Prosecute Trump? Biden Is Wary, but His Voters Are Eager
Urging unity, the president-elect has tried to focus on his policy plans. But many of those who elected him are still fixated on his predecessor: “He’s a crook and he needs to pay.”
Interviews with two dozen Biden voters across the country found near unanimity that it was important for the Senate, the Justice Department and state prosecutors to aggressively pursue Mr. Trump, his family members and top aides — holding them accountable well beyond the impeachment charge against the president for inciting the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. The consensus cut across differences of ideology, income, race and sex.
“He’s a crook and he needs to pay for the crimes he’s done,” said Teresa Steele, a Republican in Denton County, Texas, who voted for Mr. Biden.
The word ‘diner’ does not appear in the report. Keep working it, media.
What will actually happen with impeachment? I expect Republican senators to keep moving the goalposts until they are left with “We can’t vote to impeach a president of our own party, and that’s the bedrock principle we live by. It doesn’t matter what he did.”
Megan K Stack/New Yorker:
The Week the Trump Supporters DisappearedIn Washington, D.C., our leaders sealed themselves off from a rebel force that didn’t arrive.
As the new President took the oath of office on Wednesday, there were neither parties nor protests in the streets of Washington. Instead, there was mostly quiet, punctuated by the sirens of convoys careening around, the churn of helicopters overhead, and newscasters narrating the unseen news for viewers around the planet. Deep within the rings of checkpoints and soldiers, Joe Biden became President. People outside the security watched on their phones or not at all; most of them were reporters, soldiers, or police. There were rumors that a pro-Trump gathering would be held on the plaza at Union Station, but no such spectacle appeared: a few preachers droned about Hell and feminists while passersby heckled them and pigeons swooped low over their heads. At Judiciary Square, a lone middle-aged man made his way along the sidewalk, wearing a plain winter hat rolled low over his forehead and a disposable blue medical mask. He was an unremarkable figure except for the sign he carried: “THIS LOOKS LIKE PYONGYANG / THERE ARE ONLY POLICE AND MILITARY / NO CIVILIANS.”
The man didn’t want to speak, he explained to reporters. His signs contained everything he wished to express. He pulled a second placard from behind the first and propped it against a nearby tree: “BIG TECH CENSORSHIP KILLED DEMOCRACY.”
At Voice of America, a sweeping ouster of Trump officials on Biden’s first full day
President Biden moved swiftly to oust top managers loyal to former president Donald Trump who had been blamed for recent turmoil at the federal government’s array of international news organizations, including the biggest and most influential one, the Voice of America.
Only hours after he was inaugurated, Biden forced out Michael Pack, the controversial head of the agency that oversees VOA and four other networks that broadcast news to millions of people abroad. This was followed, domino-like, on Thursday by the removal of VOA’s director and deputy director after only a few weeks on the job.
In doing so, Biden appears to be putting the brakes on what critics said was an effort by the Trump administration to turn the news agencies into mouthpieces for Trump’s views and policies.
Meet Your Local Republican InsurrectionistA new HuffPost tally finds over 20 GOP state and local lawmakers or officials were at the D.C. rally that turned into a violent insurrection. Here are their names.
At least 21 state and local Republican officials attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., that turned into a violent riot, according to a new HuffPost tally, many of whom are now under pressure to resign.
They traveled from 16 different states, arriving for the “Stop the Steal” demonstration on the White House Ellipse, where they watched President Donald Trump tell incendiary lies about having been robbed of reelection. He then told the crowd of thousands to march on the Capitol.
In the crowd that day were 13 members of state Houses or Assemblies; three state senators; a county commissioner; a city council member; a GOP congressional district chair; a district director; and a co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party. The group also includes a QAnon conspiracy theorist; a self-described member of a fascist militia; and a man who once declared that “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
Can Democrats Fix the Senate? Zoom out from the courtier’s well-crafted call for reform
Adam Jentleson. Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy. Liveright, 2021.
Behind Reid as deputy chief of staff was Adam Jentleson, who has now written a lively and effective evisceration of his boss’s great procedural antagonist. Kill Switch is well-sourced for a non-academic text, and enlivened with war stories while avoiding solipsism. The topic is the filibuster, which means that there will be no movie rights, but Jentleson is a good explainer as he unravels unanimous consent agreements, “filling the tree” (a tactic of agenda control over floor amendments), and so on. But Jentleson is not aiming for the general reader. For all the importance of process issues, Americans—beyond a small core of activists and experts—do not like to see the legislative sausage being made.1 They like agreement and dislike knowing too much about the squabbling behind the scenes. So in the long tradition of the courtier writing for the prince, Jentleson writes for those in power. He tells them what they want to hear so they will do what he wants them to do. His audience is the small set of people close to the top of the political pyramid—donors with a substantive agenda, aides eager to get things done, fixers wanting to game things out—with the direct ear of Democratic senators. If Jentleson flatters the Senate and inflates the possibilities for change in a post-filibuster world, those are not straightforwardly flaws but rather all of a piece with his purposes. At times, the sense of writing in and for a bubble can feel intense for a reader outside it. The storming of the Capitol a week before Kill Switch’s publication makes the book feel almost out of time, a guide to a world less crazy than our own, one in which institutional reform, however necessary, can feel mighty insufficient.
Organizers of Trump Rally Had Been on Campaign’s Payroll
Eight paid Trump campaign officials were named on the permit issued on by the National Park Service for the rally, including Maggie Mulvaney, the niece of Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff who resigned his position as special envoy to Northern Ireland after the riot. Maggie Mulvaney was paid $138,000 by the campaign through Nov. 23.
After the rally, in which the president encouraged them to march on the Capitol, Trump supporters stormed the building, disrupting the count of Electoral College votes in an event that ultimately killed five people. Lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence, who was presiding over what is normally a ceremonial event, were forced to flee.
The Associated Press first reported the payments.
Matt Lewis/Daily Beast:
This Week Shows How Neutered Trump Is Without Twitter
The calmness that has permeated these last couple of weeks has shown us that social media platforms have enormous power to strengthen democracy or help destroy it.
Trump’s absence has been conspicuous. Take, for example, Wednesday’s inaugural. It was calm and peaceful and refreshing. Now imagine the inaugural with Trump live-tweeting his running narration. It would have cast a pall on what turned out to be a pretty special day. We have one president at a time (“TOTAL LOSER Sleepy Joe got sworn-in twelve minutes early!?!”), but the outgoing president’s split-screen commentary could have easily been reality.
And that’s just one day. Imagine how good it will feel to string together a few months with no chaotic tweets. Twitter removed Trump from the platform to prevent him from using it to incite violence. But his absence has calmed things down to the point where it’s pretty obvious that this should have been done long ago, and for other valuable reasons.