What A Day: Toothpaste out of the Tuberville

Thursday, February 11, 2021

-Fox News guest Dave Ramsey, populist voice of the common man

House impeachment managers concluded their case against former-President Donald Trump with a stark warning about the stakes if the Senate allows him to run for office again, as a number of Republicans jurors reaffirmed that they’re on board for the violent downfall of American democracy, actually. 

  • After painstakingly reconstructing Donald Trump’s months-long provocation of the Capitol insurrection and the chilling attack itself on Wednesday, House managers wrapped up their case with a focus on Trump’s total lack of remorse, and the long term damage he did internationally and here at home. They laid out his pattern of inciting and celebrating violence before January 6, from Charlottesville to the Michigan statehouse to his May retweet of a video in which a supporter says, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” (A subtle red flag, in hindsight.) The managers highlighted his intentional failure to take action after the mob breached the Capitol, or to take any responsibility for his role in the days that followed. 
  • House Democrats also used the words of insurrectionists themselves to bolster their case that the MAGA-hatted extremists beating cops with Trump flags in their effort to disrupt the certification of Trump’s election loss were, against all odds, inspired by Trump. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) showed one clip in which rioters chanted “Stop the steal” as they tried to get into the building, after Trump led the same chant at his rally. In another, a rioter shouted at police officers, “We are listening to Trump—your boss.” Outside of the trial, federal prosecutors made the same undeniable connection on Thursday in their most direct language yet, writing in a filing that Oath Keepers leader Jessica Watkins indicated she was “awaiting direction from President Trump” before the Capitol insurrection. (U up, Justice Department?)
  • The upshot, Democrats somehow explained calmly without bleeding from their eyeballs, is that this trial is about the future: The insurrectionist violence could happen again if Trump claws his way back into power—or even, as Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) pointed out, if he runs for president and loses. Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) put the onus on senators to convict Trump and bar him from holding future office, or bear the blame for whatever nightmares he whips up down the road: “My dear colleagues, is there any political leader in this room who believes that if he is ever allowed by the Senate to get back into the Oval Office, Donald Trump would stop inciting violence to get his way? Would you bet the lives of more police officers on that? Would you bet the safety of your family on that? Would you bet the future of your democracy on that?” (U up, Lisa Murkowski?)

Barring some kind of mass moral awakening/gas leak, the vast majority of GOP senators will implicitly answer those questions with “sure, why not”—even as a few of them accidentally strengthen the prosecution’s case.

  • On Wednesday night, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) told reporters that when Trump called him asking for help delaying the vote certification after the mob had breached the Capitol (damning enough on its own), Tuberville informed him that then-Vice President Mike Pence had just been evacuated from the Senate. That means Trump was aware that Pence’s life was in danger when, minutes later, he tweeted a fresh attack on his own vice president instead of directing his bloodthirsty supporters to stand down. As seen in House managers’ footage on Wednesday, the insurrectionists read that tweet aloud into a bullhorn on their way into the Capitol.
  • While President Biden said he thought the haunting new footage shown on Wednesday may have changed some minds, Senate Republicans haven’t shown many signs of a shift since Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) changed his stance on the trial’s constitutionality on Tuesday. Spineless wonder Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on Fox News to offer a preview of how Republicans will lazily justify their votes to acquit: Some of the rioters planned the attack in advance, said Graham, meaning Trump couldn’t possibly be to blame—nevermind that rioters cited Trump’s wishes in their planning, or that Graham himself condemned Trump’s inflammatory lies on the night of the attack. In fact, the violence was probably Democrats’ fault: “Here’s what I want to know. What did Nancy Pelosi know and when did she know it?”

Trump’s legal team is expected to begin and end its rebuttal on Friday, since presenting a nonexistent defense doesn’t take too long, and unless Democrats force a vote on including witnesses, the trial could be over this weekend. Unless the Senate manages to permanently seal off Trump’s route back to power, the danger illuminated over the last week could be around for much longer. 

On tomorrow's What A Day: Dr. Anthony Fauci joined Akilah and Gideon to talk vaccines, double-masking, Valentine's Day, and more. The episode drops on Friday, February 12—subscribe now wherever you get your pods →  crooked.com/whataday

Republican gerrymandering in Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina could be enough to flip control of the House in 2022, according to a new study from the Brennan Center for Justice. The GOP has total control over the redistricting process in those states, and will use that process not only to retake the House, but to squelch the political power of young voters and voters of color for years to come. While some state courts have gotten more willing to strike down severe partisan gerrymanders, conservative-leaning state courts in southern states aren’t likely to come to the rescue. Democrats’ only path to prevent Republicans from undemocratically maneuvering back into the majority requires passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 1 election reforms, both of which will be blocked by Republicans in the Senate unless Democrats abolish the filibuster.

A Houston doctor scrambled to administer 10 vaccine doses that were about to expire, an act for which he was fired and charged with stealing the doses. In late December, Dr. Hasan Gokal found himself with an open vaccine vial and just six hours to find eligible recipients for its remaining doses before they expired. He hastily drove around finding eligible people, both acquaintances and strangers, and with 10 minutes left before the vaccine became unusable, Gokal gave the final dose to his wife, who has a pulmonary disease. He was promptly fired by Harris County health officials, who said he had violated protocol by not bringing the doses to the office or throwing them away—despite the fact that no written protocols existed—and objected that there were “too many Indian names” among Gokal’s recipients. Two weeks later, he was charged with stealing the vaccine vial, and while the case was quickly dismissed, the media had already painted Gokal as a villain. The utterly infuriating intersection of an overemphasis on strict vaccine prioritization, and (it appears) plain old racism.

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The Biden administration has finalized deals for another 200 million vaccine doses, enough for everyone to get vaccinated by the end of July. Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that all (adult) Americans will be eligible by April—a nice bit of hope to get you through the 13th month of March. 

Two! Million! Shots! Today!

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has moved to protect LGBTQ Americans under the Fair Housing Act. 

Alex Trebek’s family and Jeopardy! have donated Trebek’s wardrobe to The Doe Fund, to be distributed to Americans with histories of addiction, homelessness, and incarceration who need professional clothes for job interviews.

. . . . . .

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