Alex Kingsbury/New York Times:
Trump’s Promise of Lawlessness
Mr. Trump, as General Milley discovered and many Americans already knew, is a man unencumbered by any moral compass. He goes the way he wants to go, legalities and niceties be damned. Last week in a post on his social network, Mr. Trump argued that General Milley’s actions would have once been punishable by death.
Most Americans probably didn’t notice his screed. Of those who did and were not alarmed, far too many nodded along in agreement. As Josh Barro said in a Times Opinion round table this week about the former president’s recent comments, “Trump is and has been unhinged, and that’s priced in” to the views that many voters have of him.
Joe Perticone/The Bulwark:
The Biden Impeachment Inquiry Starts With a Flop
“These witnesses aren’t giving any answers. They’re just asking more questions.”
The House Oversight Committee held the first hearing in its impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden today. At least at the start, reporters and onlookers packed the hearing room in the Rayburn House Office Building. But the room was equally packed with skepticism and doubt regarding Republicans’ claims that the president is somehow implicated through his son Hunter in a pay-to-play influence-peddling scheme…
CNN reports one Republican called it an “unmitigated disaster” and lamented the lack of performative “outbursts.” Toward the end of the hearing, there were empty seats in both the audience and on the dais, a rare scene for such a consequential hearing. Even Fitton departed with a few remaining lawmakers to go.
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) summed up the overall mood of the hearing:
These witnesses aren’t giving any answers. They’re just asking more questions.
Aaron Fritschner/X via Threadreader:
This hearing was a major tactical mistake by Comer, Jordan, and McCarthy. The whole point is to damage the President politically, but the first hearing totally backfired. Having started this it’s hard to stop, and it will get harder as they go, for all of them. Real risk here imo
Meanwhile, actual fact finding rolls on:
Joyce Vance/”Civil Discourse” on Substack:
That brings us to today and Scott Hall, an Atlanta-area bail bondsman who was facing seven charges in the Fulton County case, including a RICO violation and conspiring to steal sensitive election data in Coffee County. This afternoon, with little advance notice, Hall pled guilty to five misdemeanors, will serve five years of probation, pay a $5,000 fine, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. It’s the sort of deal that is so beneficial to a defendant that it suggests prosecutors believe his cooperation is valuable enough to merit the bargain.
So what might Hall be able to do? It’s not clear how important of a role he played in the overall scheme, and who he might have had direct communications with. But Hall was in the thick of things with Sidney Powell when she went to Coffee County, Georgia on January 7, the day after the insurrection, to carry out her scheme to illegally access voting machines. Hall’s cooperation is a bad sign for Powell. And Powell, in turn, had conversations about pursuing the Big Lie with others in the group and was in the room with Trump during some of the key conversations.
Sidney Powell isn’t the only Trump co-defendant who should be concerned by Hall’s plea deal. Hall reportedly had an hour long call with Jeff Clark on January 2nd. That’s a long time for the Georgia bail bondsman to have been on the line with the Attorney General-wannabe who wanted to push states Biden won to call those results into question based on untrue allegations of fraud to try and swing the electoral vote call to Trump. It’s unlikely the call was just an hour of pleasantries. Precisely what was said and how good Hall’s recollection is—and whether or not he has contemporaneous notes or other verification of what took place during the call—remains to be seen.
Charlie Sykes/The Bulwark:
“An unmitigated disaster”
Fresh off a chaotic and embarrassing presidential debate, and slouching toward a government shutdown, congressional Republicans took time out Thursday to roll out the Biden impeachment inquiry. The charitable view is that the first hearing was a dumpster fire inside a clown car wrapped in a fiasco. To put it mildly, the GOP did not bring their best. Here’s the WaPo’s Jackie Alemany:
John Halpin/The Liberal Patriot:
TLP/YouGov 2024 Presidential Election Project—Wave 2
President Biden continues to hold a narrow lead over Donald Trump, but inflation concerns and doubts about his economic agenda weigh him down.
The Liberal Patriot will release the results in a series of posts over the next two weeks and the full data can be found here.
Initial findings include:
President Biden maintains a small lead over likely Republican nominee Donald Trump. Our first wave of research released earlier this summer showed Biden with a 6-point lead over Trump, a result that is essentially unchanged in our September polling. Currently, 47 percent of registered voters say they would choose Biden if the election were held today compared to 41 percent who would choose Trump; 9 percent would choose someone else or are unsure and 3 percent say they would not vote.
Polls this early are to set narrative, and they are certainly being used for same. TLP’s schtick is to tack towards the middle (Third Way neo-Clinton style) and they read everything as such, in my opinion.
Brandi Buchman/Law and Crime:
Trump’s fight to stay on 2024 election ballot threatens to turn Constitution’s insurrection clause into ‘historical ornament,’ experts say
The litigation invoking Section III isn’t unprecedented or hallowed ground, though [Praveen Fernandes, constitutional expert and vice president of the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington, D.C.] acknowledged that this situation is unique since this is the first time it is being invoked against a person running for president. The U.S. has been “somewhat fortunate,” Fernandes said, that it has not had insurrections disturbing its stability the way many other nations have.
“I think the Framers were wise to establish this provision and not hem it in with language that was specific to the Civil War or Confederate officers,” he said. “They forged this language in the historical crucible of the Civil War but made a choice, a drafting choice, to be more expansive about officers who violated their oaths not being trusted again to serve the public.”
While some may argue that it is “undemocratic” for voters to use Section III to challenge someone’s ability to be on the ballot, Fernandes noted that the Constitution itself was a democratically enacted instrument, agreed upon by the people to serve as the governing document for a nation, and there was a reason the framers included the clause in the document.