Seven of Spades: U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (MI), “Worst mistake” of Sen. Danforth’s political life

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution . . . .”

– U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3

“Ambition drove many men to become false; to have one thought locked in the breast and another on the tongue.” <

– Sallust, Roman historian and politician, whose dramatic account of Catiline’s brazen attempt to overthrow the Roman Republic in the year 63 BCE surely resonates in our American Republic today.
 
Recall Hawley, outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, raising his fist in solidarity with insurrectionist as they demanded that the “traitors” in Congress unseat duly elected Biden and install scheming Trump. 

 
And consider how the 1868 amendment to the Constitution that prohibits one from serving in Congress “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress … to support the constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same”.  

Former Republican Missouri Senator Danforth on Hawley:

“Supporting Josh and trying so hard to get him elected to the Senate was the worst mistake I ever made in my life.” 

“Yesterday was the physical culmination of the long attempt (by Hawley and others) to foment a lack of public confidence in our democratic system. It is very dangerous to America to continue pushing this idea that government doesn’t work and that voting was fraudulent.” ​ stltoday.com, Jan. 7, 2021

“His fellow Republicans in the Senate lined up to blame Mr. Hawley for the riot. The editorial boards of major newspapers in Missouri accused him of having ‘blood on his hands’ and called on him to resign.” nytimes.com, Jan. 8, 2021

Research note: “Examining false beliefs about voter fraud in the wake of the 2020 Presidential Election, https://misinforeview.hks.harvard.edu, Jan. 11, 2021

The consensus of thoughtful conservatives?

 

Josh Hawley embraced “a reckless populism . . . going all in on Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud”

 

Behind the border mess: Open GOP rebellion against McConnell

The Republican leader told POLITICO that his critics “had their shot” already. But conservatives are not done whacking him over the immigration-for-Ukraine aid implosion.

https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/07/mcconnell-gop-rebellion-border-deal-00139972

Conservative hardliners once celebrated Mitch McConnell for wrestling the federal judiciary to the right and thwarting progressive hopes.

Now he is under open attack from the right for even trying to work with Democrats on the border.

The Senate GOP leader is facing internal resistance not seen in more than a year as Republicans descend into discord over two issues they once demanded be linked: border security and the war in Ukraine.

McConnell, now nearing his 82nd birthday, is determined to fund the Ukrainian war effort, a push his allies have depicted as legacy-defining. But now that his party is set on Wednesday to reject a bipartisan trade of tougher border policies for war funding, his far-right critics are speaking out more loudly: Several held a press conference Tuesday where they denounced his handling of the border talks, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) calling on McConnell to step down.

In an interview, McConnell rejected the criticism and said his antagonists fail to recognize the reality of divided government.

“I’ve had a small group of persistent critics the whole time I’ve been in this job. They had their shot,” McConnell said, referring to Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) challenge to his leadership in 2022.

“The reason we’ve been talking about the border is because they wanted to, the persistent critics,” he added. “You can’t pass a bill without dealing with a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate.”

Despite that pragmatism, McConnell’s job is only getting harder. If he runs for another term in leadership next year, a tougher fight than Scott gave him seems almost inevitable.

That is in part because of Donald Trump, whom McConnell barely acknowledges after criticizing his role in the Capitol riot of Jan. 6, 2021. The former president played a leading role in killing the border deal and has called consistently for McConnell’s ouster. And at this time next year, Trump could well be back in the White House.

More and more of Senate Republicans’ internal strife is seeping out into public view, exposing years-old beefs that are still simmering. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) posted a fundraising link asking donors to “kill this border bill” in the middle of a closed-door GOP meeting on Monday and demanded “new leadership,” while Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) memed McConnell as Charlie Brown whiffing on an attempt to kick a football held by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).

“I’ve been super unhappy since this started,” Johnson said in an interview. “Leader McConnell completely blew this.”

Trump and Speaker Mike Johnson helped squash the border bill’s prospects in the House while Ron Johnson, Lee, Cruz, Scott and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) pummeled it on TV and social media. The intensity of that assault turned many GOP senators sour on a border security deal that would have amounted to the most conservative immigration bill backed by a Democratic president in a generation — a bill they once said was the key to unlocking Ukraine aid.

Though McConnell touted the work of Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and the bill’s endorsement by the Border Patrol union, he conceded what was obvious by Monday night: This legislation is dead.

“The reason we ended up where we are is the members decided, since it was never going to become law, they didn’t want to deal with it,” McConnell said in the interview. “I don’t know who is at fault here, in terms of trying to cast public blame.”

At Tuesday’s party meeting, Cruz told McConnell that the border deal was indefensible, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) questioned why the GOP would walk away from it, according to two people familiar with the meeting. That followed a Monday evening private meeting where Johnson got into a near-shouting match with Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), one of several senators who has tried to rebut Trump’s influence on the party.

Young played down the spat afterward: “Ron and I have a very good relationship. We can be very candid with one another.”

McConnell’s loud critics are among those most responsible for raising opposition to the border deal, attacking its provisions while the text was being finalized. They raised such a ruckus that none of McConnell’s potential successors as leader — Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and John Thune (R-S.D.) — offered to support it.

McConnell can’t be ejected spontaneously like a House speaker, meaning his job is safe until the end of the year. He also has major sway over the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC that may have to help Cruz, Scott and other Republicans win reelection.

And McConnell is not without defenders. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said any attempt to blame McConnell for the border crackup is “a bit misplaced.”

Indeed, McConnell was OK with just approving foreign aid back in the fall, but agreed to link it to border security after rank-and-file Republicans grew eager to extract concessions from Democrats in order to get Ukraine money.

“It’s not James’ fault, he did the best he could under the circumstances. It’s not Mitch’s fault,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).

The historical record holds plenty of quotes from McConnell’s current critics asking for stronger border policy during the Trump administration. Many of them now have since changed their tune to say Biden doesn’t need new laws at all to enforce border security.

“We all wanted to see border security. And I think a lot of our members were demanding that in exchange for the rest of the funding. That’s an issue our conference needs to be aware of,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the No. 4 leader. “The conference wanted border security.”

The animosity McConnell now faces from Ron Johnson, Lee and others isn’t new either: They’ve questioned Senate GOP leadership’s decisions for years.

Ron Johnson’s been a thorn in McConnell’s side for years, particularly after many Republicans abandoned his reelection bid in 2016. Cruz has sparred with McConnell since getting to the Senate in 2013, Lee frequently breaks with leadership and a number of newer GOP senators voted for Scott over McConnell in 2022.

One GOP senator, granted anonymity to assess the situation candidly, said that the new wave of attacks could be happening because McConnell’s opponents sense weakness — or just out of “personal pique” over years-old disagreements.

“For three months it’s been nothing but border and Ukraine, border and Ukraine, border and Ukraine. I don’t know how many speeches I’ve heard … and now all of a sudden, it’s: ‘We’re not going to do that,’” said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), another of the McConnell critics. “It just seems like total chaos to me.”

Either way, the 180 among many Republicans is evidence of a major drift away from McConnell’s style of Republicanism and toward Trump’s. McConnell hasn’t talked to Trump since the Jan. 6 riot and tried to turn the party in a surprisingly deal-centric direction during the first two years of President Joe Biden’s presidency.

Just two years ago, debt ceiling increases, gun safety and infrastructure laws passed with McConnell’s blessing — all a reflection of his view that protecting the filibuster requires working with Democrats on bipartisan bills.

Now the reality is that Trump, the likely nominee, doesn’t want a deal that Republicans set out to secure four months ago. Deal-making without Trump’s blessing appears impossible, and that’s a challenging dynamic for the longtime GOP leader.

“This wasn’t good for him. This wasn’t good for any of us,” said Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) of McConnell, whom he backed in 2022. “And I’m not gonna say he’s the total cause of it, but we got to have a better plan. This didn’t work out for us.”

Ursula Perano contributed to this report.

[Boldface added]

 

 

Trump attorneys guided false electors in Georgia, GOP chair says

In Tuesday’s filing, Shafer underscored that the strategy was driven almost entirely by lawyers acting on Trump’s behalf.  The false electors were later used by Trump allies to attempt to foment a conflict on Jan. 6, 2021 and derail the transfer of power to President Joe Biden.

Shafer is among the 18 defendants indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, alongside Trump as part of a conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election.

 

“American men are in desperate need of virtuous purpose.”

Opinion Columnist

 

Manhood review: Josh Hawley, moraliser, neo-Confederate and Tucker Carlson of the US Senate

Josh Hawley is a neo-Confederate at war with modernity. A Republican senator from Missouri, he opposed renaming military bases honoring rebel generals and was the sole vote against a bill to crack down on anti-Asian hate crime. After the supreme court ruled that federal law protects employees against discrimination based on sexual orientation, Hawley bemoaned “the end of the conservative legal movement”. That the decision was written by Neil Gorsuch, an arch-conservative, was irrelevant.

On 6 January 2021, Hawley gave a clench-fisted salute to Trump supporters at the Capitol. After the deadly riot, he voted against certifying the 2020 election. His last book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, featured a blurb from Tucker Carlson – the now former Fox News host who fantasized about the murder of a Black man, dabbled in “testicle tanning” and produced a series called The End of Men.

Last month, a grand jury in Manhattan indicted Donald Trump in connection with a hush money scheme to silence a porn star, Stormy Daniels, who claims a sexual affair. This week, a federal jury on the same island determined that Trump sexually assaulted and defamed the writer E Jean Carroll. The six men and three women ordered the predator-in-chief to pay $5m in damages.

But Hawley is a plutocrat-populist as well as a hectoring moralist. For all his smut-bashing, the latest developments affecting Trump have left him profoundly unmoved. After all, Trump delivered tax cuts and helped bury Roe v Wade. Hawley attacks Disney but took $10,000 from the Citizens United Political Victory Fund himself. According to the senator, corporations may shell out – but then shut up.

After Trump pleaded not guilty in the porn-star case, Hawley professed continued loyalty.

“Trump is going to be the nominee, I think it’s inevitable,” the senator intoned. “After what [Manhattan district attorney] Alvin Bragg did, I think that Donald Trump is absolutely going to be the nominee, and yeah, I’ll support him.”

OPINION

GUEST ESSAY

Mr. Shields is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He has written widely on the American right and the politics of higher education.

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/23/opinion/conservative-college-students

[Excerpts:]

Liberal professors have the power to help solve this problem. They can show their conservative students how to become thoughtful and knowledgeable partisans — by exposing them to a rich conservative intellectual tradition that stretches back to Enlightenment thinkers like Edmund Burke, David Hume and Adam Smith. They could mentor their conservative students, set up reading groups, help vet speakers and create courses on the conservative intellectual tradition.

This is easier said than done, of course. One challenge is that there are not many incentives to take undergraduate teaching and mentoring seriously, at least not at research universities, which instead dole out promotions based on research and publication. A bigger obstacle, though, is that very few professors know much at all about the conservative intellectual tradition. Many assume there is little of value in it.

The people now teaching them to think and act like conservatives mostly belong to Trumpist outfits like Turning Point USA, which recruits and trains young conservatives to be campus activists. (Turning Point has taken to hosting deliberate provocations like affirmative action bake sales, in which students are charged different prices, depending on their race.)

The point of these stunts isn’t just to provoke liberal outrage on campus; it’s to alienate conservative kids from their surroundings. Turning Point’s bombastic founder, Charlie Kirk, a college dropout, wants his young protégés to feel every bit as contemptuous of higher education as he does. As he told Fox News, “Anything but college.”

Of course, none of this would fully inoculate the next generation from embracing a reckless populism. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri was close to his thesis adviser, David M. Kennedy. A prominent historian and visiting fellow at the center-right Hoover Institution, Dr. Kennedy even helped Mr. Hawley turn his thesis on Teddy Roosevelt into a book. That didn’t stop Mr. Hawley from going all in on Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud, infamously raising a clenched fist as he entered the Capitol on the morning of Jan. 6.

But this seems just as true: It’s hard to imagine how the next generation of Republican leaders will become thoughtful conservatives if all they’ve ever been tutored in is its Trump-style expressions. Professors have the power to make sure that doesn’t happen; it’s time they use it.

[Boldface added]

 

Hawley maintains Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ even as evidence to the contrary

KEN MIDKIFF 

Mar 1, 2021

https://www.columbiamissourian.com/opinion/local_columnists/hawley-maintains-trumps-big-lie-even-as-evidence-to-the-contrary/article_5ae191f8-787e-11eb-ad6b-6752a1e7519e.html

The true believers of this “Big Lie” included our own Josh Hawley, who apparently doesn’t even know which hometown to claim. Joining forces with “Cancun Cruz,” he challenged the election results in several states. Some of those states flipped from red to blue, like Georgia. Others were reliably blue, as in Democratic.

Nevermind that Joe Biden’s margin of victory was more than 7 million votes and that he captured the majority of electoral college votes. Trump’s true believers — such as Hawley and Cruz — swallowed hook, line and sinker his “Big Lie.”

Trump claimed, without a shred of evidence, that the election was rigged and that he actually won. Our U.S. senator, who may be from Ashland or Lexington or Springfield, believed that “Big Lie” and set about trying to make a fairy tale into a reality.

For his actions in support of Trump’s “Big Lie,” seven U.S. senators filed an ethics violation against Hawley, citing his attempts to overturn state elections. One of the things that was the basis of the ethics complaint is that Hawley was seeking to invalidate about 10 million voters’ choices.

Not content with his highly reported attempts to overturn the results of several state elections, which supported Biden, Hawley also supported the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, giving an arm-raised fist salute to the somewhat-deluded people who stormed the Capitol in hopes of stopping the certification of state’s election results.

 

Missouri’s Josh Hawley only senator to oppose anti-Asian hate crimes bill

Hawley told KMBC 9 News the measure is too broad

https://www.kmbc.com/article/missouris-josh-hawley-only-senator-to-oppose-anti-asian-hate-crimes-bill/36202795

The bill would expedite the review of hate crimes and provide support for law enforcement in response to thousands of violent incidents since the pandemic began.

 

Grievance, rebellion and burnt bridges: Tracing Josh Hawley’s path to the insurrection

From his teenage writings to his incendiary support for false 2020 election claims, the Missouri senator is staking out a place in today’s far-right Republican Party

By Michael Kranish

May 11, 2021

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/05/11/senator-josh-hawley/

Hawley hauls in $3M after attempt to block election results

The Missouri senator collected more than 10 times what some of his colleagues have raised at a similar point in their terms.

By ALEX ISENSTADT

April 12, 2021

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/12/josh-hawley-fundraising-480920

Hawley’s totals illustrate how anti-establishment Republicans are parlaying controversy into small-dollar fundraising success. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the incendiary Georgia Republican who also voted to decertify the election, raked in more than $3.2 million during the first quarter, a massive total for a freshman House member. Greene’s average contribution was $32; Hawley’s was $52.

The cash avalanche could pay long-term dividends for Hawley should he run for president in 2024.

 

Tom Cotton plotted to sabotage Trump with Mitch McConnell’s help: report

Mitch McConnell and Tom Cotton tried to derail Trump before the Capitol riot: new book

By TOM BOGGIONI 

https://www.salon.com/2021/10/11/tom-cotton-plotted-to-sabotage-with-mitch-mcconnells-help-report_partner/

[Excerpts:]

According to an excerpt from a new book by political journalist David Drucker, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) plotted behind Trump’s back as the former president attempted to rally GOP senators to his side and stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

As Drucker explains, Cotton and McConnell were both well aware that Trump planned to overturn the results of the Electoral college.

“To say that Cotton was not swayed by Trump’s theory of the case is an understatement. But as is his habit, he wanted to be thorough,” Drucker reported “In early December, Cotton directed legislative aides on his Senate staff to research the matter extensively and prepare an exhaustive memorandum.

As the senator suspected, it made plain that the Constitution had not, in fact, built in a secret back door for Congress or the vice president to invalidate presidential election results. In mid-December, after the states had certified their results and the Electoral College had voted, Cotton read in McConnell. Together, they plotted to countermand Trump’s bid to overturn the election and neutralize interest in objecting to Biden’s victory that was developing in some quarters of the Republican conference.”

With that in mind Cotton planned to publish an op-ed in an Arkansas paper on the morning of Jan 6th, dismantling Trump’s case and putting it all to rest — but that plan was blown up when Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) made a big show in late December stating he was going to fight to block certification. [Boldface added]

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch slams Hawley: ‘Grossly unfit’ for office

BY CAROLINE VAKIL – 02/05/22

https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/592966-st-louis-post-dispatch-slams-hawley-grossly-unfit-for-office

The editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch slammed Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) in an editorial on Thursday, calling him “grossly unfit” for office regarding his position on rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Read More

The editorial board pointed to a tweet that Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) wrote about Hawley earlier this week, in which he called him “one of the worst human beings” and a “con artist.” 

Kinzinger had quote-tweeted an article from The Hill about a letter that Hawley sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on the Biden administration to drop its support for a prospective Ukrainian membership in NATO — one of Russia’s demands.

“Something serious appears to have prompted Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., to label a fellow Republican, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a ‘con artist’ and ‘one of the worst human beings,’ ” the editorial board wrote.

“Perhaps it was Hawley’s public questioning of the need to defend Ukraine from a Russian invasion. Maybe it was when Hawley this week urged President Joe Biden to cave to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that Ukraine be officially denied membership in NATO. Or maybe it was when Hawley falsely asserted that Biden is to blame for Ukraine’s predicament,” the editorial board continued.

The editorial board said that it believed his position on the Russia-Ukraine issue indicated he was “grossly unfit” for office.

“We thought Hawley should’ve resigned his Senate seat for his role in the Capitol insurrection, but the idea that the United States should kneel down to Russia over Ukraine underscores how grossly unfit Hawley is to continue in office,” the editorial board wrote.

The editorial board suggested that the Missouri Republican did not understand the significance of “containing Russian expansionism,” noting that he was a baby at the start of the Soviet Union’s invasion into Afghanistan and elsewhere.

“Republicans these days seem averse to reading any history that makes them feel bad about themselves, which could explain why Hawley’s ignorance is so embarrassingly on display in Washington,” the editorial board wrote. 

This is not the first time that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has criticized Hawley; the newspaper’s editorial board called both Hawley and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) an “embarrassment to the state” for their handling of the impeachment trial of former President Trump.

The remarks from the newspaper’s editorial board come as Hawley urged the Biden administration to drop support for prospective Ukrainian membership in NATO, arguing that the administration should instead be focused on China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific. 

“Today, an increasingly powerful China seeks hegemony in the Indo-Pacific. If China succeeds, it could harness that region’s resources to further propel its rise, while restricting U.S. access to many of the world’s most important markets,”  Hawley wrote. “Americans’ security and prosperity rest upon our ability to keep that from happening, and so the United States must shift resources to the Indo-Pacific to deny China’s bid for regional domination.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, however, accused the Missouri senator of “parroting Russian talking points.”

\

LET’S HOPE NO ONE PLAYS JAZZ FLUTE 

BY ELANA SCHOR

Mar. 17, 2022

HTTPS://WWW.POLITICO.COM/NEWSLETTERS/POLITICO-NIGHTLY/2022/03/17/JACKSONS-CONFIRMATION-ESCALATED-QUICKLY-00018018

[Excerpt:]

Four days later, [Hawley] one of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s four most ambitious Republicans was openly tangling with the White House over his suggestion that Jackson was too friendly to sex offenders during her time on the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as a federal district judge. Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted that Jackson’s record “endangers children.”

The RNC followed Hawley’s tweets with a note to reporters that bluntly summed up his critique as well as conservative qualms with Jackson’s time defending Guantanamo Bay detainees. That RNC email’s subject line: “Sympathetic to terrorists AND pedophiles?”

Not quite the Burgundy-style class that some GOP senators were promisingas a party that has been touting its electoral gains with minority voters prepares to greet a historic nominee.

Of course, it’s all in the delivery — in politics as well as comedy.Republicans would surely say that their concerns with Jackson’s sentencing of sex offenders reflects a legitimate soft-on-crime failing in her record.

But Hawley’s hard punch at Jackson days before her confirmation hearing robbed Republicans of the opportunity to roll out their criticism slowly and deliberately during next week’s hearings, with the gravity that the subject matter deserves.

Now the Missouri conservative, widely considered a possible presidential candidate in 2024 despite his on-the-record denials of such interest, has gotten out ahead of the rest of the Judiciary panel’s Republicans. Notably, Grassley has stayed publicly silent so far on Jackson’s sentencing record while his team seeks more documents from her time on the Sentencing Commission.

 

Ketanji Brown Jackson gets the Hawley treatment

Morning Shots with Charlie Sykes – The Bulwark <morningshots@substack.com>

March 21, 2022

There are a lot of substantive and provocative questions that senators should ask KBJ (George Will has a good run-down), but they are likely to be overshadowed by the click-baity performance of Missouri’s Josh Hawley.

Hawley — of insurrectionist fist-bump fame — has made it clear that he will lead the charge to discredit Jackson.

“I’ve noticed an alarming pattern when it comes to Judge Jackson’s treatment of sex offenders, especially those preying on children,” Hawley tweeted. “I’m concerned that this [is] a record that endangers our children.

As Politico notes, “the Missourian’s argument is now expected to be a leading Republican critique on Jackson when her hearings begin Monday.”

The Wapo’s Ruth Marcus has unbundled some of the disingenuousness of Hawley’s smear, including his attack on KBJ’s role on the U/S/ Sentencing Commission.

 

JOSH HAWLEY JOINS RON DESANTIS’S RIDICULOUS WAR OF RETRIBUTION ON DISNEY

The Missouri senator is the latest conservative trying to destroy Mickey Mouse.

[Excerpt:]

“Josh Hawley either slept through his time at Yale Law School or knows his proposed taking of Disney’s intellectual property without compensation is flagrantly unconstitutional,” constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe tweeted. “Maybe both. What a piece of work!”

Hilariously, if the bill actually were to pass, it would destroy the livelihoods of millions of average Americans, i.e., the people Hawley and company claim to care about. “Copyright contributes $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy and employs 5.7 million Americans,” Keith Kupferschmid, CEO of the Copyright Alliance, told Maddaus.

“This legislation would harm those millions of everyday Americans in all 50 states who rely on copyright for their livelihoods in creative industries largely dominated by independent and small businesses.”

 

The insurrectionists’ clubhouse: Former Trump aides find a home at a little-known MAGA hub

Nearly two dozen alleged members of the Jan. 6 plot are connected to a single Capitol Hill address.

https://www.grid.news/story/politics/2022/07/05/the-insurrectionists-clubhouse-former-trump-aides-find-a-home-at-a-little-known-maga-hub/

[Excerpt:]

The network has broad reach and keeps an eye on future elections: CPI helped found and support the election monitoring nonprofit run by ex-Trump lawyer Cleta Mitchell, along with roughly a dozen other dark money and advocacy groups, virtually all of which share the address of the CPI town house on official reporting. Mitchell did not respond to inquiries from Grid for this story.

“It’s striking how many people who played these key roles in efforts to overturn the election are now involved with CPI,” said Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance legal expert and deputy executive director of the watchdog group Documented. His group has examined at least 11 organizations claiming CPI’s address, 300 Independence Ave., as their home.

These organizations employ or assist at least 20 key operatives, reportedly involved in Trump’s failed effort to subvert the 2020 election, including Mitchell, ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark, who was the subject of both a recent Jan. 6 hearing and an FBI raid. And they help raise millions for Trump-aligned members of Congress — more than $38 million over the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, according to the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

The House Freedom Caucus, whose members were allegedly involved in planning and executing strategies to derail the certification of 2020 election results to help Trump retain power, keeps its PAC at CPI’s headquarters and holds meetings at the brownstone. The Senate Conservatives Fund also calls the building home. The group has backed Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, who, according to text messages obtained by the Jan. 6 congressional committee, was involved in a pressure campaign directed by Trump attorney John Eastman to get state legislators to change election results in key states. When the effort failed, Lee voted to certify the election. The fund also supports Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who both promoted vote fraud lies and voted against certifying the election results[Boldface added]

Caroline Wren, a key organizer for the “Stop the Steal” rally preceding the Capitol riot, was invited by CPI to speak at an event last year. The group made Dan Scavino, Trump’s social media guru, a CPI digital fellow and asked him to speak about “Winning Communications Strategy” at a recent conference. According to the Jan. 6 committee, Scavino wrote many of Trump’s postelection posts falsely alleging vote fraud and promoting his rally on Jan. 6. Jenna Ellis, a Trump lawyer who wrote memos attempting to justify overturning the election, records her podcast, “The Jenna Ellis podcast,” at CPI. Requests for comment to Wren, Scavino and Ellis went unanswered.

CPI and its affiliates are more than just a safe harbor: The network and its employees are a continued source of false vote fraud allegations, and produce and amplify defensive messaging in conservative circles responding to the major revelations of the Jan. 6 hearings.

“They’ve got a lot of money, and they’re willing to use that money in any way to advance their goals,” said Norm Ornstein, election expert and emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “And their goals are radical goals about voter suppression, overturning election results if they don’t like them and trying to keep any Democrat who’s in office from governing.” [Boldface added]

Opinion

 Just when you thought Josh Hawley couldn’t stoop any lower …

Graham calls for special counsel to probe Biden’s handling of classified documents
[Excerpts:]

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday called for Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a special counsel to investigate the handling of classified documents by President Biden while he served as vice president.  

Biden’s aides reported finding a second batch of classified documents at a different location than his Washington office, where fewer than a dozen classified records were found. The Washington office is located at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement.

“Every conservative out there is completely disgusted with the standard that exists in America when it comes to conservatives and everybody else,” he said.  

Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), another Republican on the Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Garland on Wednesday requesting the appointment of a special counsel and complaining of what he called an “astounding” double standard.

“In President Trump’s case, that retention [of documents] triggered an unprecedented raid on the home of a former president, rationalized with a thicket of partisan doublespeak. President Biden has not experienced anything remotely similar,” Hawley wrote.  

[In fact, Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate Biden and Trump, and did so independently of Graham and Hawley’s self-serving assertions. Meantime, nonpartisan commentators rightly emphasize the stark differences in circumstances between Trump and Biden’s retention and reporting of classified documents.

So what’s the fuss?  Graham, directly implicated in President Trump’s efforts in Georgia to suppress votes in the 2020 presidential election, faces the prospect of criminal charges.  Hawley, who raised a photo-op fist in support of Jan 6th Capitol insurrectionists, voted in league with others in an attempt to obstruct Congressional certification of the 2020 electoral vote.  Conclusion: Graham and Hawley are merely deflecting attention from their own well-documented efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election in favor of former President Trump.]

 

Meet the Democrat Who Thinks He Can Take Down Josh Hawley

Lucas Kunce thinks Josh Hawley is uniquely vulnerable in the increasingly red state of Missouri. But he’ll have to convince more than himself to actually get the job done.

[Excerpts:]

Missouri is, decidedly, a red state.

It’s been years since the Show-Me state elected a Democrat statewide. And when Sen. Josh Hawley (R) is up for re-election in 2024, likely boosted by the headwinds of a presidential cycle, most would figure he’ll be in fine shape.

But Lucas Kunce—a Democrat, marine veteran, and attorney—has a different perspective. And he’s trying to get others to join in.

Like a number of Democrats before him, Kunce is running as an underdog candidate, trying to flip a red-state seat blue. He thinks a grassroots, populist approach can revitalize the Democratic Party in Missouri, betting his working-class background will connect with voters who’ve felt disenchanted by politicians

He says it comes down to him—and the other guy, too.

“The difference is Josh Hawley and me, right? Like, the contrast I bring to him is so stark and so powerful, that it’s something people will like,” Kunce said.

That argument encapsulates much of Kunce’s bid so far. He launched his campaign on Jan. 6 with an ad showing footage of Hawley running from rioters in the Capitol on Jan. 6 two years prior. His Twitter is filled with anti-Hawley tweets, hitting the senator on his big tech policies, consulting background and more.

“For me, politics isn’t left, right. For me, it’s—it’s bottom versus top. And so for me, it’s going against the massive corporations that have too much power. It’s going against the political class that kind of controls everything and leaves the rest of us just scrambling,” Kunce said, noting Americans’ frustration with corruption in Congress.

“Josh Hawley, he sees people are upset and his solutions are just so fake,” Kunce added.

“Josh Hawley, the media has given him this label of a populist, and he probably embraces it because it’s the exact opposite of what he is. Like, he doesn’t care about power for everyday people. He takes it away from us,” Kunce said.

But perhaps hitting on Hawley so directly is the point of it all.

Hawley is a freshman. He beat Democrat Claire McCaskill in 2018 by 5.8 points. And he did receive pushback to his Jan. 6 response after footage showed him running away, given that he was photographed raising a fist in solidarity with protestors outside the Capitol before they actually breached the building.

Democrats like Kunce think that leaves a sort of overton window—an idea that Hawley is a weakness for Republicans in the state, and that Democrats can win if they exploit it.

“My goal is to knock Josh Hawley out of the U.S. Senate. I think I’m the most qualified person to do that,” Kunce said.

 

 

 

“And all of it is built on Socratic questions. First to yourself: How do I improve myself? And then to society: How do we make it better?”

— Ken Burns, referring to Benjamin Franklin, the subject of a new documentary of a true American hero.