King of Clubs: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (TX ): 2020 Election Denier, conspired to overthrow 2020 Election

“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

 

May 2016:

Sen. Cruz on Trump: Trump is “utterly amoral,” and “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen”“This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies … he accuses everyone of lying . . . .”  YouTube – Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2016

 

January 2021:

Texas Senator Ted Cruz played a key role in amplifying the false voter fraud claims that drove people to overrun the U.S. Capitol, but he denies any responsibility and aims the blame solely at President Trump. Npr.org, Jan. 10, 2021​

  • The chaos led to calls for Cruz’s resignation from Texas Democrats. Texastribune.org, Jan. 7, 2021​
  • “Resign, Senator Cruz. Your lies cost lives.” The Editorial Board, houstonchronicle.com, Jan. 9, 2021​
  • Sen. Cruz: “What I was doing was the exact opposite of inciting violence.” ​

 

February 2021:

‘Reckless and irresponsible’: Cruz slams Trump’s post-election rhetoric on ‘massive fraud’, washingtonexaminer.com: “President Trump’s rhetoric, I think, went way too far over the line,” he said. “I think it was both reckless and irresponsible because he said repeatedly — and he said over and over again — he won by a landslide. There was massive fraud. It was all stolen everywhere. That evidence, the campaign did not prove that in any court. And to make a determination about an election, it has to be based on the evidence. And so simply saying the result you want, that’s not responsible, and you’ve never heard me use language like that.”

 

Sen. Cruz, Full Monty (and, predictably, it’s not pretty) . . .

 

“Top Republicans are already rushing to buy into Trump’s 2024 election fraud narrative”

CNN:

Top Republicans are already rushing to buy into a new 2024 election fraud narrative sown by ex-President Donald Trump in their zeal to appease their party’s presumptive nominee.

Leading party figures are increasingly warning they will only recognize the result of November’s presidential vote if there is no fraud. But there is no indication that there will be irregularities in the election. And their warnings come despite many Republican state legislatures taking steps to tighten voting rules — based on Trump’s lies about fraud in 2020.

The new Republican trend of casting doubt on the integrity of the 2024 election in advance was exhibited by Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. The Texas lawmaker, who in 2016 fell in line behind Trump despite the ex-president’s insults about his father and his wife, falsely stated that the 2020 election was tainted by fraud. Despite Trump’s claims of voting irregularities, multiple courts, including the US Supreme Court, rejected the former president’s claims he was cheated out of power. And Trump’s then-attorney general, William Barr, looked into his claims and decided that there was no widespread fraud that would have changed the result of the election. [Boldface added]

But Cruz told Collins that a question about whether he would accept the results of the 2024 election was “ridiculous.”

“So you’re asking, ‘Will you promise, no matter what, to agree an election is legitimate regardless of what happens?,’ and that would be an absurd thing to claim,” Cruz said. “We have an entire election law system: that people challenge elections, elections get overturned, voter fraud gets proven. That happens all the time.” Cruz, who objected to election results in Arizona, which Trump narrowly lost to Biden, on January 6, 2021, went on to suggest there was significant fraud in 2020. And he implied the same could happen this year.

“If the Democrats win, I will accept the result, but I’m not going to ignore fraud regardless of what happens,” Cruz said.

Ted Cruz Proposes Legislation That Would Make It Harder to Photograph Lawmakers Jetting Off to Cancún While Their Constituents Freeze to Death

Spring break is coming up.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/ted-cruz-proposes-legislation-that-would-make-it-harder-to-photograph-lawmakers-jetting-off-to-cancun

 

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

[Excerpts; boldface added]

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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]

 

“McConnell, Republican lawmakers sign Supreme Court brief that supports Trump remaining on 2024 ballot”

WaPo:

Nearly 180 congressional Republicans signed onto an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Donald Trump’s legal battle to remain on the primary election ballot in Colorado. The long list of signatories to the brief includes someone who has largely steered clear of the 2024 race and who previously said the former president is responsible for provoking the 2021 insurrection: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)….

“The court below raced past numerous textual and structural limitations on Section 3, which are primarily designed to ensure that Congress controls the enforcement and (if necessary) removal of Section 3’s ‘disability’ on holding office,” the brief states. The signatories also argue that Colorado’s court “adopted a malleable and expansive view of ‘engage in insurrection,’ which will easily lead to widespread abuse of Section 3 against political opponents.”

The brief does not weigh in on whether the events of Jan. 6 were an “insurrection” — a term that’s central to Colorado’s court decision.

Led by Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.), a total of 179 Republican members of Congress signed onto the brief. The list of signatories does not include several moderate Republicans, nor does it include any of the House Republicans who hold seats won by Joe Biden in 2020.

 

 

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.

Letters from an American
Heather Cox Richardson
August 3, 2023
https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/[Excerpt:]On “The Beat” tonight, Ari Melber connected Trump Co-Conspirator John Eastman to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Just before midnight on January 6, 2021, after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Eastman wrote to Pence’s lawyer to beg him to get Pence to adjourn Congress “for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations, as well as to allow a full forensic audit of the massive amount of illegal activity that has occurred here.” On the floor of the Senate at about the same time, Cruz, who voted against certification, used very similar language when he called for “a ten-day emergency audit.”The GOP Is the Party of ‘Fuck You’.IIt was once a political party, now it’s a nihilistic, corrupt, fake populist scam.David RothkopfUpdated May. 12, 2023 
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-gop-is-the-party-of-fuck-you?[Excerpts:]
The Republican Party has become the party of “Fuck you.” “Fuck you” is the motivation of its alienated voters. It is its legislative strategy. It is its views toward the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is its reaction to morality and values. It is its foreign policy mantra with our allies. “Fuck you” is even its message to the historians of the future.Sadly, we live in an age in which the political discourse of the United States results in every idea floated by Democrats, independents, and even the elusive “reasonable Republicans,” in which every constructive thought floated about the direction our country should take, or how we should behave, or why the law matters is met by a chorus of Republican leaders with their signature “Fuck you.”As a New Jerseyite, I worry they will discredit the term so much that we will have to find another way to express ourselves. My concern is due to the fact that the MAGA-ized GOP has only gotten more outrageous… which is to say more committed to the politics of outrage, to obliterating norms of decency, as the signature activities to which they devote themselves.They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.We have seen multiple examples of the politics of “Fuck you” this week. We have seen Donald Trump, the leader of the party, the high priest of “Fuck you-ism,” the commander-in-chief of the “Fuck your feelings” army, in a video-taped deposition saying, essentially, “Fuck you” to E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer. We heard him say “Fuck you” to anyone who may have thought sexual abuse was wrong when he doubled down on his famous pussy-grabbing brag, arguing that “stars” like him have been “fortunate” to be able to grab pussies for the past “million years” or so.Then, when an undoubtedly disgusted jury found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation in record time, he immediately said “Fuck you” to the American system of justice and to his own hometown in a series of social media posts that soon may be fodder for the next set of defamation suits against him.He followed that up with a televised Trump rally that was carried on CNN in which he repeated some of his greatest “Fuck yous” to America of the past seven years. He doubled down on the Big Lie. He called Vladimir Putin a smart guy. He refused to condemn Putin as a war criminal. He equated Russia and Ukraine’s role in the former’s invasion of the latter. He promised to pardon Jan. 6 insurrectionists. He said he had a right to the classified government documents he stole. He said the GOP was right to threaten debt default, which he said might have no effect at all. He gloated about his role in making the Dobbs decision happen. And he once again defamed E Jean Carroll. It was a tour de force of what might be called the art of “Fuck you,” complete with an audience of fawning MAGA zombies and a big old “Get fucked” to fact-checkers in the form of his usual tsunami of lies.While some leaders in the GOP actually had the decency to condemn Trump’s vileness at the conclusion of the Carroll trial, they were very much in the minority. Most GOP lawmakers offered their party’s patented silent “Fuck you” by refusing to say a bad word about their party’s leader after a jury’s verdict that he was a sex abuser. But some went further. Some said “Fuck you” to New York and the nine average Americans who did their duty on the jury (and in so doing offered a “Fuck you” to the entire American system of justice).Some members of the F.U. Party were not content to merely demonstrate their contempt for our system of law or any modicum of respect for women. Some, like Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, actually said things like the Carroll verdict “makes me want to vote for him twice.”Tuberville, now vying for Ted Cruz’s crown as the most despicable member of the Senate GOP contingent is emerging as a poster boy for the Fuck you-ist movement on the right. He was off to a good start, of course, when he ran for the Senate despite having zero political or public service background, coming to the post from his prior role as the coach of the Auburn University football team. But having arrived in the Senate unencumbered by any sense of shame due to his off-the-charts ignorance, he has zeroed-in on the most Fuck you-iest possible positions and statements. Most recently, this has involved telling U.S. national security and our military leaders to go take a flying fuck by blocking the promotion of over nearly 200 officers for over two months (so far) as a way of making a point regarding his troglodyte, profoundly anti-woman views on abortion. Then, with a flourish that will have Fuck you-ologists studying his work for years, when asked about efforts to keep white nationalists out of the military he responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.”After Trump, the most senior member of the GOP, is of course, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He, too, has demonstrated where “Fuck your feelings, fuck your Constitution, fuck the world economy, fuck every American” gets you as a policy position by threatening to trigger a U.S. default on its debt for the first time in history.He does this despite the GOP having held the view that paying the debt was sacrosanct under Trump (as it was for decades previous), and despite having voted for the big GOP measures that have contributed to America’s deficit. Oh, and the “plan” for cutting the deficit he proposes is not only completely unrealistic, it would be a big “Fuck you” to tens of thousands of Americans—like the 81,000 people at the Veterans Administration whose jobs he would put at risk or the hundreds of thousands of veterans they serve.

But what are tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs when the default you are flirting with would trigger a global recession, gut America’s standing on the world stage and possibly put as many as eight million Americans out of work?

“They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.”

Doing his best Tony Soprano imitation—in response to criticisms of the risks he is undertaking or observations that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits such behavior—McCarthy’s response is, “Fuck me? No, fuck you!” (And he would add, to the voters of New York who were defrauded into voting for the pathological and now indicted fabulist Rep. George Santos, he adds a big “Fuck you, too, I’m going to keep him around as long as I need his vote!”)

When did all this Fuck-you-osity begin to happen? When did the last drops of decency or respect for our system or our people get sucked out of the leaders of the current GOP? It’s hard to say. Contempt for anyone but the donor class has been a clear theme among party leaders since the Reagan years. The message of contempt for our system and values was amplified further by the party’s decision to elevate a series of contemptible leaders in the Congress like convicted sex abuser and former Speaker Denny Hastert, ethically challenged former Speaker Newt Gingrich, or scandal-plagued GOP whip Tom Delay. Certainly, it was not helped by the George W. Bush administration’s chest-thumping about its embrace of torturing our enemies or slaughtering innocents in an illegal war.

But the real golden age of “Fuck you” politics was ushered in by the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016.

After all, by the time he was elected, the world had already seen and heard the Access Hollywood tape; they knew Trump had been accused of sex crimes by dozens of women; they knew of his shady business past; they knew he had reached out to our Russian enemies for help; they knew he was a racist; they knew he had no public service experience; they knew he was as despicable a human being as ever sought public office in the U.S.

They knew all that and their response was to elect him precisely because he sent a message of “Fuck you” to America.

Amazingly, of course, the reason so many Republicans wanted to tell the rest of the country to get fucked was because, of course, they had been fucked over by the system promoted, manned, defended, and advanced by the leaders of their own party and the donors that backed them. The fuckees elected the fuckers because they were tired of getting fucked by them.

What irony. What a scam. What a beauteous way for the GOP fat cats to cackle to each other over brandy and cigars about how well and truly they had fucked everyone but themselves.

 

Mark Meadows Exchanged Texts With 34 Members Of Congress About Plans To Overturn The 2020 Election

The Messages Included Battle Cries, Crackpot Legal Theories, And ‘Invoking Marshall Law!!’
[Excerpts:]

 

Based on TPM’s analysis, Meadows received at least 364 messages from Republican members of Congress who discussed attempts to reverse the election results with him. He sent at least 95 messages of his own. The committee did not respond to requests for comment. Some of Meadows’ texts — notably with Fox News personalities and a couple members of Congress — have already been made public by the committee, media outlets, and in the book “The Breach.” However, the full scope of his engagement with congressional Republicans as they worked to overturn the election has not previously been revealed. 

Meadows’ text log shows what the scheme to reverse the election results looked like behind the scenes, revealing new details about which members of Congress helped spearhead the efforts and the strategies they deployed. The members who messaged Meadows about challenging the election included some of the highest-profile figures on the right flank in Congress, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), all of whom are identified as playing leading roles in the effort to undo Trump’s defeat. 

Meadows’ log also shows certain congressional Republicans playing key roles in the effort to overturn the election. In a Dec. 19, 2020, message, Rep. Jody Hice claims to be “leading the GA electoral college objection on Jan 6.” In a phone call with TPM, Sarah Selip, a spokesperson for Hice, noted he was outspoken in his opposition to the election results in his home state. 

“Our boss did lead the electoral objection for Georgia. I mean that’s just how it is,” said Selip.

Ted Cruz, meanwhile, seems to have played a major part in heading up objections in the Senate. On Jan. 2, he sent Meadows a link to a statement he released with Lummis and nine other colleagues vowing to “vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.” Meadows had a one-word response to Cruz.

“Perfect,” said Meadows. 

The following day, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller wrote Meadows that Trump himself was pressing Georgia’s senators to “to get on board with the Cruz effort.” A spokesperson for Cruz declined to comment. 

[Mo] Brooks wrote Meadows on Dec. 21, 2020, about plans to have a “White House meeting regarding formulation of our January 6 strategies.” Later that day, Meadows sent a message to Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade later that day indicating the meeting took place. 

“The President and I met with about 15 members of Congress to discuss the evidence of voter fraud in various states as well as discuss the strategy for making the case to the American people,” Meadows wrote to the cable news host. (Eleven of those members — including Babin, Biggs, Gaetz, Gosar, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Hice, Jordan, Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and Rep.-elect Marjore Taylor Greene (R-GA) — were later identified by the Jan. 6 Committee, citing White House visitor logs. Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) also attended the meeting.) 

As the electoral certification approached, members of Congress sent Meadows messages expressing concern and anger that some Republicans were not backing their efforts. On the evening of Jan. 5, 2021, Norman wrote Meadows about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

“Mark, I hear McCarthy is giving equal time to let those who are opposed to the challenge of the electoral votes which is LUDICROUS!! Trump needs to call Kevin!!” Norman wrote. 

Later that same night, Jordan presented a plan for Pence to throw out the results as he presided over the certification.

On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all — in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. �No legislative act,� wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, �contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.� �The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ��That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.� �226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). � Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.

Jim JordanJJ

Trump would later rage at Pence for not taking this approach.

Meadows responded to Jordan on the morning of Jan. 6 indicating the vice president was not on board. 

“I have pushed for this. Not sure it is going to happen,” Meadows said. 

Jordan and his office did not respond to a request for comment. 

[Boldface added]

 

Forget Trump, Ted Cruz May Be the Biggest Loser of the Midterm Elections

Donald Trump’s brand of politics didn’t fare well on Election Day. But Ted Cruz’s picks did even worse. And he’s tested the bounds of the law along the way.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/forget-donald-trump-ted-cruz-may-be-the-midterm-elections-biggest-loser

[Excerpts:]

The Question Ted Cruz Can’t Answer

You saw the movie, now read the article. Tim Miller writes about his confrontation with Ted Cruz while filming this weekend’s new episode of the Circus.

Following the rally Cruz stuck around to take questions from the media, and as luck would have it, he looked right at me and smiled. Possibly because he remembers my brief period as a supporter of his in 2016 when he was the last person alive who could stop Trump. Or possibly because of my welcoming mien. Either way, I took it as an opportunity:

“Hey Senator, nice to see you in Arizona. You objected to the 2020 vote here. . . . Since then there have been a few audits. The Republican governor, the Republican Senate president, the Republican speaker of the House all said the election was fair. Do you disagree with Doug Ducey and agree with Blake Masters and Kari Lake? Or have you changed your view? It’s been two years now.”

At this point Cruz launched into a rant about how “the people of Arizona” don’t care about the 2020 election. He insisted that what they really care about is gas prices and food prices and the rising murder rate. Before he could continue his listicle I interrupted.

“The people of Arizona voted for Joe Biden though. Right? Did they not?”

Cruz proceeded to call me a shill and a hack and repeatedly shouted “you’re done, you’re done” as I continued to try to get an answer to a very simple, yes-or-no, factual question about the 2020 election result—that he had tried to overturn.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson,

September 13, 2022

[Excerpt:]

This [positive] shift in the war [in Ukraine] continues the process of undermining the argument right-wing politicians have made for ending liberal democracy. They claim that it is inefficient, making democratically led countries unable to react as quickly to the modern world as countries with a strong leader, and that the secular values of democracy that emphasize equality weaken a country’s morals and ultimately weaken the country itself. 

As recently as May 2021, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) shared a Russian propaganda video about its troops and suggested they were superior to the American military, which was trying to demonstrate that it includes all Americans equally. He tweeted: “Holy crap. Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea….” 

 

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/

[Excerpts:]

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 andholds meetings at the brownstone. The Senate Conservatives Fund also calls the building home. Thegroup 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, whoboth promotedvote 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]

 

Don’t Forget That 43 Senate Republicans Let Trump Get Away With It

The former president attempted to violently overthrow the government of the United States, and his party ensured that he would face no consequences for doing so.

 

During former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment, even when Republicans insisted that the assault on the Capitol was an unfortunate consequence of heated rhetoric, most did not attempt to defend Trump’s conduct on the merits. Instead, they relied on the absurd technicality that the president was no longer in office, and therefore could not be convicted.

That was the rationale of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who accused Trump of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty” and afterward voted to acquit. McConnell then suggested that Trump could be criminally prosecuted, comfortable in the suspicion that would never happen.

Other Republicans, including Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, insisted that seeking accountability for an attempted coup would be “incredibly divisive,” and was therefore not worth doing. “The notion that we’re going to spend a week or two weeks on a trial on somebody who’s not even in office—it sounds to me like a waste of time,” Rubio told Politico in 2021.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas offered a more affirmative defense. After voting to acquit, Cruz said, “Donald Trump used heated language, but he did not urge anyone to commit acts of violence.” Whether they based their decision on the flimsy excuse that he was no longer president, or on the idea that he never meant to inspire the violence that followed his incitement, Trump’s defenders have always insisted that the former president acted recklessly but not deliberately.

I do not recall these excuses simply to point out how pathetic they seem in hindsight, given the gravity of the allegations and the clarity we now have about Trump’s conduct. I raise them because the thinness of the Republican rationales for acquittal is strong evidence that any justification, no matter how strained, would have sufficed, and yesterday’s revelations are unlikely to change the minds of many Republican legislators now. It is nevertheless crucial to establish for posterity what happened and why. But make no mistake: If those who collaborated with Trump’s attack on American democracy escape accountability, the calculus of high-ranking administration officials next time will be that there is a greater price to pay for opposing a coup than supporting one.

. . . .

This is cowardice, but also ideology: Since liberals are not Real Americans, it is no sin to deprive them of power by undemocratic means. In this view, Trump’s behavior might be misguided, but his heart remains in the right place, in that his mob sought to ensure that only those worthy to participate in American democracy can hold the reins of power, regardless of whom the voters actually choose.

Although seven Republican senators broke ranks and voted to convict Trump, most of the caucus remained loyal to a man who attempted to bring down the republic, because in the end, they would have been content to rule over the ruins.

 

March 28, 2022: Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power

The Texas senator’s effort alienated some allies and sparked questions about ties to John Eastman, a longtime friend and author of key legal memos in Trump’s efforts.

By Michael Kranish

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/28/ted-cruz-john-eastman-jan6-committee/

[Excerpt:]

An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.

 

Ted Cruz endorsement in Virginia governor’s race means big bucks — for the Democrat, Terry McAuliffe

By Todd J. Gillman

Jun 22, 2021

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2021/06/22/ted-cruz-endorsement-in-virginia-governors-race-means-big-bucks-for-the-democrat-terry-mcauliffe/

“Cruz’s role in the January 6th insurrection and his commitment to overturning the election have propelled him as a central face of pro-Trump extremism in the U.S. Senate,” said Virginia Democratic Party spokesman Manuel Bonder. “Youngkin’s embrace of far-right characters like Ted Cruz is further proof that he’s wrong for Virginia.”

Since his first campaign in 2012, Cruz has been a deeply polarizing figure, as reviled on the left as he is popular on the right. As Trump’s chief rival in the 2016 primaries, he became a household name in pretty much any home with a TV and a resident even mildly attuned to politics.

The 2020 election and its aftermath only compounded the strong feelings about him. Cruz promoted Trump’s unsupported claim that President Joe Biden and his allies stole the White House. He was one of the two most aggressive advocates of nullifying millions of votes in states Biden won.

Others dropped their challenges to Biden electoral votes on Jan. 6 after the rioters were cleared from the Capitol. Cruz did not.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, November 8, 2021

As Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other Republican leaders today attacked the popular Sesame Street character Big Bird today for backing vaccinations—Big Bird has publicly supported vaccines since 1972—they revealed how fully they have become the party of Trump.

 

Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP 

BY DOMINICK MASTRANGELO AND BRETT SAMUELS – 01/14/22 

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/589626-tucker-carlson-extends-influence-on-gop

. . . with Trump banned from major social media platforms, Carlson, the top-rated host on Fox, is increasingly seen as a kind of kingmaker within the GOP. And ambitious Republicans looking to climb toward the White House have shown a willingness to bow to him in order to win favor with his audience.  

The power balance was on vivid display just last week on the night of Jan. 6, when Sen.Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who finished second to Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, essentially apologized to Carlson as he tried to explain why he had described the attack on the Capitol a year earlier as “terrorism,” a description Carlson and his audience didn’t like. 

“You called this a terror attack, when by no definition was it a terror attack. That’s a lie. You told that lie on purpose, and I’m wondering why you did,” Carlson said to the senator. 

Carlson went on to question the sincerity of Cruz, calling his choice of words “sloppy.”  

Cruz followed with several minutes of what news outlets described as “groveling” in an attempt to repair his image with Carlson’s audience and more broadly Trump’s base. 

Amanda Carpenter, a former staffer for Cruz and now a columnist at the conservative but anti-Trump online publication The Bulwark, said during an interview with CNN last week the capitulation to Carlson and his viewers is an example of the senator’s “radicalization that happened right there in that interview.” 

 

Here’s a little math lesson for Ted Cruz on the Supreme Court

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

[Excerpt:]

Here’s the math: There have been 115 Supreme Court justices in history. Of those 115, 108 were White men. That means that 94% of the justices on the Supreme Court have been White men, and that just 6% have been either a person of color, a woman or both. A Black woman has never served on the court.

(The seven non-White males who have served as justices: Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O’Connor, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Amy Coney Barrett.)

Which, of course, turns Cruz’s argument totally on its head. Black people — and Black women in particular — have been vastly under-represented on the Supreme Court. And White men have been massively — and I mean massively — over-represented on the court.

Cruz is no dummy. He’s one of the brightest legal minds in the Republican Party — and a man who knows the Supreme Court backwards and forwards.

What he’s up to here is pure virtue-signaling for the Republican base. Cruz wants to cast Biden’s pledge to pick a Black woman as just another example of “woke” culture and identity politics. And he knows that the average person his message is aimed at won’t do even the most basic math I did above. They will likely simply see Cruz as fighting against a liberal system that makes being White and male something close to a crime. And that may accrue to Cruz’s benefit as he positions himself to again run for president.

But just because it might work for Cruz politically doesn’t make him right. He is, in fact, dead wrong.

 

“Ted Cruz’s Latest Troll? Turning His Campaign Into a Super PAC”

Daily Beast investigation:

Federal law says candidates can only give other candidates $2,000 per election. But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—in classic Cruz fashion—may have found a loophole.

Last month, Cruz poured a staggering $137,183 into the House campaign for Cassy Garcia, his former staffer turned Texas congressional candidate.

Along the way, the tendentious Texan—who regularly pushes campaign finance boundaries and is currently challenging the federal election regulator in the Supreme Court—broke new ground, assuming unlimited spending powers and raising campaign finance red flags.

 

Ted Cruz Invokes Dr. King, and Scholars See a Familiar Distortion

In the confirmation hearings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the senator cited the famous “I Have a Dream” speech to suggest King would have opposed race-conscious policies.

By Jennifer Schuessler

March 23, 2022

[Excerpt:]

“The right has looked for arguments to push back against affirmative action and what they see as reverse racism,” said the historian Nicole Hemmer, the author of “Messengers of the Right,” a study of conservative media. “And quoting King, instead of a white person, gains that sheen of moral cover.”

 

Sasse doesn’t name names, but calls out performative behavior after Graham, Cruz questioning

By Donna Cassata

March 23, 2022.

Sen. Ben Sasse didn’t name names, but shortly after his fellow Republicans Graham and Ted Cruz (Tex.) repeatedly interrupted Jackson and tangled with Durbin, the Nebraska Republican called out performative behavior.

“I think we should recognize that the jackassery we often see around here is partly because of people mugging for short-term camera opportunities,” Sasse told Jackson during his turn questioning the judge.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/23/ketanji-brown-jackson-supreme-court-hearing-live-updates/

 

Inside Ted Cruz’s last-ditch battle to keep Trump in power

The Texas senator’s effort alienated some allies and sparked questions about ties to John Eastman, a longtime friend and author of key legal memos in Trump’s efforts.

Sen. Ted Cruz was dining near the Capitol on the evening of Dec. 8, 2020, when he received an urgent call from President Donald Trump. A lawsuit had just been filed at the Supreme Court designed to overturn the election Trump had lost, and the president wanted help from the Texas Republican.

“Would you be willing to argue the case?” Trump asked Cruz, as the senator later recalled it.

“Sure, I’d be happy to” if the court granted a hearing, Cruz said he responded.

The call was just one step in a collaboration that for two months turned the once-bitter political enemies into close allies in the effort to keep Trump in the White House basedonthe president’s false claims about a stolen election. By Cruz’s own account, he was “leading the charge” to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as president.

An examination by The Washington Post of Cruz’s actions between Election Day and Jan. 6, 2021, shows just how deeply he was involved, working directly with Trump to concoct a plan that came closer than widely realized to keeping him in power. As Cruz went to extraordinary lengths to court Trump’s base and lay the groundwork for his own potential 2024 presidential bid, he also alienated close allies and longtime friends who accused him of abandoning his principles.

Now, Cruz’s efforts are of interest to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, in particular whether Cruz was in contact with Trump lawyerJohn Eastman, a conservative attorney who has been his friend for decades and who wrote key legal memos aimed at denying Biden’s victory.

As Eastman outlined a scenario in whichVice President Mike Pence could denycertifying Biden’s election, Cruz crafted a complementary plan in the Senate. He proposedobjecting to the results in six swing states and delayingaccepting the electoral college results on Jan. 6 in favor of a 10-day “audit” — thus potentiallyenabling GOP state legislatures to overturn the result. Ten other senators backed hisproposal, which Cruz continued to advocate on the day rioters attacked the Capitol.

The committee’s interest in Cruz is notable as investigators zero in on how closely Trump’s allies coordinated with members of Congress in the attempt to block or delay certifying Biden’s victory. If Cruz’s plan worked, it could have created enough chaos for Trump to remain in power.

“It was a very dangerous proposal, and, you know, could very easily have put us into territory where we got to the inauguration and there was not a president,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a Jan. 6 committee member, said earlier this year on the podcast “Honestly.” “And I think that Senator Cruz knew exactly what he was doing. I think that Senator Cruz is somebody who knows what the Constitution calls for, knows what his duties and obligations are, and was willing, frankly, to set that aside.”

The Jan. 6 committee’s investigators have recently focused on Eastman’s efforts to pressure Pence to declare Trump the winner, but there has been little public notice that Cruz and Eastman have known each other since they clerked together 27 years ago for then-U.S. Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig. Cruz’s proposal ran on a parallel track to Eastman’s memos.

Luttig told The Post that he believesthat Cruz — who once said that Luttig was “like a father to me” — played a paramount role in the events leading to Jan. 6.

“Once Ted Cruz promised to object, January 6 was all but foreordained, because Cruz was the most influential figure in the Congress willing to force a vote on Trump’s claim that the election was stolen,” Luttig said in a statement to The Post. “He was also the most knowledgeable of the intricacies of both the Electoral Count Act and the Constitution, and the ways to exploit the two.”

Eastman, asked in an inquiry by a lawyer for the Jan. 6 committee whether he had “any communication with Senator Ted Cruz regarding efforts to change the outcome of the 2020 election,” declined to answer by invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Eastman and his lawyer, Charles Burnham, declined a request for comment.(Thus far, the Jan. 6 committee has not subpoenaed Cruz, or asked for his voluntary cooperation, according to a source familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters. The committee has not announced the subpoena of any member of Congress as it deliberates how aggressively to pursue that line of inquiry.)

Cruz, after initially agreeing to an interview with The Post at his Senate office, canceled shortly before it was to begin and declined to speak to a reporter. The Post then submitted a lengthy set of written questions, only some of which were addressed directly by Cruz’s spokeswoman.

Asked whether Cruz had communicated in any way with Eastman about challenging the election, the senator’s spokeswoman, Maria Jeffrey Reynolds, did not respond directly.

“Sen. Cruz has been friends with John Eastman since they clerked together in 1995,” Jeffrey Reynolds said via email. “To the best of his recollection, he did not read the Eastman memo until months after January 6, when it was publicly reported.”

As for Cruz’s effort to fight the election results, the spokeswoman said: “He has repeatedly observed that, had Congress followed the path he urged and appointed an Election Commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit and consider on the merits the evidence of voter fraud, the American people would today have much greater confidence and trust in the integrity of our elections and our democracy.”

As Cruz fought to keep Trump in the White House, he frequently noted that this was not the first time he had played a leading role in trying to turn a contested election in favor of the Republican presidential candidate. Indeed, he had laid the groundwork 20 years earlier.

Shortly after the 2000 presidential contest between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, Cruz — then a 29-year-old graduate of Harvard Law School — received an urgent request: There was going to be a recount of the Florida vote and Bush’s campaign wanted his help.

Cruz rushed to Tallahassee and arrived that afternoon, and he said he believed that after a “quick, perfunctory legal proceeding,” Bush would be declared the winner. But there were serious questions about who had received the most votes in Florida. By Cruz’s account, he played a pivotal role, rewriting briefs and sleeping for “a total of seven hours” in his first six days in Florida. He wrote in his memoir that he and others on Bush’s team were convinced Gore “was trying to steal the presidency.”

Cruz wrote that he was “astonished” at Gore’s move to contest the outcome, recalling how Richard M. Nixon had lost to John F. Kennedy amid fraud allegations but had “resisted the urge to contest the results and divide the country indefinitely. I thought it was a rather petulant display by Vice President Gore.”

Five years after writing those words in his 2015 memoir, it would be Cruz leading the charge to challenge a presidential election in an effort that continues to divide the country.

Two days after the 2020 election, as absentee ballot counts in swing states piled up in Biden’s favor,Trump tweeted the falsehood that “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!” Around the time he sent that tweet, the president talked with Cruz on the phone, the senator from Texas has said.

Trump’s call underscored their remarkable reconciliation. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had called Cruz “the single biggest liar I have ever dealt with in my life” and attacked Cruz’s wife and father. Cruz called Trump an “arrogant buffoon,” and refused to endorse the nominee at the Republican National Convention, which got him booed off the stage.

But in September 2016, Cruz offered a quid pro quo: He would back Trump if the candidate agreed to select a Supreme Court justice from a Cruz-approved list. “The price of my endorsement was explicit,” Cruz later wrote in his book “One Vote Away.” Trump agreed, Cruz wrote. The nominee switched from calling Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” to “Beautiful Ted,” while the senator stood by Trump after The Post revealed the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump talked in vulgar terms about women. Cruz became a staunch ally during Trump’s presidency.

When Trump talked to Cruz two days after the 2020 election, the senator’s allegiance was tested anew. That night, to the shock of some of his aides, Cruz amplifiedTrump’s stolen-election claims on the Fox News show hosted by Sean Hannity, who moonlighted as one of Trump’s most influential advisers. He told Hannity’s millions of viewers that Democrats were “defying the law” because they didn’t want GOP observers to see ballot counting.

“They are setting the stage to potentially steal an election not just from the president but from the media,” Cruz said.(The allegation that Republican observers were kept from seeing the vote count was rebuttedby those who ran the ballot operation and rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.)

In the weeks that followed, as Trump allies lost a string of election cases, Cruz began suggesting he could lead a more effective legal strategy. He talked about his success in helping Bush’s legal team and howhe had argued a total of nine cases before the Supreme Court, mostly as the Texas solicitor general. Two days later, he announced he had agreed to represent Pennsylvania Republicans in their effort to block certification of that state’s presidential results. The Supreme Court rejected that request, though, a near-fatal blow to efforts to overturn the election in the courts.

But the next day, Trump and Cruz focused on another avenue to put the matter before the Supreme Court: a case filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who argued his state had standing to ask the court to throw out election results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

When Trump called on Dec. 8 as Cruz dined out, the president asked whether he was surprised about the loss of the Pennsylvania case, Cruz later recalled on his podcast, “Verdict with Ted Cruz.” Cruz said he was unhappy but “not shocked” that the federal court did not take a case about state law: “That was a challenging hurdle.”

When Cruz agreed to Trump’s request to argue the Texascase, it shocked some who knew him best. One adviser said he called Cruz to express dismay, telling the senator it went against the principles on which he built his political brand.

“If you’re a conservative federalist, the idea that one state can tell another state how to run their elections is outrageous, but he somehow contorted in his mind that it would be okay for him to argue that case,” said the adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.), who had served as Cruz’s chief of staff and was a former first assistant attorney general in Paxton’s office, tweeted that the case “represents a dangerous violation of federalism” that “will almost certainly fail.” He did not respond to a request for comment.

Cruz’s spokeswoman said that he agreed to Trump’s request because “he believed Texas deserved to have effective advocacy” but said that “he told President Trump at the time that he believed the Court was unlikely to take the Texas case.”

Cruz’s cooperation was seen as crucial by Trump’s allies. They believed his experience and standing as a senator brought credibility in comparison to the much-criticized work of Trump’s other attorneys, like former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who would later have his New York state license suspended for making “demonstrably false and misleading statements” about the election. (Giuliani could not be reached for comment.)

With Cruz’s commitment secured, Trump tweeted the next morning: “We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!”

But the Supreme Court rejected the case — the second straight decision in which it turned down Trump’s allies.

So Cruz focused on a congressional plan. At least one member of the U.S. House and Senate was needed to contest a state’s presidential results. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) had announced his intent to do so, and he found his Senate partner on Dec. 30 when Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) volunteered.

That got Cruz’s attention because Hawley isviewed as a possiblecompetitor in the 2024 presidentialcontest they both might enter, especiallyif Trumpdoesn’t run. Cruz didn’t want to be outflanked on his right by Hawley, a Cruz adviser said.

Eastman and Cruz’s actions soon began to directly complement each other.

Eastman wrote in the first of his two memos about overturning the election that his plan relied on a senator delaying certification — and he specifically mentioned the possibility that Cruz could do it. A second version of that memo doesn’t mention Cruz, but the first line in the six-page document still argues that state legislatures have the power to choose electors — mirroring Cruz’s plan.

Cruz’s role in the Senate was crucial because it was not clear that any other senator would join Hawley, a freshman who had campaigned as an outsider without Washington relationships.

On Jan. 2, 2021, Cruz unveiled his plan for states to start an “emergency 10-day audit,”backed by 10 other senators. The idea was met with ridicule even from some of Trump’s most vociferous supporters. “Proposing a commission at this late date — which has zero chance of becoming reality — is not effectively fighting for President Trump,” Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said on Twitter. The conservative magazine National Review lambasted the idea in an article headlined: “The Folly of the Cruz Eleven.”

Cruz nonetheless pushed forward. Trump promptly tweeted his delight that the effort was “led by Sen. Ted Cruz.”

Eastman, meanwhile, met at the White House on Jan. 4 with Trump and Pence to discuss his plan. The next evening, Cruz appeared on Hannity’s show. Without noting that he had played a key role in spreading Trump’s false election claims on the same show two months earlier, Cruz told Hannity: “We have an obligation to the country. You know, you look at polling right now that shows that 39 percent of Americans believe the election was rigged. That’s heartbreaking.”

The next morning, at 8:17 a.m. on Jan. 6, Trump tweeted his support for the proposal that had been put forward by Cruz, without mentioning his name. He called for Pence to send the matter back to the states, which was in line with the senator’s proposal for a 10-day audit.

“States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval,” Trump tweeted.

Cruz’s advisers were conflicted. Some supported making every effort to overturn the election, but a number of them directly urged him not to support Trump’s false claims. One adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential conversation, asked Cruz to certify Biden’s election by citing a Post report about Trump’s phone call urging Georgia’s secretary of state to find enough votes to declare him the winner.

An even stronger rebuff came from one of Cruz’s most important allies: Chad Sweet, the former chairman of his 2016 presidential campaign. Sweet had known Cruz since they worked together on Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004. They had talked and debated countless times over the prior 16 years.

Now, just before the events of Jan. 6, Sweet urgedthe senatornot to challenge the results. Sweet had helped create a nonpartisan group in 2020 called Citizens for a Strong Democracy, which focused on strengthening public confidence in election systems. So he was intimately familiar with how falsehoods were being used to try to overturn Biden’s win.

Sweet told Cruz “that if he proceeded to object to the Electoral count of the legitimate slates of delegates certified by the States, I could no longer support him,” Sweet later wrote on his LinkedIn page.

But Cruz rejected his friend’s advice.

Eastman, meanwhile, appeared at the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally at the Ellipse, where he in effect embraced the Cruz plan. “All we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at one o’clock, he let the legislatures of the states look into this,” Eastman said.

Trump later took the same stage, saying falsely in his noon speech that he “won this election by a landslide” and told supporters, “We’re going to the Capitol.”

Cruz, who had been in his suite at the Russell Senate Office Building, walked via an underground tunnel to the Capitol, going to a joint session in the House and then to a debate in the Senate chamber. Pence had already said he didn’t have “unilateral authority” to reject electoral votes, but Cruz was pinning his hope on Pence sending the matter back to state legislatures. Cruz would become the first senator to object to the electoral college results, which were being tallied in alphabetical order. He joined with Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) to challenge the Arizona vote.

That was in line with the plan that Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, had helped promote called the Green Bay Sweep. Cruz “started the Green Bay Sweep beautifully,” Navarro later said in an interview with MSNBC.

Navarro did not respond to a request for comment.Cruz’s spokeswoman said that the senator “does not know Peter Navarro, has never had a conversation with him, and knew nothing about any plans he claims to have devised.”

In his Senate speech, Cruz stressed that he objected to “all six of the contested states” and urged approval of his audit plan. As he spoke, rioters were already storming the outer barricade west of the Capitol. He based his plan on a provision in the Constitution that says, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.”

While legislatures previously had determined electors based on the popular votes, legal scholars said it was notable that the Supreme Court, in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case in which Cruz participated, said that a state legislature “may, if it so choose, select the electors itself.”

Austin Sarat, a professor of law and politics at Amherst College, said Cruz’s plan had a deeper constitutional underpinningthan Eastman’s outline of a scenario in whichPence could overturn the election himself, although Sarat stressed he didn’t agree with it.

“I think that Cruz thing was much more dangerous because it has the kind of `constitutional plausibility’ that the Pence thing never had,” Sarat said. “Not because it was well-grounded, but one could make the argument the Constitution provides for it.”

In fact, there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the results in any of the six states that Cruz said he contested. Soon after Cruz finished speaking, rioters began breaking into the Capitol, and he went to a secure location.

Hours later, after the rioters were removed and the Senate returned to its session, Eastman emailed Pence’s lawyer, Greg Jacob, at 9:44 p.m., to plead for one last effort. Eastman suggested a “minor violation” of the law to enable a 10-day delay for legislatures to conduct an audit, according to a document released by the Jan. 6 committee — again mirroring Cruz’s plan.

Cruz’s effort to reject the Arizona results failed by a vote of 93-to-6. It seemed clear his path to overturn the election was over, and he huddled with his staff about whether to proceed with his plan to object to the Pennsylvania results.

For months, one of those staffers, communications director Lauren Bianchi, had promoted Cruz to the press as a smart and savvy constitutionalist. But now, in a telephone conference call with the senator and other aides, she pleaded with Cruz to stop. At that moment, she said in an interview with The Post, “I felt like he wanted to hear what I wanted to say.”

So she spoke up.

“My message to the senator, after reflecting on the day and seeing how the country was being torn apart, was: `We’re going to live tofight another day. There are concerns about election integrity. Let’s keep fighting but today is no longer the day to fight. You need to be a unifier.’ ”

“Senator,” Bianchi said she told Cruz, “you need to be the adult in the room.”

As she hung up the phone, Bianchi said, “I felt very alone” and she wasn’t sure what Cruz would do.

He rejected her advice.

Cruz went to the floor and voted to object to the Pennsylvania results, an effort that failed by a vote of 92 to 7.

In the days that followed, some of those who had been closest to Cruz severed their ties to him.

Bianchi submitted her resignation.

Sweet wrote in his LinkedIn post that “Donald Trump and those who aided and abetted him in his relentless undermining of our Democracy — including Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz — must be denounced.”

Carly Fiorina, who Cruz said he would have picked as his 2016 running mate, tweeted on Jan. 8, 2021, that “we must hold people to account,” not just those who stormed the Capitol, but also “those who actively enabled this clearly unacceptable behavior like Senators,” including Cruz.

Asked in an interview with Washington Post Live in May 2021 why she thought Cruz had spread unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, Fiorina said of Cruz and others who aided Trump, “My only explanation is they’re focused on short-term political gain, political expediency and clinging to power.”

The Jan. 6 committee has asked a number of people about the senator’s actions in the lead-up to the insurrection. Among the questions the committee may address is whether Cruz talked with Trump or the president’s lawyers and aides as the events unfolded on Jan. 6.

Luttig has been interviewed by the committee; he declined to say what, if anything, he said about Cruz.

Eastman is fighting efforts by the committee to obtain emails that contain the word “Cruz,” among other search terms. In a filing, Eastman’s lawyer wrote that the committee’s subpoena of such records represents an effort “to sift through several months of Dr. Eastman’s political and personal communications which may have no connection to January 6.”

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter on Monday ruled that Eastman had to turn over 101 documents to the Jan. 6 committee, but the decision did not say if that included any emails involving Cruz. The decision came in a ruling that said it is “more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct” the Jan. 6 counting of the electoral college vote.

While Cruz failed to overturn the election, his focus on the power of state legislatures to determine the results has foreshadowed efforts by Republicans across the country to influence the way votes are tallied.

To Luttig, Cruz’s actions underscore the need to overhaul the 1887 Electoral Count Act so that a single senator cannot play such an outsize role in potentially altering the results of a presidential election. Luttig also has proposed that the act be revised so that federal courts, not legislatures, are the final authority to resolve disputes over the selection of electors.

“Such is Republican politics of the moment, that presidential and congressional aspirants will purchase the former president’s blessing and approval at any price,” said Luttig, who was nominated to the bench by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush.

Cruz, meanwhile, is making all the moves of a likely 2024 presidential candidate appealing to the Trump base.

He went on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to apologize for calling Jan. 6 “a violent terrorist attack,” saying his “frankly dumb” language referred only to those who attacked police officers, not “peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump.” He played up claims that the government was somehow involved in the attack on the Capitol, asking an FBI official at a Senate hearing, “How many FBI agents or confidential informants actively participated in the events of Jan. 6?”

Last month, he visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and tweeted a photo of the meeting. He rode shotgun in the lead vehicle in a trucker convoy protesting pandemic-related mandates in a March 10 event. He posed a series of confrontational questions to Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson regarding her views on anti-racism.

Asked recently by an online site called the Truth Gazette whether he is considering seeking the presidency again, he responded: “Absolutely, in a heartbeat.”

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Cruz and Cotton cut to the chase on GOP’s suspicion of defense lawyers

[Excerpt:]

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), for one, cast Jackson’s work as a public defender as revealing a character flaw.

“People go and do that because their heart is with criminal defendants, their heart is with the murderers, with the criminals, and that’s who they are rooting for,” Cruz said on Fox News last weekend. He added that “public defenders often have a natural inclination in the direction of the criminal” and claims Jackson “carried it onto the bench when she became a criminal judge.”

[Site Note: To Harvard Law School grad Ted Cruz, who prides himself on being a master debater,  a brief reminder of the obligation of defense counsel of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Standards:

(a) Defense counsel is essential to the administration of criminal justice. A court properly constituted to hear a criminal case should be viewed as an entity consisting of the court (including judge, jury, and other court personnel), counsel for the prosecution, and counsel for the defense.

(b) Defense counsel have the difficult task of serving both as officers of the court and as loyal and zealous advocates for their clients. The primary duties that defense counsel owe to their clients, to the administration of justice, and as officers of the court, are to serve as their clients’ counselor and advocate with courage and devotion; to ensure that constitutional and other legal rights of their clients are protected; and to render effective, high-quality legal representation with integrity.

Of course, presidentially aspiring Ted loves to argue, prides himself as a master debater.

He even once argued that Donald Trump is “utterly amoral,”  “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen”. That Trump  “is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies … he accuses everyone of lying . . . .”  

Today master debating Ted is no longer a true conservative, one whose first allegiance is to the well-being of our democratic Republic.  Sadly, he has reduced himself to being a mere Trump sycophant,  willing to say just about whatever it takes to curry Trump’s favor.  Worse still, Cruz betrayed professional ethical standards and a Harvard and Princeton University  School of Public Service education to collaborate, without evidence of election fraud, to overthrow the 2020 presidential election results.  Harvard and Princeton educated, but clearly not a Harvard or a Princeton man.

But Ted can’t help himself. Master debaters not infrequently favor the argument far more than the facts.  Like teenage kids, they just can’t seem to help themselves.  Ted Cruz is that kind of master debater.  Like his dramatic change of opinion of Donald Trump, Ted blows with the political wind, free of principle and having no higher end than his own political ambition.] 

 

Morning Shots

Charlie Sykes

May 9, 2022

https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/battle-of-the-roe-narratives?s=r

On Sunday, Ted Cruz, who has downplayed the enormity of the 1/6 attack on the Capitol accused Democrats of “embracing mob violence to get their partisan outcome” on the Supreme Court.

“I’ve got to say, this week, it was shameful that the White House refused to condemn violent protestors threatening the families of the Supreme Court,” Cruz said. “It is disgraceful and Joe Biden used to be chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Joe Biden knows it’s disgraceful! He’s literally threatening the lives of these justices by the mob they’re unleashing.”

“It’s the same thing we saw with Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, where the left embraced them,” he added. “And now they’re embracing mob violence to get their partisan outcome.”

 

Now Italy is their best friend

Joe Perticone

January 17, 2023

https://presspass.thebulwark.com/p/the-republican-infatuation-with-italys

[Excerpts:]

Led by recently elected Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) is descended from Italy’s post–World War II neo-fascist movement, and its policy positions are comparable to those of other groups in the constellation of Europe’s populist far right.

The party’s members are not known for discretion about their views: One member was suspended after reporters uncovered a Facebook post praising Hitler. Meloni herself has insisted that migrant-rescuing boats should be sunk after their crews have been arrested and passengers repatriated.

The Fratelli have typically been backbenchers in Italian politics. Their fortunes changed dramatically last year following a series of events that culminated in the victory of Meloni’s coalition and her election to the prime ministership in the country’s September elections. When Meloni came to power, Republicans in the United States were elated:

  • “I’m so excited,” said Kari Lake, the election-denying failed Arizona candidate for governor, in an appearance on Tucker Carlson. “This is someone I can relate to.”
  • Former Trump confidant Roger Stone listed Meloni on his annual best-dressed list, saying the PM is “not a fascist; she’s a fashionista.”
  • Meloni also earned swift praise from the Senate’s hard right, such as Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz, who quote-tweeted a video of Meloni speaking with a one-word caption: “spectacular.”

“This is a party that’s rooted in the fascist tradition . . . the entire galaxy of the extreme right feels protected and galvanized now,” Italian journalist Paolo Berizzi said of the Brothers of Italy  in an interview with the Intercept. 

Recently, the Logan Circle Group, a consulting firm with ties to Matt Gaetz and other MAGA political candidates, retroactively registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for a range of activities on behalf of Identity and Democracy, a European Parliament group consisting of of several of Europe’s far-right, anti-immigrant political parties, including Salvini’s League.

The Logan Circle Group is run by Harlan Hill, who previously made headlines for being dumped by Fox News after calling Kamala Harris “an insufferable lying bitch.”The French arm of Identity and Democracy Group paid Hill’s firm to establish ties with Republican politicians and make introductions at Matt Schlapp’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

These activities reflect a growing trend in American conservative politics, as a number of U.S. right-wing personalities have conducted paid work for Europe’s far-right governments, including those of Hungary and Russia. These days, the Republican party is open for just this kind of business. So don’t be surprised if more far-right organizations come calling, including those based in Italy, birthplace of fascism.

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“Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”

— Walter Cronkite