Morning Digest: Prominent California congresswoman overheard saying she’ll run for Los Angeles mayor

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

Leading Off

Los Angeles, CA Mayor, CA-37: Multiple media outlets reported Friday that Democratic Rep. Karen Bass has decided to run for mayor of Los Angeles next year, with Politico adding that one of its reporters overheard the congresswoman telling someone over the phone, "I'm going to officially announce a run for mayor." Her team has not publicly confirmed that she'll enter the open seat race to lead America's second-largest city rather than seek a seventh term in her safely blue 37th Congressional District, though Bass said Tuesday that she would decide within the next week.

Bass' entry would make her the most prominent candidate to campaign to succeed termed-out Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is President Joe Biden's nominee to become ambassador to India, in this heavily Democratic city. The California assemblywoman made history in 2008 when she became the first Black woman to lead any of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers, and she won an open seat in Congress two years later without any serious opposition. Her profile rose further in 2020 when Biden seriously considered her as his running mate, though the post ended up going to another California Democrat, Sen. Kamala Harris.

Bass has the opportunity to again make history as the first woman elected to lead Los Angeles, as well as its second African American mayor following the legendary Tom Bradley, but she would need to get past a number of opponents first. City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Councilman Joe Buscaino, and real estate broker Mel Wilson have been running for a while, while Central City Association head Jessica Lall and City Councilman Kevin de León each announced over the last week. The field could expand further, as real estate developer Rick Caruso and former L.A. Unified schools Superintendent Austin Beutner are also thinking about getting in.

Campaign Action

All the candidates will face off in next June’s nonpartisan primary, and a general election would take place in November in the very likely event that no one took a majority of the vote in the first round. An early August survey from FM3, which was conducted on behalf of an unidentified client, showed Bass leading a hypothetical field with 22% while no other names topped 6%, but the rest of the field has time to get their names out. Indeed, Politico's Christopher Cadelago reports that Buscaino has already reserved $2 million in TV time; Cadelago also says the councilman has raised $1 million for his proposed June local ballot initiative to ban homeless encampments in public areas.

Bass' departure from the House would also set off an uncertain race to succeed her in Congress. The 37th District, which includes the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, Crenshaw, and West Los Angeles, backed Biden 84-14. California is losing a House seat, though, and no one knows what the new map will look like once the independent redistricting commission is done with its work.

P.S. While it's rare for House members to choose not to run for re-election in order to run for mayor at home, especially since many big city mayoral races take place in odd-numbered years, it's hardly unheard of. The last person to try this was fellow California Democrat Bob Filner, who was elected mayor of San Diego in 2012. (Filner's career imploded the next year after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.)

Three of Bass' other homestate colleagues have more recently given up their seats in order to run for a place on their county board of supervisors, with mixed results. Gloria Negrete McLeod unsuccessfully campaigned for a seat on the San Bernardino County board in 2014, but fellow Democrat Janice Hahn won a spot on its counterpart body in Los Angeles County two years later. Republican Paul Cook went on to successfully run in 2020 for this job back in San Bernardino County.

Redistricting

IL Redistricting: Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed Illinois' new legislative maps, which lawmakers passed at the end of last month. The maps, which will lock in continued Democratic majorities in both chambers, replace earlier plans that were based on population estimates and therefore had to be revised after firm data from the 2020 census was released in August.

Illinois is now the second state this year to pass new legislative maps after Ohio (and excluding Oklahoma, which also adopted preliminary maps but will likewise have to revisit them). Legislators have yet to make public any congressional redistricting proposals.

ME Redistricting: Maine's bipartisan Apportionment Commission (which is really a mostly legislative panel that handles redistricting) has reached an agreement on a new congressional map that will make the state's 2nd District slightly bluer. Under the new plan (available here), the state capital of August would move from the 1st District to the 2nd, though the latter, which is represented by Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, would still have voted for Donald Trump, albeit by about 6 points, according to Dave's Redistricting App, rather than 7.5.

State lawmakers will convene for a special session to address redistricting starting on Wednesday. Though Democrats hold a majority in both chambers, it takes a two-thirds vote to pass any new maps, which is why the redistricting committee (which is made up of 10 legislators and five political appointees) settled on a compromise, lest the matter wind up in court. Previously, a deal was struck on a map for the state House, though the state Senate remains unsettled.

NE Redistricting: Lawmakers in Nebraska's unicameral legislature appear to have reached a compromise over a congressional map after a Democratic-led filibuster blocked an earlier GOP-drawn proposal from advancing.

Unlike the previous version, which sought to split the Democratic bastion of Omaha between two districts, the new map keeps the city (and surrounding Douglas County) wholly within the competitive 2nd District, which Republican Rep. Don Bacon held on to by a 51-46 margin last year. However, it relies on creative gerrymandering to keep the revised district roughly in line with the seat's current political lean (it went 52-46 for Joe Biden last year). It does so by removing blue-leaning suburbs from adjacent Sarpy County and placing those in the solidly red 1st District while adding farther-flung red areas to the 2nd.

Because the Omaha region grew faster than the rest of the state, a more logical and compact map would slim down the 2nd District by reuniting the city with the adjacent inner suburb of Bellevue in Sarpy County; such a district would have voted for Biden by about 9 points. Bellevue was in fact part of the 2nd District for many decades, until the previous Republican gerrymander excised it following the 2010 census. Instead, under this plan, Bellevue remains in the 1st District, while rural Saunders County and the most rural parts of Sarpy are grafted on to the 2nd.

The map must still pass further votes before it's finalized, and one Democratic senator who voted against it says he plans to seek further adjustments. However, given the bipartisan 36-10 majority in favor of the map during the initial vote, a renewed Democratic filibuster to compel more changes looks unlikely.

Senate

GA-Sen: While Mitch McConnell was reportedly extremely skeptical of former NFL player Herschel ​​Walker's viability in a general election as recently as last month, the Senate minority leader now tells Politico, "I think there's every indication he's going to be a good candidate." McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund has a history of spending vast amounts of money in GOP primaries in order to block unacceptable candidates, but that's almost certainly not going to happen here unless he sours on Walker again.

IA-Sen: Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley, who is already the longest-serving senator in Iowa history, announced Friday that he would seek an eighth term next year. Grassley has always taken at least 60% of the vote in his previous six re-election campaigns (the smallest of those wins was his most recent campaign in 2016, when he prevailed 60-36), and he'll once again start as the clear favorite in a state that swung hard to the right during the Trump era.

Grassley currently faces intra-party opposition from Jim Carlin, a far-right state senator who said in February that he'd run no matter what the incumbent did, but the challenger has struggled to raise money or attract attention. The Democratic frontrunner, meanwhile, is former Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who won a competitive House race in 2018 and narrowly lost two years later.

A recent Selzer & Company poll found Grassley ahead by a wide 55-37 margin in a general election, though Finkenauer's presence at least gives her party a serious candidate in case this race turns out to be unexpectedly competitive. Finkenauer used her July campaign kickoff to argue that Grassley has "lost touch" with both Iowa and democracy following the Jan. 6 attack, though the 32-year-old challenger refrained from focusing on the vast generation distance between her and the 88-year-old incumbent.

OH-Sen: Venture capitalist J.D. Vance on Wednesday responded to a Spectrum News question asking whether women should be required to give birth even if they became pregnant because of rape or incest by saying, "It's not whether a woman should be forced to bring a child to term; it's whether a child should be allowed to live, even though the circumstances of that child's birth are somehow inconvenient or a problem to the society."

While those comments brought immediate comparisons to fellow Republican Todd Akin's infamous "legitimate rape" quote from the 2012 Missouri Senate race, Vance has yet to attract any serious intra-party outrage. Vance faces several opponents in next year's GOP primary, and almost all of them are also running as anti-abortion zealots.

Governors

KS-Gov: Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly's allies at EMILY's List have released a Clarity Campaign Labs poll that gives her a 47-44 edge over Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who has the Republican primary to himself. This is the first survey we've seen of this very likely general election matchup.

NY-Gov: The Washington Post recently asked Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi about reports that he's considering a primary campaign against New York's new governor, Kathy Hochul, and he did not rule anything out. Suozzi, who represents part of Long Island, instead merely responded, "Right now, the most important thing I can do for New Yorkers is to get SALT relief for them and their families. Everything else right now is secondary."

Suozzi sought the governorship in 2006 when he was Nassau County executive, but that campaign went horribly for him. Suozzi had the vociferous backing of Home Depot founder Ken Langone, who sought payback against then-state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for his crusade to uproot Wall Street corruption: It amounted to little, as Spitzer crushed Suozzi 82-18. Suozzi went on to lose re-election in 2009 and failed to regain the county executive four years later, but he bounced back in 2016 by winning New York's 3rd Congressional District.

TX-Gov: While Axios reported earlier this month that former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke was "expected" to run for governor, the 2018 Senate nominee said Friday he was still considering. When the Texas Tribune asked him for a timeline, O'Rourke said, "It won't be in a week, but it'll be some time in the near future."

Meanwhile, actor Matthew McConaughey recently said that he was also still considering challenging Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, though McConaughey once again didn't indicate which party, if any, he'd run with.

VA-Gov: Democrat Terry McAuliffe recently launched a commercial featuring a trauma surgeon taking Republican Glenn Youngkin to task for opposing vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and mask requirements in schools, and Youngkin quickly responded with an ad featuring a doctor vouching for him. Physician Peter Zedler declares that Youngkin "believes vaccines save lives and is the only candidate with a TV ad encouraging Virginians to get the COVID vaccine," though he doesn't mention the candidate's opposition to mandates.

House

MI-06: Longtime Rep. Fred Upton recently told CNN that he would wait for the redistricting process to conclude before deciding whether he'd seek re-election. Donald Trump earlier this month endorsed state Rep. Steve Carra's primary bid against Upton, who is one of the 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment in January, but the incumbent insisted that will have nothing to do with his 2022 plans.  

NJ-11: Insider NJ reports that former Kinnelon Councilman Larry Casha has sent letters to local county GOP leaders saying that he plans to run against Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill and will announce next month. Casha briefly campaigned for this North Jersey seat last cycle but dropped out after tax attorney Rosemary Becchi reached a deal with power brokers that resulted in her running here rather than against party favorite Tom Kean Jr. in the neighboring 7th District.

Attorneys General

MI-AG: Former state House Speaker and 2018 nominee Tom Leonard announced Friday that he would again seek the Republican nomination for Michigan attorney general even though Donald Trump endorsed one of his intra-party foes, election conspiracy theorist Matthew DePerno, just days before. Both parties pick their nominees for both offices at party conventions rather than through traditional primaries, and the GOP's event will take place in April. State Rep. Ryan Berman is also running for the right to take on Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Nessel beat Leonard 49-46 last time, which was the Michigan GOP's best statewide showing during the 2018 blue wave. Leonard was later nominated by Trump to be U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan, but the Senate never confirmed him. Leonard currently serves as the state party's finance chair, and The Detroit News writes that his "history in the party and long-term connections are among the reasons many Republicans have viewed Leonard as a strong potential candidate for the party nomination."

Mayors

Cleveland, OH Mayor: Nonprofit head Justin Bibb earned an endorsement Thursday from former Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, who is the only woman to ever have been elected to lead Cleveland, in this November's race to succeed retiring incumbent Frank Jackson. Campbell won this office in 2001 but lost four years later to Jackson, who is supporting City Council President Kevin Kelley.

Bibb previously picked up the backing of Campbell's predecessor, Michael White. Ideastream Public Media notes that the only living former mayor who hasn't taken sides yet is Dennis Kucinich, who finished a close third in the Sept. 14 nonpartisan primary and spoke well of Bibb in his concession speech.

Report: Some Democrats Want Biden Administration Officials Fired Over Afghanistan Debacle

The Washington Post is reporting that some Democrats are privately expressing their concerns about the handling of the Afghanistan crisis and would like to see top Biden administration officials fired over the debacle.

“In private discussions, some House Democrats have raised the prospect of whether Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan — two of Biden’s most trusted aides — should lose their jobs,” the Post revealed this past weekend.

Seems like a reasonable proposition considering the botched withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan, culminating with last week’s suicide bombing which claimed the lives of 13 American soldiers and as many as 170 civilians.

That is, until you start digging a little deeper into the article where you find the true reason they’d like to see Blinken and Sullivan fired over what transpired in Afghanistan.

RELATED: Psaki Responds To Calls For Biden’s Resignation: ‘Not A Day For Politics’

Why Do They Want Them Fired Over Afghanistan?

Remarkably, the Washington Post doesn’t try very hard to sugar coat why some Democrats want to see Blinken and Sullivan fired over Afghanistan.

It’s not for accountability or some semblance of justice for the 13 service members who unnecessarily lost their lives.

It’s the Democrat agenda they care about.

Take a listen to John Jackson, the chairman of the DeKalb County Democrats in Georgia.

He tells the Washington Post, “I just worry about his ability to achieve his agenda.”

Really? That’s his concern as 13 flag-draped coffins were sent home from the scene in Afghanistan over the weekend?

It sure seems like that’s the main concern as the Post goes on to suggest Democrats are simply hoping to “weather the storm” with the negative Afghanistan news so they can focus on ‘more important’ things. Things like infrastructure and their social agenda.

“They see positive developments on the horizon if they can weather the storm over Afghanistan,” the Post writes, “such as the prospect of signing legislation making historic investments in roads, bridges and social programs.”

RELATED: Republicans File Articles Of Impeachment Against Biden’s Secretary Of State Blinken

Nobody Held Accountable

As it stands, the only person held accountable for the tragic turn of events in Afghanistan has been Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller who was reportedly relieved of duty for daring to demand accountability from military leaders following the terror attack.

Scheller had posted a viral video demanding answers.

“I’m not making this video because it is potentially an emotional time,” he said. “I’m making it because I have a growing discontent and contempt with my perceived ineptitude at the foreign policy level. I want to specifically ask some questions to some of my senior leaders.”

On Friday, House Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC) and Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced articles of impeachment against Blinken citing “failures in leadership over [the] Afghanistan situation.”

It’s unclear why they introduced the articles against a Cabinet Secretary rather than the Commander-in-Chief, Joe Biden.

There have been calls for President Biden himself to resign over what has transpired in Afghanistan, an idea White House press secretary Jen Psaki swatted away by saying it is “not a day for politics.”

Not a day for politics – and yet, Democrats want Blinken and Sullivan fired over Afghanistan in part because of how it reflects on their party politically.

The Post describes President Biden as having a “devastating month of his tenure in office” in August and said such crises as the resurgent pandemic and the Afghanistan mission have “sent waves of anger and worry through his party as his poll numbers decline.”

If only Democrats could get just as angry over the coffins of young American soldiers being sent home from faraway lands.

 

 

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Republicans Had Info On Racism Charges Against Biden’s ATF Nominee Two Months Ago – And Sat On It

Senate Judiciary Republicans allegedly had information regarding racism charges against David Chipman, President Biden’s anti-gun nominee for Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and kept it under wraps for over two months.

A recent report corroborated that Chipman made racially charged statements about black ATF agents who were up for promotion.

“He made some comments that he was surprised by the number of African Americans who have made it onto a specific promotional list,” a current ATF official told The Reload.

“So, his insinuation was that they had to have cheated,” the official added. “Which is kind of despicable.”

Multiple complaints were lodged against Chipman and the official alleges it ended his time working in the ATF’s Detroit Field Office.

“He left Detroit because of that,” they said. “He did not leave Detroit on the best of terms. His reputation was that he was not nice to people.”

RELATED: Could Senate Democrats Sink Biden’s Anti-Gun Nominee For ATF Director?

ATF Nominee Accused Of Racism

Last week, every GOP senator on the Senate Judiciary Committee demanded a second hearing for ATF nominee David Chipman in part because of the racism charges.

In a press release, the lawmakers wrote that the committee must address “allegations that Mr. Chipman made racist statements about the abilities of African American ATF agents, the existence of which allegations have been confirmed by current and former ATF officials.”

They believe the comments speak to Chipman’s character.

A report by the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) indicates staffers for the Senate Judiciary Republicans were informed of the racism charges nearly two months ago.

The staffers were reportedly notified that the ATF official was willing to speak with them about the claims.

The DCNF writes that “one of the staffers said their hands were tied and that the committee couldn’t reach out to the former agent to corroborate the allegation on their own due to ‘optics.'”

The information was received on June 10th, while the DCNF reported on the racism charges against Chipman on June 22nd.

Senate Judiciary Republicans did not call for a second hearing until late July.

RELATED: Marjorie Taylor Greene Introduces Bill To Abolish The ATF

David Chipman Appeared On Chinese State-Run TV

In addition to the racism charges, Senate Judiciary Republicans would also like to address news of an appearance Chipman made on Chinese State TV in 2012.

Chipman failed to disclose the appearance which, according to Fox News, “may have been used as propaganda by the communist state to cover up a mass stabbing of children.”

CNN has described Chipman as a “fierce advocate for gun control” who spent over two decades as a special agent with the ATF and has worked as a senior policy adviser for ‘Giffords,’ a gun control group formed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).

Chipman’s first appearance before the Senate in May was a disaster by any measure as he struggled to define an ‘assault weapon’ and said he supports a ban on AR-15s.

“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as has been presented in a senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman told Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the time.

Chipman has also argued in favor of a “well-regulated” Second Amendment and compared some gun owners to the ‘Tiger King.’

Last month, House Republicans pushed a resolution to impeach Biden’s ATF nominee before he has even been confirmed.

 

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Democrat Introduces Bill To Prevent Trump From Becoming Speaker Of The House

Representative Brendan Boyle (D-PA) introduced a bill that would only allow sitting House members to serve as Speaker after Donald Trump said the post would be “interesting.”

Boyle, having seemingly resolved all other matters of concern for his constituents, moved on to legislation specifically targeting the former President.

Though the role has never been filled by anyone outside the chamber, the Constitution does not specifically state that the Speaker must be a House member. Anyone chosen by the House can serve as Speaker.

And while Trump being chosen for the role would be an extreme long shot, Boyle is so fearful of the prospect he doesn’t want to take the chance.

“The Speaker of the U.S. House is second in the United States presidential line of succession,” he said in a statement.

“That Donald Trump’s name would even be tossed around as a potential speaker in the people’s house, should serve as an alarm bell that our current requirements need to be amended in the name of protecting our nation and our democracy,” Boyle continued.

RELATED: Trump Calls Mitch McConnell ‘A Stupid Person’ For… Not Getting Rid Of The Filibuster?

Trump As Speaker Of The House?

Last month, in an interview with conservative radio host Wayne Allen Root, former President Donald Trump toyed with the idea of running for Congress in 2022 and perhaps becoming Speaker of the House.

Root, for his part, was completely enamored with the idea, suggesting Trump run for a House seat in Florida, lead the Republican Party to a massive victory in the chamber in 2022, and “become the Speaker of the House.”

The radio host went so far as to suggest Trump could then give Biden and the Democrats a taste of their own medicine if he were to “lead the impeachment of (President) Biden and start criminal investigations against” him.

Trump, always one to leave all possibilities on the table to keep his political adversaries off guard, said the idea was “so interesting.”

Root egged him on a bit, saying the move would make him a “folk hero.”

“Yeah, you know it’s very interesting,” Trump replied, noting some people have suggested he run for Senate. “But you know what, your idea might be better. It’s very interesting.”

RELATED: 6th Texas Democrat Tests Positive For COVID, Along With White Official And Pelosi Staffer After Maskless Flight To Avoid Work

Obsessed With Trump

Root wasn’t the only one to suggest Trump make a move to become Speaker of the House.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon first touted the idea of Trump running for Congress to take over as Speaker back in February.

As with Root, Bannon suggested the former President could lead impeachment proceedings against Biden.

Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) a staunch ally of Trump, has also suggested he be elected to the role of House Speaker.

Gaetz sent out fundraising appeals which told donors, ”how great it will feel when … we make our next Speaker of the House Donald J. Trump.” 

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Boyle believes his legislation would prevent that from happening.

“This legislation would establish that mandate in very clear and direct language, and it would serve as a check against those who would seek to undermine and derogate the authority and responsibilities of the speaker’s office,” he said.

We’re not quite sure Boyle thought it through very well, however.

The entire premise of Root’s and Bannon’s argument is that Trump runs for a House seat and then becomes Speaker of the House. Neither of their suggestions involves House members choosing an outsider to serve as Speaker.

Boyle’s obsession with stopping Trump even after he has left office is perhaps matched only by Democrats earlier this year who introduced a bill that would ban the former President from being buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

That bill has 13 Democrat co-sponsors.

Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) at the time said the bill is proof that “Trump lives rent-free in the heads of Democrats.”

“If it weren’t so tragic, it would be hilarious,” he added.

Boyle’s obsession continues that tragic legacy.

 

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

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

Trump made his remarks in an official statement.

RELATED: Florida Boaters Reportedly Planning Flotilla To Cuba – DHS Warns They Could Face Prison Time

Trump Slams ‘Loser RINO’ Liz Cheney

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED: Gowdy Torches Anti-American Protesters – Remember ‘Those Who Would Give Everything They Have’ To Be Here

Cheney Vows She Will Keep Her Seat

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger Only GOP To Vote For Committee To Investigate Capitol Riot

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to create a select committee to probe the January 6 Capitol protest, with Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger being the only two Republicans to back the effort.

The predominantly Democrat effort to keep the one-time incident in the news cycle passed by a vote of 220-190.

The committee will be under the control of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and will feature a 13-member panel, eight of whom will be chosen by Pelosi, five of whom will be selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

“We cannot wait,” Pelosi said Wednesday.

“We believe that Congress must in the spirit of bipartisanship and patriotism establish this commission,” she added.

“It will be conducted with dignity, with patriotism, with respect for the American people, so that they can know the truth.”

RELATED: Lindsey Graham Warns Anti-Trump Republicans They’re Going To Wind Up ‘Getting Erased’

Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger Vote In Favor Of Select Committee

Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger’s vote in favor of the select committee is further indication that they, like their Democrat colleagues, have little interest in moving the country forward.

Instead, they actively seek out the liberal media for attention and enjoy being brought to heel by Pelosi.

“Since January 6th, the courage of my party’s leaders has faded. But the threat to our Republic has not,” Cheney (R-WY) said.

“On an almost daily basis, Donald Trump repeats the same statements that provoked violence before,” she claims. “His attacks on our Constitution are accelerating. Our responsibility is to confront these threats, not appease and deflect.”

What words were those, Liz – his statement to supporters that they “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard” on that day?

Is that what you consider an attack on the Constitution?

An enterprising reporter may want to ask Cheney how she feels about voting with and supporting a select committee alongside some Democrats who tried objecting to the certification of electoral votes for Donald Trump in 2017 on 11 separate occasions.

RELATED: Liz Cheney Calls For Criminal Investigation Into Trump

NeverTrump Republicans

Adam Kinzinger joined Cheney in bending the knee to Pelosi, saying the January protest at the Capitol was a “most egregious attack.”

“We need a full accounting of what happened on January 6, 2021—we need answers on who was involved in the insurrection and who played a role in orchestrating it,” Kinzinger (R-IL) said. “We need transparency and truth.”

Kinzinger and Cheney’s vote was so completely in line with the Democrats that the other 8 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January, and the other 33 who voted in favor of creating an independent bipartisan commission, weren’t so easily duped.

An additional 19 Republicans did not vote on the resolution to create a select committee, though several of them were joining Trump on a visit to the southern border.

McCarthy slammed the committee as a partisan political ploy.

“Nancy Pelosi has spent all the time and all these months playing politics with this, and now we’re finding [the] select committee will be more politics of what she wants to do,” he said.

Liz Cheney was ousted from her leadership role earlier this year for consistently attacking Trump and his supporters and refusing to move the Republican Party forward.

She has called for a criminal investigation into the former President.

“I think the American people have to know (what happened on January 6th),” Cheney insisted. “And certainly any president who did what we know this former president did has got to be investigated criminally.”

Adam Kinzinger, meanwhile, has also allowed Trump to live rent-free in his head, recently claiming supporters of the former President were supporting “a loser president.”

“It was a rally of a loser president. I mean, he’s the first president to lose reelection in decades,” Kinzinger told his friends at CNN following an event in Ohio last weekend.

“I don’t know why these people would go there and in essence ogle at and in many cases just sort of worship a loser.”

Cheney and Kinzinger are now facing primary challenges for their congressional seats.

Fox News reported that some of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump “may have a very hard time holding on to their seats.”

Imagine choosing to ruin your career just so you can get fawning media coverage from outlets like CNN and MSNBC.

 

 

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Unwilling to wait until 2024, ‘Speaker Trump’ is now a thing Republicans want

Republicans can’t help themselves. No matter how big of a loser Donald Trump is, and he’s the biggest of them all, they just can’t quit him. In fact, they’re so desperate to keep him front and center in the electoral debate, that they’re now talking about making him speaker of the House

And in a little-known quirk of the House’s rules, he wouldn’t even need to be elected to anything to make that happen. 

Article 1, Section 2, states, “The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers...” There are no other legal requirements for the position, including age, or actually being elected to anything. For some time in the mid teens, House conservatives actually agitated for Senator Ted Cruz to become speaker. In 2013, former Secretary of State Colin Powell received votes for speaker. In 2015, Sen. Rand Paul got a vote. 

Now, in all of American history, the speaker has always been a member of the House. But that’s a norm, a tradition, not an actual requirement. And we all know how much water that carries with both the modern conservative movement and Donald Trump. Zero. And so, a new conservative scheme is born: the drive to make Trump the next speaker. It started with this exchange on wingnut radio:

Speaker of the House Donald Trump? He’s not ruling it out.

The former president called the idea “very interesting” after conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root pressed him Friday to run for a Florida congressional seat in 2022 with the goal of leading a Republican takeover of the House and supplanting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Why not instead of just waiting for 2024, and I’m hoping you run in 2024, but why not run in 2022 for the United States Congress, a House seat in Florida, win big, lead us to a dramatic landslide victory, taking the House by 50 seats, and then you become the Speaker of the House,” said Mr. Root on his USA Network show [...]

“You’ll wipe him [President Biden] out for his last two years, and then you’ll be president. Do it! Do it! You’ll be a folk hero,” Mr. Root said.

Of course, Root clearly doesn’t know about the non-requirements to be speaker. Other conservatives do, and they’re starting to talk. One told The Atlantic’s Peter Nicholas, “If 150 members of Congress went to Trump and said, ‘We want you to be our leader,’ I think he’d do it.” 

Of course he’d do it! Could there be a better scenario for Trump than to be handed something without having to do a lick of work? It’s his dream come true! And you know who is really excited at this possibility? Steve Bannon. 

Bannon unspooled a wild chain of events to me, to explain away that hurdle: Trump would serve only 100 days, setting in motion the Republican policy agenda and starting a series of investigations, including an impeachment inquiry into Biden. Then, Trump would step down, turn the gavel over to McCarthy, and prepare for a 2024 presidential run. “He’d come in for 100 days and get a team together,” Bannon said. “They’d have a plan. That plan would be to confront the Biden administration across the board. I actually believe that there will be overwhelming evidence at that time to impeach Biden, just as they did Trump. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

“On the 101st day,” Bannon added, “he’ll announce his candidacy for the presidency, and we’ll be off to the races.”

Adorbs. 

Bannon thinks that 1) House minority leader Kevin McCarthy would step aside, even for some time, to hand the gavel to Trump, 2) that Trump would have the votes in the House to win a speaker election, 3) that Trump would have enough of his shit together to put together a team in that short time frame, 4) that Trump would have a “policy agenda,” when they couldn’t even bother to have a party platform at the 2020 Republican convention, 5) that they’d have anything to impeach Biden on with supposed “overwhelming evidence,” and 6) that Trump would willingly hand over the gavel once he had it. Though it is nice of him to admit that Democrats did have “overwhelming evidence” against Trump. 

Still, rather than mock this, and it is so eminently mockable, it behooves us to encourage this talk. As I’ve written, midterm elections are almost always referendum on an incumbent president, leading to typical losses. 

History says that the party of a first-term president nearly always faces catastrophic loses in Congress in his first midterm election. In the House, the average is an over 30-seat loss. In the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attack, 2002 was an exception, so exceptions do exist. Regardless, Democrats face some historical headwinds that are compounded by a reapportionment and redistricting process that favors Republicans, a Senate map that features nearly every single difficult 2020 presidential battleground [...] and the systematic Republican effort to make it harder for core Democratic constituencies to turn out and vote.

In a normal year, we’d be talking about how to minimize losses and what a Biden administration might do with Republican congressional majorities. But this isn’t a normal year, and Republicans are doing everything in their power to keep it that way [...]

[B]y letting loser Trump call the shots and by letting him insert himself into the political debate, Republicans very well risk turning 2022 into a referendum on … Donald Trump. We already know how those go—they goose the liberal base vote without any corresponding Republican vote unless Trump is on the ballot. And he isn’t.

Keeping Trump front and center in the political debate, along with the conservative movement’s inability to get worked up much about President Joe Biden, 2022 threatens to upend the conventional debate, from a referendum on the incumbent, to yet another referendum on Donald Trump. By essentially putting Trump on the ballot—for speaker of the House—Republicans could give liberals yet another reason to turn out in the numbers they did in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. And without Trump being literally on the ballot, the chances of Republicans turning out the hidden deplorables are dramatically lowered. 

Right now, this “Speaker Trump” discussion is floating on the edges of the political debate. But with Bannon on board, it shouldn’t be long before Trump himself is promoting the idea. And from there? Who knows. “Will you vote for Trump for Speaker” could be yet another item on the conservative litmus test, to go with “who really won the 2020 election.”

Liz Cheney Says Her Re-Election Bid Will Be ‘Referendum On The Future Of The Republican Party’

On Wednesday, former GOP conference chair and Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney said that she sees her “re-election bid as a referendum on the future of the Republican Party.”

Cheney made her comments during an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s “Women, Power and Equity” event.

RELATED: Senate Breaks Out In Cheers After Paul Amendment Passes That Bans Gain-Of-Function Research In China

Cheney: 2022 ‘Very Important In Terms Of The Future Of The Party’

Cheney said that voters are “potentially facing a choice between what she sees as traditional conservative values and loyalty to former President Donald Trump.”

She acknowledged that 2022 midterm election was going to be difficult for her, after she was booted from House Republican leadership earlier this month for repeatedly criticizing former President Donald Trump for his statements on the 2020 election.

Mrs. Cheney said the she “anticipates it’s going to be a hard-fought race.” She now also says openly she regrets ever supporting and voting for Trump.

“I really do think it’s one that will be a moment where the people of Wyoming can demonstrate to the country our commitment to the Constitution,” she said during her interview.

Cheney believes the 2022 election will be “very important in terms of the future of the party and the future of our republic.”

Cheney has at least four primary opponents so far – though she has outraised them all to this point.

Cheney Said She Refused To ‘Perpetuate The Lie’ That Trump Won The Election

Cheney was one of the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump during his second impeachment.

The Wyoming Republican said, “It became very clear that staying in leadership would require me to perpetuate the lie about the last election, perpetuate the big lie, perpetuate things that are dangerous.”

RELATED: Grand Jury Seated For NY Trump Investigation, Former Pres. Slams ‘Greatest Witch Hunt In American History’

Polls Not Looking Good For Cheney

She told the WSJ that “she hoped Republicans would begin to rally around traditional conservative policy issues like military spending” instead of Trump in the future.

A Club for Growth PAC poll showed earlier this month Cheney with a net negative image, with an unfavorable rating at 65 percent with a net rating of -36 percent.

52  percent also said they would rather vote for her opponent, no matter who it is. 

 

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Mitt Romney Claims That Removing Liz Cheney From Leadership Will Cost Republicans ‘Quite A Few’ Votes

On Monday, Sen. Mitt Romney claimed that removing the embattled anti-Trump Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney as House Republican Conference chair will hurt Republicans in upcoming elections.  

Romney wrote on Twitter, “Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few.”

RELATED: Al Franken Accuses Trump Of Promoting ‘Disinformation’ That Is ‘Very, Very Dangerous’ And ‘Practically Treasonous’

Sen. Romney: ‘Liz Cheney Refuses To Lie’

These comments from the Utah Republican come in the wake of Romney recently praising Cheney.

“Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie,” Romney tweeted.

The senator added, “As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: ‘I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.”

Vote To Remove Cheney Scheduled For Wednesday

Cheney is in hot water with her party for voting to impeach Donald Trump and continuing to publicly attack the former president, who is very popular with Republican voters.

Mrs. Cheney drew heat last Monday when she said that anyone who claims the 2020 presidential election was  “poisoning our democratic system.” 

Cheney added, in an obvious rebuke to Trump,  “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen.” 

She continued, “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

As Republicans hope to pick up House seats in 2022, leadership now believes that Cheney has become too much of a distraction and a liability.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have now both announced they plan to support Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace Cheney as House Republican Conference chair.

A vote on this is scheduled to take place Wednesday.

McCarthy said on Fox News on Sunday, “To defeat Nancy Pelosi and the socialist agenda, we need to be united, and that starts with leadership. That’s why we will have a vote next week, and we want to be united and looking moving forward. I think that’s what will take place.” 

RELATED: GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy Endorses Elise Stefanik To Replace Liz Cheney, Vote Could Come By Wednesday

McCarthy: ‘What We Are Talking About, It’s A Position In leadership’

“Any member can take whatever position they believe in.,” McCarthy continued. “That’s what the voters vote on the individuals, and they make that decision.”

“What we are talking about, it’s a position in leadership,” McCarthy observed.

“We are in one of our biggest battles ever for this nation and the direction of whether this century will be ours,” he finished. “As conference chair, you have the most critical jobs of the messenger going forward.”

 

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Cheney: ‘History is watching.’ House Republicans: Screw that, Trump is watching

Rep. Liz Cheney, for now the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, has decided she cares more about principles and how history will judge her than she does about the Trumpist orthodoxy of today’s Republican Party. For that, she’s about to be ousted from House Republican leadership and replaced by someone more loyal to Trump but less conservative on the issues, with a simple majority vote of the House Republicans coming as soon as next week.

Cheney refuses to participate in the lie that the election was stolen from Trump—the lie that spurred the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol—so Republicans are swiftly moving to strip her of her leadership role and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has been all in on the Big Lie. Rep. Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican, has publicly backed Stefanik over Cheney, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is reportedly supporting Stefanik behind the scenes after becoming increasingly critical of Cheney in public. And, on Wednesday, Donald Trump himself loudly endorsed Stefanik.

Cheney is defiant, on Wednesday evening publishing a Washington Post op-ed defending her position and calling out McCarthy for having changed his. McCarthy, she accurately charged, has “changed his story” from his Jan. 13 statement that “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

“The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” she wrote, going on to call for Republicans to support criminal investigations of the Capitol insurrection, support a bipartisan January 6 commission with subpoena power, and “stand for genuinely conservative principles, and steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.”

Most Republican lawmakers, of course, will do nothing of the sort. Instead, Cheney’s House colleagues are set to vote her out next week, replacing her with Stefanik, who was elected as something of a moderate and has a much less conservative lifetime voting record than Cheney. The Club for Growth is not happy about that—though it also doesn’t seem to be defending Cheney—tweeting “Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference. She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority.”

Back in 2017, Stefanik opposed Trump on key issues, like his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, and voted against the tax law that was the major Republican legislative achievement of the Trump years. In late 2018, she took criticism from male Republicans for trying to help Republican women win primaries. But in 2019, she became one of Trump’s fiercest defenders during his first impeachment. It appears she had realized what would be her quickest path to leadership, and she has continued to remake herself in the Trumpy style, down to the LOTS OF CAPS in a Thursday morning tweet assailing Twitter, a private business, for “unconstitutional overreach” in having suspended her communications director.

To be clear, this is not a fight with a hero and a villain. It’s a fight between someone whose principles are largely punitive far-right ones that do include a basic respect for the democratic process and someone who apparently has no strong principles beyond her own advancement—if being a non-Trumpy Republican looks like the way to go, she’s that, and if Trump looks like the winning horse, she’s riding him. One of them is concerned that “History is watching. Our children are watching”—but is looking to create a Republican Party that is strong enough, in the long term, to hand over the maximum amount of power to the biggest corporations and promote endless war. The other is much less worried about history or policy than about getting the immediate promotion, thankyouverymuch. And today’s Republican Party is with the latter, less tied to any specific principle than to Trump—at least as long as he’s got the biggest megaphone and the most committed base—and definitely willing to jettison little things like election results or any pretense of non-racism to keep the Trump base motivated.