The Right Wing

'Dysfunction and stupidity': Matt Gaetz and Maria Bartiromo argue in battle over government funding

Rep. Matt Gaetz clashed with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo after she accused him of being a "disrupter" who jeopardized Republican wins in Congress.

"Today, dysfunction and stupidity," Bartiromo announced. "A government shutdown is looming one week from today as a group of conservative lawmakers blow up Republican chances to fund the government."

"Republican disruptors are trying to stop funding the government, take down the Speaker of the House, and destroy the victories that Republicans have had in reversing this bad policy," she noted.

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Gaetz immediately fired back as his interview began.

"I'm glad I get to respond to your monologue because if you're saying that I'm standing in the way of all the Republican wins, I'd love you to enumerate them," he challenged\

"So, to push now to blow up all of the wins that you all have had now," Bartiromo pressed.

Which wins?" Gaetz interrupted. "Please enumerate them."

Bartiromo pointed to several investigations being conducted by the House, including an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden.

"That's the process!" Gaetz objected.

"Hold on!" Bartiromo said. "How about the fact that he has set up the China Select Committee to keep China to account? And, of course, he has launched this inquiry into impeachment, potentially, for President Biden. Is that not what you want?"

"None of those things are deliverables," Gaetz pouted. "Those are steps in a process."

Watch the video below from Fox News or at the link.

Longtime political columnist explains why the Reagan library is a terrible fit for 'caustic' Trump’s GOP

George Skelton, a longtime political columnist, on Sunday wrote an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times explaining why the Ronald Reagan library is “a bad fit” for Republicans to host their second presidential debate.

“The GOP’s modern idol is exactly the opposite of Reagan in personality and character,” Skelton wrote, noting that the current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, views America as a “waste bin for venom and lies.”

“Reagan truly liked people,” Skelton explained “Trump merely uses them.”

Describing how Reagan would have likely received Trump, Skelton suggested, “I very much doubt that in private he’d vote for Trump.”

“Reagan had no respect for blowhards and egomanics, regardless of party,” Skelton wrote. “He would have shuddered at Trump’s caustic rhetoric.”

Contrasting Reagan and Trump's public personas, Skelton noted Reagan “was always dignified and gracious, especially in public.”

“Trump comes off as a childish bully who needs anger management,” Skelton wrote.

“Reagan was a true believer in conservative principles. Trump’s a con man,” the columnist added.

Read the full op-ed at the LA Times. the LA Times.

GOP senator insults Trump’s 'signature professional achievement' in rant about dumping him

Donald Trump's inevitability as the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination is weighing on the minds of an assortment of GOP donors, campaign consultants and GOP lawmakers who believe he is headed for another loss.

According to a report from the Washington Post, even supporters for some of his GOP rivals for the nomination are privately conceding that their first choice won't be able to catch him and that, in turn, is leading to some grumbling about what awaits them in 2024.

As the report notes, central to their worries is the unprecedented "variable" of having a nominee who is not only facing multiple indictments but could have a conviction on his record when voters head to the polls.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to run for office?

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) who is backing the longshot bid of his home state Governor Doug Burgum (R) is conceding, "I just don’t see a path for anybody that’s not Donald Trump right now."

With the Post reporting, "In some parts of the party, including factions of the U.S. Senate and among some wealthy donors, there is less palpable enthusiasm for Trump," one U.S. senator went so far as to lash out at former president's background and predict doom and gloom for the 2024 general election.

Sen. Todd C. Young (R-IN) complained, "I’m still holding out hope that my fellow Republicans want to throw their support behind someone who has personal integrity, respects the rule of law, aims to unite rather than divide people and actually knows how to do the job well.”

ALSO IN THE NEWS: Trump admin women strike back after being called 'pimp ladies' by ex-president's advisor

Not content with that, he added, "Donald J. Trump’s signature professional achievement is as a reality television star and he’s lacking in every personal quality that I,and I think every other Republican, should want in a presidential nominee. Moreover he is the least likely to win a general election.”

The Post report added that "tension" about Trump is expected to be on full display this week as the former president's rivals hold their second debate while Trump holds a rally in Michigan.

You can read more here.

'Perverted intentions': McCarthy allies rage against 'arsonists' in their own party over government shutdown

Allies of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) this week raged against hard-line Republicans in their own party as leadership in the House of Representatives works to stave off a looming government shutdown, The Hill reports.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) told reporters. “I think people’s perverted intentions have really caused problems this year.”

“The arsonists are out there, number one, whining that their house is on fire; number two, are going to want credit that they put the fire out; and then number three, are gonna set up a GoFundMe site to get paid for it,” Graves added

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Graves later said the fault of a government shutdown would lie squarely with those who engaged in “disingenuous” behavior.
“I think that if we get into a shutdown, it’s because there was a failure in strategy that was absolutely manipulated or distorted by disingenuous behavior, intentions and probably ignorance,” he said.

As The Hill reports, House “leadership does not have the votes to advance a short-term funding bill to keep the lights on past Sept. 30, with a handful of hard-line Republicans handing [McCarthy] setback after setback. They are also not yet taking the step of working with Democrats on a compromise, a move that would further inflame the rebels and potentially threaten McCarthy’s Speakership.”

“They like to stop everything and then they turn around and say it’s your fault, you’re not getting anything done,” McCarthy said.

“I don’t understand, if a few people here want to hold it out why do the border agents have to pay? Why do the Coast Guard have to pay? Why do they not have to be paid because somebody wants to throw some fit here?” McCarthy added. “That’s not right.”

READ MORE:Revealed: Trump’s Project 2025 agenda aims for 'total control' of the federal government

Read the full report at The Hill.

Karl Rove: No Labels could decide 'who loses' 2024 election

The Lincoln Project's Rick Wilson, a Never Trump conservative and former GOP strategist who is rooting for President Joe Biden in the 2024 election, has been slamming the No Labels movement as a recipe for disaster. A No Labels candidate, Wilson warns, could take enough votes away from Biden to put Donald Trump back in the White House in 2025.

Wilson isn't the only conservative who views No Labels as a possible spoiler. Veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove, during a Fox News appearance, argued that a third-party candidate could, in fact, have that effect in 2024.

Rove told a "Fox News Sunday" panel, "Third parties typically don't have any impact in winning an election, but they have an impact on deciding who loses the election. Think about it: We had a big personality in Ross Perot. He got 19 percent of the vote, nothing in the Electoral College."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Rove added, "The last two (third-party) candidates to get votes in the Electoral College were 1968 George Wallace and Strom Thurmond in 1948, both of them explicit racists running to oppose desegregation."

READ MORE:Former Trump megadonor joins No Labels leadership

Watch the full video below or at this link.

Kevin McCarthy could suffer the 'same fate' as Newt Gingrich — here's how

In a Friday, September 22 op-ed published by Truthout, University of California at Davis lecturer and columnist Sasha Abramsky argues that "it's hard to see, given current polling on the issue," how the GOP's attempt to impeach President Joe Biden "will meaningfully hurt him," and that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's (R-CA) political reputation could plummet the way ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich's did in the 1990s during ex-President Bill Clinton's presidency.

The columnist writes:

When [investigative counsel Kenneth] Starr's office discovered that Clinton had sexual relations with [ex-White House intern Monica] Lewinsky, and when Clinton subsequently dissembled in answering intimate questions about his sex life, Gingrich pounced, with the House voting to open an impeachment inquiry in the early fall of 1998. Two months later, after a 14-hour debate, the House voted in favor of articles of impeachment against the president.

By then, however, the public had grown restive, wanting Congress to focus on issues other than what the majority of voters came to see as fishing expeditions against the president. In the midterm elections, which were held one month into the impeachment inquiry, the Republicans underperformed: Although they clung onto their majority, the party lost enough seats to render Gingrich's job untenable. Soon afterward, he lost the speakership. In February 1999, after a short trial, the Senate voted not to convict Clinton on the two articles of impeachment the House had delivered to them. When he left office, two years later, Clinton's popularity rating was a stunning 66 percent, the highest of any outgoing president since Harry Truman.

Abramsky then notes, "A quarter century on, the GOP is engaged in a similar fishing expedition against President Biden, and "it's somewhat easier to see how McCarthy's speakership might end up suffering much the same fate as did Gingrich's in the late '90s."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

He adds, "Only 8 percent of voters have a very favorable opinion of McCarthy, and another 22 percent have a somewhat favorable view of him. The remaining 70 percent either dislike the man or, despite his being second in line to the presidency after Vice President Kamala Harris, don't know enough about him to have an opinion."

Abramsky emphasizes, "History contains a salutary lesson for McCarthy as to how this could all potentially go terribly wrong for him."

Abramsky's full op-ed is available at this link.

'Very scary': Ex-Watergate prosecutor explains how a fair trial for Trump could save democracy

Ex-Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale, during Friday's episode of MSNBC's The Beat with Ari Melber,insisted that a fair trial for ex-President Donald Trump in his Georgia case could save democracy.

Melber asked Sale, "What do you hear from defendant Trump here when he talks about loyalty, as well as people like Miss [Jenna] Ellis, who seems to be adjusting her views of him?"

Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis is one of the 18 individuals indicted last month by a Fulton County Superior Court grand jury along with the ex-president on charges related to their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

Sale replied, "Well, as an outsider, loyalty, to Donald Trump, sounds like a one-way street. But, I'd have to say something about the times we are living in, because when they told us how we got here, like when he mentioned Richard Nixon was barred from the presidency. And if he had more time, he would have explained it. He stepped down because of bipartisan atmosphere. It was the Republicans who called for him to step down because they couldn't support him. We live in totally different times right now. I mean, it's very scary. There was a University of Chicago study that showed that 12 million people would favor violence to support Donald Trump. And somebody who I always thought responsible is [ex-Arkansas] Governor [Mike] Huckabee, who just the other day, said that if the legal system brings down Donald Trump, that the next election will be decided by bullets rather than ballots. I think that's a very scary time that we are living in. And I may be naive."

He continued, "But I think that what's going to save the system and our democracy is Donald Trump, by the way, said he doesn't think there's much of democracy left. I think it's the Constitution. And I'm using that interchangeably with democracy which will save us. And I think what we have to do is make sure he gets a fair trial. And the trial that's going to go is the one in the District of Columbia. I think it's gonna be a challenge to get a fair trial there, but I think the judge will do everything possible to ensure that. I don't rule out a change of venue. I mean, just recently, former District Attorney of Baltimore was granted a change of venue. The Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVay, was granted a change of venue. So we have to see. The law is, we don't know if we can get a fair jury until we try. But a fair trial, I think, is what will show whether the Constitution works. And I used to be totally against televising trials. Unfortunately, this trial will not be televised because it's in Washington. But i wish it were because then people would see the overwhelming evidence."

Watch the video below or at this link.

Loyalty, for Trump, is a 'one-way street': Ex-Watergate

READ MORE: 'I didn't do anything wrong': Trump unsure of Mark Meadows' loyalty in GA case

'Vulgar and lewd': Trump judge cites extremist group to allow drag show ban

A federal judge in Texas known for a ruling that attempted to ban a widely-used abortion drug is citing an extremist anti-LGBTQ group in his ruling allowing a ban on drag shows to stay in place.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a former attorney for an anti-LGBTQ conservative Christian legal organization, and a member of the Federalist Society, in his 26-page ruling dated Thursday cited the “About” page of Gays Against Groomers to claim, “it’s unclear how drag shows unmistakably communicate advocacy for LGBT rights.”

Judge Kacsmaryk, appointed by Donald Trump twice before finally assuming office in 2019, suggests the First Amendment does not provide for freedom of expression for drag shows, calls drag “sexualized conduct,” and says it is “more regulable” because “children are in the audience.”

READ MORE: ‘The Public Deserves to Know’: Abortion Pill Banning Judge Redacted Details About Millions of Dollars in His Stock Portfolio

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern adds, “Kacsmaryk’s conclusion that drag is probably NOT protected by the First Amendment conflicts with decisions from Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Montana which held that drag is constitutionally protected expression. It also bristles with undisguised hostility toward LGBTQ people.”

Calling the judge “a proud Christian nationalist who flatly refuses to apply binding Supreme Court precedent when it conflicts with his extremist far-right beliefs,” Stern at Slate writes that Kacsmaryk ruled drag “may be outlawed to protect ‘the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.’ In short, he concluded that drag fails to convey a message, while explaining all the reasons why he’s offended by the message it conveys.”

Stern does not let Kacsmaryk off the hook there.

“From almost any other judge, the ruling in Spectrum WT v. Wendler would be a shocking rejection of basic free speech principles; from Kacsmaryk, it’s par for the course. This is, after all, the judge who sought to ban medication abortion nationwide, restricted minors’ access to birth control, seize control over border policy to exclude asylum-seekers, and flouted recent precedent protecting LGBTQ+ equality,” Stern says.

READ MORE: Far-Right Judge Under Fire for Failing to Disclose Interviews on Civil Rights – but LGBTQ Community Had Warned Senators

“He is also poised to bankrupt Planned Parenthood by compelling them to pay a $1.8 billion penalty on truly ludicrous grounds. And he is not the only Trump-appointed judge substituting his reactionary beliefs for legal analysis. We have reached a point where these lawless decisions are not only predictable but inevitable, and they show no sign of stopping: Their authors are still just settling into a decadeslong service in the federal judiciary.”

West Texas A&M University President Walter V. Wendler penned the letter that sparked the lawsuit.

Titled, “A Harmless Drag Show? No Such Thing,” Wendler wrote: “I believe every human being is created in the image of God and, therefore, a person of dignity. Being created in God’s image is the basis of Natural Law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, prisoners of the culture of their time as are we, declared the Creator’s origin as the foundational fiber in the fabric of our nation as they breathed life into it. Does a drag show preserve a single thread of human dignity? I think not.”

Journalist Chris Geidner concludes, “It’s an extremely biased ruling by a judge who has established that he does not care about being overturned — even by the most conservative appeals court in the nation.”

READ MORE: ‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle

'Smoke and mirrors': Ex-US attorney slams Trump lawyers’ 'honest mistake' in $250M fraud case

During Friday's episode of MSNBC's Deadline: White House, host Nicolle Wallace spoke to ex-U.S. Attorney Harry Litman about ex-President Donald Trump's lawyers' lies about the size Trump's Manhattan penthouse at the Trump Tower in New York Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million fraud case against him, "making up the existence of 20,000 square feet that inflated the value of his property by more than $200 million in that instance alone," according to The Daily Beast.

The Beast reports:

At Friday's hearing, state attorneys presented testimony from the Trump Organization's disgraced chief financial officer, convicted tax cheat Allen Weisselberg, who admitted that the penthouse size listed on official business documents was totally fake. The judge raised the possibility that this total fabrication was an 'honest mistake,' but then quoted Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who served on the Supreme Court in the early 1900s.

'Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being tripped over. There's a difference between lies and misstatements,' Engoron said.

During Wallace's interview with Litman, she said to the ex- U.S. attorney, "Harry, it feels like this is another example that fits the pattern of truth being on the line in the legal outcome."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

He replied, "Yeah, it does. And that's the overall effort, but of course it's through the looking glass perhaps around the edges. But it is crystal clear down the middle. And it's fanciful to say, when you sign something to a bank and say, 'this is how much it's worth,' then it turns out to be worth one-quarter of that, that somehow there's some subjective intent defense. And of course, you know, an apartment's either 10,000 or 30,000 square feet. This is, as you say, the really old stuff. This is what we heard about from Michael Cohen way back when before congress. And it was an m.o. of the Trump Organization."

Litman emphasized, "And by the way, one thing that really puts the lie to it is the valuations of some of the same properties would differ when they wanted to lowball, say for taxes. So, as you suggest, if this point of view of, 'Oh, it's just subjective,' actually held, there could be no fraud. Fraud means a lie. And that means when they wrote that down and signed it, they knew it wasn't worth that and worth anything like it. They can try to argue that they did, but you know, there are facts here. And there are valuations here. And it doesn't help if the bank looked at it in a second way. They lied. They lied down the middle. That's fraud. everything else is just smoke and mirrors."

Watch the video below or at this link.

'Smoke and mirrors': Analyst slams Trump over lying about

READ MORE: 'Political gambit': Why Trump’s bid to oust judge from $250M fraud case will likely be 'shot down'

The Daily Beast's full report is available at this link (subscription required).

'He holds the line': Gaetz praises GOP congressman who echoes his call for change 'through force'

U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), largely seen as pushing Speaker Kevin McCarthy‘s Republican-majority House of Representatives toward shutting down the federal government, is praising and promoting remarks made by a freshman GOP lawmaker that suggest the need for violence. U.S. Rep. Eli Crane‘s comments, posted Friday (below), call for change “through force,” remarks echoing Congressman Gaetz’s recent comments which were denounced by an expert on authoritarianism as fascistic.

“The only way we’re going to see meaningful change in this town is through force,” wrote Congressman Crane, Republican of Arizona atop a three-minute video in which he frames what is now an almost guaranteed government shutdown as a “spending fight.” In his video he says, “the only way you’re gonna get any change in this town is through force.” Gaetz in August had said, “we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C.”

Congressman Crane is a former Navy SEAL. He has promoted the false “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that there was massive fraud in the election President Joe Biden won, and called “on the state legislature to decertify the 2020 election.” He is one of six House Republicans who voted against McCarthy’s speakership all 15 times in January.

READ MORE: White House Mocks GOP With ‘Worst Person You Know’ Meme After Matt Gaetz Blames McCarthy for Shutdown

“Congressman Eli Crane is a fountainhead of political courage,” said Rep. Gaetz Friday afternoon. “He holds the line.”

Crane recently came under fire for calling Black people “colored,” during debate on his legislation that would force the U.S. Armed Forces to not use any diversity requirements in its hiring practices.

READ MORE: ‘Corruption of the Highest Order’: Experts ‘Sickened’ at ‘Definitely Bought’ Clarence Thomas and His ‘Pay to Play’ Lifestyle

Just days before he won his House seat last year, The Washington Post reported Crane had urged an “audience to look up an antisemitic sermon at a recent campaign stop.”

“Crane said that he was motivated to run because of ‘radical ideologies that are destroying this country’ and that he was most concerned about ‘Cultural Marxism,’ which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as an antisemitic baseless claim gaining traction on the American right.”

“He encouraged the audience to watch a speech by a right-wing pastor who blamed cultural change on a group of German Jewish philosophers and condemned Barack Obama for having a ‘homosexual agenda.'”

“If we don’t wake up,” Crane said, according to the Post, “if we don’t study what they’re doing, and if we don’t put people in influential positions that understand what this war is all about, what they’re trying to do and have and have the courage to call it out, we’re going to lose this country.”

In August, while standing next to Donald Trump at a campaign rally, Congressman Gaetz said, “Mr. President, I cannot stand these people that are destroying our country. They are opening our borders. They are weaponizing our federal law enforcement against patriotic Americans who love this nation as we should.”

“But we know that only through force do we make any change in a corrupt town like Washington, D.C. And so to all my friends here in Iowa, when you see them come for this man, know that they are coming for our movement and they are coming for all of us.”

At the time, Raw Story reported, “historian and author Ruth Ben-Ghiat called Gaetz comments alarming.”

READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.

“What he is saying is that they are not going to have change through elections or through legislation or through reform. They are going to have change through violence,” she warned.

“And that’s how fascists talk,” Ben-Ghiat added. “So, even if Trump is out of the picture, these are people who have adopted methods very familiar to me as a historian of fascism, that violence and corruption and lying that’s what the party is today.”

'See how easy that is to say?' GOP mocked for DOJ 'weaponization' claims after Dem senator’s indictment

The U.S. Dept. of Justice unsealed an indictment against U.S. Senator Bob Menendez late Friday morning, accusing the New Jersey Democratic lawmaker of bribery as prosecutors showed photos of gold bars and nearly half-a-million dollars in cash stuffed into a jacket that bears his name and the seal of the U.S. Senate.

Many on the left immediately demanded Senator Menendez resign, a demand he is refusing. He will step down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, which Senate Democrats require when a chair is criminally charged.

It took little time for liberals to mock Republicans who have been claiming President Joe Biden and Democrats in general, along with the “deep state,” have “weaponized” the Dept. of Justice against conservatives, especially after Donald Trump’s four indictments on a total of 91 criminal felonies.

“Let me get this straight,” wrote journalist and progressive SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah. “To the GOP, when DOJ indicts President Biden’s son and a senior Democratic US Senator that is great. But when DOJ indicts Donald Trump for attempting a coup and for 32 counts of Espionage that is DOJ’s ‘weaponization’ of criminal justice?!”

READ MORE: Pete Buttigieg Just Testified Before Congress. It Did Not Go Well for Republicans.

“This is the second time that Sen. Bob Menendez has been indicted for corruption. He needs to resign and allow Gov. Murphy to fill that vacancy with someone who does right by the people of New Jersey,” wrote former Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer. “See how easy that is to say, GOP?”

Journalist, author, and former Clinton White House aide Keith Boykin posted video of the prosecutor announcing the indictment.

Boykin later sarcastically commented, “There goes Biden again weaponizing the Justice Department to prosecute political leaders in his own party.”

“President Joe Biden’s weaponized Department of Justice has now indicted Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and *checks notes* Joe Biden’s son,” observed veteran intelligence officer, activist, and social media personality Travis Akers.

Attorney and former Republican George Conway quickly responded, saying, “senile sleepy Joe is playing 65-dimensional chess again.”

READ MORE: ‘Sexy’: Comer Obtains Unredacted Emails to VP Biden Revealing Women ‘Privately Mused’ They Found Him Attractive

“Menendez should resign. Today,” demanded historian and author Kevin M. Kruse.

“One of the nice things about rule of law is that truly believing in it ensures that you don’t end up as a partisan hypocrite,” observed The Atlantic’s Brian Klaas, an associate professor in global politics at University College London. “If Menendez is guilty, he should go to prison as anyone else would. (And it would be prudent to resign swiftly).”

Meanwhile, some used Friday’s indictment of Sen. Menendez to focus on other political figures.

Foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator David Rothkopf, warned, “The Memendez case should have Jared [Kushner] and Clarence [Thomas] ordering extra strength Tums today.”

Rachel Bitecofer, the political strategist and analyst also appeared to point the finger at Justice Thomas and his wife, Ginni.

READ MORE: ‘Total Breakdown’: House Sends Members Home – Experts Warn ‘Republicans Can’t Govern’ And Have No ‘Working Majority’

Ex-Trump ethics lawyer sues former Mueller deputy for libel

On September 15, Politico's Kyle Cheney reported, on X (formerly Twitter) that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had subpoenaed former U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) official Jody Hunt. MSNBC's Andrew Weissmann, former deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller, was quick to respond to that tweet. And Weissmann's response — according to Politico legal reporter Josh Gerstein — has led to a lawsuit by Stefan Passantino, who served in the Office of White House Counsel under President Donald Trump.

In his September 15 tweet, Weissmann described Hunt as "Cassidy Hutchinson’s good lawyer" and "not the one who coached her to lie" — a reference to Passantino. Hutchinson, a former aide to ex-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, is known for her bombshell testimony for the January 6 Select Committee in 2022.

Gerstein reports that Passantino's libel lawsuit was filed on September 22, commenting that he is "glad" Cheney was "left out of it."

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

A court document for Stefan Passantino v. Andrew Weissmann reads, "Stefan Passantino is an attorney with a 30-year history of representing his clients honorably and ethically and, like all attorneys, depends upon his reputation to earn a living. Defendant Andrew Weissmann — a partisan former prosecutor and top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller turned MSNBC 'legal analyst' — has publicly impugned that reputation, claiming that Mr. Passantino coached his client, Cassidy Hutchinson, to lie in congressional testimony."

The document continues, "This is an insidious lie. Mr. Passantino never coached Ms. Hutchinson to lie, nor did he attempt to shape her testimony in any way."

READ MORE:'Like a wolf closing in on its prey': Cassidy Hutchinson accuses Giuliani of groping her on Jan. 6

Conservative explains why Republicans will continue to lose 'up and down the ballot'

On Tuesday, September 19, a special election for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives found far-right MAGA Republican and conspiracy theorist Erin Connolly Autenreith running against Democratic nominee Lindsay Powell — and Powell won.

Democrats will have a narrow majority in the Pennsylvania House, while Republicans will have a six-seat majority in the Pennsylvania Senate.

In an article published by the National Review on September 20, conservative Noah Rothman argues that Autenreith never should have been nominated and emphasizes that Republicans will continue to lose winnable elections if they keep nominating "paranoid" fringe candidates.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"From questioning the outcome of the 2020 election, to her presence at the January 6 'stop the steal' rally, to her praise of Donald Trump for being the only candidate with the 'courage' to discuss the epidemic of covert child-sex-trafficking in the United States," a frustrated Rothman writes, "Autenreith lent credence to every paranoid shibboleth that signifies membership in the MAGA tribe. She paid for her fealty to Donald Trump's movement with her candidacy, and her constituents will be the ones who suffer for it."

Rothman adds that the same night in a New Hampshire election, MAGA Republican candidate James Guzofski "went down to defeat handily" in a district that conservative GOP Gov. Chris Sununu won by 22 percent in 2022.

"Guzofski argued that the COVID-19 vaccines with which at least 270 million Americans were inoculated are a deadly menace — an odious feature of the 'Plandemic,'" Rothman observes. "He condemned Mike Pence, who 'betrayed the president and the Constitution' by failing to halt the electoral-certification process on January 6, 2021. He circulated an absurd petition calling for a 2020 election revote."

This type of "kookery," Rothman warns, is causing Republicans to loose races they could be winning.

READ MORE: Kari Lake praises Hungarian strongman as 'the greatest leader in Europe'

"Registered Republicans appear committed to testing the general electorate's tolerance for their preferred nonsense," the conservative writer laments. "General-election voters appear to be as eager as ever to demonstrate the folly of their judgment. Until this dynamic changes, Republicans will continue to lose races up and down the ballot."

READ MORE:Marjorie Taylor Greene ridiculed after her attacks on Biden seem more like compliments

Read Noah Rothman's full article for The National Review at this link.

Why Trump parted company with a 'high-profile' criminal defense lawyer: report

Between four criminal indictments and a variety of civil lawsuits, 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump needs a great deal of legal representation.

Drew Findling, a well-known attorney who has represented rapper Cardi B, was part of Trump's defense team in Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' prosecution of the former president and 18 of his allies. But Trump and Findling parted company in August.

In a report published by Rolling Stone on September 22, journalists Adam Rawnsley and Asawin Suebsaeng delve into the reasons for the separation.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

"According to three sources with knowledge of the matter," the reporters explain, "the high-profile departure was largely driven by the same kind of power struggles that have long plagued Trump's legal teams, even — or, especially — during times when Trump is trying his hardest to stay out of prison. Those problems only intensified when it became clear that Fulton County prosecutors were going to pursue a wide-ranging indictment of Trump and many of his confidants; it was the kind of nightmare scenario that Findling, well-known for his successful defenses of Cardi B and Offset, was hired to attempt to prevent."

One of the things that led to Findling's departure, according to Rawnsley and Suebsaeng, was "tensions" between him and fellow Trump attorney Boris Epstheyn.

"A small group of Trump loyalists — such as Epstheyn — would argue to the former president that Findling was not a team player, that he couldn't be completely trusted to defend the ex-president, and that he was 'anti-Trump,' according to those familiar with the matter," Rawnsley and Suebsaeng report. "It is a matter of public record that Findling has politically liberal views, and that he has publicly posted harshly negative tweets about Trump before representing him. Findling has consistently stated that his personal political beliefs aren't relevant to his job of representing his clients."

READ MORE:A recent Ohio racketeering and conspiracy case may shed light on Fani Willis' Trump prosecution strategy

Rolling Stone's full report is available at this link.

'Corruption of the highest order': Experts 'sickened' by Clarence Thomas and his 'pay to play' lifestyle

Legal and political experts are expressing outrage and disgust after ProPublica’s latest investigation into the alleged unethical and unlawful actions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, with some demanding his resignation and others calling it “corruption of the highest level,” “Pay. To. Play.,” and one simply saying, “This sickens me.”

“Is Clarence Thomas the most corrupt Supreme Court justice in our history? One of the most corrupt senior officials in our history? There is no doubt any more,” writes David Rothkopf, the foreign policy, national security and political affairs analyst and commentator.

ProPublica is the nonprofit journalism organization that has exposed multiple instances of what experts have said is Justice Thomas’ corruption, abuse of ethics, contributions to the destruction of the high court’s reputation, and actual violations of federal law. Justice Thomas has either not commented or denied any wrongdoing.

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“Clarence Thomas Secretly Participated in Koch Network Donor Events,” is the headline on Friday’s installment from ProPublica, which reveals: “Thomas has attended at least two Koch donor summits, putting him in the extraordinary position of having helped a political network that has brought multiple cases before the Supreme Court.”

The Koch network is a right-wing group of political organizations founded by “the Koch Brothers,” Charles and his late brother David.

“One of the Koch network’s most powerful allies,” is how ProPublica’s latest, lengthy investigation describes Justice Thomas The report begins with his arrival in Palm Springs International Airport to attend a “long weekend” that for Koch network members and supporters would include “strategizing, relaxation in the California sun and high-dollar fundraising.”

“The justice was brought in to speak, staffers said, in the hopes that such access would encourage donors to continue giving.”

READ MORE:Republicans in disarray as government shutdown fight looms: report

“That puts Thomas in the extraordinary position of having served as a fundraising draw for a network that has brought cases before the Supreme Court, including one of the most closely watched of the upcoming term.”

That case, ProPublica reports, is one that could greatly benefit Koch and America’s ultra-wealthy.

“The Koch network is among the largest and most influential political organizations of the last half century, and it’s underwritten a far-reaching campaign to influence the course of American law. In a case the Supreme Court will hear this coming term, the justices could give the network a historic victory: limiting federal agencies’ power to issue regulations in areas ranging from the environment to labor rights to consumer protection. After shepherding the case to the court, Koch network staff attorneys are now asking the justices to overturn a decades-old precedent. (Thomas used to support the precedent but flipped his position in recent years.)”

As with most of ProPublica’s investigations, this report includes both allegations of illegal actions and unethical behaviors.

READ MORE: 'A sign of weakness': WSJ editorial board slams Trump for declining second GOP debate

Experts are voicing concern.

“Clarence Thomas might not be the finest Justice money can buy, but he’s definitely bought,” charges Moe Davis, the well-known retired U.S. Air Force colonel, attorney, educator, politician, and former administrative law judge.

Former federal prosecutor and legal commentator Mimi Rocah, who is now he elected District Attorney for Westchester County, New York expressed disgust.

“As a public servant who sacrifices donor $ (I don’t take donations from elected officials, PBAs, or attorneys with cases before my office), b/c I believe the justice system should be free from even the appearance of political influence, this sickens me.”

READ MORE: How Rupert Murdoch 'ended up destroying American conservatism': columnist

“Thomas and his billionaire pals have trashed the court’s reputation,” observed author Mark Jacob, a former Chicago Tribune editor.

“Corruption of the highest order,” is how Heather Cox Richardson, the well-known historian, author and professor of history described Justice Thomas’ alleged actions. “Personally, I’d go right to resign. It’s long overdue. And I’d revisit the cases he’s decided—including Citizens United and Shelby v Holder, which together handed our democracy to the rich—while we’re at it.”

“Does Justice go better with Koch?” mocked Jane Mayer, the award-winning author and investigative reporter at The New Yorker. “Clarence Thomas will judge a momentous case this term affecting all federal regulations after secretly partying for years with involved polluters.”

Journalist and conspiracy theory expert Mike Rothschild wrote: “Clarence Thomas hanging out with the Kochs and Harlan Crow at Bohemian Grove. No human sacrifice, no devil worship, just some old rich dudes scheming to take rights away from the rest of us. The conspiracy is in plain sight, and it doesn’t bother hiding.”

READ MORE: Economist Paul Krugman slams 'weak leader' Kevin McCarthy’s 'desperate efforts' to appease right-wingers

New York Times bestselling author, legal expert and senior editor at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick summed it up: “Pay. To. Play.”

How Rupert Murdoch 'ended up destroying American conservatism': columnist

Conservative Daily Beast opinion columnist Matt Lewis has often been highly critical of what he considers "liberal media bias," but in his September 21 column, the Never Trumper takes aim at a different target: Fox News and 92-year-old Rupert Murdoch, who is retiring as News Corp's chairman.

Murdoch and Fox News, Lewis argues, did a great deal to elevate the "anger that has come to define the GOP" — and "ended up destroying American conservatism" in the process.

"As I recently noted, only about 10 percent of Republicans held a 'very negative' view of Democrats in the mid-1990s," Lewis explains. "Today, that number has risen to 62 percent. Fox News went on the air in 1996."

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The columnist recalls that he "initially" welcomed "the network's arrival."

"Fox News had some good early ambitions," Lewis writes. "But fairly early on in its existence, the network pivoted far away from straight news and intelligent conservative commentary, and leaned heavily toward the loudmouths. And after that, it went from promoting the bloviators to platforming the outright liars."

Lewis continues, "That was the moment the network completely jumped the shark and pivoted from presenting alternative viewpoints to presenting an alternate reality. This is Rupert Murdoch's most meaningful political legacy: dutifully carrying water for Trump's MAGA movement that banished real conservatism…. Instead of elevating conservatism, Murdoch helped undermine conservatism as a serious philosophy, skewing instead toward tabloid conspiracy theories like birtherism and 'rigged' election allegations."

READ MORE:Experts blame Rupert Murdoch for 'moral decay' of America — and issue warning on future

Matt Lewis' full Daily Beast opinion column is available at this link (subscription required).

Economist Paul Krugman slams 'weak leader' Kevin McCarthy’s 'desperate efforts' to appease right-wingers

Economist Paul Krugman, in an op-ed published Thursday by the New York Times, slammed Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his inability to head off Republican “dysfunction" as a government shutdown looms.

“The speaker’s job isn’t defined, but surely it includes passing legislation that keeps the federal government running,” Krugman wrote. “But Kevin McCarthy, the current speaker, isn’t doing that job.”

Comparing McCarthy to his “formidable predecessor” Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Krugman called McCarthy “a weak leader.”

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“But even a superb leader would probably be unable to transcend the dynamics of a party that has been extremist for a generation but has now gone beyond extremism to nihilism,” Krugman said.

To be clear, according to Krugman, “this is a Republican problem.”

“Any talk about dysfunction in ‘Congress,’ or ‘partisanship,’ simply misinforms the public,” Krugman explained.

Krugman noted the shutdown fight “didn’t happen under Pelosi, even though she also had a very narrow majority,” and compared McCarthy’s effort to the 1995-95 shutdowns during former Speaker New Gingrich’s tenure.

READ MORE:Republicans in disarray as government shutdown fight looms: report

“McCarthy, in his desperate efforts to appease his party’s hard-liners, has acted as if [the GOP] refusal to approve federal funding is a Gingrich-like demand for reduced federal spending,” Krugman said.

Describing the right-wing intensity of some of the GOP members, Krugman wrote:

I liked what one representative told Politico: “Some of these folks would vote against the Bible because there’s not enough Jesus in it.” The point is that the party’s right wing isn’t actually interested in governing; it’s all about posturing, and the budget fight is a temper tantrum rather than a policy dispute.

“If the GOP were anything like a normal party, McCarthy would give up on the right-wingers, gather up the saner Republican representatives and make a deal with Democrats.” Krugman added. “But that would almost surely cost him the speakership, and in general more or less the whole GOP is terrified of the hard-liners, so the party’s positions end up being dictated by its most extreme faction."

READ MORE: 'A sign of weakness': WSJ editorial board slams Trump for declining second GOP debate

Krugman noted if a shutdown does happen, history suggests “the public would blame Republicans." But, he wondered, “how does this end” if the GOP fails to “make a deal that reopens the government.”

“It’s not clear that McCarthy, or whoever replaces him if he’s overthrown, would be willing or even able to” reopen it, Krugman warned.

Read the full op-ed at the New York Times.

Nevada Republicans called out for 'rigging the election' for Trump

In Nevada, conservative critics of former President Donald Trump have been hoping that someone other than him will receive the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. But Trump remains the clear frontrunner, leading the second-place candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by 47 percent in an Emerson College poll released on September 20 and by 46 percent in a Yahoo/YouGov poll released a day earlier.

According to Associated Press reporters Michelle L. Price and Gage Stern, new Nevada Republican Party rules will only increase Trump's advantage in the state's primary.

"The state GOP, which is led by Trump allies, is insisting on moving forward with a presidential caucus on February 8 despite a new state law that set a primary election two days earlier," Price and Stern explain. "Caucuses, which typically reward grassroots support and organizing, are expected to benefit Trump given his solid grip on the GOP's most loyal voters."

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Ken Cuccinelli, a DeSantis supporter and former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), believes that Trump is giving himself an unfair advantage in Nevada.

Cuccinelli told AP, "Trump hates rigged elections, except when he's doing the rigging, like he's doing in Nevada."

Nevada Republicans who opposed the proposed rule changes complained, in a statement, "This process will hurt the Republican Party and our candidates in 2024. The Nevada Republican Party will give average voters the impression they don't care about them or their votes."

READ MORE:Revealed: Trump’s Project 2025 agenda aims for 'total control' of the federal government

Read the Associated Press' full report at this link.

'Angry' Florida Republican banned from women’s shelter: report

Florida, once considered the textbook example of a swing state, has become increasingly Republican in recent years — from federal elections to the state legislature.

In 2023, the Florida State Senate is dominated by Republicans, one of whom is Sen. Tom A. Wright. The GOP lawmaker is no stranger to controversy, including being banned from a women's shelter, the Beacon Center, for allegedly flirting with domestic violence survivors.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that former Beacon Center CEO Angie Pye alleged that she "put a stop to (Wright) coming on the property" because of his "flirty or grooming type of behavior." Pye told the News-Journal, "He got really angry."

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According to the News-Journal, "That propensity for anger was on full display on September 2, when Wright got into a videotaped confrontation with the shelter's interim CEO and was given a trespass warning from Daytona Beach police barring him from the Beacon Center. Pye, who resigned as CEO on August 31, and others say Wright has made allegations about human trafficking, prostitution and drug use going on at the Center."

The publication adds that "during a (Florida) State Senate committee hearing," Wright "accused Pye's husband of having a conflict of interest regarding the shelter. All of those claims were false, they said."

READ MORE:DeSantis' flailing campaign is making him 'lose clout — in Florida': report

Read the Daytona Beach News-Journal's full report at this link (subscription required).

Unending 'chaos' among House Republicans could doom their majority in 2024: report

As the strong possibility of a federal government shutdown draws closer and closer, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) is desperately trying to get funding bills passed —only to encounter resistance and animosity from members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus.

Countless pundits have predicted that if a shutdown occurs, voters will blame Republicans — not Democrats.

In an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on September 22, journalist A.B. Stoddard describes the state of "chaos" plaguing McCarthy's GOP majority.

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Between that chaos, a likely shutdown, a flawed impeachment inquiry and bitter infighting among House Republicans —Stoddard writes — GOP strategists are growing increasingly worried about 2024.

"More than 13 months before next year’s election," Stoddard explains, "fatalism has infected the House GOP conference. Democrats have only a slight edge heading into next year's House contests, but Republicans are behaving as if they have no hope of staying in power. As one former member told me: 'Many would say we've squandered this, and we're going to lose.'"

McCarthy, Stoddard notes, is pushing for an impeachment inquiry in order to placate the "most feral" members of his caucus. But they "want to shut down the government" anyway.

"Months from now," Stoddard adds, "those same members will want a vote to impeach President Biden — a vote that McCarthy knows he will never have enough support to pass. And McCarthy knows that if he were to pressure Republicans in precarious seats — those in districts Biden won in 2020 — to vote for impeachment, the GOP would lose the House over it."

READ MORE:Did air conditioning pave the way for government shutdowns?

Read A.B. Stoddard's full article for The Bulwark at this link.

DeSantis’ flailing campaign is making him 'lose clout — in Florida': report

When Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was reelected by 19 percent in 2022, his hardcore supporters praised him as the future of the MAGA movement. DeSantis, they argued, embodied former President Donald Trump's MAGA agenda, but with a lot more self-discipline. And they were confident that he was well on his way to the White House.

But DeSantis' presidential campaign has failed to take off, and he trails frontrunner Trump by 47 percent in an Emerson College poll released on September 20.

Moreover, an article published by Politico on September 22 stresses that DeSantis is even "losing clout in Florida."

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Politico reporters Gary Fineout and Kimberly Leonard explain, "College boards, stacked with DeSantis appointees, are rejecting job candidates with ties to the governor…. Interviews with nearly two dozen lobbyists, political consultants and lawmakers revealed that DeSantis' struggles as a presidential candidate have already eroded his influence in Florida. There is a widespread expectation that his candidacy will end in failure."

Fineout and Leonard add, "His standing at home may depend on how long he slogs forward in the presidential campaign — and how he will manage his exit from the race if he eventually drops out."

A GOP consultant, interviewed by Politico on condition of anonymity, said of DeSantis' allies, "You don't get the assumption they are measuring drapes anymore — they are waiting for him to drop out."

READ MORE:Conservative slams DeSantis' 'failing, fumbling campaign' as it goes from bad to worse

Read Politico's full article at this link.

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