Elizabeth Preza

'Nightmare': Longtime Trump adviser warns Fuentes meeting is 'another reason' people want 'DeSantis to run'

A longtime adviser to former Donald Trump warned his pre-Thanksgiving Mar-a-Lago dinner with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and white supremacist Nick Fuentes will be “another reason why” people look at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “to run against” the former president in 2024, NBC News reports.

Trump on Friday denied knowing who Fuentes is, claiming Ye “called me to have dinner” and “unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, who I knew nothing about.” Three sources who spoke with NBC News corroborated Trump’s assertion “that he didn’t know Fuentes,” but pointed out “one glaring inaccuracy in Trump’s statement,” NBC News’ Marc Caputo reports.

Per Caputo:

“All three sources familiar with the dinner told NBC News there was one glaring inaccuracy in Trump’s statement: Trump knew one of the three ‘friends’ brought by the rapper, Karen Giorno. She was the Trump campaign's Florida director in 2016 and the former president knows her by name and sight, the sources said. In addition to Giorno and Fuentes, Ye also brought along another man who was an associate, according to the sources.”

For one of Trump’s advisers, who asked to remain anonymous, “this is a f-cking nightmare,” Caputo reports. "If people are looking at [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis to run against Trump, here's another reason why.”

READ MORE: Evangelicals are the backbones of Trump's Big Lie — and it's all about white supremacy

Caputo continues:

“The source familiar with the dinner conversation said the dinner grew heated after Ye — who announced another run for president in 2024 on Thursday — asked Trump to be his running mate. Trump then began insulting Ye’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, according to the source and a video that Ye posted to Twitter on Thanksgiving Day recounting the dinner.”

One source said Trump told Ye, “You’re not going to win. You can’t beat me."

Fuentes is advising Ye on his presidential run, NBC News reports. Far-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos will manage his campaign.

According to the Twitter video Ye posted, “Trump is really impressed with Nick Fuentes.”

READ MORE: For white evangelical Protestants, power is religion and Herschel Walker is their vessel

“Nick Fuentes, unlike so many of the lawyers, and so many of the people that he was left with on his 2020 campaign, he’s actually a loyalist,” Ye said in the “Mar-a-Lago debrief” video.

“Nick, you work for the guy, and just because you work for him, you’re going to tell him he can beat me?” Trump asked Fuentes, according to an NBC News source. “You just got finished telling me I was the best president ever.”

Read the full report at NBC News.

READ MORE: These evangelicals are doing something Trump claimed they’d 'never' do — 'considering other' options: report

Ex-federal prosecutor details 7 words Pence said that 'disqualify him from ever holding public office again'

Glenn Kirschner, a former federal prosecutor, on Friday explained the seven words Mike Pence uttered “that should disqualify him from ever holding public office again.” Kirschner’s analysis came after the former vice president balked at a request to appear before the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Congress has no right to my testimony,” Pence told CBS “Face the Nation” earlier this month.

Lamenting what he described as “the partisan nature of the January 6 committee,” Pence said he was “closing the door” on testifying before the panel.

“We have a separation of powers under the Constitution of the United States,” Pence told Margaret Brennan. “And I believe it would establish a terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House.”

In a YouTube segment called “Justice Matters,” Kirschner laid out the authority under which the House Jan. 6 panel is operating.

“Congress is investigating the insurrection, the attempted overthrow of our democracy,” Kirschner said, noting the panel was established, in part, to develop ways to prevent such an attack from occurring in the future.

“Let’s be clear, by extension Mike Pence is saying ‘the American people have no right to my relevant testimony as Congress goes about trying to craft laws to keep this from ever happening again,’” Kirschner added.

Watch the full video below or at this link.

'Remaking a 3-decade-old flop': Conservative laments GOP propensity for 'conspiratorial extremism'

Conservative David Frum on Monday published an article in the Atlantic that warned the Republican Party against “remaking a three-decade-old flop,” arguing the GOP’s tendency to “[talk] themselves into deeply believing” fantasies about their Democratic counterparts will cause the party to lose the White House once again.

Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, examined four case studies in how Democrats and Republicans allow scandal to impact elections. As Frum noted, the Democratic Party took over the House of Representatives in 2006 and 2018 and went on to win the presidency in 2008 and 2020. “By contrast,” Frum explains, “the Republican majority elected in 1994 and 2010 lunged immediately into total war.”

That “total war,” Frum writes, led to “a conspiratorial extremism that frightened mainstream voters back to the party of the president.”

The Republican Party officially won a modest majority in the House of Representatives last Wednesday. But, Frum warns, “the signs strongly indicate that the next Republican House majority will follow the pattern of its predecessors.”

“The most urgent of those warning signs is Republicans’ urge to base their program for the next Congress on an investigation of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter,” Frum notes.

After securing the House of Representatives, Republicans on Thursday held a press conference during which they pledged to investigate President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

There are plans to subpoena Hunter Biden,” GOP Rep. Jim Comer, who will likely chair the House Oversight Committee next legislative session, told CNN in a seperate interview.

For Frum, the party’s impetus to investigate Hunter Biden is clear: “Whataboutism.”

“What Republicans want … is an excuse for their enabling of Trump,” Frum argues.

“Republicans supported and defended a strikingly corrupt president whose children disregarded nepotism rules to enrich themselves and their businesses,” and are now “[trying] to neutralize four years of nonstop genuine scandals,” Frum writes.

As Republican leaders “[talk] themselves into deeply believing these fantasies,” voters “demonstrated again in the elections of 2022 just how unimpressed they were by the extremist fantasies of the conservative fringe,” he continues.

“But Republicans are more and more isolated in their ideological information networks and seem even less connected to mainstream America today than they were a generation ago,” Frum laments. “They so passionately believe the stories they hear that they forget who confected those stories: themselves.”

Read the full article at the Atlantic.

Idaho Trump-loving megachurch pastor opposes a woman’s right to vote

Disciples of right-wing megachurch pastor Doug Wilson, a devoted Trumper with a booming media empire, knew who to blame for Republican midterm losses.


Especially college-educated women.

Wilson is known to most non-Trumpers for teaching that wives must obey husbands in all matters, including sex. His most famous aphorism is that God designed the male as the one who "penetrates, conquers, colonizes, plants. A woman receives, surrenders, accepts.” He counsels married couples that sex is "not an egalitarian pleasuring party" so women shouldn't expect to enjoy it as much as men. Wilson advises husbands to tell their wives how to vote.

In addition to being pastor of Christ Church in Idaho, Wilson launched a religious college and models for private schools and homeschoolers, is a popular speaker on the political/ religious revival circuit, and owns a book publishing house. It published his novel "Ride, Sally, Ride" about a Christian student so enraged by his neighbor's sexbot wife, he throws her into a recycling compactor, then faces murder charges.

Former Fuller Theological Seminary instructor Steve Rabey partners rounded up the reaction to the midterms from an array of Wilson's disciples for Roys Report, an online Christian newsletter.

Right Response Ministries, a frequent partner of Wilson's on YouTube shows and live events, tweeted after seeing a chart on TV showing that women, particularly college educated, are more likely to vote for Democrats. The ministry tweeted: "Takeaways: 1) Yes, women are more easily deceived than men. 2) Yes, the majority of universities are merely institutions for deception. 3) Yes, the 19th Amendment was a bad idea."

Bnonn Tennant, co-author of It’s Good To Be A Man published through Wilson’s Canon Press, battled women on Facebook after calling women's suffrage a "rebellion" against God. He continued, “Voting is an act of rulership. Since rulership is not given to women, women should not vote."

Tennant added that in a modern society where “women are allowed/expected to vote, it is prudent for a husband and wife to discuss how to vote, so they can double the impact of their household vote.” act of rulership.” Another one of Wilson's authors, Stephen Wolfe (The Case for Christian Nationalism) published tweeted that he believes only heads of households should vote so a widow supporting children might be allowed to vote.

Wilson and his male followers are not cultural oddities. They are part of the theonomist movement which advocates America being ruled by divine law rather than the Constitution. They favor embracing Old Testament rules and regulations.

In September, Wilson told Meet the Press he aimed for a spiritual takeover of his town, Moscow, Idaho that would exemplify the ideal of laws imposed by God, not the government.

Tragically, the pretty university town has been in national headlines this week because four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in their off-campus home. As of Friday, police said they had no suspects.

Wilson's Christ Church claims a membership of at least 800 in person and far more online. That is impressive, given Moscow's population of only 25,800. But Wilson seems as controversial there as he is popular. In August, one of his former deacons pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. There are two websites for people who have fled Christ Church, both are anonymous to protect the users' identities from Wilson's followers.

And Wilson's candidly combative tone makes many non-members uneasy. The logo of his New Saint Andrews College says: "Swords and Shovels. Build. Fight." On Wednesday, in his blog, he attacks the FBI for infiltrating the Proud Boys at the Capitol on January 6.

"The top echelons of the FBI have done their level best to fulfill their self-appointed role of becoming partisan hacks, obtaining Russian hoax warrants under pretenses known by them to be false—managing thereby to attain an astounding level of corruption—and all without anybody associated with these monkeyshines ever having to spend any time in the Big House," Wilson wrote. "We now know that the top law enforcement agency in the United States is itself lawless."

And Wilson published an anthology he edited called "No Quarter November" with this promo: "Some people want to know what it is about November that makes us want to burn things. We don’t think we have a moral obligation to be incendiary: the world for some mysterious reason has become flammable."

'Insecure small people': McConnell, Rick Scott allies point fingers over scope of GOP Senate failure

Allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) head Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) are trading barbs over the GOP’s failure to retake the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections, the Wall Street Journal reports.tr

Scott told reporters in October he saw a path to a 55-seat Senate majority for Republicans in the midterms.

“I think we can get 53, 54, 55,” Scott said at a get-out-the-vote event in North Carolina last month.

That dream ended abruptly on Saturday when Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto overtook Republican candidate Adam Laxalt in Nevada, officially handing Democrats a 50-49 Senate majority. A runoff election is scheduled on December 6 in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and challenger Herschel Walker, but Democrats will control the chamber regardless.

Even before Nevada was called for Cortez Masto, Scott on Friday admitted the midterms were a “complete disappointment” for Republicans.

“Here’s what happened to us: Election Day, our voters didn’t show up, we didn’t get enough voters,” Scott told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

Now, according to the Journal’s Lindsay Wise, Scott faces the ire of McConnell and his allies as he attempts to shift blame for the GOP’s poor midterm performance. Former McConnell chief of staff Josh Holmes admonished Scott for “errors in strategy and fundraising in running the campaign arm."

“[The NRSC] was run basically as a Rick Scott super PAC, where they didn’t want or need to input any Republican senators whatsoever,” Holmes told the Journal. “That’s a huge break from recent history where members have been pretty intimately involved.”

Former NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin also accused the NRSC of elevating Scott’s personal political career above GOP Senate control.

“It seems to me from the outside looking in that they are much more concerned about chasing headlines and advancing Rick Scott’s political ambitions than they are making a positive impact on Senate races,” McLaughlin said of the NRSC.

Curt Anderson, a Scott political advisor, argued the blame was shared among the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC (SLF), which is run by allies of McConnell, the NRSC, Republican leaders and the candidates themselves. In a curt summary of the GOP’s failures, Anderson told the Journal “insecure small people never accept responsibility for failure.”

Meanwhile, NRSC spokesman Chris Hartline said the party’s poor showing was exacerbated McConnell allies at the SLF, who he claimed spent months “constantly trashing [NRSC] candidates publicly and privately, and telling donors not to give to us or our campaigns.”

“Every member of the caucus was consulted on and informed of everything the NRSC was doing,” Hartline told the Journal in defense of Scott.

You can read the full report here (subscription required).

Tim Ryan drags JD Vance over 'fake nonprofit' that hired Big Pharma doc: 'One million people died'

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) faced off against “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance during a live debate on Monday as both candidates vie for the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). At one point in the debate, Ryan dragged Vance over his anti-drug nonprofit “Our Ohio Renewal,” which Ryan said took advantage of Ohioans struggling with drug addiction.

“You know what I haven’t done?” Ryan asked during the debate at WJW Fox 8’s headquarters in Cleveland. “I didn’t start a fake nonprofit pretending I was going to help people with addiction like JD Vance did — literally started a nonprofit and didn’t spend one nickel on anybody.”

“In fact, he brought in somebody from Perdue Pharma to be the spokesperson for the nonprofit,” Ryan continued. “The same drug company, Big Pharma, the big drug company, that had all the pill mills going, got everybody addicted. One million people died, JD. One million people died. And you started a nonprofit to try and take advantage of people in Ohio. And you know what? All you did with it was launch your political career.”

In August, AP reported that “the charity’s most notable accomplishment — sending an addiction specialist to Ohio’s Appalachian region for a yearlong residency — was tainted by ties among the doctor, the institute that employed her and Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin."

According to the AP, the nonprofit — which Vance founded the day after the 2016 presidential election and closed “shortly after clinching the state’s Republican nomination for U.S. Senate” — hired Dr. Sally Satel, whose writings “sometimes cited Purdue-funded studies and doctors” and “[questioned] the role of prescription painkillers in the national opioid crisis.”

The American Enterprise Institute, where Satel was a resident scholar, “received regular $50,000 donations and other financial support from Purdue totaling $800,000,” the AP reported.

You can watch a clip of the debate below or at this link.

Ron Johnson challenger says senator is 'bought and paid for' by Big Pharma

The campaign of Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who is running to unseat U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, declared Tuesday that the Republican incumbent "is bought and paid for by Big Pharma."

That charge came in response to Johnson's Monday comments about Medicare negotiating the cost of certain prescription drugs, which is included in the Inflation Reduction Act that U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law Tuesday afternoon.

Appearing on "The Brian Kilmeade Show," Johnson told the Fox News host that "when you start punishing the pharmaceutical industry, you're gonna have less innovation; you're gonna have fewer lifesaving drugs. That's not a good thing."

Barnes—who won the Democratic primary last week—said Tuesday that "while Ron Johnson is worried about protecting the bottom lines of big pharmaceutical companies, I'm worried about working families across Wisconsin who are forced to choose between putting food on the table or affording the medication they need."

"For over a decade, Ron Johnson has put big corporations and his wealthy donors before the working people he was elected to represent," he asserted. "In the Senate, I'll hold Big Pharma accountable and ensure every Wisconsinite has a fair shot."

The progressive Democrat's campaign also highlighted recent reporting by The Cap Times that Johnson, while chairing the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in 2018, "declined to subpoena Teva Pharmaceuticals as part of a Democrat-led investigation of the drugmaker's role in the opioid epidemic." In the months that followed, the company donated to both Johnson's campaign and an affiliated political action committee (PAC).

Johnson spokesperson Alexa Henning told the Madison-based newspaper that the "senator appreciates the support that people offer, but he doesn't personally track who gives what, and donations never impact his views on issues or how he votes." She added that asking about Teva's contributions "is another politically motivated hit job by the corporate media and cheered on by their allies in the Democrat Party."

Barnes' campaign, meanwhile, said Tuesday:

Ron Johnson has a long history of selling out Wisconsinites in favor of his large corporate donors. Earlier this year, Johnson justified sending 1,000 good-paying, family-sustaining jobs out of Wisconsin by claiming, "It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin." Reporting later showed the company shipping jobs out of state, Oshkosh Corp., "ranks seventh among Johnson's top career contributors."

Johnson, a businessman, was elected to the Senate in 2010 and won a second term in 2016.

In his bid to replace Johnson, Barnes has secured the support of various progressives groups across Wisconsin and the nation along with local, state, and federal elected officials, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

On the healthcare front, Barnes backs not only drug pricing reforms like those in the new law but also putting the United States on a path to universal healthcare by passing Medicare for All legislation at the federal level.

"In the richest nation in the world," the candidate says in a campaign video, "no one should be going bankrupt because of their medical bills."

'Scary stuff': GOP election deniers surge to victory in 2024 battlegrounds

In six key battleground states that played a decisive role in the 2020 presidential race, Republican candidates who have openly embraced former President Donald Trump's "Big Lie" have won nearly two-thirds of the GOP nominating contests for positions with power over state and federal elections, a potentially seismic threat to democracy.

According to a Washington Post analysis published Monday, 54 of 87 Republican nominees for key posts in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have denied the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory.

"Had those candidates held power in 2020, they would have had the electoral clout to try something that the current officeholders refused: overturning the vote and denying Biden the presidency," the Post notes. "Whether they could have succeeded in practice is a matter of vigorous debate among scholars, who cite the potential for court challenges and other means of upholding the results."

"But the experts agree on one thing: A close presidential contest that comes down to the outcome in states where officials are willing to try to thwart the popular will could throw the country into chaos," the newspaper adds. "It would potentially delay the result, undermine confidence in the democratic system, and sow the seeds of civil strife on a scale even greater than what the nation saw on January 6, 2021."

Trump, who is gearing up for a possible 2024 run as he's under criminal investigation by the Justice Department, has endorsed and campaigned for many of the candidates featured in the Post's analysis, including Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake—a former TV news anchor whose incessant lies about the 2020 election catapulted her to a win in the GOP primary earlier this month, delighting the former president.

Even in victory, Lake lashed out at the Arizona election process, complaining that the results "took longer than they should have."

The Post's analysis confirms that Arizona, a state Biden carried narrowly in 2020, is a bastion of election denial on the GOP side: 12 of 13 Republican nominees for state and federal offices there have questioned the election, including the chosen candidate for secretary of state.

Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called the rise of GOP election deniers across the U.S. "the biggest story not enough people are watching."

"This is how our democracy could crumble, quickly and quietly," Bookbinder warned.

The notion that Biden was elected illegitimately is broadly popular with Republican voters, according to recent opinion surveys. As the Post points out, "The predilection among Republican primary voters toward candidates who deny the result of the last election extends well beyond Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona—three states that together accounted for 47 electoral votes in 2020, more than enough to flip the last election to Trump."

Ian Vandewalker, senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, wrote in a blog post earlier this month that "the Big Lie that the elec­tion was stolen from Trump has been pushed by power­ful politi­cians, start­ing with Trump himself."

"But it may be lead­ers closer to home who have the greatest abil­ity to affect the popular­ity of elec­tion denial among the people of their state," he added.

One prominent Republican officeholder that is actively boosting election deniers is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible 2024 presidential contender.

The Orlando Sentinel reported last week that DeSantis is "set to appear at rallies for Pennsylvania GOP governor's candidate Doug Mastriano, Arizona candidate for governor Kari Lake, and U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters, all of whom have denied Biden's win and falsely claimed election fraud.

DeSantis was one of the first Republicans to suggest state legislatures could overrule voters to choose Trump.

"Appearing on Fox News on November 5, two days after the election," the Sentinel observed, "he said 'presidential electors are done by the legislators and the schemes they create and the framework. And if there's departure from that, if they're not following law, if they're ignoring the law, then they can provide remedies as well.'"

The Republican Party's elevation of fervent election deniers—often with the support of dark money—in battleground states and nationwide has dramatically raised the stakes of the upcoming November contests, given that they could usher into power officials willing to subvert the democratic process to secure their desired outcome.

Wisconsin offers an illustrative example of November's implications. As the New York Times reported Monday, "The governor's race this fall, along with a pivotal State Supreme Court contest next spring, will decide whether Republicans can solidify their grip on the swing state and remake its voting laws."

"Nowhere in the country have Republican lawmakers been more aggressive in their attempts to seize a partisan edge than in Wisconsin," the Times noted. "Having gerrymandered the Legislature past the point that it can be flipped, they are now pushing intensely to take greater control over the state's voting infrastructure ahead of the 2024 presidential contest."

'Do you take home docs marked special access?: CNN host stumps GOP rep twisting himself into knots to defend Trump

CNN host Brianna Keilar on Saturday appeared to stump House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) as he tried to explain away Donald Trump’s mounting legal troubles after the FBI searched the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate last Monday.

As Keilar noted, the Department of Justice “is investigating possible Espionage Act violations” after agents recovered 11 sets of classified documents from Trump’s estate.

“Are you concerned that Donald Trump was keeping these highly classified documents at his resort?” Keilar asked.

READ MORE: Donald Trump may face charges for the 'serious crime of espionage' over classified documents: Lawrence Tribe

Turner replied that he has a “number” of concerns, including “whether or not the raid itself was justified.” Turner argued there isn’t yet conclusive information “as to whether or not this is actually classified material and whether or not it rises to the level of the highest classified material.”

“You are familiar with special access programs and the level of classification that is,” Keilar pressed. “Why are you casting doubt on how classified this information was if you see the property receipt and it’s very clear this was SCI information, some of it?”

Turner argued the documents in Trump’s home “are two years old,” insisting “we don't know if they rise to the level of being a national security threat.”

He then pivoted to talking about Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

READ MORE: Weisselberg out in Scotland: First indication that indictment affects Trump Organization operations

“The fact you have here the attorney general, who is going after President [Joe] Biden's political rival, whose own personal career was derailed on the way to the Supreme Court by Donald Trump himself, and unequal application of the law between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and the fact you have the FBI previously submitting — in warrants — materials that were bogus, that were politically motivated that targeted Donald Trump, there’s a high level of skepticism,” Turner said.

As Turner called for an investigation into whether Garland abused his discretion by OK’ing the Mar-a-Lago search, Keiler pointedly asked the Republican representative: “Do you take home documents marked ‘special access?’”

“No,” Turner replied.

Watch the full video below or at this link.

READ MORE: Mar-a-Lago search an 'extraordinary escalation' of Donald Trump criminal probe: CNN

'A pattern of conduct to destroy federal record': CREW urges DOJ to probe missing Jan. 6 texts

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) on Friday filed a complaint with Department of Justice demanding “a broad investigation into the destruction of federal records by government officials involved in the response to the January 6th insurrection and efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

The complaint comes on the heals of the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last Monday. During that search, the FBI seized “11 sets of classified documents” including four marked top-secret, according to the Washington Post.

In the complaint, addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, CREW argues “a growing body of evidence suggests a pattern of conduct in multiple agencies to destroy federal records.”

READ MORE: Marco Rubio: ‘Not a Crime’ to Break Federal Law by Taking Top Secret National Security Documents From the White House

“The Secret Service reportedly erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, despite a request from DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to preserve and share copies of the text messages,” CREW wrote in its complaint. “Subsequent reporting revealed that text messages of then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and then-acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were also deleted for a key period leading up to January 6th.”

Noting the texts of key Pentagon officials were also destroyed, CREW General Counsel Adam Rappaport said, “It is now clear that the problem of deleted text messages and other records is not limited to the Secret Service and DHS.”

“These agencies and individuals played key roles before, during, and after the January 6th insurrection, as reinforced by testimony provided the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,” the complaint reads, adding, “without question the deleted text messages were federal records under the definition adopted by the 2014 amendments to the Federal Records Act.”

READ MORE: Fox News guest calls Mar-a-Lago search 'a preemptive coup'

“The violent insurrection of January 6 and the sustained efforts by a former president to overturn the results of a valid election have seriously eroded public trust in government and placed our democracy on shaky ground,” the complaint concludes. “To restore that credibility there must be full accountability for those who perpetrated acts of violence and insurrection."
“The Department of Justice should take immediate and thorough action to determine the extent of the problem, hold accountable those responsible for destroying critical records, and determine whether these records can be recovered,” Rappaport said.

Read the full complaint here.

READ MORE: Mar-a-Lago search an 'extraordinary escalation' of Donald Trump criminal probe: CNN

'He didn’t like to read': Missouri paper highlights a 'particularly curious' element of Trump’s document stash

An editorial published Saturday in Missouri’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch called out former President Donald Trump’s well-documented distaste for reading, posing the question: “Why would an ex-president who doesn't read want boxes of documents at his home?”

The Post-Dispatch referenced a series of stunning reports published over the past week detailing the FBI’s seizure of nearly “two-dozen boxes of documents that belonged to the federal government and reportedly contained top secret material.” Those documents were found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate last Monday.

Noting the former president’s proclivity towards boredom, general lack of interest in reading and abject love of TV, the editorial board writes:

“Against that backdrop, the existence of perhaps 25 boxes full of government documents, reportedly including top secret material, in a Mar-a-Lago basement seems particularly curious. Why would Trump want them at his private residence when he didn’t like to read and had no legal right to possess them?”

READ MORE: Donald Trump may face charges for the 'serious crime of espionage' over classified documents: Lawrence Tribe

Referencing Trump’s relentless 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton over her private email sever, the editorial board insists, “Trump certainly had to grasp how serious it is to unlawfully retain classified documents”

“And after the FBI collected 15 boxes full of documents at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, Trump must have had a good reason to hide the existence of another 10 boxes,” the editorial continues. “It was only after an informant tipped off the FBI to the additional boxes that a federal judge authorized last week’s search.”

The editorial board goes on to slam Republicans who are “apoplectic” over the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago but mum on Trump’s decision to take documents that “were never his.”

“Regardless of the justification, the documents were never his, and Republicans who are apoplectic over the FBI search should first be asking why it was ever O.K. for him to break the law in the first place,” the board writes.

Read the full piece at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

READ MORE: Weisselberg out in Scotland: First indication that indictment affects Trump Organization operations

National security experts explain why Biden is exactly right to reject a 'no-fly zone' for Ukraine

From Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to former NATO Commander Philip Breedlove, there are growing calls for the Biden administration to impose a no-fly zone in Ukraine as a way to protect civilians there and destroy the Russian air offensive that has largely grounded the Ukrainian air force and is doing so much damage to the Ukrainian army.

This would mean that the U.S. Air Force would essentially become the Ukrainian air force, fighting alongside Ukrainian ground forces against Russia.

President Biden is right to resist these requests. At a recent press conference, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki gave a succinct answer as to why the administration has no intention of implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine—because it would be an act of war:

“The no-fly zone . . . would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and causing a—prompting a potential direct war with Russia . . . the exact step that we want to avoid.”

In an interview with NPR, Philip Breedlove acknowledged the dangers of a no-fly zone, but argued for one nonetheless. But looked at closely, many of Breedlove’s points are reasons not to proceed with such a risky course:

“[W]hat Jen Psaki said is absolutely correct. A no-fly zone, if it is truly a military no-fly zone, is essentially an act of war because that means you are willing to enforce it, meaning those who violate it you would shoot at . . . [and] if there are defense systems in the enemy’s territory that can fire into the no-fly zone, then we normally take those systems out, which would mean bombing into enemy territory.”

Writing in War on the Rocks, retired Air Force Col. Mike Pietrucha and soon-to-retire officer Mike Benitez further underscore the danger of a no fly-zone, noting that “a no-fly zone is not a military half-measure. It is a combat operation designed to deprive the enemy of its airpower, and it involves direct and sustained fighting.”

Shooting down Russian planes and bombing Russian anti-aircraft sites would greatly increase the risks of escalation, up to and including a nuclear confrontation. That’s reason enough not to go forward, regardless of how loud the demands to do so may be. As Breedlove himself noted in his NPR interview, “We are very reticent to have a war with a nuclear power that is already talking about using nuclear weapons”—a dramatic understatement if there ever was one.

Administration critics who advocate for a no-fly zone routinely understate the risk by arguing “we’ve done it before”—in Iraq, Bosnia, and Libya. But in those cases U.S. opponents had little or no capability to shoot down U.S. aircraft or take out U.S. anti-aircraft systems. Russia is capable of doing both.

The calls for a no-fly zone are a new indication of just how far a belief not just in U.S. unilateral dominance but U.S. invulnerability have become the default mode of thinking for some U.S. politicians and soldiers—despite the bitter lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody thought that way during the Cold War; and if we are now engaged in a new cold war with Russia, we desperately need to remember the lessons of the old one.

If the U.S. Air Force put forth its full strength (including stripping U.S. forces in the Middle East and Far East of reserves), it could probably prevail eventually against Russian aircraft in the skies over Ukraine, though at severe cost. The greatest threat however would be Russian S-300 and S-400 ground-to-air missiles. The latest version has a maximum range of 400 kilometers, which means that they can cover most of Ukraine’s territory while remaining based within Russia.

Therefore, in an air war with Russia, there would inevitably be heavy casualties among U.S. air crew. Some would be captured by Russia, giving Moscow leverage in any future negotiations over an end to the war in Ukraine. Many more would be killed. To eliminate this threat would necessitate destroying the missile launching sites, not only in occupied parts of Ukraine, but in Russia itself.

Given the extreme risks to U.S. pilots of attacking targets in Russia, there would be an overwhelming argument for U.S. cruise missiles to be employed instead. Russia would then very likely retaliate using its own missiles to destroy both U.S. missile sites in Europe and the air bases in Poland and other countries from which U.S. aircraft were operating.

Russia would probably not fire missiles at bases in America itself; but it would be very surprising if it did not use its powerful fleet of nuclear and conventional attack submarines to launch attacks on U.S. naval targets.

At this point, we would have reached the point that during the Cold War, generations of sensible U.S. and Soviet leaders took the greatest care to avoid: two nuclear superpowers, with the capacity between them to annihilate not just each other but the whole of humanity, exchanging missiles.

This would begin with conventional missiles; but the chances of this turning deliberately or more likely accidentally into nuclear conflict would be appallingly high. We should not forget the occasions during the Cold War when only the wisdom and caution of one U.S. or Soviet officer averted catastrophe. These likely consequences of a no-fly zone are entirely evident to sensible U.S. and European military analysts.

We also need to consider the political consequences of a no-fly zone for the Western alliance. NATO’s European members have introduced surprisingly tough economic sanctions against Russia, and European publics have demonstrated overwhelming sympathy for Ukraine; but we should not forget that all of this is completely risk-free in physical terms. No serious West European politician is advocating a no-fly zone, precisely because they can see the probability of this leading to missile exchanges on the continent of Europe.

This means that if Washington did indicate that it was seriously considering a no-fly zone, the immediate consequence would very likely be a split in NATO. It is extremely likely that the Germans, French, and other European governments would prevent their bases being used for this purpose. This would make it very hard to deploy the U.S. forces necessary.

For all these reasons, a no-fly zone over Ukraine would risk becoming one of the most disastrous foreign policy decisions ever taken by a U.S. administration.

Howard Stern blasts Aaron Rodgers for lying about vaccination status: 'They should throw him out of the league so fast'

Howard Stern unloaded on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after it was revealed the football player lied at a press conference when asked if he was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rodgers, who was benched on November 3rd after testing positive for COVID-19, told reporters on Aug. 26 he was "immunized" from the virus. Responding to the question "are you vaccinated?" Rodgers replied "yeah, I've been immunized."

Instead of getting vaccinated, Rodgers admitted to sports podcaster Pat McAfee on Friday that he actually received a homeopathic treatment from his personal doctor.

Speaking on "The Pat McAfee Show on YouTube and SiriusXM," Rodgers insisted he didn't lie about his vaccination status, claiming he's in the "crosshairs of the woke mob" who are orchestrating a "witch hunt" against him.

Rodgers also said he gathered "500 pages of research" about the efficacy of vaccines in an attempt to convince the league to grant him an exemption from its vaccine requirement.

On his Sirius XM radio program Monday, Stern wasn't buying Rodger's lies.

"I was so worked up over the weekend about this fucking Aaron Rodgers of the NFL," Stern said. "I don't even know where to begin with that story. I mean this fucking guy."

Noting that Rodgers is a great football player and "that's why they put up with his bullshit," Stern said if he "ran the NFL … I would throw this guy out of the football league so fast."

"What he did to his fellow teammates … this fucking guy, they should throw him out of the league so fast," Stern added.

Turning to Rodgers' "bullshit" claim that he received homeopathic treatment for COVID-19 and therefore has "the antibodies," Stern was equally incensed.

"C'mon dude, really?" the radio host asked.

"First of all, I don't know where these guys get their information from …" Stern continued. "At the press conference he said he got his information from Joe Rogan … you got doctors who study in medical school. I don't know what has happened to this country."

Watch the full video below:

'Offensive deprivation of an important right': Federal judge temporarily blocks Texas abortion ban

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman on Wednesday issued a preliminary injunction blocking a Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, insisting the restraining order is necessary to "prevent irreparable harm to the United States' interest in protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens."

"From the moment [Senate Bill] 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising
control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution ... This Court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right," the order reads.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Pitman's order was issued in a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S Department of Justice against the state of Texas seeking both an injunction and "a permanent order that the Texas ban is invalid and unenforceable."

In his order, Judge Pitman accused Texas of contriving "an unprecedented and transparent statutory scheme" to deprive people of their "right under the Constitution to choose to obtain an abortion prior to fetal viability."

Per the Journal's Brent Kendall:

"Judge Pitman chose not to delay the effective date of his injunction to give Texas time to seek an immediate stay from an appeals court, meaning state abortion providers have at least a short time window to resume offering abortions to a broad range of patients if they choose to do so."

Read the full ruling via Just Security.

'They’ve lost control of the mob': Trump booed at rally after telling supporters to 'take the vaccines'

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday emphatically embraced the COVID-19 vaccine in front of a crowd of his supporters, igniting boos from rally-goers in Alabama, video shows.

"Take the vaccines! I did it, it's good!" Trump told the crowd as some attendees started to boo.

Responding to the boos, Trump continued: "No, that's okay. That's alright. You got your freedoms, but I happened to take the vaccine."

"If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know, okay?" he added, as the crowd erupted in applause.

Cullman, AL, where Trump's rally was held, declared a state of emergency on Thursday after experiencing a 218% increase in hospitalizations over the previous two weeks, Insider reports.

Advisers to the former president have reportedly urged him for months to make a public service announcement about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. In April, Trump suggested he would make a "commercial" for the vaccine, but that video never materialized. Still, the former president's face-to-face appeal to a crowd of supporters marked, as one commentator put it, "the first good thing Trump has ever said."

See more reactions below:

'Mind-numbingly reckless and irresponsible': Maricopa County sheriff blasts Arizona Senate's audit demand

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone on Friday slammed the "Senate Republican Caucus' audit of the Maricopa County votes" for "[jeopardizing] the entire mission of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office," the Arizona Republic reports.

"The Senate Republican Caucus' audit of the Maricopa County votes from last November's election has no stopping point," Penzone said in a statement. "Now, its most recent demands jeopardize the entire mission of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office."

Penzone's criticism comes after Maricopa County failed to provide "certain routers that the state Senate sought in its original subpoenas" of 2020 election material. According to the Arizona Republic, "the county has provided all 2.1 million voter general election ballots, voter information and election equipment in response to state Senate subpoenas," but is warning of a "significant security risk to Sheriff's Office law enforcement data" if the routers are released.

Ken Bennett, who is serving "as a liaison between the Senate and the private contractors overseeing the audit," said auditors wants access to the routers because "people that have always suspected something nefarious about elections being connected to the internet."

The Senate is also demanding "passwords to the county's ballot tabulators used on Election Day at voting centers." Bennett said auditors need the passwords so they have have "administrative access to voting machines," according to the Arizona Republic.

But County Attorney Allister Adel, in a letter to Bennett, said no such passwords exist. "The county has provided every password, user name and security key in its custody or control, as commanded by the Senate's subpoenas, and does not have any others," Adel told Bennett.

As for the routers, Sheriff Penzone in his statement said "access to this information would adversely affect the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office ability to protect critical evidence, data shared between law enforcement agencies, protected private information and individual passwords, all of which could be used to the detriment of citizens and law enforcement infrastructure."

Such a move "puts sensitive, confidential data belonging to Maricopa County's citizens — including social security numbers and protected health information — at risk as well," Adel wrote in that letter to Bennett.

Republican Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers likewise said releasing the routers would "cripple County operations and cost as much as $6 million."

Penzone also suggested the Senate is misrepresenting tropes of "transparency and accountability" in an effort to secure the routers.

Per the Arizona Republic:

The sheriff said transparency and accountability are democracy's foundation. "But when these words are misrepresented, it defies the fragile balance that exists between freedom and order and all that we believe in."

'Terrible economics': These states are declining federal unemployment funds. Experts say that's 'a huge mistake'

Residents in South Carolina and Montana next month will lose access to federal unemployment benefits over what those states' Republican governors call a "severe workforce shortage." Experts say the move by Montana's Gov. Greg Gianforte and South Carolina's Gov. Henry McMaster is a "huge mistake."

As ABC News reports, South Carolina and Montana are the first states "to end participation in the unemployment enhancement programs." That program offered U.S. workers access to extra unemployment funds as part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in March.

In a statement announcing South Carolina's "return to pre-pandemic unemployment program," McMaster complained: "In many instances, these payments are greater than the worker's previous paychecks."

"What was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement," he said.

In an effort to incentivize Montanans, Gianforte is offering a one-time "'return-to-work bonus' of $1,200 will be paid to people who rejoin the labor force and maintain employment for at least one month," according to ABC News. That money will also come from the federally-funded American Rescue Plan.

But Economy Policy Institute senior economist Heidi Shierholz says McMaster and Gianforte are making "a huge mistake."

"The idea that states are just going to forego that and allow all that money to be sucked out of their economy is just terrible economics," Shierholz told ABC News. "I just deeply hope that you don't see more states following this path because it's a huge mistake."

Shierholz said the narrative of a "severe workforce shortage" driven by increased unemployment benefits is based on a false premise. Currently, federal unemployment benefits offer laid-off workers an additional $300 per week, down from $600 at the end of last of July. According to Shierholz, if money was the motivator, that decrease from $600 to $300 would have made a marked difference in the unemployment rate last year.

"You should have seen a bump up in employment, and you can't see that in the data so it just points to that it wasn't really causing the labor supply effect," Shierholz said. "It's just difficult to imagine that something half that big is having any effect now."

And Shierholz is far from the only expert who warns that hiring issues in South Carolina and Montana won't be solved by depriving residents of enhanced unemployment benefits.

ABC News reports:

William E. Spriggs, an economist and professor at Howard University, said in an interview with ABC News that there is no data to prove that unemployment checks are preventing Americans from returning to work.

"There's no job shortage, in terms of workers. There's a wage shortage," said Spriggs, adding that research shows many employers "want to pay rotten wages and have rotten hours."

Last week, the Washington Post published an analysis that likewise dispelled the framing of a "worker shortage" based on enhanced unemployment. "At the most basic level, people are still hesitant to return to work until they are fully vaccinated and their children are back in school and daycare full-time," the Post analysis declares.

Many Americans, the Post reports, are "re-assessing what they want to do and how they want to work, whether in an office, at home or some hybrid combination."

Still, McMaster and Gianforte are blazing ahead with plans to reopen their respective economies by depriving citizens (and their states) of extra funding during the worst public health crisis in a century. As ABC News reports, experts say "declining to take federal money is going to have a deep effect on the living standards of residents and their families, and likely will worsen those states' overall economies."

But for all the hand wringing about disincentivized workers by those states' Republican governors, Shierholz said the bottom line is "employers are just angry that they are unable to find workers at relatively low wages."

"The jobs being posted are more stressful, more risky, harder jobs than they were pre-COVID," she added. " ... When the job is more stressful, then it should command a higher wage."

Update Sun. May 9 | 9:25 AM EST —

WMC Action News reports that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday also "ordered the state's Division of Workforce Services to end Arkansas' participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs." That order goes into effect on June 26; the federal unemployment benefit program will run until September.

Joe Manchin says his 'better judgment' was a 'bipartisan' COVID bill — but Biden 'wants to show strength'

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, says he knows President Joe Biden is "trying to bring everybody together" but he disagreed with the new leader of the free world who worked hard and acted fast to get relief to Americans struggling after a year in a pandemic that had already stolen 400,000 lives the day he was sworn into the Oval Office.

Manchin, ranked by GovTrack as number 54 on a list of Senators where 100 is the most liberal (Lisa Murkowski is ranked more liberal, at number 55,) had a lot to say about former President Donald Trump as well.

"I didn't know there was that type of fever and pent-up hatred in people he allowed them to unleash."

Manchin is outright blocking President Biden's agenda in the name of "bipartisanship" by refusing to support its critical elements, including HR1 , the voting rights protection bill, along with Biden's ambitious infrastructure bill, the LGBTQ Equality Act, D.C. statehood, killing or at least weakening the filibuster – and using the budget reconciliation process to move bills forward.

There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster," Manchin wrote one month ago. "The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation."

Instead, Manchin wants to be known as the bipartisan guy, regardless of whether or not Biden's agenda is accomplished.

"I talk to everybody. I have dinner with everybody. If I can find a pathway forward, we're going to find it. You can't find it unless you know people and unless you truly want to be a friend and want to work in an honest way, not a gotcha moment."

Manchin, for example, admits infrastructure is important and decades overdue. To his thinking that just means there's no need to rush.

"Now we're in a situation we don't have that urgency (unlike COVID-19 relief), that time sensitivity, that 'We gotta do this. We gotta do infrastructure.' Infrastructure should have been done 10, 20 years ago. It's not like a do-or-die right now. We can fix it, we should fix it, but it should be based on infrastructure," he told USA Today.

Experts say that every day that goes by makes the actual price tag higher, with even more damage done to critical infrastructure like roads and bridges, and the increased costs due to inflation. There's also "soft" infrastructure, like broadband, which is critical to learning and communications.

Meanwhile, with Manchin being the last Democratic holdout on much of the Biden agenda, blocking both key aspects – the legislation – and the road to pass those bills – killing the filibuster – he's getting a lot of attention on social media.

Suez Canal blockage: Here's what it takes to unwedge a megaship

Stephen Turnock, University of Southampton

One of the world's largest container ships, named Ever Given, has been wedged across the Suez Canal since it was blown off course by high winds in the early hours of March 23, blocking one of the busiest maritime trade corridors in the world.

The incident has created a logjam of hundreds of tankers, the operators of which are now weighing up whether to wait for the stranded container ship to be cleared, or whether rerouting around the Cape of Good Hope, at the southernmost point of Africa, will hasten their arrival at port.

Keep reading... Show less

Colorado massacre intensifies demands for action: 'End the filibuster and pass gun safety laws. Now'

After a gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle killed 10 people in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado on Monday, the second mass shooting in the United States in less than a week, calls rang out for Democrats to use their slim majority in Congress to finally eliminate the legislative filibuster and pass substantial gun safety laws over foreseeable GOP obstruction.

"We're absolutely heartbroken for everyone who has been impacted," progressive advocacy group Indivisible said in the wake of the massacre. "You're going to see another round of 'we can't do anything yet, there was a tragedy' hand-wringing, but we must end gun violence now. Let's eliminate the filibuster and pass real gun violence prevention legislation."

In the middle of Monday afternoon, a gunman entered a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder and opened fire as horrified employees and customers attempted to hide and flee. The building was soon surrounded by law enforcement, and about an hour later—after 10 people were killed, including a city police officer who responded to the scene—a shirtless man with blood running down his right leg was escorted from the building in handcuffs. Authorities did not confirm that the man was the shooter but said the suspect has been taken into custody.

As the Washington Post noted, "There have been as many as nine school shootings in the area since the Columbine massacre in 1999, which left 12 students and a teacher dead. Four other major shootings have occurred within 20 miles of the suburban Columbine High School, including a 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora that left 12 dead."

"Enough is enough," Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) said in a statement late Monday. "Americans should feel safe in their grocery stores. They should feel safe in their schools, their movie theaters, and in their communities. While Congress dithers on enacting meaningful gun violence prevention measures, Americans—and Coloradans—are being murdered before our very eyes—day after day, year after year."

Ten killed in mass shooting at Colorado grocery store www.youtube.com

The Boulder massacre came just days after a gunman killed eight people—most of them women of Asian descent—in a shooting spree at three separate spas in metro Atlanta.

"I said Atlanta was predictable and inevitable. So was this. I discussed this scenario with Republicans who bullshitted me about why they needed to vote no on H.R. 8," Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, said of the Boulder shooting late Monday, referring to background check legislation that the House passed over nearly unanimous Republican opposition earlier this month.

"End the filibuster," Guttenberg added. "Gun safety needs to move forward without them."

Others echoed that message, arguing that the Democratic Party—which controls Congress and the presidency—cannot allow an archaic Senate rule to stand in the way of potentially lifesaving gun measures.

"End the fucking filibuster and pass some gun reform because my hands are shaking with rage typing this and checking on friends and family," wrote Jessica Mason Pieklo, executive editor of the Rewire News Group and a Boulder resident. "I still don't know if we know any of the dead."

In recent days, as Common Dreams has reported, several prominent Senate Democrats as well as President Joe Biden have voiced support for substantial changes to the filibuster, which in its current form requires 60 votes for most legislation to pass the upper chamber. It is highly unlikely that Senate Democrats would be able to get 10 Republicans on board for gun control legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared Monday night that "this Senate must and will move forward on legislation to help stop the epidemic of gun violence," but he did not mention the filibuster issue.

"Democrats should put common sense gun control on the floor of the Senate tomorrow and force a talking filibuster," said activist Ady Barkan, referring to a potential rule change that would require senators who wish to obstruct to speak continuously on the floor. "[West Virginia Sen. Joe] Manchin and Biden already said they support that rule change. So do it now."

"This is the moment," added Barkan, "and this is the issue."

'You voted against it' trends as GOP tries to take credit for 'bipartisan relief bill' passed by Dems only

Some Republican members of the House and Senate are trying to take credit for elements of the American Rescue Act after refusing to support the bill, prompting social media users to remind them: "YOU VOTED AGAINST IT!"

That phrase trended on Twitter Sunday after at least four Republican congresspeople tried to convince their constituents they played a role in the broadly-backed $1.9 trillion stimulus package. President Joe Biden signed the bill into law on Thursday. No Republican in either the House or Senate supported the bill.

On Friday, Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) took to Twitter to "announce that the Biden Administration has just implemented my bipartisan COVID relief bill." Despite insisting she was "proud" that her "bipartisan legislation has officially become SBA policy," Salazar failed to mention that she, herself, voted against the bill.

Here are some reactions to Salazar's post:

Salazar isn't alone. As previously reported by AlterNet, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on Wednesday

tweeted his approval for a provision in the bill that grants $28.6 billion to independent restaurant operators — despite voting against the legislation. That tweet immediately garnered criticism from social media users:

Another Republican catching flak for her comments on the popular legislation is Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who called the stimulus checks "money that you and your fellow countrymen already paid into the system" (duh).

We honestly aren't going to waste time talking about Boebert, save a series of reactions that really hone in on how disingenuous her tweet was:

And finally, we have Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who released a statement accompanying his "no" vote that can only be described as walking a tightrope:

"Today, I'm glad to know my constituents will be receiving an additional relief payment and funding to help improve their access to vaccines, PPE, and unemployment insurance.

I fully support getting assistance to Americans to help keep food on their tables and to help those who are struggling. I fully support continued funding for emergency essentials like vaccines, COVID testing, PPE, school reopening resources, unemployment insurance, and research. And I'll continue to work with my colleagues in the House to ensure the American people have what they need to fight through this pandemic."

Unsurprisingly, Kinzinger's statement didn't go over well:

So there you have it, folks. Republicans are trying to take credit for a bill not a single one of them voted for, while simultaneous railing against provisions that were also included in former President Donald Trump's bills, which they did vote for. It's almost like these people don't actually care about helping us!

GOP in disarray after historic defeat: ‘Political disaster doesn’t begin to describe how bad this is for Republicans’

A new report from Roll Call details some of the many challenges facing the Republican Party as it looks to an uncertain future following former President Donald Trump's electoral defeat.

As the party turns its focus to the 2022 midterms, it remains "divided over Trump, their midterm prospects and the state of the GOP itself," Roll Call's Bridget Bowman, Kate Ackley, and Stephanie Akin report.

While some, like Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), insist the Republican Party is "very unified" when compared with their Democratic counterparts, the reality is that many in the GOP, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are bracing for primary challenges. Some McConnell allies told Roll Call they're anticipating "'a large-scale campaign' to block far-right candidates in primaries."

Trump has already made it clear that he intends to "primary the hell" out of any Republicans who didn't back the president's effort to overturn the election.

"Political disaster doesn't begin to describe how bad this is for Republicans," GOP consultant Alex Conant said.

"The 2022 primaries are going to be where those tensions get tested," former Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Ryan A. Costello told Roll Call.

And former National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) head Rep. Thomas M. Davis III likewise cautioned the party against allowing Trump to maintain control even after it suffered crippling defeat in under his leadership.

"The more Trump hangs around, the intensity, as we saw in Georgia, stays with Democrats," Davis said.

While some new Republican House members have made their allegiance to Trump known, others are taking a different approach to attract voters in the party. One such congresswoman is Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), who told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that she wants "to be a new voice for the Republican Party."

"That's one of the reasons I've spoken out so strongly against the president, against these QAnon conspiracy theorists that led us in a constitutional crisis," Mace said.

But Mace's goal of uniting a party that rejects the very same conspiracy and cynicism Trump embraced (loudly) over the past 5 years may be far-fetched, at best. As GOP consultant Mike DuHaime told Roll Call, "if the party behaves like it has in the last two months, we shouldn't count on any success."

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