By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Indianapolis

1. Rokita's 'absurd' lawsuit

We have not seen a politician as overtly ambitious as Attorney General Todd Rokita has shown himself to be in a generation. After two terms as secretary of state, four terms in the U.S. House, he lost an Indiana Republican Central Committee caucus vote for the 2016 gubernatorial nomination (vacated by Gov. Mike Pence), then finished second in the 2018 U.S. Senate primary to Mike Braun. In 2020, he defeated the embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill and after winning the office last November, has systemically launched a 2024 gubernatorial campaign, using every mechanism his office and standing with the party has had to offer.

But it has not been an adroitly played hand. After being sworn in as AG, he had to quit a private sector consulting gig due to conflict of interest speculation. He has embraced “critical race theory” in an effort to woo Trump voters. He signed on to an amicus brief against Obamacare, only to have the U.S. Supreme Court uphold the law by a 7-2 vote. And Rokita has challenged Gov. Eric Holcomb by attempting to deny him external legal representation in a lawsuit against legislative leaders over the pursuit of public health emergency mandates. On Tuesday, Rokita wasn’t just dealt a courtroom defeat; he was bitchslapped.

Marion County Judge Patrick Dietrick: "In light of Governor Holcomb’s duty to protect the Indiana Constitution, and the inherent powers vested in him to do so ... Governor Holcomb is both authorized, and required, to take actions necessary to protect the Indiana Constitution.” Because his veto was overridden, this lawsuit is the only means available for the Governor to do so. “This is an absurd result that could not have been intended by either the drafters of Indiana’s Constitution or the General Assembly,” Dietrick said, adding that Rokita's efforts to insert himself in this case may have violated the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys, which bar lawyers from representing opposing parties in the same lawsuit, resulting in “an irreconcilable conflict of interest. The court takes no position on whether Attorney General Rokita's conflict requires him to completely recuse himself and his office from continuing to represent the defendants in this case."

“The Attorney General’s Office has fought for the liberties of the people of Indiana for decades, using the very same precedents this court has now upended,” Rokita reacted. “The constitution belongs not to the governor, the legislature, or the attorney general, but to the people of Indiana. If left unchallenged, the court’s order in this case threatens to tip the balance of powers and undermine the individual liberties of the citizens of this state. As such, we have filed an appeal in the interest of protecting Hoosiers.”

2. All eyes on Biden after Kaseya hack

President Biden told President Putin last month that he will not tolerate further ransomware attacks emanating from Russia. Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Kaseya ransomware attack and a $70 million bitcoin ransom has all eyes on how Biden will respond. "It appears to have caused minimal damage to U.S. businesses but we're still gathering information to the full extent of the attack," Biden told reporters Tuesday, while promising to "have more to say about this in the next several days." Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “If the Russian government cannot or will not take action against criminal actors residing in Russia, we will take action or reserve the right to take action on our own.” 

3. Banks, Walorski on Jan. 6 committee?


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is finalizing a House GOP roster for a Democratic-led investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. CNN reported that McCarthy rejected the idea of a boycott on adding Republicans to the panel on the theory that it's better to join in and play an active defense. U.S. Reps. Jim Banks and Jackie Walorski are said to be on McCarthy's list.

4. Trump & Hitler

The Guardian obtained a copy of the forthcoming book, "Frankly, We Did Win This Election," by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender, which includes an exchange between Chief of Staff John Kelly and President Trump. Bender reported Kelly attempted to do a crash course in how U.S. alliances had evolved since World War I, through World War II and the Cold War. Bender writes that Kelly did his best to overcome Trump’s “stunning disregard for history." After reviewing Nazi Germany, Trump said, "Well, Hitler did a lot of good things." Kelly told Trump that even if his claim about the German economy under the Nazis after 1933 were true, “You cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.”

Thanks for reading, folks. It's The Atomic!