Liz Cheney Upset That Her Colleagues Want To End What Trump Called ‘Endless Wars’

On Thursday, the House voted to repeal the 20-year-old Authorization for Use of Military Force used by President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.

And Liz Cheney was not happy.

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‘Warmongering Fool’ Cheney: ‘AUMF Repeal Without Comprehensive Replacement Is Dangerous’

The neoconservative congresswoman, whom Trump has called a “warmongering fool” on multiple occasions, said on the House floor, “AUMF repeal without comprehensive replacement is dangerous, misguided, and ignores the security challenges facing our nation.”

“This legislation removes a critical tool used by previous administrations – Republican and Democrat – to defeat terrorist threats originating in Iraq,” said the Wyoming representative who was ousted from House leadership in May for constantly criticizing former president Donald Trump and supporting his second impeachment.

Cheney once again finds herself on the opposite side of Trump, who constantly spoke out about the dire need for America to end its “forever wars” and “endless wars” abroad.

House Voted 268 To 161 To Repeal AUMF

Cheney said Thursday that repealing AUMF “would send a message of weakness to our adversaries and allies alike” and that it “is not part of a comprehensive replacement providing adequate authority to combat terrorists or those who want to do our nation harm is a vote to leave America exposed to our enemies.”

But the House still voted 268 to 161 to remove the authorization.

Every Democrat voted in favor, despite twice voting to block Trump’s efforts to withdraw troops from Afghanistan just last year – working in tandem with Cheney.

Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District disagreed with Cheney, saying in a statement that the vote to repeal AUMF was a “matter of basic constitutional hygiene and a small but significant step forward in reasserting Congress’s war powers authorities.”

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Massie: ‘Saddam Hussein’s Regime Was Defeated In 2003. 2003, That’s 18 Years Ago’

“The 2002 AUMF is no longer relevant and its repeal would not impact ongoing operations in the Middle East,” Gallagher added.

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie said, “Saddam Hussein’s regime was defeated in 2003. 2003, that’s eighteen years ago.”

“Obama declared the Iraq War ended in 2011, but the AUMF was never repealed,” Massie added. “It gives a blank check to any current or subsequent administration to keep American soldiers in Iraq indefinitely, and puts us at risk of getting into another war.”

 

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Elise Stefanik’s post on democracy group board sparked a staff uproar

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election and voted against certification of Joe Biden’s win, currently serves as a board member for a revered U.S. organization dedicated to the promotion of democracy.

The congresswoman’s position on the National Endowment for Democracy’s board has rankled fellow Republicans, foreign policy scholars and some former NED board members, who say her statements, along with her support for GOP-authored election laws, are at odds with the organization’s mission.

“How is it consistent for someone like her to be on the board of NED given its mission for promoting democracy all over the world and in America with the view that she and many Republicans have for changing our election processes to make it harder for people to participate in our democracy?” said former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), a former NED board member.

“It’s kind of like the Catholic Church appointing a self-described atheist as a cardinal,” said Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Elise Stefanik is part of the threat to American democracy. It’s a travesty that she’s on the board of an institution whose goal is to promote democracy.”

Stefanik’s remarks also have caused internal tensions at the congressionally funded, non-partisan organization. After the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, some staffers at NED circulated a letter internally raising concerns about her position on the board, according to four people familiar with the matter.

“There was a lot of staff unhappiness,” said one of the people.

A NED spokesperson confirmed that the group’s president, Carl Gershman, received the letter and informed the board of directors of its contents. When the board met on January 8, members discussed both the insurrection and Stefanik’s position on the board for roughly half an hour. Stefanik did not attend the meeting and no formal vote or action was taken on her membership, according to a person familiar with the meeting. But some board members bristled at staff trying to interfere with the makeup of the board.

“Who is in the Board is a Board decision and the staff has no role in it,” one NED board member said in a text message. “It’s totally improper for them to try to veto Board members.”

Ultimately, officials at NED have not budged. Though the group denounced the violence at the nation’s Capitol, it has held firm to the belief in the need for bipartisan representation in its ranks.

“The Endowment is a congressionally funded and authorized organization and, as such, has relied on, and benefitted from broad bipartisan support,” NED chairman Kenneth Wollack said in a statement. “This support is even more remarkable given our country’s polarized political environment. We do not have litmus tests on views expressed by individual Board members.”

When called for comment, Gershman, who is retiring later this summer, said: “People are elected to three-year terms and she’s in her first term and that’s all I have to say about that.”

Ali Pardo, a spokesperson for Stefanik, said the congresswoman was “proud to have one of the strongest records in the House supporting and leading bipartisan efforts to fund the National Endowment of Democracy and the mission of supporting and strengthening democratic institutions around the world.”

She added that, “Congresswoman Stefanik is one of the most prominent voices countering authoritarian regimes like Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, especially through her work on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.”

The National Endowment for Democracy was founded as an independent, but government-funded non-profit in 1983 for the purpose of strengthening democratic institutions by supporting civil society around the world. President Ronald Reagan, in a speech in 1982, had called for such an organization to be created to “foster the infrastructure of democracy” and Congress authorized funding the next year.

Over the years, it has provided small grants to thousands of private civil-society groups and earned a reputation for giving support to groups promoting democratic values and institutions in closed societies and aspiring democracies. It spends $300 million a year funding activists who work on free and fair elections, free markets and human and labor rights in projects in around 100 countries.

Stefanik was elected to the board in January 2019. A Harvard graduate who had risen rapidly through the ranks of Republican institutions, she was considered an up-and-coming, policy-minded conservative. She had worked in the Bush White House on the Domestic Policy Council and was a staffer on Paul Ryan’s 2012 vice presidential campaign; establishment figures like Tim Pawlenty and Paul Ryan championed her career. When she won a seat in Congress in 2015 from an upstate New York district at age 30, she became an immediate star in the GOP firmament.

But within a year of joining NED, the congresswoman’s reputation changed. She played a prominent role defending then-President Donald Trump during his first impeachment, even earning a shout-out at the White House after his Senate acquittal. After the 2020 elections, she questioned whether the presidential results in Georgia — a state Joe Biden narrowly won — were fraudulent, saying that “140,000 votes came from underage, deceased, and otherwise unauthorized voters” in Fulton County. No such fraud took place though Stefanik has not backed off her initial accusation.

On the day of the Capitol riots, Stefanik condemned the violence but refused to blame Trump for inciting it. She subsequently voted to object to the certification of Biden electors in four states.

“President-Elect Biden was certified, but that debate was important for the American people to hear,” she said.

In the weeks and months since, Stefanik has voted against the creation of a commission to look into what happened on Jan. 6. She also told Steve Bannon’s radio show in May that she “fully” backed the widely-criticized Arizona election “audit” into that state’s presidential vote.

Her alliance with Trump helped her ascend politically. When the Republican Party moved to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as House Republican Conference Chair, its members turned to Stefanik as a replacement. When Stefanik got the job, she thanked Trump for his support.

Stefanik is not the only sitting lawmaker to work with NED. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) are honorary board members. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) is a NED officer, serving as vice chairman.

Nor is Stefanik the only member of Congress who voted against election certification while serving on a board with bipartisan prestige. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who voted against certification, currently serves on the honorary board of the Fulbright Association, an alumni organization for the Fulbright Program that has spoken out against the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas) voted against certification and also serves on the board of Texas Christian University, where a brief pressure campaign was launched to have him removed after the Capitol riot.

Though NED focuses almost exclusively on promoting democracy abroad, the organization did weigh in on the insurrection at the Capitol. In a statement, it called the event a “violent and seditious assault” and said that “after a free and fair election, when incumbents are defeated, a peaceful transfer of power must result.”

“The integrity of elections in this country is a proper topic for the NED, although it’s not their focus, and I think respecting the integrity of the election we just went through is something that I’m sure most of the [board members] care about,” said former Republican Congressman Vin Weber, who served as chairman of NED from 2001 to 2009. Weber declined to specifically discuss Stefanik’s role on the board.

In its April 2021 issue, the Journal of Democracy — an initiative of NED and published jointly by NED and Johns Hopkins University — ran an article that called out lies about voting fraud in the U.S., saying it had “cemented a perception among tens of millions of Americans that the election was ‘rigged,’” and “manufactured distrust” that had “deeply damaged our democracy; the path to repairing it is not at all clear.”

One of the authors of that article, Charles Stewart III, a professor of political science at MIT, said Stefanik was a “soft enabler, certainly” of Trump. But he also said he thought she could continue serving on NED’s board.

“I wish Republicans had not gone down the path of even hard or soft denial of the election outcome but it seems to me if we’re going to have bipartisan boards and commissions inevitably we’re going to have people who defended parts of Trump’s denialism,” he said. “That is kind of the nature of bipartisanship these days.”

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Unwilling to wait until 2024, ‘Speaker Trump’ is now a thing Republicans want

Republicans can’t help themselves. No matter how big of a loser Donald Trump is, and he’s the biggest of them all, they just can’t quit him. In fact, they’re so desperate to keep him front and center in the electoral debate, that they’re now talking about making him speaker of the House

And in a little-known quirk of the House’s rules, he wouldn’t even need to be elected to anything to make that happen. 

Article 1, Section 2, states, “The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers...” There are no other legal requirements for the position, including age, or actually being elected to anything. For some time in the mid teens, House conservatives actually agitated for Senator Ted Cruz to become speaker. In 2013, former Secretary of State Colin Powell received votes for speaker. In 2015, Sen. Rand Paul got a vote. 

Now, in all of American history, the speaker has always been a member of the House. But that’s a norm, a tradition, not an actual requirement. And we all know how much water that carries with both the modern conservative movement and Donald Trump. Zero. And so, a new conservative scheme is born: the drive to make Trump the next speaker. It started with this exchange on wingnut radio:

Speaker of the House Donald Trump? He’s not ruling it out.

The former president called the idea “very interesting” after conservative radio host Wayne Allyn Root pressed him Friday to run for a Florida congressional seat in 2022 with the goal of leading a Republican takeover of the House and supplanting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Why not instead of just waiting for 2024, and I’m hoping you run in 2024, but why not run in 2022 for the United States Congress, a House seat in Florida, win big, lead us to a dramatic landslide victory, taking the House by 50 seats, and then you become the Speaker of the House,” said Mr. Root on his USA Network show [...]

“You’ll wipe him [President Biden] out for his last two years, and then you’ll be president. Do it! Do it! You’ll be a folk hero,” Mr. Root said.

Of course, Root clearly doesn’t know about the non-requirements to be speaker. Other conservatives do, and they’re starting to talk. One told The Atlantic’s Peter Nicholas, “If 150 members of Congress went to Trump and said, ‘We want you to be our leader,’ I think he’d do it.” 

Of course he’d do it! Could there be a better scenario for Trump than to be handed something without having to do a lick of work? It’s his dream come true! And you know who is really excited at this possibility? Steve Bannon. 

Bannon unspooled a wild chain of events to me, to explain away that hurdle: Trump would serve only 100 days, setting in motion the Republican policy agenda and starting a series of investigations, including an impeachment inquiry into Biden. Then, Trump would step down, turn the gavel over to McCarthy, and prepare for a 2024 presidential run. “He’d come in for 100 days and get a team together,” Bannon said. “They’d have a plan. That plan would be to confront the Biden administration across the board. I actually believe that there will be overwhelming evidence at that time to impeach Biden, just as they did Trump. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

“On the 101st day,” Bannon added, “he’ll announce his candidacy for the presidency, and we’ll be off to the races.”

Adorbs. 

Bannon thinks that 1) House minority leader Kevin McCarthy would step aside, even for some time, to hand the gavel to Trump, 2) that Trump would have the votes in the House to win a speaker election, 3) that Trump would have enough of his shit together to put together a team in that short time frame, 4) that Trump would have a “policy agenda,” when they couldn’t even bother to have a party platform at the 2020 Republican convention, 5) that they’d have anything to impeach Biden on with supposed “overwhelming evidence,” and 6) that Trump would willingly hand over the gavel once he had it. Though it is nice of him to admit that Democrats did have “overwhelming evidence” against Trump. 

Still, rather than mock this, and it is so eminently mockable, it behooves us to encourage this talk. As I’ve written, midterm elections are almost always referendum on an incumbent president, leading to typical losses. 

History says that the party of a first-term president nearly always faces catastrophic loses in Congress in his first midterm election. In the House, the average is an over 30-seat loss. In the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attack, 2002 was an exception, so exceptions do exist. Regardless, Democrats face some historical headwinds that are compounded by a reapportionment and redistricting process that favors Republicans, a Senate map that features nearly every single difficult 2020 presidential battleground [...] and the systematic Republican effort to make it harder for core Democratic constituencies to turn out and vote.

In a normal year, we’d be talking about how to minimize losses and what a Biden administration might do with Republican congressional majorities. But this isn’t a normal year, and Republicans are doing everything in their power to keep it that way [...]

[B]y letting loser Trump call the shots and by letting him insert himself into the political debate, Republicans very well risk turning 2022 into a referendum on … Donald Trump. We already know how those go—they goose the liberal base vote without any corresponding Republican vote unless Trump is on the ballot. And he isn’t.

Keeping Trump front and center in the political debate, along with the conservative movement’s inability to get worked up much about President Joe Biden, 2022 threatens to upend the conventional debate, from a referendum on the incumbent, to yet another referendum on Donald Trump. By essentially putting Trump on the ballot—for speaker of the House—Republicans could give liberals yet another reason to turn out in the numbers they did in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. And without Trump being literally on the ballot, the chances of Republicans turning out the hidden deplorables are dramatically lowered. 

Right now, this “Speaker Trump” discussion is floating on the edges of the political debate. But with Bannon on board, it shouldn’t be long before Trump himself is promoting the idea. And from there? Who knows. “Will you vote for Trump for Speaker” could be yet another item on the conservative litmus test, to go with “who really won the 2020 election.”

DCCC taps members for large leadership team

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced a slate of nearly two dozen members who will join its leadership ranks as it looks to preserve a narrow House majority after redistricting.

The expanded roster is a part of DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney’s pledge to ensuring diversity is reflected in the upper echelons of the committee, something lawmakers complained that his predecessor failed to achieve in the early days of the past cycle.

Some notable additions: Rep. Marc Veasey of Texas — whom Maloney tapped as a vice chair last year — will also lead recruitment efforts this cycle, with the help of Reps. Sara Jacobs of California, Joe Neguse of Colorado and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. Incumbent-protection efforts will be helmed by Rep. Ami Bera of California with assistance from Reps. Jennifer Wexton of Virginia and Steven Horsford of Nevada. All three used to represent swing areas that have become safer in recent years.

In interviews, members said that their early efforts have focused on helping swing-seat incumbents prepare for the midterms by studying what went wrong in 2020 and identifying and convincing strong candidates to run in 2022, even while the district lines themselves are months away from being finalized.

“It's harder in a redistricting year, but generally you're able to recruit,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Candidates that declare know there's a caveat that, 'Well, if the district doesn't look anything like a seat that is viable for me, then I may not run.' Or if they get lumped in with an incumbent.”

But she said she’s been encouraged by the level of interest so far: “We’ll have primaries,” she predicted, pointing to the crowded field in the open seat currently held by Rep. Charlie Crist, a Florida Democrat who is running for governor.

Recruiters note that redistricting will freeze fields for both parties. And Democrats hinted that some familiar names might surface in 2022 — candidates who will be ready to launch quickly when maps materialize.

“Oh I think you’ll definitely see some former incumbents. You’ll see people who came close last time,” Veasey said in an interview. “I think you’ll see some surprises — movie stars.”

Redistricting will also shake up the committee’s Frontline program for endangered incumbents. The DCCC named 32 members to it last spring, but that number could grow and contract. Depending on the new lines, battleground members could find themselves in bluer districts, and safe-seat members could be suddenly in swing territory.

Bera said in an interview that he’s been encouraging Frontline members to study the results of the various analyses of the 2020 election, completed by the DCCC and outside groups. “Certainly we’re looking at what polling kind of missed, because I think everyone ought to be doing that. It wasn’t just the Democratic Party,” he said.

His other advice: Be prepared for a potential drop-off in turnout for a midterm year and to combat GOP attacks on socialism.

”Let the data dictate what you learned, and then you take those lessons and feed them back into how we move forward," he said. "I think that's what we're going through. I would argue the Republicans are probably not going through that same analysis, and they’re tying themselves to Trump."

Also joining the leadership team: Reps. Angie Craig of Minnesota, Scott Peters of California and David Trone of Maryland, who will be regional vice chairs. Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia will return as national finance chair, and Rep. Adam Schiff of California will lead finance efforts in the battleground seats, putting to use the large online fundraising apparatus he amassed during the first impeachment trial.

The DCCC has not named a redistricting chair, as its GOP counterpart has. But the regional vice chairs will be monitoring new maps, and the committee has a designated redistricting team on staff, led by Gisel Aceves. A former executive director of BOLD PAC, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Aceves moved to the DCCC this cycle.

As previously announced, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland will lead organizing for the committee, and Rep. Linda Sánchez of California will oversee Latino engagement. And Reps. Donald Norcross of New Jersey and Bobby Scott of Virginia will serve as committee liaisons to the labor community.

Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Lee of California is bringing some of her “Representation Matters” mentorship program for women of color under the DCCC umbrella. And Reps. Sharice Davids of Kansas, Dan Kildee of Michigan, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin and Raul Ruiz of California will spearhead the committee’s work with Native American tribes and Indian Country.

“With their diverse array of backgrounds and experiences, we are on an even stronger footing to recruit candidates, build powerful campaigns, and deliver for the American people,” Maloney of New York said in a release announcing the team.

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GOP hands Dems a new line of attack: They’re for ‘Trump over the cops’

Republicans often blast Democrats for wanting to defund the police. But Democrats have a new rebuttal: The GOP won’t defend the police.

In the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the GOP’s love for law enforcement — a longtime hallmark of the party — is being called into question as some members on the right continue to whitewash the insurrection and even foist blame on the police officers who protected lawmakers that day.

Democrats are ramping up attacks on Republicans who refused to investigate the riots or formally honor the cops who responded, some of whom were tasered, maced and beaten with flag poles by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Members of President Joe Biden's party are not only painting their colleagues across the aisle as disrespectful of law enforcement, but also arguing that the GOP’s unflinching loyalty to Trump has compromised its core values.

That dynamic was on full display in the Capitol Wednesday as D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a concussion and heart attack while fending off the Jan. 6 mob, visited the Hill seeking meetings with the 21 House Republicans who voted against a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to police officers for their service during the attack. Fanone says freshman Rep. Andrew Clyde — the Georgia Republican who recently downplayed the insurrection by comparing it to a ”normal tourist visit” — refused to shake his hand after the officer introduced himself in an elevator.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), one of the House’s impeachment managers during Trump’s second trial, was quick to seize on the interaction, tweeting “that to honor Trump, @housegop will dishonor the police.”

“It's hard to accuse Democrats of defunding the police when you are dishonoring the police,” Swalwell said in an interview. “It makes me wonder: Was there prior support [in the GOP] for law enforcement? Or just phony political pandering? Because when the rubber meets the road, they're choosing Trump over the cops.”

It’s a clear attempt to flip the script on Republicans, who yoked Democrats in key battleground districts to liberal calls to “defund the police” as part of an effective messaging strategy that Democrats struggled to counter in the 2020 election cycle. But now, Republicans may find themselves on their heels — and see their own narrative undermined — if these Democratic attacks stick.

Yet Republicans aren’t sweating the prospect of being tagged as anti-police, arguing that Democrats are just trying to deflect from their own problems on an issue where they know they're politically vulnerable.

"All you need to do is ask Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if Democrats support law enforcement,” said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Michael McAdams, referring to four members of the House liberal alliance known as "the Squad."

“After elected House Democrats spent the last year calling police instruments of white supremacy and advocating for their complete abolition, no voter will believe House Democrats support law enforcement," McAdams added.

Still, Democrats see an opening after a wedge started to form between the GOP and law enforcement during this spring's debate over a proposed independent commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6. While 35 Republicans supported the effort in the House, Republicans in the Senate blocked the bill — despite a lobbying campaign from the mother of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died following his response to the Jan. 6 attack after suffering from a stroke.

Those tensions surfaced again in the House again this week, when nearly two dozen Republicans opposed legislation to bestow the highest congressional honor on Capitol and D.C. police officers who defended the building from rioters. Hard-line conservatives took issue with the bill for referring to the siege as an “insurrection” and accused Democrats of just trying to play politics.

Firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who voted against the measure, argued there are better ways to honor the police. She also lit into Democrats for their positions on police reform.

“I hope that every police officer that has gone to other members of Congress here asking why they voted no yesterday went to the Democrat members' office who wanted to remove their qualified immunity, who wanted to make them personally liable for doing their job,” Boebert said, citing a legal doctrine shielding offers from legal burdens for behavior on the job that Democrats want to overhaul.

“Every Democrat who has called to defund the police," Boebert added, "I hope they are held accountable. Democrats are using [police officers] as pawns for their political game, and I’m tired of it."

The escalating rhetoric over support for law enforcement comes as some Trump acolytes on the Hill continue to downplay the Jan. 6 assault. At a hearing this week, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) accused the cop who fatally shot rioter Ashli Babbitt of “lying in wait” before he “executed” her and falsely claimed none of the rioters had firearms. And on Twitter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) suggested without evidence that FBI operatives had a hand in “organizing and carrying out the Jan 6th Capitol riot.”

Democrats have wasted no time hitting back. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said the “GOP loves to say ‘back the blue’ but really it is only when politically convenient.” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) called his Republican colleagues “either evil or nuts.” And Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) labeled the GOP opposition to the gold medal bill as “sick” and “pathetic.”

And it’s not just Democrats who have called out Republicans for how they’ve treated the police since Jan. 6.

“On January 6, as the violent mob advanced on the House chamber, I was standing near @RepGosar and helped him open his gas mask. The Capitol Police led us to safety,” tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the insurrection. “It is disgusting and despicable to see Gosar lie about that day and smear the men and women who defended us.”

Two of Gosar's brothers appeared on CNN Thursday morning to disavow the Republican lawmaker's dismissive response to the insurrection and his vote against the proposal to honor law enforcement.

"First off, I'd like to thank Officer Fanone for his and the other Capitol Hill police officers for their bravery and heroism on that day," David Gosar said. "And on behalf of the actual sane members of our family, which is everyone but Paul, we apologize on behalf of our family to him for his despicable comments and disgraceful conduct through this whole incident."

Meanwhile, some Democrats are wary of overplaying their hand or politicizing such a sensitive issue. The back-and-forth also runs the risk of upending lawmakers' bipartisan negotiations on a police reform deal.

But Democrats, who have searched for ways to combat the GOP’s policing attacks, also see their opponents' actions as an opportunity to highlight the contrast between the two parties on law enforcement — as long as they also show voters what they stand for. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also pointed to the unified Republican votes against a Covid aid bill earlier this year that included funding for local police departments.

“That’s a pretty poor record,” Maloney said.

Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.

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Former WH adviser Fiona Hill considered pulling a fire alarm during Helsinki Summit—to shut Trump up

I don’t know about you, but I used to feel pretty on edge whenever Donald Trump left the country. As bad as it was having him here, seeing him take overseas trips felt a bit like that scene in The Silence of the Lambs where Lecter escapes from his cage and no one can find him. What will happen? Will Trump shove Montenegro’s prime minister out of the way like an unruly child trying to get to the front of a Sno-Cone queue? Will he stand next to murderous dictators looking like Droopy Dog at the tail end of a four-day bath salts bender? Or will his diseased offal heap of a brain spin the wheel and do something truly Dadaistic, like appointing his horse to the Senate while ordering Ted Cruz to pull a wagon of turnips through Mar-a-Lago 16 hours a day with a Trump-branded bit in his mouth? 

My point is, anything could happen with this guy. And while that’s a great trait in a shock jock or a WWE wrestler, it’s not something I want to see in a man whose preternaturally stubby fingers hover over the nuclear button. But I’m just a garden-variety, standard-issue American with an ordinary interest in not dying gruesomely for no reason. Imagine how much worse it was for people on the front lines of Donald Trump’s war on reality.

Well, you don’t have to imagine. Former presidential adviser and National Security Council official Fiona Hill, who was a key witness in Trump’s first impeachment trial, has an insider’s take.

On the June 15 edition of Don Lemon Tonight, Hill recounted how truly horrifying Trump’s performance at the 2018 Helsinki Surrender Summit was. Remember? Trump took Russia President Vladimir Putin’s word over that of our own intelligence agencies and looked like a beaten animal that still thought it was going to get a Trump Tower Moscow deal one day.

Transcript!

LEMON: “I just want to read something that you told the BBC about the Trump-Putin press conference, this is in Helsinki, and you said this. You said, ‘My initial thought was just ‘How can I end this?’ I literally did have in my mind the idea of faking some kind of medical emergency and throwing myself backwards with a loud, blood-curdling scream into the media.’ I mean, of all the disastrous things that you have seen on the world stage, Fiona, where did that moment fall, and did you seriously consider that? Was it that bad?”

HILL: “I did seriously think about it. First of all, I looked around to see if there was a fire alarm, but we were in a rather grand building attached to the presidential palace … and I couldn’t see anything that resembled a fire alarm.

Look, I had exactly the same feeling that Deborah Birx had during the infamous press conference where there was the suggestion by President Trump about injecting bleach to counteract the coronavirus. It was one of those moments where, it was mortifying, frankly, and humiliating for the country. And it was also completely, I have to say, out of step with what had happened in the meeting prior to that.

The meeting itself was quite anodyne. Putin had tried to pull a fast one again. He always likes to stoke outrage. He had come up with the idea of potentially allowing the United States to interview some operatives from the Russian military intelligence services who had been just indicted for their interference in the 2016 elections, but of course he was just about to announce to the world as well that he would then like to interview a few Americans, including our former ambassador Mike McFaul and a number of State Department and other officials who he’d also got in his crosshairs, so he knew that that was going to stoke outrage.

But it was the press conference itself and the way that President Trump unfortunately handled himself which was, you know, the worst moment of all. And as I said, I just thought let’s just cut this off, let’s try to end it, but of course I couldn’t come up with anything that wouldn’t just add to the terrible spectacle.”

Think about that. A top presidential adviser literally thought about pulling a fire alarm to save Donald Trump, and the nation, from Donald Trump. The best idea I could ever come up with was anonymously sending him a case of Velveeta-slathered sex toys—and that was after four years of racking my brain. But pulling a fire alarm was probably a better idea. Giving him a shiny new firetruck to play with would have also been a viable option.

Fast forward to today where, if none of President Biden’s advisers thought about tackling him to the ground and bringing in an exfil team to get him away from Putin, we’re already far, far ahead of where we were as a country at this time last year. 

But none of this will convince the members of the Republican Bizarro World Caucus, better known as the entire Republican Party, except for Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, plus a smattering of other consensus-reality dead-enders. The GOP currently imagines a world where Joe Biden, who has five decades of relevant experience, somehow collapses under the weight of his own competence.

Who wants to take this one? 😂 pic.twitter.com/8PIY2wkY5j

— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) June 16, 2021

Uh huh. Sure, Lauren. You might want to up your daily intake of gingko biloba if you really can’t remember “a more unqualified person.”

Meanwhile, Biden was busy providing us with a refreshing study in contrasts.

Who looks a beaten-down Russian dog this time around? It isn't Biden. pic.twitter.com/C2yOKtALWZ

— Dawn Got Vaccinated! (@viewsfordays) June 16, 2021

We’re also supporting our allies now, instead of humiliating the ones Putin doesn’t like.

2017 G7 vs. 2021 G7 pic.twitter.com/JG9ZuBi3ya

— The Recount (@therecount) June 11, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I feel a whole lot better about where we are today than one year ago. At the very least, there’s a much better chance of Biden bringing Putin to heel, rather than the other way around.

It made comedian Sarah Silverman say “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Just $12.96 for the pack of 4! Or if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

As Republicans beg Trump to focus on future, his first rally in Ohio aims to avenge his impeachment

Donald Trump’s first stop on his scorched-earth tour to punish Republicans who spurned him with impeachment votes is set to take place in Cleveland on June 26, according to CNN. First target: GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, representing Ohio's 16th District, which covers some of Cleveland's West Side suburbs extending down into rural Akron.

Gonzalez, a former wide receiver for Ohio State University-turned-pro-baller, is in Trump's crosshairs for being one of 10 House Republicans to vote for his impeachment and also joining with nearly three-dozen of his GOP colleagues to vote in favor of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. In May, the Ohio Republican Party voted to censure Gonzalez and called on him to resign for his impeachment vote. 

Now Trump will be using his first rally to support one of Gonzalez's primary opponents, Max Miller, a former Trump administration official and campaign aide. Trump had previously endorsed Miller in a February statement calling him "a Marine veteran, a son of Ohio, and a true PATRIOT."

News of the inaugural revenge rally comes amid a backdrop of distress signals from Republicans at both the state and federal level who fear Trump’s relentless focus on relitigating the past will cripple them in the midterms. Trump is also expected to hold a rally in Tampa, Florida, on the eve of July 4, with upcoming rallies in Alabama and Georgia yet to be decided.

But Trump's first stop will be devoted to his effort to eliminate any Republican willing to think for themselves and put country above Trump. 

In May, Gonzalez told attendees of a virtual forum hosted by the City Club of Cleveland, "I think as a party, frankly, we need to be on the side of truth, we need to be on the side of substance, and that’s how we’re going to win back majorities both in the House and the Senate and hopefully the White House in 2024. … I think continuing to perpetuate falsehoods, especially ones that are dangerous that led to the violence on Jan. 6, is a recipe for disaster for the party, but it’s also horribly irresponsible."

Trump simply cannot tolerate that type of thinking, nor could he survive it if it actually took hold in the Republican Party more broadly. Fortunately for him, the GOP is overrun with a bunch of spineless sycophants like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

As Republicans beg Trump to focus on future, his first rally in Ohio aims to avenge his impeachment

Donald Trump’s first stop on his scorched-earth tour to punish Republicans who spurned him with impeachment votes is set to take place in Cleveland on June 26, according to CNN. First target: GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, representing Ohio's 16th District, which covers some of Cleveland's West Side suburbs extending down into rural Akron.

Gonzalez, a former wide receiver for Ohio State University-turned-pro-baller, is in Trump's crosshairs for being one of 10 House Republicans to vote for his impeachment and also joining with nearly three-dozen of his GOP colleagues to vote in favor of an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. In May, the Ohio Republican Party voted to censure Gonzalez and called on him to resign for his impeachment vote. 

Now Trump will be using his first rally to support one of Gonzalez's primary opponents, Max Miller, a former Trump administration official and campaign aide. Trump had previously endorsed Miller in a February statement calling him "a Marine veteran, a son of Ohio, and a true PATRIOT."

News of the inaugural revenge rally comes amid a backdrop of distress signals from Republicans at both the state and federal level who fear Trump’s relentless focus on relitigating the past will cripple them in the midterms. Trump is also expected to hold a rally in Tampa, Florida, on the eve of July 4, with upcoming rallies in Alabama and Georgia yet to be decided.

But Trump's first stop will be devoted to his effort to eliminate any Republican willing to think for themselves and put country above Trump. 

In May, Gonzalez told attendees of a virtual forum hosted by the City Club of Cleveland, "I think as a party, frankly, we need to be on the side of truth, we need to be on the side of substance, and that’s how we’re going to win back majorities both in the House and the Senate and hopefully the White House in 2024. … I think continuing to perpetuate falsehoods, especially ones that are dangerous that led to the violence on Jan. 6, is a recipe for disaster for the party, but it’s also horribly irresponsible."

Trump simply cannot tolerate that type of thinking, nor could he survive it if it actually took hold in the Republican Party more broadly. Fortunately for him, the GOP is overrun with a bunch of spineless sycophants like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Task Force Concludes Cuomo’s Nursing Home Policy Did Lead To More Nursing Home Deaths

The NYSBA (New York State Bar Association) Task Force on Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care determined that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order policy forcing nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for COVID-19 led to more deaths.

The report is a devastating indictment on the Democrat governor’s policies and their effects on the elderly in the Empire State during the early stages of the pandemic.

The task force, according to the New York Post, defined Cuomo’s directive as “unreasonable” in both its “absoluteness” and the length of time it was left in effect.

While they were unable to put a particular number on that effect, the NYSBA was able to determine “there are credible reviews that suggest that the directive, for the approximately six weeks that it was in effect, did lead to some number of additional deaths.”

RELATED: Report: Cuomo Being Investigated For Retaliating Against Sexual Harassment Accusers

Task Force: Cuomo Nursing Home Policy Led To More Deaths

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on March 25th which forced nursing homes to take on patients that had tested positive for coronavirus.

The order prohibited nursing homes from requiring incoming patients “to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Cuomo’s directive remained in place for over six weeks while well over 15,000 senior citizens succumbed to the virus.

The New York Democrat and his top aides have also been accused of hiding the data on those nursing home deaths and stripping numbers from DOH (Department of Health) reports.

For months Cuomo touted a DOH report which contained an explicit quantifier that the order forcing the care facilities to take on COVID-positive patients was “not a driver of nursing home infections or fatalities.”

The NYSBA task force determined that was not accurate.

“The Department of Health issued a report in 2020 in which it argued unconvincingly that the admission of 6,326 COVID-positive residents during the period the Health directive was in effect had no impact,” the report states.

“That cannot be the case, and has now been shown not to be the case.”

RELATED: Fox News’ Janice Dean: My Family Didn’t Have To Die, Cuomo’s Policy Helped It Happen

Cuomo’s Order Cost Lives

The report that Governor Cuomo’s executive order for nursing homes did lead to more deaths is a small measure of vindication for Fox News meteorologist and author Janice Dean, who has argued for months that his policies led to the deaths of more seniors than in any other state.

She argued in an op-ed column for USA Today over the summer that very point.

Dean’s in-laws were the unfortunate victims of COVID-19, where nursing homes in New York played a significant part.

“At first we didn’t blame anyone for my in-laws’ deaths. This is a pandemic, after all,” she wrote. “Then we learned about a policy that put them in danger.”

Dean’s column featured a sub-heading arguing, “My family didn’t have to die.”

Governor Cuomo is under investigation and impeachment inquiry for a slew of scandals, not the least of which involves the nursing home executive order and subsequent effort to obstruct justice by hiding the numbers.

They include:

  • Numerous sexual misconduct allegations including a police report involving forcibly groping an aide.
  • Bullying and threatening fellow lawmakers and members of the media.
  • Under investigation for a $5.1 million book deal profiting off the pandemic by having aides write and edit portions using state resources.
  • Provided priority COVID-19 testing for his family and associates, also allegedly using state resources.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out admitting over 9,000 Covid patients into nursing homes for 46 days would increase the amount of deaths, but if a 242-page report from the NY State Bar association proves [Cuomo] lied and people died, so be it,” Dean tweeted.

The Fox News personality has suggested many people in the Cuomo administration belong in prison over the nursing home scandal.

“I really feel like he should go to jail,” Dean has said. “And all these people surrounding him that covered this up for so many months, they should go to jail.”

The NYSBA report relied in part on a study by the Empire Center for Public Policy that tied “several hundred and possibly more than 1,000” deaths of nursing home residents to Cuomo’s executive order.

There is now a straight-line correlation between his policies and the deaths of the elderly during the pandemic. The question is, will anybody in New York state do anything about it?

 

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