March 24, 2022


“I’m old enough to remember standing in line in 1974 trying to buy gas – I remember those days. I don’t want to have to be standing in line waiting for a battery for my vehicle, because we’re now dependent on a foreign supply chain, mostly China.” — Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), criticizing the shift away from ICE vehicles.

“We want her flex-cuffed on a table while we all pose and get our pictures taken like we just made the biggest drug bust in history.” — A key figure in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to an undercover FBI agent.

“My unease with Donald Trump didn’t just begin with his recent remarks concerning the barbaric invasion of Ukraine. It goes back to his arrival on the national scene roughly seven years ago. Montana is a place where there is appreciation for leaders who speak their minds, but an expectation they will also stick to the facts. It is also a place where drivel and deceit are quickly set aside as a waste of precious time. And, frankly, Donald Trump is wasting our time.” — Former Montana governor and RNC Chair Marc Racicot

“Putin is targeting and slaughtering civilians in a brutal unprovoked war against Ukraine, a sovereign democratic nation. Only the Kremlin and their useful idiots would call that ‘a conflict in which peace agreements have been violated by both sides.’” — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) bashing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for her “useful idiot” views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“If the people who are in charge in the EU believe that because of sanctions, I could approach Mr. Putin and tell him to stop the war, and it will work, then I’m afraid we’re all in big trouble. The power distance between Mr Putin and anybody else is like the distance between the Earth and the cosmos. To say anything to Putin against the war, for anybody, would be kind of suicide.” — Mikhail Fridman, one of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs.

"The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths — spit them out on the pavement. I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion and readiness to respond to any challenges." — Putin during Wednesday's call with top officials carried ominous parallels for those familiar with Soviet history.

“There is no kind way to put it. We are sleepwalking to climate catastrophe. The 1.5 degree goal is on life support. It is in intensive care.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a keynote address to the Economist Sustainability Summit in London

"Do you agree... that babies are racist?” — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asks Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson whether she agrees with the book, "Antiracist Baby" by Dr. Ibrim X. Kendi, which is in the library at a school on whose board she sits.


Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn calling Zelenskyy “a thug” are being “replayed over and over by Russian state propaganda outlets.” — Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)


Pending Criminal and Civil Cases Against Donald Trump.




      IN THE NEWS...  

      Andy Borowitz: Republicans Accuse Supreme Court Nominee of Being Chosen by Biden

      In a blistering attack on the Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, Senate Republicans accused the judge of having been nominated by President Biden.

      Senator Josh Hawley led the charge, telling reporters that he had “conclusive evidence” linking Jackson to Biden.

      “Judge Jackson met with Biden, talked to Biden, and allowed herself to be nominated by Biden,” Hawley said. “Three strikes, you’re out.”

      Senator Mitch McConnell called Jackson’s apparent ties to Biden “gravely troubling.”

      “Unless Judge Jackson is prepared to prove, under oath, that she has not been nominated by President Biden, I would call her confirmation a lost cause,” McConnell said.

      Hawley said that, in the event that Jackson is not confirmed, there are a number of candidates who would be acceptable to him, including Alex Jones, the My Pillow guy, and the QAnon shaman.

      Judging a Judge on Race and Crime, G.O.P. Plays to Base and Fringe

      After all of the entreaties from top Republicans to show respect at Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings, Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday afternoon chose to grill the first Black woman nominated for the Supreme Court on her views on critical race theory and insinuate that she was soft on child sexual abuse.

      The message from the Texas Republican seemed clear: A Black woman vying for a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land would, Mr. Cruz suggested, coddle criminals, go easy on pedophiles and subject white people to the view that they were, by nature, oppressors.

      The attack, the most dramatic of several launched from inside and outside the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing room, contained barely coded appeals to racism and clear nods to the fringes of the conservative world. Two other Republican senators, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, had already signaled they would go after Judge Jackson by accusing her of having a soft spot for criminals, especially pedophiles, and an allegiance to “woke” racialized education. Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, also pressed the issue on Tuesday night.

      Dreading the knock at the door: Parents of trans kids in Texas are terrified for their families

      A Feb. 22 directive written by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), instructs the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate families who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children, describing such care as “abuse” that should be referred for criminal prosecution. Abbott’s letter to the state agency followed a Feb. 18 opinion by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) asserting that gender-affirming treatments for transgender children — including puberty-blocking medications and gender-reassignment surgery — “can legally constitute child abuse.”

      Within days of Abbott’s letter, Texas officials began opening investigations of families suspected of providing gender-affirming care to their children — and these investigations have been conducted outside the typical protocol for child abuse cases, according to attorneys who represent the families and the testimony of a Child Protective Services investigations supervisor. As of March 11, officials confirmed that nine such cases had been opened.

      Republican Voters Are Now America’s Foreign Policy Doves

      In a February Yahoo News/YouGov survey, 58 percent of Democrats said the United States should take Ukraine’s side, but only 42 percent of Republicans agreed. Most Democrats said it was “in America’s best interests to stop Russia and help Ukraine,” but Republicans leaned toward the alternative answer: “The conflict is none of America’s business.”

      As Biden moved to fortify Europe against the Russian threat, Republicans opposed him. In mid-February, a Quinnipiac survey informed respondents that Biden had “approved the deployment of thousands of troops to Eastern Europe to support U.S. allies in NATO, such as Poland and Romania.” Seventy percent of Democrats endorsed the deployment. But a plurality of Republicans, 47 percent to 43 percent, rejected it.

      Today, weeks into the war, the partisan gap persists. In nearly every survey, Republicans are less willing than Democrats to sanction Russia, sanction Putin, ban the importation of Russian oil and gas, “send weapons and supplies to Ukraine,” help Ukraine “obtain more fighter jets,” send troops to Ukraine (even in non-combat roles), “shoot down Russian military planes flying over Ukraine,” or conduct “air strikes on Russia.” They’re less willing to support or participate in boycotts of Russian products, and they’re more willing to “promis[e] Russia that Ukraine will never join NATO.”

      In the latest Yahoo News survey, completed last Monday, the gap between the parties remains wide. Seventy-six percent of Democrats say the United States should take Ukraine’s side; only 57 percent of Republicans agree. Eighty percent of Democrats endorse “severe economic sanctions on Russia”; again, only 57 percent of Republicans agree. Two-thirds of Democrats prefer a “full Russian defeat”; only 51 percent of Republicans agree. When respondents are asked whether “It’s in America’s best interests to stop Russia and help Ukraine” or “The conflict is none of America’s business,” 72 percent of Democrats say we should help Ukraine. Fewer than half of Republicans share that view.

      Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists

      Startling heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles are causing alarm among climate scientists, who have warned the “unprecedented” events could signal faster and abrupt climate breakdown. Temperatures in Antarctica reached record levels at the weekend, an astonishing 40°C (104°F) above normal in places.

      At the same time, weather stations near the north pole also showed signs of melting, with some temperatures 30°C (86°F) above normal, hitting levels normally attained far later in the year.

      At this time of year, the Antarctic should be rapidly cooling after its summer, and the Arctic only slowly emerging from its winter, as days lengthen. For both poles to show such heating at once is unprecedented.

      The rapid rise in temperatures at the poles is a warning of disruption in Earth’s climate systems. Last year, in the first chapter of a comprehensive review of climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of unprecedented warming signals already occurring, resulting in some changes – such as polar melt – that could rapidly become irreversible.

      The danger is twofold: heatwaves at the poles are a strong signal of the damage humanity is wreaking on the climate; and the melting could also trigger further cascading changes that will accelerate climate breakdown.

      Republicans Push Crackdown on Crime Wave That Doesn’t Exist: Voter Fraud

      The Florida Legislature last week created a law enforcement agency — informally called the election police — to tackle what Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republicans have declared an urgent problem: the roughly 0.000677 percent of voters suspected of committing voter fraud.

      In Georgia, Republicans in the House passed a law on Tuesday handing new powers to police personnel who investigate allegations of election-related crimes. And in Texas, the Republican attorney general already has created an “election integrity unit” charged solely with investigating illegal voting.

      Voter fraud is exceedingly rare — and often accidental. Still, ambitious Republicans across the country are making a show of cracking down on voter crime this election year. Legislators in several states have moved to reorganize and rebrand law enforcement agencies while stiffening penalties for voting-related crimes. Republican district attorneys and state attorneys general are promoting their aggressive prosecutions, in some cases making felony cases out of situations that in the past might have been classified as honest mistakes.

      It is a new phase of the Republican campaign to tighten voting laws that started after former President Donald J. Trump began making false claims of fraud following the 2020 election. The effort, which resulted in a wave of new state laws last year, has now shifted to courthouses, raising concern among voting rights activists that fear of prosecution could keep some voters from casting ballots.

      If only Jackson had a chance to answer these questions

      • If your husband had attended the rally in D.C. ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, would you feel obliged to recuse yourself from cases related to what transpired that day?
      • When right-wing justices proclaim, for example, that a “fetus has an interest in having a life," do you think they understand that they are improperly substituting their own religious views for constitutional analysis?
      • Is it appropriate for a president to pick nominees from a preapproved list of candidates created by a group with a partisan agenda and whose funding sources are hidden? Shouldn’t people have to disclose whether they have contributed to groups that provide such a list to a president?
      • Should justices own individual stocks?
      • Why is it a problem to have a federal judiciary heavily dominated by former prosecutors?
      • Why do you think the six-person majority of justices nominated by Republican presidents almost always wind up on the side of Republicans when it comes to cases on abortion, guns, federal regulation, etc.?
      • Is the notion of “originalism” a way to minimize the rights of those excluded by the Framers (e.g., women)?
      • Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in Shelby County v. Holder opined that preclearance under the Voting Rights Act was no longer necessary since voting discrimination was a thing of the past. Was he wrong, considering the spate of legislation designed to minimize voting access for minorities?
      • Do you think justices should stop giving speeches in partisan settings and whining about being labeled “partisan hacks”?
      • In his majority opinion in Brnovich v. DNC, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. came up with “guideposts” for applying Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act that do not appear in the statute and in some instances contradict the express purpose of the statute. How is this not egregious judicial activism?
      • If a justice previously signed on to an ad for an extreme anti-abortion group, should she recuse herself from abortion cases?
      • When critics accuse you of being the beneficiary of “affirmative action,” what does it tell you about their views on race?
      • If a Supreme Court nominee is credibly accused of sexual misconduct, doesn’t the Senate have an obligation to investigate?
      • Don’t the partisan histrionics of this committee lend credence to the perception the court is simply a bunch of partisans in robes?

      Airline passenger traffic dropped in the pandemic. But TSA seized more guns than ever

      In 2021, the Transportation Security Administration caught 5,972 firearms at airport checkpoints, the most ever. That’s an increase of more than one-third over the 4,432 guns found in 2019, the next highest year and just before the coronavirus ravaged the world. The number of firearms found has soared by more than six times since 2008.

      More than two dozen Senate Republicans demand Biden do more for Ukraine after voting against $13.6 billion for Ukraine

      More than two dozen Senate Republicans are demanding that President Biden do more to aid war-torn Ukraine and arm its forces against Russia’s brutal assault, after voting last week against $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

      Trump Campaign Owes $300,000 in Legal Fees After Another Failed NDA Case

      Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign has been ordered to pay more than $300,000 in legal fees and expenses to a former employee who the campaign’s lawyers said had violated the terms of a nondisclosure agreement when she accused Mr. Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2016.

      The award, the culmination of an arbitration claim that was dismissed in November, represents the latest instance of Mr. Trump’s failure to use a nondisclosure agreement successfully against an ex-worker.

      GOP shrugs off Trump impeachment echoes in Russia-Ukraine war

      Republicans clamoring to accuse President Joe Biden of slow-walking support for Ukraine don’t see a shred of comparison with Donald Trump’s impeachment for withholding aid from the very same nation.

      Then-President Trump ordered his No. 2 to skip Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 2019 inauguration, put a secret hold on a package of military aid for months and deprived the incoming Ukrainian leader of a White House meeting meant to show solidarity with the West. Simultaneously, Trump and his allies repeatedly asked Zelenskyy to open politically motivated investigations into Democrats, including then-candidate Joe Biden.

      But Republicans, only one of whom supported Trump’s first impeachment, are brushing off any suggestion that their frustration with Biden’s pace of Ukraine aid is at odds with their earlier defense of Trump’s posture toward Kyiv. They’re also blaming Democrats for harming Ukraine, now at war with Russia, by launching the impeachment inquiry in the first place.

      “That was the biggest nothing-burger in the world that resulted in an impeachment by the House,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) “In many respects, it further validates Donald Trump’s position.”

      The GOP’s refusal to acknowledge the Ukraine-related substance of the Trump impeachment as Russia bombards Zelenskyy’s nation is a case study in the hopeless partisanship of the modern Congress, and the difficulties ahead as leaders weigh more support for Ukraine. Democrats are adamant that the former president deserves significant blame for worsening Ukraine’s long-term position, while Republicans dig in and say the impeachment itself — rather than Trump’s conduct — turned a backroom drama among world leaders into a front-page scandal that threw Zelenskyy in the middle of a political cage match.


      "What is happening here is not so different from what we're seeing happening in Russia, where you have got state TV and controlled messaging across the board.” — Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii speaking at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference.


      Since its invasion of Ukraine, Russia — a country with a long history of suppressing free speech and access to information — has restricted dissenting voices, independent news reporting and public discourse on social media platforms, including with a new law threatening prison time for spreading "false" information about the war. Those measures are without parallel in the U.S., where freedom of speech, expression and the press are enshrined in the Constitution. — Politifact


      Maureen Dowd: While Putin Shrinks, Zelensky Soars

      Putin has always had a Napoleon complex, puffing out his bare chest on horseback; fishing shirtless in Siberia; winning staged judo and hockey displays.

      But Zelensky understands that stature is not about phony macho photo shoots. Stature is a physical quality, but, more important, it is a human and moral quality. Keats was barely over five feet, but look at his spiritual size.

      Our military leaders have lately been quoting Napoleon, who said, “The moral is to the physical as three to one.” We have seen this with the Ukrainians, who are not only courageously resisting the Russians, but also launching counteroffensives.

      As The Times reported, the number of Russian casualties has hurt morale; our intelligence reports have described Russian soldiers simply parking their tanks and wandering into the woods.

      Putin doesn’t realize what the world knows: You don’t show your muscularity by razing cities, by bombing a maternity hospital, a boarding school for the visually impaired, a bread line, a community center and a shelter painted with a message in Russian pleading that children are inside. What kind of monster treats the word “CHILDREN” as an invitation to kill? This just proves that the Russian dictator is, as President Biden and his secretary of state contended, a war criminal.

      You don’t show your power by starting a war that reveals how weak and mediocre your army is and strengthens European bonds when your goal is to divide and weaken Europe.

      No matter what happens in Ukraine, Putin will be a loser with no moral stature and Zelensky will have towering moral stature.

      Donald Trump, who called Putin’s barbaric strategy “genius” and “savvy” after spending four years legitimizing that malefactor, also comes out a loser. Trump is stuck on the fringe of his party, sharing the wrong side of a moral divide with Tucker Carlson, J.D. Vance, Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene.

      Trump and Putin, what a pair, shrinking in stature in the eyes of the world. Tiny, tiny Trump and cruel fool Putin. The corrupt, paranoid germophobes love surrounding themselves with sycophants, conjuring delusional worlds and giving unhinged rants.

      Trump and Putin sowed the seeds of their own destruction. They wanted all of the attention and credit. Now they deserve all of the blame.

      Grandiosity and fantasy worlds will trip up these poisonous authoritarians. Neither man has a democratic bone in his body. And both think they know better than anyone else.

      “When you have an autocrat who’s been in power for too long, they don’t listen to people anymore, and this war was afflicted by very bad decision making,” Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian who teaches at New York University, said on MSNBC. This has left Putin vulnerable and humiliated before Russian elites and the world, she said. But it has also, parlously, left him without an offramp “because autocrats don’t negotiate.”

      Stephen Kotkin, a professor of history and international affairs at Princeton, told The New Yorker’s David Remnick that the Russians have a fractured identity. Culturally and scientifically, they are a world-class power. But economically and politically, they have a hard time matching the West, so “they resort to coercion.”

      “The worst part of this dynamic in Russian history is the conflation of the Russian state with some personal ruler,” Kotkin said. “Instead of getting the strong state that they want to manage the gulf with the West, they instead get a personalist regime. They get a dictatorship, which usually becomes a despotism.”

      Dana Milbank: Republicans promised ‘no circus’ at Jackson’s hearing. Then the clown car rolled in

      “We won’t try to turn this into a spectacle,” proposed Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the committee’s ranking Republican.

      “It won’t be a circus,” promised Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.).

      Even Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), a regular ringmaster, said “this will not be a political circus.”

      Then the clown car rolled in. Republicans used their opening statements to portray Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to the high court, as not just a pedophile enabler but also a terrorist sympathizer with a “hidden agenda” to indoctrinate Americans with the “racist vitriol” of critical race theory.

      Just one minute into the first remarks by a Republican on Monday, Grassley congratulated Republicans in the audience for their civility. “We’re off to a very good start. Unlike the start to the Kavanaugh hearings, we didn’t have repeated, choreographed interruptions. … Democrats interrupted me for more than an hour during my opening statement.”

      Graham echoed that, during the Kavanaugh hearings, “Chairman Grassley couldn’t get the first word out of his mouth before they shut down the place. … I hope that doesn’t happen.”

      Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) agreed that “it’s at least good that this one got kicked off without a bunch of yokels having to be arrested and carried from the room.”

      There was a good reason for that: As the senators surely knew, the Jackson confirmation hearing is entirely closed to the public. There are only 26 seats for the press (one-third the usual number) and 60 for senators’ personal guests.

      The only yokels in the hearing room were on the dais.

      Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) scolded Jackson, a former public defender, for the way she represented “people who have committed terrorist acts against the United States,” saying her “zealous advocacy has gone beyond the pale.”

      Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) seemed to be trying to associate the nominee with a host of evils in an inchoate tirade about “anarchists, rioters and left-wing street militias,” the “breakdown of society,” and “Soros prosecutors” who “destroy our criminal justice system from within.”

      Sen. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), the final Republican to speak, accused Jackson of providing “free legal services to help terrorists get out of Gitmo and go back to the fight,” supporting “the radical left’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court” and harboring a “hidden agenda … to let violent criminals, cop killers and child predators back to the streets.”.

      Eugene Robinson: The war in Ukraine could hardly be going worse for Putin. Don’t assume he agrees.

      It’s hard for me to imagine how the war in Ukraine could be going much worse for Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it’s not at all clear that Putin would agree. And as baffling as his perspective sounds, it must be taken seriously.

      What looked on paper like potentially a stroll through what was once the Soviet Union’s breadbasket has turned into a hard slog, with Russian advances on the ground now largely stalled, according to U.S. and British intelligence assessments. As the war enters its fourth week, Russia still has not achieved superiority in the air, much less the supremacy that would allow its aircraft to fly at will. Ukraine’s biggest cities remain in government hands, though the Russian siege of Mariupol has become increasingly grim.

      Indiscriminate rocket and missile strikes against civilian targets such as apartment buildings, schools and hospitals look, to me — and apparently to President Biden — like textbook war crimes. The almost sadistic battering of Mariupol — including the bombing of a theater that was being used as a shelter by hundreds of residents — has not yet pummeled the city into surrender. But such siege tactics can eventually work, even if there won’t be much left of Mariupol for the Russians to occupy.

      But none of that may matter to Putin if he really believes the aim of the West is to confine and diminish Russia. If the Ukraine invasion were mere adventurism, Putin might have turned back by now. Considering the possibility that he’s telling the truth when he declares this an existential conflict could be the key to finding a way out.

      For three awful weeks, the people of Ukraine have been an inspiration. Zelensky is channeling Winston Churchill, but I believe he would be the first to say that his courage pales beside that of the Ukrainians who stand in front of Russian tanks and raise their middle fingers when Russian warplanes fly overhead. They have fought for every square inch of their homeland with awesome ferocity.

      Credit also goes to the Biden administration for its skillful management of the crisis. Biden wisely saw from the beginning that coordinated action by a broad alliance of nations would have far more impact than any unilateral action by the United States. He struck a careful balance that allows the United States to arm Ukraine without committing to a no-fly zone that might require U.S. pilots to engage not merely in Ukraine but also in Russia itself.

      Logically, Putin’s best course of action at this point would seem to be finding some way to declare victory and withdraw. But Putin might not be engaged in what we would consider a dispassionate weighing of pros and cons. He should regret this whole tragic misadventure, but he might not. Which means there might be much more tragedy yet to come if he plows ahead on his terms instead of the principles Ukraine and the rest of the world are fighting for.

      Charles P. Pierce: We're Looking at Trump's Version of a Walk-Back

      If you go shopping at any wingnut grocery store, the Washington Examiner is what you find tucked under your wiper blades when you come out. (If you go into a wingnut convenience store, it’s the Free Beacon.) Nevertheless, the Examiner is seen by El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago as a safe space, so he granted it an interview in which he seems rather baffled by the recent activities of his onetime role model, Vladimir Putin.

      “I’m surprised — I’m surprised. I thought he was negotiating when he sent his troops to the border. I thought he was negotiating,” Trump told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday evening during a wide-ranging telephone interview from Mar-a-Lago, his private social club and political headquarters in Palm Beach, Florida. “I thought it was a tough way to negotiate but a smart way to negotiate.”

      Well, in and of itself, that’s pretty stupid. But do go on.

      “I figured he was going to make a good deal like everybody else does with the United States and the other people they tend to deal with — you know, like every trade deal. We’ve never made a good trade deal until I came along,” Trump added. “And then he went in — and I think he’s changed. I think he’s changed. It’s a very sad thing for the world. He’s very much changed.”

      Well, of course, who could’ve predicted Putin would behave like this? Except a lot of dead Georgians and a lot of dead Chechens and a lot of dead Ukrainians in Crimea, of course.

      What we’re looking at here is the former president*’s unique conception of a walk-back. He knows that his earlier remarks about Putin’s “savvy” and “genius” strategies in Ukraine are a genuine political vulnerability for him. Other Republicans, both the largely imaginary Never Trump faction as well as the all-too-real Trumpism-Without-Trump faction, saw a real opening to attack him on this issue, and he seemed to sense that his usual squid ink of bluster and bullying would not work this time around.

      The last thing the Republican Party needs winding into the midterms in the fall is to be the Party of Bombing Maternity Hospitals, and who knows how heavy a millstone Putin might be around a candidate's ankles six months from now—or a further two years from now, for that matter. So, the former president* finds a friendly outlet and makes a move that smacks of actual political politesse, or his facsimile of it, anyway. He fashioned himself something thoughtful-adjacent and apology-esque. Not that it will fool anyone not already ensorcelled by his political presence. But this was the best he could produce from the windmills of his mind—which, by the way, killed all the birds in his brain. It was truly tragic.

      Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio and Olivia Beavers: GOP shrugs off Trump impeachment echoes in Russia-Ukraine war

      The former president withheld aid from the same nation that Republicans are accusing Joe Biden of slow-walking aid to. They don’t see the parallels.

      Republicans clamoring to accuse President Joe Biden of slow-walking support for Ukraine don’t see a shred of comparison with Donald Trump’s impeachment for withholding aid from the very same nation.

      Then-President Trump ordered his No. 2 to skip Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 2019 inauguration, put a secret hold on a package of military aid for months and deprived the incoming Ukrainian leader of a White House meeting meant to show solidarity with the West. Simultaneously, Trump and his allies repeatedly asked Zelenskyy to open politically motivated investigations into Democrats, including then-candidate Joe Biden.

      But Republicans, only one of whom supported Trump’s first impeachment, are brushing off any suggestion that their frustration with Biden’s pace of Ukraine aid is at odds with their earlier defense of Trump’s posture toward Kyiv. They’re also blaming Democrats for harming Ukraine, now at war with Russia, by launching the impeachment inquiry in the first place.

      “That was the biggest nothing-burger in the world that resulted in an impeachment by the House,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) “In many respects, it further validates Donald Trump’s position.”

      The GOP’s refusal to acknowledge the Ukraine-related substance of the Trump impeachment as Russia bombards Zelenskyy’s nation is a case study in the hopeless partisanship of the modern Congress, and the difficulties ahead as leaders weigh more support for Ukraine. Democrats are adamant that the former president deserves significant blame for worsening Ukraine’s long-term position, while Republicans dig in and say the impeachment itself — rather than Trump’s conduct — turned a backroom drama among world leaders into a front-page scandal that threw Zelenskyy in the middle of a political cage match.

      Jackie Calmes: Tucker Carlson shills for Putin while his colleagues are killed in Ukraine

      It’s a tragic irony that Fox News, purveyor of so much disinformation and pundit propaganda about Russia’s war on Ukraine, is the media outlet now grieving the deaths of courageous correspondents who lost their lives transmitting the truth from that devastated nation.

      Those casualties should stand as a reproach to the network’s top-rated star, and biggest Russia apologist, Tucker Carlson.

      While Carlson has been bloviating from the comfort of his studio, repeatedly propagandizing for Russian President Vladimir Putin while disparaging Ukraine and its allies, longtime Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski, 55, and 24-year-old Oleksandra Kuv- shynova, a local journalist and consultant to the Fox News crew in Ukraine, were braving arms fire there. They died Monday when their vehicle was hit near Kyiv. Another Fox News reporter, Benjamin Hall, was injured in the attack. (A day earlier, the independent documentarian Brent Renaud was shot and killed outside Kyiv.)

      As Fox News’ Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin said in an emotional tribute to her colleagues, “If ever there was a time that the world needed journalists, reporters, risking their lives to tell these stories, it’s now. Without a free press, the autocrats win.”

      Not that such an outcome would necessarily bother Carlson.

      “Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am?” Carlson had said in 2019, as Putin was threatening Ukraine, building up his troops on the two countries’ border. Back then, Carlson was mocking the House’s impeachment of Donald Trump for withholding U.S. military aid to Ukraine, extorting President Volodymyr Zelensky to come up with dirt on Joe Biden.

      Carlson defended the murderous Russian dictator, dismissed Putin’s threat to Ukraine as merely “a border dispute,” falsely claimed Biden favored Ukraine because its leaders gave his family “millions of dollars” and said Ukraine isn’t a democracy but rather “a client-state of the U.S. State Department.” (For the record, the pro-democracy Freedom House gives Ukraine a “democracy score” of 39 on a scale of 1 to 100; Russia got 6.55 — graded on the curve, I guess.)

      Lest you doubt Putin approves of Carlson’s diatribes, that clip made it onto Russian TV, with Russian subtitles.

      Carlson is Moscow’s gift that keeps on giving. Last week, he denounced U.S. sanctions against Putin’s Russian oligarchs as unfair property seizures and echoed Russian disinformation that the United States has bioweapons labs in Ukraine.

      It’s a wonder that Fox News can attract and retain reputable journalists like Zakrzewski, Kuvshynova and Hall when they have to share its airtime with the likes of Carlson. In fact, Fox has lost some talented people, including Chris Wallace. And Griffin, to her great credit, has increasingly fact-checked the network’s fact-free pundits on air.

      Carlson should be canned for his shameful performances of late — and they are performances. But of course he won’t be; a long history of outrages attests to that. We’re left instead to mourn the real journalists, the ones who sought to inform Americans, not con them.

      Jonathan Capehart: The real story about crime Republicans won’t tell you

      To hear the Senate minority leader tell it, the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is all but a liberal soft-on-crime plot against America. As part of his ongoing attacks against Jackson — never mind that she’s supported by the Fraternal Order of Police — Sen. Mitch McConnell has been hammering away at the spike in violent crimes around the country.

      McConnell’s line of attack dovetails with the fearmongering at Fox News and on the right that crime is flourishing in places run by Democrats. This tactic is as predictable as it is tiresome. It’s also only half the story; Republicans are conveniently ignoring the even sorrier state of many places where they’re in charge.

      “We are in the middle of a violent crime wave including soaring rates of homicides and carjackings,” McConnell droned during a floor speech March 15. “Amid all this, the soft-on-crime brigade is squarely in Judge Jackson’s corner.” What McConnell doesn’t tell you is that his home state of Kentucky has the third-highest homicide rate per capita in the United States. In fact, eight of the 10 states with the highest homicide rates in 2020 voted that year for Donald Trump.

      This startling data is revealed in a new report from centrist think tank Third Way. Mississippi leads the way with a 2020 homicide rate of 20.5 per 100,000 residents, the report says, and “the five states with the highest murder rates, all Trump-voting states, had rates at least 240 percent higher than New York’s murder rate and at least 150 percent higher than California’s.”

      Paul Waldman: Republicans make Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearing all about their own victimhood

      As conservatives have learned well in recent years, in the right circumstances, adopting the stance of victimhood can be thrilling, particularly if you don’t have to suffer any actual victimization along the way. You can take the normal unpleasantness that comes with politics — having people disagree with you, or watching as a figure you admire gets criticized in ways you consider unfair — and turn it into something noble, profound, even epic.

      Are people calling me a jerk for something repugnant I said? I’m not a jerk, I’m a victim of cancel culture, persecuted for my devotion to free expression! Are people opposing my legislation to ban books and target the families of transgender kids? I’m a victim of the woke mob! Proclaim yourself a victim and not only do you become the hero of the story, you can claim moral absolution for your own grimy choices.

      And of course, no one claims to be a victim more than the leader of the Republican Party, Donald Trump, who seems to whine endlessly about everyone who has done him wrong, whether it’s the media that doesn’t give him sufficient adulation, the dozens of women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, the prosecutors who investigate him for possible crimes, or the electorate that denied him a second term.

      In his 2016 campaign, Trump taught all Republicans the power of the victimization narrative. He told voters they were the victims of a “rigged” system, of immigrants, of outsiders, of racial minorities, of “elites.” Your hate and resentment is not ugly and shameful, he said; you’ve earned it by the injustices visited upon you. Be proud of it, wield it like a weapon, and know that you’re in the right.

      So Jackson will have to suffer through a few more sessions of Republicans beating their breasts about the terrible trials they have endured, with the gripping tale of Kavanaugh, that modern-day Job, told again and again.

      Throughout, Republicans will congratulate themselves for how graciously they are conducting themselves. Even though the most gracious person in the room is the nominee sitting in front of them, patiently listening to all their nonsense.