January 28, 2023

A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo.

Fabulous Fabulism

It’s not a trickle or a drip or a leak. The veritable floodgates have opened on George Santos:

  • Volleyball. There’s the lighter side, like his made-up collegiate volleyball experience (remember, Baruch College has no record of Santos ever enrolling there):
  • Campaign finances. There’s the more serious campaign finance irregularities, one element of which TPM detailed in a new exclusive over the weekend: “Campaigns Linked To Santos Left Donors Feeling Ripped Off After Questionable Credit Card Charges”
  • Ponzi scheme connection. There’s the questions about what kind of work Santos was actually doing, with the Wall Street Journal offering new insights: “George Santos Raised Money for Company the SEC Says Was a Ponzi Scheme.” CNN goes there too: “George Santos said accused ‘Ponzi scheme’ he worked at was ‘100% legitimate’ when accused of fraud in 2020”
  • Russia connection. There’s the almost unbelievable Russian oligarch angle explored by the Washington Post: “New details link George Santos to cousin of sanctioned Russian oligarch”
  • When did Kevin McCarthy et al. know? There’s the serious emerging question of how early did leading Republicans learn of Santos’ serial lying, spotlighted over the weekend by the New York Times: “Santos’s Lies Were Known to Some Well-Connected Republicans”:

In the run-up to the 2022 contest, Dan Conston, a close ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy who leads the Congressional Leadership Fund, the main House Republican super PAC, also confided in lawmakers, donors and other associates that he was worried information would come out exposing Mr. Santos as a fraud, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations who insisted on anonymity to describe them and declined to provide more detail.

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Where The Big Lie Takes You

This is crazy, y’all.

A losing GOP candidate for the New Mexico House was under the thrall of his own Big Lie and allegedly masterminded a string of shootings targeting the homes of local Democratic officials.

  • Solomon Pena, 39, who unsuccessfully ran for the state House in 2022, was arrested Monday by an Albuquerque police SWAT team. “It is believed that he is the mastermind that was behind this, and that was organizing this,” Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said of Pena.
  • Pena allegedly paid four other men to carry out the shootings at the homes of two county commissioners and two state legislators, all Democrats.
  • Pena allegedly visited the homes of some of the targeted Democrats to complain about the election, and one of those encounters ended in an argument. The shootings allegedly occurred soon after.
  • Pena has a criminal record and spent nearly seven years in prison, but he was not, shall we say, a criminal genius: “The evidence investigators say they compiled against Pena includes firearms, cellphone records, surveillance footage and witnesses inside and outside the conspiracy.”
  • Pena didn’t merely commission the scheme, he actively participated in it, investigators alleged: “On the last shooting, we now have evidence that Pena himself went on this shooting and actually pulled the trigger on at least one of the firearms that was used.”
  • You get a hint of Pena’s mindset from this tweet:

Still Dealing With The 2020 Big Lie

A Pennsylvania county just recounted the 2020 election again. Conspiracists remain unsatisfied.

Brazil Still Picking Up the Pieces From Its Jan 6

AP: Brazil Supreme Court justice approves including ex-president Bolsonaro in incitement probe of Jan. 8 riot in Brasilia

WaPo: Brazil’s military blocked arrests of Bolsonaro rioters, officials say

Bob Bauer Repping Biden In Classified Docs Probe

Former Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer is representing President Biden in the probe into his alleged mishandling of classified documents, Bloomberg reports.

Remember The Dobbs Leak Probe At SCOTUS?

WSJ:

Supreme Court investigators probing the May leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overruling Roe v. Wade have narrowed their inquiry to a small number of suspects including law clerks, but officials have yet to conclusively identify the alleged culprit, people familiar with the matter said.

Missouri House Enforces New Dress Code For Women Lawmakers

The dress code for men in the Missouri House remained unchanged. The new rules were spearheaded by a GOP woman lawmaker.

Wyoming GOPers Want To Ban EV Sales

A new bill introduced in the Wyoming legislature by a group of GOP legislators would ban the sale of electric vehicles in the state by 2035 as a way to protect the oil and gas industry.

Thanks, Elon

BBC: Taliban start buying blue ticks on Twitter

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