A lot of things happened. Here are some of them.
A Masterclass In Dignity Loss
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) got so bold as to call the insurrectionists terrorists this week, enraging his brethren in the Republican Party’s fringier flank, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). But the loudest and most influential voice to speak up was Tucker Carlson:
- “It was not a violent terrorist attack, sorry!” Carlson declared on Wednesday night, after showing a clip of Cruz’s comments. “So why are you telling us it was, Ted Cruz?”
- Just 24 hours later, Cruz was on the air with the cable host, groveling. He claimed the word choice was “sloppy and frankly it was dumb.”
- Carlson was not letting him off that easily: “I don’t buy that.”
- The commentator went on to make the senator squirm for three excruciating minutes, repeatedly saying he doesn’t believe him, before inviting him to indulge in conspiracy theorizing that the insurrection was planned by the feds as a way to let the senator back into the fold. Cruz does so with gusto.
Some Reviews Of That Performance
Mandates and More
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two major vaccine mandate cases today: one that requires employees of large employers to get the vaccine or submit to weekly testing, and one which requires health-care workers who work at facilities that receive federal funding to be vaccinated. The cases are important on their face, given that over 830,000 Americans have already died of the virus.
- But there’s more going on under the hood. These cases could have massive ramifications for how the Court treats federal agencies’ authority.
- Given the paralysis of Congress, the Court deciding to constrain the power of the Biden administration to act unilaterally could, in turn, have dramatic policy implications for his presidency.
- “It is about what the Court is willing to let the administration do,” Keith Bradley, co-chair of the Squire Patton Boggs appellate and Supreme Court practice, told TPM.
From Whence It Came
Cyber Ninjas, the cybersecurity firm that was plucked from obscurity to lead the Arizona GOP’s shambolic audit of the 2020 election, is no more.
- Doug Logan, the conspiracy theorizing CEO of the company, has been fired, a spokesperson said, as have the rest of staff.
- That news came on the same day the firm was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay $50,000 a day (a day!) until it turns over records to the Arizona Republic newspaper.
Choosing Words Carefully
Jan. 6 sparked an outpouring of reflections, from first-hand accounts of the violence to essays about the dangerous precipice we are teetering on as a democracy. For some, it has inspired strong language.
- President Joe Biden delivered a speech Thursday needling the former President and condemning his anti-democracy crusade in equal measure. “I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of Democracy,” he intoned.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tacked in the opposite direction from Cruz’s since-retracted statements.
- Graham this time last year: “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.”
- Graham Thursday: “What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden. I wonder if the Taliban who now rule Afghanistan with al-Qaeda elements present, contrary to President Biden’s beliefs, are allowing this speech to be carried?”
- Gov. Ron Desantis (R-FL) has accompanied Graham on his journey.
- Last year: “I actually am glad to see some of these people being arrested from the DC thing, because I think the prosecutions will really make a difference.”
- This year: “The D.C.-NY media, this is their Christmas — January 6th,” he said.
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), striking a different tone, from a very lonely wing of her party: “Today marks one year since the U.S. Capitol was stormed by a mob incited by our former president,” she said. “Those of us who were there to fulfill our constitutional responsibilities can never erase what we saw and heard.”
Like aging Avengers, former Presidents felt compelled to warn the country about the danger it’s in on the Jan. 6 anniversary.
- President Barack Obama said, reflecting on the insurrection last year, that “democracy is at greater risk today than it was back then.”
- He joined Carter, who stated in a Times op-ed: “Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy.”
- Bill Clinton: “Far too many elected officials and public figures continue to spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, to sow distrust in our system, and to make it harder to cast a ballot and easier for partisan legislatures to overturn free and fair election they don’t like the results.”
- George W. Bush was notably quiet, though he has previously denounced the insurrection. Former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared at the Capitol remembrances with some disgruntled comments about his Republican colleagues’ handling of Jan. 6 and its aftermath.
- The only other living former president not named, of course — the man himself — struck a markedly different tone.
Other Key Jan. 6 Reads
CNN: Capitol Police officer who suffered concussion on January 6 is latest to sue Trump seeking accountability
WaPo: Biden breaks his silence: Inside his decision to forcefully denounce Trump
TPM: This County GOP Is Paying Tribute To Jan. 6, ‘The Most Significant Patriot Event Of 2021’
Mike Pompeo emerged on Jan. 6 from relative silence to … talk to the New York Post about his weight-loss regimen?
It is pretty impressive, we’ll give him that.
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