Where Things Stand: Cheney Ousted For Refusing To Whitewash The Insurrection
Prime Membership Required

Today in Congress we’re seeing a pseudo reckoning for the Jan. 6 insurrection playing out in real time.

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The Real Story on Cheney’s Ouster
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The big story is that Liz Cheney was ousted from her leadership position for not supporting the Big Lie of the stolen election and for not endorsing the insurrection. But we knew that was coming. The big story today had to do with how the vote was held. These are usually recorded votes and secret ballots. That was the case last month when Cheney retained her position by a decisive margin. Today it was a voice vote. After the vote, as Tierney Sneed notes here, a request for a recorded vote was denied.

This tells you the real story of what happened here.

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Let The Record Clearly Show …

Four months after the worst insurrection since the Civil War, the House GOP ousted one of its leaders for not condoning the vast Trump-led conspiracy to overturn the election that culminated with the insurrection. That Liz Cheney is a firebrand conservative and the scion of one of conservatism’s leading families for the last half century only sharpens the point. American democracy may be past the event horizon and we still not know it.

Big Day On the Hill

We have a beehive of activity on the Hill today, a combination of the Liz Cheney ousting and several committee hearings, all of which one way or the other flows directly from the Jan. 6 insurrection.

We, as in the nation, are still grappling (poorly) with the aftermath of what happened then. We, as in TPM, decided it was worth covering today as one big Jan. 6 story with distinct but highly related moving parts. And we’re doing it right here. I hope this gives you more context and grounding in where we are four months after the attack on the Capitol than a bunch of disparate stories about separate hearings would. Feedback welcome, as always. Check it out.

Perverse Incentives
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As you’ve likely seen, what began as civil disturbances in East Jerusalem has cycled into a full scale military engagement between Israel and the Hamas quasi-state in Gaza. Every level of these issues trace back more than a century, or decades, depending on which dimension of the interlocking stalemates you look at. But we shouldn’t ignore the way this particular conflagration has been spurred and accelerated by the protracted crisis of government within Israel itself. Having helped drive the crisis, Benjamin Netanyahu, now acting as the caretaker Prime Minister, has little incentive to deescalate it.

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Where Things Stand: Hawley’s Been Defending Extremism Since His Teen Years
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Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) raised fist — coupled with his vote against the Electoral College certification and various other instances of stolen-election fearmongering — has earned him accolades with the Trump true believers and made him one of the most prominent faces of insurrection incitement, aside from Trump himself and, perhaps, Ted Cruz.

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Again on Over-Negotiating
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I wanted to add or emphasize a point about yesterday’s post on whether Biden is ‘over-negotiating’. The current dynamic is almost certainly driven by Sen. Joe Manchin’s demand for bipartisan legislation, or at least making protracted, do-everything-you-can efforts to achieve bipartisan deals. But that doesn’t really answer the question. It just frames it.

What I mean is this.

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Watch the Vote Count

Very interesting to see this backdraft of opposition to Kevin McCarthy’s role in the ouster of Liz Cheney. She’s toast. She’s going to be replaced by the arch-toady Elise Stefanik. But the margin of the vote will be instructive. These are secret ballots. So everyone gets the opportunity to make their point free of repercussions or payback.

Is Biden Over-Negotiating?
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Sen. Bernie Sanders has signaled an increasing unease at the way the Biden White House is negotiating with Republicans about the size and scope of a major national infrastructure plan – now going under the heading of the American Jobs Plan (hard infrastructure) and the American Family Plan (caring economy). I’m inclined to agree with Sanders, though this is one of those difficult cases in which it’s hard to know really what is happening because real negotiations are behind closed doors and difficult to interpret. Do Biden and his top aides really think they can get to a good bill with Republicans or are they working through a process, which they assume will fail, to put a 50 vote Democratic bill on the best footing?

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Alum News

I am so excited, ecstatic about this that I had to share it. TPM alum Versha Sharma, who many of you remember, has just been appointed Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. You can read more about it here.

It feels like a stolen valor thing to say I’m proud. That’s really for Versha, her family and friends. But I’m proud to say I knew her when.

| Prime

Arizona’s Republican governor recently authorized round-the-clock law-enforcement protection for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs after she received a wave of death threats. 

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| News

A New Hampshire town of just 16,000 residents has become the focal point of MAGA-world fantasies positing that a reversal of President Trump’s 2020 defeat is just around the corner. Their hopes are pinned to an audit beginning on Tuesday that is looking at a discrepancy that arose in the recount of a state representative race in Windham.

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| Weekly Primers

With the Texas House approving an election overhaul bill last week, the Republican-controlled legislature is entering the final stage of its push to impose new voter restrictions while giving partisan poll watchers more power at election sites.

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| News

As Virginia approached the peak of its COVID surge last January, Robyn Sweet was sick with the disease and caring for a patient who was dying from it.

Then she heard the news: her father had been arrested for invading the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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