Matthew Chapman

Lyft and Uber are letting Christian drivers 'missionize' riders 'against their will': complaint

On Saturday, OnlySky Media reported that rideshare companies Uber and Lyft are facing complaints that they are allowing Christian drivers to proselytize to unwilling passengers without consequences.

"Both ride-sharing companies have strict rules prohibiting religious discrimination. Drivers cannot refuse a customer, for example, who is very clearly not a member of their faith. But there’s no rule blocking drivers from proselytizing and attempting to win new converts, and Christians know it," reported Hemant Mehta. "A recent Associated Press article focused on Lyft drivers who see their work as 'mobile Christian ministries.'" One pastor who drives for Lyft, Kenneth Drayton, said, "The car is such an ideal place to do this because it's personal. I can share my faith and it's so important because that's what I live for."

"There’s a belief among many evangelicals that there shouldn’t be any boundaries when it comes to sharing the faith," noted the report. "But there’s a substantive difference between using personal social media, podcasts, or TV shows to do it — where recipients can always block the noise or change the channel — and doing it as part of a ride-share company where passengers may not be able to leave the car and the preacher is literally the person in the driver’s seat."

According to the report, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is sending legal complaints to both Lyft and Uber calling on them to change their policies and ban this practice.

"No one should have to pay to be missionized against their will… Non-religious and minority religious riders do not feel included or welcomed when they are confronted with proselytizing while stuck in a moving vehicle with a driver preaching at them," FFRF's letter read. They warned that this practice could even be a "traffic hazard" as the driver could be distracted by their effort to proselytize to the passenger.

The rideshare companies have come under controversy in recent years. Several states and cities have fought with them over their misclassification of drivers as "contractors" to exempt them from several applicable labor laws. In 2020, their algorithm was also exposed as charging riders more for trips to majority nonwhite neighborhoods than comparable majority white ones.

Watch: Trump-loving Nick Fuentes gets into food fight with In-N-Out patrons

On Saturday, TMZ reported that neo-Nazi activist and livestreamer Nick Fuentes was driven out of an In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles — after throwing a drink at fellow patrons in a food fight.

"The video, obtained by TMZ, show[s] Nick holding a large cup ... without warning he pitches it across the Hollywood restaurant early Saturday morning," said the report. "Liquid from the cup showers everyone in its path ... and the doused diners look at Nick in utter shock."

"Another video captured the moment Fuentes left the joint before the situation escalated," said the report. "As he's walking out, one patron mocks him for supposedly misidentifying himself, shouting, 'F--k Nick Fuentes. You racist!!'"

Fuentes, an architect of the so-called "Groyper" movement of internet trolls who seek to push white supremacist ideology into the political mainstream, has previously compared himself to Adolf Hitler, and advocates the creation of a white, Christian theocratic ethnostate in which Jews and nonwhite people are barred from political power.

Despite his notoriety as a neo-Nazi, former President Donald Trump recently caused an explosion of controversy for inviting him to a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Also attending that meeting was far-right rapper Kanye "Ye" West, who has also promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and professed admiration for Hitler in a recent interview on the extremist webcast InfoWars.

Trump subsequently denied knowing who Fuentes is, but has avoided directly condemning his ideology.

Watch a clip of the interaction below or at this link.

Why has Matt Gaetz not been indicted?

Last year, federal prosecutors began investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and an associate, local Florida county tax official Joel Greenberg, over allegations that they transported an underage girl across state lines and paid her for sex. Ultimately, Greenberg was sentenced to 11 years in prison after substantial cooperation with authorities — but Gaetz never faced charges.

On MSNBC Thursday, national security expert Michael Schmidt explained a key reason that might be.

"In documents filed in connection with Mr. Greenberg's sentencing, the Justice Department said he, quote, 'provided truthful and timely information that led to the charging of at least four of other people and provided substantial assistance on other matters that the government would address only in a sealed filing,'" said anchor Nicolle Wallace. "Do you have any sense of what the other matters are, and if Mr. Greenberg is viewed as credible and witnessed Mr. Gaetz, quote, 'having sex with the 17-year-old girl'? I believe it's the same one and having evidence she was paid. Why Mr. Gaetz hasn't been charged with the same crimes that Mr. Greenberg was sentenced for today?"

"A high-profile matter is complicated for the Justice Department," said Schmidt. "The Justice Department, as you have seen, has moved very sort of methodically and, you know, at times, you know, according to the critics, slowly on the issues of politicians because they want to do a painstaking job to make sure they follow the evidence and the evidence is there to bring a case. It is — while we're supposed to be treated equally under the law, it is more difficult to bring a prosecution against a high-profile politician, a member of Congress that allied himself so closely with Donald Trump. And I think that if the department were to bring a case and lose a case, it would have enormous consequences."

Greenberg, by contrast, was much easier to go after, argued Schmidt.

"The decision to bring the charge in that sense against someone like Matt Gaetz is a much weightier decision than when the government had enormous amount of evidence against Joel Greenberg ... and could get him to flip and cooperate," said Schmidt. "He had a lawyer who realized that the only pathway to reduce his sentence time was to cooperate. Greenberg was looking at up to three decades in prison for his crimes. He was sentenced to 11 years. That's a significant departure. That was due to his cooperation."

Watch below or at this link.

Michael Schmidt on why Matt Gaetz wasn't charged with trafficking youtu.be

Trump Organization throws Allen Weisselberg to the wolves

On Thursday, The Guardian reported that lawyers representing the Trump Organization are going all-out against the company's longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg, claiming that the company's shady tax behavior was all engineered by him alone, for his own benefit.

"Susan Necheles, representing one unit of the Trump Organization, pointed the finger at Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer, in her closing argument to the 12-member jury in New York state court in Manhattan," said the report. "'We are here today because of one reason and one reason only – the greed of Allen Weisselberg,' Necheles said. 'The purpose of Mr Weisselberg’s crimes was to benefit Mr Weisselberg.'"

"Necheles also pinned blame on Donald Bender, an accountant with Mazars USA, for turning a blind eye to Weisselberg’s wrongdoing," said the report. "'President Trump relied on Mazars, he relied on Donald Bender to be the watchdog,' Necheles said. 'Bender failed.'"

The Trump Organization is accused by New York prosecutors of manipulating the value of its assets, keeping two sets of books and giving the lower value to the IRS to avoid paying taxes, even as they gave higher estimates to banks and insurance companies.

Weisselberg, one of the architects of the scheme, was a key prosecution witness. During the trial, he has made many claims against his longtime employer, including that Trump "authorized" the tax scheme, and that the organization only pretended to fire him to reduce their legal liability.

A recent report indicated that prosecutors are considering another set of charges against Weisselberg, in an attempt to secure further cooperation against the former president directly.

'Substantial evidence' Donald Trump was part of coup plot after Oath Keepers conviction: expert

On CNN Wednesday, former White House ethics czar and House impeachment counsel Norm Eisen broke down the significance of Attorney General Merrick Garland's speech ahead of the conviction of Oath Keepers leaders in connection with the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Two of the far-right militia leaders Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, were convicted of seditious conspiracy, with a litany of other convictions handed down on several other associates.

"You have the attorney general, Merrick Garland, here, touting the seditious conspiracy verdict vowing to hold others accountable," said anchor Alex Marquardt. "How much do you think these convictions embolden the Justice Department? What is Garland telegraphing here about upcoming trials?"

"I think they embolden the Justice Department a lot," said Eisen. "I've known Merrick Garland over 30 years since we were young lawyers starting out in D.C. This is an unusual victory lap for him. If you have any question about the relationship of the Oath Keepers' case to Donald Trump's potential liability, including on some of the same possible crimes, sedition — seditious conspiracy, the attorney general talked about it when talking about the special counsel."

The bottom line, Eisen said, is that Trump should be worried.

"It's not the comments alone," said Eisen. "It's the substantial evidence that, like the Oath Keepers defense that they didn't enter the Capitol, that he was a significant part of events that may confer criminal liability. He should be worried about the facts and the law, but also the resolve that Garland, on behalf of DOJ, is signaling."

Watch below or at this link.

Norm Eisen says there is "substantial evidence" Trump is criminally liable like the Oath Keepers youtu.be

Kevin McCarthy’s 'performative' planned Constitution stunt torn apart by law expert

On Friday, legal expert Chris Geidner took to Twitter to tear apart House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for one of the first plans he has announced once the Republican majority is officially sworn into the chamber.

"On the very first day of the new Republican-led Congress, we will read every single word of the Constitution aloud from the floor of the House — something that hasn't been done in years," McCarthy had pledged. However, Geidner took issue with several aspects of this idea.

"1. It’s the House you’re leading, not Congress. 2. A public reading like this is performative," wrote Geidner. Furthermore, he continued, "3. Who will read the Three-Fifths Clause? 4. Who will read the 14th Amendment?"

Republicans gained fewer than ten seats in the House, after many experts had predicted a blowout wave election with potentially dozens of pickups for the GOP. Democrats maintained control of the Senate, carrying 50 seats with a 51st on the line in Georgia next month in a runoff election between Democratic Sen. Rev. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed former football star Herschel Walker.

McCarthy has been the presumptive choice for House Speaker. However, his easy ascendancy to the gavel is by no means assured, with several hardline Republicans in the Freedom Caucus coming out in refusal to back him, throwing his path to 218 votes into confusion.

Among the things McCarthy has promised his caucus, in addition to the Constitution reading, is restoring censured lawmakers like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to her committee assignments, and to authorize partisan investigations supported by the far right, like whether January 6 rioters were treated correctly in D.C. jail.

'Just a disaster': Right-wing journalist reacts with horror to Trump’s reported meeting with Nick Fuentes

On Friday, right-wing Washington Examiner political correspondent Byron York took to Twitter to warn that former President Donald Trump's increasingly open fraternization with white nationalists like Nick Fuentes is a crisis for the Republican Party.

"Trump, Kanye, Nick Fuentes — No longer a disaster waiting to happen," wrote York. "Now just a disaster.

This comes after Fuentes reportedly traveled to Trump's Mar-a-Lago country club residence in Palm Beach, Florida for a meeting — after which pro-Trump rapper Kanye West claimed that Trump was "really impressed" with the far-right activist.

Fuentes first gained prominence after his participation in the 2017 white supremacist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the murder of a counterprotester. He leads a movement known as the "Groyper Army," an association of extremist internet trolls whose mission is to inject white nationalist ideology into the mainstream of political debate. Fuentes was active in politics during the 2022 midterms as well, with failed Washington Congressional candidate Joe Kent seeking his endorsement.

Kanye West himself, who also goes by the mononym Ye, has come under heavy fire in recent weeks for promoting anti-Semitic beliefs, including a social media rant in which he said he was going to go "death con 3" on Jewish people.

All of this comes as Trump is preparing for his third consecutive run for president in 2024, which has conservative forces unsure whether to fall in with the base or back him once more.

Here’s how Mike Pence may have blown up his executive privilege defense

According to The New York Times, the Justice Department is now moving to question former Vice President Mike Pence as part of the criminal investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — a move that a week after Pence, who was the subject of a pressure campaign by Trump allies to throw out electoral votes in states carried by Joe Biden, flatly refused to cooperate with House investigators in their own parallel investigation.

One of Pence's — or Trump's only potential defenses against him testifying to federal investigators is to claim executive privilege over the conversations he had in the White House. But, as former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti said on Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," there's a key problem with that: he already wrote a book discussing at least some of the information.

"I think we had a preview because of the book that Michael Pence has written," said anchor Katie Phang. "And I think he's pretty much home run spoken to the public. The New York Times reports, 'Complicating the situation is whether Mr. Trump would invoke executive privilege to stop him ... or to limit Pence's testimony, a step that he's taken with limited success so far with other former officials.' What's the bottom line, could executive privilege stop Mike Pence from voluntarily testifying?"

"It's not going to work," said Mariotti. "Well established in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, that executive privilege does not trump the need of criminal prosecutors to get testimony via a grand jury subpoena as long as they can't get the information elsewhere ... no one knows what happened in those conversations between Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence, other than Mr. Pence. And Mike Pence was present during conversations about what Jeffrey Clark and John Eastman were saying and doing, their plans and their proposals. And we know they're within the DOJ's crosshairs, as well."

"A quick question, the fact that Mike Pence has written a book and put information within it about conversations, interactions he had vis-a-vis January 6th, does that help the DOJ in any way to boost legal arguments to make sure that they can get Pence to testify?" asked Phang.

"I think our viewers know you are a lawyer," said Mariotti. "That's a smart question ... the answer is absolutely. Because that means also there is a waiver of privilege. Even to the extent there was privilege or wasn't here, you know, that will be overcome by the waiver."

Watch below:

Proud Boys planning to disrupt another drag event before all the Club Q bodies are even buried

On Wednesday, Newsweek reported that just days following the Club Q nightclub mass shooting in Colorado Springs that killed five people and injured 19, the Proud Boys are already making plans to disrupt another drag event.

"The shooting followed a steady stream of far-right protests against LGBTQ events over the past year, coupled with anti-gay and anti-trans rhetoric pushed by prominent right-wing figures," reported Shira Li Bartov. "Days after the Club Q victims are laid to rest, the Proud Boys plan to disrupt a drag storytime event in Columbus, Ohio. The group's local chapter announced its intent on Telegram."

"The Columbus Proud Boys would like to announce that we will be attending the Holi-drag Storytime being held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus on December 3rd," the Telegram post said. "It's gonna be wild!"

The Proud Boys are a self-described "Western Chauvinist" group linked to white supremacists, infamous for their violent street brawls. Several of their leaders participated in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and are on trial for seditious conspiracy.

Prior to this event, the Proud Boys have showed up at other drag celebrations to intimidate LGBTQ supporters, including a brunch in Sanford, North Carolina. Another armed man wearing a Proud Boys shirt showed up at a drag storytime event in Sparks, Nevada in June, forcing children to flee.

"Extremism experts say that these protests, which sometimes turn violent, have directly led to horrific events like the shooting at Club Q," said the report. "'If you look at the history of the way in which organized violence works, it can often start with protests, can often start with fights or fistfights, but very quickly then can become armed events,' Imara Jones, CEO of TransLash Media, told Newsweek. 'What we are seeing overall right now is the transition and the legitimization of increasing violence and targeting of trans people by these groups."

'We have nothing to drive': More Russians openly question war in Ukraine as sanctions hit their economy

On Wednesday, CNN reported that discontent is growing in Russia as citizens increasingly question the Ukraine invasion, and as the sanctions against Russia to end the war continue to take a heavy toll on the country's economy.

"This year, the feeling of melancholy is increased by the sight of shuttered shops on many of the capital’s streets, as businesses face the economic fall-out from massive Western sanctions in response to the war in Ukraine, which Russian officials still call the 'special military operation,'" reported Frederick Pleitgen. "'The mood in Moscow and the country is now extremely gloomy, quiet, intimidated, and hopeless,' said 34-year-old Lisa, who declined to give her last name and said she was a film producer. 'The planning horizon is as low as ever. People have no idea what might happen tomorrow or in a year.'"

According to the report, supermarkets in Russia are still reasonably well stocked, but Western products in particular are vanishing.

The lack of Western technology is having more effects, however: "The country’s industrial firms are facing major problems replacing Western technology, leading the automobile company AvtoVAZ – manufacturer of the Lada vehicle brand – to first halt production earlier this year and then move to producing some vehicles without basic electronic features like air bags and anti-lock braking systems."

Yevgeny Popov, a Russian Parliament member and state media mouthpiece, recently demanded of a Russian general on the state program "60 Minutes," “What will we drive, we have nothing to drive. Are we going to drive railcars?”

Sergey Javoronkov, a senior researcher at the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, tells CNN that "both the economic price and the dissatisfaction with the task not being solved" has contributed to criticism of the war.

“We were supposed to win. Officials promised to capture Kyiv in three days but, as we see, it turned out to be foolish," Javoronkov told CNN.

All of this comes as Russian officials are frantically trying to tamp down fears that Ukraine, which recently drove back Russian forces in the eastern regions and reclaimed much of the territory seized early in the operation, could move into Crimea — held by Russia since the annexation in 2014 — and liberate territory there as well.

Missouri newspaper editorial board shreds GOP for pushing discredited Reagan-era economic theory

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board shredded Republicans for clinging to a pro-tax cut political theory of economics pushed by former President Ronald Reagan decades ago — despite it having repeatedly failed.

The "Laffer curve," famously first scrawled on the back of a napkin at a restaurant by right-wing economist and GOP adviser Arthur Laffer, is the notion that tax cuts actually raise revenue for the government because the investment spurred by more money in the hands of businesses and millionaires grows the tax base more than the marginal revenue lost.

The ideology has a kernel of truth to it in that taxation generally reduces economic activity; however, there has never been any evidence U.S. taxes were high enough to begin with to depress economic activity beyond the returns to government revenue.

"Today’s stubborn Republican mythology that treats tax cuts as a magical economic elixir is largely traceable to Laffer’s theory, which arose in the late 1970s," wrote the board. "His famous 'Laffer curve' presumes to prove that tax cuts for the rich will spur economic investment, causing such strong economic growth that the government’s tax revenue would actually rise instead of falling. Even 1980 Republican presidential candidate George H.W. Bush derided the notion as 'voodoo economics.' That is, until he became vice president to Ronald Reagan, who embraced it."

"And how did Laffer’s theory, recast as 'Reaganomics,' turn out in practice?" wrote the board. "Yes, the economy was robust in the 1980s after Reagan’s historic tax cuts. But that’s also when the era of big budget deficits began, to the point that Reagan himself had to implement a series of later tax hikes to address it. Republicans today always seem to forget that part of the story. They certainly forgot it in Kansas in 2012, when they went full-Laffer with massive tax cuts. This deliberate test of Laffer’s theory, known as 'The Kansas Experiment,' was a debacle. The state’s economy didn’t skyrocket, but the deficit did, forcing deep cuts to education before the legislature finally acknowledged defeat and reversed the tax cuts."

Republicans then went on to try the same thing at a national scale under Donald Trump, noted the board, passing enormous tax cuts for corporations in 2017 — which did not deliver the sweeping economic growth Republicans promised. In fact, some experts believe, those tax cuts made the post-COVID inflation spell worse than it would have been otherwise. But still, House Republicans want to use their new majority to force President Joe Biden to do another round of tax cuts — when what is really needed to reduce inflation is targeted tax increases.

"You’d think after blaming the Biden administration (with some justification) for making inflation worse by pumping more money into the economy, they would at least see the irony of what they’re proposing, if not its damning precedent," concluded the board.

Harvard Law professor explains why the new special prosecutor is Trump's worst nightmare

On Monday's edition of CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," retired Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, an outspoken legal voice in favor of criminally charging former President Donald Trump, weighed in on Attorney General Merrick Garland's decision to appoint war crimes prosecutor Jack Smith as a special counsel in the Trump investigations — and made clear he supported the decision.

"What's your reaction to the appointment of the special counsel by the attorney general?" asked anchor John Berman.

"I think it was the right move, although I had urged doing this many months ago in March," said Tribe. "But more recently, I thought that because Merrick Garland was apparently not really ready to proceed, that he ought to pull things together and bring indictments. The evidence was clear enough, and I thought appointing a special counsel might delay things. He's clearly found a special counsel who won't delay a thing. He's hitting the ground running. He clearly has enormous experience. He's come right off of the war crimes trials that he's handling in Kosovo. He's been in charge of political corruption trials. He's battle-hardened. He's absolutely ready."

"Garland emphasized the need for speed," added Tribe. "He's clearly not come back from The Hague in order to preside over the winding up of an unsuccessful investigation. The marching orders he has are to conclude things as quickly as possible, and I take that to mean a very likely set of indictments arising both out of Mar-a-Lago and the attempt to overturn the election."

"Well, how complicated would it be, practically speaking, to bring indictments against a former president running for president, and to do it in a timely enough fashion that some aspect of the case wouldn't be bumping right up against a presidential election?" asked Berman.

"Well, sooner the better because the delays that are bound to be part of the former president's strategy will make it bump up against the election, but Merrick Garland is not going to let that deter him at all," said Tribe. "He's made that clear. The fact that we have someone who thinks he can protect himself by claiming that he wants to be president. That's all fine, but it's not up to him. Interestingly, he said he doesn't intend to participate in the work of the special counsel. Well, that's nice. No one is asking him. It's not up to him. The special counsel has very broad power."

Watch below:

'Not normal': Giselle Fetterman has become a new target of Fox News conspiracy theories

In the weeks following Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman's win against Trump-backed celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz, Fox News has pivoted to a new narrative involving Fetterman's wife, Gisele Fetterman.

Essentially, the argument has been that Gisele is serving as her husband's puppet master who will effectively act as the real senator for Pennsylvania — an idea driven by their belief that Fetterman's stroke, which left him with speech and auditory processing issues from which he is recovering, was actually somehow far more serious and debilitating than it actually was.

In an interview with The New Republic, Gisele Fetterman, a Brazilian-born philanthropist, dismissed those attacks.

“The right-wing hates women. They especially hate strong women, and I think that’s what you’re seeing,” she said. “The fact that a spouse of a senator-elect has been attacked nonstop for the past 24 hours and everyone’s okay with it and everyone thinks it’s normal … it’s not normal.”

She added that, “Since entering the Capitol for training, my inbox has been completely filled with threats and horrible things. And that’s because I’ve been a non-stop loop on Fox News. Hopefully it’s not like this forever … and hopefully it’s not like this for the next young Latina or person of color or spouse who enters this space.”

As the article noted, these theories have radiated out from Fox and from similar spaces as the Fettermans prepare for life in Washington D.C.

"On Tuesday, Fox News host Harris Faulkner took issue with a photo Gisele tweeted of herself beside her Senator-elect husband who is partially cropped from the image ...the couple have a running joke that John doesn’t fit in photos," wrote The New Republic's Pablo Manríquez. "A conspiracy theory was implied that Gisele was trying to steal the show (and maybe even the Senate seat) from her duly elected husband. 'First day for Senator-elect Gisele Fetterman,' said Townhall’s Mia Cathell. 'Why is she even there?' asked someone called Bonchie on RedState. Both remarks were quickly aggregated with other jabs against Gisele into a digital story on Fox News’s website, which was followed by a graphics package of mean tweets about the Fettermans that Faulkner gleefully read on-air."

Democrats managed to retain control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm election. As of press time, they hold 50 seats to Republicans' 49, with the last remaining seat to be decided in the Georgia runoff election in December between Democratic incumbent and Christian minister Sen. Raphael Warnock, and Trump-backed NFL veteran Herschel Walker.

Saudi Arabia funneling 'billions' to Trump family as former president launches comeback: report

On Thursday, Judd Legum laid out in his Popular Information blog the full extent to which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has poured money into the Trump family — as former President Donald Trump launches his third consecutive campaign for the White House ahead of 2024.

"The coverage of his announcement was broadly critical, focusing on the poor results of the candidates he endorsed in the 2022 midterms. Reports also noted some other issues complicating Trump's run, including his role in fomenting an insurrection and the federal criminal investigation into his handling of classified documents," reported Legum. "These stories virtually ignored one of the most significant developments since Trump left the White House: his expanding financial relationship with Saudi Arabia. Since Trump left office, entities controlled by the Saudi government, a repressive regime responsible for the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, have sent billions to Trump and his family members."

The total investment from the Saudis, Legum estimated, is in the "billions."

To begin with, wrote Legum, "The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has spent billions creating LIV, a new golf tour. Two of LIV's eight tournaments in 2022 were held at Trump-owned golf courses, including the season-ending championship at Trump Doral in Florida." Then there is the PIF's investment into Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, through his real estate business: "The full board of PIF, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, overruled the committee's recommendation and decided to invest $2 billion. Under the deal, Kushner will receive a $25 million annual management fee, plus a percentage of any profits." This deal was approved by the Saudi royals over the objections of PIF officials who recommended against it.

And then there is another Trump licensing deal in the works with a private company closely linked to the Saudi royals, Legum continued: "Earlier this week, Trump 'struck a deal with a Saudi-based real estate company to license its name to a housing and golf complex that will be built in Oman.' The agreement was made 'with Dar Al Arkan, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate companies, for the project.' Under the arrangement, Trump will receive 'a cut of condo sales or golf course revenue in exchange for allowing its name to be used.' The proceeds could be considerable since the project is estimated to cost $1.6 billion and 'will include an estimated 3,500 residential units, luxury retail and 450 rooms at the hotels.'"

All of this comes amid reporting that MBS "preferred" Trump as president and privately mocks President Joe Biden. It also comes as Saudi Arabia brokered a global drawdown of oil production by OPEC, reportedly overriding objections from other OPEC member states, a move that the U.S. claims is a deliberate attempt to hurt its economy and blunt the effectiveness of European sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

Democratic strategists launch 'war room' to investigate Republican lawmakers who abuse their power

On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that Democratic strategists are launching a "war room" to investigate House Republicans in the event that they abuse their oversight powers in an incoming Republican majority.

"The newly relaunched Congressional Integrity Project initiative, details of which were shared first with POLITICO, will include rapid response teams, investigative researchers, pollsters and eventually a paid media campaign to put congressional Republicans 'squarely on the defense,' founder Kyle Herrig said in an interview," reported Heidi Przybyla and Jordain Carney. "It’s designed to serve as the party’s 'leading war room' to push back on House Republican investigations, Herrig said in an interview." Longtime Democratic strategist Brad Woodhouse will also be involved.

According to the report, Herrig vowed the campaign will "investigate the investigators, expose their political motivations and the monied special interests supporting their work, and hold them accountable for ignoring the urgent priorities of all Americans in order to smear Joe Biden and do the political bidding of Trump and MAGA Republicans."

This comes after top House Republicans, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), are vowing to launch a blizzard of investigations against both the Biden administration, including the Justice Department and FBI, as well as various figures who have become Republican scapegoats, like outgoing National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Similar investigative blitzes occurred during the Obama administration when House Republicans held endless hearings into the issues like failures in the "Operation Fast & Furious" gun-walking operation and the since-debunked allegations that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting conservative groups. Perhaps most famously, the GOP ran a massive campaign trying to blame former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya — something that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) publicly boasted was designed to hurt her presidential campaign rather than to serve any legitimate investigative purpose.

"In addition to Herrig and Woodhouse, the project’s leadership team will include Leslie Dach, a well-known Democratic communications specialist who has led progressive organizations for decades, served in the Obama administration and advised the Biden administration’s pandemic response," said the report. "In a sign of the important role the initiative will play over the next two years — and its proximity to the White House — other senior advisers include Jeff Peck, a former Biden aide during the president’s time in the Senate who served as treasurer and vice chair of the Biden Foundation as well as a senior adviser to the Biden-Harris transition."

Republicans secure narrow House majority

On Wednesday, CNN and NBC News have both projected that Republicans have secured enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives.

This comes as California's 27th District, a seat including the northern exurbs of Los Angeles, is called in favor of incumbent Republican Mike Garcia, which is the 218th call made by the networks.

The exact size of the GOP's House majority remains uncertain, but based on the results of the final handful of districts, it is unlikely to be higher than the mid 220s.

This is a significantly lower majority than most election analysts were expecting, as historical patterns had suggested Democrats could be heading for a blowout, losing dozens of seats, similar to the losses that occurred for the party controlling the White House under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. It parallels the House elections in 2020, where Democrats were similarly expected to pad their House majority won in the previous election but instead lost seats and were left with a bare 222-seat majority.

Nonetheless, Republicans achieving control of the House will be a roadblock for President Joe Biden's legislative agenda, and will hand over key oversight and investigatory powers to the GOP for the final two years of his first term.

In the Senate, Democrats have retained control, and could possibly gain another seat depending on the outcome of the Georgia runoff in December, Democrats also had a net gain of two gubernatorial seats and at least three state legislative chambers.

Allen Weisselberg: Donald Trump 'authorized' tax fraud scheme

On Tuesday, Rolling Stone reported that Allen Weisselberg, the longtime top accountant for the Trump Organization, testified at trial that former President Donald Trump was aware of — and personally approved — the fraudulent accounting for which his family business is now under criminal indictment.

"Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testified Tuesday that Donald Trump personally green-lighted untaxed benefits that are the center of a Manhattan criminal trial against several of the ex-president’s eponymous companies — including a gratis residence in New York City," reported Victoria Bekiempis. "'The rent was authorized by Donald Trump,' Weisselberg said less than two hours into his time on the stand in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The septuagenarian, who sported a deep gray suit and pale blue tie, spoke matter of factly."

"Prosecutors allege that the Trump Organization participated in an illicit compensation scheme that illegally lined Weisselberg’s pockets to the tune of $1.7 million of untaxed income," said the report. "Weisselberg in August pleaded guilty to a 15-count indictment related to these unlawful payouts and, according to Weisselberg’s plea agreement, he 'must testify truthfully' if called to testify at trial."

In addition to this revelation, Weisselberg reportedly shocked officials in the courtroom by revealing that, despite wide reporting that the Trump family fired Weisselberg from his CFO position following his indictment to minimize the Trump Organization's legal exposure, he was secretly still being paid and still doing all the same work he was doing before his supposed termination.

Lawyers representing the Trump family have fought back, trying to throw Weisselberg under the bus and accusing him of lying.

"The trial is rooted in the 2021 indictment of several Trump businesses, including The Trump Organization, for a purported 15-year-long tax fraud plot," said the report. "The prosecution claimed that Weisselberg’s loyalty to Trump and his ilk paid off. Beginning in 2005, Weisselberg lived in an apartment rent-free on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The Trump Corporation leased the apartment and, in addition to covering the rent, covered his utility and parking fees, the indictment claimed. Trump’s eponymous company is also accused of paying the leases on two Mercedes-Benz vehicles that Weisselberg and his wife treated as their personal cars. Trump’s business entities also provided cash to Weisselberg around Christmas, so he could dole out 'personal holiday gratuities.'"

'Metadata is very powerful': January 6th adviser says Kelli Ward's texts could expose damning coup info

On Tuesday's edition of MSNBC's "Deadline: White House," former Republican congressman and House January 6 Committee adviser Denver Riggleman weighed in on the efforts to gain communications by key allies of former President Donald Trump.

This comes after the Supreme Court shut down a request by Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who is suspected of working with Trump's allies to create a list of fraudulent presidential electors, to shut down a subpoena of her phone records — a subpoena which, according to Riggleman, could produce valuable information.

"Let me tell you, metadata and data is very powerful," said Riggleman. "When you talk about Kelli Ward, you're talking about someone who could be in the political side and the legal and the militant side. So when you have individuals fighting their phone records, you wonder why. And there could be one or two calls that go to people that are rally or right extremist groups and there are White House numbers and who was she talking to in the White House around January 6."

"As far as the Secret Service texts, I would like to see what is policing," said Riggleman. "But the before and after could be very powerful. On the Secret Service texts, if they could put that thread together it is very interesting to see who thought Trump was doing the right thing and who was supporting him and things of that nature. As far as Kelli Ward, I think you have a factor for people whose data out there, whether they realize, that the technical teams have a millions of lines of data and there is a link system to see the connections very quickly. And it is very, very robust. So I think you see that is why people are fighting."

Furthermore, continued Riggleman, when it comes to Clarence Thomas — whose wife was heavily involved in pressuring Arizona lawmakers to throw out the 2020 election results, and who was one of only two justices to vote in favor of Ward's request, it is "not a surprise that he voted against this."

"I have a special place in my heart with the Thomases, and it is to a point that if there is not more investigation into Ginni Thomas, I don't know what to say," said Riggleman. "I think she's key. I was one of the first to see the text messages, I think we need to do a much deeper drive into Ginni Thomas and some of the people around her."

Watch below or at this link.

Denver Riggleman on Kelli Ward and Ginni Thomas youtu.be

Here’s the real reason Trump wants to announce his candidacy now — and it's not about money

On Tuesday, writing for The Bulwark, former U.S. Attorney and Lawyers Defending American Democracy counsel Dennis Aftergut highlighted what he believes to be the core reason that former President Donald Trump is so eager to announce his 2024 presidential campaign as soon as possible.

"It’s not at all difficult to believe that Trump may be driven by ego, pride, and the competitive instinct; he hates to lose and seems most energized when attacking his potential rivals," wrote Aftergut, noting Trump's increasingly angry attacks on potential rival Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). "And then there is greed. Trump is constantly looking for ways to mix politics and profit, and it’s likely that a 'potential future president' can cut better deals than a mere 'disgraced former president.' Yesterday, on the eve of his pre-announced announcement, news broke that his company signed a lucrative contract with a major Saudi developer to brand a golf-housing-hotel development in Muscat, Oman, with the Trump name."

However, all of this is secondary to something else, wrote Aftergut: Trump is "scared witless at the possibility of prosecution" — and thinks being a presidential candidate will shield him from charges.

"It seems likely that indictments are on their way from Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis (over Trump’s interference in the 2020 election in Georgia) and from Attorney General Merrick Garland (over Trump’s purloined national security secrets taken to Mar-a-Lago)," wrote Aftergut. "By formally becoming a presidential candidate, Trump thinks he’ll get an edge on prosecutors. He craves his narrative: 'Dems are trying to take down an announced Republican candidate for President. UNPRECEDENTED!'"

Unfortunately for Trump, noted Aftergut, this strategy could blow up in his face: "First, the country just sent an unmistakable message that his brand is burnt, at least for now. In a midterm election where the out-of-power party always suffers massive losses, Trump’s marquee 'election-denier' candidates were losers ... Second, Republicans are angry at Trump, blaming him for their poor showing in the midterms. Allowing time for the heat to drop would serve him well." And then there is the fact that the Republican National Committee has made clear it will stop funding Trump's legal defense if he is a presidential candidate, depriving him of enormous amounts of money he is getting right now.

"Trump giving up a dollar sooner than he has to is sure confirmation of fear," concluded Aftergut. "He hears the heavy footfall of the constable closing in behind him. He can’t stay still. He has to run."

Republicans 'are confused and frustrated and angry right now': reporter

On CNN Monday, reporter Melanie Zanona laid out the state of play for Republican leadership as GOP lawmakers fight to assign blame after a "red wave" failed to materialize in the 2022 midterm elections, handing Democrats continued control of the Senate and leaving control of the House undecided but tilting in favor of a very small Republican majority.

"Kevin McCarthy is getting key backup from former President Donald Trump," said Zanona. "Donald Trump has been calling people encouraging them to support McCarthy for Speaker. He wants to protect him from any blame for the poor midterm performance because he needs him if he's going to run for president in 2024. And it does seem that some allies have gotten the message. Marjorie Taylor Greene now saying she thinks it's a bad idea for someone to challenge McCarthy. But not everyone in the party feels the same way. Take a listen to what Congressman Matt Gaetz said earlier today."

"Right now there are a lot of the establishment Republicans in denial, believing that Kevin McCarthy can become Speaker," said Gaetz in the clip. "What I'm here is tell you is there are definitely at least five people, actually a lot more, who would rather be waterboarded by Liz Cheney than vote for Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House, and I'm one of them."

"Now, the only reason why these fringe voices matter is because of the math," said Zanona. "If Republicans win the majority, it is going to be by a razor-thin margin and McCarthy can only lose a handful of Republicans. I'm told there are enough Republicans threatening to vote against him unless he gives in to their demands. Right now, McCarthy is behind closed doors making his pitch to members, saying we need to unite and making his pitch for why he should be the next Speaker."

"Meanwhile in the Senate, Senate Republicans have called for leadership elections to be postponed," said anchor Jake Tapper. "Explain that."

"Mitch McConnell is facing a small but growing group of senators calling to delay the internal elections set for Wednesday," said Zanona, adding, "McConnell is plowing forward at this point. They are proceeding as planned. And he told reporters that of course he has the vote ... but it is rare to see this level of anger from within the ranks directed at McConnell, and the reason is that Republicans are confused and frustrated and angry right now about why a red wave never materialized, and we are expecting the blame game to continue to heat up."

Watch video below or at this link.

Colorado cops indicted for leaving woman handcuffed in car that was hit by freight train

According to the Associated Press, two officers with the Platteville Police Department in Colorado have been hit with criminal charges after they left a suspect handcuffed in a cruiser parked on the railroad tracks that was then hit by a freight train have been criminally charged.

"Two police officers involved in the arrest of a woman who was seriously injured when the parked patrol car she was in was hit by a freight train in Colorado have been charged," said the report. "Prosecutors also announced Monday that the woman, who was arrested after a report of an alleged road rage incident involving a gun before the September crash, was also charged with felony menacing."

"Prosecutors didn’t release details about what the officers are accused of doing," said the report. "One officer was charged with two felonies, including attempted manslaughter. The other was charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and parking where prohibited."

The victim of the alleged road rage incident, which is being investigated separately from the police misconduct, has spoken out to 9NEWS: “When I got to Fort Lupton, I noticed there was a car tailgating me really badly. And that’s when I tapped my breaks and there was a car ahead of me and I had to slow down. The car got behind me, pretty close to me."

The woman, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez, then allegedly produced a gun after the drivers pulled over.

Rios-Gonzalez's attorney disputes this version of events, saying that the other driver was the aggressor.

This comes amid a number of high-profile prosecutions of police misconduct. Earlier this year, Joshua Jaynes, the former Louisville Metro Police officer who submitted the falsified search warrant application that led to the fatal no-knock warrant against Breonna Taylor was charged with federal violations of civil rights law by the Justice Department.

'Earmarks of a La Cosa Nostra organization': Why Donald Trump's inner circle is unlikely to flip

On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "Deadline: White House," former FBI agent Frank Figliuzzi discussed efforts by federal investigators to get the cooperation of Kash Patel, the former acting Secretary of Defense, in their pursuit of the Mar-a-Lago documents case against former President Donald Trump — including a possible offer of partial immunity.

Even that deal won't be easy to make, argued Figliuzzi, because Trump has run his inner circle like a mob boss — and has an enormous amount of leverage to keep Patel silent.

"Do public announcements or declarations or loyalty to, his words not mine, the boss weigh into any prosecution strategies on the part of the DOJ?" asked anchor Nicolle Wallace.

"I think it clearly signals that they have a potential witness that isn't going to play ball easily," said Figliuzzi. "I think that is part of the reason why they are seriously, reportedly, considering offering him at least limited use immunity. He's not someone who's going to give up. This is having all the earmarks of a La Cosa Nostra organization, where the don demands loyalty and no one snitches on the Don. So yeah, I think that's playing into it."

Indeed, said Figliuzzi, Trump could offer Patel any number of incentives to stay loyal — including "the possibility of Kash Patel as your next FBI director" should Trump win another term in 2024.

"That's where we are here," said Figliuzzi. "It's an interesting strategy ... there's really only one person it seems to point to and why they would give Patel such immunity, because they're looking at the boss, as Patel said, and that's a clear signal to all of us that they're dead serious about looking at Trump and his culpability."

Watch below or at this link.

Frank Figliuzzi says Trump is running a "La Cosa Nostra" operation youtu.be

Russia pumping millions into US-based propaganda outlets

On Thursday, POLITICO reported that while services like YouTube and DirecTV have booted off Russian state propaganda networks, the Kremlin is still pumping millions of dollars into the U.S. media through other means.

"Between April and the end of September, Russian state media group Rossiya Segodnya funneled $3,284,169 to Ghebi, a company that produces articles, newswires and a number of radio shows," reported Daniel Lippman. "During that same period, Ghebi spent $2,183,640.72 on behalf of its client, according to an October filing with the Department of Justice made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act."

"That same month, Rebel Media Productions — a company run by controversial former local news anchor Benjamin Swann — registered to represent the Russian government-backed media organization TV Novosti," said the report. "The production company would oversee video production for TV Novosti and other clients, focusing solely on the Indian, Chinese, and South American TV markets. A filing also noted that Rebel Media Productions had received $609,792 to pay laid off RT America employees."

Russia's influence in the United States came under heavy scrutiny in 2016 when it was revealed they were employing troll farms to sow chaos in the 2016 presidential election, partly to boost Donald Trump's campaign.

'You are not immune': How Donald Trump's lawyers could go down with him

On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," anchor Ari Melber issued a stark warning to the attorneys representing former President Donald Trump that they could be in legal jeopardy themselves.

Trump has already left a trail of problems in his wake for lawyers who represented him, from Michael Cohen, who went to prison for tax fraud over a hush payment he organized for the former president, to Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, who have faced professional sanctions for false claims and illegal advice. And similar problems could befall the lawyers representing Trump in the national security case surrounding classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, said Melber.

"There's still more than one open criminal probe involving former President Trump," said Melber. "We turn to a twist in one of them, new video, which basically shows three Trump lawyers doing what lawyers never want to have to do, which is go into the federal courthouse, not to litigate, which is why they usually go to court, but because they're caught up at witnesses to potentially some kind of wrongdoing. This is a secret hearing that involves DOJ lawyers and the Trump lawyers."

"Now, it is reported that it's about stolen documents. The Mar-a-Lago case, according to CNN," said Melber. "Also what's notable is that legal team typically would appear in New York, or Florida. I'm only telling you what we're gleaning but it sounds like a more high-level meeting. Prosecutors want testimony to figure out what Trump claims is declassified and whether anyone has been lying to the government about that.""Now, it is reported that it's about stolen documents. The Mar-a-Lago case, according to CNN," said Melber. "Also what's notable is that legal team typically would appear in New York, or Florida. I'm only telling you what we're gleaning but it sounds like a more high-level meeting. Prosecutors want testimony to figure out what Trump claims is declassified and whether anyone has been lying to the government about that."

Even so, said Melber, these lawyers are in dangerous territory.

"As I've told you before, you can go on TV and lie all you want," said Melber. "We've heard Trump aides say, he declassified it all. Abracadabra. They are lying. But if they say that in public, so be it. You start saying it in court or to prosecutors or the FBI or the National Archive — you can see the list is getting long — you might be committing a crime. And if you are a lawyer, you are not immune from being held accountable for crimes."

Watch below or at this link.

Ari Melber warns Trump lawyers they are "not immune" from prosecution youtu.be

'Stupid subpoena!': Marjorie Taylor Greene erupts over Donald Trump’s potential January 6th testimony

On Wednesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) appeared on Steve Bannon's show to rage against the House Select Committee on January 6 for issuing a subpoena against former President Donald Trump to testify about his role in the attack.

"How pathetic are the January 6 Committee members that they're going to subpoena President Trump right before the midterm elections?" said Greene. "This is the only thing that they have to scream and yell at. It's all a lie. But you know what I can't wait? I can't wait to subpoena Nancy Pelosi ... That woman is the only person to blame for everything that happened at the Capitol that day. Because she did nothing to protect the Capitol and it was her job to do it. President Trump did all the right things. He requested the National Guard to be there outside the Capitol. He wanted the National Guard to be there to protect the Capitol. And Nancy Pelosi said, nope, we don't need the Guard, the National Guard."

All of Greene's claims are false. Trump did not send the National Guard to protect the Capitol on January 6, and Pelosi, along with then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, in fact went out of their way to make calls asking for the Guard to be activated — which was revealed in footage at the final public hearing of the committee earlier this month.

Greene continued to complain that the "garbage" about Trump's subpoena didn't matter to her constituents.

"Who cares?" said Greene. "Nobody cares. I'm going to tell you, the senior citizens I talk to all the time that can barely afford food, and are having to choose between paying their rent and paying their groceries, they don't care about Pelosi's January 6 lies and witch hunt. The veterans I talk to that cannot get their needs met at the VA, the ones that are still being forced to wear masks when they have to go to the doctor ... the farmers that I talk to, they are fed up."

"So you know, as far as the January 6 Committee goes, and their stupid subpoena for President Trump, who did nothing wrong, he said go peacefully and make your voices heard, all of those people on the committee can kiss the American people's ass," Greene added. "Because we are going to send them packing."

Watch below or at this link.

Marjorie Taylor Greene rages against subpoena youtu.be

Amy Coney Barrett rejects right-wing challenge to student loan forgiveness

On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected an emergency application from a right-wing group in Wisconsin to block President Joe Biden's student loan relief plan, according to Bloomberg News court reporter Greg Stohr.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), had filed the application on behalf of the Brown County Taxpayers' Association, arguing the president lacked the authority to implement the program and further claiming that taxpayers are injured by the plan by having to pay for it with either inflation or future tax increases, relying on a rarely-used legal idea called the Major Questions Doctrine.

Biden enacted the plan under the HEROES Act, a 9/11-era law that allows the executive to establish certain programs in case of a national emergency, which the president is invoking as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. WILL argued to the court that this was unlawful.

"The Plan is a massive new federal spending program on par with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which was touted by the White House as a 'once-in-a-generation' and 'transformational' federal law," said the complaint. "In a different way, the Plan — which will wipe away untold assets off the United States’ balance sheets by unchecked presidential fiat — will be transformational to our separation of powers, the rule of law, and the power of the President. Almost anything can be a national emergency. If a President can do this, then he will have been transformed into an officer who not only executes the law but also makes it."

Barrett, who was appointed to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat by former President Donald Trump in the final days of his presidency, and who held the deciding vote in overturning Roe v. Wade, did not give a public explanation for her decision not to refer the matter to the full court.

However, there were key problems with this complaint, the main being that it is unclear the plaintiff is truly injured in any way that gives standing to challenge the program. Historically, simply costing taxpayer money has not been interpreted by courts to be a sufficient injury — particularly given it's not even clear the student loan relief program's cost will actually result in a tax increase for the specific people suing. WILL even acknowledged this in the complaint, writing, "Applicant is aware that prudential notions of standing are an issue here ... Applicant is aware of the concern that federal courts should not be transformed into forums for the abstract litigation of questions in which litigants without a concrete stake in the matter press claims that do not discreetly affect them."

The application page for requesting student loan relief went live this week. Under Biden's plan, individuals making less than $125,000, or married couples making less than $250,000, can apply for up to $10,000 in forgiveness for regular loans, or $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, along with several other reforms to how interest is calculated and how existing income-based repayment plans work. Another lawsuit challenging the program, filed by several Republican state attorneys general, is still in progress.

News producer 'fell off the face of the earth' after FBI found classified info on his laptop: report

On Tuesday, Rolling Stone reported that an Emmy-winning ABC News producer James Gordon Meek has withdrawn from public and professional life following an FBI search at his home that allegedly turned up classified information on his laptop.

"To his detractors within ABC, Meek was something of a 'military fanboy,'" reported Tatiana Siegel. "But his track record of exclusives was undeniable, breaking the news of foiled terrorist plots in New York City and the Army’s coverup of the fratricidal death of Pfc. Dave Sharrett II in Iraq, a bombshell that earned Meek a face-to-face meeting with President Obama. With nine years at ABC under his belt, a buzzy Hulu documentary poised for Emmy attention, and an upcoming book on the military’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, the 52-year-old bear of a man seemed to be at the height of his powers and the pinnacle of his profession."

According to the report, FBI agents allegedly found classified information on Meek's laptop in the search, which was approved by a federal magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Virginia one day prior.

"In the raid’s aftermath, Meek, who frequently collaborated with ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir, has made himself scarce," said the report. "None of his Siena Park neighbors with whom Rolling Stone spoke have seen him since, with his apartment appearing to be vacant. Siena Park management declined to confirm that their longtime tenant was gone, citing 'privacy policies.' Similarly, several ABC News colleagues — who are accustomed to unraveling mysteries and cracking investigative stories — tell Rolling Stone that they have no idea what happened to Meek. 'He fell off the face of the Earth,' says one. 'And people asked, but no one knew the answer.'"

The search raises questions about whether the Biden administration is targeting a journalist for actions done in the course of their reporting — a controversial move that has occurred under multiple presidents over the years.

This also comes amid the much higher-profile FBI investigation into boxes of highly classified documents found at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida, which may include foreign nuclear secrets and clandestine human sources. This investigation is currently tied up as Trump and the DOJ battle in federal court over which documents seized in the FBI's recent search can be reviewed by federal investigators.

'Full-on freaked out': Fox News leaders furious over who leaked Kanye West rant from unaired footage

On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Fox News was thrown into turmoil by the leak of unaired footage of their interview of Trump-loving rapper Kanye West — and they are desperate to find the leaker.

“Fox News executives are ‘full-on freaked out’ about the leak of never-aired clips of Tucker Carlson’s interview with Kayne West, Confider has learned, and the network is closing in on the ‘mole’ who was the source of the embarrassing breach,” reported Lachlan Cartwright and Andrew Kirell. “A few weeks ago Carlson interviewed West, who now goes by the mononym Ye, and touted him as a brave truth-teller dismissed by liberal elites for his increasingly far-right beliefs and stunts like wearing a ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt to Paris Fashion Week.”

“Fox may be closing in on the leaker, but it’s now almost a week since Vice published the videos. This is a notable detail because in 2012, the last time the network dealt with a major video breach, it found and escorted the leaker — Bill O’Reilly’s then-associate producer Joe Muto — out of the building in less than 24 hours,” the report noted. “‘This new leaker learned from my mistakes,’ Muto told Confider. ‘The main reason I got caught is that I wasn’t covering my digital trail particularly well. They’re obviously doing a better job than I did if they haven’t been found yet.'”

As The Washington Post noted last week, Carlson broadcast a highly excerpted version of this interview, telling his audience, “Is West crazy? You can judge for yourself as you watch what we’re about to show you.”

“Even in what Carlson showed, there were questionable comments,” noted the Post‘s Philip Bump. “What was excluded, according to the footage from Vice, was more disconcerting. Ye claimed that he’d rather his kids learn about Hanukkah than Kwanzaa since ‘at least it would come with some financial engineering.’ His assertion that ‘professional actors’ had been ‘placed into my house to sexualize my kids.’ He said he trusted Latinos more than ‘certain other businessmen’ — a vague descriptor he used to ‘be safe.’ Ye also told Carlson that he had ‘visions that God gives me, just over and over, on community building and how to build these free energy, kinetic, fully kinetic energy communities.'”

This was leaked shortly after West took to Twitter to proclaim he was going “death con 3” on Jewish people, which led to his ban from the platform.

West has subsequently announced a move to buy the struggling right-wing Twitter alternative Parler, which would ironically make him a direct competitor to Trump, who already commands the other right-wing Twitter alternative Truth Social.

Trump huddles with Kanye West in phone call after Parler announcement: report

On Monday, POLITICO reported that former President Donald Trump spoke with rapper Kanye West on the phone following the announcement that the latter would be acquiring the right-wing social network Parler.

"West placed the call, during which the two confirmed plans to have dinner though nothing is currently scheduled," reported Meridith McGraw. "The call comes shortly after it was announced that West would be buying Parler, the social media app that is dominated by conservatives, and as the rapper faces criticism for a round of highly antisemitic comments, including from Trump-allied conservatives."

This comes soon after West was suspended from Twitter over an anti-Semitic post that appeared to contain vague threats of violence. "I'm a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I'm going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE," he wrote. "The funny thing is I actually can't be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda."

West, who was held up as a third-party candidate for president in 2020 and was long praised by the GOP for his relationship with Trump, has earned the condemnation of a number of Trump's allies, including American Conservative Union director Matt Schlapp, who tweeted, “With so many problems in society blaming Jews for exploiting media or people of color is not one of them. Jews and other minorities should find common cause in crushing BDS/CRT. I admire Kanye is many mays but his harsh comments of Jews are offensive and wrong. Unite and Fight.” Even Trump himself reportedly has told allies West is "crazy" and needs help.

Parler, which was intended as an alternative to Twitter supporting the "speech" rights of right-wing figures deplatformed for hate speech or harassment, has been struggling to maintain its user base after an initial surge in interest. The site is currently run by George Farmer, the husband of Candace Owens, a Trump-supporting Black activist close to West, leading some analysts to speculate Owens and Farmer are trying to cut their losses by offloading Parler onto him.

All of this is going on while the future of tech billionaire Elon Musk's well-publicized Twitter acquisition deal remains in limbo, with the social media giant refusing an offer from Musk that would reportedly close the deal and head off litigation over his attempts to back out.

'Crazy idea!' McConnell strategist says Trump testifying to Jan. 6 Committee would be 'perilous'

Following Thursday's decision by the House Select Committee on January 6 to subpoena former President Donald Trump, many observers believed that he would simply decline to honor it.

However, other reports suggest the former president actually wants to do it — given the testimony is broadcast live so he can deliver it to the whole nation.

On CNN Friday, longtime Mitch McConnell adviser Scott Jennings said this plan would be a monumental blunder for Trump.

"Yesterday's hearing really culminated with that live vote subpoenaing the president and the committee agreeing to subpoena the president," said anchor Bianna Golodryga. "As we said, we're going through his response now. I want to get, Scott, your reaction to what Jamie Raskin said about why they think it would be compelling for him to speak with them. Let's listen."

"Even if he thinks that [the attack on the Capitol] was a righteous manifestation of pro-Trump sentiment, then he should come over," said Raskin in the clip. "If he wants to be the Mussolini of a mass right-wing populist movement, he should come forward and explain that."

"Do you think that there's enough there to goad him, to compel him to come forward?" asked Golodryga.

"There are people in his orbit saying he wants to do it," said Jennings. "That he — that he feels inclined to want to get out and have his Colonel Jessup moment, I guess, at the end of the January 6 hearing."

But, he added, "it's a crazy idea given this guy is under about 1,000 investigations right now ... he has a lot of confidence in his ability to communicate and sway people and to always be right, but boy, it seems like a perilous idea to me."

Watch the video below or at this link.

DOJ 'closing in' on Trump: bombshell NYT report suggests indictments are likely to 'start flying'

On CNN Thursday, retired Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe reacted to the news that the Justice Department believes former President Donald Trump is hoarding more documents on his property — a development that experts believe is a sign prosecutors are seriously weighing charges against the former president.

"What do you think where the Justice Department might be headed?" asked anchor Anderson Cooper.

"It certainly suggests the Justice Department is closing in on indicting Donald Trump," said Tribe. "Not simply for basically stealing top secret documents from the White House and secreting them in various locations ... but also for violating the Espionage Act and, based on this recent reporting, obstruction of justice."

Specifically, Tribe argued, the DOJ has evidence Trump is investigating both a "national security inquiry" and a "criminal investigation." "There are people whose lives are at stake if their identity has been revealed in some of these top secret documents, which clearly were marked 'human resource.' They were marked to indicate that they would reveal the identity or location of, basically, American spies abroad. They were marked signals intelligence. So this is very serious. And what I take these recent revelations to mean is that shortly after the midterm elections, indictments are likely to start flying."

"You believe that the Department of Justice might actually indict the former president?" Cooper pressed him.

"I believe that it might well indict the former president for obstruction, for espionage," said Tribe. "This is all quite apart from the possible indictment for seditious conspiracy and insurrection. I mean, it's as though he is building a moat around Mar-a-Lago and then trying to swim in it himself. Basically, with every stroke he takes, with every move he makes, he is digging himself a deeper, deeper pit ... his lawyers must be absolutely beside themselves because he makes matters worse. He says 'I want my documents back.' He brags about having taken them himself. Then he says the General Services Administration packed the boxes, but they deny it. You almost expect him to say my dog packed the boxes, except we know he doesn't have a dog."

Watch below:

BRAND NEW STORIES
@2022 - AlterNet Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. - "Poynter" fonts provided by fontsempire.com.