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Supreme Court Says Lindsey Graham Must Testify in 2020 Georgia Election Probe

After a slew of legal victories, this is a major setback for Team Trump.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Lindsey Graham will have to testify about alleged efforts to overturn 2020 election results after all, after the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected his request to block a subpoena ordering him to appear in front of a grand jury.

A Georgia prosecutor is investigating phone calls Graham made to election officials in the state, which went for President Joe Biden during the election in a major upset. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously denied the South Carolina senator’s claim of constitutional immunity from the investigation.

Graham had argued the Constitution’s speech and debate clause, which grants members of Congress protections while performing their duties, shielded his actions surrounding the election.

The senator filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court, and on October 24, Justice Clarence Thomas did Graham a solid, issuing a temporary stay on the subpoena. (Meanwhile, Thomas’ wife Ginni Thomas is also being investigated for allegedly trying to reject the election results.)

But on Tuesday, the Supreme Court sided with the lower courts and overturned Thomas’ stay, in a win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is investigating Graham’s calls.

The Fulton County investigation began in February 2021, spurred in part by former President Donald Trump’s plea to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes,” the number of votes Trump needed to win Georgia.

The probe has since investigated and subpoenaed dozens of witnesses including Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and Michael Flynn. Giuliani, along with 16 Republicans who falsely claimed to be Georgia electors, could face criminal charges.

In a win for those who realize the 2020 election was not rigged, a federal judge on Tuesday also threw out former White House Chief of Staff Meadows’ challenge to a subpoena from the House committee investigating the January 6 attack.

The Supreme Court’s decision is a relief considering it has issued several temporary stays seemingly in favor of former Team Trump in the past week.

Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily halted the release of Trump’s tax returns earlier Tuesday, and Justice Elena Kagan last week temporarily blocked a subpoena from the House January 6 investigative committee for phone and text records of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward.

Elon Musk Is Already Threatening to Bankrupt Twitter

Advertisers have been fleeing the platform since Musk's purchase. He thinks a subscription plan will fix everything.

Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency

Elon Musk has owned Twitter for less than a week, and already the company is bleeding money.

Since the billionaire’s purchase of Twitter, dozens of celebrities and advertisers have said they’re not sure they’ll remain on the social media platform—leading Musk to propose a bizarre new plan for users to pay for verification badges.

“We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers,” Musk tweeted Monday after novelist Stephen King dismissed the notion of paying for Twitter verification. “How about $8 [a month]?” Musk asked, seemingly bartering a paid contract in a tweet.

The truth is Twitter is a financial time-bomb.

Musk’s $44 billion deal placed about $13 billion worth of debt onto Twitter. Any cash will likely need to help service that debt, but that cash is looking less and less available.

On Tuesday, advertising giant Interpublic Group recommended its clients (including Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Spotify) to temporarily pause activity on Twitter. That recommendation follows an announcement from General Motors last week that it would be suspending advertising until it gets a better idea what direction Twitter is going in.

HBO, among Twitter’s top five advertisers this year, “will be assessing the platform under its new leadership,” before determining next steps. About a dozen clients of advertising agency GroupM threaten to pause all their Twitter ads if former President Donald Trump’s account is reinstated, as some fear Musk may allow.

Given that about 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising, Musk is now haphazardly pushing to make Twitter a subscription service.

On Monday, he tweeted details of his vision. Along with gaining verification, paying $8 per month would apparently show users half as many ads. Again, ads are the biggest source of Twitter’s revenue. A service only a select few would subscribe to—and cutting ad revenue generated by those users in half—wouldn’t balance potential losses if the plan goes awry and disillusions advertisers.

Meanwhile, Musk’s own actions are betraying his statement that Twitter will be “warm and welcoming to all.”

On Tuesday, Musk unilaterally unbanned far-right conspiracy theorist Mark Finchem to appease complaints from online right-wingers. Finchem, who has disputed the 2020 election results and is running to oversee voting in Arizona, is a proud member of the Oath Keepers.

Liz Cheney Endorses Democrat Tim Ryan in Close Ohio Senate Race

This is Cheney's second Democratic nomination this election.

Liz Cheney purses her lips and looks off camera
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Liz Cheney endorsed Democratic Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan on Tuesday, her second time crossing the aisle ahead of the contentious midterm elections.

Cheney, who lost the Wyoming Republican representative primary after four terms, has now backed both Ryan and Democratic Michigan Representative Elissa Slotkin.

In an interview with PBS’ Judy Woodruff on Tuesday, during an event in Ohio, Cheney said, “I would not vote for J.D. Vance,” the MAGA Republican candidate.

“So if you were a Buckeye State voter, you’d be voting for Tim Ryan?” Woodruff asked.

“I would,” Cheney replied.

Ryan has sought to cast himself as more of an independent on the campaign trail. He agreed with former President Donald Trump on trade but supports legislation such as increased environmental policy and affordable health care.

Vance rose to prominence with the publication of his bestselling memoir Hillbilly Elegy in 2016. At the time, he was a conservative Trump-skeptic.

Since hitting the campaign trail, Vance has made a stark and unexpected shift to the right, endorsing QAnon conspiracy theories and the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Cheney has been widely censured by her own party over her decision to certify the election of President Joe Biden and impeach Trump for a historic second time over the January 6 riot. She was stripped of her committee positions and primaried out of her office, but she currently serves as vice-chair of the House committee investigating the insurrection. She has called her work on the Jan. 6 panel “probably the most important thing” she’s done professionally.

Cheney stands to make a real impact on the race in Ohio, a state crucial for Democrats maintaining their slim hold on Congress. If enough Ohio Republicans and right-leaning independents are anti-MAGA, Cheney’s endorsement of Ryan could push the vote his way.

But her opinion has also sent far-right voters running the other way. On Friday, Cheney released an ad in Arizona attacking the Republican nominees for governor and secretary of state, Kari Lake and Mark Finchem respectively, both of whom are election deniers and conspiracy theorists.

Lake released a statement later that day mockingly thanking Cheney for the “anti-endorsement.”

Lake said that since the ad aired, “our campaign donations are skyrocketing and our website nearly crashed from traffic.”

Suspected Pelosi Attacker Wanted to Use Nancy to “Lure Another Individual”

New evidence reveals that Paul Pelosi's suspected attacker wasn't just looking for the House speaker. He also wanted to lure someone else entirely.

Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

David DePape’s intrusion into the Pelosi home and violent assault on Paul Pelosi was bad enough. But the attack was just one piece of a larger plan.

In an interview with the San Francisco Police Department, DePape, who now faces two felony charges, said he invaded Nancy Pelosi’s home in the hopes of holding the speaker of the House hostage. Describing Pelosi as the “leader of the pack” of lies told by the Democrats, DePape threatened to break her kneecaps to warn other members of Congress.

But one disturbing detail deserves more attention: DePape wanted to use Pelosi as bait to lure in another individual.

Documents detailing DePape’s interviews do not specify who the individual is. Regardless, this one detail shows the magnitude of the threat. This attack was not just about the woman second in line to the presidency after the vice president, or about her family.

The direct insight into DePape’s motivations also cuts through the baseless conspiracy and lies being peddled by prominent Republicans. No, this attack was not a random crime indicative of the dangers of so-called urban America; nor was it carried out by some left-wing radical, or a gay prostitute.

All signs of DePape’s online activity—conspiracy theories surrounding Covid-19 and the 2020 election, antisemitic posts, concerns with gender identity and anti-white racism—reveal what radical bubbles he settled in. Now, his interviews reveal how the attack could have escalated into something far worse.

DePape has clearly said what motivated him: the desire to capture Nancy Pelosi, harm her to threaten other members of Congress, and use her to lure others into his dangerous hands too. We should take his word for it.

Chief Justice John Roberts Delays Release of Trump Tax Records Till After the Election

This is the third time the Supreme Court has saved Team Trump in the last week.

Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images
Donald Trump speaks with Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts gave Donald Trump a massive break Tuesday, temporarily halting the release of the former president’s tax records. The records were originally set to be turned over this week, just days before the election.

A U.S. Court of Appeals last week refused to overturn an August ruling that gave a House of Representatives committee access to Trump’s tax records from 2015 to 2020. Trump asked the nation’s highest court Monday to intervene.

Roberts ruled Tuesday that the appeals court mandate is “stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court. It is further ordered that a response to the application be filed on or before Thursday, November 10.”

Trump had asked the Supreme Court to pause enforcement of the appeals court’s ruling so he would have time to submit a formal appeal of the decision.

Trump has become infamous for refusing to release his tax returns, sparking speculation that he was hiding something fraudulent about his taxes and business dealings.

The House Ways & Means Committee sought Trump’s tax returns in 2019, saying the records would help inform legislation improving how the IRS audits presidents. The Treasury had refused to release the documents while Trump was in office.

When President Joe Biden took over, Trump sued the Treasury to prevent it from handing over his tax records, claiming executive immunity—despite no longer being an executive.

Both a lower court and the appeals panel agreed that the lawmakers had a “legitimate legislative purpose” in examining the records.

Trump is under fire on multiple fronts, facing two lawsuits in New York, where he has been charged with business fraud and his organization accused of tax fraud. The FBI is also investigating his storing sensitive government documents at Mar-a-Lago after leaving office.

This is the third time the Supreme Court has given Team Trump a reprieve in the past week. On October 24, Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily blocked a subpoena ordering Senator Lindsey Graham to testify in front of a grand jury about efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. (Meanwhile, Thomas’ wife Ginni Thomas is also being investigated for allegedly trying to reject the election results.)

Two days later, Justice Elena Kagan temporarily blocked a subpoena from the House January 6 investigative committee for phone and text records of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward. Kagan’s order was likely to give the justices more time to consider the matter.

Republicans Are Literally Laughing at the Pelosi Attack

The violent attack left Paul Pelosi with a skull fracture. Republicans somehow find that funny.

Donald Trump and Kari Lake go in for a hug. They are smiling.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Donald Trump and Kari Lake

Since the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband last week, Republicans have shown themselves to be even crueler and more conspiratorial than expected. As Paul Pelosi recovers from a skull fracture, Kari Lake, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and countless others have mocked the violent attack.

Arguing that schoolchildren should have as much armed protection as lawmakers, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake took the opportunity to off-handedly joke about the attack.

“Nancy Pelosi—well, she’s got protection when she’s in D.C. Apparently her house doesn’t have a lot of protection,” she said on Monday, spurring zealous laughter and applause from the audience. Disturbingly, even the event moderator—Lionel Lee, an ER doctor in Arizona—shook in laughter at the violent assault.

Other Republican reactions involved memes making light of attempted murder on a member of Congress’ spouse.

Representative Clay Higgins shared an anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory that the man who attacked Pelosi was actually a gay prostitute:

Ever the chaser of his father’s approval, Donald Trump, Jr. posted a crude photo of a hammer and men’s underwear on his Instagram, with the caption “Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready”—echoing Higgins’ anti-LGBTQ smear:

Conservative blogger Matt Walsh called it “absurd” to describe a man—whose blog featured antisemitic comments, concerns about anti-white racism, and pleas to former President Donald Trump to choose Tulsi Gabbard as his VP—as “some kind of militant right winger.” Senator Ted Cruz, who spends more time owning liberals online than doing his actual job, reposted Walsh’s tweet, calling it “truth.”

Donald Trump also waded into the attack, saying it was “a terrible thing.” He then went on to the more predictable conservative hits—that the attack embodies violent crime in cities “far worse than Afghanistan,” and that police officers don’t have enough dignity and respect to save this “out of control” country.

Whether they spread conspiracy, make light of violent assault, or simply do not engage with reality, these reactions are all deeply alarming. Because these are not comments from people on the fringe. They are from elected officials, candidates, and popular media figures—those at the very core of the Republican Party.

Elon Musk Brings Election Denier Mark Finchem Back to Twitter

Finchem, who wants to oversee voting in Arizona, has a penchant for conspiracy theories.

Mark Finchem, the Republican nominee for Arizona secretary of state
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Elon Musk has let Mark Finchem, a far-right conspiracy theorist running for Arizona secretary of state, back on Twitter.

Finchem had complained Monday on Facebook that Twitter had blocked his account. His plight caught the attention of Jenna Ellis, a Newsmax contributor and advisor to former President Donald Trump. She quickly called on Musk to do something about it.

“Looking into it,” Musk replied. Within an hour, Finchem was back online.

“We are back! Thank you @elonmusk for stopping the commie who suspended me from Twitter a week before the election. Twitter is much better with you at the helm,” Finchem tweeted.

Musk has owned Twitter for all of four days and has already wreaked havoc on the platform. After completing his $44 billion purchase on Friday, he promptly fired several top executives.

On Monday, he also fired the entire board of directors, leaving himself the sole decision-maker.

Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” had promised Twitter would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” under his leadership and that there would be a review board for content moderation and allowing banned accounts back online.

Considering he seems to be the entire board now, the results of those reviews leave something to be desired.

Finchem is one of the most hardcore conspiracy theorists running in the midterms. A 2020 election denier, he also embraces many conspiracies that even most MAGA Republicans won’t.

He has accused former Vice President Mike Pence of plotting both a coup to topple Trump and to steal the presidency in 2024. Finchem has also said he is a member of the Oath Keepers.

If he wins, he will have massive influence over elections in a crucial swing state.

Since Musk took over, Twitter has been awash with racist, antisemitic, homophobic, and transphobic hate speech.

The social media research group National Contagion Research Institute said that in the 12 hours since Musk bought Twitter, use of the n-word increased almost 500 percent.