House GOP sure wasted a lot of America’s time and money on Biden

Republicans have wasted so much: It’s not just the carloads of “Let’s Go Brandon!” merch now on its way to landfills, it’s a huge amount of time and money that is owed directly to Americans. As soon as they gained a small majority—and once they were past the first round of follies in naming a speaker—Republicans got right on their No. 1 priority.

That priority wasn’t passing legislation to help people. They've been one of the least effective Congress in history. Instead, they jumped right into the most important task of all modern Republicans: Showing their loyalty to Donald Trump by launching unfounded attacks on his opponents. 

In the House, that meant not one, not two, but three simultaneous investigations into everything Biden. A car loan, his son's private parts, anything was fodder for a mill meant to crank out a never-ending stream of Biden "scandal."

All of this is completely worthless to the country. Now it’s not even useful to Trump.

The Republican grovel fest, headed up by Reps. James Comer and Jim Jordan, was ridiculous from the outset. 

There was the fake FBI document produced by a Russian mole whose repeated claims were originally pushed in 2019 by Rudy Giuliani and were debunked almost as soon as they appeared. That hasn’t stopped Jordan from repeating these easily disproved lies and pretending to seriously investigate Biden’s actions in helping to get rid of a corrupt official. 

Meanwhile, Comer was busy trying to prove that Biden was the recipient of money from China, talking up a witness who could prove everything if Republicans could find him. Comer went after Hunter Biden for paying back a small loan when Biden wasn’t even in office. Then there was a small personal loan to his brother, also while Biden wasn’t in office. In the end, they turned on Attorney General Merrick Garland when they could find no reason to impeach Biden. 

That was the biggest problem for these Republicans: Biden hadn't done anything wrong. But that didn't stop them from crowing over every false claim as if it were proof that Biden was the godfather of the "Biden crime family." A crime family that is somehow so huge and corrupt and has netted Biden a beach home that isn’t even on the beach rather than towers full of golden targets. 

Efforts to generate support for a Biden impeachment ran out of steam last fall, so Republicans were never able to present to Trump that “see, he was impeached too!” present they were so anxious to deliver. By spring, Republicans were looking for some way to escape this whole pointless exercise.

And now ... all of it is a waste. Republicans loved to complain about how much former FBI Director Robert Mueller spent investigating Trump’s connections with Russia, but they haven’t been as quick to post how much they’ve spent investigating Biden to absolutely no purpose. 

Want to see how important it really was? Just watch how quickly Republicans drop these investigations for vital hearings over plastic straws and whether or not Harris was too tough on crime.

But, even before Biden withdrew from the election, this was already a waste. For everything they had done, House Republicans never laid a finger on Biden. Nothing stuck to Biden because it was all malarkey.

But they did show that they were completely under Trump's control so ... job well done.

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Biden says he won’t step aside. What happens next?

Despite continuing calls for him to step aside as the Democratic Party’s nominee, President Joe Biden says he’s not going anywhere. A significant contingent of Democratic leaders disagrees with that decision.

So where do things stand now?

This year’s presidential race was already neck-and-neck heading into a June 27 debate that Biden requested, using rules he established. The result was not great, as I wrote at the time. “President Joe Biden had one job Thursday, one job only—prove to America that he still has what’s needed to be president, despite rampant questions about his age. He didn’t do that. Instead, he validated the worst criticisms.”

Three weeks later, the debate rages on inside the Democratic Party: Should Biden stay or should he go?

The problem is, there is no real mechanism to force him out. Some have said that delegates can take it upon themselves to ditch Biden, given the party rule stating that “Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.” That sounds good on paper, except that it’s not as simple as that.

There are 3,979 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. To oust Biden, 1,990 would have to not just abandon Biden, but do so for a single other candidate. This means there would have to be an actual campaign, with all the trappings that would entail—public appeals for support, clearing the field, and managing the inherent divisiveness of such a move. (Disclosure: I’m a California delegate to the convention.)

In other words, forcing Biden out of the race against his will would require an organized rebellion and unity in purpose that is well beyond the Democratic Party’s ability. You can see it even in the statements of those demanding that Biden quit—few are clearly advocating for the obvious alternative, Vice President Kamala Harris. They all talk about some truncated primary process because the second an actual Biden alternative is named, it generates opposition from supporters of other potential replacement candidates.

That’s why on Wednesday, California Rep. Adam Schiff called for Biden to “pass the torch” without explaining how and to whom. The second he named a name, people would disagree with that alternative, starting a debate that does nothing to help us win in November.

Timing is important here, as there are several deadlines approaching. One is the party’s decision to nominate Biden in a virtual roll call, first agreed on to avoid the filing deadline in Ohio. Like Alabama, Ohio’s deadline has since been moved to after the convention, so efforts to continue with the virtual roll call appear to be motivated by the desire to shut down Biden’s intra-party detractors and lock in Biden’s nomination ahead of the late-August Democratic convention.

That doesn’t mean that Biden, even after being nominated, couldn’t drop out and release his delegates by the convention’s start. The bigger timing issue is simple: We’re less than four months away from Election Day, and every single day that the focus isn’t on Donald Trump is a day that he has effectively won the news cycle.

Elections are usually a referendum on the incumbent. This year, we effectively have two incumbents—a sitting and a former president. So in order to win, we have to make this election about Trump and ask voters whether they want to return to the chaos, incompetence, and fascist tendencies of the Trump administration … but supercharged.

538’s polling average has shown a roughly 2-point drop for Biden post debate, a relatively small effect given his disastrous performance and the media’s near-constant coverage of it. But the explanation is simple: It’s about the narrative.

Before the debate, Democrats said Trump was a dangerous liar, and Republicans said Biden was cognitively addled and old. Then the debate happened, and what did voters see? They saw that Trump was a dangerous liar, and Biden was old and suffering from cognitive decline. The narrative had been set, and the debate confirmed it. Biden missed a golden opportunity to reset that narrative, but it wasn’t to be.

Ultimately, voters saw nothing in the debate that they didn’t already assume was true.

And because of that, some Democrats’ efforts to push Biden out of the race have largely proven self-destructive. The news cycle is speeding past at a dizzying pace. An assassination attempt on Trump four days ago is now old news. Had Democrats shrugged off Biden’s performance and quickly moved on, the whole debacle would now be ancient, mostly forgotten news. Instead, Democrats have insisted on replaying the ordeal in the news every single day.

I get it—we have a lot more at stake than Republicans do. Democrats recognize that our rights and our very democracy are on the line. As for Republicans: What do they have to fear from Biden? Just look at Trump’s nickname for Biden—”Sleepy Joe.” We are fearful of losing our rights, they are fearful of what—a president that falls asleep?

We even have data on this. A March AP poll found that around 70% of Democrats were fearful of another Trump presidency, while a significantly fewer 56% of Republicans said the same about a Biden presidency. He’s just not that scary.

That’s why conservative memes often portray Biden as a puppet being manipulated by George Soros or Bernie Sanders (the Jews!), or Barack Obama or Harris (the scary Blacks!). Or maybe all of the above.  

Trump and his MAGA ilk really don’t know how to run against an old white man, someone who looks just like the Republican base. They prefer to run against the “other.” That’s always been the case, and that’s why Trump called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on July 25, 2019, to try to manufacture a fake investigation against Hunter Biden. That was the same phone call that led to Trump’s first impeachment.

At that time, Biden was polling in the high 20s or low 30s in the Democratic primary. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were polling high, and had they united the left wing of the party, could’ve posed a serious threat. But Trump wasn’t worried about them: He was worried about Biden, and actively working to kneecap his candidacy early. Turns out, Trump had every reason to fear Biden the most.

For his part, Biden is through listening to his party’s critics. He wanted to run for president in 2016, but party leaders pushed him aside in favor of Hillary Clinton. When he geared up to run in 2019, the same voices claimed he was too old and archaic to defeat Trump. Heck, I was saying those things. Yet Biden proved his critics wrong, and did something that has only been done five times since 1912—he defeated an incumbent president.

Biden is done listening to critics.

So the critics in the Democratic Party are saying he should step aside, and he’s thinking, “They were wrong in 2016, they were wrong again in 2020, and they’re wrong again today.”

Of course, the Biden of four years ago is a different one than today’s Biden. Heck, he even seems different from the Biden who nailed the State of the Union address back on March 7. So yeah, people have reason to be freaked out, but the fundamentals of the race haven’t changed. Swapping out a candidate won’t reset the race for the Democrats; it’ll just create strife and ill feelings at a time when we need to be focused on Trump and his Project 2025 agenda. And much of what I wrote pre-debate about why Biden is not looking as bad as the polls indicate? It still holds up today.

Democrats have been overperforming polling since 2020. That includes 2022, when everyone declared that a red wave was inevitably going to sweep Democrats out of power in Congress, state houses, and state legislatures across the country. That certainly didn’t happen. And in regular and special elections, Democrats continue to overperform. Meanwhile, Trump underperformed his polling during the contested part of the Republican primary season.

Even globally, the far right has underperformed polling and expectations in India, Poland, and most recently, in France. (The right was swept out of office in the United Kingdom, but that was well predicted by the polling.) We’re consistently seeing that when facing right-wing authoritarian fascism, voters turn out in greater numbers than predicted, no matter what the polls say.

None of that means Biden is a shoo-in, but we’re not facing a calamitous situation. Indeed, Biden’s chances of winning in 538’s election model have inched up in recent days, to 54%. That’s a coin flip, within the margin of engagement. That was true before the debate, it’s true after the debate, and it will be true after the Republican convention and even the Democratic one.

The winner of the 2024 presidential election will come down to which side out-hustles the other one on the ground, turning out their vote in just a handful of battleground states. There isn’t a single potential candidate (pie-in-the-sky nominee Michelle Obama doesn’t count) that would significantly change the dynamics of this race. The country is locked into hyperpartisanship so strong that few people’s minds will be changed by anything—not even the attempted assassination of one of the candidates. (It’s true: Trump got zero bump.)

With Biden fully committed to his reelection campaign, it serves little purpose for senior Democrats to continue undermining the sitting president. You don’t have to like it (most don’t), you can think it sucks (and you might be right!), but Biden is holding all the cards. We either get back to focusing on Trump and Project 2025, or we give Trump a big assist in his bid to reoccupy the Oval Office.

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A rogue Supreme Court awaits its king

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts admonished liberal members of the court in his opinion that vastly expanded the idea of presidential immunity on Monday. The court’s three liberal members were only “fear mongering on the basis of extreme hypotheticals,” he wrote.

That finger-wag toward terrified, dissenting justices came only a few hours after Donald Trump signaled his desire for “televised military tribunals” that would try former Rep. Liz Cheney for treason. 

On call with Biden-Harris campaign, Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) says SCOTUS' decision on presidential immunity means a Trump re-election isn't just the biggest threat to democracy in a generation. "It's far and away the biggest threat since the Civil War."

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) July 1, 2024

In less than a week, the Supreme Court has issued a string of rulings that demolish the ability of the government to regulate safety, labor, and the environment. Effectively, they’ve made being homeless illegal and being a Trump insurrectionist perfectly fine. And now they’ve presented a vast expansion of presidential power that exceeds the greatest dreams of Richard Nixon

Everything that the Supreme Court has done in these rulings paves the way for Trump and his allies’ Project 2025 to complete the purge of democracy that this court has already begun. And it all makes defeating Trump infinitely more important.

There was a time when Roberts was seen as a moderating voice on the Supreme Court, as someone who was concerned about the court being accused of partisanship, and who was willing to ally with the court’s more liberal elements to keep a new conservative majority under control. But the court-watchers who made such predictions could not have been more wrong.

Despite his odes to stare decisis, Roberts has consistently voted to overturn long-standing precedent. Since gaining the support of three Trump-appointed radicals, Roberts has become a reliable member of a series of 6-3 decisions that have redefined the traditional role of the three branches of government. 

In the decision on presidential immunity, Roberts is trying to dismiss the dissents of the three remaining liberal judges as overblown, but if anything, they are a subdued response to this ruling. 

  • The ruling extends absolute immunity to anything that falls within the “‘outer perimeter’ of the President’s official responsibilities, covering actions so long as they are ‘not manifestly or palpably beyond [his] authority,’” Roberts writes.

  • In determining whether an act is official, “courts may not inquire into the President’s motives.”

  • Also, courts can’t “deem an action unofficial merely because it allegedly violates a generally applicable law.”

If you’re having trouble seeing how anyone is permitted to question any action of the president under this ruling, you’re not the only one.

As Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson writes in her dissent, “Departing from the traditional model of individual accountability, the majority has concocted something entirely different: a Presidential accountability model that creates immunity—an exemption from criminal law—applicable only to the most powerful official in our Government.” She makes it clear that the court creates a “multilayered, multifaceted threshold” that would have to be cleared to charge a president under any circumstance, meaning that “no matter how well documented or heinous the criminal act might be,” it can still be dismissed.

And when it comes to the theoretical example that was raised during oral arguments, yes, “a hypothetical President who admits to having ordered the assassinations of his political rivals or critics” or who “indisputably instigates an unsuccessful coup” still has “a fair shot at getting immunity” for those actions.

Don't tell me the conservative justices don't believe in abortion rights. They are currently trying to abort democracy in the 992nd trimester. And if they get Trump onto the throne they’ve built, the odds of ever finding America again are slim to none.

President Joe Biden may be the last remaining politician in Washington who maintains endless respect for the institutions we have inherited and the network of implicit agreements that kept our democracy patched together over two centuries. As recently as a year ago, he rejected the idea of expanding the number of justices or taking other actions to restrain a court veering dangerously away from its traditional role.

Biden needs to reconsider. The damage this court has done, in just a matter of days, is inestimable, and those horrific decisions are stacked on top of years of increasingly nonsensical rulings, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade

This is a highly partisan court whose primary interest is in enacting a radical MAGA agenda. It’s also a court that has repeatedly made clear that it holds itself above the law and has nothing but contempt for anyone trying to hold it accountable. Now it wants to extend that privilege to Trump.

This court must be tamed. But most of all, this court must be prevented from joining the man whose throne they have been preparing. This nation can’t survive this court and Donald Trump. 

Joe Biden is going to have to beat them both. And we’re going to have to help him.

"If Joe Biden is not elected in November, we will not have a democracy that we have known for 250 years," says Goldman, who led the first House impeachment investigation into Trump in 2019.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) July 1, 2024

GOP House speaker finally finds a reason to remove a president from office

House Speaker Mike Johnson—an architect of Donald Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election who had to be evacuated from the Capitol as the mob descended on Jan. 6, 2021, and who stood with Trump as a New York jury convicted the former president on 34 felony charges—says President Joe Biden should be removed from office because he had a bad debate night.

“I would ask the Cabinet members to search their hearts. … And we hope that they will do their duty, as we all seek to do our duty to do best by the American people. These are fateful moments,” Johnson told reporters Friday. “If I were in the Cabinet … I would be having that discussion with my colleagues at the Cabinet level. I would. … We'll see what action they take. It’s a serious situation.”

This is the same Mike Johnson who voted against removing Trump from office after the Capitol insurrection. He’s for removing a president because he’s old, and he’s against removing a president who is old and who tried to overthrow the government. Good to know.

Meanwhile, Johnson’s guy stood on a debate stage and lied more than 30 times, according to CNN’s fact-checking guru Daniel Dale, including:

Democratic-led states allow babies to be executed after birth, that every legal scholar and everybody in general wanted Roe v. Wade overturned, that there were no terror attacks during his presidency, that Iran didn’t fund terror groups during his presidency, that the US has provided more aid to Ukraine than Europe has, that Biden for years referred to Black people as “super predators,” that Biden is planning to quadruple people’s taxes, that then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi turned down 10,000 National Guard troops for the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, that Americans don’t pay the cost of his tariffs on China and other countries, that Europe accepts no American cars, that he is the president who got the Veterans Choice program through Congress, and that fraud marred the results of the 2020 election.

Trump stood on that debate stage and refused—three times—to say he will accept the results of the next election. That’s the guy Johnson wants to see back in the White House. 

And what was Trump’s main takeaway from the debate? He’s a great golfer. So please spare us your thoughts on who is fit to be president, Mr. Johnson. Oh, and fuck you. 

Don’t let either Johnson or Trump stay in power. Please give $10 to each of these Daily Kos-endorsed candidates to take back the House and defeat Trump!

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House GOP tries to save Steve Bannon from facing justice

Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump, was convicted of contempt of Congress in July 2022. He lost his first appeal this past May. He lost his second appeal last week. He is due to report to prison on Monday.

But Republicans are doing everything they can to throw him a rope—and not the kind some of them offered to Mike Pence. Instead, Republicans in the House are making an extraordinary effort to repudiate a past Congress, disowning the whole investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, in hopes this will somehow make Bannon’s conviction no longer count.

That House Republicans are willing to erase history—so long as it doesn’t involve a Confederate statue—should come as no surprise. After all, this is the same group that tried to unimpeach Trump. But what’s amazing is that they’re willing to go to such lengths for a third-rate podcaster who is likely to be in prison by Election Day no matter what they do.

If this Republican time machine is successful, it sets an amazing precedent for each Congress to examine and attack the actions of its predecessors—making it even more difficult for Congress to take any large legal actions since courts often move slowly and House terms are brief. 

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from going all in for Bannon.

On June 21, Bannon sent an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court. In it, Bannon’s attorney suggested that the purpose of his imprisonment was to keep a key player off the stage in the days leading up to the election.

“There is also no denying the fact that the government seeks to imprison Mr. Bannon for the four-month period immediately preceding the November presidential election,” attorney Trent McCotter wrote. 

House Republicans seem to agree with the importance of preventing Bannon from suffering a single day behind bars so that he can keep on promising that Trump’s opponents will all be going to jail once Team Orange is back in power. 

“You are going to be investigated, prosecuted, and incarcerated,” Bannon warned Democrats at a convention in Detroit earlier this month. “This has nothing to do with retribution. It has nothing to do with revenge. Because retribution and revenge might be another order of magnitude. This has to do with justice.”

But justice has a different meaning for Republicans. On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson made a mockery of the chamber’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group as it voted along party lines to send an amicus brief in support of Bannon to the Supreme Court.

A joint statement from Johnson, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer said that the House will “withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation about the organization of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the prior Congress.”

The trio also disowned the entire Jan. 6 Select Committee, saying that they believed “Speaker Pelosi abused her authority when organizing the Select Committee.”

Johnson followed up with a Fox News appearance in which he told host Sean Hannity that “the Jan. 6 committee was, we think, wrongfully constituted. We think the work was tainted. We think that they may have very well covered up evidence and maybe even more nefarious activities.”

The speaker provided no evidence for any of these accusations. 

In 2021, Senate Republicans blocked efforts to institute an independent investigation of the Jan. 6 assault on Congress. And in March, House Republicans issued a report seeking to exonerate Trump from any wrongdoing and discredit the findings of the select committee. That report made absolutely no mention of Trump’s role in the attack and instead blamed the Capitol Police for “a failure to provide proper security.”

Trump has already saved Bannon once by throwing him a pardon during his final hours in office. That pardon saved Bannon from facing the consequences for his central role in a border-wall-related fraud case, where one of his partners in crime is currently serving a four-year sentence in federal prison.

But Bannon faces a New York state trial in September over the same acts of criminal fraud. And Trump's pardon can't save him from a state charge. 

Bannon’s trial was originally slated to be conducted by Justice Juan Merchan, the judge who presided over Trump’s recent hush-money trial. Bannon’s trial has now been reassigned to Justice April Newbauer because of a reported conflict in Merchan’s schedule. However, the date for the trial hasn’t changed. 

Considering that others in the case have been found guilty, that’s a good indication that, no matter how much rope House Republicans unspool, it’s likely that Steve Bannon will be watching the election results on prison TV.

Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger endorses Biden

Republican former congressman Adam Kinzinger endorsed President Joe Biden on Wednesday, giving the Democrat a prominent new ally in his high-stakes campaign to win over moderate Republicans and independents this fall.

Kinzinger, a military pilot who emerged as a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump after the U.S. Capitol was attacked by Trump's supporters, described Trump as “a direct threat to every fundamental American value” in a video announcing the Biden endorsement.

“While I certainly don’t agree with President Biden on everything, and I never thought I’d be endorsing a Democrat for president, I know that he will always protect the very thing that makes America the best country in the world: our democracy,” said Kinzinger, who voted for Trump in 2020.

The former Illinois congressman also issued an ominous warning. Trump, he said, will “hurt anyone or anything in pursuit of power.”

Kinzinger's announcement comes on the eve of the opening presidential debate and gives Biden an example he can raise Thursday night of a well-known Republican supporting him over Trump. Biden’s camp is prioritizing outreach to moderate Republicans and independents alienated by Trump’s tumultuous White House tenure.

Kinzinger becomes the highest-profile Republican official formally backing Biden, whose campaign earlier in the month tapped Kinzinger's former chief of staff Austin Weatherford to serve as its national Republican outreach director. Republican former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan also endorsed Biden last month.

Ultimately, a number of prominent Republicans are expected to join Biden's campaign, with more influential names likely to be announced closer to the November election.

Shortly after Kinzinger announced his decision, Biden shared the endorsement video on social media and said he was grateful for the Republican's support.

“This is what putting your country before your party looks like,” Biden wrote on X.

Biden's team is trying to create what it calls “a permission structure” for Republican voters who would otherwise have a difficult time casting a ballot for the Democratic president.

Kinzinger developed a national profile as one of two Republicans who served on the House's committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. The committee highlighted a number of Trump's transgressions before and during the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol as Congress tried to certify the election results for Biden.

Kinzinger, who did not seek reelection in 2022 after voting to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, called on the GOP to change course.

“To every American of every political party and those of none, I say now is not the time to watch quietly as Donald Trump threatens the future of America,” said Kinzinger, who repeatedly described himself as a conservative in the video. “Now is the time to unite behind Joe Biden and show Donald Trump off the stage once and for all.”

In a statement Wednesday, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez described Kinzinger as “a true public servant who is a model for putting our country and our democracy over party and blind acquiescence to Trump.”

“Congressman Kinzinger represents the countless Americans that Donald Trump’s Republican Party have left behind," she said. “Those Americans have a home in President Biden’s coalition, and our campaign knows that we need to show up and earn their support.”

Trump and his allies have long dismissed Kinzinger's efforts to rally Republicans against him. The former president publicly celebrated when Kinzinger didn't seek reelection and has called for the prosecution of Kinzinger and others who served on the Jan. 6 committee, part of his pattern of suggesting his opponents face government retribution.

Biden has been particularly focused on courting supporters of Republican former presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who continued to win over a significant number of anti-Trump GOP primary voters throughout the spring even after suspending her campaign.

As part of Biden’s sustained outreach to moderate voters in both parties, his campaign released an ad highlighting Trump’s often-personal attacks against Haley, including his primary nickname of her as “birdbrain” and suggestion that “she’s not presidential timber.”

Haley last month said she will vote for Trump in the general election.

Indeed, Trump’s grip on his party’s passionate base is stronger than ever. And the overwhelming majority of Republican elected officials are backing his 2024 campaign, even those few, like Haley, who worked against him in the primary phase of the campaign.

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11 ways Trump has violated the Ten Commandments he loves so much

Donald Trump loves The Ten Commandments, y’all! Go on and ask him. Just don’t ask if he follows them, because he doesn’t and has no intention of ever doing so. Incredibly, he’s enshrined both of these core Trumpian values in his writings—almost as if he’s counting on his devout evangelical followers not to read anything, like, ever.

It’s a pretty safe assumption that they won’t, of course, but that’s nothing new. After all, this is the same guy who, during his first impeachment, continually told his followers to “read the transcript” of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, even though it clearly implicated him in a scheme to corruptly pressure a foreign head of state into launching an investigation into Trump’s top political opponent.

So asking MAGAs to read something—even something as simple as The Ten Commandments—is clearly not going to break their trust in their golden god.

That said, the Yellin’ Felon’s latest Goof Social post—which comes on the heels of Louisiana’s new law requiring public schools to post the Commandments—is an exercise in hubris that by all rights should earn him an unceremonious smiting.

Here was the latest post from Dear Leader, who brings a brand-new covenant to God’s flock, sanctified by the body and blood (i.e., transubstantiated garlic bread and chunky Ragu) of their New Messiah. 

Trump, in the wee hours, emphatically backed Louisiana’s new Ten Commandments law: pic.twitter.com/uAHxNfvBKy

— Michael Gold (@migold) June 21, 2024

Read it? Okay, sure—but you first, Donald. Because it really seems like you haven’t. Then again, Trump uses the familiar shorthand, TTC, to refer to The Ten Commandments, just like all the cool kids did back in 1400 B.C.E. So obviously he’s a big fan.

Of course, there’s more than one version of The Ten Commandments. Jews, Catholics, and Protestants all have subtly different lists. And then there’s the version, explicitly referred to as The Ten Commandments in Exodus, that includes rules like “you shall not boil a goat in its mother’s milk.” Maybe Trump is referring to those commandments, because he’s definitely not following the list as it’s traditionally understood.

For our purposes, I’ll use the Catholic version, since I spent 11 years in Catholic schools and would hate to think it was all just a colossal waste of time. (I swiped this particular iteration from the Catholic News Agency.) 

Here are The Ten Commandments, and 10 11 ways Trump has, or continues to, brazenly defy them. 

1. I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.

Note that this one doesn’t say “unless you think you’re God—then it’s fine.” Trump has continually made clear that he acknowledges no power higher than himself. There’s plenty of prima-facie evidence to support this, but perhaps the biggest tell came in 2015 when Republican pollster Frank Luntz asked Trump if he’s ever asked God’s forgiveness.

“I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so,” Trump said. “I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”

Later in the interview, perhaps to clarify that he had no fucking idea what he was talking about on this or any subject, Trump continued his scintillating Sunday School lesson: “When I drink my little wine—which is about the only wine I drink—and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed. I think in terms of ‘let’s go on and let’s make it right.’”

Okay, but the whole point of Christianity is that we’re all sinners who can’t be redeemed without the saving grace of God. So saying you're not a sinner and that you don’t care about God’s forgiveness is to catastrophically miss the point.

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

Unless you’re Donald Trump, of course. Then it’s okay.

Consider the time Paul Hardesty, a state senator from West Virginia, was forced to field calls from constituents complaining about Trump’s overt blasphemy.

Politico, Aug. 12, 2019:

“The third phone call is when I actually went and watched his speech because each of them sounded distraught,” said Hardesty, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat.

Here’s what he would have seen: Trump crowing, “They’ll be hit so g--damn hard,” while bragging about bombing Islamic State militants. And Trump recounting his warning to a wealthy businessman: “If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so g--damn poor.”

To most of America, the comments went unnoticed. Instead, the nation was gripped by the moment a “send her back” chant broke out as Trump went after Somali-born Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, an American citizen. But some Trump supporters were more fixated on his casual use of the word “g--damn” — an off-limits term for many Christians — not to mention the numerous other profanities laced throughout the rest of his speech.

Other profanities? Come on, now. That doesn’t sound like him at all.

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.

President Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, attends church services regularly. Trump, a practicing narcissist, claimed in 2015 that he attended Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church. But that was evidently news to Marble Collegiate Church.

“Donald Trump has had a longstanding history with Marble Collegiate Church, where his parents were for years active members and one of his children was baptized,” the church said in a statement following Trump’s assertion that he attended services there. “However, as he indicates, he is a Presbyterian, and is not an active member of Marble.”

Well, maybe they just didn’t see him! A guy who takes his faith this seriously is unlikely to draw attention to himself. 

4. Honor your father and your mother.

This one’s a gray area. Trump does honor his father by being a virulent racist, but his feelings about his mother appear to be a bit more complicated. 

Politico Magazine:

When Donald Trump moved into the Oval Office in January, he placed on the table behind the Resolute Desk a single family photo—of Fred Trump, his father. Sometime in the spring, White House communications director Hope Hicks told me recently, the president added one of his mother, Mary Trump. When, exactly, and why, Hicks couldn’t or wouldn’t say. This scenario, as uneven as it may seem, was a continuation of the setup in Trump’s office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, where a photo of his father always was proudly, prominently situated on his desk—and a photo of his mother, in the words of a former staffer, was “noticeably absent.” It can be risky to read too much into the placement of family pictures—except with Trump, it confirms a disparity that has been evident for decades: the looming, constant presence of his father, and the afterthought status of his mother.

So does placing his mother’s photo on his desk as an afterthought amount to “honoring” her? That’s a judgment call. What’s not a judgment call is Trump’s glaring failure to honor the mother of three of his children. He buried her on a golf course. Possibly for the tax benefits.

5. You shall not kill.

At least seven people who died as a result of the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on our Capitol would like a word.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

Bwahahahaha! Do we even have to do this one?

Of course, there’s a potential loophole here, because the commandment does not specifically say, “Thou shalt not grab them by the pussy.” That said, we have plenty of greatest hits to choose from. Let’s just go with the time Trump slept with an adult film star while his wife was home with his newborn son. 

7. You shall not steal.

Context is important here, of course. Is it “stealing” to solicit funds from your pissed-off supporters for a “stop the steal” fund that never existed? Or to funnel money meant for a kids’ cancer charity to your own businesses? Or to systematically commit financial fraud

Nah. The writers of the Old Testament were probably thinking more along the lines of bread crusts and goats. So as long as he doesn’t filch any goats and boil them in their mothers’ milk—at worst, he’d insist that McDonald’s do it for him—he’ll probably get a pass from evangelicals.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Sheesh. Where to start? Bearing false witness is pretty much all he does.

Let’s just go with birtherism, Trump’s entry into the fever swamps of right-wing conspiracy-mongering.

For years, Trump raised suspicions about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate and questioned his eligibility to run for president. In 2011, he even told “Today’s” Meredith Vieira that he’d sent investigators to Hawaii to “study” the conspiracy claims, insisting “they cannot believe what they’re finding.”

But Trump never released those findings, which suggests that he either 1) never actually sent investigators to Hawaii or 2) decided it would be wrong to call into question the legitimacy of a sitting president. That one’s a real puzzler, huh?

For what it’s worth, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer, claimed Trump made the story up out of whole cloth because the birther stuff boosted his popularity. 

Both CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos later asked him about the status of these investigations, but Trump dodged them both, telling Stephanopoulos, “It’s none of your business right now.” Maybe it’s time the press start asking him about this again—though they won’t because, well, it’s pretty much taken as a given that Trump just makes shit up.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.” — Just some of the delightful comments from Trump revealed in a 2005 conversation caught on a hot microphone.

10. Bonus covetousness! 

Trump’s wife-coveting ways are well established, but we don’t have to take the fake news’ word for it. HE WROTE ABOUT IT IN ONE OF HIS BOOKS!

In “The Art of the Comeback,” Trump wrote (or forced his ghostwriter to write), “If I told my real experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller (which it will be anyway!).”

Okay then!

11. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

There are the decades he spent grifting the suckers who trust him. For instance, he cleaned out investors in his public casino company before walking away with $44 million. And he scammed thousands of students at his fake university

Why? Because he wants all the money. You might even say he “covets” it—and his newfound hero Hannibal Lecter would no doubt agree.

Of course, as we all know, Trump is the most Christian-y Christian who ever Christianed, so if the Bible says something that contradicts him, it must be wrong. Luckily, he’s released his own version.

And if that’s not cover enough, the Holy Sharpie will no doubt take care of everything. 

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No, bad news for Trump does not make him stronger

 When Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 felony counts, the Los Angeles Times had their response ready. “The guilty verdict only makes Donald Trump stronger,” read the headline to the May 30 article by Scott Jennings, a former CNN commentator and special assistant to former President George W. Bush.

“It was jarring to hear my CNN colleague Jake Tapper say ‘guilty’ 34 straight times,” wrote Jennings. “And it was equally jarring to see text after text pop up on my phone from decidedly non-MAGA Republicans, but also not Never Trumpers, all sounding the same note: ‘I don’t like this man, and now I think I have to vote for him.’”

Some ideas get so embedded in people’s heads that even those who should know better start to accept them automatically. One of those ideas is that any time Trump is attacked—whether it is through impeachment, indictment, being held responsible in a civil trial, or being convicted in a criminal trial—it only makes him stronger.

That idea is bullshit. Or to put it in technical terms, colossal bullshit.

I do not think Jennings was getting “text after text” from people who didn’t previously support Trump telling him “now I think I have to vote for him” because he had become a convicted felon.

Again, I call bullshit.

It doesn’t take a lot of searching to find similar opinions to Jennings. One day later, Fox News contributor and CEO of the Harris Poll, Mark Penn, wrote that conviction would make “​​the right rally and coalesce even more around former President Donald Trump.”

Penn blew off overnight poll results showing that people seemed ready to abandon Trump over the conviction, which seems like a somewhat questionable position for a man who runs a polling organization. Instead, Penn bet that Trump would gain “more energized, angry voters.”

“This is ultimately what angers the voters—the idea that there is one system of justice for some and another for their choice if it’s Donald Trump,” Penn wrote.

Except that there’s one bit of calculus that Penn and every other Republican seems to be ignoring: the vote of an angry, energized, Trump supporter convinced that their man got a raw deal in court is worth exactly one vote. It’s hard to believe that any of those “angry” or “energized” by Trump’s verdict were not already Trump supporters going in. And all the anger and energy in the world won’t make their vote worth any more than the most disinterested voter who pulls the lever for President Joe Biden.

The idea that Penn and Jennings are selling is that narrative that Republicans, and Trump, want everyone to believe: It’s the “every time he gets knocked down again, he gets up stronger” thesis. And it is, what’s that word again? Bullshit. 

Every time Trump is held accountable, every MAGA account on X seems to spew “Democrats just elected Trump!” Because, somehow, they seem to be convinced that everyone else is just as angry about a slight to Trump as the folks in their Let’s Go Brandon support group.

We’re not.

Three weeks after Trump’s conviction, the latest poll from The Hill/Ipsos shows that 21% of independent voters are less likely to support Trump following his conviction. Those same voters say that the guilty verdict is “very important” to how they will vote in November.

If Republicans genuinely believed that non-Trump supporters would be angered by the idea that a powerful billionaire might be held to account for a host of crimes—that Donald Trump would not be held to the rules that apply to anyone else—they were wrong.

If Republicans need more evidence, they might want to roll back to this Kathleen Parker opinion piece in The Washington Post after Trump’s first impeachment.

“I’ll be brief: President Trump will not be convicted by the U.S. Senate, and his positioning for reelection will have been strengthened by the process,” Parker wrote in 2019. 

She went on to rail against the “Mother Superior Nancy Pelosi, the prim and pursed-lipped Adam Schiff and grumpy scold-meister Jerrold Nadler” while explaining that impeachment would only encourage people to “take their chances with a player like Trump.”

Trump supporters were right there with Parker. So was Trump. He told those attending his rally that he intended to use his impeachment against Democrats. Trump supporters cheered him on and reassured their candidate that they were sticking with him

Spoiler alert: other people did not go with the “player” because he got impeached. Trump lost decisively in 2020. Impeachment did not make him stronger. Neither did indictment. Neither did conviction.

Earlier this month, an ABC poll of independent voters found a majority wanted Trump to drop out of the race. In fact, 16% of Republicans felt that Trump should withdraw. 

I’m guessing that none of those people were texting Jennings to tell him that they guessed they had to vote for Trump.

On Monday, the Trump-worshiping Washington Examiner moved to the next stanza in the Trump Always Comes Back Stronger theme song.

Republicans are warning Democrats that if former President Donald Trump’s sentence in his New York criminal case prevents him from attending the Republican National Committee convention, it will guarantee a red wave for the 2024 election.

They’re “warning” us, are they? I think there’s only one answer to this. And it’s just one word.

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House Republican wants to have attorney general arrested just because

GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, best known for fabricating her entire life story, told Fox News that she has a plan to get the sergeant-at-arms to arrest Attorney General Merrick Garland. 

“Several months ago, I introduced a resolution for something called inherent contempt of Congress. This is something that Congress has the authority to do, and it hasn’t been done since the early 1900’s,” she told host Maria Bartiromo on Monday. 

Luna was responding to questions about the Justice Department’s announcement that it would not prosecute Garland for not turning over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur.

“And what that allows Congress to do is really be the punitive arm and really hold Garland accountable by using the sergeant-at-arms to essentially go and get him,” Luna went on, “as well as the tapes, bring him to the well of the house and really be a check-and-balance on the Department of Justice.”

Like most of what Luna says, there are all kinds of facts being misrepresented here. For one, her assertion that she introduced her inherent contempt of Congress resolution “several months ago” is belied by the fact that she actually announced it on May 7. And while that is technically more than one month, it is far less than several months. Though, to be fair, her announcement could have been missed, since it came the same day that Stormy Daniels was testifying … in Trump’s criminal trial.

The sergeant-at-arms is "the chamber’s primary law enforcement official and protocol officer, responsible for maintaining security on the House floor and the House side of the U.S. Capitol complex.” 

The case from the “early 1900’s” that Luna is referring to is something some legal scholars felt was more apropos to the unwillingness to comply with requests from Congress by the Trump administration.

The Teapot Dome scandal, which involved President Warren G. Harding’s Secretary of the Interior Albert Bacon Fall’s no-bid contract to lease federal oil fields in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, happened in 1922. Attorney General Harry M. Daugherty was heavily criticized at the time for not more thoroughly investigating Fall, who was later convicted of taking a $100,000 bribe.

The scandal escalated to the Senate committee subpoenaing Mally S. Daugherty, the attorney general’s brother. 

When Mally Daugherty refused to show up to testify before Congress, the Senate Sergeant at Arms David S. Barry deputized John J. McGrain to arrest him and bring him to Washington to testify.

The Republicans’ fixation on getting audio, despite having already received the entire transcript of Hur’s interview with Biden, has been a transparently political endeavor. Hur, a Republican, released a 375-page report in February saying that no charges were warranted and that Biden had likely kept the documents as a private citizen by “mistake.”

Since then, House Republicans voted to hold Garland in contempt. Speaker Mike Johnson vowed to take the Garland contempt case to court after the DOJ announced it planned no further action. But whether Johnson will bring Luna’s resolution to a vote remains to be seen.

There has been very little tangible action that has come out of the GOP’s neverending political theater. This past year it spent an inordinate amount of time attacking Biden’s border security while trying to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas—a stunt that failed miserably. 

Luna’s newest resolution is the GOP’s latest political stunt to create a cloud of doubt over Biden’s reelection campaign against convicted felon Trump.

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VP hopeful JD Vance called Trump ‘America’s Hitler.’ What changed?

If you want to be happy in your relationship, find someone who looks at you the way Sen. J.D. Vance looks at Donald Trump after 34 felony convictions, a monthslong coup plot, a deadly insurrection, multiple stolen top secret documents, and a $354 million business fraud judgment. And let’s not forget an $83 million sexual abuse/defamation judgment and endless games of “would you rather?” involving shark attacks and Joe Biden’s woke, America-destroying flotilla of Evil pleasure boats.

As we now know, Vance is among the hopefuls vying to serve as Trump’s next mewling toady/vice president/volcano sacrifice, and so he’s sticking to the Trump bandwagon like white on Mike Pence. But he wasn’t always a squealing MAGA-phone.

Of course, Vance is currently one of Trump’s staunchest defenders. He pretended to be outraged by Trump’s recent criminal conviction and is so hopelessly debauched he’s even trying to claim Donald Trump Jr. is a real boy. (He recently xweeted that Don Jr. is “one of the best people I’ve met in politics.” Which is a little like saying convicted murderer Ed Gein was a widely respected giant in the textile industry.) 

But as with many Republicans, Vance’s Trump-focused sycophancy represents a stark departure from the way he used to describe America’s Hitler. For instance, he once worried that Trump, if elected, could turn out to be “America’s Hitler.”

Well, now, as the author of “Hillbilly Elegy”—a book Trump has totally read and/or forced his Diet Coke gofer to search through for mentions of his name—seeks the inside track to the GOP VP nomination, CNN is reporting that Vance’s past criticism of Trump was even “more widespread and scathing than previously known.”

CNN:

A majority of the newly uncovered social media activity dates from the last five months of the 2016 presidential campaign. They include Vance liking a number of anti-Trump posts on Twitter, including those criticizing Trump’s immigration policies, acknowledging antisemitism from Trump supporters, questioning the integrity of voting for Trump over Clinton and even raising concerns over Trump having access to the country’s nuclear codes as president.

In February 2016, Vance liked a tweet featuring a photo of Trump, two women and O.J. Simpson with the caption, “Here is an old picture of one of USA’s most hated, villainous, douchey celebs. Also in picture: OJ Simpson.”

[...]

While promoting his memoir and appearing on news programs in 2016, Vance liked a series of tweets calling then-candidate Trump a “monster” and a “nemesis of the GOP.” He also liked a tweet acknowledging “threats and derogatory terms Trump supporters hurl at Jews.” He even liked a tweet from CNN anchor Jake Tapper criticizing Trump’s tweet about a woman’s appearance amidst then-first lady Melania Trump’s campaign against cyberbullying.

And that’s not all! According to CNN’s review, during the roiling “Access Hollywood” controversy prior to the 2016 election, Vance also liked a tweet that read, “Maybe the Central Park 5 could take out a full-page ad to condemn the coddling of thug real estate barons who commit serial sexual assault,” referring to Trump’s admission on tape that he, well, commits serial sexual assault.

In a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose, Vance was particularly blunt about Trump’s shit-flinging howler monkey of a political career: “I’m a Never Trump guy,” he said. “I never liked him.” And in another 2016 tweet, Vance simply stated, in reference to Trump, “My god what an idiot.”

So what happened? Did the scales suddenly fall from this Yale Law School graduate’s eyes, allowing him to see that, whatever Trump’s flaws, we desperately need a leader with the courage to address the twin Damoclean scimitars of killer boat batteries and whale-murdering windmills?

Of course not. Vance clearly has the smarts to know Trump is an anti-democratic disaster for this country. He just doesn’t have the courage to call it out. Which, these days, simply means he’s an elected Republican.

The adults who often restrained Trump during his first go-around have long since left the building, and his next administration would be marked by a nonstop cavalcade of Stephen Millers and J.D. Vances: a toxic mix of true believers and ass-kissers who either push Trump to be more extreme and cruel, or simply go along with any fool thing he wants to do, whether legal or not.

Trump’s past statements and actions—as well as his exhaustively documented character flaws—make it clear that he’ll accept nothing less than his VP pick’s groveling gratitude and immortal soul, so Trump’s running mate is bound to be marginally less dignified no matter what anyone says or does. But that doesn’t mean elected Republicans who clearly know better need to go along with this sham. Let Trump choose between Mike Lindell or among the small handful of other prominent Republicans who actually believe him.

In fact, every formerly democracy-believing Republican—whether they’re up for the VP slot or not—should be pushing back on Trump at every opportunity.

But that is not the case. This unblinking loyalty is a huge problem, of course, because more than any other president—or elected official, for that matter—Trump needs people around him to push back on his worst impulses. We’ve seen credible reporting that Trump wanted to nuke a hurricane; build a moat at the border with alligators in it; shoot migrants in the legs; attack Mexico and North Korea while trying to blame it on someone else; shoot Americans protesting the murder of George Floyd; and more.

Meanwhile, his fascist plans for the future—which he proudly shared during an April Time magazine interview—augur an existential American crisis. Unless we stop him.

Sadly, any remaining hopes for a Republican come-to-Jesus moment are clearly misplaced. Even Sen. Mitch McConnell, who unequivocally blamed Trump for the “disgraceful” acts that led to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, has now declared his support for the ocher hoaxer

The best you’ll find by way of GOP pushback these days is Sen. Lisa Murkowski essentially saying she wouldn’t attend Trump’s Thursday meeting with Republican senators because she’s maybe-probably washing her hair.

Lisa Murkowski not going to Trump meeting with GOP senators on Thursday. “I have a conflict,” she said. She’s one of the handful of GOP senators who haven’t endorsed Trump — and voted to convict him in impeachment trial after Jan. 6

— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 11, 2024

Of course, rescuing the country from a wannabe tyrant is a heavy lift—and we’re being forced to do this shit for the second time in four years—but as Vance, et al., have made abundantly clear, we can expect no help from the Grand Old Party, because they’ve long since flushed their dignity in exchange for a seat at the incorrigible kids’ table.

So it’s up to the rest of us—i.e., Democrats, independents, and non-MAGA Republicans—to save democracy. Again.

It sure would be nice to get a helping hand from a Republican not named Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger for once, but as a wise old owl turd once said, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want

We’ve done this before, and we’ll do it again. Believe it. And, please, do whatever you can in your power to make it so.

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