The Long Overdue Gateway Pundit Lawsuit

The right-wing site Gateway Pundit is being sued. About time.

I’ve cited Gateway Pundit and its founder, Jim Hoft, many times over the years. GP is the place to go if you’re itching for the latest news on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Yeah, that’s still a thing. Hoft is a variation of Alex Jones, but dumber. See, for example, When Being an Obama Supporter Is Unacceptable from 2012.

News of the suit caused me to check out current headlines. Here’s a juicy one — Biden’s DOJ Releases Memo that Totally Blows Away the ‘Trump Incited an Insurrection’ Narrative. Wow, that would be a big deal. Amazing no one else is reporting on it.

So what does this memo say? This sentence —

“It is objectively unreasonable to conclude that President Trump could authorize citizens to interfere with the Electoral College proceedings…”

See? Trump couldn’t have done it. Of course, what the document is saying is that Trump had no authority to tell people to march to the Capitol and interfere with the election, not that he didn’t tell people to march to the Capitol and interfere with the election. Truly, it’s for good reason that Hoft has long been known as the Dumbest Man on the Internet.

The suit was filed by two Georgia election workers — Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss — who were singled out by Hoft and accused of stuffing ballot boxes with fake ballots for Biden. The New York Times reported,

Ms. Moss, who continues to work for the Fulton County elections board, and Ms. Freeman, a temporary employee during the 2020 election, were ensnared by the Trump-supporting media and Mr. Trump himself after Gateway Pundit published dozens of false stories about them, starting last December and continuing through this November. The stories called the two women “crooked Democrats” and claimed that they “pulled out suitcases full of ballots and began counting those ballots without election monitors in the room.”

Investigations conducted by the Georgia secretary of state’s office found that the two women did nothing wrong and were legally counting ballots.

For example, here is one of Hoft’s stories, from December 2, 2020. What’s Up, Ruby?… BREAKING: Crooked Operative Filmed Pulling Out Suitcases of Ballots in Georgia IS IDENTIFIED. This is classic Hoft. The post is illustrated with fuzzy photos that have been doctored with circles and arrows. The text tells you that photos show you ballots being manipulated. But in truth, without the captions you wouldn’t know what was going on in the photos. Well, with the captions you still don’t know what’s going on in the photos.

Reuters has a special report about this incident and what came next — Trump campaign demonized two Georgia election workers – and death threats followed. It’s not clear whether the story about the fake ballots originated with Hoft or somewhere else. It might have originated with the Trump campaign, which fed the story to Hoft. But Ruby Freeman’s name was soon all over right-wing media. Trump himself referred to Ms. Freeman several times in his infamous call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which Trump said, “I just want to find 11,780 votes.”

Predictably, MAGA thugs began to terrorize Freeman and Moss, who are black. From Reuters —

Freeman made a series of 911 emergency calls in the days after she was publicly identified in early December by the president’s camp. In a Dec. 4 call, she told the dispatcher she’d gotten a flood of “threats and phone calls and racial slurs,” adding: “It’s scary because they’re saying stuff like, ‘We’re coming to get you. We are coming to get you.’”

Two days later, a panicked Freeman called 911 again, after hearing loud banging on her door just before 10 p.m. Strangers had come the night before, too. She begged the dispatcher for assistance. “Lord Jesus, where’s the police?” she asked, according to the recording, obtained by Reuters in a records request. “I don’t know who keeps coming to my door.”

“Please help me.”

Freeman quit her temporary election gig. Moss took time off amid the tumult. The 37-year-old election worker, known for her distinctive blonde braids, changed her appearance. Moss often avoided going out in public after her phone number was widely circulated online. Trump supporters threatened Moss’s teenage son by phone in tirades laced with racial slurs, said her supervisor, Fulton County Elections Director Richard Barron. …

…Their modest incomes left the two women with little power to defend themselves against the billionaire president and his legions of backers. After Freeman went into hiding, she initially stayed with friends. They soon asked her to leave, fearing for their own security, so she moved from one Airbnb to another, never staying in one place for too long, said a person with direct knowledge of her movements. Freeman went to great lengths to conceal her identity and location, the person said. She stopped using credit cards and started using a system for electronic money transfers that caters to people wanting to keep a low profile, the person said.

The constant threats so terrified the two women that they did not return calls from Fulton County District Attorney’s Office investigators who wanted to talk to them this summer as part of their probe into whether Trump illegally interfered with Georgia’s 2020 election, Barron said. “They wouldn’t even answer the phone,” he said.

See also Raw Story, ‘You should be hung!’ How Trump supporters drove two Georgia election workers into hiding.

This is horrible. These women must have been scared out of their wits, for good reason. This is how black people in Georgia end up dead. But Hoft shows no remorse. Yesterday he ran an article headlined Interesting. FBI Investigated Alleged Threats to Ruby Freeman but There Is No Record of FBI Investigating the Illicit Late Night Actions at State Farm Center.

We know there was no ballot-box stuffing; Georgia re-counted the ballots three bleeping times, three bleeping ways. Trump lost every time. Election officials in Georgia, including Republican officials, keep verifying that Freeman and Moss did nothing wrong. What you see in (not manipulated) videos and photos is what ballot counting looks like.

Ruby Freeman used have a small business selling ladies accessories from a kiosk at a mall, but that had to be closed. I wish Freeman and Moss all the best with their suit, which seems strong to me, and hope Jim Hoft gets taken to the cleaners. A whole lot of right-wing sites that have demonized and doxxed innocent people over the years need to learn there are consequences for causing harm.

See also:

Ben Collins, We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 04: Election workers count Fulton County ballots at State Farm Arena on November 4, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2020 presidential race between incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is still too close to call with outstanding ballots to count. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Sen. Josh Hawley Is a Pathetic Weenie

Great bit of work from Chris Hayes’s show last night.

What makes Hawley even more pathetic is that back on January 4 — an auspicious date, come to think of it — Hawley had a meltdown over protesters outside his home. The Associated Press reported,

Protesters who gathered outside the Virginia home of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley Monday evening were peaceful and they left when police explained they were violating local picketing laws, police said Tuesday. The Missouri senator on Twitter accused the protesters of vandalism and threatening his family.

Officers were called to Hawley’s home in Vienna, a Washington suburb, around 7:45 p.m. after someone reported that there were “people protesting in front of the house.” Officers who responded to the scene found that the “people were peaceful,” said Master Police Officer Juan Vazquez, a spokesman for the Town of Vienna Police Department.

The demonstrators said they went to Hawley’s home because he said he would object when Congress convenes Wednesday to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory.

Vazquez said the protesters had been violating several laws, including a Virginia code about picketing in front of a house, a town ordinance about making noise in front of a home and a littering code. But he said the officers explained the violations and “everyone just left.”

“There were no issues, no arrests,” he said. “We didn’t think it was that big of a deal.”

Hawley accused the group of threatening his family.

“Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can’t travel,” Hawley wrote on Twitter. “They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence.”

In short, Hawley is a pathetic weenie in a tightly taylored weenie suit.

And, of course, we all remember this proud moment in the life of the Missouri freshman senator, just two days later:

Unlike some other senators — Rand Paul and Ron Johnson come to mind — Hawley isn’t stupid. He’s a moral and ethical vaccuum with the integrity of sawdust, but he’s not stupid. This is calculated. He thinks that acting like a right-wing jerkwad will make him president some day. If he destroys the United States in the process, that’s just collateral damage to him.

He’ll never be POTUS — I prayerfully hope — but he may be a senator from Missouri for a long time, alas. This sort of crap sells around here. I’m beginning to think Anheuser-Busch products are rotting people’s brains.

Roe May Be Dead; Republicans Hope We Don’t Notice

I got tickled at Dave Weigel’s column today. The intro — “The only newsletter that isn’t about Joe Manchin today, this is The Trailer.”

Many people are pissed at Manchin, who is acting up again. He wrote an op ed for the Wall Street Journal saiyng that Democrats should “hit the pause button” on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. This is especially infuriating at the very moment the nation is suffering from fires in the West and a super storm in the South and East. Climate change, bro. But Manchin doesn’t want to spend money addressing it.

Just see Joe Manchin’s Dirty Empire by Daniel Boguslaw at The Intercept. Manchin is corrupt as hell. See also Joe Manchin’s new threat to destroy Biden’s agenda is worse than it seems by Greg Sargent at WaPo and Joe Manchin Has Put Biden’s Presidency in Mortal Danger by Jonathan Chait at New York.

Dave Weigel goes on, ignoring Joe Manchin:

Donald Trump’s victory five years ago created, and later fulfilled, the possibility of a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. That emboldened conservatives, especially antiabortion activists who favored so-called “heartbeat” legislation — ending legal abortion at six weeks, when they say first flutter can be detected in embryos. And after Ginsburg’s death, while conservative activists had never felt closer to the end of Roe, Republicans in competitive races said Democrats were overhyping the potential effect on abortion rights.

“I think the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned is very minimal,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said in a debate days after the justice’s death and one day after Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace her. “I don’t see that happening.” In his first debate with Biden, Trump scoffed at the idea that Roe was “on the ballot,” telling the Democrat that he didn’t know how the potential justice — who yesterday joined the majority in the Texas case — would rule.

And we all remember Sen. Susan Collins assuring us that Kavanaugh believed Roe v. Wade is “settled law.” This is the line Republicans have walked for a long time. They’ve promised their base they would criminallize abortion while reassuring the public at large that they wouldn’t.

Even given the events of this week, the conservatives on the Supreme Court seem to want to maintain the fiction that they are not hardline ideologues.

Mary Ziegler, The Atlantic:

The justices who allowed Texas’s law to go into effect hardly seem to love the thought of that backlash. Their order tried to reassure the public by spelling out what was not being decided—and tried to signal that the Court takes all of this very seriously. And even before this particular question arose, during their confirmation hearings, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett repeated that when it came to Roe, they would keep an open mind. After all, they are neutral arbiters of the law, not pre-committed ideologues.

The justices desperately want the public to believe that is true, even though similar procedural hurdles did not stop the Court from blocking COVID-19 stay-at-home orders that affected in-person worship, and even though the Court’s overnight order made a laughingstock of what is still supposedly a constitutional right. The message was clear: Texas wanted to pass a legal-consequence-free abortion ban, and the Supreme Court wanted to find a political-consequence-free way to uphold one. …

… The Supreme Court may want to reverse Roe, but it is afraid of what will happen when the decision is gone. This fear makes it attractive to hem and haw, to deny and obfuscate. Clarence Thomas may not miss a chance to denounce Roe, but his colleagues are less keen to do so.

They don’t seem to be fooling anyone, however. So Democrats are mostly speaking out and vowing to fight the Texas law. Given their narrow hold on Congress there doesn’t seem to be much they can do, but we can hope it will help inspire a big turnout in the midterms. Republicans, though, are being strangely quiet and pretending that Roe v. Wade isn’t really dead.

The Slogan “Show Me State” Takes on New Meaning

Yesterday the Missouri House released a 400-page report about the 2015 “affair” between not-yet Governor Eric Greitens and his hairdresser, which includes the woman’s testimony. You can read the highlights here. Executive summary: Greitens is a predator, an abuser and a creep. See also “House report stings like the slap it says Eric Greitens delivered to his lover.”

First, let me say that the nation owes this woman and her estranged husband, who persisted in calling media attention to the incident, a debt of gratitude. I understand the Republican Party had its eye on Greitens for greater things, maybe even a presidential run someday. Now even the Republican-dominated Missouri House is calling for him to resign. We’re all dodging a bullet with this guy.

Claire McCaskill is running television ads reminding voters that her probable general election opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, initially supported Greitens when the first accusations came out. But now even Hawley is calling for Greitens to resign, so McCaskill may not get much mileage with that.

Greitens claims to be the victim of a “political witch hunt” and is continuing to push his agenda, which includes right-to-work laws, stripping state employees of worker protections and defunding higher ed. The usual Republican stuff.

Famous Fatuous Fails

This happened a couple of days ago. If you haven’t seen this yet, do watch.

Clearly the local yokel was not ready for prime time.

Jonathan Chait and the Susan Sarandon Hypothesis

I’ve tried to avoid replaying the issues of the election, but it interested me that Jonathan Chait, possibly unwittingly, recently endorsed the Susan Sarandon Hypothesis. Chait wrote,

Imagine what the political world would look like for Republicans had Hillary Clinton won the election. Clinton had dragged her dispirited base to the polls by promising a far more liberal domestic agenda than Barack Obama had delivered, but she would have had no means to enact it. As the first president in 28 years to take office without the benefit of a Congress in her own party’s hands, she’d have been staring at a dead-on-arrival legislative agenda, all the low-hanging executive orders having already been picked by her predecessor, and years of scandalmongering hearings already teed up. The morale of the Democratic base, which had barely tolerated the compromises of the Obama era and already fallen into mutual recriminations by 2016, would have disintegrated altogether. The 2018 midterms would be a Republican bloodbath, with a Senate map promising enormous gains to the Republican Party, which would go into the 2020 elections having learned the lessons of Trump’s defeat and staring at full control of government with, potentially, a filibuster-proof Senate majority.

Instead, Republicans under Trump are on the verge of catastrophe. Yes, they are about to gain a Supreme Court justice, no small thing, a host of federal judges, and a wide array of deregulation. Yet they are saddled with not only the most unpopular president at this point in time in the history of polling, but the potential for a partywide collapse, the contours of which they have not yet imagined. The failure of the Republican health-care initiative was a sobering moment, when their early, giddy visions of the possibilities of full party control of government gave way to an ugly reality of dysfunction, splayed against the not-so-distant backdrop of a roiled Democratic voting base. They have ratcheted back their expectations. But they have not ratcheted them far enough. By the time President Trump has left the scene, what now looks like a shambolic beginning, a stumbling out of the gate, will probably feel like the good old days.

Chait gets things wrong sometime. He may be wrong this time. But he might not be wrong. We’ll see.

The Sarandon Hypothesis is from 2016. I confess I didn’t pay much attention to Sarandon, but as I understand it, she argued that it might be better in the long run if Trump beat Clinton, because Trump would be such an awful president he would destroy the Right and bring on the progressive revolution. A Clinton presidency, on the other hand, would have simply continued the slow death of progressivism in the U.S.

Trump is proving to be such a disaster there might not be anything left of the United States to salvage. But so far, his administration has not helped the Republican Party one bit.

For as unpopular as the president has become, Trump’s own party has been hit even harder when it comes to poll results. Republican support has dropped significantly over the past few weeks, with Americans now disapproving of Republicans 70 percent to 21 percent — a 14 point negative swing from two weeks ago.

The HuffPost aggregator has the Republican Party at 37 percent favorable, 52 percent unfavorable. Democrats aren’t doing much better, however. They’re at favorable 40 percent, unfavorable 50 percent. But you know who’s even less popular? Congress.

So we’re a long way away from seeing whether the Sarandon Hypothesis holds water. The strongest factor working against it, IMO, is the Democratic Party, which still seems reluctant to own up to what it got wrong last year. But we’ll see.

Trump: Everybody Gets a Pony! But Maybe Not Health Insurance

By now you’ve probably heard that Trump is putting the finishing touches on a health care plan that will provide health insurance for everybody.

President-elect Donald Trump said in a weekend interview that he is nearing completion of a plan to replace President Obama’s signature health-care law with the goal of “insurance for everybody,” while also vowing to force drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices in Medicare and Medicaid. …

… Trump said his plan for replacing most aspects of Obama’s health-care law is all but finished. Although he was coy about its details — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles” — he said he is ready to unveil it alongside Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet but we’re going to be doing it soon,” Trump said. He noted that he is waiting for his nominee for secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), to be confirmed. That decision rests with the Senate Finance Committee, which hasn’t scheduled a hearing.

Since he mentioned Tom Price here, one suspects that if there is an actual Trump plan, it’s Tom Price’s. So let’s look at that. Here is what Price has proposed:

1. Get rid of the insurance exchanges and their subsidies. Instead, offer fixed tax credits to help people buy insurance on the private market.

Those tax credits would be fairly modest, ranging from $1,200 a year for people 18 to 35 years of age to $3,000 for those 51 and older. In many regions of the country, that would hardly begin to cover the premiums and out-of-pocket costs for a relatively comprehensive health insurance plan.

2. Insurance companies cannot deny insurance to people with pre-existing conditions provided they been insured continuously for the previous 18 months. If you lose coverage because you can’t make a payment, too bad. No insurance for you.

3. “Expanded” health savings accounts. HSAs are great for young, healthy people who need tax shelters; not so much for anybody else.

4. There would be taxpayer funded high-risk pools for sick people who can’t get insurance. These have been tried in the past and have proved to be bottomless money pits. I’m sure the insurance companies like this idea, though, because it lets them off the hook for insuring really sick people.

Price appears to be seriously low-balling the scope of the problem by proposing to invest a mere $3 billion into state risk pools over a three-year period. Ryan’s “Better Way” plan, for instance, would provide $25 billion over the coming decade, and even that might prove to be woefully inadequate.

5. Price wants to limit the employer tax exclusion for providing health insurance to $8,000 a year for individual policies and $20,000 for families. I suspect people would see their employee benefit health insurance taking bigger bites out of their paychecks.

6. Able-bodied single people would no longer be eligible for Medicaid, no matter how poor they are.

7. Price wants to allow insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines. Republicans are in love with this idea because they think that the competition would force insurance premiums to go down. Nobody who understands the health insurance industry thinks this would work.  See also articles in The Fiscal Times, Forbes, and the New York Times explaining why this is a dumb idea.

What Trump probably will propose is a system that would in theory allow anybody to get insurance, but in practice probably would leave out most or all of the people who gained insurance under the ACA, and more beside. Paul Ryan and other Republicans like to make speeches about giving people “universal access” to health insurance, instead of universal insurance coverage, which I interpret to mean “you can buy all the insurance you want, as long as you can pay for it.” Which, of course, is the catch.

But Trump specifically said,

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump told the Washington Post. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

He’s either lying or he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Of course, both might be true. You either stick with some version of the ACA, or go with a single payer/national health care plan, or throw people into the private insurance market to sink or swim. There really aren’t any other options. Tom Price’s ideas won’t work to make health insurance affordable or  reduce health care costs. Health care costs are the real cause of high premiums, and health care costs are high in the U.S. because we have a for-profit system that allows for rampant price gouging.

The part about allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is something Republicans have fought tooth and nail since Part D was established in 2003. (Medicaid already allows for some negotiation.) President Obama tried to tweak the Medicare system a bit to allow for some negotiation, but Republicans balked at that, too. Part D is a cash cow for the pharmaceutical industry, and those lobbyists aren’t going down without a fight. Trump will be in for a fight from his own party on that one.

(I have to crab about Democrats, too, however. Recently Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment that would have allowed importation of cheaper drugs from other countries. This had enough Republican votes it would have passed, except that a gang of Democrats voted against it.)

 

Worse Than McCarthyism

In the last post I quoted Walter Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics, who criticized Donald Trump’s so-called “plan” to plop a fig leaf over obvious conflicts of interest by allegedly separating himself from his businesses without actually separating himself from his businesses. Such criticism would seem to be to be part of Shaub’s job; he’d be remiss if he said nothing. My understanding is that most people who knows stuff about government ethics agree with Shaub.

Republicans might have reacted to this criticism in many ways. They might have disagreed with it; they might have offered counter-arguments. But here’s what they did, courtesy of  Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee.

On Thursday, Chaffetz opted to go full Salem on the nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics, attacking Shaub for having done his job. The Republican threatened to subpoena Shaub if he refuses to participate in an official transcribed behind-closed doors interview. The calculus here seems to be that if nobody sees this crooked behavior by supposed ethics guardians like Chaffetz, then it didn’t happen.

OGE, set up post-Watergate, is nonpartisan and advises executive branch officials on avoiding conflicts. Shaub’s five-year term expires in January 2018.

Chaffetz demanded in a letter that he appear before lawmakers in the aforementioned closed-door, transcribed interview, to answer questions in a deposition-style setting. Richard Painter, who served as the ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, told the New York Times that this was “political retaliation” by Republicans against nonpartisan ethics officers for doing their basic duty.

Using threats of subpoenas and hearings to intimidate and silence political opponents is an old tactic for the American Right. Sen. Joe McCarthy was infamous for it back in the day, as was the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee.

But why do I claim that what Chaffetz tried to do is worse? Because he had no excuse. At least HUAC and McCarthy were ostensibly trying to investigate espionage and subversion in the United States, even though they were mostly just using said investigations as partisan political tools. But Chaffetz didn’t even bother to concoct some reason to harass Shaub that served some greater good. Back to Dahlia Lithwick in Slate:

In an interview with me on Friday, Norm Eisen—who led ethics initiatives during President Obama’s first term—agreed with Painter’s assessment that this is simply retaliation:

Democrats and Republicans alike, Richard Painter and myself included, are outraged by the chairman’s demand for a closed, Star Chamber–style interrogation of Director Shaub simply because he said exactly what bipartisan experts agree upon: that Trump’s proposed conflicts solution is woefully inadequate. An even more chilling aspect of the chairman’s letter is the not-so-veiled threat to cut OGE’s funding. All of this is merely the latest salvo in all-out attack on ethics oversight. The effort to shut down OCE, the four [Cabinet] nominees who had no ethics vetting who the majority tried to ram through confirmation hearings, Trump’s flouting precedent and the Constitution in his own [conflicts of interest] plan, and now this bullying of Shaub and threat to close OGE.

“It’s open season on ethics in D.C.,” Eisen added.

In the old days the enemy was Communism; now the enemy is ethics.  See also “Earnest: ‘Outrageous’ For Chaffetz To Threaten To Subpoena Ethics Chief” by Matt Shuham at Talking Points Memo.

In other news, Trump has now taken to tweeting insults about Rep. John Lewis. The creature has no shame at all.

Abnormal Is the New Normal?

I was busy doing other things and missed all the fireworks. So I’m still catching up on the dossier scandal. What fun! And then there was Trump’s bizarre “press conference,” in which he pretty much dashed anyone’s lingering hopes that he’d drop out of Asshole Mode once elected.

Trump is going to turn his companies over to his sons, he said. PBS Newshour did a segment on this yesterday that’s very much worth watching.

See also Remarks of Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

The only thing this has in common with a blind trust is the label, “trust.” His sons are still running the businesses, and, of course, he knows what he owns. His own attorney said today that he can’t “un-know” that he owns Trump tower. The same is true of his other holdings. The idea of limiting direct communication about the business is wholly inadequate. That’s not how a blind trust works. There’s not supposed to be any information at all.

Here too, his attorney said something important today. She said he’ll know about a deal if he reads it in the paper or sees in on TV. That wouldn’t happen with a blind trust. In addition, the notion that there won’t be new deals doesn’t solve the problem of all the existing deals and businesses. The enormous stack of documents on the stage when he spoke shows just how many deals and businesses there are.

I was especially troubled by the statement that the incoming administration is going to demand that OGE approve a diversified portfolio of assets. No one has ever talked to us about that idea, and there’s no legal mechanism to do that. Instead, Congress set up OGE’s blind trust program under the Ethics in Government Act. Under that law anyone who wants a blind trust has to work with OGE from the start, but OGE has been left out of this process. We would have told them that this arrangement fails to meet the statutory requirements.

Republicans will do their best to keep Trump’s butt covered on this matter, but it’s also the case that if, someday, they decide he’s a liability to the party and their careers, and they want to get rid of him, the guy comes with a built-in impeachable offense. So that’s something.

With everything else going on, you might not have noticed that yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that could cripple the ability of government to regulate private industry. Also yesterday, as predicted, the Senate — at 1:30 a.m., no less — approved a budget procedure that will allow them to gut the Affordable Care Act through a simple majority vote. The actual repeal legislation is supposed to be ready to go by January 27.

Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearing yesterday went badly enough that Charles Pierce thinks he could nixed for the Secretary of State position.

Our journey into the Twilight Zone continued today, with the Justice Department announcing an investigation of the FBI.

Dr. Ben Carson was grilled by the Senate as the nominee for heading Housing and Urban Development. As expected, Carson barely knew where he was, but the hearing went smoothly enough. He could not promise that the Trump family would not profit from HUD decisions.

And then this happened:

C-SPAN confirmed Thursday afternoon that its online feed had been temporarily interrupted by the Kremlin-backed news outfit RT, formerly known as Russia Today.

Of course.