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.
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.
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.
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.”
At campaign rallies, Donald Trump specialized in crafting political slogans whose catchiness obscured the lack of actual policy behind them: lock her up, America First, build the wall, drain the swamp. But there was one Trump slogan that turned out to have a shocking amount of policy behind it – hundreds of pieces of legislation nationwide in just the last three months, in fact, constituting the most coordinated, organized and determined Republican push on any political issue in recent memory.
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.
In four years on Capitol Hill Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has experienced a meteoric rise to national prominence — one fueled by a close alliance with former President Trump, a penchant for political theatrics and a no-apologies brand of conservatism that’s made him a darling of the right-wing cable outlets.
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.
On Tuesday night The New York Times reported that Congressman Matt Gaetz is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice concerning the possibility that he had sex with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, which would be a violation of federal sex trafficking laws, among other things. The investigation was opened last year under attorney general William Barr. This is extremely bad news for the Florida representative, considering that “a variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money".
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.
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”.
On Sunday evening, CNN aired a special featuring interviews with the senior officials involved in the early coronavirus pandemic response under president Donald Trump. No longer operating under the Trump political umbrella, they offered assessments of the past year that lacked any soothing veneer.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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”.
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.