First Jan. 6 hearings begin with police who were assaulted, GOP continuing that assault

Make no mistake: Republicans do not want any kind of investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection because they’re extremely afraid of what that investigation will find. That’s why, when given the opportunity to have an impartial panel that examined those events outside the normal back and forth of Congressional politics, Republicans in the Senate shot it down. That’s why when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi revived the idea as a select committee, Republicans voted against it. That’s why Kevin McCarthy first tried to saddle the investigation with a stack of Republicans whose announced intention was to derail any look into those events, then made a pretense of withdrawing Republican “support” when Pelosi rejected the worst of those who were out to make the investigation a farce.

Republicans do not want this to happen. What they want is for everyone else to leave this alone so they can continue the project of turning Jan. 6 from insurrection to tourist visit to patriotic action that’s a model for future events.

That effort is expected to continue on Tuesday as the House holds the first hearing from that select committee. As CNN reports, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to make clear that he “will not cooperate” with the committee’s investigation. They are planning a number of events for the course of the day, all with the same theme: It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault. Pelosi, according to the cover story being generated on the right, failed to get the Capitol Police and National Guard to the Capitol in sufficient numbers—a claim that ignores how that was both not Pelosi’s job and not within her authority.

Meanwhile, the actual hearing is going to begin. Here’s what to expect.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:38:18 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Fanone pounds the table as he says, "the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!" "Nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day and in doing so betray their oath of office," he adds

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2021

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:41:31 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

DC officer Daniel Hodges: "A man attempted to rip the baton from my hands & we wrestled for control. I retained my weapon. After I pushed him back, he yelled at me, 'you're on the wrong team!'...another [shouted], 'you will die on your knees!'"

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 27, 2021

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:43:28 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

The opening video included new information, including audio communications of insurgents calling for use of the gallows, and those outside the Capitol insisting that federal, state, and local officials needed to be rounded up for mass executions.

This first day of testimony will be focused on the appearance of four members of law enforcement who were present at the assault on the Capitol. D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone has become well known for his previous statements and a letter to Congress in which he called attempts to downplay the events of Jan. 6 “disgraceful” and demanded recognition for the dozens of officers injured on that day. Fanone was beaten with metal pipes and repeatedly shocked with a Taser. He described the events of that day as the “most brutal, savage, hand-to-hand combat of my entire life.” 

D.C. Metro Police Officer Daniel Hodges’ name may not be quite as familiar as Fanone’s at this point, but millions of Americans have certainly seen his face. It was Hodges who was caught in the entrance as Trump supporters made a game of trying to crush him between two doors. Trapped with his hands and shoulders pinned behind him, insurgents took the opportunity to beat him, hit him with bear spray, and coordinate their movements to press ever harder against Hodges’ trapped form. At least one man has already been arrested specifically for his attack on Hodges. Hodges also made it clear that in spite of the pain and damage he suffered on that day, he knew exactly what was going on. “If it wasn't my job, I would have done that for free ... It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection ... and we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn fought against rioters who smashed police lines and assaulted officers outside the building, then teamed up with other officers to follow Trump insurgents inside and attempt to block access to officials. As a Black man, Dunn was subject to special attention from the white supremacist mob, including being called the N-word dozens of times. When Dunn mentioned this, it was enough to have Tucker Carlson attempt to discredit the officer as an “angry activist.” Because that’s how Black men are. Angry … about being kicked, beaten, bear-sprayed, and clubbed while being under constant racist assault.

The final member  of police to speak on this day is Capitol Hill Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell. Gonell, both a police veteran and a military veteran, was beaten with a flag pole, had his hand sliced open with a knife, and was so dosed in chemical spray that it dripped from his clothing. Gonell, in a stunned haze from the assault and chemical spray, has recounted hearing insurgents say they were going to kill the police and calling them traitors. Gonell has also said he took Republican votes to block an independent Jan. 6 commission as a personal insult.

The hearing is now underway with a review of videos and reports from that day.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 1:48:07 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

NEW: The Justice Department is green-lighting the participation of ex-Trump officials in the Jan. 6 investigation, according to a letter reviewed by POLITICO. Story TK w/ @woodruffbets

— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) July 27, 2021

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 1:53:31 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

The initial video presented at the opening of the hearing was genuinely chilling. It not only showed footage previously seen at the Senate impeachment trial, but included new footage, much of  it from the Capitol grounds, showing more Trump supporters urging the use of the gallows to hang members of Congress, as well as making it clear that many of those present saw Jan. 6 as an opening act.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 2:04:50 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

It’s a real shame we don’t get to have Jim Jordan on this committee, rolling his eyes and making dismissive gestures as they show the MAGA mob assaulting cops and hunting for Pelosi and Pence.

— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) July 27, 2021

DOJ: Former Trump officials can testify about Jan. 6 Capitol attack

The Justice Department will not move to block former Trump administration officials from testifying in investigations related to the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, according to a letter reviewed by POLITICO.

The letter, which explains the Biden Justice Department’s position on the matter, suggests that former top aides who witnessed the chaotic final days of Donald Trump’s presidency will have DOJ’s blessing to participate in the House’s select committee probe, which is holding its first public hearing on Tuesday morning with the police officers who were assaulted by rioters on Jan. 6.

“In these interviews, you are authorized to provide information you learned” while serving under the former president, reads the letter.

The letter specifically cites ongoing investigations by the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The New York Times first reported the letter.

The Justice Department’s view on the matter is a stark departure from that of the Trump-era DOJ, which routinely intervened on behalf of top White House and administration officials to assert executive privilege or other broad legal claims to prevent them from testifying about their conversations with the former president. In his first impeachment proceedings, Trump was charged with obstructing Congress, stemming from his administration’s refusal to honor subpoenas seeking documents and witness testimony.

The letter green-lights potentially damning testimony from aides close to Trump, who embarked on an unprecedented effort in his final days in office to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory. Those efforts culminated in the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol by a mob of his supporters, while lawmakers were certifying Biden’s state-by-state Electoral College wins.

“The Committee has been pushing DOJ for this waiver for months,” Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote on Twitter. “Now that we have it, we’ll proceed to interview relevant witnesses ASAP so we can get to the bottom of this plot to enlist DOJ in Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.”

Trump and his top White House aides exerted significant pressure on the Justice Department in December and January as they pushed baseless claims of election fraud and tried to take extraordinary actions to prevent Biden from taking office.

The select committee and other congressional panels could seek testimony from former Justice Department officials, as well as former White House aides who have deep knowledge of the Trump-led effort.

The letter describes the Justice Department’s view that it must “balance the Executive Branch’s confidentiality interests with Congress’ legitimate need to gather information.”

The letter says DOJ has concluded that the congressional investigations present “an exceptional situation in which the congressional need for information outweighs the Executive Branch’s interest in maintaining confidentiality.” It authorizes the recipient to provide “unrestricted testimony … irrespective of potential privilege.”

As part of the House select committee’s investigation, dozens of potential witnesses could be called in for testimony, and lawmakers serving on the panel have said that subpoenas are likely to be issued.

The Biden Justice Department’s position would make it much easier for the committee to obtain that testimony, easing potential concerns about years-long court battles with the executive branch over claims of privilege.

Even now, the House is still fighting in court to enforce its subpoenas seeking records related to Democrats’ oversight investigations of Trump and his administration — a legal battle that was only necessary because of the Trump Justice Department’s efforts to shield the former president from scrutiny.

Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

Posted in Uncategorized

Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday

Deadlines, Deadlines

Good morning, liberal hippie commie Marxist Sorosistas and your America-killing infatuation with—[Checks notes]—keeping your fellow Americans safe and healthy and able to pay their bills. Tuesday welcomes you. For your convenience, C&J continues monitoring important deadlines of national importance as imposed by the Trump shadow administration, aka the MyPillow guy, who has never missed a deadline because of his peerless managerial efficiency and long-range planning prowess. Please mark the following on your "Chemtrail A Day" calendars:

August 12-13  “When we get through this and the Supreme Court pulls down this election—like I’ve been telling everybody—when they do this, it’s going to be a great uniting and that gives me hope. Once we have this symposium, how are the pathways of Donald Trump coming back? The first one would be, once we have the symposium, by the night of the 12th or the morning of the 13th. … maybe, you know, Biden and Harris would say, ‘hey, we’re here to protect the country’ and resign."

Stay tuned to Daily Kos for updates, as Mr. Lindell’s brilliant mind works beautifully and pillowy, and these developments will happen very, very quickly. Thank you. Have a magnetizing day.

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Note: Here's today's Helpful Hint from Heloise. To to reduce your risk of being robbed on the street, always carry a shovel with blood stains on it. Hugs!


By the Numbers:


Days 'til National Chili Dog Day: 2

Days 'til the Washington Island Music Festival in Wisconsin: 6

Minimum number of openly LGBTQ athletes who are competing for Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo: 30

Number of countries the estimated 140 “out” LGBTQ athletes, competing in 26 sports, come from: 25

Percent of states that now specifically ban the practice of using Jesus to turn gay kids straight via "conversion therapy": 50%

Amount Maine’s retail pot dispensaries made in June, a new record according to the Office of Marijuana Policy: $6,471,000

Next high tide in Portland, Maine: 2:32pm


Puppy Pic of the Day: And Lassie didn’t lift a damn finger…



CHEERS to getting to the bottom of all this insurrection whatchamahootchie. Today's the day the Trump cult has feared since the day they went all "Reichstag Fire" on their country by storming the Capitol to—in order of importance—hang Trump's vice president, smear feces on the walls, ransack the place, attack the Capitol Police, plant a Confederate flag under the Rotunda, and stop the certification of Joe Biden's election victory. Or, as the cult likes to say: the day they dressed up in their fancy best to hug and kiss the Capitol Police as they politely took a tour of our seat of government out of intellectual curiosity. So, y'know…potato puhtahto. Today the "Select Committee on the January 6th Attack" (9 Democrats, 2 Republicans) meets for the first time to investigate—quoting here—"WTF??????"  C&J has obtained an exclusive transcript of chairman Bennie Thompson's opening questions:

"Congressman Jim Jordan, would you like to say a few opening words? Oh, wait, that's right, he got booted off the committee Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!  Any objection to Congressman Jordan going first? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!  Or do you just want to sit there and look the other way, cuz I hear you were really good doing that at OSU. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

If you've ever wondered what Liz Cheney looks like cracking a smile, here's your chance.

CHEERS to an interesting set of options. Oh, those Democrats. Always trying to make it a little easier to help their fellow citizens get through this crazy thing called life. And one way they're trying to do that is by stuffing their $3.5 trillion "New New Deal" with provisions that will help add more support for the health care laws that are already on the books.  Via a deep dive at HuffPo (motto: "All the Po That's Fit to Huff"), these are some things that could be included…

»  $200 billion to shore up subsidies for Obamacare signer-uppers

Soon it could be Obama’s turn to tell the sitting president that his health care bill is a BFD. 

»  $400 billion for in-home care, housing, and employment for seniors and the disabled to help them maintain independence from nursing homes

»  Add dental, vision, and hearing care to Medicare, and cap out-of-pocket costs

»  $400 billion to close the "Medicaid gap" caused by Republicans (especially in the south) who refuse to expand the program as allowed by the ACA. This would get countless people at or just above the poverty line insured, many for the first time ever.

»  Reduce the age of eligibility to sign up for Medicare

»  Give the government the power—finally!!!—to negotiate for lower drug prices

Holy Aunt Fanny's lumbago, that's nice! Probably enough even to swing a few more votes the Democrats' way in the midterm elections for Republican officials to overturn the morning after. So what happens next? That's your homework assignment for today. Be specific and remember: penmanship counts.

CHEERS to the end of the end. It was all over for Tricky Dick 47 years ago today, thanks to a 27-11 vote by the House Judiciary Committee to adopt the first of three articles of impeachment against President Nixon who, said ABC News's Tom Jarrell at the time, was "presumably still in his swim trunks" while on vacation in California when he heard the news.  Meanwhile, then-VP Gerald Ford just couldn’t help but play a little game of up-is-downism:

Ford: It's interesting that every Democrat on the committee—north and south—voted for the article. ... It tends to make it a partisan issue.

When Trump is forced to leave in disgrace, he’ll just give the thumbs-up sign, which will look as ridiculously stupid as Dick’s victory signs.

Reporter: Even if one-third of Republicans voted for it?

Ford: Well, the fact that every one of the Democrats voted for it, I think, uh, lends credence that it's a partisan issue, even though some Republicans have deviated.

...said the Republican who later unilaterally exonerated the Republican crook. But, hey, what's a little hypocrisy among friends?




Dolphins riding a wave..

— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) July 25, 2021




CHEERS to shedding blood, sweat, toil, and tears for victory. The greatest sporting competition in the world continues today. It's intense. Inspiring. Gut-wrenching. Yes, it's even enough to bring a tear to your eye, knowing how hard the competitors worked and fought and planned and sacrificed to make it this far. Watching last night reminded me that the power of the champion isn’t in the brawn, but the brains. And all the pomp and ceremony can't conceal the fact that winning it all boils down to individual achievement on a scale that only the best of the best—the goatiest of the GOATs, if you will—will come out on top.  But enough about LeVar Burton's first night guest-hosting Jeopardy! Anyone know what's up at the Olympics?

JEERS to hounding the wrong guy. Speaking of not speaking about the Olympics, here’s a reminder that assholes can, and do, sometimes pee in the pool during the fun.  Twenty-five years ago today, domestic right-wing terrorist nut Eric Rudolph detonated a pipe bomb at the Summer Olympic games in Atlanta.

Sculpture in Centennial (Olympic) Park with an indentation of a nail from the July 27, 1996 bombing.

The blast killed one person and injured over a hundred more, but it could've been worse if security guard Richard Jewell hadn’t found the bomb and tried to move people out of harm's way. The hero was later pilloried in the press and by the late-night gaggle (Leno called him the "Una-doofus") when it became known that the FBI considered him a suspect. Then, when his name was officially cleared, they moved on and dumped his reputation by the side of the road like a rodent carcass.  Wikipedia reminds us of what the media should've learned: 

Jewell's case became an example of the damage that can be done by reporting based on unreliable or incomplete information...

Mr. Lesson From The Past, meet Mr. ADD.


Ten years ago in C&J: July 27, 2011

JEERS to the continuing distraction from job creation. This is Day 4 of our daily—and oh-so-useful—updates on the debt crisis. Here's the latest, courtesy of special guest blogger, Atrios:

Just a reminder that there is no debt ceiling crisis. There's a fake crisis started by Republicans and then embraced by the White House so that everyone gets to use the fake crisis to try to do unpopular things in such a way that nobody, in theory, actually gets the blame.

A few people need to show up in Congress in the middle of the night, cast a voice vote, and we can move on to the next fake crisis.

Tomorrow: You ain't seen nothin' yet. (And that's what you're getting.)


And just one more…

CHEERS to a fabulous quintet. Just a pure unadulterated good news story: the 44th Kennedy Center Honorees have been announced. As usual, the wealth of talent has a liberal bias:

Operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz’s remarkable career has taken him to the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses and symphonic halls. He stands as one of the greatest bass-baritones in the field.

Berry Gordy’s unparalleled contribution to music and popular culture as a songwriter, producer, and director provided the musical soundtrack for generations of Americans and brought us many of today’s greatest artists. He is responsible for the “Motown Sound” that reached out across a racially divided, politically and socially charged country, to transform popular music forever.

Good lookin’ bunch.

Emmy Award winning producer and writer Lorne Michaels created Saturday Night Live, capturing the zeitgeist of American life and culture.

As one of the world's most beloved entertainers and living legends, Bette Midler’s expansive body of work has spanned nearly six decades across different genres, eras, and media.

An artist of unparalleled talent stretching across genres, Joni Mitchell is an icon of modern music and one of the most influential songwriters and creators of our age.

I'm thinking that we'll see a return of the President of the United States sitting in a balcony seat with the honorees during the festivities on December 5th. The last president snubbed them. He suffers from a severe allergy to the toxic mix of happiness and culture.

Have a tolerable Tuesday. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial

A man named Dan Bailey posted a video of himself on Instagram as he calmly told Bill in Portland Maine to his face, “You are the worst human being known to mankind.”



Democrats prep a somber yet TV-ready first hearing in Jan. 6 probe

Democrats want Americans glued to their TVs Tuesday for the first hearing of the Jan. 6 select committee. They also don't want a circus.

More than six months since the deadly siege of the Capitol, the select panel's first meeting is designed as a somber yet camera-ready event to elicit fading memories of that day's horrifying events — not to mention counter a GOP wave of revisionist history that threatens to muddy the waters.

The select committee’s members, assembled for their first public appearance since Speaker Nancy Pelosi added Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to the dais, are set to question officers from the Metropolitan Police Department and the Capitol Police who personally fended off violent rioters on the hunt for members of Congress.

The four officers will be dressed in their uniforms to testify, despite appearing in a personal capacity. Questions to them will be limited and interwoven with video footage. And members are restricted to one round of back-and-forth, ensuring the hearing lasts only a few hours rather than becoming an all-day affair like other high-profile moments in Washington.

The hearing comes at a pivotal moment for Democrats and the two House Republicans who put their political futures on the line to join in the investigation. Democrats want to avoid the spectacle that engulfed the Benghazi select committee during former President Barack Obama's second term, despite the GOP's best efforts to frustrate the inquiry into the insurrection. And given their thin majority, they’re trying to avoid playing politics, even though the investigation will inevitably lead back to Donald Trump and other Republicans.

“We're a very serious committee that's extremely cohesive and bipartisan,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a select panel member, told a POLITICO reporter while passing through the metal detectors outside the House floor.

But Republicans are determined to not let them go unchallenged. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had also been passing by the metal detectors, interrupted Raskin to say the select committee is “extremely partisan."

One of McCarthy's biggest intra-party critics, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), will get an elevated role at the hearing. She’ll deliver an opening statement after Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

That spot, speaking right after a chair, is typically reserved for a minority party's ranking member. But after McCarthy withdrew his appointments in response to Pelosi’s decision to veto Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Cheney now has the spotlight.

Senior Democrats are looking to give Cheney a more prominent leadership post on the panel, including possibly making her vice chair, as her performance behind the scenes leaves them impressed with her focus and drive. Democrats are also finalizing plans to make former GOP Rep. Denver Riggleman a senior adviser to the two Republicans on the panel at Cheney's request.

When asked if Cheney would continue to give opening statements at future hearings, Thompson told POLITICO: “If nobody objects, I don't see why it's a problem."

Cheney is also expected to make the rounds on two different cable news shows, ABC’s Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, a sign that the Wyoming Republican plans to continue leaning into her role on the panel, rather than shy away from it amid backlash from her GOP colleagues.

Pelosi, who told her leadership team Monday night she was looking forward to the panel’s first hearing, was praised by her members for outmaneuvering McCarthy over the last week, according to sources familiar with the closed-door discussions.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) spoke up to thank Pelosi for rejecting Banks specifically from the panel after one of her constituents — who was later found to have rioted at the Capitol — ended up joining his recent trip to the border, according to people in the room.

Even with Banks and Jordan off the panel, though, Republicans don't plan to make the committee's work easy for Democrats.

One day ahead of the committee’s first hearing, McCarthy took aim at Cheney and Kinzinger as “Pelosi Republicans,” a dig at their involvement in the inquiry at the appointment of the speaker. Cheney and Kinzinger both responded by calling his remarks “childish.”

On the other hand, McCarthy and the rest of the GOP conference have only limited tools at their disposal to protest the select committee. One tool Republicans plan to lean on is counter-messaging.

The five Republicans McCarthy initially tapped to serve on the investigation, as well as two members of leadership — Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) — are expected to hold a press conference Tuesday morning ahead of the hearing.

Banks and Jordan, as well as Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) and Troy Nehls (R-Texas), huddled in McCarthy’s office Monday afternoon to plan their strategy ahead of the press conference. One source familiar with the meeting said the group is “very serious” about ensuring their criticisms of Democrats do not appear to criticize the officers testifying or impugn their heroism on Jan. 6.

Republicans are generally expected to protest the committee’s inquiries as partisan, though it is unclear if they plan to outline plans for their own investigation into the attack, as McCarthy and other Republicans vowed to do after pulling out of the select panel. Any GOP-led investigation would lack subpoena power.

While the GOP press conference is blessed by leadership, some party firebrands — including Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), and Paul Gosar (Ariz.) — are holding their own Tuesday press conference outside the Justice Department, where they are expected to protest the "treatment of Jan. 6 prisoners."

The committee has already faced controversy over its staff director, David Buckley, who is fielding criticism for how he handled a whistleblower matter as the inspector general for the CIA, first reported by Yahoo! News. Making matters awkward for Democrats, the whistleblower Buckley dealt with then now represents two of the Capitol Police officers testifying in the committee’s first hearing. That attorney, Andrew Bakaj, also represented the still-anonymous whistleblower whose allegations kicked off the first Trump impeachment.

In response to the Yahoo! story, the committee released a statement defending Buckley and saying Bakaj engaged in “claimed whistleblowing” — insinuating that Bakaj wasn’t a real whistleblower. Bakaj’s law partner Mark Zaid, who is also representing the Capitol police officers, fired back with a statement saying they “deplore the Committee’s incredibly insulting public comment” about him.

Committee members insist they are focused on their task at hand. Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said he hoped Republicans would be listening to the officers, too, and for those watching on TV, “they’ll see how graphic, how serious, and how important their work is.”

Betsy Woodruff Swan and Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

Posted in Uncategorized

How Jim Jordan went from ‘legislative terrorist’ to inside operator

Jim Jordan was working out in the House gym in late November 2018 when Kevin McCarthy called him with a peace offering in the wake of their battle for the GOP conference's top job.

The Ohio lawmaker coveted the senior spot on the House Oversight Committee, a powerful new perch that would offer him a bigger megaphone and a chance to wage daily battle with Democrats. But McCarthy’s offer came with a caveat: Jordan would have to shed his past willingness to drive a wedge within the conference, the type of behavior that prompted former Speaker John Boehner to christen him a “legislative terrorist,” and become a team player.

It was a calculated risk for McCarthy, who had watched Jordan rise as a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, an arch-conservative group that made legislative life hell for McCarthy’s two predecessors in Republican leadership. That call, recounted by McCarthy and Jordan, illustrates the breadth of the mutual leap the duo took to consolidate their power as allies.

Now, as Jordan reaches new heights of popularity among his House GOP peers after Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred him from the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the moment stands out as a key inflection point in their relationship.

McCarthy told POLITICO that both men, not to mention the conference writ large, evolved to bring his relationship with Jordan to the current moment: "You adapt. If you don't adapt, you're not gonna get there," he said.

Lately, the onetime leadership rivals couldn’t be closer. The Ohioan is even rethinking the Freedom Caucus’ efforts to install former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) over McCarthy in 2015.

“We should have made McCarthy the speaker, versus Ryan,” Jordan said during a recent interview in his office. “Looking back, we should have done that because Kevin can make a decision and ... he’s done just a good job of bringing the entire team working together.”

That remarkable shift in the two men's dynamic, from rivals for minority leader to partners, explains a lot about why Republicans are oozing with confidence that they can retake the House next fall. Jordan said he expects his good relations with McCarthy to continue if the party retakes the majority and denied any interest in vying for a higher post himself at that time, asserting that it's leadership — not him — who's evolved.

“I don't think I've changed one bit, but there's been a dramatic change in the leadership of our conference and just dramatic change in a good way from Boehner to McCarthy," Jordan said.

When Jordan appeared before the GOP Steering Committee to discuss the top job on the Oversight Committee in 2018, however, his past as a rhetorical bomb-thrower atop the Freedom Caucus was fresh on many Republican minds. Members of the steering panel, which is largely controlled by Republican leadership, skewered Jordan during that encounter.

“You can’t go s--- all over the conference” and then get rewarded with a ranking member's position, one lawmaker on the Steering panel recalled of the back-and-forth, addressing it on condition of anonymity. That Republican said Jordan received a “harsh” dressing-down and ultimately agreed that, if he got to lead his party on the Oversight panel, he would give GOP leadership the “benefit of the doubt” going forward.

McCarthy and other Republicans saw Jordan’s past machinations against the conference as a byproduct of his exclusion from its inner sanctum. In that vein, his motivations shifted once he was given a seat at the table.

“If you do the same thing always ... and you don't take a risk, you can't win anything," McCarthy said of his decision to offer Jordan the Oversight spot. He didn't try to strong-arm Jordan while offering the position, McCarthy added, but said only that "If you're going to be a ranker, you have responsibilities … ”

Jordan said that he couldn't recall getting warned sharply during the Steering meeting. As he remembered it, he told McCarthy he was leery of stepping on his friend, former Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a fellow Donald Trump ally who also wanted the Oversight Committee's top GOP spot. According to Jordan, he made no promises about how he would operate as ranking member in 2018 but said only, "thanks for the opportunity."

No matter whose memory is right, there's no disputing that Jordan made the most of that opportunity McCarthy gave him — and the risk has paid off dramatically. By early 2020 Jordan had jumped to become the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, a position he had long aspired to. There he would play a key role in the GOP defense against Democrats’ first impeachment investigation of Trump’s contacts with Ukraine, a performance that helped make him one of McCarthy's top picks for the select committee on Jan. 6.

Of course, Trump himself played a major role in Jordan's journey from the fringes to the highest ranks of the House GOP. The former president got involved in the McCarthy-Jordan leadership race in 2018 to smooth tensions between the two, and Jordan's support of the bombastic Trump is as critical to his rise this Congress as it is to Rep. Liz Cheney's (R-Wyo.) fall.

Trump also played an indirect role in Jordan's growing House GOP clout. Spearheading the Republican defense in both Trump impeachments helped the Ohioan make new allies across the conference's ideological spectrum, in part by mentoring younger members on the Judiciary and Oversight panels.

“Jim, I've noticed, especially over the last year, spends a lot of time going around and talking to the new members, the ones that he feels like want his advice,” said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who became the top Republican on the Oversight panel after Jordan moved to Judiciary.

“He probably wasn't the most popular member in the conference when I arrived four and a half years ago, but I think that he probably is the most popular member of the conference" nowadays, Comer added. "He's the most popular member with the Republican base, there's no question about that."

Jordan said that "I try to help our colleagues, particularly if you're on" the Judiciary panel, adding that he's traveled to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Louisiana so far to assist fellow House Republicans.

"That is what you do. It is what Kevin [McCarthy] does. It is what [House Minority Whip] Steve [Scalise] does. It is what President Trump did," Jordan added.

He may have left his past antics behind, but his embrace of shutdown politics and political brawls, his avid defense of Trump at every turn, his skill at lobbing attacks at his opponents — not to mention his ties to a sexual abuse scandal on the Ohio State University wrestling team — mean Jordan will be forever infamous among Democrats. Among them, Pelosi is seen as heroic for blocking Jordan from the Jan. 6 probe.

Jordan has "led the charge" among Republicans toward "cult-ish behavior [that's] contributed to profound dysfunctionality and debasement of a proud and major political party," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said.

House Republicans have their own, and varied, opinions about Jordan's status. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), a close friend and fellow Freedom Caucus member, said he thinks “Congress probably has" evolved more than Jordan has. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), also a far-right conservative, agreed that Jordan’s “message is still the same.”

Some Republicans acknowledge, even if only privately, that Jordan has indeed changed. Others argued that his vibe might feel different if they take back the House next year.

“We're in the minority,” remarked Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a Freedom Caucus member. “Let's see how the evolution looks in January,” he added.

A few McCarthy allies, meanwhile, have mused that part of Jordan's transformation came from pulling the Ohioan away from Meadows, who they saw as a bad influence.

Jordan has distanced himself from various moves led by members of the Freedom Caucus, including the deployment of parliamentary delay tactics designed to protest Democratic policies that have bred frustration among the broader GOP conference. He has also broken from Freedom Caucus members on key votes, including to support two bills honoring the Capitol Police for their response to the Jan. 6 assault.

Still, some Republicans question whether if Jordan will maintain his alliance with McCarthy and other leaders if they win back the House next fall. And despite his shift from the outside to the inside of the GOP conference, other colleagues wonder if Jordan has privately hatched plans to overthrow McCarthy when the time comes. But many believe their unity now will keep going well into a 2023 majority, with Jordan very much included.

“It makes us a more inclusive team,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a moderate who sits on the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. “There's a great saying: It's better to have people in the tent pissing out than people outside the tent pissing in.”

McCarthy had an even pithier assessment of Jordan, saying: “He is getting along with everyone — that's a leader."

Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.

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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.

CNN Political Commentator, Watergate Reporter Carl Bernstein Calls Trump A ‘War Criminal’

Carl Bernstein, a political commentator for CNN and famed Watergate journalist, claims former President Donald Trump is an “American war criminal.”

Bernstein made the comments on perhaps the only show – ‘Reliable Sources’ with Brian Stelter – on perhaps the only network that would let him make such a radical accusation without questioning his assertion.

“I think we need to calmly step back and maybe look at Trump in a different context,” he said without a hint of calm. “He is our own American war criminal of a kind we’ve never experienced before.”

Bernstein, in beefing up his Trump derangement bonafides, also accused Trump of “homicidal negligence” for his handling of the pandemic, and claimed continued allegations of election fraud amount to ‘war crimes’ against the American people.

Stelter, the perpetually befuddled host, didn’t question Bernstein but rather, worried that he was “going to get heat” for his incendiary comments.

“All I’m doing is saying, ‘Whoa, let’s look at Trump’s crimes in a different context,'” Bernstein replied. “Yes, war crimes. These were crimes against our people.”

RELATED: Video: Arizona Republican Who Killed Election Integrity Bills Booed Off Stage At Trump Rally

Carl Bernstein: Trump Is A ‘War Criminal’

Carl Bernstein’s accusations that Trump is a “war criminal” for questioning election integrity, even as it is missing one of the defining characteristics (the ‘war’ part), would be an embarrassment to his credibility in a sane world.

Instead, you’ll see Bernstein propped up as a hero of the left for fomenting what they truly believe in their own minds.

The famed author suggested that Trump placed his own election prospects ahead of the health and safety of the American people and by doing so committed “crimes against humanity.”

Aside from being bat guano crazy, two points:

  1. There are mountains of evidence as to what the former President did to navigate the American people through the pandemic.
  2. If focusing on other matters concurrently is a ‘war crime,’ then every Democrat who focused the entire system of government on impeachment would be brought up on charges.

RELATED: Texas Democrats Mocked As ‘Pathetic’ After Group Solicits Care Package Items For Fleeing Lawmakers

Carl Bernstein cited another drama queen in making his accusation of war crimes, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Milley had compared Trump’s complaints of election fraud and the protests that resulted at the Capitol to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley allegedly told aides at the time. “The gospel of the Führer.”

Bernstein, whatever he once was in the field of journalism, is nothing but a caricature of a man he thinks CNN viewers want to see.

Following the Capitol protest, the reporter said he considered the ex-president to be the “first seditious president in our history.”

And with riveting commentary like that, Stelter, who is desperate for anything involving Trump due to his limp ratings, decided to get further opinion on the matter.

Bernstein was the subject of intense scrutiny regarding a story he helped author for CNN in 2018 about a ‘bombshell’ meeting at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.

One of the anonymous sources for the story later claimed it was false.



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High-stakes infrastructure talks stall out as deadline passes

Senators capped off a day of trading blame and stalled efforts on their bipartisan infrastructure proposal with a Monday meeting that quickly broke up, signaling a tough path forward as negotiators missed yet another self-imposed deadline.

The core 10 senators huddled in the office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the lead Republican negotiator, hoping to get past a rough weekend of fruitless talks. Discussions are expected to resume later in the evening, though not in person, and negotiators claimed they were still making progress.

Portman said he was still optimistic about a deal despite rejected offers, finger pointing and impasses. He and White House counselor Steve Ricchetti will help finish the deal, negotiators said, with input from the rest of the group.

“Somebody be a little positive. I mean come on. Geez,” Portman told reporters who questioned the deal's chances. He said negotiations were going well: “I just spent all day talking to Democrats and Republicans, all my colleagues, and we’re making progress.”

Still, Portman said the White House has “added some new challenges to the list,” hinting at deep disagreements with Democrats over key policy areas like broadband, water funding, highways, public transit and financing the agreement. With July nearly turned to August, the number of outstanding issues prompted a fresh round of urgency among Democrats, who are worried their agenda could stall without one final push.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was "fully committed" to passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill this summer, and warned that more foot-dragging could require the Senate to stay in over the weekend or cuts to some of the upcoming August recess. And for a Democratic Party eager to move on to the rest of its agenda before the midterms cloud every decision in Congress, time is running short.

"The bipartisan group of senators has had nearly five weeks of negotiations since they first announced an agreement with President Biden. It's time for everyone to get to yes and produce an outcome," Schumer said on Monday afternoon.

In interviews on Monday, there were no signs among senators that anyone was willing to walk away from the table after investing so much time in the discussions to spend nearly $600 billion in new money on roads, bridges, broadband and climate infrastructure. One Senate Democrat privately assessed that the two parties had come too far to bail on the bipartisan effort.

“I anticipate doing whatever it takes to get the job done,” asserted Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

Schumer also challenged Republicans over whether they would "follow the absurd demands of a disgraced former president" and abandon the deal. He called on the GOP to "ignore former President Trump,” who asked Republicans to drop discussions with Democrats altogether.

As bipartisan negotiators aim to finalize an agreement, Trump said that Senate Republicans “are being absolutely savaged by Democrats on the so-called ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure bill” and urged them to wait until they take back the Senate in 2022 to “regain a strong negotiating stance.” Trump tried unsuccessfully to cut a deal with Democrats on infrastructure during his presidency, sidelining negotiations once his impeachment investigation began.

Schumer's urgency and Trump's taunts reflect a state of negotiations more dire than it's been in a month, so much so that the GOP sent out a list of areas where that Democratic offer broke from previous agreements among the bipartisan senators writing the bill on Monday afternoon. It is the latest in a running list of bleak signs for the talks ahead of another pivotal week of negotiations in the Senate.

“It all seems easy until you get to the final details and they’re never as easy as you think they’re going to be,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)

Although the bipartisan group and the White House announced an agreement last month on a bipartisan framework, translating it into legislative text is proving difficult. Schumer wants to pass the bipartisan bill and begin the process for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion social spending package before the Senate leaves for the August recess.

Even if senators can cut a deal and get it on the floor, it still needs to go through floor consideration — which could take days if not weeks. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) warned that his party would want the option to offer as many amendments to the bill as possible, illustrating pent-up demand to try and modify a bill that Biden is certain to sign.

Democrats and the White House on Sunday night made an offer to Republicans that proposed a deal on highway and public transit funding, as well as several other unresolved areas. That offer was intended to address all outstanding disputes — and was immediately rejected by Republicans.

A GOP source familiar with the negotiations said Schumer and Biden were trying to “reopen numerous issues the bipartisan group had already agreed to” and urged both to show more flexibility. Two additional sources close to the talks, one in each party, confirmed the perilous state of negotiations on a signature priority of Biden.

Each blamed the other side for reopening debate on items once considered settled, with a Democrat familiar with the negotiations saying that “it takes a lot of chutzpah for Republicans to make accusations about keeping words” after they walked away from a key financing pillar of the agreement: increasing IRS enforcement to raise money.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she is “confident” an agreement can be reached. But many struck a more dour tone.

“Keep in mind that the longer it goes [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s hand gets stronger and he’s able to figure out this part and that part in trying to peel off one of the Republican senators here and there,” warned Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Monday.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers hoped to reach a final agreement by early this week after a vote to advance undrafted legislation failed last week. But that appears unlikely, with several issues outstanding. While transit seems to be the biggest sticking point, provisions on both broadband and the bill’s finances are also not resolved.

A Democratic source familiar with the bipartisan discussions said that Democrats’ counteroffer included accepting the GOP proposal for highways in exchange for the Democratic proposal on transit. But Republicans dispute that characterization. A GOP source familiar with the negotiations said the choice isn't binary and that the GOP offer on transit "was met with silence for three days.”

Funding for water infrastructure also remains unresolved, according to a Democratic source familiar with the talks, who accused Republicans of backing away from the original agreement. That source said that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) had reneged on a deal and "proposed something completely unworkable."

A spokesperson for Romney called that "laughably false" and said Schumer is seeking $15 billion more than a previous agreement.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) both raised concerns about the funding last week. The snafu illustrates the tricky challenge the group of rank-and-file senators led by Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Portman has in navigating around committee chairs.

Eleven Senate Republicans wrote Schumer last week to tell him they’d be ready to move forward as soon as Monday, provided the bill was mostly completed and its finances were in order. Neither condition was met as senators convened on Monday afternoon.

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Team Cuomo continues its underhanded attacks on his investigators

How about that: Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine actually slapped Rich Azzopardi, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s loyal spokesthug, for bad-mouthing state Attorney General Tish James, who’s overseeing a key investigation into the many sexual-harassment claims against the gov. Lavine (D-LI) is overseeing the Assembly’s own (incredibly slow-moving) impeachment probe of Cuomo, over the sex stuff...
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