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Anatomy of a Stunt: Sen. Liz Warren Launches Book Hours Before Being Tossed from Senate Floor

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In an extraordinary coincidence, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) announced the release of her new book This Fight Is Our Fight Tuesday, the same day she gave the remarks about now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions which led the presiding officer of the senate to rule her out of order and senators to vote to restrict her speaking privileges in the Sessions debate.

The hardcover of the book and its Kindle version, along woth two versions of her previous book A Fighting Chance, now hold the top four slots in Amazon’s Congressional Bestsellers List.

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Timeline of Feb. 7 events:

3:09 p.m.: Warren’s publisher Henry Holt retweeted out the news about the book and added that it would release the book April 18.

4:40 p.m.: Warren posted about the book on her campaign’s Facebook page:

Washington works great for the rich and the powerful, but it’s not working for everyone else. And it’s not because of some inevitable force of nature, like gravity – it’s because of decades of deliberate policy choices to help those at the top. Our middle class is on the ropes, and Donald Trump is looking to deliver the knockout punch. At this moment in history, it’s time to fight back. That’s why I’m glad to announce that my 11th book, This Fight is Our Fight, will be out in April.

6:57 p.m.: Warren began her remarks regarding Jeff Sessions, then a Republican senator from Alabama, and his pending confirmation to lead the Department of Justice. Roughly 15 minutes into her speech, presiding officer Sen. Steven Daines (R.-Mont.) warned Warren that when she quoted Sen. Edward Kennedy saying in 1986 that Sessions was a “disgrace to the Justice Department,” she was in violation of Senate Rule XIX. The rule forbids senators demeaning the character of fellow senators, regardless of whether they are speaking in their voice or quoting someone else.

After Daines warned Warren about her referring to Sessions as a disgrace, the Massachusetts senator began to read from a nine-page letter from Coretta Scott King. In the 1986 letter, King wrote that Sessions used his power as a federal prosecutor to keep black citizens from voting.

7:46 p.m.: Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) made a point of order that Warren had violated Rule XIX, which Daines agreed to, but Warren appealed the ruling to the whole Senate.

7:47 p.m.: Daines ordered Warren to take her seat.

8:01 p.m.: McConnell called senators to the floor.

8:42 p.m.: Senators voted to sustain the ruling of the chair that Warren violated Rule XIX.

9:32 p.m.: Senators voted to restrict Warren from rejoining the debate over the Sessions confirmation.

9:50 p.m.: Warren called into MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.

10:52 p.m.: On her official Senate Facebook page, Warren posted: “During the debate on whether to make Jeff Sessions the next Attorney General, I tried to read a letter from Coretta Scott King on the floor of the Senate. The letter, from 30 years ago, urged the Senate to reject the nomination of Jeff Sessions to a federal judgeship. The Republicans took away my right to read this letter on the floor – so I’m right outside, reading it now.” Then, she read the letter on Facebook Live.

11:06 p.m.: Elizabeth for Massachusetts sent out a fundraising email with her version of what happened on the Senate floor and a text of the King letter.

11:19 p.m.: Warren called into CNN Tonight host Don Lemon.

The next day, Henry Holt retweeted its own tweet that kicked off the January launch of its own Coretta Scott King book, My Life, My Love, My Legacy, which featured the very same letter Warren read from the Senate floor.

Seems King and Warren share a publisher; Henry Holt is an imprint of MacMillan, King’s publisher.

Then, in case somebody missed the point, Henry Holt retweeted a post from the Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe, Arizona:

 


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