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'This is not normal': Some Republicans are fuming over RNC payments to law firm that represented Trump

Payments to a law firm representing former President Donald Trump made by the Republican National Committee are raising a few eyebrows among Republicans who worry about the party's priorities in the face of upcoming elections, CNN reports.

"This is not normal," said a former top RNC official.

The payments to Fischetti and Malgieri LLP totaled $121,670 were first reported by the Federal Election Commission this Monday. The firm was hired by the Trump Organization amid the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into Trump's finances.

According to a spokesperson for the RNC, the committee "approved paying for certain legal expenses that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump," and defended the payments as "entirely appropriate" as the party "continue[s] assisting in fighting back against the Democrats' never ending witch hunt and attacks on [Trump]."

But some RNC members and donors say the party is forgetting its own neutrality rules. "Some of these same officials who spoke to CNN also questioned why the party would foot the legal bills of a self-professed billionaire who was sitting on a $102 million war chest as recently as July and has previously used his various political committees to cover legal costs," CNN reports. "According to FEC filings from August, the former President's Make America Great Again committee has paid Jones Day more than $37,000 since the beginning of the year, while his Make America Great Again super PAC has paid a combined $7.8 million to attorneys handling his lawsuits related to the 2020 election."

"We sure as heck could have used $121,000," national committeeman from New Jersey Bill Palatucci told CNN.

"We were in the middle of hand-to-hand combat trying to win and those resources could have helped here. It just speaks for itself of what the priorities were," Palatucci added.

Read the full report at CNN.

Travis McMichael's pro-vigilantism Facebook posts come back to haunt him in Arbery murder trial cross-examination

This Thursday, prosecutor Linda Dunikoski cross examined the man who shot and killed 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, and showed examples of past social media posts of his where he seemed to endorse vigilantism.

Three white men are on trial for killing Arbery, a Black jogger, on February 23, 2020 after chasing him through their neighborhood in pickup trucks.

Gregory McMichael, his son Travis and their neighbor William Bryan say they were attempting to make a "citizen's arrest" of a man they suspected of being a burglar. Arbery's family and supporters have called it a modern day lynching.

While questioning Travis McMichael, Dunikoski showed him a Facebook post he made where he said criminals who wanted to commit crimes in his neighborhood were "playing with fire." In another post, McMichael replied to a post about crime by writing, "Arm up."

Dunikoski then reminded McMichael about a Facebook conversation he had where an acquaintance posited that people should "make examples" people who "steal stuff," to which McMichael replied, "That's right. Hope ya'll catch the vermin." In the same Facebook conversation, McMichael suggested that his father and co-defendant Greg McMichael, 65, was willing to commit vigilante violence and didn't care about going to jail, and that he was "beginning to feel the same."

Travis McMichael eventually acknowledged that he was the author of all the posts Dunikoski cited.

It took nearly three months for the McMichaels and Bryan to be arrested and they were charged only after a video of the shooting of Arbery was leaked online and sparked outrage.

Watch the exchange below:

11 18 2021 11 22 18

Trump supporter outside Rittenhouse trial courthouse tells Black man: 'Move your Black [expletive] back!'

As the jury for the Kyle Rittenhouse trial deliberated Tuesday morning, supporters of the Illinois teen and Black Lives Matter supporters showed up outside the Kenosha courthouse to air their opposing views. As journalist Sergio Olmos pointed out in a Twitter thread, things got testy at times.

At one point, protesters erupted into opposing chants. One man could be seen walking around with a bullhorn heckling the BLM contingent.

As the two groups grew more confrontational, another White man with a bullhorn, who was wearing a hat featuring former President Donald Trump as the "Punisher," got into a shoving match with a Black protester, telling him to "move your Black ass back."

Watch video below:

'Disingenuous nonsense': McConnell mocked for 'plainly silly' case against voting rights bill

Speaking to reporters this Tuesday, Mitch McConnell addressed the U.S. Senate moving forward with plans to consider the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, saying that "Democrats want to change the subject."

"... to a non-existent problem with this marching out of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Again, I repeat, the Supreme Court did not strike down the Voting Rights Act. It's still on the books. There's no evidence right now anywhere in the country that states are engaged in suppressing the vote based upon race."

In an op-ed for MSNBC this Wednesday, Steve Benen contends that McConnell's notion that Democrats are only pretending to care about voting rights is "plainly silly."

"This has been a priority for the party for quite a while — they first took up the For the People Act last year — and Democratic leaders would be pushing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act regardless of the larger political circumstances," Benen writes, adding that McConnell's claim that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is "still on the books" is "disingenuous nonsense."

Benen then cites this quote from McConnell: "There's no evidence right now anywhere in the country that states are engaged in suppressing the vote based upon race."

In other words," Benen writes, "there may be all kinds of voter-suppression measures becoming law in red states across the country — but don't worry, they're not racially discriminatory."

Read the full op-ed over at MSNBC.

Man accused of threatening to kill Matt Gaetz is arrested: report

A man who made a death threat against Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz just days after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was arrested last week, POLITICO reports.

Eugene Huelsman was arrested in the Los Angeles area on an indictment from May by a federal grand jury in Pensacola, Florida.

According to the indictment, Huelsman called Gaetz's office and said, "Tell [Gaetz] to watch his back, tell him to watch his children," Huelsman allegedly said. "I'm coming for him, … I'm gonna f---ing kill him ... I'm gonna put a bullet in you and I'm gonna put a bullet in one of your f---ing kids too."

The arrest came within days of Gaetz taking to the House floor last week to complain that the Justice Department hasn't been diligent enough when it comes to threats being made against him.

"I think someone may be trying to kill me and if they are successful I would like my constituents and my family to know who stopped their arrest," Gaetz said last Wednesday.

Speaking to POLITICO, Gaetz said that the case he described on the floor and the earlier episode mentioned in the indictment are not related.

"An indictment was issued in May, and has now been unsealed the week after my criticism," the GOP lawmaker said. "If they if they took our security seriously, they would arrest all of the people who violate federal law and the threats to kill us, not just some of them....I think that the Department of Justice is biased against Republicans."

Kyrsten Sinema's allies in the Democratic Party 'don't exist anymore': report

Friends and allies of Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are mystified by her maneuvering around President Joe Biden's legislative agenda, according to people speaking to The Daily Beast.

Sinema has faced backlash from progressive activists and politicians over her opposition to Democrats' $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. The legislation remains stalled in the Senate.

"I have also made clear that while I will support beginning this process, I do not support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion — and in the coming months, I will work in good faith to develop this legislation with my colleagues and the administration to strengthen Arizona's economy and help Arizona's everyday families get ahead," Sinema said in July.

One of the people who spoke to The Daily Beast is Chris Herstam, a former Republican lawmaker in Arizona turned Democratic commentator who was a supporter of Simena's.

"She'd call and ask for money, but you could pick her brain and listen to her views about issues," said Herstam, who has donated thousands of dollars to Sinema. But now, things are different and they don't talk anymore after he posted some "political analysis" on Twitter.

Herstam told the Daily Beast that "when I talk to other individuals that consider themselves friends of hers, they told me they haven't spoken to her in over a year, and when they've contacted her to inquire why she's doing what she's doing politically, they don't get callbacks. She's clearly gone in a different direction."

Others spoke to the Daily Beast as well.

"A lot of people who have considered her a friend, or confidant, or someone she'd go to for donor support or political support, she won't talk to those people anymore," said Matt Grodsky, a former communications director for the Democratic Party of Arizona.

"She had a big network of people who liked her—establishment Democrats, progressives—everyone marveled at her ability to win in Arizona," said one Arizona Democratic strategist. "A lot of her longtime friends and confidants are no longer there. No one knows, to be honest, where she's at."

Sinema and another moderate Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, are seen by progressives as the biggest obstacles to eliminating the requirement that 60 votes are needed in the Senate to move legislation along.

While Manchin is a Democratic oddity in a solidly Republican state, Sinema represents a state that has been trending Democratic in recent years and which voted narrowly for Biden in 2020.

A member of Arizona's Green Party before becoming a Democrat, Sinema won election to Arizona's House of Representatives in 2004 and later the state Senate.

She was elected to the US House of Representatives in 2012 and won reelection in 2014 and 2016.

In 2017, she announced her candidacy for the US Senate seat held by Republican Jeff Flake, who subsequently retired from politics, and she eked out a narrow victory over Republican candidate Martha McSally.

Last year, she infuriated the progressive wing of the party by giving a literal thumb's down on the Senate floor to a proposal to raise the minimum wage.

Another source in Arizona told The Daily Beast that Sinema's Democratic allies "don't exist anymore."

"She's burned so many bridges with the allies she used to have," this source added.

With additional reporting from AFP

Watch: Trump rages at Fox News for re-hiring expert who called Arizona for Biden

During a recent interview, former President Donald Trump was asked by Newsmax host John Bachman about the re-hiring at Fox News of Decision Desk Director Arnon Mishkin, who called Arizona for Joe Biden during the networks coverage of the 2020 election.

"He also backed Obama and Hillary I'm told," Bachman told Trump. "Why do you think they hired him back?"

"I think it's terrible that they hired him back," Trump replied. "He made a terrible call, it was a terrible thing to do. When you look at the numbers that came out and the findings from the report ... when you look at those numbers, we won Arizona by a lot, we won other states by a lot -- it was a rigged election -- I think it was a disgrace that they hired him back."

Watch the video below:

10 11 2021 12 03 10

Jim Jordan rages at Dems for attacking Trump’s Big Lie: They think COVID went 'from a bat to a pangolin to Joe Rogan'

This Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing on the election audit in Arizona's Maricopa County. According to a press release, the hearing is being called "to assess the election 'audit' in Maricopa County, Arizona, conducted by Cyber Ninjas, Inc., and how this and similar audits undermine public confidence in elections and threaten our democracy."

During the hearing, Ohio GOP. Rep. Jim Jordan took an opportunity to slam his Democratic colleagues for trying to hold Donald Trump and his allies accountable for the so-called "Big Lie" -- false claims about the 2020 election.

"How about all the lies the Democrats have told us over the last couple of years," Jordan said, adding those "lies" include the narrative about Russian collusion and "peaceful" racial justice protests, among others.

"Democrats told us COVID didn't start in a Chinese lab," he continued. "Nope, didn't start there -- it was a bat to a pangolin, to a hippopotamus, to Joe Rogan and we get bit -- no, no, no, Democrats for four years told us the 2016 election was stolen. They can investigate that for four years, we're not allowed to question some concerns we have about the 2020 election for four minutes, but they can investigate that for four years."

10 07 2021 11 40 25

The real reason Trump didn't follow through with his 2020 plot has been exposed in new Senate report: analysis

Citing the new Senate Judiciary Committee report on Donald Trump's efforts to subvert the 2020 election, the Washington Post's Aaron Blake says that it reveals new details about the ex-president's alleged plot.

"The revelations include that a top ally in the DOJ, Jeffrey Clark, appeared to threaten and bargain with top DOJ officials to get them to release a letter legitimizing Trump's baseless voter fraud claims, and that Trump specifically lamented to then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen than Rosen would not help him 'overturn the election,'" Blake writes.

According to Blake, the Republican defense to the revelations basically amounts to, 'Yeah, but at least Trump didn't follow through with the plan," but there are several problems with this defense, one being that it "harkens back to what Republicans said about Trump's actions vis-a-vis Ukraine in his first impeachment — that yes, he moved to withhold aid from Ukraine if it didn't give him dirt on his political opponents, but that he ultimately relented."

Blake writes that it wasn't Trump's conscience that stopped the plot from going through, it was the fact that the plot fell apart. In other words, the reasoning wasn't "this is the wrong thing to do." It was, "this won't work."

"The other key point is that this plot was apparently very much set in motion," Blake writes. "While Trump never actually fired Rosen, it did get to the point where Clark, according to Rosen's testimony, literally told Rosen that's what had happened. The situation was only defused after Rosen demanded to actually get the news from the president."

Read the full article over at The Washington Post.

The bombshell Senate report released today also identified the pro-Trump lawmaker who help install "coup" advocates at the Justice Department. WATCH:

Bombshell Senate report identifies pro-Trump lawmaker who helped install coup advocates at DOJ

McKayla Maroney reveals FBI agent’s horrifying question after she reported Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse

Star athletes from the USA Gymnastics team, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday on the circumstances that allowed disgraced Olympic doctor Larry Nassar to sexually abuse hundreds of young women and girls.

During Maroney's testimony, she said that Nassar was "more of a pedophile than he was a doctor."

Maroney went on to say that after telling her story of his abuse to the FBI in the summer of 2015, "not only did the FBI not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report, 17 months later they made entirely false claims about what I said."

"After reading the [Inspector General's report], I was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative that they chose to fabricate. They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me, but countless others," she said.

She then specifically called out FBI Special Agent Jay Abbot and his subordinates, saying that they did not want her telling her story. Maroney says she spent three hours telling the FBI what happened to her -- details she says she hadn't yet told her own mother.

"I told them that the first thing Larry Nassar said to me was to change into shorts with no underwear because that would make it easier for him to work on me," she said. "And within minutes, he had his fingers in my vagina."

"The FBI immediately asked, 'Did he insert his fingers into your rectum?' I said no, he never did. They asked if he used gloves. I said no, he never did. They asked if this treatment ever helped me. I said no, it never did. This treatment was one hundred percent abuse, and never gave me any relief. I then told the FBI about Tokyo, the day he gave me a sleeping pill for the plane ride to then work on me later that night. That evening I was naked, completely alone, with him on top of me molesting me for hours. I told [the FBI] I thought I was going to die that night, because there was no way that he would let me go. But he did. I told them I walked the halls of the Tokyo hotel at 2am at only 15-years-old. I began crying at the memory over the phone, and there was just dead silence."

Maroney said she was shocked at the agent's silence and "disregard" for her trauma. The agent then broke the silence and asked, "Is that all?"

"Those words in itself was one of the worst moments in this entire process for me," she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "To have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me, just to feel like my abuse was not enough. But the truth is my abuse was enough, and they wanted to cover it up. USA Gymnastics, in concert with the FBI and the Olympic Committee, were working together to conceal that Larry Nassar was a predator."

Watch the video below:


Happy Holidays!