Remember last week, when I was like “I sure hope we aren’t about to get a deluge?” I would like to personally apologize to you all for jinxing this week’s news like that, because after six years you’d think I would know better. At any rate, there’s more election rejection news than you can shake a stick at right now, which is perhaps not shocking with Election Day only a week away. I’ll continue to keep folks posted on the many many threads happening.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not an election!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
On the Election Rejection front, our circuses have circuses this week. Here’s what has happened:
- Election Rejection: Jan 6 Stuff. The House panel is moving forward with several types of interviews this week. Most notably, they are interviewing former Trump aide Hope Hicks, and they also have begun interviewing Secret Service staff. The committee also moved forward with reviewing 8 contested emails that Trump’s lawyers are trying to block, not waiting for the Ninth Circuit to review Trump’s lawyers’ appeal.
- Insurrection Update: FBI Tour of Mar-A-Lago. It was another comparatively quiet week on this front. That said, the Mar-A-Lago investigation team did add another veteran prosecutor to its ranks, and they are also seeking to compel testimony from another of Trump’s allies. It’s likely we’ll see more news on this story soon.
- Insurrection Update: Other Trump Cases. A lot has happened on this front just in the last day. Remember last week, when Justice Thomas went ahead and granted an administrative stay on an order compelling Graham to comply with the Georgia investigation? This was indeed so that the full court could consider Graham’s request to freeze the whole thing, and they tossed that sucker out with a single paragraph of opinion–if I had to summarize the basic gist, it would be “lol nice try.” Meanwhile, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was ordered to testify in the same case earlier in the week. That said, Trump did have more luck in his attempt to get SCOTUS to block releasing his taxes after a lower court compelled them— because Chief Justice Roberts barred the IRS from giving them over again just today.
- Insurrection Update: Home Attack. I honestly wasn’t sure where to put this one, and eventually decided to just give the story its own paragraph, though I do think it shares roots with January 6 news. At any rate, Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked in their home in CA this week, and the assailant apparently yelled “Where is Nancy?” before assaulting him with a hammer. The assailant pretty quickly admitted that he had political motives once in custody, apparently planning to break Nancy Pelosi’s kneecaps due to her work in the House. He is being charged with several felonies, including an attempt to kidnap a federal officer.
- Original Flavor Election Rejection. Of course, on top of everything else above, there’s also news about our current election cycle, which is rapidly coming to a head. In Arizona, a federal judge refused to restrain people who are camping outside of ballot boxes, claiming that it is protected free speech to video people dropping off their ballots. Needless to say, the Justice Department intervened in this court case today, arguing that this behavior is illegal under the Voting Rights Act. Meanwhile, more than 100 lawsuits have been filed about November 8 already, despite the fact that Election Day hasn’t even happened yet. (Most of the lawsuits are about how early voting and absentee voting are bad and lead to voter fraud, because of course they are.)
The melange above makes the Biden Rebuilding front look quiet, but there’s still news on that front as well. Here’s what I have for you:
- Biden Miscellany.* There was a fair amount of news this week, as there is every week, regarding the ongoing fight with inflation and how mortgage rates continue to climb because of it. That said, there was also a lot of news about a United Nations report published this week, which notes that the United States (and many other countries) are not hitting emission targets under the 2015 Paris climate accord. Needless to say, this has a lot of implications, and none of them are good, though presumably this will color negotiations at the next world climate summit, which will take place in Egypt next month.
Your New Normal:
- Contagion Corner. There were a lot of stories this week about COVID, unsurprisingly. Most were regarding the threats created by reinfection (spoiler: they’re not great) and the likely risk of high transmission rates if we see an uptick in new variants over the winter. That said, there were also a few lingering stories about how white people in Republican states are more likely to die young, both from COVID and from other health risks.
- Muskrat New Habitat. After several months of refusing to cover Elon Musk threatening to buy Twitter, on account of he kept shooting himself in the foot, I finally have to cover this story because Elon Musk actually bought Twitter this week. So far, it’s just as obnoxious as you were probably expecting–he immediately fired a bunch of executives and stopped enforcing safety-based content restrictions. Then news leaked that he plans to also lay off at least a quarter of the company, which will be thousands of people. Finally, today he publicly haggled with Stephen King about how much a blue check mark should cost, so uh, we all got to watch that one happen. I want to stress that this takeover is horrifying and newsworthy because it’s not a merger or a corporate takeover; instead, Elon Musk now privately owns one of the most influential social media companies in the world because he paid $44B out of pocket for it. That is a truly staggering amount of money for one individual to even own, let alone be able to throw around, and we will likely see repercussions from this across many sectors for a long time.
- Recent Court Resilience. These stories aren’t “good news” so much as “signs the court system can sometimes work correctly,” but two different people who engaged in high-profile political violence were convicted appropriately this week. In Michigan, three men were convicted for a plan to kidnap the state governor, though their sentencing won’t be until December. And in Wisconsin, a man was convicted of intentional homicide for killing six people when he drove his SUV into a Christmas day parade, despite his claims that as a sovereign citizen he shouldn’t be prosecuted.
So that’s all I have for this week, and I think we can agree that it was more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this pitball adventure and a more functional government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me extra sleep because it has been a long week and it’s only Tuesday!