Key GOP donor backs Dem after House Republican ousted over Trump impeachment

In an article in Politico called “Key GOP donor backs Dem after House Republican ousted over Trump impeachment” by Natalie Fertig, a “former Romney financier David Nierenberg says he is siding with moderation over far-right rhetoric in Washington State.”

Republican Joe Kent, left, and Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez stand in a room in front of a white wall and door.

A few key paragraphs are noted below. A link to the full article can be found at the end of the post.

“David Nierenberg has funded a lot of Republican candidates over the years. But when GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler lost her primary in August, he switched sides to fund Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez over the Trump-backed Republican who advanced to the general election.

‘I immediately went to work,’ Nierenberg said. ‘And I think I’ve now transformed myself from Jaime’s largest bundler to Marie’s.

Gluesenkamp Perez’s campaign team confirmed Nierenberg has raised over $100,000 for her campaign from his network of moderate Republican donors since the August primary. But the money is only part of the story in a district that has been center stage in the fight for moderate Republican voters — and for the future of the GOP — since Herrera Beutler’s votein 2021 to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot earned her a primary challenge from Republican Joe Kent….

Most of his big money donations in the last decade have gone to Republicans, but Nierenberg says he’s generally looking for candidates willing to work across the aisle — a breed of politician that voters are choosing in rapidly declining numbers.

I want Republicans in leadership positions in the party to see this. Not only has the GOP leadership embraced the unenviable requirement to believe The Big Lie and sow it seeds, they must also join in the petulant stance of destroying those who dared to speak the truth against the former president.

Quite simply, any governing body that punishes its truth tellers and exposing them and their family to threats of violence while aggrandizing its liars is not a party who has veritas and gravitas. How can someone take this party seriously if they let this kind of stuff happen? Again, just this weekend, the former president put a target on Senator Mitch McConnell’s back and made a racist remark against McConnell’s Asian-American wife, who just happened to be in Trump’s cabinet.

This is not just being “rough around the edges” as the former president’s sycophants like to say. On top of his many other attributes that are unbecoming of a president, much less a decent human being, putting people in danger and making denigrating racist comments is the simply the former president acting like a class A jerk. People who support him would not teach their kids to act like the former president does on a routine basis. They would not tolerate it. So, why should we not call it out?

I saw where the Mr. Pillow guy lost his appeal to avoid the continuance of the defamation lawsuit against him by Dominion Voting Systems. He is in a long line of people who flew to close to the Trump sun and got sucked in by its gravitational pull and are now suffering the consequences. I have long said the happiest people in America in 2016-17 were folks who declined Trump’s offer to work for him. The second happiest were their spouses.

I applaud Mr. Nierenberg for his funding a non-extreme candidate. We need more civil discourse, not less. We need more people to act the opposite way the former president acts. We need leaders who can disagree without taking someone’s head off.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/03/gop-donor-backing-democrat-washington-00060099

Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose (Charlotte Observer editorial)

An interesting editorial by Gene Nichol*, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, called “Trump will be indicted. The GOP should cut him loose now” is a must read. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the full piece below.

“The handwriting is now, at the least, on the wall. I know a lot of Tar Heels don’t want to hear this — but Donald Trump is, in the months ahead, going to be indicted. His lawbreaking is so habitual, so overt, so pervasive, so foundational, and so rule-of-law decimating, that it simply won’t be possible for the Department of Justice and law enforcement officials in Georgia and, likely, New York, to ignore it. Perhaps Trump couldn’t help himself. Maybe it’s like his lying — a lifelong, all-consuming practice. He can’t shake it. Or even try. Old dog. Old tricks. He’s the don, not just The Donald.

And when the indictments come, what’s going to happen? Sadly, we know this too. Trump has opened his mind, or at least his mouth. He told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that ‘the people of the United States won’t stand for it.’ Filing charges against him would lead to ‘problems in this country, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.’…

Perhaps you think I overstate the peril. (I get that sometimes.) But do these various folks described above actually think that the other 60% or so of Americans will simply cower in the corner, surrendering their human rights and our nation’s long-declared meaning, because the MAGA coalition may be fueled by hatred and replete with arms? I wouldn’t bet on it.

There’s a lot more courage and commitment out here in the rest of the land than the Trumpists imagine. They make the same mistake Putin made about Ukraine. Democracy has its steel. Even if it’s hard to arouse. Won’t it be easier, even if unnerving, for the Republican Party to turn Trump loose now, than it will be after he again summons the gun thugs?

As the niece of the losing former president said after the 2020 election result was finalized, “her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.” Yes, his ego is that shallow that he cannot admit defeat. He was told by attorney Roy Cohn, his mentor per his many biographies, “to never apologize and sue everyone.” Doing the math, I calculated that Trump averaged 1 1/2 lawsuits per week during his business career before the 2016 election.

To be frank, telling the truth is not top of mind when thinking to define the losing former president. Nor is playing fair, treating people with dignity and grace, or consistently acting in a legal manner. As Michael Cohen, his attorney and longtime fixer of all his problems, said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” It interested me that Cohen had sent out over 500 cease and desist letters to people and institutions threatening them into silence on any known Trump transgression.

Whether he is actually charged beyond the financial fraud civil charges for his company in New York, which the Attorney General refused to settle as she has a good case, remains to be seen. But, in my opinion, he needs to be.

Beyond his untruthfulness and bullying, the losing former president appears to be guilty of the alleged seditious actions against the United States. He appears to be guilty of allegedly taking classified documents, exposing secrets to foreign adversaries (note a Chinese national with cyberware in her possession was arrested at Mar-a-Lago a couple of years ago). And, he may be charged for election tampering in the State of Georgia.

At the barest of minimums, our country is more at odds with itself because we have a former president who is not man enough to admit he lost an election. I am very tired of his sycophants perpetuating this Big Lie. It is noted the wife of SCOTUS member Clarence Thomas testified to the January 6 House Select Committee and still voiced the Big Lie. The House members defined her testimony as “deranged.”

Folks, quite simply, whether Donald Trump can win in 2024 is beside the point. We were dumb enough as a country to elect him in 2016 and we are dumb enough to do it again. But, what we need to understand is he should not serve as president as we should not have a traitor at the helm. Because if a traitor leads us, all bets are off.

*Note: Contributing columnist Gene Nichol is the Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article266413511.html#storylink=cpy

Truth be told

The following is another letter I forwarded to a few newspapers. Let’s see if one will print it. Please feel free to adapt and use.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, it saddens me that to be a legitimate Republican, one has to endorse untruthful pronouncements by the losing former president and his sycophants. I don’t mind people espousing conservative ideas, but I do expect them to be truthful. Governing is hard enough when using facts, but nigh impossible when making decisions off lies.

Truth be told, I expected this behavior from the former president as that has long been his modus operandi, but what I am frustrated by is his sycophants who perpetuate untruths, even when they know they are lies. The former president lost the election and cannot prove otherwise even after spending a lot of other people’s money to do so. He also instigated an insurrection against Congress putting people in danger. And, that does not include his mishandling of classified information and alleged financial fraud at his company.

We deserve better than those who are purposefully lying to us, regardless of party. Full stop.

Speaker of Arizona’s House speaks up

In an article called “Ousted Republican reflects on Trump, democracy and America: ‘The place has lost its mind’” by Ed Pilkington of The Guardian, long-time Republican Rusty Bowers reflects on his actions that led to his failure to win reelection in the GOP primary. Who is Bowers?

Per the article, “Rusty Bowers was speaker of Arizona’s house of representatives when he stood up to the former president’s demand that he overturn the election result. He paid the price but has no regrets.

Rusty Bowers is headed for the exit. After 18 years as an Arizona lawmaker, the past four as speaker of the state’s house of representatives, he has been unceremoniously shown the door by his own Republican party.

Rusty Bowers shakes hands with Adam Schiff at a January 6 hearing in June.

Last month he lost his bid to stay in the Arizona legislature in a primary contest in which his opponent was endorsed by Donald Trump. The rival, David Farnsworth, made an unusual pitch to voters: the 2020 presidential election had not only been stolen from Trump, he said, it was satanically snatched by the ‘devil himself.’

Bowers was ousted as punishment. The Trump acolytes who over the past two years have gained control of the state’s Republican party wanted revenge for the powerful testimony he gave in June to the January 6 hearings in which he revealed the pressure he was put under to overturn Arizona’s election result.

This is a very Arizonan story. But it is also an American story that carries an ominous warning for the entire nation.

Six hours after the Guardian interviewed Bowers, Liz Cheney was similarly ousted in a primary for her congressional seat in Wyoming. The formerly third most powerful Republican leader in the US Congress had been punished too.

In Bowers’s case, his assailants in the Arizona Republican party wanted to punish him because he had steadfastly refused to do their, and Trump’s, bidding. He had declined to use his power as leader of the house to invoke an ‘arcane Arizonan law’ – whose text has never been found – that would allow the legislature to cast out the will of 3.4 million voters who had handed victory to Joe Biden and switch the outcome unilaterally to Trump.

Bowers has a word for that kind of thinking. ‘The thought that if you don’t do what we like, then we will just get rid of you and march on and do it ourselves – that to me is fascism.‘”

The article goes into more detail about Bowers’ long-time fealty to the Republican party. It also speaks of a man who campaigned for Donald Trump. Yet, per an attorney who worked for years for Trump before the White House, “if you are on Donald Trump’s good side, don’t get used to it.” At some point, you won’t jump high enough or genuflect low enough to suit the would-be-king acting former president.

What saddens me is to be loyal to Donald Trump requires you to believe his deceitful words and actions, even when you know they are not true. I am sure there are fans who still think every word he says is true, but I do believe that is naivete. I think far more go along with the lies because it is easier than being courageous and standing up to the lies. Plus, courage often means you are more alone in your quest, as it is a rare attribute.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/20/rusty-bowers-interview-trump-arizona-republicans

Former Vice President goes all out against Trump in support of his daughter

I have noted before I disagree with many of the policy positions of Representative Liz Cheney, but I do admire her political courage and remembering her oath to the constitution. Sadly, because she is telling people the emperor has no clothes, she is trailing in her race for reelection. I actually hold her father in less regard, as I believe he served his own interests more as Vice President than our country’s. Yet, I do have to say he is being a good father for taking on the wanna-be-emperor and his allies with hard truths they need to hear.

In an article by Paul Steinhauser of Fox News called “Trump blasted by Dick Cheney as former vice president stars in his daughter’s latest ad,” the former Vice President does not mince words in his defense of his daughter Representative Liz Cheney. Here are a few highlights or lowlights, one could say.

“Former Vice President Dick Cheney calls former President Donald Trump a ‘coward’ and argues that Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is ‘fearless,’ as he stars in the latest ad released by his daughter’s re-election campaign.

‘In our nation’s 246-year history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump. He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him,’ the elder Cheney says in the ad, which the younger Cheney started running on Thursday, a week and a half before she faces a Trump-endorsed challenger in the Republican congressional primary Wyoming’s single congressional seat.

‘He is a coward. A real man wouldn’t lie to his supporters. He lost his election and he lost big. I know it, he knows it and deep down I think most Republicans know it,’ the former vice president claims, as he points to Trump’s repeated unproven claims that his 2020 election loss to President Biden was due to massive voter fraud.

Liz Cheney was the most senior of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol. The attack was waged by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory in the 2020 election.”

While I am not a fan of name-calling, I agree with everything the elder Cheney said. This message needs to be heralded by many more Republicans, although more and more are starting to speak out. All of these folks are, of course, discredited as RINOs, Republicans in Name Only, for a key reason. If they admit they are true, then all of those candidates who are running on a platform built in Donald Trump’s sand of lies, will see their campaigns crumble. What these folks fail to realize is it should crumble.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-blasted-dick-cheney-former-vice-president-stars-daughters-latest-ad

Former Trump Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney notes importance of hearings

In an op-ed which appeared in The Charlotte Observer yesterday called “Former Trump chief of staff: Republicans should pay attention to Jan. 6 hearings” written by Mick Mulvaney, former Chief of Staff to Donald Trump and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at Trump’s behest, he noted Republicans need to be paying attention to the House Select Committee’s hearings. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link to the entire op-ed below.

“The significance of last week’s Congressional Jan. 6 committee hearings cannot be overstated. For the first time, evidence was presented that former President Trump knew some of the protesters were armed before encouraging them to go the Capitol, that right-wing extremist rioters communicated directly with the White House, that key Presidential advisers requested pardons, that the chief White House lawyer was concerned about getting ‘charged with every crime imaginable,’ and that someone within Trump world may be trying to tamper with committee witnesses. Serious stuff. But roughly half the country — the Republican half — isn’t watching.

They object that the hearings are a made-for-TV show trial, designed to attack the former president and salvage the Democrats’ dismal prospects in the upcoming midterms. They claim that the ‘Unselect Committee’ is made up entirely of Trump-haters and that there is no cross-examination of witnesses. They complain that the committee has heavily edited the evidence, and that the full testimonies of the witnesses have not been released. They point out that some of the evidence presented is hearsay that would never see the light of day in a legitimate court hearing. And they are correct. On every single point. But they still should be paying attention. That is because, despite all of the flaws in the structure of the heavily Democrat committee, almost all of the evidence presented so far is coming from eminently credible sources: Republicans….

Yes, it is possible that all of those life-long Republicans succumbed to Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is possible they decided to ignore a life-long political affiliation. It is also possible they chose to perjure themselves about what they saw, heard and know. But if they didn’t, and half of the country isn’t paying attention, then that half of the country is clinging firmly to an opinion of Jan. 6, 2021 that is based on either false or incomplete information. And clinging firmly to a belief based on false or incomplete information can lead to disastrous results. January 6 itself is a stark reminder of that. When Republicans start testifying under oath that other Republicans lost the 2020 election and then broke the law to try to change that, Republicans should pay attention. Everyone should.

Mulvaney is one of the first Republicans to speak out in favor of Cassidy Hutchinson saying he knows her and believes her. While I do not like some of his references to Trump Derangement Syndrome, as it is one of those labels to discount people, his message is clear – these are Republicans testifying under oath calling the former president on the carpet. I would love to see the former president and his allies under oath repeat their bogus election fraud claims and explain away their role in the insurrection. Lying under oath is a crime.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article263174168.html#storylink=cpy

Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News allowed to proceed

In a telling article called “Fox News in real trouble for spreading ‘pure bunk’ about Trump’s loss — and OAN could be ‘wiped out’ by lawsuits” by Travis Gettys in Raw Story, a judge has ruled to allow the defamation lawsuit brought forward by Dominion Voting Systems to proceed. Per select paragraphs:

“A judge ruled last month that Dominion Voting Systems could move forward with its lawsuit against Fox Corp., the conservative news network’s parent company, for amplifying bogus claims that it rigged the election for Joe Biden, and Judge Eric Davis made clear the $1.6 billion suit was not frivolous, reported The Guardian.

Dominion has a very strong case against Fox News – and against OAN for that matter,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a constitutional law professor at Stetson University and a fellow at the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice. ‘The reason Dominion is suing is because Fox and other rightwing news outlets repeated vicious lies that Dominion’s voting machines stole the 2020 election from Trump for Biden. But all of these conspiracy theories about Dominion’s machines were just pure bunk, and Fox as a news organization should have known that and not given this aspect of the big lie a megaphone.

What’s particularly bad for Fox is [that] Dominion asked them to stop and correct the record in real time,’ she added, ‘and Fox persisted in spreading misrepresentations about the voting machine company.’”

The entire story (which can be linked to below) tells of inappropriate contact between the network and the former president who has continued to make unprovable claims of election fraud. He has lost over 65 court cases, winning one small one in PA, and has lost every recount, audit and review of election results. What Fox is learning late in the game is folks that fly to close to the former president usually get burned. The truth matters, especially if you report to be a news agency. This one may come with a hefty price tag, if proven liable.

Liz Cheney speech at Reagan Library calls former president on carpet at the right place

The following are excerpts from Congresswoman Liz Cheney speech at the Reagan Library to fellow Republicans as cited in a piece called “Liz Cheney calls Trump ‘domestic threat,’ says Republicans cannot support both him and Constitution” by Brie Stimson of Fox News.

“Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., called former President Donald Trump a ‘domestic threat’ Wednesday evening during a speech at the Reagan Library in Southern California

‘We are confronting a domestic threat that we have never faced before – and that is a former President who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our constitutional Republic,’ Cheney said. ‘And he is aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.’

She told the audience that Republicans ‘cannot both be loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution, to a round of applause after she recounted the allegations the Jan. 6 committee, of which she is a member, has brought against Trump surrounding his actions on that day in 2021.”

While I do not agree with many of Cheney’s policy statements, I agree 100% with these statements. And, they were made at the site of a more revered Republican who used to be thought of as their gold standard, although Democrats would not totally concur.  

Cheney has shown political courage in the face of adversity. It is a rare commodity in politics these days, but extremely rare in the GOP. Like Cassidy Hutchinson, Dr. Fiona Hill and Adam Kinzinger, she can relate to the challenges of doing the right thing in the face of the vitriol and violent threats that each have gotten from the former president and his allies and fans. In fact, Hutchinson’s testimony was moved up because of fears for her safety.

I am delighted she was invited to speak at the Reagan Library and I am glad she received applause. I applaud her as well.

Under oath

Lying under oath has ramifications. So, it matters when someone testifies under oath in court or to a Congressional committee.

Under oath…

-Conservative judge Michael Luttig said to the House Select committee “Donald Trump and his allies are a clear and present danger to the United States.”

-during a deposition well before his presidency Donald Trump had thirty misstatements of facts that were corrected by the deposing attorney in real time per one of his biographers.

-several other Republican officials and staff testified to the House Select committee of the coercion by Donald Trump and his staff to lie and cheat so he could win the election. They also testified of the violent threats they received from Trump supporters to do his bidding.

-Donald Trump settled a court case on housing discrimination agreeing to make restitution. After failing to do so, Trump was taken back to court and restitution was demanded by the judge per one of his biographers.

-Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s attorney and fixer said to another House committee “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.”

-in 2017 a judge ruled Donald Trump and his children failed to honor the donors to the Trump Foundation and used about $2 million for his own benefit over time. The judge ordered the repayment of the funds, the subsequent disbanding of the Foundation and distribution of funds per the by-laws of the Foundation. The judge also ordered that no one named Trump could oversee the distribution per The New York Times.

-where he promised to uphold the constitution, Donald Trump further divided America with his Big Lie and acted seditiously to instigate an insurrection against a branch of government per the findings and testimony of the House Select committee and about 65 court cases and all recounts, audits and reviews of election results requested by Trump or his allies.

I mention these items as the former president wants equal time to tell his side of the story. I say give him such time and swear him in, but first remind him that lying to Congress under oath is a criminal offense.

It is better we found out now

A friend told me that regardless of the seditious actions and Big Lie of the former president, that even his better educated relatives and friends who voted for Donald J. Trump will do so again. As unbelievable as this sounds, too many think this way. Here was a note I forwarded to him that he could feel free to share.

As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, I understood why some voted for Trump in 2016, as his opponent, although very experienced and skilled, rubbed too many the wrong way. She was one of the most capable candidates that has ever run, yet Trump’s success was getting people not to vote at all or for one of the other three candidates due to her past.

After watching him for four years, I cannot believe people voted for him again as what I saw was overt deceitful and bullying actions and as a conservative pundit David Brooks said a White House that was “equal parts chaos and incompetence.” His bungling of the pandemic response lingered after he left office and endangered too many. Yet, his fans just ignored all the bad press as biased and voted for him again. Yet, seeing the Big Lie and instigation of the insurrection on a branch of government is seditious action and he and his allies should be held to account. It is traitorous behavior. Full stop.

The question is not could Donald Trump win again – he could as we are not a very informed nation on the whole. The question is he should not be allowed to run again because he betrayed his country, as president. We are more divided as a nation because a person with a shallow ego is not man (or adult) enough to admit he lost the election. He can spin this all he wants, but he has lost all but one out of 65 or so court cases and every recount, audit and review. He cannot lose any more than he has. His niece said he will burn it all down to avoid losing the election – it is our democracy he is burning down.

Presidential historians have ranked him the 5th worst president in the US primarily due to his botching the pandemic and the insurrection and Big Lie. Yet, what little success he had is overstated as he inherited an economy that was in its 91st consecutive month of economic growth, with a more than doubled stock market and six straight years of  2+ million per annum job growth. Saying Trump did great with the economy is also saying Barack Obama did as well, which Republicans are loathe to do. Yet, Trump left us with a recession and Obama inherited a recession from his predecessor.

Sorry for the soapbox. Please feel free to route this as you see fit.