A January 6 Exclamation Point (!)
Plus Tim Miller eviscerates the DeSantis Soft Boys
As we head into a desperately needed Super Bowl weekend, the Chinese balloon is still dead, a new Monmouth poll shows that despite some gains, Donald Trump trails Florida’s Ron DeSantis in a two-way race by a 53% to 40% margin. The horrific death toll in Turkey and Syria mounts; Mike Pence gets his subpoena, and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky gets a hero’s welcome in Europe, but Elon Musk blocks Ukrainian troops from using Starlink technology. Meanwhile, the House’s “Weaponization Committee” turned out to be the goat-rope everyone expected. It’s almost as if Jim Jordan & Co. are just very bad at this.
Oh, and I tested positive for Covid last night, so this should be fun.
The Pence subpoena
The clock is running on the case of the United States v. Donald Trump. It has been 765 days since the attack on the Capitol. that’s 109 weeks… more than 25 months.
And still no charges. No one in the White House has been indicted, and despite the mountain of evidence unearthed by the January 6 Committee, neither Merrick Garland or his new special counsel, Jack Smith, have moved against the chief architect of the Coup.
So some of us have been getting a bit impatient. The presidential campaign is already underway, and the race is ramping up as candidates jockey for position in lanes that may or may not exist (think Nikki Haley). Every passing day increases pressure on Justice to back away from tossing incendiary criminal indictments into the cauldron of our politics.
That’s what made last night’s announcement of the Pence subpoena so significant. Because Pence is the indispensable witness, who can testify under oath about what Trump said and when he said, the aggressive move seems to signal an investigation that is moving at ramming speed toward a conclusion.
This is the kind of subpoena that prosecutors usually wait until the end to issue, after they have put together all of the other pieces. In the January 6 case, the Pence subpoena is the exclamation point.
Via the Wapo:
The court-issued inquiry to Pence comes as Smith’s probe has been intensifying. In December, a grand jury issued a wide-ranging subpoena to Trump campaign officials, asking questions about Jan. 6 and who was footing their legal bills, The Washington Post previously reported.
Trump is a “dove”? More like a goldfish.
ICYMI, Tom Nichols and I had a lively podcast yesterday that addressed everything from Tucker Carlson’s obsession with snogging, the House GOP drunken kook bench, an update on the situation in Ukraine… and whether DJT is more like Mussolini or the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. There were many old movie references.
You can listen to our whole conversation here.
They are shocked! Shocked, I tell you!
From a conservative talk show host in Wisconsin:
Wait. it’s almost as if none of this was about ‘conservativism,” policies, or even about winning. Who the fuq knew?
Some background here: I’ve known Jay for years. Back in 2016, he was a reliably strong critic of Trump, but afterward, as he suggests above, he pivoted to aggressive turd-polishing (a phrase I am obliged to tell you, my wife thoroughly dislikes, but it really seems quite apt.)
Now he is shocked, appalled, and really seriously annoyed that the man he has defended and supported so aggressively, turns out be…dare I say it… someone who might actually engage in “smears and shitty lies” himself?
Make sure you read Tim’s fantastic takedown on all of this faux indignation. I know you may have received it in your in-box already, but do yourself a favor and read it again.
If you missed it, Trump’s latest attack featured a picture in which DeSantis is shown drinking with women who appear younger than him and are allegedly his students. One included the caption “Here is Ron DeSanctimonious grooming high school girls with alcohol as a teacher.” In the other the post, the user Trump is “regeeting” says “having drinks with underage girls and cuddling with them certainly look pretty gross and ephebophiliaesque.”
You have seen this move before: Remember when Trump threatened to reveal Ted Cruz’s supposed affairs?
When he accused Ben Carson of being a child molester?
When he falsely claimed that Jeb liked “Mexican illegals” because his wife is one?
When he alleged that Mika Brzezinski was bleeding from her face after plastic surgery? When he retweeted someone who used a #PedoBiden hashtag?
…an array of people who gleefully supported Trump for president—twice!—despite this decades-long pattern of behavior are now Very Concerned about his nastiness.
Byron York, the Washington Examiner’s saddest Trump lickspittle, lamented that Trump is going “lower and lower.” Former editor for Trump fan-blog American Greatness Pedro Gonzalez is now under the impression that his one-time hero is “unserious” and acting based on his “insecurities.” (You don’t say!) Claremonster and miniature tough boi Dave Reaboi called it bottom-feeder stuff.
The Star Wars Cantina Hearing
Well, that didn’t go well.
Unless you are steeped in the glossolalia of Fox News-speak, you may not have any clue about what was going on in Jim Jordan’s big hearing Thursday.
As the Democrat’s Congressional Integrity Project pointed out, it was “the Tucker Carlson Panel”:
“Insurrectionist Supporters, Election Deniers, Paid FOX News Contributors, Disgruntled Former Employees and Book Sellers Make up Jim Jordan’s Witnesses Today”
Senator Ron Johnson, who hasn’t yet met a conspiracy theory yet that he doesn’t like.
Putin fangirl Tulsi Gabbard.
Iowa’s octogenarian conspiracist, Chuck Grassley
Twitter user Jonathan Turley.
Retired Former FBI Agent Thomas Baker, who didn’t seem to know what a smartphone was.
Exit take: The contrast with the January 6 was striking. the Select Committee spent months putting together evidence, while Jordan’s committee seemed to have just printed out old Fox News clips. Also: the pushback from the Democrats on the committee reminds us just how stupid it was for Kevin McCarthy to pull Republicans from the J6 Committee.
1. Steve Bannon’s Podcast Is Top Misinformation Spreader, Study Says
Well, here’s our shocked face. Via the NYT:
In a study released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution, Mr. Bannon’s show was crowned the top peddler of false, misleading and unsubstantiated statements among political podcasts.
Researchers at Brookings downloaded and transcribed 36,603 podcast episodes from 79 political talk shows that had been released before Jan. 22, 2022. When researchers compared the shows’ transcripts against a list of keywords and common falsehoods identified by fact checkers, they found that nearly 20 percent of Mr. Bannon’s “War Room” episodes contained a false, misleading or unsubstantiated statement, more than shows by other conservatives like Glenn Beck and Charlie Kirk.
Overall, about 70 percent of the podcasts reviewed had shared at least one false or misleading claim, the researchers found. Conservative podcasters were 11 times as likely as liberal podcasters to share a claim that fact checkers could refute.
Quick reminder: there are other choices, people (check out #6). Here’s the top 10 Apple political pods in America as of today:
2. When a Balloon Hits Your Sky and It’s There Just to Spy…
Not fuqqing nuts at all.
Vaxxed. Double boosted. Flu shot. But I went to a big retirement party for an old boss on Sunday, so here we are. Not feeling that terrible at the moment, but have lots of sleeping on my schedule after taping today’s pod with Tim Miller.
So Starlink doesn’t want its communications system to give the Ukrainians any potential military advantage in their effort to fend of the assault of a ravenous dictator. Although its been said many times, many ways, (and deservedly so), go fuck yourself, Elon.
Get well soon, Charlie!