Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
Donald Trump has appeared to drop his strongest hint yet at another presidential run in 2024, responding to news of his two-year ban from Facebook on Friday by saying he would not invite Mark Zuckerberg to dinner “next time I’m in the White House”.
Rep. Liz Cheney on Monday escalated her feud with former President Donald Trump and his supporters in Congress, issuing a less-than-subtle swipe at the former president’s latest attempt to claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.
President Biden called for a broad reshaping of American society Wednesday night, using his first formal address to Congress to urge a vast expansion of safety net and educational programs while promising to harness the government to create jobs and opportunity for those often left behind. On Wednesday evening, Mr. Biden returned to Capitol Hill, where he served for more than three decades as a senator, seeking greater spending to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure by imposing new taxes on businesses and corporations.
John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, is facing calls for his resignation from Republican lawmakers and pundits for reportedly discussing Israeli military operations with Iran’s foreign minister when he served as then-President Obama’s secretary of State.
A policy platform for the group, which calls itself the America First Caucus, declares that "a certain intellectual boldness is needed" in order to "follow in President Trump’s footsteps, and potentially step on some toes and sacrifice sacred cows for the good of the American nation." The seven-page document, first obtained by Punchbowl News, is explicit in its nativist rhetoric and describes American culture as dominated by "Anglo-Saxon" and European influences.
Right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, best-known for his undercover “sting” operations and deceptively edited videos, was permanently suspended from Twitter on Thursday for what the social-media site said were violations of the its policy on manipulation and spam.
As new details emerge about Rep. Matt Gaetz’s role in an alleged sex ring, The Daily Beast has obtained several documents showing that the suspected ringleader of the group, Joel Greenberg, made more than 150 Venmo payments to dozens of young women, and a girl who was 17 at the time. The payment from Greenberg, an accused sex trafficker, to the 17-year-old took place in June 2017. It was for $300 for “Food.” Greenberg’s relationship with Gaetz, and the money Greenberg paid to women, is a focal point for the Justice Department investigation into Gaetz.
Former President Trump is showing no signs of wanting to unify the GOP even as party leaders scramble to smooth out divisions that they fear will be damaging in the 2022 midterm elections. In a Saturday night speech to attendees at a donor retreat in Florida, Trump railed against his perceived enemies in both parties and offered little, if any, reassurance that he would try to rally together a GOP riddled with internal divisions and desperate to regain governing power in Washington.
The chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League told Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch on Monday an award it gave his father a decade ago “does not absolve you, him, the network, or its board from the moral failure of not taking action” against the Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Jonathan Greenblatt has called for Carlson to be fired for advocating “white replacement” theory, a racist trope which holds that the Democratic party favors unlimited immigration in order to boost its vote.
Donald Trump and his Republican faithful faced ridicule on Monday after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) posted an image of himself presenting the former president with the so-called “Champion for Freedom” award over the weekend. “President Trump fought for American workers, secured the border, and protected our constitutional rights,” Scott tweeted, alongside the image of himself with Trump holding a ceremonial dish.
The Biden administration has struck an agreement with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras to temporarily increase border security in an effort to stop migrants from reaching the US border. The agreement comes as the US saw a record number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the border in March, and the largest number of Border Patrol encounters overall with migrants on the southern border – just under 170,000 – since March 2001.
Several Republican leaders on Sunday expressed concern at incendiary comments made by former President Donald Trump during a speech Saturday night at a Republican National Committee donor retreat. “Anything that's divisive is a concern and is not helpful for us fighting the battles in Washington and at the state level,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “In some ways, it's not a big deal, what he said, but, at the same time, whenever it draws attention, we don't need that. We need unity.”
Donald Trump devoted part of a speech to Republican donors on Saturday night to insulting the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell. According to multiple reports of the $400,000-a-ticket, closed-press event, the former president called the Kentucky senator “a dumb son of a bitch”. Trump also said Mike Pence, his vice-president, should have had the “courage” to object to the certification of electoral college results at the US Capitol on 6 January.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday bashed former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for what he called “drunken, bloviated scorn” in the latest tit for tat between the two GOP figures. Cruz in a tweet responded to a clip from a “CBS Sunday Morning” interview scheduled to air this weekend in which Boehner said of Cruz, “I don’t beat anybody up, it’s not really my style, except for that jerk.”
The House Ethics Committee said it has begun an investigation into allegations involving Rep. Matt Gaetz (R., Fla.), citing a host of alleged abuses including sexual misconduct, the sharing of inappropriate images or videos on the House floor and the improper conversion of campaign funds to personal use.
President Biden signed an executive order Friday establishing a commission to study whether to add seats to the Supreme Court and other reform proposals, the White House announced, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail. The commission will be chaired by former White House counsel Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodriguez, a Yale law school professor and former deputy assistant attorney general, and largely consists of academics and former officials from across the political spectrum.
Federal investigators were told that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) discussed running a sham candidate in the 2020 state Senate race with a lobbyist, two people familiar with the matter told The New York Times. The Times reported that the Florida Republican discussed the possibility of running a sham candidate with lobbyist Christ Dorworth to help Jason Brodeur, an associate of Gaetz’s, win an open seat in the Florida state Senate.
A billboard has appeared in Florida taking aim at the federal sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). The ads were paid for by the liberal Mad Dog PAC. Claude Taylor, former staffer in former President Clinton’s White House who chairs the PAC, shared a video of the billboard with the caption “Hello, @mattgaetz, any thoughts on our billboard? Reporters are trying to reach to you for your comments.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz allegedly sought a “blanket” presidential pardon from Donald Trump in the closing weeks of his administration — a request which was ultimately not fulfilled, according to news reports. The request for a blanket preemptive pardon for the Florida Republican and unidentified congressional allies, first reported on Tuesday night by The New York Times, came as the Justice Department was opening an investigation into whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel across state lines.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the U.S.’ first Indigenous cabinet secretary, will create a unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans, the department announced Thursday evening. There are some 1,500 American Indian and Alaska natives in the National Crime Information Center’s database of missing persons, while about 2,700 murders and nonnegligent homicides have been reported to the federal Uniform Crime Reporting program.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that GOP leaders will remove Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) from his committee assignments if he's found to be guilty of sex trafficking, a case currently under investigation by the Justice Department. But McCarthy suggested Gaetz would remain on those panels, which include the powerful Judiciary Committee, during the course of the DOJ's investigation.
Jim Jordan told to ‘shut your mouth’ after ranting endlessly
During a meeting of the House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee on Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) had to intervene in a shouting match between Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Dr. Anthony Fauci by telling Jordan to “shut your mouth.” Jordan ranted at Fauci for several minutes, demanding the doc provide definite answers on when the pandemic will end, when public health mandates will be lifted, and when Americans will have their “liberties” back.
Texas Republican will be temporarily blind
Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be "effectively blind" for about a month and “off the grid” for the coming weeks after emergency eye surgery, the Texas Republican announced Saturday. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, lost an eye in an IED blast in Afghanistan, which also caused “extensive damage” to his other retina. Within the past few days, Crenshaw said he had begun to experience “dark, blurry spots” that were affecting his sight, after which he went Thursday to an ophthalmologist, where he learned that his retina was in the process of detaching. Crenshaw said the news was “terrifying” and the prognosis “very bad.”
Supreme Court rebuffs bid for deposition about emails
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a bid by a right-wing government watchdog group to require former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to face a deposition over her use of personal email while she served as secretary of State. In an unsigned order issued without comment, the justices declined an appeal from Judicial Watch that followed a ruling last August by a federal appeals court panel which said Clinton could not be compelled to sit for a deposition.
Capitol rioters posed 'zero threat'
Donald Trump has defended some of his supporters who rioted at the US Capitol on 6 January, saying they posed “zero threat” to the lawmakers who had assembled there to certify the electoral college vote that confirmed Joe Biden’s election victory. Trump complained to Fox News’s Laura Ingraham that law enforcement was “persecuting” the Capitol rioters, while “nothing happens” to leftwing protesters. Five people, including a police officer, died in the riot.
New York Republican accused of sexual misconduct won’t seek re-election
Tom Reed, a Republican congressman from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced he will not run for re-election next year. Reed, 49, said the incident involving Nicolette Davis occurred “at a time in my life in which I was struggling”. He said he entered treatment that year as he was “powerless over alcohol”. Reed apologized to his wife and children and to Davis and said he planned “to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions”.