No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Contradicting defense lawyers, sources say Trump put Pence's life in danger and didn't check in after the riot
  • Pence allies repeatedly said Trump was made aware that he was in danger during the Capitol riot.
  • Trump's defense team on Friday told Congress that Trump was not aware that Pence was evacuated.
  • "At no point was the president informed the vice president was in any danger," a Trump lawyer said.
On Wednesday, Sen. Tommy Tuberville said he told Trump that Pence had been evacuated for his safety as rioters were nearing the Senate floor, Politico reported.

"I said 'Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I've got to go,'" Tuberville told Politico.

The phone call occurred at the same time as Trump tweeted out criticizing Pence for not stoping the certification for President Joe Biden's victory.

Additionally, a senior administration official told The Washington Post that he finds it "inconceivable" that Trump and his team would not have been told that Pence was evacuated. The White House security team is normally told of any abnormal movement that involves the vice president.

Sources told Post told that Pence and his Chief of Staff, Marc Short, had on multiple occasions explained to Trump that he did not have the power to alter the election results. A Pence ally also said that while the former vice president hasn't publically attacked Trump, he is furious that Trump called the mob against him.

The Post added that Trump never called Pence to make sure he was okay after the attack and it was Short, who called Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, to let them know they were okay.

Short also told Meadows that after the building was secured that they would move forward with certifying the vote, and Meadows did not object, the Post reported.
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The Republican Party schism may end up tearing GOP leadership from the House and Senate apart
  • The GOP is currently reckoning with a rift between traditional Republicans and Trump supporters.
  • However, the Senate seems more willing than the House to distance from the former president.
  • Experts said term lengths, fundraising, and long-term planning are all contributing to the divide.
As the Republican Party moves forward after a tumultuous four years led by President Donald Trump, Congressional GOP leadership seems to be tearing apart.

Experts told Insider that most Republican lawmakers are still trying to assess what role Trump will have in the party and how much sway he continues to have with voters, but each chamber seems to be handling the uncertainty differently.

Last week, freshman GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avid Trump supporter, received a slew of criticism over past expressions of support for political violence and conspiracy theories. However, the response from Republican leadership in each chamber was notably different.

... "The divide between the more traditional or establishment wing and the more MAGA wing of the Republican Party is pretty clear on both sides of Capitol Hill," Jonathan Krasno, a professor of political science at Binghamton University in New York, told Insider.

But, he said, a few key factors "have deepened the apparent disparity between the Senate and House."

First, Krasno noted, senators represent whole states, which means they likely have a much more diverse base of constituents than members of the House, who represent single districts within their states.

"There are probably Republican House members from Kentucky who would find it suicidal to criticize Marjorie Taylor Greene as directly as McConnell has and others who wouldn't be hurt as much," Krasno said.

McConnell and other senators may feel like they can openly criticize Greene or other Trump loyalists without experiencing severe electoral consequences. This difference is also enhanced by the fact that senators serve six-year terms, rather than representatives' two-year terms, so they may be less likely to have a single comment or decision come back to haunt them.
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Trump 'loved' it when his defense team called impeachment trial 'constitutional cancel culture,' report says
  • Trump was pleased with his defense teams' performance during the impeachment trial on Friday.
  • Aides told Politico he "loved" it when his lawyers called the trial "constitutional cancel culture."
  • Trump was also happy with his team playing a lengthy montage of Democrats saying the word "fight."
In a change of tone from earlier this week, Former President Donald Trump was reportedly very pleased with his defense teams' performance on Friday, according to Politico.

Trump is in the midst of his second impeachment trial after the House last month charged him with "incitement of insurrection" related to the deadly US Capitol riot on January 6.

His defense team, which only used about 2 1/2 of their 16 allotted hours on Friday, made unfounded claims about the 2020 election, accused Democrats of hypocrisy, and argued that Trump had a legal right to challenge the election result.

Trump's lawyers — Bruce Castor Jr., Michael van der Veen, and David Schoen — also claimed his comments at the "Save America" rally preceding the riot was protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution.

According to an aide working on the defense team, Trump was very pleased with their performance.

The former president specifically "loved" it when van der Veen denounced the impeachment trial as "constitutional cancel culture," the aide said, according to Politico.

Trump was reportedly also happy about the lengthy video montage that was played to juxtapose his "law and order" comments with those made by Democrats during the George Floyd protests last summer, Politico reported.
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Lindsey Graham plans to meet with Trump to discuss the future of the GOP and to urge him to give up on 'revenge'
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters that he plans to meet with Trump in the coming weeks.
  • He will urge Trump to help the GOP take back the House and Senate in 2022, Politico reported.
  • Graham told reporters that if Trump continues to seek revenge, then the GOP will have a problem.
Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to meet with former President Donald Trump to "talk about the future of the Republican Party," The New York Times reported.

On Friday evening, the South Carolina Republican told reporters that he would meet with Trump in the coming weeks.

The conversation's focus will be on encouraging the former president to help the GOP take back the House and the Senate in 2022, Politico said.

"I'm going to try and convince him that we can't get there without you, but you can't keep the Trump movement going without the GOP united," Graham told reporters.

"If we come back in 2022, then, it's an affirmation of your policies," he added. "But if we lose again in 2022, the narrative is going to continue that not only you lost the White House, but the Republican Party is in a bad spot."

Graham also warned Trump that attacking his rivals won't help secure future election victories, The New York Times reported.

"If it's about revenge and going after people you don't like, we're going to have a problem," he said.
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Trump's many defenses, explained
  • The political speech defense. Their basic thrust was that Trump was totally misconstrued. He didn't mean tell his supporters to literally go "fight" on Capitol Hill before they turned into a riotous mob that sacked the Senate.
  • The free speech defense. They detailed the importance of freedom of expression and argued that Trump's words should be protected. They cited multiple court cases, including Brandenburg v. Ohio, to argue Trump did not meet the legal threshold of incitement, although this is not a legal proceeding.
  • The Trump didn't have anything to do with the violence defense. They argued, like the Democrats, that the march was preplanned. But they argued it was preplanned as an attack and by criminals, not by Trump, citing evidence that a pipe bomb on Capitol Hill was planted before January 6.
  • The they-do-it-too defense. The defense team focused in depth on Democratic senators in the chamber and representatives who argued the impeachment case, playing video of them using the word "fight" in political speech. But rioters didn't attack the Capitol after Democrats used the word.
  • The political grudge defense. Trump's lawyers argued the Democrats weren't trying to protect the Constitution but to rob American voters of a choice in future elections. (This argument has always confused me since Trump, by rejecting the election results, has been trying to rob a larger number of Americans of their voices in opposing him.)
  • The what-about-them defense. Without defending the rioters, the defense team argued the riot at the Capitol was not unlike violence that broke out after rallies for racial justice over the summer. Trump was forceful in rejecting that violence.
  • The out-of-context defense. They played longer portions of Trump comments and speeches and argued that impeachment managers had mangled his words. This was a somewhat effective line until the defense team played video of Trump defending protesters in Charlottesville who wanted to keep a statue of Robert E. Lee. People died in that event too.

    Similarly, the defense efforts to distance Trump from the mob and focus on the moments where he halfheartedly asked them to be peaceful ignored the literal love and thanks he showed them as they were rampaging through the Capitol complex.

    They also tried to defend Trump's phone call with Georgia's Republican secretary of state, arguing that he hadn't been asking the official, Brad Raffensperger, to find votes, but rather to do more signature verification, which Trump believed would result in more votes for him.
  • Constitutional cancel culture. Here's the defense in one passage from attorney Bruce Castor:

    It's the only existential issue before us. It asks for constitutional cancel culture to take over in the United States Senate. Are we going to allow canceling and banning and silencing to be sanctioned in this body?
Will this defense work? Yes, in that Trump will likely be acquitted.

"What they are looking for, so many of these Republican senators, most of them, I would even say, is a way out and a way to vote to acquit," said Dana Bash on CNN after the defense ended its case.

But it may be a harder sell among a larger body of Americans expected to suspend common sense to agree with the Trump defenses.
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Nine Capitol rioters were charged with sexual assault or had restraining orders for domestic violence: report
  • Nine Capitol rioters have a history of violence against women, according to HuffPost.
  • Some men previously had restraining orders against them due to allegations of domestic violence.
  • At least three are military veterans, and some of the men were once charged with rape and battery.
Three of the nine men are veterans, HuffPost's Alanna Vagianos reported. Men with militaristic pasts can create "dire consequences for women," Vagianos reported, citing Dr. Miranda Christou, a senior fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right.

"You have forms of masculinity that depend on militarized expressions: the uniforms, the guns, the paraphernalia, the whole idea of the military structure and discipline," Christou told HuffPost. "When the institution of the military infiltrates social life and that sense of masculinity and what makes you a man depends on that ― depends on the gun on the side of your hip ― that becomes a problem for women."

One man, Larry Rendall Brock Jr., stormed the building carrying zip-tie handcuffs and wearing full combat gear. Brock had sent several threatening messages to his ex-wife, HuffPost reported. He was described as a "terroristic threat of family/household" during one call to the police.

Another man, Guy Reffitt, was spotted and photographed carrying tactical gear during the attempted coup. Reffitt in 2018 pushed his wife onto a bed and began to choke her, according to a police report obtained by HuffPost.

Mathew Capsel of Marseille, Illinois, violated a protection order after his arrest in Washington. In 2012, he had been arrested for "battery, mob action and robbery," HuffPost reported, having allegedly struck a woman "3-4 times in the head."

Other men who attended the riot have records marked by similar charges.

Jacob Lewis, for example, had a restraining order for domestic violence taken out against him in California, according to HuffPost. Samuel Pinho Camargo had in 2016 "intentionally caused bodily harm" to his sister.

Dominic Pezzola is a member of the Proud Boys, HuffPost reported. Police removed a shotgun from his home in 2005 after a call concerning a domestic dispute.

Andrew Ryan Bennett also wore a Proud Boys hat entering the Capitol building, according to HuffPost. He received an 18-month prison sentence after attacking a woman at a tattoo parlor in 2003.

Edward Hemenway served five years in prison on charges related to rape, sexual battery, and criminal confinement, according to HuffPost. He handcuffed his wife in 2004 and put duct-tape over her mouth.

And Donovan Ray Crowl had been arrested in 2005 for domestic violence charges that have since been dropped, HuffPost reported.
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GOP leader Mitch McConnell will vote to acquit Trump in Senate impeachment trial
  • GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will vote to acquit former President Donald Trump.
  • "While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we therefore lack jurisdiction," he wrote.
  • McConnell's announcement puts to rest any chance that he would have delivered a historic rebuke to a president from his own political party.
"The Constitution makes it perfectly clear that Presidential criminal misconduct while in office can be prosecuted after the President has left office, which in my view alleviates the otherwise troubling 'January exception' argument raised by the House."
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Biden urged to replace USPS board by Democrats, who said postmaster general DeJoy's polices are 'flawed and harmful'
  • Democrats on Friday called for President Biden to replace the USPS board of governors.
  • "We can start fixing the Post Office by firing the leadership," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.
  • Postmaster general Louis DeJoy was sued by the NAACP in August.
Members of Congress on Friday called for President Joe Biden to replace every member of the US Postal Service's board of governors, saying they had enabled the Postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, in his "harmful" policy decisions.

"There should not be any toleration for their silence or complicity in overseeing these harmful policy changes that have also eroded the public trust in this agency," Senator Tammy Duckworth said in a letter sent to the president.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. said on Twitter, "Americans don't want to hear excuses. We can start fixing the Post Office by firing the leadership."

He added: "Louis DeJoy was appointed by Trump to slow your mail and destroy your Post Office. He's corrupt and needs to go."

The president has the power to appoint governors to the USPS board, which operates much like a public company's board. The nine governors appoint the postmaster general.

The Democrats' calls for Biden to replace the governors came as DeJoy's USPS team planned new updates, which would reportedly drive up some postage rates and remove first-class mail, according to reports from The Washington Post and NBC News.

"This work is not only needed, it is long overdue," DeJoy told NBC News on Friday.

As of Saturday, there were six governors appointed to the USPS board, leaving three vacancies. The deputy postmaster position was also vacant. ... Both the USPS and DeJoy, a former Republican donor, were sued last fall by the NAACP and other civil rights groups.

The groups said delivery delays at the post office were an act of self-sabotage for the US mail system in "a blatant attempt to disenfranchise voters of color," many of whom planned to use mail-in ballots for the November election.

AACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson said at the time: "This willful and blatant attempt to obstruct the mail system amidst a pandemic and on the precipice of a pivotal election is a direct threat to the people of this nation's right to vote in a fair and free election."
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A banner reading 'Convict Trump and lock him up' flew over the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence
  • As impeachment proceedings played out, a banner calling for Trump's conviction flew over Mar-a-Lago.
  • The former president is currently staying in his Mar-a-Lago residence.
  • "Convict Trump and lock him up," the banner read in all caps.
The identity of the person who flew or paid for the banner is not yet publicly known.

CNN reported that the banner was flying just minutes ahead of the presentation of Trump's defense from his team of attorneys on the Senate floor.

Trump attorney Michael van der Veen had at that moment characterized the House's article of impeachment against the former president as "an unjust and blatantly unconstitutional act of political vengeance," CNN reported.
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Philadelphia GOP official says Trump 'incited supporters to threaten to kill my children because we counted votes cast by eligible voters'
  • Philadelphia city commissioner Al Schmidt called on Mitch McConnell to vote his "conscience" in Trump's impeachment trial.
  • "The former POTUS incited supporters to threaten to kill my children," Schmidt wrote on Twitter.
  • Ahead of a likely weekend vote, McConnell announced that he would vote to acquit Trump.
"The former POTUS incited supporters to threaten to kill my children and put their 'heads on spikes' because we counted votes cast by eligible voters," Schmidt wrote. "They named my children and included my home address in the threats."

The attacks on Schmidt's family were accelerated by a November tweet that was posted on the former president's now-disabled Twitter account.

"A guy named Al Schmidt, a Philadelphia Commissioner and so-called Republican (RINO), is being used big time by the Fake News Media to explain how honest things were with respect to the Election in Philadelphia," Trump tweeted. "He refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty. We win!"

After the tweet was posted, Schmidt, his wife, and children received threats sent by text and email, according to The New York Times Magazine.

"You lied," one message read. "You a traitor. Perhaps 75cuts and 20bullets will soon arrive."


In November, Schmidt also revealed that staff members in his office had been subjected to death threats and said that critics were "coming up with all sorts of crazy stuff" to discredit the work of the office.

Last month, Schmidt announced that he would not run for reelection in 2023 and insisted that the Pennsylvania vote count was "free and fair," despite the relentless stream of debunked election-related conspiracy theories from the former president.
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New York prosecutors reportedly expanding criminal probe into Trump loans for his Manhattan properties
  • New York prosecutors are expanding their investigation into former President Donald Trump, the WSJ reported.
  • According to the report, prosecutors are examining loans Trump took out on his flagship properties.
  • The investigation is led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
According to the report, which cited sources familiar with the investigation, the new portions of the probe are related to loans to Trump by subsidiaries of New York City-based real estate investment trust Ladder Capital Corp. A $100 million loan on Trump Tower is due next year while other loans are due in the coming years, the report said.

The trust has lent the former president over $280 million for his four Manhattan properties since 2012, the report noted. The properties involved in the probe include Trump Tower, 40 Wall St., Trump International Hotel and Tower, Trump Plaza, all located in Manhattan. New York prosecutors are also investigating the Trump Organization's Seven Springs property in Westchester County, according to the report.
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Trump just beat his 2nd impeachment conviction, but a massive tsunami of legal peril still awaits
  • Former President Donald Trump faces numerous legal issues at the federal, state, and local levels that could last for years.
  • His administration, campaign, business interests, and role in the insurrection are under scrutiny.
  • Officials in Fulton County, Georgia, may be Trump's most immediate threat.
Former President Donald Trump just beat a Senate conviction on charges of inciting an insurrection against the US government. But his legal jeopardy is just getting started.

His presidential immunity has been gone since January 20th, and there's a brewing storm of federal, state, and local investigations and lawsuits guaranteed to follow him for years.

There are both civil and criminal matters, targeting his administration, campaign committee, business interests, as well as Trump himself.

Two matters are most pressing.

First: Trump's words and actions during a "Save America" rally on January 6 in Washington, DC, that preceded the violent attack on the US Capitol. The House impeached Trump for his role in the insurrection. That's very different from what federal prosecutors could do. They haven't ruled out investigating the ex-president for inciting the attack, during which five people — including a US Capitol Police officer — died.

Second: Trump in January pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" additional votes in that state's presidential contest — a desperate gambit to overturn the results of a presidential election he lost.

Federal, state, and local prosecution is possible for Trump on possible election-law violations, several legal experts told Insider.

Already, prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, the state's most populous urban center, said on February 10 they were officially launching a criminal investigation into Trump's election-related actions.

Here's a look at the specific — and numerous — legal dramas that could haunt Trump for years to come:
  • Inciting an attack on the US Capitol
  • Georgia vote-call fallout
  • Cracking a Trump campaign shell company
  • New York, New York
  • Presidential-pardon brouhaha
  • Tax man's revenge?
  • Mueller investigation hangover
  • A never-ending Trump inauguration
  • Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, and 'Individual-1'
  • Truth commission cometh?
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McConnell votes for acquittal, but then says there's 'no question' Trump is responsible for riot
Minutes after voting "not guilty" in Donald Trump's impeachment trial, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the former president is clearly to blame for the deadly Capitol riot.

"There's no question" that Trump "is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," McConnell said just after the Senate acquitted Trump of inciting the attack. "No question about it."

But "the question is moot," McConnell said, because as a former president, "Trump is constitutionally not eligible for conviction."

"After intense reflection, I believe the best constitutional reading shows that Article 2 Section 4 exhausts the set of persons who can legitimately be impeached, tried or convicted," McConnell said. "It's the president, it's the vice president, and civil officers. We have no power to convict a former office holder who is now a private citizen," he said.

... Before McConnell took the floor, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., railed against the Republicans who voted for acquittal.

"There was only one correct verdict in this trial: Guilty," Schumer said.

"This was about choosing country over Donald Trump. And 43 Republican members chose Trump," Schumer said.
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Why most GOP senators are standing by Trump
There's good reason to be worried about going against Trump, given how popular he is among the Republican base. But I'd argue this explanation is at least somewhat incomplete.

A lot of GOP senators may be willing to vote with Trump because they aren't against him. They, like their voters, may really like him and his policies or believe he didn't commit an impeachable offense.

This theory is probably hard for a lot of Trump critics to take, but it does make sense. Trump retrospective approval ratings remain in the 80s with Republicans. A lot of Republican lawmakers are likely reflected in that high approval rating.

And by voting against conviction, these senators are ensuring that Trump is with the Republican Party for the foreseeable future.

Besides, if Republican senators were really worried about their future electoral ambitions, there are reasons to think many of them could survive a primary challenge even if they voted to convict.

Most Republican senators are either retiring or aren't up for reelection until at least 2024. In fact, at least 34 of 50 GOP senators are not running for reelection in 2022 at this point. (It could be more based on retirements.)

That means there would be at least three years until the senators who don't retire would face electoral consequences for any votes against Trump.

... Keep in mind that most Republican senators voted against objections to the Electoral College results in January. They did so even as their voters believe, falsely, that there was wide-scale election fraud.

Republican senators have shown a willingness to go against Trump. So the idea that they aren't willing to in this situation just because they fear him seems a little hard to swallow.

... Either way, Republican senators realize that Trump remains a powerful force within the party.

Trump's actually the favorite for the 2024 presidential nomination. He is easily leading all primary polls. As I previously noted, Trump is in the best position of any former one-term president in the polling era looking to reclaim his party's presidential nomination.

There is little reason to believe Trump won't try to take advantage of these numbers. He loves the limelight and the adoring crowds. Soon enough, Trump will probably be on the campaign trail.

The only lesson Trump is going to learn from this impeachment saga is that he controls the Republican Party. Republicans basically passed up their best opportunity to rid themselves of him.
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Biden responds to Trump's acquittal, says the 'substance of the charge is not in dispute' and we must 'end this uncivil war'
  • The Senate acquitted Trump Saturday of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol.
  • Biden said despite the acquittal, "the substance of the charge is not in dispute."
  • He also said we must "end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation."
"Tonight, I am thinking about those who bravely stood guard that January day. I'm thinking about all those who lost their lives, all those whose lives were threatened, and all those who are still today living with the terror they lived through that day." Biden said.

He also said "this sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile," and that "violence and extremism" do not belong in the US.

"And that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies," Biden said.

"That is how we end this uncivil war and heal the very soul of our nation," he said, adding that Americans must undertake that task together.
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A Trump impeachment lawyer was heard saying he's 'going to Disney World' after the former president's acquittal
  • A Trump lawyer was heard telling colleagues, "We're going to Disney World!" after the former president's acquittal.
  • Attorney Michael van der Veen was a key member of Trump's legal team in his second impeachment trial.
  • On Friday, van der Veen's house was vandalized, with the word "TRAITOR" painted on his driveway.
Trump's legal team was understandably delighted at the result — even though more senators voted to convict the ex-president than voted to acquit him — with members seen hugging, smiling, and fist-bumping each other after the acquittal was confirmed.

Van der Veen's comment about going to Disney World was likely a reference to a statement frequently made by Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, who often visit the Florida theme park in the days after winning the biggest prize in football.

Whether or not the Trump legal team actually plans to visit Disney World remains to be seen. If they do, they'll find a much-changed park to the days before the pandemic, with mandatory mask-wearing, many attractions closed, and social distancing in place.

Earlier Saturday, it was reported that van der Veen's Philadelphia home had been vandalized during the course of Friday, with the word "TRAITOR" spray-painted on his driveway and windows on his property smashed.

"My home was attacked. I'd rather not go into that. To answer your question, my entire family, my business, my law firm are under siege right now," van der Veen said, as reported by CNN.
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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene accused of threatening GOP colleague with warning that millions of Trump supporters 'are watching' her
  • "The Trump loyal 75 million are watching," Rep. Greene tweeted about Rep. Herrera Beutler.
  • Herrera Beutler had earlier said she had evidence damaging to Trump's impeachment defense.
  • Impeachment managers eventually decided not to admit witnesses but to admit her testimony on record.
Democrats and legal experts have accused Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of seeking to intimidate GOP colleague Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler in a tweet in which Greene warned that millions of Donald Trump loyalists "are watching" her.

In a tweet, Georgia representative Greene attacked Herrera Beutler after she released a statement Friday saying that she could corroborate details of a report claiming that Trump has sided with rioters in a call with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on January 6 as they tore through the Capitol.

The latest evidence briefly promised to disrupt the impeachment trial as it drew to a close. At first, House impeachment managers decided to call Herrera Beutler as a witness, then reversed the decision and instead admitted her testimony to the record.

Greene sent the tweet when it appeared likely that Herrera Beutler would be subpoenaed as a witness.

"First voting to impeach innocent President Trump, then yapping to the press and throwing @GOPLeader under the bus," tweeted Greene about Herrera Beutler Saturday. "And now a tool as a witness for the Democrats running the circus trial. The Trump loyal 75 million are watching."

Greene was apparently referring to the nearly 75 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2020's presidential election.

Critics accused the far-right Greene of seeking to intimidate a potential impeachment witness.

"Marj Greene is threatening a fellow GOP Rep—who is a witness—on Twitter. Greene must be banned immediately," tweeted Scott Dworkin, founder of the liberal grassroots group the Democratic Coalition, before the decision was made not to call new witnesses.
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Let's stop pretending we don't know why most GOP Senators didn't vote to convict Trump
  • GOP senators have a bunch of nonsense reasons for why they didn't convict Donald Trump of incitement.
  • They are all just an attempt to cover up the real reasons, which are much simpler and more obvious.
  • Many GOP Senators were complicit in Trump's crime. Plus, they want to use him to keep grifting.
Republican senators have concocted a litany of silly, irrelevant reasons for why they didn't vote to convict former President Donald Trump of fomenting an insurrection on January 6.

They said his impeachment was not constitutional (an argument even conservative lawyers shredded) or a violation of his First Amendment rights (also, no). They said Trump deserves a "mulligan" (which is just stupid, juvenile, and an affront to the rule of law). And they said convicting him is pointless (which ignores the fact that a conviction could have barred Trump from office).

Ultimately these are just words used to pass screen time on national TV or to fill copy in news articles. That's because these GOP senators refuse to say why they really did not convict Trump: they were complicit in his crime and they are profiting from it.

... When reporters asked Trump if he thought he was fomenting violence or unrest in his speech leading up to the Capitol attack, he said no — that his words were perfectly appropriate. Why should he think otherwise? Aside from the obvious fact that his malignant narcissism would never allow him to see it any other way, there's the reality that no one in his party had ever previously rebuked him for fomenting violence.

Any Republican senator who didn't tell Trump to stop lying about the outcome of the election is complicit in Trump's behavior.

With his lies about election fraud, Trump was ostensibly committing a crime against American democracy in full view of the entire world. Most of the Republican Party — and pretty much every Republican Senator save Utah's Mitt Romney and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski — at least acted as a lookout for this crime if they weren't driving the getaway car. In a normal court of law these people would never have been allowed to serve as jurors — you can't be impartial is you're a co-conspirator — but this is impeachment.

One cannot underestimate the importance of money in all of this. The Stop the Steal movement that lead to the deadly riot was planned and bolstered by individuals with a long history of right-wing grifts. Trump — now without a doubt America's most celebrated scammer — is going to raise money off of Big Lie grievance for as long as he can. Sens. Cruz and Hawley fundraised off this stolen election fable, and there is an entire cottage industry of small-time internet conspiracy theory scammers who are still raising money off of the idea that Trump must be avenged.

It is not in the best interest of any of these people that Americans wake up from the fever of Trump's lies. The last thing they need is for Trump's followers to have a revelation like Jacob Chansley (aka Q Shaman), who said in a statement last week that he was wrong for participating in the riots.

"I am deeply disappointed in former President Trump," Chansley's statement said. "He was not honorable. He let a lot of peaceful people down. I have to leave judging him up to other people." If Trump's supporters suddenly, belatedly realize he is not honorable, than none of his grifter friends are either. And that's a money problem for all involved.

... To rebuke Trump and bar him from future office would be to make these once rootless individuals rootless once again. At worst, they could violently turn against the GOP for betraying them, just like the Capitol rioters seemed angrier at Mike Pence than they were at any Democrat. At best, they will feel disappointed and duped by the politicians they supported. Either way, the GOP wouldn't have been able to pump them for money anymore with the promise of another Trump run or his active embrace of the party. The grift would've been over.

And if there's anything we know about today's GOP, it's that it will do anything to keep a grift going — even if it means selling out the rule of law, the Constitution, and their own personal safety in the process.
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Pelosi called McConnell 'pathetic' after he said he wouldn't vote to convict Trump for inciting Capitol riot
  • Nancy Pelosi accused Mitch McConnell of using delay tactics to postpone Trump's impeachment trial.
  • Pelosi said McConnell then used his own delay tactics as an excuse to vote for Trump's acquittal.
  • "It is so pathetic that Senator McConnell kept the Senate shut down so that the Senate could not receive the Article of Impeachment," she said.
"I salute the Republican Senators who voted their conscience and for our Country," Pelosi said in the release. "Other Senate Republicans' refusal to hold Trump accountable for igniting a violent insurrection to cling to power will go down as one of the darkest days and most dishonorable acts in our nation's history."
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or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.