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Right-wingers are starting to blame Mike Pence for Mueller — and they might be correct

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Vice President Mike Pence played a key role in the events that eventually led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller — and increasingly paranoid right-wingers are starting to notice.

The vice president could find himself in an odd, and potentially dangerous, position in the coming months as the House of Representatives investigate some of the findings presented by Mueller, who was appointed in May 2017 after President Donald Trump fired then-FBI director James Comey, reported Christian Vanderbrouk for The Bulwark.

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That firing, which Mueller seems to have indicated was obstruction of justice, might not have taken place if not for Pence pushing out Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

The special counsel report shows that Trump’s incoming national security team worked to keep Pence out of the loop about Flynn’s discussions about easing sanctions related to Russian efforts to influence the election.

Flynn apparently misled Pence and Trump’s chief of staff and press secretary in January 2017 about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, which set in motion the chain of events that directly led to Mueller’s appointment, the national security adviser’s resignation and eventual guilty plea — and possibly even Trump’s impeachment.

Other members of the Trump transition team that Pence led, and possibly even Trump himself, knew about Flynn’s contacts with the ambassador, and the vice president must have wondered why the retired general had lied to him.

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Acting attorney general Sally Yates warned the president’s inner circle on Jan. 26, 2017, after the national security adviser had made false statements to the FBI for which he later pleaded guilty, but no immediate action was taken by the White House — although former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe said Pence was alarmed.

“Immediately his face changed,” McCabe wrote in a book published earlier this year. “His expression turned very cold. It hardened … His head shook, but barely — tiny shakes of no … He said a few things along the lines of I can’t believe this.”

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Pence and senior aides reportedly asked Trump to fire Flynn, but he refused, and then-chief of staff Reince Priebus, White House counsel Don McGahn and another White House attorney speculated that the president must have been aware of the national security adviser’s back-channel communications with Russia.

They were concerned that this gave Flynn potential blackmail leverage over the president.

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Flynn was pushed out of the White House on Feb. 14, 2017, after two senior government officials instructed aides to leak sensitive information about Flynn’s false statements to The Washington Post and other news organizations.

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That same day, Trump met with Comey and asked him to drop the FBI investigation of his outgoing national security adviser, which the law enforcement official refused to do.

Vanderbrouk wondered whether the vice president was alarmed by Trump’s continued loyalty to Flynn, whom the president’s supporters consider a victim, and he said it was only a matter of time before the president and his allies eventually blame Pence for Trump’s political predicament.

“Does Pence have it in him to flip?” Vanderbrouk asked. “Will he seize the moment and position himself as the Gerald Ford to Trump’s Nixon? It’s fun to speculate, but the prospect seems doubtful.”

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Kellyanne Conway voted by mail — before opposing it for other voters: report

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On Wednesday, Kellyanne Conway said voting by mail should not be universal, adding that people should be willing to wait in lines to vote during a pandemic if they are willing to wait in hour-long lines at Georgetown Cupcake. People were swift to point out the flaws in her argument, including that cupcakes are not a constitutional right and that Georgetown Cupcake is actually not allowing people to stand in line right now.

But there's another problem. On Thursday, the Huffington Post reported that Conway herself voted by mail in the 2018 midterm elections.

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Research reveals the damage right-wing media has inflicted on America — and it’s just the tip of the iceberg

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Donald Trump wants to go after social media because Twitter pointed out one of his lies. And, in fact, social media has done a lot of damage to America and the American body politic, with the most visible example being it’s help in putting Donald Trump in the White House in 2016.

But even more concerning should be Fox News and right wing hate radio. A new study out of Columbia university finds that when people in any particular ZIP Code experience a 1% increase in Fox News viewership, it “reduces the propensity to stay at home by 8.9 percentage points compared to the pre-pandemic average.”

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Texas bar owner bans masks to prevent ‘virtue signaling’ – and kickstarts an online firestorm

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A bar owner in Elgin, Texas, has implemented a new rule for his business: no entry with a mask.

“Due to our concern for our citizens, if they feel the need to wear a mask, then they should probably stay home until it’s safe," read a sign posted outside Liberty Tree Tavern.

Speaking to 9News, bar owner Kevin Smith said he's following social distancing guidelines so the masks are unnecessary.

The bar's Facebook page shared an article on the story, adding the comment: "Just trying to break this cycle of fear and virtue signaling. The CDC, Surgeon General, and even Fauci say, these mask do nothing and can even cause more harm. The county mandate has been lifted, the sun is shining, let's get back to living our lives without fear!"

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