Serial sex crime defender Jim Jordan has thoughts on what counts as ‘American’

Despite (or perhaps because of) his role in enabling sexual assaults, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan remains in Congress, where he has become something of a poster child for sweaty conservative yelling in defense of monstrous conservative behavior. And if you think that description is too harsh, I promise you it's the toned-down version.

The coatless wonder has again piped up with A Thing, and again the Thing is the same incoherent gibberish now favored by his nationalist crapsack allies. It is worth using as a launching pad for yet another reminder of just how radical the party has become, and especially how its radicalism is primarily just furious contrarianism to anything a book-learning American says. I'll embed his Thing into the most concise rebuttal I've seen.

i'm sure everyone on this website has already mentioned it, but george washington, america's first president and the face of america's money, literally forced smallpox inoculations during the fight for american independence https://t.co/KJZrl5i6hh

— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) September 7, 2021

Yes, as approximately everyfkingbody in the nation is well aware, vaccination mandates are as American as apple pie, baseball, and (if you’re a particular R-OH) enabling the sexual assault of teenage athletes under the pretense of helping them further their careers. Vaccination mandates are everywhere.

If your child goes to school, vaccinations are mandated so that your child does not spread pestilence and death to every other family in town.

If your child goes to college, vaccinations are mandated again and for the same reasons.

If you want to leave the country, many vaccinations are required—or you're not going to be getting off the plane after your flight.

If you join the military, you will be assembly-line vaccinated against a long string of diseases or be placed outside the front gates and invited to walk home.

Individual employers—most notably, medical providers—can mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment because, again, being a gainfully employed petri dish is not an American right. Letting employers do whatever they want to employees is a patriotic American right—one that Ol' Sweaty vigorously and sweatily supports in seemingly all other contexts.

The Republican version of Americanism has little to do with anything happening on the ground in actual America, past or present. It consists entirely of contrarianism. If the man wearing pancake makeup says that masks are bad, masks are now bad. Suppose a worldwide and deadly new disease emerges requiring massive government response to save lives, but the self-absorbed would-be strongman in charge of that government response believes the disease is a hoax invented to make him look bad. In that case, Jim Jordan will say the disease is a hoax created to make his friends look bad.

Jordan has a lot of things he believes to be American. They consist of a set of opportunistic nothings with no common thread other than Jim Jordan's friends get to do crimes, and Jim Jordan's enemies are "un-American" for asking Jim Jordan's voters to keep themselves safe even when Jim Jordan's voters would much rather be marching around government buildings with weapons demanding that other people be less safe.

If you have any sense of patriotism left, I beg of you, America, treat Jim Jordan like a bag of dirt. Always. Every day. Take special time out of your day to note to someone around you that Jim Jordan, personally, is a grotesque and loathsome and gutless toad of a human being. Do not treat these people with respect. Do not let the media pretend that they are worth respect. Do not let television interviews go by without reminding the interviewers that they sanction people who have made getting away with criminal acts a core plank of the party's platform.

As we speak, Jim Jordan remains the most prominent House supporter of a fellow Republican being investigated for sex crimes—in an investigation whose public components have now thoroughly established the man to have engaged in illegal acts. Jim Jordan continues to support Matt Gaetz for the same reason all Republicans do: They believe Republican-led crimes should be permitted.

This was the sole message of two separate impeachment trials; one put into motion after an attempt at international extortion and another for orchestrating an attack on our democracy itself.

Jim Jordan is the shouting, hoarse voice of Republicanism. Republicans want it that way; Republicans can think of no more fitting figure to be the screaming defense whenever any Republican, anywhere, does something crooked or criminal that requires investigation or possible sanctions.

I don't care that Jim Jordan thinks vaccine requirements are now "un-American." Of course he does. Republicanism has now been forced into that position because treating the pandemic with seriousness would expose, after 600,000 American deaths, the malevolent incompetence of conservative responses. Jim Jordan's only thoughts come from other people. Jim Jordan can't so much as use a toilet by himself unless a more powerful Republican tells him when and where and how, or a Democrat tells him not to.

Jim Jordan's caucus is willing to kill Americans if that's what it takes to pretend that their movement's bumbling, buffoonish mishandling of government has been anything but a fiasco. Don't ignore these people. Despise them. Be on the record as one of the "real" Americans willing to treat these crooked crime-protecting hacks with half the contempt they deserve.

Jen Psaki tells Fox News’ Doocy to stop being a part of the problem and help with the solution

The traditional media seems to have a short memory, but no one has a shorter memory than conservative media. Seizing on the decades-long foreign policy disaster that is Afghanistan, conservatives are trying their darndest to blame President Biden’s administration for being the people who finally picked up the corrupt and incompetent can that has been kicked down the road for three administrations now. The issues that the United States and its allies face now that we have withdrawn from our 20-year occupation of Afghanistan are messy. They fall at the feet of President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, “architect” of the Afghanistan invasion Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

But regardless of our foreign policy’s pedigree, Joe Biden is the president now. And not unlike the South American caravans of yesteryear, conservative outlets play video of the human suffering and confusion that surrounds Afghanistan’s changing power dynamics and jack their fear and warmongering volume knobs way up. The hope is that the sounds coming from the Middle East and will drown out the wails of thousands of Americans suffering from a pandemic that has continued to rage out of control, due in no small part to conservative policy impotence. Enter Peter Doocy. Like his father Steve Doocy, the Fox News legacy hire’s job consists of coming up with undercooked headline premises and then asking a question of press secretary Jen Psaki, followed up by an even more fact-free Republican-talking point follow up that he will turn into whatever it is he’s going to report back to Fox News.

Press secretary Psaki has made it a practice to pleasantly humiliate Doocy at virtually every press briefing. Monday was no different.

Doocy began by pointing out that the images Fox News, OAN, CNN and others are showing the world right now of the Taliban include them sporting American weaponry and military clothing. Doocy and others have clearly forgotten that this move by the Biden administration is based on the deal Donald Trump cut with the Taliban. The fact that the U.S. withdrawal was very quickly followed by proof that the last 20 years didn’t seem to change anything in regard to regimes is a failure of our military, our intelligence apparatus, the administrations that allowed it to continue, and the traditional media that generates the recent mania. The last group on that list spent most of the past 20 years of our occupation not covering Afghanistan or investigating how poorly we were doing over there for two decades.

And now, after an administration begins to complete the deal the previous Republican administration struck, and after an administration tries to pick up the pieces of a disaster that was started 20 years ago by one of the worst foreign policy initiatives the planet has ever seen, conservatives want to try and pin some kind of trash ‘soft on terrorism’ label to the Biden administration’s lapel.

On Monday, Peter Doocy, doing his continuously pathetic part, attempted to angle his followup to Psaki by saying that the criticisms of President Biden were due to the fact that Americans have been “stranded” in Afghanistan. So far, the administration has estimated that there were somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 U.S. citizens in Afghanistan the day before the Taliban took control of the capital city of Kabul. This number does not include the many more Afghans who allied themselves over the past 20 years with the U.S. forces, many of whom are also trying to leave the country fearing reprisal from the Taliban. The New York Times reported that as of Saturday, U.S. military claim they have evacuated “about 2,500 Americans” The administration says that including allied Afghans, just about 28,000 people have been flown out of the country.

On Monday, officials told NBC news that the number of people evacuated over the weekend brought up the total number to 37,000. Psaki said Doocy’s use of the term “stranded” was “irresponsible,” saying that the Biden administration has no plans to just turn around now and pretend that there aren’t people that still need to leave Afghanistan. It’s an important distinction that applies not only to Peter Doocy and Fox News but to most of the media outlets in our country. Our foreign policy can only be level-headed if we report on it with some factual and critical understanding of what is happening. 

"I am just calling you out for saying we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan when we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home. We are going to bring them home. And I think that’s important for the American public to hear,” Psaki said. You cannot have it both ways. It is fine to criticize the president for seemingly not knowing how quickly the Taliban would take control of the capital. If you want to criticize the last president for making a deal that put an accelerant on the chances for heightened bloodshed if the U.S. didn’t leave the country when Biden did, you can criticize that. If Peter Doocy wants to investigate our military and the trillions of dollars we have spent in Afghanistan setting up a government that seems to have easily been toppled, please go ahead.

But we are not trying to re-invade and occupy Afghanistan right away; and attempting to turn this transition into an instant humanitarian crisis belies not only the facts but jeopardizes countless peoples’ lives on the ground in Afghanistan.

Jen Psaki calls out Peter Doocy for falsely claiming that Biden is stranding Americans in Afghanistan, "I am calling you out for saying we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan we have been very clear that we are not leaving Americans who want to return home." pic.twitter.com/HzKZSF5G0s

— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) August 23, 2021

GOP operative charged, including 5 counts of child sex trafficking

On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Minnesota released a statement announcing the arrest and indictment of 30-year-old Anton Lazzaro on sex trafficking charges. The charges include the allegation that Lazzaro recruited and conspired to recruit at least six minor victims to engage in commercial sex acts between May 2020 and December 2020.

Lazzaro is the latest GOP operative to be arrested on charges of human trafficking, joining former elected county assessor for Maricopa County Paul Petersen, and Rep. Matt Gaetz’s buddy Joel Greenberg. Lazzaro was reportedly arrested Thursday morning in Minneapolis and made his first appearance in court over video conference later in the day.

According to The Daily Beast, Lazzaro’s luxury condo was raided by the FBI in December 2020.

Law enforcement served the condo building’s management company with a search warrant seeking Lazzaro’s bank records and video surveillance footage a week before the raid, according to a person with direct knowledge. The search warrant appears in federal court records but remains sealed. The prosecutors working on this case did not return phone calls seeking further detail.

The Republican Party has a long history of having members’ names thrown around in sex trafficking and human trafficking cases. Trump’s impeachment attorney Alan Dershowitz has had his name come up in various court documents over the past decade in connection with known child rapist Jeffrey Epstein. Dershowitz has denied all accusations of impropriety. Coincidentally, Lazzaro made the claim that Dershowitz had been subcontracted by his lawyer to help with the case, but Dershowitz denied the connection to The Daily Beast.

One of Lazzaro’s recent jobs with the Republican Party was on the campaign team for Lacy Johnson, the conservative candidate who lost to Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minnesota’s 5th district. Johnson told the Beast that he and Lazzaro never discussed his personal dating life, but that he was dismayed to hear about the raid and charges.

Lazzaro is facing 10 counts, including conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors and five counts of the sex trafficking of a minor. He also faces an attempted sex trafficking charge and obstruction charges. His formal detention hearing is set for Aug. 16, 2021. He will remain in custody until at least that time. The FBI believes that Lazzaro and his cohorts might still have many other victims out there: “Anyone with information about this matter is encouraged to call the FBI Minneapolis Division at 763-569-8000.”

Here are some photos.

Lazzaro with Trump. pic.twitter.com/hj29nacwoa

— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) August 12, 2021

Lazzaro is well connected! Who’s that in the middle? Looks familiar? pic.twitter.com/lFljBaJnNo

— Frank Marin (@FrankRiveraMar1) August 12, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Resign, dirtbag

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to a comprehensive report describing years of sexual harassment, abuse, and retaliation aimed at the women who worked around him with a gaslighting and farcical statement not even worth a response. Cuomo insisted that his numerous accusers—the investigation cited interviews with 179 people, 40 of them under oath—were all lying or misinterpreting his behavior and that he, of course, was the true victim.

It was a grotesque performance. Cuomo again said he will not resign, despite the expansive, damning evidence against him. He should.

Tuesday, Aug 3, 2021 · 9:22:35 PM +00:00 · Hunter

New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says lawmakers will “move expeditiously and look to conclude our impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.”

Cuomo's fellow Democrats are wasting no time in condemning him and demanding his resignation. New York Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks, Tom Suozzi, and Hakeem Jeffries issued a joint statement calling on Cuomo to resign.

Even before the results of the investigation were released, top Democratic figures gave clear statements insisting on Cuomo's resignation if the allegations against him were found to be true. President Joe Biden made such a statement in March, as did Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Schumer and Gillibrand again demanded that resignation today.

New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has issued a new statement demanding that Cuomo "must resign for the good of the state." State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie issued a statement vowing the Assembly will "now undertake an in-depth examination" and that the conduct outlined in the report indicates "someone who is not fit for office." Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou says articles of impeachment against Cuomo have already been drafted.

Meanwhile, House Republican Conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, a backer of alleged sex trafficker Rep. Matt Gaetz, jumped lazily into the conversation with a tweet, wondering "how long” it is going to take for each of the aforementioned top Democrats to call for Cuomo's resignation. Responders were thorough in documenting that each of those calls have already happened. Not that it mattered. Stefanik campaigned for, and won, Rep. Liz Cheney's leadership post after Cheney was stripped of it for being unwilling to lie about an insurrection; Stefanik’s pitch to the party was that she would have no such moral qualms.

Cuomo is finding no base of Democratic support today. The allegations against him are serious, severe, and well-documented, and his gaslighting and insulting blanket denials may only serve to pressure state lawmakers to impeach him faster.

Andrew Cuomo needs to resign immediately. His staff needs to resign immediately instead of continuing to support him. The investigation has been concluded; Cuomo has no plausible defense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republicans hate the word, but it’s the truth: Traitors

During Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, Rep. Jamie Raskin made a clear case about what had happened under Donald J. Trump’s presidency. The acts Trump condoned on Jan. 6 were the acts of traitors. They were calling for the violent overthrow of the government. They refused the results of an election. They denied reality, and they attacked fellow Americans. 

The phrase the insurrectionists yelled at police officers indicated the police were traitors. The police, though, made no move to overthrow the government. They did not attack or attempt to harm others. They did not work to intimidate the election process. They stood in defense of their country. 

“I was grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country. ... I heard chants of ‘kill him with his own gun.’ I can still hear those words in my head today,” Officer Michael Fanone testifies before the House select committee https://t.co/vOqgpOKGqc pic.twitter.com/6J1QwhGVuH

— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 27, 2021

This is the defense of the United States government. How would it feel knowing you have family at home, that you have represented your nation for years, and that every day you put your life at risk to protect the people, not a party? The officers knew the mob could go inside the building and that the staffers therein didn’t have clear signs over their heads that read “Republican” or “Democrat”—these young individuals’ lives were at risk. Even elected officials don’t wear giant billboards reading “Republican” and “Democrat,” and unless they’re your representative, you might not know who they are, which means they were also at risk. The officers put their lives on the line. They did so against traitors. Traitors. Traitors. Raw Story posted video of Marjorie Taylor Greene talking about where the traitors are, including in Congress, and her fear of penalties.

She also says something that I firmly believe in and lecture about: that so much power is in the hands of voters. What she doesn’t say is that it’s this power Republicans are scared of, and it’s exactly why the Republicans are engaged in a massive plan to suppress votes. Greene begins this video talking about local elections, and I urge every single Democrat who reads this site to start paying attention. Your city council or county officer can help put polling places in locations that are more friendly or more intimidating to voters.

The committee that begins today boils down to one word: traitors. The Jan. 6 rioters are traitors. Those who want to deny American voters the right to vote are traitors against our beliefs. When you spend your time working against the pillars of our nation, there is only one word for that: traitor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The FBI apparently lied about investigating Kavanaugh. What are Democrats going to do about it?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now admitted that it failed to investigate even the most "relevant" of the 4,500 tips it received during an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, then a Supreme Court nominee, now a Supreme Court justice. That was in response to a two-year-old letter from Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Chris Coons. "We apologize for the extended delay in responding," says Assistant Director Jill C. Tyson.

Which is problem No. 1 for the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Whitehouse and Coons are members: the FBI and Director Christopher Wray. Wray was the original recipient of the Aug. 19, 2019 letter from the senators. A letter which was ignored until June 30, 2021. Wray was the person ultimately responsible for how the FBI handled the background investigation with that "tip line," which ended up apparently just being a dumping ground. Whitehouse and Coons first pressed Wray on this in a July 2019 hearing.

"During the hearing, Wray echoed Republican claims that the FBI conducted the investigation 'by the book,' while asserting that supplemental background investigations are less rigorous than criminal and counterintelligence investigations," the senators say in a press release following the revelation that the FBI did nothing more than send the tips to Trump's henchmen.

So the senators fired off another letter Thursday. "The admissions in your letter corroborate and explain numerous credible accounts by individuals and firms that they had contacted the FBI with information 'highly relevant to … allegations' of sexual misconduct by Justice Kavanaugh, only to be ignored," the senators write in a sternly-worded letter. "If the FBI was not authorized to or did not follow up on any of the tips that it received from the tip line, it is difficult to understand the point of having a tip line at all." The letter demands more answers, potentially in pursuit of what will possibly be a future oversight investigation by the Judiciary Committee.

Because if it's not, what the hell is the point? There has to be accountability from Wray to explain why exactly the Trump White House called the shots on this. Honestly, Wray's job needs to be in jeopardy here. There's the very real possibility that the FBI director lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2019 when he told the senators that the investigation into allegations against Kavanaugh were "by the book." The committee needs to put all of the heat they can muster on him, and if necessary, on his boss—Attorney General Merrick Garland—until they get some goddamned answers. That goes for all the questions Whitehouse raised in a follow-up demand to Garland in March of this year.

In his follow up letter to Garland, Whitehouse wrote: "If standard procedures were violated, and the Bureau conducted a fake investigation rather than a sincere, thorough and professional one, that in my view merits congressional oversight to understand how, why, and at whose behest and with whose knowledge or connivance, this was done." This follow-up letter to Garland is apparently the impetus for the FBI to dust off its inbox to find and respond to the original inquiry from 2019, but it certainly doesn't answer all of their questions.

While they're at it, Senate Democrats need to start probing again how Kavanaugh managed to pay off hundreds of thousands in credit card debt between May 2017 and his nomination in July 2018, and on top of that pay $92,000 in country club fees, and pay the $10,500-a-year tuition for his two kids in private school, and make payments on the $815,000 mortgage he had for his $1.2+ million home. Because all of that is still very, very hinky.

That leads us to problem No. 2 for Senate Democrats and for President Joe Biden. There is a seated Supreme Court justice who has been credibly alleged to have committed assault, who has not been investigated, and whose finances are questionable, to say the least. First, this:

There is nothing stopping Democrats in the House and/or Senate from interviewing the witnesses the FBI never spoke to, and collecting the FBI tips the Trump White House apparently buried, as part of its own investigation into whether Kavanaugh committed perjury.

— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) July 22, 2021

That's from a former senior aide to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, former Justice Department staff, and now executive director of Demand Justice. So yes, Congress can most definitely conduct the investigation where the FBI failed. The results of these investigations could lead, potentially, to impeachment of Kavanaugh, though that's a long shot and potentially a long way away.

Right now, Kavanaugh is just one of three Trump Supreme Court justices who are there in the most dubious of circumstances. Neil Gorsuch is in a seat stolen from President Barack Obama (hey, Merrick Garland!) by Mitch McConnell. Kavanaugh was not property vetted, no matter how you look at it. Amy Coney Barrett was rushed onto the court just days before the 2020 election—while people were casting their ballots—because Trump thought she would give him the majority that would overturn the election in case he lost. This dubious trio joins the inarguably corrupt Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni spent the whole of 2020 amplifying Trumpist conspiracy theories about Biden on social media.

They, with Alito, are the Supreme Court majority. The ones who all but ended voting rights and allowed for even more secrecy in dark money to flood our system. What they have planned for next session is even worse. The Supreme Court is packed with dangerous ideologues, and a few corrupt ones, too.

Now President Biden and Democrats have a chance to, well, unpack it. To dilute the Trump/RNC/Koch/Federalist Society’s malign influence and balance it out with four or six or however many additional justices. It is imperative. It is existential.