[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Ahead of Trump surrender, Republicans opened an investigation into Fani Willis:
The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee opened an investigation into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Thursday over whether her prosecution of former President Trump is “politically motivated.”
In a letter to Willis announcing the probe, Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Willis to turn over a series of documents to the committee by Sept. 7.
State of play: “Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” Jordan wrote in the letter.
Jordan added that it was “noteworthy” that Willis had launched a reelection website that highlighted her investigation of Trump prior to announcing the indictment.
It’s become common practice for House Republicans to go after any individual or agency that attempts to hold Donald Trump accountable. So, no surprise here.
Second news item
After Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was assassinated, Vladimir Putin, the war criminal known for being an oh-so compassionate leader, paid his respects:
Vladimir Putin has praised Yevgeny Prigozhin as a “talented businessman”, but criticised him for making “serious mistakes” in his first remarks since the Wagner leader’s death.
“I knew Prigozhin for a long time, from the early 1990s. He had a difficult path and made serious mistakes in his life. But he got results – for himself, and when I asked him,” Putin said in a televised address.
The Russian leader expressed his condolences to the victims of the plane crash, which occured on Wednesday evening in the Tver region north-west of Moscow. A total of 10 people died, including six passengers and three crew members.
Putin said that the Wagner members killed in the incident had made a “significant contribution to our common cause of fighting the neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine”.
Putin did not comment on the cause of the crash, and said they would have to await the outcome of an official investigation.
[Narrator: The Kremlin says that Putin didn’t order the plane crash that killed Prigozhin.]
1/ Yevgeny Prigozhin may be poised to take posthumous revenge on Vladimir Putin. A source suggests that Prigozhin was keeping sensitive information – kompromat – on the regime, which may now become public. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/kQEK1sopSQ
— ChrisO_wiki (@ChrisO_wiki) August 24, 2023
Additionally: “According to the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, a source says that “Prigozhin was sure that Putin would forgive him everything and was not afraid of anything. He said he knew a lot…””
Third news item
This is an embarrassment for the Republican Party:
“You all signed a pledge to support the Republican nominee,” said moderator Brett Baier. “If former President Trump is convicted in a court of law, would you still support him as your party’s choice? Please raise your hand if you would.”
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence raised their hands, saying they would support Trump as the party’s nominee – even if he was convicted.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison did not raise his hand and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a hand motion and later clarified he was not raising his hand in support of Trump.
To his credit, Chris Christie, who was booed for not raising his hand, hit the nail on the head:
“Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct,” said Christie. “Whether or not you believe that the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of President of the United States.” Christie was met with both cheers and boos, to which he responded: “That’s the great thing about this country, booing is allowed — but it doesn’t change the truth.”
The chaos that the modern Republican Party has embraced and normalized with Trump will be to its everlasting shame.
Fourth news item
Chinese diplomat in New York endorses forced assimilation of Tibetan children:
Chinese consul-general Huang Ping, Beijing’s most senior diplomat in New York, this week defended the Chinese Communist Party’s forced assimilation of Tibetan children.
A report by the Tibet Action Institute, a nonprofit focused on human rights in the region, recently published a report detailing Beijing’s policy of forcing children to attend Chinese-government boarding schools, where they are effectively stripped of their Tibetan identity and required to parrot CCP propaganda. Estimates say that some 1 million Tibetan children have been forced into the schools.
Unbelievably, the report notes that while Secretary of State Blinken announced that the State Department would impose visa restrictions on officials involved in the re-education campaign, “Earlier this month, Huang Ping appeared on the same stage with over a dozen prominent New York Democrats, including Mayor Eric Adams and Representative Grace Meng, at a festival hosted by Hong Kong government agencies in Flushing, Queens. Earlier this year, he marched with Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul at a parade in Chinatown, and the office of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg held a ceremony with the Chinese consulate-general to mark the repatriation of looted antiquities to China.”
Not a good look, Democrats. Not a good look at all.
Fifth news item
Speaking of Democrats, at least one is saying the quiet part out loud:
Dean Phillips is getting a little fed up with his party. The third-term Democratic congressman is on a “crusade,” he says. “I’m saying we need presidential diversity on the stage.”…Phillips has had a lot more media hits in recent weeks ever since he said Democrats need to challenge President Joe Biden in the presidential primary. In his words, he’s “just giving voice to private conversations” (he wouldn’t say with whom). The Democratic Party—and the country—shouldn’t just gamble on an octogenarian with a roughly 42% approval rating to beat Donald Trump, Phillips tells me.
“I came from the business world, and anybody in business knows you don’t just produce a product and then hope there’s a market for it,” he says. “What we tend to do as Democrats is kind of identify the product, and then try to convince people to buy it. I’m not trying to compare people to products, but that’s the analogy. And that’s what happened in 2016.”
“I love Joe Biden. I think he’s an extraordinary man. I think he saved the country. His policies, I voted for every single one of them, and I’ve helped market them. [I am] not someone who’s objecting to the past. I’m simply making an argument for the future. And I believe that we should, if he’s intent on being one of the products, I just think we should also offer some others.”
Phillips’s primary concern is Biden’s age. “Age is the main issue in this election, because we have two men who are older than Bill Clinton, who was president when I was in college.”
Sixth news item
The former president left the Fulton County Jail at 7:55 p.m. Thursday, and for the first time in his four indictments on felony charges, authorities took — and released — Trump’s mug shot. By 9:22 p.m., the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee was selling T-shirts, mugs, beverage coolers, bumper stickers and other merchandise with Trump’s face and the words “never surrender.”
The mug shot products range from $12 for a bumper sticker to $36 for long-sleeve T-shirts.
Seventh news item
Sure, keep giving parents more reasons to pull their kids out of public schools:
A federal court in Maryland decided Thursday that parents can’t opt their kids out of reading books with LGBTQ+ content in Montgomery County Schools.
In Tamer Mahmoud v. Monica B. McKnight, parents sought to reinstate a MCPS policy that would allow them to opt their children out of reading and discussing books with LGBTQ+ characters in elementary schools. The parents argued the content in these books was a form of indoctrination that violated their families’ religious beliefs.
The court disagreed. Judge Deborah L. Boardman, a Biden appointee, concluded that the parents’ “asserted due process right to direct their children’s upbringing by opting out of a public-school curriculum that conflicts with their religious views is not a fundamental right.”
The judge denied the parents’ request for a preliminary injunction that would allow them to opt-out their kids when school begins on August 28.
Note: “The LGBTQ+ books added to the district’s curriculum are included in pre-K through eighth-grade classrooms and feature references to gay pride parades, gender transition and pronoun preference.”
Have a great weekend.