The Utility of the Tim Thibault Smear for Insurrectionists

Back on September 12, when Matt Gaetz’ plan to depose Kevin McCarthy was a seeming fantasy, he appeared on CNN to complain that McCarthy’s concession to open an impeachment inquiry wasn’t enough.

Even as Abby Phillip repeatedly (and laudably) noted that there was no evidence to support an impeachment, Gaetz claimed he had been “deposing” retired FBI Agent Timothy Thibault that day and further claimed that, as part of a cover-up, the Foreign Influence Task Force had “designate[d] any derogatory information about the Bidens as foreign disinformation.”

GAETZ: I mean, come on, he was — wait, hold on. Can you just acknowledge it calls into the business deals, he’s involved? When he calls dinners, you don’t think that’s involvement?

PHILLIP: First of all, this is not about innuendo. It’s not about what I believe. It’s a question, do you have evidence? If you had evidence that Joe Biden was linked to Hunter Biden’s business deals in a way that is illegal, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. You would probably have the votes for an impeachment inquiry, but you don’t, because of people like [K]en [B]uck, and people like Don Bacon, and many others in your conference.

GAETZ: Yes. But on the substance, look, you want to talk about how long we’ve had the evidence, the FBI had Hunter Biden’s laptops in 2019. So, this inquiry isn’t just going to be into the Bidens and the bad things they’ve done, it’s also going to be into the cover-up, and we do have that evidence.

I was deposing Tim Thibault today. Today, I was asking questions about the roles of foreign interference task force to go and designate any derogatory information about the Bidens as foreign disinformation when that was part of a cover up.

PHILLIP: Congressman, let me just move on here because I’m going to reiterate to the audience, because we need to be clear, there is not evidence linking President Biden to anything illegal having to do with Hunter Biden.

It’s true that Gaetz was in the deposition of Thibault that day. But unlike Jim Jordan, who was the only other member of Congress recorded as having attended the deposition, Gaetz doesn’t appear to have asked a single question.

Jordan asked over 70 questions. The aspiring Speaker asked about:

  • Thibault’s efforts to predicate an investigation against the Clinton Foundation based on Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash in 2016
  • Two separate warnings the Washington Field Office got against using Schweizer — and the copy of “the laptop” he offered them — as a source in the Hunter Biden investigation in 2020
  • Thibault’s role, also in 2020, in fielding an effort by Tony Bobulinski to share his phones but not any personal content from his phones
  • Questions from Baltimore to DC about a new prong of the Hunter Biden investigation in 2022 (possibly a campaign finance investigation into Kevin Morris’ donations to Hunter Biden)

The deposition arose out of the same stream of right wing complaints to Chuck Grassley (one, two) that lie at the core of the Republican campaign against Hunter Biden. The only thing that rationalizes the campaign is that in 2020 Thibault liked a number of Randall Eliason columns critical of Bill Barr’s corruption and even criticized Dick Cheney:

Of course, Grassley’s known and likely sources say far more partisan things online all the time.

Nevertheless Chris Wray has, per his norm, let Thibault weather the attack campaign alone, treating him as the legitimate subject of scrutiny as they have Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and Brian Auten and Jim Baker — every FBI agent except those (like John Durham’s cherished Cyber agents) who help sustain conspiracy theories favored by Trump and his allies.

What I wanted was someone from the FBI — because they know the truth — was someone to defend me after 26 years. I understand they can’t defend every allegation that’s made, so — I wish they would have. Right? I didn’t have that. And so that’s how I felt was I just wanted a defense. And I’m not blaming the FBI, because if they would respond to accusations against FBI agents from the media, they would be doing that a lot. So I’m not special.

But, when those accusations were made against me in July, I was, like, outraged. Why — no FBI agent that I know would put their reputation and honor on the line just to square up. They wouldn’t do that.

From there, Grassley and Jim Jordan have built entire pyramids of conspiracy theories, claiming that the guy who opened the investigations against William Jefferson and Jesse Jackson Jr and who rushed to open an investigation based solely off Schweizer’s Clinton Cash in 2016 abusively intervened to shut down — all of it! — the Hunter Biden investigation in 2020. All because, after several warnings about Schweizer, Thibault didn’t ignore warnings that Steve Bannon’s close associate, Schweizer, could discredit the Hutner Biden investigation (at a time when Bannon himself was coordinating with Guo Wengui).

Over the course of most of a day, Thibault addressed one after another of these conspiracy theories. One reason why Thibault ordered two agents to shut down an informant — Schweizer has since confirmed it was him — was because Schweizer was a less defensible source for allegations against Hunter Biden at trial than whatever means by which — including, undoubtedly, the laptop passed on by John Paul Mac Isaac — Delaware had already gotten materials on Hunter Biden. Using Schweizer rather than the sources Delaware already had, “could harm a case. It could cause problems when you get to prosecution,” Thibault explained that the Supervisory Special Agent, Joe Gordon had informed him in early October 2020, “and to open doors for defense attorneys.”

Within days of Gordon’s warning that Schweizer was an unwelcome source, the head of the Public Corruption Unit contacted Thibault to raise other concerns about Schweizer. In an October 21, 2020 classified briefing, members of the Foreign Intelligence Task Force provided more context, not just on Schweizer. The two warnings, together, led Thibault to instruct two agents to shut down Schweizer, someone less credible than Christopher Steele.

That’s probably what led to the complaints to Grassley.

One of the agents, Thomas Olohan, wrote a long memo claiming that Thibault was biased against Trump, before he left the FBI to join the Heritage Foundation. The other, whom Thibault had earlier mentored and considered a friend, would do more than that, as we’ll see.

It would have been three and four days after that when Thibault exchanged calls with Stefan Passantino regarding whether they could selectively image Tony Bobulinksi’s phones, which Jordan found suspect because, in an attempt to shield the investigation, the FBI had Bobulinski speak to the Washington Field Office rather than Baltimore. Jordan repeatedly invented conspiracy theories about of efforts to protect the investigation into Joe Biden’s son.

Jordan’s staffers also focused on Thibault’s role, like that of everyone else in the DC area, in investigating January 6. Except for his minor role in drafting the memo opening the investigation into the fake electors in 2022, Thibault’s role in investigating the attack on the Capitol was limited to freeing up his agents to help deal with the initial surge. Again, Jordan recycled Grassley’s conspiracy theories to treat any FBI agent who didn’t focus primarily on Trump’s enemies as suspect.

Tellingly, however, Jordan and his staffers asked no question about how the same agent who tried to open Schweizer as a source bypassed Thibault, who considered her a friend, to try to chase down the Italygate conspiracy theory months after Richard Donoghue’s judgement that it was “pure insanity” was published.

[I]t first came to my attention when I got a call from — a call from this supervisor, Special Agent from CR-15, and he said: Look, my agents are trying to do an interview of a subject with regard to election fraud, and the subject is in Italy. And he told me that they had tried to get the Legal Attache Office in Rome to do the interview and that they had declined.

Then they had tried to get funding through FBI Headquarters, Public Corruption Unit, to travel over to Italy to do the interview of this person, a potential witness who was in jail. And so I just got briefed on that.


So I got off the phone with them, and my next call was to the Public Corruption Unit chief at headquarters, and I said: Hey, what’s the problem with funding?

And he goes: Are you kidding me, basically.

And I go: No.

And he goes: Do you know that this is to support an opening of a case that’s been sent to the Public Corruption Unit as a draft?

I said: I don’t know about that.


He’s assuming at the time that I would have seen this because … Because of the gravity of the allegation and what it meant, he couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been briefed on it. He actually thought, I think, that I was approving it —


So the head of the Public Corruption Unit tells me that he has received an email forwarded to him from Public Integrity, and it contains a draft opening language, and he was shocked that I didn’t know about this. Because of the type of case it was, you would expect that the ASAC would be in the loop.


[S]o I’m trying to do due diligence. And, look, this isn’t the ASAC’s job. But, at this point, I was sort of losing some confidence.


Because I wasn’t told about this, and even in my — I wasn’t told about it, number one. But, number two, when I was having conversations with people about this, no one told me — they didn’t raise Italygate. I wasn’t told about what — the allegation that this had previously been reviewed by, like, the Deputy Attorney General had made that comment. I wasn’t provided situational awareness. Right?


6 months later, people want to travel halfway around the world to talk to someone who’s in prison. Any FBI agents knows, number one, first of all, an argument can be raised — and it was raised by people when we were discussing this at the squad level: Well, Tim, we talk to people all the time that appear to have kind of whacky theories.

And I was, like: Yeah, we might. We might go down the road to Manassas and talk to someone about some whacky theory. On a low-level case, we do do that.

But I think, you know, the situational awareness that I was gaining as an ASAC and working consistently with headquarters and learning, that Public Corruption Unit chief was unbelievable in terms of his knowledge of foreign influence. I had the benefit of that information. The case agents here did not.


[T]here’s a term in the Bureau I learned a long time ago. You’re either working a source, or they’re working you. I was concerned that there wasn’t an element of 267 savviness here on the agent’s behalf, that maybe this source was working her. Q In what way? A It just seemed to me that, you know, you’re going and you’re trying to open a case, but you haven’t asked the very basic questions, like who — I couldn’t understand how they were trying to work a case without — we’ve got all the resources in the Federal Government to find out if a breach of information or a breach of data had occurred. We’ve got CISA. We’ve got the NSA.


I was concerned that there was a lack of investigative rigor and the judgment issue, yes, because I wasn’t allowed to intervene, you know, where an ASAC is there for to help guide. This isn’t how CR-15 works cases. I was on that squad. We’re the flagship public corruption squad in the country. This isn’t how it’s done.

Jordan and his staffers expressed no interest or concern that the Public Corruption team at FBI was chasing already discredited conspiracy theories halfway around the world.

In the aftermath of this incident, Thibault asked the supervisor of the squad what was going on. The response was that supervisors were raising concerns about uncharacteristic partisan discussions.

And he said that senior members of CR-15, he didn’t tell me who, but had raised concerns to him that there was uncharacteristically partisan discussions happening on the squad floor.

This is the DC public corruption group — as Thibault described it, “the flagship public corruption squad in the country.” And Thibault discovered the hard way that even agents he believed to be friends were going behind his back to chase the conspiracy theories Trump wanted to chase.

For Jordan, who could be second in line to the Presidency within days, this was all an exercise of finding something within attempts at revenge that would substantiate his belief that the guy who took down two Democratic members of Congress was biased against Republicans.

But for Gaetz — the guy whose coup creates the opportunity for Jordan to become Speaker — it was something else: an opportunity to sit silently so that he could spin a refusal to accept foreign dirt on Hunter Biden as cause to impeach his father.

With the exception of a detailed NYT report in May, the attack against Thibault has passed largely unnoticed in the mainstream press, even as frothy right wingers have continued to impugn yet another stuff lifetime Feeb as a partisan simply because he treated Trump just like he treated the Democratic members of Congress he pursued.

But this Grassley-to-Jordan conveyor belt of bullshit continues to churn away, turning disgruntled hacks with allegations but no evidence into the enforcement wing of their effort to weaponize government.

67 replies
    • BobBobCon says:

      It’s critical to know his backing has come from the establishment press too. Carolyn Ryan made a lot of absolutely terrible decisions as top political editor at the NY Times, and right at the top was personally negotiating with Schweizer for the rights to publish his information, along with the Washington Post.

      Ryan pumped his garbage right onto the front page of its news, not opinion section.

      Then what happened is the Times was eventually forced to walk back a lot of it after it turned out that Schweizer’s writing was deeply crooked, but by that point the damage was done.

      Of course AO and then AG Sulzberger decided Ryan not only deserved to stay after her 2016 debacle, she was promoted to #2 editor overall.

      She was poised to greenlight Ken Vogel’s laundering of Schweizer’s Ukraine garbage into the news side of the Times as well, until the impeachment investigations made it clear how untrustworthy it all was.

    • Zinsky123 says:

      Peter Schweizer has been a major source of disinformation for the GOP for years. Jerome Corsi and John Solomon are two other prolific right-wing confabulists who get a lot of replay on the right-wing sites. Add Jack Posobiec, Joseph Farah, Dinesh D’Souza and Jim and Joe Hoft and you have 90% of the slime and lies pipeline that gushes forth on a daily basis across the Internet….

  1. rattlemullet says:

    The malfeasence of the Republican Party is right out there in the open for all to see. EW points it out everyday. Why every journalist in the country do not read this blog just astounds me. Has journalism integrity fallen so low in this country with in the major news organizations that they fail to see the forest for the trees? It seems as if they are all bought and sold. News organizations today operate on the principle tragedy is entertainment and entertainment is news. Thank you for all you write.

  2. BRUCE F COLE says:

    Chills are still runninng down my spine from this sentence fragment:
    “For Jordan, who could be second in line to the Presidency within days…”

  3. Rugger_9 says:

    With Jordan trying to become Speaker, there will have to be the floor show of speeches and mudslinging. I can’t really see GymJ making it past the known evidence of key J6 involvement (Gym says he had nothing to do with it in one of several stories floated) nor the fact he’s blown off a valid subpoena for over 500 days to explain himself. That’s even before rehash of his other Congressional antics or the OSU scandal.

    He may pull it off but unless the courtier press gives him a pass (always a possibility) he won’t last as long as McCarthy did, and Liz Truss might be replaced as a shortest-serving Speaker. He’s not known at all for coalition building (neither is Scalise) which is absolutely essential for the current situation if he wants to keep the job.

    Will the Ds decide to nominate a rational GOP rep? The only name I’ve heard is Fitzpatrick, but I would also observe that the idea assumes a rational GOP rep exists. Stefanik and Mace were both considered moderates before the potential of GOP power came into view. I think the Ds should hammer home Hakeem.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      At the beginning of the session in January, Perry Bacon suggested the Dems support a retired GOP moderate for Speaker. (can’t find the link right now), a Problem Solver guy.

      The other day, here’s a story from a community member that topped the rec list for a while:

      I think they should be doing something along these lines to forstall the horror of Scalise or Jordan with that gavel.

      • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

        It seems to me that the reason most moderate republican ex-congressmen are ex-congressmen is that republicans don’t want them representing them anymore, and I’d be happily surprised if broad backing from democratic congressmen changed that.

        • Rayne says:

          The Grand Rapids MI-03 district which elected Pete Meijer is a good example. The district changed a bit after bipartisan redistricting law was enacted and the district elected Hillary Scholten, a Democrat.

          The shift might have happened with or without the redistricting because it had already moved ideologically with the election of Meijer after Justin Amash’s five terms in office. The right-wing crackpot the MIGOP fielded against Scholten made it easy for an increasingly moderate-to-left district to vote for Scholten.

          What we should be asking isn’t if moderate GOP lose because constituents don’t want them, but whether the constituents are getting the candidates who really represent them, a la MI-03 after redistricting.

          • emptywheel says:

            Right: Just as one example, Scholten was raised Dutch Reform in GR. Gibbs was not.

            I like to think she would have won anyway, given how much younger the populace was getting — against Gibbs, but probably not Meijer. But with the redistrict, it was much more comfortable.

              • Ginevra diBenci says:

                As both Rayne and EW know, metro Grand Rapids–by which I’m assuming Rayne means the areas around town with divided four-lane highways lined with car dealerships and/or Dollar General stores before the two-lane roads take you into the surprising country–is a mixed bag, politically and ideologically.

                Michigan remains a state of contrasts and contradictions. Those three powerful women running it do not mean it is liberated.

                • Rayne says:

                  Only need a drive out into the Thumb or the more remote parts of MI-01 in the UP and northern lower Michigan to see this is not a wholly blue state. Same parts of the state also suffered greatly from COVID, the stupid anti-vaxx gits.

                  The state is changing, though. I hope somebody does a study on the long-term effects of Kalamazoo’s Promise initiative — not the 10-year study the Brookings Institution did or the reported pieces local media did over the last handful of years. It’d be nice to know if this investment in secondary ed by nonprofit donors has a positive progressive effect on the state and what we should in vest in next to sustain it.

                  • fatvegan000 says:

                    I got a card from the Upjohn Institute asking if I had broadband. I thought it odd they wouldn’t know that there isn’t any in my area (practically their own backyard!).

                    I checked their website to see if they had any data on the Promise; they said they did, but when I clicked on it I got the 404 error. I would link here but the website said “not secure.” I thought that was odd, too.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Broadband access can be pretty spotty even in fairly developed areas; ISPs have frequently lied to the FCC claiming to provide coverage. If Upjohn had access to the data FCC has received from ISPs, it’s no wonder they want to validate coverage data. (One of my kids lives just north of Lansing and has the worst broadband coverage about which ISPs have lied — ridiculous for an area within commuting distance to MSU.)

                      Upjohn has a working page but I found it by going through Kalamazoo Promise’s site.

    • Doug_Fir says:

      Minor fact check: Liz Truss was, for a very short time, Prime Minister of England, not Speaker. Very different jobs in a parliamentary democracy.

      https:// www. elizabethtruss. com/

      (spaces added to break the link)

        • Rayne says:

          Please place the space after the period following www — the site’s code interprets www-period as privileged and an indicator of a live link. The http/https and the colon-double slash are also privileged and should have spaces after them as well.

          Thanks for pointing out Liz Not As Long-Lived As A Lettuce Truss. What a sorry tenure even with such an early sell-by date.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          One could avoid using Truss’s self-serving website for her having been UK PM – for all of two months, seriously damaging the UK economy in the process. Wiki or another web encyclopedias, or a medium such as the Guardian, would be an alternative.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’m probably sensitive to Truss because she’s in the midst of a vigorous rehabilitation tour and probable attempt to displace Rishi Sunak and replace him as PM. Not what the world or UK needs now.

        • Doug_Fir says:

          Hopefully we never get to see Jordan in that role!

          Rayne, thks for the “cleanup in aisle 9”!

  4. Fancy Chicken says:

    I did my due diligence in using the Google Machine with a variety of search parameters (again), and searched the Judiciary Committee website and Ways and Means to try and find the interview transcript of Thibault that Dr. Wheeler is referencing to no avail.

    I know Thibault was interviewed by Ways and Means around September 7th, but there were other interviewees in that session I believe. And I don’t believe this is the interview being referenced.

    I was able to find a history of Grassley’s complaints against Thibault, a request from October of last year from the House for Thibault to testify which he refused, and a Judicary Committee reposting of a Breitbart article of all things about Jordan making a “final” demand for Thibault to testify.

    So where oh where is a copy of the transcript quoted from in the post above? I would very much like to read it and see how Thibault is questioned by Jordan and staffers when not in front of a TV camera when all Jordan does is yell. What was quoted above was illuminating but I’m hungry to read the whole thing.

    Thanks to whoever actually finds a link to the transcript.

    • Rayne says:

      You spent 199 words asking for a link to a transcript you couldn’t find using a search engine.

      Concision is your friend. That goes for all our other commenters given the recent influx of wordiness.

      • Fancy Chicken says:

        I see the smack down folks get for requesting that which can be Googled.

        Therefore I opted to show I had done due diligence to not get that smack down.

        Looks like I got one of a different kind instead lol, point taken.

        • Rayne says:

          LOL We know you know how to use a search engine, only need to assure us you did.

          The drive-by/too-few-comments folks who drop in demanding we give them [X] which is *right there* in first page of search results are the ones who deserve the smack down for not Googling.

      • Fancy Chicken says:

        The fact that Grassley’s office will make his letters accusing Thibault of misconduct public but then the House refuses/doesn’t bother to then release his interview is rich sauce indeed.

      • Narpington says:

        I wish as well as providing sources you’d note why you haven’t whenever this happens. I spent a fruitless while a few weeks ago looking for one for something you published and now wonder if it wasn’t my failing.

        BTW, was it staff or stiff in “yet another stuff lifetime Feeb”?

        Thibault’s language here is slack, giving the opposite impression to that which was presumably intended: “that Public Corruption Unit chief was unbelievable in terms of his knowledge of foreign influence.”

        • Rayne says:

          Can you think of a reason/s why Marcy might not clearly state that she’s had access to a source?

          How would you handle that if you were writing this piece — let’s say you need to protect a source?

          • Narpington says:

            All I’m asking for is the equivalent of “I saw a copy. I’m not at liberty to post a copy” to be posted with the editorial instead of as an afterthought. Where’s the problem there?

              • Narpington says:

                Unfortunately I couldn’t quite grasp the objection from your comprehensive forensic analysis “Lol, no” but conclude it must be a plea for security through obscurity – the forces of darkness will never look in the comments so it’s OK to put notes on sources there but not in the editorial.

                • bmaz says:

                  Lol, you need to take a no when it is answered to you. I don’t care what you “grasp” We owe you nothing. Don’t make demands.

                  “The forces of darkness”? Please spare everybody here of such nonsense.

    • Upisdown says:

      The only other info I could find about the Thibault interview transcript was from John Solomon in Just The News. (I won’t dignify that guy by linking it.)

      I did notice that another Judiciary Committee interview transcript is being selectively released. This time it’s the Washington Examiner getting access to the full transcript of DC USA, Matthew Graves:

      “Mr. Weiss said that he had an investigation that he had been conducting. Some of the charges related to that investigation needed to be venued out of the district, and he described the logistical support that he needed,” Graves said, according to a 180-page transcript of the interview reviewed by the Washington Examiner.”

      Hopefully, EW will also get an opportunity to review this one, in case they don’t make it public.

      • Rayne says:

        Of course a small online right-wing media outlet received access from the GOP-led Judiciary Committee.

        Of fucking course. Only surprised they didn’t give access to Free Beacon or Breitbart.

        More dickheadishness.

  5. Savage Librarian says:

    Because I don’t have a TV (by choice,) I’ve only seen Abby Phillip from time to time in news clips from online articles I’ve read. But I’ve always been impressed with her journalistic standards and professionalism. I’m glad she had the opportunity to hold Matt Gaetz to account.

    Hopefully, this post will catch the eye of Adam Goldman, et al., at the NYT to provide a follow-up. The people who really need to be investigated are Jim Jordan, Chuck Grassley and Matt Gaetz. And qualified, competent journalists are the ones who should be doing the investigating.

    But now it seems Kevin McCarthy is using the tragedy in Israel to bolster his own chances to regain his position as Speaker. Jordan has a slew of weaknesses, including fundraising problems. And who needs Scalise, a David Duke fanboy? So, maybe Kev has a come-back chance. Or maybe there will be some other surprise.

    Speaking of surprises, it would serve all these jerks right if the whole Tim Thibault vendetta came back to bite Bill Barr. Now that would be karma.

  6. Ewan Woodsend says:

    What about nominating a Main Street Republican for speaker, such as Andy Barr? The Democrats did not endorse his opponent…

    • dakine01 says:

      That’s because Barr’s opponent was a nut job/gadfly perennial candidate who won the primary when none of the others in the primary were known at all.

      Then he ran against Beshear for governor and was trounced in the primary.

      As for Barr, he’s standard RW nutjob with his votes

  7. David F. Snyder says:

    Gaetz. He could been a contender, instead of a bum, which he is.

    Wait. No, he was never (and never will be) a contender.

  8. harpie says:

    This is one thing that caught my attention:
    One of the agents, Thomas Olohan, wrote a long memo claiming that Thibault was biased against Trump, before he left the FBI to join the Heritage Foundation. [NYT link]

    It links to:
    Taking on the F.B.I., Trump Allies Single Out a Former Agent As Republicans and right-wing news outlets try to paint the bureau as politically biased, powerful members of Congress have trained their sights on a little-known former F.B.I. agent. [] Adam Goldman May 18, 2023

    […] The men [OLOHAN and Thibault] had clashed after Mr. Thibault learned that Mr. Olohan’s daughter — who reports for The Daily Signal, a news site run by the conservative [REAGAN CULTIST] Heritage Foundation — had been writing about someone her father was investigating, two former law enforcement officials said. After Mr. Thibault took him off that case, Mr. Olohan transferred to another criminal squad before retiring last year.

    Mr. Olohan now works for the Heritage Foundation, where he is a senior investigative counsel at the group’s Oversight Project […]

    In March, the Heritage Foundation sued the Justice Department in federal court seeking F.B.I. records related to Mr. Thibault’s communications. […]

    • harpie says:

      About Mary Margaret OLOHAN:

      a Senior Reporter at The Daily Signal where she covers the pre-eminent cultural and political stories of the moment through both video and print journalism. She previously wrote for The Daily Wire and got her start at The Daily Caller News Foundation, where she participated in the American Journalism Institute fellowship. […]

      a graduate of Catholic University of America and most proud to be the oldest daughter in an Irish Catholic family of 11 children.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        A lot of conservative Catholic virtue signalling there. Tip of the iceberg. Conservative Catholics, including the church’s leadership, never forgave the S.Ct. for ruling in favor of the constitutional separation of church and state, which gutted a lot of the funding for its many thousands of parochial schools. They want that funding back the way Neoliberals want to raze Social Security.

        • P J Evans says:

          Including the large number of children in her family. That wasn’t usual even in the 60s. (We had a Large Catholic Family a couple of houses over. The oldest was in seminary when the youngest was born.)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Eleven was an unusual number when I went to school. Whatever it was then, it’s virtue signaling now, directly in line with elements of Fascism. When a woman has eleven kids, she hasn’t time for any other role but parenting inside the home.

            • -mamake- says:

              Hi Earl.
              Your comment prompted this:

              When a woman has eleven children, she hasn’t time for at least half of them, IMHO.

              I say this as a long time observer of mothers who parented many children, and one who lived & breathed neglect/early trauma training, and resolution work for most of my career. And worked w/ many adult children of huge families. Lots of unmet needs.

            • Ruthie2the says:

              I’m the 9th of 11, and in the 50+ years I’ve been conscious of how unusual that is, I’ve met literally a handful of people from families equal to or greater than mine. Mom was Catholic, dad wasn’t, but her mother had converted to marry my grandfather. I suspect some of the fervor comes from that.

              And yes, parenting expectations have changed substantially since I was a kid, but there’s a lot of neglect inherent in that number; that, and roping in the older kids to become surrogates.

    • harpie says:

      From REAGAN CULTIST Heritage Foundation:

      Presidential Transition Project 2025
      Spencer Chretien: Associate Director, 2025 Presidential Transition Project Jan 31, 2023

      With the Biden administration half over and with the immediate dangers inherent to one-party rule in Washington behind us for now, it’s past time to lay the groundwork for a White House more friendly to the right. For decades, as the left has continued its march through America’s institutions, conservatives have been outgunned and outmatched when it comes to the art of government.

      One reason is because the Republican establishment never moved on from the 1980s. […]

      More and more of our politicians are willing to use the government to achieve our vision […]

      we’re now the ones agitating for Congress to go after the three-letter agencies. […]

      • harpie says:


        […] In November 2016, American conservatives stood on the verge of greatness. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency was a triumph that offered the best chance to reverse the left’s incessant march of progress for its own sake. Many of the best accomplishments, though, happened only in the last year of the Trump administration, after our political appointees had finally figured out the policies and process of different agencies, and after the right personnel were finally in place. […]

        2/15/20 [approx] Johnny MCENTEE begins as head of TRUMP Presidential Personnel Office

        Project 2025 Publishes Comprehensive Policy Guide, ‘Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise’ Apr 21, 2023

        • harpie says:

          “Mandate for Leadership: The Conservative Promise” offers both specific proposals for addressing every major issue facing the country and a blueprint for how to restructure each agency to solve those issues.

          Among the recommendations in this edition:

          Restore the integrity of the Department of Justice to ensure accountability by giving the FBI a hard rest, ensuring consistent litigation decisions, and enforcing immigration laws. […]

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Claims that it is devoted to restoring some prior virtue, stature or glory are fundamental to Fascist propaganda. In fact, Fascists intend to create and/or reform it in their own image, which usually calls for considerable prior destruction and the imposition of significant disabilities on those who support the prior regime and view of the world.

        • jdmckay8 says:

          I read that whole thing a few months back.

          Scary. They (Heritage, but others as well) are increasingly radicalized and emboldened.

          • harpie says:

            I haven’t read the whole thing, yet, but,
            Yes…VERY SCARY.

            Their stated mission:
            “Our goal is to assemble an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State.”

            • jdmckay8 says:

              Since mention here today of Catholicism getting wrapped into a lot of this rw ideology, this article in Politico in early June explains some of the mechanics. Seems a lot of influential conservatives/Republicans are embracing the work of Philosopher and Philosophy Professor Patrick Deneen.

  9. Rugger_9 says:

    Lots of interesting names, but how will they handle power and the maniacs of the GOP conference? They either lack the so-called ‘gravitas’ or will lose their principles once in the chair. I do not think any of the GOP could fill the role.

    • Ewan Woodsend says:

      Dunno, could be confirmation bias of course, but article after article in NYT point out that republican voters are not happy with Trump (for example this panel).

  10. Skillethead says:

    Really good post and thread, but in all honesty, I’d rather look at that skull guitar thing than Matt Gaetz.

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