Roger Sollenberger/The Daily Beast:
Damning Ethics Report Solves the Big George Santos Question: Where the Money Came From
But The Daily Beast’s review of the committee report and its underlying evidence has found that House investigators actually did solve the mystery. In doing so, they uncovered what appears to be an illegal pass-through scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit contributions that Santos funneled to his campaign from business clients—perhaps without their knowledge.
Santos also appears to have taken the scheme a step further, personally reaping tens of thousands of dollars after he was elected to Congress.
In late breaking news, a Colorado judge finds that Trump “engaged insurrection”. However, the opinion also says he’s not an officer of the United States and therefore cannot be excluded from the ballot. This will be appealed.
Here are two brief explainers on this, first from Harry Littman and next from Judge Luttig/X via Threadreader:
It is unfathomable as a matter of constitutional interpretation that the Presidency of the United States is not an “office under the United States.” It is even more constitutionally unfathomable, if that’s possible, that the former president did not take an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” within the meaning of Section 3 when he took took the presidential oath “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The Constitution is not a suicide pact with America’s democracy. Indeed, it is the very contrary in this instance. It is plain that the entire purpose of Section 3, confirmed by its literal text,
is to disqualify any person who, having taken an oath to support the Constitution, engages in an insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution. The former president did exactly that when he attempted to overturn the 2020 election and remain in office in rebellious violation of the Constitution’s Executive Vesting Clause, which prescribes the four-year term of the presidency.
My contention is that finding that Trump is an insurrectionist is a BFD and should not be underplayed by media.
The Washington Post:
The hidden biases at play in the U.S. Senate
People of color get significantly less representation than White voters. And that’s not the only way the Senate is skewed.
The result of the country’s evolution has been a Senate that suffers from three fundamental imbalances, according to a Washington Post data analysis of population growth, demographic changes and shifts in voting patterns.
First, the disparities in power among voters in different states have widened as states have grown unevenly. Second, because of demographic distribution, White voters now have substantially greater influence than voters of color. And finally, in recent decades, Republican senators have maintained majority control even when they represent a minority of Americans. That’s because more Republicans than Democrats are elected in the least populous states.
Brian Beutler/Off Message:
The Vermin Libel And The Danger Of Forgetting
American memories may be short, but we’re not doing all we can to lengthen them
The first New York Times headline, now infamous, read “Trump Takes Veterans Day Speech in a Very Different Direction.” Other major outlets didn’t get around to covering the vermin libel until well into the weekend.
But the organic outcry had a real impact. The followup reporting has been clear and sharp about the historical resonances. Reporters breathed new life into the story even before Democratic leaders had taken the requisite step of expressing outrage. Semafor reports that the Trump campaign is privately worried about the political toll of landing in a rogues gallery with Hitler and Mussolini.
Biden finally weighed in Wednesday night, though he broke his silence at a fundraiser in California, where cameras were not rolling. “It echoes language you heard in Nazi Germany in the ‘30s,” he warned. “Folks, we can’t fail. We can’t fail to treat the threat that he poses. I mean, we can’t.”
Cameras or no, the angst in Biden’s comments pulses off the transcript. But the question now—as days turn into weeks, and fresh stories vie for our attention—is whether this will be a passing kerfuffle, or one Republicans, as long as they support Trump, can never live down.
Margaret Sullivan/The Guardian:
The public doesn’t understand the risks of a Trump victory. That’s the media’s fault
t’s now clearer than ever that Trump, if elected, will use the federal government to go after his political rivals and critics, even deploying the military toward that end. His allies are hatching plans to invoke the Insurrection Act on day one.
The US then “would resemble a banana republic”, a University of Virginia law professor told the Washington Post when it revealed these schemes. Almost as troubling, two New York Times stories outlined Trump’s autocratic plans to put loyal lawyers in key posts and limit the independence of federal agencies.
The press generally is not doing an adequate job of communicating those realities.
David Rothkopf/The Daily Beast:
Biden Skillfully Handled Xi Jinping’s U.S. Visit in Ways Trump Simply Never Could
Trump, for example, might well have begun by confusing Chinese President Xi Jinping with the object of his longtime bromance, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as he did just over a week ago. Further, he certainly would have been unable to conduct the kind of detailed, multi-faceted diplomatic exchanges that Biden did—given that even Trump’s former top advisers were astonished by his ignorance of policy matters.
Biden, on the other hand, in both his press conference following the Xi meeting and in his remarks throughout the summit, showed a complete, confident mastery of an enormous range of issues—an unsurprising contrast given that Biden is the U.S. president with by far the most foreign policy experience, and Trump, among all our presidents, entered office with the least such experience and seemed to learn little during his time in the Oval Office.
White House Condemns Elon Musk’s ‘Abhorrent’ Endorsement of Antisemitism
- European Commission and IBM halt X ads, citing hate speech
- Antisemitic incidents have spiked amid Israel-Hamas war
We condemn this abhorrent promotion of Antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms, which runs against our core values as Americans,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.
The White House said Musk’s posts were especially harmful, given the spike in antisemitic incidents following Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 Israelis and Israel’s ensuing invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Alex Burness/Bolts magazine:
Michigan Law Would Be First to Automatically Register People to Vote As They Leave Prison
The legislature passed a bill last week that would expand automatic voter registration in a number of other ways, and likely add many new Michiganders to voter rolls.
State lawmakers last week adopted House Bill 4983, which would put Michigan in a unique class. If signed by the governor, this would be the first law in the nation to require a state to register people to vote when they’re released from prison.
The state would later send people mail notifying them that they have been registered to vote, as well as giving them the option to decline and opt out of voter rolls.
Michelle Goldberg/The New York Times:
The War in Gaza Is Splintering the Democratic Party
Diana Lovett, a Democratic Party district leader who held a fund-raiser for Bowman last year, said polarization over the congressman was tearing apart local Democrats. Leaving the event, she told me, with great sadness, that she didn’t feel she could back him anymore. “I love him personally,” she said. She’d spoken to him in October about their disagreement over Israel. “He was lovely, and he’s amazing, and he was the same warm and openhearted person that he was today,” she said.
But Lovett, who’d recently been hanging posters of kidnapped Israelis around town only to see them being torn down, had come to believe that their views on the Middle East are irreconcilable. “I think he sees what he believes to be an injustice, a grave injustice,” and that his votes are coming from a deep “moral consciousness,” she said. “And I think the pain and suffering he is causing to his constituents is some kind of collateral damage to that higher principle.”
If Bowman were a more transactional politician, he might have compromised on an issue so fraught in his community. But he is, for better or worse, very sincere. Lovett was dreading “an insanely divisive primary,” but didn’t see any way around it. “He’s not going to convince us, and we’re not going to convince him,” she said.
Cliff Schecter on George Santos:
Author: Greg Dworkin