According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the last days of Donald Trump's tenure as president have found him still looking for any chance of remaining in office as demoralized staffers look forward to Inauguration Day bringing the era to a close.
The Journal notes that the president has asked for information on the Republicans in the House who voted for his impeachment last week and whether they are susceptible to being primaried in 2022 while still fuming about his election loss.
As regarding the ongoing articles of impeachment passed by the House, Trump is still searching for attorneys to defend him if it comes to a trial after White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and attorneys who represented him during his last impeachment have let it be known they won't take part.
Reporting that, "... one of his close allies say his handling of his election loss has created an entirely avoidable crisis that will overshadow his accomplishments in office and complicate his future business and political aims," the Journal also noted, "advisers describe the president as sullen and regretful about the events of the last week, though he says he is not responsible for prompting them. Many of his aides say they are ready to turn the page."
According to one aide close to the president, they just want it to be over.
"It's complete shellshock," they explained. "People are praying for the inauguration to come and to get Trump the hell out of there."
The Journal went on to add, "In private, the president has continued to pursue which pardons he can grant in his final days in office, calling advisers to ask for suggestions. The White House is expected to release dozens of pardons in the days before he leaves office, aides say. Aides say they don't know if some of the most controversial pardons—including for Mr. Giuliani, for the president's children, and for the president himself—will be among them."
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Take a walk through U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' tweets and you'll find complaint after complaint about the price of gas. Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, is the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee but opposes legislation to stop oil and gas companies from price gouging consumers.
Rep. McMorris Rodgers on Monday claimed that making it illegal for oil companies to price gouge is "socialism," something that's done in places like "Soviet Russia," not in America.
“The promise of America is free enterprise, not socialism, not government price controls,” she claimed, as she complained about the price of gas, which just hit a new record high.
Here is the Republican from Washington just one week ago saying it's time to "get these prices under control."
The bill would not set price caps as some Republicans suggest, rather, it would empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate if oil and gas companies are price gouging consumers.
Republicans on the powerful House Rules Committee on Monday blocked the bill, H.R. 7688, the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. from advancing. The GOP, thanks to McMorris Rodgers, is now calling the legislation the "Socialist Energy Price Fixing Act."
CNN's Manu Raju reports House Republican leadership Monday evening was urging its members to vote against the legislation if and when it comes to a vote on the full floor, which is still possible, although questionable.
C-SPAN's Craig Caplan:
The right-wing newspaper The Washington Times reports Democrats "were forced to pull the proposal from consideration during a procedural vote in the House Rules Committee that would have teed up the bill for a final vote later this week."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he will bring the bill to a vote on the floor if it passes the House. It would require 60 votes to avoid a GOP filibuster, and therefore is not expected to pass.
Last Saturday, as the entire world now knows, an 18-year-old man named Payton Gendron killed 10 people in a Tops supermarket in Buffalo.
Of the 13 people Gendron shot, 11 were Black — in his livestream of the shooting, he's heard saying "sorry" to a white man he shoots. The other victims seem to have hardly even been spared a thought.
Gendron's motivations for the shooting were made clear in a 180-page manifesto he published online. The document, which includes multiple antisemitic references and makes clear he was expressly targeting the store, and that particular Buffalo neighborhood, because of the area's large Black population, leaves little to the imagination.
The manifesto included a nearly word-for-word repeat of Fox News host Tucker Carlson's interpretation of the racist "Great Replacement" narrative, a far-right conspiracy theory that claims Democrats and/or Jews are trying to dilute the white American electorate by importing immigrants of color.
Tucker, Tucker, Buffalo shooterpic.twitter.com/Z4jcOJSUmf— \u212eoin Higgins (@\u212eoin Higgins) 1652569429
This should come as no surprise to anyone who's paid even the slightest attention to Carlson over the past few years.
The TV-dinner heir and child of total privilege who claims to speak for the common man has long had an affinity for the most racist of conspiracy theories. Yet rather than reflect on the similarity between the ideological conspiracy theory they're pushing and the motivations of the Buffalo shooter, many conservatives are crying foul at the suggestion they might have some culpability for spreading hate.
Carlson is hardly alone. His allies and followers in the Republican Party have been parroting the "replacement" line for years. GOP rising star Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., one of the biggest proponents of the conspiracy, used it in a September 2021 campaign ad. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., used the term directly in a tweet praising Carlson, and candidates such as Ohio Republican U.S. Senate nominee J.D. Vance have also embraced the language. Judd Legum has a good overview here.
But instead of rethinking how they talk about immigrants and people of color, conservatives have gone on the offensive, playing aggrieved to drown their critics in crocodile tears. Stefanik, in a statement, expressed her sympathies for the victims of the shooting — and then turned things over to senior advisor Alex DeGrasse for a doubling down on anti-immigrant sentiments.
Meanwhile, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. — whom Stefanik replaced in the GOP House leadership after Cheney was ousted for her criticism of Donald Trump — tried to distance herself and her party from the racism she has supported for years, claiming that "House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism" while conveniently ignoring her own support for the racist birther movement, her career of Islamophobic hate speech and her hardline anti-immigration rhetoric — all of which is functionally little different from the more explicit conspiracy theories being repeated by Stefanik, et al.
Social media influencer and frequent Carlson guest Glenn Greenwald (a former Salon columnist), writing on his Substack blog, argued that those seeking to look into the ideological ties between the Fox News host and the shooter were being unfair. "There is no racial hierarchy in Carlson's view of American citizenship and to claim that there is is nothing short of a defamatory lie," Greenwald wrote, conveniently ignoring — as usual — the fact that Carlson's entire worldview is based on racial hierarchy and bigotry.
Other media figures also leapt at the opportunity to play defense, whining about fairness and respect for the dead. Commentator Kmele Foster complained, "When a lunatic goes on a deadly rampage, maybe wait 24-48 hrs before co-opting the tragedy to malice your political enemies." Daily Wire writer Megan Basham pretended to take the high road, calling on critics "not to pit racial groups against one another," a principle that, if applied, would erase the majority of her boss Ben Shapiro's output. Breitbart's Joel Pollack protested that inquiring into the shooter's obvious ideological links to other right-wingers was a "predictable attempt to exploit the shooting to censor debate and opposition" — even as he reiterated his support for the "Great Replacement" theory.
Wailing about persecution and unfairness is the right's go-to move whenever its leading voices are forced to actually answer for the reality of their belief system, and the fallout from Saturday's shooting is no different. The more noise they make to distract you, the more worried they are that people are beginning to pay attention to what they actually say.
On Monday, Gizmodo released a new tranche of documents from the so-called "Facebook Papers" — providing new evidence that the company lied about killing an update to the newsfeed feature that would have prevented fake news from spreading, but that also happened to hurt traffic to right-wing websites.
"One source with direct knowledge of the discussions recalled a potential update that employees believed would reduce the flow of 'fake or hoax news stories,'" reported Dell Cameron, Shoshana Wodinsky, and Mack DeGeurin. "A slew of right-wing pages had been flagged by Facebook’s algorithmic moderation system for habitually spreading falsehoods, they said. Afraid of upsetting conservatives, however, Facebook had shelved the update, and many decisions around the election were 'caught up in that,' the source said."
Facebook itself has denied this allegation, with a spokesperson saying, “We did not build and withhold any News Feed changes based on their potential impact on any one political party.”
But according to the report, internal documents reveal otherwise.
"An internal post dated August 2019 briefly describes the decision by Facebook to kill a News Feed update purportedly designed to prioritize 'high quality' news," said the report. "In this case, Facebook obtained the underlying data responsible for gauging the trustworthiness of news sources by polling users. The company came to the decision not to reduce the flow of 'low quality' news to stave off charges from 'some quarters' about 'perceived anti-conservative bias,' according to the post. The same document shows employees estimating only 2 percent of hate speech was blocked by the site, and most misinformation got wide distribution before being flagged."
"Asked about the discrepancy between the company’s prior claims and the once-confidential testimony of its own employees, a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment," noted the report.
Another leaked Facebook memo last October reveals that the company is aware more damaging information about its internal practices is coming, with Facebook global affairs VP Nick Clegg warning that upcoming news stories will "contain mischaracterizations of our research, our motives and where our priorities lie."
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