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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Daily Kos’ Postcards to Swing States campaign is back, and I just signed up to help. Please join me! Let’s do this, patriots! Democracy won’t defend itself. 

Alito’s explanation for his upside-down flag has fallen apart

New information shows that everything Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has said about the reason an American flag was flown upside down over his home appears to have been a lie. Alito blamed the flag on a dispute with neighbors. Unfortunately for the prevaricating justice, his wife’s altercation with the neighbors became so extreme that those neighbors called the cops. The police report shows that the altercation came weeks after the upside-down flag was hoisted over Alito’s home.

On May 16, The New York Times broke the story that an American flag was flown upside down at the Alito home in January 2021. The upside-down flag, long used as a signal of distress, was appropriated by Donald Trump supporters following Jan. 6, 2021, to express their solidarity with the insurrectionists who had smashed their way into the Capitol building.

Alito denied any connection to the flag and claimed that his wife had put up this symbol in response to an altercation with a neighbor. He also claimed those neighbors had placed an offensive sign about Trump where it was near children waiting to board a school bus. But that excuse always had problems.

Now everything about Alito’s story is falling apart.

The story that Alito told Fox News reporters was that his wife flew the flag because neighbor Emily Baden placed a “Fuck Trump” sign in her yard that was within 50 feet of where children were waiting for the school bus in January 2021. Alito said that his wife had tried to talk to the neighbors about having a vulgar sign so close to where children waited for the bus, but that the conversation ended in an argument. 

Alito then claimed that Baden put up a sign that personally insulted Martha-Ann Alito and blamed her for the Jan. 6 assault. Finally, Alito said that he and his wife were walking through the neighborhood, ran into a man who lived at the property, and he called Martha-Ann Alito a number of disparaging terms, including the c-word.

So she went home and raised a flag in support of insurrection. As one does.

However, even a cursory look at Alito’s claims shows that they’re simply not true. In January 2021, area schools were still dealing with Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic. Children would not return to the classroom until March. So no children were waiting for the bus for Alito’s wife to be concerned about.

The latest information paints a very different picture of the interaction between Baden and the Alitos. Baden and her then-boyfriend, now husband, reported that Martha-Ann Alito was repeatedly harassing them to the point where they called the police and asked them to intervene. 

“Aside from putting up a sign, we did not begin or instigate any of these confrontations,” Baden told Times reporters.

At some point in January, the original “Fuck Trump” sign blew over. Martha-Ann Alito approached Baden thinking that the sign had been removed, but according to Baden, this encounter didn’t end in an argument. It was the first time Baden could ever recall speaking to either of the Alitos.

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, Baden added two new signs. One of these read “Trump is a fascist.” The other said, “You are complicit.” Neither mentioned Martha-Ann or Samuel Alito, and Baden says that the signs were not aimed at them. Baden’s mother took the signs down out of concern that the same kind of people who attacked the Capitol might bring that kind of violence to their home.

Sometime after the signs had been removed, Baden and her boyfriend saw Martha-Ann. Alito sitting in a car outside their home and glaring at them in a way notable enough that they mentioned it to friends. A few days after President Joe Biden’s inauguration—which Samuel Alito skipped—the couple was driving past the Alito home when Alito’s wife ran toward their car, yelling something they couldn’t hear. She then appeared to spit in their direction.

It wasn’t until Feb. 15, a month after the upside-down flag flew over the Alito home, that the Alitos walked past Baden’s home while she and her boyfriend were bringing in the trash containers. Martha-Ann Alito then “used an expletive” and called them “fascists,” Baden told Times reporters. This event was also noted in texts that Baden sent at the time.

At that point, Baden said she snapped. 

She does not remember her precise words, but recalls something like this: How dare you behave this way. You’ve been harassing us, over signs. You represent the highest court in the land. Shame on you.

Her boyfriend admitted that he chased this statement with the use of the C-word. The incident was also observed by a neighbor. 

Following this exchange, the boyfriend went inside and called the police, confirming that it happened on Feb. 15, not before the flag was flown on Jan. 17, as Alito told Fox News reporters.

Alito’s excuse about the kids and the school bus was a lie. His claim that the flag was flown following a dispute with the neighbors is inaccurate. And none of it explains why he flew another pro-insurrection flag over his vacation home.

The Supreme Court is currently considering Trump’s motion for absolute legal immunity for his actions to interfere with the 2020 election while in office. It’s also determining whether the insurrectionists involved in the attempted coup on Jan. 6, 2021, can appropriately be charged with obstruction

Alito has not recused himself from either of these cases. And on Wednesday, he stated in a letter to Congress that he will not recuse himself.

“I am therefore duty-bound to reject your recusal request,” he claimed in the letter.

The idea that Alito should be involved in considering any case connected with Trump, Jan. 6, or the 2020 election completely violates any concept of judicial ethics. This isn’t just the appearance of a conflict. It’s a conflict.

The only real question is: Will anyone do anything about it?

The revelation that Alito had flown a pro-Trump flag at a second location sparked renewed pressure in the Senate. Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin has been calling for Alito to recuse himself—which he’s now outright rejected—and for Chief Justice John Roberts to call this rogue justice into line.

“[Chief] Justice Roberts has to step back and realize the damage that’s being done to the reputation of the court,” Durbin told The Washington Post.

The Senate Judiciary Committee needs to open an investigation into Alito’s partisan support for the pro-Trump insurrection. They need to do it immediately.

Two other members of the committee, Sheldon Whitehouse and Richard Blumenthal, have been pressing Durbin to take action. That includes Blumenthal noting that while the Senate can’t regulate the actions of the Supreme Court, it isn’t without power—including the ability to set the number of justices on the court. And outside groups, like Indivisible and Demand Justice, as well as legal experts have also demanded an investigation into Alito’s leanings.

The new information showing that Alito’s claims about the flag incident were simply untrue only reinforces the need for the Senate to move. An impeachment of Alito is fully warranted, but with Republicans holding a narrow margin in the House and anxious to show their allegiance to Trump over the nation, an impeachment seems next to impossible.

There’s no time like the present to dilute Alito’s toxic presence by adding more seats to the Supreme Court.

RELATED STORY: The pressure is building for the Senate to do something about Alito

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New study finds one-third of Congress is now iffy on democracy

If your doctor diagnoses you with cancer, and then in the next breath tells you it’s nothing to worry about because eventually the cancer will get tired of making new cells and decide to leave on its own, you should probably get a new doctor. Because if Donald Trump is elected president again, that doctor will be appointed head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and he’ll no longer have time for you anyway.

But—also!—cancer is bad, and expecting it to leave on its own is perhaps the most fatuous thing one can do as a human, apart from making a guy who thinks Hitler did “a lot of good things” president—again.

And yet here we are. Three and a half years removed from President Joe Biden’s victory in a free and fair election, and our country and Congress are riddled with cancer. And there’s a nonzero chance the patient—the world’s preeminent democracy—will die. 

That’s by no means a foregone conclusion, of course, but as with actual cancer, the patient is getting sicker by the day, and lots of people who know better are just standing around watching it happen. Shockingly, these people now include roughly one-third of our Congress.

As The Associated Press reports:

As Trump makes a comeback bid to return to power, Republicans in Congress have become even more likely to cast doubts on Biden’s victory or deny it was legitimate, a political turnaround that allows his false claims of fraud to linger and lays the groundwork to potentially challenge the results in 2024.

A new report released Tuesday by States United Action, a group that tracks election deniers, said nearly one-third of the lawmakers in Congress supported in some way Trump’s bid to overturn the 2020 results or otherwise cast doubt on the reliability of elections. Several more are hoping to join them, running for election this year to the House and Senate.

More specifically, States United Action found that 170 representatives and senators of the total 535 Congress members are election deniers of some kind. Meanwhile, the group determined that two new Senate candidates and 17 new House candidates fall into the same category. And the situation is even more dire if you look at the Republican National Committee, which is now in the clutches of Trump lackeys: Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter-in-law, and prominent election denier Michael Whatley. (In fact, the RNC is now explicitly asking job candidates if they believe the 2020 election was stolen. What do you suppose happens if they say no?)

While boiling frog syndrome certainly applies here—we’ve gotten so used to election denial from these scoundrels it barely registers anymore—we’re actually a bit more like humans sitting in a hot tub inhaling psychedelic toad venom like it’s strawberry Fun Dip. Because I don’t know about you, but to me the past three years feel more like a hallucination than history—though, unlike congressional Republicans, we don’t have the luxury of denying reality.

As the AP points out, it’s particularly concerning that Congress members, of all people, are abandoning democracy, considering their traditional role in upholding it: 

The issue is particularly stark for Congress given its constitutional role as the final arbiter of the validity of a presidential election. It counts the results from the Electoral College, as it set out to do on Jan. 6, 2021, a date now etched in history because of the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Of course, as we all know, the clear threat Trump poses to democracy and the rule of law could have been dealt with immediately after Trump had exhausted his legal remedies for challenging the election results. In a healthy, well-functioning democracy, members of both major parties would have stood arm in arm in opposition to Trump’s outrageous attacks on the election. Republicans in Congress would have denounced Trump’s baseless claims from the outset, making it abundantly clear that he was not just lying but corroding the very foundations of our country.

Instead, we got Republican officials spewing nonsense like, “What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change. He went golfing this weekend. It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He’s tweeting about filing some lawsuits, those lawsuits will fail, then he’ll tweet some more about how the election was stolen, and then he’ll leave.”

Ah, the classics.

Of course, scores of Republicans who might have been appalled or felt chastened by Trump’s brazen coup attempt are now basking in the beatific glow of Trump’s gooey orange id. In fact, for roughly half of Congress, fascism has become tres chic

This is exactly why you cut the cancer out as soon as it’s identified. Because if you don’t, you could sprout a tumor that looks unnervingly like J.D. Vance.

Perhaps reasoning that it’s better to be vice president than sew hair onto Trumpy Bears in a work camp for 18 hours a day, Republican vice president hopefuls are now auditioning for the role by telling the feral leader of a cult of personality exactly what he wants to hear.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is the latest Republican to telegraph his intention to embrace Trump’s bullshit if and when the ocher abomination face-plants in November. On Sunday, he told Kristen Welker of “Meet the Press” that he wouldn’t commit to accepting the results of the 2024 election, because they could end up being “unfair.” 

Hmm, what are the chances Trump will decide the election was stolen if he loses: 100% or 110%?

Rubio joins other vice president hopefuls whose election denialism has been especially vociferous. They include Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who in January refused to commit to certifying the 2024 election results if they went against Trump; Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who, when asked if he would accept the 2024 election results, said, “At the end of the day, the 47th president of the United States will be President Donald Trump”; and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who has refused to acknowledge that former Vice President Mike Pence did the right thing in certifying the 2024 election. (Come on now, Governor! That dog won’t hunt. And not just because you repeatedly shot it in the face.)

Of course, it’s telling how defensive they all get when asked these questions, almost as if they know they’re doing the devil’s work.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky knew when he excoriated Trump over his actions on Jan. 6 but refused to back a conviction in his impeachment. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina knew when he said “count me out, enough is enough” in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s bumbling coup. Former Attorney General Bill Barr knew when he determined Trump was making up stories about the 2020 election to justify a government takeover.

And yet all three of these self-proclaimed patriots have endorsed this cancer’s return to Washington. Then again, Trump is a wildly charismatic, larger-than-life character with a smile that can light up a roomful of tiki torches.

Of course, anyone with three minutes to spare can quickly determine that Trump had always planned to claim the election was stolen if he lost. In fact, Axios reported that in the days before the election.

Behind the scenes: Trump has privately talked through this scenario in some detail in the last few weeks, describing plans to walk up to a podium on election night and declare he has won.

  • For this to happen, his allies expect he would need to either win or have commanding leads in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Arizona, and Georgia.

Why it matters: Trump's team is preparing to falsely claim that mail-in ballots counted after Nov. 3—a legitimate count expected to favor Democrats—are evidence of election fraud.

Meanwhile, not a shred of credible evidence has ever surfaced to suggest the election was stolen on Biden’s behalf. Though we’ve seen lots of absurd and completely discredited “evidence”—evidence that has so far cost Fox News $787 million and Rudy “Just Say We Won” Giuliani $148 million. That should have definitely proved to all of these independent thinkers that Trump was systematically undermining global democracy so he wouldn’t feel like the colossal loser he actually is.

In other words, enough is enough. 

We were right to be alarmed by Trump’s rhetoric, and those who thought it was okay to “humor” Trump, or to fail to hold him accountable after Jan. 6 (thanks, Mitch), were disastrously wrong. If we get through this fraught period in our history, we need to repair our faith and trust in democracy, which includes calling out fascist rhetoric wherever we see it. Because this slippery dope has already brought us dangerously close to the brink.

Daily Kos’ Postcards to Swing States campaign is back, and I just signed up to help. Please join me! Let’s do this, patriots! Democracy won’t defend itself.

15 times Ted Cruz shamelessly pushed GOP’s false allegations about Biden

We know Texas Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t unintelligent. Nor does he lack sophistication. After all, the guy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. So he obviously knows the difference between clear proof of corruption and a sketchy accusation unsupported by the evidence—just as he knows the difference between an authentic Cancun marg and a bottle of premixed Chi Chi’s margarita drink he picks up at Citgo on his way home from the airport.

But being a Republican these days means pretending to be ignorant of basic realities, like whether a guy who campaigns as a dictator will govern as a dictator, or whether unsupported and unconfirmed accusations of bribery are real or simply part of a psyop conducted by a hostile foreign power that’s already attacked our elections twice.

Well, guess what? The obvious conclusion that even people who went to Cornell or Trump University could have arrived at on their own is, in fact, the correct one. The big Biden bribery allegation that congressional Republicans have been flogging for the better part of a year—and which was based on an unverified FBI form from 2020 that even the Trump administration declined to act on—was invented by a comrade with clear ties to Russian intelligence.

Weird, huh?

PBS Newshour:

A former FBI informant charged with making up a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden, his son Hunter and a Ukrainian energy company had contacts with officials affiliated with Russian intelligence, prosecutors said in a court paper Tuesday.

Prosecutors revealed the alleged contact as they urged a judge to keep Alexander Smirnov behind bars while he awaits trial. He’s charged with falsely reporting to the FBI in June 2020 that executives associated with the Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Hunter and Joe Biden $5 million each in 2015 or 2016. The claim has been central to the Republican impeachment inquiry in Congress.

[...]

Prosecutors said that during an interview before his arrest last week, Smirnov admitted that “officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in passing a story” about Hunter Biden. They said Smirnov’s contacts with Russian officials were recent and extensive, and said Smirnov had planned to meet with one official during an upcoming overseas trip.

But wait! Ted was so sure these allegations were real, he repeated them ad nauseam. And yet they’re not remotely true. What is true is that Donald Trump—the guy who implied Ted’s wife was heinous—has thousands of financial conflicts of interest that make him, prima facie, unfit to serve as president. These have been sitting out in the open this whole time, and yet Ted seemed more interested in a single, completely made up allegation about the guy who didn’t go out of his way to humiliate Ted and his family.

Weird how the world works sometimes, huh?

Unfortunately for Ted, we’ve collected some receipts, and they make the plucky Harvard Law School grad look pretty dopey. 

Here’s a chronological rundown of some of Ted’s most shameless Biden hits from the past year:

1.

The facts are simple—an informant told the FBI they had evidence that Joe Biden was involved in a $5 million bribery scheme involving a foreign country. Today, top House Oversight leaders will see the documents. More on the latest episode of #Verdict! https://t.co/zhqceE5A1R

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 5, 2023

Well, the facts weren’t that simple after all—though Ted knew his voters were, so that’s why this tweet happened.

2.

As you can see, June 2023 was a big month for bullshit, as Ted just kept piling on:

We have learned of credible evidence that Joe Biden received a $5 million bribe from Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company. Now we’re told there is evidence of that on audio tapes. These are allegations of serious misconduct. pic.twitter.com/XXUnSvTsKT

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 13, 2023

There are tapes! That no one has heard or can find! And no one claims anyone is being peed on in any of them—so they must be real! What more could you possibly need?! Impeach!

3.

But wait! Ted’s interrogation of Deputy FBI Director Paul Abbate was a CRUZ MISSILE! YouTube confirms it.

This clip is really rich—especially in retrospect. His fake anger no doubt sent a fake tingle down Lindsey Graham’s fake spine.

Yes, why won’t the FBI talk about totally unsupported, unvetted “intelligence” about Joe Biden that the Trump administration decided not to follow up on during Trump’s pitched 2020 election battle with the former vice president? And why aren’t people lining up at FBI offices to make unsupported allegations that Ted is The Zodiac Killer? Because apparently that would be more than enough to convince Republicans to call a hearing.

4.

Now, in case you didn’t notice from that first tweet above, Ted basically launched an entire true crime podcast about the GOP’s false bribe allegation. It’s as if all 10 episodes of “Making a Murderer” had been based on something a Russian money launderer thought he’d overheard at a Green Bay Applebee’s.

So here’s a bit of Ted’s podcast: He brings up the already debunked accusation that Biden pushed to remove Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, to help the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which had connections to Biden’s son Hunter. In reality, Biden pushed to remove Shokin—as part of a unified U.S. government response—because he wasn’t investigating corruption. 

Enjoy!

If Joe Biden took official action that benefited Burisma after depositing $5 million, Joe Biden should be charged & prosecuted for bribery. That is the most grave allegation against a president that we've seen in our lifetimes. #Verdict https://t.co/vJGPoxxZCh pic.twitter.com/FLfKElvEKM

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 14, 2023

5.

And here’s Ted demanding that Joe Biden release the bullshit evidence that would make him look corrupt to people who have no clue—i.e., any and all Trump supporters—because that’s just good government.

Democrats don't want a hearing on the allegations against Joe Biden. If the allegations are false, you know who could disprove them? Joe Biden. He could call for evidence to be released publicly, but the FBI is stonewalling instead. #Verdict https://t.co/ErPhbZC29d

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2023

6.

And here he is plugging that same bullshit podcast episode the very next day. This time he demanded that the fake whistleblower give his fake testimony so the American people could decide for themselves what’s real and what isn’t. The same American people who made the inventor of spray-on hair fabulously wealthy. 

What should come next with the allegations against Joe Biden? This alleged whistleblower should testify in front of Congress on national television so the American people can hear his allegations & assess if he's telling the truth. #Verdicthttps://t.co/ErPhbZC29d

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2023

7.

And—ugh—another tweet with more unsupported innuendo. And another plug for that same podcast episode. Ted must have been super proud of this one.

Why the hell is the FBI hiding the possible existence of evidence that Joe Biden accepted a bribe? Why did they redact the allegation that there may be 17 tape recordings? #Verdict https://t.co/ErPhbZC29d

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 15, 2023

8.

And yet another plug for the podcast. But wait! This one’s for a different episode. Though the bullshit smells the same.

Don't forget to catch the latest episode of #Verdict, where we follow the money & examine what every prosecutor, reporter, or anyone interested in the truth should be asking—did Joe Biden take a bribe? Tune in wherever you get your podcasts! https://t.co/jKjIN10WTW pic.twitter.com/ZrwX8vSEDf

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 17, 2023

9.

Of course, Ted was dead certain that a former vice president and household name couldn’t have possibly made millions from book deals and speaking gigs. After all, only Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney can demand such gaudy fees.

The Daily Mail:

'You're looking at a tax return that has $10 million in cash that came from a mystery source,' Cruz said on Friday during his podcast, Verdict with Ted Cruz.

Biden's two S corporations, CelticCapri Corp and GiaCoppa Corp, reported income of $9,490,857 and $557,882 respectively in 2017, Biden's first year as a private citizen after decades in federal elected office as a senator and the vice president.

That money, which Biden says is from book deals and speeches, was then remitted to Biden and his wife primarily as 'distributions' rather than salary, according to CNBC.

10.

And here’s Ted plugging his nonsense podcast again, pointing out that there’s something fishy about the relative of a high-ranking government official making $5 million at a law firm and not, say, $2 billion from a bloodthirsty Saudi murderer, as God and the Founding Fathers intended. 

Nobody would pay Hunter Biden to represent them in a lawsuit. Nobody would pay him for legal work. If he can make $5 million at a law firm in America, it is purely because he's selling access to the “Big Guy.” #Verdict https://t.co/HxCxWbv3S4

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 3, 2023

11.

And here’s the bullshit FD-1023 form itself! READ this! It’s an allegation! For realz! Why didn’t the Trump DOJ follow up on this when it first came to their attention? We may not know for another several months, when this whole thing blows up in Ted’s beard. 

READ this. This is serious, credible evidence that Joe & Hunter Biden solicited & received a $10m bribe from a foreign national. (1) why didn’t FBI fully investigate? (2) why is corporate media ignoring? https://t.co/jGBsj767Cf

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 21, 2023

12.

Explain yourselves, FBI! Why aren’t you publicizing incendiary claims of corruption with no basis in fact? Well, what if we told you they’re based on dubious sources and support a wild, already debunked theory that plays into the hands of an enemy authoritarian regime? Would that change your mind?

With the grave allegations that Joe Biden took a bribe from a foreign national for official favors, the FBI owes the American people complete candor. If they found these allegations to be false, they need to come forward and explain. #Verdicthttps://t.co/HKrwnB91iT

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 24, 2023

13.

Yeah, well, it’s not true, so ...

If it is true that the oligarch who owned Burisma paid Hunter & Joe Biden $10 million for an official act, then both are guilty of bribery. On the latest episode of #Verdict, we break down all the explosive allegations in the FBI’s form FD-1023. Tune in! https://t.co/fwEzuTu81j

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 25, 2023

14.

Meanwhile, based on this now-debunked claim, Ted thought President Biden should be forced to share a prison cell with his son—which would be particularly cruel, as Hunter prefers to make toilet gin and Joe would naturally insist on making toilet mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Newsweek: 

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said President Joe Biden should "share a cell" with his son Hunter Biden as more findings are released by the House.

Speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Cruz said the "evidence is growing and growing" that Hunter Biden sold "official favors from his father Joe Biden."

[...]

"Bribery is paying someone something of value in exchange for an official favor. Joe Biden has confessed to it in a video interview," Cruz said after Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley released an FD-1023 document containing a confidential FBI informant's unverified claim that the Biden family made a Ukrainian oligarch pay them $10 million. Newsweek has been unable to verify that any such video exists.

In other news, Newsweek has been unable to verify that every pumpkin pie Ted Cruz has served since Thanksgiving 1989 was made from the earwax of his murder victims. 

15.

Aaaannnddd … more innuendo ...

What could Hunter Biden possibly do to earn $5 million from a Chinese company? He had no skills, & no one pays a crackhead $5 million for his talent. The only thing he could have sold was favors from his father. We discuss this corruption on Verdict.https://t.co/RcCse5vQ6i

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 3, 2023

I wouldn’t pay Hunter Biden to sit on a board, but I might pay to watch him fight Ted Cruz in Vegas. Or someone would, anyway. Probably not a Putin-connected Russian national, though. Ted’s far too useful to Russia to come to that sort of end.

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link

Former GOP officials warn of ‘terrifying possibilities’ if Trump immunity claim accepted

by Jacob Fischler, Iowa Capital Dispatch

Accepting former President Donald Trump’s claim of presidential immunity would embolden future presidents to use military force to stay in office indefinitely, a group of anti-Trump Republican former officials warned in a Tuesday brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rejecting Trump’s immunity claim, which he has said should protect him from prosecution on charges of lying to and encouraging supporters who turned violent on Jan. 6, 2021 and attacked the U.S. Capitol, is essential to preserve American democracy, the officials wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief.

The 26 former U.S. Department of Justice attorneys, lawmakers and others who authored the brief were elected Republicans or served in Republican administrations. They include former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former U.S. Sen. John Danforth of Missouri and former U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma.

Trump, who is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, asked the court Monday to further delay his trial in District of Columbia federal court as the justices consider his presidential immunity claim. Trump’s attorneys asked the justices to adopt a broad view of presidential immunity, which they said was critical for protecting the power of the office.

In Tuesday’s brief, the Republican officials said the implications of the former president’s argument present “terrifying possibilities.”

“Under former President Trump’s view of absolute immunity, future first-term Presidents would be encouraged to violate federal criminal statutes by employing the military and armed federal agents to remain in power,” they wrote.

“No Court should create a presidential immunity from federal criminal prosecution, even for official acts, that is so vast that it endangers the peaceful transfer of executive power that our Constitution mandates.”

While Trump argues that such a “lurid hypothetical” of a president using the military or armed federal agents should not prevent him from being granted immunity, the former Republican officials say the particular allegations against the former president weigh heavily against accepting his argument.

For one, they write, the federal indictment against Trump alleges he used the Department of Justice as a tool in his fake elector scheme.

Specifically, the amici point out, the indictment alleges that a letter signed by Trump’s acting attorney general pressured states to replace legitimate Biden electors with false ones supporting Trump.

“Under Mr. Trump’s vast rationale for federal criminal immunity, a future President would be emboldened to direct the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, as well as the Attorney General, to deploy the military and armed federal agents to support efforts to overturn that President’s re-election loss,” they wrote.

The framers of the Constitution meant to limit executive power and highly valued a peaceful transfer of power, the officials wrote.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in a Federalist Papers entry that the Constitution meant to prevent a “victorious demagogue” from staying in power, they wrote. Accepting Trump’s broad interpretation of presidential immunity would threaten that protection and encourage future presidents to go to extreme lengths to stay in power, they said.

“What kind of Constitution would immunize and thereby embolden losing first-term Presidents to violate federal criminal statutes — through either official or unofficial acts — in efforts to usurp a second term?” they wrote. “Not our Constitution.”

Constitutional experts weigh in

In addition to the former Republican officials, several constitutional law experts filed an amicus brief Tuesday arguing that Trump is not immune from federal prosecution.

The six law professors argued that Trump’s dual claims that he is immune because his actions were taken while he was still president, and that he is protected from any criminal prosecution following his Senate impeachment trial acquittal, are a “misreading of constitutional text and history as well as this Court’s precedent.”

The absolute immunity argument “finds no support” in the Constitution, the experts wrote.

“Seeking to distinguish the president from a British King, the Constitution’s framers and ratifiers repeatedly indicated that a president ‘may be indicted and punished’ after ‘commit[ting] crimes against the state,’” the experts wrote, citing debates at several state conventions about the federal Constitution.

Like the former Republican officials, the professors of law and politics asked the Supreme Court to deny Trump’s request to further delay the trial court’s proceedings.

On Trump’s impeachment clause argument, the constitutional law experts wrote: “The framers viewed the impeachment process as entirely distinct from criminal prosecution and thus thought that a verdict against an officer in one proceeding should have no impact on the other.”

The brief’s authors include Frank O. Bowman III, of the University of Missouri School of Law, Michael J. Gerhardt, of the University of North Carolina School of Law, Brian C. Kalt of Michigan State University College of Law, Peter M. Shane, of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and New York University School of Law, Laurence H. Tribe, professor emeritus of Harvard University and Keith E. Whittington, professor of politics at Princeton University and forthcoming chaired professor of law at Yale Law School.

FEB. 20 DEADLINE

Also on Tuesday, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. set a Feb. 20 deadline for Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting the case for the Justice Department, to respond to Trump’s request for a stay in the trial.

The one-week deadline suggests the justices are seeking a speedy resolution to the issue.

Attorneys for Trump filed the request with the Supreme Court late Monday following a ruling last week from a three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, comprising judges appointed by members of both parties, upholding a lower court’s decision to reject Trump’s immunity claim.

Trump’s stay request noted the former president would appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, as well as petition for a rehearing by the full D.C. Circuit. Trump asked that pretrial activity in the federal district court not proceed while those appeals are ongoing.

The immunity issue, which does not address the merits of the case Smith’s team has compiled against Trump, has gone on for months and delayed the scheduled March 4 trial date.

Trump made a pretrial motion to U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in October seeking to throw out the four-count indictment based on his presidential immunity theory.

Chutkan denied the request, and Trump appealed her decision to the D.C. Circuit.

The Supreme Court also heard arguments last week in a case over whether Colorado could bar him from the presidential primary ballot because a provision in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment disallows insurrectionists from seeking office. The justices met Colorado’s argument with skepticism. A decision is expected soon.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: info@iowacapitaldispatch.com. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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No, Republicans, Trump’s indictment isn’t about free speech

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell might not be commenting on the former president’s latest indictment, but those Republicans who have spoken up are dismissing Donald Trump’s alleged conspiracy to overthrow an election by claiming that it was merely “free speech.”

Apparently it is now a crime to make statements challenging election results if a prosecutor decides those statements aren’t true. So when should we expect indictments of the democrat politicians who falsely claimed Russia hacked the 2016 election?

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 2, 2023

“Apparently it is now a crime to make statements challenging election results if a prosecutor decides those statements aren’t true,” Sen. Marco Rubio asserted, knowing full well that this is not about Trump’s statements, but about his actions.

Bogus “free speech” arguments are a tried-and-true Republican favorite, and Trump’s legal team is no exception. “[O]ur focus is on the fact that this is an attack on free speech, and political advocacy,” said Trump lawyer John Lauro on CNN. “And there’s nothing that’s more protected, under the First Amendment, than political speech.” (Lauro might want to do a quick review of how that defense has been working for Jan. 6 defendants, including the Proud Boys.)

Special counsel Jack Smith knew this would be a key argument from Trump, and quickly debunked it on page 2 of the indictment. “The Defendant had a right, like every American, to speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won,” the indictment says. “He was also entitled to formally challenge the results of the election through lawful and appropriate means …. [I]n many cases, the Defendant did pursue these methods of contesting the election results. His efforts … were uniformly unsuccessful.

“Shortly after Election Day, the Defendant also pursued unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results.” That’s what Trump is being indicted for: his actions.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the Jan. 6 committee and lead manager of Trump’s second impeachment, explained all of this during a appearance on MSNBC, poking a big hole in Republican arguments with a simple analogy. “[Y]ou can say ‘I think the currency is phony and everybody should be allowed to make up their own money … but the minute that you start printing your own money, now you run afoul of the counterfeit laws, and it’s the exact same thing with the Electoral College,” the Maryland Democrat said.

Here’s the full transcript:

We know that our friends across the aisle are trying to mobilize some big free speech defense of Donald Trump here, which is just comical. Of course you have a right to say for example, “I think that the meeting of the House and the Senate in joint session to count Electoral College votes is a fraud or is taking away Donald Trump’s presidency.” You can say whatever you want, but the minute you actually try to obstruct the meeting of Congress, you crossed over from speech to conduct.

It’s like you can say, “I think the currency is phony and everybody should be allowed to make up their own money.” You can say that, but the minute that you start printing your own money, now you run afoul of the counterfeit laws, and it’s the exact same thing with the Electoral College. They can say, “Well, we don’t think that Joe Biden really won in these states,” even though every federal and state court rejected all of their claims of electoral fraud and corruption. The minute that they start manufacturing counterfeit electors and trying to have them substitute for the real electors that came through the federal and state legal process, at that point, they’ve crossed over from speech to conduct. I think the indictment is really tight in focusing just on the conduct.

Sign the petition: Disqualify Trump from running for public office

Conservatives cried about how the “woke” (whatever that means) “Barbie” movie would fail. It didn’t. In fact, the film has struck a chord with American and international audiences. Daily Kos writer Laura Clawson joins Markos to talk about the film and the implications of the Republican Party’s fixation on mythical culture wars, which is failing them in bigger and bigger ways every day.

Pillow Man Mike Lindell is itching to challenge Ronna McDaniel for RNC chair

It’s crystal clear why Republicans had such a disappointing showing on Election Day. They didn’t harp on the 2020 election enough, didn’t embrace Donald Trump nearly closely enough (because when you do, hard candies and Happy Meal tchotchkes spill from his neck wattle like a piñata), and didn’t make it clear enough to Americans that a vote for GOP candidates was a vote for an elysian Christian dominionist future where abortion is universally acknowledged as an atrocity lying somewhere on the sin continuum between hanging Mike Pence and brutally profaning the name of Barron Trump.

Well, Pillow Man Mike Lindell, whose mustache pomade is almost certainly lead-based, is hoping to fix all that—by challenging Ronna McDaniel for chair of the Republican National Committee.

So McDaniel, who already gave up her name and what was left of her dignity to solidify her hold on the position, could now lose her job as well if Lindell has anything to say about it (which, to be clear, he really doesn’t. I mean, come on.).

Newsweek:

Prominent conspiracy theorist and pillow tycoon Mike Lindell is weighing up a challenge to Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel for leadership of the party following the GOP's underwhelming performance in the 2022 midterm elections.

In an appearance on his "Frank TV" livestream this week, the MyPillow CEO asked fans whether they would support him pursuing a bid against the sitting RNC chairwoman, whom he has previously criticized for her lack of effort to overturn the results of a 2020 election Lindell baselessly claims was rigged against former President Donald Trump.

They overwhelmingly did and Lindell—who has faced federal inquiries for his connections to a Colorado-based effort to prove fraud in that state's election—said he would seriously consider challenging McDaniel.

Mike Lindell announces that he has been drafted by his fans and supporters to run against Ronna McDaniel for RNC Chair, but he has to pray on it first. pic.twitter.com/JPNBCoX6uk

— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) November 24, 2022

LINDELL: “Guys, if you support me running for, against Ronna McDaniel, please email me. I’m not gonna be able to email you back, but I want to hear, I want to read all this. I want the feedback. I want to know anything you see negative about it. One of the things I will tell you, you know, there will never, ever stop to get rid of these machines and make this the best elections in world history in our country. … We need something, everybody, and I would, I’ll step into that if, God willing.”

God willing? God’s been letting your prayers go straight to voicemail for years, dude. At this point you’re more likely to get a restraining order from God than any kind of coherent answer.

Now, Lindell mustering his motley army of deludenoids to do anything more complicated than aimlessly loiter in a random field in Wisconsin seems pretty far-fetched. But so did “President Donald J. Trump.” And we all know how that turned out.

So let’s pray for this to happen. Because Republicans clearly have not learned their lesson yet—namely, that there’s no point in voting because all our elections are fraudulent, abortion is a winning issue for conservatives, and what every suburban mom really wants to see is the beatific visage of Donald John Trump shining through their front bay windows like a jowly Chernobyl yeti. 

Because what the GOP really needs is at least two more years of this:

Mike Lindell says he is about to “expose everything” with “cyber evidence” about how every election in AZ, PA, and MI was stolen. “They’re caught!” pic.twitter.com/8VosgLT0RK

— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) November 21, 2022

Godspeed, Pillow Man. Godspeed.

Sen. Raphael Warnock is still defending his Georgia seat, and the Dec. 6 runoff is coming fast. If you can—and if you aren’t too tired from saving America on Nov. 8—please rush a donation to Team Warnock now! You can also write letters to Georgia voters with Vote Forward! Let’s finish up strong!

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, 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.

John Eastman’s attorneys advised him not to testify in Georgia’s presidential election probe

The Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney’s office is demanding that John Eastman answer questions for the special grand jury investigating election tampering in the state in 2020. The former attorney for Donald Trump is pleading the Fifth.

According to USA TODAY, Eastman’s lawyers issued a statement stating that they had advised him to “assert attorney-client privilege and the constitutional right to remain silent where appropriate.”

“By all indications, the District Attorney’s Office has set itself on an unprecedented path of criminalizing controversial or disfavored legal theories, possibly in hopes that the federal government will follow its lead,” the statement reads. “Criminalization of unpopular legal theories is against every American tradition and would have ended the careers of John Adams, Ruth Ginsburg, Thurgood Marshall and many other now-celebrated American lawyers."

RELATED STORY: Lindsey Graham believes he’s above the law, tells judge that Georgia DA must explain her questioning

The attorney, infamously known for creating the bogus falsehood that Joe Biden didn’t actually win the election, is among such MAGA notables as former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and whiny Trump lapdog Sen. Lindsey Graham. All were called to testify in front of the Georgia grand jury and all have put up a fight—mostly to no avail.  

Eastman was behind the idea of sending a group of fake electors out into swing states in hopes of blocking the congressional certification of the 2020 election.

The New York Times reports that Eastman continued looking for election irregularities long after Trump was out of office. In one of a slew of previously uncovered emails, Eastman wrote, “A lot of us have now staked our reputations on the claims of election fraud, and this would be a way to gather proof… If we get proof of fraud on Jan. 5, it will likely also demonstrate the fraud on Nov. 3, thereby vindicating President Trump’s claims and serving as a strong bulwark against Senate impeachment trial.”

Kemp’s attorneys tried everything to save the incumbent governor from giving a sworn statement. But according to reporting from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney refused to allow the governor to skirt his testimony but did allow him to push it off until after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

Giuliani tried to play the “too sick to testify” card but was staunchly shut down by McBurney and appeared in Atlanta on Aug. 17 to give testimony.

Graham is doing everything he can to avoid testifying to the special grand jury in Georgia, including filing a brief on Aug. 24 that reasons that the subpoena to testify is invalid based on a rarely used section of the U.S. Constitution.

“The Constitution guarantees that a Senator ‘shall not be questioned’ about his protected ‘Speech or Debate’—and yet the District Attorney insists that Senator Graham must submit to questioning to ascertain whether he can be questioned or is immune from questioning. That makes no sense,” Graham’s motion reads.

Eastman also pleaded the Fifth in refusing to answer questions from the House committee investigating the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, per USA TODAY.

Wisconsin Republicans gave this investigator $676,000 in public funds to claim election was stolen

Some GOP officials never seem to know when to give up. Despite having absolutely no proof, cries that the election was stolen still seem to ring in the ears of Republicans. Despite legal experts noting that it was impossible, a Wisconsin judge has claimed that there are grounds for the state legislature to “decertify” the results of the 2020 election. The claim follows a review of the election demanded by Republicans, in which individuals in the state assembly hired Michael Gableman, a former state supreme court justice to investigate the election.

The 136-page interim report released Tuesday has received widespread bipartisan criticism and has been labeled unnecessary because not only was it poorly done but used $676,000 in public funds. During a presentation of the report Tuesday, Gableman said the state Legislature should “take a very hard look at the option of decertification of the 2020” presidential election. Moments before Gableman presented, Donald Trump encouraged supporters to listen in, BuzzFeed News reported.

Both Democrats and Republicans alike rejected the idea and called the move illegal.

“Still not legal under Wisconsin law,” Republican Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke tweeted. “Beyond that, it would have no practical impact b/c there is no Constitutional way to remove a sitting president other than through impeachment or incapacity. Fools errand. Focus on the future.”

I have ten months remaining in my last term. In my remaining time, I can guarantee that I will not be part of any effort, and will do everything possible to stop any effort, to put politicians in charge of deciding who wins or loses elections. 1/

— Jim Steineke 🇺🇦 (@jimsteineke) March 1, 2022

Not sure what kind of attorney Gableman was, because the report not only falsely claimed Biden’s win could be decertified, but also said that decertifying the election would not have any legal consequence.

“It would not, for example, change who the current president is,” the report said.

Of course, like other conservatives, Gableman also attempted to backtrack what he said and issued confusing contradictory statements.

When Democratic state Representative Jodi Emerson, asked him, "Are you saying we should decertify Wisconsin's votes from 2020?"

Gableman responded:

"I'm not saying it and I did not say it because it's not my place to say it. What is my place to say, and what I do believe, and what I do say, is there appears to me—without having the benefit of input from any substantive witness—there appears to me to be very significant grounds for such an action."

Others also dismissed the report, noting that a recount and investigations were conducted multiple times. According to the Associated Press, despite the recounts, multiple state and federal lawsuits, an audit by the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, and a report by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, it was found that Biden defeated Trump by a little under 21,000 votes in Wisconsin.

“There does not appear to be anything new in this report, although it is apparent that Michael Gableman is adopting the most fringe and extreme arguments presented by election deniers,” Attorney Jeffrey Mandell, who is representing the mayor of Green Bay in a lawsuit opposing a subpoena from Gableman, said. “This report, and Mr. Gableman’s presentation, is an embarrassment. This process needs to come to a quick end.”

An Associated Press review of Wisconsin and other battleground states also found far too little fraud to have tipped the election for Trump.

Of course, there are other controversies found in connection with the report. A review conducted by the Associated Press found that the report was paid for with $676,000 in taxpayer money. Additionally, it was due at the end of last year but delayed after mayors and state and local election officials filed multiple lawsuits to block subpoenas issued to them. During his presentation, Gableman said he had spent about $360,000 so far on the investigation and issued 90 subpoenas, but no one with information about how elections are run has spoken with him. 

During the presentation, Gableman not only criticized the process of voting in nursing homes but attacked the use of drop boxes. He recommended changes in voting procedures including shortening the early voting period and dismantling the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Overall Gableman said he hoped the report’s recommendations would be used by lawmakers to enact changes before the session ends next month.

Despite the lack of support for his findings, he even went as far as to suggest that his work continue, as he still has funds remaining in his budget. "I'm not in this for anything other than the truth,” he claimed.

According to CBS News, Gableman was appointed by Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in June 2021. Gableman's appointment came a day after Trump issued a statement saying that Vos and other Wisconsin Republican leaders were "working hard to cover up election corruption."

"I'd like to thank the Office of Special Counsel for their tireless efforts in finding the truth," Vos said in a statement. "They've done a good job at showing there were issues in 2020, and the report is intended to help correct these processes for future elections."

A lonely Republican: Tom Rice says he regrets voting against Biden certification

South Carolina Republican Rep. Tom Rice said publicly Thursday that he now regrets voting against certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory this January, an important admission from a member of a party that has largely pledged unshakeable alliances with former President Donald Trump.

Rice made the admission to reporters at Politico. To be clear, the Republican legislator still maintains that he has reservations about the 2020 election outcome. He holds those reservations despite the fact that dozens upon dozens of courts found fraud claims to be baseless and despite the fact that Trump’s own former attorney general William Barr found no evidence of widespread fraud.

Trump’s remarks on the morning of Jan. 6 led to an insurrection at the Capitol. Multiple people died and hundreds of police officers were injured. Millions upon millions of dollars in damage were exacted.

On Wednesday, Rice said plainly that he “should have voted to certify because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol.”

Rice holds the odd distinction of being one of only 10 Republicans that voted in favor of impeaching Trump for incitement of insurrection. But he is the only Republican who did that and also voted against certifying Biden’s victory.

“In the wee hours of that disgraceful night, while waiting for the Capitol of our great country to be secured, I knew I should vote to certify. But because I had made a public announcement of my intent to object, I did not want to go back on my word. So yeah, I regret my vote to object,” Rice said on Dec. 22

Around this time last year, Rice signed his name alongside a bevy of House Republicans who filed an amicus brief, or a supporting statement, in effect, to the Supreme Court expressing reservations about the integrity of the 2020 election. 

I joined @RepMikeJohnson and several other House members in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court expressing my concerns with election integrity. pic.twitter.com/vdZJwoRAdz

— Congressman Tom Rice (@RepTomRice) December 11, 2020

By Jan. 4, Rice posted to Twitter and Facebook again. This time, though the apprehension was still there, there was a lingering doubt expressed as well. 

 “The vote to certify electoral votes is momentous, perhaps the most so of my entire tenure. I do not plan to commit to a position until the evidence is weighed and the debate concluded. I take my job seriously, and will consider it carefully,” he said. 

But in that same message two days before the insurrection, Rice went on to tout claims of election improprieties in multiple states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Friends, I have heard from many of you across the political spectrum regarding the upcoming vote to certify the vote of the electoral college in the presidential election. (1/8)

— Congressman Tom Rice (@RepTomRice) January 4, 2021

During the siege, Rice posted a video from the House floor, noting that “’protesters’” were trying to break in as the chaplain prayed. The footage was shot moments before the legislators were evacuated.

The riot raged into the late afternoon but by 3:30 PM, Rice was safely at home while D.C., he said, was in “chaos.” Rice called on Trump to act. 

To all my friends back home, I am fine. Capitol Police evacuated us from the Capitol Building. DC is in chaos. This will accomplish nothing. Where is the President!? He must ask people to disperse and restore calm now.

— Congressman Tom Rice (@RepTomRice) January 6, 2021

On Jan. 13, Rice voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection. 

I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.https://t.co/SCWylYEER0

— Congressman Tom Rice (@RepTomRice) January 13, 2021

“I’ve excused his [Trump’s] foibles because I love his policy. But this last week, in my mind, is inexcusable. The fact that he gathered up the crowd and fired them up, and whether his speech or manner to incitement I don’t know, I’m not a criminal lawyer. But I know this, I know that once the people were inside the Capitol ransacking the place and trying to make their way to the Senate floor and House floor and Vice President Pence was in there in the Senate chamber, President Trump was tweeting that Vice President Pence didn’t have the courage to do what was right, and just further angering the crowd… The President offered only very tepid requests for restraint…” Rice said on Jan. 14 after impeaching Trump. “I think it was a complete failure of leadership… I wish that they hadn’t brought the impeachment vote, I want calm now.…but I’m not gonna hide behind procedure here. If my vote is yes or no on whether he should be President, I think the actions of last week disqualify him.”

Two weeks later on Jan. 31, Rice shared his Republican bonafides on Facebook. According to a post just after 6 AM that day, Rice emphasized how he stood with the Republicans of South Carolina and helped raise some $2 million for the national party. He added:

“I personally witnessed the insurrection in the Capitol on Jan. 6. I saw the rioters who were demanding to hang Vice President Pence. I heard the gunshots and smelled the tear gas. I was on Capitol Hill when the Capitol Police were overrun and Officer [Brian] Sicknick gave his life at the hands of the mob, to honor the oath he took to defend the Constitution,” Rice wrote. “I saw as we all did, the President’s lack of leadership in not stopping the mob, his callous actions saying Mike Pence had no courage and his comments in the middle of the riot that ‘These are the things that happen when victory is viciously stripped from these great patriots… remember this day forever.”