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THE BIG NEWS
Biden Finally Gives Up on Some of His Republican Friends
It curiously wasn't carried by the major broadcast networks, but President Joe Biden gave a prime-time speech last night from Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a symbolic location in a crucial electoral battleground state. Biden expanded in rather dramatic but entirely accurate fashion on the theme he debuted at a Democratic Party fundraiser last week, when he said that Donald Trump's MAGA movement constitutes "semi-fascism" and a direct threat to democracy. Last night, he said Trump and his MAGA Republicans – though "not every Republican," Biden said – had "placed a dagger at the throat of our democracy" by rejecting elections, fomenting violence, and with their contempt for equal rights, threatening "the very soul of this country."
Biden departed from past practice by calling out Trump and his followers repeatedly by name as violent extremist criminals determined to throw the country backward, strip millions of people of their rights, and while promoting political violence relentlessly "spread lies, lies told for profit and power."
"For a long time, we told ourselves that American democracy was guaranteed. But it's not. We have to protect it. ...
Tonight, asking our nation to come together ... for the single purpose of defending our democracy, regardless of your ideology.
It was definitely one of his better speeches, overdue as it may be. In related news:
- Ginni Thomas, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes for Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt, pressured state officials not only in Arizona but also in Wisconsin to overturn the 2020 election, the Washington Post reports. A widow of one of Justice Thomas's former clerks, who administered a Facebook group of coup plotters with Ginni, also sent emails urging Wisconsin Republican lawmakers to replace the state's electors with a pro-Trump slate.
- Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who has provided invaluable testimony to the House committee investigating Jan. 6, will appear today before a federal grandy jury looking in to that event, ABC News reports. Former deputy White House counsel Pat Philbin will also testify.
- The House Jan. 6 committee has called former GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich to testify, saying it has evidence he was involved in the plot.
- Coup plotter and former Trump attorney John Eastman appeared on Wednesday before the grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, that's investigating the plot to overturn the state's 2020 election results (along with many others). Politico reports that Eastman pleaded the Fifth.
- Former Oath Keepers laywer Kellye SoRelle was arrested in Texas yesterday on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of a federal proceeding, tampering with documents and misdemeanor trespassing in a restricted building for her role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Prosecutors say SoRelle was an important adviser to Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and served as the group's liaison to the Proud Boys, whose leaders have like Rhodes been charged with seditious conspiracy.
- Trump promised full pardons and a government apology to followers who stormed the Capitol at his direction on Jan. 6, should he return to power, and revealed that he is "financially supporting" some of the foot soldiers in his coup attempt. Thomas Webster, a former NYPD cop who attacked and gouged the eyes of an active-duty officer defending the Capitol, yesterday got handed the longest sentence yet in a Jan. 6 case: 10 years in prison.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
More Trumpdates: Passport Problems Explained
So many Trump updates (see what I did there?), so little time. A federal judge did not rule immediately after hearing arguments yesterday over Trump's request to appoint a "special master" to review documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago in the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid last month. NBC News and the Daily Beast elaborate on a point I brought up here yesterday, which is that Trump's decision to store the classified documents he stole along with his passports in a desk drawer constitutes evidence that implicates him directly. Separately, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York said yesterday that the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which she chairs, had struck a deal with Trump and his former accountants to obtain his financial records, ending litigation that began in 2019 when the committee issued a subpoena. Can't run down the clock forever!
What U.S. City Will Be the Next to Lose Running Water?
Water pressure was restored to some homes in Jackson, Mississippi yesterday, but those lucky enough to have functioning taps still need to boil the water before ingesting it, according to the Associated Press. The state capital was claiming "significant progress" in getting its main water treatment plant back online after floods knocked overwhelmed the pumps, but problems at the plant predated the recent extreme weather. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency will visit Jackson today. As the New York Times reports, cities across the country, particularly smaller ones like Jackson, are facing similar problems with their water infrastructure as climate change stresses dilapidated, underfunded infrastructure to the breaking point -- and the infrastructure bill President Biden signed last year barely "scratches the surface of what's needed."
- Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Survives Ambush A man with a gun was detained after pointing it directly into the leader's face, though it did not fire. via the Associated Press.
- Student Test Scores Plunge in Pandemic, Exacerbating Inequality It's "the largest dip in 30 years on the National Assessment of Educational Progress...often called 'the nation's report card.'" via the Washington Post.
- Body Camera Video Shows Ohio Cops Shooting Unarmed Black Man in His Bed Columbus police killed Donovan Lewis, 20, while serving a warrant at 2 a.m.; "they treated Donovan like an animal," the family's attorney says. via NBC News and the Columbus Dispatch.
- Russian Oil Exec Who Opposed Ukraine War Falls Out of Hospital Window Lukoil's announcement of its chairman's demise said Ravil Maganov "passed away following a severe illness" but didn't mention the six-story drop. via Vice News.
- Chicago Officials Promise 'Dignity and Respect' for Migrants Bused in from Texas Since April, Gov. Greg Abbott has expelled more than 7,000 migrants to Washington, DC, New York City, and now to Illinois as a reelection stunt. via the Chicago Tribune.
That's how much California Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Brian Dahle paid at auction for the meat of Cedar the baby goat, even though the little girl that raised him did not want Cedar sent to slaughter. When the girl and her family took Cedar home from the fair, Shasta County Sheriff's deputies drove 500 miles to retrieve the goat and deliver it to the butcher and then, presumably, to Sen. Dahle. Per the Sacramento Bee, the girl's family has filed a lawsuit.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
9/2: It's Casual Friday! As summer winds down, Sam and Emma take the first hour to do a big call-in show! Call in at 646-257-3920 to chat with the MR Crew! Then, they're joined by Mike Duncan of the Revolutions podcast!
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
The woke FBI is coming to make a mess in your house and embarrass you!
It's not right to call him Kermit, because Kermit the Frog could never be so evil.
"This is like losing giant redwoods. I don't think people quite understand the significance -- this is really big."
-- Damon Tighe, a naturalist in Oakland, California, speaking to the Guardian about a massive, smelly, and incredibly ominous die-off of thousands of fish including massive sturgeon in Lake Merritt. Researchers are blaming an algal bloom in the lake for the die-off and suggest the state's megadrought, worsened by climate change, triggered its growth.
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