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Political Notebook

Trump lawyers saw Thomas as key to blocking election results

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.Eric Lee/Bloomberg

Lawyers for then-President Donald Trump saw Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as key to overturning the results of the 2020 election, according to a set of e-mails provided to congressional investigators.

Eight e-mails, ordered released by US District Judge David O. Carter of California, include correspondence between Trump lawyers Kenneth Chesebro, John Eastman, and others discussing various legal strategies to convince Republican members of Congress to object to the official certification of electoral votes in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

In an e-mail from Chesebro to Eastman and several others sent on Dec. 31, 2020, Chesebro argued that Thomas would “end up being key” to asking the high court to overturn then-President-elect Joe Biden’s win in contested states, and that they should “frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in legitimate doubt.”

“Realistically, our only chance to get a favorable judicial opinion by Jan. 6, which might hold up the Georgia count in Congress, is from Thomas — do you agree, Prof. Eastman?”

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Thomas is the justice who oversees emergency petitions from the circuit court that includes Georgia. Eastman did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Eastman clerked for Thomas and has remained in touch with his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, according to e-mail correspondence obtained by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol. At least one of the e-mails showed Ginni Thomas inviting Eastman to speak on Dec. 8, 2020, to a group of conservative activists to provide an update about election litigation.

Ginni Thomas lobbied state legislators in Arizona and Wisconsin via e-mail, urging them to help overturn Biden’s victory, The Washington Post has previously reported. Neither Ginni nor Clarence Thomas appear to be included on any of the newly released e-mail correspondence, and there is no indication in the e-mails that any of the lawyers directly appealed to Clarence Thomas regarding election litigation.

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Washington Post

Vance says he’ll accept election results

JD Vance, the Republican nominee for Senate in Ohio, said Tuesday evening that he would accept the results of his election — while also saying he stood by his false claims that the 2020 election had been “stolen.”

“I expect to win,” Vance said in a town-hall-style event hosted by Fox News, before adding: “But, of course, if things don’t go the way that I expect, I’ll support the guy who wins and I’ll try to be as supportive as I possibly can, even accepting that we’re going to disagree on some big issues.”

But when one of the hosts, Martha MacCallum, noted that he had previously said the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, whose endorsement propelled him to the nomination, Vance replied, “Yeah, look, I have said that, and I won’t run away from it.” He referred to state court rulings concerning elements of the way Pennsylvania had conducted its election, but none of those rulings called the results into question.

The town hall event was split between Vance and his Democratic rival in the Senate race, Representative Tim Ryan, with each candidate appearing separately and fielding questions from the moderators and the audience.

Ryan distanced himself from the left wing of the Democratic Party on inflation and abortion, something he has done often as he tries to win a Senate seat in a state that has shifted significantly to the right in recent years.

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While denouncing Republican abortion bans as extreme and inhumane, he said he believed third-trimester abortions should be allowed only in medical emergencies. That distinguishes him from many other Democrats, who have said that abortion should always be a decision between women and their doctors and that the government should play no role in regulating it. (Third-trimester procedures are very rare, accounting for less than 1 percent of abortions in the United States.)

In promoting the ability of Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act to live up to its name, Ryan highlighted its natural gas provisions, saying they would bring construction jobs to Ohio, while calling for tax cuts like an expanded child tax credit in the short term. He explicitly aligned himself with Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, whose objections limited the size of the legislation and ensured that natural gas provisions accompanied its clean energy measures.

Vance, in his discussion of inflation, called for Congress to “stop the borrowing and spending” — without specifying the spending cuts he wanted — and alluded to more oil and gas production.

On abortion, he said he believed that “90 percent of abortion policy” should be set by state governments, while also indicating that he supported the 15-week federal ban proposed by Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.

New York Times

Kemp doling out COVID funds as he runs for reelection

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has a financial secret weapon in his rematch with Stacey Abrams: control of nearly $5 billion in COVID stimulus money sent to the state by Democrats in Washington.

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As the closely watched race comes down to the wire, Kemp has been doling out that money with maximum publicity across Georgia while blasting the fiscal profligacy of President Biden and the congressional Democrats who provided it.

The money has funded tax breaks and refunds, rural broadband, and urban sidewalks, small businesses and arts organizations, water and sewer projects, police, housing, cash outlays for the state’s poorest, and property tax relief for its richest.

Governors have until the end of next year to spend their share of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan money. Kemp has spent almost all of Georgia’s in his reelection campaign year.

Of the $4.9 billion in federal dollars Georgia received, roughly $150 million is left.

Bloomberg News