A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.
Avoiding Another Possible Jan. 6
The Defense Department’s getting ready for a potential trucker blockade a la Canada in the coming days, with security plans to be set in motion on Saturday ahead of Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.
- In addition to the 700 National Guard members, 50 large tactical vehicles will be used, the DC National Guard said on Tuesday.
- Part of the safety mission is slated to continue until March 8, a week after Biden’s SOTU speech.
- Maryland State Police troopers are already stationed at the staging areas, the department told FOX 5 on Tuesday.
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters yesterday that Biden officials are “monitoring this closely.”
Oklahoma GOP AG Claims Kids Are Being Shown Gay Sex Diagrams
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor (R) is combing through 51 books in school libraries to see if they’re breaking the state’s obscenity law, and naturally some of the books he’s targeting are about LGBTQ+ issues.
- O’Connor made the extremely weird accusation that “it’s considered cool” to expose kids to “drawings of, say, homosexual sex in a diagram.” “And many parents, including me, disagree with that, whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual sex,” he told the Frontier on Monday.
Biden’s Finished Interviewing At Least Three SCOTUS Contenders
The President has interviewed U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs of South Carolina, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, according to the Washington Post.
- It’s possible that Biden’s interviewed other potential candidates, just FYI.
- Biden could announce his pick to replace outgoing Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer as soon as this week, as TPM reporter Kate Riga notes.
Biden Slaps Sanctions On Russia
The President announced the “first tranche” of sanctions against Russia, targeting the country’s financial sector, yesterday.
- Russia responded by threatening that Americans would feel the “consequences” of the sanctions.
- These visuals of Russia’s escalating aggression toward Ukraine gathered by the Washington Post are a helpful catch-up.
- You can check out our liveblog of the Ukraine crisis yesterday here.
- The White House also dismissed Trump praising Putin as a “genius.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday: “As a matter of policy, we try not to take advice from anyone who praises President Putin and his military strategy.”
- Speaking of Trump’s glowing praise, here’s a collection of the times when Fox News tried to gaslight you into thinking Trump was super tough on the Russian leader.
New SCOTUS Threat Against LGBTQ+ Rights Appears On The Horizon
The Supreme Court is taking up a case on religious discrimination that could pave the way for the conservative-leaning high court to establish that at least some businesses have a constitutional right to refuse to serve LBGTQ+ people on the basis of religion.
- The case, 303 Creative v. Elenis, involves a web designer company in Colorado that refuses to create a wedding website for same-sex couples.
Another Factor In GOP’s ‘Concerned Parents’ Rights’ Theater
Here’s a revealing stat in this Atlantic piece that puts the GOP’s war on school restrictions and learning material that could make white people sad in perspective: A majority of Republicans under 55 are parents, while a majority of Democrats in that age group aren’t.
Plans For GOP And Progressives’ Responses To Biden’s SOTU
- GOP: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) will give the Republican address after Biden gives his State of the Union speech on March 1.
- Progressives: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) will deliver a response to Biden’s speech on behalf of the Working Families Party, when she’s expected to put moderates who’ve stalled Build Back Better on blast. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) similarly delivered a separate response from Democrats to Trump’s SOTU address last year on the Working Families Party’s behalf.
Trump Organization And CFO Seek To Dismiss Criminal Case
The former president’s company and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, asked a judge to throw out the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal tax fraud charges against them both yesterday.
- The argument the lawyers for Trump and Weisselberg made here isn’t gonna shock you: That they’re both being targeted by the district attorney and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), who’s assisting in the criminal case and is also pursuing a civil investigation into the Trump Organization, for political reasons.
- Weisselberg’s lawyers also argued that their client is protected by a previous grant of immunity he received in 2018 in exchange for testimony against ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen. They argue that Weisselberg’s testimony against Cohen gave rise to the current case.
FBI-Raided Dem Confident He’ll Beat Primary Challenger Even More This Time
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who just barely beat progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros by less than 3,000 votes in 2020, boldly predicted in a Politico interview that he’ll do “much better” in his second round against Cisneros this year despite the FBI raid on his home last month.
- Cuellar insisted that his supporters have stuck by him and that none of them have asked him about the raid. The Democrat has denied any wrongdoing.
- Both Cuellar’s home and campaign headquarters in Laredo, Texas were raided by the feds in January. We don’t know much about the probe that prompted the raid–including whether or not the Democratic congressman himself is under investigation–only that it’s reportedly tied to a group of U.S. businessmen’s ties to Azerbaijan.
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