U.S. House Jan. 6 panel refers Trump for criminal charges, including inciting insurrection

Report details Mark Meadows’ frightening texts surrounding Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election

Rep. Mark Meadows speaks to reporters in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol as debate on the articles of impeachment against President Trump continues on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the new and remarkable reports from the good people at Talking Points Memo detailing former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows’ text messages in and around the events of January 6, 2021 — what one author has dubbed the “roadmap to an insurrection.”

Among Meadows’ paranoid and delusional correspondents: North Carolina congressmen Dan Bishop and Greg Murphy and present day Senator-elect Ted Budd.

Indy Week editor Jane Porter provided the following handy guide to the TPM posts in this morning’s IW newsletter:

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the traitorous actions of former congressman and Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows surrounding the 2020 election and plots to overturn it.

Now, on the nearly two-year anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, the news org Talking Points Memo is out with a series on Meadows’ text messages, including reporting on a scheme to reverse the vote for Biden in Arizona and a report publicly documenting Meadows’s text message exchanges with 34 members of congress for the first time over such plots which, TPM notes, include “battle cries, crackpot legal theories, and ‘invoking Marshall law!!”

Read the intro to TPM’s series of reporting on more than 2,000 text messages Meadows turned over to the U.S. House Select Committee investigating January 6.

Then read the full log of some 450 messages between Meadows and Republican members of congress who are helpfully indexed by name, state, and reaction at the bottom of the story.

Then go deeper on the machinations in Arizona with that state’s congressman Andy Biggs to reverse the vote and the coordination between Meadows and Pennsylvania Rep. and Freedom Caucus chair Scott Perry on the scheme to seize voting machines from across the United States in order to, somehow, declare Trump the 2020 presidential election winner.

Wild stuff! Now that we have it all laid out in one place, doesn’t it seem like Meadows should go to prison for treason or something? Or is Meadows simply a not-very-smart but non-criminal victim of his own credulity and blind faith in Donald Trump?

Editorials decry GOP argument in Supreme Court redistricting case

Photo: Getty Images

Republican lawmakers and their allies who cooked up the “independent state legislature theory” in recent years keep telling the world that the argument they’re advancing to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Moore v. Harper case is no big deal and that the outcry from scholars, judges, civil rights groups, and millions of citizens is all an overreaction.

But as editorials across North Carolina and in several major national news outlets have made clear in recent days, they’re not fooling anyone. The hard and sad truth is that by seeking to rob state courts of any authority to review legislative acts with respect to the conduct of federal elections, the Moore case poses a gigantic threat to American democracy. And this is true even if — as seems to be the case — Chief Justice Roberts and one or two of the less rabidly right-wing justices on the Court try to craft some kind of “middle ground” ruling.

As a fine editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer explained yesterday, Roberts’ hints that state courts might still be able to play a role if their state constitution very specifically spelled it out wouldn’t be much of a compromise:

The “compromise” could be that courts have no say over gerrymandering, or perhaps that they could only intervene in the very worst instances of gerrymandering.

Considering the danger that a broader interpretation of the legislature’s argument could pose, a compromise might seem like a good thing. It’s not. Redistricting shouldn’t be up to legislatures only, which is pretty much why we have three branches of government in the first place.

“Well, it could be worse” is hardly a comforting refrain, especially when it’s used in reference to the continued viability of our democracy. Yes, it’s a relief that at least five Supreme Court justices seem likely to reject the worst version of a theory that could be truly disastrous for democracy. But even a milder ruling could be plenty damaging in its own way — checks and balances is not something that anyone should want to compromise on.

Meanwhile, a spot-on Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com observed that our state constitution is very clear in its delineation of powers.

The job of the legislature includes enacting laws. The job of the courts includes determining whether the actions of the legislature are in accord with the State and U.S. constitutions.

And here’s the excellent conclusion:

“What I don’t understand is how you can cut the State Constitution out of the equation when it is giving the state legislature the authority to exercise legislative power,” said Justice Katanji Brown Jackson.

We agree with Justice Jackson. The U.S. Constitution delegates to the “legislature” the job of redistricting. It is the State Constitution that gives the General Assembly the authority to deal with the matter.  The State Constitution could, just as well, have given some other entity that authority.

Most significantly, the State Constitution – the voice and authority of the people — gives our courts the job of examining the work of the legislature. It is plain as the paper the words are written on.

The bottom line: One can only hope that the drumbeat of public opinion over the coming months helps convince Roberts to help turn a majority of the Court away from the dangerous and potentially disastrous path that the gerrymandering GOP lawmakers want to push it down.

NC voter turnout in the midterms: What the data show for various groups

Photo: Getty Images

This report about voter turnout follows one from last week about changes in voter registration. This new spreadsheet – 12 pages – compares voter turnout statewide, by county and by voting groups for 2022 with 2018.

Turnout rate = Number of ballots cast divided by number of registered voters.

Each county has two rows on the spreadsheet – the white row is 2022, the blue row is 2018.

Here are some observations:

** Just over half of North Carolina’s registered voters cast ballots in 2022, while nearly half stayed home.  The overall turnout rate of 51% was 2 percentage points lower than the 53% rate in 2018, but the decline in participation was not uniform among groups by race, age or party.

** White voters actually turned out at a higher rate in 2022 than in 2018. In fact, the strong 63% turnout rate for white Democrats not only beat their 2018 level; it also beat the 61% rate for white Republicans this year.  Over 70% of registered white Democratic women and white Democratic men cast ballots in 2022 in Chatham, Durham, Orange and Wake counties.

** Meanwhile, turnout among self-identified Black voters dropped 6 points, from 48% in 2018 to 42% this year – with even larger declines for Black women and younger Black voters age 18-40.  Turnout of Black Democrats also dropped nearly 6 points, and so did participation by Democrats who registered without identifying their race. Because of those declines, the overall rate for all Democrats dropped from 54.5% in 2018 to 51.3% in 2022, even though turnout increased for white Democrats.  The surprising 8 point drop among Black women (from 53% in 2018 to 45% in 2022), with Cheri Beasley on the ballot, merits careful attention & listening.

** Statewide, the gap in turnout between white and Black voters soared to 16 points in 2022 (58% vs. 42%), compared to 8 points in 2018 and 5 points in 2014. Read more

First glance: Major North Carolina voting rights case to be heard today, here’s where to listen in

Crowds began lining up early this morning outside the U.S. Supreme Court where oral arguments will be heard today in Moore v. Harper.

Legal scholars and pro-democracy groups want the High Court to reject North Carolina Republicans’ claim that legislatures should be the sole state authority setting rules for federal elections.

As the Associated Press’ Mark Sherman explains:

The Republicans are advancing a concept called the independent legislature theory, never before adopted by the Supreme Court but cited approvingly by four conservative justices.

A broad ruling could threaten hundreds of election laws, require separate rules for federal and state elections on the same ballot and lead to new efforts to redraw congressional districts to maximize partisan advantage.

You can listen to the proceedings this morning starting at 10 a.m. at https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/live.aspx

This was the scene this morning outside the court:

Outside the U.S. Supreme Court with the United States Capitol in the background. Photo by: Melissa Boughton

Photo by: Melissa Boughton

Crowds began gathering outside the court before first light. Photo by: Melissa Boughton