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Hello from the Lincoln Project, I'm Ron Stessel. Welcome back to our weekly roundup, where we bring in a rotating panel of experts to discuss the truth. You need to know behind the most important stories of the week and how they're shaping the political landscape in this country. As usual, we have an outstanding panel today. I'm joined by former political director of the California Republican Party, Mike Madrid. It's great to see you this morning, Mike. Good morning.


Looking forward to this conversation, guys.


Tharon Johnson, a political strategist and consultant who has worked for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Congressman John Lewis and President Barack Obama there. And thanks for joining us again.


Thank you. Good to be back.


And making her weekly Roundup debut, Lucy Caldwell, a political strategist, former campaign manager for Joe Walsh's primary challenge to Donald Trump, a former senior political adviser and communications director of the Goldwater Institute. Lucy. It's great to see you. And thanks for being on with us today.


Thanks for having me, you guys.


on today's episode, we're going to start to discuss Donald Trump's unhinged phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and the wins for Reverend Raphael Warnock and John Ossoffin the Georgia runoff races. But I think we have to start with the siege on Capitol Hill that took place on Wednesday. And we're recording this on Thursday. So you will hear it on Friday.


On Wednesday, the newly seated House of Representatives and Senate met in a joint session to count and certify the electoral votes cast by the Electoral College in December. Going into the day, numerous Republican House members and more than a dozen Republican senators vowed to challenge the Electoral College votes in battleground states shortly after both chambers began debate on a challenge to Arizona's electoral votes. Things took an even darker turn when a violent mob egged on by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani stormed the United States Capitol building in what was the first attack on the U.S. Capitol since 1814, when the British burned the capital during the War of 1812, the mob took control of the floor of the U.S. Senate and vandalized Speaker Pelosi's office and delayed the counting of the electoral vote for several hours during the attack.


One woman was shot and killed, attempting to climb through a window of a blockaded door in the Capitol building. Three other individuals died from a medical emergency during the attack. Only 52 people were arrested after the mob was cleared, although DOJ has all but promised more arrests are to come. The law enforcement response to a siege on the Capitol was strikingly different than the law enforcement approach. Back in June, during the George Floyd Black Lives Matter protests, The New York Times reported that when asked why they weren't expelling the rioters, one Capitol police officer said, and I quote, We've just got to let them do their thing.


Now, after law enforcement secured the Capitol building, Congress proceeded with certifying the election results after the vote on the objection to Arizona and another objection to the results in Pennsylvania. Joe Biden was certified as the winner of the election, but not before. One hundred and forty seven Republicans had voted to overturn the will of the American people. So before we dive into the attack and the politics of the vote, I just want to get your reactions to what we saw yesterday at the Capitol.


And if my voice is shaking right now, it's because I'm processing all of this in real time with you three for the first time. And I'm not sure I'm ready to name these emotions. We saw these writers break into the Capitol, trashing offices, waving the Confederate flag. And I want to know how you were feeling during this. So, Lucy, why don't we start with you. I feel like what we saw happen on the Hill yesterday was a realization of our worst fears of the moment that we're in and a thing that I come back to and I'm an Arizonan, I everyone who knows me knows how proud to be at Arizona and I am.


And tomorrow, Friday, January eight, is the 10 year anniversary of the shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. And as most people know, her husband, Mark Kelly, has just is Arizona's newest senator. And I thought back to the moment that I learned 10 years ago that Gabby Giffords had been shot. I was at the Maricopa County Republican helda precinct committeeman annual meeting, and I was a bright eyed young operative. And by bright eyed young operative, I mean, very naive to the things happening right around me, very committed to the idea that ways people were speaking or pieces of legislation that were being passed that was in the SB 10, 70 era.


It was in the era where lots of state legislatures were doing things like banning ethnic studies or, you know, pushing really stupid stuff. But it was all in the name of where this laboratory of ideas and all these, you know, so much diversity and thought on the right. I remember really feeling at that time defensive about what was happening in Arizona. This was not a referendum on Arizona. This was one random crazy guy who committed this horrible act.


And yesterday, seeing news of Gabby Giffords express her agony as she wondered 10 years later whether Mark Kelly was safe and saying, Now I know how you must have felt, my dear, when in those moments after to me, it was such a full circle, 10 years almost to the day of how we have let the rot growing within the Republican Party build and build and build to the point that we now have people storming the Capitol. We have two justice systems in which a Capitol policeman is saying we just have to let them do their thing. I think that's what we've been doing. I think we have been letting them do their thing and it's an incredibly destructive force to our country. And so I think a dark day is kind of an understatement. I think it's a realization of all our all our worst fears and a vindication of the idea that what is at work here is far beyond Trump there.


And how are you processing?


You know, it's very interesting because I would have thought the Wednesday after an historic election, not only for Georgia, but for this country, that I would have spent that day sort of reminiscing on all the hard work that we've been put it in in Georgia for 20 years and importantly, celebrating with the hard working men and women here in Georgia who just elected two U.S. senators, Democrats, to go to Washington, D.C., to give the Democrats the majority in the U.S. Senate.


Unfortunately, that didn't happen. And this sort of hit me differently because I've spent my entire life as a black man understanding how peaceful protesting is, the way to go. As you mentioned in my intro, I work for my hero, Congressman John Lewis. He taught us how to be nonviolent, how to use your voice in a very powerful, nonviolent way. And it's OK to protest with a purpose.


But, guys, what we saw yesterday in Washington, D.C., which is very un-American, it was probably, I think, one of the saddest days that we can think of in this country. The entire world was watching us. And I think that the impact that it's going to have on us won't be felt until we go and start trying to be that United States of America, who has that reputation of being a country that knows how to embrace diversity and and to have true progress for all races.


You know, we're this welcoming nation where people want to come here to have a better life. And what we saw yesterday was just a bunch of people who were not in Washington, D.C. to peacefully protest. These were not people who, as some people in the Republican Party, refer to them as patriots. These were just people out to destroy the United States Capitol. And I agree with Lucy as someone who worked on Capitol Hill, I worked in the Rayburn Building, I worked in the House, in the Cannon House office building.


I was just at that United States Capitol earlier. I mean, a little bit late last year for Congressman John Lewis is lying in state. And to know that that sanctuary that is so sacred to us as Americans was just basically taken over by some people who were just going to be destructive. But the thing that upset me the most, but it didn't surprise me because I tell you, as a black man in America now seeing unarmed black men and women being killed and being, you know, beat up and bullied by most times by police officers, the thing that really struck me was the period of time where there was just no response from the president of the United States of America.


I mean, there was just absolute silence from him. And he earlier in that day went to a rally and just fired at these people. And but it's not just that day. He has been inciting rioting and violence through his rhetoric now for five years. And so I think that this is just the first of many incidents that we're going to have to brace ourselves for as Americans to deal with this unrest as a result of this election.


So there's there's so much of this I want to dig into. But, Mike, I want to get your reaction first.


Yesterday was obviously a very sobering day and I think is watching the events unfold in real time and realizing that it was going to happen when you saw the barricades start to to be breached was it was just shocking and jarring. It was it was it was angering and heartbreaking. But I think what was the emotion that got me the most was the realization that people don't understand how much time we spent during the presidential campaign as a Lincoln project preparing for the likelihood of violence.


We spent an inordinate amount of time, a huge part of my day was working with the staff and organizing plans, preparing for violence and violent outbreaks, specifically at voting locations in different states. Had it been a close election, there's no doubt in my mind that there would have been calls for insurrection like we saw yesterday. But even even with all the preparation, even with all of the thought that went into it, even with all of the public pronouncements that the nation needed to be prepared for this, I was still not prepared to see the desecration of our of our capitol.


Right. This is this is sacred ground is there and said this is this is where the essentially the cradle of American democracy happens in the greatest legislative body in the world, or at least we use to articulate it that way. And to have countries like Venezuela sending in letter saying, I hope the United States can find its stability and not resort to violence, was was a wake up call. I mean, even in even in 1814, even when the British burned down the capital, they had the temerity and the honor not to desecrate that ground.


Yesterday, you saw traitors. Yes. Traitors violating everything that is sacred in American democracy because they no longer have any regard for it. And we need to start breathing that in and understanding that as Americans to our core. As Lucy said earlier, this is a social problem. This is not a political problem. This is also not going to go away. The defeat of Donald Trump, as challenging as it was and as challenging as these four years, have been marked the end of the beginning.


When he goes away, this does not go away. This starts a new phase in the devolution of a large segment of our society towards this type of behavior. The violence will not stop. It has just begun. If he is not removed, we will see calls for insurrection in state capitals I think will be the next move and there will be an effort to undermine everything that we have built in an ongoing going forward basis. Violence will become a tool, a regularly used tool, and I will be angered as an American if this is not crushed.


We have hundreds, hundreds of photo evidence of people who were doing this. We can locate them immediately. If these were black and brown, quote unquote, protesters, and this was not a protest, this was an insurrection, there would be the heavy arm of the law beating down on people. And if we do not if we do not stamp this out immediately and demonstrate that the American people have no appetite for this, we will. We will unfortunately be reminded on a very regular basis that this is something that law enforcement accepts, speaking of not going away any time soon.


There's a YouGov poll that came out last night that 45 percent, fully 45 percent of registered Republican voters strongly or somewhat support the storming of the Capitol. In the same poll, a majority of Republicans said that Joe Biden is to blame for the actions of people who stormed the Capitol. Lucy, what do you think this incident and the reaction to it say about the current state of the Republican Party as a whole? Yeah, someone from the Claremont Institute posted yesterday don't riot, but this is what happens when you belittle people in their cities and, you know, make them feel disenfranchised, but don't riot as if to say, first of all, as if, you know, all the people storming the Capitol were like, you know, people from Seattle or something.


But there's such a massive justification of this behavior. And you saw some quick pivot's by people like Marco Rubio in the aftermath. Marco Rubio said in the after in the late afternoon, early evening, some people have misled you about the outcomes of the elections. There was a lot of some people. And so I started to think about that. I started to think about some of the pivots away from Trump in the late afternoon. There are a lot of criticisms of so-called never trump groups like when would they ever be happy about the state of the Republican Party?


And, you know, the kind of ongoing debate like, are you a burn it all down kind of person or are you not? And I'm you know, everyone knows I'm firmly in the burn it all down camp because it doesn't matter if Marco Rubio says that in the afternoon because of what he said in the morning and what he said for the last four years.


And it doesn't matter if Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley stop being as influential in the media. It doesn't matter if they cease to be the dominant force on Capitol Hill, because for as long as forces like that exist in the Republican Party, the Republican Party is a force for evil and destruction. And the forces that are now at the foreground, those are the same forces that have been at play in the Republican Party for a long time that a lot of us were part of a kind of grand bargain with like, well, yeah, there are these kind of crazy people who say crazy stuff, but we're handling that and we're this big tent and we're going to move forward.


There's a big impulse in the Republican Party to say, well, that's fine, we just need to keep the train moving forward. This is a train that needs to be stopped in its tracks. It doesn't matter if Josh Hawley or Ted Cruz are in the conductor booth. It doesn't matter if they're, you know, in the very back of the train. As long as forces like that exist, they will do exactly what they've done for the last several decades.


And over and over again, we will see these cycles where suddenly those voices become dominant forces again. So to me, it just reiterated that I don't really have a use for people like Susan Collins. I honestly don't have much use for people like Mitt Romney. I mean, I appreciate some of their comments and I'm glad they said it. And I never thought I would be feeling grateful that Mitch McConnell found his navel a tiny bit, but I still have no use for them.


I will welcome former Trump supporters with open arms. I, I hope there are people who voted for Trump who now think, thank God he didn't get a second term. And you're welcome and I would welcome you into the fold if you want to work together for something better. But the idea that the Republican Party is something that could be rescued is just not the case.


So first of all, I subscribe to everything you just said, except I find the metaphor of a train problematic because there are no rails.


There are there just are no rails. It's not to say it's not a train. It's a bus. And you're right that for so long we have said those crazy voices. They can sit in the back, they can be on the bus, but they don't get to steer. Right. We will control them. They have not been controlled. They grabbed the wheel and they hijacked the bus. That's what happened. And they did so with Donald Trump's help, encouragement, incitement.


That's what they did. But going back to people, changing their mind or making reflective statements, they're in several members of the Senate who had pledged to challenge the electoral vote decided not to after the attack, after the violence, after the mayhem, Keli Lefler, who had lost her runoff election hours earlier, was among them. How should the American people be thinking about the senators who switched their votes? Does this absolve them of any guilt? No, because especially with Senator Lefler, she spent almost, I think with the numbers are all said and done out of her personal account.


And the money that she raised, she probably spent was to a half a billion dollars, 500 million dollars, collectively destroying the character and trying to destroy the character and the reputation of Reverend Raphael Warnock. And the thing about it that was so crazy, Ron, is that I sat there and watched her take the stage to her supporters in the wee hours of the morning, you know, early. I think that that Wednesday morning and she did concede, which she shouldn't have.


Right. Because the numbers were still kind of trickling in. But her words were I'm I look forward to getting on a plane to going to Washington and voting to stop the process of confirming the Electoral College votes. And I'm paraphrasing. I mean, that was her intent.


And, you know, when you lose campaigns or you win campaigns. Right.


But more importantly, you're losing or you have lost the campaign, it breaks you down to your lowest common denominator. It reveals everything good about you, but it also reveals everything bad about you. And so for her to then go to Washington, D.C. and come out and say, I'm not going to vote, the way that I intended to vote to me was just a woman who is very flawed.


She's been flawed from the beginning. I mean, if she had not been the richest U.S. senator, you know, running for, you know, an election that, by the way, she was appointed to the office, I don't think she she would have never said that. And so, no, we cannot let these U.S. senators, many of whom who have basically spent years inciting this sort of fraction of the Republican Party. And I think the saddest thing about yesterday is and I want to go back to something that Mike said is you went there, Mike, if that had been an audience or a group of people, men and women, straight or gay, but if all those people had been black and brown, it would have been probably one of the biggest mass shootings.


It would have been one of the tragic it would be dead. I mean, people would have it would have been handled totally different. And the thing about it, too, does a double standard from our police officers to. Oh, yes.


And I want to get into that. I mean, the double standards that we saw, I mean, seeing a black man running for his life as angry mobsters have stormed the Capitol. And I think if not all of them, many of them were white men. Hmm.


I mean, and so so we're we're in a tough place now because you want to support the police officers, the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every single day, who do it right, who, by the way, taking an oath of office to to protect.


But when you see the sedition that went on and and they didn't know what to do and then the ones we saw some pictures of them being fist pumping to the protesters and letting them in and taking selfies.


Mm hmm. I mean, this is this this is the United States Capitol. And so I don't think we let these these unelected officials off the hook. But I I wanted to make sure I made that point that if those were black men and women, Latino men and women, Asian men and women, just any any, you know, race, Native American Indian, American, any people of color, they would have been treated totally different.


And just if our listeners are looking for some piece of evidence to your point, go back and look at the federal response. The troops that we had positioned on the steps of the U.S. Senate during the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, D.C. Go find that photo, go see what it looked like, and then compare it to what it looked like yesterday. Just see exactly what they're in is talking about. Mike, several members of the Trump administration, including former acting chief of staff who was more recently U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mick Mulvaney, and former White House press secretary and chief of staff to First Lady Melania Trump.


Stephanie Grissom resigned due to the rioting. There were others as well. So how should we be thinking about these resignations?


I'm struggling with saying, you know, better late than never, but I think these people who woke up and advocated for a racist, misogynist, corrupt individual should not be surprised that traitorous and treasonous would be the next step. Like, how are we shocked by that? People have been saying this. He's been saying this, OK, the United States has been saying this. So I don't know how people woke up every morning in this administration. And I can see how early on there were some voices, you know, in the first 100 days of the administration, people saying we need to have adults in the room.


We're going to step up and kind of handle this, and I mean, those of us who've been in Republican politics will remember very clearly in those early days, we couldn't identify too many Republicans who are working in this administration because we all know who the adults in the room are. We all know who the people of substance are. We know who all the people of quality reputation are. They were not going to be involved with this. I mean, there were a very small smattering, a handful of people who are like, OK, I'll do it, because if I don't do it, who's going to handle the Department of State?


Who's going to handle defense? Who's going to handle all of these things? But none of the names that were involved with actually materially running the government emanated because they were all C level or C minus level or D level staffers, people who didn't have any experience or competence to kind of run the government. And and those were the types of people that were in the Trump administration. Now, what I will say is this we must not ever, ever forget those that were involved and complicit in this administration.


I'm already hearing a lot of people saying, you know, I'm a I'm a Reagan conservative. I'm a Reagan Republican. People who have been who've been carrying Trump flags and who have been advocating for this nonsense and saying, see, we finally are getting a voice are now obviously pivoting away


Horseshit. It's twenty twenty one and Reagan's dead.


Yeah. Yeah. And it's this look, there's going to be this distancing attempt. I thought it would come after the 20th. Of course it's coming after an insurrection. It will continue. People will distance, they will flee, they will scatter like roaches from the ship. But we it is incumbent upon us to remind people who were there.


And then I think is one of the great blessings of social media is people left a trail for the past four years of the things that they have been saying, the things that they have been posting, the things that they have been advocating for. There's a lot of deleting going on this morning on Facebook and on Twitter and people trying to cleanse the past of what they were doing and what they were involved with. Again, this is all stuff that we have been warning people about.


It's why we have been the great admonition of keeping the receipts, because these are people that have demonstrated that they don't have the moral character, they don't have the spine to stand up when the country needs them the most. This administration was not about a fight of marginal tax rates. It wasn't about Middle East foreign policy. It was about the basic core of who we are as Americans and the American identity and what we believed in and did not believe in.


And there are so many Republicans, so many Republicans who failed this test.


You know, I coined the term the Bannon line during the campaign because what we were trying to get with four percent of Republicans, how shameful is it that only four percent of Republicans that became the goal to get four percent of Republicans to move off of a racist, misogynist, traitorous, corrupt wannabe dictator to remove him from office? Four percent became the threshold. That is a national embarrassment. It is a shame that I think all of us who have been involved in the Republican Party will carry with us.


And I think it's why I'm particularly proud of those Republicans who did stand up, especially those of us who stood up so publicly and fought back to decry this, because even though we did surpass that number by good margin, the fact that that became the standard is something that should be remembered in history, too, as an embarrassment of just how many Americans, Americans, generally, Republicans specifically, have been complicit in enabling this behavior and just quietly, if not tacitly, supporting what now has culminated in an insurrection of violent attempts to overthrow an honest, clean.


Democratically held election, go ahead, Lucy.


Yeah, when I say I will welcome Trump voters into the fold if they want to work for something better, if they've seen the light. For me, I'm talking about the rank and file voters who have had an unbelievable diet of misinformation and really disinformation for the past four years, because I I think that that's a huge problem. I do not think that that, you know, Republican operatives and people in Trump's orbit who knew exactly what they were doing need not apply.


And that doesn't mean that I'm going to ruin their lives. I'm I welcome their public shows of contrition. But and they sit down and we.




And then I mean. Yeah. So you're sorry for indications? Yeah. Yeah, that's right.


I remember Ron, I remember a conversation with you when I was just initiating the the Walsch campaign and the number of people that I spoke to who were I won't name them here, but if they're listening, I hope they worry that I will. The number of people whom I spoke to whom I know don't like Trump, didn't like him, think he's destructive, but care more about I mean, they will say it's their their kids and their mortgage, but it's actually their brand.


Brand new Audi. I remember saying to you that I was having these conversations that just blew me away. People. Well, yeah, but I have bills to pay.


And I remember talking to Ron and Ron said, I have a mortgage and bills to pay and I'm all in and taking down Trump and putting a stop to this. And so it's the difference between having just sort of like one iota of a backbone or not. And so you're right, we have no use for those people. And it's a big list. It's a big list.


And I have had many of those same conversations and many of those same disappointments in my personal relationships. And that is a long conversation for another episode, I think. Lucy. Mm hmm. So I want to talk about the 25th Amendment for a minute, because about an hour before we started recording today, Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger became the first Republican in Congress to call for the 25th Amendment to be invoked. Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has also called on the vice president to begin the process.


Now invoking the 25th Amendment, of course, in this case would require the vice president and a majority of either the cabinet or Congress to declare the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. That's a quote. That's how it's phrased. How should Congress and the Cabinet be thinking about the president's role in what happened on Wednesday? And do each of you agree that's where we are? Mike, I want to start with you, first of all.


Yes, we are there. The president led an insurrection to desecrate the Congress.


I think we're so shocked by what happened, at least a lot of us here in America that we don't realize that that is precisely where we are at at this moment in time. OK, if this doesn't qualify for removal from office, you know, I don't even believe that, you know, people could could could look the other way when he was, you know, utilizing, you know, the Ukraine to do his dirty work for him. There was clearly a paper trail and evidence and all these U.S. senators were complicit.


OK, those same U.S. senators have their offices desecrated on the floor of the Senate yesterday. Yes, that is where we are. The fact that you have Republicans finally breaking rank I think is important. And here's but here's the most important thing. This will get worse. This was not the end. That's right. There are still 13 days in any one hour with the awesome power of the federal government. The president can do extraordinary damage. He has already demonstrated.


He has been saying for time and time and time again that this is the direction that this is heading. He is not done. It is incumbent of all of the stewards of the U.S. government, those that have the power to protect it and have a responsibility and a moral obligation to protect the union to use that power. It would be unprecedented. But if there's no such thing as an unprecedented time, this this is it. So, yes, we are there.


Yes, I know those discussions are happening. We're hearing about them anecdotally, but I'm hoping that the actions yesterday will finally jar enough people to say, look, he's leaving in just a few days anyway. They could only be more destructive. It's not going to he's not going to be a calming force in the next two weeks. He's going to amp it up. And how much more do we have to be subjected to to allow this tantrum to take place?


I think that we are there. I think it needs to be invoked immediately. And I think it's the best way to ensure the protection of of the union.


Yeah. So I don't want to assume that we're all on the same page here, although I hope we are. But Theron, as Mike said, we have 13 days left to go. And obviously there is an enormous amount, almost unfathomable amount of damage that the president could do in those 13 days. Do you agree? Is that where we are? And I want to add one other question to this, which is, if that is the course of action that Congress decides that the Cabinet and Congress decides to pursue, how worried should we be about the backlash to that kind of action against President Trump?


I totally agree with Mike.


I think we are there and, you know, we just need more people to speak up and speak out and really try to move as quickly as we possibly can.


What I'm afraid of, Ron, is that if we continue to let the president continue to be the president is only going to enable these violent protesters that we saw yesterday because he has a huge megaphone.


I mean, he can communicate with them in seconds and continue to get them riled up. But I think if you pursue the 25th Amendment and get that, you know, pass and get him out of office, then we can begin this quest to restore stability in America. However, you're absolutely right. This is only going to get worse. So it's not a question of how bad it's going to get. We know that yesterday was again, I say early on was one of the worst moments in our country.


Right. And so it can only escalate from there.


But if we're going to be real on this podcast and call balls and strikes, how much confidence do we have that it can that it is going to happen? Right. Because I heard this morning impeachment. Then you start hearing sort of a compromise being floated. OK, maybe we should censure the president, right?


Jesus. And so the 25th Amendment was. Yeah, I mean, I think people really wanted to grab on to that and work towards it. But we're talking about elected officials. We're talking about politicians in Washington. All right. That are just there.


And one thing I know in politics, and it is something that it's so in the core of, particularly people that represent us in the Congress, it's all about self-preservation. And so if you go out here and you hit it right on the nail, on the head, Ron, if you go out here, you vote to support the 25th Amendment, to remove the president of the United States. You've got to be prepared for the backlash, because this is this is Trump's Republican Party.


Right. And I know we're all trying to work together. I'm a Democrat, but I'm definitely you know, I want I want democracy. I want people to be able to work together to get things done. Of course, I want to win elections. Right. I mean, that's that's fair. I want more Democrats to win. But more importantly, as being a Democrat, I'm an American and I want people to be able to feel safe in this country.


And right now, the children, the parents that had to explain to their their sons and daughters of what they just watched on television is is is where we are. And this is kind of very scary. And so, no, I am there. But I just think that how much confidence do we have that these elected officials are going to be able to carry it through?


Right. Because there's a fairly high threshold for actually executing the 25th Amendment all the way through to the president being dragged kicking and screaming out of the Oval Office, if that's what it takes. But it's a it's a it's a high bar to reach. Let me just read the text for our listeners. This is the text of Amendment twenty five, Article four, whenever the vice president and a. Of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide transmit to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.


The vice president shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting president. Lucy, I want to get your reaction to this to you before we go on to the next point here. I agree with Theran and Mike that that's where we are. It's it seems incredibly unlikely that it will happen, that it will carry all the way through. What are your thoughts? Yeah, of course.


That's where we are. And we've been there for a long time now. We just have more proof that we're there. I think that it's extremely unlikely that it happens. And so the best thing that we can do is twofold.


One is figure out there's been a lot of discussion, for instance, about whether it's actually better for some Trump previously or currently Trump enabling cabinet members to stay in the cabinet just so that there's some checks on him. And I think that that's an interesting thought. But so I think that probably our best our best choice is figuring out how we can mitigate potential damage by him in the next two to two weeks.


But I also think that, you know, to go back to the thing we talk about a lot, that this is Trump's party. But there's a party that made Trump the head of the party, the party. And I think we need to start talking about pushing to expel members like Josh Holley, like Ted Cruz. There are ways in which that is a an easier task. It's a two thirds majority. And, you know, when you look at the energy of people like Mitt Romney and some others, you know, I think that that is at least a thing that we should start talking about and have on the table and continue to talk about, you know, in well in the next two weeks, but well beyond that as well.


So I just want to read these names for our listeners, Ted Cruz, Josh Holley, Cindy Highsmith, John Kennedy, Roger Marshall and Tommy Tuberville. Those are the members of the Senate who, even after opposed the ratification of the Electoral College vote. Remember their names? But let's talk about Missouri Senator Josh Holley, who we talked about last week, he was not only the first senator to announce he would challenge the results, but the Kansas City Star reported that Holly sent a fundraising email promoting his planned objection to Pennsylvania's Electoral College votes as the rioters attacked the Capitol building.


As this was happening, he was fundraising on it. Now, there's been widespread speculation that Holly was using this as an opportunity to get a leg up in the 2004 Republican primaries. So how much do you think this stunt will shape? The twenty twenty two and twenty twenty four races, Mike?


I think it's going to be incredibly damaging. I think I think and look, a lot of this is going to be dependent on how we react as a country to this in the coming months. And look, one of the things that I really admire about Joe Biden is he is conciliatory. He has a natural tendency to bring people together. I'm going to say something again, controversial, as I sometimes do on this podcast. I think one of Abraham Lincoln's great failings was he was too concerned about union.


He was too concerned about being conciliatory when he needed to smash and destroy the slavers and the element that was in our DNA and remove it once and for all. And because he did not. Because he did not, we are still dealing with the remnants of that today. This was sedition. These six senators led an insurrection. They are traitors. There is and needs to be a cost for that. And if we simply write it off as, oh, it was political grandstanding or political showmanship, then shame on us when this continues to ferment for many, many years and many, many decades.


Because it will. That is what history is teaching us. Ted Cruz is a traitor. It is sedition. Josh Holley is a traitor. He is acting to undermine an election, a fairly held election in the United States. The core element required to make the United States of America what it is, is the free and fair election. They are working and worked to undermine that and incited a violent insurrection. They should be held to account. And if they do not, if they do not, then we can't expect anything other than more and more violence and more and more appeasement and more and more allowance for this type of behavior to attack our institutions.


Yeah, Lucy, I saw you nodding.


Even Ted Cruz's actions in this are an example of the complete disconnect to a common set of facts. Ted Cruz kept saying yesterday, we have precedent for this. We have precedent for objecting to certification and go back to 1877, 1877. My God, he's talking about the moment in history where in the midst of post civil war unrest and kind of finding ourselves again as a country, a conflict was resolved that ultimately made Hayes president.


But what also happened is that it was functionally the end of any reconstruction efforts to truly end slavery and was the moment that ushered in, you know, just like a century plus of Jim Crow. And so for Ted Cruz to be grandstanding about how our president is a late 19th century moment, that actually is quite regrettable is an example of how disconnected with any set of any sort of accountability people like Ted Cruz and Josh Haley are. And of those six people, you also have someone like John Kennedy, the senator from Louisiana, whom I recall being kind of I mean, I don't want to say heroic, but vaguely admirable at the beginning of the Trump term.


And he's now all in. So there's no sign that these people are all backing away. I mean, Marco Rubio, who's just sort of like a, you know, just a quivering mass of ambition, you know, sort of like jellyfish profile in courage. He can say these things because Marco's biggest commitment is to Marco and he's just not very good at political strategy and should hire new operatives. But there's no sign that any of these people are backing away.


So do I think that we're going to be able to expel all of them from the Senate? No, but should we be really pushing for that? Yes, absolutely.


They're in. What's your take on that? And I also would love to get your response to Mike's point about Lincoln was very interesting to me is exactly what Lucija said. You've seen some members in the Senate who when when President Trump first got there, they were she used the term admirable. Right. And so now they're kind of. Going all in and the thing about Senator Rubio is spot on, I mean, he can't hide his ambition, right?


And so he just kind of, you know, was for a lot of people, particularly in the South, you know, he's that one U.S. senator that you feel you can kind of bring to your your state and he can campaign for you and don't rally up the left too much. And, you know, it's OK to be with on the right. You know, he he's just not going to be able to continue that. I think polarization is a word that we haven't really talked about a lot in both parties.


You know where to blame for that? I mean, Democrats, we can be polarizing. But yesterday, the Republicans definitely got the award for being the most polarizing and the remarks before and after the vote. And so the other thing I want to say is this.


Before I forget, as you know, as we here together and we're talking and I think Mike and Lucy kind of touched on this earlier, is if there's not a huge rush to prosecute and I'm glad that might use the word that I use early on this edition that occurred. Right. If there's not a concise plan to prosecute those criminals, because if you went and you actually participated in vandalizing the speaker's office, I mean, you know, sitting in a chair, going to the podium, if you participated in that and now you have committed a violent act.


Right. And it's sedition.


And I think that our law enforcement, the Department of Justice, DOD, everyone has got to come together and prosecute those people, because if you don't do that, then you're going to start seeing people in the African-American community, the Hispanic community, the Asian community, and some folks in the white community start protesting about the lack of response of law and order and pursuing these people and arresting them for that that basically that felony that they committed.


We also learned yesterday that Rudy Giuliani still doesn't know how to operate his phone. He attempted to leave a voicemail for newly elected Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville, but instead left the voicemail on the phone of another senator who gave it to the dispatch. And in the voicemail, Giuliani pleaded with Tuberville to slow down the certification process and contest 10 states. This phone call came after the Trump loyalists attacked the capital. What does this mean coming from Trump's attorney after the insurrection earlier in the day?


Lucy, I've ceased trying to explain Rudy Giuliani's antics. I think he's incredibly ham handed. It's really something to think about. Rudy Giuliani, our image of Rudy Giuliani after September 11th and where he is now or even in the intervening cycles. And Rudy Giuliani's whole team, whom we don't talk about very much. But, you know, Rudy Giuliani, when he ran the first time, was thought of as sort of a squishy moderate to moderate when he ran in 2008.


And he was kind of innovative. He was this guy who decided he was not going to spend time on early states because he was going to go to diverse states like Florida and take his message there.


And and I remember sitting with Rudy Giuliani's consultants after that a couple of years later during the Tea Party wave and having Rudy Giuliani's closest advisers joked to me about what a joke the Tea Party was and how the Tea Party people are just people who, you know, last year were just like playing civil war reenactment. And now here they are. And so you think about whatever the hell kind of journey Rudy Giuliani has been on. I just cannot imagine that anyone continues to take Rudy Giuliani seriously.


He has really just thrown himself to the fringe. I think for anyone like Rudy Giuliani, it brings up the question, are these the kinds of people if you're running in a purple state and you decide for some reason to rise as a Republican, do you seek the endorsements of people like Rudy Giuliani?


Do you think the endorsements of people like the Trumps? I think if you're running as a Republican, you probably do. And that's part of the problem. But, yeah, I think someone needs to get Rudy Giuliani one of those whatever consumer cellular phones where you can only press two buttons. And he's always on a different number set in that voicemail. He's like, I'll be on this number all night. She constantly has to get a new phone number because is just.


Yeah. Wow.


Well, speaking of phone call mishaps and, you know, pivoting to this next story just underscores how impossible it is and to stay on top of current events when it comes to Donald Trump, because there's always, always a new and worse crisis. Because earlier in this I mean, two days ago, this was the gigantic story that was going to dominate everything. Donald Trump spent about an hour on the phone with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger last Saturday.


Trump urged Raffensperger to, quote, find enough votes in the presidential election that happened over two months ago for Trump to win in Georgia. Raffensperger recorded the call with Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell and Raffensperger general counsel Ryan Germany. The call was later published by The Washington Post. Trump cited several thoroughly debunked claims of voter fraud while asking Raffensperger to find eleven thousand seven hundred and eighty votes for him. That would have given Trump a one vote victory over Joe Biden in Georgia.


And if you haven't listen to this phone call, it's worth listening to. Like if you listen to the full hour, it is it is very clear this man has lost his mind. Mike, what do you think this call shows about how Donald Trump thinks about his control of the Republican Party and Republican officials and that they don't want to come to you? Well, look, this is this is this is run like a crime family, right? The language is from a New York mob boss, which is really, you know, frightening in some ways.


And again, I'm really intrigued by what we're going to find out after January 20th. Right. With all of this stuff we were just talking about Giuliani. Look, Giuliani is a Russian asset. We all know that. I'm going to say right here, loudly and clearly, the fall from grace is not just because he made bad political decisions. This guy's compromised. I mean, if there's an example of compromise, it's it's Rudy Giuliani. And I don't think that Donald Trump really cares because of his own complicity in this and what has gone on.


And I say this because it's very important. The 25th Amendment discussion that we were just having is important not just because of the damage that is going to be done, folks. There's going to be a wide slew of new pardons that are going to be coming down any moment now to the only way to stop that, to understand and root out some of the deep, deep, deep seated corruption that has occurred in this administration is to remove this guy and protect the country in order to get information through investigations on what has gone on, because it's the only thing that explains the behavior of people like Rudy Giuliani and this the strong arm tactics of the president, United States.


Further, you know, we were shocked by this call, the Ratzenberger call before the insurrection. Twenty four long hours ago. Right. We thought that was kind of the whole story. The truth is, that's just a step another piece of evidence now in what they were what he's trying to do to undermine this election in whole look, Ratzenberger had had the wherewithal because he'd been attacked to record the conversation. Do we really believe that Donald Trump has had these same conversations with four or five other Republican secretaries of state?


Of course he has. Yeah, there's just no recorded evidence of them, because why would you ever record that unless you knew he was going to attack you? I mean, RAF's at least have had the wherewithal to understand that, thank God. But this is this is this is the way this government has been run for the past four years. It's been run like a crime family. It's a crime syndicate that has been used as the family business.


The federal government has become the family business for the Trump family. And again, this type of evidence is something that we are going to see with increasing frequency as these cockroaches leave the ship and we begin to start seeing just how deep this sort of corruption ran in our federal government.


Yes, there in Brad Raffensperger has gotten a lot of attention in the last few months as he and his office have gone back and forth with Trump's loyalists. Kelly Lefler and David Perdue both called for his resignation. But what is your sense of how voters in Georgia are feeling about Ravensbruck, his role in the presidential election now? I mean, is he a hero? Is he a villain? What is what is the general sense there?


I think there's a split in the Republican Party about how they feel towards Secretary of State Brian Raffensperger. There are Republicans within the party that supports Trump's claims that he orchestrated voter fraud. He allowed things to happen that should not have happened and that that this election was rigged and it was full of irregularities. And so there is a faction within the Republican Party that supports that. But as the days got closer and closer to Election Day, I start hearing more and more Republicans start saying, you know what?


What President Trump is doing. It's just really unfair to Secretary of State Raffensperger. And this was all before the call, you know, and I think the point where I knew that U.S. Senator Lefler and U.S. Senator Perdue were in trouble is when they issued this statement calling for his resignation. And because that was a key indicator to me that they had totally decided that there was no moving towards the middle to try to win a runoff, that they were going to continue to embrace a failed Trump coalition in Georgia, that coalition of voters had been totally destroyed because of the dissension.


But but Democrats you know, we've been very careful about Secretary of State Ruppersberger.


I mean, this is the same secretary of state who, you know, received some praise even before the election started this year because he was very public about the purging of voters. Now, Governor Brian Kemp, one of the big criticisms that he received after he became governor is how he purged so many voters off the Georgia list. And so he made the list public. The other thing that Secretary Raffensperger did wrong is that he mailed out absentee ballot applications to every register in active Georgia voter before the primaries.


And that made Republicans in Georgia go crazy because they're like, how do. You do that because that's one that's been one of the strategies that they've used in Georgia successfully. So how dare you help people vote? Exactly. And it was it was really it was very crazy.


But so then when you got to the take, this is where I know you want me to comment. Yeah. I believe the election was already over before the tape was released. I think that Senator Lefler and Senator Perdue were going to lose the race anyway.


All they did, it drove up the margins and it would have one point two million people show up on Election Day in Georgia, right where when the numbers are all done in a pretty pretty close to about 4.5 million total. Yeah, that excited the Democratic base to come out even more. But I think it gave those disaffected Republicans who maybe still consider, you know what, I want a divided government. You know, I did vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be president and vice president.


But, you know, I'm going to go and vote for these two U.S. senators and just kind of, you know, keep some balance in Washington when that tape was released. And you're right, I listen to the entire hour when you listen to just the the diction and the, you know, how he just really kept talking to him in a way that it was just like, it's my talk.


It was like a like a mob deal going all right. It was like, I own you. Yeah. And so that was the deciding moment where I definitely knew then that we were going to win.


It was only about how much. So Secretary Ruppersberger, honestly, though, he's got some challenges within the Republican Party because even before all this came out and one thing I do want to praise him on is that he has been transparent. He has been as transparent as any of our secretary of states have been injured as far as giving us updates and letting us know where we are. But, you know, we're now going to be in the missing endured of a lot of lawsuits.


And so he he he did a really good job and not becoming an analyst because, you know, he said, I voted for President Trump. I want Republicans to represent, you know, us and in these seats. But unfortunately, I have a job to do and that is to administer a fair and secure election. And so he may have a future here.


Dauda? I don't know, because I think it'd be kind of tough for him to win a primary. But he definitely has received a lot of praise from both parties locally. So before we go, I want to talk more about I want to end this episode with a little bit of good news about Georgia and the results there. But before we do, just to stay on this point for one more minute, Lucy, I'm struck by how frequently the simple act of Republican government officials doing their job and fulfilling their oaths feels like a Herculean effort.


How do you think these situations should shape how voters approach elections up and down the ballot?


Yeah, in the case of Raffensperger, the conspiracy theories that he is somehow in the pocket of Democrats is so weird, because when you look at the numbers in Georgia and you look at this man carrying out his duties that he's taken an oath to carry out, it's a man who is being honest and transparent as there and said about something that is also a reality that is not good for him.


It's not good for Brad Raffensperger future electoral chances that Georgia is turning blue. And a really untold story of the Georgia runoff is that Republicans did not underperform in turnout. They turned out they turned out at almost 90 percent of their turnout in November. Democrats turned out a little more. But someone like Brad Raffensperger, you can see it in his face in interviews.


He takes no pleasure in delivering the truth that Democrats are becoming a dominant force in Georgia. That's not great for Brad Raffensperger. And so I think that how that impacts voters, I think that unfortunately, given primary party politics, it will be very hard for Brad Raffensperger to find a lane.


I think that in states with the top two primaries or in states that make it easier to vote in party primaries, maybe they will have an easier time. But I think that the the purge of Brad Raffensperger is not that I think Brad Raffensperger is a hero, but I think that the purge of vaguely decent or the purge of decent Republicans will continue.


Yeah, I think you're right. I think the way it impacts voters is that they must begin looking for virtue, character, integrity in their candidates before they look at party affiliation. I am not optimistic that that will happen. But but we have to realize that if it had not been Brad Raffensperger in that office, a Republican who who was at least trying to do the right thing, just think about how few safeguards there are. There were in in everything that's happened in the last month, we've talked about this, I think it's been said plenty, how fragile our democracy is, how fragile these institutions are, and how really they rely on people of good faith doing the job that they were elected to do without respect for party.


And we're we're we're dangerously close to to that falling apart, it seems. But let's talk about Georgia. Let's talk about the results. On Tuesday night, Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and John USCIRF unseated Kelly Luffler and David Perdue in the two runoff elections for the Georgia Senate seats taking control of the Senate away from Mitch McConnell. These winds will dramatically shape how Joe Biden is able to govern. And Mitch McConnell had promised, of course, to be an obstructionist.


And now it seems that there's a chance for Biden to actually enact his agenda. So Theran the the CNN exit polling shows that USCIRF improved by 11 points among Latino voters and five points among black voters compared to the November election. Can you talk about the work that went into moving these voters and how important they were in the war? Knocking us off wins, especially considering, as Mike has mentioned before and we've talked about on this podcast, how runoff elections in the South are actually explicitly designed to keep people of color from voting, from accessing the franchise.


How are you feeling about this? I feel great.


I mean, you know, I actually woke up the morning after the election feeling fantastic because. I've been working in Georgia politics for 20 years. We lost the governor's race to Sonny Perdue, who is now the agriculture secretary, and he became the first Republican governor in a very long time. And George and Roy Barnes was the governor at that time. And so it's been since 2002, since Democrats have really had an opportunity to be proud and Georgia. But I was very fortunate to work on the Biden Harris campaign as a senior adviser.


And then in the runoff run, I played a role as well helping get out the vote for these two U.S. Senate candidates. But to dig deeper into the numbers and something that I think is very interesting that Lucy said is that she's right. Republicans turned out they they turned out at the same margin as they did in November, early voting. And then they had a, you know, a surge on Election Day, which traditionally that's where they always sort of beat us.


The difference was it was black and brown voters.


I mean, I can't make it any more plain than that. Traditionally in Georgia, Mike has mentioned this, that you got into a runoff as a Republican with a Democrat. Doesn't matter who that Democrat was, that person was going to lose because Democratic performance always went down and particularly African-Americans just did not come back out and vote. And so what we did is that we destroyed that narrative on election night on January 5th. And not only did African-Americans and Latino and Asian voters improve and show up, they actually had an increase.


And it was a work of organization called Battleground Georgia, which I was very happy to be a part of, along with a lot of people. And we had a sole mission to try to turn out 100000 more African-American registered voters who did not vote in November. And believe it or not, there were nine hundred and fifty thousand that were registered that didn't vote in November for whatever reason. And the other thing that was a secret to the success in Georgia, and I'll get toward knocking us off in a second, is that the Biden campaign, and I like to call it a buying coalition, we were able to build that coalition was which was a very, very weird but effective coalition.


Yes, we did very well in the Atlanta metropolitan areas, which is a Democratic stronghold area. I mean, it's it's where our growth has occurred. But we over perform in some of these traditional red counties. And Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was able to actually show us that you can campaign in these areas and you're not going to win them. But if you can increase about three to four to five percent, then that could be the difference maker.


But the one thing I got to say about Reverend Raphael Warnock was that is this when I tell you that Senator Kelly Lefler, I mean, through every negative campaign ad you can imagine, I mean, she talked about this man's divorce. She talked about, you know, she put out there that he had an altercation, you know, nonviolent, non physical altercation with his ex-wife and alleged that he that she ran over the foot.


He she took portions of his sermons for decades and pieced them together and use his words against him. And so it was a very negative campaign, but he ran a very nontraditional Democratic race in Georgia and he kept his faith. But more importantly, it kept kept the faith in the Democratic base. But also he reached across the aisle. And then John Azoff, I mean, listen, this is a dynamic young man who is now going to be a U.S. senator for six years, and he won't even be 40 when he's ending his first term as a U.S. senator who lost a congressional race, where Tom Price, who went on to be the secretary of Health and Human Services doing the Trump administration, went into one of the most conservative districts in Georgia and lost to Karen Handel narrowly.


But stay calm, continue to stay involved in Democratic politics, and ran and took out a six year incumbent and David Perdue. And so Georgia not only is now a model of what can be done in southern states, but I wanted to say this. Georgia saved America. We have now given Joe Biden and Kamala Harris an opportunity to carry out their agenda. Vice President elect Kamala Harris will be the deciding vote when it goes 50/50 in the U.S. Senate to make sure that all the promises that were made on the campaign trail around ending this deadly pandemic that is still disproportionately killing black people in this country, doing something to really rebuild this economy and make sure that small businesses are able to get through these tough times, making sure that rural hospitals are getting the funding they need, infrastructure.


I mean, the list goes on and on and on. Criminal justice reform, police reform, all those things are going to be able to happen now because of Georgia, because of the Georgia voters. And I think that we've got to be proud of that because when I worked for President Obama in 2000. Reelection campaign run Jim Messina, who was a campaign manager at the time, they would laugh at me when I would say, hey, can we put some money in Georgia?


I know Florida, North Carolina and Virginia are the three we want to win. But can we put some money in Georgia? And what's ironic this time around, and I think these two states will recover, but by didn't win Florida, he didn't win North Carolina.


He won Georgia. And I got to give, of course, Stacey Abrams some credit. But also Mayor Keisha Lance bottoms a lot of credit as well, because she was an early endorser of President elect Joe Biden. She worked along with Stacey Abrams to make sure that people had access to vote. And so we're just fired up. And but the unfortunate thing for Reverend Raphael Warnock is, is that he now goes straight into re-election mode because he's only fulfilling a unexpired term of two years for former Senator Johnny Isaacson.


But I think he'll be fine. And we are very excited about our democratic future in Georgia.


Oh, man. Thank you for your work there. And really so, Mike, we saw Luffler and Perdue roll out the greatest hits of the racist campaign playbook. This year, Yahoo! News reported that Luffler ran a Facebook ad which artificially darkened Reverend Raphael Warnock skin. The forward reported back in July that the Perdue campaign ran a Facebook ad with a doctored photo of John USCIRF that made US office knows bigger. If the racist Southern Strategy, which we have talked about a lot on this podcast, won't work for Republicans anymore, what will it mean for their electoral chances moving forward?


It means the Republican Party is going to continue to devolve into a regional, more marginalized nationalist movement. Look, I can't overstate how significant it is that Democrats won two Senate seats in a January special election in the South.


The South is not, especially with Georgia. As Daryn was saying, Georgia's not you know, it's not Mississippi. There is a vibrant, dynamic new economy that he's been watching. See those trend lines moving for some time. But I also can't overstate how significant it is that the black vote turned out higher in a January special election, that the November presidential campaign. That is good work that I don't think I've ever heard of that before, ever. So good work.


And if that continues, keep in mind what he said was very important. Getting resources and funding on an outside chance is always really difficult. It's always frustrating. As an operative, you're like, look, I'm on the ground. I see this a little bit of investment. It's going to get me there. And the higher ups kind of go, Yeah, yeah. But we've got we've got we've got to lock up what we've got to lock up.


Georgia's not a red state anymore, OK? It is now in that column, they're going to get money. Now, every time he says we need money, they're going to be. So they've already devastated. They turned it out. That's a game changer. Yeah.


And when you start to take Georgia off the table. It starts to limit the demographic cul de sac that Republicans have committed to. Yeah, and so you cannot run a good campaign.


I look, I shouldn't say that. Look, I'm in California. There are still Republican consultants that darkened Latino skin on male. Oh, my God. That's still have. What's happening when I was a young operative in, you know, publicly decry it. It's still happening 30 years later. It still happens. OK, so these people cannot help themselves. The good news is I think it's more it's not only an ugly sign of overt racism, but it's also a sign of desperation and a lot of ways to where they've got when they start to do this stuff, it doesn't work like it used to work, you know, decades ago.


Fortunately, I'm not going to say it's going to stop because folks, that's not going to stop. This is just who these people are. OK, but having said that, it's usually happening because the demographics are changing and they're playing to white fears of these changes. And that was just proved in Georgia is that that strategy, even in southern states, is a dying strategy and it's not going to work for very much longer. It doesn't work at all, really, in Georgia.


So that's that's the good news. Yeah.


Lucy, we saw Arizona and Georgia states that we usually think of as at least leaning Republican, both vote for Joe Biden. The three Senate elections in those two states also saw the rejection of Trump loyalists, Martha McSally and Kelly Luffler and David Perdue all lose their election. What do you think this says about how Georgia and Arizona are responding to the Trump brand of the Republican Party?


It is reflective of the of the fact that Republican Party is regionally continue to marginalize themselves within the states. A really stunning thing about what happened to state parties after Trump's election is that rather than championing the former state party chairs, there was huge amounts of turnover of those chairs. And by this time last year, 80 percent of previous Republican state party chairs had been replaced. And that means that for all the stories and bright spots that we see of Democrats prevailing in these states, states, which I think says something fundamentally good about voters and and regular people and makes me feel really proud and and hopeful, it also is the reflection of what kinds of people Republican Party apparatuses are putting up.


And there are for every story of someone like Mark Kelly or John USCIRF or Reverend Warnock prevailing, there are dozens more stories of moderate Republicans who were primaried and taken out or who just can no longer have a lane at all, not because of general election voters, but because of the forces in the Republican Party. So I think that we should look to other states where we can replicate the successes in Georgia and Arizona. I think we should look to places like Texas.


But I do think that when if you're a moderate person, a moderate voter or an operative thinking about what's the best, best path forward for getting us vaguely back to a kind of place of sanity, it's through moderate Democrats. It is not by trying to have some kind of, you know, some kind of kamikaze mission to try to take back Republican Party identity. Before we go, now that we're up to speed on everything that's happened this week, and honestly, we could talk for hours longer about about everything this week.


But I want to take a look ahead. And I know we're all watching exactly how yesterday's events are going to play out into next week over the next two weeks. But are there specific story, specific developments that you're looking for going into next week?


Daryn, the one thing that I'm looking for going into next week is what I mentioned earlier, is the pursuit to prosecute these rioters, these people who, you know, who went in and basically tried to destroy the United States capital.


I think that that's got to be done correctly and it needs to be forcefully done, because I think if you don't prosecute these people, you know, hunt them down, make sure that they brought to justice, is going to only create more unrest for this country. So that's what I would be looking for this week.


OK, Lucy. I agree, I think that it's really important to leave no stone unturned in finding and making public examples of not only the people who went to Washington and took part in that, but the people behind the scenes who were pulling the strings. We already have a lot of evidence that the White House, Trump and Trump enablers were in contact through people like Roger Stone and Rudy Giuliani with these rioters.


I think we'll learn a lot more about the degree of coordination and people like Josh Holly and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, you're going to hear them say a lot.


Let's look forward. We've got to look forward. And they're saying that because they don't want you to see what they're hiding. So I think staying the course and this was not we can no longer say that every cycle is a peaceful transition of power. We this was not a peaceful transition of power. God willing, this will be the only violence associated with this. But our democracy is irrevocably damaged. And the best we can do now is to have a real public reckoning with how we got there and hold all of these people, members, operatives, activists to account.


Hear, hear.


Mike, in the middle of all of yesterday's drama, there was another breach, a cyber attack on the Department of Justice by the Russians. I don't believe for a moment that these are coincidental. And again, I may be a conspiracy theorist, too, like half the population, but the fact that every one of our departments in the last seven to 10 days has been attacked and successfully breached by Russian cyber hackers. And then again, with Department of Justice in the middle of an insurrection, I don't think that this is coincidental.


I think that a lot I think that this is coordinated and I think that there are Russian assets amongst us at the highest levels of our government. And I think that we are going to be losing more and more information. And I think it's a story that we need to be very, very mindful of as we. Limp through the last two weeks of this administration. Thank you to everyone at home for listening and thanks to Theran, Lucy and Mike for making the time to have this conversation today, the last week has been a roller coaster.


Winning both Senate seats in Georgia was one of the most important victories for democracy. But the devastating events at the Capitol were scary and a truly sad day for our republic. If you're anything like me, your emotions are all over the place. I'm feeling a lot today, but more than ever, I am deeply grateful to know that there are millions of people who have stood with us over the last 12 months and are committed to protecting our democracy and doing the never ending work of building a more perfect union because defeating Donald Trump in November was just the beginning.


I'm Ron Stessel. I'll see you in the next episode.