Iron County Progressive

 

Biden’s Day One Executive Orders, as described by the transition team:

  • Launch a “100 Days Masking Challenge” and Leading by Example in the Federal Government
  • Re-Engage with the World Health Organization to Make Americans and the World Safer
  • Structure Our Federal Government to Coordinate a Unified National Response [to Covid-19]
  • Extend Eviction and Foreclosure Moratoriums
  • Extend Student Loan Pause
  • Rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  • Roll Back President Trump’s Environmental Actions in Order to Protect Public Health and the Environment and Restore Science
  • Launch a Whole-of-Government Initiative to Advance Racial Equity
  • Reverse President Trump’s Executive Order Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from the Reapportionment Count
  • Preserve and Fortify Protections for Dreamers
  • Reverse the Muslim Ban
  • Repeal of Trump Interior Enforcement Executive Order
  • Stop Border Wall Construction
  • Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians Presidential Memorandum
  • Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation
  • Executive Branch Personnel Ethics Executive Order
  • Regulatory Process Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum

 Jack Miller

 THERE'S SOMETHING HAPPENING HERE



We asked you to chip in to help pay for our patriotic signs and you collectively donated $20K in the last two days to the Minocqua Brewing Company SuperPAC, putting us over $50K raised in the last 10 days.

Obviously we hit a nerve.

We are starting to believe the vast majority of Wisconsinites who really wish they didn't have to worry about politics and would rather drink beer while watching the Packers beat the Rams has woken up and is pissed that some of our elected officials would rather help incite an attack on our country to gain political points than stand up to a bully. 

Ron Johnson and Tom Tiffany would rather see America burn than admit that Joe Biden won the presidential election fair and square, and because of that, they need to go...forever.

We can never forget they both were front and center in trying to overturn Wisconsinites votes for president, when lawsuit after lawsuit proved that the election was won fair and square. Because they perpetuated these lies, they helped incite the attempted coup against our country that killed 5 people.

Guys, we promise with every ounce of our soul that we're gonna spend this money you've raised to help make our government officials less corrupt in the Northwoods.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. We're starting to feel like America might just start being on the right track again, and we're praying the next few days are violence free.

God bless America, and God bless us Cheeseheads. 

And a reminder, 5% of all Minocqua Brewing Company’s profits go to the SuperPAC. 

Kirk Bangstad 




 

Arnold Schwarzenegger says Trump is a 'failed leader' and urges unity after Capitol siege

By Dakin Andone, CNN

(CNN)In a call for unity following Wednesday's siege of the US Capitol, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said President Donald Trump will be remembered as the worst President in US history and urged Americans to offer their support to President-elect Joe Biden.

"We need to heal, together, from the drama of what has just happened," Schwarzenegger said in a seven-and-a-half minute video posted on Twitter. "We need to heal, not as Republicans or as Democrats, but as Americans."

Schwarzenegger drew on his childhood in Austria in the wake of World War II, warning of the threat posed by repeated lies and intolerance.

He compared Wednesday's riot at the US Capitol by a pro-Trump mob to Kristallnacht, also known as the Night of Broken Glass, the rampage of violence by the Nazi regime against Jewish communities, synagogues and businesses in Germany and Austria in 1938.

"Wednesday was the day of broken glass right here in the United States," he said, referring to broken windows in the Capitol building. But the mob also "shattered the ideas we took for granted" and "trampled the very principles on which our country was founded," he said.

Schwarzenegger said he grew up in Austria around "broken men drinking away the guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history." They weren't all "rabid anti-Semites or Nazis," he said. "Many just went along, step-by-step, down the road."

He shared a story of his own father, who was a member of the Nazi Party during World War II.

"I've never shared this publicly because it is a painful memory, but my father would come home drunk once or twice a week, and he would scream and hit us and scare my mother," Schwarzenegger said.

Men like his father were in both "physical pain from the shrapnel in their bodies and in emotional pain from what they saw or did."

"Being from Europe, I've seen firsthand how things can spin out of control," he said.

The former Republican governor and actor then turned his attention to the President.

"President Trump sought to overturn the results of an election, of a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies," he said. "My father and our neighbors were misled also with lies, and I know where such lies lead."

"President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst President ever. The good thing is he will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet."

Schwarzenegger also called out elected officials who enabled the President. Without naming anyone, he said a number of members of his party had exhibited "spinelessness" and were "complicit" with those who carried out the insurrection.

"But it did not work. Our democracy held firm," he said, pointing to the certification of Biden's electoral victory just hours after the storming of the Capitol. "What a great display of democracy."

In the video, Schwarzenegger picked up a sword, one he said belonged to Conan the Barbarian, the character he played in the 1982 film by the same name.

"Our democracy is like the steel of this sword," he said. "The more it is tempered, the stronger it becomes."

For the nation to begin healing, Schwarzenegger called on everyone to join him in a message to Biden: "President-elect Biden, we wish you great success as our President. If you succeed, our nation succeeds. We support you with all our hearts as you seek to bring us together."

"And to those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, know this," he added. "You will never win."

 

 

Weekly News from Your Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair

Follow this newsletter to keep current on the events shaping our state and the work our party is doing to win in 2022 and beyond. 

 

 

Dear friends across Wisconsin,

This is a moment of gut-wrenching darkness and trauma in our republic. And, impossibly, a moment of hope.

Yesterday, we saw the President of the United States incite a violent insurrection.

We saw a seditious mob, egged on directly by the president and acting on lies and conspiracy theorists advanced by Republicans including
Ron Johnson, Tom Tiffany, and Scott Fitzgerald, use force to overrun and desecrate the United States Capitol.

We watched US Capitol Police officers utterly fail to protect the inner sanctums of our democratic system. Some officers were injured fighting back against the rioters. Others actively posed for selfies with the insurrectionists and, it appears from video footage, opened gates to welcome their coup. The President called his violent supporters to DC, and his security forces—
who turned out with militarized force and brutalized peaceful protestors during the uprising for racial justice this summer—allowed the mob to take the Capitol with only token resistance.

The vast majority of the insurrectionists—nearly all of them white, many bearing Confederate and white supremacist flags, t-shirts, and tattoos—walked away free, some carrying trophies ripped from Speaker Pelosi’s office and Congressional chambers. All this, the day after Kenosha’s District Attorney announced, in a decision that stains our justice system and conscience as a state, that
no charges would be brought to any of the officers involved with shooting Jacob Blake seven times in front of his children.

We can’t say “this isn’t America.” It’s the very worst of America, rampaging as the world weeps. 

We must become better than this. 

And—amidst this heartbreaking and frightening nightmare, there are reminders that we can be better than this. That the best of America still lives.

The insurrection failed. The terrorists lost. The coup collapsed. Congress confirmed the elector count. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in on January 20. 

The calls for accountability, and measures to protect American democracy in the final two weeks of this administration, have begun. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer—and many others, including Reps. Moore and Pocan—have called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, and threatened rapid impeachment if this does not occur.

And most singularly,
we just experienced a near political miracle: Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have won the two Senate runoffs in Georgia. Mitch McConnell will lose his gavel. Kamala Harris, serving a President of the Senate in her capacity as Vice President of the United States, will hold the tie-breaking vote in the nation’s highest legislative chamber.

The victories in Georgia on Tuesday, like the victories in Georgia and Wisconsin on November 3, are triumphs of democracy—and of patient, intensive, visionary organizing by thousands of heroes who refused, against all odds, to give up. That work, that, faith, that hope, opens the gates towards a future of inclusive democracy. And it turns us away from this moment of chaos, brutality, and attempted tyranny. The fury of democracy’s foes has erupted specifically because of the triumph of those who believe America is for all of us. We chanted it: “I believe that we will win.” Their violence cannot change the truth. In this moment, we have won.

That victory doesn’t erase the pain. That victory will not cure Jacob Blake’s paralysis, or the searing demonstration to ourselves and the world that American democracy is not now the shining beacon that so many have claimed it to be.

But that victory is why the work is worth it. It’s why it’s worth it to seek accountability. It’s why it’s worth it to give it our all as we build back better. As we heal stronger.

We have two weeks until the inaugural. We don’t know what these weeks will bring. But we know what kind of country and democracy we are trying to build, we know that our labors have meaning and value, and we know that this broken world can be changed for the better. That knowledge will ground us. And we will carry each other forward. 

With hope and gratitude, 

Ben 

 

 


 

“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

That’s the oath of office Senator Ron Johnson took. And that’s the oath he has repeatedly violated. His efforts to spread universally debunked conspiracy theories about the election being stolen and his willingness to join with other Republican members of Congress in obstructing yesterday’s formal, constitutionally mandated tally of the Electoral College vote represent a shocking breach of trust.

The fact that at the 11th hour Senator Johnson suddenly switched his objection vote after months of sowing division with false and misleading claims about our election does not make up for his complicity in fomenting yesterday’s insurrection.

Whether Senator Johnson and the others who participated in this political malpractice are motivated by a delusional belief in Donald Trump’s claims of electoral fraud or simply cynical political calculation, they share responsibility for the shocking events in the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Their complicity in this direct assault on our democratic system is as clear as if they joined the rioters smashing windows, ransacking the Capitol, and violating our nation’s most sacred civic space.  

These actions are part of a troubling and toxic loyalty to a political party rather than to the people they were elected to serve. Sadly, at both the state and federal level, too many of Wisconsin’s elected Republicans have consistently placed their personal interests and preservation of partisan power ahead of the needs of the people of our state.

The threat to our democracy that this brand of hyper-partisanship represents was foreseen by our first president. In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington warned attachment to party over the common good, “agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, and foments occasionally riot and insurrection.”

It’s time for Senator Johnson and other Wisconsin Republicans to free themselves from the grip of the legitimately defeated 45th president and reflect on the wisdom of our first.

In Solidarity,

Stephanie Bloomingdale, President

Dennis Delie, Secretary-Treasurer

 

 

Schumer calls for 25th Amendment to be invoked after Capitol riots

BY JORDAIN CARNEY - 01/07/21 11:47 AM EST 1,196

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Thursday called for President Trump to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol the day before.

“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president. This president should not hold office one day longer," Schumer said in a statement.

“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president," he added.

Talk of invoking the 25th Amendment has spiked since Wednesday, when rioters overran the Capitol, breaching both the House and Senate chambers and suspending the counting of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win for hours. Congress reconvened on Wednesday night and formally finished tallying the win early Thursday morning.

Schumer is the highest-ranking Democrat to throw his support behind removing Trump from office with roughly two weeks left in his administration. Democratic lawmakers, outside groups and even GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) have thrown their support behind the idea.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is holding a press conference on Thursday afternoon, has not weighed in on removing Trump through the 25th Amendment in the wake of Wednesday's violence.

Pelosi previously backed legislation last year that would create a panel to gauge a president's capacity to perform the job — and potentially remove the commander in chief from office.

 Several House Democrats have backed either invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching Trump in the wake of Wednesday's riots.

Top members of Schumer's leadership team have also backed removing Trump, while acknowledging that Senate Republicans might not support impeachment with less than two weeks to go.

"The most immediate way to ensure the President is prevented from causing further harm in coming days is to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from office. As history watches, I urge Vice President Pence and the President’s cabinet to put country before party and act," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the No. 3 Senate Democrat, said in a statement early Thursday morning.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Schumer's No. 2, told reporters on Thursday that he thought Trump's actions warranted impeachment.

"He certainly deserves it…after what happened yesterday he should be removed from office but I don’t believe there’s a stomach for it on the Republican side and there’s very little time left," Durbin said.

A source confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday night that administration officials have started discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, an extraordinary step that would require a majority of Cabinet officials plus Vice President Pence to declare to Congress that Trump is unable to fulfill his duties as president.

 

Donald Trump should be removed from office to preserve democracy, business leaders say

By Matt Egan, CNN Business

Updated 9:18 PM EST, Wed January 06, 2021

New York(CNN Business)The National Association of Manufacturers, one of the most influential business groups in the US, called on Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday to consider removing President Donald Trump from office.

The statement from Republican-leaning NAM, the nation's largest manufacturing association, marks perhaps the strongest political statement by a major business group in modern history. And it puts an exclamation point on the breakup between the business community and the self-styled CEO president.

Pence "should seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy," NAM CEO Jay Timmons, a former Republican political operative, said in the statement.

Democracy is under attack. And Wall Street is sounding the alarm

The comments show just how appalled Corporate America is over the ongoing attack on democracy. NAM, founded in 1895, is one of the oldest and most powerful business groups in the nation, representing small and large manufacturers in all 50 states.

The call comes after Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, interrupting the joint session of Congress counting Electoral College votes. Pence was evacuated during the chaos.

"The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy," Timmons said. He added, "This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and it should be treated as such."

Business community is 'horrified'

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, one of America's top business leaders, also condemned the violence in Washington.

"This is not who we are as a people or a country. We are better than this," Dimon said in a statement. "Our elected leaders have a responsibility to call for an end to the violence, accept the results, and, as our democracy has for hundreds of years, support the peaceful transition of power. Now is the time to come together to strengthen our exceptional union."

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, founder of Yale University's Chief Executive Leadership Institute, said the condemnation from NAM is unprecedented.

"Everyone in the business community is horrified," Sonnenfeld told CNN Business.

Sonnenfeld agreed with NAM's call for Pence and the Cabinet to consider the 25th Amendment. "The business community will give them back-up," he said.

Manufacturing group championed the Trump agenda

The call by NAM is even more startling because the advocacy group is staunchly pro-business and was a vocal supporter of Trump, cheering the president's tax cuts, deregulation and efforts to revive manufacturing.

In September 2017, Trump even delivered remarks at NAM's annual meeting in Washington where he championed his economic vision.

In 2018, Republican Congressman Kevin Brady, then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the Trump tax cuts wouldn't have been possible without the support of NAM and Timmons, who has been CEO since 2011.

Before joining NAM, Timmons served as the chief of staff to Republican Senator George Allen of Virginia, and executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to his bio.

During the 2020 election cycle, NAM contributed $165,000 to Republican Congressional candidates, according to OpenSecrets. That marked 72% of the group's contributions.

Chamber of Commerce: Congress must meet tonight

In a similar vein, the Business Roundtable, whose CEO members lead companies that employ nearly 19 million people, called on Trump and other officials to "put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power."

"The chaos unfolding in the nation's capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election," the Business Roundtable said in a statement.

The US Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue called on Congress to gather "this evening to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College."

Other leaders across Wall Street and Corporate America similarly condemned the violence in Washington and offered hope for calm ahead.

GM CEO Mary Barra called for unity and said the violence at the US Capitol "does not reflect who we are as a nation."

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink decried the storming of the Capitol as an "assault on our nation, our democracy and the will of the American people." Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf called for an "immediate end to this violence" and for a peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden.

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said in a tweet that the company "condemns today's unprecedented lawlessness and we call for it to end immediately." The condemnation comes a day after IBM announced the hiring of Gary Cohn, Trump's former senior economic adviser.

Michael Corbat, the CEO of Citigroup, said in a statement that he is "disgusted" by those who stormed the US Capitol.

"While these scenes are very difficult to watch," Corbat said, "I have faith in our democratic process and know that the important work of Congress will continue and that people will be held accountable for their actions."

 

- American Bankers Association: "This is a dark day for our democracy. The violence playing out on Capitol Hill and in the streets of Washington is reprehensible and should shock and sadden all of us. Our nation is better than this."

- Tim Cook, CEO of Apple: "Today marks a sad and shameful chapter in our nation's history. Those responsible for this insurrection should be held to account, and we must complete the transition to President-elect Biden's administration. It's especially when they are challenged that our ideals matter most."

- Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America: "Today's appalling events in our nation's capital underscore the urgent need for all American's to unite behind one of our most cherished principles: the peaceful transfer of power that has happened without interruption since our country's founding. We must move forward together peacefully, respectfully and with a singular, shared focus on our American ideals."

- Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco: "What is happening in our nation's capital is appalling and saddening. The United States has long served as a beacon of democracy, and today we are reminded of both its importance and fragility. @Cisco condemns the violence we have witnessed today & call for it to end immediately.

"It's time to recognize the legitimate democratic process, ensure a peaceful transition of power and come back together as one nation."

- Guy Rosen, Facebook VP, Integrity, and Monika Bickert, Facebook VP, Global Policy Management: "Let us speak for the leadership team in saying what so many of us are feeling. We are appalled by the violence at the Capitol today. We are treating these events as an emergency. Our Elections Operations Center has already been active in anticipation of the Georgia elections and the vote by Congress to certify the election, and we are monitoring activity on our platform in real time."

- Jim Farley, CEO of Ford: "The Ford Motor Company condemns the violent and antidemocratic actions today. These were destructive acts against our shared principles and beliefs of a peaceful transition of power. We commit to working together, with respect and empathy, to uphold core American values..."

- David M. Solomon, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs: "For years, our democracy has built a reservoir of goodwill around the world that brings important benefits for our citizens. Recently, we have squandered that goodwill at an alarming pace, and today's attack on the U.S. Capitol does further damage. It's time for all Americans to come together and move forward with a peaceful transition of power. We have to begin reinvesting in our democracy and rebuilding the institutions that have made America an exceptional nation."

- Alfred Kelly, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Visa: "I am shocked and saddened by what I've seen today. We at Visa stand 100% behind the results of the election and the collective voices of the citizens of this country. We are fully supportive of a smooth transition of power which has been the case for almost two and a half centuries. In this time of intense anxiety for our country and the world, I continue to have tremendous faith in the resilience of our United States institutions."

 

 

GOP Reps. Tiffany, Fitzgerald object to certifying Biden win

By SCOTT BAUER January 7, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Two Wisconsin Republicans objected to certifying Joe Biden’s victories in a pair of states before his win was confirmed in a meeting of Congress that was interrupted by the storming of the Capitol by a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump.

Reps. Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald, the state’s two newest members of Congress, objected to certifying votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Those were the only two states where votes on objection were taken.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson initially signed on to an objection to Arizona’s votes before the riot Wednesday afternoon, but ultimately voted against it and one in Pennsylvania that occurred early Thursday. Leading up to the vote, Johnson was part of a group of senators on the record as pushing for objections, citing unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud and wrongdoing. In December,  Johnson had said he wouldn’t object.

“We needed to have the debate, but we also need to respect the rule of law and our constitutional constraints,” Johnson told The Associated Press when asked to explain his vote.

Texas U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert objected to Wisconsin’s electoral votes, but no senator signed on so there was no debate over that or vote on the objection.

Tiffany, who represents northern Wisconsin’s expansive 7th Congressional District, was first elected in a special election last year and then to a full two-year term in November. Fitzgerald, the former state Senate majority leader, was elected in November to replace the retiring Jim Sensenbrenner in a district that covers western Milwaukee suburbs and counties between Madison and Milwaukee.

Tiffany first announced on Tuesday that he would object. Fitzgerald did not say ahead of the vote what he would do.

Joining Johnson in voting against the objections were Republican Reps. Glenn Grothman, Mike Gallagher and Bryan Steil along with Democrats Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

Biden won Wisconsin by 20,695 votes, an outcome that was confirmed after Trump sought a recount in the two most populated counties. Since the Nov. 3 election, Trump and his allies filed eight lawsuits challenging Biden’s win on a variety of fronts and lost in both state and federal court.

Biden, who won the Electoral College 306-232, is set to be inaugurated Jan. 20.

 

GOP senator calls colleagues ‘arsonists’, accuses Trump of bilking supporters

By Mary Clare Jalonickand Lisa MascaroAssociated Press

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a scathing rebuke Thursday of GOP attempts to object Jan. 6 to the Electoral College tally of the presidential election, warning colleagues against a “dangerous ploy” that could damage the nation’s civic traditions.

Sasse, a potential 2024 presidential contender, posted a lengthy explanation of his views on social media, including a paragraph by paragraph dismantling of allegations of voter fraud in key states won by President-elect Joe Biden. Sasse said he felt compelled to speak “truth” as constituents and those supporting President Donald Trump wanted to know where he stands on the issue.

“I will not be participating in a project to overturn the election,” Sasse wrote. He said he wanted to explain “why I have been urging my colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy.”

Trump, the first president to lose a reelection bid in almost 30 years, has attributed his defeat to widespread voter fraud, despite nonpartisan election officials saying there wasn’t any. He has pushed Republican senators to pursue his unfounded charges even though the Electoral College this month cemented Biden’s 306-232 victory and multiple legal efforts to challenge the results have failed.

Sasse said the members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote are “institutional arsonists.”

“Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage,” Sasse wrote. “But they’re wrong – and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.”

Hawley became the first GOP senator this week to announce he will raise objections when Congress meets to affirm Biden’s victory in the election, forcing House and Senate votes that are likely to delay — but in no way alter — the final certification of Biden’s win.

Other Republican senators are expected to join Hawley, wary of ceding the spotlight to him as they, too, try to emerge as leaders in a post-Trump era.

Some Republicans in the Democratic-majority House have already said they will object on Trump’s behalf during the Jan. 6 count of electoral votes, and they had needed just a single senator to go along with them to force votes in both chambers.

Sasse took aim at the “swampy” nature of Trump’s fundraising off the election challenge as he outlined his reasons for believing Biden’s electoral win is valid.

“Since Election Day, the president and his allied organizations have raised well over half a billion (billion!) dollars from supporters who have been led to believe that they’re contributing to a ferocious legal defense,” Sasse wrote. “But in reality, they’re mostly just giving the president and his allies a blank check that can go to their super-PACs, their next plane trip, their next campaign or project. That’s not serious governing. It’s swampy politics.”

He put the election challenges being waged by Trump’s legal team in Nebraska terms.

Sasse wrote that he couldn’t “simply allege that the College Football Playoff Selection Committee is ‘on the take’ because they didn’t send the Cornhuskers to the Rose Bowl, and then – after I fail to show evidence that anyone on the Selection Committee is corrupt – argue that we need to investigate because of these pervasive ‘allegations’ of corruption.”

With 160 million votes nationwide, there will be some instances of fraud, he said, but nothing of the magnitude to overturn the election.

“We have good reason to think this year’s election was fair, secure, and law-abiding,” Sasse wrote. “That’s not to say it was flawless. But there is no evidentiary basis for distrusting our elections altogether, or for concluding that the results do not reflect the ballots that our fellow citizens actually cast.”

Without giving specifics or evidence, Hawley said Wednesday that he would object because “some states, including notably Pennsylvania,” did not follow their own election laws. Some states made changes to their election procedures, such as expanding absentee voting, to accommodate voters during the coronavirus pandemic, the worst U.S. public health emergency in a century. Lawsuits challenging Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania have been unsuccessful.

“At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said in a statement. He also criticized the way Facebook and Twitter handled content related to the election, characterizing it as an effort to help Biden.

Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the Biden transition team, dismissed Hawley’s move as “antics” that will have no bearing on Biden being sworn in on Jan. 20.

“The American people spoke resoundingly in this election and 81 million people have voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Psaki said in a call with reporters.

When Congress convenes to certify the Electoral College results, any lawmaker can object to a state’s votes on any grounds. But the objection is not taken up unless it is in writing and signed by both a member of the House and a member of the Senate.

When there is such a request, then the joint session suspends and the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider it. For the objection to be sustained, both chambers must agree to it by a simple majority vote. If they disagree, the original electoral votes are counted.

As president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the Jan. 6 session and declare the winner.

A range of nonpartisan election officials and Republicans has confirmed there was no fraud in the November contest that would change the results of the election. That includes former Attorney General William Barr, who said he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into the president’s claims about the 2020 election. He resigned from his post last week.

Trump and his allies have filed roughly 50 lawsuits challenging election results, and nearly all has been dismissed or dropped. He’s also lost twice at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The group of House Republicans has said it plans to challenge the election results from Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada. All are states that Biden carried.

 

Trump’s vilest legacy

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in

the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most

precious windowpane of all—American democracy.

By Robert Reich - Nation of Change - December 28, 2020

Most of the 74,222,957 Americans who voted to reelect Donald Trump—46.8

percent of the votes cast in the 2020 presidential election—don’t hold Trump

accountable for what he’s done to America.

Their acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy.

Nearly forty years ago, political scientist James Q. Wilson and criminologist

George Kelling observed that a broken window left unattended in a community

signals that no one cares if windows are broken there. The broken window is

thereby an invitation to throw more stones and break more windows. The message:

Do whatever you want here because others have done it and got away with it

The broken window theory has led to picayune and arbitrary law enforcement in

poor communities. But America’s most privileged and powerful have been

breaking big windows with impunity.

In 2008, Wall Street nearly destroyed the economy. The Street got bailed out

while millions of Americans lost their jobs, savings, and homes. Yet no major Wall

Street executive ever went to jail.

In more recent years, top executives of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, along with the

members of the Sackler family who own it, knew the dangers of OxyContin but did

nothing. Executives at Wells Fargo Bank pushed bank employees to defraud

customers. Executives at Boeing hid the results of tests showing its 737 Max

Jetliner was unsafe. Police chiefs across America looked the other way as police

under their command repeatedly killed innocent Black Americans.

Here, too, they’ve got away with it. These windows remain broken.

Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a

wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all—American democracy.

The message? A president can obstruct special counsels’ investigations of his

wrongdoing, push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors

general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse

congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his

opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being “fake

media” and “enemies of the people,” and make money off his presidency.

And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his

reelection.

A president can also lie about the results of an election without a shred of

evidence—and yet, according to polls, be believed by the vast majority of those

who voted for him.

Trump’s recent pardons have broken double-paned windows.

Not only has he shattered the norm for presidential pardons – usually granted

because of a petitioner’s good conduct after conviction and service of sentence –

but he’s pardoned people who themselves shattered windows. By pardoning them,

he has rendered them unaccountable for their acts.

They include aides convicted of lying to the FBI and threatening potential

witnesses in order to protect him; his son-in-law’s father, who pleaded guilty to tax

evasion, witness tampering, illegal campaign contributions, and lying to the Federal

Election Commission; Blackwater security guards convicted of murdering Iraqi

civilians, including women and children; Border Patrol agents convicted of assaulting

or shooting unarmed suspects; and Republican lawmakers and their aides found

guilty of fraud, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations.

It’s not simply the size of the broken window that undermines standards, according

to Wilson and Kelling. It’s the willingness of society to look the other way. If no

one is held accountable, norms collapse.

Trump may face a barrage of lawsuits when he leaves office, possibly including

criminal charges. But it’s unlikely he’ll go to jail. Presidential immunity or a selfpardon will protect him. Prosecutorial discretion would almost certainly argue

against indictment, in any event. No former president has ever been convicted of a

crime. The mere possibility of a criminal trial for Trump would ignite a partisan

brawl across the nation.

Congress may try to limit the power of future presidents—strengthening

congressional oversight, fortifying the independence of inspectors general,

demanding more financial disclosure, increasing penalties on presidential aides who

break laws, restricting the pardon process, and so on.

But Congress—a co-equal branch of government under the Constitution—cannot

rein in rogue presidents. And the courts don’t want to weigh in on political

questions.

The appalling reality is that Trump may get away with it. And in getting away

with it he will have changed and degraded the norms governing American

presidents. The giant windows he’s broken are invitations to a future president to

break even more.

Nothing will correct this unless or until an overwhelming majority of

Americans recognize and condemn what has occurred.

 

Trump feels no pressure to be President while Americans suffer at Christmas

Analysis by Kevin Liptak, CNN

Fri December 25, 2020

Washington(CNN)For Christmas this year, Washington is giving the country more pain.

Perhaps it is fitting that in the worst year in memory, the surprise prospect of a government shutdown and delayed economic relief hangs over holiday celebrations already made less merry by the pandemic.

Maybe nothing better could be expected in a year that saw denial and delusion, led by President Donald Trump, presage a wave of illness and death coupled with evictions, bankruptcies, hunger and ruined livelihoods.

But after enduring so much, Americans can hardly be blamed for feeling outrage at yet another indignity at the hand of their leaders.

The joint Covid relief package and government funding bill that Trump has lambasted arrived at Mar-a-Lago Friday after being flown down a day earlier. Yet Trump, who arrived at his namesake golf course just before 10 a.m. local time, has offered no clues as to whether he'll sign it.

As Trump plays rounds of golf in Florida and pardons corrupt loyalists, and as congressional leaders line up for the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine, there is scant evidence the pressing needs of the country will be addressed in anything resembling a timely fashion.

House Republicans on Thursday rejected an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill that included $2,000 direct payments to Americans -- precisely the figure Trump demanded in a random video he tweeted this week rejecting a bill with $600 payments that had passed overwhelmingly with the support of his administration.

In the Republican-controlled Senate, there does not appear to be enough support for a bill with $2,000 checks. Trump is engaged in open hostility with the chamber's GOP leaders because they have acknowledged the reality that he lost the election, a dispute he acknowledged on Twitter after returning to Mar-a-Lago from his golf course on Christmas Eve Day.

"At a meeting in Florida today, everyone was asking why aren't the Republicans up in arms & fighting over the fact that the Democrats stole the rigged presidential election?" he asked, using the term "meeting" somewhat freely. "Especially in the Senate, they said, where you helped 8 Senators win their races. How quickly they forget!"

The bill Trump demanded Congress change was flown to him in Florida on Thursday afternoon but he offered no more clarity on what he would do with it. Government funding will lapse on Monday unless Trump signs the package or Congress passes another stopgap measure; they have already passed four such fixes this month alone.

That no one seems to know what Trump wants -- if he even knows himself -- has only fueled in the impression the country is careering further into chaos at exactly the moment it is least welcome.

"I have no idea what he plans to do," Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican who is usually aligned with the President, said on Thursday.

In the past, when the government was about to shut down around Christmas, presidents and lawmakers stayed behind in Washington to figure it out. Even Trump skipped his Florida vacation two years ago as agencies shuttered.

So, too, have the country's leaders typically attempted some form of in-the-trenches solidarity with their constituents when the going gets tough -- like, for example, when health experts advise against holiday travel and gatherings with family.

But conventional practices have mostly disappeared in the four years Trump has been president. And no one really thinks twice anymore when Trump -- despite claims by the White House that his schedule is packed with phone calls and meetings -- pays another visit to one of his golf clubs while millions of Americans go hungry at Christmas.

Having already forced suffering Americans to wait months for more economic relief from the ravages of the coronavirus, it does not appear elected officials will figure out how to move forward anytime soon.

"We were assured that the President would sign the bill," Blunt told reporters Thursday, casually suggesting the President may not understand what is in it -- something of an understatement given the President's conflation of the Covid stimulus and government funding packages, and his fury over spending figures he proposed himself in his budget this year.

As Republicans work on sorting out what Trump wants, more than 12 million laid-off Americans could lose their unemployment benefits after this weekend, back rent will be due January 1 for millions of tenants and states could lose any unspent funds from the $150 billion that Congress provided earlier this year to state and local governments to help them cover coronavirus-related expenses.

It has left millions of Americans facing deep uncertainty at the end of a difficult year.

"I think that people are scared," said Karen Pozna, the communications director at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, on CNN. "You know, they're scared, there's been so many people who have lost their jobs or had to take pay cuts. The need was great before the pandemic. It's continuing now. And I see it continuing well into the new year."

Trump has made virtually no mention of the pandemic's toll for weeks; in a video he taped alongside the first lady for Christmas, he left the empathy to his wife while he declared the rollout of recently authorized vaccines "a Christmas miracle," though the vast majority of Americans won't have access to shots for months.

Lawmakers say they are feeling heat from their constituents to get something done, pressure Trump doesn't appear to share.

"I did a town hall last night that had people crying, people terrified of what is going to happen," Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, said on Thursday after Democrats' measure failed.

"The President -- when we finally thought that we'd be able to give people hope -- that's what people need, hope -- and be able to begin to continue to work on this in January, he doesn't give a damn about people," she said. "He threw more fear -- he threw kerosene on a terror fire."

It wasn't only Democrats who were frustrated.

"If he thinks going on Twitter and trashing the bill his team negotiated and we supported on his behalf is going to bring more people to his side in this election fiasco, I hope he's wrong, though I guess we'll see," Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, tweeted on Wednesday.

In the end, Trump himself may not know what his end goals are beyond throwing more gasoline into a system he appears intent on watching burn as he leaves office. Trump remains furious that Republicans -- including those who helped negotiate the legislation he rejected -- aren't supporting him in his bid to overturn the election.

In Florida, Trump is often surrounded by more willing hangers-on who, in the past, have encouraged his destructive impulses. His personal attorney Rudy Giuliani flew with him to Florida aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.

CNN reported on Thursday that Trump's latest fixation is the January 6 certification of the Electoral College count for Joe Biden, an occasion he hopes will provide an opening for his supporters to challenge the results.

As he was flying to Florida for his vacation, Trump retweeted a call from one of his supporters for Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to ratify the Electoral College results.

Trump has told people recently that Pence isn't doing enough to fight for him as his presidency ends, and has recently taken an interest in Pence's traditional role during the certification. As president of the Senate, Pence presides over the proceedings.

Sources say Trump in recent days has brought the matter up to the vice president and has been "confused" as to why Pence can't overturn the results of the election on January 6. Pence and White House aides have tried to explain to him that his role his more of a formality and he cannot unilaterally reject the electoral college votes.

It's far from clear the President has internalized the message.

 

Trump threatens 30-day reign of destruction on the way out of office

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

CNN) Joe Biden will be president in 30 days. Until then, the question is how much damage can be done by a vengeful, delusional soon-to-be ex-President swilling conspiracy theories, whose wild anti-democratic instincts are being encouraged by fringe political opportunists.

Donald Trump will retain the awesome powers of the presidency until noon on January 20, and there's never been a time when he has been subject to as few restraining influences or has had a bigger incentive to cause disruption.

The President is spending day after day in his White House bunker, entertaining crackpot theories about imposing martial law, seizing voting machines and staging an intervention in Congress on January 6 to steal the election from Biden.

Surrounded by the last dead-end loyalists, Trump is flinging lies and political venom like King Lear in a crumbling Twitter kingdom, alarming some staffers about what he will do next.

On Monday, he huddled with a cabal of Republican lawmakers who plan to challenge the election on baseless claims of fraud at a special session of Congress to ratify the results on January 6.

Trump can further damage the United States in the coming days in two ways -- by aggressive design and by his passive neglect of his sworn obligations to lead.

His attempts to crush American democratic traditions by claiming a landslide victory in an election that he lost and that was not especially close fits into the first category. The President's behavior has sown huge mistrust of the fundamental underpinning of the US political system -- fair elections -- among millions of his voters and threatens to compromise the legitimacy of Biden's White House.

CNN's Barbara Starr reported Tuesday that there is concern among executive office staff and the military's leadership that Trump could use his power as President and commander in chief in dangerous ways in the last days of his term. "We don't know what he might do," one officer in the Pentagon said. Another added: "We are in strange times."

Trump's indifference to multiple crises stirred by his rule make up the second category of his political vandalism. This includes his apathy about a raging pandemic that has infected 18 million Americans and killed nearly 320,000 as an aching nation marks its darkest holiday season in generations.

There is no substitute in the US governing system for the engagement of a President during a massive national enterprise. But there is also no sign that Trump cares to offer leadership to ensure the success of the mammoth vaccination program that holds hope of eventually ending the pandemic. This after his denial of the virulence of Covid-19 undoubtably worsened the death toll.

Trump is also running interference for Russia, prioritizing the interests of an adversary over America's after a massive cyberattack blamed on the Kremlin.

These infractions add up to the dereliction of presidential duty on a grand scale. It is impossible to imagine any other president of the modern era behaving in such a way or for either of the political parties to tolerate his abuse of power. Former President George W. Bush's neglect during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 seems tame by comparison.

The current President's anti-democratic behavior since the election is validating the fears of critics -- and more than 80 million Biden voters -- who worried about his unchained behavior in a second term. Like many fading strongmen leaders, his antics are becoming more unhinged as the prospect of losing power becomes tangible.

Even Trump's White House staff is concerned about what happens next, at a time when Washington is already braced for a flurry of politically self-serving or legally dubious presidential pardons in the coming weeks.

"No one is sure where this is heading," one official told CNN's White House team on Monday in a disturbing behind-the-scenes glimpse at the mayhem unfolding in the West Wing. "He's still President for another month."

The madcap schemes of some of Trump's acolytes -- such as retired Gen. Michael Flynn's mooted plan to send troops to battleground states to redo elections that the President lost -- have no chance of playing out. Even if Trump's renegades had the competence to mount such a threat, the courts have shown zero tolerance for the President's autocratic attempts to destroy US democracy. It is unthinkable the military would deploy to reverse a popular vote on US soil.

Trump's extremism is also unfolding in the context of a landmark election after which the safety valves of the courts, the electoral safeguards in the states -- and eventually on parts of Capitol Hill -- stood firm in defense of democracy.

But the fact that a defeated President is even hearing theories about imposing martial law in the Oval Office is unfathomable in the world's oldest, most influential democracy.

Were it not for the outrageous assaults on the rule of law over the last four years and the evidence of a presidency tethered to the erratic personality of Trump, it would not be at all believable.

"The rest of the world is watching all this. It is just making people wonder. What is going on in America?" an incredulous John Kasich, the Republican former governor of Ohio, said on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Monday.

Trump's loss of composure is grave enough from a domestic point of view. But it sends a signal to US adversaries of a vacuum of leadership. His bizarre refusal to endorse his government's assessment that Russia is behind the cyberattack suggests there is a 30-day window of impunity for enemies dedicated to tarnishing US national interests. The thought of an agitated, emotional President faced with any sudden foreign policy crisis is not a reassuring one.

The extreme nature of Trump's final days meltdown is best encapsulated by the fact that Attorney General William Barr, who had accommodated many of the President's political assaults on the spirit of the law, has comprehensively broken with Trump as he prepares to leave office before Christmas.

Barr said Monday that he saw no need to appoint a special counsel to probe baseless claims of electoral fraud. He drew a similar conclusion about Trump's demands for an investigation into Biden's son Hunter, who is already the subject of a criminal probe into his business dealings. In his farewell news conference on Monday, Barr said he saw no reason for the federal government to seize voting machines, a step advocated by Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani. And he said the massive cyber breach of the US government "certainly appears to be the Russians."

Although Trump's most fervent loyalists have turned against him for his political apostasy toward the President, Barr remains a credible figure among many Senate Republicans and his comments will have strengthened Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's effort to stop any of his caucus seeking to mount a futile challenge to the election during a joint session of Congress to ratify the election result on January 6.

But Barr will be gone in a few days, potentially allowing the President to lean on Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who faces a tense few weeks leading the Justice Department before Biden's inauguration. Should he refuse to bend to the President's will, it is not impossible that Trump could fire him and seek a willing accomplice for his assaults on the rule of law -- emulating President Richard Nixon in the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973.

In an ominous sign for the days ahead, Trump told young conservative voters in Georgia over the phone Monday that "we won this in a landslide" and said he needed "backing from ... the Justice Department, and other people finally have to step up."

Trump's meeting with Republican lawmakers on Monday was the latest troubling sign that he is prepared to tear down the integrity of the US electoral system on the way out of the Oval Office door.

The group is preparing to "fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud. Stay tuned," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tweeted, giving fresh life to falsehoods comprehensively debunked by the Supreme Court, multiple judges and Republican state election officials ever since the election.

The effort will not succeed in invalidating Biden's election since Democrats control the House of Representatives and there is no sign that a majority of Republicans in the Senate -- most of whom are now acknowledging that Biden is President-elect -- will play along. But the pro-Trump lawmakers can stage a stunt that would make a mockery of democracy and further sow distrust of America's political system among the President's fervent supporters -- a scenario that could cause years of damage.

Fringe figures around Trump besides Giuliani and Flynn include Sidney Powell, the lawyer who only just a few weeks ago was ousted from his legal team over her bizarre claims of a massive international plot involving the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, China, Democrats and the Clintons to steal the election.

Trump has floated an idea of embedding Powell as a special counsel inside the White House Counsel's Office to investigate claims of voter fraud. The current counsel's office has pushed hard against the idea, sources told CNN.

"There's a high level of concern with anything involving Sidney Powell," one source close to the President told CNN's White House team.

Another of Trump's conspiratorial fellow travelers, populist guru Steve Bannon, and the hawkish trade adviser Peter Navarro also have the President's ear, the sources told CNN.

"I think we are seeing just how desperate Trump is becoming himself. And how desperate the last remaining rats on the ship, if you will, are becoming because of that," Lawrence Wilkerson, a former top aide to ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Monday on CNN's "OutFront."