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NEW More Meadows texts: A Plot To Overturn An American Election (Talking Points Memo)


The messages you are about to read are the definitive, real-time record of a plot to overturn an American election.

TPM has obtained the 2,319 text messages that Mark Meadows, who was President Trump’s last White House chief of staff, turned over to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Today, we are publishing The Meadows Texts, a series based on an in-depth analysis of these extraordinary — and disturbing — communications.

The vast majority of Meadows’ texts described in this series are being made public for the very first time. They show the senior-most official in the Trump White House communicating with members of Congress, state-level politicians, and far-right activists as they work feverishly to overturn Trump’s loss in the 2020 election. The Meadows texts illustrate in moment-to-moment detail an authoritarian effort to undermine the will of the people and upend the American democratic system as we know it.

The text messages, obtained from multiple sources, offer new insights into how the assault on the election was rooted in deranged internet paranoia and undemocratic ideology. They show Meadows and other high-level Trump allies reveling in wild conspiracy theories, violent rhetoric, and crackpot legal strategies for refusing to certify Joe Biden’s victory. They expose the previously unknown roles of some members of Congress, local politicians, activists and others in the plot to overturn the election. Now, for the first time, many of those figures will be named and their roles will be described — in their own words.

Meadows turned over the text messages during a brief period of cooperation with the committee before he filed a December 2021 lawsuit arguing that its subpoenas seeking testimony and his phone records were “overly broad” and violations of executive privilege. Since then, Meadows has faced losses in his efforts to challenge the subpoena in court. However, that legal battle is ongoing and is unlikely to conclude before next month, when the incoming Republican House majority is widely expected to shutter the committee’s investigation. Earlier this year, Meadows reportedly turned over the same material he gave the select committee to the Justice Department in response to another subpoena. These messages are key evidence in the two major investigations into the Jan. 6 attack. With this series, the American people will be able to evaluate the most important texts for themselves.


Hello! You've Been Referred Here Because You're Wrong About Twitter And Hunter Biden's Laptop


Hello! Someone has referred you to this post because you’ve said something quite wrong about Twitter and how it handled something to do with Hunter Biden’s laptop. If you’re new here, you may not know that I’ve written a similar post for people who are wrong about Section 230. If you’re being wrong about Twitter and the Hunter Biden laptop. there’s a decent chance that you’re also wrong about Section 230, so you might want to read that too! Also, these posts are using a format blatantly swiped from lawyer Ken “Popehat” White, who wrote one about the 1st Amendment. Honestly, you should probably read that one too, because there’s some overlap.

Now, to be clear, I’ve explained many times before, in other posts, why people who freaked out about how Twitter handled the Hunter Biden laptop story are getting confused, but it’s usually been a bit buried. I had already started a version of this post last week, since people keep bringing up Twitter and the laptop, but then on Friday, Elon (sorta) helped me out by giving a bunch of documents to reporter Matt Taibbi.

So, let’s review some basics before we respond to the various wrong statements people have been making. Since 2016, there have been concerns raised about how foreign nation states might seek to interfere with elections, often via the release of hacked or faked materials. It’s no secret that websites have been warned to be on the lookout for such content in the leadup to the election — not with demands to suppress it, but just to consider how to handle it.

Partly in response to that, social media companies put in place various policies on how they were going to handle such material. Facebook set up a policy to limit certain content from trending in its algorithm until it had been reviewed by fact-checkers. Twitter put in place a “hacked materials” policy, which forbade the sharing of leaked or hacked materials. There were — clearly! — some potential issues with that policy. In fact, in September of 2020 (a month before the NY Post story) we highlighted the problems of this very policy, including somewhat presciently noting the fear that it would be used to block the sharing of content in the public interest and could be used against journalistic organizations (indeed, that case study highlights how the policy was enforced to ban DDOSecrets for leaking police chat logs).


Great resource: Insurrection Exposed (The Center for Media and Democracy)


Attempts by former President Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election—culminating in the violent assault on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021—were a dramatic prelude to escalating efforts to undermine public confidence in voting in the U.S., eroding the foundation of democracy.

The 147 members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election results and the extremists who stormed the Capitol are only part of the story. Across the country, a web of right-wing dark money groups, politicians, billionaire donors, media influencers, prominent activists, and lawyers worked behind the scenes to overturn the election.

Since then, they have continued to promote Trump’s Big Lie of a stolen election, spread disinformation about voter fraud, politicize control over the administration and certification of elections, and fuel political extremism and violence.

Insurrection Exposed provides a central resource for information about the key players behind these threats to the very survival of American democracy. While the people who attacked the bedrock of American democracy on Jan. 6 were largely pawns in a much larger game, the subjects of Insurrection Exposed are the chessmasters sitting at the table.


Charles Pierce: The Ghoulish Hubris of Letting People Die and Calling That Bravery


No paywall

Presumably, they all sat witness at hospitals and bedsides. Presumably, they all made the arrangements and attended the funerals and laughed over the cold cuts and bulky rolls, and the beer and whiskey afterwards. Presumably, they all still mourn. But did any of them learn anything? Did any of them learn anything that they subsequently put into practice? Who were these people anyway, and what kind of monster did you have to be to lead them on? Who lives through a pandemic and makes war on the cures?

In September, the National Bureau of Economic Research attempted to answer all of these questions. And the answers remain, well, baffling even as Florida Gov. Ronald DeSantis (to name only one example) runs for president on the basis of his “highly successful” COVID policies, which held the butcher’s bill in that state to a mere 82,875.

We estimate substantially higher excess death rates for registered Republicans when compared to registered Democrats, with almost all of the difference concentrated in the period after vaccines were widely available in our study states. Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points (pp), or 76%, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats. Post-vaccines, the excess death rate gap between Republicans and Democrats widened from 1.6 pp (22% of the Democrat excess death rate) to 10.4 pp (153% of the Democrat excess death rate). The gap in excess death rates between Republicans and Democrats is concentrated in counties with low vaccination rates and only materializes after vaccines became widely available.

Then there was this finding, which was both predictable and utterly bizarre:

Overall, our results suggest that political party affiliation only became a substantial risk factor in Ohio and Florida after vaccines were widely available.

In other words, within this particular demographic slice of our fellow citizens, after the arrival of the vaccines that protected us from the pandemic, the pandemic got…worse, and political affiliation was a contributing factor. I’m not sure I ever want to meet anyone whose mind is not blown by this fact. But I’m damn sure not voting for a guy whose platform is built on pride in his “I was brave enough to do nothing” performance in the face of a once-a-century public health emergency.


Gerrymandering Project: Redistricting Report Card


Redistricting Season is Open
Every 10 years, U.S. states redraw their congressional and state legislative maps to account for changes in population. In many states, the politicians who control this process draw district lines in a way that maximizes their party’s partisan advantage and makes it effectively impossible for their opponents to win power.

This practice is called gerrymandering.

Visual tool with powerful analytics
In response to the 2021 redistricting cycle, the Gerrymandering Project developed this report card as a tool to help the public identify gerrymandered maps. The Redistricting Report Card uses a powerful and unique set of analytics to grade each state’s newly-drawn maps during the redistricting process.

Select a map from the dropdown above to view its report card, or select a state to view report cards for maps as they become available.

Holistic and Interpretable Scoring System
In addition to scoring maps on competitiveness and geographic features, the Redistricting Report Card uses a cutting-edge algorithm to provide unprecedented analysis of a map's partisan fairness. Along with grading maps in these categories, the tool takes a holistic look at the partisan and minority composition of proposed districting plans.

Powered by A Million Maps
Our algorithm generates around one million potential districting plans for each state, providing us with a baseline of what’s possible to draw in a state given its political landscape and redistricting rules. We have also enlisted a collection of 75 advanced mappers with intricate knowledge of specific states and communities to incorporate local geographic expertise in our final grades.


Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo (Just Security)

Tweet text:

Laurence Tribe

DOJ should study this comprehensive Mar-a-Lago prosecution memo prepared by a superbly qualified team of experts. Despite its deliberate modesty, the memo leaves no doubt that Trump should now be charged and put on trial for grave crimes against the U.S.

Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo
The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers. They conclude there is a strong basis to charge Trump.
7:41 AM · Nov 17, 2022


This model prosecution memorandum (or “pros memo”) assesses the potential charges against former President Donald Trump emanating from his handling of classified documents and other government records since leaving office on January 20, 2021. It includes crimes related to the removal and retention of national security information and obstruction of the investigation into his handling of these documents. The authors have decades of experience as federal prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as other legal expertise. Based upon this experience and the analysis that follows, we conclude that there is a strong basis to charge Trump.

Before indicting a case, prosecutors prepare a pros memo that lays out admissible evidence, possible charges, and legal issues. This document provides a basis for prosecutors and their supervisors to assess whether the case meets the standard set forth in the Federal Principles of Prosecution, which permit prosecution only when there is sufficient evidence to obtain and sustain a prosecution. Before a decision is made about this matter, prosecutors will prepare such a memo.

But such a DOJ memo will be confidential, in part because it will contain information derived through the grand jury and attorney work product. Since that document will not be publicly available, we offer this analysis. Ours is likely more detailed than what DOJ may prepare internally. But, given the gravity of the issues here, our memo provides a sense of how prosecutors will assemble and evaluate the considerations that they must assess before making a prosecution decision.

Our memo analyzes six federal crimes:

Mishandling of Government Documents
1. Retention of National Defense Information (18 U.S.C. § 793(e))
2. Concealing Government Records (18 U.S.C. § 2071)
3. Conversion of Government Property (18 U.S.C. § 641)

Obstruction, False Information, Contempt
1. Obstruction of Justice (18 U.S.C. § 1519)
2. Criminal Contempt (18 U.S.C. § 402)
3. False Statements to Federal Investigators (18 U.S.C. § 1001)

Based on the publicly available information to date, a powerful case exists for charging Trump under several of these federal criminal statutes.


Extremists' Plot to Nationalize Voter Suppression: 2023 and Beyond (Common Cause)



The January 6th Select Committee has done critical work exposing the conspiracy to foment the insurrection and overturn the 2020 presidential election. The Committee’s work has laid bare that the insurrection’s violent rejection of democracy did not randomly occur in a vacuum. It was rooted in the Big Lie, and its legacy lives on in a wave of voter suppression legislation nationwide. Although significant attention has focused on the more than 400 anti-voter bills that have been introduced (several dozen of which have become law) in state legislatures since the insurrection, some federal bills making it harder to vote also portend a dangerous trend. Since the insurrection, congressional Republicans have introduced more than 30 anti-voter bills that have largely gone unnoticed. These anti-voter bills telegraph what some Republicans in Congress would like to do: make it harder for certain Americans to vote.

While none of these federal anti-voter bills will become law this year, if control of Congress switches after this November’s election, a Congress with different leadership may try to advance some of these proposals and do at the federal level what self-interested, power-hungry legislators in certain states are trying to do: make it harder to vote, and in ways that are disportionately targeted at Black and Brown voters. Instead of silencing voters on a state-by-state basis, certain members of Congress who introduced these anti-voter bills may try to disenfran- chise some voters in one fell swoop. This short report highlights the categories of different types of anti-voter bills that have been introduced in the 117th Congress.


“A bill to repeal the National Voter Registration Act” (H.R. 36), Rep. Andy Biggs, R-AZ: This bill would elimi- nate the National Voter Registration Act, aka “motor voter” law (this bipartisan law has helped tens of millions of Americans register to vote when getting their drivers’ licenses over the past 30 years)

“Ensuring American Voters Act” (H.R. 873), Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-OH: This bill would prohibit states from register- ing an individual to vote in federal elections unless the individual provides documentary proof of U.S. citizenship (this bill is a solution in search of a problem; there is no evidence of non-citizens trying to register to vote in any concerted effort in federal elections; this bill would likely make it harder for millions of Americans, including many elderly citizens, to vote)


John Durham fails bigtime but confirms Donald Trump lied about Russiagate



John Durham, the federal prosecutor handpicked by then-Attorney General Bill Barr in 2019 to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, flamed out this week, when he soundly lost another case in court, establishing an embarrassing 0-2 record in cases tried before juries. This verdict further discredited Durham’s crusade—much cheered on by Donald Trump and his cult following—to confirm Trump’s outlandish claim that the entire Russia scandal was a “hoax” mounted by the Deep State to sabotage him. After years of digging, Durham has failed to prove this baseless conspiracy theory advanced by Trump and his defenders to smother the narrative of Trump’s own treachery. Even worse for Trump, during this trial, Durham— intentionally or not—produced a bombshell confirming that Trump is a liar and that the proponents of the Russia hoax theory are hoaxers themselves. Few noticed.

Durham, who Barr secretly named as a special prosecutor weeks before the 2020 election, had been prosecuting Igor Danchenko—a US-based researcher who in 2016 supplied information to Christopher Steele that ended up in the so-called Steele dossier that assembled unconfirmed allegations related to Trump’s ties to Russia—for allegedly lying to FBI agents who had been investigating the dossier. It took the jury a little over a day of deliberation to find Danchenko not guilty on four counts on Tuesday. (The judge had previously tossed out one of the original five counts.)

This was a crushing defeat for Barr’s hitman—and for Trump. Yet after the first day of the trial last week, Trump defenders were enthused. Durham that day had called to the stand a senior FBI analyst named Brian Auten, who testified that the bureau had offered Steele “up to $1 million” to prove the charges in the collection of memos he had written for a research firm that was being paid by a lawyer working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

Ah-ha! screamed the right-wing media (Fox News, the National Review, the Washington Examiner, and others) at this revelation. But Auten noted that no such sum was ever paid because Steele, as we already knew, did not corroborate the material in his memos. And as was already known (as Michael Isikoff and I reported in Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on American and the Election of Donald Trump), the FBI did offer Steele a $50,000 contract in October 2016—after he had shared his memos with the bureau—if he would work with the bureau. But this contract, like the “up to $1 million” payment, never happened. (Auten testified that the giant reward would only have been paid out if Steele had been able to substantiate the information and if it had led to a successful prosecution.)


Katie Porter: Bigger corporate profits account for *over half* of the higher prices


Republicans are trying to win by spreading three false talking points. Here's the truth

Tweet text:

Robert Reich
Republicans are telling three lies they hope will swing the midterms. They involve crime, inflation, and taxes. Here’s what Republicans are claiming, followed by the facts.

Republicans are trying to win by spreading three false talking points. Here’s the truth | Robert...
Republicans want midterm voters to believe lies about crime, inflation and taxes. This is what they’re claiming – followed by the facts
8:33 AM · Oct 16, 2022


No paywall

Republicans are telling three lies they hope will swing the midterms. They involve crime, inflation, and taxes. Here’s what Republicans are claiming, followed by the facts.

1. They claim that crime is rising because Democrats have been “soft” on crime

This is pure rubbish. Rising crime rates are due to the proliferation of guns, which Republicans refuse to control.

Here are the facts:

While violent crime rose 28% from 2019 to 2020, gun homicides rose 35%. States that have weakened gun laws have seen gun crime surge. Clearly, a major driver of the national increase in violence is the easy availability of guns.

The violence can’t be explained by any of the Republican talking points about “soft-on-crime” Democrats.

Lack of police funding? Baloney. Democratic-run major cities spend 38% more on policing per person than Republican-run cities, and 80% of the largest cities increased police funding from 2019 to 2022.

Criminal justice reforms? Wrong. Data shows that wherever bail reforms have been implemented, re-arrest rates remain stable. Data from major cities shows no connection between the policies of progressive prosecutors and changes in crime rates.


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