Guess who may have made up to $640 million from ‘outside income’ while in the White House? It has been less than 24 hours since the Republican Party became the official majority party in the coming term. And while this majority is slim and restricts their abilities, leaving open the possibilities of some legislative actions for Democrats to continue pursuing, what it does allow them to do is investigate stuff using congressional committee oversight powers.
Guess what the new House Oversight Committee said it would be investigating.
The billions (with a “B”) Jared Kushner and the Trump family have seemingly been able to secure from countries like China and Saudi Arabia?No.
What Americans need, the GOP seems to believe, is a thorough fact-finding mission into Hunter Biden’s laptop! Hillary’s emails and Benghazi are all worn out from the previous time the Republican Party controlled the House, and according to the press conference that the GOP held today, this Biden laptop thing will allow them to investigate and investigate and investigate until they can hopefully take control of the government again and forget about their baseless investigations.
After talking about how Hunter Biden was a drug addict who may or may not have paid sex workers for sex, Comer explained that Hunter Biden may have also used his name to try and get lucrative jobs. Now, you may be asking yourself, how is this something for a Congressional oversight committee to waste time and resources over? Because Comer promises this will be about Joe Biden. Comer then proceeded to say they had secret sources, while not being able to provide a single shred of evidence not already publicly available. None of which implicate President Joe Biden in corruption.
To be clear, this “investigation” is going to be spent attacking the Department of Justice, the FBI, Hunter Biden, his super “real” laptop, a lot of hyped-up bs about national security, and President Joe Biden, and it is going to stretch for as long as they can possibly stand to talk about it—and that will be awhile—on Fox News and OAN, 24/7, with live coverage all the way up to next Election Day.
It will serve a couple of purposes for the GOP. It will allow them to have some conspiracy theory scandal to promote to MAGA-world. It will potentially degrade trust in real criminal and federal investigations into Jan. 6 and the other many and various crimes of the previous administration. It will give the GOP something to do while they don’t create any policy or offer up anything to help Americans who need help. And if they get lucky, milk and/or gas will cost less someday, and they can say they did that, too.
Republicans gained control of the U.S. House on Wednesday after having been called the winners of November’s elections in at least 218 districts, ending four years of Democratic majorities. While Democrats will still hold the presidency and Senate, the GOP’s House takeover has ended two years of unified Democratic governance in Washington. Many factors made the difference for what’s guaranteed to be a very narrow GOP majority, but among the most consequential for democracy is that Republicans almost certainly owe their majority to gerrymandering.
In a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2019, every GOP-appointed justice voted over the opposition of every Democratic appointee to prohibit federal courts from curtailing partisan gerrymandering. Chief Justice John Roberts disingenuously argued that judicial intervention wasn’t needed partly because Congress itself could end gerrymandering, at least federally. But following the 2020 elections, every Republican in Congress voted to block a bill supported by every Democrat to ban congressional gerrymandering nationwide, which failed when Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin refused to also curtail the GOP's filibuster to pass the measure.
Consequently, as shown in the map at the top of this post (click here for a larger version), Republicans were able to draw roughly four out of every 10 congressional districts after the 2020 census—three times as many as Democrats drew. After Republicans blocked Democrats from ending gerrymandering nationally, Democrats largely refused to disarm unilaterally and gerrymandered where they could, just as the GOP did. Republicans, however, had many more opportunities, in large part because state courts struck down a map passed by New York Democrats and replaced it with a nonpartisan map.
Had Republicans in Congress—or their allies on the courts—not blocked Democratic-backed efforts to end gerrymandering nationally and ensure every state draws fair maps, Democrats would likely be enjoying two more years with full control over the federal government and the ability to pass a number of important policies. But because Republicans at the national level and in state after state chose to preserve their power to gerrymander, that outcome will no longer happen.
In a move that surprised both the judge and Justice Department prosecutors on Wednesday, Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins opted to testify in the seditious conspiracy trial unfolding in Washington, D.C.
The decision arrived at a critical juncture in the six-week trial, since prosecutors were on the cusp of closing their arguments and jurors have spent the past two days in particular hearing testimony from Watkins’ co-defendant Thomas Caldwell and his wife Sharon Caldwell that often came across overly defiant, considering the stakes.
But Watkins struck a different chord and was a compelling and potentially sympathetic witness. Unlike Rhodes or Caldwell, she expressed a repeated and direct remorse for her conduct on Jan. 6. Her attorney Jonathan Crisp said during his opening remarks on Oct. 3 that Watkins should’t be awarded any medals for what she said or did on Jan. 6, 2021, but at the end of these proceedings, jurors should “only convict on a civil disorder charge.”
She faces a total of six charges including seditious conspiracy and has pleaded not guilty to all.
On Wednesday, Watkins told jurors when she breached the Capitol it was a spur of the moment decision and the product of getting swept up in the moment, just as many Jan. 6 defendants have claimed before her.
“I lost all objectivity. I wasn’t security anymore. I wasn’t ‘Medic Jess’ anymore. I was just another idiot running around the Capitol,” Watkins said.
Her attorney, Jonathan Crisp, elicited this testimony as he had Watkins walk through her experience not just on Jan. 6 but her experience as a trans woman with family trauma and a “steady diet” of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s hate and fearmongering.
Watkins, who was born a man, told jurors when she entered the Army in 2001, she was outed after a fellow service member discovered her search history on her laptop. Since she was four years old, she said, she struggled with her gender identity and it wasn’t any easier for her as she aged. Her family was devoutly Christian and there were epithets often hurled about gay people in her home. She was beaten in school and she was beaten at home, too.
When her “battle buddy,” she testified, confronted her about what he found on her computer—searches for trans support groups and forums—he lashed out at her in private.
“I know what you are, ******,” she recalled him saying.
He was a big man and aggressive, she said. She knew a solider had been killed in the 101st Airborne not long before for dating a transgender woman. She panicked and fled to Alaska, going AWOL for just over two months. She turned herself in to police and, left with few options or outlets, went home and came out to her parents. Their reaction was “dark,” she recalled.
Banished by her parents from her home, it would be “maybe 15 years” before she would see them again.
They were able to reconcile, though it was “akward,” she said.
Today, Watkins said she is comfortable with her gender identity “generally speaking” but struggles with an internalized hatred imparted to her from her family, from people who were cruel to her and from years of embarrassment and shame.
She does not associate with the larger trans community any more, she said, because she feels they do not represent her in the way she feels comfortable. Waving a pride flag, she explained, made her feel like she was celebrating her pain.
When prosecutors showed jurors texts where Watkins threw around gay slurs, the Woodstock, Ohio resident and founder of the Ohio State Regular Militia didn’t demur. She copped to the language and said she thought she likely did this because she was “lashing out at others like I’ve been lashed out at.”
“Its emotions towards myself,” she said.
On Jan. 6, her emotions were running high and had been for awhile.
Since 2017, Watkins said she became increasingly concerned as protests broke out rejecting former President Donald Trump’s election to the White House. It upset her and worried her and as a person who had spent years wanting to “help,” she said, there was a stirring in her.
Years earlier when she had left the military, she had joined up with a local firefighting service. She left it in 2014 and by 2019, she and her now-fiancee Montana Siniff started to talk about forming the Ohio State Regular Militia. Back then, their mission was to protect homes and businesses from rioters, she said. And if she could put her Army medic experience to use, she testified, she wanted to do that too.
But as the 2020 election season kicked into full gear, the mission changed. The small militia now had recruits including Donovan Crowl and Bennie and Sandy Parker, all of whom are Oath Keepers soon to face trial themselves.
Watkins only learned of the Oath Keepers when they were first introduced on InfoWars, she testified. The ravings on the channel were lunacy and featured conspiracies about the Chinese invading the United States through Chicago, or the Chinese bombing military bases in the U.S.
“I gave it a 25% chance of likelihood,” she said.
She read information elsewhere about the United Nations helping the U.S. distribute COVID-19 vaccines once Joe Biden became president. What she heard and read about that, she said, led her to believe there was a 50% chance the U.N. really would align with the Biden administration and force people to take the vaccine “door to door.”
She worried too about the incoming administration seizing people’s guns.
Though she described herself to jurors as “gullible” for believing the swill that Jones and other right-wing media types broadcast, she told the jury she still has “a lot of questions” about the outcome of the 2020 election.
It has been proven time and again and confirmed by numerous intelligence agencies as well as members of the Trump administration itself that Trump’s claims of widespread fraud were false. No widespread fraud was ever found and every legal challenge that Trump mounted citing voter fraud was summarily shot down. This is a lie Trump has perpetuated since September 2020. He continues to do this until today.
When she entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, Watkins described feeling pride and said the crowd around her was peaceful and that it was a “great heroic moment.”
“We the people were going into our House and we were going to be heard,” she said.
But she also claimed that after she was herded into the building by a jostling crowd and heard glass break once inside the rotunda, she became “really pissed.”
Apologizing for her profane testimony on Wednesday, she said: “I told them, ‘This is my house. This is the taxpayers’ house. If you **** it up, I’m going to **** you up.”
Her attorney asked her point blank if she wanted to apologize for her actions in hindsight.
“I want to say I’m sorry to you, but I’d rather say I’m sorry to the police officer Christopher Owens who was here the other day. He was on the end of that line protecting other officers from my dumb ass, basically,” she said, facing jurors.
Owens, a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer, testified on Oct. 26 that the clash between himself and rioters on Jan. 6 was so intense that it lifted his more than six-foot, 200-plus pound body clear off the ground.
One rioter, he said, told him: “No mercy here. All for [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi.”
Watkins was one of many rioters he worked to fend off on Jan. 6. During the Capitol siege, he was punched, kicked, pelted with flagpoles and 2x4s. His body was battered, bloodied, and bruised.
The only reason police were able to hold the mob —and Oath Keepers—at bay was because police had “better training,” Owens said.
“And sheer will and determination to not let them do what they came here to do,” Owens testified.
“Are you proud of what you did?” Crisp asked Watkins on Wednesday.
“Not anymore,” she said.
Overblown rhetoric posted on Parler after the attack was the byproduct of her frustration with media coverage of Jan. 6, she claimed.
And while civil war once seemed inevitable if not almost preferable to her Oath Keeper cohorts, Watkins today says that a civil war would be the “worst possible solution for this country.”
Watkins flatly denied receiving any instruction to storm the Capitol or to stop the certification of the 2020 election. She denied altogether having knowledge of such plans.
If she would have known there was a plan to stop the certification, she told jurors there was only one thing she would have done.
“I wouldn’t have gotten involved and quite frankly, I would have contacted law enforcement,” she said.
That may be true. But jurors will have to decide if it is true or, at the least, believable. And they will have to compare that remark with others she made on Wednesday, as well as in the past.
“I've probably got a little bit of, well, I don't want to say a death wish, but I put myself in harm's way deliberately. If I'm going to die for something, it probably should matter. And I'm not afraid of that, of embracing that,” she testified.
Watkins will go under cross-examination on Thursday morning where she’s likely to face off with prosecutors who will pepper her with questions about the violent rhetoric and conduct she and other Oath Keepers are alleged to have been part of on the path to the insurrection at the Capitol.
Due to her abrupt decision to testify, closing arguments from the government that were expected to unfold Wednesday are now slated for Thursday.
Presiding U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said Wednesday that Bradley Geyer, an attorney for Watkins’ co-defendant Kenneth Harrelson, told him during a bench conference that Harrelson will not call any witnesses. Mehta also revealed after jurors left that attorneys for defendant Kelly Meggs have indicated Meggs only has a few exhibits to present before resting his case.
Before this trial is over, Judge Mehta ruled on Wednesday that evidence about Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes’ failure to pay taxes from 2008 to 2020 can be admitted by prosecutors.
For all of the talk at trial about his history of being “law abiding,” Mehta explained, it was only reasonable to introduce information that speaks to the veracity of those claims.
He intuited that voters would rise above their economic self-interest to prevent election deniers from seizing power.
.....Biden had more faith in the American people than the commentariat or his political adversaries did. He intuited that voters would rise above their economic self-interest to prevent election deniers from seizing power.
He has avoided becoming a polarizing figure. By receding a bit more into the background, he has immunized himself against plots to make him into a villain.
More surprising, Biden’s domestic agenda has passed without suffering the relentless attacks that undermined support for “Obamacare,” “Hillarycare,” or, for that matter, any other piece of transformational legislation proposed by the previous two Democratic administrations.
The Biden method is often messy. But over his career, a pattern keeps reasserting itself. Just after he is dismissed as a relic, he pulls off his greatest successes......
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up their spending at retailers, restaurants, and auto dealers last month, a sign of consumer resilience as the holiday shopping season begins amid painfully high inflation and rising interest rates .
Americans stepped up their spending at retailers, restaurants, and auto dealers last month, a sign of consumer resilience as the holiday shopping season begins amid painfully high inflation and rising interest rates.
The government said Wednesday that retail sales rose 1.3% in October from September, up from a flat reading in September from August. The increase was led by car sales and higher gas prices. Still, excluding autos and gas, retail spending rose a solid 0.9% last month.
Strong auto sales may have been supercharged by the arrival of Hurricane Ian in late September, which destroyed up to 70,000 vehicles, according to economists at TD Securities.
Even adjusting for inflation, spending increased at a solid pace. Prices rose 0.4% in October from September, much less than the overall sales figure. The government’s solid report contrasted with gloomy figures Wednesday from retail chain Target, which announced unexpectedly weak profits as its increasingly price-sensitive customers pulled back on spending......
No further evidence or witness testimony will be presented in the Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial after Justice Department prosecutors and attorneys representing five defendants in the historic case rested on Thursday.
The next step will be closing arguments on Friday. Then it will be left to the jury to decide whether Oath Keeper founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes and co-defendants Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, Thomas Caldwell, and Kenneth Harrelson are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of plotting to stop the nation’s transfer of power on Jan. 6.
Deliberations are expected to begin next week.
All of the defendants have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges. In addition to seditious conspiracy, Rhodes, Meggs, Harrelson, Watkins, and Caldwell are charged together with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging his duties.
The evidence underpinning those charges billowed for weeks. The jury saw a vast array of text messages and other correspondence—including video footage and audio recordings— that offered a nose-to-the-glass look at a conspiracy that the Justice Department has alleged was nothing short of an “armed rebellion” against the United States government.
Before the parties rested, defendant Jessica Watkins returned to the witness stand to be cross-examined.
Just 24 hours ago, she offered testimony that was blunt and sometimes repentant. Under the guiding hand of her attorney Jonathan Crisp, she appeared sympathetic and whether it was strategic or righteous, she nonetheless expressed a willingness to accept her civil disorder charge. In this group of defendants, she alone faces this charge.
But while she tangled with prosecutor Alexandra Hughes under questioning, Watkins grew frustrated after Hughes showed a few minutes of footage to jurors of Watkins inside a Senate hallway in the Capitol screaming “push, push, push, get in there, they can’t hold us.”
The Woodstock Ohio resident and founder of the Ohio State Regular Militia described parts of her experience at the Capitol as “a cool American moment” and claimed that by the time she found herself “swept up” inside the building and in the Senate hallway, she hadn’t seen any violence unfold.
Again, she said, things were “cool” in the moments before this. She only lost self control in the Senate hallway because she was angry, she said.
Watkins told jurors she was angry at the pain she was in from an injured arm and broken ribs and at being “compacted” into the hallway and peppersprayed. She was angry because she had only moments before found herself outside “standing up” for her country, she said, before being unwillingly jostled inside.
With no sympathy from federal prosecutors who presented video footage they argue is completely to the contrary, Watkins began to raise her voice as she and Hughes rapidly talked over one another.
She also doubled down on her belief that the 2020 election was stolen.
While this too was said a day earlier, on Thursday Watkins was more pointed and animated as she discussed her faith in former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
And all of the violent rhetoric shared among her and her co-defendants before, during and after the insurrection, Hughes probed, was that not connected to what happened when the Oath Keepers finally descended on the Capitol?
Watkins claimed her statements were limited to frustrations with the election outcome alone. She has steadfastly denied conspiring to stop the transfer of power by force.
Yet seemingly unable to resist, Watkins defiantly told the jury: “Half this country feels this way still. Half this country feels disenfranchised by that election. All the Covid stuff, we didn’t have a free and fair election.”
She also claimed that when she and fellow Oath Keepers including Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson marched in one of the group’s two stack formations that breached the building that day, she found “open doors” allowing her inside.
“If i would have seen police officers being maced or beaten, that would have pissed me off,” she testified.
She also said when she arrived at the complex, she didn’t know anything about the violence on Capitol’s lower west terrace. Officers defending that section of the Capitol saw some of the most brutal and chaotic violence of the day.
“I wasn't absorbing the fact we were trespassing,I wasn't absorbing that we were trespassing in one the most secure buildings in the country,” she told her lawyer under redirect. “If I was charged with trespassing, I would have pled guilty to that in testimony as well.”
She denied having any knowledge that a second stack of Oath Keepers was inside the building, too.
Watkins’ testimony was frequently contradictory,
Bringing up audio from Zello, a walkie-talkie chat app used by Watkins on Jan. 6, jurors heard a voice identified only as “1%watchdog” tell her and others in the chat watching the mob lay siege that the “patriots are coming in.”
It was just before 2:30 p.m. when “1%watchdog” railed that “patriots got in and were screaming and they recessed.”
Hughes asked Watkins on Thursday who “they” were.
“They,” she testified, was Congress.
That was not what she said on Wednesday. Watkins said she thought the certification was successful when word got out among the mob that then-Vice President Mike Pence had “betrayed” them by refusing to intervene during the joint electoral certification ceremony.
This contradiction in particular reaches all the way back to those statements she made to the FBI during interviews following her arrest.
After the defense rested its case and prosecutors launched into their rebuttal case, Hughes elicited testimony from FBI Special Agent Justin Eller. During his meetings with Watkins in February and March 2021—while she had an attorney present—she never told him, at any time, that she believed the certification had ended by the time she entered the Capitol.
Hughes was dubious. She stands charged with obstruction of an official proceeding. And yet, if Watkins told the FBI she thought Pence had betrayed them because the certification was completed, wouldn’t that be something she would mention?
“And in that interview, did she tell you: ‘I know exactly what was going to happen when I got into the stack. We had the necessary number of people to forcibly enter?” Hughes asked Agent Eller.
“Yes,” he testified.
Watkins told jurors she was “angry” in the Senate hallway but she told Eller that while in that hallway she was “serious and somber.”
Besides unraveling Watkins, the rebuttal case also gave prosecutors a chance to address claims by the defense and compare them to existing evidence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler recalled FBI Agent Kelsey Harris to testify to rebut claims made by defendant Thomas Caldwell and others. Caldwell has sought to cast himself apart from the Oath Keepers entirely but his testimony was a parade of contradictions and emotionally-fraught. Jurors have seen extensive evidence underpinning allegations that Caldwell led coordination efforts to establish a heavily armed “quick reaction force” at a hotel in northern Virginia. That “QRF,” prosecutors say was intended to back up Oath Keepers on the ground in D.C. as they fought to stop the transfer.
Other claims by Caldwell, including that he never had contact about the QRF with other Oath Keepers like Paul Stamey of North Carolina were poked through with holes when Nestler had Agent Harris review data from a tracking app Caldwell used known as Life360.
Caldwell denied knowing about the app until the trial began. But when Agent Harris testified Thursday, he said Caldwell’s devices showed he did have the app, and further, that he had 36 contacts housed there—including Paul Stamey.
The tracking app also shows location data. Harris testified that the app showed Stamey’s location on Jan. 5. He was at the QRF hotel with Caldwell.
Caldwell is accused of tampering too. Specifically, prosecutors say he unsent or deleted roughly 180 messages tied to his conduct on Jan. 6.
To that end, metadata extracted from Caldwell’s device shows that on the same day the 68-year-old Navy veteran accessed a New Yorker article about Watkins and fellow Oath Keeper Donovan Crowl’s conduct on Jan. 6 , he began deleting messages en masse.
And while lead defendant Rhodes made much during his testimony about dropped calls on Jan. 6 and flatly denied talking to Kelly Meggs or his self-described “Jan. 6 ops leader” Michael Greene aka Whip in a three-way call, Agent Harris told jurors that the data told another tale.
Each phone call has its respective notation that phone providers use to identify incoming calls versus outgoing calls. Rhodes’ cell provider also uses a specific code to identify when three-way-conference calls are made. Rhodes’ phone log showed that code between Rhodes, Greene, and Meggs.
Ed Tarpley, one of several defense attorneys hired by Rhodes, tried to shore this up for his client. In an attempt to cast doubt, Tarpley asked Harris if there was any record of what was discussed in that conference call and if there was evidence from that call that Rhodes was coordinating Meggs and Watkins as they breached the Capitol.
“I don’t know if there is or isn’t,” Harris said.
The trial resumes Friday with closing statements from prosecutors. If trial tradition holds and Friday is a half day where jurors are excused at noon, the defense is expected to make its closing statements on Monday.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is likely to be named the party’s leader in a vote set for November 30.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) announcement on Thursday afternoon that she will not seek a leadership role in the next Congress has paved the way for a new, younger generation to lead House Democrats. Pelosi had served as her party’s leader in Congress since 2003. According to a pair of senior Democratic staffers, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is likely to be named the party’s leader in a vote set for November 30.
“It looks like it will be zero competitive races for upper leadership. We expect Jeffries will win by acclamation,” one of the staffers said.
Jeffries, who is currently caucus chairman, the Democrats’ fifth-ranked leadership position, would serve as the minority leader due to the Republican gains in the midterm elections earlier this month. He would be the first Black House leader. A source close to Jeffries said the congressman is keenly aware of how meaningful that milestone is for the Black community and that Jeffries had been building support behind the scenes for the leadership vote. Jeffries, who hails from the New York City borough of Brooklyn, and his office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Pelosi and the other top two members of the party’s current House leadership, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), are all in their early eighties. Less than an hour after Pelosi announced she won’t be seeking reelection to Democratic leadership, Hoyer released a statement saying the same. Clyburn released a more ambiguous statement but will run for assistant leader.
“Now is the time for a new generation of leaders, and I am proud to offer my strong endorsement to Hakeem Jeffries for Democratic Leader, a role in which he will make history for the institution of the House and for our country,” Hoyer said in his statement. “He is a skilled and capable leader who will help us win back the Majority in 2024 as we strive to continue delivering on our promises to the American people.”
Jeffries, who is 52-years-old, is expected to be joined in Democratic leadership by two other colleagues who are far younger than their predecessors. The two senior Democratic staffers said they also expect Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), a 59-year-old who is currently assistant speaker, will serve as Democratic whip under Jeffries.
“No question Hakeem and Clark have this on lock,” one of the staffers said.
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), who is 43, is in line to take conference chairman, the third leadership position, the other Democratic staffer told TPM. In the speech announcing her decision, Pelosi signaled a broader changeover: “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Congress that I so deeply respect.” The move comes amid an unprecedented spike in the average age of members of Congress, making the current Congress the oldest in history. This has been a growing source of frustration for younger members.
“Time for fresh blood across the board,” one Democratic House member said of the new leadership slate.
Multiple sources told TPM there could still be competitive fights for the lower-level party leadership positions. Theoretically, another candidate could still emerge for one of the top spots, but that is unlikely with so little time left before the vote, one of the Democratic staffers told TPM.
“It’s pretty late for someone to come out of the woodwork,” the staffer said.
Two other prominent Democrats who had been considered potential leadership hopefuls, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chairwoman of the progressive caucus, are both not believed to be running for leadership. Multiple sources familiar told TPM that Schiff was declining to run. While Jayapal had considered mounting a bid, multiple sources said she has not discussed the possibility with members of her caucus more recently. Jayapal’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michael Hardaway, Jeffries’ longtime former communications director, praised the congressman as someone who has “clearly defined himself as one of the leaders of the next generation of the Democratic Party.” Hardaway cited Jeffries role in passing criminal justice reform legislation during the Trump administration as evidence of his priorities and proven ability to “work across the aisle to get things done.”....