MI-03 is a classic conservative Republican district; the phrase "rock-ribbed" comes to mind. Jerry Ford represented the Grand Rapids-based district from 1949 until 1973 when Richard Nixon appointed him vice president in the wake of Spiro Agnew's resignation. Until November, the district was represented by Justin Amash, a Republican who switched to independent when he could no longer stomach Trumpism. He didn't run this time and supermarket heir Peter Meijer won the seat against a Republian-lite DCCC candidate, 53-47%. Trump beat Biden 50.6% to 47.4%. Yesterday Amash asked Republicans to give up on the party and migrate to the Libertarians as he had done. His successor, who voted for impeachment, gave an interview on MSNBC saying "Many of us are altering our routines, working to get body armor, which is a reimbursable purchase that we can make. It's sad we have to get to that point. But our expectation is that someone may try to kill us."
A new poll released this morning by ABC News has a lot of unpleasant news for already shaken Republicans to unpack. The crux is that 89% of Americans say the oppose the coup attempt and 71% blame it on Trump. By a substantial margin-- 56% to 42%-- most Americans think Congress should remove him and disqualify him from ever holding office again.
In some ways, the worst news for them is that by a wide margin Americans say "Republican officials should lead the party in a different direction rather than follow Trump’s leadership, 69-26 percent. But just among Republicans, a majority, 60 percent, wants to continue to follow Trump-- sharply fewer than in in the past (83 percent in a similar question in 2018), but still marking the risk of a Trump/no Trump schism within the party." Trump is leaving office with the highest disapproval rating of any president since scientific polling was invented. Only 38% of Americans approve of the job he is doing.
I wonder if McConnell feels he got the better of the bargain. His party is a smoldering ruin-- and it's far from "his" party once you move a few feet from the Senate chamber. Writing for Axios this morning, Jim VanderHei referred to the GOP as gutted-- "financially, institutionally and structurally. The losses are stark and substantial." Sure, Trump got them their judges. But the party going forward, out of the Trump era?
They lost their congressional power.
Their two leaders, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, are hamstrung by corporate blacklisting of their election-denying members.
The GOP brand is radioactive for a huge chunk of America.
The corporate bans on giving to the 147 House and Senate Republicans who voted against election certification are growing and virtually certain to hold.
The RNC is a shell of its former self and run by a Trump loyalist.
Democrats crushed them in fundraising when they were out of power. Imagine their edge with it.
Sheldon Adelson, the party's biggest donor, died Monday.
The NRA is weaker than it has ever been, after massive leadership scandals.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, once controlled by rock-ribbed Republicans, also gave to Democrats in 2020.
Rank-and-file Republicans are now scattered on encrypted channels like Signal and fearful of Big Tech platforms.
And now the internal war gets underway for real over policies and political leaders. This morning, CBS News quoted Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger saying that he thinks Trump "for all intents and purposes is not the president. He's just nuts. He's going crazy."
Federal prosecutors have started referring to Trump's coup attempt as a "violent insurrection that attempted to overthrow the United States Government," which bodes badly for those who participated in it and this who incited it. From their home states, inciters and "directors" like Josh Hawley (R-MO), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-GA), Mad Cawthorn (Nazi-NC) and Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), are facing pressure to resign. Pelosi is being asked to expel the insurrectionists in the House.
This morning, reporting for Politico, Josh Gerstein wrote that members of Congress who conspired with the attackers are in legal peril. "Lawmakers who interacted with the pro-Trump protesters who rioted at the Capitol last week," he wrote, "could face criminal charges and will almost certainly come under close scrutiny in the burgeoning federal investigation into the assault, former prosecutors said.
“This is incredibly serious,” said Ron Machen, a former U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C. “Although you would need compelling evidence before charging a member of Congress with anything related to the breach of the Capitol that day, this has to be investigated.”
Unlike with the president, there’s no Justice Department policy shielding members of Congress from legal accountability while in office.
“I’d say those are potentially viable prosecutions,” added Peter Zeidenberg, another former federal prosecutor in Washington. “I’d say those guys should be worried.”
The role members of Congress may have played in facilitating the deadly attack drew intense attention this week after Democratic lawmakers alleged that some of their Republican colleagues facilitated tours of the Capitol on January 5-- one day before demonstrators engaged in the assault that terrorized lawmakers, ransacked congressional offices and left as many as five people dead.
...Democrats have raised several potential means for punishing GOP lawmakers who may have been involved in either fomenting or directing the riot-- from congressional investigation to criminal sanction.
“I hope we understand if there was an inside job-- whether it was members or staff or anyone working at the Capitol who helped these attackers better navigate the Capitol-- that is going to be investigated,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said Wednesday on MSNBC. Swalwell has also called out specific GOP lawmakers on Twitter, such as Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), for seeming to disclose House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s movements during the attack.
“To hell with the Ethics Committee, these people need to be charged criminally,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) said on the same network.
The issue even arose during the historic impeachment debate on the House floor, where Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) said some of his colleagues “may well be co-conspirators.”
Lawyers with experience prosecuting complex criminal cases said that anyone who helped the rioters survey the Capitol could face grave charges.
“It’s deadly serious,” said former federal prosecutor Harry Litman. “It’s kind of like giving troop movements to the enemy.”
Litman said he expects investigators to sweep through emails and text messages, looking for indications that anyone who works at the Capitol was coordinating with the plotters. Under criminal law principles, even those with minor roles could be held liable for the worst offenses of the rioters.
“Talking it through with them is really conspiracy territory, that means you’re potentially on the hook for everything that’s reasonably foreseeable and, knowing this cast of characters it seems to me that everything from trespassing to use of weapons to incendiary devices is reasonably foreseeable,” Litman said. “If the evidence proves it, they could be on the hook for everything up to seditious conspiracy.”
Machen said more evidence needs to be developed but there are hints of a possible case for aiding and abetting the rioters.
“If a member of Congress led the insurrectionists around the Capitol the day before the attack and there was compelling evidence of complicity in the breach, if congressional members were actively aiding and abetting people trying to storm the Capitol and disrupt the electoral certification, that’s really as close to being at the heart of a seditious conspiracy charge as you could hope to find,” the ex-U.S. attorney said.
Some lawyers have said that inflammatory speeches by President Donald Trump, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) to the crowd that joined in the riot a short time later may be protected by the First Amendment. Fiery speeches are not uncommon at political events and making speakers responsible for all actions taken by audience members could chill public debate, scholars argue.
But ex-prosecutors say any criminal case against Trump or lawmakers would not be based solely on the speeches, but on other public and private communications-- emails and texts exchanged with organizers and supporters in the days leading up to the rally and on the day of the shocking attack. Investigators will be looking for discussion of a physical assault on the Capitol building and for indications that individual members were specifically targeted.
Cori Bush covers all the bases with her resolution directing the Ethics Committee "to investigate, and issue a report on, whether any and all actions taken by Members of the 117th Congress who sought to overturn the 2020 Presidential election violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution or the Rules of the House of Representatives, and should face sanction, including removal from the House of Representatives." As of this morning, there were 54 co-sponsors, the latest being Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Grace Meng (D-NY).
Meanwhile, Washington state conservative Republican, Jaime Herrera Beutler penned a Twitter thread last night for her constituents so that they can better understand why she voted to impeach Trump. "In conversations with residents about this week's impeachment vote," she began, "some are unclear on what transpired before & during that involved President Trump. Here are the indisputable and publicly available facts."
She then posted videos of Trump's mob chanting "hang Mike Pence" and of mob of Trumpists beating a police officer to death. "The commander in chief’s primary job is to protect U.S. citizens," she concluded. "While this mob hunted for Pence, who had fled to a secure location, the only action we know the president took was calling GOP Senators, seeking their support to delay the Electoral College certification. Hours after the Capitol was breached, the president released a pathetic video denouncing the violence but telling the perpetrators 'I love you,' and 'you are special.'"