A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
You Mean They Didn’t Buy That??
A federal jury in California convicted Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) on Thursday on all three charges of concealing information (one count) and lying to the FBI about a foreign donation scheme with his 2016 campaign (two counts).
- Fortenberry faces a maximum of five years in prison for each count. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28.
- He vowed to appeal the verdict immediately. The nine-term Nebraska lawmaker didn’t say whether he plans on ending his reelection campaign.
- One of Fortenberry’s iron-clad defenses in the trial was that the conversation he lied to the FBI about was actually just one big misunderstanding caused by “a bad cell phone connection.”
- Fortenberry’s trial was the first trial of a sitting member of Congress since 2002, when Rep. Jim Traficant (D-OH) was convicted of corruption.
Ginni Thomas Repeatedly Pushed Meadows To Keep Trying To Steal Election
Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows a series of fanatical pro-Trump conspiracies about the 2020 election that read like the Facebook posts of your Great Aunt Doris, who isn’t allowed to come over for Thanksgiving anymore after buying five parakeets and naming them all “Ivanka” or “Jared.”
“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”
– Thomas to Meadows on Nov. 10, 2022 after Biden was projected the winner of the election
But unlike Great Aunt Doris, Thomas is the wife of one of the most powerful justices in the country, and these texts reveal how intimately tied she was in Trump’s efforts to steal the presidency, once again raising major concerns about Clarence Thomas’ proximity to a blatantly corrupt scheme to undo a free and fair election.
Clarence Thomas’ Health Status Remains A Mystery
Still no word on where the Supreme Court justice, who was hospitalized for an infection on Friday, is other than, well, not at the Supreme Court. The high court had said on Sunday that Thomas was expected to be released from the hospital “in a day or two,” but he hasn’t participated in any of the oral arguments this week.
Alabama Attorney General Refuses To Say Biden Was Legally Elected
Steve Marshall, Alabama’s Republican attorney general, repeatedly refused to call Biden the “duly elected and lawfully serving” president of the U.S. as he was testifying in Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearing on Thursday:
- Marshall has ties to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack: He oversees the Republican Attorneys General Association’s fundraising arm, which had put out a robocall urging people to join the pro-Trump march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ended up devolving into the insurrection. Marshall denies knowing anything about the robocall and claims it had been unauthorized.
McCarthy Won’t Back Any Other Primary Challengers Except Cheney’s
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) can apparently claim the distinct honor of being the only Republican who House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will be actively trying to get kicked out of Congress in November.
- McCarthy told CNN that Cheney’s rival, Harriet Hageman, is the only GOP primary challenger he’s endorsing. ”This is a very special case,” the Republican House leader said. Congrats, Cheney?
- It’s another cut in McCarthy’s increasingly aggressive takedown of his former fellow House GOP leader. He and more than 100 other House Republicans are co-hosting a fundraiser for Hageman (who’s also been endorsed by Trump) next week.
- At least five other pro-impeachment House Republicans besides Cheney are running for reelection and two pro-Trump House Republicans went to a white nationalist conference, but McCarthy said he’s standing by them. After all, they didn’t commit the mortal sin of joining the House Jan. 6 Committee.
Biden Heads To Poland
The President is leaving Brussels this morning after attending emergency meetings with NATO and G-7 allies to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and is flying to Rzeszów, Poland. That’s where he’ll meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda, and he’ll also go to the Polish-Ukrainian border to meet with troops and refugees.
Manchin Renews BBB Talks
After blowing up negotiations with the White House over Biden’s sweeping Build Back Better plan, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is back at the table with his fellow Democrats to discuss a smaller reconciliation bill for climate and social spending, the Washington Post reports. According to Axios, the West Virginia senator wants to focus on climate change, prescription drug prices and deficit reduction.
Retiring Dem Rep. To Leave Early
Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), who’s already announced he won’t be running for reelection, confirmed on Thursday that he will resign early in a few weeks to join a law and lobbying firm. There’ll be a special election to fill his seat in Texas’ 34th Congressional District.
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