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    Trump in apparent Twitter snub after Musk lifts ban – as it happened

    A brief recap of how Donald Trump’s return to Twitter happened:The first, and most pivotal event, is Elon Musk’s purchase of the platform. The Tesla boss announced his intention months ago then tried to back out, before finally taking over Twitter last month. Musk said he would reverse Trump’s ban if he took over the platform, but decided to first put it to a vote on Friday:Reinstate former President Trump— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
    The 52% in favor of his return is the type of popular vote margin Trump can only dream of.Anyway, Musk made good on his promise and reinstated the former president on Saturday: The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated.Vox Populi, Vox Dei. https://t.co/jmkhFuyfkv— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2022
    Trump has not yet tweeted. Musk has, perhaps seeking to distract attention from the chaos that appears to be engulfing Twitter since he took it over:And lead us not into temptation … pic.twitter.com/8qNOXzwXS9— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 21, 2022
    After being booted from Twitter following the January 6 insurrection, Trump started Truth, a competing social network that never really took off, and on which he was its most famous denizen. Last month, Trump told Fox News that he planned to remain there. A regulatory filing from Truth indicates that even if Trump intends to return to Twitter, he has comittments to take care of first:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}President Trump is generally obligated to make any social media post on TruthSocial and may not make the same post on another social media site for 6 hours. Thereafter, he is free to post on any site to which he has access. … In addition, he may make a post from a personal account related to political messaging, political fundraising or get-out-the-vote efforts on any social media site at any time.Donald Trump’s Twitter account was reactivated but remained quiet, though the former president aired grievances in other venues. Meanwhile, Joe Biden carried out the customary pardon of a pair of turkeys ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, but his administration may soon have another labor headache to deal with.Here’s what else happened today:
    Manhattan’s district attorney is revitalizing a criminal investigation into Trump, but it appears to have long odds of success.
    Biden said he had no advance knowledge of the decision to appoint a special counsel to decide whether to charge Trump over the January 6 insurrection and Mar-a-Lago documents case.
    Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows is continuing to fight his subpoena from a special grand jury investigating the 2020 election meddling campaign in Georgia.
    The head of progressive Democrats in the House said Biden should stand for re-election, and called on Republicans to stop attacking Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, accusing them of stoking xenophobia.
    Another January 6 rioter is going to jail.
    Barack Obama will return to Georgia on 1 December to campaign for Democratic senator Raphael Warnock, who is fighting to keep his seat in a contest with Republican challenger Herschel Walker, FOX 5 Atlanta reports.Warnock and Walker will stand in a runoff election on 6 December after neither won a majority in the midterm elections held earlier this month. Obama campaigned for Warnock in late October, and the senator ended up winning slightly more votes than Walker in the 8 November election.Democrats have already won narrow control of the Senate for another two years, but Warnock’s re-election would pad their majority and allow them smoother operation of the chamber. A win by Walker would give Republicans an easier path to regaining the Senate when the next elections are held in 2024.Another January 6 rioter has been convicted, Politico reports:JUST IN: A jury finds Riley Williams — 22-year-old woman who joined Jan. 6 mob that breached Speaker Pelosi’s office — *guilty* of participating in a civil disorder and of impeding police.Jury hung on obstruction/aiding theft of Pelosi laptop.Details TK— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) November 21, 2022
    Kevin McCarthy’s criticism of Ilhan Omar is more indicative of his problems than hers.While Republicans may prevail in ousting Omar from the foreign affairs committee, McCarthy is embroiled in a high-stakes contest to win the post of House speaker – and may not have the votes to get the job.Last week, the California lawmaker was selected as the party’s candidate for House speaker, but to prevail he will need the support of a majority in the chamber. With the GOP likely to have only a tiny majority in the House and Democrats not expected to lend any support, he can afford to lose very few Republican votes. But several conservative lawmakers have said they won’t vote for McCarthy, imperiling his bid.Politico reports that dynamic has presented an opportunity for centrist lawmakers to make demands of McCarthy in return for their support, such as steps to promote bipartisan legislation. Some Democrats are even working on a plan to extract their own concessions, in case their votes become necessary for McCarthy to win, according to Politico.McCarthy, meanwhile, has announced a trip to the southern border, which has seen a big uptick in migrant arrivals since Joe Biden took office. That’s likely a signal McCarthy is trying to burnish his bona fides on conservative immigration policy as he looks to consolidate support:Headed to the Southern border this week, where I’ll share our gratitude for brave border patrol personnel and send a message to Joe Biden that a Republican majority will use every tool at our disposal—from the power of the purse to power of the subpoena—to secure the border.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 20, 2022
    The chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, has called for Republicans, particularly their leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, to tone down their rhetoric toward Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.Omar, a Democratic House representative from Minnesota who was born in Somalia and is a practising Muslim, has been a frequent target of attacks from rightwing lawmakers since she arrived in the chamber in 2019:Islamophobia has no place in our country or our government.@Ilhan is a dedicated Congresswoman and a powerful member of @USProgressives. But since the moment she arrived in Washington, the Republican Party has weaponized xenophobia and racism to undermine her voice. (1/2)— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) November 21, 2022
    It is clear that Kevin McCarthy did not hear the American people when they unequivocally rejected MAGA extremism and hatred in the midterms.It’s time to turn down the temperature. (2/2)— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) November 21, 2022
    Over the weekend, McCarthy pledged that if he was elected House speaker, he would remove Omar from the House foreign affairs committee, citing remarks she made about Israel:Last year, I promised that when I became Speaker, I would remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee based on her repeated anti-semitic and anti-American remarks.I’m keeping that promise. pic.twitter.com/04blBx3neD— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 19, 2022
    Removing lawmakers from House committees requires approval from a majority of the chamber, which Republicans are set to control next year.The United States just took a 1-0 lead over Wales in the Americans’ first World Cup match in eight years.Joe Biden must be pleased. Before the match, he gave the national team a pep talk, and here’s footage from the White House of what he said:President Biden called the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team to wish them luck in the 2022 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/Z9UhWurzNu— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 21, 2022
    Follow along here for more of the Guardian’s live coverage of the match:USA v Wales: World Cup 2022 – liveRead morePramila Jayapal, the Washington state Democratic congresswoman and chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus has joined the ranks of those who think Jo Biden should run for a second term in the White House term, despite the fact he turned 80 yesterday..css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}He was not my first or second choice for president, but I am a convert. I never thought I would say this, but I believe he should run for another term and finish this agenda we laid out.
    What the president understands is you need this progressive base — young people, folks of color — and that progressives issues are popular. Whoever is in the White House should understand that, because it is a basic tenet now of how you win elections,” Jayapal told online news site Politico in an interview launched today.The Hill noted today that almost three-quarters of Democratic voters in a USA Today-Ipsos poll released yesterday said Biden could win if he runs for reelection, and half of Democrats think he deserves to win the White House again.The comments from Jayapal came in Politico’s piece about progressives also supporting Biden’s chief of staff Ron Klain continuing in that job. Amid talk that he might leave, Biden has reportedly asked him to stay on, too.Elon Musk has said he will not reinstate the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Twitter, saying he has “no mercy” for people who capitalise on the deaths of children for personal fame.Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of Jones and his Infowars website in September 2018 for violating the platform’s abusive behaviour policy.Jones, 48, gained notoriety for pushing a false conspiracy theory about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, which led to harassment of parents who lost their children in the massacre. Jones has been ordered by a US court to pay more than $1.4bn (£1.2bn) to people who suffered from his false claim that the shooting, in which 20 children and six educators died, was a hoax.Musk appeared to rule out a return for Jones in an interaction with Twitter users on Monday. The author and podcaster Sam Harris asked Twitter’s new owner if it was “time to let Alex Jones back on Twitter” and “if not, why not?”. Kim Dotcom, the internet entrepreneur, also asked if Jones could be reinstated in the interest of “real free speech”.Musk replied that he had lost a child – to sudden infant death syndrome in 2002 – and said Jones used the death of children to push his own agenda. He tweeted: “My firstborn child died in my arms. I felt his last heartbeat. I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame.” Full story here.Prosecutors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial rested their case today, earlier than expected, pinning hopes for convicting Donald Trump’s company largely on the word of two top executives who cut deals before testifying in New York that they schemed to avoid taxes on company-paid perks.Allen Weisselberg, the company’s longtime finance chief, and Jeffrey McConney, a senior vice president and controller, testified for the bulk of the prosecution’s eight-day case, bringing the drama of their own admitted wrongdoing to a trial heavy on numbers, spreadsheets, tax returns and payroll records, the Associated Press writes.Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty in August to dodging taxes on $1.7 million in extras, was required to testify as a prosecution witness as part of a plea deal in exchange for a promised sentence of five months in jail. McConney was granted immunity to testify.The Trump Organization’s lawyers are expected to start calling witnesses Monday afternoon, likely beginning with an accountant who handled years of tax returns and other financial matters for Trump, the Trump Organization and hundreds of Trump entities.Prosecutors had considered calling the accountant, Mazars USA LLP partner Donald Bender, but decided not to. The defense indicated it would call him instead.Manhattan prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization helped top executives avoid paying taxes on company-paid perks and that it is liable for Weisselberg’s wrongdoing because he was a “high managerial agent” acting on its behalf.The tax fraud case is the only trial to arise from the Manhattan district attorney’s three-year investigation of Trump and his business practices. If convicted, the company could be fined more than $1 million and face difficulty making deals.In Arizona, Republican Liz Harris won her race for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives – but has pledged not to cast any votes until the entire 2022 election is redone, 12News reports.“Although I stand to win my Legislative District race it has become obvious that we need to hold a new election immediately. There are clear signs of foul play from machine malfunctions, chain of custody issues and just blatant mathematical impossibilities. How can a Republican State Treasurer receive more votes than a Republican Gubernatorial or Senate candidate?” Harris wrote in a statement.If Harris follows through on the threat, it could cause some serious problems for her Republican colleagues. They control the Arizona House, but only by two votes.Former Trump official Steve Bannon was a great promoter of his Maga ideology ahead of the midterms. But most of the candidates who appeared on his shows lost their races, a Media Matters for America analysis found.Of the 59 candidates who were interviewed by Bannon, 34, or 58%, lost their races, the left-leaning media watchdog found. His record among new aspirants for office was worse. Of the 48 non-incumbents Bannon hosted, 33 of them lost. Losers include Tudor Dixon, the GOP candidate for governor of Michigan, and Kari Lake, who stood for the same role in Arizona. Among Senate aspirants, Don Bolduc, Adam Laxalt, Blake Masters, Joe Pinion and Gerald Malloy were among the losers. JD Vance and Katie Britt, however, won their races. Other notable losers who Bannon spotlit were Mark Finchem, the election-denying secretary of state candidate in Arizona, as well as Doug Mastriano, Pennyslvania’s Republican candidate for governor who was known for his hardline anti-abortion views and involvement in the January 6 insurrection.Donald Trump’s Twitter account is reactivated but quiet, though the former president is airing grievances in other venues. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has carried out the customary pardon of a pair of turkeys ahead of Thursday’s thanksgiving holiday, but his administration may have another labor headache to soon deal with.Here’s what else is going on today:
    Manhattan’s district attorney is revitalizing a criminal investigation into Trump, but it appears to have long odds of success.
    Biden said he had no advance knowledge of the decision to appoint a special counsel to decide whether to charge Trump over the January 6 insurrection and Mar-a-Lago documents case.
    Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows is continuing to fight his subpoena from a special grand jury investigating the 2020 election meddling campaign in Georgia.
    Trump still hasn’t bothered to make use of his restored Twitter account, but has other ways of making his opinions known.Such as email. The former president periodically sends out statements to reporters that seem to be about whatever’s on his mind. Today, it’s Joe O’Dea, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Senate in Colorado who clashed with Trump.“Joe O’Dea lost his race in Colorado by over 12 points because he campaigned against MAGA,” Trump wrote. “Likewise, candidates who shifted their ‘messaging’ after winning big in the Primaries (Bolduc!) saw big losses in the General. Will they ever learn their lesson? You can’t win without MAGA!”It’s also worth noting he didn’t bother with Twitter when it came to sharing his thoughts about the newly appointed special counsel. Instead, he used Truth to put out a statement that was about what you would expect if you’ve read anything the former president has written over the past six years:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The Polls are really strong, especially since Tuesday’s announcement, hence the appointment of a Radical Left Prosecutor, who is totally controlled by President Obama and his former A.G., Eric Holder. This is not Justice, this is just another Witch Hunt, and a very dangerous one at that! No way this Scam should be allowed to go forward!In a brief encounter with the press after the turkey pardon, Biden said he had no advance warning of attorney general Merrick Garland’s decision Friday to appoint a special counsel to handle the criminal investigations involving Donald Trump.“I learned about when you did,” Biden said.Garland last week announced the appointment of Jack Smith as special counsel to decide on whether to bring charges related to the Mar-a-Lago documents case and the January 6 insurrection.Joe Biden has just carried out one of the most solemn duties an American president must perform: pardoning the thanksgiving turkey.In a chilly morning ceremony on the White House lawn, Biden gave a reprieve to turkeys Chocolate and Chip, while finding a way to zing the Republicans for their underwhelming midterm performance:“The only red wave this season is gonna if our German Shepherd, Commander, knocks over the cranberry sauce.”— President Biden jokes about Republicans’ midterm performance at the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon pic.twitter.com/Yw4YgHYLtz— The Recount (@therecount) November 21, 2022
    As happens sometimes, there was a heckler at the president’s speech, but on this occasion, it was his own dog:In this clip you can hear Commander bark and the turkey gobble back. pic.twitter.com/AaMOtZOiT4— Jeremy Art (@cspanJeremy) November 21, 2022
    The GOP was watching, and wasted no time in highlighting a gaffe made by the president:BIDEN: “9.5 million turkeys! I tell ya what, that’s like some of the countries I’ve been to and they — anyway… *looks at turkey* you wanna talk?” pic.twitter.com/GgsRkr23nZ— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 21, 2022 More

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    Nancy Pelosi says she will not seek re-election as Democratic leader in House – as it happened

    Nancy Pelosi has announced she will step down as House Democratic leader after nearly two decades, but remain as a lawmaker in the chamber.“There is no greater official honor for me than to stand on this floor and to speak for the people of San Francisco. This I will continue to do as a member of the House – speaking for the people of San Francisco, serving the great state of California and defending our constitution,” Pelosi said.“And with great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.”Nancy Pelosi will not run again for a position in House Democratic leadership, ending her nearly two decades as one of the most powerful figures in the party and the first woman to serve as speaker of Congress’s lower chamber. In a speech, she reflected on her decades representing San Francisco in Congress, and found time to throw shade at Donald Trump.Here’s what else happened today:
    Pelosi’s number-two, Steny Hoyer, will also leave House Democratic leadership, paving the way for a younger generation to take over the party’s top jobs.
    House Republicans are plowing ahead with plans to investigate Hunter Biden’s business ties, casting it as an inquiry into alleged corruption by Joe Biden.
    Arizona’s governor’s race may be over, but not for Republican candidate Kari Lake.
    The January 6 committee interviewed a Secret Service agent who Trump supposedly lunged at during a struggle for the steering wheel of his limo as he tried to get to the Capitol during the insurrection.
    Democratic senators want the Federal Trade Commission to look into how things are going at Twitter since Elon Musk took over.
    Donald Trump’s network of properties aren’t just good places to allegedly store government secrets – they’re also big-time moneymakers for the former president, according to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).Starting from January 20, 2021, when Trump departed the White House, the former president has made hundreds of thousands of dollars off of lawmakers and other candidates from more than 500 visits to Mar-a-Lago in south Florida and his other properties. A few of the finer points from CREW’s report:
    Sixty-seven senators and House lawmakers have visited Trump’s properties 187 times since he left office. The incoming Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy is the biggest spender, putting down more than $250,000 at the former president’s real estate over five visits, despite the lawmaker’s condemnation of Trump after the January 6 attack.
    State officials including governors, attorney generals and lawmakers have made 106 visits to the president’s properties. Despite their budding rivalry, Florida governor Ron DeSantis showed up the most out of this group, making seven visits.
    Candidates for various offices at the state and federal levels have made nearly half of all political visits to the Trump properties, with 140 aspirants stopping by 236 times. Anna Paulina Luna, an incoming House representative from Florida, made six visits, while Kari Lake, who failed in her bid for Arizona’s governorship, made five. In fact, the New York Times reports that Lake stopped by today:
    Seen at Mar-a-Lago: Kari Lake, per a source.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) November 17, 2022
    Meanwhile in Georgia, the bloopers are piling up as Republican Herschel Walker continues his campaign for Senate, ahead of the state’s 6 December run-off election. Martin Pengelly watched footage of the latest, so you don’t have to:In a campaign speech on Wednesday, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Georgia, Herschel Walker, told supporters: “I don’t want to be a vampire any more. I want to be a werewolf.”The remark was the latest controversial or outright bizarre intervention from the former football star who like other candidates endorsed by Donald Trump struggled to overcome his Democratic opponent in the midterm elections.Raphael Warnock, the incumbent Georgia senator, outpolled Walker last week but did not pass 50% of the vote, meaning that under state law a runoff will be held on 6 December. Control of the Senate has been decided, after Democrats won in Arizona and Nevada, but the Georgia race will still be keenly watched.On Wednesday, Walker spoke in McDonough.Choosing to rehash the plot of a film he said he recently watched late at night, whose title he remembered as “Fright Night, Freak Night, or some type of night”, he said in rambling remarks: “I don’t know if you know, but vampires are some cool people, are they not? But let me tell you something that I found out: a werewolf can kill a vampire. Did you know that? I never knew that.“So, I don’t want to be a vampire any more. I want to be a werewolf.”Herschel Walker says in rambling speech he wants to be ‘werewolf, not vampire’ Read moreSeven Democratic senators have sent the Federal Trade Commission a letter to express concerns about changes made by Elon Musk to Twitter, asking the regulator to “vigorously oversee” the social media platform’s consent decree and compliance with consumer privacy laws.“We write regarding Twitter’s serious, willful disregard for the safety and security of its users, and encourage the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate any breach of Twitter’s consent decree or other violations of our consumer protection laws,” begins the letter to the commissions’s chair Lina Khan, which was signed by Richard Blumenthal, Dianne Feinstein, Ben Ray Luján, Elizabeth Warren, Edward J. Markey, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez.“In recent weeks, Twitter’s new Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, has taken alarming steps that have undermined the integrity and safety of the platform, and announced new features despite clear warnings those changes would be abused for fraud, scams, and dangerous impersonation,” the letter continues, noting the layoffs and resignations that have hit the company since Musk, the world’s richest man, took over last month.They also take issue with the bungled launch of the Twitter Blue service, which allows anyone to receive a verified account for $8 a month. The senators note it led to an explosion of impostor accounts, including “scammers impersonating companies and celebrities for cryptocurrency schemes, identity theft, and other financial crimes.”“We are concerned that the actions taken by Mr. Musk and others in Twitter management could already represent a violation of the FTC’s consent decree, which prohibits misrepresentation and requires that Twitter maintain a comprehensive information security program,” the senators write.“We urge the Commission to vigorously oversee its consent decree with Twitter and to bring enforcement actions against any breaches or business practices that are unfair or deceptive, including bringing civil penalties and imposing liability on individual Twitter executives where appropriate.”The Senate’s top Democrat Chuck Schumer made the journey to the House to watch Nancy Pelosi announce the end of her time in Democratic leadership.Here’s his thoughts on the end of the Pelosi era, delivered on the Senate floor:Thank you, @SpeakerPelosi. It is the honor of a lifetime to work with you. pic.twitter.com/V9pUMpSKAJ— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) November 17, 2022
    Reaction continues to come in after Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that she will not run for leadership of House Democrats again.Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics, says her organization has “witnessed a great deal of history in our 50 years of observing women’s roles in American politics, but among the most significant is Nancy Pelosi’s ascension as the first woman speaker of the US House of Representatives.“She has been, throughout her career, a symbol of the heights of aspiration for American women and girls … Nancy Pelosi will be remembered as one of the most consequential speakers in modern history, holding together an often-fractious caucus, shepherding momentous legislation, and wielding influence in ways that earned respect from allies and opponents alike.“She has weathered unprecedented vitriol but was nonetheless dedicated to consensus-building and results. She also prioritized the leadership of other women – encouraging and supporting women across the country to run for office. She presided over the largest ever increase in women’s representation in the US House, as well as the most diverse Democratic caucus in history … she has shown the world and future generations the unlimited potential of women’s leadership.”And here’s Danielle Melfi, executive director of the pro-Biden administration group Building Back Together: “Speaker Pelosi’s legacy is without equal in Congress. From the Affordable Care Act to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Dodd-Frank reforms, she has championed some of the most impactful legislation of the last four decades.“She fights for the interests of children and working families in California and across the country, broke down barriers as the first woman to serve as speaker of the House, and is a stalwart defender of our democracy – particularly in the wake of the January 6 attack. “Among her countless policy achievements, the speaker was instrumental in passing key elements of President Biden’s agenda, including the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Chips and Science Act, the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, and the Pact Act – each of them a historic win for working families.”Interesting news emerging on the January 6 front via Annie Grayer of CNN, who reports that the House select committee “is interviewing Secret Service agent Robert Engel, the lead agent in former president Donald Trump’s motorcade on the day of the US Capitol attack, two sources [say]”.Grayer adds that “Engel was the agent Cassidy Hutchinson testified she was told Trump lunged at” when he was told he could not follow his supporters to the Capitol after his speech near the White House.Trump denies lunging at agents on his protective detail. Here’s video of Hutchinson’s testimony, in which she said: “The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going to the Capitol.’ Mr Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel.”01:42In other January 6 news, there follows a write-up of Mike Pence’s statement to CBS in an interview that he will not testify because he thinks the committee is partisan and also doesn’t think he, as an ex-vice-president, should have to testify “about deliberations that took place at the White House”.Pence’s detailed descriptions of detailed deliberations that took place at the White House are currently available from all good booksellers – and no doubt quite a few bad ones too.Of course, accounts of detailed deliberations that took place at the White House as contained in memoirs aimed at the 2024 Republican primary are not given under oath. But testimony to congressional committees is, as the January 6 chair and vice-chair, Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney, made clear in their response to Pence.In short, testimony such as Hutchinson’s about Trump lunging at agents is “subject to criminal penalties for lying to Congress”. So news that Engel is interviewing with the committee is interesting to say the least.Further reading:Cheney hits back as Pence says January 6 committee has ‘no right’ to testimonyRead moreDave Wasserman, US House editor at the nonpartisan Cook Report political analysis website, says the Democrat Mary Peltola has won in Alaska, beating two Republicans, Nick Begich and the former governor and John McCain vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin.I’ve seen enough: Rep. Mary Peltola (D) wins reelection in #AKAL, defeating Sarah Palin (R) and Nick Begich (R).— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 17, 2022
    Though Republicans have won the House back from Democrats this still qualifies for a “huge if true” – the Guardian follows the Associated Press, which has not called the Alaska race yet – and not only because Palin seems to have lost again in her attempt to return to meaningful political office.When she won a special election for the seat earlier this year, Peltola became the first Alaska Native elected to Congress.“I want to work with everyone and anyone who is a reasonable person to find solutions to Alaska’s challenges,” she told the Guardian then:‘I want to work with everyone’: Alaska’s history-making new congresswomanRead moreMore on Kari Lake and her refusal to concede defeat in the governor’s race in Arizona, where the Trump-endorsed Republican lost to her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs.Lake posted a two-minute statement to Twitter earlier. She began: “Hi, Arizona … I wanted to reach out to you to let you know that I am still in this fight with you. For two years I’ve been sounding the alarm about our broken election system here in Arizona. And this past week has confirmed everything we’ve been saying.”Lake proceeded to recount a list of evidence-free claims against Hobbs, the secretary of state who oversaw the election, and about supposed suspicious outcomes at the polls last week.Reporting Lake’s statement for the Guardian, Sam Levine writes: .css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}There were equipment malfunctions at about a third of polling locations on election day in Maricopa county, but voters were still able to cast their ballots. Officials had figured out a solution by the afternoon. A county judge also rejected a lawsuit filed by Republicans to extend voting hours, saying there was no evidence voters had been disenfranchised.”Lake said she was “busy here collecting evidence and data” and had “assembled the best and brightest legal team and we are exploring every avenue to correct the many wrongs that have been done this past week”. “I’m doing everything in my power to right these wrongs,” she said. “My resolve to fight for you is higher than ever.”She also referred to being part of a “movement [that] started in Arizona and it quickly expanded to all 50 states … a movement of mama bears and papa bears and students and Arizonans who love this country”.Lake concluded by promising “one thing. This fight to save our republic has just begun”.Sam has more:Election denier Kari Lake refuses to concede Arizona governor race she lostRead moreNancy Pelosi will not run again for a position in House Democratic leadership, ending her nearly two decades as one of the most powerful figures in the party and the first woman to serve as speaker of Congress’s lower chamber. In a speech on the floor, she talked about her decades representing San Francisco in Congress, and found time to throw shade on Donald Trump.Here’s what else has happened today so far:
    Pelosi’s number-two, Steny Hoyer, will also leave House Democratic leadership, paving the way for a younger generation to take over the party’s top jobs.
    House Republicans are plowing ahead with plans to investigate Hunter Biden’s business ties, casting it as an inquiry into alleged corruption by Joe Biden.
    Arizona’s governor’s race may be over, but not for Republican candidate Kari Lake.
    As she announced her plans to step down from House leadership, Nancy Pelosi managed to get in one more dig at Donald Trump.“I have enjoyed working with three presidents, achieving historic investments in clean energy with President George Bush, transformed healthcare reform with President Barack Obama … and forging the future, from infrastructure to healthcare to climate action, with President Joe Biden,” she said on the House floor.The problem is, Pelosi worked with four presidents. Trump is left unmentioned.What moment might the House speaker remember most fondly from the former Republican president’s time in office? Perhaps it would be when she tore up Trump’s State of the Union address right after he finished delivering it. More

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    Cheney hits back as Pence says January 6 committee has ‘no right’ to testimony

    Cheney hits back as Pence says January 6 committee has ‘no right’ to testimonyPanel vice-chair issues statement with chair Bennie Thompson after Trump vice-president gives interview to CBS The chair and vice-chair of the January 6 committee hit back after Mike Pence said they had “no right” to his testimony about the Capitol attack, and claimed they presided over a “partisan” investigation.Trump bills himself as only option but Republicans split on 2024 runRead moreTestimony presented to the panel and to the nation in a series of dramatic public hearings was “not partisan”, Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney said. “It was truthful.”Pence was speaking to CBS, to promote a new book in which he sets out his version of events on the day supporters of his president, Donald Trump, attacked Congress, some chanting that Pence should be hanged.Pence previously said he would consider testifying. But to CBS, he said: “Congress has no right to my testimony on separation of powers under the constitution of the United States.“And I believe it will establish a terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice-president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House.”Trump supporters attacked Congress after he told them to “fight like hell” to stop certification of Joe Biden’s election win, in service of the lie that it was the result of electoral fraud. Nine deaths have been linked to the riot, including suicides among law enforcement.Trump was impeached a second time but acquitted when Senate Republicans stayed loyal. On Tuesday, he announced a third consecutive presidential run.Pence is also eyeing a run for the Republican nomination. In doing so he must balance promoting his record as vice-president to Trump, thereby appealing to Trump’s supporters, with distancing himself from a former president whose standing is slipping after Republican disappointment in the midterm elections.Pence said he was “closing the door” on the prospect of testifying.“But I must say again, the partisan nature of the January 6 committee has been a disappointment to me. It seemed to me in the beginning, there was an opportunity to examine every aspect of what happened on January 6, and to do so more in the spirit of the 9/11 Commission, non-partisan, non-political, and that was an opportunity lost.”The January 6 committee was appointed by the Democratic House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, after the Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, tried to appoint Trump allies to a 9/11-style panel. Pelosi rejected those appointments, leading McCarthy to withdraw from the process.The January 6 committee consists of seven Democrats and two Republicans, Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, anti-Trump figures who will soon leave Congress.Who’s next? Republicans who might go up against Trump in 2024Read moreThe panel is wrapping up its work, after it was confirmed on Wednesday that Republicans will take control of the House.In their statement, Thompson and Cheney said: “The select committee has proceeded respectfully and responsibly in our engagement with Vice-President Pence, so it is disappointing that he is misrepresenting the nature of our investigation while giving interviews to promote his new book.“Our investigation has publicly presented the testimony of more than 50 Republican witnesses, including senior members of the TrumpWhite House, the Trump campaign, and the Trump justice department.“This testimony, subject to criminal penalties for lying to Congress, was not ‘partisan’. It was truthful.”TopicsMike PenceJanuary 6 hearingsLiz CheneyUS politicsUS CongressHouse of RepresentativesRepublicansnewsReuse this content More

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    Trump is now effectively in control of the US House of Representatives | Sidney Blumenthal

    Trump is now effectively in control of the US House of RepresentativesSidney BlumenthalKevin McCarthy will be a mere stooge – that is, until he’s replaced by someone even more Trumpist Even before the midterm elections – when the vaunted “red wave” dried up – influential Republicans, over drinks in Washington, casually discussed the fate of Kevin McCarthy as a short-timer.The man who would be the speaker of the House had already been taking a victory lap before a single vote was counted. “I’m better prepared now,” he recently told New York magazine. “If I’m not going to be acceptable to the body having that scenario this time, no one’s acceptable,” he boasted to Punchbowl News. The failed frozen yogurt shop owner from Bakersfield, California, envisions himself at last standing as the hero of his Horatio Alger success story atop the greasy pole. McCarthy now trumpets that he has won the confidence of the far-right Freedom Caucus that previously opposed his elevation. He clutches its leader, his twitchy former foe Jim Jordan, as a great friend. “Probably my biggest advocate is Jim Jordan,” he has said.McCarthy’s bravado discloses a hint of insecurity. The talk of the steakhouses is that he will not last long.Donald Trump’s ragtag minions of horned madmen and militias could not seize the Capitol on January 6. But when the 118th Congress is sworn in on 3 January, Trump’s coup will have broken through more than a police barrier to enter a new phase. That’s because Trump will, for all intents and purposes, become the de facto speaker of the House. If and when Nancy Pelosi ever so gently passes the gavel to Kevin McCarthy, “it would be hard not to hit her with it,” McCarthy said to the raucous laughter of a Republican crowd in 2021. The ultimate power will be held in the hands of Trump. From his gilded tropical palace, he will phone dictates to Jim Jordan and other acolytes who will transform the House of Representatives into his 2024 presidential campaign committee, virtual law firm and bludgeon for revenge. The House will be his hammer.Who’s next? Republicans who might go up against Trump in 2024Read moreTrump still looms over the party, contemptuous of the bitter Republican finger-pointing blaming him for the midterm disappointment. Rupert Murdoch’s overnight order to Fox News to hype Florida Governor Ron DeSantis cannot suddenly cancel the Trump show Murdoch has been instrumental in producing, though for years he reportedly privately called him “a fucking idiot”. Trump is hardly dislodged.In the 117th Congress, 147 Republicans out of 213 refused to certify the results of the electoral college. The margin of the slim new Republican majority will uniformly be election deniers, who will pad the Freedom Caucus before which McCarthy cowers. When the “red wave” was revealed to be a mirage, while the votes were still being tallied and the House Republican majority still uncertain, representative Matt Gaetz of Florida labeled McCarthy “McFailure”, pledged his eternal fealty to Trump and called for a challenge to McCarthy as speaker. Jason Miller, a former Trump official and his echo, went on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast to declare that if McCarthy “wants a chance of being speaker, he needs to be much more declarative of supporting President Trump”. Bannon, free on appeal from his conviction for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the January 6 committee, replied that “the Maga-centric nature” of the House and the Republican party would intensify.When Trump’s mob ran through the corridors of the Capitol chanting “hang Mike Pence!” and “Nancy! Nancy!” and were yards away from breaking into McCarthy’s office, he desperately reached Trump at the White House to ask him to call it off. “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to the journalist Robert Draper. “Am I upset? They’re trying to fucking kill me!” McCarthy shrieked. “Who the fuck do you think you are talking to?”In the days after the trauma, McCarthy raised the idea that cabinet members invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump – then defended Trump from impeachment, which did not preclude Trump calling him a “pussy”, and on 27 January flew to Mar-a-Lago to bend his knee in supplication.McCarthy, even as he tries to balance along a fine line, chronically abases himself. Occasionally, he tries to cover his naked ambition with a transparent fig leaf. In May 2020, when Trump falsely claimed that Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman and an MSNBC TV host critical of Trump, had murdered a young female aide in 2001, despite being 800 miles away when she fell and fatally hit her head, McCarthy responded with a statement he must have thought displayed his political cuteness.“I was not here with Joe Scarborough,” he said. “I don’t quite know about the subject itself.”But abasement in the service of self-interest is not loyalty. Trump, who recalls every slight as lese-majesty, has taken McCarthy’s small measure as “my Kevin”. He knows that McCarthy thinks, as McCarthy blurted to the House Republican conference in 2017, that Putin “pays” Trump – “swear to God”. He will never be judged sufficiently loyal, nor trusted to do absolutely everything he’s ordered to do, especially when those orders are to lay siege to the justice department in a bid to interfere with its investigations of Trump.Kevin McCarthy’s McCarthyism, like the previous McCarthyism, is rooted in personal ambition, but in Kevin McCarthy’s case it is more motivated by a desire to to go along than by the feral instinct displayed by Joe McCarthy, with Roy Cohn whispering in his ear before he got into Trump’s.Kevin McCarthy has always known the score: that Republican mendacity, from little white lies to big lie, is born of sheer cynicism. From time to time, he inadvertently spills the beans. His impulse to babble the truth was uncontrollable in 2015, when he blabbed about the House investigation on Benghazi, revealing its political intent: “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”McCarthy surely knows that the cruel Republican culture war is hypocrisy. When it comes to Trump’s handpicked senate candidate from Georgia, Herschel Walker – who is facing a runoff election with senator Raphael Warnock, and who allegedly paid for girlfriends’ abortions, allegedly abandoned both his legal and illegitimate children, and allegedly engaged in violence against his ex-wife – McCarthy has maintained radio silence.His passivity in the face of vice is the price he willingly pays to sustain the virtuous sheen of the culture war. While he advances himself through each cowardly act, his performance does not inspire confidence from his own cohort, who see through the cellophane man. He must dance faster and faster just to stand still.McCarthy will obediently issue blanket approval for House committees to launch a thousand inquisitions. Democratic groups engaged in voter turnout efforts will be investigated. Democratic attorneys who defend voting rights will be targeted. Progressive nonprofits involved with elections and criminal justice will have their nonprofit status challenged. Secretaries of state who have frustrated Trump election deniers will be pressured. Biden administration officials, from national security to homeland security, will be subpoenaed to scandalize their policies. Military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, already assailed by the Republican pro-Putin caucus, will be squeezed. No “blank check”, McCarthy has said.Corporations and banks that invest in green energy, or adopt diversity and equity policies, will be pressured. Tech platforms will be hauled before the klieg lights for depositions on alleged political discrimination against conservatives, to intimidate them into following the example of Elon Musk, who attended McCarthy’s private political retreat in Wyoming this past August. (“Elon believes in freedom. Elon is an entrepreneur. Such an American success story,” McCarthy said.)The subpoenas will fly. And, quite predictably, the House will manufacture a conflict over the federal budget to shut down the government in an attempt to enforce its draconian policies, as Republicans have done before as a tactic against Bill Clinton in 1995 to 1996 and against Barack Obama in 2013.Then the House may impeach President Biden – and possibly Vice-President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, among others. The writer Barton Gellman recently laid out the coming strategy in the Atlantic. “McCarthy wants to oversee subpoenas and Benghazi-style hearings to weaken the president ahead of the 2024 election, not issue a call for Biden’s removal,” Gellman writes. “But there is little reason to think that McCarthy can resist the GOP’s impulse to impeach once it gathers strength.”Gellman further quotes Ted Cruz, from the senator’s recent podcast, pressing for Biden’s impeachment, “whether it’s justified or not”, as payback for Trump’s two impeachments. Like many Republicans, Cruz uses the word “weaponize” in the same way that Republicans have adopted the word “grooming” to accuse public school teachers of trying to turn children transgender. “The Democrats weaponized impeachment,” said Cruz. “They used it for partisan purposes to go after Trump because they disagreed with him. And one of the real disadvantages of doing that … is the more you weaponize it and turn it into a partisan cudgel, you know, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”After the January 6 committee is disbanded, the House judiciary committee will paint a bull’s eye on the Department of Justice (DoJ). The committee will act as Trump’s team for the defense. As the investigations circling Trump close in, from the fake electors’ scheme to the Mar-a-Lago archives theft, Trump and his allies will intensify their charges that the justice department is “weaponizing” the law. Jim Jordan will claim that the DoJ is unfairly persecuting Trump while failing to investigate properly the “Biden crime family”, only beginning with Hunter Biden.The House Republicans will demand the internal documents and sources in every case the DoJ is pursuing about Trump. When the justice department refuses to hand over materials from ongoing investigations, subpoenas will be issued for them, and when the DoJ invariably declines – because to comply would violate the law and all of its protocols – contempt charges will be filed against attorney general Merrick Garland, his deputy, Lisa Monaco, and individual prosecutors. The dismissal of those contempt filings will have no bearing on the House proceeding to the impeachment of Garland, Monaco, et al.The point for the Republicans will not necessarily be to remove Garland, which would be highly unlikely, but instead to discredit any justice department case against Trump as politically motivated, to portray Trump as the victim, and to rouse the Republican base. Most importantly, the judiciary committee interference would attempt to severely cripple the investigations.If this sounds like conjecture, consider that Jim Jordan wrote to Merrick Garland and the FBI director, Christopher Wray, on 2 November – a week before the election and under the letterhead of the judiciary committee, as if he were already the chairman – demanding information and sources in current cases involving Trump, extremist militias and far-right figures.Trump is running for president again – but these legal battles might stand in the wayRead moreIn his lengthy list of requests, he asked for “all documents and communications between or among employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, and the executive office of the president referring or relating to classifying or reclassifying domestic violent extremism cases, for the period of January 1 2020, to the present”; “all documents and communications referring or relating to the decision to seek a search warrant for President Trump’s residence”; and “all documents and communications referring or relating to the use of confidential human source(s) in connection with the search of President Trump’s residence”. Jordan followed up by releasing a dense 1,050-page compendium of conspiracy theories – 1,050 rabbit holes he promises to go down.If McCarthy exhibits the slightest queasiness, commits another of his trademark gaffes that reveal too much of the truth, or is simply not militant enough for Trump, his speakership will become unstable. The jackals already surround him, and there is a ready alternative waiting in the wings to replace him. Elise Stefanik, adored by Trump, seamlessly transmogrified from moderate to Maga, emerging as Trump’s defender during his first impeachment. “A new Republican star is born,” Trump tweeted. The 38-year-old congresswoman’s ambition is a raging fever.Once a classic Bush Republican – an assistant to George W Bush’s eminently reasonable chief of staff Josh Bolten, no less – Stefanik has since become Trump’s full-throated champion. She whipped up the purge of Liz Cheney as chair of the House Republican conference for Cheney’s heresy and engineered herself into the job, profusely praising Trump as “the leader”. This year, she introduced a resolution to expunge his second impeachment over the insurrection as “a sham smear”. Since the midterm elections, she has thrice endorsed Trump for president in 2024. The leaning tumbril awaits McCarthy too.Trump declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination the third time, after two impeachments and a coup attempt, one week after the Republican midterm debacle, in which many of the loyalists bearing his imprimatur fell before the voters. Nor has he been deterred by the prospect of a contest with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who, to claim the prize, would have to murder the king and be tainted with his blood.It was a grand illusion that Trump would somehow fade away, Biden restore the spirit of civility of the old Senate, and Garland prosecute the January 6 rioters to be done with the mess, shelving the whole episode as a thing of the past, with decency and the rule of law prevailing again.The Republican fear campaign in the midterm elections, projecting the menaces of inflation, crime and trans rights, will dissolve the instant the contest is over. On January 6, Trump waved his mob forward: “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them.” Trump’s coup, which has never ended, will now continue with the House of Representatives as his chief political tool.TS Eliot, in The Hollow Men, wrote:.css-f9ay0g{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C74600;}Between the ideaAnd the realityBetween the motionAnd the actFalls the ShadowOn 13 September, Trump retweeted a kitsch portrait of himself wearing a “Q” on his lapel, the symbol of the QAnon conspiracy cult that venerates him; its slogan, “The Storm Is Coming”; and the cryptic letters, “WWG1WGA”, which mean “Where We Go One, We Go All”. As Trump tweeted on 23 December 2020 to promote the January 6 insurrection: “Will be wild”.
    Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel and All the Powers of Earth
    TopicsDonald TrumpOpinionUS midterm elections 2022US politicsUS CongressRepublicansDemocratscommentReuse this content More

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    Q&A: what does a split Congress mean for US politics?

    ExplainerQ&A: what does a split Congress mean for US politics?With Republicans in control of the House and Democrats holding the Senate, expect a legislative logjam Republicans officially captured control of the House on Wednesday, as the Associated Press called the 218th seat for the party. The House victory ends four years of Democratic control of the lower chamber, handing Republicans the speakership and the chairmanships of key committees, while Democrats will maintain control of the Senate.But the incoming Republican speaker has the unenviable task of attempting to pass legislation with a very narrow majority, where only a few defections within the party will be enough to kill a bill.Republicans had hoped that a “red wave” in the midterm elections would allow them to flip dozens of House seats, giving them a much more comfortable majority. Instead, Republicans were barely about to flip the House, and Democrats may even be able to increase their Senate majority depending on the results of the Georgia runoff next month.With the House and the Senate now both called, Washington is bracing for at least two years of split control of Congress. Here’s what we can expect. :Will Congress be able to pass any bills?It will be extremely difficult for Democrats to advance their legislative agenda. Republicans can use their majority power to block any bills passed by the Democratic Senate from even getting a vote on the House floor.Since Joe Biden took office, some notable bills have passed the House with bipartisan support, including the infrastructure law that the president signed late last year. But the new Republican speaker will probably be hesitant to hand Biden and his party any more policy wins before the 2024 presidential race, which could result in a legislative logjam.How will Republicans use their House majority?Given their very narrow majority, House Republicans may have trouble advancing major legislation through the chamber. Even if they are able to pass something, the bill would almost certainly fail in the Democratic Senate, so it seems likely House Republicans will focus most of their attention on investigations and executive oversight.Even before polls closed last Tuesday, House Republicans had outlined plans to launch a series of investigations into the Biden administration and members of the president’s family. Republican members have expressed keen interest in investigating the administration’s handling of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden’s oversight of the US-Mexican border and his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings.Some of the far-right members of the House Republican caucus have also threatened to use their new majority to hold up must-pass bills, including a debt ceiling hike. If the debt ceiling – essentially, the maximum amount the US government can borrow – is not raised, it could jeopardize the entire US economy. Some House Republicans have signaled they want to withhold support for a debt ceiling increase until they secure concessions on government spending and entitlement programs.The new House Republican majority could also threaten proposals to send more military aid to Ukraine amidst its war against Russia. The far-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has said that “not another penny will go to Ukraine” once Republicans take control, alarming Ukraine’s allies on Capitol Hill and abroad. With such a narrow majority, it only takes a few votes to block bills.Who will replace Nancy Pelosi as House speaker?That is a question that many House Republicans are asking themselves right now as well. The obvious frontrunner for the role – which oversees, manages and directs the majority party in the House – is Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who has served as House minority leader since 2019.But McCarthy has faced some dissent from within his own caucus, and it remains unclear whether he can get the 218 votes needed to become speaker. On Tuesday, the House Republican caucus easily nominated McCarthy as their speaker candidate, but 31 members cast ballots for the far-right Arizona lawmaker Andy Biggs. That tally could spell disaster for McCarthy when the full floor vote is held in January.“My position remains the same until further notice – no one has 218 (or close, as needed),” Chip Roy, a member of the far-right Freedom Caucus who nominated Biggs, told the Texas Tribune on Tuesday. “We have to sit down and establish the fundamental changes needed.”How will Biden work with the new Republican speaker?Before becoming president, Biden built a reputation in the Senate for his ability to reach across the aisle and strike compromise with his Republican colleagues. During the 2020 Democratic primary, Biden boasted about how he was even able to work with hardline segregationists such as James Eastland and Strom Thurmond. Those comments, meant to demonstrate Biden’s collaborative nature, outraged many Democratic primary voters.But in recent months, Biden has become increasingly vocal in his criticism of the modern Republican party, which he says is beholden to Donald Trump and hostile to democratic principles. “Donald Trump and the Maga Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Biden said in September.McCarthy has responded to Biden’s criticism by accusing the president of having “chosen to divide, demean, and disparage his fellow Americans … simply because they disagree with his policies”.So if McCarthy does manage to capture the speakership, he and Biden will not be starting off their new relationship on the best footing. When a reporter asked Biden last week about his relationship with McCarthy, the president deflected.“I think he’s the Republican leader, and I haven’t had much of [an] occasion to talk to him,” Biden replied. “But I will be talking to him.”What can Democrats get done without control of the House?Democrats’ continued control of the Senate ensures that they will still be able to approve Biden’s cabinet and judicial nominations. Their Senate majority will allow Democrats to install more liberal judges in key posts, and it could give them the ability to fill another supreme court seat if one opens up in the next two years.But overall, Democrats’ best opportunity to enact change between now and 2024 may come down to the power of the executive. Biden has already signed more than 100 executive orders since becoming president, according to the Presidency Project at University of California Santa Barbara.Biden has used executive orders to overturn some of Trump’s most controversial policies, such as halting funding for construction of a wall at the US-Mexican border, and to advance progressive proposals that would otherwise stall in Congress. Biden’s order to provide student debt relief of up to $20,000 for millions of borrowers was celebrated by the president’s progressive allies, although the policy is now facing legal challenges.With Republicans now in control of the House, Biden could soon be reaching for his executive pen more frequently.TopicsUS midterm elections 2022US CongressRepublicansDemocratsUS politicsHouse of RepresentativesUS SenateexplainersReuse this content More

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    Donald Trump announces 2024 run for president nearly two years after inspiring deadly Capitol riot

    Donald Trump announces 2024 run for president nearly two years after inspiring deadly Capitol riotTwice-impeached ex-president makes expected election announcement despite shaky midterms and surge from rival Ron DeSantis00:52Donald Trump on Tuesday night announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, likely sparking another period of tumult in US politics and especially his own political party.“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said from ballroom of his private Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he stood on a stage crowded with American flags and Make America Great Again banners.Vowing to defeat Joe Biden in 2024, he declared: “America’s golden age is just ahead.”The long-expected announcement by a twice-impeached president who incited a deadly attack on Congress seems guaranteed to deepen a stark partisan divide that has fueled fears of increased political violence.Who’s next? Republicans who might go up against Trump in 2024Read moreBut it also comes as Trump’s standing in the Republican party has suddenly been put into question. Trump spoke at Mar-a-Lago a week after midterm elections in which his Republican party did not make expected gains, losing the Senate and seeming on course for only a narrow majority in the US House.In his remarks, Trump took credit for Republicans’ performance victory in the House, even though they are poised to capture a far narrower majority than anticipated. “Nancy Pelosi has been fired. Isn’t that nice?” he said. The Associated Press has not yet projected which party will win the majority.In a party hitherto dominated by Trump, defeats suffered by high-profile, Trump-endorsed candidates led to open attacks on the former president and calls to delay his announcement or not to run at all. As Trump’s standing has slipped, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has surged into strong contention after sailing to reelection last week.Trump’s announcement also coincided on Tuesday with the release of Mike Pence’s memoir, So Help Me God, in which the ex-president’s once-faithful lieutenant criticizes him for his conduct on January 6. The former vice-president is also maneuvering toward a possible 2024 run despite falling out of favor with the Maga base.Brushing past Republican setbacks in 2022 and his defeat in 2020, Trump insisted that he was the only candidate who could deliver a Republican victory in 2024.“This is not a task for a politician or a conventional candidate,” he said. “This is a task for a great movement.”His third candidacy comes as he faces intensifying legal troubles, including investigations by the justice department into the removal of hundreds of classified documents from the White House to his Florida estate and into his role in the 6 January attack. Trump has denied wrongdoing and used the attacks to further his narrative that he has been unfairly targeted by his political opponents and a shadowy “deep state” bureaucracy.“I’m a victim,” Trump said, making reference to the Russia investigation and the raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate. On Tuesday, Trump nevertheless pressed forward with his run.Painting a bleak portrait of the United States, with “blood-soaked” city streets and an “invasion” at the southern border, Trump said his campaign was a “quest to save our country.”In the less than two years since Biden took office, a period Trump referred to as “the pause”, he accused his successor of inflicting “pain, hardship, anxiety and despair” with his economic and domestic policies.Trump offered an alternative vision, which he called the “national greatness agenda”. Among the policy proposals he endorsed on Tuesday were the death penalty for drug dealers, term limits for members of Congress and planting an American flag on Mars. And wading into the social fights he enjoys inflaming, Trump promised to protect “paternal rights” and keep transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports.Though he made no explicit mention of his stolen-election lies, he promised to overhaul the nation’s voting laws, vowing that a winner would be declared on election night. In close contests, it can take several days before enough votes are tabulated in a state to project a winner, but Trump and his allies have seized on the delay to spread baseless conspiracy theories about results.Despite promising to deliver remarks as “elegant” as the gold-plated room he was standing in, Trump’s rambling, hourlong speech turned to name-calling and ridicule, lashing the “fake news”, mocking the former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s accent and accusing Biden of “falling asleep” at international conferences. At one point, he appeared to confuse the civil war with the reconstruction period that followed and scoffed at climate science.Without acknowledging his 2020 defeat, Trump insisted that beating Biden in 2024 would be much easier because “everybody sees what a bad job has been done.”He called Biden the “face of left-wing failure and government corruption” and accused him of worsening inflation and “surrendering” America’s energy independence. He also slammed the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as “the most embarrassing moment in the history of our country”.“Our country is being destroyed before your very eyes,” he said, casting his four years in office as a glowing success, despite leaving behind a nation shaken by disease and political turmoil.Now 76, Trump was long seen as a colorful if controversial presence in American life, a thrice-married New York real-estate mogul, reality TV star and tabloid fixture who flirted with politics but never committed.But in 2015, after finding a niche as a prominent voice for rightwing opposition to Barack Obama – and a racist conspiracy theory about Obama’s birth – Trump entered the race for the Republican nomination to succeed the 44th president.Proving immune to scandal, whether over personal conduct, allegations of sexual assault or persistent courting of the far right, he obliterated a huge Republican field then pulled off a historic shock by beating the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election.Trump’s presidency was chaotic but undoubtedly historic. Senate Republicans playing political and constitutional hardball helped install three supreme court justices, cementing a dominant rightwing majority which has now removed the right to abortion and weakened gun control laws while eyeing further significant change.Trump is running for president again – but these legal battles might stand in the wayRead moreTrump’s third supreme court pick, replacing the liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Amy Coney Barrett, a hardline Catholic, came shortly before the 2020 election. That contest, with Obama’s vice-president, Joe Biden, was fought under the shadow of protests for racial justice and the coronavirus pandemic, the latter a test badly mishandled by Trump’s administration as hundreds of thousands died.Trump was conclusively beaten, Biden racking up more than 7m more votes and the same electoral college win, 306-232, that Trump enjoyed over Clinton, a victory Trump then called a landslide.But Trump’s refusal to accept defeat, based on his “big lie” about electoral fraud, fueled election subversion efforts in key states, the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters and far-right groups, a second impeachment for inciting that insurrection (and a second acquittal, if with more Republican defections) and a deepening crisis of US democracy.01:41With a third White House bid, Trump hopes to defy political history. Only one former president, Grover Cleveland, has served two nonconsecutive terms. Cleveland was elected in 1884 and 1892, but, unlike Trump, he won the popular vote in the intervening election of 1888.Trump flirted with announcing a new run throughout Biden’s first two years in power, ultimately delaying until after midterm elections, which did not go as he or his party expected. But while high-profile backers of Trump’s stolen election myth were defeated, among them his choice for Arizona governor, Kari Lake, more than 170 were elected, according to the Washington Post.Until his midterms reversal, Trump dominated polling of potential Republican nominees for 2024. His closest rival in such surveys, DeSantis, reportedly indicated to donors he would not compete with Trump. But the landscape has now changed. DeSantis won re-election by a landslide, gave a confident victory speech to chants of “two more years” and has surged in polling – prompting attacks from Trump. At least one Republican mega donor, Ken Griffin, has said he backs the Florida governor.Should Trump dismiss DeSantis as he has so many other challengers and win the nomination, the 22nd amendment to the US constitution would bar him from running again in 2028. But a rematch of 2020 remains possible. Though Biden will soon turn 80 and has faced questions about whether he should seek a second term himself, he is preparing a re-election campaign.TopicsDonald TrumpUS elections 2024US politicsRepublicansRon DeSantisJoe BidenUS midterm elections 2022newsReuse this content More

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    Are US politics starting to turn towards a more hopeful future? | Gary Gerstle

    Are US politics starting to turn towards a more hopeful future?Gary GerstleWe might one day look back on this midterm – and on Biden’s first two years – and discern in them a new beginning Last week was amazing for Joe Biden. The Red Wave fizzled. The Democrats kept the Senate. Even if the House slips from the Democrats’ grasp, as it is expected to, Biden will be credited with engineering the strongest midterm showing by an incumbent president’s party since 2002, and the most impressive such performance by a sitting Democratic president since JFK in 1962. Women’s anger at the supreme court’s Dobbs decision hammered the Republicans in key states. Many of Trump’s highest-flying, election-denying candidates fell to earth, damaging the ex-president’s aura of invincibility. Fights and recriminations have now broken out everywhere in Republican ranks.And there’s more from last week to bring a smile to Biden’s face: inflation moderated, the Dow rocketed skyward, and Ukrainians pushed the Russians out of Kherson, a big win not just for Ukraine but for Biden’s European foreign policy. And, oh yes, in America, young people – the country’s future – came out in relatively large numbers and, in critical contests, broke for the Democrats in a big way.And yet, what did this past week of exceptional political success yield for Biden and Democrats? Their majority in the Senate is still razor-thin. If they lose the House, their already narrow path to passing legislation will shrink further. House Republicans are likely to use a new House majority to flood media with an investigation of Hunter Biden and other vulnerable Democratic party figures – payback for the January 6 hearings. Even the most impressively conceived legislative proposals coming from the White House may be greeted with House Republican intransigence.Nevertheless, looking ahead to 2024, there are grounds for optimism, not just that Democrats can win but that they can begin to build bigger and more enduring majorities. Most importantly, three major legislative achievements of the Biden administration to date are likely to have a greater impact on the 2024 election than they did in 2022. The most important of these is the curiously titled Inflation Reduction Act. That bill has not gotten the credit it deserves, in part because of its silly name and in part because it is much smaller than the $5tn Build Back Bill from which it is descended.Watching that original bill get whittled down and carved up across 2021 and 2022 was not a pretty sight. Yet the final version of the legislation contains truly important initiatives in multiple spheres, nowhere more so than the nearly $400bn appropriated for investments in green technology and for tax breaks and subsidies to businesses and homeowners to convert to clean energy. The bill constitutes the biggest single investment that the federal government has made in a green energy future.Of nearly equal importance in Biden’s first two years were two other bills: the trillion-dollar Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, to improve the nation’s crumbling physical infrastructure; and the Chips Act, to re-shore, in a massive way, the research, design and production of semi-conductor computer chips, those tiny, ubiquitous and indispensable components that drive every computer and virtually all of America’s (and the world’s) machines and phones.In these three initiatives, the Democrats have laid down a foundation for a program of political economy that diverges significantly from its neoliberal predecessor. This older vision of political economy, long embraced both by Republicans and Democrats, insisted on freeing markets and capital from government oversight and direction. The Biden program, by contrast, is grounded in the belief that a strong government is necessary to steer – and, in some cases, compel – markets and corporations into serving the public good. It crystallized from the extensive discussions between the Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders wings of the Democratic party across 2020 and 2021. It represents a profound departure from the last 30 of governing practice.The industrial policies being promoted by the Biden administration won’t lead to nationalization; they focus instead on incentivizing the private sector to pursue broadly agreed upon economic aims. Two of the three aforementioned bills – the Chips Act and the Infrastructure Act – passed the Senate with significant Republican support. Quietly, Biden has delivered on his promise to open a new pathway to bipartisanship. There will be opportunities to broaden this bipartisanship, especially in regard to breaking up or regulating the monopoly power of the giant social media companies. Strong support for doing so exists on both sides of the Senate aisle. One key question is whether this incipient senatorial cross-party collaboration can soften the country’s paralyzing political polarization and persuade a few House Republicans to support upper chamber initiatives. Another is whether the Democrats can use their new program of political economy to sell a broad swath of the electorate – including constituencies currently lying beyond Democratic redoubts – on the party’s vision of the good life.Judging by the midterms’ voting patterns alone, one might be tempted to say no. But there are reasons to think otherwise. For one, economic circumstances will be different in 2024 than they are now. Inflation will probably have moderated and thus may have faded as a political flashpoint. The recession that the Fed seems so determined to trigger will have occurred, and a recovery will be under way. Additionally, by 2024, corporate America (as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act) will be more deeply invested in green technology. The conversion to post-fossil fuel economy will have correspondingly accelerated, as America’s robust private sector glimpses the profits to be made in the clean energy revolution. Moreover, by 2024, the first new infrastructural projects should be nearing completion, yielding visible improvements in America’s creaking system of bridges, roads, and transportation hubs and networks. All this investment and building should generate jobs and, perhaps, the promise of a better life for many long denied it. A somnolent US labor movement is reawakening, a development that, if it continues, will help to ensure that future jobs carry with them decent wages. Perhaps word will spread that Democrats are capable of managing America’s dynamic but unruly economy in the public interest.Is this too rosy a picture? Perhaps. Biden will never be a “great communicator”. Trump’s shrinking but still ardent band of zealots will continue to threaten American democracy. The red state-blue state divide endures. House Republicans together with the US supreme court may obstruct further Democratic efforts at reform. And we don’t know what a desperate Putin might inflict on the world if he truly believed that his reign over Russia was about to end.If we take the long view, however, and concede that a progressive political order requires a long march, then we might one day look back on this midterm – and on Biden’s first two years – and discern in them the first steps toward a better future.
    Gary Gerstle is Mellon professor of American history emeritus at Cambridge and a Guardian US columnist. His most recent book is The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era (2022)
    TopicsUS midterm elections 2022OpinionUS politicsDemocratsRepublicansJoe BidenBiden administrationUS CongresscommentReuse this content More