star not long ago. Gonzalez had a well-regarded football career at the Ohio State University, and he was named an Academic All-American. After he left the NFL following his stint with the Indianapolis Colts, he went on to serve as chief operating officer for an education technology company in San Francisco.

Gonzalez moved back to Ohio before he entered the 2018 race to succeed Rep. Jim Renacci, who initially launched a campaign for governor before switching to the Senate race later in the cycle. Gonzalez's main intra-party rival was state Rep. Christina Hagan, who was a prominent Trump backer in 2016 when Ohio Gov. John Kasich was also seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

Hagan pitched herself as the true Trump believer of the race and argued that Gonzalez's Silicon Valley connections made him an insider. Gonzalez, though, enjoyed a massive financial advantage over Hagan and benefited from outside spending from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; his ties to his locally popular alma mater also probably made it tougher for his opponent to frame this as a battle between the dreaded establishment and a Trump-flavored outsider. Ultimately, Gonzalez prevailed 53-41, and his easy general election win made him the first Latino to represent Ohio in Congress.

Gonzalez loyally voted with the Trump administration during his first term and opposed impeaching him in 2019, but he changed course after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. "The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution," the congressman said as he explained his vote for impeachment, adding, "During the attack itself, the President abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present. These are fundamental threats not just to people's lives but to the very foundation of the Republic."

That vote quickly made Gonzalez radioactive with the party base and enticed Miller, who hails from a very wealthy and well-connected family, to challenge him. Gonzalez raised a serious amount of money to defend his seat, but he acknowledged Thursday, "Politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now." The outgoing congressman continued, "You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not."

Attorneys General

TX-AG: State Rep. Matt Krause, who is a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, announced Thursday that he would take on scandal-ridden incumbent Ken Paxton in the GOP primary. Krause was an early supporter of Paxton's 2014 campaign, and he loudly stood up for the new attorney general after he was indicted for securities fraud the following year. (The case is still awaiting trial.) However, while Krause acknowledged that he had been close to Paxton, he argued, "I think Texas needs—and wants—an attorney general who can give his or her full focus to the job."

Paxton, who has Donald Trump's endorsement, also faces Land Commissioner George P. Bush and former state Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman for the nomination. A runoff would take place if no one secured a majority in the first round of the primary.

Secretaries of State

IA-SoS: Two Democrats recently announced bids against Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate: Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker and Linn County Auditor Joel Miller. Pate won his second term in 2018 by a 53-45 margin against Democrat Deidre DeJear, who is now running for governor.

Ballot Measures

Minneapolis, MN Ballot: Police reformers scored a big legal victory Thursday when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that this November's referendum to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety agency would go forward. The decision overturned state Judge Jamie Anderson, who ruled days earlier that votes in this race would not be counted because the ballot measure was "vague, ambiguous and incapable of implementation."

Opponents of the ballot measure, which is listed as Question 2, also went up with what Axios reports is their first TV ad of the race. The spot features a barber store owner identified as Teto acknowledging, "Racism in policing has been around since policing began in this country." However, Teto argues that while reform is needed, "[T]o get rid of police I think would be a disaster. If we abolish the police, you know, scrap the whole system, then what?" Question 2's supporters have pushed back on the idea that the measure would eliminate the police department before a plan is put in place to replace it.

Mayors

Los Angeles, CA Mayor: City Council President Nury Martinez said Thursday that she would not run in next year's open seat race. Martinez would automatically take over as acting mayor should incumbent Eric Garcetti, who cannot run again in 2022 because of term limits, be confirmed as ambassador to India, which would make her the first woman to lead America's second-largest city. Martinez said that, while she was open to the idea of serving out the remainder of his term as interim mayor, she was "also not interested in playing political games."

Prosecutors

Los Angeles County, CA, District Attorney: Conservatives seeking to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón acknowledged Thursday that they failed to collect enough signatures to force a vote, but they pledged to try again at the end of this year. Gascón was elected last year as top prosecutor of America's most populous county on a criminal justice reform platform.

The incumbent's detractors needed to turn in more than 580,000 valid signatures by Oct. 26 but the campaign acknowledged that it gathered only 200,000 before shutting down the effort; the movement also reportedly only raised just a fifth of the estimated $5 million needed to get on the ballot.

International

Canada: Contributing editor David Beard previews Monday's federal election in Canada, where polls show a close battle between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's ruling Liberal Party and their rival Conservatives, led by Erin O'Toole.

Trudeau called an early election last month in an attempt to win back a majority for his centrist Liberal Party in Parliament, which for the last two years has depended on the support of the left-wing New Democratic Party. After a month of campaigning, however, that majority is probably out of reach as the Liberals are now trying to hold off their resurgent Conservative rivals and continue as a minority government.

When the election was called, the Liberals had seen polling leads ranging from 5-15 points, which would have likely delivered them a majority government. Almost immediately after the election began, though, that lead evaporated as swing voters rebelled against what they saw as an unnecessary election during a pandemic, while Conservative-leaning voters came home.

For about two weeks, the Conservatives even led in the polls, but the numbers have since stabilized, putting the Liberals either neck-and-neck or slightly ahead. That makes another Liberal minority government the most likely outcome, particularly as the Liberals won more seats despite narrowly losing the popular vote 34-33 in 2019, though a Liberal majority or a Conservative minority are still real possibilities.

Beard runs through what each of the six major parties competing in Monday's election are now hoping to accomplish as the campaign winds to a close and also offers a guide on how to follow the returns on election night.

We'll be liveblogging the results starting at 7 PM ET on Monday night at Daily Kos Elections, when the first polls close in eastern Canada. And with the race so tight, any number of possibilities could unfold, so be sure to check back in with us for our recap once the results are settled.

Morning Digest: New polls find Boston’s new mayor in danger of losing next week’s primary

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

Boston, MA Mayor: All the candidates have been behaving like City Councilor Michelle Wu is a lock to advance past Boston's nonpartisan mayoral primary while the real fight on Sept. 14 is for the second spot in the general election, and two new surveys suggest it's more than a feeling. Both MassINC's poll for the think tank Policy for Progress and Suffolk University's survey for the Boston Globe have Wu firmly in first, while ​​Acting Mayor Kim Janey is barely ahead of two other city councilors, Annissa Essaibi George and Andrea Campbell.

First up is MassInc, which was in the field Aug. 25-30. Wu takes 30% in this all-Democratic field as Janey edges out Essaibi George 15-13 for second, while Campbell isn't far behind with 11%; former city cabinet official John Barros brings up the rear with 4%. MassInc's last poll in April, which was done weeks after Janey's ascension made her the first woman and person of color to ever lead Boston, found Wu ahead with 19%, while Janey led Essaibi George by a much larger 18-6 margin.

Campaign Action

Suffolk, which polled days later from Sept. 2-4, showed the candidates in the same order but found an even tighter race for the second spot in the Nov. 2 general election. Wu led with 31% as Janey outpaced Essaibi George by a mere 20-19, with Campbell at 18%; Barros also barely registered with 3%. Suffolk also found a dramatic transformation since it last went into the field in late June: Back then, Wu was at 23% while Janey beat Essaibi George 22-14.

Despite Janey's struggles in these surveys, though, both pollsters find that she very much enjoys a positive favorable rating. MassInc gives her a 38-20 score, while Suffolk shows her in even better shape with a 56-22 favorable rating; Suffolk also asked about Janey's approval rating, and respondents gave her the thumbs up by a 61-23 margin. And while the incumbent has attracted plenty of criticism, especially from Campbell, in recent weeks after she compared proof-of-vaccine requirements to slavery and birtherism, Suffolk's sample still approves of her handling of the pandemic by a 64-20 margin.

Both polls, though, do find that Janey isn't as well regarded as two of her main rivals. Wu, who has been elected citywide four times and boasts an endorsement from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, posts a 50-16 favorable rating with MassInc and a 69-14 score with Suffolk.

The two pollsters, meanwhile, have Campbell on positive ground by margins of 38-13 and 63-12, respectively. Campbell, like Janey, represents one of Boston's nine district-level City Council seats, but she's benefited from heavy spending by Better Boston, a PAC the Globe says is heavily funded by "wealthy charter school supporters." Campbell also received the paper's endorsement last week, which her allies quickly mentioned in a TV ad.

Essaibi George, who also holds a citywide seat, sports smaller 30-19 and 44-23 favorable ratings with MassInc and Suffolk. The candidate, though, has set herself apart as the one major candidate who has spoken out against the idea of reallocating funds from the police budget to other areas, which could give her a base of support with more moderate voters.

The candidates and their allies are also acting like Wu will take first next Tuesday while second place is very much up in the air. The Globe's Stephanie Ebbert wrote Sunday that Essaibi George and Campbell have been focusing on Janey while largely ignoring Wu.

And while the incumbent spent months ignoring her foes, she forcefully pushed back on Essaibi George's criticism of her last week after the councilor accused Janey of not doing enough to stop evictions. Janey, writes Ebbert, "pointed to another Globe story showing that Essaibi George's husband has a history of evicting low-income tenants and that her council office had been involved in a city hearing into a project that could affect one of his developments."

Janey's allies at the Hospitality Workers Independent Expenditure PAC also launched the first negative ad of the entire race on Tuesday when it debuted a radio spot against Campbell. That commercial argued that Campbell's own super PAC backers are "special interests that want to take money from our schools and give it to other schools that discriminate against kids with special needs." Campbell quickly organized a press conference condemning the ad, arguing, "I'm the only candidate that actually has represented students with special needs in education cases, sometimes against Boston Public Schools, to ensure that they got the rights they were entitled to."

While there's plenty of uncertainty about what will happen next week, there's no question that whoever wins in November will achieve at least one historic first in one of America's oldest cities. Janey, Campbell, and Barros would each be the first Black person elected to lead a community that still has a reputation for racism targeting African Americans. Wu, meanwhile, would be Boston's first Asian American leader, while Essaibi George would be its first Arab American chief executive. Additionally, Janey, Campbell, Essaibi George, and Wu would each be the first woman elected mayor.

Senate

GA-Sen, GA-LG: To the surprise of no one, Donald Trump on Thursday backed former NFL player Herschel Walker in the GOP primary for Senate and state Sen. Burt Jones in the open seat race for lieutenant governor. Trump spent months trying to entice Walker to move back to Georgia from Texas to campaign against Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock, while he'd previously blasted Jones' main intra-party foe, fellow state Sen. Butch Miller, "because of his refusal to work with other Republican Senators on voter fraud and irregularities in the State."

Meanwhile, state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who is one of several Republicans also competing in the Senate primary, earned an endorsement last week from freshman Rep. Andrew Clyde. Clyde represents the most Trumpy congressional district in Georgia, and has quickly established himself as one of the far-right's loudest voices in the House.

FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Recent polls have very much disagreed whether next year's Senate and gubernatorial races start as competitive fights or if both Republican incumbents are far ahead, but the British firm Redfield & Wilton falls in the latter camp. The survey shows Sen. Marco Rubio fending off Rep. Val Demings 48-37, while he leads gadfly ex-Rep. Alan Grayson by a similar 48-36. Gov. Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, enjoys an identical 48-38 lead over Rep. Charlie Crist and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

NC-Sen: Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley's allies at EMILY's List have publicized a Democratic primary survey from Public Policy Polling that gives her a 33-24 lead over state Sen. Jeff Jackson. The release did not include any of the other candidates seeking the Democratic nod, including 2020 contender Erica Smith.

WI-Sen: On Tuesday, Milwaukee County prosecutors charged Milwaukee Alderwoman Chantia Lewis with allegedly using campaign money to pay for trips and other inappropriate expenses, and for allegedly filing false reimbursements with the city. Lewis was already a longshot candidate in next year's Democratic primary.

Governors

CA-Gov: Vice President Kamala Harris will campaign in the Bay Area Wednesday for Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom days ahead of next week's recall vote. Harris had originally planned to hold a rally in her home state late last month, but the event was called off following the deadly terrorist attack outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Newsom, meanwhile, narrates a commercial where he extols viewers for their pandemic sacrifices. "Now I'm asking you as Californians one more time," the governor says, adding, "Republicans want to take us backwards with the Sept. 14 recall. They'll eliminate vaccine mandates for health and school workers on day one, threatening school closures and our recovery."

IL-Gov: Politico reports that venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan will announce this week that he'll seek the GOP nomination to face Democratic incumbent J.B. Pritzker.

KS-Gov: It's looking unlikely that Attorney General Derek Schmidt will face any serious opposition in the Republican primary now that wealthy businessman Wink Hartman has endorsed his campaign to take on Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

Hartman, who was Team Red's 2018 nominee for lieutenant governor, had expressed interest in running himself as recently as Wednesday, but he said four days later that he was all-in for the attorney general instead. Sen. Roger Marshall, who had been supporting former Gov. Jeff Colyer's now defunct campaign, also threw his backing behind Schmidt on Tuesday, arguing that the GOP could now avoid "a costly, contentious, and detrimental primary race."

Marshall may get his wish, as Hartman was the only notable Republican who still appeared to be considering joining the race. That's a marked turn of events for Schmidt, who began last week locked in a competitive primary with Colyer. The attorney general, though, abruptly became the heavy frontrunner on Aug. 30 when the former governor exited the race and endorsed his now-former rival; Schmidt then earned the backing of all three of Kansas' GOP House members the next day.

MN-Gov: Jennifer Carnahan, who resigned in disgrace as state GOP chair last month, indicated on Sunday that she was interested in taking on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz. Carnahan said in a Facebook post, "I've received thousands of calls for action to take my leadership in Minnesota to the next level. From running again for Chair on October 2nd to running for Governor and other ideas in between, the calls are loud, strong and encouraging." She added, "What will I do next? Stay tuned."

Carnahan, who is the wife of Rep. Jim Hagedorn, faced widespread calls for her departure as state party chair last month after Tony Lazzaro, a close friend and party donor, was arrested on sex-trafficking charges. Carnahan denied knowing about the allegations against Lazzaro and argued that the people trying to oust her were just her old internal enemies.

Carnahan's own stewardship of the state party, though, was also the subject of much criticism, with the Associated Press writing she was "also accused of creating a toxic workplace environment in which personal and professional lines were blurred, concerns about sexual harassment ignored, and employees who didn't fall in line were subjected to retaliation." Carnahan finally announced her resignation on Aug. 20, though only after she'd cast the deciding vote to give her three months of salary as severance.

VA-Gov: Democrat Terry McAuliffe's new commercial begins with audio of Glenn Youngkin declaring, "President Trump represents so much of why I'm running," and goes on to argue that the two Republicans each don't take the pandemic seriously. The narrator says, "Youngkin opposes requiring vaccines for healthcare workers and teachers. And despite the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and pediatricians, Glenn Youngkin is against requiring masks in schools."

House

AZ-02: State Rep. Randy Friese on Thursday abruptly dropped out of the Democratic primary for this open seat, with the physician declaring, "As the Delta variant surges across our region, it has become an increasing challenge to fulfill my obligations to the hospital, my patients, and the campaign amidst a run for Congress." Friese was arguably the frontrunner to succeed his fellow Democrat, retiring Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, in this Tucson-based seat: Friese's $425,000 war chest at the end of June gave him an early financial advantage, while 314 Action reportedly planned to spend heavily for him.

Two fellow Democratic legislators essentially have the primary to themselves, at least for now. State Rep. Daniel Hernandez had $255,000 to spend at the end of the second quarter, while state Sen. Kirsten Engel had $235,000 available. The only notable Republican, by contrast, is Juan Ciscomani, a former senior advisor to Gov. Doug Ducey who announced last month. The current version of this constituency backed Joe Biden 55-44, though no one knows how redistricting will play out here.

MI-06: Donald Trump on Tuesday continued his revenge tour against the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him by endorsing state Rep. Steve Carra's primary campaign against longtime Rep. Fred Upton. The current version of this southwest Michigan seat backed Trump 51-47 last year, and Upton, who flirted with retirement last cycle, has not yet announced if he'll seek a 19th term.

The Detroit Free Press' Dave Boucher tweets that Carra has introduced eight bills or resolutions during his brief time in the legislature, "None have garnered any discussion." One of his resolutions demanded that the U.S. House "adopt a resolution disavowing the January 2021 impeachment of President Donald J. Trump or expel [California] U.S. Representative Maxine Waters for continuing to incite violence."

Another of his bills called for the state to conduct a "forensic audit" of Joe Biden's 51-48 victory in the state. Carra argued that he didn't know anyone in his community who wanted to overturn Biden's win, though he himself previously appeared at a November rally calling for that very action.

NM-02: Local reporter Joe Monahan mentions state Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill and Las Cruces City Councilor Gabe Vasquez as possible Democratic foes against Republican Rep. Yvette Herrell in the 2nd Congressional District, a 55-43 Trump seat that the Democratic legislature has the power to dramatically redraw.

Secretaries of State

MI-SoS: Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed Kristina Karamo, who joined him in spreading lies about voter fraud after working as a poll challenger last year in Detroit. The GOP will choose its nominee to face Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson at a party convention in April; the only other announced contender is Plainfield Township Clerk Cathleen Postmus.

Mayors

Albuquerque, NM Mayor: On Thursday, City Clerk Ethan Watson announced that he was once again denying Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales access to over $600,000 in public financing after concluding that the conservative Democrat's campaign had violated city election law. Gonzales, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Tim Keller in this November's nonpartisan race, quickly made it clear he'd continue his legal challenge to the decision, though he acknowledged he was considering ending his attempts to participate in the program so he could go after larger donations.

Watson had said in July that he was rejecting the sheriff's application to public money because of evidence submitted in two ethics investigations, but a judge ruled weeks later that the clerk had not given Gonzales the chance to answer the allegations. Watson held a new hearing Wednesday during which, writes the Albuquerque Journal's Jessica Dyer, Gonzales sat in silence as his legal team "argued that the proceeding was a 'sham' and that Watson was not impartial because of his ties to Gonzales' opponent." Watson, as the paper notes, was appointed by Keller and confirmed by the City Council, and "his term is tethered to the mayor who picked him."

The next day, Watson released a letter to Gonzales that once again denied him access to the $600,000 in public financing. Watson wrote:

"[Y]ou, as a candidate, your campaign's employees and the designated representatives for whom you expressly accepted responsibility, submitted materially false statements to the Clerk's Office, submitted forged Qualifying Contribution acknowledgment forms to the Clerk's Office to obtain public financing in your campaign, which you and your employees knew or should have known were forged, and paid for the Qualifying Contributions of purported contributors."

The clerk also said, "You did not admit evidence, nor did you seek to admit any evidence or documents" at the hearing.

Gonzales' team, as Dyer wrote in July, has "confirmed that it turned in forged documentation," but has insisted that "forgeries are typical in campaigns and that the sheriff was not responsible for them." On Thursday, his campaign once again argued that Watson could not be fair in a decision involving Keller's re-election campaign.

Buffalo, NY Mayor: The Erie County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to appeal a federal judge's order last week that would require it to list Mayor Byron Brown as an independent on the November ballot.

Brown had launched a write-in campaign shortly after losing the June Democratic primary to nurse India Walton, but he also sought to get on the ballot as the nominee of his newly-created Buffalo Party. The county Board of Elections rejected Brown's petitions last week because the state legislature had recently changed the deadline for candidates to submit signatures from September to May, but Judge John Sinatra ruled Friday that the new deadline "severely burdens plaintiffs' rights."

Brown also got some welcome news on Labor Day when he picked up endorsements from two unions, AFSCME and the CSEA.

Rudy Giuliani loses communications director, even as he and his world continue to unravel

Handling public relations for Rudy Giuliani seems like a particularly Sisyphean task. So imagine if it was your first job out of college. To begin with, having “Rudy Giuliani” on your résumé can’t be good. You’d be better off leading with “June 2019-August 2021: Sponge-bathed Randy Quaid” than willfully associating yourself with the phantasmagorical twilight of Rudes’ career. Ah, but don’t tell Christianné Allen that.

Allen, a young MAGA “influencer” who hopped onto the Giuliani bandwagon after it had already thrown most of its wheels, is now stepping down—just in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a milestone Rudy is sure to celebrate with a car wash bucket full of Scotch and a cheesy radiator pita or two.

Of course, “America’s Mayor” hasn’t enjoyed anything resembling folk hero status for some time now. Whether it’s being named Donald Trump’s cybersecurity adviser before locking himself out of his own iPhone, doing possibly (probably?) illegal things in Ukraine to enhance the electoral prospects of the worst presidential candidate in the history of democratic self-rule, leaking like a BP oil well while attempting to overturn the results of a free and fair election, or simply rubbing one out in front of Borat, Rudy has been a PR nightmare for years, and it looks like the 22-year-old Allen has had enough. She’s resigned from her job at Giuliani Communications LLC “effective this week,” according to The Daily Beast.

Her tenure began amid the fallout from Giuliani’s Ukraine meddling and then-President Donald Trump’s 2019 impeachment. She was later at Giuliani’s side during the Hunter Biden laptop fiasco ahead of the 2020 election, as well as during the post-election litigation and PR blitz that ultimately cost Giuliani his license to practice law in Washington, D.C., and New York.

Her resignation comes at a stressful time for Giuliani, who earlier this year laid off other staff under financial pressure from mounting legal bills. The former mayor must now navigate a PR team shake-up while fighting on several fronts, including civil suits related to his election challenges and a federal investigation into his alleged foreign influence work. At the same time, Giuliani finds himself increasingly isolated from the Republican Party, and his longtime friend former President Donald Trump seems to have all but abandoned him.

Well, Donald Trump abandons everyone after they’ve stopped being useful to him. But when an eager, wide-eyed 22-year-old jumps ship, that’s when you know the iceberg has won.

Luckily, The Daily Beast reports, Rudes has a new team all lined up.

Allen says she has been replaced by Todd Shapiro, a former spokesperson for Lindsay Lohan’s family who also claims to have represented Trump properties, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and Hooters of Long Island and New Jersey.

Okay, well, his new PR maven appears to have plenty of experience with both unstable celebrities and gratuitous use of boobs to sell chicken wings—so this should be a lateral move for him.

Naturally, Allen, who, as Giuliani’s lead PR person, has already been through enough public relations disasters for several lifetimes, was diplomatic on her way out the door: “As I reflect, I am proud of the accomplishments we achieved,” she said. “One of which was building Rudy Giuliani’s Common Sense podcast from conception to one of the top political podcasts in the country in under a year. Looking forward, I once again feel blessed to have the opportunity for continued growth and development within a rising tech startup.”

As for Giuliani, he recently felt compelled to tell NBC New York that he has not “gone off the rails” and is “not an alcoholic.” I had assumed he’d said it from a railroad ditch while drinking from a Sterno can hidden in an old sock he’d found in his grandma’s woods, but it looks like he was in a New York City park or something. 

Great time to lose your PR flack, huh? Good luck to Allen as she forges a career outside of Rudyland, although the Turning Point USA “ambassador” doesn’t seem like she’s ready to leave MAGA world.

Well, y’all. I did my first interview in about two years. It was such a treat to join @JennaEllisEsq on her show at #YWLS2021 to discuss something that has been weighing heavy on my heart and that is the global rise of religious persecution and hostility. @TPUSA @RealAmVoice pic.twitter.com/cWY42uqms7

— Christianné L Allen (@Christianne_L_A) June 12, 2021

But after babysitting Rudy for the past two years, anything she does will have to seem like a relief.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say, “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT,” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

Rosen testifies behind closed doors on Trump administration coup attempt at Justice Department

The full scope of the Trump administration's efforts to nullify an American presidential election is just beginning to come into view. Trump and his top allies engaged in an orchestrated, three-pronged plan to use federal officials to cast illegitimate doubts on the integrity of the election, explicitly pressure state officials to "find" votes or otherwise alter vote totals, and counter the official congressional acknowledgement of the election's results with an organized mob assembled specifically to "march" to the Capitol and intimidate the lawmakers carrying out that constitutionally mandated process. It was an attempted coup by Trump and his deputies, one that Trump himself continued to press even after that coup had exploded into violence.

The New York Times is now reporting that Trump's acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, gave closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary on Saturday. The subject of the testimony was the interactions between Rosen and Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as Clark attempted, on Trump's behalf, to press the Justice Department into issuing false claims suggesting that they were investigating election "fraud" of the sort that Trump's propagandists were claiming as the reason for Trump's loss. It was untrue, and the top two Justice officials rejected Clark's repeated proposals.

Transparently, it was an attempt by Clark and other Trump allies to throw the nation into chaos by claiming the election was so flawed that its results must be overturned—a claim which Trump's hard-right team believed would force the assembling Congress to erase the election's counted votes and, somehow, reinstall Trump as quasilegal national leader.

All three elements of the plan came perilously close to succeeding. All three were thwarted only because individuals remained in place who believed the plan to be insanity, sedition, or both. It is the efforts by Trump-aligned officials within the federal government, using the tools granted to them by government, that elevate the events culminating in violence on January 6 from insurrection to attempted coup.

In a pivotal decision, Rosen rejected Clark's attempt, leading to yet another internal administration crisis as Trump mulled whether to fire him and install Clark in his position so that the plan could be carried out.

In a Sunday CNN appearance, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Dick Durbin said Rosen had described Trump as being directly involved in Clark's actions. "It was real, very real, and it was very specific."

Significantly, the Times reports that Rosen scheduled his testimony "quickly" so as to allow them to go forward "before any players could ask the courts to block the proceedings." That may be a self-serving interpretation of events. As emptywheel notes, Clark's efforts to overturn the election and Trump's aborted move to fire Rosen and install Clark as acting attorney general was the subject of news reporting in January, even before Trump's second impeachment trial took place. The Senate Judiciary began their requests for documents pertaining to the plan near-immediately, and have been battling the Department of Justice for testimony ever since.

A half-year delay in gaining testimony about a "very real" and "very specific" attempt to overthrow the duly elected next administration by coup does not make it sound like anyone involved is attempting to provide evidence "quickly."

Most significantly of all, perhaps, is that the United States Senate could have investigated the Trump team's plot during the impeachment trial meant to gather evidence and come to judgment on Trump's behavior. For the second time, it did not do so. It avoided examining the evidence, rushing through the trial to again get to the inevitable close of having nearly all Republican lawmakers back Trump's actions, even after they had resulted in violence.

The job now falls to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection: The moves Clark, Meadows, and other Trump officials made to falsely discredit the election results were intended to provide the backing by which willing insurrectionists could justify their demands that the Constitution be tossed aside for the sake of Trump's reinstallation. The job also falls to federal investigators who now need to examine—swiftly—the criminality of the schemes.

It was not, however, a "Trump" coup. Donald Trump, a known liar and semi-delusional blowhard, had few government powers that would allow him to singlehandedly erase state election counts or make official his declarations that he had lost, after a disastrous single term, only through "fraud" concocted against him. It required the cooperation of top Republican allies, of Republican Party officials, of lawmakers, and others that would press the false claims and work both within and outside of government to give them false legitimacy. It was a Republican coup, an act of sedition backed with specific acts from Mark Meadows, from Jeffrey Clark, from senators such as Josh Hawley, from state Republican officials who eagerly seized on the conspiracy claims specifically so that they could be used to overturn elections they had lost, and from everyday Republican supporters who decided that the zero-evidence nationalist propaganda they were swallowing up was justification enough to storm the U.S. Capitol by force in an overt attempt to erase a democratic election.

Here we sit, waiting with bated breath as evidence dribbles out describing the full scope of what the entire world saw in realtime, from last November to January: top Republican officials spreading knowingly false, propagandistic claims intended to undermine the integrity of our democratic elections so as to justify simply changing that election's results and declaring themselves the victors. It was a fascist act. It continues in the states, as state Republican lawmakers use the same brazenly false claims peddled by Clark to impose new hurdles to voting meant to keep at least some fraction of the Americans who voted against the party last time from being able to vote at all the next time.

A bit more urgency is required, here.

This immigrant police officer has proven to be more of an American than any of the Jan. 6 terrorists

It’s hard to overstate the body blow delivered to the entire right-wing project in the form of the four battle-scarred police officers who testified about their brutal experiences combating the mob of insurrectionists who Donald Trump unleashed against this country’s institutions on Jan. 6, 2021. Much as the nation’s armed forces, who the conservative multiverse leaps to lionize on every possible occasion, the country’s police represent its natural allies, their useful, quasi-military attack dogs against those Black people and brown-skinned immigrants who are the source (and ultimately the target of) nearly all their grievances. It’s a key component of their “us vs. them” philosophy, in which they reassure themselves who is a “real” American and who is not. 

So it’s understandable that the spectacle of these police officers not only impugning the Jan. 6 mob’s actions as criminal but as fundamentally un-American, literally describing them as “terrorists,” evoked such a visceral negative reaction among the right. That interpretation, one which not only right-wing media, but nearly the entire Republican Party has struggled mightily since Jan. 6 to preempt, strikes at the very heart of the conservative mindset. And it’s even more intolerable—galling, even—when that inescapable conclusion presents itself in via an immigrant police officer and Iraq war veteran.

When he got off the plane at New York City’s JFK airport in 1992, setting foot in the country that would eventually become his home—the same country that he would sign up to defend and would send him to Iraq for 545 days—Aquilino Gonell had no idea he’d one day be assigned to protect the U.S. Capitol. Or that 30 years after he came to the U.S., he’d be testifying in front of a congressional panel and television cameras about injuries and attacks he’d sustained in an unprovoked, vicious attack on the foundation of his adopted country’s democracy.

Gonell didn’t know that he’d be called upon to explain, in vivid detail, the barrage of physical blows, hurled objects, racist taunts, and screaming insults disparaging his loyalty to this country that he’d receive at the hands of an all-American mob, bent on killing members of Congress. A mob that a cynical, criminal thug of a president incited into attacking the Capitol for the sole purpose overturning a fair and lawful election in his favor.

The sergeant, now 43, could not possibly have foreseen that after immigrating from the Dominican Republic, he’d ultimately prove himself to be a far better, far more genuine American than millions of others who proudly boast of their citizenship and supposed loyalty to this country, somehow deemed more sincere simply by virtue of their being born here.

James Hohmann, writing for The Washington Post, patiently explains the difference between Aquilino Gonell and the thousands of so-called Americans who found time to take the day off from their busy schedules on Jan. 6 to put on their little baseball caps, pack up their metal pipes, rebar, tasers, mace, and bear spray, and and point their shiny $40,000 pickup trucks into the heart of this nation’s capitol for the purpose of inflicting violence and terror on the American people and its representatives.

Barbarians who ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 called Aquilino Gonell a “traitor” and told him he’s “not even an American.” Those slanderous words wounded the Capitol Police sergeant, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, as badly as the pole someone attacked him and fellow officers with, which was flying a U.S. flag. But Gonell is a bigger patriot than Donald Trump and all the insurrectionists incited by the then-president — combined. He is the one who truly understands — and embodies — what makes America great.

Of the four wounded officers who testified before the congressional select committee to open up its investigation into the attacks of Jan. 6, it’s impossible to say whose testimony was the most affecting. All of them, speaking in unsparing, sometimes truncated and often bitter language, vividly described what transpired that day as the rabid crowd of thousands descended on them, furious that they’d encountered resistance to their well-laid pans for carnage. As Officer Daniel Hodges explained, the officers were constrained by the fact that none of them could know whether the attackers were armed with live weapons (doubtlessly many were), or had set up pipe or other bombs primed to detonate (someone had), and for that reason they could not use their own weapons, since a firefight would inevitably lead to a mass slaughter.  More importantly, as they were vastly outnumbered by the mob, if a firefight broke out the police were likely to lose, leaving the Capitol and everyone in it open to attack.

"There were over 9,000 of the terrorists out there with an unknown number of firearms and a couple hundred of us, maybe. So we could not -- if that turned into a firefight, we would have lost," Hodges told the committee. "And this was a fight we couldn't afford to lose."

As Hohmann reports, Gonell, like his fellow officers, described the onslaught and what he experienced.

He described experiencing hand-to-hand combat like “something from a medieval battle,” scarier than any of the 545 days he served in Iraq. The invaders, chanting “Trump sent us,” used hammers, knives, batons and shields. Gonell was punched, pushed, kicked, shoved and bear-sprayed.

Each officer’s testimony provided unique insight into the barbaric nature of the Trump-inspired mob, the blatant racism, unconstrained hate, and the sickening, plainly gleeful and eager exercise of violence displayed to the nation on Jan. 6. Officer Harry Dunn’s testimony in particular explicitly revealed the explicit, virulent racism of that mob, collectively taunting him with a vile racist slur to punctuate and amplify attacks on his person. No officer’s testimony was anything less than wrenching, riveting and disturbing. All of them performed heroically under unbelievable odds, and the trauma each of them has endured was obvious.

But the irony of Gonell, a naturalized American citizen, defending this nation’s Capitol against a braying crowd of self-styled “true Americans” who told Gonell he was “not even an American,” many inspired by xenophobia and Trump’s race-baiting vitriol towards immigrants, is inescapable.

Gonell only stopped working when his right foot swelled so much that it wouldn’t fit in his shoe and his limp became so painful he could hardly stand. Surgeons fused fractured bones in his foot. He recently learned he’ll need surgery on his left shoulder. He also suffered injuries to both hands and his left calf. Now, he’s back on duty, but to his chagrin, deskbound until he can complete more physical therapy.

Hohmann makes the point that immigrants often turn out to be better Americans than many who were privileged enough to be born here, simply because they better understand the value—and fragility—of what democracy really is. That may be why events like the attempted insurrection on  Jan. 6 resonate with Sgt. Gonell. It may also be, as Hohmann points out, why some of the key witnesses against Trump during his first impeachment trial were also immigrants (two of whom, Alexander Vindman and Marie Yovanovitch, emigrated from autocratic regimes in Ukraine and the USSR).

Unlike the thugs who attacked the seat of our democracy on Jan. 6—whether they did it out of sheer malice, race-fueled hate, or blind ignorance—Sgt. Aquilino Gonell acted to protect, rather than destroy, the foundation of that democracy. As Hohmann observes, unlike the thugs who attacked the Capitol, Gonell actually took an oath to defend and protect this country: not once, not twice, but three times. And unlike many insurrectionists who were formerly in the military and law enforcement, who have dishonored and defiled their oaths to defend and protect the nation, its citizens, and its Constitution by abetting or participating in the Jan. 6 attack, Gonell has faithfully kept his oath, putting his own body on the line not only in Iraq, but on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

So which of these folks represents the true American ideal?  Which represents the “real” Americans, as the Jan. 6 insurrectionists are so fond of calling themselves?

It’s really not that hard of a question to answer.

With a three-pronged plan, Trump’s White House tried to topple our democracy

America has not yet internalized what the last Republican administration did, during the last months of Donald Trump's term of office. The country seems rather insistent on not letting the full scope of it drift into their heads, and every new detail seems to be presented with enough context stripped out to keep it vague.

The new release of Justice Department notes documenting conversations between Trump and his acting attorney general put things in very plain terms. From late December to the violent culmination of events on January 6, the Trump White House engaged in a multi-pronged effort to topple the United States government.

It was intentional. It was supported by top White House aides. It had the explicit goal of nullifying a U.S. presidential election so that the Trump White House could, acting in plain defiance of the rules set out in the Constitution, maintain power. That Trump and his top allies had spent the previous twelve months combing through government to remove those seen as insufficiently "loyal" to the White House's increasingly law-bending edicts may or may not have been precursor, but there's not even a little question about what happened in the last days of December and early days of January.

According to notes taken by deputy attorney general Richard Donoghue, Trump asked acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to "just say that the election was corrupt," then "leave the rest" to the White House and to Republicans in Congress. (Specifically mentioned by Trump in that call was, among others, Rep. Jim Jordan, who is now scurrying to evade questions about his communications with Trump on the day of the January 6 insurrection.) It was not once or twice: the Trump White House is said to have contacted Rosen and other officials "nearly every day" to pressure the agency to publicly cast doubts on the election.

Trump and others within the White House, including chief of staff Mark Meadows, also began calling Republican election officials in at least Arizona and Georgia to similarly pressure them to alter their vote totals in Trump's favor.

In conjunction with both those efforts, Trump was encouraging members of his base to show up for a "march" on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, scheduled to exactly coincide with the formal congressional acknowledgement of the electoral totals. Trump and his allies sought to assemble as large a crowd as possible, for the specifically cited purpose of pressuring the assembled Congress to overturn the election's outcome.

When the crowd turned violent, Trump did nothing. When Republican lawmakers called him personally to ask him for aid, he belittled and refused them.

The justification for each act was a propaganda campaign by Republican allies that fraudulently claimed non-Republicans had "stolen" the election from the party. Many of those claims were invented out of conspiratorial nothing (from Italian satellite links to ballots with "bamboo" in the paper); others were spiraled out from panicked claims about a somebody who saw a somebody with a something. Each of the propaganda claims were so brazenly false that courtroom judges drop-kicked them out out of evidence near-immediately.

There is nothing that needs teasing out, here. The Trump White House plan was in full view. Donald Trump and his top allies engaged in a multi-pronged, extended, pre-plotted campaign to overthrow the next constitutionally appointed U.S. presidency by falsely claiming the election was invalid; by pressuring the Department of Justice to issue statements further casting doubt on the election's integrity; by calling key election officials and asking them to change reported vote totals on Trump's behalf; by using conspiratorial claims to gather a mob of enraged would-be "patriots" convinced that direct action was needed to "stop the steal" from happening; by asking that crowd to march the Capitol; by rebuffing efforts, during the mob's attack, to call off the now-violent mob.

It was an act of plain sedition, pre-planned and premeditated and orchestrated from inside Trump's own inner circle. It was backed by a majority of House Republicans, multiple of which were in communication with Trump and dozens of whom were allied with the effort to falsely dispute the election's results.

Donald Trump and his top aides engaged in a multipart plan to overthrow the United States government so as to retain power. Put that in your head and let it stew there, because there's simply no denying that it's true.

The new notes from the Department of Justice represent, by themselves, an act of official corruption easily besting Nixon's worst. Asking the Department of Justice to falsely cast doubts on the integrity of a U.S. election that booted you from power is by itself an act that would demand impeachment, if Senate Republicans were not themselves so corrupt as to have allied with the idea. Calling a Georgia election official to ask that official to "find" new votes is a demand that should yet land Trump in prison for a decade or longer. Pointedly ignoring lawmakers asking for assistance as his enraged allies broke through windows and sought out his enemies is the stuff of terrorism, not mere corruption.

It is the three-pronged plan that elevates Trump and his top Republican allies from merely corrupt to outright seditionists. It was a plan intended to erase a U.S. presidential election. It sought out allies in the Department of Justice who would publicly discredit the election, allies in state governments who would change the vote totals, and a public mob that would disrupt the vote count and intimidate public officials into approving a Trump return to power.

It was all one plan, not three. Discredit the election using false claims; use the same false claims to stoke a public anger deep enough to justify tossing out the rule of law, in the name of restoring "order."

It was an attempted fascist takeover, and many of its top orchestrators are still featured prominently on the Sunday news shows. Parts of it came very close to succeeding; had different Republican officials been in different offices, it seems quite possible now that Trump's White House could have found state or county allies willing to alter votes in the manner they were requested. Parts of it were seemingly asinine, inventions of deranged and desperate minds; one has a hard time believing that a congressional declaration that Trump was "somehow" still president would be treated as legitimate by the press, the military, or the public at large, if the declaration had come from lawmakers being literally held hostage by a mob demanding they do so.

It was still an attempt, though. Trump and others within the White House engaged in weeks of effort in attempts to enlist both accomplices within government and a paramilitary force outside it. Trump is a traitor to his country. Any outcome that does not see him rotting in prison for his acts will itself be an affront to our would-be democracy.

First Jan. 6 hearings begin with police who were assaulted, GOP continuing that assault

Make no mistake: Republicans do not want any kind of investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection because they’re extremely afraid of what that investigation will find. That’s why, when given the opportunity to have an impartial panel that examined those events outside the normal back and forth of Congressional politics, Republicans in the Senate shot it down. That’s why when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revived the idea as a select committee, Republicans voted against it. That’s why Kevin McCarthy first tried to saddle the investigation with a stack of Republicans whose announced intention was to derail any look into those events, then made a pretense of withdrawing Republican “support” when Pelosi rejected the worst of those who were out to make the investigation a farce.

Republicans do not want this to happen. What they want is for everyone else to leave this alone so they can continue the project of turning Jan. 6 from insurrection to tourist visit to patriotic action that’s a model for future events.

That effort is expected to continue on Tuesday as the House holds the first hearing from that select committee. As CNN reports, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to make clear that he “will not cooperate” with the committee’s investigation. They are planning a number of events for the course of the day, all with the same theme: It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault. Pelosi, according to the cover story being generated on the right, failed to get the Capitol Police and National Guard to the Capitol in sufficient numbers—a claim that ignores how that was both not Pelosi’s job and not within her authority.

Meanwhile, the actual hearing is going to begin. Here’s what to expect.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:38:18 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Fanone pounds the table as he says, "the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!" "Nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day and in doing so betray their oath of office," he adds pic.twitter.com/LrJOxT0ueh

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2021

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:41:31 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

DC officer Daniel Hodges: "A man attempted to rip the baton from my hands & we wrestled for control. I retained my weapon. After I pushed him back, he yelled at me, 'you're on the wrong team!'...another [shouted], 'you will die on your knees!'" pic.twitter.com/MxZnFTNYlO

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2021

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:43:28 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

The opening video included new information, including audio communications of insurgents calling for use of the gallows, and those outside the Capitol insisting that federal, state, and local officials needed to be rounded up for mass executions.

This first day of testimony will be focused on the appearance of four members of law enforcement who were present at the assault on the Capitol. D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone has become well known for his previous statements and a letter to Congress in which he called attempts to downplay the events of Jan. 6 “disgraceful” and demanded recognition for the dozens of officers injured on that day. Fanone was beaten with metal pipes and repeatedly shocked with a Taser. He described the events of that day as the “most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life.” 

D.C. Metro Police Officer Daniel Hodges’ name may not be quite as familiar as Fanone’s at this point, but millions of Americans have certainly seen his face. It was Hodges who was caught in the entrance as Trump supporters made a game of trying to crush him between two doors. Trapped with his hands and shoulders pinned behind him, insurgents took the opportunity to beat him, hit him with bear spray, and coordinate their movements to press ever harder against Hodges’ trapped form. At least one man has already been arrested specifically for his attack on Hodges. Hodges also made it clear that in spite of the pain and damage he suffered on that day, he knew exactly what was going on. “If it wasn't my job, I would have done that for free ... It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection ... and we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn fought against rioters who smashed police lines and assaulted officers outside the building, then teamed up with other officers to follow Trump insurgents inside and attempt to block access to officials. As a Black man, Dunn was subject to special attention from the white supremacist mob, including being called the N-word dozens of times. When Dunn mentioned this, it was enough to have Tucker Carlson attempt to discredit the officer as an “angry activist.” Because that’s how Black men are. Angry … about being kicked, beaten, bear-sprayed, and clubbed while being under constant racist assault.

The final member  of police to speak on this day is Capitol Hill Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell. Gonell, both a police veteran and a military veteran, was beaten with a flag pole, had his hand sliced open with a knife, and was so dosed in chemical spray that it dripped from his clothing. Gonell, in a stunned haze from the assault and chemical spray, has recounted hearing insurgents say they were going to kill the police and calling them traitors. Gonell has also said he took Republican votes to block an independent Jan. 6 commission as a personal insult.

The hearing is now underway with a review of videos and reports from that day.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 1:48:07 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

NEW: The Justice Department is green-lighting the participation of ex-Trump officials in the Jan. 6 investigation, according to a letter reviewed by POLITICO. Story TK w/ @woodruffbets

— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) July 27, 2021

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 1:53:31 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

The initial video presented at the opening of the hearing was genuinely chilling. It not only showed footage previously seen at the Senate impeachment trial, but included new footage, much of  it from the Capitol grounds, showing more Trump supporters urging the use of the gallows to hang members of Congress, as well as making it clear that many of those present saw Jan. 6 as an opening act.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:04:50 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

It’s a real shame we don’t get to have Jim Jordan on this committee, rolling his eyes and making dismissive gestures as they show the MAGA mob assaulting cops and hunting for Pelosi and Pence.

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) July 27, 2021

One question the Jan. 6 committee should ask every police officer injured during the insurrection

The response of the Washington, D.C. Capitol Police to the events of Jan. 6 has been closely examined and debated from practically the first moments of the insurrection itself. There have been credible accusations that the police deliberately responded sluggishly or with intentional forbearance given that the thousands of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol were almost entirely white. There is also strong evidence that some of the Capitol officers willingly abetted the insurrectionists by allowing access to the Capitol building at critical times during the event. There has been credible evidence indicating that some in the Capitol police hierarchy were aware of the insurrectionists’ plans to attack Congress beforehand and still did nothing to prepare against the attacks.

All of these assertions deserve to be fully investigated. But one thing remains absolutely undeniable: the Capitol and D.C. police were the only thing standing between the insurrectionists and the elected representatives and senators trapped in the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Had it not been for the presence and efforts of most of these officers, many of the Trump-supporting thugs who violently smashed their way through glass doors for the sole purpose of finding these officials would have inflicted violence on those same officials. Absent the police, some of these representatives and senators would almost certainly have been killed or otherwise assaulted by the members of this uncontrolled mob.

One other thing is clear: about 140 Capitol and D.C. police officers suffered injury in their efforts to repulse the attack on Jan. 6. Some of them were so gravely injured, both mentally and physically, that they may never return to work as police officers. Others find themselves now disabled from injuries inflicted during the melee on that day or stricken with PTSD more reminiscent of the wartime experience of Vietnam or Iraq veterans who have seen close combat. 

Many of those injured as a result of the events at the Capitol will doubtlessly be called as witnesses by the select committee now formed to investigate the cause of the insurrection.They will be asked about the extent of their injuries, and how they received those injuries. So here is one simple question that members of that committee should ask each and every one of these officers, preferably at the close of their testimony:

Did President Donald Trump ever contact you to apologize, or express his sympathy, gratitude or appreciation for your sacrifice?

I’m quite certain the answer of each of these officers will be “no.”

This weekend the Washington Post ‘s Peter Hermann highlighted the extent of injuries sustained by several officers defending against the attacks. As Hermann reports, these officers were “bludgeoned with poles and bats, pushed and trampled, and sprayed with chemical irritants.” Others were struck, often in the head, by thrown objects. One who was knocked unconscious could “barely walk, barely talk” in the days following the attacks, and is still out of work, having suffered a severe concussion. Several officers now suffer from ongoing neurological problems after being assaulted with such objects:

Some officers who were assaulted Jan. 6 experienced different or worsening symptoms in the weeks and months that followed, indicating they may have suffered injuries more severe than had initially been believed, in particular undiagnosed head trauma, according to a therapist who has seen hundreds of D.C. officers. She thinks others who emerged exhausted and sore may not have reported injuries, or even recognized they needed medical care.

One officer, Brian Sicknick, succumbed to two successive strokes one day after being assaulted and pepper-sprayed by the Trump mob. Two officers have committed suicide as a result of mental and physical trauma sustained during the attacks. One turned in her weapon, fearing that she would use it on herself. According to their union, several officers present that day are unlikely to ever return to work due to physical injuries they sustained.

Other scars are less visible but no less real. One Black police officer, repeatedly vilified as a “n-----” by Trump’s supporters, screaming it in his face as they assaulted him, has undergone marked changes in his personality. Others have sustained emotional trauma that has impaired their ability to function and impacted their relationships with their spouses and families.

Officer Michael Fanone is already familiar to many. Beaten unconscious by the Trump-incited mob, he has spearheaded a personal effort to obtain recognition for the sacrifices of his fellow officers. Fanone’s post-hospitalization course is emblematic of other officers injured that day: debilitating headaches, nausea, and dizziness symptoms common to post-concussion survivors, along with cognitive impairment, nervousness, and anxiety more akin to sufferers of PTSD. For his efforts in defending the Capitol, Fanone was rewarded by Georgia Republican Rep. Andrew Clyde, who refused to shake his hand. when the two met in an elevator (Clyde had previously referred to the Capitol attacks as a “tourist visit”).

Another officer, Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, a veteran of the Iraq war, was interviewed by Hermann for the Post article:

Gonell fought on the Capitol’s West Terrace. He said he and his colleagues were called unpatriotic, scum, traitors and un-American. He didn’t know he had been struck with a speaker until he saw himself on a video.

After the riot, Gonell powered through his injuries and insisted on working through the Jan. 20 inauguration, hiding his limp and shoulder pain and ignoring a doctor’s advice to take it easy. He stopped only after Biden was sworn in, when his foot had become dangerously swollen and he could no longer stand.

All of these injured officers have something in common: they were all injured as a direct result of a mob incited by Donald Trump to attack the Capitol. While these policemen and women were subjected to the full fury of the mob, Donald Trump (who had falsely reassured the rioters that he would be present alongside them during the assault) simply sat watching them being beaten, enthralled, in front of his television set for literally hours. Far from doing anything to stop the mayhem that he had incited, he encouraged it by refusing to do anything at all, even coyly tweeting at one point that the attackers were “very special.”

In his open letter to all members of Congress, Officer Fanone wrote that the “indifference shown to my colleagues and I is disgraceful.” 

"As the physical injuries gradually subsided, in crept the psychological trauma. In many ways I still live my life as if it is January 07, 2021. I struggle daily with the emotional anxiety of having survived such a traumatic event but I also struggle with the anxiety of hearing those who continue to downplay the events of that day and those who would ignore them altogether with their lack of acknowledgement. The indifference shown to my colleagues and I is disgraceful."

At the time Fanone was referring to the fact that Republican members of the House and Senate refused to acknowledge the viciousness and extent of the assault or even the reason it occurred. Since that time, Republicans have even attempted to ascribe some sort of heroism or justification on the part of these insurrectionists. Trump himself has called them “great people,” and a “loving crowd.”

So, after each officer testifying before the committee sets forth—in painstaking detail—the extent and cause of his/her injuries sustained at the hands of the Trump mob, the committee members will have an opportunity to simply remind Americans that all of those officers’ injuries stemmed entirely from one man’s malice, depravity and complete indifference to their fate. An indifference that he has never once even tried to hide or disguise by the slightest expression of sympathy or appreciation for their sacrifice.

Did President Donald Trump ever contact you to apologize, or express his sympathy, gratitude or appreciation for your sacrifice?

That, at the very least, should leave an impression.

Senate Democrats say FBI ignored tips in Brett Kavanaugh investigation

Here at Daily Kos, we all suffered through Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, recalling his indignant behavior while questioned, especially as juxtaposed with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s grace and clarity. We, too, likely recall that Donald Trump was relentless in pushing Kavanaugh's confirmation through. Recently, as Daily Kos covered, Michael Wolff revealed a conversation he supposedly had with Trump in his new book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, in which Trump took credit for essentially “saving” Kavanaugh's life and expressed feeling disappointed in him in the end, saying he hasn’t had the “courage” to be a great justice.

This background lends an interesting light to a new report from The New York Times, in which fresh details on the FBI’s inquiry into Kavanaugh are causing serious—and legitimate—upset among some Senate Democrats. As covered by the Times, Jill Tyson, an assistant director at the FBI, wrote a letter to Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Chris Coons explaining that the most “relevant” of more than 4,000 tips the agency received while investigating Kavanaugh were actually passed on to White House lawyers in the Trump administration. It’s unclear how those tips were handled, and Senate Democrats want answers.

For background, the letter from Tyson was actually written in response to a letter sent by Whitehouse and Coons back in 2019, in which they wanted more clarity on how the supplemental background check into Kavanaugh actually went down. Tyson’s letter stressed that the agency did not conduct a criminal investigation, only a background check. To Democrats, the agency failed in its duty to fully investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct—from Ford as well as subsequent allegations from two women who accused him of sexual misconduct—during Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations.

On Wednesday, seven Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee replied to the letter asking for more information about how Trump’s White House handled the investigation and those thousand of tips. Democrats who signed on to the letter included Sens. Cory Booker, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, Patrick Leahy, Mazie Hirono, and, of course, Whitehouse and Coons. 

Whitehouse spoke to the Times in an interview about the letter. Whitehouse told the Times Tyson’s response suggested the agency ran a “fake tip line” with responses never being “properly reviewed,” adding he assumed it was not even done in “good faith.” 

In a letter the Democratic lawmakers sent on Wednesday, and which was released to the public on Thursday, they argued: “If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all.”

As we know, neither Ford nor Kavanaugh were interviewed as part of the investigation. According to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI ultimately interviewed just 10 people before closing its investigation. Democrats have long suggested the investigation into Kavanaugh was incomplete and politically contained. 

Trump insurgents came within seconds of capturing ‘nuclear football’ on Jan. 6

During Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, video footage of events on Jan. 6 revealed just how close Mike Pence came to falling into the hands of the people who were chanting for his execution. Fourteen minutes after the mob of Trump supporters first breached the Capitol, Secret Service agents led Pence from the Senate chamber and down a flight of stairs. He entered that stairwell just seconds ahead of the arrival of insurgents, some of whom were carrying rope or zip ties. Had those insurgents not been delayed through the actions of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, they could easily have been there to capture Pence and take him to the gallows waiting on the lawn outside.

But in addition to Pence, they might have captured something else that would have been especially problematic. For most of us, our electronic devices—phones, tablets, and laptops—are regularly trusted with our most confidential information. That’s one of the things that helps to make these devices our constant companions and among the most vital objects that we own. However, there is still information that’s considered too valuable, too sensitive, to be trusted to any electronic device, and one prime example was in the hands of a military aide who was with Mike Pence as he fled from the Senate. 

That aide was carrying a small satchel, and inside that satchel was a book listing the locations of classified military sites, a description of how to activate and use the Emergency Broadcast System, a “black book” of pre-planned military actions, and a small card that contains the codes necessary to authorize a nuclear strike. That aide was with Pence at the top of the stairs in the video that was shown during the Senate trial.

The Jan. 6 insurgents didn’t just almost get Mike Pence. They almost got the backup copy of the president’s Emergency Satchel. Better know as the “nuclear football.”

As Reuters reports, concern over how close the satchel came to being captured by the Trump horde is calling for a review of just how the vital information is carried and secured. Some form of the football goes back to President Dwight Eisenhower, but it was concerns from President John Kennedy that created the system that’s still followed today. Both the president and vice president are closely pursued by aides who have the current information necessary to respond if the nation were to fall under sudden attack. 

Following the events of Jan. 6, in which one of the footballs almost went into the hands of insurgents calling for the overthrow of the elected government, there’s a concern that this 60-year-old program may be due for some review. This wasn’t the only occasion in the last four years in which the vital information came under threat. An aide carrying the information on a trip to China got into what was described as a “tussle” with a Chinese official while Trump was having lunch with Communist Party leader Xi Jinping. That situation apparently required then chief of staff John Kelly to get into a “physical altercation” to secure the satchel.

Neither situation is particularly reassuring.

Exactly what the Trump mob might have done with the satchel had they taken it and opened it isn’t clear. There are procedures for changing the authorizations codes in the case a football is lost or stolen. However, the book of secure sites and the book of military actions—primarily military actions that the U.S. intends to take in case of an attack on the nation—are extremely sensitive and any data released from those sources could cause serious damage to national security. Had that information been captured, it would have been considered compromised even if the military wasn’t aware of any leaks of the contents. 

Just what changes are being considered to better secure the information are not clear. But just as a start, securing the Capitol against future assaults by ravening mobs of Trump supporters out for blood is a good first step.