Is It Time To Go To Non-Partisan Primaries To Address Growing Polarization?

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A segment on MSNBC’s 11th Hour w/ Stephanie Ruhle(06/22/22) delved into the very interesting discussion as to whether, given the staggering levels of polarization in the country, we should change adopt a non-partisan primary voting system. Ruhle’s guest Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America, says this change, which is already in place in several states, notably Alaska, would incentivize candidates to look for support beyond their party affiliation thus making them more likely to seek bipartisan solutions to problems. Unite America is a national organization trying to bridge the growing partisan divide by supporting political reforms and candidates who put people over party.

Troiano told 11th Hour host Ruhle(video at 1:22):“I think we spend a lot of time focused on who we elect, not enough time focusing on how we elect, because it’s the systems of our elections that are really pushing our parties further and further apart, and I think our politicians, as a result, are much more polarized than we the people. We’re not seeing the types of solutions and bipartisan policy making in Congress as the American people want and deserve, and the core reason of that is because of our system of partisan primaries. In the last election, it was only 10% of Americans who elected 83% of Congress, because the vast majority of our elections are decided not in the general election in November, but in the primary election, and that problem is getting even worse this election cycle after the latest round of redistricting. We’re going to have the least competitive elections of our lifetime. It’s going to lead to the least accountable Congress of our lifetime. So if we want different outcomes out of Congress, we have to change the process, and fortunately, there’s a growing movement to do that at the state level all across the country.”

Below are some of United America‘s suggested reforms

Troiano singled out the primary system in Alaska as the “best example” of what should be emulated nationwide, if we are going to address the growing polarization problem. He said: “Senator[Lisa]Murkowski was one of the 14 Republicans who voted to advance the bipartisan gun legislation. She’s the only Republican up for election this year, and what’s notable is that this is the first time where the Senator doesn’t face a partisan primary. She’s standing for election in front of all Alaskan voters because in 2020, Alaskans adopted a ballot measure that replaced both parties primaries with a single non-partisan primary. So all the candidates compete in one election, all the voters get to participate on that ballot, the top four finishers go to the general election and through an instant runoff, whomever wins the majority of support gets elected, and so it gives voters more voice and choice in elections, and it incentivizes candidates and leaders to campaign and be responsive to the whole constituency, not just the 10% who may vote in a partisan primary. Now imagine if additional states were to adopt this reform, we can have dozens of our elected leaders in Congress finally being able to be responsive to the majority of Americans and not the political extremes.”

Troiano also said non-partisan primaries would encourage more people to throw their hats into the political ring without fear of being labeled “spoilers”, something he acknowledged, keeps a lot of otherwise good candidates from both parties, on the sidelines.

Bottom line folks, non-partisan primaries is a very interesting suggestion indeed, which Yours Truly hopes, will be given serious consideration given the crippling levels of polarization in our politics today. Simply put, when the likes of Boebert(CO) and MTG(GA) start showing up in Congress, then reasonable people will agree, that the selection system is surely broken!!

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Is It Time To Hold Fox News Accountable Over Its Role In The January 6th Insurrection?

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An interesting segment on MSNBC’s Katie Phang Show(06/11/22) delved into the burning question among members of the public, as to whether Fox News should be held accountable for what many believe, was an incitement by some of its leading hosts towards the violent insurrection at the Capitol on 01/06/2021. This question is resurfacing because a former senior editor at Fox News, one Chris Stirewalt, who was known to openly criticize the network’s super close ties to the Trump administration and its far right extremist backers, is set to testify at the January 6th Committee’s second public hearing set for Monday(06/13/22). It is expected that Stirewalt will draw a direct connection between some of the leading insurrectionists and Fox News’ hosts. Katie Phang’s guest Danielle Moodie, who hosts the Woke AF Podcast, thinks Fox News should absolutely be held accountable for it’s role in the January 6th insurrection.

Host Katie Phang:“One of the witnesses on Monday, we know, is Chris Stirewalt. He was fired from Fox after calling Arizona for Biden. He’s also been known to say Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party. Do you think the committee is going to start zeroing in on the White House’s[Trump’s] interactions with the network Fox News?”

Danielle Moodie:“I would love for them to do that. I would love for the Department of Justice to do that, I’d love for the FCC to do that, I mean the reality here is that Fox News for the longest time, is the propaganda arm, it is a dangerous entity, and so I think it is incredibly important for them not to just look at this and say, ‘Oh well, freedom of speech, we can’t touch it’. We have to see how all of these pieces fit together, and I think that without Fox News, you wouldn’t have the kind of amplification of the insurrection, and replacement theory, and all of the things that we know that these militias…and the Trump base holds dear, and so yes, I think that they absolutely should be zeroing in on Fox at some point, and I hope it’s soon.”

Bottom line folks, we can complain about the rise of White nationalism and other far right violent extremist groups all we want, but unless we are willing and able to confront the Fox News engine that we know, powers all these dangerous groups, then we might as well start preparing for the next, possibly successful insurrection. If the January 6th Commitee is serious about its stated goal of preventing another violent insurrection, then as Danielle Moodie correctly points out, it necessarily has to deal with the role of Fox News in the 2021 insurrection, and potentially, a future one. Put another way, it’s about time Fox News’ freedom of speech defense got put to the test. Incitement to violence is a well known exception to a freedom of speech claim.

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Dahlia Lithwick: 1/6 Hearing Established Requisite Intent For Trump’s Criminal Prosecution

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Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick appeared on MSNBC’s The Beat w/Ari Melber(06/10/22) where she made the most compelling legal case yet, for criminally prosecuting Trump. Lithwick told host Ari Melber that the televised January 6th hearings established the mens rea–the requisite intent for such criminal prosecution. Put another way, DOJ has enough evidence to initiate a criminal prosecution against Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 elections because he was told by people he trusts that what he was doing was wrong, potentially criminal, but he proceeded to do it anyway. The only question left is whether AG Merrick Garland wants to criminally prosecute him.

Dahlia Lithwick(1:30):“When[Rep] Liz Cheney said he lit the match, he set the fuse, that is Donald Trump, and it seemed to me the entire organizing theme of last night’s hearing was, this starts at the top…this starts with Trump. And I think it’s almost impossible to look at the videos you just sort of showed in that montage, and not see this animating theme, which is, everyone around Donald Trump told him no. Mark Short, Joint Chiefs, Vice President Pence, his own Attorney General said this is unlawful, you have no basis for this, and he went forward, and so to the extent that there is mens rea–the intent to do something that you know is illegal–we’ve always heard, ‘Oh, Donald Trump can’t form the requisite intent, he didn’t know what was going on, he’s delusional’, well now we know, that’s why Ivanka is important, that the one person he listened to, evidently told him no, and when you have everyone around him telling him no, he can no longer say, ‘I’m not culpable because I didn’t understand what was happening’…”

It cannot be restated enough just how significant, Lithwick’s legal analysis is. The decision by most prosecutors on whether or not to pursue criminal charges against someone, almost always comes down to that Latin phrase–mens rea. If they can show that you knew the conduct you are about to engage in is illegal, and you did it anyway, then that is a case they can secure a conviction for, and you are almost definitely getting prosecuted/charged with a crime. This by the way, is also the reason insane people get off the hook even for serious crimes–prosecutors can’t establish the requisite intent(that the insane person knew what they were doing was wrong). 

Bottom line folks, as Dahlia Lithwick brilliantly laid it out on MSNBC’s The Beat show, after only one public hearing by the January 6th Committee, the mens rea requirements for a potential criminal prosecution of Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results have already been met and surpassed, meaning DOJ can easily secure a conviction against Trump if it chooses to criminally prosecute him. The only question left is whether AG Garland has the fortitude, or desire, to do so. 

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Rep Mo Brooks Says Teaching Proper Moral Values Is The Solution To Our Gun Violence Problem

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Rep Mo Brooks(R-AL) on Fox News Sunday(05/29/22) with host Sandra Smith

Rep Mo Brooks(R-AL), who has an A rating from the National Rifle Association, appeared on Fox News Sunday(05/29/22) to discuss the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Asked by host Sandra Smith whether he would support stricter laws regarding the sale of firearms as a way of reducing gun violence, Rep Brooks gave an interesting response, saying the solution to our gun problems is to teach our young people proper moral values. Yup, lax Republican laws that make it easier for teens to acquire deadly weapons are not the problem, just teach the young ones proper moral values.

Host Sandra Smith(2:40):“Gallup research does find that a majority of Americans, 52% of them, are in favor of stricter gun laws when it comes to the sale of firearms. So to the majority of Americans who feel that way, you say what?”

Rep Mo Brooks:“Back when I was growing up we didn’t have these mass killings, okay, they weren’t there, they didn’t occur, or if they did, I certainly was not cognisant of them, and they were very very very rare, so rare, that I cannot recall a single instant in which one of those things occured during my youth. Today they are much more common. What’s the big difference between when I was growing up and today? The big difference is a decline in the moral values, a decline in the respect for human life. If we teach proper moral values, if we teach respect for human life, if we properly address mental health issues that may somehow or another be associated with all these things, then that is the way to fix the problem.”

Now, folks, one doesn’t have to be a Havard educated genius to realize that the kind of fix Rep Brooks is recommending(moral values reset) for our clear and present gun violence problem, will take generations to materialize, if it ever materializes. It this is the GOP’s position(moral values reset), even after the horrific Uvalde shooting, where we witnessed innocent 4th graders getting slaughtered in their classroom, then I hate to say it folks, get ready for more mass shooting horrors. There is no solution coming from Congress.

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Sen Whitehouse:”Supreme Court Is Not A Conservative Court, It’s A Captured Court”

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Senator Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI) appeared on MSNBC’s Ayman show(05/28/22), where he dropped a bombshell, telling the host Ayman Mohyeldin that the U.S. Supreme Court is not a conservative court, but “a captured court”a court captured by special interest dark money groups. Senator Whitehouse added that the situation with Roberts Supreme Court is similar to what happened in the 19th century, when the railroads captured the railroad commissions, so that the commissions would rubber stamp whatever prices the railroads wanted to charge.

Senator Whitehouse(video at 2:55):“This is not a conservative court, this is a captured court in the same way that in the 19th century, railroads took over the railroad commissions so that railroad commissions would let them charge whatever prices they want. Private interests behind the Federalist Society have controlled the last three Republican appointees to the United States Supreme Court, and they had massive influence in the selection of Roberts and Alito, so that’s really five, and that’s a majority of the court that was put in place by this special interest operation, and they are now delivering for the benefit of those big interests who put them on the court. It is not a conservative court, it is a captured court, and it is captured by special interests.”

Sen Whitehouse said the Disclose Act currently languishing in the U.S. Senate, would rein in dark money’s corrupting influence on the Supreme Court, but like other important pieces of legislation,it has fallen victim to the filibuster road block, with Democratic Senators Joe Manchin(WV) and Kyrsten Sinema(AZ) refusing to budge on any exceptions to the filibuster rules(60 vote threshold to pass laws).

Bottom line folks, there is no question that dark money interests have taken over the U.S. Supreme Court, and we desperately need the Disclose Act to rein in the said dark money interests. Dems should not ease the pressure on Sens Sinema and Manchin re exceptions to the filibuster rules, however doomed such efforts might appear. Keep applying pressure on the Biden saboteurs all the way to the Fall elections!!

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Lawyer Group Wants Ted Cruz Disbarred For His Efforts To Overturn 2020 Elections

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Michael Teter, the Managing Director of a lawyer group called The 65 Project, appeared on MSNBC’s Ayman show(05/28/22) to discuss his group’s efforts to among other things, have Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) disbared for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Teter says Senator Cruz, by agreeing to represent Trump and some Pennsylvania lawmakers in their “bogus lawsuits” at the U.S. Supreme Court, “lent the respect and credibility of the legal profession to the cause”, something Teter contends, runs afoul of the legal profession’s rules of professional conduct.


Michael Teter specifically said(video at 2:40):“[Senator]Ted Cruz, like many public officials, sought to overturn the election. He, led the charge in his own words, to do so, but he took an extra step, which is that he agreed to represent Donald Trump, he agreed to represent several Pennsylvania Republicans in their bogus lawsuits before the United States Supreme Court, and when he agreed to take on that representation, he lent his law license, he lent the respect and credibility of the legal profession to the cause, and in doing so, he then is obligated to abide by the rules of professional conduct. He failed to do so, and he should be punished for that.” 

Turns out The 65 Project is also targeting Texas Attorney General and super Trumper Ken Paxton for disbarment. You’ll remember AG Paxton ran to the U.S. Supreme Court asking the high court to overturn the results of the 2020 elections in an effort to bolster Trump’s bogus claims of a rigged election.


Bottom line folks, we have seen hundreds of regular folks being paraded in federal court to be held accountable for their roles in the January 6th insurrection. However, politicians like Ted Cruz and company, who assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, have largely come out unscathed for their highly unpatriotic behavior. It’s therefore very encouraging to see the good folks at The 65 Project trying to exact some accountability from Trump-allied politicos who aided and abetted his insurrection. The ideal punishment would of course be to bar them from any future public office, but we’ll take disbarment for those of them in the legal profession, for now.

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Did Ginni Thomas Collude With Her Supreme Court Husband In Effort To Overturn Election Results?

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Virginia “Ginni” Thomas with her husband, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

An interesting segment on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes delved into a Washington Post piece by Emma Brown, which dropped the bombshell that Ginni Thomas’ role in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results was much more than has been reported thus far. Specifically, Emma Brown’s piece included two new emails which show Ginni Thomas pressuring Arizona lawmakers to send in fake electors for Trump, even though Joe Biden had won the state. One of the lawmakers Ginni emailed is Arizona State Representative Shawnna Bolick, She is the wife of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick. Justice Bolick is a longtime close friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and the two worked together before Thomas joined the high court.

The two justices are apparently so close, that Thomas is a godfather to one of Bolick’s sons. Crucially, State Rep Shawnna Bolick is currently running to be Arizona’s Secretary of State, a position that would give her power to do exactly what Ginni Thomas was asking her to do with the 2020 election results. As host Chris Hayes correctly points out, this naturally raises questions as to whether Ginni and Clarence Thomas were working in tandem/colluding to help Trump overturn the 2020 election results. The answer to this question is crucial in determining Justice Thomas’ continued fitness for the high court

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes(video at 0:47): “The latest revelation about what Ginni Thomas did in the wake of the 2020 election shows a level of tactical sophistication that was clearly absent from those absolutely crazy texts, and crucially, these actions were connected to her husband, the longest sitting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, in a way that makes it harder for him and his defenders to fall back on the claim that they keep their work and personal lives separate. The Washington Post reports that Ginni Thomas emailed two Arizona Republican lawmakers pressuring them to help reverse the[2020]election results. The first of the two emails came days after Joe Biden was declared the winner…Thomas sent that message to Russell “Rusty” Bowers, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives…The other recipient was State Representative Shawnna Bolick, wife of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick. Justice Bolick is a longtime close friend of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. They worked together before Thomas was appointed to the court and Thomas is even the godfather to one of his sons. Shawnna Bolick responded to Ginni Thomas right away…She went on to give Ginni Thomas guidance on how to submit complaints about any of her experiences with voter fraud in Arizona. Sure enough, just a couple of months later, Bolick introduced a bill that would give the Arizona legislature the power to throw out election results, just as Ginni Thomas wanted them to do. Luckily, that bill never made it out of committee, but Shawnna Bolick is now running for Secretary of State in Arizona, a role where she would oversee elections.”

There’s no other way to interpret Chris Hayes’ commentary other than, Ginni Thomas, in her efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, sought out the Bolicks because she knew they were close to her Supreme Court husband. She wasn’t just some unhinged spouse sending out crazy texts/emails about overturning the elections, as her Republican defenders would have you believe. This strongly suggests that Ginni was colluding with her husband in these efforts, and as host Chris Hayes correctly points out, we at the very minimum, deserve an investigation into any such collusion to clear up the air. As it currently stands, this appearance of impropriety casts a dark shadow on the high court.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeated stated, Democrats are horrible at messaging. This Ginni Thomas saga is a real scandal that they could have/still can capitalize on, as we approach the midterm elections. There’s already great liberal apprehension about the Supreme Court following the recent leak of a majority opinion, and Democrats can make a compelling case that a vote for them is a vote to save the high court.

But don’t take Yours Truly’s word for it, here’s what another MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan said regarding Ginni and Justice Thomas, “OK, fine you[congressional Dems] don’t want to try and impeach him? Why not call for him to resign? Why not hold hearings? Make a big deal of this. What do you think Republicans would be doing if the situation was reversed, and this was a liberal Justice?” We know what would happen, Mehdi. Republicans would have booted the liberal Justice out of the high court by now, whether or not they could prove spousal collusion. That’s the difference, and it’s sad.

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Former AG Holder: Americans Should Prepare For An “Ideologically Driven” Supreme Court Not Tethered To Precedent

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Former AG Holder on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports show(05/12/22)

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports show (05/12/22) to discuss his new book “Our Unfinished March”. During his interview, he was asked about the controversy caused by the leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion dealing with abortion, to which he gave a very interesting response. He said while the leak itself was a serious issue, the bigger problem Americans need prepare themselves for, is an “ideologically driven” Supreme Court, that will have little regard to precedent–an issue Democrats need to focus on as we approach the midterm elections.

Former AG Holder(video at 0:35):“I think the leak is unprecedented both in its breadth, its scope, and its completeness. We’ve heard rumors before about where the court is going to go, how the justices perhaps were aligned, but never actually seen a draft opinion, and that’s serious. That’s something that needs to be addressed. But what we really need to focus on is what’s contained in that leaked opinion, and where the court appears to be lining up. Looks like they are going to overturn Roe v Wade, inconsistent with the notion that you adhere to precedent that people have relied on over the course of the last 50 years. It’s an attack on the right to privacy, and so the question has to be asked, is it only going to be abortion that is going to be at risk, or is same sex marriage going to be at risk? The regulation of contraception, is that going to be at risk? Even interacial marriage. All of these things are based on the right to privacy, which this opinion in its form as we saw it, really goes after that right to privacy.”

Holder added that people need to get prepared for an “ideologically driven” Supreme Court, that is “not going to adhere to the extent that they should, to precedent.” This is of course very troubling given the weighty issues the high court is getting ready to deal with–affirmative action, gun cases, voting rights, etc. Democrats can capitalize on this Supreme Court issue, but only if they present it in AG Holder’s terms–an untethered high court that threatens many of the legal precedents we have come to rely on. This approach will likely drive more people to the polls this Fall, as opposed to only presenting it as an abortion/reproductive rights issue.

Bottom line folks, Dems sucking at messaging is nothing new. “Leakgate” presents them with an opportunity to drive Dem voters afraid of an untethered Supreme Court, to the polls in record numbers, and bucking the midterm election trend which typically favors the party out of power(GOP). Hopefully Dems will get their Supreme Court messaging right this time around by railing against the MAGA Supreme Court as an affront to all the legal precedents we have come to rely on for decades.

It’s also worth noting that former AG Holder, a self-described “institutionalist”, said that after initially being opposed to a criminal prosecution of former President Trump, he now believes, given the revelations about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, that he needs to be held accountable. Surely, current AG Garland has to take this seriously, coming from a former prosecutor, who recently held his position.

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Elie Mystal Says If Rep Marjorie Taylor Green Wasn’t A White Republican She’d Be Charged With Perjury

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Elie Mystal on MSNBC’s Cross Connection Show(04/23/22)

Elie Mystal, Justice Correspondent for The Nation and Author of the New York Times bestselling book “Allow Me To Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide To The Constitution”, appeared on MSNBC’s Cross Connection show on 04/23/22. Mystal dropped a bombshell on the show, telling host Tiffany Cross that the only reason Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene(R-GA) has not been charged with perjury for her highly evasive court deposition on 04/22/22, was because she is a White Republican woman. He added that if Reps Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, or Ayana Pressley(all women of color), had engaged in similar conduct, they would have been hit with perjury charges before they validated their parking. Whoa!!

Host Tiffany Cross(video at 1:06):“She[MTG]was clearly involved and I’m just curious your thoughts on what repercussions this case might have on other pro-insurrectionists who are currently in office, or currently running for office?”

Elie Mystal: “Well, I don’t think there are going to be repercussions because she is a White Republican woman, quite frankly. Black people cannot get away with this. The evasiveness that we saw at her hearing yesterday, where she all but perjured herself versus the tape that you just played, Black people cannot get away with that. Everybody at home knows that. Everybody at home knows that if[Reps]Rashida Tlaib, if Ilhan Omar, if Ayanna Presley had tried what Marjorie Taylor Greene tried yesterday, they would have caught a perjury charge before they validated their parking…At the end of the day, what Marjorie Taylor Greene did was perjury and if she was a non-White person, she would be at least been investigated for that. In fact, if she was just a Democrat, she would be at least investigated for that. You know how I know that? Because I’m old enough to remember when Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for less. The evasiveness that Bill Clinton did in his deposition was less than what we all saw Marjorie Taylor Greene do yesterday…Republicans, and White people get away with this all the time.”

There is no other way to interpret Elie Mystal’s remarks other than race and class, even in 2022, are still major factors when it comes to how our criminal justice system makes decisions about who to prosecute and who not to. According to Elie Mystal, White Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene are the biggest beneficiaries of such decisions because they are almost always let off the hook for conduct that Blacks and Browns would almost certainly be prosecuted for–a sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, it’s not a lot to ask that “equal justice under law” mean exactly that–equal justice under law. It doesn’t take a genius to realize, given her numerous public utterances, that Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene serially lied under oath on Friday 04/22/22.

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Pressure Mounting On GOP Senator Mike Lee To Come Clean Over His Role In Overturning 2020 Election

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Interesting segment on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show(04/19/22) looked into the intense pressure building on Senator Mike Lee(R-UT) from his hometown newspapers, for him to come clean over his involvement with efforts to assist former President Trump to overturn the 2020 elections, and specifically, his role in the fake electors scheme. As Maddow correctly pointed out, public statements attributed to Sen Lee regarding Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections are in stark contrast with his newly released private text messages, which clearly show his deep involvement with the fake electors scheme.

It appears Sen Lee’s hometown newspapers have seized on this glaring discrepancy between public “constitutional conservative” Mike Lee, and private insurrectionist Mike Lee, and are demanding that the Senator finally come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 elections. The newspapers have zeroed in on the Utah State Republican Convention scheduled for Saturday(04/23/22, for Sen Lee to finally come clean about this issue.

Maddow referenced an editorial from a leading Utah newspaper(video at 4:15): “Just today, the Salt Lake Tribune has released a new editorial under this headline, Saturday’s Utah State Republican Convention would be a great place for Mike Lee to come clean…It’s past time for Mike Lee to start fessing up to all he knows about the plot to set aside the results of an honest and fair election in order to keep Donald Trump in power. We know Utah’s Senior Senator had a much greater role in that plot than he has previously acknowledged. His constituents deserve a much more detailed accounting of what went on and the extent of Senator Lee’s participation in it. Yesterday would be a great time for Senator Lee to come clean. Saturday’s State Republican Convention would be a really good opportunity for that too.”

Bottom line folks, it is very encouraging to see the media in Utah pressuring Senator Lee to come clean about his involvement with Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. To date, there has been been very little individual accountability for members of Congress who were clearly involved in Trump’s illegal efforts to overturn the 2020 elections and hopefully, this is the beginning of some much overdue reckoning for members of Congress. It would be great if Texas newspapers would also inquire into whether public “constitutional conservative” Ted Cruz was likewise, a private insurrectionist.

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