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Daily Archives: January 25th, 2023


Story by Tommy Christopher • Yesterday 7:47 AM

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CNN’s Don Lemon told Daniel Dale he’s “going to be busy” after Dale’s thorough fact-check of Republican Kevin McCarthy’s first 2 weeks as Speaker of the House.

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Two weeks ago, McCarthy’s tumultuous bid to become speaker amid a revolt from House conservatives finally culminated in victory on the fifteenth try late on a Friday night into Saturday morning after failing to secure a win in fourteen consecutive votes.

On Tuesday morning’s edition of CNN This Morning, Dale took on McCarthy’s first two weeks since securing the post and found his claims not only false and misleading but in one case, even the opposite of the truth:

DON LEMON: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has had his hands on the gavel for just over two weeks now. And if you’re a person in power, you better believe your expert. Your expert fact checker, Daniel Dale is watching your words. Daniel, good morning. You found some of McCarthy’s claims misleading and some are just plain wrong. So let’s start with the speaker using Nancy Pelosi’s name to defend his position on the debt ceiling. Listen.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: When Trump was president and Nancy Pelosi was speaker, they became a debt ceiling agreement and it was a cap agreement for two years to cap the spending and make those decisions.

DON LEMON: Daniel, what did you find.

DANIEL DALE: Don, this stuff is highly misleading. McCarthy is trying to say, look, why is it crazy for us Republicans to impose a spending cap? Nancy Pelosi, Democrat, did a spending cap in 2019, but that is not actually what happened. What this 2019 Pelosi deal actually did was loosen, soften, raise a pre-existing spending cap that was already in effect because of a 2011 law known as the Budget Control Act. So Pelosi got the government to spend tens of billions of additional dollars over and above the cap that was already in place at the time, and her deal ensured that these discretionary spending caps would expire after 2021. So that Pelosi example is not at all the same as what McCarthy and the conservatives in his caucus are now talking about, which is cut government spending by creating a new spending cap. In fact, Don I think it’s basically the opposite.

DON LEMON: Daniel, we’ve also been hearing Speaker McCarthy repeat the Republican talking point about getting rid of tens of thousands of IRS agents. Listen to this.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: We put out a commitment to America to tell them exactly what we would do if they gave us the power. And in this first week, we continue to keep that commitment. We repealed 87,000 IRS agents.

DON LEMON: Is that accurate?

DANIEL DALE: Don, McCarthy is wrong in two ways here. First of all, House Republicans didn’t actually repeal anything. They did vote to repeal. They passed a bill to repeal more than 70 billion in new IRS funding. But that bill is not going to get through the Senate or President Biden. So they have not changed the law. Second of all, this frequent Republican talking point you hear about how Democrats are hiring 87,000 new IRS agents is just not true. It’s an exaggeration. The Inflation Reduction Act that Biden signed into law last year includes 80 billion in additional funding for the IRS that will very possibly allow the IRS to hire tens of thousands of additional employees, but not even close to all these employees, Don will be agents. The people who conduct audits and investigations sometimes frighten people. Non-agents make up the vast majority of the IRS workforce, and many of the newly hired employees we know will be in things like customer service and operations, in I.T. And experts tell us that many of the new hires will be making up for attrition, filling posts left by tens of thousands of retirements, departures, not taking newly created jobs. So the image McCarthy and other Republicans are trying to conjure, Don, of this army of 87,000 new agents coming to get you is not based on the facts.

DON LEMON: McCarthy also echoing Trump’s claim that federal law enforcement was wrong for executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago resort, something the FBI says resulted in the recovery of more than 100 government documents marked as classified and hundreds of other government documents as well. Is this claim true, Daniel?

DANIEL DALE: We know it’s not true, Don, that the government could have just come to Mar-a-Lago at any time, as McCarthy says, without executing a formal search warrant and gotten all the government documents there. The feds, first the National Archives, then DOJ, had been trying for more than a year at the time of the August search to get government records back from Trump without a warrant. It did not work. We know that. The Trump team didn’t even give back all the records marked classified after DOJ went beyond asking and issued a subpoena for them in May. The Trump team hadn’t even given all records back at the time a Trump lawyer signed a certification in June saying they had all been given back. And there was actually a day, June 3rd, where reps from the FBI and DOJ went to Mar-a-Lago without a search warrant. What happened? While, according to a DOJ court filing and I quote, “the former president’s counsel explicitly prohibited government personnel from opening or looking inside any of the boxes that remained in the storage room, giving no opportunity for the government to confirm that no documents with classification markings remained.” So McCarthy claims that they could have just come and gotten these documents in Mar-a-Lago without a warrant. Well, they were there. They weren’t even allowed to look, let alone take anything Don.

DON LEMON: Daniel Dale, you’re going to be busy in the coming weeks and months and years. Thank you very much. Appreciate that.


When hell freezes over?
Robert Reich

My friends,

As Congress ends its first post-Trump term, the biggest political question hanging over America is this: When will the GOP finally reach its anti-Trump tipping point — when a majority of Republican lawmakers disavow him?

Again and again, it looks like the tipping point is near but the GOP remains under Trump’s thumb.

What about last month’s dinner at Mar-a-Lago, with Ye, formerly Kanye West, the man whose fame as a rapper has been dwarfed by his antisemitic and racist declarations, along with infamous Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes?

It didn’t come near tipping the scales.

What about Trump’s December 3 declaration that the “Massive Fraud” of the 2020 election would allow for the Constitution to be “terminated?”

Nope.

Both events caused grumbling among a few Republican lawmakers but most avoided criticizing Trump (as they’ve avoided it in the past — as they avoided doing so the moment the furor over January 6 had died down) for fear of his wrath.

But what’s to fear, now? Didn’t the midterms reveal how weak he is?

After all, most of his endorsees flamed out, including celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Tim Michels in Wisconsin, Blake Masters in Arizona, Adam Laxalt and Kari Lake also in Arizona, and Herschel Walker in Georgia. (Walker’s campaign even asked Trump to stay away in the final weeks.)

Many election-deniers hit the skids. Michigan’s legislature swung to the Democrats for the first time since the 1980s.

Democrats defied almost all doomsday prophesies as well as the historic pattern of presidents losing midterms — and why? In large part because so many voters fear and loathe the former president. Nearly as many viewed the midterms as a referendum on Trump as who saw it as a referendum on Joe Biden. As Mitch McConnell explained, voters “were frightened” by the Trump-induced GOP rhetoric, “and so they pulled back.”

And it’s only going to get worse for Trump, right?

His business has been found guilty of criminal fraud. Investigators have found more classified documents in a storage unit near Mar-a-Lago. A criminal case is pending in Georgia. The January 6 committee is likely to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department, whose special counsel is already building a criminal case against him. Several leaders of the January 6 attack have already been convicted of seditious conspiracy.

Even the kingpins of the GOP, including the rightwing media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, have switched their allegiance away from him — to Florida governor Ron DeSantis or Ted Cruz or another GOP hopeful.

So why hasn’t the Republican Party as a whole tipped? Why aren’t almost all Republican lawmakers publicly disavowing the former sociopath-in-chief?  

In two words: The base.

Utah’s Republican senator Mitt Romney, no friend of Trump, put it bluntly last week:

“I think we’ve got, I don’t know, 12 people or more that would like to be president, that are thinking of running in 2024. If President Trump continues in his campaign, I’m not sure any one of them can make it through and beat him. He’s got such a strong base of, I don’t know, 30% or 40 % of the Republican voters, or maybe more, it’s going to be hard to knock him off as our nominee.”

That’s the problem in a nutshell, folks.

It’s not so much the size of Trump’s base. Even 40 percent of Republican voters is a relatively small group nationwide, especially considering that fewer than 30 percent of all voters are registered Republicans.

It’s also the intensity and tenacity of their support, which gives them effective control over the Republican Party. They worship him. They won’t budge.

But until they budge, most Republican lawmakers won’t budge either (Romney and Liz Cheney being notable exceptions, and we know what happened to her).

The problem isn’t some highfalutin moral issue, such as Republican lawmakers putting their party over their country. It’s something far more prosaic. They want to keep their jobs.

Which means the GOP continues to rot as a political party, as a governing institution, and as a moral entity. That may be good for Democrats in 2024, but in the larger sense it’s bad for us all.

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