U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is facing several six challengers to his seat in the House of Representatives this year. Two Democrats will face off, with one becoming their party’s nominee. Four Republicans are primarying the far-right freshman lawmaker, one of those five will go on to face the Democratic challenger.
But Congressman Cawthorn is facing an even great challenge, and he’s taking it seriously.
A group of attorneys is looking at both the 14 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina law, in an attempt to have him declared an insurrectionist and therefore unfit to serve.
“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,” the 14th Amendment reads, “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
The New York Times Tuesday night reports “Mr. Cawthorn, 26, who is in his first term in Congress, has denounced the case as an egregious misreading of the 14th Amendment, but he has retained James Bopp Jr., one of the most prominent conservative campaign lawyers in the country, as counsel.”
Bopp, known as being one of the attorneys who won the democracy-damning Citizens United case at the Supreme Court, flooding American politics with millions (billions?) in dark money. He’s also been a vice-chair of the RNC, and is recognized as a top conservative lawyer.
The Times adds that “North Carolina’s election statute offers challengers a remarkably low bar to question a candidate’s constitutional qualifications for office. Once someone establishes a ‘reasonable suspicion or belief’ that a candidate is not qualified, the burden shifts to the officeseeker to prove otherwise.”
Other Republicans are likely worried, which should have some wondering who’s footing the bill for Bopp.
“If Mr. Cawthorn is labeled an ‘insurrectionist,’ that could have broader ramifications. Other Republican House members, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, face similar accusations, but their state’s election laws present higher hurdles for challenges to their candidate qualifications. If one of their colleagues is disqualified for his role in encouraging the rioters, those hurdles might become easier to clear.”
Read the entire Times report here.
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Trump’s Authoritarian Movement Is ‘Determined to Restore the Original Racial and Religious Foundation of America’: Columnist
New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall on Wednesday shined a light on the conspiratorial religious nationalism that has overwhelmed the Republican Party thanks in large part to former President Donald Trump.
In describing the Trump movement as a “chilling amalgam of Christian Nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal,” Edsall argued that their overall goal is “to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America.”
Edsall then quotes a series of experts on Christian Nationalism in the United States who note there are several different strands of it, and that not all of them are explicitly about white supremacy.
Ruth Braunstein, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, tells Edsall that there is a difference between what she calls “white Christian nationalism,” which “explicitly fuses whiteness, Christianity, and Americanness,” and “colorblind Judeo-Christian nationalism,” which “either ignores race or uses colorblind language to describe ideal Americanness.”
Robert Jones, chief executive of the Public Religion Research Institute, tells Edsall that Christian Nationalist attitudes show up most clearly in polling on immigration, where they’re mostly likely to describe immigrants as “invading” the United States.
“Among all voters, according to Jones, 29 percent believe that immigrants are invading our county; among Republicans, it’s 60 percent; among Democrats, 11 percent; among QAnon believers, 65 percent; among white evangelicals, 50 percent; and among white non-college voters, as pollsters put it, 43 percent,” writes Edsall.
Edsall concludes with a warning about Christian Nationalists potentially resorting to violence, and he cites “their ambition to restore an imagined past, by any means necessary.”
Madison Cawthorn Projected to Lose Seat – GOP Nominee Will Face LGBTQ Democrat
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to have lost his primary Tuesday night and be a one-term Congressman.
Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report first made the call Tuesday night:
I’ve seen enough: Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R) has lost renomination to state Sen. Chuck Edwards (R) in the #NC11 GOP primary.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) May 18, 2022
Business Insider also reports Cawthorn was “ousted.”
Republicans in Cawthorn’s North Carolina district had eight candidates to choose from and picked state Senator Chuck Edwards. As recently as last week Edwards was “polling a distant second at 21 percent,” Newsweek reported.
Edwards will face a formidable Democrat, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara. A Buncombe County Commissioner, Beach-Ferrara is an ordained Christian minister and the founding Executive Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE).
Beach-Ferrara has a strong focus on policy. Unlike many modern-day candidates, especially on the right, her website lists her positions on 16 different issues: Agriculture, Children’s Issues, Choice, Climate Issues, COVID, Economic Opportunity & Job Creation, Education, Healthcare, Higher Education & Student Loan Debt, Legalizing Marijuana, LGBTQ Rights, Opioid Crisis, Racial Justice, Social Security & Medicare, Veterans, and Voting Rights & Independent Redistricting.
“Jasmine and her wife, Meghann Burke, live in Asheville with their oldest child Cal, twins Lily and Wyatt and dog, Ruggles,” her campaign website says. “They love hiking, swimming, exploring every playground in the county, and BBQ-ing. Jasmine is a fan of the UNC Tarheels, Carolina Courage, and Carolina Panthers.”
Chuck Edwards was endorsed by several Republicans, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, Phil Berger, the President pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate, and North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore.
But Cawthorn’s constituents reportedly had grown tired of his immaturity, including, as Newsweek noted, “being stopped by police three times since October—for alleged speeding and driving with a revoked license—being caught for the second time with a gun at airport security and accusations he was involved in illegal insider trading in relation to his ties to a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ cryptocurrency.”
“Images have also been leaked of him wearing women’s lingerie. Another leaked video appeared to show him naked in bed thrusting against another person. Cawthorn said he was being ‘crass with a friend.'”
UPDATE: 10:24 PM ET –
MSNBC reports Cawthorn has conceded the race.
Image via Facebook
‘Here We Go’: Legal Experts Discuss New DOJ Request for Transcripts From Jan. 6 Committee for ‘Criminal’ Investigation
The U.S. Dept. of Justice has formally requested transcripts from the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, saying their extensive interviews “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting.” The House Select Committee has conducted interviews with more than 1000 people, including former Trump associates and even his family members.
The New York Times, which broke the story Tuesday, reports the request comes “as Attorney General Merrick B. Garland appears to be ramping up the pace of his painstaking investigation into the Capitol riot,” and calls it “the clearest sign yet of a wide-ranging inquiry at the Justice Department.”
Also telling is that the request came from Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the assistant attorney general for the criminal division, and Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
But House Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) says not so fast, according to The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell:
New: Jan. 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson tells CBS that they won’t turn over transcripts to DOJ right now: “They made a request. We told them that as a committee, our work product was ours, and we’re not giving anyone access to the work product.”
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 17, 2022
Former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega suggests Chairman Thompson’s remarks may be to ensure no one thinks there was coordination behind the scenes:
“DOJ will get what it needs from the January 6 committee. There might have to be some negotiation, maybe even grand jury subpoenas, but the committee doesn’t want to be seen as working hand in glove with DOJ.”
Meanwhile, Glenn Kirschner, a federal prosecutor for 30 years who is now a popular NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst notes the Dept. of Justice may get access to a wealth of testimony that it might not have been able to obtain otherwise:
“Whether this was always the DOJ plan (& whether the J6 committee knew it or not), important info has been developed by the [January 6 Committee] that would not have been developed had the witnesses been subpoenaed to the grand jury (as they would have pled the 5th).”
(In March, Kirschner concluded that Donald Trump “will be charged” after remarks Attorney General Merrick Garland made.)
National security and civil liberties expert and journalist Marcy Wheeler also suggests this may have been the plan all along, and implies it is a smart strategy:
Outsourcing to Jan 6 allowed the following:
1) Biden to waive privilege w/o learning anything about the DOJ Jan 6 investigation
2) A co-equal branch of govt to beat back the privilege fight
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) May 17, 2022
“And YES, it allowed Jan 6 to interview people against whom DOJ did not and/or would never get probable cause a crime had committed to share evidence,” she adds.
But former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig, now a CNN legal analyst, is less complimentary of Garland and DOJ, calling the request for access to transcripts “an obvious and overdue move.”
MSNBC legal analyst Daniel Goldman, the well-known former Lead Counsel for the House Impeachment Inquiry, and a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for SDNY agrees it’s wise for the Jan. 6 Committee to focus on its own work and deal with DOJ after the public hearings.
The 1/6 Cmte is wise to let the hearings play out – which will reveal more information about Trump and Pence – and then pursue Trump and Pence testimony. Public pressure will be much greater after the hearings. Trump and Pence would be a sideshow and detract from the hearings. https://t.co/son6VNQ5hF
— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) May 17, 2022
Former U.S. Attorney and national security prosecutor Barb McQuade, now a well-known MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and law professor summed up what many appear to be thinking: “Here we go.”
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