Amerika

Matt Gaetz Scandal

Wingman Joel Greenberg paid dozens of young women — and a 17-year-old

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.

Republican Party

Donald Trump digs in on attacks against Republican leaders

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.

Sex Scandal

Matt Gaetz named as subject of House Ethics Committee probe

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.

SCOTUS

Joe Biden establishes commission to study expanding Supreme Court

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.

Election Fraud

Feds told that Gaetz, lobbyist discussed running sham candidate in state Senate race

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.

Sex Scandal

'Matt Gaetz wants to date your child' billboard appears in Florida

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.”

Sex Scandal

Matt Gaetz reported to have sought a ‘blanket’ pardon from Donald Trump

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.

Debra Haaland

Secretary create unit to investigate missing and murdered Native Americans

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.

Kevin McCarthy

GOP leader says Gaetz would lose committee seat if charges true

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.

Ivanka Trump

Flagship policy program slammed by government auditors

The Government Accountability Office has issued a damning report about Ivanka Trump’s pet project during her time as an adviser to her father, President Donald Trump. As Ivanka Trump traveled the world talking up the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, a whole-of-government women’s empowerment initiative, deep problems were developing in the implementation of the bipartisan Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018.

45office.com

Donald Trump uses new website to rewrite the history of his terrible presidency

Donald Trump has launched a new website celebrating his time as US president that includes a very selective retelling of the history of his time in office. 45office.com is billed as a platform for his supporters to stay in touch and a place where Trump will continue his “America first” campaign. The centerpiece of the site is an 885-word history of the Trump presidency, listing the achievements of what it describes as “the most extraordinary political movement in history”. It says he dethroned political dynasties, defeated “the Washington establishment” and “overcame virtually every entrenched power structure”.

Immigration

Biden administration fires most Homeland Security Advisory Council members

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas fired most members of the department’s independent advisory council on Friday, a purge that included several allies of former president Donald Trump and veteran officials who served under both parties.

Cleta Mitchell

Key Republican lawyer in voter restriction effort advised Trump

A Republican lawyer who advised Donald Trump on his campaign to overturn the 2020 election results is now playing a central role coordinating the Republican effort to tighten voting laws around the country. The moves comes as Trump himself signaled his support for new Republican-pushed legislation in Georgia which critics have slammed as being a major blow to voting rights for communities of color, especially Black voters. Joe Biden called the Georgia laws “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” and “an atrocity”.

Voter Suppression

Biden urges to pass election reform in wake of Georgia voting restrictions

President Joe Biden slammed Georgia's new voting restrictions, calling them 21st-century “Jim Crow” and urging Congress to pass election reform bills. “This law, like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” Biden said in a statement Friday afternoon. “This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end. We have a moral and Constitutional obligation to act.” Biden also urged Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

White House

Biden’s first press conference tackles filibuster, immigration, COVID-19

President Biden said the U.S. might not meet a May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, signaled support for changes to the legislative filibuster and said his administration would double its goal for the number of Covid-19 shots administered in his first 100 days. In a wide-ranging hourlong press conference Thursday, his first since taking office, Mr. Biden said he didn’t expect U.S. troops would still be in Afghanistan in 2022, but he was equivocal about the timeline for a withdrawal.

Gavin Newsom

California governor picks Rob Bonta as first Filipino attorney general

California’s governor has nominated a state assemblyman known for pushing criminal justice reform to be the state’s next attorney general. Rob Bonta, a Democrat, would replace Xavier Becerra, who was confirmed last week as Joe Biden’s health and human services secretary. Pending likely confirmation by the state’s Democratic legislature, Bonta would hold the job through 2022, when he would have to run for election.

Gavin Newsom

Adam Schiff will not become California’s next attorney general

Gov. Gavin Newsom has decided against appointing the Los Angeles area congressman to lead the state’s law enforcement agency, a post recently vacated by Xavier Becerra when he was confirmed to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. It is not yet known whom Newsom has chosen for the AG role, though a formal announcement is expected soon.

Donald Trump

Lawyer says ‘no reasonable person’ would believe her election lies

A key member of the legal team that sought to steal the 2020 election for Donald Trump is defending herself against a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit by arguing that “no reasonable person” could have mistaken her wild claims about election fraud last November as statements of fact.

Boulder Mass Shooting

Joe Biden urges Congress to pass assault weapon ban

President Biden on Tuesday called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to close loopholes in the background check system after a gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo. “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said in remarks at the White House following Monday’s shooting. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. … We should do it again.”

Ted Cruz

'I don't apologize for thoughts or prayers' for shooting victims

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Cruz talked about the ways the United States could prevent shootings like the ones seen in Atlanta and Boulder, Colo., that occurred almost one week apart. The Texas senator said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has a "long" and "indefensible" practice of not "prosecuting felons and fugitives" who try to illegally purchase firearms.

Donald Trump

Ending the filibuster would be 'catastrophic' for Republican Party

Former President Trump is warning Republicans that any effort to abolish the Senate filibuster would cause irreparable damage to the party. During an interview on the podcast “The Truth with Lisa Boothe," Trump discussed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his attempts to fight off talk from progressives to eliminate the longstanding filibuster rule.

Georgia

Trump looks to take down Raffensperger

Former President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed Rep. Jody Hice in a campaign to unseat Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in next year’s Republican primary, saying that "unlike" the incumbent, "Jody leads out front with integrity."

Shortnews

Dan Crenshaw

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.”

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Dan Crenshaw

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.”

“Anyone who knows the history of my injuries knows that I don’t have a ‘good eye,’ but half a good eye,” Crenshaw said in a statement. “It was always a possibility that the effects of the damage to my retina would resurface, and it appears that is exactly what has happened.”

Crenshaw said he’ll be resting face-down for about a week, unable to see anything, after getting a “gas bubble” put in place to serve as a “bandage” for the retina in emergency surgery Friday at a VA clinic in Houston.

Crenshaw won’t be doing any interviews or posting on social media, he said, save for health updates. His offices will still be working.

“I have gotten through worse before, and I will get through this,” Crenshaw added.

Hillary Clinton

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.

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Hillary Clinton

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.

Judicial Watch had sought to depose Clinton and aide Cheryl Mills over Clinton’s use of a personal email server in connection to the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Clinton’s emails were subject to numerous investigations including by the FBI, which declined to charge her with violating federal records-keeping requirements or other crimes.

The issue of Clinton’s emails figured as a major political issue in her unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign against former President Trump.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued a statement in response to the court's move.

"Hillary Clinton ignored the law but received special protection from both the courts and law enforcement," he said. "For countless Americans, this double standard of justice has destroyed confidence in the fair administration of justice."

Donald Trump

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.

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Donald Trump

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.

Trump acknowledged that those who stormed the Capitol “went in and they shouldn’t have done it”. But he added: “Some of them went in and they’re, they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in and they walked out.”

More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot. Authorities have said they believe at least 100 more could face charges.

The attack followed a fiery Trump rally outside the White House in which he urged a group of his supporters to “fight like hell” for him at the Capitol. A week later, the House of Representatives impeached Trump for a second time, but the Senate eventually acquitted him of inciting the attack.

During the interview on Fox News, Trump also criticised Dr Anthony Fauci, the US infectious disease expert. “I frankly didn’t listen to him too much,” he said.

Fauci was one of Trump’s key advisers at the start of the pandemic, but later fell out with the former president over the handling of the crisis. In January Fauci described the “liberating feeling” of being able to speak scientific truth about the coronavirus without fear of “repercussions” from Trump.

Tom Reed

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”.

Intelligence Report

Russia targeted Trump allies to hurt Biden in 2020 election, US officials say

Russia tried to influence the 2020 US presidential election by proliferating “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” largely against Joe Biden and through allies of Donald Trump, US intelligence officials said on Tuesday. The assessment was contained in a 15-page report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It underscored allegations that Trump’s allies played into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims against Biden by Ukrainian figures with links to Russia. In a statement, the Democratic House intelligence chair, Adam Schiff, said: “Through proxies, Russia ran a successful intelligence operation that penetrated [Trump’s] inner circle.