GOP Senators Support the ‘January Exception’

By voting to halt the impeachment trial, 44 Republicans showed they believe misdeeds in a president’s last weeks in office are unpunishable.

Leading The Bulwark…

GOP Senators Support the ‘January Exception’

BENJAMIN PARKER: By voting to halt the impeachment trial, 44 Republicans showed they believe misdeeds in a president’s last weeks in office are unpunishable.

🎧 On the Pods… 🎧

Kim Wehle on Trump's Trial, Day 2

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Kim Wehle joins Charlie Sykes to break down the second day of Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

Not My Party: Guilty, Guilty

TIM MILLER’s Not My Party is back with a new episode on Trump's second impeachment trial.

THE BULWARK GOES TO HOLLYWOOD: Alan Zilberman on life as a critic during awards season

Alan Zilberman, a critic for the Washington City Paper and the Washington Post, joins Sonny Bunch for a very special episode of The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood in which the two discuss life as a part-time film critic during awards season.

For Bulwark+ Members… 🔐

MORNING SHOTS: A Jury of Accomplices 🔓

CHARLIE SYKES on how the House Managers Connect the Dots.

They Just Can't Quit Him 🔐

JONATHAN V. LAST on why Republicans want Trumpism forever.

REMEMBER! We have a livestream tonight. All Bulwark+ members are invited to join us. Can’t make it? Don’t worry, we preserve the archive at

Not a member? You can solve that by joining now! Details of the Zoom log-in are also sent at 7pm Eastern.

From The Bulwark Aggregator…

In Today’s Bulwark…

Mitt Romney Is Trying to Save Policymaking

MONA CHAREN: In 2021, it’s news when a legislator suggests a policy reform for any reason other than naked ambition.

Donald Trump Isn’t on Trial. The Republican Party Is.

CHRIS TRUAX: We know Trump is guilty. We don’t know (yet) whether the Republican party can be saved.

Damning Evidence in Impeachment Trial Clarifies Trump’s Guilt

KIMBERLY WEHLE: Video and audio bring back the horror of Jan. 6 as impeachment managers show how the former president expected the violence.


Get excited for tonight’s livestream! You’ll get another email with the details at 7pm Eastern, and we’ll make a copy available here if you can’t make it. We’re all busy these days.

Speaking of being busy… Doing two pods today and trying to catch impeachment in between, I have to observe that the House impeachment managers have continued to be impressive. At one point, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) was quoting Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and I had Cleveland Saint Ignatius Impeachment Inception. I appreciate all the kind notes about the Dr. Brian Skotko video.

One of the beautiful parts about having a free-ranging section in a newsletter is you can write things that will piss people off, challenge, entertain, or inform them. And hearing that among our Bulwark readers, there were people who knew of his work and were huge fans, and from others who found it compelling and useful? That’s my favorite part of all of this. Seeing how small our world is.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (or, as you probably know them, the Jesuits) had a phrase he liked to use in correspondence: ite, inflammate omnia.

Translated: Set the world on fire.

With people like Dr. Brian Skotko, the Jesuits have much to be proud of. #AMDG.

From what I did catch from today, this really hit home.

What the heck happened to Josh Mandel? It wouldn’t be a newsletter if I didn’t talk about St. Louis or Cleveland, so I am going to stick with Cleveland here and just ask aloud: what the heck is Josh Mandel thinking?

The former skyrocketing GOP phenom who disappeared into the ether after failing to unseat Sherrod Brown is coming back out of obscurity to run again. One way to think about Josh is that he’d be like another Josh had he succeeded: Josh Hawley.

Both got elected to statewide office at a young age, said they wouldn’t use the office for higher gain, and then immediately did. Hawley won. Mandel lost. Mandel was trying again in 2018 when he suddenly dropped out, turning the race over to then-Rep. Jim Renacci due to health issues his wife was experiencing.

I was unsettled by what I viewed as a transformation by Josh in 2018 to Trumpian populist conservative from the guy I once worked for. Yes: Josh Mandel was my first boss in politics 22 years ago. I like him a lot, respect the hell out of him. He’s a hard worker, served his country honorably, but I wouldn’t have tried to climb the ladder so quickly as to be (correctly) accused of breaking pretty explicit promises to voters.

When I heard Rob Portman was retiring, I joked that the race was probably between him and Jim Jordan and perennial failed candidate Don Bongino.

I figured maybe Josh saw the 2018 tea leaves and knew that Sherrod Brown was unbeatable and wanted to be a good husband and maybe re-emerge at a different time. (Mandel has since announced a divorce.) It was only a matter of time until Josh, sitting on a pretty big campaign war chest, would come back and run for something, yet again.

But what kind of candidate would he come back as? We know now. Here he is on the 2020 election.

"I think over time, we're going to see studies come out that evidence widespread fraud. You know, what you see with any type of fraud, it usually takes time to investigate it and to dig it out, and it might be months, it might be years, it might be decades. But I think when we look back on this election, we'll see in large part that it was stolen from President Trump."

Mandel has a clear advantage against any GOP primary challenger. And who knows who he’d face on the other side of the aisle. There was a day I was hopeful that my old boss could join the Senate, a place I then worked.

I just don’t recognize him at all with crazy statements like these. It’s not a good indicator of where the future of the GOP is headed in the upcoming midterm elections.

Should Josh Mandel somehow pull it all off, there will have to be a Josh-off in the Senate between who can pander to the MAGA base more before 2024. Because you can bet the farm that a Senator Josh Mandel immediately will be thinking about a 2024 exploratory committee.

What, wait? What is Dave Ramsey talking about?

"I don't believe in a stimulus check," Ramsey told Fox News host Bill Hemmer. "Because if $600 or $1,400 changes your life, you were pretty much screwed already. You've got other issues going on. You have a career problem, you have a debt problem, you have a relationship problem, you have a mental health problem, something else is going on if $600 changes your life."

A once in a century global pandemic, and this is your take?

15 Republicans MIA.

From Les Miserables:

Here they talked of revolution
Here it was they lit the flame
Here they sang about tomorrow
And tomorrow never came

Indeed, there’s a grief that can’t be spoken. For thousands on the Hill, a pain that will go on and on. In the homes of families of police officers or national guardsmen, empty chairs at empty tables. Some permanently empty. Friends dead and gone.

And 30 percent of Republicans are just not there to hear this case? There aren’t that many bathrooms within a 1,000 feet of the Senate chamber. Shameful, and not a good indicator.

Birria madness. The Times has a great feature on the newest craze (which I didn’t realize was a craze), the Birria taco. Regular readers of my newsletter may remember that I tried these from our local restaurant a couple weeks back. But it gets better: Behold this culinary gem. Valentine’s Day dinner covered. (Some recipes.)

This is a real thing.

Paging North Korea…

Framing Britney. At The Washington Post, Sonny Bunch thinks Hulu missed the mark:

We live in an age of Internet-driven obsessions. Whether it’s QAnon’s gamified rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, those whose adventures on Reddit have convinced them that we live in a simulation or Britney Spears superfans thinking she’s sending coded messages via Instagram, many of us are using the Internet to fill that religion-sized hole in our chests.

Remember: the only good internet-driven obsession is birria tacos.

A serious problem:

I live near a similarly important military installation and I know how seriously they take security. In the before times, I had to go through this whole background check just to get the ability to get on-base and take the train to work. After the shootings at Naval Air Station Pensacola, the “FPCON” or Force Protection Condition levels went up. Changes were made.

Joint Base Andrews is only like 7 square miles. MCB Quantico is like 87 square miles of space. Important things happen at both facilities and that somebody was able to apparently pull off something like this is very, very concerning. We live in an ever-changing world and crazy people often short circuit the system.

Then again, so do a few thousand of them ransacking the United States Capitol.

Buckle up.

That’s it for me for today. We’ll see you tonight. Drop me a line if you have any comments, questions, or concerns: If you email me to ask what the link to the livestream is, I will still email it to you, but I will kindly and gently chastise you because I tried very hard to make it obvious. We love you guys. You make our work possible. Thank you.

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