Heather Cox Richardson

July 25, 2022 (Monday)

President Joe Biden’s doctor says the president’s symptoms from Covid have "almost completely resolved.” The president spoke to two different groups today, virtually, and those two speeches indicated both that the January 6 hearings have weakened Trump and that Biden continues to try to rebuild the American middle class.

First, in a speech to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Biden called out Trump directly for his inaction on January 6 as “brave law enforcement officers” dealt with “medieval hell for three hours, dripping in blood, surrounded by carnage, face to face with a crazed mob that believed the lies of the defeated president.” “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-cop,” Biden told them. “You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-democracy. You can’t be pro-insurrection and pro-American.”

There are signs that the public hearings of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol have weakened the former president, and it appears that Biden is reminding law enforcement, which has been blaringly quiet about condemning the attacks on officers on January 6, on which side real Americans should stand. At least 19 current or former officers have been charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol.

While all the public hearings have been damning, last Thursday’s look at Trump’s actions on January 6 seems to have turned some of his former enablers into deer in the headlights. One of the shocking pieces of that evidence was Trump’s changes to the speech prepared for him on January 7. Today Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA) provided an image of those edits, showing that Trump cut out the words: “I am directing the Department of Justice to ensure all lawbreakers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We must send a clear message—not with mercy but with JUSTICE. Legal consequences must be swift and firm.” He also cut out the line directed at the rioters: “I want to be very clear you do not represent me. You do not represent our movement.”

What was left was a speech that could have been sympathetically interpreted as an attack on the “Antifa” fighters on whom Trump tried to pin the insurrection, especially when Trump refused to say the election was over. Legal analyst Joyce White Vance noted that the video of Trump editing the speech as he tried to deliver it didn’t “sound like someone who truly believes he won the election. Trump is calmly making deliberate, strategic choices about what to say & what not to say. And prosecutors can ask jurors to draw that inference.”

That brazenness appears to have shocked those who had previously tried to look away. “No matter your views of the Jan. 6 special committee, the facts it is laying out in hearings are sobering,” wrote the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal on Friday. “The most horrifying to date came Thursday in a hearing on President Trump’s conduct as the riot raged and he sat watching TV, posting inflammatory tweets and refusing to send help.”

Trump’s star appears to be dimming, and there are more clouds on the horizon. Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chair of the January 6 committee, said yesterday that the committee is hoping to talk with Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, who has been associated with the attempt to overturn the election. And today we learned that Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff, testified last week before the federal grand jury investigating the attack. Short told ABC News that “if the mob had gotten closer to the Vice President…there would have been a massacre in the Capitol that day.”

Americans are sliding away from Trump, as well as from the extremism of the Republican Party, creating a problem for the Republican lawmakers who want to continue to appeal to their extremist base while also seeming to stay within the bounds of normal politics.

In Florida, Republican lawmakers stood adamant against Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and yet now are claiming credit for the money it has brought to the state. In Ohio, news broke today that Republican candidate for the Senate J.D. Vance last September told an audience at a Christian high school that people nowadays get divorced too easily—although divorce rates are actually at a 50-year low—and that they should stay in bad marriages, even violent ones, for the sake of the children. As gun safety advocate Shannon Watts pointed out, this theory is at odds with the reality that “[e]ach month, 70 women are fatally shot by intimate partners in the US, and 1 million women alive today have been shot or shot at by intimate partners.”

And news broke today that Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA), who voted last week against the Respect for Marriage Act protecting gay marriage, this weekend attended his son’s wedding to another man. His spokesperson said the congressman and his wife were “thrilled to attend and celebrate their son’s marriage.”

With Trump and his allies weakening, it appears former supporters are looking for other candidates to take his place before 2024. The Wall Street Journal editorial board praised then–vice president Mike Pence’s behavior on January 6. Pence was set to speak in Washington, D.C., tonight at the Heritage Foundation a day before Trump returns to the city to give what his allies insist is a policy speech. (Trump’s team has hinted that that policy focuses on “law and order,” which is fully in keeping with his authoritarian messaging in the past, and which Biden just undercut.) But storms kept Pence out of Washington, and his speech will be rescheduled, giving him the last word after the former president.

Meanwhile, the Fox and Friends show on the Fox News Channel highlighted today that Florida governor Ron DeSantis is polling higher than the former president in all age groupings, earning them an angry rebuke from Trump. On his social media network, he insisted that the hosts had botched his poll numbers on purpose, and accused the show of having gone to the “dark side.”

In his other speech today, to business CEOs and labor leaders, President Biden talked about the importance of passing the new Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act, a bill that would spend $52 billion to encourage the manufacture of semiconductor chips in the U.S. Chips are imperative to many of the products we use, including cars, medical equipment, and computers, and bringing their manufacture back home would help rebuild the domestic economy and fix supply chains. It would also help America stand against other nations, especially China, in the race for new technologies. The CHIPS measure has bipartisan support and appears to have a chance of passing the Senate, giving Biden another victory in his attempt to move the country forward into a new era.


im so completely confused by this, and ive heard multiple commentators say it now.

i mean, what the heck do these people think was happening during those hours!? this was already obvious on the day. it was reported at the time he was watching fox news, and that he was refusing to call off the violence. and while his editing of the speech was interesting, we already know what he chose to say and not to say.

for me, it was the least revealing day of the committee. but… maybe people need some sort of cover to change their position on the failed ex-president?

good to see biden’s bringing back the classics


Ongoing misinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories have left a lot of GOP/GQP followers very confused. I get the feeling this is why the committee made a point of saying 45 was watching Fox News, and used that network’s footage during the hearings. It seems like that network has been engaging in revisionist history (again) by refusing to air the hearings, denying what was obvious in their own footage, and ignoring messages sent or comments made by their staff during the insurrection. I’m no fan of Jordan Klepper, but this piece he did on The Daily Show about what rally attendees think about the hearings (and Jan 6) highlights how deep the denial still goes (link begins at the 58 second mark):


July 26, 2022 (Tuesday)

Today began with Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater at the New York Times reporting on previously undisclosed emails from the weeks before the January 6 insurrection, in which advisors openly referred to the slates of alternative electors they had prodded supporters to produce as “fake.”

“We would just be sending in ‘fake’ electoral votes to Pence so that ‘someone’ in Congress can make an objection when they start counting votes, and start arguing that the ‘fake’ votes should be counted,” Arizona lawyer Jack Wilenchik wrote on December 8, 2020, to Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn. Later, Wilenchik suggested that “‘alternative’ votes is probably a better term than ‘fake’ votes.” He then added a smiley face.

Wilenchik also said he and Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward had discussed keeping the plan quiet so that “we can can try to ‘surprise’ the Dems and media with it,” and that Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) had asked him to testify at a Senate hearing put together by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

The emails appear to show connections between Epshteyn and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, as well as Epshteyn and John Eastman, the author of the memo calling for alternate slates of electors. Further, they show that Mike Roman, who was director of Election Day operations for Trump’s campaign, organized ways to overturn the election. Epshteyn and Roman corresponded with Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Bruce Marks, deputy director of Election Day campaign operations Gary Michael Brown, and Christina Bobb then at One America News Network.

In an echo of the shadow operation Guiliani ran to pressure Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to smear Hunter Biden, those trying to overturn the election did not share their conversations with the White House legal counsel’s office, whose lawyers had made it clear there was no evidence for any of their accusations of a stolen election. Haberman and Broadwater remind readers that the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has established that Trump knew about the plan to create fake electors. So, too, did Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel. In Pennsylvania, the point person to organize fake electors was Doug Mastriano, who is now the Republican nominee for governor.

On Twitter, lawyer George Conway wrote: “If you had asked me to hypothesize, for illustrative purposes, a set of emails that prosecutors would find helpful in proving a fake-elector fraud conspiracy, I would not have come up with anything nearly as incriminating as the emails that the Times just reported on today.”

Then the January 6th committee released footage from their interview with former acting defense secretary and Trump loyalist Christopher MIller, who took office on November 9, 2020, after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. In the clip, Miller contradicted a statement Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows made on the Fox News Channel in February 2021. Meadows claimed that Trump had ordered 10,000 troops to be ready on January 6. Miller said he had received no such order.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden continues to try to break Trump’s support. Biden’s predecessor was in Washington today and was expected to lay the groundwork for a “law and order” campaign. In the end, it turned out he mostly rehashed his disproven claims about the 2020 election, but he did promise to execute drug dealers and put homeless people in camps on the outskirts of cities.

Biden responded by taking the fight right to Trump and the right wing: “Here’s something else wrong with the ex-president’s record on crime,” Biden tweeted; “he opposes action on assault weapons. These military-style weapons kill cops—and they kill school kids. We need to stop selling them in America.” Yesterday he warned law enforcement that supporting insurrection was anti-cop and anti-American; today he is expanding that to support for assault-type weapons, an argument that resonates after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 376 law enforcement officers declined to confront an 18-year-old gunman equipped with AR-15 style rifles.

While Biden is trying to break Trump supporters away from the former president, the American right wing is doubling down on authoritarianism.

On July 15 the European Commission announced that it would sue Hungary over an anti-LGBTQ law and its refusal to renew the license of a broadcaster critical of the government, and today one of Hungarian president Viktor Orbán’s longtime advisors resigned over what she called his recent “pure Nazi” speech about “mixed-race” nations. “I don’t know how you didn’t notice that the speech you delivered is a purely Nazi diatribe worthy of Joseph Goebbels,” she wrote. And yet, Orbán is still scheduled to speak next month at the August 4 meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas.

Finally, the day ended with a blockbuster story from Carol D. Leonnig, Devlin Barrett, Josh Dawsey, and Spencer S. Hsu at the Washington Post. Basing their story on conversations with four sources, they reported that the Department of Justice is investigating former president Trump as part of its criminal investigation of efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The Department of Justice has already charged more than 850 people in the events surrounding Trump’s attempt to remain in power, but there has been much speculation over whether Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department were willing to let the former president skate free. There are two possible avenues of criminal prosecutions on the table. One is that Trump participated in the attempt to delay or obstruct an official proceeding, which is the crime for which other participants in the events of January 6 have been indicted. The other is the fraud of setting up the fake electors from the states.

Conversations with their sources, who have shared the questions they have been asked, have led the Washington Post reporters to conclude that Trump is, in fact, under criminal investigation. Prosecutors are asking questions about the former president and members of his inner circle, about their meetings to overturn the election. And, in April, Justice Department investigators got the phone records of Trump administration officials, including Meadows, which means they convinced a judge they had good reason to look at them.

Attorney General Garland has said he would “pursue justice without fear or favor.”


This factor is critical. Did McDaniel work on the coup in her auspices as RNC chair? Did she use RNC resources for work on the coup? Were RNC funds spent on preparing, planning, or supporting the coup attempt?

If so, it is necessary to label the RNC a criminal organization. Their funds should be seized and officers arrested. Republicans will freak out, but the lesson is plain: if you want to hold onto campaign donations, don’t use them for crime!

Don’t forget insurrection against the United States! There’s also witness tampering and obstruction of justice, both well established at this point.


Yep. And i hope that her writing “there are two avenues of prosecution” isn’t an implication that prosecutors will decide to travel along only one of them.


July 27, 2022 (Wednesday)

President Biden tested negative for coronavirus today and is back at work in public. He used the opportunity to reiterate the importance of vaccines (in a way that certainly irritated the former president, who always hated the idea he was weak or sick):

“When my predecessor got COVID,” Biden said, “he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center. He was severely ill. Thankfully, he recovered. When I got COVID, I worked from upstairs of the White House… for the five-day period. The difference is vaccinations, of course, but also three new tools, free to all and widely available. You don’t need to be president to get these tools to use for your defense. In fact, the same booster shots, the same at-home tests, the same treatment that I got is available to you.”

Today was a huge day in the Senate.

First, the Senate passed the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) bill, which appropriates $280 billion to speed up the manufacturing of semiconductors in the U.S. and to invest in scientific research and development in computers, artificial intelligence, and so on. The pandemic made it clear that permitting chip manufacturing to migrate to Asia left the U.S. at a disadvantage when supply chains are disrupted. Chip shortages caused shortages of a wide range of products that use electronics, and the shortages have been key in driving up the prices that are feeding inflation.

The investment will boost manufacturing and scientific industries, providing good jobs. It appropriates $52 billion in subsidies and tax credits for chip manufacturing and $200 billion for research and development. It includes workforce training and educational emphasis on computer training, and it sanctions China for human rights and cybersecurity offenses. The measure passed the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote of 64 to 33, giving it the 60 votes it needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Seventeen Republicans joined the Democrats to pass the bill, either because they are worried about competing with China or because they are eager to increase production in the U.S.

The bill was a top priority for the Biden administration, and it looks as if the House will pass it and send it to the president’s desk.

Negotiations over the bill have been going on since May and appeared to be on track until the end of June, when Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) threatened to pull all Republican support for it unless Democrats abandoned the idea of passing provisions for lower drug prices, taxes on the very wealthy, and climate proposals through a procedure called reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered.

That issue appeared solved on July 15, when Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated he would not support either climate measures or tax changes until the newest inflation numbers were released. Senator Todd Young (R-IN), a co-sponsor of the bill with Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) whipped Republicans to get the necessary votes, and today, McConnell voted in favor of the CHIPS bill.

Later today, Manchin released a statement announcing that he and Schumer had reached an agreement on a new piece of legislation called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Framing the legislation largely as designed to address the deficit, Manchin’s statement also addressed the issues of taxes and climate change.

“Tax fairness is vital to our nation’s economic future,” he wrote, and it is “wrong that some of America’s largest companies pay nothing in taxes while freely enjoying the benefits of our nation’s military security, infrastructure and rule of law. It is commonsense that a domestic corporate minimum tax of 15 percent be applied only to billion-dollar companies or larger ensuring that America’s largest businesses are no longer able to operate for free in our economy.” He also spoke out against the carried interest loophole, which permits investment managers to take their compensation as capital gains rather than income, giving them a much lower tax rate. (Researchers suggest this could yield as much as $18 billion a year to the Treasury.)

Details on the new measure are still emerging, but it appears to be a $739 billion bill that includes price reforms for certain prescription drugs, lower premiums under the Affordable Care Act, money for the IRS to enforce tax laws, a corporate minimum tax, $369 billion of investment in climate and energy, and dramatic investment in reducing the deficit. There are no new taxes on families making less than $400,000 a year.

Manchin went out of his way to insist that Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan was dead and this was the new way forward. It seems likely Manchin was signaling to his red state constituents that he had not signed on to a program Democrats like, but there is much here that sounds like Biden, especially the tax plan. What is notably missing is investment in the social infrastructure of our nation that largely impacts women: childcare and eldercare.

After the Democratic senators were briefed on the proposal, Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii said the measure would be “by far, the biggest climate action in human history. Nearly $370 billion in tax incentives, grants, and other investments in clean energy, clean transportation, energy storage, home electrification, climate-smart agriculture, and clean manufacturing makes this a real climate bill. The planet is on fire. Emissions reductions are the main thing. This is enormous progress. Let’s get it done.”

Biden immediately endorsed the measure. “This afternoon, I spoke with Senators Schumer and Manchin and offered my support for the agreement they have reached on a bill to fight inflation and lower costs for American families,” he said in a statement.

“With this agreement, we have a chance to make prescription drugs cheaper by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices and we can lower health insurance costs for 13 million Americans, by an average of $800 a year, for families covered under the Affordable Care Act.

“We will improve our energy security and tackle the climate crisis—by providing tax credits and investments for energy projects. This will create thousands of new jobs and help lower energy costs in the future.

“This bill will reduce the deficit beyond the record setting $1.7 trillion in deficit reduction we have already achieved this year, which will help fight inflation as well.

“And we will pay for all of this by requiring big corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, with no tax increases at all for families making under $400,000 a year.

“This is the action the American people have been waiting for. This addresses the problems of today—high health care costs and overall inflation—as well as investments in our energy security for the future.

“I will have more to say on this later. For now, I want to thank Senator Schumer and Senator Manchin for the extraordinary effort that it took to reach this result.

“If enacted, this legislation will be historic, and I urge the Senate to move on this bill as soon as possible, and for the House to follow as well.”

Tonight, Senate Republicans unexpectedly killed the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, which would have provided medical benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 84 to 14 in June and had been sent back to that body for a procedural cleanup after the House passed it with the expectation that it would repass easily. Tonight’s vote is being widely interpreted as revenge for the resurrection of the reconciliation package.

Attacking our veterans out of spite might not be a winning move.


July 28, 2022 (Thursday)

Today saw widespread outrage that Senate Republicans sank the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) bill—a bill they had already agreed to by a strong margin—out of spite over the resurrection of a reconciliation package that would make drugs cheaper, plug tax loopholes for corporations and the extremely wealthy, and invest in switching the economy away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. The PACT bill would provide medical benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed that he would not permit the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) bill, which appropriates $280 billion to speed up the manufacturing of semiconductors in the U.S. and to invest in scientific research and development in computers, artificial intelligence, and so on, to pass unless Democrats gave up their larger plan. Yesterday, the Senate passed the CHIPS bill, and shortly after, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced that he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) had agreed to much of what McConnell objected to. They introduced a new bill, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, to pass through reconciliation.

Although the CHIPS Act was a popular bipartisan bill, Republicans claim the Democrats’ political hardball in passing it before turning to other, also popular measures like lower prices on prescription drugs, was a betrayal of the Republican Party.

In retaliation, besides blocking the PACT bill, Republican leaders whipped their caucus in the House against voting for the CHIPS bill. In addition, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who has been working to find votes in the Senate to protect gay marriage, told Jonathan Nicholson of HuffPost that Senate Republicans now would be unlikely to agree to that protection. That bill reflects the fact that 70% of Americans support gay marriage. It seemed as if the Senate might agree to it (the House has already passed it), but Republicans seem to be backing away from it out of anger that the Democrats want to pass measures that are actually quite popular.

Trying to demonstrate a party’s power to kill popular legislation is an interesting approach to governance. Right now, the Republicans are getting hammered, primarily for their refusal to repass the PACT bill, which is a real blow to veterans. Veterans’ advocate and comedian Jon Stewart has been especially vocal today, calling out Republican senators at the Capitol and then on a number of media shows, going “nuclear,” as the Military Times put it, over the undermining of medical treatment for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. “[I]f this is America First,” he said, “then America is f*cked.”

At the end of the day, it is still possible that the bill will pass, but it will not come up until Schumer reschedules it, meaning the Republicans are simply going to have to endure the hits they are taking for this fit of pique until he decides to give them some cover.

Indeed, the demonstration that Republican leadership wants power to kill popular legislation creates an opening for Democrats and Republicans eager to break away from the party’s current extremism.

That showed in today’s vote in the House on the CHIPS bill, when 187 Republicans voted no but 24 Republicans, including Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), both of whom sit on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, joined the Democrats to vote yes. The 24 representatives did so despite the fact that Republican leadership was urging them to vote no, and although the Democrats all hung together and therefore Republican votes were not necessary to pass the measure.

The momentum growing behind the Democrats as Republicans begin to buck House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) seems as if it might reflect the realization that more information will be coming from the January 6th committee and that it is unlikely to be the sort of information that reinforces faith in the Republican Party.

News broke today that U.S. Secret Service director James Murray, who resigned with a plan to leave at the end of the month, has now delayed his retirement from the force as it is under investigation. Washington Post reporters Carol D. Leonnig and Maria Sacchetti also broke the news that it is not just the texts of Secret Service agents that are missing from the days before January 6. Also gone are text messages from Trump’s acting secretary of homeland security Chad Wolf and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli, also lost in a “reset” of their phones.

CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig noted: “Every federal law enforcement agency—including DHS / Secret Service—is fully aware that it must retain emails and texts, and has internal policies and technology to ensure compliance. You don’t get to say ‘technology upgrade’ and just toss everything out. They know this.”

Those who can get out in front of the January 6 mess are doing so. Members of the January 6th committee are interviewing Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and are negotiating with Trump’s Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well. As legal analyst Joyce White Vance noted: “At this point, it’s becoming a race to get to testify in front of the January 6 Committee.”

Vance explained: “[Representative] Liz Cheney said during last week’s hearing that the dam is breaking. Prosecutors recognize that moment in a long-term investigation. It’s when the bad guys realize they have lost and begin to try to cut their losses."

Tonight, Kyle Cheney reported in Politico that the January 6th committee is handing 20 witness interviews over to the Department of Justice, and yesterday, we learned that the Department of Justice has obtained a warrant to search the phone of John Eastman, who wrote the memo outlining the plan for Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to recognize certified electors for President-elect Joe Biden.

Today, Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez of CNN reported that a former Department of Justice staffer who worked with Jeffrey Clark, the man whom Trump considered installing as attorney general to further his attempt to overturn the election, has been fully cooperating with the Department of Justice. The staffer is Ken Klukowski, and he has turned his electronic records over to the Justice Department.

Perez and Polantz also reported that prosecutors from the Department of Justice are planning court fights to get former White House officials to testify about Trump’s actions around January 6.

Vox correspondent Ian Millhiser, who is a keen observer of American politics, commented tonight: “This was a good week for the United States of America and I may be coming down with a case of The Hope.”


Right. Like that was ever going to happen. Popular legislation or not, the Q-nuts own the party and every GQP senator and rep knows that every sub-fascist move they make puts a figurative and literal target on their back.


July 29, 2022 (Friday)

Democrats continue to illustrate the difference between them and the Republicans in the lead-up to the 2022 midterms. Today, Americans continued to spit fury over the Republican senators’ destruction of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) bill, which would provide medical benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins during their military service, after previously passing the measure.

That destruction has added to the growing list of unpopular positions Republicans are taking as Democrats are forcing votes on them. Republicans have voted against protecting the right to abortion, the right to use birth control, the right to cross state lines to obtain reproductive health care, and gay marriage, all of which are very popular.

Today, the House of Representatives passed a measure to ban assault weapons. The vote was 217 to 213, mostly along party lines: two Republicans voted yes, and five Democrats voted no… Since the horrific massacre of 19 schoolchildren and 2 of their teachers, along with the wounding of 17 others, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May, support for a ban on assault-style weapons has climbed to 67%.

Also today, oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron reported historic profits from the last three months. Exxon made $17.9 billion (not a typo) last quarter, up 273% from the same time last year, while Chevron made $11.6 billion. Exxon’s rate of income was $2,245.62 every second of every day for the past 92 days; Chevron made $1,462.11 per second. Together, BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies are expected to announce $60 billion in profits for the past three months. They plan to spend much of the profit not on reinvesting in their businesses, but on stock buybacks, which drives up the price of the stock.

These record profits came at the same time that American consumers were staggering under high gas prices, which made up almost half of the increase in inflation of the past few months.

The record profits of oil companies made a perfect backdrop to early discussions of the Inflation Reduction Act advanced by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). If passed, that measure will be a sea change in the nation’s economic policy. Its $385 billion devoted to addressing climate change will be the nation’s largest ever investment in clean energy, and it will incentivize cutting carbon emissions, delivering 40% cuts by 2030, which is close to Biden’s stated goal.

The Inflation Reduction Act will also expand healthcare subsidies, lowering healthcare premiums, and will enable Medicare to negotiate the prices of certain drugs with pharmaceutical producers.

It calls for a 15% corporate minimum tax, the closure of the carried interest loophole, and increased spending on the IRS so it can enforce tax laws. It leaves Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest individuals because Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) insisted they stay in place. But the measure would raise about $470 billion, about $300 billion of which would go toward reducing the federal deficit over the next decade. After decades of tax cuts that have helped wealth to concentrate among the very wealthy, this measure would set out to begin the process of restoring fairness in our revenue system.

Another gulf between Republicans and Democrats is their approach to the events of January 6, 2021. Tonight Maria Sacchetti and Carol D. Leonnig of the Washington Post reported that the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, Joseph V. Cuffari, who was appointed by Trump, knew last December that the texts between Secret Service agents had been deleted. Not only did he neglect to tell Congress that those messages were missing, but also when his investigative team set out to recover the messages, he told them not to. Moreover, he neglected to tell Congress that the text messages from the acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, and acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, from that same period were also missing.

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, today said in a statement: “The destruction of evidence that could be relevant to the investigation of the deadly attack on our Capitol is an extremely serious matter. Inspector General Cuffari’s failure to take immediate action upon learning that these text messages had been deleted makes clear that he should no longer be entrusted with this investigation.” Durbin says he has asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to get to the bottom of what happened to the missing messages and hold those responsible accountable.

Finally, today, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov of Moscow, who, along with at least three other Russian officials, it says “engaged in a years-long foreign malign influence campaign targeting the United States.” Allegedly, Ionov recruited political groups in the U.S. and, with the supervision of the Russian government, illegally used their members to “sow division and spread misinformation inside the United States.” The targeted groups were located in Florida, Georgia, and California, and Ionov allegedly worked closely with them, directing and controlling their leaders, who appear to have been aware of his connection to the Russian government, since at least December 2014.

FBI special agent in charge David Walker today told reporters that Ionov’s actions were “some of the most egregious and blatant violations that we’ve seen by the Russian government in order to destabilize and undermine trust in American democracy… The Russian intelligence threat is continuing and unrelenting.”

“This indictment is just the first of our responses, but it will not be the last,” Walker said, and before the day was over, the U.S. State Department had placed sanctions on two people and four entities that work with the Russian government to influence other countries and interfere in their elections. These sanctions are separate from those related to the sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

“The Russian Federation has demonstrated determination in its attempts to undermine the democratic processes and institutions essential to the functioning of our democracy and that of other countries. It is crucial for our democracy, and democracies around the globe, to hold free and fair elections without malign outside interference,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The new sanctions come a day after the State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million for information on the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm linked to Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and other Russian entities and individuals “for their engagement in U.S. election interference.” The Internet Research Agency, the State Department spokesperson said, “is a Russian entity engaged in political and electoral interference operations. Beginning as early as 2014, IRA began operations to interfere with the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with a strategic goal to sow discord.” The reward offer “is part of [the] United States Government’s wider efforts to ensure the security and integrity of our elections and protect against foreign interference in our elections.”

“The United States will continue to act to deter and disrupt these efforts [in order] to safeguard our democracy, as well as help protect the democracies of our allies and partners,” Blinken said.


They can go for obstruction of justice right away, I would think. Obstruction is a serious crime, and it has to be. Hiding or destroying evidence has to be taken seriously, because it works. This particular obstruction should be considered tantamount to espionage against the US government, and punished so until the text messages are found and their nature revealed.


July 30, 2022 (Saturday)

This morning, Jon Swaine and Dalton Bennett of The Washington Post reported that on October 11, 2019, at Trump’s National Doral golf resort in South Florida, Danish filmmakers caught an unguarded conversation between Trump allies talking about their legal exposure because of their work for the president.

Recording a documentary about Trump’s friend and operative, Roger Stone, the filmmakers caught Stone and Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Stone’s lapel microphone talking about Stone’s upcoming trial for lying to Congress and witness tampering during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Federal prosecutors said that before the 2016 election, Stone repeatedly reached out to WikiLeaks “to obtain information…that would help the Trump campaign and harm the campaign of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.” Campaign officials “believed that Stone was providing them with nonpublic information about WikiLeaks’ plans. Indeed, [Trump advisor and campaign chief executive Steve] Bannon viewed Stone as the Trump campaign’s access point to WikiLeaks.” Stone lied to Congress five times, interfering with their Russia investigation, and threatened another witness to try to keep him from exposing Stone’s lies.

At the time the new tape was recorded, Stone was complaining that prosecutors were pressuring him to turn on Trump, and on the tape, said he might “have to appeal to the big man.” Gaetz can be heard agreeing that Stone was “fckd,” but Gaetz didn’t think he would “do a day” in prison. Claiming he had heard it directly from Trump, Gaetz said: “The boss still has a very favorable view of you,” and continued, “I don’t think the big guy can let you go down for this.” “I don’t think you’re going to go down at all at the end of the day,” Gaetz told Stone.

Gaetz sits on the House Judiciary Committee and thus had seen portions of the redacted sections of Special Counsel Muller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Although the committee members were prohibited from talking about it except among themselves, Gaetz talked with Stone about it, telling him that he was “not going to have a defense.”

Stone told Gaetz he had seen the entire report himself thanks to a ruling from Judge Amy Berman Jackson, although when he had asked for such access, she had given him access only to some of it, so it is unclear what he meant. He, too, was not supposed to discuss that material.

The two men briefly discussed a photograph of the two of them with Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg that Stone said had “come back to bite us in the a**”; months later Greenberg was arrested and pleaded guilty to six charges including sex trafficking a minor. Greenberg is cooperating with authorities. Stone and Gaetz also discussed the outcry over the FBI raid of Stone’s house: media were at the raid, and Stone accused the FBI of tipping them off. Gaetz guessed the tip came from Stone himself. “Innocent until proven guilty,” Stone replied.

As the two men expected, on November 15 a jury found Stone guilty of seven counts of lying to Congress and witness tampering.

And then, when it came time for his sentencing, events played out as Gaetz suggested they would.

On February 10, prosecutors wrote to Judge Jackson to recommend jail time of 7 to 9 years for Stone, noting that his crime was about the integrity of our government. “Investigations into election interference concern our national security, the integrity of our democratic processes, and the enforcement of our nation’s criminal laws,” they wrote. “These are issues of paramount concern to every citizen of the United States. Obstructing such critical investigations thus strikes at the very heart of our American democracy.” Their recommendation fell within standard department guidelines.

Immediately after the sentencing recommendation, though, Trump tweeted that it was “horrible and unfair” and a “miscarriage of justice.” The Justice Department, operating under Attorney General William Barr, then reversed itself, saying its own prosecutors had failed to be “reasonable.”

In response, all four of the federal prosecutors responsible for Roger Stone’s case withdrew. The administration also abruptly pulled the nomination of the former U.S. attorney who oversaw the Stone prosecution for a top position in the Treasury Department.

It appeared that the prosecutors were right and the case was actually about the integrity of our democratic processes. It also appeared that Barr had hamstrung the Department of Justice to make sure that no one could touch the president.

Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted.”

Days before Stone was due to report to prison in July to serve 40 months, Trump commuted his sentence, thus removing his jail time, supervised release, and a $20,000 fine. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Trump’s move “an act of staggering corruption,” and Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) called it “a real body blow to the rule of law in this country.”

Then, on December 23, 2020, Trump pardoned Stone, as Gaetz had predicted, rewarding his personal loyalty.

Two weeks later, on January 6, 2021, Stone was back in Washington, D.C.

Once again, the Danish film crew was filming and, after the events of that day, recorded Stone asking again for a presidential pardon. This time, Gaetz apparently wanted one, too.

When White House counsel Pat Cipollone prevented Trump from issuing those pardons, Stone told a friend that Trump was “a disgrace…. He betrayed everybody.”


August 1, 2022 (Monday)

Tonight, President Joe Biden announced that a drone strike managed by the Central Intelligence Agency at 9:48 Eastern time on Saturday killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, 71, who took control of al-Qaeda after the death of leader Osama bin Laden. The precision strike hit Zawahiri as he stood on a balcony in a prosperous section of Kabul, Afghanistan. There were no civilian casualties.

Zawahiri believed that attacking the U.S. and allied countries was essential to undermining the pro-Western Arab regimes that were standing in the way of uniting Muslims around the world. In 1998, he wrote, “To kill Americans and their allies—civilian and military—is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in every country in which it is possible to do it.” In that year, he was a senior advisor to bin Laden when al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing more than 200 people and wounding more than 4500 others. He planned the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, which killed 17 U.S. sailors and wounded dozens more. He helped to plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Under the Doha Agreement of February 29, 2020, negotiated by the Trump administration and the Taliban without the involvement of the then-Afghan government, the U.S. agreed to withdraw all its forces so long as the Taliban promised not to permit terrorist organizations to operate within their territory. And yet the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan a year ago provided Zawahiri with the ability to operate comfortably in that country.

When President Biden withdrew remaining troops from Afghanistan in August of last year, he said the U.S. would be better served by fighting terrorism with “over-the-horizon” attacks rather than with soldiers on the ground. The elimination of Zawahiri proved his point. “No matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Judge Dabney Fredrich sentenced Capitol rioter Guy Reffitt to more than 7 years in prison, 3 years of probation, $2000 in fines, and mental health treatment. In March, a Washington, D.C., jury found Reffitt guilty of five charges in connection with the events of January 6, including obstructing an official proceeding and threatening his children to keep them from reporting him to law enforcement officials. Reffitt was a recruiter for a militia gang. He brought a gun to the riot, boasted of leading the charge into the Capitol, and threatened House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then–Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. He had been eager to take his case to trial, but after being found guilty, he said he was a “fckng idiot” who was parroting “founding fathers and stupid sh*t like that” around the time of the riot.

Prosecutors wanted to attach penalties for terrorism to the sentencing, but Fredrich declined, sayng that would creae an “unwarranted disparity” between his sentence and those of other rioters.

The cargo ship Razoni left Odesa today on its way to Lebanon with 26,000 tons of corn from Ukraine. On July 22 the United Nations and Turkey signed agreements with Russia and Ukraine to open Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea to allow exports of grain to relieve a growing food shortage. Ukraine and Russia export billions of dollars’ worth of agricultural products, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cut off exports and sent food prices soaring.

Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, wrote on Facebook that Ukraine’s ports would be fully operational in a few weeks, and cheered the help for the global food shortage. Meanwhile, Russia bought into the deal because it allows Russia to export grain and fertilizer, which western sanctions have frozen.

Still, Russia has repeatedly bombed the region around Odesa since the deal was signed.


August 2, 2022 (Tuesday)

Today, voters in Kansas overwhelmingly rejected an amendment to their state constitution that would have stripped it of protections for abortion rights. With 86% of the vote in, 62% of voters supported abortion protections; 37% wanted them gone. That spread is astonishing. Kansas voters had backed Trump in 2020; Republicans had arranged for the referendum to fall on the day of a primary, which traditionally attracts higher percentages of hard-line Republicans; and they had written the question so that a “yes” vote would remove abortion protections and a “no” would leave them in place. Then, today, a political action committee sent out texts that lied about which vote was which.

Still, voters turned out to protect abortion rights in such unexpectedly high numbers it suggests a sea change.

It appears the dog has caught the car, as so many of us noted when the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision on June 24. Since 1972, even before the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, Republican politicians have attracted the votes of evangelicals and traditionalists who didn’t like the idea of women’s rights by promising to end abortion. But abortion rights have always had strong support. So politicians said they were “pro-life” without ever really intending to overturn Roe v. Wade. The Dobbs decision explicitly did just that and has opened the door to draconian laws that outlaw abortion with no exceptions, promptly showing us the horror of a pregnant 10-year-old and hospitals refusing abortion care during miscarriages. Today, in the privacy of the voting booth, voters did exactly as Republican politicians feared they would if Roe were overturned.

But this moment increasingly feels like it’s about more than abortion rights, crucial though they are. The loss of our constitutional rights at the hands of a radical extremist minority has pushed the majority to demonstrate that we care about the rights and freedoms that were articulated—however imperfectly they were carried out—in the Declaration of Independence.

We care about a lot of things that have been thin on the ground for a while.

We care about justice:

Today, the Senate passed the PACT Act in exactly the same form it had last week, when Republicans claimed they could no longer support the bill they had previously passed because Democrats had snuck a “slush fund” into a bill providing medical care for veterans exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the bill was unchanged, and Republicans’ refusal to repass the bill from the House seemed an act of spite after Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced an agreement on a bill to lower the cost of certain prescription drugs, invest in measures to combat climate change, raise taxes on corporations and the very wealthy, and reduce the deficit. Since their vote to kill the measure, the outcry around the country, led by veterans and veterans’ advocate Jon Stewart, has been extraordinary. The vote on the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 tonight was 86 to 11 as Republicans scrambled to fix their mistake.

In an ongoing attempt to repair a past injustice, executive director of the Family Reunification Task Force Michelle Brané says it has reunified 400 children with their parents after their separation by the Trump administration at the southern border. Because the former administration did not keep records of the children or where they were sent, reunifying the families has been difficult, and as many as 1000 children out of the original 5000 who fell under this policy remain separated from their parents.

And we care about equality before the law:

Today, Katherine Faulders, John Santucci, and Alexander Mallin of ABC News reported that a federal grand jury investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol has subpoenaed Trump’s White House counsel Pat Cipollone for testimony.

Yesterday, the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), and the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Bennie Thompson (D-MS), sent a letter to Homeland Security inspector general Joseph Cuffari expressing “grave new concerns over your lack of transparency and independence” in his inspection of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Secret Service texts and texts from the two top political officials in the Department of Homeland Security, Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli, were erased, and a memo criticizing the department for not complying with requests for their disclosure was changed to praise their compliance. Maloney and Thompson asked Cuffari to recuse himself from the investigation and to provide them with documents and testimony.

At CNN, Tierney Sneed and Zachary Cohen broke the news that it is not just the Secret Service phones and acting DHS secretary’s and deputy secretary’s phones that were wiped of information from the days around January 6, 2021. The Defense Department wiped the phones of officials from the Army and the Defense Department who left at the end of the Trump administration. Those include the phones of former acting secretary of defense Christopher Miller, former chief of staff Kashyap Patel, and former secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. Miller, Patel, and McCarthy were involved in the military response to the events of January 6.

The erasures came to light in a lawsuit brought by American Oversight, a nonprofit government watchdog group formed in 2017, in early 2021. The Pentagon acknowledged the Freedom of Information Act request from American Oversight on January 15 and yet apparently wiped the phones anyway. Our laws say that official records are supposed to be retained, and a former Department of Defense official from a past administration told Sneed and Cohen that communications are always archived. Heather Sawyer, the executive director of American Oversight, told Sneed and Cohen that the erasure “just reveals a widespread lack of taking seriously the obligation to preserve records, to ensure accountability, to ensure accountability to their partners in the legislative branch and to the American people.”

McCarthy was a Trump appointee who played a key role in the deployment of National Guard troops on January 6; there have been conflicting explanations for the three-hour delay before they arrived at the Capitol. Trump put acting secretary of defense Miller into office after losing the 2020 election; Miller took office on November 9. Kashyap Patel was an aide to then-representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) when the two fought to strangle the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2020 election; he went from there to the National Security Council and then in November 2020 became Miller’s chief of staff in the Pentagon. Both Miller and Patel were accused of blocking the transition of the Pentagon to the incoming Biden administration, and on December 18, 2020, Miller abruptly halted the transition meetings, saying that the halt was because of a “mutually-agreed upon holiday.” Biden transition director Yohannes Abraham told reporters, “Let me be clear: there was no mutually agreed upon holiday break.”

White House call logs and diaries are also missing, and Cassidy Hutchinson, former chief aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, allegedly told the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol that she saw Meadows burn papers after meeting with Representative Scott Perry (R-PA). Perry later asked Trump for a presidential pardon for his actions in trying to overturn the election.

Perry was apparently not the only one concerned about his actions. Today, Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater reported in the New York Times that two of the Arizona Republicans producing a slate of fake electors giving Arizona’s electoral votes to Trump contacted Trump’s lawyer Kenneth Chesebro with their concern that what they were doing “could appear treasonous.” (Chesebro put the word “treasonous” in bold.) The two were Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward and Arizona state senator Kelly Townsend. Ward has since doubled down on Trump: on July 19 she led the state party to censure Arizona house speaker Rusty Bowers after his testimony before the January 6 committee that Trump and his supporters showed no evidence that he had, in fact, won the election.

If the majority is speaking up for our rights and freedoms, it seems the Republican Party is doubling down on extremism. Today, Bowers lost the Republican primary in a bid to move to the state senate. His opponent, who won by a large margin, was endorsed by former president Trump.


This is starting to get my hopes up.



I think HCR’s perspective as a historian gives her hope.

Looking back with clarity and insight helps one see that both bad and good times come and go, you know?

(Hoping I’m not clutching at hope-straws…)


I don’t think you’re clutching at straws.

I only cottoned on to your HCR thread early this year, but I have to say, it’s quite the eye-opener.

And it’s a beautifully boiled-down insight into American politics.
I have learned a lot, and am actually hopeful now that common sense may prevail once more in the US. I know it’ll take time, after the damage the last idiot inflicted.

I hope the same happens here in the UK sometime soon.


audrey hepburn smile GIF

Honestly… if we understand that the arc of history bends towards justice when we make it do that, then we do have a chance. I think it helps to remember the parts of history where people did make that happen…


August 3, 2022 (Wednesday)

I have spent the day rereading the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the news of the day has heightened its relevance.

During the Trump administration, after an extensive investigation, the Republican-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that “the Russian government engaged in an aggressive, multifaceted effort to influence, or attempt to influence, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election…by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.”

But that effort was not just about the election. It was “part of a broader, sophisticated, and ongoing information warfare campaign designed to sow discord in American politics and society…a vastly more complex and strategic assault on the United States than was initially understood…the latest installment in an increasingly brazen interference by the Kremlin on the citizens and democratic institutions of the United States.” It was “a sustained campaign of information warfare against the United States aimed at influencing how this nation’s citizens think about themselves, their government, and their fellow Americans.”

That effort is not limited to foreign nationals. This week, Alex Jones, a purveyor of conspiracy theories and false information on his InfoWars network—the tagline is “​​There’s a War on For Your Mind!”—is part of a civil trial to determine damages in his defamation of the parents of one of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre in which 26 people, 20 of them small children, were murdered.

Jones claimed that the massacre wasn’t real, and his listeners harassed the grieving families. A number of families sued him. In the case currently in the news, Jones refused for years to comply with orders to hand over documents and evidence, so finally, in September, District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Travis County, Texas, issued a default judgment holding him responsible for all damages. Since the judge has repeatedly had to reprimand Jones for lying under oath during this trial, it seems that Jones intended simply to continue spinning a false story of his finances, his business practices, and his actions.

The construction of a world based on lies is a key component of authoritarians’ takeover of democratic societies. George Orwell’s 1984 explored a world in which those in power use language to replace reality, shaping the past and people’s daily experiences to cement their control. They are constantly reconstructing the past to justify their actions in the present. In Orwell’s dystopian fantasy, Winston Smith’s job is to rewrite history for the Ministry of Truth to reflect the changing interests of a mysterious cult leader, Big Brother, who wants power for its own sake and enforces loyalty through The Party’s propaganda and destruction of those who do not conform.

Political philosopher Hannah Arendt went further, saying that the lies of an authoritarian were designed not to persuade people, but to organize them into a mass movement. Followers would “believe everything and nothing,” Arendt wrote, “think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.” “The ideal subject” for such a dictator, Arendt wrote, was not those who were committed to an ideology, but rather “people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction…and the distinction between true and false…no longer exist.”

It has been a source of frustration to those eager to return our public debates to ones rooted in reality that lies that have built a certain right-wing personality cannot be punctured because of the constant sowing of confusion around them. Part of why the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has been so effective is that it has carefully built a story out of verifiable facts. Because House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) withdrew the pro-Trump Republicans from the committee, we have not had to deal with the muddying of the water by people like Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), who specializes in bullying and hectoring to get sound bites that later turn up in on right-wing channels in a narrative that mischaracterizes what actually happened.

But today something happened that makes puncturing the bubble of disinformation personal. In the damages trial, the lawyer for the Sandy Hook parents, Mark Bankston, revealed that Jones’s attorney accidentally shared a digital copy of two years’ worth of the texts and emails on Jones’s phone and, when alerted to the error, didn’t declare it privileged. Thus Bankston is reviewing the material and has said that Jones lied under oath. This material includes both texts and financial reports that Jones apparently said didn’t exist.

This is a big deal for the trial, of course—perjury is a crime—and it is a bigger deal for those who have believed InfoWars, since it reveals how profitable the lies have been. Bankston revealed that for all of Jones’s claims of low income, in 2018 InfoWars made between $100,000 and $200,000 a day, and some days they made $800,000. But there is more. People calculating the math will note that if indeed there are two years of records on that phone, the messages will include the weeks around the events of January 6, 2021.

Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng of Rolling Stone report that the January 6th committee will request the text messages and emails, which should cover the period around January 6. Jones, who has already spoken with the committee, played a role in the events of that day, whipping up supporters and speaking at a rally on January 5. He is also close to Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, who appeared often on Jones’s InfoWars show and provided Jones’s security. When he testified before the committee, Jones invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 100 times.

The January 6 insurrection relied on the Big Lie that Donald Trump had won the 2020 election, a lie that has dramatically destabilized our country. Republicans have only deepened their commitment to that lie since January 6. After yesterday’s Republican primaries, in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, all key states for 2024, election deniers have clinched the Republican nomination for secretary of state—the person in charge of elections—or the governor who would appoint that officer.

In Arizona, Republican candidate for governor Kari Lake claimed there was fraud in her election, without evidence and even before the votes had been counted. “I’m gonna go supernova radioactive,” she told supporters. “We’re not gonna let them steal an election.” (Lake’s election is still unresolved as ballots are being counted.)

If indeed Jones’s phone turns out to have key texts that go to the January 6 committee, it might provide more facts that will help to diminish the Big Lie. Tonight another piece of information about that lie came from Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater, who reported who reported in the New York Times that John Eastman, the lawyer who produced the memo explaining the plan to have then–vice president Mike Pence overturn the 2020 presidential election, told Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani that they must continue to fight even after January 6, suggesting they contest Georgia’s election of Jon Ossoff and the Reverend Raphael Warnock to the Senate in the hope that those races might yield the evidence of voter fraud that until then they hadn’t found. “A lot of us have now staked our reputations on the claims of election fraud, and this would be a way to gather proof,” he wrote.

Eastman also asked Giuliani to help him collect a $270,000 fee from the Trump campaign for his work on overturning the election, and he implied that the effort could be ongoing.

Way back in 2004, an advisor to President George W. Bush told journalist Ron Suskind that people like Suskind were in “the reality-based community”: they believed people could find solutions based on their observations and careful study of discernible reality. But, the aide continued, such a worldview was obsolete. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore…. We are an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

I wonder if reality is starting to reassert itself.