The Good, Bad, and the Really Ugly
A survey of our deplorable news cycle
As you know, I am loath to indulge in irrational exuberance or wish-casting. But since it’s Monday, perhaps we can start with some more or less good news that comes with a dollop of schadenfreude. (We’ll get to the bad, and genuinely ugly in a moment.)
It is a sign of the times that the absolute bare minimum passes as a positive development. Via Politico: “‘No one's paying any attention': The week that Republicans ignored Trump's election lies.”
Mehmet Oz, the Trump-backed Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, did not prematurely declare victory last week, as Trump said he should. David McCormick, who is running narrowly behind Oz, has not claimed the election is unfair.
“No one’s paying any attention to it,” said Christopher Nicholas, a longtime Republican consultant based in Harrisburg.
Slightly better: Trump is about to experience a shellacking in Georgia.
[Trump’s endorsed candidate David Perdue] is staring down an epic defeat at the hands of Gov. Brian Kemp, the Republican whom Mr. Trump has blamed for his 2020 loss more than any other person. The Perdue campaign is ending the race low on cash, with no ads on television and a candidate described even by his supporters as lackluster and distracted.
“Perdue thought that Trump was a magic wand,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a Trump ally, who was among Mr. Perdue’s highest-profile Georgia supporters….
Mr. Perdue’s impending downfall in Tuesday’s primary for governor looms as the biggest electoral setback for Mr. Trump since his own defeat in the 2020 election. There is perhaps no contest in which the former president has done more to try to influence the outcome. Mr. Trump recruited, promoted and cleared the field for his ally, while assailing Mr. Kemp, recording television ads and giving $2.64 million to groups helping Mr. Perdue — by far the most he has ever invested in another politician.
Yet the race has exposed the limits of Mr. Trump’s sway, especially against entrenched Republican incumbents.
The Wapo describes how the Republican Governors Association has rallied against Trump’s “revenge tour.”
The clash has brought into focus an extraordinary battle over the future direction of the GOP that extends well beyond Georgia. On one side is an aggrieved former president who retains widespread loyalty in the party from voters. On the other, conservative governors who align with Trump on many issues but have grown tired of his stolen election claims, which post-election audits have shown to be false.
And the latter has already had success.
Trump’s endorsed candidate lost badly in Idaho’s gubernatorial primary, where the RGA backed Gov. Brad Little, and the former president backed away from early rumblings that he might challenge incumbent governors in Ohio and Alabama. In Nebraska, the political machine of outgoing Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts helped sink Trump’s choice for governor in an open race, who had been accused of sexually assaulting multiple women.
And don’t miss Amanda Carpenter in today’s Bulwark:
But after a year of threats and bluster, Trump is now nowhere to be seen in the Peach State. His last appearance was on March 26, when he made what reporters described as a “rescue mission” to resuscitate the candidate he recruited to primary Kemp, former Sen. David Perdue.
The effort failed: Kemp continued to batter Perdue in the polls, even though Trump invested more into Perdue than any other candidate, ever. Trump has adjusted accordingly—in a reverse of the January 2021 Senate runoff, when Trump went all-out for Perdue up to the eve of the election. This time around, Trump abandoned Perdue on the field. Trump is—quite literally—phoning it in. In the final weeks of the campaign, Perdue was MIA on the campaign trail. So call it what it really is: Total surrender.
The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is expected to stage six public hearings in June on how Donald Trump and some allies broke the law as they sought to overturn the 2020 election results, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.
The hearings are set to be a pivotal political moment for the country as the panel aims to publicly outline the potentially unlawful schemes that tried to keep the former president in office despite his defeat at the hands of Joe Biden.
According to a draft schedule reviewed by the Guardian, the select committee intends to hold six hearings, with the first and last in prime time, where its lawyers will run through how Trump’s schemes took shape before the election and culminated with the Capitol attack.
…and it’s pretty ghastly. Via the NYT: “How Trump’s 2020 Election Lies Have Gripped State Legislatures.”
LANSING, Mich. — At least 357 sitting Republican legislators in closely contested battleground states have used the power of their office to discredit or try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to a review of legislative votes, records and official statements by The New York Times.
The tally accounts for 44 percent of the Republican legislators in the nine states where the presidential race was most narrowly decided. In each of those states, the election was conducted without any evidence of widespread fraud, leaving election officials from both parties in agreement on the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Via ABC: “Ginni Thomas emailed Arizona lawmakers pushing to overturn 2020 election results, records show.”
The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, urged two Arizona lawmakers to help reverse President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory in the state, according to emails reviewed by ABC News -- suggesting that the conservative activist played a larger role in pushing to overturn the election than was previously publicly known.
Via the Guardian: “Trump shares CPAC Hungary platform with notorious racist and antisemite”
A notorious Hungarian racist who has called Jews “stinking excrement”, referred to Roma as “animals” and used racial epithets to describe Black people, was a featured speaker at a major gathering of US Republicans in Budapest.
Zsolt Bayer took the stage at the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Hungary, a convention that also featured speeches from Donald Trump, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
The last featured speaker of the conference was Jack Posobiec, a far-right US blogger who has used antisemitic symbols and promoted the fabricated “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory smearing prominent Democrats as pedophiles
This Is the Southern Baptist Apocalypse
They were right. I was wrong to call sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) a crisis. Crisis is too small a word. It is an apocalypse.
Someone asked me a few weeks ago what I expected from the third-party investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. I said I didn’t expect to be surprised at all. How could I be? I lived through years with that entity. I was the one who called for such an investigation in the first place.
And yet, as I read the report, I found that I could not swipe the screen to the next page because my hands were shaking with rage. That’s because, as dark a view as I had of the SBC Executive Committee, the investigation uncovers a reality far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be.
The conclusions of the report are so massive as to almost defy summation. It corroborates and details charges of deception, stonewalling, and intimidation of victims and those calling for reform. It includes written conversations among top Executive Committee staff and their lawyers that display the sort of inhumanity one could hardly have scripted for villains in a television crime drama. It documents callous cover-ups by some SBC leaders and credible allegations of sexually predatory behavior by some leaders themselves, including former SBC president Johnny Hunt (who was one of the only figures in SBC life who seemed to be respected across all of the typical divides).
1. Why Hasn’t DOJ Appointed a Special Prosecutor for January 6?
Why hasn’t Merrick Garland appointed a special prosecutor to handle the January 6th criminal contempt proceedings?
It’s a fair question. In fact, when you break this down, it may be the biggest no-brainer in legal history.
So let’s do that….
2. The Alfa Bank Hoax Hoax
Tim Miller writes that the MAGAs once again think they have proof Hillary did the Russia scandal—and once again they are full of shit.
The friends of Donald Trump are upset that someone might have made an accusation that they weren’t completely, totally certain was true.
A man who can barely open his mouth without passing along a “people are saying” smear. The king of apophasis himself.
Try not to go blind from the eye-roll.