PA Senate Primary Turns Into Mud Wrestling GOP Free-For-All

If you're screaming to disenfranchise your own voters, you're probably losing. And yet that is the position the Pennsylvania GOP and the RNC find themselves in after Donald Trump's endorsement failed to push Mehmet Oz over the finish line in last Tuesday's Senate primary. So they find themselves intervening in a lawsuit to get Republican ballots tossed out, which is extremely DEMS IN DISARRAY, except LOL, it's the GOP.

As of this writing, Oz's lead over his closest rival, replacement-level white finance dude David McCormick, has shrunk to 977 votes, or less than 0.1 percent. That's well within the 0.5 percent margin for a mandatory recount, and there are still upwards of 5,000 votes untallied. Oz took Trump's advice to shout "I WIN, STOP THE COUNT!" but that didn't work, so now he and the GOP are flipping shit about McCormick trying to steal the game in overtime.

"President Trump is right, and others, that we should not have no excuse absentee voting. This influx of mail-in voting is clearly showing that systems are not ready for that and Pennsylvania is a case of that right now," snarked RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel to Fox's Martha MacCallum on Sunday, adding later that "We certainly do not think that ballots without dates should be counted, because how do you know when they came in?"

Which is bullshit, because you could sign and date your absentee ballot for Christmas and still have it be kosher. The only thing that counts is whether it has a date — any date at all — and whether it's received in time, a fact that is recorded by the county clerk, as McDaniel knows perfectly well. None of the Gippers could crack 31 percent, and that's got nothing to do with an "influx of mail-in voting."

Meanwhile, McCormick filed suit in Pennsylvania state court demanding election officials count ballots that were timely received but for which the voter failed to date the outside envelope consistent with Pennsylvania law. To be clear, there is no indication whatsoever that these votes are fraudulent. But Pennsylvania Republicans passed a law to protect the "integrity" of the ballot by ordering them to be rejected, working on the assumption that absentee ballots were more likely to be Democratic, so rejecting as many of them as possible would be a statistical win for the GOP.

The problem is that now they're using this weapon on their own voters, trying to knock out as many of the uncounted ballots as possible to avoid McCormick eating any further into Oz's wafer thin lead. Also the problem is that the Third Circuit just ruled that rejecting votes because the envelope is undated violates the Civil Rights Act, and thus the law cannot be enforced, as McCormick points out in his suit demanding county officials count those ballots. But the case will definitely be appealed to the Supreme Court, which is not exactly dominated by proponents of civil rights these days, so who the hell knows what's about to happen?

What are the odds that Justice Thomas recuses, since his wife Ginni is advancing election fraud conspiracies six ways from Sunday? Haha, we are silly today!

"The RNC stays neutral for a reason," McDaniel told MacCallum on Sunday. "We legally have to stay neutral, but it is helpful because we didn't put our thumb on the scale and we get to bring everybody together after the fact and have a kumbaya moment."

Less than 36 hours later, the RNC is parking its whole ass on the scale to make sure Oz squeaks out a victory, joining him in opposing McCormick's efforts to get those votes counted. And they're cheek-to-cheek with the state party.

"This is another example of the RNC’s ironclad commitment to ensuring the highest standards of transparency and security are upheld throughout the election process," RNC lawyer Matt Raymer told Fox, leaning into the false implication that there's something suspect about undated ballots.

"While the Republican Party of Pennsylvania looks forward to supporting the Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate nominee, whoever it may be, we absolutely object to the counting of undated mail-in ballots," the state party added, without saying why exactly they're so invested in not counting ballots from their own voters.

Which isn't exactly kumbaya. But if these assholes want to spend the next month kicking the shit out of each other while John Fetterman recuperates, we're not mad about it. Get well, big guy! And of course, let them fight.

[Politico / Fox]

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How Many Ways Did Ginni Thomas Try To Ratf*ck The 2020 Election? Oh, Just All Of Them.

Everyone's least favorite red-pilled auntie is back in the news for trying to overthrow a Democratic election. Again.

When last we left Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and member of half the conservative political boards in DC, she was fantasizing about putting the "Biden crime family" on "barges off GITMO to face military tribunals for sedition.” This was in texts exchanged with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, in which she discussed various looney tunes theories about vote fraud.

“Watermarked ballots in over 12 states have been part of a huge Trump & military white hat sting operation in 12 key battleground states,” she hyperventilated, referring to a wackass theory the QAnon weirdos have been vomiting into each other's mouths about Trump seeding the country with marked ballots and catching Joe Biden in the act of committing vote fraud at scale.

It's really fucking crazy, but no crazier than her husband claiming to be the avatar of judicial ethics while refusing to recuse from cases pertaining to the 2020 election while his wife showed up at the pre-riot rally on January 6, was all the way up in efforts to overturn Joe Biden's win, and may have even participated in the "War Room" events at the Willard Hotel leading up to the riot.

And on Friday the Washington Post got even more details of Ginni Thomas's efforts to pressure lawmakers to overturn the will of the voters and steal the election.

Apparently Our Ginni got herself onto one of the sites that allows people to spam elected officials, and she sent emails to multiple lawmakers urging them to steal electors and give the election to Trump.

"Article II of the United States Constitution gives you an awesome responsibility: to choose our state's electors," she wrote to Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and state Rep. Shawnna Bolick on November 9, despite the fact that she most definitely does not live in Arizona.

"Please stand strong in the face of political and media pressure. Please reflect on the awesome authority granted to you by our Constitution," she went on. "And then please take action to ensure that a clean slate of electors is chosen for our state." (Again, not her state.)

She sent a similar email to the pair on December 13, urging the pair to claw back the electoral votes actual citizens of Arizona had chosen at the ballot box: "Before you choose your state’s Electors … consider what will happen to the nation we a love if you don’t stand up and lead."

Bowers never responded to Thomas directly, but he did put out a public statement on December 4 rebuking "Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and others representing President Donald Trump" for asking him to do what Ginni Thomas had demanded. "Nothing in the U.S. Constitution or the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court even suggests that the Arizona Legislature could retroactively appoint different electors who would cast their ballots for different candidates," he wrote.

Bolick, who is running to be Arizona's next secretary of state, is married to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, who was mentored by Justice Clarence Thomas earlier in his career. And Shawnna Bolick did respond to Ginni's email.

“I hope you and Clarence are doing great!” she wrote on November 10, sending her message to Ginni's personal email directly along with information on how to report problems casting a ballot in Arizona — something Ginni Thomas would know exactly nothing about.

“Fun that this came to you! Just part of our campaign to help states feel America’s eyes!!!” Thomas responded, gleefully congratulating herself on participating in a campaign to menace legislators into overturning the election.

LOL, remember when Bill Clinton talked to Loretta Lynch for ten minutes on the tarmac, and the GOP launched a massive investigation and pretended the FBI was too BIASSSSS to investigate Hillary Clinton and lock her up in email jail?

Here's a passage from the Post that illustrates just how wildly inappropriate it is for Justice Thomas to adjudicate an election suit regarding the 2020 campaign.

Thomas was then serving on the board of CNP Action, the political advocacy arm of the Council for National Policy. CNP Action was using its influence in Republican circles at the time to try to keep Trump in office. On Nov. 13, 2020, CNP Action held a workshop titled “Election Results and Legal Battles: What Now?” featuring, among other speakers, Cleta Mitchell, according to an agenda that researcher Brent Allpress provided to the left-leaning watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy, which published it that same month. Mitchell, a lawyer, assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia.

After that workshop, the group circulated guidance to focus efforts on legislators in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona. “Demand that they not abandon their Constitutional responsibilities at a time such as this,” read the guidance, which was also obtained by Allpress and first published by the Center for Media and Democracy. It said to push for new electors “in states where constitutional rights have been violated and evidence of substantial fraud has been established.”

This is the play they're planning to run in 2024. They want gerrymandered state legislatures to ensure that swing state ballots go to the Republican nominee, regardless of the will of the voters. Justice Thomas's conflicts are beyond debate in light of his wife's shenanigans, and there isn't a damn thing we can do about it.

Well, there is one thing. We can show up at the polls in November and make sure that Shawnna Bolick and the rest of the ratfucking goons the GOP is trying to jam in there can't get their filthy paws anywhere near the ballots in 2024.

Can we please all commit to doing that?



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Jan. 6 Committee Ready To F*ck Up Primetime For Nation’s Most Famous Couch Potato

If you'd told us in 2019 that we'd be rooting for Dick Cheney's daughter, we'd have told you to put down the crack pipe. And yet here we are, and here's GOP Rep. Liz Cheney giving 'em holy hell yesterday as she accepted the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

“This sacred obligation to defend the peaceful transfer of power has been honored by every American president except one,” Cheney said. “The question for every one of us is in this time of testing, will we do our duty, will we defend our constitution, will we stand for truth, will we put duty to our oath above partisan politics?

“Or will we look away from danger, ignore the threat, embrace the lies and enable the liar?” Cheney continued. “As we face a threat we have never faced before — a former president attempting to unravel our constitutional republic — at this moment we must all summon the courage to stand against that.”

This is consistent with reporting from the Washington Post last week that Cheney is pushing harder than the Committee's Democrats to go after Trump and subpoena the congressional Republicans who helped him try to overthrow democracy.

So let's give credit where credit is due: Liz Cheney has shown remarkable courage, bucking her party's insistence on creating an alternate universe in which Donald Trump won the 2020 election, only to be thwarted by a massive yet undetectable fraud. She got booted out of leadership and will likely lose her congressional seat, but she's not backing down. Mad props.

This morning, Hugo Lowell of the Guardian reports that the January 6 Select Committee has scheduled six hearings, with the first occurring Thursday, June 9, at 8 p.m. Eastern time. The last hearing will take place on June 23, also in primetime. There will also be 10 a.m. hearings on June 13, 15, 16 and 21.

Each presentation will focus on a theme and feature witness testimony, with video and still images projected on screens to reinforce the narrative. Lowell reports that the hearings are divided into color coded teams:

The “purple” team has focused on the militia groups, while the “gold” team has examined Trump’s efforts to overturn the election. The “red” team has looked at Stop the Steal, the “green” team at the financing for January 6, and the “blue” team at the government response.

Looks like we'll be hearing a lot about the plot to reject electoral votes for Joe Biden and substitute them for those cosplay electors Rudy Giuliani and his pals were rounding up in the swing states. And we'll be hearing a lot about the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, their potential for violence, and their connections to Trump world. As Lowell notes, "the select committee is attempting to connect Trump’s political plan for January 6 and the militia groups’ violence at the Capitol in what could form evidence that Trump oversaw an unlawful conspiracy."

And speaking of violence, CNN reports that Mark Meadows's assistant Cassidy Hutchinson returned for a third session with the Committee last week, at which she confirmed again that her boss was told there was a potential for violence on January 6, and he went ahead with the event anyway.

Sounds like it's going to be a Live-Blog-A-Palooza here at your Wonkette. BRING IT!

[The Hill / Guardian / CNN]

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Did GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk Lead Tour Of Capitol On Jan 5, 2021? Lordy, Sounds Like There Are Tapes.

The House January 6 Select Committee has requested the pleasure of the company of yet another member of Congress. This time they'd like to sit down for a little chitchat with Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia), about a visit he got from some members of the public on January 5, 2021.

Immediately after the Capitol Riot, rumors began to swirl about MAGA members of Congress leading "reconnaissance" tours of protestors, essentially tipping them off as to how to navigate the notoriously complicated warren of hallways in Congress. On January 13, 2020, Rep. Mikie Sherrill wrote a letter, signed by 33 of her colleagues, asking the Capitol Police and the congressional sergeants at arms to investigate reports of "extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5," an occurrence which was remarked on by staff "for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March of last year due to the pandemic."

"The visitors encountered by some of the Members of Congress on this letter appeared to be associated with the rally at the White House the following day," they wrote, adding that "Members of the group that attacked the Capitol seemed to have an unusually detailed knowledge of the layout of the Capitol Complex."

In response, Loudermilk and Reps. Rodney Davis and Bryan Steil filed an ethics complaint alleging that Sherrill and her cosigners had violated House ethics rules by "making false, spurious, and unsubstantiated accusations against other members." Although Sherrill never used the word "reconnaissance" or mentioned who was giving the tours, Loudermilk angrily insisted that "no Republican Member of Congress led any kind of 'reconnaissance' tours through the Capitol on any date, including January 5, 2021." So, make of that one what you will.

But now it appears that storyline is coming back around, with the Committee's letter to Loudermilk.

"We write to seek your voluntary cooperation in advancing our investigation," Chair Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney wrote. "Based on our review of evidence in the Select Committee’s possession, we believe you have information regarding a tour you led through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021."

And regarding the GOP's tantrum calling to release the tapes:

In response to those allegations, Republicans on the Committee on House Administration—of which you are a Member—claimed to have reviewed security footage from the days preceding January 6th and determined that “[t]here were no tours, no large groups, no one with MAGA hats on.” However, the Select Committee’s review of evidence directly contradicts that denial.


Loudermilk is now screaming like a stuck pig.

"A constituent family with young children meeting with their Member of Congress in the House Office Buildings is not a suspicious group or 'reconnaissance tour,'" he insists, although none of the Democrats have characterized it as such. "The family never entered the Capitol building."

"The 1/6 political circus released the letter to the press before even notifying Mr. Loudermilk, who has still not received a copy," he screeched. "The Select Committee is once again pushing a verifiably false narrative that Republicans conducted 'reconnaissance tours' on January 5th."

"We call on Capitol Police to release the tapes," he concluded.

Safe bet that the congressman will not be accepting the Committee's kind offer to tell his own side of the story. But as for his wish that Americans get to see the tapes and decide for themselves ... that one seems a virtual certainty.

[Committee Letter to Loudermilk / Loudermilk Response]

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BREAKING: Trump’s Truth Social Still Raging Tire Fire

Yesterday Donald Trump's spokesloon Liz Harrington flounced off Twitter in a huff.

"I will soon no longer be posting on Twitter. This is a terrible website that is beyond fixing," she tweeted. "TRUTH will soon be available to everyone when its web application launches.

Surely this will be a body blow for the platform. However will we get along without copypasta of Trump's rambling blog posts augmented by a steady stream of demented vitriol?

But it's probably not a coincidence that Harrington stomped off yesterday with a pointed reference to Truth Social finding a safe space on Al Gore's internet. You can bet she was responding at least in part to a piece from Rolling Stone's Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng on the janky social media's platform's failure to get into the Android app store.

“Is Google trying to fuck me?” Donald Trump wonders aloud to anyone stranded next to him in line at the Mar-a-Lago omelet bar.

Currently Truth Social, his crappy Twitter knock off, is only available on Apple devices. And Arty McDeals, that titan of industry, thinks he knows why.

“He keeps hearing about how Google and YouTube have it out for him … including on Truth Social, and I think he’s taking [it] seriously,” a source told RS.

Devin Nunes, the dairy farming congressman-turned-tech CEO, is apparently happy for his boss to believe there are shenanigans afoot over at Google.

“End of May we will launch PWA (Web Browser) this will allow access from any device,” Nunes "truthed". “After that we will launch an Android App... pending approval from Google!” (Yes, those fakeass tweets are really called "truths." We make a lot of jokes, but that one's 100 percent serious.)

Which is about as likely as my winning the Powerball jackpot, insofar as I have not bought a ticket. Because according to RS those cyber wizards over at Devin's shop haven't even submitted their app to Google for approval. And while it's true that Trump got booted off YouTube at the same time he lost his Twitter handle and Facebook page — i.e. five seconds after he sent an angry mob to overthrow the government — it's not Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai doing cancel cultures to Truth Social that's keeping the app off Android phones.

RS reports:

Recent Truth Social job postings suggest the Android app is still under development. The company also recently advertised a job for a developer who can assist with “bringing some of our core products to Android,” according to a posting on the TMTG’s website.

Who could have predicted such a shocking turn of events! Oh, right, Reuters, which reported a month ago that the company was hemorrhaging staff, with Josh Adams and Billy Boozer, the chiefs of technology and product development, making a beeline for the exit.

Things are not looking good, but never fear, because Team Truth has a secret weapon in reserve.

Things got bad enough that in recent weeks, the former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was called in to take a lead role focused on trying to “fix” what was wrong with the company and the app performance, according to two people familiar with the situation. One of these sources frankly referred to what Trump Jr. was doing as an emergency “rescue mission.” (A spokesman for Trump Jr. declined to comment on this story.)

That's right, they're going to send in DJ to fix it once he finds someone to mop up the meat sweats he presumably gets consuming all Kimberly Guilfoyle's funky steaks. (Allegedly!)

Anyway, none of this is good news for our Devin, who just found out that Elon Musk is going to let Trump back on Twitter if and when he ever manages to buy the company and flush tens of billions of dollars down the toilet. Luckily Trump has said he's done with the blue bird, and we all know he's a man of his word.


Well, good luck, little cowpoke. Surely you wont get put out to pasture in humiliating fashion via tweet after Elon Musk makes you as useless as teats on a bull.


[Rolling Stone]

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Defense Inspector General Says Trump Lackeys Took Revenge On Vindman Brother For Impeachment. Yeah, No Sh*t.

Hey, remember the first impeachment? The Ukraine one, after Donald Trump withheld military aid to blackmail Volodymyr Zelenskyy into announcing a fake investigation into Joe Biden? Wasn't that fun? Wouldn't it be delightful to revisit that again?


Well, too bad, because today we're having a very special episode called Department of Defense Inspector General's Whistleblower Reprisal Investigation, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman US Army, Complainant. The DOD IG investigated the allegation that political appointees in the White House retaliated against Vindman, twin brother of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the impeachment witness who testified about Trump's not-so-perfect phone call with the Ukrainian president. And it turns out that things were exactly as disgraceful as they looked at the time.

As if it were possible to interpret frog marching both brothers out of the White House less than 48 hours after Trump was acquitted by the Senate as anything other than a gross and deliberate act of public reprisal.

Okay, to recap for those of you who don't still burn with white hot rage two years later:

Alex and Yevgeny Vindman were decorated military officers who spent their careers in government service, culminating in stints serving at the National Security Council (NSC). After Alex, the Eastern European expert, heard Trump try to extort a foreign leader by withholding congressionally appropriated defense aid in the infamous July 25, 2019, phone call, he went to his brother Yevgeny, the ethics lawyer, to talk about President Crime Time and what their obligations were vis a vis the blatantly illegal shit that had just gone down.

The brothers brought the matter to the attention of Yevgeny's supervisors, attorneys John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis. Remember those assholes?

Eisenberg is the guy who parked the transcript of that phone call on the "Bin Laden server" after about five people came to him and said HOLY SHIT this is a massive abuse of office for personal gain by the president of the United States. (Remember the secret server that's supposed to be America's deepest secrets, but in the Trump administration was used to hide God knows what embarrassing crimes Trump was committing?) Eisenberg is the reason the original whistleblower filed a formal complaint, after he/she went informally to the CIA general counsel and said HOLY SHIT look at this crime thing. Because when the CIA lawyer called him up, Eisenberg's plan was to bring the matter to Attorney General Bill Barr, despite the fact that Trump had promised to "have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it" right after warning that Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was "going to go through some things."

Then after the whistleblower made a formal complaint, Eisenberg helped Bill Barr bury it at the Justice Department, despite the fact that in the first 100 words of the thing it says "the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election" and "Attorney General Barr appears to be involved as well." Which is a wee smidge of a massive fucking conflict.

The statute unambiguously says Congress gets to see intelligence community whistleblower complaints that have been investigated and sustained by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), as this one was. But instead Eisenberg and Barr routed it through the Justice Department's Criminal Division, which found that there were SURPRISE! NO CRIMES! and no need to mention the thing to congress. Which would have been the end of the matter if the ICIG hadn't turned whistleblower himself and told Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff.

Meanwhile, back at the White House, Eisenberg had suddenly decided that Yevgeny Windman was a terrible lawyer who was bad at his job. On July 1, 2019, he'd called Windman “MOST QUALIFIED,” the highest rating possible, and described him as "a top 1% military attorney and officer and the best LTC with whom I have ever worked.” On April 7, 2020, three months after the impeachment, Eisenberg rated Windman “NOT QUALIFIED” and claimed that he "did not grow professionally; that with additional counseling and experience, his performance might improve; and that the Complainant would benefit from additional experience in a slower-paced work environment subject to less pressure and scrutiny." It wasn't exactly subtle.

As for Michael Ellis, he's the former Devin Nunes staffer who got put on the NSC and was Yevgeny Vindman's direct supervisor. Later he did a speed-read of classification law so he could ratfuck John Bolton's book, before waging an unsuccessful battle to get himself burrowed into the NSA as a career employee, rather than a political appointee.

Ellis tapped out on that about five seconds after he realized he'd have to cooperate with the inspector general if he remained in government service:

Mr. Ellis, through his counsel, raised various concerns regarding our request to interview him, including concerns about executive privilege. We contacted the White House Counsel’s Office (WHCO) on March 2, 2021, regarding our efforts to schedule an interview with Mr. Ellis, and officials from the WHCO did not object to our interest in the matter. On April 15, 2021, through Mr. Ellis’s attorney, we asked to schedule an interview with Mr. Ellis; on April 16, 2021, Mr. Ellis resigned from his position as the NSA General Counsel. We contacted his attorney on April 19, 2021, and July 21, 2021, to reiterate our interview request. Mr. Ellis did not cooperate with this investigation.


Ellis also underwent a drastic change in his appraisal of Yevgeny Vindman's performance right around the time of the impeachment.

The orange line is Ellis's first assessment; the first blue line is the second evaluation; and the second blue line is the amendment after the Army reevaluated Vindman's performance review and said to the White House, "DUDE, WTF?" (More or less.)

Again, they weren't subtle.

After the Vindman brothers complained about the phone call, and Yevgeny brought up some other issues involving National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien's inappropriate behavior toward female subordinates — which was his job as the NSC's ethics lawyer— Yevgeny got frozen out of all meetings and his duties were reassigned to other attorneys.

And here's what the DOD IG said about that!

The Complainant experienced unfavorable and withheld favorable personnel actions under DoD Directive 7050.06 when he received an unfavorable 2020 OER, had his duties and responsibilities significantly changed to a degree inconsistent with his grade, was removed from the NSC, and when a recommendation for an end of tour award was not submitted. While the Complainant’s career may not appear to have been adversely affected as he has since been promoted to the rank of Colonel, his career is not over. The retaliatory actions taken by Mr. Ellis and Mr. Eisenberg could prove to be detrimental to the Complainant for the remainder of his career.

Which is a long way of saying they took revenge on him for telling the truth about Trump's effort to extort a foreign leader, and for his support of his brother in the face of a massive smear campaign. But we already knew that because we saw the two of them get booted out of the White House that Friday morning after the impeachment.

And in case that wasn't clear, Trump himself said that he'd fired the brothers to retaliate for the impeachment:

"Yeah, I obviously wasn’t happy with the job [Alex Vindman] did. First of all, he reported a false call. That wasn’t what was said on the call. What was said on the call was totally appropriate. And I call it a 'perfect call.' … There was no setup. There was no anything. And he reported it totally differently. And then they all went wild when I said that we have transcripts of the calls. And they turned out to be totally accurate transcripts. And if anybody felt there was any changes, we let them make it because it didn’t matter. So we had accurate—totally accurate transcripts. And it turned out that what he reported was very different. And also, when you look at Vindman’s—the person he reports to—said horrible things: avoided the chain of command, leaked, did a lot of bad things. And so we sent him on his way to a much different location and the military can handle him any way they want. General Milley has him now. I congratulate General Milley. He can have him, but—and the brother also.

Not subtle.

Eisenberg, Ellis, and O'Brien all refused to cooperate with the IG for this report.

Ellis's attorney David W. Butler whined to the Washington Post that the report was “based on a biased and incomplete investigation.” And Eisenberg's lawyer William A. Burck complained that his client would have helped, except the IG wouldn't give him the questions in advance.

“Mr. Eisenberg acted professionally and lawfully and the defamatory allegations by the IG are politically motivated fiction,” Burck said. “It’s a sad and dangerous day when government investigators pursue politics instead of facts.”

Which is HAHA FUCK YOU, because, again, we were all there.

Let's give the last word to Yevgeny Windman, who remains an active military officer held in high regard by his peers.

“What happened to me and my brother is an outrage — one of many committed by the former president and his staff,” Windman told the Post.

Amen to that, sir.

[IG Report / WaPo]

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January 6 Committee And Justice Department Tangle Over Evidence. Don’t Let Them Fight!

Is there a kerfuffle afoot between the January 6 Select Committee and the Justice Department? Will Liz Cheney and Merrick Garland settle the matter in a televised cage match available exclusively on C-SPAN After Dark? And will that be what finally causes Americans to give a shit about the fact that the GOP tried to overturn a free and fair election and are planning to do it again in 2024?

Yes, no, and we fucking wish.

Yesterday the New York Times was first to report that the Justice Department has asked the Committee for transcripts of witness interviews that “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting.”

But according to Politico, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson says NFW: “My understanding is they want to have access to our work product. And we told them, no, we’re not giving that to anybody."

It's a little bit difficult to understand what's going on here, and you kind of have to read all the coverage and try to squint your way to a reasonable guess.

The Times says prosecutors sent a letter requesting that the Committee “provide to us transcripts of these interviews, and of any additional interviews you conduct in the future." It cites a source who claims this is part of ongoing negotiations whereby the DOJ could get witness transcripts to bolster its hundreds of ongoing prosecutions of January 6 defendants, and the Committee could get its hands on whatever evidence the DOJ has from witnesses willing to blow off Congress but not Johnny Law.

The paper also notes that the Justice Department and the Committee appear to be treading the same ground, investigating whether the plot to swear in fake Trump electors and get them substituted for the Biden electors chosen by the voters amounts to a crime.

Politico says, "The department has been expanding its investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and homing in on figures in former President Donald Trump’s orbit, particularly those associated with organizing 'Stop the Steal' events that preceded the attack on the Capitol."

And CNN reports that Thompson isn't foreclosing the possibility of sharing the transcripts, excerpts of which the Committee itself has published in various legal filings and subpoena letters.

Here's that Thompson quote again: "If they want to come in and say, 'we want to look at something,' that's fine. But my understanding is they want to have access to our work product. And we told them no, we're not giving that to anybody," he said.

"They wanted access to depositions," he added later. "But my understanding is they didn't tell us specifically what transcripts or anything like that."

If we had to make a guess as to what's going on here, the Justice Department is trying to play it close to the vest, asking for the broadest possible category of documents to avoid tipping off the Committee as to its current lines of inquiry. And considering that the Committee routinely engages in some, um, strategic leaking, that seems like a pretty smart plan.

On the other side, the Committee is about to start holding public hearings, and it doesn't want DOJ to come in and say, "actually, we'd like you not to use this because it might interfere with an ongoing investigation or prosecution."

Or maybe it's a cage match refereed by Chief Justice John Roberts. It's 2022, so any crazy thing is possible.

[NYT / Politico / CNN]

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Madison Cawthorn Gonna Have To Horseplay Cousin In Private Sector, We Guess

Last night GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn did the first and only decent thing he's ever done in his short, feckless life. Shortly after 10 p.m., he called up GOP state Sen. Chuck Edwards, and conceded the primary.

"Congratulations to @ChuckEdwards4NC on securing the nomination tonight," he tweeted shortly after. "It’s time for the NC-11 GOP to rally behind the Republican ticket to defeat the Democrats’ nominee this November."

Thus ends the brief, embarrassing political career of the youngest member of Congress in five decades, who found out the hard way that pissing off the Republican establishment in your home state and embarrassing the shit out of your colleagues in DC can be bad for your political health. Because there's absolutely no question who shivved the 26-year-old man child — and it sure as hell wasn't the Blue Team.

The GOP might have been annoyed when Congressman Boy Band called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a "thug," but they were livid when he started blabbing about Republican electeds throwing coke boner orgies.

In November, the freshman congressman abruptly announced he was switching districts, blocking the candidacy of Republican state House Speaker Tim Moore, whom Cawthorn described as "another establishment go-along-to-get-along Republican." Blindsiding your own party isn't exactly a galaxy brain political move, and then this genius didn't even wind up switching districts!

Pissing off people with a lot of political capital is a weird choice, but it's one Cawthorn made a lot, routinely attacking GOP Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, both of whom are pretty popular in the Tar Heel state. If no member of your state's congressional delegation has endorsed you, and the two senators have both come out against you and raised money for your primary challenger, you done fucked up.

So the past month has seen regular drops of videos of Cawthorn acting like the teenage douchebro in a John Hughes movie. Which left us here at your Wonkette kinda conflicted, since we obviously wanted that guy gone, but also found it pretty filthy how the GOP went full gay panic on Cawthorn in an effort to turn North Carolina Republicans against him. Because Cawthorn's Venmo messages to his male aide/cousin for stupid shit like "getting naked for me in Sweden" were clearly a joke, and the "funny" part was "haw haw, I ain't no sissy queer." Ditto for the photos of him in women's underwear and the video of him cavorting naked in bed with said aide.

No one gave a rat's ass about Cawthorn constantly getting caught driving recklessly and trying to take guns on airplanes, much less his role in fomenting an insurrection. But whoever was doing those oppo drops clearly meant to smear Cawthorn by releasing a video of the congressman getting his crotch (sort of kind of) groped by a man. The obvious implication is that Cawthorn is secretly gay, which is gross and bad and a reason not to vote for him. And it worked! Even Donald Trump was wondering aloud if the allegation against the little dipshit was that he was “fucking his cousin.”

Not that Trump withdrew his endorsement. “When Madison was first elected to Congress, he did a great job,” Trump gushed on Truth Social earlier this week. “Recently, he made some foolish mistakes, which I don’t believe he’ll make again…let’s give Madison a second chance!”

"No matter what you are facing, when Donald Trump has your back, he has your back to the end," said no one ever Cawthorn. But even Trump's endorsement wasn't enough to push him over the finish line in the face of this smear campaign.

“You know what? I'll tell you, there's been a coordinated strike carried out by, really, kind of the old establishment wing of our party,” Cawthorn said Tuesday before the votes had been tabulated. “And it's really something that I think is a loser's mentality. They realize the direction the country's going in, the direction that the population's going in, and if they want to be able to pay off people from my past to try and bring up old pictures or things that happened years and years ago, I feel free to let them do that. I think the American people will see through that.”

So much for the "loser's mentality." Those guys played the homophobia card, and it was a winner. So, good riddance. And also, UGHHHHHHHHH.

[Asheville Citizen-Times / Blue Ridge Public Radio]

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Tips And Tricks For Cleaning Up After A Republican Coke Boner Orgy! Tabs, Wed., May 18, 2022

The first rule of GOP coke boner orgies is you don't talk about GOP coke boner orgies! Rep. Madison Cawthorn learned that lesson the hard way last night, losing his primary to state Sen. Chuck Edwards, a slightly less embarrassing white guy. Time of campaign death: 9:47pm.

So satisfying!

Negotiations between the Justice Department and the January 6 Select Committee over sharing evidence appear to be ongoing, with the DOJ requesting transcripts of witness interviews and the Committee asking to see evidence collected thus far. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson is making noise about not turning "work product" over to the DOJ. We sure hope those crazy kids can work something out. (NYT, Politico)

A Trump-appointed federal judge in North Dakota issued a nationwide injunction to block the Biden administration enforcing a rule requiring employers who offer health insurance to cover gender-affirming care. US District Judge Daniel Traynor worried that the law invited lawsuits "if a medical provider refuses to gender transition their child, of any age, including an infant," and blamed Joe Biden for making him think about the possibility that "a newborn child could be surgically altered to change gender." And Traynor is only 52, wheeeee! (Above the Law)

And in Kansas, another toddler Trump and McConnell stuck on the bench blocked a school district from disciplining a teacher if she outed trans kids to their parents. See, the teacher believes that Jesus wants her to do it, and so they have to let her, according to US District Judge Holly Teeter, who is 43. Dear God! (ABA Journal)

AG Merrick Garland has been a busy bee behind the scenes. Yesterday the DOJ sued former RNC finance chair Steve Wynn, a casino magnate, for failing to register as an agent of the Chinese government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Wynn lobbied the Trump administration for the extradition of Guo Wengui, the anti-CCP billionaire who funds Steve Bannon's various escapades as well as Jason Miller's GETTR. LOL, remember when the GOP spent like three straight years pretending Biden was in bed with China?. (WaPo)

And the DOJ filed a superseding indictment against Tom Barrack, the businessman who chaired Trump's inaugural committee. Last year Barrack was indicted for being an unregistered foreign agent of the UAE, and yesterday prosecutors added some more charges involving a $374 million infusion of cash from that country's sovereign wealth fund into Barrack's private equity firm. (Reuters)

The jury trail of former DNC and Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann got underway yesterday in DC. Special Counsel John Durham is hoping to hang a vast conspiracy on the alleged failure of Sussmann to disclose his affiliations when he brought the Alfa Bank server info to the FBI. The problem is that everyone in DC knew who he worked for, so establishing materiality — i.e. proving that Sussmann's alleged lie could have materially altered the course of the FBI's investigation — might be a reach. The Post has a good summary of yesterday's hearing.

Meanwhile, everyone's favorite fake attorney general, Matthew "Meatball" Whitaker, is back to say that Sussmann won't get convicted because "it's in the District of Columbia, in front of a jury of, uh, you know, which, uh ... mostly left-leaning jurors." Wink wink nudge nudge if you know what he means, and if you don't your dog sure as hell does. (Above the Law)

Bloomberg Opinion columnist Matt Levine has the best rundown of WTF is going on with Elon Musk and Twitter. Spoiler Alert: Musk is acting in horrendously bad faith, and in America, no law can constrain the richest man in the world.

Perhaps you have a vague sense that Musk's understanding of the First Amendment and content moderation is, to put it bluntly, fucking childish. If you'd like to get less vague on this issue, Techdirt's latest podcast, with Mike Masnick and Renee DiResta from the Stanford Internet Observatory, is an excellent place to start.

And it appears that Dinesh D'Souza and True the Vote may have told one or two teensy tiny fibs about "2,000 Mules," their recently released vote fraud "documentary." If you can even believe such a thing! Seems they claim their digital device tracking is so sophisticated that they tipped off police, leading to the apprehension of the murderer of a child in Atlanta. Except not. (NPR)

Okay, Your Wonkette will, of course, have all the coverage of last night's primaries. We're like a regular Nate Silver over here, only we don't think we're an epidemiologist.

Time to fuck up this Wednesday! Get at it, y'all.

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Steve Bannon Says His Kinder, Gentler Racist Nativism Different From Buffalo Shooter’s Icky Murder-y Kind

In the wake of the revelation that the 18-year-old white supremacist shooter in Buffalo was brain-poisoned by the Great Replacement Theory lie, Steve Bannon is flooding the zone with an epic quantity of shit.

"He’s Azov, a gay guy, he’s got all these insignias. He comes across – he said he’s a left-wing authoritarian, an eco-authoritarian," he babbled to Rudy Giuliani on Monday. "It’s in the manifesto, which they won’t release. I don’t know, just release it, it’s not gonna warp people’s mind. People can make decisions."

Okay, first of all, Peyton Gendron's screed is a simple Google search away for anyone who chooses to read it. Is Bannon pissed that a mass shooter is being cancel-cultured by responsible media outlets who don't want to inspire the next massacre while giving free publicity to the bad ideas that inspired the current one? We don't know, but he's been flogging vile nativist ideas himself for years. And anyone who did read this demon's scribblings would immediately understand that, shitposting aside, he's not a gay eco-terrorist Ukrainian right-wing paramilitary trooper.

FFS, the man carried a gun with a racial epithet scrawled on it into a store he chose specifically because its clientele was predominantly Black, and shouted racist slurs as he went on a killing spree.

Azov? Fuck right off.

"Parents got to be on top of stuff. Why are the parents that – is this kid going to church? Is he in church?” Bannon wondered, as if being heavily churched has ever stopped a racist mass shooter before. Then he seamlessly pivoted to chastising the media for "inappropriately" blaming Tucker Carlson, who mainstreamed the very ideas about white replacement that inspired this attack.

"This situation up in Buffalo stinks to high heaven, and of course the mainstream media's focused on the wrong thing," Bannon tut-tutted. As if the problem is the media's impropriety, not the 10 people dead because the country is awash in toxic racism.

Now watch this asshole try to distinguish his brand of poison from the low rent, generic version flogged by the racist killer.

"We are inclusive nationalists, right?" he said, invoking "Hispanics in the Rio Grande Valley" and "African Americans in droves who are understanding the lies and misrepresentations of the Democratic party."

"We're winning. This is about the sovereignty of the United States and the citizens of the United States," he rambled, before going on a riff about ceding control of the country to globalists at the World Health Organization. Oh, hey, you know who else didn't like (((globalists?)))

Bannon credited his "inclusive nationalism and participatory populism" with the 80-to-100 seat gain he thinks the GOP will make in November. Although, we can't help but notice that the GOP's plan to achieve this relies on both a massive gerrymander and making sure that broad swathes of the population cannot participate in elections.

"We're not going to stop, we are ascendant," ranted the man who used to work at the White House and who now vlogs into a microphone all day, just 18 months after his party's standard-bearer was soundly rejected by the American people.

Look, it's all shit right now, no doubt. But Bannon's little freakout is because the media is finally learning to talk about his "movement" accurately. Because the bogeyman of the week is GRT, not CRT. Because nobody outside of Fox News is talking about a lone wolf — they're talking about young men getting radicalized by Bannon and Carlson and their ilk. Because mealy-mouthed euphemisms like "racially tinged" and "controversial" are getting replaced by "racism" and "white supremacist."

It's not going to happen all at once — shit, it took 'em four years to start saying Trump lied — but it is happening. Just ask Elise Stefanik. And that little tantrum there was Bannon trying desperately to regain control of the narrative.

No. Fucking. Way.


[Joe My God / Crooks and Liars]

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