National News Roundup: Year 2, Week 40 (October 21–27)

This week’s news was a poisoned pill that is very, very hard to swallow for many of us. I don’t think I can do anything that makes this information easier to sit with, so instead I’m just going to tell you that I’m here for you, and so’s your comfort food of choice. (Mine’s ice cream, which is always here for me — until I have eaten it. Ours is a complicated friendship.)

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This week’s news contains some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise — I’m a lawyer, not an entitlement! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

This was a frankly unprecedented week of politically-motivated violence in our country, which appears to have been partially incited by the far right. This phenomenon, particularly when Trump also blames the violence on the media, is a serious perversion of our First Amendment rights. I firmly believe this should be treated as related to other constitutional crises, and have included it in this section accordingly. Here are the three big things that happened on this front this week:

We also saw a couple of instances of Casual Disregard of Governing Norms this week, and neither one was especially reassuring against the backdrop above. Here are the main things to know:

I’m honestly not even sure how to classify the final story in Constitutional Crisis Corner, because it’s pretty much just authoritarian thuggery at work. I guess we’ll call it Threats to Due Process? At any rate, here’s the short version:

  • Julie Swetnick Is Investigated. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and apparent ghoul Chuck Grassley has referred Julie Swetnick, one of Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers, to the Department of Justice for criminal investigation. For those of you playing the home game, why yes, this is the same accuser that the FBI didn’t interview and the panel Republicans took time to slut-shame in the middle of the FBI investigation. Apparently nobody can be bothered to talk to her when a Supreme Court nomination is at stake, but when she has a bad TV interview it’s time to get investigators involved.

Your “Normal” Weird:

The Bad:

The Good:

So that’s what I have for this week, and I’m so, so sorry. I think it’s fair to say that this week, we all deserve kittens playing in tupperware and an eventual better government. I’ll be back next week with more 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 toppings for my ice cream!