Thursday, October 7, 2021

Last Call For The Big Lie, Con't

The insane gaslighting of the Big Lie continues in North Carolina, where Trump Cult Republicans are of course threatening to use armed force to take voting machines in heavily Black Durham County for "inspection" whether the County complies or not.

A group of Republican House members announced Thursday that they are launching a fraud investigation into North Carolina elections and said they would start by inspecting voting machines in Durham County, with or without the cooperation of state or county election officials.

Rep. Jeff McNeely, R-Iredell, conducted a "random drawing" of a county name out of a hat, and Durham County was chosen. Perhaps coincidentally, Republicans have accused Durham County of voter fraud in the past, especially in 2016, when a late vote tally there swung the governor's race in favor of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper over then-incumbent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

Citing "many, many millions of accusations" of "machine tampering and votes being switched because of modems," McNeely said at a news conference that lawmakers intend to see for themselves whether the machines have modems in them.

Voting machines in North Carolina do not have modems and are not connected to the internet, by state law.

"We look forward to working with them, proving that our elections were true and were valid and there was nothing wrong with them. If that's not the case, then we look to do an investigation, and if there needs to be criminal charges, they will be filed," McNeely told reporters.

"We will also be accommodated and assisted by the [General Assembly] police in our investigation, and they will be the ones that will help us go and find any evidence and help us secure it," he added.

McNeely brandished a roll of red evidence tape that he said would ensure voting machines at the Durham County Board of Elections office could be secured "so that nothing could go forward from here," until his group can conduct an inspection with a technician from the voting machine manufacturer.

The effort appears to mimic "audits" by Republicans in other states, notably Arizona, to cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 election and election integrity in general.

Asked whether they believe President Joe Biden was duly elected, McNeely and Rep.
Bobby Hanig, R-Dare, said they didn't know. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, said no.

State elections director Karen Brinson Bell has repeatedly told the House Freedom Caucus that no unauthorized person, least of all elected officials, is allowed to "inspect" voting machines.

Asked if that's changed, McNeely said he believes state law gives them that authority.

"So, we will start with that," he said, "and if we have to use, like I said, our escorts and the [General Assembly] police to help us, we will do whatever it takes to go about our mission."
I grew up in NC, folks. If you believe out of NC's 100 counties that Durham County, one of the largest heavily Black populated counties in the state, was chosen at random, some lottery tickets yourself. Let's remember the same NC GOP had multiple redistricting maps tossed out multiple times for obvious racial discrimination.

The Big Lie will never, ever end.

The Coup-Coup Birds Come Home To Roost, Con't

Yes, Donald Trump tried to engineer a coup to stay in power after he lost in 2020, according to a new Senate Judiciary Committee report made public this week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday released a sweeping report about how former President Donald Trump and a top lawyer in the Justice Department attempted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Trump directly asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election result, and his chief of staff Mark Meadows broke administration policy by pressuring a Justice Department lawyer to investigate claims of election fraud, according to the report, which is based on witness interviews of top former Justice Department officials.

The Democratic-led committee also revealed that White House counsel Pat Cipollone threatened to quit in early January as Trump considered replacing then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ lawyer who supported election fraud conspiracies.

Cipollone called the plot a "murder-suicide pact," according to the committee's investigation.

After the eight-month investigation, the findings highlight the relentlessness of Trump and some of his top advisers as they fixated on using the Justice Department to prop up false conspiracies of election fraud. The committee report called Trump's repeated demands an abuse of presidential power.

Soon after the release of the report Thursday morning, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley's office issued a GOP version, which pushes back on the Democrats' findings and defends Trump, saying he "listened to his senior advisors and followed their advice and recommendations."

Appearing on CNN's "New Day" Thursday morning, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said the US was a "half a step away from a constitutional crisis, a full-blown constitutional crisis" and explained the events unfolded in three phases.

"First phase, Trump goes to court. Loses every lawsuit, which claims there was voter fraud in the election. Next, he decides he has to take over the Department of Justice and the attorney general, and have the attorney general push this narrative on to the states to tell them to stop from sending in their Electoral College vote totals. When that failed -- and our report goes into graphic detail of the efforts that were made -- the third step was to turn the mob loose on the Capitol the day we were counting the ballots," he said, referring to the January 6 riot.

The report released by Senate Democrats slams the actions of Clark, who they say became a crucial player in Trump's attempt to use the Justice Department for his political gain.

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced on Thursday they were referring him to the DC Bar for a review of his professional conduct, citing rules that bar attorneys from assisting in fraud and interfering with the administration of justice.

The committee said it has not yet made findings of possible criminality, since their investigation is not complete. Clark has not been charged with any crime, and an attorney for Clark didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Clark was not interviewed by the committee. Instead, top Justice Department officials described in interviews his and Trump's plans to overturn the election.

Clark had pushed Rosen and Richard Donoghue, then the second-in-command at the Justice Department, to use the Justice Department to announce election fraud investigations and and ask state leaders in Georgia to appoint electors, potentially disregarding the certified popular vote. Clark began making the pitch in late December after speaking with Trump directly, the committee found.

The Senate committee wrote he may have had assistance from "lower-level allies" within the Justice Department and even attempted to bargain with Rosen on his plan, saying he would turn down a chance at taking Rosen's place if Rosen would agree to support his Georgia elector initiative.

"Clark's proposal to wield DOJ's power to override the already-certified popular vote reflected a stunning distortion of DOJ's authority: DOJ protects ballot access and ballot integrity, but has no role in determining which candidate won a particular election," the committee wrote.

Donoghue and Rosen both testified to the committee.

The coup failed only because it was too much for some Republicans to go along with. 

VP Mike Pence refused to go along with Trump and Clark's alternate slate of electors plan.
The people at the state level who said "No, we won't do this" in 2020 to alternate electors and decertifying Democratic wins will have long been replaced with Trump loyalists in 2024 who will say yes when told to do this again. 

The coup was being planned by Trump and the DoJ.

It almost succeeded.

We came that close to losing the country.

Remember that.

The Manchin On The Hill, Con't

Republicans continue to hold the country hostage, and President Manchin continues to do everything he can to assist them.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said on Wednesday that he remains opposed to changing the Senate’s legislative filibuster, dealing a blow to progressive hopes to use a rules change as an escape hatch from a fight over the nation's borrowing limit.

“I’ve been very, very clear where I stand on the filibuster. Nothing changes,” Manchin told a gaggle of reporters outside of his Senate office.

Manchin's comments come as the idea of an debt ceiling exemption from the legislative filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most legislation, has gained steam within the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Democrats discussed the idea, as well as other potential backup plans, during a closed-door caucus lunch on Tuesday, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) confirming that talks were underway.

And moderate Democrats, long viewed as wary to a rules change, indicated that they would support it.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he could support a “pause” on the filibuster for the debt ceiling vote.

“There ought to be some way to suspend” the filibuster for a debt ceiling vote, Warner said.

But changing the legislative filibuster even just for a narrow carveout on the debt ceiling was a heavy lift for Senate Democrats, given entrenched opposition to making changes to the 60-vote rule from Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

To invoke the "nuclear option," Democrats would need total unity from their 50-member caucus and Vice President Harris in the chair to break a tie. A spokesman for Sinema didn't immediately respond to a question on Wednesday about if she would support creating a carveout from the filibuster for the debt ceiling.

Manchin said as recently as Monday that he didn’t view changes to the filibuster as an option on the debt ceiling.

“The filibuster has nothing to do with debt ceiling. Basically, we have other tools that we can use and if we have to use them we should use them,” Manchin said at the time.
President Manchin continues to hold court and decree from his throne. Republicans make sure he can, but so do Democrats.
And nothing will improve until his power is removed by electing more Democrats in the Senate. The second Dems can get 53 or more seats, Manchin and VP Sinema become irrelevant.
But the odds of that happening in 2022 are rapidly diminishing. Manchin has no reason to cut his own throat by complying, and Republicans are 100% united on blocking everything.
Better Democrats, yes. But right now, we're learning that More Democrats are also necessary to keep the worse ones in line. 

In the back of the room, you can hear Mitch McConnell cackling.


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