Here’s a basic fact: The Democratic Party’s number-one priority is to pass a voting “reform” bill that would federalize elections under rules favorable to Democratic candidates. It’s more important than any other part of the party agenda. But Democrats on Capitol Hill don’t have the votes to pass the far-reaching voting bill known as S.1. That’s where Attorney General Merrick Garland comes in. Not only is the AG pushing for the Democrats’ bill, he is pledging that the Justice Department will push some of the partisan agenda that Democrats can’t get through Congress. Remember all those people who said the Trump administration had politicized the Justice Department? They said it would stop under a Democratic president. It hasn’t.

When President Biden announced a bipartisan deal to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on infrastructure — the real kind, like roads and bridges and waterways — he stressed that it is extremely important that he and lawmakers be able to trust each other. Each must be as good as his or her word, Biden said. And then, within hours, Biden moved the goalposts on the deal, leaving Republicans sputtering in frustration and bipartisanship in the rear-view mirror. Plus, another topic: Why are Democrats so unenthusiastic about investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic? Especially when they couldn’t get enough of investigating allegations of Trump-Russia “collusion” from 2017 to 2019? And now, can Republicans investigate on their own?

In Washington, Democrats are trying to pass the most ambitious agenda since the Great Society without having won a majority of seats in the U.S. Senate. How is that supposed to work? (Answer: It won’t.) There are increasing signs that party leaders are deeply out of touch not just with the public as a whole but specifically with their own voters. The latest poll on voter ID, showing 80 percent of all Americans supporting it, illustrates just how out of touch many party leaders are. And a new report from a group of Democratic insiders — which tries to answer the question of why the party didn’t do better in House and Senate races in 2020 — concludes that party officials, cozy in their coastal enclaves, had no idea of the concerns of some of their Democratic voters. And therein lies an opportunity for Republicans.

Yes, 35 House Republicans voted to create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. And yes, some GOP senators also support the proposal. But the two top Republican leaders — Kevin McCarthy in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate — are solidly opposed. They have their reasons. Like: What about the “sprawling” Capitol riot investigation in the Justice Department, “one of the largest in American history”? That’s not nothing. And what about the investigation you probably haven’t heard of in the Senate? And what about the second Trump impeachment? Remember that? There are multiple Capitol riot investigations going on as we speak. And finally, if Democrats want another, why don’t they just do it themselves? Nothing is stopping them from starting right now. A no chit-chat discussion.

Talk to House Republicans, and they’ll tell you this about Liz Cheney: Her problem is not that she voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Her problem is that she can’t move on from voting to impeach Trump. At a time when House GOP leaders feel it is critical to oppose the Biden-Pelosi agenda — trillions in unnecessary new spending — Cheney seems determined to replay the events of January and feed the media’s “GOP civil war” narrative. And now House Republicans have had enough. They point to other GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach and have faced no repercussions from their party’s leadership. Cheney has created her own problems for herself, they say. And she might not be long for the leadership team.

Remember the shooting at the House Republican baseball practice just outside of Washington? A zealous Bernie Sanders supporter and Trump hater named James Hodgkinson, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, attacked a group of GOP lawmakers as they practiced for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. Representative Steve Scalise was gravely wounded. A lobbyist was seriously hurt, and two others were wounded, as well. The shooter was specifically seeking to attack Republicans. He had in his pocket a list of GOP lawmakers he wanted to attack. And he asked before opening fire whether the group on the field was Republican or Democrat. It was an absolutely clear case of politically motivated domestic terrorism. And yet it has just been revealed that the FBI did not label it domestic terrorism. Instead, the bureau maintained that Hodgkinson was simply trying to commit “suicide by cop.” The FBI’s conclusion left Republicans stunned, and now they’re seeking answers.

Anyone paying attention to the news knows the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border is terrible. Anyone who actually visits the border discovers it is worse than that. This is a report on a recent trip to the border in Mission, Texas, where U.S. officials are scrambling to handle thousands of migrants who are crossing the border illegally. The Biden administration’s response to the crisis — which it created — is entirely improvised. Officials are not trying to stop would-be migrants from crossing illegally into the U.S. Instead, they are just trying to accommodate them until they can be sent to cities and towns across the country. And even at that job, they are overwhelmed. A first-person look, plus the reactions of U.S. lawmakers — all Republicans — who care enough about the issue to visit the border.

When the CEO of Delta Airlines took a stand against the new Georgia voting law — declaring it “unacceptable” — a chorus of Americans had the following reaction: Who asked him? Why should an airline executive get involved in electoral politics? Maybe he should concentrate on…flying? Now, Delta CEO Ed Bastian is taking it from all sides for bowing to the woke mob. We’ll look at how one bad decision led to another, and what corporations should do and not do in the woke world. Plus, a look at the Democrats’ huge and unconstitutional voting bill, H.R. 1, with Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

There’s a lot to talk about — about the press. First, the White House press corps, or at least a selected group of ten reporters, delivered an embarrassing performance at President Biden’s first formal news conference. There were baffling omissions, neglected follow-ups, and at least one first-class attempt at presidential flattery. All in all, not a good day. Then there is an extremely important libel case by a conservative group against the New York Times — extremely important because a judge has allowed it to go forward. And in its defense, the Times delivers another embarrassing performance, telling the judge that no reader would assume that parts of its news stories were actual facts! All in all, a mess in the press.

A United States senator vowing to oppose all nominees of a particular race? Could that happen in 2021? The answer is yes. It happened this week, in fact, when Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth declared she would not support any white nominees for any administration positions. (The only exceptions, Duckworth said, would be for white nominees who are also lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer.) Duckworth said she would not stop until the Biden administration picked more Asian-American and Pacific Islanders for cabinet-level positions. After some sweet talk from the White House, Duckworth gave in, but the episode offered a troubling preview of the future of identity politics.

All Americans hope the coronavirus pandemic ends and life can return to normal. But Democrats in Congress are trying to make what they call ‘COVID relief’ permanent. Their ‘COVID relief’ is in fact a series of long-held Democratic policy goals that have nothing to do with the virus, but they want to use the pandemic to make permanent changes in the nation’s welfare system and beyond. Today, a discussion of their not-so-secret ambitions, plus an update on the Lincoln Project. Remember when their ads attacking Trump brought them loving media coverage? Those days are gone.

Much of the daily conversation on social media is consumed by ephemera. Is political Twitter being mean to Taylor Lorenz? Does Pepe Le Pew promote rape culture? And what about Harry and Meghan? It’s all fine to think about, as long as you don’t devote too much mental bandwidth to it and don’t forget that there are some enormous things happening in our politics right now. The fact is, the Biden administration is intent on making far-reaching changes to American life. In this podcast, a discussion of how two Biden initiatives — so-called COVID relief and immigration — can combine to bring enormous changes to our lives and politics.

It’s hard to exaggerate the anger, criticism, and vitriol directed toward then-President Trump last year for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. If for some reason you need a reminder, just search for “Trump” and “blood on his hands.” But now something interesting is happening. In the last few days, among some commentators following the COVID crisis, we’re seeing the beginning of a sense of perspective about the way the Trump administration battled the virus. With a new president, it is now OK to say that the United States has, on balance, handled the pandemic as well or better than many of the world’s most advanced countries. Perhaps now, Americans can get a more evenhanded picture of what happened.

FBI Director Christopher Wray was supposed to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the state of the January 6 Capitol riot investigation. He gave the media the soundbite it wanted, but failed or refused to answer some of the senators’ basic questions about the riot. And it wasn’t a partisan thing. Some Republican members were unhappy, but Wray got the full angry treatment not from a Republican but from Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. The bottom line is: The Senate is increasingly frustrated with the FBI’s stonewall of Congress. (It started long, long before the Capitol riot investigation.) Meanwhile, an update on the Biden administration’s stance on the growing immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. A hint — it is increasingly untethered to reality.

The Senate GOP leader came to a Fox News interview prepared to talk about the current president equally prepared to not talk about the former president. But Mitch McConnell ended up making news about Donald Trump anyway. What is the thinking behind McConnell’s statement — less than two weeks after his scathing criticism of Trump — that he would support the former president if he is the Republican Party nominee in 2024? It’s a safe bet McConnell doesn’t believe there is a way in the world Trump will be the Republican Party nominee in 2024. All that, plus McConnell on President Biden’s move to “the progressive route.”

It’s one of the most basic questions of the Capitol riot investigation: What was the rioters’ plan? What did they think was going to happen when they stormed the Capitol on January 6, as Congress certified the results of the Electoral College? There are lots of different answers — remember, thousands of people were there and never went near the Capitol at all — but one revealing look is contained in the Justice Department’s case against members of the Oath Keepers militia. It is an odd, hard to believe story, showing people living in a kind of fantasy world in which they could take the Capitol — while carefully obeying Washington DC’s strict gun control laws and carrying no firearms — and then change the course of U.S. history, and then head home. In this episode, a look inside their very strange plan for January 6.

As expected, Democrats won the vote on constitutionality that began the second impeachment trial of former President Trump. Six Republicans went along with unanimous Democrats in voting that the trial is in fact constitutional. So now it is on to the substance of the case. House Democratic impeachment managers will attempt to prove that then-President Trump incited a crowd to insurrection on January 6, when pro-Trump rioters ransacked the Capitol. Republican senators will have to address that question. What will they say?

The impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump is beginning with a deep divide among senators. Nearly all Republicans believe it is unconstitutional to try an ex-president. All Democrats disagree. Democrats point to a majority of law professors who agree with them — no surprise there — while some conservative scholars and jurists support the Republican position that a Senate trial is not permitted by the Constitution. The bottom line: The conservatives are right. Here are five reasons to support their position, plus a look at the strongest argument on the other side.

New White House press secretary Jen Psaki promised to bring “truth and transparency back to the briefing room.” President Biden promised to be guided by science in his decisions regarding the COVID pandemic. Now both of those vows are being put to the test on the question of reopening schools.

This week, Biden’s new CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, publicly said that 1) schools can reopen safely, and 2) there’s no need for teachers to be vaccinated before reopening. Problem is, that’s not what teachers unions want. So what should the White House do when the science says one thing and a key Democratic constituency says another? Psaki twisted herself into a rhetorical pretzel to come up with an answer, and we discuss.

There were roughly 25,000 National Guard members in Washington for the inauguration of President Joe Biden. The deployment was in large part an overreaction to the Capitol riot of January 6. But now, 5,000 are still here. The inauguration was two weeks ago, it went off without incident, and there is no need for troops in Washington. Yet here they are — along with a tall, razor-wired-topped fence encircling a huge area around the Capitol. Today: Why is there a standing army in Washington? Plus, an update on the COVID relief fight, with a look at just how weak President Biden is, despite his party’s control of the White House, House, and Senate.