Special

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.

Minneapolis

Officer Kimberly Potter who fatally shot Daunte Wright charged with manslaughter

Former police officer Kimberly Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday after fatally shooting the 20-year-old Black motorist Daunte Wright, officials said. The white former suburban Minneapolis police officer was arrested earlier in the day in relation to the shooting dead of Wright during a traffic stop on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. The killing of Wright ignited days of unrest and clashes between protesters and police. The charge against Potter was filed on Wednesday, three days after Wright was killed.

The far right conspiracy

Facebook knew of Honduran president’s manipulation campaign – and let it go

Facebook allowed the president of Honduras to artificially inflate the appearance of popularity on his posts for nearly a year after the company was first alerted to the activity. The astroturfing – the digital equivalent of a bussed-in crowd – was just one facet of a broader online disinformation effort that the administration has used to attack critics and undermine social movements, Honduran activists and scholars say. Facebook posts by Juan Orlando Hernández, an authoritarian rightwinger whose 2017 re-election is widely viewed as fraudulent.

Champion for Freedom

Republicans ridiculed for gifting Trump ‘Made Up’ tiny bowl award

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.

Bitcoin

Value of cryptocurrency climbs 5% to record high of $63,000

The value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has surged to a record high, reaching $63,000. The cryptocurrency, which has risen in value by 450% in the last six months, continued to climb by a further 5% during trading on Tuesday. Bitcoin’s price has more than doubled since the start of 2021. The digital currency has been on a rollercoaster ride in the last year, and was trading at about only $7,000 in April 2020.

Border Crisis

Biden strikes international deal in bid to stop migrants reaching US

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.

George Floyd trial

Brother Philonise breaks down on the stand: he ‘was the leader in our house’

George Floyd’s younger brother broke down in tears on the stand Monday as he recalled seeing his sibling for the last time at their mother’s funeral in 2018. “George just sat there at the casket... He would just say ‘mama, mama,’ over and over again,” Philonise Floyd, 39, told jurors in Hennepin County court on Monday. “And I didn’t know what to tell him, because I was in pain, too. We all were hurting. And he was just kissing her, and just kissing her. He didn’t want to leave the casket.” Two years later, his older brother died.

Caron Nazario

Officer who handcuffed and pepper-sprayed black army lieutenant is fired

When a patrol car activated its siren and emergency lights behind Caron Nazario in December, the Army lieutenant says he was reluctant to immediately pull over. That stretch of road, just west of Norfolk, Va., was dark, and there didn't seem to be anywhere to stop safely.

Black Lives Matter

Daunte Wright shot dead by cops outside Minneapolis during a traffic stop

The officer who killed a young Black man during a traffic stop outside Minneapolis on Sunday accidentally fired her gun instead of a Taser during the arrest, the Brooklyn Center police chief said Monday afternoon. “This was an accidental discharge that resulted in the tragic death of Mr. [Daunte] Wright,” Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said during a Monday press conference where body-camera footage of the shooting was released. He noted that the “very senior officer” involved shouted “Taser, Taser!” during the arrest, apparently unaware that she’d pulled out her handgun.

Republican Party

Republicans not pleased with Trump's verbal attacks in Mar-a-Lago speech

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.”

The far right conspiracy

Tommy Robinson asked wealthy US backers to help him claim asylum

The anti-immigration activist Tommy Robinson asked wealthy American backers to help him claim asylum in the US, the Guardian has learned, while his team approached the Republican senator Ted Cruz’s office about securing a visa. Court documents released in the US show the English Defence League founder discussed moving his family to Texas in 2019, where he would earn money by speaking at venues “including evangelical churches”.

The Rock for president?

Dwayne Johnson: I’ll run if the people want it

The professional wrestler turned star actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson said on Monday that he would run for US president if he felt he had enough support from Americans. Johnson, 48, one of the highest-paid and most popular actors in the United States, has been flirting with a possible White House bid for several years.

John Boehner

'Unemployed' Trump 'has nothing else to do' but 'cause trouble'

Former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday said the "unemployed" former President Trump has nothing better to do than stir up trouble following his departure from Washington. "Here's a guy who's unemployed, has nothing else to do but cause trouble. And clearly, it's obvious to me that he's not going away," Boehner said on "The View."

Federico Klein

Judge releases Trump appointee charged in Capitol riot

A federal judge has granted pretrial release to the only Trump administration appointee known to have been charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol during the certification of electoral votes on Jan. 6. U.S. District Court Judge John Bates said he was disturbed by the disloyalty to the country that the former State Department official, Federico Klein, 42, displayed by battling with police as the crowd sought to force its way inside, but the judge said that betrayal did not establish that it was too risky to let Klein out of jail as he awaits trial.

Golf Masters Augusta

Hideki Matsuyama wins with a groundbreaking performance

Leading the final round from start to finish, Hideki Matsuyama of Japan won the 85th Masters on Sunday to become the tournament’s first Asian-born champion and the first Japanese man to win a major golf championship. Matsuyama began the fourth round with a four-stroke advantage and shot a one-over-par 73 on Sunday to finish the tournament at 10 under par, one stroke ahead of the runner-up, Will Zalatoris, a 24-year-old making his Masters debut.

"On the House"

John Boehner finally calls it as he sees it

Ted Cruz is a “reckless asshole” and Michele Bachmann a “lunatic.” Conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are residents of “Looneyville.” And Donald Trump, pushing a “bullshit” lie that the election was stolen, incited the “bloody insurrection” on Jan. 6 “for nothing more than selfish reasons.”

Voter Suppression

CEOs plan new push on voting legislation

Dozens of chief executives and other senior leaders gathered on Zoom this weekend to plot what several said big businesses should do next about new voting laws under way in Texas and other states.

Fox News

Mike Lindell says he hired investigators to find out why network won’t book him

Mike Lindell, the formerly ubiquitous purveyor of both Donald Trump’s election lies and his own range of My Pillow bedding accoutrements, says he has hired private investigators to find out why he appears to have fallen out of favor with Fox News.

‘Dumb son of a bitch’

Trump attacks McConnell in Republican donors speech in Mar-a-Lago

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.

Facebook

Trump faces a narrow path to victory against suspension

If former President Donald Trump manages to get back on Facebook and Instagram this month, his win will rest on a series of close calls. Facebook’s oversight board is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether to uphold or overturn Trump’s indefinite suspension from the platforms, which the company imposed after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots over fears he might incite further violence. So far, the panel of scholars, lawyers and other outside experts has bucked Facebook’s judgment in five of the six decisions it has rendered.

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.”

Hunter Biden

The scandal that wasn’t: Republicans deflated as nation shrugs at revelations

Where’s Hunter?
The rhetorical question about Joe Biden’s troubled son was posed time and again by Donald Trump during last year’s US presidential election but never caught fire in the way “Lock her up!” did against Hillary Clinton. Still, when it emerged that Hunter would publish a memoir about his struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse, and give TV interviews to promote it, some foresaw a ticking time bomb under the first 100 days of the Biden administration. It has not turned out that way.

Shortnews

Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

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Fox & Friends

Harry and Meghan cause for Prince Philip's death

Minutes after the British royal family announced that Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, had died at the age of 99, the sleuths at Fox & Friends blamed their inevitable culprits: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Host Brian Kilmeade immediately linked the death of the extremely old and sickly Duke of Edinburgh to Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired last month and contained shocking claims of racism and cruel treatment against Meghan by royal family members.

Kilmeade said on Friday’s show: “There are reports that [Philip] was enraged after the interview and the fallout from the interview with Oprah Winfrey, so here he is trying to recover and he’s hit with that.”

Kilmeade then went on to cite Piers Morgan, of all people, as evidence that Philip’s health was hit by the Oprah interview. Morgan resigned in disgrace from his show, Good Morning Britain, after thousands of people complained about his repeated attacks on Meghan. The low point came when he said didn’t believe her admission that she felt suicidal.

The Fox & Friends host said: “Piers Morgan was saying on his morning show, which he famously walked off of, is like ‘Really? Your grandfather is in the hospital, you know he’s not doing well, is this really the time you have to put out this interview?’ Evidently, it definitely added to his stress.”

Philip left his London hospital after a month-long stay for treatment of an unspecified infection. He also underwent a procedure for a pre-existing heart condition in that time. He was also 99 years old.

Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

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Ghislaine Maxwell

New charges as US prosecutors expand criminal case

Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding in her former partner Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of minor girls, faces two more charges, a new Manhattan federal court indictment filed on Monday reveals. This indictment also identified a new accuser in the case, referred to as “minor victim-4” in court papers, and expanded the timeframe of Maxwell’s alleged participation in Epstein’s abuse by seven years – from 1994 to 2004, rather than from 1994 to 1997. Maxwell now faces a total of eight counts.

The new charges, sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor, involve “minor victim-4”.

The indictment alleges that “minor victim-4” was “recruited to provide Epstein with sexualized massages” that he or his associates – including Maxwell – paid for.

Maxwell allegedly met “minor victim-4” at Epstein’s south Florida home around 2001, when the girl was around 14-years-old, and “interacted with [her] on multiple occasions”, according to court papers.

During their interactions, which happened from 2001 to 2004, Maxwell allegedly “groomed minor victim – 4 to engage in sexual acts with Epstein through multiple means.”

Maxwell did so by asking “minor victim-4” about her family and life. She “also sought to normalize inappropriate and abusive conduct by, among other things, discussing sexual topics in front of minor victim-4 and being present when minor victim-4 was nude in the massage room of the Palm Beach residence,” according to the court documents.

On multiple occasions from 2001 to 2004, this victim gave Epstein nude massages, during which he “engaged in multiple sex acts” with her. Maxwell would sometimes call this victim to schedule these massages, court papers allege.

During this timeframe, Epstein and Maxwell invited her to travel with him, and said they would help her get a passport. She declined their offer.

The court papers also allege that during this period, Epstein’s staff, including Maxwell, sent the victim gifts – such as lingerie – at her Florida home.

Maxwell and Epstein were both accused of encouraging this girl “to recruit other young females to provide sexualized massages to Epstein”.

She did so, the indictment claims, by bringing “multiple females, including girls under the age of 18” to Epstein’s south Florida home.

“On such occasions, both minor victim-4 and the girl she brought were paid hundreds of dollars in cash,” court papers state.

Maxwell has maintained her innocence since her arrest last summer at a secluded luxury home in New Hampshire.

When Maxwell was arrested, she faced six counts, including conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and perjury.

Her attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new charges.

She is being held in federal detention in Brooklyn.

Epstein, a convicted sex offender, was found dead in his cell in federal custody in New York in August 2019, where he was awaiting trial on serious charges just over a month after his arrest on charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14.

Epstein and Maxwell’s arrests have spurred intense scrutiny of Prince Andrew, who was a friend of both purported sex traffickers.

Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s many accusers, alleged in a civil lawsuit that Maxwell lured her into Epstein’s circle under the false pretense of massage work.

After being pulled into their orbit, Maxwell forced her to have sex with powerful men, including Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, when she was just 17, Giuffre claimed. Maxwell denies the claims. Andrew directly and via statements from Buckingham Palace has vehemently and repeatedly denied all of Giuffre’s claims.

William Walker

Pelosi taps D.C. National Guard chief as top House security official

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped the head of Washington, D.C.,’s National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, as the House’s new top security official. Walker, a 39-year military veteran, will become the House’s permanent sergeant-at-arms, Pelosi announced Friday. He succeeds Timothy Blodgett, who took over the post temporarily in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The previous permanent sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, was pushed out of the job after Jan. 6, amid recriminations over the security failures that allowed a mob of thousands of Donald Trump's supporters to occupy the Capitol and delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results.

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William Walker

Pelosi taps D.C. National Guard chief as top House security official

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped the head of Washington, D.C.,’s National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, as the House’s new top security official. Walker, a 39-year military veteran, will become the House’s permanent sergeant-at-arms, Pelosi announced Friday. He succeeds Timothy Blodgett, who took over the post temporarily in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The previous permanent sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, was pushed out of the job after Jan. 6, amid recriminations over the security failures that allowed a mob of thousands of Donald Trump's supporters to occupy the Capitol and delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results.

“His historic appointment as the first Black American to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms is an important step forward for this institution and our nation,” Pelosi said in a statement. The California Democrat also noted that Walker had a long career as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Walker has provided key information about the timeline of events that led to the security breakdown on Jan. 6. In Senate testimony earlier this month, he said he relayed an urgent plea from the head of the Capitol Police to senior Pentagon officials seeking backup for the overwhelmed police force.

But that request languished for more than three hours, Walker has said, until final approval just after 5 p.m. That delay in the official dispatching of the guard has become a key focus of lawmakers’ investigations into the riot.

Walker also has described a 2:30 p.m. phone call between Capitol Police and Pentagon brass and said senior Pentagon officials seemed to lack urgency despite frantic pleas from those inside the building.

Walker was the 23rd commanding general of the D.C. National Guard and previously spent three decades as a guardsman and DEA agent.

Asa Hutchinson

GOP Gov. admits ‘Near-Total Abortion Ban’ is unconstitutional

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) said he only signed what has been widely described as a “near-total abortion ban” in his state this month because he hopes it leads to the Supreme Court taking away women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Hutchinson was speaking during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, after host Dana Bash raised with the issue with him.

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Asa Hutchinson

GOP Gov. admits ‘Near-Total Abortion Ban’ is unconstitutional

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) said he only signed what has been widely described as a “near-total abortion ban” in his state this month because he hopes it leads to the Supreme Court taking away women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies. Hutchinson was speaking during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, after host Dana Bash raised with the issue with him.

“Even when you signed it, you said you had reservations about the law, saying that it violates Supreme Court precedent,” Bash said. “So to be clear, did you sign this bill because you hope it will be a vehicle for the Supreme Court to look at overturning Roe v. Wade.

“Yes, that was the whole design of the law,” Hutchinson told Bash. “It is not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now.”

Claiming that he “preferred a rape and incest exception,” the governor added, “I didn’t get a vote on that and so I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, that was the intent of it, I think there’s a very narrow chance that the Supreme Court will accept that case, but we’ll see.”

The new Arkansas law only allows abortion in cases where the life of the mother is directly threatened. It is not expected to be enforced until summer 2021 at the earliest, which allows time for challenges at the lower court level before it takes effect.

COVID-19

Mar-a-Lago partially closed due to outbreak

Former President Trump's luxury resort club Mar-a-Lago has reportedly been partially closed in response to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Palm Beach, Fla. property. Sources confirmed to The Associated Press that Mar-a-Lago has been closed until further notice in a cautionary move that follows positive COVID-19 tests. Several workers have reportedly been quarantined. The extent of the outbreak and the identities of those who have tested positive were not immediately made known.