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.
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.
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
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.
“He chose not to act,” Colbert added. “Same review he got for [his cameo role in the movie] Home Alone 2.”
The committee retraced Trump’s steps for the whole of January 6, including the afternoon spent watching Fox News in the White House. “Nothing unusual there – just an elderly man, parked in front of Fox News all day, confused about where the president is,” Colbert quipped.
On Late Night, Seth Meyers previewed Thursday’s primetime hearing with a teaser from the committee, in which it confirmed Trump spent the afternoon of January 6 sitting in a White House dining room watching television. “You’ve got to give it to Donald Trump – he was somehow both the most dangerous and also the laziest president in American history,” said Meyers. “Donald Trump, in the dining room, with the television, that’s the answer to every mystery in a game of Trump Clue.”
Meyers replayed depositions from several White House staffers, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, confirming that Trump spent all afternoon watching TV. “. . . “He was cheering them on like he was watching Sunday Night Football. I’m shocked we don’t have a photo of him in the Oval Office wearing a hat, a foam finger and jersey that says Team Insurrection.”
Regardless of what aired on Thursday, “so much crazy shit has happened that it’s easy to forget the details of any specific Trump scandal,” Meyers added.
“I really hope that particular sequence of events is seared into history for ever. Normally, our history textbooks all have boring names, like Modern America: 1950 to the present, but when they get around to writing a book about this, they should just call it The Dude Tried to Get His Own Vice President KILLED, I MEAN WTF!!!”
And a PS. From Friday: Steve Bannon was convicted of contempt in federal court. The trial was a quickie — the Justice Department lawyer was reportedly aiming to make the Guinness Book of World Records for The Shortest Prosecution Evah. One account I heard said it went something like this:
Prosecutor: Your Honor, the government will show that the defendant Bannon showed utter contempt for this court. (To the witness): Ma’am, did you send this subpoena to Mr. Bannon?
The witness: Yep.
Prosecutor: Did Mr. Bannon appear at the appointed time and place?
The witness: Nope.
Prosecutor: No further questions. Your Honor, the prosecution rests.
[This testimony has been edited and reimagined, but not all that much.]
But alas, weekends don’t last very long . . .
. . . Then, it’s “back to business” in the hallowed halls . . .
NOTE: Normally I don’t watch late-night TV. That’s less from snobbery than the fact that normally I’m asleep by then. But I make an exception when the January 6 Committee show runs til almost midnight.
(Full disclosure: I didn’t watch those late shows last night either. But the New York Times did, as a special service for its less hardy subscribers, providing these tidbits.)
“He did not call them from a box.
He did not call while watching Fox.
He did not help out Uncle Sam.
His brain is made of eggs and ham.
But, in his defense, it is possible he forgot the number for 9-1-1.”
— STEPHEN COLBERT, on news that Trump didn’t reach out to any security officials on Jan. 6.
“Yes, he is a stain on our history — and thanks to these hearings, we know that stain is ketchup.”
— STEPHEN COLBERT, referring to Representative Adam Kinzinger’s referring to Trump’s inaction as “a stain” on our history.
“The White House announced that President Biden has a mild case of Covid. On the bright side, it’s the first positive news Biden’s gotten in months.”
— JIMMY FALLON
And, the winner’s trophy in the Capitol Underground 100-Yard Dash goes to Jumpin’ Josh Hawley, the Sprinting Senator from Missouri.
CNN Opinion: As a Jewish American, I don’t see this country quite the same way after January 6
CNN Opinion by Nathan Wolfson — July 25, 2022
Nathan Wolfson is the deputy digital director and social media manager at J Street, a pro-Israel, nonprofit advocacy group. He lives in Washington, DC. The views expressed here are his own. Read more opinion at CNN.
Each session of the House committee investigating the events of January 6 showed us just how far parts of the country have traveled, unbeknownst to most of us, down a road towards extremism, white nationalism and antisemitism.
We all saw the throngs of protesters storm the Capitol, waving Confederate flags and spewing racist hate. As it turns out, my vantage point was a bit closer than for most Americans.
I live close to Capitol Hill, the neighborhood that abuts Congress and congressional office buildings.
From the window of my home, I watched throngs of mostly white men in red MAGA hats gathering that morning, many of whom I suspect were violently attacking Capitol police a few hours later and hoping to prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power. As their numbers swelled in my neighborhood, my wife and I scrambled to pack our bags.
Within a stone’s throw of my front door, I saw men wearing shirts referencing Nazism and the SS. I learned from news reports that one of protesters who breached the Capitol wore a t-shirt bearing the words “Camp Auschwitz.” To see those symbols and messages worn proudly was chilling. Still, I never expected the violence the country would witness that day. Continue reading Watching January 6: Bags Packed, Ready to Flee→