DailyKos

Kevin McCarthy is terrified that the truth will come out about his Jan. 6 phone call to Trump

The best solution to investigating the events related to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol would have been a nonpartisan outside commission, which was used several times to examine critical issues and key events. But Republicans shot that effort down in the Senate, using the filibuster to defeat the proposal. With an independent commission off the table, Democrats in the House turned to the next best option: a select committee that would have the authority to reach beyond the limitations of standard committees to collect the evidence necessary to understand the events that led up to a vicious mob of paramilitary white supremacists creeping through the halls of Congress hunting for political opponents to hang.

When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi formed the House Select Committee investigating the insurgency, Republicans had another chance to cooperate. Instead, minority leader Kevin McCarthy attempted to sabotage the committee by planting it with people who were not only dedicated to seeing the effort derailed but representatives who are extremely likely to end up as witnesses testifying before that committee.

And now that the committee—the bipartisan committee, which includes two Republicans who defied McCarthy to join in finding the truth—has requested electronic records on Jan. 6 to discover who was communicating with Trump and with the insurgents, McCarthy has stepped in again. Only this time, he's not trying to threaten Pelosi or break the committee. That ship has sailed. This time, McCarthy is threatening telecommunications companies and social media companies, telling them that if they cooperate with the investigation, they will be punished when and if the Republicans return to power.

It's a desperate, ugly ploy—that only shows exactly how terrified Kevin McCarthy is of the truth coming out.

As CNN reports, McCarthy has issued a statement claiming that if the companies turn over information in response to a congressional subpoena, they would be "in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States." However, when asked about what last the companies would be violating, McCarthy had no reply. Instead, he just ended with the ominous threat that "a Republican majority will not forget."

The problem for McCarthy is that federal law lies with the committee, which is fully within its rights to issue subpoenas for records connected to the topic of the investigation. And in fact, the committee hasn't yet asked for telecom records from anyone. Despite McCarthy's blunt attempt to bully companies into noncompliance, all that the committee requests is that telecom companies preserve these records in case they are needed.

Even so, just edging around these requests has already promoted Jim Jordan to get nervous enough to admit that he talked to Donald Trump multiple times on Jan. 6. It now appears that Jordan, along with Matt Gaetz, called Trump while huddled in the House "safe room" and begged him to call off the insurgents.

But the real call that McCarthy doesn't want to talk about is the one he made to Trump on Jan. 6. As NBC News reported in February, McCarthy and Trump engaged in an "expletive-filled" call in which McCarthy got pissed off after Trump breezily claimed that it was Antifa ransacking the Capitol. "Who the f—k do you think you are talking to?" McCarthy is reported to have said. But when it came down to getting Trump to halt his followers before they got their hands on a Representative or two, Trump just replied. "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

For a few days following these events, McCarthy maintained his concern about the potential fall of democracy, or at least the potential stretching of his own neck. But within a few weeks, he was at Mar-a-Lago, apologizing to Trump for having the temerity to allow something as unimportance as the continuation of representative democracy to get in the way of Trump's fun.

In response to reporters' questions about that day, McCarthy has given answers like "my conversations with the president are my conversations with the president," which sounds like McCarthy is claiming executive privilege—except he can't. Executive privilege does not extend to conversations held with members of the legislative branch.

The truth is, if the select committee asks telecoms to turn over McCarthy's phone records for that day, they are legally obligated to provide them. Chairman Bennie Thompson has made it clear that the contents of that conversation between Trump and McCarthy are of interest to the committee. At an absolute bare minimum, calls like the one McCarthy and Jordan made show that: 1) Republicans understood that the people attacking the building were not Antifa and were Trump supporters, 2) those Republican representatives believed the insurgents were acting at Trump's request and could be halted by Trump.

If McCarthy is called to testify before the committee, he has two options: testify or claim the right not to testify under the Fifth Amendment. Of course, that second claim would be an admission that McCarthy believes he might be charged with some crime in connection with the events, which would in itself be … not the best look.

Even so, it's a better look than threatening U.S. companies with destruction because they obeyed a legal request. Seems like the best thing these companies, and every other company concerned about the rule of law, can do is to help make sure there never is another Republican majority.

What’s this Texas Republican’s answer to the climate crisis? 'Turn the damn air conditioner up'

Whether you believe it is branded better as climate change or global warming, one thing is clear: Human-driven environmental disasters are a very real thing, and it is only going to get worse. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a truly disastrous report at the beginning of August. In it scientists explain, irrefutably, how our planet's atmosphere is hotter now than it was before humans figured out how to burn everything up in the name of progress. It lays out the dire need for our civilization to move faster toward green energy, even as we have run out of time.

The Texas railroad commissioner's job includes overseeing oil and gas drilling and transportation in the Lone Star State, and Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian has some ideas on how to solve this conundrum. According to Bloomberg, here's what Commissioner Christian told an audience at the NAPE Summit in Houston, an energy industry extravaganza: "Rather than $78 trillion dollars in spending, shutting down the industries around the world, keeping third-world countries from having coal-generated electric power and all kinds of things—turn the damn air conditioner up. It's that simple."

That's a real cynical and dark thing to come out of the mouth of a 70-year-old man. It isn't surprising, mind you, as Christian has been a climate denier for some time now. But what is arguably the most shocking aspect of this all is the fact that after years of denying the science of climate change and humankind's hand in accelerating the warming of the globe, he's in essence now just saying we are fucked, so why stop now since that would be hard and we couldn't make our money the way we make it now.

Christian is running for reelection this year, after a handful of extreme environmental events exposed how terrible and corrupt he and other conservative lawmakers have been for Texas. But getting your conservative bonafides in order has always been more important to Christians like Christian, which is why he has been vocal of late, lying about the financial risks of President Biden rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. In 2018, Christian argued that the only problems with fossil fuels was that millennials didn't understand the fossil fuel industry because they are all woke, which has led to "the acceptance of the politically-correct-driven environmental anti-oil and gas science."

Republican Wayne Christian has been involved in Texas politics for a long time. He started out as a gospel singer in the 1970s and 1980s with The Singing Christians and then the Mercy River Boys. From there Mr. Christian moved into classic right-wing conservative Bible politics, which argue no one should have access to birth control and women shouldn't be allowed to do anything that a good Christian man—maybe even a man with the last name of "Christian"—doesn't sign off on first.

Bloomberg points out that air conditioning use around the world has "tripled" since 1990.

Anti-vaxxers are now freaking out about blood donations from the vaccinated

Assuming we don't all die of the Omega! Omega! Omega! COVID-19 strain sometime before the year 2050, it's easy enough to imagine future archeologists rooting through our scattered, bleached bones seeking explanations for why TruckNutz suddenly disappeared from the fossil record in 2040 or so. Eventually, they'll discover that the Americanicus dumbfuckerus branch of the great apes' evolutionary tree suddenly shriveled up, died, and was employed for a time as God's go-to backscratcher before He noticed it gave Him a really gross rash.

Sometimes I wonder how Charles Darwin, the inventor of evil-ution, would have reacted to what's going on these days in Florida and other boggy redoubts. After all, there's a certain piquant irony to the fact that the very people who don't believe in natural selection are eagerly proving its validity every day.

The latest? Well, it's not enough that anti-vaxxers kill themselves with their scientifically ignorant rejection of vaccines. They've upped the ante by making non-COVID-19-related procedures and emergencies problematic, too.

The Daily Beast:

With nearly 60% of the eligible U.S. population fully vaccinated, most of the nation's blood supply is now coming from donors who have been inoculated, experts said. That's led some patients who are skeptical of the shots to demand transfusions only from the unvaccinated, an option blood centers insist is neither medically sound nor operationally feasible.
"We are definitely aware of patients who have refused blood products from vaccinated donors," said Dr. Julie Katz Karp, who directs the blood bank and transfusion medicine program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia.

Sheesh. I may have to hire an assistant to face-palm me every 10 to 15 minutes so that I don't have to stop typing.

It's no exaggeration to say that anti-vaxxers are literally destroying this country right now, in that they're endangering and killing its citizens—both the vaxxed and un-vaxxed. One of these pestilent pod people has infiltrated my own family. I'd pray for her, but 1) I don't believe in God, per se, and 2) if God does exist, He's obviously made preventing COVID-19 a low priority, somewhere behind sopping up every last bit of moisture in the American West and killing off enough organ donors to allow Dick Cheney to install a new heart every time he changes the smoke detector batteries in his bunker.

You might think, all things being equal, that you'd want blood with COVID-19 antibodies in it. But some people are apparently more worried about getting vaccine "components" mixed in with their pure alpha-man blood than dying on an operating table. And according to Dr. Michael Busch, director of the Vitalant Research Institute, approximately 90% of the blood available for transfusions currently has COVID-19 antibodies in it, either because donors were vaccinated or they previously had COVID-19.

As a result, these requests are impossible to honor. But that hasn't stopped people from pressing their concerns.

Many patients expressing concerns have been influenced by rampant misinformation about vaccines and the blood supply, said [Dr. Geeta] Paranjape, [medical director at Carter BloodCare]. "A lot of people think there's some kind of microchip or they're going to be cloned," she said. Other patients have balked at getting blood from people previously infected with COVID, even though federal guidance greenlights donations two weeks after a positive test or the last symptom fades.

They're afraid they're going to be cloned? Cloned?

Are we sure that's not already happening? It seems to me there are lots of people in this country who were clearly gestated in bathtubs full of homemade gin. And they're afraid of the vaccine because they think it has computer chips in it.

I can't even with these people. It may be too late to reach many of them, but here's an idea: Can we at least make sure we teach our kids what science is? Because most Americans' knowledge of the subject appears to have been drawn from Spider-Man movies.

That's all I ask. Until then, Darwin will be tucking into hot, steamy Jiffy Pop on his tricked-out La-Z-Boy for the foreseeable future.

July 2021 was the single hottest month in the entire history of mankind—for now

It's easy to break records when you just keep going faster. Put the foot on the accelerator and now you're going faster, and now you're going faster, and now you're going faster. Every moment is a new "record" until something gives out. This works whether you're headed down the highway, or directly off a cliff.

When it comes to the climate crisis, the regularity of "the hottest [insert time period here] ever" has become almost monotonous. That's not hard when last year tied for the hottest year on record. And when the year it tied with came just four years earlier. Or when, as NASA reports, the last seven years are the seven hottest years. For seven years in a row, every July has been both the hottest July on record, and also the coolest July going forward. It. Just. Keeps. Getting. Hotter.

So, NPR's reporting of the latest data from NOAA should hit no one as a great surprise—this July set records again. But this July didn't just edge past every other July, it outpaced every other month to capture a new crown: The hottest month in human history. Or at least, it was the hottest month in the 142 years that NOAA has kept records. And while right wing think tanks have been pushing a line that "most of the last 10,000 years" have been warmer than the past century … it will surprise no one that those claims are simply wrong. As NASA's Earth Observatory makes clear, temperatures now are easily warmer than at any time in the last 1,000 years, and there are good reasons to think that record extends back much longer—perhaps longer than human beings have been carving symbols into stone or pressing them into clay tablets.

And we know exactly why. Because in June, the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory recorded a level of 419 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. That's the highest level ever observed. The highest level since at least the middle of the Pliocene epoch, some 4.1 million years ago.

The information that NASA and NOAA had already released going into 2021 should have been more than enough to make anyone sit up and realize that the climate crisis is a genuine existential threat, one that demands immediate, massive, and urgent action.

Temperature changes since 1880

But the news of July's record-shattering temperatures comes just days after the results of the Sixth Assessment Report on the status and effects of the climate crisis. As Reuters reported, that report signals a "code red for humanity." It's not just that the temperatures are now hotter than ever. It's not that they're edging upwards every year. It's that the continued pouring of carbon into the atmosphere is threating to send the climate into a "death spiral" that drives temperatures rapidly upward and causes "deadly heat waves, gargantuan hurricanes and other weather extremes" to become even more frequent and severe.

As it turns out, the NASA chart is really underselling the full impact of what's happened already, because the last century of human-driving climate change is so unusual, that it's hard to put it into context.

On a longer scale, the severity of this change becomes clear

Not only is the change over the last century severe, the when looked at over a longer term, the unprecedented speed of this change becomes clear. There really is absolutely no doubt that this change is triggered by human activity, and only a change in human activity can address it.

NPR sums up this report in three quick points:

  • Humans are causing rapid and widespread warming
  • Extreme weather is on the rise and will keep getting worse
  • If humans cut emissions, the worst impacts are avoidable

This news also comes right on the heels of a report showing that the Gulf Stream—the ocean current responsible for shifting heat around the Atlantic and which controls weather over a large slice of the planet—is on the brink of collapse. It's long been understood that this was possible, and the failure of the Gulf Stream has been one of the most feared possible effects of melting polar ice and warming seas. Without this redistribution of heat, extreme weather events could become far, far more extreme. Climate could radically shift across Europe, Africa, and Asia. Both rainfall patterns and temperatures could be shifted around the world in ways that destroy agricultural areas, turn forests into deserts, and generate millions of climate refugees.

As The Guardian reported on August 5, the new research found ""an almost complete loss of stability." It confirms that the movement of the Stream is already the weakest in 1,600 years and suggests that a collapse of the system could come in the next decades. Scientists involved in the study indicated that they were surprised by how close the system is to failure. And that they were scared.

They're scared in part because the failure of the Gulf Stream is just one of several major tipping points that are happening, not at some distant time in the future, but right now. That includes the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the end of the Amazon rain forest as a mechanism for carbon capture, and the increasing release of methane from arctic sources. If it seems like we're being battered constantly by drought, fires, storms, and radical shifts in weather, it's because we are. The cost of these aren't just already higher than what it would take to address the climate crisis, those costs have already included hundreds of lives in the United States in just the last year.

The assessment of the IPCC study is that the best outcome looking forward is a 3.1° F increase in temperature. That's a change that will generate significant, lasting impact, including producing rising sea levels and lasting droughts that could make cities currently home to millions of Americans, and hundreds of millions around the world, unlivable. But at the other end of the scale, the possibility is a world that's 7° warmer in just the next few decades. That's a path to an Earth that's genuinely unrecognizable—and to a future where water, food, and other resources won't just generate refugees, but major conflicts.

As has been said before, there's no question that we can afford the cost of addressing the climate crisis, because we definitely can't afford the cost if we don't.

'Governor who?' Democrats continue to marginalize a radicalized GOP

Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy really doesn't want to talk about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. When Florida journalist Grant Stern dared to ask McCarthy this week why he opposed the Jan. 6 commission, he was quickly and forcibly removed from McCarthy's press conference in Hialeah Gardens, Florida.

McCarthy had been decrying the "the oppression of people being picked up" in Cuba's streets by its police officers. "That's not America. That's not what we stand for," he said.

But faced with an insurrection question moments later, several police officers descended on Stern in a nanosecond to drag him off, saving McCarthy from having to respond.

Republicans' two biggest political liabilities right now are their Jan. 6 denialism and their gross negligence on the pandemic. Indeed, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has picked up on this in their battleground district polling and is now encouraging Democratic candidates to highlight GOP disinformation about both vaccines and the insurrection. (The polling also showed Democrats aren't connecting enough with voters on the economy and touting Biden's agenda.)

When it comes to the insurrection, congressional Republicans are in a real bind. There's just no way for them to say anything that satisfies Trump's cultists without alienating swingy suburban voters who don't spend all their days freebasing right-wing sludge from outlets like Fox News and social media. At this point, as many as 80% of GOP voters believe the Big Lie, just 5% of them deem Trump mostly responsible for the Capitol attack, and GOP support for punishing the attackers has dropped considerably since January.

To make matters worse, McCarthy and several of his closes allies, such as Rep. Jim Jordan, could also be called testify in the congressional investigation of the siege, making the topic both personally and politically dicey. Unfortunately for him, ejecting reporters from press conferences and claiming blanket ignorance about the select committee's proceedings are short-term solutions to a long-term problem that only worsens as more information about Trump's attempted coup emerges.

But for now, every time congressional Republicans in swing states and districts get a Jan. 6-related question, expect to see "Danger! Danger!" expressions sweep across their faces. The only reality-based House Republicans who don't live in fear of those questions are the two sitting on the panel: Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

The other issue dogging congressional Republicans and some GOP governors is the rapid rise in COVID-19 infections ripping through red America. For months, Republicans had the luxury of being part of the pandemic problem while Democrats labored to offer real-word solutions such as financial relief and a nationwide vaccination program.

But now that vaccinated Americans—roughly 70% of U.S. adults—have grown exasperated with the unvaccinated Republicans driving most of the delta variant surge, GOP lawmakers have switched into overdrive to escape culpability.

As a rule, Republicans never promote public health for the sake of public health. So when right-wing Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana turns his belated July vaccination into a photo-op and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky spends campaign funds to promote vaccines, it's definitely a hair-on-fire moment for Republicans.

The urgency is two-fold. First, voters are ticked off about the delta setback and looking for answers. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at the states driving the bulk of the new infections and conclude that Republican lawmakers and their voters are the problem. Second, if Republicans can gaslight enough people into believing GOP lawmakers reasonably backed vaccinations, then they can blame President Biden for failing to get the pandemic under control.

To be clear, failing to regain control of the pandemic does pose a political risk to Biden since it's the No. 1 job voters hired him to do. And even though it's Republican governors in GOP-dominant states that are undermining Biden's efforts right now, voters aren't always rational when it comes to accountability.

But it's still Republicans who have the bigger hill to climb here since anyone with a grip on reality knows who's at fault for stoking vaccine hesitancy and imposing heavy-handed bans on pandemic mitigation efforts.

The bigger task for most congressional Republicans right now is convincing Americans that they aren't a party of extremists. That is proving exceedingly difficult after they gifted their party to Donald Trump and must now cater to its fringes while attempting to appear palatable enough to earn the votes of anti-Trump conservatives.

Democrats seem to understand the enormity of the political bind Republicans are in on the pandemic and Jan. 6. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been publicly marginalizing House Republicans as a party too "moronic" to be worthy of her time.

President Biden adopted a similar posture on the pandemic this week, telling GOP governors, "Please help. But if you aren't going to help, at least get out of the way."

Biden's earnest plea came in the context of the life-and-death dilemma he is facing as president to protect the health of Americans and save lives. But his blunt remarks were certain to draw the ire of a blowhard like Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is presently presiding over the worst outbreak in the nation.

DeSantis predictably fired back at Biden. "Why don't you do your job? Why don't you get this border secure?" DeSantis said, trying to turn the state's dire public health crisis into an immigration issue. Apparently, DeSantis wants Biden to secure Florida's border to the north with Alabama and Georgia since his state is surrounded by water in every other direction.

When Biden was later asked about DeSantis' fiery response, he merely quipped, "Governor who?" before breaking into a grin.

Like Pelosi, Biden simply doesn't have time to waste on unserious people like Ron DeSantis, who is eagerly wagering the lives of his constituents on his chances in the GOP's 2024 presidential sweepstakes.

Biden does need to turn the tide on delta surge. But dismissing Republicans as the radicals they are is a worthy political endeavor in and of itself. Anything they say in response only serves to further define the GOP as a party of extremists.

Trump still isn't paying 'close to broke' Rudy despite huge fundraising haul

Donald Trump doesn't pay his bills, and he isn't loyal to anyone. This is like saying the sky is blue and the sun sets in the west. It's as plain as the pug nose on Trump's jowly ape scrotum of a face, and if you end up getting burned by this universal MAGA maxim, you need to load up on aloe and simply take your lumps and/or blisters.

I mean, even Satan lives up to his obligations when, say, he loses fiddle contests. Trump can't even admit losing to Joe Biden. He's as good as his word—so long as that word is "knobcheese."

So I'm not sure what Rudy Giuliani was thinking while traversing the country in the wake of Donald Trump's election defeat, spritzing his enchanted brain effluent out the sides of his shrunken apple head in order to bewitch we common plebs into thinking Trump was the legitimate president-elect.

Sure, Rudy did a terrible job. Trump would have gotten better legal advice by waterboarding Jeanine Pirro with a few slop buckets full of Stoli, but Rudy really did stick his neck out for Trump. Sure, he might have been hanging out at that Philly dildo store anyway, but without Trump's electoral obstinance, at most two or three middle-aged men would have been gawking at him during his shambolic jerk-off session … instead of the whole world.

So, naturally, this short tweet thread from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is as pathetic as it is predictable:


For the nontweeters:

Giuliani allies are looking at the Trump $ - even if it isn't $82 million - and are aghast that Trump isn't helping Giuliani with legal fees. Giuliani's friends say he is saying he is close to broke, and his interview w @MelissaRusso4NY makes clear he knows he's in legal jeopardy
Trump aides have been clear they see no mechanism for paying Giuliani's legal bills that isn't problematic for Trump, and they think Giuliani took actions a lawyer should have known were problematic, even if the client wanted it.

But this is of note in the context of Trump having had a previous lawyer who pleaded guilty and then cooperated with an investigation into Trump.

They see no mechanism for paying Giuliani's legal bills? How about Venmo? Personal checks also work. As do Spanish doubloons. Or Bitcoin. Any form of currency, really. I mean, at the very least, Trump could send Grampa Fiddle-Pants whatever's in his wallet right now, even if it's just a half-stamped Subway Club card and a few random shekels.

Trump has reportedly built a political war chest in excess of $100 million, but Giuliani has about as much chance of seeing even a small portion of it as he does of securing Ivanka's betrothal.

As for Haberman's ominous final tweet? Yes, please! What could be more entertaining than Rudy Giuliani flipping on Donald Trump? Other than Michael Cohen flipping, that is.

Rudy's already professionally and morally bankrupt. Does he have to be financially bankrupt, too? Well, apparently Donald Trump thinks so. And he calls the shots for all these clowns.

CA secretary of state candidate says she knows Trump won state because she's an empath who can 'feel the vibe of places'

You know, if we're just going to go with our hunches about political races and assume they mean something, then I must insist that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election by a final score of 154 million to, I don't know, 8. Total votes, that is. Because I simply can't fathom why anyone not named Trump would ever vote for anyone who is named Trump. It would be like putting up a big, star-spangled yard sign to let your neighbors know you have chlamydia. Only far more embarrassing.

Unfortunately, my visceral hunches are worthless, as evidenced by my warehouse full of unsold Michael Dukakis tank-helmet action figures. Luckily, though, I don't rely on hunches, astrological charts, chicken entrails, Dick Morris, or any other wildly unreliable yardstick to determine who wins elections. I rely on counted and certified votes. Yes, I know. Quaint.

Rachel Hamm, a "children's ministries director at a large evangelical church," is nevertheless attempting to use something akin to witchcraft to ascertain the true winner of California's 2020 electoral votes. She's also a candidate for California secretary of state who's been endorsed both by Pillow Man Mike Lindell and Roger Stone, so you know she's legit.

On the July 28 edition of Steve Bannon Molts His Larval Alien Husk Before Your Astonished Eyes, Hamm was asked how she knew Donald Trump won California. (Narrator: He didn't.)

It went a little like this:

Here's why Jim Jordan is about to get legally dragged over whether he colluded with Trump to subvert 2020

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio really wasn't interested in answering questions about the conversation he had with Donald Trump on Jan. 6. When Fox News' Bret Baier first asked Tuesday whether he had spoken to Trump that day, Jordan's mouth started firing off like a Gatling gun.

He had talked to Trump "umpteen times ... thousands... countless times ... numerous times," Jordan said before Baier interrupted him.

"No, I mean on Jan. 6, Congressman," Baier clarified.

"Yes," Jordan finally said, adding that he couldn't even recall the many times he's spoken to Trump.

The next day, Jordan more readily admitted that Jan. 6 call. But asked by Spectrum News reporter Taylor Popielarz whether he spoke with Trump before, during, or after the Capitol attack, Jordan was again overtaken by memory issues.

"I spoke with him that day, after? I think after," Jordan offered. "I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don't know … I don't know when those conversations happened." Those are the type of memory issues that can sometimes be cleared up under oath, and this week Jordan became a prime subpoena candidate in the Jan. 6 inquiry.

For starters, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a key member of the Jan. 6 select committee, told ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday that "Congressman Jordan may well be a material witness" in the investigation.

"He's somebody who was involved in a number of meetings in the lead-up to what happened on Jan. 6, involved in planning for Jan. 6, certainly for the objections that day as he said publicly," Cheney added.

In the same appearance, Cheney also declined to shoot down an account in a new book about Trump, I Alone Can Fix It, in which Jordan tried to help her on Jan. 6 and she reportedly shot back, "Get away from me, you fucking did this."

It's worth remembering that, even though Cheney was ousted from her Republican caucus leadership post in May, at the time of the insurrection and the immediate aftermath, she was not entirely on the outs yet. At that point, the battle lines had yet to be clearly drawn, as Republican leaders briefly flirted with cutting Trump loose. So Cheney, who's immediate life mission is to make sure everyone who contributed to Jan. 6 is held to account, was privy to a lot of critical information. Insofar as the GOP caucus is concerned, it's fair to think of her as a somewhat unconventional insider-turned-outsider, and that makes her very dangerous.

Cheney is also fixated on documenting every moment of what happened at the White House on Jan. 6—an effort she emphasized in her opening statement at Tuesday's first select committee hearing, and then mentioned again during the ABC interview.

"The American people, as I said, deserve to know what happened every minute of that day," Cheney reiterated. "They deserve to know about every phone call that was made in and out of the White House, every meeting, every discussion that was had that day in the White House as the Capitol building was under attack."

Jordan may want to start checking his phone logs sooner rather than later. On top of Cheney's clear-eyed focus, he's also not going to get any cover from claiming his conversations with Trump were privileged. In other big Jan. 6 news this week, the Justice Department has reportedly informed Trump administration officials that the department does not support an executive privilege exemption from being compelled to testify about Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

As Just Security writes, "This is a significant development that will clear the way for witnesses to provide evidence to the committees investigating post-election conduct, including the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol."

That news preceded the disclosure of notes taken by a top Trump-era Justice Department official, of phone calls in which Trump repeatedly tried to pressure the acting attorney general into claiming the election was marred by fraud. Specifically, in a call on Dec. 27, the official's notes depict Trump telling then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to "Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen."

Though Trump didn't explicitly name those congressmen, according to the notes, at other points in the conversation he praised Jordan as a "fighter," mentioned Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and claimed Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin was "getting to the bottom of things," according to reporting from The New York Times.

The revelation spurred Jordan's spokesperson to issue a statement saying the congressman "did not, has not, and would not pressure anyone at the Justice Department about the 2020 election."

It's a pretty narrow denial. Everyone can apparently breathe easy now, knowing that Jordan didn't personally call up DOJ officials and harangue them about overturning the 2020 election. Because, frankly, only Trump would be brazenly stupid enough to do that.

On Jan. 11, just five days after the insurrection, Trump awarded Jordan with the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in a private ceremony. At the time, Trump was holed up at the White House and hadn't made a public appearance since the fiery insurrection-day speech in which he had directed thousands of attendees to march down to the Capitol and "fight like hell."

At the time Trump, who was seemingly running out of options to retain the presidency, was in the midst of rewarding his staunchest loyalists with everything from symbolic sycophancy awards to some pretty consequential pardons.

Jordan, who must have felt pretty smug about his achievement, is about to find out that medal isn't worth a hill of beans legally. And while Jordan's level of participation in the planning of Jan. 6 remains unclear, the effort to uncover the extent of his collusion with Trump is going to prove pretty uncomfortable. Liz Cheney is going to see to that.


The Hill serves up what may just be the most absurd headline in media history

The "just wait, he's gonna turn presidential any moment now" crowd is still at it, months after Donald John Trump skulked away from the White House with his schwanz between his atrophied, KFC-bucket-balancin' gams.

For more than five years after his rambling, racist campaign launch speech, Trump has had every opportunity to prove there was more to him than meets the eye. There isn't. I've looked. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Trump's are more like splotchy peepholes into John Wayne Gacy's crawlspace. There's nothing there but rank evil, soul-crushing emptiness, and half-slurped McNugget sauces.

Sure, it's possible Trump could still see the light, renounce his numerous past outrages, and embrace Western liberal democracy. It's also possible I'll suddenly improve upon my 4-inch vertical and join the Milwaukee Bucks roster just in time to snag an NBA championship ring. (Go Bucks! As a native Wisconsinite, I need something to distract me from Ron Johnson's perpetual awfulness.)

That said, Trump's legion of apologists is keeping the faith. The guy was president for four years, after all. He must have learned something along the way about fair and effective governance. (Narrator: He didn't.)

Witness one Conrad Black, the author of A President Like No Other: Donald J. Trump and the Restoring of America. Black apparently thinks there's still something salvageable in this tire fire of a human being, and he's decided to die on this Hill.

Buckle up, folks. This will get weird, starting with the headline. Unless you want to spray your beverage halfway to Alpha Centauri, make sure you're not drinking anything when you read this. You've been warned.

"How Trump can win again: Become the calm, moderate candidate," Black posits. It just gets goofier from there.

First, the lede:

The political scene is evolving so quickly that I presume to offer some advice to President Trump: He can now win in 2024 by being the potential candidate of calm and moderation.

Sure, Trump can do that. Or he can suggest nuking hurricanes, try to overturn a free and fair election, incite a deadly riot, lobby for putting alligator-filled moats at the southern border, promote unapproved drugs, act like a freshly gelded howler monkey when asked anodyne questions by the media, and generally behave like a marginally less grounded Randy Quaid.

The uncharacteristically incautious comments of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that, in effect, the dreadful Trump specter had passed and they could all go back to being the good-natured losers of the Bush-McCain-Romney eras was effectively retracted within a few days. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has disgraced herself by joining the Trump-hate operation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and, in Republican terms, is sinking without a ripple as a consequence.

Hmm, the Bushes won three out of four of the elections they competed in after becoming their party's nominees. John McCain and Mitt Romney lost just as many elections as Trump. And George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both won the popular vote at least once, whereas Trump never did. What on Gaia's green globule is this fucknut talking about?

Black rambles on for a half dozen anti-Democrat paragraphs before arriving at the pièce de résistance.

Now, as time passes, the public irritation with Trump's bombastic behavior, of his being in the nation's face day and night for four years, will recede and gradually be replaced by the spectacle of a comatose Biden administration, floundering and dissembling, fecklessly struggling with the various crises it has created. There will be, soon enough, nostalgia for Trump instead — and if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity.

Nostalgia for Trump? Uh, no. The guy is seared into our memories, I'll give you that. But "nostalgia" implies fond memories. I have nostalgia for eating Cracker Jack on a picnic bench during the summer of '76. I don't have nostalgia for the raucous pink belly I received from my reprobate siblings 10 minutes later.

But this. This! "… if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity."

Trump isn't wise, and never will be. (See also: nearly every news story from the past half-decade.)

Trump's a loser. Full stop.

A "figure of comparative Olympian serenity?" Next to Trump, Crispin Glover circa 1987 was a figure of comparative Olympian serenity. But Trump himself never, ever will be.

It's normal for historians and especially partisans to want to rehabilitate a former president's image and reputation, but Trump's rep is trashed. He might as well have smeared those feces on the inner walls of the U.S. Capitol himself. There's no forgetting Jan. 6—or any of the other 1,460 days he cosplayed as president.

And no amount of gaslighting after the fact can possibly make us forget, no matter how much devotees like Conrad Black try.

Trump reportedly 'shocked' his former chief of staff with refusal to stop praising Nazi leader Adolf Hitler

Back in 2017, the inventor of Godwin's Law made it clear that comparing someone to a Nazi, when they are literally praising the Nazis, was completely fair. That came during the sequence of events at Charlottesville, where violent white supremacists marched to Nazi slogans and one deliberately killed peaceful protester Heather Heyer by driving over her with a car. Trump responded by a statement that there were "very fine people" on both sides of the events, then he doubled-down on that statement with a claim that he was only supporting the Nazis in their praise for a Confederate traitor.

In 2018, Trump explicitly declared "I'm a nationalist," in a speech ostensibly supporting Ted Cruz. "You know, they have a word," said Trump. "It sort of became old-fashioned. It's called a nationalist. And I say really, we're not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist. Use that word."

So when The Guardian published an account on Wednesday morning that Trump defended Hitler while on a tour of military cemeteries … is anyone really surprised?

"Hitler," said Trump, "did a lot of good things."

The pro-Hitler conversation is from a book titled Frankly, We Did Win This Election, by Wall Street Journal reported Michael Bender which is slated for publication next week.

On a 2018 trip to Europe in which Trump was supposed to go to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery to visit the graves of 2,300 Americans who were killed in World War I. Instead, Trump skipped out on the visit, claiming it was too wet, while actually telling his advisers that he had no interest in visiting soldiers who were "losers" and "suckers."

During that visit, it was already known that then chief of staff John Kelly tried to explain the circumstances of both World Wars, to explain how the actions taken after World War I contributed to the rise of the Nazis, and how that led to World War II. Trump responded by saying that he "didn't understand why the United States would intervene on the side of the Allies."

But the new book goes further. It explains how Trump "stunned" Kelly by his direct support of Hitler. Kelly reputedly told Trump that he was wrong to support the murderous dictator, "but Trump was undeterred." Instead, Trump kept pointing to how Hitler supposedly pulled Germany out of its economic slump in the 1930s.

Kelly grew explicit in his response, telling Trump, "you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can't."

Even then, Trump continued to praise Hitler. Kelly was reportedly disgusted, as were other unnamed senior officials who described Trump's "understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the Black experience in general post-civil war as vague to nonexistent."

Trump has, according to Kelly, a "stunning disregard for history." But then, why should anyone expect anything else? Trump has been rewarded for ignoring history. He lost no support among Republicans for attacking veterans, prisoners of war, or Gold Star families. He lost no support for his embrace of the term nationalist, or for his often-expressed love for modern-day dictators like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, or Rodrigo Duterte. Trump actively gained support in the party for white supremacist positions that insist that white people are the real victims of racism, and that Blacks and immigrants are not real Americans. The Republican Party is marching ahead with those principles in every state, making rolling back voting rights and villainizing immigrants the cornerstone of their 2022 effort.

Don't expect to see any criticism from Republicans over Trump's statement. Instead, expect them to first claim that it's all made up—then to embrace it.

BRAND NEW STORIES

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.