Georgia: Voluntary audit of US Senate run-off election results planned in Bartow County | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs weren’t as close as the contentious presidential election, but one county is planning a full audit of every ballot to verify the results. Bartow County Elections Supervisor Joseph Kirk announced Friday that election workers will manually recount the county’s 43,000 ballots cast in the runoffs, checking the accuracy of machine counts. “The whole reason we have these paper ballots is to confirm that we counted properly,” Kirk said. “This is a key step in promoting public confidence. Whether the results are close or not, we should always be working toward that.” There’s no reason to doubt that the Dominion Voting Systems election equipment, which uses touchscreens to print out paper ballots, counted votes accurately, Kirk said. But a human review will provide another check on the process. Unlike after the presidential election, a statewide audit of every ballot isn’t planned by the secretary of state’s office. Hand recounts and machine counts in November both confirmed that Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump by about 12,000 votes in Georgia, a 0.24% margin. In the Senate runoffs, as of Friday, Democrat Jon Ossoff led Republican David Perdue by nearly 1%, and Democrat Raphael Warnock was ahead of Republican Kelly Loeffler by almost 2%.

Full Article: Voluntary audit of US Senate election results planned in Bartow County

Missouri: GOP Leaders Condemn Sen. Josh Hawley After Pro-Trump Riot At U.S. Capitol | Elena Moore/NPR

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley continues to face intense criticism for his decision to challenge the presidential election results, the futile enterprise that helped fuel pro-Trump rioters. Hawley was the first U.S. senator to publicly vow to challenge the Electoral College tally, leading the effort with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Shortly before things escalated, a photo was taken outside the Capitol building of Hawley greeting the Trump loyalists with a happy fist-pump. Lawmakers were scheduled to officially recognize President-elect Biden’s win Wednesday but the proceedings were interrupted for hours when a pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol building. The event led to a woman being shot and killed by Capitol police, and a police officer dying of injuries sustained in the melee. As Congress reconvened Wednesday evening, shaken from the violence earlier that day, Hawley continued to challenge the election results in both Arizona and Pennsylvania with the backing of a smaller group of senators than originally planned. “I actually think it’s very vital what we do, the opportunity to be heard, to register objections is very vital. Because this is the place where those objections should be heard and dealt with, debated and finally resolved,” Hawley said in a speech late Wednesday evening. “In this lawful means, peacefully, without violence, without attacks, without bullets,” he added. The challenges were rejected by the majority of the Senate and House. Since Wednesday, Missouri leaders and constituents as well as members of the GOP establishment have condemned Hawley’s actions in the Senate and his rhetoric leading up to the riot.

Full Article: GOP Leaders Condemn Sen. Josh Hawley After Pro-Trump Riot At U.S. Capitol : NPR

Editorial: With perfect staging, Missouri Senator Hawley becomes ‘The Face of Sedition’ | Tony Messenger/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The picture was perfect, like one of President Donald Trump’s phone calls, to Ukraine or the Georgia secretary of state. Surely that’s what U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley and his ever-present image and political consultants thought after they saw it. The photo of the junior senator from Missouri was taken Wednesday by photographer Francis Chung of E&E News just before the siege on the U.S. Capitol. Among the attackers on the people’s building were Confederate flag-waving white supremacists who had been urged on by the president. The photo shows Hawley honoring, perhaps saluting, or worse, instigating, the rioters as they gathered outside the Capitol, immediately before the vandalism and mayhem would begin. The insurrectionists trying to overturn the results of the free, democratic and state-certified election of Joe Biden as the next president would shut down the House and the Senate. Five people would die. Hawley’s left fist is raised and tightly clenched. His face appears resolute as he greets the insurrectionists. Members of law enforcement appear in the background. His hair is neatly parted, but sticking up just a bit in front, showing his youthful energy. His suit jacket remains buttoned, because he works out, is fit and trim, and, well, presidential. Hawley’s mask dangles in his right hand by his side, barely visible, lest the patriots who contend that COVID-19 is a hoax think he is weak or will bow to authority. The consultants, hoping to turn their creation into a 2024 presidential contender, must have been pleased with their staging, especially with it coming on the heels of a Fox News interview in which news anchor Bret Baier turned Hawley into a blubbering sycophant when trying to get him to explain his endorsement of baseless conspiracy theories. The consultants were two steps ahead. Fox News is yesterday’s news, your grandfather’s right-wing propaganda. The real juice among Trumpites these days is Newsmax or One America News Network. Those anchors won’t challenge Hawley. They’ll cheer him on.

Full Article: Messenger: With perfect staging, Hawley becomes ‘The Face of Sedition’ | Tony Messenger |

Nebraska: Measures in Legislature would change electoral vote allocation, require voter ID | Martha Stoddard/Omaha World-Herald

As the nation struggles over its last election, a Nebraska lawmaker introduced two election measures Thursday guaranteed to generate battles here. Legislative Bill 76 would return Nebraska to the winner-take-all method of allocating Electoral College votes. Legislative Resolution 3CA is a constitutional amendment that, if passed by voters, would require photo identification for voting. State Sen. Julie Slama of Peru offered both proposals on the first day of bill introduction in the 2021 session. In a statement, she described them as “common-sense measures” that would improve the state’s election laws. “LB76 will end the practice of gerrymandering in our state for Electoral College votes and give all Nebraska voters a say in how our five Electoral College votes should be distributed,” she said. “LR3CA will give Nebraskans the opportunity to join 35 other states requiring an identification to vote and provide another layer of security for our elections.” Both drew sharp criticism from opponents, including the ACLU of Nebraska, the Holland Children’s Movement and the Nebraska Democratic Party. State ACLU Director Danielle Conrad drew a link between the proposals and “what we witnessed in our nation’s capital: leaders putting politicians over voters and perpetuating false narratives.” “Now more than ever, it’s incumbent on us all to fiercely protect our free and fair elections in Nebraska,” she said. “We need to expand — not contract — voting rights because every American knows voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest.”

Full Article: Measures in Nebraska Legislature would change electoral vote allocation, require voter ID | Politics |

New York: At least 63 voters who did everything right could see votes nixed in Brindisi-Tenney race | Patrick Lohmann/Syracuse Post-Standard

At least 63 voters who met every obligation to legally vote in the hotly contested 22nd Congressional District race could still see their votes tossed because of a month-long delay in processing their applications, according to testimony in court today. Democrat Anthony Brindisi currently trails Republican Claudia Tenney by 29 votes in the last undecided House race in the country. Attorneys for both candidates are fighting for every vote in the race in a court battle over which State Supreme Court Judge Scott DelConte is presiding. The 63 voters registered by Oct. 9, the state voting registration deadline, to vote in Oneida County. When they showed up at the polling place, however, their application had not yet been processed, leaving them unregistered. They were allowed to vote by affidavit ballot, and that ballot was ultimately rejected for lack of registration, according to testimony in court. Brindisi’s attorneys are asking DelConte to count the ballots on the basis that the voters should not be deprived their right to vote based on the delay, which wasn’t their fault. Tenney’s attorneys, however, argue that it is logistically not possible to identify a voter who arrives at the polling place who is not registered. There is no way to match a voter’s signature with their registration record, for example, as a way to determine a voter is eligible. The voters were still not processed as registered voters even after the election. DelConte, the judge, said both sides had valid points, and described the issue as one that could determine the winner in a case now separated by a lead of .009%. In addition to this issue, DelConte will have to rule on several other issues that affected dozens or hundreds of contested ballots.

Full Article: At least 63 voters who did everything right could see votes nixed in Brindisi-Tenney race –

Editorial: A reckoning is coming for President Trump’s Ohio enablers | The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The last time the U.S. Capitol was breached and attacked was in August 1814 by invading British forces during the War of 1812 — when the British set fire not just to the then-partially built seat of U.S. government but also to the White House. More than 200 years later, it took a mob incited by a president of the United States to mount only the second such hostile assault, during which at least four protesters died — a woman apparently shot to death by police and three who suffered what authorities described as fatal “medical emergencies.” Much of the attention is focused today on what the consequences should be for President Donald Trump himself for ginning up the conspiracy theories and lies about a stolen election that convinced his supporters that Trump had won — and that they needed to act to help him overturn the injustice. At a lengthy warm-up rally shortly before the assault on the Capitol, President Trump repeated those lies to a mob of his supporters, urging them to march on the Capitol and to “get rid of the weak Congress, people, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world; we got to get rid of them” — U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, being a key part of the House Republican leadership. Trump singled out Cheney because she stood up to him. Good for her. But what of Trump’s many GOP enablers, including those in solid-red Ohio? What should be their culpability for active partnership in the lies or for a toxic silence that let Trump’s false allegations that he’d won and that there had been a “steal” of the election metastasize and grow?

Full Article: A reckoning is coming for President Trump’s Ohio enablers –

Pennsylvania: Fact-checking Josh Hawley’s claim about state’s election law | Amy Sherman/PolitFact

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri led the Senate charge against the electoral college certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Much of his argument was based on changes to mail-in voting in Pennsylvania. Hawley said that he objected to Biden’s win because Pennsylvania failed to follow its own state election laws. “You have a state constitution that has been interpreted for over a century to say that there is no mail-in balloting permitted, except for in very narrow circumstances that’s also provided for in the law,” Hawley said Jan. 6. “And, yet, last year, Pennsylvania elected officials passed a whole new law that allows universal mail-in balloting, and did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution said.” Hawley’s central argument is that a new state law about voting by mail — passed not “last year” but in the fall of 2019 — conflicts with the state’s constitution. The courts have not backed up his argument, and he omits the full story about the new law. The state constitution doesn’t have an explicit ban on mail-in voting, and the law permitting mail-in voting passed with strong Republican support.

Full Article: Fact-checking Josh Hawley’s claim about Pennsylvania’s election law | PolitFact

Texas: Warning of fraud, Republicans seek to further tighten state voting laws | Houston Chronicle

As the country’s political polarization reaches a boiling point — illustrated vividly Wednesday by the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of the president who believed his false claims that the election was stolen — Texas Republicans are seeking to make some of the nation’s strictest voting laws even stricter. They say the unrest sparked by the events Wednesday is likely to invigorate discussions over the matter in the state Legislature, where the 2021 session will begin Tuesday. Several election-related bills have been filed by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — though their aims are in direct opposition, with Democrats looking to ease up laws they see as suppressing the vote and Republicans trying to curb the opportunities for the fraud they say plagued the 2020 election. Democrats have filed about two-thirds of the election-related bills, with the other third coming from Republicans. “If this week has highlighted anything, it’s that we need to protect and encourage democracy and that it’s fragile,” said Rep. John Bucy III, an Austin Democrat who sits on the House Elections Committee. “And so these types of bills are worth the investment.”

Full Article: Warning of fraud, Texas Republicans seek to further tighten state voting laws –

Editorial: Resign, Senator Cruz. Your lies cost lives. | San Antonio Express-News

In Texas, we have our share of politicians who peddle wild conspiracy theories and reckless rhetoric aiming to inflame. Think U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s “terror baby” diatribes or his nonsensical vow not to wear a face mask until after he got COVID, which he promptly did. This editorial board tries to hold such shameful specimens to account. But we reserve special condemnation for the perpetrators among them who are of sound mind and considerable intellect — those who should damn well know better. None more than U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. A brilliant and frequent advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court and a former Texas solicitor general, Cruz knew exactly what he was doing, what he was risking and who he was inciting as he stood on the Senate floor Wednesday and passionately fed the farce of election fraud even as a seething crowd of believers was being whipped up by President Donald Trump a short distance away. Cruz, it should also be noted, knew exactly whose presidency he was defending. That of a man he called in 2016 a “narcissist,” a “pathological liar” and “utterly amoral.” Cruz told senators that since nearly 40 percent of Americans believed the November election “was rigged” that the only remedy was to form an emergency task force to review the results — and if warranted, allow states to overturn Joe Biden’s victory and put their electoral votes in Trump’s column. Cruz deemed people’s distrust in the election “a profound threat to the country and to the legitimacy of any administrations that will come in the future.” What he didn’t acknowledge was how that distrust, which he overstated anyway, was fueled by Trump’s torrent of fantastical claims of voter fraud that were shown again and again not to exist. Cruz had helped spin that web of deception and now he was feigning concern that millions of Americans had gotten caught up in it.

Full Article: Editorial: Resign, Senator Cruz. Your lies cost lives. –

West Virginia: Derrick Evans resigns State House of Delegates after entering U.S. Capitol with mob | Brad McElhinny/WV MetroNews

Derrick Evans, facing federal charges for entering the U.S. Capitol with a mob, has resigned from West Virginia’s House of Delegates. “I hereby resign as a member of the House of Delegates, effective immediately,” Evans said in a one-page letter submitted to Gov. Jim Justice and the House. The House released another statement from Evans expressing regret. “I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” Evans stated. “I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state. And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God.’”

Full Article: Derrick Evans resigns W.Va. House after entering U.S. Capitol with mob – WV MetroNews

Wisconsin: After holdup, Republicans agree to reimburse Milwaukee and Dane counties for recount costs | Patrick Marley/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Republican state lawmakers agreed Friday to reimburse two counties that went to President-elect Joe Biden nearly $2.5 million for their recount costs after blocking the payments for a month. The move will allow Dane and Milwaukee counties, along with the state Elections Commission, to recover their costs for the recount President Donald Trump sought after narrowly losing the state. It will also allow Trump’s campaign to get a refund of more than $500,000 for expenses that weren’t incurred. Under state law, Trump’s campaign had to pay $3 million before the recount could begin. But after the recount, Republicans on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee prevented the Elections Commission from reimbursing the counties because they wanted to review receipts. Now that that’s happened, they announced Friday they were freeing up the money so the counties could be reimbursed. They made the decision two days after pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and Congress confirmed Biden’s win. “Although the receipts from Dane and Milwaukee counties have raised concerns, we now have the information we need to approve their request,” said a statement from Rep. Mark Born of Beaver Dam, a co-chairman of the committee.

Full Article: After holdup, Republicans agree to reimburse Milwaukee and Dane counties for recount costs

National: Riot in the Capitol is a nightmare scenario for cybersecurity professionals | Tonya Riley/The Washington Post

Lawmakers and congressional staff were ushered into secure locations as a mob backing President Trump violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in hopes of overturning the election he lost. The assault – which only temporarily delayed the certification of president-elect Joe Biden’s win – left many unanswered questions about security at the Capitol, including its cybersecurity. “There’s an old saying, if an attacker has physical access to your computer, it’s not your computer anymore,” Katie Moussouris, CEO and founder of Luta Security, told me. A now-removed tweet from a right-wing journalist showed rioters had access to at least one unlocked computer in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, open to email appearing to belong to a staffer. It’s unclear if the computer was a work or personal device, and my colleague Mike DeBonis confirmed no computers were taken from Pelosi’s office. “Having shown that they’re willing to rummage through and destroy physical papers and run through the offices of our Congress right now with physical destruction, I would not be surprised if they were trying to access some of the computers that were left unlocked,” Moussouris says. (Some rioters boasted about looting offices for documents. One person, pictured earlier in Pelosi’s office, told the New York Times’s Matthew Rosenberg that he plucked an envelope from Pelosi’s desk.) Bad actors could also try to guess the passwords of locked devices, which could be successful if the device lacked a strong password, Moussouris says. Anything more intensive, such as breaking into an iPhone, probably would require a third party. The government normally keeps its most sensitive classified information in separate spaces called sensitive compartmented information facilities. That’s why the extent to which the mob posed a security risk to Congress depends on the expertise of the rioters, Moussouris said. Most, she guessed, are “not exactly cybercriminals.” But taking a laptop would give the thief more time to crack into the computer – or even potentially take to a professional to crack into. House IT officials did not respond for comment about steps they’re taking to secure exposed devices. Important practices that all organizations should implement include having multi-factor password protection and a centralized mechanism to wipe devices of data, Moussouris told me.

Full Article: The Cybersecurity 202: Riot in the Capitol is a nightmare scenario for cybersecurity professionals – The Washington Post

Assault on democracy: Senator Josh Hawley has blood on his hands in Capitol coup attempt | The Kansas City Star

No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway. This, Sen. Hawley, is what law-breaking and destruction look like. This is not a protest, but a riot. One woman who was apparently part of the pro-Trump mob was fatally shot by Capitol Police as lawmakers took cover. Some of those whose actions Trump encouraged and later condoned brought along their Confederate flags. And no longer can it be asked, as George Will did recently of Hawley, “Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?” Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed. Hawley was first to say that he would oppose the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. That action, motivated by ambition, set off much that followed — the rush of his fellow presidential aspirant Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other members of the Sedition Caucus to put a show of loyalty to the president above all else.

Full Article: MO Sen. Josh Hawley to blame for mob, Capitol coup attempt | The Kansas City Star

National: How bad was the US Capitol breach for cybersecurity? | Zack Whittaker/TechCrunch

It’s the image that’s been seen around the world. One of hundreds of pro-Trump supporters in the private office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after storming the Capitol and breaching security in protest of the certification of the election results for President-elect Joe Biden. Police were overrun (when they weren’t posing for selfies) and some lawmakers’ offices were trashed and looted.As politicians and their staffs were told to evacuate or shelter in place, one photo of a congressional computer left unlocked still with an evacuation notice on the screen spread quickly around the internet. At least one computer was stolen from Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, reports say. Most lawmakers don’t have ready access to classified materials, unless it’s for their work sitting on sensitive committees, such as Judiciary or Intelligence. The classified computers are separate from the rest of the unclassified congressional network and in a designated sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIFs, in locked-down areas of the Capitol building. “No indication those [classified systems] were breached,” tweeted Mieke Eoyang, a former House Intelligence Committee staffer. But the breach will likely present a major task for Congress’ IT departments, which will have to figure out what’s been stolen and what security risks could still pose a threat to the Capitol’s network. Kimber Dowsett, a former government security architect, said there was no plan in place to respond to a storming of the building.

Full Article: Decrypted: How bad was the US Capitol breach for cybersecurity? | TechCrunch

National: Several State Lawmakers Joined, Observed US Capitol Turmoil | Cuneyt Dil/Associated Press

A West Virginia lawmaker who filmed himself and supporters of President Donald Trump storming into the U.S. Capitol is facing bipartisan calls for his resignation as federal prosecutors step up their pursuit of violent perpetrators. State Del. Derrick Evans was among lawmakers from at least seven states who traveled to Washington, D.C., for demonstrations rooted in the baseless conspiracy theory that Democrat Joe Biden stole the presidential election. Wearing a helmet, Evans ultimately joined a screaming mob as it pushed its way into the Capitol building, and livestreamed himself joyfully strolling inside. It’s unclear if Evans was the only elected official to participate in what Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and many others called a “failed insurrection.” It’s also not known if any of them will be prosecuted. Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano said he helped organize a bus ride to the demonstrations but left the U.S. Capitol area after the eruption of violence, which he called “unacceptable.” The top Democrat in the Pennsylvania Senate, and eight of his colleagues, want him to resign, saying his actions and words disputing the election’s integrity encouraged a coup attempt and inspired the people behind it. Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver said Wednesday night that it had been an “epic and historic day.” The Republican lawmaker told The Tennessean she was “in the thick of it” but hadn’t seen any violence. Weaver did not respond to emailed questions from The Associated Press about whether she entered the Capitol. Incoming Nevada state Assemblywoman Annie Black, a Republican, said she marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol, where she saw men on megaphones revving the crowd to storm the security barrier. She said she retreated to avoid being associated with the mob.

Full Article: Several State Lawmakers Joined, Observed US Capitol Turmoil | West Virginia News | US News

National: QAnon and the storm of the US Capitol: The offline effect of online conspiracy theories | Marc-André Argentino/Quartz

What is the cost of propaganda, misinformation, and conspiracy theories? Democracy and public safety, to name just two things. The US has received a stark lesson on how online propaganda and misinformation have an offline impact. For months, Donald Trump has falsely claimed the November presidential election was rigged and that’s why he wasn’t re-elected. The president’s words have mirrored and fed conspriacy theories spread by followers of the QAnon movement. While conspiracy theorists are often dismissed as “crazy people on social media,” QAnon adherents were among the individuals at the front line of the storming of Capitol Hill. QAnon is a decentralized, ideologically motivated, and violent extremist movement rooted in an unfounded conspiracy theory that a global “Deep State” cabal of satanic pedophile elites is responsible for all the evil in the world. Adherents of QAnon also believe that this same cabal is seeking to bring down Trump, whom they see as the world’s only hope in defeating it.

Full Article: The attack on the US Capitol shows the real danger of QAnon — Quartz

National: U.S. Capitol Police officer dies after attack on Congress | Narianne Levine and Sarah Ferris/Politico

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died after engaging with rioters in Wednesday’s violent insurrection. “Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement late Thursday. “He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.” Sicknick had served in the USCP since 2008 and was recently in the First Responders’ Unit. Four other people died during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol. One of them was a 35-year-old woman who was shot inside the Capitol as she climbed through a window. Three others died due to medical emergencies. More than 50 law enforcement officials were injured and several were hospitalized, USCP said earlier Thursday. The growing number of deaths from the unprecedented attack on Capitol Hill comes as the enormous complex faces a reckoning over its security, including the operations of its roughly 1,800-member police force. On Thursday, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Senate Sergeant-At-Arms Michael Stenger and House Sergeant-At-Arms Paul Irving all resigned.

Full Article: U.S. Capitol Police officer dies after attack on Congress – POLITICO

National: Capitol Attack Leads Democrats to Demand That Trump Leave Office | Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman/The New York Times

President Trump’s administration plunged deeper into crisis on Thursday as more officials resigned in protest, prominent Republicans broke with him and Democratic congressional leaders threatened to impeach him for encouraging a mob that stormed the Capitol a day earlier. What was already shaping up as a volatile final stretch to the Trump presidency took on an air of national emergency as the White House emptied out and some Republicans joined Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a cascade of Democrats calling for Mr. Trump to be removed from office without waiting the 13 days until the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. The prospect of actually short-circuiting Mr. Trump’s tenure in its last days appeared remote. Despite a rupture with Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence privately ruled out invoking the disability clause of the 25th Amendment to sideline the president, as many had urged that he and the cabinet do, according to officials. Democrats suggested they could move quickly to impeachment, a step that would have its own logistical and political challenges. But the highly charged debate about Mr. Trump’s capacity to govern even for less than two weeks underscored the depth of anger and anxiety after the invasion of the Capitol that forced lawmakers to evacuate, halted the counting of the Electoral College votes for several hours and left people dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer who died Thursday night. Ending a day of public silence, Mr. Trump posted a 2½-minute video on Twitter on Thursday evening denouncing the mob attack in a way that he had refused to do a day earlier. Reading dutifully from a script prepared by his staff, he declared himself “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem” and told those who broke the law that “you will pay.”

Full Article: How The Capitol Attack Led Democrats to Demand Trump’s Resignation – The New York Times

National: The Enduring Damage of This Insurrection to U.S. Diplomacy | Jude Blanchette and Michael J. Green/Foreign Policy

It is already obvious from the reactions around the world that the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump insurrectionist-wannabees has damaged the United States’ image badly. But how badly? After all, the insurrectionists were removed, Republican leaders easily defeated the anti-constitutional motions of some of their members, Congress confirmed the Electoral College majority for President-elect Joe Biden, the stock market closed up, and opinion polls in the coming days will undoubtedly show that a large majority of Americans repudiate the actions of a few thousand unhinged MAGA extremists. Yet images are stubborn things. Photojournalist Eddie Adam’s iconic shot of a Saigon police chief executing a Vietcong prisoner during the Tet offensive in 1968 captured indelibly the sadness, violence, and futility of the Vietnam War. Footage of the violent Democratic Party Convention that summer in Chicago reinforced for years the image of U.S. chaos at home. Neither the American public nor U.S. allies could shake those images from their minds, while Washington’s adversaries use them in propaganda to this day.

Full Article: The Capitol Insurrection Could Set U.S. Diplomacy Back Decades as China Uses It for Propaganda

National: Ex-Secret Service agents say there’s no playbook for evicting Trump on Inauguration Day | Robin Bravender/Business Insider

The Secret Service has never had to drag a president out of the White House. And there’s no obvious government playbook on how to handle a commander in chief who refuses to budge when his replacement shows up at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. President Donald Trump still refuses to concede the election, and he told some of his advisors he wouldn’t leave the White House on Inauguration Day, according to CNN. This all has triggered speculation about how Trump might be physically removed from the building when the new president is sworn in on January 20. It’s even been a hot topic in a private group chat involving former Secret Service officials and Department of Homeland Security alumni from both Republican and Democratic administrations, according to a former Obama administration DHS official. President-elect Joe Biden’s team has said the government would have no trouble removing “trespassers” from the White House if it comes down to that on Inauguration Day. But how exactly would that go down? Insider interviewed five former officials who worked for the US Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security about what the government would do if Trump didn’t go voluntarily. They all agreed it was not among the long list of incidents they’d ever had to practice for and said it could put the agencies in an uncomfortable position.

Full Article: Ex-Secret Service agents say there’s no playbook for evicting Trump on Inauguration Day – Business Insider

Editorial: I know how it feels to lose a stolen election. A real patriot would move on. | Stephanie Singer/The Washington Post

I know what a stolen election feels like. There’s rage at the enemies who got away with it. There’s grief over the dashed plans for your next term. There’s fear that all your accomplishments will be undone. There’s shock at the unexpected, unbelievable outcome. And there’s shame about what you might have done differently. I’m still certain it happened to me in 2015. I was finishing my first term on the Philadelphia Board of Elections. Four years earlier, I had earned the position with an upset win over a 36-year incumbent. I was looking forward to the campaign spotlight, and what I was sure would be another victory. In my case, a judge dealt the blow, ruling that my ballot petition was four valid signatures short of the required 1,000. (We had submitted about 1,500, but more than 1,000 of them were challenged.) I watched it happen over the course of a week: the expensive, mind-numbing arguments about the loops of the “g” in someone’s signature, the race against time to find people to come to court and testify that yes, they did sign, the unexpected overnight transformation of an informal count into a court order and, finally, the judge’s refusal to consider affidavits from 16 more signers, which would have been enough to keep me on the ballot. Even when an election isn’t stolen, it can still feel stolen. From inside the candidate bubble, no matter what, winning looks inevitable. In President Trump’s case — and in most cases, in my experience of investigating election rumors and data irregularities — the voter-by-voter, real-world evidence ends in wonky but legitimate details, like apartment numbers in a building with a FedEx office on the first floor being mistaken for post office boxes. To the losers, the 2020 presidential election feels stolen, but to any dispassionate observer, that case doesn’t hold water.

Full Article: I know how it feels to lose a stolen election. A real patriot would move on. – The Washington Post

Editorial: How Western media would have covered the storming of the U.S. Capitol if it had happened in another country | Karen Attiah/The Washington Post

Political violence and rioting exploded in the United States on Wednesday as extremists loyal to right-wing leader Donald Trump stormed the legislative building in the nation’s capital, Washington, forcing lawmakers to go into hiding in secure locations. The mob was incited to act by Trump himself. During a speech before thousands of his supporters earlier in the day, the president called the outcome of the November election an “egregious assault on our democracy” and urged people to “walk down to the Capitol” because “you will never take back our country with weakness.” Soon a crowd was breaking into the Capitol, charging police barricades and breaking windows to try to disrupt the certification of the presidential election that resulted in a clear defeat for Trump. A woman was fatally shot by security forces inside the Capitol, and three other people died under unspecified circumstances. An IED was found at the headquarters of the ruling Republican National Committee, and the nearby headquarters of the opposition Democratic National Committee was evacuated after the discovery of a suspicious package. As observers wrestled with whether to call the actions a “coup” or a “sparkling authoritarian takeover,” Trump supporters terrorized lawmakers and forced them to stop the certification of the election. Hundreds were seen looting and chanting slogans while some police officers passively looked on. Many Americans, including prominent journalists, politicians and security officials, expressed dismay at the unfolding events, even though right-wing groups had described their plans online and some had even printed “CIVIL WAR” T-shirts to mark the occasion. Of course political and racial violence have played a part in the history of the former British colony for centuries and have particularly been inflamed in the past four years.

Full Article: Opinion | How Western media would have covered the storming of the U.S. Capitol if it had happened in another country – The Washington Post

Editorial: Invoke 25th Amendment. Trump forfeited moral authority as president | USA Today

Ever since Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, Americans have wondered to what depths he would sink in his efforts to overturn the results and cling to power. On Wednesday, they got their answer: The president of the United States incited a mob of supporters and sicced them on the Capitol, just as Congress was about to count the states’ electoral votes and affirm Joe Biden’s victory. In the ensuing chaos, the hallowed chambers were desecrated, the ceremonial process was disrupted, one woman was fatally shot and four others died, including a Capitol police officer. By egging on this deadly insurrection and hailing the rioters (“We love you, you’re very special.”), the president forfeited his moral authority to hold the nation’s highest office, even for 13 more days. More urgent, he reinforced profound questions, and raised new ones, about his judgment and ability to fulfill his most minimal responsibilities to the country he is supposed to lead and protect. Trump’s continuance in office poses unacceptable risks to America. Foreign adversaries sense disarray and weakness. People close to Trump say his mental state is fragile. Even though he committed early Thursday to an orderly transfer of power, who knows what pardons he might grant, what orders he might issue as commander in chief and what other desperate measures he might take before Jan. 20? Resignation would be the preferable means for Trump to depart; Richard Nixon quit when Republican elders told him the jig was up amid the Watergate scandal. But there is no reason to believe that Trump will leave voluntarily, even in response to entreaties from top aides and GOP lawmakers.

Full Article: Invoke 25th Amendment. Trump forfeited moral authority as president

Georgia: Next Capitol stress test for democracy: What if the Senate won’t seat Georgia’s winners? | Kevin Johnson/The Fulcrum

The Senate election results in Georgia have Democrats dancing in the streets and democracy advocates cheering another seemingly successful high stress election. Turnout was extraordinary for a runoff, election officials performed efficiently, and fears of conflict and voter intimidation proved unfounded. But there could be trouble ahead. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will not officially become senators, and cannot swing control of Congress to their party, until they are seated by the Senate. That normally mechanical procedure could become the next round in our never-ending partisan dogfight. If either Republican candidate contests the results — as President Trump and his allies will surely insist — it will not be Georgia’s stalwart secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, with the last word on who won. Nor will it be the Georgia Supreme Court, or even the U.S. Supreme Court. The “Judge of the election of … members” of the Senate, according to the Constitution, is the Senate itself. For the vast majority of elections to both the House and Senate, this quirk — let’s be more honest, this flaw — in our founding document does not pose a problem. Normally, with losers having conceded, the House and Senate dispense with a vote and permit the state-certified winners to take their seats. But little else has happened normally this year, and with control of the Senate in the balance and Mitch McConnell still in charge, we should not be surprised if another challenge to our democracy is ahead. McConnell did try to protect the Electoral College count from objections, but he did so less on principle than to avoid politically difficult votes for his caucus. At least for the election between Ossoff and David Perdue, the closer of the two on Tuesday, there are certain to be GOP claims asserting Perdue’s victory. McConnell will be tempted to call for the Senate to investigate before seating a winner — which would mean depriving himself of the gavel.

Full Article: What if the Senate won’t seat Georgia’s winners? – The Fulcrum

Georgia: Trump attorney ends four lawsuits challenging election | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

President Donald Trump has ended his court challenges to try to reverse his loss to Joe Biden in Georgia. An attorney for Trump filed notice in court Thursday that he is voluntarily dismissing four lawsuits making unsubstantiated allegations about ineligible voters, election equipment problems and fraud. No judges in Georgia have ruled in Trump’s favor. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a defendant in the lawsuits, said Trump gave up on his false claims. “Rather than presenting their evidence and witnesses to a court and to cross-examination under oath, the Trump campaign wisely decided the smartest course was to dismiss their frivolous cases,” Raffensperger said. The court dismissals came after Congress accepted electoral votes Wednesday showing that Trump had lost the election. Raffensperger had sent a letter to Georgia’s members of Congress with a point-by-point rebuttal of Trump’s allegations about voting machines, ballot counting, signature verification and illegal voters.

Full Article: President Trump and GOP voters have dismissed four Georgia lawsuits

Georgia elections chief counters false claims in letter to Congress | Mark Niesse/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger delivered an exhaustive rebuttal of false election claims to Congress, telling the state’s skeptical representatives that the presidential vote count was investigated and found to be accurate. His 10-page letter, sent Wednesday as Congress was debating electoral votes, countered a collection of unsubstantiated allegations about voting machines, ballot counting, signature verification and ineligible voters. “My job is to make sure that both sides know that the results are accurate,” wrote Raffensperger, a Republican. “We do not have to like the results of an election to accept them.” Congress accepted Georgia’s 16 electoral votes after U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican from Greensboro, challenged them Wednesday evening. He was joined by Georgia Republican U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, Buddy Carter and Marjorie Taylor Greene. U.S. Reps. Andrew Clyde and Barry Loudermilk also said they would object. Hice said there had been an “unprecedented amount of fraud and irregularities” during the general election. But Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler withdrew her plan to support the challenge to Georgia’s votes, and without the required support from at least one senator, Vice President Mike Pence rejected Hice’s petition.

Full Article: Raffensperger defends Georgia election results in Congress letter

Michigan officials faced violent threats well before U.S. Capitol siege | Madeline Halpert/Bridge Michigan

After pro-Trump rioters stormed Washington’s Capitol to disrupt an Electoral College vote count, several public officials and security experts in Michigan said they aren’t surprised by the mayhem. Wednesday’s siege at the Capitol followed weeks of post-election threats to public officials in Michigan and other battleground states that left many concerned for their safety and wondering whether qualified people will want to serve in public official roles in the future. “I’ve been getting battered and flooded with emails and phone calls and texts for months,” said Jonathan Kinloch, the Democratic vice chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, one of several local and state bodies targeted by President Trump and his supporters after Michigan certified the November election for Democrat Joe Biden. “Nobody wants to take on a role as a member of a board of canvassers or any other community-serving positions and have the fear of losing their lives hanging over their head,” he said. Kinloch told Bridge Michigan he received at least 20 messages a day in November following the certification, some more aggressive than others. “Maybe you should peek out your windows and make sure the boogie man (sic) doesn’t come for you while you smoke your crack,” read one email sent to Kinloch reviewed by Bridge. Javed Ali, a senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council during the Trump administration, noted that the chaos at the U.S. Capitol Wednesday followed a tumultuous and politically-polarizing year in Michigan during which armed civilians stormed the state Capitol to protest COVID-19 restrictions in the spring and militia members were charged in October with plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The divisiveness was exacerbated by the president and his supporters, who threw gasoline on the fire with false allegations of a “rigged” election, Ali said.

Full Article: Michigan officials faced violent threats well before U.S. Capitol siege | Bridge Michigan

New York: Judicial review finish line in sight for Tenney, Brindisi race | Steve Howe/Utica Observer-Dispatch

The final evidentiary hearing in the judicial review in the race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District is expected Friday, wrapping up a portion of the proceedings begun last November. Preliminary results show Republican Claudia Tenney leading Democrat Anthony Brindisi by 29 votes. The race is a rematch of 2018, when Brindisi unseated one-term incumbent Tenney by less than 4,500 votes. The ballot-by-ballot process to review objections from both campaigns started Nov. 23 in Oswego County Supreme Court. The proceedings were put on hold twice since, once to give county boards of elections time to correct errors and again for the court’s December recess. During the hearing Thursday, state Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte moved quickly through more than 200 ballots. There are about 100 ballots from Oneida County, the final county in the district to be reviewed, left for Friday. While many of the issues with ballots were discussed in previous hearings, DelConte spent much of the day trying to suss out details on affidavit ballots cast by Oneida County residents who had applied to register to vote. The voters, who submitted online forms through the state Department of Motor Vehicles website, had applied before the Oct. 9 deadline, but were not included in voter rolls on Election Day, prompting them to cast affidavit ballots.

Full Article: Tenney-Brindisi NY22: Final evidentiary hearing set for Friday

Pennsylvania: Republicans move ahead on plans to review election process; tentative series of 14 hearings to start Jan. 21 | Ford Turner/The Morning Call

Republicans in both chambers of the General Assembly have moved to carry out in-depth reviews of how Pennsylvania conducts elections, including a tentatively scheduled series of 14 hearings by a House committee starting Jan. 21. The Republican steps came on Tuesday, before the violent breaching of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. York County Republican state Rep. Seth Grove on Tuesday issued a set of 14 dates for the hearings, which will carry into April. On the same day, the Republican-led Senate passed a motion in a split vote to form a special bipartisan committee on election integrity and reform. Republicans on Thursday said their plans likely would not be greatly affected by the events in Washington, D.C. Grove, chair of the State Government Committee that will hold the hearings, noted that the first date is still two weeks away. And Jason Gottesman, a spokesperson for the House Republican caucus, said nothing that would take place in the hearings would reflect the lawlessness seen in Washington. The moves appear to follow through on Republican leaders’ vow in early December to look into voting security and counting; management of the election by Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar; and the impact of judicial decisions on the election.

Full Article: Republicans move ahead on plans to review Pennsylvania election process; tentative series of 14 hearings to start Jan. 21 – The Morning Call

Texas: Ted Cruz accused of abetting sedition and inspiring pro-Trump riot by resisting Biden’s victory | Todd J. Gillman/Dallas Morning News

Although it was clear that President Donald Trump inspired the insurrection at the Capitol on Wednesday, Democrats pinned some of the blame on Sen. Ted Cruz, too, accusing him of promoting sedition and lawlessness by promoting Trump’s lies about election fraud. Cruz had been careful not to directly echo any of Trump’s more fanciful and baseless claims about ballot manipulation and cheating. But he did emerge as one of the two most ardent Senate advocates for blocking Congress from affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory on Wednesday, demanding a 10-day delay. “It is your self-serving attempt at sedition that has helped to inspire these terrorists and their attempted coup,” alleged Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat who came close to ousting Cruz in 2018. Just before 3 a.m. Thursday in Washington, with the House debating a challenge to the Pennsylvania electors that Cruz himself supported in the Senate – ending up on the losing side of a 92-7 vote – Cruz issued a full-throated rejection of the mob violence.

Full Article: Ted Cruz accused of abetting sedition and inspiring pro-Trump riot by resisting Biden’s victory